These sites will conduct critical research on the use unmanned aircraft systems.
Roger Lee with Economic Development for Central Oregon says Oregon paired up with Alaska and Hawaii.
"It was the only mnultiple state proposal. There are three test sites in Oregon a couple in Hawiai. The lead organization is in Alaska because they've been doing so much testing there already with different types of drones like commercial applications."
The other states selected as drone testing sites are Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia.
The potential Oregon drone testing sites are in Warm Springs, Pendleton and Tillamook.
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are releasing the name of the Redmond man killed Sunday night.
Police say 34 year old Paul David Donlan of Redmond was walking towards highway 97 on the eastside of the highway when he was struck and killed.
He reportedly moved quickly into the southbound lane and the semi truck driver tried to steer around him, but the front of his second trailer struck the pedestrian.
The truck driver was 37 year old jason johnson of washington state and police are still investigating. it happened at around 9:15 Sunday night near SE Veterans Way in Redmond.
Donlan's family had asked state police to wait an extra day before publically releasing his name.
Here is the news release from OSP:
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into Sunday evening's fatal pedestrian-involved traffic crash that occurred on Highway 97 near SE Veterans Way in Redmond. At the family's request, the victim's name is being released Tuesday.
On December 29, 2013 at approximately 9:14 p.m., a commercial truck pulling two trailers driven by JASON M. JOHNSON, age 37, from Moxee, Washington, was traveling southbound on Highway 97 near milepost 122. PAUL DAVID DONLAN, age 34, from Redmond, was walking toward the highway on the east side when he reportedly moved quickly into the southbound lane. JOHNSON tried to steer clear but the front of the second trailer struck DONLAN, fatally injuring him.
OSP troopers from the Bend Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Trooper Bob Olson is the lead investigator.
OSP was assisted by Redmond Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Redmond Fire and Rescue, and ODOT. The highway was closed for several hours with a detour in place during the investigation.
The first accident happened on Highway 20 east of Bend around 4:30 P.M. and killed a Idaho man and seriously injured the driver.
The pickup rolled when the driver was negotiating a curve. It rolled a number of times and the driver was ejected and seriously injured.
The driver, 35 year old Matthew Dreyer of Idaho is at St. Charles in Bend. The passenger, 36 year old Christopher Johanson of Idaho was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other accident happened on Highway 97 near Redmond around 9 P.M.
A semi was traveling southbound when a 34 year old male pedestrian from Redmond moved quiclky into the southbound lanes and was struck by the trailer the semi was pulling.
At the family's request, the victim's name was be released on Tuesday.
People who are eligible for coverage through the health insurance exchange have until a week from today to select a plan.
Cover Oregon's Acting Director, Dr. Bruce Goldberg, told the exchange board members on Friday that the deadline to enroll will be extended to January 6th.
Goldberg says coverage will be retroactive to January 1st and that qualified applicants will be able to get their January subsidy too.
The previous enrollment deadline was Friday. The first payment is due by January 15th.
Bend Mayor Jim Clinton feels the council could have handled that issue better and included the public more in the process, but overall he gives the council a good grade.
"I'd give the city a pretty high report card. The water project was an outlier. We do need to take care of, but otherwise, we're in pretty good shape here."
Clinton cites the general obligation bond project that rebuilt parts of Reed Market Road and the addition of the three roundabouts as successful projects.
He also says the sewer project through citizen panels has help them reduce the cost and prioritize that large project.
The 15 cent an hour increase is better than nothing according to the Director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, but insists its not enough to live on.
Chuck Sheketof says the public sector has to step in to help these workers meet basic needs.
He doesn't buy the argument a higher minimum wage will hurt business.
"The employees can't afford to buy at these businesses either when they're earning minimum wage. It's a bogus argument. These same people said the sky would fall when Oregon tied the minimum wage to the cost of living and the sky didn't fall. We need it to keep going up so these people can meet their basic needs."
The Oregon Center for Public Policy estimates workers have to earn near the ten dollar an hour mark to get by ... and Oregon won't see a minimum wage around that level until 2018.
These people need to enroll in a plan by Friday to get coverage on January 1st.
So far, Cover Oregon has enrolled 12-thousand in private insurance plans and 24-thousand in the low income "Oregon Health Plan."
Kat Reese of Bend recently attended Bend's application fair here and says for her, the process has been fairly easy.
"And then I heard that there were going to be delays in processing, so I was concerned I wouldn't make it, but I did. And I got the packet in the mail and it was followed up by an email."
The Cover Oregon website still is not able to allow applicants to go through the whole process on the internet.
They hope the site will be fully operational sometime in January.
Workers are still processing paper applications to get people enrolled.
The event will focus on livability -- and how we can strike a balance with development here in central Oregon.
Event Manager Marika Yuma says they are calling the talk "Prosperity with a View."
"We are on an upswing. The economy is up, construction is up and we're attracting high tech companies to central Oregon. So things are looking up. We don't want poverty with a view, but prosperity with a view. And it doesn't mean just financial. It means more than that."
The event will be Tuesday Janaury 21st at the Tower Theater, beginning at 7 P.M.
Tickets are $20 dollars and you can get them at the Tower Theater.
One, they are making room for their Christmas gifts and two, they are looking for the last possible tax deductions for the year.
The non profit is expecting long lines as people drop off their donations on these final days of 2013.
Dale Emanuel with Goodwill Industries says the Bend store is usually particularly busy.
"The Bend area, central Oregon is no lightweight in donations. At the Bend store, in the last 14 days of 2013, there will be more than 140-thousand pounds donated and by the year's end December 31st, there will have been 3.5 million pounds will have been given."
This year, Goodwill Industries in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington will serve well over 52-thousand individuals.
The altercation happened just before 10:30 P.M.
The suspect is described as a white male in his mid 20's with some facial hair, baggy clothing and a "sloppy" beanie hat.
The victim was walking away from the park when he was stabbed in the chest by the man.
He was transported to St. Charles where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to call the Bend Police Department.
Arrested was 36 year old Jacinto Zuniga Plasencia.
The accident happened just after midnight, Chrsitmas morning. Plasencia hit a power pole in the area of Riverwoods Drive and Turquoise Rd. He and his passenger fled on foot.
Officers found them several hours later.
Alcohol was determined not to be a factor in the crash.
Jacinto was arrested and charged with reckless driving. He also got tickets for driving while suspended and with no insurance.
It will run through January 2nd.
The Sheriff's Office will increase traffic patrols directly focusing on drunk driving related investigations.
During the New Year's period, between 2007 and 2011, an estimated 42 percent of traffic fatalities were the result of drinking and driving.
That has a lot of people nervous about how they keep their information safe.
Kyle Frick with Mid Oreogn Credit Union says people should routinely check their online accounts for any unauthorized purchases.
'I'm a big fan of online banking. So you can check your account. A statement comes once a month. But I highly recommend you keep an eye on your account. If something doesn't look right, call your credit union or bank. That's going to alert you and keep you ahead of the game."
In data breach situations, like in the Target case, customers aren't on the hook for any fraudulent charges.
These long term unemployed workers -- those who haven't found work in more than six months -- are the state's last troubling economic hurdle.
Janet Bauer is with the Oregon Center for Public Policy.
"The ending of federal benefits will immediately affect about 18-thousand Oregonians and through 2014, 76-thousand looking for work but not finding it will be affected. That's about the same as the population of Bend."
Last month, one in three unemployed Oregoinians had been out of work for longer than six months.
The latest numbers show Deschutes County's unemployment rate just over 9 percent and Jefferson County's just over 10 percent.
Crook County is about 11 and a half percent.
Regional Economist Damon Runberg says 2013 has been a better year employment-wise for the area.
"Over the year, employment has grown by nearly 2-thousand jobs -- actually 1920 jobs. And more importantly, 97 percent of al the job gains in the last year come from the private sector. A lot of people are concerned those jobs are coming from government spending. The answer is no. This economy is chugging along and doing pretty well."
Last month, Deschutes County had its largest retail gains in more than ten years. 440 jobs were added from the retail sector in November.
Bend's mayor, Jim Clinton has been meeting with the group's leader, that is suing to stop the project.
Paul Dewey with Central Oregon Landwatch and Jim Clinton are trying to find if there is any middle ground.
"The reaosn I got in the middle of this and got involved is its damaging to the city, the environmentalists and Tumalo Creek. So I saw an opportunity to get in a place where we might not necessarily agree, but agree enough to go forward."
In November, Central Oregon Landwatch filed a second lawsuit to stop the city's water project -- which is trying to install a new pipeline.
Landwatch believes the project will hurt the environment.
A Eugene judge is expected to rule on the lawsuit sometimes around Janaury 20th.
They will be delivering food baskets and toys to needy families on Christmas Eve.
Organizer Bob Little says they have an army of volunteers to make this happen.
"We have 280 families that we are delivering both food and gifts to. Some of the food is also going to military famiies. There's about 24 military families. We got their names from people at the Armory."
More than 75 volunteers will be delivering these baskets and presents to families in Madras, Prineville, LaPine, Bend and Redmond Tuesday morning.
The Elks get their list of those to help from the Salvation Army.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has been fighting this battle for awhile and is heartened others are agreeing with him.
"Collecting all these meta data, it is not inoffensive data colelction -- it is digital surveillance, that's number one. Number two, a number of the past arguments is collection of these mass phone records is routine. It's like a grand jury and that's just misleading."
Wyden says a lot of the recommendations of the NSA panel have a lot a reformer will like. They want to end the bulk collection of phone records and significantly reform the FISA court.
He was selected to fill the term of Lisa Klemp who left her post -- with a year and a half left in her term.
Nelson has four children in the Redmond school district.
He's never run for public office before, but he's looking forward to the new challenge.
"And I know there are some challenges coming up and the board is working on some of them. What I want to do is come in and listen and absorb and give input when needed and eventaully I'll be able to give more."
Nelson will be sworn in prior to the new school board meeting on January 8th.
The county commissioners approved spending 15-hundred dollars toward the non profit that helps World War Two veterans see the World War Two Memorial before they die.
Military Medal of Honor recipient Bob Maxwell thanked the commissioners for helping support the program.
"I want to remind you that by doing this you'll be sending three veterans to Washingotn, who would not have made it. And it's very much appreciated -- Thank you very much!"
It costs $500 per veteran to make the trip to Washington D.C.
Southwest Airlines donated the airfare and Shiloh Inn provides one night's stay. So the $12-hundred dollar price tag is reduced to $500 dollars.
Ten thousand of them have signed up for private plans.
The agency is still trying to process several thousand applications that got in before the Decemer 4th deadline -- in order to get coverage by January 1st.
Torrey Tuft has been without health insurance for years and just moved back to Bend from California.
He was at the enrollment fair in Bend Thursday, looking at his options.
"I'm feeling much more informed. I haven't made any major decisions yet. I need to crunch the numbers and get beyond being very intimidated and move forward."
Linda Hendrix currently buys her health insurance on the individual market and was also at Bend's fair.
"I am cautiously optimistic. If it can save me $100 a month that's a lot of my finances, yeah!"
Currenlty Hendrix pays $350 a month on the individual market, and believes she will pay closer to $250 a month for a similar plan thorugh Cover Oregon.
Oregonians have until March 31st to sign up for health insurance without any penalty.
Nine thousand people were surveyed about what's important ot them.
Adam Davis with DHM Research of Portland says jobs and the economy top the list, but ...
"We don't want economic job growth that threatens what we all value here ... things like the natural beauty, clean air and water or outdoor recreation opportunity. We want a education system to support it and a transportation system to support it, but don't want what threatens al the things we value about being in Oregon and in our communities.
DHM Research has conducted this values and belief study every ten years for the last twenty years.
For November, the rate dropped to 7.3 percent. These rapid declines put Oregon's rate closer to the national rate.
State Economist Nick Bielichicks says Oregon has been adding significant jobs over the last year.
"Oreogn has added 5400 jobs in November, but we're been adding jobs for months. Our growth trend is up for twelve of the last fifteen months."
Retail had rapid job gains in November. Retail employed more than 200-thousand last month, which is nearly six thousand above last year's numbers.
The House passed the budget bill last week and the Senate is expected to narrowly approve it this week.
Merkley says for the last three years, congress has gone from crisis to crisis. He says this plan will prevent a government shutdown and provide some relief from the severe sequestration cuts in such programs as Head Start and Meals on Wheels.
Senator Merkley says compromsie means we don't get everything we want, instead we work with our colleagues across the aisle to get the best deal we can.
Senator Wyden has been sounding the alarm for awhile about the disturbing amount the National Security Adminsitration has been spying on people and their records -- in an effort to fight terrorism.
"First of all I think it's astounding a current federal judge said the surveillance practice would make James Madison aghast. And on top of that, I hope it will serve to convince those who defend the status quo, that the law has not kept up with technology changes and as a result our citizens and employers are being damaged."
Wyden believes the judge's ruling condemning the NSA's data collection, will help win support for his legislation to curb it.
Wyden expects the Senate to consider the bi-partisan legislation early next year.
The men were convicted of lying to and misleading clients about how they used millions in client funds.
Mark Neuman was sentenced to 6 and a half years in prison, while Tim Larkin and Lane Lyons were sentened to 4 and a half years in prison.
They will also serve three years of supervised release.
Back in July, the men were convicted in federal court in Portland for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering in connection with a ten year fraud scheme.
They used 75 million of clients funds for undisclsoed personal investments in real estate and Bend businesses and loans to business associates and family members.
Because of the film festival's tremendous growth over the last ten years, the board decided to break up the Director's position to two jobs - a Director and Program Manager.
Board President Frank Groudnwater says they've been thinking about this for awhile.
They offered current Director Orit Schwartz the Program Manager job, but she turned it down.
"It's such a two edge sword. We should be celebrating the festival's success, but instead we're mourning the loss of Orit. It's a complicated situation. We're saddened. But what's happening to Bend Film is for the best -- we're growing."
So the Bend Film Board is starting its search for a new Director, which will mainly be an administrative psoition and a program manager, which will be the more creative position.
That's a significant increase from the 700 enrolled only last week.
Dr. Bruce Goldberg, the acting leader of "Cover Oregon" held his weekly news briefing Monday and wants to get the word out, people have options.
"There's been a lot of fear and confusion and concern from people that they could be uninsured on January 1st. We want people to know how they can get coverage."
Goldberg says if you currently have insurance, you can continue that plan for a month and then reapply at Cover Oregon in January for February.
If you don't have coverage, you can apply directly with the insruance carriers -- and you cannot be denied for a pre-existing condition.
You have unti the end of March to apply for coverage at Cover Oregon without penalty, but obviously your coverage won't start by January first.
If you have not picked an insurance plan under "Cover Oregon" yet- you have a reprieve.
State officials announced Friday night that they are extending the Sunday deadline an extra 12 days to 5 pm on December 27th.
The Bulletin reports the extra days applies only to those who have already begun the process - but have not chosen a plan yet.
A temporary plan will be created to ensure those in the Oregon Medical Insurance pool do not lose coverage.
If you are considering applying to Cover Oregon, you should begin the process by Sunday then you will have those extra days to choose a plan.
You can find a list of community partners and insurance agents that can help you at www.coveroregon.com.
Home Federal Bank in downtown Bend was held up again Friday afternoon.
Upon reviewing surveillance video, investigators believe the suspect could be the same man who committed two prior robberies at this same bank and two robberies at Bank of the Cascades south branch between December 2011 and December 2012.
The suspect is described as a light skin male adult, approximately 5’6” to 5’11” and weighs between 230 and 260 pounds. He was wearing a light colored hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and a cloth covering his face.
Police searched adjacent streets shortly after the hold up, but no luck. They also interviewed witnesses and briefly locked down nearby Amity Creek Magnet School as a precaution.
If you have any information about the robbery or the suspect; please contact Bend Police.
Police say a man wearing a gray sweatshirt with possibly black ski mask and possibly displaying a knife robbed the bank on Bond Street before 3:30 P.M. and ran from the scene.
It's believed this may have been the same serial bank robber that robbed the bank last year. The descriptions are very similar.
Following the hold up, officers took to nearby streets searching for the suspect, but no luck.
They also interviewed witnesses and briefly locked down nearby Amity Creek Magnet School as a precaution.
In a special meeting last Friday, the council unanimously voted to amend the Bend code to limit diversion from Bridge Creek to 18.2 cubic feet per second, which is the current maximum.
Although the maximum rate of withdrawl is 18.2 cfs, the city's new controls at Bridge Creek will allow Bend to use much less than the maximum for much of the year, leaving more water in the stream when demand is lower.
U.S. Congressman Greg Walden voted for it and defended his vote when he was on the Lars Larson show.
"This process leads to another 23 billion in cuts over the period of the budget. More over, it gets a permanent savings that the sequester didn't. Think about what's been happening in Wisconsin and other places over pension reform. Now new federal hires will have to pay a greater share and not rely on taxpayers to bail them out."
If the senate passes the budget, this will eliminate the possibility of another government shutdown for two years.
The city and fire district hope to hear from 500 people about whether they'd support a five year levy of 20 cents per thosand dollars of assessed value to hire more firefighters.
It is expected to help improve response times.
Fire Chief Larry Langston says the additional staff is needed.
"This is all really a result of what started back in January of the past year when a consultant group was brought in to evaluate our fire department and they found we need to improve our response times and we hope to do that my increasing staffing levels. This is something the city council wants to bring forward."
The polling will run through Sunday.
The results will be revealed to the Bend City Council at their meeting on Janaury 8th.
The council hopes to put the issue to voters next May.
Utility workers were doing some substation maintenance and a piece of equipment failed.
The power company was able to switch to a different circuit quickly to restore power.
Some traffic lights were impacted by the power hit along Cooley, Empire, Mt Washington and Robal Roads.
44 year old Michael Osborne was arrested last Friday morning at St. Charles Bend.
He was out on bail until his next court date, but he was arrested at around 4:30 in the morning last Friday for tampering with a witness and and violating a no contact order.
He is currenlty lodged at the Jefferson County jail with bail set at 350-thousand dollars.
ODOT is anticipating trouble for motorists traveling on the highways beginning Wednesday evening and extending through the Friday morning commute.
They are warning drivers to pay attention to driving surfaces as temperatures change from just above freezing to just below freezing -- ice can form quickly.
Among them was 6 year old Jack Pinto -- who loved sports.
His parents, Dean and Tricia Pinto contacted the founder of the local non profit, "Kids in the Game" to make a donation in their son's honor.
"When we started looking for organizations, we found "Kids in the Game" to honor Jack's life and his love of sports."
Kids in the Game Founder Natalie Hummel says their organization was started three years ago to provide financial assistance to low income families. They were honored to hear from the Pintos.
"They were just dealing with the emptiness and they wanted to do something and when they were searching for organizations, and they came across Kids in the Game, they felt it was the perfect fit for them."
To give to the Jack Pinto initiative, go to www.kidsinthegame.org.
He currently is in the third year of his four year term for position one.
He says he's proud of what he's accomplished over the last three years.
"People were really reeling from the recession and we were budgeting fro the recesssion and the tax assessments were going down. So now that we're coming out of that, I'm most proud of the shape the budget was in and is in. During the recession, people need more services and Deschutes County was there for the ctiizens and the services that were needed."
Two other candidates have already announced they will be running for Tony DeBone's commissioner seat.
Current Bend City Councilor Jodie Barram is running , as is Richard Esterman of Sisters.
In the past couple years, the city got complaints from the "Freedom from Religious Foundantion" out of Madison, Wisconsin about the display.
Each year Prineville residents Bob Orlando has put the display and tried to accommodate their concerns.
This year -- he's says it's been pretty quiet.
"It went really smoothly. We've made some changes on how the plaza was leased. The Parks and Rec did. We leased a spot and left other spots open for others who wanted to display. We haven't heard any objections from people back east. It seems to have worked."
So far, no one has put up any other displays near the Prienville City Hall -- though there are seven spots in the plaza available for those who want to.
Acting Executive Director, Dr. Bruce Goldberg says they are moving forward processing thousands of paper applications to get people enrolled by the first of the year.
They have applications for 65-thousand people they are trying to plow through, to get people coverage by January first.
Dr. Goldberg says they continue to develop code and test it on the Cover Oregon website, but it's still not functioning at the level it has to.
"This is not what I think anyone wanted it to be. But it's where we are at. And we're going to work thorugh it to get everyone the coverage they need."
Dr. Goldberg recommends people concerned they won't have coverage in January and currenlty have it, they should continue that policy through January. He says if you don't have coverage, you can apply directly with carriers and then reapply for subsidies once the Cover Oregon website is up and running.
The Jefferson and Crook County Bar Association is hosting the first "Wills for Heroes" event in Prineville.
Local attorney Fred Schroder will be offering his legal expertise to help people who give so much to the community.
"There's a need. Everyone whether they be in law enforcement or the general population, when I talk to them them are positive about supporting this. It's finding out out how can I help, how can I get the word out."
The "Wills for Heroes" event will be at the Stahancyk, Kent and Hook law firm in Prineville on Friday from 10 A.M. until 4 P.M.
No RSVP is required. The free help will be ona first come, first served basis. Participants are asked to download and complete an estate planning questionnaire before they arrive.
You can get it at www.centraloregonestateplanning.com
News Release from Oregon State Police:
Oregon State Police (OSP) and local emergency responders are on scene of a fatal collision involving a train and passenger vehicle at a crossing on an access road off Highway 97 south of Klamath Falls.
Preliminary information indicates on December 10, 2013 at approximately 10:54 a.m., OSP was dispatched to the reported crash along with local emergency responders. Upon arrival, it was confirmed that two people in the passenger vehicle were deceased and at least one other person was seriously injured. The train did not derail and no injuries were reported on the train.
OSP is starting the investigation and no other details are available for release until later today after investigators clear the scene. An update news release will be sent when information can be released.
He made the announcement Monday morning.
He says he has four key goals - -adequate education funding, implementation of the state's health care reforms, reducing Oregon's carbon footprint and boosting middle class jobs.
Kitzhaber says he plans to tackle tax reform next.
He served two terms in the mid 1990's and won a third term in 2010.
Landwatch has filed a lawsuit against the project in an attempt to stop it.
The city and the Forest Service have agreed to hold off on the pipeline until January 20th -- so a judge can hear their arguments and rule.
Bend City Manager Eric King.
"Our deadline is to try and get the pipe in the ground alog Skyliners Raod by Spring of 2015, by May. We need a good year to do that. And federal funds are tied to that. So no, a month or two is going to be o.k., but further delays would be concerning about meeting that deadline."
The city of Bend and the Forest Service must resond to the Landwatch lawsuit by December 16th and Landwatch has to reply by January 3rd.
Eugene Judge Ann Aiken will again hear the case and is expected to rule before January 20th.
Juan Williams says Senator Merkley stands out because of his push to "go nuclear" to end the abuse of the filibuster in the senate.
Williams calede the vote on Capitol Hill allowing a simple majority to approve judicial and executive branch nominees, a gutsy move to break the gridlock.
Senator Merkley says when he first went to Washington as an intern for Senator Hatfield, things were different. He talked about it recently at City Club of Central Oregon.
"We had a legislative process that worked in the House and Senate and we had confidnece in it. It was not to engage in a paralyzing process if you're not the majority."
Williams says Merkley's victory was getting senior Democrats, particualrly Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to see changing the filibuster rules as a way to end corrosive, etxremist politics.
55 year old Bryan Gruetter was a personal injury lawyer with offices in Bend and Portland.
As part of his guilty plea, he admitted he diverted more than 1.1 milion in client settlement funds by interstate wrie transfers. He also admitted he used client's money to pay for personal and business expenses.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 17th.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine.
Frigid temperatures and high winds convinced parade organizers it would be dangerous to hold the parade with temperatures well below zero.
They felt the risk of frostbite due to exposure was too great, especially for young children.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the area until 4 A.M. on Saturday.
They are calling for 5 to 7 inches of snow in central Oregon with a bitterly cold wind chill Firday night of 20 to 25 below zero.
Saturday will be even colder with a high of only 14 degrees as opposed to 20 degrees today (Fri).
Sunday's temperatures will be like today's -- with temperatures reaching into the thirties by Monday and Tuesday.
Governor Kitzhaber, Senators Wyden and Merkley, and Commissioner Connor Celebrate Successful Completion of Klamath Task Force and Upper Basin Agreement
(Klamath Falls, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber, Senators Wyden and Merkley, and Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor joined today with members of the Klamath Basin Task Force and Upper Basin Water Group to announce the successful completion of work by the Task Force and an agreement in principle on Upper Basin water and economic issues.
Over the past six months, the water subgroup of the Task Force, which includes representatives of the upper Klamath Basin agricultural community and the Klamath Tribes and state and federal representatives, has been working to develop solutions to outstanding water and resource management issues. The solutions are outlined in an agreement in principle, released earlier this week. The agreement also addresses ways to improve the economic condition of the Klamath Tribes. The agreement in principle on water completed one part of the charge to the Task Force to address the continuing conflicts over water use in the upper basin.
The full Klamath Basin Task Force held its final meeting yesterday, December 3, to review the agreement in principle on water, proposals to reduce the federal costs of the Klamath agreements, and ways to provide affordable power for irrigators. The group's final report includes recommendations to Senators Wyden and Merkley, Congressman Walden, and Governor Kitzhaber, completing the charge of the Task Force while building on years of prior work and laying the foundation for federal legislation that will make permanent success possible.
“This is a momentous day because it shows that Oregon’s reputation as a place where people find solutions to tough problems is well-earned,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “Between the Agreement and the Task Force recommendations, we are poised to move forward with federal legislation that supports a stable agricultural economy and sustainable ﬁsheries.”
“This comprehensive Klamath Basin agreement will be the foundation for legislation that will come before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources early next year," Senator Wyden said. "This agreement obviously didn’t happen by osmosis. On issue after issue, the members of the task force agreed to give up their right to obstruct in the name of the greater good. The task force has built on good work done in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, and now we have a game plan for economic development, agricultural prosperity, and environmental restoration throughout the basin.”
“Getting to today’s agreements has been a long and challenging journey. To all those involved, I say, ‘well done!’” said U.S. Senator Merkley. “These agreements will create a stronger farming and ranching economy for the region and a healthier Klamath River Basin, which is an enormous stride forward. I look forward to helping propel this legislation forward in Congress.”
“We look forward to working with all of the stakeholders in the coming months as we move forward in finalizing and implementing the Klamath Agreements, including the KBRA and the KHSA,” said Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor, who represented the Department of the Interior at today’s event. “We cannot take care of ourselves if we fail to also take care of our neighbors, and this agreement in principle helps pave the way for long-term solutions rooted in collaboration. I applaud Governor Kitzhaber, Senators Wyden and Merkley, Chairman Gentry and the members of the Task Force who have worked tirelessly to reach this important milestone.”
Following input from community members, the agreement in principle will be finalized in early 2014, leading to the introduction of federal legislation thereafter.
A Madras woman is in critical condition following a weekend shooting.
23 year old Jessica Haynes is at St. Charles in Bend after being initially taken to the hospital in Madras and then life-flighted to Bend. Police say it appears to be a domestic violence case. Madras Police say the man who lives at the Willow Creek Apartments with her is in custody and booked on several charges in connection with the shooting. The suspect is 18 year old Thomas Knapp. The shooting happened at the apartment on Saturday night around 10 o'clock.
Knapp is charged with Assault 2 and 3 and the unlawful use of a weapon...and is in the county jail.
Cover Oregon Progress Report: Nearly 3,500 Oregonians Enroll in Health Insurance to Date, Applications Moving More Quickly,
Rocky King Notifies Board of 3-Month Medical Leave
Durham, Ore. (Dec. 2, 2013)–– Cover Oregon announced today that it has enrolled 3,470 Oregonians in health insurance to date and are moving forward quickly to ensure that all completed applications received by Dec. 4 will be processed in time for coverage to start by Jan. 1, 2014.
Also today, Cover Oregon Executive Director Rocky King requested permission from the Board of Directors to take a three-month medical leave of absence effective Tuesday, Dec. 3, due to issues related to a previously diagnosed medical condition. The Cover Oregon Board will begin conducting a swift search for an interim executive director through King’s medical leave of absence. During that search, Bruce Goldberg, M.D., will serve as acting Cover Oregon Executive Director.
“We are starting to see enrollments and are gaining momentum. I am confident we are on the right track to get people the health coverage they need. While our work is not done, I had to make the difficult decision to focus on my health now so that I can get better. I know that the Board and Dr. Goldberg will keep things moving forward in my absence,” said King.
Today’s announced enrollments include a total of 3,470 Oregonians enrolled through Cover Oregon. Of those, 219 Oregonians enrolled in a private plan and 3,251 enrolled in Oregon Health Plan. Cover Oregon has received in total more than 54,000 applications received so far and staff are working to get those applications processed as quickly as possible.
People eligible for private plans will receive an enrollment packet in the mail, with instructions on how to select a plan, and they need to return that packet no later than Dec. 15 for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2014. Those eligible for the Oregon Health Plan will be automatically enrolled in coverage.
Here are important deadlines and tips to keep in mind:
Dec. 4, 2013: Applications must be complete and postmarked by this date for coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2014. Once processed the applicant will receive a letter letting them know whether they are eligible for private insurance with or without tax credits, or for Oregon Health Plan.
Dec.15, 2013: Deadline for enrollment forms to be returned (postmarked) to Cover Oregon. People who are eligible for a private plan will receive an enrollment packet in the mail from Cover Oregon.
March 31, 2014: Open enrollment for Cover Oregon ends. The next open enrollment period begins Oct. 15, 2014 for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2015.
There are many ways to get help completing an application or enrolling in a health insurance plan. They can go to CoverOregon.com and find a certified community partner or insurance agent or call 1-855-CoverOR. To date, Cover Oregon has received nearly 890,000 hits on the CoverOregon.com website and more than 50,000 calls to the service center.
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About Cover Oregon
Cover Oregon is a health insurance marketplace where Oregonians can choose from different health carriers and plans that fit their needs and budget, and find savings to pay for coverage. Cover Oregon includes health insurance from both private companies and public medical programs such as the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids. Many people—for example, an individual earning up to $45,900 a year and a family of four earning up to $94,000 a year—will qualify for financial help. Visit CoverOregon.com or call 1-855-CoverOR (toll free 1-855-268-3767).
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