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Local News Archives for 2013-10


U.S. Congressman Greg Walden Grills Secretary Sebelius over Obamacare


Kathleen Sebelius was in front of a congressional panel  taking a drubbing over the poor rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

 

U.S. Congressman Greg WAlden of Oregon was one of the lawmakers voicing his displeasure.

 

"I've got letters from constituents who are getting letters from their insurance companies saying they will no longer have coverage in their individual plans.  I heard from one woman who was paying $600 a month for her plan with a three thousand dollar deductible and now is paying $800 a month.  Another woman whose 40 hour job has been reduced to 29 hours.  Neither have enough income or health insurance because of the way the law is implemented."

 

Sebelius promised a vast majority of consumers will be able to shop online for health insurance at the federal website by the end of November.

Local Health Insurance Expert on ACA Rollout


The Healthcare.gov website is still plauged with problems and the administration hopes to have them fixed in the next month.

 

Oregon has its own state exchange called "Cover Oregon" -- but that website isn't fully operational either.  Yu can look at plans, but can't enroll in them yet.

 

Local health insurance expert Patrick O'Keefe says there's a lot of anxiett over the delays.

 

"So it's crunch time.  We're concerned that the website will only be up in mid November and we only have until December 15th to sign up.  So now instead of two and a half months to sign up, we'll have maybe a few weeks."

 

O'Keefe says he expects the individual  mandate to be delayed given all the technical problems these websites have been having.

Mirror Pond Draw Down Underway


Utility leaders plan to lower it at a rate of two inches per hour through Wednesday.

 

They expect to have engineers do a thorough inspection probably on Thursday.

 

No repairs are expected to take place, but they hope to get an idea on the extent of the dam leak and whether it makes sense to fix it and if so, how.

 

Pacifc Power hopes to have something more concrete to bring to Bend leaders about the future of the Mirror Pond dam in about six weeks.

Portland Doctor Enters Republican Field Vying for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley's Seat


Dr. Monica Wehby is a pediatric neurosurgoen at Randall Children's Hopsital at Legacy Emanuel.

 

A key reason she says she's jumping into the race is because of government overreach.

 

"We are the frontier, the pioneers and that way of life is under attack.  Government wants to control every aspect of our life from education to healthcare to business and its stiffling our freedoms."

 

Dr. Wehby is joining a crowded Republican field including State Representative Jason Conger and Bend Businessman Sam Carpenter.

 

Wehby is a mother of four and grew up in Tennessee.  She moved to Portland 15 years ago.

Jefferson County Will Vote on Slight Increase to Jail Levy


The five year levy would increase the current rate from 99 cents per one thousand dollars of assessed value to $1.24.

 

But because a construction bond for the jail is expiring, it would result in an overall savings of 52 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value -- over what they're currently paying.

 

Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins is hopeful people will approve the measure.

 

"Now people don't like to hear increase.  They are tired of taxes, everyone's wallet is getting tighter, including mine.  But I'm pretty confident because of the bond going away."

 

If the measure is defeated, the county plans to ask voters again in May, before the current levy expires next June.

Longtime Music Director of Sunriver Music Festival Dies


Lawrence Leighton Smith led the festival for 17 years.

 

He stepped down judt before the 2011 festival, when diagnosed with Binswanger's Disease, a form of dementia.

 

Leighton Smith  also led the Oregon Symphony in Portland from 1973 to 1980.  He was the Music Director of the Colorado Springs Symphony in the early 2000's.

 

Smtih was 77 and died at his home in Colorado Springs.

 

He had suffered a heart attack earlier this month and had been in hospice care.

BEND ROOM TAX DEBATE - TUNE IN Today (Tuesday) FROM 8A TO 9A


DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION ON THE PROPOSED INCREASE TO THE BEND ROOM TAX?  DO YOU WANT TO HEAR MORE? WE'LL HAVE DIFFERENT SIDES PRESENTED AND YOU CAN CALL IN AT 388-1110.  YOU CAN ALSO EMAIL US AT LORI@KBND.COM IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE ROOM TAX REQUEST. 

Central Oregon Feels Its First Wintry Blast This Season


Temperatures  dropped more than 20 degrees in the last day with snow flurries making an appearance.

 

Doug Weber is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

 

"We've defintiely had our first blast of winter weather coming in.  It looks like our pattern of sunny skies from mid October is moving to a more reasonable event, near normal for the next several days."

 

Normal for central Oregon for this time of year is highs in the upper 50's - -but temperatures are going to dip down into the teens for the next couple nights.

Representative Conger Pushes U.S . Senator Merkley to Delay Obamacare


He wants Oregon's U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley to join some Senate Democrats who have signed a letter urging a delay.

 

Currently, Americans are required to buy health insurance; through the exchange by March 31st.

 

"So the idea is to call on Senator Merkley to take the position, to acknowledge the fact that Obamacare is not working, to acknowledge it is actually hurting people, seniors and working families and its even causing job loss."

 

Conger just announced this month he is running as a Republican against incumbent Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon Against Repealing Obamacare


When U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon spoke at Mt View High School in Bend last week -- students asked his stand about repealing Obamacare.

 

"If you repeal it, it means that you go back to discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.  I think that woudl be a big msitake.  It's basically making the statement, you get health insurance if you are healthy or wealthy."

 

The outside contractor brought in by President Obama to fix the healthcare website says the current problems are fixable and the website should be fully operational within a month.

Local Tea Party Officials React to Latest Unfavorable Ratings


A recent poll found 64 percent of Americans say they have an unfavorable view of the GOP -- an all time high.

 

56 percent have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement -- another record high.

 

John Philo with the local Tea Party reacts.

 

"I know the traditional media paper has to be slanted toward blaming the Republcian party for the shutdown.  But quite honestly the democrats are just as guilty.  Harry Reid and even President Obama refused to negotiate with Republicans in the House of Representatives."

 

The Democratic Party's 43 percent unfavorabe ratings are basically unchanged from before the government shutdown.

Federal Employees in Oregon Must Repay Unemployment Benefits Paid During Government Shutdown


Originally the Oregon Employment Department through the furloughed employees would be eligible for unemployment.

 

But last week, the department issued a change saying these employees are not eligible for unemployment.

 

During the period of the shtudown, these employees are now considered to have been employed and not eligible for the benefits.

 

The department is sending letters to the more than 700 workers in Oreogn who received benefits -- outlining a process for them to repay them.

Police Make Arrests in Bend Storage Unit Thefts


For the last month and a half, the department has been investigating husband and wife, Michael and Kimberly Rupp.

 

Security camera footage identified Michael Rupp as the suspect in thirteen thefts at these storage units.  One unit had 35 thousand dollars in cash taken from it.

 

Police searched the Rupp's residence on October 19th and found property from many of the burglaries.

 

Kimberly Rupp was taken into custody and her husband, who was not home at the time, turned himself in days later.

 

The pair face multiple charges of theft, burglary, possession of methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Redmond Police and Schools Warn of Recent Stranger Danger


The  man  in a  mini van is offering to provide them with a ride home.

 

Officers are continuing to investigate these reports, but they are warning parents to talk with their kdis about avoiding strangers and never accepting rides from people they don't know well.

 

Students have been approached in the neighborhoods of Lynch Elementary, Vern Patrick Elementary, Obsidian Middle School and the Redmond Proficiency Academy.

 

Police ask if you see a vehicle stopping to speak to children or your chidlren report it to you, get a vehicle description and license plate number and report it to authorities.

Cover Oregon Sees More Paper Applications than Electronic Ones


Cover Oregon spokesman Michael Cox says the marketplace has received 42 hudnred paper applcactions and only 24 hundred electronic ones.

 

Applicants can use the Cover Oreogn website for information about the plans --but can't get adequate info on specific plans and subsidies.

 

Paper applications can get that information.

 

Cover Oregon hopes to have the website fully operational by the end of the month.

 

The website has received 470-thousand website visitors and its estimated Oregon has 600-thousand people without health insurance.

U.S. Congressman Walden Presses for Answers on the Bad Rollout of the Affordable Care Act


The House Energy and Commerce Committee is overseeing the healthcare law and is having several top contractors responsible for the technology, testify.

 

"This isn't a partisan issue about healthcare.  People expect this thing to work.  This reminds me of Oregon back in the late 80's when we had a change at the DMV and it cost 50 to 60 million and we ended up scrapping the whole thing.  I don't want this to be a failure.  I want to get this fixed. CMS didn't give you standard time to test it, so every American thinks they tell me it's ready.  I'm ready to go."

 

CMS stands for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is overseeing the healthcare law.  

 

Next week the committee will hear from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Prescribed Burns in Central Oregon Today


UPDATE on prescribed fires planned in Central Oregon

Prescribed fire southeast of Bend today

Burning continues on the Ochoco National Forest

 

CENTRAL OREGON – Today, fuels specialists on the Deschutes National Forest will be conducting a prescribed burn about 12 miles southeast of Bend in the vicinity of Company Butte, near the intersection of China Hat Road and the 1825 Road.  Smoke from this 138 acre fire will be visible from Bend, Sunriver, Lapine and Highway 97 with residual smoke lingering in low lying areas for the following days. 

 

As smoke lingers in the area of the Kipuka Burn conducted Thursday, the Hoffman Island Trail and FS Road 9720 will remain closed between FS Road 800 and FS Road 9710 through the weekend.

 

The burn conducted in the Metolius Basin Research Natural Area near Camp Sherman Wednesday and Thursday is in mop-up and patrol status and will also produce smoke through the weekend.    

 

On the Ochoco National Forest, specialists will continue with the two operations that were initiated Wednesday:  1) 15 miles northeast of Prineville near Wildcat Campground; and 2) 12 miles northeast of Post, OR and 6 miles south of Big Summit Prairie.  Additionally, specialists will initiate a multi-day prescribed fire 15 miles south of Mitchell, OR and 2 miles east of Big Summit Prairie. 

 

Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires, and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.  Once ignited, units are monitored and patrolled until they are declared out. 

 

For more information, visit the Ochoco/Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon  and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.  Subsequent news releases and “tweets” will follow to provide updates on these potential operations. 

 

-End-

 

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

 

 


 

Bank of the Cascades To Merge with Home Federal Bank


The new bank will be called "Bank of the Cascades" and CEO and President Terry Zink will be at the helm of the new, bigger bank.

 

He says it's been an amzing couple of years for the bank.

 

"We're a little bit like a phoenix raising from the ashes.  We were counted out.  But we're stable now and able to grow.  And I'm absolutely convinved that community banking is an essential part of smaller communities."

 

The Board of Directors of both banks have approved the merger and regulators are expected to approve it in early 2014.

 

This merger will allow Bank of the Cascades to expand to the Eugene market.

 

With this acqusition, Bank of the Cascades will have a 27 market share in central Oregon.

Deschutes County Republicans Say Vote No on Raising the City and County Room Taxes


John Philo with Deschutes County Republicans says they are advising people to vote "no" on the proposals.

 

"What we determined was this was another tax on local businesses.  And I think it's going to affect some folks in a negative way in teh city and county, but especially in BEnd.  The city and county will be subjected to an additional cost and that will obviously be passed on to the people that stay here."

 

Philo belives low income or homeless people who stay in area low budget hotels, especially as main residences, will be hard hit by this increase.

Redmond City Councilors Support Raising the County's Room Tax


THe city council this week unanimously approved supporting the ro m tax increase that is going before voters in November.

 

It would icnrease the Deschutes County room tax from 7 to 8 percent.

 

Redmond Mayor George Endicott says their tourism promotion funds will be used for one purpose.

 

"Probably the one single biggest driver of putting "heads in beds" in Redmond is the fairgrounds.  So it's really important to Redmond this issue get all the support it can."

 

70 percent of the funds would go toward tourim promotion, the rest would go to public safety and economic devleopment mainly for the arts.

Senator Ron Wyden Talks to Central Oregon High School Students


He spoke to a class Tuesday to get a feel for what's on their minds.

 

First and foremost is the threat of another government shutdown.

 

He told the kids he doesn't think we'll go through this again come January and February.

 

"The country is not going to stand for this happening again.  Anyone who is running for election in 2014, if we would have a second government shutdown would have a real challenge. We lost billions in the shutdown.  And the jobs numbers came out and they were not what we expected and they attribute that to the shutdown."
 

 

Senator Wyden also visited Ridgeview High School in Redmond to talk with students there.

 

He plans to visit 11 high schools in the state as part of his "Listening to  the Future" tour.

Bend City Council Delays Decision on Water Treatment


At first the ywere leaning toward a membrane filtration system and then they considered a ultraviolet system with backup wells.

 

Councilors were to make a final decision at tonight's city council meeting, but now a decision has been pusehd back to  November 6th.

 

Councilor Victor Chudowsky says he's leaning toward the membrane system.

 

I think the main thing for rate payers is there is no clear winner in terms of cost because of the unkonwn cost of adding the backup wells.  It's not clear one s cheaper than another, and it may even be more expensive.  And we also want to make the most of our dual water supply and that helps in that respect.

 

Chudowsky says the membrane filter system will protect the water supply in the event of a fire in the water shed, the U-V system won't.

 

He is also worried totally changing the water treatment system could potentially affect the timeline for the city's urban gorwth boundary expansion.

Pacific Corp Appeals Cline Falls Power Plant Historic Designation


It's located on the Deschutes River off of Highway 126, west of Redmond.

 

In 1992, the Historic Landmarks Commission designated the plant as a historic site.  But now the power company is arguing the whole site is not protected, just specific buildings on the site.

 

They made their case before Deschutes County Commissioners this week.

 

Jeff Lovinger is representating Pacific Corp.

 

"What the '92 board said I believe you can only conclude that is protected three structures. Maye they should have protected more, COID made some good arguments on this.  But that's for another day.  You can look at that down the road.  But right now we're looking at what the '92 board meant and have the fairest read as we can."

 

The County Commissioners plan to visit the Cline Falls Power Plant site next week and hope to make a final decision on the plant's historic designation by the end of November.

Bend Storage Unit Break Ins


A suspect has been identified and property from previously reported burglaries have been recovered.

 

Some of the property was linked to burglaries from storage units back in 2010.

 

The burglaries occurred at Bend units, but it's believed other locations in central Oregon may have been victimized as well.

 

Police say the suspect often cut the existing lock and replaced it with another padlock, so as not to draw attention to the crime.

 

Police are asking people to check their units for possible burglaries.

Helping Teens to Drive Smarter


Parents say they want to make sure their kids get a lot of practice on the road, but the reality doesn't always square with that.

 

Marie Dodds with Triple A has some advice.

 

"About half of all parents report they want their teens to get a lot of practice behind the wheel, but when we look into it more, only one in four actually have their kids drive in varying conditions like bad weather, heavy traffic or unfamiliar roads."

 

Teens continue to have the highest crash rate of any age group, so it's critical parents give their kids a variety of driving conditions to practice in -- so they can be experienced in driving in them.

Prescribed Burns in Central Oregon this week


Update on prescribed fires planned on the Deschutes National Forest

One prescribed fire today; up to three prescribed fires tomorrow

CENTRAL OREGON Today fuels specialists will continue to work on Wickiup Butte, 18 miles west of La Pine, OR near the Wickiup Reservoir Dam. Approximately 100 acres within this 428-acre area were burned on September 27th and 148 acres were burned yesterday. Today, specialists plan to burn an additional 110 acres. Operations may create smoke impacts to the Haner Park, Ponderosa Estates, and Wild River subdivisions as well as along Burgess Road (FS Road 43) and FS Roads 44 and 4260.

Plans to burn 123 acres in the Metolius Basin Research Natural Area, 1.5 miles northeast of the Camp Sherman store and 1 mile south of the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, on the east side of FS Road 14, are still tentatively planned for tomorrow, Wednesday, October 23rd. Smoke from this operation may impact the Camp Sherman area, including the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery and the Allen Springs, Pioneer Ford and Lower Bridge campgrounds.

Plans to burn 81 acres near the Two Rivers North and Cascade Estates subdivisions and Highway 58, seven miles southwest of Crescent, OR are also still tentatively planned for tomorrow, Wednesday, October 23rd. Smoke could impact these subdivisions as well as Highway 58 in the vicinity of mile post 80 and FS Road 5825.

An additional 158 acres is planned approximately 10 miles northwest of La Pine, OR in the vicinity of Round Mountain. Smoke from this prescribed fire may be seen from La Pine and Sunriver and could impact the Wildriver Estates subdivision and FS Roads 42, 4040, and 4250.

Plans to burn within the Lava Cast Forest, seven miles east of Sunriver and 12 miles southeast of Bend, near Company Butte and the intersection of China Hat Road (FS Road 18) and FS Road 1825 are still delayed due to smoke concerns.

For more information, visit the Ochoco/Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire. Subsequent news releases and "tweets" will follow to provide updates on these potential operations.

-End-

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

Head of Central Oregon Council on Aging Concerned about Future Meals on Wheels Interruptions


Pam Noor with the Central Oregon Council on Aging says it could have been catastrophic if a deal hadn't been reached last week.

 

"The government shutting down, we would have had to stop serving our meals on wheels, because like most non profits in central Oregon, we don't have reserves to fund it.  The bad news is it only goes to February and hopefully we won't be facing this again shortly."

 

The sequestration is still in place and Noor says that has forced a 160-thosuand dollar budget cut for their programs.

 

She says they are already brainstorming about more fundraising to prevent further interruptiosn to their meal progams.

Dr. Knute Buehler Considers Run for State House


And that's in part why he's considering a run for state representative.

 

Jason Conger's seat is opening up since he is running for U.S. Senate.

 

Buehler is forming a political action committee to find out whether he should run.

 

"We're going through tremendous change in healthcare and there's no one in the house with a background in healthcare.  These decisions are normally made by lawyers and businessmen and I think I can offer a lot of perspective in that regard."

 

Last year Buehler ran for Secretary of State against incubment  Kate Brown and lost.

 

He plans to make a final decision about another possible run for public office by Thanksgiving.

City Club of Central Oregon Addresses the Challenges of Turning Bend into a College Town


That was the topic of this month's City Club.

 

Washington DC architect and uban designer David Bagnoli has conducted many city college relationship studies.

 

He brought his knowledge to Bend.

 

"You know it's fairly unique for a community the size of Bend to absorb the campus the size of what OSU Cascades is planning of five thousand students.  People love living in college towns.  Now they may not like decisions they may make in terms of growth.  But one of the things they like is there usually is a rellly engaged civic presence on most of those communities."

 

One of the biggest challenges often is student and faculty housing and striking a good balance between on and off campus housing.

Oregon Outdoor Recreation Leaders Push for Lawmakers to Protect All Public Lands


The group wants Senator Wyden in particular to support the state's outdoor recreation economy.

 

Liz Hamitlon is with the Northwest Sportfishing Industries Association.

 

"Well I think there's some nervousness about discussions in congress about selling public lands and using them not in ways intended.  And we wanted to remind senators of all the jobs tied to the publc lands in Oregon."

 

They are concerned legislation introduced in the House of Representatives would allow for large scale logging and limit the use of many environmental measures.

Crater Lake National Park Open


The state's national park had been closed since October 1st when lawmakers shutdown the government.

 

Marsha McCabe with the park says they've already had plenty of visitors since it reopened Thursday morning.

 

"Well I think we're happy and excited to be here and be back doing our jobs and seeing our park visitors."

 

Currently Highway 62 though the park and the road to Rim Village are open.  

 

But the West Rim Drive and north entrance road are closed while workers try to remove snow and ice on the road.

 

These roads should be reopened by Friday.

Senator Merkley on Deal to Extent Debt Ceiling


But the agreement followed weeks of bickering and impasses.

 

Merkley said in a press release, "Although it is a good thing for our economy that congress has reached an agreement to reopen the goernment and prevent a default on our debt, congress fulfilling its most basic duties is not cause for celebration.  He says this legislation does not begin to resovle the dysfunction and paralysis that have caused our governemnt to careen from crisis to crisis."

 

Merkley believes these manufactured crises have caused great harm to our families and businesses across Oregon and our nation and its ftime to focus on what really matters -- rebuidling our economy.

Judy Stiegler Considering Run for Former State House Seat


Judy Stiegler is considering a run for her old seat.  She was elected in 2008, but lost to Conger in 2010.

 

Stiegler was the first democrat to represent Bend in Salem since the mid 1980's.

 

"The only reason I'm seriously considering doing this is I feel I have a lot to offer to the district.  I was absoltuely privileged to serve central Oregon in the legislature.  And if I didn't feel that way, I wouldn't be thinking about it."

 

Stiegler plans to make a decision in the next six to eight weeks.

 

She says her husband, former Deschtues County District Attorney Mike Dugan is very supportive of another run.

 

41 year old combat veteran, Craig Wilhelm of Bend is also considering running as a democrat for the seat.

Knute Buehler Considering Run for District 54 State House Seat


Buehler is forming a political action committee to explore a possible run.

 

Conger has decided to run for U.S. Senate.

 

Dr. Buehler says he wants to take the next step to form an exploratory committee to build resoures and volunteer support to launch a possible campaign.

 

He plans to make a final decision about a run in the coming weeks.

Jason Conger Running for U.S. Senate


In recent months, the Republcian State Representative had been considering whether to take the plunge.

 

He says after considerable thought about what it would require and whether it was winnable, he's announcing he's running.

 

Conger has served two terms in the state house and wants to go to Washington to replace Jeff Merkley.

 

"Well, the differnce is I would actually fight for the middle class and not just talk about it.  He talked a  lot about jobs, the poor and helping the middle class when he was running, but he's been completely missing in action since he went to Washignton.  He hasn't done anything to help us build a better future for ourselves and our families."

 

The Republican primary will be next May with the general election next November.

 

The three other Republican candidates, include Bend businessman Sam Carpenter, former Linn County Republican Party Chair Jo Rae Perkins and Salem information technology consultant, Mark Callahan.

Crook County Looking Into Shooting of Several Wild Horses


The U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement discovered the dead horses in the area of Forest Service Road 22.  

 

It appears the horses had been shot several days before.

 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Crook County's Sheriff's Office.

Lawmakers Still Hopeful a Deal Can be Reached on Extending the Debt Ceiling


The government shutdown has entered its second week -- with the debt ceiling deadline coming up on Thursday.

 

OSU Cascaddes Political Science Professor Jim Foster thinks they will reach an agreement, but he fears if they wait to the last minute, damage will already be done.

 

"So even if we do get an agreement by the 17th, there can still be a lot of economic damage done.  And need we all be reminded that this is still a slow, halting economy and still leaves a lot of people out of work or under employment and hurting in a lot of ways."

 

The potential outline of a Senate deal includes keeping the government funded through January 15th and raising the debt limit through February 15th.

 

The House is floating its own bill to extend the debt ceiling.

 

 

Redmond Offering Forgivable Half Million Dollar Loan for New Anchor Attraction Downtown


The city is asking for proposals from developers to help them drive more traffic to the downtown area.

 

Redmond Community Development Director Heather Richards explains what they're looking for.

 

"We've just finished with our public improvement projects and now we really want to stimulate private investment in ways to stimulate business downtown, so we're dangling a huge carrot to developers.  We will offer up to $500,000 forgivable loan to partner with anchor development for five years in our downtown core."

 

The development must be located within the boundaries of the downtown overlay district in Redmond and must consist of new construction or substantial rehabilitation.

 

The deadline for applying for an applciation is November 15th.

Culver Residents to Vote on School Bond for a Third Time this November


The request this time is 8.8 million -- less than the two previous requests.

 

The vote last May failed by only 60 votes, so Culver Superintendent Stepahnie Garber is cautiously optimsitic.

 

"It has to pass.  We've already had cold days and two of the classrooms don't have heat.  What I'm hoping is our patrons will realize the board and superintendent, the current board and superintendent are tyring to give them a peace offering for the shcool property to show we hear you. And that's why we're only putting half on the request.  So if that is the sticking point, hopefuly they'll get unstuck."

 

Garber is talking about a 14 acre parcel the district bought for 1.8 milion in 2008 without voter approval.

 

The annual payment on the properrty is 222 thousand, but the district has been putting money aside to reduce its request.

Bend's Bob Maxwell Oldest Medal of Honor Recipient


After the death last week of the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, Nicholas Oresko, 96, Bend's own Bob Maxwell is now the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient in the nation.

 

The 92- year old Maxwell is a Director of the Bend Heroes Foundation and is very active with Bend's Band of Brothers; he will turn 93 on October 26th.

 

The youngest recipient is Dakota Meyer, 25, of Columbia, Kentucky.

 

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the armed services of the United States.

Fatal Crash Near Sisters Kills Two UPDATE


The names have now been released of two Sisters residents killed in a crash just before noon on Saturday.  It happened on Hwy 20, about a mile west of Sisters.  23-year-old Austin Jacob McNelis and 18-year-old Kayla Marie Basham died at the scene after a car driven by McNelis swerved to miss a deer and went out of control on the wet pavement.  The eastbound car ended up in the westbound lane and was struck by a pickup truck driven by Andrew Smolich of Bend.  Two occupants of Smolich’s vehicle received minor injuries and were taken to St. Charles-Bend in a private vehicle. Smolich is a manager at Smolich Motors in Bend. Sheriff’s Deputies investigating the crash say that neither alcohol nor speed appear to be a factor.

Fatal Crash Near Sisters Kills Two


Two people were killed in a fatal crash shortly before noon on Saturday.  OSP reports the accident happend near Milepost 99 on Hwy 20, about a mile west of Sisters.  The Deschutes County Sherif's Office is conducting the investigation.  No other details are available.

Huge Drug Bust in Central Oregon


19 regional, state and national law enforcement agencies worked in tandem to put a "crack" in a major Central Oregon methamphetamine trafficking ring.

 

On October 3rd, police served warrants in eight locations in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook Counties, arresting 14 suspects and seizing meth, 17 firearms, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, packaging materials, cash and other items.

 

CODE detectives say the investigation began in 2012 with the discovery of a large scale trafficking operation in the area. Officials were able to identify the leadership and middle management of the organization as well as regular customers.

 

Officials say they designed the take down to occur simultaneously at all 8 locations to prevent the suspects from communicating with each other.

 

The suspects are lodged in the Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson County jails.

Walden Encouraged by Meeting with President Obama Over Raising Debt Ceiling


The two sides met at the White House hoping to find some middle ground on the debt ceiling and government shutdown impasse.

 

Walden says he feels it was time well spent.

 

"We had a frank, candidate and useful discussion with the President and Vice President.  The President didn't say yes, but he dind't say no.  Hopefully this will lead to productive negotiations so we can get our job done and get a handle on our debt and our spending.  We'll see how this plays out.  It was a candid discussion and I was satisfied with what came out of the meeting."

 

No final decisions came out of the meeting, but the President and Republican leaders agreed that communications should continue.

 

The proposal GOP leaders laid out would temporarily extend the debt limit through November 22nd and formally apppoint budget negotiators and start immediate discussions over how to re-open the government.

 

Crook County Feels the Government Shutdown More than Other Counties


Regional Economist Damon Runberg says the Prineville area is really feeling the effects.

 

"You know the vast majority of federal government for us is non essential personnel.  And that's the Forest Service and the BLM.  Ad as a percetnage of the employment in Crook County, these two agencies are quite a large percentage of the county's employment.

 

The Forest Service and BLM workers make up five percent of Crook County's employment.

 

As of October 2012 in Crook County, the Forest Service employed 187 people and the BLM 130 people.

Bend Film Festival Celebrates Ten Years of Great Films


The event which will run this weekend -- has grown in popularity and prestige over the years.

 

Festival Director Orit Schwartz.

 

"This year is a marker for us.  Tenth year.  Very awesome.  We're thrilled. It's fantastic.  I think we've got 100 filmmakers."

 

Schwartz says there were more than 400 submissions for this year's film festival and 82 films were selected -- including features, shorts and documentaries.

 

They are being shown at six different venues around central Oregon through Sunday.

Central Oregon Schools Score Well on State's Latest Report Cards


The state rates individual schools from one to five with five being the highest rating.

 

92 percent of Bend LaPine's schools were rated above average.

 

Culver Middle School saw dramatic improvement in its scores in the last year.

 

Superintendent Stephanie Garber.

 

"Two years ago we had a low rating.  The Department of Oregon put us on a "watch list" and with that comes a pot of money that can be used to boost your school and they used the money well.  They went and looked at everything at successful school districts to help make sure our school is a success."

 

This year Culver Middle School got the highest rating of five.

 

Superintendant Garber says the school put more of an emphasis on reading and literacy and there is a great effort to keep tabs on struggling students to make sure they don't fall through the cracks.

Bend's New Roundabouts To Be Closed Next Week for Striping


The 18th and Empire roundabout will be closed next Monday (October 14th) and Tuesday from 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. each day.

 

The Brookswood and Powers roundabout will be closed next Wednesday and Thursday, during the same hours.

 

And the Mt. Washington and Simpson roundabout will be closed next Friday and Saturday.

 

Electronic message boards will be placed in advance of the work to warn drivers.

 

Detours will also be in place.

Bend LaPine Schools Pick Sites for Future Elementary and Middle Schools


THe board unanimoulsy approved two sites for the new schools to help alleviate overcrowding in many district schools.

 

The elementary school will be in the area of Reed Market and Brosterhous and the middle school will be located between Miller Elementary and Summit High School.

 

Julianne Repman is a spokesperson for the Bend LaPine School District.

 

"What we're looking at are two different properties.  One is centrally located and that's the site of the elementary school and is shovel ready.  We can get in there and start building.  The property for the middle school is just outside the urban growth boundary, that's why the price is lower.  It's also not shovel ready, so that why the difference in the two prices.

 

The elementary school site costs 2.6 million.  The middle school site is not to exceed 875-thousand dollars.

 

Design work on the schools is already underway and its hoped the schools could open as soon as 2015.

Federal Authorities are Warning About Salmonella in Foster Farms Chicken


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert following 280 cases of salmonella poisoning in 18 states, including Oregon.

 

The outbreak is being tied to Foster Farms chicken -- a west coast poultry producer with plants in Oregon, Washignton, California nad Alabama.

 

Tom coon with the Deschutes County Health Department says if people cooked their chicken thoroughly, they should be fine.

 

"Whenever dealing with raw or undercooked eggs, chicken or meat, regardless whether it has salmonella or not, it should be thorooughly cooked.  With chicken that means an internal temperature of 165 degrees will kill any bacteria.  That's something you should always do."

 

The U.S.D.A. is not issuing a recall, but a health alert to remind people to be sure to cook their chicken properly in order to avoid any illness.

Latest Mirror Pond Dam Leak Has Water Levels Down Two Feet


Pacific Power discovered the leak in the dam last week.  It apparently is in one of the wood panels holding the dam.

 

Bob Gravely with Pacific Corp says they are still assessing the long term future of the 100 year old facility.

 

"This is now the third instance that we've had a leak in the last five years.  We want to go in and take a broader look overall at the condition of the dam.  But this is the third leak in five years, we'd like to know if this is going to be happening to other portions at the dam.  And we need to make a broader decision whether to keep making these fixes, if its going to be happening regularly now."

 

Gravely says water levels have stabilized since Saturday night, but levels remain about two feet below normal levels.

COCC Holding Open Forums on What People Want in a New College President


The college is holding open forums around central Oregon to get feedback from people about what they want in a new president.

 

Ron Paradis with COCC explains the purpsoe of the forums.

 

"The board is working with a consultant and trying to engage the community about what people would want in a new president.  They're meeting in Madras, Prineville, Redmond, Bend, Sisters, LaPine and on campus to have as many people to have that input."

 

The COCC Board will be at the COCC Madras campus on Tuesday and at the Sisters Public Library on Wednesday.

Bend LaPine School Board to Learn Proposed Site for New Elementary School at Tuesday's Meeting


The latest bond approved by voters will fund a new elementary and middle school.

 

School officials are refusing to say where the site is, but just say they have located a a great site and have an agreement to purchase, subject to board approval.

 

They have been searching for an appropriate site for the last six months.

 

The district's Chief Operations and Financial Officer, Brad Henry is scheduled to present his findings to the board tonight (Tue).

Local Political Science Professor Weighs In on Government Shutdown


Essential services like social security and post offices remain open, but many others, claimed "unessential" have been shut down.

 

OSU Cascades Poltiical Science Professor Jim Foster says this is divided government once again -- gone wrong.

 

"Here we are the United States of America and our govenrment is shut down and frankly it's been shut down for awhile with rancorous partisanship and now it's gone to the next step. And it's revealing , it's telling us how government does not work.  And its troubling because if we don't raise the debt level in a couple weeks, it's going to hurt our good faith in credit and that's really a troubling situation."

 

A recent study found 7 out of 10 Americans disapprove of the government shutdown.

 

44 percent are "angry" with the way things are going in Washignton and 44 percent are "dissatisfied."

Central Oregon Smoking Rate Surprisingly High


Statewide about 7 percent of Oregonians smoke cigarettes regularly.

 

But 11 percent smoke in central Oreogn and it's even higher when you narrow it down to Deschutes County where 14 percent smoke.

 

Anne Palmer runs the smoking cessation program at Bend Memorial Clinic.  She explains the dichotomy.

 

"I think part of the socioeconomic mix that we have here has an effect.  We still have rural based communities that are still open to smokeless tobacco -- you know the cowboy culture in rural places in Deschutes County and Crook County."
 

Deschutes County's smoking rate is 14 percent, but  Crook and Jefferson County's are even higher.  Jefferson's is 15 percent and Crook's is 17 percent.

 

Palmer also believes our "beer culture" here contributes to the higher smoking rate since drinking and smoking often go together.

 

BMC offers free counseling services to people who want to quit.  It's the only such program in the region.

 

 

Reckless Driver Knocks Out Telephone Pole


Reckless driving is cited as the cause of a single vehicle rollover on Hemholtz Way in Redmond.

 

Lt. Bryan Husband says around 5:45 Friday afternoon, a grey Nissan driven by Colby Gilleland, 27, of Redmond was traveling north on Hemholtz near Obsidian Way when he lost control of the car and crashed into a Century Link telephone pole, rolling his car and causing the live phone wires to fall on the road.

 

Gilleland was wearing a seatbelt and was treated and released at the scene.

 

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this crash; Hemholtz was closed for about an hour while wires were removed from the road.

Redmond Man Faces Nine Counts of Sex Abuse


Jon Michael Yeakey was arrested earlier this week on sexual assault charges involving a female juvenile in the Redmond area.

 

Yeakey faces 3  counts of sex abuse in the second degree, 3 counts of sex abuse in the third degree and 3 counts of sexual misconduct.

 

Detectives are continuing their investigation and have forwarded their information to the Deschutes County District Attorney's office for possible additional charges.

Redmond Woman Killed by Train Identified


The victim is 40 year old Billie Fern FIfer of Redmond.

 

The accident happened near NE Kilnwood Place Thursday afternoon around 2:30 p.m.

 

Preliminary investigation indicates Fifer was standing on the railroad tracks when she was struck by the train traveling north thorugh Redmond.

 

Redmond police and railroad officials are still investigating the crash.

Work on Third Street Underpass Should Wrap Up This Week


Work on the project started back in July.  It was actually supposed to be done by the end of September, but inspectors found a drainage problem and the road had to dug up again to repair it.

 

This project will fix the flash flooding that happens usually once or twice a year at the underpass.

 

Redmond Woman Struck and Killed by Train


                           

 

Location of Incident:                                                 NE Kilnwood Pl / BNSF Railroad Tracks

 

Deceased:                                                       Billie Fern Fifer, 40 years

                                                                        Redmond

 

 

 

Update:

 

The Redmond Police Department is now releasing the identity of the female struck by the BNSF train on 10-03-13.  The female is 40 year old Billie Fern Fifer of Redmond.

 

The Redmond Police Department would like to thank Redmond Fire and Rescue, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, and Redmond Public Works for their assistance with this incident.

 

The Redmond Police Department wants to encourage the public to avoid railroad tracks or railroad right of ways.  These areas are very hazardous and crossings should only be accomplished at designated crossings.  The public should also be aware it is a violation of Oregon Revised Statutes (Criminal Trespass in the First Degree) to enter or remain unlawfully upon railroad yards, tracks, bridges, or rights of way.

 

There is no more information that can be released at this time.

 

Prepared by Lt. Nathan Garibay

War Memorials Open to Veterans Despite the Government Shutdown


Tuesday a group from Mississippi basically stormed the barricades.

 

The National Park Service has decided to let the veterans visit the memorial despite the govenrment shutdown.

 

Local veterans advocate Dick Tobiason is disappointed this ever happened.

 

"The irony is this happening under something that says E Pluribus Unum, under one nation.  But we are a divided nation.  That's what we have got.  So the Wrold War Two veterans are used to storming barricades, so they stormed them at the World War Two Memorial."

 

Before the park police announced their decision Wednesday morning, another group of veterans forced their way into the park, while police looked on.

Priest at Bend's St. Francis Church is Removed


Father James Radloff had been at the church for a couple years.

 

Parishioners like Cricket Daniel are upset they're losing a good pastor.

 

"He's very much like our pope, not holier than thou.  I've become a personal firend.  I've had him in my home for dinner and he's come to see my plays.  We have similar backgrounds.  I like the guy.  This is upsetting for someone like me."

 

Bishop Liam Cary says he's not at liberty to discuss why Father Radloff was removed, but says he did nothing illegal.  He just says it became necessary to provide new leadership for the parish.

 

Father Julian Cassar from Baker City will take over at St. Francis on October 17th.

 

 

Oregon Health Coops Open to Increase Competition and Hopefully Bring Down Costs


Oregon Health Coop is one of two consumer operated and oriented plans in Oregon.

 

It's a commercial non profit health plan and was started with hefty federal loans from the Affordable Care Act.

 

Oregon is the only state that received funding for two coops.  It was originally hoped that every state would have at least one coop, but federal budget woes stopped the program after 24 received funding.

 

Bob Dickus is with Oregon's Health Coop.

 

"I think the biggest change here in Oregon is by having not just us, but other new health plans, we force the market to sharpen their pencils and offer better rates.  We saw rates during the rate filing, we didn't see the 60 percent rate increase predicted and in fact we saw premiums go down a bit."

 

The health plans offered by the coop will also be offered on the Cover Oregon website.  

 

They will be one of about a dozen carriers on the state health exchange.
 

Bend LaPine School Enrollment Up This Year


The latest head count shows 16-thosuand 860 students in the district.  And that's up 260 students from last year.

 

It is up one thousand students since the fall of 2009 when the district saw its first enrollment dip since 1986.

 

This growth trend is expected to continue for the next decade.  It is expected to jump by three thosuand students during that time.

 

This growth does create challenges for the district.  17 of the district's 27 schools are near or over capacity this fall.

 

Bend LaPine plans to build a new elementary and middle school as early as the fall of 2015.

Rocky Start to Special Session


There were repeated deayas as lawmakes tried to hold together an agreement on pension cuts and tax changes.

 

It was originally hoped the session would only take a day, but Tuesday is now the earliest the session could be adjourned.

 

House Speaker Tina Kotel says the deal is still intact and that nothing had been removed at this point.

 

The sticking points for some lawmakers are the cost of living cuts to public employee retirement benefits and the agricultural regulation changes involving genetically modified crops from counties to the state.

Bend Bicyclist Injured in Truck Bike Accident


The accident happened at NE 3rd and Marshall around 11:30 Monday morning.

 

Police say the bicyclist, 43 year old Michael Kenner was ticketed for carelessly riding his bicycle in front of the truck and not yielding.

 

Keener was not wearing a helmet and severely injured his left leg and upper torso.

Cover Oregon To Open for Business Tuesday


Cover Oregon will allow people to peruse different plans starting October 1st -- though you can't actually sign up for plans until the middle of the month.

 

Local insurnace agent, Don Layton is working with the state to help people navigate the Cover Oregon site.

 

"I got a lot of concern from people who already have coverage and are concerned they are going to lose it and others want to know how they will be affected.  Others want to know what changes are happening -- they're asking "Is it really happening?"  The other side is people who have never had coverage or its been awhile since they had health insurance, who are excited to learn about subsidies."

 

Exchanges are being set up to give a big chunk of America's 48 million uninsured Americans health insurance options.

 

The enrollment period to sign up will run from October 1st to March 31st.

Minnesota Couple Rides Cross County on Unicycles for Syrian Refugees


Three months ago, Dustin and Katie Kelm started their trek outside of Savannah, Georgia and are now currently in Bend.

 

They are trying to raise awareness for the more than two million refugees who are along the Syrian border trying to escape the Civil War there.

 

Dustin Kelb says most people have been supportive.

 

"It's been varied.  It's been interesting in the last months as the issue of Syria has surfaced more.  We're trying to raise awareness.  It's not a political issue, it's a people issue."

 

The Kelms decided to make the cross ocuntry trek when they met a 10 year old Syrian boy who was orphaned when his parents were killed in the crossfire in the Syrian civil war.

 

They plan to end their journey next Tuesday (October 8th) when they hope to arrive at the Oregon coast.

Record Rainfall Falls in Oregon During September


The National Weather Service says overall Portland saw more than six inches during the month -- which is the most ever recorded since record keeping began in 1872.

 

on Sunday, the Portland Airport was already breaking the record.

 

Meteorologist Steve Pierce is with the American Meteorological Society.

 

"This is a significant and for some places historical record.  The Portland Airport has 4.38 inches in September as of Sunday and that passes the previous record of 4.30 inches set back in 1986."

 

The Portland Airport went on to get more than five inches for September.

 

Astoria set a record by getting more than ten inches during the month.

Richard Esterman to Run for Deschutes County Commissioner


Richard Esterman ran for Governor as a write-in candidate back in 2010.

 

He decided to run for Deschutes County Commissioenr when he went to file for another position.

 

"Actually the main reason is I was thinking about going for State Representative when I went in,  I inquried about a job desription for county commissioner and they said they didn't have one.  So instead of runing for state rep, I feel my skills are needed in my own backyard."

 

Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone is up for re-election next May.

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