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, March 7, 2022
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Sunny, with a high near 58. Overnight, partly cloudy with a low around 29.
Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 53. Light north northwest wind becoming northwest 12 mph, gusts to 25 mph.
Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 45. Gusty winds to 20 mph at times.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 50.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 60.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
A 41 year old Bonanza man is in the Klamath County Jail on charges of first degree rape, first degree sodomy, sexual penetration in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree and kidnapping in the first degree.
Raymond Loren German is lodged on several hundred thousand dollars bail after his arrest and booking into the jail late Saturday night. Additional information is expected to be released from the Klamath County Sheriff’s office regarding the arrest early this week.
Gasoline prices hit record highs in Oregon and California on Saturday, according to AAA.
Nationally, rising gasoline prices are also approaching record levels as Russia’s war in Ukraine and growing support for U.S. sanctions on Russian energy exports put upward pressures on prices.
The statewide average price for gas in Oregon is now $4.38 per gallon, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. That is higher than the previous record of $4.30 per gallon in 2008. U.S. gas prices also hit an average price of $4 per gallon on Saturday, March 5, according to GasBuddy.com. It is the first time U.S. prices at the pump have hit $4 per gallon since 2008. That was in the early stages of the Great Recession and financial and real estate downturn.
Nationally, prices are nearing an all-time record high of $4.10 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. That was also set in 2008. Russia’s war in Ukraine has increased crude oil and gas prices for U.S. consumers and businesses.
Crude oil closed at $118 per barrel Friday — up more than 81% from a year ago. This morning it was as high as $137 a barrel. Stay tuned.
Oregon reports 741 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 23 new deaths
There are 23 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,709, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported Friday afternoon. OHA reported 741 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 696,717.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (25), Clackamas (36), Clatsop (1), Columbia (8), Coos (12), Crook (8), Curry (5), Deschutes (48), Douglas (21), Grant (3), Harney (3), Hood River (4), Jackson (67), Jefferson (5), Josephine (12), Klamath (19), Lake (1), Lane (77), Lincoln (8), Linn (42), Malheur (2), Marion (41), Multnomah (169), Polk (13), Sherman (2), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (14), Union (3), Wasco (4), Washington (75) and Yamhill (11).
COVID-19 case numbers are lowering in Southern Oregon, and the cases linger across all Southern Oregon counties.
Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 case numbers Friday show 23 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon and 741 new cases. One week ago those numbers were 59 new deaths and 856 new cases. One month ago they showed 33 new deaths and 4,872 new cases. Another trend involves COVID-19 vaccination. February 4, 2022 OHA reported 10,526 new doses administered the day before, part of a seven-day average of 9,139 doses per day. February 25, 2022 OHA reported 5,482 new doses as part of a 4,502 average doses per day for last week.
OHA’s numbers yesterday show 4,037 new doses of vaccine given, with a 3,574 running seven-day average. OHA reminds Oregonians they can get free COVID-19 vaccine or booster shots at provider sites statewide. It asks people check for updates for all OHA-run high-volume sites on the Oregon Vaccine News website before they visit. It also advises that some sites recently ended or will be ending service, and hours of operations and days of service continue to be updated.
Vaccination providers can be found by using the Get Vaccinated Oregon locator map. Oregon is getting close to the number of hospitalizations health officials say is necessary to remove masks. Officials say 404 people are hospitalized, which is 20 patients less than on Wednesday. Health officials say fewer than 400 people need to be hospitalized to remove the indoor mask requirement. March 11th is the current date to end the requirement, and it’s not expected to change.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 34 new deaths related to COVID-10 along with 696 new cases yesterday.
Oregon’s legislative Democrats and Republicans share a sense of accomplishment and ongoing policy disagreement this week after the end of their 2022 legislative session. State lawmakers concluded the session Friday.
Democrats point a list of new policies to advance Oregon. Republicans say some of those policies overreach while other priorities languished during the session.
Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said the session reveals a need for political balance in Oregon, “At a time when inflation is out of control, Democrats introduced a new sales tax and new spending. When Oregonians don’t feel safe in their homes, Democrats pushed an extreme soft-on-crime agenda that makes our streets more dangerous. As we close the book on the pandemic, Democrats clung to mandates. They doubled down on blowout spending on failed government programs. Luckily, Republicans were able to kill many of the most harmful and extreme proposals this session.”
Britt Music & Arts Festival’s 60th Anniversary 2022 season in Jacksonville, Oregon, includes a broad array of musical artists.
The first of two season announcements includes a return visit by ZZ Top, jazzy pop singer-songwriter Norah Jones, electric blues band Blues Traveler, a night of rock with Collective Soul & Switchfoot, Americana string band Old Crow Medicine Show, Queen tribute band One Night of Queen, annual Britt fan-favorite Michael Franti & Spearhead, alt-rock group Mt. Joy, a night of reggae with the Good Vibes Summer Tour, plus the “Best of Britt” fundraiser with ‘60s pop legends in the Happy Together Tour 2022.
With this announcement, there will be a member pre-sale before tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 25. New this year, donor and patron members may order tickets online.
Tickets for the “Best of Britt” dinner and auction are already on sale and include premium seats to the Happy Together Tour 2022 concert. Tickets to the concert only for Happy Together Tour 2022 will go on sale to the public at 10 a.m March 25.
Tickets for the Britt Festival Orchestra Season are also on sale at Brittfest.org.
Trace Hammrich of Bonanza is a new junior member of the American Angus Association, according to Mark McCully, CEO of the national organization with headquarters in Saint Joseph, Missouri.
Junior members of the association are eligible to register cattle in the American Angus Association, participate in programs conducted by the National Junior Angus Association and take part in Association-sponsored shows and other national and regional events. The American Angus Association is the largest beef breed association in the world, with more than 25,000 active adult and junior members.
Visit NJAA.info for more information about the National Junior Angus Association. It’s home to an extensive breed registry that grows by more than 300,000 animals each year. The Association also provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.
For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association, visit www.angus.org.
Upcoming events at the Ross Ragland Theater include a performance by the Klamath Symphony on March 6 and a space-themed program by the Klamath Community Band on Sunday this week, March 13.
The symphony’s event is scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Dan Conrad and Chris Benjamin will conduct the performance entitled “New Frontier” with a focus on future life and technologies.
The community band’s concert is Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. and is entitled “To Infinity and Beyond.” The performance features music from “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Star Trek” and “Toy Story” along with other science fiction and space-themed music.
Tickets to both events are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and military $11 for students. Kids under age 12 are admitted for free.
The annual Rock, Gem and Mineral show was canceled the last two years here, due to Covid, but it returns this weekend, Saturday, March 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continues on Sunday, March 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The show’s 2022 theme is “All that glitters.” Attendees can have their mystery stones identified by local experts, can win door prizes, try gold panning and join in the fun at Wheel of Fortune. There will also be demonstrations and about flintknapping, sphere-making and silversmithing.
There is a $3 suggested donation at the door, with free admission for children 12 and under. Learn more at www.klamathrockclub.org.
Dr. Bud Pierce, a Republican candidate for governor, is hosting a “meet and greet’ with people in Klamath Falls on Wednesday, March 9th.
The meeting will take place at the Waffle Hut banquet room, 106 Main St., from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. There is limited seating for the event, so please RSVP to Mike Carr by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text to 541-915-2300.
Pierce said in a news release that he is a “leader who will support law enforcement, fight new taxes, get the homeless off the streets into temporary shelters, defend the 2nd Amendment and ensure our elections are fair.
Around the state of Oregon
Quick Look at Bills That Passed or Failed as Legislative Session Ends
A quick look at items that Oregon lawmakers acted on during their 32-day session that closed Friday, March 4:
Bills that Passed:
• Worker payments: People who claimed the state’s earned-income tax credit on their 2020 returns — or amend their returns by April 15 — will be eligible for a one-time payment of $600 from federal funds of $147 million. The Department of Revenue will start the first payments to an eventual total of 245,000 households by early summer. (House Bill 4179)
• Traffic stops: Police will be barred from stopping drivers for primary violations of five vehicle equipment defects as of Jan. 1, 2023: Single broken headlight, tail light or brake light; tail light emitting a color other than red; lighting of registration plates. Police can issue tickets for these violations if there is a separate traffic violation or other offense. (Senate Bill 1510)
• Farmworker overtime: The exemption in state law will be phased out in five years — the new maximums are 55 hours in 2023 and 2024, 48 hours in 2025 and 2026, and 40 hours starting in 2027 — and time-and-a-half rates will apply. Washington state started overtime on Jan. 1; California started overtime in 2019 for larger operations, and Jan. 1 for farms with 25 or fewer workers. A tax credit, subtracted directly from taxes owed, is available. (HB 4002)
• School replacement: $120 million is set aside for the relocation of Harriet Tubman Middle School as part of the widening of Interstate 5 in Portland. Vehicle pollution affects the site in North Portland. (HB 5202, budget bill)
• Elliott State Forest: The 91,000-acre tract on the south coast will be converted to a research forest overseen by Oregon State University under legislation that severs its link to timber production for the Common School Fund. (SB 1546)
• Election workers: County election workers may have their home addresses shielded from disclosure under legislation intended to deter harassment. (HB 4144)
Bills that Failed:
• Self-serve gasoline: HB 4151, which would have allow motorists to pump their own fuels as an option to full service by attendants, died after a Feb. 8 public hearing by the Joint Committee on Transportation. The bill died in the budget panel. Oregon and New Jersey still do not allow full self-service, though under a law that took effect in 2018, it is allowed in counties with less than 40,000 people. Oregon’s ban goes back to 1951.
• Non-unanimous juries: SB 1511, which would have set up a legal process for criminal defendants who were convicted by less-than-unanimous juries, died in the budget panel after it cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Louisiana case in 2020 that such verdicts were unconstitutional; Oregon was the only state doing so. The court left it to states to decide whether its ruling applies retroactively.
• Hospital workers: HB 4142, which would have classified assaults on hospital workers as felonies instead of misdemeanors, died in the Senate after it passed the House on March 1. Senate President Peter Courtney had not assigned it to a committee, and ruled out of order a motion by Republicans on the final day to bring it to a vote of the full Senate. Republicans failed in an attempt to override Courtney’s decision.
A 58-year-old man has been arrested and charged by the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office after he allegedly fired one bullet into the air and another near a maintenance worker’s head at the Creekside RV Park early Friday evening.
Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel says that the incident took place around 4:30 p.m. on Friday. After allegedly firing both rounds, police say that James Anthony Ritacco barricaded himself in his trailer and wouldn’t come out. Sheriff Daniel said because of the situation, the sheriff’s office contacted Oregon State Police for assistance from Roseburg, where SWAT teams were sent to assist.
After an hour stand off, Sheriff Daniel said that SWAT teams breached the trailer and tazed Ritacco before taking him into custody.
Ritacco is facing four charges including 1st Degree Assault, Menacing, Reckless Endangering of Another and Unlawful Use/Carrying of a Dangerous Weapon. Bail has been set at $50,000.
Police Arrest Naked Woman In Roseburg Screaming And Shooting A Firearm
A woman was arrested Sunday in Roseburg after police from multiple agencies were called to a disturbance.
Around 2:40 p.m. Sunday (March 6, 2022), officers with the Roseburg Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Cow Creek Tribal Police responded to the 1500 block of SE Booth Avenue after it was reported that Savannah Gilkey was outside her residence, unclothed, screaming and shooting a firearm, RPD said.
“Officers on scene attempted to make contact with Gilkey when she pointed a pistol at them, then shot the pistol several times into the air,” the department said.
According to police, Gilkey was able to get to her vehicle and leave when she was stopped at a roadblock.
“Gilkey complied with commands and was taken into custody without further incident,” RPD stated. There is no known ongoing threat to the public, police said.
Oregon State University will hold in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time in two years.
The Corvallis ceremony will be held June 11th and the OSU-Cascades ceremony will be held in Bend on June 12th. Commencement ceremonies in 2020 were canceled to help reduce risk of COVID-19. Last year, virtual ceremonies were held for 2020 and 2021 graduates.
All students graduating between summer 2021 and summer 2022 can participate in the ceremonies.
Farm workers in Oregon will be paid overtime under a bill that’s on its way to the Governor.
The bill passed on a party-line vote. It phases in overtime requirements over four years. A tax credit would be available to small farmers that will help cover some of the higher salary costs. Farmers say it’ll result in more automation and some farmers will have to sell their farms to larger corporations.
Police Ask for Public’s Help in Search For Victim’s Roommate In Albany Homicide
A 42-year-old woman, the roommate of a 75-year-old man whose death was ruled a homicide, is wanted for questioning in the case, Albany police officials said.
Elvin “Al” Pierce was found dead by officers around 9:10 p.m. Friday after a 911 caller reported a man was unconscious and not breathing. Investigators at that time said the circumstances surrounding his death were suspicious.
APD said Pierce’s roommate, 42-year-old Elizabeth Nicole Tyler Jimenez, wasn’t there at the home when officers found Pierce dead and they don’t know where she is. Authorities did not specifically state whether Jimenez is a suspect or if there are any charges against her.
Pierce’s car, a tan 2004 Buick Park Avenue with Oregon license plate 081FAX, is also missing.
Jimenez, who investigators believe is currently without a job, is described as often visiting local soup kitchens. She also has skills as a masseuse and a seamstress, officials said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact APD at 541-917-7680 or APD Lt. Buck Pearce at 541-917-3209.