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, January 21, 2021
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Partly sunny, with a high near 45. Overnight, snow flurries expected 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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Klamath County Public Health officials reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The local case count is 2,485. This week’s total is 56.
Oregon reports 704 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 24 new deaths
There are 24 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,832, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning. The state total of positive cases grows to 135,142.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (3), Benton (21), Clackamas (36), Clatsop (6), Coos (12), Crook (7), Deschutes (38), Douglas (17), Harney (3), Hood River (6), Jackson (38), Jefferson (7), Josephine (15), Klamath (15), Lake (4), Lane (53), Lincoln (4), Linn (26), Malheur (29), Marion (83), Morrow (4), Multnomah (99), Polk (22), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (53), Union (7), Wallowa (1), Wasco (6), Washington (60) and Yamhill (26).
JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — A Josephine County individual has died from complications relating to a COVID-19 infection. A 90-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 Jan. 4 and died Jan. 15 at a long-term care facility. He had underlying conditions. Josephine County now has a total of 35 COVID-19-related deaths. Of those patients, 34 died from complications relating to COVID-19 infections.
Vaccinations in Oregon: Today, OHA reported that 13,694 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 8,570 vaccine doses were administered on Jan. 19 and 5,124 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Jan. 19.
For the seven-day-period of Jan. 12 through Jan. 18, Oregon averaged 12,289 vaccinations per day.
|Date of Administration||Total Doses|
|Tuesday, Jan. 12||12,775|
|Wednesday, Jan. 13||14,533|
|Thursday, Jan. 14||13,836|
|Friday, Jan. 15||14,759|
|Saturday, Jan. 16||15,094|
|Sunday, Jan. 17||9,513|
|Monday, Jan. 18||5,511|
FEMA in cooperation with the state of Oregon, Klamath County, tribes and local communities, has updated flood maps to more accurately represent the risk of flooding in Klamath County.
To help inform the community, FEMA has developed a virtual StoryMap for residents to visit online to learn more about what these flood maps mean. Via the StoryMap, property owners and community residents can learn about the flood mapping process, what the changes mean for them, and information about the National Flood Insurance Program.
Residents can also find direct contact information should they need additional support.
The City of Klamath Falls encourages community members to visit the website, learn more about their flood risk, and ask additional questions via the contact information provided on the website.
Stephani Bastian couldn’t get in touch with her 81-year-old father, Kenneth Plank, who lived alone in the Elk Apartments on Main Street in Klamath Falls.
Although it’s not unusual for him to miss occasional calls from his daughter who now lives in Roseburg, Bastian said she had a feeling that something was wrong.
Mike Smith delivers the Herald and News to subscribers, including to Plank, his downstairs neighbor in the Elk Apartments. He, too, felt like something was wrong on Dec. 23 when he delivered Plank’s paper to his door, like he does every publication day. Smith noticed the Navy veteran had several papers stacked up, so he went to get help.
After alerting the building maintenance manager, the two men discovered Plank had fallen in the bathtub and had been stuck there for several days. Plank couldn’t reach his phone or his emergency alert necklace, and he had become confused and weakened. After his rescuers got him out of the tub and into a chair, Smith and the building manager called 911.
After a short stint at Sky Lakes Medical Center, Plank is now recovering from the fall and the rehab at Marquis Plum Ridge.
Around the state of Oregon
The Oregon Department of Education on Tuesday issued updated guidance for the return of in-person learning, which includes a requirement that schools provide on-site COVID-19 testing.
The guidance is the most recent push for students to return to school. Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown set a Feb. 15 goal for returning more students to the classroom, with a focus on elementary students. Before winter break, less than 10% of Oregon’s estimated 580,000 students were receiving some form of in-person instruction, according to data from the Oregon Department of Education.
At the start of the year, Brown gave local school districts the power to decide when to return students to in-person learning. Updated advisory metrics now allow for in-person classes for elementary students at higher levels of community case rates than previously recommended.
A new requirement is that schools provide on-site COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and staff members and for those who have had a known exposure to a positive case.
Governor Kate Brown and Senator Jeff Merkley released statements on Wednesday after the swearing-in of President Joe Biden as 46th President of the United States — both of them celebrating the change in leadership and alluding to a bill that would overhaul voting in the country.
Sen. Merkley is one sponsor of the For the People Act, which promises to reform the nation’s campaign finance laws, expand vote-by-mail, automatically register eligible citizens, require greater accessibility for disabled and older voters, and ban false information about elections, among a number of other measures.
A similar version of the bill was passed in the House in 2019, but was blocked in the Senate by outgoing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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 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.
Deputies have arrested a suspect in an August murder along Highway 227 near Trail, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. On August 24, deputies responded to a 911 call reporting shots fired on Highway 227 north of Trail, arriving to find a man suffering from gunshot wounds.
The victim, later identified as 25-year-old Steven Sutton, died at the scene. The Sheriff’s Office activated the Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) to investigate the deadly shooting. Jackson County took lead on the case, with detectives from Ashland Police, Medford Police, Central Point Police, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, and the District Attorney’s Office aiding in the investigation.
On January 15, investigators arrested 47-year-old Tommy Ray Ormsby, the victim’s uncle. Ormsby was taken to the Jackson County Jail on charges of Murder in the Second Degree, Manslaughter in the Second Degree, and Criminally Negligent Homicide. His initial bail was set at $1 million.
A former Eugene elementary school teacher on Tuesday pleaded guilty to sex trafficking involving a child.
Federal prosecutors will seek a prison sentence of more than 13 years for William Cantu Hamann, 38, when he’s sentenced in U.S. District Court in Eugene in March. They’ll ask that the sentence run consecutive to a proposed state prison term of one year and eight months, according to global plea negotiations from both federal and state cases, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Hamann is accused of sexual abuse and sodomy in Lane County Circuit Court and has not formally entered any pleas.
A trial is set there for March 10.
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Announces Record Year of Giving
Foundation awards $20.6 million at quarterly meeting, $75.9 million granted in 2020 including $25.3 million to Oregon nonprofits
With the publication of its Fall 2020 Grants Report today, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announced both a record quarter and a record year of giving as the organization celebrated its 45th anniversary serving the Pacific Northwest.
- At the Fall 2020 Grants Meeting, Murdock Trust Trustees approved 70 grants totaling $20.6 million, including 26 grants totaling $7.7 million to nonprofits serving the Oregon region.
- Over the course of 2020, Trustees approved 474 grants for $75.9 million, including 163 totaling $25.3 million to Oregon nonprofits.
- Since opening in 1975, the Murdock Trust has awarded more than 7,300 grants totaling more than $1.1 billion.
“This is a milestone that is inspiring, but also bittersweet, for our organization,” said Steve Moore, executive director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. “We are moved because this is a testament to the hard work of our team and the foresight and wisdom of our benefactor, Jack Murdock. But it is also a somber moment because a significant part of our giving is related to the COVID-19 response and the historic events of 2020 that have been devastating for many.”
In addition to the Trust’s quarterly Strategic Grants program, the nonprofit foundation introduced two emergency support programs by invitation in 2020 focused on the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery from the historic wildfire season.
“There is no question that 2020 was one of the most challenging years for our organization, but in many respects, it was also one of the most rewarding” said Moore. “Like many of our peer foundations, our Trustees recognized that the needs of the communities we serve would be on a scale and pace unlike anything we had seen before. They committed early in 2020 to increase our projected grantmaking and programming budgets and respond in ways that support those on the front lines of need in a timely fashion across the Pacific Northwest.
“Though we are heartbroken by the loss and destruction faced by so many, we are heartened and inspired by the rapid, people-focused pivots and innovations introduced by the nonprofit community to serve those in need. We are grateful to have played a small role in their work and for all the trusted partners and leaders across sectors who have worked to serve the common good.”