Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 11/3 -Friends of the Children Launches “Annual Potato Sale Fundraiser” on Saturday

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Partly sunny, with a high near 61. Light and variable wind to 10 mph. Overnight, expect rain with a low of 44. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Thursday Rain before 9am, then showers, mainly between 9am and noon, high of just 48. Rain overnight, low of 32.
Friday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. South southeast wind 5 to 7 mph. Cloudy overnight with a low around 37.
Saturday A 40% chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50.

Today’s Headlines

Two people have been indicted on money laundering and marijuana-related charges following a drug task force raid on an allegedly illegal marijuana operation on Philpott Road.

They are the first charges filed after local and regional law enforcement spent months uncovering and destroying local marijuana operations, some of which had hundreds of millions of dollars in product on site.

On Thursday, Oct. 28, the Klamath County Grand Jury returned indictments against Perla Zochitl Diaz-Santiago and Nathan Freeman.

Both were charged with money laundering, unlawful manufacture of marijuana, conspiracy to commit the unlawful manufacture of marijuana, and unlawful possession of marijuana or hemp by a person 21 years of age or older.

All four charges are felonies. Charges stem from an investigation by the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team, which executed warrants on Sept. 14 at the Philpott Road property. Investigators uncovered 132 greenhouses that contained approximately 51,480 marijuana plants. The plants and other illegal materials on site were seized and destroyed.

Arrest warrants have been issued for both Diaz-Santiago and Freeman, the release said. The whereabouts of both defendants is currently unknown.

The National Weather Service is predicting a wetter-than-normal season for the Klamath Basin, expecting above average precipitation to continue to soak the area through at least January

According to NWS meteorologist Brett Lutz, the second half of October was wet enough to finally put an end to the longest fire season on record for Klamath Falls.

On average, the Klamath Falls area gets doused by about 0.74 inches of rain in the month of October. This year, it received 2.31 inches — or 312% of the normal, Lutz said. Klamath Falls receives an average of 13.41 inches of rain in a given water year. A water year begins Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30 of the following year.

Last water year precipitation was hard to come by. Only 5.9 inches fell all year, exacerbating an intermittent drought that has hampered the area since 2008. But Lutz said this year is off to a much better start and may continue that way for months.

Friends of the Children-Klamath Basin, will launch its Annual Potato Sale Fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the parking lot of Klamath Falls Subaru on Washburn Way.

The potatoes are premium russets donated by CAL-ORE Produce. They will be sold in 20-pound boxes for $20, with all proceeds directly supporting youth mentoring.

Beginning Nov. 8, potatoes will be available for purchase from these community partners: Country Financial Insurance and Financial Services (5031 S. 6th St.), First Interstate Bank (South 7th Street), Les Schwab Tire Center (South 6th Street), Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union (Washburn Way and South 6th Street) and WaFd Bank (South 6th Street and Main Street). Also beginning Nov. 8, potatoes are available for delivery in Klamath Falls or pickup, by appointment, at 3837 Altamont Drive.

Call 541-273-2022 to set up. Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit that works to empower youth through relationships with professional mentors. It originated in Portland in 1993 and was established in Klamath Falls in 2000. Learn more at friendsklamath.org.

The Salvation Army in Klamath Falls is now accepting applications for Christmas food and gifts for children through December 3.

Pick up applications at the Salvation Army office, located at 2960 Maywood Drive. The office is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1-3 p.m. and on Fridays from 1-3 p.m. For information, call 541-882-5280 or Debi at 541-892-2723.

Around the state of Oregon

A judge has found that new congressional districts passed by Oregon Democrats meet all legal criteria, with little evidence they amount to blatant partisan gerrymandering.

The tentative opinion, released Monday by retired state Judge Henry Breithaupt, is not the final word in an ongoing lawsuit, in which Republicans are seeking to have the new six-district congressional map redrawn.

Breithaupt is acting as a “special master” in the case, tasked with making findings of fact for a five-judge panel that will decide the outcome.

Following the latest U.S. Census Oregon received an additional seat in the U.S. House— increasing the number of congressional districts from five to six. There are currently four Democratic U.S. House members from Oregon and one Republican. The findings by Breithaupt suggest Republicans have failed to prove their insistence that Democrats purposefully stacked the new congressional maps in their own favor.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of former Secretary of State Bev Clarno and three other former Republican elected officials called the map “a clear, egregious partisan gerrymander.” The congressional map proposed by Democrats was a major sticking point in the special session lawmakers held to pass new political maps in September.

Oregon is leading a coalition of states and the District of Columbia intervening in a class action lawsuit against the federal government for Trump-era changes to the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws at religious schools.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 18 other attorneys general filed an amicus brief on Tuesday with the US District Court for the District of Oregon, joining the class action Hunter v. US Department of Education case.

The brief supports the plaintiffs in the suit, students who oppose the federal government’s implementation of religious exceptions from Title IX anti-discrimination laws that started during the Trump administration. Title IX generally prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded schools, and requires that schools act to prevent discrimination and harassment on campus. However it originally provided a slight carve-out for schools run by religious institutions. That exception expanded under Trump-era officials.

According to Rosenblum’s office, the Trump-era rule allows any school that claims its mission statement is predicated on religious beliefs can claim an exemption from the anti-discrimination requirements of Title IX. Moreover, schools no longer have to claim this exemption in writing to the Dept. of Education, making the process of skirting Title IX faster and easier.

Oregon veterans have a new resource to find training and employment services. The Oregon Employment Department has created a new digital library that includes short videos, podcasts, and training.

It’s expected to be especially helpful to veterans in rural Oregon where in-person services are more difficult to find. The Veterans Services staff at the Oregon Employment Department has spent more than a year creating the materials.

The body of a Grants Pass man was recovered from the Rogue River last Friday, weeks after he reportedly jumped into the Rogue River to escape police officers.

According to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, officers from the Grants Pass Police Department responded to the 100-block of Gold River Lane around 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 10, for reports of a suspicious male trespassing on private property.

When officers contacted the man, he provided a fake name, the Sheriff’s Office said. During the encounter, he ran away from police and into the Rogue River. 

He was later identified as 61-year-old Ricky Allen McCord of Grants Pass, and the Sheriff’s Office said that there was an active felony warrant for his arrest. Police officers were unable to locate him after he went into the river, and there was no sign of him for several weeks.

On October 31, 2021, at about 10:30 A.M., an Oregon State Police Trooper stopped a black Chevy Camaro on Interstate 5 northbound near milepost 174 for a traffic violation.

During the contact, the Trooper observed signs of criminal activity, and a probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted. During the search, approximately 7 pounds of Cocaine, 9.8 pounds of Heroin, and 1315 grams of pills, believed to contain Fentanyl, were located inside the vehicle.

An Oregon State Police drug detection K-9 assisted during the investigation. The driver, identified as Timoteo Salomon Evora-Vigil, (21), from Gilroy, CA was arrested for Unlawful Delivery and Possession of Cocaine, Heroin, and a Schedule II Controlled Substance.

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