With the end of the Iraq war, America is going to see an influx of returning veterans. The Vets Center in Bend is planning for the men and women who may be coming into their facility looking for help as they transition back to civilian life. Gary Hunter is the Director of the Veterans Center. “And I think people realize we have two million veterans coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq. I do know the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs does a good job letting veterans knew what's available. They have a disk that is sent to veterans discharged to try and steer them in the right direction.” The Veterans Center opened summer of 2010 at a downtown location and moved to its new location near Worksource Oregon off of Greenwood in February.
Good news for the City of Bend. City leaders can start the new year with the satisfaction of a good report from a recent audit. Last week the Council received its annual financial report and received mostly a passing grade. The firm, Talbot, Korvola and Warwick didn’t find many flaws in the city’s financial reporting or tracking. The City of Bend typically gets a clean audit; but in a recent development, the City’s Audit Committee decided not to pay an extra $6,000 or $7,000 to investigate if some public works employees have been going on junkets. They decided they had enough evidence to conclude that this isn't a problem area for the City, so they didn't want to spend the extra money to confirm their suspicions.
A local Bend financial advisor sheds some light on a positive consumer confidence number. Yesterday, consumer confidence jumped in December to the highest level in 8 months. Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend says anything above 50 is considered to be a good number. “And we went from 55.3 in November to 63% in December and that's a huge jump. And to see the 3rd highest of the year in consumer confidence, usually when people are feeling good they go out and spend money because they fell like they are going to have a job and there's some good feelings on the horizon that they'll continue to do well." Experts also says the improving job market helped the consumer confidence number to regain all the ground it lost following the mid-year government budget battle and credit rating downgrade.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is trying to stop a Bend company from operating until company managers come up with some back pay for employees. BOLI filed a legal action in November in Deschutes County Circuit Court against City Moving and Storage. The owner Cof the Company says she’s been trying to pay back wages to her former employees through a monthly payment plan set up by the Department of Revenue.” She says the company has been caught up in the great recession. Documents from the state show City Moving and Storage owes workers more than $10,000 in wages, along with an additional $25,000 in interest, penalties and court costs.
The Oregon State Police says the holiday weekend resulted in one death and 28 DUII arrests on Oregon’s roads and highways. The one fatality occurred Sunday night in Eugene when a Veneta man was driving the wrong way on the highway. The number of DUII arrests is down from last year’s 36 arrests during the same time frame. Three arrests were made in Central Oregon. OSP also responded to 80 crashes over the holiday weekend.
The Postal Service is looking at ways to cut expenses. Currently there is a moratorium for the next five months on any changes, but they're coming. The postal service is considering closing its mail-processing center in Bend. That would mean all mail in Oregon would be processed in Portland. Peter Hass is with the Postal Service in Portland. “What will happen is at first we'll provide a brief presentation of what the proposal actually is and some of the information in the study and we'll also show a short video explaining the process. As you know, we're looking at 250 processing operations across the county, not just in Bend, but in locations all over the U.S.” The public hearing in Bend for people to comment on the proposal is tonight at the Riverhouse beginning at 7 p.m.
A local financial advisor believes the sears store in Bend could escape the chopping block. The nations 4th largest broad line retailer Sears - Kmart announced that weak holiday sales means they'll have to close at least 100 stores - the company has four thousand stores in the U.S. and Canada. Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management believes the local Sears store will stay open. “One of the things the Bend store has going to keep open is we don't have a nearby Kmart store and number two we're a smaller market.” He also says the Bend store is competitive for those wanting quality tools. On average, retail sales this season are expected to be up by 4% compared to 2010. Meantime, Sears’ numbers are down 6% from last year.
HooDoo was supposed to open the day after Thanksgiving, but instead they opened yesterday. Lack of snow is to blame. Some spoke with our news partner, News Channel 21: “Oh, it's awesome; it’s the day after Christmas, there's fresh powder. It's fun to be here, build snowman, go skiing. It's a fun place for our family to be together.” The HooDoo Ski Area will be open through December 31st from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. Three lifts will be running.
Bend’s depressed real estate market has lead to some interesting opportunities for the Bend Parks District. And in the past year or so the District has spent more than $6 million in large acquisitions. The most recent was last week when the Board bought an 11 acre parking lot for $2.5 million. In an article in the Bulletin, the newspaper reports that total $6.35 million the District's spent in the last 13 months equates to about one third of the District's annual revenue. Park officials don't expect any reduction in services due to these large land purchases. - but they admit there could be some shifting of long-term priorities in order to fully develop some of these recent opportunities.
The National Weather Service has some more bad news for snow lovers; temperatures this week in Central Oregon are expected to reach into the 50’s, as a series of warm fronts sweep across the region. Monday night was the exception, with a 60% chance of rain or snow. But for most of the week it'll be pretty warm. Local tourism officials say they don’t like to see a warm December, pre-bookings going into the Christmas and New Year’s holidays were strong; so in a few days we’ll see if those tourists kept their travel plans.
In La Pine: the Sewer and Water Commissioners are refunding some money to a local businessman for a hot dog truck and burger shop that operated on his land. The decisions came about a month after the release of a financial audit. The audit faulted the District for certain write-offs on penalties and service charges. The President of the Water District said in a recent meeting that is wasn’t in the District’s interest to charge Gordon Wanek for the hot dog truck and that he didn’t sell enough hot dogs to really pay the bill. There were going to send him a check and then decided to credit the $3000 to his account.
Leaders with the Central Oregon Builders Association are seeing some encouraging signs in our local economy. COBA spokesman Tim Knopp says a recent report that shows a dramatic drop in the Bend median home price mostly points to fewer high end homes being sold. He adds that local home builders are looking at a more optimistic picture going forward: KBND: “How are you feeling in general about the industry??” COBA spokesman Tim Knopp: “Things are definitely improving. If you look at the year over year number of building permits, they are continuing to increase, and they have been over the past three years. It’s just at a lower level and so what we see a positive trend of foreclosures being bought up and absorbed back into the system and that's going to pave the way for more new product to come onto the market." In an average year, COBA sees about 1000 permits in Bend, and that's been running at around 350 to 400 recently. At the bottom of the market, Knopp says they had only 150 new building permits. In other local home builder news; Dan Pahlisch of Pahlisch Homes was just named the President of COBA for 2012.
A deadline is fast approaching that you don't want to miss that can save you some taxes. The Energy Efficiency Federal Tax Credits program for 2011 closes on December 31st. Pacific Power spokesman Tom Hauntt says this is a friendly reminder to hurry and get some energy improvements done: "And also, it's a reminder that if you've done something, like you've done something in March, and you kinda go 'oh year, there are some tax credits available for that, aren't there?' it's both things. We want to remind people to make sure they file their paperwork for something they've already done. And it's something that you've just had on the back burner, so to speak, but wanted to make sure, if you can try to get it done by the end of the year, now's the time to make that effort." Gauntt says he's not sure if the tax credit program will be available in 2012, so it's a good idea to get your energy efficient equipment and improvements done by the end of 2011.
Those working on a massive $10 million forest restoration plan for the Deschutes National Forest are now focusing their efforts on the popular Phil's Trail area. Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger is part of the diverse group of loggers, environmentalists and others putting together the plan. He says they are hoping to restore much of our local forests to a healthier condition. And those projects will should help prevent huge uncontrollable wildfires and create some local jobs: “$10 million that goes towards the restoration projects; so it just added money that the forest service gets to use to do this special work. It costs about $300, $400, $500 an acre to restore a forest where it costs about $1500 to fight a fire if it burns, so its cheaper than watching your forests burn. It’s more ecologically friendly, but it does cost money." The $10 million, ten year project is funded through the federal government. If you'd like more details on the forest restoration plan you can go to the Deschutes County website to find more information.
The City of Bend is looking at funding a new study on the city's nearly $70 million water project. That plan has drawn a lot of criticism from people believing it’s too expensive, and the study was done by an engineering firm with a vested interest in the project. City Manager Eric King says the study would not start until they get an answer back from the State on a possible delay on meeting EPA requirements to treat surface water for cryptosporidium, a potential deadly microorganism. “We've got a few months to help define the scope of the study and work with members of the opposition to incorporate their concerns. We'll re-look at the number that went into the financial model, because I think that's where there's the most concern.” The study would look at the cost of the current project compared to an alternative that would rely only on wells. The study is expected to cost between $10.000 and $20,000, and the cost may be shared by several different entities.
Big action from the State against Fuqua Homes in Bend. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business services revoked the license of Fuqua Homes in Bend. They also fined the company $155,000 for failing to deliver homes to buyers. DCBC Acting Communications Director Melanie Mesaros says in one case a customer lost a huge amount of money. “In one case, they told the customer they would get a discount if he paid full price, before it was produced. In this case, the customer lost nearly $137,000 for a structure that was never built.” In addition, Fuqua’s President and owner, Phillip R. Daniels, has been barred for five years from obtaining a license as a manufactured structure dealer or from working in an administrative or managerial capacity in the industry. Fuqua homes was operating a factory in Bend and a Eugene super sales center in Coburg.
Greenpeace and Facebook are now "Friends" after a two year long feud, waged mostly on Facebook; a truce was just called. Greenpeace was objecting to Facebook using power companies that generated much of their power from coal. They were targeting data centers which use a lot of power, and the Prineville facility was one they named as a problem. Greenpeace spokesperson Tzeporah Berman hopes that this new green partnership with Facebook will affect other large companies that are building data centers: “I think its really important to note that the I.T. sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of consuming electricity in the world. It’s the Internet Cloud, where we store our YouTube and if it were a country it would be the fifth largest in the world. So what we're doing with Facebook is encouraging a green cloud and this sets a new bar for the industry." She says Greenpeace is hopeful that companies like Apple, IBM and Twitter will follow Facebooks lead in make the "cloud" greener.
TG Nichol Plumbing was one of the hardest hit businesses, and it's the last to recover from the tornado that hit Aumsville one year ago. Doug Nichol thinks back to the mess that was under his feet last December 14th. “One year ago today, and 11-41, this whole area was in a shambles.” The Nichols' new building will be bigger, sturdier and house a new fitness club run by his son and a friend. Nearly all the homes and other structures damaged by the category ED2 twister have been repaired.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin are promoting a bi-partisan plan to overhaul Medicare. The two held a breakfast discussion this morning in Washington, D.C. Their plan involves a framework that would offer traditional government run Medicare as an option for future retirees, along with a variety of private plans. They say their plan will help prevent Medicare spending from swamping the federal budget. But early analyses indicate it would create higher out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
In a story heard first on 1110 KBND; a well known local businessman and farmer is being inducted in the Oregon Farm Bureau Hall of Fame. To qualify for the prestigious honor a person needs to give at least 35 years of service to the Oregon Farm Bureau. Spokesperson Anne Marie Moss says Keith Cyrus has served as the Deschutes County Farm Bureau President and has given a lot of service to the local community as well as helping other farmers. And it all started many years ago: “So in 1959 Keith made a down payment on a farm with money he'd saved from his 4-H animals, and began farming on his own. Over the years he's worked hard with his wife Connie build his farm up to approximately 900 acres today.” Cyrus was given the Hall of Fame Award last week in Pendleton at the Farm Bureau's Annual Convention. He marks just the 20th person to be inducted into the OFB Hall of Fame.
Budget cuts have the Jefferson County Animal Shelter in Madras scrambling to provide homes for dozens of dogs. The shelter has seen an influx of dogs, and they only have nine kennels to house them. The overflow has to be kept outside in very cold temperatures. Jefferson County's Dog Control Officer, Renee Davidson talked with our news partner, News Channel 21: “It kind of fluctuates, but mainly it goes up. It’s going up every month. I think a lot of it has to do with the economy. A lot of people can't take care of their dogs so they surrender them and there's often times they surrender them and we have to turn them away. We just don't have room for the dogs.” Oregon and Washington animal rescue groups are helping to move the dogs to warmer places. Residents are also bringing in dog houses and blankets to help. If you can adopt or foster a dog, you are asked to call the Jefferson County shelter.
National safety officials say distracted driving is killing thousands of people every year. The National Transportation Safety Board wants to ban all cell phone use and texting while driving. Steve Esselstyn with the Bend Police Department says the current state laws on the books, aren't changing behavior. “Your brain is not processing things in parallel, not driving and not texting with proficiency. You’re distracted and it takes a while to recover and get your eyes back on the road. In some ways it is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated though both can be deadly.” The NTSB's action is a recommendation only, but this Board has been influential in bringing about other changes to improve traffic safety.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon says he's pleased and not surprised that the five month moratorium keeping all post offices open is agreed to. He says he's been fighting for our rural post offices the whole time. "And it's wrong for our economy. Picture 500 people in a small town, having to drive 60 miles round trip several times a week. That’s a huge waste of time when a single truck can come down the road enroute to another town, and drop off mail for the town each day and hire someone for a few hours to keep that post office open. So it's wrong on the economy, it's wrong on rural America, it's just plain wrong. I’m going to absolutely keep fighting it." Merkley says the hold off is showing that the momentum is in our favor now.
Wells Fargo makes a generous donation to OSU-Cascades. The company just gave $10,000 to the school’s Energy Engineering Management Degree program. OSU-Cascades says they’ll use the money to provide scholarships to students in need. An article in the Bulletin says the EEM program launched in September 2010 and is only offered at OSU’s Bend campus.
Local police are urging pedestrians to be careful. That warning after another fatal pedestrian accident in Bend. Police say Robert Clark, 77, of Bend was struck by a car shortly before 9 o’clock lMonday night on NE 27th Street near Safeway. Lt. Brian Kindel says that is a busy street and Clark was wearing dark clothing, and was about 200 feet away from the nearest crosswalk. "Clark had crossed in an area that was dimly lit. An area not easily seen, and not in a crosswalk or in an area that's pre-designated." The driver, Sierra Edwards, 19, of Bend was not cited in the fatal crash.
A popular fundraiser in Bend Monday night will help beef up the Bend Police Department's K-9 unit. Currently Bend Police have two patrol dogs and they would like to add a drug dog to their team. Last night's event brought in $1100. Officer Leo Lotito is in charge of the K-9 unit for Bend Police and is grateful for the extra funds. He says police dogs make a huge difference in their work: “When we have to go search a building, they instantly can tell you where a suspect is hiding, if there's one inside. But the officers its a methodical search and it will take up to an hour to search thoroughly, and its officer safety, they go right in and they can tell us where its coming from rather than us trying to search for the suspects and ultimately injuring one of our officers." Mondat’s fundraiser was a bench press competition and it was held at "Resilience Strength Training” on NE Butler Market Road. The organizer had hoped to bring in a thousand dollars, but they surpassed that by bring in a total of more than $1100.
The man wanted in last week's robbery of a U.S. Bank branch in Bend is apparently at it again. Portland Police believe suspect David Glass held up the Key Bank branch on Northeast Broadway Monday morning. Police say Glass implied a weapon, but did not show one. Sgt. Pete Simpson is with the Portland Police Department: Our investigators here, once they were able to retrieve information and surveillance video, were working with investigators from Central Oregon and realized this was the same man. Our robbery detectives communicate with agencies all over the state and the good communication allows them to share information real time, so that you can say that's the same guy who robed our bank and that helps the investigation tremendously.” Police believe Glass is headed toward Eugene. He continues to drive a white 2007 Buick Rainier with Idaho license plates.
The Sisters teacher involved in a bad bicycle versus car accident near Sisters High School back in October is out of the hospital. Gary Bowne was hit by a car while he was riding his bike near the high school and suffered significant head injuries, even though he had on a helmet. His friend, Brad Tisdel, gives us an update. “He's not back to work yet. There's going to be quite a lot of physical therapy. His mind is active and attentive and functional. Considering they didn't think he would live, he's doing unbelievably well so we're thankful for that.” Tisdel says Bowne is scheduled for another surgery this week.
The Redmond School District is almost finished with plans to offer more choices to middle school students through a new charter school next fall. They hope to have the final details worked out by Wednesday’s school board meeting. The middle school would be an expansion to the popular Redmond Proficiency Academy, and be housed in the soon-to-be empty Hartman building. Academy Director Michael Bremont says the School Board is supportive of plans to offer different options for students. KBND: “Do some students thrive in these smaller schools?” Bremont: “Absolutely. Some students, there's much greater opportunity to build relationships with teachers, and they need to have that. Someone who really cares and really invests in them." The Redmond Proficiency Academy is in downtown Redmond and is known for smaller classes, more freedom, and unique courses. The school will have about 180 students. They are currently taking registrations. You can go to the website: rpacademy.org.
The Bend City Council is taking action to file an extension about meeting EPA water treatment requirements. If the extension is granted, that could help shave $20 million off the cost of the $70 million water project. Bend City Manager Eric King says they are taking steps to push back the water treatment deadline of 2014. “We are pursuing making the case by the end of the year and should have a response from the state in a couple months. If approved, it could change what the project looks like and the cost to taxpayers. That's something we're actively pursuing.” Portland was granted an extension to its water treatment deadlines recently and Bend hopes to get the same.
Jefferson County residents are remembering former Sheriff Hamlin Preston “Ham” Perkins this morning. Perkins, or "Ham" as he was affectionately known was elected sheriff in 1969 and served until December of 1987. Sheriff Jim Adkins reports that Perkins died in his Madras home early this morning. He was 87. Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending.
With interest rates at historic lows, many people are refinancing, if they qualify. The federal government is offering the Home Affordable Refinance Program, known as HARP. It's a program designed to help keep people in their homes. But it's only for those people who have Fannie Mae or Freedie Mac loans. Lance Vansooy with Bank of the Cascades says currently the program will refinance those homes that are underwater, by a small amount. But the government is looking at expanding the program. “Be aware that even if you've been told you don't qualify for the program, you’re too far underwater, that will change. Stay in touch and we'll see if we can accommodate your need for a lower interest rate and lower payment.” The program is expected to loosen up the restrictions after March of 2012. Currently interest rates are at historic lows: around 4%.
State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend has joined a bi-partisan group of State Senators asking Congress to re-consider a move to close many rural post offices. Telfer says for one: Oregon votes by mail, so closing the post offices could have a big impact on elections. She says many people in rural communities prefer the use the local post office because its a local meeting place, and they may not be able to use online services for mail. “Well there is a culture there too, but in a lot of places in rural Oregon, we don't have high speed Internet, and we don't have the ability to pay bills online. And so they are not able to pay bills online. I think someone in Washington D.C. looked at a map and said these cities seem pretty close together; like Sunriver for example. It’s a 20 minute drive and in the winter its not a good drive and there are a lot of seniors who get their medications in the mail.” Telfer also believes there are better ways for the post office to but its budget. In the Sunriver case, the post office is profitable.
An investigation continues today following a fight in La Pine last night that reportedly involved about 20 people. Deschutes County Sheriff's officials say that two people were struck with a baseball bat during the fight, and both were taken by ground ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. Sgt. Dan Bilyeu says its unusual to respond to a fight this large: “We usually don't have altercations quite that size and my understanding is that when the initial patrols got on scene. 20 people may have been an inflated number by the caller, but there was a lot of yelling and screaming going on, so the caller may have been excited. But I think 20 is a little high." No one was arrested at this time, but the baseball bat was recovered and the investigation is continuing. The melee happened in front of a home on Lava Drive.
About 20 people are involved in melee in La Pine last night, sending two to St. Charles Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. According to the Deschutes County Sheriffs office report around 8:15 Thursday night, a man threw a bottle at a passing vehicle as the car was returning to a home on Lava Road. 911 received a call of about 20 people in font of the Lava Road home and that a baseball bat type bat was involved. As the deputies arrived, several people ran away but after a lengthy investigation by several police agencies they determined that Zane Zigler, 22, and Sam Renne, 20, confronted the residents on Lava Drive, provoking the fight. No one was arrested at this time, but the baseball bat was recovered and the investigation is continuing.
The City of Bend says it won’t ask auditors to look into hunting trips for public works employees. Mayor Jeff Eager asked for the investigation after learning that "Consolidated Supply Company" had paid for several such trips. The City has contracts with the company. City Manager Eric King was on 1110 KBND's “Your Town” this Thursday and provides background: “We had received some allegations from an anonymous individual about an employee that went on a hunting trip about 5 or 6 years ago and we investigated that we disciplined the employee involved. We looked at our contracting processes; we've actually changed our contracting processes a couple of years ago to have more contracts come to council and really just did a complete overhaul." King says the revision of how the City handles those contracts was already in the works and separate from the complaint. Wednesday members of the Bend Audit Committee learned that the audit would have cost around $8000, and decided against the expense.
Bend Police name David Christopher Glass, 42, as a person of interest in a possible armed robbery in Bend. There was a robbery at the U.S. Bank on Third Street around noon yesterday. A man told tellers he had a gun and demanded money. He fled the scene after receiving an undisclosed amount of cash. Bend Police arrived shortly thereafter. Lt. Paul Kansky describes the suspect: "We do not have the subject in custody at this point. We do have a description of him. He's approximately 35 to 50 years old, middle aged we'd say. Over six feet tall, black, long sleeved crew type shirt or something similar. Dark pants and wearing a red baseball cap with a symbol of some sort on the front of it." Kansky says several police units, including a K-9 unit, searched for the suspect who is still at large. He is considered armed and dangerous.
The City of Bend says it won’t ask auditors to look into a hunting trip for public works employees. Mayor Jeff Eager asked for the investigation after learning that consolidated supply company had paid for several such trips. An article in the Bulletin says the trip in question happened around the time that the other trips were taken. The City has contracts with the company. Members of the Bend Audit Committee learned Wednesday that the audit would have cost around $8000, and decided against the expense.
Deschutes County says the number of defaults is substantially lower. Default filings in November were down about 44% over November 2010. That continues a seven-month trend of year-over-year declines. The Deschutes County Clerk's Office in November recorded 114 notices of default; 91 fewer than one year ago.
An article in the Bulletin says a notice of default is the legal document that begins the foreclosure process. Not all filings end in foreclosures.
At least eight police cars swarmed a Bend Branch of the U.S. Bank around noon today after a report of a robbery at the branch. Bend Police Lt. Paul Kansky describes what happened: "A male subject entered the U.S. Bank at Revere and Third and that subject purported to have a firearm, and demanded some money. So the subject did get an undisclosed amount of money and fled the scene at that point." Street barricades were quickly set up on nearby streets, in an attempt to catch the robber. Kansky describes the suspect as middle-aged man, over six feet tall, with a slight to medium build. He was wearing dark pants and a dark, long sleeved shirt, and a red baseball cap with some kind of insignia on it. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous, and if you know his whereabouts or have any information, contact Bend Police.
Christmas is the time for giving, and the Salvation Army says the numbers of needy are growing, but their kettles are not filling. Major Robert Keene with the Salvation Army says last year donations were down about 15%, and this year is about the same, but now they have a longer list of families. “Well, last year we helped 1700 families and we're almost up to 2000 families already. And that translates into about four people per family, so we're talking 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 actual individuals." Keene says the bell ringers with kettles will be at some bigger stores like Safeway, Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer through Christmas Eve. Also, remember that the “Santa Express” also helps the Salvation Army. Santa will be riding in a fire engine through various Bend neighborhoods tonight and tomorrow night, to receive your donations of food, clothing, toys and money.
A 14 year old male from Crooked River Ranch is in custody for throwing rocks at passing cars. A Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Patrol vehicle was among the cars that suffered minor damage. Detectives arrested the suspect at his school in Redmond. He is currently lodged in a juvenile detention facility in the Dalles. The damage to the vehicles is estimated at over $1000. A crime stoppers tip lead to the boy's arrest.
An autopsy is scheduled for today in connection with a Tumalo man who was shot Sunday night at the family home. Authorities say Steven Hargrave, 29, was killed in the shooting. His father, James Hargrave, 61, is accused in the crime. Deschutes County Sheriff Captain Marc Mills has more details: “We do know that there was an argument. We're not prepared to talk about the specifics of that yet; but there is the possibility that alcohol was involved to this situation.” Steven Hargrave lived with his parents. His mother reported the shooting. James Hargrave is lodged in the Deschutes County Jail. He is scheduled for formal arraignment on Friday.
Bend Police arrest eight people who refused to leave Oregon Congressman Greg Walden’s Bend Office on Monday. The event is aligned with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Those arrested were part of a group protesting Walden by staging sit-ins at his offices around Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District. The group says they have unsuccessfully tried to contact the Congressman in the past and feel his electronic town halls are ineffective. Walden’s staff allowed the protestors to stay in the office until 6 p.m., even though they normally close at 5.
The City of Bend continues its search for an Assistant City Manager. Current City Manager Eric King has twice now rejected all the candidates hoping to fill the post. King says he’s looking for someone to handle the City’s highest profile projects so he feels he must be “picky”. An article in the Bulletin says the Assistant City Manager would be responsible for projects involving infrastructure, economic development and planning. King says he feels the current job market allows for the selection of a "top-notch" candidate, so he feels like he shouldn't "settle".
Apple Computer may be coming to Prineville. “The Oregonian” reports that the computer giant is considering the Central Oregon location for its next 31-megawatt data center. The report says apple has an option to buy up to 160 acres of land currently owned by Crook County. The option to buy the acreage expires at the end of December. An earlier report says that three different companies, including Apple, want to build in the Prineville area. Central Oregon Cooperative has already submitted three different requests for connections to the Bonneville Power administration on behalf of those projects.
It’s a warning for you when you do your holiday shopping: thieves are hoping to take advantage of all those holiday shoppers and distractions. Local banks say they see a lot of credit card fraud this time of year. The Regional President for Central and Eastern Oregon with U.S. Bank has some advice. Stacey Dodson says now is a good time to downsize your wallet: “So I think its a good time to remind our customers to be on their guard with their credit cards; and that can be as simple as only taking the cards you are going to use that day. So for example if you're shopping here in Central Oregon, best to not bring your department store cards for stores we don't have in this community." And if you're shopping online; Dodson warns of emails that look like they are coming from legitimate banks or retailers, but are actually crooks trying to get your personal and financial information.
In a first ever report today, a northwest non-profit group is exposing a problem with sex trafficking laws in America. Shared Hope International says under the "Protected Innocence Initiative” they took an in-depth look at state laws that try to stop the sex trafficking, and were disappointed. Loren Wohlgemuth of Shared Hope International says in the study, only ten state received grades higher than a “C” and Oregon got a "D" grade. Nearby Washington State received a much better "B" grade and he explains the difference in the law: “Penalties for buyers in Washington go up to seven years when they’ve been convicted of soliciting or trafficking a girl. In Oregon, that same type of charge would result only in a maximum sentence of seven days.” Wohlgemuth says sex trafficking is happening in every part of the state, including Central Oregon. He says it mostly involves girls ages 13 and 14, but they do see some as young as 9 years old. He hopes this report will be a wake up call to Oregon and other states. He says its relatively easy to change the sex trafficking laws to make them much stricter for those found guilty of selling our children.