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December 3, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Friday, 11/19 – USDA Forest Service Awards David Payne as National Outstanding River Manager For His Years of Service in the Basin

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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.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Scattered showers before 10am. Snow level 5300 feet. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 49. Overnight, patchy freezing fog after 4am with a low around 27.

Saturday Patchy freezing fog before 10am. Mostly cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 47. Overnight a low around 22.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 51.
Monday Sunny, with a high near 53.
Tuesday Partly sunny, with a high near 47.
Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 47.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day Partly sunny, with a high near 50.

Today’s Headlines

A wolf that left its pack in far northern California has been involved in the killing of at least six calves in the Bly region of eastern Klamath County in recent weeks.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released information on the wolf, known as LAS13. According to ODFW, LAS13 is a male that left the Lassen Pack in Lassen County, Calif., as a yearling in August 2020 and entered Oregon near Goose Lake Valley in Lake County in October 2020. Because LAS13 has a functioning GPS radio-collar, ODFW receives information on a daily basis about his movements from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife if there is new location information.

That information shows LAS13 moving north into southern Deschutes and northern Lake counties, before moving into eastern Klamath County. In March 2021, remote camera monitoring detected LAS13 was traveling with a female wolf. Through camera monitoring, the two wolves continue to be documented together.

At this point, LAS13 is thought of as one wolf, or as the wolves traveling with him.

ODFW biologists investigated an incident of confirmed cattle depredation by LAS13 wolves on Oct. 31 in eastern Klamath County, which led to designating an Area of Depredating Wolves and “the preparation of an area-specific wolf conflict deterrence plan to assist producers and landowners manage potential conflict with wolves.” The ADW is intended to inform livestock owners where wolf-livestock conflicts are most likely to occur.

Oregon reports 1,160 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 13 new deaths

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (11), Benton (20), Clackamas (95), Clatsop (9), Columbia (12), Coos (15), Crook (13), Curry (6), Deschutes (127), Douglas (72), Grant (4), Harney (2), Hood River (3), Jackson (67), Jefferson (10), Josephine (29), Klamath (20), Lake (1), Lane (80), Lincoln (15), Linn (66), Malheur (11), Marion (116), Morrow (8), Multnomah (141), Polk (27), Sherman (3), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (16), Union (10), Wallowa (1), Wasco (10), Washington (110) and Yamhill (26). 

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 419, which is eight fewer than yesterday. There are 104 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is four more than yesterday. 

There are 65 available adult ICU beds out of 689 total (9% availability) and 252 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,123 (6% availability). 

Oregon has now administered 3,424,408 doses of Pfizer Comirnaty, 40,088 doses of Pfizer pediatric, 2,157,863 doses of Moderna and 237,531 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. 

As of today, 2,896,414 people have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2,639,902 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. 

While the pediatric vaccine rollout continues and COVID cases are down, officials warn the holidays could lead to another spike.

Pediatric vaccinations are humming along since they were authorized last month.

Klamath County Public Health reports 235 vaccines have been given to 5- to 11-year-olds in Klamath County, 1,547 vaccines given to 12 to 17-year-olds and 725 vaccinated 18 to 19-year-olds.

Currently, the pediatric vaccine is available to patients at Stanford Children’s Clinic and Wholesome Family Medicine, as well as local pharmacies such as Walmart.

A youth vaccination event will be held in Chiloquin at the Klamath Tribal Fitness Center, 340 South Chiloquin Road. According to Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services, a parent or guardian must be present.

First doses for children were to be given on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 3-6 p.m. and second doses will be given two weeks later on Thursday, Dec. 9, also from 3-6 p.m.

While the numbers are looking better, Sky Lakes Medical Center still had 17 COVID-19 inpatients as of Wednesday, with four of those patients receiving intensive care.

The state of Oregon has reached an overall vaccination rate against Covid-19 of 70%, the Oregon Health Authority announced Wednesday evening, citing CDC data.

Based on the CDC’s numbers, more than seven in 10 Oregonians of all age groups have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, accounting for more than 2.95 million people.

The Oregon Health Authority’s own numbers lag behind somewhat, as they do not includes shots administered through federal facilities, such as Veterans Administration facilities.

By those numbers, Oregon ranks 19th among US states and the District of Columbia for the percentage of its total population who are protected by at least one dose. It also ranks 19th in administration of booster doses, OHA said.

A large part of that growth comes due to the recent expansion of Pfizer vaccine authorization to include kids 5 to 11 years old. As of Wednesday, almost 40,000 kids in that age group had received at least one dose, accounting for 11% of all Oregon children ages 5 to 11.

The USDA Forest Service has awarded this year’s national Outstanding River Manager Award to Dave Payne, a Klamath National Forest recreation technician, in recognition for his four decades of service in support of the Klamath Wild and Scenic River system.

Payne said his surprise and reflection of being nominated for the award is summed up by a Chinese philosopher–“The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.”

Payne began his career as River Manager on the Klamath in 1980 and is currently a Recreation Technician on the Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District. Throughout each season, he works with outfitters and guides on the river and provides a friendly, positive Forest Service presence.

Additionally, Payne tirelessly pulls tens of thousands of invasive weeds each year and constantly removes litter and trash from dump sites along the river corridor. His wildlife background and expertise in Klamath avifauna aids the Forest Service staff with Bald Eagle surveys and identifies important observations along the Klamath River and its tributaries.

Klamath Symphony Orchestra will perform their festive concert “Frost on the Pumpkin” on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Join the symphony at the Ross Ragland Theater for a festive concert full of popular holiday classics. The evening will be filled with an entertaining mix of seasonal music to warm the heart and will set the tone for the holiday season.

Conductor Dan Conrad will be directing the Klamath Symphony Orchestra’s 40+ musicians playing classics to waken your emotions and imagination.

To bring the magnificent music to life on stage, Conrad will be featuring some familiar orchestral pieces “Die Fledermaus” by Johan Strauss, “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson, and “Buckaroo Holiday” by Aaron Copland. You’ll also have a chance to enjoy Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations: #9 Nimrod,” and Robert W. Smith’s “The Great Locomotive Chase,” accompanying the Buster Keaton movie “The General.”

“The Ragland is looking forward to starting this Christmas season off with the Klamath Symphony Orchestra’s festive performance this weekend” said executive director Samantha Burris.

Tickets are $15. Visit the theater’s website at www.ragland.org to purchase tickets. The box office is open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or two hours before show time the day of any show.

Around the state of Oregon

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In Ashland, a mushroom hunter discovered the skeletonized remains of a deceased male approximately 65-years-old near the greenway bike path on Thursday morning. The body was found alongside the railroad tracks near the Mountain View Cemetery. There are no immediate indications of suspicious circumstances. 

At 9:52 a.m. Ashland Fire & Rescue along with the Ashland Police Department responded to the scene and initiated a death investigation. The body was located within Jackson County jurisdiction so Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies and Medical Examiner detectives responded to take over the investigation. 

The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition and there are no apparent suspicious circumstances, although investigations are ongoing by JCSO ME detectives. An Oregon State Police forensic pathologist will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The name of the decedent will be released pending next of kin notification. There is no further information available at this time.

Investigators from the Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team raided a Medford apartment complex Wednesday morning after learning that “numerous” images of child pornography were uploaded from one of the units, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The search happened at an apartment complex in the 1600-block of Coker Butte Road. The Sheriff’s Office said that investigators are interviewing possible witnesses and people involved, and the investigations are still ongoing.

The investigation began with tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), precipitating subpoenas and a search warrant for the apartment. During the search, investigators seized digital devices to be forensically examined by the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force for evidence of child exploitation.

SOCET, the team that served the search warrant on Wednesday, is a joint interagency task force started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. It includes investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Medford Police, Grants Pass Police, Homeland Security Investigations, and high-tech crimes examiners.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) invites Oregonians to head outside for some fresh air the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26.

Popularly known as “Green Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving has become an OPRD tradition of sorts in recent years, partnering with businesses such as REI and encouraging Oregonians to get outdoors during the holiday season. 

OPRD will waive day-use parking fees that day in the 25 state parks that charge a parking fee. 

OPRD Director Lisa Sumption called it “an important acknowledgement that going for a walk or just being outdoors can relieve stress in a way that nothing else can.

“The outdoors provides everyone a place to escape pandemic and holiday stress,” she continued. “We are proud to partner with REI to promote this tradition, and offer Oregonians an alternative to the busiest shopping day of the year.” 

The parking waiver applies from open to close Nov. 26 at the 25 parks that charge a $5 daily parking fee. A list of parks that require day-use parking permits is available at stateparks.oregon.gov

Over 1000 acres of crucial habitat on Mt. Ashland will be preserved through a large grant to a nonprofit conservation group.

The Pacific Forest Trust has been awarded a $1.1 million state grant by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to buy the land.

The property connects the Rogue Siskiyou National Forest and the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument.

By conserving it, the land can remain a connected habitat for species living in the area.

The land provides important habitat for protected species such as the northern spotted owl, coastal marten and Pacific fisher. It also contains important watersheds and its conservation will preserve water quality as well as protect coho salmon and steelhead. The land is currently owned by the Siskiyou Timberlands.

Connie Best is the co-founder of the Pacific Forest Trust. She says this purchase is important because if the private land goes to other buyers, it could damage habitat for protected species.

“Wildlife don’t know or care about our artificial ownership boundaries,” says Best. “So the issue with private land forests is that larger properties get broken up and developed, fragmenting habitats.”

The Pacific Forest Trust says that the forest will be actively managed to prevent large wildfires and to improve habitats.

“ What we are going to do is some ecologically appropriate light logging to thin the forest,” says Best. “It’s overstocked as compared to older forest conditions.”

Oregon Employment Department Media StatementHelping Oregonians Get Back to Work

Even with Oregon experiencing record low unemployment, the Oregon Employment Department and its WorkSource Oregon partners continue helping workers find good jobs and employers find talented employees. WorkSource Oregon centers are offering job fairs and employer meet-and-greets across the state. 

Here are just a few highlights of upcoming WorkSource Oregon events:

  • “Meet the Employer” events are scheduled this month in Albany, Salem and Woodburn. 
  • Hiring Events in Salem and Corvallis have in-person interviews being conducted from 3 – 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18.
  • A virtual business spotlight event is scheduled for 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23.
  • A Veterans Job Fair is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4 in White City, Oregon.

More information on these events and more are at WorkSourceOregon.org.

Economic Update  — Yesterday the Employment Department released the unemployment rate and jobs numbers for Oregon in October. 

Oregon employers added 4,700 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in October. The private sector added 10,300 jobs, and those gains were widespread. Oregon’s hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment places added 3,100 jobs in October, the most of any sector. Professional and business services added 2,900 jobs over the month. We also saw big gains in construction (1,500), manufacturing (1,400), and wholesale trade (1,100). 

Government lost 5,600 jobs in October. Nearly all the government job losses occurred in local government. Public K-12 and public higher education make up about half of all jobs in local government in Oregon. As the school year got underway, schools were not hiring near as much as expected this time of year. That resulted in a seasonally adjusted decline of 5,400 jobs. Oregon is not unique in this experience; nationally, public K-12 and higher education fell 65,000 jobs short of typical hiring levels in October.

Justice Department Awards $177 Million to Assist Crime Victims and Improve Public Safety in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

Oregon awardees include four tribes, one tribal commission, and a university

– On November 15, 2021, the Department of Justice announced that it will award more than $177 million to improve public safety and serve crime victims in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

More than $73 million will be awarded to 84 different Tribal communities and commissions under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a streamlined grant application program managed by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The CTAS program helps tribes apply for Tribal-specific grant programs seeking to enhance law enforcement and justice practices, expand victim services and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts.

Of this total, $3.5 million will be awarded to three Oregon tribes and one Oregon tribal commission: the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Klamath Tribes, and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

The COPS Office also awarded $400,000 to Western Oregon University to develop a structured and Tribal-centered approach to enhancing the criminal justice system’s ability to address the tragic and ongoing trend of missing and murdered indigenous persons (MMIP).

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will award an additional $104 million to more 140 tribes and Tribal programs across the country—including two Oregon tribes—under the Crime Victims Fund Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside program. The Cow Creek Bank of Umpqua Tribe of Indians and the Klamath Tribes will each receive $387,817 to fund culturally-appropriate victim services to meet the needs of their communities.

“American Indian and Alaska Native crime victims deserve the same access to services and the same level of support available to survivors in other communities,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “This administration, and this Department of Justice, are committed to fully discharging our responsibilities to Indian nations, especially to those who have experienced the pain and loss that follow victimization. These funds will help establish, expand and enhance services that are vital to recovery and healing.”

“Supporting and enhancing public safety in Tribal communities is a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon and has been for many years. We are very pleased to join the COPS Office, OJP, and OVC in announcing these important awards and congratulate all award recipients in Oregon,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. 

This announcement is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to increasing engagement, coordination and action on public safety in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. — U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon

Oregon Prepares to Fund $230 million for Drug Treatment Centers

The new funding is part of Measure 110, which decriminalized possession of hard drugs and funded new behavioral health networks.

The state commission charged with funding behavioral health care — as part of a new drug decriminalization policy approved by voters — is one step closer to getting money out the door.

The Oversight and Accountability Council created as part of Measure 110 last year has announced plans to distribute $270 million to the organizations that will treat those addicted to drugs.

With the grant proposal period now open, the council will continue to establish rules for the new Behavioral Health Resource Networks, known as BHRNs.

“Our vision is that by funding BHRNs, there will be a collaboration of networks that include culturally and linguistically specific and responsive, trauma-informed and gender affirming care that will meet the needs of anyone seeking services who have been negatively affected by substance use and the war on drugs,” said Oversight & Accountability Tri-chair LaKeesha Dumas.

Measure 110 essentially decriminalized possession of user amounts of hard drugs — including heroin, cocaine and meth — by changing the relevant offense from a misdemeanor to a violation, similar to a parking citation, punishable by a $100 fine or completing a health assessment over the phone.

Around 200 people a month are still being arrested for drug-dealer levels of possession, The Oregonian reported recently, with most being cited for personal use ignoring their court dates or going through the motions during the health screen.

Officials with the Oregon Health Authority are confident the new treatment networks will provide a holistic solution that reduces harm and is “more helpful, caring and cost-effective than punishing and criminalizing people who need help,” according to a news release.

“The collaboration taking place across the state with addiction recovery providers, the Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council, Oregon Health Authority and other key stakeholders signifies that we’re finally on track when it comes to supporting Oregonians struggling with substance use,” said Monta Knudson, executive director of the nonprofit Bridges to Change.

There are significant delays for railways and trucks using the Canadian port city of Vancouver after severe and widespread flooding slammed the Pacific Northwest, officials said Wednesday — and the impact could be felt for days.

Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo, according to the port authority.

British Columbia and neighboring Washington state were inundated with so much rain and wind Monday that people were ordered to evacuate their homes, and dozens needed to be rescued.

Nearly 300 people were trapped by mudslides on British Columbia roadways, Jonathan Gormick with Canada Task Force 1 said. There were three incidents in which cars were trapped between debris flows where hundreds of people were trapped, Emergency Management British Columbia communications director Jordan Turner said. They were all eventually rescued, he said.

The Reynolds School District is sending middle school students home to learn for the next two weeks because of fights breaking out in school. The district says it’s because of socialization problems. Some parents say there isn’t enough supervision.

The school board is considering plans to increase supervision between classes, and they’re also talking with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office to hire deputies as school resource officers.

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