Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 10/22 – Bill Collier Ice Arena To Open Friday

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The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald & News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today  Frost this morning, sunny and a chilly day with a high of just 54. Low of 29 tonight.

Thursday   Widespread frost before 11am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 54. Low of 29.

Friday   Widespread frost before 9am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 63.  20% chance of rain overnight.

Saturday   A 20 percent chance of rain before noon. Snow level 6700 feet lowering to 5300 feet in the afternoon . Partly sunny, with a high near 58.

Sunday   Sunny, with a high near 49.

Today’s Headlines

Due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Klamath County School District has temporarily discontinued all outside facility use by non-district groups.

Under state guidance, the recent number of cases reported by the county could have sent all KCSD students attending in-person classes back to online learning only. With support of Klamath County Public Health, students already attending in-person were allowed to continue.

The district announced last week that all facility-use agreements would be discontinued as of Sunday, Oct. 18. Groups including community-sponsored youth sports teams have been using district facilities for practices and games. Not all users were following COVID-19 safety rules and the district was not able to ensure that state guidance was being followed.

KCSD expects to reopen its facilities to outside groups as soon as the county’s COVID-19 rate is no longer a threat that could close schools and people using district facilities are respecting efforts to get students back in school by following the safety guidelines, including wearing face coverings and limiting gathering sizes.

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Oregon reports 331 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, two new deaths

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 635, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning.

Oregon Health Authority reported 331 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 40,443.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (1), Clackamas (27), Columbia (2), Coos (4), Crook (2), Deschutes (9), Douglas (7), Harney (2), Hood River (3), Jackson (36), Josephine (1), Lane (40), Linn (6), Malheur (8), Marion (43), Multnomah (56), Polk (2), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (19), Union (2), Wasco (1), Washington (55) and Yamhill (4).

No new cases today in Klamath County. In nearby Jackson County in the Rogue Valley, public health officials reports 36 new covid cases for yesterday, the highest reported number of daily cases since the beginning of the pandemic for the county. One new case of COVID-19 has been identified in Josephine County, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 260.

The Oregon Health Authority has submitted its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan to the federal government.  The plan includes a public review of the process to make sure communities of color that have been disproportionately affected in the past get access to the vaccine.  Priorities will be to have people critical to the pandemic response and those who are at highest risk of the virus vaccinated first.

A Klamath Falls man is in jail on Wednesday after he allegedly led officers on a high-speed pursuit in a stolen car in rural Siskiyou County. Shortly before 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, California Highway Patrol officers patrolling County Road A-12 near Big Springs tried to pull over the driver of a gray Honda Civic. The agency said that the driver was weaving over solid double-yellow lines. Though the driver initially pulled over, CHP said that he then sped away — reaching speeds above 100 miles per-hour. The suspect drove onto Montague Grenada Road, headed north, before turning again onto De Soza Lane. CHP said that he turned onto a private driveway and smashed through a barbed wire fence. Both the driver and a passenger ran from the car and tried to hide from officers in the darkness. CHP called in assistance from Siskiyou County Sheriff’s deputies and a CHP helicopter, the latter using infrared equipment to locate the two suspects. By 3:50 a.m., both people were located by the helicopter crew and taken into custody by officers on the ground. The driver was identified as 29-year-old Kyle Mahan and the passenger as 26-year-old Alisha Maheu-Cassell, both of Klamath Falls.

The application deadline for the Emergency Business/Nonprofit Assistance Grant has been extended to October 30, 2020.

The City of Klamath Falls has created the Emergency Business Assistance Grant and the Emergency NonProfit Assistance Grant for up to $1,000 to aid in recovery from financial impact as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and COVID-related rules. The Grant Program is intended to provide short-term funds to businesses and non-profits who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds must be utilized for items such as rent/mortgage payment, utilities, or compliance with COVID-19 regulations and for up to the maximum of $1,000 per business or non-profit. In order to be eligible, a business/non-profit must meet the following criteria:
• The business/non-profit must be able to demonstrate how they were adversely impacted due to COVID-19 and COVID-related rules.
• The business/non-profit must have a current City Business License
• A request must demonstrate that the funds will be used for rent/mortgage payment, utilities or compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
• It must be expected that the business will reopen, if not already open and the request must demonstrate that the funds will be used to help ensure a successful reopening and continued operation.
• Seasonal businesses will have a secondary priority.
• The business must have less than 25 employees and have a physical presence in City limits.
• The City reserves the right to alter or cancel the program as information is obtained through the application process.
For more information, please call Klamath Falls City Hall at (541) 883-5316.

The Bill Collier Ice Arena will officially open its 19th season of on-ice activities with an open skate session from 7-9 p.m. on Friday.

A similar open skate session is also scheduled for Saturday evening. Klamath Ice Sports will follow all State of Oregon Phase II guidelines for outdoor gatherings, including mask-wearing, social distancing requirements and attendance limitations. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, ticketing for all events and programs must be done online. There will be no “in-person” ticketing or program registration available at the ice arena. Also, until further notice, no concessions will be sold at the arena.

The admission price for skaters ages 6 to 17 is $7 while the admission price for adults is $8. Skate rental is $4. Skaters five and under are admitted free. Attendance at open skate sessions is limited to 75 skaters and all skaters as well as other guests will be pre-screened upon arrival.

Tribal members, fishermen and environmental justice organizations will be holding a day of action for dam removal on the Klamath River this Friday, demanding that Warren Buffet, billionaire owner of PacifiCorp and its parent company Berkshire Hathaway, allow the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement to move forward.

The dam removal effort has been in limbo since July, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said PacifiCorp must remain a co-licensee for four Klamath River dams along with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, which will carry out the actual removal. The KHSA had outlined a full transfer of the license from PacifiCorp to KRRC, causing the utility to reopen negotiations with the agreement’s other signatories.

PacifiCorp has expressed concern that moving forward as a co-licensee would make them liable for additional costs associated with the dam removal beyond the $200 million they have already raised through ratepayer surcharges in Oregon and California, though they have not specified publicly which aspects of the project raise those concerns. California’s legislature has set aside an additional $250 million in bonds for the project.

A Malin man died Oct. 17 after crashing his stunt motorcycle in Douglas County. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday a group of pro riders were filming a Monster Energy freestyle motorcycle video at a residence in the 2700 block of Elkhead Road in the Yoncalla area.

The report said  23-year-old Dustin Riddle attempted a jump that he had not done before. Riddle came up short and bailed off the bike, landing on his feet before striking his head on the ground. He died at the scene, according to police. According to his obituary, Riddle attended Malin Elementary and Lost River High School. He had a passion for motorcycles and had dreams of becoming a professional motocross racer.

Join the Countdown to Crunch

Community encouraged to join event Oct. 26 and Oct. 28, highlighting local food

Do you need an excuse to eat leafy vegetables? A community-wide celebration next week highlighting locally grown greens may be just the push you need.

Community members are invited to join more than 1,800 Klamath County School District students and staff Oct. 26 and Oct. 28 in the third annual Countdown to Crunch celebrating National Farm to School Month.

In past years, students have crunched Oregon-grown apples together. This year, the crunch features Klamath-grown salad greens. Students will be crunching – and munching – greens grown by Katie Swanson, owner of Sweet Union Farm in Klamath Falls. You can buy Oregon-grown greens to crunch from a grocery store, Saturday’s downtown Farmers Market or online at www.kfom.org.

Students from eight schools will be crunching in their classrooms or cafeterias at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26 and Wednesday, Oct. 28. Other students and community members can join the Countdown to Crunch either day through online crunching parties. Blue Zones Project, KCSD, KFOM and OSU Extension are hosting a community crunch on Zoom. Click on the link to register for the Zoom Crunch: www.healthyklamath.org/crunchatonce. That Zoom Crunch will be broadcast on Facebook Live. Community members and organizations also are encouraged to host their own Facebook Live or Zoom crunching parties.

“When you collaboratively do something, it has a bigger impact,” said Patty Case, educator for OSU Klamath Extension Family and Community Health and coordinator for the event. “We need to value our local food production and we have to do that in a collective way. It takes a community to feed a community.”

OSU Extension will provide schools with information on greens. Access educational materials on leafy greens at www.foodhero.org. To view a fun video about the event: https://youtu.be/Yf2wfO0dtSk. Merrill, Malin, Henley, Shasta, Stearns and Bonanza elementaries and Lost River and Bonanza junior/senior high schools are participating in the Countdown to Crunch this year.

“We’re featuring a hyper-local farm and grower this year because COVID-19 has made us all acutely aware of how unstable our food system can be in a crisis,” Case said. “We want to acknowledge and encourage local growers to join the effort to feed our youth.

“On average, a food travels about 1,500 miles to get to our community. The greens students will be eating come from Sweet Union Farm only a few miles away. If we can create excitement and help students understand where their food comes from, we all win — the schools, the growers and the local economy.”

Greens such as spinach, microgreens, lettuce, chard and kale tolerate the cold and can be grown eight or more months out of the year in the Klamath Basin. They are versatile and can be eaten cooked or raw, in salad, sandwiches and soups. In addition, they’re packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K and folate to boost the immune system, according to experts at OSU Klamath Extension.

Around the state of Oregon

Lithia Motors Inc. (LAD) on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings of $158.8 million. The Medford, Oregon-based company said it had net income of $6.86 per share. Earnings, adjusted for costs related to mergers and acquisitions and non-recurring costs, came to $6.89 per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $6.21 per share.

The auto dealership chain posted revenue of $3.62 billion in the period, also surpassing Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $3.57 billion.

As the next step in Oregon’s wildfire rebuilding and recovery,  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been asked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) and the State of Oregon to collect household hazardous materials from burned properties to protect residents and to ensure these materials are disposed of properly and safely.

To accomplish this task and aid Oregon’s recovery, EPA is now assembling teams and setting up a temporary equipment staging area to help residents in Marion County and surrounding counties recover from the fire and begin rebuilding their lives. This Response Staging Area will be similar to the one recently established in Central Point, Oregon, as part of EPA’s operations in Jackson County.

The Response Staging Area will occupy 5.4 acres of a parking areawithin the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center, located at 2330 17th Street NE, in Salem.  Additional, satellite “Transfer Station” areas are being planned for other areas as cleanup operations expand and accelerate.

The staging area is expected to be operational by October 26, 2020. EPA is deeply grateful for the State Fair, State of Oregon and City of Salem’s assistance and flexibility, allowing EPA’s Response Staging Area to temporarily share the fairgrounds property and assist the community in recovery.

EPA and their contractors will operate the facility, which will be secured 24 hours a day, where response workers will evaluate, organize and consolidate materials that EPA field teams will be recovering from burned properties in the area. It will also serve as the main assembly, assignment and dispatch point for agency responders and contractors each morning as they head to area worksites.

To protect workers and neighbors, air monitors will be used around the work site to be sure asbestos fibers and other harmful chemicals are not released to the air. In addition, locals may see the workers in HAZMAT suits to protect them from prolonged exposure to potentially harmful materials. EPA response officials ask everyone except authorized personnel to avoid the area due to the expected volume of vehicle traffic and construction activity over the next few months.

Fire-affected Oregon property owners now have a dedicated phone number – 541-225-5549 – to ask questions about EPA’s work at their property or to provide additional details about their property that will help speed the EPA removal work. The hotline offers service in both English and Spanish. Property owners now have another tool, the EPA Fire Recovery Story Map to view work progress in the area and get the latest information available about their property.

EPA and state officials want to stress that Response Staging Areas are NOT Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) drop-off centers for the community. Only authorized personnel will be allowed access to the site. Residents should contact their city or county recycling coordinators or public works departments to learn more about HHW collection services in their area.

Once the materials and containers arrive on site in sealed plastic containers and packaging, they will be inspected, organized and secured for shipment. They will be removed promptly by truck to be safely disposed of at a licensed & permitted disposal facility. Materials handled at the site may include:

  • BBQ & outdoor stove propane tanks
  • Cylinders, contents unknown, that can be transported safely
  • Batteries, ballasts, full and partial containers of household chemicals
  • Pool chemicals and household cleaners, polishes, varnish solvents and degreasers

The Response Staging Area is expected to operate between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, seven days a week, for approximately two months. EPA expects moderate levels of vehicle activity during operating hours, there will be bright lights illuminating the area for safety and unfortunately some unavoidable noise. Response officials are thanking local residents in advance for their patience and understanding during the construction, operation and dismantling of the facility when EPA’s work in the area is complete.

EPA’s Response Staging Area is part of federal, state and local actions responding to the recent tragic wildfires, aimed at helping Oregon residents recover and rebuild their lives.  For more information about the Wildfire Response please visit:  Wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup

Deputies are asking for help finding a missing southern Oregon teen who may be on her way to Texas.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said 15-year-old Athena Calvin was last seen Oct. 14 when she left a home on Alexander Lane in Glide. Deputies think she could possibly be trying to travel to Texas. Athena, a Glide resident, is described as being 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds with light brown and blond hair. She was last known to be wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, jeans and white shoes. Deputies ask anyone who has information about her location to call 541-440-4471. 

For the week of Monday, Oct.12 through Sunday, Oct.18, OHA recorded 2,327 new daily cases, a 4% decline from the previous week’s pandemic high of 2,418.

The number of newly tested Oregonians rose to 28,960, as did those who tested positively, to 6.5%.

Twenty-seven COVID-19 associated deaths were reported during the week—compared to 25 during the previous week. And people hospitalized with the virus remained the same at 143.

The age group with the highest incidence of reported infection has been in persons aged 20 to 49. They represent 39% of Oregon’s population and they account for 56% of COVID-19 cases.

Hospitalization and death rates increase with age, with persons 80 or older accounting for 51% of COVID-19 associated deaths.


PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Portland, Oregon man has been charged with Civil Disorder and Theft of Government Property during protest activities in Portland.

            Jeffrey Richard Singer, 33, is charged in an two-count indictment with Civil Disorder in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 231(a)(3) and, in a separate incident, Theft of Government Property in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 641.

            According to the court record, on the evening of October 4, 2020, Singer was one of a number of individuals protesting near the Portland City Hall in Downtown Portland.  Singer charged at two officers with his shoulder lowered.  He slammed into the officers, causing one of them to stagger backwards from the force of the impact and injuring that officer’s hands.  After colliding with the officers, Singer was arrested.  

In a separate incident on September 19, 2020, a group of individuals were protesting near the Gus Solomon Courthouse in downtown Portland. Singer is alleged to have stolen the U.S. flag from the Court’s flagpole.

Singer made his initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You. He was arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and ordered released pending a two-day jury trial scheduled to begin on December 22, 2020.  While on release, he must abide by strict conditions, including a curfew from 8:30 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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