Klamath Basin News, Monday, 3/13 – Suspected Drug Dealer Arrested with Suspected Possession of Meth and Fentanyl in Vehicle

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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.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Wind Advisory in effect until 11PM PDT

Today Rain likely, mainly after noon. Snow level 5500 feet rising to 6100 feet. Cloudy, with a high near 46. South southwest wind around 21 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Overnight, rain mixed with snow flurries, low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tuesday Rain and snow, becoming all rain after 9am. Snow level 4500 feet rising to 5600 feet in the afternoon. High near 45. East southeast wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight rain with a around 27.
Wednesday Partly sunny, with a high near 42. North northwest wind 6 to 9 mph. Cloudy overnight with a low around 19.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 45.
Friday A slight chance of snow between noon and 3pm, then a slight chance of rain after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45.
Saturday A slight chance of rain and snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 48.

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

A welfare check Friday morning resulted in the capture of a suspected drug dealer.

At approximately 5AM on Friday, the Klamath Falls Police Department patrol officers responded to the area of Delap Road and Greensprings Drive in Klamath Falls on a report of a welfare check regarding a man passed out in a grey Volvo parked in the middle of the road.

According to a press release, when officers arrived on scene and approached the vehicle, the driver fled the scene in the Volvo headed south on Delap Road at a high rate of speed.  Another KFPD patrol officer was traveling north on Delap Road when the grey Volvo attempted to negotiate the curve states. Due to the extreme snow and ice conditions, the Volvo was unable to maintain its lane of travel and slid into the northbound lane as the patrol vehicle was traveling north resulting in a collision.

The driver of the Volvo and a female passenger exited the vehicle after the crash and fled on foot. The female passenger was located and detained near the crash site, but the driver was able to flee the area.

The patrol officer was transported Sky Lakes Medical Center for medical treatment of minor injuries, according to the press release, and was then released. The investigation of the crash has been turned over to the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office due to the crash involving a KFPD officer.

While investigating the Volvo, officers were able to identify the driver as Jonathan M. Fraioli, 36.

The press release stated, “there was probable cause to believe that the vehicle contained a large amount of suspected drugs.”

To assist further with the investigation, KFPD called in members of the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET). When BINET detectives searched Fraioli’s vehicle, they located 1.8 pounds of suspected methamphetamine, 5 ounces of suspected fentanyl, 107 suspected fentanyl pills and 67 Xanax bars, the press release stated.

Packaging material commonly used to package illegal narcotics, scales and a 9mm pistol were also found inside the vehicle.  according to the press release. BINET detectives also assisted in apprehending Fraioli, whom KFPD patrol officers located later in the day.

Fraioli was taken into custody without further incident, according to the press release. When Fraioli was arrested, $1,300 in cash was found in his possession.

According to the press release, Fraioli was lodged at the Klamath County Jail for outstanding felony warrants out of Klamath County for Attempt to Elude and Reckless Driving. He was additionally charged with Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver — Felony and Assault on a Public Safety Officer for the motor vehicle crash.

Fraioli also had an additional warrant out of Jackson County for Failure to Appear and was a habitual offender known to elude police. He was additionally charged with Delivery and Possession of Fentanyl (both being a commercial drug offense), Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance — Scheduled II Controlled substance.

Fire Calls – Klamath County Fire District 1 responds to two structure fires

Friday March 10, 2023 @ 1320hrs, Units from Klamath County Fire District 1 were called to a structure fire in the 7000 block of Lost River Rd. First arriving fire engine found a small single story residence with an active attic fire. The structure received extensive damage to the roof and living space. No injuries were reported. The fire investigation is currently active. 

Friday March 10, 2023 @ 1747hrs, Units from Klamath County Fire District 1 were called to a structure fire in the 700 block of Jefferson St. First arriving units found a small single story residential structure with smoke coming from the rear of the structure. The structure received extensive damage to the basement and floor area. No injuries were reported. The fire investigation is currently active. If you have information regarding the fire on Jefferson St, please contact Klamath County Fire District 1 @ 541-885-2056. 

The Town Hall sessions scheduled in Lake and Klamath counties with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) slated for this weekend were  postponed due to inclement weather.

An announcement from Merkley’s staff said “potentially hazardous weather conditions” presented a cause for concern for the “safety of all who would be traveling to attend.”

Every year, Merkley goes on tour hosting a public Town Hall meeting in every Oregon county. This past weekend, Merkley had planned to visit to Lake County on Saturday, March 11 and Klamath County on Sunday, March 12.

Merkley’s Press Office announced Friday morning these events will be rescheduled and announced at a later date.

One pedestrian was injured early last week when a city school bus struck her. At 11:43AM last Monday, March 6, Jennifer Mesenbrink, 56, was crossing the street near the intersection of South Sixth and Crest streets when, according to a log from the Oregon State police, a Klamath Falls City Schools District bus struck her.

According to the OSP log coming to us, Mesenbrink was transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center with “apparent minor injuries.”

Klamath Falls City Schools bus driver Michael Hampton, 71, was operating the bus at the time it struck Mesenbrink and received an undisclosed warning or citation.

The OSP officer on scene was not available for comment later this week.  The report KFCS was given explained that the pedestrian had stepped into the street as the bus was entering the roadway. The superintendent said there was no crosswalk at the site of the incident.

Brown said the district does not have any updates regarding the incident at this time.  It is unknown whether children were present on the bus at the time it struck Mesenbrink.

Throughout next week, the Klamath County Public Works department has several projects planned.

The department will have work crews at the following locations. Drivers are advised to use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers. If a driver is unable to avoid the work zones, they are advised to use an alternate route for their own safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and contractors.

Utility Work with intermittent lane closures is planned for the following locations:

• Shasta Way: Crater Lake Parkway to Patterson for fiber optic work

• Crest Street and Laverne Avenue: Clinton to Denver and Crest to Altamont for the Avista Gas Company to relocate gas mains in the vicinity of Stearns Elementary School

Traffic control measures will be in place for guidance. Motorists should use alternative routes if possible.

In general, flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays will be 0 to 20 minutes for the motoring public. The department’s goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public.

Other minor work also is occurring through the county but the department has only listed the major items in this announcement. There might be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items outside of the county’s control (breakdown of equipment, material/resource availability, etc.) Motorists are asked to not contact the county if work is not seen occurring because the project could be finished already or will be rescheduled.

The Badger Run Wildlife Rehab in Klamath County is getting ready to build a new quarantine facility.

The Avangrid Foundation is supporting it and made it possible to break ground this spring. With Avian Flu rising in animals, building the facility is important, to stop the spread.

Any new intakes that have any signs or symptoms or even they might suggest they might have HBAI. They will go to quarantine building, where they can be kept separate from everything else. That building will be constructed as such that the entire building can be completely disinfected.

Though the virus started with birds it has now started affecting mammals. And in most cases, it can prove to be lethal to animals.

Around the state of Oregon

Firefighters Tackle Vehicles On Fire Between Carquest & Ac Delco Building In Medford

Medford Firefighters tackled several vehicles on fire that apparently sparked around 6:55PM on Saturday night.

Several vehicles were on fire in an alley between Carquest and ACDelco on Knutson Ave in Medford. Firefighters jumped in right away to get a handle on the flames. Witnesses say they did not see anyone leaving the scene

Firefighters had put out the flames around 7:20 p.m. The exact cause and damages of the fire are unknown at this time and the fire is under investigation.

Wondering about your Tax Refund? Use the Oregon Dept. of Revenue’s Where’s My Refund Tool

Salem, OR— The Oregon Department of Revenue has begun issuing refunds due to taxpayers who have filed their 2022 tax returns. Through March 3, the department had received and processed 681,099 returns and had issued 495,606 refunds.

The agency began processing returns January 23 in the order they were received. However, each year, the department waits until after February 15 to issue personal income tax refunds as part of its tax fraud prevention efforts. The delay allows for confirmation that the amounts claimed on tax returns match what employers report on Forms W-2 and 1099. 

Now that the agency has begun issuing refunds, taxpayers can check Where’s My Refund on Revenue Online to see the status of their refund. To check the status of their refund, taxpayers will need their:

  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN);
  • Filing status; and
  • The exact refund amount shown on:
    • Line 46 of their Form OR-40, or
    • Line 71 of their Form OR-40-N, or
    • Line 70 of their Form OR-40-P

The Department of Revenue recommends that taxpayers wait one week after they have electronically filed their return to use the Where’s My Refund tool.

Where’s My Refund will tell taxpayers whether their refund has been issued electronically, a check has been mailed, their refund has been adjusted, there are questions about their return, or their return is being manually processed.

E-filing and requesting direct deposit 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 returns and request paper refund checks.

All Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns in 2023 can file electronically at no cost using one of Oregon’s free file options.

Taxpayers can check the status of their federal tax refunds on the IRS website.

Six common reasons refunds take longer and what to do about it

  • Filing a paper return. Paper returns take longer to process and, as a result, it takes longer to issue related refunds. File electronically instead. 
  • Filing electronically and requesting to receive a refund via a check takes longer. Request direct deposit instead.
  • Filing more than once. Sending a paper return through the mail after e-filing will a delay a refund. Taxpayers should file just once.
  • Filing during peak filing periods. Refunds are also issued slower during peak filing periods, like the last few weeks before the April 18 deadline. Filing well ahead of the deadline will help taxpayers get their refunds sooner.
  • Refunds can also be delayed when errors are identified on returns. Taxpayers who receive a letter requesting additional information are urged to respond promptly through Revenue Online to speed the processing of their return. 
  • Taxpayers who check Where’s My Refund one week after they file and receive a message saying their return is being manually processed should watch their mailbox for correspondence from the department. If it has been 12 weeks or more since they filed their return and they haven’t received a letter from the department, taxpayers should call 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 to speak with a customer service representative.

OHCS launches new updates to data dashboards on affordable rental housing and homeownership

Oregon Housing and Community Services

Oregon Housing and Community Services has worked over the past several years to build up data systems to improve transparency around affordable housing development and services provided to households with low to moderate incomes. The two newly updated data dashboards, Affordable Rental Housing and Homeownership, reflect this work and commitment.  

“We are excited to announce updates and improvements have been made to the data dashboards that represent the collective work of and outcomes for the people of Oregon,” OHCS Director Andrea Bell said. “Let the data be yet another proof point that positive housing outcomes can prevail when we tackle the urgency of the affordable housing crisis with data-driven solutions that center our collective humanity.”    

The Affordable Rental Housing Dashboard provides data for OHCS-administered funding programs such as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT). This dashboard provides details on the number of homes (units) the state has funded, if the properties are new construction or were preserved, if they are rural or urban, and other information about the affordable housing portfolio. Data shown is from January 2016 to September 2022.  

The Homeownership Dashboard shows data on who received counseling and education at a homeownership center, down payment assistance, Oregon Bond Residential Loans, and other program services that create pathways to homeownership. Data shown is from January 2017 to December 2022.  

These data dashboards are updated quarterly and will continue to evolve and change along with our programs as we work to improve service to Oregonians. Our vision is that all Oregonians will have access to safe, stable and affordable housing.   

$4.6 million in funding available for community-based organizations to support immigrants and refugees from Ukraine

The deadline to apply is March 27, 2023.

(Salem) – The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Refugee Program is inviting community partners to apply for a portion of $4.6 million in funding that is available to provide services and support to certain individuals from Ukraine or those who entered through the Uniting for Ukraine program.

The deadline to apply is March 27, 2023, and the application can be found online.

The U.S. Resettlement Program is operated by the U.S. Department of State through contracts with national non-profit organizations called resettlement agencies. These organizations have local affiliate offices throughout the nation. 

The ODHS Refugee Program is responsible for some of the services that are outside of the initial resettlement provided by the resettlement agencies.  The Refugee Program provides cash, medical, employment and acculturation services to refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) who are within 60 months of gaining their eligible immigration status.

Since February 2022, over 3,100 individuals from Ukraine have resettled in Oregon. 

The purpose of this request is to ask for applications from culturally and/or linguistically responsive organizations who provide services to immigrants or refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) to increase services and supports. 

Funding is available to support:

  • Housing and food assistance services: $2 million
  • Statewide outreach, sponsor coordination and connection to existing case management services: $200,000
  • Employment services assistance: $221,800
  • Health and mental health services: $675,000
  • Child care: $100,00
  • Legal services: $800,000
  • Youth mentoring: $100,000
  • School assistance: $515,000
  • Senior services: $50,000

Organizations may express interest in supporting more than one service area. Community organizations are eligible to submit proposals for the funding. 

More information the ODHS Refugee Program can be found online

Oregon State University Research on Wildfires

Oregon State University research into the ability of a wildfire to improve the health of a forest uncovered a Goldilocks effect – unless a blaze falls in a narrow severity range, neither too hot nor too cold, it isn’t very good at helping forest landscapes return to their historical, more fire-tolerant conditions.

The study led by Skye Greenler, a graduate research fellow in the OSU College of Forestry, and Chris Dunn, an assistant professor in the college, has important implications for land managers charged with restoring ecosystems and reducing fire hazard in dry forests such as those east of the Cascade Range.

The findings, published in PLOS One, shed light on the situations in which managed wildfires, as well as postfire efforts such as thinning and planting, are likely to be most effective at achieving restoration goals.

Wildfire has shaped ecosystems for millennia, the researchers note, but its impacts have become an increasing social, economic and ecological concern across the western United States. Aggressive fire exclusion policies, forest and resource management practices and climate change have altered forest structure and composition – increasing forests’ vulnerability to extreme wildfires and drought.

“As wildfire activity continues to intensify in the West, it’s becoming clear that a variety of management activities are necessary to make ecosystems healthier and to lower wildfire risk,” Greenler said. “Fuel reduction treatments like mechanical thinning and prescribed fire can reduce community and ecosystem risk, but in most places, the pace and scale of treatments are way below what’s needed to substantially alter fire effects and behavior.”

In an independent project, Greenler and Dunn in a collaboration with College of Forestry colleagues James Johnston, Andrew Merschel and John Bailey developed a new way to predict the fire severities that are most apt to help eastern Oregon forests return to their historical density, species composition and basal area, a measure of how much ground in a specific area is occupied by tree stems.

“We built probabilistic tree mortality models for 24 species based on their characteristics and remotely sensed fire severity data from a collection of burned areas,” Greenler said. “Then we looked at unburned stands in the Ochoco, Deschutes, Fremont-Winema and Malheur national forests to model postfire conditions and compared the results to historical conditions. That let us identify which fire severities had the highest restoration potential.”

The research team, which also included scientists from the University of Washington, the U.S. Forest Service and Applegate Forestry LLC of Corvallis, generally found that basal area and density targets could be met through fire within a fairly narrow range of moderate severity.

However, one blaze can’t restore species composition to its historical norm in a forest that evolved amid frequent, low-severity fires, the scientists found.

“Landscapes have likely passed thresholds that preclude the effectiveness of managed wildfire alone as a restoration tool,” Greenler said. “In a large number of fire-prone western landscapes, forest structure and composition are no longer resistant or resilient to natural disturbance processes like fire, drought, and endemic insects and pathogens, and interactions among all of those.”

Although more and more wildfires are burning large areas and at high severity, the majority of fires in the West still burn at low or moderate severity, the authors note. They cite a recent analysis that found about half of the burned area in Oregon and Washington from 1985 through 2010 did so in low-severity fires – in systems characterized historically by low- and mixed-severity fire regimes.

“Low severity may be ‘too cold’ to meet restoration objectives in areas where significant tree density reduction or big shifts in tree species composition are needed,” Greenler said. “For a better understanding of the fire severities that are the most restorative, we need empirical modeling that can be applied beyond individual fire events and across a broad range of conditions. Our study lets managers and researchers link forest restoration goals with maps of predicted post-fire conditions.”

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