Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 11/17 – Holiday Lights Shine Beginning Friday at Kit Carson Park for the Holiday Season

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 50. Overnight, clouds with a low around 32.

Thursday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53. East southeast wind 5 to 8 mph becoming south southwest in the afternoon. A 40% chance of rain overnight with a snow level 7100 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38.
Friday A chance of rain before 10am, then a chance of showers, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Snow level 6700 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. Southwest wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Mostly cloudy overnight, with a low around 32.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 51.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 53.

Today’s Headlines

There are 52 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,855, Oregon Health Authority reported Tuesday.

Oregon Health Authority also reported 785 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, bringing the state total to 380,866.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 452, which is nine fewer than Monday. There are 108 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which is one fewer than Monday. There are 62 available adult ICU beds out of 683 total (9% availability) and 294 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,108 (7% availability).

On Tuesday, OHA reported that 16,888 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry on Nov. 15. The seven-day running average is now 16,642 doses per day.

According to the OHA report, just one new case was discovered in Klamath County.  There were 88 new cases reported in nearby Jackson, Deschutes county reports 59 new cases.  To the east, Lake County reports 10 new cases, and 81 new cases were reported in Lane County.  Douglas County reported 20 new cases.

The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its winner for the week. Christian Ramirez of Klamath Falls won a Big Screen TV, Sound System and a smart flat screen TV. Christian was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents that have entered at ConquerCovidInKlamath.com.

Each week the prize changes and this week it is a Stainless Steel Home Appliance package for your kitchen featuring refrigerator, range, microwave and dishwasher.

The drawing for this weeks prize will take place on Monday morning.

There is a different prize each week along with the Grand Prize, which is the winners choice of a new Dodge RAM pickup or a new Dodge Durango SUV. There are numerous runner up prizes as well. To enter Klamath County residents can go to conquercovidinklamath.com. There is nothing to buy and no charge whatsoever to enter. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.

Holiday cheer is coming to Klamath Falls! Sky Lakes CEO Paul Stewart and his family are looking forward to lighting up their new community project at Kit Carson Park.

They are already hard at work setting up these Christmas lights to get a display ready at the park. A lighting ceremony will be taking place on Friday, November 19 at 6 p.m. Stewart says with the holidays coming in and all the work Sky Lakes has done to enhance parks around the city, he’s excited to bring some joy to  the area.

And this is only the beginning. In years to come, Stewart says he hopes to have the entire park lit up for the holidays. 

Heading into 2021’s historically dry summer, the question on Lower Klamath and Tule Lake national wildlife refuges wasn’t whether waterbirds would succumb to botulism — it was how many.

Because the naturally occurring bacteria spreads like wildfire in warm, stagnant water, refuge managers needed to take actions to eliminate as much of that threat as possible. Stakeholders decided they needed to do something to avoid a situation similar to last year, when more than 60,000 molting ducks died of botulism on Tule Lake Refuge.

They consolidated water and instituted unprecedented operations, at one point draining an area of open water that hadn’t been dry in millions of years. Even after draining Tule Lake’s Sump 1A and putting that water into its smaller Sump 1B, everyone braced for an inevitable outbreak. Evaporation and irrigation diversions began drying up the remaining wetland faster than expected, just as ducks began molting their feathers and losing their ability to fly. Everyone braced for impact.

By late July, the staff of nonprofit Bird Ally X’s Duck Hospital on Lower Klamath Refuge sat on edge, waiting for the inevitable call from refuge biologists that the first botulism patient of the summer had been picked up. January Bill, co-director of the Bird Ally X Botulism Response, said it was a very stressful time.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.4% in October, a level that state officials say is “unusually low” though it does not match the record low levels seen just before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between the beginning of comparable record-keeping in 1976 and October of 2016, Oregon’s unemployment rate was never as low as 4.4%, the Oregon Employment Department said on Monday. 

Unemployment stood at 4.7% in September, so October’s rate also marked a noticeable step in the recovery process. Oregon added 4,700 jobs in October after seeing revised gains in September of just 700 jobs. The private sector grew rapidly in October with 10,300, but those gains were offset somewhat by a loss of 5,600 government jobs. October’s total nonfarm employment gain was less than the average of 6,800 jobs added per month during the prior six months.

The largest gains came in the leisure and hospitality sector, professional and business services, construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade. OED said that the loss in government jobs could be partially attributed to schools, which had low employment levels compared with pre-pandemic years.

The U.S. Justice Department is recommending that all uniformed officers in Portland, Oregon, wear body cameras if they are on tactical, traffic or crowd control operations. Oregon’s largest city has been in negotiations with the police union over how the cameras would be used and when officers could review footage after an incident.

The City Council is set to vote Wednesday on a proposal from Mayor Ted Wheeler to dedicate $2.6 million to start purchasing the cameras says a report.

A federal judge last week urged the city, the Justice Department, the police union and community groups to return to mediation to come up with a policy on governing the use of the cameras, the newspaper reported. Giving officers cameras is one step that Portland can take to return to compliance with a 2014 settlement with the federal government over police use of excessive force against people with mental illness.

The Justice Department says Portland is the only city among the top 75 most populous cities, ranked by 2020 U.S. Census data, that doesn’t use officer-worn body cameras.

A man is still on the run Monday night after robbing the First Interstate Bank on E. Barnett Road, Medford Police said.

Police also say he did not display a weapon and left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. The robbery happened at 5:26 pm Monday at 2646 E. Barnett Road, just west of Starbucks. Medford Police said he was described as a “white male, unknown age, wearing a green shirt with the words “STARTER” in white lettering. His face was covered and he was wearing sunglasses.”

Anyone who may have seen the suspect is urged to call Medford Police dispatch at 541-770-4783.

On November 15, 2021, at around 1:59 P.M., OSP responded to a crash on Highway 20 and Cooley Rd in Bend, Oregon.   

A School Bus, driven by John Norwood (59) of Bend, was stopped in the left turn lane at the intersection of Highway 20 at Cooley Rd when a Jeep Wrangler, driven by Jeffrey Ruthardt (48) of Bend, drove into the front of the bus. 

No children were present on the bus.  Both drivers were transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  This is an ongoing investigation. The Oregon State Police was assisted by the Bend Police Department, Bend Fire, and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

High gas prices aren’t slowing holiday excursions… and travelers should expect busy roads and airports for Thanksgiving. 

AAA’s Marie Dodds reports that, “Fifty-three million Americans including 746,000 Oregonians will be traveling over the river and through the woods for Turkey and all the trimmings this year.” 

These numbers have rebounded to near where they were before the pandemic in 2019. AAA of Oregon/Idaho says to plan ahead and expect minor delays if traveling late Wednesday, or early Thanksgiving morning, in the state.

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