The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Some snow flurries during the day otherwise partly sunny and high temperature will move up to about 44. Southwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Overnight, mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. West southwest winds to 14 mph and gusty at times. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
See Road Camera Views around the Basin:
Lake of the Woods
Hiway 97 at Chemult
Hiway 140 at Bly
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.
Hiway 97 at LaPine
The deadline to file state and federal personal income tax returns is today, April 18th, with more than 1 million Oregon taxpayers still expected to file.
More than 1.1 million Oregonians have already filed their state personal income tax returns. The department is expecting over 2.2 million total returns this year. Of those 1.1 million taxpayers, more than 820,000 have received refunds, with other refunds still pending.
They expect around two-point-two million people to file returns this year. Of the one-point-one million people who have filed so far, over 820-thousand have received refunds. The Oregon Department of Revenue website has a “Where’s My Refund” tool. Both federal and state income tax returns need to be filed by today, April 18th.
The Klamath County District Attorney’s Office announced that on April 13, 47-year-old Souner Crain received a 23-year prison sentence for crimes of domestic violence.
Crain brutally and physically abused his intimate partner over several days, said Oregon Department of Justice Senior Assistant Attorney General John Casalino, who prosecuted this
case, assing that “This survivor was able to break free from the cycle of violence and come to court and hold her abuser accountable.”
This investigation began on October 5, 2022, when the victim was taken to Sky Lakes Medical Center with multiple bruises, broken ribs and a concussion. The defendant caused serious life-
threatening physical injuries to the victim that required immediate medical attention according to testimony provided during the two-day trial.
Casalino said every relationship deserves to be free of domestic violence”, said Senior Assistant Attorney That includes behaviors that physically harm, intimidate, manipulate or control a partner, or otherwise coerce them to behave in ways they don’t want to, including through physical violence, threats, or emotional abuse.
On March 9, a jury unanimously found the defendant guilty of seven counts, including
Strangulation and multiple counts of Assault in the Second Degree. On April 13, Judge Alicia Kersey sentenced the defendant to 276 months in prison.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) announced the initial 2023 irrigation supply from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River for farms and wildlife refuges within the Klamath Project at Klamath Water Users Association’s (KWUA) annual meeting on April 13, 2023.
Reclamation’s initial allocation is 215,000 acre-feet of water, which represents approximately 60 percent of the water needed this year for farms and wildlife refuges served by the Klamath Project.
Tracey Liskey, president of KWUA says in a Monday press release that KWUA is very disappointed that Reclamation chose not to follow its own operational plans. In a year that is in the top ten percent in terms of snowpack, with over 180 percent of average currently, and when Reclamation expects to release more than 590,000 acre-feet of water to the Pacific Ocean, we have 60,000 acres of farmland along with two national wildlife that are likely to go dry this year.
Upper Klamath Lake stores approximately 460,000 acre-feet, meaning that the entire lake (plus more) will be emptied this year to produce temporary flows in the Klamath River. Forecasts indicate that more water will be released for river flows this summer than will flow into Upper Klamath Lake.
The announced supply represents a deviation from the Interim Operations Plan that Reclamation just extended last fall over KWUA’s objections. If Reclamation was following the Interim Operations Plan, which requires using inflow specific forecasts from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the actual allocation should be 285,000 acre-feet.
Public works projects will continue in Klamath County this week.
Klamath County or utility companies will have work crews at the following locations. Motorists are asked to use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers. If motorists are able to avoid the work zones, they are asked to use an alternate route for their own safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and contractors.
Work is scheduled for the vicinity of Stearns Elementary School on Crest Street from Clinton to Denver and on Laverne Avenue from Crest to Altamont.
Avista Gas Company will be relocating gas mains and services while Pacific Power will be relocating power lines and services and Bobs Excavating will be working on waterline construction.
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 zero to 20 minutes for the motoring public. The county’s goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public.
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.) The county requests residents do not call if they do not see work occurring, because the project could be finished already or will be rescheduled.
For more information, call the Public Works Department at 541-883-4696.
The 10th DAA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2023 Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair Theme will be “Growing Traditions Together”.
This year we are pleased to announce that we will be holding an art contest using this theme as inspiration to create the artwork for our annual fair posters, advertising, and other print media.
Artists are encouraged to send in original artwork on a piece of 8 1/2” x 11” paper.
Submissions must meet these following requirements to be considered: Includes the Fair Theme, Incorporates Diamond Gem (Our Fair Mascot) • Provides the Dates of the Fair (September 7th -10th, 2023) • Lists the Authors Full Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email on the back of the artwork. If contacted as the winning application the artist agrees to sign over the full rights/copyrights to the fair and may not seek any further compensation.
For those interested in participating in the contest you may begin to submit your artwork to the fair office via email, mail, or dropping off the artwork at the fair office before the deadline of May 12th, 2023 for judging. The winner of the contest will receive $500.00 for their artwork and it becomes the property of the 10th DAA-Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair. Now is your time to have your artwork become a part of local history!
The busy Washburn Way is about to get a makeover. According to a press release, City work crews will begin work on the Washburn Way Asphalt Preservation Project beginning this evening, on Monday, April 17th.
Crews will be performing night and early morning work to repair and replace the asphalt in Washburn Way between the hours of 7 p.m. and noon of the following day, the press release states. The project will be active over the next several months on Washburn Way between South 6th Street and Laverne Avenue. For more information, call the City Development Services Department at 541-883-4950.
Members of the community are invited to an educational day at Oregon Tech to learn about native plant communities in the Klamath Basin and help beautify the Oregon Tech garden with trail clearing and planting of young oak trees April 22 at 10 a.m. at 3201 Campus Drive.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also provide information about monarch butterfly stations on the Oregon Tech campus.
This event provides an opportunity to learn about native gardens, xeriscapes, the dangers of alien plants, and the benefits of native plants and pollinators. Activities will include clearing the trail system of weeds in the Native Garden. Snacks and tools will be provided.
Around the state of Oregon
Most of Oregon’s hospitals are reeling after suffering significant financial losses in a year that officials are calling one of the worst in three decades.
Higher labor costs and longer patient stays pushed 37 hospitals in the state – more than 60% of the total – into budget deficits for the year.
The urgency of the current situation was illustrated last week, when state regulators approved Adventist Health’s purchase of the struggling Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles despite the concerns of some local residents that Adventist Health could impose new restrictions on abortions. Adventist Health is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It has said it will not enforce any new restraints on reproductive services.
Meanwhile, in Roseburg, CHI Mercy Health announced that it was laying off 50 and shutting down its home health service. Mercy Health’s expenses surpassed its revenue by $4.7 million in the year.
Hospitals have had to pay more for nurses and other caregivers after they quit in large numbers during the COVID-19 crisis. Their patients today tend to have more serious health problems than before the pandemic, and less money and insurance.
Plus, hospitals have fewer options for discharging patients after they’re treated. The same labor shortage that forced hospitals to pay more for qualified people has also hit rehab facilities that in years past would have cared for patients whose recuperation could take weeks or months.
U.S. Treasury Grants $22 Million To Oregon Financial Institutions To Help Low-Income Communities
The federal government has awarded seven financial institutions in Oregon a total of $22.3 million in grants to help underserved communities recover from the pandemic.
The money, announced Monday, is part of $1.7 billion awarded to more than 600 institutions nationwide through a U.S. Treasury program to boost recovery among low-income and moderate-income communities that were the hardest hit during the last three years.
The grants are designed to provide capital and financing for small businesses that lack access to capital, promote affordable housing and give families wider access to home loans, all of which were compromised during the pandemic and are crucial for economic prosperity, officials said.
“When we invest in community lenders, we help build a future where all people – no matter who they are or where they start – have the resources they need not only to succeed but to thrive,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a Treasury statement.
She said it was the largest nationwide investment in the history of the program, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which was created in 1994.
The grants will help the financial institutions add staff, purchase technology and gain other tools needed to help the community. They had to apply for the money and be approved by the U.S. Treasury.
“These mission-driven financial institutions specialize in delivering responsible capital, credit and financial services to underserved communities,” the Treasury statement said.
Besides helping small businesses, nonprofits and homeowners, the money can be used for community facilities, commercial real estate, financial services and development services for borrowers.
The Treasury approved money for these institutions:
- Craft3, a loan fund in Astoria: $5 million
- Northwest Community Credit Union in Eugene: $3.7 million
- Point West Credit Union in Portland: $3.7 million
- SELCO Community Credit Union in Springfield: $3.7 million
- Mid-Oregon Federal Credit Union in Bend: $2.5 million
- Central Willamette Credit Union in Albany: $2.5 million
- Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union in Portland: $1.2 million
Six of the seven entities in Oregon that were awarded money are credit unions. The other institution is a loan fund, which got the most money. (SOURCE)
Oregon Shakespeare Festival Facing Financial Crisis
Oregon Shakespeare Festival says if the festival doesn’t get $2.5 million by this summer, it says it may not finish the 2023 season.
In its announcement this week, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival theater is slowly suffering, which could affect dozens of nearby Ashland businesses, and the festival asked its annual donors to move up their donations, underscoring a sense of urgency. It said it needed to raise $1.5 million by June for the 2023 season to continue. And it said it was canceling this year’s production of “It’s Christmas, Carol!” which it’s run for two years during the holiday season.
Details shared at an internal staff meeting Tuesday suggest the festival is also sorting out accounting issues that date back several years.
The plea comes amid a tumultuous period for the festival, which has contended with natural disasters, a global pandemic, leadership changes and a shifting theater audience.
The festival had just begun an 11-show season when the pandemic struck in March 2020. It had already spent half its $44 million budget preparing the stage production when it was forced to shut down. More than 800 performances were canceled, and it temporarily laid off 500 people. Seven months later, wildfire roared into the Rogue Valley, burning 2,500 homes and hundreds of businesses.
According to an Oregon Shakespeare Festival employee who attended, and who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak for the festival, the organization’s leaders said they need to correct more than 15,000 incorrect entries in its financial ledger, the result of antiquated systems that were not properly maintained. The leaders told employees they’re still trying to precisely determine cash flow numbers, bills owed and overall expenses of the organization. According to the employee, leaders also said the festival is leaving some bills unpaid to cover expenses.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s financial problems could have big public relations and economic ramifications in southern Oregon, where it has been a major tourist draw. Of the 350,000 visitors who arrive in Ashland each year, more than a third had theater tickets, according to the city’s tourism bureau.
One prominent member of the business community speculated that more than half of Ashland small businesses wouldn’t survive without OSF. This coming Tuesday, Ashland Mayor Tonya Graham plans to sign a proclamation expressing support for OSF.
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