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, November 6, 2023
Klamath Basin Weather
Election Day is tomorrow, November 7th
Klamath County residents have received ballots that contain one measure — a proposed five-year levy on behalf of funding the Klamath County museums.
Measure 18-131 asks voters whether they are willing to increase the current tax rate of 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to 10 cents to fund the Baldwin Hotel, Fort Klamath Museum and Klamath County Museum.
Republican Rep. E. Werner Reschke presented his argument against the levy during a People’s Rights meeting earlier this month and again in an op-ed provided to the Herald and News.
In the meeting, Reschke asked attendees what the purpose of the proposed tax increase is. Some said it was for the purpose of setting a precedent so that other county departments might also submit ballot measures for additional funding. Some expressed concerns of misappropriation.
According to the ballot measure, the levy would provide sufficient funding for much needed repairs and maintenance of the museums.
When asked whether the county could spend those funds on anything other than the museums, Reschke said the funds could not be used for anything other than the museums.
County Commissioner Kelley Minty said it’s always a struggle to find the funding needed by all departments in the county, especially with rapid inflation in recent years.
This past week, the Klamath County Supporters Facebook page posted 13 or more video clips of well-known community members expressing their support for Measure 18-131.
Lifelong county resident and prolific public service leader Don Boyd participated in the campaign.
The ballot measure presents a five-year tax levy of 10 cents per $1,000 assessed property value to fund the three local museums: Klamath County Museum, the Baldwin Hotel Museum and the Fort Klamath Museum.
The current levy is 5 cents per $1,000 and is set to expire in June of 2024. Should it pass, the annual tax rate for a home valued at $150,000 would be $15.
Another video featured Taylor Tupper, public relations manager for the Klamath Tribes, expressing her gratitude for the museums’ efforts to preserve and tell the historic stories of Klamath County.
The levy comes in response to the growing needs of the buildings themselves as well as the ever-changing community needs and expectations of local museums. In terms of repairs, the Klamath County Museum is in need of an updated geothermal heating system as well as a new roof. A new roof for the historic building is expected to cost more than $100,000. But the current roof won’t hold and already often leaks during rainy and snowy seasons. With much of the archives housed on the upper floor of the museum, including newspapers dating back to the 1800s, the leaks in the roof are a serious concern. (Herald and News)
Three Southern Oregon drug traffickers, including the head of a Klamath Falls drug trafficking organization, have pleaded guilty in federal court, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon in Medford.
Earlier this week, Juan Jessie Martinez-Gil, 59, a former resident of Reno, Nevada, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl. Candice Nadine Mckee, 31, a distributor in Martinez-Gil’s network and resident of Lakeview, pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl.
In a separate criminal case, Jessie Cole Merkel, 31, of Redding, California, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing fentanyl.
According to court documents, between August 2019 and September 2021, Martinez-Gil, the head of a Klamath Falls area drug trafficking organization, conspired with various associates, including McKee, to possess and distribute large quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl, in the form of counterfeit Oxycodone pills, in and around Klamath Falls. A coordinated law enforcement operation conducted in September 2021 led to the arrests of Martinez-Gil and several of his co-conspirators.
Federal search warrants were executed on five locations and two vehicles.
Martinez-Gil will be sentenced on February 22, 2024, by U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. Mckee will be sentenced the same day and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. (Herald and News)
Klamath County Public Health officials are working on an updated Air Quality Ordinance that will simplify the current woodstove advisories provided for the Klamath Falls-area Air Quality Zone.
Air quality is a topic that gains attention when wildfire smoke hangs in the air. It also becomes top of mind awareness for people living within the air quality zone, as they monitor woodstove advisories from October 15 to March 15. The advisories came into effect to be able to address the poor air quality experienced in the population center of the community, which historically had concerns with industrial air pollution and smoke generated by home heating.
During the five months of woodstove advisories, there are currently four color-coded advisories:
- Green: burning for all fireplaces and woodstoves
- Yellow: burning for certified woodstoves
- Red: burning for approved exemptions only
- Red health alert: no burning
The proposed changes make the ordinance simple to understand with only three burning-related options: burning allowed, exempt woodburning devices only, and no burning allowed.
Klamath County libraries to close for Veterans Day
All Klamath County libraries will be closed on Saturday, November 11th for Veterans Day. No materials will be due on a day that the libraries are closed.
Libraries with Friday hours will be open as usual on Friday, November 10th, but full-time staff will have the day off and some regular programming may be cancelled. For more information, call us at 541-882-8894, or see our events calendar at klamathlibrary.org/library-eve
Friends of the Children has moved into their new location
The non-profit organization, Friends of the Children, is opening up their new location in just days. The organization is known for helping youth with mentorship from four years old up to high school graduation, who face systemic challenges.
They pair them up with professional mentors called ‘Friends,’ to empower and teach them life skills.
The facility is moving to a building, just a few minutes away to Old Fort Road. Staff say that this relocation will allow them to further their mission to help.
The new facility will have an open house on Sunday, November 12th, from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information you can go to their website. (foc press release)
The new Old Fort Road location was a property in bad shape but will be a vibrant new place for the staff and children thanks to widespread support and the visionary design of architect Yabori Calvo.
Here, program youth (70 this year) can read in a sunlit library, learn cooking skills in a well-equipped kitchen, meet with tutors and a licensed clinical social worker in quiet rooms, express their creativity in the art room, and exercise on hiking/biking trails designed by Klamath Trails Alliance. They will find the peace and belonging they need to build relationships, skills, and hope”.
All residents of the Klamath Basin are invited to a self-guided tour of our new Friends Of The Children clubhouse at 1515 Old Fort Road on Sunday, November 12th, 1 pm – 5 pm. Please stop in! No need to rsvp.
PJ drive for Klamath County Foster Kids
The Klamath Quota club are collecting new PJ’s for foster kids. You can drop off new pajamas at Oregon Department of Human Services, Caldwell Banker real estate office on So 6th, the Elks club and the following churches .
First Presbyterian church
Shasta Way Christian Church
Hope Lutheran Church
New Horizons Church
Foothills Christian Fellowship
55 and Alive group at Klamath Christian Center
Thank you very much from The Klamath Quota Club and BasinLife.com
This week’s pet ready for adoption at Klamath Animal Shelter is a kitty named ” Squirrel “
Around the state of Oregon
A federal judge Thursday ordered counties statewide to release criminal defendants from jail if they’re not appointed a lawyer within seven days of their initial court appearances amid an ongoing public defense crisis.
U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane’s ruling went beyond his August temporary decree that required the release of criminal defendants only in Washington County, if they’d been held for 10 days without a lawyer.
The lack of legal representation rose to “extraordinary circumstances” that demanded federal intervention, the judge found.
McShane’s order will take effect in two weeks, on Nov. 16. It will impact those currently in custody and future defendants. Those ordered released from jail can be placed on conditions while their cases are pending, the judge wrote.
Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum plans to seek a hold on the judge’s ruling while the state appeals to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Roy Kaufmann, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Justice.
Three passengers are now suing Alaska Airlines, saying they suffered emotional distress from an incident last month in which an off-duty pilot is accused of trying to shut down the engines of a plane while catching a ride in the cockpit from Washington state to San Francisco.
In the complaint filed Thursday in King County Superior Court in Washington state, San Francisco residents Matthew Doland and Theresa Stelter and Paul Stephen of Kenmore, Washington, alleged that the pilot should never have been allowed in the cockpit because he was suffering from depression and a lack of sleep.
Alaska Airlines said in an emailed statement that it is reviewing the complaint. “The pilots and flight attendants operating Flight 2059 responded without hesitation to ensure the safety of all onboard,” it added. “We are incredibly proud and grateful for their skilled actions.”
Alaska pilot Joseph David Emerson, 44, was riding in the jump seat — an extra seat in the cockpit — when he suddenly said “I’m not OK” and tried to pull two handles that would engage a fire-suppression system and cut fuel to the engines, authorities said in charging documents.
Flight 2059, operated by Alaska affiliate Horizon Air, diverted safely to Portland, Oregon, after the pilots quickly subdued Emerson and he was voluntarily handcuffed in the back of the plane, police said.
The lawsuit said the plane experienced “what felt like a nose-dive,” though some passengers quoted in news accounts have not described any such thing. Passenger Aubrey Gavello told ABC News: “We didn’t know anything was happening until the flight attendant got on the loudspeaker and made an announcement that there was an emergency situation and the plane needed to land immediately.” (Herald and News)
The tens of thousands of Oregonians who buy their own health insurance can now start shopping for the best plan for next year.
Open enrollment on the federal online marketplace, which Oregon will continue to use for the next few years, runs this year from Nov. 1 through Jan. 16. Those who enroll by Dec. 15 will be covered starting Jan. 1, and those who sign up after that will be covered starting Feb. 1.
Premiums will increase 6% next year on average but individuals can obtain subsidies through the marketplace to reduce costs. The subsidies come in the form of tax credits that can be used throughout the year or at tax time. In the past, around 70% of those who applied obtained financial help. That jumped to 80% last year, according to Amy Coven at the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees health insurance enrollment.
The average tax credit last year was around $500 per person a month, Coven said. That translated to an out-of-pocket premium cost per person of about $225.
Subsidies are based on the marketplace’s silver, or mid-range plans, and there’s no upper income limit to qualify for financial help. Individuals can also sign up for a bronze plan, which has the least expensive premium but costs more out-of-pocket for services, or gold plans, which have the highest premiums but lowest out-of-pocket costs.
(Herald and News)
The Mt. Shasta Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating an at-risk missing woman.
24-year-old Jessica MacKenzie Applegate was last known to be in the southern Oregon area, including Ashland, Medford and Central Point. Applegate has blonde hair and blue eyes, and is about 5 feet 1 inches tall and 105 pounds. Her date of birth is 11/28/1998.
If anyone has any information on this case, call the Mt. Shasta Police Department at (530) 926-7540 and reference case 2310M-0702.
(mt. Shasta PD)
Oregon residents can begin cutting down their own Christmas trees beginning this week.
The Bureau of Land Management’s Roseburg District Office will start handing out Christmas tree permits on November 10th. The permits allow residents to cut down their own tree of up to 12 feet tall at either the Swiftwater or South River Resource Areas for a fee of five dollars. Each household is limited to three trees per permit. (Oregon news)
Helping your neighbors and their families stay warm just got easier. Pacific Power will match every dollar you donate to the Oregon Energy Fund with $2 more.
Pacific Power customers who receive their bills by mail will find they include an Oregon Energy Fund contribution envelope in November. Customers who pay their bills electronically can send a check or enroll in the fixed donation program. To enroll in the fixed donation program, customers can call Pacific Power toll-free at 1-888-221-7070 or Donate to Energy Assistance (pacificpower.net).
This program allows customers to donate any dollar amount, starting at $1 per month, which is then incorporated into their monthly bill. Fixed donations will also be matched 2-for-1 by Pacific Power.
Donations may be tax-deductible and are forwarded directly to the Oregon Energy Fund, which verifies eligibility and allocates funds to those in need. All funds donated are used to assist families in need within the same county in which the donor resides.
Last year, donations from Pacific Power’s customers, employees and the company helped 1,591 individuals in need throughout Oregon, including 793 adults, 196 seniors, 174 people with disabilities and 602 children. This year, Pacific Power will match up to $144,000 in donations.
Customers who need bill assistance themselves can speak with Pacific Power representatives at 1-888-221-7070 who can help with payment plans that work for their individual needs, while directing them to agencies that may be able to help.
(pp and l press)
Acres State Park Annual Holiday Lights Shines Again
COOS BAY, Ore. — From Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Eve, visitors near and far will travel to Shore Acres State Park in Coos Bay for the annual Holiday Lights.
With the help of more than 1,500 volunteers, hundreds of thousands of lights will be strung throughout the botanical gardens at the park to mark the winter tradition, which brings thousands of guests and dollars to the south coast each year.
Janice Langlinais, executive director of the Coos Bay-North Bend-Charleston Visitor and Convention Bureau, says there are a few steps to keep in mind when coming to see the holiday lights, including the timed entry system.
“It is not a timed entry per person. It is per parking space. So when people are booking their space, they are booking a time-specific parking spot no matter how many people are in the car,” said Langlinais. “If people have a state park pass, a coastal passport or another special pass from the state parks, the five dollars is waived. They still need to book the spot and the time that they’re going to go.”
There’s also a shuttle from the Charleston Marina to Shore Acres that will run every Thursday – Saturday evening as well as on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Langlinais says Holiday Lights started in 1987 with 6,000 lights. It was the first time visitors could enter the garden house where holiday treats are served.
“Now, all these years later, there are 325,000 lights, animated sculptures. It is a total winter wonderland. From an economic impact standpoint, it is extremely important for our communities to have visitors here in the winter. This is the slower time for tourism. It brings people here to help our restaurants stay open during the holidays, our attractions,” said Langlinais.
The $5 parking passes are available for hour long time slots between 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. daily.
High Desert Museum’s new Endangered In the High Desert Exhibition Opens Nov 11th
BEND, OR — What do a 100-pound chinook salmon, ten-inch-tall pygmy rabbit and vibrant San Rafael cactus all have in common?
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — a half-century-old law that aims to protect vulnerable species from extinction — all three of these species are currently classified as endangered in some regions of the High Desert. Defined by the ESA, an endangered species is one that is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”
Opening on November 11, the High Desert Museum’s Endangered in the High Desert exhibition will call attention to species in the region that are either facing or recovering from the threat of extinction. This intriguing and informative exhibition is a component of the Museum’s yearlong exploration of the Endangered Species Act, 50 years after it passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 355-4 in the House of Representatives. President Richard Nixon signed it into law.
“Fifty years later, the Endangered Species Act continues to be an influential law that has generated a significant amount of dialogue in its time,” says Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “We look forward to exploring this significant legislation and its many complexities in the High Desert region.”
Visitors will first encounter a floor-to-ceiling map introducing many of the exhibition’s ambassador species — 24 of the 29 featured species that represent the many listed, de-listed and at-risk but not yet listed species in the High Desert — and their locations in the region. A playful mural of the High Desert landscape details each of the ambassador species. This massive mural splits into four distinct sections, first differentiating between endangered, threatened and delisted species at the state and federal levels. The fourth section asks guests to consider the future of several species in the area, including the monarch butterfly, western bumble bee and Pacific lamprey.
With vibrant colors and engaging photography, this exhibition is meant to ignite conversations about these plants and animals – including lesser-known species like the whitebark pine and the Oregon spotted frog – while also calling attention to the ecological connectivity within the greater ecosystem.
“Species depend on access to healthy habitat to survive” says Donald M. Kerr Curator of Natural History Hayley Brazier, Ph.D. “In designing the exhibit, we wanted to depict plants and animals in the context of landscapes and waterscapes. The exhibit’s images and murals convey that endangered species conversation does not happen in a vacuum; the broader ecosystems matter.”
After Museum visitors experience the brand-new Endangered in the High Desert exhibition, they can encounter a handful of the ambassador species in-person. Just a short walk from the exhibition, a bald eagle — a delisted species — lives in the Museum’s care. Six threatened and delisted species currently live in the Museum’s care: the bull trout, Foskett speckled dace, steelhead trout, peregrine falcon, bald eagle and desert tortoise. Small signs placed throughout the Museum will distinguish between these species and others living on Museum grounds.
Endangered in the High Desert is part of a yearlong series of exhibitions and public programs at the Museum to explore and reflect on the ESA’s impact in the High Desert and beyond. This includes the current exhibition Wolves: Photography by Ronan Donovan, open through February 11, 2024, as well as Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, which opens Saturday, December 9.
Endangered in the High Desert will be on display through July 7, 2024. This exhibition is made possible by the Visit Central Oregon Future Fund and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, with support from DoubleTree Hilton and Waypoint Hotel. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/
Thanks for reading BasinLife.com from Wynne Broadcasting. Enjoy articles, news and weather updates, music, entertainment news, recipes, business offers, contests and much more right here every day.
Ready to Advertise? Call BasinLife.com at 541-363-7503. We offer more local advertising opportunities than any one in the Klamath Basin. We’re ready to help you with the best digital advertising in Southern Oregon.
You can receive Daily Radio Mentions across our 6 stations, Articles, direct link Banner Ads, floating Banner Ads on hundreds of article pages daily, Social Media Posts, geo-fencing and geo-targeting services, and also available are monthly Email Blasts to thousands of local residents. We keep you updated with the latest smart digital marketing strategies for 2023 for your business. At BasinLife.com we’re still the best value in the Klamath Basin for advertising, as we celebrate our 7th year promoting businesses!
For information or prices on plans, simply call us today at 541-363-7503 or email us at Info@BasinLife.com. Let us keep your business top-of -mind!