Central Oregon Community College has replaced the anatomy instructor arrested for rape over the weekend. Thomas Bray, 37, is charged with two counts of first degree rape and sodomy. According to police, Bray met the 23 year old victim online. They met for a drink Friday night and she went back to his apartment where was sexually and physically assaulted. Ron Paradis with COCC says Bray only taught one class at the college. “It's a self disclosed and we do background checks sometimes, but not for most part time faculty.” Bray is on administrative leave and is not getting paid. Another instructor has been assigned to his class.
Should students be allowed to transfer out of the Redmond School District? There is a difference of opinion. Redmond Schools Superintendent Shay Michaelson says it's an issue of "freedom of choice", however in these times of tight budgets the school board and even the teacher's union have concerns. Judy Newman of the Redmond Education Association says many teachers are not happy about discussing teacher cuts and benefit reductions while allowing students to walk out the door: “At least have maybe a one on one, where if one student wants to come in then they can allow one student to leave.” So far, the School Board is allowing the open enrollment policy to continue, but they want a better exit interview system to students and parents know all the benefits of the Redmond School District. They are concerned there is a misconception of overcrowding. Superintendent Michaelson says if there is a drop in enrollment, the state allows the $6,000 per student funding formula to be based on the previous year's enrollment.
In this tepid economy, there's a noticable success story at Northwest Crossing. The west Bend neighborhood has almost no business vacancies. The recent arrival of BendFilm, Tate and Tate Catering, and coming soon: Sara Bella UpCycle, means that there is almost no retail space to rent at Northwest Crossing. We talked with General Manager David Ford: “Secret to success? Patience and flexibility." Ford says about 70 businesses are at Northwest Crossing and they often have different reasons for locating there, depending on the focus of their business plan.
Traffic just got a little more congested at Central Oregon Community College. Construction on the new science building is causing part of "Loop Road" to be closed. Ron Paradis with the college says the closure started today. “What that means is students, faculty and visitors will have only one way to get to upper campus through the serpentine lot. Which is the first turn to the right when you come up College Way.” The road will be closed for the next 18 months, while construction continues.
The City of Bend is open to hearing wide range of ideas when it comes to balancing the budget. Recently Mayor Jeff Eager told the Bulletin that “It's going to take the cooperation of the employees,” because the lion's share of the City's budget is tied to personnel costs. There is a projected personnel increase cost from 4% to 9% over the next five years, while the projected revenue increase is only 1.3% to 3.7% percent. Mayor Eager would like to see personnel costs tied to revenues to help get those costs in line. That would mean changes to employees pay, as they would be asked to pay more of the PERs pick up, and contribute more for health benefits. Otherwise, the report states, there could be a reduction in services and personnel. City officials have spoken with the Firefighters Union and they have agreed to a higher deductible insurance. Now, they need to negotiate with the City Employees Association and Bend Police Association. Even with those adjusted costs, more work needs to be done and Eager sees some very tough decisions in the near future.
The Bend City budget is feeling the effects of Mother Nature's dumping of snow over the last month. It’s great news for skiers, but for City of Bend budget writers, it's just another headache and a drain on an already tight budget. They have had to put more money into snow removal. “Wehad anticipated a year end estimate of $160,000 for our snow removal budget. We have raised that by $30,000 to $190,000 for our year-end projection. Right now we have $45,000 of that, $190,000 spent.” Bend Public Works Director Paul Rehault says not all of the bills are in yet from the private contractors, and if Mother Nature continues to dump snow, he will have to go in front of City Council to ask for even more money. Right now, it's all up to the weather.
Lawmakers in Salem are re-balancing the current budget right now to make up for less revenue coming in to the state. Representative Jason Conger says over the past two years the state spent more money that what ended up coming; so they had to re-balance the budget to make up for the shortfall. "To fund the remainder of the biennium we either needed to find $75 million in cuts or $75 million in additional funds, to fund agencies and services includes this of course includes K-12 education." He says the Emergency Board anticipated this and has been working to make the cuts not as painful. He says they used a combination of reserve funds and shifting money around to make up for the shortfall.
The 2008 National Teacher of the Year, a teacher at Crook County Middle School in Prineville, believes states will have to take bold action to balance budgets. Michael Geisen will be serving on Governor Kitzhaber's State Education Investment Team: “ I think we’re really at the tipping point in the educational skewer right now. We are at point where something needs to happen. Obviously the financial situation is major, a major payer in that.” Geisen likes Governor Kitzhaber's plan to fund schools based on performance rather than population.
The eyes of the nation continue to watch the union fight going on in Wisconsin. States struggling with budget shortfalls are scrambling for ways to not layoff teachers or reduce time in the classroom for students. They're looking at reducing retirement benefits and collective bargaining rights. Bend La Pine Assistant Superintendent John Rexford says they're aware of what's going on in Madison: “I haven't seen a proposal as dramatic as that in the Oregon Legislature. Given the make up of the Legislature and the Governor's Office, I don't know we'd see those kind of measures. We're aware of the news around the nation.” On Friday, the Wisconsin Assembly approved a Bill that would take away the majority of state workers collective bargaining rights. It now heads to the Wisconsin State Senate, where 14 Democratic lawmakers have been absent for a week.
A Bend Legacy coach says when it comes to aging many people are in denial and often don't plan for what should be the best time of their lives. Ali Davidson is hosting a workshop in Bend tonight called "Wiser and Older". She sees many seniors in crisis simply because they didn't plan for their golden years. And with a lot of people procrastinating, as a society, we could face a train wreck: “Because the reality is we are getting older at a very fast rate. Right now every 7 seconds someone is turning 50 in the United States. That’s 125,000 people a day and the things we have in place today to help our elderly will not be sufficient . When those baby boomers coming into their 80s and 90s. She says we have to have a paradigm shift and start dealing with this problem now.
Bend Police are looking for your help as they investigate a reported date rape. A downtown Bend resident and part time instructor at Central Oregon Community College has been arrested on several charges after he took a 23-year old Bend woman to a Franklin Crossing Apartment and forced her to have sex with him.
“What happened is, that she met this gentlemen over the Internet on an Internet dating site. She corresponded with him for a week or two. They meet at a local establishment for a week or two. They decided to meet, they met at a local establishment this past Friday.” Bend Police Sergeant Greg Owen says the two then decided to go back to the man's apartment where the acts occurred. Allegations are that he also menaced, assaulted, and strangled her. The victim came forward Saturday morning and police arrested Thomas Harry Bray, 37. Investigators want anyone else who may have information about bray to come forward and share that with them. Police says it's another example of why you should be very careful with computer dating sites.
If you like pancakes, come out to I-Hop in Bend Tuesday for International Pancake Day. It's a fundraiser for an Oregon children's hospital. Rick Hansen, the Manager of I-Hop says the all day fundraiser is for the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. “All day on March 1st, order a short stack of pancakes. And all we ask that you donate what you would normally pay for that item to the Children's Miracle Network Telethon.” The funds raised will go to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. The Children's Miracle Network Telethon raises money for children's hospitals across the country. Last year, I-Hop raised more than $2000 here in Bend. They hope to double that amount this year. I-Hop is located in the Bend River Mall near Shopko.
Wind chill temperatures are expected to drop as low as sixteen degrees below zero tonight in Bend. Chris Clouart with the Bethlehem Inn says they need your help: “We are getting a lot of people coming to us. We are really approaching capacity, but we are at the stage of the game opening up our dining hall to overnighters. Our goal here is to get people off the street.” Clouart says the Inn has also ran out of sub-zero sleeping bags, hats, gloves, and hand warmers. Donations will be gratefully appreciated. The City Emergency Declaration will not go into effect unless all homeless shelters are filled. Clouart says ODOT has cleared out some of the area homeless camps so the need for emergency clothing during this period of cold weather is more pronounced. ODOT's Peter Murphy says notice was given that the camps would be removed, but the decision was delayed due to the cold weather.
The weather story right now is our bitterly cold temperatures. The lows tonight will be around zero, but Weather Channel Meteorologist Mark Thibodeau says snow is in our forecast again: “When we get to the weekend, we’re going to be focusing on a brand new storm. And that’s going to be something to watch, I think as we head into Sunday night and Monday with the possibility of a little more snow coming our way.” The highs on Monday and Tuesday will be near 40, so the snow is expected to be a wet, heavy snow.
Despite frigid temperatures, the Sunriver Owners Association broke ground on its new Recreation and Aquatics Center today. The 22 acre, nearly $19 million project will be a boon to South County, according to Assistant General Manager Hugh Palcic: “Well, you talk about an economic stimulus; Sunriver will have an effect throughout Central Oregon, really two fold: One on the construction workers and supplies and in the regional draw for tourism for Central Oregon.” Construction will get underway next week with completion of the centers and amphitheater slated for May of 2012.
In Prineville a toddler wearing only a diaper outside in the freezing cold is now okay, but it was a big scare for the toddler's mom. Yesterday the mother returned to her home south of Prineville after dropping a child off at school and encountered a nightmare. Her 2-year-old son, wearing only a diaper, had gotten out of the home and was wandering around their rural neighborhood in the snow and sub-freezing cold. Vanessa Haggstrom, 25, began frantically following the barefoot boy’s footsteps in the snow and called Crook County Sheriff’s Deputies around 10 a.m. Several neighbors who heard the police scanner reports also began looking for the child, but as it turned out, a woman walking her dog found the fallen, crying toddler, more than 20 minutes later, very cold and shaking but otherwise all right. Sgt. James Savage says the boy had actually had fallen into the snow and was close; it could have been a real tragedy.
Bend La Pine School Board member Nori Juba will be serving on Governor Ktizhaber's State Education Investment Team. The 13 member Board will come up with ways to improve the State's Education System. Nori Juba says there seems to be the political will to make some significant changes: “We really don’t have an option. It’s been studied to death, but we’ve never gotten to the point fiscally, where we are today where everybody realizes, unless we do something, it’s just going to come apart.” Michael Geisen, a teacher at Crook County Middle School in Prineville, who was the 2008 National teacher of the year in 2008, is also on the Education Team.
State Representative Jason Conger is reacting to the census numbers. He says a bigger influx of people in Central Oregon could eventually translate to more representation in Salem. An additional lawmaker could impact decisions that have a big effect on people this side of the mountains. He says lawmakers in the Valley and Eastern Oregon agree on some issues; but sometimes a different emphasis is needed: “Sometimes the priorities might be different, just as an example land use have a choking effect on our economic development in Central Oregon." By contrast, he says the Willamette Valley is rich in farmland and lawmakers there may want to take a very different approach to land use planning.
The search continues for survivors in Christchurch, New Zealand. Christchurch resident Jill Coping spoke to KBND News Thursday afternoon while fighting a traffic jam trying to return to her home on the outskirts of the city, searchers are still trying to find survivors buried in the rubble. “They are hoping to, they haven't found a body for forty hours now.” Coping says it's still unsettling to live in the city: “And every time, it's the aftershocks that really hit you. The big shakes that are really teriffying. Overnight we didn't dare stay in the house, we slept in the car. In the middle of the night everything starts to shake, rattle and roll and you have to run outside because you think it's going to fall all around you.” Copping says officials don't know if they are going to re-build the older structures because of the danger of more quakes. However she says people are helping. One resident has a spring that has erupted in his back yard and he is inviting anyone who needs to come by to get fresh water to help themselves. Hundreds are still missing and 75 are confirmed dead.
It’s the perfect setting for the 2011 Polar Plunge: temperatures in the teens. Tonight hundreds will take the big plunge and jump into the frigid Deschutes River at the Old Mill District. Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton will take the plunge, and says the cold weather and cold water is always a shock no matter how many times you've done it: “Frankly standing in line to get ready to go, we go first, but standing in line is as bad as the jump itself, but you learn things - but it is cold!" The Polar Plunge is a fundraising event for Special Olympics in Oregon and the Bend event is expected to raise more than $80,000. Besides the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, the Bend Police Department and criminal justice students from COCC are taking the icy jump. If you'd like to watch those crazy fundraisers its free to come down and observe the torture. The plunging starts at 6:30 pm.
The paparazzi will be out in force Sunday night at the Tower Theatre for the annual Academy Awards party. This year's event is a fundraiser for the Tower Theatre Foundation and BendFilm. Orit Schwartz with BendFilm says the evening is a real hoot. "There is a dress to impress contest. And the Tower Theatre is doing that again this year. And I just thinks its a really fun way to watch the Oscars. To have a big group of people and kind of cheer for the movies you're hoping will win. It's going to be very nice. The Tower Theatre is such a great venue and then on the big screen, it just add extra fun elements to the evening." Schwartz says there will be "swag bags" to purchase and pictures with a faux-Oscar. All the money raised will go to help the Tower Theatre Foundation and BendFilm. This year the film festival is October 6th through the 9th and Schwartz says they are already receiving lots of entries.
Mountain View High School is raising money for a couple of great charities. This is the second year that Mountain View teachers are creatively growing out their facial hair for charity. Matt Fox, an English and Journalism teacher started the contest last year and it really created a fun atmosphere: “We’ve had different strategies every day. One of the teachers sort of went for the wolverine look. They kinda spiked their hair up and shaved it in that way. We had another person who's been kind saving a little bit each day. I put some feathers in my beard. I’m gunna put some Christmas lights in it." Fox says the men have been growing out their beards since January and people vote with their wallets. The women teachers participate by rallying for their favorite beard. All the money will be donated to fan or the Bethlehem Inn. Last year they raised over $600. Fox says the winner will be announced next week.
Bend Police along with the Oregon Attorney General's Office are warning the public this morning about door to door sales tactics. Door to door sales companies usually arrive in Central Oregon in the spring and summer. Aand at this time, law enforcement gets a lot of complaints and calls about what the public rights are when confronted with these aggressive sales tactics. Remember: a legitimate sale person will immediately provide to you: their identification, the purpose of the call, a simple description of goods or services offered and they must ask you if you are interested in hearing their sales presentation. If you indicate "no" then the sales person must discontinue. Click here for a website from the Department of Justice where you can file a complaint.
Governor John Kitzhaber has appointed several community leaders to a Education Investment Team. They will begin laying the foundation for an education system connecting programs from early childhood, through higher education. Two of those members hail from Central Oregon. Michael Giesen, a Crook County Middle School teacher who was named the National Teacher of the Year in 2008 and Nori Juba, the managing partner of Bend Capital Partners and is on the Bend La Pine School Board. The Board must be approved by the legislature, but Kitzhaber has launched the temporary team to begin design work immediately.
Deschutes County saw one of the biggest jumps in the latest census just released. Population over the last ten years in the county shows a 36% increase. Former Deschutes County Sheriff Les Stiles isn't surprised by the population numbers, but says we have to examine them further. “Because the real question is, yes we've had growth, some loss in absolute numbers. The real question that needs to be asked is the net domestic migration number, in other words, all the people coming in and the people going out.” Stiles says we need to look at whether there's been a brain drain of educated people leaving the area and if that's true, who's replacing them. The Redmond area saw the biggest growth in the County, nearly doubling in size over the last ten years.
Redmond teachers are growing increasingly nervous as they look at funding shortfall for the school district. The economic realities do not look good: “The deficit based on the Governor's proposed budget as of the first of the month is $9.8 million for the Redmond School District. That includes about $5 million less in resources, in revenue. In the other side of the scale we see about a $6 million increase in expenditures.” Redmond Schools Operations Director Mike McIntosh says the District is looking at cuts in several areas, including staff.“The district is asking us to take concessions, which would be a 1.8% COLA / cost of living, they are asking us to take six days, and they are also talking about a 30-teacher layoff, and that is still up in the air.” Judy Newman of the Redmond Education Association says teachers realize the economic realities and are willing to work with the district. Teachers are wanting to know as soon as possible which are on the cut list. McIntosh says staffing recommendations from school principals will be available March first, and that will give administrators a better idea of which positions would be involved.
It’s a very popular free event in Central Oregon. This Saturday, the High Desert Museum is expecting a huge crowd for the Free Family Saturday. Museum spokesperson Cathy Carroll says the last family day was so popular, it broke a record. “The last Free Day that we had last month, broke an all-time record with 4740 people. That’s over 4000 people last month for our Free Day and the next one is this Saturday, the 26th and so the Museum is extended the hours. We are going to be 1o to 5 pm. We’re keeping the museum open an hour later to accommodate all the people we’re expecting.” Anyone coming to the Free Day on February 26th should take our free shuttles to avoid parking lot traffic snarls. The Museum recommends that visitors go directly to park at Morning Star Christian School.
The new high school in Redmond has a new name. After considerable discussion Wednesday night, the School Board voted three to two for Ridgeview High School. The name will be one word and four letters. The letters will be RVHS to prevent confusion with RHS, which is Redmond High School. The board wanted a distinction between Redmond and Ridgeview High Schools. Naming Committee Chairperson Toni Duff said the community has been buzzing about the naming process for months. “I think people had a lot of passion for the name they wanted to choose. Everyone had high hopes for what they thought the name should be.” 150 names were submitted. The top three were Ridgeview, South Redmond High School and Grandview High School. The students and the community will now propose school colors and a mascot and submit three ideas to the School Board for final approval.
Unrest in the Middle East, tumbling stock markets, and rising oil prices. It's all adding up to paying more at the pumps. And for those living near the poverty level, rising gasoline prices are a big hit to the household budget: "Nobody adjusts your gas price based on your income. Your gas price is fixed and as it goes up it takes up a greater proportion of your income and there's less income to take up when you're a low income family. In rural communities, it's a particular problem because you don't have a cheap alternative. You drive a car or you don't go. You don't have public transportation; you can necessarily get on board and that's an advantage that those in more urban areas have." Scott Cooper is with the Partnership to End Poverty. He says about 41% of the absences of low income people from work is related to transportation issues. He says many times people living in poverty have older cars that break down more often. On average in Bend, gasoline prices are $3.32.
We’re under a winter storm warning until early Friday morning. We are going to get hit with another wintry blast starting tonight and going through Thursday night. Weather Channel Meteorologist Mark Thibodeau says this is going to be a significant storm: “I would not be surprised to see 9 to 10 inches between tonight and Thursday night. Here in Bend and the area west of us will be receiving up to a foot or more of snow. What makes this storm so hazardous is the below freezing temperatures during the event.” This will be the third major snowstorm to hit Central Oregon in a little over a week.
The Deschutes County Sheriff says if you can avoid driving in the bad weather, that's the best thing to do. But if you have to brave the treacherous roads its very important that you drive even more defensively than usual. "When you're traveling over the mountain or traveling in town, always drive ahead of yourself and try to drive the other person's vehicle as well. And think ‘What am I going to do if cars coming at me are suddenly in my lane because they are in my lane, because they’re out of control?’ Try to avoid, at all costs colliding with another vehicle coming toward you. Get in the ditch, steer around your problem; go into a parking lot, do whatever you need to do, as carefully as you can. But it’s the head-on collisions, the other impacts with the other vehicles that really cause us some significant traffic crashes.” He also says its helpful to practice putting on your chains in your garage before you hit a mountain pass in the middle of a bad storm. Blanton was a guest this morning on "Your Town".
It’s the first major upgrade of the Deschutes County Comprehensive Plan since it was implemented in 1979. Commissioners will spend part of their afternoon today learning about farmland and natural resource policies as they look at fine-tuning the plan. Planner Terry Payne says a few options are being examined to give farm land owners more choices to make money in this tight economy. “So Agri-tourism is one possibility and commercial energy facilities, alternative energy facilities like solar farms. Maybe putting some regulations in to permit those that would keep the large lot farm land but at the same time allow people to make a living on it.”
The public will have a chance to give their input on the plan's over haul at the end of next month. The public hearing dates should be announced next week.
Bend La Pine's School Board is examining its next year's budget looking for ways to decrease expenses and increase revenue. Bend La Pine School Assistant Superintendent John Rexford says they don't want to reduce school days anymore or increase class size: “In addition, we are looking at ways to reduce expenditures. Our biggest hurdle is the increasing in the retirement costs, so we're working with representatives on ways we might mitigate or reduce that expense.” There are a couple bills in the State Legislature on ways to control PERs costs. House Republicans just introduced a PERs Reform Bill that would limit the amount the amount a public employer can agree to pay towards an employee's account. The Bill would reduce the pick up costs from 6% to 3% for future collective bargaining agreements.
The name for the new Redmond High School will be revealed very soon. But some Redmond residents have been very critical about how the name is chosen and who is responsible. Last night, at the Redmond City Council meeting, Mayor George Endicott and Councilor Ed Boero spoke out about the anonymous comments appearing on a media website: “There were some anonymous comments on one of the television stations websites that were real personal in terms of the process and the person they selected to complete the process. And you know when people make those types of comments, if you've got a problem with how they're naming the high school, what you should do is go to the school board and not beat up the volunteers who led the process. They did a great job. I don't think any of us [council] were happy about that part of it." Boero says naming the school is supposed to be a fun process that involves the entire community, and there was plenty of opportunity for people to voice their opinion in person.
Good news for home brewers. The Oregon Senate has passed a bill that would allow hobbyists to brew up to a hundred gallons every year. Last spring, it came to light that home brewers have been illegally operating in the state for the last 20-years. Current law states that home brews must be consumed in the home and not transported. So, when brewers took their handiwork to wine tastings and county fairs, there are in violation of the law. “We are looking forward to having it come about. It may also open up participation with home brewers for the Bend Brewfest and let people sample. People playing in their craft and sharing the beer.” Tom Gillis is a co-owner of the Brew Shop in Bend. So far, there is no opposition to the Bill. It must pass the Senate and a provision of the Bill will allow it to immediately go into effect after the Governor signs it.
Bend is named to a most unusual list, and this time it's really all in fun. We're number two on Liveability.com's “Top Ten Cities to Defy Death.” Visit Bend's Doug La Placa says it is a testament to with wide variety of activities our area offers to everyone: "From a tourism perspective, Bend is an active tourism destination. And Liveability.com was basing their study on cities across the U.S. where people could play in the outdoors to the extent of defying death. And things in Central Oregon like extreme white water rafting and kayaking and rock climbing and cycling put Bend high on the list, so we're number 2." La Placa says the list is tongue-in-cheek, but it's still a designation that shows how people are drawn to the area. He says Liveability.com is a website that follows different factors that attract people to various areas of the nation and it's likely that when someone Googles "Bend, Oregon" that this website will pop up. Or click here to read the "top Ten" list.
KBND news is hearing estimates from New Zealand that up to 200 people could have been killed in Tuesday’s earthquake. The official death toll now stands at 65 but more than 300 are still missing. Christchurch resident Gene Ward talked to us by Skype. He crouched in a building and ran outside after the quake: “When I rushed out of the building, people were screaming. You could hear the glass shattering; people were running and covering their heads. You could hear brick and grass falling down, and people were panicking and running.” Ward says the military has shut the entire city down and is trying to keep people out. There have been a dozen after shocks with the highest at 4.7 on the Richter scale. The initial quake at 1 pm Tuesday was measured at 6.5 on the Richter scale. The United States and Australia have sent teams in to help rescue victims. Police say there is incredible carnage in the city and in places bodies litter the streets.
Tonight the Redmond School Board is set to pick the name for the new high school. The District was surprised that they received some complaints about the top three recommendations. Toni Duff was on the committee, and was glad that 125 name suggestions were submitted, but says it was also a lot of work: "Having that many recommended names come in was pretty tedious. And we did a lot of research on trying to not having names that were already existed in the area. Coming up with those top 3 names; it was a challenge." District spokesperson Stephanie Curtis says responses to the top three names rivaled other controversial issues like Redmond’s four day week. The top three names are Ridgeview, South Redmond and Grandview.
The recent earthquake in New Zealand and last week's massive snowstorm has many inquiring about emergency preparedness. Authorities say that in an emergency, you are your best defense. Marty Betsch the Disaster Coordinator for St. Charles Health Systems says most people need to know that if there is an emergency, in most cases, you're on your own for the first three days. "And so at least you have 3 days of water, three days of food, three days of, basically your medicines, stuff that you have with you. They say 72 hours is important, however they are extending that now. Maybe 96 hours, maybe a whole week. So that's how you have to think as a person. Who is going to come and help me? The police are going to be busy, the fire department is gunna be busy, the Red Cross will be busy setting up shelters. So you have to prepare yourself. The more prepared you are, the better off you're going to be." Betsch says you also must have a family plan so you can reunite if disaster strikes during the day. She recommends you contact the Red Cross for some excellent sources of emergency information.
The water debate has been going since last summer in Sisters. The subject: Will the water rates be increased or not to pay for long term projects over the next five years. “If we do not increase rates in the next probably 12 to 18 months, we will be in danger of running a deficit or in the red in the water fund.” Sisters Mayor Lon Kellstrom says an initial rate increase request was made last summer and then pared down, but neither request was okayed by Council. Kellstrom considers these projects maintenance. Councilor Sharlene Weed disagrees: “The proposal that they gave to Council were not satisfactory, and we were not able to make a decision based on the data that they gave us.” Weed says she is submitting a revised capital improvements plan of projects the City really needs in the next five years. Council discussions continue.
The number of chapters of "Americans for Prosperity" in Central Oregon is growing. Currently there are groups in Bend and La Pine, and now they're adding a third. “For about the last year and a half, we've had chapters meeting in Bend and La Pine in Deschutes County. And because of geography and largely because of demand, we'll start meeting in the Redmond area as well.” Matt Evans with Americans for Prosperity says there are about 700 members in Deschutes County. The monthly meetings each draw about 25 to 50 people.
Our snowy weather is not over yet. We're going to get another blast Wednesday into Thursday. Weather Channel Meteorologist Mark Thibodeau says we're going to see several more inches of the white stuff: “Right now in the Bend area, I’m thinking that we could be looking at anywhere from probably 4 to 8 inches of snow out of this with locally higher amounts; especially if you head west of the area, to the highest elevations, that’s where I think we could see some totals of one foot or even more.” Flurries will start tonight and will continue on and off Wednesday and Wednesday night.
Gas prices are inching up to the painful level and Libya’s unrest isn't helping. Unlike Egypt and Bahrain, Libya is a significant exporter of crude. Tyler Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says it’s effecting the markets: “Libya is the 18th largest exporter of crude, it’s about two percent of the daily global output. They also sit on the largest oil reserves in Africa. They are causing equity markets to sell off and also oil prices have spiked.” It's expected over the seven to ten days, the U.S. consumer is going to see rising prices.
Once again, the Bend High School Culinary Team has taken first place in the ORLA ProStart High School Culinary Championships. The competition, last weekend in Portland, is the seventh win for the teen chefs. Advisor Louise Markland says these kids are very focused: “The kids are actually out on the competition floor for about 3 hours; and they competed against 27 other teams in Oregon for the title and the bragging rights and the chance to go to a national competition as the Oregon team. Fortunately, my team shone a little brighter than the rest and we came away with a first place win." Markland says the kids, all seniors, have worked very hard for the competition and will take a couple weeks off before starting to practice for the National Championships in April. Mountain View High School came in third.
A fierce debate is starting to erupt across the nation as states try to control employee costs. In Wisconsin, employees are protesting efforts to change collective bargaining. In Oregon, a battle is brewing to control the cost of PERs and some State employees are not happy. Economic Analyst Bill Valentine says the cost of PERs has got to be addressed: “PERs remains a gigantic unaddressed liability for the State. Depending on who you ask, the estimated state shortfall is between $8 and $16-billion.” In Oregon, many cities and counties are having to "pick up" the cost of the employees contribution. That is costing municipalities statewide $750-million. Valentine considers PERs the biggest liability the state faces and failing to address it will cost the State billions of dollars.
Oregon Representative Gene Whisnant is sponsoring legislation he says will have multiple benefits for Central Oregon. “The goal of the bill is to allow Sunriver to expand the Caldera Resort which will create 925 jobs. Second, it will provide funds for South County to continue to evaluate, monitor, and mitigate groundwater issues in South County.” The bill would change the State's overnight restrictions for Caldera Springs and the new Pine Forest Development so that only 25% of the resort would have to be set aside for overnight accommodations, instead of the entire resort. House Bill 3347 would also require the developer to contribute up to $3-million for South County groundwater issues. The money could pay for more studies on the nitrate issue and possibly create a future sanitary authority.
The U.S. House passed an amendment last week not to fund Planned Parenthood. The measure now goes to the Senate, and would eliminate about $330 million for preventive health services including contraception and cancer screenings. Gail Atteberry with Oregon Right to Life, applauds the Bill. “One third of their money comes from the government. Should it not be funded, we're still talking about three quarters of a billion dollars, that's with a “B”. It does not leave them penniless.” Roey Thorpe with Planned Parenthood advocates of Oregon says not funding Planned Parenthood would hurt many women. “And here in Oregon 2000 women a week come through our doors for our services. 85% of them are low-income women. It really is valuable services we provide.” Planned Parenthood is already prevented by federal law from using federal dollars for abortion services.
Tonight in Redmond the school district is hosting a special community meeting to explain how the new high school will affect current students. The focus of tonight's meeting is to review boundary enrollment and program information. The District hopes to answer questions such as which high school the students will attend and what programs will be housed at each school. Superintendent Shay Mikelson says the Redmond high school currently has about 1800 students enrolled using two main buildings, and the new school will help even out those students. "The biggest thing is the new high school is really designed to compliment our current high school. I think the thing I’m most excited about is it increases options for kids within our high school system especially around the current technical education classes we'll be able to offer. We have a great program at the current Redmond high school and at the new high school there will just be a richer array of programs that can be offered as well.” Tonights’ community and parent meeting is at 6 o’clock in the Redmond High School Library.
Everyone escaped a house fire in Redmond safely Sunday night. The fire started at 2310 NW Ice in Redmond around 11 p.m. Sunday night. Dwaine Dickson was up watching TV when he discovered the fire and woke up his wife and all got out safely. The manufactured home and its contents were significantly damaged though. Investigators say a light fixture on the back porch caused the fire.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputies are looking into a case of animal cruelty in Sisters. Last Friday, Dawn Cooper noticed her black and white tabby cat named "Shine" was bleeding from its face. Shine suffered a broken jaw and a BB gun wound. The attack happened around the 500 block of Tam Rim Drive in Sisters. Deputies ask anyone with information relating to this animal abuse case, to contact the Sheriff's Office.
A Salem area man has died following a three vehicle car accident on Highway 97 near Sunriver last weekend. Herb Kroschel, 41, was traveling southbound on Highway 97 Saturday afternoon when a car in the northbound lane lost control and slid sideways in to the southbound lane and hit his car. His sport utility vehicle continued over a guardrail and down an embankment. Kroschel was taken to St. Charles with critical injuries. He died on Sunday. Eight others were also transported with non life threatening injures to St. Charles.
There were quite a few heart attacks reported last Tuesday with the wet heavy snow. Tim Gibbons works at the Athletic Club of Bend and holds a Masters of Exercise Science, and he's not surprised there were several heart attacks with the big storm. Gibbons says when shoveling, it’s important to lift with your legs and to pace yourself: “For a lot of us it's shovel the driveway, help the neighbor and we have to get to work. And literally probably we should've been out there earlier and taken a lot more time and pace ourselves and take breaks." In general to prevent heart attacks; he says you need to do 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 times a week and consistent strength training. Gibbons was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” this morning.
The Mount Bachelor Ski Resort has received more than five feet of new snow within the last two weeks. “All around perfect conditions out there, and it looks like we will be getting a little bit more snow this week. So the nice conditions we have been getting for the last week or so will continue for the foreseeable future.” Andy Goggins with Mount Bachelor says the backside of the summit is fantastic powder and is just about as good as it gets at the local resort. The tubing hill and "Nastar" Racing Course are open today.
Protestors continue to gather in Madison, Wisconsin today. The standoff in Wisconsin over the benefits and rights of public employees could for the first time in decades spur changes across the country over so-called "right-to-work" laws; or laws that prohibit unions from forcing workers to join. People across the nation are watching the debate for many reasons including lawmakers in Salem. “I've never seen anything like this,” says State Representative Jason Conger. Conger is in Salem today for session. He says many of the lawmakers there are watching what's happening in Wisconsin. One issue that hits close to home for many states is unfunded pension liabilities; the other has to do with the fact that the recession has forced many private sector employees have taken pay cuts, and are paying a lot more for health care benefits and retirement savings: “I think 48 out of 50 states have serious budget problems in unfunded pension liabilities. Oregon is no different. “Everyone, regardless of their political stripe or their ideology or if they have a desire or interest in the outcome in Wisconsin are fascinated by it because many of the problems that are driving the budget crisis in Wisconsin. We’re facing the same issues here in Oregon.” Conger was a guest this morning on KBND's Your Town.
Search and rescue crews at Mt. Hood just rescued a missing 26 year old snowboarder, missing since Sunday afternoon. Crews from Deschutes County helped in the rescue along with other agencies. Detective Jim Strovink from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office says the snowboarder got disoriented in the blinding snow as he descended from the summit of Mt. Hood Sunday afternoon. “We've had ground searches throughout the night. We have had communication with him this morning, however his battery is failing.” An Oregon Air National Guard helicopter just pulled the snowboarder to safety. He spent the night near Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in below-freezing temperatures. He found shelter under a tree.
Deschutes County Search and Rescue crews joined a search on Mt. Hood this morning. A snowboarder is hoping rescuers can find him soon after he got lost Sunday on Mount Hood and was forced to spend the night in below-freezing temperatures. Rescuers have been able to talk to the 26-year-old man by cell phone. He said he hiked up the mountain Sunday afternoon and went out of bounds near Timberline Ski Resort's Paradise Trail. Then, as he descended, he got lost as he snowboarded down in blizzard conditions. He found shelter under a tree to get through the extremely cold night and continues to communicate with searchers. Temperatures dropped to a mere 16 degrees on the mountain Sunday night and visibility was extremely poor. But rescuers said conditions were improving today.
Everyone escaped a house fire in Redmond safely Sunday night. The fire started at 2310 NW Ice in Redmond around 11 p.m. Sunday night. Dwaine Dickson was up watching TV when he discovered the fire and woke up his wife and all got out safely. Fire crews attacked the fire and extinguished it. Water was shuttled to the site by tenders as there are no hydrants in this area. The home and its contents were significantly damaged though. Investigators are still looking into what caused the fire at the manufactured home.
To celebrate President’s Day a number of businesses are closed for the day including almost all City, County, State and Federal offices. The post office is closed and there will be no mail delivery or pick up. Libraries in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook Counties are closed. Bend Area Transit (BAT) and Dial-A-Ride have normal hours and routes. Bend Garbage and Recycling are regular service and liquor stores are open.
Search and Rescue units from Deschutes County are enroute to Mt. Hood to help find a missing snowboarder on the Palmer Snow Field. Crews from Clackamas County have been searching thorough the night. The Deschutes County SAR will be joined by searchers from Washington state to help in a 26 year old man. Reports indicate he is dressed for the conditions and has been in contact with the searchers. He could be lost in the Zig Zag Canyon area of the mountain. Keep it tuned to KBND for any updates on the missing snowboarder.
A follow up on a story we first brought you last week: Oregon State Senator Chris Telfer told us that State agencies appeared to be ignoring the Governor's budget that worked with the money available; not the larger "current service level" budget with a roll-up to account for increasing costs. She says she told the Governor's Office that the agencies were presenting the higher budget to the committees that are going thru the budget process right now. "I met with the Governor's Office; Brian Shipley, and they were not aware of that." She says the Office sent out a memo instructing the agencies not to include a current service level budget and the roll up. She says it's possible the agencies had prepared the larger budgets before Kitzhaber announced his plan, going forward now she says they should all be on the same page.
Oregon lawmakers are going to have to make tough decisions this session. One of the areas they plan to tackle is PERs - the Public Employment Retirement System and how to prevent it from busting the State budget. State Representative Jason Conger says several options are being discussed: “To have employees picking up their 6%; that would make a dent in the PERs liability. Another that I’ve heard talked about is to increase the retirement age for PERs eligible employees; so that that they were cutting back some of the benefits that they would receive and furthering it our a little bit later.” Conger is optimistic some legislation will pass concerning PERs, but he's not sure what form it will take.
The Central Oregon Visitors Association is shifting part of it's marketing attack. Starting next month a media blitz will hit the Northern California market. Executive Director of COVA, Alana Audette describes the campaign: “California is strong market even in spite of the recession. That has hit that state so seriously. There is still a huge population base that has a strong interest in the Central Oregon product and they're familiar with Oregon, they want to spent time here- we're just very excited about the opportunity to invite those folks here." She says winter tourism numbers have been healthy so far and they expect good numbers for February because of Presidents Day and Winterfest.
The recent winter blast has improved the snow pack in the Cascades. Jon Lea, Snow Survey Supervisor with the Department of Agriculture says things look pretty good: "The snowstorm is just what the snowpack is needed, a little bit of a boost after some very spring like weather that we're having and enjoying all of February. We saw some snowpack increases that were quite substantial from the 14th through about the 17th. And in the Deschutes, are actually had a 10% increase. So it went from like 76% of average to about 86% of average." Lea says the snowpack is still behind where it should be at this time, but this weekend’s storm will help get those levels up. He says they measure the snowpack about once a month, but they have telemetry that gives them some hourly reports at fixed stations. You can see that data for yourself on their website. We have a link at KBND.com.
Sunriver is moving forward on its big construction project that will include an amphitheater, and community pools. The Assistant General Manager of Sunriver's Owners Association, Hugh Palcic says they will break ground this Friday. “This is a culmination of a lot of hard work within our community; with many of the stakeholders in the community to bring forward a project that’s been long awaited in our community. The project is about an $18.9 million project. It’ll be a real shot in the arm for Deschutes County.” Groundbreaking for the new recreational and aquatics facility will be this Friday at 11 a.m. The new facility will be on 22 acres, with indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities, a meeting center, and a 1000 person amphitheater. it should be completed by May 2012.
Longtime Central Oregon builder Dennis Luke says the construction industry usually leads Central Oregon out of a recession. He says one challenge we may see is high lumber prices; that's because many of our Oregon mills have big contracts with China and Japan, so there may be a squeeze on supply if the local building industry heats up again. "Which is good for the mills because they're able to run and keep things going. But the question becomes if construction really starts to pick up here in the U.S., will the mills be able to service both contracts and so that could be a challenge and something we'll have to face." Luke was a Deschutes County Commissioner, State Representative and was in Central Oregon during the big recession of the late 80’s and early 90’s.
It was snowing outside, but it was a festive mood inside the Boys and Girls Club in Bend Saturday, part of the effort was to raise money for orphanages in China. Robert Tadjiki heads up the effort. The celebration is also to raise money for echo, education for Chinese orphans, a philanthropic effort based in Bend. “We currently have one school, we’re opening up 2 more in the next month. And we’re really hoping to open up 8 more, based on some grants we’ve been applying for.” Tadjiki says the need is great: “You know I‘ve been to several of them. And they just don’t have hope. And so we go in and we’re able to give them hope and a purpose to live. Because we’re able to hire instructors who are able to give special instruction to these special needs orphans.” The kids at Saturday night's Chinese New Year's were having a great time.
Nine people were injured in a head-on crash Saturday afternoon on Highway 97 near Sunriver. A northbound vehicle lost control near MP 154, slid sideways into the southbound lane, and collided with a southbound vehicle, sending that vehicle over a guardrail and down an embankment. The original vehicle then continued southbound, and collided with yet another vehicle. None of the victims were local. One of them was described as critically injured.
A 32 year old woman from Washington state suffered serious injury in a snowmobile accident Friday morning near Elk Lake. Christine Wolmack was traveling southbound on a snowmobile trial near Elk Lake. She was attempting to turn onto the Elk Lake trail, she accelerated and crashed into a tree sustaining serious non-life threatening injures. Wolmack was taken to St. Charles where she was admitted.
It looks like former Deschutes County District Attorney Mike Dugan is about to throw his hat into the ring to be considered for the top cop job in Redmond. A published report says Dugan has about 35 years of experience as an attorney and more than 20 years of it as Deschutes County DA. Dugan is quoted as saying he's interested in the position because it's local, and within the law enforcement community and he's been a part of that for 32 years. Dugan says he's going to consult with other local police leaders before he formally applies for the job. Redmond Police Chief Ron Roberts resigned a couple of months ago to take a position in Olympia, Washington. Redmond officials say they hope to have a candidate in place by early spring.
Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty says Bend resident, Bret Lee Biedschied is named a "person of interest" in the hit and run accident that killed a Bend man about three weeks ago. A published report says Flaherty did not want to discuss the investigation because there are more steps they need to take before an arrest is made; and they don't want to rush to judgment. On February first, Bend Police seized a 2008 GM Sierra from a home on Southwest Hollygrape Street owned by Biedschied. The incident occurred on January 26th, and as a result, Anthony Martin, 48, of Bend died.
A Redmond man suffered fatal injuries Friday and three other people were injured, including his wife, when their SUV was struck head-on by another whose driver lost control on Highway 20 near Santaim Junction, State Police reported. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports shortly after 1 p.m., a black 2008 GMC Yukon driven by Ran Floyd, 45, of La Pine, was eastbound in the right lane, lost control. OSP Senior Trooper Joey Pollard says the SUV collided head-on with a westbound brown 2003 GMC Yukon driven by John Patrick McDonald, 70, of Redmond. McDonald was flown by Airlink to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, where he is pronounced dead. His wife, Joann McDonald, 66, was taken by ambulance to the Bend hospital, as were Floyd and front seat passenger Young Lee, 72, of Salem. Two children in Floyd’s car, 13 and 7, were unhurt, Pollard said, adding that all occupants of both SUVs were wearing seat belts. Lee was listed in serious condition at the bend hospital late Friday afternoon, while Floyd and Joann McDonald were in fair condition, officials said. State Police said the highway had had packed snow and slush at the time of the crash, which shut the highway for more than an hour and caused miles-long traffic back-ups in either direction. The road was not fully reopened until around 4:45 p.m.
Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton and Lieutenant Shane Nelson have been named to a national top ten list honoring law enforcement officers fighting animal cruelty. Lisa Franzetta of the Animal Legal Defense Fund says Deschutes County has went the extra step by having a facility to house large animals that have been abused: “And we have actually seen these two gentlemen from Deschutes County demonstrate that law enforcement can actually take that step to ensure there will be treatment for abused animals. And in that way ensure they can assure justice for the abused animals.” Franzetta says often law enforcement leave animals with the abuser because there is nowhere to take the animal. She adds that Deschutes County is a great example of actions she would like to see other law enforcement agencies taking to protect animals while cases are being investigated or prosecuted.
A bar on wheels will be debuting in the Old Mill District tonight. It's called "Cycle Pub" and its powered by 16 bicyclists. James Watts who came up with the idea, says it's a perfect combination of two of Bend's favorite past times: “I think it’s going to be a really unique experience and I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that it would be widely accepted by every single city across the country. But I think we have just such a neat culture here in Bend, we have so many great activities. All sorts of them centered around beer and biking and family that I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.” They hope to offer this Cycle Pub year round, weather permitting.
A contract has been awarded for the construction of a new Central Oregon Community College Science Building. Kirby Nagelhaut Construction of Bend will build a new 47,000 square foot building for $12.5 million. Nagelhaut was one of 11 bids received. This is the fourth of five major buildings paid through 2009 bond. The final project will be a Technology Education Center in Redmond.
Jake’s Diner will be serving up spaghetti dinners this Sunday night and the proceeds will help pay the way for some World War II veterans to go to Washington, D.C. The Bend Band of Brothers and Jake's are partnering to raise money to send the vets aboard one of the Honor Flights. Veterans advocate Dick Tobiason is coordinating the event: “The $10 fee people pay; 100% goes to the Honor Flight to ensure veterans get to see the Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol, the White House. We'll be back there for two days and every dollar helps.” Jake's will be holding the spaghetti feed Sunday, February 20th from 4 to 6 p.m. The spaghetti dinners $10 dollars a person.
The largest local winter event hits in Central Oregon this weekend: Winterfest starts today in Bend and concludes on Sunday. Alana Audette with the Central Oregon Visitors Association says the popular winter party is usually provides a healthy boost to tourism numbers: "It's beer gardens, snowboard displays, aerial acrobatics, so it really runs the gamut of something for everyone. Great food great drink; great atmosphere, terrific music." Audette says you can go to www.visitcentraloregon.com for all the details. The events are held in the Old Mill District and in downtown Bend.
A bill that's sailing through Salem could mean tax savings to you. State Senator Chris Telfer says a bill is on a fast track right now that would re-connect Oregon tax rules with the federal rules. The Bill passed in the Senate Thursday and is retro-active to 2010: "What we have done is reconnected. So they are the same laws. So what happens to those people trying to file their tax returns right now? The Department of Revenue has essentially said: ‘Well, we'll let them file as if the law was actually in effect.’” Telfer suggests that you talk to your tax professional to get specific advice.
When Bend Broadband opens its new data storage center in six weeks it will be Central Oregon’s largest solar powered project in the region. Paul Israel owns Sunlight Solar. “We always thought to ourselves, this building would be perfect for solar power. It will generate 150,000 watts, the largest in Central Oregon. It will power 25% of from sunshine on a daily basis. The new Bend Broadband storage facility will store data and rent space to businesses to house their computer servers.
In the last six months, the owner of Baldy's BBQ has tripled his number of restaurants. Brian Dioguardi opened the BBQ restaurant on the west side six years ago. Last August, he opened one on the east side and now he's opening another in Redmond. “It was the recession the let me really see into my business. What’s important; what's working ,what wasn't working. 2007-2008 was a lean year, so we changed things, changed dynamics, changed the way we hired and changed the way we train. Baldy’s BBQ in Redmond is expected to open the first week of March.
A Bend attorney is making a legal challenge that if he's correct could mean a huge windfall of millions of dollars to state agencies and school districts. The big losers in the game would be State workers and their retirement accounts. Bend attorney Dan Re has been extensively researching the history of PERs, and he believes that judges who are in PERs themselves have a conflict of interest and can't rule on cases involving the Public Employee Retirement System: “What I did on February 14th, I filed a petition with the Oregon Supreme Court and I also filed motions to disqualify all the Oregon Supreme Court Justices from actually deciding that petition. And this is based on an earlier case that I filed in the Oregon Tax Court, and I was allegeding that: it’s unconstitutional for Oregon public employers to pick up employees PERs Employee contributions.“ In 1994 Oregonians passed Measure 8, which directs the State to stop putting in the employee pick-up. Two years later the Justices, who were all in PERs, threw out Measure 8. Re says if he wins all of that money, 17 years of contributions and portfolio growth would have to come out of the workers account and be refunded to the State.
The Bend City Council is not going to act to save Bend’s Indoor Market on southwest Scott Street. That is leaving the market's owner and the vendors furious, and they vow to keep fighting. At issue is allowing a retail use in a light industrial zone. Bend City Manager Eric King says the issue before Council is whether they should act to relax the code to allow the market: “Council deciding taking this action could jeopardize their UGB negotiations with the State, and they don't have time to re-write this code. They said the property owners should apply for a variance; otherwise they will not act and leave this up to code enforcement.” Stephen White of the Indoor Market was angry: “Oran Teater has brought up to council, there are plenty of these violations all over the industrials zones. So if they need formal complaint, they’re going to get them [KBND’s Dave Adams: “Are you going to files the complaints?] White: Oh I will, I’m not going to let the City pick on me, if you will and all of these other people who are trying to survive in business here.” White says after Wednesday night's Council meeting, he will not have an indoor market this weekend, but that this issue is far from over.
We are about six weeks away from the opening of a major data center in Central Oregon. Bend Broadband will soon complete phase one of a three phase project they feel will be an incentive to come to Central Oregon: “The vault is a project that will help attract businesses to Central Oregon and help get people back to work. It's another economic driver that we can put in our asset column here in Central Oregon.” The data center is called the Bend Broadband vault and will house data and computers from businesses that rent space. The 30,000 square foot facility has solar panels lining the roof that will provide about 10% of the facilities needs. That is enough electricity to power dozens of homes.
The question of spending up to $30-million to fix Bend streets will be on the May ballot. City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to send the issue before voters. The question will be whether to allow a levy which had funded a Downtown Urban Renewal District to continue and shift that money to fix specific City streets: “It is ultimately the decision of the voters as to whether they would prefer to spend that money on infrastructure or whether they would prefer to have a tax cut. I think it's a legitimate question to ask people as Eric pointed out the condition of our streets is not good.” Bend Mayor Jeff Eager says the levy is for up to 27-cents per $1000 of assessed value. That would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $54 a year. The money would be targeted to specific street projects, principally the Reed Market Corridor, including improvements at Simpson and Mount Washington Drive. If there is money left over, other road projects will be included.
Visitors can now find all everything they want to know about Bend's breweries with one touch. Do you remember last year when Visit Bend launched the "Ale Trail"? It’s a map and passport that shows you how to tour all the microbreweries and pubs in Bend. Well, now there's an "App" for that. “Wehave a very special thing here in Bend with our craft brewery scene and I think just having an App to make it easier for people on the go to interact with it is a perfect combination." Lynette Braillard with Visit Bend says they have been working on the App ever since the Bend Ale Trail launched last summer. The App is available for I-Phone, I-Pad and I-Pod touch users immediately. You can find it through I-Tunes or at the Bend Ale Trail website.
The Redmond Police Lieutenant accused of stealing guns out of the Department's inventory has resigned from the police force. Redmond Mayor George Endicott was on KBND's “Your Town” this morning: "Yeah, he resigned yesterday. I don't know if he came into City Hall or how it happened specifically, but I saw our City Manager last night after I got back from Salem and he did inform me that lt. Prince had resigned." Larry Prince, 48, was arrested last week and is charged with official misconduct, theft and forgery. He had been in charge of the firearms inventory for about 10 years and had worked for the Redmond Police Department since 1994.
Pacific Power crews worked overnight to restore power to several thousand customers. Tom Gaunt with Pacific Power gives us an update on the progress they're making: “Well, they worked through the night. There are a little bit over 700 customers still out over 200 outages in Central Oregon. To give you perspective, at 10 p.m. last night there 3500 customers were out.” To find out when the outages should be repaired, you can call 1-877-508-5088 or go to: www.pacificpower.net . Central Electric still has about 500 customers without power, mainly in the Bend and Sisters areas.
Mayor George Endicott says reports from staff and citizens show they did a good job handling Tuesday’s sudden storm: “First thing they did was keep the graveyard crews on to go ahead and be able to double the plow capacity. So we were doing more plowing yesterday than we typically do we usually do a mix of cinders; and this time it was almost all plowing and by mid-afternoon we had almost all of the roads down to bare pavement. Of course the warming up helped as well." Endicott says they also had several reports of heart attacks because of people trying to shovel the heavy snow. Medical experts throughout Central Oregon are urging people not to shovel if they have major health issues.
The Deschutes County Sheriffs Office will get help from the Department of Homeland Security in a regional communications overhaul. The help comes in the form of a $205,000 grant. $50,000 will buy 37 radios and the rest will help fund a study to help determine what kind of regional communication system is needed. Improved inter-agency communications is part of a nationwide mandate from the Federal Communications Commission to better prepare the country for regional events including terrorists’ attacks. Local officials say reliable communication is critical: “It is huge. In fact yesterday was a perfect example, the 911 system went down for about an hour and a half. We had no body to tell us where to go. It is a huge critical piece of public safety is our ability to be able to communicate.” Deschutes County Sheriffs Captain Tim Edwards says it is getting more difficult to find replacement parts for the current radio system. He says this study will give local planners input on exactly what kind of replacement system should be purchased. He says this large of a purchase would be phased in over several years.
The Red Cross set up a shelter at Sky View Middle School Tuesday night for people without power, but no one used it. It was set up fearing that the couple thousand people without power last night, might need an option to stay warm. Bend La Pine School District officials say although no one needed it, it was great practice for future times such a shelter may be needed.
Line crews from Pacific Power are still hard at work trying to restore power to more than a thousand customers after Tuesday’s snowstorm. As of 3:30 this morning, 1,473 customers were still without electricity: “Our crews are hard at work getting everyone restored as quickly and as safely as possible, but this will be an extended outage, it could even go into several days for some customers.” Jan Mitchell is with Pacific Power: “At the peak of the outage almost 11,000 customers were without electricity. A foot of very heavy wet snow proved to be too much for some tree limbs, causing them to fall into power lines. The weight of the snow on some power poles and lines exceeded their capacity causing some lines to fall or otherwise fail.” Mitchell says crews will stay on the job until all power is restored.
Be very careful on the morning commute, especially on the side streets and back roads: “Secondary roads that did not get initially plowed Tuesday are frozen pretty much solid because it was real wet snow yesterday. It can pitch your car from side to side just like you were driving on a rutty road. It also can cause some damage to the underside of your vehicle just like you drove over a road. So, until crews can reach those secondary roads, just asking people to be careful with that as well.” Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says the City of Bend, Deschutes County road crews, and ODOT are all out plowing roads this morning.
The lights and heat are still not back on for more than a thousand Central Oregon residents. Power company crews are still on the job fixing the damage from Tuesday's storm. Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says they have not made a decision yet on a warming shelter for tonight: We will reassess that situation this morning and be in contact with the power companies to see what the plan is for extended outage if that is what is going to happen for the homes that are without power.” Sky View Middle School was opened at 5:30 Wednesday night and used as a warming shelter for residents who did not have electricity.
Tuesday’s snowstorm gave the City of Bend a chance to "test" their emergency preparedness. “In the last couple of years especially, the City has adopted a comprehensive operations plan. How we would respond to an emergency as a city. This is the first time we have actually activated our EOC, or our Emergency Operations Center.” The City of Bend's Justin Finestone says they have conducted exercises, but Tuesdays storm was the first use of the system. Finestone says if the situation warrants, the City many combine it's operation's center with the County or State. That did not happen Tuesday.
Some Central Oregon residents are waking up this morning wondering when the power will come back on. Carly Hibbs, 16, of Prineville said their family of four fared pretty well despite being without electricity for almost 24-hours: “It wasn’t too bad. We had the fire going, it got pretty boring because we normally watch TV or do something involving electricity, but we sat by the fire and played cards last night until it was time to go to bed.” Hibbs said a propane fireplace was working without power. Today they are getting up earlier than normal to go to school for a shower. Hibbs says her barn and even her neighbors have power, but their home near the fairgrounds in Prineville is still without electricity. She says her plans today depend a lot on electricity.
An eight month long investigation ends with the arrest of a Madras man. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team - or CODE - served a search warrant at the home of Horacio Galan Gonzalez, 31. Their investigation reveals that Gonzalez was involved in the distribution of methamphetamine throughout Central Oregon. Evidence seized during the arrest included over two ounces of meth, digital scales and a firearm. He was arrested for numerous charges related to drug possession and trafficking. Taken into custody without incident and is lodged in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility.
This is what you need to know:
Pacific Power call line to find out about your outage: 1-877-508-5088.
As of 5:00 am Wuesday- About 3000 people are still affected by the power outage in Central Oregon.
Flights in and out of Roberts Field are unaffected by the weather.
ALERT: 911 phone & radio lines are back up- but please don't call unless there is a TRUE EMERGENCY.
Power crews are still out restoring power after nearly 11,000 people were without power earlier today. The heavy, wet snow caused many downed power lines. Pacific Power representatives say about 7300 customers are still without power, but crews will be working overnight to bring it back on. Jan Mitchell is with Pacific Power: “We’re still assessing all the damage. And our crews are hard at work to get everyone restored as quickly and safely as possible. But it could be an extended outage, it could even go into several days for some customers. We are bringing in crews from other areas to assist. Crews from Albany, Walla, Walla, Grants Pass, Pendleton, all coming in to assist the crews that are already there.” Again 7300 people remain without power at this hour. To check when the power is expected to be back on, you can call 1-877-508-5088. You can also check www.pacificpower.net.
With Central Electric Customers…
Jeff Beaman of Central Electric Co-Op says 10,000 customers were affected at the peak of the outage, which came around 5am. There are about 5000 still without power throughout their 5300 square mile system. Crews are working to re-establish these scattered outages, but it will take time to get to them all. Beaman is not estimating how long it will take CEC to get all power restored.
Bend residents have been out with snow shovels all day trying to clear the deluge of snow Mother Nature dropped on us early this morning. City officials say they have been plowing roads all day and so far flooding has not been a problem: “We are finished up clearing the streets, it will be cold tonight, so we will have gravel trucks out to keep them open. We did not experience the flooding we thought we might get. We did not get the rain that was expected, there was no flooding over the underpass. We are just getting ready for some more snow Wednesday, and we will be out plowing as soon as it starts.” City of Bend spokesman Justin Finestone. The Red Cross has set up a warming shelter at Sky View Middle School, if some of the 7000 residents who are still without electricity want to warm up.
Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says this is one of the worst storm we've seen in awhile - with lots of power outages- he has this advice and warning: “Lots of power lines down this morning. This snow that we’re experiencing that just keeps coming is probably some of the heaviest snow that we’ve had in a long time. It gets in the branches and the trees, and gets on the power lines and knocks the power lines down. Also just the mere weight of the snow collecting on the power lines is causing an issue. We have power lines down inDeschutes River Woods Area, Redmond area, Tumalo area. We just ask that people use caution in their travel. If you see a power line down, do not get out of the car and try to touch the power line. Just call and we’ll try to get out and remedy the situation and get the Power Company out as soon as we can.”
A bad economy is bringing out some bad behaviors in downtown Bend. The head of the Downtown Bend Business Association says they are helping merchants be pro-active in dealing with some behavior challenges in or near their stores. Chuck Arnold explains: “The challenges of a multitude of people that are faced with either mental health issues; homelessness; joblessness will create an increase in drug use because of people having tough circumstances and some turning to drugs and then what that creates is a set of behavior issues and that's what were trying to address downtown as far as addressing the challenges." Arnold says one way they are tackling the problem is a campaign called "say no to panhandling". The marketing message urges people and business owners not to give cash to homeless people, but rather to direct them to the correct social service agency.
The Superintendent of the Redmond School District is apologizing for how they handled the situation with school closures. Shay Mikalson is saying he's sorry to students, parents and staff for the initial decision to run a normal school schedule instead of delaying or canceling classes. District Spokesperson Stephanie Curtis says the roads seemed okay at 5 am; but then the storm really hit hard shortly after that. With 550 square miles, it's a large district, and sometimes a tough call to make: “We're anywhere from Alfalfa to Eagle Crest to Tumalo to Terrebonne and so we have so many different regions that we have to monitor and generally we have to do it as a whole. So we're not closing one school but all the schools. Once again safety is the number one priority for us regarding our students and once again with hindsight we probably would've just gone on a 2 hour delay if we knew the weather was going to continue on the way that it did." Curtis says in her 10 years with the Redmond School District she says this is the first time they've actually decided to totally close some schools.
In the next couple weeks, local veterans hope to put up the last signs honoring World War II veterans along Oregon Highways. Veterans advocate Dick Tobiason says the last two signs will go up on Highway 126 near the Prineville Airport: “We are going to put 19 signs up all along the highway have 13 up. We’ll be putting up two more in Prineville.” The signs are going up in Prineville near the Civilian Pilot Training Site during the 1940's. It was an effort to train more military pilots to meet the war's need.
The heavy snow that fell in the cities and caused all kind of problems this morning, was very much welcome up at Mt. Bachelor. Andy Goggins with Mt. Bachelor says they got 18 inches of new snow and they are expecting snow through tomorrow. He says with most of the schools closed today, many headed to the slopes: “Definitely more kids than normal for a weekday. I think there's a lot of people playing hooky today. We’ve far exceeded the six-inch rule that a lot of people use for using sick days. So I think we've got plenty of people that came up for the powder." Goggins says the snow couldn't have come at a more perfect time; with the long President's Day weekend coming up, they expect more skiers and snowboarders coming in from all over the northwest.
The City of Bend has everything they can find with a snowplow out plowing streets. City officials and crews are dealing with the largest dumping of snow in a six-hour period then the city has experienced in decades. Justin Finestone with the City of Bend explains their priorities: “It’s getting the roads cleared, as it gets colder tonight we will see some freezing and we want to get the roads cleared before that happens so we can treat the roads with mag chloride or rocks. You have to get most of the snow off first. And then flooding, if it continues to warm up or rain, we may see some flooding in the underpasses, so other crews are out clearing drains. We’ve got our pumps on standby and they are ready to run out to the underpasses and clear those if they start filling up as well.” Finestone says the City has an Emergency Operations Center up and running. Their recommendation is if you can stay home, please do so.
Nearly a foot of snow fell on Central Oregon overnight and the heavy wet snow managed to cancel most schools and trigger many power outages. Over 10,000 customers have been affected by power outages all over Central Oregon this morning. Jan Mitchell is the Pacific Power spokesperson: “We’re still assessing all the damage. And out crews are hard at work to get everyone restored as quickly and as safely as possible. But it could be an extended outage. It could go several days for some customers. We are bringing in crews from other areas to assist. Crews from Albany, Walla Walla, Grants Pass, Pendleton, all coming in to assist the crews that are already there.” Mitchell says the heaviest hit area is in Bend, but power is out in many other places including Redmond, Prineville and the Sisters area. She reminds people not to touch any downed power lines and to turn on your porch light so crews will know when power is restored to your area.
A reminder from Mother Nature that winter is not over! It started snowing early this morning and didn't stop until nearly a foot of the white stuff covered the ground. Meteorologist Mark Thibodeau with the Weather Channel says it caught a lot of people by surprise: “Well, we really did see a good hit. We got 7 to 12 inches across the region. Further west they got heavier, further east lighter. Across the Bend area we saw an average of 9 to 10 inches, with localized amounts of 11 to 12 inches.” We are under a winter storm warning until 6 p.m. tonight. We will see maybe a couple more inches of snow throughout the afternoon, but the worst should be over.
Mother nature really threw a curve ball to Central Oregon this morning. The heavy snowfall in a short amount of time didn't just cause problems on roads, even the Deschutes County 911 Dispatch had their own emergency this morning. "It was about 7:40 this morning we had a power outage and basically, all of our equipment went down at that time. we had to get on cell phones and transfer through quest, transfer our 911 lines. And then in the mean time, we had to try to figure out the issue with the power. Obviously this being the kind of building this is, we have a back up system. We determined there had been some kind of failure in the transfer switch. Getting a hold of vendors and with the weather, it made it tough for people to respond. We eventually got the power back going and then we needed to bring our equipment back up and then get the calls transferred to here form OSP Medford." 911 Director, Rob Porier says this is the first time in the new Dispatch Center that they have had such an emergency and finding out the weaknesses in the power system will help them improve their equipment.
This is what we know:
As of 5:00 pm Tuesday- About 7000 people are still affected by the power outage in Central Oregon.
Flights in and out of Roberts Field are unaffected by the weather.
Noon- Pacific Power reports the outage is affecting over 10,000 customers. Some outages could be prolonged for several days. They warn not to touch a downed power lines and turn on your porch light so crews can see when power is restored to your area.
12:00- Bend Public Library is closed.
11:00 am- The Deschutes County EOC has been deactivated.
ALERT: 911 phone & radio lines are back up- but please don't call unless there is a TRUE EMERGENCY.
New at 9:55 am- Juniper Swim & Fitness is closed today- no power or phones.
also- the film "Cartel" to be shown at Highland Baptist Church tonight is
New at 9:30: All Bend Municipal Court trials and arraignments are cancelled today, February 15, due to weather conditions. Appointments for today can be rescheduled by calling 541-388-5572. If phones are down or busy, you many wait until tomorrow to call and reschedule.
New at 9:15 am: Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon's Bend Branch will open two hours later today, following the two hour snow delay for Bend La Pine School District. Youth members who attend the Club in the morning should come in two hours later.
NEW! at 9:09 am- accident at Butler Market & Wells Acres- police directing traffic
NEW! at 8:57 am-The Public Works department has called out private contractors to supplement city snow removal crews. Contractors will be clearing residential streets throughout the city for the next 12 hours. I'll send further updates via email as information becomes available.
Deschutes River Woods – also a downed tree on a power line at Baker & Brookswood- no traffic moving there
Downtown Bend- tree on power line on Broadway
Power out from north of Black Butte Ranch through all of Sisters & Tumalo
Power out in SW Redmond
Trinity Lutheran Closed
Sisters school closed
Bend La Pine- closed
St. Francis – 2 hr delay
ALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN Redmond, including Terrebonne & Tumalo CLOSED
Redmond Middle & high schools open
BAT Buses on snow delay & snow routes
NO HEADSTART in Bend, La Pine, Redmond and Prineville
Bend Park & Rec no AM Kids Inc. or AM Kindercare
Cascade Disposal no pick ups today- will stagger the rest of the week thru Saturday.
Many trees are downing power lines around Central Oregon.
If traffic signals are out- use as 4-way stop
A pair of Bend teens are arrested for car theft and other charges after a report of a stolen vehicle around one thirty Sunday morning. The car was reported missing from a home on northwest Flagline Drive in Bend. Police find the suspect driving the car, on southwest Blakely Road about a half hour later. Police attempted to stop the car, but the suspect, Derek Allen Anderson, 17, of Bend jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran away. The car continued forward, smashing into a utility box. A police K-9 was able to track the suspect to a nearby residence and arrested Anderson for the theft and other charges related to the crime. Police also arrest another teen in the residence, Zachary Steven Alexander Searcy, 17, on similar charges and hindering prosecution. Police would like to warn you to remember to lock your cars and secure items inside you vehicle, especially at night.
Bend La Pine Schools Superintendent Ron Wilkinson says when it comes to allowing students to transfer to different schools, he tries to be accommodating. Currently the School District is reviewing the boundaries for the middle schools: “Whenever that conversation comes up; we also get into the conversation about how we honor parental choice to a very high level in our District in terms of being able to enroll their students in schools outside of their neighborhood if it meets their family needs for various reasons.” A recent report shows some of the top reasons that students transfer to a different middle school. One favorite was due to convenience and transportation. For example: a parent who worked near one of the middle schools so it was easier to visit the class and drop off and pick up their child. Other parents cited a recent move or boundary change. And finally, some students chose to go to Cascade Middle School to attend class in the Talented and Gifted Program. A handful of students transfer into Pilot Butte from other schools because they experience bullying and other social problems at other schools. Wilkinson was a guest this morning on KBND’s “Your Town.”
Bend’s Veterans Center has moved into its new location. They actually moved a week ago, and tomorrow they will have the new phone number up and running. The Vets Center had been meeting in a City owned building on Franklin Avenue until they could move into their permanent location on Highway 20 near Lava Lanes. The new Vets Center offers group counseling and other services to veterans.
In Egypt, the military has dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution and vowed to have elections within six months, following the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Madras Doctor, Suzanne El-Attar spent several years living in Egypt and her parents still spend several months a year there. She's hopeful the transition will continue to be peaceful: “90% of Egypt is Muslim but 10% is Christian. And they have always had a good relationship and been a very tolerant country. It's not radical Islamist country. I hope we can transition to a democracy that is respectful, but not radical.” Protestors are continuing to demand an immediate repeal of Egypt's 30 year Emergency Law. It allows the government to arrest people without charge.
The Corporate Office of Round Table Pizza in California filed for bankruptcy last week. But the local owners of the Round Table Restaurant in Bend say it won't affect them: “We're a franchise, a locally owned one. We are not closing. Whatever is going on in San Francisco or Menlo Park has nothing to do with Bend, Oregon.
Corey Howland says the Corporate Office filed Chapter Eleven, which will allow them to restructure their debt. Round Table owns 128 restaurants and has 355 franchises in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii , Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
We will have a chance to look at the future of Bend real estate this morning as the Bend Chamber of Commerce hosts their annual Real Estate Forecast Breakfast. “The title I have put on my presentation is: “Up From the Depths.” Bend has been at the extremes of the real estate cycle in the United States. Bend, for a while, had some of the most rapidly rising prices following by some of the most rapidly falling prices.” Economic Analyst John Mitchell says he wants to step back from that; looking at what caused it, and then observing that the ingredients for a rebound are falling into place. The Real Estate Forecast Breakfast will be this morning at 8 at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend.
Legitimate organizations that are trying to rescue girls from human trafficking are running into a problem. Some of the groups soliciting money for rescue operations don't have the girls well being in mind. “Seen a lot of groups that are rescuing girls, and they get on the Internet and they tell everybody we just rescued 25 this week, send your money, and people are sending their money. Next week, they go out and rescue another 25. What they are not telling you is that the first 25 they rescued they are putting back out onto the streets so they have run to go rescue another 25.” Dave Rogers of Operation Ransom says his goal is to create a facility where the girls can be taken if the first rescue agency simply turns them away. The plan is to have a dorm type facility where the girls can live for a year or two to rehabilitate the girls for the long term.
The failure of some Oregon charter schools, includes the ones in Sisters, has state lawmakers looking at ways to prevent future problems. The bills would give the State more oversight, but State Representative Jason Conger isn't convinced you can prevent what happened in Sisters: “At the end of the day, if the investigation show fraud or malfeasance, I don't think you can legislate against this. If someone is willing to commit fraud I’m not sure how you legislate around that.” Ed Choices, which ran the Sisters Charter Schools is still being investigated by the Department of Justice on possible racketeering violations.
The Bend City Council will again revisit the hot topic of whether to allow retail uses in industrial zones. The subject surfaced when the City warned the owners of the Bend Indoor Market, that they could not operate in that location because is zoned industrial. An uproar ensued when the market was told to close before Christmas. Pressure from vendors and shoppers alike gave them a reprieve for several weeks, but they were advised that the owners need to file a $12,000 text amendment for a zoning change to permanently stay. City Manager Eric King says, they have heard from any sides of the issue and they just want to be fair: “The last thing we want to de is be a roadblock for businesses. Our goal is to really see this local economy improve and we have to balance that with property rights. We can't treat one property different than the other. We have to be fair in how we enforce property rights. I think if somebody lived next door to a business that just all of a sudden spring up and they thought it was a residential property; it would impact enjoying their property. And so we have to make sure they have a voice. I just want folks to look at the other side of it too and that we're just trying to do our best to balance all those interests." On February 16th the City Council will open the meeting to public comment about the issue. Eric king was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” last week.
A Bend High junior receives a prestigious award. Maryn Beutler, 17, is chosen as the 2010-11 Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Beutler is the first Bend student to be chosen for the award. Sshe says soccer has helped her grow in many areas: “It’s just something that I can do that helps me forget about everything else that's going on in my life and kind of get away and have fun and improve, not only by playing soccer but just, it's also shaped me as a person mentally; and as a teammate and a leader." The diminutive Beutler only stand about 5’2”, but she helped lead the Lava Bears to the Class 5A State Quarterfinals. Sshe scored none goals and 15 assists this season. Beutler says she plans to attend the University of Oregon on an athletic scholarship in 2012.
A tough economy isn't stopping people from going to McDonalds. The owner of several stores in Central Oregon says their overall numbers of customers is on the increase: "We're actually seeing more traffic through our doors; but there is a shift in the type of meals the customer orders and they are ordering smaller meals."
With fewer people out in the job force, owner Nanette Bittler says she noticed fewer people buying Egg McMuffins in the morning during the past couple of years. She's also noticed a tangible change in attitude recently: in the past six months or so she says customers have been more upbeat.
It’s been a tradition for about 13 years. The Great Backyard Bird Count begins Friday. It's a four day family fun event that can help scientists map bird migrations and habitats. Kevin Lair, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Bend says he's been helping with the count for years: "My wife, myself, our sons have been doing it for years. They really enjoy it. It’s something we do anyways. We pay attention to the birds, and enjoy watching the birds coming into our yards. This is just a little more formal in that we take 15-20 minutes each morning and really keep track and note the different species and the numbers of individuals that are coming in. It's kind of fun to try to make the lost as large as possible and try to beat previous years." Lair says it's very simple. All you have to do is tally the birds you see in a 15 minute to two hour space at least once during the 4 days. Then log on to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website and record your findings. There are links to help you identify the birds. Lair says its truly amazing at the various species of birds that reside in the high desert. Find more information on their website- we have a link on our “Links” page. You can also record your count there.
Ken and Linda Johnson of Bend have been married for almost 40 years. As the leaders of Westside Church in Bend for decades they've helped a lot of struggling couples. Linda Johnson says problems often start with communication breakdowns: “So often a man and a woman come with so many different backgrounds and sometimes they come with a lot of baggage. It’s like a man and a woman speak two different languages; so much of the time is spent on the wedding, but not on the marriage and they need to learn how to communicate and to listen and to understand each other." Pastor Ken Johnson advises everyone to keep three "couplets" handy: they are: I was wrong, I am sorry and please forgive me. Ken and Linda Johnson were guests last week on 1110 KBND’s “Your Town.”
The Stock Market is reacting positively to the news of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepping down. KBND financial analyst Troy Reinhart says the market reacted quickly to the news: “Markets were selling off this morning. They were down, the S & P was down 6 points on news of Mubarak stepping down. Investors were confused and worried about the news. But within 15 minutes, the Markets turned around and were up 5 to 6 points. The equity markets are happy about what's going on.” After weeks of government protests, Mubarak’s resignation clears up uncertainty about escalating tensions in the country.
Appealing to the "new generation" in Egypt, President Obama applauded the protesters who succeeded Friday in ousting Hosni Mubarak following days of demonstrations -- saying they have "inspired" Americans with their nonviolent activism and vowing that the two countries will remain partners.
Obama cautioned that there will be "difficult days ahead" but expressed confidence that the Egyptian people will achieve a true democracy "peacefully." As his administration has done for the past two weeks, he called for a "credible" transition that ensures free elections and protects the rights of Egyptians.
"The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same," Obama said.
Following days of uncertainty regarding Mubarak's plans, the president compared the outcome Friday to other seminal changes of the past century, including India's rise against the British and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Though Mubarak has been a key U.S. ally for decades, Obama did not mention Mubarak by name in his remarks. He cast the power shift as the manifestation of ordinary Egyptians' "boundless aspirations" for a better country and government.
"Egyptians have inspired us," he said. "For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing ... that bent the arc of history toward justice once more."
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and handed control of the country to the military. Kerry Gillette of La Pine spent much of her childhood in Egypt because her parents are teachers at the American International School in Cairo. She is surprised how the change in power has occurred: “I thought that this would happen when Mubarak would pass away. We thought that was coming in the next several years; certainly we didn't think they would start a movement on their own." She also believes that technology played a large role in the historic change in power. Gillette's parents are currently in California visiting family and plan to return to Cairo in the next few weeks.
Continuing with our Duffer's Diary, 1110 KBND's roving reporter, Scott Robson files this report on the first full day of pro play at the 2011 AT& T National Pro Am Tournament in Pebble Beach: Dustin Johnson birdied his final hole at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club for a 1 over 71 in his bid to become the first player to win this event three consecutive times. He opened with a 7 under- 65 in 2009 and an 8 under 64 in 2010, both at Pebble Beach. Johnson's a four time PGA tour winner and is looking to be the first player since Tiger Woods to win in four consecutive years straight out of college. With a win in 2011, Dustin Johnson would join four players with three or more victories at the AT& T at Pebble Beach National Pro Am: Mark O'Meara with five, Jack Nicklaus with three, Johnny Miller, three and Phil Mickelson with three.
Another entry in our Duffers' Diary Day 3: The tournament kicked off with an exciting feat from Alex Cejka and Scott Robson files this report: Alex Cejka. He shot a 64 yesterday, had his first albatross of the season. There were 6 overall in 2010. On his first hole, a par 5-10th, with a driver and 3-wood; 248 yards in. Dating from 1982, he's the only player to start a tour event with an albatross. Cejka is making his 7th start at Pebble Beach. He ended his round with a six-under 64.
The Downtown Urban Renewal District's funding is about to sunset. Chuck Arnold, Executive Director of the Downtown Bend Business Association says the funding was used for years to help erase blight out of the downtown area and now, the private businesses have taken that over: "I think the challenges are: if we were to make the conversation about, we need new trash cans or we need new signs downtown. When that argument is put up against the challenges the City is facing right now of having to lay off police and firefighters. You know, it's now a great argument. And to have the private sector take some ownership and responsibility over it. In a lot of ways you get a really great result. And a lot more ownership of downtown businesses and property owners. They say, “You know we built this, we maintain this so lets all work together to keep it looking good." Arnold says they're totally in agreement that the funding should end. He adds that the Urban Renewal put in the parking garage, street lamps and may other capital projects.
The Redmond High School naming committee has whittled down 125 ideas for a new name, down to three. Committee spokesperson Toni Duff says the number three choice; is Grandview High School; number two is South Redmond High School and the top choice is: Ridgeview High School. “The words “Ridge” and “View” came up multiple times. We had 125 recommended names. We felt that combining those two names the committee felt that was a great combination. There is a spectacular view of the Ridge when you're out there and of course the name is unique; but it also honors the historical community of Pleasant Ridge. The Pleasant Ridge School was opened in 1907 and closed in the 1920's.” The community can weigh in on these top three by sending an email to the District. A student committee will help pick colors and a mascot. District email: email@example.com
State Representative Jason Conger of Bend is getting unanimous support for the first bill he carried as a State Representative. Yesterday he won support for House Bill 2240 that would allow restaurant workers in Bend and across the state to voluntarily waive their breaks in order to earn more tip money. The current system allows for servers to opt out of their half hour breaks, but it's scheduled to sunset. Conger says he knows the “Food-Server Bill isn't going to 'save our economy' but it can help: "But the fact of the matter is, some of those smaller changes that we can make have an impact. If the food server earns a little bit more money, and you spread that out over 20,000 people; number one they can support their families better and I think we'd all be grateful for that right now: number two its one less intrusion of government into decisions that individuals can make better for themselves." Conger says the measure also protects the servers by stopping employers from coercing their servers into waiving breaks. Employers who violate the law could face a fine of $2000 each time they force an employee to skip their break.
Redmond Police arrested two people on multiple burglary charges following a traffic stop Thursday morning. Jodie Rains and Rodney Speck of Redmond were wanted for probation violation, ID theft, and fraudulent use of a credit card, forgery and burglary. The two are currently in the Deschutes County Jail. The arrests allowed officers to recover a large amount of property from thefts committed through the State of Oregon and parts of Washington State. The thefts were mainly from vehicle break-ins, but some were home break ins.
Conflicting reports are coming out of Egypt at this hour, about whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be stepping down tonight. Egypt's Army Chief of Staff told protestors that “all your demands will be met tonight’;, but State run TV in Egypt is saying Mubarak won't be stepping down. Kerry Gillette of La Pine who has lived in Egypt, is watching the new developments with much interest: “If he does step down, I don't know what that will mean. Will the protestors accept the transitional government, the newly elected VP and Prime Minister? People are really hopeful.” Hosni Mubarak is expected to make a live address tonight from the Presidential Palace in Cairo.
Snowboarders call it the "playground". Mid afternoon Wednesday, Deschutes County Search and Rescue were called to that area after an adventurous snowboarder landed in a precarious position due to icy conditions: “The one gentlemen unfortunately had got himself caught in a tree, the tree was actually above an area of cliffs or hills with about a 60-degree slope. He was 50 to 100 feet above the ground in this tree.” Lieutenant Scott Shelton of the Deschutes County Sheriffs Office says 17 rescue team members worked from mid afternoon into the evening hours Wednesday night to bring Stephen Kresge, 38, of Portland to safety. Shelton says the people with Kresge did the right thing by calling for help as soon as possible. This allowed Search and Rescue to reach the scene and work with enough daylight.
Nurses at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville overwhelming vote to keep its union. Nurses voted the union in two years ago, but the hospital and workers have been unable to hammer out a contract since then. Some nurses wanted to decertify, but the final vote was 22 to keep the union and 5 to get rid of it. Katy Vitcovitch, Senior Vice President of Humane Resources for St. Charles says they'll head back to the bargaining table. The Prineville nurses voted on keeping its union over the last two days.
City Manager Eric King says while they are talking about major traffic improvements in Bend at a special workshop tonight; that doesn't mean the City won't also take care of the regular maintenance that potholes require. Eric King was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” this morning. He says the City gets a lot of citizen feedback on the problem of potholes: “This is the time of year when we get, with the freezing and thawing that we're going to get the potholes. Especially with the roundabouts in tow, where you have a lot of turning movements, you have a lot of pressure. I think we've learned some things as we've designed those roundabouts: that we might look at using a different material that just a little more durable than standard asphalt to be able to minimize the amount of potholes with roundabouts." When potholes come up its hard to get out right away to fix the potholes because the asphalt plants close down for the winter. He says they can probably tackle it in April.
The Pine Tavern in Bend is closing, but just for two weeks to allow remodeling. “The historic, iconic Pine Tavern will remain. We are really just doing more of a refresh and getting some decent bathrooms in here. It’s been a long time since this beautiful place has been refreshed and updated a little bit. We are just really putting in new carpets and new upholstery and new bathrooms.” Owner Justine Bennett says they will close Tuesday, the day after Valentines Day and reopen with a grand opening March third. In 75-years, the Pine Tavern has only changed ownership four times and Bennett says they will be part of the Bend landscape for years to come.
Which roads do you want to see fixed in Bend, and are you willing to pay for it? That’s what City Councilors want to find out tonight. During an Open House tonight from 5 to 7 at City Hall. The question is whether or not to continue a 27-cents per $1000 levy and re-direct the money to roads. Right now that levy funds a downtown Bend Redevelopment District, but that will sunset this year; “They are supposed to make a final decision based on the election timelines next week. So prior to their decision, we needed to get public input as to which projects the public would support or like to see done.” Justin Finestone of the City of Bend says three options will be presented during tonight's Open House. One of those options is to fix the Reed Market Corridor; another is to focus on northeast Bend, namely the Empire Avenue industrial area. City Councilors say they want to list specific road projects so voters will know exactly where the money will go.
Senator Chris Telfer of Bend is pretty confident that she can push through a bill that will help police treat a drugged minor the same way a "drunk" minor is treated. Currently, police can send a drunk student home from school and take other action, but can't do the same thing if a student is stoned; unless they find drugs on the minor. Telfer says she's getting support for making the law the same for both. She says stoned minors are a problem in the high schools; the middle schools and even around town: “And it isn't just schools. Police are unable to do a whole lot about it." If the Bill passes an emergency clause will put it into effect right away.
A Redmond Police lieutenant has been arrested for allegedly selling guns out of the police department's inventory. Larry Prince, 48, was arrested in Coos Bay. He had been on paid administrative leave since December 30th. Redmond Police Chief Dave Tarbet requested a criminal investigation after an audit turned up some red flags such as possible missing funds, firearms and accessories: "Well given the circumstances surrounding the arrest, I wanted the community to know that this certainly affects us all and I know there are some citizens out there who are very disappointed and saddened and we feel the same way here on the inside as well. However, we are the type of agency that we will hold our own accountable and take appropriate steps to ensure that an investigation is conducted when and if criminal behavior or crminal indicators are present." Lt. Prince was in charge of the firearms inventory for about 10 years. He came to the Redmond Police Department in 1994. He charged with official misconduct, theft and forgery all in the first degree.
Pioneer Memorial Hospital is trying to recruit more primary care physicians. Pioneer Memorial Hospital CEO Bob Gomes says Prineville’s population has increased over the last ten years, but also some doctors are retiring. “We're competing nationally for a limited resource. It becomes hard in small communities like Prineville because of family and lifestyle. What we're looking for is someone with roots in rural medicine and wants to come back to it.” In recent months, Pioneer has hired a surgeon, a psychologist and two physician assistants.
Day 2 of our Duffer’s Diary brings a report from 1110 KBND's roving reporter, Scott Robson about the 3-M Celebrity Challenge. “Yesterday, we had the 3-M Celebrity Challenge. It was at 11:00 am, here at Pebble Beach. Celebrities were Chris Berman, Kevin Costner, Kenny G, Andy Garcia, Ray Romano, Darius Rucker, Michael Bolton, Clay Walker, Bill Murray, Anthony Anderson, Craig T. Nelson and Kelly Slater. Darius Ruckner actually snap-hooked one out into the crowd on the practice green. . Kevin Costner felt like he was being attacked from al the media trying to interview him. He said he thought it was deer season, He was quite funny.” Today the tournament begins in earnest with tee at 8:00 am with Jesper Parnevik and Tom Driessen. We also have Phil Michelson and Tim Flynn with Jonathon Byrd and Doug McKenzie teeing off at 11 a.m. It’s beautiful weather here now. It’s been amazing, 62 or 63 degrees, no wind, just a gorgeous day. I heard the greens are play really hard.” Scott Robson will be reporting daily from Pebble Beach.
A Redmond Police Lieutenant is being lodged in the Coos County Jail today after his arrest yesterday. According to a Redmond Police Department news release, Lt. Larry Wayne Prince, 48, is accused of personally selling items in the Redmond Police Department firearms and armory inventory while he was in charge of the program. He was arrested yesterday in Coos Bay and had been on paid administrative leave since December 30th. Redmond Police Chief Dave Tarbet requested the criminal investigation after a recent inventory audit turned up irregularities; possible missing funds, firearms and accessories. He was in charge of the program for 10 years. He joined Redmond Police in 1994. Chief Tarbet says he's deeply disappointed over the circumstances surrounding Prince's arrest and says they've already made changes to make sure this will not happen in the future.
Another sign of increasing confidence in the economy. Homes sales in Bend are increasing and so are the prices. “In January, which is the last month we have full statistics for, sale prices are up three percent over January of last year. The number of units sold in Bend, in January of this year was up almost 25% over last year.” Central Oregon Association of Realtors President Lester Friedman says those numbers are even more impressive when you consider there was a stimulus program underway last year that is not longer available. 156 residential units were sold this January compared to 125 last year. He says people are expressing more of a confidence in the economy.
Nurses at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville are voting today on whether to continue with the union. The nurses voted to unionize about two years ago, but haven't been able to come to an agreement over a contract. “They are going through the de-certification process from the ONA which is the Oregon Nurses Association. They actually voted that union in and had never had a union before 22 months ago.” Katy Vitcovich, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for St. Charles, which operates the Prineville Hospital, says nurses will vote in two secret ballot sessions today and tomorrow. We hope to have the results of the vote Thursday.
Thursday night from 5 to 7pm at Bend City Hall you will have a chance to tell City Councilors what they should do about fixing the City's streets. The question is if you're willing to vote for the continuation of a 27-cents per $1000 levy to pay for targeted street projects. There are three options on the table: “There is an a, b, and c option. We are looking at about a $30-million bond measure. Those options, some have very similar parts, I think there are two major differences. One would take care of the Reed Market Corridor, reconstructing Reed Market Road. The other would take care of a corridor at 18th and Empire. There are other options that would include the west side, southeast side, southwest side.” Justin Finestone with the City of Bend says the City Council will decide next Wednesday if they will put the request before voters. The levy is currently funding the Downtown Urban Renewal District, and the proposal is to shift those moneys to street improvements. Proponents say taxpayers are already paying the tax, so it would not be an increase in taxes. Opponents say letting the levy sunset would give property owners a break.
In what we're going to call our "Duffer's Diary", our "in the field" sports reporter, Scott Robson, is working at the 2011 Pebble Beach Pro-Am Golf Tournament this week. He will be talking with several Pro's and celebrities to help us get to know them better. Charley Hoffman, an 11 year pro on the PGA, spoke with Scott about his experience. "SR: Charley, is this your first time to play at this course? CH: No, Monterey Pines, we played last year and its definitely a great addition to the rotation. SR: And what's your favorite thing to do when you're not playing golf, Charley? CH: during the season, we usually sit and relax and hang out with the family more than anything." Scott will be sending us interviews and reporting on the action at Pebble Beach all week.
Later this morning:
In another entry into the "Duffer's Diary"; The Pro-Am brings out more than just the Pro's. 11-10 KBND’s Scott Robson spoke with Mike Krukow, a former major league baseball pitcher who now is the voice of the San Francisco Giants. Krukow relates how it felt when the Giants won the World Series last November: “It’s better than I ever thought it would be. And believe me, I mean, I’ve been 38 years in this game before I got a chance to take a parade ride. And I always envisioned what it would feel like, to be part of an organization thatwon a world championship. And it is so far better than I ever imagined it being, because what it means to the people. That’s the thing that takes you to another level. And that is something that I will take with me to my grave.” Robson will be reporting from Pebble Beach every day, so we can keep on top of the action at the 20-1 AT&T Pro Am. Pro play begins on Thursday.
Congress today is discussing reducing government aid to the Mubarak regime to protect American interests. Some lawmakers fear Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood possibly coming to power when Mubarak steps down. But Kerry Gillette of La Pine who has lived in Egypt isn't worried: “I personally would be shocked if Muslim Brotherhood forced a radical regime on the region. People don't want to go that way, the way of Iran and Afghanistan. They have too much at stake from good relationship with the west, tourism and economic development.” During today's 16th day of protests, massive crowds came out. Human Rights Watch says 300 people have been killed during the nearly two weeks of demonstrations.
Their name will change, but not their mission. Ransomwear of Bend is becoming “Operation Ransom”. “Ransom Wear was based on the clothing we sell that was made by girls we rescue out of brothels in Asia. But we do so much more than that, so operation Ransom will bring a fuller, greater understanding to what we do.” Dave Rogers of Operation Ransom says they support local efforts overseas to rescue girls from human trafficking. Due to efforts in Nepal, more than 1400 girls are saved every month and kept from human traffickers. Operation Ransom will have a booth at the Justice Conference in Bend this Friday and Saturday. It will be held at the Riverhouse Convention Center.
Schools all across the state are anticipating they’ll have to make more cuts, including Sisters. Sisters School District has already made cuts in the past couple years, and new Superintendent Jim Golden says they will be making more: “We've already cut the other things. Those things have already been cut. There's no meat on the bones, so you are cutting the bones off.” 80% of the Sisters School budget goes for salaries, so Superintendent Golden says they're definitely looking at more layoffs. The Sisters School Board will examine possible cuts over the next few months.
People may be starting to move back to Bend again, but in much smaller numbers than in years past. The latest numbers show the Bend La Pine School District was one of the top growth districts in the state with a little more than a two-percent student increase over last year: “It seems that we are getting some kids from out of state again, coming in from California. It also appears we may have gotten a slight increase of kids moving from private school into our public system.” Bend La Pine Deputy Superintendent John Rexford says this returns the District back to their forecast growth after no growth last year. He says if the District continues to grow up to 2 ½% per year, then the District may have to look at additional middle school capacity in three to five years. However, he says the District will wait to see if the growth continues.
A Bend man has received a 35-year sentence in one of the largest child pornography cases ever in Central Oregon. David Anthony Williams was arrested in May of last year and initially faced 219 charges of child pornography and sex abuse. Police started looking into his activities after he moved from Port Orford back to Bend. His former girlfriend in Port Orford found computer discs with child porn and turned them over to police. “And had that information never been discovered, the potential of victimization of the child in his home as well as other children that he came into contact with could have continued.” Deschutes County Sheriffs Lieutenant Erik Utter said authorities obtained a warrant and searched Williams’ home in Bend. They found evidence that a young girl living in the same house was being victimized.
The search for the new Crook County School Superintendent is way ahead of schedule. School Board Vice Chair Patty Norris says they have gotten about 20 applicants and are in the middle of the screening process now. Norris says the candidate they are looking for must be able to deal with budgeting issues: "Certainly the issues that are paramount for us, going forward to the next few years anyway are dealing with the financial situation that is facing all schools nationwide. And making sure that we come out of that without too much pain. And along with that, we're looking for someone who can help us improve our student achievement and transition to the new standards." Norris says the screening committee will present their reviews to the Board on February 14th. Then they will develop a short list and from that they will do more in-depth screening. They hope to get the list down to two or three candidates by the end of February. A selection should be made by the end of March.
The goal is to “ignite Bend” as people share the ideas of which they are very passionate. The event is called, Ignite Bend, and it's tonight at the Tower Theatre: “Included this time there is somebody talking about understanding your credit, cyclo-cross, ultimate Frisbee, how to brew beer, the art of facing your greatest fear, how to turn your kid into a rock star.” Cassondra Schndler of Ignite Bend says it's free to attend, and the 400 free tickets have already been spoken for, but there will be a standby line in case some ticket holders don't show up. The event will also be webcast. Nine presenters each have five minutes with 20 power point slides to pitch their passion. It’s tonight at 7 at theTower.
Oregon lawmakers will hear today about a proposal to ban plastic grocery bags in the state. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee will hear arguments on the Bill. The Measure would outlaw plastic checkout bags. Shoppers instead would need to bring their own bags or pay 5 cents for paper bags.
State Representative Jason Conger isn't thrilled with the legislation: “I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other on the merits of the Bill itself. I think is timing is incredibly bad when we have much bigger problems to solve. I’m not sure that there is any real need, especially right now, for a plastic bag ban. The bottom line is: I just think this is not the time to be dealing with that.” If eventually approved, Oregon would be the first State in the nation to ban plastic bags.
La Pine just officially became a City in 2007 and soon they hope to own their own City Hall. The City has rented a building from Deschutes County for the last couple years. La Pine City Manager Rick Allen says they got a great buy on a four year old building close to where they currently rent: “The new building will allow double the space for our City Council meetings. We can get more folks in. It will be more comfortable. People will be able to hear better. It will be better for power point presentations and it will be available for other groups who want to use it.” The City hopes to close on the building by mid March and move in by late August. It will be financed through a program run by the League of Oregon Cities that issues tax exempt bonds to pay for small state projects.
The economy is improving, but it's going to take a while for job numbers to catch up. That’s according to Bill Valentine of Valentine Ventures. He says the President doesn't need to urge business to invest in more workers. That will naturally happen as the economy rebounds: “Reality is that you don't need to tell business to put money to work. That is a natural thing. That’s like telling a rabbit to pro-create, that's in their blood, that's what they want to do. Reality is you don't have to tell business to put the money to work. Businesses look into the future and determine if there is something they need to do to increase productivity or ramp up my business.” Valentine does not agree with a belief that commercial real estate will be the next sector to fall. He says high value properties are moving, prices are starting to come back up but the lesser value buildings will continue to be empty for a while.
The head of the Central Oregon Visitors Association (COVA) says if the current trend continues, the year 2011 could be pretty good for the local tourism industry. Alana Audette says the City of Bend saw a 16% increase in December and the unincorporated area was up 6% percent compared to December 2009. "December ended up being a strong month; both for leisure and for group and commercial business. And its a really encouraging sign as we move into 2011. The holiday period is very important over the Christmas and New Years season and the early reports for January look as if the trend is going to continue to be up over the prior year. So we're feeling really encouraged for a stronger travel and tourism season this year." She expects February to be strong as well, because of President’s weekend and Winterfest.
Family advocates say help is on the way for Oregon families strapped by the escalating cost of health care. A couple of benefits of the Afford Health Care Act will help, but not until 2014. First, a family of four earning less than $89,000 will get a tax credit to help pay for health insurance premiums. They will also get another tax credit for out of pocket expenses on a sliding scale. That same family would have to spend $11,900 a year to get the second tax break. “These families are terribly vulnerable to financial devastation caused by unexpected illness or injuries, and they commonly face only bad alternatives such as massive credit card debt or foreclosure.” Ron Pollock is Executive Director of Families USA, a national families advocate group. This cap won't go into effect until 2014, but he says estimates are 243,000 Oregonians will be helped. Pollock says thousands of State residents are not getting health care they need because they can't afford insurance or the cost of health care.
Sisters School District is bracing for more cuts anticipating a $1.5 million budget shortfall next year. New Sisters Superintendent Jim Golden says everything is on the table: “At this point in time, we're really talking people. So we’ll look across all sections of our business from classified to certified; that means aides, janitors, bus drivers, teachers and administrators. We'll look across our entire set of programs. What it will likely mean is people will lose their jobs.” Since 80% of the budget goes for worker's salaries, Superintendent Golden feels there will be few departments that won’t be affected by potential cuts. The Sisters School Board will examine possible cuts over the next few months.
The pastor of one of the largest churches in Bend is watching the crisis in the Middle East. Ken Johnson with Westside Church says Christians do face persecution in the Middle East and a radical change in Egypt could have an impact on Christians living in that region: "There's more freedom of religion in Egypt compared to other Middle East countries; still it’s been in the news of different churches being burned and people being attacked, so there is some persecution. And it'll be very interesting to watch the different players of this uprising in Egypt to see who ends up at the helm after the dust settles on this whole thing." Ken and Linda Johnson were guests Monday on KBND's “Your Town.”
Bend Memorial Clinic is adding a couple dozen employees to its business services. BMC's Chief Financial Officer, Barbara Dearberry explains why the jobs are needed. “We are in the process of adding 30-plus. I think the count is just about 32 at this point. It’s basically to bring back all of our billing services. Kinds the whole entire revenue cycle and bill processing backing house to BMC.” We are in the process of adding thirty plus, or 32 count at this point. it's basically to bring back all the billing to BMC.” BMC had farmed out their billing for the last five years. BMC is still hiring people. Go to their website to see their current job openings. The business services expansion should be finished by April.
OSU and the OSU Cascades Campus in Bend is doing very well despite the economic downturn. That statement from OSU President Ed Ray speaking in Bend Monday. “Our overall enrollment is 24,000. That's a record. Here at the Cascades Campus enrollments were up 11%, and it was double-digit growth last year as well. So both campuses were seeing a health growth in enrollment.” Ray says those enrollment numbers translate into tuition dollars which will help the school better withstand state budget cuts. Ray says OSU also shines in the area of research grants and contracts. Last year, OSU brought in $275-million in research grants and contracts. That is more than the total of the other Oregon higher-ed schools.
Officials in Crook County are all smiles today because a prestigious rodeo coming to town. It's what you would call a big "get". Officials at the crook county fairgrounds announce that they will host the 2011 Northwest Professional Rodeo Association Finals this fall. Fairgrounds Manager Patrick Wood says they have been working on getting the rodeo for years: “It’s kind of a natural fit for both of us. We have some excellent rodeo grounds. Prineville is known as the “Cowboy Capital” of Oregon. And it was a good fit for them because they bring in contestants from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana in some cases. And so they've traveled around a bit in the last several years and they asked us to bid on them recently." Wood says they expect up to 5000 competitors and spectators during the September rodeo. And, he says that during September, which usually is considered off season, this will be a welcome addition to the community.
The 8th grader from bend that went to the National Spelling Bee last year, is going back again this year. Hannah Allison, 14, who is home schooled, participated in Saturday's local bee at Ponderosa. They had to spell a lot of challenging words. Hannah Spoke with Kelly Bleyer: Hannah- “One of them was sevruga, which is a Russian word and it’s a light to grey caviar from the sturgeon of the Caspian Sea. Kelly Bleyer- “Did you know what that was? Hannah- “Yes I had studied it before.” Home Federal Bank sponsors the spelling bee. Nathan Dayton with the bank coordinated the bee: “I think the spelling bee is a fun event. The kids get involved with to have fun; and receive a prize with a trip to Washington, D.C., So, something great, an awesome event that they can go to. It's something we wanted to be a part of.” Last year Hannah placed 49th in the National Spelling Bee. She hopes to do better this year. She will travel to Washington D.C. to compete in the National Spelling Bee on June 1st and 2nd.
The oldest McDonalds in Central Oregon is no longer. The store on Northeast Third Street at the Wagner Mall was demolished this morning. We talked to owner Nanette Bittler: “Well, it's really exciting. We probably had about 100 people show for the last time to see the original McDonalds in Central Oregon and then we started the demolition process of the actual restaurant building. Kind of mixed emotions; it was exciting as we moved forward, but kind of sad cause there's so many wonderful memories in that restaurant." Bittler says they made a goal of recycling at least 70% of the store and ended up recycling about 90%. She explains that the new restaurant will be larger and more modern and have 2 drive-through lanes. The workers from the northeast Bend store are being used in other McDonalds Restaurants that Bittler owns throughout Central Oregon. She says when they re-open this spring they plan to hire 15 more employees.
The Bend Parks Department needs your help in chasing geese out of the parks. Specifically, Park officials are looking for "well"trained dogs that can chase waterfowl. Park Services Manager Paul Stell says the geese hazing program is an ongoing effort: “If we can get that to work, then we won't be forced into a situation where we will have to euthanize birds. We have had to do that in the past, and we would prefer to avoid that.” Stell says because of concerns about park users safety, the District only wants to enlist dogs that will stop and return on command. They don't want people being knocked over by out of control dogs. They are also interested in people who will help oil eggs to help prevent eggs from hatching. If you can help out, call the Bend Parks District.
The cold weather surrounding the Super Bowl put a damper on the sex trafficking that usually surrounds the event. Nita Belles with Oregonians Against Human Trafficking says the Super Bowl is the biggest sex trafficking event of the year and she went down to Dallas to try to rescue girls. She says the cold weather seemed to affect the sex business, pushing everyone indoors instead of out on the strip. But Belles says in talking with people who come out sex trafficking, when business is slow, the girls usually pay: “There's no business because they can't get out; so the pimps are cooped up in a motel room somewhere with the girls and they are upset and so they are taking it out on the girls." Last year Belles and her group rescued several girls. This year there were no rescues but they were able to give local police several leads and get pictures of missing girls posted in tattoo parlors, bars and motels in Dallas.
When Oregonians passed Measure 5 and Measures 47 and 50 limiting the growth of property assessed value as a way to prevent big jumps in property tax bills, they didn't realize the inequities they could present. State Senator Chris Telfer says lawmakers are looking at ways to tweak legislation again. “You know, we're looking at even our property tax system and seeing how we can bring some more equity to it; so our next door neighbors aren’t paying huge differentials in property tax, given that they live in the same value of a house. We're looking at some major things.” Currently the growth of property assessed value in Oregon is limited to a 3% maximum per year.
More signs that Central Oregon is slowly trying to come out of what some have called "The Great Recession". “Just what I am seeing in my practice is fewer people coming in and asking for advice about foreclosures, and more business start ups. Folks who are coming in and wanting to form or expand their businesses for property acquisition and just kind of regular business activities.” Bend attorney Jeff Eager says many people are still very nervous and some residents are still in a serious financial bind, but the general tone of comments is overall starting to sound more optimistic.
The problems of three charter schools in Sisters are surfacing again. Ed Choices, the company that ran the schools is being investigated by the Oregon Department of Justice for mishandling funds. The Sisters School District Board decided to shut down the schools when faced with a budget deficit. The Bend Bulletin reported Saturday that they obtained audits of 10 of the loosely affiliated All Prep schools and they show the schools gave each other cash advances and left shared services unpaid. The DOJ filed a "show cause" request, asking a judge to order Ed Choices to comply with a subpoena preventing the company from doing business until it complied. Apparently, they have not. The DOJ states Ed Choices was engaged in ongoing violations of theOregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act and Oregon Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
The world of technology continues to change at a record pace; and now some financial analysts are wondering how a company like Microsoft can keep evolving and stay competitive. Some technology and financial experts are even saying it could make sense for Microsoft to break-up the company into smaller, more focused and managable pieces. Tyler Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management explains: "Microsoft is a big behemoth of a company. It generates a lot of cash, but when we look at Microsoft, we wonder how they are going to continue to grow in the future, because everything now is going to the Cloud. People are no longer having software on their desktops. Most of our systems on our computers and most businesses now are in the Cloud and so Microsoft has to figure out a way to take advantage of that." The idea has been floating around in recent months and tech legend Bill Gates recently told shareholders there's nothing to be gained by spitting up the company into consumer and enterprise units. Simones says the stock hasn't gone anywhere in 10 years and says paying a big dividend would be one of the best things that Microsoft could do for investors.
A professor of history and political science at Central Oregon Community College offers some perspective on the extreme turmoil in Egypt. Professor Alan Eisenberg has studied the Middle East for decades and says what we're seeing in Egypt right now are economic, social and political frustrations all coming together in this historic moment. The worldwide recession hit Egypt especially hard during the last three years: "They want more and the frustrations in the area have a lot to do with economics; because the elite in the country really takes advantage of government connections; we would call it corruption.” Mubarak's son, he has been accumulating he and his friends have been using government contracts to accumulate most of the free enterprise wealth in the country, which is a model of how things happen in much of the Middle East and people feel that they are getting just the droppings, just the leavings, of what the elite in the country take." In Egypt, half the people live on less than $2 a day.
Two Bend residents are rescued by the Deschutes County Search and Rescue Team and several Sheriff’s deputies. Nick Fetters, 27, and Melinda Vachon, 26, were driving along U.S. Forest Service road 18 about 40 miles south of Bend when they became stuck in the snow in an area where there was no cell phone service. They left the vehicle and started walking to safety, but got too cold, and returned to their vehicle. Searchers were sent to the area around 7 p.m. Saturday night. They found the vehicle around 11and returned the victims to safety.
Some bright spots in the local building industry. The City of Bend is noticing a slight up tick in the number of building permits issued. “Permits were up from 2009 to 2010 about 25% in the City of Bend. Which is obviously a good sign. That means we have hit bottom and are on our way back up.” But Tim Knopp of the Central Oregon Building Association cautions us there are still some foreclosures that will bring more homes to market, but he feels like we have seen the brunt of those. To put it in perspective, 2000 building permits were issued in Bend in 2006 and by 2009 that had dropped to 150.
"Forever Plaid" is coming to Bend this Thursday. Ray Solley with the Tower Theater believes it may be the first time it's come to Bend. He says the plot is strange and funny and the music is good and recognizable. "It is a wonderful off Broadway play that was created in Chicago; and then again as I say off Broadway, it's wonderful music from the 50's. It's a very sorta strange weird plot; it's a musical kind of comedy review. Four guys, sorta like the great guy groups from the 50's." He says its mostly family friendly, but probably not for young kids. So if you have kids in middle school or older, especially if they enjoy singing, he believes they should like "Forever Plaid". Three Coins in the Fountain is one example of a popular song from the show. Solley was a guest on KBND’s Your Town last week.
It’s one of the biggest sex trafficking events in the United States. It may surprise you to know we are talking about this last weekend's Super Bowl game. Nita Belles of Oregonians Against the Trafficking of Humans is part of an effort to rescue young girls from a life of prostitution: “Sex trafficking and the Super Bowl are very much connected. They estimate it has been up to 10,000 girls that are brought down for the parties and the strip clubs.” Belles was part of the team working the streets with law enforcement to look for runaways. Part of her arsenal is a book of pictures of missing girls. She and others go into areas frequented for prostitution and look for these girls. Last year, the team recovered seven girls during the Super Bowl. 16 others who were missing were taken home.
The annual Three Flags Traffic Safety Program starts today. Lt. Kevin Dizney of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says the project is a statewide selective traffic enforcement program to reduce the number of motor vehicle related deaths and injuries by increasing public awareness of traffic laws. Law enforcement agencies around the state will be focusing on seat belt and child restraint violations as well as drunk drivers. The program runs through February 20th.
Today’s employment report shows the jobless rate fell sharply last month to 9% and private sector payrolls increased by about 50,000 jobs. The White House issued a statement saying the overall economic trend has been encouraging; but Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend says its too early to call it a trend. There is some conflicting data, and some people have left the labor force: “At the end of the day this is, at best, a confusing report. And it's probably one best to put in the trash can and wait and see what happens in February, ‘cause it really doesn't fit in with any of the economic data we've gotten. Their was about 770,000 jobs. It appears, looking at the numbers that were impacted by the weather. So its a whole lot of noise is what it is and I expect the unemployment rate to jump back up as more people enter the workforce."
Reinhart says the Bond Market took the report as good news and the 10 year Treasury Rate went up. The Stock Market seemed to have a mixed reaction, but he believes the uncertainty in Egypt had a bigger impact on the Stock Market.
State lawmakers are getting down to business this week. They've got their work cut out for them with the Governor's release of his budget. Republican State Senator Chris Telfer thinks there will be more bipartisan action this session: “I think two years ago we had total imbalance in the Legislature. And one party controlled it totally. And that’s the party that doesn’t quite understand private industry. And were not listening to us that do understand private industry. And so I think a lot of the legislation coming out was harmful to business.” The Governor's budget is a starting point; lawmakers will debate it and make changes before they approve it by June 30th.
Thousands of Egyptians continue to peacefully protest today, but there are fierce clashes between pro and anti-regime protestors. Kerry Gillette of La Pine spent many years in Egypt. Her parents still live there and teach at the American International School there. When the protests started over a week ago, they didn't plan to leave, but as violence escalated they changed their mind: “As we speak my parents are flying back. They had stayed and wanted to stay, but the turning point was they saw the violence escalating. They saw that the government was going to stop at nothing to remain in power. And they were becoming nervous the situation could deteriorate.” Talks are underway between the Obama Administration and top Egyptian officials for the possible immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
Local gas prices are more than three dollars a gallon and with the unrest in Egypt, they could go much higher. Still, the appetite for big vehicles in Central Oregon has not changed: “People are still opting for the traditional Central Oregon vehicle. Trucks, SUV's, that kind of thing. That's where the demand for us has been.” Jack Holt, of Murray and Holt says he keeps expecting to see a shift in demand to more fuel efficient vehicles, but he says the geography and lifestyle of Central Oregon is much more geared towards an outdoor lifestyle.
Protesters demanding President Hosni Mubarak's ouster packed Cairo's Tahrir Square by the tens of thousands Friday, waving Egyptian flags, singing the national anthem and cheering, appearing undaunted and determined after their camp withstood two days of street battles with regime supporters trying to dislodge them. Thousands including families with children flowed over bridges across the Nile into "Liberation" Square, a sign that they were not intimidated after the protesters fended off everything thrown at them by pro-Mubarak attackers; storms of hurled concrete, metal rebar and firebombs, fighters on horses and camels and automatic gunfire barrages. The protesters passed through a series of beefed-up checkpoints by the military and the protesters themselves guarding the square.
An adjunct professor of history and political science at COCC says the worldwide recession hit Egypt especially hard. Alan Eisenberg says the average citizen there lost a lot of ground during the last three years. “There are many young men in the country who cannot afford even the money that they need to get married, because it's a very ceremonial process. They're frustrated that they go to college and they're driving taxi cabs, cause there is no opportunity. And the government there as not been the type that has stimulated foreign direct investment. So that there's a real absence of hopeful jobs that would raise someone up from poverty into the middle class.” He further explains there is a lot of corruption in the government and the elite class siphons off most of the country's wealth and the citizens feel they are getting a very minute fraction of the country's wealth.
Madras is about to get a much needed learning center. The contract to build the new Central Oregon Community College Madras Campus is awarded to Kirby Naglehout Construction. Thursday, the COCC Board of Directors awarded the Bend company the bid for the 10,000 foot facility. The building is designed to include four classrooms, including a computer lab and a community room that can hold about 100 people. Most of the money comes from a bond measure that was passed by Central Oregon voters in 2009. Also, Jefferson County is contributing about $230,000, with additional funds coming from the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department. The land was donated to the college by the Bean Foundation of Madras. Construction is expected to begin within the next two weeks and the facility will be open by September.
Homeless veterans in Central Oregon are now getting a roof over their heads; but they need furniture and other household goods. Kenny LaPoint with Housing Works says they've given out 17 housing vouchers so far and have 8 left. These veterans who are getting the help are coming from chronic homelessness. LaPoint has personally visited some of the veterans at home: "They're very grateful to be in the housing and not be homeless anymore; so that's really exciting to see. And I think at this point we want to find a way to get them some items to fill the house, like beds. I've literally walked into places and seen folks living in an empty house and a sleeping bag on the floor." If you'd like to donate much needed household items you can do that starting this Saturday (Feb. 5th) at the Bend Community Center Thrift Store on NE Franklin Avenue. LaPoint says they need everything from beds and couches to pot and pans, forks and spoons.
The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain ratcheted up the pressure Thursday on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, saying that Egypt's political transition "must start now." The German Chancellor also insisted that Mubarak’s government put a stop to attacks against anti-government protesters and journalists. According to Reuters, at least 10 people have been killed during violent clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in a Cairo Square. Meantime, members of the local Jewish community are closely watching the unrest and how it may affect Israel. Rabbi Jay Shupack says its tough for many of us in the United States and western world to truly understand the depth of what's going on in Egypt. "We don't live there; it’s not a place that we live. We have our jobs, our lives, our houses, our pets, our friends, our careers, our schools, there are very few things that engage America on a deep passionate level. And if we're lucky we still feel that way about freedom, and we still feel that way about democracy." Shupack lived in Israel for five years and came to Central Oregon in 2000. He’s the Rabbi for the Jewish Community of Central Oregon.
We're monitoring the situation in Egypt and will break into regular programming with big developments or important breaking news keep tuned to KBND radio news.
A local committee in Redmond is looking over possible names for the new high school. Committee member Toni Duff says 125 name possibilities came in. They'll take their top three suggestions and present those to the School Board next week on February 9th. Here is one example along with the reason behind the name:
"One of which was Desert Sky High School. That name came in because; this name captures one of the most spectacular advantages of living in Central Oregon, our wide open desert sky. It’s not only beautiful, it represents endless possibilities.” Other names submitted were Volcano High School, Nine Peaks, Constitution High School, East Cascades and Red Rock High School. The 276,000 square foot school will be done by March of 2012. Students will move in next fall.
Calling all Stephen Spielberg wanna-be's! A new competition featuring short videos is launching. The "Sick Flik" competition is open to anyone over 21 who had filmed something involving Central Oregon lifestyles. "We are presenting an opportunity for a local producer and video peeps that want to become a video producer a chance to showcase their 3-minute film. And the competition is going to be called the "Sick Fliks". Starting next week, submit your 3-minute little movie. We're going for over $2000 in cash and prizes right now." Organizer Jennifer Meyer says you can start sending in your entries to her next week. The Ninkasi Brewing Company, Summit Saloon and Stage and Hoo Doo Ski Area have teamed up with Combined Communications for the project. During March and April, there will be public screenings of the finalists at Summit Saloon and you will have a chance to vote for your favorite. Find competition details through the links page on the KBND website.
It’s seen as a way to save health care costs for Deschutes County. This morning, the ribbon was cut for the County's on-site health clinic. County Administrator Dave Kanner: “What it really is paying a flat hourly rate for all services rendered; rather than paying a fee for services rendered. So we may be able to see eight patients do eight office visits in this clinic for the same cost we would pay for one office visit at a fee per service provider.” Estimates are the County will save quarter million dollars every year. The County will pay a private health care provider, "Health-Stat" $500,000 a year to operate the clinic. The clinic is only for County employees and their families. It will be open during business hours and they will experiment with being open select hours on Saturday and after normal business hours. The clinic is across the parking lot from the main County Office at 1300 Wall Street.
A majority of 600 service workers at St. Charles narrowly approved a union Wednesday. It was only approved by six votes, so that means hospital workers are very divided. Worker Ken Daniels supports the union, but realizes not everyone does: “Of course there's going to be a healing process where everyone is going to come together and get negotiations out and flyer about what's more important to talk to the company about.” St. Charles and the Service Employees International Union will select bargaining teams and hope to set a date soon to begin negotiations on a first contract.
Police will be out Thursday in Bend and Redmond trying to catch those speeding and breaking other traffic laws. The Mutli-Agency Traffic Team (MATT) will be out Friday, February 4th from 1 to 5 p.m. They will be focusing on drivers who are speeding, following too closely or are failing to move over for emergency vehicles.
Bend and Redmond Police, along with Oregon State Police and deputies from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office will be trying to catch violators and increase safety.
The economy is the biggest concern among Central Oregon business leaders who met with Congressman Greg Walden Wednesday. Cut spending and reduce the enormous national debt, now. That’s what Bend business leaders are saying. Congressman Walden says he's hearing that all over his District: “We still have a problem with too many regulations that threaten growth in various industry segments. Certainly heard that. Also a concern about the health care law and what it may or may not do to those who are in business.” The half dozen business leaders were not impressed by the Obama Administration's efforts to spur the economy. Still there are some promising signs. Attorney Jeff Eager says he's seeing fewer foreclosures and is seeing a few business start-ups, and that's something he did not see at all a year ago. Business permits are up slightly in the City of Bend. All agreed the one thing they don't need is new taxes and more regulations. Walden says the new GOP House leadership is going to do everything they can to put the brakes on spending and try to reduce the $14-trillion national debt.
More than 500 service employees have narrowly approved a union at St. Charles. The final contested ballots were counted Wednesday and the union was approved by six votes. Ken Daniels who has worked at St. Charles for nine years is happy with the results: “We'll I’m pretty excited about it. It’s been a year of hard work for everybody. It’s something that's really needed. It’s giving everyone a voice in the workplace. It will be better for worker and worker and patient care relationships.” Katy Vitcovich, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at St. Charles knew the vote would be close: “Our take all along has been to support the caregivers right to do this. We knew it could go like this. We knew it would be close. Close to 50% didn't want it, slightly more than 50% did. This was going to be a divided house.” Now union and hospital officials will hold negotiating sessions to hammer out a contract.
Bend Police have recovered the white pickup they believe was used in a fatal hit and run on Third Street last Wednesday night. “We have identified a person of interest in this case. We are investigating leads. The name of this person is not being released at this time. There have been no arrests at this time. We are still asking for the public's help, and if anyone has information on this case to give us a call.” Bend Police Lieutenant Ben Gregory says Anthony Martin, 48, was killed as he was walking his bike across Third Street near Wagner Mall at 11pm. Police recovered the 2008 GMC pickup Friday and have processed the vehicle for evidence. Martin was walking south on Third Street when the west-bound pickup hit him. Gregory would not say if the person of interest is the owner of the pickup.
Roads, and what to do to fix them was one of the topics faced by the Bend City Council Wednesday night. The problem is easy to see: potholes, ruts on a growing number of Bend's roads. The solution, not quite so easy. The Bend City Council in a couple of weeks may decide to ask voters to stop a 27cents per $1000 property tax levy from sun setting, and redirect it to roads. City staff presented the Council with Options A, B, and C. Council will have to decide whether to go to voters, and which option to present. Option a is focusing on Reed Market, option B focuses on Empire Avenue. Councilor Jodie Barram: “My preference right now is for Option B, I realize that after our discussion that most councilors favor Option A, but certainly it's going to depend on what we hear from the public. I'm hoping a lot of people turn out in the next couple of weeks and let us know their opinion before we move forward, one way or the other.” Each option has a price tag of $28.5 million. An Open House is planned for Thursday, February 10th from 5 to 7 p.m. at City Hall. The question, do you want a break on your taxes, or do you want better roads. Councilors are waiting to hear from you. Also, take the poll on the website here! It’s on the right side of this page.
People in the Jewish Community in Central Oregon are keeping close tabs on Egypt. Local Rabbi Jay Shupack lived in Israel for five years and visits Israel a month at a time on a regular basis. He's been here for 11 years, but still keeps close tabs on what's happening in the Middle East. He says what happens in Egypt will affect Israel and the stability of the entire Middle East: "It's a very strategic place. A very ancient place; has enormous history to it. Enormous passions surrounding some of these ideas; and does not have a tradition of freedom, so its going to be very difficult to have the birth of freedom in a place that never had it. I look back at Iran, I believe it was 1979, but there were initially some democratic forces and then it became completely hijacked by radical Islamists forces and you could see the same thing happen in Egypt very easily, very easily. About 60 families make up the Jewish Community of Central Oregon.
The eyes of the world are on Egypt right now, and for good reason. What happens there could affect the stability of the Middle East and the worldwide economy. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden is in Central Oregon today and we talked to him about the unrest in Egypt. The country isn't a major oil producer, but does control access to the very important Suez Canal: "From what I'm told, whoever takes power in Egypt will need the revenue that’s generated as a result of all that for themselves to be successful. So it doesn't appear to be in anyone’s self interests regardless of who's ruling the country to shutdown the flow of oil. That's the good news; now that doesn't mean if some extremist group gets in there that wants to make a very different statement that bad things can't happen. That’s why this is a very serious and precarious process we're in right now." Another important impact that Walden and others are watching: is how a change of power could affect neighboring Israel.
Gunfire erupts in Cairo as protests turn increasingly violent between anti-government demonstrators and pro-Mubarak supporters today. It is not known if there have been any deaths yet attributed to this latest violence.
Mubarak supporters were out in the streets for the first time in large numbers, with thousands demanding an end to the anti-government movement a day after the Egyptian President went on national television and rejected demands for him to step down. This morning we talk to Congressman Greg Walden about Egypt: “Well, I think we’re all very concerned. That’s a very important and dangerous part of the world. A rough neighborhood. Administrations from George Bush through Barack Obama have tried to send Hosni Mubarak a pretty clear and direct message that he can’t continue to rule with an iron fist without eventually having this kind of reaction from his people. And he ignored those warnings. He ignored those suggestions and now his time has come to an end, clearly. But it is more dangerous than just in Egypt when you see the uprising in Tunisia, obviously concerns in Jordan and you don’t want this whole part of this world to become unraveled. Because, like it or not, it’s pretty important to the world’s economy, to make sure the flow of oil continues unabated. I mean, that’s the end of the story. We’re already seeing the price of oil go up; that affects us right at the pump. We’ll be paying $3.50-$4.00 a gallon. We’ve been there, done that before. And doesn’t help our recovery.” Walden in is Central Oregon today visiting with local business people and students from Bend High School.
The massive and widespread violence today marks a dangerous new phase in Egypt's upheaval and Oregon Congressman Greg Walden says there are many possible impacts to us here in the U.S. Witnesses say hundreds of people have been injured in the violence that includes gunfire; Molotov cocktails and fistfights. They also say journalists and those who appear to be Americans are being targeted. The unrest in Egypt has many possible impacts; everything from widespread violence to higher oil prices, to a greater threat to neighboring Israel. Congressman Greg Walden is in Bend today and KBND News asked him about the overall instability of that region: “You've touched on the other piece of this; that's what happens to Israel. Obviously America will stand shoulder to shoulder to protect Israel, and so the question is does this spill over into additional problems or threats to Israel. That raises a whole other set of issues. So stability in the Middle East is a really important foreign policy goal and need for us and the world, frankly." Walden says oil prices can be impacted in the short term because Egypt controls the Suez Canal and if extremists take over the country they may want to disrupt the worlds oil supply long term.
The Stock Market has had a wild ride in recent days. The Dow was down by 166 points on Friday and then a strong comeback on Monday and Tuesday to push it over 12,000. Tyler Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend says while Dow 12,000 gets a lot of attention; it’s mostly a meaningless milestone: "Dow 12,000 is a psychological level. The Down Jones Industrial average is 30 stocks; it’s really an irrelevant average. Most professional investors don’t look at the Dow at all, but most retail investors, the average person on the street focuses on the Dow. But it’s not a really very good proxy of the U.S. economy, because it’s only 30 industrial stocks.” The more important number is the S & P 500, and the fact that it hit the 1300 mark. The market hit both benchmarks at the close yesterday.
Tonight, the Bend City Council will discuss the problem of deteriorating roads and little money to pay for repairs. “The City's budget is a bit like the shape of the City's roads, a bit bumpy. There is a $17 to 27 million shortfall in the next five years. There are some pretty big potholes and significant ruts showing up. In two weeks, the City Council may make a decision on whether to ask voters to continue a 27-cents per $1000 assessment that will sunset this year. It now pays for a Downtown Urban Renewal District. “So some folks are wondering if it makes sense for the City to give voters the option to either take that tax cut, or invest that money in some street improvements. Because our streets are in pretty rough shape right now.” Mayor Jeff Eager says tonight the council will prioritize the projects. “If the City were to do that, and make that decision, which specific projects would the City do.” It will be discussed in the 5pm Council work session. KBND News will be there and we'll let you know their decision.
Many Bend La Pine schools populations are flat, but not Cascade Middle School. The westside school is more than 100 students over capacity. Tina Fischer is the parent of an 8th grader who attends Cascade Middle School: “You know, in middle school it’s a little different than it was in elementary school. Overcrowding in a middle school means that, you know, the cafeteria is a crazy place now. They have parents now to come in and help with supervision. Gym classes are huge. The hallways are packed. The kids can’t move around really well. So it’s more issues on facilities.” Fischer is on the boundary committee that will meet this afternoon at 4 p.m. in the Bend La Pine Schools Board Room on Wall Street, to discuss different options. Any boundary changes agreed on won't affect students currently attending Cascade Middle School until next year.
St. Charles and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are set to count the 22 challenged ballots today, not counted in the Union vote at St. Charles earlier this month. The 500-some service workers at the hospital are voting on whether to unionize. Without the 22 challenged ballots, the Union was approved by 4 votes.
This afternoon, hospital officials, Union reps and the NLRB will officially count these final 22 ballots and we'll see whether the union will be approved. We will have those results as soon as they are available.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are playing a vital role in the uprisings in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. Computer information system instructor Eric Magidson says the younger generation uses this method of communication to great effect. “If people have ever questioned the power of social media; if they’ve ever questioned the influence of the Internet with politics, with business, etc., this is just another great example and I’m sure we’ll see additional examples in the future.” Protestors used Twitter and Facebook to share information and coordinate protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Governor Kitzhaber statement on his proposed budget: “We have an opportunity, this year, to set Oregon on a course to a bright future. The budget shortfall represents an opportunity to change and improve the way the state does business. My budget includes ideas that have been advocated by Democrats and ideas that have been advocated by Republicans. Oregon's success depends on a willingness to develop new partnerships and coalitions, and move beyond the partisan divisions of the past. The budget would fund job creation programs, consolidate disparate early childhood programs and restructure health care delivery to lower costs and improve the quality of care.”
Statement from the senate Republican Office:
“We are excited that the Governor is building his budget on some of the principles that we have been trumpeting for the past four years. We are cautiously optimistic, and look forward to working with the Governor to ensure that his actions match his rhetoric.”
State Senator Chris Telfer hasn't had a chance to study the Governor's budget yet, but lawmakers did meet with him Monday. So far she likes what she sees: “Right now I’m pretty optimistic, the way the Governor's approaching it. It’s what we recommended two years ago in the back to basics budget. By starting with what were currently spending and looking at what revenue we’re going to have for the next biennium. And then determining where those extra dollars should go. so, pretty much that's what he's doing. He’s saying we're basically starting with what were spending now is about $13.2 billion dollars and we're going to have about a $1.3 billion dollar increase over the next 2 years. And so we're going to divvy up where that money's should go."
State Representative Gene Whisnant of Sunriver says he likes much of what he heard from the Governor about the proposed budget: "Well I’m really impressed and glad that the Governor's budget is a more realistic budget than what I've seen submitted by Kulongoski. Since I've been in the building, Governor Kitzhaber has acknowledged that we have some financial issues in the State; and that he's presented a budget that we're calling flat budgeting. He started with what we had last year and developed his budget on that!" Whisnant says he likes that Kitzhaber also "front loaded" the budget with education funds so that school districts would have more time to react to possible cuts and changes in how things are funded. He says there are a few things he would change about the proposal, but again, overall he is pleased with the budget.
Jobs are the number one talking point as Oregon Congressman Greg Walden comes to Central Oregon Wednesday. He will have a roundtable discussion with local elected officials and the Bend Chamber of Commerce. Then on Thursday, Walden will tour Pacific Pellet in Redmond as an example of a renewable energy industry, which can also help forest health: “We see the opportunity as looking bright. One of the limitations for us and anyone in the renewable field is the availability of biomass. We are a depending on a lot of the forest stewardship type bids throughout the Deschutes and Ochocos and the availability of biomass.”
Pacific Pellet President Mark Stapleton is going to be asking Walden to look seriously at re-starting a USDA "B" Cap Program. That program provides government help to help get biomass material out of the forest. Since lumber mills have slowed production, Stapleton says that has decreased supply of raw materials and they need more biomass material directly from the forest. Advocates of biomass say increasing forest fuel thinning operations would provide more biomass, more jobs, and improve forest health.
St. Charles expects to have an answer by the end of the week, whether the hospital's service employees will be unionized. St. Charles and Union leaders have reached an agreement on which employees are eligible to vote on unionizing the hospital's service employees. There were 34 ballots that were challenged when workers voted on January 5th. The two sides agreed that 22 of those ballots are eligible and will be tabulated into the final tally when they meet later this week in Portland at the National Labor Relations Board Office. The original vote totals, not including these challenged ballots, had the Union being approved by just 4 votes. 255 workers voted for the Union, 251 voted against it.
While many were inspired by ideas brought out at the recent economic forecast; one homebuilder has been quietly plugging through the recession and sees some real positive movement in the industry. Dan Pahlisch with Pahlisch Homes says January was the best month they have had in a long time. And some lessons learned from the housing burst really put values, both personal and as a business, in perspective: "I know for me personally, it's the best thing that ever could have happened. Living a more frugal life. Realizing what's really important and as a company, I think we've evaluated that we don't want be this huge massive homebuilder with 70-80 employees. We’re good at building homes. And building the best home possible for the best price. Continually going after the best value award for any home show that we're in. Has always and will always be our passion." Pahlisch says the trend is now for smaller homes, and this allows them to spend more time at the properties, refining the workmanship. He adds that he sees housing prices remaining about the same for a while.
How is your car holding up during this cold snap? If its running rough you may want to make sure it's properly winterized. Suzette Teagarden with Reed Market Automotive says the first thing you need to check is the oil and make sure you're always doing regular oil changes at least twice a year. In addition, your coolants should be set at negative 25 to 30. She says you also want to watch the acid levels: "Not everybody checks that. And that's the P-H balance of the coolant. Once that goes bad the coolant becomes more acidic and it starts eating away at your hoses but your hoses will actually eat from the inside out; but you won't be able to tell unless you're actually checking those hoses often enough." Reed Market Automotive has a free car clinic for women only. The next clinic is on February 17th from 6 to 7p. Suzette Teagarden was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” this morning.
A Bend financial advisor says to expect a bumpy ride in your 401K for a few days. Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says financial markets will probably re-act in the short-term to the extreme unrest in Egypt. Reinhart says another possible impact is higher gasoline prices: "Where Egypt plays into this; they control the Suez Canal where lots and lots of oil goes thru and if the Suez Canal were to close because of all this uncertainty, then all the oil would have to go around the Horn of Africa which would cause probably a spike in prices, I wouldn't be surprised if the oil markets also continued to be a little bit choppy with all the uncertainty and Egypt and whether this is going to spread."
Indications are Bend's largest homeless shelter will be moving, but not for a couple of years. Representatives of the Bethlehem Inn say the facility simply isn't large enough to meet the needs. “We are working on a lease. We feel really good about the process. We have agreed to a two year lease and are in the process of putting together a viable strategy for a new home for the Bethlehem Inn.” Executive Director Gwen Wysling says the former Econo Lodge Motel simply isn't large enough, isn't designed for families and does not have a commercial kitchen. Commissioner Alan Unger says the County understands funding is not available: “I think the Bethlehem Inn needs to have a future course, so the course they have taken is to: thank the County for the use of the building that we have been supplying for them. But to look for something that fits their needs and that they can afford.” During the two years, the Bethlehem Inn will pay Deschutes County $2,034 per month. That will pay for the interest on the $2.5-million loan the County made to purchase the former Econo Lodge Motel.
One million Egyptians are expected to march for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today. It's been a week of riots in the Middle Eastern country, pushing for a change in government. Madras doctor, Suzanne El-Attar was born in Egypt, but left when she was four to move to Pennsylvania. Her parents still spend a couple months a year in Egypt. She says last Friday night's uprisings were scary for them: “They don’t have a car. They had trouble finding a cab that would take them anywhere. And when they finally did, he said they saw tanks rolling in and they heard gunfire and you know, that made them feel uneasy. But where they are right now, in their suburb, it’s quiet and they’re not have any problems.” Egyptian leader Mubarak has named a Vice President and cabinet members, but protestors want Mubarak gone himself.
More than 370 people seeking mortgage help in Deschutes County, will find out soon whether they'll get the funds. Applicants have gone through the formal process meeting with neighbor impact employees and submitting the necessary paperwork. Selef Spragg with NeighborImpact says applicants should find out if they were approved soon. “They should know in a week, by February 7th, whether OHSI or the State, whether they will move forward from that process beginning that week.” The funds come from U.S. Treasury dollars targeted at states hard hit with foreclosures. It is still expected almost all who went through the whole process to get the funds in Deschutes County will be approved.
Valentine’s Day is coming; do you have plans to do anything special for your loved one? Are you looking for a way to really "wow" your true love? The Summit High Jazz Choir is offering personalized Val-O-Grams as a fundraiser for February 14th. "We’ve been working on the songs for a while now. We have five different groups this year. Each of them have 3-4 different songs. But if you have that you want, request it and we'll see what we can do." Choir Director Melissa Jacot says they have held the fundraiser for the past 10 years. Jacot says one memorable delivery involved a wife who ordered the Val-O-Gram for her husband who was dying from cancer. The experience affected everyone, and they felt very privileged to be given the opportunity to share the special moment with them. The money goes to help pay expenses to get to all the singing competitions. Each Val-O-Gram is $20 and includes the song, a card, flower and box of chocolates. You can order your Val-O-Gram on their website: http://friendsofmusic-shs.org. Orders need to be placed by February 9th.
We’re not quite halfway through the ski season, but Mt. Bachelor is pleased with the traffic so far this winter. Andy Goggins with Mt. Bachelor: “It's been great. Our base depth is good since we got big dumps early in the season. We’ve still got 90 inches base mid mountain. We've got great coverage across the mountain. 100 percent of terrain, now that we're in a lull in storm cycles.” Goggins says they've had a dusting a snow in the last day or so. Storm systems are expected to bring more snow in a couple weeks.
The Legislative session gets back into full swing today. For the first time in Oregon's history, the House is split right down the middle at 30-30. Republican Representative Gene Whisnant says he hopes this will pave the way for bi-partisan efforts that rein in spending and encourage more private sector job growth. He's encouraged by what he's heard so far from Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber: “He made a comment that I thought was interesting. That Speaker of the U.S. Congress John Boehner was talking about we got to quit kicking the can down the road and make some tough decisions, and we do. We should've started that last session.” He's also encouraged that Kitzhaber is talking about a current service level budget, which would revert back to the prior budget, adjusting for inflation.
Local leaders are reacting to ideas presented in the Economic Forecast for Central Oregon. Former Deschutes County Sheriff and current business consultant Les Stiles says he liked many of the nine ideas presented in last week's forecast. One that stands out for him is creating a local leadership team that could then help make all the other ideas happen. "If you had an effective regional leadership team working in collaboration, that crosses all boundaries, break down the silos, you've got government; got the private sector, you’ve got the non-profits, all of these folks coming together to address those issues. Then the rest of it could follow in much more easily." About 300 local business owners, politicians, government officials and other leaders attended last week's Economic Forecast. All this week on KBND's Take Five we are highlighting some of the ideas that came out of the event. Take Five can be heard at 7:15 a.m. and at 12:15 and 5:15 p.m.