Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, Apr. 26 – Deadline To Register Party Choice is Today for Oregon’s Primary Election is on May 17th

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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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 57. West northwest wind 7 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Overnight cloudy with a low around 31. North northwest winds to 15 mph.


Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.
Thursday A 30% chance of showers after 11am. Snow level 4400 feet rising to 5000 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 53.
Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 64..
Sunday A slight chance of showers otherwise mostly sunny, with a high near 62.

Today’s Headlines

Here in the Klamath Basin and throughout Southern Oregon political comments abound almost everywhere in 2022, yet political campaign signs are not allowed on the state highway right-of-way in Oregon.

Oregon Department of Transportation reminds that with May 17 primary elections approaching, “campaigns and their friends should remember that ODOT will remove political signs posted on the state highway right-of-way.”  It says only official traffic control devices are allowed in Oregon’s highway right of way.

ODOT says because improperly placed signs can distract drivers and block road safety messages, “Improperly placed signs will be taken down and held at a nearby ODOT district maintenance office for 30 days.

To reclaim signs go to the nearest ODOT maintenance office which locally is at 2557 Altamont Drive.” ODOT advises that signs are prohibited on trees, utility poles, fence posts and natural features within highway right-of-ways.

They also are prohibited within view of a designated scenic area in Oregon.

Last week Judge Roxanne Osborne sentenced Elliot Parker to the Oregon Department of Corrections for 180-months. The sentence was based on Parker’s role in two separate cases, in which Parker and co-defendant Harlan Wright terrorized and tortured two different victims.

Senior Judge Osborne presided over a judicial settlement conference and heard evidence where the State presented details of how Parker, Wright and others lured the victims to a location where they robbed, assaulted and tortured them.

The details of the crimes were revealed during the trial, and they are shocking. In one case the facts were: On the evening of August 15, 2020, the victim arrived at 931 Lincoln Street with his puppy. The female resident convinced him to remain at the location.

After about an hour elapsed Parker arrived, talking on a mobile telephone with Wright. Through the telephone Wright directed Parker to keep the victim at the location until Wright could arrive. Parker produced a handgun and ordered the victim to sit in a chair. Parker then robbed the victim of his money and phone, and held the victim for approximately two hours, until Wright arrived. The two then forced the victim into Wright’s car and drove him to 2860 Frontage Road. The victim complied with their orders and was later released.

During a separate and later incident, occurring on September 1, 2020, Parker and Wright and believed a separate victim had made insulting statements about Wright, and was cooperating with law enforcement in drug investigations. The two decided to punish this victim and again conspired with others to lure the victim to the same house at 931 Lincoln Street. When the victim arrived at the house on Lincoln the two began beating him.

The two assailants then forced this victim to strip naked and they continued to beat him. The two kidnappers then forced the victim to get into a rigid black vehicle tote, or roof-box. They closed the victim in the tote and loaded him into a vehicle, driving the victim to the compound at 2860 Frontage Road. The victim was provided a large machete-like knife with which he then chopped off one of his fingers. Approximately six hours after being released by his captors, the victim checked himself in to the Sky Lakes Emergency Department where he was treated for a fractured foot, numerous lacerations to his face and head and the severed finger.

Klamath County District Attorney’s office wants to specifically recognize the role of the Klamath Falls Police Department, the Basin Interagency Narcotics Taskforce and Detective Kiley Bergstrom, without whom the State would not have been able to secure convictions.

The District Attorney’s office also recognizes the bravery of each of the victims who were willing to come forward and hold Parker and Wright accountable for their heinous acts, despite great personal risk to themselves and their families.

Around the state of Oregon

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Oregon’s Primary Election is on May 17th, and the deadline to register and change your party choice is today (Tuesday).

The democratic and republican parties are holding closed elections, so only members of those parties can vote for those candidates.

You can register or change party affiliation by mail which needs to be postmarked April 26th. You can also register and change affiliation online at the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order during his visit to to the northwest last week, that aims to safeguard mature and old growth forests on federal land, step up forest maintenance and tree planting projects across the country, and combat global climate change by increasing diplomatic efforts to fight aggressive logging in the Amazon, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Among other things, the order directs the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to define and inventory mature and old growth forests within a year and develop policies to protect them from climate change and wildfire risks.

The order centers on of some of the most fraught politics in Oregon. It is laden with language about reducing wildfire risks – packaging perhaps designed to make it more palatable to rural communities and the timber industry, which have long pushed the federal government to more aggressively “manage” forests by stepping up logging.

Together, the Forest Service and BLM manage about 30 million acres of land in Oregon, making them the largest land managers in the state. Most of Oregon’s true old growth has already been logged, but its wet forests west of the Cascades are some of the fastest growing and most carbon-dense in the world.

Medford police released new information on Saturday night’s shooting outside the Rogue Valley Mall.

Police say a rival group of mostly juveniles were engaged in a physical fight. At some point the fight escalated to several shots being fired, and at least one person was shot several times. The male victim who was shot is expected to survive. No suspects are in custody at this time. Police also say the scene was very chaotic, as it was a crowded event when the shooting occurred. Multiple people fled the scene prior to police arrival.

Police say witnesses who have come forward have been very helpful with their investigation. Anyone with more information on the shooting is urged to call Medford Police at (541) 770-4783.

A man convicted in the execution-style murder of a teenage girl in Douglas County in 1995 has been released from prison after receiving clemency from Gov. Kate Brown.

The Douglas County district attorney opposed clemency for Kyle Hedquist. Prosecutors say Hedquist admitted killing Nikki Thrasher “to eliminate a witness in hope of preventing his own capture.”

The state instead released Hedquist into the Salem community in Marion County, about 134 miles from Roseburg. Hedquist was sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole for the murder. He was also sentenced on charges of Robbery in the First Degree and 3 Counts of Kidnapping in the Second Degree for a separate incident in which he robbed a local Pizza Hut at gunpoint, taking approximately $3,000.

The sheriff and top prosecutor in Marion County say the state Department of Corrections notified the county parole and probation office “that Hedquist, who was housed at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, was seeking release into Marion County due to ‘community concerns’ related to any Douglas County residence.”

Local officials opposed his release in Marion County and urged the state to reconsider Douglas County. Hedberg was released April 15 at noon in Salem, the local authorities said.

Oregon’s Liquor and Cannabis Commission is no longer processing new marijuana licenses.

The ban is in response to legislation passed in the last session and signed by Governor Brown April fourth. The new law establishes a moratorium on all marijuana license types from January 1, 2022 – March 31, 2024. There is an exception for labs, which are still allowed to apply for a new license. 

Pot businesses who applied for a license this year, before the law was signed, will be refunded the $250 application fee.  Lawmakers said the ban was necessary due to a crowded marketplace.

The Oregon Health Authority’s latest Covid-19 report covers the three-day period from April 22 to April 24, 2022. Visit the dashboard, linked below, and hover over the new cases graph to view new presumptive and confirmed case numbers reported to OHA by date.

Note: The summary tables for some of our COVID-19 dashboards will be temporarily unavailable today from 5 to 6 p.m. while Tableau engineers perform routine maintenance. We appreciate your patience. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/zLvz50IRGwt

Screen shot of linked dashboard shows an increase trend in cases, test positivity and hospitalizations. Vaccinations have plateaued. Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more information.

The number of identified coronavirus cases increased in Oregon for a fourth consecutive week, according to state data released Monday.

The 48% increase in weekly confirmed or presumed infections marked the second consecutive week with nearly 50% growth, pushing identified cases to their highest levels since late February.

But Oregon remains far below the case and hospitalization numbers seen during late 2020, summer 2021 and this year’s omicron surge. And the current rise in infections isn’t expected to have the kind of dire consequences as the delta and omicron waves did.

On April 24, 2022 at about 12:45 p.m., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a single vehicle crash on Highway 199 at milepost 16.

Preliminary investigation revealed a southbound green Janus motorcycle, operated by Gregory Williams (48) of Grants Pass, left the roadway and collided with the highway guardrail. Williams was ejected from the motorcycle.  Williams sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Highway 199 was reduced from three-lanes to two-lanes for approximately 3 hours following the crash. OSP was assisted by the Illinois Valley Fire District, AMR and ODOT.

On April 23, 2022 at approximately 2:50 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 542 near milepost 12

Preliminary investigation revealed a westbound Ford F250, operated by Derek Ellis (41) of Powers, failed to negotiate a curve. The truck left the roadway and continued down a 40ft embankment with Ellis being ejected. Speed is being investigated as the leading factor in the crash.  Ellis sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. OSP was assisted by Powers Ambulance, Myrtle Point Ambulance, Myrtle Point Fire Department and ODOT. 

OHA partners with 147 community organizations across Oregon to advance public health equity

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is launching a new program to fund work by community-based organizations to help them focus on local priorities while meeting their health equity goals.

OHA’s Public Health Division recognizes the essential role of community-based organizations in partnership with local public health authorities and other community partners to implement community-led and culturally and linguistically responsive programs.

Today’s start of this new initiative reflects coordination of eight public health programs coming together to center health equity and community priorities in one centralized funding opportunity.

OHA’s commitment to eliminating health inequities by 2030 relies on building trusting relationships with community-based organizations that collectively serve every county, and on supporting their efforts to uplift community health priorities that are grounded in equity and accessibility. 

OHA acknowledges that racism, settler colonialism, and historic and contemporary injustices have created policies and programs that led to unfair and unjust health inequities over time. In centering community strengths and wisdom for health, this grant opportunity supports community-based organizations as partners in Oregon’s public health system, working toward equity in: communities of color; nine Federally Recognized Tribes of Oregon and tribal communities; people with disabilities; immigrant and refugee communities; undocumented communities; migrant and seasonal farmworkers; LGBTQIA+ communities; faith communities; older adults; houseless communities; and others.

Public Health Director Rachael Banks explained that “Building a more equitable public health future requires deep and meaningful collaboration with community-based organizations, and uplifting and centering health priorities that are important to communities across the state. This funding opportunity is an important part of OHA’s commitment to eliminating health inequities by 2030.”

Community-based organizations applied for and were awarded funds to carry out work in one or more of the following program areas:

  • Adolescent and school health
  • Commercial tobacco prevention
  • Communicable disease prevention
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Environmental public health and climate change
  • HIV/sexually transmitted infection education, outreach and community needs assessment
  • ScreenWise: Breast and cervical cancer prevention
  • Overdose prevention

OHA has awarded 147 community-based organizations a total of about $31 million across all eight program areas between April 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. Within the program areas, community-based organizations have agreed to focus on work aligned with their community’s priorities in one or more of the following categories of funding:

  • Health education and communication
  • Identifying and assessing community priorities
  • Supporting prevention activities
  • Policy development

Dolly England, the Public Health Division’s Community Engagement Program manager, said, “This is important equity work, and it cannot be done without the strength and support of community-based organizations.”

Two teenagers are safe after being rescued from Whale Cove south of Depot Bay on Saturday afternoon. A Coast Guard helicopter crew from North Bend used a basket to lift the boy and girl from the water. They weren’t hurt. They were taken to emergency crews on a nearby beach and weren’t injured.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the 2022 Wildfire Mitigation Plans (WMPs) for PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric (PGE), and Idaho Power and recommended the utilities collaborate with PUC staff to improve the information to be included in their 2023 plans.

Idaho Power’s 2022 plan was approved with conditions, requiring a compliance filing to address identified deficiencies in their plan by June 28, 2022. The WMPs are the first to be filed since Senate Bill 762 passed during the 2021 legislative session. Senate Bill 762 established formal standards for electric utility wildfire mitigation plans, including the information utilities are required to include in their plans.

Plans must include identification of high-risk areas within the utility’s service territory and actions to minimize those risks, as well as protocols for implementing public safety power shutoffs. Utilities also need to describe how they determined which risk reduction strategies to pursue.

The bill required the three investor-owned utilities to submit their plans to the PUC by the end of 2021 and the PUC to approve them within 180 days after their submission.  PacifiCorp, PGE and Idaho Power all filed their WMPs on December 30, 2021, as required by the bill. PUC staff and an independent evaluator reviewed each plan to ensure they met the statutory requirements established in the bill and to make recommendations to continue evolving the plans to further address future risk. 

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is launching a new program to fund work by community-based organizations to help them focus on local priorities while meeting their health equity goals.

OHA’s Public Health Division recognizes the essential role of community-based organizations in partnership with local public health authorities and other community partners to implement community-led and culturally and linguistically responsive programs.

Today’s start of this new initiative reflects coordination of eight public health programs coming together to center health equity and community priorities in one centralized funding opportunity. OHA’s commitment to eliminating health inequities by 2030 relies on building trusting relationships with community-based organizations that collectively serve every county, and on supporting their efforts to uplift community health priorities that are grounded in equity and accessibility.  OHA acknowledges that racism, settler colonialism, and historic and contemporary injustices have created policies and programs that led to unfair and unjust health inequities over time.

In centering community strengths and wisdom for health, this grant opportunity supports community-based organizations as partners in Oregon’s public health system, working toward equity in: communities of color; nine Federally Recognized Tribes of Oregon and tribal communities; people with disabilities; immigrant and refugee communities; undocumented communities; migrant and seasonal farmworkers; LGBTQIA+ communities; faith communities; older adults; houseless communities; and others.

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