Klamath Basin News, Friday, 2/18 – Arrested: Suspected Gunpoint Robber Caught, Linked to Other Crimes in Klamath Area…

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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, February 18, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 60, with an overnight low of 29.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 59. Slight chance of snow overnight with snow level lowering to 4200 feet after midnight . Partly cloudy, with a low around 30.
Sunday A slight chance of snow flurries during the day, then partly sunny, with a high near 43. Overnight a slight chance of snow showers.
Monday, Washington’s Birthday A 20% chance of snow showers after 10am, then partly sunny, with a high near 40.
Tuesday A slight chance of snow showers after 10am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 38.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 40.

Today’s Headlines

A man suspected of robbing a Klamath Falls story at gunpoint on Tuesday has been arrested.

Austin James Carpenter, 29, was located Thursday in the 1500 block of Madison Street. After a short standoff, Carpenter was arrested by the Klamath Falls Police Department SWAT team, according to police.

Police alleged that about 7:44 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15 Carpenter entered Mexico Video, 1042 East Main Street, and pointed “what appeared to be a handgun” at store employees. The man fled the scene with stolen cash and other items, according to police. Detectives were able to link the suspect to this robbery, as well as other crimes in Klamath Falls area.

While serving a search warrant at Carpenter’s residence, police found items related to Mexico Video robbery, as well as other stolen items. Police traced those items to several unsolved burglaries, smash-and-grab thefts at Klamath Falls businesses, vehicle break-ins, and identity theft cases where theft victim’s credit cards were used in local stores.

Carpenter has since been charged with first degree robbery, first degree burglar, as well as numerous counts of theft in the first and second degree, menacing, identity theft, criminal mischief and unlawful entry into a vehicle. Additional charges are forthcoming, and the cases are still under investigation, according to police. BINET is an interagency narcotics team comprised of Oregon State Police and Klamath Falls Police Department Detectives.

Anyone with information regarding this case, theft crimes and the distribution of drugs within Klamath County is encouraged to call the Klamath Falls Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at (541) 883-5334 or the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (541) 850-5380.

Oregon reports 1,844 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 28 new deaths

There are 28 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,444, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported today. OHA reported 1,844 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 684,441.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (3), Benton (24), Clackamas (131), Clatsop (11), Columbia (18), Coos (18), Crook (21), Curry (13), Deschutes (108), Douglas (48), Gilliam (3), Grant (10), Harney (3), Hood River (11), Jackson (114), Jefferson (33), Josephine (79), Klamath (35), Lake (2), Lane (194), Lincoln (33), Linn (72), Malheur (19), Marion (156), Morrow (4), Multnomah (300), Polk (34), Sherman (2), Tillamook (12), Umatilla (28), Union (12), Wallowa (13), Wasco (20), Washington (216) and Yamhill (44).

Local public health officials have observed an increased number of gastrointestinal virus infections in Klamath County, mostly among students.

The two viruses, which infect the digestive tract, are spread through contaminated food, water, surfaces and close contact with infected people. They’re common and highly contagious, but they usually abate within a couple days without causing serious damage to the body, a KCPH news release said.

Norovirus and Enterovirus are often colloquially referred to as “stomach flu,” though the diseases are not technically influenza. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and nausea, and some individuals may also experience a flu-like symptoms such as low-grade fevers, chills, headaches and muscle fatigue. The symptoms usually go away within one to two days, though spreading the virus to others is still possible for several days afterwards.

To prevent the spread of these viruses, Little recommended washing hands often, particularly after using the bathroom, cleaning contaminated surfaces and washing contaminated clothes and linens.

Robinson Brothers, doing work for Lumen Technology will close the right, southbound lane of Washburn Way through Friday, from the crosswalk of the OC&E Trail to the entrance of NAPA/Staples.

Southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane in this area. The sidewalk on the west side of Washburn Way will also be closed during this time. Please take caution when traveling through this area. For more information, please call 541-420-4163.

The Keno Lions Club is offering a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior living in the Keno Elementary School attendance area.

Scholarship applications are due by April 8 and are available from high school counselors, on the Keno Lions Club Facebook page. The Keno Lions have been presenting scholarships to students since 1985.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announced that as of Feb. 14, the emergency response program has paid out $282.4 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) to 39,797 households, up from $278.3 million and 39,303 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 fourth in the nation, in the percentage of federal ERA funds paid out and obligated, as tracked by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Tenants inquiring about a specific application submitted prior to Dec. 1, 2021, may contact the call center during regular business hours at 844-378-2931

Please have the application number ready for the customer support staff who have access to interpreters speaking 241 languages. Tenants can also check the status of their application online at oregonrentalassistance.org/.  OERAP also launched a call center specifically for landlords.

Please call 844-378-2931 (option 2). This service is available for landlords who have been notified that their tenant successfully completed an OERAP application. 

FEMA Trailers for Survivors of Wildfires Will Now Have to Pay $1697 per Month Rent in Order to Stay

The survivors of the 2020 Almeda and South Obenchain fires still living in FEMA trailers throughout the Rogue Valley recently received letters from the federal agency informing them that they’ll need to start paying rent if they want to stay past March 15.

The FEMA temporary housing unit (THU) program was extended through September 15 of this year at the request of Oregon officials, as it was originally set to expire 18 months after the Presidential disaster declaration. Now, instead of being forced to move out on March 15, survivors will need to start paying monthly rent based on “fair market” prices.

“If you remain in the THU after March 15, 2022, you will be charged $1,697.00 starting on April 1, 2022 and on the first day of every month for as long as you remain in and maintain eligibility to occupy the THU,” one FEMA letter reads. “The rent will not be prorated; however, FEMA may reduce the amount of your rent based on your ability to pay.”

Residents of the FEMA trailers have been given the option of buying their trailers. While some have taken that offer, many survivors state that it was not something they’d seriously consider — the price was too high, and does not come with a guarantee that they’ll have somewhere to park the trailer when the FEMA program comes to an end.

Temporary housing residents who don’t plan to buy their trailer or pay rent must vacate the units by March 15.

A local task force dedicated to investigating child exploitation made progress on several cases this week across Southern Oregon, serving a federal search warrant and making one arrest.

Each case began with tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a number of images of child exploitation had been uploaded from multiple locations, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) went to several addresses in Medford on Monday to follow up on tips that child pornography had been uploaded from those locations, the Sheriff’s Office said.

On Tuesday, SOCET investigators joined Oregon State Police detectives in making an arrest after an eight-month-long investigation into child porn uploaded from a Grants Pass home. This investigation stemmed from a tip that the SOCET task force received in the summer of 2021 that child porn images had been uploaded from a house in the 2300-block of Azalea Drive in Grants Pass.

Investigators seized a digital device earlier in the process.Forensic examination of the device by Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force detectives found more exploitative images, leading to more charges. Officers arrested 25-year-old Timothy Allen Beck of Grants Pass on Tuesday, lodging him on five counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the second degree. He’s being held in the Josephine County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that will expand which residents of the state can register to vote online.

Oregonians with DMV-issued identification can currently register to vote online, but House Bill 4133 A would allow those without such ID to still register without having to submit a paper form.

Voters without a DMV-issued ID or driver license are currently required to register using a paper form by providing the last four digits of their Social Security Number and a signature. Democrats argue that the paper forms need manual data entry, which can introduce errors into voter rolls and cost about $4.72 per registration.

Under the new bill, voters without ID could do the same process online by entering the last four of their SSN and uploading an image of their signature via a secure online portal. In 2015, Oregon became the first state in the US to adopt automatic voter registration through the DMV. Online voter registration has been around since 2010.

HB 4133 A passed the House in a vote of 33-23, moving to the Senate for consideration.

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The Oregon Supreme Court ruled today that Nicholas Kristof cannot run for Governor of Oregon.

Kristof had challenged a ruling by the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office in January that he did not meet the residency requirements defined in Oregon’s constitution. Kristof has until 5:00 pm on February 22, 2022, to file a petition for.reconsideration.

House Bill 4061 Would Cut Off Water For Oregon’s Illegal Cannabis Grows

A new bill passed by the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, and Water aims to cut off Oregon’s illegal cannabis operations right at the source by regulating growing water.

If enacted, House Bill 4061 would grant Oregon regulators authority over water hauling practices and would require growers and water-haul companies to keep and prepare records for a minimum of 12 months for the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD), as needed.

Additionally, the bill would criminalize the use of pumped groundwater to irrigate illegal cannabis grow operations.

The legislature’s summary of the bill outlined the urgent need to address the growing elicit Cannabis Market along with its many impacts on Oregon residents, stating, “Illegal cannabis operations are using surface and groundwater without water rights, depleting limited water resources for legitimate agricultural, recreational, residential, municipal, and other uses.”

Committee chair, Representative Ken Helm said, though the proposed legislation is focused on water, HB 4061 is a component “of a broader conversation the legislature is having on illegal cannabis issues.”

The bill passed the committee on Feb. 14, with an adopted -4 amendment , which outlined a list of information Water Haulers would need to record, along with penalties should the supplier fail.

The amendment, including a list of proposed regulations and penalties, can be viewed here .

Included in the recent amendment is a clause forbidding water suppliers from hauling water to grow sites “for plants in the plant Cannabis family Cannabaceae,” if the operation is not registered with the state or the amount of crop exceeds state limits.

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Police are looking for a prison escapee who walked away from a laundry sorting building at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem Wednesday morning.

State corrections officials say 40-year-old Bohanna McQuiston was doing time for burglary at Santiam Correctional Institution, a minimum security prison, and working at the laundry facility.

He is white, 5-feet 11-inches tall and 160 pounds with red hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue shirt and a blue jacket.

The TSA needs security screeners at Portland International Airport, and they’re paying hiring bonuses of two-thousand dollars.

The TSA will hold a two-day, in-person recruitment event this weekend at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel. Pay starts at 19-dollars-and-90-cents per hour, and agents will get a five-percent raise after six and 18 months of employment. You can find out more at JOBS DOT TSA DOT GOV.

Oregon Racing Commission Denies The Flying Lark’s Application For Gaming Machines

The Oregon Racing Commission voted to deny The Flying Lark’s applications for gaming machines on Thursday afternoon, despite commissioners unanimously noting that they disagreed with a recent Department of Justice opinion that the gambling venture violated Oregon’s constitution.

Meeting in executive session, the ORC said that they felt bound to abide by the DOJ opinion despite their individual disagreements.

The DOJ’s opinion was backed by a letter from Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday — addressed to each of the commissioners and letting them know, in no uncertain terms, that they should follow state’s legal counsel or get out of the way.

Portland’s high crime rate is leading some landlords to post signs that say tenants are armed.

Residents have been frustrated by a lack of police response to act as a deterrent to crime. Landlords posted signs reading “No Trespassing, Armed Tenants” and “Lethal Force Authorized.” The signs aren’t in violation of the city’s code. Portland Police are understaffed by about 300 officers which has made it difficult for officers to conduct patrols

A string of crimes committed under two hours culminated when a man entered a Corvallis home, pulled down his pants and attacked a woman in the shower, police say.

Corvallis police said Garrett W. Caspino III slipped into a house about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, opened a shower door and choked a woman against the bathroom wall as she tried to flee. The woman’s boyfriend awoke to her screams and chased Caspino out of the home, which is located on Southwest Seventh Avenue next to the city’s Central Park, police Lt. Ryan Eaton said. Officers searched the neighborhood, found Caspino and arrested him on suspicion of attempted sexual abuse, burglary and strangulation, court records show.

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