Klamath Basin News, Friday, 1/21 – The Growler Guys Brewery Buys Reames Country Club, Will Develop It Into A New Restaurant and More

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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, January 21, 2022

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, January 21, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 47. Mostly clear overnight, with a low near 24 degrees.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 49. Clear overnight with a low around 23.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 52.
Monday Sunny, with a high near 53.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 52.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 50.

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

The Growler Guys, a brewery company based in Grants Pass has announced they have purchased the former Reames Golf Course & Country Club in Klamath Falls and plan to develop the former clubhouse into a restaurant, according to the Klamath County Economic Development Association.

They already have locations in Ashland, Bend, Portland, Astoria, Seattle and other cities.

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Oregon reports 10,034 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 8 new deaths

There are eight new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,916, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today. The Oregon Health Authority reported 10,034 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 559,960.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (25), Benton (278), Clackamas (776), Clatsop (79), Columbia (107), Coos (142), Crook (45), Curry (38), Deschutes (675), Douglas (204), Grant (65), Harney (4), Hood River (52), Jackson (508), Jefferson (128), Josephine (157), Klamath (146), Lake (4), Lane (747), Lincoln (169), Linn (575), Malheur (143), Marion (1,073), Morrow (50), Multnomah (1,434), Polk (226), Sherman (3), Tillamook (54), Umatilla (288), Union (61), Wallowa (13), Wasco (65), Washington (1,400), Wheeler (7) and Yamhill (293).

Candidates for the top job in Klamath Falls city government, City Manager, met with the public Wednesday night, where they spoke about their backgrounds and their ideas.

The finalists for the position are: Deidre Andrus, Dave Strahl, Jonathan Teichert and Mark Woo.

Deidre Andrus said the first thing that struck her about Klamath Falls was is natural beauty. She was also struck by the level of community involvement in local government. 

Wood’s top priority would be to establish his family as part of Klamath Falls life.

Jonathan Teichert said that traveling to Klamath from Wyoming, he was surprised by how nice the weather has been.

Dave Strahl said when he got to town, he sensed the potential Klamath has to offer.

A Klamath Falls woman is behind bars on Thursday after she allegedly attacked and injured her partner while the victim was holding their daughter. According to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a home just outside of Dorris on Tuesday night after the victim called 911 to ask for help. A SCSO Sergeant responded to find the victim lying on the floor of the home, suffering from a large cut on their leg that was “bleeding profusely.” SCSO said in a statement that it would only refer to the victim as “victim,” using the pronoun “they” to protect their identity. The victim told officers that they had been in a dispute over money with their girlfriend, 26-year-old Jena Jackson of Klamath Falls. The victim said that Jackson had attacked them during the argument as they were holding their daughter. After the attack, SCSO said that Jackson was driven up to Klamath County by a roommate who had witnessed the incident. Deputies from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office later found Jackson and took her into custody. She was booked into the Klamath County Jail pending extradition to Siskiyou County on charges of attempted murder, felony domestic violence, child endangerment, and assault with a deadly weapon

The Ragland’s Teen Theater Program will perform “Hammered: A Thor & Loki Play” on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 22 at 2 p.m.

The play is part of a collection of family-friendly, one-act plays based in the Marvel Universe. It is developed for teenagers and explores the humans behind some of your favorite superheroes (and villains).

In Hammered we see brothers, The Mighty Thor and Loki, struggle with the stress of final exams, compete for their parents’ favor, and other relatable issues for teens. Thor and Loki are figures from mythology — they are heirs to the throne of Asgard and brothers who don’t always get along.

Performance are set for Friday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15, $11 for seniors/military, $5 for students. Call 884-LIVE to reserve a ticket, or visit the theater’s website at www.ragland.org. The box office is open at noon.

After a record-setting 2020, the statewide graduation rate for Oregon dipped by two percentage points to 80.63% in the school year which ended in the spring of 2021.

However, Klamath Falls City Schools was generally immune from the drop and overall maintained a slight increase — from 73.25% in 2020 to 73.63% in 2021, graduation data released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education showed.

The city district — which includes the Klamath Learning Center, plus Klamath Union and Eagle Ridge highschools — is over 10 percentage points higher than 2018 (63.31%).

The much larger Klamath County School District, which includes seven high schools throughout the county, more closely mirrored the state trend: a steady year-over-year increase followed by a drop in a few percentage points in the 2021 school year. Overall, the county district went from a high-water mark of 83.89% in 2020 to 77.99% in 2021.

Of course, the 2020-2021 school year was far from normal.

Students, staff and administrators had to navigate an entire year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools went in and out of in-person learning as districts across the country navigated a changed learning landscape. Additionally, the county’s overall rate includes Falcon Heights, an alternative high school for students who are behind on credits and at risk of dropping out, officials told the Herald and News last year.

Comments are now being accepted for a proposed pumped storage facility on which PacifiCorp wishes to conduct a feasibility study near the Winter Rim area.

The company has filed a notice of preliminary permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with a comment period of 60 days beginning from Dec. 21, 2021 and running to approximately Friday, Feb. 18. PacifiCorp is looking at conducting feasibility studies on 11 different locations within its six-state service territory. Two of the potential sites are located in Oregon — both in Lake County. The other location would be about three miles southeast of Valley Falls.

The Winter Rim project proposed site would be near Summer Lake and northwest of Paisley. According to a PacifiCorp spokesperson, the company files these notices of preliminary permit applications so that it is already in line and has begun the FERC process when the company is ready to move forward on a specific site.

The spokesperson said that the feasibility study itself could take up to four years, and FERC will only approve projects that are economically feasible and not a burden on customers.

On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at approximately 9:30 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian crash on Hwy 97 near milepost 129. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a pedestrian, identified as Anthony Manuel Hernandez (40) of Madras, was walking in the lanes of travel when he was struck by a southbound black Mercedes GI5, operated by Howard Dietrich (45) of Portland. Hernandez had run out of fuel and was walking back to his vehicle at the time of the crash. 

Hernandez sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

OSP was assisted by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and ODOT.

Mt. Shasta Ski Park will soon play host to some world-class professionals in snow-business, the park announced on Thursday.

The US Men’s Olympic Snowboard Race Team, led by Mt. Shasta’s own Robbie Burns, will be using the mountain to train for the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.

The team will begin practicing on the Mt. Shasta Ski Park race hill on Monday morning, and they’ll stay through Friday. Mt. Shasta said they depart for Beijing in time for the February 4 Opening Ceremonies.

“The Ski Park will be setting various courses that the racers expect to see during Olympic competition,” the park said in a statement. “Racers expect to make 10-12 training runs per day.”

The race course will be closed to the public during these morning training periods.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.1% in December, edging down from 4.2% in November. This was the 20th consecutive month of declines in Oregon’s unemployment rate.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 4.2% in November to 3.9% in December.  Nonfarm payroll employment in Oregon rose by 8,200 in December, following a revised gain of 9,200 jobs in November.

Throughout 2021, monthly job gains averaged 8,900. In December, gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+2,600 jobs), health care and social assistance (+1,200), manufacturing (+900), and professional and business services (+900).

None of the major industries had a big drop in jobs during December. Leisure and hospitality added 2,600 jobs in December, following a gain of 3,700 in November.

Despite these gains, leisure and hospitality still accounts for a large share of Oregon’s jobs not recovered since early 2020, with 23,200 jobs left to recover to reach the prior peak month of February 2020. The industry has regained 79% of jobs lost early in the pandemic. Manufacturing added 900 jobs in December and 1,000 jobs in November, continuing its steady recovery over the past year and a half.

Recent job gains were strongest in nondurable goods manufacturing, including food manufacturing which employed 28,700 in December, a level close to each of the four Decembers prior to the recession.

Nearly 35,000 Oregon households have received more than $243 million in rental assistance relief due to hardship from pandemic 

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announced that as of Jan. 19, 2022, OHCS and local program administrators (LPAs) have paid $243.6 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) to 34,900 households, up from $235.4 million and 33,770 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 sixth in the nation, in the percentage of federal ERA funds paid out and obligated, as tracked by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow and others are suing Gov. Kate Brown, claiming she didn’t follow the state’s clemency laws and nearly a thousand inmates were released from prison early.

The law firm of Kevin Mannix is representing Perlow and Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny as well as four victims.

Linn County District Attorney Marteeny released a statement saying: “In this country, we are ruled by laws and not by the whims of people and personalities. The governor may disagree with my position on this; however, that is what lawsuits are for. This lawsuit is not personal on my part.”

The governor’s office released a statement to KEZI 9 News saying they generally do not comment on matters of pending litigation. Perlow said Marion County Circuit Court has the filings and hopefully a hearing will be scheduled soon. However due to COVID-19 concerns, there is no definitive timeline.

Oregon awards $2.1 million to support youth experiencing homelessness

  • Approximately $2.1 million is being awarded to organizations across Oregon to expand services and support for youth experiencing homelessness
  • The money is being awarded to 19 organizations providing services to youth in 16 counties

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Youth Experiencing Homelessness program is awarding approximately $2.1 million to organizations that provide services and support to youth experiencing homelessness. 

Youth experiencing homelessness face many barriers to meeting their basic needs. They experience hunger and difficulty accessing clean clothes, a place to shower, supports and resources, and safe, stable housing. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made these experiences even more difficult for young people, especially for youth of color, members of tribal nations, and LGBTQIA2S+ youth. 

To address these needs, ODHS is awarding approximately $2.1 million in grant funding to organizations across the state to improve services for youth experiencing homelessness. Most of these grant funds were appropriated by House Bill 2544 of the 2021 Session of the Oregon Legislature.

The approximately $2.1 million is being awarded to 19 organizations providing services in 16 counties to support:

  • Creation and expansion of outreach and drop-in prevention services 
  • Shelter expansion 
  • Transitional housing opportunities
  • Culturally-specific services
  • Expansion of mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Expansion of services in rural areas

Organizations receiving grant funding include: 

  • Alternative Youth Activities (Coos County)
  • AntFarm (Clackamas County)
  • Boys & Girls Aid Society (Washington County)
  • Family Faith & Relationship Advocates (Douglas County)
  • Hearts with a Mission (Jackson and Josephine Counties)
  • Home Plate (Washington County)
  • Integral Youth Services (Klamath County)
  • J Bar J Youth Services (Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties)
  • Jackson Street Youth Services (Linn and Benton Counties)
  • Janus Youth Programs (Multnomah County)
  • Lincoln County Youth Tides Shelter (Lincoln County)
  • Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action (Marion and Polk Counties)
  • Native American Youth Services (Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties)
  • New Avenues for Youth (Multnomah County)
  • Outside In (Multnomah County)
  • Parrott Creek (Clackamas and Multnomah County)
  • St. Vincent de Paul (Lane County)
  • Yamhill Community Action Partnership (Yamhill County)
  • Youth Era (Lane County)

Learn more about the ODHS Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/CHILDREN/Homeless-Youth/Pages/index.aspx

Police Still Seek Medford Murder Suspect As Grand Jury Approves Indictment

The man suspected of shooting and killing a woman in a Medford home on Saturday officially faces a second-degree murder charge, though he continues to evade capture.

A Jackson County grand jury met this week and approved an indictment for 21-year-old Cristian Lamberto Barboza-Valerio, charging him with second-degree murder.

The charges stem from an incident on January 15 that left Adriana Paulina Mendoza Lopez dead at a home in the 800-block of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Medford Police began looking for Barboza-Valerio on Saturday, disseminating photos of a white truck that he was believed to be driving. But law enforcement later found the vehicle abandoned near I-5 at the California border.

Barboza-Valerio is believed to have ties to Yuba City and Pittsburg in California, and Medford Police said he was “most likely” heading that direction.

“A warrant has been issued for Mr. Barboza-Valerio’s immediate arrest in this case,” the Jackson County District Attorney’s office said. “Investigators efforts to locate and apprehend him remain ongoing. Any member of the public that knows or learns of his possible whereabouts should call 911 immediately to report that information.”

10% Of Oregon’s Hospital Beds Are Occupied By Patients Ready To Leave With Nowhere To Go as nursing homes are short staffed and struggling to take patients

Oregon’s hospitals are close to running out of beds — and a backlog of patients waiting to move into the state’s understaffed long-term care facilities is making the problem worse.

Statewide, 582 people who are currently occupying hospital beds are ready to be discharged, but they can’t find a bed somewhere else.

“They may need a nursing home, a rehab bed, behavioral health support, or they may not even have a home to go to,” said Becky Hultberg, President of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

That’s roughly 10 percent of all adult hospital beds statewide being occupied by people ready for discharge. For comparison, about 20 percent of the state’s beds are currently occupied by patients with COVID-19.

The discharge delays are a longstanding issue the pandemic has made worse.

Patients may struggle to find a facility that accepts their insurance, or that works with people with behavioral health conditions. Or some are simply homeless, according to Hultberg.

On top of that, places that would typically receive many of those patients – nursing homes and other long-term care facilities — are desperately short staffed.

One small bit of good news: the patients with COVID-19 who are in many of those limited hospital beds, are generally not as sick as the people battling the illness during the last wave.

OSU Researchers Study COVID-19 Wastewater In Grants Pass 

Oregon State University Researchers are wrapping up one of several studies on wastewater in Grants Pass meant to provide information on COVID-19 in communities throughout the state.

The researchers are looking for traces of COVID in wastewater in order to detect how much of the virus is in the community. This endeavor is separate from an ongoing study at the Grants Pass wastewater treatment plant, which can tell researchers if the amount of virus in the area has increased, decreased, or what variants are present.

“Our most recent sampling for sequencing — which was the end of the December, we are usually 10-14 days behind — what we have started to see is a little bit of Omicron starting to show up, but it’s still a Delta-dominated sample at this point,” said Tyler Radniecki, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at OSU. “Omicron has been detected in a number of communities down there (southern Oregon) at a modest level, but we would expect that to grow over time.

Samples taken Thursday in the short-term study will be the third and final ones taken from Grants Pass, gathered from eight different manholes across the city.

Radniecki and his team hope that these samples will give them a better idea of the community’s health and help pinpoint which strain of the coronavirus is impacting the population.

“That allows us to quantify the virus to different neighborhoods as well as determine if we’re seeing different variants in different areas of the community,” Radniecki said.

Grants Pass is just one of many communities across the state that OSU has monitored has part of the study, and it’s treated as representative of Southern Oregon. The same eight manholes have been tested a total of three times since the beginning of the pandemic, with Thursday’s extraction marking the third and final.

Grants available for historic properties and archaeology projects

The State Historic Preservation Office is offering grants for work on historic properties and for archaeology projects. The annual grants fund up to $20,000 in matching funds for preservation projects. Both grant programs support the goals of the Oregon Historic Preservation Plan. 

The Preserving Oregon Grants fund preservation of historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Work may include non-maintenance preservation like window repair, roof work, foundation projects, plumbing, and electrical needs. Recently funded projects include preservation of the following historic properties.

  • Aurora Colony Historical Society
  • Churchill Baker LLC, Baker City
  • Creswell Library Building
  • Mt. Angel Blacksmith Shop
  • Santiam Pass Ski Lodge
  • Sodhouse Ranch, Malheur County
  • Union High School, Union
  • Willamette Grange Hall, Benton County

Preserving Oregon Grants can also fund archaeology projects for significant work contributing toward identifying, preserving and/or interpreting archaeological sites. Archaeology projects by Southern Oregon University, Willamette University and the Vanport Placemarking Project were funded last year. 

State Warns About Crypto Investor Scams

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is warning Oregonians to use caution when investing in cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens, or other new or volatile products.

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that have no government backing. They are typically purchased, used, stored, and traded electronically through digital currency exchanges. They can be traded for goods and services, transferred from one person to another, or held for investment purposes.

A nonfungible token – or NFT – is a unique unit of data that is not interchangeable and is stored on a blockchain. They are often linked to digital works of art, photos, and videos.

There are nearly 10,000 active cryptocurrencies and they and NFTs are increasing in popularity. Regulation of these new asset types is still evolving. While there are often promises of big returns consumers often lose money when investing in them.

In fact, earlier this month, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) released its annual list of top investor threats, and investments tied to cryptocurrencies and digital assets topped the list.

“Scams promising big returns on cryptocurrencies and NFTs are flooding the Internet,” said TK Keen, administrator for the Division of Financial Regulation. “Investors wanting to purchase cryptocurrencies and NFTs should do their homework to make sure they fully understand these investments and their risks before getting involved.”

The Division of Financial Regulation encourages Oregonians to follow these tips before deciding to invest in cryptocurrency or NFTs:

  • Carefully research these types of investments. Many of these “investment opportunities” are speculative in nature. Before engaging in a transaction, make sure that you understand what you are purchasing, the value of the item purchased, the reason for the valuation, and how easy it is to sell the investment if you want to get out your money.
  • Use a digital currency exchange that is licensed with the state to transmit cryptocurrency to someone else. Oregon law requires companies that transfer digital currency from one person to another to be licensed as money transmitters. Digital currency exchange companies that purchase or sell cryptocurrency from their own inventories are not required to be licensed.
  • Do not spend money you need. The volatility of the digital currency and NFT markets means that you should not purchase cryptocurrency with money that is needed for essential purposes such as food, housing, and gas.

Consumers who have questions about these unregulated assets can call the division’s advocates at 866-814-9710 (toll-free).

Learn about plans to improve the Oregon Coast Trail at virtual open house

The public is invited to learn about plans to close gaps along the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT). Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is hosting an online open house and webinar for people to learn about the Oregon Coast Trail Action Plan that aims to improve safety, access and convenience for all trail users, with an emphasis on connecting trail gaps.

Visit the open house at bit.ly/OCTOpenHouse1 any time through Feb. 11 to view a presentation about the project and provide feedback.

The project team will also host a live webinar on Zoom from 12 – 1 p.m. Jan. 26 via bit.ly/OCT-Webinar1, or access the meeting by calling in:

Dial: (253) 215-8782 

Meeting: 992 0765 9206 

Password: 12622

The OCT stretches along the entire 362-mile coastline, from the border to border, offering hikers spectacular coastal vistas, lush forests and recreation opportunities for day hikers and long-distance hikers alike. Most of the trail is on sandy beaches, with sections of overland trail across headlands, forests, rivers and through some of the coast’s 28 cities. About 10 percent of the trail is disconnected, inconvenient, unsafe or inaccessible — mainly where the route requires people to hike on the shoulder of U.S. 101 or where it follows county roads and local streets. 

OPRD is leading the planning effort to close these gaps in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) and Oregon Solutions. The plan will identify gaps in the hiking experience and determine actions and funding needed to improve and maintain the trail over time.

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