Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 3/15 – Spring Open Burning Window Announced by Klamath County Public Health ; Begins Saturday, March 18th

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 39. Calm wind becoming northeast around 5 mph in the afternoon. Overnight will be clear with a low around 17 degrees.

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 44. Light and variable wind becoming east southeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. Clear overnight, with a low around 20.
Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Light and variable wind becoming south southeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 46. Saturday night and overnight a chance of rain and snow showers Snow level 4800 feet lowering to 4200 feet after midnight . Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30.
Sunday A chance of snow showers before 8am, then a chance of rain and snow showers between 8am and 11am, then a chance of rain showers after 11am, high of 44.
Monday A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44.
Tuesday A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43.

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Today’s Headlines

Twice each year there are open burn windows that allow Klamath County Air Quality Zone residents the opportunity to burn yard waste.

This week, Klamath County Public Health announced the 2023 spring open burning window: It begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 18 and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 2.

In communities outside the Air Quality Zone, residents must contact their local fire district before open burning.

Burn conditions vary greatly throughout Klamath County and open burn periods are determined locally based on current risk.

Public Health officials have set the following guidelines for the open burning window:

1. The air quality advisory must be green. The daily advisory is available at 541-882-2876.

2. Only residential yard waste, such as tree limbs, brush and leaves may be burned.

3. All burning must occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and be fully extinguished by 7 p.m.

4. No trash, plastic, rubber, tar, petroleum products, or treated or painted wood may be burned.

5. The use of burn barrels is prohibited.

6. The burning of commercial, construction, demolition or industrial waste is not included in this burn window. Burning for these purposes requires a special permit from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality; contact the DEQ office in Bend at 541-633-2016.

7. Agricultural burning inside the Air Quality Zone is prohibited without a certificate of variance issued by KCPH.

Fire District guidelines for public safety are:

1. The wind must be no greater than 10 mph. For wind speed, call 541-883-8127.

2. An appropriate means to extinguish the fire needs to be present (charged hose or extinguisher).

3. A responsible adult must be present at the fire from the first flame until the fire is extinguished.

4. The burn pile shall be no larger than 6 feet in diameter and 4-feet high.

5. There must be a 6-foot clear area down to mineral soil around the burn pile, and the pile must be at least 20 feet from combustible fences and buildings.

6. The person conducting any burning is responsible for damage and the cost of an out-of-control burn, traffic problems and other hazards caused by the smoke. Any escaped fire, burning of unauthorized material, traffic problems or other hazards not mentioned could result in violations and fines.

7. Smoke creating a nuisance (even if burning authorized materials), may result in a request to extinguish the fire. Planning an open burn according to where other neighbors live and monitoring wind directions will reduce the chance of smoke creating a nuisance.

The open burn window may be canceled at any time due to air quality or fire hazard conditions. KCPH reminds people that the smoke from burning yard debris is equally as harmful to lungs as cigarette smoke.

To see a map of the Air Quality Zone, go to tinyurl.com/HN-Air-Quality-Zone.

During the open burn window, residents should check with their local Fire District or the City of Klamath Falls (inside the city limits) for additional restrictions.

Phone numbers for these agencies include: Klamath County Fire District No. 1 541-885-2056; Klamath County Fire District No. 4 541-884-1670; Klamath County Public Health 541-883-1122; City of Klamath Falls Code Enforcement 541-883-5358.

In honor of Women’s History month, four women in Klamath Falls will be awarded a total of $6,000 this St. Patrick’s Day to aid them in pursuing their dreams.

Soroptimist Klamath Falls, a local branch of an international women’s organization, will be hosting the Live Your Dream & More Award Luncheon starting at 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 17 at in the Mazama-Scott room at Oregon Tech, 3201 Campus Drive.

The Live Your Dream Award is one of the global organization’s education and training awards for women.

A news release from the local branch said, “[These awards are a part] of a movement fiercely dedicated to ensuring every woman and girl has the opportunity to reach her full potential, free from violence, and live her dreams.”

Each year, Soroptimist International presents education grants to more than 1,700 women, totaling more that $2.8 million in awards.

At the local level, awards are granted to three women in need who have submitted an application to Soroptimist Klamath Falls. A fourth recipient will be awarded funds through the Dream Investment Award. This is a new award that will only be given this year.

The Klamath County School District Board of Directors is proposing a funding solution to the state for the sake of all Oregon school districts.

At the regular Klamath County School District Board of Directors meeting last week, Superintendent Glen Szymoniak presented a resolution which aims to consistently increase the amount of funding received by school districts each year from the Student Investment Account (SIA).

As a part of the 2019 Oregon legislature Student Success Act (SSA), a portion of corporate activity tax revenue is put toward funding the SIA as well as other educational funding accounts. Oregon school districts can apply for the funding each biennium, with disbursements relative to the number of students within the district.

Szymoniak explained that the state uses a “49-51 disbursement model,” with 49% of funds provided in the first year of the biennium and the remaining 51% disbursed the second year.

The superintendent said the board is concerned that, when the next biennium starts, the 49% the district receives is likely to be a lesser sum than that which was received for the second year of the current biennium. Szymoniak added that the next 49 has to be bigger than the 51 we have now, or else we may have to lay off teachers to get back to that.

The drafted resolution states that 80% of the SIA funds KCSD received have been put toward hiring “37.5 professional positions dedicated specifically to meet the goals of the Student Success Act.”

Allowable uses for this funding are centered around two focal points: meeting the mental and behavioral health needs of students and increasing academic achievement for students by reducing inequities for groups which have historically experienced disparities in education.

To make these improvements, districts are encouraged to use funds to hire more teachers and health professionals, reduce class sizes and provide staff training on social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices.

Klamath County Fire District 1 (KCFD1) is seeking individuals to fill two three-year term Budget Committee positions and the remainder of one position which expires June 30, 2024.

This volunteer position serves a three-year term, meets one to two times annually (in the spring), and provides input for and approval of the annual KCFD1 proposed budget.

To qualify for the committee an applicant must be a registered voter and reside within the KCFD1 boundaries. Questions regarding the position can be directed to Fire Chief Greg Davis or Director of Administrative Services Phil Hull by calling 541-885-2056.

Applications for this position can be found online at www.kcfd1.com, emailed upon request, or picked up at the Central Fire Station at 143 N. Broad St. in Klamath Falls.

Applications must be returned to the Central Fire Station by 5 p.m. Monday, March 20. Electronic submission of the applications are encouraged by emailing phil@kcfd1.com, but applications may also be submitted in person.

The current office hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon Fridays.

Within weeks, 18 Klamath County School District students will be traveling to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the VRC/VEX Robotics World Championship.

On Saturday, more than 60 robotics teams from across Oregon traveled to Mazama High School to compete in the Regional VRC/VEX Robotics Championships. This all-day competition consisted of the teams engaging in an engineering challenge, in the form of a game. This year’s game is called “Spin Up.”

In the game, two teams compete in a 12’ x 12’ square field, attempting to get more points than the other team.

One middle school team qualified for the world championship. The Lost River Jr./Sr. High School team consisted of Emily Howard, Joselyn Hernandez and Jorge Juan Hernandez Aguilera. They were named state champions, qualifying them for the world competition.

Three teams from Mazama High School also qualified for the world championship.

The first team consisted of James Donahue and Gage Bordelon. Their team qualified for worlds by being tournament finalists.

Alex Lehman, Stephen Hantzmon, James Ferguson, Emerson Metcalf and Matthew Elfbrandt, also from Mazama High School, teamed up, and qualified for worlds by winning the “Think Award” trophy.

The third team from Mazama is formed by Mark Elfbrandt, Diego Diaz, Thack Moreland and Will Hawkins, who all qualified by winning the “Build” award.

The last team to qualify was from Henley High School. Kaylee Haddox, Alana Smith, Caleb Nejely and Lauren Wilkinson qualified as a team by winning the “Innovate” award.

The VRC/VEX Robotics World Championship takes place from April 25 through May 4 in Dallas, Texas.

The “Everyone Swims Program” provides ALL third graders in Klamath County the opportunity to participate in a week of free swim lessons at the Ella Redkey Pool.

Participants receive individualized instruction, develop skills, build confidence and learn life-saving skills all while having fun with their peers in the water. This essential program is made possible by the generosity of Sky Lakes Medical Center who, in partnership with the City of Klamath Falls, has made the Everyone Swims Program possible and is making its triumphant return to the Ella Redkey Pool.

 In the US, an average of 3,500 to 4,000 people drown per year. That is an average of 10 fatal drownings per day. Learning to swim promotes health and fitness from an early age and, most importantly, the ability to swim can be lifesaving.

For more information on the Everyone Swims Program please visit, www.ellaredkeypool.com or email ellaredkeypool@klamathfalls.city.

Pacific Power Announces Grant Supporting the Klamath Independent Film Festival

Funding is part of a series of arts and cultural grants to help organizations delivering creative education and enrichment in local communities

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (March 15, 2023) — Arts and cultural organizations play an essential role in maintaining healthy and resilient communities. To support their vital work, the Pacific Power Foundation is donating more than $164,000 in new grant funding across the three states it serves. 

The grants will help fund projects ranging from Shakespeare performances with American Sign Language interpretation to free music events, and from programming that engages diverse youth in public art projects to museums that share regional cultural history.

“These groups foster creative expression, inspire young minds, nurture well-being, and help us look at the world in new ways,” said Todd Andres, Pacific Power regional business manager. “We’re honored to support the incredible work they are doing.” 

In Klamath Falls, the Pacific Power Foundation provided a $2,500 grant to Klamath Film for the Klamath Independent Film Festival, the only festival that exclusively showcases made-in-Oregon films. This September event creates a tourism draw for Klamath County, and for many Oregon filmmakers it provides the lone opportunity to showcase their work on the big screen and in front of global audiences that stream the festival online. 

This recent round of grants focused on art and culture is one of the foundation’s four annual grant cycles. 

About the Pacific Power FoundationThe Pacific Power Foundation is part of the PacifiCorp Foundation, one of the largest utility-endowed foundations in the United States

Do you know an outstanding volunteer? Now is the time to nominate them for an honor to recognize their efforts.

Nominations for the 30th annual Klamath Country Volunteer of the Year are due by noon Friday, April 3 to the United Way of the Klamath Basin at 136 N. 3rd St. in Klamath Falls, according to a release.

Every nominee will receive an award and be highlighted in a special Volunteer Appreciation tabloid published during national volunteer week Friday, April 22 in the Herald and News.

. Nomination forms can be obtained by contacting the United Way at 541-882-5558, or can be downloaded from United Way’s home page at www.unitedwayoftheklamathbasin.org.

Nomination forms can also be picked up at the United Way office or can be emailed to you. The categories for Volunteer of the Year include youth, adults, senior citizens, public safety/public service and education. National Volunteer Week will be held from April 16 through April 22.

Klamath Comic-Con will return to the Klamath Community College (KCC) campus Saturday, July 15.

Following the inaugural Klamath Comic-Con in May 2022 and due to multiple factors, the popular event will be moved to a summertime annual affair from noon to 9 p.m. hosted by KCC. Attendance will remain free with donation of a non-perishable food item to benefit the KCC student food pantry.

Changes are being made to accommodate an even larger event than last year’s comic-con — which drew more than 2,000 visitors to the KCC campus, with some from as far away as Sacramento and Salem. The move to July reduces the risk of adverse weather affecting attendance and planned outdoor activities.

The 2022 rendition included an interactive videogame museum, tabletop games, vendors, a puppetry workshop, cosplay costume contest, virtual reality, demonstrations of KCC’s full-motion aviation and commercial truck simulators, and multiple featured speakers headlined by the screenwriters of the Sonic the Hedgehog films.

Planning is underway to include last year’s favorites and expand this year’s event activities with even more room for vendors, additional food trucks, live music, a film festival, a haunted house and outdoor activities. Added emphasis also will be placed on demonstrations and interactive showcases of KCC programs.

Vendor tables are currently available for $25, with additional tables for $10 (due to space limitations there is a maximum of three additional tables per vendor). Vendors may reserve space via Eventbrite at tinyurl.com/3kumbhur.

Sponsors and event volunteers are also sought.

The Klamath County Public Works department has several projects in the works. 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.

Friends of the Children Friendraiser Event is coming! Hope you will be a part of this with us this year!

Around the state of Oregon

Lawsuit Over The Death Of Man Who Was Killed By Oregon State Police Outside His Home In Southern Oregon Settled For $1.6 Million

A lawsuit over the death of a man who was killed by Oregon State Police outside his home in southern Oregon in 2015 has been settled for $1.6 million after a lengthy legal odyssey, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

Investigators comb a property outside Wilderville, Oregon, on May 30, 2015, the morning after Oregon State Police troopers shot Robert Box.  (Jeff Duewel/Grants Pass Daily Courier via AP)

The settlement includes an apology from state police Superintendent Casey Codding, according to lawyers for Robert Box, who was 55 when he was killed by two state troopers investigating a domestic disturbance at his home near Wilderville, Oregon, the newspaper reported.

Lawyers for the Box family complained of roadblocks in the long-running case, including an unusual procedural history on appeal caused by the sealing of records in the case by the trial judge.

On Friday, attorney Richard Adams and co-counsel David Park released a statement they said Box’s widow, Bernadette, wrote in response to an apology letter from Codding.

“I truly hope you take all this to heart and learn from it,” she wrote. “Training needs to be taken to heart. No other family should have to go through what my family has gone through.”

On the night of May 29, 2015, Box’s adult daughter Kelsey, who is partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair, reported she had been assaulted by her father during an argument at the family’s rural home.

Prosecutors subsequently absolved troopers Gregor Smyth and Heather West of any wrongdoing, saying Box pointed a loaded .44 Magnum at them despite their demands that he not touch the gun.

Smyth fired seven rounds, while West fired four. Box was hit and fatally wounded.

Lawyers for the family argued that Box, who had been carrying a loaded gun, had every right to be armed on his own rural property late at night. They also accused the troopers of essentially ambushing him even though they had been notified by dispatchers that his daughter had fled the home and was not in danger.

After 18 months of pretrial wrangling, Circuit Court Judge Wolke dismissed the case in 2017. In the process, Wolke sealed records in the case after a motion by the plaintiffs to amend the lawsuit based on new evidence. Wolke’s decision to seal everything in the case was unusual and caused unnecessary procedural problems throughout the appeal process that followed, lawyers for the family said.

Last year the Oregon Court of Appeals reinstated the case and remanded it back to Josephine County for a jury trial. The court said the troopers were trespassing when they encountered Box and made several tactical errors in the process.

The ruling on appeal put the case in a settlement posture, leading to the agreement last week.

According to the family’s lawyers, Smyth was terminated from the state police’s SWAT team three months before the Box shooting for a problem known in tactical training as “tunnel vision.” They said the commander of the SWAT team at the time filed a report concluding that Smyth’s “decision making and overreaction have the potential to lead to someone being seriously injured, or killed, on a real-world operation.”

Grants Pass Police Activity Causes Schools to “Secure” on Two Consecutive Days

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Grants Pass, Ore. –  Tuesday at 11:54 AM, the Grants Pass Police Department requested to have North Middle School and Highland Elementary go into “Secure” status as we tracked a wanted fugitive who had fled in the area.

While in “Secure” status, which is used when schools aren’t believed to be in immediate danger, the schools move the children indoors, lock all exterior doors, and go about business as usual. 

At 1:45 PM, the “secure” status was lifted after police located and arrested Shawn Timothy Oleary, who had been hiding in a shed on NW Blossom Drive. Oleary was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for multiple felony warrants, possession of a gun, and possession of a felony quantity of Fentanyl.

Monday, in a similar manner, Grants Pass High School, North Middle, and South Middle were placed into a “secure” status due to a potential threat regarding a subject bringing a gun to campus. For the safety of the students, the “secure” protocol was used until the subject suspected of the threat was located and the threat determined to be unfounded. The securing of the campuses, since it was near the end of the school day, caused a delay for parents picking up children and buses leaving campus.

The Grants Pass Police Department always places the protection of innocent life as the highest priority for our officers. Though the securing of these campuses over the last two days may have caused some inconvenience and confusion, the Grants Pass Police Department thanks the community for their patience and understanding as we ensure the safety of our children.

Price Of Gas Is Increasing Across In Oregon

The price of gas is increasing across the country and in Oregon. Triple-A reports refineries are starting to make summer blends of fuel that produce less pollution and that’s causing the prices to rise.

 Gas prices are rising across the country, mostly due to the seasonal switch to summer-blend gas. This blend is designed to lower emissions during warmer weather and is more expensive to produce. Increased demand for gas is also putting upward pressure on prices. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded jumps six cents to $3.42. The Oregon average ticks up two cents to $3.91.

“The switch to summer blend usually adds about five to 10 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. California’s deadline to switch to summer-blend gas is April 1, while the federally mandated date for summer-blend gas is May 1. So the West Coast often sees the seasonal increases earlier than other parts of the country.”

More info on summer- and winter-blend gasoline can be found at the EPA website.

Crude oil is trading around $78 today compared to $77 a week ago. In February, West Texas Intermediate ranged between about $73 and $80 per barrel. In January, WTI ranged between about $73 and $82 bbl. and was $119 a year ago as the Russian invasion of Ukraine had started. Crude reached recent highs of $123.70 on March 8, 2022, and $122.11 per barrel on June 8, 2022. The all-time high for WTI crude oil is $147.27 in July 2008.

Crude prices tend to increase in response to positive economic news, as growing, thriving economies tend to consume more oil. Crude prices also climb when geo-political events have the potential to disrupt supply. Crude prices rose dramatically leading up to and in the first few months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and gas prices also skyrocketed. Russia is one of the world’s top oil producers and its involvement in a war causes market volatility, and sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and other western nations resulted in tighter global oil supplies. Oil supplies were already tight around the world as demand for oil increased as pandemic restrictions eased.

Crude oil is the main ingredient in gasoline and diesel, so pump prices are impacted by crude prices on the global markets. On average, about 56% of what we pay for in a gallon of gasoline is for the price of crude oil, 20% is refining, 11% distribution and marketing, and 14% are taxes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.

Governor Kotek Urges State Lawmakers To Back Literacy Initiative

Gov. Tina Kotek and others are pushing an early childhood literacy package in the Legislature. (U.S. Department of Education/Flickr/Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 )

Kotek kicked off her first term this year with an especially big goal – to revamp the way Oregon teaches children to read and write. Less than half of Oregon students can read and write at their grade level. This has a substantial impact on the students individually and on society. Kotek is urging lawmakers to approve plans to change Oregon’s approach to literacy education.

House Bill 3454 would award grants to improve early literacy in schools and communities across the state, and House Bill 3198 would establish the Early Literacy Success Initiative. The initiative would primarily provide coaching, materials and training to educators to improve literacy education before third grade and create literacy-focused tutoring and summer school programs.

The package would launch a multi-year effort aimed at helping parents, teachers and community groups better serve students. They want to increase early literacy for students in prekindergarten through third grade so students can read at grade level by the end of third grade, or for students who are English language learners, by the end of the fourth grade.

They also want to reduce literacy and graduation disparities and increase the state’s overall graduation rate through these efforts. Oregon’s four-year high school graduation rate for the 2021-22 school year was 81.3%.

The ability to read and write proficiently is vital, but Oregon is failing significantly.

Less than 40% of Oregon third-graders in 2021-22 met the state standards when tested in English Language Arts. That number is even lower for historically marginalized students, dropping, for example, to 23% for students in foster care, 21% for Black or Latino students, 20% for students with disabilities and 8% for English language learners.

Oregon Marijuana Prices Hit Record Lows

Oregon marijuana prices are at an all-time low. Median retail prices fell to $4 a gram at the start of 2023, according to state regulators, off 16% from a year earlier. Last year’s decline continues a long downward trajectory that has reduced prices by more than half in the seven years since recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon.

“The Oregon recreational marijuana market is in arguably the weakest economic position it has been in since the inception of the program in 2016,” the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission wrote in its annual report to the state Legislature last month.

Falling prices are great for consumers who weary of inflation’s effects on most other products, but abysmal for Oregon retailers and growers. State economists warned last month that tax collections are below forecasts. That’s not just because falling prices have reduced the state’s cut — amid the steep decline, struggling cannabis businesses are “unable to pay all their bills.”

Oregon collects a little more than $150 million in marijuana tax revenue annually.

The industry’s deepening troubles are a notable development, given that Oregon’s cannabis market has grown into a $1 billion market.

“We have a record amount of overdue accounts receivable, retailers that owe us money,” said Mason Walker, CEO of East Fork Cultivars, which farms cannabis in Josephine County. “That’s happening across the market. It’s causing pain up and down the supply chain.”

The reason prices keep falling is Economics 101: Supply is much higher than demand.

Marijuana grows abundantly in Oregon. But cannabis remains prohibited under federal law and can’t be sold, legally, across state lines. And while cannabis has proven increasingly popular, the state’s 4.2 million residents consume only a fraction of the marijuana the state’s farmers grow.

The OLCC estimates Oregon cannabis demand was just 63% of supply last year.

Sales in 2022 fell by more than 17% to $994 million, the Oregon industry’s first-ever annual decline. Production is dropping, too, as farmers respond to falling prices. But supply and demand are far from balanced.

Deschutes County DA’s Office Releases Final Report On Melissa Trench’s Death

The death of Melissa Trench, the Bend woman whose body was located in Shevlin Park in January after she went missing in December, was deemed a suicide, according to reports from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Trench, 38, was last seen by her family on Dec. 26. The next day, she called an ex-boyfriend from years prior telling him she was injured in the forest. Soon after Trench called the ex-boyfriend, her family was alerted and a search involving law enforcement and members of the public began.

Following an extensive investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Bend Police Department, which found no evidence of foul play, Trench’s body was located by her brother at the south end of Shevlin Park near Forest Road 4606, the Bend Police Department said in January.  After Trench was located, her body was examined by a medical examiner who concluded Trench’s death was a suicide, the report showed. (SOURCE)

Menacing/Unlawful Use of a Weapon Arrest in Selma

On March 9th, 2023, Deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a disturbance with shots fired in the 500 Block of Terrace Heights Drive in Selma.

While enroute, Deputies were advised a male subject identified as Ryan Gregory Vanhoy, entered the victim’s residence, pointed a firearm at the victim then fired a round into the victims refrigerator before leaving on foot back to his residence.  Both Vanhoy and the victim live in different residences on the same property.  The victim was not injured and advised Vanhoy possessed numerous weapons and body armor. 

Two Deputies arrived on scene and contacted the victim.  It was at this time, Vanhoy exited his residence with a firearm and started to approach the Deputies on foot.  Based on the distance between Vanhoy and the Deputies location, the Deputies were able to tactically retreat off the property preventing a potential use of deadly force with Vanhoy.  Having to retreat off the property, the Deputies were forced to leave their patrol vehicles at the location with Vanhoy still on foot in the area. The victim was also able to retreat to safety.

Numerous other Deputies responded to the area to locate the Deputies who had retreated.  Once located, a plan was put in place to respond back to the incident location and retrieve the patrol vehicles which contained department issued weapons and “Gibbs” the Sheriff’s Office therapy and compassion K-9. 

While responding back to the incident location, Deputies encountered the Vanhoy in his vehicle which had crashed over the embankment on Terrace Heights Drive.  Announcements were given to Vanhoy to exit his vehicle, however he refused, stating he was armed with a shotgun and had cut both of his wrists.  After several more announcements, Vanhoy exited his vehicle and stood next to the open vehicle door and yelled at Deputies to shoot him.  Three less lethal bean bag rounds were deployed striking Vanhoy and incapacitating him long enough for Deputies to take him into custody without further incident.

With Vanhoy secured, Deputies continued to the incident location to retrieve the two patrol vehicles. The patrol vehicles were located, both having sustained several shotgun rounds through both of the windshields, hoods and engine compartment.  K-9 Gibbs was located unharmed.  At this time, it is believed the metal shell of the kennel installed in the police vehicle prevented the shotgun rounds from penetrating and injuring him.

Search warrants were executed at Vanhoy’s residence and his vehicle. Numerous firearms including a shotgun along with body armor were located and seized as evidence. 

At the time of this press release, Vanhoy is being treated at a local hospital for the self-inflicted injuries to his wrists.  Deputies will remain with Vanhoy until he is discharged from the hospital where he will be transported and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the above listed charges. 

This investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released at this time.

Murder Suspect Escapes Washington County Courthouse In Hillsboro During Trial

Courthouse surveillance video shows an Oregon murder suspect sprinting away from bailiffs after they unshackled him in court – a requirement under state law – then escaping the building and prompting a massive manhunt.

Edi Villalobos Jr., a 28-year-old accused of murder and a slew of other felonies, was supposed to stand before the court for the start of his trial. Instead, he ran down the hallway and out an employees-only exit, video shows.

“Per Oregon law, the deputies removed all restraints from Villalobos during the jury selection process,” the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “At around 11 a.m., the court took a break, and restraints were placed back on Villalobos. When the break ended, deputies again removed all restraints from Villalobos, as directed by Oregon Law.”

The incident happened on Feb. 27, https://www.washingtoncountyor.gov/sheriff/news/adult-custody-captured-after-fleeing-court-room but the sheriff’s office didn’t make the video public til Thursday 3/9.

After a roughly two-hour manhunt, police arrested him in a Hillsboro apartment, where a neighbor called 911 to report they heard someone trying to break in, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Deputies entered the apartment and located Villalobos hiding in a closet underneath a blanket,” the sheriff said.

Now he faces two new felony burglary charges and another for escaping custody. Villalobos is due back in court March 21 for a status hearing.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Programs, Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program is inviting community partners to apply for a portion of $4.1 million in grant funding that is available to provide services and housing supports to youth experiencing homelessness.

The deadline to apply is April 7, 2023 and the application can be found online.

Community-based organizations who provide, or desire to provide, services to youth experiencing homelessness are eligible to apply for the grant funding.

Organizations may express interest in supporting more than one of the following service areas that funding is available to support:

  • Prevention Services including youth outreach and drop-in services
  • Early and crisis intervention housing such as shelter and host home programming 
  • Medium-term housing such as transitional living and host home programming 
  • Other Services such as culturally-specific programming, mental health and substance use supports

The ODHS Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program is tasked with coordinating statewide planning for delivery of services to youth experiencing homelessness under the age of 25. It partners with impacted youth, community organizations and other state agencies to support and fund initiatives and programs within the youth homelessness system. More information can be found online

About the Oregon Department of Human Services

The mission of the Oregon Department of Human Services is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity.  Oregon Department of Human Serviceshttps://www.oregon.gov/dhs/CHILDREN/Homeless-Youth/Pages/index.aspx

House Bill 2915 Prohibiting Retail Pet Stores From Selling Dogs Or Cats Approved For Consideration

A bill in the Oregon House of Representatives would prohibit retail pet stores from selling dogs or cats.

May be an image of dog and text that says 'Help stop puppy mill sales in Oregon pet stores! Bailing Out Benji'
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The new rules would not apply to pet shops open prior to the legislation. It would apply to new stores that open after the effective date of the bill upon passage.

It also would not apply to stores that partner with animal recues or animal shelters.

House Bill 2915 was approved Wednesday by the House Committee on Business and Labor and will now to head to the full House for consideration.

“The core of this measure is that we want to prohibit retail pet shops in Oregon from bringing product in from out of state that they would not otherwise be able to acquire in state,” said Rep. David Gomberg, D-District 10, during a public hearing on the bill in February.

The concern is over puppy mills and that the animals that come from them often have behavioral and physiological problems.

Gomberg also said the purpose of the bill is to encourage pet adoptions from rescues and shelters as well supporting Oregon breeders. Opponents raised concerns that the bill takes business away from private businesses.

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.

Rogue Valley Indoor Golf Opens Today!

The Screenskeeper (Rogue Valley Indoor Golf) will open its doors on Wednesday, March 15th, finally bringing a public indoor golf facility to the Rogue Valley!

Golfers of all levels are invited to book a tee time and experience golf in the new indoor simulators firsthand, with prize raffles and giveaways taking place each day during our Grand Opening week (3/15-3/19).

The facility will open at 12pm on weekdays and 10am on weekends (closed Mondays/Tuesdays), just below the Four Corners on Table Rock Rd in Medford/Central Point. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089121476415

FBI Portland and FBI Seattle Field Offices Offering $25,000 Rewards for Information About Energy Facility Substation Shootings

Corvallis, OR – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and federal U.S. Forest Service remind visitors to the Oregon coast that it is Plover nesting season — visitors can help recovery efforts for the threatened western snowy plover by sharing the beaches March 15 to Sept. 15. 

Sensitive plover nesting areas will be roped off or identified by signs with rules and limits, such as staying on the wet sand, to help protect the small shorebirds and their exposed nests during this crucial period. 

Plover beaches remain open to foot and equestrian traffic below the high-tide line on wet, packed sand throughout the nesting season. This ensures that plover nests, eggs and chicks are kept safe.   All other recreation on plover beaches is prohibited on both wet and dry sand, including walking a dog (even on a leash), driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle, camping, burning wood and flying kites or operating drones.

These small birds nest on open sand along Oregon’s beaches. Nests, and especially chicks, are well-camouflaged. During the nesting season, human disturbances can flush adult plovers away from their nests as they attempt to defend their young. Left alone too long, or too often, eggs or chicks can die from exposure, predators or people. 

“We’re making great strides in reversing the decline of this species,” said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. “But it takes all of us, so we urge people to do their part to understand nesting season rules and to share the beach this spring and summer.”

Recreation restrictions occur in designated plover management areas: small stretches of beach along the coastline where plovers nest or might nest. These areas combined make up about 40 miles of Oregon’s 362 miles of shoreline. 

“Visitors have access to hundreds of miles of beaches that have no seasonal restrictions,” said Laurel Hillmann, ocean shore specialist for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “By planning your trip, you can enjoy the coast and help protect these special birds.”

More information on the snowy plover, including detailed maps of nesting sites, can be found on the Oregon State Parks website (oregon.gov/plovers) and on the Siuslaw National Forest website. Visitors to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area can review maps at its website to identify unrestricted recreation areas and information on riding motor vehicles on the sand. 

New plover activity 

The increase in plover numbers may result in nesting occurring in new or historical nesting sites. For example, visitors to Sand Lake Recreation Area may see small roped off areas near the lake’s inlet to protect active nests, and may encounter plovers on the beach. Beachgoers are encouraged to protect these birds by restricting recreation activities to wet sand areas, avoiding roped off nesting areas, packing all trash out and keeping dogs on leash. 


Background on plover protections

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993, when officials counted only 55 breeding adults. The numbers of breeding adults have steadily increased since then, from 107 in 2003 to 604 in 2021. 

Several land managers oversee beach activity for plover protection, primarily the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).

Habitat loss from invasive plants — as well as human disturbances, including litter and discarded food scraps that attract predators — have contributed to the birds’ decline. The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative, saveoregondunes.org, is working with land managers on a restoration strategy and to raise public awareness about the need to restore the dunes ecosystem for western snowy plovers, rare plants and animals, and the unique recreation opportunities offered here.

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