Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 4/20 – Klamath County Fair Announces Entertainment Lineup for Aug. 4-6th, 2022

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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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Rain likely, mainly after 5pm. Snow level 4800 feet rising to 5400 feet. Cloudy, with a high near 47. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 18 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.Overnight more showers likely before 2am, then rain and snow showers likely. Snow level 5700 feet lowering to 4500 feet after midnight . Cloudy, with a low around 30. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Thursday A chance of snow before 11am, then rain likely. Snow level rising to 4700 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Friday A slight chance of snow before 11am, then a slight chance of rain. Snow level rising to 4800 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 51.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon’s Employment Department (OED) says that in March unemployment rates declined in 35 of Oregon’s 36 counties, including Klamath County which also has Oregon’s highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March at 5.3%. 

OED says 15 counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 3.8% in March, while two Southern Oregon counties have the State’s highest unemployment rates from March:  Klamath County’s 5.3% and Curry County’s 5.1%.

Wheeler County is Oregon’s lone county with flat unemployment, holding steady at 3.0% in March.  OED says Benton County registered the State’s lowest unemployment rate in March at 2.9%. OED reports that employment grew at a relatively fast pace in Central Oregon (3.8%) and the Willamette Valley (3.7%) and a slower pace in Eastern Oregon (1.8%), Southern Oregon (1.1%) and along the Coast (0.4%).  It says the five Portland metro counties had combined job growth of 4.2% from March 2021 to March 2022 for the fastest rate of any region.

In Jackson County it says total payroll employment rose by 380 jobs in March, led by leisure/hospitality and construction, up by 320 and 150 jobs respectively, while retail employment dropped by 250 during the month.  OED says during the past year payroll employment in Jackson County rose by 1,440 jobs for a gain of 1.7%.  Jackson County has 1,480 jobs less than the March 2020 pre-pandemic total.

OED says Josephine County’s total payroll employment grew by 230 jobs in March, also led by leisure/hospitality (110 jobs) and construction (40).  Retail trade added 20 jobs in Josephine County in March.  OED says during the past year Josephine County’s workforce increased by 690 jobs for a 2.6% gain, or 130 jobs below the March 2020 pre-pandemic total.

Legalized marijuana generated $3.7 billion in tax revenue in 2021 in U.S. states where recreational use of cannabis is allowed.

State governments’ tax revenue haul from legal pot is up 34% from 2020, according to the Marijuana Policy Project which favors legalization. In Oregon, legal pot sales generated $177.8 million in tax revenue in 2021, according to MPP. That is up from $158.3 million in tax money from marijuana sales in 2020 and $115.9 million in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Oregon legalized recreational pot in 2016. Cannabis is taxed at 20% rate in Oregon with a 17% state levy and 3% local tax. That is compared to a 37% marijuana tax in Washington state along with a 6.5% sales levy.

California has a 15% state marijuana excise taxes along with additional levies on plants, leaves, flowers and cultivation, according to the Tax Foundation.State and local recreational marijuana levies in California can total as much as 45%.

High state tax rates and regulations continue to help sustain black market and illegal marijuana sales and illegal grows which continue to dot the landscape in southern Oregon and northern California.

A current sitting county commissioner has endorsed a candidate for position 1’s opening in Klamath County.

In a Facebook post, commissioner Derrick DeGroot says he has known candidate Dave Henslee for many years and know him to be a good man of remarkable character, an accomplished CEO, and a tremendous leader that knows how to get the right things done for our community.

Several individuals have filed to run for the position made available when Donnie Boyd left the commission earlier this year.

The Klamath County Fair is proud to announce its Headliner Concert lineup for August 4, 5 and 6 in the John Hancock Event Center.

August 4th, 2022 with gates opening at 6:30 PM, American country music singer and songwriter, Rodney Allan Atkins will entertain Fairgoers.

Tickets go on sale Friday, April 22, 2022 online at www.klamathcountyfair.com.  

August 5th, 2022 with gates opening at 7:00 PM, American country music singer-songwriter and record producer, Martina McBride will perform. She is known for her soprano singing range and her country pop material. McBride signed to RCA Records in 1991, and made her debut the following year as a neo-traditionalist country singer with the single, “The Time Has Come”.  Tickets go on sale Friday, April 22, 2022 online at www.klamathcountyfair.com.  

August 6th, 2022 with gates opening at 7:30 PM, American rock band Daughtry is headlined to perform. Chris Daughtry who formed and fronts this band, was a finalist on the fifth season of American Idol. Their self-titled debut album was released in November 2006 and reached number one the Billboard 200. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 22, 2022 online at www.klamathcountyfair.com.

Friday, April 22, is National Earth Day.   It’s a day to show environmental support.

 Sustainable Klamath invites the public to an award winning documentary called “Kiss the Earth,” narrated by Woody Harrelson, Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ross Ragland Cultural Center. The event is free of charge. 

Some lava tube caves at Lava Beds National Monument that were closed have reopened while others are closed for the winter.

Park officials said Juniper-Hercules Leg Cave, Labyrinth-Lava Brook Cave, Sentinel Cave and Sunshine Cave are again open. New and pre-existing cave closures include Blue Grotto Cave, South Labyrinth, Ovis Cave, Paradise Alleys, Thunderbolt (gated sections), and Merrill Ice Cave (pre-existing closure due to the impact of the Antelope Fire).

Caves may be closed seasonally or year-round for several reasons. The summer closures are done to protect maternal bat colonies where mothers raise tiny, vulnerable bat pups on the ceilings. In the winter, caves used by hibernating bats that need their energy-saving slumber are closed.

Before entering any Lava Beds cave, people are asked to stop at the Visitor Center to talk with a ranger and receive a Caving Permit.

The recent weather pattern the region has been stuck in for several days improved a bit yesterday, at least as far as road conditions are concerned.

There are improvements in the Cascades of Oregon. All chain requirements were just dropped that remained near Crater Lake and Diamond Lake. You will still encounter areas of slush, snow pack breaking up, and some slick spots. Plows are working to remove the snow from the road surface where needed. Use caution.

Outside of the Cascades, all other areas have bare pavement. That includes I-5.

 The forecast has unsettled weather in it for the next several days in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Oregon’s American Automobile Association (AAA) says gasoline prices are generally steady, though consumer demand and crude oil prices are rising. It says a lowering of gas prices has slowed as crude oil prices moved above $100 per barrel while U.S. demand for gasoline increases. 

AAA says Russia’s war in Ukraine and concerns for less Russian oil on the global market are putting upward pressure on gas prices, and “For the week, the national average for regular holds steady at $4.10 a gallon.

The Oregon average ticks up a penny to $4.68.” AAA notes the national and Oregon averages are both lower than their record high gasoline-per-gallon prices set last month when the national average peaked at $4.331 and Oregon’s average peaked at $4.739 on March 11.

AAA says Oregon is one of 25 states and the District of Columbia with higher gasoline prices now than a week ago, and California’s $5.70/gallon makes it the most expensive gas state in the nation as one of three states with an average more than $5 a gallon.  AAA shows that the cheapest gas in the nation is in Georgia ($3.71) and Arkansas ($3.72).

AAA notes that while Oregon’s gasoline price is more than a week ago, Oregon is one of 42 states and the District of Columbia with lower prices now than a month ago.  It says the national average is 16 cents less and the Oregon average is four cents less than a month ago.

Officials say most of the oil that spilled into Medford’s Bear Creek last week during a fire at a Pacific Pride Fueling Station has been recovered.

More than 20-thousand gallons of various petroleum products were released during the incident. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality reports some oil remains, because removing it would damage nesting areas.

No damage to fish has been found. Some Canada geese and mallard ducks are being cared for by International Bird rescue. NEXGEN Logistics operates the facility, and the company is paying for the wildlife rescue and recovery efforts.

A police chase stretched across two southern Oregon counties Saturday, April 16 with police eventually forcing a renegade van into a ditch.

Sheriff’s deputies from Josephine and Jackson counties along with the Rogue River police officers pursued a white van driven Jason David McMasters, 43 of Grants Pass, for 40 minutes before forcing his vehicle off snowy roads. The chase started at 9:30 a.m., Saturday with local police pursuing McMaster’s van on Rogue River Highway and Galls Creek Road near Gold Hill, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Police said McMasters refused to stop and pull over and was driving at unsafe speed in wintery conditions. He also rammed into a police car during the pursuit — some of which occurred on dirt and snow-covered roads, according to police.

McMasters allegedly rammed into a police vehicle at one point in the chase. Officers also utility spike strips which flattened the vans tired. A deputy then performed a “pursuit intervention technique”, according to the Josephine sheriff’s office. That entailed the police vehicle nudging the back corner of the van until it veered off the road into an adjacent ditch.

McMasters refused to leave the van with police using bean bag projectiles to break the window of the motor vehicle, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

 U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is renewing a push to increase taxes on the richest Americans.

On Tax Day, Monday, the Oregon Democrat joined the advocacy group Americans for Tax Fairness to promote his proposed “Billionaires Income Tax.” Wyden says: “The tax code is unfairly tilted to benefit billionaires. And, as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I’m pushing throughout the year to balance the tax system so it’s fair to everybody.”

According to Americans for Tax Fairness 740 billionaires got 70% richer during the two-year pandemic and much of that isn’t taxed due to loopholes in the current system.

Wyden says his plan would tax the wealth earned from investments, like stocks and loans, not just salary – a loophole he calls “Buy, Borrow and Die.” The Senator says, “If they just paid a Capital Gains rate – because this is about evading Capital Gains Taxes – the country would raise more than $550 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. That’ll do a lot to help schools and infrastructure.”

Wyden went on to say he wants people to ve successful but wants to stop the current practice allowing the richest Americans to make even more money without paying what he calls “their fair share.”

 A former Coos Bay police officer was sentenced to more than 63 years in prison after being convicted of multiple charges related to sexually abusing a child.

Terry Scott Rogers, 52, of Coos Bay, was sentenced to prison on Monday after a jury convicted him April 8, of 18 felonies and two misdemeanors. He is not eligible for early release from prison.

Rogers was a police officer for the Coos Bay Police Department for 22 years prior to being indicted and placed on administrative leave. During Monday’s sentencing he was also ordered to pay a fine of $40,000, which will go to the victim in the case. The charges against him included first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, first-degree sex abuse, luring a minor, second-degree unlawful penetration and third-degree sex abuse. Rogers was sentenced in Coos County Circuit Court to a total of 63 years and six months in prison.

Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act is changing, thanks to a recent court settlement.

State officials will no longer enforce the requirement that patients be Oregon residents when pursuing medical aid in dying.

The advocacy group Compassion and Choices filed a federal lawsuit last year on behalf of a Portland-area doctor who regularly treats patients across the river in Washington. He argued the residency requirement discriminates against out-of-state patients. Opponents say dropping the restriction opens the floodgates to people coming to Oregon for the sole purpose of dying.  Under the settlement, the Oregon Health Authority, Medical Board and Multnomah County District Attorney agree not to enforce the residency requirement. The OHA also says it will pursue legislative action to permanently drop the restriction from the state law.

The Mt. Shasta Ski Park is seeking public input on the resort’s attempts to add a new chairlift, the Gray Butte, which would service higher elevation, challenging terrain and provide assess to the area’s backcountry.

Adding a new chairlift for downhill skiers and snowboarders has been discussed for years, but not happened. As proposed, the Gray Butte fixed quad lift will be the area’s longest with 14 towers and rise from a base elevation of 6,400-feet to a top elevation of 7,500-feet, an elevation gain of 1,154 vertical feet. The chair, with its 9-1/2-minute ride, will offer a long run of slightly more than three miles and access 88 acres of skiable, intermediate terrain on five new runs. 

The project site is in an unincorporated area of Siskiyou County near the base of Mount Shasta, about six miles north of McCloud. Most of the proposed project is on Shasta Ski’s undeveloped property.

The project will be discussed at a public hearing for 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 20, in the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 311 Fourth St., Yreka. Comments can also be made by emailing planning@co.siskiyou.ca.us. For more information email richard@skipark.com.

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