Klamath Basin News, Thursday, Apr. 28 – Sky Lakes Medical Sees Slight Increase in Covid-19 Cases This Week

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

This Afternoon A chance of rain showers. Snow level 4800 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 52. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 29. Gusty winds to 20 mph.

Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 59. A 20% chance of rain in the evening and overnight hours, with a low around 40.
Saturday A chance of rain before 11am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55. Partly cloudy overnight, with a low around 33.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 62.

Today’s Headlines

Here’s a local traffic advisory for today and tomorrow. The City of Klamath Falls says Hunter Communications will have Pershing Way closed to through traffic on April 28-29, between Washburn Way and Avalon Street to place fiber conduit.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact the city of Klamath Falls.

While Covid cases have been a mixed bag of up and down percentage wise in the state and Basin in the past few weeks, Sky Lakes Medical Center says their overall inpatient census is up in the hospital, which is why they are strained.  

Despite maintaining a lower COVID-19 inpatient count., as the four COVID-19 inpatients have all been hospitalized for more than 60 days, these patients are not in the ICU or in precautions (patients aren’t contagious).

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.

Pharmaceutical company Moderna has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today to clear the way for another vaccine, this time for the youngest American children, with low-dose shots for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Families will now have to decide whether to protect their younger children, under 6, with the Covid-19 vaccine. Already about three-quarters of children of all ages show signs they’ve been infected at some point during the pandemic.

Moderna submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration that it hopes will prove two low-dose shots can protect children younger than 6 — although the effectiveness wasn’t nearly as high in kids tested during the omicron surge as earlier in the pandemic.

“There is an important unmet medical need here with these youngest kids,” Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told The Associated Press. Two kid-size shots “will safely protect them. I think it is likely that over time they will need additional doses. But we’re working on that.”

Moderna said two kid doses were about 40% to 50% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, not a home run but for many parents, any protection would be better than none.

That effectiveness is “less than optimal. We were hoping for better efficacy but this is a first step,” said Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal of Cook County Health in Chicago.

Counties in southern Oregon still have a ways to go to recoup all the jobs lost during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new state labor data released Thursday.

However, it’s a much different story just 135 miles north in the Bend/Redmond area. Central Oregon’s hospitality sector continues to struggle to fill job openings, and near-record-low unemployment and rising inflation could impact Central Oregon’s summer tourist season.

Oregon Employment Department Regional Economist Damon Runberg says we’ve entered what’s called a wage-price spiral.

The March jobs data shows that Klamath County has Oregon’s highest unemployment rate and local jobs are still down 3% from pre-pandemic levels. Klamath’s unemployment rate is 5.3% down from 5.5% in February. 

Interestingly in Central Oregon, levels of hiring demand in anticipation of the summer season are far in excess of anything ever seen in history in Central Oregon.  In Central Oregon, there were over 3100 job ads in March, which is a 12% year-over-year increase from what it was last March.

And the kicker is, that’s an 85% increase in job ads compared to what it was in March 2019.

In a surprising and rare judgment, both student-led teams competing for prize money in this year’s Klamath Community College Badger Venture contest were selected to advance to the state-level InventOR collegiate competition.

An annual entrepreneurial and innovation contest open to students and recent graduates of KCC, Badger Venture is a collaborative effort to nurture invention prototypes and business concepts. It is presented in partnership with Klamath IDEA, Business Oregon, and the Klamath Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

InventOR welcomes around 40 collegiate teams annually to showcase their business and innovation concepts. Each team that advances to the semi-finals is given $2,500 to further develop their idea, while vying for $30,000 in prize money at the final competition, June 23-24 in Grants Pass.

Lake County joins Klamath, and other counties, with an official drought declaration from Governor Brown. It also includes Deschutes, Grant, and Malheur Counties.

Brown said she was issuing drought declarations for Deschutes, Grant, Lake, and Malheur Counties. It’s forecasted to be a difficult drought year, and she says she is committed to bringing state agency resources to everyone impacted by low water and precipitation levels. The declaration is set to expire on December 31, 2022.

National Day of Prayer across America

Glad Tidings Worship Center is hosting the local National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 5th at 6PM with several guest speakers.

“You are invited to join many churches of Klamath Falls, gathering to exalt the Lord together and seek God for this Nation.  It is our hope that by joining our prayers, the Lord will revive and mobilize His Church here in the Greater Klamath Region.

But we need your help to encourage your congregations to join us as One Voice, One Action, and One Heart in prayer for the Fire of Revival to start with all of us and to spread to our Churches and communities at large. Please help us to get the word out.  I believe this gathering will be the first fruits of a great harvest that we hope to gather for the upcoming Palau CityFest that is being planned to occur here, in the the Greater Klamath Region. 

Our Nation needs you. We need you. Please consider joining us in the Presence of the Lord and His Heavenly Host and God’s Family of Believers. 

Thank You and May the Lord stir your hearts to say yes to the cry of the Trumpet Sound to seek God’s face in United prayer with us”.

Pastor Tate and Angela Crisp
Glad Tidings Worship Center

Klamath Falls, Oregon  97601
Church:  541-883-2200

Auditions are coming up for the community production of “Once Upon a Mattress” at the Ross Ragland Theater this summer.

Auditions are scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3 at the  Ross Ragland Cultural Center. Callbacks are set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4.

Cast requirements include nine lead roles (six male, three female) and approximately six to 11 supporting roles. High school students are welcome to audition, with limited roles available. Auditions will include vocal and dance segments as well as reading parts for various characters.

Performances are scheduled for July 8–10 and July 15–17, with Sunday matinees. For more information, contact the theater at (541) 884-5483.

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday erased a $1.1. billion verdict against the state over its management of state forests, determining the Department of Forestry and its policy-setting board are not obligated to maximize timber harvests and associated payments to counties where the forests are located.

The court’s decision turned on its finding that specific language in the Forest Acquisition Act of 1941 did not constitute a contract between the state and the counties that are home to state forests.

The decision overturns a 2019 verdict by Linn County jurors who concluded the state breached its contract, shortchanging 13 rural counties and 151 local taxing districts on harvest revenues for two decades. That means the Department of Forestry and its policy setting board have the discretion to manage state forests for multiple uses including clean water, wildlife protection and recreation, and are not obligated to maximize harvests, as the counties contended.

Police and prosecutors are objecting to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown granting clemency to a convicted murderer who killed a teenage girl in 1994.

Brown commuted a life sentence for Kyle Hedquist, 45. He was released from the Oregon State Penitentiary by the governor’s clemency order on March 22 after serving approximately 27 years in prison.

Hedquist was convicted in 1995 of killing Nikki Thrasher, 19, to keep her from potentially divulging information about a string of burglaries. Hedquist was 18 at the time of the “execution-style” killing of Thrasher.

Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast and the Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson issued a public safety alert notifying the public of the convicted killer’s release. They said Hedquist shot Thrasher victim “execution-style in the back of the head and dumped her body along the road” after she noticed a number of stolen items he had stashed at co-defendant’s home.

Prosecutors contend Thrasher did not even know the items were stolen.

Hedquist tricked Thrasher into driving him to a rural location Douglas County and then murdered her to keep her from potentially talking about the stolen property, the county officials said.

As of early April, more than a third of Oregon voters were registered as Nonaffiliated.

With the voter registration deadline now passed, Nonaffiliated voters will be left out of partisan decisions in the May Primary.

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan says they will still get a ballot, adding that ‘there are a lot of nonpartisan races on the ballot this May.  

Fagan emphasizes this so that so people are not confused when they receive their ballots and maybe it looks different than their spouse’s ballot or somebody living with them in their house.  She adds that they may be different because they’re registered to different political parties or not registered to any political party at all.

The state of Oregon is launching a $2.45 million app this week. It will hopefully make it easier to prove and verify that someone has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

This project has been in the works since at least November, when Oregon health officials spoke about it to state lawmakers. In early March, the health authority said it was “on track” to launch it by the end of the month but the official rollout didn’t happen until Monday, when the agency announced on Twitter that people could sign up.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, 1,425 people had registered, Oregon Health Authority spokesperson Rudy Owens said in an emailed response to questions. The concept of an easy-to-use app with verifiable vaccine information had appeal earlier in the pandemic, when entering some or all businesses required wearing a mask or displaying vaccination certification, creating logistical challenges for some companies and concerns about fake vaccine cards.

But state officials earlier this year lifted requirements, prompting many, but not all, businesses to similarly stop masking measures or vaccination checks.


What you need to know:

  • Most Oregonians who receive SNAP benefits will continue to receive temporarily increased emergency food benefits in May
  • Approximately 406,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $66 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits
  • These emergency benefits are a temporary support that Oregon can provide because of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Find resources to meet your basic needs: Dial 2-1-1, or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org 
  • Oregon Department of Human Services COVID-19 help center 

Most Oregonians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive emergency allotments in May.

The federal government has approved emergency allotments every month since March 2020. This gives SNAP recipients additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. These emergency benefits are a temporary support that Oregon can provide because of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency.

Because the federal government approved these emergency benefits for May, Oregon will also be able to issue them in June. However, the emergency benefits are expected to end when the federal public health emergency ends.

In May, approximately 406,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $66 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits.

“We know that many rely on these additional emergency food benefits to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families,” said Claire Seguin, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Programs. “We also know that many Oregonians are still struggling to meet their basic needs and we encourage them to contact our partners at 211 and the Oregon Food Bank for support during this difficult time.”

Current SNAP households will receive emergency allotments on May 11. Emergency allotments will be issued May 28 or June 2 for households who did not receive benefits in the first monthly issuance.

SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these supplemental benefits as they will be issued directly on their EBT cards. 

More information about emergency allotments is available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/Emergency-Allotments.aspx.

Questions about your SNAP benefits should be directed to the ONE Customer Service Center at 1-800-699-9075.

If your household receives SNAP and your income or the number of people in your household has changed, it could impact your benefits. It is important to make sure ODHS has the most up-to-date information. 

You can report any changes to your income or household in many ways: 

  • Online at: ONE.Oregon.gov
  • By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
  • By fax at: 503-378-5628
  • By phone at: 1-800-699-9075 or TTY 711

Resources to help meet basic needs

Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/benefits/Pages/index.aspx . For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372.

A Eugene man who faced 29 criminal counts involving sex crimes with children and solicitation of murder was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and lifetime supervision as a registered sex offender, in Jackson County Circuit Court today by Judge Laura Cromwell.

Court records show 36-year-old Dennis Logan Wilson pleaded guilty Tuesday to four criminal counts including sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration and two rape charges for which the Court convicted him.

Case documents show one rape charge involves a girl younger than 12 years old from January 2015 through August 2018 while Wilson’s other rape conviction involves a child younger than 16 years old during a time frame from December 2010 through May 2011. Case records show Wilson’s sodomy conviction involved a third child victim younger than 12 years old during a period from September 2010 through May 2011 and the unlawful sexual penetration conviction involves a fourth child victim younger than 12 years old from 2011 through 2013.

An Albany woman has been arrested and charged with Aggravated Murder in connection to the death of her three-year-old daughter Sophia in Linn County.

32-year-old Rebekah Jeanne Gasperino was pulled over by Albany police for a routine traffic stop on Saturday around 2:30 in the morning.

Oregon is set to receive 422-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help rebuild following the 2020 wildfires.

Oregon Housing and Community Services will release a draft plan on May 2nd for how the money will be spent. Four public hearings and an open comment period will be held during May to get input on the plan.  The money will be used to replace hundreds of lost housing units, particularly for low- and moderate-income families.

It also includes plans to build new infrastructure to support housing developments and prepare communities for future disasters.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a missing female kayaker after her companion was found dead in the Long Tom River near Monroe.  

Joseph Bendix and Mariana Dukes, both from Eugene, went kayaking on Saturday and didn’t return. Bendix’s body was found three miles south of Monroe. Around 50 volunteers are searching for Dukes.  The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who sees a green kayak downstream from Ferguson Road on the Long Tom River to contact them.

Early Wednesday morning, the Beaverton Police Department responded to the report of a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of SW Tualatin Valley Highway and SW Murray Blvd. Upon arrival, officers determined a Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Deputy was involved in the crash.  

The WCSO deputy was on duty and driving a marked patrol vehicle at the time the crash occurred. The other vehicle involved in the crash was a silver Nissan Altima. The Nissan was occupied by 5 people.

Preliminary investigation indicates the Nissan was traveling southbound on SW Murray Blvd. ran the red light at SW Tualatin Valley Hwy and struck the WCSO vehicle.

Two occupants of the Nissan were pronounced dead on scene.

The three other occupants, including the driver, were transported to local hospitals and are in critical condition. The WCSO Deputy involved in the crash was also transported to a local hospital. The Deputy is also in critical condition.

The Washington County Crash Analysis and Reconstruction Team (CART) is currently investigating the crash.

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