Klamath Basin News, Monday, 11/2 – Election Day Tomorrow in the Basin; New Education Metrics Could Allow More In-Classroom Study

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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, November 2, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Monday Sunny, with a high near 72. Overnight, clear with a low near 34.

Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 68. South wind 3 to 5 mph.

Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 69.

Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 67.

Friday Cold. A chance of rain or showers at times with a high of 46. Snow level 6000 feet lowering to 4700 feet in the afternoon .

Today’s Headlines

BasinLife.com reminds you to exercise your right to vote, tomorrow on Nov. 3rd.

A contingent of well over 100 vehicles held a Trump rally in downtown Klamath Falls Sunday afternoon.

The “Trump train” was scheduled to drive a short route, however, organizers had to change their plans and increased the route’s length because of the size of the turnout. Vehicles sporting Trump and US flags began lining up at Veteran’s Park mid-morning.  By early afternoon, estimates  from organizers says it was close to 200 total vehicles.

The rally was one of dozens of similar ones held around the country over the weekend.

Superintendent of KCSD, Glen Szymoniak

The Oregon Department of Education has announced new metrics that at this time could allow Klamath County School District to bring more students back for in-person instruction, including students in its larger and suburban schools.

The district is reviewing the new guidance and will provide more information to families early next week, said Glen Szymoniak, superintendent of the Klamath County School District. The district will be operating under current school models until official changes are announced. Changes will not affect KCSD Online students, and district online programs will continue.

The new metrics are effective immediately, but Monday will be the first time districts will be able to do a required two-week review under the new metrics and determine next steps. Cases are counted through Sunday and reported on Mondays. Under the new guidelines, case rates will be evaluated over two weeks instead of week by week.

Beginning today, Nov. 2, all Bonanza Junior/Senior High School students will return to in-person classes four days a week, Monday through Thursday. Friday will remain a day for credit recovery, intervention, and office hours. The school will provide students and families with specific details.​ Bonanza Elementary School, due to staffing and space constraints, will remain in its current A/B cohort hybrid. Bonanza Junior/Senior High is the fourth school in the district to return students four days a week.

Students at Lost River Junior/Senior High, and Merrill and Malin elementaries returned four days a week in early October.

At this time, K-3 students in the district are attending in-person instruction at their school either four days a week or under a hybrid model (two days in school, two days distance learning).

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 691, the Oregon Health Authority reported on Sunday, Nov. 1, according to a news release.

Oregon Health Authority reported 524 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. Sunday bringing the state total to 45,429. Four new cases were reported in Klamath County overnight.  38 new cases were reported in Jackson County.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (35), Clatsop (3), Columbia (5), Coos (6), Curry (2), Deschutes (28), Douglas (8), Grant (2), Hood River (2), Jackson (36), Klamath (4), Lane (35), Lincoln (2), Linn (7), Malheur (8), Marion (132), Morrow (2), Multnomah (116), Polk (5), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Wallowa (1), Wasco (4), Washington (67), Yamhill (7).

KCC, Klamath Community College

A recent study conducted by Emsi, a company specializing in analyzing labor market data, shows that Klamath Community College continues to be an economic driver in Klamath County.  

The economic study reported that in fiscal year 2018-19, KCC contributed $67.8 million in income to Klamath County’s economy, up from $64.3 million in a previous Emsi study published in 2017.  In this study’s time frame, KCC employed nearly 300 full-time and part-time faculty and staff, and payroll amounted to $14.9 million, much of which was spent in the county for groceries, mortgage and rent payments, dining out, and other household expenses. In addition, the College spent $8.5 million on day-to-day expenses related to facilities, supplies, and professional services.

The study concluded that overall, KCC’s impact supported 1,171 jobs in Klamath County. Emsi attributed the sum of KCC’s $67.8 million impact to the college’s operations and construction spending impacts, student spending impact, and alumni impact. According to the study, the total sum was equal to approximately 2.9 percent of the total gross regional product of Klamath County.

This contribution the College provided on its own was larger than the entire finance and insurance industry in the county, the study said.

Love’s Travel Center is coming to Klamath Falls with a multi-million dollar project that will employ 60 people.

The Oklahoma-based company, which operates more than 500 locations in 41 states, is expected to open its new local store in 2021. It will be located along the Highway 97 entrance at Dan O’Brien Way, north of downtown.  These are really worth a stop, loaded with fuel, drinks and foods and trave accessories like no one else. 

According to the Klamath Falls Economic Development Association, construction is expected to begin next spring and finish later in the year. KCEDA noted Love’s estimates the project to be in the $12-$15 million range and will require 60 employees, most of them full-time. The new travel stop will be 12,000 square feet, include seven diesel bays and a Carl’s Jr restaurant. Klamath Falls city manager Nathan Cherpeski said “a lot is beginning to happen in Klamath Falls, and this is just another example to consider when looking at the region’s momentum.”

United Way officials have announced that $150,000, approximately 30% of its $500,000 community campaign goal, has been raised thus far with final results to be announced in January, according to a news release.

Spirit awards will be presented to companies with employee campaigns that achieved a minimum 5% increase in donations this year compared to past years. Qualifying companies so far include Great Basin Insurance, Lithia Dodge, and Lithia Toyota. The United Way of the Klamath Basin is celebrating its 75th annual community campaign this year. Contributions can be sent to United Way of the Klamath Basin, 136 N. Third St., Klamath Falls, OR 97601.

Three Klamath Falls residents became business owners last weekend when they welcomed customers to their bookstore, taphouse and golf course restaurant. Not even a pandemic could stop them.

Anne Marie Kessler opened the doors to Canvasback Books at downtown Klamath Falls last Saturday, where she sells new books in a variety of genres and age ranges.  She is also a local physician.

Krister Balme, owner of The Falls Taphouse, saw his dream realized when he opened his drinking hole on Saturday. He has a background in beer sales and distribution. It was exciting for him to see some of the distributors he’s worked for come to him with brews to include at his new business. The Falls was about two years in the making, from idea to doors opening. Balme had always enjoyed the smaller brew houses he sold to for their “hole-in-the-wall” feel.

Raymond Tatekawa didn’t always see himself becoming a restaurant owner, despite his talent at cooking. During his 25-year career as a firefighter in Washington D.C., he was often the firehouse chef, a job he didn’t take lightly. Tatekawa is a member at the golf club at Harbor Isles and, for a while, was golfing there every day, he said. When he heard the restaurant at the course was coming up for lease, he took a chance and bought in.

The Sleep Inn and Suites Hotel in Chiloquin was closed Friday due to at least one confirmed COVID-19 case and other “high-risk exposures,” according to the Klamath Tribes.

The hotel, located at 34333 Highway 97, Chiloquin, is expected to remain closed until Nov. 20. According to a release from the Klamath Tribes, current and future guests of Sleep Inn are being accommodated in Klamath Falls hotels. During the past several months, the Klamath Tribes have taken extra steps and have closed other facilities temporarily to protect tribal members and the public.

New members in Klamath Tribes Youth Council were announced and sworn into office on Thursday, Oct. 15, according to a Klamath Tribes news release.

The current council consists of Shayla Ochoa, Treasurer; Aiyana Reyes, Co-Chair; Orville Schroeder, Co-Chair; Hannah Schroeder, Secretary; and members-at-large Maggie Hicks, Weeyaya Brown, Mabel Parazoo, and Samantha Fernandez.

Fremont-Winema National Forest Christmas tree permits are on sale

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – The holiday season is right around the corner and the Fremont-Winema National Forest will have Christmas tree permits beginning today, Nov. 2nd, 2020.

Permits cost $5 and are nonrefundable.  A maximum of five permits can be purchased and can be used through December 25.

The permits are available for purchase from several vendors in Lake and Klamath counties, online through www.Recreation.gov, and by mail from all Fremont-Winema National Forest offices.

Each permit is valid to cut one tree and must be secured to the tree in a place visible during transport of the tree from the forest.

Permits purchased in person do not expire, so if weather or other conditions make it impossible to get a tree this year, the permit is still valid for use the next year. For those who plan to purchase and use their Christmas tree permit this year, purchasing the permit online through Recreation.gov is a great option.  Just search for “Fremont-Winema National Forest Christmas Tree Permit”.

The permit cost through Recreation.gov is $5, but it is only valid for the 2020 season.  Up to five permits can be purchased and there is a $2.50 service charge per transaction.  The purchase can be done from a computer or mobile device.  The permit must be printed to be valid and visible on the vehicle dashboard when transporting the tree.

For those who still want to get their permit from their local Forest Service Office, please call or write to the local office at the number or address listed below.  Customers mailing in a request need to include their name, mailing address, phone number, the number of Christmas tree permits being ordered and a check or money order made out to “USDA Forest Service” for the total purchase.

Christmas tree permits from the Fremont-Winema National Forest are valid for use on the Forest in Klamath and Lake Counties.  It is the responsibility of the cutter to ensure they are not getting their tree from private, state or other federal lands.  Christmas trees also cannot be harvested in Congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas, active timber sales, developed recreation sites or tree plantations.

Fourth graders with a valid Every Kid Outdoors (EKO) pass can use their pass to get a free Christmas tree permit on the Fremont-Winema National Forest to enjoy with their family.

The Fremont-Winema National Forest is currently reaching out to schools in Lake and Klamath counties to ensure all fourth-grade students in the area receive an EKO pass and Christmas tree permit.  For more information or for those home schooling, please contact Public Affairs Specialist Shannon Holt at 541-947-6261 or shannon.holt@usda.gov

EKO passes can also be acquired by visiting https://everykidoutdoors.gov and completing the application process.  Recreation.gov has an option for EKO passholders to get their Christmas tree permit online, but there is still the $2.50 service charge for the transaction.  Just search for the national forest where you want to cut your tree, check the box for the EKO pass, enter the EKO voucher or pass number and complete the purchase information. 

Some parking areas on the Forest require a Sno-Park permit issued by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  Permits are sold at all DMV offices and by permit agents at resorts, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets.  Certain Forest roads are designated as snowmobile trails and closed to wheeled vehicle traffic.

Local Forest offices can answer questions regarding Christmas tree cutting, current conditions and roads.

All Forest offices are open for phone calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The offices will be closed Wednesday, November 11 in observance of Veteran’s Day and Thursday, November 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Around the state of Oregon

In what would be a first in the U.S., possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other hard drugs could be decriminalized in Oregon under a ballot measure that voters are deciding on in Tuesday’s election.

Measure 110 is one of the most watched initiatives in Oregon because it would drastically change how the state’s justice system treats people caught with amounts for their personal use. Instead of being arrested, going to trial and facing possible jail time, the users would have the option of paying $100 fines or attending new, free addiction recovery centers. The centers would be funded by tax revenue from retail marijuana sales in the state that was the country’s first to decriminalize marijuana possession.

Last week Oregon health officials delivered a concerning message: If the state remains on the path it is now with increasing daily COVID-19 cases, hospitals in Oregon could reach capacity by mid-December.

Out of Oregon’s 721 listed intensive care unit beds, 24% were available, based on data from the health authority’s website Thursday. Out of the non-ICU adult hospital beds in the state, 14% were available. As of Thursday afternoon there were 156 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals. However there have been days in months past, such as July and August, where the number has surpassed 165. In the month of October, Oregon has surpassed its record of daily cases multiple times. On Friday officials reported a new daily record — 600 COVID-19 cases.

On Saturday, October 31, 2020 at approximately 5:15 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 38 near mile post 34. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a Honda Odyssey, operated by Jose Torres (40) of Van Nuys, CA.  was westbound when it left the roadway, traveled down an embankment, and rolled.

The passenger, Alfredo Valdez-Perez (46) of unknown, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

Torres was transported by air ambulance to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield.

On Saturday, October 31, 2020 at approximately 6:10 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 26 near milepost 31.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a Toyota Tundra, operated by Colin Banwell (54) of Hillsboro, was eastbound when it left the roadway and struck a tree.

Banwell sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.


On Friday, October 30, 2020 at approximately 3:15 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a multiple vehicle crash on Hwy 20 near milepost 20.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Ram 2500 pickup, operated by Daniel Ruiz (27) of Monroe, was eastbound when it crossed into the westbound lanes.  The Ram collided with two vehicles before colliding with a westbound Mazda MZ3 operated by Lexi Brockmann (20) of Lebanon.

Brockmann sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

There were no serious injuries resulting from the first two collisions.

Ruiz was arrested for outstanding warrants in Linn and Benton counties.  He was also charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Manslaughter II.  He was lodged at the Lincoln County Jail.

The investigation into the Thursday, October 29, 2020 Officer Involved Shooting in Salem is continuing.

The name of the deceased is being released – Rodolfo “Rudy” Martinez-Cortez (30) of Salem.

Officer Parsons sustained a grazing gunshot would to the leg and was treated and released.

No more updates are expected before the Marion County District Attorney presents the case to a Grand Jury – which is standard protocol in Marion County.

Original story: On October 29, 2020 at approximately 9:50 a.m., a Salem Police patrol officer was conducting a traffic investigation when the involved vehicle crashed at 17th and Court STS NE. The driver fled from the vehicle on foot. The officer, on foot, pursued the driver into a resident backyard on Court ST NE.

Shortly after confronting the driver in the backyard, shots were fired. The officer was struck in the ankle. The suspect was also struck by gunfire and pronounced deceased at the scene. The officer was treated by medical staff and released. As per Salem Police policy, the involved officer has been placed on administrative leave. In accordance with Senate Bill 111, the Salem Police Department has requested the Oregon State Police be the lead investigative agency for the incident.

U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that an Ontario, Oregon resident, and a Weiser, Idaho resident have been charged with interstate trafficking of methamphetamines and other drugs.

Alma Lorena Pacheco Ortiz, 52, and Victor Gomez Casa 26, have been charged by criminal complaint with possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, and Pacheco was also charged with possession of a firearm by a person unlawfully in the United States.

“Rural communities across Oregon have been ravaged by the effects of methamphetamine addiction” said U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams “We cannot succeed in breaking the cycle of addiction and affliction in these communities when individuals like the defendants, motivated by greed, continue to provide a steady supply of poison. We are proud of the collaborative efforts to disrupt this long term drug trafficking enterprise”

 “Communities are struggling to reduce or eliminate the physical and mental damage caused to individuals and communities by illicit drug addiction,” said Steven Romero, Ontario, Oregon Chief of Police.  “Area law enforcement continue to use a ‘force multiplier’ approach for disrupting or dismantling international, multi-state and local drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.  We’re proud work together with our law enforcement partners to make our communities safer.”

“I applaud the work of Federal, state, and local law enforcement in this effort,” said Malheur County, Oregon Sheriff Brian Wolfe.  “People are being held accountable for serious illegal activity which in turn makes our communities safer.”

“Oregon State Police Troopers work diligently to observe signs of criminal activity during every traffic stop,” said Captain Tim Fox. “As part of this coordinated effort, our OSP Troopers engaged these observation skills which proved fruitful in pulling a significant amount of drugs off the streets.”

Back to BasinLife.com

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