Klamath Basin News, Monday, 6/6 – Oregon Tech President Nagi Naganathan’s Contract Extended Through 2027

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Monday, June 6, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 70. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. Overnight mostly clearn with a low around 40 degrees.

Tuesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. Overnight, cloudy a low around 49.
Wednesday Partly sunny, with a high near 79.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 83.
Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 87.
Saturday A chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81.

Today’s Headlines

Although South Central Oregon has received a larger amount of rain during the spring months, ongoing drought conditions continue to remain across much of Klamath and Lake Counties.

Because of that, the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) has declared that the fire season will begin today  June 6.

Last year, South Central Oregon experienced one of its worst fire seasons in history, with the Bootleg Fire destroying more than 400,000 acres, becoming the state’s third worst wildfire in modern history, along with several other fires like like the Cougar Peak Fire

 The Fire danger level will begin at Moderate for both Klamath and Lake Counties, and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will be I.

The Oregon Institute of Technology Board of Trustees announced President Nagi Naganathan’s contract has been extended through 2027.

Dr. Naganathan has served as president of Oregon Tech since 2017.

Since arriving at Oregon Tech, Dr. Naganathan has started a strategic planning process, which included establishing an Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Engagement (DICE), has set targets for dramatically increased enrollment and retention figures which resulted in dramatic growth in freshman classes, and encouraged everyone to build more robust partnerships for Oregon Tech.

His vision for Oregon Tech to become one of the nation’s top polytechnic universities is one that prepares students to work in a global economy, encourages faculty creativity, supports staff development, and makes a positive and lasting impact on the community, as well as the world.

Dr. Naganathan’s original contract had been set to expire June 30, 2022. The reappointment extends Dr. Naganathan’s contract until June 30, 2027.

Before joining Oregon Tech as the seventh president in April 2017, Dr. Naganathan spent the previous 31 years at the University of Toledo in Ohio, serving in a variety of roles including as a member of faculty, the Dean of the College of Engineering, and UT’s interim president for one year.

Also from the hill, The Oregon Institute of Technology held an official ribbon cutting for its newest building, the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Technology (CEET) this week.

At nearly 70,000 square feet, the building has dynamic and interactive spaces for classroom teaching, laboratories, collaborative workspaces, and offices.

Funding for CEET was approved in 2017 by the Oregon State Legislature for $40 million in state bonding authority, which required matching funds of $2 million from the university. This prompted the Oregon Tech Foundation to launch the Campaign for the Future, which raised $4.2 million from 640 individuals and organizations to support strategic investments in projects, programs, and people.

Other featured speakers from Oregon Tech included Board of Trustees Chair Jessica Gomez, Vice President of University Advancement Ken Fincher, Dean Tom Keyser, Associate Professor Sharon Beaudry, and students Mariano Segura, who is graduating this month with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and Hanna Wolf, who graduated last year with a bachelor’s in environmental sciences and renewable energy engineering, and is graduating this month with master’s degree in renewable energy engineering.

Around the state of Oregon

The National Interagency Fire Center forecasts higher than normal risk for wildfires in central Oregon beginning in June and in southern Oregon by July, according to a report published this week. Southeast Washington will also be at elevated risk and northern California is considered at severe risk.

The fire center based in Boise, Idaho, is the central coordination site for eight federal agencies involved in wildland firefighting, such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the National Weather Service.

By August, the fire center forecasts that most of the Northwest will face above normal risk for potential wildfires.

Despite above-average rainfall in April and May in much of the state, persistent drought conditions are largely to blame.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the West is in the worst drought in 1,200 years and the driest 22-year period on record. Most of central Oregon is in an “exceptional drought.”

COVID-19 continues to sicken hundreds of people every day in Oregon, though fewer people need intensive care, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

“Unlike every other past surge, we are not seeing significant increases of people in the ICU and especially (on) ventilators,” Patrick Allen, director of the health authority, told a state House committee on Friday.

The virus continues to spread in Oregon, but the number of new illnesses reported each day are no longer increasing by 50% as they were a few weeks ago, Allen said. On Thursday, just over 1,800 new cases were reported in the state.

Allen said this figure does not reflect all cases. Many people who test positive at home do not report their illness. He said the health authority might only be tracking one-tenth of cases statewide.

Series of Crashes Over Weekend Include Fatality

Rural Metro Fire believes that wet pavement and speed were most likely factors in a series of crashes that happened on Interstate 5 southbound on Saturday, near milepost 67.5.

According to their investigation, before the arrival of rescue crews to the scene, it is believed that a first crash in the area caused four additional crashes, totaling six vehicles in all.

Four people in total were ultimately transported with a variety of injuries, but according to RMF, none of their injuries were considered life-threatening.

Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Near Wolf Creek

On June 4, 2022, at 10:11 AM, Deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, Rural Metro Fire and American Medical Response responded to a single vehicle crash near milepost two on Speaker Road, Wolf Creek.  

Upon arrival, Deputies found a vehicle that left the roadway, struck a tree and went down an embankment.  The driver and only occupant in the vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene.  The name of the deceased is being withheld until next of kin can be contacted. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. 

No further information will be released at this time.

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(Photos from Rural Metro Fire of yet another crash near Hugo, less than 24 hours after different crash injured four people and damaged six vehicles.)

According to RMF, the driver of this vehicle was sent to the hospital around 2:35 p.m. OSP is investigating the cause of the crash, but according to initial investigations it is believed that the damp pavement and bald tires may have been a factor in the crash.

The crash that injured two children today on I-5 southbound near milepost 28 on the viaduct. Oregon State Police have informed us that the two children who were taken to the hospital only sustained minor injuries and are doing okay.

A former Yreka, California City Clerk, who was arrested On April 1st, 2022, for possession of Child Pornography, has been taken into custody again by Mount Shasta Police.

According to the Mount Shasta Police Department Arthur Franklin Timothy Boyd, 39, was taken into custody on Friday, June 3, on a MSPD warrant for rape and possession of child pornography charges.

According to police, the warrant was issued after a 9-month investigation by MSPD officers into Boyd

Boyd has been booked into the Siskiyou County Jail. Bail has set at $100,000.

Pacific Power is offering rebates to Oregon residential and business customers who install electric vehicle charging systems.

Rebates of 500 dollars are available to residents with up to a thousand dollars for income-qualifying residents. Businesses can get rebates of one-thousand dollars and multifamily housing property owners can qualify for three-thousand dollars. The charging equipment needs to be approved by Pacific Power.

Oregon OSHA wants workers and employers to know about rules for working in hot weather. The rules take effect June 15th and start when the temperature hits 80 degrees.

Hotter temperatures have more requirements for water, rest breaks, and working in pairs. The rules require training for some employees. OSHA offers a heat illness prevention online course.

There are also fact sheets about the rules and how to prevent heat illness. The Oregon OSHA website has links to the materials.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says his battle against COVID-19 continues.

He took the antiviral drug Paxlovid and his symptoms improved. But, like some patients who take Paxlovid, he is experiencing COVID-19 rebound. He again tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms.

Merkley is following CDC guidelines to isolate. He says it’s another reminder that the virus is evolving and it’s important to be vaccinated with boosters, wear masks, and isolate after testing positive.

OHSU supports findings from the CDC, who says  long-term effects of COVID-19 may be life threatening.

“Long-haul” COVID may include symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, and more.

For people who have had COVID, the risk of having a pulmonary embolism is doubled. That’s according to the new CDC report.

Dr. Steven Krager with Washington County Health said he’s concerned about the large number of people who have had COVID-19 and are now at risk for more medical complications.

Health officials are asking everyone to make sure they’re up to date on vaccines and continue wearing masks in crowded places.

Manufactured Home Replacement Resources GRANT for Almeda Fire VIctims

The Rogue Valley was already in a housing crunch when the Almeda Fire hit. Eighteen mobile home parks were largely or fully destroyed, burning 1,500 to 1,700 manufactured homes and RVs, according to state Rep. Pam Marsh of Ashland.

If you are one of the thousands of fire victims who lost a mobile home in the Almeda Fire, and you are low-to-80% of median income, good news! The new Manufactured Home Replacement Resources GRANT pays the ENTIRE AMOUNT between someone’s insurance/FEMA $ & the cost of a new mobile home.

So this can be even more funds than the forgivable loan, which is just $50,000 if you had a single-wide that burned, or $75,000 if you had a double-wide that burned. Flyer is attached below. Contact ACCESS Homeownership Center to get started on your application~541-774-4305, HOCinfo@accesshelps.org.

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ODOT Construction Includes Bridge Repair on I-5

Bridge paving begins Monday night, June 6, on Interstate 5, which will affect traffic in some areas with work scheduled to run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for four nights, Oregon Department of Transportation reports.

Overnight I-5 travelers should expect single lane traffic south of the Halsey-Brownsville exit next week. Crews are paving a bridge at milepost 210.

One lane will be paved each night. There are two travel lanes in each direction over the bridge. A lane will close at 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning.

Watch for lane closures and work crews. Oregon State Police will be providing extra coverage in the work zone for safety.

The schedule is subject to change depending on weather conditions.

“This project is part of our commitment to maintain our multi-modal transportation system throughout the state,” ODOT said. For 24/7 road conditions and travel information visit www.tripcheck.com.  MORE INFO on PROJECTS: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/projects/pages/default.aspx

Important Meeting Set For Oregon Coast Residents And Visitors On Wind Farms

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) invites public comment at Newport meeting

(NEWPORT, OR) – Representatives of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will be in Newport on Wednesday, June 15th to hear public comment on the areas identified for offshore wind energy development off Oregon’s southern and central coast.

The public meeting will be held at the Best Western Agate Beach Hotel, 3019 North Coast Highway (101) from 8am – Noon. The meeting will be facilitated by Heather Mann, executive director of Midwater Trawlers Cooperative. Any individual who wishes to share a comment for the public record is encouraged to attend.

There have been a number of meetings – including among local residents and local governments – who contend that BOEM is rushing too much and too fast to make a wall of unsightly wind generators off our coasts.  The economy of coastal Oregon relies very much on the fishing industry as well as tourism.  They want to see a beautiful ocean – not a wall of rotating fans.

Please attend the meeting at Best Western Agate Beach, 8am to to Noon, on Wednesday, June 15th at 3019 North Coast Highway.  Our ocean views and fishing industry are worth saving.

BOEM is part of the U.S. Department of Interior and is the agency that manages all offshore development.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says many rehabilitation centers for birds aren’t accepting waterfowl, because of bird flu risks.

They can carry the virus without showing symptoms and potentially infect other birds in the facilities. If you find ducklings or goslings without a parent nearby, leave them alone because the parents will usually return. Injured ducks or geese should be brought to an ODF&W office for euthanasia.

If you see sick or dead wild birds, leave them where they are and call ODF&W.

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