Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 9/20 – Klamath County DA Eve Costello Stepping Down In Late October

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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 65. Calm wind becoming south around 6 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Overnight, showers expectedwith a low around 45. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Wednesday Showers likely, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 11am. High near 60. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Overnight showers are likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 11pm, then a slight chance of showers with a low around 43.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 70. Calm wind becoming west around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 75.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 79.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 84.

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello has announced she is stepping down effective Oct. 31, 2022, because of health concerns.

Costello said she enjoyed serving the citizens of Klamath County and “appreciated all my interactions with those of you from many walks of life.  I know that our criminal justice system will continue with assistance from the Department of Justice until my replacement is located.”

In a news release Thursday morning, Costello said, quote, ““It is with a heavy heart that I inform you I intend to step down … my health requires it,” Costello said in a news release Thursday morning. “My husband adamantly agrees with the need. We do want to be able to live long and healthy autumn years.”

OSP Press Release

Fatality on Highway 140

On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at approximately 6:05 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 140 E near milepost 10. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a maroon Ford Expedition, operated by Tommy Fleeman (56) of Klamath Falls, as traveling eastbound on an adjacent canal maintenance road that is above Hwy 140E. For unknown reasons the Ford rolled down the embankment and landed on Hwy 140E. Fleeman was not wearing a seatbelt. 

Fleeman sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

Hwy 140E was affected for approximately 3 hours.  OSP was assisted by Klamath County Fire District #1 and ODOT.

During a board meeting last week new plans are now in place for the 2022-23 school year in Klamath County School District (KCSD).

KCSD board members met last Thursday, Sept. 15, to review progress a report and discuss upcoming projects for the county schools during the ongoing school year.

Superintendent Glen Szymoniak (shu-MON-iak) opened the board meeting by taking a moment to address the sexual hazing and potential assault “Falcons incident” which allegedly took place over the summer during a baseball tournament in Washington.

Szymoniak said he had sent out emails to the board members and staff about the incident, which has gained notable public attention and incited a lot of negative feedback from the community, especially on social media platforms. He said this prompted additional safety precautions to be put in place for affected students.

The board moved on to the Superintendent’s Report, an agenda item which focused on completed projects throughout the county school district. A slideshow presented smiling children on the first day of school at Petersen Elementary, followed by scenes of the newly finished Chiloquin field, grandstands and all.

An aerial photo of the also newly finished Mazama field was shown as well with mention of its first game.

A list of schools which will receive “School Based Mental Health Services” per an agreement with KBBH included Mazama, Henley High, Lost River, Bonanza, Junior High and Senior High. KBBH is still in the process of hiring professionals for the remaining listed schools, which are Henley Middle School, Brixner, Chiloquin Junior High and Chiloquin Senior High.

A new, multi-organization partnership for South Central Oregon will provide local entrepreneurs access to technical assistance, capital, networking, mentorship, and talent development in the region.

Oregon Tech is working with The City of Klamath Falls, Klamath Community College (KCC), Klamath County commissioners, Klamath County Economic Development Association – KCEDA, KCC Small Business Development Center – SBDC, Klamath IDEA, and Lake County Chamber of Commerce to create the South Central Oregon Regional Innovation hub.

The project is in the planning stage and funded in part with Oregon State Lottery funds administered by the Oregon Business Development Department.

Klamath County’s Multi-Agency Suicide Prevention Coalition, You Matter to Klamath, invites you to a community Town Hall on September 24, 2022, from 1pm-4pm at the Community Health Education Center located at 2200 N Eldorado Avenue in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Attendees will learn about local initiatives, watch prevention videos created by local youth, and attend a Question and Answer panel with representatives from Citizens for Safe Schools, Klamath Basin Behavioral Health, Klamath County School District, Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services, and Veterans Affairs.  Wellness baskets will be raffled throughout the event and admittance is free.

Arnold Thomas, MSW, attempt survivor, and Chaplain, will deliver an inspiring keynote presentation followed by questions and answers. The event will close with a spoken word performance by Indigenous Poet Shuína Skó. Attendees will leave empowered with new resources to support those who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988, text TALK to 741741, or contact Klamath Basin Behavioral Health at 541-883-1030.

The Klamath Falls area is one of just a few communities served by passenger rail service. It’s back to business as usual for Amtrak for the Basin.

The transportation company has fully restored services after cancelling some long-distance trains in anticipation of a work stoppage. Railroads and union leaders reached a tentative agreement to avoid a strike last week.

Wynne Broadcasting news reached out to Amtrak. They say the Pacific Northwest Cascades region is all back up and running.

However…..they’re encouraging riders to double check train status on Amtrak.com.

Last week, Klamath Falls City Police Chief Robert Dentinger announced that Lieutenant Robert Reynolds has graduated as a member of the 283rd session of the FBI National Academy. The graduation took place at the National Academy in Quantico, Virginia on September 13, 2022.

Lieutenant Robert Reynolds is the 3rd officer in department history to complete this prestigious program. Nationally, fewer than one percent of police officers receive the opportunity to attend the program.

Internationally known for its academic excellence, the National Academy offers ten weeks of advanced communication, leadership, and fitness training. Participants must have proven records as professionals within their agencies to attend. On average, these officers have 21 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions.

The 283rd session consistent of two hundred and thirty-five law enforcement officers from forty-nine states and the District of Columbia. The class included members of law enforcement agencies from twenty-one countries, five military organizations, and five federal and civilian agencies.

The search for the then believed to be missing woman involved sheriff’s detectives from bordering Southern Oregon counties Jackson and Klamath,  and Siskiyou and Modoc counties in California.

Healthy Klamath Age Well Expo

All ages and abilities are encouraged to attend this free event!

It is never too early to learn how to stay active, stay independent and age well. The event takes place on Tuesday September 20th from 10:30am to 1:30pm at the Klamath Basin Senior Citizens’ Center.

Age Well Expo 2022 Flyer - 8.5x11 - v.9.1.22

Integral Youth Services (IYS) is a recipient of the Circle of Hearts funds through Klamath Community Foundation. This funding is going to give youth staying in Exodus House– the local youth shelter–and John’s House — a transitional living program — the ability to be rewarded and appreciated for meeting their goals while in the programs.

Youth in the IYS Shelter programs are given attainable goals that will help them become more successful once they leave the program. Often there is no funding attached to this, which can become discouraging for youth that cycle through the program. IYS is honored to have this opportunity to give back to youth in the community in new ways, and is excited to see how this drives our programs forward.

Learn more about the IYS Shelter Programs and how to get involved in IYS programs at integralyouthservices.org

Klamath IDEA announced Monday the season-opener for this year’s IDEA Talks, highlighting the journey of taking a business concept from Main Street to mainstream. Entrepreneur, business leader, and national outdoor industry advocate Mike Wallenfels will share his story and experiences at the Oregon Main Street Conference on Thursday, Oct. 6. 

The IDEA Talk will coincide with the Oregon Main Street Conference, which is being hosted locally by the Klamath Falls Downtown Association, one of Klamath IDEA’s partners! IDEA Talk attendees will be both local entrepreneurs but also conference goers who are active in revitalizing their own Main Streets. 

Allenfels first worked in outdoor retail while attending San Diego State University. That retail experience grew into a 30+ year career in the Outdoor Industry. Wallenfels co-founded Mountain Hardwear, which was eventually purchased by Columbia Sportswear. He served for 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Industry Association, advocating for business and recreation related issues. 

Wallenfels left Mountain Hardwear to work with private equity firm VMG as CEO of Timbuk2 Designs in San Francisco, Calif., until a planned successful exit from the investment partner. From there he created Outdoor Pursuits Consulting, where he advised private equity, venture funds, and companies on strategy, sales, and branding in the Outdoor, Pet, and Consumer Electronics markets. He moved to Bend in 2015 as VP of Global Sales for Hydro Flask and has served as President of the Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA) board of directors. 

Around the state of Oregon

National Voter Registration Day 9/20/2022

National Voter Registration Day

National Voter Registration Day is a day of civic unity. It’s an opportunity to set aside differences, enjoy the rights and opportunities we all share as Americans, and celebrate our democracy.

National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan civic holiday celebrating our democracy. First observed in 2012, it has quickly gained momentum ever since. Nearly 4.7 million voters have registered to vote on the holiday to date.  https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/

Celebrated every September, National Voter Registration Day involves volunteers and organizations from all over the country hitting the streets in a single day of coordinated field, technology and media efforts. National Voter Registration Day seeks to create broad awareness of voter registration opportunities to reach tens of thousands of voters who may not register otherwise.

According to U.S. Census data from 2020, as many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. Every year, millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register. National Voter Registration Day wants to make sure everyone has the opportunity to vote. 

How to register to vote in Oregon

Oregon offers online voter registration. You can register by mail to vote in Oregon by printing a voter registration form, filling it out, and mailing it to your local election office. You can also register to vote in person if you prefer. Check registration status · Register to vote

Who can register to vote? To register in Oregon you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of Oregon
  • be at least 16 years old to register, and 18 years old by election day to vote

What You Will Need

To register to vote online you will need an Oregon driver’s license, permit or ID card number issued by the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV).

If you do not have an Oregon driver’s license, permit or ID card, you can still use the online voter registration application. The information you enter will display on a voter registration card (PDF document) that you will need to print, sign and deliver to your county elections office to complete your registration.

Registration Deadline

A new registrant must submit their online registration by 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the 21st calendar day before an election to be eligible to vote in that election.​

MORE INFO: https://sos.oregon.gov/voting/pages/registration.aspx?lang=en

Newly Released Southern Oregon Homeless Public Opinion Survey

The survey was funded by three Southern Oregon healthcare groups, seeking to gauge public opinion on the homelessness crisis. It was conducted by the Moore Information Group, which surveyed 400 residents across Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties.

The results showed around 90% of people think homelessness is an important issue, and at least 67% believe the problem is getting worse.

“My running joke for a lot of this is you can’t get 91% of people to agree puppy dogs are cute,” said Josh Balloch, Vice President of Health Policy for AllCare Health. “So the fact that it was that significant is telling.”

Balloch said that additionally, around 92% of people want their local governments to take action on the homelessness crisis.

“And so when you have those three things together, you can actually do big public policy changes,” he said.

But while those who participated in the survey agree there’s a homelessness crisis, the public seems to have different opinions on the root causes.

Balloch said the results showed four major reasons behind homelessness in the region, at least what the public believes are the causes. He said those causes are affordable housing, drug addiction, lax government policy and mental health issues.

Balloch said his organization now plans on doing a survey of the homeless population. By talking directly with folks on the street, he said they can compare what the public thinks versus the actual causes of homelessness.

AllCare Health conducted a similar survey of the homeless population back in 2017 called “A Place to Call Home.” That compilation of 250 on-the-street interviews showed that a lack of stable income and lack of access to affordable housing were two of the biggest barriers for homeless individuals.

Balloch is hoping a new survey will provide an updated look at the issues in Southern Oregon. AllCare is hoping to have that completed in the beginning of 2023.

Combing both the public opinion polling and the on-the-street survey will help AllCare and other groups work with local governments to push for change and challenge misinformation. Balloch said the survey showed that many people have misconceptions about what being homeless means.

“For example, to me, couch-surfing is definitely homeless, if you don’t have a home and you’re jumping around,” he said.” But not everyone in the community agrees with that.”

Only 55% of respondents agreed that couch-surfing is homelessness, with the rest saying it isn’t or they didn’t know. Another example is living in a motel, which over half of people don’t believe counts as homeless or they don’t know, but many community groups would consider living in a motel a form of homelessness.

Balloch wants to help present this data to local community groups and city/county governments to show what the public is thinking, and how they can help improve outcomes for homeless populations in the region. He said they haven’t set up any presentations yet, but recently talked with the Brookings city manager, who expressed interest in the information.

Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges After Twice Breaking Windows and Destroying Property at Grants Pass Planned Parenthood Clinic

An Oregon man pleaded guilty today after twice breaking windows and destroying property at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grants Pass, Oregon because the clinic provides reproductive health services.

Devin Friedrick Kruse, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. 

“The Justice Department will not tolerate unlawful and violent conduct that interferes with the work of reproductive health clinics,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This conviction should send a strong message that we will use federal civil rights law to protect clinics and staff that provide reproductive health services while safeguarding the rights of their patients.”

“The First Amendment does not allow individuals to violate the civils rights of others. In this case, Mr. Kruse’s destructive and intimidating acts prevented women from accessing vital reproductive and pregnancy health services,” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“Citizens have a legal right to peacefully protest, but Mr. Kruse’s actions of repeated violence toward a Planned Parenthood clinic crossed a line,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “The FBI will continue to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of our communities while respecting individuals’ First Amendment rights.”

According to court documents, on November 23, 2021, Kruse broke five security cameras, a window, and a sign at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grants Pass. Three days later, on November 26, 2021, Kruse returned and threw a concrete block through the clinic’s window, tore down an intercom system, and broke several light bulbs. Kruse later admitted to damaging the facility because he was angry at Planned Parenthood for providing abortion services.

On February 24, 2022, Kruse was charged by misdemeanor criminal information with two counts of violating the FACE Act.

Under the FACE Act, first offenses involving property destruction are charged as misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in federal prison. Subsequent violations are charged as felony offenses.

Kruse will be sentenced on January 5, 2023, by U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken.

As part of his plea agreement, Kruse has agreed to pay restitution in full to Planned Parenthood as identified by the government prior to sentencing and ordered by the court.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Grants Pass Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce and John C. Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon, and Cameron A. Bell, Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

In 1994, Congress passed the FACE Act in response to an increase in violence toward patients and providers of reproductive health services. The FACE Act prohibits violent, threatening, damaging and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with an individual’s right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.

If you or someone you know is in danger, please call 911.

Suspected violations of the FACE Act can be reported to the FBI by calling (503) 224-4181 or by visiting tips.fbi.gov.

The University of Oregon is apologizing after video surfaced of an offensive chant coming from the student section during Saturday’s Oregon game against BYU.

The UO student section was yelling an offensive chant against Mormons during the game. Utah Governor Spencer Cox commented on the video late Saturday night saying:

“Religious bigotry alive and celebrated in Oregon.”

The University released a statement on social media condemning the actions of these students saying, in part: “These types of actions go against everything the University stands for and goes against the spirit of competition.

We can and will do better as a campus community that has no place for hate, bias or bigotry.”

Governor Kate Brown also took to Twitter to comment adding that “the chant at yesterday’s game was unacceptable and that we must do better.”

The UO Pit Crew also condemned the actions of these students and apologized to BYU fans. No more information has been released as to who was involved.

In a related story,  the organization that oversees public school athletics has a new policy aimed at ending harassment and bullying at competitions. Oregon’s School Activities Association Executive Director Peter Weber says OSAA started working on addressing the issue in 2019. This summer, they created the Interrupting and Preventing Discriminatory Acts training, which is now required.

Weber says the issue goes beyond old-school trash talking saying that “There’s unsportsmanlike behavior and then there’s discriminatory behavior, and there is a distinction there. We don’t want either of them; but, certainly, the discriminatory and harassing-type behavior is at another level and that absolutely has to be curtailed.” 

He adds, “They need to interrupt that behavior. So, whether that’s something they witness firsthand or something that’s reported to them.” Weber says that interruption could mean stopping the event until the issue is dealt with. 

Also continuing this year, OSAA’s STAR Initiative, encouraging Safety, Tolerance, Acceptance and Respect in high school sports. 

Cool and Humid Conditions Continue to Aid Suppression Efforts on Rum Creek Fire

Crews continue to focus on suppressions repair work along dozer and hand lines, in an effort to reduce additional impacts on the forest and local watersheds. Water bars have been created and vegetation spread over lines to prevent additional erosion.

All evacuations have been lifted but some recreational area and road closures remain in place as crews continue road repair and hazard tree removal within the burn area. 

Rum Creek fire area is holding at 83 percent containment with no new fire growth. Crews continue to be downsized, with 330 people remaining. Unsettled weather will continue for several days bringing higher humidity levels and scattered showers. Wind gusts of up to 22 mph are expected for the second day in a row for upper slopes and ridges. Isolated lightning levels today and tomorrow are not predicted to start fires but could bring rain levels strong enough to wash soils, provide instability in burned areas, and be a safety concern for public and fire crews within the fire perimeter. Crews will focus on suppression, mop up, patrol, rehab/repair, and hazard tree mitigation.

Road Checkpoints: Road blocks are located at: Galice Rd north of Almeda; Peavine East Road at Bear Camp Road; Peavine West Road at Upper Bear Camp Road; Quartz Creek Road about 3 miles up (end of County maintenance); Hog Creek Road at Galice Road; and Galice Road at the bridge by Grave Creek Boat Ramp.

Recreation Area Openings: The Rogue River Trail (river right) is open, as is Almeda County Park. Rocky Bar, Robert Dean, Chair, and Rand Recreation sites remain closed at this time. The Rainie Falls National Recreation Trail (on river left) remains closed. The Grave Creek boat ramp is not accessible from Galice Road. Additional recreation sites are being assessed. Revised closure order and map: https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions.

River status: The Wild section of the Rogue River below Grave Creek is open. The Smullin Visitor Center in Rand is now open for permits, and new Wild Section permits will be issued starting on Monday. The recreation section of the Rogue River is open, however the Rand and Argo Boat Ramps are closed. Day users are recommended to take out at Almeda. Please call 541-471-6535 for more information.

As Oregon election officials are busy preparing for a November election with pivotal races for Congress and the Legislature, they’ve found themselves buried in a wave of records requests and letters threatening lawsuits.

The flurry of paperwork is part of a national campaign by right-wing election deniers to complicate or undermine their work, they say.

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office received more than 200 records requests in July and August, more than triple the usual amount, said Ben Morris, a spokesperson for the office. Some county election clerks report they also have been hit with a barrage of records requests.

Most of the requests to the state elections office sought information about ballot-counting machines used in local elections, Morris said.

Those machines are in the crosshairs of activists nationwide after last month’s call to action by prominent election denier and pillow company executive Mike Lindell.

Lindell has said that hackers helped rig the November 2020 election for President Joe Biden by infiltrating election machines.

In a typical records request Oregon’s elections office received this month, a man asked for any emails, texts or other communications between election officials that reference Lindell or voting data he has demanded. Some requests appeared to originate from email chains with instructions for submitters.

A man who led police in multiple states, including Oregon, on a series of dramatic pursuits after allegedly going on a crime spree in Utah and Nevada, has been apprehended.

The Oregon State Police said Jamie Lee Cochran, 42, was nabbed Thursday, Sept. 15 in the Warner Mountains area of the Fremont National Forest near Lakeview.

Police said Cochran is a transient with ties to Utah and West Virginia.

On Sunday, Sept. 11, Cochran allegedly burglarized a preschool in Salt Lake City “where he stole a van that was driven through the fence of the daycare,” according to OSP. The stolen van was recovered in Nevada.

That vehicle was spotted by Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office deputies Wednesday, Sept. 14. According to police, Cochran eluded police while being pursued near the Oregon line.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Oregon State Troopers located the truck on Highway 140, near Adel, Ore. The truck drove through private farm fields during that portion of the chase and police lost sight of the truck, according to OSP.

Cops called in helicopters and airplanes, including from the California Highway Patrol and the Washoe County (Nevada) Sheriff’s Office, to search for the suspect. Another 50 officers searched on the ground for Cochran.

On Sept. 15, Cochran was arrested approximately 6 miles from where the stolen truck was later located. Police said he was armed with a stolen gun. Cochran was booked into the Lake County Jail. He faces multiple charges for the alleged crime spree.

Rain and Cooler Weather Help Firefighters Bring 113,000-Acre Cedar Creek Fire Back To 11% Containment

A weekend of cooler weather and some widespread rainfall helped a still-growing army of nearly 2,600 firefighters on the 113,000-acre Cedar Creek Fire conduct burnout work and build fire lines, to reach their first containment figure in days, at 11%, officials said Monday

The cost of that fight has grown too, of course, to nearly $72 million as of Monday morning, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Status: The fire is 11% contained, with containment line on the west side of the fire between Forest Service Road 24 and Fifth Creek, the stretch from Charlton Lake west to the shore of Waldo Lake, and the north and west shores of Waldo Lake. Oakridge and communities west of the fire will experience the most smoke as southeast winds continue today.

The West Zone of the fire is currently burning with low intensity creeping, and smoldering. Fire spread is occurring in areas with deep, dry litter and heavy fuels. The East Zone is experiencing fire behavior including creeping, smoldering, and single-tree torching. Fire growth is minimal. Sheltered heat may reemerge after the rain if fuels continue to be dry enough.

West Zone Operations:  Heavy smoke and fog lingered through much of the fire area on Monday morning. This inhibited fire growth during the day but also limited firing operations in the morning. Along the south and southwestern edges, firefighters were able to make progress on firing operations along Forest Service Road 5871 and near Eagle Creek. Visibility cleared enough by afternoon for aerial ignitions by helicopter near Kwiskwis Butte. These operations reduce fuels between the fireline and the main fire. Crews continued mopping up along Forest Service Road 2409 and Forest Service Road 1928 where previous firing operations occurred on the western edge of the fire.

As the wetter weather comes into the fire area, firefighter and public safety remains top priority. After steep terrain has burned, rocks once held in place by root systems or vegetation loosen and pose a hazard to firefighters. Dead or fire weakened trees (snags) can fall, compromising the fireline and presenting a risk to firefighters. Firefighters will continue cutting snags and extinguishing hot spots to secure the fire line where previous burning operations occurred. If the weather clears and conditions allow, crews are poised to take advantage of windows of opportunity for continued burning operations.   

Online: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8307/ | https://www.facebook.com/CedarCreekFire2022/ |
YouTube: https://www.tinyurl.com/cedarcreekfireyoutube

Oregon’s eligibility guidance for monkeypox vaccines no longer refers to sexual orientation or gender, according to an announcement from the state’s Health Authority last week. Anyone is eligible for the vaccine if they know someone who has had monkeypox and has had, or anticipates having, direct, skin-to-skin contact with at least one other person.

Oregon Health Authority officials said in a statement that they have learned that mentioning gender and sexual orientation was a barrier for some people seeking vaccinations.

Oregon expands eligibility for monkeypox (hMPXV) vaccine. People now eligible include anyone who anticipates having, or has had, direct skin-to-skin contact with at least one other person AND knows other people in their social circles or communities who have had monkeypox. It is safe to get the monkeypox vaccine at the same time as other vaccines, like COVID-19 vaccines and boosters and the flu vaccine.

The public health agency is also encouraging “venue-based” vaccine events at places frequented by people in the community most affected by monkeypox, men who have sex with men.

Exactly how to approach public messaging about the monkeypox outbreak in Oregon, which is primarily affecting a small portion of the population in an outsized way, has been difficult from the beginning. The goal has been to get information to the people who need it most without stoking undue fear of the disease, nor propagating prejudices about the most-affected community. After an initial rush to get limited vaccines, demand has dropped significantly in the last four weeks.

The U.S. government searches and downloads the contents, including text messages, images and internet histories, of thousands of cellphones and laptops at border entry points every year.

That creates a troublesome and massive database of information, including of Americans reentering the country, according to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon.

Wyden, who also chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has written the Biden administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection asking for answers about the agency’s database building and use of cellphone downloads.

A Wyden spokesman said it was unclear when the federal data collection practices stated. The Oregon lawmakers wants more details information on the U.S. databases, how they are accessed and how the information might be used.

A Northern California mother of two from Redding was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for faking her own kidnapping so she could go back to a former boyfriend, which led to a three-week, multi-state search before she resurfaced on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.

Sherri Papini, 40, pleaded guilty last spring under a plea bargain that requires her to pay more than $300,000 in restitution.

Probation officers and Papini’s attorney had recommended that she spend a month in custody and seven months in supervised home detention. But Senior U.S. District Judge William Shubb said he opted for an 18-month sentence in order to deter others.

The judge said he considered the seriousness of the offense and “the sheer number of people who were impacted.”

Papini, who was emotional throughout the proceedings, quietly answered, “Yes, sir,” when the judge asked if she understood the sentence. Previously she was in tears as she gave a statement to the court accepting responsibility and admitting her guilt.

Prosecutors said Papini’s ruse harmed more than just herself and her family. “An entire community believed the hoax and lived in fear that Hispanic women were roving the streets to abduct and sell women,” they wrote.

“The 20-Dollar Art Show” Returns to the High Desert Museum (Photo)
High Desert Museum – 09/19/22 10:00 AM
Photo by Amanda Long

BEND, OR — An organic, local art show returns for its second year to the High Desert Museum, and this year promises to be the largest one yet. The 20-Dollar Art Show launches at the Museum on Friday, October 28 with an opening night art-buying party. Tickets go on sale for the popular event on Friday, September 23 at 9:00 am.

The 20-Dollar Art Show is a celebration of local art and features thousands of original artworks covering the gallery walls of the High Desert Museum. Artwork is not bigger than 36 square inches, and every piece costs $20. Participants can select and pay for their favorite artwork, taking it home opening night through Monday, October 31 at 5:00 pm. 

Bright Place Gallery in Bend, owned by Stuart Breidenstein and Abby Dubief, debuted The 20-Dollar Art Show in fall 2013 as an opportunity for artists to share their work with the public in a low-pressure setting where they could build confidence selling art. The Gallery did not take a commission. The artists kept 100 percent of sales and the art show was a success for all. 

By 2019, the annual show grew to display more than 2,100 pieces of art from 120 local and regional artists, amateur and professional. On opening night, 900 pieces sold in three hours for $20 each. Like many beloved events, the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on the thriving local art show. This year, the exhibit and sale will feature over 3,000 pieces of local artwork. 

“After the success of last year’s show at the Museum, we are excited to continue the partnership,” said Bright Place Gallery owner Stuart Breidenstein. “Artist submissions skyrocketed this year, and the Museum allows us the opportunity to welcome more creators, making the exhibit bigger and better.”

At this year’s opening event on Friday, October 28 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, participants will enter the High Desert Museum through the large meadow. The snaking line will work its way into the Museum where participants can view and have the opportunity to purchase artwork. The event takes place the Friday before Halloween and participants are encouraged to wear costumes. Participants should come prepared for the elements, rain or shine.

“This event stewarded by Bright Place Gallery is a unique opportunity to connect to the regional art community,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “It’s also an opportunity for us to turn our walls over to new artists, allowing them to find a voice and an audience.”

Art will be available for purchase through Monday, October 31 at 5:00 pm. Each $20 piece directly supports the artist.

Tickets for The 20-Dollar Art Show Opening Night Partyare available beginning Friday, September 23 at 9:00 am at highdesertmuseum.org/20-dollar-art-show-2022. Tickets are $5 person and guests 16 and younger are free. Space is limited. The 20-Dollar Art Show closes Monday, October 31.


The HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Northwest Cherry Harvest Is Smallest In 14 Years

The smaller-than-usual fruit harvest happened largely because Oregon and Washington were hit with a severe winter storm on April 14, during the region’s cherry blossom bloom.

According to B.J. Thurlby, the president of both the Washington State Fruit Commission and Northwest Cherries, a snow event during the cherry bloom has not happened before.

He said this year’s crop is the smallest since 2008.

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