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 and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Mostly sunny and mild, with a high near 38. Light southwest wind. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 24. Light east southeast wind.
Wednesday Snow likely, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36. Southeast wind 6 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible. For the evening, a chance of snow before 7pm, then a chance of snow showers between 7pm and 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. Chance of precipitation is only 50%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 36. Overnight, fog and clouds, with a low of just 14 degrees.
Friday Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 37. Overnight, mostly clear with a low of 19 degrees.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 43.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 41.
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Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day. Schools and banks were closed. Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a federal holiday in 1983 and Congress named it the nation’s first-ever national day of service in 1994 to recognize King’s legacy of service and leadership in the civil rights movement.
The U.S. Forest Service celebrated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday recognizing King’s work toward equality for all by waiving standard amenity fees for all visitors to national forest and grassland day-use areas yesterday.
The agency is also waiving standard recreation use fees for Forest Service-managed picnic areas, boat launches, trailheads and visitor centers on 5 other fee-free days in 2023. Fees will be waived for Presidents’ Day on Feb. 20, National Get Outdoors Day on June 10, Juneteenth on June 19, National Public Lands Day on Sept. 23 and Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
Fees for camping, cabin rentals and any necessary permits still apply, and fees will also be charged at concessionaire-operated recreation sites unless the concessionaire chooses to participate.
For more information about Forest Service recreation passes and fees, including the Interagency Annual Passes (valid at all Forest Service -managed sites in the U.S. and other public lands) and the Northwest Forest Pass (valid at Forest Service -managed locations in Washington and Oregon, only), go to www.fs.usda.gov.
With the United States Marshals Service leading the way, a Chiloquin man has been arrested for child sex abuse.
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Jonathan Javier Montes, 32, was arrested in rural Chiloquin on a felony charge of first-degree sex abuse for a 2020 crime committed against a child in Jackson County.
Montes is now lodged in the Klamath County Jail awaiting transportation back to Jackson County.
The U.S. Marshals led the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force (PNVOTF) in the effort to track down and arrest Montes without incident at a residence on Royal Coachman Drive in Chiloquin about 30-miles north of Klamath Falls.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives began their investigation in mid-2022 after receiving a report of a child sex abuse that occurred approximately two years earlier. Based on the investigation, SVU detectives along with the Jackson County District Attorney’s office obtained a warrant, and PNVOTF made the arrest.
PNVOTF includes personnel from the U.S. Marshals, JCSO, and Central Point Police Department. The task force specializes in locating and arresting fugitives wanted for offenses including, but not limited to, murder, assault, sex crimes, failure to register as a sex offender, firearm violations and probation violations.
A Klamath Falls man was arrested by the Klamath Falls Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) for multiple outstanding warrants, including attempted murder.
Police served a search warrant at a home on the 900 block of North Alameda Avenue, where they arrested 46-year-old William Holder.
Police say that Holder was wanted in California for felony gun charges, and he also had an attempted murder warrant in Klamath County for a shooting that happened in Klamath Falls.
Police also say that after Holder was arrested, they seized several semi-automatic handguns, “dealer amounts” of methamphetamine and cash from the home.
Holder is lodged at the Klamath County Jail with bail set at $630,000. Police say the high bail is due to his threat to the community.
Holder is being charged for the felony warrants, and he faces the additional charges of felon in possession of a firearm, tampering with evidence and the unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
Lake Of The Woods Tops Best U.S. Ice Fishing Locations List
Lake of the Woods isn’t just near the top of a pass in Oregon’s Cascade mountain range. It’s also at the top of a list of the best ice fishing locations in the United States.
Online fishing enthusiast website fishingbooker.com lists Lake of the Woods at the top of “The 9 Best US Ice Fishing Destinations for 2023.”
Its recent article ranking Lake of Woods as #1 notes, “Fish don’t hibernate and neither should you.” FishingBooker says it is the world’s largest platform for booking fishing trips, and when it compiled a list of the best ice fishing destinations in the nation for this year Lake of the Woods topped the list.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lists ice fishing as a recreation option in its information about Lake of the Woods resort.
FishingBooker notes the Klamath County lake “spans 1000 acres” (officially listed as more than 1,100). It wrote, “Crowned by towering forests, the lake is also blessed with a stunning view of the snow-capped Cascades. But besides the scenic setting, the lake is famous for its incredible fishing opportunities. Lake of the Woods is home to a variety of fish species, but Trout, Crappie, Perch, Salmon, and Bass are the main targets here. Yellow Perch, in particular, are eager to bite.”
In Oregon, fishing licenses are valid January 1 to December 31, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) licensing staff will answer questions at 503-947-6101. While the State has various options for fishing licenses, its Annual Angling License costs state residents $44 and nonresidents $110.50, clarifying, “Resident is defined as a person who has resided in Oregon at least six months immediately prior to applying for a license, tag or permit.”
The USFS points out nearby Mt. McLoughlin standing almost 10,000 feet is another attraction for the resort located 40 minutes from Klamath Falls and 45 minutes from Medford, Oregon. Lake of the Woods is listed at 4,949 feet elevation.
FishingBooker wrote that, “Besides fishing, the area boasts numerous resorts and events. Nature lovers can keep on admiring the wildlife by bird watching. Families can spend some quality time ice skating. Meanwhile, those keen on having a cup of hot beverage in a cozy armchair can check in at one of many superb accommodations.”
Its list of the 9 Best US Ice Fishing Destinations for 2023 include:
- Lake of the Woods, Oregon
- Bonaparte Lake, Washington
- Henry’s Lake, Idaho
- Sheridan Lake, South Dakota
- Lake of the Woods, Minnesota
- Boom Lake, Wisconsin
- Shores and Islands, Ohio
- Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
- Moosehead Lake, Maine
If you are an outdoor enthusiast looking for some adventure this summer, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) might have just what you are looking for. The local BLM Klamath Falls Field Office is looking for volunteer campground hosts for the Gerber Recreation Area.
“This location is right by the water and is a great opportunity for an adventuresome person or couple with an RV,” said Assistant Field Manager Mike Limb. “We are looking for someone who would enjoy working with the public and maintaining the campground.”
The campground host makes visitor contacts and helps with minor maintenance such as painting, cleaning restrooms, cutting weeds and restocking permits and fee envelopes.
The BLM is seeking volunteers to live on-site from mid-May through mid-October. The BLM will provide the selected hosts an RV camping spot, propane and sewer. The camp host chosen also will receive a small stipend to help cover incidental expenses.
Gerber is set on a vast plateau in the high desert about one hour’s drive east of Klamath Falls. Mountain ridges and scattered Ponderosa Pine forests add variety and texture to the area. Gerber offers opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking, along with access to 100,000 acres of backcountry suitable for exploring, hunting, wildlife viewing and scenic OHV driving. Developed campsites are available at Gerber North and South Campgrounds. The area also offers primitive campsites, a horse camp and a day-use area as well as two boat ramps
Integral Youth Services has launched two free afterschool clubs for youths in middle and high school.
The first pilot session is beginning to wrap up now, and session two will begin Wednesday, Jan. 25.
The IYS afterschool clubs run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays for seven weeks per session. Transportation and services are available for youth who need help getting to the club, and multiple club options are available:
• Culinary Club: The Culinary Club is designed to teach students the skills necessary to become a novice chef. Students will cook and bake meals for the youth housing programs, and learn their way around a kitchen. The Culinary Club meets downtown at 1011 Main St.
• Conservation Club: The Conservation Club gets students actively engaging with the IYS Work2Learn program during the school year. Youth will get to learn workforce etiquette that can be a lead into future jobs in conservation. In this program, students will get to explore the great outdoors, learn to use tools and build job skills not taught in a normal brick and mortar classroom. The Conservation Club meets at 601 E. Main St.
These clubs have no cost to join and participate. To get registered for a class, go to integralyouthservices.org or call 541-882-2053.
The United Way of the Klamath Basin will hold its 78th annual meeting of the board and its supporters at noon Tuesday, Jan. 24 with a luncheon at the Waffle Hut on Main Street.
Admission is $10 per person and reservations are required by contacting United Way at 541-882-5558 or stopping by the office at 136 N. Third St. The public is invited.
United Way Community Campaign chairperson Jenine Stuedli will give a progress report but not a final report as several companies and individuals have not yet provided their pledge amounts, according to a press release.
Officials announced that 76% of the $507,000 campaign has been pledged.
Among the meeting highlights are Juan Maldonado, general manager of Klamath Falls Toyota, will be introduced as the 2023 board president; Kristin Sayles will receive the United Way Award of Excellence for lifetime achievement; Jessica Chastain, manager of Klamath County’s IT Department, will receive the Campaign Volunteer of the Year award; Several Sprit Awards will be presented; and United Way Campaign Loaned Executives will also receive an award.
A special Community Pillars Legacy award will be presented to Washington Federal Bank for donating a major capital contribution.
The United Way of the Klamath Basin supports 16 vital local social service agencies.
An exhibition featuring works by local artists who were associated with Gallery 803 is being continued through February at the Klamath County Museum’s Modoc Gallery.
Gallery 803 operated for more than 30 years at various locations on Main Street in Klamath Falls. Artists who still live in the area gathered for a reunion show at the museum in November. New pieces are being shown in the exhibition that is continuing to February.
A reception for the artists is slated for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 in the museum lobby at 1451 Main St.
Artists participating in the show include Peggy Bieler, Kathleen Buchanan, Dorothy Hale, Ruth Hollis, Glenda Lehrman, Susan Liskey, Loretta Martinez, Jack Noller, Heidi Nowak, Sharon Rajnus, Karen Ruiz, Myra Schelb, Paula Walborn, Lexis Washburn and Len Wilder.
Gallery 803 was established in 1975 by Warren Kerr, and included 25 artists over the years. The organization was originally located at 803 Main St., in the old J.C. Penney building.
As the Herald & News bid 2022 farewell and greeted the new year, the staff met its new publisher and said goodbye to the former head of the newspaper.
Michael Distelhorst is the new publisher of the Herald & News, replacing Mark Dobie.
Since 2014, Dobie served as the publisher of the Herald & News, and, later, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Montana as well. Dobie moved to Montana in 2017, making frequent trips to the Klamath Basin.
Recently, Adams Publishing Group (APG) acquired 13 additional newspapers in Montana, prompting a change in the chain of command.
As of this year, Dobie will be taking over as the publisher for 17 APG publications across Montana. Dobie noted that he feels confident he is leaving the Herald & News in good hands as Distelhorst takes the reins this month.
Distelhorst also took over as publisher for four APG West publications in Washington, prompting his relocation to Mount Vernon, Wash, where he now lives.
As publisher, Distelhorst said the Herald & News will “continue to gather and provide the local stories that are important to the community.”
Around the state of Oregon
2023 Oregon Legislative Session Begins Today
State representatives and senators convene for the purpose of lawmaking every year. Sessions begin each January. This year it will begin on January 17 and until June 25. It will take place at the State Capitol in Salem.
State Sen. Jeff Golden said he plans on focusing on homelessness, housing, mental health, and providing funding for community colleges and universities.
“The root of our homelessness problem and mental health problems is the inability of people to find jobs and support families,” says Golden. “Unless we just want to pour money into Band-Aids on homelessness forever. We need to build a system where people have a better chance of getting, you know, reasonable and decently paid employment.”
State Rep. Pam Marsh said finding innovative sources on providing homes for people in the community is at the top of her list.
“We are going to be very focused on, number one, providing some support for communities that are dealing with people who are houseless on the streets,” says Marsh. “And certainly national and other communities in the Rouge Valley qualify on that front. And secondly, we are going to really try to ramp up housing production.”
Since the recent midterm election, Oregon has uptrained new laws.
State Sen. Golden said wildfires in the state of Oregon have become a big discussion.
“It’s come to the point where almost the whole state suffers,” says Golden. “This really bad smoke happens is a depressing thing for people who are actually a part of this side of Oregon. So I’ll continue to try and lead towards a better path on that. We’ve waited too long to do something about this, but we do need a general collaborative, cooperative approach. And the wildfire maps we have, some are leading us in that direction.”
State Rep. Marsh said investing in modular housing facilities to provide affordable housing is one bill she plans on discussing.
“We are going to look at legislation that would allow us to make use of commercial spaces as housing to convert buildings that are already being used to be used as commercial buildings into housing units.”
Governor Kotek Gives Directives To Agencies
Oregon Governor Tina Kotek is telling state agencies to improve customer service.
Kotek sent a letter to agency directors telling them they need to be more efficient, more effective, and create systems that help the 42-thousand state employees deliver better service for Oregonians.
Governor Tina Kotek is launching her new administration by setting ambitious goals for improving customer service and delivering on a focused agenda. She sent a letter to all agency leaders outlining new expectations that will serve as guideposts for this effort.
The Oregon Agency Expectations will provide new data to help break down silos and make systems improvements across state government.
“A core part of my vision for the next four years is to improve customer service for Oregonians – whether they are coming to us for a service, or we are coming to them in the wake of a disaster,” Governor Kotek wrote. “That means being more efficient, more effective, and creating systems that will empower our collective 42,000 public servants to deliver for Oregonians.”
Gov. Kotek is directing the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to provide her office with updates on the progress in meeting the new expectations quarterly beginning June 1, 2023.
Read the letter and new agency expectations here.
Gov. Kotek also sent a letter to all state employees, thanking them for their public service and pledging to partner with them in solving problems, big and small.
“Thank you for serving Oregon and all of the people who call our state home. Thank you for your professionalism and commitment to public service. Thank you for the grit and dedication you each have shown through back-to-back crises and unprecedented challenges,” Gov. Kotek wrote. “I admire the work that you do, day in and day out, to provide the vital services Oregonians rely on.”
Kotek has told the Department of Administrative Services she wants progress reports every quarter starting in June.
State Wants Your Input For Locating More Air Quality Sensors – February 1st Deadline
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has launched a public survey to help its Air Quality Monitoring Team determine and prioritize 20 locations for new SensORs to measure air quality from wildfire smoke across the state. SensORs, which were first developed by DEQ’s Laboratory in 2019, are lower-cost monitors that collect timely particulate matter 2.5 data and display it over DEQ’s Air Quality Index .
Currently, DEQ has more than 70 PM2.5 monitoring locations across Oregon. As a result of the devastating fires in 2020, the 2021 state legislature passed Senate Bill 762 , which provides funding for 20 more SensORs to be deployed in regions with few to no monitors.
While DEQ has compiled a list of proposed areas, it would like public input to refine and prioritize it before starting the process of determining specific sites.
The list of proposed locations is based on the following:
• Counties and areas without monitors in the existing network. Typically, these are coastal or interior counties with low populations.
• Areas commonly affected by wildfire smoke.
• Regions where underrepresented communities are disproportionately affected by PM2.5 and wildfires, including rural areas.
• Input from agency partners and other interested parties, such as the Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Health Authority.
There are sections of the survey that allow participants to suggest areas of the state that are not on the proposed list. DEQ’s Air Quality Monitoring team is open to ideas.
“In the past, we have used a complex formula of criteria, including meteorology, topography, emission sources and availability of infrastructure to determine air quality monitoring locations,” said Lori Pillsbury, administrator for DEQ’s Laboratory and Environmental Assessment Division. “Those continue to be important elements for the final locations. However, we recognize it’s also important to consult with those who know our state best – the people living in the various regions. We are eager to hear where they believe SensORs should go next for the most comprehensive data collection.”
Particulate Matter is a mix of tiny particles and liquid droplets found in air. Sources include wildfires, automobiles, woodstoves and more. PM2.5 measures 2.5 microns in diameter and smaller (As a comparison, the average strand of human hair is 70 microns in diameter). When inhaled, it can lodge deep in the lungs and remain there a long time, aggravating asthma, heart disease and other respiratory and heart conditions. Understanding high levels of PM 2.5 means state agencies can focus more resources, such as wildfire and smoke preparation materials and smoke management community response plans and gran… , toward those areas.
You can always check current air quality conditions on DEQ’s Air Quality Index or by downloading the free OregonAIR app, which is available for smartphones.
Those interested in participating can find the survey at https://ordeq.org/AQSensORSurvey. Responses will be accepted through Feb. 1, 2023. For questions about the survey, send an email to Questions.AQM@deq.oregon.gov.
The Local Government Grant Program (LGGP) Accepting Applications for Park and Recreation Projects from Local Governments and Agencies
(Release from the Oregon parks and Recreation Department) The Local Government Grant Program (LGGP) is accepting applications for the 2023 grant cycle. The program helps local government agencies fund outdoor park and recreation areas and facilities and acquire property for park purposes.
Approximately $6 million in reimbursement grant funds are available for the 2023 cycle.
Eligible applicants are cities, counties, metropolitan service districts, park and recreation districts and port districts.
A live virtual workshop is scheduled from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 8 to help new and returning applicants navigate the application process and learn about the program. Register for the workshop at: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_93JkGpkfRv6KniG9-tOKwA
Program grants are split into large, small and planning categories. Application deadlines vary for each grant type:
- Large grant application deadline: April 1
- Small grant application deadline: May 1
- Planning grant application deadline: May 15
The site also includes additional information about the LGGP, including the grant manual, application instructions and program schedule.
The Lottery-funded grant program is administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). The program has awarded more than $70 million in reimbursement grant funds since 1999.
The City Of Ashland Seeks Input From The Public To Renovate, Replace Or Remove Historic Fountain In Lithia Park
The famous Butler-Perozzi Fountain was given to the City of Ashland in 1916 by Gwin S. Butler and Domingo Perozzi. This historic fountain was sculpted in Italy and made out of Flower of the Peach marble.
It now stands in Lithia Park and is currently not running. The fountain stands with multiple cracks and chips of the original marble. The City of Ashland proposed a plan for the public to submit a comment stating to renovate, remove or replace the fountain.
According to city officials, restoring or replacing the fountain will cost about $500,000. This price includes the whole fountain plus the stairs, pool, surrounding concrete, and plumbing infrastructure.
People can provide a comment on their selection by filling out the form on The City of Ashland website. The deadline to submit a comment is by 10 am on February 6, 2023.
Fraudsters Have Been Stealing Oregon EBT Benefits By Skimming Cards
Crammed inside a budget hotel, Tricia Collins works hard to make the most of a tough situation. With no steady income, the Portland woman stretches every penny to help support her 10-year-old son. State-issued food stamps and cash assistance are lifelines for her.
”I depend on both of them to an extreme,” said Collins. “We wait for that one day that you’re going to get paid and all those things that you need to get done,” explained Collins.
On the first of each month, the Oregon Department of Human Services loads the 39-year-old mother’s EBT card, known as the Oregon Trail Card, with benefits. She receives both SNAP benefits for food assistance and TANF cash benefits that can help with other expenses.
On the morning of December 1, Collins went to the ATM at a convenience store expecting to find a month’s worth of benefits on her Oregon Trail card. “My money was gone and I didn’t understand what was going on,” explained Collins.
Her heart sank. Collins needed money for her car. Her son’s birthday was just a few days away and Christmas was coming.
After a dizzying number of calls, Collins finally reached some at Oregon’s Department of Human Services. A customer service agent explained someone had withdrawn $420 from Tricia’s account during two separate transactions at 8:26 a.m. and 8:28 a.m. from an ATM at a 7-Eleven store in Edgewood, Washington.
Collins warned the state agency that her account had been compromised. Employees told her there was little they could do.
“I’m hoping that this person only hit my card once and that it wasn’t going to happen again,” said Collins.
It did happen again. One month later.
On January 1, DHS told Collins someone had stolen her benefits by withdrawing $400 at 7:14 a.m. from an ATM at 7-Eleven store in Kent, Washington.
“It blew my mind that nobody on the fraud department side did anything. No flags, no nothing,” said Collins. “If it was a Visa or Mastercard (and) the transactions were done in another state you’d get a call immediately.”
Jana McDonald of Portland had a similar experience. DHS told her someone swiped $600 in food stamp benefits from her Oregon Trail Card.
“They said it had been used all at once on an online order. It had gotten sent to Florida. I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, Florida? I’m not in Florida!” explained the Portland woman.
By law, Oregon DHS says it is unable to replace stolen SNAP benefits. The recent federal spending bill could change that, however, eventually allowing states to replace stolen benefits.
Over the past several months, the USDA, which oversees food assistance, along with several states, have warned about fraud tied to EBT accounts.
Crooks often skim EBT cards by secretly installing a device on ATM readers that send card numbers and pin numbers back to the thieves — who then create fake cards and drain accounts.
“We think it is unacceptable that fraudsters are getting away with taking those benefits from consumers with really no penalty,” said John Breyault of the National Consumers League.
Breyault believes states need to replace stolen benefits and improve fraud detection. And most importantly, Breyault argues, states should upgrade the EBT cards with smart chip technology that makes them more difficult and expensive for fraudsters to skim. Currently, every state still uses the old-fashioned cards with a magnetic stripe and no chip, according to the USDA.
“That is not secure, and it is trivially easy for crooks to use skimmers and other devices to get the information off those cards, clone the cards and start running up charges on them,” said Breyault.
Oregon DHS argued chip cards are not cost-effective.
“CHIP cards are significantly more expensive for the state to issue and use than the current magstripe cards and are still susceptible to fraud and skimming devices,” said Oregon DHS spokesperson Jake Sunderland in a written statement to KGW. “It is not believed that using CHIP EBT cards would significantly reduce the rates of fraud and stolen benefits, and that the increased cost of CHIP cards will not result in any significant benefit to people using EBT cards.”
In 2019, Visa reported chip cards reduced counterfeit fraud by 76%.
For fraud victims like Collins, it seems like a no-brainer. Oregon DHS should protect those most in need.
“It’s very … it’s devastating for all of us for them not to do anything,” said Collins. argues EBT recipients should have the same security technology as everyone else using the banking system. “I’m sure they have enough money to put a chip in a damn card,” said Collins.
The USDA encourages SNAP participants to take actions that may help prevent card skimming. For example:
- Keep your PIN secret. Do not share your PIN with anyone outside your household. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
- Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. If you notice any, change your PIN immediately to stop the thief from making any new purchases.
- Check card reading machines to make sure there’s nothing suspicious overlayed or attached to the card swiper or keypad. The overlays can be difficult to detect but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the machine.
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