The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald & News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Monday, October 31, 2022
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 66. Lights winds at times this afternoon and evening. Overnight, rain likely after 11pm. Snow level 8200 feet lowering to 6500 feet after midnight. Increasing clouds, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Tuesday Rain showers before 11am, then snow showers, possibly mixed with rain. Snow level 5100 feet lowering to 4300 feet in the afternoon . High near 45. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight rain and snow showers likely, becoming all snow after 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25.
Wednesday A 40% chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 42. Overnight a 20% chance of snow showers with a low around 20.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.
FridayPartly sunny, with a high near 51.
Saturday A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
It’s Halloween! Local authorities are reminding motorists that tonight is Halloween and that means an abundance of children and adults will be walking throughout the area.
Many costumes are dark in appearance and motorists are asked to take extreme car when driving tonight. There are a multitude of events in the Basin tonight to celebrate Halloween.
Also a reminder from the City of Klamath Falls that Pacific Terrace will be closed to traffic beginning at 5 o’clock tonight.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, announced a reward today for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the Oct. 5 burglary of Take It To The Bank Pawn and Loan at 212 South 6th St., Klamath Falls, Ore., in which 13 firearms were stolen.
ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000, matched by the NSSF for a possible reward of up to $10,000.
The Klamath Falls Police Department and ATF are investigating the burglary. The firearms taken were three revolvers, nine pistols and one shotgun.
“These firearms are most likely still in the area,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “The sooner these firearms are recovered and the burglars brought to justice the safer the community will be.”
Anyone with information about the person or persons responsible and/or information leading to the recovery of the stolen firearms should contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov, or contact ATF through its website.
A man that has been on the run for several years was arrested earlier this month. In a press release the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team announced the arrest of Kenneth James Haddock, 53.
Haddock was arrested after BINET served a warrant on Sparrow Hawk Lane on Bly Mountain.
According to the press release, Haddock “was arrested on 17 felony warrants for crimes in Klamath County including Manufacture and Delivery of Methamphetamine, Manufacture of Marijuana, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Failing to Register as a Sex Offender.” Additional charges for Haddock — multiple counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, Attempted Delivery of Methamphetamine, and Felon in possession of Body Armor from evidence seized during the Oct. 20 arrest — have been sent to the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office, the press release states.
Haddock is now lodged in the Klamath County Jail.
The Klamath Ranger district has revised its personal-use firewood cutting regulations and map.
The revisions have greatly expanded where firewood can be harvested for personal use. Furthermore, the new guidelines now allow for cutting both dead standing and downed trees along designated roads within the district with some limitations.
Standing trees cannot have cavities, broken tops or mistletoe, as these provide wildlife apartments. The new map is geo-locatable and is available on the internet or from district offices, printed maps available at request.
The map can be used with Avenza or similar apps, which will allow users to know the exact location and reduce the likelihood of collecting in an unauthorized site. Personal-use firewood permits are free; however, harvesting still requires a permit. While harvesting firewood, a printed copy of the permit and map is required to be on person and load amounts taken must be recorded.
There are several restrictions in effect including firewood cutting is allowed from October 1st to Feb. 28th, on the Klamath Ranger District, dead standing trees or dead downed trees may be cut up to 18 inches in diameter and only trees within 150 feet of designated roads can be harvested.
When the Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) Honors Program began in 2012, its aim was to mold a student into a future leader.
Currently celebrating his seventh year of leading the program, which is now in its 10th year, Christopher J. Syrnyk, Ph.D., upholds the program’s new mission by identifying the knowledge and skills students will need in the future to serve them best with the program now.
The Honors Program accepts applications each year from Jan. 1 until Sept. 1. Students can learn more at www.oit.edu/academics/honors-program.
Oregon Tech’s Honors Program focuses on a three-year plan, with an optional fourth year, highlighting a different concept area each year, helping students expand their knowledge beyond program coursework. It promotes a more well-rounded future career professional, a socially responsible person, and a connected and educated student.
Dr. Syrnyk notes how their slogan says it best: “The Honors Program fosters the person in the future professional.”
Things are about to get more expensive for users of natural gas. Energy prices are on the rise, and now Northwest Natural is raising its rates in Oregon.
Starting in November, Northwest Natural and Cascade Natural Gas will raise their rates thanks to rising global energy prices and an unstable market.
The president and CEO of Northwest Natural says the company understands the hardship people are going through right now. While bills will go up by about $28, the company is seeking to soften the blow by offering a temporary credit of $14 each month from November 1 through March 14, after which the credit will stop being offered.
Northwest Natural says the price increase is an adjustment for inflation, and customers will still be paying less than they did 15 years ago for their natural gas bills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over a 15-year period the price of natural gas has increased by 66%.
That is comparatively less than other items such as meats like bacon, which has increased by 102%. Some people are still worried because this is another issue on top of many struggles.
Spence Mountain now belongs to Klamath County.
“This was long overdue,” Commissioner Derrick Degroot declared during the weekly Klamath County Board of County Commissioners business meeting last week.
Under county ownership Spence Mountain will become a public community forest that will provide recreational opportunities within the Klamath Basin.
Also during the meeting, the commission unanimously chose Vernon Alvarez to fill a vacancy on the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council. Commissioner Dave Henslee said Alvarez is a “great man” and “couldn’t be more excited.” Alvarez is also the police chief of the newly formed tribal police based out of Chiloquin.
The approval of establishing a Title III advisory council was also on the agenda Tuesday. This committee will be tasked with reviewing projects for eligibility and recommending appropriate funding to the commissioners.
The commissioners also approved the purchasing of two software programs, Carasoft SmartSheet and ClearGov. Carasoft SmartSheet will have a one time fiscal impact of $10,500 and is used for creating data sets. It is the county’s plan to use it on various projects involving human resources and county corrections.
Finally, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office was awarded a sum of $11,000 from the Oregon Impact Transportation Safety Division. These funds will allow officers Overtime Enforcement to better serve the community in regards to DUII, distracted driving and speeding infractions. The commission then encouraged the sheriff’s office to reach out to complainant emails for places to patrol.
The Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors are hosting a “Trunk or Treat,” event from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31 at Steen Sports Park, 4500 Foothills Blvd.
Volunteers will adorn their cars in Halloween decorations and pass out candy to kids as they walk by. The event is free and open to the public.
Over a dozen events are planned locally in the days leading up to and including Halloween.
Beginning downhill skiers and snowboarders will have an easier time learning and honing their skills when the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, one of the closest to the Klamath Basin, opens this winter.
The area will open a new learning center featuring a “Magic Carpet,” a conveyor belt that will allow users to slide onto the belt and move up a portion of the hill while standing still.
The $250,000 fundraising drive was accomplished earlier this year in only three weeks. The “carpet” is expected to attract more beginners who might otherwise be intimidated by a rope tow.
The ski-snowboard area is located on 7,532-foot Mount Ashland and features 23 trails on 200 acres and, along with the “carpet,” is served by four chairlifts. On average, the mountain receives more than 300 inches of snow annually, with its season typically running from November or early December until mid-April. Half of the terrain is rated as advanced, 35% as intermediate, and 15% as beginner.
The area has been without a general manager since Hiram Towle resigned earlier this year to accept a similar position at the Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Bozeman, Mont. “We’re not in any hurry,” a spokesperson for Mt. Ashland’s board of directors said of replacing Towle.
The opening date for the 2022-23 season remains weather dependent, but skiers and riders are reminded the date for purchasing discounted season tickets is Monday, Oct. 31. T
Meanwhile, last weekend’s storm was a welcomed sight for at least one Oregon ski resort. At Mt Bachelor, the switch has flipped.
The resort got more than a foot of snow over the weekend, and more is expected this week. That puts the resort on track for a November 25th opening – if the snow sticks around.
Mt. Bachelor hosts a winter job fair Saturday, to try to fill the remaining 40+ openings for the season.
Around the state of Oregon
Grants Pass Walmart Evacuated on Sunday
The Walmart in Grants Pass has reopened after everyone was evacuated and it was closed following an investigation by firefighters and police officers. Details of the situation have not yet been released.
The Grants Pass Fire Rescue posted online that it was working with officers with the Grants Pass Police Department ‘to mitigate risk, however traffic congestion can be expected in the area as evacuation occur.”
Comments on the Facebook page indicate it was a bomb threat, however that information has not been released by the agencies involved.
An hour later, the agency updated its post and said the scene was cleared and the store would reopen at 5:30 p.m.
Armed Barricade Incident in Medford
The suspect in Thursday’s armed barricade incident has been identified as 37-year-old Daniel Ryan Tiger.
Tiger is currently being lodged in the Jackson County Jail on the following charges:
- Elude- in vehicle
- Elude – on foot
- Recklessly Endangering
- Reckless Driving
- Hit & Run
- Felon in Possession of a Firearm
- Unlawful use of a Weapon
- Criminal Mischief I
On Thursday, October 27 at 7:20 AM, officers responded to a report of a possible stolen vehicle in the area of Crater Lake Avenue and Jackson Street. The suspect was reported to be armed with a handgun.
Patrol officers spotted the vehicle and made a traffic stop in the parking lot of Walgreen’s on West Main Street. Tiger provided false information to the officers and as the second officer arrived on scene, he rammed a patrol car and fled in the vehicle.
Tiger crashed the vehicle at the intersection of North Ross Lane and Rossanley Drive and fled on foot into the industrial complex near Lars Way and Brian Way.
Multiple witnesses in the complex saw Tiger enter a warehouse building through the front door. MPD units quickly contained the scene by establishing a perimeter around the building Tiger entered and verified that there were no employees in the building.
It was determined Tiger had multiple outstanding felony warrants – including a parole violation out of Ohio and a weapons offense in California. Due to this information and the report that he was armed, MPD SWAT was deployed. In addition, the Drone Team, K-9’s, and the Crisis Negotiation Team responded to the scene.
Upon arrival, the SWAT Team entered the warehouse lobby and immediately came into contact with Tiger, at which time he fired one round and retreated deeper into the warehouse. No injuries were sustained during this time. The SWAT Team exited the warehouse. While SWAT was assessing the perimeter, Tiger opened a side door and fired more shots before retreating back into the warehouse.
Crisis Negotiators made contact with Tiger in an attempt to safely resolve this incident. All measures were taken to ensure the safety of the public, all officers on scene and Tiger.
Around 4:30 p.m. Tiger surrendered and was taken into custody without incident.
MPD was assisted by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, and the Central Point Police Department.
We’d like to thank the public for their cooperation and patience during this incident.
Media release updated October 28, 2022 – 10:30 a.m.
Investigators Looking for Vehicle Involved in Central Point Marathon Runner Felony Hit & Run
RURAL CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) is looking for information about a felony hit and run that occurred October 15 during the Stagecoach 5k/10k Run in Central Point. A 2002 Saturn S-Series sedan struck a runner with their passenger side mirror on the 2800 block of Hanley Road at around 9:50 a.m.
A witness described the vehicle as a silver grey Saturn sedan and the driver as a white male adult with dark hair and a scruffy beard. The runner was struck from behind by the passenger side mirror causing him to be thrown in the ditch and leaving the mirror behind. The runner suffered minor injuries and could not provide a description of the vehicle. Upon further investigation JCSO deputies identified the side mirror as coming from a 2002 Saturn S-Series (see stock photo).
The driver is wanted in connection with a felony hit and run. If you have any information about the vehicle or suspect call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 22-6042.
A waiting and vetting period would be baked into gun purchases in Oregon if a measure on the November statewide ballot passes.
If voters approve Measure 114 Nov. 8, buying a gun would first involve the potential purchaser obtaining a permit, which requires a number of steps supporters of the initiative say would save lives. The measure also bans large capacity gun magazines.
The ballot measure is aimed at saving lives from suicide — in Oregon, 82% of gun deaths are suicides — mass shootings and other gun violence.
The gun safety initiative gained momentum after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., with more volunteers joining the effort, which was led by interfaith leaders.
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in a mass shooting in 2011 that killed six people, said bringing gun safety initiatives straight to voters is important because “our political leaders fail to act.”
Opponents say the measure would infringe on Constitutionally protected gun rights.
It would create “a costly bureaucratic nightmare to make firearms ownership difficult for some, and nearly impossible for many,” said Kerry Spurgin, president of the Oregon State Shooting Association.
The measure would require a permit to purchase any gun. To qualify for a permit, valid for five years, an applicant would need to complete an approved firearm safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing and pass a criminal background check. It would also ban large capacity magazines over 10 rounds, except for current owners, law enforcement and the military.
OHA offers tips to stay safe during Halloween events and activities
As ghosts, ghouls and goblins young and old head out for trick-or-treating, haunted houses and spooky gatherings in the coming days, Oregon Health Authority is offering tips for staying safe from injuries and illnesses while celebrating Halloween.
COVID-19, flu prevention
Numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have dropped dramatically since the surges of early 2022. But public health officials expect another increase in cases of COVID-19, as well as influenza and other respiratory viruses, as people head indoors to escape the cold, wet fall weather.
That’s why officials recommend everyone get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines as soon as they can. And since it does take a couple weeks for vaccines to take full effect, people planning to trick-or-treat and attend Halloween events can keep themselves healthy by wearing masks if they expect to be in crowded settings.
Use the Get Vaccinated Oregon tool to find a COVID-19 vaccine and booster clinic, or to be connected to a vaccination or booster opportunity, or call 211 or text ORCOVID to 898211. If you or someone you care can’t leave home, email COVID@211info.org“>ORCOVID@211info.org to be connected to a vaccination or booster opportunity. Find a flu vaccination location by visiting VaccineFinder.org or calling 211.
- After trick-or-treating, inspect all candy and treats to make sure wrapping hasn’t been tampered with — look for unusual appearance, discoloration and any tears in wrappers. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Eat a snack before trick-or-treating, or bring one with you, to keep from nibbling on a treat before it’s been inspected.
- Check candy and treat labels for any allergens, such as nuts, if you or your child has a food allergy.
- Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys from Halloween bags.
- Bobbing for apples is a popular game at Halloween parties. Make sure to thoroughly rinse apples and any other fruit being offered, under cool running water before eating to reduce the risk of foodborne bacteria, such as E. coli or salmonella.
- Look for juices and ciders in boxes, bottles or cans typically found in frozen food cases, refrigerated sections or shelves at grocery stores.
- Wear costumes made with flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon and with bright reflective colors or reflective tape so they are visible to motorists, bicyclists and other pedestrians. Also, avoid risk of tripping by not wearing costumes that are too long or baggy and touch the ground as you walk.
- Some Halloween masks can obscure vision, especially outside when it’s dark. An alternative to masks is wearing Halloween makeup, but make sure to test a small amount on your skin a couple days ahead of time to see that it doesn’t cause a rash, redness, swelling or other signs of irritation.
- Young children can use a spoon to help scoop out the inside of a pumpkin or use a marker to create the pumpkin’s face, but they should leave pumpkin carving to adults or older children under adult supervision.
- Use LED lights instead of candles to light up jack-o-lanterns. If you do use candles, make sure only adults are lighting them and that the pumpkins are not left unattended or near flammable materials.
For more Halloween safety ideas, visit these websites:
- Safe Kids Worldwide: https://www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2019/10/halloweentips/
- S. Food & Drug Administration: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/halloween-safety-tips-costumes-candy-and-colored-contact-lenses
- Consumer Product Safety Commission: https://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/News-Releases/2022/On-a-Day-for-Goblins-and-Tricks-Make-Safety-a-Treat
New Timber Harvest Rules Aim To Protect Fish While Providing Long Term Economic Benefits
The Oregon Board of Forestry approved more than 100 changes to the Forest Practices Act at a special board meeting Oct. 26.
The rule changes are a result of the mediated and groundbreaking Private Forest Accord (PFA) that brought together representatives from conservation groups and the timber industry. The changes will impact timber harvest activities on more than 10 million acres of private and non-federal forests in the state.
“The rules we adopted are just one of a great many changes coming from the Private Forest Accord that will advance how Oregon protects its natural resources and responds to the climate change crisis, while also providing some stability for the communities and economies that rely on the forest products industry,” said Jim Kelly, Chair of the Oregon Board of Forestry. “This agreement captures the spirit of cooperation and negotiation we have in this state, where we move past our differences to find solutions.”
The goal of the PFA and the Forest Practices Act rule changes is to provide long-term certainty to industry while providing enhanced protection to critical aquatic species.
“The timber industry is vital to many rural Oregon communities,” said Kelly. “This agreement balances these critical social and economic components with the need to better protect critical forest habitat, which is also incredibly beneficial for Oregonians,” said Kelly.
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) worked closely with the PFA authors to write the new rules that cover several key areas including:
- New and wider stream buffers to protect stream habitat that supports salmon, steelhead, bull trout, and amphibians.
- New design standards and requirements to inventory, maintain and manage forest roads, with an emphasis on replacing culverts on fish-bearing streams.
- Steep slopes will have more trees retained to improve slope stability and reduce sediment that can impact fish habitat.
- Enhanced monitoring to better evaluate rule compliance.
- A new adaptive management program to advise the Board of Forestry on future rule adjustments.
In addition to rule changes, recent legislation also funded the creation of a small forestland owner assistance office, establishment of tax credits to small landowners, started the development of a habitat conservation plan for aquatic species and made investments in training and outreach.
For more information on the Forest Practices Act and Private Forest Accord visit ODF’s PFA website.
ODF reminds with the end of fire season, dispose of yard debris responsibly
The Oregon Department of Forestry and other fire prevention experts urge the public to exercise caution when disposing of yard debris this fall.
With the end of fire season, many Oregonians have debris piles ready to be disposed of that cured over the summer. Preferable options for removal, aside from burning, include composting or recycling. Check with your local disposal company for recycling options.
If burning now is the only option to dispose of yard debris, fire prevention specialists ask people to follow safe burning practices. The following tips can help stop run-away burn piles:
- Call before you burn – Burning regulations vary by location depending on the weather and fuel conditions. If you are planning to burn, check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry district, fire protective association, fire department, or air protection authority to learn about current burning restrictions or regulations, and if you need a permit.
- Know the weather – Burn early in the day and never burn on dry or windy days, because fires can spread out of control more easily.
- Clear a 10-foot fuel-free buffer around the pile – Scrape a ten-foot trail down to mineral soil around the perimeter of the pile to keep the fire contained in one place. Make sure there are no tree branches or power lines above
- Keep burn piles small – Large burn piles can cast hot embers long distances. Keep piles small, maximum of four feet by four feet. Add debris to the pile in small amounts as the pile burns.
- Always have water and fire tools nearby – When burning, have a charged water hose, and shovel on hand to put out the fire. Keep the area around the pile damp during the burning process. When finished, drown the pile with water, stir the coals, and drown again, repeating until the fire is out cold.
- Stay with the fire until it is out cold – State laws requires monitoring of debris burn piles from start to finish until it is out cold. This law is intended to ensure sparks or embers that jump from the fire can be put out quickly.
- Recheck burn piles. They can retain heat for several weeks and restart when the weather warms up and winds blow.
- Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids to start or speed up your fire.
- Burn only yard debris – State laws prohibit burning materials or trash that create dense smoke or noxious odors.
- Costs of run-away debris burns– State law requires the proper clearing, building, attending and extinguishing of open fires all year. If your debris burn spreads out of control, you may have to pay for suppression costs, as well as the damage to your neighbors’ properties. This can be extremely expensive.
More tips on wildfire prevention, including campfire safety, motorized equipment use, and fire-resistant landscaping can be found on the Keep Oregon Green website. Find public use restrictions for Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands before your burn.
ODFW Issues Warning Of Sea Lion Disease Outbreak Along Oregon Coast
There is an increase in the number of stranded California sea lions along the entire Oregon coast due to leptospirosis, a naturally-occurring bacteria that can also sicken dogs, people, other wildlife, and livestock.
A release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said dogs are most at risk of getting the disease while the risk to people is small. Dog and horse owners should discuss the merits of vaccination for leptospirosis with their veterinarian. ODFW and Oregon Parks and Recreation urge beachgoers to leash their dogs and keep at least 150 feet away from live or dead sea lions.
The disease can spread when an animal or person is in contact with urine or other bodily fluids of an infected or dead sea lion.
Leptospirosis outbreaks occur sporadically in marine mammals. Outbreaks can result in increased strandings and mortalities among sea lions. The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network has documented over 150 sick or dead sea lions along the Oregon coast since the current outbreak began in late July of this year. Necropsies on seven sea lions confirmed all tested positive for leptospirosis.
Sick or injured seals, sea lions, whales or dolphins can be reported to the Oregon State Police at 800-452-7888.
Long Covid in Oregon
Long Covid, which the Mayo Clinic classifies as suffering from new, returning or ongoing symptoms, can include fatigue, chest pain, joint pain, dizziness, headaches, digestive issues, blood clots and brain fog, which makes it difficult to concentrate.
About 2.5 million people in Oregon are in the workforce, according the the 2020 U.S. Census. Here’s the percentage who’ve experienced long Covid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention :
Early to mid-June: 12% or about 300,000 people
Late June to early July: 13% or about 325,000 people
Late July to early August: 16% or about 400,000 people
Mid- to late September: 11% or about 275,000 people
The September rate was the third lowest in the country. Only Connecticut and Vermont had lower rates cases, with Vermont on the bottom, according to the CDC .
Sixteen million people of working age in the U.S. suffer with long Covid and of those, from 2 to 4 million people were unemployed in June and July, according to an August 2022 Brookings Institution report, which analyzes Census Bureau survey information. It’s one of numerous papers, surveys, and studies attempting to assess the effect of long Covid on workers, businesses and the overall economy.
The unemployment of so many Americans with long Covid, a lack of a social safety net for many of them, and a labor market that is beginning to turn in favor of employers could collide to create wider economic problems, some economic experts say.
The cost in lost wages has already been great. The Brookings Institution report puts the amount between $170 billion to $230 billion a year. And a National Bureau of Economic Research paper published in September found that workers with Covid-19 absences could see their earnings fall by about $9,000 in the 14 months afterward.
Andrew Goodman-Bacon, a senior research economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said it’s unclear how the spending habits of people with long Covid will be affected by their illness.
“Some households will certainly have to cut back,” he said. “But some subset of those households will also have ways to sort of insure themselves or be insured by these public programs. … What is aggregate spending going to look like if we enter a recession with a large group of workers with a health condition, a newly acquired health condition hard to predict? It will pull a lot of these levers in the economy, some of which will make consumption patterns change more and some of which might kind of push the other direction.”
Goodman-Bacon added, “The health of the workforce really does matter and it’s mattered for a long time … We’re all really trying to understand the same questions of just how much and right now we don’t know.”
And there are some signs that the labor market may indeed be cooling down. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5% in September, the same as in September 2019 before the pandemic. Companies throughout the U.S. are having less trouble hiring staff, according to The New York Times’ reporting, and the rate of people leaving their jobs sunk to 4.1% in July 2022 from 5.9% in July 2021, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York SCE labor market survey.
If employers become unwilling to keep on people with long Covid or if those workers are forced to quit for health reasons, many parts of the social safety net, including the unemployment system, are not set up well to help them, researchers say.
Andrew Stettner, director of workforce policy and senior fellow at the Century Foundation, said, there are a few states with laws that allow people to collect state unemployment benefits if they cannot work because of their own illness, but “that’s definitely not the majority.”
The Biden administration has taken some action to ensure that people with long Covid have safeguards against discrimination, including guidance on treating long Covid as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy also has a website that links to resources for employers on workplace accommodations for people with long Covid.
But Goodman-Bacon pointed out that as more people return to work, employers may be more likely to keep only the accommodations they find useful and cost-saving, such as allowing remote work which has been shown to increase productivity .
It may also be difficult for people to receive workers compensation when they get long Covid. Tom Wiese, vice president of claims at the MEMIC Group, said that claims of work-related long Covid are challenging to investigate.
“Even if the medical causation and/or origin of the symptoms/disease diagnosis can somehow be linked to Covid, there still remains the workers compensation causality from a legal principle perspective. Did that causation arise out of and occur within the scope of their employment?” he said.
For instance, a woman who had Covid-19 lost a workers comp case in Virginia in 2021 even though she worked in a nursing home when she became sick. Her weekly trips to the grocery store hurt her claim, according to the Virginia Mercury.
There were a couple of times I had to commute and that was really, really hard and exhausting just physically.
Advocates and researchers have proposed a number of policies to provide economic stability to long Covid sufferers, a number which the Brookings report says could increase by 10% each year — and lead to half trillion dollars in lost wages in 10 years — if people don’t begin to recover at greater rates.
In addition to better treatment options, the Brookings report recommends :
- Expanding paid sick leave, which could reduce the spread of Covid;
- Improve accommodations offered to workers such as flexibility on deadlines, longer and more frequent breaks, flexible hours and remote work;
- Provide greater and and more timely access to Social Security Disability Insurance.
Bach and Stettner say Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics need more questions on long Covid and employment on their surveys to better guide policymakers.
The Patient-Led Research Collaborative, which is a group of long Covid patients and researchers, say that there should be a federal advisory committee on long Covid at HHS, that Congress should appropriate funds for states to fund or open clinics treating people with long COVID, pass universal healthcare, and expand access to disability benefits, among other policies.
Lisa McCorkell, a long Covid patient and the cofounder of and researcher for the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, said that although the Biden administration guidance is helpful, there’s a lot of people with long Covid who will still encounter discrimination at work.
“We’re still seeing a lot of people not get the accommodations that they need,” she said.
It can be difficult for some long Covid patients to access the health care they need to establish that they are covered and some employers still don’t believe they need to offer accommodations such as breaks or starting work later in the day, McCorkell said.
She said that although she’s seen people forced out of the workforce due to a lack of accommodations from employers, not many people have the resources to fight that termination, and it’s also hard to take on legal issues when you’re sick.
Stettner said that it’s important employers adjust and provide accommodations for workers with long Covid, because the workforce is changing in the long term.
“We had a very large generation of workers born in the ’40s and ’50s and those workers are reaching retirement age,” he said. “We really don’t have enough workers to grow the economy and we need to be able to accommodate those who are able to work, even if they’re not able to work full time, 12 months a year. We have to do better at that. It’s an economic necessity for us to do that as a society.”
All Oregon Voters Should Have Their Ballots by Now – Warned of Disinformation and Lies about Voting
Now that November election ballots are blanketing the state, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan is sending out the message that voting here continues to be fair and secure.
Oregonians are hoping she is correct when she says that Oregon has a robust system for ensuring the integrity of elections, including regularly updating voter rolls and checking voter signatures to validate the vote.
“Every single signature is checked. Every one. Not just a sample, not just a statistical amount. Every single signature is checked to make sure that’s the person who actually did vote.”
Former president Donald Trump and his supporters are continuing to repeat lies and disinformation about widespread fraud in U.S. elections and specifically about the security of mail-in voting, which Fagan says is affecting the job of county-level election officials here in Oregon.
“Sadly it’s a conspiracy that’s believed by about one in five Oregon voters and that’s a significant amount of our population,” she said. “We know it’s safe and secure here in Oregon. But yes, those conspiracy theories definitely are wearing on our county elections officials.”
Earlier this week, the Siuslaw News reported on a conservative group called the “Florence Liberty Alliance, which put up a post on its Facebook page asking for volunteers for a “Ballot Box Watch Team.” Fagan’s office is encouraging Oregon voters to “know their rights” and urging anyone who feels someone is trying to intimidate them at the ballot box or elsewhere to report it to her office online, by calling 503-986-1518 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Intimidation can include aggressive or harassing questions about whether someone is qualified to vote that are intended to interfere with the right to vote … questions about citizenship status, criminal record, residency or other personal information or questions about how you intend to vote.”
Fagan says she hopes that their education campaign “Voting in Oregon Feels Good,” will resonate with Oregonians and encourage voter turnout. Ballots in the November election must be turned in or postmarked by Nov. 8.
All registered voters in Oregon should have received their ballots in the mail by now. Those who have their ballots must be sure to get them turned in or postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, in order to have their votes counted. Ballots put into any official ballot drop box by 8 p.m. that night will be counted.
Anyone who did not get a ballot or received a damaged ballot should contact their county’s elections office to get a new one right away. Find your county elections office
According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, if someone requests a new ballot, their old ballot will be canceled, to prevent any attempts at voting more than once.
Love it or hate it, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. It’s the time of year when we’re all gifted an extra hour of sleep on a Saturday night.
Each fall, most of the United States changes clocks back one hour on the first Sunday of November. Hawaii and Arizona do not observe this semi-annual ritual.
Of course, the amount of daylight on any given day doesn’t really change when we move the clocks back. And as Einstein determined – time is relative. What “time” of day it is depends on your frame of reference.
In any case, until the federal government allows the big change to one uniform time for Oregon (and Washington and California) we’ll be changing the clocks forward again next spring. For those who like to plan ahead, that date will be March 12, 2023.