BEND, OR -- Hydro Flask had a good year, and three Central Oregon non-profits are now benefitting from that success. The maker of insulated stainless steel bottles already gives 5% of its profits to charities selected by customers. CEO Scott Allan tells KBND News the $100,000 contribution reflects the company's growth. "We had a good year and we've grown quite a bit. We're now at 40 employees from 25 a year ago. It's something the board wanted to give back, reflecting on the good year and doing something that would make a difference in our community."
Allan adds, "One of our values is exploring together, so we liked how Oregon Adaptive Sports let people have a good time in the outdoors who normally wouldn't have access to that. NeighborImpact provides more access to eduation and meals. And ONDA preserves the wilderness to explore and enjoy together. They aligned with our brands and they were good causes."
Bend-based Hydro Flask was founded in 2009. The company plans to give a million dollars to charitable organizations by 2017.
PAULINA, OR -- Three residential buildings are a total loss after an early morning fire in the small town of Paulina, located in the southeast corner of Crook County. By the time emergency crews arrived, one house was fully engulfed in flames, and the fire was spreading to a vacant home next door. Eventually a neighboring duplex caught fire, as well.
Several people were treated for smoke inhalation and one for minor burns from fighting the fire. Paulina is outside of the rural fire district, so crews could only treat for injuries. Residents were able to stop the fire from spreading beyond the three homes.
Central Electric Co-Op responded to restore power to the town, which was knocked out by the fire.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man faces multiple charges after he allegedly went 4x4ing in a snowy wooded lot behind St. Charles Medical Center. According to investigators, 57-year old Tony Bozilov got the car stuck in the snow around 4 p-m. Then, in an attempt to get the car free, his foot became stuck under the vehicle. Then, the car caught fire.
Passers-by were able to free Bozilov and drag him away from the fire, but the car appears to be a complete loss. After Bozilov was treated at the nearby hospital for his foot injuries, he was arrested for Duii, driving while suspended, reckless driving and criminal mischief.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department issued a warning to building owners, in anticipation of prolonged sub-freezing temperatures: Now is the time to make sure sprinkler systems are properly maintained. Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff Bond says the department responds to several calls each year where fire sprinkler systems have been activated by broken pipes due to freezing temperatures. He says the most common causes are lack of proper maintenance and inadequate heating.
If your fire sprinkler system does freeze, or appears to stop working for any reason, Bonds says you should contact your local fire department immediately. For more on this week's forecast, CLICK HERE
BEND, OR -- As the Bend Chamber of Commerce plans for 2015, Chamber officials are hoping to take a more pro-active approach to future political races. President and CEO Tim Casey says board members already meet with local politicians each month, but the most recent Bend city council race prompted them to get more involved. "Starting next year, in January, we’re going to start doing a report card, and this is strictly on the City Council," Casey tells KBND News. "As issues come up with the city council, we’ll track the ones that have the greatest impact towards businesses and then we’ll be able to score each councilor and see how they voted."
Casey hopes the new scorecard system will offer quantifiable evidence of a candidate's business-related views in advance of the next election, in 2016. "Actually, I’ve been talking with a lot of leaders in the community who say it would be helpful - especially after going through this recent election - you have both candidates saying 'I’m really business friendly,' but we really don’t have any data to support that. So, hopefully this scorecard will help. The election is still 2 years away but it’s never too early to start. And, this is great, not only for us as an organization but also as councilors so they can also track how business-friendly they are." At this point, there are no plans to extend the report card program beyond Bend city councilors.
CENTRAL OREGON -- Tuesday's high is only expected to be in the teens with lows in the negative digits. National Weather Service Meteorologist Mary Wister tells KBND News what's happening: "You know the front that brought the showers, the arctic front that came thorugh gave us more showers and behind it is cold, dry air spreading through."
Snow accumulations Monday ranged from 3 to 6 inches of snow, with the most in the Sunriver area. Temperatures are expected to get into the 20's on Wednesday and Thursday and into the 30's by Friday.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Commissioners are starting to formulate an ordinance to remove or ticket homeless people who camp on county property. In recent years, many transients have had to be removed from the Juniper Ridge area on the north side of Bend.
Commissioner Tony DeBone says a new state law dictates that communities must come up with humane ways to deal with their homeless populations. "What it is is the sheriff's department sees people settling into a piece of property, there's solid waste and they're making a mess, how do we deal with it? We have to have codes and ordinances to deal with them about having the authority to site you." The county determined that the Property Facilities Department is the agency that will oversee how this ordinance would be carried out.
SISTERS, OR -- HooDoo is planning to open for the season on Wednesday. Currently the ski hill has 25 to 30 inches of snow as its base. HooDoo will open for night skiing on New Year's Eve beginning at 3:30 P.M. They will also hold a large fireworks show just after 9 P.M. on the mountain, and the bar and restaurant open until midnight with live music.
HooDoo has more than 800 skiable acres, 30 trails and five chair lifts.
BEND, OR -- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden will be holding a townhall in Bend this Friday. It will be at the Deschutes County Services Building, beginning at 10 A.M. This is Senator Wyden's 20th year of holding these annual town halls in all of Oregon's 36 counties.
Wyden is starting his 2015 meetings in Deschutes County on Friday, but will also be holding others in Clackamas, Multnomah, Marion, Washington, Benton and Lane counties through January 5th. These town halls are a way for Senator Wyden to hear what's on voters' minds to help him form his agenda.
BEND, OR -- Four people were arrested in connection with an armed car-jacking. Bend Police Lt. Nick Parker says the four are accused of stealing a car at gunpoint from 25-year old Irvin Frangoso before 8:30 p.m., Sunday. "Officers arrived and found that the victim had actually been forced at gunpoint to hand over his car keys to his 1994 white Nissan Sentra. The victim had also been made to declothe, or take his clothes off, before the suspects left, to inconvenience him so he wasn't able to quickly contact the police." It all happened near the Chalet Motel off of Third St.
At about 9:45 p.m., a Deschutes County deputy spotted the car and attempted to stop it near Hwy 20 and NE 27th. But, the driver took off and, police say, tried to run them off the road. Christopher May of Prineville, Cyle Stewart of Bend and transient Kaila Vasquez-Martinez all face a number of charges, including theft and robbery. Lora Heinrich of Bend was booked on a felony warrant.
Christopher May, Cyle Stewart
Kaila Vasquez-Martinez, Lora Heinrich
SALEM, OR -- Oregon's minimum wage is set to go up at the start of the new year. On January 1, 2015, the wage will be increasing 15 cents, from $9.10 to $9.25. The yearly increases are a result of Ballot Measure 25, which was approved by Oregon voters back in 2002.
The state's Labor Commissioner evaluates the minimum wage each year, and the increases are tied to the Consumer Price Index. Charlie Burr with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is looking forward to the increase. "When a worker gets this increased wage, he or she is going to be spending that directly back in the economy, supporting local businesses," Burr says.
Burr thinks the effect will be far-reaching. "'[That's] for about 141,000 workers around the state," Burr says. The issue of minimum wage is also expected to be brought up in the upcoming legislative session.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man allegedly led police on a high speed chase between Bend and Redmond, late Sunday night. An officer attempted to pull over a suspected drunk driver on Highway 97 near Odem Medo in Redmond, but the driver took off southbound at speeds topping 100 miles per hour.
Deschutes County deputies and Bend police set up spike strips on the north end of Bend, but the driver made a u-turn before reaching the strips. The Dodge Challenger then hit a second set of spike strips at Deschutes Market Road, then a third set several miles away at Young Avenue, just south of Redmond. 39-year old Lucas Paranto was then taken into custody without incident. He faces a long list of charges, including DUII, reckless driving, and attempting to elude law enforcement.
Redmond, Ore. -- It was once the largest herd of domesticated reindeer in the U.S., but now Operation Santa Claus reindeer ranch, near Redmond, is following the path of the buffalo, in what is becoming a dying Christmas tradition.
The 20-acre spread off of Highway 126 on the outskirts of Redmond was originally founded by John Zumstein in the early 1950s. Zumstein set up shop with a handful of reindeer from Alaska. That ranch was taken over by Redmond couple Cindy and Mike Gillaspie in 1984 while the number of antlered folk continued to climb, eventually reaching over 120 reindeer – and holding the title as the country's largest domesticated herd.
Around the 1990s, business was brisk for the Gillaspies. They and their two girls traveled with what Cindy calls “Rudolph’s relatives” across the nation. They took their reindeer to Disneyland, the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, and other Christmas parades and events.
But in a series of deer regulations that also covered domesticated reindeer, the family met with a blow to their operations.
“It’s what we call our Y2K bug,” Cindy Gillaspie says.
Around the 2000s, a fear of chronic wasting disease hit Oregon. The disease is nontreatable and fatal, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife began to have concerns after seeing outbreaks of the disease in both wild and farm-raised herds in surrounding states. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reports that although the disease has not been spread to humans, it does affect “the brain of infected deer, elk and moose" and typically "causes progressive loss of body condition.”
“That was in the early 2000s,” Cindy Gillaspie says.
Following the general alarm, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife put into effect regulations that minimized the spread of the disease by banning imported elk, deer and other related species. Unfortunately for the Gillaspies, the regulation spread to reindeer ranches, and killed their ability to bring in breeding stock.
“Once we found that we would not be able to bring in any new breeding stock, we did not breed for a number of years,” Cindy Gillaspie says. “We sold where we could, those kinds of things, just to make it more cost-efficient.”
Eventually it got to the point where the ranch was no longer self-sustaining.
“Mike and I went to work outside to support the reindeer instead of the reindeer supporting us,” Gillaspie says. “I guess turnabout is fair play.”
Mike and Cindy’s ranch follows a nationwide trend. Regulations have been implemented in states across the country, and reindeer ranches are now on the decline. Although Operation Santa Claus reindeer ranch continues to pull through, along with similar ranches in the Northwest like Timberview Farm Reindeer in Oregon and Reindeer Express in Reardan, Washington, the farm took a hard hit in numbers. Operation Santa Claus no longer holds claim to the largest herd, as the numbers now range from about a dozen to 30 reindeer, depending on the season.
“We have a few babies ever year,” Cindy says. “But our numbers are way down. There’s no sense in having a lot of mouths to feed if they can’t support themselves. … I know Santa and the reindeer and Rudolph is very important this time of year, and we agree with that, but it is a business and you have to run it like a business.”
The family continues to operate the farm with a smaller reach. They deworm and work with local veterinarians to keep their certifications up-to-date. And Cindy says one of the more fortunate aspects of the situation is that the regulations still allow them to take the reindeer out of state. The family takes advantage of this, and during the holidays their reindeer can be found on display in a number of Californian locations. The herd was last in Disneyland in 2012, and might be coming back once the park completes some renovations.
“Maybe that was Santa Claus’ doing and he decided it was important for us to still take them out and show them,” Cindy says. “If that’s the case, way to go big guy!”
The ranch also continues local operations. During the Christmas season, families can drop by during arranged times to get their photos with Santa and the reindeer, and the reindeer can also be viewed at any time of the day year-round. Locally, Cindy and Mike keep it simple, letting visitors park and explore in a self-guided tour for no charge. But as the number of reindeer continues to decline, the local tradition is also in danger.
“There are more people moving into the area who don’t know about Operation Santa Claus,” Cindy says. “A lot of people really don’t understand the history and how long the ranch has been here. Since we don’t generate any income here, we’ve never done any advertising here.”
The ranch still gathers together dedicated Central Oregonians that make the yearly Christmas trek, or will stop by the ranch during spring birthing. But for those longtime devotees, Cindy says they’ll have to face the slow end of the reindeer ranch.
“We don’t fault the state of Oregon; we understand,” Cindy says. “It’s just that we’re, unfortunately, probably going to be the people here when there are no more reindeer in Central Oregon. And I’m not sure I can take that pressure.”
BEND, OR -- It’s been a month since the Humane Society of Central Oregon took in 35 dogs seized by law enforcement from a Bend property. Lynne Ouchida says the dogs have shown significant health improvements now that they’re receiving the proper nutrition and medical treatment. However, their care is stretching resources at the Bend shelter.
"Basically, we’ve dedicated half our kennels to holding these neglect case dogs, so it’s tight," Ouchida says. "Right now, we’re asking people, if you find or lose a pet, call us. If you’ve lost a pet, come down immediately to reclaim it."
Ouchida says it’s unclear when, or if, the dogs will be released for adoption. "We do have people inquiring about them. We’re just hoping that once they are available that people who are interested in helping animals who are in need, do come down immediately to help us, to adopt these dogs, get them into wonderful homes. But we don’t know when that’s going to be. Hopefully they will be released to us."
Fifty-five-year-old Goldie Coats and 71-year-old Sonya Henderson each face dozens of animal neglect charges in connection with the case.
BEND, OR -- Winter sports in Central Oregon are always popular during the holiday break, but tourism this season could be negatively impacted by current weather conditions. Mt. Bachelor has reported foggy and misty weather, as well as heavy overnight icy, in the past several days. Jean Nelson-Dean with Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests says visitors need to assess their own abilities before heading out.
"Throughout the winter, we experience all sorts of conditions out on the snow. Some are not as ideal as others. The ice is not as much fun to be on, or to go cross country skiing, or snow shoeing or downhill skiing on," she tells KBND News.
Dean adds, "Make sure you're not stretching yourself beyond your ability and then going too far and then having to turn around and come back exhausted. Just be prepared for the conditions and asses your skill, make sure you can handle what's out there."
Mt. Bachelor officials believe weather conditions will continue to improve.
DESCHUTES COUNTY, OR -- When Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton announced his retirement last week, he named Captain Shane Nelson as his preferred replacement. Blanton will leave office in July, more than a year before the end of his term. Captain Nelson says he had considered the position of sheriff before, and was honored when Blanton approached him.
"I was very humbled by the opportunity. It’s an honor to, first of all, serve alongside the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department, and my partner captains Scott Beard and Eric Utter. But, when I was presented with that opportunity, it was a blessing and I was very humbled," he told KBND News.
Captain Nelson has been with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department for over 20 years, and is currently the Corrections Division Commander. He also serves on the Redmond School Board and has held various community volunteer positions. He says he's already talking with the department's command team, but the final decision as to who will replace Blanton will be up to the County Board of Commissioners.
"I want to meet with each of the commissioners individually, and I met with our county administrator Tom Anderson, and got some information from him, but I want to seek out the commissioners and meet with them individually," Nelson said. "Just to let them know that I look forward to having a smooth transition."
It's still unclear when commissioners will make the interim sheriff decision.
BEND, OR -- A handful of households in southwest Bend finally had power restored early this morning, after an SUV crashed into a power pole, yesterday afternoon. The driver said she lost control on an icy stretch of road as she exited the Brookswood roundabout at Powers Road. About 1,300 Pacific Power customers lost electricity at 3:30 p.m. About half had power restored later that evening. Pacific Power reports everyone else was back on just before 3:00 a.m. this morning.
In Redmond, a suspected drunk driver is blamed for a small power outage, Wednesday afternoon. Just before 4:30 p.m., sheriff's deputies say 42-year-old Bradley Pitts drove into a power pole, knocking out electricity to about 35 residents Along SW 77 Ave., Pitts was arrested and charged with DUII.
No one was injured in either crash.
BEND, OR -- While more than 1,000 Oregon national Guard Soldiers remain mobilized overseas, this Christmas, a handful of soldiers return home today. Troops from the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Bend, Eugene and Medford arrived Christmas Eve morning at Portland International Airport.
Spc. Jeffrey Duke and Sgt. Pete Gibbs from the 1-82 Cavalry Squadron were greeted by family after a long series of flights from Afghanistan. "I have a one month old daughter that I can't wait to see," said Sgt. Gibbs. "It's amazing to be home for Christmas." "I'm just ready to be home," said Spc. Duke. "It's the best Christmas present, ever," added his wife, Kirsten.
Central Ore. -- It's been a successful year for the Central Oregon Toys for Tots. Co-coordinator of the nonprofit Susan Wirges says they may have received more monetary donations than ever before. That's partly due to a large donation of $5,000 from Central Oregon Builders Association.
"We have more toys in the warehouse than we ever have," Wirges says. "And we're at the end of our giveaway because at all of our agencies, everything has been processed."
However, it isn't all good news. Wirges says it has been a season of hardship for Central Oregon families in outlying areas, particularly for the families of those who lost their jobs with the Woodgrain Millwork shutdown in Prineville.
"I talked to the coordinator that does the Prineville holiday partnerships," Wirges says. "We supplement them with toys. And they are up in numbers because of that. And it's sad. It's just sad."
The need has also been significant in La Pine, Madras and Burns.
Wirges says that Bend residents donated the lions share of toys this year, and both Bend and Redmond saw less holiday need.
BEND, OR -- As people gather to celebrate Christmas, many will bring their four-legged family members into the festivities. But, while the holidays can be fun for pets, Lynne Ouchida with the Humane Society of Central Oregon says owners need to be cautious of common dangers. Here are a few tips from the Humane Society:
Family Gathering Tips:
New People and a Busy Household: Make family gatherings a positive and safe experience for your pet. Introduce new people to pets with care and don’t let the dog or cat dash out the door as people enter your home. Current and legible ID tags ensure a quick and safe return home.
Foods: Too much fatty, rich, or even just new types of food can give your pet diarrhea, vomiting, pancreatitis or gastroenteritis, all of which can be very painful and serious.
Bones: Bones can tear-up or obstruct your pet’s insides. Place your table scraps in a secure, covered garbage container or outside in the garbage can.
Strings and ties: Often used to tie up the turkey during roasting can tie up your pets insides too.
Alcoholic Drinks: An ounce of alcohol can poison a small dog.
Chocolate: Keep chocolate away from dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death in dogs.
Desserts: In large quantity they can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
Candles: Illuminate the holidays with their dancing light and enticing smells that may attract a curious pet. Never leave a pet alone with a lit candle to prevent a fire in your home.
Wrapping from presents: It can pose a threat when ribbon gets ingested and tangled in your pet’s stomach or intestines.
Food gifts left unattended: These may be eaten by pets and cause gastrointestinal upset.
Plants: Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Holly and Lilies can be harmful to pets, so prevent pets from ingesting.
Call your veterinarian or the animal emergency clinic if your pet exhibits any unusual symptoms. For more information on keeping pets safe during the holidays call the Humane Society of Central Oregon at 541 382-3537 or visit www.hsco.org.
Ouchida says this time of year, it can be easy for dogs to get away from home, with visitors coming and going. Due to recent overcrowding, the Bend shelter asks pet owners to contact them right away if you lose or find a pet.
BEND, OR -- A fuel spill from a Burlington Northern freight train around 11:30 on Tuesday forced the closure of two railroad crossings, tying up traffic across Bend. Deschutes County Sheriff's officers, Bend Police and Bend Fire crews worked with BNSF to clean up the spill.
Olney and Revere avenues re-opened at about 2 p.m., but Greenwood remained closed for several more hours. Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroad officials are now investigating the incident as possible sabotage. Gus Malones says a rail was found next to the tracks, and investigators believe it ruptured the train's fuel tank. The train was travelling from Prineville to Bend and spilled 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel after the tank ruptured. The train did not derail. Malones says train traffic resumed a few hours later.
Photo courtesy of ODOT.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond police are looking for the man they say robbed a Subway restaurant at knife point, Tuesday morning. Lt. Mike Kidwell says officers arrived at Northwest 5th and Fir shortly after 8:00 a.m., but the suspect had already left the area.
"The suspect was described as a Hispanic male adult, late teens to early 20's. 5’8”, 5’10”. And he was wearing an orange sweatshirt-type thing and some pajama-style pants, and he had a mask," Kidwell says. "He was displaying a large, kitchen-style knife."
Lt. Kidwell tells KBND News, "He was given an undisclosed amount of money, and he fled on foot. We coordinated with other agencies to help set a perimeter in the area and start searching for a suspect."
"We brought in our K9 Breck, and we did an area search with the K9. And then we started reviewing business videos from businesses in the area, so we were able to follow that individual to -- I believe that’s 4th and Dogwood. Then we ended up losing any camera angles at that point," Kidwell says.
None of the surveillance cameras gave a clear view of the man's face. Investigators are asking anyone with information to call Redmond PD at (541) 504-3400.
Photo Credit: KTVZ.com
Triple A says a record number of people will be hitting the road and taking to the skies this winter.
Marie Dodds with Triple A Oregon has those details.
"It is a very busy yearend travel time," she says. "Whether you're driving or flying, travel is up. Triple A is projecting 98.6 million Americans will travel 30 miles or more, and that's about 31 percent of the population. That's up 4 percent from last year."
The vast majority will drive. About 91 percent of travelers plan to reach their destinations by car.
Lower gas prices are also fueling more travel this holiday.
It might surprise you that unemployment rates aren't up, since Woodgrain Millwork in Crook County laid off 200 workers.
But Regional Economist Damon Runberg says since the layoffs occurred late in the month, they were not included in this month's numbers.
"It will be a significant impact in Crook County," he says. "Right now it shows that Crook County is up 100 jobs compared to last year at this time. But ultimately when the layoffs are calculated, we're going to see [that] Crook County lost jobs and actually shrank."
Runberg says the Woodgrain layoffs account for almost four percent of the entire workforce in Crook County.
The employment pictures in the Deschutes and Jefferson Counties were bright where steady job growth continued.
Blanton announced over the weekend that he intends to retire next July 1st.
He tells KBND he just feels that it's time.
"But you know in this line of work, 35 years , there aren't many rural roads, state highways you travel down that you don't remember some critical issue or incident or death scene," Blanton says. "It's time to get a different view of the world. There comes a time to move on to the next chapter in life. So we're very excited."
Sheriff Blanton is advocating for Captain Shane Nelson to get the job. He is the Commander of the Sheriff's Corrections Division.
The commissioners will appoint a sheriff since Blanton is leaving before his term is up, and that person would run for re-election in 2016.
SISTERS, OR -- The Department of State Lands is considering selling 357 acres of forest land northeast of Sisters. Clara Taylor, a property analyst for the state, says they're acting on a recommendation made several years ago.
"Federal government required the state to take the 16th and 36th sections of every town, or in other words two square miles, and use that land to benefit Oregon's public schools, for kindergarten through first grade. So all of this land has benefited the Common School Fund."
The state has already conducted endangered species and cultural resource studies on the four parcels located in different areas of Fremont Canyon. Public comment on the proposed sale will be accepted until January 11. Taylor says if the sales are approved, they wouldn't happen until next fall, or possibly spring of 2016. For more information, click HERE
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REDMOND, OR -- Eighteen months after launching their Facebook page, staff at the Redmond Police Department are praising the community’s involvement in helping to close dozens of cases. The department has rolled out several regular features, including “Wanted Wednesdays,” where they post photos and information about people with outstanding warrants and ties to Redmond. Of the 28 Wanted Wednesday subjects, so far 22 have been arrested, thanks to social media tips.
Captain Brian McNaughton tells KBND the program is about reaching citizens where they are. "That’s the way that communication happens nowadays. Things are changing, and technology changes, and it’s up to us to stay up to date with that and use it. We started using Facebook, and ever since have been wildly successful getting information out and getting information from citizens, and increasing and improving our communication."
Captain McNaughton says, "We’ll have video from a store or from a parking lot, or something that shows a picture of a car or a suspect, and citizens see that on the Facebook page and call in and tell us who it is. Sometimes they identify themselves and sometimes they don’t. And, they don’t have to identify themselves if they don’t wish to. They can just leave a tip."
He says Redmond PD is the first local law enforcement agency to engage the public across social media, but others aren’t far behind. "I think they have started to. I think they have seen how successful we are at it, and are starting to do so, also."
Since the page launched June 2013, the department reports a 73 percent success rate in identifying subjects, thanks to input provided on Facebook. The page has over 2,400 “likes,” and as of this month, reached over 20,000 people. Investigators have now turned to social media for information relating to Saturday’s shooting incident near Umatilla Park
SALEM, OR -- The number of Oregonians signing up for health insurance on the federal website remains low. So far, only 40,000 Oregonians have selected healthcare plans on HealthCare.gov for 2015. In 2014, 77,000 Oregonians enrolled in coverage through Cover Oregon. But because we switched to the federal website, all Oregonians who got coverage through Cover Oregon had to re-enroll for the next year.
Open enrollment runs through mid-February. Those who sign-up now will have a lapse in coverage because they didn't sign up by December 15th.
BEND, OR -- After seven years as Deschutes County Sheriff, Larry Blanton announced over the weekend he plans to retire, next summer. Blanton notified staff by email, Saturday night, saying "it's been an honor to serve" the community for so long.
He began his law enforcement career with Bend Police, in 1976. Blanton's retirement is effective July first, a year before the end of his current term. He's encouraging county commissioners to appoint Captain Shane Nelson as interim sheriff, until an election can be held. Captain Nelson will join us, live, Wednesday morning, during Your Town
BEND, OR --
Local Red Cross officials are worried as the number of blood donors decreases, while the need continues to grow. Jennifer Shaw, Donor Recruitment Manager for the local Red Cross, says blood donations generally go down near Christmas. "We probably see a 20-30% decrease in donors during the holidays. People are traveling; they're busy. It's kind of the last thing on people's minds."
But, she says, donating blood is a way to give back without stressing your budget. "It's really a gift that keeps on giving. You're really impacting someone's life, and a family's life."
Right now in Central Oregon, there is a specific need for O-Negative, O-Positive, A-Negative and B-Negative blood. There are a handful of local blood drives this week in the Redmond area, and the Red Cross office in the Old Mill is open for donations.
Dec. 12th, 2014 --
A La Pine woman and her toddler son were seriously injured in a near head-on crash on Highway 58, Saturday afternoon. Oregon State Police investigators say 66-year old Sharon Stephens of Albany lost control and collided with a minivan, driven by 37-year old Tammy Mischke of La Pine.
Mischke and her 2-year old son were taken by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center Bend with serious injuries. Stephens was taken to Riverbend hospital in Springfield, also with serious injuries.
OSP continues to investigate, but believes speed and slushy roads are responsible for the crash. Everyone involved was wearing seatbelts.
BEND, OR -- U.S. Representative Greg Walden announced Friday the nomination of eight Oregon students to high-ranking U.S. service academies -- and one of them is from Bend. McKenzie Bell is a graduate of Bend High and was nominated for West Point. She is the only female nominated out of the eight students, and the only student from Deschutes County.
"Walden went out of his way to call her and congratulate her," says Kelsey Bell, McKenzie's mom. "But more than that, he thanked her four times. I mean, it was just, that meant so much to her. He just kept thanking her for stepping up. It just gives you chills when you're a mom and you hear that."
McKenzie graduated from Bend Senior High in 2013, and is a student at the College of Idaho. In the past year, she went through an exhaustive process of trying to get into the military service academy.
"I think [West Point is] ranked as the second hardest place to get into in the latest reports," her mother, Kelsey Bell, says. "It's unreal, the process. It's been a year for her of doing nothing but essays and fitness assessments and medical assessments and interviews."
Final selection for admission will be conducted this spring. McKenzie's brother is currently at West Point.
BEND, OR -- There are only a couple more shopping days until Christmas. And in the time leading up to the holiday, downtown Bend businesses have been booming. Chuck Arnold with the Downtown Bend Business Association says the increase in traffic is encouraging. "We are seeing an uptick year over year because the economy is improving," Arnold says. "There's been a lot of celebration -- people wanting to support downtown and small businesses."
Arnold says downtown retail and dining establishments have formed some of the most appealing reasons for people to frequent the area. "It always comes down to customer service and offering a product that's unique," Arnold says. "You have a relationship with the business and know them, and I think that's what's really powerful about the brick and mortar experience." Occupancy in the downtown corridor remains in the high 90% range, and new businesses continue to move into the area. The Downtown Bend Business Association will announce several new additions after January 1st.
A job fair for those displaced workers was held a couple weeks ago, but still many remain without work.
Doreen Matison was a cutter at the Prineville plant for two yeras before she was laid off.
She said she got her resume out and started knocking on doors immediately and found work at Brightwood Corporation in Madras doing the same work.
But not everyone was that lucky.
"Doreen But some people waited for the job fair and when you have 200 unemployed workers walk through the door, there are only so many openings. Kelly: So the early bird... Doreen: gets the worm!
Matison now drives 32 miles to work instead of just two, but she's happy to have a job.
She estimates of the people she knows who got laid off about a quarter have found work and three quarters are still looking.
REDMOND, OR -- Plans to re-purpose Redmond’s former Evergreen Elementary School are moving forward. Earlier this week, City Councilors approved a contract for Skanska to begin renovating the building into Redmond's next City Hall. City Manager Keith Witcosky tells KBND News that after nearly a hundred years as a school, crews have their work cut out for them. "It’s everything from the systems – mechanical, Hvac, those kinds of things – We’re gonna have to look at technology improvements. Since this is an historic building we’ll have to look at what’s gonna stay and figure out what has to be modernized," he said. "What you want to do when you look at historic buildings and look at city halls, is create really good public space, and do it in a way that reflects the history of the building but makes it very usable."
Mayor George Endicott says it's important to preserve the building's history while making it usable. "A huge issue with that building, one of the reasons the school district could no longer use it, was the seismic risk. We have plans on how to correct that as well, to make it a seismically stable building." He says the city hopes many historic architectural features will be incorporated into the renovations.
Witcosky says the 35,000 sf building is more than large enough for City Hall. "We’re gonna have other space that we can look at, whether it’s public tenants or private tenants, or community center type space. And we do want to figure out too, when the project is done in a couple years, how do we connect that with Centennial Park? There could be opportunities for the property in between where we can acquire that and turn it into a public plaza, and create that flow of pedestrians from downtown, west toward city hall and back."
The city still needs to appoint a design firm. Construction could begin by next October.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County is the first in Central Oregon to ban the sale of E-Cigarettes to minors. E-Cigarettes aren't regulated like tobacco, so it's up to communities to impose local rules.
County Commissioner Ken Fahlgren says the ordinance aims to make it more difficult fr kids to get their hands on the vapor cigarettes. "Our department and the health department have a tobacco division, and they'll go out and work with stores in town, and anyone who sells that product to get it away from in front of the counter, get it behind the counter, to work with it as they would any other tobacco product. And, it's not to be sold to any minors."
Fahlgren tells KBND News the county, along with the city of Prineville have been working on the ordinance for a while, "I always thought it was something to help you quit smoking, or to be instead of a cigarette or tobacco product. But instead, they're finding there are as much of the carcinogens in the E-Cigarettes in the small tabelets, as a vapor. Or, also, there's nicotine in some of those, sometimes ten times the level of nicotine that's in a single cigarette."
Deschutes County is considering a similar policy to ban the sale of E-Cigarettes to minors.
BEND, OR -- Oregon's Supreme court ruled a snowboarder injured on Mount Bachelor can pursue a lawsuit against the resort, despite liability waivers. Myles Bagley was 18 when he was paralyzed in an accident at mt. Bachelor in 2006. Two years later, a $21.5-million lawsuit against the resort was thrown out by a Deschutes County judge, citing the waiver Bagley signed when he bought his season pass, and another on the back of his ticket.
Yesterday's supreme court decision sends the case back to the local court where Deschutes County jurors could decide whether Mt. Bachelor was negligent in designing, building and maintaining the jump where Bagley was injured.
BEND, OR -- It was an emotional goodbye for three Bend City Councilors at this week's meeting. It was the final meeting for Mark Capell and Scott Ramsay, who lost their seats in the November election, and Jodie Barram, who did not run for re-election.
Barram ran for Deschutes County Commissioner, but lost to incumbent Tony DeBone. She addressed the Council, Wednesday Night. "It's been a long, long ride and I'm not going to look over here, because it will remind me it all started with the Planning Commission and going to Nicaragua with the fire department and seeint their heart for service. And that's what drew me to this illustrious group."
Of the three outgoing councilors, Capell served the longest: 8 years. He reminisced with fellow councilors about what he's seen. "I think we have saved lives. There's no way to say we saved 12 lives or more because there's no way to do that. But the money for the fire department to reduce response times... We won't be able to quantify it, but it's a given." Capell is also proud of helping hire Bend City Manager Eric King and replacing the water pipeline between Bridge Creek and the new water treatment plant.
Ramsay had only been on the council four years, but felt they accomplished a lot. "Mark said to me once, if we were voted off because of the surface water project and providing water for our community for years to come, that's something I'm proud of and it's something I'd do all over again." Ramsay and Capell lost to challengers Barb Campbell and Nathan Boddie.
MADRAS, OR -- Three suspects are in custody after a high speed chase near Madras, Monday morning. Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police troopers pursued a suspected stolen vehicle through the Gateway community north of Madras, reaching speeds of 70 MPH. A JCSO deputy spotted the vehicle reported stolen out of Warm Springs and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver took off on Highway 26 north of Madras. At one point, an OSP trooper became the lead vehicle when a passenger in the suspect vehicle shot a rifle toward the officer.
Eventually, the driver lost control on the icy road and crashed into a fence. All three inside the vehicle ran from the scene but were caught and arrested a short time later. Taken into custody were the driver, 23-year old Colleen Kalama, 39-year old Stuart Smith and 24-year old Stefan Sutterlee, all from the Warm Springs and Madras area.
(l-r) Kalama, Smith, Sutterlee
BEND, OR -- District Attorney-elect John Hummel is only weeks away from taking his place as the lead prosecutor in Deschutes County. He says he’s hoping to hit the ground running, next month. "Transition has gone really well. I think Patrick Flaherty for facilitating that. I’ve been in the office, probably 6 or 7 times, meeting with him and his staff members, reviewing budgets, reviewing staffing, reviewing policy and procedures. So, I feel good about starting on January fifth," he tells KBND News.
Earlier this week, the D-A’s office received approval from Deschutes County Commissioners to hire another prosecutor to handle the agency’s growing caseload. "As the population of Deschutes County grows, law enforcement agencies have added staffing. And, as they do that, they arrest more individuals, they send more cases to the Deschutes County DA’s office," Hummel said. "If our staffing doesn’t increase, one of two things is going to happen: We have to either decline cases that should be prosecuted because we don’t have the resources to prosecute. Or, we work our staff members 60-70 hours per week, they burn out and quit. Neither is a sustainable option." Hummel hopes to have that person on board within the next month or two.
In contrast to four years ago when Patrick Flaherty took office, Hummel says he has no plans to make any other personnel changes. "I’ve told every staff member there, I’m not making any changes, everyone in that office deserves to be able to prove themselves to me. Of course, a year in, if I’m seeing performance that’s not up to the level I think it should be, I reserve the right to be able to remove individuals. But, it’s gonna be based on performance, not based on some desire to clean house and bring in my own people." Hummel will be sworn into office on January fifth.
BEND, OR -- New data compiled by Oregon’s Department of Transportation shows a startling jump in fatal traffic crashes across the state. ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND News that between December 8th, 2013 and December 8 of this year, there was a nearly 10% increase in the number of deaths and a 6.2% rise in the number of fatal crashes in Oregon. "There is usually no one cause of that. We actually did a study of Highway 97, and found there’s no one cause or one place where these crashes happen. And, if you look across the state, there’s not one reason. The only thing we can point a finger to, and it’s not necessarily conclusive, is that the number of fatal crashes is up, and the traffic volume is up by the same amount."
Murphy says the data shows the most common cause of fatal crashes in the past year was human error. This new data does not take into account a fatal accident on Highway 97 just north of La Pine, Monday.
BEND, OR -- The former director of the Redmond Proficiency Academy is headed back to jail.
Michael Bremont was sentenced to 30 days, with credit for time served, for identity theft and attempting to elude police, according to the Bend Bulletin.
Bremont was released from Deer Ridge Correctional Institution on probation in March, after he was convicted of sex abuse and theft in 2012. He was arrested again in September after leading police on a high-speed motorcycle chase. Yesterday's sentence will run concurrently with a 120-day term imposed in October for a probation violation.
Bremont will also lose his license for a year.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College has narrowed its list of finalists for president.
Dr. Jim Middleton retired earlier this year, and Dr. Shirley Metcalf is serving as Interim President until a permanent replacement is found.
Ron Paradis with COCC says the four new candidates will interview on campus next month. "The interviews are being scheduled for the last two weeks in January. Each candidate will have two days on campus and will go through a series of meetings on campus and community forums in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville."
The finalists include Dr. Leah Bornstein, President of Coconino Community Colelge in Arizona; Dr. Jimmie Bruce, V.P. of Academic Success at Northwest Vista College in Texas and Dr. Tony Miksa, V.P. of Academic and Student Affairs at McHenry County College in Illinois. A fourth candidate's name is not being released until the first of the year, so this person can inform colleagues and others.
This is the second search effort for the college. Last year an offer to Patrick Lanning was rescinded after college officials learned he had been accused of sexually assaulting a colleague at a conference. Paradis says the Association of Community College Trustees is already conducting background checks on the finalists. "ACCT started background checks, and there will be more extensive checks. We'll be asking the candidates if there is anything outside of their resume that might be embarrassing, or could cause embarrassment for the college. But we're confident there's nothing there."
PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon saw the most job growth last month since 1990. The state is now back to pre-recession employment levels, with 11,000 jobs added in November. State Economist Nick Beleiciks says more Oregonians are working than before the recession started in 2007. "After seven yeras, Oregon's payroll employment finally rose above that pre-recession peak. Seasonally adjusted payroll employment jumped to a record of over one million seven hundred and forty thousand jobs, which is three thousand jobs above the prior peak reached in December 2007."
Six major industries added more than one thousand jobs each -- including retail, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.
BEND, OR -- Gas prices are at their lowest level in five years. For the last week, the national average for regular unleaded fell 13 cents to $2.53 a gallon. Oregon's average dropped 15 cents to $2.77 a gallon. The average price at the pump has fallen nearly 25 percent since the start of the year due to falling global crude oil prices.
Locally, prices can be found as low as: $2.53 in Bend, $2.59 in Redmond, $2.69 in Madras and Prineville, $2.73 in Sisters and $2.83 in La Pine.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners will again wade into the controversy over Central Oregon Irrigation District's attempt to pipe part of the Pilot Butte canal. Some homeowners along the canal are fighitng those plans are are tyring to get a stretch of that canal designated as historic. That would likely prevent COID from piping the canal.
The Deschutes County Community Development Department denied that request, but want county commissioners to review it. CDD Director Nick Lelack said, "Staff find the applicant's request for Goal 5 historic designation cannot happen until the text amendment is decided, which will probably happen next spring. And this is the first time since I've been in the department, that we've denied a land use request to anyone, but there are legitimate arguments of what the timng of this means."
County commissioners agreed to hear the request, which they expect will be appealed to the State Land Use Board of Appeals. A public hearing is expected in January.
BEND, OR -- Autopsy results are back on the inmate who died while in custody at the Deschutes County Jail over the weekend. The State Medical Examiner in Clackamas performed the autopsy on 31-year old Edwin Mays and found no physical injuries or internal organ damage.
Investigators are still waiting for the results of toxicology tests, expected in about a month. Mays died while in the booking area of the Bend jail, Sunday night. He was arrested following a high speed chase, and was being charged with interfering with a police officer, possession of heroin and a parole violation.
BEND, OR -- Several months after recovering numerous stolen items, Bend Police investigators are still working to reunite property with owners. Detectives collected the items while executing a search warrant back in August. They've since linked many of those to burglaries and thefts reported earlier in the year, but some of those items remain unidentified.
Bend Police encourages anyone who recognizes the below items to contact Detective Wes Murphy at 541-322-2960.
BEND, OR -- Two new schools are on schedule to open in Bend, next fall. But with those new buildings come new maps to determine school boundaries. District CFO Brad Henry tells KBND public meetings held last week were well attended by families. "We heard a lot of good feedback in those input sessions. Everything from ‘those don’t impact us, so we’re really happy with all of them.’ To, ‘these do impact us greatly, and can you consider maybe adjusting based on these geographic boundaries.’ Or, ‘consider adjusting or grandfathering students into next year.’" Henry says that by next fall, boundaries for nearly every school in the district will be different.
There is still time to offer feedback on the proposed maps. "We’ll take all of this input into consideration and go back to drawing lines on maps, and trying to adjust the scenarios we have," said Henry. "Ultimately, we want to get a recommendation to the superintendent by February first. We have a couple of months, with the holidays in there; it makes it a little shorter. But, we currently have three meetings scheduled, but we’ll probably need more than that to get to a final recommendation." Henry says they are still accepting public comment at the district’s website. Click HERE
to access the district's proposed maps.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police were able to talk a man out of a home after a standoff, Monday afternoon. 38-year old Christopher Moe is believed to have been invovled in an armed robbery at the same house on SW Salmon Avenue, Sunday night. Captain Brian McNaughton with the Redmond Police Department spoke with KBND at the scene. "We were dealing with a barricaded subject and his is suspected in an armed robbery last night. We were table to talk with him and get him to come out peacefully and no one was hurt."
Redmond police say Moe and and 45-year old Lisa Richter reportedly used a firearm and other means to steal money and other items from 22-year old John Vierra on Sunday. The pair face charges of robbery, theft and assault.
(l,r) Christopher Moe, Lisa Richter
LA PINE, OR -- A Lake Oswego man was killed in an accident on Highway 97 near La Pine, Monday morning. 67-year old Russell Gardner died after he lost control while traveling southbound on Highway 97. Investigators say slick conditions likely caused him to slide into the northbound lane hitting a Jeep Grand Cherokee head-on. Gardner was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Jeep, 26-year old Cassy Grant of Bend was taken to St. Charles Medical Center with minor injuries. Both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. OSP says the highway was covered with packed snow and ice at the time of the collision and driving conditions were very slick.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners again gave the green light to a zoning change that would allow a basalt rock mine near Millican, about 25 miles southeast of Bend.
Commissioners have been dealing with this issue for ten years. They've approved it three times, but that decision has been appealed by neighbors, and the State Land Use Board of Appeals had sent it back to the county for changes. The latest issues deal with the half mile impact area near the proposed mine and how the mine would affect the sage grouse and grazing cattle. County Commissioner Alan Unger supports the changes. "As I look at the zone, it's large and the mine is small and it requires it to be a half mile away. So I'm ready to decide."
The three commissioners approved the zoning change on Monday. A final written decision will be drawn up in January.
SISTERS, OR -- There had been reports Hoodoo could open later this week, but the ski area says those rumors are false. Hoodoo has only about three inches of snow and they need a base of 24 to 30 inches before opening. They hope to open at some point during the Christmas break, if Mother Nature cooperates.
The forecast calls for significant snowfall over the next five days.
BEND, OR -- 31-year old Edwin Mays of Bend was arrested on Sunday afternoon and booked on charges of interfering with a police officer, menacing, possession of heroin and a parole violation. At around 9 P.M. Sunday night, Mays began showing signs of medical distress. Deputies and Bend Fire and Rescue medics tried life saving measures, but their efforts failed to save him. The Sheriff's Office says his death is believed to be from medical issues.
An autopsy is expected.
PORTLAND, OR -- Police arrested two suspects, over the weekend, in connection with Friday's shooting outside of an alternative Portland high school. 22-year old Lonzo Murphy and 18-year old Marquel Dugas were taken into custody in separate incidents, Saturday. Friday afternoon, three students were shot outside of Rosemary Anderson High School. A 16-year old girl has been upgraded to serious condition, a 20-year old man remains in fair condition, and, a 17-year old boy was released from the hospital on Saturday.
Police continue to investigate and work to identify a third suspect. They plan to increase patrols around the school, today.
(l,r) Lonzo Murphy, Marquel Dugas
BEND, OR -- Oregon State Police have re-opened one lane of Highway 97 four miles north of La Pine after a fatal crash, earlier this morning. The higway was completely shut down in both directions, after that multi-vehicle crash just before 5:30 a.m. A detour had routed traffic along Huntington and Burgess Roads, but with flaggers controlling highway traffic, that detour has been deactivated.
OSP confirms one person was killed in the crash, that person's identity has not been released pending next of kin notification. The driver of a second vehicle, 26-year old Cassy Grant of Bend, was taken to St. Charles Medical Center with minor injuries.
Another head-on crash on Highway 126, three miles east of Powell Butte, closed the eastbound lanes for about an hour Monday morning, as well.
Police say there was a shooting outside of Rosemary Anderson High School, which is an alternative high school with about 130 students. It happened just after noon.
Sergeant Pete Simpson with Portland Police just spoke at a press conference.
"All three victims were transported conscious and awake and talking. I don't know how they're doing right now. They've been taken to the hospital."
The victims were two males and one female. A reporter asked about whether it was gang related.
Reporter "Do you have any idea if it was a drive by? Sgt Simpson: I don't have that information. It happened outsdie the school. There's evidence of that and we know the victims went into the school."
Police are searching for suspects in the shooting and are expected to have a description soon.
No other students in the school were injured. Nearby schools, Portland Community College's Cascade Campus and Jefferson High School are on lock down.
We will have more information as it becomes available.
SISTERS, OR -- Some Sisters parents have voiced concerns over the school district's plan to attend a controversial adolescent sexuality conference in April. School Board Chairman Don Hedrick says the Seaside conference, which gained negative attention after a Portland TV station uncovered details of the event, is not exactly what some have reported. Sisters teachers who have attended the conference in the past, reported to a school board meeting this week to clarify things for the board and parents. "What they mainly talked about what they do here in our schools, and some of the things they've been doing for years. Their main focus, when they talk about sexuality, is on abstinence. That was probably the main message they sent to us," Hedrick told KBND. He went on to say, "Our teachers and our curriculum is very transparent, open to parents. And if parents don't like any part of it they can opt out. And I think the controversy, as I say, came from one speaker at one session and was pickedup by KOIN TV and bacame an issue."
The Sisters School District is the only one in Central Oregon reported to have signed up for the spring conference. Hedrick says after the content drew alarm last year, the Oregon's Department of Education announced it would monitor the next conference.
SISTERS, OR -- A Camp Sherman man was killed when his car plunged down an embankment off Highway 20, east of Sisters. 52-year old Chris Dahl was found dead beneath his Nissan Maxima near Cloverdale Road. Investigators believe the vehicle was involved in two hit and run accidents, Wednesday night. Witnesses say Dahl fled both those scenes at speeds of up to 100 MPH.
Sheriff's deputies responded and searched for the suspect vehicle, but didn't find it, presumably due to fog in the area. Thursday morning, a passing officer noticed a vehicle down the embankement. Troopers say the car left the road, went airborne and tumbled end over end. Dahl was not wearing his seat belt and was thrown from the car. Speed is being investigated as a factor in the crash.
PORTLAND, OR -- You’ve heard of the 12 DAYS of Christmas. But, the Oregon Better Business Bureau wants you thinking about the 12 SCHEMES of Christmas. Sophie Dichter says one of the more common is one involving "grandkids" calling to say they’re stranded and need money. Dichter says one feature of that scheme is the grandparent saying grandchild's name, when the scammer had no idea who the grandkids are.
Dichter adds, don’t trust people showing up on your doorstep asking for donations from groups like The Red Cross. If you want to give to a non-profit organization, make sure checks are written out to the official organization, not the person standing at your door. Also on the scam list: puppy scams, malware e-cards, stolen gift cards and travel scams. For a complete list of scams to watch for, visit the BBB's website.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Fire heavily damaged a Prineville home, yesterday. At about 11:30 a.m., fire crews responded to the home on East First Street, and found the upstairs fully involved. The downstairs was full of smoke, as well. No one was home at the time, but firefighters rescued three dogs and a cat from inside. Investigators believe the fire started in an upstairs bedroom, but the exact cause is not yet known.
The Red Cross is helping the two residents. Total loss is estimated at $60,000.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond is dealing with widespread power outages at businesses and homes. Wind has also knocked out power at traffic signals and some schools. Pacific Power confirms 10,000 customers are without power in Redmond. Central Electric Co-op says another 400 of their customers are out in Redmond, Powell Butte, Prineville, Sisters and Bend.
The Redmond Airport reports flight delays, cancellations and diversions to other airports, as well. Passengers are encouraged to check with their air carrier before heading to the airport.
Redmond School District officials confirm M.A. Lynch and John Tuck Elemenatries, Obsidian Middle School, Redmond High School, Redmond Proficiency Academy and Terrebonne Community School have lost power. However, students will be dismissed at their normal release time.
Earlier today, several trees and power lines were reported down in the Sisters and Redmond areas, presumably due to wind.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton has been named "Sheriff of the Year" by the Oregon State Sheriff's Association. Sheriff Blanton was honored during the group's annual meeting, happening this week at the Riverhouse in Bend.
Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers presented the award and says it’s a prestigious honor. "This award is given once a year, but it’s not given every year, and it’s based upon a member sheriff’s participation and contribution to the Sheriff’s Association. It really signifies exemplary service and it goes beyond just being a member but actually demonstrated steps of this exemplary service."
Sheriff Blanton was recognized for his leadership and continual involvement in the Oregon State Sheriff's Association business and his personal interest in the development and training of elected sheriffs.
BEND, OR -- A 12-year old girl home alone escaped injury when the family's Christmas tree caught fire, Wednesday morning. According to Bend Fire investigators, the girl evacuated her northeast Bend home after noticing smoke coming from the base of the tree. Although the tree was green and well watered, the fire grew quickly.
A neighbor used a fire extinguisher to control the blaze until crews arrived. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire, containing it to the tree and surrounding area. Damage is estimated at $2,000, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
MADRAS, OR -- Madras city officials are working to get an airport hangar listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. City councilors signed off on the nomination letter, earlier this week. Michele Quinn with Public Works tells KBND the application was about more than just the historic relevance of the building. "We were trying to get grants to fix it. The roof was leaking and the windows were leaking, and they do keep airplanes in there. Birds were getting in there and causing damage, so we were looking at grants for it. All the grants we looked at, we didn’t qualify for, your building had to be listed on the national Historic Register."
The hangar was built in 1943 to house B-17 bombers during World War II. Quinn says the application will be sent to the National Registry next month. "We didn’t want to have to lose it, because it’s dilapidated more or less, so we want to keep it as a usable building," said Quinn. "And, the fact that it is a World War II hangar, there aren’t that many of those left." She expects to have a decision from the Registry by spring.
SALEM, OR -- A new report outlines just how much noxious weeds cost the state. The new study from the Oregon Department of Agriculture found these weeds have a negative environmental impact on the state's native plants, water quality and fish and wildlife. But, Tim Butler, manager of ODA's Noxious Weed Control Program says the dollar figure is staggering. "The current study found an estimated annual loss of about $83.5 million annually in personal income from 25 selected noxious weeds that were analyzed in the study."
The study also showed things would be much worse without current programs. "We did predictive modeling showing if these weeds were left to go everywhere they might. According to the model, we could have a potential annual loss to the state of about $1.8 billion in personal income," said Butler. Two weeds with the biggest impact, Scotch Broom and Armenian Blackberry, are mainly found in the western part of the state.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An Oregon woman testified before the Senate Finance Committee, Tuesday, during a hearing on the Social Security gender gap. Barbara Perrin explained to Senators how, despite her best efforts, her savings were depleted by divorce, the recession and a poor housing market. "I always planned to continue working and to supplement my income with my social security, my savings and my home equity. Instead, I’m living on social security. My benefit, while reliable, is also low and I need food stamps and energy assistance to make ends meet."
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden chairs the Finance Committee and said women earn 78-cents on the dollar compared to men, resulting in less retirement savings. "According to the census bureau, retired women are nearly twice as likely as retired men to live in poverty. And data from 2011 shows that women are falling deeper into poverty much more quickly than men. Those women are, in effect, simply trying to find a way to pay for the essentials." He added that more women depend on Social Security for nearly all of their income in retirement than men and, because they live longer, savings must stretch further. The committee discussed a number of ideas to close the gender gap, including boosting social security benefits for women who outlive their spouses and removing the gender bias so couples and their children receive equal benefits.
REDMOND, OR -- The city of Redmond is asking alumni of the former Evergreen Elementary School to contribute to preservation efforts before work begins to convert the building into City Hall. Scott Woodford with Redmond’s Historic Landmarks Commission hopes those who have attended the school over its nearly 100-year history will attend an open house Wednesday night and bring their memories. "We don’t know the true depth of what we might get, but things such as yearbooks, photos, trophies, we’re looking for stories. For people to come in and write them down, or come there and we’ll be able to record what they have to say."
The school was built in 1920 and was originally Redmond’ Union High School, for about 50 years, before turning into a junior high, and eventually an elementary school. Tonight's open house is open to anyone who attended class at the building at any time. "We’ll have some display boards that we’ve put together that have old pictures of the building and classes and sports teams to kind of jog people’s memories and get the discussion going," Woodford tells KBND News. "We’ll have a continuous display of photos up on the screen, and it’s just an effort to familiarize them with what we’re doing." Woodford says items collected will be used in a permanent display after renovations are completed.
Tonight’s open house is at City Hall at 716 SW Evergreen Ave, from 4 to 7 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oregon's U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D) hopes the release of a report on the CIA's interrogation practices will end them. Wyden, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday about the report which detailed "enhanced interrogation" techniques - Techniques the report says were not effective. "In fact, every one of these 20 cases of enhanced interrogation was contradicted by the agency's own internal records," said Senator Wyden. "These were not minor differences. These were fundamental contradictions."
Wyden went on to say, "What's important, is that all Americans can finally have access to the facts, so they can make up their own minds. And, I hope this closes the possibility our country will ever conduct torture again."
Wyden says the report describes morally reprehensible behavior, including detainees not being given a waste bucket and being threatened with a power drill.
REDMOND, OR -- Over 60 families will spend the holidays with a loved one deployed with the National Guard unit based out of Redmond. Judith Burger is the Senior Vice Commander for the Redmond VFW: "We have service members who are in Afghanistan right now, and they’re families are left behind. And, they’re often times not able to make ends meet in between and we’ve got to look out for- make sure they’re families are looked after during the Christmas season, when it’s hard enough, to be separated but to know that your family member is in a conflict area and at risk."
Burger tells KBND, some National Guard families struggle to make ends meet while a parent or spouse is deployed. "Our post and Ladies’ Auxillary do Christmas baskets. So, we will have a 10 pound bag of potatoes, a whole ham, a whole turkey and all of the fixings. And, we also then include gift cards so the parents can buy gifts for all the kids. And, we have local service members who can’t make their rent or their electric bill is super high or they need wood or whatever, that we will actually help – case by case – do that."
This weekend, Redmond’s VFW will host its second annual Christmas Bazaar
to support active-duty families, veterans and other community resource organizations. The bazaar is at the VFW hall on SW Veterans Way in Redmond, Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m until 5 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase. Vendor booth fees benefit the VFW Relief Fund; silent auction benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne; raffle benefits FAN (Family Access Network); Breakfast benefits Vietnam Veterans War Memorial; lunch benefits the VFW Men's Auxillary. Donations for the silent auction will be accepted through Thursday afternoon.
Contact Tracy McKenzie for details: VFW4108.email@example.com
BEND, OR -- Despite multiple delays on OSU-Cascades' path to a fully-functioning four-year campus, the college is still experiencing growth. Jane Reynolds says compared to last year, they're seeing a 5% increase in overall students, and a 9% jump in full-time enrollment. She says the college is also becoming more traditional. "Partly, I think, the recession is changing and the economy is getting better. We have actually more traditional age students going to school. we've had a 13% increase in students who are 18 to 24 this last year - That's a pretty good increase. We're seeing less students over 30."
The number of out-of-state students is also up. Reynolds says that's due to recent attention the Bend campus has received. Freshman applications have also increased, this fall. "We're up about 40% right now. We work with transfer students and they tend to come to us later in the year. But freshman applications are up a lot," said Reynolds. She notes there has been a shift toward technical degrees. The fastest growing departments are business and engineering.
MADRAS, OR -- Families and teachers within the Jefferson County 509-J school district are being told this week to plan for a potential extension of the school year. In Oregon, high school students are required to attend 990 hours in a year, 4-8th graders must have 900 hours of school and 1-3rd graders: 810 hours. Superintendent Rick Molitor says they’ve already lost 7 days due to snow and ice, but try to plan for weather events in advance. "We build, within our calendar, pretty extensive amount of time because we have extended hours. For example, because of the geographical size of our district, our buses run on one route. So our students who are dropped off at the high school, we also drop students off at our elementary building. So, our elementaries go quite a bit longer than our required hours."
Molitor says so far, seniors are the only students impacted by the closures, "At this point, every grade is in compliance except our seniors, because our seniors typically don’t go the last week of school. We’re still going through the numbers and finalize that, but it looks like our seniors currently are gonna be somewhat short. But, we believe we can capture those hours within the school calendar without having to add days." He tells KBND News, seniors will most likely need to attend that final week of school to graduate. He says he will continue to watch the calendar and the weather, "Because we’re at the beginning of winter, and we probably should expect more closures and delays, just because of the weather, I’m saying we should look at that third full week in June. That would look like June 15-19. I’m asking staff and then parents and students to be prepared that, if we do need to go into a need to extend school days, that’s more than likely what we would be doing." Jefferson County 509-J has cancelled the 2-hour early release scheduled for Wednesday, December 10th. Click HERE
to read a copy of Superintendent Molitor's letter to families.
BEND, OR -- It was highly anticipated news for city officials, when they heard Friday a judge would allow Bend's waterline replacement project to move forward. Central Oreogn Land Watch had filed a lawsuit to staop the project in November 2013. But now, managers could face difficulties restarting work, including a potentially smaller budget. Justin Finestone with the City of bend says the legal battle brought additional costs, and now additional seasonal delays. "Obviously, we'll need to dig to bury a pipeline, so if there's snow that does hamper those efforts. So, we need to figure out what areas we'll be able to work in, and what areas we can't. We'll also need to do some work in the creek, and that can't be done until water levels are low. So, obviously we won't be able to get to that until next fall."
Project leaders will come together this week to form a new plan for how to move forward with construction, which was originally slated to cost $24 million. Finestone tells KBND News, "We know that costs have gone up a bit. Obviously, the legal battle and delaying the project, there are costs involved in that."
Central Oregon Landwatch, the group who filed the original 2013 lawsuit, isn't sure if it will appeal the judge's decision. Executive Director Paul Dewey tells KBND, they still have some time, "Well, we're disappointed and we haven't made any decision. We're looking closely at the [judge's] decision and we have 60 days to appeal." Judge Anne Aiken ruled the National Forest Service did a good job analyzing the environmental impact of the water project. Dewey says, "We're examining all the relevant evidence. Our attorney is out of state and we haven't met with him. But, these are all considerations we'll be looking at and deciding whether [the judge] looked at all the evidence."
If Central Oregon Landwatch chooses to appeal, the case would go to the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court. Dewey expects they will make a decision by early January.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Medical Center revealed more details surrounding the medical error that led to the death of a Sisters woman. 65-year old Loretta MacPherson died at the Bend hospital last week, after receiving the wrong medication. Administrators held a press conference Monday, admitting a pharmacist grabbed the wrong medication, but put it in an IV bag that was labeled with the correct drug, so caregivers didn't immediately notice the mistake.
Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Michael Boileau says, 20 minutes after administering the drug, caregivers discovered MacPherson had stopped breathing. He says this is the first time this has happened at St. Charles in the hospital's history. "Our management of medication- we have teams that are experts at this. We have been doing this for years at St. Charles and we have a good reputation, but we are acknowledging human error. But, it's also time to reevaluate all our processes." Dr. Boileau says the three people involved with administering that drug are on administrative leave until a final investigation is completed.
He says only one person is at fault for the mistake. "What we'd like to make clear," said Dr. Boileau, "is that our pharmacists deliver thousands of doses every year, and we've been doing this safely for decades. We've never had an error. We believe our process is safer, but we are looking at every detail to see if there's a way to make them safer." The hospital is working to change some procedures to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
MADRAS, OR -- The city of Madras is considering a new technology plan that would provide each councilor with an iPad to perform city business. Two tablets have been purchased so far, and will be assigned as part of a pilot program in the coming weeks.
Tom Brown tells KBND News when he became a councilor, he quickly discovered the amount of paper generated before each council meeting was expensive and inconvenient. "In each packet we get, there’s from 3/8 to ¾ inches of paper, and that’s twice a month, plus mailing it. So, over the course of the year, you’re looking at a 4-foot stack of paper for everyone on the council," he says. "So, I started with myself, I use my computer a lot. It’s easy to read, it’s easy to keep track of." Brown adds, "If you’re on the council for a few years, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with paper. There’s stuff you really wanna save, but what are you gonna do with it? I’ve begun to build my files with different ordinances and things like that, that we’ve worked on. I’ve got them in my computer, I’ve got them backed up. Going electronic with this, is going to be a real benefit for the councilors for not having so much paper. But, over time, I think it’s going to be a serious cost saving."
Councilors will be trained on the tablets before receiving them. "It’s time. It’s time in history that we need to move into this. If people are going to move into this position and take on this job, then they need to bring themselves to the level that it takes to do it," Brown says.
The city council is expected to approve the pilot program at Tuesday's meeting. If the test program is successful, the city would spend just over $3,000 to rollout iPads to each councilor.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville house is a total loss after a blaze, Sunday night. Crook County Fire And Rescue arrived at the 2-story home on NE Stripling Court, just after 9 p.m. Crews were only able to take defensive measures.
No one was home at the time. The fire's cause is under investigation. The fire department estimates the loss at $150,000.
BEND, OR -- Bend police say a suspected drunk driver is responsible for a power outage in Southeast Bend, early Sunday morning. Police responded to a report of a car crash at SE 6th and Reed Market Rd., at about 1:30 a.m. Investigators say 20-year old Lorissa Quinn of Bend left the scene after crashing her car into a power pole. She was arrested on DUII charges a short distance away.
Pacific Power crews repaired the damaged pole and restored power later that morning.
WASCO COUNTY, OR -- A Madras woman was killed in an icy 4-vehicle crash on Mount Hood, Friday evening. 41-year old Kimberly Meeker was eastbound on Highway 26 when investigators say she lost control and crossed into oncoming traffic. Meeker's minivan was hit by two westbound cars. A fourth vehicle was unable to avoid the crash.
Meeker died at the scene. The two children with her were taken to the hospital, one with serious injuries. One other driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Oregon state police investigators are still investigating, but say ice is likely the cause of the crash.
EUGENE, OR -- Judge Ann Aiken has ruled that she agrees with the U.S. Forest Service's environmental analysis of Bend's waterline replacement project. This will allow the project to move forward.
John Allen, Forest Supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest says they are very pleased with the court's affirmation of their analysis and the work of specialists.
Central Oregon Landwatch sued to prevent the project from going forward claiming it would harm the environment. The environmental group is considering an appeal.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police Sgt John Lawrence suffered a medical emergency at his home Thursday night and both police and fire personnel administered lifesaving efforts. He was taken to St. Charles Medical Center where additional efforts were attempted but unsuccessful.
Lawrence was only 43-years old. He began his law enforcement career with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office where he worked for four years. He worked for the Bend Police Department for the last ten years. He is survived by his wife Jennifer and his two children.
A John Lawrence Memorial Fund has been set up at Mid Oregon Federal Credit Union.
BEND, OR -- The Mirror Pond Ad Hoc Committee held two meetings Thursday where people could offer their input on the proposed plan to replace the current dam with a more free flowing rier and create opportunities for riverfront development downtown. Bend Parks and Rec Director Don Horton was at the meetings Thursday. "They're saying they like the idea of redevelopment downtown and they think we've done a good job of Save teh Pond and the Turn the River into a Natural River Channel into aconcept that ca nbe accepted by the community."
Two more public meetings will be hld in January. One on January 7th at Sky View Middle School and another on January 12th at a yet to be determined downtown location.
BEND, OR -- OSU head football coach Mike Riley is going to the University of Nebraska to head up its football program. Sportscaster Jay Reese has worked for Oregon State Broadcasting. He tells KBND News he wasn't surprised. "I don't think a lot of us were. I just got back from doing a broadcast last week. There was a feeling there needed to be a change, but most people felt it would happen next year. But it's good for both parties. Mike reached the end of a 14 year stint. It's a new start for him without a huge buyout on a contract."
Riley spent 14 season over two tenures at OSU, leading the Beavers to 93 wins and a 6 and 2 record in bowl games. This year OSU finished the season 5-7, overall 2-7 in the Pac 12.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Prineville area is dealing with a big blow, now that the Woodgrain Mill is laying off 200 some employees. Casey Kaiser took over as the head of the Crook County Chamber of Commerce a few days ago. He grew up in the area, and says massive layoffs hit the community hard. "A lot going on right now is figuring out what this means for the community, the net loss of jobs. Those conversations are just starting. I'm extremely impressed by the cooperation among a variety of organizations, EDCO, the county, the city, chamber, local non profits and events outside the area all coming together."
A job fair was held Thursday to help thse dispalced workers. The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council is also pursing a national emergency grant to help the affected workers.
BEND, OR -- Hunting and fishing are big business in Central Oregon. A new partnership now hopes to focus attention on how hunting positively impacts state and local economies. Outdoor guide and reporter Gary Lewis says Central Oregon is a unique example of how communities benefit from the industry. "We’re kind of in the crossroads. Madras is a really good example – people from Portland are driving through Madras as they’re heading east to hunt elk, deer, birds. And, so they stop there for fuel, stop a the Black Bear Diner for a meal, then they stop at the grocery store. And, it really has an impact on the community that people who are non-hunters might not notice."
Economic Development for Central Oregon, and the Oregon Outdoor Council joined Lewis Thursday in announcing the formation of Hunting Works for Oregon. Lewis says, "The reason Hunting Works and Hunting Works for Oregon is, we think necessary, is because people will form opinions and legislation arises that can severely impact economic activity and business. So, we want to be at the forefront of that and show positive impact that hunters bring to the community." The group is a partnership between sporting organizations, local businesses, chambers of commerce and other business groups.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Woodgrain Millwork is holding a job fair today for more than 200 laid off and soon-to-be laid workers, after the roof collapsed, shutting down that mill. Human Resources manager Regina Luna says the company organized the job fair as a way to help during this difficult time. "This event was not expected and it was not in our control. It was devastating for everybody. For our employees, for the community and for the company. We are committing ourselves to make the transition from our employment to new employment as smooth as possible."
Luna says they've received an overwhelming response from prospective employers, "We have had a lot of interest in this. I have 30 employer representatives who are coming, so there are several different businesses and a lot of jobs." She says, "The job fair was organized specifically for the Woodgrain employees who were displaced from their work. Having said that, there are a lot of employment opportunities, as well as opportunities for training and education available at the fair. And, anybody who is without a job will not be turned away."
Luna says job seekers should bring a resume' or job history and be prepared to meet with a variety of companies who will be on hand. More than a hundred employees were laid off last month after that roof collapse. Another 85 are slated to lose their jobs by the end of the year.
Today's job fair is from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Carey Foster Hall at the Crook County Fairgrounds.
BEND, OR -- The Bend La Pine School District is moving into the next phase of boundary talks in anticipation of opening two new schools next fall. Assistant Superintendent Jay Mathisen tells KBND News, the 30-member committee will make their proposals available at a series of meetings next week. "We divided that group of 30 into three workgroups. And each workgroup is close to bringing a draft of their product, kind of a model of how they’d draw the boundaries of elementary, and middle and likely high school as well."
District officials and the committee will take public feedback at meetings next week before coming up with a final proposal. The first of those boundary meeting is at Sky View Middle School an hour after the first of the school board's Superintendent Search meetings. Mathisen says the same time and location was intentional. "What we decided was that both these things are important, and we need to be moving along on the timelines on both processes. So the thought was, at least one of these boundary information meetings let’s put it on the same night as a superintendent meeting. The times are staggered to allow a community member to show up and be a part of both of those things by coming to just one school – to Skyview on Monday. "
Boundary informational meetings are:
• Dec. 8, 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Sky View Middle School
• Dec. 10, 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the gym at Elk Meadow Elementary School
• Dec. 11, 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the library at Pilot Butte Middle School
And, Superintendent search forums are:
• Monday, Dec. 8, 4 to 6 p.m., Sky View Middle School
• Tuesday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bend Park & Recreation District Main Office
• Wednesday, Dec. 10, 5 to 7 p.m., Bend Senior High School
• Thursday, Dec. 11, 3 to 5 p.m. at Three Rivers School and 4 to 6 p.m. at La Pine High School
BEND, OR -- State legislators are considering limits on the storage of data collected by digital license plate readers used by some police agencies. New technology in use by some law enforcement agencies allows police to quickly navigate license plate data in the search for stolen cars and criminals. But, the use of license plate readers and the storage of data they gather has some lawmakers scrambling to create statewide guidelines. Bend Senator Tim Knopp (R) says that for him, it’s a civil liberties issue. "I think as we get further down the road with technology, we want to make sure our laws are explicit in what law enforcement can do with the different data they are able to collect. Because, just because we can, doesn’t necessarily mean we should."
Knopp says the license plate readers aren’t yet used in Central Oregon, but are in Portland and other cities. Howwever, "Our goal is to make sure we stay in front of the technology as much as we can, to protect our citizen’s rights as we move further down the road with all these technologies that are available. We’re probably further down the road than we would have wanted to be in terms of trying to deal with this. I think it should have been dealt with a few years ago." A similar bill to limit the collection of cell phone location data failed to gain traction in Salem.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Hundreds of workers laid off suddenly from Woodgrain Millwork last week are now without health benefits. In response, the Crook County Health Department and Mosaic Medical are hosting a health insurance enrollment event this evening to help former employees sign up for coverage through the federal exchange. Ruby Ruiz, with the Crook County Health Department says, "We decided Wednesday afternoon that it was something we could do for the millworkers who were notified Tuesday that their benefits were going to be terminated." She says those workers weren't given any advance notice before they lost health coverage: "As of what we were told, they’re benefits terminated at midnight Tuesday night. They didn’t even get a thirty day notice their benefits would be terminated. There’s hundreds of them without insurance right now."
Ruiz says at tonight's event, "We’ll have computers available for them to use, depending on what assistance they need. We can answer questions, or assist them in signing up through the portal." Tonight's event starts at 5 p.m. at the COCC Computer Lab on SE Lynne Blvd in Prineville. Based on the response, the health department may decide to hold another event prior to the December 15th deadline for coverage to take effect January 1, 2015.
CRESCENT, OR -- Just before 5:30 this morning, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers and Oregon Department of Transportation officials responded to a commercial vehicle crash on Highway 58 near milepost 78 on Willamette Pass. Preliminary investigation indicates icy roads may have been a factor. A semi-tractor pulling double trailers lost control and one trailer separated then tipped over, blocking the roadway. The semi was reportedly hauling cargo that may have included a hazardous material. As a precaution, troopers and ODOT personnel have closed the roadway and summoned Haz-Mat teams to the a rea.
The highway re-opened just after 1 p.m. Troopers confirmed no Hazardous Material substance was released as a result of this crash. For up to date information on roadway closures go to tripcheck.com.
BEND, OR -- Oregon’s 36 counties begin the hand recount of more than a million ballots cast for Measure 92, today. The measure that would allow labeling of genetically modified food failed statewide by just over 800 votes – not enough to avoid an automatic recount.
Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says volunteers have been chosen to scrutinize ballots. "We are going to have 8 counting boards. Each board is made up of four members of differing parties. I understand there’s gonna be observers from both sides of the issue that will be here, and they have to be authorized by their particular organization." She tells KBND News, "Each board gets one precinct, and we go through a process as outlined in the Secretary of State’s directive. We’ve got ballot counting procedures that we’ll follow."
Blankenship says the local recount should take two days. This is only the third hand recount Blankenship has conducted in her 12 years as clerk, "We had a recount 4 years ago, in 2010 for a Bend city council race, and then the last statewide recount we had was in June 2008," says Blankenship. "So, just based on those numbers, we’re anticipating we can get it completed in two days. If not, we’ll ask for volunteers to come back on Thursday and complete that." Crook and Jefferson county recounts are expected to last only through today.
The Secretary of State’s office issued a directive with recount guidelines, including a December 12th deadline.
BEND, OR -- State healthcare enrollment experts will visit Bend this week to help get Central Oregonians signed up for coverage through the federal exchange. Application assistants will help attendees walk through finding and enrolling in the best plan, in time for coverage to start January 1, 2015. Those who enrolled through Cover Oregon last year must reapply through Healthcare.gov.
The Bend enrollment event is Thursday, December 4th at the East Bend Library, from 12-4 p.m. Pre-registration is recommended, but not required. CLICK HERE to register online.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor-Elect Casey Roats received approval to assume his seat with other newly-elected councilors on January 1. In a special meeting Monday afternoon, councilors voted 5 to 2 to allow Roats to move forward despite claims he didn't meet residency requirements. Roats tells KBND News, he's relieved. "I'm sure going to work hard in having a good relationship with the other city councilors. And, what would be really helpful is if the people who are filing these lawsuits would stop. The lawsuit we had was dismissed by the judge this afternoon, and it is my great hope that we don't get another one. I'd rather put all my attention on getting ready to be on the city council than on fighting another frivolous lawsuit."
Foster Fell filed the initial civil suit, along with a complaint to the Secretary of State's Election Division, claiming Roats wasn't qualified to run for the council because he lived outside the city limits during part of the year prior to the election. Fell is the partner of councilor-elect Barb Campbell. Roats admitted to temporarily living in his parents' house just outside of Bend while his home was under construction. Roats says Monday's vote proves his residency intent was clear. "I can't tell you how many people have approached me on the street or in restaurants or in our place of business, and they would say 'give me a break. You were building your home in Bend and it's hard to show any more intent to live in Bend than to be building a home.' So, I'm very pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I'm just really happy to be moving forward."
Councilor Doug Knight and Mayor Jim Clinton cast the two dissenting votes. Roats believes they took a stricter look at the 12-month residency rule. Councilors will must adopt Monday's findings at the regular City Council meeting on Wednesday, December 3rd.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregonians are honoring those who have contracted HIV and AIDS, and trying to correct stigmas about the disease on this World AIDS Day. Heather Kaisner with Deschutes County Public Health says several events held Monday are designed to educate the public, including a free film screening, tonight. "It's a documentary that follows four young adults that are affected by HIV in America today. And, we'll also be doing a candlelight vigil for those people living and who have passed away from HIV/AIDS." Kaisner adds, "And, it's just a way to really, to talk about AIDS again, and to bring people together."
Tonight's film screening and vigil start at 5 p.m. at the Bend Masonic Lodge. Kaisner says volunteers also held events at OSU-Cascades and COCC in Bend. Health officials urge everyone to get tested for HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six Americans unknowingly has the disease.
BEND, OR -- Two Bend women were killed in a crash at Brosterhous and Murphy Road, Sunday morning. Bend Police say 41-year old Erica Blackwell was speeding eastbound on Murphy Rd., when she failed to stop at the stop sign at Brosterhous Rd. Blackwell's 2006 Mercedes collided with 55-year old Carla Conners' 2011 Nissan SUV, as she traveled northbound on Brosterhous Rd. Both women were pronounced dead at the scene, shortly before 8 a.m., Sunday. Bend PD asks anyone who may have seen either the silver Mercedes or the silver Nissan SUV prior to the crash, to give them a call. That investigation is ongoing.
Survivors of Friday's double fatal on Powell Butte Highway continue to improve. Just before 5 p.m., a Honda Accord driven by Richard Patterson crossed the center line and collided with an SUV. The 21-year old Bend man was flown to St. Charles, where he later died. The front passenger in the SUV, 65-year old Stephen Harnden of Prineville, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV and a rear passenger were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Patterson's dog was also killed in the crash. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate why Patterson crossed the center line.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating a number of home and car break-ins from over the holiday weekend. Early Saturday morning, police responded to Northwest Pickett Court where someone had entered through an unlocked garage door and rummaged through cars parked inside. Investigators are not sure if it's the same person or persons who entered an unlocked door on Northwest Goodwillie court and stole a purse from the kitchen.
Additional victims reported finding items missing from unlocked vehicles in the same neighborhood.
REDMOND, OR -- The city of Redmond has a slew of openings on various commissions and committees that need to be filled by the first of the year. Kelly Morse says, in addition to filling the 53 openings, they hope to bring in more young people. "What our mayor has discovered in attending town halls and speaking to the government classes, students really have good ideas. We're just trying to sort of bring some of that into these commissions as well, so we can represent them."
Positions are open on the budget committee, downtown urban renewal advisory committee, parks committee and more. For a detailed list, visit the City of Redmond's website. Morse says the Urban Area Planning Commission can be a good stepping stone to the city council. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.