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.
Monday, January 24, 2022
Klamath Basin Weather
Air Stagnation Advisory until Saturday, January 29, 04:00AM.
Today Sunny, with a high near 56. Mostly clear overnight with a low around 26. North wind 5 to 7 mph.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 50. Mostly clear skies overnight, with a low around 22.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 53. Light east southeast wind. Low overnight of 24.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 52.
Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 51.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 50.
One man has been arrested by Klamath County Police after officers say that the man fire four rounds into a residence with a four-year-old child and adult inside.
Klamath Falls Police have identified Shane Whynot as the suspect who fired those rounds into the home and also a nearby vehicle.
Police say that the shooting occurred in the 200 Block of North Eldorado Avenue on Saturday, January 22nd.
Officers were able to pull video footage from the surrounding area and developed a suspect vehicle.
The vehicle was later located in the 1900 block of Burns Street where officers detained Shane Whynot, DOB 1/25/1991, on scene and developed probable cause for his arrest.
During the search of the suspect vehicle, officers found empty shell casings, additional live ammunition and a stolen pistol that was consistent to the type of firearm used during the shooting. There was also a dealer quantity of suspected methamphetamine located in the vehicle.
Whynot has been booked and lodged at the Klamath County Jail for Attempted Murder x2, Unlawful Use of a Weapon x4, Disorderly Conduct, Reckless Endangering, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Theft I (Possession of a stolen firearm), Criminal Mischief I, DCS Methamphetamine and PCS Methamphetamine.
Police state that the investigation is still on-going.
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 high schools — 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.
It was the first time in six years that the county school district had recorded an overall decrease in graduation rates. 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.
In a county release, Jeff Bullock, the KCSD secondary curriculum and school improvement director, noted that the district saw a sharp drop in graduation percentage for at-risk students, including those who may have trouble finding steady housing.
The Growler Guys announced Thursday it purchased the former Reames Golf Course & Country Club and plans to develop the former clubhouse into a restaurant.
According to the Klamath County Economic Development Association, other sections of the building and property are being evaluated for additional business possibilities. Long-term, the developers intend to use the remainder of the more than 200-acre property for “a variety of outdoor recreation and transportation based purposes,” according to KCEDA.
Reames Country Club, located off Highway 97 south of Klamath Falls, has been closed since 2019. It operated for 94 years. Its original nine-hole course was built in 1925 and designed by legendary golfer and course architect Chandler Egan, who won two U.S. Amateur Golf Championships, as well as gold and silver medals at the 1904 Olympics.
Oregon reports 10,947 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 20 new deaths
There are 20 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,936, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 10,947 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 570,892.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (40), Benton (181), Clackamas (845), Clatsop (80), Columbia (201), Coos (200), Crook (114), Curry (28), Deschutes (663), Douglas (226), Gilliam (1), Harney (1), Hood River (43), Jackson (661), Jefferson (213), Josephine (243), Klamath (253), Lake (11), Lane (1,196), Lincoln (109), Linn (480), Malheur (99), Marion (1,221), Morrow (43), Multnomah (1,487), Polk (261), Tillamook (38), Umatilla (317), Union (68), Wallowa (20), Wasco (72), Washington (1,280) and Yamhill (252).
As COVID-positive cases continue to climb in Klamath County, Sky Lakes Medical Center is now seeing an increase in COVID-19 positive patients.
It’s a sign that, once again, increased hospitalizations are following a few weeks behind a surge in cases, though this time it’s mostly due to the milder omicron variant.
The most recent COVID forecast modeling for Oregon doesn’t show hospitalizations peeking until at least Friday, Jan. 28. That meaning hospitalizations are expected to continue to increase for another week.
On Friday Sky Lakes Medical Center tweeted, they were “at capacity today,” along with a graphic showing there are 25 COVID-19 positive patients at the hospital. Of those patients, 16 were unvaccinated, six were vaccinated, and three were boosted, the Sky Lakes graphic showed. Friday’s numbers are an increase of five patients from just the week prior.
Friday’s numbers are the highest reported by the hospital since November 2021. COVID positive inpatient numbers include both patients coming to the hospital because of a COVID infection, or people who come for unrelated procedures and then test positive for the virus, according to Tom Hottman, public information officer for Sky Lakes.
Testing patients arriving at the hospital for many medical procedures is hospital protocol that is meant to protect both staff and other patients, Hottman said.
The Oregon Health Authority’s most recent case numbers report for Klamath County released on Friday showed 253 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19. The OHA numbers include positive results from Sky Lakes’ drive up testing facility, located at 2200 North Eldorado Boulevard. Hottman noted that the OHA numbers do not include any positive results from at-home, rapid test kits which are not reported to the state.
Locally, COVID-positive inpatients at Sky Lakes are experiencing less severe symptoms, despite the increase in cases and hospitalizations. Peter Graven, a data scientist at Oregon Health and Science University and author of the influential COVID-19 statewide forecast used by the health authority, said the accuracy of the case count has little effect on his forecast..
The Omicron variant-fueled surge of COVID-19 cases could peak within a week’s time, Oregon health officials said in a press briefing on Friday — but it’s getting worse before getting any better.
State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger revealed in the briefing that the Oregon Health Authority would report 10,947 new cases on Friday, another record-high for the pandemic.
By OHA’s report, Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties each set new daily records for COVID-19 cases: 661, 243, and 253 cases, respectively.
Omicron cases first surged in Oregon’s metro areas. There are signs that cases in these hotspots are beginning to level off, Sidelinger said, but health officials anticipate that cases will then begin to mount in more rural areas — potentially with more serious results, due to the higher percentage of unvaccinated people.
Around the state of Oregon
Sen. Wyden Visits Hospitals in Medford and Grants Pass
Senator Ron Wyden spent time in Southern Oregon over the weekend as staffing remains a major issue for hospitals all across the country and the number of patients far outweighs the number of staff available.
Many health care facilities are doing everything they can to beef up their work forces, even before vaccine mandates began to hurt staffing levels. Hospitals are relaying on traveling nurses and Oregon national guard but hospitals say this is not a sustainable long term solution.
“The financial math just doesn’t work and it puts further strain on the hospital system on healthcare systems to have to be paying these kinds of rates. It also puts strain on our employees, the people that are dedicated and love this community and love our hospitals and want to stay, yet they are getting paid less than the traveling nurses, ” says Laura Magstadt, Vice President of Nursing, Asante Three Rivers Medical Center.
Saturday, Wyden saw firsthand the issues the pandemic is causing to healthcare systems, “I’m concerned about nursing staff. I’m concerned about faculty, and people who can train them because here at Three Rivers and across the state, we are in a huge shortage situation,” Wyden says.
Senator Wyden spoke alongside hospital staff outside of Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford about the challenges the medical system is facing, including low morale among staff.
One of the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, Justin McCoy said as the pandemic continues to strain the medical system, it’s the staff that is carrying the burden.
“We’re beyond angry at this point, we are just sad,” McCoy said.
One factor Sen. Wyden said that is adding to the already demanding job, is the use of companies who provide traveling nurses and pay them three times as much.
“A lot of nurses in critical care feel like well if I am going to do this horribly sad and difficult job, I might as well, you know, make the kind of money I can make cause, there aren’t enough of us who want to do it,” McCoy said.
Wyden explained that pre-pandemic, traveling nurses made up 2-3% of the local hospital system’s staff. He said they now make up 40% of the current staff.
“We understand why they might say we have bills like everybody else, we have to pay debts, it’s understandable they can make $200, and from what I’ve heard repeatedly today all through the valley, normally people get $60,” Sen. Wyden said. “We get it, but I really think that there are these traveler companies that during a pandemic are taking advantage of this situation.”
Sen. Wyden said that although traveling nurses are needed to fill current staff vacancies, there should be some type of regulation to ensure the pay is even.
McCoy explained that he and his colleagues need something to change soon.
“In healthcare, our system is breaking like top to bottom and I don’t use those words lightly,” McCoy said.
Sen. Wyden said he will be looking into solutions to the issue, including loan forgiveness and retention bonuses.
McCoy said each person can do their part to help those on the front-line of this pandemic, by getting their COVID-19 vaccines. “It’s been really hard, we are used to saving more lives,” McCoy said.
Suspect Arrested in Grants Pass Murder Investigation
On 01-22-2022, at approximately 9:15 pm, the Grants Pass Police Department responded to Flespy’s Bar and Grill for a report of a male subject laying on the sidewalk, unconscious with blood on him.
Officers arrived on scene within one minute from the time of call and located citizens attempting to provide emergency medical treatment to a male subject laying near the front of the building. Emergency personnel from Grants Pass Fire Rescue and AMR also responded and provided medical treatment to the male.
Despite the rapid response of emergency personnel, the male was pronounced deceased at the scene. Detectives were notified and responded to assist with the investigation, as well as the Josephine County District Attorney and later the Oregon State Police Forensics unit. Fruitdale Drive was closed for all traffic for approximately 4 hours while the scene was processed.
After clearing from the crime scene, detectives continued working on leads and follow up on evidence throughout the night. After conducting the additional investigation, a name was developed for a possible suspect. Detectives were able to determine the arrestee, Paul Dayton, was involved in this incident and obtained a search warrant for his residence in the area of Wards Creek Road in Rogue River, Or.
Due to the severity of the crime and an unknown threat to the public, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was contacted for assistance with serving the warrant for Dayton. The Rogue River Police Department also assisted with looking for the suspect in this case and provided resources for our officers and detectives while conducting follow up in the Rogue River area. One additional witness to the incident was located at the Lil’ Pantry in Rogue River prior to the warrant being served. Dayton was located at his residence and was taken into custody without incident by members of the Jackson County SWAT and Negotiations teams.
VICTIM: Johnson, Tobias Devin 39 years of age Grants Pass Resident
ARRESTEE: Dayton, Paul S. 42 year old male Rogue River resident CHARGES: Murder in the Second Degree – Unlawful Use of a Weapon
Due to the diligence of the detective unit and assistance from our partnering agencies in Jackson County, Dayton was safely taken into custody approximately 16 hours after the initial reported incident. Without the assistance from the Josephine County District Attorney, Oregon State Police Forensics Unit, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the cooperation of any witnesses to this case, we would not have been able to successfully close this case in a timely manner.
Due to the fact that this is a major crime investigation, any requests for additional information will be directed to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Det. Shaw with the Grants Pass Police Department at 541-450-6260. Grants Pass Police Department
Homeland Security Looking Into Southern Oregon’s Illegal Marijuana Trade and Human Trafficking
An ongoing crackdown on the burgeoning illegal marijuana trade in Southern Oregon is drawing increased attention from the state and federal government, including from the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
According to HSI, these illegal farms are often operated with the labor of migrant workers who have been told that the work is legal, and often that they are farming hemp. Workers are trafficked in the hundreds, if not thousands, under the impression that they’ll be able to earn a better life for their families. Hammer said that HSI is working with local law enforcement agencies to better understand how migrant workers are recruited and how the farms are often operated by established drug cartels.
Once migrant workers arrive at the job site, Hammer says they often find themselves stuck with nowhere to go, no one they know, no money, and usually without a firm grasp on the English language. In some cases, Hammer says, migrant laborers are being worked to death — with bodies found discarded on the property.
The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office identified at least two deaths tied to marijuana grow operations in 2021. In August, a Hispanic man was dropped off at the Caves Chevron “very near death.” He died en route to the hospital, prompting an investigation that eventually led to a major illegal marijuana grow bust. A few months later, the Sheriff’s Office said it received a tip that led them to a man’s body. He’d been shot and buried in a shallow grave near another former illegal grow site.
Many of the illegal grows busted thus far in Southern Oregon have been on land leased from local property owners, but Hammer said that the cartels are changing their tactics and increasingly buying up local land for their operations.
DHS, the FBI, and local law enforcement as well as local community organizations are working together to try to not only stop illegal operations in Southern Oregon but also truly understand and stop trafficking at is source and work in partnerships with organizations in other countries to educate workers about the illegal trafficking trade before they arrive in the U.S.
(Salem) – The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division, is thankful for the community support to find Katelyn N. Smith.
Katelyn, age 17, is a child in foster care who went missing from Coos Bay on Jan. 20. She was found Jan. 23.
A small number of children in foster care may be in significant danger when they run away or have gone missing. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and ensure their safety, media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.
Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Says Wages Up and Unemployment at An All TIme Low
By most measures the labor market is tight. The unemployment rate now stands at 4.1% which is lower than it’s been throughout Oregon’s history, other than the 2017-19 time period last cycle where the unemployment rate was roughly in the 3.5-4% range.
Wage growth and labor income overall are booming as a result. Average wages are up 17% since the start of the pandemic, and total wages and salaries in the state are 11% above pre-pandemic levels. Oregon Office of Economic Analysis forecast for wages has never been stronger, despite a somewhat lower employment outlook tied to the recession and slower population growth.
Keizer Woman Killed When Vehicle Crashed Into Her House
Authorities say a 67-year-old woman was killed when a driver accused of being under the influence of intoxicants crashed his vehicle into her Oregon home.
A 63-year-old man who was in the house in the town of Keizer north of Salem was seriously injured. Police say the driver of the vehicle left the roadway twice and hit a power pole before crashing into the home.
The woman died at the scene and the injured man was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The 41-year-old driver was arrested on multiple charges including manslaughter, reckless driving, driving under the influence and a probation violation.
Roseburg Rivers Edge RV Park Incident Under Investigation
On Thursday, January 20, 2022, deputies went to a trailer in the Rivers Edge Mobile Home Park to conduct follow up related to a criminal investigation.
When they arrived, deputies heard a gunshot from inside the trailer where they were contacting an individual; which prompted a several hour stand-off. Several law enforcement officers responded to the area and attempted to have the occupants to exit the trailer peacefully.
Area residents and a nearby school were notified of the situation, which was confined to the trailer unit, and asked to avoid the area.
The Sheriff’s Office Tactical Response and Crisis Negotiations Teams were activated and continued to diffuse the situation. After no response from the individuals inside, tactical action was taken which resulted in a female exiting the trailer a few minutes later.
The female, identified as 30 year-old Callista Mayfield of Roseburg, was taken into custody without incident. Deputies continued making attempts to have the male, 42-year-old James Robert Young of Roseburg, exit the trailer. During an interview following her arrest, the female indicated to law enforcement that Young had taken his own life.
Tactical team members entered the trailer and located Young deceased inside. The Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office responded and is investigating the death as a suicide at this time.
Mayfield was transported to the jail where she was lodged on an arrest warrant out of Lane County. Next of kin has been notified. Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office
SP Fish & Wildlife Division is seeking public assistance with Poaching Case of Four Antelope – Harney County
The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division is seeking public assistance identifying the person(s) responsible for the unlawful taking of four antelope in Harney County.
On January 17, 2022, a Fish and Wildlife Trooper from Burns responded to a report of two dead, and two injured antelope on private property adjacent to Highway 78 near milepost 33 and Rodeo Lane. This location is about four miles south of Crane, Oregon.
The two severely injured antelope had to be euthanized due to their injuries and none of the antelope could be salvaged.
The unlawful take is believed to have occurred sometime during the evening of January 16 to the early morning hours of January 17.
OSP is urging anyone with information regarding this case to call the Oregon State Police Tip-line at 1-800-452-7888, OSP (677), or email at TIP@state.or.us. Reference case # SP22-013307.
Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators
The Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, Furbearers, Game Fish and Shellfish. Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags, and for the unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags. Oregon State Police