Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 4/9 – Busy Road Crews This Week; Klamath Nat. Forest Reports Strong Snow Depth Survey; Friends of the Children Friend Raiser is May 30th; Oregon Student Absenteeism Remains High; Lava Beds To Increase Fees at Indian Well Campground

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. Call 541-882-6476.

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Sunny, with a high near 66. Calm winds becoming northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. 
Overnight, clear with a low near 33 and light northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday
Sunny, with a high near 71. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday
Sunny, with a high near 73. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 6 to 11 mph in the afternoon.
Friday
A chance of rain, mainly after 11am. Snow level 5800 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
Saturday
A slight chance of rain and snow. Snow level 4300 feet rising to 5500 feet during the day. Partly sunny, with a high near 56.

See Road Camera Views around the Klamath Basin:

Lake of the Woods
Doak Mtn.

Hiway 97 at Chemult
Hiway 140 at  Bly
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.
Hiway 97 at LaPine

 

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County Fire District personnel were busy on Monday.

A reported house fire at 420 Martin Street was reported just after 1pm Monday afternoon.  The Red Cross was dispatched to the scene to help assist displaced residents.

About the same time, a brush fire on Alt Way was reported and crews responded to that scene as well.

No further information on either blaze was immediately available.

 

Klamath County will have work crews at several locations this week. Please use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers.

If you are able to avoid the work zones, please use an alternate route for your safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and our contractors.

DUSTOFF
Old Fort Road, Collman Dairy Road, Sunset Beach Road, Green Springs area

DRAINAGE CANAL MAINTENANCE – WATCH FOR TRUCKS ENTERING ROADWAY
Summers Lane near the intersections of Sturdivant Avenue and Ezell Avenue

CITY OF KLAMATH FALLS WATER MAIN REPLACEMENT WORK (March to July)
Eberlein Avenue (from Patterson Street to Hilton Drive)

Traffic control measures will be in place for guidance. Motorists should use alternative routes if possible. In general, flagging stations will be set up at the ends of the work zone and delays will be
0 to 20 minutes for the motoring public. Our goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public.

Other minor work is occurring through the County but we are only listing the major items in this announcement. There may be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items outside
of the County’s control (breakdown of equipment, material/resource availability, etc.) Please do not contact the County if you do not see work occurring, it could be finished already or will be rescheduled.

Klamath County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners appreciate the motoring publics’ patience during the repair season for our local roads and bridges. If you have any questions regarding work, please contact the Public Works Department at (541) 883-4696.

 

The Klamath National Forest has completed the April 1st snow surveys.

According to measurements taken for the April survey, the snowpack is at 111% of the historic average snow height (snow depth) and at 107% of the historic Snow Water Equivalent (“SWE”, measure of water content) across all survey points

These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the state forecast the quantity of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year.

The variability observed thus far this season continued through March. While there were times of seasonal weather and decent mountain precipitation, there were also many days of unseasonably warm temperatures. The higher elevations have been able to maintain a decent snowpack even as locations lower on the mountains are showing indications of spring melt-off. Overall, the cumulative seasonal snow loading appears to be average to slightly above for the time of year.

April 1st is an important date for surveying snow because early April is historically when the snowpack is at its maximum; and this date has the greatest weight when the State forecasts annual water availability. To gain additional data for April, three extra locations are added to the surveys for this month to supplement the usual five Scott River watershed snow measurement sites. Of these, Etna Mountain and Box Camp are also in the Scott River drainage, and Wolford Cabin is within the Trinity River basin. These additional sites are generally considered too remote or difficult to access on a monthly basis.

Snow surveys are conducted monthly during the winter and spring months (February through May). Forest Service employees travel to established sites in the headwaters of the Scott River watershed to take measurements.

The newest measuring site at Scott Mountain has been monitored for over 35 years; the oldest site at Middle Boulder has been monitored for over 70 years. Some sites are located close to Forest roads with good access, while others require hours of travel by snowshoe and/or snowmobile.

 

Friends of the Children – Klamath Basin invites the community to its annual fundraising dinner auction, Friend Raiser, presented by Lithia Ford of Klamath Falls, Thursday, May 30th. Doors open at Mike’s fieldhouse at Steen Sports Park at 5 p.m.  

“This year’s event theme is ‘You Belong!” because we help children feel the belonging and value they need to develop hope and skills for bright futures,” said Executive Director Amanda Squibb. “Our community health depends on our kids’ well-being, and I’m excited to see everyone come out to support professional mentoring in the Klamath Basin.”  

Friend Raiser begins with dinner and cocktail stations, a silent auction, wine and bourbon games, and raffle sales. A seated program and live auction follow at 7 p.m.  

To reserve seats, visit friendsklamath.org or https://fckb.ejoinme.org/FR2024. Silent and live auction items will be added May 23rd for preview. 

Friends – Klamath Basin was established in 2000 to impact generational change by empowering youth facing the greatest obstacles. It pairs youth with professional mentors for 12+ years, no matter what, and will serve 72 youth this year. 

 

Elected officials remain at odds this week in Klamath County after a meeting to discuss payment for legal counsel for the sheriff’s office ended without resolution.

Sheriff Chris Kaber met with the Board of County Commissioners at the Tuesday administrative meeting requesting approval to allocate funds from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office budget to pay the bill.

The sheriff said he hired attorney C. Akin Blitz to represent the office of the sheriff last December, following county allegations against the sheriff over possible nepotism.

In May 2023, Sheriff Kaber assigned his son, Sgt. Ryan Kaber, to return to his previous role in the detectives department (while maintaining his duties within the K-9 unit). The position had remained vacant since the sergeant’s transfer.

Commissioners were concerned that the sheriff’s decision constituted nepotism and could be deemed a violation of state government ethics and county policy.

Commissioner DeGroot filed a complaint with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission in August 2023. The investigation has yet to be determined one way or another.

A month later, the commissioners also voted to revoke county Resolution 2018-016 which granted an exception to the county employment of family policy so that the elected sheriff and his two sons employed at KCSO could all remain in their positions.

With the exception no longer in place, the Kabers were given 90 days to decide whether the sheriff or both of his sons would resign from their positions in county law enforcement.

Before hiring an outside attorney, Kaber said he tried to address the issues directly with commissioners and county counsel, Mark Henderson.

Commissioner Henslee said he was concerned that the sheriff had not made a request of the board to hire an attorney on behalf of the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff said that he and Henderson had exchanged multiple emails discussing the circumstances of the ultimatum.

Kaber said he asked county counsel Henderson about the possibility of seeking a second opinion, and was “rebuffed again,” but assumed the message was relayed to the board.

The sheriff implored the board to consider allowing him to pay the legal invoice from available funds in the sheriff’s office budget and put the issue to rest.

 

As the weather gets hotter in the Klamath Basin, let the crew of Integral Youth Services help protect your property and make it more fire-safe.

At no cost to the homeowner, Integral Youth Services (IYS) is offering fire fuels mitigation services, and will create a 100-foot buffer around the exterior of the property.

In partnership with the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal and Klamath County Fire District 1, using grants made available from the fire marshal and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, IYS’ fire fuels mitigation program is completely free and a part of the organization’s Work2Learn program.

The Work2Learn program at IYSA is a youth and young adult work experience program that focuses on building skills to obtain permanent employment. With an emphasis on exploring careers and postsecondary education, the programs are two-year paid positions within the organization open to youth ages 14 to 26.

In the fire mitigation program, positions are available for young adults 18-26. By participating, not only are the workers being paid, but through a partnership with Klamath Community College are also able to become certified in wildland firefighting. They can earn credentials like their incident qualification card (known as a red card), S-190 (Wildland Fire Behavior), S-212 (Wildland Fire Chainsaws), CPR and even earn college credits.

The May 21st Oregon Primary Election is coming.

1) Ballots will be mailed May 1st . The last day to register as a new voter or to change party affiliation is April 30th. If a voter changes parties or address after the original ballots are processed, they may receive two ballots. The first ballot is inactivated and cannot be voted when the second ballot is issued. Please call if you are unclear which ballot to vote. If you have not received your ballot by May 7th, please contact our office.

2) Official Drop Sites are on the Klamath County Website. Your ballot must be in a box by 8pm on Election Day to be counted. Please check the website or call for hours and availability of the non24 hour drop sites. https://www.klamathcounty.org/685/Drop-Sites

3) If you are mailing in your ballot, Postmarks CAN count, if: a. Signed, AND b. Postmarked on or before Election Day, AND c. Received by the County Clerk’s Office within seven days after Election Day d. WE RECOMMEND TO MAIL BALLOT 7 DAYS BEFORE ELECTION DAY.

4) Nobody in Oregon will receive all of the candidates on their ballot. Oregon has a closed primary; this is a nominating election for the major parties. Registered Democrats receive Democratic candidates; registered Republicans receive Republican candidates; nonaffiliated voters receive only those races that are nonpartisan.

5) Voters’ Pamphlet will be delivered to every household around May 1st. Candidates are not required to be in the Voters’ Pamphlet. The candidate’s name will still appear on your ballot.

Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump, declined to provide a statement for the Voters’ Pamphlet.

Contact the Klamath County Clerk’s Office, (541) 883-5134 or elections@klamathcounty.org, with any questions.

 

Malin Family Fun Day is this Saturday, Apr. 13th! Join the free family fun day from 12PM-4PM at Malin Community Hall & Park

Enjoy Free Food, Raffle Items, Bounce House (weather permitting). Call for information 541-883-2947

Brought to you in part by Cascade Health Alliance.

Each week, BasinLife.com features a Pet of the Week ready for adoption from the Klamath Animal Shelter.

This week’s pet is a dog named ” Sebastian “.  Sebastian is a 4 1/2 month old male Border Collie/Labrador mix.  He is black with white markings, he weighs about 35 pounds and still has growing to do.
Unfortunately, one of the other dogs in the family home was not liking having a new addition, they felt that Sebastian would be safer in a new home. They said that he is started on his crate training, has been around visiting children of all ages, he lived with 2 other dogs and a cat. Sebastian is very active, loves his Groot toy and can be vocal.
If you are interested in adopting Sebastian 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

 

 

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

 

Near Roseburg on I-5, a 21-year-old Arizona man was arrested on Monday after a search of his vehicle during a traffic stop led to a massive seizure of methamphetamine and fentanyl, according to the Oregon State Police.

OSP officials said a trooper stopped a black Chevrolet sedan just after 9 a.m. on April 1 near milepost 149 on northbound Interstate 5 for a traffic violation.

The driver of the vehicle consented to a search of his vehicle after the trooper suspected criminal activity, authorities said. OSP said that the trooper found 62 pounds of meth and 22,000 suspected fentanyl-laced pills inside the vehicle and the driver, identified as Oliver Raul Alvarez Beltran, of Phoenix, Ariz., confirmed to the trooper that he was transporting the drugs to Portland.

Beltran was arrested and federally charged with attempted delivery of a controlled substance, according to OSP officials. State police officials said that the case is under continued investigation.

 

A 25-year old Albany woman who was found with a 13-year-old boy who had gone missing has pleaded guilty to charges of rape and sodomy.

Back on April 5, 2023, Albany Police Department heard a report that a 13-year-old boy had gone missing from a friend’s house, and was probably with Alyssa Kathleen Thomas, then 24. Police began an investigation which led them to the Portland area, where Thomas and the boy were located on April 10 a year ago. The boy was returned home safely and Thomas was arrested and charged with crimes including rape and sodomy

According to court documents, Thomas pleaded guilty to charges of third-degree rape and third-degree sodomy earlier this month as part of a plea deal. Court records show Thomas will serve a total of 4 years and 9 months in prison, and will have to register as a sex offender. She will also not be eligible for early release or a reduction in her sentence.

 

On Saturday, April 6, 2024, at approximately 2 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on I-5 southbound near milepost 125 in Douglas County. 

The preliminary investigation indicated that a blue Chevrolet S-10 was traveling southbound when an object flew out of the back of the truck bed. The driver, Evan Nile Cookman (70) of Winston, pulled onto the right shoulder and exited the vehicle. While attempting to retrieve the object from the interstate, he fell into the left lane of traffic. A black Ford F-550 traveling in the left lane attempted to avoid the subject (Cookman); however, was unable to avoid a collision and struck Cookman. 

Cookman was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

 

One person is dead after a house fire in Roseburg.

According to a press release from the Roseburg Fire Department, it responded to a residential structure fire on W. Wharton Street around 8:00 p.m. April 5.

When firefighters arrived on scene, the home had heavy fire and smoke coming from the front left corner of the house. A female resident of the home informed firefighters her husband was still inside. The 71-year-old man was found unconscious inside and was transported to the hospital, but later died.  The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time.

 

Almost 6,000 government employees began receiving pension benefits last year from the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, according to a pension database. 

The average benefit for the 5,909 retirees added to pension rolls in 2023 was $31,318 annually, the equivalent of 42% of those retirees’ final pay. Their average length of service was just over 20 years.

The pensions ranged from about $1,100 annually to more than $200,000, with a median of $23,873.

There were 143 new retirees with annual benefits of more than $100,000, 2.4% of the entire cohort. Among all the 145,434 retirees who retired through 2023, some 2.9% had benefits exceeding that threshold in 2023. The median benefit among all retired members was $28,998.

The newsroom has maintained the database since 2011, when the pension system reached a settlement with The Oregonian/OregonLive and the Salem Statesman Journal to release the names and monthly benefits of what were then 110,000 beneficiaries.

 

Before the pandemic, Oregon, as well as the rest of the nation began struggling with high rates of absenteeism among K-12 students. Things haven’t changed.

In Oregon Public Broadcasting’s (OPB) reporting on the Time’s article, the trend of high percentages of chronic absenteeism is seen in almost every school district in Oregon.

Recent reporting from the New York Times and Oregon Public Broadcasting indicate that not only is chronic absenteeism still a major concern for school districts, but data show that some school districts have more than doubled the number of students who are habitually absent from school since COVID restrictions were lifted.

New York Times reporting cited families who opt for vacations with their children learning online, administrators looking for options such as pajama day to boost attendance, and students suffering anxiety that have opted to stay home rather than face learning in the classroom as the new ‘norm’ in K-12 classrooms today.

The data that the Times examined found that these increases have happened in districts of all sizes, and across all social and economic groups.

Additionally, chronic absenteeism rates in districts in wealthier areas have about doubled to 19 percent from 10 percent in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Understandably, poor communities which were challenged with student absenteeism before COVID are even deeper in crisis, and those schools who opened quickly once restrictions were lifted are seeing increases of empty seats in classrooms — both face to face, and online.

 

A federal grand jury in Medford has indicted a man for allegedly selling explosives and fentanyl.

In March, Medford Police notified ATF agents that 56-year-old Wesley Armstrong was trying to sell explosives.  They say he was arrested after selling eight cast explosives, other explosive material and a small amount of fentanyl.  A search of his vehicle found a loaded gun and more fentanyl.

He was charged for selling explosives, drug possession with intent to distribute, and felon in possession of a firearm.

 

The record-breaking Powerball winning ticket was sold in Portland, Oregon according to Oregon State Lottery officials, although no one has claimed winning the prize yet.

The winning numbers from the Saturday, April 6 drawing are 22, 27, 44, 52 and 69.  The Powerball was 9.  The Power Play multiplier was 3.

The winner of the $1.326 billion ticket was purchased on Saturday, April 6th. Under the rules, the winner has a year to come forward and claim their prize. Players in Oregon, with few exceptions, cannot remain anonymous.

After taxes, the immediate cash value is a whopping $608.9 million.  Powerball drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

 

A coalition of more than 20 organizations wants to send President Biden a message during Oregon’s May Primary.

They’re asking members of the Democrat party to write in “uncommitted” on their ballots.  The group wants Biden to demand that Israel stop its attack on Hamas and agree to a permanent ceasefire.  Oregon is one of 22 states where the group is protesting.

 

Lava Beds National Monument is seeking public comment on proposed increases in expanded amenity fees for the Indian Well Campground and the Indian Well Campground Group Campsite.

The park is also proposing to make the Indian Well Campground Group Campsite reservable through Recreation.gov.

Current camping fees are $10/night for individual campsites. Camping fees for the group campsite site are per night: $3.00 per person, minimum of $45.00 to a maximum of $60.00. Proposed camping fees are $20/night for individual campsites and a single flat rate of $60.00/night for the group campsite.

Under the proposed fees Lava Beds will continue to offer half priced camping for Interagency Senior pass holders and Interagency Lifetime Access pass holders. This is the first camping fee increase since Lava Beds implemented the $10.00 camping fee in 1985 for individual campsites and first increase for the group site that was first constructed in 2005.

 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on its new draft update to its management plan of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

The monument is located between the Cascade, Klamath and Siskiyou mountain ranges and “is the first U.S. national monument set aside primarily for the preservation of biodiversity,” according to BLM’s website.

The monument is currently managed using three separate plans. The new draft plan would consolidate those plans into one. According to BLM’s website, the new draft plan also aims to address “important resource issues, such as fire and fuels, wildlife, livestock grazing, and recreation” within the monument.

 

A Nevada man with a lengthy criminal history was sentenced to federal prison last week for stealing more than $163,000 in Covid relief program funds while on supervised release for two separate state criminal convictions.

Justin David Goulet, 36, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $163,100 in restitution to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

According to court documents, in late December 2020, Goulet was released from Oregon state prison after completing concurrent sentences for felony forgery and theft. Less than four months after his release from prison, in April 2021, Goulet devised a scheme to defraud SBA of funds appropriated by Congress to help businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, Goulet applied for two Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and successfully obtained one for $163,100.

To support his fraudulent applications, Goulet registered a straw company called Statement Venture Group, LLC, and falsely claimed to be doing business as an independent contractor while imprisoned in 2019. He further submitted bogus tax filings, including one purportedly created by a New York accounting firm, to the SBA to substantiate robust (and fictional) revenues and payrolls. Goulet used most of the $163,000 he obtained on travel, living expenses, cars, and illegal drugs.

On February 8, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Goulet with wire fraud and, on August 30, 2022, he pleaded guilty.

This case was investigated by the SBA Office of Inspector General and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Since January 2021, more than 50 people have been charged in the District of Oregon for their roles in fraud schemes targeting federal Covid relief programs. Together, these defendants attempted to steal more than $778 million in federal funds. 23 individuals have been convicted for their crimes and sentenced to a combined total of 477 months in federal prison and 894 months of probation and/or supervised release.

 

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office is upgrading the county’s emergency alerting software.

According to a Facebook post from the Sheriff’s Office, it and the Office of Emergency Services (OES) decided to upgrade to a new alert notification system called ReadySiskiyou- Alerts. It says ReadySiskiyou- Alerts will provide folks with a more reliable emergency alert system, improve response times and increase accuracy and specificity in alert notifications.

For over 11 years, the Sheriff’s Office and other agencies had relied on CodeRED as its main alert notification provider, but the Sheriff’s Office and OES felt it was time for an upgrade. 

 

The Deschutes County District Attorney says an 18-year-old involved in an officer-involved shooting in Bend on March 20th died of a self-inflicted wound.

Witnesses reported a vehicle traveling at over 90 miles an hour on the Bend Parkway that evening. The driver, later identified as Gabriel Platz, was then involved in a three-car crash. One of the other involved drivers told 911 dispatchers Platz smelled of alcohol. 

When police arrived, District Attorney Steve Gunnels says Platz was still in his vehicle and officers noticed a handgun on the floor. The DA says Platz disregarded commands to not pickup the gun. Investigators determined Platz was shot by police at the same time he sustained a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound. The incident was captured by two officers’ bodycams. According to the autopsy, one of the bullets fired by police entered his leg, the other his chest. The self-inflicted wound was to his temple. 

DA Gunnels says the officer’s “use of deadly force was reasonable to defend himself” other officers and bystanders. 

 

Ray Rau, Tillamook police chief and former chief in Nyssa, was convicted of official misconduct Wednesday for tampering with evidence.

He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and must give up his certification as a law enforcement officer that he has held since 1995. As a result, he can no longer work as a police officer in Oregon.

Rau turned himself in after court proceedings on Wednesday to begin his sentence.

He was chief of the Nyssa Police Department from 2012 until resigning in 2021 to take the Tillamook job. He had been elected to the Nyssa School Board just two months before resigning the city post.

He was convicted of taking the meth and the money from the evidence locker sometime between October 2021 and April 2023 “with intent to obtain a benefit.”

Rau was convicted of taking money held in evidence that was taken from a Tillamook woman who had been arrested by city police. Court records didn’t specify how much money was taken.

 

C&D Lumber Co. said this week it will shut down its operation in Riddle, the fourth Oregon mill to announce closure plans in recent months.

The family-owned business said 93 workers will lose their jobs. The sawmill will stop operating May 2, according to Nick Johnson, whose family owns C&D. Some operations will continue for at least a few months longer while inventory is dried and run through the mill’s planer.

C&D Lumber was founded in 1890 and has been at its current site, about 20 miles south of Roseburg, since the 1950s. The Johnson family said C&D’s sister company, Silver Butte Timber Co., will continue operating.

C&D blamed the pending closure in Riddle on “the unprecedented challenges facing the industry today,” including fluctuating market prices, rising operating costs and timber shortages. Johnson said some of C&D’s lumber is fetching the same price it did 20 years ago even as all other costs have soared.

 

EARTH DAY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

COOS BAY, Oregon— Celebrate Earth Day this year at a volunteer event dedicated to removing invasive English ivy at Yoakum Point 10 a.m. to noon April 22. 

Invasive species of ivy are prevalent throughout the pacific northwest and tend outcompete native plants. Assist park rangers in identifying and eradicating the weed from the park property. Afterward, Ranger Jake will present an interpretation program.

Participants should be prepared to travel on uneven ground at service site. Service will take place outdoors and volunteers should be comfortable wearing work gloves and using hand tools. Snacks will be provided.

  • Dress for the weather.
  • Closed-toed shoes are recommended.
  • Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Remember to bring a water bottle, sack lunch and work gloves if you have them (some will be provided if not).

Yoakum Point is a roadside pull off for a trailhead that takes visitors to the beach. The address is 90064 Cape Arago Hwy, Coos Bay. 

Register for the volunteer event at https://form.jotform.com/230546054450045

If you need to contact staff on the day of the event, please call Park Ranger Jake, 541-294-0644, Park Ranger Jess, 541-888-3732 or Park Specialist Janet at 541-888-3778.

 

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