Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 11/11 – Veterans Day Today; 173rd Kingsley Flyer for 11AM, Other Events Scheduled

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today, Veterans Day Mostly cloudy, with a high of 59 degrees. Overnight low around 35. Light south southeast wind.

Friday Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 60. Light south southeast wind. Overnight, mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. Calm wind.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 60.
Sunday Patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 61.
Monday A chance of rain, mainly after 4pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 58.
Tuesday A slight chance of rain and snow. Snow level 4900 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 48.

Today’s Headlines

VETERANS DAY EVENTS IN KLAMATH FALLS

Local events kick off with breakfast at American Legion Post 8, located at 8th and Pine streets, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Breakfast is free for all veterans, as well as their families and guests.

A parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Main and Spring streets and ends at Veterans Memorial Park. To register for the parade, contact Doug Brown or obtain an application from VFW Post 1383. The grand marshal of the parade is Michael Reynolds, who served in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Air Force.

Following the parade, an observance will begin at 11 a.m. at Veterans Park. Karen Johnson, a retired U.S. Army colonel who served in Desert Storm, will serve as master of ceremonies. The observance will be hosted by U.S. Army veteran Duane Whitehead with guest speaker Col. Jeff Edwards of the Oregon Air National Guard at Kingsley Field.

The event will include a presentation of wreaths at the veterans memorial. Anyone who would like to present a wreath, call 541-891-5749.

Afterward, lunch is available at VFW Post 1383 at 515 Klamath Ave., American Legion Post 8 and at the Leatherneck Club, 1019 Main.

It’s Veterans Day, honoring all those serving and who have served our great country.  The 173rd Fighter Wing out of Kingsley Field will conduct a Veterans Day flyover for the ceremony in Klamath Falls.

F-15 Eagle fighter jets are scheduled to conduct a flyover at Veterans Memorial Park in Klamath Falls, Ore. at, or around, 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11.

All passes will be approximately 1,000 feet above ground level and about 400 mph airspeed. Flights could be cancelled, or times changed due to inclement weather or operational contingencies.

The Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main St., will be open regular hours today on Veterans Day.

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.

Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management advises residents to be aware – and prepared – for potential hazards due to heavy rains forecasted this week across the state.

According to the National Weather Service, expected rainfall amounts from 5 p.m. tonight through Friday may cause potential flooding of creeks and rivers in northwest Oregon, especially along the coastal terrain and Cascades. Rain amounts may be high enough to cause flooding Thursday and Friday.

Heavy rain can trigger debris flows and landslides in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in wildfire burn areas. There is potential for debris flows in the burned areas of the Cascades, including the Riverside, Beachie Creek and Lionshead fire sites. Eagle Creek and Holiday Farm fire areas may also be potentially impacted.

The public can remain safe using basic preparedness actions, including staying informed, being aware of surroundings, having a plan for emergencies and being prepared with an emergency kit.

A Klamath Falls man with an extensive criminal record ranging from burglary and assault to credit card fraud was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison.

Tylor Christopher McMahan, 27, was sentenced by Judge Marci Adkisson of the Klamath County Circuit Court to 32 months in prison with 24 months of post-prison supervision, mostly for his role in a series of vehicle and related thefts.

Court filings detail McMahan’s criminal entanglements from 2016 until October 2021. During that stretch, he has been the defendant in 33 different cases filed in relation to a smorgasbord of crimes committed in Lake, Deschutes, Josephine and Klamath counties. The vast majority of McMahan’s cases are filed in Klamath County.

Court filings show the string of thefts in question began on or about May 8 when McMahan stole a Dodge truck and was charged for being a felon in possession of a firearm, in addition to second-degree theft after he stole the truck owner’s electronic tablet, pickup truck canopy and vacuum cleaner, court records showed. Pleading guilty, McMahan was convicted for stealing the vehicle and possessing a firearm as a felon. The theft charge was dropped.

In a separate case, court records showed McMahan carjacked a 2009 Toyota Tacoma, and then stole the bumper off the vehicle around July 20. Pleading guilty, McMahan was convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle, however, the second-degree theft charge was dropped.

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Oregon reports 1,033 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 75 new deaths

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (16), Clackamas (91), Clatsop (7), Columbia (15), Coos (23), Crook (2), Curry (8), Deschutes (111), Douglas (49), Gilliam (1), Grant (1), Harney (5), Hood River (3), Jackson (54), Jefferson (12), Josephine (28), Klamath (16), Lake (13), Lane (62), Lincoln (17), Linn (45), Malheur (12), Marion (79), Morrow (3), Multnomah (136), Polk (27), Sherman (1), Tillamook (8), Umatilla (27), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Wasco (7), Washington (100) and Yamhill (44).

Photograph of two boys, Rowdy and Stetson Robinson, in a doctor/s office for their COVID vaccines.

Vaccine Voices: “I have complete faith in my doctors.”

When word came last week that the Pfizer pediatric vaccine had been approved for children ages 5 through 11, Lori Robinson had two questions: when and where?

She added her sons Rowdy, 8, and Stetson, 5, to their family doctor’s wait list, but days later when she learned the vaccine was available at the local hospital, she was on her way.   

From the start, the Klamath Falls family has chosen to err on the side of caution. With Lori facing health problems and her 75-year-old mom-in-law in the house, they had to. The vaccines are a welcome game changer. 

“Both my boys are healthy, but I firmly believe in getting all vaccinations,” Lori said. “I was raised getting all my vaccines and I’ve never had any problems. I have complete faith in my doctors, or I wouldn’t see them anyway. If you trust them with cold, flu and pain, you should trust them with this as well.” 

Rowdy and Stetson celebrated their first doses with dinner at a favorite restaurant followed by ice cream.    Check out our parents and guardians webpage for more information and to find answers to your questions.  To continue reading this story, visit Oregon Vaccine News. 

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.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon Judges And Court Staff Among Most Vaccinated Of All State Workers

According to a report, more than 92% of some 1,800 state court employees and judges across Oregon are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 now that a mandate handed down by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters took full effect last Friday.

That represents an increase of about six percentage points since Walters issued her order in mid-September — and elevates the state court system to one of the most vaccinated big departments in the state.

State courts produced a higher vaccination rate than Oregon’s executive branch, which stood at only 85% as of two days after its vaccination mandate took effect. Gov. Kate Brown’s executive-branch order applies to more than 40,000 state employees, but not the judicial branch, which required its own directive from Walters.

The state courts rate also is notably higher than individual executive branch agencies employing more than 1,000 workers — including, as of Oct. 20, the Department of Corrections at 75%, the Department of Transportation at 81%, the Department of Human Services at 86%, and the Department of Justice at 89%.

The state courts vaccination rate, too, exceeds the reported rate of every category of health care worker, with the exception of Oregon dentists, with 94% fully vaccinated, according to state data through Nov. 1.

In comparison, 72% of adult Oregonians statewide are fully vaccinated.

While vaccination rates have been publicly available for all executive branch departments, health care workers, and now judicial employees, collective vaccination rates are unknown for at least one other profession with inoculation requirements:K-12 educators. Brown required school employees to get vaccinated by Oct. 18, as well, but no state agency is tracking compliance rates.

14 Oregon Employers Recognized for Hiring Veterans

Fourteen Oregon companies that work with the Oregon Employment Department are being recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor today with the HIRE Vets Medallion Award for their investment in recruiting, employing, and providing long-term career opportunities to our nation’s veterans. 

“We are pleased to see the result of our employees’ efforts to help businesses see the value of hiring veterans. Last year, 10 companies received this award, and we are pleased to report that this year, four more companies are investing in and valuing veterans as employees,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Employment Department.

Oregon’s HIRE Vets Medallion companies are in all parts of the state and include small or medium-sized businesses. 

 “A&M Transport has always focused on hiring Veterans, as it is a small way we can show our appreciation for all they have done for all of us. We value Veterans for their service to this Country and for their exceptional work ethics they bring to the table,” said Gaylene Nixon, who is responsible for driver development and recruiting for A & M Transport, a Glendale based company.

The City of Tigard also was recognized. “Tigard is excited to be recognized as a HIRE Vets Medallion recipient! We have a long history of hiring our nation’s military veterans and value their important contribution to Team Tigard. We look forward to continuing our efforts to hire, retain, and support our veterans,” said Brandi, Leos, Senior Human Resources Business Partner at the City of Tigard.

“When recruiting veterans, we know we’re getting someone who is reliable, trainable and has a sense of ownership over the work they produce,” said Brad Scardino, Flux program manager. “Flux believes this so much, we’ve created a program for veteran engagement so we can ensure we are continuously attracting veteran talent and the skills and experiences they bring.”

“Cayuse Holdings understands the value that veterans bring to the workplace, and we are proud to support veteran careers,” said Billy Nerenberg, chief executive officer of Cayuse Holdings. “Many of our leaders are veterans, and many current employees still serve. These veterans inherently act as mentors in their roles, setting an example for our employees. We support our veteran employees in several ways, including education incentives, a wellness program for them and their families, and a staff liaison who provides valuable resources. We recruit new employees using targeted language and sites to find veterans, and we offer a referral bonus for employees that help us hire other veterans.”

Local Veterans’ Employer Representatives (LVERs) at the Employment Department are dedicated staff who assist businesses in filling their workforce needs with job-seeking veterans. As veterans, they use their own knowledge and expertise to perform a wide range of duties on behalf of businesses, including promoting the HIRE Vets Medallion Program and guiding employers on the process. The next application period is early next year.

More information can be found at oregon.gov/jobs/pages/veterans or HIREVets.gov.

2021 HIRE Vets Medallion Recipients
EMPLOYEROREGON CITY
A&M TransportGlendale
Bullet Rental & Sales, IncKlamath Falls
Cayuse Holdings, LLCPendleton
City of TigardTigard
ENERGYneering Solutions Inc.Sisters
Flux Resources, LLCLake Oswego
Hood River Consulting Engineers (GDM, Inc.)Hood River
Marathon Coach, Inc.Coburg
Mark Ronning LLC (Northwest Veterans Law)Salem
NORTH AMERICA MATTRESS CORPClackamas
Ondadottedline, LLCSalem
Portland PatrolPortland
Roseburg Urban Sanitary AuthorityRoseburg
TP Trucking LLCCentral Point


Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request at no cost to individuals with disabilities. Contact: 971-673-6400. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services. Oregon Employment Department

COVID-19 testing is available to students in Oregon public and private schools

In our ongoing series about the layered health and safety measures that Oregon schools have implemented in an effort to keep schools open for in-person instruction, let’s take a look at testing.  

Every layer matters 

Regular COVID-19 testing will help Oregon schools identify cases of COVID-19 infection early. Combined with cohorting, this will also help schools determine which students and staff need to isolate or quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

There are two student testing programs available to all public and private schools in Oregon. The optional student testing programs are:  

  • Diagnostic testing for K-12 students – Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests.  

Intended to test symptomatic and exposed students. This can help diagnose COVID-19 infection early and may shorten the duration of quarantine.   

  • Screening testing for unvaccinated students using molecular (PCR)  

tests. This weekly program is for students without symptoms of, or exposure to COVID-19. Participating schools are assigned to a regional laboratory partner. Participation and results are confidential; however, positive COVID-19 results are reported to the local public health authority for case investigation and contact tracing.   

To learn more, read OHA’s frequently asked questions about K-12 testing programs.  

Continue reading this story on our blog, Oregon Vaccine News.  

Police Seize 2 Million Dollars Worth Of Illegal Marijuana In Linn County

Law enforcement officers seized 2,800 pounds of marijuana after finding it in the back of a U-Haul truck near Albany.

On November 3rd, a detective from the Linn Interagency Narcotics Enforcement (LINE) team was following a U-Haul truck south on I-5 and noticed a smell coming from the vehicle.

After coordinating with other law enforcement, they arranged for the U-Haul to be stopped and checked. The two men inside the truck claimed that they were carrying furniture and that the smell was possibly coming from the driver’s t-shirt.

The truck was opened up and 2,800 pounds of black-market marijuana in 173 large black garbage bags, with an estimated street value of 2.2 million dollars was seized.

Police said 31-year-old Vidal Gonzales-Tetlctle of Hermiston, and 20-year-old Jose Guadalupe-Alatorre of Redway, California, were both charged with Unlawful Possession and Delivery of Marijuana and Criminal Conspiracy and lodged at the Linn County Jail.

In 2015, Linn County was designated as a HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) County and the LINE team was established to dismantle large-scale drug trafficking organizations in the area.

When the LINE Task Force investigates marijuana-related crime, they focus on the big picture, which includes money laundering, racketeering, or other greed-related criminal conduct.

Often, money made from large-scale black market marijuana operations in Oregon is linked to more serious crimes all over the country and internationally, including gang and cartel-related violence and Human Trafficking.

Oregon Pays More than $130 million in Federal Emergency Rental Assistance

More than 19,600 applicants have received funds to pay rent

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and Local Program Administrators (LPAs) continue to make strong progress on processing applications for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP).

As of today, OHCS and LPAs have paid $130.6 million in federal emergency rental assistance to 19,613 applicants, up from $119.9 million and 18,203 applicants since Nov. 4. The agency is ranked 7th in the nation in the percentage of funds paid and obligated.

Progress and Updated Numbers 

Through its three-point plan, OHCS and its processing partner, Public Partnerships LLC (PPL), have made significant strides to drive rapid application processing in the past several weeks. Currently 105 PPL staff are processing applications on behalf of counties with applications outside the 60-/90-day safe harbor period. In the past week, PPL processed close to 800 applications, exceeding their 500-application target. 

To date, OHCS and LPAs have:

  • Paid $130,614,471 to landlords and tenants to help 19,613 Oregon households, over $20 million in the past two weeks alone.
  • Processed and obligated an additional $31.9 million in funds for 3,796 households.
  • Received more than $364.4 million in funding requests via applications.
  • Received more than 48,184 completed applications. 

Visit the OERAP dashboard for more data. 

Applications in Review Process 

About 20,086 applications are in the review process. Our agency is tracking when a tenant completes an OERAP application and the number of applicants that have not been paid outside of the 60-day window (90 days in Multnomah County and unincorporated areas of Washington County). The 60-/90-day window of protection begins when a tenant shows proof they applied for the program. However, this data is not currently available. Applications outside the 60-/90-day window are being moved from the LPA in their county to PPL. 

The graph below shows the geographic areas with the highest numbers of applications outside the 60- and 90-day windows of protection as of Nov. 10. This graph does not include applications outside the 60-/90-day window from counties that received ERA funding directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Below is a graphic that shows average application processing times for each county for the OERAP program as of this week.

Multnomah County is not included in this as a comparison because they have a 90-day window. Their average processing time is 75 days. On average, PPL processed applications within 57 days from when they received the application.

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.

Jockeys Injured During Race At Grants Pass Downs Race Track

Two jockeys were injured on Tuesday night after the lights suddenly went out during a race that had just begun at Grants Pass Downs.

According to Grants Pass Downs, the incident happened during the 11th and final race on Tuesday. The gates opened, and the horses came charging out into the initial stretch of the 6 1/2 furlong race. Then the track was suddenly plunged into darkness.

When the first horses reappeared under the light of a scoreboard across from the stands, two of them were without riders.

After the dust settled, jockeys Patrick Henry Jr. and Alex Anaya were taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries. All six horses escaped without injury, according to Grants Pass Downs. The race was declared no contest.

Grants Pass Downs is still looking into what happened to the lights but did not think the issue stemmed from a power outage due to other lights and electrical systems that remained on when the floodlights went out.

Both Henry and Anaya were released from the hospital on Wednesday. Despite the incident, Grants Pass Downs said that Anaya won the overall Fall Meeting riding championship with 23 wins and also topped the Thoroughbred standings with 19 wins. It was the first riding title for the 22-year-old Anaya.

3 Suspects Arrested After Armed Robbery At Medford 7-11 Store

The Medford Police Department announced that it arrested three suspects after the 7-11 on 1723 E. McAndrews in Medford was robbed and shots were fired at an employee.

The department arrested 18-year-old Alexander Shirmard, 18-year-old Chance Hahn and 22-year-old Beau West after they were dispatched to the incident early this morning.

According to a press release from the department, the robbery was called in at about 2:19 a.m.

“Several Medford Police officers were dispatched to a report of shots fired during a Robbery at the 7-11 store,” the press release noted. “While en-route to the call, witnesses provided a direction of travel for the three male suspects, who fled on foot eastbound. A Medford Police K-9, “Bones”, led the search.”

At 2:51 a.m., the three suspects were located in a backyard in the 1100 block of Wabash Avenue. The stolen property, as well as the handgun used during the robbery, were recovered.

“The investigation revealed the three suspects entered the store and stole beer and cigarettes before fleeing,” the press release noted. “The clerk followed the suspects into the parking lot and one of them fired several rounds towards the employee. No one was struck during the shooting.”

After shots were fired, the suspects ran to a home they were staying at where they were tracked by the K-9 and located in the backyard.

New Housing Compound to Open in Ashland

Rogue Retreat is working on a new housing compound in Ashland to help with homelessness and the growing problem here in Southern Oregon. 

“We’re going with the same model that we’ve been using in Medford since July of last year — it’s a proven model, it works, it will benefit the community, so we’re just kind of reaching into Ashland now to help their community,” said Liz Adams, Program Director for Rogue Retreat.

The urban campground model for providing shelter to the homeless has been steadily picking up steam within the last year. The site in Medford is expanding, Grants Pass has approved the concept while it nails down a site, and this site in Ashland has been making steady progress since it was first announced in April of this year. The shelter is hoping to house about 49 people.

“The difference is that there’s not going to be any tents — it’s going to be pallet houses and inside the building, but with alleviating the tents we’re going to add car camping, so there’s going to be other opportunities for people to utilize those services out there,” Justin Hon, Operations Manager for Rogue Retreat said.

With the development of the new campground, Rogue Retreat is hoping to help out the community of Ashland.

“Will be working with the Ashland Police Department just like we do with the [Medford Police] Livability Team, so they’ll be one of our support systems out there,” Adams added.

Rogue Retreat says the campground should be up and running within the next week or two. They are still looking to add more volunteers as well as services to help out with meals.

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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.

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