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Klamath Basin News, Tuesday 2/14 – Sky Lakes Medical Center Offering Free CNA Training; Steens Sports Park Vandalized; Oregonians Won’t Need to Report Pandemic Relief as Taxable Income says Oregon

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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 Insuranceyour local health and Medicare agents.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Morning snow flurries turn to sunny skies in the Basin by afternoon, with a high near 34. Overnight low around 11 degrees tonight. Northwest winds 6 to 11 mph.

Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 40. Calm wind becoming south southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon. Overnight low of 17.
Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 41.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 44.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 47.

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

Protect yourself against the latest COVID-19 variants and prepare for flu season at a free vaccine clinic today at the downtown Klamath County Library.

The Oregon Health Authority will be administering vaccines from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, Feb. 14th against both this year’s seasonal flu and the latest variants of COVID-19, while supplies last. They will also be distributing free food boxes with a variety of pantry staples to anyone who stops by, whether they stay to get a vaccine or not. (Also while supplies last.)

Some important facts to know:

You don’t need to present any medical insurance to receive a vaccine, and it’s totally free.

It is both safe and recommended to get your COVID-19 booster and the annual flu shot together, but it’s not required.

The new bivalent vaccines for the latest COVID-19 variants will be available for people (ages 12 and older for Pfizer, ages 18 and older for Moderna) who have already received at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), and it’s been at least two months since the last time you’ve gotten a vaccine, including any additional boosters.

Sky Lakes Medical Center’s free CNA training program application is open again.

This program is funded and supported by Sky Lakes Medical Center and hosted at Klamath Community College. Sky Lakes will cover the cost of the program and required materials. Those who successfully complete the program will be offered full-time employment at Sky Lakes Medical Center.

You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school degree or earned a GED, successfully complete the interview process, and pass a background and drug screening to enroll in the program.

Learn more and apply by visiting the Sky Lakes Medical Center’s website. https://www.skylakes.org/

Steen Sports Park officials, at the very popular local park, said its soccer field was vandalized in the past few days.

The park announced on Facebook that someone drove onto its soccer fields and spun their tires.

They also said incidents like this happen at least once a year and there are limited funds to fix the damage. The park is a non-profit organization in Klamath Falls creating affordable recreation opportunities for youth and adults.

The Klamath Hospice and Palliative Care annual Valentine’s Day Bake Sale has returned.

The sale will be from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, Tuesday, Feb. 14th, in the Three Rivers room at Sky Lakes Medical Center.

At the sale, there will be traditional Valentine’s Day cookies as well as other cookies, baked goods, candy, dog biscuits, flowers, children’s items and two drawings for baskets.

All proceeds from the sale help support patients and families of Klamath Hospice and Palliative Care.

22nd Living Well Community Health Fair

Klamath County Fairgrounds 3531 South 6th St. Exhibit Hall 1

Sky Lakes is bringing back the Living Well Community Health Fair! Join us at the Living Well Community Health Fair for free health screenings and exhibits from Sky Lakes Medical Center and our community partners for all ages.

These preventative health screenings will be available to the public for free:

  • Cholesterol screening (recommended 8-12 hour fast)
  • Blood glucose screening (recommended 8-12 hour fast)
  • Blood pressure check

For more information, go to https://www.skylakes.org/healthfair/

The Lake of the Woods Kite Festival has grown bigger and bigger over the years, and this year was no exception.

Hundreds of people came out to the frozen lake on February 11th, to see some one-of-a-kind kites fly through the air. The event brought kite flyers from all over the west coast to participate.

Conditions were not ideal for some of the giant kites out on the ice, due to light and inconsistent winds, but there were tons of smaller kites taking full advantage of the wind they had.

The lack of strong winds didn’t discourage people from having a great time out on the ice, with some veteran kite flyers saying that waiting is just part of the experience.

Guests at the resort were also able to participate in sledding, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing while they waited for the winds to pick up.

Toys for Tots in the Basin had another successful and abundant year this past holiday season.

Thanks to generous residents of Klamath and Lake counties who made toy and monetary donations, as well as provisions which came directly from the national Toys for Tots foundation, a total of 4,096 children were served in the region.

The national Toys for Tots foundation provided an additional 6,491 toy donations and 1,000 books. According to Eric Anderson, the national foundation also gave $24,000 to serve the children of Lake County.

A Marine Corps veteran himself, as well as the local Toys for Tots coordinator, Anderson also said the local Marine Corps League Crater Lake Detachment hosted a fundraiser dinner that successfully raised $3,000 on behalf of Toys for Tots.

In total, the toy drive campaign distributed 14,077 toys and 2,160 books to children throughout the region.

Commandant of the Crater Lake Detachment #373 Eric Levesque said that the Toys for Tots campaign is the “largest fundraising effort of the year” aside from the detachment’s Scholarship Fund program.

Around the state of Oregon

Snow Hits All Over Oregon

Many Oregonians woke up to some snow this morning. Schools had posted delays and it’s a good reminder that we’re smack dab in the middle of winter still.

Northbound I-5 was being held at California-Oregon state line because of winter weather conditions. Caltrans District 2 and the Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services made the announcement around 7:30 am this morning. For more updates on road conditions, check QuickMap.dot.ca.gov in California and TripCheck.com in Oregon.

Oregonians who received a pandemic relief payment from the state in 2022 can now file their tax returns, the IRS said, and don’t need to report the $600 check as taxable income.

The federal agency earlier this month asked tax filers in Oregon and at least 18 other states who had received special payments or state tax refunds last year to hold off on filing their 2022 tax returns.

On Friday it gave the all-clear for most of the states, including Oregon, saying it had determined taxpayers not need to report the payments “in the interest of sound tax administration and other factors.”

Oregon last summer issued $600 economic stimulus payments to 236,000 qualifying households. Most tax filers who qualified for the Oregon Earned Income Tax Credit on their 2020 tax filing received the payments automatically, either by direct deposit or mailed checks.

The Oregon Department of Revenue had said those payments aren’t taxable income, but the IRS wasn’t so sure and said it needed more time to examine the question before reaching the same conclusion.

Oregon Lawmakers Working To Make A Deal On Major Housing And Homelessness Bill

Lawmakers are working quickly to pass a massive housing and homelessness bill: House Bill 2001 is a combination of five housing bills which adds on to GovernorTina Kotek’s proposals.

House Bill 2001, a combination of five housing bills, adds on to Gov. Tina Kotek’s emergency order she signed on her first full day in office last month. It includes a number of different initiatives that both parties and various stakeholders have reached compromises on.

Lawmakers say they want it to be on the governor’s desk for signature by the end of March.

Kotek’s homelessness state of emergency left out 26 rural counties in Oregon. Her order was based on point-in-time counts. Those counts are one-time physical counts of homeless individuals that every region does each year. It determines how most federal funding is distributed.

The governor’s order included only the regions that saw a 50% or more increase in unsheltered homelessness over six years. HB 2001 looks to set aside extra money for the rest of Oregon.

“This really allows the rest of Oregon that felt that the PIT counts are hard to do in really large areas where you don’t necessarily see people who are houseless from the road,” said Rep. Maxine Dexter, D-Portland. “It allows for them to get investments.”

How much money that will include has not yet been determined, but Dexter said it will be separate from the $130 million Kotek has asked for.

At the beginning of her term in office last month, Kotek urged lawmakers to spend $130 million to add 600 low-barrier shelter beds, keep nearly 9,000 at-risk families from becoming homeless and to help get 1,200 unsheltered Oregonians off the street by the end of this year.

The package of bills also increase eviction protections, adds more resources for homeless youth, and funnels money toward housing development.

Eviction protections sparked a lot of public interest from the start of this year’s legislative session. A few weeks ago, a public hearing on Senate Bill 799 was packed with landlords and tenants testifying for and against the bill. Lawmakers and stakeholders on both sides had to compromise, and a watered down version on that bill is now part of this larger package.

“The bill retains six of the critical issues that were in Senate Bill 799, and it removed two of the issues that were in Senate Bill 799,” said Sybil Hebb, an attorney with the Oregon Law Center.

For example, it removes a 60-day safe harbor period that would give tenants more time to seek rent assistance, but it increases the notice for nonpayment eviction from the current 72-hour notice to a 10-day notice.

Dexter, who is sponsoring the package, said it took a lot of work behind the scenes to reach an agreement.

“There were conversations that followed up on that hearing to get to a place where both tenants and landlords felt like they were moving a bill with the package that everyone could either be supportive of or neutral,” she said.

She said the best way the public can have influence in the conversation around these bills is to engage with the different advocacy groups that represent the different constituencies or the different stakeholders.

The five bills that fall under the umbrella of House Bill 2001 are:

Have your voice heard. A public hearing in the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness is scheduled for House Bill 2001 Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 8 a.m. in HR F at the Capitol. Read more about the bill, register to testify and submit testimony hereRead the -1 amendment, which contains the details that will be discussed Tuesday.

Three Bills Being Considered In Oregon Would Ban Or Reduce The Use of Some Plastics

Three bills could soon make grocery shopping and dining out more sustainable.

Styrofoam is polluting our environment. Let's #BanTheFoam. - Environmental  Defence

Senate Bill 545 would allow consumers to use their own clean containers at grocery stores and restaurants.

SB 543 would ban the sale of prepared food in polystyrene foam containers, and the sale of those containers, as well as foam packing peanuts, in Oregon.

And SB 544 would create a program to reduce the use of single-use plastic food ware and packaging.

The public can weigh in on the proposals at a public hearing from 1-3 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, in Hearing Room B at the Oregon Capitol.

Study Shows “Slow Down, Move Over” Has Not Improved Tow Driver Safety In Oregon

New studies from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveal just how dangerous it is to be stranded on the side of the road. Researchers say 60% of first responders and tow workers have experienced a roadside near-miss and 15% have survived being hit by a passing vehicle. 

Between 2016 and 2020, more than 1,700 Americans were killed while outside a disabled vehicle; ten of those in Oregon. An average of two emergency responders are struck and killed every month in the U.S., including tow truck drivers.  

Every state has its own version of “Slow Down, Move Over.” In Oregon, drivers are required to reduce their speed and change lanes, if possible, when going past a vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights or other signs of distress.

But the AAA Foundation found flashing lights, cones and flares caused drivers to change lanes but not slow down Bentley – now a Safety and Training Specialist for AAA-Oregon – says most people will move over if they see law enforcement on the side of the road, but not other emergency vehicles or a disabled motorist, “I think it comes down to: people don’t want to get a ticket, essentially. But I wouldn’t say the ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ rule has – I wouldn’t count on that one bit to have made a difference in our safety, day to day.”

The AAA Foundation found vehicle-mounted digital signs work best in getting people to obey the law. Bentley says that’s why drivers who break down need to take precautions before that help arrives, “Think of your safety, your passenger’s safety, because you’re really the one who’s looking out for yourself. So, get as far off the road as you can.”

For drivers passing disabled vehicles at highway speeds, he adds, “Whether it’s a tow driver or a construction zone or even just someone who’s broken down, I would recommend: be considerate, imagine it’s yourself in that position and react accordingly.”

(Salem) – Most Oregonians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive emergency allotments in February but that is the final allotment according to the state of Oregon.

In February, approximately 416,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $71 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits. This will be the final emergency allotment provided to Oregonians.

March 2023 will be the first month since April 2020 that most people on SNAP in Oregon will only receive their regular SNAP food benefits. 

“We know that many rely on these additional emergency food benefits to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht (he/him). “As Oregon continues to be impacted by COVID-19 and the rising cost of food, we know that without these emergency food benefits some in Oregon may experience hardship and hunger. We encourage people who are concerned to start planning for this change today. Having a plan ahead of time will reduce the chance of experiencing an emergency or crisis later. There are food supports available to everyone in Oregon, you can find what is available in your community by contacting our partners at 211, the Oregon Food Bank or by visiting needfood.oregon.gov.”

“It’s critical that Oregonians facing reduced support for groceries know that food remains available to all who need it,” said Susannah Morgan (she/her), Oregon Food Bank CEO. “Across rural, urban and suburban communities, more than 1,400 free food markets, pantries and meal sites are moving mountains to make sure families have the resources we need to fill the gap. And everyone is welcome — regardless of race, gender, religion or immigration status.”

“The end of the emergency allotments, as we all know, will be a very hard time for many folks and families, but we know there are great people at 211, ODHS and our partner agencies who stand ready to help and will lead with compassion to help the community navigate this change,” said Kerry Hoeschen (she/her), 211info emergency management director. “At 211info we are available 24/7 to provide information and referrals to agencies offering support for a wide variety of needs such as rent and utility payment support. This includes more than 1,000 food resources across Oregon and Southwest Washington like food pantries, farmers markets, community gardens, fresh food distribution and summer food programs for all Oregonians. To find out more about general resources and food programs contact us! Language interpreters are available.”

Current SNAP households will receive emergency allotments on Feb. 10. Emergency allotments will be issued Feb. 27 or March 1 for households who did not receive benefits in the first monthly issuance.

Oregonians who receive SNAP are encouraged to prepare for this change in the amount of food benefits they receive. Having a plan ahead of time will reduce the chance of experiencing an emergency or crisis later.

Find out what your regular SNAP benefit amount is. Knowing your regular SNAP benefit can help you budget. You can check how much your regular benefits are by accessing your EBT account online at www.ebtEDGE.com or by logging into your ONE account at Benefits.oregon.gov.

Questions about your SNAP benefits can also be directed to the ONE Customer Service Center at 1-800-699-9075. The ONE Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time. 

Regular SNAP benefits are added to EBT cards between the first and the ninth day of the month.

You can report changes to your income or household in many ways: 

  • Online at: Benefits.oregon.gov
  • By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
  • By fax at: 503-378-5628
  • By phone at: 1-800-699-9075 or TTY 711, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

Know what food supports are in your area. There are many different organizations providing food support in communities throughout Oregon:

More information about emergency allotments is available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/About-SNAP.aspx.

Resources to help meet basic needs

Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, families and individuals with low incomes in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits. For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372.

FREE Nature Pub Talk – Agate Desert

February 28, 2023, Medford, Ore. – Southern Oregon Land Conservancy (SOLC) hosts a free Nature Pub Talk on Agate Desert, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Grape Street Bar and Grill in Medford (31 S Grape St, Medford).

A panel of experts will provide a glimpse of the natural beauty located near the base of the Table Rocks at the Agate Desert Preserve. Topics that showcase this unique and threatened landform will range from the life of the federally threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp covered by Land Steward Rebekah Bergkoetter, geography and geology with Professor Emeritus Pat Acklin, the Agate Desert ecology with Dr. Michael Parker, and a land acknowledgement and how the Table Rocks came to be from the Takelma perspective with David West.

No registration necessary, event is open to all ages. Early arrival is strongly recommended. For more information call (541) 482-3069 or email info@landconserve.org.

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ABOUT THE SOUTHERN OREGON LAND CONSERVANCY: The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy’s (SOLC) mission is to protect and enhance precious land in the Rogue River region to benefit our human and natural communities. One path to achieving this mission is to engage community members—youth and adults—in programs that encourage a greater appreciation and understanding of our natural environments.

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