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(Palm Beach, FL)  --  Longtime talk radio host Rush Limbaugh is dead.  The 70-year-old passed away after a year-long battle with advanced lung cancer, a diagnosis he revealed was terminal just months ago.   Limbaugh is widely considered one of the most influential media members of the past 50 years, using his far-reaching microphone to push conservative candidates and initiatives.  Since achieving radio syndication stardom in the late 80's, he has grown into the most listened-to radio show in the U.S.  

 

In this time of sorrow, Rush's voice will continue to be heard, providing comfort and continued insight to his legions of loyal fans.   All of Rush's audio has been extensively archived and cataloged by subject, topic and opinion.  Given how timeless and insightful Rush's commentary is his producers will be able to pull segments that are relevant for each day's news cycle and allow us to feature the best of Rush for the full three hours of the program.  



The Oregon Health Authority reports 437 new confirmed and presumptive cases of Covid-19 in the state with 28 in Deschutes County, 8 in Crook County and 7 in Jefferson County. The OHA reports 32 new deaths statewide bringing the total to 2,194. The report says there are 162 patients hospitalized statewide—3 fewer than yesterday. There are 46 patients in ICU—2 more than yesterday.



There’s a new community park coming to southeast Bend. Bend Parks and Rec Project Manager Ian Isaacson says they broke ground last week on Alpenglow Park, a 37 acre site on southeast 15th street north of Knott Road. He says the park will have a water playground or “sprayground”, trails, and even a bouldering area for climbers of varying skill levels. The district has allocated over 9 and a half million dollars for the development of the park, which is expected to open summer 2022.



High speed pursuits are not uncommon in our area and they are dangerous for those involved and for the public. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said the pursuing officer has to weight the Risk versus Benefits of continuing the chase. To bring a high-speed pursuit to a quick, safe conclusion the Sheriff’s Office will be implementing some new technology. The Star-Chaser: A tracking device which can be launched onto the suspect vehicle from the patrol car. And, a mobile spike-strip which enables a patrol unit to deflate a suspects' tires while driving. Sheriff Nelson emphasizes the purpose of the new technology is to end high speed pursuits quicker.



A Bend resident is facing charges of extortion relating to an alleged threat made against a Redmond landscaper last summer. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s office says 61 year old Thomas Schlossmacher sent a text to Cuauhtémoc (qua-TAY-moc) Cardona threatening to turn him in to immigration authorities if he didn’t pay 15-hundred dollars on a truck that was used as partial payment for Cardona’s landscape work. The D-A’s office says it’s unlawful to threaten to report someone’s suspected immigration status to compel them to do something. Officials say Cardona is a legal U-S resident.



Winter Storms in the Willamette Valley and across the country continue to have a ripple effect in the state. The Red Cross says the 9 days of weather-related closures have impacted their blood drives and their blood supply. Sharon Jones with the Red Cross says they’re looking to other areas like Central Oregon to replenish their blood and plasma reserves. You can donate blood today at Planet Fitness on Greenwood in Bend from 8:30am to 1:30pm or go to redcrossblood-dot-org.



Redmond Schools reopened this week for on-site learning for the first time since May of last year. Dr. Charan Cline, Superintendent for Redmond Schools said Teachers, Students and Parents alike were excited for the day to arrive. The openings look different for the different school levels. Elementary students will use an on-site hybrid model. Middle schools will run every other day while high schoolers are attending every day, but only half-days. On behalf of teachers and staff Dr. Cline expressed "it's great to have kids back on campus!"



More groups are becoming eligible for the covid-19 vaccines but local health officials say that’s not a guarantee people will line up to get one. In Bend Chamber’s vaccine webinar yesterday, Deschutes County Public Health Director Nahad Sadr-Azodi says on the spectrum from “no” to “yes” there are a large number of “maybe’s.” Sadr-Azodi says an 80-percent vaccination rate is needed, but a survey last December showed only 55 percent of local residents said they would. He also says he thinks confidence is growing.



Crook County businesses are planning next steps for re-opening. The Governor’s latest covid risk levels have moved the county from “extreme” risk to “high” risk. Vicky Ryan Public Information Officer says Crook County had only 19 cases of the virus last week. She says that played a big part in the state’s decision. Ryan says Crook County will officially re-open under the new risk level starting Friday. Deschutes County remains at “high” risk and Jefferson County remains at the “extreme” level.



Bend Police want drivers to slow down and put down the cell phone. Lt. Juli McConkey with Bend PD says the department conducts several distracted driving details throughout the year. She says they’ve been focusing on schools zones this month. She says on February 16th officers cited 32 drivers for speeding and 4 for cell phone use near Elk Meadow Elementary and Mountain View High. She says in the first 2 weeks of the month police have issued nearly 100 warnings.



Veterans at Bend/Robert D. Maxwell VA Clinic will be receiving 144 critical second doses of vaccine, thanks to a historic flight from Portland to Redmond on Friday. Veterans Administration Portland healthcare officials say this was the first such authorization in the entire VA to avoid weather-related travel issues. VA Portland expects to send about 144 doses per week of the Pfizer vaccine to Bend and, starting in March, about 600 doses per month of the Moderna vaccine.



No new first-dose vaccine appointments will be scheduled in Deschutes County for this week. Health officials say shipping delays are the issue. Molly Wells-Darling with the Deschutes County Incident Management Team says they moved quickly to try and secure as many vaccine doses as they could on loan. She says Legacy Health System provided 1,700 doses but anyone who had an appointment yesterday (Sunday) will be rescheduled for Thursday. And, although people aged 70 and older are now eligible, officials say appointments will not re-open until more vaccine is available.



Criminal Charges are pending for a suspect in a hit and run. Warm Springs police report in a Facebook post that the call came in from Madras Police around 1pm Friday afternoon near the Plateau Travel Plaza. Police say officers made contact with the driver who fled, leading them on a short pursuit and then crashing into a concrete barrier off westbound highway 26. Police say the driver’s blood alcohol content was 0.77%...more than nine times the legal limit. The driver was taken to the hospital to be medically evaluated.



The Bend City Council has funded several housing projects that could lead to hundreds of new affordable housing units. Bend City Manager Eric King says 1-point-3-million dollars from the city’s affordable housing fund included more than 600-thousand dollars to Housing Works to buy land in the Urban Growth Boundary expansion area along Highway 20. He says to be affordable the housing must be available to people earning a percentage of the local area median income. King says another project already being built is Veterans Village which has tiny homes and is almost ready for move-in by 15 veterans. The city fund contributed 200-thousand dollars to the village project.



Deschutes County offers free COVID-19 rapid testing on Saturday, February 20

 

Deschutes County is offering a free COVID-19 rapid testing event on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School.

 

This testing event is being held to help identify and assess the potential presence of COVID-19 in the school community and the community as a whole, following an outbreak of cases linked to students at Summit High School.

 

People experiencing symptoms and anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 five or more days ago are encouraged to attend.

 

Those who plan to attend the event are asked to complete this survey, which will aid in staffing and testing supply planning. This short survey asks how many people from your household plan to attend and what time you expect to attend. The survey is not required to attend.

 

There is no cost to attend this event and no identification is required. Those under the age of 15 will need the consent of a parent or guardian to complete testing. Test results will be available approximately 15 minutes after your test is complete.

 

Highland Magnet at Kenwood School is located at 701 NW Newport Ave, Bend. 



Deschutes County offers free COVID-19 rapid testing on Saturday, February 20

 

Deschutes County is offering a free COVID-19 rapid testing event on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School.

 

This testing event is being held to help identify and assess the potential presence of COVID-19 in the school community and the community as a whole, following an outbreak of cases linked to students at Summit High School.

 

People experiencing symptoms and anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 five or more days ago are encouraged to attend.

 

Those who plan to attend the event are asked to complete this survey, which will aid in staffing and testing supply planning. This short survey asks how many people from your household plan to attend and what time you expect to attend. The survey is not required to attend.

 

There is no cost to attend this event and no identification is required. Those under the age of 15 will need the consent of a parent or guardian to complete testing. Test results will be available approximately 15 minutes after your test is complete.

 

Highland Magnet at Kenwood School is located at 701 NW Newport Ave, Bend. 



BEND, OR -- None of the teenagers who attended Super Bowl weekend parties that led to an outbreak of virus cases at Summit High School were symptomatic. Health Officer Doctor George Conway told county commissioners being asymptomatic, the teens may have exposed elderly or medically fragile relatives to the virus who could become very ill. Conway also urged asymptomatic teens who attended those parties to go to a public testing event to be announced in the next day or two. So far 43 virus cases have been reported at Summit High and at least one case at Bend, Mountain View and Skyline High Schools.



Governor Brown Issues Statement on Return to In-Person Instruction

“Thanks to the incredible work of our superintendents, school board members, educators, parents, and community members,
Oregon has more than doubled the number of students
learning in-person, to 116,749.”
 
 

(Salem, OR) — Governor Brown issued the following statement today:

“Eight weeks ago, I directed the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority to put more schools on track to return students to in-person instruction, with a focus on our youngest learners. Since then, thanks to the incredible work of our superintendents, school board members, educators, parents, and community members, Oregon has more than doubled the number of students learning in-person, to 116,749.

“Starting next month, even more school districts across Oregon will begin returning elementary students to the classroom for hybrid instruction––including our second largest school district, Salem-Keizer, with over 17,000 elementary students. By the end of April, most elementary students in Oregon will be learning in classrooms again.

“I am thrilled to see so many of Oregon’s school districts and teachers working hard to help return our children to the most effective learning environment: in-person, personalized education. Now, middle and high school students must get the same chance, so that all students have the opportunity to benefit from in-person instruction, regardless of the community in which they live. It has been almost a year since most Oregon students have set foot in a classroom, and they are suffering. The social, emotional, mental, physical, and academic impacts of distance learning on our students have been well-documented. And, much has changed since last March.

“Oregon is committing robust state and federal resources for our schools––including our supplies of Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests for on-site testing––to get students back into classrooms. We are utilizing $500 million in federal relief to implement safety standards and buy personal protective equipment for staff and students. All educators who want a vaccine will soon be fully vaccinated.

“The science is clear: with proper health and safety protocols in place, there is very little risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. As districts implement the more than 160 health and safety protocols outlined in Oregon’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance, we can reopen our school buildings in a way that protects students, staff, and our communities.

“When I made my announcement in December, many thought in-person elementary was far beyond reach. At the height of our winter surge, COVID-19 case counts were high and hospital capacity was threatened. Since then, thanks to the smart choices of Oregonians, our case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 have steadily declined, and even our largest school districts, including in the tri-county area, today meet or exceed Oregon’s advisory school metrics for hybrid in-person instruction.

“Our students only grow up once. We cannot let the school year end with the class of 2021 never having set foot in Oregon high schools. I know that some have had their doubts. But we can do this, by continuing to work together. It is within our power to provide every Oregon student the opportunity for in-person instruction this school year.”
 

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City to Distribute Free PPE to Redmond Small Businesses on February 18

 

 

REDMOND, OREGON – City of Redmond will hold a FREE PPE pick-up event in the parking lot at City Hall, 411 SE 9th Street, Thursday, February 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Business owners or their representatives are encouraged to come by and select supplies needed to help keep staff and customers safe. Available supplies include masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, thermometers, gloves, wipes, and face shields. Quantities are limited.

 

This distribution event is part of Redmond Rallies, the City’s on-going COVID-19 business support response effort. The project, in collaboration with local partners, works to help centralize pandemic information and resources.  Since March 2020, over 70,000 units of PPE has been distributed to over 200 businesses, helping protect 1,000’s employees. Additionally, Redmond Rallies has helped facilitate $630,000 in grant funding and debt relief to more than 100 local businesses.

 

“The City continues to connect businesses with the resources they need to stay open in a safe manner. We know small businesses are bearing a lot of unexpected costs due to the pandemic. In order to help defer some of those costs and will seek to provide PPE and grants funding as resources are available,” said Chuck Arnold, Redmond’s Urban Renewal Manager.



City to Distribute Free PPE to Redmond Small Businesses on February 18

 

 

REDMOND, OREGON – City of Redmond will hold a FREE PPE pick-up event in the parking lot at City Hall, 411 SE 9th Street, Thursday, February 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Business owners or their representatives are encouraged to come by and select supplies needed to help keep staff and customers safe. Available supplies include masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, thermometers, gloves, wipes, and face shields. Quantities are limited.

 

This distribution event is part of Redmond Rallies, the City’s on-going COVID-19 business support response effort. The project, in collaboration with local partners, works to help centralize pandemic information and resources.  Since March 2020, over 70,000 units of PPE has been distributed to over 200 businesses, helping protect 1,000’s employees. Additionally, Redmond Rallies has helped facilitate $630,000 in grant funding and debt relief to more than 100 local businesses.

 

“The City continues to connect businesses with the resources they need to stay open in a safe manner. We know small businesses are bearing a lot of unexpected costs due to the pandemic. In order to help defer some of those costs and will seek to provide PPE and grants funding as resources are available,” said Chuck Arnold, Redmond’s Urban Renewal Manager.



As of today school children who don’t have their vaccination records up-to-date and are missing required immunizations will be sent home or blocked from remote learning. Under the Oregon Immunization Plan children may also be blocked from daycare if they need vaccinations. Health officials say vaccines are the best way to protect against preventable diseases such as measles and mumps. Parents who need to get their children immunized should contact their health care provider, the county health department  or for children over age 7 a local pharmacy.

 



MT BACHELOR, OR -- Mt. Bachelor Resort has gained a new 4-legged employee. “Shasta” is a 9 week old Golden Retreiver puppy…in training to be the resort’s next avalanche dog. Mt. Bachelor Brand and Marketing Director Leigh Capozzi (kah-POH-zee) says “Shasta” was introduced to the public on Valentine’s Day and is the resort’s 16th avalanche dog since the program started in the 90’s. Capozzi says avalanche dogs provide critical support to ski patrol, moving over debris easily and using sense of smell to locate victims.



BEND, OR --  As we reported this week, Summit High reopened last week but had to close due to a COVID-019 outbreak that infected 43 people. Central Oregon Daily reports some parents have communicated with the principal of the school that students who went to the party should be held responsible.  One mother who asked not to be identified said she wrote, “whether it be a public apology, community service or some consequence such as not being allowed to participate in in-person learning.” The letter concluded, ”A clear consequence is what a lot of parents would like to see.” Principal McDonald was not free to comment on the letter. In-person learning is supposed to resume at Summit High Monday February 22nd.



Bird feeders in Central Oregon and elsewhere are spreading salmonella that’s killing birds…notably pine siskins and finches. The Bulletin reports in the winter when many birds congregate at feeders, wildlife officials say the birds leave feces infected with salmonella that can spread to other birds. The salmonella outbreak has been reported as far away as San Francisco and British Columbia. Pine siskins are starting to leave the area and it’s expected the outbreak will slow down. Wildlife officials suggest cleaning bird feeders about once-a-week with a diluted bleach solution.



Governor Kate Brown Declares Abnormal Market Disruption Due to Winter Weather State of Emergency

 

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today issued EDisruptionxecutive Order 21-03, declaring an abnormal market disruption as a result of the severe winter weather emergency in nine Oregon counties. This order is in response to reports of unusual increases in lodging rates for Oregonians who have sought temporary stays until power can be restored at their homes.  

“During a time when so many Oregonians have been without power for days, it is absolutely unacceptable to price gouge those who are seeking a warm, safe place to stay until power is back on in their homes,” said Governor Brown. "This order empowers the Attorney General and the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate these instances and take appropriate action if businesses are found to be in violation.”

“We appreciate Oregon’s lodging businesses that have provided warmth and shelter to families without power due to the President’s Day weekend storm that hit much of the state," said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. "However, price gouging is illegal. Please consider this a clear message to businesses that you may not raise the price of lodging, or any other goods or services, due to increased demand from this storm. If anyone feels they have been the victim of price gouging, please contact our Consumer Protection Hotline right away.” 

Oregonians who believe they have been subjected to excessive prices for lodging or essential consumer goods and services due to this disruption can report these instances to the Oregon Department of Justice through their Consumer Protection Hotline at 877-877-9392. Oregonians can also visit www.OregonConsumer.gov for more information. The Oregon Department of Justice has the authority to investigate unlawful trade practices.

This Executive Order is in addition to, and does not replace, Executive Order 20-15 or Executive Order 20-57, which declared an abnormal market disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Labor Day wildfires, respectively. These orders remain in effect.

 

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