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Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 10/7 – Bankruptcy Judge Extends Deadline for Eternal Hills Sale to Nov. 15th; Klamath County Adds 70 New Covid-19 Cases Overnight

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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.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 62. North wind around 5 mph. Overnight, cloudy, with a low around 36.

Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 62. Light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Overnight low of just 33 degrees.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 63. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday A 30% chance of rain after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.
Monday, Columbus Day A chance of rain after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 48.

Today’s Headlines

The deadline for the sale of the Eternal Hills cemetery was officially extended to November 15, a federal bankruptcy judge ordered last week.

Judge Thomas Renn, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Oregon, also scheduled a final hearing for December 3 where motions — filed by the Robert Alan Gordon Family Trust and seeking approval for both an extension of the sale deadline and for the cemetery’s sale to a local Klamath Falls man — will be discussed.

In their own court filings, attorneys for the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board, signaled their objections to the motions. Stukel Memorial Services — a new company started by Klamath Falls native Travis Sandusky — is still in line to purchase the property. Sandusky and his wife, Alice, have owned and operated Cascade Cremation & Burial on East Main Street since last year. Sandusky is also the nephew of former Eternal Hills Vice President Tim Lancaster.

Previous court filings showed that the OMCB took exception to some portions of a draft plan to purchase the cemetery and notified the other parties of the board’s intent to deny the purchase.

The plan would have included a $300,000 purchase price secured by a second position lien on Sandusky’s commercial property as well as a provision that would have adjusted the property line on a portion of the cemetery. The cemetery board specifically took issue with the property line change.

There are 33 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,900. Oregon Health Authority reported 1,564 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 338,130.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (8), Benton (21), Clackamas (85), Clatsop (13), Columbia (11), Coos (32), Crook (27), Curry (7), Deschutes (130), Douglas (49), Grant (15), Harney (16), Hood River (19), Jackson (102), Jefferson (16), Josephine (19), Klamath (70), Lake (4), Lane (112), Lincoln (19), Linn (69), Malheur (29), Marion (167), Morrow (8), Multnomah (128), Polk (121), Tillamook (6), Umatilla (58), Union (12), Wallowa (22), Wasco (13), Washington (101), and Yamhill (55). 

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 730, which is three fewer than yesterday. There are 187 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one more than yesterday. There are 53 available adult ICU beds out of 693 total (8% availability) and 319 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,240 (8% availability).

Regionally, here are the number of new Covid cases reported by the OHA:  Jackson (102), Josephine (19),  Deschutes (130), Klamath (70), Lake (4) and Douglas (70).

“Flashlight tours” of the Baldwin Hotel Museum are being offered on Saturday evenings this month. Dates available include Oct. 9, 16, and 23. Cost for the nighttime tours is $10 per person.

Group size for the tours is limited to six people, and payment must be made in advance. Flashlights are provided by the museum. The flashlight tours will last approximately one hour, and will involve climbing stairs. The historic structure is not accessible for people with impaired mobility. Temperatures inside the building will be relatively cool.

The tour is not recommended for small children. The Baldwin Hotel, built in 1905 at 31 Main St., originally housed a hardware store on the ground floor with offices on the upper three floors. By 1911 the building had been converted to a hotel. Klamath County acquired the building and opened it as a public museum in 1978.

Around the state of Oregon

The body of a Roseburg woman who went missing more than a week ago within the Umpqua National Forest has been found, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

43-year-old Branda Hoyle was on an outing with family members near Toketee on September 25 when she walked away from the group, DCSO said.

The family became concerned when she didn’t return, and they were unable to find her after searching the area. They later called 911 to report her missing.

Search and rescue teams from Douglas, Jackson, and Lane counties commenced a search for Hoyle with the aid of Oregon State Police and PacifiCorp. The Sheriff’s Office said that efforts included ground searchers, mountain rescue searchers, K9 teams, 4×4 teams, aircraft and drones. On Monday, a 911 caller reported finding a body along the North Umpqua River, about 2.5 miles east of the Umpqua Hot Springs along the North Umpqua Trail.

Deputies and search teams responded, soon determining that the body was Hoyle.

DCSO said that it is investigating her death, but there are no indications of foul play. Prolonged exposure to the elements is considered to be the most likely cause.

For those that have health care providers in Central Oregon starting Monday, October 18th, visitors to St. Charles Medical Center facilities must be fully vaccinated.

This is the same day that all health care workers are also required to be fully vaccinated by the state of Oregon. In a press release, Dr. Jeff Absalon, the chief physician executive, says that safety is the top priority and they have had to make changes to the visitor policy to keep all patients, caregivers and others safe. Visitors will only be allowed with acceptable proof of vaccination.

The Oregon Employment Department said Wednesday that the state’s hospitality sector is still about 35,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, and there are several reasons why — while many have moved on to other types of work, a near-equal number have dropped out of the workforce entirely.

According to an OED report, about 81,000 Oregonians saw their unemployment benefits end when the federal government’s pandemic-related programs were allowed to expire on September 4.

Roughly 49,000 of those workers were on Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claims, and another 32,000 on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits — the latter covering those who were self-employed, contract workers, or gig workers. As pandemic unemployment benefits ended, only about 8,400 of the workers receiving benefits had been employed with Oregon’s hotels, restaurants, and bars before they lost their jobs. And yet, OED says, the accommodation and food services sector is still about 35,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels.

Of course, hospitality is not the only sector still experiencing low staffing in Oregon and across the country. OED pointed to academic and private sector findings that suggest a web of continued COVID-19 concerns, low wages in certain sectors, retirements, a collapse of migrant labor during the pandemic, and increased self-employment have all contributed to the labor shortage.

Half of Oregon is officially free of fire season, while the state’s eastern and southern regions need significantly more rain before they’re in the clear, experts say.

Record-breaking September rainfall, longer nights and more humid air have signaled the beginning of the end of a historic 2021 fire season. But fall rains have a decades-long drought to overcome in most of the West, meaning thicker fuels like timber aren’t yet saturated by the season’s precipitation.

The Oregon Department of Forestry has announced an end to the fire season in five of its 10 districts. Those districts include Washington, Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook, Lane, Benton, Lincoln, Polk and Yamhill counties, as well as the southern part of Linn County. The five districts that include most of southern and eastern Oregon still remain in fire season.

On Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at approximately 1:06 AM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 58 near milepost 26

Preliminary investigation revealed an eastbound Honda Civic, operated by Ellen Fiske (52) of Florence, crossed over into the oncoming lane and struck a Peterbilt commercial motor vehicle, operated by Travis Murphy (48) of Klamath Falls.  Fiske sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Murphy was not injured. 

Hwy 58 was closed for approximately 2 hours and lanes were restricted for an additional 5 hours.  OSP was assisted by Lowell Fire Department and ODOT. 

In 2022, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will kick off a year-long celebration that commemorates 100 years of Oregon State Parks.

It all began with a 5-acre land donation in 1922 that became Oregon’s first official state park. A century later, the state park system comprises 254 properties and more than 100,000 acres. From the first 5-acre land donation in 1922 until 1989, Oregon’s state park system grew within the Oregon Department of Transportation and its predecessor agencies. Oregon Parks and Recreation officially became an independent agency in 1990 with much fanfare and public engagement. 

In 1998, when some state parks were on the verge of closing, voters passed Measure 66, dedicating a portion of Oregon Lottery funding to OPRD. That vote provided the funding stability needed to keep parks open. That year, Oregon celebrated its first annual State Parks Day with free day-use parking and overnight camping. State parks visitors are encouraged to post photos of their favorite state parks with hashtags #oregonstateparks and #oregonstateparks100.

Follow Oregon State Parks on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the latest centennial updates, and to participate in digital engagement opportunities. 

A California forest products company has bought Seneca, a Eugene, Oregon-based company that had owned more than 100,000 acres of land in southwestern Oregon.

Sierra Pacific Industries announced last week it had completed the acquisition. The combination of the two companies means Sierra Pacific Industries will have more than 2.3 million acres of timberlands, 18 sawmills and eight renewable biomass energy cogeneration facilities, along with millwork and windows operations.

Sierra Pacific Industries is based in Anderson, California. It owns and manages timberland in California, Oregon and Washington and is one of the largest U.S. lumber manufacturers. The company also produces millwork, windows and renewable energy. Seneca was founded in Eugene in 1953. Seneca owned 131,000 acres of land in Douglas County.

(Salem) – Every October, open enrollment begins for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Medicare plans and coverage for prescription drugs change each year, so it is important for Oregonians who are enrolled in Medicare to evaluate their plan options and make changes during open enrollment.

Open enrollment for the 2022 Medicare plan year is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2021.

The Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program with the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) is available to help Oregonians understand their Medicare options and benefits, provide enrollment guidance, and answer any questions related to Medicare benefits. 

“Medicare is a critical benefit for older adults and people with disabilities and navigating the options available can be confusing,” said Jane-Ellen Weidanz, ODHS Long Term Services and Supports Administrator. “SHIBA is here to help Oregonians make the right choice for them.”

Local SHIBA counselors are available to help and can be found by visiting SHIBA.Oregon.gov or calling (800) 722-4134 (toll-free). To accommodate COVID-19 safety precautions, SHIBA counselors are providing telephone and limited in-person support. 

SHIBA’s 2022 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans is expected to be available on SHIBA.Oregon.gov on or about Oct. 15. 

SHIBA provides trained counselors to educate and advocate for Oregonians with Medicare. Get local Medicare help visiting SHIBA.Oregon.gov or (800) 722-4134 (toll-free).

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