Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley will be in Deschutes and Crook Counties today and Wednesday for two town halls. He'll be in Sisters at the City Hall on today at 5:30 p.m.; then in Prineville at the Soroptimist Senior Center on Wednesday, June 1st at 2:30 p.m. Merkley has pledged to hold town halls in each of Oregon's 36 counties each year. He will also be holding a press conference in Bend Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Bend Transit Center. He'll be talking about our rising gas prices and their effect on local businesses and his plan to end America's addiction to overseas oil.
It was a fatal weekend on Oregon’s roads and highways. Oregon State Police say a Monday night traffic crash on U.S.. 26 about one mile west of Government Camp killed a 33-year-old Gresham man. The crash marked the third fatality for the big travel weekend, and closed eastbound lanes for about four hours Monday night. Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings says overall, State Police responded to many calls involving crashes and drunk drivers: "Early information indicates they were pretty busy; DUI numbers look like they are going to be higher than they were last year. And we have several serious injury crashes that we responded to numerous high speed dangerous drivers that we contacted. We were pretty busy over the weekend. We had a lot of different weather conditions were we responding to; dry roadways to wet roadways, to snowy conditions early on in the weekend on some mountain passes.” He says since about 1970 there were nearly 260 total people who've died over the Memorial Day weekend holiday in Oregon. And during the past 25 years, about 54% of those fatalities involved alcohol.
An extended winter may have caused you to lack motivation to get in shape this year. But with all the fitness events and outdoor activities in Central Oregon, there's plenty of reason to hit the gym. Athletic Club of Bend personal trainer Tim Gibbons says this year there are even more events in the area than in the past: “New this summer are three new marathons. The first one is June 4th, the Three Sisters Marathon, which will be held at Eagle Crest. September 3rs id Sunriver Marathon and then October 1st is Bend Marathon, so there are three new events.” Also new this year was the Happy Girls Half Marathon and Happy Little Girls Mini Marathon.
For more information on these and other events contact the Athletic Club of Bend.
And it’s important to get the kids moving….
The extended winter may have contributed to a slow start with exercise efforts; and even children often opt for video games indoors instead of real live sports and activities out doors. But local fitness experts say it's definitely time to step outside. Personal trainer Nicole Pressprich with the Athletic Club of Bend shares this advice. “You know, childhood obesity is a growing epidemic right now, so it’s important to get them going so that if they exercise younger in life, it’ll carry on later in life, so they’ll maintain a healthy, active lifestyle in the future.” Pressprich also reminds us of the importance of hydrating when exercising, especially when you're outdoors and the weather is warmer. Nicole was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” Tuesday.
The Memorial Day weekend had its share of tragedies this year. Sunday night Oregon State Police say Stephen Earl Powell, 68, was struck by a pickup and killed as he walked in an unlit area of the roadway, in the southbound lane of Highway 97 near La Pine. Friends of Powell told our news partner, News Channel 21, that Powell had been suffering from symptoms of dementia.
Then, just south of Sunriver, Liberty Ramsay, 23, fell out of a Chevy Blazer Robert Reynolds, 23, was driving and needed help. Police investigation reveals Ramsay had been drinking.
And early Saturday morning, Preston Okesson, 21, of La Pine, was found on Franklin Avenue after apparently falling from the Bend Parkway overpass. He died a short time later at St. Charles Medical Center. The investigation is continuing about the reason for his fall.
It was no holiday for some Pacific Power crews Monday night after power was knocked out to nearly 1400 customers between Bend and Redmond. "Late yesterday afternoon, we had a underground cable that became faulty and that caused some problems in our substation that serves the Tumalo area." Pacific Powers' Bob Gravley says the power outage affected customers near Tumalo Road and Glacier View Drive. Crews rerouted power and had the lights back on for most customers in about an hour. But more than 500 others lost power for almost three hours; their power was restored by 8:30 last night.
If you have already bought your Ben Harper concert tickets for August 26th, you have already contributed to a very good cause. You'll be enjoying a world renowned artist and helping kids in the Bend La Pine Schools music programs. Ben Harper will donate one dollar of every ticket sold to the Education Foundation for Bend La Pine Schools. Heather Vihstadt is the Executive Director for the Foundation: “We are thrilled. I also learned that it is Ben Harper’s only Oregon show. So I would not be surprised if it did sell out." Vihstadt says the money will be given to a new music program, BendAid. That's a new non-profit program whose purpose is to raise funds for K through 12 cash-strapped music programs. "It’s really going to be helping to support music and the arts, where in the classroom or perhaps after school programs." You can get more information at the Education Foundation website. We have a link at KBND.com.
Memorial Day was much more than just a barbecue based three day weekend. Thousands took part in commemorating those who gave their lives for their country. The Boy Scouts in Oregon were no exception to that. In Bend, the Boy Scouts placed 200 flags in the downtown area. In Redmond, Boy Scouts placed 1100 flags on the City's streets and there's a special ceremony at the Redmond Memorial Cemetery at 11 a.m.
Leader of Troop 25 in Bend, Russ Henning says the relationship between scouts and the flag is both official and historical: “For information about contributing to the cause, or about joining the Boy Scouts of America, you can go to: www.troop25bend.org. Russ Hennings was a guest along with Bend Heroes Foundation Leader Dick Tobiasan on “Your Town” Monday.
Highway 97 in La Pine was closed for several hours overnight while Oregon State Police investigate a traffic crash that killed one pedestrian. Around 10:40 Sunday night, police were called to a report that a pick up had struck Stephen Earl Powell, 68, of La Pine, who was walking in the southbound lane of the highway. The investigation reveals that Stephen Mark Gerrick, 48, from Gilchrest was driving his Dodge pickup southbound on Highway 97 and could not see Powell, as the road was unlit in that area. Police are still investigating why Powell was walking in the roadway.
Today is Memorial Day; a time when people will remember those soldiers who paid the ultimate price. Dick Tobiason with the Central Oregon Veterans Council says some people feel the meaning of the day has been lost, because the three-day weekend turns it into a popular camping time or a day to shop the big sales. He says it was originally called "Decoration Day" and only acknowledged on May 30th, regardless of if the 30th fell on a Monday: “And then when the government decided to have 3 day weekends in 1968, then it became Memorial Day and it was always on a Monday, so that gave people a 3 day weekend there's a lot of people not exactly happy about that. They want to go back to the older version; meaning and the Veterans of Foreign Wars thinks a 3 day weekend really undermines the meaning of the day.” In Bend today, the Boy Scouts placed 200 flags in the downtown area. At 1 o’clock, there will be a ceremony at Deschutes Memorial Gardens.
In Prineville, there's a parade at 10:30 a.m. In Redmond, Boy Scouts placed 1100 flags on the City's streets and there's a special ceremony at the Redmond Memorial Cemetery at 11 a.m. Also, at 11 a.m. in Sisters, there's a special ceremony at Village Green Park; and in La Pine at 11:00 a.m., the American Legion is sponsoring a ceremony at the Cemetery. Plus, all day long in Bend at Riverfront Park, there will be a continuous reading of the name, age and hometown of military members killed in Afghanistan since 2001 and in Iraq since 2003. That reading will last from 8:45a.m. to 10 p.m.
Oregon lawmakers recently approved a new bottle bill that will greatly expand the state's recycling program. But State Senator Chris Telfer wants to expand on the legislation. The bill covers nearly all beverage containers, except those that hold wine, liquor or milk. State Senator Chris Telfer did not support the bill, but plans to offer guidance on what to do with unclaimed deposit money. “So I'm going to be writing legislation between now and February about the nickels and soon dimes that are unclaimed, will soon go to the schools.” Senator Telfer says she's already receiving positive feedback about the plan from fellow lawmakers.
A La Pine man is dead from an apparent fall off the railroad overpass over Franklin Street near Third Street in Bend. Officers responded to the report of an unconscious man on Franklin Street just after 3 a.m. Saturday morning and found Preston Okesson, 21, with head injuries. A witness account indicates the man fell from the overpass. He was taken to St. Charles Bend, where he later died. Bend PD's Lt. Brian Kindel talks about the case. "It doesn't appear to be a homicide. You know, it could have been a fall; could have been other factors from the fall. He had been around downtown and had been consuming alcohol that night. We are looking at it as a death investigation. We’re not going to rule until we have all of the facts." Bend Police investigators are conducting a thorough investigation and want to hear from you if you saw Okesson on the Bend Parkway or near the overpass early Saturday morning.
Geese in bend parks beware; dogs are patrolling the river and park areas. Ernie Gilpin of Bend and his dog "Flame" are going up and down the Deschutes River trying to chase the geese away. “My dog is an Australian Kelpie. He's a herding dog. And when we're on the Deschutes River rafting on our own, he's swimming and jumping in the water herding geese. He thinks he is anyway.” Bend Parks and Rec is using the goose hazing volunteer program to help decrease the goose droppings in the parks. The goal is to drive the geese to wilder habitat.
The tornado in Joplin, Missouri was the nation's deadliest in more than sixty years. If you'd like to help the victims, Tom Farley with the local Red Cross says monetary donations are most needed. They anticipate this whole response is going to cost $40 million to date and so far they've received $30 million, and that's just to date and tornado season is not over. There are three ways to donate through the Red Cross: you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS, you can go to their website: www.redcross.org or you can text a $10 donation by texting 90999.
28 teachers in the Redmond School District will be laid off next year to balance the budget. The School Board has been struggling with balancing an $8-million shortfall. School Board Chair Jim Erickson says the affected teachers know. “They have been notified. Most of the 28 are early retirement, part time people who didn't have the expectation they would have a job. But there are eight people who are not temporary or retiring and for these eight people notification has been made.” The School Board wanted to notify the affected teachers as soon as possible, so they could make plans.
The Multi Agency Traffic Team held a traffic detail last Tuesday watching for speedsters, following too closely and driving uninsured. Between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4 p.m., the MATT team wrote 46 citations and 46 warnings for those in violation. Redmond Police, Black Butte Ranch, Deschutes County Sheriff and Bend Police all helped out on the Parkway detail. In a news release, Sergeant Tom Pine with Bend Police says "the purpose of the enforcement detail is to increase traffic safety awareness in the city of bend by increasing police presence. " The next MATT detail is scheduled for sometime in June.
Seven people were taken to a Portland-area hospital following a Friday night two-vehicle serious injury crash on Highway 26 about three miles west of Government Camp. According to Oregon State Police, at about 9:10 p.m. a 2006 Chrysler Sebring driven by Elva Barajas, 35, from Prineville, was westbound on Highway 26 near milepost 50 when she lost control on snowy road conditions. Her car slid broadside into the eastbound lane where it collided with an eastbound 1992 Jeep Cherokee driven by Jeremiah W. Carter, 37, of Prineville.
Barajas, who had minor injuries, and her three passengers were transported by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center with injuries. Right front passenger Juan M. Moran Murilio, 85, from Prineville, was extricated by fire personnel with serious injuries. The other two rear male passengers, ages 8 and 11, had minor or possible injuries. All were using safety restraints.
Carter, who had minor injuries, and his two passengers were also transported to the same hospital by ambulance with injuries. Right rear passenger Christian Carter, 14, from Prineville, was not using safety restraints and had a possible serious injury. The 12-year old male right front passenger had a possible injury. The driver and right front passenger were using safety restraints.
An investigation over several weeks resulted in a drug raid in Madras and the arrest of six adults and three juveniles Friday morning. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and officers from Madras Police Department and the Warm Springs Tribal Police served a search warrant at a home on SE 8th Street in Madras and confiscated digital scales, packaging material, nearly a pound of marijuana, and over $1500 in cash. The adults arrested and booked into jail were Patrick Walker, 30, Heather Walker, 26, Tim Walker, 27, Jesse Richardson, 43, Cory Pendleton, 32, and Renee Hollenbeak, 19. Three children were cited and released. There were five other children in the home; the Oregon Department of Human Services placed the children with their family members in the Jefferson County area. The charges include possession, manufacture and distribution of marijuana within 1000 feet of a school (Buff Elementary) and child endangerment and neglect.
Kevin Hartka, 30, may have come to Oregon for a vacation; but he won't be going home to Wyoming as planned. OSP Lieutenant Gregg Hastings says Hartka got in trouble during a stop outside Burns. “We discovered and seized 95 pounds of marijuana that was stuffed inside several duffle bags and some of the marijuana was stuffed inside a kayak which was being hauled inside.” The bags of dope are valued at $380,000.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules on a case involving a 9 year old Bend girl questioned in an abuse investigation. The high court threw out a lower court's ruling that authorities need warrants to talk to potential victims of sex abuse at school. Oregon's Attorney General, John Kroger who argued the case applauded the decision, saying it will give police and child welfare workers greater leeway to protect children from abuse. The girl's mother sued, claiming that her daughter's civil rights were violated, when she was removed from her classroom and questioned by authorities about abuse, without parental consent. Authorities were investigating whether the girl was abused by her father. Charges against him were later dropped.
OSU Cascades leaders and state lawmakers made their case to buy a new building in the Old Mill District for its graduate programs. The College's President, Becky Johnson, and lawmakers like Chris Telfer and Jason Conger testified before the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capitol Construction Thursday. State Senator Telfer is cautiously optimistic: “I have spoken with a couple of the co-chairs. They feel fairly confident that some projects won't be funded because they're not ready to go. So I'm somewhat confident, but not going to put any money on it yet.” Representative Jason Conger says the OSU Cascades representatives were impressive: “All three of them offered a different perspective about purchasing instead of leasing the building to expand OSU Cascades. And the panel was receptive to their message.” It will be several weeks before a final budget decision will be made.
Crook County is a step closer to electing two new school board members. No one ran for the Zone 3 and 4 positions, so all candidates were write-ins. The top vote getters were Richard Mires and Jess Messner. Now the County needs to make sure the winners are residents of the County, and then they need to formally accept the positions. The election must be certified by June 7th.
You can get to Elk Lake on the Cascade Lakes Highway, but only from one direction. "Cascades Lakes Highway, we have it cleared from the south. You can get up to Elk Lake; we've moved the gate to the Elk Lake area. So there is access in there to the resort of Elk Lake. Parking, I understand, is pretty limited up there though. The road is still closed from Elk Lake around to the gate at Mt. Bachelor." Tom Blust, Director of the Deschutes County Road Department says crews will be working today and will begin again on Tuesday. Blust says they still have about two and a half miles of road to clear between Elk Lake and Mount Bachelor.
Bend’s own Hannah Allison will be heading for the National Spelling Bee again in Washington D.C. Saturday. The 14 year old qualified for the national competition at a local spelling bee back in February. The home-schooled 8th grader feels she is ready: “I'm going over as many words as possible. I'm studying about six hours a day right now.” Hannah placed 49th in the National Spelling Bee last year. She hopes to do better this year. The spelling bee gets underway next Tuesday, May 31st. The finals will be Thursday, June 2nd.
The Deschutes County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a one year extension to the existing collective bargaining agreement, with the international Union of Operating Engineers, or IUOE, Local 701. The Union represents employees working in the Road and Solid Waste Departments. The extension includes a zero percent cost of living adjustment for the fiscal year beginning July first. Deschutes County Administrator Dave Kanner says he's extremely pleased that the Union members see that it is inappropriate in this economic climate, to request a raise. "All of those Union members are members of this community; they can see for themselves what's going on. And I think they are appreciative of the fact that they do have good jobs with benefits and that we can return to the bargaining table when economic conditions are better than they are now." They are still in negotiation with several other bargaining units, and he hopes that similar agreements can be reached.
A big crowd cheered as the ribbon was cut at the newly remodeled McDonald’s on Northeast 3rd Street Wednesday morning. McDonald’s Marketing Director Mike Hargis says it was a real exciting moment and much anticipated. "It was the best opening we've ever had. It was a great turn out. The weather didn't cooperate very well, but we moved everything into the inside and we had a drum line there from Mountain View High School, the ROTC. It was just a great experience." Hargis says people were thrilled with the new, contemporary look and having the convenience of two drive through lanes. He adds that those drive through lanes will be open 24 hours a day; something that's new for McDonald’s.
More than 80 Redmond teachers showed up at Wednesday night's Redmond School Board meeting to defend themselves against more cuts. The School District is facing an $8-million shortfall, but the two sides are negotiating how to make the budget balance. School Board Chair Jim Erickson gives us an update: “Where we stand is both sides are still at the negotiating table trying to figure out the best way to solve this. We agree on some things, but not on all things. We have meetings scheduled for June 6 and 13th. We hope in these two meetings, we'll find solutions to these things.” Union members had fought plans to cut teachers salaries. But the latest proposal by the District, has teachers teaching the same number of days at the same pay, as this year.
Mother Nature has been working overtime the last couple months causing disasters. La Pine City Councilor Stu Martinez just returned from Tennessee helping flood victims there and soon he will be heading back down south; this time to Alabama. “The devastation just from reports I've seen on TV, I think it's going to be a very emotional experience.” Martinez expects to be in Alabama from one to three weeks. Martinez is trained in disaster relief and was just in Burns recently during the floods helping out there.
Governor Kitzhaber today ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon on Monday, May 30th, in memory of all Oregonians who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Bend Band of Brothers spokesman Dick Tobaison says you can help get started on Saturday at Deschutes Memorial Gardens by helping to place flags on all the graves. Tobiason says on Monday most Central Oregon cities will be placing flags in their downtown areas and there will be a special service at Deschutes Memorial Gardens including an F-15 fly over.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will spend Memorial Day in Central Oregon. On Monday, May 30th, he'll be at Pioneer Cemetery in Terrebonne at 9 a.m. Then at 11 a.m. he'll be at Redmond's Memorial Cemetery. And finally at 1 p.m., he'll be at Deschutes Memorial Gardens on north Highway 97 in Bend.
Redmond is a step closer to officially buying Evergreen Elementary. The City Council this week approved the purchase of the school for $260,000. They have run all the inspections to make sure the building is sound, and are now looking to close the deal. Mayor George Endicott says plans are moving forward: “We approved removing the contingency from the purchase to sale and authorized the City Manager to sign with the school district. The next step is: the school district then needs to approve it.” The City of Redmond plans to turn the former school into the City's new City Hall, but renovations won't even start for a couple years.
Memorial Day means many will hit the road to visit family or take a mini-vacation. If you are planning to travel eastward towards the Burns area, we need to tell you about a road detour. Highway 20 near Burns is closed down because of flooding from the Silvies River. "This is actually the second time we've had to close that route this spring in April. There was quite a bit of flooding, and to alleviate the flooding, and get them from one side of the highway to the other, we actually breached the highway where they cut a trench through the middle of the highway to allow the water to cross over from one side to the other." ODOT spokesman Tom Strandberg says you will encounter a detour from Fry Lane to Highway 78.
It’s a first time event in Central Oregon and it seems to be a big hit according to the registration numbers so far. It’s the Happy Girls Half Marathon. Nothing against the fellas, says Event Coordinator Gina Mills, it's just that sometimes women runners can be intimidated and prefer to enter a gender specific run. Men are still allowed to participate but, "The purpose of this race is to celebrate women and to give women an opportunity to run together and to celebrate healthy lifestyle choices and spend time with their girlfriends and their siblings and their daughters and their mothers." Daughters who are ten and under have their own special category. "For the Happy Little Girls Run”, which is on Saturday at the Riverbend Park Expo and packet pick up at 1:30 p.m. That's for the three to ten year olds so there are three age appropriate distance a short little dash for the little kids all the way up to a three quarter mile dash for the 8-10 year olds." Over 100 little runners have entered that event and the registration limit for the main event; 1000 runners have already been reached. Money for the even goes to Kids Center in Bend. For more information on the event , click here. To see a video of the route...click here.
If you are driving on the Parkway or Third Street near Reed Lane in Bend today, and you see columns of smoke or even flames, don't panic. Bend Fire and Rescue is conducting a structural fire training exercise at an abandoned donated house on Reed Lane. Bend Fire Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering says about 30 firefighters from Bend, Sunriver and Cloverdale sharpening their skills at fighting a live fire. "What we'll be doing is we'll take this house that has been inspected and insured that it meets applicable safety and environmental rules, and we'll be burning this house in controlled phases. During the morning hours, they'll be making small interior attacks; they'll extinguish the fire and they'll re-ignite it. So during the afternoon, we will be letting the structure burn." Kettering says the most visible smoke will be in the afternoon. She asks motorists please, do not cause traffic problems by slowing down to see what is happening. The exercise should be done by 6 p-m.
A bill before the Oregon Legislature today can have a direct impact on the education community in Central Oregon. Representative Jason Conger will lead a delegation of Central Oregon community leaders to testify in the legislature about issuing bonds to help enhance the OSU Cascades campus. "We're having a hearing for the first time on a bill I introduced with the rest of the Central Oregon delegation to issue bonds to match local funds and donations to purchase a building in Bend for the OSU Cascades graduate programs." Conger says Tammy Baney, Becky Johnson and several more leaders will hopefully impress on the legislature how important it is and how necessary a new building for OSU Cascades can be. Conger says although this is the first hearing; the bill probably won't be voted on for several more weeks because of the long list of capital construction bills that are waiting for a vote.
The recount of the COCC Student Council elections is over and the results remain the same. "We did go back and recount the votes, based on what the criteria that we had set out to begin with. And that was that all voters had to vote for exactly three candidates. It took a lot of work inside the software to eliminate those who voted for fewer than three or more than three. But ended up recounting the votes, and the order of the top three people remained exactly the same." Those three people are: Matt Coito, Kyder Olson and Brandy Jordan. COCC Public Information Officer Ron Paradis says when the ballots was first sent out to the students, they assumed that the program would only count those who voted only for three candidates, not less or more. Paradis says the current student council is satisfied with the election results, and in the future safeguards will be in place so the problem won't happen again.
Crews are very busy removing as much snow as they can from the Cascade Lakes Highway, at least as far as Elk Lake, so it can open for the Memorial Day Weekend. Crews have had some challenges getting the work done: first the snow blower that the Deschutes County crews was using broke down. Then the ODOT snow blower they contracted broke. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports that there is about a six foot snowpack on the road way; but crews are scraping and plowing and it looks like the road to Elk Lake will open on Friday.
Prineville Police are looking for people who used counterfeit bills at some area businesses. Over the past week, two Prineville businesses have received fake $5 bills. So police are asking businesses to scrutinize bills for possible forgeries. Prineville Police are working with the U.S. Secret Service to investigate these counterfeit crimes.
If you would like to help the tornado victims in Missouri, show up at Ray's Food Place on Saturday. Josh Hart of Bend, used to live in Missouri and feels compelled to help the people out there. He's loading up a van of canned goods and other supplies and heading to Joplin on Sunday. “One thing that was said by an individual on the ground is they didn't see any canned goods and they also need other things like tarps was the last text message from the ground in Joplin.” “Can the Van" will be Saturday, May 28th from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Ray's Food Place off of Century Drive. Hart plans to arrive in Joplin to deliver the supplies by Tuesday.
Employees are still shaking off the effects of the grab and run theft of jewelry from Saxon's Fine Jewelers last Friday afternoon. Co-Owner Ron Henderson says this was not a couple of small time criminals. “This is actually a professional team that has done other hits in Oregon and Nevada and Arizona. So I don’t know if we should feel honored that they chose little ‘ol Saxons in Bend Oregon, but obviously they are hitting some of the better stores around the country and we were on the map.” Henderson says this the first time in 23 years that Saxon's has had an incident like this. He says they are reviewing more safety and security measures to prevent this from happening again. Meanwhile, Henderson would like to thank the community for their outpouring of support, and ask if you were in the Old Mill District last Friday (Around 3:15 p.m.) and saw anything unusual, or the white van with a wing window broken to contact Bend Police. (541-693-6911)
There’s a little bit of Central Oregon helping out in the Joplin, Missouri devastation. Former Redmond Police Chief Lane Roberts, who is now the Police Chief of Joplin, says the tornado devastation is one of the biggest events he's had to deal with. He says it was amazing how fast the help and organization materialized: "There are thousands of people involved in this recovery effort. Not to mention the faith-based community and it makes you feel good about being an American to watch this kind of thing. But, it wasn't my training that was the issue. When the tornado came through, the units in the field immediately knew what to do and began the effort before any of the administrative or executive level people had ever acted." Roberts says cleaning up the devastation will take months and possibly years. He says he has received a lot of calls and emails of concern from his friends here in Central Oregon and he appreciates them all.
Bend parents upset over changed school boundaries showed up at last night's School Board meeting to complain. Last month, the Board decided to send Pine Ridge Elementary students to Pilot Butte Middle School instead of Cascade Middle School, to help ease overcrowding there. Parents like Jay Kolar feels there will be too many low income children concentrated at Pilot Butte: “One thing that came from all of this is that there is now going to be discussion in respect to our “SES”, which is kids of reduced free lunches. And the impact that has, concentrating on the one school versus having diversity across the schools.” Deputy Superintendent John Rexford and Superintendent Ron Wilkinson refute the complaints the process wasn't open: “This is a process we've used over 20 years in the School District and a variety of processes. I didn't really make it up last week. There were plenty of opportunities for individuals to have input into the process. The media covered virtually every single meeting and reported on that.” The School Board voted 5 to 2 to uphold the new boundaries. Board members Beth Bagley and Nori Juba were opposed.
The Oregon State Bar says it has found enough evidence of possible misconduct by Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty. It will now go to the Bar’s Disciplinary Office for further investigation. The State Bar will now analyze the case and will then decide whether to dismiss the complaint or move to the next step.
The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed in March that D.A. Patrick Flaherty abused his power by calling a Grand Jury to settle a personal score with Deschutes County Legal Counsel Mark Pilliod.
Prineville’s nativity scene controversy appears to be solved. The City Council Tuesday night rejected a resolution that would have the City oversee the Christmas display. Instead, private citizen Bob Orlando in Prineville will take on the project. He plans to work with churches, social clubs and groups like the ACLU to come up with a bigger display this Christmas: “Tthey're satisfied, the City is off the hook. We get to expand the display and keep it. That was the goal; to allow the City to continue with their Christmas decorations during the season.” As a private citizen, Orlando has rented the Parks and Rec land near City Hall to set up the display. This way the City has nothing to do with it, and isn't vulnerable to litigation because of the separation of church and state.
Some oily rags are cited as the cause of a fire at a home on Northwest Rimrock Lane in Redmond Tuesday afternoon. Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper says the homeowner had safely placed the deck-stain materials on a gravel area, but the warm temperatures played a part. "However, with a little bit of rain the day before, he covered them with a canvas drop cloth. And when he removed that, and the temperatures got warmer, that all ignited. We had a little bit of breeze and it was able to push it into the deck, and once it hit the deck, it took off and got into the house." Cooper says fire crews were able to fight the fire on the outside of the house, but had to cut a hole in the upper wall to gain access to the attic to extinguish the fire there. The home, owned by Ron and Roberta Thompson has an estimated loss of about $150,000. No one was hurt.
Memorial Day weekend is known for being an opportunity to make road trips which means more traffic than usual. Sheriff Larry Blanton reminds us that also means more patrol cars on the road, but he adds the main goal is always public safety: “The Sheriffs Office and other law enforcement will have extra patrols out this weekend reminding people to drive safely and you know the motto at the Sheriffs Office is: “If you see a patrol car and it reminds you to slow down, fasten your seat belt or hang up the cell phone, mission accomplished. We’ve all made mistakes driving, it's important that somebody is around you watching out for you as well. " Blanton says Memorial Day weekend is historically one of the most dangerous times to drive. And suggests you focus on safe and defensive driving if you need to out there on the roads for the holiday weekend.
Crews are very busy removing as much snow as they can from the Cascade Lakes Highway, at least as far as Elk Lake, so it can open for the Memorial Day Weekend. Crews have had some challenges getting the work done. First, the snow blower that the Deschutes County crews was using broke down. Then the ODOT snow blower they contracted broke. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports that there is about a six foot snowpack on the road way, but crews are scraping and plowing and it looks like the road to Elk Lake will open on Friday.
Another positive employment report in Central Oregon for the month of April. The latest numbers show unemployment in Deschutes and Jefferson Counties just over 12% and Crook County at 15%. They all fell by half a percentage point compared to March. Carolyn Eagan with WorkSource Oregon says leisure and hospitality jobs increased by almost four hundred positions, compared to last year at this time. “One thing I noticed when I look at the growth of leisure and hospitality, it really recognized the significant work that Visit Bend is doing. They're bringing significant events and its adding to the tourism dollars coming into town.” Leisure and hospitality lead job growth in Deschutes County last month. The biggest job losses came in local government.
Around 6:30 Tuesday night Bend Police and Deschutes County Sheriff Deputies are called to a theft at the Sears store in Bend. When they arrive at the store, police find the Loss Prevention officer in a struggle with Arren Broderick, 42, of Kalmath Falls. The investigation reveals that Broderick entered the store with a woman; Adria Wilkinson, 35, also of Klamath Falls. The pair had stolen several hundred dollars of merchandise and left the store. When confronted by the Loss Prevention officer, Broderick struggled with him and attempted to escape, the woman did escape. Police were able to immediately arrest Broderick in robbery and theft charges. Around 12:15 this morning, Sheriffs Deputies found Wilkinson in the getaway car in La Pine with the stolen property. They arrested her on theft and drug charges. The investigation is continuing.
Jefferson County is the most dangerous county in Oregon for pedestrians according to a report released Tuesday. Over the last ten years, five pedestrians have died in Jefferson County. Beth Ann Beamer with Mountain View Hospital in Madras says there's room for improvement: “We have some challenges there. We're talking about a community built around two large highways, not necessarily build for the people who inhabit those communities.” Deschutes County ranked the second safest metropolitan region in the state with ten pedestrian deaths in the last ten years. Most of the deaths in Deschutes and Jefferson counties were where highways run through towns like Madras, Redmond, bend and Tumalo.
Central Oregon Community College administrators are recounting the results of last week's student election by hand. COCC math student Maggie Skyler discovered that the percentages didn't add up in the final tally and contacted administrators. She also was one of the candidates for student government. Last Friday, three student government winners were announced, and Skyler came in fourth. “You know I want it to be a fair election regardless of who wins. It needs to be who the students voted for not anybody else.” Administrators hope to release the recount results in the next day or so.
The Sister’s Rodeo begins June 10th, and with the concern over the Equine Herpes Virus in Oregon, we asked Sisters Rodeo Veterinarian, Doctor Tim Phillips what precautions are being taken. He says they will contact each participant that is bringing horses with a specific checklist of signs to watch for; and he may require owners of out of state horses to provide health certificates: “If we feel that there's an animal with signs that is attending the rodeo, of course, will be asked to leave. And we'll encourage them to swab the animal with a nasal swab technique to check for the DNA of the virus. That’s not something that we can make them do, but certainly something we can encourage them to do. And, as a veterinarian, I could require them to leave the rodeo premises." Phillips says they are altering the horse areas a bit: not allowing too close contact when the horses are not performing and they will require each horse to have individual water containers rather than a community water trough for the horses.
Unemployment dropped in all three Central Oregon counties in April. Unemployment was around 12% in both Deschutes and Jefferson Counties last month, falling half a percentage point in both counties. In Crook County, it’s at 15%, falling also about half a percentage point. Statewide, Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April was 9.6%, down from 9.9% in March.
Now that Bend voters have approved a General Bond to improve City roads, Mayor Jeff Eager says the road projects are getting prioritized: "My understanding is that some of the intersection improvements that will probably be roundabouts will be prioritized first. It depends on where the projects are in terms of how far along they are in design. And the ones thatare farther along and can be done with minimal disruptions to traffic, presumably, will be done sooner." Eager says the only concern the City Council has heard about the proposed roundabouts is the interaction between the train tracks on Reed Market Road. But, he says the wording of the bond will allow some latitude with road design, so that if a roundabout isn't feasible for certain roads, they can re-design it. Eager adds that the priority of work will depend on the design stages, but it will be a public process.
Redmond’s City Council plans to act tonight on buying Evergreen Elementary School now that its Urban Renewal District is in place. Mayor George Endicott expects plans to move forward: “And so I think we're prepared to vote tonight. Staff will probably present information on final cost benefit. How much should we pay, and how does the cost compared to building a new building.” It's expected the City will pay $250,000 for the school and put $10,000 toward maintenance of the building. Since the Downtown Urban Renewal District approved, it's planned the school would become Redmond's new City Hall in several years. If the City Council approves the deal tonight, then the School Board must sign off on it.
Prineville’s City Council will again discuss tonight how to resolve its nativity scene controversy. The City has struggled with how to allow a Christmas display downtown, without getting the City sued for allowing a religious display. Mayor Bette Roppe says a private citizen has come up with a potential solution: “It really looks like a program is afoot to let a private citizen to do this without the City. And my personal opinion it is the best route to meet everyone's desires.” Bob Orlando is the one who approached Mayor Roppe. “I am going to make arrangement to have an appropriate space available for the nativity scene and Christmas display erect. I'm just going to take it upon myself to do it.” Attorneys believe this would absolve the City from responsibility and would not make them vulnerable to legal challenges. The Council will discuss the proposal at tonight's meeting.
A new report on "PERs" could affect people in Central Oregon and throughout the state. The City Club of Portland report says pension benefits for Oregon Public Employees should undergo deep cuts to shore up the financial health of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System and reduce PERs' drain on government budgets. Representative Jason Conger says he's not surprised with the outcome of the report. "It should come as no surprise. Because PERs is such a huge burden. In terms of just a driving, increasing cost of compensating State Employees. My position has been that, obviously, we need to be careful how its reformed and we need to be fair to employees who have worked their time and earned their benefits that they've been promised." The City Club Report concludes that an average 30-year PERs retiree will receive pension benefits that exceed his final salary when Social Security payments are added to state benefits. A researcher who helped with the report says bringing public pension benefits in line with the typical retirement plan target of 75% to 80% of salary would reduce costs to cash-strapped state and local governments.
The Oregon National Guard has been operating its' Youth Challenge Program since the 1990's, and the success of the program has garnered notice around the nation. Former County Commissioner Dennis Luke was involved with the program in its early stages. He explains the 22-week program. "Boot camp doesn't quite explain it. But there's a lot of discipline, early rising, and there's an educational component. That's through the Bend La Pine School District. The kids get credit. Most of them either get enough credit to graduate and get a diploma, or get their GED, if they're old enough. And a lot of them get enough credits to go back and actually get back with their class. So, it's a very successful program. The amount of kids that are successful is amazing, and it changes their lives." Luke says they will have a barbecue Wednesday night at the Youth Challenge Facility on Dodds Road. There will be about 16 cadets available to talk with you about the program and relate how it has changed their lives. It's free, but there is limited seating. Contact Dennis Luke if you want to attend. 541-480-7616.
Need a good reason to walk or ride your bike instead of driving, other than it being a healthy choice? Commute Options Week is longer than a week this year and it has plenty to offer says spokeperson Kim Curley. The awareness event will last the entire month of June, including a “Little Commuters Parade,” a “Free Local Transit Day” and incentives to find other ways to get from here to there. If you log on to the Commute Options website and log your miles of using alternative methods such as walking biking or carpooling, there are even prizes you can win, including a bicylce from Bella Mode. The contest is free, you can sign up at: www.commuteoptions.org.
It’s that time of year when Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest Officials start preparing the wooded area to prevent quick spreading wildfires. The Sisters Ranger District will work with the Oregon Department of Forestry on a 120-acre burn six miles west of Sisters in the Four Mile Butte area. Also, a small 25 to 90 acre burn is planned two miles west of La Pine near Burgess Road as part of the Pickle Project. And in Prineville, BLM officials will be doing some pile burning in several areas just south of the city. Forest officials say the burns should take one to two days and should be completed by Thursday.
A prime piece of bank owned commercial real estate in downtown Bend has sold. The Penney Galleria on the corner of Wall Street and Oregon just sold for $2 million. Darren Powderly of Compass Commercial says it’s a positive sign for the downtown: “It's nice to see these transactions. It's a bit of a reset. It’s painful and it's exciting. Long term for the downtown it will benefit the downtown area. New investors are coming into the downtown and investing in the downtown.” The Penney Galleria sits on a corner that has seen several other renovations. The existing tenants in the galleria like Sports Vision and Common Table will remain.
Around 10:30 p.m. last night Redmond Fire is called out to a fire at Cent-Wise Hardware in Redmond. The fire report states they found the rental portion of the building filled with smoke, and forced their way into the building. The investigation reveals that smoldering materials in a bag of a floor sander that was returned from a rental caused the small fire. Fire crews put out the small fire and ventilated the building. Damages are not estimated at this time, no one was hurt during the incident.
The forest service is adding a reward to get more information on who vandalized Hidden Forest Cave last month. In late April, vandals heavily damaged the Cave with spray paint and fire. Jean Nelson Dean with the Deschutes National Forest says a local group came up with an idea to help catch the vandals: “We are looking for the public's help, if anyone has info the Oregon High Desert Grotto, a local caving group raised funds for a reward, so people should call Crimestoppers, 1-877-876-TIPS. The investigation is ongoing. People can remain anonymous and may get a cash reward.
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley will be in Deschutes and Crook Counties next week for two town halls. He's looking for constituent’s suggestions on how to tackle the challenges facing Oregon and the country, and he'll update you on his work in Washington D.C. He'll be in Sisters at the City Hall on Tuesday May 31st at 5:30 p.m. Then in Prineville at the Soroptimist Senior Center on Wednesday, June 1st at 2:30 p.m. Merkley has pledged to hold town halls in each of Oregon’s 36 counties each year.
Bend police confirm a 24-year-old woman reported being assaulted in the McMenamins parking lot early last Thursday morning. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports, police said the woman was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries; adding that there's no indication yet a sex crime took place. Only a vague description of the attacker has been revealed: a white male with black hair, wearing a black beanie. Officers said the case is still under intensive investigation.
A stabbing in Crooked River Ranch last weekend. Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputies have arrested a 50 year old Crooked River Ranch man for a stabbing last weekend. The victim was stabbed around 6:30 p.m. Saturday and taken by helicopter to St. Charles Bend for treatment. Arrested was Daniel Santos. He's charged with assault and unlawful use of a weapon.
It’s time for some family fun. A first time event will pit families against each other the "Sun Games" at the Sun Mountain Fun Center featuring the "High Five Challenge". Spokesperson Christine Limburg explains: “The reason why we're calling it the High Five Challenge is: there are 5 different challenges that are going to take place over five weeks. So families are going to come out and they're going to compete in fun, and kinda be the best in their kids’ eyes. Their first event is bowling, so make sure you bring socks, because you will be bowling. The event is free. And your family can consist of you and one child; It can consist of you and three children. You and a spouse and a couple of kids. It doesn't matter about team sizes, we're happy to have you all come out." Limburg says the High Five Challenge is for five weeks. And families will be competing in all the fun Centers' various games over those weeks. And the grand prize will be a one-year pass to the Sun Mountain Fun Center. It's free to register for the events, and you don't necessarily need to attend all events. You can register at any of the High Five Challenges' sponsors: the Sun Mountain Fun Center, La-Z-Boy Furniture store, Morning Star Christian School, Red Robin and Jiffy Lube.
The first time event, Adventure Off Road Races were a big hit with Central Oregonians last weekend. Russ Walkup, the General Manager of Supertoys Adventures said about 2000 people came out to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds to cheer on the drivers. "We set up a bunch of the trucks and some of the buggies together. And at one time we 11 vehicles on the track. And so there was just a lot of horsepower and a lot of people kicking u a lot of dirt and really fighting for position. And so there was a lot of intense, tight racing going on. That was something that the fans could really get behind and root for their favorite driver." He says the racers come from all over the northwest, and as fans learn more about the races, more will come out to cheer on their favorite driver. Walkup says they are planning three more races: the next one is a Rally Cross on June fourth and fifth.
Andrew Boone, 30, of Bend won the Men's Elite title in the Pole, Pedal, Paddle, but there were many winners in different age categories. One of the more impressive victors is Ernie Gilpin. The 75 year old Bend man won first place in the new 75 and Older Division, because he's the first 75 year old to run the race: “It's the very, very first time in the history of the 35 year Pole, Pedal, Paddle they added the category. Because the highest had always been 70 and up. But when I got to be 75, I called and said there ought to be a category.” Ernie was the only participant in the 75 and Older Category. He did the Alpine and Nordic skiing, biked for 22 miles, kayaked for two and a half miles and sprinted a half mile. Gilpin says he runs about two and half miles every day. He says he's not the fastest, but he's still out there doing it.
A record number of competitors for the 35th annual "Pole Pedal Paddle" that just wrapped up this weekend.
3200 racers, half of them from out of town, skied, rafted the river, biked and ran. Molly Kelley with the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation says the weather was pleasant, not too hot for racers and there were no accidents: “What's cool is it just continues to give bend great exposure and our sponsors great exposure. i know its great for our local economy. A lot of people in the past, this was the first time they've come here and they bought horses. We just hope that trend continues.” The kids ran their own "Pole, Pedal, Paddle" Sunday in the Old Mill District. A record number of first through sixth graders participated, more than 200.
29 world war two veterans and their guardians took a trip of a lifetime last week. Dick Tobiason, President of the Bend Heroes Foundation says the men who went saw and felt the gratitude of a thankful nation. “We went down to the World War II Memorial, where we spent about 3 hours; because that the whole reason we go there. We actually saw about 11 different sites, but of course we spent most of the time at the World War II Memorial. We were welcomed by Senator Bob Dole, who is instrumental in advocating the Memorial and raising the fund for it. we had a great time with him. He came there just for us." Tobiason says there were about a hundred school kids at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that were very excited to meet the veterans, and took lots of pictures with them. And when it was time to leave the Memorial, the kids lined up side-by-side and cheered the vets on. Tobiason says they are planning another honor flight for September and can always use help to pay for the tips. If you can help, please go to: www.bendheroes.org .
There were no candidates in the May 17th election for the Crook County School Board. Two candidates apparently have the "write stuff". Two candidates have garnered some write-in votes; and it looks like they are likely to win the Board seats. Jess Messner, a local insurance agent in Redmond says he decided to get involved because it's the right thing to do: “I'm very passionate about education. I have 2 kids and one on the way. And I think that the Crook County School District is coming upon a lot of financial decisions, as well as educational decisions that are gunna need to be made. And I'm interested. I want to be a part of the process. I don't want to be a bystander." Messner says he hopes his example will encourage others to get more involved with the community, because that's the only way things can get back on track. The other write in candidate is Rich Mires. Messner leads with about 83 of the 301 write-in votes. The Crook County Clerk could declare the winners on Friday.
A warning from law enforcement today for people who spent a lot of time in the great outdoors; especially in remote areas, watch out for gardens being tended by drug criminals. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) says heavily armed drug criminals are out tending their marijuana gardens this time of year. And it can be very dangerous for the unassuming hikers who stumbled onto a garden. Ken Mannix is with the CODE Team: “There's been a significant increase in outdoor marijuana grows, not just in Central Oregon, but also in the entire State, I think its because its very lucrative.” In a recent bust, police destroyed a garden worth about $4 million. It was on private land in Wheeler County and a traveler stumbled onto it and alerted authorities.
The Bend City Council is talking about whether they should keep charging builders a fee that is earmarked for local affordable housing projects. Bend Mayor Jeff Eager says the charge is set to expire soon, so the Council is deciding if it should continue. It started several years ago and currently there is about $2.7 million in the affordable housing fund. The money is used for low interest or no interest loans to help pay for the projects. "There's a lot of moving parts to it; and there's also a component where the fee may help leverage some State and federal funding for affordable housing that Bend wouldn't otherwise get. So we've just started looking into it and there's a lot of pieces to it and we'll be dealing with it for at least another one or two meetings." Eager says on one hand, Bend needs affordable housing. But there's a downside to charging a fee to regular housing because that makes the cost of homes go up. The charge is one third of 1% of the value of the project. So the fee for a $300,000 home would be just shy of $1000.
The long time Sisters High Principal and Head Football Coach is leaving his post after 19 years of being involved with sisters high. Bob Macauley is moving on to become the new Principal of Glencoe High School in Hillsboro. But, will he coach football there? "Nope, I'm just going to be the principal and just enjoy good athletics from about 13 rows up and then I can second guess everybody's third down calls, just like the rest of the fans (laughs)." Macauley says his fondest memories include his kids; his boys played on the football teams that won back to back state championships. He also remembers the first volleyball championship and when the band won a state championship. He says it's been very rewarding to see the kids excel before his eyes. Macauley begins his new job on July first.
500 people a day use the new eastside Bend Library. Library officials expected to see a lot of foot traffic at the new branch, but this is even more than they expected. Karoline Lahmer is supervisor at the new branch and says they're adding a part time worker. “We have a really high level of material handling here. Even if people got the materials somewhere else, they're on their way to cost, so we're an easy location to drop off materials. So we're adding a 20 year internal position will mainly be helping us manage materials.” Lamer says they handle between 4000 and 5000 materials a month at the eastside branch.
Here’s your chance to balance Bend’s budget. You can now go online and try your hand at balancing the City’s budget with the new Bend Budget Balancer website. It’s interactive, educational and we think it’s even a little fun. The Budget Balancer allows users to allocate money in the city’s proposed 2011-2012 General Fund. City spokesperson Justin Finestone has details on how the "Budget Balancer" works: “So you can choose to add to those programs if they are important to you like fire or police or street maintenance; or you can cut programs if you'd like to save money. There's also an option for raising revenue if you've added to a lot of programs that are important to you but not enough money to support it. You can add different types of fees and revenues to balance the budget; so it's really an educational tool.” General Fund Revenues total about $33 million and the City Council has the most discretion on how those revenues are spent on programs and services. If you'd like to try it out go to: www.bendbudget.com.
A bill that extends a popular tool in creating jobs in hard hit areas like Central Oregon is still alive in Salem. State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says the bill would extend the "Enterprise Zone Program" that was set to go away. His bill would push out the sunset date to 2023. “What it does is allow economic development efforts to use the only effective or certainly the most effective tool to invest in Oregon to relocate here or expand if they're already here.” Conger says Enterprise Zones in Central Oregon have Facebook in Prineville; T-Mobile in Redmond, and Bend Broadband.” His bill made it through the House and he's expected it to get through the Senate soon and be signed by the Governor. Some business leaders in Oregon have been critical of the lack of jobs creating bills this session; Conger says this bill is one of the few that's still alive.
Bend will host the top level of women's soccer this summer. Oregon Rush will field a new women's premier soccer league team. The 30 member team will play six games at Summit High School. John O'Sullivan with Oregon Rush is helping bring the new team here. “The purpose behind the team right here is to provide top level of womens’ play in the U.S. right here in Bend. We have a very strong fast and growing women's program. We wanted to provide a team not only for youth players, but adult players as well.” The first home game will be Friday June 3rd at Summit High School. Tickets are $5 for adults and $30 dollars for a family season pass, for six games.
It’s a boost for the Bend area Habitat for Humanity, and a creative way to deal with foreclosed homes. Meyer Memorial Trust is announcing that its’ May 2011 awards include a grant of $80,000 to Bend Area Habitat for Humanity to acquire and rehabilitate four foreclosed homes. This award was part of more than $3.8 million given to 31 nonprofit organizations in Oregon and Clark County, Washington, this month. This award brings the total Meyer Memorial Trust has granted since it began operating in 1982 to nearly $532 million, including nearly $18 million to groups in Central Oregon.
An ultimate urban adventure race is coming to Bend. The very popular and eclectic race promises to bring people from all over the nation to participate in what organizers call the "Oyster Off Road Adventure Race." Merrell Oyster Races spokesman Jason Ornstein says this race will be similar to the huge urban races the produce with the targets a mystery: "The one that's coming to Bend on June 25th is comprised of 2-person teams, and you could have up to four people on a relay team. And once again, the teams don't know the course until they begin the race; they do know they they're going to be on foot and on bike and we do reserve the right to get them wet." Ornstein says they are looking for local teams to participate in the race. He says like the PPP, many do it for fun, but some do it in all seriousness. But it's always a great party in the end. The race is June 25th. You can get more information at: www.oysterracingseries.com.
Are you ready to answer "the call" that comes in the middle of the night. The one informing you that there's an emergency with your aging loved one? Home Instead Senior Care has designed a “Senior Emergency Kit” that is a very valuable tool that you can have ready should such an event happen. “They can track all their contact information, all their family, all their doctors, their pharmacists, their dentist, anything else they need to track. All their meds, when they're supposed to take them and how often they're supposed to take them and who the nurses and doctors are that are involved with those meds and those types of things. It comes in a handy-dandy box, and they put the kit in there and they put that information in there and they have the information at their disposal." Bend Home Instead owner Todd Sensenbaugh says after years of working with seniors; they realized and developed the kit. The kits are free, just contact Home Instead 541-330-6400. You can also download the various forms on their website.
A third Oregon horse has tested positive for the equine herpes virus; this one is from Deschutes County. The horses attended the National Cutting Horse Association Show in Odgen, Utah, where this current herpes outbreak is thought to have originated. So far, the local horse had not displayed any neurological symptoms of the disease. All horses attending the event have been quarantined.
La Pine says goodbye to a local fire captain. Approximately 300 people showed up at La Pine High School for a 2 p.m. memorial. It was a mix of firefighters and citizens. Firefighters showed up from all over the state of Oregon to say goodbye to Fire Captain James Palmer, 37. Palmer was remembered for helping others; for being the drummer in a rock band, and most importantly, as a family man who would always put his kids first. A former chaplain of the La Pine Fire Department who is now in the Albany area, says he watched Palmer’s career and he was a pleasure to work with. After the Saturday afternoon memorial, a procession of fire trucks from as far away as Baker City rolled past the La Pine Fire Station in a silent procession. The sign outside the station said goodbye to Captain Palmer and that he will be missed. He was killed a week ago Friday in a two-car accident on Highway 97.
Oregon State Police are still investigating Friday afternon's fatal crash on Highway 26 east of Government Camp. According to an OSP report; around 2:30 p.m., Robert Norman Warner, 59, of Warm Springs, was driving westbound on Hwy 26 when for unknown reasons left the roadway and rolled his KIA Sportage until it stopped in the trees bordering the highway. Warner was pronounced dead at the scene. His seven year old granddaughter received minor injuries and was taken to Mountain View Hospital in Madras. Her name is not available at this time. OSP is continuing the investigation.
Around 3:15 Friday afternoon, Bend Police received the call that a man entered Saxon’s Fine Jewelers in the Old Mill District, and took an undisclosed amount of jewelry. Police say the suspect then joined a driver and fled in an awaiting white van and drove to a business on Bluff Drive where witnesses saw the two men flee from the scene on foot. Police determine the van was recently stolen from Tigard. Police surrounded the area in an attempt to find the suspects, but were unable to find them. One suspect is believed to have fled to the businesses in the area of Upper Terrace. They are described as white males, one with darker skin, in his late 30's with an athletic build, short dark hair, wearing a Calloway visor and he apparently has a southern accent. The other is about six feet tall, with an athletic build and strawberry blond hair. Police now need your help; if you have seen these suspects or know anything about the robbery, please contact police at 521-693-6911.
The Bend Chamber of Commerce held its City Forecast Townhall Breakfast this morning. Bend Mayor Jeff Eager and City Manager Eric King addressed the group about some of the challenges the City is facing. The Director of the Chamber, Tim Casey, says it’s always a popular event: “They’ll talk about the City Council goals, they’ll look at the budget that they’ll be adopting in June. What’s always tough is trying to maintain City services without raising taxes. And then what the City’s gunna do as far as jumpstart out local economy without raising taxes.” Tim Casey was the guest on KBND's "Your Town" earlier this week.
Law enforcement is stepping up patrols looking for traffic violators over the next couple weeks. It's part of a statewide effort to reduce the number of deaths from car accidents. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office will be increasing daylight patrols to look for those not wearing seatbelts and children not in proper seats. During nighttime hours, officers will focus on catching drunk drivers. The campaign will run from May 23rd through June 5th.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley will be holding town hall meetings this weekend in Jefferson, Grant and Morrow counties. Merkley will be in Madras on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Jefferson County Senior Center. On Sunday, he'll be in Grant County at Monument School at 1:30 p.m. and in Morrow County that same day at Heppner Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. For the last several years, Merkley has visited all of Oregon's 36 counties every year.
Most State offices are closed today as part of the State's Furlough Program. It’s required state worked to take unpaid days off on 10 Fridays since October 2009, affecting about 26,000 state employees and saving the state around $2 million in payroll. While most State offices are closed; many who work in police, corrections, substance abuse treatment, and the Oregon Department of Transportation are working today. If you have business to do with the DMV; some services are available on-line. Through the Oregon DMV website, you can process vehicle registration renewals, changes of address and notice of vehicle sales.
A second horse has tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus in Oregon. The horse, which came in close contact with horses that were at the recent Utah horse show, is located in Umatilla County. Bruce Pokarney with the Oregon Department of Agriculture says 20 Oregon horses were at the show and the two that have tested positive were not at the show, but were in close physical contact with horses that did. "At this point, we believe, because we've accounted for all of the animals that did go to the show, and those animals they've been in close contact with, we believe there's little risk of the virus spreading to other locations in the State at this time." Pokarney says the animals will remain quarantined for two to three weeks to allow the virus to run its course, but a small number of horses have died from the virus. He adds that the two horses are not showing symptoms of the virus at this time and keeping them quarantined will help them shed the virus in due time.
A budget shortfall in Bend may be affecting the length of time it takes police and fire to get to your home in an emergency. Bend Fire and Police leaders say fewer workers during the past few years means the lighter coverage and seems to be showing up in longer response times. At the City Council meeting Wednesday, Bend Mayor Jeff Eager says they heard from both the fire chief and police chief. "There's obviously the main concern is the safety and life of people who live in Bend the longer those response times go the greater chance of someone who's injured or worse. That's the primary concern, but I think there might also be concerns about property insurance." The police and fire chiefs both showed numbers at the meeting showing their staffing and service levels are typically below the state and national averages. Besides safety, Eager says another concern with slower fire response times is potentially higher insurance rates for consumers.
Detectives with the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) destroyed a large marijuana grow operation in a remote private location in Wheeler County. According to the police report, the investigation began in early May after a private citizen discovered the over 2500 plants while traveling through the area.
Last year, the CODE Team destroyed about 6000 plants from this same location. No suspects were found at the location at the time of the incident and police say eliminating a grow of this size causes a significant setback for the drug trafficking organization in operation there. Estimated value of the operation is about $4-million. Police ask people recreating on public or private lands be aware of surroundings; if you come across anything unusual or out of place, to mark the location, with a GPS if possible, leave the area immediately and notify police. Most importantly, do not confront persons you may encounter in a marijuana garden. It is highly possible they will be armed and will use force to protect their garden.
Thursday in Salem, lawmakers, some youth from Central Oregon and others gathered for Armed Forces Day. . “The Oregon National Guard is out in force. We had an F-15 flyover, over the Capitol, and there were, I don’t know how many howitzers in the park across the street firing.” State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says it was a touching moment in Salem as they honored our military during Armed Forces Day. “I don’t know about you, but I always…I’m a bit sentimental, I will admit and every time I see a flyover, especially when they do a missing wingman formation, I always get tears in my eyes.” Conger says another favorite part of the event was interacting with members of the Oregon Youth Challenge who also came to Salem for the ceremony.
100 volunteers in the Burns area are winning the race to prevent more flooding along the Silvies River in Harney County. The river crested Wednesday night but crews from Oregon State Police, the National Guard and ODOT continue to fill sandbags and put them along the rain and snow melt saturated river. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty admits things have improved in the last 24 hours, but: “The river is still out of its bank. We have an incredible snowpack on the north side of Burns, so there's plenty more to come. It will be absolutely weather related. If we get warm rain, we'll be back in the same circumstance.” Grasty says if they have cold nights and mild days for the next month, they'll probably keep more flooding at bay.
It's a new tool for attracting business to Central Oregon. Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is announcing the release of four annual business publications. They are “The Central Oregon Profile" which covers the tri-county area, the "Redmond Profile", "Crook County Profile" and "Jefferson County Profile." EDCO Executive Director Roger Lee says they provide a good statistical snapshot of our region and are important to local non-profits, businesses and government agencies. EDCO changed the profiles this year to include expanded business information, additional narrative to explain business dynamics, and more easy-to-read charts and graphs. Profile publications are available as free .pdf downloads on EDCO’s website.
Doug La Placa with Visit Bend says this can be a challenging time of the year for those in the tourism industry. So a healthy turnout for Pole, Peddle, Paddle is a welcome boost to the local economy. The Pole Peddle Paddle is Bend’s signature athletic event. And it’s a great gift to the community from the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation to operate this event on an annual basis. In terms of participants, it is the largest athletic event, that I know of, in the City of Bend. And perhaps, more importantly, been the direct economic impact is the time year that it happens. The shoulder seasons, particularly May, is a very challenging time for Bend’s tourism industry, and the Pole Peddle paddle provides a much needed economic boost during a time when we need it most.” But, what kind of economic impact is that? “About half of the racers in the big event are from out of town and some even from out of state.” Race organizers say they've already broken past records of those enrolled with about 3100 racers signed up. The big race is on Saturday and the Kid’s Mini PPP is on Sunday.
Free speech shouldn't be hostile speech. That was part of the discussion at Thursday's City Club meeting at St. Charles. OSU Cascades Political Science Professor Jim Foster is addressing the group. He says despite our differences, we have to find ways to have a civil discussion in this country on difficult subjects. You're talking life and death, war and peace, economic security in the early part of the 21st century. It has great consequences for us and our kids. If we can't figure out how to talk, we're in real trouble. And we defeat what the first amendment is which is to encourage conversation. Professor Foster recently wrote a book called "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" on a Alaskan First Amendment case.
One hundred volunteers are working overtime in the Burns area filling sandbags to prevent more serious flooding there. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty says things have improved in the last day, but they are staying vigilant: “So the latest is the Silvies River crested last night, don't know exactly what time, late evening. It's dropped about a foot from 3600 cubic feet to 2800.” Oregon State Police, Natural Guard, ODOT and other state agencies are in Burns to protect the levee and to prevent more flooding. Volunteers have put 25,000 sandbags along the rain and snowmelt swollen river. A few homes have been flooded, some unoccupied and Highway 20 east of Burns is closed in spots and probably will be for several more days. Detours are in place.
The importance of civil discussion is the focus of today's City Club meeting at St. Charles. Political Science Professor at OSU Cascades, Jim Foster wrote a book on an Alaskan First Amendment Case, and will be addressing the group. He says people with differing views have to find a way to talk to each other, with all the challenges this country faces. “Basically what I'll be talking about is the First Amendment guarantees free speech in order to promote domestic tranquility and promote general welfare. So free speech can't be licentious in the sense uncivil or hurtful that stops conversation rather than keep it going.” Foster says we have to find a way to problem solve despite our differences.
A new report on PERs could affect people in Central Oregon and throughout the state. The City Club of Portland report says pension benefits for Oregon Public Employees should undergo deep cuts to shore up the financial health of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System and reduce PERS' drain on government budgets. The City Club report concludes that an average 30-year PERS retiree will receive pension benefits that exceed his final salary, when Social Security payments are added to state benefits. A researcher who helped with the report says bringing public pension benefits in line with the typical retirement plan target of 75% to 80% of salary would reduce costs to cash-strapped state and local governments.
With the changes in the economy in the past few years, the Chamber of Commerce has had to make adjustments to keep up with the times. Tim Casey, the Executive Director of the Bend Chamber of Commerce says they've adapted their programs to cater to what members say they need nowadays. "One of the changes is to develop a new paradigm the economy is different so that means the businesses need to be different four weeks ago at the Oxford Hotel and it was a huge success." Casey says every year programs get put on the table for discussion and if they are not beneficial in the eyes of a majority of the members, they go back to the drawing board. Tim Casey was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” today.
Doug La Placa with Visit Bend says this can be a challenging time of the year for those in the tourism industry. So a healthy turnout for the Pole, Peddle, Paddle is a welcome boost to the local economy. “What kind of economic impact? About half of the racers in the big event are from out of town and some even from out of state.” Race organizers say they've already broken past records of those enrolled with about 3100 racers signed up. The big race is on Saturday and the Kids Mini-PPP is on Sunday.
The cancer awareness Pink Fire Trucks are coming to Bend again this year. They will be in town June 3rd at Murray and Holt Motors, and this year, there will be a fundraising challenge that has peaked interest. City Council Member Jodie Barram is throwing down the gauntlet: "In February, my mom passed away from breast cancer. And so this is the perfect opportunity for me to step up. The least I can do is give the 13" of my hair,hopefully, if we raise up to $5000, I will publicly shave my head. I will be donating my hair to locks of love." Barram says last year, a Bend firefighter shaved her head for the cause. She also saw Portland Mayor Sam Adams do the same for childhood cancer. So she's willing to sacrifice her hair. If you would like to donate, you can contact Jodie Barram at City Hall or send your check to: Sara’ Project, c/o Jodie Barram P.O. Box 1833, Bend, OR 97709 or Linda Robson, the organizer of the pink fire truck event, at the Robson Insurance Agency 541-382-9111.
A Portland-area horse has tested positive for a neurological form of the equine herpes virus traced to a horse show in Utah. It's the first case confirmed in Oregon. But this horse did not attend the show, instead contracting the potentially deadly disease through close contact with other horses that did. The equine herpes virus is not transmissible to people, but it is a serious disease to horses and they can die as quickly as four days. Dr. Wayne Schmotzer is with the Bend Equine Medical Center; he says in his clinic, the recommendation is that unnecessary horse travel be avoided: "Lastly, people will ask, is there anything I can do for my horse? There is no vaccine.” He says there are no suspected cases yet of the virus in Central Oregon.
The President of Oregon State University is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the OSU Cascades Campus and just paid a visit to Central Oregon. President Ed Ray has been in Central Oregon this week to meet with students and staff and others about new developments at the OSU Cascades Campus. One topic is how the transition is going as the University of Oregon pulls out of the local campus: “The University of Oregon has been a wonderful partner with us in this start up venture over the past 10 years, and now they are withdrawing from the campus and turning programs over to OSU. So we get down to 2 administrative structures; COCC and OSU, so we can hopefully provide as seamless as possible, 4 year degree opportunities." And Wednesday, he also looked at some property that they may consider for expansion plans in the near future.
Deschutes County voters elected Dallas Brown to be the newest member of the Bend Parks and Recreation Board. Brown has run for City Council and County Commission before, but this time he admits, it’s nice to be on the winning side: “I was really happy with the results. It's nice to know that I have that kind of support in the community. I'm looking forward to working on Parks and Rec Board and helping citizens here realize their vision for parks.” The Parks and Rec Board is a volunteer position and it meets twice a month. Brown says after last November's defeat for County Commissioner, he wasn't inclined to run again for public office, but supporters encouraged him to continue to be involved in the community. (Note: Dallas Brown is an employee of Combined Communications.)
Voters in La Pine approved its City Charter in Tuesday's election. It’s an important step for the young City. They also voted out of office; most of the sewer and water commissioners who fought plans to take over the city's sewer and water district. La Pine City Manager Rick Allen says the City will move forward with plans, but it will take us a while to merge some computer systems and things, so we’ll spend most of a year working through all of those things. So July 1 of 2012, would be the day the City will take over.” In March, the City Council considered taking over the Sewer and Water District, but Commissioners said they couldn't take over without the Commissioners consent. Federal law prevents cities from annexing districts without consent, while they still are paying back federal loans.
Drivers on Highway 97 between Bend and Redmond Wednesday wondered what was happening in the old Brand Restaurant. Dozens of Central Oregon police officers took pat in a mock bank robbery Wednesday to hone their skills in the event of a worst case scenario bank robbery. The officers, including Central Oregon Emergency Response Team, or CERT, had to respond to a bank robbery with the gunman taking hostages. The specially trained unit uses these exercises to learn to diffuse the danger and save lives. They prepare and train for every type of situation, and in all kinds of weather, and refine the SWAT tactics they need to employ. The team trains twice a month in various situations; including barricaded or suicidal people or drug raids.
Deschutes County voters elected Dallas Brown to be the newest member to the Bend Parks and Recreation Board. Brown has run for City Council and County Commission before, but this time he admits its nice to be on the winning side. “I was really happy with the results. It's nice to know that I have that kind of support in the community. I'm looking forward to working on the Parks and Rec Board and helping citizens here realize their vision for parks.” The Parks and Rec Board is a volunteer position and it meets twice a month. Brown says after last Novembers’ defeat for County Commissioner, he wasn't inclined to run again for public office, but supporters encouraged him to continue to be involved in the community.
The League of Oregon Cities Committee or “LOC” met with Governor Kitzhaber about a new resolution; seeking his support. Redmond Mayor George Endicott is on the board of that committee and was at the meeting with the Governor Friday. The priority was HJR 26: "It's called House Joint Resolution 26 which is a resolution that will be an amendment it will goes to the voters to approve but what it does is extends the amount of time that operating levy’s can exist. This would extend them from five to ten years, but because of Measures 5 and 50, it's a Constitutional Amendment. But the Governor did say he would support it so that's what we were after and that's what we got; so it was a good meeting." Now that the Executive Committee got the approval, it must be approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in order to be referred to the voters as a potential Constitutional Amendment. If voters approve the Constitutional Amendment, it only gives communities the authority to ask local voters for approval of local operating levies.
Although Redmond had no bond measure on the ballot this time around, Redmond Mayor George Endicott finds the outcome of the election, specifically the passing of the "Better Roads for Bend" and the jail levy, uplifting. "I think it goes to show that the voters will, even in times like this, support initiatives that support the community. I think there are some other examples like the school bond and some others and I think it proves that voters are paying attention and will show support." Endicott was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” today.
And Business Leaders are Happy Too
Local economic development leaders supported the $30 million bond measure in Bend to improve the City roads. A number of local groups, like the school district, COCC, and economic development leaders endorsed the bond measure. Roger Lee with EDCO says the quality of local roads does matter. He says bad roads cans top a potential business expansion or start-ups. "It creates issues on getting approval say from ODOT or even the City if there's not adequate capacity in the streets." And good roads can be attractive to businesses wanting to locate in Bend because it may lower their start-up costs.
Residents of La Pine overwhelmingly approved its new City Charter during Tuesday's election. 81% approved of the rules by which the City will govern. La Pine City Manger Rick Allen says its another step forward for the young city. “Well, it means La Pine gets to govern and operation by its own set of rules and operations. For instance, the Mayor will be elected and not appointed from the City Council, those type of things.” Voters also took a step to taking over the City's Water and Sewer District. They voted out of office, those Commissioners who blocked the measure several months ago.
The President of Oregon State University is in Bend today. President Ed Ray has been in Central Oregon during the past two days meeting with students and staff and others about new developments at the OSU Cascades Campus. One topic is how the transition is going as the University of Oregon pulls out of the local campus: "The University of Oregon has been a wonderful partner with us in this start up venture over the last 10 years, and now they are withdrawing from the campus and turning programs over to OSU so that we get down to two administrative structures: OSU-Cascades and COCC to provide, hopefully as seamless as possible, 4 year educational opportunities." And this morning, he also looked at some property that they may consider for expansion plans in the near future.
Former Bend City Councilor Oran Teater was honored as Citizen of the Year at last nights' Sage Awards at the Riverhouse. Teater, says he was taken by surprise at the announcement. He says he’s followed a simple philosophy all his life: "My philosophy is, there's a little quote, and it's 'giving back to the community is the rent you pay to live here'. And I think everybody has a responsibility to do that. I don't think it has to be in dollars, it can be in time and talent. And it can be from being a Boy Scout leader to coaching Little League to serving on a variety of committees, but I think everybody should help." Teater, who finished out his term on the Bend City Council in January, now chair of the OSU Cascades; is on the Juniper Ridge Management Board and serves on the Governors’ Council of Economic Advisors. Teater says he wants to slow down a bit, but will always remain active in local projects. 1110 KBND congratulates Oran Teater as the Citizen of the Year.
Other Sage Awards
We now know who the winners of this year's Sage Awards are. Last night, the Bend Chamber of Commerce held an awards ceremony where people voted for the top local businesses; the winner in the Large Business category went to Bend Research. The Small Business of the Year was Donner Flowers, and the Organization of the Year was awarded to Saving Grace. Several hundred people turned out for the Bend Chamber event at the Riverhouse last night.
Tuesday nights’ election had some great results for bond measures and a city charter. Although voter turnout was lower than expected in Deschutes and Crook Counties, Jefferson County, with the highly anticipated jail levy vote passed with 45% of voters casting their ballots. City of Bend Measure 9-83, the contentious Transportation Bond Measure easily passed with 55% of votes. Dallas Brown won Position One for the Bend Parks and Recreation District, and Scott Wallace won Position Two. In the race for Bend La Pine School Board; Peggy Kincade won the only contested race. Residents of the City of La Pine overwhelmingly passed a new City Charter.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins said there was a big celebration in madras when they heard the results of the Jail Bond Levy passing. An extensive of an operating levy for the jail means they won't be forced to start letting out inmates when the current levy expires next month. Adkins want to thank the citizens who supported the levy. “I hope I can live up to their expectations. I’ve really cut back on different expenditures. I'm running a really lean machine. I've cut back on food costs, electricity, we’re trying to do that, watering, I’ve laid off seven and a half people. We’re cutting everywhere so we can meet the expectations of the voters.” The levy passed by about a 2 to 1 margin.
Voters in Bend approved $30 million in General Obligation Bonds to pay for road improvements throughout the City. For those supporting the measure it was a night for celebration. KBND news spoke with Neil Bryant of "Better Roads for bend- who said it was a good night for those who wanted to see the measure pass: “That it is; we're happy there was no polling and we weren't sure if we were going to win. From the phone polling we did, it sounded like a lot of people thought it was a good idea, and that turned out to be true." Measure 9-83 replaced an existing levy of the same amount that is expiring this year. The roads measure will cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $45 to $50 dollars a year in property taxes.
Four Bend men are arrested after residents complain that they suspect drug trafficking in the Shoshone Circle neighborhood in the Deschutes River Woods. Deschutes County Street Crimes Unit, with Deschutes County Sheriffs Deputies and the CODE team conducted surveillance of the residence and obtained warrants to arrest Tarry Foster, 46, Robert Sine, 56, Jerry Young, 55, and Benigno Flores, 29. All are lodged in the Deschutes County Jail for drug manufacturing, trafficking and other offenses. Also, deputies obtained the methamphetamine, over $1000 cash, and paraphernalia used to manufacture and sell meth.
ODOT is working on all kinds of improvements to roads in the area. But recently you may have seen crews replacing streetlights on 3rd and Revere. Peter Murphy with ODOT says the lights and poles have seen their better days, and regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act, require even more improvements: “They got old and the poles needed to be moved to comply with ADA and what happens is when you start working on a project or anything else and you renovate it you have to take it into compliance the new ADA regulations so once you get into it; then you have to start doing the other things." The project includes three locations total, with two others being along Greenwood Avenue. "Actually, it combines all three of them into one project so we're making it better and easier to transit through there so and putting some new conduit and wires in." The funding comes from ODOT, and some from federal dollars as well, because Highway 20 is also a federal highway.
Oregon’s unemployment rate fell to 9.6% in April. That's the lowest level in the State since December of 2008. State Economist Nick Beleiciks says in April alone, the State added 1600 jobs. “Well leisure and hospitality added the most jobs in April. Education and health services, which continued to add jobs throughout the recession, didn't stop. And manufacturing which was hit hard during the recession has really started to show some job growth.” Construction, banking, insurance and real estate continue to struggle at recessionary levels.
The 23 year old woman responsible for the car accident last August on Highway 20 near Black Butte Ranch that killed two teens learns her sentence. Stacia Roberts will spend six years in prison for the fatal car accident that resulted in the deaths of two of her friends. Our news partner, News Channel 21 was in the courtroom Monday when Roberts pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree manslaughter, and driving under the influence. “I'm going to do the time that I need to do, because Josh and Nina aren't here anymore and I just feel awful about the whole situation.” Josh Herrin, 19, and Nina Blackmore, 18, were riding in the backseat of Roberts’ car last August and were killed in the crash. Drug tests revealed traces of ecstasy, marijuana and other opiates in her system the night of the accident.
Authorities warn that coyotes can be a real nuisance in populated areas as well as rural areas. Recently, one homeowner in Powell Butte reported that Monday, two coyotes attacked their dog, nearly killing the pet. ODF & W Wildlife Specialist Steven George says the attacks are not uncommon. And the best way to deter them is by removing a food source: “Primarily, the best thing to do id to keep food sources at bay. And that would be: if you have livestock out, if you have chickens out, you want to have then well-protected, fenced and contained so that predators can't get into them. They will only hang around long enough, as long as they know that they can get some food sources there. And that includes leaving cats and dogs out. They see that that as a food base." George says installing a light or sound sensor that can startle the coyotes can also help. He says coyotes roam around both day and night; so almost all animals are vulnerable, and this includes lambs, calves and deer.
A deadly and fast moving virus has horse owners in Central Oregon on alert. Several horse shows and rodeo's around the country have been cancelled due to concerns over the equine herpes virus that originated with a Canadian horse attending a National Cutting Horse Championship event in Utah recently. Local veterinarian Dr. Wayne Schmotzer says there are no cases in Central Oregon and Vets are in communication with one another to try to make sure it doesn't come here and spread. He says the virus is very aggressive: "They develop a fever, they become very depressed inappetant [no appetite] and the fevers are very high,105 degrees, 106 degrees. And in the worse case scenarios, the horses could be dead in as short as four days.” He also says there is no vaccine available to prevent this, so it's important that owners monitor their horses and isolate them if they become ill. The virus is not transmittable to humans.
The State's latest unemployment numbers show Oregon is finally below 10% for the first time in several years. Governor John Kitzhaber says the State's unemployment for April fell to 9.6%. “Today's unemployment reports shows a drop of a full percentage point over the last six months. Oregon is out of double digit unemployment for the first time sine 2008. Since January, we created 16,000 jobs in Oregon, which is the 7th fastest job growth in the nation.” The Governor credited the State's private investment in people, equipment and plants for the economic improvement.
ODOT is working on all kinds of improvements to roads in the area. But recently you may have seen crews replacing streetlights on 3rd and Revere. Peter Murphy with ODOT says the lights and poles have seen their better days, and regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act, require even more improvements: “They got old and the poles needed to be moved to comply with ADA. And what happens is when you start working on a project or anything else and you renovate it you have to take it into compliance the new ADA regulations so once you get into it... then you have to start doing the other things." The project includes three locations total, with two others being along Greenwood Avenue. "Actually, it combines all three of them into one project so we're making it better and easier to transit through there so and putting some new conduit and wires in." The funding comes from ODOT, and some from federal dollars as well because Highway 20 is also a federal highway.
Tonight hundreds of people will gather in Bend to give out awards to local businesses and honor the Citizen of the Year. The Annual Sage Awards hosted by the Bend Chamber starts at 6 p.m. at the Riverhouse. Chamber spokesperson Courtney Linville says a selection committee came up with the top 3 choices in the categories of best large business- small business and organization of the year. "And our nominees this year are: for large business are Bend Research, Eberhard's Dairy and Tomco Electric. And for Small Business of the Year, we have Donner Flowers, Jones and Roth CPA, Steel Associates Architects, and Organization of the Year, we have Grandma's House, High Desert Museum, and Saving Grace." People who attend the dinner will be able to vote on the nominees, and then the winner will be announced. And the Citizen of the Year will also be unveiled at the event.
It’s been ten years since the creation of a popular website for travelers. Peter Murphy with the Oregon Department of Transportation says TripCheck.com is the place to go when you want to know if your pathway is clear, before heading out on a road trip. But you shouldn't get confused about it's purpose: "So that's really it's primary purpose is kind of spot checking. If I'm driving down to the valley or Eugene or something that I can find out for right now what’s happened there are some construction projects that get listed on it. But, by and large we have an annual map that has the construction projects on it. And I think that's on the main ODOT web page." So for info on incidents that may have caused roads to be closed, you can just go to: www.tripcheck.com. For construction projects: visit ODOT’s webpage: www.oregon.gov/odot/ .
Dave Tarbet has been appointed as the permanent Chief of Police for the City of Redmond. Dave Tarbet has been acting as Interim Police Chief while the City searched for a replacement. Mayor George Endicott says Tarbet did an outstanding job as Acting Chief and he's got the community back up to prove it. “We got emails, you know unsolicited stuff from officers, from citizens, from his peers. Everyone saying Dave is just first class. It just makes me feel good to know that he has such a good reputation. We know the whole community’s with him." Mayor Endicott says after three years on the force, Tarbet has earned the respect of the Department. The swearing in will be at next Tuesdays' City Council.
This week is National Law Enforcement Officers’ Week, and Monday in Bend, agencies from throughout Central Oregon gathered to remember fallen officers. During the brief memorial service, they were paying tribute to those who have been killed in the line of duty in Oregon and throughout the nation. New Redmond Police Chief Dave Tarbet was at the ceremony; he knew the Police Chief in Rainier that was killed in the line of duty in January: “So when his name was mentioned by Chief Denny Kelly from Black Butte, during his talk, I took a moment to think about that. How short life can be when you meet somebody and then next thing you know, they’ve been killed by somebody else. You know, it makes you appreciate the fact you’ve gotten through life without getting killed yourself. ’Cuz there’s certainly opportunity for people to do that and dangerous situations that every police officer had been in and you think “but for the grace of God go I, kinds thing is what you think about for a moment.” Besides the death of the Rainier Police Chief last month in Eugene motorcycle officer Chris Kilcullen was recently killed. His death was the first Eugene Police officer killed in the line of duty since 1934.
The Deschutes County Administrator, Dave Kanner, has his budget message for next year, and its different than what we've heard from local school districts and cities lately. The budget message; no more staff cuts and no new fees, is the first in a series of meetings before the budget is adopted in late June. "The County has made a number of cuts in past years to help us balance. It’s not necessary to make any further cuts next year. We're not planning on any increases in building and planning or any other fees for that matter. We're going to live with what we have. We do project that our property tax revenues are going to be down a little bit in the next year; that's not unusual in the current market. We're actually down not quite as much as the cities of Bend or Redmond, so in that respect, we're doing fairly well." County Administrator Dave Kanner says the Board of Commissioners is also dedicated to economic development so they are trying to help the community recover from the recession as quickly as possible, by not raising fees.
It could be a boost to our Central Oregon economy: The Pole Peddle Paddle race breaks another record for racers. Last year, there were 3,020 racers, and this year 3,130 signed up. Race spokesperson Molly Cogswell-Kelley says that will mean more out of town guests coming to our hotels, stores and restaurants. “Its really strange, ever since our economy took a dive our numbers went up, and I think its because many of our out of towners are not traveling so far anymore. They're not taking those big trips to Mexico; they’re coming here and spending their money here in Central Oregon." 50% of the Pole Peddle Paddle racers come from out of town. The big race is this Saturday and the Mini Pole Peddle Paddle for kids is on Sunday.
In eastern Oregon, the town of John Day and the surrounding area, is being affected by major flooding. The high waters were brought on by a weekend thunderstorm with heavy rains that mixed with record snow-melt.
In the town of John Day, we talked to the Program Director at local radio station, KJDY. Kelly Workman says every 5 years of so they seem to get a big flooding event like this. A local high school seems to be the hardest hit this time: “Grant Union High School, right between John Day and Canyon City; they've had damage to their running track. Part of the tracks been washed out. They had 6 inches water in both the new gym and the old gym and estimated 3-4 feet of water in their boiler room. They're estimated right around $700,000 of damage at Grant Union High School."
Summit High School's Wind Ensemble is on a roll! The 45 member band just performed at Carnegie Hall last month as one of only 17 high school bands invited to perform there. And last week, the band took first place in the State 5 A Championship. Band Director Dan Judd is bursting with pride: “I think its been a monumental year and to be able to cap it off with this success; I hope it will be a lifelong memory for them, I know it is for me.” Summit won first place in the championship against the best nine high school bands in the state. The competition was held at Oregon State University last Thursday.
Central Oregon needs more family practice physicians and St. Charles Health System is trying to fill that need. The hospital will open two new primary care clinics in Bend and Sisters this summer and fall. Dr. Steven Greer, who is currently working in Alaska, has worked at St. Charles before. He's looking forward to returning.
“It's a great opportunity for Central Oregon to provide more services, specifically primary care services. It will complement what's currently in Central Oregon. St. Charles is looking to complement what's already here, not really trying to replace anything that's there.” The Sisters clinic will open mid summer and the Bend clinic will open in the fall.
Your ballot must be in a drop box by Tuesday night at 8 p.m. to count. It is too late to stick it in the mail. So far nearly 40% of the people in Jefferson County have cast their ballots. They are voting on an operating jail levy. Deschutes County returns are around 19% and Crook County stands around 20%.
The Prineville flag at the entrance of their City is now flying 24/7. A two year project to illuminate the large American flag at the A,T & T Cell Tower is done. State law requires flags to be lighted to fly day and night; otherwise you have to take the flag down at the end of the day. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford lead efforts to light the flag. “It's a kind of circular set up around the base of the flag, 6 lights shine upwards and illuminate it. It’s a very large flag: 30 x 50 foot. It’s on a 120 foot pole that is also the A,T & T Cell Tower. Eoff Electric, Facebook, A,T & T and Rosendin Electric and the people of Crook County all donated materials and money to the project. Crawford still needs $1500 from residents to help pay for the lighting. To donate, make checks payable to "Friends of the Flag" , 1555 NW 3rd St., Prineville.
Students will soon be able to explore culinary opportunities like never before at Central Oregon Community College. The new building for the Cascade Culinary Institute is under construction at COCC; and even though a bond measure passed in November, COCC President Jim Middleton says the money came from a campaign conducted by the COCC Foundation. He says they have great plans for how the money will be spent: "We'll have three large instructional kitchens. A general purpose that will support our dining lab. We think it’s important that students not just cook the food but they learn how to operate a small restaurant. We we’ll have a baking kitchen, totally dedicated to the baking industry that we’ve not had before. And then we’ll have a third kitchen, I call it the switch hitter kitchen that can either operate in the baking arena or in the general food prep." The layout for one of the kitchens’ makes learning more 'palatable' for both students and instructors. "Also in there for both the students and the general public. It doesn't mean everyone's got to grow up around the stove to see what's going on." The Culinary Building is scheduled to be open by this fall.
Heavy rains and warm temperatures are causing water run off to raise the John Day River level to dangerous stages. Wheeler County Sheriff Bob Hudspeth announced that the John Day River is now closed to boaters and rafters from Clarno to Kimberly until further notice: “John Day River is at flood stage and is getting higher, as we speak, it will probably be cresting in another 24 to 36 hours." Hudspeth says no homes are currently in danger and they have placed police barricades near boat entry sites. He adds that any violators will be cited or arrested. Stay tuned to 1110 KBND for further updates on the flooding threat near the John Day River.
Authorities are still trying to figure out why an Oregon man stayed in his stranded truck for 68 days, and eventually dying, rather than walking the three miles to a road and possible help. A published reports states that Thursday, U.S. Forest Crews found the body of Jerry William McDonald, 68, in a sleeping bag in the back of his GMC pick up, about 60 miles east of Salem. They found a calendar with enteries for each day from February seventh until April 15th, when the entries stopped. Although McDonald is listed as a "transient", his truck is registered in Unity, Oregon. He was estranged from his family and no one has reported him missing.
Tomorrow is Election Day. If your ballot isn't in, it must be placed into a drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday night to count. Deschutes County turnout so far is less than one in five voters casting a ballot. But Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says this election does not require at least 50% of all voters for measures to pass:
“We've gotten a few questions, this ballot does not require a double majority. It does not. The only election that requires a double majority is an election in September or March.” The Bend Transportation issue on the ballot would cost taxpayers 27 cents per $1000 of assessed value. It would go toward road improvement.
We’re in the final hours because we know if voters will support a $30 million Road Improvement Measure (9-83) for Bend. A spokesman for the political action committee "Better Roads for Bend", Neil Bryant says besides fixing some trouble spots around town the measure would also help the local economy. He says the projects would generate hundred’s of construction jobs, and some may go to local workers: “Because of the public bidding laws, you can't guarantee that a local contractor will get the bid for a particular project. But our contractors are very good; they know there's a lot of rock underground they know how to sharpen their pencils. So I'm hopeful that Jack Robinson & Sons, Taylor Northwest, Hooker Creek, Knife River are the ones that are the successful bidders, and that they're local. But even if an outsider gets the bid; they'll have to live here, they'll have to buy materials here. They'll employ people here." Some people opposed to the measure tell KBND that times are tough and they can't afford it right now. If approved, the measure would cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $54 per year.
The Police Chief in Prineville says he's facing a big challenge trying to keep the community safe while operating under a smaller budget because of a weak economy. Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush says like many police departments across the state; the need for a strong police department hasn't gone away, even though some of the funding has evaporated: “How do we bridge the gap over the next couple of years, until property tax revenues can catch up to what appears to be a recovering economy, it’s a formidable challenge. And I think that public officials and public servants now are challenged more in a greater way today than they've ever been challenged before, to try to provide safety and a quality of life for their citizens and we're certainly working hard in that direction.” It may be a longer wait for better police budgets in Prineville. The latest state economic forecast shows our economy in Oregon is recovering, but it also shows that the rural communities have been hit the hardest.
Currently Oregon has about 6000 cougars. Wildlife expert says they'd like to have about 3500. Managing this growing population is difficult and Steven George with the Department of Fish and Wildlife says people who feed deer in their neighborhoods aren't helping: “Cougars primarily eat deer it’s their main food source. And you see a lot of people feeding deer over time especially around subdivisions and it’s increasing the deer populations in the subdivisions and that's creating a real food source for cougars.” State lawmakers are considering a bill that would again allow dogs to be used in hunting cougars. Wildlife experts trapped and killed a cougar in the Deschutes River Woods area last week.
This week will be one of the busiest times so far for construction crews south of Bend on Highway 97. ODOT spokesman Rex Holloway says if you drive between Bend and Redmond, you may want to allow a little extra time this week. Today, for example, the entrance ramp at Cottonwood will be shutdown: "The on ramp at Cottonwood is going to be closed, but just for the one day, but there's also going to be some switching of the lanes in that area, back and forth as they continue the work on the southbound lanes; so a lot of congestion in that area." He says you also need to watch for grooved pavement in that area. The Lava Butte project is the largest construction project in the region right now.
This week on the Oregon Coast, thousands of residents and vacationers will be practicing for "the big one." The State is conducting voluntary tsunami drills so that people can get a good idea of how fast they can make it to higher ground. In an emergency, people on the Oregon Coast would probably only have about 10 or 15 minutes to get to safety. Organizer James Roddey says people in Central Oregon would be affected by a large earthquake and tsunami because essential services would probably be affected. "And if roads and bridges are damaged to point where no food or fuel is coming over, the Cascades to Central Oregon and I-84 is damaged and I-5 is shutdown; then Central Oregon becomes isolated just like the rest of the State, and ends up waiting for help to arrive.” He says the 13 million people West of the Cascades on the I-5 Corridor would most likely get that help first; so Central Oregon would need to be self sufficient for perhaps several weeks.
A Bend man was killed Saturday afternoon when he lost control of his motorcycle while maneuvering the southbound off-ramp from the Bend Parkway on to Butler Market Road. Police reports say Scott David Parsons, 49, was thrown from the bike and landed on some large rocks. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Initial findings reveal that Parsons was following another motorcycle southbound on the Parkway and both left the parkway. For unknown reasons, he lost control of his motorcycle, left the road and was thrown to the ground. The investigation is continuing to determine the cause of the crash. No other vehicles were involved and the other rider was not hurt.
Thousands of Verizon customers in Central and southern Oregon were without service for several hours this morning. Verizon spokesman Scott Charleston: “There was an issue with the fiber, which is what we use to connect to most of our cell sites in our wireless network. So there was a brief outage for about two hours, and it’s fully restored now.” Charlston says it's very rare that there is an interruption is service and the company apologizes for any inconvenience.
A two car crash around 5:30 Friday night leaves one man dead and closed one lane of Highway 97, seven miles north of La Pine for two hours. According to the Oregon State Police report, James Judson Palmer, 37, of La Pine was driving his Honda and attempted to enter Hwy 97 near milepost 160 when he collided with a car driven by Roy Gus McMahon, 48, also of La Pine. Palmer was pronounced dead at the scene. He was an off-duty La Pine Rural Fire Protection District Captain and worked for that department since 1999. McMahon and his passenger, Kimberly Marie McMahon, 48, also of La Pine suffered non-life threatening injures and were taken by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. All occupants were reportedly wearing seatbelts.
The cougar wandering in the Deschutes River Woods area over the last couple weeks has been caught and killed. Last night, wildlife experts with the Department of Fish and Wildlife set a trap using the deer it killed on Wednesday. The cougar was captured around ten p.m. Thursday night. Kevin Mace lives across the street from where the trap was set. He's relieved, but: “I'd like to see the situation kept under control. Like to see presence of Fish and Game and Sheriff's Department kicking around the brush and trying to find the thing.” People believed there had been two cougars wandering in the area, but wildlife experts say they only found tracks for one. They do advise people to continue to be alert about their surroundings for the next couple weeks.
It’s been a very volatile week on Wall Street, and today is no exception. We are down more than 100 points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Bend Financial Advisor Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says there are three big reasons why there are so many sellers out today: “The biggest things are; we’ve seen the concerns about Greece and what’s going to happen with Greece and Euro-debt. IT was reported today that Portugal has actually slipped back in to recession because they had their second straight quarter of negative growth. Number two: the volatility in the commodities market. There’s lots of money sloshing around and number three: this is good news, believe it or not. People won’t believe it when they hear me say that- we have inflation and that’s so much better than deflation.” He says earlier this week, the Futures Market was so volatile that the Chicago Mercantile was actually shutdown for half an hour to give traders a breather, after gasoline futures dropped 7% in 15 minutes. The good news about that is: that experts believe the price of gasoline will be going down soon.
Low turnout in Deschutes and Crook County so far this election, but Jefferson County, with its jail levy has a much higher voter turnout. 33.3% of voters in Jefferson County have voted. They are deciding whether to approve a 99 cents per $1000 of assessed value levy for the jail. In Deschutes County, voter turnout is just over 17% and in Crook County its 16%. Also starting today, Deschutes County has a new 24 hour drop box at the County Road Department on 27th Street. It's located next to the sidewalk leading to the front door of the building. The box will be open today through 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, May 17th.
No future searches are planned in Marion County for Bend woman, Lori Blaylock. Deputies from around the state conducted an extensive search of the north Santiam River back in early April, but they found nothing. It’s believed Lori’s husband, Stephen dumped her body in the river near Idana last October. Don Thomson with the Marion County Sheriffs Department says now the water is even higher than in April. But he says they would conduct future searches if there were possible sightings of her body.
Tonight the popular local show "Talk of the Town" is happening at the Tower Theater in downtown Bend. The topic is "Straight from the State Capitol: Your Legislators 2011 Update" and it features 5 local lawmakers interacting with the audience. "Talk of the Town" Producer Jamie Christman says they already have dozens of audience members signed up, but there's room for more: " We're excited to partner with the Tower Theater to do something that's rare; bring all of our legislators, state legislators together in one room for this event. So you can come downtown Friday evening, walk in and join us, and have time to listen to or come up with your own questions for Senator Chris Telfer, Representatives Gene Whisnant, Jason Conger, John Huffman or Mike McClain.” Doors open at the Tower at 6, and they will start shooting the show promptly at 7 p.m. Talk of the Town airs each Monday at 7 and 10 p.m. on Channel 11, and “On Demand” at anytime.
There is a little known program available to high school juniors and seniors that can help them get a leg up on post high school education. It's called "Expanded Options", and it's offered through Central Oregon Community College. Seana Barry, Assistant Director of Admissions and Records says the Expanded Options Program can help some students who find they function better in a college setting: "The high school counselor meets with the student to see which classes they can take because there are certain rules around what classes they can take through these expanded options program. The high school can't offer the same class as the student wants to take at COCC." Barry says they do get college credit, and the program is free for students. The school district is billed for each student attending a college class, according to a bill passed by the State Legislature several years ago. For more information, Barry suggests high school students talk with their counselor.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says that a cougar was captured lasted last night in the Deschutes River Woods area. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports that a cougar was captured using a trap, and the dead deer that it killed Wednesday night. Around 10 p.m., the big cat came back to the property near Shoshone Road and Pumice Butte to feed on the deer. Wildlife experts were called to haul away the cougar, and we are waiting word on whether the cat will be euthanized or relocated. The cougar was not injured.
A State Revenue Forecast that is $129 million better than expected for the next biennium could be a sign that our state's economy is turning the corner. It’s still not enough to avoid cuts in many popular state programs. “There's still going to be cuts, deep cuts, probably in every agency in the state.” State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says the forecast also points out that places like Bend and rural areas in Oregon continue to be hit the hardest. "We kind of got a mixed message in the forecast. The signs show some promise that the economy is starting to turn a corner, and maybe we are going to see recovery in job creation. Maybe businesses are starting to hire, but even as you say that, families and businesses in Central Oregon and really throughout the state are struggling.” Conger says its going to take some time to see if the economy is going to really kick in again. And in the next two years, there are still going to be deep cuts in probably every agency in the state.
Fire investigators believe a candle started a fire at a 77 year old home in southwest Redmond Wednesday night. The residents were using candles because the power had recently been shut off. The blaze caused about $45,000 worth of damage to the house on SW Deschutes Avenue. Nobody was home at the time, but at least one cat died in the fire.
The unexpected death of one of the police dogs at the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has the department looking for a new canine. “Dar" was a 6 year old male German Shepherd who unexpectedly was found dead at his home with Deputy Brad Wright on Saturday. Captain Tim Edwards says its a hard loss for everyone, especially Deputy Wright. “They were partners for four years. Dar lives with Deputy Wright, so not only work every day, but went home together every night. They had a real close bond. He was part of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office family and Crook County Sheriff's Office family. "Dar" and Deputy Wright worked together at the Crook County Sheriffs Office for three years, before moving to Deschutes County last year. They don't know the cause of Dar's death, but believe it was some unknown medical issue. The Sheriff's Office will start its search for a replacement.
The Redmond School District and Redmond High School are being recognized today in Salem. They are considered a good example for leading the state and the nation in implementing concussion management using best-practice protocols. "Max's Law" requires Oregon school districts to implement new concussion management guidelines for student athletes in 2010-2011. Successful concussion management policies follow the recognize, remove, refer, return protocol. As part of best practices, the Athletic Director at Redmond High School, Brent Walsh, ensures that all coaches have completed the athletic concussion training for coaches on an annual basis.
Cyclists and those wanting to take a leisurely drive on Oregon’s most scenic highway, McKenzie Pass, will have to wait a while before ODOT opens the road. ODOT spokesman Peter Murphy says there is 30 feet of snow right now. "At this point, we don't have even a vague idea of when that might happen. There’s so much snow up there right now, that it would cost us, we figure, up to a quarter of a million dollars to blow just a single lane so that the rest of it could melt out." Murphy says since only about 400 drivers a day use the road. They don't see that they can spend the money to clear it right now, because money used for snow removal will come out of the budget for pothole repair and maintenance. He adds that if we continue to get cold fronts coming into the area, this year could be a record for the latest opening date for the McKenzie Highway. Murphy says the road has opened as late as July.
Redmond is still on the search for a new airport manager. The City offered the job to John Reed of Green Bay, Wisconsin. City Manager David Brandt says they heard from Reed after considering their job offer for a week. “He was concerned that his wife, that is a well trained high school teacher, wouldn't get work in the area. After that he declined our offer.” Brandt says the current Airport Manager, Carrie Novick has agreed to stay on through the summer, while they continue their search. The other finalist didn't appear to be a good fit for the City, so another national search will get underway.
Many people have opinions about the Bend City budget and which programs get cut or kept. Now is your chance to find out what the City plans to spend on in the coming year, and your chance to speak up about those plans. Justin Finestone is the spokesperson for the City of Bend. He wants people to get involved in the upcoming open lines meeting. "Its kind of an open house, where people can come, speak one on one with the Council, talk to the Councilors about their priortities for the budget. It's going to be budget focused. And they can let the councilors know their priorities so they can take those into the budget deliberations." The deliberations will be at the North Fire Training Station on May 23rd through the 25th. But first, the open lines meetings will be at 5:30 p.m. on May 18th at City Hall. Finestone says it's a good idea to check out the City website: "And you can find those meetings times and dates there's also are budget is posted there; gigantic voluminous budget. There's also a budget in brief that's also a little easier to digest. So we just invite the public to get involved it's their budget and we want their input before the City Council makes decisions on that budget." That website is: www.cityfactcheck.com.
Some residents of Deschutes River Woods are taking the cougar sightings in stride. Resident Elise Michaels, whose neighbor is the one that saw a cougar drag a deer carcass into their yard, says every couple of years the big cats become more active. "They're around all the time and a few years ago, they were a lot. They were in the area really frequently. And we lost a couple cats even, and we attributed it to the neighborhood cougar." Michaels says she is kind of glad that they cougars are busy this year, because there are a lot of deer in the area and they devastate her tomatoes and flowers. She says all the neighbors have dogs that are kenneled, and when the dogs hear an usual noise like the growl from a cougar, they all start barking and scare the cats away. She says she is a bit concerned that, if authorities shoot a cougar, that it’s killed and not running around angry, and hungry, because they would be dangerous.
Just before dark last night, residents in the Deschutes Riverwoods spotted two cougars a few hours apart. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports one resident saw a cougar dragging a dead deer onto the lawn of a home near Pumice Butte Road and Shoshone Lane. Deschutes County Deputies working on the case did see a cougar, and warned residents that the cat will probably come back for the dead seer and warned them to be aware and take precautions. Officials say it is uncommon for cougars to be so visible, and they believe these cats are the two that residents have often observed. State officials will be considering options on what to do next.
A fire broke out late Wednesday night at a 77-year-old home in southwest Redmond, authorities said. The fire was reported around 10:15 p.m. at a home on SW Deschutes Ave. First crews to arrive indicated one side of the home was ablaze. At first, crews were unsure if the home was occupied, but they said shortly after 10:30 p.m. that a primary search was "all clear." But, the investigation reveals that a family pet, a cat died in the fire. The Redmond Fire and Rescue report indicates the fire caused about $45,000 damage. Deschutes County property tax records listed the three-bedroom home as owned by Randy and Naomi Carrington and built in 1934.
The new redistricting map suggestions for Oregon have been released to the public for review. Wednesday, the State committee in charge of redistricting posted the proposals on the State Legislature's website. Committee member Senator Chris Telfer of Bend says people can go online, take a look at the ideas, and submit their feedback. But don't get too married to one map: "There is no way that either of them will be the final map. We've started to negotiate, started to talk. I don't want anyone to get overly excited about, yeah, this is a good map or this is a bad map. This is a starting point." During the next two weeks, the State is holding public hearings to get testimony on the proposed Legislative and Congressional redistricting plans. Those meetings are in Salem, so they are also accepting written comments by mail, email and fax. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org or.
Deschutes County Deputies were called to a domestic disturbance between father and son in La Pine Wednesday. Police say Eric Johnson, 38, fired his handgun at his father, William, 64, inside the home on Paulina View Road. Luckily the father was not injured. Deputies formed a perimeter around the house and after a half hour, Eric Johnson came out of the house on his own. He was taken into custody without incident. Johnson faces attempted assault, among other charges.
Prineville’s City Council wasn't able to reach a resolution on its "Nativity Scene at City Hall” controversy.Councilors were hopeful agreement could be reached at the Council Meeting Tuesday night, but that didn't happen. Another crowded City Council meeting, with lots of residents coming out to offer their opinions.
The Council went into executive session to discuss their next course of action. The City attorney will be researching different options and the council hopes to make a decision at their next meeting May 24th.
La Pine veterans are expecting a big turnout for a welcome home ceremony planned for a returning La Pine graduate injured in Afghanistan. Marine Corporal Kyle Thompson, 24, has lost an eye and has undergone several facial surgeries. Larry Matthews is helping coordinate Saturday's celebration: “He's been in recovery received eye, teeth, things to his face. I haven't seen him, but a hear he's a miracle person. He’s recovering miraculously well. I understand he can even drive even though he lost an eye and his vision reduced by 90% in the other one, but that's coming around since then.” The welcome home celebration will be Saturday at 3 p.m. at the American Legion in La Pine.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor says it found substantial evidence the owner of the Typhoon! Restaurant is guilty of civil rights violations against its Thai employees. Steven Kline owns 8 restaurants throughout the state, including the Typhoon! Restaurant and Bo's Asian Bistro in Bend. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian filed the complaint against the restaurants last fall. “The Bureau of Labor found substantial civil rights violations evidence that Thai employees were paid less, working longer hours were forced to work during breaks and sometimes even had to take work home with them without being paid.” The Bureau also found that Thai workers were threatened with deportation and forced to sign employment agreements that would require workers to pay typhoon thousands of dollars if they quit. Owner Steven Kline denies the claims: “We never threatened deportation, very humanitarian operation.” Steven Kline will have a chance to defend himself before an Administrative Law Judge.
So how much money will the State of Oregon have to spend? We should get a clearer picture soon as the State's Revenue Forecast is released Thursday morning. State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend says while State Economists are pretty tight lipped about the forecast, many lawmakers are hearing pretty much the same information: “That we won't go down, but we won't go up a lot. Maybe $50 to 100 million which is a pretty good bite in our shortfall. My understanding is most of that money would go to Department of Human Services [and] try to salvage much of the money in Senior Services that have been cut." Telfer says if there is extra money, she does support it going to human services. She also believes that the revenue forecast is often not very accurate. On Monday, the Governor met with State Legislative leaders to prioritize spending if the projection is positive. Besides human services, public safety is the other topic priority.
The State is asking for about $1.9 million from the federal government to build a bike and walking path that would connect the Lava Lands Visitor Center with Benham Falls and Sunriver. Representative Gene Whisnant joined other members of the Ways and Means Committee to approve the grant application: “There's been a lot of discussion with some of Senator's Wyden's staff, that would like to someday have a complete bike path from Bend to Sunriver. And this would fit in great with this path too to allow our citizens to enjoy all of our beautiful recreational areas and rivers in Central Oregon." If the grant is approved, the six miles of new path would be located within U.S. Forest Service Lands and would connect with the extensive network of paths in Sunriver.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries says it found substantial evidence the owner of the Typhoon! Restaurant is guilty of civil rights violations against its Thai employees. Steven Kline owns nine restaurants throughout the state, including the Typhoon! Restaurant and Bo's Asian Bistro in Bend. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian filed the complaint against the restaurants last fall: “The Bureau of Labor found substantial civil rights violation evidence that Thai employees were paid less, working longer hours were forced to work during breaks and sometimes even had to take work home with them without being paid.” The Bureau also found that Thai workers were threatened with deportation and forced to sign employment agreements that would require workers to pay Typhoon! thousands of dollars if they were fired. Owner Steven Kline denies the claims, and will present his case before an Administrative Law Judge.
OATH Sees It Differently…
A spokesperson with "Oregonians Against Human Trafficking" says besides the sex trade, abuse of restaurant workers is the other big problem they see. Nina Belles says the allegations against Typhoon! are similar to what victims throughout the northwest tell them: “Where people are brought over from another country to work at a restaurant and promised the American dream. They are promised that they will have nice place to live, fine working conditions, make lots of money, and really have the opportunity to have the American dream. And then when they get here they are worked the clock around. They are abused emotionally, physically and many times even sexually." Again, Belles is referring to general allegations. They hear from alleged victims involved in possible trafficking in the restaurant industry. She says these victims won't usually be servers; but in the back doing menial labor, so they often go unnoticed. People who want to report possible human trafficking are encouraged to call 1-888-373-7888.
La Pine residents are planning a big welcome home for a returning La Pine marine severely wounded in Afghanistan. The welcome home for Marine Corporal Kyle Thompson is planned for Saturday at 3 p.m. at the American Legion. Larry Matthews is helping coordinate the event: “Since all the surgeries and the rehabilitation, we heard he's coming home. So the American Legion is planning a welcome home to let him know we care about him and others fighting for us. So the community is behind him as we're going to give him a pot luck ceremony on Post 45 in La Pine.” Kyle Thompson, 24, was seriously injured back in October, when a roadside bomb exploded hitting him in the face.
It’s that time of year again; those pretty plants and flowers you see may actually be noxious weeds. In a recent project with the County and the City, 260 local kids got out and pulled the weeds near Miller's Landing. Vegetation Manager for Deschutes County, Dan Sherwin says the purpose of the project was two-fold: "You know, these programs are great to get rid of the weeds but one of the awesome things about it is, it's education and awareness. And some of those fourth and fifth graders they know what knapweed is now ‘cuz they've been pullin’ it for three hours, and it's a good education for the parents the teachers. It's good for science classes to know that we have these environmental issues out there that we need to be concerned about.” If you'd like to learn more about what noxious weeds look like and why they're an issue. You can do so by going to www.deschutes.org/weeds, or just call 541-322-7135.
It’s very unusual that a construction project gets completed ahead of schedule; but we have an example of some pretty quick work. The new McDonald’s on north Third Street in Bend is almost ready for the ribbon cutting! Marketing Director Mike Hargis says this new building will be very different from what most are used to seeing, and it's one of the newest designs for the corporation. “We are one of the first ones in this area, well in Oregon, we're one of the first one to get a new McDonald’s that looks like this. They’re being built like this from now on,for you know, I don't know how long, for a while. And they are going across the country and they are updating many, many of the McDonald’s to look like this." Hargis says the theme will be very modern with the "golden arches" still the anchor theme. At the ribbon cutting on May 24th, they will be accompanied by the Mountain View High drum team and the ROTC will raise the flag.
The question of whether or not OSU's Athletic Director will take a job somewhere other than with the Beavers is answered. After considering other offers, a contract is finally agreed on between Bob de Carolis and OSU, to the tune of over $490,000. It appears he'll stay in Corvallis through at least June of 2016. Since he started at Oregon State back in 1998, de Carolis has been the driving force behind the construction or remodeling of Reser Stadium, Gill Coliseum, Goss Stadium and other facilities on OSU's campus. During de Carolis's time at OSU, the football team has seen nine bowl games and the baseball team boasts two national titles.
In one week we should know if the Sheriff in Jefferson County will have to start releasing inmates. May 17th is the deadline for a jail levy. Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins says if the operating levy doesn't pass he'll be forced to lay off some staff and take the jail population down from about 70 inmates to 32. He's been talking to people in the community about the levy. The 99 cents per $1000 request would replace an operating levy that expires next month. While it wouldn't raise taxes, he says times are tough and some people say they need the lower property taxes right now. Adkins says for him the math doesn't add up because when some inmates are kept in jail things like burglaries and theft go down; but those crimes go up when they are released from jail. So in the long run the increased crime costs the community more.
A nine year legal fight regarding a condemned utility company in Bend is finally resolved. The City of Bend condemned Juniper Utility back in 2002. But the owner and the City have legally battled over what the utility was worth, after the City took it over. Mayor Jeff Eager says the City Council agreed to pay owner Jan Ward $6.1 million to put this issue behind them. “The current Council was in a difficult spot. This was not litigation we instigated, and given portions of the judgment and it was causing accrual of interested from the judgment; time was not on the City's side here.” This settlement comes one month after the Oregon Court of Appeals said the City still owes the developer millions of dollars after taking over Juniper Utility. All tolled, the City has paid out about $10 million in this case. The City already set aside the money several years ago to pay for this case.
Progress is slow, but IT technicians are beginning to rebuild the Central Oregon Community College website after they discovered it was "hacked" on May fifth. Spokesman Ron Paradis says they were able to identify where the intruding website address came from. "Both times that we found somebody that had gotten into the website, the I.P address, which tells where this is coming from, came from China. It's not a guarantee that the person doing this there in China, because as you know you can be operating remotely. But it does give us an indication that the traffic came from China." Paradis says they were alerted by a text that was generated from the website itself telling them that unusual activity was happening on the schools’ website. He says they are putting more and more information and services back on the website as they add more security programs and hope to have the more robust site completely back by next week.
Ballot returns trickle into county clerks’ offices. They are due Tuesday, May 17th. Deschutes County voters have several candidate positions to vote on and Measure 9-83, the General Bond Obligation levy for road improvements. Deschutes voters have returned about 11% so far, Crook County 13% and Jefferson County has the most with 22%. Ballots must be returned by next Tuesday, May 17th at 8 p.m. Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship hopes to get about a third of voters to mail in their ballots.
Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton is getting some statewide attention after a local demonstration from an immigrants rights group accused the County of racial profiling. Sheriff Blanton was on Lars Larson's show yesterday to talk about the allegations: "The Immigrant Family Services have accused the folks here in Central Oregon as being discriminative and profiling illegal immigrants, which I take offense to.” Lars: “In fact they say that people are being kicked out of the State for things like broken taillights. Is that true?” Blanton: “No, it's not true.” Blanton says illegal immigrants are not a problem in Deschutes County. He explains that of the nearly 6000 people booked into the County Jail last year. About 100, or less than 2%, were placed on "ICE" detainers because they didn't have proper I.D.
Despite high gas prices; local tourism officials say early signs are pointing to a strong spring and summer tourism season. The President of the Central Oregon Visitors Association, Alana Audette says they are gearing up for all those visitors and hopefully all those dollars coming to Central Oregon. "We're fortunate to be a year round destination. It’s going to keep us busy. But yes, about 75% of all of the tourism volume visits are between June and September, so we are coming into the peak season; that is if spring ever arrives but were ever hopeful, but we're looking forward to a strong year.” Audette was a recent guest on KBND's “Your Town.” She says even though the tourism experiences in cities and places throughout Central Oregon may be very diverse and different, the region is pretty cohesive and makes a point to work together to be stronger overall.
The man accused of robbing a Chase Bank in Redmond is being held on $250,000 bail. According to the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office, Sterling Donald Dubuque was arraigned on Monday on First Degree Robbery and the Unlawful Use of a Weapon. The robbery happened on Friday at the Chase Bank in the Redmond Fred Meyer store. The defendant is also being held on a parole matter from California.
A Bend Police Officer is led on a foot pursuit after he attempted a traffic stop in southeast Bend late Monday night. Just before midnight, when an officer tried to stop transient Jason Daryl Walter, 35, near Ferguson Road and Ridgewater Loop, Walter sped up, ending on a dead end street. Then Walter and his passenger, Joshua Dewayne Watson, 30, of Bend left the car on foot. Sgt. Todd Fletcher tells our news partner, News Channel 21, Watson was captured a short time later. The driver, Walter escaped quick capture, and police called in back up with the Deschutes County Sheriff and OSP. In addition, Bend Police K-9 "Haras" was deployed to assist, and he was able to locate Walter hiding in the yard of a nearby home. Police discovered Walter is also the suspect in a March 28th criminal mischief case in Redmond. Both men were taken to the Deschutes County Jail on numerous charges.
Central Oregon will soon join the ranks of reality TV. You've seen the reality tv shows that reveal people's natural reactions to dealing with a group. “It's not going to be scripted, so what you see is what you get.” Alana Audette of the Central Oregon Visitors Association says the first trip is on them. They're taking applications from people who want to visit Bend with a group of golf buddies, or a “Girls’ Getaway”; even a family reunion. "You name it. Apply with whatever purpose you have in wanting to get a free trip to Central Oregon and folks get to stay in a beautiful vacation home and production crews will come in and film this experience and then it will air as a reality vacation experience in the fall. " Audette believes this is a great way to capture the attention of tourists and bring them and their vacation dollars to the area. Filming of the show will be this August; it will air on PBS in the fall.
The Prineville City Council will resume discussion on how to deal with its Nativity Scene controversy. Last month the City Council was split 3 to 3 on what to do. Half wanted to include different religions and beliefs, but half did not want the American Civil Liberties Union to dictate what displays they can have on City Hall property. One of the Councilors was not at the April meeting and is expected to break the tie today. Mayor Bette Roppe and others feel doing nothing will make the City vulnerable to being sued. We'll have more on what the Council decides later this afternoon.
The new Bend Business Advocate has been out talking with business owners and community members to see what hurdles they are facing. Jon Skidmore has worked on both the private and public sides of the development industry and understands why the process can be frustrating for business owners. He says they are trying to get the word out that bend is open for business: “The feedback that I'm getting is that things are getting better. There's some processes in place, like these pre-application meetings where you can come in and find out exactly what they need. That's been a big step in the right direction for the City in terms of getting the word out. We'll sit down with you; we'll actually walk you through the program before you go thru it." Skidmore says still, at the end of the day, the City is a regulatory agency and sometimes things crop up that need to be resolved so their goal is to address problem issues as early as possible.
A group of protesters demonstrated in front of the Deschutes County Building Monday, protesting how the Deschutes County Jail handles the immigration status of inmates. According to a written report; Sheriff Larry Blanton says he's following the law and handles inmates no different than any other Oregon sheriff. The immigrant advocates claim the jail contacts U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - for suspects who are detained, even for minor offenses like traffic stops. The main concern is how local law enforcement handles situations in which officers contact illegal immigrants who can not or do not provide identification. Blanton says they have all suspects reviewed by ICE because they never know who they are dealing with.
A wounded cougar in the Deschutes Riverwoods area hasn't been found yet, and a local wildlife biologist says that could make the cat dangerous to people. Last Friday the cougar was shot at, and probably hit, but not captured. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, deputies tracked the cougar for almost two hours as it wove its way through homes in the Deschutes Riverwoods area when the cougar got too close to a home near the river they decided to use lethal force. Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Steven George says now that the cougar is injured, the cat may be aggressive. And so people in southwest Bend need to be more alert. “I would probably say the next couple of weeks to be especially observant, especially if you have kids. Yes, keep them close together.” George says if you come across a cougar, be loud and large and don't run away; rather, back away slowly.
La Pine City Councilor, Stu Martinez is now in Tennessee as an American Red Cross volunteer to help with the tornado disasters. The Oregon Mountain River Chapter spokesman Tom Farley says Martinez will be working as a logistics warehouse supervisor, a job that he's well skilled at. "He’s received 30 hours of class and skill experience. So he's one of our more skilled. Kinda the swat team of disaster action response. And he's available. So, at the national level, they put out an email to all American Red Cross Chapters and as do you have people with these skills and then are these skilled people available? And, thank God, Stu was able to answer yes to both." Farely says Martinez will be helping out for about three weeks. He says there has been so many disasters over the past six weeks that resources are wearing thin. If you would like to help, money is always the best option. You can donate several ways: by going to Redcross.org, or calling 1-800-Red Cross, or texting the word "REDCROSS" and 90999. or you could always drop a check off at the red cross office on Twin Knolls Drive.
More bad news about the housing market; a national real estate website is predicting that home prices will continue to drop into next year. The Chief Economist with Zillow, Stan Humphries says he had expected national home prices to hit bottom this year, but a weaker than expected market is pushing that out to 2012. A Bend financial advisor says Zillow's numbers are credible, but predictions are tough to do. Troy Reinhart- with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says he's hearing cases of foreclosures taking a long time to work their way through the system. "We're going to find more and more of those kinds of issues because there's lots of instances now where people haven't been served with foreclosure papers for 3 years without making payments because the bank wouldn't know what to do with the house other than let it fall into disrepair if they kicked the people out." Zillow said that nationally home values fell faster in the first quarter of 2011than any quarter since 2008.
People in the Old Mill District area and parts of downtown Bend were without power for more than an hour Monday morning. Tom Gaunt with Pacific Power says the power went out between 7:30 and 8:30 Monday morning. “They patrol the area for safety where the outage was reported. They couldn't find an obvious cause and when we restored power we didn't show any further faults, so it's functioning now.” About 2200 customers were affected.
During this time of tight school budgets, a program offered by Ford is helping put more money in rural school coffers. The "Drive One 4 Ur School" program has been around for a couple years. Dick Anderson with Miller Ford in Madras says they managed to raise nearly $5000 this year. “The way it works is, Ford Motor Company and Miller Ford donates $20 per test drive. It was at Madras High School on Friday, April 8th and we had 239 local residents take a test drive, so it brought $4780 to Madras High School for student activities. This is the fifth year for the program in Madras, but this is the most money the community has raised.
The Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway is getting some federal dollars for a welcome station. It will be located just past the Seventh Mountain Resort. Robin Gyorgyfalvy (george-fall-vee) says the welcome station will help the local economy by promoting the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway as a major attraction to the Pacific northwest. “And we’re pretty excited about getting these funds. You know, bringing them to Central Oregon. You know we had to compete with many other projects. There were about 94 projects that were awarded grants. I think they were from about 39 states, so we’re lucky to get this.” Two other projects in Oregon also received a federal grant. They are the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway and the Pacific Coast National Scenic Byway. The federal money will help pay for the design phase of the welcome station. and the forest service is asking for public input.
Power was out in the Old Mill and parts of the downtown area in Bend this morning. Tom Gaunt with Pacific Power says it was out for a little over an hour. “It was restored about 8:47 a.m. the event stared about 7:22 a.m. and affected roughly 2200 customers.” Crews did investigate where the outage was reported, but were not able to determine a cause.
The former COCC instructor accused of rape entered a "not guilty" plea to the charges today. Thomas Bray is charged with raping a 23 year old woman he met for a drink and then brought back to his apartment in March. The two met through a computer dating site. Bray has been living with his brother in Portland. He's required to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, surrender his passport and not drink alcohol. His trial is scheduled to start October 18th.
The debate continues regarding high school schedule changes, although Bend La Pine Schools Superintendent Ron Wilkinson says a seven period schedule is the only way he sees things working out. Wilkinson believes there really is no perfect schedule that would make everyone happy. But they've had to rearrange the structure to make it fit with the new budget. Still, he understands why students and teachers alike have concerns: “And so they're concerned with having seven classes in a day versus four more classes to prepare for potentially more homework. Obviously, we have to coordinate with staff to make sure that doesn't happen but that's a concern they have. And from a teacher's stand point, they’re used to having one of those four blocks for a planning period a day and will now have a much shorter planning period with just one out of seven." Despite those concerns, Wilkinson says right now this is the only way to keep the same class sizes while making the staff reductions required by the new budget.
Can you feel it? It’s getting close to time for the "Biggest Little Show in the World" - the Sisters Rodeo. 2011 Rodeo Queen Emily Clark says you can't miss this year's show; it's got some new features: “We bring in some of the top competitors in each event. This year we also have a new specialty act for the halftime show: The Sureshots; and they are trick riders. So that should be fun & exciting. We're a family- oriented rodeo, so Friday is Les Schwab family night; kids under 12 get in free. There's the parade on Saturday, and we encourage everybody to come out and watch and enjoy." The Sisters Rodeo is June 10th through the 12th at the Sister’s Rodeo Grounds on Highway 20. You can buy tickets online at http://www.sistersrodeo.com/ or by calling the ticket hotline: 1-800-827-7522.
A local wildlife biologist is concerned that an injured cougar could pose a threat to people in the southwest Bend area. Last week there were several cougar sightings in the Deschutes Riverwoods area. On Friday evening sheriff's deputies were again called to the area when a cougar approached a home. Deschutes County officials say deputies feared the cougar was dangerously close to people so they made the decision to shoot the big cat with lethal force. The cougar was hit, they believe, but ran from the area and hasn't been found. District Wildlife Biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says with earlier cougar sightings, the animal wasn't showing aggressive behavior. So prior to this weekend he didn't have concerns for human safety. Most of the concern was associated with pets, being cats and dogs, that is probably what it was being used for foraging, but, much more dangerous towards people he says people in the area should be on the lookout for cougar tracks, scat, and carcasses and if you go out in the woods, go out in pairs, keep your kids close by. Have them play in groups. If you come across a cougar, speak up, act big, and leave the area, but don't turn and run.
Various attractions are beginning to open up for the summer months, as people plan their visits to Central Oregon. The High Desert Museum gets thousands of visitors each year, both locally and from all over the world, because of their unique exhibits. Communications Manager Cathy Carroll says the month of May features some very popular events: "Raptors of the Desert Sky is going to be a really unique way of seeing raptors in flight. You’ll take a short walk out into a natural forest clearing and there will be hawks and owls and other raptors that will be soaring all around you and there will also be experts there who will help you understand more about these birds." Carroll says they are also presenting speakers on the conflict with wolves, and Doctor Marcus Eriksen will talk about his sailing trip across the Pacific in his boat made of junk and plastic bottles. We have a link to the High Desert Museum on our links page.
Alcohol and failure to stop at stop sign is sited as the cause for a crash on Highway 26 around 5:00 p.m. Sunday. According to the Crook County Sheriff's Office Report; James Grand, 17 of Prineville, did not stop at a stop sign on Elliott Lane. Laura Moore, 44, of Prineville could not stop in time and barreled into the side of Grand's truck, sending them both spinning across the intersection. An ambulance took Moore to Pioneer Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released. The investigation reveals that Grand had a juvenile passenger in his truck at the time of the crash. The juvenile left on his own but was later taken to Pioneer Memorial Hospital, and at this report, remains in the hospital with unknown injuries. Grand was taken into custody and charged with DUII, Assault in the Second Degree, Criminal Mischief, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Minor in Possession of Alcohol and Minor in Possession of Tobacco. Grand was turned over to the Crook County Juvenile Department. The investigation is continuing.
Warm Springs broke ground on its new "Indianhead" Casino last week, but that's not all they're doing to drum up new business. Jeff Anspach with the Warm Springs Economic Development Corporation says they are actively trying to change some outdated perceptions. He'll often ask people their impressions of Warm Springs: “Their initial reaction is: I used to go to Kahneeta when I was a kid, but I haven't been back since. Or I've been back but not sure it's open. The tribes really need to change their perspective.” Warm Springs is benefitting from a new partnership with the Deschutes Economic Alliance. They are working on mutually beneficial business opportunities for Central Oregon.
The seizure of 16 neglected horses in Salem last week highlights a big trend in Marion County. A spokesman for the Sheriff's Office says they've had 7 or 8 big cases like this of horse neglect already this calendar year. In this case, the suspect was also on probation for a 2010 horse neglect conviction here in Deschutes County. Don Thomson with the Marion County Sheriff's Office: "This is probably the 7th or 8th seizure we've done this year. We've done a lot of them. We've been trying to put owners in contact with rescue agencies trying to get them in touch with a hay bank, trying to get them in touch with rescue blankets, trying to help people. I mean the last thing we want to do is seize their horses." The former Deschutes County woman convicted of horse neglect in 2010 is facing new charges animal neglect after authorities seized 16 horses. Marion County Sheriff's Officials say Gabriel Buckner is held on $20,000 bail and is scheduled to be in court on May 17th.
When the CEO of Prineville's Pioneer Memorial Hospital took over last year, his number one goal was recruiting more general practice physicians. Bob Gomes is close to his goal. He wanted to hire five new doctors to the rural area. By October, there will be four new doctors in the community. Gomes: “One general surgery, and three family practice and these are outstanding physicians.” Currently Prineville has one family practice doctor for every 900 some residents. Part of the problem is medical schools aren't producing enough general practice doctors, and rural areas have to compete with more metropolitan areas to get them.
Is it a sign that we are on the road to recovery? A local company is starting to build new upscale townhomes at Tetherow Resort this month in Bend. Marketing Director for Arrowood Development, Femke van Velzen says the first phase will consist of 22 homes. The homes range in size from 2100 to 2700 square feet. She says it’s part of a trend in smaller sized homes. “It really is. It’s a product that has very nice amenities but it's a slightly smaller footprint. People are really moving away from the McMansions and we're catering to people are really looking for a second home that's kind of carefree and low maintenance. And also people that are baby boomers and looking to downsize." The new development will be named Tripleknot Townhomes and are part of an overall master planned community of Tetherow in Bend. Prices for these townhomes will start in the high $400,000's.
State Senator Chris Telfer says now is not the time to give big tax breaks when the State is cutting social programs and school districts are laying off teachers. Telfer sits on a committee that oversees tax breaks and says she is telling other members that tax breaks need to sunset unless the State deals with its budget shortfall: "And I said I’m going to oppose all tax credits and allow them to sunset until people start telling me how many jobs its going to create and therefore how much income are we going to recognize from employed people paying into the general fund. And right now, I don't know if its a joke or what, but nobody is giving me that information. “ She says right now tax credits would to add another $45 million shortfall into the budget.
This year, Mountain View High School has experimented with a new way to showcase their culinary program. For the past several months Wayne Yeatman's culinary class has held a one a month student run cafe that is open to the public. Yeatman says he's giving the students a chance for a real life restaurant experience. He says at first, students thought that only teachers would come: “I’d rather have the restaurant community embrace it and have them be the guests. Nothing against teachers; I’m a teacher; but they come from industry. And so they can come and not only give an honest opinion, but it's really good profile forthe kids, because they get to see our kids in action and it could lead to internships and jobs and things like that." Yeatman said about 40 people came each time they held the cafe. The cafe will be closed until the fall when they will start up the cafe again.
The USA Boxing Region 12 Championship Boxing Tournament is now in the books. In addition to the championship competition, there were a number of non-tournament bouts won by local boxers including Katelyn Starr, David Robles, Christian Cooper, Beto Avila and Scott Ough. Local favorite Jena Duea won the 152-pound Women’s Class championship as well as a non-tournament bout.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a 27 year old man in Sisters Friday for eluding a police officer and on burglary charges. Arrested was Anthony Dwane Brown of the Dalles. Originally officers tried to stop Brown's care for a traffic violation but he wouldn't pull over and a chase ensued. Brown dumped his vehicle and took off on foot. Brown was later found in a Sisters business and was arrested and taken into custody. It was later determined Brown had been involved in several thefts in Central Oregon.
A Redmond man is now charged in a commercial burglary at the Redmond Rite-Aid store on April 26th. A long investigation developed Kevin Ray Hinkle, 45, as a suspect. Hinkle was contacted on a traffic stop in Redmond last week, and was arrested for Burglary and Criminal Mischief. Hinkle was already on parole in another Redmond case where he was convicted of stealing purses from shoppers and then using their credit cards.
Around 4:15 Friday afternoon, Redmond Police are called out to a robbery at the Chase Bank in the Fred Meyer Store. The suspect had fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash when police arrived. Police state that the suspect displayed a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded the cash. He is described as a white man, 35 to 45 years old, 5’9”, with a thin to medium build. He was wearing a red and black plaid shirt over a blue t-shirt, dark blue baseball cap with a logo, jeans and tennis shoes. They searched the area but were unable to find the suspect. Police now need your help. If you have seen the suspect or have any information about the robbery, contact local police at 541-639-6911.
Once again, another cougar is sighted in the Deschutes Riverwoods area. Friday afternoon, just after 5 p-m, some local residents called the Sheriff's Office to report seeing a cougar near the end of Baker Road. Police were able to track the cat as it maneuvered around the homes in the area. They used a bean bag shotgun attempting to scare the cat away but were unsuccessful. The cougar approached several residences where voices could be heard and people were near the river. They made the decision to use lethal force to stop the cat, and it was hit but ran from the area. Oregon State Police Game Division is now aware of the action and further attempts to find the cougar are being done. This is the latest report of cougars being seen in the Bend area. Police warn you to use extreme caution if you see a cougar; move slowly away from the cat, watching it the whole time and immediately call 911.
The following is the news release sent by COCC officials regarding the latest website hacking in COCC.:
May 6; 3 p.m.
Central Oregon Community College officials have identified some information on the COCC web site that may have been exposed as part of the recent unauthorized intrusion. COCC has taken down the web site while it works with law enforcement officials and industry security experts. It has been replaced by a single page with links to sites of importance to COCC students, faculty and staff but that are not part of the COCC web site. Email access is available via this temporary page.
Comprehensive student and employee information is NOT contained on the COCC website. The college is analyzing information to see if there is any additional cause for concern of personally identifiable information being accessed or any additional data bases which might have been exposed.
The information identified was from students who applied to the COCC nursing program for the current year, and for COCC Foundation scholarship for the next year. Neither set of applications include social security numbers or credit card numbers. They do include email addresses and COCC ID numbers.
Below is a copy of the email sent to students who applied to the nursing program. A similar email was sent to those with Foundation scholarship applications.
You are getting this email because either last year or recently, you applied to the COCC nursing program and your application is on file with us.
You may have heard that the COCC Web site has been “hacked” by someone from outside the country. We do not know whether or not anyone gained access to your application, but we do want to caution you that there is a chance this happened. We have taken that part of the Web site off line.
The college has been in touch with local and federal law enforcement officials for assistance in the investigation. At this time, it is unknown who is responsible for the activity or why the COCC website was targeted.
Do know that when we contact you, we will NEVER ask for social security numbers or credit card numbers. If anyone does ask for that information, please contact us immediately but do NOT respond to that email.
We will be back in touch with you once we conclude our investigation related to this incident. If you have questions or concerns, please direct them to email@example.com
Director of College Relations
Central Oregon Community College
People across Oregon will most likely get a chance next week to see the new Legislative Maps proposed for the state. And Central Oregon had so much growth during the past 10 years that new legislative maps could be very different than the current district lines. State Senator Chris Telfer is the co-chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee: "We are exchanging maps and we're going to start talking about the redistricting maps next week seeing if can come to a consensus, so on May 12th there are at least two maps that are going to go out to the public for feedback." They hope to put those District Maps up on a state website on Thursday, the 12th. The maps are re-drawn every ten years after census data is collected. Last time, in 2001 Secretary of State Bill Bradbury was in charge of drawing the lines after Gov. Kitzhaber vetoed the proposal. This time, Telfer says Kitzhaber has said he will probably sign off on the new maps.
Free medical and dental services are available today in Bend, thanks to Project Mobile Connect. The program offered by Partnership to End Poverty will be at River Woods Church in Deschutes River Woods today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meagan Dradinski with Project Mobile Connect explains what's available: “The event offers medical and dental services. We do Urgentcare services, like HIV and pregnancy testing, contraception, immunizations and for social services we offer hot lunch, clothing, free hygiene kids and socks.” Project Mobile Connect is an offshoot of the big event in Redmond every fall. Partnership to End Poverty and its partners like St. Charles travel around Central Oregon counties to offer these free services eight times a year.
Nurses at Prineville’s Pioneer Memorial Hospital approved their new contract. All those that voted Thursday ratified the agreement with St. Charles Healthcare. For two years, the two sides have failed to reach an agreement, but now they have one. CEO Bob Gomes is happy: “I'm excited for our nurses. They've been through a lot of ups and down over the last two years. They're excited to get this behind them and to be appropriately compensated for the work they're doing.” The new three year contract offers pay increases and puts all St. Charles employees on the same benefits package.
More than a dozen police cars with flashing lights descended on the eastside Safeway Store in Bend Thursday night. Officers were called when it appeared two intoxicated men were arguing by the recycling area there. When an officer arrived, the men were in a car and wouldn't get out. The officer held them at gunpoint while backup arrived. The scene around 6 p.m. Thursday was quite a scene for people leaving the grocery store and those driving by on NE 27th Street. Three people were arrested and taken to the Deschutes County Jail on probation violations and drug charges.
One of the biggest lacrosse tournaments in the region is taking place in Sisters this weekend. The Sisters Annual Lacrosse Invitational is expected to draw 1100 players and 57 teams, mostly from Oregon, but also as far away as Montana and Nevada. The tourney is at Sisters High School, Middle School and at the football/track complex. The teams are made up of boys and girls grades 4th thru 8th. We talked to a lacrosse parent from Salem who enjoys watching his 14 year old son Keaton, play the game. He says its like a combination of soccer and football: “Pretty exciting to watch. You're able to keep track of the ball; pretty action packed.” Parent Ben Kahn says they look forward to the tournament each year, in part because they get out of the rain and grey of the valley and get to come to sunny Central Oregon. We'll see if the weather cooperates this year.
A woman who is on probation because of a Deschutes County 2010 animal neglect conviction has now been arrested in Salem. The Marion County Sheriff's Office says this recent arrest is in connection to 16 sickly horses seized by officials. Gabriel Buckner, 52, was arrested on 16 counts of animal neglect in the second degree. Besides the court probation from the 2010 conviction of horse neglect, deputies reported another case in 1998 involving dogs and cats. The 16 thoroughbreds and quarter horses were found with weight loss, skin infections, and hoof neglect. At least one mare was pregnant. Buckner is in Marion County Jail on $20,000 bail and the horses are being cared for until a horse rescue agency can take custodial care of them.
There has been a second hacking attempt in two days on the Central Oregon Community College web site.To prevent additional attempts, the site has been taken off line. Dan Cecchini, Director of Institutional Technology at COCC says they have been monitoring the website since it was hacked on Wednesday and have found evidence of continued tampering. They have set up a temporary web page with important links to students and faculty. The college has been in touch with local and federal law enforcement officials for assistance in the investigation. At this time, it is unknown who is responsible for the activity or why the COCC website was targeted.
A brush fire broke out in a vacant lot near northeast Fourth Street and Addison Road around 3 pm Thursday. The damage was confined to a pine tree, brush; bark mulch and the remains of what was described as a homeless camp area. The fire was contained after burning about a tenth of an acre. The cause f the fire is still undetermined, but is still under investigation. Bend Fire wants to remind everyone that during the early spring months, the downed brush and grass vegetation is dead and drying out quickly. These factors, coupled with warmer temperatures and gusty winds allow a fire to be carried through these fuels quickly.
Redmond Schools will see a million dollars more next year in state funding than originally thought. The question is how to spend it. The administration wants to add back school days cut to balance the budget. Mike McIntosh, Redmond Schools Director of Operations, says the teachers union has other ideas; they want it to go toward salaries, to avoid a 3.7% pay cut. “They would like that at the top of the add back list. The proposal they voted on Monday is to leave the days cut to 10 days and the other pat is to defer cost of living increase.” The two sides will continue meeting to try and reach an agreement.
It’s a popular vacation spot in Central Oregon and road construction and facility improvements are affecting is availability. Key attractions at Newberry National Volcanic Monument will open on a delayed schedule this season because of construction and facility repairs. Road construction on Highway 97 just south of Bend will create detours for people going to Lava Lands Visitor Center. These detours will be in place during much of the summer. Also affected: Lava River Cave is closed for site re-construction in May and June.
With gasoline prices approaching $4.00 a gallon, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley says he hopes people will feel the pain and take action. He understands how tough high gasoline prices are on consumers. He says he's been advocating legislation that would subsidize people moving towards hybrids and other high mileage cars. “It’s a huge impact on families. Have no question about it, and its enormously frustrating for me. In 2008, we were hitting $4.00 and folks were talking about ending our dependence on foreign oil. But as soon as the price starts to come back down, we loose that momentum.” He says our dependence on foreign oil is also a huge national security issue.
The man who has run the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation for the last eight years has resigned. Chuck Kenlan submitted his letter of resignation effective today. The Foundation runs the Pole, Pedal Paddle and the Cascade Cycling Classic. Pole, Pedal, Paddle is in a couple weeks. The press release says Kenlan is moving on to start a new chapter in his career. He is currently pursuing other opportunities. The Foundation says Kenlan lead them through a tremendous period of growth and his knowledge and experience will be missed. The Board says current staff will manage his duties while a permanent replacement is found.
Another cougar siting in Bend. This time it was Wednesday night on Baker Road near the Deschutes Riverwoods area. Bend Police Sgt. Dan Ritchie says so far in recent cougar sitings the cats haven't displayed aggressive behavior. In this most recent case, the Sheriff's Office says a homeowner spotted the cougar and when deputies arrive they also saw another big cat. Earlier this week, there were 3 other recent sitings in Bend. “Warning signs have been posted along the Deschutes River in south Bend. Parks officials say the other sightings were in the south River Canyon area and the River Rim subdivision.” If you come across a cougar, you need to stop, make noise, act tall and large and slowly back away. New into the KBND newsroom: another cougar was sited in the Deschutes Riverwoods around noon Thursday afternoon. Two of the cats were seen by local residents near Manzanita Lane.
Big doin's this weekend at Lava Lanes. 20 horses will be vying for one of the jewels of the Triple Crown; the Kentucky Derby. Here in Bend, Lava Lanes has an "off-track" betting window. Lava Lanes spokesman Peanee Denmark says come early: “Saturday will be standing room only. A lot of people come in from all over to make bets and watch the race. Actually we open at 8 o’clock for betting because there’s lots of races because there’s lof races that go on before the Derby.” Denmark says people really get into the spirit of the Derby, and get dressed up with fancy hats: “And they want mint juleps and all that.” She says not only are they expecting standing room only for the Derby, but they have a state bowling tournament going on at the same time, so parking will be at a premium.
The Deschutes County Rocks Boxing Team hosts the Pacific Northwest Regional Championships tonight and tomorrow. Head Coach Richard Miller says participants have come from all over the northwest for two days of bouts. “Washington is divided in half, so there’s 2 organizations there that will be here, 2 state champs; Oregon and Idaho. The state champions in each weight divisions, both men’s and women’s come here to box it off and the winners advance to Colorado Springs.” Colorado Springs is the site of the U.S. Boxing Championship, the next step along the road to qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. Three local boxers will take part: Jena Duea, David Robles and Jeremy Cham. There will be 15 to 20 bouts each night at Bend’s Midtown Ballroom. Doors open at 6 on Friday and at 3 on Saturday.
A brand new exhibit is making its debut tonight during the May Art Hop. A news release from Justin Finestone with the City says "City Walls at City Hall" is a series of art pieces that are inspired by Bend's past. Working in partnership with the Des Chutes Historical Museum and Bend 2030; each artist has created a work of art inspired from an historical photograph. During the Art Hop, you will have a chance to see the work and meet the artists. Bitterbrush Band will perform at City Hall, and there will be refreshments. City Walls at City Hall is a juried art show they hope will inspire more community art. The event begins at 5:00 Friday night.
Final preparations are underway for today's big Cinco de Mayo outdoor party in downtown Bend from 4:30 to ten p.m. Live music and food from Amalia's should satisfy every customer. And some of the proceeds will go toward the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Oregon. “We're trying to help the community as much as we can by bringing business downtown and supporting community groups as well. That was a lot of the reason behind the Cinco de Mayo celebration.” Organizers expect thousands of people to head downtown for the party.
There’s a bond measure in the upcoming special election that would pay for road reconstruction in Bend City limits. Neil Bryant, Co-chair of Better Roads for Bend Political Action Committee says he thinks most Bend residents will at least agree that the work needs to be done, even if they aren't ready to pay for it. "As you look at the six projects, I think one or two of them will strike home with every voter ‘cuz they'll say wait a minute; I know the problem there and it needs to be fixed. Reed Market clearly is a priority from 27th to Third Street, it just doesn't work any more." There are six projects total included in the Measure's initial proposal, including a better intersection construction for the crossing of Powers and Brookswood. The Measure would continue a 27 cents per $1000 property tax. Bryant says it comes at a time when an old bond measure comes to an end. Measure 9-83 will be on the May 17th ballot.
Redmond School District still struggles to balance next year's budget. Increased state funding means Redmond will get more money than originally thought. Redmond Schools Director of Operations, Mike McIntosh, says the administration and union now have to agree on how to spend the money. “When we get an extra million from the Ways and Means Committee, we though the first thing we should do is add back students days. It's a win-win. Win for the community because students will get back in school and teachers will get paid for those days, so its also a win for them.” But the teachers union voted on Monday to use the $1-million toward teacher salaries, so workers wouldn't have to take a planned 3.7% pay cut. Instead, they want to cut ten days from the school year. The two sides will continue to meet, to try and reach an agreement.
President Obama traveled to New York City today, four days after the death of Osama Bin Laden to meet with the families of 9/11 victims. Robin Gould of Bend lost his 29 year old son, Michael ten years ago on that day. He worked at Cantor Fitzgerald Financial Services, on the top floors of the World Trade Center. Gould says he was satisfied to hear the Navy SEALS got the man behind the deadly day. “Well I was surprised obviously, but I guess only that it happened now. I knew we'd get him sometime; we'd find him and take care of him.” Gould says his son had been working at the Cantor Fitzgerald Office in San Francisco for several years, before he was transferred back to the New York office in the summer of 2001. Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 employees on 9/11, all the workers in the office at the time of the attacks.
Personal income growth in Oregon is slipping. The latest statistics released by the Oregon Employment Department shows we are just above the middle of the pack among the states. “Oregon's per capita personal income ranked 30th among the states. We're quite a bit lower than our neighbors Washington and California, which ranked 10th and 12th and we're just above our neighbors Nevada and Idaho, which ranked 31st and 38th.” State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks says net income among Oregonians is still lower than it was pre-recession levels, but some industries did show strong growth.
Another cougar citing in Bend. Last night, Deschutes County Sheriff got a call about a cougar sighting near Baker Road in the Deschutes Riverwoods area. According to the sheriffs report, the homeowner reporting the incident says the cougar was trying to get into their home where they have a cat. Deputies also saw the cougar as it was walking away from the home and at the same time, a second cougar was spotted nearby. Sgt. Dan Ritchie with Bend Police says they have not had any indication of aggression from the cats: “I can’t overemphasize how important it is to be cautious. These are wild animals, they are unpredictable. We don’t want anybody to feel as though they can approach these animals. You know, we won’t want anything serious to happen. And the other thing is we haven’t hand any reports to indicate any reports to indicate any aggression towards humans beings at this point.” So if you see a cougar, immediately contact police.
The website for Central Oregon Community College is back up and running today; but it was taken down Wednesday after a hacker got in. COCC spokesperson Ron Paradis says this is the first time the college has had a hacker. “It appears that someone got into our web page and into the management area of our website. They apparently hacked into it and basically took control of it. So as soon as we figured that out, of course our I.T. staff took the webpage down made a few adjustments so that couldn’t happen before putting it back.” He says no sensitive information was compromised in the hacking and technicians were alerted to the problem immediately. He says the site where students and faculty access for homework and other classroom information wasn't affected much during yesterday's hacking event.
A few layoffs are part of the Bend City Budget proposal. Three City employees will lose their jobs under the $428 million budget proposal. City spokesperson Justin Finestone says in the layoffs, two of those people worked in facilities, and one in City Hall. The budget also cuts two vacant positions each in the Police and Fire Departments. He says the public can give input before the budget is adopted: "We're having what we call an open line with the Bend City Council. The Council about the budget about their priorities and what they would like to see the City doing to give that feedback to the Council, that Council can use in their budget deliberations." The Bend City Manager, Eric King presented his budget message to the budget committee Wednesday night. The two year budget needs to be approved and adopted by July 1st of this year and would run through June 30th 2013.
Lawmakers in the Oregon House approved a bottle bill that would increase the containers recycled in the State. The final vote for the Bottle Bill was 47 for, and 12 against. House Representative Jason Conger of Bend says although there were things he didn't like about the bill, he supported it. And the good parts have to do with continuing to modernize a tremendously successful recycling program. But House Representative Gene Whisnant of Sunriver voted against it: “But this Bill was increasing the number of items we're recycling without addressing the recycling centers and how to do that.” The Bill would expand recycled items to include juice, tea and sports and energy drinks by January of 2018. The bill now heads to the Senate.
The High Desert Museum is nominated for a Sage Award from the Bend Chamber of Commerce for their long standing dedication to community involvement and enrichment. Communications Manager Cathy Carroll says they've had millions of guests over the years: "The Museum has been such an integral part of this community for almost 30 years now. And it touches the lives of so many people and really changes how they thought about the natural resources and culture of this region. And since the Museum opened in 1982, it's touched people, certainly in this area and around the world. Millions of people have come through our doors over the last 30 years." Carroll says the founding vision of founder Don Kerr was to have a place that was a very interactive museum. She adds that the extensive work they have done with the school districts and now special programs for children with disabilities keeps them involved with the community.
Oregon lawmakers approved an extension of unemployment benefits back in March, but more people are applying than expected. Craig Spivey with the Oregon Employment Department says the $30 million in benefits will probably run out in a couple weeks. “Well, we have a group of folks who were long term unemployment, people unemployed for six months or more. These people came back into the program who weren't anticipated, but still eligible. So we probably saw a lot more long term unemployed than originally thought.” The Department is trying to match up the thousands of people applying for unemployment with a job. So far, they've contacted about half the people eligible.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon says the new details about Osama Bin Laden not being armed shouldn't distract us from the main fact that Bin Laden's death is a major victory for our country. Merkley isn't surprised that the details of Bin Laden's death have changed. Initially, the White House said Bin Laden was engaged in a firefight with the Navy SEALS, but today they revised the statement saying he was un-armed, and that he did not use his wife as a shield: “We share a collective sense of relief that he's no longer with us. I think a lot of details will shift mainly because the White House was working so hard to get some details out initially, but they hadn't thoroughly debriefed the members of the SEAL Team 6. Just yesterday the head of Intelligence and Briefing said they had just started the person by person debriefing.” Merkley says the atmosphere on Capital Hill is non-partisan and people in both parties are celebrating equally.
Children of different ages handle major events like the death of Osama Bin Laden differently. Psychologist and author, Dr. Eileen Kennedy Moore says parents can use examples from his death to reinforce other family values. “you could talk about the courage of those Navy SEALS who went into the compound. You can talk about compassion for the victims and the family members that Bin Laden hurt.” She says bottom line, parents can explain about war and terrorism and the crimes that bin laden committed.
Debit card users could wind up paying the price for a misunderstanding with legislators. Interchange fees, or the fee for service when a debit card is used, is currently paid by the merchant. But officials of banks and credit unions agree that when proponents of the law were asking for signatures on petitions and pushing the legislation they misrepresented it's purpose. Mid Oregon Credit Union Chairman Bill Anderson. "In large part the legislation was sold to Congress as one; they would not harm financial institution that were smaller (those under $10 billion in assets. And two, that it would not harm the consumer and it has nothing to do with the consumer directly as far as the interchange fees. " Anderson says the consumer never did pay those fees so it doesn't actually save them any money. The merchants pay the fees for use right now, and the legislation would cut those fees by more than half. If that happens, both banks and credit unions agree the revenue would have to be made up somewhere, most likely at a cost to the consumer.
A memorial service for Sandra Meyer, the Bend woman believed murdered by her husband, will be held this Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Bend. Meyer's body was found buried in the Meyer backyard a couple weeks ago, after weeks of searching for the missing woman. The memorial is scheduled for Saturday, May 7th at 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. Her sons say everyone is welcome to take part in celebrating their mother's life.
If you're looking for something to do for Cinco de Mayo, look no further than Amalia’s Restaurant. Amalia's Restaurant in downtown Bend will be holding an outdoor party from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday night. Lorenzo Gonzales is the restaurant's General Manager. “So we're pretty much closing down the street in front of the restaurant. We’ll have live music, three bands playing. We’re gonna have street concert and we'll be providing food and drinks as well.” Amalia's is located on Wall Street and opened just over a year ago. Some of the proceeds from the celebration will go to support the Boys and girls clubs of Central Oregon.
Warm Springs broke ground on its new casino Tuesday. They are actually moving the casino from Kahneeta, to a location off of Highway 26. Jeff Anspach with the Warm Springs Economic Development Corporation, says the move will help in several ways: “But for me, the bigger piece of moving the casino to Highway 26 is just the exposure. There's no better way to say the Tribes are open for business, by opening the casino on a highly prominent area especially on Highway 26 there.” The new "Indian Head " Casino will be twice the size of the previous facility and will be near the Warm Springs Museum. It will bring 200 new jobs. Nearly 8000 cars travel that highway every day. The casino expects to open in early 2012.
A Bend commercial real estate broker who just returned from a national convention says a tight credit market is still affecting many businesses. Ron Ross with Compass Commercial Real Estate Services in Bend says the overall mood across the country seems to be one of cautious optimism: "Potentially a new normal; where we have slower growth, higher vacancy rates, lower lease rates, and a long slow recovery; but I think recovery is a key word cause we're actually seeing some of that.” Ross represented the Pacific Northwest in the national business meeting. The next semi-annual gathering is in October in hard hit real estate market: Phoenix, Arizona.
The Deschutes County Clerk announced that they will deploy some new 24-hour drop boxes for the May 17th election. "At the 2 libraries in La Pine and Redmond, we have converted from using the drive-by booths that had limited hours, to a 24-hour box. They will open the same day that the booths did, the Friday before the election, but instead of having limited hours, they will be open 24 hours, so they'll be open until they close on election night at 8 p-m." There are several locations that already have 24 hour access: the County Building on Wall Street; the Deschutes County Road Department and Redmond and Sisters City Halls. Nancy Blankenship says money to purchase the boxes comes from the Help America Vote Act funds. The HAVA was established in 2002 after the voting problems that were identified in the 2000 Presidential Election. The Act pays for county clerks to update voting equipment and provide education and access to all Americans so they can have the chance to vote.
If you travel the Bend Parkway, you'll notice that a couple of the pedestrian crossing signals are now up and running. Technicians activated the lights at the Badger Road crossing. The flashing amber lights are activated by pedestrian and bicyclists to alert drivers on the Parkway, people are crossing the road. ODOT decided to put in the lights, following a fatal bicycle accident last year.
A big draw for Central Oregon anglers will be closed at times for some repairs this month. Improvements are being made to the north fishing pier at Haystack Reservoir. The Bureau of Reclamation will shut down the pier temporarily while construct crews improve safety and handicapped accessibility there. Spokesperson Kathleen Cushman says these improvements at the pier go along with their overall philosophy of helping everyone enjoy the great outdoors: “Well of course; certainly we have a lot of returning veterans who love to fish, so these improvements will great improve their fishing experience out of Haystack as well.” The improvements include installing safety railings, handicapped accessible pathways and repairs to the parking lot. The popular vacation spot is located about 10 miles south of Madras.
The Department of Justice says they've sentenced a Redmond man for possessing child pornography. Brian Fabbrini, 33, was sentenced Tuesday by a U.S. District Judge to 4 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release. Attorney Anne Marie Sgarlata says the case dates back to 2008 when an undercover investigation turned up a peer-to-peer file sharing program of child porn videos. She says the Department of Justice will prosecute these cases to the full extent of the law. It is a terrible situation because it involves the direct victimization and sexual abuse of these children. Unlike the direct abuse itself when there's pictures taken of it and they are on the Internet so these children have to live the rest of their life; essentially not being able to put their past behind them because they know at any point they could run into somebody who has seen such images and that is very difficult for them." During the search warrant at Fabbrini's Redmond home police also found an unregistered metal pipe bomb, so he was also sentenced on that crime.
St. Charles and nurses at Prineville's Pioneer Memorial Hospital have reached a tentative contract agreement after two years of negotiations. Nurses will vote on the contract May 5th. The pact allows nurses to participate in the same health and benefits plans covered by all St. Charles caregivers. It also offers salary increases, considering the nurses saw no raises during the last two years, when contract negotiations didn't produce any agreements. Back in February, nurses voted on whether they wanted to get rid of the union, but they voted 22 to 5 to keep it.
An estimated 900 homeless students are here in the Bend La Pine, Redmond and Sisters School Districts and right now you can help those students. The First Presbyterian Church in Bend just launched a special fund raising campaign to give those homeless students things like soap, shampoo and toothpaste. Organizer Helen Smith says about three years ago her group decided to shift money that was going to far-away missions to help people right here in our community. "You know I can't imagine, I can think back to my high school days and how tough it must be to be homeless and still stay in school and I just take my hat off to these kids.” The fundraiser, called "Kits for Kids" also involved a hand-sown bag filled with the basic hygiene items. If you'd like to help you can donate fabric for the bags or hygiene items. To get a list you can contact Helen Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Last year they gave out 1000 bags.
Today in Warm Springs business leaders, community and Tribal members are holding a special groundbreaking ceremony for a new casino on Highway 26. The project should be a boost for the local economy. The CFO for Kahneeta High Desert Resort and Casino says the new place should bring in an estimated 200 new jobs. And the location; right on well traveled Highway 26, is likely to draw much more business to the casino. Currently people have to drive 12 miles off of the highway to get to the casino. CFO Alan Post says construction will begin right away on the new building” The facility has planned a total of 40,000 square feet with gaming floor and a three meal sit down restaurant, snack bar, and gift shop area.” He says the casino should be open in early 2012. Today's groundbreaking at the "Indian Head Casino" is at 2 p.m.
Mt. Bachelor was just selected the “Best Terrain Park in the Pacific Northwest,” at a time the resort will be hosting a prestigious snowboarding event. Snowboarder Magazine picked Bachelor to host its "Superpark 15 Event." Andy Goggins with Mt. Bachelor explains what it is: “Superpark is an invite only, private park event that moves to different resorts every couple years and Mt. Bachelor hopes to host the event for the next couple years.” Superpark 15 will take place next week at Mt. Bachelor and will conclude on Saturday, May 14th with a "Pit Day" where people can mingle with the pro athletes.
Oregon lawmakers approved an extension of unemployment benefits back in March, but more people are applying than expected. Craig Spivey with the Oregon Employment Department says the $30 million in benefits will probably run out in a couple weeks. “Well, we have a group of folks who were long term unemployment, people unemployed for six months or more. These people came back into the program who weren't anticipated, but still eligible. So we probably saw a lot more long term unemployed than originally thought.” The Department is trying to match up the thousands of people applying for unemployment with a job. So far, they've contacted about half the people eligible.
Tower Theatre representatives want to get the word out; they have a little something for everyone this spring, from opera, to a live performance of Winnie the Pooh, to a musical tribute to the Grateful Dead. Executive Director Ray Solley says the Tower Theatre is not just for the elite: "It is open to everybody. We’re going to be doing more and more things for families coming up this season. There's also evenings and afternoons when a family can go as a group and go see live theater; and there's really nothing that compares to a live theater event it's so much better than going to a movie." This weekend the Eugene Opera will perform an abridged “La Boheme” at the Tower Theater on Sunday, May 8th. Tickets are still available. The entire schedule can be found on their website: www.towertheatre.org.
A huge sense of victory for Americans as they learn that Navy Seals were able to kill the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda. OSU Cascades Political Science professor Jim Foster says although there's a network of terrorist cells that compromise Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden's death is a huge accomplishment: “Psychologically, symbolically, Osama Bin Laden's death has got to be a real tonic, its also is a reassertion of America’s ability to reach out and attack those enemies who have declared war on us.” Professor Foster says there is not a sense of euphoria on campus, but instead pride in our military and intelligence and a sense of satisfaction that we finally got the man who declared war on America.
Updating you on the case of Curtis Jack Berger, the La Pine man who open fired on Deschutes County Deputies with a high powered sling shot according to a District Attorney’s news release. Monday, the Grand Jury heard testimony on the case involving Berger, indicting him on three counts of attempted assault in the first degree, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, assault in the fourth degree, coercion and robbery in the third degree. Berger was arraigned on the indictment and bail was continues in the amount of $250,000. The next court date is set for May 24th.
Local State Representative Jason Conger hopes a bill he introduced will inject some economic common sense into the regulatory process. It just passed in the house Monday and now moves to the Senate. Housebill 3591 requires the Department of Environmental Quality to consult with local governments and businesses and minimize costs when enforcing tough new regulation under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Conger explains the new administrative rules imposed water quality standards in Oregon that are 10 times higher than anywhere else in the nation. Conger says without action, Oregon will be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining employers.
A Professor of History and Political Science at Central Oregon Community College had a personal reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden. He lived in New Jersey on September 11th and watched the Twin Towers fall down. He says he felt a sense of satisfaction on the news of Bin Laden. Professor Alan Eisenberg says while this is a significant time for our country emotionally; people shouldn't expect a big policy change on military action in the Middle East. “People should not have any expectations that this is going to be any dramatic end or change. There is a certain degree of satisfaction and closure, but I do not expect U.S. policy to be affected dramatically by this event of taking out this very evil person." Professor Eisenberg has spent decades studying the Middle East. He says Bin Laden's death may weaken Al Quada initially because new recruits will realize that they can't hide from the enemy if someone like Bin Laden can be killed.
There are about 20,000 veterans in Central Oregon and some are reacting to the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. We talked to some veterans at the Band of Brothers meeting in Bend Monday. "They’ve been looking for him for a long time. And I’m very honored it was the SEALS that found him. I am so happy for them.” John Spence of Bend is a World War II Veteran. He was a combat swimmer and a member of one of the original Navy Seals Teams. He attended Bend's Band of Brother's meeting. The President of the Bend Heroes Foundation, Dick Tobiason wasn't surprised that Bin Laden was finally killed: “well, when you destroy the leader of your enemy, you’ve done a lot of things to boost the morale of the troops who have been searching for him in the country for 10 years. So the head of the snake is gone, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more snakes coming.” Each Monday the local Band of Brothers meets at Jake’s Diner in Bend and this meeting took on a much different tone; it was an atmosphere of celebration.
Redmond Police and the airport may be under new management soon. A written report says the City of Redmond has made a tentative offer to John Reed, the Assistant Airport Director in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Reed was chosen over 20 other candidates. An official with Redmond says it may be several weeks before they get an answer from Reed. He will replace Carrie Novick, who is retiring after 21 years as Manager of Roberts Field. Also, Redmond officials have narrowed the field for Redmond Police Chief to three: Interim Chief Dave Tarbett, Hillsboro Police Commander Mark Bonnett and a Retired Police Captain from Roseville, California, David Allison. City Manager David Brandt will choose a new Chief following interviews next week.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says it took nearly ten years, but Americans are immensely proud of our intelligence and military for finding and killing the spiritual leader behind 9/11, Osama Bin Laden. “We will never forget the more than 3,000 American lives that were lost on September 11, 2001 and in other Al Qaeda attacks and this is a welcome measure of justice for their families and our nation. As we continue the offensive against Al Qaeda and terrorist extremists wherever in the world they maybe, this milestone will serve as a reminder that when America commits itself to a goal, it will prevail.” Merkley commends the military for its perseverance and bravery in this mission.
Everyone is talking about the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. We went out to get local reaction ... to his death, nearly ten years after 9/11.
“I was astounded and very happy to hear that they finally caught this guy. And glad no longer afflicting harm on people and so I think it was a great day for the U.S.”
“After looking for him for almost 10 years, I’m really glad that it happened. I think it’s the best thing that the United States did, to finally got him.”
“My reaction is that I think this is a mission accomplished. Because that mean our efforts were not in vain.”
Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals in Afghanistan, just north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
People are reacting throughout the world and the northwest to the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. In Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square, a spontaneous celebration broke out last night after people quickly heard the news. At the West Point Military Academy, students started celebrating and officials decided to ignore the 11:30 curfew for the night, as the cadets celebrated thorough the early morning hours. And in bend today a Bend Band of Brothers is meeting; veterans spokesperson Dick Tobiason says the Bend Band of Brothers meets every Monday, but today is definitely special. About 20,000 veterans are in Central Oregon.
As details are revealed in Bin Laden's death, it's said that it was actually one of his own wives who pointed him out to Special Forces. In the past the Al Qaeda leader was able elude capture, using means that a local veteran Dick Tobiasan refers to as... cowardly. “Look at what Bin Laden did. He used a woman as a shield that's there attitude about women. Don’t let them have any rights use them as a shield; that's kind of... we would say that's kind of cowardly isn't it?" Investigators used DNA samples from family members to confirm that the man shot and killed was in fact Bin Laden. They then buried the body at sea in keeping with Islamic religious beliefs that a person should be buried within 24 hours after death.
Will There Be Repercussions?
According to public reaction, as seen nationally, regionally, and locally, the nation appears to be behind the Presidents’ decision to take out the number one enemy of the U.S. The next question is: will there be repercussions, or will this slow the roll of Al Qaeda and it's desire to attack the United States? Tobiasan says, this is a good start toward America’s end goal of anti-terrorism. Tobiason: "In this particular case Bin Laden was not only the leader he was also intellect behind the campaign the big fund raiser he was everything to them. Is there some who can fill that vacuum? Who knows, but if they try it, we will find because that's our mission."
Response from our national leaders is beginning to be released. Senator Jeff Merkley congratulates President Obama's efforts in the success of the capture and killing of America's number one enemy: Osama Bin Laden Sunday. In a written statement, he says: " We will never forget the more than 3,000 American lives that were lost on September 11, 2001, and in other al Qaeda attacks, and this is a welcome measure of justice for their families and our nation." This milestone will serve as a reminder that when America commits itself to a goal, it will prevail.” 1110 KBND will bring you more information as it becomes available.
Governor Kitzhaber’s new appointment to help create more jobs in Central Oregon wants to work with the academic community. Annette Liebe will be the new Regional Solutions Coordinator for Central Oregon. “The vision is to partner with the academic community to help bring high priority projects to fruition and work for other opportunities to get involved with the University there.” They hope to put the new Regional Solutions Office on the OSU Cascades Campus.
A bill making its way thru Salem hopes to crack down on banks that claim a loss after a short sale and collect the money later from the borrower. Some people in that position are getting "double-billed" in a way and State lawmakers are trying to stop that. What has happened to some people is they get a 1099 from the bank that claims a loss, so income taxes are owed on that amount. But then, the bank comes in later and sues the prior homeowner for the money owed to them, after they've paid the taxes. Jason Conger says a House Bill makes the bank chose one option and not do both: “A bank still has the right under the contract unless they waive it to try to collect the residual debt from the borrower and this bill prevents the bank from reporting it as income to the borrower and trying to collect the debt.” Conger says to his knowledge this practice isn't very widespread,- but definitely needs to be dealt with. It now moves to the Senate.
Around 10:30 Sunday night, a Bend Police officer observes a car, driven by a 51 year old Bend woman run a red light at empire at the Parkway. The car then turned onto the southbound ramp. The officer then pursued the car, a 1994 Dodge Caravan, traveling at speeds above the posted limit. Another Bend Police Officer was able to place a spike strip at the south Third Street traffic light flattening the tires. The woman turned north on Third Street and finally stopped at Murphy Road where she was taken into custody. The investigation revealed that the woman was depressed and suicidal; she was taken into St. Charles Medical Center for a mental health evaluation.
There seems to be support for a City of Bend road request that will be put in front of voters in may. In a random sampling of residents on the streets of Bend about those streets, we find of several people we talked to, there seems to be support for a $30 million bond request. It would not be new taxes, simply take the place of a retiring Urban Renewal District levy: “I’ll probably vote yes. I just feel that if the roads have to be repaired, if they are going to pay the same amount of money. Might as pay it for something that will benefit for everyone; I don't see why not, if it's going to be the same price as before, why not.” Not everyone will vote yes: “I usually vote for this stuff all the time, but I'm kind of bummed out about the schools, so I’m not voting for it this time.”
Ballots for the May 17th special election have gone out into the mail about a bond measure that could help improve the City of Bend. One measure; 9-83, is asking voter to approve General Obligations Bond for street improvements in bend. Bend Mayor Jeff Eager says the City Council, who endorses the measure, hopes voters will look at the "big picture": "This bond redirects an infrastructure bond that's been around for years for the downtown area, in the amount of 27 cents per $1000 of assessed value, for infrastructure down to street infrastructure. Anyone who drives around Bend knows our streets are in pretty rough shape. And the idea is: as this bond for downtown is expiring, the City Council wanted to send the voter the question, basically, would you like to have a tax cut or would you like to improve the streets with no net tax increase?" Eager says since tourism is our bread and butter and we live in an area that has projected growth, getting the streets repaired and improved is a priority.
The horrific weather that has hit the U.S. the past several weeks has devastated communities in the Midwest and southeast. There is a way that Central Oregon could help. Tom Farley with the American Red Cross Oregon Mountain River Chapter says local volunteers are on standby in case the national office calls for their help. "The national organization has asked all American Red Cross volunteers who are trained; and we have 200 here, trained and volunteering in Central Oregon; asking their availability to go help in one of these areas." Farley says the national office will ask volunteers with skills that fit the disaster to go to the areas needing help. He says if you want to help with disaster relief, the best course is to donate money. You can go to the Red Cross website and specify your donation to go to help the Severe Weather Disaster Relief.
Supporters of a "State Bank" in Oregon say it could be a way to free up credit and draw more jobs to Oregon. Two bills in Salem would establish the bank. Sean Watt, a Regional Manager with Home Federal Bank, says don't let the name confuse you: it’s not about Socialism. He says a state bank wouldn't compete with community bank, but could actually help them. "Actually the state bank concept would spread the risk out. It would take less risk it would take more risk off of the financial institution and spread that risk with the state bank. So, for example, you would see more participation loans, where the bank would have a portion of the loan the state bank would have a portion of the loan, and therefore they're spreading the risk out on that particular deal." The only state bank in the country is in North Dakota and that bank started in 1919. In that model the Governor plays a big role in overseeing the bank . Watt says one downside to doing a state bank in Oregon right now could be the start up costs. A recent survey shows many smaller business owners support the overall concept of a "bankers" bank.
Warning signs have been posted along the Deschutes River on the south end of Bend because of cougar sightings this past week. Bend Parks officials say there have been three cougar sightings in the south river canyon area, upriver from Farewell Bend Park, and as far south as the River Rim subdivision. They are trying to determine if the cat is just moving through or spending time in the area. The signs warn trail users to use caution, and officials say if you confront a cougar, stop, make noise, act tall and large, and slowly back away.
The Deschutes National Forest is preparing an environmental impact statement for proposed improvements at the Mt. Bachelor Ski Area. The proposed changes include the development of a new chairlift and associated trails; shortening or replacing three existing lifts; expanding snowmaking coverage; construction of a lift-served downhill mountain bike park and improvements to the Nordic trail system. Construction of a new lodge and an Alpine Training Center, as well as an expansion of the parking lot are also included in the proposal. Forest officials are looking for public comment on the proposal. Comments should be directed to Shane Jeffries of the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District.
The Thomas family in Redmond will soon have a home of their own, thanks to a new Habitat for Humanity project. The family includes mom Lacey, and children Danielle and Zabel, who is a paraplegic. Scott Brown with Redmond's Habitat for Humanity says they hope to break ground in the next month: “We're real excited to get this going. We have 45 in the cue volunteer companies with material donations to go in this home.” The home should be ready for the Thomases by this September or October.
There’s a new trend in town; raising chickens, even in residential areas. The 2nd Annual Bend Chicken Coop Tour is set for this Saturday. And this Saturday hundred's are expected to go to a Bend Chicken Coop Tour to visit some chickens and pick up some ideas for building their own coops. Organizer Liz Lotochinski says many people are wanting to have fresh eggs at home: “A chicken is a great pet to have because its the only one that gives you food everyday. Your dog can't do that certainly, and then I think the other reason and partly why I'm doing it is because I've got young kids and so its a great learning opportunity for them. It’s a cycle of life; chickens are born and sometimes chickens die and there's the whole regiment of sometimes feeding them and keeping them healthy.” The Chicken Coop Tour is also a fundraiser. Money and food raised will go to "Together for Children" Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center and NeighborImpact.
Another major boxing event is headed for Bend. Next week, the 2011 USA Region 12 Championships will run at the Midtown Ballroom. This is an Olympic qualifying event, so boxers from all over the northwest will be here. Some of them will be in competition for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Local boxer Jena Duea will be defending her Regional Championship. She is ranked number three in the nation in the 152 pound Women’s’ Class. The fights start at 7 on Friday night and at 4 on Saturday afternoon. Tickets will be available at the door.
The University of Oregon football team played their annual spring game this weekend. The Ducks dedicated the game to all who serve in the armed forces. Before the game, Oregon National Guard; Col. Jason Schwabel presented a plaque to Coach Chip Kelley. At halftime, soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard’s Honor Guard performed a ceremonial folding of the United States flag while explaining each fold of the flag to the crowd. Especially moving was to see members of the National Guard go through an enlistment or reenlistment ceremony. After the game, members from all five military branches exchanged coins for jerseys with Ducks team members.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 1, 2011
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON OSAMA BIN LADEN
11:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory -- hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda -- an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
END 11:44 P.M. EDT
Comments from all over the nation are beginning to emerge as the world wakes to the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden: “This is an enormous day for Americans and peace-loving people all around the world to have Osama bin Laden finally taken out after nearly a decade from the time he perpetrated his terrible attack on the United States and innocent civilians here, as well as attacks elsewhere around the world.
“We owe a great debt of thanks to the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform, who in some cases have paid the ultimate price, and in other cases continue to serve, as well our men and women who serve in our intelligence agencies.
“Even though Osama bin Laden has been taken out, the threat continues and we have to remain vigilant wherever we are around the world to try and prevent further terrorist attacks.”
U.S. forces have killed Osama Bin Laden. Sunday night, around 8:00 p.m., the White House releases a statement that officials have positively identified the body of Osama Bin Laden, who was killed in a military operation today (Sunday). The President addressed the nation around 8:30 p.m., speaking the words many have waited 10 years to hear: "Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world, that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, the terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men women and children. It was nearly 10 years ago, that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on American history. The images of 9-11 are seared into our national memory." The President went on to talk about how the operation went about searching and finding Bin Laden and ultimately killing him. Fox News reports that a crowd assembled outside of the White House cheering U.S.A. after the news broke.