Klamath Basin News, Monday, 5/9 – Oregon Tech Students Directly Oppose Tuition Increase Approved by the Board of Trustees

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Monday, May 9, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Snow showers likely after 11am. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight, more snow showers possible, with a low around 26. Some thunder is also possible.New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tuesday Scattered rain and snow showers before 5pm, then scattered rain showers. Some thunder is also possible. Partly sunny, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 58.
Thursday A 20% chance of rain after 11am. Snow level rising to 5700 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 59.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 72.

Today’s Headlines

For the first time in university history, the Associated Students of Oregon Institute of Technology (ASOIT) directly oppose a tuition increase as approved by the Oregon Tech board of trustees.

In a memo, ASOIT said it feels there was not a proper process to recommend the proposed tuition increase of 7%. The Oregon Tech Tuition Recommendation Committee (TRC) has met several times, beginning in January to discuss potential tuition increases at the university. The TRC is a group comprised of several administrators, faculty, students, and a representative from each branch of ASOIT, Klamath Falls and Portland Metro.

A memo from the ASOIT presidents to the university administration said the original recommendation from the committee was a 5% increase in tuition for the 2022-23 school year.

ASOIT had plans in place and recommended actions for a 5% increase in tuition and fees. However, according to the memo, ASOIT was not made aware the committee would be recommending a 7% increase to the university Board of Trustees.

ASOIT alleges it was not made aware of the processes and status of the TRC and that their representative on the committee was not able to vote on the recommendation that passed by a 5-4 vote due to the representative being unaware the vote was occurring.

The proposed 7% tuition increase came from the TRC and was approved to be forwarded to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for final approval.

The Klamath Falls City Council has approved a request from city staff to apply for a $75,000 state grant to help pay for a new waterslide at the Ella Red Key Pool.

The board voted May 2 to move forward with applying for a grant from the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation. The renovations and upgrades include the $141,800 waterslide replacement as well as new locker rooms and plaza at the Redkey complex. All told, the pool improvements will cost approximately $300,000. The new slide will be similar to the existing slide at the city pool complex.

Drought, smoke, heat and pests are all reasons Oregon is offering aid to farmers and ranchers for 2021 natural disaster effects. The Oregon Department of Agriculture says starting Monday, May 9, 2022, Oregon Disaster Assistance Program applications will be available to farmers and ranchers who experienced financial losses due to various natural disasters in 2021.

It says they can apply for ODAP state-level assistance as local banks and credit unions familiar with agriculture will administer ODAP aid throughout the state. 

A list of partners and a sample application are available at the ODAP web page.

Applications will be available until June 3, 2022. ODA says the Oregon Legislature granted ODA the legal authority and $40-million last December to establish a disaster assistance program which ODA designed as a forgivable loan program with stakeholders and industry partners, adding, “The program calculates assistance for eligible farmers and ranchers in Oregon on the loss of Gross Farm Income”.

ODAP is based on tax filing from 2017, 2018, and 2019 to establish a 3-year baseline of what a producer could have expected in farm income without disaster impacts. Using the producer’s 2021 Gross Farm Income, the difference between 2021 income and the 3-year baseline is considered a loss due to natural disasters.

The Ross Ragland is hiring!

We have exciting new career opportunities this month! From technical director and artist residencies to digital marketing and custodial roles, find your starring role right here at the Ragland!

Wednesday May 11th come check us out at the Klamath County Job Fair from 10 AM to 3 PM!

Friday May 20th stop by our booth at the Klamath Community College Career Fair anytime between 10 AM to 5 PM!

Start building your career in theater arts TODAY! 

Around the state of Oregon

Law Enforcement Escort Fallen Servicemember Back Home to Southern Oregon

Law Enforcement from throughout Jackson County came together last night to escort fallen United States Navy sailor, Magnus David Penkava, 20, back home to Southern Oregon.

More than 25 police vehicles from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Medford Police Department, Oregon State Police, and Central Point Police Department provided the escort to the fallen servicemember and JCSO Deputy’s son, as he returned home for the final time.

Here’s a video on Jackson County Sherrif’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/100064820435399/videos/pcb.365017155668963/360496946049724

A funeral will be held at the Veteran’s National Cemetery in Eagle Point, Ore. on Tuesday at 2 p.m. following a police procession from Conger Morris Funeral Home in Central Point, Ore. 

The following is a brief statement from his family: 

Magnus David Penkava, February 20, 2002 – April 29th, 2022. He was raised in Southern Oregon and joined the Navy in July of 2020 to be a Submariner and eventually a Navy SEAL because he always said he was tougher than his Marine Corps veteran dad, and SEALs were tougher than Marines. Magnus graduated from Basic Training at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois on September 11, 2020, before attending Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut where he received honors for being class leader. After graduating from Submarine School, Magnus was awarded his first-choice duty station of Bangor, Washington and was assigned to the USS Nevada, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. 

The command and crew of the USS Nevada paid tribute to Magnus on Thursday, May 5th, and provided the family with a flag flown during their latest deployment.

Afterwards, he was brought home to be laid to rest with his military brothers and sisters at the Veteran’s National Cemetery in Eagle Point. Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office

Republicans — including U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, who represents Southern Oregon, and 19 conservative state attorneys general — are pushing back against the Biden administration’s formation of a Disinformation Governance Board to monitor social media platforms.

The Biden administration insists the new board — which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security — will focus on misinformation posted online by Russian interests or human smugglers and traffickers.

Conservatives criticize creation of the panel as Orwellian and also don’t like the White House’s pick to head the government social media board. Bentz and other GOP lawmakers want written testimony from Jankowicz on her thoughts on Hunter Biden’s laptop and how social media platforms previously restricted some stories about his business dealings. Hunter Biden is the president’s son.

The president has denied any wrongdoing in relation to his son’s business deals while he served as vice president in the Obama administration.

Republicans want to hear from Jankowicz by May 19 on what actions the board would take to counteract misinformation, how will social media data and post information be collected and how will the board ensure protection of free speech and anti-government voices.

Pharmacy Burglaries in Medford and Gold Hill

Friday morning at 4:21 a.m., officers were dispatched to a burglary in progress at the West Main Pharmacy, 2355 W. Main Street. Witnesses reported the suspects sped off eastbound on W. Main Street in what appeared to be a silver Toyota Rav4. (Edit: Most likely a 2019-2021 Kia Sportage)

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No photo description available.

Video surveillance shows three suspects forced entry through the front doors, and stole approximately $30,000 in narcotic medication. They used trash cans and bags on site, which were recovered two hours later on Suncrest Road and West Valley View Road in Talent, minus the medication.

The suspects are also involved in a similar pharmacy burglary at The Gold Hill Pharmacy, the same morning at 3:58 a.m., just prior to our case.

If there are any car buffs out there who can help us out in identifying the exact make and model of the car, please do. Any and all tips are appreciated. Other pharmacies need to take note and ensure their business is properly secured, as they are likely to strike again. Case 22-7561– (541) 774-2250

State continues paying out Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications to renters and landlords across Oregon

More than 51,000 Oregon households facing pandemic hardship receive over $340 million in rental assistance relief

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is processing for payment applications submitted through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) which stopped accepting applications on March 21, 2022. As of today, the agency has paid out $340.3 million in emergency rental assistance to 51,780 households. 

The state has received the additional $16 million the U.S. Department of Treasury allocated in March. The funds were reallocated from other states to high-performing states such as Oregon, demonstrating both speed and continuing need. 

As application processing and payout of new applications received after Dec. 1 continues, the program identified a sizeable number of recent applications that were over income or did not meet minimum eligibility criteria in the compliance phase. Program staff are reaching out to tenants to verify documents and ensure the basic eligibility criteria are met before moving forward with the standard denial process for those that do not qualify before redirecting available funds to other eligible applicants.

OERAP staff and customer support vendors have launched a recertification phase in response to feedback from local partners for tenants who may need additional support. Beginning next week, program staff will reach out to current applicants with applications in the system who may not have requested the full 15 months of assistance allowable by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Eligible tenants who previously applied and have unpaid rent balances or need a few additional months of assistance to be made whole will be contacted by the program. 

The OERAP portal remains closed to new applicants; however, local-level assistance is available for applicants who meet minimum eligibility criteria from Community Action Agencies. Landlords can be reimbursed for eligible non-payment costs such as rent and late fees incurred during the “safe harbor” period by applying to the Landlord Guarantee Program. Tenants with questions about local-level resources and supports can call 2-1-1 to be connected with their regional Community Action Agency.

Oregon farm regulators might decide to take over fresh produce safety inspections from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next year.

The FDA began performing inspections in Oregon in 2019 to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, a
federal statute intended to prevent foodborne illness. Since then, the state Department of Agriculture has focused on providing education and technical assistance to fresh produce growers rather than directly conducting on-farm inspections.

However, some farmers have told ODA that they’d prefer to be overseen by state inspectors who are more familiar with local crops, said Susanna Pearlstein, the agency’s produce safety program manager.

Public Defender Shortage Hurts Many Oregonians

Oregon’s public defender system has shown cracks for years, but a post-pandemic glut of delayed cases is exposing shocking constitutional landmines.

Those problems are impacting defendants and crime victims alike in a state with a national reputation for progressive social justice.

An acute public defender shortage means hundreds of low-income criminal defendants don’t have legal representation – sometimes in serious felony cases  – and judges have dismissed several dozen cases.

Hearings in others are delayed, leaving defendants and victims in limbo. Lawmakers are ordering reforms and budgeting millions for fixes after a recent study found Oregon has 31% of the necessary public defenders.

MAY IS NATIONAL WILDFIRE AWARENESS MONTH: TAKE STEPS TO PREPARE AN OUTAGE KIT AND STAY INFORMED

PGE, Pacific Power, Idaho Power provide actionable tips and guidance as fire season approaches

To recognize National Wildfire Awareness Month, Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power are encouraging Oregonians to prepare for wildfire season. Fire-weather conditions, such as severe drought combined with summer windstorms or active wildfires, could lead to safety-related power outages.  

Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power continue to invest in and prepare their electric grids to deliver reliable power and operate safely in all seasons. Even as electric providers partner with federal, state, and local agencies and Tribes to plan and prepare for the upcoming wildfire season, preparedness is a shared responsibility. Resources are available to help every Oregonian take steps to plan ahead and be ready for wildfire-related power outages.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission recently approved utility wildfire mitigation plans for 2022. “These plans reflect hard work by utilities to understand wildfire risk and adapt their systems and operations to increase the safety and resiliency of electricity supply,” said Megan Decker, PUC Chair. “Utility efforts are important, but all Oregonians have a role in preparing for and mitigating wildfires.” At wildfire.oregon.gov, Oregonians can find tips to stay informed, make a plan, and trim trees and plants to create defensible spaces to slow the spread of wildfire.

Stay in the know

Customers for all three electric providers can take steps to make sure that they receive wildfire-related information. 

  • Log in to their account and make sure all contact information is current. That way, an electric provider can send alerts and messages.
  • In addition to having a back-up plan with medical providers, customers who rely on electricity to store medication or operate medical equipment at home should enroll in their electric provider’s Medical Certificate Program, if available, to receive proactive communications about outages.
  • Visit Oregon Alert at https://oralert.gov to find your local alert system. Provide current contact details and sign up for wildfire-related alerts. 

Make an outage kit

  • Prepare a home outage kit in the event wildfire leads to a power outage. Be sure to include shelf-stable food, water for household members, pets and any livestock, necessary medications, flashlights, batteries and solar or car chargers for electric devices. Keep ice packs or frozen water in the freezer to help keep food cold until ice is available. 
  • Businesses should prepare to minimize disruption, keep employees safe and protect equipment. Outage kits should include flashlights or camp lights for all areas, including restrooms, battery-powered or hand-crank radios for information, battery-powered fans, extra batteries, car chargers for cell phones and electric devices, bottled water and emergency phone numbers.

Have a plan

  • Consider options to relocate with a friend, family member or shelter, especially if a medical condition, medication or equipment requires electricity. 
  • Businesses should communicate their outage responses plan to key employees, plan for workarounds to computers and cash registers, and make a plan to bypass electronic door locks. 
  • Homes and businesses should consider buying backup generators. Information on how to operate them safely is available from each of the utilities in the information and resources below.
  • Make a plan for watering livestock if well pumps are without power.
  • Know how to open and close electric garage doors and security gates. 
  • Learn how to protect home and business electronics and appliances against data loss and surge damage when power is restored.

Information, resources and checklists

  • PGE customers can visit portlandgeneral.com/wildfireoutages for information, checklists and additional resources. Information about how PGE works to protect people, property and natural environments, including its 2022 Wildfire Mitigation Plan, is available at portlandgeneral.com/wildfiresafety.
  • Pacific Power customers can visit pacificpower.net/wildfiresafety for resources and information including an outage preparation checklist for residential and business customers, an interactive map outlining potential public safety power shutoff areas and its 2022 Wildfire Mitigation Plan. 
  • Idaho Power customers can visit idahopower.com/wildfire to learn more about summer outage preparedness and what Idaho Power is doing to protect the grid from wildfires.   

An avian flu that’s spreading quickly across the U.S. has been detected in Oregon for the first time since 2015, in a backyard flock of birds in a rural area, authorities said.

The presence of the highly contagious virus in Linn County, about 110 miles southeast of Portland, was confirmed Friday by federal officials after state officials conducted preliminary testing, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said in a statement.

The latest outbreak has led to the culling of about 37 million chickens and turkeys in U.S. farms since February, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed 956 cases of bird flu in wild birds, including at least 54 bald eagles. But the actual number is likely significantly higher because not every wild bird that dies is tested and the federal tally doesn’t include cases recorded by wildlife rehabilitation centers.

The discovery of the avian flu in the Pacific Northwest wasn’t unexpected as the virus has been spreading rapidly across the country in both domestic and wild birds. An infected bald eagle was found in British Columbia, Canada, in early March, said Dr. Ryan Scholz, Oregon’s state veterinarian.

Oregon farm regulators might decide to take over fresh produce safety inspections from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next year.

The FDA began performing inspections in Oregon in 2019 to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, a federal statute intended to prevent foodborne illness. Since then, the state Department of Agriculture has focused on providing education and technical assistance to fresh produce growers rather than directly conducting on-farm inspections.

However, some farmers have told ODA that they’d prefer to be overseen by state inspectors who are more familiar with local crops, said Susanna Pearlstein, the agency’s produce safety program manager.

For those who may have witnessed several law enforcement vehicles driving along I-5 from Rogue River to Central Point Friday night thinking something like an accident had happened, your minds can rest at ease.

According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement agencies throughout Jackson County came together last night to escort fallen United States Navy sailor, Magnus David Penkava, 20, back home to Southern Oregon.

More than 25 police vehicles from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Medford Police Department, Oregon State Police, and Central Point Police Department provided the escort to the fallen servicemember and JCSO Deputy’s son, Magnus graduated from Basic Training at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois on September 11, 2020, before attending Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut where he received honors for being class leader.

After graduating from Submarine School, Magnus was awarded his first-choice duty station of Bangor, Washington and was assigned to the USS Nevada, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are unveiling a new study that shows how space affects the brains of new astronauts.  

The researchers took MRIs of new astronauts after they returned to Earth and found the area around blood vessels increased in size.  However, the change didn’t continue for astronauts who made additional trips to space.   There were no neurological problems with balance or memories.  

The increase is seen in people who are older and people with dementia.  The study could help diagnose and treat diseases that affect circulation in the brain.

The captain of a small sailboat is lucky to be alive after being forced to abandon ship in rough coastal waters near Astoria.  

The U.S. Coast Guard says the man was sailing near Fort Stevens State Park yesterday when his 26-foot boat became disabled.  Coast Guard video shows the boat being thrashed by surging whitecaps before the man jumps overboard and starts swimming toward shore.  

A Coast Guard boat crew rescued the man and brought him to shore, where he was evaluated for injuries.  Authorities say the boat later washed up on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park.

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