Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 5/4/21 – Local Man Pleads Guilty in Cashing $458,000 Worth Of Social Security Checks In The Name of Deceased Aunt

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 Insuranc
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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 71.

Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Overnight, clear and around 44 degrees.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 67.
Friday A slight chance of snow showers in the morning hours, then a good chance of rain during the day, high of 58. Snow level rising to 5000 feet in the afternoon.

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There is one new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,502. Oregon Health Authority reported 540 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 186,877.

The 7-day running average for vaccinations is now 33,153 doses per day. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 351, which is six more than yesterday. There are 80 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is four more than yesterday.

Klamath County’s numbers were absent from the OHA daily reports from yesterday.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (12), Clackamas (91), Clatsop (3), Columbia (5), Coos (1), Crook (3), Deschutes (49), Douglas (10), Harney (2), Hood River (1), Jackson (16), Jefferson (1), Josephine (3), Lane (56), Lincoln (4), Linn (42), Marion (74), Multnomah (137), Polk (12), Sherman (1), Tillamook (2), Wallowa (1), Washington (1) and Yamhill (12). 

On Sunday, Oregon surpassed a Covid-19 milestone that no one wanted to reach. After the Oregon Health Authority reported three new deaths today, Oregon officially surpassed 2,500 lives lost to coronavirus.

It been a little more than a year since the coronavirus first made its way into Oregon. In that time, businesses have been shut down multiple times, new Covid-19 cases have risen and fallen and hospitalizations continue to fluctuate. Currently Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, overall, are on the rise in Oregon as the state reported its sixth day last week of more than 700 cases reported in a single day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,647,730 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,317,295 first and second doses of Moderna and 97,625 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,295,638 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 1,860,194 who have had at least one dose. 

Click on graphic to open pdf.

A Klamath Falls, man has pleaded guilty after cashing more than $458,000 worth of social security checks issued in the name of his deceased aunt.

George Doumar pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds. According to court documents, in February 2020, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of Anti-Fraud Programs identified a 114-year-old supercentenarian who appeared to be the second-oldest living person in the U.S. receiving Social Security retirement benefits.

The last known update to the recipient’s SSA benefit record was in July 1989, when the recipient’s address was updated to Frontier Parcel & Fax Service on S. 6th Street in Klamath Falls. In March 2020, an investigator with SSA-OIG interviewed two of the benefit recipient’s nieces. Both nieces claimed that their aunt died in the 1960s or 1970s and recalled attending her funeral in Brooklyn, New York, where she had reportedly lived her entire life.

According to one niece, their aunt did not have any children and was not married. She recalled that Doumar was named the sole beneficiary of her aunt’s insurance payout.

The anniversary of the day when six people died following the explosion of a Japanese balloon bomb is again being canceled once again because of concerns stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Mitchell Recreation Area, previously known as the Mitchell Monument, is the only place in the United States where Americans were killed as the direct result of enemy action during World War II. Wednesday, May 5, marks the 76th anniversary of the deadly incident that took place outside the community of Bly. A major gathering was originally planned for last May’s 75th anniversary. Because of the pandemic the gathering rescheduled to September, then rescheduled again to May 5. Late last month, officials with the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Bly community action team and Standing Stone Church of the Christian and Missionary Alliance decided to cancel the event “for public health and safety.” It is believed as many as 1,000 balloons may have reached the United States and Canada, but there were only 285 confirmed West Coast sightings. Two balloon bombs were later found in Michigan.

Grant funding is available for Klamath Falls City Schools to offer learning opportunities throughout the summer. KFCS is asking community groups to submit proposals for student summer activities. Funds are also available to provide day care opportunities to help families take part in the summer education programs. Summer programs must be offered between June 14 and August 20. The summer academic support grant provides funding to support summer programs to high school students to acquire academic credits needed to stay on track for graduation.

The Lakeview Ranger District, USFS, plans to conduct prescribed fire operations starting in the spring when weather and fuel conditions permit. Planned ignitions can take up to two to three days. The Stateline/Strawberry prescribed fire activities will focus on under burning inside the Stateline Prescribed Fire Project Area.  Fire managers plan to burn approximately 8,000 to 9,000 acres to reduce fuel loading to minimize extreme fire behavior. This will be a second or third entry maintenance burns for this unit. The area last burned in 2007. Smoke could possibly impact the communities of Lakeview, Bly, and Klamath Falls. Including the Strawberry Reservoir and Strawberry Butte areas.  Area residents can expect to see and hear a helicopter in the area, as aerial ignitions will occur on portions of the burn. Smoke will be visible from roadways and recreation areas in the general vicinity of this project.

Around the state of Oregon

The Oregon Holocaust Memorial in Portland has been defaced by anti-semitic graffiti. The vandalism, which included spray-painted swastikas and other neo-Nazi symbolism, was discovered late Sunday on the memorial in the city’s Washington Park, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Monday. The Portland Police Bureau is investigating and ask surrounding residents to review their security camera footage for signs of the perpetrators. The memorial was dedicated in 2004 and includes the engraved names of people who died in the camps, as well as their surviving relatives who live in Oregon and southwest Washington.

Red Rock Biofuels logistics manager Will Roberts told the Lakeview Rotary Club April 21 that the proposed multi-million dollar biofuel project planned for Lake County has run out of money and will need to sell bonds to get back on track. The infrastructure and equipment already built and installed at the Red Rock site outside Lakeview is worth about $300 million, Roberts said. Red Rock will leverage those assets for new bond funding. Those bonds will start being sold at the end of May or beginning of June, Roberts said. After the time it will take for the bonds to be issued, sold and then to complete construction, Roberts said work at the plant could be finished as early as December. About 75% of the project’s original scope has been completed but Roberts said they are planning to expand its scope and production even before they begin operations. The redesigns will “make us a lot more money than what it will cost,” said Roberts, adding “now is the time to do it.”

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says it is suspending the search for a man who disappeared while swimming in the Rogue River on Sunday afternoon. Deputies responded to Rock Point Bridge near Gold Hill shortly after 4 p.m., having received reports about the missing swimmer. JCSO Marine units, Search & Rescue, and Fire District 3 crews responded to assist with the search, which lasted into nightfall. According to the Sheriff’s Office, a group from California was visiting from California and went down to the river near Rock Point Bridge that afternoon. Witnesses told investigators that they were not planning to swim, but one man decided to go into the water in order to cool off. He was identified as 21-year-old Jesus Flores-Galindo of the Lamont, California area. After entering the river, witnesses said that Flores-Galindo suddenly went under the surface and “came up splashing.” JCSO said that Flores-Galindo may not have known how to swim and may have stepped into a deep pool amid the cold river temperatures.

More than half a dozen men are facing charges following a human trafficking sting.  The Portland Police Bureau says its Human Trafficking Unit cited eight men on charges of commercial sexual solicitation during the undercover operation last month.  Officers posted online decoy ads on human trafficking websites and then cited the men who contacted them to arrange payment for sexual acts.  Police say survivors of human trafficking may be hesitant to get help from law enforcement because they’re concerned about their personal safety and they fear arrest.  The Human Trafficking Unit has victim advocates for those who need help.

An Oregon state lawmaker accused of allowing protesters into the closed state Capitol building while lawmakers were debating Covid-19 restrictions is now facing two misdemeanor charges. Republican Rep. Mike Nearman was charged Friday with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass, according to court records. A charging document obtained by Oregon Public Broadcasting accuses Nearman of “unlawfully and knowingly perform(ing) an act which constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties, with intent to obtain a benefit or to harm another.” According to court records, Nearman is due to be arraigned on May 11.

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