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 Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Klamath Basin Weather
Today A 30% chance of snow, mainly after 4pm, otherwise partly sunny during the day, with a high near 33. Light and variable wind to 11 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected. Overnight, a chance of snow with a low around 20 degrees.
Friday A 20% chance of snow showers before 10am. Partly sunny, with a high near 33. West northwest wind 6 to 8 mph. Overnight low of 12 degrees.
Saturday, New Year’s Day Partly sunny, with a high near 32. Overnight Partly cloudy, low around 9.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 34.
Monday Snow likely. Patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39.
Tuesday Snow. Cloudy, with a high near 37.
See Road Camera Views:
The annual New Year’s Eve duel between cowboys and bulls returns to Klamath Falls on Friday. Co sponsored by Wynne Broadcasting’s KIX 96, doors for the 29th Bullmania open at 5PM at the John Hancock Event Center inside the Klamath County Fairgrounds.
This year’s rendition of Bullmania is the first-ever in Southern Oregon to be sanctioned by the PBR (Professional Bull Riders).
The main event starts at 7:15 p.m. and when the bullriding wraps up, local band Fat Sexy will provide live music for a dance party that will feature Oregon’s largest balloon drop at midnight. Bullmania will be apart of the PBR’s entry level Touring Pro division. The PBR-sanctioned event is attracting multiple high-level riders, said Jamie Berg, the event producer. Berg added that a 20-by-18-foot jumbotron will also be present for instant replays and a preshow featuring “lasers and all that good stuff” will lead off the bullriding action.
Tickets will be sold at the door for $23. An already sold-out VIP dinner will take place at 5:15 p.m. Presale tickets, each $20, are available at any Coastal, Grange Co-op, Sherm’s Thunderbird, Albertson’s, Lane’s Market and the Bonanza General Store. Bulls are coming from Howell Rodeo Company, Doug Aue, Steve Hawkins, Andrew Culp, the Ireland Brothers and Julio Moreno — the owner of Bushwacker, a three-time PBR world champion.
Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber presents Sky Lakes Cancer Treatment Center director Susan Morton with $450 raised by sheriff’s patrol deputies and corrections officers during “No-Shave November.”
The officers each paid for the privilege of not shaving for the month (while maintaining a professional appearance) and to raise money for the Cancer Treatment Center.
The donation will go to the CTC’s patient assistance fund, which is used to help ease the personal financial burden of people in cancer care, she added.
Like much of Southern Oregon’s higher-elevation areas, Crater Lake National Park is getting a major helping of powder this month, more so than is usual for this time of year.
The National Weather Service noted on Tuesday morning that Crater Lake received 27 inches of snow within just 24 hours between December 26 and 27. Its total snow depth was last recorded at 76 inches, when the normal depth would be 52 inches for this date.
The three miles of road between the park headquarters and Rim Village remain closed until two lanes of travel can be cleared through the snow drifts and across avalanche areas. Chains or traction tires are required on all roads in the park.
Mt. Ashland Ski Area reported a similarly significant dumping on Monday, reporting that the mountain had received almost 100 inches of annual snowfall in the less than 10 days since the season began.
Diamond Lake Resort reported Monday that it had received 13 inches of snow in the previous 24 hours. Despite ODOT shutting down snow parks along state highways in the region, Diamond Lake Resort’s parking lots remain plowed and maintained for visitors.
More than a dozen steam locomotives, part of perhaps the single largest private collection of its kind, have been purchased from the estate of a Merrill collector by the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad in Garibaldi.
Fred Kepner collected the equipment over the course of decades and kept most of it outdoors, alongside the Union Pacific railroads tracks that ran past his property.
The collection included a dozen rare steam locomotives in addition to old cranes, cabooses, cars and more, most of which date back to the late 1800s through the 1930s.
As engines started to change over to diesel power, Kepner starting buying the now-obsolete machinery. His goal was to develop and manage the Great Western Rail Museum, though that never came to full fruition. Kepner died in October.
Kepner had long advocated for preserving railroad equipment in the Klamath Basin throughout his life, including the Oregon, California & Eastern Railway that ran from Bly to Klamath Falls until 1990.
He also advocated to save the long abandoned Southern Pacific roundhouse in Klamath Falls, which was on the historic register.
Around the state of Oregon
Pedestrian Dies After Hit-And-Run in North Medford Walmart Parking Lot
On December 27th, 2021 at 6:02 p.m., officers and medical personnel were dispatched to a person down, in the parking lot west of McDonalds, 3611 Crater Lake Hwy. The person reported he was run over by an unknown vehicle, and he was conscious. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Medford Police Detectives and Officers from the Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team (STAR) assumed the investigation. The victim appears to have been homeless and was panhandling on the concrete median at an intersection in the parking lot, when he was run over by an unknown vehicle.
The victim‘s name is not being released at this time, pending next of kin notification.
Anyone with information is asked to contact our dispatch, 541-770-4783, and reference case 21-21029 – Medford Police Dept.
Historic Snowfall on Mt. Ashland
Today’s snowfall at Mt. Ashland made history. Nearly 100 inches of snowfall has been recorded less than 10 days into the season.
Mt. Ashland Ski Area posted on its Facebook that there is a “powder paradise today” after receiving 20 inches of snow in the last 24 hours.
In a video linked to the post, Mt. Ashland General Manager, Hiram Towle, talks about important deep-snow safety measures to keep in mind. https://www.facebook.com/MtAshlandSkiArea/videos/601186987844802
“When the snow gets deep like this, there are issues out in the woods, especially with snow immersion suffocation,” Towle said. “What that is is when the trees hold back the snow and create a cavity. You’ve gotta ski with partners when you’re in the woods especially, and stay close, stay within sight of each other for safety.”
The post also reminds visitors that with snow comes the road hazards, and to please be extra careful when driving up.
“Safety also continues out to the road, we have seen evidence of dozens of car wrecks already,” Towle said.
Towle also reminds visitors about the importance of mask safety in the lodge and states that they are required in all indoor areas.
“Please remember to wear your mask when inside the lodge or any other indoor area,” the post also reads in part. “We’ve been handing out hundreds of masks daily, however, it’s preferred if you bring your own.”
Oregon State Police Video Shows SUV Plowing into Oregon Police Car after Sliding on Black Ice on Hwy 199 Near Grants Pass
The roads may look clear, but don’t be fooled the temperatures are still freezing, and black ice is lurking in the shadows. These drivers were all driving too fast for the road conditions. Luckily, no one was injured.
On December 27, 2021, at approximately 10:00 AM, OSP Lieutenant Benson of the Grants Pass Area Command of Oregon State Police was on patrol, assisting motorists during a snow event. He had just finished investigating a slide-off crash when another occurred a short distance behind him.
Lt. Benson backed up on the road and exited his vehicle when a third vehicle spun out and hit his patrol car. He saw the vehicle coming and was able to run to a safe area.
Oregon reports 2,331 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 9 new deaths
There are nine new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,640, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today. OHA reported 2,331 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 418,333.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (67), Clackamas (141), Clatsop (16), Columbia (10), Coos (36), Crook (24), Curry (3), Deschutes (326), Douglas (47), Gilliam (2), Grant (11), Harney (1), Hood River (15), Jackson (144), Jefferson (37), Josephine (45), Klamath (14), Lake (1), Lane (131), Lincoln (23), Linn (85), Malheur (20), Marion (168), Morrow (2), Multnomah (419), Polk (39), Tillamook (6), Umatilla (90), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Wasco (12), Washington (286) and Yamhill (102).
COVID-19 weekly cases increase, hospitalizations and deaths decline
OHA’s COVID-19 Weekly Report released today showed higher daily cases but declines in COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.
OHA reported 6,987 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Dec. 21, through Sunday, Dec. 27. That is a 25% increase over the previous week. That was despite a 7.1% decline in reported test results for the week.
Effective Jan. 1, personal use firewood permits on the Fremont-Winema National Forest will be free, available at no charge to the public.
A permit will still need to be obtained by contacting the local Ranger District or the Forest Supervisor’s office. Woodcutters will need to have a paper copy of the permit with them while cutting firewood.
The current personal use firewood synopsis and firewood map also needs to be with them either hardcopy or electronically while cutting wood. Loads should be logged on the removal record located on the permit before leaving the woodcutting site.
The Forest is no longer issuing tags for personal use firewood.
Each household can collect up to 10 cords of personal use firewood a year. A cord equates to a wood stack that is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long. For more information on the free personal use firewood cutting, please contact your local Fremont-Winema National Forest Office during regular business hours between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
For more information on the free personal use firewood cutting, please contact your local Fremont-Winema National Forest Office during regular business hours between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
They can be reached at: Supervisor’s Office – 541-947-2151; Bly Ranger District – 541-353-2427; Chiloquin and Chemult Ranger Districts – 541-783-4001; Klamath Ranger District – 541-883-6714; Lakeview Ranger District – 541-947-3334; Paisley Ranger District – 541-943-3114; Silver Lake Ranger District – 541-576-2107.
A family stranded in the snow for hours along Bear Camp Road near Agness was saved by the Curry County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team on Sunday.
Shortly after 6 p.m. on Sunday, Curry County dispatch received a 911 call from a phone number listed to a Kody Rosenstiel, but there was no voice contact due to poor service.
Dispatchers were able to trace the call to Bear Camp Road above Agness, but they were unable to reconnect with the caller. About 30 minutes later, dispatch received another 911 call from the same number, this time learning that 22-year-old Kody Rosenstiel of Broadbent, 23-year-old Miranda Davis of Gold Beach, two children ages 2 and 3, and three dogs were stuck in the snow roughly six miles up Bear Camp Road from Agness.
Dispatch told Rosenstiel to return to his truck and SAR would find them. Shortly before 10:30 p.m., the SAR team found the family in their stuck F-350. After winching the truck out of the snow with the Sno-Cat, it took roughly another hour to get the family back down to the Agness Road. Officials said this is another example of people putting themselves in harms way and SAR saving lives.
Motorists are urged to steer clear of lesser traveled roads in winter months, some of which are closed with signage and gates, but compromised by simply driving around them or ignoring warnings.
An ODOT incident responder had a close call Monday afternoon traveling north on I-5 near Wolf Creek as large, heavily snow-covered tree started to fall across the interstate in front of him.
The incident happened at around 2 p.m. The ODOT worker was able to escape the falling tree driving quickly underneath it. Nobody was injured, but one of the branches did crack the windshield of the vehicle. When responding to the scene, Oregon State Police spotted a private logging company truck waiting in the traffic queue. They agreed to help remove the fallen tree from the road. After an OSP escort up the shoulder, the loggers made short work of it, having the tree cleared about an hour after it had fallen, with all travel lanes open and flowing in about 30 additional minutes.
ODOT says this should remind drivers there are more hazards out on the roads this time of the year than just snow and ice. They say to “Be watchful. Slow down, and be careful out there.
$3 million in funding available for community projects supporting older adults, people with disabilities
The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), in early 2022, will invite funding requests for community projects supporting older adults and people with disabilities. Of the $3 million available, at least $2 million will be designated for equity-related proposals serving Oregonians who have experienced barriers in accessing services and supports.
The ODHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) provides the Innovation Fund to support projects that are not only unique in approach but have the potential to be long-lasting.
APD will be encouraging culturally specific organizations to submit proposals. Culturally specific organizations are defined as:
• Serving a particular cultural community and are primarily staffed and led by members of that community;
• Demonstrating personal knowledge of lived experience of the community including, but not limited to, the impact of structural and individual racism or discrimination on the community;
• Knowledgeable about specific barriers faced in the community and how those barriers influence the structure of their program or service; and
• Able to describe the community’s cultural practices, health and safety beliefs/practices, positive cultural identity/pride/resilience, immigration dynamics, religious beliefs, or other traditions, and how their services have been adapted to honor those traditions.
The Oregon Office of Contracts and Procurement will oversee the competitive selection process for funding recipients which is expected to launch sometime in February 2022; information will be posted on OregonBuys. For more information visit APD’s webpage, Funding Opportunities.
More than 30,000 Oregon households have received rental assistance relief due to hardship from pandemic
State issues checks for more than $211 million in federal emergency rental assistance
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announced that as of today, OHCS and local program administrators (LPAs) have paid $211.6 million in federal emergency rental assistance to 30,471 households, up from $200.4 million and 28,869 applicants last week, through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP).
OERAP continues to be one of the nation’s top-performing programs and is ranked fifth in the nation in the percentage of federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds paid out and obligated, as tracked by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Progress and updated numbers
Through its three-point plan, OHCS and its processing partner, Public Partnerships LLC (PPL), have made significant strides in the past several weeks to speed up application processing. Currently, 265 PPL staff are focusing on processing applications. In the past week alone, PPL processed 1,675 applications, far exceeding its target of 1,000. This is in addition to the applications processed by LPAs working across the state to finish paying out ERA 1 funds.
To date, OHCS and LPAs have:
- Paid $211,658,147 to landlords and tenants to help 30,471 Oregon households.
- Received more than 51,733 completed applications to be reviewed for eligibility.
Visit the OERAP dashboard for more data.
Oregon’s moratorium on expired licenses, ID cards and vehicle registration ends on Friday, December 31.
The Oregon DMV said it has caught up with enough of its backlog from the pandemic that half of all office visits are by appointment and the other half are on standby.
The department recommends people visit DMV2U to see if they are able to complete their services online.
“Going forward, customers will continue to have the option of making an appointment online through DMV2U or dropping by, as well as more choices online,” DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said.
DMV urges Oregonians who need to renew their license or ID card to get the Real ID option. Airports will begin requiring passports or the Real ID as identification to fly beginning in May of 2023.
New Oregon Laws that Go into Effect on January 1st
Those new laws, and many others, take effect on January 1st 2022.
POLICE REFORM: George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer triggered a national reckoning on civil rights. Oregon lawmakers responded with several bills aimed at improving police conduct and oversight. Here are some of those that take effect Jan. 1:
· Senate Bill 204 gives civilian oversight board access to a database of police encounters and arrests. The bill passed the House 34-22, and the House 18-11.
· Senate Bill 621 gives local jurisdictions the ability to set law for community oversight boards that oversee police discipline. Lawmakers took up this bill at Portland’s request. It passed the Senate 20-7 and the House 37-19.
· House Bill 2513 requires CPR training for police certification and requires police to call for emergency medical aid if a restrained person suffers respiratory or cardiac crisis. The bill passed the House 58-2 and the Senate 24-4.
· House Bill 2929 requires police officers to report misconduct or fitness standards and mandates investigation into such a report with 72 hours. Investigators must report misconduct findings to a state board. The House voted 58-2 for the bill; the Senate approved it 27-2.
· House Bill 2936 creates a background checklist and standardized personal history questionnaire for aspiring police officers and exempts law enforcement from a prohibition on employer access to personal social media accounts. While the law takes effect on Jan. 1, it cannot be used to hire corrections officers until July 1, 2023. It passed the House 54-4 and the Senate 20-8.
· House Bill 3145 requires police departments to report officer discipline to the state within 10 days. The state will publish those reports in an online publicly accessible database. It passed the House 58-1 and the Senate 26-2.
· House Bill 2932 requires Oregon law enforcement to participate in the FBI’s national use-of-force database and directs a state commission to analyze the data and report its findings to the Legislature every year. The bill passed the House 58-1 and the Senate 20-7.
· House Bill 2986 requires police officers be trained to investigate and report bias crimes. It passed both the House and the Senate unanimously.
· House Bill 3059 requires any arrests associated with “unlawful assemblies” to be based on crimes other than a failure to disperse. It also passed the House and Senate unanimously.
· House Bill 3273 limits the circumstances in which law enforcement officers may release booking photos, commonly known as mugshots. Supporters said online publication of mugshots were impinging on people’s privacy and preventing them from moving on with their lives, whether or not they were ultimately convicted of crimes. It passed the House 54-4 and the Senate 17-13.
PUBLIC MEETINGS: House Bill 2560 makes permanent a pandemic-era change. It requires government agencies, whenever possible, to stream their meetings online and give the public the opportunity to testify remotely. The bill passed the House 42-5 and the Senate 25-2.
COLD MEDICINE: Oregon was one of just two states (Mississippi was the other) that required a prescription for cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a restriction established to limit people’s ability to buy large quantities and use it to make methamphetamine. But lawmakers concluded that a multistate system for tracking purchases, and meth production shifting to labs outside the country, made Oregon’s law obsolete. So House Bill 2648 repealed Oregon’s restriction. Now, people can buy cold medicines by asking a pharmacist, who registers the transaction with the database. The bill passed the House 54-4, and the House 27-2.
ELECTIONS: House Bill 3291 requires Oregon to count ballots mailed the day of the election. Previously, counties would count only ballots actually received on or before Election Day. It passed the House 39-21 and the Senate 16-13. This will delay how quickly election results can be determined but is likely to lead to higher election turnout.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Senate Bill 8 requires local governments to allow development of affordable housing even on land not zoned for residential use, with some exceptions for lands designated for heavy industry and publicly owned properties next to sites zoned for school or residential use. It also lowers the duration for which such housing must be classified as affordable, from 40 years to 30. The bill won overwhelming legislative support, passing the Senate 25-5 and the House 46-3.
HATE CRIMES: Senate Bill 398 makes it a crime to intimidate people by displaying a noose. Violators face up to 364 days in prison and a fine of $6,250. The bill passed the Senate 27-1 and the House 54-0.
RACIAL EQUITY: House Bill 2935, known as the Crown Act, bans discrimination in schools or the workplace “based on physical characteristics that are historically associated with race.” The law specifies hair style and hair texture are among those newly protected traits. It passed the House 58-0 and the Senate 28-1.
JUVENILE SUSPECTS: Senate Bill 418 establishes that if a police officer intentionally uses false information to elicit a statement from someone under age 18, that statement will be presumed to be involuntary. The bill passed the Senate 24-4, and the House 53-2.
TEACHER UNIONS: Senate Bill 580 requires school districts bargain with teacher unions over class sizes at schools with high concentrations of low-income students. The bill’s original version would have applied more broadly, potentially requiring schools to lower class sizes in high-income schools and raise them in schools with a concentration of low-income students, who have greater learning needs. The Legislature narrowed the bill’s scope after The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that it could undermine the state’s efforts to provide more equitable outcomes for students of all backgrounds. The House approved the bill 36-21; the Senate voted 18-11 in favor.
HOMELESSNESS: Senate Bill 850 requires that death reports for homeless people list the person’s residence as “domicile unknown.” Supporters hope the bill will help track the number of people who die while experiencing homelessness, something that already happens in Multnomah County. The bill passed 22-5 in the Senate and 52-0 in the House.
TOBACCO: Effective Jan. 1, 2022, retailers in Oregon must have a tobacco retail license to sell commercial tobacco products and Inhalant Delivery Systems (IDS, also known as “e-cigarettes” or “vape”), per Senate Bill 587. The new Tobacco Retail License law lets the state more accurately track where tobacco is being sold and ensure that businesses follow tobacco laws, including not selling to people under age 21.
MARIJUANA: House Bill 3369 allows nurses to discuss possible medical use of marijuana with their patients. It passed the House 47-5 and passed the Senate 21-6.
Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday ordered that flags at all Oregon public institutions be flown at half-staff in honor of former Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who died Tuesday.
The order does not start immediately, but on the day of Reid’s interment. Reid’s wife released a statement Tuesday announcement that he had passed away that afternoon after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 82 years old.
Reid served in Congress for three decades, first winning a US Senate seat in 1986. He led the Democratic party in the Senate from 2005 until his retirement in 2017, including eight years as Senate Majority Leader.
On January 1, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will begin charging out-of-state residents 25% more for RV sites for stays beginning January 1, as directed by the Oregon Legislature.
Oregon residents with RVs pay an RV license plate fee, with some proceeds going to state park operations. The surcharge is designed to achieve parity, and the revenue it generates will pay for day-to-day operations and repairs to state parks, which are not funded by taxes. The increase applies to all sites with hookups for recreational vehicles. Including lodging tax, a typical RV site with sewer and electrical hookups will cost $30-$50 per night for non-residents, compared to $24-$40 for Oregon residents.
Residents and non-residents will pay the same rate for all other site types, including tent sites, cabins and yurts. Reservations can be booked at oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com and by phone at 800-452-5687, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed holidays).