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Klamath Basin News, Monday, Sept. 25 – Morgan Fire Doubles in Size, 20% Contained; Lake Ewauna Health Advisory Due to Cyanobacteria Bloom and Toxins

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, The Herald and News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your Local Health and Medicare agents. Call 541-882-6476.

Monday, Sept. 25, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Wind Advisory until Sept. 25th, 8PM
Red Flag Warning in effect until 7PM

A 50% chance of rain after 11am. Increasing clouds, with a high near 67. Breezy, with a south wind 9 to 14 mph increasing to 21 mph or more. Overnight rain expected with a low of 44. Chance of rain 70%.
A 40 percent chance of showers before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 64. West southwest wind 6 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
A 30 percent chance of rain before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 64. West wind 5 to 11 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 67.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 62.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.

Today’s Headlines

The Morgan Fire in Lake County has nearly doubled in size from earlier in the week to 2,036 acres as of Friday. Containment is listed at 20%.

Spokesmen said the fire is burning on steep, forested terrain about 21 miles northwest of Lakeview and eight miles north of Quartz Mountain on both private and Fremont-Winema National Forest lands. Cause of the blaze is under investigation.

A temporary road closure was issued Thursday for a portion of Forest Service 2800 between the junction with Forest Road 3428 on the north and Forest Road 2800-016 on the south. A copy of the order and map is on the Forest website at www.fs.gov/fremont-winema.

Substantial rainfall, along with temperatures in the mid-30s, aided firefighters on Thursday as, according to reports, they worked to establish and strengthen control lines around the fire. Crews in the northwest perimeter engaged in mop-up operations and felled burned trees that posed a hazard to firefighters and the fire line. Crews around much of the eastern flank patrolled and monitored established fire lines. On the southern flank, firefighters continued working to control features where the fire entered steeper and more challenging terrain. An overnight shift of engines and firefighters then continued fire suppression efforts.

Efforts to strengthen containment lines is being done because windy weather is predicted for this week. Fire officials said crews are looking for opportunities to contain the southwest perimeter in the fire’s steepest and inaccessible areas.

Control efforts for the fire, which was initially reported a week ago Monday, is being overseen by a Type 2 Incident Management Team Northwest Team 7 that took command of the incident on Thursday.  Resources included seven crews, 13 engines, five dozers, three water tenders and six helicopters. (Read more at HeraldandNews.com)


Marsh Fire Breaks Out near Chiloquin, 3,000+ Acres, 0% Contained

Jamie Ongman, director of human resources, told the Klamath County School District board that enrollment numbers for the district are still in flux as student transfer requests are processed.

The board met on Thursday. Currently, the district has processed 234 out-of-district requests for either incoming or outgoing students to other schools in other districts, Ongman said. The district has also processed 234 in-district transfer requests, where student transfers between other KCSD schools have occurred.

Enrollment numbers won’t be available until all the transfers are processed.

The board approved grant awards, which included: Oregon Community Foundation, $6,243, Bonanza High, Arts & Sciences Grant; National FFA, $3,000, Lost River High FFA; Union Pacific, Jacob Allen, $3,000; Gilchrist PAC Charitable Gift; plus several smaller grants.

The board also approved reduced senior days for seniors who are expected to exceed grade requirements at the end of the school year, right before graduation. Also approved was the use of a hybrid model at Falcon Heights, where students would receive half-day in-class instruction, with the other half-day used for distance learning.

Jeff Bullock, director of School Improvement and Secondary Programs, said that this has been the model already in use for students at the school, and results have shown an increase of grade achievement.

The KCSD next board meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. in the Klamath County School District Administrative Building boardroom. The public is invited to attend. (See more at HeraldandNews.com)


On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at approximately 7:26 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy-97, near milepost 289, in Klamath County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a black Jeep Cherokee, operated by Marci Ann Maples (51) of Klamath Falls, attempted to turn north (left) onto Highway 97 from Keno Worden Road. The Jeep entered the path of a southbound Dodge Ram 1500, operated by Charles Lavern Owens (55) of Los Angeles (CA), and was struck in the driver’s side door. The operator of the Dodge attempted to avoid the collision, but was unable to do so. 

The operator of the Jeep (Maples) was life flighted to Sky Lakes Medical Center and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

The operator of the Dodge (Owens) was transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center via ambulance with minor injuries. 

The highway was impacted for 2 hours during the on-scene investigation.

OSP was assisted by Keno Fire and ODOT. (OSP news release)


Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today issued a recreational use health advisory for Lake Ewauna due to the presence of a cyanobacteria bloom and cyanotoxins above recreational use values for human exposure.

People should avoid swimming and high-speed water activities, such as water skiing or power boating, in areas of the lake where blooms are, as the major route of exposure is ingestion of water. Toxins are not absorbed through the skin. However, those with skin sensitivities may develop a puffy, red rash.

OHA encourages people to visit Lake Ewauna and enjoy activities such as catch-and-release fishing, hiking, biking, picnicking, bird watching, canoeing and kayaking. Boating is safe as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray. Sprays could lead to the risk of inhaling cyanotoxins.

Drinking water directly from areas of the lake affected by a bloom is especially dangerous. Toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters. Contact local health department with questions about water available at nearby day use areas. Not all private treatment systems are effective at removing cyanotoxins. OHA advises people to use an alternative water source if they do not use a well or public water system, and draw in-home water directly from an affected area.

Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity. Dogs can get extremely ill and even die within minutes to hours of exposure to cyanotoxins by drinking the water, licking their fur, or eating the toxins from floating mats or dried crust along the shore. This is regardless of a recreational use health advisory in place.

Be aware that dogs can become ill and die from water intoxication after drinking excessive amounts of water while swimming or fetching objects for long periods of time. Intoxication is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function resulting from an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Water intoxication and heat stroke can cause similar symptoms as exposure to cyanotoxins.

Exposure to cyanotoxins can be serious and cause a range of symptoms. Symptoms may be similar to food poisoning such as stomach cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms may also be more serious, such as numbness, tingling, dizziness and shortness of breath. These symptoms may require medical attention. Dogs can experience weakness, difficulty walking, seizures, lethargy, loss of appetite and more. Pet owners should seek veterinary treatment as quickly as possible if their dog exhibits any of those symptoms. (Read more at HeraldandNews.com)


Henley High School in Klamath Falls ranks as 16th best public high school in Oregon, according to a recent report from U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools Rankings.

Other local area public high schools in Klamath and Lake counties in Oregon, and Modoc and Siskiyou counties in California received recognition, as well.

There are 471 Oregon high schools, of which 355 are public and 116 are private. California high schools number 3,892 total, with 3,162 public and 730 private. The rankings for each state are numbered using only a top percentage.

Five of six Klamath County School District high schools received rankings (Henley, 16th; Chiloquin, 95th; Lost River, 98th; Bonanza, 100th; and Mazama, 102nd), and one of two high schools in the Klamath Falls City Schools District (Klamath Union, 93rd) received a ranking. Lakeview (52nd) and North Lake (81st) in Lake County were honored in Oregon top 127, while Tulelake (1,102nd) and Modoc (1,255) made the California list of 1,268 schools.   (see more at HeraldandNews.com)

The Morgan Fire continues to burn approximately 21 miles northwest of Lakeview, Oregon and 8 miles north of Quartz Mountain. The fire is well over a 1,000 acres and 0% contained. Fire officials urge the public to stay away from the fire area.

Northwest Team 7, Incident Commander Nate LeFevre, has assumed command of the fire and firefighters are continuing to work to build direct lines where possible on the north and east sides of the fire. On the eastern flank, fire crews worked on small scale firing operations to tie the fire to the current dozer lines that were put into place in the early hours of the fire suppression effort.

The fire was reported on September 18th at 2:44 p.m. The cause is currently under investigation. Fire crews will continue to go as direct as possible to suppress emerging fire activity. Dozer lines and hose lays put in on the north side of the fire will continue to be secured to protect the private timberlands to the north.

On the east side of the fire, crews will continue to hold the lines that were secured yesterday to protect the private grounds to the east.

On the south and west sides of the fire, firefighters will continue to assess and work on the dozer lines that were previously put into place.

Night shift will continue to patrol for and suppress hot spots. A low pressure system is coming into the area for the next couple of days that will bring strong winds in the afternoon until about 10 p.m. Temperatures today will be in the 50’s with smoke continuing to move to the south.  Temperatures at night will be cold, with freezing and frost potential. Showers are possible with potential for thunderstorms to the east.

There is currently a Level 1 Evacuation. Evacuation maps are posted on the Morgan Fire Inciweb page and the Lake County, OR website: https://www.lakecountyor.org/  

The Ross Ragland Theater is offering opportunities for high schoolers and adults to get involved in theater! Arts education is a great way to build connections with other theater lovers and find your community.

Teen Theater Auditions

Rehearsals: Mondays, September 25- January 20th

Times: 4:00-7:00pm

Performances: January 18th, 2024 at 10AM & 12:30PM, January 19th, 2024 at 6PM, and January 20th, 2024 at 2PM

For students enrolled in High School

Ross Ragland Theater will begin their annual four month long Teen Theater Program calling all local high school thespians to the stage. These actors and actresses will be trained by a director in all of the aspects of theater including performances, backstage, costumes, and more.

The Play: Mirror of Most Value: A Ms. Marvel PlayKamala attempts to boost Ms. Marvel’s fledgling super hero profile by writing her own fan fiction. But when building a fandom becomes an obsession, Kamala’s schoolwork and relationships begin to suffer. To become the Jersey City hero of her dreams, Kamala must learn to accept herself just as she is – imperfections and all.

This is a great opportunity for High School teens to Audition and get experience in performing for a large audience, a stipend will be paid to each student, with no heavy time commitments until the last 2 weeks before the show. We will be looking for students for another great year of this program.

Contact the Ross Ragland Theater, 200 N. 7th St., Klamath Falls. 541-887-8637 or email Education@Ragland.org


Around the state of Oregon

As the latest COVID boosters dribble into Oregon, state health officials urged residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves against an expected rise in respiratory infections in the months ahead.

Dr. Paul Cieslak of the Oregon Health Authority and Dr. Katie Sharff of Kaiser Permanente Northwest urged residents to protect themselves in a news conference Thursday by getting shots against COVID, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which often causes cold-like symptoms?. Those who don’t get vaccinated could end up with a trifecta of respiratory infections — and even land in the hospital, they said.

The number of Oregonians infected with COVID has steadily increased since late spring, from about 4% of COVID tests being positive in late May to 15% by mid-September, Cieslak said. And hospitalizations for the disease have doubled since the end of June.

The number of people infected with the flu and RSV remains relatively low, though that’s expected to change, he said.

The health authority no longer maintains its COVID data dashboard. Providers at Oregon Health & Science University, which posts a daily update, are treating 18 people with COVID, including four people in intensive care and three on a ventilator, according to Thursday’s post. The patients are a mix of those who’ve not been vaccinated and those who have, including people who have received booster shots. (more at HeraldandNews.com)


A Gold Hill man was arrested on Monday in connection to a cold case murder that happened in Vallejo, CA in 1987. 

According to a Friday news release from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect — 69-year-old Fred Cain III — was arrested at 4:45 p.m. at his house in the 9500 block of Old Stage Road in Gold Hill. 

“Cain was arrested in connection to a 1987 cold case involving the murder of a 6-year-old child who had been abducted near his home in the city of Vallejo,” the release said. “Cain waived extradition in Oregon and will be transferred to Solano County to face charges of murder, kidnap, and sodomy.”

Four days after the child went missing in 1987, the release said, the body was found on Sherman Island in California’s Sacramento County. An autopsy revealed that the child had been sexually assaulted. 

Police initially charged the wrong man, the release said.  (kdrv12)


Happy Camp Fire Update, Monday 9/25/2023

Gov. Tina Kotek has nominated Constance Wold as new chair of the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board, two months after putting the former chair on administrative leave after it came to light that the state had paid for an investigation into her conduct.

Wold was placed on administrative leave in July, a day after The Oregonian/OregonLive revealed that the state paid a lawyer more than $42,000 to conduct a mysterious investigation into workplace complaints against Wold.

Former Gov. Kate Brown had appointed Wold as board chair of the 79-employee agency in 2017.

State officials have been tight-lipped about what the investigation by Stoel Rives attorney Brenda Baumgart found. They did not ask Baumgart to produce any written report on her findings from the investigation. Even though the investigation wrapped up last September, Wold remained in her position until Kotek, working through her Department of Administrative Services, placed her on leave in July.

Wold’s term as board chair was set to end this month. (oregonlive/Oregonian)


Police raided 14 illegal pot grow sites during July/August and recovered about 24,681 plants, 1,531 pounds of processed marijuana, 20 firearms and more than $20,000 in cash, according to a news release from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in the Rogue Valley. 

“The search warrants led to six arrests so far with investigations open and ongoing and further charges pending from the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office,” the release said. “Jackson County Code Enforcement issued citations to the landowners totaling $784,620.”

On July 6, police searched a grow site in the 1000 block of Sardine Creek Road in Gold Hill, the release said, and found electrical issues that presented a fire risk. They also found “unpermitted dwellings,” illegal camping and solid waste.

Police also discovered a grow site on Aug. 3 in the 7100 block of Wagner Creek Road in Talent, the release said, which had been on the Watermasters’ radar for a couple of years due to concerns that the grow site was stealing water from Wagner Creek, which affected local irrigation. The suspects were given violations for unlawful appropriation of surface water and groundwater for irrigation and storage without a water right at an illegal commercial cannabis operation. (kdrv 12 tv)


Oregon Schools as a whole are still failing as Oregon students’ performance on reading, writing and math tests remains stuck at dismal post-pandemic lows, despite the billions of state and federal dollars aimed at helping them recover in the two years since the pandemic shuttered school buildings across the state.

The results, based on tests given last spring and released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education, are virtually identical to 2022′s abysmal outcomes, with students across the board showing miniscule improvement in math and a slight backsliding in English.

The data show only about 40% of students scored as proficient on Smarter Balanced reading and writing tests, far below even the relatively anemic pre-pandemic levels of 51%. The picture is bleaker yet in math, where just 30% scored proficient, an enormous drop from the pre-pandemic low point of 40%. Proficiency in this context means that the student is on track to be ready for college or the workforce once they graduate from high school.

Middle schools emerged as a particular disaster zone. Seventh and eighth graders lost ground in English; seventh graders demonstrated only the barest hints of growth in math, and eighth graders’ performance was statistically stagnant in that subject, with only 25% of them hitting proficiency targets.  (oregon news)

OSP and Oregon Fish & Wildlife Dept Asking For Help in Buck Shot on Hood River Property

Oregon Fish and Wildlife officials are asking the public for help in their search for the person responsible for illegally killing deer in Hood River County. The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division says someone shot and killed a buck and a doe near Odell on September 3rd and left them to waste. Police say no meat was salvaged from either deer. Anyone with information is urged to contact police (odfw press release)

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-452-7888, *OSP (*677), or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov. Reference case number SP23-281043.


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