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.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Overnight cloudy with a low around 21.
Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 45. Overnight, snow flurries with a low around 27. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Friday Scattered snow showers before 10am. Partly sunny, with a high near 39. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 40.
Sunday A chance of snow showers, mainly after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37.
Monday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 35.
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Oregon reports 637 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 5 new deaths
COVID-19 has claimed five more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,808, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today. Oregon Health Authority reported 637 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 134,468.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (16), Clackamas (63), Clatsop (1), Columbia (5), Coos (3), Crook (2), Deschutes (37), Douglas (5), Hood River (1), Jackson (41), Jefferson (2), Josephine (27), Klamath (25), Lake (3), Lane (71), Lincoln (5), Linn (7), Marion (67), Morrow (2), Multnomah (125), Polk (14), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (13), Union (4), Wasco (4), Washington (76) and Yamhill (12).
Klamath County Public Health officials reported six deaths and 48 new cases of COVID-19. The local case count is 2,470. Local deaths number 44. This week’s total is 41.
Oregon is expecting to receive federal stimulus money this week to help pay for its COVID-19 vaccination program. Congress approved $3 billion for states to use for vaccine activities under the supplemental pandemic stimulus bill that went into law in late December. The state’s share of those funds is $38.1 million, although only a portion of that is expected to be distributed this week.
The money can be used to promote and track as well as to distribute and administer the vaccines. The latter is where Oregon’s vaccination program has bogged down. The state has struggled to vaccinate large numbers of people, although by late last week it was able to hit the 12,000 doses-per-day vaccination target put forth by Gov. Kate Brown.
Klamath County Public Health (KCPH), Sky Lakes Medical Center (SLMC), and other healthcare agencies are working together to complete service to individuals within the Phase 1-A groups for COVID-19 vaccination.
There are about 400,000 people in Phase1-A statewide. KCPH Director Jennifer Little stressed that individuals not in Phase 1-A are requested to wait patiently for their turn. An online tool to determine eligibility is available at https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/.
The Oregon Health Authority has defined Phase 1-A groups as:
- Hospital staff with frontline patient care responsibilities
- Urgent care
- Skilled nursing and memory care facility healthcare personnel and residents
- Tribal health programs
- Emergency medical services (EMS) providers and other first responders
- All health care interpreters and traditional health care workers within any setting within Phase 1-A.
Despite receiving conditional approval from federal regulators early last year, the Jordan Cove LNG project hit another snag on Tuesday stemming from key Oregon environmental permits.
The proposed Jordan Cove LNG project would see a pipeline constructed from the town of Malin in Klamath County to an export terminal in Coos Bay. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its blessing to the Jordan Cove project in March of last year. But multiple state permits have eluded Pembina, the Canadian energy company backing Jordan Cove.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied a water quality certification for the project in 2019. In early 2020, Jordan Cove was forced to withdraw its application for a state removal fill permit. And in July, the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) reversed an earlier approval for dredging around the proposed terminal facility in Coos Bay.
Brent Glidden, an eighth-grade English teacher in the Klamath Falls City School District, loves his job. And in a normal year, he couldn’t imagine doing it anywhere other than Ponderosa Middle School.
But, in a nation and county still hampered by COVID-19, Glidden is among numerous employees who believe city and county school districts should have waited until vaccines were available, or at least until the start of the next semester, before returning to in-person classes.
Klamath Falls City and Klamath County School district boards voted unanimously in a joint, virtual session on Jan. 7 to reopen their schools to hybrid learning, at the recommendation of Klamath County Public Health.
The meeting drew more than 500 people, with the majority of comments in favor of a return to campuses. But many teachers were troubled by the speed of the return and the fact that COVID cases were still growing in the area.
Glidden isn’t the only teacher concerned about the early return to hybrid learning. As the union representative at Ponderosa, Glidden is in regular communication with his colleagues, who bring their concerns to him. Glidden and other teachers are in favor of returning to in-person instruction, but wanted to wait a few weeks, at least. That would have coincided with a start of new semester, would have given the district more time to resolve liability issues, and perhaps teachers would be able to be vaccinated.
Around the state of Oregon
Local, state and federal law enforcement officers in Oregon are preparing for possible Inauguration Day protests and rallies in Portland and Salem.
Portland police have cancelled days off and crowd control teams from multiple agencies will remain on standby in Oregon throughout Inauguration Day to guard against outbreaks of violence, top officials said. Portland police will work with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Portland, while state police are expected to concentrate on the state Capitol in Salem.
Federal Protective Services officers and U.S. Homeland Security agents will work to safeguard federal buildings from the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in downtown Portland to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement field office in South Waterfront. FBI agents will continue to share intelligence with local and state police agencies and help investigate any crimes.
No reports of planned protests have been made public in our immediate region, including Jackson and Klamath Counties.
An 8-year-old boy was critically injured in a skiing accident at Mt. Bachelor over the weekend.
The Bulletin reported Monday that the boy was transported off the mountain by helicopter on Saturday afternoon and then flown to St. Charles Bend Medical Center. An onsite doctor provided immediate care at the resort. The nature of the child’s injuries weren’t immediately available. Skiers and snowboarders reported unusually icy conditions at the ski area on Saturday.
Mt. Bachelor was closed on Sunday. Four people have died on Mt. Bachelor since 2018, including two in one day that year.
A car thief who found a toddler in the backseat of a stolen vehicle drove back and chastised the mother for leaving the child unattended before taking off again, police in Oregon said.
The woman went into a grocery store about 15 feet (5 yards) from the car Saturday, leaving her 4-year-old child inside with the engine running and the vehicle unlocked, said Beaverton police spokesman Officer Matt Henderson. A store employee told authorities the woman was in the market for a few minutes before someone began driving away with the SUV.
Once the thief realized the toddler was in the backseat, he drove back, berated the woman for leaving her child unattended, told the woman to take the child and drove away in the stolen vehicle.
OREGON DROPS 25,500 JOBS IN DECEMBER
Oregon’s unemployment rose to 6.4% in December from 6.0% in November. This was the state’s first monthly increase in its unemployment rate following seven months of declines. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 6.7% in both November and December.
Oregon’s over-the-month percent job loss was much greater than nationally. In December, Oregon lost 1.4% of nonfarm payroll employment while the U.S. shed 0.1%. Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 25,500 jobs in December, following a revised gain of 2,100 jobs in November. The drop followed seven consecutive months of gains. Total nonfarm payroll employment stood at 1,783,300 in December, which was an over-the-year decline from December 2019 of 174,000 jobs, or 8.9%.
“December’s job losses reflect the devastation COVID-19 continues to inflict on the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians. Ten months into the pandemic, Oregon has regained just 37% of the jobs lost in this recession,” said Gail Krumenauer, State Employment Economist with the Oregon Employment Department.
December job losses in Oregon were greatest in leisure and hospitality, which cut 28,600 jobs. Several other industries also cut at least 800 jobs in December, including private educational services (-1,700 jobs), government (-1,300), wholesale trade (-1,100), manufacturing (-900), and construction (-800). In contrast, four major industries each added thousands of jobs: retail trade (+2,200 jobs); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+2,200); health care and social assistance (+2,200); and professional and business services (+2,100).
Within leisure and hospitality, full-service restaurants cut 17,600 jobs in December, which was the largest drop of its component industries. Full-service restaurants, where in-person dining has been severely reduced due to the pandemic, have cut far more jobs than limited-service eating places which shed 2,000 jobs in December.
On the plus side, reflecting the rapid increase in online shopping, the industries that employ the fulfillment center warehouse workers and package delivery drivers boosted December employment in industries within transportation, warehousing, and utilities. In particular, couriers and messengers added 3,600 jobs in December.
To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit unemployment.oregon.gov.
Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.
It’s very exciting to win a big prize playing Oregon Lottery games and it’s a rare occurrence when a player can claim to be a repeat winner.
Thanks to winning a $50,000 prize in the Lottery’s Second Chance Scratch-it drawing, Peter Gilbert can honestly make that claim!
Gilbert is no stranger to winning the Lottery’s Second Chance Scratch-it drawing. “In May 2016, I won $10,000 in the Second Chance drawing,” said Gilbert, of Beaverton. “So, when I told a friend of mine that I’d won $50,000 this time, he decided to start calling me ‘Re-Pete!’”
When Gilbert claimed his latest Lottery prize on Jan. 14, he said hoped for a “three-Pete” by winning Mega Millions or Powerball.
Every Oregon Lottery Scratch-it game offers a second chance drawing for an additional top prize for that game. In Gilbert’s instance, he entered a non-winning “Crossword Inferno” ticket he had bought at the 7-Eleven on Tualatin Valley Highway in Beaverton.
Once sales end for a particular Scratch-it game, that sets the wheels in motion for that game’s second chance drawing to occur.
“Winning this prize is not life-changing,” said Gilbert, “but it is life affirming.”
Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, Outdoor School, state parks, Veteran Services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org .
EUGENE, Ore.—A former Eugene elementary school teacher pleaded guilty today for sexually abusing a minor female, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.
William Hamann, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking of a child.
According to court documents, on several occasions beginning in 2018 and continuing until July 2019, Hamann paid a minor female for oral sex and recorded the minor performing the sex acts. The minor female was 15 years old during the first encounter with Hamman. Eugene Police Department detectives and FBI agents arrested Hamann on July 26, 2019, when he came to meet the minor a fourth time. Agents searched his mobile phone and found a recording of one of the sex acts. Hamman used social media to arrange the meetings with the minor.
On August 21, 2019, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a four-count indictment charging Hamann with sexual exploitation and trafficking of a child, possession of child pornography, and attempted sex trafficking of a child.
Hamann was also charged with multiple counts in Lane County Circuit Court, including sodomy and sex abuse.
Hamann will be sentenced on March 1, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend a sentence of 160 months in federal prison to be served consecutively to a 20-month prison sentence in Lane County.
As part of the plea agreement, Hamann has agreed to pay restitution in full to his victim.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Eugene Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Jeff Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, and Katherine Green, Lane County Deputy District Attorney.
Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. It is important to remember child sexual abuse material depicts actual crimes being committed against children. Not only do these images and videos document victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when shared across the internet, child victims suffer re-victimization each time the image of their abuse is viewed. To learn more, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website at www.missingkids.org.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
The Oregon State Marine Board will hold a work session on January 26 from 1 pm to 5 pm for a staff presentation and discussion around life jackets. The Board will hold its quarterly meeting on January 27, beginning at 8:30 am. Both the work session and Board meeting will be held via Microsoft Teams and live-streamed from the agency’s office, 435 Commercial Street NE, in Salem.
The Board will consider the following agenda items:
- River Ambassador Pilot Program -Clackamas River, Invited Guest Presentation;
- Facilities Grant 1670 -Westport;
- Rulemaking Request for Crescent Lake, Klamath County;
- Consideration for Rulemaking OAR 250-020-0280, 250-020-003, Boat Operations on the Lower Willamette in Multnomah and Clackamas Counties;
- Consideration for Rulemaking OAR 250-020-0073, Boat Operations on Ochoco and Prineville Reservoirs in Crook County;
- NIC Oregon (Digital Government Web Solutions Provider) Transaction Fee.
Written comments will be accepted through January 24, and can be sent via U.S. Mail to Jennifer Cooper, Executive Assistant, 435 Commercial St NE Salem, OR 97301, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting will be live-streamed via the Marine Board’s YouTube Channel. To view the agenda and staff report, visit https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Pages/Board-and-Public-Meetings.aspx.