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 Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Patchy smoke. Sunny, with a high near 79. Light winds becoming west northwest 6 to 11 mph in the afternoon. Overnight, mostly clear with a low around 44.
Thursday Widespread haze before 2pm. Sunny, with a high near 81.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 86. Light and variable wind becoming east southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 85.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 80.
Klamath County is about to go on a big time shopping spree. By next spring, the county will have received its full allocation of federal funding — about $13.2 million from the American Rescue Plan. But first, Klamath County Commissioners will get input from the community on how best to spend the money.
The county has already received half of the funds, and has already spent between $1 million and $1.5 million.
The American Rescue Plan allocation committee, formed by the county to assess proposals on how best to use federal funding attached to the American Rescue Plan Act, will meet at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday. The American Rescue Plan funding is known as Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. It consists of $350 billion to be distributed to state, local, territorial and tribal governments nationwide.
County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot said he would like to use the money to help ease the acute housing crisis in Klamath County — a crisis he said has gotten worse during the pandemic.
Sky Lakes Medical Center is back at patient capacity today. Yesterday they were at capacity and had similar numbers. Sky Lakes is asking residents to please get vaccinated.
“You are at much higher risk of severe illness, lifelong complications, and death if you remain unvaccinated and contract COVID-19”.
The current number of patients hospitalized with Covid is 23, one of those patients is in intensive care. All but three are unvaccinated, according to the hospitals’ release.
There are 30 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,624, the Oregon Health Authority reported on Tuesday. Oregon Health Authority also reported 1,707 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 314,841.
Klamath County reported more cases for the first time than Jackson County with 83 covid cases in the basin, and Jackson with 76.
Officials say 79-percent of health care workers in Oregon have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That compares to 75-percent of the general population. Dentists have the highest rate at 96-percent, followed by psychologists and then doctors. Chiropractors and chiropractic assistants have the lowest rate of 58-percent. Health care workers in Oregon are required to be fully vaccinated by October 18th.
Nearly 19% of new COVID-19 cases this month in Oregon are in people who were vaccinated. The Oregon Health Authority reported that statistic yesterday. However, health officials say fewer than five-percent of those people were hospitalized, and less than one-percent of those patients died. Officials say 81-percent of new cases were people who had not been vaccinated. The rate of COVID-19 in unvaccinated people is five times higher than it is for people who are vaccinated.
Around the state of Oregon
On Friday, the federal government announced the extension of the annual open enrollment health insurance period to purchase private health insurance for the 2022 plan year from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15.
Along with the extension, Oregonians will have the opportunity to access the most amount of financial savings that have ever been available through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace due to the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan initiated additional savings by removing the upper income limit to qualify for financial assistance, and also decreased the amount of premium that consumers are responsible to pay before tax credits are available.
- More than 80 percent of Oregonians have been determined to be eligible for financial help through the Marketplace since April 1 when American Rescue Plan provisions took effect.
- Oregonians are receiving an average of $437 per month in premium tax credits to reduce their monthly premium under the expanded eligibility.
The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov. For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.
One day after the Democratic speaker of the Oregon House rescinded a power-sharing deal House Speaker Tina Kotek made with Republicans to redraw political maps, it was unclear whether GOP lawmakers would show up to work at the Capitol on Tuesday.
If Republicans don’t go to the floor of the House the chamber won’t have a quorum – meaning lawmakers wouldn’t be able to proceed with business. Oregon gained a sixth U.S. House seat following the latest census and the stakes are high for both parties with this round of redistricting.
Speaker Kotek came to the podium briefly Tuesday morning to say both she and House Republican Leader Christine Drazan were eager to take up congressional and legislative redistricting plans. But the House was in recess until 1 p.m., at the request of the Republican Caucus.
Tensions at the Capitol in Salem, Oregon, boiled over on Monday — as lawmakers returned to the Capitol for the once-a-decade task of redistricting, which determines how voters will pick state representatives, state senators and members of Congress for the next five election cycles. Kotek’s announcement to withdraw her side of a deal made with House Republicans in April drew angry reactions from GOP lawmakers.
Abandoned Vehicle in Josephine County Full of Bullet Holes, Firearms and Marijuana
On September 19, 2021 at 4:09 am, Deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the intersection of Camp Joy Road and Saratoga Way for a motor vehicle crash involving one vehicle.
Upon arrival, Deputies found the vehicle unoccupied. Witnesses stated two males fled the scene prior to law enforcement arrival.
Upon inspection of the vehicle, Deputies observed several bullet holes which had penetrated the occupant compartment.
Also in plain sight within the vehicle, Deputies observed firearms and a large amount of processed packaged marijuana.
The vehicle was seized and a search warrant was obtained and subsequently executed. Located inside the vehicle were two firearms and 380 pounds of processed packaged marijuana with a street value of approximately $760,000.
If you have information regarding this incident or wish to claim the firearms and marijuana, please contact the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and we will gladly assist you. Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
Rogue Valley International Airport Unveils Full-Scale Mural of Oregon’s New License Plate
The Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford unveiled the new mural on Tuesday inside the concourse. The art piece is a full-scale version of Oregon’s new Cultural Trust 20th anniversary license plate known as ‘Celebrate Oregon!’
“It has to be background and foreground at the same time, 80% of it is covered by letters and numbers and stickers, and then also it has to represent all of Oregon culture at once. When I started the process I quickly realized I had to start with just big blobs of color,” said designing artist Liza Burns.
Burns’ design was selected as the winner for the new Oregon license plate following 36 total artist submissions that went before an expert jury panel. She describes the process that landed her the winning design as having come very naturally.
“It quickly became clear that I was drawing was the Oregon landscape. It felt thematically like the right place to start. if you’re asking the question, ‘What is Oregon culture?’ The piece of it that’s Oregon is that it starts and ends with the land. That was the quickest and easiest answer that made sense,” she said.
The new license plates will be available beginning on Oct. 1. Burns met with several content experts identified through the Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to finalize symbols included in the design.
“My version of ‘What is Oregon culture?’ is fairly limited – it’s to me and my experience, which doesn’t even begin to cover all that Oregon is and does and has. So as part of my proposal, I said I would like help from a diverse group of voices to help me pick what is meaningful to Oregon,” Burns said.
Additional full-scale murals will be installed at the airports in Eugene, Portland and Redmond later this year. Additional photos of the design and a time-lapse video of its creation were also released.
Search Warrant Served for Another Illegal Marijuana Operation in Grants Pass
On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, members of the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) in partnership with Oregon State Police, Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (Grants Pass DPS, OSP, Josephine County Parole and Probation) and Josephine County Code Enforcement; served a search warrant relating to an illegal marijuana grow operation in the 300 block of Mountain Greens Lane, Grants Pass.
This is the site of the former Red Mountain Golf Course.
During the execution of the search warrant, 4,537 illegal marijuana plants were seized and destroyed.
Chen Shu-Momg, 34, and Qike Wen, 36, were arrested and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacture of a Marijuana Item. Additionally, five other subjects were detained due to safety concerns. At the time of this press release, the investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released. Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
Oregon will charge campers from outside the state a 25% fee for RV sites in dozens of campgrounds because of increased demand for the spaces.
The fee will apply to everything from small pop-up trailers to Airstreams to motorhomes, but will not apply to tents, yurts or cabins, the Statesman Journal reported Tuesday.
The fee will be assessed starting next year at 56 campgrounds. Roughly 60% of state park campsites are designed for RVs and they currently cost $24 to $40 per night. Next year, they will cost $30 to $50 for non-residents.
The spike won’t affect campsites on federal lands, such as U.S. Forest Service campgrounds.
Competition for RV sites — and campsites overall — has risen dramatically in Oregon over the past decade, particularly at the Oregon Coast.