Klamath Basin News, Friday, 1/28 – Jonathan Teichert Hired As New Klamath Falls City Manager

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Friday, January 28, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Air Stagnation Advisory until Saturday, January 29, 04:00AM.

Today’s Headlines

Masked and ready. Jonathan Teichert from Wyoming has been selected to become Klamath Falls new City Manager.

Jonathan Teichert will be the next leader of Klamath Falls city government, after he was tabbed Tuesday to be its next city manager. Teichert will take over the position on April 1st.  

A Wyoming native, Teichert has more than 20 years of experience in local and state government. He has served as the city administrator of Douglas, Wyo., since 2018. He has experience working with state and local government and the energy, tourism, agriculture and tourism industries.

Teichert previously served as the city administrator for Afton, Wyo., and as planner in Lincoln County, Wyo. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wyoming and various other degrees. Throughout his career, Teichert has been involved in many programs and served on several boards. 

A graduate of the Lincoln County Leadership Institute, Teichert is a member of the Rotary Club, a board member of the Douglas TeamMates Mentoring Program, and a past member of several economic development boards.

Oregon reports 7,871 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 19 new deaths

There are 19 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,067, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today. OHA reported 7,871 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 613,221.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (34), Benton (59), Clackamas (522), Clatsop (71), Columbia (76), Coos (151), Crook (106), Curry (47), Deschutes (454), Douglas (216), Grant (2), Harney (31), Hood River (35), Jackson (395), Jefferson (88), Josephine (144), Klamath (140), Lake (4), Lane (869), Lincoln (96), Linn (350), Malheur (96), Marion (989), Morrow (34), Multnomah (1,101), Polk (174), Sherman (5), Tillamook (35), Umatilla (179), Union (85), Wallowa (25), Wasco (44), Washington (936) and Yamhill (278).

A new study is revealing the road to “super immunity” has multiple paths as researchers are comparing the antibody response from both COVID-19 vaccination and natural infection.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) studied people who were first vaccinated then infected or infected and then got the vaccine. They discovered that, regardless of the route, the immune response revealed antibody levels that were at least 10-times more potent than just the immune response from vaccines alone.

OHSU experts are suggesting the new findings are pointing to the end of the pandemic getting closer and closer as, over time, the virus will run into an ever-expanding pool of human immunity. The latest study of ‘super immunity’ was performed before the recent emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant. It was published online Tuesday in the journal Science Immunology.

OHA infographic features two chat bubbles and an illustration of a person wearing a mask and holding a test in one hand and a test tube in the other. Text explains that both rapid antigen and molecular (PCR) tests can detect the Omicron variant. While COVID-19 tests won't tell you which variant you have, they will tell you if you have SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in your body.

Oregon Health Authority: With so much information out there about COVID-19, it can be hard to keep track of what’s true and false. For instance, you may have heard that COVID-19 tests can’t detect the Omicron variant. Thankfully, that’s false! If you do test positive and have questions, visit our Test Positive page (govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-positive-test) or call our COVID-19 Case Support Hotline at 866-917-8881.

The Healthy Klamath coalition just released the draft of its 2021 Klamath County Community Health Assessment. Its membership seeks feedback from local residents to finalize the document. Feedback can be emailed to info@healthyklamath.org.

A community health assessment identifies key health needs and issues through systematic, comprehensive data collection and analysis. Once the document is finalized, Healthy Klamath will begin the community health improvement plan process. A community health improvement plan is a long-term, systematic effort to address public health problems based on the results of community health assessment activities and the community health improvement process.

Locally, the plan is updated every three years.

Do you know a Klamath County School District teacher or staff member who makes an extra effort to inspire and help students?

If so, consider nominating them for a Crystal Apple Award.  The Crystal Apple is given to KCSD staff who go above and beyond for students of all backgrounds and abilities. A nominee can be a teacher, a counselor or a classified employee who has been with the district for at least three years.  Community members are encouraged to submit nominations.

The Crystal Apple Gala will be April 19 at the Ross Ragland Theater. To be nominated, the teacher or staff member must:

  • Work for the Klamath County School District for at least three years
  • Inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities
  • Play an active and useful role in the community as well as the school
  • Be poised, articulate and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule

You can fill out and submit the nomination form online.

Mountain Mike’s Pizza is coming to Klamath Falls!

More cheese pulls and crispy pepperoni are headed to Klamath Falls this winter with the opening of a Mountain Mike’s Pizza location on Washburn Way.

The family -friendly Bay Area franchise has more than 200 pizzerias across Oregon, California, Nevada and Utah. It will open its first Klamath Basin location around the end of February.

Mountain Mike’s sells fresh pizza, wings, sandwiches, salads and desserts. They make most of their ingredients in-house, including pizza dough, red sauce, ranch dressing and “legendary crispy, curly pepperoni.”

The new location, at 3430 Washburn Way, fills the space vacated by the old Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse that closed in 2019.

Jim Smith, developing agent for Mountain Mike’s Pizza in Oregon, said the location was supposed to open for business three months ago, but has been delayed due to supply chain and pandemic-related delays.

File your taxes for free with AARP Tax-Aideat the Klamath County Library

Through Wednesday, April 13th
Downtown Klamath County Library

Free tax filing with AARP Tax-Aide has returned to the downtown Klamath County Library for folks to file their 2021 tax returns, but due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, things look a little different this year – they’ll still be at the library on Wednesdays from February 2nd to April 13th, but instead of first-come-first-served, Tax-Aide volunteers will meet with clients via appointment.

Here’s what you need to do to get started:

  1. Stop by the Information & Reference desk at the downtown Klamath County Library and pick up an intake form and checklist of documentation to bring to your appointment.
  2. Call to claim your time slot. Call either Donna G at 541-205-8545 on Wednesdays from 4 pm to 7 pm; or call Donna H at 541-882-4362 on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 2 pm to 5 pm.
  3. Gather up your tax documents (including your filled-out intake form). Make sure you bring your 2020 tax return with you to your appointment! If you haven’t filed your 2020 taxes yet, that’s OK – the Tax-Aide will help you to do your 2020 and 2021 taxes at the same time. (In that case, bring your most recent tax return.)
    • Important tax documents to bring with you include: last year’s tax return, Social Security cards for all persons covered by the return, photo ID(s) for all taxpayers, routing and checking numbers for direct deposit, and all tax related forms (including W-2, 1099, Social Security income, interest and dividends, capital gains and loss, health insurance 1095A, and supporting information for itemizing etc.)
  4. Come to your appointment!

If you’re doing your taxes on your own but just need a couple questions answered by an expert, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers will field tax-related questions on Wednesdays from 1 pm to 3 pm at the library. (You don’t need to make an appointment to take advantage of the drop-in question sessions.)

There will also be a Spanish translator on hand each week to assist Spanish speakers with their tax filing.

For more information, please call 541-882-8894.

Around the state of Oregon

Tickets To 2022 Jackson County Fair Go On Sale Today

This week, Expo organizers announced that tickets would go on sale this Friday for the event in July — and a full list of Concert headliners have already been announced.

The 2022 Bi-Mart Amphitheater stage at the fair is bringing the fun to you in ’22 with performances by Nelly, Chris Lane, Sawyer Brown, and Five for Fighting.

“In spite of the evolving pandemic some traditions permeate our county.  Since 1859, people have traveled from throughout the region and beyond to attend the Jackson County Fair,” organizers said.

“They come to be a part of attractions like the Jackson County Junior Livestock Auction that showcases our local 4-H, FFA youth and their market animal projects.  They also come to show off their talent and skills in the Open Class Competitions for best photography, amazing food creations, expressive arts, horticulture and technology.”

FOR MORE INFO: https://attheexpo.com/fair/

Carini Mugshot

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives arrested an Eagle Point man Tuesday after developing probable cause for seven sex crime charges against two juveniles.

The suspect, John Michael Carini, of Eagle Point, was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on six counts of first-degree Sexual Abuse, and one count of first-degree sodomy. Bail was set at $1.75 million. On January 4th, JCSO detectives responded to a report of a sexual assault in the Eagle Point area involving two juveniles. 

Based on information gathered in the investigations, detectives believe Carini had access to numerous other unidentified children. Anyone with information can call Detective Tobias at (541) 774-6800.

UPDATE: Joint Task Force Arrests Medford Couple For Multiple Child Sex Abuse Crimes

UPDATE

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force arrested a Medford couple Thursday afternoon on multiple child sex abuse charges.

The suspects, Timothy Wray Guss, 62, and Breanna Leann King, 28, were arrested on 10 felony counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse. Guss was additionally charged with five misdemeanor counts of private indecency.

King was additionally charged with one felony count of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct. All known child victims have been identified and contacted.

SOCET along with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Patrol deputies and Central Point Police Department, arrested King at an apartment complex on the 200 block of South Haskell Street in Central Point. JCSO Patrol deputies and detectives arrested Guss at an apartment complex on the 1600 block of Coker Butte Road in Medford. Both suspects are lodged in the Jackson County Jail. The bail has been set for Guss at $125,000, and for King at $120,000.  

The case started after SOCET received tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that numerous images of child exploitation were uploaded from the suspects’ residence. On November 17th 2021, SOCET served a search warrant at the Coker Butte Road address in Medford. During the warrant multiple digital devices were seized. While forensically examining those devices, Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force detectives discovered more images of child exploitation, leading to the additional charges. 

The search warrant team consisted of personnel from JCSO, Oregon State Police (OSP), Medford Police Department (MPD), Grants Pass Police Department (GPPD), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and high-tech crimes examiners. 

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus

A new study is revealing the road to “super immunity” has multiple paths as researchers are comparing the antibody response from both COVID-19 vaccination and natural infection.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) studied people who were first vaccinated then infected or infected and then got the vaccine.

They discovered that, regardless of the route, the immune response revealed antibody levels that were at least 10-times more potent than just the immune response from vaccines alone.

OHSU experts are suggesting the new findings are pointing to the end of the pandemic getting closer and closer as, over time, the virus will run into an ever-expanding pool of human immunity. The latest study of ‘super immunity’ was performed before the recent emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant. It was published online Tuesday in the journal Science Immunology.

As of Wednesday’s report from the Oregon Health Authority, the state has now surpassed 6,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Weekly OHA data suggests that Oregon has now entered a new phase with the Omicron variant — with case counts beginning to decline slightly, but hospitalizations rising sharply. During the week from Monday, Jan.17 through Sunday, Jan. 23, the OHA reported 47,361 new cases.

This was a 9.5% decline from the week prior, which set an all-time record. This would exceed the peak of the Delta surge, which was just under 1,200 hospitalizations, but it represents a slight drop from predictions earlier this month.

Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day is January 28 — See if you qualify for up to $6,728

(Salem) – As the Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day approaches on Friday, January 28, the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) are encouraging all workers with income in 2021 to check their Earned Income Tax Credit eligibility.

The Earned Income Tax Credit, which may give families up to $6,728 back when they file taxes, is a federal and state tax credit for people making less than $57,414 per year. Many Oregonians miss out because they simply don’t know about it, especially those that aren’t required to file taxes.

Even if you aren’t required to file taxes, you may still qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you do, you will need to file a federal and state return in order to get this refundable credit.

Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day is a nationwide effort to increase awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit and free tax preparation sites. There are volunteer organizations, such as Metropolitan Family Services and AARP that can help you file your taxes for free or at a reduced cost. More information can be found on the Oregon Department of Revenue website.

Basic qualifications for EITC include:

  • All filing statuses are eligible, but some have specific requirements that must be met in order to qualify.
  • You, your spouse, or any qualifying child must have a Social Security number.
  • Your earned income in 2021 must be below certain limits based on your number of qualifying dependents.
  • You may be eligible even if you do not have a qualifying child.

The Department of Revenue and ODHS are working with other state agencies and community partners to encourage taxpayers to learn more about this credit and find out if they’re eligible.

Taxpayers can use the IRS EITC Assistant to check their eligibility further. The assistant is available in English and Spanish.

CASH Oregon provides free or low-cost, in-person tax preparation services throughout Oregon. To see its locations, visit www.cashoregon.org. People can also dial 2-1-1 to find free tax return preparation sites.

For more information on the EITC, visit https://www.eitc.irs.gov/. For questions about Oregon taxes, call the Department of Revenue at 503-378-4988. 

Employment Department Mailing 1099G Tax Forms

Jan. 26, 2022 (Salem, OR) — This month, the Oregon Employment Department will mail 1099G tax forms to the nearly 400,000 people who received unemployment insurance benefits in the 2021 tax year. 

The 1099G form is used for filing both federal income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state income taxes to the Oregon Department of Revenue. 

People can expect to receive the 1099G form by Jan. 31, 2022. Starting Feb. 1, the form will be on the Online Claims System under the tab “1099G Tax forms” toward the bottom of the page.

Sara Cromwell, unemployment insurance division deputy director for benefits, urges people to inform the Employment Department if they receive a 1099G and did not claim benefits in 2021. 

“If you didn’t file a claim last year, this means someone may be trying to steal your ID. Please complete our online ID theft form or call 503-947-1995, so we can review the claim for possible fraud,” she said. 

More information on the 1099G form is at unemployment.oregon.gov. For more information on what to do if your identity has been stolen, visit the IRS website and the department’s fraud resources web page.

OregonHealthCare.gov sees highest number of enrollees in years

OHIM Logo

Salem, Ore. – During the 2022 open enrollment period, 146,602 Oregonians enrolled in health insurance coverage, the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace announced today.

The federal government extended the open enrollment period for 2022 health coverage from 45 to 76 days (Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022). This extra window of time enabled more Oregonians to enroll in health coverage than either of the past two years (141,089 people in 2021 and 145,264 people in 2020).

In addition, the American Rescue Plan Act (2021) has made health insurance purchased through the Marketplace more affordable than ever. Individuals and families will pay less for health insurance thanks to financial help available through OregonHealthCare.gov.

“I am elated to see more Oregonians taking advantage of the tremendous savings available on health coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace,” says Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Health coverage is essential to helping Oregonians seek the care they need to stay healthy. We are encouraged to see the benefits the American Rescue Plan Act and extended open enrollment period will have on the ability for people to seek the care they need.” 

People who missed the open enrollment deadline may still have an opportunity to get health coverage through the Marketplace if they experienced a qualifying life event such as moving, involuntarily losing health coverage, having or adopting a child, marriage, a change in citizenship, and being released from incarceration. Enrolled tribal members and Alaska natives can enroll in health coverage at any time throughout the year.

Oregonians can preview plans and savings available to them by answering a few short questions at OregonHealthCare.gov. The website is also the best place to find a health insurance experts who can give one-on-one help with the application and enrollment process by phone, email, or in person. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov today to get started. 

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov. For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

Oregon Army National Guard soldiers have returned from a nine-month deployment in Poland.

They were working in support of the European Deterrence Initiative as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. They arrived on Tuesday at the Portland Air National Guard Base and were part of nearly 130 soldiers that were formally mobilized in April of 2021. On January 2nd, about 120 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers deployed to Poland
to support the same mission.

Oregon Zoo Unveils A New Plan To Save The Polar Bears

The Polar Bear Research Council (PBRC), composed of zoo professionals and polar bear researchers, released its 2022 master plan, developed to help protect polar bears through advanced research, according to an Oregon Zoo press release.

The PBRC 2022 Polar Bear Research Masterplan consists of research strategies and field techniques to collect data on polar bear health and welfare, physiological and behavioral ecology, and reproduction. 

The Oregon Zoo stated that the collaboration between the council, zoo, and other scientists is imperative and urgent, “as climate change reduces Arctic Sea ice, polar bears struggle to find and catch seals, making it harder for them and their cubs to survive.”

U.S. Endangered Species Act classifies polar bears as a threatened species, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission reports the species is “at high risk of global extinction.”

“We still have gaps in understanding how climate change is affecting polar bears, so it’s essential that the bears in our care help scientists learn more about their species,” said Amy Cutting, interim director of animal care and conservation at the Oregon Zoo. 

Cutting said that zoo bears are perfect candidates for research as they have helped scientists advance animal care. According to the Oregon Zoo, “In 2012, polar bears Conrad and Tasul became the first of their species to voluntarily give blood.”

According to an article from the Oregonian, zoo crews would traditionally need to hit polar bears with a tranquilizing dart to draw blood, as zoo experts say polar bears do not like to be touched. The Oregon Zoo said they designed a cage and trained the polar bears to lay their paw in a specific location, so it was easier for researchers to take blood samples while another zookeeper distracted the bear with treats. 

After hearing about their research successes, polar bear scientist Karyn Rode said she contacted the zoo and asked Oregon Zoo for assistance. 

The Oregon Zoo said in a press release that “polar bears are extremely difficult to observe in the wild, and Dr. Rode, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Changing Arctic Ecosystems initiative, believed the zoo’s training advances presented a unique opportunity to fill critical knowledge gaps.”

The polar bear named Tasul has been very helpful in finding how climate change affects wild polar bears by wearing “a high-tech collar to help calibrate tracking collars deployed on wild bears,” according to officials at the Oregon Zoo. 

Nora and Amelia Gray, two polar bears, welcomed back in 2021 to the Oregon Zoo, have also helped scientists in their endeavors. 

The Oregon Zoo said Nora helps scientists understand caloric requirements for polar bears in the wild by swimming in a chamber designed to measure oxygen. “Amelia Gray was outfitted with a “Burr on Fur,” a prototype tech innovation designed by 3M to give conservation scientists a better way to monitor wild bears,” according to an Oregon Zoo press release. 

 “We’re excited to be continuing our collaborations with our conservation science partners. And it’s a great way for zoo guests to see that important work in action,” Cutting said. 

According to the Oregon Zoo, “many of the habitat’s features in the Polar Passage where Nora and Amelia Gray live were funded through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation from the community.” This Foundation states that it supports the zoo’s animal welfare, conservation, and education efforts. To learn more about the Oregon Zoo and its research, visit oregonzoo.org/recovery.

Airbnb says its initiative to stop parties at rental properties in the Portland area is working.

Under the policy, guests who are younger than 25 without a history of positive reviews can’t book entire homes in their local area. They can book private rooms in properties where the host lives on site. On the 4th of July, 550 bookings were denied, along with another 550 on Halloween and over 700 on New Year’s Eve.

Airbnb says the program has received positive reviews from hosts who own the properties.

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