America in the Morning

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Local News

BEND, OR -- The man accused of killing Kaylee Sawyer near the COCC campus a year and a half ago, now admits he committed murder. Edwin Lara plead guilty to Robbery and Aggravated murder, this morning, in Deschutes County Court, after reaching a deal with prosecutors. 


Judge Michael Adler asked Lara, "Is it true that on July 24, 2016, in Deschutes County, Oregon, that you took Kaylee Sawyer’s purse without her consent and with the threat of deadly force?" Lara responded, simply, "Yes." Judge Adler then asked, "And, in the furtherance of the crime of Robbery in the first degree, and in the course of committing robbery in the first degree, did you use a dangerous weapon and personally and intentionally cause the death of Kaylee Anne Sawyer?" to which Lara also answered, "Yes."


He admitted to trying to strangle the 23-year-old woman as she fought back, although her cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma. 
The Deschutes County District Attorney had planned to seek the death penalty, if the case went to trial. 
This is a developing story and KBND News will provide more details from Monday's hearing as they become available. 

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon doesn't have a local way to recycle plastic clamshells, but the Environmental Center and Whole Foods Market have partnered together to find an alternate to just throwing them away.


Whole Foods' Becca Burda says plastic clamshells are an attractive way to display food for purchase, but having no easy way to recycle them didn't fit with the Market's green mission. She says the solution is a quarterly event at Whole Foods where everyone can bring their clean clamshells for recycling. "What we do, is we get enough to put in giant bales, and then we will send them back to Portland with our distributor. We have distribution trucks that come over five days a week, and then they go back over the mountain empty. And so, we've found this great way to send bales of clamshells back to Portland, and then they're recycled properly."
The Environmental Center is working to educate customers about how #1 plastic clamshells contaminate landfills, and encourage ways to utilize reusable containers.
Burda hopes the quarterly events will be popular. "People can bring in two clamshells, they can bring in bags. All they do, it doesn't cost a thing, they just have to stop by the store, mark their calendars for January 27th, and we will get them properly recycled in Portland."
The first clamshell recycle event will be the 27th from 10 to 4, and everyone can bring their clean clamshells for transport to Portland's EFI Recycling Plant.


BEND, OR -- The free “Summer Sundays” concert series at the Les Schwab Amphitheater will take a hiatus, this year. Amphitheater Director Marney Smith tells KBND News, "We’ve had a really great time having the series over the last 16 years, with the amazing bands. There is no shortage of events on the calendar throughout the summer in Bend, and we thought it was time to take a step back and make sure what we’re doing is relevant and it’s what the community wants, and see if there are other areas that we could be putting our effort that might make more of an impact."


Over its 16-year run, the series featured more than 300 musical acts. Smith says it cost money and energy each year, but the financial burden wasn’t a factor in the decision to take a break. "The series is near and dear to our hearts. But, it is something that we wanted to take a step back and look at what the need in the community was. And, if we have all of the time that we spent on Summer Sundays focused on some new ideas, could we bring something new and different to the community?" She adds, "We have a ton of ideas that we’re working on for other free events. Whether or not those get implemented this year, we’ll have to see. But, there is no shortage of really great free events throughout the town and, when the series started in 2002, Bend was a much different place as far as the music scene goes. And, we have a robust music scene, right now."


Smith says it’s possible that after looking at trends, her team could decide Summer Sundays should return. The Les Schwab Amphitheater kicks off the summer season with the Pole Pedal Paddle on May 19. It's Bend Summer Concert Series begins Memorial Day weekend. 

BEND, OR -- A Bend man is wanted in connection with a Saturday evening police chase in southwest Bend. A Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputy tried to pull over a car for running the stop sign at Baker and Brookswood Blvd, just before 6 p.m. The car took off, leading the deputy on a short pursuit.


The driver stopped the vehicle near Cultus Drive and Ponderosa and ran. Despite a search involving Oregon State Police, Bend Police and a K9 unit, he wasn’t found. The passenger, 47-year-old Chase Swafford, stayed with the car and was arrested for an outstanding warrant.


The suspect was later identified as 34-year-old Daniel James Wallace (pictured). He's expected to face charges including Attempt to Elude and Reckless Driving. 


Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911. 

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police are searching for the man who robbed Moe’s Food Mart on SW Fifth, Saturday morning. Officers responded to the downtown mini mart within a minute of getting the call, just before 6 a.m. But, despite a broad effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies, they were not able to find a suspect. 


A female employee says the man had a gun and demanded money. He’s described as 6' 2" with a thin build, wearing blue jeans, a black hoodie, gloves and tennis shoes. A black bandana partially covered his face. 
The employee was not hurt. Anyone with information is asked to call Redmond Police at 541-693-6911. 

REDMOND, OR -- The driver of a semi was arrested on several charges, Friday morning, after a downtown Redmond crash that left the driver of a passenger car with minor injuries.


Investigators say 26-year-old Arturo Lopez exhibited signs of impairment consistent with recent marijuana use, following the crash near SW 5th and Deschutes Ave. They also found a small amount of pot in his possession. The Arizona man faces charges of Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering and DUII.


Redmond Police impounded the truck and trailer because his passenger also appeared to be under the influence of marijuana. 

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond neighborhood was evacuated Friday afternoon, after a broken service line sent gas and flames shooting up from the ground. According to Redmond Fire, the resident of a home on NW 9th Street struck the line while digging. The leak occurred between the backyard and Canyon Drive. 


Arriving crews stretched a hose line and protected a nearby fence and pine tree. Cascade Natural Gas crews pinched off the line and stopped the leak, which extinguished the fire. 

BEND, OR -- The Guardian Group, a Bend-based anti-human trafficking tech company, is helping girls build self-esteem through self-defense. COO Jeff Tiegs says a predator doesn't have to live near his victim in order to lure her into the life. He believes the best way to protect her is to teach her how to protect herself. "The biggie is this confidence and self esteem. A girl that's confident in herself - and she has high self esteem - she's not looking for what these traffickers offer, or pretend to offer. So, the more we can build a girl's inner confidence and inner self esteem, the less she's going to be a risk."


Guardian Group developed a software program to help lodging companies identify traffickers and their victims. Tiegs says it's a local and national problem.


Through a partnership with a local martial arts studio, the company offers a two-day seminar to help young women learn not to be a vulnerable victim. "What we talk about, at the self defense seminars, is we start from 'how do you protect yourself online?'; 'How do you protect yourself as they're beginning to shift from who you thought they were, maybe a boyfriend, into, actually, a controlling predator?'; and then we finish all the way to the point where 'everything has gone wrong, you are now hands-on, face-to-face with a predator, and how is it that you can defend yourself?'." 


The two-day women only seminar begins Friday night at Clark's University of Martial Arts in Northeast Bend, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. It continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Click HERE to register. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 


REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors continue to discuss how to fund the hiring of more police officers; attention has focused on a controversial public safety fee, which could increase utility bills by $6 a month. 


Mayor George Endicott believes there are still unanswered questions, "One is, is there a need? And, two: how do you pay for it? Now; there are several ways to pay for it. So, one way is a public safety fee. Another is a temporary or permanent operating levy, which would go to the voters; another way is a property tax increase, which Redmond could do – we’re not at our ‘cap,’ if you will, under Measure 5." He adds, "We could try and take it out of our budget, which would impact other programs; or we could do nothing. I think one of the misnomers that’s out there right now: people are convinced that we’ve made up our mind. We have not." Click HERE to access the city's Frequently Asked Questions regarding the proposed fee. 
A levy or property tax increase would require voter approval, whereas a utility fee could be imposed with a majority of City Council approval. However, Endicott tells KBND News, "My personal opinion, if we were to do that, I would want a referendum to get a sense of the folks in town, how they feel."
He says there is still time for the community to provide feedback, "We have not decided; there’s another public meeting Monday night at City Hall. And then, Tuesday night, it’s not on the agenda, but of course public comment, we can always take." Monday's meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. 
Listen to our full conversation with Redmond Mayor George Endicott at our Podcast Page, or click HERE

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County's new $3 million police radio system has not worked properly since it was upgraded in July and some say it's putting officers' lives at risk. Deschutes County 911 Director Steve Reinke says there were initially a few glitches that the system's manufacturer failed to fix, and the radio's performance got progressively worse over time. "It's really become absolutely our top priority ever since we realized that the system's performing poorly. Missed transmissions, garbled transmissions, the audio level variations are causing a lot of problems for folks in the field. We finally had to get to the point where the police unions, and rightfully so, said, 'we got to get this going'." 


The unions filed a complaint, which Reinke says prompted manufacturer Harris to send a team to troubleshoot the issues, "That team started to look at all our settings and they realized that some of the settings programed into our system were not correct," says Reinke. "The system wasn't configured properly for the way it was supposed to function. And so, we have been working for the last month or so, especially the last three weeks, to audit the entire system to see what settings are supposed to be in the system, and to start making those changes." He tells KBND News there's a 25-item punch list the team is working through. "We can't emphasize enough that there's no higher priority for us than being able to communicate with field folks, and for them to have confidence in the radio system. We are optimistic that they're going to make the system better, and we're hoping that that's going to be accomplished within the next two weeks."


Stock Photo

BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors have agreed to ask voters whether the city’s charter should be revised. After more than a year of community discussions and various proposals, the Council plans to finalize the language for two ballot measures in early February; those would appear on the May ballot.


"The first is: Is Bend ready for a directly elected Mayor? So, the citizens would get to choose the Mayor instead of the current state, which, the Council chooses a Mayor every two years amongst itself," Bend City Manager Eric King tells KBND News. If the measure passes in May, numerous candidates could campaign for the seat in November. "Some cities – some larger cities – do sort of primaries for Mayor or Council positions. We’re not there yet," says King. "But, that could be something that’s in the future, where there’s a runoff, so to speak, where you have a slate of candidates; and then those top two vote-getters might have a faceoff for an election." 


Allowing voters to decide who becomes Mayor wouldn't change how the city is run. King says, "The Mayor’s primary job is to run the Council meetings. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s more power; they don’t have veto power, they’re vote doesn’t matter any more than any other Councilor. But, it provides some sense of whose leading that elected body."


The other revision would remove from the charter the amount Councilors and the Mayor are paid. Currently, the rate is included in the charter, which means it can only be revised by ballot measure. King says that makes it difficult to make adjustments for inflation. Councilors are paid $200 - an amount set back in 1995. This week, City Council asked that a compensation committee come up with some proposals prior to the charter revision vote in May. "They would form that independent committee so voters know what the compensation recommendation would be." He adds, "Councils can’t vote themselves raises. It would not be until an intervening election takes place that that would come into effect."
Bend City Council is expected to vote February 7 on how those proposals will look on the May ballot. 
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Bend City Manager Eric King, or visit our Podcast Page


BEND, OR -- A 22-year-old Bend man was arrested by federal agents Thursday, for possessing and distributing child pornography. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and FBI executed a search warrant at Pierce Morrow’s home and determined they had enough probable cause to take him into custody. 


Morrow is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin in Eugene, Friday afternoon. 

BEND, OR --A wrong-way driver is blamed for a head-on collision on the Bend Parkway, Thursday night. Several witnesses reported seeing a pickup speeding north in the southbound lanes, near Hawthorne, just before midnight. 

Just as Bend officers were dispatched, a Deschutes County Sergeant reported being hit head-on, near Empire. Officers arrested 59-year-old Robert Hughes for Reckless Driving and Driving under the Influence, among other charges. He was not hurt, but the Sheriff's Sergeant was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 
The Parkway was closed for about two hours overnight for that investigation.  
UPDATE: Bend Police have released the name of the DCSO Sergeant involved in the crash, at the request of the Sheriff's Office. Sgt. Grant Johnstone has been released from the hospital where he received treatment for his injuries. 

REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to locate a 60-year-old Redmond man, missing for more than a week. Investigators say John Stanton Douglas left home to get lunch at the Redmond Sonic around noon January tenth. He hasn’t been seen since and could be in need of medical attention. 


Douglas drives a white Ford F250 (similar to above) with Oregon plates 788-KCU. He’s 6' 2", about 220 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a green Carhart jacket and blue jeans. Douglas is known to frequent the Three Creeks Road area of Sisters.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 541-693-6911.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: John Douglas was located in Washington State in good condition and has been cleared as a missing person. His family has also been notified.

SUNRIVER, OR -- The Sunriver Service District has yet to determine the future employment status of Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills. The managing board meets Thursday to discuss the situation further; but SSD Chair Jim Fister says, at this point, not all steps have been completed. "We've made no decision right now. Any decision will be based off of: we're going to get all the information, we're going to weigh it, and give Chief Mills an opportunity to respond to anything that comes up."


The chief was put on administrative leave last month, following an incident at the police department when he allegedly struck another officer while both were on duty. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel has said he's charging Mills with Misdemeanor Harassment.  


At Thursday's meeting, Fister says they'll discuss the district's ongoing investigation and Mills' future employment, "My understanding of the process, as we're guided by our legal team, is we will continue the investigation. At the end, we would engage in a name-clearing session that would give Chief Mills one last opportunity to respond."


Fister says they've requested an interview with Chief Mills to discuss the alleged incident in December, but that has yet to take place. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- There have been various efforts over the past decade to develop an indoor pool complex in Prineville;  and the latest plan has stalled, as well. The current outdoor pool is over 60-years-old. 


Crook County Parks and Rec Executive Director Duane Garner says an advisory committee conducted a feasibility study and considered a number of design options. "The cost of all of those options are pretty significant and it’s basically been determined that the Parks and Recreation District, as an individual entity, it’s probably beyond our reasonable capacity to even consider going out for a bond." He tells KBND News the least expensive, simplest indoor pool design would cost $17 to $18 million.


Garner says they’re now talking with the city and county about a possible joint venture. "As a multi-governmental structure, can we afford to build this pool? So, that’s basically what question is on the table: ‘could the county potentially be the entity to go out for a bond?’ And, it’d be the entire county and not just the Parks and Recreation boundaries, which are a little larger than the city limits, basically." But first, he says they need to gauge community support. "The city volunteered to put $5,000 and the county as well, and the Parks and Rec district, and then there’s been some money raised by this committee, to do a formal, scientifically valid survey of the entire county just to see where people are at. Is there enough desire on the people’s part to do this that they’re willing to pay for it? And if so, then how much?" That community survey will take place over the next month, after which time the Pool Advisory Committee and Parks District will consider their options. 


Garner says the advisory committee would also like to expand, to get more people involved in the process. Those interested in joining the committee are encouraged to contact the Crook County Parks and Recreation office and request an application. 

BEND, OR -- A Bend transient is accused of communicating with two underage girls online for illicit purposes. In December, Prineville Police turned over information to Bend Police, regarding alleged attemps by 42-year-old Benjamin Finnestad to contact minors through various social media platforms.


Investigators in Bend examined digital evidence and conducted interviews they say substantiated the accusations that he unlawfully communicated with minor females. Finnestad was arrested Wednesday on two counts of Luring A Minor for Sexual Conduct and Failing to Register As A Sex Offender. 


Bend Police say the investigation is ongoing, and officers remind parents to be mindful of how kids use social media. 

BEND, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown visited Bend Senior High Wednesday, speaking with students involved in hands-on learning courses and touring classrooms. She says Oregon's current prosperity isn't equitable, which means the only way to get and stay out of poverty is to be educated, "We know that in a lot of parts of Oregon, the economy is booming, yet too many people need to work more than one job, just to get by. Oregon's rising economic tide should be lifting all boats, yet many hard working families are still underwater."


Brown told students, "The challenge that we face in Oregon is that our high school graduation rate is abysmally low. one out of four high school students doesn't graduate. we have a graduation rate of 75%. In my mind, that's absolutely unacceptable." But, she says CTE programs can help, "We know that students across the state of Oregon, if they have access to hands-on learning, we see the graduation rate improve to 86%. That's extraordinary."


Brown believes recent actions will start improving graduation rates, "This last Legislative session, I worked with the Legislature; we invested over $170 million into Career and Technical Education."
Bend State Representative and Republican candidate for Governor Knute Buehler has criticized Brown for failing to improve graduation rates. He says More than 20,000 kids have dropped out of Oregon schools since Brown became Governor. 

REDMOND, OR -- The city of Redmond is hoping residents will help direct where future bike and pedestrian work should occur.


Last year, city officials launched a series of workshops, and Mayor George Endicott says residents have been instrumental in identifying where improvements are needed. "We got some money from the state, called the TGM [Transportation and Growth Management] Grant. What it’s looking at is, ‘How do we improve livability in existing neighborhoods in Redmond?’ You know, sidewalks, bike trails, bike paths, all those kinds of things; just to preserve livability." He tells KBND News, "The big two so far are improving bikes and walkways of various kinds. So, we want to hear more, have a final meeting and that’s all state funded. It’s a great project to just improve Redmond livability."


The final public workshop is Thursday at City Hall, beginning at 6 p.m. Click HERE for details. Mayor Endicott says the data will then be used to help the City Council determine which projects should move forward. 

REDMOND, OR -- A transient was arrested earlier this week after leading Deschutes County Deputies on a pursuit through northwest Redmond. According to the Sheriff’s Office, a deputy tried to pull over 51-year-old Lane Eugene Johnson for a traffic violation, at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, but he allegedly took off. The suspect drove down Yucca Way, then on to NW 21st Street before turning around and heading back to Yucca and onto NW Pershall at speeds of around 60 MPH. 


The Sheriff's Office says Johnson lost control in the “S” turns where NW Pershall Way turns into NW Coyner. The vehicle left the road, crashed into a large rock and through a fence. He then continued through a field and back to Pershall. After two tires went flat, he reportedly drove on rims across Highway 97 and onto O'Neil Highway at very low speeds. He eventually came to a stop near Yucca Avenue and NE 17th Street, where he was arrested.


Johnson is charged with Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving, Criminal Mischief, Failure to Perform the duties of a Driver and Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon. He was also cited for Driving While Suspended and Driving Uninsured.  

SUNRIVER, OR -- An 84-year-old Terrebonne man died in a crash near Sunriver, Wednesday morning. Investigators believe Gary Lawrence may have suffered a medical problem, causing him to run off the road.


Witnesses say his pickup suddenly accelerated on South Century Drive, missed a curve and went down an embankment into a group of trees. The pickup rolled onto its top and, when emergency crews arrived, Lawrence was found deceased.


The Sheriff’s Office says weather and road conditions did not appear to be factors. 

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson is working to rally support from neighboring communities, for a Crisis Stabilization and Sobering Center. Sheriff Nelson says the final design is taking shape and they've now ruled out modular buildings, as initially planned, "Based on the needs of the center and building design, we decided to go from a temporary structure to a permanent structure. The main reason was to be cost effective for the taxpayers. The temporary structure was going to be a significant investment, and what we decided to do was make that investment in a permanent structure." He tells KBND News, "We found that if we invested money in these temporary buildings, some of the changes that we would’ve had to make to them would have mandated that we keep those buildings."


He says they are narrowing down a location for the facility, "We have a generalized location on the Public Safety campus, which is where the Sheriff’s Office is located. No exact location; we’re still working through that process, as well as the permitting process."


Because Sheriff Nelson believes all law enforcement agencies in the county will use the center, he's hoping police departments in Bend and Redmond will help foot the bill, "Based on that ask, we wanted to go present to the City Councils to garner support for the project. The figures that we’re asking for now, are in proportion to the population base. And, we are going to ask $135,000 of Redmond, approximately; and, we’re looking at around $400,000 from the city of Bend." Those amounts would be paid annually, as part of an estimated $4 million operating budget. Nelson estimates construction and start-up costs will run a little over $2 million. He presented to Redmond’s City Council Tuesday night and plans to give Bend City Councilors an update soon.

"The center’s services are going to offer crisis respite and sobering," says Sheriff Nelson, "We are still working on that financial component to the sobering center piece of this facility, but I think we can get there." He says if design and funding go well, construction could begin in a year. 

BEND, OR -- The 41-year-old Alfalfa woman accused killing a Bend cyclist was arraigned Tuesday. Shantel Witt faces Manslaughter and Driving Under the Influence charges, in connection with last month's deadly crash. "Judge Adler did order that she be on house arrest and that she wear an alcohol ankle bracelet to detect whether she's drinking during her release," Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said after the hearing. He says the additional restrictions are due to the severity of the charges, "It's not that uncommon in serious cases such as this, for the court to order a person to wear the alcohol detector bracelet."


Marika Stone, a competitive cyclist and dentist in Bend, died December 30 after she was struck by Witt's pickup on Dodds Road. Hummel says he'll soon go to the Grand jury, and then Witt will enter a plea.


Accused DUI Driver Released On Bail


The D.A. tells KBND News the tragic incident has created a learning opportunity. "This case has brought to the fore something that we've seen in this community, bubbling up, as more people ride bikes, there' s more conflict with cars, and we need to come together as a community, and realize that the roads need to be shared by everyone." To achieve that goal, Hummel plans to meet with Bend City Councilor Sally Russell, "We hope to have a community dialogue about how we can make our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and people in cars." 


BEND, OR -- A private plane slid off the runway at the Bend Airport, Tuesday morning. The EmBraer Phenom 300 sustained only minor damage and Airport Spokesman Gary Judd says none of the six people aboard was hurt.


The pilot was attempting to land the $9 million jet at about 7:50 a.m., when it slid on the north end of the airport and got stuck in the mud. 


Icy roads were reported in the area, and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether the weather contributed to the incident. 


PORTLAND, OR -- Organizers of the Hood To Coast Relay have set their sights on Central Oregon, for the newest addition to its growing race series. "The Mother of All Relays, the original Hood To Coast, is extremely difficult [to get into] and sells out on opening day; and then on that same day, we put another 40,000 people on the waiting list. So, clearly there’s not enough supply and a ton of demand," Hood To Coast COO Dan Floyd tells KBND News. He says they’ve discovered one-day relays are a lot easier for participants to plan for. Last year, they expanded to Washington with a one-day event, to try and meet demand; Floyd says it quickly sold out. 


This year, they’ll add one in Pacific City, Oregon, in May, and the High Desert Relay takes place October sixth. "We went and toured the course. As you can imagine, the course – in our opinion – was amazing. And, we felt like it was our best course that we’ve created, to date." It's also the organization's first looped course (pictured below), "Every inch of the course just has to be unique and we don’t want people to see the same thing twice," says Floyd. "With this loop, with Brasada Ranch being such a cool opportunity for people to see, I think the start and finish being located there is going to create a much more lively atmosphere. And, the final leg – Leg 12 – being actually on that property and a trail run, it’s going to be awesome."
Runners compete in six-person teams starting at Brasada Ranch. They'll travel through Powell Butte, Prineville and Alfalfa before returning to Brasada. Floyd says, "There’s an amazing panoramic view of the mountains that you can see from every single inch of that course. You’re going to see the mountains, the reservoir, the rivers and the High Desert. And, it showcases everything that we would want to showcase about Central Oregon in just 70 miles." Registration for the inaugural Hood To Coast High Desert opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Floyd expects it will also sell out.
The original Hood To Coast relay spans two days in late August, as 12-person teams travel about 200 miles from Timberline Lodge (pictured above), on Mount Hood, to the beach at Seaside. It's sold out for the last 26 years. 

BEND, OR -- Bend High was evacuated Tuesday afternoon, after a fire started in a culinary class oven. Investigators say a fiberglass cafeteria tray was "mistakenly used" to roast a pepper in the oven, rather than a metal baking sheet. The oven brought the tray to its ignition temperature and, since the oven door was propped open, black smoke and flames were seen coming from the appliance. 

As the teacher was directing students out, an State Trooper - who was visiting another class - grabbed an extinguisher and put out the blaze. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe said the call was upgraded to a structure fire because the blaze was initially tough to extinguish. "When we got here, it was pretty much out, but there was a bit of smoke, so we were just taking care of that." The oven is no longer usable, but no other damage was reported in the building. Fans were placed in hallways to rid the area of smoke. 
Around 30 students were in the class at the time, but the entire school was evacuated. At the scene, Howe told KBND News, "All the kids were out here. They evacuated the whole thing, as per what they're supposed to do; so they did a good job. They went by the book, and if it had been a more serious situation, everybody would've been fine."

BEND, OR -- A Cascade Disposal garbage truck hooked a power line near the St. Vincent DePaul Food Bank on SE Third Street in Bend. Fire crews responded just before 10 a.m. Tuesday, and say the truck pulled the weatherhead away from the building and causing the electrical line to arc. Smoke was seen on the outside of the building.


Firefighters used a dry chemical to prevent the fire from burning wires and igniting the structure. A thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the line conduit at well over 400 degrees. 


PRINEVILLE, OR -- The City of Prineville has big plans for infrastructure improvements in 2018, all thanks to a partnership with ODOT, and $3 million from the State through the Transportation Grant.


Phil Stenbeck, Planning Director for the City of Prineville, says growth is one of the main reasons for the work. "We have a roundabout going in on the Highway, at the intersection of Tom McCall Road and Highway 126. That particular roundabout is going in, and is particularly designed to, help the traffic in the area. So, that is the area where we have data center growth going on, it is the industrial area of our community, there's needed improvements there to handle the flow of traffic."
Stenbeck says a lot of the work involves improvements to Prineville's main drag. "Our 3rd Street plan is a look at our Downtown area, and ODOT is putting fiber in the ground to run the street lights, as part of that, they'll be doing some ADA ramp work. And our Downtown strategic plan committee wants new sidewalks the length of 3rd Street, new street lights, flowers hanging in baskets off of them, they'll have a drip system into them, we'll have the ability to have baskets on one side and banners on the other, giving the Downtown a cohesive look, that's a little bit upgraded."
Stenbeck says the money is coming from a partnership with ODOT, as well as funds from the State through the Transportation Bond. "ODOT had budgeted for about $1.8 million in improvements. And Representative McLane did a good job representing our community, finding some dollars, and so we ended up with about $3 million from the State and the Legislature to help us. That was our vision, to make Prineville look a little bit nicer, and make some improvements."

Stenbeck's hope is that the work can be completed in such a way that Prineville ends up looking like an improved version of her historic self.

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools is pushing forward with plans to open two small high schools in the fall. Realms High School and Skyline both have principals and a building. 


Roger White is currently the principal at Realms Middle School; he’ll expand its “Expeditionary Learning” model as principal of Realms High School. He tells KBND News there will be "Lots and lots of opportunities for hands-on learning, both in the classroom and in the field." He says, "Students at Realms Middle School, and this will be true for students at Realms High School, as well, will have an opportunity to pursue lots of field work; hands-on activities where they’re taking content from their classroom studies and applying it in the real world."


Deputy Superintendent Jay Mathisen says Skyline will feature flexible schedules for students looking for something beyond the traditional 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. day, "Lots of opportunities for, in particular, older students to have internships for large chunks of their school week, where they’re earning high school credit; perhaps taking numbers of courses at our local college campuses while being high school students. So, we’re interested in flexibility, harnessing some blended learning or some online learning, mixing it with face-to-face."
Realms and Skyline will open together inside a facility on Northeast Brinson Boulevard. They’ll start with a combined enrollment of 200 ninth and 10th graders. While the programs will be in the same building, White says students will be separated, for the most part. "There will be an opportunity, especially early in the two schools’ development as they’re both really small schools, to pursue some shared, building-wide culture pieces that help students between the two programs understand each other and get to know each other; and also potentially some shared staffing for some of those specialty positions."
Bend-La Pine Schools will host an informational session for families interested in one or both schools. It begins Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the district's admin. building in downtown Bend.
To hear our full conversation with Realms Principal Roger White and Dep. Superintendent Jay Mathisen, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.

BEND, OR -- Food truck lots have popped up in nearly every Central Oregon city over the past few years; the latest is slated to open this spring on the east side of Bend.


Eric Kramer and his wife are leasing a vacant lot on NE Cushing, near 27th and Medical Center Drive. He says the area needs a family-friendly gathering place. "We’re going to have six food trucks. We do have an acre, so we’re going to have lawn games and plenty of green grass and places for kids to hang out- dogs to hang out. And, we’re just one of the newer places on the east side to hang out – a place that’s lacking in cool hangout spots." He adds, "The east side, in general, is underserved. But, especially at this location, you have the hospital there, you have all the other medical buildings, Phagans Beauty School, it’s all right there. And, it’s just a bunch of employees with really nowhere for them to go have lunch- or very few places for them to go have lunch, and maybe walk over and have a beer after work."
Kramer tells KBND News construction is under way on the On Tap taphouse, which will anchor the property. "We’re hoping to be open the beginning to middle of April. We’re building right now, and with this very mild winter, everything’s kind of cruising along pretty nicely." He says the one-acre lot will provide lots of room to grow in the future. 

BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System and Central Oregon Pediatric Associates are joining forces in Bend and Redmond. Beginning in mid-February, COPA will lease space inside the St. Charles Family Care Bend South clinic (pictured) near Badger Road.


In Redmond, The sole pediatric provider for St. Charles has taken a new role and COPA plans to offer patients the option of choosing a provider at its Larch Avenue clinic. And, St. Charles is expanding a program that provides behavior health consultants to work alongside COPA providers at its pediatric clinics.
Leaders from both organizations call it a unique partnership that will improve the overall quality of health for children in the region.  

SUNRIVER, OR -- The reward in the Sunriver swan killing case has increased again. According to the Sunriver Nature Center, an anonymous donor is providing an additional $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting the well-known bird on Thanksgiving. The total reward is now $3,000. Anyone with information is asked to call Sunriver Police at 541-593-1014. 


"Chuck," the trumpeter swan, and his mate "Gracie" were placed in lake Aspen in an attempt to reintroduce the species to the area after it was hunted nearly to extinction. Investigators believe the shooting was intentional. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville’s new emergency shelter is finally open. Regeneration House is managed by Redemption Ministries. It was supposed to open several months ago, but Executive Director Greg Sanders says there were delays after last fall's ribbon cutting celebration, "Part of the issue at that point was getting all of the finished permits completed before we were able to get moved in. The thing that took the longest was getting power hooked up to the building itself. Once we were able to get that accomplished, we were ready to go."


The previous men’s shelter was torn down to make room for the Crook County Jail; Sanders says they served 47 people, last year, before it closed. Regeneration House hosted its first 10 residents Thursday night. "We expect them to come in in a way that they’re able to receive our services – which means not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and not to bring anything like that into the shelter itself," Sanders tells KBND News. "When they come in, they get a meal for the evening, they get showers, can do laundry, they get a bed for the evening. And then also, they get breakfast and then they have to leave in the morning." He says they can currently house 13 men, but there are plans to soon bring in more beds, which will raise the capacity to 16.


Sanders says the new facility wouldn’t have been possible without a generous donation. "There was a lady who left a beneficiary gift when she passed on. Through her generous gift, that’s why we were able to purchase the land and get the building and get this up and going. We’re just thankful for her and then all our volunteers – there are a lot of people who really kind of gave their heart." Redemption Ministries also manages a 22-bed shelter for women and children in Crook County.

BEND, OR -- Congressman Greg Walden was in Central Oregon Friday, promoting the success of the GOP tax reform bill. "You’re seeing over a million Americans now that are getting bonuses and that are getting starting-wage increases, whether you’re at Walmart or whether you’re at – some of the banks, some of the airlines are putting out bonuses, and all," the Oregon Republican told reporters, "We are stimulating the economy, we’re putting money back in the pockets of working Americans, and then we’re growing jobs.

He toured Deschutes Brewery and talked with the company's founder about how reforms will benefit the state’s craft brew industry. Walden says he worked for several years to reduce the excise tax on beer, "We cut it in half in this bill. That’s substantial savings – whether you’re Free Bridge in The Dalles, Oregon or you’re Deschutes Brewery, here – that will be reinvested in new equipment and growth. We also said to companies, small businesses, you can write-off in the first year whatever you invest, in terms of new plant and equipment." He added, "I worked directly with Kevin Brady (R-TX), who Chairs the Ways and Means Committee, where all this was happening. This was one of my priorities because I knew it was important for Oregon, I knew it was important for our craft brewers, and I knew the importance they have on our local economy. And we succeeded."


And, the Congressman says the average family will see about a $1,900 reduction in federal taxes. "That’s not crumbs; that’s real money to working people in this state and in this district. And again, to this industry – the craft brewing industry – cutting that excise tax in half makes a real difference, as well, and allows for money to be reinvested going forward, in new plant and equipment."


Walden also denounced alleged vulgar remarks recently made by President Trump, during his stop in Bend. While in Central Oregon, Walden met with members of the Crook County Farm Bureau Saturday, to talk about how agriculture will be positively impacted by tax reform. 

REDMOND, OR -- A convicted thief was arrested Saturday, suspected in a number of new burglaries. Investigators say 49-year-old Dennis Madden matches the description of a man seen breaking into cars near NW 10th and Birch. Witnesses saw a man leave the area in a red Ford Explorer. 


When officers stopped that suspect vehicle, Saturday, they contacted Madden and found a window punch, ski mask, gloves and other burglar tools in his possession, as well as a woman’s purse reported stolen the night before. 


During a search of his southwest Redmond home, officers found property believed to be stolen from several residential and vehicle break-ins in Bend and Redmond. Madden has an extensive criminal history and, at the time of his arrest over the weekend, he was on supervised release following a 60-month prison sentence for burglary and theft relating to a 2010 Redmond PD investigation. 
Investigators credit the detailed observations by victims for leading to Madden's arrest. Police remind everyone to remove valuables from vehicles and encourage the itemization of property, including a record of serial numbers and detailed descriptions. RPD is partnering with LeadsOnline to assist in the task. Click HERE to create an online account where you can document necessary information. In the event of a theft of loss, the owner can retrieve the data and provide it to law enforcement. 

BEND, OR -- Bend city crews installed a “Don’t Text and Drive” sign on Reed Market Road, Friday, to honor the memory of a 16-year-old hit by a driver who was texting. In 2011, Forrest Cepeda was killed while riding his bike on Reed Market, near Pettigrew. 


Police hope the sign will help discourage distracted driving. Bend PD Sgt. Eric Hagan says the agency averages more than 500 cell phone-related tickets and warnings a year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 3,500 people were killed by distracted driving in 2015, nationwide, and 391,000 were injured. 
Bend’s City Manager granted an exemption to the city’s rules for road-side memorials to allow the sign.

BEND, OR -- Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) was in Bend Friday, touring Deschutes Brewery and discussing how the Republican tax reform bill will benefit the craft brew industry. During the visit, Walden was asked about recent remarks reportedly made by the President during an immigration meeting, when he allegedly used a derogatory term to refer to African countries. The Oregon Republican was quick to denounce the term used by President Trump as “Offensive and Unnecessary.” 

He told reporters, "I think we all have to be careful about the words we choose. I know Nancy Pelosi got in trouble the other day for saying it was, ’just four white guys sitting around talking about immigration reform.’  And Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip of the House, was very offended by that." Walden added, "I think we all have to be careful about the words we choose. I know Nancy Pelosi got in trouble the other day for saying it was, ’just four white guys sitting around talking about immigration reform.’  And Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip of the House, was very offended by that."
While several lawmakers in Thursday’s immigration meeting confirmed President Trump used the derogatory term, he has denied it.
Photo: Congressman Greg Walden tours Deschutes Brewery's tasting room with founder Gary Fish.

BEND, OR -- Central Electric Cooperative has been building and installing custom platforms on power poles all over their 5,300 square mile territory, all for the benefit of local bird populations.


CEC has over 2,200 miles of overhead distribution lines, many near water, and Jeff Beaman, the Member Services Director, says protecting birds has always been a high priority. "Birds are an issue the utility industry has been dealing with, and aware of, and addressing, for decades. It goes back to the very early days in the 1940's when we first started. And, there are places and locations on every utility line where we needed to incorporate certain protective measures in order to reduce any kind of threat to the bird populations."
Beaman says the vast majority of concerns the utility company addresses are for osprey, as they tend to nest near water, but issues can arise with geese or other birds that have a wingspan of greater than three feet.
Beaman says the utility company has several practices for protecting local birds from power lines. "Sometimes, there are roosts put atop what are called cross-arms on power poles so a bird will land on and actually roost above a power line, and in other places, we will put a platform above the cross-arms to set their nest in place so it's not on top of the power lines."
According to Beaman, the best way to learn how to protect the birds is to follow their lead. "Many of the problem spots have been remedied in the past, and what we have to address now are when new locations present themselves. Essentially, the birds tell us where protections need to be installed. When we learn from the birds, or observers in the area, that we have an area where a platform nest would be helpful, then we go out and install in that place."
In addition to nesting platforms placed above cross-arms on the lines, CEC also installs perches, and configures cross-arm placement to increase the distance between electrical phases, which keeps the birds from being able to contact two lines at the same time. 


BEND, OR -- Deschutes County students will compete for a chance to have their artwork featured on two upcoming voters guides. County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says her office is now accepting submissions from fifth through eighth graders. "For the fifth and sixth grade winner, their art piece is going to be on the Deschutes County Primary Voters’ Pamphlet. And, for the seventh and eighth graders, their art will be on the cover of the November General Election Deschutes County Voters’ Pamphlet." 


Entries must be original works of art and should reflect year’s theme of “Voting Shapes the Future," which is intended to get kids thinking about how the simple act of voting impacts the world. Blankenship tells KBND News, "We’re hoping that kids will send that in, either submit it electronically, in person or through the mail; the deadline is Friday, February second.  And, I’d like to give a shoutout to the League of Women Voters, they’re going to be doing the judging for us." 
For more information, visit the Deschutes County Clerk website
Photo: Student art was featured on Deschutes County's section of the November Voters' Guide in 2016

BEND, OR -- Bend Senior High was honored Thursday for its commitment to helping students of all ability levels feel included, in the classroom and in athletics.


Jean Hansen, with Special Olympics Oregon, helped present a banner recognizing the school as a Unified Champion School at a school-wide assembly. "Bend High was one of our first schools, 10 years ago, to start a Unified Champion School program. And so, Bend is one of 83 to receive national recognition and one of four here in the state of Oregon; so we’re very proud of what they’re doing here." The other Oregon high schools are in Forest Grove, Sutherlin and West Linn.


Hansen tells KBND News, "Bend High School has a Unified soccer team, a basketball team and a softball team. That ‘unified’ means you have students both with and without intellectual disabilities competing on the same teams; and then, they compete against other high schools who have unified teams. Last year, they were one of four schools to participate in the first ever OSAA Unified Championship. Bend is totally leading the charge and that’s why we’re here celebrating them." 


Athletes from those unified teams crashed through a Lava Bears banner to raucous applause from the student body, to kick off Thursday's pep rally. The Special Olympics Unified Champion School banner was unveiled during the event, which was co-hosted by ESPN soccer analyst Kasey Keller and featured a special video appearance by Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard (pictured below). He told students, "Congratulations Bend High School, on creating a school climate of inclusion, of being an example and a model for schools across the country."


To earn Unified Champion School status, Hansen says, "There’s 10 standards that the school had to complete: Youth advocacy, inclusion – in both the school community and in the classroom, and in the sports field, had to do with leadership, respect – showing respect for all. And so, Bend High School exceeded all of those 10 parameters." She says the attitude of respect extends beyond the school into the community as a whole. And, she adds, what Bend High has been doing for a decade is now being duplicated at other schools in the district and across Oregon. 


PRINEVILLE, OR -- A 38-year-old Prineville man will spend nearly the rest of his life in prison for sexually abusing three children between 2008 and 2013. A Crook County jury convicted Robert Clark on 15 counts, following a one-week trial last fall; he was sentenced Thursday. 


District Attorney Wade Whiting says the investigation began in 2015, when an 11-year-old came forward. "She had a trusted friend that she confided in that ongoing sex abuse was taking place. Her friend appropriately encouraged her to go to her mother. As soon as the mother had received this report, she immediately contacted law enforcement. Once he was in custody, two more children ended up coming forward, once they felt safe."


Whiting tells KBND News, "This type of case is considered a Jessica’s Law case; and by that, when sex offenses are of such a serious nature, involving children under the age of 12, mandatory minimum sentencing laws apply." He adds, "In this instance, the mandatory minimum, once he was convicted of sodomy in the first degree involving a child under the age of 12, is 25 years in prison, without the ability of any form of early release. Due to the fact that there were three separate child victims involving six separate criminal episodes, the judge ordered that he serve over 54 years." He's not eligible for early release, would be required to register as a sex offender and will be on lifetime post-prison supervision.
Additional charges against Clark are pending in Wheeler County. 

LA PINE, OR -- A cat died in a fire that heavily damaged a La Pine home, Thursday morning. Crews responded to the 4th Street house just before 8:30 a.m. and found smoke coming from the eves and kitchen window, which had broken from the fire. 


They extinguished the blaze and found the deceased pet. The homeowner was able to get out before firefighters arrived, but was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

SALEM, OR -- A number of Marijuana retailers across the state failed a recent spot check by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission; Central Oregon is the only region to achieve 100% compliance.


Over the holidays, inspectors sent teen decoys into dozens of pot shops in the Willamette Valley, southern Oregon and the High Desert. Portland stores had the worst compliance rate, with four out of seven stores failing to check the ID of a minor volunteer. Five shops were checked in Central Oregon, and the OLCC says all correctly verified IDs. 


OLCC decoys tested 66 pot shops statewide, and 16 were found out of compliance by either letting minors into the stores or selling them marijuana. "[It's] Not the result we were expecting. The industry didn’t perform up to the expectations that we have of it," says Mark Pettinger, with the OLCC. He says they will strictly monitor retailers to stop this from happening. The agency plans to test every store in the state this year, "Our expectation is that they are going to be pretty quickly improving upon these low compliance rates," says Pettinger. 


Under the law, retailers can't sell recreational marijuana to anyone under the age of 21; it's also illegal to allow anyone younger than 21 into the stores. Violators can face fines and license suspensions. 

BEND, OR -- A plea deal may be in the works for Edwin Lara, accused of killing Kaylee Sawyer in July 2016 when he was working as a security guard at Central Oregon Community College. According to a Facebook post from Sawyer’s mother, Lara has agreed to plead guilty to aggravated murder in exchange for a “true life” sentence, without the possibility of parole. 

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel had planned to seek the death penalty. He was unavailable for comment, Wednesday, and lawyers connected to the case are under a gag order imposed by the judge
Court records indicate Lara will appear for a Change of Plea hearing, January 22. His murder trial had been scheduled to begin in October.

BEND, OR -- Bend Police say they’ve arrested the man who drove two teens to the Northwest Regency apartment where they allegedly stole marijuana and shot a 16-year-old during the robbery, Saturday evening. The victim is reportedly recovering from life-threatening injuries. Authorities say 18-year-old Jesus Salvador Diego was taken into custody at his Bend home Wednesday afternoon. He faces Robbery and Conspiracy charges.


Israel Garcia and Brandon Rodas, both 15-years-old, are charged with Attempted Murder in the case. They were arraigned earlier this month. Salvador Diego is due in court Thursday. 


Investigators do not anticipate any further arrests in this case. 

MADRAS, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Human Services has a significant shortage of foster parents in Jefferson County. "Right now, we only have four foster families that we consider to be ‘general applicants,’ and that means they can take pretty much any child in their home that we feel is appropriate for them," says Cherie Ferguson, with the Department of Human Services (DHS).


There is a statewide shortage of foster homes, but the problem is compounded in and around Madras. Ferguson says, "Because it’s a smaller rural community, we’ve had less folks calling in and saying, ‘hey, I’m interested in becoming a foster parent.’ So, we’ve really been pushing in Jefferson County because we have just so very few homes and we don’t want to place kids in another county if we don’t have to." She tells KBND News there are nearly 50 Jefferson County kids currently in state custody, but only about 20 are placed inside the county, "If you can imagine a kiddo that’s coming into care being placed with a non-relative, and all of a sudden they have to be placed in Deschutes County and they can’t go to their own school, they lose contact with their friends at school, they lose contact with their teachers and their natural support group. And, that’s just an added trauma to that child that we really don’t want to see happen. We really would like to keep kids in their home communities."


Ferguson is a recruitment specialist with DHS and says the agency is actively searching for prospective foster parents, "I think much of the problem is that the community simply isn’t aware that we need homes. And, it may be that people rule themselves out unknowingly, thinking they have to be married or they have to own their own home." She says the basic requirements are pretty simple, "You can be single or married; you don’t have to own your own home, you can rent an apartment or a house; and you have to have some form of income, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a job. And, you have to be able to pass a background check and a child welfare history check." She adds, "We’ve been struggling with how to get the information out into the community and we’ve been putting out – we call them yard signs. Historically, the best way to get the word out is word of mouth; that’s what we’re hearing in terms of people coming through the door – they knew a foster parent, or they were a former foster parent, or they knew a former foster child or someone in their school that they would like to help."


She acknowledges not everyone can become a foster parent, but there are other ways to get involved. DHS also needs “office buddies” who sit with kids while the agency works to find an appropriate placement, and respite providers, who give foster parents an occasional break. 


A Foster Parent Introduction class will be held January 22 at the Madras DHS office, for those interested in learning more. Click HERE to register. 

BEND, OR -- Bend Police now say two of the three men suspected of robbing the Super 8 motel early Monday morning are connected to the armed robbery at the Days Inn Hotel & Suites that occurred Sunday morning. 


Investigators arrested 36-year-old Jason House near his southeast Bend home Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, 33-year-old Ryan Simpson (right) was arrested in the parking lot of Motel West, where he was staying. The first suspect – 32-year-old Scott Sullivan (left) – was arrested Monday night.


Based on information detectives uncovered during the three-day investigation and from the arrest of Simpson, they obtained a search warrant for a southeast Bend home. During the execution of that warrant, they say they found evidence tying Sullivan and Simpson to the two robberies that occurred within 24 hours of each other. 

BEND, OR -- Bend Police have arrested a second person believed to be involved in the Monday morning armed robbery at the Super 8 motel. Investigators say they learned 36-year-old Jason Lee House (inset: bottom) was involved in the incident and attempted to locate him, Tuesday.


House was arrested near his southeast Bend home Tuesday afternoon, without incident. He faces Robbery I and Felony Criminal Conspiracy charges. 


Officers arrested 32-year-old Scott Sullivan (inset: top) Monday night in connection with the same robbery. Bend PD officials say they are actively seeking other persons of interest as the investigation continues. They have not yet said whether either suspect is connected to an armed robbery early Sunday morning at the Days Inn


SISTERS, OR -- Federal Judge Ann Aiken has upheld a previous ruling in favor of the City of Sisters, in a discrimination suit filed by a local food cart owner.


The court found there was no merit to the lawsuit brought by Ky Karnecki in 2012, and said the case should be dismissed. 
Karnecki owned the Wild Mountain Food Stand in Sisters ... he sued the City, accusing several officials of discriminatory treatment in enforcing City requirements for a Temporary Use Permit.
The Judge ruled in favor of the City of Sisters based on, among other things, the fact that the Plaintiff filed his paperwork three weeks past the court-appointed deadline.
Aiken upheld the ruling of Judge Thomas Coffin who had earlier ruled that Karnecki had a full hearing at trial in State Court and further concluded that his Federal claims should be dismissed.

BEND, OR -- Three local experts spoke about the state of Central Oregon schools and education at an event last night.


Dr. Becky Johnson, of OSU-Cascades. says Bend-La Pine and Redmond School Districts are extremely fast growing, but as she fundraises for the University, she's run into a lack of understanding about the area's demographics. "So, our next step is we need another academic building to be able to expand to capacity for these 200,000 people that we have in Central Oregon. A lot of times, when we talk to legislators in the valley, they're all like, 'Why do you need a University? All you have over there are old people ...' So, we show them the statistics about what's really happening in our schools."
COCC's Dr. Shirley Metcalf discussed how the College is working to create greater diversity ... in both the student body and faculty, and Bend-La Pine Schools Assistant Superintendent Jay Mathisen shared statistics on how his district's students score higher on standardized tests, than the state average. 
COCC's Dr. Shirley Metcalf focused on the need for diversity, not just among students ... but also the faculty. "As you know, our district is changing and we have been reaching out to our Latino and Latina population, and one in nine of our credit students is Latina or Latino. At COCC, we have the Latino Coordinator, as well as the Native American Coordinator."
Jay Mathisen, Assistant Superintendent for Bend-La Pine Schools, says students take part in diverse areas of study, which leads to greater success. "Our students' average is significantly higher than the State of Oregon average for the SAT exam. One thing that we like to talk about a little bit is that we actually pay for and provide the ACT college entrance exam for all the 11th graders in the District, and we tracked that last year was our highest scores in each of the individual subject areas on the ACT ever, and we're pleased with that."
Last night's "State of our Schools" panel discussion was part of the Bend Chamber's 'What's Brewing?' series. 


TERREBONNE, OR -- A 20-year-old man was rescued from Smith Rock State Park, after he was reported missing, Tuesday evening. Family reported Jared Irick overdue at about 7:30 p.m., after finding his van at the park. He was reportedly wearing jeans and a t-shirt, with no additional safety equipment.


Two Deschutes County Deputies responded to the park, along with 18 Search and Rescue volunteers. An AirLink helicopter was also dispatched to aid in the search effort.


Friends also responded to the park and began searching. One heard what they believed to be a call for help coming from the northeast end of the park. Irick was found on the Wolf Tree Trail near the Burma Road Trail, around 10:30 p.m. He was wet and cold but able to hike out on his own, with his friend and SAR volunteers.


DCSO says Irick became lost after dark and at one point entered the river in an attempt to cross to the other side. They say he "rightfully determined the river crossing was too dangerous and turned back." He eventually saw the headlamps of searchers and called out for help. 


The Sheriff's Office reminds recreators to always plan for the unexpected. They say even short hikes can get extended for unforeseen reasons. 



PORTLAND, OR -- Pacific Power is starting the process of converting all of its 590,000 meters at homes and businesses to Smart Meters. Tom Gaunt, with the utility, says it's an easy process, "They remove the old meter, put in the new one, they do a quick test to make sure it's working. And, if for some reason you're not home, they leave a door-hanger saying, 'if you notice your clocks are off, this is why'."


There's no cost to customers for the switch, and Gaunt says it allows people to track their own power usage daily or hourly, "A person could say, 'hmm; I did laundry that day.' You could really see the impact on your own account of what the laundry was." And, that could help you determine if an appliance is using too much power and whether a more efficient appliance would save money.


Smart Meters also allows Pacific Power to check it remotely without Meter Readers. And, Gaunt says it allows the company to respond faster to emergencies, "To determine whether there's an outage quicker, rather than relying on people reporting it."

More than 70-million Smart Meters are already in use across the country. 

SALEM, OR -- Concern is growing about Oregon's snowpack. Cool temperatures in October and November brought early snow to the mountains. But, Julie Koeberle, with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, says that changed last month, "December being dry and a little bit warm at the end, we washed a lot of our snowpack away."


Snowpack is important because the mountains are like a bank for the summer water supply. Farmers rely on the runoff for irrigation and fish need it to keep rivers cool during the hot summer months. Koeberle says it isn't looking good. "At the moment, it’s the lowest snowpack we’ve seen since 2015." She adds, "Most of our snowpack throughout the state is half of normal or less." That's slightly lower than just a week ago


But, she says Oregon's mountains typically get their biggest snowfall in January and February, "We will say that January is early season, so we can have really a wide variety of outcomes. So, it’s a little too soon to worry." 


BEND, OR -- Police have a suspect in custody, in connection with one of two recent armed robberies at Bend hotels. After the Super 8 motel was robbed at gunpoint early Monday morning, Investigators from multiple law enforcement agencies worked to identify 32-year-old Scott Sullivan from surveillance footage. A second suspect seen on the tape has not yet been identified and is only described as a person in their 30s wearing dark clothing. Sullivan was arrested Monday night.


The investigation led detectives to the Bend Shilo Inn, where they executed a search warrant and found evidence related to the robbery. Bend Police have not yet connected the Super 8 case to a similar armed robbery that occurred at the Days Inn, just 24 hours earlier. "Our detectives are working on it now. We actually brought in extra officers on overtime; we’ve formed a mini task force and, right now, they’re going after all the leads they have," Bend Police Chief Jim Porter tells KBND News. 


While it's uncommon to have two similar armed robberies so close together in both time and geographic location, Chief Porter says, "It’s not unusual to have robberies at hotels late in the evening. After a certain hour, they are very low traffic area - as opposed to, like, a 7-eleven that stays busy all night. The last thing you want to do, as a robber, is to have someone walk in in the middle of your robbery. So, it’s really not that uncommon to have hotel robberies."


Chief Porter says there's no indication the two hotel robberies are connected to an armed robbery Saturday at an apartment near Central Oregon Community College. Two teens are charged with Attempted Murder in that case, which sent a 16-year-old victim to the hospital with gunshot wounds. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The man suspected in a New Year's shooting at a Prineville bar was re-arrested yesterday in Jefferson County, 15 minutes before he would have been charged with Failure-To-Appear in Court. Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting says Omar Araim jumped bail early Friday. "As they were attempting to locate him, we had filed a motion with the court to revoke his security release agreement and issue a warrant for his arrest. So, as of Friday, statewide, law enforcement agencies were actively looking for him." Then, Whiting got a call from the suspect's attorney, Monday, "We were able to negotiate the terms of his surrender. He did surrender himself just outside the Jefferson County Jail."

Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins says at the first arraignment, the judge was very clear about bail provisions. "The judge that ordered him, on the day that she set bail at $710,000, that he was to turn over his passport and that he could not leave Crook County. And then he clearly violated it. Just the fact that he turned himself in in Jefferson County tells you he wasn't in Crook."
Araim was arraigned Tuesday, and Chief Cummins says he won't be granted bail a second time. Cummins understands why some people think Araim shouldn't have been offered bail the first time, but that's not how the system works. "There's only like three times you can set 'no-bail' in Oregon. But, the Attempted Murder charge, and the Assault I charge, and the others, the lesser charges, none of them fit[s] the 'no-bail'."
Araim is accused of shooting Bend resident Nicholas Ricks several times at Crossroads Bar in Prineville, early New Year's Day. Chief Cummins says they have not yet determined a motive, though the New Year's incident was caught by surveillance cameras. "It appears from the video that he intended to shoot his victim. I just don't know why. Since the subject chose not to give a statement, which is his Constitutional right, we don't have the answer to 'why?'." Whiting tells KBND News, "The Grand Jury returned a true bill indictment on Attempted Murder, Assault I, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and 8 counts of Endangering for the other patrons that were at the bar that evening."
Araim has dual citizenship with the US and the UK. 
Photos: Top - Araim's booking photo, Jan. 8, 2018
Above - Booking photo, Jan. 1, 2018


BEND, OR -- It doesn't take much to start a house fire, and when it's cold outside, maintenance can be more difficult, but Battalion Chief for Bend Fire, Dave Howe, says it's a must. "When it's really cold, people use their heating systems a lot more, and that can stress the heating system, like a furnace or whatever. And, when you use a wood stove, when you use a lot of wood, you can have flue fires, because the creosote builds up in the chimney, and then it can ignite."


He says house fires can be prevented by following some easy steps, "The wood should be really dry. It should not be wet. If you use wet wood, then it creates more creosote in the chimney, makes it much more easy to ignite. Also, it's much smokier, and it's more polluting. So, if you burn wood, don't burn too much and get too hot of a fire. Burn a nice, even fire and use dry wood. That's really important." Also, he says, "Don't dry out your wood on top of your wood stove. Bad idea." He adds, "If you do use wood for fuel, get the chimney inspected at least once a year, I'd say twice a year is even better. Make sure, not only, that the creosote is cleaned out, but also that the chimney walls, in the inside, are intact. A flue fire can actually make the metal wall, inner wall, separate. Fire in the flue, can actually spread into the attic, and then you'll have an attic fire. Once you've got an attic fire, you're going to have a house fire."


BEND, OR -- The newest resident of the High Desert Museum is a young gray fox. He was brought to a Grants Pass rehabilitation facility in September because he was ill and exhibited some neurological problems. While being nursed back to health, rehab staff discovered the fox was not fearful of humans, preventing him from being released into the wild.


He was acquired by the High Desert Museum, south of Bend, to serve as an educational ambassador. If all goes well with training, the fox will appear in the daily Desert Dwellers program starting in the spring. “We are excited to add this new species to the Museum’s wildlife collection,” Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. said in a statement. “Gray foxes are secretive and mostly nocturnal in nature, so this is a great opportunity to introduce a unique wildlife species to our members and guests.” 


Gray foxes have silver-gray fur on the back and face; reddish fur behind the ears, chest and legs and patches of white on the throat and belly. The black-tipped tail is approximately 1/3 the fox’s body length. A member of the dog family, gray foxes have strong, hooked claws that enable them to climb trees to hunt birds and small mammals or take shelter in tree cavities or abandoned bird nests. Though the gray fox is rarely found in the High Desert portion of Oregon, the species is widely distributed from southern Canada, across most of the US and into portions of South America.


“Our wildlife staff will work with the fox and use him to educate visitors about carnivore conservation in our region, and efforts by various nonprofits and governmental agencies to study the distribution, abundance and ecological significance of carnivores, including rare species such as the Sierra Nevada red fox in Central Oregon,” said Jon Nelson, the Museum’s curator of wildlife. 


Photo taken by George Lepp, courtesy of the High Desert Museum. 

BEND, OR -- Bend’s largest homeless shelter is in the midst of a major reconstruction project that will increase its size in 2018.


In preparation for that expansion, the Bethlehem Inn is growing two programs and bringing in new managers. Executive Director Gwenn Wysling says “Families First” program will double in size, once construction of the family units is complete. And, the “Next Steps” program works with individuals to create goals to elevate them out of homelessness. "These programs, for the population we serve, are certainly in higher demand," Wysling tells KBND News, "And, with the new building that we’ll be moving into, we have an expanded service hub, a commercial kitchen, dining room; and, we’ll be able to serve twice as many families as we currently serve."  Eventually, a second phase of the project will include more single units. 

Wysling says ongoing construction is worth the inconvenience, "We have not had to reduce any of our housing; so, we’re still able to have the same amount of beds for singles and our families but it is very tight. We run into some parking situations with the amount of construction that goes on there." And, as things start to take shape, residents are getting excited, "They see the excitement of a new shelter coming on line, and what an improvement it will be. Because, being in an old motel without a kitchen and without just the space, gives us all something really wonderful to look forward to."
At least one resident is already benefiting from the project, "We have a gentleman, who is living at the shelter, who was hired and is working on the job site. So, there’s plenty of jobs out there and we have plenty of folks out there working."

SUNRIVER, OR -- The future status of Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills remains unknown. The Sunriver Service District launched an administrative investigation into accusations that he struck a Sergeant while both were on duty in early December. The Deschutes County District Attorney has charged Mills with harassment, following a criminal investigation.


The Service District met Monday and agreed to interview Mills as part of the administrative investigation, then negotiate with him and legal counsel, regarding his employment status. That stage isn't yet scheduled, but Board Administrator Debbie Baker tells KBND News the District hopes to have the issues resolved as soon as possible.


Chief Mills remains on administrative leave.

LA PINE, OR -- La Pine High School was placed on “lockout” Monday, after the Safe Oregon school safety tip line received an anonymous tip from a student of a possible threat. Because the high school shares a campus with La Pine Middle and Elementary, those schools were also put on lockout as a precaution.


Law enforcement officials say they contacted the student and determined there was no credible threat, and after just under two hours, the lockout was lifted at about 12:30 p.m.  


The Safe Oregon tip line is one of several "Tip and Talk" resources included in the First Step app now available on all iPads issued to sixth through 12th grade students in Bend-La Pine Schools in December. Click HERE to learn more. 

BEND, OR --  (1/8/2018) Two 15-year-old suspects face attempted murder charges, following a shooting at an apartment near Central Oregon Community College. A 16-year-old visiting the apartment on NW Regency was taken to the hospital with a life threatening gunshot wound, Saturday evening. The regional Major Crime Team was activated to help investigate. 


Authorities say the suspects stole marijuana and shot the victim before leaving in a vehicle. Investigators believe this was an isolated incident and the teens all knew each other. Police later arrested both suspects and say they recovered a firearm and additional stolen items.
The boys are now in the custody of the Deschutes County Juvenile Department on charges of Attempted Murder, Assault in the First Degree, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Burglary and Robbery. Anyone with additional information in this case is asked to call Deschutes County Dispatch at 541-693-6911.
UPDATE: Two 15-year-old boys accused of shooting another teen during an alleged robbery were arraigned on attempted murder charges, Monday. Bend Police took the unusual step of releasing the names of minor suspects, due to the severity of the crime. They say Israel Antunez Garcia and Brandon Rodas stole marijuana from an apartment near COCC, Saturday night, and shooting a 16-year-old before leaving in a vehicle. The victim was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

BEND, OR -- a Deschutes County Sheriff's Office's program called 'Central Oregon Partnerships for Youth,' or 'COPY,' is looking for volunteers to become mentors for children with incarcerated parents.


Saturday is the first opportunity to get involved; a six hour training will cover the issues these kids are facing, and what is required of a volunteer in order to be part of the COPY program.
Bob Moore, the project coordinator, says it only takes a few hours a week to make a huge difference to a child. "Incarceration really kind of destabilizes families in a lot of different ways. That's part of what we talk about in our training classes, is that it's pretty common to see families that are struggling with some financial difficulties that resulted from what happened, a bad decision that an adult made, big issues that come along with parental incarceration, and that's really what our volunteers are designed to do, is provide some stability around some of these conditions that these kids are dealing with."
Please pre-register for the class to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office website or facebook page, or by emailing copy@deschutes.org.
Moore says kids with incarcerated parents just need support and opportunity. "Really, what we like to do, is have volunteers and kids commit to spending a few hours together each week for one year. Generally, what we do, is Spring and Fall and Summer make it a little bit easier to be outside, but in the winter we really require a lot of community partnerships for our kids and volunteers to get out and do positive things."
The best way to get involved is to contact Moore at either the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office website or Facebook page.


REDMOND, OR -- The January 23rd Special Election is only weeks away, and there's a lot of conversation about it's lone petition, Measure 101, which would approve temporary assessments to fund health care for low-income individuals and stabilize health insurance premiums.


The Redmond Patriots are hosting a panel tonight to discuss the issue at Highland Baptist Church in Redmond.
Patriots Chair, Bob Perry, says Measure 101 should earn a no-vote because it's unfair to small businesses. "The feeling is, this is a tax that should be rejected because of the way it was structured. It was really designed to penalize the people who don't have a lobbyist in Salem, which is a real shame."
As it is now, Perry says, if Measure 101 passes, large Oregon corporations like Nike and Intel would not be subject to the tax assessments, only individuals and businesses that employ fewer than 50 people.
As one of the presenters, Perry says he will suggest voting 'No' because the way the Measure is written makes it an unfair tax - one small businesses and individuals would pay, while corporations would get a free pass. "It's very unfair, the way it's structured right now. It doesn't apply to big companies, but it applies to small businesses, any business under 50 people are going to have to pay this tax, but the big companies like Nike and Intel, are not going to be taxed."
Perry calls it an unfair tax because, he says, the people who'll have to pay for it are the least able to do so. "Public schools are going to have to take about $25 million out of classrooms to pay this tax, to be able to fund this program, as far as the healthcare, for their employees. Local governments are going to have to pay the tax. 12,000 college students who are already drowning in debt are going to have to pay the tax. But, the unions aren't going to pay the tax, the big companies aren't going to pay the tax. Basically, it's a matter of fairness."
Tonight's Redmond Patriots meeting begins at 6:30 at Highland Baptist Church ... it's open to the public. 


BEND, OR -- Bend Police are looking for at least two people who displayed a handgun during a robbery at the Super 8 Motel on SE Third Street, early Monday morning. It's the second armed robbery at a Bend hotel in as many days


Monday's robbery occurred at about 4:30 a.m., when a man in his 30s wearing dark clothing brandished the gun. A second suspect is also believed to be in their 30s and wore dark clothing and a bandana, although that person's gender is unknown. They got away with an undisclosed amount of cash. Despite an area search by multiple officers, including a K-9 unit, the suspects weren't found. 


Bend Police say the suspects were captured on surveillance cameras and ask the public to help identify them. Anyone with information is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. 



LONE PINE, OR -- A teen driver was flown to the hospital with possible head injuries, Saturday, following a crash on NW Lone Pine Road, about 20 miles northwest of Prineville. Redmond firefighters used the "jaws of life" to pull the victim out of a Honda sedan.


According to the Crook County Sheriff's Office, the teen was southbound on Lone Pine Road when the car veered into the shoulder during a curve, at about 1:45 p.m. The driver over-corrected, causing the car to swerve left, rotate and cross into the oncoming lane. The back of the Honda then collided with the front of a northbound pickup, which was unable to avoid the crash. The pickup driver was not hurt. 


Investigators say the road was covered in loose cinders, which may have contributed to the driver losing control. The Sheriff's Office says this is a reminder for drivers to be cautious and slow down, as winter weather conditions can vary. Roads can remain icy in shady areas, while other areas are covered with loose cinder rocks after ice melts. 

BEND, OR -- St. Charles has seen an uptick in patients with flu-like symptoms in emergency departments in Bend, Redmond, Prineville and Madras. "Just this past week in Bend, 38% of the tests for Influenza were positive for the flu; so that shows a big uptick in our activity," says Dr. Rebecca Sherer, Infectious Disease Specialist based at the Bend hospital. She tells KBND News Australia’s flu season – which ended in October – is usually a predictor of how ours will go. "They had a particularly difficult flu season, with a lot of diagnosed cases, high numbers of cases and also high numbers of deaths from the flu."


Heather Kaisner, with Deschutes County Public Health, says it’s too early to know whether this year will be worse than normal, but it’s possible. "Unfortunately, we kind of forget that January hits and flu tends to hit; and it tends to peak here around mid-January to early February, so we’re definitely seeing an earlier increase, this year." She says it seems like a bad year because of the timing, "A lot of people were sick over the holidays, when flu – on average – tends to peak here more the end of January, so we’re definitely seeing an earlier trend, this year. But, I can’t say for sure if we’ve peaked."
Both Kaisner and Dr. Sherer say cases could increase now that all students are back at school. "Really, our biggest message is if you can, please stay home if you’re sick. What we really people to do is, [stay home] at least 24 hours after your fever subsides, because you still can be contagious," Kaisner tells KBND News, "And, that’s how the flu is spread." And, consider getting vaccinated, "It can take up to two weeks to become effective in your body, so the sooner you get it the better. But, it’s definitely not too late to get a flu shot."
If you do visit the hospital with flu symptoms, Dr. Sherer says, "We’re asking patients who have respiratory symptoms – so, fever, cough, headaches, sore throat – to let us know as soon as you arrive, so we can put a mask on you and keep you from spreading influenza in our waiting room." She adds, "They’ll see kiosks stationed at our doors. If they come into the hospital to seek care and they’re ill, we ask that they use the alcohol sanitizer for their hands and put a mask on." She says children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at highest risk of complications from the flu. 

BEND, OR -- Bend Police continue to look for a suspect who reportedly displayed a handgun during a robbery at the Days Inn, near Third and Greenwood, early Sunday morning. The man got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, at about 5:25 a.m.


Officers from multiple agencies took part in the initial search, including K-9 units from Bend and Redmond, but they could not locate a suspect. He's described as a white male in his 20s or 30s, 5'6" to 5'7" tall with a stocky build. He was wearing dark pants and a dark hoody at the time. 


Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Bend PD at 541-693-6911. 

REDMOND, OR -- A Bend woman is accused of running from police Friday night, after a Deschutes County Deputy pulled her over for driving while suspended. He contacted 46-year-old Christa Curtis in the Redmond Safeway parking lot, where she agreed to a search of her vehicle. 


After the deputy found what appeared to be meth, an assisting Redmond officer contacted her probation officer. When Curtis learned she had violated her probation and would be subject to a "detainer," she took off, driving over landscaping in the parking lot and south on Highway 97. The pursuit was called off at the south end of Redmond due to slick road conditions. 
Curtis was found asleep in her vehicle east of Bend, at about 2 a.m. Saturday. She was arrested without incident and faces a number of charges. 

BEND, OR -- A neighbor near NE 8th and Hawthorne interrupted a cougar attacking a deer, Sunday. The person reported seeing the cougar at about 9 a.m. and said they scared the big cat away. The deer survived and the cougar took off into Pilot Butte Cemetery. 


Bend Police only received one report but say people should be cautious in the area, especially with kids returning to school Monday. They ask that you call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 if you see a cougar in your neighborhood. 

ONTARIO, OR -- Representative Cliff Bentz (center,) who has served in the Oregon House since 2008, has been appointed to fill the remainder of former District 30 Senator Ted Ferrioli's term in office.


Commissioners from Baker, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake and Wasco Counties, and representatives from the Grant, Harney, Malheur, and Wheeler County Courts, voted yesterday for Bentz to fill the position.
The other candidates being considered were Susan Jones, rancher and Chair of the Republican Party of Baker County (right) and physican, businessman, and radio host, Dr. Eric Wattenburg (left) of Sisters.
Ferrioli resigned after being appointed to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council by Governor Kate Brown.

BEND, OR -- A mentorship program new to Central Oregon has hired its first group of mentors and will soon begin selecting which kindergartners will participate in the long-term program.


Friends of the Children started 25 years ago in Portland, and recently received a large grant to expand to the High Desert and a number of other communities across the country. Kim Hatfield, Executive Director of Friends of the Children Central Oregon says the mentors, who Hatfield calls "Friends," recently completed a rigorous hiring process, "They go through an intensive training period. They all just started; we hired three friends and they all started on Tuesday, and they are in for a month-long training."


She says the program is unique because mentors are paid professionals with expertise working with at-risk kids, "We stay with the children for 12.5 years. We employ paid, professional mentors; it’s their full-time job – 40 hours a week – to be with these children in the schools, in the community, in our clubhouse." She says the goal is to insure students graduate and become contributing members of the community - whether that's in the workforce or higher education. 
Each "friend" will soon be matched with eight kindergartners from across the tri-county region, "It’s a six-week selection process where our Friends and our Program Director go into our schools and start a wide lens observation," Hatfield tells KBND News, "Halfway through the observations, they then get referrals from the teachers, principals, counselors in the school, because we want to make sure we find those children who will need us the most – those children that are really lacking resilience."
To hear our full conversation with Kim Hatfield, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE

REDMOND, OR -- The Red Cross is helping a family of five, after a fire damaged their Redmond home, Thursday. A passerby noticed smoke coming from the house on Northwest Maple Rim Court just after noon, and called 911. Arriving crews found smoke coming from several windows. They were able to quickly extinguish the blaze.


The fire was contained to the living room; however, smoke and heat caused significant damage throughout the structure. Damage is estimated at $200,000. No one was home at the time and the cause is under investigation. 

BEND, OR -- Internet trolls are out in full force, claiming drivers across the state are confused and angry over the new self-serve gas law that took effect Monday. But, Rich Hoover, with the State Fire Marshal's Office, says the truth behind the new self-serve law isn’t quite as entertaining. "Pretty much our regulations haven’t changed at all. HB 2482, which went into effect at the first of January, the intent of it is merely to allow more access to fuel in low population eastern Oregon counties." Oregon's Fire Marshal's Office oversees compliance of safety rules for dispensing flammable liquids, like gasoline.


Hoover tells KBND News, "It allows those counties – and these are counties with 40,000 people or less – it allows retail gas stations to have self-service gasoline; 24-hours a day, seven days a week, they can allow self-serve." A law passed by the 2016 Legislature that took effect a year ago allowed low-population counties to offer self-serve gas only during the overnight hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. "There are three designated eastern Oregon counties that are excluded from this because of the population counts: that is Deschutes County, Klamath County and Umatilla County," says Hoover. As of 2015, Deschutes County's population was estimated at over 175,000. 


The new law also allows card-lock gas stations to expand to retail sales, but owners must notify the Fire Marshal's Office 90-days in advance. Hoover says gas stations were sent notices of the new rules after the bill was signed by the Governor, last summer; when in doubt, ask. "Really, the retail fuel operators should know what the rules are, and it could be as simple as the customer asking them, ‘can I or can’t I pump my own gas?’." He admits much of the uproar stems from the internet, "I think the rest of the country has a lot of fun poking fun of Oregon and their gas dispensing rules."

SUNRIVER, OR -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced Thursday he’s charging Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills with misdemeanor harassment, stemming from a December first incident. Mills is accused of striking a Sunriver Sergeant at the police department, while both were on duty. Hummel says Another Sunriver officer witnessed the event and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office. 


Mills was placed on administrative leave December fifth and is due in court January 25. Bend Police Captain Cory Darling is now serving as Interim Chief of Sunriver Police. 

BEND, OR -- An 18-year-old is under arrest for allegedly firing a gun from a moving car, just after midnight on New Year’s, near SE 9th and Glenwood. Lt. Clint Burleigh says police received an anonymous tip about a video posted to Snapchat, "You could see him driving down the road and he shot his firearm out the window of the car into the air." 


Detectives later identified 18-year-old Victor Chavez; he was taken into custody Wednesday. But, Lt. Burleigh says the New Year’s shooting was only the beginning. "The detectives were able to go with him back to his residence where they found the firearm and two additional firearms; we found some cocaine and some packaging material and other drug paraphernalia in his room. The residence is within a thousand feet of Jewell Elementary School, so that does enhance the charges a little bit. The gun that was used in the Snapchat Video was stolen." That gun was reported stolen from Bend in 2016; a second gun was reported stolen from Sunriver in 2017, and detectives are trying to determine who owns the third.


Burleigh says the case highlights two important safety issues: "We have these New Year’s or Fourth of July people just fire guns into the air; the reality is, that bullet going up is going to come down somewhere and hopefully it’s not going to come down and hurt somebody. The other thing is, these guns were stolen out of a residence but I don’t believe they were locked up. Just because a gun is secured in a house doesn’t mean it’s totally secured." He urges gun owners to lock up firearms, even at home.
"We’re fortunate that no one was hurt," Burleigh tells KBND News, "The carelessness of the act itself is concerning. I worked New Year’s Eve and in that area, there were a couple of large gatherings in the industrial area." Chavez is charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon, two counts of Theft by Receiving, and Manufacture, Delivery and Possession of Cocaine within 1000' of a School. He's due in court January 11. 


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