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.
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Northwest winds to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Overnight mostly clear, with a low around 16.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 51. Clear overnight, with a low around 24
Friday Sunny, with a high near 55.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 57.
Do you and your family have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for children? Community members can take advantage of dinner and information from Klamath County’s Health Officer Wendy Warren, MD.
The event happens tonight from 6 until 7:30 in the Klamath County Fairgrounds main building. A free dinner and free activity kits for the kids will be provided. Bring your questions and your family. Spanish translation available onsite and online.
A virtual meeting is also available just call Klamath County Health Department for details. Remember its this Tuesday from 6 until 730 at the Fairgrounds.
Oregon reports 397 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 29 new deaths
There are 29 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,772, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today. OHA reported 397 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 698,127.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (15), Clackamas (22), Clatsop (2), Columbia (4), Coos (9), Crook (6), Curry (4), Deschutes (24), Douglas (19), Gilliam (1), Grant (8), Jackson (31), Jefferson (6), Josephine (20), Klamath (5), Lake (5), Lane (33), Lincoln (4), Linn (25), Malheur (6), Marion (28), Morrow (2), Multnomah (57), Polk (7), Sherman (1), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (2), Union (4), Wasco (5), Washington (34) and Yamhill (6).
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, is leading a charge to get rid of forced arbitration and lawsuit waivers that banks and financial firms have consumers sign and agree in order to avoid litigation.
Wyden is chair of the influential Senate Finance Committee. He is a top sponsor of the Arbitration Fairness for Consumers Act along with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Other Democratic lawmakers and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, are also co-sponsors of the bill.
Bank, credit card firms and other companies frequently have customers agree to required arbitration in disputes. The policies help the business avoid class-action lawsuits and other litigation. The rules also help companies avoid turning over emails, communications and other evidence to consumers’ attorneys.
The Oregon senator also pointed out that arbitration agreements are often nestled inside lengthy agreements signed by customers. The federal legislation would prohibit “pre-dispute arbitration agreements and class-action waivers in contracts for consumer financial products or services.
Under the legislation, such agreements would be neither valid nor enforceable,” according to the lawmakers.
Daily studying and test practice paid off for a 15-year-old Henley High School senior who last month was named a National Merit Scholar Finalist.
Charlie Xu scored in the top 1% on both the PSAT and SAT college tests to qualify for the honor.
Each year, nearly 1.5 million students take the test. In February, 15,000 were notified that they are finalists and qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Charlie isn’t your typical high school senior. He speaks Chinese and English fluently and he is two years younger than most of his classmates. His parents, Muwen Xu and Zhihong Li, immigrated to the U.S. from rural China 20 years ago.
Charlie and his younger sister were born in Klamath Falls. Since Chinese was his first language, Charlie said he was not yet fluent in English when he started grade school. But he soon excelled, skipping sixth and eighth grades and entering high school as a pre-teen. He will be the first person in his family to attend college.
At Henley, Charlie participates in swim, cross country and tennis as well as the robotics, engineering, and Key clubs. He also is a member of National Honor Society and works summers as a lifeguard at the Ella Redkey Pool.
A 4.0 student, Charlie plans to study aerospace engineering and wants to eventually work for NASA, Boeing or Space X, designing next generation aircraft. His first choice of college is MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), but he also applied to Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and Oregon State University.
Klamath Community College (KCC) on Monday earned designation as a 2022-23 Military Friendly® School from Viqtory media company, achieving a gold rating.
During the 2021-22 academic year KCC received a bronze rating. The gold-rating status achieved by KCC is the second-highest obtainable level of veterans services designation, with only being named a “Top-10” rated institution surpassing it. KCC has earned the rank as a Military Friendly® school since 2014.
Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, which shares an articulation agreement under the Base to Bachelor program with KCC, also earned gold-rated status. Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Over 1,200 schools participated in the survey with 747 earning a Military Friendly® designation. Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Criteria include the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, persistence (degree advancement or transfer), graduation, job placement, loan repayment, and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.
KCC’s Veterans Service Center is a central location for students to complete their entire admission, enrollment, and advising processes, assisting students in determining their eligibility and application for Veterans Administration educational benefit funding. It is responsible for certifying those entitled to VA educational benefits.
The City of Klamath Falls along with the Klamath Falls Downtown Association, is announcing the opening of the application period for the downtown Seasonal Pedlet/Parklet Program available for businesses located within the Downtown corridor.
A pedlet is a temporary thoroughfare, that allows a business to use the sidewalk as outdoor dining/retail space, while providing a safe area for pedestrians to walk. The pedlet uses the adjacent parallel parking space, is level with the sidewalk and is ADA compliant.
Last year, the City of Klamath Falls fabricated two pedlets in collaboration with Healthy Klamath and the Klamath Falls Downtown Association. These structures are currently available and ready to install as early as May 2022. If interest exceeds current availability there is the possibility of the City constructing two additional pedlets, dependent on the number and quality of the applications received. 2021 was the first year of pedlets being present downtown.
They were well-received and added vibrance to our Downtown area. If interested, there is the option available to apply to construct your own pedlet/parklet. Applicants are encouraged to provide as much detail and information as possible when applying to participate in the pedlet program.
The 173rd Fighter Wing will host a Sentry Eagle Open House on Saturday, June 25 and admission is free.
During the Open House the Kingsley Field gates will be open to the community, providing a behind the scenes look at what the Airmen accomplish every day at the 173rd Fighter Wing.
Additionally, there will be multiple aerial demonstrations, static display aircraft, flightline operations viewing opportunities, recruiting events, and local vendors.
The Sentry Eagle Open House is being held in conjunction with the Kruise of Klamath and the Klamath Freedom Days events. Additonal details such as schedules, parking plans, and more will be shared online as they are made available.
Around the state of Oregon
Some local 2020 wildfire survivors living in federal government trailers are getting a 30-day delay for paying their first rent due.
Yesterday, Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden announced April rent for 2020 fire survivors who are living in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) temporary direct housing will not be due until May 1, 2022 and will be lower than market rate for some families.
FEMA had advised people living in FEMA trailers in Jackson County, OR they’d need to pay rent to stay in the trailers beyond 18 months after September 2020 wildfires — Almeda, South Obenchain and Slater Fires — burned their homes.
In February, FEMA sent letters to survivors of 2020 fires who are in FEMA’s temporary housing, notifying occupants of the transitional housing to pay “market rate” rent starting April 1, 2022 to stay in FEMA trailers. Wyden says wildfire survivors are mostly low-income residents who’ve not paid rent to FEMA since they moved in.
Temporary-housing duration limits triggered the letter alerts to survivors that they may need to pay $1,000 or more in rent.
Oregon Residents Only Have Until March 14th to Apply for Rental Assistance Funds
The window to apply for assistance is quickly closing. If you’re an Oregon resident who needs help catching up on overdue rent, you’ll need to get moving before you lose that opportunity — and potentially lose your home.
More than $289 million in rental assistance funds has been paid out to Oregon residents in need of aid. All told, over 40,000 households have gotten assistance — and that help may be making it possible for them to stay in their homes rather than face eviction.
But soon, Oregon’s rental assistance program will end. Renters who haven’t yet requested relief have until 11:59 p.m. on March 14 to submit an application. From there, Oregon’s application portal will close so the state can work on processing existing applications and distributing the remainder of its limited funds.
Baby Found In Springfield Hotel Room Several Days After Mother Dies Of Drug Overdose
Springfield Police state that a woman died of a heroin overdose in a Springfield hotel room leaving her 6-month-old son alone in the room for four to five days.
The baby was found Monday at about 7 p.m at Quality Inn and Suites, 3550 Gateway Street.
The child was found inside the hotel room in a stroller, police said. The body of the child’s mother was also in the room.
Kirkpatrick said they used the assistance of Department of Human Services agents who were doing a check on the mother for an unknown reason. The woman was not scheduled to check out until Wednesday, so it’s possible the two would not have been discovered until at least then had it not been for DHS.
“The child wouldn’t have made it. It was that touch and go. Having been unattended to for four to five days,” Sgt. Pete Kirkpatrick with SPD said, “But we’re lucky that DHS, that things happened how they did.”
He said the child’s lips had turned blue, and they were barely responsive when officers entered the room.
The child was taken to Riverbend Hospital, then flown to a hospital in Portland for treatment. Despite severe dehydration and several other ailments, the child is on the path to a full recovery according to police.
Springfield police said this is an ongoing investigation. The woman placed the privacy sign on the door, which is why housekeeping did not enter the room. It’s unclear if the baby could be heard from outside of the room. A noncriminal amount of heroin and other drug paraphernalia was also found inside of the room.
After two years of virtual celebrations, the Oregon Humane Society’s Doggie Dash returns to Waterfront Park this year.
Doggie Dash is the largest celebration of people and pets on the West Coast and the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Oregon Humane Society. It’ll be held Saturday May 14th. Some changes have been made, because of the pandemic. The traditional pancake breakfast has been replaced with individually wrapped items.
There will be two Libation Stations, so people can spread out. And there will be more waves of start times. Registration is free if you do it before April 30th at doggie dash dot org.
FOR MORE INFO: https://www.oregonhumane.org/get-involved/events/doggiedash/?gclid=CjwKCAiAvaGRBhBlEiwAiY-yMKOJfFEDljPZcima5JdYi8KVXFk5jAQe6n9O26NhuRSJEn1d_mloABoCkH0QAvD_BwE
The Russian war in Ukraine continues to drive gas prices higher. Oregon had the nation’s fourth highest gas prices as of Monday.
AAA reports the national average increased 45 cents over the last week to four-dollars-and-six-cents a gallon. Oregon’s average is up 48 cents to four-dollars-and-51-cents a gallon.
Washington’s average is up 44-cents to four-dollars-and-45-cents a gallon. In California, the average price of gas today is around $.92 a gallon and some stations are selling it at $6.99 a gallon for regular gas. Nationwide, the price of a gallon of gas rose to an average of $3.61, about 90 cents higher than a year earlier.
As COVID-19 cases drop, mask protocols ease and more Americans venture out to beaches, theme parks and other tourist destinations, travel is bouncing back to levels not seen since the pandemic took hold, industry experts say.
The bad news: Airfares and gasoline prices are also reaching highs not seen in years.
AAA of Oregon says Nearly 40% of Americans are planning to travel during spring break, up from the 29% who said they were traveling for spring break 2021, according to a survey commissioned by the vacation rental company Vacasa. The home rental business Vrbo has also reported a nearly 50% increase in demand for vacation homes this spring, compared with spring of 2021. Road trippers are not catching a break either. Already-high gasoline prices have been pushed to near-record levels due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent shockwaves through the oil market. Nationwide, the price of a gallon of gas rose to an average of $3.61, about 90 cents higher than a year earlier, with prices in California climbing to $4.82 per gallon, according to AAA.
Oregon Farm Bureau FFA Video Contest
Students can submit videos featuring projects, programs or farm and ranch happenings
Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) invites FFA students to participate in its second-annual #GrowingOregon video contest — for a chance to win at least $400!
“This year the winner will earn a generous cash prize for their FFA chapter,” said Anne Marie Moss, OFB communications director.
To participate, FFA members should create a video up to a minute long that features the #GrowingOregon hashtag and something interesting about Oregon agriculture.
Video topic ideas include an overview of an FFA project or program, what’s happening on the farm or ranch, or highlighting an Oregon agricultural product.
The contest winner will be determined by which video gets the most likes and views on OFB’s social media platforms by May 31. The winner will receive a cash prize that will be donated to their FFA chapter. The prize amount will be at least $400.
“We can’t wait to see the students’ creativity. There are so many aspects to Oregon agriculture that are fascinating, so the possibilities truly are endless,” said Moss.
For more information about the #GrowingOregon video contest, visit https://oregonfb.org/growingoregon/
Escaped Debris Burn Near Gold Hill Prompts Fire Officials To Remind People About Safety
Per ODF’s Southwest Oregon District, firefighters stopped the forward spread of an escaped debris burn, reported on the 1300-block of Sardine Creek Road, northwest of Gold Hill.
Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District, Jackson County Fire District #1, Jackson County Fire District 3, and Evans Valley Fire District #6 all responded and were able to quickly line the fire, and complete mop-up operations.
The fire was first reported around 4:15 Monday afternoon by the landowner. It was caused by a debris burn pile that escaped and started to move uphill following a wind direction change.
The landowner had a water source at the ready and tried to stop the fire, however, due to the dryness of the vegetation, the wind and topography, it spread beyond control.
The landowner called 911 to report it, and then used their excavator to begin lining the fire. When firefighters arrived, they were able to build on that work and quickly stop the forward spread of the fire.
Fire officials say this is a great example of how to handle an escaped debris burn; the landowner had a water source at the ready, did what they could, and reported it by calling 911 right away. With the current lack of substantial rain, fuels are dry and ready to burn.
If you have debris burning to do, consider the following:
As you begin spring clean-up, Keep Oregon Green, the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon State Fire Marshal urge you to consider chipping or recycling your yard debris. If burning is the only option to dispose of woody material, fire officials urge landowners to follow safe burning practices.
“If you do burn your debris, use common sense and follow safety rules,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “This can prevent most debris burn-caused wildfires, and keep lives and property safe.”
Escaped debris burns are the leading human cause of wildfire issues in Oregon, particularly during the early- and late-season periods when people think it is safe and permissible to burn. In 2015, backyard debris burns that escaped control resulted in 133 wildfires burning 224 acres at a cost of nearly $381,000.
Oregon experienced severe fire seasons in 2013-15. Extreme conditions those three years set the stage for any debris burn that got away to spread rapidly.
A burn pile is less likely to escape control if these simple safety tips are followed:
CALL BEFORE YOU BURN – Burning regulations are not the same in all areas and can vary with weather and fuel conditions. If you’re planning to burn, check with your local ODF district, fire protective association, or air protection authority to learn if there are any current burning restrictions in effect, and whether a permit is required.
KNOW THE WEATHER FORECAST – Never burn on dry or windy days. These conditions make it easy for open burning to spread out of control.
CLEAR A 10-FOOT RADIUS AROUND YOUR PILE – Also make sure there are no tree branches or power lines above.
KEEP YOUR BURN PILE SMALL– A large burn may cast hot embers long distances. Small piles, 4×4 feet, are recommended. Add debris in small amounts as existing material is consumed.
ALWAYS HAVE WATER AND FIRE TOOLS ON SITE – When burning, have a charged water hose, bucket of water, and shovel and dirt nearby to extinguish the fire. Drown the pile with water, stir the coals, and drown again, repeating till the fire is DEAD out.
STAY WITH THE FIRE UNTIL IT IS COMPLETELY OUT – Monitoring a debris burn continually from start to finish until dead out is required by state law, to ensure that any escaped sparks or embers can be extinguished quickly. Go back and recheck old burn piles, as they can retain heat for several weeks and then rekindle when the weather warms and wind begins to blow.
NEVER USE GASOLINE or other accelerants (flammable or combustible liquids) to start or increase your open fire. Every year, 10 to 15 percent of all burn injuries treated at the Oregon Burn Center in Portland are the result of backyard debris burning.
BURN ONLY YARD DEBRIS – State regulations prohibit the open burning of any material that creates dense smoke or noxious odors.
ESCAPED DEBRIS BURNS ARE COSTLY – State law requires the proper clearing, building, attending and extinguishing of open fires any time of year. A first-time citation carries a $110 fine. If your debris burn spreads out of control, you are responsible for the cost of fire suppression and very likely the damage to neighboring properties. This can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
More tips on wildfire prevention, including campfire safety, use of motorized equipment, and fire-resistant landscaping can be found on the Keep Oregon Green site, www.keeporegongreen.org