Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 4/14 – Oregon Health Authority Halts Johnson & Johnson Covid Vaccine

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 59.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 63.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 69.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 73.

Today’s Headlines

The Oregon Health Authority is asking all of the state’s vaccine providers to immediately stop administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

This follows an announcement earlier Tuesday morning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The action is being taken as an abundance of caution as they review six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in women ages 18-48 after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, OHA said.

According to information that OHA distributed to healthcare providers, roughly 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered to date. In these six known cases, symptoms began six to 13 days after vaccination.

Oregon reports 567 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 5 new deaths

There are five new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,446. The Oregon Health Authority reported 567 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 171,398.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (17), Clackamas (51), Clatsop (3), Columbia (6), Coos (12), Crook (7), Curry (7), Deschutes (34), Douglas (10), Grant (5), Harney (3), Hood River (8), Jackson (53), Jefferson (1), Josephine (7), Klamath (24), Lake (3), Lane (39), Lincoln (9), Linn (16), Malheur (5), Marion (35), Multnomah (83), Polk (6), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (11), Union (1), Wasco (3), Washington (95) and Yamhill (6).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking into whether a previously unexplored vitamin deficiency could play a role in the decline of sucker species in the Klamath Basin.

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is essential for all vertebrates. It helps enzymes break down sugars, produce energy and create genetic material. In fish, it plays a significant role in early growth and development. Donald Tillitt, an environmental toxicologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who has been studying the role of thiamine in aquatic ecosystems for roughly 30 years, said the vitamin is produced by plants and bacteria at the base of the food web — organisms at higher trophic levels can’t synthesize the molecule themselves. When there’s a lack of the crucial vitamin in an ecosystem, it’s almost always a problem with the food web.

The plan for this year is to collect tissue samples from all sucker life stages to paint a better picture of “normal” thiamine levels in suckers, which will give them something to compare future egg samples to. She emphasized that this research is in its infancy, and no definitive claims can be made about thiamine deficiency in the Klamath Basin at this point.

Seven bridges in the Klamath Falls area will be the focus of a $32 million retrofitting project that will begin this year and continue for the next four years in Klamath Falls.

The work is part of a seismic resiliency plan spearheaded by the state and funded by the federal government.

The bridges are located on U.S. 97, which is a primary north-south highway and “lifeline route” in the event of a major earthquake. That is because due to its inland location it is expected to fare much better than the other primary north-south routes I-5 and U.S. 101 — which will be badly damaged or completely destroyed in the wake of a Cascadia subduction event.

The State of Oregon has identified those structures most vulnerable to a magnitude 8.0 or greater earthquake because that is the magnitude of the impact scientists expect when a Cascadia subduction event next occurs off the Oregon coast.

BNSF Railways will replace a railroad crossing on Adams Point Road, closing the road next week. The closure is expected to last from 5 a.m. on Monday, April 19 until Friday, April 23. Flaggers will be on site and detours will be posted, according to Klamath County Public Works.

Bonanza Memorial Park Cemetery will restore and preserve foundations and headstones of grave sites in the cemetery starting in July, according to a news release.

Work planned includes replacing cracked and crumbling foundations, headstones being reset and sealed, and foundations leveled. The last names on headstones identified as needing repair are Pieterstiner, Lundy, Schmor, McGlellan, Colahan, Noe, Vinson, Woods, Welch, Royce, Huff, Yahr, Bertholf, and Watson. For more information contact the Bonanza Memorial Park Cemetery at 541-545-6752.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon Adds 20,100 Jobs in March

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.0% in March, from 6.1% in February.

For the past three months, Oregon’s unemployment rate has ticked down by a tenth of a point each month. During the past 11 months the pace of recovery in Oregon’s unemployment rate has mirrored the national experience. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% in March, from 6.2% in February.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose 20,100 jobs in March, following a gain of 15,300, as revised, in February. Two-thirds of all the jobs gained in March were in leisure and hospitality (+13,900 jobs). Three other major industries each added more than 1,000 jobs: manufacturing (+2,000 jobs); professional and business services (+1,300); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,100). Construction and private educational services each added 700 jobs. All other major industries performed close to their normal seasonal patterns.

In March, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,840,600, a drop of 132,400 jobs, or 6.7% from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 153,100 jobs, or 54% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Over the past year, the employment gyrations in leisure and hospitality have accounted for a large share of the swings in Oregon’s total employment. This broad industry includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels, golf courses, and fitness centers. It employed a peak of 216,300 jobs in February 2020 which was 11% of total nonfarm payroll employment. Then, within two months, leisure and hospitality cut over half its jobs. Since then, the industry recovered about half the drop, to employ 165,200 jobs by November. Then, hit by renewed COVID restrictions, the industry retrenched to 136,800 jobs in December. Since then, the industry added 25,900 jobs over the past three months and is close to its recent high point from last November, but is still far below its February 2020 peak.

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. —Oregon Employment Department

A bill aimed at banning online sales of vaping products has passed the Oregon House of Representatives.

One of the bill’s chief sponsors is Rep. Pam Marsh of Jackson County. House Bill 2261 would ban all online sales of “inhalant delivery systems,” requiring face-to-face purchases of those products. It specifically appears to target tobacco or nicotine-related products, not marijuana vape devices. Proponents of the bill say that it would make it more difficult for people under the age of 21 to get vaping products. House Democrats said that more than one in four high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, according to data from 2019.

The legislature passed a bill in 2017 banning online sales of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. Democrats said that the new bill will align all vaping products with the 2017 legislation.

A former marketing manager for Beaverton-based Nike is pleading guilty in connection to a scheme to defraud the company to the tune of one-point-four-million dollars.

Forty-nine-year-old Errol Andam pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements. Prosecutors say Andam was in charge of designing pop-up retail shops for Nike when he got a friend to create a company to build the shops. He then secretly controlled the company and personally prepared the invoices it sent to Nike. He’s also accused of diverting sales revenue from the pop-ups into his own wallet.

Oregon 9-1-1 Operators Honored with Proclamation for Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications 9-1-1 Operator

In 2020, 9-1-1 telecommunication professionals in Oregon answered approximately 2-million emergency calls for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services to protect the lives and property of Oregonians. 

Since early in 2020, these essential frontline workers have been busier than ever responding to the pandemic, floods, historic wildfires and most recently a devastating winter storm.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued a state proclamation to acknowledge these devoted professionals across the state who take emergency calls and/or dispatch appropriate police, fire and medical services to emergency locations. Each second week of April, this year April 11-17, public safety organizations in the U.S. and Canada recognize the crucial role of telecommunicators.

“When an emergency occurs, 9-1-1 operators are the unsung heroes who serve as the first point of contact in situations where seconds can save lives,” State 9-1-1 Program Section Manager Frank Kuchta said. “This week provides a chance to show these very important people some well-deserved gratitude.”

9-1-1 operators are a vital element of emergency services systems. The critical functions performed by professional telecommunicators also supports local, tribal, state and federal government agencies in the fields of emergency management, highway safety, search and rescue, and more.

“When we look at the professionalism and selfless service that our 9-1-1 operators exude, it is easy to see why this week worth celebrating,” said Kuchta.

The 9-1-1 program in Oregon was established by the 1981 Oregon Legislature, and is managed by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

You can get this document in other languages, large print, braille or a format you prefer. Contact David Cardona, OEM Language Access Coordinator, at 971-719-1183 or email david.cardona@state.or.us. We accept all relay calls, or you can dial 711. — Oregon Office of Emergency Management

Eugene Winery Will Require Workers Get Vaccinated For COVID-19

King Estate Winery | Bindu Trips

King Estate Winery in Oregon has notified its workers that they must show proof they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine by May 20.

While most Oregon employers have the legal right to insist their employees be vaccinated, very few appear to be planning to do so.  King Estate Winery is among the first that will.

King Estate Winery is on more than a thousand acres outside Eugene.

Chief Operating Officer Brent Stone said it’s like a small city, with about 70 employees and workers working close together on bottling lines. He said concerns about workplace safety and preventing a virus outbreak are behind the vaccine requirement.

“It’s coming from a really good place, in our minds,” Stone said. “It’s really intended to be supportive and not punitive by any means.”

Stone said King Estate has offered on-site vaccination clinics and an additional vacation day as incentive, with paid sick time for vaccine recovery. During the pandemic, weekly food boxes have been available to workers and the winery boosted its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

University of Oregon Law School Associate Professor Liz Tippet said employers can require their workers to get the vaccine, with some exemptions. But she expects most won’t go that far. It’s also in people’s interest to get the vaccine, especially those who interact a lot with others in the workplace, she added.

Several Oregon State Parks Open Thursday With Limited Reservations

Limited reservations for several Oregon state parks open Thursday. 

Limited group camping and day-use area reservations will be available for stays starting May 1.

Group size limits will be temporarily reduced to 25 visitors for each open area, which is compliant with state and federal health guidelines. 

“Summer is quickly approaching and we want to give visitors plenty of time to plan their group events,” said Jason Resch, communications manager for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “Although we can’t open all group areas in all parks and the lower group limits isn’t what we are used to, we ask for your patience as we move forward.”

Hiker and biker camping areas are also opening statewide, which are first-come, first-served. 

Reservation availability will roll out between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Thursday. To book a reservation and view the full list of parks and facilities opening up, visit the Oregon State Parks website

Skeletal Remains Found Near Molalla Identified As East Bay Man Who Was Reported Missing In 1979

Skeletal remains that were located by a timber crew near Molalla earlier this year have been identified, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 8, a Weyerhauser crew was planting trees in a steep ravine off a private logging road when they found the remains, including a partial human skull.

Scraps of clothing were also found in the area. Additional items recovered at the site included a white low-top style canvas athletic shoe – size 9.5, and a dark-gray metal ring with a squared red stone.

Following an investigation, the sheriff’s office said the remains were identified as Kenneth Lee Bell, born 1957, formerly of Contra Costa County, California.

The sheriff’s office said Bell was identified from personal effects found with the body. DNA confirmation is currently underway.

According to the sheriff’s office, Bell’s mother, who is now deceased, reported him missing in 1979, when he was 22 years old. He appears to have disappeared while traveling from the Bay Area to Washington to visit family.

Bell worked in the timber industry in the late 70s, and frequented the Portland area in that time period, according to the sheriff’s office.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone who knew Bell in the late 70s is being asked to contact detectives through the sheriff’s office tip line at 503-723-4949 or online at clackamas.us/sheriff/tip. Please reference case number 21-000584.

Idaho lawmakers appeared intrigued but skeptical on Monday when pitched a plan to lop off about three-fourths of Oregon and add it to Idaho to create what would become the nation’s third-largest state geographically. Representatives of a group called Move Oregon’s Border For a Greater Idaho outlined their plan to a joint meeting of Idaho lawmakers from the House and Senate on Monday.

The Idaho Legislature would have to approve the plan that would expand Idaho’s southwestern border to the Pacific Ocean.

The Oregon Legislature and the U.S. Congress would also have to sign off.Supporters of the idea said rural Oregon voters are dominated by liberal urban areas such as Portland, and would rather join conservative Idaho. Portland would remain with Oregon.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association offers the opportunity for six young ranchers to attend the OCA Mid-Year Conference, July 11-13, at the Salishan Coastal Lodge.

The scholarship is available to young ranchers interested in learning more about the work of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. The scholarship will cover the expense of lodging and event registration. Candidates must be able to attend the full conference and be willing to participate in all facets. This is an excellent opportunity for young ranchers to immerse themselves in the work and mission of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association for the future of the cattle industry.

The application can be found at www.orcattle.com. Any questions may be addressed to the OCA office at 503-361-8941.

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