Klamath Basin News, Monday, 10/18 – Covid Infections Spike Continues in Klamath County; Gov. Brown’s Vaccination Deadlines Loom for Health Care Workers, Education Personnel and State Workers To Show Proof of Vaccination or Approved Exemption

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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.

Monday, October 18 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A chance of rain and snow in the morning hours with the snow level 4900 feet rising to 5800 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 51. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 29.


Tuesday Partly sunny, with a high near 59.
Wednesday A 40% chance of rain, mainly before 11am.
Thursday A 20% chance of rain after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 60.
Friday Rain likely, mainly before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.

Today’s Headlines

A deadly spike in COVID-19 infections that began just before Independence Day could near its end around Christmas, a new state forecast said Thursday.

But with more than two months to go to reach the projected end point, about 177,000 more infections are expected in the state, according to the Oregon Health & Science University weekly forecast released late Thursday.

The Oregon Health Authority said Friday that hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue a steady decline in Oregon, with 563 infected patients hospitalized on Friday, less than half the 1,178 recorded Sept. 1 Hospital Region 7, which covers eight central Oregon counties and includes Bend and Klamath Falls. Rates of hospitalizations and deaths remain “stubbornly high” in the region.

Sky Lakes Medical Center had 25 COVID-19 patients, the fifth most in the state. St. Charles Bend had 70 COVID-19 patients according to a Friday OHA tabulation, the most in the state. It reported 11 COVID-19 patients in its intensive care unit, the second highest in the state.

Patients with COVID-19 accounted for 24% of all cases in intensive care units statewide as of Oct. 12. At the peak of the spike, they took up more than 50% of ICU capacity.

A lawsuit against Oregon’s vaccine mandate for state employees, health care workers, and teachers will be heard today, the same day the mandate takes effect.  

The lawsuit was filed by seven Oregonians who will argue they should be exempt because they previously had COVID-19 and recovered from it.  They claim there’s evidence that people who recover from COVID-19 have a greater risk of having an adverse reaction. The CDC says it’s safe if the person waits 90 days after recovering from the virus.

A man from Tulelake has been arrested and accused of raping a minor

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office said that the sex abuse happened in 2014.

KCSO detectives arrested 29-year-old Douglas Allan Lewis on October 7. He was charged with rape, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sexual penetration. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Lewis’ sexually abused a minor in 2014.

The events were recently reported, leading to an investigation.

Brixner Junior High School teacher Kara Contreras has two classrooms — one inside and one outside.

Over the past three years, Contreras and her ecology students created an outdoor classroom that attracts pollinators, provides habitat for the endangered monarch butterfly, and last spring was home to fledgling barn owls.

That classroom – called a Schoolyard Habitat – earned Brixner an Eco-Schools USA Bronze Award from the National Wildlife Federation for exceptional achievement in educating for sustainability.

To receive the award, Brixner students and staff created of an outdoor classroom and garden that raises environmental awareness, connects students to the natural world, improves the school’s environmental footprint and increases student engagement.

Contreras also was among three educators nationwide chosen by the National Wildlife Federation to teach a series of webinars designed to help others design, develop, and implement schoolyard habitat programs and outdoor classrooms at their schools.

The development of future trails at Crater Lake National Park will be discussed and open for public comment during a virtual meeting Wednesday.

Park officials will outline the proposed trail management plan that will help guide trail management over the next 25 years. Two of the plan’s alternatives include proposals for the possible addition of more than 20 miles of new trails. Wednesday’s virtual meeting will run from 6-7:30 p.m. Following an overview of the draft plan and information on how to comment — the comment deadline is Oct. 21 — there will be question-answer period. The draft plan includes three alternatives.

The “no action” alternative would make no changes in the park’s existing trail network, which covers 95 miles of summer and winter trails, including nearly 35 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board awarded a Fulbright grant to Sharon Beaudry of Oregon Institute of Technology.

Beaudry, a business professor, spent September completing a project at the Southern African Wildlife College in South Africa. Beaudry is one of more than 400 U.S. citizens who share expertise with host institutions abroad through the Fulbright Program each year. The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), an applied learning institution located within the borders of Kruger National Park, is a leader in developing and training professionals in the conservation sector.

Beaudry, who has expertise in business strategy, human resources and accreditation, spent a month helping SAWC build quality measures for their strategic plan.

Working alongside Anelle Rautenbach, the college’s head of quality management and accreditation, the project’s goal was to build out the college’s strategic plan’s balanced approach that supports its holistic mission of conservation.

Around the state of Oregon

Governor Kate Brown’s vaccination mandate deadline for educators and health care workers and state employees is today.

Hundreds of workers in Oregon may lose their job if they do not show proof of vaccination or get an approved exemption by today.

As of last month, more than 2,000 Oregon state workers filed an exemption. Of those, 90% were religious requests.Employers can ask additional questions to determine the sincerity of someone’s religious exemption claim. But lawyers said suggesting a claim is unreasonable becomes more complicated.

(file photo)

Governor Kate Brown’s office responded on Friday to a letter published by members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation highlighting alleged mismanagement and delay of benefits and pay for National Guard members deployed to help hospitals understaffed and overwhelmed by the COVID-19 Delta variant surge.

The original letter, addressed to Gov. Brown and Major General Michael E. Stencel, said that the treatment some service members faced was “unacceptable” — citing reports that the deployment was chaotic, and that Guardsmen received contradictory or lackluster directions about where they needed to be and when.

Some Guardsmen were left hanging up to mid-September, according to the lawmakers, and some had to reserve hotels or other accommodations with their own money, while others reportedly found that their travel vouchers weren’t recognized.

In a statement, Governor Brown’s office said that the Oregon Military Department had already started addressing the issues last week and let the Congressional delegation know. Gov. Brown’s press secretary Liz Merah said that the issues also seemed to be confined to a handful of the Guardsmen deployed.

A central Oregon ski area operator will keep in place a new ski pass that allows people who pay more to bypass most chairlift lines despite a request from Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden to scrap the plan due to equity issues.

Powdr Corp. co-Presidents Wade Martin and Justin Sibley, in an open letter Friday, said the company intends to keep the pass available at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, but will offer season ticket holders refunds before the season starts. The pass, called Fast Tracks and announced Monday, starts at $49 per day and allows buyers to use a dedicated lane at each chairlift.

The price will vary based on high-demand days, the company said. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the land the ski area is located on, has looked into the matter. Deschutes National Forest District Ranger Kevin Larkin told The Bulletin in a story on Friday that the agency will continue to evaluate information.

Unrest continues in Portland, Oregon, now in its 17th month…

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and city officials continue to stand by and do little as protesters continue to destroy Oregon’s biggest city. A crowd of 100 people wreaked havoc in downtown Portland, Oregon, last week, smashing storefront windows, lighting dumpsters on fire and causing at least $500,000 in damage.

But police officers didn’t stop them. Portland Police Bureau officials say that’s because legislation passed by Oregon lawmakers this year restricts the tools they can use as people vandalize buildings and cause mayhem.

The measure prohibits the use of things like pepper spray and rubber bullets for crowd control. However there are exceptions, and lawmakers say police should still be able to use the tools they need to quell riots.

Portland has seen ongoing, often violent protests since the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis over a year and a half ago.

Governor Kate Brown’s office responded on Friday to a letter published by members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation highlighting alleged mismanagement and delay of benefits and pay for National Guard members deployed to help hospitals understaffed and overwhelmed by the COVID-19 Delta variant surge.

The original letter, addressed to Gov. Brown and Major General Michael E. Stencel, said that the treatment some service members faced was “unacceptable” — citing reports that the deployment was chaotic, and that Guardsmen received contradictory or lackluster directions about where they needed to be and when.

Some Guardsmen were left hanging up to mid-September, according to the lawmakers, and some had to reserve hotels or other accommodations with their own money, while others reportedly found that their travel vouchers weren’t recognized.

In a statement, Governor Brown’s office said that the Oregon Military Department had already started addressing the issues last week and let the Congressional delegation know. Gov. Brown’s press secretary Liz Merah said that the issues also seemed to be confined to a handful of the Guardsmen deployed.

A new study out of Oregon State University shows sunscreen with the common ingredient zinc oxide loses much of its effectiveness and becomes toxic after two hours of exposure to the sun.  

Researchers at OSU say zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are effective at blocking UV rays, but they change and turn toxic after two hours of exposure and they lose 80-percent of their effectiveness.  The study was published in Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.

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