Klamath Basin News, Friday, 4/12 – Wet Weekend For The Basin; Self-Defense Classes Offered at KCC; Ashland Man Fit To Stand Trial in Medford Woman’s Beating Death Says Judge; Britt Music & Arts Festival Announces 2024 Summer Concerts

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.

 

Friday, April 12, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
A chance of rain at times today, possible brief thundershowers at times, with a high near 60. Breezy, with a light and variable wind becoming south 20 to 25 mph in the morning.  Chance of precipitation is 40%. Tonight a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms, some showers overnight, with a low around 41. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday
A chance of rain, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. High near 56. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. More evening showers and possible showers overnight, low of 38.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Sunday
Rain likely, mainly before noon, with a high near 49. West wind 9 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Monday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 56.
Tuesday
Sunny, with a high near 54.
Wednesday
Sunny, with a high near 55.

See Road Camera Views around the Klamath Basin:

On Saturday, Klamath Advocacy Center in partnership with the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training will offer a free class on defending yourself in necessary circumstances at Klamath Community College.

Avoid. Deny. Defend. This is the modeled approach to self-defense training provided to law enforcement agencies statewide and Ben Klecke is the regional training coordinator for five counties in the southern and central regions of Oregon and also serves as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at KCC.

The course will offer attendees the opportunity to learn how to protect and defend themselves in various circumstances.

Klecke will lead the class with the assistance of local law enforcement.

The self-defense class will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in Building 4 at KCC. All are welcome.

 

The Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET) made a significant drug bust earlier this week.

Four Klamath Falls residents were booked on several felony drug related charges after it was discovered a significant amount of fentanyl and methanmphetamine was being dealt from a house in the 1500 block of Washburn Way.

Brandon Gardner, Dwight Lee Henry, Merica Kimbal, and Joseph Johnson were arrested by police n Tuesday.  Three of the arrests occurred at the Washburn location.  Johnson was arrested at the corner of Oregon and Upham.
Cocaine, murshrooms, LSD and US currency believed to be from drug sales and other materials were also seized in the raid.
Police entered with search warrants at the Washburn address.
All four suspects are currently lodged in the Klamath County jail.

 

Klamath, Modoc, and Siskiyou County leaders are asking for an “adequate water supply” on behalf of local irrigation.

A news release from Klamath Water Users Association this week said a letter has been sent to the Bureau of Reclamation requesting the full water allocations on behalf of Klamath Project irrigators.

The letter, sent to Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, bases the request for increase water flows in congruence with “favorably hydrology” this year in the Klamath Basin.

Allocations were originally expected to be revealed April 1, the day before the annual Klamath Water Users Association meeting.  Representatives from Reclamation attended the event and promised Reclamation’s decision would be provided April 15.

Officials from all three counties signed the request, including Klamath County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot. The request was also sent to Congressmen Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.).  In addition to the letter, Klamath Project irrigators are taking concerns over recent federal rulings to Washington, D.C., this week.

In the release, Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen said that the new rule is just an updated version of a policy issued during the final weeks of the Clinton Administration.

 

The city of Chiloquin is one of 12 Oregon cities set to receive funding from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS).

The money is part of over $40 million in grants and tax credits reserved to build and preserve 417 homes and comes from the federal 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), HOME, General Housing Account Program (GHAP), and the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credits (OAHTC).

“This progress is about what really matters—putting resources towards investments that make life better for more Oregonians,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “Over 400 families and individuals will have a safe and stable place to call home because of these investments and the leadership of our local partners who made this possible. This progress can invigorate neighborhoods, communities, and our economies.

These investments in housing today will serve Oregonians for generations to come especially in our rural and Tribal communities.”

Grants Pass’s Allen Creek Crossing will be awarded $4.5 million for 68 units and Chilquin is set to receive $46. million for 30 units at Klamath LIHTC #1.

Other Oregon cities to receive funding include Gresham, Portland, Albany, Redmond, Veneta, Harrisburg, Junction City, Bend, Salem, and La Pine.

 

A beloved philanthropist passed away last week surrounded by family in Klamath Falls.  Nancy Jane Wendt passed away last week with family and friends at her side. She was 91-years-old.

Nancy and her husband Richard Wendt were well known for their contributions across the Pacific Northwest. She worked alongside her husband who founded the manufacturing company JELD-WEN in 1960.  Richard “Dick” Wendt passed a few years ago.

At Oregon Tech, the couple helped fund a new health professionals center at the school.

Oregon Tech president Dr. Nagi Naganathan says Nancy’s passing is a massive loss to the whole community.

She leaves behind two sons, Rod and Mark Wendt and their families, among many others.

Services will be held at a later date. 

 

The Board of Klamath County Commissioners has reached a collective bargaining agreement with the Klamath County Peace Officers’ Association.

Setting forth matters such as rates of pay, hours of work, fringe benefits and other conditions of employment, the agreement pertains to all regular full-time and part-time employees of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office unless they are of confidential or supervisory status or covered by another collective bargaining unit recognized by the county.

The agreement is honored through June 30, 2026, and carries a fiscal impact for fiscal year 2023-24 of an additional 2% cost of living increase plus incentive pay for eligible employees. The fiscal impact for years 2024-25 and 2025-2026 will be a 4.5% increase in pay for cost of living plus incentives for eligible employees.

The County Commissioners board also approved a contract with Diversified Contractors Inc. for remedial work on the exterior of the Baldwin Hotel Museum, making improvements and repairs such as applying exterior stucco where a set of stairs had been removed, filling in and sealing off two unused openings in the foundation, realigning a storm-water drain pipe and installing a double-hung, wood-frame window to replace a second-floor door that is no longer in use with specifications that it closely resemble existing and original windows on the building.

“We’ve been talking about sprucing up the outside of the Baldwin (Hotel Museum) for a very long time, so I’m very excited to see some of those projects starting; the Baldwin is a gem we have in Klamath County,” Commissioner Kelley Minty said.

The cost of construction will be $24,150 and will be paid using ARPA funds.

The board also agreed to enter a contract with Pacific Power to provide and install electrical service for roadside weather condition cameras that Klamath County Public Works will be constructing on Westside Road.

• During the meeting, the county received an Oregon Department of Agriculture grant award of $90,575 for wolf depredation to assist Klamath County in implementing nonlethal wolf management techniques and strategies. The grant will also provide compensation for injury or death to livestock due to wolves.

 

Pacific Power is undertaking a routing study as part of the Blueprint South 500 kilovolt transmission line project which will run through Deschutes, Crook and Klamath counties.

Demands for power are predicted to nearly double in the next decade, according to reports from Pacific Power.

The project plans were presented to Deschutes County Board of Commissioners on April 1.

According to published plans, the new transmission power lines would run 180 miles, starting in Deschutes County and ending in Klamath County.

Towers will be between 160- and 180-feet high and sit between 800- and 1,400-feet apart.

There will be a 250-foot right-of-way along the lines, requiring that no structure stands within the defined space.

Pacific Power spokesperson Paul Gutierrez told The Bulletin newspaper in Bend that running underground lines isn’t practical due to the cost and environmental impact.

Pacific Power project manager John Aniello presented plans to the Deschutes County board and said that the cost of the project will be covered by rate increases for the utility’s customers.

 

THIS WEEKEND!  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.

 

The Ross Ragland Theater is the site for the community to enjoy performances by local budding young artists who will demonstrate their musical talents. The annual event will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14.

This one-of-a-kind musical show features a variety of vocal and instrumental talent. These local high school musicians are considered the best in their chosen field by professional judges.

During the performance, each student will perform a five-minute solo piece. Immediately following, the audience and participants are invited to attend a reception in the lobby to meet and honor the musicians.

The Young Musicians of Excellence must all go through an extensive application and audition process in order to be considered for participation in the group.

This event showcases the musical talents of the best-of-the-best of local student musicians in one performance for the public to enjoy.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 seniors/military/students, $10 kids ages 12 and under, and can be purchased at the Ragland Theater box office from noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and two hours before showtime, by calling (541) 884-LIVE, or by visiting their website at: www.ragland.org.

 

Klamath County’s chapter of the Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children is holding a Children’s Learning Fair this weekend.

A recent news release announced the fair will be held at the Klamath County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Children who need a quieter learning environment are offered to attend an earlier session from 9 to 10 a.m.

According to the release, the fair will offer numerous fun activities, including art, science, math and movement projects.

Families are asked to bring a recyclable bag to carry children’s completed projects. The event welcomes all young children and their families.

Admission is $1 per child, $3 per family and free for adults.

 

Integral Youth Services (IYS) of Klamath Falls will launch their inaugural major giving campaign in alignment with the national holiday Love Our Children Day.

The campaign kicks off with the “Day of Play” event scheduled from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Mike’s Fieldhouse at Steen Sports Park.

Event goers will experience an afternoon of fun with activities, raffles, bingo, bounce houses, and more. Entry is $5 for adults and $2 for youth, and each person will receive a free event T-shirt for coming.

The campaign goal is $60,000 and there are numerous ways for the community to get involved including giving, volunteering, or supporting the organization’s at-risk youth programming. All funds raised directly benefit Klamath County’s youth who access IYS programs.

Wynne Broadcasting will be there live on Saturday as well.

 

Join Oregon Tech on Thursday, May 9, at 5 p.m. for a ribbon cutting ceremony, unveiling of a donor recognition wall, and an opportunity to take a lap around the new track with Olympic Gold Medalist and world-record holder Ashton Eaton.

The event will celebrate the achievements of track and field and cross-country programs, and the accomplishments of the Bringing Home the Gold Campaign which provided funding to renovate the track, field, and stadium.

The Bringing Home the Gold Campaign launched in 2021 to renovate the track, field, and stadium. The project cost of just under $3.5 million was funded through charitable gifts and grants, Oregon Sports Lottery, State of Oregon bond for athletic purposes, and Athletic department funds.

 

The Mr. Pelican Pageant has become a tradition in Klamath Falls, and this year’s production will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 12, at the Ross Ragland Theater.

The pageant will showcase the talents of nine Klamath Union High School students, and is a show suitable for all ages.

In addition to providing a night of entertainment, the Mr. Pelican Pageant raises money for worthy charities and families in the Klamath Falls community.

This year, funds raised will be donated to Klamath Hospice and Palliative Care’s grief camps, Camp Sapling and Camp Evergreen.

These camps provide much-needed support and comfort to individuals and families coping with loss in the Klamath Basin and Northern California.

 The success of the Mr. Pelican Pageant is only possible with the generous support of its sponsors, and the pageant extends its thanks to Ross Ragland Theater, Sons of Norway Roald Lodge 2-39, and Shaffer Electric for their continued generosity and commitment to the community.

This year’s pageant contestants are: Dominic Armijo, Miles McCalister, Gus Hendricks, Greysen Johnson, Mathyis Horton, Carter Harmon and Andrew Segura-Mendez.

Ticket prices for the event are $15 for adults, $10 for students, and free for seniors, active duty military and children under 10. Tickets can be purchased at the Ross Ragland Theater box office, or on their website atwww.ragland.org.

 

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. 

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 ” Vador “.   Vador is an 8 month old male Pit Bull and Border Collie mix, is black and white, and weighs about 40 pounds.
Vador’s family said that he had more energy than they were prepared for. They said that Vador is house-trained and lived with children as young as 3 years old, there were no other dogs in the home but at the Shelter he has had a doggy room mate. He is an energetic, happy dog that could be a great addition to an active family.
If you are interested in adopting Vador 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 awww.klamathanimalshelter.org

 

Around the State of Oregon

A court order today says an Ashland man accused of a Medford beating death is “fit to proceed” with his criminal case. 

The Jackson County Circuit Court order says 23-year-old Anthony Siple, “is fit to proceed in this case. THE COURT ORDERS that proceedings in this case are to resume.”

Siple is in Jackson County Jail facing murder, manslaughter and robbery charges for the November 18, 2023, beating death of 51-year-old Jessa Delyon.

Medford police say they arrested Siple that morning in north Medford along Brookhurst Street in response to a dispatch advising, “there were several callers stating male was was holding down female, yelling that he was going to kill her.”

At the time police said they found Delyon “badly beaten and bleeding from her face and left side of her head,” taken to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center where she was found to have a skull fracture, serious brain bleed and significant swelling of the brain.

Medford police reported in November that the incident scene “contained significant amount of blood on the street and opened can of Chef Boyardee Raviolis. The injuries sustained by Delyon required emergency surgery during which bone plate was removed to reduce the pressure on brain and tubes were installed for drainage. Delyon was sedated and placed on ventilator. During an interview with Detective Rogers, Siple admitted to hitting Delyon stating it was in self defense.

Siple also admitted to being in possession of can of Chef Boyardee Raviolis during the incident. The can was found in the street on Keene Drive just north of the intersection with Brookhurst Street and had what appeared to be bloody skin tissue transfer around the opening.”

 

COVID-19 vaccination is not considered linked to death from cardiac causes among previously healthy young people, according to an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The study, appearing in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), examined nearly 1,300 deaths among Oregon adolescents and young adults – ages 16 to 30 – occurring over 19 months during 2021 and 2022. It found that none of the fatalities that happened within 100 days of receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose was attributed to vaccination.

The findings answer a question that’s lingered since early 2021 as state and federal public health agencies rolled out new mRNA vaccines during the pandemic: Do rare cases of myocarditis associated with COVID-19 vaccination put people at increased risk for cardiac death?

Study co-authors Paul Cieslak, M.D., and Juventila Liko, M.D., M.P.H., of OHA’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section, say suggestions of an association between receipt of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose and sudden cardiac death among healthy adolescents and young adults are not supported by the Oregon data they reviewed.

Of 40 deaths that occurred among persons who had received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose, only three occurred within 100 days after vaccination. However, two of the deaths were attributed to chronic underlying conditions, and the cause was undetermined for one. No death certificate attributed death to vaccination.

Cieslak noted there were 30 deaths among persons this age that were caused by COVID-19. Among these 30 decedents, he said, the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS) database had records for 22 (73%), only three of whom had received any COVID-19 vaccination.

A group of lawsuits against Asante’s health care operations are sharing a day in federal court.

Thirteen federal court cases have a shared proceeding this afternoon with the U.S. District Court in Medford.

A sampling of the cases shows claims of religious discrimination against Asante by health care workers who invoked religion as their rationale for refusing to get COVID-19 vaccinations, claiming their employment with Asante subsequently was suspended, causing wrongful employment termination for exercising their religious beliefs.

Their federal lawsuit seeks “damages for religious discrimintation in violation of Title VII … and aiding and abetting religious discrimination.”

Salem-based attorney Ray Hacke is legal counsel for plaintiffs in three cases.

Hacke said Asante claims it accommodated employees who’d cited religion to decline COVID-19 vaccination by putting them on unpaid leave from work. 

 

The Talent Police Department arrested a Medford contractor on Sunday morning for theft. 

According to a news release from TPD, 52-year-old Curtis Buckelew was arrested for first-degree aggravated theft and theft by deception. 

“Last year Talent PD started investigating Curtis Buckelew and “98 Restoration” after we received reports from victims that had hired Buckelew. Victims reported they had paid Buckelew for materials and labor, but the work was not completed,” the release said. 

A grand jury indicted Buckelew last year on first-degree theft, falsifying business record and first-degree aggravated theft, the release said. 

“If you or someone you know has been affected by Buckelew’s actions or have information about these cases, please contact Officer Ridenour at the Talent Police Department by calling 541-535-1253,” the release said. “Please use caution and due diligence when hiring a contractor. The Oregon Construction Contractors Board website offers resources and confirmation of a professional’s license status.” 

 

Britt Music & Arts Festival is excited to announce the next slate of 12 Britt Presents shows for the 2024 summer season.

With more announcements to come, this group of shows features a wide array of musical artists, including country legend Willie Nelson. Britt-newcomers will include Shaggy, Dirty Heads, Walker Hayes, Paul Cauthen, Classic Albums Live: Fleetwood Mac “Rumors”, and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening.

Britt favorites returning to the stage include reggae rock bands Iration & Pepper with special guests DENM and Artikal Sound System, American jam band Umphrey’s McGee, world famous Cuban ensemble Buena Vista Social Orchestra, pop icons Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw, jazz and funk fusion artist Trombone Shorty, and reggae band SOJA.

The community is also invited to the hill for a night of laughter with Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Asking for Trouble. But it doesn’t end there; throughout the next month, Britt will continue to announce more shows for the 2024 Britt Presents season!

With this announcement, there will be a Member pre-sale before tickets go on sale to the general public at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 26.

 

As the May 21, 2024, elections draw near, campaigns and their friends should remember that ODOT will remove political signs posted on the state highway right of way.

Every election season, we receive complaints from the public and from candidates regarding the improper placement of political signs on the state highway rights of way, where only official traffic control devices are allowed. Improperly placed signs can distract drivers and block road safety messages.

Wrongly placed signs will be taken down and held at a nearby ODOT district maintenance office for 30 days. To reclaim signs, go here to find the nearest ODOT maintenance office.

 Signs are prohibited on trees, utility poles, fence posts and natural features within highway right-of-ways. They also are prohibited within view of a designated scenic area.

The width of the state highway right of way can vary considerably depending on the specific location. If you’re uncertain whether you’re placing a sign on private property or highway right of way, check with the local ODOT district maintenance office.

Local municipalities may also regulate the placement of political signs.

 

House Bill 4156 is being signed into law by Governor Tina Kotek, modernizing Oregon’s Anti-Stalking law.

According to the Oregon Legislature, HB 4156 broadens the scope of the current stalking law, now covering electronic and internet harassment. This includes efforts to damage a victim’s identity and credit rating.

The law also increases the classification of Felony level stalking from a Class-C to a Class-B Felony, meaning an increase in prison time.

Oregon Representative Kevin Mannix wrote the original law back in 1995. He expressed is gratitude, saying “it is an honor to have been part of Oregon’s original anti-stalking law nearly 30 years ago, and now its modernization. I am confident that this legislation will help protect those who have become victims to stalking and ensure there are proper protections in place to get them the help they need.”

This new law takes effect on July 1.

 

It could take several weeks before the Oregon Lottery can hand over cash to the winner of the historic, $1.326 billion Powerball jackpot, because of necessary — if opaque to the public — security measures, an agency spokesperson said Tuesday.

A person has come forward to claim the jackpot. The Oregon Lottery hasn’t yet publicly identified the winner.

The security process includes looking at the person’s physical ticket, checking their government-issued identification and reviewing the store’s security camera footage.

Anyone who plays the lottery should sign the back of their ticket. Otherwise, whoever holds the ticket essentially owns it.

An added complication before the winner is handed the cash is the fact that there’s just so much of it, and that it’s funded by multiple states’ lotteries, not just Oregon’s.

The $1.326 billion jackpot has a cash value of $621 million if the winner chooses to take a lump sum rather than an annuity paid over 30 years. The prize is subject to federal taxes and state taxes in Oregon.

 

To boost the number of firefighters across Oregon before wildfire season, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced it has awarded $6 million in grants to 191 local fire agencies across the state. 

The 2024 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program is in its third year. Local agencies in the Oregon structural fire service were eligible to apply for up to $35,000. The funding will allow agencies to bring on additional firefighters or increase on-duty hours during the 2024 fire season. A list of agencies awarded funding can be found here.

The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program was integral to the success in protecting communities, adding more than 1,500 paid firefighters to the Oregon fire service. These added resources allowed agencies to attack fires and keep them small and away from communities and added capacity to respond to other calls, ultimately saving lives.

This 2024 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program is part of a multi-pronged approach to combat wildfire in Oregon. Over the last three years, the OSFM has made strategic investments to modernize the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System and help communities become more wildfire adapted. 

This grant is part of the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative. The OSFM is looking for sustained funding for this program and is exploring all options to continue this highly successful grant in 2025 and beyond.

 

It never ends. Some of Oregon’s largest universities are raising tuition rates, saying the costs of operating a university are becoming more and more overwhelming.

Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University are all raising tuition for the 2024-2025 school year.

The University of Oregon’s Board of Trustees voted in March to raise tuition by 3% for new undergraduates, locked for five years. Trustees at Portland State met Friday and approved a 4.8% increase in tuition for resident undergraduate students. Oregon State trustees also met Friday and voted to raise tuition costs for resident undergraduate students at its Corvallis Campus by 4.91%, which adds up to a $11 to $12 increase per credit hour, or roughly $500 a year for a student taking 15 credits.

This also comes after all three schools raised tuition rates the previous year.

According to OSU’s tuition and fee process, the university considers several factors in developing tuition and fee recommendations, including providing access to degree programs for students from all circumstances, supporting world-class research, maintaining the human and physical infrastructure necessary to support Oregon’s educational outcome goals, projected cost and revenue changes, impact of tuition increases on enrollment for undergraduate students, and more.

Under OSU’s cohort model, the amount a student pays for tuition depends on when they enrolled, and it typically changes every year. Trustees have a fee process that states tuition rate increases will be between 2-5% every year, but in Friday’s meeting, officials said increasing expenses are making it harder each year to stay in that range.

 

Tuesday, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek issued a notice of potential vetoes of budget items in a pair of Senate bills. Three of seven listed items impact Southern Oregon communities. 

One of the vetoes would reject $1.5 million for the wastewater treatment plant in Butte Falls and lifting station upgrades, Kotek’s office said in a news release. One of the vetoes would reject $1.5 million to develop Shady Cove’s city drinking water system. The third one that would impact Southern Oregon would reject $1.5 million for replacing a water distribution main line in Gold Hill, as well as improvements and upgrades to water treatment facilities. 

The governor will announce her final decision on these vetoes by April 17. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Spring into action: Give blood or platelets with the Red Cross 

Make an appointment now to help save lives during National Volunteer Month

During National Volunteer Month in April, the American Red Cross asks donors to help protect the blood supply by making and keeping blood or platelet donation appointments in the weeks ahead. Donors of all blood types – especially type O blood donors and those giving platelets – are needed now to keep the blood supply strong enough to support critical patient care this spring.

The Red Cross depends on thousands of volunteer blood donors to collect about 12,000 blood donations every single day. With no substitute for blood and no way to manufacture it, volunteer donors are essential in transfusion care. Blood drives and donation centers also depend on the generosity and valuable time of those who make it possible for the Red Cross to help people in need. 

Spring into action – book a time to give lifesaving blood or platelets now by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App. Those who come to give April 8-28, 2024, will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice, plus be automatically entered to win a $7,000 gift card. There will be two lucky winners. See RedCrossBlood.org/Spring for details.

Visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter your zip code to find additional blood donation opportunities near you.

 

SOLVE invites volunteers to register for their annual Earth Day celebration: The Oregon Spring Cleanup!

SOLVE Oregon Spring Cleanup at Cannon Beach 2023

From April 13 to April 22, families, community members, neighborhood associations, and environmental enthusiasts are invited to engage in a signature event in SOLVE’s annual calendar: The Oregon Spring Cleanup, presented by Portland General ElectricRegistration for this environmentally conscious event series is now open.

Participants are invited to join SOLVE, event leaders, and partners from across the Pacific Northwest in a collective celebration of Earth Day. The SOLVE calendar showcases a variety of events throughout Oregon and SW Washington between April 13 and April 22, with the majority of events culminating on April 20. Diverse initiatives address specific environmental needs with opportunities ranging from beach cleanups to neighborhood and city litter pickups. Further activities include restoring natural habitats through native tree and shrub plantings, weed pulls, and mulching projects. Each project contributes to the enhancement of our shared surroundings.

With a variety of projects already online, the Oregon Spring Cleanup invites enthusiastic volunteers to contribute to a cleaner, greener, and brighter planet. Interested individuals can browse the map of projects to find events near them, learn about each opportunityand sign up for a meaningful contribution to the environment. Participating in the Oregon Spring Cleanup provides an excellent opportunity to bond with family members, coworkers, and neighbors, while collectively contributing to preserving some of Oregon’s most stunning locations.

As SOLVE anticipates another successful event, valued partner Portland General Electric, shares their commitment to the cause: ” PGE proudly supports SOLVE’s efforts to make our communities cleaner and greener. In 2023, our employees and their families volunteered with SOLVE for more than 220 hours. We’re excited to join community members again this Earth Day to help improve our beautiful state.” said Kristen Sheeran, Senior Director of Policy Planning and Sustainability, Portland General Electric.

For those inspired to host an event, SOLVE is still accepting new volunteer-led projects. The sooner projects are submitted, the faster SOLVE can care for the rest. Event leaders receive full support, including free supplies, access to project funding, disposal assistance, and help with volunteer recruitment.

For more information, please visit solveoregon.org/oregon-spring and be part of the collective effort to create a cleaner, greener planet.

Along with Portland General Electric, other event sponsors include Clean Water Services, AAA Oregon/Idaho, Fred Meyer, Metro, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, KOIN, The Standard, Swire Coca-Cola, Holman, Demarini-Wilson, Trimet, and PepsiCo.

 

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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