Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 1/12 – Sky Lakes Medical Center Looking For Help with Vaccine Program; Latest Paycheck Protection Program Rolls Out

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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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Rain at times today, with a high around 45 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 70%. More showers expected overnight.

Wednesday Rain, mainly before 11am. Snow level 8100 feet lowering to 6500 feet in the afternoon . High near 48.

Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 47.

Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 48.

Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 46.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon Health Authority also reported 939 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 126,607.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (13), Clackamas (87), Clatsop (1), Columbia (14), Coos (15), Crook (1), Deschutes (38), Douglas (16), Hood River (3), Jackson (40), Jefferson (5), Josephine (38), Lane (61), Lincoln (8), Linn (13), Malheur (2), Marion (110), Morrow (8), Multnomah (16), Polk (40), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (63), Union (5), Wasco (7), Washington (314) and Yamhill (18) 

On Monday, 7,585 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 5,422 vaccine doses were administered on Jan. 10 and 2,163 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Jan.10.

Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 104,595 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations occurred at Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service agencies, urgent care facilities and local public health authorities.

To date, 270,800 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 409, which is six more than Sunday. There are 84 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which represents no change from the day prior. The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay.

Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

Sky Lakes Medical Center is immediately staffing temporary positions to assist with the rollout and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.

If you or someone you know would be able to assist with taking calls, scheduling vaccines, check-in/check-out, wayfinding, etc, please apply for the Vaccine Administration Site Support position.

Also from Sky Lakes,  Robert Clark has received the Daisy award. Robert is a nurse in the Emergency Department. Robert is recognized for his compassion, “kindness, caring, and calmness.”

The DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary compassionate and skillful care given by nurses every day.

On Monday, Oregon Senate Republicans announced their leadership team as the caucus began in the 2021 legislative session.

Among those who received leadership posts was State Sen. Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls), who was named minority whip.

Whips are assistants to the floor leaders, and are  often responsible for mobilizing votes within their parties on major issues. In addition to Linthicum, the other posts went to: deputy leader Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) and assistant leader Sen. Lynn Findley (R-Vale).

Representative Lily Morgan Begins Legislative Career

Former Josephine County Commissioner Sworn In For First Oregon House Term

Salem, OR – In a ceremony administered by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, Martha L. Walters, Representative Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass) was officially sworn in as the state legislator for House District 3.

“I am honored to represent my community in the Capitol and I am ready to get to work on bringing commonsense solutions to the legislature,” said Rep. Morgan. “I will be a strong advocate for our southern Oregon values and way of life.”

As a member of the 81st Assembly of the Oregon Legislature, Rep. Morgan will serve on the following committees:

• Housing, Vice Chair

• Wildfire Recovery

• Behavioral Health

• Judiciary

• Subcommittee on Civil Law

Rep. Morgan brings a lifetime of community service to the Capitol including time spent as a 911 dispatcher, a reserve deputy and then parole/probation officer, a half-decade on the Grants Pass City Council and four years on the Josephine County Board of Commissioners.

Additionally, Rep. Morgan makes history today as the first female elected to House District 3 in the Oregon State Legislature. She has good company in the House Republican Caucus which had a total of nine women sworn in today, the largest number in recent years.

Rep. Morgan is a sixth generation Oregonian who resides in Grants Pass. House District 3 covers most of Josephine County and includes the Grants Pass and Illinois Valley communities. Rep. Morgan’s legislative office will be staffed by Vicki Olson and Natalie Offenbecher.

A Chiloquin man was arrested Friday afternoon after the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office said he was interfering with efforts to put out a structure fire at the 37000 block of Park View Drive near Chiloquin.

Tazwell Sky-Kugar Garcia, 22, had a knife and was threatening Chiloquin Fire and Rescue firefighters, who were able to disarm Garcia by using a fire hose before Klamath County deputies arrived.

Fire and EMS responders treated Garcia at the scene for superficial, self-inflicted wounds.

Garcia is being held in the Klamath County Jail on charges of first-degree arson, menacing, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, interference with a firefighter and parole violation.

Kindergarteners at Henley Elementary School may soon be riding bikes in their P.E. classes. All Kids Bike is a national program on a mission to teach every child in America how to ride a bike.

They are currently working to equip Henley Elementary School with the complete Kindergarten P.E. program. The program equips schools with everything they need to teach children how to ride; teacher training and certification, a structured 8-lesson curriculum, a fleet of Strider 14x Bikes, Pedal Conversion Kits, fully adjustable helmets, and a five-year support plan.

Launched in March 2018, there are already 248 schools in 37 states with All Kids Bike Kindergarten P.E. programs. If funded, Henley Elementary School would join four other schools in Oregon running the program. Shasta Elementary School is also hoping to implement the program. The Kindergarten P.E. Program is designed for children of all abilities and hopes to instill healthy habits at a young age.

Around the state of Oregon

For millions of small businesses still struggling to make ends meet, today’s the first day to apply for a new, potentially forgivable federal loan. The Paycheck Protection Program is re-opening Monday, but initially it will only be available to businesses applying at community financial institutions.

Those are banks and lenders that provide funding for small businesses in underserved communities, many of which had a hard time securing loans during the previous rounds of PPP lending or didn’t apply. The US Treasury and the Small Business Administration said they will open the program to all small businesses soon. While there is no exact date yet, the Consumer Bankers Association said it expects it to happen sometime during the week of January 18.

The latest Covid relief package signed into law at the end of December included $284 billion for additional lending to eligible businesses, including those that already received a loan months ago.

Late Sunday evening, Governor Kate Brown issued an order that on January 13, all flags at Oregon public institutions will be flown at half-staff until sunset.

The order was made to honor two fallen police officers who were killed during the Capitol Hill riots. “Violence answers nothing, solves nothing, and offers nothing,” said Gov. Brown. “Last week, we saw attacks on our democracy, the Constitution, and the American people. This is not who we are. Dan and I send our condolences to the families of Officer Sicknick and Officer Liebengood as they mourn and grieve. We remember their dedication and determination, their service, and sacrifice.”

President Trump also has ordered that all flags at the White House, all public buildings and grounds, all military posts and naval stations, be half-staff as well.  Five people have been confirmed dead so far from those riots in Washington D.C. this past Wednesday, as well as 83 arrests so far. 

 In the Rogue Valley, a joint statement from racial justice group Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity (SOEquity) and a local law firm on Monday promised civil action related to the November killing of 19-year-old Aidan Ellison, including several lawsuits.

SOEquity and the Law Office of Justice Rosas announced that they would hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Ashland’s Railroad Park, alongside Ellison’s mother, Andrea Wofford. Ellison, a young Black man, was gunned down in the parking lot of Ashland’s Stratford Inn on November 23. Police arrested 47-year-old Robert Keegan, a white man, who allegedly shot Ellison after the two argued over the volume of the younger man’s music. The shooting sparked renewed discourse over the legacy of racism in southern Oregon.

The Ashland Police Department requested FBI assistance to evaluate the case for potential bias crime charges, but the agency has maintained that any evidence of racial motivation for Ellison’s killing has not been substantiated.

(Salem) – Oregon OSHA has fined a Salem fitness center $126,749 for willfully continuing to potentially expose employees to the infectious coronavirus disease despite a public health order to limit the capacity to zero for such establishments in “extreme risk” counties.

The fine – the result of an inspection launched in response to multiple complaints – was issued against Capitol Racquet Sports Inc. for willfully refusing to comply at its Courthouse Club facility on Commercial Street Southeast.

“We understand that this employer is attempting to do a number of things to keep employees safe without shutting down, but that does not allow them to substitute their judgment for that of the public health authorities,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood

It is the largest penalty issued to an employer by Oregon OSHA for a violation related to COVID-19. The division cited the violation as “willful” and, at the discretion of the administrator, imposed the maximum penalty allowed.

“It is our expectation that employers follow well-founded health regulations that are directly intended to protect workers from a genuine hazard,” Wood said. “And while we have been able to use engagement and education to resolve most COVID-19 complaints involving employers, we will also continue to bring our enforcement tools to bear as needed.”

The citation is, to date, the fifth one issued against the company for willfully disregarding health protections against COVID-19. In November 2020, Oregon OSHA issued citations against each of the company’s four operating fitness facilities after conducting complaint-based inspections.

Those inspections found the company operating the facilities in defiance of public health measures included in Gov. Kate Brown’s Nov. 17 executive order. That order implemented a temporary two-week freeze to stop the rapid spread of the virus. Capitol Racquet Sports continued operating after the order was effective. It did so after Oregon OSHA’s initial inquiries. And it did so after the division’s posting of Red Warning Notices at the four fitness-related facilities. The total penalty for all four locations was $90,000 for willful and Red Warning Notice violations.

The citation carrying the $126,749 penalty stems from an inspection opened Dec. 9. at only one of those four fitness establishments inspected in November. The inspection found Capitol Racquet Sports continuing to intentionally disregard public health orders and Oregon OSHA notices to close the facility. The willful lack of compliance continues to potentially expose employees and member clients to COVID-19.

In keeping the facility open to member clients, the company is choosing to disregard limitations imposed by the Oregon Health Authority for such an establishment in a county designated as Extreme Risk. County risk levels are part of the state’s public health framework for reducing transmission of the coronavirus disease. Health and safety measures are assigned for each level.

The current citation against Capitol Racquet Sports was issued under Oregon OSHA’s  temporary rule to address COVID-19 risks in the workplace – specifically, the appendices spelling out industry-specific requirements.

Employers have 30 days to appeal citations. Capitol Racquet Sports appealed the four citations issued in November 2020. In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers and workers a variety of consultation, information, and education resources addressing COVID-19.

The FBI is still warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.

An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to members of the media.

Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by ABC.

Oregon Parks Forever, a statewide nonprofit, today announced the establishment of a Wildfire Tree Replanting Fund.  The goal of the fund is to plant at least One Million trees.  Each dollar donated will plant a tree!

Since the 1990’s, Oregon has seen significant increases in the number of acres burned statewide. 2020 saw the second largest number of acres burned since 1990. During the summer of 2020, more than one million acres of trees on Oregon lands were burned. This was more than twice the average annual amount of damage that Oregon experienced between 2010 and 2019.

This comes at a time when the budgets of public land managers are already stressed due to ongoing funding challenges and the COVID pandemic.

We want to help the public lands get replanted soon, so that in the future our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same green and lush forests and landscape we have been able to enjoy.

Why should we replant after a fire?  Trees provide the very necessities of life.  They clear our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities and feed our souls.  Our forests provide critical wildlife habitat, natural beauty and recreational opportunities.  They sequester carbon and help reduce soil erosion by stabilizing slopes and preventing landslides. 

We all sat in the smoke and wondered…What can I do? How can I help?

Depending on how much money is raised, we will work with the public land managers from the US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Parks & Recreation, and the county parks departments in Clackamas, Marion, Lane and Jackson counties to determine the greatest need and potential impact.

We have set a goal of raising enough funds to plant at least ONE MILLION trees, to ensure that in the future, and for future generations, these burned areas will once again be lush and green!

Each dollar donated will plant one tree!

You can make a donation online at www.orparksforever.org;  send a Text Message on your phone to REPLANT at 41444; mail a check to Oregon Parks Forever, 1501 SW Jefferson Street, Portland, OR 97201; or point your smartphone’s camera at this QR Code:  (see attached)

About Oregon Parks Forever:  Since 1995, Oregon Parks Forever (formerly known as Oregon State Parks Foundation) has been raising funds to help supplement existing funding sources to preserve and protect the experience of using Oregon’s parks.  Oregon Parks Forever is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission includes working with federal, state, local and tribal public land managers to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in all Oregon parks.  As outdoor recreation has exploded in popularity, additional wear and tear, and years of deferred maintenance, have resulted in the costs of running Oregon parks exceeding available funding.

 A man has been arrested and charged for allegedly firing a gun at the federal courthouse in Portland on Friday. Around 7:30 p.m., Cody Melby of Beavercreek allegedly jumped over the fence at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse and fired several rounds at the building with a handgun, according to reports to the media. A security officer saw him on a video system walking inside the fenced-in area in front of the courthouse, according to a federal complaint. Two security officers went outside where Melby told the officers he had a gun and was arrested. Cody Melby faces a federal charge of destroying government property. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Advisory Committee will hold a business meeting from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 26 via web conference. The committee will review data from recent RTP grant cycles and discuss adjustments to RTP project scoring criteria and whether to establish a maximum grant request amount.

View the agenda online: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/GRA/Documents/RTP-Committee-Meeting-1.6.2021.pdf

The meeting is open to the public, but there will not be time for public comments during the meeting. Register online to watch the meeting live at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jb_t-HpLQ4mmgR_cp_sl9w.

RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.

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