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.
Friday, October 1, 2021
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Sunny, with a high near 74. Northwest wind around 6 mph, and clear overnight with a low around 41 degrees.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 80.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 80.
Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.
Bi-Mart announced Thursday that the company will leave the pharmacy business, selling all 56 of its pharmacies in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington state to Walgreens Drug Store.
The sale includes all of Bi-Mart’s prescription files and inventory. Bi-Mart stores aren’t going anywhere, but the company’s pharmacies will either shut down and transfer prescriptions to nearby Walgreens locations or remain operating under the Walgreens brand in “select areas where Walgreens does not have nearby stores,” primarily in rural Oregon.
Bi-Mart said that pharmacies in the Portland metro area and in several other markets have already been closed, with prescriptions transferred to Walgreens. Transfer of most prescription files is set to begin in October and be completed by January, “subject to customary closing conditions.” Pharmacists and pharmacy staff at Bi-Mart locations will have an opportunity to apply for open positions at Walgreens.
Patients whose prescriptions are being transferred will be notified by mail, the companies said, and both Bi-Mart and Walgreens pledged to work together on a smooth transition for patients.
There are 20 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,791. Oregon Health Authority reported 1,896 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 330,054.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (11), Benton (40), Clackamas (130), Clatsop (13), Columbia (32), Coos (36), Crook (34), Curry (9), Deschutes (161), Douglas (76), Gilliam (1), Grant (18), Harney (10), Hood River (7), Jackson (76), Jefferson (17), Josephine (23), Klamath (78), Lake (7), Lane (142), Lincoln (9), Linn (115), Malheur (50), Marion (169), Morrow (7), Multnomah (212), Polk (23), Sherman (3), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (102), Union (26), Wallowa (7), Wasco (44), Washington (158) and Yamhill (47)
Klamath County reported 78 new cases, Jackson County reported 76 and Lake County reported 7.
The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 816, which is five more than yesterday. There are 231 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is four fewer than yesterday.
The Cougar Peak Fire continues burning approximately 15 miles northwest of Lakeview, Oregon. The Incident Command Post at the Lakeview Fairgrounds is closed to all but essential personnel to help ensure the health and safety of community members and firefighters. Warmer temperatures and lower humidities led to visible smoke from the interiors of the Cougar Peak and Patton Meadow Fires, but containment lines on both fires remained secure. Firefighters continued to patrol the fire perimeter and conduct occasional mop-up as needed. Backhaul of equipment was completed in the southwest. Along the northern boundary, firefighters continued to find and mop-up hotspots around the peat bog and Willow Springs Ranch. In the eastern portion of the fire, heavy equipment continued to improve access routes and process logs from the extensive hazard tree removal. Firefighters will continue to work on suppression repair while patrolling the fire perimeter. Suppression repair work in the southern and western portions of the fire is primarily focused on erosion control.
A Klamath Falls man was charged with criminally negligent homicide after an accident earlier this month at 5th and Main killed a motorcyclist.
59 year old Mark Sardo is believed to have driven under the influence of narcotics when his truck entered an intersection and was impacted by a motorcycle operated by 66-year-old John Sarabia.
Despite efforts by law enforcement and then paramedics, Sarabia was pronounced deceased.
It took investigators weeks to determine through the state’s crime lab chemical analysis of evidence in the case, which was delayed in part due to Coviid-19 restrictions, definitive factors to the crash. Sarbo was booked into the jail earlier this week.
A California man pleaded guilty to federal charges on Tuesday for his role in a major drug trafficking ring that included Klamath Falls, and operated between southern and northeastern Oregon, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.
33-year-old Noel Lomas Murillo of Vacaville entered a guilty plea to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Prosecutors said that Murillo’s operation worked to bring large quantities of meth in from California for sale in both Oregon and Washington.
Court documents say that in November of 2017, the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team, Oregon State Police, and the FBI began investigating a drug trafficking organization led by Murillo’s brother, 28-year-old Abel Lomas Murillo of Weston, Oregon. The investigation found that Noel, the elder brother, brought drugs from Vacaville to Klamath Falls, where a courier would then deliver them to his brother. Abel also made multiple trips to Medford in order to pick up drugs for distribution in Morrow and Umatilla counties. As the investigation continued into May, Abel recruited a second courier to drive meth from Medford to Boardman.
Investigators followed Abel as he traveled from Umatilla County to a storage locker in Medford and loaded a trailer that he pulled behind his truck. Abel paid the courier to drive the truck, while prosecutors say the trafficker followed behind to “minimize his risk.”
An organization representing Oregon hospitals says that the Delta wave of the pandemic continued to threaten medical providers financially in the second quarter of 2021, according to a performance report gathered by Apprise Health Insights.
The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems said in a statement that hospital patient visits in every category — inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room — increased over the first quarter of 2021. The second quarter covers data from the beginning of April to the end of June. Net patient revenue fell short of total operating expenses for the fourth quarter in a row, due in large part to these longer hospitals stays. OAHHS also pointed to the cost of labor, which it said has gone up 20 percent over the past three years.
Meanwhile, hospitals continue to report major staffing shortages as some healthcare workers leave their jobs or take time off due to illness, exhaustion, or stress. Analysts from Apprise reported that these trends will likely get worse in the next quarter, since COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations broke records throughout the summer.
Hospitals reported staffing and bed shortages, thousands of canceled or delayed elective procedures, and limited community placements after hospitalization leading to delayed care.
The American Red Cross said Thursday that it is experiencing the lowest post-summer supply of blood and platelets since 2015, as patients remain high but donors have dropped.
The organization urged donors of all blood types, but especially type O, to make an appointment to give blood in order to overcome the current shortage. When COVID-19 cases spiked in August, the Red Cross says that blood donor participation decreased about 10 percent — but blood product distributions to hospitals have remained strong, significantly outpacing blood donations in recent weeks.
The national Red Cross blood inventory has reached its lowest level for this time of year since 2015, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks.
Types O positive and O negative, the most critical blood types for hospitals, dropped to less than a half-day supply at certain times within the last month.
The Red Cross said that a five-day supply is usually what they strive to have on hand. Face masks are required for both donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment before arriving at a drive.
Make an appointment to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
A federal judge has halted a 78-acre (31.5-hectare) commercial timber harvest in central Oregon near Walton Lake in Oregon’s Ochoco National Forest at the request of an environmental group. U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman granted the preliminary injunction sought by the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project against logging in the recreational area that was to start in October, according to reports.
Mosman said at the end of oral arguments in Portland on Wednesday that the nonprofit group was likely to prevail on the merits of its claim that the project violated the National Environmental Policy Act.
The group also met the other requirements for a preliminary injunction, such as demonstrating immediate and irreparable harm from the project, the judge said. The logged trees would be lost for generations, if not permanently, Mosman said.
The Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project filed a complaint last year against a 178-acre (72-hectare) timber project at the Walton Lake recreational area, but its request for a preliminary injunction focused only on the 78 acres.
The Lava Beds National Monument Visitor Center will be closed beginning Wednesday, October 6 through the 10th to replace the carpet.
The installation had originally been scheduled several weeks ago but was cancelled and rescheduled because of the Antelope Fire, which resulted in closing the park. During the carpet installation rangers will be available outside of the building to answer questions. In addition, the entrance station will be staffed to take care of fees.
A group of avid quilters in Dorris covered 85 beds at the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission with beautiful quilts, bringing the warm feel of home to those in need. The guests at the Gospel Mission loved getting the new quilts so much, the group of around 16 ladies in the quilting circle are making a few more.
The group is also creating wall hangings for the Gospel Mission to put up on the walls in the hallways, making the recovery center warmer and cozier.
With a scrumptious potluck spread of smoked salmon quiche, fresh baked breads, soups, fresh coffee and a number of snacks and deserts, the ladies spend most of the day on Tuesdays quilting together and catching up on the latest at their workshop on South Oregon Street in Dorris. The group has been meeting together for years, and combined, the ladies have over 300 years of quilting experience behind them. It is clear quilting is their passion, a passion reflected in their work and desire to share the fruits of their labor.
The Gospel Mission project started at the beginning of the year Debbie Worch, a member of the quilting group said.
The downtown Klamath County Library is holding a “Tales of Terror” writing contest for teens in October.
If you’re the spookiest teen writer in Klamath Falls, you’ll take home a $25 gift card to a local book store. (Second prize will take home a $15 gift card.) The winning stories will also be featured on the library’s website and Facebook page. Entries are due by midnight on Sunday, October 31, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please use “Tales of Terror Contest” as the subject line of your email, and include your name, age, and a phone number where you can be reached with your story. Please include your short story in the body of the email itself and not as a file attachment. (Attachments will not be opened.)
For more information, call 541-882-8894 or visit the downtown library’s Youth Services desk. You can find complete contest rules, as well as the winners of previous teen writing contests, at klamathlibrary.org/teens/teen-contests.
Around the state of Oregon
COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to slowly decline in Oregon.
The Oregon Health Authority reports new cases declined two-percent last week, which is the fourth week in a row that cases have gone down. There were 512 new COVID hospitalizations, which is down 12-percent, and 115 people died from COVID, which is down 23-percent. The number of positive tests also continues to decline. It’s down nearly nine-percent.
The Oregon Health Authority is monitoring eleven variants of COVID-19, from Alpha to Zeta.
The agency says most of the variants aren’t causing significant infections. The Delta variant remains the top concern because it’s keeping case numbers high in the state. OHA has an online dashboard that shows the status of all variants.
Find out more on how these actions can save a life. Physical distancing during COVID-19 doesn’t have to mean feeling alone. Click here to find out how to tailor each step above if you cannot be there in person for someone.
If you’re struggling, there are crisis lines to help:
Oregon County Mental Health Crisis Phone Lines: Find a list by county here.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). En español: 1-888-628-9454. Deaf & hard of hearing access: Chat: 1-800-799-4889.
Text OREGON to 741741 to the Crisis Text Line
YouthLine (For teen-to-teen support). Call 977-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863 (peer support available 4-10pm PST)
The Veteran Crisis Line (Call 1-800-273-8255 and then press “1” or text 838255) and the Military Helpline (Call 1-888-457-4838 anytime; text MIL1 to 839863 Monday – Friday from 2-6pm PST).
The University of Oregon reports the number of freshman students starting this fall is up 17-percent over last year and 53-percent over the last 20-years.
There are 46-hundred first-year students this year. That includes 16-hundred minority students, which is the most the university has ever seen. The overall high school GPA of the freshman class also set a record at three-point-73.