Klamath Basin News, Friday, 6/11 – Sabine Graetsch Wins Cattlemen’s Association Stewardship Fund Scholarship

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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.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A 40% chance of rain after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 65. Overnight low around 48.


Saturday A 20% chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77.
Sunday A 20% chance of showers after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81.
Monday A 20% chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 78.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 86.

Today’s Headlines

There are 10 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,726, the Oregon Health Authority reported today.  Oregon Health Authority reported 370 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 204,291. 

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (8), Clackamas (30), Clatsop (1), Columbia (4), Coos (2), Crook (11), Deschutes (85), Douglas (17), Harney (1), Hood River (4), Jackson (15), Jefferson (1), Josephine (8), Klamath (10), Lane (23), Linn (11), Malheur (2), Marion (35), Multnomah (59), Polk (7), Umatilla (8), Union (1), Washington (22) and Yamhill (4). 

Oregon has now administered a total of 2,337,634 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,659,139 first and second doses of Moderna and 153,424 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,991,717 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 2,303,485 people who have had at least one dose. The number of adult Oregonians needing vaccinations to reach the 70% threshold is 93,234. 


The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows the sixth consecutive week of declining cases and lowest since weekly case tally since last September. OHA reported 1,725 new daily cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, May 31, through Sunday, June 6. That represents a 26% decline from the previous week.

Despite the governor’s insistence that Klamath County remain at the “high risk” level- the most stringent covid restrictions in the entire country- Klamath County had just four new cases reported yesterday.

With continued warm weather, dry vegetation, and the recent threat of lightning, officials are ratcheting up the fire restrictions in south central Oregon. The fire danger level will rise to “High” (yellow) first thing Friday morning in Klamath and Lake counties, according to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership. The Oregon Department of Forestry’s public regulated use closure will go into effect on Friday, which applies to all private, county and state wildlands and includes the following restrictions:

  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads.
  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires, and warming fires, except at designated locations. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
  • Chain saw use is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Chain saw use is allowed at all other hours if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one 8-ounce or larger fire extinguisher. A fire watch also is required at least one hour following the use.

For industrial activities like timber harvesting, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level will also be raised to II (two) — restricting activity on Fremont-Winema National Forest and BLM Lakeview District lands to between 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. local time for power saws except at loading site, cable yarding, blasting, welding and cutting of metals. Personal and commercial firewood cutters are responsible to stay informed of current IFPLs and all restrictions that apply to activities conducted on public lands.

Sabine Graetsch from Klamath Falls, who is studying animal science at Oregon State University, is among the recipients of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Stewardship Fund Scholarship.

OCA received a record 16 applications from students dedicated to the improvement of agriculture and OCA awarded five $1,000 scholarships.

In addition to Graetsch, Alexandra Colton from North Powder, Jaiden Mahoney from Heppner, Francesca Rossi from Gold Beach and Deidre Schreiber also received scholarships. OCA’s 2022-23 scholarship application will be available on the OCA website in next spring.

Scholarships are available to OCA members in good standing and must have at least a college sophomore standing enrolled full-time at a college or university.

The Mentor Network, a Massachusetts-based corporation that administers a large portion of the group homes and care facilities for people with developmental disabilities in Klamath County, is slated to cut off services in Oregon later this summer

In a June 7 letter, Lilia Teninty, director at the Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services at the Department of Human Services, informed stakeholders that the company would pull out of Oregon by August 31. Mentor provides services to more than 1,300 Oregonians across the state.

One of those stakeholders was Myles Maxey, the local director of developmental disabilities services for Klamath County. Maxey said that Klamath will be the most affected county in the state, given its heavy reliance on Mentor’s residential services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Angela Yeager, communications officer at the office of Developmental Disabilities Services and Employment First, said that Mentor currently operates nine group homes in Oregon, five of which are located in Klamath County.  There is only one other 24-hour group home provider in the area, Independent Community Living Supports, which administers a single home occupied by three individuals.

The “Ride the Rim” bicycling event returns to Crater Lake in September. After a year’s absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crater Lake National Park officials and Discover Klamath Visitor & Convention Bureau say the Ride the Rim Days are set for September 11 and 18, both Saturdays.

Both days, 24 miles of Rim Drive from the north entrance to the park headquarters area will be closed to motorized vehicles. The road will be open only for bicyclists, walkers and runners. Even though the event is months away, more than 2,800 people have registered for the two weekend days.

The ride had 2,000 participants in 2019 and 2,020 in 2018 and has typically attracted bicyclists from around the nation and internationally. The event is free but participants are urged to make $10 donations to help cover costs.

In 2009, during one fateful cast at her and husband’s favorite fishing spot, a prized anniversary ring slipped off Christina Handsaker’s right ring finger.

She was saddened for sure.

At that same well-worn Willow Lake fishing spot just two weeks ago, Christina glanced at the ground and spotted what she at first thought was a piece of metal amid the dirt.

There it was: Their anniversary ring, recovered 12 years after it was lost. It turned out to be the couple’s most prized catch at their longtime fishing hole. And if it seems hard to believe, it was for them, too.

The couple fish the same spot on Willow Lake “where all the fish are at” whenever they can, and they’ve looked for the ring there over the years. Then on May 26, with Tony off work and their three kids in school, the couple decided they’d make a trip to their old fishing spot. To top it off, the couple caught their limit of fish the day they found the ring.

The 6th Annual Juanita Lake Fishing Derby for youths is scheduled for Saturday, June 19 with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Juanita Lake near Macdoel, CA.

The Butte Valley Chamber of Commerce, Butte Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Dorris Volunteer Fire Department, Klamath National Forest’s Goosenest Ranger District, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are sponsoring the event. 

The derby is for ages 15 and under with raffles and prizes for the longest fish, most fish, and heaviest fish. Lunch will be provided for participants.

Around the state of Oregon

The surviving driver in a fatal two-vehicle crash that happened near Takelma County Park last month has been charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash happened before 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 20, on Rogue River Drive near Eagle Point.

Callers reported that two pickup trucks had collided on the rural two-lane highway. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the driver of a 1999 Ford F-350 “Dually” pickup being attended to by medical staff. The driver of the other truck was found unresponsive and died at the scene, JCSO said.

According to the agency, 50-year-old Robert Taylor of Gold Hill was the driver of the ’99 F-350. The investigation found that Taylor had crossed over the solid double-yellow centerline in his truck and hit the victim’s truck head-on. JCSO came to believe that methamphetamine use was a contributing factor in the crash.

The Schonchin Butte trail and fire lookout will be close for renovations for about six weeks, according to the national monument.

The Schonchin Butte fire lookout, a legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, was constructed 81 years ago during the Great Depression.

To keep up with maintenance of the facilitity, its catwalk and roof will be replaced this summer. There is limited parking and turnaround space at the Schonchin Butte trailhead. With multiple construction vehicles and trailers associated with the project, there is not adequate space for visitors to safely access the trailhead. When the construction is complete, the road and trail will reopen.

The best estimate, according to park managers, is mid-July. For maps and other park information, the visitor center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 A Baker City man is facing up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud of COVID-19 relief money.

 Court records say 32-year-old Jeremy Clawson admitted to using false information to get 145-thousand-200 dollars in federal money.  He spent nearly 50-thousand dollars to buy a 2016 Dodge Challenger.  He made other large cash withdrawals.  As part of his plea deal, Clawson will pay 125-thousand dollars in restitution.  He’ll be sentenced in September.

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