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Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 11/10 – United Way at 37% of Local Goal; Klamath Veterans Day Events Planned Tomorrow for the Public

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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.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Rain and snow likely, becoming all rain after 11am, then cloudy with a high near 46. Snow level 4700 feet rising to 9300 feet. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. Overnight a 20% chance of rain, low around 39 degrees.

Thursday, Veterans Day Patchy fog before noon. Otherwise, cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 58.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 59.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 59.

Today’s Headlines

There are 35 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,655. Oregon Health Authority reported 1,120 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (11), Clackamas (62), Clatsop (6), Columbia (19), Coos (20), Crook (24), Curry (3), Deschutes (77), Douglas (42), Grant (30), Hood River (16), Jackson (68), Jefferson (13), Josephine (19), Klamath (98), Lake (6), Lane (57), Lincoln (22), Linn (59), Malheur (9), Marion (122), Morrow (7), Multnomah (96), Polk (40), Tillamook (7), Umatilla (47), Union (3), Wasco (18), Washington (67) and Yamhill (47). 

After a weekend of reporting just over 20 new cases in Klamath County, we had 98 new cases according to OHA, yesterday.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 510, which is 10 fewer than yesterday. There are 127 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is seven fewer than yesterday. Adjacent county counts include Deschutes (77), Jackson (68), Lake (6), Josephine (19) Douglas (42), and Lane (57).

Sky Lakes Medical Center reports they are at active status today with just 14 Covid patients, the lowest it has been in the past two weeks.  Nearly half of those patients are in ICU.

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United Way officials announced that $184,000 — or 37 percent — of its $501,000 Community Campaign goal has been raised thus far, according to a news release.

The final results of the campaign are expected to be announced in late January 2022, and it’s never too late to give.

Like United Way, those 16 agencies are transparent, accountable, and do an excellent job of helping our fellow citizens, said Cabral. Contributions for non-itemizers are tax-deductible up to $300 annually, according to Cabral.

Contributions can be sent to United Way of the Klamath Basin at 136 N. Third Street Klamath Falls, OR 97601.

United Way supported agencies include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, CASA, Crisis Center/Marta’s House, Lutheran Community Services, Foster Grandparents program, Klamath/Lake Counties Food Bank, Klamath Hospice, Senior Citizens’ Center, SPOKES Unlimited, Friends of the Children, Citizens for Safe Schools, Integral Youth Services, The Salvation Army and the Klamath KID Center.

Tristan Walker, Yuleidy Gonzalez, Analeisa Greenwood and Johaned Aguilar, were part of the winning team at the FFA Agronomy Career Development Event.

The students’ knowledge of agronomic science was tested through several levels of competition including developing solutions for problematic scenarios; identification of seeds, insects, soil and crops; and other management practices, the release added. The award was given to the team in front of a large audience of onlookers. The Tulelake team wanted to give a special shoutout to FFA ag advisor Timothy Brown, who got them qualified into the nationals and helped them achieve the fourth-place finish.

The school’s FFA team collectively won three gold emblems and one silver emblem in addition to the fourth place finish.

Chris Mengel, the new superintendent for Lava Beds and Tule Lake national Monuments, is facing several challenges at both parks.

Mengel, 55, took over as superintendent in October after serving as chief ranger at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

He replaces Larry Whalon, who retired earlier this year. A major change at Tule Lake will be opening a temporary visitor center next spring or summer at the former ditch rider house at the former Tule Lake Segregation Center near Newell. It’s expected that opening will significantly increase visitation, as the park’s only current information center is at the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fairgrounds office in Tulelake.

Planned 2022 events include ceremonies marking the rehabilitation of the center’s former prison and the 80th anniversary of the Tule Lake being established in May 1942. Lava Beds is also remembering key dates, including the 150th anniversary of the start of the Modoc Indian War in 2022.

Upcoming projects at Lava Beds include repaving the park’s south entrance road and replacing the asphalt on trails from parking areas to several of the caves and cultural sites.

The Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main St., will be open regular hours on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission will be free for all veterans and active military personnel.

The Museum maintains a list of more than 300 people with connections to the Klamath Basin who have died during military service or while performing public safety missions.

The list can be found online at klamathmuseum.org. For more information contact the museum at (541) 882-1000.

Around the state of Oregon

Southern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday announced their pick for the college’s next president when Dr. Linda Schott retires at the end of this year.

Schott announced her impending retirement in April. In October, SOU began a series of interviews with five finalists for the position. Those wrapped up at the end of the month, and the Board of Trustees scheduled a special meeting for deliberations ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

The next president will be Dr. Richard J. Bailey, Jr. He currently serves as president of Northern New Mexico College, where he has led for five years.

According to the Board of Trustees, Bailey will serve under the same pay, benefits, and other terms as President Schott. The appointment becomes effective January 15 of 2022. Dr. Bailey earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy, his master’s degree in International Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis, and his doctorate in government from Georgetown University.

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Are you really out there Spotted Owl?

The Biden administration has tossed out Trump-era changes to federal protections for the Northern Spotted Owl, a threatened species native to old growth forests along the coastal Pacific Northwest.

In 2019, the federal Department of the Interior began a series of rule changes chipping away at protections under the Endangered Species Act, saying that the move would improve efficiency of oversight.

In January, just before President Biden took office, the US Fish & Wildlife Service published a revised critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl, reducing the protected area by more than 3.4 million acres — much of it in Oregon.

Conservation groups sued the federal government in protest earlier this year. But this week, the USFWS filed to withdraw the final rule that would have gone into effect on December 15 — reducing the habitat rollbacks from 3.4 million acres to 204,294 acres in Oregon exclusively.

The northern spotted owl first received a threatened designation under the Endangered Species Act in 1990. Conflict over the species’ protected habitat and logging concerns has continued ever since, as the owl’s natural habitat lies in prized old-growth forests. Despite protections, the spotted owl’s population has continued to dwindle over the decades. 

Along with the threat of habitat loss, the spotted owl has increasingly suffered from competition posed by the more robust barred owl, an invasive species native to the eastern U.S. that has moved into the spotted owl’s habitat.

OSP Marijuana Team & Marion County Sheriff’s Office serve a search warrant on illegal marijuana grow in Marion County

The Oregon State Police’s NW Region Marijuana Team in cooperation with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at an illicit indoor marijuana grow near Jefferson, Oregon.

The team seized 2,158 live plants, 196 pounds of packaged/bulk marijuana, and $25,560 US currency.

The grow operators, Lily An Lee (54) and Yong Sheng Huang (54), both of Talbot, were lodged at Marion County Jail and are charged with  ORS 475B.349 – Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana Item, ORS 475B.337 – Unlawful Possession of Marijuana Item, and Oregon HB 3000 (2021), Sect. 41 – Unlawful Production of Marijuana

This case originated from citizen complaints.  These types of illegal marijuana grows impact communities all across Oregon and contribute to criminal enterprises. Many other dangerous and illegal activities go hand in hand with these types of illegal grows, such as numerous water diversion issues and dangerous living conditions. Oregon State Police 

Nick Kristof Raises Over $1M for Oregon Governor Race

Journalist Nick Kristof has raised more than $1 million in less than a month for his bid to become Oregon’s next governor, the Associated Press reported.

Kristof, who announced his candidacy in late October, has received donations from across the country, including from the Angelina Jolie Family Trust, which gifted him $10,000 in support, according to the AP.

Kristof’s camp said that 2,522 Oregon residents in every county except Sherman County have contributed to his campaign and that they have received many donations from small donors who have given less than $100. Some contributions are reported in lump sums, rather than individually.

The campaign also reported a $50,000 contribution from philanthropist Melinda French Gates and a $5,000 donation from former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

In total, Kristof reported $1,010,999 raised since October 15, a heavy advantage compared to the amount raised by his two most prominent Democratic rivals.

Kristof was a columnist for The New York Times for 20 years and was a longtime foreign correspondent for the newspaper. The two-time Pulitzer prize winner is known for his articles calling for social justice and focusing on subjects such as human rights, health, women’s rights, and global affairs.

Candidates Running for Governor

28 people had either filed as candidates to run or filed their committee for the governor’s race as of Nov. 9, 2021. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is term-limited and cannot run for re-election in 2022, leaving the position open for a replacement. Here are the candidates who have pitched their hats into the race:

Republican :

Bud Pierce – Bud Pierce lives in Salem and is a senior partner and physician at Oregon Oncology Specialists of Salem where he treats cancer patients. He received his doctoral degree from UCLA Medical School. He does not have any prior governmental experience but previously lost to Kate Brown in the 2016 governor’s race. He told KOIN 6 News that he’s a legacy Republican and if he’s elected governor, he’d like to focus on improving public safety, addressing homelessness, helping businesses succeed, and managing forestland better.

Stan Pulliam – Stan Pulliam is the current mayor of Sandy and currently works as an insurance executive. According to his candidate filing with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, Pulliam received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and has previously worked as a local, state and national Republican campaign staffer. According to his website, Pulliam is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-medical freedom and pro-property rights.

Jessica Gomez – In a campaign video, Jessica Gomez says she grew up as a homeless teenager and became a CEO by age 26. She and her husband started a microchip manufacturing facility in Southern Oregon in 2003. The company now employs 26 people in Medford. Gomez ran for Oregon State Senate District 3 in 2018 but was defeated by Democrat Jeff Golden. According to her website, Gomez says the state needs a public safety system where the appropriate first responders are deployed, a comprehensive plan to address homelessness, and better teacher-to-student ratio standards.

John Fosdick III – According to his social media pages, John Fosdick III says he was born in Albany, is a father of two, and served previously in the Oregon National Guard. The Oregon Secretary of State’s records show he has not previously filed to run for state office.

Kerry McQuisten – Kerry McQuisten is the mayor of Baker City and says she grew up in Baker County and received a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University. After college, she worked overseas and across the U.S. in teaching, publishing and marketing before returning to Baker City and founding a publishing company. According to her campaign website, McQuisten says she’s against COVID-19-related mandates, would ban the teaching of critical race theory, and is against defunding the police.

Paul Romero – Paul Romero lives in Roseburg and is the CEO of Youwalk Today, a walker and wheelchair product. Romero served 10 years in the Navy and previously worked as a car salesman, project manager and handyman. In a “contract with Oregon” posted on his campaign website, Romero says if elected governor he will audit the state’s budget, improve state computer systems and work to make Oregon an income tax- and property tax-free state.

Marc Thielman – Marc Thielman is the superintendent of the Alsea School District. He’s spent 27 years working in public information, according to his candidate filing, and has a bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University, a master’s degree from Eastern Washington University and a professional degree from Washington State University. According to his campaign website, Thielman supports school choice, health care choice and plans to fight for affordable housing.

Bridget Barton – Bridget Barton is an editor and publisher who lives in West Linn. She grew up in Virginia and received her bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from the College of William and Mary. According to her campaign website, Barton has focused much of her career on improving education and has advocated for more charter schools in Oregon. She currently publishes a conservative magazine, Brainstorm NW. She says she supports helping the homeless find safe places to sleep, better job opportunities for Oregonians and an economy where all state residents can thrive.

Amber Richardson – Amber Richardson was born in Corvallis, raised in Central Point and currently lives in White City. She works as a massage therapist at a chiropractic clinic in Medford. According to her campaign website, Richardson has worked two jobs her entire adult life and wants better for the next generation of Oregonians. She supports in-person voting, changing forest management practices, and gun rights, and does not support defunding the police.

Jim Huggins – Jim Huggins filed a candidate committee with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office for his 2022 run for governor. The filing says he lives in Redmond and is a film producer for New Shepherd Films in Salem.

Nick Hess – Nick Hess says he’s the owner and CEO of SureTech, an IT support and services provider. He says he and his wife own and operate a cooking class business in Tigard. According to his campaign website, Hess said he’d like Oregon to be more transparent with how tax

Brandon Merritt – Brandon Merritt is a social media, marketing and fundraising consultant who is self-employed and lives in Bend, according to his candidate filing record. He received a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music.

David Burch – David Burch lives in Salem and is unemployed, according to his filing record with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.


Michael David – Michael David lives in Ashland. He works as a fleet commander and the dean of admissions at New World University in Grants Pass, according to his candidate committee filing with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

Casey Kulla – Casey Kulla is a Yamhill County Commissioner, farmer and small business owner. He was born and raised in Lincoln City. Before starting his farm, Kulla earned a master’s degree in forest ecology and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Western Washington University. He says he’s researched the effects of climate change on the North Cascades. According to his campaign website, Kulla would like to focus on building a better, more affordable healthcare system in Oregon. He’d also like to focus on providing more child care throughout the state to help women get back to work after the pandemic.

Patrick Starnes – Patrick Starnes is a self-employed home restorer who lives in Brownsville. He ran for governor in 2018, but shortly before the election, he asked his supporters to instead vote for Kate Brown’s re-election.

Tina Kotek – Tina Kotek is the current Oregon House Speaker and is the state representative for District 44. She lives in Portland and on her campaign website she says she’s running for governor because she knows that “together, we can reckon with the legacies of injustice and inequality to build a great future for Oregon.” She says she wants to prioritize affordable housing, expand access to quality healthcare and tackle the climate crisis.

Michael Trimble – Michael Trimble lives in Portland and is a customer service representative for CareOregon. He says he was born in St. Petersburg, Russia without arms due to the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. He was adopted and says he suffered abuse before he was placed in juvenile protective services. He moved to Portland in 2015. Trimble says he’d like to expand Medicaid to all Oregonians who make under $93,000, would like to provide additional rent relief and fortify the cycling pedestrian infrastructure.

Wilson Bright – Wilson Bright lives in Portland and is currently retired. He once owned and operated Rose City Textiles and RCT Fabrics.

Tobias Read – Tobias Read is the current Oregon State Treasurer and lives in Portland. He previously served in the Oregon House of Representatives. During his time in the House, he says he championed legislation to invest in public education. In his campaign for governor, Read is promising more investment in kids’ education. He says he wants to make pre-K available to all Oregon children and expand apprenticeships and vocational training. Read wants to confront climate change and build more affordable housing units.

Nicholas Kristof – Nick Kristof is a journalist, author and farmer who grew up in Yamhill. Kristof worked for decades as a columnist for the New York Times and traveled the world as he covered the news. He left the Times days after filing paperwork to form a political action committee. Kristof says he wants to make Oregon a place that awards American values like hard work and initiative. Kristof raises more than $1 million for Oregon gubernatorial run.

Keisha Lanell Merchant – Keisha Lanell Merchant, or Coach Kay, is an artist who lives in Albany. According to her candidate information submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, she’s previously worked as a health care practitioner, a marketing distributor and a motivational coach. She has a master’s degree in business communication from Jones International University and a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from Oregon State University.

Dave Lavinsky – Dave Lavinsky lives in Bend and works for Growthink, Inc. He has a master’s degree in business from UCLA Anderson and a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Virginia, according to his candidate filing information.

Peter Hall – Peter Hall is a city councilor in Haines and is a director on the board of the League of Oregon Cities, according to his candidate filing information. Hall grew up outside of Seattle and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. On his campaign website, Hall says he believes social welfare programs need to be based on cost instead of just income. He’d like to change the culture of police departments to help recruit officers who will do the job ethically.

Michael Cross – Michael Cross is a software designer and commercial driver who lives in Salem. He’s previously worked as an entrepreneur, business owner and writer, according to his candidate filing information. According to his campaign website, Cross believes businesses should not be fined for operating in violation of COVID-19 mandates and that “defunding the police is insanity.” He’d like to reopen the state fully, with or without masks.


Tim Harrold – Tim Harrold is an operations manager at Executive Security Services, Inc. in Milwaukie and lives in Dundee, according to his candidate committee filing. Harrold was born in California and moved to North Carolina to pursue a career as a police officer. His wife is from Oregon and they decided to move back to the Beaver State to raise their children. On his website, Harrold says he would like to increase classrooms and teachers to improve the teacher-to-student ratio. He wants to find solutions for homelessness and believes police need to be correctly trained and supported.

Betsy Johnson – Betsy Johnson is a current Oregon state senator for District 16 and lives in Scappoose. She currently serves in the Senate as a Democrat but is running for Oregon as an Independent. She previously served in the House before she was appointed to the Senate. Johnson was born in Redmond and attended Carleton College in Minnesota. She received a law degree from Lewis & Clark College.

Kevin Levy – Kevin Levy is a real estate broker who lives in Portland. According to his campaign website, Levy is running for governor because he wants to expand economic growth in all Oregon counties, address homelessness and create more affordable housing. He also wants to help more high school students enter higher education and supports after-school programs.

A driver is lucky to be alive after a rollover on Interstate 5 northbound at milepost 71. Rural Metro Fire is reporting that allegedly, the crash was the end-result of an attempt by the driver to evade capture after a witness saw them in an act of acquiring fuel from an abandoned vehicle at a nearby exit.

RMF states that speed and the sweeping corner at that location played a factor in ending the chase. The witness was able to keep the driver on scene until rescue crews arrived. OSP is investigating.

The U-S Forest Service is waiving fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington on November 11th, Veterans Day.

The fee waiver includes many Forest Service picnic areas, boat launches, trailheads, and visitor centers. Fees for camping, cabin rentals, or other permits still apply. There are 17 National Forests in Oregon and Washington.

Ruch Murder Suspect Released from Hospital, Cleared for Confinement, Lodged in Jackson County Jail

RUCH, OR – The suspect in a late October domestic violence homicide has been cleared for confinement and released from a local hospital after being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

David Allen Karnes, 54, of Ruch, is now lodged at the Jackson County Jail. Karnes was arraigned today on charges of second-degree murder for the October 20 shooting death of his estranged wife, Constance Maria Murphy, 54, of Ruch. He has also been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. 

Karnes’ next scheduled court date is a pre-trial conference on February 14, 2022. Further information will come from the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Introduces New K9 Eros  

Deputy Oscar Rosas and K9 Eros
Deputy Oscar Rosas and K9 Eros

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has a new K9 on patrol and would like to introduce the community to K9 Eros.

Eros, a 3-year-old German Shepherd from Germany was acquired by DCSO last week after testing several available dogs in California. Funding for the new K9 was made possible to a generous gift by an anonymous member of the community.

Deputy Oscar Rosas, an experienced K9 handler, and Eros will be partnered together.

“The team will bond and train together over the next several months before beginning to patrol together,” Lt. Brad O’Dell said. “For now, the team will focus building a bond and interacting with each other. Deputy Rosas and Eros will then undergo a several week training program with a master trainer to become certified by the Oregon Police Canine Association,” O’Dell added.

K9 Eros joins K9s Zoro and Ozzy at the Sheriff’s Office. The current Sheriff’s K9 program began in 2013 when the agency acquired K9 Grim, who passed away unexpectedly in September after serving over 8 years.  

“I’m very excited for this opportunity to have K9 Eros as a partner and thankful for the opportunity to handle another dog,” Deputy Rosas said.

Lt. O’Dell said “The support of our community who sees the value of these dogs as a policing tool is amazing. We are grateful for the support”

The Sheriff’s Office K9 program, consisting of three K9 teams, is supported financially by private donations and the Friends of Umpqua Valley Police K9 Programs, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support local police K9 teams. Bailey’s Veterinary Clinic provides medical care for the Sheriff’s Office K9 program while Coastal Farm and Ranch Supply provides food. Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office

Water to Entire Mobile Home Park in White City to be Shut Off Leaving Residents High and Dry

The Bunny Trail Mobile Home Park is in jeopardy of having its water shut off by the end of the month. While residents own their mobile homes and most of them have lived here for years, someone else owns the property. All of the Bunny Trail residents are seniors, and most are disabled.

Because The Bunny Trail Mobile Home Park water lines leak and wastes so much water, The Medford Water Commission has scheduled to have the water shut down at the end of November.

Waterlines at the park keep breaking and nothing’s been fixed for at least the last four years one resident states. As a result, the water pressure for the mobile homes at the park has dropped drastically. Meanwhile, the water coming to the park is just flowing into the ground, turning the park into a veritable swamp.

Apparently, the absentee landlord resides in Troutdale, and numerous attempts by the Sheriff’s Office to get in contact with them have had no replies. At the end of the month, the water will be shut off.

Julie Smitherman, the Water Resources Coordinator for the Medford Water Commission states: “For several years there has been a significant amount of water waste occurring on the property, from what we can determine is leaks on the property,” said Smitherman. “And over the last five or six years we’ve had made numerous attempts to reach out to the property owner to help them make the necessary repairs to those leaks … and unfortunately the leaks are getting worse and they have not been repaired.”

All told, the park owes the Medford Water Commission about $25,000 for water, much of it simply poured into the ground. So the Commission plans to shut off the supply to the park at the end of November unless they can replace their defective system.

It’s rare that they would take such action, but officials say they have no choice when it comes to such an egregious waste of water. “This is our last resort,” Smitherman said. “It’s something that we’ve really, really tried to work with them on, not something that we do all the time — this is a very rare situation.”

If repairs are made, Smitherman says, the park could have water restored at a later date. She knows that the residents are stuck in a bad position.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation and I’ve been directing them to local resources here in the valley … the Housing Authority of Jackson County, Access, legal services, and there’s Oregon manufactured home associations that would probably like to hear about what’s happening out there,” Smitherman said, “and may just be able to provide them with steps in the right direction for how they need to handle this going forward.”

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