Klamath Basin News, Friday, Feb. 9 – SuperBowl is Sunday; KF Man Arrested On Many Fentanyl Drug Charges; Ross Ragland Hosts Beatles Tribute Band Friday Night, 7:30PM

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.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
A 20% chance of snow showers after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39. West northwest wind 6 to 10 mph. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 24 degrees.
 
Saturday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Calm wind becoming southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon. Low overnight of 25 degrees with cloudy skies.
Super Bowl Sunday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 49. East wind 5 to 8 mph becoming south in the afternoon..
Monday
Partly sunny, with a high near 48.
Tuesday
Partly sunny, with a high near 48.
Wednesday
Partly sunny, with a high near 50.

Today’s Headlines

KF MAN ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE-FENTANYL

On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, members of the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET), arrested Klamath Falls resident Aaron Ronald MORGAN (44), regarding MORGAN distributing Fentanyl in Klamath Falls since 2023.

On November 17, 2023, BINET investigators learned MORGAN was bringing a large quantity of Fentanyl into Klamath Falls to sell. BINET investigators apprehended MORGAN when he arrived in Klamath Falls and subsequently seized approximately eleven (11) ounces of Fentanyl.

MORGAN was lodged at the Klamath County Jail for Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance – Fentanyl, and Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance – Fentanyl. On December 17, 2024, MORGAN was released from jail after posting bail.

In January 2024, BINET investigators learned MORGAN was continuing to sell Fentanyl in Klamath Falls. On February 7, 2024, BINET investigators believed MORGAN was again bringing a large quantity of Fentanyl into Klamath Falls to sell.

Upon being located BINET investigators apprehended MORGAN when he returned to Klamath Falls in possession of ¾ pound (345.9 grams) of Fentanyl. The narcotics were seized, and MORGAN was lodged at the Klamath County Jail on charges of: · Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance – Fentanyl · Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance – Fentanyl · Unlawful Manufacture of a Controlled Substance – Fentanyl · Reckless Driving · Reckless Endangering · Felony Attempt to Elude (two counts) · Tampering with Evidence · Contempt of Court

BINET Investigators were assisted by members of the Oregon State Police Patrol Division, the Klamath Falls Police Patrol Division, and the Klamath County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Just days after testifying as a defendant as former city police chief of Klamath Falls in a federal court in Medford, some local news agencies have reported current Klamath County Commissioner David Henslee is not going to run for re-election. 

BasinLife.com and KFLS News/Wynne Broadcasting has NOT confirmed this information yet.

To be clear, the commissioner has not made it official with a personal statement.  Multiple attempts to contact Henslee have proven unsuccessful. However, multiple news agencies are reporting that Henslee indeed will not run, though Henslee has not confirmed or denied the published reports.

Henslee was named the Klamath Falls city police chief in 2015 and also worked for decades in the Corvallis police department, achieving the rank of Captain, before running for and gaining a seat as one of three Klamath County Commissioners.  He also owns and operates 5H Cattle Company in Merrill. 

Henslee, the city, and other former city officials and individuals were found to be clear of all accounts against them, based on discrimination and racial issues, in the $11.7 million dollar lawsuit brought by El Palacio restaurant in Klamath Falls and their former and current owners.  That trial wrapped up in late January of this year, in federal court in Medford.

Ironically, Henslee said during a recent meeting his commitment to various state and federal boards and committees will take him outside of Klamath County for much of this year, which would seem to contradict an intention to leave the position early next year.

He said he will be traveling to Washington, D.C., and Florida multiple times for the Rural Affairs Committee for the National Association of Counties.

In the meeting, Henslee told the board, “You’ve got my cell phone. If you need me, call me, but I may not be here as much next year.” 

Henslee filed for the position #1 seat left behind by former commissioner Donnie Boyd in January of 2022.  His service has had several notable moments.

The commissioner avoided assault charges possibly being filed against him after an incident during a Board of County Commissioners meeting.

A confrontation arose early on in the meeting Tuesday, June 20 2023, while constituent Don Ricard was speaking during public comment.

“There is absolutely no reason for a politician to make physical contact,” Ricard told the Klamath Falls Herald & News after the meeting.

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber — present at the meeting- separated Henslee and Ricard and ushered Ricard from the meeting.

Kaber instructed Ricard to contact the Klamath Falls Police Department when Ricard said he was interested in pursuing assault charges against Henslee.  However, no official charges were ever filed.

KFLS news will continue to try and verify or dispel this information as we continue to follow this ongoing story.

 

This Super Bowl weekend will be a wet one for our area of the Klamath Basin. (By the way, the big game kickoff is Sunday, 3:30PM PT. on CBS TV.

Our next weather system moves in from the north early Friday, bringing some rain and possible minor snow flurries on Friday.

The Klamath Basin will likely get some snow flurries today and clear up as the weekend progresses.

Snow levels in some Oregon areas are still quite low, so we could see a dusting of snow down to I-5 passes like Sexton Summit and Canyon Mountain, as well as in higher parts of the valley like Ashland and over Jacksonville Hill.

Those traveling through the mountains and over Siskiyou Summit will also encounter wintry conditions with slippery and snow-covered roads at times, as these areas will see 1-2″ of new snow. Please use extra caution if driving.

Expect snow over the majority of Hwy 140 Cascades eastward. 1-2″ over the Cascades near and at the summit at Lake of the Woods, a dusting to 0.5″ over the east foothills into Klamath County, and 1-2″ through parts of 140 in Lake County. Snow will start in the Lake of the Woods area at around 7am-8am and continue until about 5pm.

 

The South Central Oregon Economic Development District (SCOEDD) is updating its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region covering Klamath and Lake Counties. 

The CEDS is a document prepared every five years for the South Central Oregon region, which includes all communities in Klamath and Lake Counties. The plan is developed using standards set by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and it serves as a vital tool in accessing federal funds. The CEDS allows a range of partners throughout the region to align around shared priorities to increase economic prosperity and quality of life. In addition to providing a summary background of the region, the CEDS identifies regional needs, actions necessary to address those needs, and organizations with the ability to lead those actions.

Broad and representative community input is critical to an effective CEDS. SCOEDD, with the support of the CEDS Committee, will conduct a process that engages and represents the many communities that make up the district. This effort will include a district-wide survey, community interviews and focus groups, and a survey specific to those who work in economic development.

The Districtwide Survey will be launched in February and remain open through March. This survey will provide the people who live and work in Klamath and Lake Counties the opportunity to share their thoughts on regional community and economic development. The survey will be posted on SCOEDD’s website and widely distributed by committee members and partners. 

SCOEDD has formed the CEDS Committee to support the update process. The Committee brings together leaders across sectors, industries, missions, and communities to represent the varied interests of the region. The Committee first met in December 2023 and will conclude its work in Summer 2024. 

 

Amadeus Hernandez has won the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Leader of the Year award.

A Lost River Junior/Senior High School senior won the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Leadership Award for his ongoing work as a leader and positive role model.

Amadeus Hernandez, 17, accepted the honor last month at an event attended by more than 600 people. He was among 10 Klamath Basin youth who were nominated for the award.

Amadeus is soft spoken with a quick smile. As captain of the school’s soccer team, he works to inspire his teammates, leading by example and providing a solid foundation for the school’s new soccer program. He also started an after-school weight lifting program for fellow athletes.

Lost River Principal Angie Wallin described Amadeus as someone who leads by example. “He’s a quiet positive leader, and he has been a great mentor to the younger students as the school started its soccer program.”

In addition to soccer, Wallin participates in track and has been involved in Lost River’s FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) program for the past six years, serving as a chapter officer and competing at the state, regional, and national levels. His nominators described him as a driving force in helping his FBLA chapter raise funds for conferences and competitions. Amadeus has competed at the regional, state and national levels for FBLA and is aiming to qualify for nationals again this year.

In addition, he is an officer for the school’s Latin Culture Club and volunteers with the Malin Centro Cristiano Church.

 

Just after 10:00pm on Tuesday evening (February 6, 2024) a Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted a traffic stop on a Chevrolet pickup near the intersection of Freida and Derby Street.

The vehicle fled at a high rate of speed. Moments later at the intersection of Madison Street and South 6th Street, the fleeing driver entered the intersection (southbound) at a high speed against a red-light signal and was struck by a westbound Ford Explorer which had the right of way.

The driver of the fleeing pickup and the two occupants of the other vehicle were transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center by ambulance. The passenger of the Explorer was admitted for observation and the driver was treated and released.

Vincent Reilly, the operator of the fleeing vehicle, was treated and released from the hospital and was taken into custody. He is currently lodged at the Klamath County Jail.

Crash investigators from the Oregon State Police are conducting the crash investigation.

Vincent Michael Reilly (age 39) is a resident of Klamath Falls and he was charged with the following:

Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants

Reckless Driving

Attempt to Elude Police

Assault 3rd Degree        (2 counts)

Recklessly Endangering Another Person (2 counts)

Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine

 

Phoenix is our newest member of the Klamath Falls Police Department’s K9 Unit.

He is an 18-month-old Dutch Shepherd. Phoenix is trained in tracking, article search, building/area search, and apprehension.

Officer Alex Pena and Phoenix returned from K9 school in November of 2023. Since then, Phoenix and his handler, Officer Pena, have conducted several successful building and area searches on alarm and burglary calls.

KFPD is excited to add Phoenix to the force and believes his presence will greatly enhance the services we provide to Klamath Falls residents.

 

Residents neighboring the Portland Street railroad crossing awoken by late-night train whistles might soon sleep through the night.

The Klamath Falls City Council approved the next steps in establishing a quiet zone through the residential neighborhood during a meeting Monday night.

The item on the city’s agenda was to decide whether the municipality should enter into a public highway at-grade crossing agreement with Union Pacific Railroad.

The agreement will allow the city to widen the railroad crossing at Portland Street to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

The council approved the item with a majority vote of 3-to-1.

Had the council not approved the agreement, the agenda report said it would be a “deal killer” for ever establishing a quiet zone.

City Public Works director Mark Willrett explained that although the initial estimated and budgeted dollar amount exceeded $500,000, that number was reduced to roughly $300,000. Maintenance for equipment is estimated to cost $10,000 per year.

 

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber posted on social media yesterday that he indeed is NOT running for re-election when his term is up.


Kaber has been connected to possible violations regarding nepotism by the state government ethics commission.  In the post, Kaber says he is not running for re-election but endorses his son, Ryan Kaber, one of four announced candidates to enter the race so far.

Mike Shepherd, Bryan Bryson, and Darren Krag have also announced their intentions to run for the sheriff top job as well.

While addressing the investigation, and its aftermath, Kaber says he hopes this soon will be behind him.  More importantly, Kaber addressed those that have supported him through the years.

Kaber said,” I want to thank those who have supported me and the Office of Sheriff with signs, public appearances, and social media. I am humbled by the community rallying to my support and appreciate the faith you have instilled in me. Because of your encouragement, I refused to resign when Commissioners tried to force either myself or my sons to do so. I believe it was your voice that convinced Commissioners to reconsider. I intend to complete the term you elected me to which ends in January 2025. I do not plan to file for re-election. I will have served my state and county in law enforcement for 37 years when my term ends and am looking forward to the next role God has for me.”

He then added, “Another Kaber has entered the Sheriff race. I can highly endorse and recommend Sergeant Ryan Kaber to you for the next Klamath County Sheriff. He’s grown up in law enforcement, watching and learning, and following me into the field. He took time and pains to educate himself and master the job. I believe Ryan will be a better Sheriff for Klamath County than I have been or could be in the future, he will proudly represent Klamath and the employees of the office better than any other candidate in the running.”

 

On another note for this weekend, the Klamath County Sheriff’s office has received a grant to help keep roads safe during this Super Bowl Sunday weekend.

It’s all part of “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk” project from the US Department of Transportation. The grant, partially from ODOT, is in the amount of 13 thousand dollars.

KCSO says it’s simple…..”if you’re going to party on Super Bowl Sunday, arrange for a ride, or use a designated driver.”

More than 13,000 are killed annually by drunk drivers. Along with DUI enforcement, the grants also cover specific violations like seat belt use, distracted driving, pedestrian safety, and speed enforcement.

 

The U.S. Forest Service says today the Klamath National Forest’s snowpack is starting this year at a level below historic averages.

The Forest Service (USFS) says the Klamath National Forest KNF) has completed its February 1 snow survey to helps California forecast water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation and stream flow releases during the year.

KNF says January began with “a nice accumulation of snow,” but warmer weather mid-month, including rain at higher elevations, brought depleting snow conditions similar to March or April.

It says a late-January atmospheric river added snow to mountains around the Scott River Valley, with most significant additions at higher elevations.

KNF says measurements taken for the February survey show snowpack is at 73% of the historic average snow height (snow depth) and at 60% of the historic average Snow Water Equivalent (SWE, a measure of water content) across all survey points.  It says snowpack historically reaches its annual maximum at late-March/early-April.

These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, and KNF says survey crews were able only to complete part of the Middle Boulder 1 course (five of 10 planned holes) because of very difficult sampling conditions including ice layers, voids and highly compressible snow.

Snow surveys are conducted monthly during the winter and spring months through May as USFS staff go to established sites in the headwaters of the Scott River watershed to take measurements. KNF says the newest measuring site at Scott Mountain has been monitored for more than 35 years and the oldest site at Middle Boulder has been monitored for more than 70 years.  It says, “Some sites are located close to Forest roads with good access, while others require hours of travel by snowshoe and/or snowmobile.”

 

Klamath Union High School senior Mia Hidden was announced as the first-place winner of You Matter to Klamath’s fifth annual Youth Suicide Prevention video contest.

Hidden won $1,000 for her original video titled “Warning Signs.” Her video was one of 13 submissions. The contest, organized by local suicide prevention coalition You Matter to Klamath, is open to all seventh through 12th graders in the Klamath Basin.

Prizes ranged from $50 to $1,000, and were funded with donations from the Alky Angels — Sunrise Chapter, Cascade Health Alliance, Citizens for Safe Schools, Klamath Basin Behavioral Health, and Klamath Defender Services.

Each of the 13 contestants received a minimum prize of $50, in addition to a Dutch Bros. gift card.

 

The Ross Ragland Theater will host “Yesterday,” a tribute to the 1960s iconic band the Beatles, at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night, Friday, Feb. 9. This show is for all ages.

Formed in 2001, Yesterday — A Tribute to the Beatles has performed their homage worldwide, touring all over the United States, as well as Japan, Canada, the Philippines, Hong Kong, the Bahamas and U.S. military bases all over the world.

Yesterday has also been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, Showbiz Magazine, and on NBC, CBS and ABC shows.

The performance will be a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the British invasion. Audiences can “Twist and Shout” to their favorite Beatles songs. The show is a fun night for the whole family.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 seniors/military/students, $10 ages 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the Ragland Box Office Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m., by calling (541) 884-LIVE, or by visiting their website at www.ragland.org.

 

A snapshot of life in the 19th century will be presented during a living history event from 1-2 p.m. Saturday at the Klamath County Museum. Admission to “1800s Days” is free and open to the public.

Everything from wool spinning to Dutch oven cooking will be demonstrated.

The Civil War club will display antique and replica firearms, including two heavy artillery pieces mounted on wheels. Outdoor firing drills will be demonstrated at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The museum will display many historic firearms, including a Colt Model 1855 revolver rifle that was found in the Malin area.

The Klamath County Museum is located at 1451 Main St. in Klamath Falls. For more information, contact the museum at (541) 882-1000.

 

During the months of April and May, over 800 third graders throughout Klamath County, Dorris, and Tulelake will receive FREE, LIFE-SAVING swim lessons through the Everyone Swims program at Ella Redkey Pool.

The Everyone Swims program is made possible this Spring through the partnership of Sky Lakes Medical Center and the City of Klamath Falls. Students receive individualized instruction, develop skills, build confidence, and learn life-saving skills, all while having fun with their peers in the water.

Ella Redkey Pool is looking for Volunteer Swim Lesson Instructor Aids. You have an opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life! Everyone Swims 3rd Grade Program has been a huge success in the past years and we are so excited to keep it going. We need your help to make this program possible.

No experience? No problem. As a pool volunteer you will receive intensive swim instruction training prior to the start of swim lessons. During the Everyone Swims program you will be paired with a Certified Lifeguard/Swim Lesson Instructor to guide you through the process, so you won’t be left alone to teach.

Everyone Swims Volunteer Schedule: • 6 weeks of lessons: Monday, April 15 – Thursday, May 23 • Lessons are held 4 days per week: Monday through Thursday • Morning & Afternoon session options: 9:00am – 11:00am and/or 12:15pm – 2:45pm Volunteer as much or as little as you’d like. All help is appreciated. All volunteers are required to pass a background check with the City of Klamath Falls.

 

Klamath County libraries to close for Presidents’ Day

All Klamath County libraries will be closed on Monday, February 19th in
observance of Presidents’ Day. No materials will be due on a day that the
libraries are closed.

For more information, call us at 541-882-8894.

 

Each week, BasinLife.com and KFLS News 1450AM & 102.5FM feature a pet of the Week ready for adoption from the Klamath Animal Shelter.

This week’s pet of the week this week is a dog named ” Melon ” Melon is an 8 month old male Labrador Border Collie mix, he is black with white markings, he weighs around 50 pounds 

Melon’s family had to move and the new landlord wouldn’t allow him. His family said that he is started on house training, lived with children 6 months and older, he knows sit, lays down, loves belly rubs, playing with toys and playing with dogs at the dog park

If you are interested in adopting Melon the shelter is located at 4240 Washburn Way, Monday through Friday from 12:00 – 4:00, walk throughs are available, pet meet and greets are by appointment, you can reach the shelter at 541-884-PETS (541-884-7387)

View all adoptable pets anytime online at www.klamathanimalshelter.org

 

Lake of the Woods is holding it’s Winter Snow Festival this weekend, Feb. 10th and 11th.

The Lake of the Woods Winter Snow Festival is open to the public this month with many fun events and activities planned.

Folks can join in on a snow sculpture/snowman building contest, enjoy an outdoor bonfire with music, play cornhole, snowshoe the Ancient Trees walking loop and more. For an additional 10 bucks a person, you can even get in on a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

The Lake of the Woods Kite Fest, which is held on the second weekend of every February, was canceled. George Gregory of Lake of the Woods Mountain Lodge said  the cancellation was because the ice isn’t strong enough to support people.

 

Just for reading our news, click to enter to win Free Movie Tickets from BasinLife.com and Wynne Broadcasting. 
  Click here!

 

 

Around the state of Oregon

A Central Oregon resident has been confirmed to have a case of the plague, Deschutes County announced Wednesday. It’s the first reported case in Oregon in nearly a decade.

It’s believed the person, identified only as a “local resident,” was infected by their cat.

“All close contacts of the resident and their pet have been contacted and provided medication to prevent illness,” Deschutes County Health Officer Dr. Richard Fawcett said in a statement. 

No other cases have been identified. The county said the case was diagnosed and treated early, posing little risk to the community.  

The plague spreads to humans or animals through a bite from an infected flea or by contact with an animal sick with the disease, the County said. The most common animals to carry plague in Central Oregon are squirrels and chipmunks, but mice and other rodents can also carry the disease. 

Symptoms of plague usually begin in humans two to eight days after exposure to an infected animal or flea, the county said. These symptoms may include a sudden onset of fever, nausea, weakness, chills, muscle aches, and/or visibly swollen lymph nodes called buboes.  

If not diagnosed early, the plague can infect the bloodstream or lungs, making it more severe and difficult to treat, the county said. 

The last known case in Oregon was in 2015, the county said, citing the Oregon Health Authority. 

 

The price of gas in Oregon continued to decline last week, while prices nationally increased.  The Triple-A reports Oregon’s average declined two cents to 3-60 a gallon.  The national average increased two cents to 3-15.  

This is typically the time of year when prices are lowest.  Increasing demand during the spring and the switch to more expensive summer blends of fuel will cause prices to slowly rise.  A wider conflict in the Middle East, or a disruption from winter weather, could cause prices to rise faster.

 

A disappointed but resigned Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp said Thursday he’s not looking to appeal an Oregon Supreme Court ruling that blocks him and nine other Republican senators from running for reelection.

Knopp, R-Bend, spoke to reporters for half an hour Thursday afternoon following the court’s ruling. The court unanimously upheld Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade’s decision to reject campaign filings from Knopp and other senators who racked up dozens of unexcused absences during a 42-day quorum-denying walkout last year over bills on abortion, guns and transgender health care. A constitutional amendment approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2022 bars lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences from serving a subsequent term.

Six of the 10 disqualified senators, including Knopp, will end their terms in January 2025. Sens. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, and Bill Hansell, R-Athena, previously announced their retirements, but Knopp and Sens. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas; Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls; and Art Robinson, R-Cave Junction hoped to run again. Four other senators — Daniel Bonham of The Dalles, Cedric Hayden of Fall Creek, Kim Thatcher of Keizer and Suzanne Weber of Tillamook — were elected last year and can remain in office until January 2027.

Boquist, Linthicum and Hayden are involved in a federal lawsuit, arguing that Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, violated their First Amendment rights by marking their absences as unexcused when they were engaged in constitutionally protected protests and that Griffin-Valade compounded the harm by barring Boquist and Linthicum from the ballot. A federal judge in December rejected their request for a preliminary injunction, with an appeals court expected to issue its ruling next month, ahead of the March 12 filing deadline.

Boquist urged fellow Republicans to join the case in an email on Thursday. Knopp said he won’t and he wished them luck.

Most of the senators represent deep-red districts, where the winner of the Republican primary is all but assured to return to the Legislature. Experienced political figures including former House Majority Leader Mike McLane and former state Sen. Bruce Starr are running, as is Linthicum’s wife and chief of staff, Diane.

 

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission appears to have vastly overestimated the growth of liquor sales in the current two-year budget cycle and beyond, which could leave local and state governments with budget holes to fill.

The agency told lawmakers Tuesday that demand for booze – and the lucrative stream of revenues it generates – is essentially flat.

That calls into question earlier projections of robust sales growth of 20% every two years. Those projections were part of the agency’s sales pitch to lawmakers for an expensive new warehouse and headquarters facility in Canby, the costs of which are also escalating.

The new estimates came in an agency update on the progress of the warehouse project to members of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development. The agency is asking lawmakers to shift $9 million in authorized borrowing that was approved in 2022 for the warehouse structure and office space to cover a 60% increase in the estimated cost of a conveyor system that will help manage inventory there.

 

Pacific Power is offering a new energy program called Optimal Time Rewards for residential customers across Oregon and Washington to help customers manage rising costs while creating a more resilient and sustainable grid. 

Participants in the Optimal Time Rewards program can earn incentives of up to $50, plus ongoing annual incentives, by partnering with Pacific Power to more effectively manage spikes in demand and fluctuations of power supply. Optimal Time Rewards is one of a portfolio of energy efficiency and demand response programs Pacific Power is offering to help keep energy costs low for everyone through the use of smart technology. 

There are two ways to participate. Residential customers can enroll a smart thermostat connected to electric heating or cooling equipment, and customers in multifamily housing can also enroll an electric water heater. Participants benefit from ongoing incentives in exchange for allowing the utility to make minor adjustments to their thermostat or to manage their water heater consumption for brief periods when electricity demand is high. 

Residential customers who want to learn more about enrolling a smart thermostat can visit the Pacific Power Optimal Time Rewards website at PacificPower.net/OTR. Property managers can find out how to enable water heater enrollment for their residents at PacificPower.net/Landlord.

 

The Oregon Legislature has more money to work with. The latest revenue forecast shows an additional 76-million-dollars for a total of nearly 560-million-dollars that lawmakers can spend.

There are dark clouds on the horizon. New population trends show the number of people moving to Oregon is slowing, and combined with a decline in the birth rate, the state will reach zero population growth. That would hurt revenue resulting in an estimated 440-million-dollar loss in the 2029 biennium. Republicans say business costs need to be reduced. Governor Tina Kotek says there needs to be more affordable housing.

 

Whether you love her or are sick of seeing her at Chiefs games on TV, the Oregon Lottery’s DraftKings Sportsbook is offering prop bets for the Super Bowl and Swiftie bets for fans of Taylor Swift.

The pop star is expected to be at the game to cheer on her boyfriend, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The “Shake If Off” line allows bets on whether the 49ers or the Chiefs will score first. The”Wildest Dream” wager calls for Travis Kelce to score the first and last touchdowns of the game.

Other prop bets include the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach, who will be the game’s MVP, and whether will there be a scoreless quarter.

During last year’s Super Bowl, Oregon players placed 307-thousand bets worth five-point-three million dollars. The biggest win was 21-thousand dollars on a 350-dollar bet choosing the league winners ending with the Super Bowl.

 

Oregon households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and lost food during the winter storms now have until Feb. 16 to request replacement benefits. 

The Feb. 16 deadline applies to 27 counties — including Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, the Oregon Department of Human Services said in a news release.

The other 24 counties are Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill. 

Residents who live in other counties can request replacements within 10 days of the date the food was destroyed, the release said. 

“Households who disposed of food bought with SNAP benefits that was destroyed due to these events can request that replacement benefits be issued for the cost of the lost food,” the release said. “The maximum amount of SNAP that can be replaced is the value of the food up to the normal monthly benefit for the household. Households should be prepared to provide a list of the lost food, the cost to replace it, and may have to provide proof of the event that destroyed the food.”

Once approved, replacement benefits will be added to residents’ EBT cards.

 

The United States House of Representatives was short of votes earlier this week that were needed to impeach U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the Biden administration’s handling of the southern border, for now.

Oregon U.S. House 2nd District Congressman Cliff Bentz voted in favor of impeaching Secretary Mayorkas, saying, “It has been said that Secretary Mayorkas is dishonest, duplicitous, and derelict in his duties. I agree. However, it has also been said that such conduct does not rise to the constitutionally required ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ That legal conclusion may or may not be true, but when we add in the Secretary’s willful refusal to comply with and enforce the nation’s laws along with his explicit direction to DHS (Department of Homeland Security) employees to NOT enforce the law, we satisfy, in my opinion, the High Crime and Misdemeanor standard.”

The  U.S. House vote capped months of scrutiny by House Republicans who are making immigration and border security a key November election issue.

Democrats were united against the charges, and Republicans have a very thin majority in the House, needed almost every vote to pass the impeachment measure.

 

Researchers at OHSU say multi-dose vaccines could be more effective if given in alternating arms. 

 

Dr. Marcel Curlin studied blood tests from about 2,000 OHSU staffers who agreed to take part in the project, in the early days of the COVID vaccine roll-out. About half took both doses in the same arm, the other half alternated arms.

Dr. Curlin says they’re learning more about the human immune system,

More study is needed to determine whether the results hold true with other immunizations or when administered in a leg, like for infants.

 

25 years ago this week, a massive oil spill changed the landscape on Coos Bay. A 640-foot cargo ship named ‘New Carissa’ was on its way to Southern Oregon from Japan in the midst of a dangerous storm.

The ship had no passengers on it as it was expected to pick up timber from Coos Bay.

Nature took its course and the ship took a turn for the worse along the coast, causing a massive spill. Cleanup took weeks and the legal battle over who was responsible took even longer.

The remains of the ship stayed in the sand on the coast for more than three years, which is something that executive director of the Oregon Historical Society Kerry Tymchuk remembers all too well. “Most famous shipwreck of modern times, and a story that dominated the news not just in Southern Oregon, but across the state for months and then the story stretched out even years.”

Although it’s tough to find a bright spot through it all, the collaborative effort from all of Oregon showed something- that Oregonians in that region could all come together.

The Coquille Tribe awards over $500k in grants for southwestern Oregon community projects.

The tribe held an awards reception at The Mill Casino-Hotel to fund five county projects in health, arts and culture, education, environmental, public safety and historic preservation.

The Coquille Indian Tribe Community Funds were created to share the proceeds of The Mill Casino-Hotel in hopes of strengthening the community by improving opportunities and lives throughout the region. This year’s grant brings the total amount the fund has distributed since it began in 2001 to $8.7 million with over 1000 grant projects being impacted.

The tribal fund accepts grant applications in the fall of each year. Find out more through the Tribe’s website.

 

Four Bolts vital to keeping in place an Alaska Airlines airplane’s door plug were missing during manufacturing, federal officials said in a preliminary report on the Jan. 5 incident when a chunk of fuselage flew off a plane above Portland and forced an emergency landing.

“Photo documentation obtained from Boeing shows evidence of the left-hand (door plug) closed with no retention hardware,” the National Transportation Safety Board wrote in its 19-page report, released Tuesday.

The findings have been highly anticipated since the door replacement came off minutes after Alaska Airlines flight 1282 departed from Portland International Airport at 5:07 p.m. for Ontario, California. A passenger’s video showed a harrowing scene as the plane returned to PDX with a gaping hole in its side.

The sudden decompression tore a shirt off a passenger but did not cause any serious injuries. The captain circled back to the airport and landed.

The airplane investigation could take several more months to fully complete.

 

Daylight saving time begins this year at 2 a.m. on March 10, 2024.

Most devices these days will adjust automatically to the time change, but don’t forget to set any traditional clocks forward by one hour.

Twice a year — when we spring forward and then again when we fall back — we get questions about this: Didn’t Oregon decide not to participate in the time change any longer? So why are we still doing it?

In 2019, Oregon and Washington agreed to partner to abolish seasonal time changes, remaining on daylight saving time year-round. California also joined the agreement, seemingly paving the way for the West Coast states to get rid of standard time permanently.

However, any such change is dependent on approval by the federal government, which hasn’t happened.

In 2023, members of Congress reintroduced the long-stalled Sunshine Protection Act, which would allow states to remain on daylight saving time all year.

That bill has yet to make it out of committee.

 

The baby rhino at the Oregon Zoo has ventured out for the first time.  

Temperatures were warm enough over the weekend to allow the mom, Jozi, and her two-month-old 225-pound male baby to briefly walk outside of their den.  It’ll be later in the year, when temperatures are warmer, that they’ll spend more time outside.  

The zoo staff says the baby is gaining weight and doing fine.  Jozi continues to be a good mom.  The baby’s birth is important for the critically endangered black rhinoceros species.

 

Oregon travelers on Highway 126 between the coast and Eugene are continuing to see delays as crews continue clearing debris created by January’s ice storm, and one business owner along the road is growing frustrated with a lasting outage from the aftermath.

Crews of Oregon Department of Transportation staff and contractors have been working to remove downed trees and other storm debris from the roadway and surrounding area. While a lot has been done to clean up the highway and make it safer, an ODOT spokesperson said, with plenty more to be done in the new few weeks.

ODOT says they have a lot of debris and damage near the Knowles Creek Tunnel, which is the starting point for two teams performing the clearing work. One smaller crew is performing work from the tunnel west toward the coast. The other, larger crew is working in increments eastbound on the highway, clearing sections of the road toward Veneta.

The highway itself is clear of limbs, but ODOT’s focus is on cleaning up tree stumps and logs on the edge of the highway to the tree line.

“They’re also having to assess and evaluate all of the trees along that highway for any potential damage or danger,” ODOT said. “So cracked trunks, dangling limbs, trees leaning over toward the direction of the highway that could potentially fall if we got more wind.”

Once the crews are finished, they will do the same work on Highway 36.  However, it may take a while before that work gets started.

The work has several more weeks to finish cleaning up the Highway 126 roadway.

 

Changes are coming to the way Oregonians apply for unemployment benefits.

Starting on March 4, those seeking unemployment insurance will submit claims on a new website called Frances Online. It’s part of the state’s $106 million, multi-year effort to upgrade the Oregon Employment Department’s technology to make it more secure and user-friendly.

The state has been gradually migrating to the new system, and the unemployment insurance claims portal is the last major step in the transition, according to Unemployment Insurance Director Lindsi Leahy.

The old system dates back to the 1990s. Multiple state audits have found that it was unable to handle complicated claims and had trouble incorporating rule changes. Officials acknowledged it lacked streamlined ways for people to communicate with the state about their claims.

Before the new system goes live for users, both the old and new online portals will be down for a few days in preparation for the launch on March 4. Starting at 5 p.m. on Feb. 28, users will not be able to access the sites, including for Paid Leave Oregon. Also, customer service phone lines and online support will be closed starting on Feb. 28 and won’t reopen until Frances goes live.

Officials say to avoid an interruption in benefits, claims must be submitted in the old system by 5 p.m. on Feb. 28. Unemployment insurance claimants will then need to create a new account in Frances after 8 a.m. on March 4, officials say.

 

Ready to Advertise in 2024? 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 radio and 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 2024 for your business. BasinLife.com is still the best value in the Klamath Basin for advertising, as we celebrate our 8th 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!

 

Must Read

Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 5/6 – No New Covid-19 Cases in County, Gov. Brown Reopens Limited Use of State’s Outdoor Recreation Areas

Brian Casey

Klamath Basin News, Monday, July 31st – Start Pumping Your Own Gas Saturday; Golden Fire Update: 48% Contained

Brian Casey

The President’s Day Sale at Bedroom Gallery! …Shop Local, Interest-Free Financing up to 24 Months!

Brian Casey