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May 30, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 1/12 – KCEDA Hosted Economic Summit Says Attracting Labor Still a Problem for the Klamath 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.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Air Stagnation Advisory in effect from January 13, 06:00 until January 17.

Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Overnight, partly cloudy with a low around 29.

Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 45.
Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 42.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.

See Road Camera Views

Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr. (Bi-pass)
Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

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Oregon reports 8,040 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 35 new deaths in the state as of today

There are 35 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,814, the Oregon Health Authority reported 8,040 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 486,202.

The 8,040 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (22), Benton (158), Clackamas (820), Clatsop (41), Columbia (43), Coos (93), Crook (54), Curry (64), Deschutes (919), Douglas (83), Grant (31), Harney (1), Hood River (44), Jackson (387), Jefferson (23), Josephine (78), Klamath (207), Lake (3), Lane (550), Lincoln (50), Linn (164), Malheur (78), Marion (611), Morrow (32), Multnomah (1,345), Polk (145), Sherman (3), Tillamook (25), Umatilla (314), Union (13), Wallowa (19), Wasco (63), Washington (1,109), Wheeler (7) and Yamhill (441).

Coronavirus hospitalizations rose gradually over the weekend amid an unprecedented run of infections, with the state on Monday averaging more than 6,750 cases a day in the past week.

Oregon’s record-breaking pace of infections from the omicron variant is being reflected in statewide hospitalizations. The number of people actively hospitalized who tested positive for the coronavirus climbed to 692, up 11% since Friday.

In intensive care units, the volume of patients with positive coronavirus tests climbed to 138, up 16% since Friday. Even so, Oregon’s hospitalization numbers remain more than 40% below the delta peak despite average daily cases being nearly three times the summer summit.

Locally, Sky Lakes Medical Center said yesterday they are operating at active status , and have made the decision to stop differentiating between inpatient care status to simplify reporting in addition to their continued efforts to navigate patient privacy while reporting data.  Especially as inpatient numbers trend towards stabilizing in lower numbers.

Arrows show that cases and hospitalizations have increased over the previous day. The 7 Day Moving Average shows an increase.

Economists project sustained growth for Klamath County in the post-lockdown economic boom, but attracting labor to fill the many open jobs in the Basin is one of the biggest hurdles to progress.

On Monday, KCEDA hosted an economic summit at the Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls, featuring regional economists and local businesspeople.

The summit focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Klamath’s economy and the recovery that followed.

Josh Lehner, an economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, discussed the fact that much of Klamath, Oregon and the U.S. is experiencing an economic boom. But while the economy is humming again, inflation is also on the upswing, which could be a problem.

While inflation is not a huge problem per se, Lehner said, it does make the recovery more challenging and unpredictable. The Klamath economy has been quite strong in the past couple years because of significant federal aid, Lehner said.

Despite the pandemic and the record level of job losses it caused, household income has gone up while poverty has gone down. This can be attributed to federal dollars pouring into the economy in response to the pandemic and poor 2021 water year, according to Lehner.

Klamath Community College will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations every day starting Friday and into next week, Klamath County Public Health says.

The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered at the college’s Wellness Center in Building 4 — whether for first, second, or booster shots.

The entire community is welcome, not just KCC students and staff. Vaccinations will be available to anyone five and older from 12:30 to 6 :30 p.m. between Friday, January 14 and Wednesday, January 19.

Free food boxes and free transportation will also be available.

Basin Transit Service (BTS) will provide cost free round trips to those needing transportation to the vaccination site. Call BTS at (541) 883-2877 a day prior to schedule a round trip from your doorstep to the vaccination site.

No appointments are necessary for vaccination. Spanish-language professionals will be on-site daily.

The national weather service has issued an air stagnation advisory for our area. Poor air quality is expected.

Stagnant conditions will trap smoke and other air pollutants near the ground where people breathe. The areas affected most will be the Valley locations in Klamath and Lake County including the cities of Klamath Falls, Crescent, Sprague River, Bly, Lakeview, Valley Falls and surrounding communities.

The advisory is effective through noon Monday. Air stagnation is likely to result in diminishing air quality with time, especially in and near areas with significant sources of air pollution. Diminished air quality is likely to cause health issues for people with respiratory problems if precautions are not taken. Some areas may see less stagnation on Friday compared to Saturday and Sunday.

MEETING NOTICE: EagleRidge High School, Klamath Falls

The Board of Directors of EagleRidge High School, an Oregon Nonprofit Corporation, will hold a Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at 4:00 pm via Zoom meeting.  The meeting agenda includes approval of Student Investment Account Grant, review of Tax Form 990 and a report from the Executive Director.  The Board may also consider other business brought before the board.   

EagleRidge High School was established to create and implement an autonomous, high achieving and equitable small high school in collaboration with the Klamath Falls City School District pursuant to the Oregon Charter School law.  The meeting will be conducted in accordance with the Oregon Public Meetings law. 

Around the state of Oregon

Ashland High School in the Rogue Valley is the first Southern Oregon school district to announce a temporary closure and distance learning.

Ashland High School announced Monday that it would suspend in-person learning temporarily, while all winter sports and activities have been postponed district-wide. AHS principal Benjamin Bell attributed the shift to the Omicron variant’s spread in the community and the resulting quarantines for both students and staff.

According to Ashland Public Schools, 20 staff members were absent Monday for various reasons, and it’s anticipated that there will not be enough substitutes available after Wednesday this week.

The high school will close down Thursday and Friday, with students advised to work on missing assignments, study, and check in with their teachers via Zoom for scheduled office hours. Students who do not have a computer at home can come to school in order to access their teacher’s Canvas pages from the library or computer labs, with transportation and food services offered as normal.

There will be “asynchronous” remote activities for students from January 18 through January 27, Bell continued, with the same options for students who cannot access Canvas from home. According to Ashland Public Schools, all winter sports and activities are being postponed district-wide until roughly January 31.

Only Butte Falls Charter Schools has joined Ashland for distance learning through the end of the month.  Their decision was made on Tuesday.

Suspect On The Loose After Robbing Central Point People’s Bank

The Central Point Police Department confirmed that People’s Bank on 1017 E. Pine in Central Point was robbed Tuesday at approximately 3:47 pm.

When police from the department arrived on scene they discovered that a lone male entered the bank and passed a note to a teller demanding money.

“The suspect fled on foot after obtaining cash. No weapons were displayed during the incident,” the department said in a press release.

The department said they are still working on a description on the suspect. Details will be updated as more information is received. Central Point Police Detectives are investigating.

Compounds found in hemp “show the ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells,” Oregon State University says.

New OSU research on hemp and COVID-19 was published Tuesday in the Journal of Natural Products. Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, led the study. Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

The Oregon Legislature will hold committee meetings virtually again this year. Senate and House leaders say it’s necessary because of rising COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

They reached the decision following discussions with infectious disease experts at OHSU. The public will be able to enter the Capitol building, during regular business hours. All state employees who can work from home are being asked to do so, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All committee meetings will be livestreamed.

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof is asking the Oregon Supreme Court to salvage his bid to become the next governor of the state.

Kristof filed a petition, asking justices to overturn a decision from Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that he does not meet the three-year residency requirement to run. Kristof argues he grew up in Yamhill, and has returned there every year for three decades, paying Oregon residency taxes and even expanded his family home.

The Court set a January 14th deadline for the Secretary of State’s Office to file their own petition.

Oregon FBI Warns About Job Verification Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense against job verification scams.

In Oregon, the FBI has been receiving more and more reports from people getting scammed as they try to apply for jobs or unemployment benefits. The reports, from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, show that bad actors are targeting victims who are already in financially difficult situations.

Many businesses and government agencies use private, third-party companies to verify that you are really you. The goal is to cut down on fraud. These verification companies are legitimate, but fraudsters, of course, are gaming the system.

In one scenario, the bad actor posts a fake job online and directs you to the verification company. You complete the process, and the bad actor comes back and asks for your login or verification info to finish processing your application. He accesses the account and uses your profile to apply for unemployment in one or more states.

In another scenario, the bad actor posts a job online and directs you to what appears to be a legitimate verification company but one that is, in fact, fake. Again, he harvests your information and goes about committing all kinds of identity crimes.

How do you protect yourself?

  • Make sure you the job you are applying for is real. Research the company, and call a publicly available number to confirm that it is.
  • Make sure that the verification company you are dealing with is legitimate. Research the company. Know exactly what information is required, how that company will communicate with you, and what are the official channels through which it will communicate.
  • Be wary of social media contacts that ask for information to “verify your identity.” Legitimate companies will not ask for your highly personal or financial information this way. 

If you are the victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.   FBI – Oregon 

Oregon State Police have launched an investigation and are appealing for information after a young wolf was shot and killed in Wallowa County

On Tuesday (January 11,) the state police said they received a report on January 8 that a collared wolf had been found dead at Parsnip Creek RD, Wallowa County.

An image posted by the police force showed the deceased animal, which they said was a two-year-old female known as OR 106, who had likely died after being shot.

A spokesperson for Oregon State Police (OSP) wrote: “On January 8, 2022, at 10:36 a.m. a concerned citizen reported to the Oregon State Police and ODFW (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) personnel of finding a collared deceased wolf on Parsnip Creek RD in Wallowa County, approximately 6 miles southeast of Wallowa, OR.

“OSP Troopers and ODFW personnel responded to the area and located a deceased collared wolf. The initial investigation revealed that the wolf likely died as a result of being shot. The wolf, OR 106, was a two-year-old collared female. OR 106 was a lone wolf that dispersed from the Chesnimnus Pack.”

Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, states that killing of wolves in this way was “sickening.” She suggested that state authorities needed to do “much more” to prevent similar killings in the future.

The killing is the latest in a line of similar incidents impacting wolves in Oregon. Eight wolves, including five from the same pack, were poisoned in the state last year, prompting a separate OPS appeal after police exhausted all leads investigating the killings. Those deaths were reported in Union County Oregon in February 2021 and were followed in April and July by two other instances of wolves found with different types of poison in their systems.

After last year’s killings, a $42,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction was offered by conservation groups.

In December, Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the New York Times it is illegal to kill wolves in the state unless it is in defense of human life or under some cases where livestock is being depleted as a result of wolf attacks.

Red Cross: National blood crisis could be dangerous for patients
American Red Cross – Cascades Region 

The American Red Cross is facing a dangerously low blood supply. Inventory is truly at crisis levels.  Right now, doctors are being forced to decide which patients receive blood transfusions and who must wait. It’s a dire situation, and we need your help letting potential donors know how critical it is that they make an appointment to give blood or platelets this winter.   

Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments, and donors of all blood types – especially type O − are urged to make an appointment now to give in the weeks ahead.

In recent weeks, the Red Cross had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types and has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals. At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met.

Pandemic challenges

The Red Cross continues to confront relentless challenges due to COVID-19, including about a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood as well as ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. Additionally, the pandemic has contributed to a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges.

“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” said Dr. Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”

Over the next month, about 60 percent of donation appointments remain unfilled in the Cascade Red Cross Region. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

The Red Cross and the NFL are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the national blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. As an extra thank-you from the Red Cross, those who come to donate will also be automatically entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl for more information.

Who donations help

For Lara Weberling, a Red Cross Donor Recruitment Representative from Portland, getting more blood donors through the door is personal. Lara lost her son, Hans, to the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma in 2012. During his 6-year battle with the disease he received many blood transfusions and blood-related products including stem cell transplants with maintenance therapy. Hans was 9 when he lost his battle with cancer. His mother, however, is still fighting. Lara, through her job with the Red Cross, works to get more blood donations so that kids like Hans who rely on donors can get the treatment they need.

“It’s amazing,” said Lara. “I get to help kids like Hans every day.” 

Volunteers needed

In addition to blood donors, the Red Cross also needs the help of volunteers to support critical blood collections across the country. Blood drive volunteers play an important role by greeting, registering, answering questions and providing information to blood donors throughout the donation process. Blood transportation specialists – another volunteer opportunity − provide a critical link between blood donors and blood recipients by delivering blood to hospitals in communities across the country. To volunteer to support Red Cross blood collections, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.

Blood drive safety 

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive. 

Save time during donation

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Health insights for donors 

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.    

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.  

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.  

Terms and conditions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl.

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