Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 9/7 – School Is Back In Session; School Zones and Bus Stop Safety Encouraged

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Areas of smoke. Sunny, with a high near 94. Light and variable wind becoming south southwest 6 to 11 mph in the afternoon. Cloudy overnight with a low around 57.

Wednesday Widespread smoke, mainly between 9am and 3pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 93. Light and variable wind becoming west southwest 8 to 13 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday Patchy smoke. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89.
Friday Patchy smoke. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.
Saturday Patchy smoke. Mostly sunny, with a high near 86.

Today’s Headlines

A group of police officers and firefighters, including some in Klamath County, are suing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown over the state’s vaccine mandate, The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, seeks to deter the state from mandating all employees of the executive branch to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The group is asking a judge to declare Brown’s order as “unenforceable.” They claim the executive order clashes with existing Oregon statutes of free expression and could result in the wrongful termination of employees.  Among those suing Brown are the Oregon Fraternal Order of Police, along with troopers from around the state and several firefighters in Klamath County.

In August, Oregon became the first state to reintroduce statewide outdoor masking requirements as the Delta variant began driving a sharp new surge in cases. Masks are required in public outdoor settings “where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status,” according to Brown’s mandate.

Klamath County students start school this week and school buses will be back on neighborhood streets and highways.

To keep them safe, drivers need to remember to stop for school buses and be aware of children walking along roadways and crossing streets. Every year, drivers who disobey the yellow and red flashing lights of school buses put children at risk.

School bus drivers start flashing yellow lights 200 feet before a bus stop, indicating to other drivers to slow down and be cautious. Once the bus door opens, the red flashing lights and a stop sign that unfolds are automatically triggered. Unlike red flashing traffic signals – which drivers treat like a stop sign – red flashing school bus lights mean stop – and stay stopped — until the lights are turned off and the bus starts moving again.

The most troublesome areas are busy thoroughfares such Homedale Road, Shasta Way and Summers Lane. Because of the rural and widespread geography of the county school district, bus routes and stops also are on highways, including 97, 140 and 39.

For the seventh year in a row, the Klamath County School District has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. An impartial committee spent six months reviewing the district’s financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. The comprehensive report replaces a standard audit. Dennis Clague directs the district’s business services team.

KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak said earning the CAFR award represents the district’s determination to maintain public trust by demonstrating outstanding fiduciary responsibility in managing public funds.

Elizabeth Gaxiola, a 17-year-old student from Bonanza, was named the first weekly winner in the Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign.

Gaxiola won the first weekly prize of a 65-inch television along with a home theater system and $500 in pizza gift certificates.

Gazxiola was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents who have entered at conquercovidinklamath.com. Each week the prize changes. This week it is a $6,000 gift certificate from Grocery Outlet Bargain Market. The drawing for this week’s prize will took place Monday morning.

There is a different prize each week along with the grand prize: the winner’s choice of a new Dodge Ram pickup or a new Dodge Durango SUV. There are numerous other prizes as well.

To enter, Klamath County residents can go to conquercovidinklamath.com. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.

Klamath County Public Health was recently granted national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board.

KCPH joins the Oregon Health Authority and 14 other local public health departments in Oregon in accreditation. Accreditation, which is valid for five years means: The measurement of health department performance against a set of nationally recognized, practice-focused and evidenced-based standards; the issuance of recognition of achievement of accreditation within a specified time frame by a nationally recognized entity; the continual development, revision, and distribution of public health standards. Oregon public health agencies, including KCPH, began exploring accreditation in 2014.

In the seven years it has taken to achieve the milestone, KCPH has had three directors and numerous changes in other staff. The mission of PHAB is to advance and transform public health practice by championing performance improvement, strong infrastructure and innovation.

A blanket of thick wildfire smoke made the air in and around Central Oregon’s largest city the state’s least breathable on Labor Day and among some the worst in the entire U.S., according to multiple sites that monitor air quality.

The air quality index for the Bend area reached as high as 386 on Monday morning, a level deemed “hazardous” to all residents regardless of their health , data compiled by the website IQAir.com shows. Meanwhile, a pair of maps maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggested that only a few pockets of Northern California — where large-scale blazes have raged for much of the summer — could rival the Central Oregon region for the nation’s most noxious air.

There are several active wildfires burning up and down the Cascade Range, including the nearly 25,000-acre Middlefork Complex Fire west of Bend, which is only 20% contained.

Meanwhile, to the south, according to data collected by Cal Fire, the 2021 Fire Season has become the second worst fire season on record. More than 7,000 wildfires across the state have already destroyed more than one point nine million acres of land (1,984,677). Statically, the 2020 Wildfire Season still stands as the worst wildfire season on record, as more than 9,600 fires burned more than four point three million acres of land.

However, Cal Fire is reporting that on all of their protected lands, along with the U.S. Forest Service, wildfires have destroyed more land this year than that of 2020(1,863,324 acres). Currently five wildfires across the state have burned more than a hundred thousand acres. All of which are still active.

These fires include: The Monument, River Complex, McFarland, Caldor and Dixie Fires. The Dixie Fire is the largest of them all and is estimated at 898,951 acres with 56% containment. 

Ready or not, Oregon, the 2022 election season is here. Labor Day weekend of odd-numbered years is the traditional kickoff of serious campaign activity aimed at the ballot voters will mark in 14 months.

If anything, 2021 is off to a running start. The busy summer needs a primer to catch up on what’s happened and what’s coming up that will have an impact on the ballot voters will see for the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

• A wide-open governor’s race that for the first time in 20 years won’t feature an incumbent or former governor on the ballot. Gov. Kate Brown is barred from seeking a third consecutive term.

• A new open congressional seat — Oregon’s first in 40 years. With all five current U.S. House members from Oregon seeking re-election, the new district is a chance to join a club that rarely has vacancies.

• U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, is marking 40 years since he first came to Washington as a 31-year-old U.S. House member from Portland. He’s running for another term and already has $6.3 million in the bank for the race.

• New political topography in Oregon created by a legally required redrawing of lines for 96 House, Senate, and congressional seats might not be finalized until as late as January 2022.

• A slew of proposed initiatives, constitutional amendments, referendums and referrals working their way through the long process of qualifying for the November 2022 ballot.

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