Klamath Basin News, Monday, 10/26 – Schools Reopen Outside Facilities to Local Groups Like Pop Warner Football

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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.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 58. Overnight, clear with a low around 32.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 69. Overnight clear with a low around 35.

Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 72.

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 72.

Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 66.

Today’s Headlines

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from yesterday and remains at 653.  Oregon Health Authority reported 366 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, today bringing the state total to 42,101.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (6), Benton (5), Clackamas (17), Clatsop (1), Columbia (3), Coos (2), Crook (4), Deschutes (13), Douglas (4), Jackson (20), Jefferson (1), Josephine (3), Klamath (2), Lake (1), Lane (30), Lincoln (2), Linn (5), Malheur (6), Marion (88), Morrow (2), Multnomah (82), Polk (1), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Washington (57), and Yamhill (3).

Two new cases were reported in Klamath County. Since the pandemic began, Klamath County has confirmed 416 cases and had three deaths connected to Covid.   11716 residents in the county have tested negative.

Twenty new cases were reported in Jackson County overnight. In the Grants Pass area, Four new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Josephine County, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 266.

Late last Thursday, officers from the Klamath Falls Police Department responded to the 1100 Block of Washburn Way on a report of a male subject that had been shot.  

Upon arrival, officers located a 34 year old male victim, with a number of apparent gunshot wounds.  The victim was transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.  

The Klamath Falls Police Falls Police Detective Division is actively investigating the incident.  If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact Detective Jesse Snyder with the Klamath Falls Police Department at 541-883-5336, or the tip line at 541-883-5334. 

Schools reopened their outside facilities for use by community groups on Thursday after Klamath County Pop Warner provided a plan to ensure compliance with state COVID-19 safety guidelines, including wearing masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

Klamath County School District, Klamath Falls City Schools and Hosanna Christian School administrators met with Klamath County Pop Warner leaders on Wednesday, four days after the districts discontinued all outside facility use by community groups. According to the districts, game schedules and gate procedures at Pop Warner games had made it difficult to manage crowd size and enforce mask wearing.

Trick or treaters and shoppers flocked to downtown Klamath Falls on Saturday for Halloween festivities and the last farmer’s market of the year.

This year’s Scarecrow Row events looked a little different to accommodate social distancing guidelines, but children still got decked out in their costumes and filled buckets with candy throughout the downtown corridor. The Klamath Falls Downtown Association was also handing out treat bags at the farmer’s market.

KFDA Director Darin Rutledge said they worked hard to make sure they still had ways for people to celebrate. Rutledge said it was difficult to estimate the kind of turnout to plan for, but he was “pleasantly surprised” by the number of people who came out.

Early mornings in October are chilly, but the parking lot of the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission somehow still felt warm on Thursday as volunteers helped distribute boxes of food throughout Oregon and Northern California.

Forklifts transferred pallets of produce, dairy and meat boxes from vast refrigerated cargo trailers and onto a line of cars and trucks. Mostly wearing bright orange, the volunteers jovially greeted the visitors, making small talk as they filled their vehicles to the brim with fresh, free food. The cars drove off to deliver their bounty across the county and even the state. Ammond Crawford, the Mission’s executive director, said this is the only major distribution point for hundreds of miles.

People have come from as far away as Lakeview, Medford and even Salem to pick up food and distribute it further within their own communities.

Groundbreaking research on industrial hemp and the best ways to grow the crop are underway in Klamath Falls. Workers on Wednesday finished harvesting their crop of industrial hemp for Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center at Rock Creek Ranch, located off Highway 140 West.

The approximately one-acre, two-year operation is part of a multi-state, regional water efficiency trial aimed at identifying the best ways to grow and irrigate industrial hemp. The project has additional sites in Hermiston and Ontario, as well as Fresno and Davis, California. The overall project is mainly funded by about $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is designed to help determine best practices for irrigating the crop. OSU has a long history with hemp research, having been the site of the National Hemp Center from 1880 to 1934, according to GHIC Director Jay Noller.

Hemp was outlawed in the United States in 1936, though Noller, founder of the GHIC, said that some OSU faculty continued to unofficially grow the crop on campus for research purposes until it was removed in 1970.

The Pacific Power Foundation awarded the Assistance League of Klamath Basin a grant in the amount of $2,500 to assist in transforming the lives of children and adults through community programs, according to a news release.

Specifically, “this grant will support Operation School Bell, which is one of the primary philanthropic programs of the Assistance League,” said Linda Johnson, VP Resource Management. “Its purpose is to provide new clothing and shoes for children in need in the Klamath Basin.” Operation School Bell is one of several programs developed by the Assistance League, providing school-age children with winter clothing and supplies through a partnership with Fred Meyer.

The Pacific Power Foundation is part of the PacifiCorp Foundation, one of the largest utility-endowed foundations in the United States. The foundation was created in 1988 by PacifiCorp, an electric utility serving 1.8 million customers in six western states as Pacific Power (Oregon, Washington and California) and Rocky Mountain Power (Utah, Wyoming and Idaho). The foundation’s mission, through charitable investments, is to support the growth and vitality of the communities served by Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net/foundation.

Looking for something spooky to do this week? Come out to the Ragland Ragland Theater, grab a drink, a snack and enjoy the ghostly lineup.  

See the movie the original “Halloween” Oct. 29th @ 7:00pm
The entertaining “Hocus Pocus” Oct. 30th @ 7:00pm
The 45th Anniversary of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” Oct. 31st @ 7:00pm and 10:00pm.


*No props due to Covid-19
Tickets: $10 *Goody bags included!
Call 884-LIVE for tickets today or stop by the Ross RaglandBox Office
Monday thru Friday from 12p-5p.

The Oregon Long-Term Care Ombudsman program currently needs individuals willing to become certified ombudsmen volunteers and protectors of the rights of older adults and people with disabilities in care facilities, according to a news release.

Currently, in Klamath County there is only one certified volunteer. To generate more interest in work as an ombudsman volunteer an interactive live training via Zoom is being planned in November. The Office of the long-term care ombudsman is an independent state agency that was established to represent those who reside in long term care, including nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, adult foster care homes, and memory care settings.

If interested in attending the training, an application process must be completed, which includes submitting an application, participating in an interview, having references checked, and completing a criminal record Check. Volunteers are expected to commit for at least a year after completing the training.

Around the state of Oregon

Friday, the Oregon Health Authority reported its highest daily case count since the beginning of the pandemic with 550 cases overnight.

OHA says: Our thoughts are with all those who are affected by this virus. These numbers are alarming; preliminary data show this increase is due to continued widespread community transmission resulting in small clusters and outbreaks across the state.

Friday’s case count is again a reminder that we cannot let our guards down. Oregon Health Authority published new face covering guidance this week, which requires that people consistently wear face coverings while indoors at their workplace and all other places where they will be in contact with people from outside their household.

OHA has also asked people to rethink Halloween – avoid traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, avoid costume parties with people outside their own households and wear a face covering, because a Halloween mask won’t protect against COVID-19.

“We all need to aggressively adhere to the face covering guidance and always wear a mask,” said Shimi Sharief, MD, OHA senior health advisor. “We know everyone is tired and we all wish this would go away, but the reality is this disease is spreading in Oregon, and it’s on all of us to protect ourselves and each other.”

As always, thank you for all you are doing to help stem the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Each person’s actions really do make a difference.

In Grants Pass on Friday, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) received a 911 call from Home Depot, located at 111 NE Mill Street. It was reported an employee had a firearm pointed at them, while being threatened by a male customer.

The suspect reportedly struck the employee with the pistol. The male suspect fled the location in a vehicle with a license plate and description obtained. The responding GPDPS police units found the vehicle a short distance away and were able to safely take the suspect into custody. He was identified as 28 year-old, Parker Lever with a listed Medford address. A GPDPS Detective responded and assisted with the investigation. After the conclusion of the investigation, Parker Lever was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the charges listed below, with other possible charges being referred to the District Attorney’s Office. 

Charges:

1. Attempted Assault in the Second Degree

2. Menacing – 2 counts

3. Unlawful use of a Weapon – 2 counts

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety would like to ask if anyone has any information related to this case to please contact us at (541) 450-6260. We would also like to thank out citizens for their continued support. 

Winter arrived in the northwest with cold temperatures and even snow in Spokane over the weekend. Roads in the Spokane area were slick and some lost power throughout the city after a record-breaking 7 inches of snow fell in the region. Avista Utilities reported more than 2,100 customers without power about 3 p.m. Friday.  Outages continued through the weekend. The storm marks the second year in a row that Spokane has been hit by a significant October snow storm.

Pacific Power ends Public Safety Power Shutoff watch for Illinois Valley and northern California areas

CAVE JUNCTION, ORE. — After closely monitoring dry, windy weather conditions throughout the day, Pacific Power ended its Public Safety Power Shutoff watch early Sunday evening for high-fire risk areas in the Illinois Valley area of southern Oregon and Happy Camp, Calif. Weather conditions did not necessitate a power shutoff. The weather watch and line patrol was part of a proactive effort to provide situational awareness in the face of potentially hazardous weather conditions.

“Our top priority is the safety of our communities,” said Erik Brookhouse, vice president of system operations. “We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers throughout this effort.”

Public Safety Power Shutoff events are part of the utility’s comprehensive wildfire prevention plan, which includes additional safety inspections, upgrades to the grid system, and weather stations to monitor for hazardous conditions.

Customers in the watch areas have been notified of the watch conclusion. For all non-emergency questions about the Public Safety Power Shutoff watch, customers and the public should call Pacific Power at 1-888-221-7070.

Visit pacificpower.net/psps for additional information on Public Safety Power Shutoffs, wildfire safety and emergency preparedness. 

With the November 3rd Election night just around the corner, Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is pushing to place stringent restrictions on the 56 Portland police officers who remain federally deputized.

Despite the city’s request, the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to end the federal deputation of local officers, who were deputized ahead of a far-right rally in September. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has since barred these officers from making arrests under federal law, but some remain concerned about what could happen on Election Night with the DOJ insisting that local officers patrolling the demonstrations have the ability to bring federal charges against protesters.

On Wednesday this week, Hardesty will introduce a resolution to the City Council that would limit the authority of these officers, who make up most of the bureau’s Rapid Response Team, the unit responsible for responding to protests. If passed, the rule would place new restrictions on who the deputized police can take orders from and communicate with during demonstrations.

“Building on the mayor’s order to take no further action of any kind pursuant to the federal deputation, I am proposing a resolution that creates safeguards to further ensure these deputized officers remain under local control and protect Portlanders from being charged with bogus federal charges,” Hardesty said in a statement.

Ducks scrimmage canceled as some 5 players test positive for Covid-19 over the weekend. 

University of Oregon Athletic Communications announced Saturday evening that five football players have tested positive for COVID-19. These are the first positive tests since the program began daily testing in September. 

Head coach Mario Cristobal told the media that the individuals are asymptomatic, in isolation and working with the local medical staff. 

“The scrimmage was canceled,” Cristobal said. “Tomorrow we are testing the entire team again and following up with PCR tests for the other guys that tested positive.” 

The university has reported the positive cases to health authorities and contact tracing is in progress.    It is unclear as to when the group of players will be back in action and participating in group practices. The program is scheduled to kick-off their season against Stanford on Nov. 7 at Autzen Stadium. 

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation raised concerns that the University of Oregon administration is not doing enough to mitigate COVID-19 spread among staff, criticizing its current safety policies during an Oct. 14 press conference.

A statement read:   “University of Oregon administration has failed to adequately meet the needs of not just graduate student employees, but also faculty and staff in regards to COVID-19 safety,” according to the statement. UO’s policies and practices continued throughout the summer and now into fall term, disproportionately affecting research graduate students and staff.

“We as employees cannot do our due diligence if the university doesn’t put us in a position where we are empowered to take that responsibility,” a spokesperson said over the weekend.

Current university policy instructs employees to tell a supervisor if they test positive for the coronavirus, she said, but its operational plan does not provide additional guidance.

While UO’s testing capabilities have been primarily focused on residence halls and communal living on campus, the university is working on expanding those capabilities for employees. 

With classes moving to a primarily remote structure, many GEs don’t have access to a reliable workspace, which is forcing them to combine their personal and professional lives.  According to the statement, GEs are having to be available beyond their typical working hours and make difficult decisions, such as whether to pay internet bills instead of utility bills. 

As per the current GTFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, the university is obligated to protect GEs from unsafe workplaces by providing a safe and healthy working environment. While UO currently has protocols to fulfill these obligations, GTFF President Rajeev Ravisankar said the follow-through on these protocols is “uneven.”

84% of campus buildings have had their air handling systems adjusted to increase airflow, according to the operational plan. However, 16% of campus buildings “either do not have the capability to increase outside air or have some other system or operational limitation.” To combat this, the university’s plan suggests individuals open a window to improve airflow.

When ventilation may not be sufficient in such buildings, the university will turn to strategies such as physical distancing, face masks and attention to safe behavior, according to Director of Environmental Health and Safety Steve Stuckmeyer.

For the GTFF and other unions on campus, these workplace safety concerns are a product of larger, systemic issues within the university, according to the GTFF’s statement. Both Ravisankar and the statement made by the GTFF pointed to the lack of democracy and shared decision-making at UO. 

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