A Bend financial advisor says the revolution in Egypt will most likely affect the financial markets for a while. Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says financial markets hate uncertainty. "Locally I think Egypt will cause a lot of uncertainty.” The unrest could also affect gas prices. Egypt doesn't produce a lot of oil, but the country does control the Suez Canal; a major gateway for oil that comes out of the Middle East. Meantime, the State Department today says more than 2,400 Americans have contacted U.S. officials seeking government-chartered evacuation flights from Egypt as anti-government protests continue to roil the country, the State Department said Monday.
Bend Police are investigating a medical office burglary. Someone broke out a small window and stole five Dell Computers, three of those were laptops. The thief unscrewed a light bulb so the theft would not be seen. Bend Police are asking business and home owners to think about moving computers away from windows: “Probably one of the best things to do is to make sure that those things are not obvious. Whether it's to draw the blinds; if you have a laptop on your desk, at the end of the day you’re finished with that; go ahead and take and secure in an area where it’s not obvious.” The theft occurred sometime between 5pm Wednesday night and 5am Thursday morning.
We’re not quite halfway through the ski season, but Mt. Bachelor is pleased with the traffic so far this winter. Andy Goggins is with Mt. Bachelor: “It’s been great. We’ve got a great base depth. We got nice early season dumps that pretty much continued through the middle of this month. So we’re still sitting on over 90 inches at mid-mountain. We’ve had great coverage across the hill and are able to open up 100% of the terrain fairly regularly now that we’re in a little lull in between storm cycles.” Goggins says they've had a dusting a snow in the last day or so. Storm systems are expected to bring more snow in a couple weeks.
Are you looking for a way to really "wow" your true love? The Summit High Jazz Choir is offering personalized Val-O-Grams as a fundraiser for February 14th. “We've been working on the songs for a while now. We have five different groups this year. Each of them have 3-4 different songs; but if you have that you want, request it and we'll see what we can do." Choir Director Melissa Jacot says they have held the fundraiser for the past 10 years. The money goes to help pay expenses to get to all the singing competitions. They have had some very interesting deliveries in the past: one time they were requested by a wife to sing to her terminally ill husband, and the moment touched everyone involved. Each Val-O-Gram is $20. You can order your Val-O-Gram on their website, http://friendsofmusic-shs.org or by calling Melissa Jacot at 541-322-3292. Each Val-O-Gram consists of a song, card, rose and box of chocolates. The orders need to be placed by February 9th.
State Representative Gene Whisnant is pushing again for more financial literacy to be taught in our schools. The Sunriver resident is in his fourth term; and he says every session he's introduced a Bill to encourage high school civics and financial management. The first two sessions he introduced a Bill to add it as a high school requirement, but the teachers union didn't like it: “That's another important thing to me: civics and financial management. We might not have had the financial crisis we had if more people would've had financial literacy training. “ This session he put another couple of Bills out this time that encourage local school districts to add civics and financial management. The State requires 24 hours to graduate, but local school districts can add more to that. Session gets back underway February 1st.
The oldest and busiest McDonald’s Restaurant in Bend closed its doors at the end of business Saturday. The good news is that it's because they are planning to tear down the old building and build a newer and larger one in its place. They originally planned the remodel last December, but plans were delayed while they worked out some issues with the city. Owner Nanette Bittler saidher parents opened this restaurant in 1973 and it was the first McDonalds in Central Oregon. One of the things she really loves about this store is; it's one of the first things you see when you drive down 3rd Street when you enter Bend. She says she's excited to rebuild this restaurant so it looks fresh, current and it makes a great impression whenever somebody enters our community. The new building will have two drive through lanes and be quite a bit larger. She says the current staff of 50 will be temporarily working in all of their other stores in Bend, La Pine and Sisters. Also, they plan to hire more staff when they reopen in a couple of months.
Officials with the Bank of the Cascades are all smiles today. They have successfully completed raising $177-million to bring the bank into a stronger financial position. Part of that is a cash deposit. “We literally received a wire transfer depositing $150-million in capital into the bank.“ Cascade Bancorp CEO Patty Moss says the federal government considers banks well capitalized if the capital ratio is six percent. This cash infusion brings Bank of the Cascades to 17%. “We are very excited about this. it's obviously a very good thing for the bank, and very good thing for our community....we're ready to go.” Part of the agreement brings three new members to the Board of Cascade Bancorp.
A traffic stop turned into a pursuit late Friday evening when a Deschutes County Deputy Sheriff tried to stop a car near Third & Franklin. The suspect vehicle fled southbound on the Parkway, then onto Powers Road, Brookswood Boulevard, through Romaine Village, and then back onto Highway 97. The car eventually stopped at Milepost 146, south of Bend. It turns out that both occupants of the vehicle are on parole, had outstanding warrants and previous arrests involving drugs. Illegal drugs and paraphernalia were found inside the vehicle. Danielle Shame, 35, of Redmond, and Mark Rich, 35, are facing several charges regarding the incident.
Part of the story of economic recovery may include the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Last week, Economic Analyst Delore Zimmerman had a list of almost a dozen initiatives to spur this recovery. One included more partnerships with the Tribe. One reason is to take advantage of their preferential procurement contracts with the federal government: “I would say it's a renewed effort.” Tribe CEO Jody Colica says past projects include the Pelton-Rround Butte Dam, and the Deschutes Basin Water Alliance. Projects now on the table include developing a new cement, impervious to salt water that sets up underwater. It's part of the design for the fireproof doors that Warm Springs Wood Products sold to Dubai. Jeff Onspach is with Warm Springs Ventures: “We are already kind of doing it. We are at the point we need to look at expanding.”
A new lease with Central Oregon's largest homeless shelter will be in front of Deschutes County Commissioners today. The Board of the Bethlehem Inn wants to keep their options open. They have a number of challenges with the current building. One is they say they have already maxed it out and for another there is no commercial kitchen. A third point is property values have plummeted and they are not in a hurry to agree to pay the county back the $2.5 million the County paid for the building because it's not worth that now. County and shelter officials will sit down and discuss a two-year lease which will buy some time for both parties to look at their options. The County purchased the former Econo Lodge Motel back in 2007 with the understanding the shelter would pay back the loan.
The Jefferson County District Attorney has changed his mind regarding the filing of charges against Andrea Orozco, 28, of Madras. Orozco was the driver of a vehicle that allegedly ran a stop sign in Jefferson County and collided with another vehicle, resulting in the death of Leonard Ross, 71, of Metolius. Despite her lengthy driving record and suspended license, no charges were filed. Now, D.A. Steve Leriche tells the Bend Bulletin he will convene a Grand Jury to consider charges.
It’s time to start thinking about preparing your taxes. But for people living paycheck to paycheck, tax preparation help isn't in the budget. Partnership to End Poverty along with the AARP are offering free tax preparation. Dozens of volunteers in Bend, La Pine, Prineville, Redmond, Madras and Warm Springs are available for help. “Low income people can't afford $200 even to process the simplest form. There’s also the refund anticipation loan. Which is a nasty loan, so expensive, in order to get loan its 400 to 500 APR.” Sarah Holtzclaw with Partnership to End Poverty encourages people to open a bank account before they come in for tax help because you'll receive your tax refunds sooner with direct deposit. The help will be available from February 1st through April 18th. Locations and hours are listed at: www.takecredit.org
It’s a new trend in banking that's affecting middle class America: the disappearance of the free checking account. Many of the big banks are getting rid of their totally free checking accounts as a reaction to new federal regulations. a recent report shows that more than half of all checking accounts are currently unprofitable. Sean Watt is a Region President with Home Federal Bank: “I think the main thing is that banks are trying to eliminate those dormant or unused accounts; off of their books, because there's a carrying cost- to carrying those accounts over time. Every month we have to send out a statement; those statements cost roughly $2.00 a month, and it costs the bank to carry those low balance unused accounts." Banks are required to disclose all of their potential fees to their customers, so consumers are encouraged to read the information to make sure they aren't hit with a surprise fee. Most banks also offer relationship pricing, which means you can be rewarded when you deepen your relationship with the bank. Sean Watt with Home Federal was a guest on KBND’s Your Town” last week.
Avion Water Company in Bend just released the results of certified water tests they conducted in a letter that went out to thousands of customers. The tests were done by a independent testing lab in Washington State in response to water tests released by a Washington D.C. lobbying group called the Environmental Working Group. Avion Water Company Vice President Jason Wick says the results show much lower levels of hexavalent chromium than the EWG test. The letter also points out that hexavalent chromium is often found in rocks, plants, soil, volcanic dust, humans and animals: "We surmise that it occurs naturally in this area. All the volcanic activity and heat generated down in the earth; this is one of the things that makes our aquifers so good is the fact that we have all that fractured rock up on the cascades and the water can percolate down fairly rapidly. Unlike areas of the country that have a lot of clay and stuff and their aquifers take a long time to re-charge." Wick says they haven't received any negative feedback since the letters went out.
Stocks suffered their biggest one-day loss in nearly six months Friday, as anti-government rioting in Egypt prompted investors to flee to less risky assets to ride out the turmoil. Some believe the unrest in the Middle East could provide a trigger for investors to sell when many were already expecting a noticible market correction. Tyler Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend says they are expecting a correction of 3% to 5%. " We are sort of thinking that markets are due for a little bit of correction because they've gone up so much since August when Bernanke gave his speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He hinted at monetary easing and then we got quantitive easing too and all risky assets have risen substantially; oil’s up gold’s up cotton’s up stocks are up and when they go up as quickly as they have, we're sorta due for a pullback.” An investment advisor with 5th 3rd Asset Management in Ohio says the turmoil in the Middle East could ignite a selloff of 5% to 10%.
Some sobering news at last week Economic Forecast Breakfast at the Riverhouse. Community leaders plan to form task forces to implement some of the ideas presented. State Representative Jason Conger says we need action: “I think the trick to making it work is to have the right participants involved, so its nothing something that gets put back on the shelf. But something that's supported by businesses, local government and by state legislators.” Conger believes short term Central Oregon will continue to struggle a bit longer, but is optimistic about the long term economic picture.
Polar Plunges for Special Olympics are starting this week. This Friday folks in Medford will be jumping in frigid water to support the non-profit. Bend's Plunge won't take place until the end of February, but Sally Lynch with the Polar Plunge says the event actually started here in 2007: “The Bend event will be the fifth year. That's really the polar bear climate of the State. And after there was such a successful start, it moved on to Eugene, Corvallis and Medford.” The Polar Plunge will be at Riverbend Park Friday February 25th at 6:15 p.m. Organizers hope to have 700 participants this year.
Bend Police now have a vehicle description in a fatal hit and run from late Wednesday night. Police say the vehicle that may have been involved in the accident is a 2007 to 2010 GM pick-up truck with front end damage. The Bend Police Department is asking for the public's help in finding the suspect who hit and killed Anthony Martin, 48, who was walking his bike across Third Street near the Wagner Mall Wednesday night at 11pm. Officer Elizabeth Lawrence has more details: “I believe it was more at the middle of the road. He wasn’t quite at a crosswalk and he wasn’t at an intersection.” Lawrence says they've seen several hit and run accidents in recent years and reminds motorists that you're required to stay on the scene to exchange information. And if there's an injury you're required to give medical aid. Local law enforcement officials have been success in the past in locating the suspects in serious hit and run crashes.
Two Bend residents are facing charges after the burglary of Summit High School two weeks ago. Mathew Allen Mollman, 19, and Ian Michael Flowerday, 35, were arrested after police served a search warrant at the men's home on Nasu Park Loop. Investigators recovered two stolen MacIntosh computers and found a third at a separate address. A window had been broken to gain entry to Summit High School.
In another burglary, police arrested two more Bend men in connection with a burglary last month of a jewelry store on Third Street Jeffrey Randall, Short, 31, and Alicia Nicole Pierce, 25, are facing charges. More than $30,000 in merchandise was taken after the business was forcibly entered. Investigators were lead to Short and Pierce after several pieces of the jewelry were pawned in California.
Outback Steakhouse normally isn't open for lunch, but they are today. It's a fundraiser for the Summit High School Band's April trip to Carnegie Hall in New York. The restaurant has agreed to donate 100% of the meal to the trip. Scott Robson who is helping with fundraising, says its going to be a delicious meal for a great cause: “They're never open for lunch, but they are today. They'll be serving chicken, ribs, rice, caesar salad and blooming onion. They're also donating, they're auctioning off deserts at $20. 100% of the proceeds go to the Carnegie Hall trip as well.” Robson expects today's event will raise more than $6000 for the trip. Overall, parents and supporters have raised between $36,000 and $40,000 toward the New York Trip.
Are people moving in or out of Central Oregon? The answer right now seems to be mixed. Economic Analyst Bill Watkins told a group of 300 in Bend that he is very concerned about the first significant out migration in the last couple of decades. Nancy Lynche owns Bend Storage and Transfer and says more people are leaving town: “Probably 90% moving out. And it’s mainly, if they’re in the workforce, they’re going to where they can, first of all get a job.” Lynch says working families are heading to Texas and North Dakota because that is where the jobs are. But Sheryl Mayfield of U-Haul says their biggest challenge right now is too many trucks in Bend because of all the people coming to the area: “U-Haul pricing wise it was $59 if you went from Bend to Klamath Falls, but coming from Klamath to Bend is was $200; just because we don’t need the trucks. There’s too many here now.” Mayfield says several of the people she talks to are moving to Bend because of the quality of life and they are coming here hoping to find a job. Some say they will work out of their home or have other plans.
A just released 545 page report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is getting very low marks. The Wall Street Journal's website shows 39% of those who responded gave it an "F" and 60% gave the report a "D". Bend Financial Advisor Bill Valentine, with Valentine Ventures, says the report was very partisan. The six Democrats on the 10 person Commission supported its findings; the 4 Republicans refused to endorse it. Valentine says the report names villians like big banks and Wall Street; but leaves out the consumer: "The institutions; as it were the drug dealers in this situation were highly responsible for the reckless behavior in this crisis. But the drug user also has a responsibility as well. And I use the metaphor to describe the fact that for 25 years in this country, we've gotten away from the hard lessons that were learned during the depression." Valentine says those lessons are things like the value of saving, the proper use of debt and the importance of good credit. He believes this report could have been an opportunity to educate the American public, but was instead a waste of time and taxpayer money.
Bend Police detectives are looking for the driver who hit and killed a cyclist on Third Street Wednesday night. Bend Police say Anthony John Martin, 48, was walking his bike across Third Street near the Wagner Mall around 11 o’clock. He received medical attention immediately, but was pronounced dead at the scene. Bend Police Officer Elizabeth Lawrence says investigators are trying to find the driver and are doing more work today. “We have had a crash reconstructionist that was out there for about two hours; and today we have detectives and another crash reconstructionist that are working some evidence that was left at the scene so they're following up leads on that evidence." Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Bend Police Department.
The Executive Director of the City Club of Central Oregon enjoyed many of the ideas presented by Delore Zimmerman during the economic forecast. But Robert Killen also offers this caution: "My greatest concern with any new visioning process, this one included, as much as I loved the ideas presented, is simply the limited resources and time as a community that we have. And the large number of ideas; it's wonderful to have ideas, but ultimately as a community we need to come together and find a unified vision." An estimated 350 people turned out for the forecast. They were made up of government officials, professionals , business owners and other community leaders.
Former OLCC Inspector is headed to federal prison for two years for I.D. theft and passport fraud. Doitchen Krastev assumed the identity of Jason Evers, an Ohio boy kidnapped and murdered in 1982. Jason's sister Amy was just six at the time: “I had a little bit of anger coming out. That he could do this to my family; that my brother didn’t event have a chance to live and he didn’t even give it a second thought that he was a person.” Evers says Krastev admitted he knew her brother was dead when he assumed his identity but had no explanation for why he did it.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley fell short in his attempt to change filibuster rules to prevent abuse. He needed two thirds of the senate to approve the measure, and only got 46 votes. The Bill would have required Senators to remain on the floor in order to block legislation. In a statement, merkley says he will continue to fight for filibuster rule changes. He says they will build on their support and hopefully pass reform in the future.
Keeping a resolution to change some habits can be very challenging. Usually the change involves some sort of diet. Patricia Grady with Agewise MD suggests that realizing a small tweak in your goal can make all the difference: “Often many times people will dare me, to tell them that they can't have something, because they want a reason to be able to quit later. They will say "well she wouldn't let me have 'X' so I wasn't able to stick with that plan. And the reality is you can have it all, you just don't need to have it all at once." Grady says we have to learn how to rein in our "inner five year old" that demands everything immediately. You can find out more about Agewises' seminar "Small Ways to Get Big Changes" on their website; we have a link on our “Links” page. Grady was a guest on the KBND morning news program "Your Town" Thursday morning.
Hundreds of Central Oregonians turned out this morning to hear what the economic challenges are for Central Oregon, and more importantly what are the solutions. This is the third year that Economic Analyst Bill Watkins came to Central Oregon to give his forecast. One of the attendees was engineer Dave Williams. He owns a Civil Engineering Consulting firm that was very active in Central Oregon's boom cycle; now they are looking for government work: “Well, obviously we need to get away from the boom and bust housing thing. We need to attract jobs that are other than just your kinda minimum wage service jobs.” The AP says Central Oregon is the most economically stressed in the State. Watkins agrees. He expects high unemployment, depressed housing prices and a relatively lower economic output to continue for a while. He says we may not see job growth for at least three quarters. Analyst Delore Zimmerman had ten suggestions, one of which is creating a task force to develop a thousand-day road map. State Representative Jason Conger says in the short term we will have some more hard times: ”But in the long run, I am extremely optimistic about our future here. I think we can hope for and aim for a diversified, thriving economy.”
A 48 year old man was killed in a hit and run accident in northeast Bend last night. Bend Police are still looking for the suspect who hit Anthony John Martin while he was walking his bike across Third Street near northeast Seward. A witness said the driver kept on going. Bend Police Sergeant Greg Owens says people immediately went to the aid of the victim: “Officers and some passersby went to the aid; [he was] pronounced dead there at the scene." The initial investigation reveals that the driver was heading south on Third Street when he struck Martin. The southbound lanes of Third Street in the area were closed for about four hours for the investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Bend Police.
Oregon State Police get a break in the search for David Durham. A Waldport resident reports seeing a dog, injured and hungry, in his backyard. The home is located in a subdivision in Waldport, just off Highway 101. When Durham fled on foot after shooting OSP Officer Dodds, his dog, Huckleberry, an Australian cattle dog, ran in the opposite direction. Kerri Tyler with Lincoln City Animal Services was able to use food to lure the dog into her pick up. The dog had and injured back leg, but otherwise was in good shape. Police believe Durham didn’t run back across the highway to find his dog, but they scoured the area anyway. They found no signs of Durham, who is considered armed and dangerous. Police believe Durham is hunkered down in a vacant vacation home. Police say they plan to wait him out.
Central Oregon is holding its homeless count today. People who don't have a permanent residence to call home are encouraged to get counted. Jon Livingston with NeighborImpact says this count is ordered by the federal government to get a snapshot on the homeless problem in the country. “The folks who are doing the counting are closely tied to the resources. So come out and get counted and learn of the resources. Many people haven't been in this situation before and they don't know what's out there.” Some of the locations the count include the Family Kitchen in Bend, the La Pine Community Kitchen, the Redmond Senior Center, the Sisters Food Bank and COCC.
The man once known as "Jason Evers" in Bend will be sentenced today in Federal Court. The man's real name is Doitchin Krastev. He stole the identity of a murdered Ohio boy to prevent being sent back to Bulgaria. The Evers family from Ohio is in Oregon for today's sentencing hearing and are expected to talk to the media following the sentencing. Federal prosecutors are recommending Krastev spend two years in prison for aggravated identity theft and passport fraud.
Crook County has had to make severe cutbacks in their schools and new neighbor Facebook has really stepped in to help. Crook County Athletic Director Scott Polen says the new company in Prineville has really filled a need: “Facebook heard about our plight and said what can we do. So they purchased the uniforms and donated them to us. They bought them for the track team and they the soccer team needed uniforms.” Facebook not only bought uniforms, but also has thrown barbecues and provided free dental care for area children.
Keeping a resolution to change some habits can be very challenging. Usually the change involves some sort of diet. Patricia Grady with Agewise MD suggests that realizing a small tweak in your goal can make all the difference: “Often many times people will dare me, to tell them that they can't have something- because they want a reason to be able to quit later. They will say "well she wouldn't let me have 'x' so I wasn't able to stick with that plan.’ And the reality is you can have it all, you just don't need to have it all at once." Grady says we have to learn how to rein in our "inner five year old" that demands everything immediately. You can find out more about Agewises' seminar "Small Ways to Get Big Changes" on their website; we have a link on our “Links” page. Grady was a guest on the KBND morning news program "Your Town" this morning.
Around 11 p.m. last night, Bend Police respond to a 911 call for help after an unidentified driver hit Anthony John Martin, 48, while he was walking his bike across Third Street near Northeast Seward. A witness said the driver kept on going. The witness and police administered CPR to Martin, but when paramedics arrived, they determined him deceased. The initial investigation reveals that the driver was heading south on Third Street when he struck Martin. The southbound lanes of Third Street in the area were closed for about four hours for the investigation. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact bend police.
As Central Oregon continues to struggle, it's really no surprise the need for Family Access Network services is growing. Julie Lyche with FAN says in her seven years with the agency, it's the worst she's seen it: “We found in our recent quarterly report the need for services is up 30%, when compared to last year at this time.” Lyche says the need normally goes up with the increasing school population. But the area's school population is flat, yet the need continues to rise. So far this school year, Family Access Network has helped 6300 people in Deschutes County. Last year, they helped 4900.
Some Redmond businesses are concerned about business impact next year when 6th Street is re-constructed. The State will be paying most of the cost, but it will create challenges for customers trying to get to businesses. “We are really going to take a look at anything we can possibly do from a construction perspective to limit that impact, and hopefully really promote activity in the business core area while this project is ongoing.” Redmond Public Works Director Chris Doty says most of the six-million dollar year long project will be paid by the State. It's the last phase of the Redmond re-route. Tuesday night, Redmond City Council accepted the project contract with ODOT.
The City of Redmond may be facing a $2-million shortfall in the upcoming year. “The best guess is that the assessed [property] value on a cumulative basis will decrease by 12%. On our budget, that equates to about $800,000. we apply a conservative factor to that and that amounts to about a million dollars in revenue.” Redmond City Manager David Brandt says the City will be another million dollars short because other bills will come in higher than expected. Health insurance premiums are up 25% and the cost for PERs has also increased. The Redmond City Council heard the news for the first time Tuesday night. The City total budget is $40-million.
It will eventually be known as “Mid-Town.” The plan is to re-invent downtown Redmond and create up to 5000 new jobs. The City Council, in it's role as the Urban Renewal District Board voted unanimously to give it's blessing to the 12th Amendment of the Downtown Plan to the City Council. City Councilor Ed Onimus: “What we are trying to do is we are trying to be proactive. We’ve already got some major progress in the downtown area. The streets and revamping the building, and attracting economic development. This is just a continuation of that.” The plan includes spending $93-million in public money to leverage $444-million in private investment. The goal is to see several major projects such as a Performing Arts Center, family entertainment center, and aquatic center. Another goal is to make Redmond more of a destination site for tourism. The public will have a chance to review this plan as the City Council continues to review the proposal.
Bend plans to open a home for the homeless this May, paid for by federal dollars. Housing Works purchased a four-plex on the southeast side of Bend. Keith Wooden, the Director of Development for Housing Works says some work needs to be done, but the home should be ready for occupancy by this spring. “We're excited to get started on this valuable asset. It’s the first homeless permanent, supportive housing that is not a shelter, or a temporary stay situation. It's hitting a need not being served.” The funds are part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program that buys up short sale or foreclosed properties to prevent blighted areas.
The City of Bend has issued a report about the progress they are making on bicycle projects in the City. Transportation Engineer Robin Lewis says they finished some bike lanes on Colorado Avenue, and now they are looking at new projects to begin this year: "We currently don't have bike lanes on Riverside Boulevard, adjacent to Drake Park; the City's showcase park. A lot of people walk and bike in that area, but there's no bike lanes and we applied for a grant to both improve pedestrian crossing of the street as well as add bike lanes there and then wrap that into downtown. There's missing bike lanes on Franklin Avenue." Lewis says they have received about a million dollars in funds from both the City and O-DOT to complete the projects by October of 2013.
Tonight it's a milestone in the $16 million Lava Butte Project. Highway 97 will be affected this evening and thru tomorrow morning as crews complete a major part of the project. Drivers can expect up to 20 minute delays. Peter Murphy with ODOT says crews will work in frigid temperatures overnight to put in gigantic beams: “The beams are about 50 tons a piece, 136 feet long. So they are pretty good sized beams. That will help make the deck; basic underlying structure that people will drive on." When the project is finished, the drive from Bend to Sunriver will be four lanes in both directions. $12 million of the $16 million project came from federal stimulus money. Murphy says the project created about 200 jobs.
The City of Redmond has made the top of another list. It has the worst impact in the state for home foreclosures. “HUD ranks neighborhoods by foreclosure impact nationwide. We discovered to our horror that the City of Redmond's neighborhoods are ranked highest for foreclosure in the State of Oregon.“ Redmond City Manager David Brandt says the good news is that means the City should be on the top of the list to get federal help. Brandt is going to work with the Congressional delegation to have the City of Redmond administer those funds instead of the City of Bend.
St. Charles has named its new Medical Director. Dr. Jeff Absalon, an internist practicing medicine in Bend for nearly a decade will work with fellow physicians on improving delivery of care and hopefully reducing or controlling healthcare costs. Dr. Absalon has been a champion of health care delivery reform in the region. His idea is simple. “Putting an emphasis on preventive care, putting an emphasis on coordinating care of people that have chronic medical conditions in a way that improves the efficiency, improves the access of care for patients to get in to the appropriate providers, to get into their doctors in a timely fashion, Those are sort of little things that together can have a huge impact on delivering better care and intimately controlling cost of care. “ Dr. Absalon will be St. Charles Medical Director and Kirk Schueller is the hospital's Chief Administrative Officer.
Oregon lawmakers react to the President’s State of the Union last night. Oregon Junior U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley was disappointed that the State of the Union Address did not mention his plan to fight home foreclosures by simplifying the loan modification program. “We must move quickly to help families keep their homes and strengthen the housing market. But we did not hear specific plans to fix the foreclosure crisis. But I believe the administration will partner with Congress to refocus efforts to assist families and recharge our economy.” After listening to the State of the Union, Oregon Congressman Greg Walden cited progress by Republicans on their agenda for the coming session. “Now in just the first few weeks of Congress, House Republicans have acted on their pledge to repeal the Health Care Law; and to roll back spending to the 2008 levels; not freeze it at the 2010 levels. And we’ve approved, with an overwhelming majority, my Bill to cut Congress’ own budgets.”
A warning today from Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton: he says parents need to vigilant in protecting their kids from sex predators, especially coming into your home through the Internet. Sheriff Larry Blanton says they are very aggressive at the Sheriff's Office trying to search for those predators. They have a deputy dedicated fulltime to this problem and parents also need to take this threat seriously. "This is as important as the alcohol issues and telling your kids to buckle up; this is that important, the trends are very concerning." He says it's not just a local issue; once a predator is after your child he will often drive a great distance to meet your child in person.
Economic diversity and working together to forge a path of economic recovery. That’s the message two economic forecasters will bring to bend Thursday morning during the Central Oregon economic forecast at the Riverhouse Convention Center. Bill Watkins says some parts of the U.S. are doing well, but Central Oregon is not one of those areas. “I think it's a combination of what I call dirt. Delay, uncertainty, regulation and taxation. It seems to be minimal in the center of the United States and seems to increase as you go towards either coast.” Analyst Delore Zimmerman will bring some suggestions. “What I'm gonna do on Thursday is talk about a portfolio of strategies that I think is forward looking and capitalizes on some of your existing strengths and some of the opportunities that we see.” The Central Oregon Economic Forecast will be presented at the Riverhouse in Bend; continental breakfast at 7am. Presentation will be from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Early registration tickets are available online for $75. You can find out more by going to the links page of kbnd-dot-com.
If you've opened your Pacific Power bill this month, you've probably noticed an increase. The Oregon Public Utilities Commission approved the 14% rate increase back in December, but it took effect this month. Jan Mitchell with Pacific Power insists the increase was necessary: “We understand it’s a difficult time for an increase, but we're required to investment in our system for the long term. These investments have been in works for a long time. They will serve our customers for decades to come.” Critics, like the watchdog agency "Citizens Utility Board" feel the customer increases should have been more spread out.
Jefferson County officials are taking steps to repair the former Westside Elementary School, so it can be used again. The school has been vacant since 2008. Now school officials want to use it for non-profits. Darryl Smith, the Director of Operations for Jefferson School District, says they've been working on this for a while: “This is a really pivotal point. The building is a cornerstone in the community, recognized by a lot of people who attended high school there. We needed to make a decision to sell it or open it in pieces and work on the rest of it, to see what we can do with it.” Currently the High Desert Education Service District plans to sign a ten year contract to provide early childhood special education at Westside. Jefferson County Middle School plans to offer an off-campus Alternative Administrative Education Program there as well. The cost of repairs to get about a third of the building repaired and running will be around $111,000.
Within the next couple of months, residents could have more access to Deschutes County Commissioner's work sessions. Commissioners have decided to spend $42,000 to install audio and video equipment to allow their meetings to be streamed on the Internet and broadcast on cable. “We really wanted to be able to offer the ability for folks to have better access to their local elected officials.” The meetings will also be archived on line and anyone will be able to watch them "on-demand". Commissioner Tammy Baney says in the future, equipment could also allow people from other locations to video conference into the commissioner's meeting as well. Administrator Dave Kanner says the money has already been set aside in a capital projects fund from previous years.
Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton fears that 2011 may be a record breaking year for police getting killed in the line of duty. In the past few days, police were injured or killed in four different shootings: 2 shot and killed in Florida; 4 shot and injured in Detroit; 2 injured in Port Orchard, Washington; and in Oregon -a Lincoln City Police Officer is in critical condition after being shot during a traffic stop. "Certainly it's an unsettling trend and on your mind all the time. I think numbers to date this year will surpass the numbers for the 12 months last year with officers involved in fatalities and homicides. Certainly it's something that's on your mind all the time. You go to bed hoping and praying that the men and women that you serve with aren't involved in something like that." And a manhunt continues in Waldport, Oregon for the suspect; David Anthony Durham, 43, who is from the Portland area.
The seventh annual Bpositive Charity Art Auction will be bigger and better than ever, says Bpositive founder Daniel Pite. The event will be at McMenamins this Saturday. "We have been lucky enough to have donated to our silent auction, over 90 pieces of original art; and there are also other things donated for the evening. Someone is going to go home from our evening with the use of a big island beach house for a week that sits on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, in Hawaii." Pite says it's free to come, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Bpositiv Foundation for Children with Cancer. The money will be used to help families of kids who have been diagnosed with a terminal form of the disease; to help them cope with the final stages of cancer. The fundraiser is Saturday from 5 pm to 10 pm.
The Oregon Department of Transportation says they are beginning the process, again, of finding a new location for the Bend Department of Motor Vehicles Office. Dave Thompson, spokesman for ODOT says the process will be very open to the public: "Because we learned out lesson there, with the large number of complaints that people weren't involved; in the future we're going to use a different State negotiation process that absolutely includes early and often public input. Right now we've started over to look at where we could put the DMV in the Bend area; so that we provide citizens with the best service and we'll use a process that absolutely includes the public." Thompson says the old process used for the Brookswood Market Location, was a process that had been used for decades, that was very cost effective; but since it caused so many problems in the past, they will use the process that will have a lot of public access and input before a decision is made. He adds that they are very early in the new location search. But they will have well- publicized meetings before any movement is made.
You’ve probably already noticed the red and pink cards at the grocery stores. Valentines Day is just around the corner, and people are starting to focus on their relationships. In Central Oregon counselor Jane Meyers is doing what she calls the “40 Day Love Challenge”. The course begins on Valentines Day. She says there are warning signs to watch for: " There are four love terminators; these are attitudes that are guaranteed to kill your relationship. One o f them is criticism, another is defensiveness; withdrawal and contempt. And so if you have most of those going for you; you have a pretty much 99% chance that your relationship is going to end.” Meyers says the "antidote" to the love terminators are also attitudes: they are appreciation, respect, curiosity - and responsibility. She was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” Monday.
Redmond City Councilors will consider Tuesday night, whether to move forward in the process to expand the City's Urban Renewal District. The URD was established in 1995, but most of the projects are finishing up and now the City wants to expand to the City center area downtown. Redmond's Community Development Director Heather Richards says action will be taken at the meeting Tuesday night. “And especially what that does is it launched the public process. The public process is about three to four months worth of public hearings. The intent of the public process is for the City Council to hear from the community; what do you think of this plan, do you support it? Do you want us to move forward with it? And then they take final action on adopting it. Tentatively right now, it’s scheduled for April.” The URD attempts to stimulate economic investment in blighted areas. Some of the projects slated to receive Urban Renewal District funds include a downtown family entertainment and recreation center.
Bend detectives are still waiting on results from the crime lab on the double homicide in northwest Bend back in December. Julie Still, 39, and her five year old daughter were found shot to death in their home when the husband returned home from work. A two year old boy also shot managed to survive. Lt. Ben Gregory with the Bend Police Department says they're waiting on results from the crime lab on whether the firearm collected at the scene, matches the bullets retrieved. It's hoped the results will come back in the next couple of weeks.
It looks like the number of people out of work in Central Oregon is declining. That's according to the latest jobless numbers for Crook, Jefferson and Deschutes counties. The unemployment rate in Crook County last month was 18.5%; that's actually down from November's jobless rate of 19.3%. Compared to December of 2009, when the rate was 17.8%; Crook County had 340 fewer jobs year over year. Construction work is still the weak sot in Crook County. In Jefferson County, a similar tale: December's number was 14.7%. Unemployment is down from November's 15.7% but will up from one year ago when the rate was 14.3%.
And in Deschutes County, the jobless rate for December was 14.5%; down from November's 15.4%. Year over year it could be a good sign for our economy. In Deschutes County the rate for 2009 in December was 14.6% and last month 14.5%; bucking the trend from the 2 other Central Oregon counties. Worksource Oregon officials say there were gains in private sector jobs last month in leisure, hospitality, education, health services, retail trade, transportation, warehousing and utilities. Those gains were offset by weaknesses still in construction, mining and logging.
Hundreds turned out for the Third Annual Chili Cook Off at the Athletic Club of Bend Sunday. For the past two years, the event has been a fundraiser for the Education Foundation for Bend La Pine Schools, and this year, organizers added a rail jam. Over 20 restaurants participated in the contest that was judged by a celebrity panel, including KBND's own Julia Gray. The crowds eagerly lined up to taste a wide variety of chili's, with ingredients ranging from beef and pork to alligator and salmon. Then after the chili pots were empty, people went out to the courtyard to enjoy a high-flying Rail Jam sponsored by Skjersaa's Ski and Snowboard. Organizers don't have final numbers on the amount raised, but noted there are far more people attending this year. As for the chili, the entry from Pronghorn won the cook off with Rockin' Dave's Bagel Bistro & Catering coming in second.
State Senator Chris Telfer would like to see more manufacturing jobs come to Oregon. She's working on a Bill this session that would carve out larger industrial lots that could attract anything from green energy to other large manufacturing companies. She says right now the state lacking those large industrial lots. “Manufacturing is where a lot of the good paying jobs are. 20 years ago we had 109,000 manufacturing jobs- 20 later we still only have about 109,000 manufacturing jobs; and I think some of that's why we're constantly losing ground on what we're earning here in the State of Oregon compared to the national average." She says in this economy we need to still preserve the beauty of the State while also creating better opportunities for new businesses to locate here.
The City of Bend may be going to the voters for money to improve the City's streets. City councilors spent the day in a financial strategy session to discuss police and fire funding, street improvements, and Juniper Ridge. City staff are proposing continuing a 27¢ per $1000 levy that is scheduled to expire this year. Right now it funds the Downtown Urban Renewal District, but the proposal is to target it to specific street improvements like reed market. New City Councilor Scott Ramsey says the voters must decide: “It's the only way I would ever support anything like that, is the fact that it does go to the voters. I’m not in favor of something like the stuff, which is a utility tax, mandated by the Council. I think that anytime you are talking about raising or spending the money, it has to go to the public for approval.” Bend City Manager Eric King will draft a resolution for a February meeting of the Council. There seems to be a majority of Councilors that approve putting the request to voters, but a few like Jeff Eager want it clearly spelled out that the money would be used for roads, and would not be used to support the General Fund.
A state mortgage help program means 370 homeowners in Deschutes County will get some federal assistance. The money comes from the U.S. Treasury. Oregon got the money because we're one of 17 of the hardest hit states in the country. Selef Sprague with NeighborImpact that administered the program, says more than a thousand applied but only around 370 will actually get help. “We didn't get the demand we originally thought we would get. Deschutes county had 370 slots, so we are barely going to meet that amount or barely surpass that amount. So there's a good chance to all the people or most of the people will be approved through the program.” Sprague says because the program required a lot of paper work and documentation, many applicants got frustrated with the process and dropped out.
A 44-year-old man from Washougal, Washington is facing charges of driving a snowmobile while under the influence. Deschutes County deputies, Search and Rescue workers, and the U.S. Forest Service rescued the man after he crashed into a tree Friday evening in the Moon Mountain area of Bend. He was flown to St. Charles Bend, where he was treated and released, and then arrested. This is the second DUII incident involving a snowmobile this past week.
A two year investigation into a Central Oregon drug trafficking ring has resulted in a half dozen arrests in Madras. Lieutenant Ken Mannix says it's believed this ring distributed large amounts of illegal drugs, mostly meth, throughout Central Oregon. “We do take comfort in knowing that just dismantled a fairly significant organization in the Central Oregon area. As much as I hate to say it; unfortunately when you dismantle one, another one pops up.” Andres Garcia-Mendoza, 26, was working with five other coconspirators in dealing drugs. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms were involved in the arrests. A pound of meth amphetamine, drug packaging material, firearms and cash were seized by police in last Thursday's arrest. One of the arrests occurred after two suspect vehicles were southbound on Highway 97 in Redmond.
Several recent cougar sightings in Crook County near the Ochoco Reservoir can serve as a warning. Brian Ferry with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says this is the time of year when they see more wildlife follow the herds down the mountains and into the more populated areas. Last Thursday, a Crook County Deputy had to shoot an injured cougar that was too close to about 40 homes near the Reservoir. "I think personally that we have coyotes, and cougars and other wildlife around far more than a lot of folks realize. Most of the time they're pretty benign. It's just a matter of keeping an eye open and we certainly hope that people will call us if folks are noticing animals being observed and displaying what we would call atypical behavior; not normal for them.” He says for example if you see wild animals during the day and they aren't afraid of humans; you need to call local authorities. And if an animal is injured, don't attempt to treat the wildlife.
This month is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and tonight, a local event is set to help people understand the extent of this problem. In Redmond, those who try to stop human slavery are presenting a crash course called "Human Trafficking 101". Event organizer Nita Belles says people are often surprised that human trafficking is so widespread: “It's the “not my daughter; not in our backyard” kind of scenario. It's hard for people to believe it's really here; and the good news is: is that if we can become aware we can stop it." The biggest problem they see with human trafficking in Central Oregon is sex trade; especially connected with the Internet and runaways. Tonight's talk is at 6:30 pm at the Highland Baptist Church in Redmond.
Was getting in shape one of your new years resolutions, but you can't afford a gym membership? There's a way for you to get a membership for free. Our sister station Clear 101.7 (KLRR-FM) is holding a contest to give away two free gym memberships at the Bend Downtown Athletic Club. All you have to do is apply online with 200 to 300 words why you deserve the membership. Gary Hughes is a co-owner of the Bend Downtown Athletic Club: “We're really looking to give something back. Someone who can really use the change that we want to help them make. Someone who can't afford a gym.” To apply, go our “Links” page here for a link to the contest. The winner will be announced on February second.
Search and rescue crews were out along the north Santiam River Thursday searching for the body of missing Bend woman, Lori Blaylock, to no avail. The search has now been called off for the winter. Linn County Search and Rescue Coordinator, Joe Larsen: “We've been at this point since late October. If we don't find her then we'll have to rely on recreational people on the river and the lake.” Lori Blaylock went missing in late October. Her husband, Stephen has been charged with her murder, though her body has not been recovered.
Stephen Blaylock is scheduled to enter a plea on murder charges on February 3rd.
A specially trained deputy was forced to shoot an injured cougar that was very close to several homes in Crook County. Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley says the cougar was near about 30 to 40 homes in the Ochoco Reservoir area. Last night a driver called the Crook County Sheriff's Office to report he hit a cougar on Highway 26. So Deputies went out to find the big cat. At one point when they were walking around, they came within five feet of the cougar: “The cougar appeared to be injured pretty severely and before they could get an opportunity to put the animal down it took off, running on them. And they contacted me, and I made the decision, with it being an injured cougar and there's residences in the area, and school buses run in the area, and it would be a severe public safety threat with that cougar running around out there.” Sheriff Hensley said he had checked with ODFW first and they also agreed shooting the cougar was the best thing to do. The male cougar was about 2 or 3 years old and weighed about 90 pounds.
Nurses at St. Charles in Redmond approved a new three year contract with the Oregon Nurses Association. The contract involves about 125 nurses. They voted on the pact Thursday. The agreement gives nurses a 1% increase the first year and 2% increases during the second and third years. A mediator met with the nurses back in December to help reach an agreement. The Redmond nurses will join the Bend nurses in the St. Charles Health and Benefits Plan as part of the contract agreement.
It’s perfect timing; a Homeland Security Department grant could come to Bend soon to fund some much needed firefighters. Bend Mayor Jeff Eager says the grant is for $615,000 and the City should know any day now if they are getting the money: "So the grant is for, to pay for 3 firefighters for 2 years. 3 new firefighters- so that's helpful to us because the City, due to it's budget situation has not been able to fund 4 vacant positions over the last few years." Eager says the 3 new firefighters would help improve coverage and response time and be a welcome boost during a time of a very tight budget.
Authorities began the search for Lori Blaylock body ended almost before it began Thursday. Too much debris, plus extremely cold and rushing water worked against crews attempting to find even the slightest clue as to where her body could have moved to. So they decided to call off the search for the winter. In December, kayakers discovered what appeared to be a body wedged under some debris in the north Santaim River. Weather conditions prevented searchers from retrieving the body and continuous winter weather caused the river conditions to dislodge the body. Thursday, searcher focused efforts in the area where the river meets the Detroit Reservoir, a location they determined to be the most likely place to find the body they believe to be Lori Blaylocks’. But adverse conditions again, forced the search to end. Coincidentally, Steven Blaylock was in court Thursday for a plea hearing from Deschutes County Jail via video link. Blaylocks’ hearing was rescheduled for about two weeks from now.
Bend will be looking for a new Chief of Police. Sandi Baxter is retiring at the end of June. She's been the Chief for 3 years and a patrol officer for the 28 years before that. “Collectively she's had more than 30 years working for the City of Bend. She started as the first female patrol officer and ended as the first female Chief, which is a great accomplishment.” City Manager Eric King expects to conduct a search of the pacific northwest for a replacement.
A Bend attorney is raising questions about planning for a major investment in the City's surface water source. I instead of spending $58-million for a water treatment plant and a new pipeline, Bill Buchanan says it would be much cheaper to use well water: “Basically you looking at a difference of $500,000 or $600,000 to pump electricity and wells; versus the cost of servicing the debt of $2.75-million. There is obviously a huge savings in going with wells.” City of Bend Water Utility Manager Tom Hickman agrees that a surface water system would be a cheaper short term solution, but may not be a good answer long term. “It’s a fundamental goal when you are doing water system and water supply planning for a municipality, to develop redundancy in your system.” Hickman says a surface water system is a known commodity and it's much easier to monitor and to control.
Oregonians are trying to use farmland to generate other sources of money and that can cause a problem with land use planning. In Deschutes County, there are at least a few landowners who want to be able to conduct events such as weddings on land zoned exclusively for farm use: “But what we are doing through the Association of Oregon Counties and Yamhill County specifically is working hard to come up with real guidelines that might regulate some of these events. We have, of course, weddings in Crook County. We have in Lone Pine, a cannon shoot.” Crook County Judge Ken Fahlgren recently met with the Director of the State Department of Land Conservation and Development. Fahlgren says the goal is for local counties to work in conjunction with the State to find some common ground. Some property owners contend that must have that extra source of revenue from events to pay the bills.
Crook County Sheriff received a report of an injured cougar on Highway 26 east of Prineville Thursday. An unidentified driver called in to report he had struck the cat and the animal was lying near the highway. When deputies arrived on the scene, the cougar bolted, running toward homes in the area. Because an injured cougar in or around homes poses a serious threat to public safety, deputies contacted Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and obtained permission to kill the 90 pound cat. A Special Reserve Deputy, trained for the situation, located the cougar near a home and shot it. The cat appears to be two to three years old. It was turned over to ODFW. No one was hurt.
Once the snow clears in the spring some important safety improvements will be made at a dangerous crosswalk on the Bend Parkway. In October, Bob Hunt, 55, of Bend riding his bike as he was attempting to use the crosswalk near Reed Market Road. ODOT’s Peter Murphy explains the changes they'll make to improve the visibility in that area. "One of the improvements that's been approved now is to put a rectangular flashing light there that is activated by folks that are going to be crossing the parkway there, as opposed to continuously flashing. So that’s been approved. We’re going to put signs on both sides; both the outside and inside of the driving lanes so that people can notice that the Parkway crosswalk is coming up. And we’re also going to be painting stripes and markings on the highway itself so that people can become alerted to that.” Murphy says a special task force studied the area and came up with the suggestions.
Saturday is the first of two Free Family Admission days at the High Desert Museum. Sponsored by Mid Oregon Credit Union, Free Family Day is a very popular event: "At Mid Oregon Credit Union, we try to get involved in the community in a lot of different ways. And this one in particular has just been something that, you know during January and February months we don't necessarily have other things going on. It just seems to be a good fit for us to be supporting the museum. And also the people here in the community that need some to do, you know the kids get restless." Kyle Frick with Mid Oregon Credit Union says they usually get about 4000 visitors on the free days. High Desert Museum officials suggest that you consider taking a shuttle to the Museum instead of trying to find a parking space on site. The free shuttles are at the Morning Star Christian School on Baker Road and run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday. The next free family day is February 26th. For more info: www.Highdesertmuseum.org
A big event for Crook County. Monday at noon, the first shovels of dirt will be turned over for their first Crook County COCC / Computer and Education Center. Jeff Papke, the Coordinator for the Crook County Campus says the new building is going to be a real asset to Crook County: "And we're real excited to get this new Education Center up and running, because it means that we're going to be able to provide more college classes and education opportunities to the citizens of Prineville and Crook County and really assist some of those folks looking to get a college degree who might be out of work and wanting to be retrained. Or even some our students coming our of a local high school who are unable to leave town but still want to get a degree." Papke says the 12,000 foot building is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and a $1-million donation from COCC. Crews will work on the building all summer and they are planning the ribbon cutting during the Crook County Fair on August 12th.
Some good news today from the head of the Downtown Bend Business Association. Executive Director Chuck Arnold says they are starting to see some positive signs: "Mostly when you ask that question you're talking about 200 retailers and restaurants. So you're going to hear a variety of different answers. General trend is year over year we're slightly up we have a fairly good bit of optimism going on; a lot of new businesses coming in and our occupancy is been holding so we're very pleased on that restaurant retail level to be holding at 95-96 percent occupancy." Chuck Arnold says that occupancy rate compares very well with other downtown core areas across the state and across the nation. The Downtown Bend Business Association is made up of about 375 businesses; of those around 200 are retailers and restaurants. Arnold was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” yesterday.
The City of Bend is facing a projected $17-million to $27-million budget shortfall for the next five years. And they are asking for your input on some of those tough decisions. Bend Mayor Jeff Eager says today they will spend all day going through the budget: “Public safety is a major part of our General Fund budget. Police and fire is something around 80% of the General Fund. In the past we haven't been able to fill some positions because of the economy and the resulting impact on the City's budget." The budget meeting starts at 8 am at the North Fire Station and again public testimony is welcome.
New Sate Representative Jason Conger is ready to get down to work when the legislature starts on February 1st. Conger says there are already 1900 bills to consider, but he believes the economy will dominate this session. “I feel we are facing a legacy of bad decisions made over the years that have intensified the great recession and hindered our ability to fund necessary services we genuinely need like education and public safety, while correcting some of the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.” Conger says economists are projecting State revenues will be up 10% this year.
A Bend woman remains in now in good condition after a two car accident on Knott Road near the landfill Wednesday. Police say a juvenile driver was driving west on Knott Road near Rickard Road when she drifted into the oncoming lane a struck a car head-on around 4 p.m. Officers believe the setting sun may have been a factor in the crash. Dawn Good, 53, was injured in the crash and taken to St. Charles where she was originally in serious condition, but she's now listed in good condition. he young driver and a passenger weren't seriously hurt.
If you enjoyed "Last Comic Standing" you'll want to come out the Summit Saloon in downtown Bend Friday night. Every Friday night some of the area's best comics will be bringing their best material to "Fine Line Showcase." Jake Woodmansee is the M.C. “We've been doing this; our community started about a year ago. And we started banding together, having little successes, with the continued support of the town that likes to come out and laugh during our dark days. We'll be able to keep on doing this.” Fine Line Showcase will be at the Summit Saloon downtown on Oregon, Friday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. It costs $ 5 to get in.
The Deschutes County Commissioners vote to approve the Deputy D.A. union contract. The Commissioners needed to sign off on the agreement, since the attorneys are County employees. New Commissioner Tony DeBone says the decision was unanimous. “It had been a clear and decisive today. The three Commissioners to support this Union contract. And once the Union process started, by a group of people, it isn't up to us to accept a Union or not, it's up to us to accept a Union contract or not.” Commissioner Alan Unger supports the contract too. “I voted yes because it was management friendly contract. We went through the legal process to negotiation. It was either approve this or leave us open to binding arbitration.” Unger says this Union contract starts now and it is not retroactive.
The Bend City Council is sharply divided over the decision to give the Bend Indoor Market one more month to operate. City officials objected to the market operating in the Scott Street industrial area, because that area is zoned industrial and the market is considered commercial. Several of the 80-plus vendors appeared before Councilors last night, pleading that they not be put out of business. Mayor Jeff Eager voted in the minority in favor of allowing the businesses to continue: “It’s more about flexibility in the economy. These aren’t normal times. And these folks are using these properties for uses that are commercial in nature. They’re selling stuff rather than making stuff, although sometime they are making stuff. And so rater than have these properties sit vacant, I would make sense for the City to make the code change and help these folks out a little bit.” Several Councilors indicated having a commercial building in an industrial site could cause safety and traffic issues, and the City, with budget issues already should not have to pay for a change in zoning rules.
Oregon Senator Chris Telfer says she's ready to give bipartisan support to legislation that will reform the Tax Rebate – or ”Kicker Law”: "First of all, I support returning money to taxpayers that is above and beyond what the state budgeted for. The problem I’m having with the margin of error, so to speak, that 2%, is that the budget is based on the budget is based on the revenue forecast. The last 14 of the last 16 forecasts have been in error. And so it's really hard. 2% is a very small margin." Telfer says she also wants to reform the budget projections so try to get them closer in line. Also tying those dollars to higher education is a win-win situation. She also wants to cap the kicker amount. The Kicker Law requires that is either the States' corporate or personal income tax revenue is a two year budget cycle is higher than two percent, anything over that will be returned or "kicked back" to the taxpayers. Telfer says her stance may not please some of her constituents, but it is the right thing to do.
Two big jobs are open in Redmond right now and a nationwide search is just around the corner. The first job is Police Chief. Ronnie Roberts left to be Chief in Olympia, Washington. So the City needs someone to take over where he left off. Redmond Mayor George Endicott says the transition comes at a time when the economy is tough and budgets are tight. Roberts said on his watch he was starting to see a slight uptick in crimes related to the economy. "The good news is that violent crime has actually decreased. Also of people are in emotional distress, but at least they are not taking it out on each other; which is a good thing. There was a slight uptick in property crime, which was hardly noticeable.” And that surprised him. And the second position Redmond will be filling is the Airport Manager. After many years at the helm; Carrie Novik is retiring. Mayor Endicott says the Airport Manager position is very challenging because it calls for a specific skill set that only about 1000 people in the country have. The City would like local input on both positions.
The holding company that owns the land under the Aspen Lakes Golf Course will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. Co-owner Matt Cyrus says this will help the company reorganize its debt and move forward. “Wildhorse Holding Company which owns the property is voluntarily filing for reorganization restricting debt with the expected outcome that by mid summer we should emerge have better rates and debt structures that we currently have.” Chapter 11 will allow the golf course and restaurant to continue operating but allows them to restructure their debt. Cyrus says golfers and those who eat at the Brand 33 Restaurant will notice not difference due to the restructuring.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has the details on how they hope to improve a dangerous crosswalk on the Bend Parkway. In October, Bob Hunt, 55, of Bend riding his bike as he was attempting to use the crosswalk near Reed Market Road. ODOT's Peter Murphy says the planning that went into the Parkway was done during a much slower time in Bend: "It's not an easy situation for anybody involved. Just a bit of background is: it's a byproduct of when Bend was a lot smaller, and it seemed like having a crosswalk there for people who live on the westside to come to be able to come to the eastside to shop if you will seemed like the right thing to do at the time. So the unforeseen growth and changes is a big part of what's happened.” One improvement that's been approved is a flashing rectangular light activated by people crossing the Parkway. Signs will also be added to the driving lanes and big stripes and markings will be painted. Those improvements will start in the spring once the snow has cleared.
People on the frontlines of trying to end poverty in Central Oregon are being celebrated. Wednesday the Partnership to End Poverty held it's annual luncheon to recognize those who have inspiring stories of trying to make a difference. Executive Director Scott Cooper says six partners were honored. One of those was Brenda Comini with the Crook County Commission on Children and Families. She runs a program called "Holiday Partnership" that brings together local groups that want to help people at Christmas time into a single registry: “Of food boxes and gifts that are distributed throughout the community and it eliminates duplication and overlap and makes sure that everyone gets served. So they actually served over 2700 different people this year, which is about 10% of the community through their holiday partnership." Others honored were the La Pine Community Kitchen, Bend Broadband, the Executive Director of Volunteer Connect and Saint Charles Medical Healthcare Systems.
A trend that is picking up steam all over the nation has a strong foothold in Central Oregon. Nicolle Timm is the owner of an online purchasing program called Central Oregon Locavore: “Central Oregon Locavore is basically an online farmers' market, where customers can purchase locally produces products from local producers." Timm says consumers can go online and view the products, make their purchase and then the product is delivered to a central location every other week. "Right now we have it set up as a membership system. And that's just because it makes it simpler for regulations. This is all ODA [Oregon Department of Agriculture] licensed. So it's $10 a year to be part of Central Oregon Locavore and then you can order an unlimited amount of things." Timm says they have about 45 vendors right now and around 300 members. She expects those numbers to grow as summer approaches. You can get more information at the Central Oregon Locavore website; you’ll find a link on our “Links” page.
The Super Bowl is February sixth. If you are looking for a great place to watch the game with lots of fun fans, the Tower Theatre may be the place for you. ICON City, the group that helps homeless teens will be having a free Super Bowl party at the Tower that includes half time entertainment! "If you've never seen a Super Bowl or even a football game on a 40' x 60' screen; you've gotta be there. It's free to get in; we'll be taking up a donation. And 10-Barrel is providing the beer. It’s one of the breweries in town, so they're sponsoring it. And they're bringing a bunch of their amazing brews. And it will be all by donation, so we want you to come and hang out." ICON City spokesman Lonnie Chapin says they will also return to the TV half time show featuring the Blackeyed Peas, so you won't miss a moment. ICON City has over 900 registered homeless teens. They provide health services and programs to help the kids get jobs or back into school. Tower doors open at 2:00 p.m. for the Super Bowl party.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says the federal government must do more to help stem the flow of foreclosures. He says the federal home affordable modification program is not working. “The difficulty of having a common point of impact, of papers being lost, of suggestions to make partial payments or not make full payments. And while you are pursuing a modification tract, a foreclosure tract is also being pursued which has created enormous stress and confusion.” In Bend Tuesday, Merkley unveiled his proposed six point program to help. It includes a permanent tax credit for first time home buyers, helping families through a national sort refinance program, and setting up a third party review before foreclosure. The Senator says more than 300,000 foreclosures have been filed nationwide every month for almost two years. Last year, almost 28,000 Oregonians have been served with foreclosures. Merkley says Congress and the President must take action to deal with the mortgage mess.
Central Oregon will be holding its annual homeless count a week from Thursday. January 27th, volunteers will conduct the confidential and anonymous surveys in Bend, La Pine, Sisters, Redmond, Prineville and Madras. John Livingston with NeighborImpact will be helping with the count. “The folks panhandling on the corners that what people think of when you say homeless. But that's just a small percentage of the homeless. The majority of the homeless a huge percentage is under the age of 18 and the underemployed. It's hard to get by on15 hours a week and a lot of folks are homeless.” The homeless count helps area agencies apply for grants and better coordinate services for those in need. Some of the locations the count will be taking place next Thursday include the Family Kitchen in Bend, the La Pine Community Kitchen, the Redmond Senior Center, the Sisters Food Bank and COCC
Three bend men are arrested in a drug raid at the Rainbow Motel in Bend. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) developed information that there was illegal drug trafficking in a particular room at the motel. The CODE team used various means of surveillance to stop and identify people leaving the room. After several days, a search warrant was executed at room 104 and police seized heroin and packaging materials. The three arrested are Davin Wagner, 27, Scott Wilson, 23, and Taylor Faulkner, 22, on numerous drug related charges. They are currently housed in the Deschutes County Jail.
What started out as a beauty salon has now morphed into a worldwide enterprise. Jim and Leslie McConnell began McConnell Labs in their Eugene garage ten years ago. Leslie wanted to find a way to help protect her clients nails after an appointment, and get them out the door quickly. Her husband Jim, a polymer chemist, came up with a product that does just that. Light Elegance nail products is born. In just a very short time, word spread about the product and they ship all over the world. They recently moved their business to Redmond because, Leslie says, it's a very welcoming community. "We kind of always wanted to mover over the mountain to get out of the rain; that had a lot to do with it. And also I have to say, as far as a town goes, Redmond has been so business friendly for us. They have made it worthwhile and have taken an interest. And we just felt they were more interested than Eugene was." McConnell says they have already expanded their business and hired some Redmond residents. Now, because of the demand for their product, they are considering buying the lot next to their building and expanding even more.
Jewell Elementary in Bend is singled out nationally for its physical education program. It's one of only 16 schools in the U.S. and the only one in Oregon to earn the recognition for excellence from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. P.E. teacher Collin Brooks is thrilled to have the recognition. “I think it's so important to be an advocate for the program and my kids. There’s such a high obesity rate in this country. Physical education is directly related to other academic areas; so vital our students receive it.” Jewell was singled out for the quality of its P.E. program and its commitment to excellence.
On Wednesday, Deschutes County Commissioners will be faced once again with making a decision on a proposed labor agreement with Deputy District Attorneys. At least one Commissioner says he does not want to delay a decision any further. Alan Unger: “I’m ready to make a decision. I think that we have a good contract. We have recognized the fact that our District Attorney has changed. I think we are ready to move forward.” Last week, new District Attorney Patrick Flaherty had asked Commissioners to give him more time to meet with the Deputy's Labor Attorney. Flaherty contends the contract is not in the best interests of the County and is not legal because it impairs his authority to appoint deputies. Those Deputies had pushed for union representation and a contract that only allowed firing "for cause". The first of the month, the Chief Deputy and four others were not retained by Flaherty in the transition to his administration.
Today in Bend, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley will unveil his plan to stem foreclosures. The Senator will be joined by a local family who is struggling to stay in their home as he talks about his plan. Late last year, the Oregon Senator called on the U.S. Treasury Secretary to investigate the foreclosures by Ally Financial. Merkley is a member of the Senate Banking Committee and he says that everything possible needs to be done to keep families in their homes. He says that will help everyone, the families, the banks, and the nation. In the past, Merkley had urged for restitution for families who had been improperly foreclosed Today we will find out the latest on Merkley's proposal.
Congressman Greg Walden says the Veterans Administration plans to release 25 housing vouchers soon for needy veterans. Walden met with veterans in Central Oregon Monday. The hiring of a caseworker held up releasing these vouchers, but Walden says things are moving forward. “It’s for people who have multiple issues and multiple needs. And they need help, probably more than we know.” These vouchers let veterans rent housing at a significantly discounted rated. Walden hopes to issue another 30 such housing vouchers to veterans next year.
As part of a State Gas Tax increase, you started paying 6¢ more per gallon of gasoline on January first. ODOT's Peter Murphy says the Legislature passed a Jobs and Transportation Bill that contains big projects across the state. He says one large project is slated for the Bend area: “The project that got targeted is the Murphy Road Overcrossing on the south side of town. So it was $25 million set aside for what is really a $45 million project out there. But it will get the situation in hand. I guess is the best way to put it; we'll be able to make some changes that will actually improve the flow of traffic on the south side of town, plus put a lot of people to work too." He says the project will eliminate two stop lights on the highway. Aany big highway project typically comes with some public controversy. He says hey hope to minimize negative impacts on people in that area. Peter Murphy was a guest this morning on KBND's “Your Town.”
The 19th Annual Gala at the Riverhouse raised just over $103,000 for the Sparrow Clubs last night. 330 attendees dined on a five course gourmet dinner, and bid on many silent auction items. The event is presented by the Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center and the Central Oregon Visitors Association. The crowd was entertained by featured speakers, Congressman Greg Walden and former Washington Redskin Quarterback, and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien. Proceeds benefit the Sparrow Clubs. Spokesperson Terri King says it was a great evening. “People were very generous last night. And the atmosphere; there was, there was so much excitement in the air. You know, during this economic downturn, people have been kind of more quiet, more reserved. Last night there was just such a celebration going on. It was really an awesome evening.” Sparrow Clubs matches local children who are terminally ill with neighborhood organizations that "adopt' the child and family, helping them emotionally and financially through their difficult time. King says with the tough economy donations have been down.
The homeless count in Central Oregon will take place a week from this Thursday: January 27th. The Central Oregon Homeless Leadership Coalition is conducting the one-day count. Volunteers will be conducting surveys in Bend, La Pine, Sisters, Redmond, Prineville and Madras. John Livingston of NeighborImpact says the count helps them better coordinate services: “A couple years ago we were pretty shocked the number of seniors who were homeless. We didn't expect that high a number. And we worked with different agencies to make sure we're serving seniors better.” The results of the homeless count next Thursday won't be available for several months. Last year, Central Oregon had more than 2000 homeless in the tri-county area.
The weekend storm triggered mudslides and flooding across the state, and road crews have been busy trying to put everything back together again. ODOT's Lou Torres says the big rain storm isn't quite as dramatic as 1996, but it definitely left its mark: “Certainly 1996 is the year that everyone remembers; where we had a lot of slides and a lot of flooding. We're not comparing this to 1996; however it's still pretty severe. Some of the coastal areas had 7, 8, 9 inches of rain over a two day period." The coast was affected in the most with a mudslide blocking Highway 6 near Tillamook. Closer to Central Oregon, a mudslide up on Mt. Hood on Highway 26 shutdown the road for a while. And on Highway 20 east of Cascadia, a big slide closed the highway Monday. Torres says the rain not only caused some un-stable slopes throughout the coastal range, it also lead to noticeable high water on the popular Highway 101 as well as other highways throughout Oregon.
It was a group effort in the Prineville area to stop homes from flooding near the Cowboy Court subdivision. Travis Jurgens with the Crook County Sheriff's Office says several basements did flood; but the waters are receding now. There are still some dangerous spots in the area and drivers need to be careful. "My suggestion to people is if they come to a road that does have water flowing over it, and if they come to a section that has water flowing over the top of the road, one I would say, if they are able to safely do so, I would say turn around and not try to make it across it. There's no telling what the road condition is like; no telling what kind of supports are underneath the pavement and there's no telling for sure how deep the water actually is." The heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday also filled the Prineville Reservoir to the point that the irrigation district needed to release the extra water into the Crooked River.
The Bend and Redmond Police Departments along with the Deschutes County Sheriffs Department and Saving Grace are developing a collaborative approach to provide immediate services to domestic violence victims. "The Lethality Assessment Program is a risk assessment tool for domestic violence cases. And this is a way where by local law enforcement can assess the level of danger in a domestic violence relationship. It's a quick 11-question questionnaire. And if the victim screens in high, police will automatically direct her to our Saving Grace hotline." Trish Meyer with Saving Grace says the program, funded by some federal grants, will take several weeks to implement with all law enforcement getting the training needed. She adds statistics show there is a 60% reduction in risk of severe assault when victims utilize the services of a domestic violence programs. For more information you can go to the Saving Grace website www.saving-grace.org.
The second annual Chili Throwdown (Cook off) and Rail Jam benefitting the Education Foundation for Bend La Pine Schools is this Sunday at the Athletic Club of Bend. Chairperson Cheri Helt says the Foundation helps out hundreds of kids each year participate in after school sports. "We’re raising money for all the kids in town that afford to pay for sporting events. Because there is a fee for sporting events for kids in our middle and high school. And as a Foundation, we grant money back to the school system to pay for that. And that's what this event is for. Because in this economy this is a really hard thing for the kids and we want to make sure they can participate in sports." Helt says the chili cook off is one of the most popular events. 20 restaurants will be participating in this years' contest. Not only will there be official judging, the public will have a chance to cast a vote too. Also, a Rail Jam presented by Skjersaa's promises to be a big crowd pleaser. Your $10 tickets buys you unlimited chili and entry to the rail jam. It's this Sunday from 2 to 6 pm.
The 19th annual Gala at the Riverhouse raised just over $103,000 for the Sparrow Clubs last night. The annual fundraiser is presented by the Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center and the Central Oregon Visitors Association. 330 attendees dined on a five course gourmet dinner, and bid on many silent auction items. The crowd was entertained by featured speakers, Congressman Greg Walden and former Washington Redskin Quarterback, and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien. Proceeds benefit the Sparrow Clubs, which matches local children who are terminally ill with neighborhood organizations that "adopt' the child and family, helping them emotionally and financially through their difficult time. Over the 19 years the Gala has raised over $1.4 million for many Central Oregon charities.
If you're already about to give up on your New Years resolution to lose weight and get in shape; a local health expert can help. Jenny Anderson, Director of Fitness Operations for the Athletic Club of Bend says it happens every year; the Club is packed in January and then people start to fizzle out of their resolutions around mid-February. She says it's important to set "smart" goals for weight loss: “If you can sit down with your weight loss goal, which isn't very specific, and make is a smart goal, like for example: instead of just saying I want to loss weight, you could say I want to lose 20 pounds by April 15th. I will perform a half an hour of cardio and a half an hour of strength training per day four times a week. And I will only eat starchy carbohydrates three times a week." She says having an accountability partner is also very key to successful weight loss and overall fitness goals. Anderson was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” Monday morning.
Martin Luther King Junior Day is a day to remember the man behind the civil rights movement. The day was first observed in 1986. 25 years later, Rev. Heather Starr at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon says his legacy lives on. “There are many forms of diversity here. There’s a large Spanish speaking community that deserves out support and be treated with dignity throughout their lives and work. There’s many different class backgrounds reflected in this community. There are people with a variety of physical abilities. There’s many people here of different sexual orientations. “ Reverend Starr feels the lesson of "having a dream," is one of King's greatest legacies.
The winds were really blowing Sunday night. Mark Thibodeau with the Weather Channel says it was hard not to notice them. “The winds were gusting, in many places, over 50 mph; in some places over 60 mph. We’ve got basically an upper level jet core. These jet stream winds we’re looking at settles right into the area. And we had a mechanism that tapped those winds and brought them down to the surface, in a lot of spots. And as a result, we had the gusty winds in play last night.” Central Oregon is under a wind advisory until 7 p.m. tonight.
Winds could be between 25 and 35 miles an hour through the afternoon with gusts over 40 miles an hour.
It was a busy weekend for Deschutes County Search and Rescue crews. They were dispatched to an injured show-shoer on Saturday afternoon. Steve Ker, 50, had been showshoeing with some friends when he injured his lower leg due to some rough trail conditions at Virginia Meissner Sno Park. 24 Deschutes County Search and Rescue personnel responded. He was placed in a toboggan and towed back to the parking lot. The Albany man was able to get medical help for his non-life threatening injuries.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is releasing the name of a man killed in a car crash over the weekend near Metolius. Paul Miller, 21, of Warm Springs was found dead at the scene and 3 others were injured. Police say the car lost control after missing a turn on Eureka Lane from Highway 361 near Metolius. The car went off the road, went thru a field and came to rest on the railroad tracks. Sometime later a Burlington Northern train hit the car. Police also say alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
Sunday's heavy rain across the region triggered some flooding and landslides in Oregon. Locally, Highway 20 west of Santiam Pass near Cascadia remains closed after tons of mud, rock, debris and large trees tumbled over the highway. ODOT spokesman Rick Little said the slide looked like about 150 cubic yards of debris covers the highway. Also, smaller slides and high water on the road east of the slide deemed the road is unsafe fro travel. but, little said they will open a lane for emergency travel only. Eastbound drivers are directed to Highways 22 or 126 and westbound drivers should use Highway 126 and follow the signs.
High water caused a temporary closure of Upper Davis Loop road south of Prineville. Crook County officials worked through the night to divert water from the road. With more snow melt and rain in the forecast, authorities warn you to avoid or use extreme caution when driving through standing water.
U.S. Representative Greg Walden is in Central Oregon today. Congressman Greg Walden will join local leaders to lay out his plan to fix the bound line for the Crooked River Wild and Scenic River Area. The line was mistakenly drawn down the middle of Bowman Dam. The boundary issue currently blocks any clean energy development and new economic opportunities at the dam. He hopes the change can fix the map and make way for new jobs. Later in the day, he's also touring the Facebook construction project site meeting with Central Oregon veteran’s advocates. And he's finishing off the night at the big Central Oregon Visitor’s Association fundraising event at the Riverhouse.
State Representative Gene Whisnant has some ideas to help Oregon get out of it's economic slump. Whisnant says he's supporting a bill that would decrease capital gains in Oregon. He says we need more jobs in Oregon, but not more state jobs. “I'm one of the ones that said government, we really can't create jobs; we create public jobs and that takes taxpayer money to pay for those, but what we can do is change the business attitude in Oregon and try to help businesses succeed so they can buy new equipment so they can employ new people and they can expand and help the economy." As for state spending cuts; the Republican lawmaker from Sunriver says he also has a bill that would eliminate any state position that is vacant for six months or longer. He is also pushing for some state government functions being turned over to the private sector.
As lawmakers head to Salem, Central Oregon children’s’ advocates are holding their breath. They are concerned about the possibility of more cuts in early special education intervention programs: “The fact with the budget with the budget the way it is in our State, and all the cuts coming down. Services have already been dramatically cut for these programs. It’s close to 60% from 2004 to the current service level that we are providing children right now.” Diana Hansen is the President of Central Oregon Disability Support Network. She says kids learn more from birth to five years old than at any other time in their life, so it’s critical problems are corrected by then. A parents meeting is planned for the High Desert ESD room in Redmond Wednesday night at 5:30.
Hundreds of Central Oregonians will observe Martin Luther King Junior Day today by "pitching in". They will lend a hand to volunteer efforts throughout Central Oregon. “We have 26 projects happening. We are spread out between Bend, Redmond, La Pine, Culver, Sisters, Prineville. We will have about 350 volunteers working. It's gunna be a big event, we are very excited and there is a lot of diversity in the projects.” Volunteer Connect staffer Jessica Knight says activities will include making Valentines for seniors, painting, and even making fleece blankets for area homeless. It's estimated that a thousand hours of community service will be given back to the community.
Redmond’s Humane Society at times over the last couple years has struggled. But Mike Daly, the President of the Redmond Humane Society says they are starting the year in good shape. “Because of really generous donations October through December. Now we're in the black. We have $30,000 in the bank. Feeling pretty good about that. But that can all go away in one month.” The Humane Society just started again accepting cats after being overrun with them last fall. They are now limiting the number of cats in the shelter to 75.
Former Redskins Quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien is speaking tonight in Bend. He's the keynote speaker of the Central Oregon Visitor Association's Annual Gala at the Riverhouse. Event Coordinator Lisa Kuhlmann says some of the money raised tonight will go to the Sparrow Clubs, a school-based club that helps kids in a medical crisis. She says it's a good cause at a time when children need to have more compassion. "So by working together to help a family in a medical crisis helps instill empathy and understanding and all that good stuff. So our kids are getting a little emotionally de-sensitized. I would say do to social media and all the demands of today's lifestyles and this is a great way to keep community and kids working together to help one another." They hope to raise at least $50,000 for Sparrow Clubs. And, there's a personal tie for Rypien to Sparrow Clubs; his three year old son died of cancer in 1998.
We’ve heard a lot about the sex trade industry in Oregon, but a Redmond man is going to Nicaragua to help teach young girls another profession beside prostitution. Hairdresser Tim Westcott learned of the need a couple months ago. “I was just cutting client's hair and she did missionary work there and she was telling me of the horrible epidemic of child prostitution and mothers selling their other daughters off the street and she asked me would I like to come and teach them to cut hair.” Westcott and four others will be traveling to Nicaragua on February 1st. They'll be there for two weeks, teaching about 50 girls the basics of how to cut hair, hopefully giving them a new way to earn a living.
Over 100 boxers along with their families and coaches gathered in Bend this weekend as the Deschutes County Rocks boxing team hosted the 2011 Regional Silver Gloves Championships. The event included three separate shows on Friday and Saturday. Beto Avila, 13, was uncontested in the 125-pound class and will advance to a national tournament. Elijah Haraguchi, 15, of Bend brought the crowd to its feet in what one of the officials called the best bout in the tournament. Haraguchi came back from a series of hard head blows to win the 139-pound class matched bout with Manuel Arreola from Idaho.
Jan. 17th/MLK Day- Holiday Closures:
Most government offices will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and several services will be unavailable. Almost all city, county, state and federal offices will be closed Monday.
Post offices will close, and mail will not be delivered or picked up Monday.
Banks will be closed.
Schools in the Bend-La Pine, Redmond, Sisters, Culver, Jefferson County and Crook County Districts will all be closed Monday.
Central Oregon Community College will be closed Monday.
The Deschutes Public Library system, Jefferson County and Crook County libraries will also be closed Monday.
Central Oregon liquor stores will be open normal hours Monday.
The Juniper Swim & Fitness Center in Bend and the Cascade Swim Center in Redmond will also be open normal hours Monday.
A recent FBI sting operation ranked Oregon has second in the nation for victims recovered from human sex trafficking. World News tonight with Diane Sawyer recently described Portland, Oregon as "Pornland" and stated the City is a hub for sex trade. Portland Mayor Sam Adams is trying to change that image by saying the problem in the Rose City is no bigger than anywhere else. Nita Belles is the Regional Coordinator for Oregonians Against the Trafficking of Humans (OATH). She doesn't agree: Portland is one of the worst. I won’t say it’s number one or number two, but I will say it has a high incidence of sex trafficking. It also has one of the highest incidences of sex industries. We are talking about lingerie shops that sometimes serve as brothels.” Belles says the I-5 corridor is sex trafficking circuit and the girls are moved from along that freeway on a regular basis to keep them from making friendships and possibly getting help. An ex-pimp will be talking at the monthly meeting of OATH at the Bend Library Tuesday night at 6 to answer questions and tell how he got out of the sex trade industry.
The Bend Indoor Market will be open for business again this weekend. Building owner Stephan White says the City is trying to clarify the zoning code that affects the market location, and is backing off a bit to allow the market to open this weekend. “We’re excited. The vendors themselves are excited because they’re still in business. The city didn’t put them out of business. So they’re backing business, staying in business, able to make some money. So they’re very excited about that.” White says for many of the vendors, this is their only job. He says that the community response to the Market has been encouraging and they hope all issues can be resolved so that they can continue for a long time.
It’s an historic session in Salem. We spoke to local Representative Gene Whisnant this morning: “It's going to be very interesting to have a 30-30 House make up. It's also the first time we've had annual sessions and it's also the first time in the history of Oregon that we have a third term Governor." Whisnant says his main push this session is to help the State's economy by cutting spending and making the State more business friendly. He would like to see more privatization in State government and is supporting a cut in capital gains taxes for businesses. Whisnant says right now lawmakers are on recess for two weeks as part of a cost cutting effort. The Session starts back up again on February 1st.
The 2011 Legislature barely has their feet wet and already Senator Chris Telfer has co-authored a Bill that could change how the State does business: “I’ve got a major one that I’m co-chief-sponsoring, with Senator Morse on redoing our entire budgeting process. So some major pieces of policy." Telfer says when she ran for State Treasurer, she campaigned on changes to the system and now that she is on the Budgeting Committee, her ideas will have a chance to be heard and understood. She say one of the pieces of Legislation will have to go to the voters.
The consequences of bullying have gained attention in the last year and many local school districts are holding anti-bullying programs to prevent it. Challenge Day has been in several Bend La Pine Schools over the last year. Mt. View senior, Ryan Kelly has participated in past years and says students walk away with a lot: “You see them sitting in the class in the back of the room, quiet kids. You hear their testimony and adversity they've faced. It gives you a whole new respect for the organization and for the students. It makes you think, what's on the inside is different from the outside. It's amazing how different the two are.” Several schools this week have held these Challenge Days, including Summit and La Pine High Schools and Seven Peaks.
The Oregon Legislative session isn't even in high "gear" yet and already there's controversy. Cyclists and others are reacting to a Bill in the House aimed at banning children under six being carried on a bicycle or pulled in a trailer. Local Rep. Gene Whisnant says he hasn't read the Bill yet, but his first reaction is there are larger issues he'd like to tackle in Salem this session. “It's important that we pass legislation to help protect citizens in our communities; but I wish that hadn't been that high on our list of priorities. My concern is being sure that families in Central Oregon have a job and can make their mortgage and their car payment and put food on the table." Those supporting the idea cite a study that shows bikers have a high level of serious injuries each year. The fear is young children being pulled in a trailer or being carried on a bike are even more fragile when a crash occurs. If passed, violators would face a fine of $90.
A Prineville man is under arrested on several sex abuse charges including rape. The Crook County Sheriff's Office received a report of possible abuse involving a 23 year old Prineville man and a juvenile girl under the age of 16. Officials say Mitch Viescas was taken to the Crook County Jail and lodged on nine different counts related to the accusation.
Oregon ends 2010 as number 12 in the nation in foreclosures and Deschutes County is leading the state, followed by Crook and Jefferson Counties in that order. On the surface, that appears to be very disappointing news. But realtor Tom Green says the situation seems to be improving: “In the first quarter of 2010, Oregon was number three in the nation in the number of foreclosures behind Nevada and Florida. So I take that, ending the year at number 12 as an improving trend.” Green says he is also hearing more talk of optimism for Central Oregon's economy. He also says that banks slowly releasing their foreclosures on the market is keeping the average price of a home under $200,000, and that's about the same price of paying rent. That means that young families who want to stay in Central Oregon can invest in a home and stay here.
U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announce that the State of Oregon will receive about $44-million to help families who are unable to pay their heating bills during the winter. As part of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the grant will be administered through NeighborImpact in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook Counties. The program helps with paying energy bills, home weatherization and energy-related repairs. In a written statement, Merkley says "Families shouldn't have to choose between paying their utility bills and paying for the next meal, but all to often they do." Merkley and Wyden joined Senate colleagues in a letter to Senate leadership urging the extension of funding at current levels through the end of September. Contact NeighborIimpact for more information.
Dr. Martin Luther King called "service" the great equalizer and people in Central Oregon can serve on MLK's National Day of Service. Marie Phillis with the Central Oregon Council on Aging says they organized a special service day called "King of Hearts Project.": "We've not done this before and our efforts this year will be aimed at serving seniors and our veterans so we will be coming up with more projects that give people the opportunity to add their strength to have an impact to some of those projects as well." People can serve by making Valentines and placemats for veterans and seniors. The two hour service event will be from 10 to noon at four places: at the Sisters Community Church, in Bend at the Whispering Winds Retirement Center, and in Redmond and La Pine at the Senior Centers.
It’s a widespread problem that hits most communities: human trafficking. This month several events are planned throughout Central Oregon to raise awareness. Nita Belles with Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans, or OATH, says Portland has received national attention for having a lot of sex trafficking victims. She says it's because the City has such a high number of "adult entertainment" businesses and it's location on the I-5 corridor. "They have what's called the circuit; which means they keep those girls on the move. That is a way for the pimp or the trafficker to keep the girl under control. She doesn't know where she is when a young girl is rescued. One of the first things she's going to ask is 'where am I' she may not even know what city she's in. If she knows what city she's in she doesn't know exactly where she is." Besides sex trafficking, Belles says they see problems with slave-like victims who work at restaurants and in domestic jobs such as live-in nannies and house cleaners. Belles was a guest on KBND’s “Your Town” Thursday.
State Senator Chris Telfer is hard at work on redrawing her District map. The 2010 Census reveals that her District has grown tremendously over the past 10 years and guidelines indicate the Districts need to be redrawn to even out the representation. "My District, mostly Deschutes County, is the largest District in the state now at 172,000 people. We need to pare it down to 128,000 people. They will be spinning off, so to speak, some of my constituents to either Senator Whitsett, who lives in Klamath falls, Senator Ferrioili who lives in John Day, Senator Floyd Prozanski, who lives in Eugene. So I’m very concerned about my constituents who are used too having you know, local representation." Telfer says she is the Vice-Chair of the Redistricting Committee. She says they will hold a series of community meetings in the areas that will be affected, to get the public's input on the changes. Telfer says they need to have a new map ready for approval by the end of June.
The Deschutes County District Attorneys Office plans to make a decision on whether to file charges in the Stephen Trono shooting in the next couple weeks. Trono, who was shot five times by his wife accidentally at his Bend home last July is speaking out for the first time. He spoke with our news partner, News Channel 21 about the gossip following the shooting: “But I think the community needs to hear from me. People can make their own decisions or judgments. The family, my wife has been by my side the whole time.” Bend Police were called to the Trono home last July 28th, when Trono's wife accidentally shot him thinking he was an intruder. Trono still has to undergo more surgeries and has more extensive rehab in front of him. The family currently lives in Portland where he is being treated.
New Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty says he wants to put the "bumpy" transfer of administration behind him. Five employees of that office were not retained as Flaherty assumed control from long time DA Mike Dugan. Flaherty says the overall tone in the office is improving: “We would like to have to deal with major distractions like this, I really want to get into the courtroom.” Flaherty admits there was some apprehension and maybe some fear by employees of the changes he was going to make. He says a lot of that was fueled by a lack of knowledge and now that he's in the office, he can freely share with the staff how he wants to run the office of the District Attorney. He says that has quieted many of the concerns by employees. A new Deputy District Attorney started Wednesday. Katy Clayson was a Mountain View High School graduate and attended college at Johns Hopkins and the University of Denver Law School.
The Redmond Humane Society has started accepting cats again. The shelter stopped taking them last fall when they were overrun with them. The President of the Redmond Humane Society, Mike Daly, says they decided to change their policy last night. “The later part of September, we had 240 cats in the facility. Our cost was unbelievable. We took at $40,000 loss that month due to the over abundance of cats.” The shelter will begin accepting cats again today, but will limit the number at the shelter to 75.
The Deschutes County Sheriffs Office and Bend Police will split a more than $46,000 federal grant. “It’s helpful. It's to purchase some things that we didn't have in our budget that our needed. So, yeah, it's a great thing.” Deschutes County Sheriffs’ Captain Tim Edwards says the Sheriffs Office will purchase ten riot shields, six security cameras for the jail and work center and an audio and video recording system for two interview rooms in the jail. Bend Police will buy a negotiator phone system for the emergency response team, which is similar to a swat team. Also on their list is a thermal imaging device and two remote lighting systems. The Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant is designed to help equip state and local law enforcement.
Eight European journalists are visiting Central Oregon this week. They were invited by KLM/Delta Airlines to experience and write about Central Oregon's winter wonderland. Kristine McConnell with the Central Oregon Visitors Association says they plan to spend a lot of time on Mt. Bachelor: "Their main focus is skiing. But some of them will be focusing on Oregon and Central Oregon lifestyle as well. They're ready to hit the slopes today and ready to do some other winter activities, mainly on the mountain. But, they'll be heading to downtown Bend for dinner. And they were able to see Smith Rock and go to the Warm Springs Museum. So they're doing a little bit of everything while they're here." McConnell says COVA and Travel Oregon have teamed up to host the visitors. The exposure for Central Oregon will be invaluable. The journalists are from England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium. She adds if you're out and about and run into someone with an accent, to give them a big Central Oregon welcome.
The golden shovels were out Wednesday at Central Oregon Community College. Last year, the voters passed a bond measure to build a new Health Careers Building and construction has begun. Campaign organizer India Simmons says the students’ participation in the bond measure helped bring this project to fruition: "Were it not for the students, I am not convinced that we really could have passed this bond measure, their outreach to every geographic area, various communities." Students from COCC made phone calls, and canvassed the community trying to raise support for the bond measure. It will provide a much needed expansion to the Health Department at COCC.
It’s a push for more local jobs in Crook County. "Business Oregon", working with state and local partners, just certified a site that could mean new jobs within six months. The 81 acre "certified" industrial site in Prineville is in the park that houses Facebook's Data Center. Mike Williams is with Business Oregon: "So basically bringing in new employment is what we hope to bring to Prineville. The Facebook facility which is also in the same business park, that was certified in 2005, Facebook has even told us the reason they went to that site is because they felt that they had a certain level of certainty and that they would be able to develop quickly on that site." Certified Industrial Sites are considered project ready, because the typical roadblocks to development have been identified and resolved so that building can begin within 180 days of a development decision. Two other rural Oregon sites were just certified they are: a 101 acre former superfund site in the Dalles and 40 acres of land in Ontario, Oregon.
We will have to wait another week for a decision on a contract for the Deschutes County Deputy District Attorneys. Deschutes County Commissioners met today and the contratc was on the agenda. Commissioners are agreeing to a request by new District Attorney, Patrick Flaherty to give him another week. He wants to talk to the labor attorney representing the Deputies. He says he wants a better deal for Deschutes County. Deschutes County Administrator Dave Kanner was recommending strongly that Commissioners adopt the contract in front of them today. He is concerned that further postponements could set the stage for binding arbitration. That’s something that attorneys say usually works best for the unions. Flaherty tells KBND News the he doesn't believe a "just cause" firing clause in the contract is legal. Next week, Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney says she will be ready to make a decision , but for now all three Commissioners want to give Flaherty one more week to discuss the issue with the labor attorney representing the Deputy DA's.
A Bend man shot by his wife five times is now speaking out. The victim of the shooting, Stephen Trono is making those details available himself. He tells our news partner, News Channel 21 that late in July, he had taken some sleeping pills and was stumbling around the house and he says his wife thought she was an intruder. He was shot four times in the abdomen and once in the hand. “Giving some context to how it could happen. You ask how could she do that. There was something that happened at my surprise birthday party in January that lead her to the state she was in and lead me to buying her a gun.” That incident was his wife being assaulted in a restaurant restroom on New Year's Eve. Trono promises to post a video on his website telling his story. For now he lives in Portland, and will do so as he recovers this year. After that he plans on returning to Central Oregon. The Deschutes County District Attorney still has not made a determination as to whether charges should be filed in the case.
Oregon’s Congressional delegation is claiming a win in the battle to get federal regulators to look more favorably at biomass. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is announcing changes in regulations. “The EPA was precariously close to enforcing a new job killing regulation. And with the urging of a bipartisan Congressional effort I think made the right decision in reversing course. Hopefully however, this three year reprieve, while very welcome, does not cast a shadow of uncertainty which will threaten to curb investment and job creation.” Waldon says the EPA will expedite rulemaking to defer the regulation of biomass for three years and promises to address the emissions sensibly and scientifically. The federal agency will also allow the public to comment before new rules are put in place. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says the state is poised to become a leader in biomass and this "common sense" approach is a victory for rural Oregon and timber communities.
If your young child's development hasn't been properly assessed by a health professional, here's your chance. Healthy Beginnings is offering 16 free clinics this year to children under the age of five. They meet one on one with as many as twelve health professionals. John Houchens is with Healthy Beginnings: “A lot of brain development and development in general occurs 2 to 5 age range. We try to get them addressed before they become a problem before they effect the child's learning, social, emotion and intellectual development.” The first Healthy Beginnings screening in Deschutes County this year in Bend is this Friday, January 14th. Call Healthy Beginnings to make an appointment.
More than one hundred Prineville residents showed up at Tuesday night's City Council meeting to let them know they don't want the City's nativity scene to go away. Mayor Bette Roppe says residents were happy that the Council won't cave to political pressure. “The decision that the Council made is we will find a way to keep the nativity scene. We've had a lot of advice from lawyers and they are telling us we can do that.” Mayor Roppe has appointed a committee that will come up with a recommendation for the City Council to consider in two weeks. In December, the City received a complaint from the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" out of Wisconsin, a national nonprofit group working to separate church and state. They objected to the nativity display on City property.
Oregon Congressman Greg Walden spoke on Capital Hill today as Congress considered a resolution condemning the tragic and senseless attack in Arizona. "Americans see each of us taking this personally, because Congresswoman Giffords and her staff were doing what each of us does in our own way; we go home, we reach out to listen to people who agree, who disagree and we practice the art of democracy." The resolution condemns the attack and also honors by name the victims in the shooting. There's an Oregon connection to one of the victims; Mavy Stoddard grew up in Sweet Home. She was shot in the leg and is recovering, but her husband, Darwan was fatally shot.
The 125 nurses at Saint Charles-Redmond have reached a tentative contract agreement with the hospital.“We feel really good about it. This was a group effort, very tough decisions at time. We are in a tough economy. There is a certain amount that the hospital can do as far as wages and benefits and still be good stewards of the dollars that we have for the community.” If the nurses ratify it, Katy Vitcovich of Saint Charles says it will give nurses a 1% increase the first year and 2% the second and third years of the contract. Allison Hamway of the Oregon Nurses Association says this latest bargaining session was particularly difficult.
“I think it's because of the economic climate that has occurred since we last bargained. The hospital is in a more difficult financial situation, and our members are in a more financially difficult situation also.” Hamway says nurses will vote on the contract January 20th. Nurses in Bend already have a contract.
The Deschutes County District Attorney's Office hopes to make a decision on whether charges will be filed in the Stephen Trono shooting case in the next couple weeks. Trono is the Bend man who was allegedly mistakenly shot by his wife at their homes last July. She thought he was an intruder and shot him multiple times. He survived following many surgeries and many months at Bend and Portland hospitals. Attorney Brandi Shroyer with the D.A.'s Office says she's reviewed the case put together by detectives and wants to talk to some of trono's colleagues, then she plans to make a decision whether any charges will be filed.
Tonight, the Redmond City Council will be asked to accept a bid to build a new public works administration building. The plan is to build it on the site of the old 84 Lumber site. Mayor George Endicott says the depressed economy has forced contractors to submit extremely competitive bids: “We opened the bids and the bids with the expanded work is $1.6 [million]. It's about a half million dollars under what we had anticipated.” Endicott says the money would be used to remodel an existing 4100 square foot building and construct a new 8300 square foot facility. Kirby Nagelhaut Construction is the apparent low bidder and the contract would require construction to be completed by October of this year.
Bill Valentine, with Valentine Ventures, is predicting a pretty good year for the markets in 2011. He says many individual investors are still on the sidelines, which often means it's a good time to get back in. “As a throwaway, I'm generally pretty optimistic for continued improvements in the capital markets will come back."
He says stocks will be attractive again as the market rebounds with good returns, especially compared to low savings, CD’s and bond rates. Valentine was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” Tuesday morning.
A Bend woman is suing St. Charles Medical Center for not properly disinfecting a scope during several patient colonoscopies last September. The woman is one of 18 patients that the hospital admits underwent the procedures with equipment not properly disinfected during two days in September 2010. The hospital discovered the mistake and sent all the affected patients letters notifying them. They are also paying for testing to make sure these patients are not infected with STDs or HIV, though doctors say the risk is low. Jennifer Coglin is the attorney for the patient suing the hospital: “All I know it did not undergo disinfection process. I don't care that 5 of 6 steps were taken, if the sixth step wasn't disinfection.” Pam Steinke is the Chief Quality Officer for the hospital. “The scopes were cleaned but not disinfected. They were cleaned manually disinfected, but hadn't been through the final cycle.” The lawsuit is seeking a quarter of a million dollars in emotional damages and $20-000 in medical expenses.
C.E. Lovejoys Brookswood Market is trying to make a dent in the local problem of food insecurity. Today they are donating 61 bags of groceries to the Giving Plate in Bend. Store Manager Troy Wolfe says they ran a food drive called "Help Fight Hunger", where customers could donate $10, and Lovejoys would match with a $20 bag of groceries. "This is a great feeling. We always like to do everything we can to help the local community and it was just a great opportunity to be a part of this." According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about 500,000 housholds suffer from hunger each day and are classified as "food insecure.”
A Bend man in his mid 40's has died in a kayaking accident on the Colorado River. The accident occurred before 11:40 Monday morning just below the President Harding Rapids in the Colorado River. “Members of the party had reported that they had gotten through the rapids and when they turned back to see how the rest of their party made it through. This one particular individual, his kayak was upside. They got to him as quickly as possible and tried CPR, but nothing was able to revive him.” Shannon Marcak of the Grand Canyon National Park says the man has been identified as Scott Foster, 42. He was an Alpine Skiing Coach for the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation. Chuck Kenlan of MBSEF says Foster will be missed: “”He was an amazing guy, Scott had been a Navy Seal. I believe he had been in the first Desert Storm. Real bright guy, great skier, great energy.” Officials have yet to release the exact cause of death.
Mid Oregon Credit Union has reached two significant milestones. The membership has grown to over 20,000 and their lending portfolio has surpassed over $100-million in loans. Spokesman Kyle Frick says this is very good news for the community. "You know we're seeing that actually [home] purchases are starting to pick up. We saw some really great information that net in-migration is still happening, so people are still moving here. But also, on the home loans, people are still refinancing. Rates are still really low and prices are just amazing right now for people that have the opportunity to get out there and get a home." Frick says Mid Oregon Credit Union is working on programs to offer a lower rate on credit cards and free checking programs. They also have a whole series of financial workshops with subject ranging from building a budget to starting a business. All the classes are free; and you can find them on the Mid Oregon Credit Union website; we have a link on our “Links” page.
The Duck game last night was the setting for a fight between fans that erupted into a larger incident that involved Bend Police and an arrest. Bend Police say it appears the fight started in the Sidelines Sports Bar as opposing fans exchange barbs. The fight then moved outside and into the streets. Sgt. Ron Taylor says emotions were running high last night: “It definitely appears that that was the primary cause of this; and the end result of the game had brought out positive and negative emotions depending on who was rooting for whom. And one thing that officers were able to determine was that this primary incident really started verbally inside the bar between people who were on opposing sides." The incident involved about 75 to 100 people total. And one man was arrested when he resisted arrest as police were trying to question him. Sgt. Taylor said the officer was forced to use pepper spray to detain the suspect. Christopher Paul Blaylock, 24, was taken to the Deschutes County Jail lodged these charges: disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest.
About two hundred Oregon Duck fans turned out to the Tower Theater to watch last night’s game. Theater Executive Director Ray Solley says there was only one Auburn fan who turned out; and just about everyone stayed for the very last second of the game. “The Duck fans last night were very classy, and we've had the Civil War for two year-s broadcast at the Tower. And even when there’s Oregon State and Oregon fans sitting next to each other, it's all a very friendly, classy event; no fights at the Tower." The event was a fundraiser for the Oregon Club of Central Oregon and the Tower Theater Foundation.
Almost all of Jason Conger's wishes were granted yesterday. He had requested several specific committee assignments and he was appointed to most. He will serve as Vice-Co-Chair of the House Education Committee, and will serve on the House Business and Labor Committee. Also, he's House General Government and Consumer Protection Committee. In a written statement, Conger says being on the Education Committee will allow him to work with the school districts to expand educational opportunities for kids. Working with the Business and Labor Committee will mean he can help find solutions to help expand business and bring jobs back to Oregon, which is his focus.
Last night's loss was a hard pill to swallow for some Bend Duck fans. In fact, a fight broke out near Wall and Newport Streets after the game. Our news partner, Newschannel 21 reports Bend Police had to close off the intersection after a fight at sidelines bar spilled out onto the street. Police attributed the melee to the high emotions and so many people being crammed into the bar to watch the BCS game. They made several traffic stops, but no DUII arrests.
Bend La Pine Schools Superintendent Ron Wilkinson hopes that Saturday's tragic event and other recent shootings don't discourage people from serving in public office. "It certainly makes you stop and think, you know, what am I exposing myself to? But I think the servant spirit that most people who run for office have probably prevails in those situations. I hope it doesn't eliminate really strong candidates for positions in the future." Ron Wilkinson was a guest on the KBND’s "Your Town" Monday. He is hoping that in this tight budget environment lawmakers won't short schools the money they need.
Bend Area Transit, in cooperation with the City of Bend, the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization, the U.S. Forest Service, Mt. Bachelor and Central Oregon Interagency Council (COIC) have received almost a million dollar grant from the Federal Transit Administration's Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program. The money will be used to provide alternative transportation on federal lands. This grant will augment a matching $200,000 from Mt. Bachelor for the projects. The grant will allow the continuation of the Mt. Bachelor Shuttle , and help produce alternate ways for citizens to access the Deschutes National Forest using means other than personal vehicles. According the Dave Rathbun, President and G.M. of Mt. Bachelor, this is an outstanding example of the public and private coordination to provide transportation alternatives.
Water and sewer rates in the City of Bend could be increasing a lot in the next five years. The City may have to spend $200-million for several projects. Even with all the needed improvements, City of Bend Public Works Director Paul Rehault says the City still compares favorably with other cities around the State: “We are about in the middle range. And the anticipation is when you look at us and compare us to other communities in Oregon. We are probably going to stay in the middle as well. Not only for capital projects but also for maintenance projects as well for water and wastewater utilities.” Rehault says the City is only committed to two more years of double digit increases for sewer and single digits for water rates. But as City Council makes decisions about future upgrades, those rates are likely to continue to climb.
A change in management is coming up for the Redmond Golf Course. City Council will consider a contract Wednesday to allow a private California company to take over course operation. The goal is to improve fiscal sustainability. “I think their big point is that we have not done a good enough job of selling the golf course as a premiere course in the entire State.” Redmond Mayor George Endicott says "Course-Co" will be paid an escalating fee starting at $95,000 the first year. They will also be paid an incentive for increased profitability. Endicott says "Course-Co" also plans on raising enough money to retire public debt incurred by the course.
Deschutes County Sheriff's deputies arrested a 31 year old Redmond man on 23 counts of animal neglect. Authorities confiscated 23 horses and four steers from Jeremy Watson’s home in Redmond and another residence on Northeast 13th Street. Lt. Shane Nelson is with the Sheriff's Department: “These horses were malnourished and there are varying degrees of malnutrition. Four steers did not have access to potable water and that concerned us.” All the animals were transported to the County's Large Animal Rescue Facility. Officers have been working with Jeremy Watson for three to four months to improve his care of the horses and steers.
The Oregon Legislative Sessions started Monday. John Kitzhaber was sworn in as Governor. Bend Senator Chris Telfer was there: “Everybody got sworn in. Lots of political speeches. They all sound good, let's hope they all walk the talk and we get some things done. So I’m excited, it was a great day.” Lawmakers are going to have to deal with a $3.5 billion dollar shortfall in the next proposed budget. Lawmakers will continue to organize through Wednesday and then adjourn until February first when the real work starts. Meetings adjourned by 4pm to ensure lawmakers can watch the Oregon-Auburn BCSS Bowl Game.
Apparently a fuel oil furnace failed and caused about $350,000 damage to a business on Southwest 67th Street in Redmond early Monday morning. According to the news release, around four a.m., a large amount of smoke was coming from the eves of the building. The fire had burned long enough that the ceiling had collapsed and the fire moved into the attic area. When Redmond Fire arrived on scene, they attacked the fire on the main floor. A hole was cut in the roof at assist removing the heat and smoke from the structure. Estimated loss is about $350,000. The business, YDI, is a wholesale distributor of hardware products. The owners say they are still open and doing business while the building is repaired.
In light of the Arizona shooting, Americans everywhere are asking the question of how do we balance free speech with giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep society safe? Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says that's a tough question to answer: “Those that act out frequently and those that don't know the difference between their emotions and hostility. What it is they are trying to convey. We try as best as we can to stay on top of that, pay as close attention to those people as we can. It’s nearly impossible to control and or affect that in a positive way and you just try to do the best you can.” Blanton says local law enforcement tries to learn as much as they can from shooting incidents. They do not plan on increasing visible security, but will try to do everything they can behind the scenes to keep everyone as safe as possible.
People are still reeling from this last weekend's horrible shooting at a Tucson shopping center killing six and injuring 14, including critically injuring Democratic Congresswoman “Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords from Arizona. OSU Cascades Political Science Professor Jim Foster was horrified about the deadly shooting when he heard about it. “I don't know what we can do to prevent these random acts of violence, as long as we're a society that believes is accessibility to guns, always going to be people like this man who can get a gun and do terrible things. So it's tragic.” Gabby Giffords remains in critical condition in an Arizona hospital. Her doctors say she's not out of the wood yet, but there's been no change and that's a good sign.
Many people are deeply concerned about the increasing number of shootings in our society. People are still talking about Saturday's shooting at a shopping center in Tucson, killing six and critically injuring others like representative Gabriel “Gabby” Giffords. Ron Wilkinson, the Superintendent of Schools for Bend La Pine, says something needs to be done. “Goodness as a country, where are we going? The number of shootings that have occurred in the last two to three weeks. We need to get it together as a country, so we can deal with those issues and not have them continue.” Wilkinson says school districts are constantly looking at ways to make our schools as safe as they can be.
Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson had affected everyone; and our local lawmakers are no exception. Newly elected Oregon Representative Jason Conger says he was shocked when he heard about the event and it almost leaves him speechless. "It’s just such an unmitigated tragedy. And its unfortunate for both the politician who was shot and obviously injured severely; but also the bystanders and the people who were caught in the crossfire. It’s a criminal act; and its just very unfortunate; it's very saddening." Conger says an event like this does make him think about what can happen in an open public setting, but he won't stop scheduling town hall type meeting with his constituents.
Lawmakers from Oregon offered their condolences following the shooting of Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords on Saturday. The Arizona Congresswoman was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire during a "Congress on your Corner" meeting outside a grocery store in Tucson. The response from lawmakers in Oregon was quick and heartfelt. Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer said he worked with her in Tucson and saw firsthand the bond between Gabby and her community. He described her as a moderate, thoughtful leader committed to bringing people together to make progress in challenging times and in a tough political climate.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley called the shooting a heinous act of violence that has no place in our society. He says we must come together as a nation and stand strong against violence. And in a statement; U.S. Representative Greg Walden said his thoughts and prayers were with Congresswoman Giffords, her family, and innocent cilvilians involved in the senseless tragedy. He called it a deplorable act, and it marked a sad day for our country.
Newly elected Oregon State Representative Jason Conger is eagerly looking forward to his first session in Congress. He says he's been very busy learning the ropes of state government and what's to be expected. Conger says this Congress has to think much like the U.S. Congress and do some real house cleaning.
"We think this is going to be a very, very important session. Particularly because of what is going on with the budget and the fact that as the outgoing Governor's reset cabinet pointed out if we don't change the way we govern this State; if we don't change the way we deliver services in this state, we are in for a decade of deficits." Conger says he also has some real concrete ideas on the State budget and how some programs are administered. His goal is also the have regular reports back in Central Oregon so the people will know what is going on in their government.
Two Bend teenagers have been invited by incoming Governor John Kitzhaber to attend today's inauguration ceremony. Kitzhaber met the two brothers through a school the boys attend while on a field trip to Washington D.C. several years ago. The Governor was impressed by their interest in government and politics. The boys mother Lisa Germain: “We did get a formal invite in the mail from John Kitzhaber to join in the festivities.” Germain says her sons attend the Oregon Connections Academy that is an online - at home school where students do the bookwork at home and spend what would be "at school time"; going on field trips and other experiences. Justin Germain, 15, explains why this trip will be beneficial to his development: “I have been interested in American History and American Government. I’m actually taking "Honors Government" right now, and going to the Inauguration is just another way to experience government. Josh Germain, 13, says his interest is just a little different than his older brother's: “I'm enjoying just, you know, having that experience. That opportunity to go and with Justin, I've been following government a bit and it's going to be great to be, you know, living it not just reading it out of a text book. “ Both boys are excited about the fact that after the Inauguration, they get to go to the Governor's mansion to watch the Oregon Ducks play in the BCS Championship.
Last year's homeless count showed more than 2000 people in Central Oregon don't have a permanent home and this year's count is expected to be even higher. Chris Clouart with the Bethlehem Inn that takes in the homeless says their numbers are fluctuating a lot lately. “At the height of mid December, we were at capacity with 93 individuals, 22 women. As we got closer to Christmas, the numbers drop off but now we're seeing the numbers increase. It's just a normal fluctuation for a facility like ours.” Clouart says they encourage people to reconnect with family members during the holidays and that's why the numbers dipped recently. They're seeing more families needing shelter at the Bethlehem Inn. There currently is a waiting list.
A Central Oregon financial advisor is putting some perspective on a slight drop in the national jobless rate. The latest numbers show the national jobless rate dipped from 9.8% to 9.4%. Bill Valentine with Valentine Ventures says it’s' still a recovery; just a very sluggish one: "We're cautiously optimistic. Really the payroll and employment picture hit it's bottom in January of 09; so we're a full year along in terms of recovery. It's just not our father's recovery. It’s just not the kind of outrageously strong quick reductions in unemployment that we saw in past recessions." Valentine says besides the huge drop in housing, the recovery hit during a very bad time when our economy already starting shifting away from building and housing related jobs. Valentine says many people in those jobs that were laid off probably won't be able to get back into the work force unless they change careers. A national report from CNN Money shows there are jobs opportunities right now in finance, information technology, engineering and health care.
It’s a new year, and organizers say it's a revamped Sagebrush Classic. In the past, the classic would select one specific nonprofit. But now, they are opening the campaign to all such organizations and many such non-profits are getting involved. “So far we are at about a hundred, but until January 11th, we won't know exactly how many. On that night we will have an exact number.” Sagebrush Classic Executive Director Aimee Baillargeon says a number of events will be held to benefit non profits. Participating non-profits will start their fundraising drive February 15th. Sagebrush classic will match that with money raised through a golf scramble, private dinners and the feast.
Most people who live here are routing for the Ducks this coming Monday night in the National Championship Game. But performer Michael John is conflicted. “I graduated from auburn, so even though it goes against the Ducks, I have to go with my alma mater.” John Plans to have a dinner party Monday night with all his Duck fans to watch the big game. Regardless of the outcome, he feels it’s going to be a good game.
Linn County Undersheriff reports that their dive teams have discovered that the body found in the water of north Santiam River had moved. Police believe that it is the body of missing bend woman, Lori Blaylock. A written report states that a dive team went into the water where they last found the body and determined that the body must have been dislodged from the underwater debris where it was trapped. Now, they have to begin the search again. The 48 year old Blaylock was reported missing on November 2nd when she failed to show up for her job at St. Charles Medical Center. Her husband, Steven Blaylock, 46, is indicted on one count of murder in her disappearance. He is scheduled to enter a plea in Deschutes County Court on January 20th.
Two crashes on Old Bend Redmond Highway Thursday afternoon. The first one involved two motorcycles and a SUV. One of the motorcycle drivers hit the left rear corner of the SUV while turning onto Hereford Avenue, causing him to slide across the road ending up on the shoulder. His friend on another motorcycle tried to avoid the crash and also skidded across the road. Both sustained serious but non-life threatening injures. The other accident happened at Old Bend Redmond Highway and Tumalo Road. One car pulled out to cross the highway and was struck by another car. Luckily there were no serious injuries.
There’s only one more week to apply for federal funds to help pay your mortgage. NeighborImpact is administering the program locally. Housing Director Laura Fritz says in Deschutes County they've had more than 700 people apply, for half that number of spots. “It had the highest number of slots. 370 households will get mortgage payments relief because Deschutes County has been hard hit with our unemployment, foreclosure and drop in housing prices and so on.” The deadline to apply is next Friday, January 14th. To apply, go to: www.OregonHomeownerhelp.org. And you must meet with NeighborImpact staff to go over your application to be considered. Oregon has $220 million federal dollars to help prevent foreclosures in the State.
The BCS Championship game on Monday is about much more than a great sporting event. That's according to a Sports Management Professor and NFL certified agent Dr. Lynn Lashbrook. He says this national attention will have a huge impact on the PAC-10 and the Oregon economy. “I was traveling; I was down in Vegas and in Dallas; just got back from the Cotton Bowl, where they play tonight, and the incredible amount of energy recognizing Oregon and talking about it - there was never a conversation when I said Portland that they didn't ask about the Ducks. I just think that people underestimate what this will do for our state, particularly with the vacuum of only one professional sport; until we get MLS soccer." Lashbrook is a Beaver fan. He taught at OSU, but says he's definitely rooting for the Ducks. We are carrying the game here on KBND; the pre-game coverage starts at 3:30 p.m. on Monday.
It is still undecided whether service workers at St. Charles will be unionized. Wednesday's vote is still to close to call. The final tally was 255 for and 251 against the union. There are 34 votes that are being challenged because its not clear whether these workers were eligible to vote. Senior Vice President of Human Resources at St. Charles, Katy Vitcovich, isn't shocked by the close vote: “I'm really not that surprised. We’ve known that both sides were expressing their opinions. I thought it would be close. But this is incredibly close. Each side has 50% on each side.” The hospital and union will meet with the National Labor Relations Board in the next couple weeks to see if both sides can reach consensus on who is eligible to vote. If they can't, the NLRB steps in and makes that determination. Which ever side has the most votes, will determine if the hospital's service employees will unionize.
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office opened a large animal rescue facility a year ago to deal with the growing number of neglected, abused and abandoned large animals. Now the program just received a nearly $4000 grant from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. It's a national organization based in California. Lt. Shane Nelson says the money will help fund the County's animal rescue and shelter: “What this is, is 23 acres of County owned property over by our landfill. This property consists of a barn, several fenced areas along with several animal shelters out there.” Lt. Nelson says the money will go toward feed, vet care and medications for the animals.
The Deschutes County Budget Committee started meeting Thursday. “Mr. Kanner will explain to us the challenges that we are having this year compared to last year. Basically, the heads up is that property values have gone down, that means the revenue to the County will be less and we will need to budget accordingly.”
Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger is part of the budget committee. Up to a half dozen budget meetings could be held before budget adoption by July first.
Bend Police Chief Sandi Baxter says the fatal shooting in Rainier is a reminder to officers in Central Oregon. On Wednesday morning Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed after a struggle with a 21 year old man who was allegedly trying to steal a car. Bend Police Chief Sandi Baxter says while she didn't know Chief Painter personally; it affected her and other officers throughout the state. "What it is; is it's often a reminder that any type of incident that could have easily been Bend, Oregon. We handle those kinds of calls daily and it's a reminder to all of us that this kind of situation doesn't just happen in the big cities. We had the Woodburn incident that happened a couple of years ago and that was a small city, and now this; so it’s just a reminder to the officers that you just never know what's around the corner." Baxter says Bend Police Chaplain Jim Crowley is in Rainer helping the police department and community deal with the trauma. Thursday, the flag at City Hall was flying at half-staff and throughout the day, people added to a memorial on the steps of City Hall.
Wouldn’t it be fun to see the biggest football game of the year on the biggest screen in Central Oregon? Ray Solley with the Tower Theater says they are very excited to be able to show the BCS game between the Oregon Ducks and Auburn Tigers Monday night. The Duck Alumni Club of Central Oregon teamed up with the Tower and Solley says it's going to be a real tailgate party atmosphere: "The ticket price gets you a free, all you eat from Baldy's BBQ; gets you into the raffle and door prizes for some amazing Duck swag, including, the rumor is a Nike putter and some Duck Nike sunglasses and swag; some amazing BCS items from the Duck Store. And of course a great place to see and watch the game." Solley says they even have someone lined up to do the mascot push-ups every time the Ducks score. The event is a fundraiser for both the Alumni Club and the Tower Theatre. The Duck Tailgate Party at the Tower Theater in Bend on Monday starting at 4:30.
It is still undecided whether service workers at St. Charles will be unionized. Wednesday’s vote is still to close to call. The final tally was 255 for and 251 against the union. There are 34 votes that are being challenged because its not clear whether these workers were eligible to vote. Senior Vice President of Human Resources at St. Charles, Katy Vitcovich, isn't surprised by the close vote: “I'm really not that surprised. We've known that both sides were expressing their opinions. I thought it would be close. But this is incredibly close. Each side has 50% on each side.” The hospital and union will meet with the National Labor Relations Board in the next couple weeks to see if both sides can reach consensus on who is eligible to vote. If they can't, the NLRB steps in and makes that determination.
Several law enforcement agencies were out in full force Wednesday trying to catch speeders, those following too closely or those talking on cell phones while driving. Officers handed out 75 tickets between 1 and 5 p.m. They also issued 46 warnings. One person was even arrested on a warrant and three vehicles were impounded. This stepped up detail is an effort to improve safety on our streets. Last year there were more than 1600 crashes in the City of Bend.
The town of Rainier, Oregon is in mourning today as they remember their Police Chief who was killed the line of duty Wednesday. Today in Rainier, Police Chief Ralph Painter is being remembered as a wonderful father, husband and grandfather who served on the local police force for 20 years, the past five as Police Chief. Around 11 a.m. yesterday he was responding to a police call at a local car stereo shop. The suspect, Daniel Butts, 21, of Kalama, Washington was allegedly trying to steal a car. Jeff McCracken is the pastor of the nearby Rainier Assembly of God Church; he witnessed the shooting and almost hit by a bullet himself: “I was in my office n the west end of this building, studying. Heard the sirens, got up to see what’s going on. Police cars from every jurisdiction in the area were pulling in. Semi-automatic weapons, that kind of thing.” In the shooting, McCracken says a bullet came within six inches of his head. The suspect was shot by police and taken to a Portland hospital where he's expected to fully recover.
Deschutes County Commissioners support allowing the testing of drone aircraft in Central and Southern Oregon. Commissioners will sign a letter of support asking the Congressional delegation to help designate a drone test area between highways 20 the Nevada border. Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger likes the jobs this could bring to the area: “Central Oregon has trained people in carbon fiber composites. And that would be more than likely be the type of construction you would use on these types of planes. So we are set to be able to grow our industry here if this industry can take off, and we need to be thinking of these things.” Unger says if this "testing area" is allowed, local pilots can call a number to see if drones are in the air. Pilots have told other local officials that the FAA historically moves slowly on this requests, so local residents will have plenty of opportunity to comment before a final decision is made.
We now have the suspect identity in the fatal shooting of the Rainier, Oregon Police Chief. Officials say the suspect is Daniel Butts of Kalama, Washington. Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter, 55, was shot and killed Wednesday morning during a confrontation at a car audio shop. Rainier liquor storeowner Traci Brumbles says she didn't hear the first shot which seems to have been the one that killed the officer, but she saw police surround the building. Police report the suspect was attempting to take a car that did not belong to him. He was wounded by gunfire and is being treated at a Portland-area hospital.
The City of Bend has a new mayor. City Council voted Wednesday night to appoint Jeff Eager for the City's highest office. Eager says the budget is his biggest worry: “There are some significant challenges facing Bend and the City of Bend in the next couple of years. Our City budget hurts because people in Bend hurt right now, and until we get to a position where people are better off financially and economically, our City budget is not going to be any better, we've gotta turn this thing around.” Jodie Barram was appointed by the Council to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem, and she will serve as Mayor in Eager's absence. Eager says he favors amending the City Charter to change the way Bend elect's it's mayor. He would like to see voters choose the mayor but that is a decision that will have to be made by voters.
There are difficult decisions ahead for Bend City Councilors. In his parting address, retiring Councilor Oran Teater says Councilors must have a good dialogue with the community as they deal with a $27-million budget deficit over the next five years. “To my fellow councilors, I do not envy your job. You are going to have to make some tough decisions to balance our budget. Cuts will be difficult; services will have to be reduced. But it's vital that you communicate openly to the community and clearly the necessity of your decisions.” Teater says Bend has seen tough times before and will slowly recover again. He also cautioned the Council to make decisions that benefit the entire community, not just one special interest group.
Bend residents heard from their newest Council member Wednesday night. Scott Ramsey won by only three votes and now sits in the seat held by Oran Teater. “I have a very level head and broad prospective and will work my best to make sure that everyone is represented.” Ramsey thanked his family and supporters for their help, and for Oran Teater for encouraging him to run for City Council. Ramsey says decisions over the next four years will be difficult and that he will do his best to reach out for advice in making those decisions.
It’s very close, in fact too close to call. That’s what Saint Charles Health Systems is saying about the vote for non-professional employees to unionize. “At this point we do not have a decision. We had 251 votes against representation and 255 in favor, but we also had 31 votes that were in the challenge category.” Saitn Charles spokesperson Kaylie Mendenhall says if Saint Charles and the union cannot agree on voter eligibility then a Labor Relations Board hearing will have to be conducted. Hospital officials say they support the workers right to unionize. Some workers say they are concerned that patient care will suffer due to budget cuts, but that's a claim Saint Charles officials deny.
Deschutes County Commissioners have deferred a decision on signing a lease with the Bethlehem Inn. Commission Chair Tammy Baney wants to take more time to study the agreement: Chris Clouart with the Bethlehem Inn: “She had made a short statement in the County Commission meeting, again, I was not there, in which my understanding is she just reiterated her point that all parties are being treated fairly in this lease agreement and she just wanted a little more time to look at it.” Clouart says the proposal is for the shelter to pay $2,034 per month for two years to cover the interest payment of the loan the County made to purchase the former motel. The County would be responsible for the building, foundation and roof of the shelter.
A 24 year old Warm Springs man has been sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for sexually abusing two young girls on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Wednesday, Bryson Sutterlee, 24, was sentenced by a U.S. District Judge. According to court statements, he lived in a Warm Springs residence with his grandmother and other family members. Sutterlee abused two of his female relatives; one was under the age of 12, the other was under the age of 16. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig J. Gabriel says this 15 year sentence is "serious time." Gabriel: "The federal penalties for sexual abuse are severe, and Mr. Sutterlee will spend nearly the entire 188 months in prison. He will be allowed a certain amount of time off for good behavior, but there is no federal parole; so he can expect to serve almost all of that time in federal prison.” The judge said the victims showed "great courage" in testifying in this case.
Early this week we told you about strong tourism numbers; and now, it’s another sign that the economy could be waking up in Central Oregon. The President of the largest commercial real estate company in Central Oregon says in the last few months of 2010, his company started seeing many more people coming into the market. A Bend based commercial real estate company is sending a strong buying signal right now. Darren Powderly, President of Compass Commercial Real Estate Services in Bend says this is the "year of the deal" in Central Oregon commercial real estate. Powderly says they saw a noticeable increase in activity the last quarter of 2010. “The second half of 2010 the velocity of the deal flow really started to increase and we felt our phones really start ringing. The confidence pervaded throughout the business community, not only for business owners, but for investors. People were hesitant to step back in because they felt there was a double dip, and now that has really subsided. People are starting to spend money. And they’re really starting to be able to predict where their business will be 12 months from now and that gives them a level of confidence so they can start investing.” Powderly says the toughest part of the market is landlords who have vacancies. Right now the industrial and office vacancy rate in the Bend area is 20%, which is pretty high. Powderly was a guest on the KBND Morning News program “Your Town” Wednesday.
It’s time for the citizens of Bend to elect their Mayor instead of having the City Council do it. That's the opinion of former Councilor Oran Teater. “There is a variety of reasons. Our mayor only serves a two year term. You need to develop relationships with other mayors in the region. With state elected officials, your own Congressional group. By the time you get all this done, you've been in office a year, or year-and-a-half; six months later you're out of office.” Teater would like to see an elected mayor serve a four year term. He feels allowing the general public to elect the mayor gives citizens a chance to hear the leadership platform of a prospective mayor. Currently, the City Council selects a mayor from within their ranks and they'll do that during tonight's 7 o'clock meeting. If the Council decides to change the process, it would only take a simple majority vote of the people to amend the City Charter .
Deschutes County's new District Attorney Patrick Flaherty is excited about his new Chief Deputy D.A. Her name is Traci Anderson and she comes from the Portland area. “She has outstanding experience from Multnomah County where she was a prosecutor for 12 years. She brings tremendous skill to our County and I’m looking forward to working with her.” Flaherty says Anderson's experience will help the County quickly move through its backlog of cases.
St. Charles has a half a million dollars in grants to help patients navigate its complicated healthcare system. A quarter of a million dollars came from Pacific Source Health Plans. Peggy Lukens has been a breast cancer nurse navigator for the last five years at St. Charles. These kind of jobs are becoming more prevalent across the country. “A navigator steps in to help the patient from diagnosis to survivorship. They help patients through the complexities of the healthcare system providing clinical and emotional support.” Diseases like breast cancer can be especially challenging to maneuver because of all the different providers in a patient's treatment. With the additional funds, St. Charles plans to add a lung cancer, a general cancer and two heart nurse navigators.
A Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputy is doing okay today after being attacked by a pack of five huskies and German Shepherds during an attempted arrest yesterday morning. We now have the name of the deputy involved: "Deputy Kent VanderCamp. He's okay his pants were torn, but fortunately in the wintertime we wear lot of layers to stay warm, so it didn't break the skin." Captain Tim Edwards says the attack was so quick and violent the Deputy had to shoot and kill one of the dogs. Then they were able to arrest the Sisters man who is in the County Jail on four counts of sex abuse charges. Thurlow Hanson was wanted in New York state on first degree charges of sexual conduct against a child.
In a move that he says he saw coming, newly sworn in Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley fired Commander Russ Wright and hired John Gautney from the Bend Police Department. Wright, who, after eight years with Crook County, had planned to retire in March say he understood that it was the Sheriffs right to hire and fire whomever he pleases. Wright told our news partner News Channel 21: "When a new Sheriff comes in, he can dismiss an individual without cause, because he's an at-will employee and serves at the Sheriff's pleasure." The new Undersheriff, John Gautney has been working with bend police as head of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team.
You get an extra three days to file your income tax this year. in a news release, the IRS says taxpayers can file returns by April 18 instead of the normal April 15. It can be considered an act of generosity spurred by Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falling on the 15th this year. "By law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do," the IRS said. The extra time will also apply to taxpayers requesting an extension, who will have until October 17 to file. The IRS said it expects to receive more than 140 million individual tax returns in 2011.
Bend City Councilors and a new Mayor will take the oath of office tonight. Jodie Barram and Mark Capell were re-elected to office but this will be Scott Ramsey's first stint on the Council. Ramsey says trying to fill a $27-million General Fund budget over the next five-years. “Well, it's looking grim as most people know. Our real focus is figuring out where there is any fat to be trimmed and where we can make adjustments to fill the gaps.” Ramsey says he will use his business experience to help the council as they try to fill the void. He hopes avoid any kind of fee increase or tax stating that will be detrimental to the business climate in Bend. Bend City Council will meet tonight at 7.
600 service employees at St. Charles are voting today on whether to unionize. The voting for those workers eligible to vote will go on all day at the hospital. Katy Vitcovich is the Vice President of Human Resources at St. Charles: “We respect all of our caregivers and the rights and opinions on union representation and we want them to know their voices do count. Regardless of the outcome of the vote on union representation, it will not impact the way we do business and our commitment to quality patient care.” The ballots will be counted after the polls close at 9 p.m. A majority of caregivers voting must say yes to the union for it to be approved.
The federal government is changing its rules for students getting financial aid. Colleges will be setting their own policy, and Central Oregon Community College is already discussing changes that will start next fall. COCC’s Director of Financial Aid, Kevin Multop says the government is trying to make sure their aid dollars are well spent. “We hope to make that decision over the next couple months, so we can share with students the policy during the spring term. It will go into effect the end of summer term.” One of the things COCC is looking at is monitoring student's grades every semester instead of yearly. Currently students must maintain a “C” average and complete two thirds of the classes they signed up for.
Crook County’s Jail is full and the new Sheriff knows they can't afford to put in more beds. Sheriff Jim Hensley took over just this week, but knows jail overcrowding is not a new problem: “Crook County, it's a very old jail. It's only 16 beds and we currently rent 16 beds from Jefferson County.” Sheriff Hensley says the County will have to consider such alternatives as electronic monitoring to help reduce the number of people in the jail. In the past week, 22 inmates were released early or turned away because of overcrowding at the jail.
Five large dogs attacked a Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputy as the deputy tried to arrest a suspected child sex abuse suspect. The attack was so violent one dog bit and the deputy had to shoot and kill one of the dogs. Today, a Sisters man is in the County Jail on four counts of sex abuse charges. Thurlow Hanson, 66, was wanted in New York state on charges of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree. The Sheriff's Deputy saw Hanson out in his yard in Deschutes County Tuesday morning and tried to arrest him. Hanson then let his five large dogs out to attack the deputy and the officer was bitten by at least one of them. He is in the Deschutes County Jail on $100,000 bail.
One Bend City Councilman sees a lot of promise for 2011. Tom Greene recently joined the newly reopened Re/Max Key Properties here in Bend. Greene has been a realtor for about 34 years and was recently named the 2010 Central Oregon Realtor of the Year. Greene says being on the City Council has not been a problem for him: “Most people think that City Council is a paying job. And they don't realize that I am a realtor, still a realtor. And they think that I am on the City Council that, that's my paying job. We're basically volunteers at the City Council. But I still have been and always have been a realtor." Greene says there's been no City issues involving properties he's associated with; but if one ever came up, he would recuse himself from deliberations. Being involved in real estate, Greene says the outlook for this year will get brighter with each month.
Distracted drivers who are talking on their cell phones instead of driving are high on the list of violations law enforcement will be watching for today during a traffic safety blitz. “We are going to do something a little different than we have done recently. We are going to actually do all the surface streets that we can inside the City, instead of on the Parkway as we normally do. A lot of our crashes, we have a lot on the Parkway, but we also have 'em a lot on the arterial roadways and some of our residential roads.” Bend Police Sergeant Chris Carney says at least four different law enforcement agencies will join in a concentrated Multi Agency Traffic Team effort from 1 to 5 pm. They will also be looking for violations of speeding, improper use of seat belts, following too close and disobeying traffic signs. Carney says traffic accidents in Bend have increase 23% over last year, some of that can be attributed to more winter like driving conditions this year.
The City of Bend is continuing to work with experts to make sure that all drinking water in Bend is safe. That word comes today from City officials who were guests on KBND’s "Your Town" this morning. Back in December a Washington D.C. environmental group released a report of drinking water tests throughout the country. There was a test taken in Bend on the Avion Water system; and according to the Environmental Working Group, the water showed point 78 parts per billion of a cancer causing chemical. The dangers of high levels of chromium 6 were made famous in the Erin Brockovich movie. Today on your town, an EWG spokesman called the study just a snapshot and assured local residents that the water is safe. “Folks that there are relatively low doses in their water and there are. And the first thing I would like to tell your listeners is that we encourage folks in Bend to drink their water. This is not a cause for immediate concern. But long term exposure to chemicals like hexavalant chromium, which is a known carcinogen, a long exposure over time at low doses could have fairly serious health problems down the road for folks.” EWG Alex Formuses describes the his organization as a non-profit research and lobbying group. Meantime, the City of Bend questions how the test was done; how the information was presented and the motives of the group. City Manager Eric King: “This group obviously had an agenda with the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and I think they went about it the wrong way. This is not a productive way to make a point; is to unnecessarily raise everybody’s anxiety level and to really conduct what I think is a snapshot. It’s not a study. There wasn’t a scientific methodology that was backing these results. And so I think that the water customers of Bend need to know that. That they’re water is safe.” The EWG wanted to get the EPA to establish a legal level for chromium 6 more aggressive. Formuses says now that they've attracted the attention of the EPA, the group is not taking any further steps.
Deschutes County Commissioners will vote Wednesday on whether to approve a two year lease with the Bethlehem Inn. The Board at the shelter for the homeless had looked at buying the former motel on the north side of town, but they felt the $2 million price tag the County wanted, was overpriced. Instead they plan to sign a two year lease to pay around $2,000 a month. Chris Clouart with the Bethlehem Inn says eventually they want to move to a new location. “We are focusing strongly on trying to find another facility that we can move into. Something that’s more along the lines of what we think is a reasonable price. We've generated a real estate task force made up of some of the people in the real estate industry in the community here to help us.” If the Commissioners approve the lease, it would run until July of 2012.
Deschutes County's new District Attorney is in, and five workers in that office are out. But Patrick Flaherty says it's time to move forward and it's time to look towards the future. “In four or five weeks, you will some very positive changes in the DA's Office. Right now we are in the process of just gathering information because it is the first opportunity I have had to be inside the office.” Flaherty says he wants to work with each member of the DA's office and determine what works well and what doesn't. He has hired Tracy Anderson from the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office to work as his Chief Deputy Prosecutor. She replaces Darryl Nakahira.
Wednesday afternoon police officers will be out trying to catch speeders, those driving and talking on cell phones and other offenders. The Multi Agency Traffic Team (MATT) will be targeting drivers from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The detail will involve Bend and Redmond Police, Oregon State Police and Deschutes County deputies. These efforts are to increase safety and compliance to the rules of the road.
It’s a time for healing in the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office. That's according to new D.A. Patrick Flaherty. He replaced Mike Dugan who was the DA for more than 2 decades. Patrick Flaherty took his oath of office Monday. He says there is a lot of work to do in the office; but first he wants to focus on getting to know his staff after a rough transition: "There were so many rumors flying around after the election and I had no ability to freely communicate with people inside the DA's Office before today.” Flaherty confirmed that 5 Deputy DA's were not re-appointed in his office; and he named Tracy Anderson from Multnomah County as his Chief Deputy District Attorney.
The face of the Deschutes County Commission changed Monday morning as the newest member is sworn into office. La Pine resident Tony DeBone was elected in November to replace long time Commissioner Dennis Luke. DeBone says he is excited at his new challenge: “At this point, we know we are going to be managing budgets down. I will be part of the budget committee. I think I am going to be the only person changing on the budget committee. But this is where I will really be able to look at the pieces and parts of the County and put our opinions and priorities into the budget.” The County's Budget Committee meetings will start next Wednesday.
It happens every New Years and Fourth of July. All the big noise celebrations means the Humane Society of Central Oregon gets filled up - quick. Lynne Ouchida with the shelter says the kennels are full. "When we get 17 stray dogs in, basically within one to two days, that really fills up out kennels. So we're asking the community to come and reclaim their pet as soon as possible. That allows for other animals that are caught by animal control or good Samaritans to be able to bring them in and we can get them settled until their owners come." Ouchida says most of the animals are cold and scared and although the shelter is a good place for them, it's not their home. Also, the shelter is so full, that some residents who capture a wandering pet are caring for them until the owner is found. She says you can see photos of the animals on the shelter website: hsco.org. They will hold the animals for five days before the become available for adoption.
An alleged loan modification scam in Ashland serves as a reminder to consumers. The State is taking action against "Home Rrescue" for allegedly collecting $1500 from a homeowner with the promise of stopping a foreclosure and getting a loan modification. Lisa Morawski with the Department of Consumer and Business Services says a big up front fee is not only a red flag, it's also illegal in Oregon. Anything more than $50 for services related to help with debt violates state law. "So if somebody is promising to lower your credit card debt by 20%, they can only charge a $50 upfront fee for that." The State says the Ashland company, home Rescue, violated several state laws and was fined $30,000. Also, there is free help for homeowners facing possible foreclosure. That number is 1-800-SAFE-NET.
The Madras Aquatic Center needed to cut expenses, so starting this week they’ll be open fewer hours. The pool in Madras will be open eleven hours less a week. They are also closing down the month of April. There's a $90,000 budget shortfall and General Manager Bobby Deroest says these cost cutting measures should help. “We're a small community and this facility has large expenses. This facility is too large to be supported by the tax rate at the hours we were offering.” Staff cutbacks and reduced hours are expected to save nearly $40,000. Deroest expects they'll have to ask voters for an increase in the tax rate in future years. The pool opened in 2008 and about 300 people use the facility daily.
The Central Oregon tourism numbers starting to come in, and they are expected to be positive. Alana Audette with the Central Oregon Visitors Association (COVA) says there are many signs that our local tourism industry is looking up. For one, she says strong retail numbers often mean people will spend money on vacations too. "We also had a really solid Christmas season. We're going to be doing our post holiday surveys today through our office; so we'll have those numbers toward the end of the week. But the early projections and the surveys were that were conducted prior to the holiday had some pretty strong indicators for a good solid two week period." Audette says in the year over year comparison, they are expecting about a 3% to 7% increase in numbers for December. We are still about 10-15% off of the pre-recessionary figures but Audette says the momentum is definitely changing. She was a guest on KBND's “Your Town” Monday morning.
Minimum wage earners will see a 10¢ increase per hour this year. The increase is because in 2002 voters approved tying the minimum wage to inflation. Workers will now get $8.40 an hour. The federal wage is $7.25 an hour. Policy Analyst Anne Thompson is with the national employment law project. Oregon is going to be among 17 states above the federal level. It’s part of a growing and tide of states that acknowledge federal level not enough. Oregon has always been a leader in minimum wage policy. Founder of the Deschutes Brewery, Gary Fish thinks the mandatory increase hurts business. “Every time we are forced to give a raise it makes it harder for us to give a rise to those who don't get tips. I mean everything has a trade off.” Fish says the mandatory increase makes it more difficult to get pay raises to non minimum wage earners.
The Central Oregon tourism numbers starting to come in today, and they are expected to be positive. Alana Audette with the Central Oregon Visitors Association says there are many signs that our local tourism industry is looking up. For one, she says strong retail numbers often mean people will spend money on vacations too. "We also had a really solid Christmas season. We're going to be doing our post holiday surveys today through our office, so we'll have those numbers toward the end of the week. But the early projections and the surveys were that were conducted prior to the holiday had some pretty strong indicators for a good solid two week period." Audette says in the year over year comparison; they are expecting about a 3 to 7% increase in numbers for December. We are still about 10-15% off of the pre recessionary figures. But Audette says the momentum is definitely changing. She was a guest on KBND's Morning News Program “Your Town” this morning.
A California woman visiting family in Bend was killed in a head-on crash on Highway 97 Sunday. Oregon State Police say the two vehicle fatal crash happened shortly before noon on Highway 97 about six miles south of the Klamath / Deschutes County line. According to OSP, Hadley Ann Alger, 65, of Chico, California was southbound on 97 when she lost control of her Subaru on the icy roads. She crossed into the northbound lane into a Ford Ranger, driven by Collin Runnels, 24, of Klamath Falls. Medics pronounced her dead at the scene of the accident. Runnels said he tried to avoid hitting the Subaru, but was unable to avoid it. Runnels and his passenger, Brittany Anne Pendleton, 24, also of Klamath Falls were taken to Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls with non-life threatening injuries.
The top goal for Jefferson County for 2011 is bringing more jobs to the area. County Commissioner John Hatfield says they are working with Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) in hopes of attracting new family wage jobs to area. Another big goal is making sure that county government is efficiently serving the public during these very lean times. Hatfield says: "Maintain our efficiency and maintain the services people want on a declining budget, because property taxes are based on whichever is lower assessed value or retail market value and for the first time in a long time or ever the retail market value is lower than the assessed value which means the property taxes will be going down, which is good for the people but it puts stress on us providing services." The third goal is to try and get an operating levy passed for the jail - the current one expires at the end of June.
It happens every ten years, and it's time to do it again; time to re-draw Oregon's legislative boundaries. Bend Senator Chris Telfer is a Vice Chair of the Redistricting Committee, and she has a couple of concerns. “Certain people in Deschutes County that I have been representing will now be represented by another Senator, that is not as centrally located. Senator Whitsett is in Klamath Falls and Ssenator Ferriolli is in John Day, so it will be interesting.” Another concern she has it that both political parties will try to push the boundaries to favor their agendas. Telfer says geographic areas of like interests should be a bigger deciding factor. The official numbers will be available in March. New boundaries must be decided by June 30th. The Governor can reject the Legislature's plan and order the Secretary of State to re-draw the boundaries.
Judy Stiegler's career has taken many turns over the years. She's been a lawyer, a child rights advocate, and most recently a State Representative. Now she's looking for a new job: “I'm at a phase in my life that whatever my next step is, I have to have a real passion for. That's the bottom line.” Stiegler says she'd like to remain in Central Oregon, but will consider other options to find meaningful work. Her husband, Mike Dugan is leaving the D.A.'s Office after 24 years. He's up for a job in the Pacific Island nation of Palau. He'll find out in January whether he got it.
La Pine city council members have rejected an appeal aimed at stopping a biomass project in their city. Opponents are complaining the $75-million power project will create too much noise and traffic, and will not use union labor. “The labor unions are employing a tactic the last few years if a project is of major size that is going to be built will not use a union contractor, they will oppose the project through the land use system.” La Pine Interim City Manager Rick Allen says the union can still appeal to the State Land Use Board of Appeals. The Oregon Department of Environmental quality has okayed the air quality permit for the plant. The plant is projected to generate almost 25-megawatts of electricity through burning woody forest debris. The plant's owner hopes to start construction in the spring and it could take 15-months to build. The plant will employ 25-full time employees.
A local high school student has been chosen to be in the final dozen candidates for the National High School Rudy Award. We first told you about Bend High junior Kenny Daily a couple of weeks ago, being in the running for the High School Rudy Award. The award is given to that student who demonstrates exemplary values in life that inspired others to overcome obstacles. Bend Athletic Director Craig Walker says Daily has very much earned the respect of his peers: "His teammates know where he comes from. And his teammates know and they know there's no baloney going on there. And so when Kenny speaks, they know its from the heart and they listen, primarily because he’s really honestly talking from a place he's been and they get that." Walker says Daily's story is one that is very inspirational. For years his family was homeless, living in the outdoors then in a hotel until his mother was able to find work and get permanent housing. You can help Daily win the award, as it is an internet voting contest. You can read all about Kenny and vote for him at the High School Rudy Award website: Rudy Awards.
Everyone is hoping the economy looks up in 2011, including Bend businessman Gary Fish. Gary Fish is the founder of Deschutes Brewery and is planning on expanding its downtown restaurant this year. But he's nervous. “I think that will continue to bounce along the bottom for some time. I hope it doesn't turn south for us and hopefully one of these bounces holds.” Fish hopes both state and federal lawmaker get a handle on government spending and debt to help improve the economic picture in 2011.
Early results from police show there were more arrests this year in Oregon for drunk and impaired driving compared to New Years Eve 2009. Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers reported more DUII arrests around the state in comparison to last year during New Year’s Eve night. “ It’s always tough to try to figure out why there was a jump this year compared to last year. Because 2 years ago we actually had a higher number than what we have this year. So, sometime it seems to ride like a roller coaster, but no matter what the numbers, hopefully they’re having an impact; they’re removing impaired drivers from the road before they involved in a collision.” Lt. Gregg Hastings says the data covered the time period from New Years Eve to 6 am on January first. OSP troopers reported 41 DUII arrests around the state of which eighteen were after midnight. Last year, troopers reported 34 DUII arrests during the New Year's Eve night.
Things are calm now, but around 2 p.m. Friday, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is called out to a residence on Dee Street in Madras after shots are heard coming from a trailer. Apparently an armed man had barricaded himself inside his residence. Police evacuated and quarantined the neighborhood for several hours as they attempted to establish communication with the man. The Oregon State Police Swat Team was deployed, but contact could not be made. Police determine the man to be Geraldo Antiono Arreola, 19, of Madras. Around 8:30 p.m., police obtained a warrant and entered the residence to find Arreola dead. The police will continue to investigate the incident, but they believe no other persons were involved and the public is safe.