Klamath Basin News, Monday, 1/23/22 – Bill Schonely, Voice of the Traiblazers Passes Away at 93; KFPD Capt. Ryan Brosterhous Retires

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Monday, January 23, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 40. Calm wind. Overnight mostly clear, with a low around 16. Light north northeast wind.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 44. Mostly clear overnight, with a low around 20. Calm wind.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 44. Light north northeast wind. Mostly clear, with a low around 20.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 45. Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 22.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 50.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 44.

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

Teresa Vaughn died the day after Christmas 2020 at Sky Lakes Medical Center. The Klamath Falls woman was 62 years old. Now, Vaughn’s family and domestic partner are suing the Klamath County Fire District 1 over her death and paramedics’ handling of a call to Vaughn’s apartment on Homedale Road.

A wrongful death civil lawsuit was filed in federal court in Medford against the Klamath County Fire District on Jan. 10.

It alleges negligence and that the local fire agency violated Vaughn’s civil rights and contends that the paramedics failed and refused to provide medical care to Vaughn.

That includes not transporting Vaughn to the hospital, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also names KCFD Chief Greg Davis, Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Hitchcock, KCFD Medical Director Jakob Freid and the two paramedics who responded to the Boxing Day 911 call Cody Engler and Alex Dustin.

The suit said Vaughn had trouble breathing and her partner, Vivian Kimbol, called 911 at 4:02 p.m. Dec. 26, 2020, and told the dispatcher of the situation. Paramedics arrived at the apartment at 4:09 p.m. The federal lawsuit alleges KCFD paramedics left the apartment at 4:15 p.m. — six minutes later.

“They drove away after providing no medical care to Teresa; they did not even wait to make sure Kimbol’s car started,” the suit contends.

Kimbol and Vaughn’s family alleges the paramedics also did not take the woman’s vital signs. Nor did they take Vaughn, who worked as a bookkeeper, to the hospital.

The Klamath Falls woman was pronounced dead at 9:26 p.m. after going into cardiac arrest. Vaughn’s death certificate, provided to the Herald & News by the plaintiff’s attorney, lists cardiopulmonary arrest, hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and a “COVID-19 infection” as the causes of death.

In addition to wrongful death and negligence claims, the legal action claims emotional distress and that Vaughn’s civil rights were violated. The lawsuit seeks monetary and punitive damages, according to court documents.

Mylander said there will be more evidence discovery and depositions in the case. He also said his clients have been frustrated with lack of transparency. The KCFD report said Vaughn agreed to have her “roommate take her to the hospital instead of crews.” Luke Reese, an attorney representing the fire district, declined to comment on the suit and its contentions.

Klamath Falls Police Department is searching for a new captain following the retirement of former KFPD Capt. Ryan Brosterhous.

For nearly 27 years, Brosterhous has served with KFPD in a variety of roles, starting off as a patrol officer in 1996, according to a news release.

Working his way up the ranks, Brosterhous was promoted to sergeant in 2002, lieutenant in 2012 and captain in 2015.

With the former captain officially starting his retirement last month, KFPD is now seeking applications to fill the position. Lt. Rob Reynolds said that application reviews will begin Feb. 6 and will be conducted by Reynolds himself.

The application found on the city’s website describes the role of captain as one which “represents a working leadership position within a law enforcement career ladder,” overseeing lieutenants and reporting directly to the chief of police.

The captain is tasked with a number of duties, including scheduling and assigning officers work, mentoring, coaching and training officers and hiring personnel.

Currently, KFPD staff consists of one parking enforcement officer, three community service officers, six volunteers, 36 sworn officers and six reserve officers, with five on patrol at any given time.

KFPD is also currently looking to hire a patrol officer. The application can also be found on the city site. First review will be conducted Feb. 20.

With improved staffing, upgraded facilities and innovative educational programs, Klamath County School District made great strides in 2022.

At the KCSD board meeting Thursday, Jan. 19, trustees discussed the improvements that have been made and those that are to come in 2023.

The board reported having hired and onboarded 93 new teachers as well as having expanded the mentors for teachers program.

Maintenance and upgrade projects that were completed last year included the addition of six classrooms at Shasta, resurfaced parking lot at Peterson and new flooring at five different facilities. Board documents suggest more projects will be underway throughout the coming year.

The KCSD Career and Technical Education program has flourished after receiving the CTE Revitalization Grants in March last year. Three schools — Lost River Junior/Senior High, Henley High and Bonanza Junior/Senior High — were able to expand their programs and upgrade equipment and lab facilities.

Szymoniak explained that he aligns his goals with the school district and the district community members’ goals, incorporating the input into the strategic plan for the school year.

KCSD Board Chair Jill O’Donnell commended the district for the work they’ve done in creating the 2023 strategic plan.

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.”

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:

  1. Lake of the Woods, Oregon
  2. Bonaparte Lake, Washington
  3. Henry’s Lake, Idaho
  4. Sheridan Lake, South Dakota
  5. Lake of the Woods, Minnesota
  6. Boom Lake, Wisconsin
  7. Shores and Islands, Ohio
  8. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
  9. Moosehead Lake, Maine

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.

Around the state of Oregon

Bill Schonely, the longtime Portland Trail Blazers broadcaster with a distinctive baritone who coined the phrase “Rip City,” died on Saturday. He was 93.

Affectionately known as “The Schonz,” Schonely was the team’s broadcaster for its inaugural season in 1970 and held the job for some 28 years — including the team’s NBA championship run in 1977.

He died in Portland with his wife of 31 years, Dottie, by his side, the team said. The cause of death was not released.

After leaving broadcasting, Schonely served as ambassador with the Blazers and was a frequent fixture at home games until his formal retirement last year.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden called Schonely “a true Oregon legend.”

Schonely called more than 2,200 Trail Blazers games. He was recognized by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Media Award in 2012.  A public celebration of his life is being planned, the Blazers said.

Study Shows Personal Income Is Among The Starkest Divisions Between Urban And Rural Oregon

Of the many divisions between urban and rural Oregon, personal income is among the starkest.

People living near Oregon’s biggest cities earn nearly twice as much as those living in remote, sparsely populated areas. That’s according to a new report from the Oregon Employment Department.

For example, Washington County residents earned $71,500 per capita during 2021, according to the analysis of the latest federal data by economist Molly Hendrickson. That’s the most of any county in Oregon and well above the statewide personal income level of $62,000 per capita.

Contrast that with Malheur County, which had Oregon’s lowest per capita income at $38,900. Similar disparities exist across Oregon. The three counties in the Portland area all had per capita incomes over $70,000. The eight counties with incomes under $50,000 are mostly in eastern or southern Oregon.

There are many reasons incomes vary so dramatically. Oregon’s largest and most lucrative industries are in its big cities, which also have the highest cost of living. Some rural areas have struggled to overcome the decline of the state’s natural resources industries and attract new business and residents.

A key component of that trend is the aging populations in many of the counties with lower incomes. Many younger people leave smaller communities for higher wages in the cities, leaving behind a higher share of retirees who rely on Social Security and other government programs for a big part of their income.

Such “transfer payments” from the government, Hendrickson notes, are highest in Wheeler, Malheur and Jefferson counties – the three counties with Oregon’s lowest per capita income. Transfer payments also include Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance, though Hendrickson said the higher share of transfer payments in Oregon’s lower-income counties has more to do with age than dependence on government subsidies.

Overall, Oregon ranks 21st among states for personal income, which grew by 8.2% in 2021 – tied with Washington for the 10th fastest rate in the nation. COVID-19 provided a boost in personal income, according to Hendrickson, because of stimulus payments coupled with the boost that came from people returning to work as the pandemic eased.

State economists expect personal income growth will cool considerably in 2023, to 2.4%. That’s partly because well-off Oregonians boosted their incomes last year by cashing out investments after the stock market’s big run in 2020 and 2021, and partly because economists expect a “mild” recession this year.

USDA Puts Nearly $500 Million Toward West Coast Wildfire Prevention

Wildfires have been burning up the west coast with unprecedented frequency and intensity. Ongoing megadrought conditions have turned the major blazes from seasonal occurrences to year-round threats. NBC News now reports that the United States Government is now drastically ramping up efforts to protect vulnerable forests and at-risk communities from the devastating infernos.

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made a huge announcement. Approximately $490 million of government funding from the Inflation Reduction Act have been earmarked for projects to reduce wildfire risks. The states where those projects will take place are Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. This is on top of the $440 million in fire mitigation funding that was part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress.

The collective sum of funding is expected to help protect around 45 million acres. That according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. That acreage is broken down into 134 areas where wildfires are considered to pose a serious risk to communities and infrastructure. The USDA has identified as many as 250 of those areas across the western U.S. “We expect and anticipate that around 200 communities in the western U.S. will see a mitigated wildfire risk as a result,” Vilsack said Wednesday.

Ongoing Megadrought Making West More Susceptible To Infernos — While wildfires used to only be a concern during the warmest and dryest months. However, with current drought conditions still ongoing throughout much of the western U.S., wildfires have become a year-round threat. Research also predicts that climate change is only likely to increase both the frequency and intensity of these infernos.

USDA Focusing On Potential Wildfire Areas Near Infrastructure — The bulk of the work funded by the almost $500 million will focus on 11 different landscapes. Those areas were selected because of their proximity to neighborhoods, buildings, and infrastructure. Areas that include underserved communities, public water sources, and tribal lands will also be a major focus.

“We also factored into this determination the most current predictive science and research that will allow us to determine where risks are highest,” said Secretary Vilsack. “It’s not a matter of whether or not a forest will burn. It’s just a matter of when and where.”

A variety of techniques will be used to make the land hardier and more capable of withstanding threats from wildfires. Those methods include prescribed burns and thinning dense and dead strands of trees. A major priority will also be removing the buildup of leaves and branches on the ground that often fuel fires. Reforestation efforts are also a part of the plan.

“We know from science, we know from models, we know from input from those who live, work and raise their families in communities around these forests who understand and know the forest, that there are critical areas that need to be worked on,” Vilsack said. “And by working on them, essentially you create a circumstance that should there be a fire, you minimize the risk of the fire getting to a point where it risks communities or critical infrastructure.”

Oregon offers free electronic filing option for state income taxes

Salem, OR— All Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns in 2023 can file electronically at no cost using one of Oregon’s free file options, the Oregon Department of Revenue announced today. The department will begin processing 2022 state income tax returns today, the same day the IRS will begin processing federal returns.

Free electronic filing options

Several free file options are available on the department’s website www.oregon.gov/dor. Free guided tax preparation is available from several companies for taxpayers that meet income requirements. Using links from the department’s website ensures that both taxpayers’ federal and state return will be filed for free.

Free fillable forms

Taxpayers that don’t meet the income requirements for guided preparation can file for free using Oregon Free Fillable Forms. Free Fillable Forms performs basic calculations and are ideal for taxpayers who don’t need help preparing their returns and want the convenience of filing electronically. A detailed series of steps for using free fillable forms are available on the agency’s electronic filing page. The IRS offers a similar option for filing federal taxes electronically.

Other free options

The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. Low- to moderate-income taxpayers can also access preparation services through AARP and CASH Oregon. United Way also offers free tax help through their MyFreeTaxes program. More information on these options is available on the department’s website.

E-filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund 34 days sooner than taxpayers who mail their paper return and request paper refund checks.

Refunds will be issued starting February 15. A refund hold is part of the department’s tax fraud prevention efforts and allows for confirmation that the amounts claimed on tax returns matches what employers report on Forms W-2 and 1099.

To check the status of your refund or make payments, visit Revenue’s website. You can also call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), we accept all relay calls.

Early Buzz Over New License Plate Design

There’s a possible new license plate in the works in the state of Oregon. It’s called ‘Pollinator Paradise‘. 

The plate features two of the state’s most iconic bees: the managed honey bee, and the wild yellow-faced bumble bee.  There may already be a lot of ‘buzz’ with this new plate, but before production can start, the Oregon State University Horticulture Department must first sell 3,000 license plate vouchers. 

Proceeds then go towards documenting bee biodiversity in Oregon and research to keep honey bees healthy. 

You can learn more on the O.S.U. College of Agricultural Sciences website

The Mail Tribune ceased printing their Rogue Valley Newspaper in October of 2022 and on January 13th, the newspaper’s digital version covering the Southern Oregon community for more than a hundred years, permanently closed down.

Now the EO Media Group who owns newspapers like the Bend Bulletin in Bend, Oregon, has announced its plans of creating a new newspaper in Medford, according to an article on Friday. Heidi Wright, publisher for the Bulletin said the publication decided to revamp a new news organization to bring a robust newsroom back.

The newspaper plans on being called, ‘The Tribune.’ It will produce a printed copy three times a week while also having a digital news source. Wright said the newspaper will provide the typical news content.

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Throughout the process, The Bulletin is working with the Mail Tribune to staff the newsroom. Wright said she is looking to hire some of the past writers and editors from the Mail Tribune.

The Tribune does not have a solidified building for the news publication so far as the current building was purchased by a local TV station. The website plans on launching in about seven to 10 days.

A baby gray whale washed up on the northern Oregon coast Wednesday, Jan. 18, making it the third dead whale to beach on the state’s coastline over the past week.

The 12-foot-long calf washed ashore at Fort Stevens State Park, KGW reported, only 100 yards from the site where a dead sperm whale beached over the weekend.

The baby whale appeared to be a stillborn, Michael Milstein, spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries agency, told the news outlet. There were no indications that it was struck by a ship or that it died from human interaction.

Federal biologists determined that the 40-foot sperm whale that washed ashore nearby died after a ship hit it. The whale had a large gash in its side.

Westerly winds and currents may have caused the two whales to wash ashore near each other, Allyssa Casteel, who is on staff at Seaside Aquarium, told the news outlet. Gray whales are currently migrating south for the winter to their birthing and breeding grounds near Baja California.

The whales at Fort Stevens are not the only cetaceans currently decomposing on Oregon’s beaches.

The gray whale population has declined by 38% from its peak in 2015 and 2016, the NOAA found, partly stemming from low birth numbers in recent years.

The Oregon Secretary of State has released an audit of how Ballot Measure 110 is being implemented. The voter approved measure decriminalized drug use and required the Oregon Health Authority to establish drug treatment facilities around the state.

The audit recommends creation of a plan by September that details how the program will be integrated into the state’s behavioral health system. It also recommends the establishment of a way to measure progress as well as a way to develop better policies and procedures for giving grants to treatment centers.

The Oregon Health Authority has been criticized for taking over two years to get the program in operation.

Oregon had fewer boating related fatalities last year. The Oregon State Marine Board reports 16 people died in boating incidents, compared to 19 in 2021, and 26 in 2020.

Officials say most fatalities come down to people not wearing life jackets. Eleven incidents involved non-motorized watercraft, like kayaks and paddleboards.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Trains for Mass Casualty Incident Response

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) hosted a mass casualty incident training Saturday morning. The course prepped local first responders in triage medicine and mass casualty incident response.

This event is part of ongoing medical training and preparation for local first responders. Many agencies participated including SAR personnel from Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas counties as well as Jackson County Emergency Management and Fire District 3. Jackson County Emergency Medical Services Supervising Physician Alicia Bond and FD3 Firefighter/Paramedic Alex Cummings instructed the course.

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