Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 3/10 – Gas Prices Hovering at $4.66 a gallon in the Klamath Basin, according to AAA.

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Thursday, March 10, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 52. Light and variable wind becoming south around 5 mph in the morning. Mostly clear, with a low around 22.


Friday Sunny, with a high near 64. Calm wind becoming south southeast around 6 mph. Mostly clear overnight with a low around 28.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 61. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph with gusts to 25 mph. Saturday night a slight chance of rain before 10pm, then a chance of rain and snow. Snow level 5000 feet lowering to 4400 feet after midnight . Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 54.

Today’s Headlines

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Diesel gas prices are now averaging $5.10 per gallon in Oregon and $5.98 per gallon in California — both record highs, according to AAA.

Record prices for diesel fuel impacts truckers and that could continue to push for inflationary pressures on food and other prices. Nationally, diesel fuel prices also stand at a record of $4.88 per gallon. They are up $1.03 per gallon from a year ago.

In Oregon, diesel prices are up more than $2.02 per gallon from a year ago, according to AAA. Previous record highs were set in 2008 in early stages of the Great Recession. Gasoline prices also continue to hit and break record highs in Oregon and nationally. The statewide average is $4.66 per gallon. That’s a record and up 73 cents per gallon in a month.

Gas is also costing $4.66 locally in Klamath County, according to AAA.

Oregon’s gas prices are the third highest in the continental U.S. behind only California ($5.57 per gallon) and Nevada ($4.77 per gallon), according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. Prices were already climbing before Russia invaded Ukraine Feb. 24. Energy costs are up 27% over the past 12 months, according to January’s Consumer Price Index.

Oregon reports 470 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 29 new deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. — There are 29 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,800, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

OHA reported 470 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 698,564.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (15), Clackamas (32), Clatsop (1), Columbia (7), Coos (14), Crook (3), Curry (3), Deschutes (29), Douglas (16), Grant (4), Harney (3), Hood River (2), Jackson (34), Jefferson (1), Josephine (16), Klamath (7), Lane (46), Lincoln (8), Linn (17), Marion (40), Morrow (1), Multnomah (93), Polk (9), Sherman (1), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Wasco (4), Washington (50) and Yamhill (7).

The federal government has increased its distribution limit of free at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. If you already placed an order for four free tests, you can now place a second order for four more. In total, each residential address can receive a total of eight free at-home tests.Delivered to your home via the US Postal Service, you can order the tests from the federal government at https://www.covidtests.gov/

COVIDtests.gov - Free at-home COVID-19 tests

Federal officials say they are determined to find “long-term, durable” solutions to resolve the decades-old water crisis in the Klamath Basin, balancing diverse priorities to sustain healthy communities.

The House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife held a virtual hearing March 8 to discuss the basin, including testimony from farmers, tribal members and local government leaders recounting how years of drought and miscues are now threatening local crops, salmon and domestic wells.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., chaired the meeting along with Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ore. Together, their districts span the entire basin straddling both states. The hearing came as the Klamath Basin faces another year of extreme drought.

One day earlier, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a drought emergency for Klamath County. As of March 1, the Klamath Basin had received just 69% of normal snowpack and 75% of normal precipitation for the 30-year period from 1991-2020, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Stream flows were predicted to be anywhere from 43% to 93% of normal Tricia Hill, a fifth-generation potato farmer based in Malin, Ore., said the agricultural community feels targeted by policies that culminated in last year’s complete shutdown of the A Canal within the Klamath Project — serving 175,000 acres of irrigated farmland.

A car accident on Tuesday knocked out power for close to 3,600 Pacific Power customers in downtown Klamath Falls.

The accident occurred at approximately 2:50 p.m., according to the utility. Work crews were restoring power to impacted downtown businesses and residents. An estimated 500 utility customers were still without power early Tuesday evening, according to Pacific Power and the Klamath Falls Police Department.

Power was restored to all by late Tuesday evening.

Kindergarteners at Chiloquin Elementary straddled their new striders and pushed off, lifting their feet from the ground as the bikes shot forward.

The students last week began learning to ride thanks to $5,000 in donations from Chiloquin Community Builders and Ninja Mountain Bike Performance, which were used to purchase a fleet of 30 strider bikes through the All Kids Bike program. The striders were assembled by volunteer instructors with Ninja Mountain Bike Performance, the largest mountain bike skills instruction company in the U.S.

The company relocated its headquarters to the Chiloquin area three years ago. Chiloquin P.E. teacher Barb Whalen and volunteer Hannah Levine are teaching the lessons to kindergarteners and first-graders, helping students don their helmets and providing encouragement and advice. Levine is captain of global development for Ninja Mountain Bike Performance and bike team lead with Chiloquin Community Builders.

Chiloquin is the fourth school in the Klamath County School District to kick off the All Kids Bike learn-to-ride program. Shasta, Henley, and Bonanza elementary schools received their striders last spring.

The Klamath Falls Community Band will present “To Infinity And Beyond,” a space-themed program, featuring music from Star Wars, Superman, Toy Story, and Star Trek, as well as a host of other songs with a space theme.

The concert is set for this Sunday afternoon at 2pm, at the Ross Ragland Theatre.

Tickets: Adults $15, Seniors/Military $13, Students $11, Kids 12 & Under Free Covid-19 Guidelines: Do noteEnter if you are sick, wear a mask or face covering as you enter.

Around the state of Oregon

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Dallas Heard is resigning as State Republican Party Chair, effective March 11. Heard, a resident of Douglas County is currently the State Senator for the 1st Senate District of Oregon.

Former Party Chair Herman Baertschiger says that he had been discussing the issue with Heard for a little while now, and confirmed the letter was sent by Heard.

Heard stated in a letter to the Oregon Republican party that  “Communist psychological warfare tactics are being used daily within the party. These tactics are being used to destroy anyone of true character who would oppose the man who introduced them into our community for the last 20 years. The endless slander, gossip, conspiracies, sabotage, lies, hatred, pointless criticism, blocking of ideas, and mutiny brought against my administration has done what I once never thought possible. They have broken my spirit. I can face the Democrats with courage and conviction, but I can’t fight my own people too.”

Baertschiger, the current vice-chair, said he will serve as acting chair until a replacement is chosen.

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office (JCDA) says a man suspected in a Sunday police chase faces several criminal charges.

A weekend incident on Interstate 5 closed I-5 near Grants Pass as police say the chase ended in a crash by a high-speed driver who was shot by an Oregon State Police Trooper when approached by the suspect holding knives.

Yesterday afternoon JCDA announced 25-year-old Cole Reeves has been arraigned on a District Attorney’s Information filing that charges him with Assault, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Menacing, Reckless Driving, Criminal Mischief and Recklessly Endangering Another Person.

The next court date in this case is a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 15, 2022, at 4:00pm.

A California woman’s abduction claim, which federal prosecutors allege was false, cost the public hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to statements from authorities and court documents.

Sherri Papini vanished in November 2016, launching a massive search, only for the Northern California Redding area mother of two to turn up three weeks later, telling investigators she’d been kidnapped, beaten and branded.

The Justice Department says Papini made the whole thing up. She was arrested last Thursday and has been charged with making false statements to a law enforcement officer and mail fraud, the department said in a news release. Papini, who had been detained since her arrest, appeared before a judge via Zoom on Tuesday.

US Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson ruled she could be released on a $120,000 bond, with certain conditions, including that her travel be limited to only one part of California, that she must receive psychiatric treatment, must surrender her passport and cannot use firearms, among other terms.

The judge addressed Papini directly, warning her that if she violated those conditions, there would be further penalties.

UPDATE: Arson Attack of Tent in Grants Pass Park – Police Ask For Help to Find Suspect

After previously releasing limited details on this case, the Grants Pass Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the arson suspect captured on video during and after the crime that occurred on March 1st.

After lighting the fire the suspect ran from Baker Park toward the intersection of E. Park St and Grants Pass Pkwy. Anyone having knowledge of the suspect’s identity or having captured additional residential surveillance video of the suspect is asked to contact Grants Pass Police Detective Lohrfink at 541-450-6260.

On Tuesday afternoon, March 1st, a hooded subject threw a flaming liquid substance onto a tent in Baker Park belonging to an unhoused person. Inside the tent was an unsuspecting victim who was not seriously harmed by the attack and was able to escape the flames and call 9-1-1.

The lone hooded suspect fled the scene on foot after the attack. Arriving Grants Pass Police and Fire units assisted the victim and extinguished the flames, but were unable to locate the suspect. The victim’s tent and sleeping bag were destroyed by the flames.

It is believed at this time the owner of the tent was a specific target of the crime and neither the general public nor the unhoused population is in danger of similar attacks. Members of the Grants Pass Police Community Response Team, sensitive to the needs of the victim, provided her with a new tent and sleeping bag that same afternoon. Grants Pass Police Department 

UPDATE: I-5 Officer Involved Shooting Suspect Named

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office (JCDA) says a man suspected in a Sunday police chase faces several criminal charges. A weekend incident on Interstate 5 closed I-5 near Grants Pass as police say the chase ended in a crash by a high-speed driver who was shot by an Oregon State Police Trooper when approached by the suspect holding knives.

Yesterday afternoon JCDA announced 25-year-old Cole Reeves has been arraigned on a District Attorney’s Information filing that charges him with Assault, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Menacing, Reckless Driving, Criminal Mischief and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. The next court date in this case is a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 15, 2022, at 4:00pm.

Alaska Airlines is prepared to spend millions of dollars to help students attend an Oregon flight school, get their commercial pilot licenses and then get them flying planes for Horizon Air, its regional sister carrier.

The Seattle-based air group is partnering with the Hillsboro Aero Academy to launch the flight school program, which will offer training in either Hillsboro or Redmond. The airline will offer low-interest flight school loans, cover the cost of a commercial pilot license, then give the new pilots a job upon completing the program.

It’s the latest attempt from an airline to shore up its hiring pipeline as carriers across the country try to navigate serious pilot shortages that have forced delays, cancellations and higher plane ticket prices.

Other airlines, too, have recently opened their own flight academies to entice candidates who otherwise may not have pursued a career as a pilot.

While passenger volume is only 9% lower than pre-pandemic levels, the number of domestic flights is still down 16% compared to before the pandemic, according to a report released this month by Airlines for America, a trade association that represents major North American airlines.

Scott Keyes, the Portland-based founder of the travel discount website Scott’s Cheap Flights, said airlines have been unable to keep up with rebounding travel demand due in large part to the pilot shortage. That shortage predated the pandemic, but airlines made things worse when they offered pilots early retirement packages early in the pandemic to cut costs.

One report from consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimates that the U.S. will be short 12,000 pilots by the end of 2023.

The Oregon Attorney General’s Office is releasing the top consumer complaints from 2021. They include auto sales and repairs, telecommunications, and impostor scams.

Oregon consumers who filed complaints to the Consumer Protection Hotline got a total of 628-thousand dollars returned to them. Nearly 27-thousand calls came into the hotline and there were almost 67-hundred written complaints.

The Oregon Attorney General’s website has tips on scam and fraud prevention.

If you’re planning to attend a Portland Trailblazer game before the end of the season,  the Portland Trail Blazers and the Rose Quarter will remove the indoor mask requirement on March 12th.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will end the mask requirement statewide on the same day. The Oregon Health Authority still recommends masking for people at higher risk from COVID-19, including unvaccinated people and those with weakened immune systems. Masks are encouraged while on the Rose Quarter campus and attending events.

Alaska Airlines is prepared to spend millions of dollars to help students attend an Oregon flight school, get their commercial pilot licenses and then get them flying planes for Horizon Air, its regional sister carrier.

The Seattle-based air group is partnering with the Hillsboro Aero Academy to launch the flight school program, which will offer training in either Hillsboro or Redmond.

The airline will offer low-interest flight school loans, cover the cost of a commercial pilot license, then give the new pilots a job upon completing the program. It’s the latest attempt from an airline to shore up its hiring pipeline as carriers across the country try to navigate serious pilot shortages that have forced delays, cancellations and higher plane ticket prices.

Other airlines, too, have recently opened their own flight academies to entice candidates who otherwise may not have pursued a career as a pilot.

While passenger volume is only 9% lower than pre-pandemic levels, the number of domestic flights is still down 16% compared to before the pandemic, according to a report released this month by Airlines for America, a trade association that represents major North American airlines.

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