Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, Jan. 23 – U.S. Forest Service Working To Clear Hundreds Of Downed Trees on Trails After Severe Storms; Fundraisers for Critically Injured Child Becoming Successful

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

 
Today
Partly sunny, with a high near 45. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 7 mph. Tonight expect rain and snow, mainly after 10pm. Snow level 5100 feet lowering to 4600 feet after midnight . Low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
 
Wednesday
Rain and snow, becoming all rain after 10am. Snow level 4400 feet rising to 5200 feet in the afternoon. High near 43. South southwest wind 6 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. Overnight a slight chance of rain mixed with snow, with snow level at 4400 feet, low around 31 degrees.
Thursday
Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Southwest wind 5 to 9 mph.
Thursday Night
A chance of rain and snow after 4am. Snow level 4400 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Friday
A chance of rain and snow before 10am, then rain likely, with a high near 42. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Saturday
Rain likely, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.
Sunday
A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51.

Today’s Headlines

Dozens lined up and filled Bend’s Masonic Lodge for a Sunday fundraising event to benefit a Bend family who lost five members in a tragic two-vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Klamath County last week and left the sole survivor, a 11-year-old girl, in critical condition.

The organizer of a GoFundMe page fundraiser, family friend Pedro Molina said, they wanted to do something for the family of the young girl. 

By Monday morning, the page had raised more than nearly $77,000 toward a $100,000 goal to help with family expenses. Sunday’s fundraiser, including a raffle and food, was organized by the area’s Latino community.

A dance will also be held in the near future to raise additional funds for the family, Molina said.

There will also be an additional fundraising event at El Patron Mexican Kitchen in Redmond from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Saturday. All proceeds will go to help cover the medical and funeral costs.

 


Last week there were several deadly auto crashes in the state, some on Highway 97 and Highway 58.
 

Three of those crashes were just a few miles apart on the slick highways. A total of 7 people were killed in less than 48 hours north of Klamath Falls.

OSP and other first responders were called to the scene of the head-on crash around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday near milepost 193, two miles north of the state Highway 58 junction in Klamath County.

A preliminary investigation found that Juan Ochoa Bravo, 39, of Bend, was driving a Chrysler Pacifica heading north when he lost control and it slid into the southbound lane.

Troopers said an oncoming semi was driven by a 56-year-old Los Angeles man who tried to avoid the minivan by swerving off to the highway shoulder. But the front passenger side of the Chrysler collided with the semi’s front end, causing significant damage and sending the Chrysler spinning back into the northbound lane.

Five people died at the scene: Bravo and four family members: Eve Saldana Alcantar, 37; Erik Ochoa Saldana, 18; a 15-year-old girl and a male infant, about 1 year old, OSP said. An 11-year-old girl also riding in the minivan was taken to an area hospital with critical injuries. (See story above)

 

The Klamath County School District board approved the partnership between Klamath County School District and Western Bus Sales during its regular meeting Thursday in order to apply for the 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program.

The partnership allows the district to apply for the 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program, which could mean rebates totaling $670,000.

To remain compliant with the Clean Air Act for 2025, KCSD wants to replace 18 diesel buses with 16 propane powered buses that are used for regular routes, and two special needs buses. Delivery of the new buses will take place in the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

Each bus is eligible for a $35,000 rebate, while the ADA compliant buses will have an additional rebate of $20,000. Western Bus Sales would apply on behalf of the district.

The rebate program operates on a lottery basis. KCSD is included on a prioritized school district list and has an improved chance to be selected in the lottery. The board also adopted the audit findings from the end of fiscal year 2023. The audit was conducted by KDP Certified Public Accountants, and two financial statement findings were reported.

The findings included deficiencies in the financial reporting of “year-end-close” and “correction of errors.” Corrective action plans for both deficiencies were presented, and the board approved the adoption of them.

Also approved by the board were the adoption of the 2024-2025 budget calendar and acceptance of the SSA/SIA grant funds.

Receipts that totaled $83,593 for a variety of grants to specific schools for supplies, materials and other teacher-specified needs through the Donor’s Choose program and other private sources for Nov. and Dec. 2023 were unanimously approved by the board, as well.

Board members were recognized for their volunteer service to KCSD with the presenting of cutting boards made for each member by Henley High School students.

The next regular KCSD Board meeting will be 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024 at the KCSD Administration Office, in the Thede Board Room.

 

Klamath County is predicted to have a great economic year in store, and residents can hear all about it at the upcoming Klamath County Economic Development Association Economic Summit.

This Wednesday, KCEDA will host the third annual event at the Ross Ragland Theater from 9 a.m. to noon

Andrew Stork, operations and project manager for KCEDA, said the Economic Summit event is a way for Klamath County residents to hear about the economic outlook “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

State economists Josh Lehner and Damon Runberg are among those presenting at the summit, as well as a few local experts who specialize in topics like agriculture and construction.

“2024 should be our biggest economic development year ever,” KCEDA CEO and Executive Director Randy Cox said. “There will be a lot of groundbreaking developments throughout the year.”

Admission to the event is $10, and tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the theater or in advance online.

 

The U.S. Forest Service in Southern Oregon is working to clear hundreds of miles of trails impacted by downed trees after a severe winter storm.

A news release from the Forest Service said tens of thousands of trees fell between Lake of the Woods and Cherry Creek, affecting about 300 miles of trails and 70 miles of cross country ski paths.

Due to extreme winter weather, including high-speed winds and heavy, wet snowfall, crews are struggling to clear the trails.

“Weather events … are currently affecting the ability of crews to … remove trees, restricting crews to a peak of one mile per hour,” the release said.

Public Affairs Officer Ben Wilson said the process is “slow going,” but crews were quick to take action.

The release said crews are faced with hip-deep snow levels as they try to remove hundreds of trees per mile of affected trails.

Wilson said they have two or three crews rotating shifts to get the area cleaned up. Crews are also receiving assistance from volunteer organizations, including Klamath Basin Snow Drifters, Chiloquin Ridge Riders and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Forest managers request that the public avoid the area for recreation at this time as parking areas and roadways may be occupied by repair crew vehicles.

Trails and snow parks may take some time to reopen, the release said.

For more information, contact the Klamath Ranger District at 541-883-6714.

 

An annual update on local crime and policing by city law enforcement was presented to City Council last week during a work session.

Klamath Falls Police Department Chief Rob Dentinger explained how city law enforcement is addressing criminal activity in the city through monthly meetings to discuss and analyze recent crime stats.

The monthly ImPACT meetings (“mission-based policing through analysis of crime trends”) aid in the KFPD mission to be proactive in crime prevention.

City wide, Dentinger said, property crimes are decreasing.

KFPD ImPACT reports show a 3% decrease in offenses considered property crimes which make up the majority of criminal activity in Klamath Falls.

Person crimes in 2023 were up 9% compared to the previous year; however, when comparing December of 2022 to December of 2023, the rate of person crimes dropped a significant 26%.

Assault and domestic violence both presented slight increases in city limits over the previous year.

Kidnapping charges, however, presented a shocking 600% increase with one incident in 2022 and seven in 2023.

Societal crimes, which include charges such as driving under the influence of intoxicants, drug offenses, vandalism and trespassing, have spiked by roughly 20% with 673 reports in 2022 and 806 reports in 2023.

 

The Klamath County School District is seeking nominations for its annual Crystal Apple Awards of teachers and staff members.

The Crystal Apple is given each year to eight KCSD staff who inspire and help students of all backgrounds and abilities. The winners receive their Crystal Apples during a gala at the Ross Ragland Theater. This year, the gala will be Tuesday, April 23.

A nominee can be a teacher, a counselor, a nurse or classified employee who has been with the district for at least three years. Community members are welcome and encouraged to submit nominations.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people to recognize and thank those special educators who make a positive

impact on the lives of our students,” said KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak.

To be nominated, a staff member must:

  • Work for the Klamath County School District for at least three years
  • Inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities
  • Play an active and useful role in the community as well as the school

For more information, visit the KCSD website.

 

Pacific Power is actively working to make repairs and restore power throughout its Oregon service area. Crews on the ground have been working around the clock, as quickly as they can in challenging and dangerous conditions.

Snow and ice accumulation has caused damage to power equipment and is impacting repair and restoration work.

Pacific Power encourages customers to report outages by calling 1-877-508-5088 or text OUT to 722797Text STAT to 722797 to check the status of your outage.  

 

Klamath County Commissioners Tuesday Meeting Recap

Klamath County Fire District 3, an all-volunteer fire department based out of Sprague River, is the new ambulance service provider for the Bonanza area.

The decision was made by the Board of Klamath County Commissioners in their weekly business meeting Tuesday, as recommended by the Klamath County Ambulance Advisory Committee.

Led by Fire Chief Christina Friend, Fire District 3 will be providing basic life support service across 1,500 square miles for communities in Bonanza, Beatty, Bly and Sprague River.

Also during the meeting, the board approved entering into an agreement with the Office of the (Oregon) State Chief Information Officer so that Klamath County can participate and use the OR-ALERT system for emergency notifications to the public.

In other county business, commissioner Dave Hanslee says  during the storms that dumped snow all over Klamath County last weekend, Klamath County Public Work crews plowed 6,000 miles of county roads during snow removal operations over the weekend.

To put that into perspective, that’s basically clearing snow from Klamath to Orlando, Florida, and back.

The commission also detailed their liaison responsibilities for the year:

Henslee will be in the position of Board Chair for 2024 and will be a liaison for the departments of Emergency Management, Fairgrounds, Finance, Library, Public Works, Tax Collector, Code Enforcement and Property sales.

Henslee will also be the county’s point of contact for the geographical areas of Chemult, Crescent, Gilchrist, Keno, LaPine and Rocky Point. He will also liaison for the County Assessor’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, and Animal Control.

Kelley Minty will be in the position of vice-chair of the board and will be a liaison for the departments of Community Development (building, on-site, planning, parks and solid waste), Information Technology, Museum, OSU Extension Office and Treasurer.

Derrick DeGroot will be the Liaison for the departments for Community Corrections, Developmental Disabilities, Human Resources, Juvenile, Maintenance and Veterans Affairs.

 

Learn about updates to rental and eviction law in Oregon at the Klamath County Library

On Thursday, January 25th at 6 pm, the downtown Klamath County Library will host the latest in the “Lay Person Legal” seminar series: a tour through
recent changes to Landlord/Tenant Law in Oregon, with a focus on eviction regulation and tenants’ rights.

Attendees will get a better appreciation of how the legal system works, particularly if they are attempting to navigate the courts without a lawyer.

Presenter Drew Hartnett is an attorney with Legal Aid Services of Oregon, practicing, among other areas, in the field of Landlord/Tenant law, focusing on protecting tenant rights and maintaining safe, habitable and available housing in the Klamath and Lake County communities.  Hartnett is licensed in Oregon, where he makes his home.

Please note that Lay Person Legal presenters cannot give individual legal advice on any specific case. For help with your legal research, please visit the Loyd De Lap Law Library inside the downtown Klamath County Library. No registration is required. For more information, please call 541-882-8894.

 

Cascade Health Alliance and Healthy Klamath are hosting Family Fun Days around the county. The events are free and open to the public to increase awareness of community resources.

Event-goers will be treated to free tacos and raffle prizes, and there will be a bouncy house for kids. Denise Martinez of Klamath Community College said the event’s purpose is “to help get the word out in smaller communities that there are resources available to them.”

Currently, there are regular weekly outreach efforts in Merrill, Chiloquin, Sprague River, Klamath Falls and Keno, and are scheduled as follows:

Klamath Falls — Every Tuesday, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Klamath County Courthouse, 316 Main St.

Keno — Every 2nd and 4th Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Keno Tractor, 15555 Highway 66, Keno Merrill — Every 3rd Wednesday, 1 to 3 p.m., Merrill Water Department., 301 E. First St., Merrill

Malin — Every 3rd Thursday, 2 to 4 p.m., Malin Library Conference Hall, 2307 Front Street Malin Chiloquin — Every 2nd and 4th Friday, Farmer’s Market Lot, Chiloquin

Sprague River — Every 2nd and 4th Friday, Sprague River Community Center, 23411 Sprague River Road.

Organizations and vendors can join by contacting jenniferd@cascadecomp.com.  

 

The Linkville Players open their 2023-24 season with “A Company of Wayward Saints”  playing at the Linkville Playhouse.

Written by George Herman, “Saints” is a tribute to the dedication and heart of actors, as well as the understanding and truth-telling that can come out of acting.

The play follows a comedic acting troupe, with familiar Renaissance-era characters such as Pantalone the greedy old man, and Capitano the swaggering braggart, as they find themselves broke and broke down right here in Klamath Falls.

A wealthy patron offers to pay their way home — if they can impress him with an improv show on the topic of his choosing. The tale that ensues takes us through the history of man from the garden of Eden to the assassination of Julius Caesar, up into modern life.

But, when improv goes awry the troupe is forced to look beyond the slapstick and costumes and face the redeeming powers of humor and understanding.

The show, produced by special arrangement with Concord Theatricals, features an all-local cast including Em Barr, Brian Green, Chris Malloy, Mathew Landsiedel, Jared McCleve, Corrie Judd, Rikkilea McGuffy and newcomers Aidan Coe and Hanna Levesque.

Performances take place Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of one Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Jan. 21. The play will enjoy a seven-performance run, ending on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024.

Tickets can be purchased for $15-18 in advance at Poppy (522 Main Street) or up to half an hour before curtain at the Playhouse directly.

 

Around the state of Oregon

Weather is still wreaking havoc in some parts of Oregon.

The national weather service has many on the Oregon coast keeping their eyes on the skies. Heavy rain may result in landslides and debris flows, particularly in Curry County.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) says that a flood-watch has been issued for southwestern Oregon.

The agency says that areas of steep terrain are especially susceptible to landslides and should be avoided when traveling.

Also, dangerous debris flows near the remnants of recent wildfires are especially dangerous and can carry branches and boulders.

 

The violent death of a baby boy was said to a bad day for a babysitting woman, according to the now grieving mother.

Amanda Nichols, mother of 10-month-old Owen Nichols of Coquille wept as she addressed defendant Hayley Steele at a sentencing Monday morning.

“Seventy-five months isn’t nearly enough to pay for killing our son, Owen. I left work that day trusting you to take care of my son,” said Amanda. “You took an innocent baby’s life because you were having a bad day.”

A judge sentenced Steele to 75 months in prison after she pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter in a deal with the state Friday.

The deal came in an effort to avoid a trial with DA Paul Frasier stating the parents hoped to avoid reliving what happened to Owen.

Owen died on November 16, 2022, from abusive head trauma caused by Steele who was hired to be his in-home babysitter, according to the DA’s Office.

An autopsy later labeled Owen’s death a homicide. Frasier says Steele admitted to police she was having a bad day prior to the events leading to Owen’s death.

Steele’s defense called Owen’s death a very horrible accident.

Manslaughter 2, for which Steele was convicted, is a lesser charge than manslaughter 1.

Because it is a Measure 11 offense, it carries a minimum sentence of 75 months.

After her sentence, Steele must undergo 36 months of post-prison supervision.

 

Two Southern Oregon University students have been arrested for vandalizing the Chabad Jewish Center in December. 

According to a news release from the Ashland Police Department, all three people involved have been identified as SOU students. On Dec. 14, the three of them approached the center while one of them threw eggs at it and yelled, “Heil Hitler.” 

An 18-year-old, Zachary Demarest, has been identified as the one throwing the eggs and shouting the praise for Hitler. Demarest is from Corvallis. 

Another 18-year-old, Jacob Wilhelm, has also been identified and arrested. The third person in the video “(has been) identified, but is not implicated in the commission of a crime, and is therefore not being named.”

“All three people were, at the time of the incident, students at Southern Oregon University. As such they left the area for winter break shortly after this incident was reported. The two students charged are no longer enrolled at SOU,” the release said. “APD detectives continued this investigation when the new term started, and students returned to campus.”

Demarest was told to turn himself in, and he did so Friday, the release said. He is facing charges of third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree bias crime. 

“Wilhelm was contacted and charged with Bias Crime 2nd Degree and Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree via a misdemeanor criminal citation,” the release said. “…Wilhelm’s involvement in this incident consisted of him encouraging Demarest’s criminal behavior, which makes him responsible as a co-conspirator.”

A court date for Wilhelm has been set for Feb. 7, 2024. 

 

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and the Oregon Health Authority is reminding people to get screened for cervical cancer and to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

The OHA says as many as 93 percent of cervical cancers could be prevented by cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination. These procedures can help prevent cervical cancer or detect it early.

Cervical cancer screening is available free of charge for individuals without insurance through ScreenWise, an OHA program. Information on becoming a ScreenWise patient can be found at this link or by calling (877) 255-7070.

 

The winter weather last week set a record for health-related calls to Portland’s 911.

There were more than 500 calls a day from Wednesday through Friday, when temperatures began to warm up. Those were the busiest days since the deadly Heat Dome in 2021. Injuries from falls also spiked. On Saturday, there were 202 emergency department and urgent care visits for falls. On a typical winter day, there are about 40 visits for falls.

 

The extremely cold weather last week caused heavy ice to form around Multnomah Falls.

The lodge remains closed, because water cascading over the pedestrian areas froze. The Historic Columbia River Highway is also closed because of snowdrifts, trees and rocks that fell onto the highway. Trails in the Gorge are covered in ice. The U.S. Forest Service says there’s no estimate for when the Lodge or the Highway will reopen.

 

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t given up hope on getting voter support to build a new larger jail.

This week it released a video, focusing on the stresses the criminal justice system faces with limited jail space.

It goes over the current lack of space in the county jail, which it says has major ramifications on the community as a whole.

It says that the current county jail in downtown Medford was built in 1981 and designed to hold 176 inmates.

However, it currently holds 300 inmates, and the county says the structure doesn’t allow for expansion.

The lengthy video features different sources from law enforcement, judges and more.

Multiple sources explain that many inmates are struggling with addiction and mental illness but say that as many as 11 individuals are released early each day of the year, because of overcrowding.

This doesn’t allow for substantial treatment and Sheriff Nathan Sickler says that it weakens their ability to deter people from criminal activity.

This isn’t the first time that the JCSO has brought up jail overcrowding as an issue. Back in May 2020, at the start of the pandemic, Sheriff Sickler and County Commissioners put a new larger jail on the ballot.

The effort was rejected by voters, with roughly 70% voting no.

 

Oregon’s Indigenous tribes are being compensated as part of a multi-million-dollar opioid settlement.

Oregon’s nine Native American tribes are getting large chunks of money from the state. The money’s coming to them as a result of the opioid crisis according to the Oregonian.

The paper says the state has decided to allocate 30% of the state’s $325 million opioid settlement specifically to the tribes.

According to the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, the opioid epidemic has hit Oregon native tribes far harder than the rest of the state. Oregon Native Americans die of overdoses two and a half times the rate of Oregon as a whole. It also says since 2020 overdose deaths have more than doubled in Oregon.

The tribes will now get $44 million collectively from the state according to the paper.

 

MADGE Traffic stop yields 105 pounds of Meth and 12 pounds of Fentanyl in Jackson County, Or

On the evening of Tuesday, January 16, members of the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team (MADGE) intercepted a vehicle along I-5 outside of Ashland, Oregon. MADGE investigators had received information of the vehicle transporting large amounts of narcotics in our area.

With the assistance of the Oregon State Police and the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET), investigators stopped the vehicle and Medford Police K9 “Bodie” alerted to the presence of narcotics. A search warrant was obtained, and a search of the vehicle yielded 105 pounds of methamphetamine and 12 pounds of fentanyl.

The MADGE team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency prosecutor-support approach. MADGE is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) which is composed of members from the Medford Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, Parole and Probation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including MADGE.

Suspect arrested:

Lopez-Ramos, Cruz Bernardo, 31 years old, who is not a local resident.

Unlawful Possession and Distribution of Methamphetamine – Commercial Drug Offense

Unlawful Possession and Distribution of Fentanyl – Commercial Drug Offense

 

A Chinese billionaire and a California timber family have become among the largest private landowners in the U.S. following major purchases of Oregon forests. 

Those findings come from The Land Report, a magazine that details annually the top 100 private landowners in the U.S. Its most recent report was published Jan. 9. 

The magazine’s research team found that Sierra Pacific Industries’ 2021 acquisition of 175,000 acres of forestland and mills, through its buyout of a family-owned timber company in Douglas County, made the Redding, California, based Emmerson Family the largest private landowner in the U.S. The family, which owns Sierra Pacific, has 2.4 million acres of forests logged for timber in Oregon, California and Washington. 

The report also found that a Chinese billionaire and entrepreneur, Tianqiao Chen, became the second largest foreign owner of U.S. land following the purchase, through his investment company, of nearly 200,000 acres of forestland in Klamath and Deschutes counties nearly a decade ago. The Irving family of Canada is the largest foreign landowner, with more than 1.2 million acres of timberland in Maine. 

Chen’s fortune comes from an online gaming company he founded in 1999 called Shanda Interactive Entertainment. 

Chen’s stake in Oregon has drawn the ire of U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, an Oregon Republican, who expressed concern over Chen’s membership in the Chinese Communist Party. 

Chavez-DeRemer is among several members of Congress who have proposed legislation during the last year that would limit the purchase of U.S. land by foreigners, especially from China. 

Chen and his investment company said in a news release Tuesday that they did not try to hide the purchase of Oregon land. The company’s communications director, Jason Reindorp, said in an email to the Capital Chronicle that they asked the U.S. Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment to review the purchase before it was made.

 

Members from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team (IMT) 1 helped assist Lane County in the recovery from the recent ice storm.  

Though ODF is normally associated with wildfire response, the agency’s IMTs are trained in all-hazard response and are ready for any emergency year-round. The members will be sharing their knowledge and experience with local emergency management personnel so that they can continue to support their communities after the team leaves. In addition to the IMT personnel assisting in Lane County, ODF staff across the state are helping their communities in a variety of ways, such as clearing downed trees. 

The team is expected to be deployed for a week but could be there longer depending on need. Please contact Lane County for any ice storm recovery inquiries. 

 

 Cases of salmonella infections nationwide that are connected to charcuterie meats have doubled. The CDC reports 23 more illnesses have been reported from eight additional states. There has been one case in Oregon and five in Washington. There are two products involved. Fratelli Beretta brand Antipasto Gran Beretta was sold at Costco and Busseto brand Charcuterie Sampler was sold at Sam’s Club. If you have those products you should throw them away and call your health care provider if you develop symptoms

 

Democratic Oregon Congressman Ron Wyden is announcing a bipartisan deal to expand the child tax credit and create a series of tax breaks for businesses.

The deal between Wyden and Missouri Republican Jason Smith ends months of negotiating. It will enhance refundable child tax credits to try to provide relief to struggling families and those with multiple children. It’ll also raise the tax credit’s refundable cap and adjust it for inflation.

In a statement, Smith said American families will benefit from this agreement that provides greater tax relief and creates jobs. Wyden said fifteen million kids from low-income families will now be better off because of this deal.

 

Oregonians who lost food purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits due to the recent winter storms and power outages are encouraged to request replacement benefits from the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS).

Households who receive SNAP who lost or disposed of food that was unsafe to eat due to these events can request that replacement benefits be issued for the cost of the lost food. The maximum amount that can be reimbursed is the normal monthly benefit for the household.  

Replacement benefits must be requested within 10 calendar days of the food loss by:

Once approved, replacement benefits are added to the households’ existing Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

 

The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood shortage as the nation faces the lowest number of people giving blood in 20 years. 

The Red Cross blood supply has fallen to critically low levels across the country, and blood and platelet donors are urged to make a donation appointment to help alleviate the shortage and help ensure lifesaving medical procedures are not put on hold.

Over the last 20 years, the number of people donating blood to the Red Cross has fallen by about 40%. When fewer people donate blood, even small disruptions to blood donations – such as the nearly 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations the Red Cross experienced between Christmas and New Year’s Day alone – can have a huge impact on the availability of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of emergency blood transfusion. 

Blood products are currently going to hospitals faster than blood donations are coming in, and in recent weeks, the Red Cross has had to limit distributions of type O blood products – among the most transfused blood types – to hospitals.

Don’t wait – to make an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 

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