Klamath Basin News, Friday, Dec. 8 – Lost River Junior/Senior High School Takes First in State FFA State Food Science…Now Headed For Nationals

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Friday, December 8, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Mostly sunny, with a high near 37. Overnight, mostly clear, low around 20 degrees.
Increasing clouds, with a high near 42. Light winds to 6 mph. Cloudy overnight with a low of 25.
Cloudy with a 30% chance of rain after 4pm, high near 45 degrees  Snow level rising to 5600 feet during the day. Rain expected overnight with a low around 29.
Partly sunny, with a high near 47.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 45.

Today’s Headlines

To compete at FFA Nationals, you have to be the very best. Only the state champions qualify. The FFA team from Klamath County’s Lost River Junior/Senior High School did just that Nov. 18, taking first in state at FFA’s State Food Science competition at Oregon State University and becoming the school’s first national qualifying FFA team.

Team members are Melanie Martinez, Julitza Serrato-Cobian, Anna Kliewer, and McKinley Ruda and alternates Gemma Arceo-Bigoni and Zuliana Cobian-Cazarez. Julitza, Melanie, Gemma, and Zuliana, all juniors, started the school’s first Food Science team three year ago as freshmen with the goal to win state. That first year, they placed 16th; and last year they earned a fourth-place at state. This year, they were joined by sophomores Anna and McKinley.

In their competition this year, the team competed against 23 other schools. Unlike sports competitions, which have divisions based on school size, any school that has an FFA chapter competes in the same event.

The state contest consisted of three parts:- Objective test, • Sensory Evaluation: and Team activity.

The team will now prepare to compete in the National FFA Food Science and Technology Career Development Event in October 2024 in Indianapolis.

Like they did for the state competition, the team plans to practice and study at least once a month through the school year and then gear up in the fall to prepare for nationals. (KCSD)


The City of Klamath Falls is offering snow removal assistance to low-income area seniors.

To be eligible you must be 60 years or older and make less than $26,600 in gross income, or for a couple to qualify you need to make less than $30,400.

You can register on the city oKlamath Falls website.

Service is on a first come first serve basis and is available Mondays through Fridays. (city of KF)


It’s been another incredibly productive year for the Klamath Trails Alliance, a volunteer group that oversee building and maintaining a growing network of biking, hiking and cross country skiing trails in Klamath County.

KTA members logged 1,213 hours of volunteer trail work and cleared 403 logs or downfall from trails through Nov. 30. During the organization’s annual meeting last week, honored as the top 10 trail workers were Grant Weidenbach, Josh Nelson, Dwight Johnson, Michael Schaaf, John Poole, Lee Heckman, Jeremy Macko, Karen Poole, DJ Wagner and Adam Brunick.

Honzel also said the group’s funding “jumped substantially” in 2023 to $400,000, an increase he attributed to grants. The group received a $240,000 grant from the American Rescue Plan to expand trailheads along with several smaller grants for the Geo Trail extension project.

Trail maintenance was also impressive with the construction of new trails, plans for more and ongoing upkeep and maintenance at systems that include Spence Mountain, Moore Park, Oregon Tech/Sky Lakes Geo Trail, Brown Mountain and other areas of the Sky Lakes Wilderness, such as Mount McLoughlin and Rye Spur trails.

Honzel said several milestones were achieved at Spence Mountain, the 10th year of trail development.

In looking forward to 2024, Honzel and KTA President Kevin Jones said plans include completing the remaining a third-of a mile of the Chinquapin Trail, a 2-mile downhill only trail that they said “really gained in popularity this year — for the part that was open.” (Herald and News)


The Citizens Santa Program, presented by Citizens for Safe Schools, is accepting sponsors for gift giving to at-risk youth who are mentored by the organization.

The invitation to sponsor youth is open to the community.

According to a news release, “Citizens Santa is not just a gift-giving campaign. It is an opportunity to bring the community together and make a positive impact in the lives of local children.”

Wrapped gifts must be dropped off at Everybody’s Vintage store, 733 Main St., before Dec. 18.

Those wanting to be a Citizens Santa, or for more information, can call Sarah Miller at Citizens for Safe Schools (541) 238-4839, email smiller@citizensforsafeschools.org, or visit the Citizens for Safe Schools Facebook page.

Citizens for Safe Schools is a 501(c)3 youth-serving nonprofit, operating in the Klamath Basin for more than 23 years. Primary programs focus on mentoring youth in a variety of ways, including adult-to-youth, peer-to-peer, and youth-adult-partnership.  (Herald and News/CFSS)

The Ross Ragland Theater will be the site for the upcoming holiday performance by the reunited ‘80s-’90s band, Wilson Phillips. The group will present “A Wilson Family Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15.

According to the Ragland, “This is one of the biggest shows happening this year at the theater and a fan favorite for those who grew up with the ‘80’s sensation.”

This special intimate Christmas show consists of five Wilson family members on stage. A two-piece band includes musical director Rob Bonfiglio.

They will play old Beach Boys songs, classic covers, Wilson Phillips material, and of course Christmas songs from their record, including the classic “Hey Santa”.

Best known for their ‘90s hits like “Hold On” and “Release Me,” the group Wilson Phillips is made up of sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson (daughters of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys), and Chynna Phillips (daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas).

The group originally formed in 1986 and had great success with four albums, selling 13 million worldwide, produced three No. 1 hit singles and six top-20 hits. In 1993, Carnie and Wendy released the song “Hey Santa,” which has been on radio stations every season since.

GET TICKETS HERE: https://ragland.org/

This show is sponsored by Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Klamath Falls. (Herald and News/rrt)

Sky Lakes Medical Center has installed a beautiful bronze sculpture in the center of the roundabout on Campus Drive. This impressive artwork was built and designed by the renowned sculptor and artist, Stefan Savides.

The concept for the “red hawk sculpture” was brought to the Sky Lakes board in 2019 by Paul Stewart, former CEO/President of Sky Lakes Medical Center. The piece created represents nature’s ability to overcome obstacles created by urban development. The entire process, from conceptualization to installation, spanned over two years.

Stefan Savides employed an intricate process that involved crafting miniature clay molds, followed by wax molds, and eventually welding the elements into the beautiful bronze sculpture. The three columns depicted in the sculpture represent the urbanization of land, with a branch breaching each column, symbolizing the resilience and adaptation of nature. At the top of the tallest column, a life-size hawk sits majestically. To further enhance the space, the landscaping around the sculpture will be adorned with native plants and boulders that complement the artwork.

The installation of the sculpture was generously donated by Diversified Contractors Inc and coordinated by Healthy Klamath. This artistic addition is a testament to Sky Lakes’ dedication to fostering a vibrant and thriving community. Public art has been shown to curate a culture of creativity as well as elevate community members’ sense of pride.

Sky Lakes hopes to continue making investments in the community, offering opportunities for people to connect with and take pride in the place we call home. (Sky Lakes Medical Center press release)


Sky Lakes is embarking on a journey with a new mission and vision, signaling a pivotal moment in its commitment to shaping a brighter future for the community.

Guided by the dedication to enhancing the patient experience, improving access to care and the overall wellbeing of Klamath County, Sky Lakes’ leadership team is excited to chart a transformative path forward. 

Grounded in the belief of the power of community and the potential of every individual, Sky Lakes’ new mission is to “inspire human potential through better health.”

In these six simple words, the organization encapsulates its dedication to guiding individuals toward a brighter and healthier future. It pledges to empower and support the community in realizing its infinite possibilities by fostering a culture of well-being and vitality. Through its dedication to comprehensive care, Sky Lakes seeks to ensure that every individual receives the support and the care they need throughout every stage of their health journey. 

Sky Lakes’ commitment to comprehensive care extends beyond traditional healthcare, recognizing that the journey to well-being begins in the community, in education, in the home, and in a commitment to preventative care. This proactive and holistic approach is a cornerstone of Sky Lakes’ pledge to uplift the community and promote healthier lifestyles. 

As part of this commitment, Sky Lakes continues to support various community-focused initiatives, including significant investments in parks and recreation, such as Klamath Commons, Eulalona Park, and the new Moore Park Playground.

Sky Lakes also invests in our community through various programs and projects, like the Everyone Swims program, Blue Zones Project/Healthy Klamath, the Wellness Center, and additional investments to support tourism, arts and culture. Additional projects in the works are improved signage downtown, commissioned local art in our new roundabouts, and the extension of community trails for improved access to outdoor activity. (Sky Lakes press release)


The Humane Society of North Lake County has officially been approved as a nonprofit.

According to the Humane Society’s post, local residents Karen Morgan, Becky Toko and Kathy Allen have been working for the past four years to organize local spay and neuter clinics. They’ve also been rescuing and rehoming cats and dogs as well as helping local law enforcement with animal control issues.

As there is no official animal control in North Lake County, they decided to form an official nonprofit and their goal is to build a facility for the Humane Society of North Lake County. They’ll be launching a fundraising campaign for those initial costs. Right now, they’re taking applications for foster volunteers. For more information, you can contact them at this email address: nlhumanesociety@yahoo.com   (Lake County)


Are you a student looking to kickstart a career in civil service? Are you looking for a fun, fulfilling way to spend your summer?

During the next couple of weeks, the Bureau of Land Management is hiring at least 100 paid student interns across the country, some of them right here in the Pacific Northwest. Come work with us! Job applications will be open on USAjobs.gov from December 8 through December 18, 2023. Don’t miss the opportunity!

Leaders from BLM Oregon/Washington will host two Zoom workshops to help students navigate the application process.

Students will get the most out of the workshop if they already have an account on USAjobs.gov. Anyone 16 years or older and enrolled or soon to be enrolled in school is eligible to apply.

The American people rely on the BLM to care for their public land, and BLM leaders are committed to building a team that represents all of America.

The online evens will be held December 9 and 14th, and more information is available by going to the main LBM website.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  (blm news release)


Around the state of Oregon

A Southern Oregon woman was sentenced in federal court Monday for using her deceased husband’s identity to unlawfully obtain more than $36,000 in federal student aid.

Cynthia Pickering, 56, of Central Point, Oregon, was sentenced to 36 months’ probation and ordered to pay $36,341 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Education.

According to court documents, beginning in September 2017 and continuing through April 2019, Pickering devised a scheme to use her deceased husband’s personally identifiable information to submit multiple applications for federal student aid and enroll her former husband at three different colleges and universities in Oregon. These fraudulent applications caused the three colleges and universities—Eastern Oregon University, Rogue Community College, and Western Oregon University—to disperse $36,341 in federal student aid into Pickering’s personal checking account.

To conceal her scheme, Pickering attended online classes pretending to be her former husband so that her husband would remain eligible for the student aid. Pickering did what was necessary to pass first term courses at each institution and collect the funds.

On October 6, 2022, a federal grand jury in Medford returned a nine-count indictment charging Pickering with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and student loan fraud, and, on November 15, 2022, she was arrested at her residence in Central Point. On August 21, 2023, Pickering pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and three counts of student aid fraud.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General (ED-OIG). It was prosecuted by John C. Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

(Oregon US attorney’s office)


A state court ruling against Oregon’s gun control policy, Measure 114, is getting yet another hearing before a final ruling is issued in the matter to consider more arguments against the initial case finding.

Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio today set a January 2, 2024, hearing about his pending ruling against Measure 114. He ruled November 21, 2023, that Oregon’s gun control policy, passed November 2022 by referendum as Measure 114, violated the state’s constitution.

Raschio has ordered the parties in Joseph Arnold, Cliff Asmussen, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation vs Ellen Rosenblum, Tina Kotek, Casey Codding to draft and review ruling for filing with the case’s court record based on his conclusion that Measure 114 is unconstitutional for Oregon.  (Oregon news)


On December 6 at about 4:15 PM the Medford Police Dept took 37-year-old Michael Jospeh Gregory Seems into custody in relation to the shooting that occurred  at 2115 Roberts Road.

Investigators had developed Seems as a suspect early in this case and had actively been looking for him since yesterday evening. Today at about 3:30 PM, a Medford Police detective spotted Seems as a passenger in a vehicle in Medford and followed the vehicle as it got onto Interstate 5, northbound.

The detective coordinated responding units and police were able to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle in the city of Gold Hill. The vehicle briefly eluded the attempted traffic stop, but eventually stopped on Lampman Road adjacent to the Rogue River. Seems fled from the vehicle, down the embankment and into the river. He became trapped on the rocks, partially in the river, and remained uncooperative with police officers who were negotiating with him to exit the river.  

Eventually officers were able to rescue Seems from the river and assist him up the bank, where he was taken into custody. All known witnesses and participants in this case have been identified and interviewed. The firearm believed to have been used in this case has been recovered.  Michael Seems will be lodged at the Jackson County jail on multiple charges, including Attempted Murder, and Assault in the First Degree.

The Medford Police Dept would like to thank members of the Jackson County sheriffs department, Central Point Police Department, and Oregon state police that assisted in today’s capture. The victim in this case is recovering from his injuries. This shooting resulted from the victim confronting Seems and two others who were loitering near the back of his apartment.  (MPD news release)


The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education are offering free Naloxone kits to every middle and high school in the state.

The effort is an expansion of the Save Lives Oregon (SLO) Initiative’s Harm Reduction Clearinghouse Project. Each middle and high school is eligible to receive three kits. According to the OHA, the kits contain a wall mounted naloxone box, instructions, emergency medical supplies, and eight doses of the opioid antagonist, naloxone nasal spray.

Naloxone, also called Narcan, is the drug that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Several Southern Oregon school districts already have naloalone at the ready.

While overdoses in middle and high schools is rare, it’s always better to be prepared, just in case. When it comes to fentanyl, Havniear said it doesn’t discriminate. (Oregon news)


The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that two of its jail deputies have been criminally charged with official misconduct for allegedly failing to perform jobs in association with two inmates who died earlier this year.

A sheriff’s office news release did not specify what those duties were, only that deputies James Brauckmiller and Michael Mersereau “may not have performed their job duties as required.” The sheriff’s office also didn’t name the two deceased inmates that the deputies’ alleged inaction may have pertained to.

The sheriff’s office discovered the alleged misconduct while investigating the deaths of the inmates and placed both deputies on administrative leave.  (Oregon news)


Oregon based Dutch Bros has a new challenger.

McDonald’s new drive-thru beverage chain appears positioned to directly challenge Oregon-based Dutch Bros. But the fast-food giant is starting slowly with its first new restaurant concept in the U.S. and hasn’t decided whether it will expand more broadly.

McDonald’s unveiled its highly anticipated CosMc’s (Cosmic) chain Wednesday, announcing plans to open 10 locations by next summer.

CosMc’s features four drive-thru lanes and no dine-in restaurant. It will serve colorful, sugary, caffeinated beverages with names like Sour Cherry Energy Burst, Island Pick-Me-Up Punch.

The company said the chain is designed to combat what McDonald’s calls its “3 p.m. slump” between lunch and dinner.  However, unlike Dutch Bros, CosMc’s will serve food – breakfast sandwiches, cookies and other snacks. (Oregon news)

Electricity utility PacifiCorp will pay $299 million to settle a lawsuit brought by about 220 customers who were harmed by devastating wildfires in southern Oregon in 2020.

The settlement announced Tuesday comes after the utility lost a similar lawsuit in June for wildfires in other parts of the state, The Oregonian reported.

The Oregon utility has faced several lawsuits from property owners and residents who say PacifiCorp negligently failed to shut off power to its 600,000 customers during a windstorm over Labor Day weekend in 2020, despite warnings from state leaders and top fire officials, and that its power lines caused multiple blazes.

The fires were among the worst natural disasters in Oregon’s history. They killed nine people, burned more than 1,875 square miles (4,856 square kilometers) and destroyed upward of 5,000 homes and other structures.

The settlement announced Tuesday means the utility will avoid the risk of trial and being ordered to pay additional damages, such as for emotional distress.  (kdrv12)


In Eugene, it’s a mess at a homeless camp along the McKenzie River say outdoors enthsiasts as the view is now leftover trash, pipes and a septic tank from a homeless camp that have been swept into the McKenzie due to rising waters, according to local residents. 

The camp is underneath Coburg Bridge on the north side of the McKenzie River across from Armitage Park.  Heavy rainfall made the waters of the McKenzie rise and sweep away waste from the camp that was too close to the riverbed. 

One man said there’s trash floating in the water, a septic tank that’s been abandoned and the place is a mess with tents and old trucks and RVs settled there.  

Lane County Parks and Recreation as well as Lane County Sheriff’s say the group is permitted to stay in that spot until January 2024. A spokesperson from Lane County said in a statement that the land is a mix of public and private property and the county has sent an outreach team to work with the unhoused people over the course of the next month to find them housing.

An  outreach team has twelve people from that encampment in line for housing that should become available within the next few weeks. The idea from Lane County is go get people into housing and safer shelter rather than simply trespassing folks and moving the problem to a new location. Stay tuned.


Last-minute camping is about to get a little easier in Oregon.

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, same-day online reservations will available at dozens of state park campgrounds, allowing spontaneous campers the option to book sites less than 24 hours in advance.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced the change Tuesday, nearly five months after rolling out same-day reservations at state parks on the coast. That pilot program went smoothly, park managers said in a news release, giving the parks department the confidence to expand it to campgrounds across the state, including at popular places such as Silver Falls, L.L. Stub Stewart and The Cove Palisades.

(Oregon news)


Starting next month, Oregonians will have more options to take the train to Seattle.

Amtrak Cascades, jointly operated between the Washington and Oregon state transportation departments, said it will add two new round-trip trains between the states’ two largest cities.

The two new trains will begin running on Monday, Dec. 11, with the earliest one departing Seattle at 5:52 a.m. and Portland at 6:45 a.m. The latest trains of the day will leave at 7:25 p.m. from Portland and 7:50 p.m. from Seattle. With the two additions, there will now be a dozen trains between the two cities every day.

The two cities are the busiest stops on the Cascades route, which runs from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Eugene.

One train, the Coast Starlight, runs out of Klamath Falls northbound for Portland and points north, leaving Klamath Falls around 8:15am.

(Oregon news)


Red Cross of Oregon Asking for Blood Donations During The Holidays

Help on Giving Tuesday and during the holidays by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also register for volunteer opportunities in their area.

INCREASING SUPPORT AMID EXTREME DISASTERS With the growing frequency and intensity of climate-driven disasters, the Red Cross is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country. As part of this national work in 2023, the Red Cross distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people after disasters of all sizes, including for wildfire recovery in the Cascades Region.

Across the country, the Red Cross is delivering this vital financial assistance on top of its immediate relief efforts — including safe shelter, nutritious meals and emotional support — which have been provided on a near-constant basis for this year’s relentless extreme disasters. In fact, this year’s onslaught of large disasters drove an increase in emergency lodging provided by the Red Cross with partners — with overnight stays up more than 50% compared to the annual average for the previous five years. 

In the Cascades Region we opened four times as many evacuation shelters in June than previous years because of a wildfire season that burned more than 250,000 acres across Oregon and SW Washington. Altogether, nearly 200 of our local volunteers responded to disasters in 2023, including more than 770 in the Cascades Region.

RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS Beyond extreme disasters, people stepped up through the Red Cross to address other emerging needs for communities, including:

  • BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation’s largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year and helped us meet the needs of patients in the Cascades Region in 2023. To further improve people’s health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion. 
  • The holidays can be a challenging time to collect enough blood for those in need. To book a time to give, visit RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS. As a thank-you, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Dec. 1-17 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. Terms apply. See rcblood.org/Amazon.
  • LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Cascades Region has trained more than 57,000 people in lifesaving-skills while, nationally, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new “Until Help Arrives” online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs. 
  • MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments.

Visit www.redcross.org/CascadesGiving for more information about how the Red Cross Cascades Region helped people in 2023.


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