Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, Nov. 30 – Winter Storm Warning In Effect; Bill Garrard, Former County Commissioner and State Representative Passes Away

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Winter Storm Warning in effect from November 30, 04:00 PM PST until December 1st, 2022.

Today A chance of snow before 2pm, then snow, possibly mixed with rain. High near 40. South winds 8 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch. Overnight, snow accumulation of 2-4 inches expected, low around 27 degrees.

Thursday Snow, mainly before 5pm. High near 33. West wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible. Overnight, a 50% chance of snow, with a low around 15.
Friday A 10% chance of snow after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32. 40% chance of snow with a low around 22. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Saturday Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37. For Saturday night, a chance of snow showers, mainly before 5am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21.
Sunday A slight chance of snow showers before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36. Overnight cloudy with a low near 18.
Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 35.

See Road Camera Views

Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly       
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.            
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

Former Klamath County Commissioner and state representative Bill Garrard passed away Monday. He was 82.

Mr. Garrard served as state representative for Klamath County from 2001-2013, and was a Klamath County Commissioner for several years before that.

In his private career, Garrard is best known for his long time association with local radio and sports broadcasts for many years.  He also worked for and managed KFAX in San Francisco, KVAN in Vancouver, Washington, and KUKI in Ukiah, California before relocating to Klamath Falls and, after selling his interest in the local radio stations, went into public office.

William Garrard was stationed at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls as a member of the Air Force and made his home here after serving in the military.  He was born in Ohio.

After leaving the legislature, Garrard relocated in Las Vegas. No information on services was immediately available.

Forecasters are calling for a cold and windy next few days for the Pacific Northwest, which means you should update your household outage kit.  

Pacific Power’s meteorology team is forecasting periods of wind, rain and snow from late tonight through Thursday. Gusty winds may lead to a few power outages for coastal areas, the Willamette Valley, Pendleton and Walla Walla Wednesday morning. Elsewhere, heavy snow could cause power outages in portions of far southern Oregon and northern California on Thursday, including in and near Klamath Falls and Mount Shasta City. Another round of cold, unsettled weather is expected to arrive late in the week.

To ensure that you are prepared for outages, we ask that every home maintain an Emergency Outage Kit that includes the following:
 

  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated radio and clock
  • Extra batteries
  • Non-perishable foods 
  • Manual can opener
  • Bottled water
  • Blankets

If a power outage occurs, Pacific Power encourages customers to first check their fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure was not caused inside the home or business, customers should report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088 or by texting OUT to 722797.

The Oregon Tech Foundation surpassed a historic milestone this year, awarding $1,030,000 in scholarships to Oregon Tech students.

The new record was celebrated Oct. 29 as participants gathered at the Klamath Falls campus and live-streamed to a gathering at the Portland-Metro campus for the Annual Scholarship Awards Banquet. This special event honors the achievements of scholarship recipients and recognizes the philanthropic donors who make scholarships possible.

Funds raised through scholarships make a dramatic difference across Oregon Tech. For academic year 2022-23, the Foundation awarded 342 scholarships ranging from $300 to $16,000. These scholarships fill various needs for students including those pursuing excellence in academics, assisting those with demonstrated lesser financial resources, increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups, attracting and retaining students in certain fields of study, supporting scholarly athletes, and helping those close to graduation earn a diploma when they have limited to no financial resources left.

The past two years have seen annual donor funding average about $900,000, and last year’s donations helped the Foundation surpass $10 million in scholarships awarded over three decades. After reaching the $10 million milestone, the Foundation set a goal to award more than $1,000,000 in annual scholarships in honor of the University’s 75th anniversary, which is being celebrated this year.

Christmas tree permits for the Bureau of Land Management Klamath Falls Field Office can be purchased online starting now.

Permits cost $5 per tree with a limit of two trees per household. Go to forestproducts.blm.gov, select Oregon and “Klamath Falls Field Office” from the drop-down menu, and follow the prompts. A permit, stipulations and a map will be emailed to you following purchase.

Though some restrictions may apply, Christmas tree cutting is permitted on most BLM-administered lands within the Klamath Falls Field Office. Maps of cutting areas are available with permits.

Before you head out to find your perfect tree, review the details below to have the best experience.

• You must have a valid permit to cut and/or remove trees from BLM-managed public lands. Check with your local BLM field office as cutting areas, guidelines and restrictions vary. Tag prices and restrictions are different for trees cut on U.S. Forest Service land.

• No topping of trees.

• Cut below lowest live limb — Leave stumps no higher than six inches.

• Avoid damage to other trees.

• Drive only on existing roads. Don’t block traffic when you park. Comply with road closures.

• Do not trespass on or through private land.

• Stay on designated roads and respect private land. Some tree cutting areas may be inaccessible after a snowfall — early-season cutting is advisable.

• Be safe and prepared. Check road and weather conditions before heading out. Ensure you have everything you need for an outdoor venture, including warm clothes, food, water, and safety equipment. Let someone know where you’ll be going and when you plan to return. If you get stranded, call for help, and stay with your group and vehicle until help arrives.

Flu cases are spiking in Southern Oregon, according to the latest influenza data from the state.

Southern Oregon health care providers recorded 295 confirmed flu cases Nov. 13-19, according to the latest Oregon Health Authority Flu Bites report issued Monday.

The 295 cases more than tripled the 97 cases reported the week prior, according to the OHA report, which draws from data voluntarily submitted to the Centers For Disease Control from health care providers including Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center Laboratory in Medford, Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls and Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.

The 295 confirmed cases stem from 1,544 tests in the region this flu season, giving the region a test positivity rate of 19.1%. All but one of those 295 cases were found to be the Influenza A strain.

The test positivity rate more than doubled that week. For comparison, the week of Nov. 6-12 had a rate of 9.7% based on 97 cases out of 1,005 tests, according to last week’s report, which draws from CDC data submitted through the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System.

Southern Oregon’s 295 cases constituted 20.15% of the state’s 1,464 confirmed cases as of Monday. Three of those statewide cases were found to be Influenza B, with the remaining cases confirmed to be the Influenza A strain.

The fences that went up more than two years ago around an empty plot on the corner of Homedale Road and South Sixth Street had the town of Klamath Falls all abuzz with rumors of a potential new restaurant in the community.

Co-owner and connoisseur of all things Sonic, Stacy Parrott, has confirmed that the once-vacant lot is the future home of his latest Sonic-Drive-In restaurant. The new addition will be Parrott’s ninth and final branch.

Following a fire which consumed one of his branches in Bend in 2019, Klamath Falls became Parrott’s first choice for a new location. Parrot said the town is located centrally amongst all of his other branches throughout the West and has the added benefit of beautiful scenery.

The timing wasn’t right, however, as the onset of COVID-19 brought the project to an abrupt halt.

Though the project was delayed for more than two years, the contracted construction company, Modoc Contracting, confirmed that its crew had “broken ground” earlier in October.

With day-to-day life slowly returning to normal, Parrott said the restaurant should be ready for business before the end of March 2023.

Parrott’s history with Sonic dates back 46 years when he first started working at a Sonic in Euless, Texas.

Nowadays, Sonic stores are estimated to pay between $13 and $15 an hour for restaurant staff in Oregon and upward of $22 an hour down in California, according to Parrott.

Though the pay rate is above average, Parrott said these days it can be difficult to build and retain a full staff.

Although times are tough, Parrott noted that it doesn’t always take a college degree to make a sustainable living.

The fight against opioids is going street-level this week in Klamath Falls. That’s where Klamath Tribal Health & Family Services (KTHFS) is deploying its first of two Street Outreach Mobile Units beginning this week in the Klamath Basin.

KTHFS is working with community partners Tayas Yawks and BestCare to launch the mobile outreach effort “to meet people where they are in Klamath County.”

KTHFS says, “American Indian and Alaskan Native populations had the second highest overdose rates from all opioids in the United States.  In Oregon, native populations had the highest rate of unintentional drug overdose deaths in 2020, according to the Oregon Health Authority.”

The partners note an opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency nationally in 2017 as, “Opioids are extremely addictive.”

KTHVS says the Street Outreach Program is an outgrowth of its Medication Assisted Treatment Program and subsequent Community Opioid Intervention Pilot Project grant.  It will send its first Street Outreach Mobile Unit to 3206 Onyx Avenue in Klamath Falls for access 10am-6pm to “provide comprehensive, culturally appropriate opioid intervention services utilizing innovative techniques to address opioid addiction through prevention, treatment, and after-care/wrap-around services.”

It says Tayas Yawks will provide peer support and job resources with added Native American culture services while BestCare will staff a certified drug and alcohol counselor.

Around the state of Oregon

JCSO Case 22-6947 — RUCH, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies responded to a report of a shooting last night (Monday) at 7:24 p.m. in the 2300 block of Little Applegate Road outside Jacksonville.

When deputies arrived the male victim was deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. Witnesses named a possible suspect but the case remains under investigation. Victim identification is pending next of kin notification.

Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) detectives from JCSO, Oregon State Police, Medford Police Department, and Central Point Police Department along with the Jackson County District Attorney’s office responded to assist with the investigation. There is no further information available for release at this time.

Joint Task Force Arrests Grants Pass Man for Child Porn Possession

JCSO Case 21-5063 — GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force along with the Grants Pass Police Department (GPPD) arrested a man Friday in Grants Pass after investigators discovered he possessed child exploitation images.

The suspect, Raymond Andrew Reynolds, 36, of Grants Pass, is charged with 14 counts of second-degree encouraging child sex abuse, and 14 counts of first-degree encouraging child sex abuse. He is lodged in the Josephine County Jail with bail set at $250,000. Reynolds was arrested in the company of a 17-year-old juvenile, investigations are ongoing into the nature of their relationship. 

SOCET began investigating when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provided a tip that an unknown individual uploaded child pornography from unsecured public Wi-Fi at a business on the 10 block of South Central Avenue in downtown Medford. The business has since secured their public Wi-Fi.

SOCET investigators began tracking down the owner of the suspected device. After ruling out several suspects, investigations determined Reynolds to be the individual responsible. SOCET seized several electronic devices from Reynolds while he was lodged in the Josephine County Jail on separate charges. The Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF) conducted a forensic examination of the devices and found numerous images of child exploitation. 

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, GPPD, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.

A new state law allows all 241 cities in Oregon to apply for the authority to designate speed limits on roadways under their jurisdiction.

Today, all changes in speed limits go through Oregon’s state traffic roadway engineer. But the process can be lengthy. ODOT has only one investigator for each of its five regions, creating a case backlog extending as long as six months to a year.

Providing local governments with the authority to set their own speed limits should make the process quicker, more effective and more responsive to local needs.

Under the new law, any of Oregon’s 241 incorporated cities or the two Portland area counties may seek this new authority from the state. They would then get training in state speed zone practices, state rules and laws and would produce a quality control plan.

Speed is a major factor in road crashes. Making it easier and quicker for communities to lower their local speed limits will help reduce deadly crashes and reduce the impact on communities of color, which often bear an outsized brunt of highway crashes.

Oregon roads have statutory and designated speed limits. Statutory speed limits are set by state law, such as 25 mph in residential districts, 20 mph in school zones and 65 mph on most interstates. Designated speed limits, set by an engineering investigation, differ from the statutory speed limits.

If a statutory speed limit is not appropriate, a designated speed limit can be established through an engineering study. That study is based upon nationally accepted standards and includes a review of roadway characteristics and the type of users. These characteristics include traffic volume, crash history, roadside development and density and operating speeds.

Oregon’s paid family and medical leave program will begin collecting money to fund the new initiative from workers and businesses with 25 or more employees on Jan. 1.

Paid Leave Oregon Logo-FullColor-RGB.jpg

Starting next year, workers will pay 0.6% of their gross wages every paycheck and big employers will contribute an additional 0.4%.

For a worker who earns $5,000 in monthly gross pay, the worker will pay $30 a month into the paid leave fund and the employer will pay $20. If they work for a company with fewer than 25 employees, they will pay $30 a month and their employer will pay nothing. Employers with fewer than 25 employees will not be required to participate in the program, but they can opt in if they wish to access grants to cover the costs such as overtime or a temporary replacement worker.

All workers in the state except federal employees, independent contractors and people who work for tribal governments who earn at least $1,000 in a year and pay into the program will be eligible automatically for coverage, even if they work for a business with fewer than 25 employees. But they won’t be able to access the new benefit until at least September.

For the first eight months of 2023, the state will build up a fund that it will tap starting in September to pay benefits to workers who take time off to care for a new baby or other loved one, to address their own medical needs or for other specific circumstances covered by the program created under House Bill 2005 in 2019.

Once benefits start flowing, workers will be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave annually, and in some cases a total of 14 weeks if they are pregnant, have given birth or have health issues related to child birth, according to the state.

The state program Paid Leave Oregon, which is housed at the Employment Department, launched a campaign earlier this month to educate employers about the program using paid radio, social media and digital media ads.

A public information campaign targeted to workers will not launch until “after January,” communications officer Angela Yeager said during a Nov. 2 meeting of the paid leave program’s advisory committee.

Oregon will join 10 other states and Washington, D.C., in offering some sort of paid leave program.

Oregon workers were originally supposed to start receiving paid leave benefits in January, 3½ years after lawmakers passed the law to create the program. But state leaders made key decisions that delayed the program. Meanwhile, Oregon workers will miss out on approximately $453 million in benefits they would likely have tapped if the program had started on time.

The program will cover leave for the birth or adoption of a child, for serious illness or injury, for taking care of a seriously ill family member and for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment, according to the state.

Paid Leave Oregon has an employer tool kit online to help employers understand the program.

ODOT Short On Snowplow Operators

The Oregon Department of Transportation is short on snowplow operators but says it’s still prepared for possible winter conditions this week. ODOT spokesperson Angela Beers-Seydel says the shortage is a concern, especially if conditions are anything like the winter of 2019.

If snow does hit, Beers-Seydel says roads may not be plowed or sanded as often as they have been in the past.

That’s why she says drivers should be fully prepared for possible inclement weather before they hit the road.

“You should check those tires right now; check those windshield wipers, check the fluids in your car,” she says. “Make sure you have blankets and supplies so you’re ready if you get stopped somewhere for a long period of time.”

Beers-Seydel says anyone interested in becoming a snowplow operator can check ODOT’s website.

Oregon grant program aims to reduce wildfire risk, protect lives and property

SALEM, Ore.—A $20 million landscape resiliency grant program is making Oregon’s landscapes more resistant to the threat of wildfire by treatments done through unique partnerships with private landowners and other local, county, state, and federal agencies.

Oregon’s 2021 Legislature invested nearly $195 million to address Oregon’s wildfire crisis through Senate Bill 762. Of this $195 million, $20 million created a two-year landscape resiliency and mitigation grant program that the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has been administering. 

“Projects like this are a major step towards protecting communities and natural resources in Oregon by making forests healthier and more resilient in the face of changing climate and wildfire environment,” said Cal Mukumoto, Oregon’s State Forester,” said Cal Mukumoto, Oregon’s State Forester.

 Just over 200,000 acres of Oregon landscapes are planned to be treated by June 2023 when the program ends. These projects in some of the highest-risk landscapes will greatly reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in those treated areas. Not only will it make the forestland around communities and resources safer, but it will also encourage forest health, resiliency, ecosystem health, and shared stewardship. 

Recently, a small group of experts that helped ODF design project criteria met on a cold sunny day in Sisters to see this program unfold.

“We went to see five different projects—five different stories of what landscape resiliency looks like,” said Jeff Burns, ODF’s All Lands Initiatives Unit Manager. “These five projects boasted just shy of 2,000 acres of fuels mitigation and resiliency work. However, the real highlight of the tour was the focus on what our partnerships and relationships can achieve together. The support and collaboration of these diverse groups are key to the success of getting this work done on the ground in such a short period of time.”

The tour highlighted innovative technology such as air curtain burners, fuels mitigation creating in-stream habitat, fuels reduction with an element of wildlife habitat management, slash burning, and mastication groundwork. 

Some of the projects visited included: 

  • The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council removed trees on 58 acres that provided approximately 750 trees to be used for in-stream work and habitat restoration.
  • The Ponderosa Land & Cattle Company project that included 727 acres of roadside brushing, thinning, mowing and mastication for fuel breaks. It also treated 590 acres of unit mowing, mastication, thinning and ladder fuels.
  • The Black Butte Ranch project highlighted the use of an air curtain burner that can be used to dispose debris from their project of 79 acres of roadside brushing, thinning, stump grinding, limb removal, and mastication. Two other private landowners had projects concentrated on thinning and pruning pine trees, removal of juniper, mastication of ladder fuels such as bitterbrush, and burn piles. 
  • The Ludwick Property Project treated 170 acres
  • The Glynn Property Project treated 200 acres.

“Access to programs like this enable ODF to work closely with our public and private partners to support communities, local economies, and natural resources while making them safer from wildfires,” Burns said. “At the end of these projects, we hope we can show a level of success that will encourage future funding for this type of work.”

For more information visit ODF’s Landscape Resiliency Grant Program website.

For the first time in two decades, the Oregon Senate will have a new president. 

Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego and the current majority leader, on Friday won a private vote of the 17 incoming Senate Democrats. He’ll take the reins from retiring Salem Democrat Peter Courtney, who has served as Senate president since 2003 and has been a legislator for 38 years. 

“Senator Wagner is a good choice for the next Senate President,” Courtney said in a statement. “He’s smart and can handle this responsibility. He will serve the Senate well. I look forward to helping him make a smooth transition into the coming session.”

Wagner will join current Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, who won re-election to their respective caucus leadership teams last week. House Republicans won’t elect their caucus leaders until Dec. 6. 

In a statement, Wagner said he would ensure the Oregon Senate will be a “force for positive change into every corner of the state.” 

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to build on our culture of inclusion and openness – across the aisle and across the state – to make sure that Oregonians across the state feel represented and supported by the work we do,” he continued.

He won’t formally become Senate president until the Senate convenes in January and votes publicly on its next leader. All 17 Democrats have sworn to support him, making that vote a formality. 

That’s a necessity, as Knopp and Senate Republicans objected to Wagner’s selection. Knopp noted in a statement that Democrats narrowly eked out a majority in the state Senate, winning  fewer than 3,000 combined votes in the Ashland-based 3rd Senate District and Gladstone-based 20th Senate District. Knopp said that proves voters wanted bipartisan collaboration. 

“Senator Wagner has shown he is untrustworthy, deeply partisan and doesn’t have the necessary skills to run the Senate in a bipartisan fashion,” Knopp said. “There are no votes in the Senate Republican caucus for Senator Wagner. If Democrats are intent on uniting Oregon to fix our problems, Republicans are all in. If Democrats want to run a progressive agenda to pay back their supporters, they can expect total opposition.”

Beginning in January, Democrats will hold 17 of 30 seats in the Senate and 35 of 60 in the House – slightly down from the 18 and 37 they now occupy. They slipped below the three-fifths supermajority needed to pass any bills raising taxes. 

Man Running Along Railroad Tracks In Oakridge Struck By A Train And Killed

On Friday, November 25, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office says it was informed that an adult male had been struck by a train along the Union Pacific rail line by Salmon Creek Road in Oakridge. The sheriff’s office says Oregon State Troopers were first on the scene and attempted life-saving efforts including CPR.

The man was identified as 57-year-old Derek Lee Berling of Oakridge. Preliminary investigation indicates that Berling was running westbound along the railroad tracks prior to being struck. He was reportedly wearing headphones and did not respond when train operators sounded a horn multiple times. Despite conducting an emergency stop, train operators were unable to stop the train in time to avoid a collision.

Enjoy the darker hours at the Museum with the December return of Winter Nights

BEND, OR — The High Desert Museum is bringing back Winter Nights every Thursday in December.

For those looking for a unique evening out, the Museum will remain open until 7:30 pm with seasonal themes, a chance to see new exhibitions, activities for families and students and reduced admission rates.

In Winter Nights, the Museum offers people a break from the busy work week with a festive night out when they normally may not be able to visit. In addition, the Museum presently has one new exhibition and will open a second one on December 17. 

For this year’s Winter Nights:

December 1: Welcome to Winter – Rimrock Café will be open for folks to grab dinner or a treat and enjoy a wine tasting. The Museum store will also be open with discounts for all: Museum members will receive 20 percent off on most items and others 10 percent. Visitors will find kids activities, a free gift-wrapping station and a special tote-bag thank you for Museum members.

December 8: Sugar Cookie Shindig – Enjoy engaging activities for kids including High Desert-themed storytime, snowflake making and sugar cookie decorating. The Museum store, Silver Sage Trading, will also be open with discounts for all and a gift-wrapping station, and Rimrock Café will be ready for diners.

December 15: College Night – Students with college identification will receive free admission! Kids activities will still be happening, and the Museum store will also be open with discounts for all and a gift-wrapping station. Visitors can also enjoy a tasting of locally made hard ciders and try their hand at sugar cookie decoration.

December 22: Solstice Social – Explore the newest High Desert Museum exhibit Under the Snow. A meal, snack, beverage and beer tasting await in the Rimrock Café, and the Museum store will also be open with last-minute gift shopping, discounts for all, a gift-wrapping station and kids activities including story time and paper snowflake-making.

December 29: Après Snow – Get cozy after a day of snow play—explore temporary exhibits and get a tasty meal and beverage from the Rimrock Café. We will welcome Lava Terrace Cellars for wine tasting and families can still enjoy kids activities. The Museum store will also be open with discounts for all.

There is always something new to explore at the High Desert Museum with up to nine new exhibits every year. December is no exception: The newest exhibition opens Saturday, December 17, Under the Snow. The exhibit reveals the hidden world beneath the snow, called the subnivium. In this environment, animals create a matrix of tunnels to survive the winter’s frigid temperatures and hide from the predators that lurk above. Using interactive graphics, visitors will meet the species that depend on the snow, including a resilient mammal named Pika, an observant owl called Great Gray and a fruiting fungus known as Fuzzy Foot. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/under-the-snow.

Winter Nights visitors can also explore the original exhibit In the Arena: Photographs from America’s Only Touring Black Rodeo. Through the lens of San Francisco Bay area photographer Gabriela Hasbun, the exhibit documents the exhilarating atmosphere of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo—the only touring Black rodeo in the country—and the showstopping style and skill of the Black cowboys and cowgirls who compete in it year after year. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/in-the-arena.

Admission for Winter Nights is $10 general admission and $6 for ages 12 and under. Museum members are always free. Visitors who arrive earlier in the day may stay for Winter Nights without paying additional admission. The outdoor exhibits are closed during Winter Nights. Regular winter hours are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/winter-nights.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

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.

Oregon State Parks offers $5 off annual parking permit purchases in December 

SALEM, Oregon— Give the gift of the outdoors and save this season with the Oregon State Parks 12-month parking permit sale through December.

The permit hangtag once again features whimsical designs from Portland artist El Tran. Holiday shoppers can buy the annual parking permits for only $25, which is a $5 savings starting Dec. 1 and running through Dec. 31. The pass is good for 12 months starting in the month of purchase.

Purchasing passes is easy. Buy them online at the Oregon State Parks store. Parking permits are also sold at some state park friends’ group stores and select local businesses throughout the state. For a complete list of vendors, visit stateparks.oregon.gov.

Parking costs $5 a day at 25 Oregon state parks unless you have a 12- or 24-month parking permit or a same-day camping receipt. The 24-month pass is $50 and is also available at store.oregonstateparks.org. The permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle.

Although marijuana is legalized in several dozen states and easily obtainable even in areas where it’s illegal, scientists have faced big bureaucratic barriers to conduct research on the drug.

A new, bipartisan bill just passed by Congress aims to snip away some of that red tape.

The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act does not change the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance, which means the Drug Enforcement Administration considers it addictive and without medical value. But the act will reduce some of the hurdles researchers have faced in their research.

It will streamline the application process researchers go through to obtain marijuana for study and will allow them to research a much wider variety of cannabis, said U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon and the chief sponsor of the act in the U.S. House.

Blumenauer would like scientists to develop a more sensitive detection test for employment that shows whether someone is inebriated. The test employers use now only detects whether someone has consumed marijuana within weeks or months.

Marijuana is legalized for medical use in 37 states and for recreational use in 21. Both uses are legal in Oregon.

A Medford man was struck and killed Monday morning on Interstate 5 near Red Bluff, California, during the long drive home from the funeral of his father only days before.

Zachary D. Miller was trading seats with his partner, Lacey Mobley, after driving the first 10 hours of the trip home to Southern Oregon from Apple Valley, California.

Mobley was putting on her shoes and getting ready to walk around the couple’s car when Miller was hit by a 2014 Toyota Prius driven by a 55-year-old man from The Dalles. His body was thrown, Mobley said, and the couple’s three children witnessed the horrifying scene.

California Highway Patrol officers said Miller, 34, had pulled onto the right shoulder of northbound I-5 around 4:45 a.m. before the Prius, heading north, struck and killed him.

Miller was standing on the east shoulder of the road when he was hit and died almost instantly.

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