Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 2/23 – Seniors 70 and Older Now Available For the Covid Vaccine; Oregon Tech Resumes Negotiations with Faculty and Staff

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Tuesday, February 22, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 49. Overnight clear and a low of 22.

Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 43. Clear skies overnight with a low of 20.

Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 48.

Friday A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.

See Road Camera Views

Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly       
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.            
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County Public Health officials reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The local case count is 2,762. This week’s total is nine. There are no new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, keeping the state’s death toll at 2,155.  Oregon Health Authority reported 324 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 153,134.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (8), Clackamas (25), Columbia (3), Coos (18), Curry (10), Deschutes (11), Douglas (14), Harney (2), Hood River (1), Jackson (43), Jefferson (4), Lane (12), Linn (2), Marion (26), Morrow (1), Multnomah (83), Polk (12), Tillamook (1), Union (1), Washington (32) and Yamhill (10). 

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 167, which is one more than yesterday. There are 47 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is three more than yesterday.

Oregon’s plan to make increasingly more seniors eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine throughout February keeps rolling forward, despite an overall supply shortage and shipments delayed by severe weather across the county. This week, seniors 70 and older become eligible, with the full population of people 65 and older set to become eligible on March 1. Throughout last week, winter storms in northwest Oregon and throughout the country delayed shipments of the vaccine.  In Klamath County, some preliminary vaccinations for seniors were made available over the weekend, although there are no doubt many seniors 70 and older in the area who are still seeking their first doses.

Oregon Tech on Thursday resumed mediated negotiation talks for its first union contract agreement, addressing healthcare premiums, workload and compensation. But with no agreement in sight, the university administration said optimism is low for both parties to reach a resolution by March 11. The administration on Thursday provided unionized faculty with a package proposal for healthcare premiums and workloads, according to Ken Fincher, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Ore The Oregon Tech branch of American Association of University Professors executive committee has said they have reached a few resolutions, such as leave of absence, grievances, and arbitration, but the union remains far apart from administration on benefits, compensation and working conditions. That distance was clear on Friday in communications from the two groups about Thursday’s talks. The administration didn’t mince words in a negotiation summary, stating they believed faculty to have been “grossly inaccurate or disingenuous” in explaining Oregon Tech’s most recent proposal on workload to bargaining unit members.

A 32 year old man is behind bars after being charged with rape and several other felonies in Klamath County. David Garcia’s charges besides rape are felony assault and kidnapping charges, menacing, unlawful use of a weapon, felon in possession of a weapon, and several misdeamenor charges. No other information was released by authorities regarding the case.  Garcia was booked just after midnight at the jail Monday morning.

Kroger Co. says personal data, including Social Security numbers of some of its pharmacy and clinic customers, may have been stolen in the hack of a third-party vendor’s file-transfer service. The Cincinnati-based grocery and pharmacy chain, whose subsidiaries include Fred Meyer and QFC in the Pacific Northwest, said in a statement Friday that it believes less than 1% of its customers were affected — specifically some using its Health and Money Services — as well as some current and former employees because a number of personnel records were apparently viewed. It says it is notifying those potentially impacted, offering free credit-monitoring. Kroger said the breach did not affect Kroger stores’ IT systems or grocery store systems or data and there has so far been no indication of fraud involving accessed personal data.

Around the state of Oregon

Adults 70 and older are eligible for vaccination starting today

Starting today, people in Oregon who are 70 years of age or older become eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Adults who are eligible can use the following resources to get linked to vaccine information in their communities. Tools that allow scheduling will be available with new appointment slots at 9 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays: 

  • Get Vaccinated Oregon: Find answers to basic questions to learn if you are eligible and get linked to information about vaccinations in your county. You can also sign up for alerts to get notified about upcoming vaccination events or find out when you may become eligible. Find this tool at covidvaccine.oregon.gov or getvaccinated.oregon.gov.  
  • Vaccine Information chat bot on the covidvaccine.oregon.gov website is available to find out if you’re eligible for a vaccine in Oregon or to get answers to other questions about vaccines. If you live in Clackamas, Columbia, Marion, Multnomah or Washington counties you can schedule vaccine appointments by using the Vaccine Information chat bot. The friendly Vaccine Information chat bot tool is an orange box that appears when you open the covidvaccine.oregon.gov website.  
  • 211: Text ORCOVID to 898211 to get text/SMS updates about vaccination clinics in English or Spanish or email ORCOVID@211info.org. If you can’t get your COVID-19 vaccine question answered on the website, by text or by email, you can call 211 or 1-866-698-6155, open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, including holidays. Please be aware that wait times may be long due to high call volumes.  

Jackson County Public Health reiterated on Monday that there are more seniors who want the vaccine than there will be doses available “in the coming weeks,” so eligibility will not necessarily translate to an available appointment while Klamath County was able to hold some preliminary vaccinations for seniors over the weekend, although there are no doubt many seniors 70 and older in the area who are still seeking their first doses.

Difference between the tools on covidvaccine.oregon.gov

Medford School District Kindergarten and First Grade Students Back to In-Person Learning

The Medford School District welcomed back kindergarten and first grade students to in-person learning this week. Kindergarten and first grade students will be in class full-time on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, they’ll be on Zoom for two hours.

“We just really appreciate our parents exercising some patience with us as we learn all of the new procedures and expectations. We know it’s been a hard, long year for our parents as well, and we just really appreciate them,” said Wilson Elementary School principal Charity MacLeod.

For first grade teacher Erica LeBleu, getting back into a normal routine was long-awaited. “It’s just so nice to have students in the room and not be seeing them on the computer,” LeBleu said.

LeBleu says she tries to make her classroom feel more comfortable for them. “I put up lights so that they can put their work up,” LeBleu said. “I feel like I’ve made more of an effort than ever this year to make sure that the classroom felt more like a home.”

LeBleu says details like this help her students take their minds away from the reality of the situation. “Even though it isn’t the same, it is the same because we’re all together again,” LeBleu said

More than 21,000 customers were still without power in northwest Oregon – 10 days after a series of powerful ice storms. The majority of the outages were in Clackamas County, where more than 10,700 people were still in the dark as of 6 a.m. Monday. Marion County accounted for another 7,900 outages with the rest scattered among Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties. Portland General Electric had said last week that it hoped to have power restored to all but 15,000 customers by Friday night. But officials with the utility said that, as crews have surveyed the damage, the estimates for restoration for lengthened. PGE said that up to a quarter of the customers who lost power have had multiple outages, meaning crews had to return to some areas to complete work twice. In some areas, downed trees have impeded crews’ access to downed lines and substations.

Douglas County Major Crimes Team Investigating Shooting at Roseburg Motel

The Roseburg Police Department has responded to a reported shooting at a motel in the 1000-block of NE Stephens Street in Roseburg.

On February 22, 2021, at approximately 2:57 pm, 9-1-1 dispatchers began receiving multiple reports of a shooting that had taken place at a motel in the 1000-block of NE Stephens Street. Officers with the Roseburg Police Department as well as partner agencies responded to the scene.

Several people have been transported by EMS for treatment. Their names and conditions are being withheld at this time.

Investigators are processing the scene and conducting interviews. There is no longer an on-going threat to the public.

This is still a very active scene and ongoing investigation. Additional details will be released as they become available. Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office

Oregon driver had 0.77% blood alcohol. That’s nine times Oregon’s legal limit.

Oregon DUI suspect had staggering BAC more than 9 times the legal limit

A driver who crashed while fleeing the police in Oregon was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.77%, police said.

The unidentified 28-year-old man was pulled over in a Ford Explorer around 1 p.m. Friday near Madras, in central Oregon. Police had been chasing him after a report that he had driven off after hitting another vehicle at a gas station on the Warm Springs Highway. After about half a mile, he tried to pass another car on the two-lane highway, encountered oncoming traffic, attempted to swerve back into his lane and lost control. He hit a concrete barrier and came to a stop

When Warm Springs officers pulled him over, “they observed the driver to be HIGHLY intoxicated,” said a police statement. He reportedly refused to get out of his vehicle and began driving again, with the officers in pursuit.

The driver was taken to a hospital “for medical evaluation,” police said. Criminal charges are pending.

The blood alcohol level was more than nine times Oregon’s legal limit. A level of 0.5% is considered highly dangerous and potentially lethal, though there are reports of people surviving levels of greater than 1%.

Oregon Fines Community $429K After they Drain Reservoir and Cause Fish to Die

BIRKENFELD, OR — The state of Oregon has fined Fishhawk Lake Reserve and Community northwest of Portland $439,200 for draining a reservoir and allegedly killing more than 30,000 fish.

The homeowners association plans to appeal the fine, The Astorian reported. Fishhawk Lake is a private community around a reservoir formed in the 1960s by an earthen dam. The homeowners association maintains the lake, processes water and treats sewage.

The lake feeds into Fishhawk Creek and the Nehalem River. The homeowners association drained the lake in 2019 to fix a broken drain in the dam.

A state investigation found draining the lake and the turbidity it caused downstream killed 20,539 endangered coho salmon, 4,047 steelhead trout, 5,346 cutthroat trout and 459 trout of undetermined species.

The state also directed the homeowners association to create a water quality management plan and a 10-year schedule for becoming compliant with standards for temperature and dissolved oxygen within the lake and creek.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking a separate claim against the association for the fish kill, but didn’t disclose the amount.

The homeowners association has argued that the state mandated the drain repair and was kept informed through the process. It also denied being responsible for a fish kill.

Fishhawk Lake “implemented specific measures to prevent fish mortality, including following the direction of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct the work during the in-water work window.”

Five Rural Oregon Counties to Vote in May to Become Part of Idaho

Apparently, some Oregonians have decided they won’t want to live in Oregon anymore. But they’re not moving. Instead, residents of five Oregon counties successfully put forth ballot initiatives to add their counties to Idaho.

Move Oregon’s Border, the group behind the map-change that’s promoting what’s come to be called the greater Idaho movement, announced Sunday that the initiative would be on the ballot in May in four counties, Lake, Grant, Malheur and Sherman, with a fifth county, Baker, awaiting signature verification.

The organization continues to collect signatures in seven other counties too, including Curry, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, Harney, Morrow and Umatilla.

Mike McCarter, the president of the group, said, “Oregon is a powder keg because counties that belong in a red state like Idaho are ruled by Portlanders.”

He added, “Rural Oregon is unrepresented in the Democratic caucuses in the Oregon House and Senate. Since state leadership doesn’t consult Republicans, rural interests are completely ignored when it comes time to apportion state spending around the state.”

McCarter explained that this kind of change not only makes sense for rural residents but also for the country, saying it doesn’t affect the U.S. Senate or create a new state.

He said nobody wanted to leave their homes or “change a single thing with Idaho,” but that he and his followers simply no longer wish to live under the Oregon state government.

He said, “We love our communities. We’re tied into them. It’s just the state government that we can’t stand.”

If the counties vote yes, for the changes to be approved, the ballot would have to be approved by the legislatures of both states as well as Congress.

Seismologists say a cluster of small earthquakes off the southern Oregon coast and on Mount Rainier over the weekend were not big enough to trigger a seismic warning system that’s set to debut this spring. Pacific Northwest Seismic Network manager Paul Bodin tells the Seattle Times that none of the quakes were “of particular concern.” Bodin says the earthquakes were not significant enough to trigger the new ShakeAlert system, which is set to launch to the public in Oregon this March and in Washington this May. The largest quake over the weekend was a magnitude 5.1 about 175 miles off the coast of Bandon, Oregon.

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