Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 4/17 – KWUA Expresses Disappointment In Planned Federal Regulated Agricultural Water Allotment: Firewood Permits Now Available; April 30th is Deadline To Register To Vote Or Change Party Affiliations

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.

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Mostly sunny, with a high near 61. Light west northwest wind becoming northwest 5-9 mph. Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 32.
Thursday
Sunny, with a high near 66.
Friday
Sunny, with a high near 70.
Saturday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 70.

Today’s Headlines

Despite what many felt was more than adequate snowpack after a wet winter, the water wars appear to be back in Southern Oregon.

Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) Monday expressed deep disappointment with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s announcement of an agricultural water supply of 230,000 acre-feet this year. This amount, characterized as an “initial allocation,” is at 35 percent less than the estimated need.

KWUA Paul Simmons says because of the way the internal distribution of water works, we are looking at family farms that will go without water for the fifth straight year.

He added that overall, water conditions in the Klamath Basin are favorable, even better than last year, when the allocation was higher.

Simmons said this winter, we have watched water be released to flush sediment in the Klamath River to mitigate impacts of dam removal. KWUA and others, he says, have bent over backward to put water on our national wildlife refuges. Within a few weeks, Upper Klamath Lake will be completely full for the first time in seven years, and the snowpack is in good shape for this time of year. Yet we are looking at the fifth-worst allocation in the 120 years since the Klamath Project was authorized.

Reclamation’s announcement leaves open the possibility to announce increases in the allocation at a later date.

The calculation of the initial allocation is based on an interim plan from 2020 that has not been followed in any year.

Reclamation also announced funding of $8.5 million for the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency (DRA) in their letter. With the reduced agricultural allocation, more farms will need this program. With the additional demand, KWUA estimates at least a $5.5 million dollar shortfall in the program.

Reclamation also announced allocations of 35,000 acre-feet each from Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoir, which serve water from the Lost River system to two districts on the east side of the Klamath Project. That supply will not result in a significant shortage for those districts.

 

The Western Federal Lands Division of the Federal Highway Administration, in coordination and cooperation with the Oregon Department of Transportation and Klamath County, has contracted with Rocky Mountain Construction, L.L.C. to widen the pre-existing roadway prism of OR-140 West, outside of Klamath Falls between mile post 56.92 to 58.75.

The multi-year, multi-phase project includes construction of new road embankments and clearing and grubbing along the 2-mile stretch of OR-140 that runs along the western edge of Wocus Bay in Klamath Lake.

The Project involves new embankment construction that will allow for the expansion of the existing travel lanes from 11 feet to 12 feet, widen the road shoulder to 6 feet, realign the roadway, installation of guardrails, rumble strips, providing additional parking facilities along the lake, providing space for an information kiosk, and the construction of upgraded or enhanced stormwater runoff treatment features. Project completion is scheduled for the Fall of 2025.

Yesterday, after a brief winter shut-down period, the work zone will be reduced to 1-lane 2-way traffic, alternating east and west bound traffic utilizing flaggers, pilot cars, and traffic signals. Our scheduled work hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can expect normal traffic delays of 20 minutes or less getting through the work zone from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. At the end of each workday, the road will be opened back up to normal 2 lane-2-way traffic.

Please remember to slow down in work zones! If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, call 541-882-8377.

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is asking for more information before giving final approval for the removal of Iron Gate Dam along the Klamath River.

Douglas Johnson, a Regional Engineer with FERC says the letter is in response to documents related to the decommissioning of the dams within the Lower Klamath Project submitted by Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corp.

Following a review of said documents, Johnson indicates six issues that need to be addressed prior to FERC’s authorization of the Iron Gate Dam removal.

Those include submitting an updated schedule after removal methods and/timelines changed, a proposed design for the headwall/wingwall with a detailed description of how they will be installed, as well as a detailing the penstock intake tower removal procedure. FERC is also requesting a review of the early breach contingency plan, that includes how the breach plug will be removed without excavation equipment being submerged if need be and a response to the Kiewit Corporation’s notification to abort the Iron Gate Development drilling program, a section of the proposed project that was deemed unnecessary for the dam removal.

Representatives with the California Department of Water Resources say FERC has not refused anything to date, and it is normal for it to request additional information in order to make an informed decision on projects like the final dam removal. DWR says the dam removal work so far has been progressing safely and on schedule.

Representatives have been given 60 days from the date of the letter, April 9, to provide responses or a plan and schedule to address the issues listed.

Klamath River Renewal Corporation CEO Mark Bransom says  this letter is part of an ongoing review and is routine for this type of project. He says they will make a filing with FERC in the next week to address the removal process and request final approval.

According to Bransom, the Iron Gate Dam is still on track to start being removed mid-May by the contracting company Kiewit.

 

Congressman Cliff Bentz (OR-02) introduced legislation aimed at protecting agricultural producers in the Klamath Basin because of the dam removal.

Bentz said in a statement that “This bill builds upon the promises made by parties to the agreement entered into regarding dam removal and species restoration, all intended to shield farmers from the adverse effects of dam removal. The legislation also ensures that the Department of the Interior remains accountable, preventing the transfer of river infrastructure unrelated to irrigation costs onto hardworking farmers. The legislation tackles regulatory challenges posed by species habitat expansion while bolstering efforts to transport water to the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, thus reaffirming commitments made to farmers and ranchers”.

Paul Simmons, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association, said in a statement that we could not be more grateful to Representative Bentz for introducing this legislation to protect farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin.  It’s proof positive of his leadership and that things can in fact happen in Washington. We look forward to working with Congressman Bentz’s office and our representatives in the Senate who have supported similar legislation in recent years.

 

Healthy Klamath needs as many able hands as possible to help improve the community with Give Back Day 2024.

Taking place on Saturday, April 27, help make a difference and join Healthy Klamath as they tackle community enrichment projects across Klamath County.

With several projects to volunteer for from brushing around Moore Park with the Klamath Trails Alliance to creating and gifting hand-made caring cards at the Alpine Estates Clubhouses with other projects like gardening, trail maintenance and clearing litter from downtown — there is a project for every interest.

Start times and locations of projects vary. For a complete listing, visit healthyklamath.com/givebackday

 

The Bureau of Land Management’s Klamath Falls Field Office announced the availability of firewood permits for purchase starting today, Monday.  A news release said firewood cutting permits will be available for personal use only and cost $5 per cord with a two cord minimum.

“It’s the woodcutter’s responsibility to obtain, understand and follow the rules in effect at the time and place where they are cutting firewood,” BLM acting field manager Mike Limb said in the release.

Commercial firewood permits are required for individuals who want more than eight cords and who intend to cut wood for resale or commercial use.

To purchase a permit online, visit forestproducts.blm.gov and select Oregon Field Office, followed by “Fuelwood.” Users will need to complete and submit the online application in order to receive their permits.

An email will be provided which lists all maps, stipulations, load tags and documents needed to cut and remove BLM products from the land in a safe manner.

For more information, contact the Klamath Falls Field Office at (541) 883-6916.

 

Bonanza Elementary School physical education teacher Jason Hardrath will be at the Ross Ragland Theater on Thursday, April 18, for the Klamath Falls premiere of the movie “Journey to Infinity.” Doors are open at 5:30.

Hardrath and Nathan Longhurst, both accomplished endurance runners and mountaineers with many fastest known time (FKT) accomplishments, embarked on a journey to Mexico’s tallest volcano, Pico De Orizaba, to establish the first international infinity loop.

The journey consisted of more than more than 40 miles with 20,000 feet of elevation gain. Movie goers will have an opportunity to visit with local outdoor enthusiasts and learn more about hiking, climbing and outdoor opportunities in our area and beyond.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the Ragland Box Office from noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, by calling (541) 884-LIVE, or by visiting the website at https://ragland.org/

 

The monthly Board meeting for EagleRidge High School will take place this coming Thursday on the 18th of April at 4:00 PM. 

The meeting will be held at EagleRidge High School, located at 677 South 7th Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601.  

The meeting will begin at 4:00 PM.

 

Klamath County announced the following roadwork projects for the week of April 15:

  • Dust-off areas: Work will take place in Midland, Dodds Hollow, Mann Road, Webber Road and Yonna Woods areas.
  • Road and utility work: Work taking place in the vicinity of Stearns Elementary School along Laverne Avenue. Expect daily lane closures.
  • Drainage canal maintenance: Watch for trucks entering the roadway along Summers Lane near the intersections of Sturdivant Avenue and Ezell Avenue.
  • City watermain replacement work: The city of Klamath Falls will be conducting water main replacement work between the months of March through July along Eberlein Avenue, between Patterson Street and Hilton Drive.

 

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

An 18-year-old Bend man was arrested Monday evening, following multiple pursuits in two counties.

The incident started in Jefferson County, where a deputy tried to stop a Dodge Charger for going more than 100 miles an hour. They discontinued that pursuit at about 6:15 p.m., as the former law enforcement vehicle continued southbound.

A Deschutes County Deputy spotted the car speeding through Terrebonne and tried to pull over the driver. But the Sheriff’s Office says the pursuit was again called off when the vehicle hit 120 miles an hour.

Continuing south, another Deputy deployed spike strips at Deschutes Junction, at Tumalo Road. The Charger slid off the road, through wire fencing and irrigation pipes and stopped in a field.

Deputies and State Troopers arrested Liam Bryne on multiple charges, including Felony Elude and nine counts of Reckless Endangering. He was evalauated at the hospital before getting booked into the jail.

The vehicle Bryne was driving appeared to be a former police vehicle.

 

A school district in Marion County is telling voters that if they don’t pass a bond next month, the district may have to close its doors for good.

The Gervais School District says it needs the money to make repairs to its high school, middle school and elementary school. They’re asking voters to pass a $28 million bond in the May 21 election.

The district has tried to pass eight bonds since 1997 to repair and update its schools, ranging from $4 million to $18 million. Those bonds have failed every time.

The last time a bond was passed in the district was in 1990 for $1.3 million. That bond helped to build the elementary school cafeteria and gym.

The district says in the last 10 years, they’ve had to sell off property to generate just over $3 million in revenue to help with repairs.

The district is warning that if another bond fails, they will consider closing the district. If that happens, students will have to attend neighboring districts. That means people who own property in the Gervais district would have to begin paying taxes into another district based on boundaries approved by the Marion County Commissioners.

 

It’s a wrap for the 60th winter season at Mount Ashland Ski Area. The last day for skiers and boarders to hit the slopes was Sunday.

According to the ski area, it finished with over 95,000 guest visits since January, when the season started due to limited snowfall.

Staff say they are already looking ahead to summer, with guided hikes, group rides and runs, movie nights, and Youth Alpine Adventure camps.

Additionally this summer the ski area has plans to begin construction of a new chairlift, improve beginner terrain, as well as adding a youth snow sports dome and rope tow for the terrain park.

The lodge will open to the public every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting Father’s Day weekend.

 

It’s National Healthcare Decisions Day, which highlights the importance of planning for the future when it comes to medical choices.

In particular, the organization Compassion and Choices is focused on end of life decisions and ensuring that people discuss advance care planning with their loved ones and health-care team. Meagan Williams is clinical engagement and education program manager with the organization.

Oregon is one of ten states where medical aid in dying is legal.

Planning for health-care as people age is likely to become more important in the coming decades. The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is projected to double from seven million today to 14 million in 2050. Jessica Empeño, national director of clinical engagement and education with Compassion and Choices, says it can be hard to make health decisions once the disease has progressed.

On Compassion and Choices’ website is the dementia values and priorities tool. Empeño says this can be useful to help people communicate their wishes to loved ones.

 

The Israeli-Palestine conflict got closer to home on Monday. In Eugene, the I-5 freeway became blocked by a large group of protesters representing Free Palestine Eugene. They walked onto the highway and completely blocked traffic, according to law enforcement.
Both Oregon State Police and the Lane County Sheriff’s Office were on scene, officials say protestors walked onto I-5 from Harlow Road, at milepost 194 in Eugene, around 10:00 a.m. Monday, April 15th.  Similar occurrences were happening acord the U.S. who some say were likely being paid.
At least 52 people were charged with disorderly conduct. Two people were additionally charged with conspiracy and theft and one charged with a possession of a firearm.
According to Oregon State Police, demonstrators were given continuous warnings to disperse before arresting dozens of people for disorderly conduct.
Traffic was stopped for approximately 45 minutes.
Law enforcement remained on scene while observers continued to gather along the highway.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reported that all lanes of Interstate 5 southbound were closed at the intersection with Eugene – Springfield Highway I-105, due to pedestrians protesting on the highway.

 

FALLEN OFFICERS’ NAMES ADDED TO OREGON FALLEN LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMORIAL

SALEM, Ore. — The names of two fallen law enforcement officers were added to the Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial during an engraving ceremony on Tuesday, April 16. An honor guard stood watch as the names of Jared J. Miller of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Joseph W. Johnson of the Nyssa Police Department were added to the memorial at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

The additions of Sergeant Miller, end of watch Dec. 9, 2021, and Reserve Corporal Johnson, EOW April 15, 2023, were approved for addition to the state memorial by the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training. The memorial honors Oregon officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

Sergeant Miller, Reserve Corporal Johnson and 194 previously fallen officers will be honored during the annual Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. at the academy, located at 4190 Aumsville Highway SE in Salem.

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is proud to host the ceremony in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and various statewide law enforcement associations.

 

Klamath National Forest Prepares for Spring Prescribed Burning
Klamath NF firefighter at Van Bremmer Rx spring 2023YREKA, Calif. — Klamath National Forest fire managers are shifting gears from pile burning operations to preparing for prescribed underburning this spring.
Fire managers use prescribed underburning to decrease fuel loadings and mimic the effects of the natural fire regime that local ecosystems evolved with. Historically, fire was ignited by lightning and by Indigenous people tending the land. Fire in its natural role reduces dead vegetation, replenishes nutrients in the soil, stimulates new growth, and maintains biological diversity.
Fire was effectively removed from these systems with the arrival of settlers. After many years of fire exclusion, an ecosystem that needs periodic fire becomes unhealthy. Trees become stressed by overcrowding, fire-dependent species disappear, and an unnatural buildup of flammable fuels that can become hazardous when wildfires occur. Over a century of fire suppression has resulted in wildfires burning more severely than they historically did, threatening communities and ecosystems.
“Prescribed fire is an excellent opportunity to reintroduce a natural process and critical element back into the ecosystem on our terms and in strategic locations,” said Kelsey Lofdahl, Assistant Forest Fire Management Officer on the Klamath National Forest. “It is one of the most useful tools to help reduce fuels, restore our forests, and protect our communities and natural resources.”
Recent research conducted by the Pacific Southwest Research Station on the Klamath National Forest has illustrated the effectiveness of prescribed burning at reducing the severity of wildfires within treated areas. The study, released in February of this year, found that where the 2021 Antelope Fire intersected with previously completed fuels treatments, including prescribed burning, the severity of the burned area decreased compared to untreated areas.
Several prescribed burns are planned across the Klamath National Forest this spring. Timing of implementation will be dependent on fuel and weather conditions at each specific project location.
Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District
  • The Cade Mountain prescribed burn (111 acres) is 3 miles northeast of Happy Camp in mixed conifer and hardwood forest. The project aims to reduce fuels in the area and enhance the growth of Hazel for Tribal use.
Salmon/Scott River Ranger District
  • Crews plan to pick up where they left off last fall continuing ignitions out at the Scott Bar Mountain prescribed burn (500 acres) about 12 miles west of Fort Jones. The burn goals are to improve defensibility of homes in the area, increase resiliency of the forested stand against future wildfire events, and improve wildlife habitat. Scott Bar Mountain connects to a series of ridgetop fuels treatments, many of which were planned and implemented through collaborative efforts with partners. These treatments create a landscape-scale fuel break that can be used during wildfire events to protect communities, infrastructure, and natural resources.
  • Just east of the Scott Bar Mountain project area lies the Singleton Project (500 acres), which is in mixed conifer stands and will tie in to the same strategic ridgetop fuel break.
Goosenest Ranger District
  • The Van Bremmer (160 acres) and Tamarack (369 acres) underburns are two adjacent projects located three miles northeast of Tennant. The projects’ goals are to reduce hazardous fuels, promote browse for big game, and increase stand resilience against the effects of insects, disease, and wildfire. Both projects are in ponderosa pine stands with an understory of brush and white fir saplings.
  • The First Creek prescribed burn (up to 1,174 acres) project is north of the Grass Lake Rest Area in mixed conifer with an understory of bitterbrush, manzanita, and snowbrush. Prescribed fire is being used to reduce surface fuel loads and reducing fire-intolerant white fir to create openings that favor fire-tolerant ponderosa pine regeneration.
  • The Cedar Mountain prescribed burn (up to 3,650 acres) is just north of Antelope Sink, in ponderosa pine stands with areas of juniper and brush. Prescribed fire will be used to reduce fuels to improve defensible space for the community of Tennant and outlying residences. Other goals for the burn are to improve big game habitat, reduce juniper, encourage aspen regeneration, and promote forested stands that are resilient against drought, wildfire, and forest pests.
Prescribed burning activities on the Klamath National Forest are in conjunction with the efforts of Klamath River Basin Landscape, which is part of the USDA Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The strategy, with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, aims to reduce risk to communities, critical infrastructure, and natural resources from the ongoing wildfire crisis.
For more information on Klamath National Forest’s spring prescribed burning projects, contact Jennifer Erickson, Forest Fire Prevention Officer at 530-841-4469.
Monitor the Klamath National Forest’s Facebook site for more timely information about these projects as they are implemented.

 

Over 80 Portland neighborhoods are demanding action from government leaders to avoid a toxic disaster on the banks of the Willamette River. Northwest Portland is populated by over 600 aging gasoline and jet fuel storage tanks and residents want something done about them.

The six-mile stretch of tank farms is known as the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub (or CEI Hub). A 2020 study commissioned by the City of Portland and Multnomah County found that a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake could spell environmental disaster for this area.

Representatives from dozens of neighborhoods gathered at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland Tuesday night, to talk about their concerns. They sent a letter to Portland and Oregon government leaders saying they have to work on a plan for the CEI Hub.

 

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, an annual event that honors the essential role emergency response coordination professionals play in keeping the nation’s communities safe and secure.

Oregon Governor Kotek has proclaimed April 14-20 as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in the state and encouraged all Oregonians to join in the observance.

Oregon has 43 standalone 911 centers known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) that serve as the first and single point of contact for people seeking immediate relief during an emergency. Nearly 800 dedicated telecommunicators across the state answer at least 2 million emergency calls annually for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. These 911 professionals respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance during intense personal crises and community-wide disasters.

Many 911 professionals are certified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD) and receive training on how to process requests for medical assistance and how to dispatch medical providers. Some go on to receive specialty training in crisis intervention, law enforcement support and tactical dispatching, while others receive intermediate and advanced certifications and become leaders in the field. All 911 professionals work diligently behind the scenes to help people during emergencies ranging from mental health crises, car accidents, missing person reports, burglaries and domestic violence disturbances.

Since early 2020, Oregon’s public safety telecommunicators have had the added responsibility of serving throughout a pandemic, historic wildfires, heatwaves, winter storms, floods and severe staffing shortages.

The critical work of Oregon’s public safety telecommunicators directly supports the operations of federal, state and local government agencies, including emergency management, highway safety, and search and rescue. Oregon’s 911 program was established by the 1981 Oregon Legislature and is managed by the Oregon Department of Emergency Management.

U.S. officials are closely monitoring mounting tensions in the Middle East after hundreds of Iranian missiles filled the sky over Israel Saturday night.

Israel’s war cabinet met Monday morning to discuss its response to this weekend’s unprecedented attack from Iran.

More than 300 drones and missiles launched into Israel on Saturday night, most thwarted by Israel’s Air Defense Systems and support from the U.S. and other allies.

Monday, President Biden began began to backtrack on his support for one of our biggest allies, urging Benjamin Netanyahu not to retaliate, amid fears it could spark a wider war.

Locally, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden shares similar sentiments saying, in a statement that he strongly condemns Iran’s attacks against Israel. “Tehran’s brazen actions not only threaten innocent Israeli lives, but also U.S. personnel and our partners in the region”.  Wyden says he supports President Biden’s steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, and his administration’s efforts to minimize casualties and prevent further escalation of hostilities in the region.

Around 2AM Sunday morning, more than 300 Iranian missiles and drones headed for Israel, triggering its Air Defense System to light up the sky over Jerusalem.

A striking juxtaposition, modern weapons of an ancient city with air raid sirens filling the background. Many sites holy to billions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims could easily have been damaged or destroyed. Also threatened by the attack, the nearby Christian town of Bethlehem where visiting American Cardinal Dolan was forced to take shelter.

In the end, there was almost no damage, as Israel, the U.S. and other allies shot down 99% of Iran’s missiles and drones, most of them before they even entered Israeli airspace.

 

A sheriff’s dispatcher is facing embezzlement charges after reportedly stealing $20,000 some of which was meant to purchase Christmas gifts for local children in need.

According to the Plumas County DA, 39-year-old Cassandra Beth Lavley, of Quincy, was arrested Friday.

Lavley is accused of using her position as Treasurer/Secretary of the Plumas County Sheriff’s Employee’s Association to embezzle funds during 2022 and 2023.

The investigation into Lavley alleges she embezzled over $20,000 from the association’s “General Account” and the “Needy Kids Account”. It also indicates she reportedly spent the money on concerts, designer clothing, furniture, televisions, a mattress, alcohol, and food.

Plumas County DA David Hollister thanked the Sheriff’s Association, who reported Lavley.

Lavley faces three felony charges; two counts of embezzlement and one count of fraudulent alteration of books.

 

April 30th is the deadline for people registering to vote in Oregon for the first time or for those who wish to change party affiliation.

The upcoming May 21st election is a closed-party primary election for registered Democrats and Republicans.

That means that Democrats will be voting for Democrat and nonpartisan candidates and measures and Republicans will be voting for Republican and nonpartisan candidates and measures.

Non-affiliated and all other voters will be voting on nonpartisan candidates and measures.

You can register to vote at oregonvotes.gov.

 

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.

 

 

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.

Oregon River Trip Planning Made Easier

Oregon river information is now more accessible than ever on the National Rivers Project’s recreational river map. In collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, the River Management Society recently added or updated over 1,000 miles of Oregon rivers to the NRP website. This includes nearly 700 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, iconic whitewater reaches, and beginner-friendly sections.

“Whether you want to paddle through Oregon’s high deserts and canyons or explore the rainforests and coastal waterways, the National Rivers Project is a really convenient first stop in the planning process,” says David Ballenger, BLM Oregon/Washington Recreation Lead.

The NRP website offers intuitive search features for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Users can sort sections by difficulty and recreational amenities such as fishing, camping and boat ramps. Each listing provides river access and permit details, with links to more information.

“Recreating on Oregon rivers gives people a stronger sense of stewardship,” says Lauren Pidot, BLM Oregon/Washington National Conservation Lands Program Lead. “Visitors are interested in protecting these public resources. We’re excited to help people more easily find these opportunities.”

Some of the recently added sections are very accessible with developed launches, while others are more wild and remote. BLM rangers remind boaters to check local weather conditions, water levels and permit requirements before departing on a river trip.

“All of our river and access information is sourced and reviewed by managing agencies, so boaters can feel confident when they begin their trip planning on our website,” says James Major, NRP Coordinator. “We want to give special thanks to BLM Oregon for their invaluable assistance on this project.”

 

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

SOLVE Oregon Spring Cleanup at Cannon Beach 2023

Through 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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Are you a resident of Camas, Washington or Eugene? If so, congratulations, you’re in one of the best places to live in America.

That’s according to a 2024 list by personal finance website Money, which considered basic livability factors like affordability, good schools and strong job markets, as well as “places with a palpable spirit, nurtured and sustained by engaged citizens and receptive public officials.”

The unranked list of 50 places includes big cities such as Atlanta and Detroit alongside small hamlets like Media, Pennsylvania. It features only the two cities in Oregon and Washington, though Boise and Sacramento are in there, too. Camas was featured in the “Best Kept Secrets” category, while Eugene was included in “Not Just College Towns.”

Camas, on the Washington side of the Columbia River just east of Vancouver, is still centered on a paper mill that was built in 1883 and today is operated by Georgia Pacific. The charming downtown is home to a number of locally owned shops and restaurants, with a surprisingly robust trail network nearby.

Eugene, meanwhile, was celebrated as “a haven for free spirits and creative minds” with “an eclectic counterculture that thrives right alongside its academic scene.” That’s a pretty fair assessment given the two things that come top of mind when talking about Eugene… the University of Oregon and the Oregon Country Fair.

The city also has a robust dining scene and, like many places in Oregon, is renowned for its craft breweries and tap houses.

 

. Matthew Day Jackson (American (b. 1974)) There Will Come Soft Rains #3, edition 8/36, 2015-2016BEND, OR — Step into a world where art, nature and humanity intersect in the captivating new exhibition Near, Far, Gone: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, opening at the High Desert Museum on April 20, 2024.

Featuring extraordinary works by Kiki Smith, Ann Hamilton, Matthew Day Jackson and Wangechi Mutu, this exhibition explores the intricate relationship between humans, wildlife and the environment. With each piece drawing inspiration from the natural world, these acclaimed artists delve deep into themes of symbolism, allegory and human-animal connections.

“We are thrilled to show the dynamic and thought-provoking works of Kiki Smith, Ann Hamilton, Matthew Day Jackson and Wangechi Mutu,” says Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D., “Through the diverse perspectives of these four acclaimed artists, Near, Far, Gone offers a profound meditation on the interconnectedness of humanity and the natural world.”

Four of the pieces featured in Near, Far, Gone are from prominent German-born American artist Kiki Smith. Smith’s art often explores themes of embodiment and the natural world, drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources including folklore, religious iconography and scientific illustrations. Her work is characterized by its raw emotional power and intimate exploration of the human experience. Throughout her career, Smith has exhibited extensively internationally and has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to contemporary art. In 2006 Smith was recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the “Time 100: The People Who Shape Our World.”

Smith’s featured pieces, titled “Pool of Tears II” “Fortune” “Carrier” and “Companions,” take inspiration from folklore and transform the natural world into an almost dreamlike reality. While viewing her work, visitors will have the opportunity to reflect on their relationships with animals—particularly those who act as close companions.

Another Near, Far, Gone featured artist, Ann Hamilton, is a highly respected American visual artist known for her immersive installations. Raised in Ohio, Hamilton studied textile design before earning her MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art. Hamilton uses everyday materials such as fabric, paper and sound to create experiential environments that engage the viewer on a profound emotional and intellectual level. Her art has been exhibited extensively worldwide, including prestigious institutions like the Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Venice Biennale. With her innovative creations, Hamilton continues to push the boundaries of contemporary art, inviting audiences to reconsider their perceptions of space, materiality and the human experience.

Hamilton’s Near, Far, Gone featured screenprint, Peregrine Falcon, is partially blurred suggesting a narrative of conservation and preservation success. In the United States, peregrine falcons are a clear conservation success story. In the 20th century, they disappeared in high numbers due to the insecticide DDT, a chemical that poisoned their food and habitat. The federal government listed the falcon under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Reintroduction programs and the banning of DDT have aided the bird’s comeback. Now delisted, peregrine falcon populations are stable. After exploring Near, Far, Gone, visitors may have the opportunity to meet a real peregrine falcon during the Museum’s Bird of Prey Encounter. Happening daily at 11:00 am, visitors can meet some of the non releasable raptors in the Museum’s care as wildlife staff explain their unique adaptions.

Matthew Day Jackson—another Near, Far, Gone featured artist—is celebrated for his diverse and thought-provoking work spanning sculpture, installation, painting, and video. Known for his meticulous craftsmanship and innovative use of materials, Jackson’s pieces evoke a sense of wonder and contemplation, challenging viewers to confront the complexities of their existence. His work has been featured in major exhibitions worldwide, including a significant showcase at the Pace Gallery in New York City.

Twelve pieces by Jackson will hang in Near, Far, Gone, titled “There Will Come Soft Rains #1-#12.” In the creation of this series, he transformed 1930s copper plates [GU1] etched with Audubon’s birds, adding vibrant colors and layers of images. The portfolio’s title is drawn from Sara Teasdale’s poem “There Will Come Soft Rains,” evoking nature’s resurgence after devastation. Jackson incorporated one stanza of the poem onto each plate. Notably, several birds depicted in the portfolio are now extinct or critically endangered, like the carrier pigeon and the ivory-billed woodpecker, due to human activities.

The final Near, Far, Gone featured artist is contemporary Kenyan-born American [GU2] artist Wangechi Mutu. In 2019, the Metropolitan Museum of Art debuted her groundbreaking exhibition The NewOnes, will free Us as its inaugural Facade Commission — a prestigious initiative inviting contemporary artists to create temporary installations for the museum’s exterior facade. This innovative display marked a historic moment as Mutu’s four bronze sculptures, titled “The Seated I, II, III, and IV” took their place in the museum’s exterior niches which had been vacant for 117 years. [GU3]

Mutu’s works in Near, Far, Gone titled “Seanimal I, II, III, and IV” merge animals with human and monster-like features, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Through these fantastical creations, Mutu prompts contemplation on humanity’s relationship with nature and the ethical implications of scientific specimen collection and preservation practices.

Through these 19 evocative works, visitors are prompted to contemplate the delicate balance of our coexistence with endangered, threatened and evolving animal species. As we witness creatures transition nearer or farther from human influence, Near, Far, Gone ignites a poignant dialogue about the survival of diverse species and the sustainability of our shared planet.

Near Far, Gone: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation will be on exhibit at the High Desert Museum through September 8, 2024. It’s made possible by the Visit Central Oregon Future Fund and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation with support from Republic Services, Tonkon Torp and Vista Capital Partners.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

The HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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