Klamath Basin News, Monday, 10/11 – Huge Marijuana Operation Discovered off Highway 39, Estimated To Be Worth $100 Million

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Monday, October 11, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Wind Advisory in effect from October 11, 1:00PM to 09:00PM

Monday, Columbus Day Mostly sunny, with a high near 50. Breezy north northwest wind 14 to 19 mph increasing to 28 mph in the afternoon. Overnight mostly clear with a low of 24.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 55.
Wednesday A slight chance of snow showers, mixing with rain after 8am, then gradually ending. Snow level rising to 5400 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 52.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 58.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 67.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 71.

Deputies stumbled Wednesday into the most significant illegal marijuana operation in Klamath County history.

The 27,000-square-foot potato shed south of Klamath Falls was filled with marijuana in various stages of processing: drying in giant strands that stretched from the roof to the floor, buds pruned and stuffed into 40-pound bags, hundreds of those bags stacked against a wall, and years of discarded marijuana waste in piles ready for disposal.

Sheriff Chris Kaber said Friday he had never seen anything like it in 30 years of police work. The Sheriff’s Office conservatively estimated the street value of the marijuana inside the shed to be worth in excess of $100 million. 

And it wouldn’t have been found if a single car hadn’t thrown up enough dust that a neighbor mistook it for a wisp of smoke. Klamath County Fire District crews and county deputies arrived at the location, west of Highway 39 not far from Klamath Community College, after a 911 call about possible smoke in the area was made about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Deputies noticed the back of a nearby building was open and they could clearly see marijuana inside. And there was more of it than any of them had ever seen before. The scale of this operation was so massive, Kaber said it changed his perception of the extent of the problem locally.

After securing the area and identifying some of the people on the premises, officers documented the property and made sure everything stayed put. And then a number of county agencies got to work removing the incredible amount of marijuana, which will take days if not weeks.

Covid continues to remain fairly active in the Klamath Basin, but  for the first time in several months, COVID-19 hospitalizations across Asante dipped below 40.

On Saturday, the company reporting that only 38 people are in the hospital with COVID-19, a 75% decrease in hospitalizations according to Asante since the peak of the pandemic across Jackson and Josephine Counties on August 29. Even with the good news, most hospitalizations from COVID-19 continue to be from people who have decided not to get the vaccine.

Asante is reporting that 89%, or 34 out of their 38 patients, are people who are unvaccinated. Four COVID-19 hospitalizations are from people who still got infected even after getting the vaccine. All 15 patients in the ICU, MCU and all eight patients who are on ventilators are those who are unvaccinated.

New COVID-19 deaths across Asante facilities have also begun to slow, with 10 new deaths in the last seven days.

Still in the last 90 days Asante is reporting that more than 170 people have died from COVID-19 across all of their locations. 

Oregon Tech administrators, faculty, students and stakeholders finally got to cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Cornett Hall on Thursday.

The building, which houses modernized learning spaces and multiple hands-on labs key to many engineering courses, has been fully functioning since last year, but a pandemic delay pushed the ribbon cutting to this school year.

The 101,000 square-foot space is the largest on campus. Many of the speakers credited the university’s faculty for churning out high-quality graduates inside the aging, less-than-ideal space that was the pre-renovation Cornett Hall.  T

he building is named for Marshall Cornett, a Klamath Falls businessman and politician who eventually became the Oregon State Senate President in 1947 — the same year the school was founded, noted Vince Jones, the vice chair of the Oregon Tech Board of Trustees. That same year as well, Cornett and Gov. Earl Snell (who also has an OIT building named after him) died in a plane crash in rural Lake County. 

A Klamath Union student was named the winner of a nationwide yearbook contest. Senior Bailyn Amos was nominated by media design teacher Daniel Stearns for being dedicated to the yearbook, being an amazing leader and motivating the other students.

TreeRing, a digitally produced, published-on-demand yearbook company for K-12 schools, called on all its schools’ parents, teachers and students to nominate yearbook heroes in this first ever contest. This is TreeRing’s first year hosting this contest, which was created to celebrate yearbook heroes in our halls and in our homes.

Judging for the contest was based on the speaker’s clarity and storytelling ability about why their yearbook hero should be chosen.

People’s Bank of Commerce, based in Medford announced that Amanda Brown has joined the bank as a mortgage loan officer serving customer relations and businesses in the Klamath Falls footprints. 

Amanda has been in the customer service industry for more than 20 years across the United States and is very proud to now call Sothern Oregon her residence. Her family moved to Klamath Falls four years ago. They enjoy the outdoor recreation lifestyle, including camping, skiing, kayaking, to biking.

In addition, she enjoys volunteering in the schools and is currently a board member of the Southern Oregon Ski Education Foundation.For questions, get in touch with her via email at amanda.brown@peoplesbank.bank or in person at the new downtown Klamath Falls People’s Bank branch.

Around the state of Oregon

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is warning consumers about fraudulent activity from an alleged Internet-based mortgage lending and consumer finance company that is committing an advance fee scam, as well as impersonating a legitimate company.

The division has received five complaints from victims of the advance fee scam. Four of the five complaints were filed in the past year. The scammers have co-opted the name and address for a real Portland-based company named Canyon Investments. The real Canyon Investments has nothing to do with the lending scam. The fraudsters, whose identities the division has not been able to determine, have set up an imposter website to make it look like the real Canyon Investments.

They use Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP),  phone apps, spoof emails, and stock photos to give the appearance of a legitimate company offering funding for real estate purchases and investments. The real Canyon Investments does not have a website and does not offer loans to consumers.

Our listeners in Northern California have a new law in effect. Saturday, October 9, California became the first state to say large department stores must display products like toys and toothbrushes in gender-neutral ways. 

Advocates of the new law say the pink and blue branding is a traditional marketing method which pressures children to conform to gender stereotypes.

Governor Gavin Newsom does not outlaw traditional boys and girls sections at department stores. Instead, the new law says large stores must also have a gender neutral section to display “a reasonable selection” of items “regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.”

A judge has rejected a request by 33 Oregon State Police troopers to temporarily halt a mandate that requires them to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Jack Landau said in a written opinion Thursday that based on case law “the police power of the state includes the authority to enact public health laws that may have the effect of curtailing individual rights.”

Landau went on to say that Gov. Kate Brown is acting within her legislatively granted authority in issuing the vaccine mandate. As members of Oregon’s executive branch, the state police were among the first to come under Governor Brown’s vaccine requirements when she introduced them in August. The October 18 deadline came after the Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval.

Oregon State University’s Board of Trustees staff have outlined a plan to have a new president chosen by May 2022.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the preliminary plan was outlined by staff in a meeting Friday. The board is hoping to manage a process and presidential hire that can build trust after a scandal forced out the previous president of Oregon’s largest university.

OSU’s previous president, F. King Alexander, resigned in March following criticism of the way he handled sexual misconduct allegations at Louisiana State University. The current head of OSU is interim president Becky Johnson who was elevated from her vice president role at OSU-Cascades in April.

Jay Reese, file photo

A southern Oregon sportscaster arrested in February on sex abuse charges has been sentenced. Police in Grants Pass arrested 60-year-old Jay Reese after a 17-year-old girl said Reese sexually abused her at his home.

Prosecutors also found, during their investigation of that case, found images on his phone of underage girls engaging in sexual conduct with an adult male. Initially, Reese was indicted on three charges of sexual abuse in the second degree and two counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree. Thursday, Eastman said he is not allowed to be around minors or where minors gather Reese pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse. The other charges were dropped. 

He was sentenced to 25 days in jail with credit for time served and three years of probation. Reese also has to register as a sex offender, which will follow him if he moves out of state.  He is also not allowed to contact the victim and has to pay her $1,000.

Have a question for the employment department?  It’s now, after 19 months, back to normal when calling the employment department.

That was one of the least productive things you could do for the first several months of the pandemic, when the Oregon Employment Department was essentially inaccessible by phone. New state data, though, shows that calls are finally getting answered.

The employment department says it’s now answering more than 90% of calls within 15 minutes. Nearly 80% of calls are answered within five minutes. That’s within spitting distance of the state’s goal of answering 90% that quickly.

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