Klamath Basin News, Monday 5/17 -KCC Awarded $1.2 million Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Grant To Provide More Job Seeker And Workforce Development Services

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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 Insuranceyour local health and Medicare agents.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 78. Overnight, clear with a low around 41.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 64. Cloudy overnight with a low around 37.
Wednesday A slight chance of rain and snow showers between 11am and 2pm, then a slight chance of rain showers after 2pm, high near 55 degrees. Snow level 4200 feet rising to 4800 feet in the afternoon.
Thursday A slight chance of snow showers before 11am, then a slight chance of rain showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 57. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday A slight chance of showers after 11am. Snow level 4200 feet rising to 5900 feet in the afternoon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.

Today’s Headlines

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There are two new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,587. Oregon Health Authority reported 507 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 195,684.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (7), Clackamas (45), Columbia (3), Coos (12), Crook (6), Deschutes (58), Douglas (7), Jackson (15), Jefferson (5), Josephine (6), Klamath (20), Lane (39), Lincoln (3), Linn (39), Malheur (3), Marion (90), Multnomah (96), Polk (9), Washington (30), and Yamhill (14).

There are 2,061,755 people in Oregon who have had at least one dose of a vaccine. A total of 1,470,984 have received a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The seven-day running average is now 29,334 doses per day. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 339, which is seven more than yesterday. There are 82 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is seven more than yesterday.

OHA reported 20 new cases here in Klamath County.

A group of roughly 30 Klamath County residents affiliated with People’s Rights Oregon Area 6 gathered at Klamath Irrigation District headquarters late last week to protest the Bureau of Reclamation’s announcement that no water from Upper Klamath Lake would be available to Klamath Project irrigators this summer.

Demonstrators also engaged KID leadership regarding what could be done to respond to the situation, asking them to defy Reclamation and open the A Canal headgates and saying they would support them if they did. Though KID President Ty Kliewer largely agreed with the group’s sentiments, he said forcibly opening the A Canal would cause more harm than good, opening the district up to legal retaliation by Reclamation, which owns the headworks.

Nathan Rietmann, KID’s counsel, told demonstrators that despite the fact that he believes the stored water in Upper Klamath Lake belongs to irrigators, the best and longest-lasting solution to the problem is to get a judge to order Reclamation to recognize that.

An 18-year-old Beatty resident was arrested and jailed on several charges after an incident at Lost River High school Thursday afternoon, in which shots were fired.

A baseball game was in progress when 18-year-old Felix Fuentes allegedly drove recklessly through the parking lot at the school, and fired three shots in the air, then sped away.  He was captured near Bonanza a short time later.

The game was halted, and fans, parents, and officials were moved to a secure location inside the school by Jamie Ongman, the principal. No injuries were reported.

Fuentes was jailed on charges of menacing, unlawful use of a weapon, disorderly conduct in the first degree, criminal trespassing in the 2nd degree, resisting arrest, and recklessly endangerment.

Currently there’s just not enough houses in Klamath County for the people who want to call it home.

Across the U.S., the housing market is seeing near-record low inventories and record-quick sales for houses that do go on the market, according to the National Association of Realtors. And Klamath County is no exception.

This time last year, Klamath County had 370 homes on the market at the median price range. This week there were just 76 such homes for sale, all the way from Gilchrist to Klamath Falls to Merrill.

The Klamath County Economic Development Association estimates Klamath County is about 450 homes short for the demand. Although the housing market is competitive nationwide, the local demand is also driven by remote workers leaving big regional cities, especially in California.

The housing shortage comes during a time when local officials are buzzing about development opportunities in the area. However, housing stands as one of the biggest barriers to business location and expansion. While the area has seen interest across the spectrum of income levels, some officials noted that much of Klamath’s housing stock is quite old, with a lack of newer development.

The South Central Oregon Economic Development District received a rural business development grant to unify and uplift local farmers, ranchers, specialty producers, and restaurateurs in the Klamath Basin by creating a common local food brand.

SCOEDD partnered with Klamath Farmers Online Marketplace (KFOM) to serve as the hub for the network’s activities. The project team announced “Klamath Grown” as the name of the region’s new food network.

The funds will deliver a common logo and branded materials for the network that can be used in marketing Klamath Basin foods. The project team has been gathering input from dozens of regional stakeholders to define the unique attributes of B

The Veterans of Foreign Wars and Klamath Freedom Celebration are sponsoring the annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 31 in downtown Klamath Falls.

Participants are asked to assemble on Spring Street by Sharkys Shack between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. where registrations and parade order will be verified at that time. The parade will start at 10 a.m. and proceed from Spring Street and along Main Street to Veterans Memorial Park.

Klamath Community College is pleased to announce the college has been awarded a $1.2 million Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant to provide continued job seeker and workforce development services to adult, dislocated, and youth workers in Klamath and Lake counties.

The grant will be disbursed over a three-year period and is a partnership among the East Cascades Workforce Investment Board, who facilitates the grant; WorkSource Klamath, who delivers comprehensive job seeker services; and Klamath Community College.  

Through the grant, KCC will deliver career and training services to dislocated workers and adult job seekers. For out-of-school youth and young adults ages 16 to 24, programs will focus on job training and establishing pathways to higher education. WIOA grant funding supports program participants in developing individualized employment plans that guide and support out-of-work or underemployed community members, vocational training, and career pathway education.

WIOA training activities will also serve dislocated workers and those in need of transitional training or education due to business closure or position realignment.

Fire officials in Klamath and Lake Counties have officially declared fire season starting this past weekend on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Klamath-Lake District and Walker Range Fire Patrol Association.

This affects all private, county, and state forestlands. The “Fire Season in effect” declaration puts into place regulations restricting debris burning and timber harvest operations. Wildland and structural fire protection agencies in Klamath and Lake Counties have agreed to prohibit all outdoor debris burning.

Forest operations that require a Permit to Operate Power Driven Machinery now are required to have fire tools, on-site water supply, and watchman service on privately owned forestland.

Declaring “Fire Season” also activates the adjective class (fire danger) measures and South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership will begin at MODERATE level and IFPL (Industrial Fire Precaution Level) at a level I.  The Lakeview Interagency Fire Center website: https://scofmp.org/ is available to assist in keeping people informed of current and changing conditions for our area.

Walker Range Fire Patrol Association can be contacted at 541-433-2451.  Additional information on BLM and/or USFS you can call Bureau of Land Management, Lakeview District and the Fremont – Winema National Forest.

In a related story, Klamath County Fire District 1 responded to a grass fire off Foothills Boulevard near Vandenberg Road Friday afternoon, near Steen Sports Park, the Klamath County Jail, and Klamath County Juvenile Detention.

Within minutes of arrival, fire crews successfully knocked down the flames.  At this time it does not appear there have been any damaged structures. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

Hotel staff and local economic developers cut the ribbon on the Fairfield Inn at Timbermill Shores last Friday, marking the grand opening of the hotel that has been open for months under COVID-19.

The Fairfield was the first business to open at the waterfront development site when it began taking reservations last November. People’s Bank soon joined them, opening the doors to a mixed-use office building with apartments on the second floor. A third development in the area is under construction.

The nearly 92,000 square-feet Department of Human Services building is being built next door to the Fairfield. According to the developer’s website, the project is expected to be completed in April 2022.

Around the state of Oregon

Though Governor Kate Brown says that Oregon will embrace the CDC’s newly-loosened mask and distancing guidance, Oregon officials say that the responsibility for verifying vaccination status will fall on businesses and other organizations if they want to follow the new recommendations.

State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger held a briefing with members of the media on Friday, delivering an update on the current state of COVID-19 in Oregon and giving more information about how the state will handle the CDC changes. Sidelinger said that Oregon’s daily COVID-19 case rate has been falling, if slowly, and hospitalizations have plateaued without seeing a significant drop. With OHA guidance still forthcoming, Sidelinger did not go into detail about how this process will be enforced.

Businesses will still have the choice of adhering to current risk level requirements and eschewing the changes for vaccine verification entirely. What businesses can’t do, Sidelinger said, is decide to serve only vaccinated or un-vaccinated customers.

After three days of witness testimony, the prosecution and defense delivered their closing arguments Friday morning in the Medford roadrage incident and manslaughter trial of 68-year-old Raleigh Rodrigues, and the jury delivered its verdict in a matter of hours.

Returning from deliberations, the jury found Rodrigues not guilty on both counts — Manslaughter in the First Degree and Manslaughter in the Second Degree. The prosecution delivered its closing arguments on Friday morning, taking aim at Rodrigues’ actions leading up to the crash that claimed Mayo’s life.

Rodrigues, the prosecution said, could have called law enforcement or pulled over instead of engaging with Mayo — further asserting that Rodrigues started the feud by flipping Mayo the middle finger when the younger man passed him on the freeway. Rodrigues’ defense team argued that the 68-year-old was not responsible for Mayo’s death, pointing to evidence that Mayo was speeding and lane-splitting on his motorcycle prior to the crash. 

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