The latest news stories in the Klamath Basin and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Klamath Basin Weather
Sunny, with a high near 62. Light northwest wind. Overnight low of 32.
Sunny, with a high near 67.
Sunny, with a high near 71.
Sunny, with a high near 69.
The Klamath County Public Health Air Advisory is Yellow until noon today.
Klamath County Public Health officials have announced six new COVID-19 cases in the county. One new case was reported on Sunday. It brings the county case count to 21 with 20 being active and one in recovery.
There have been 355 tests given in the county.
New cases are not a surprise as testing is now more available. It is important to look at the number of people who have been hospitalized: only three, in relation to the overall total of 21. Also evidence is showing that people may contract the virus and have no symptoms. They may infect others without realizing it.
According to KCPH that’s why it is important to continue the practices of staying home, social or physical distancing of six feet, disinfecting surfaces, and frequent handwashing.
The information provided in KCPH’s news release shows the county’s coronavirus cases are affecting people of many ages. Four of the cases are in people ages 20-29, seven are in people ages 30-39, three in people ages 40-49, three in people ages 50-59, three in people ages 60-69, and one case in someone between age 70 and 79.
Eight of the county’s cases are affecting males, and 13 cases are affecting females. The CDC issued guidance that wearing a cloth mask or other fabric face covering may provide some protection to individuals in the community from asymptomatic people who are sick.
KCPH officials encourage anyone who wears a mask to remember not to touch their face and to wash their mask after every use. Additionally, people opting to use a mask should not use N95 or surgical masks as those are reserved for healthcare workers.
The Oregon Health Authority said that there are now a total of 1,132 people in the state who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through a positive test.
OHA is reporting 64 total new cases in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (6), Columbia (2), Curry (2), Deschutes (1), Douglas (1), Jackson (6), Josephine (3), Lane (2), Linn (1), Marion (11), Multnomah (10), Polk (2), Umatilla (1), Washington (12). Samples for 20,669 people have tested negative for COVID-19 in the state so far.
Examples of people who have recovered fully after testing positive for the coronavirus have been reported only sporadically by local health officials thus far, and the state has yet to report a count of a total across the state. OHA has a partial, but incomplete, count of how many people in the state have been hospitalized from the virus.
If you have children as students in the Klamath County School District and haven’t received your learning packet in the mail, you should very soon.
Most KCSD families should be receiving them in the mail today. KCSD encourages those in the district to complete these packets to prevent “learning backslide” while the district rolls out its distance learning plan.
They have uploaded the education packets and links to other learning materials for week 1 to our website so you can also access the materials online.
If you do not receive your grade-level education packet in the mail by Tuesday, please contact the school district, and provide the name of your student, school, your address, and your contact information.
From Klamath Waters Users Association
In response to projected water supplies that may be less than half of typical Klamath Project demand, local water users have taken steps to incentivize management actions to stretch those available supplies. The Klamath Project Drought Response Agency (DRA) is expected to open programs for enrollment on April 15.
Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) has calculated the irrigation water supply available from Upper Klamath Lake – known as the “Project Supply” – likely to be available to the Klamath Project this year. This year’s Project Supply – estimated to be approximately 140,000 acre-feet – was calculated after receipt of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) April 1 assessment of Upper Klamath Basin run-off for the irrigation season.
The Project Supply is the water available to serve approximately 170,000 acres served primarily through the Klamath Irrigation District, Tulelake Irrigation District (TID), and Klamath Drainage District. The Project Supply does not include any water from the Lost River system that becomes available to those areas through the Lost River Diversion Channel or other limited sources.
“Bottom line, we’re looking at less than half of the water that’s needed,” said TID Manager Brad Kirby, who calculated the current estimate of Project Supply.
It is possible the Project Supply number would go up slightly based on May 1 Basin water conditions, but it will not go down. KWUA’s calculations are based on the NRCS forecast and a draft Interim Operations Plan released by the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) for environmental review on April 1 for a 10-day public comment period. Reclamation will announce final Project Supply allocation after reviews are complete, most likely on April 17.
The east side of the Klamath Project, consisting of 30,000 acres in Langell Valley and Horsefly Irrigation Districts, relies exclusively on the Lost River system, including Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoirs. The east side should have a full supply available this year.
While the Project Supply estimate is discouraging, local water users are taking proactive steps to develop demand management actions that will partially compensate for this year’s lower supply.
KWUA President Tricia Hill said that Klamath Project districts, KWUA, and the DRA are coordinating with Reclamation on the best potential management of the limited supply on an ongoing basis. “KWUA and others are working very hard to make a bad situation as tolerable as it can be,” according to Hill. “We don’t like what we are facing one bit, and it can be better in the future, but we have to work with what we have this year.”
The DRA’s website is at www.klamathwaterbank.com. It is currently conducting its meetings electronically and attendance by the public is encouraged.
NRCS Programs can be accessed through the NRCS Conservation Client Gateway at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/cgate/. Agency contacts for Klamath County include Allen Moody (email@example.com or 541-887-3508) and Alex Gajdosik (firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-887-3507). In California, the contact for Modoc and Siskiyou Counties is Allison West (email@example.com or 530-667-4727).
AROUND THE STATE OF OREGON
The Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington sold a total of 48.8 million board feet of timber at auctions last month. The timber, located on Oregon and California Railroad Revested (O&C) Lands across western Oregon, sold for nearly $13.8 million.
“Timber sales continue to support Oregon’s economy and well-paying jobs in local communities,” said BLM Oregon/Washington Acting State Director Jose Linares. “These sales are also an important tool to accomplish our forest management objectives.”
For every million board feet of timber harvested on BLM-administered lands in western Oregon, an estimated 13 local jobs are created or maintained and $647,000 of non-Federal employment income is invested into local economies. One million board feet of timber is enough to build approximately 63 family homes.
The BLM’s forest management objectives include producing a sustained yield of timber, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, restoring dry forest ecosystems, reducing wildfire hazard, maintaining road networks, and protecting water quality.
PacificSource announces that it will waive all out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, diagnosis and treatment for its fully insured commercial, Medicare Advantage, and health savings accounts (HSA) members.
This waiver will apply to those members who have received or will receive care between Jan. 31 through June 30, 2020, regardless of place of care. The organization’s self-funded businesses will have the option to adopt these provisions.
“This expansion of our coronavirus coverage is critically important to our member’s health and well-being,” said Ken Provencher, president and CEO of PacificSource. “We hope this helps provide an easier pathway for everyone in the communities we serve to get the care they need during this unprecedented time.”
To support staying at home measures to limit COVID-19 exposure, PacificSource is encouraging members to use telehealth phone or video services as their first option for care. This includes routine visits for primary care or specialty care as well as behavioral health.
PacificSource is an independent, not-for-profit community health plan serving the Northwest. Founded in 1933, PacificSource has local offices in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington.
The Oregon Department of Revenue is warning taxpayers of calls and email phishing attempts related to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic and federal government relief payments. These scams can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.
Taxpayers should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites, and social media attempts that request money or personal information.
“Oregon taxpayers should take extra precaution to guard their personal information from these unscrupulous scam attempts,” said Oregon Department of Revenue Director Nia Ray. “Most people who qualify to receive a stimulus check do not need to sign up, apply, or verify any personal information, online or else where.”
The Oregon Department of Revenue and the IRS remind taxpayers that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Taxpayers should look out for phishing emails asking them to verify their personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking taxpayers’ private information in order to send them money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:
- Charitable contributions.
- General financial relief.
- Airline carrier refunds.
- Fake cures and vaccines.
- Fake testing kits.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. People should be alert to scammers posing as the IRS to steal personal information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
…Reporting coronavirus-related or other phishing attempts
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. The page is updated quickly when new information is available.
For more information on taxpayers protecting themselves, or what to do if they’re a victim of identity theft, taxpayers can visit:
You can visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments. You can call 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 (toll-free) or email email@example.com for additional assistance. For TTY for hearing- or speech-impaired, call 800-886-7204.
The Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland has redesignated to the 142nd Wing effective March 6th. Colonel Adam Sitler, 142nd Wing Commander, said the redesignation highlights the prestige of becoming a Wing.
The Wing redesignation is an important step to recognize the diverse mission sets within the 142nd Wing. The governing Air Force Instruction specifies that the nomenclature of a Wing reflect what it is designed to do. In their case, they are fortunate to have a Special Warfare Mission, and a Fighter Aircraft Mission.
When a Wing has multiple mission areas, the proper designation is “Wing” which reflects both the Special Operations, and the Fighter mission. Sitler went on to clarify that the name change does not change the unit’s mission. He said we are still fully committed to flying fighters, and we’ll continue to excel in that mission area. We are fortunate to have one of the two Air National Guard Special Tactics Squadrons. The 125th Special Tactics Squadron will continue to thrive, now, and into the future.
April is National Safe Digging Month. Call 8-1-1 before you dig to find any underground utilities that could endanger you
Homebound residents may be tempted to get their exercise with yard work and long put-off projects. Pacific Power urges customers to call 8-1-1 two days before doing any digging in their yards, even for something as simple as planting a tree.
Even during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the nationwide 8-1-1 hotline is working. With a simple call, utility location professionals will come and identify any underground utilities that could prove hazardous to your work.
A national survey recently found that 45 percent of residents planning a digging project fail to call 8-1-1. That means thousands will put themselves and their communities at risk by not calling 8-1-1 a few days beforehand to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.
The national public opinion survey of homeowners conducted in March by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the people who dig near them, also revealed the most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners who plan to dig include:
- Planting a tree or shrub (47 percent)
- Building a patio or deck (24 percent)
- Building a fence (21 percent)
- Installing a mailbox (8 percent)
Pacific Power and its sister utility in the mountain states have approximately 20,000 miles of underground cable in the West. There are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States. These buried facilities, including gas, water, sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet, landline telephone, provide the services Americans depend on for their basic everyday needs. But if you don’t know where they are buried before you dig, you are in danger. Even if you are lucky enough to not be harmed, you could be responsible for causing a service outage in your neighborhood—and potentially be responsible for the substantial repair costs.
If you are planning a job that requires digging, even if hiring a professional, a call to 8-1-1 is required before work begins. The 8-1-1 service is free and couldn’t be easier. It’s a Federal Communications Commission-designated national one-call number that connects a caller from anywhere in the country to the appropriate local one-call center. The one-call center then alerts local underground facility owners so they can mark the approximate location of their lines with paint or flags.
To learn more about electrical safety or to order free electrical safety materials, call Pacific Power’s public safety department at 800-375-7085 or visit pacificpower.net/safety.
…For complete details on these and other stories see today’s Herald & News. Wynne Broadcasting and the Herald and News…stronger together to keep you informed.
More Local Klamath Basin News Here.