Klamath Basin News, Monday, Nov. 1 – Klamath Youth Baseball & Softball at Kiger Stadium Awarded $28,836 by Economic Development Grant

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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, November 1, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Rain. High near 53. South wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.Overnight a 40% chance of showers with a low around 41.

Tuesday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 57. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph in the afternoon. Overnight low of 36.
Wednesday Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 63. Showers overnight with a low around 42. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Thursday Rain likely, mainly before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Friday A slight chance of rain before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 53.
Saturday A slight chance of rain. Patchy fog. Snow level 5500 feet rising to 7000 feet in the afternoon. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 54.

Today’s Headlines

The Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge looks very different today than it did 35 years ago. About 45 miles north of Klamath Falls along the Williamson River, the natural waterways are limited.

And over the last few decades it has spent more and more of the year in drought conditions with parts nearly or fully drying up. Alex Gonyaw, senior fisheries biologist for the Klamath Tribes, said these are the impacts of man-made calamities on the marsh that span more than 200 years.

Now, along with other scientists at Klamath Marsh, Gonyaw is trying to bring them back, and hoping their beaver dams help the southern portion of the refuge collect and retain water that can help other species. 

Klamath Youth Baseball and Softball (KYBS), the operations and managing nonprofit at historic Kiger Stadium, was awarded a $28,836.00 Economic Development Grant through Klamath County.  

The grant funds, along with monies from the Autzen Foundation and the City of Klamath Falls, will fund painting the outside of the stadium, the press box and the ticket booth along with replacement of the exterior catwalk that leads up to the press box on the roof of the stadium.

The City of Klamath Falls also budgeted for new metal outfield bleachers to be placed on the first and third base sides of the baseball field to replace the recently removed wooden outfield bleachers.

KYBS will continue its grant application efforts and to pursue alternative funding sources to complete major renovations and upgrades to various features at Kiger Stadium in efforts of restoring the historic gem in our City Parks system. 

Future upgrades include: Large murals mounted on the outside of the grandstands, Improving the all-wood historic grandstand seating and professionally cleaning under the roof over the grandstand seating, Changing the outfield lights to a modern and cost-efficient LED lighting system, Stripping and repainting all wood fencing around the stadium, Improving the locker rooms under the stadium for all players, Resurfacing or crack sealing the parking lot and Potentially replacing the grass infield with artificial turf, new infield baseball soil and construction of a new pitching mound.

Over the past few nights, potential future Junior Falcons baseball players had tryouts at Kiger Stadium for their upcoming seasons and were able to enjoy the beautiful field and amenities at the stadium.

Oregon reports 1,420 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 14 new deaths

There are 14 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon over the weekend, raising the state’s death toll to 4,372. Oregon Health Authority reported 1,420 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 365,053.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (24), Clackamas (112), Clatsop (6), Columbia (23), Coos (20), Crook (18), Curry (1), Deschutes (109), Douglas (30), Harney (10), Hood River (6), Jackson (82), Jefferson (21), Josephine (33), Klamath (37), Lake (3), Lane (99), Lincoln (13), Linn (82), Malheur (25), Marion (178), Morrow (1), Multnomah (213), Polk (26), Sherman (4), Tillamook (10), Umatilla (29), Union (7), Wallowa (2), Wasco (14), Washington (140) and Yamhill (38).

Solid Ground Equine-Assisted Activities & Therapy Center has been awarded a $7,700 grant from the Autzen Foundation to support the development of an Equine-Assisted Mental Health & Learning program.

This program will allow Solid Ground equine instructors to work alongside mental health providers to offer therapeutic equine services to youth who are coping with trauma or have experienced adverse childhood events.

The funding will allow Solid Ground instructors to become certified to provide Equine-Assisted Mental Health and Learning support services. The intent is to serve 30 youth participants through this new program offering in 2022 as they embark on their path towards healing.

“Solid Ground has dreamt of establishing a high-quality Equine-Assisted Mental Health & Learning program since our organization’s inception in 2016,” said Shelley Trumbly, Solid Ground Executive Director. “Through the generous support of the Autzen Foundation, we are one step closer to fulfilling this important part of our mission.”

The Oregon Tech Foundation surpassed a huge milestone this past academic year, paying out over $10,229,742 in scholarships to Oregon Institute of Technology students.

The milestone was celebrated Oct. 16 as donors and scholarship recipients gathered to celebrate the annual Scholarship Banquet. Funds raised through scholarships make a dramatic difference across Oregon Tech.

In academic year 2021, the Foundation awarded 341 scholarships ranging from $400 to $10,000.

These scholarships fill various needs for students including those pursuing excellence in academics, assisting those with demonstrated lesser financial resources, providing equipment and technology to those with disabilities, attracting and retaining students in certain fields of study, supporting scholarly athletes, and ensuring a diploma is earned for those close to graduation but have limited to no financial resources left.

Around the state of Oregon

After weeks of interviews and discussions, Southern Oregon University is close to selecting its next president.

On Tuesday, The Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting to decide who will be their top candidate to become the university’s next president. That meeting is currently planned to happen at the Hannon Library around 1:45 p.m. and will go on for roughly two hours.

In that meeting, SOU’s Board of Trustees will hopefully narrow down their top five candidates down to one. After a candidate is selected, the Board of Trustees will still need several weeks to discuss the details of a contact that would be eventually offered.

Medford International Airport has begun offering non-stop flights to Reno. The move was made possible thanks to Aha Airlines, which is powered by veteran ExpressJet Airlines.

The inaugural flight begins aha! service between Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport three times weekly. Flights will operate each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday departing Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport at 11:55 a.m. PT arriving in Reno-Tahoe at 1:05 p.m. PT.

The quick 1 hour and 10 minute nonstop flight eliminates the need for time consuming connections at crowded hubs or a long drive. Nonstop flights give travelers more time for adventure and less time traveling making short, spontaneous vacations possible.

Return flights will operate on the same days, departing Reno-Tahoe at 10 a.m. PT and arriving in Medford at 11:10 a.m. PT.

Gateway Project in Talent Ready to Start Housing Wildfire Survivors

Community leaders in Talent gathered on Saturday for a ribbon-cutting at the Gateway Project, the new site of temporary, affordable housing for wildfire survivors of the 2020 Almeda Fire.

Six travel trailers are currently on site. The rest are expected to arrive over the next month, with the goal of having all trailers filled with families by Christmas.

The newly developed site will house 53 travel trailers set up with utilities near downtown Talent. The project will prioritize housing for some of the 696 families of students in the Talent-Phoenix School District that school administrators estimate were displaced by the fire.

“We see the hope that comes when a clear-sighted, big-hearted community directs its leadership to prioritize bringing our families back home,” said Talent City Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood.

The board of the Urban Renewal Agency of Talent estimates that 30% of those families in the district who were displaced are not receiving support from FEMA, Ayers-Flood said.

The housing project stands apart from other wildfire recovery efforts for the level of local collaboration, fundraising and support from groups within the Rogue Valley. Groups such as the People’s Bank of Commerce Foundation, Rogue Action Center and Rogue Climate, and Medford United Church of Christ helped raise $2,273,000 for the project. In-kind and logistical support came from Talent Maker City, Rogue Retreat and other groups.

“Be clear, cities do not do this work traditionally,” said Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland. “Normally we leave it to FEMA to step in and develop trailers and support people.”

Additional financial support came from statewide entities such as the Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Housing and Community Services. During the event, Mary Ferrell, a council member with the Oregon Housing Stability Council which governs OHCS, announced an additional $422 million will be awarded to Oregon from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for wildfire recovery and rebuilding.

Infrastructure installed at the Gateway Project such as utility lines, water, sewer and sidewalks will pave the way for a future mixed-use affordable housing development on the site in the years ahead.

After nearly ten months of negotiations between private forestry representatives, small forestland owners, conservation leaders, and fishing organizations has resulted in a historic proposal for new protections for sensitive species on over 10 million acres of forestland in Oregon.

Governor Kate Brown made the announcement on Saturday, October 30, stating that the proposal seeks to meet the federal standards for a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan.

The framework of the agreement consists of riparian buffers for streams, rivers and bodies of water, steep slopes protection to minimize erosion and protect habitats, work on an approach moving forward to improve forest roads and work towards a path to make adjustments and adaptation to forest practices in the future.

Legislation will be brought forward to the Oregon Legislature to solidify the Private Forest Accords in statute. The State will bring forward the proposal for consideration by NOAA Fisheries and the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Habitat Conservation Plan.

Oregon employers will pay a lower payroll tax rate for 2022 than they did this year due to recent legislation.

The Oregon Employment Department announced the new rate on Friday. Oregon employers contributing to unemployment insurance will pay an average rate of 1.97% for 2022, down from 2.26% this year. OED said that House Bill 3389 allowed state officials to lower tax rates when other states are increasing unemployment tax rates and continuing to borrow funds.

HB 3389 was signed into law in July, and OED says that it’s projected to save Oregon employers a combined $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. That self-balancing structure involves two major points — movement between eight tax schedules meant to lower rates when the economy is poor and raise them when it is recovering, and individual tax rates for employers based on the number of employees laid off during a given year. HB 3389 changed how the tax schedule is calculated by bypassing most of the temporary pandemic impacts, the recession and mass layoffs.

Time To Renew Expired Oregon Licenses, IDs, And Vehicle Registration Ends December 31st

Time is running out to renew expired vehicle registration, driver licenses, and ID cards in Oregon before a year-end rush and the looming possibility of citation, the Oregon Department of Transportation reminded on Thursday.

Oregon has had a moratorium in place, started during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, that kept law enforcement from citing for expired documentation. That moratorium ends December 31, and ODOT warns that it’s best to take care of any issues as soon as possible, before the rush sets in.

Starting this month of November, the DMV will mail about 300,000 Oregon residents who have expired vehicle registrations, urging them to renew before the end of the year. This mailing is in addition to the usual reminder that the DMV sends a few weeks before your vehicle’s tags expire.

There will not be a second reminder for expired licenses, permits and ID cards.

“You might receive a reminder in the mail even if it doesn’t seem to apply to you,” DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said. “Did you sell your car? If you didn’t notify DMV, we might still show you as the owner. Protect yourself from parking tickets and towing charges: go on-line and notify us of the sale.”

The current moratorium was passed by the legislature this year, but it is the last in a series of grace periods granted to give Oregonians more time to renew at the DMV while COVID-19 restrictions impact availability.

Oregon has added more online feature through the DMV to cut down on the in-person visits required. Before you go to a DMV office, visit DMV2U to see if you can get your service online – or make sure you have what you need to bring to an office.

Oregon Leaders Request Declaration of Fishery Disaster

A delegation of Oregon leaders ⁠— including Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader, and Peter DeFazio — wrote to the U.S. Department of Commerce urging them to declare a catastrophic regional fishery disaster. Three years of drought in a row have severely impacted the Pacific Northwest’s salmon populations.  

The Chinook salmon population has been steadily losing value, going from $6.3 million annually from 2013-2017 to $1.4 million in 2020.  

“[T]he challenging impacts of climate change, increased drought, and changing ocean conditions complicate the recovery of salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest,” lawmakers wrote. “Federal support for this industry is critical while local, state, and federal partners continue to work toward long-term solutions.”   

“In addition to the economic activity generated by this industry, salmon are an important part of the cultural heritage of Pacific Northwest tribes, generate recreational activity, and are a treasured natural resource across the state.” 

A Nevada rancher suing to block construction of the largest lithium mine in the U.S. says the government’s environmental assessment of the project relies on a baseline set by a consultant for the mining company with a conflict of interest that trivializes potential harm to water resources and wildlife near the Oregon line.

Bartell Ranch LLC wants a U.S. judge to order the Bureau of Land Management to provide documents, contracts and internal communications with all third-party consultants the agency used to reach its conclusion that Lithium Nevada Corp.’s mine won’t affect threatened species or significant scientific, cultural or historic resources.

The ranch filed a lawsuit in February challenging plans for the Thacker Pass mine it says would rob the ranch of its precious water rights. The case has been consolidated with lawsuits subsequently filed in U.S. District Court in Reno by conservation groups and tribes alleging the mine would destroy critical sage grouse habitat and damage sacred tribal lands that were the site of a massacre in the 1860s.

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