The Portland V..A. Medical Center will show its' appreciation to all veterans by sponsoring free entry to Vince Genna Stadium for a Bend Elks game on July fourth. V.A. spokesman Mike McAleer says this is the fifth annual welcome home event and the second annual for Bend: "The veterans are all very thankful and very happy that someone recognized their service. That’s what we want to do. We want to make sure that the folks that have come back from serving in Afghanistan or Iraq or other missions throughout the world. And let them know that we're here for them. Part of the event is for us to provide information to veterans on the some of their benefits and some of their entitlements for the service that they’ve given." McAleer says all veterans are invited, and they can get 4 tickets to the game, plus a meal ticket at the stadium, and stay to watch the fireworks after the game. you can reserve your tickets by calling the VA Medical Center at 1-800-949-1004 / x 51920 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who support efforts to bring a facility for grad programs at OSU Cascades have reason to celebrate today. In Salem, lawmakers are expected to pass a Lottery Bond Bill that includes $2 million in lottery bonds for the project. State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says if the bill passes the facility should be ready for students as soon as this fall. "In the fall semester of this year all of the OSU faculty, staff and students should be housed in the new facility. It also saves money for OSU Cascades because we'll be able to avoid the cost of leasing additional space." Conger says if the bill passes as expected, it’s a big victory for Central Oregon because these lottery bond projects were really scrutinized and about half of the requests were turned down and never made it into the bill.
The Oregon House has voted to give tribal police the same off-reservation authority as non-tribal officers. Yesterday, lawmakers voted in favor of it despite objections from county sheriffs officials who said the measure would open the door to lawsuits and give tribal officers unprecedented authority. Representatives approved the measure on a 33-25 vote after GOP representatives also argued the bill doesn’t have enough oversight to ensure the tribes comply with state law. The measure now goes back to the Senate, which has already approved the bill but is scheduled to decide Wednesday evening whether to accept changes made in the House. Authorities from Warm Springs support the idea and have pushed for it. Governor Kitzhaber has said he also supports the bill.
As one of the last acts by Oregon State Legislators in this session, the lawmakers approved a bipartisan agreement on new U.S. Congressional Districts. It's the first time since 1981 that the legislature has reached an agreement on a congressional map. Earlier in this session, the legislature approved maps that re-district our state senators and representative boundaries based on the 2010 census.
Lawmakers are getting ready to pack it up and head home as session is expected to come to a close today. If session goes past today, it will cost taxpayers about $31,000 a day to extend it. House Co-Speaker and State Representative Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay says he's excited to get back home to the Oregon Coast and then spend some time reflecting: “I'm kind of looking forward to taking a breath and looking back at what we've done. It’s very, very hectic here. I'm pleased that we are getting out of here on time, meeting our requirement one more time to get out of here by the end of June." Republicans and Democrats are saying the 30-30 split in the House was surprisingly effective. They say they were able to work together on several key issues like education reform, tax credit revisions, and a bi-partisan map for state lawmakers.
The Oregon State Police hope that you will remember to designate a driver if you plan to drink over the holiday weekend. The Fourth of July holiday means camping, picnicking and spending time with friends and family. For law enforcement, this holiday is one of the deadliest of the year. “Our work's cut out for us. And we know that we can have the possibility of fewer deaths and hopefully no fatalities with people making smart decisions out there on the roadways. So we'll be increasing our patrols. We’ll be using overtime grant funds, and our main focus, will obviously be the impaired driver because about half the traffic fatalities in Oregon since 1970, over the Fourth of July holiday weekend are alcohol involved fatality crashes." OSP Lieutenant Gregg Hastings says their campaign: “Drung Driving- Over the Limit -Under Arrest" begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends Monday at midnight. Hastings says to designate a driver or just stay put if you are going to drink alcohol.
It’s one of the most common complaints the City of Bend sees, and in some cases they will issue a ticket. We are talking about barking dogs. Steve Esselstyn is with the Bend Police Department: “If you have a chronic dog problem, and dogs are supposed to bark, they do that. But if you have one that drones on and on and on- you can call dispatch, non-emergency number, 51-693-6911, the officer will come out and person will get a verbal warning; then a written warning, and even a ticket. Besides barking dogs dispatch also receives a lot of calls about dogs at large.
A 54 year old truck driver from Vancouver, Washington, was killed in Tuesday’s tanker truck crash on Highway 26 near Warm Springs. David Lee Spooner was killed when his tanker went through a guardrail and down a 200 foot embankment before bursting into flames. Officers are still trying to investigate why the tanker went off the road. “You know at this time, it's hard to say. We’re still investigating it. We’ve got troopers from the Madras Patrol Office and also Prineville that'll becoming in and doing the investigation, so at this time it's still to early to tell. “ OSP Trooper John Russo says the tanker was headed to Sunriver to deliver aviation fuel.
The Jefferson County School District is making plans with the Warm Springs Tribe to build a new elementary school in the next five years. The groups signed a new agreement which means the school district will continue to educate the students on the reservation, just as they've done for the last fifty years. School Superintendent Rick Molitors says the new agreement means the school district and the Tribal Council will need to think about financing the new school. “The joint partnership of trying to find the funding for that building. It's a challenge for reservations all across the nation to get funding for schools. We need to provide the best educational programs and facilities. There’s definitely a need in our district.” The new K-8 school is expected to cost $18 million. Molitor says they expect to divide the cost among the three groups: the school district, the Tribes and the federal government.
Summer tourists often provide a big boost to restaurants, stores and hotels in Central Oregon; while Mt. Bachelor is a big draw during the winter. The busiest time for tourists is actually right now, and our biggest competitor for those tourism dollars is the Oregon Coast. So how are things on the coast? Caroline Bauman heads the Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln County. She says tourism plays an important role in their economy too, and times have been pretty tough recently: “To the degree that we are tourism dependent, it’s not our only industry but it is a major one. But it all has to do with how the economic health of the places that our tourists are coming from. Over the last few years, the families have less to spend. They still come to the coast; they want to go to the beach, which is free, but they don't have as much money to spend as they had in the past.” Similar to Central Oregon, Lincoln County has been focusing on diversifying its economy so it's not as dependent on tourism. One big difference compared to Bend is that the Oregon Coast hasn't seen dramatic changes in real estate values. Bowman says ocean front property seems to be in demand in any kind of economy.
The latest Bureau of Labor numbers reflect some good news for workers in the Portland area. Jobless rates were lower in May than a year earlier in most of the metropolitan areas. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, in the 49 metropolitan areas the highest unemployment rates in may were registered in the Riverside-San Bernardino, California area at 13.2%. The lowest jobless rate was recorded in Oklahoma City, at 4.9%. Las Vegas experienced the largest unemployment rate decrease from May 2010, down 2.5 percentage points, followed by Detroit, and the greater Portland-area was down almost 2% year over year.
Oregon State troopers are investigating a dramatic fatal truck accident on Highway 26 near Warm Springs that shut down the highway for two hours Tuesday morning. The truck was loaded with highly flammable aviation fuel; it hit the guardrail, tumbled down into the canyon, and caught on fire. Oregon State Police say the truck and trailer was loaded with 8300 gallons of aviation fuel. It smashed into the guardrail for about 100 feet before breaking thru and then falling 200 feet down the into the canyon. ODOT's Peter Murphy has more details: “It exploded; it burst into flames. I guess it had aviation fuel, which is pretty volatile. Once it gets going its pretty hot; so the truck became fully engulfed. And in addition to that it set a small fire there in the wildland, on the downhill side of the highway as people descend on the east side of the Deschutes River." Crews were able to quickly put out the wild land fire. State troopers confirm the driver was inside the wreckage, which was totally destroyed in the crash.
A debate in Eugene over how many times the City Council should say the Pledge of Allegiance is getting national attention. USA Today, Fox News and others are picking up the story about the scrabble over how many times the Council should say the Pledge. The issue first surfaced several weeks ago when Councilor Mike Clark suggested that the Pledge be recited at the start of bimonthly council meetings. He says it was motivated by the fact that Eugene has some very diverse opinions and he had hoped the Pledge would create some unity: "So, my idea was that we begin to say the Pledge at the beginning of each meeting so we can all remember we're on the same team. We're all Americans and we may view the answers to some things differently but there is some unity in what we do and there could be some strength in that." Instead of creating unity the suggestion sparked a lot of debate among the Council and the Eugene community. In the end, the Council came up with reciting the Pledge, not at every meeting, but four times a year. On Monday, they agreed to recite the Pledge at meetings closest to Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July.
Bret Biedschied was set to enter a plea in court Monday, but that was postponed. Police say Biedschied was driving the car that killed pedestrian Anthony Martin in January of this year. Tuesday, the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office said Bret Biedscheid would be in for a settlement conference July 12th behind closed doors. If they do not come to a plea agreement, he is set to enter a plea on July 18th. A grand jury indictment came down in April for the fatal crash. Biedscheid is charged with criminally negligent homicide and failure to perform the duties of a driver in an accident, a felony.
Crook County Schools has approved their school budget. Compared to other area districts, they had few layoffs and didn't have to cut any school days. Jan Briskey is the school district's Business Manager. “We have $27.3 million budget, going to a 190 day contract days. We're restoring all the furlough days taken during the current year. There were some reductions in classified positions, but not in teachers’ positions.” Briskey says the District will have to revisit staff levels again next year, when she fears they won't have the carryover they had this year.
As the legislative session winds down, at least one lawmaker says he's surprised that a split house was able to work so well together. "It’s been very positive in the way that we've cooperated. The co-governance model in the House has worked extremely well; and there's been greater cooperation than in the other four session that I’ve had here in the Legislature." Republican Dennis Richardson admits they still have hurdles to get over; the budget has been stuck on public safety. The Legislature could head home as early as Thursday.
Marie Dodds with Triple A says Oregon prices are down 4-cents a gallon to $3.79. The national average fell nine cents a gallon to $3.55. Locally, we have an average of about $3.78 this week. Dodds says prices should continue to fall unless the war heats up or there is a natural disaster in gas producing nations. Click here for Oregon gas prices.
It was an emotional time in the courtroom as a guilty verdict is read in a Portland murder trial. A jury found Brian Cole guilty Tuesday of murdering his wife, Heather Mallory, and dumping her body in a forest near Estacada in 2008. Brain Cole showed no emotion before the verdict was read, sitting next to his lawyer, leaning forward. Cole then closed his eyes as the verdict was read: Guilty of killing his wife, Heather Mallory in 2008. “I feel as if justice has been done today. Brian Cole almost got away with murder, and the jury has spoken and he’s being held accountable. And we’re so very happy about that today.” Prosecutor Amy Holmes. Cole was led out of the courtroom crying. He was in shackles, and his hands were bound behind his back as sheriff’s deputies led him down the hallway. Heather Mallory’s parents listened to the verdict via phone from their home in Seattle. Sentencing is set for July 20th. Those who were in the courtroom during the trial describe Brian Cole as emotionless during much of the testimony.
A couple from the valley is found safe after spending the night near Hosmer Lake Tuesday night. John and Terri Harris from Milwaukie, Oregon started their hike along the Lava Lake trailhead around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon. Lt. Scott Shelton with Deschutes County Search and Rescue: “During that time they came upon hikers on the trail who told them they could hike around Elk Lake, but they got turned around. They didn't have any compass or map. So it was real easy to get turned around on the trails.” The pair called 911 at 4:30 Tuesday morning asking for help. They were cold, wet and lost. Officers found them around 7 a.m. about five miles from the Lava Lake Trailhead on the Windago Trail. One of the hikers could not able to walk out, initially, due to injuries sustained as a result of exposure. Conditions at the time the search began were windy, rainy and cold, in the low 40-degree range. Medical personnel checked them out and gave them dry clothing and hot liquids. The hikers were released after a medical evaluation.
The hikers indicated during an interview, that they had left from Lava Lake around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon, with intentions of taking a short hike. They were not equipped to remain overnight or for the changing weather conditions. They also did not have a map, compass or other navigations systems, but they did have a fully charged cell phone. The Harris’ did not call for help until the morning, because they believed the Sheriff’s Office would not conduct a search overnight. The Deschutes County Sheriffs Office wants everyone to know that they do respond to calls for assistance at any time of the day or night, or in any weather conditions.
A fiery tanker crash on Highway 26 near Warm Springs closed the highway in both directions for a while this morning. Emergency workers say the tanker truck left Highway 26, hit an object and exploded. The accident also touched off a small wildland fire. ODOT's Peter Murphy describes what happened: “A tanker truck left the highway and it collided with something. Right now I don’t know what that was. As it hit that object, it exploded and burst into flames. I guess it had gas, aviation fuel on board, which is pretty volatile. Once it gets going, it gets pretty hot. And so the truck became fully engulfed. And in addition to that, it caused a small fire in the wild land. Traffic was stalled for hours and smoke could be seen throughout the area.” Delson Suppah works at a radio station and saw the smoke from the station: “It was going pretty well, you could see black smoke out of there for a long time.” Local fire crews were able to quickly douse the flames of the wildland fire. Late reports indicate apparently the tanker truck driver perished in the crash.
Bend City Councilors approved a budget for the next two years at their meeting Monday night. The $428 million, two-year budget, includes a General Fund that's about $1 million less than the previous biennium. City Councilor Jodie Barram says residents may notice some changes: “What people will see is reduction in customer services. So if they go in to Building and Planning or need some services, might see a delay. Police will be responding to higher priority calls and not as quickly to lower priority. So response times may be a little slower.” Barram was the only councilor who voted against the budget. Her objection had to do with the purchase of a $400,000 truck to take care of the roads in the winter. She felt that money could have been better spent elsewhere.
G5; a Bend company that designs websites and specializes in other marketing solutions, today announced that it ranked No. 6 in the Portland Business Journal 2011 list of fastest-growing private companies in Oregon and southwestern Washington. This marks the third consecutive year that G5 has been ranked in the publication’s listing of the fastest-growing 100 companies. G5 posted revenue growth of 228% and an employee count increase of 223%. That growth was seen during a three-year period from 2008 to 2010.
The City of Bend has its top two candidates for the Police Chief spot narrowed down; and now they are doing their homework on the finalists. Last week the top five visited Bend, and City spokesman Justin Finestone says now they are doing extensive background checks on the two that are left: "They'll be some sight visits where the city manager and current police chief some other personnel will go to the folks towns and talk with people they work with- members of the community that have interactions with the police department, to see how they operate in their environments- just to double check everything we think we got out of the interviews last week.” The City is not releasing the names of the 2 finalists. We do know one who is not still in the running: according to a California newspaper, last week the Chief of Eureka Police, Chief Garr Nielsen, was suddenly fired from his job on Friday. He was given five minutes to clean out his desk and change out of his police uniform. Finestone confirms that Nielsen is not one of the top two finalists for Bend Police Chief position.
We are following breaking news this morning along the Cascade Lakes Highway where two people are believed to be lost. Two hikers called for help this morning around 4:30. They are believed to be lost near Lava Lake and could possibly be suffering from mild hypothermia; as they were not prepared for overnight conditions. They told dispatchers they had been in the woods for about 12-hours. Mt. Bachelor cams show there is a steady rain falling and there is still snow in the area. Search and Rescue is on the scene now, attempting to locate the unidentified couple. We are continuing to follow this story and will bring you the latest as it develops.
We are just learning now about a drug bust that happened in late May. A 46 year old Bend man is arrested in Canton, Illinois after police are notified that he is piloting a plane carrying about 78 pounds of marijuana. Canton police had just 20 minutes notice that John Busche of Bend was to land his plane at the airport for a pot delivery before continuing on to North Carolina. According to our news partner, News Channel 21, police found 13 pounds of pot in a suitcase and another 65 pounds stashed in other areas of the plane. The value of the pot was placed at about $450,000. Busche was taken into custody and is held in the Fulton County Jail.
A church youth group is ripped off by a customer who purchased $60 worth of fireworks at their fundraising stand in redmond Sunday night. Assembly of God teens were manning a fireworks stand in the Wal-Mart parking lot and were not aware that the three $20 bills were fake; but an adult noticed when he counted the money at the end of the day. Youth Pastor Jeremy Hocker told our news partner, News Channel 21 that it was disappointing, because the kids are working to go to summer camp, and they didn't believe that anyone would steal from them. Redmond Police are investigating the crime.
A fire near Madras last night affected traffic in the area. Fire officials say the fire tore through an outbuilding at a seed company along Highway 97 south of Madras Monday night, sending up tall flames as the firefighting effort forced motorists to detour onto nearby streets. The fire was reported around 9:30 p.m. in an outbuilding at the Wilbur-Ellis Co. Seed Division, at 3390 SW Highway 97, across from the Central Oregon Livestock Auction yard, officials said. Warm Springs reportedly was called in on mutual aid, and Culver firefighters were also on scene. A Jefferson County Rural Fire District official said the fire was knocked down within about an hour. The outbuilding was destroyed, and fire crews were making sure the fire was out and looking for any hot spots. The facility was closed at the time and no injuries were reported.
It looks like the Deschutes Water Mitigation Program will continue for another 18 years. Lawmakers approved it and now, it’s headed to the Governor's desk. Representative Gene Whisnant of Sunriver says the legislation will pave the way for development in the region and protection of the river: “I'm real excited. It’s an important bill for conservationists and economic in cities. It was a lot of hard work that all the concerns were addressed. I think the bill will help cities, farmers in the Deschutes River Basin.” The Governor is expected the sign the bill. Whisnant’s bill will extend the program until 2029. It ensures that when water is pumped from the basin, enough water is pumped back in to replace it.
Public lands are for everyone to enjoy; but Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says unfortunately a few people can ruin the experience for many. He says illegal dumping is a problem they see way too much of on our public lands. "An old coach and old chair, we all have our favorite place to walk, and frankly if you care about the area and the community, like we all do it really angers you as you walking on a favorite trail or road and you see where someone has thrown the old couch they don't want anymore or sofa or old mattress.” Blanton says if you get a license plate or vehicle description they will act fast to try and stop people who are dumping trash illegally.
Agencies that help fight child abuse in Oregon will have another revenue source soon. State lawmakers approved a new "Keep Kids Safe" license plate that will give these agencies a consistent source of revenue. Elaine Knobbs with the Kid’s Center is thrilled the bill succeeded this session. “Especially during economic hardships, the risk of child abuse goes up, so anything the community can do to help protect kids is very much needed.” Representative Gene Whisnant was behind the "Keep Kids Safe" bill. A percentage of the funds raised through the group license plates will go to non -profits fighting child abuse in Oregon. The plates are expected to raise at least $100,000 per biennium.
So, you think you've got talent? You can win money with your special talents. How would you like to put your talent to the test? Organizers of the Deschutes County Fair is looking for people with talent to share and it can be any kind of talent: “We’ve been doing the Talent Show, which Eberhard’s Dairy products here in Redmond has helped sponsor for many, many years. The Talent Show is a huge show; they do a lot of auditions. So we’re looking for our first 20 applications for the Talent Show.” Fair Manager Ross Rogers says in the past, they have gotten all kinds of talented people, and not just singing or dancing. Juggling, comedy, and balancing acts - they want to see them all. There is a cash prize for each age category every day of the Fair. For more information, contact the Deschutes County Fair at 541-548-2711.
Former City Councilor Oran Teater is encouraged by the growth at OSU Cascades over the last decade. Teater is on the OSU Cascades Board and believes the campus provides a unique opportunity for young and older students. “Well our goal there continues to grow the campus. We currently have 14 majors and we'd like to have 20 majors. Currently 700 to 800 students and it might not sound like a lot, but it’s only a ten year old campus. Most of those students are home bread, who otherwise wouldn't have a chance to get a four year degree.” Teater was the guest on KBND's "Your Town" this morning.
A Central Oregon school is getting a large federal grant in hopes of helping struggling students in struggling schools. Jefferson County Middle School is getting a federal grant of $3.4 million in the second round of the school improvement grants. These funds are funneled to persistently low- achieving schools. Jefferson County Schools Superintendent rick Molitor this money allows them to hire more teaching positions to help students at the middle school who are falling behind in math or reading. “I think the biggest one out there is double dosing, or workshop time, Students that are having difficulty or challenges meeting the academic requirements, we do have additional workshops and supports that includes staff and teachers to provide that time for the students to meet those increased requirements.” Molitor says a similar grant they just received at the Madras High School is working well; they are already seeing good results.
Lawmakers approve Representative Gene Whisnant's Water Mitigation Bill. It's headed to the Governor's desk, where he is expected to sign it. The bill extends a program that will ensure enough water is put back in the Deschutes River for development. “And I think we have a good bill. The biggest use of the Deschutes River is irrigation from farmers, not cities and resort. They use very little we take out of the river.” The Water Mitigation Bill will extend the program until 2029 and requires the Water Resource Department to report to the Legislature every five years on the impact of the program. A study has found that the Deschutes River Basin's groundwater and surface water are intertwined. When groundwater goes down, so do the river levels, so it's important to replenish the water levels taken out.
To recognize and promote National HIV Testing Day, Deschutes County Health Services is offering free rapid HIV antibody testing today. The test allows people to get the test and results in the same visit. Routine testing is recommended for everyone ages 13 to 64 years old, and those with behaviors that put them at risk should be tested each year. The free testing is until 5:30 p.m. this afternoon at the downtown Health Center on Harriman in Bend. Please call ahead as there are limited tests available.
Central Oregon lawmakers hope to vote on approval for a new OSU Cascades building today. The bill was delayed last week when legislators got hung up on public safety issues. OSOU Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson is cautiously optimistic the bill will be approved the Ways and Means Committee: “Well, we're trying to purchase the building right now because we feel it’s a good time because of the lower prices. We’ve identified a building that has access capacity for us right now.” The building they want to purchase is the former Edge Wireless building on Columbia Street near downtown Bend. If approved, the state would issue nearly a $2-million bond to buy the building. It will house OSU Cascades graduate programs.
Fire season officially starts today. We've already had a brushfire in Terrebonne last week, that gave us a hint of what's ahead this season. Kate Lighthall with Project Wildfire looks ahead to what we can expect. “The thing is in an average season we have 450 fires that burn between 345,000 and 50,000 acres in an average year.” Lighthall recommends people make sure there's a defensible space around your home to prevent your home from being an easy target. It's advised people clear debris, weeds and brush 30 feet from your home.
An experimental aircraft was forced to land without landing gear Sunday afternoon at the Prineville Airport. Prineville dispatch got a call after the plane had landed reporting this incident. When emergency units arrived, they found the single-engine plane had run off the runway during the landing and that the pilot had been unable to lower the gear prior to landing. The pilot was not injured. According to FAA files, the plane is registered to Vernon Goodsell, of Sisters. When he flipped the switch to lower the landing gear on one of those unique planes, an XP-Talon, on approach to the, he figured it had extended as it’s supposed to. But this time, for whatever reason, it didn’t, as he learned on touchdown. Instead, Goodsell’s plane made what the calm and quiet pilot later called a “gear-up landing” others might call a crash-landing, and ran off the runway. “I thought (the gear) was down, came in, hit the pavement and kept on skidding,” he said.
A Bend man has finally received the awards he earned after surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was the culmination of a Missouri's woman's mission to find her missing father. She diligently used every source she could find to locate Earl Arnold, and she wanted him to receive his Pearl Harbor medal and other decorations from his service during World War II. So, today, 66-years after the war ended, Arnold received his medals. “It means a lot, makes you feel proud.” His daughter, Peggy Fortner was thrilled at the turnout of 75 people to honor him. “I'm thinking that if every citizen in the nation would honor their veterans in such a way, that our youth would be different youth today.”
Just in time for summer, there's a new frozen yogurt business in downtown Bend. Yesterday the Bend Yogurt Factory opened on the corner of Franklin and Bond Street. Downtown Bend Business Association Executive Director Chuck Arnold says it’s a great addition to the downtown atmosphere: "This is in the old DiLuso's Coffee location. It was a coffee and bakery there up until a few months ago, and it rented pretty quickly to Bend Yogurt Factory and we are incredibly excited about having them downtown and having that frozen yogurt option." The Yogurt Factory offers 21 flavors and a huge toppings bar.
Managers at a fish hatchery in northeastern Oregon had to euthanize 42,000 rainbow trout recently because the were infected with a virus. Spokesman Ron Harrod at the Wallowa hatchery says they killed the fish and buried them on Thursday. “It is a lot of fish. The thing of it is; we're going to try and move on. It’s a one time deal here at the hatchery. We haven't had it happen before, and hopefully it won't happen again. We're going to take precautions and bring in some test fish and monitor those for the next couple of years and we may be back to normal at that point." The trout were killed to keep the virus from spreading to other fish. Harrod says the virus is common in waters of the Snake River Basin, and is not harmful to humans. As a result of this outbreak, the hatchery will cut its trout production from 50,000 fish per year to 20,000 using a second water source where the virus is not present.
The headline should read: "Local Boy Does Good". Former Mountain View track standout Ashton Eaton was the odds-on favorite to become the U.S. Decathlon Championship at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. And he not only won, the closest competitor was 700 points behind him. Compounding the victory, the championships were held in Eatons' home field: Hayward Field in Eugene, in front of a hometown crowd. Eaton now goes on to compete in the World Championships in South Korea later this summer and then hopefully, the 2012 Olympics in London. KBND congratulates Bennd’s own Aston Eaton and we wish him well.
Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen, one of the five finalists for the Bend Police Chief position was fired from his job Friday, reports the Contra Costa Times. The report says he was fired without cause and given five minutes to collect some personal belongings and change out his uniform, and he was escorted out of the building.
Eureka City Council members and other officials would not comment on the reason for the sudden termination, but recently he was lauded for his work and at least a dozen citizens addressed the Council supporting Nielsen. Nielsen was informed earlier this week that he was eliminated from contention for the Bend Police Chief position.
As Independence Day approaches, federal agents are working to educate the public on the dangers of illegal explosives, like this handcrafted tennis ball bomb, which busted a hole in a thick sheet of press board. The demonstration in Clackamas included detonation of a homemade "sparkler bomb" which took off the hand of a mannequin and a professional-grade firework that busted another mannequin to pieces. Explosives agent Brennan Phillips says all suspicious fireworks should be reported to law enforcement.
The Oregon Legislature has approved a bill that will allow an eastern Oregon guest ranch to buck state land use laws and expand to a 575-unit facility. The Silvies Valley Ranch is owned by Scott Campbell, a former veterinarian and founder of the Banfield Pet Clinic Chain. Representative Cliff Bentz voted in favor. Bentz says he'd hoped the Senate approved an earlier version of the bill, which would have created an Oregon Guest Ranch Pilot Program. Those amendments were removed. Some lawmakers are promising to revisit the Pilot Project proposal during the next legislative session.
The Sister’s School Board approved its $11.4 million budget for next year. It's a little more than a million dollars less than last year's budget. School Board member Glenn Lasken says they had to make some tough decisions. “This was probably the most difficult budget cut in the 12 years I’ve been on the Board. We had to cut 10% of our operating budget, not easy to do since we'd been making cuts over the previous years as well. A majority of the cuts were from teacher’s concessions.” They agreed to fewer days and to forego some scheduled increases to make the budget balance.
Federal prosecutors say they've indicted two Bend residents and a Redmond man for allegedly misusing more than $44 million invested through their business: Summit Accommodators. Mark A. Neuman, 56, Lane S. Lyons, 40, both of Bend, and Timothy D. Larkin, 52, of Redmond, were indicted Wednesday on charges of conspiring to defraud customers of their former business, Summit Accommodators, headquartered in Bend. Prosecutors say the fraud scheme took place from 1999 through 2008, and allegedly involved the misuse of over $44 million of customer funds, causing 91 customers to lose $13.7 million.
Fire investigators in Bend say the most likely cause of a house fire on Northeast 9th Street last night was the improper disposal of cigarettes. Bend Fire officials say the fire originated on the front wood deck adjacent to a metal bucket use to dispose of cigarettes. The fire rapidly intensified and entered the front of the house after breaking through a window, front door, and under the roof eaves. Fire investigators also say that there was not a working smoke alarm and the occupants were alerted when one of them happened to awaken and discovered smoke. The house is owned by Ron and Susan Neal, and Zarian McManus is renting the home.
A Redmond mom is very grateful for the people who rescued her and her two children after they went over the Colorado Dam Spillway earlier this week. Erin Bell-Taylor who talked with our news partner, News Channel 21, says it happened so fast. “I had these plastic oars and i broke out because i was paddling so hard. No matter what I did, I could not venture to the left. If my baby didn't have a life vest on, she’d be dead.” The mom and kids jumped out of the raft when they saw they were going to go over the spillway. The mom was able to hang on to the bridge, but the kids went tumbling through the rocks. Luckily, an off duty Sunriver Firefighter was nearby and jumped in and saved them.
Fire season is starting up, so people should take steps to help protect their homes and keep fires to a minimum here in Central Oregon. Kate Lighthall with Project Wildfire says the small brushfire in Terrebonne earlier this week, is a reminder fires can spread quickly. “The idea is if the fire travels from public to private land that you've given firefighters a fighting chance by breaking up that fuel bed by mowing grass to 4 inches, so flames aren't going to get that high. So firefighters can effectively suppress it.” It's recommended you keep shrubs and weeds and other combustible materials 30 feet from your home. It's also suggested you keep your gutters free from debris like pine needles and leaves.
An award ceremony honoring a very special World War II veteran is taking place this morning. Navy veteran Earl Riley Arnold, a 90 year old resident of Bend served on the destroyer USS Monahan, barely surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. 25 years ago, he became estranged from his family, and thanks to his daughters search efforts, the medals earned 66 years ago are ready for their true home. Military and city officials want to recognize and honor Arnold for his service and present him with, at least, 9 medals. “His family, his daughter and son in law are driving all the way from Missouri to Bend to see Earl and to present him with his medals from that war. And so it’s going to be a great event. I look forward to meeting Earl and his family and welcoming his family to Bend.” Mayor Jeff Eager says Arnold was involved in several dangerous battles during World War II, including Pearl Harbor, Midway, the battle of the Coral Sea and many others.
He actually got off the destroyer just days before it was sunk by a typhoon. The ceremony is at the Bend Heroes Memorial in downtown Bend at 10 a.m., and is open to everyone.
A family of three is safe today after their rental home caught fire around 10:45 last night. Bend Fire is still investigating, but when they arrive at the house near northeast 9th and Hawthorne, they found the porch and the front of the home fully involved. Crews were able to put the fire out, but the house sustained about $170,000 damage. Zarian McManus and his family were able to escape the house without harm. Bend Fire officials will continue the investigation as to the fire's cause.
Efforts to ensure Prineville has enough water to attract news jobs made some headway on Capitol Hill on Thursday. U.S. Representative Greg Walden of Oregon held a legislative hearing today for his Central Oregon Water and Jobs Security Act. Changing a boundary line at the Bowman Dam will help clear the way for clean hydropower at the dam. “Crook County's unemployment is the highest in the state, 15% to 20% the last couple years. And this is a no cost, job creating clean energy bill; this is it and we do more than that.” Construction of the hydropower project would employ 50 construction workers and would provide approximately $140,000 in annual property tax revenue to Crook County.
A bill connected with a big project at OSU Cascades is still alive in Salem, but it won't be decided until early next week, because the House has adjourned until Monday. State lawmakers are expected to vote soon on final approval of the purchase of a $2 million building for OSU Cascades. If approved, the State would issue a $1.9 million bond, to buy the building in the Old Mill District. State Representative Jason Conger says he's still optimistic that the legislation will move forward.
A new national article is putting Oregon near the top of an undesirable tax list. The national money magazine - Kiplingers ranked Oregon as number four on a top ten list of Unfriendly Tax States for Retirees. Bend financial advisor Bill Valentine says its much easier for retirees than people currently working to just relocate to a more tax-friendly state. Plus, he says a tough economy often means retirees can't just go get a part-time job to supplement their pension and investments. "When you make the decision to cross the threshold into retirement you do so knowing your ability to re-enter the workforce dimishes with time. And also diminishes with reduced economic opportunity so people retiring today look at going back to work as a very undesirable thing.” Oregon ranked #4 because of high state income taxes and very un-friendly inheritance taxes.
Earlier this week, Oregon lawmakers passed a huge education reform package that opens up many new directions for students, including more online classes. One parent says without online classes her kids may have fallen thru the cracks. “This is a historical day for Oregon. We haven’t seen these kind of education reforms in years and years.” Parent Anne Marie Gurney is also a spokesperson for the Oregon Connections Academy, an online school for students. She applauds this new direction for Oregon, saying the reform package adds much more flexibility into the system. In her case, her kids are doing much better with online learning. “I take very seriously that I only have one chance to education my child. They've got to be ready to step into a workforce or going into a college at age 18 and I only have one chance to do that." Gurney says in he past the online school was capped at just 2500 students for the entire state, and Gurney said there was an enormous waiting list of students wanting to join. The new legislation raises the online cap dramatically to 3% of the local school district population.
There’s a downside to “Cloud” computing which stores your information on servers around the world. Portland technology expert Brian Westburg explains: “There's a pipeline to your data and whether or not that's secure, and whether people can break into that have been built around those systems, its' out there, and theoretically available for anyone." Westburg offers this advice: if you have any information on any computer network make sure it's encrypted and make sure your password and security systems are current.
A local mom and her two young kids are safe after they accidentally went through the spillway on the Deschutes River at Colorado Avenue in Bend Wednesday afternoon. Bend Police Sgt. Nick Parker says the mom and her two young kids were apparently not able to navigate the Deschutes River and get out at Colorado, so the current carried them into dangerous waters: “It sounds like they were all on a float tube, or a boat together, small. And they lost it in the current. It sounds like they couldn’t get to shore in time, before the spillway. SO all three went under.” Citizens rescued the 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. The mom was stranded on a rock and rescued by the fire department.” Bend Fire officials say hundred's of people are floating the river on hot days now and they urge people to be careful navigating the river there. Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki is with the Bend Fire Department: “There’s lots of places to get injured get stuck or anything like that. There’s been many, many accidents there. It’s a common spot.” He says they see this happen about 4-5 times year, during the warmer months.
Fireworks go on sale in Oregon today. Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton has this reminder about illegal fireworks: “The firework laws can be complicated unless you remember this: as a general rule of thumb in Oregon, if it flies or goes bang, it’s illegal. That's pretty simply put." In the U.S. in 2006 alone there were nearly 10,000 people injured by fireworks and many of those were children. Nationally and locally, Independence Day is the busiest day of the year for fire and police departments.
The Redmond School Board has approved the selection of two new principals for the 2011-2012 school year. Lee Loving will be joining Redmond as the principal of Ridgeview High School, set to open in September 2012. Loving is relocating from Seaside, Oregon where he has been the Assistant Principal at Seaside High School. And the other principal, Drew Frank, will serve as the principal for Tom McCall Elementary School in the coming school year. Frank has worked 10 years as a teacher leader at Lava Ridge Elementary in the Bend La Pine School District, and this last year in the Student Services position at Buckingham Elementary.
Oregon’s U.S. Senators are reacting to President Obama's plans in Afghanistan. Senator Jeff Merkley feels the draw down should be larger. He feels many of our goals in Afghanistan have been accomplished and that our focus now is nation building. Merkley wants to invest in nation building here at home. And Senator Ron Wyden says he's happy the President is shifting from a counterinsurgency strategy to a counterterrorism strategy. Wyden says this will allow the U.S. to cut troop levels by two thirds and save tens of billions of dollars a year.
President Obama announced Wednesday his plan to pull 30,000 troops from Afghanistan in the next year. Local soldiers like Brandon Anderchuk who have served in Afghanistan, question whether, in nearly a decade, any country can change another. “I don't think the violence is slowing down. In my opinion, for very insurgent that's killed, another one is born.” 10,000 troops will come home by the fall, and another 20,000 by next fall.
Firefighters kept a brushfire in the Terrebonne area Wednesday to 56 acres. The fire broke out just after 3 p.m. near NW 43rd Street and Lower Bridge Way. Homeowner Amber Scissons says it grew fast: “I was getting real worried, because it was real smokey right here, you could barely see.” The small brush fire quickly grew to the size of a football field, but firefighters were about to put it out in four hours. Several roads in the area were closed to traffic while firefighters battled to control the blaze. They are still investigating the cause of the fire.
If you've ever headed east on Highway 97 just outside of Madras, you may have seen the Cow Canyon rest area. Well, it just got a facelift and ODOT is proud to announce it's looking better than ever. ODOT Representative Rex Holloway says because it's so far out in the middle of nowhere, vandalism can often be an issue. "It's a brand new facitlity done a lot of work in trying to make it pretty sturdy and at least resistant to vandalism and a lot of kind of innovative features that they've put into the building." Holloway says they've also repaved the area, and he invites you to stop by if you're in the area to check out the new facility. It's right on Highway 97, 20 miles outside of Madras. That route has very few places to stop and rest between there an Biggs Junction on Interstate 84.
An Oregon political analyst is reacting to President Obama's announcement to bring troops home from Afghanistan. Obama announced that all 33,000 U.S. "surge" forces will be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 2012. Political Analyst Jim Moore in Portland says the speech was what he expected: "The President is clearly trying to walk a tightrope. Osama Bin Laden, public opinion and lots of Congress members are asking why are we still there with Bin Laden killed? Kind of like Richard Nixon and Vietnam; some happy, some not. A slow process. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary of 911 and a lot of people are "war weary. " Moore says this is one of the longest wars the country has been involved in.
Firefighters battled a brush fire about the size of several football fields (about 40 acres) near Crooked River Ranch Wednesday afternoon. The Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch deployed units from Redmond, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Department of Forestry and several other agencies to fight the blaze. The fire prompted the closing of roads in the area of Northwest 43rd and Lower Bridge Way while crews worked and a BLM "helitack" helicopter dumped water on the fire. There were no evacuations and no homes or structures were destroyed or damaged. Officials called the fire out after about four hours.
It was a scary moment on the Deschutes River in Bend as a mom and her two young kids went thru the spillway. Dan Derlacki with the Bend Fire Department says the local family of three was floating the river and failed to navigate it correctly and get out of the water at Colorado. "And they ended up going into the spillway. A couple ended up getting out of the water on their own, and one we had to go get off the rocks." Derlacki says the spillway is very dangerous place to be in, and they see this happen about once a month. He says the river was especially busy Wednesday with hundreds of people floating it, thanks to the warmer weather.
Deschutes County Commissioners approved next year's budget that is almost flat compared to last year. Deschutes County Administrator Dave Kanner says the budget includes no layoffs, but no staff additions either. He also says the budget also reflects the tough economic times we're going thru and doesn't have tax or fee increases. "I do want to mention that we aren't increasing any taxes. We are not increasing our building and planning fees. Our transportation systems development charge will actually be down slight next year so I think the board has been very sensitive to the economic conditions in the local community when considering what to include and what not to include in this budget." The total budget is $267 million down from #271 million in the current fiscal year.
Four hundred Central Electric customers in northeast Bend were without power Wednesday afternoon. The power was knocked out around 4:30 p.m. It affected homes in the 27th and Butler Market area in northeast Bend. Jeff Beaman with Central Electric Co-Operative says a substation blew a fuse and crews were able to repair it. Power was restored by 6:15 p.m.
The Redmond School Board ratified the bargaining agreement between teachers and administrators. Karen Gray, the President of the Redmond Education Association says it was a difficult process at times, but they got it done. “I'm pleased about the Association coming together and joining to come up with this transformative step. I’m hopeful we can work together in the future moving forward.” The agreement has teacher teaching the same number of days as this year, with no cost of living increases.
Governor John Kitzhaber is expected to sign 14 new education bills passed by Oregon lawmakers Tuesday. Some of the highlights include all day kindergarten by the year 2015; flexibility for parents to transfer to another district, and eliminating the State Schools Superintendent position. We spoke to Superintendent Susan Castillo earlier about this idea. " The Governor would take over the role of Superintendent and he would have a Deputy Superintendent. I have continued to maintain that we need an elected State School Superintendent. The Governor and I don't agree with that particular part of his proposal, and we've had conversations about it. But he knows I'm very much on board with the rest of the work he's proposing.” Castillo will finish out her term which ends in about 3 years, and she'll help Kitzhaber with the transition to a Deputy Schools Superintendent as well as other reform measures.
Representative Gene Whisnant’s Opinion
State Representative Gene Whisnant of Sunriver says he voted for the bill, but has some reservations about changing the Superintendent of Schools from an elected to an appointed position: “I did speak on the floor and stated I’m disappointed that we didn't refer this to the voters. We had plenty of time to do that, to find out if they want to give up or continue to elect the Superintendent.” This change will not take effect until after current Superintendent of Schools Susan Castillo's term is up. She will serve three more years.
The head of the Oregon Bankers Association says efforts on the state level to help consumers facing foreclosures will actually slow down the process even further. Linda Navarro, the President of the Oregon Bankers Association explains that the 14 largest banks in the country hold most of the mortgages, and new federal regulations are now in place to fix fairness issues related to loan modifications and foreclosure proceedings. She says State regulations would be redundant with federal rules, so it would just add more layers and time to the process. "Doing something at the state level may just make us feel good, but really at the end of the day it would just delay foreclosures further and add more instability in the housing market and that's not what most Oregonians want. “ She says in Oregon, most foreclosures happen because the person can't find work. She says in Oregon the average number of months a home that's in foreclosure is deliquent on the payment is at least 16 months.
Seniors and the disabled have some legislators rallying for them in Washington D.C. U.S. Representative Greg Walden is joined by 26 bipartisan co-sponsors introduced legislation to ensure seniors and disabled citizens have timely access to home health services under Medicare. The bill allows physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives to order health services their Medicare clients. Congressman Walden: “This bill will reduce unnecessary and duplicative burdens on providers and seniors in need of home health services, particularly in rural areas like central, southern, and eastern Oregon where physicians are scarce, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse-midwives are essential components of the health care delivery system. Not only are they serving on the front lines of primary care, but also in many areas they are the only option readily available.” Supporters of the bill say this legislation eliminates barriers to the home health workers that urgently need them.
Early projections for the Fourth of July holiday are showing people plan to fly more this year. Those who measure traveling habits are expecting to see about 8% more 4th of July flyers this year compared to last Fourth of July. Marie Dodds with Triple A says this seems to mean two things: "People are just getting used to higher prices and more security." 3-million Americans are expected to hit the air on the Fourth. But overall, air travel in 2011 is expected to decrease about 3% compared to what it was last year.
When the economy is bad, more people go back to the classroom. OSU Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson says the economy and higher education are counter cyclic; yet higher education can be an economic enhancement. "And so we have demand for education at the same time that the private economy is usually in a downturn, and so having a large education institution in your community actually is a stabilizing force so all of the faculty that we hire all of the students that come here to live, they're all spending money in the community and helping to kind of smooth out some of those cycles." Earlier this month, 252 students graduated from OSU Cascades. In ten years of existence, OSU Cascades has gone from 250 students to 750. They've graduated 1600 students over that time.
It’s a once in a lifetime event; several well-known sing-songwriters are coming to Bend to help out a high school music program. Summit High School's "Friends of Music" are hosting Tim Johnson, James Dean Hicks, Clay Mills, all from Nashville, and a local boy: Ross Rogers to perform in a "round" at Summit High June 30th.
"One fella on the end will start, and he'll just play is guitar and sing. And the others remain silent. And then it's the next guys' turn, he sings his song. It’s in the rough, but there's nothing more beautiful than to hear these songs in the rough, how they were written. of course, most folk hear them on the radio done by other artists. and so it's very interesting to hear the real McCoy." Ross Rogers says there is a real authentic sound when the writer performs his own songs, and this is a first for Central Oregon. Nashville in Bend is at Summit High school Thursday, June 30th at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets at various locations such as Newport Market, Robson Insurance (in Bend), Square Dot Saddlery in Prineville, and at the door. For more information, click here.
A 43 year old Eugene man suffered died in fatal truck accident on Highway 26 west of Warm Springs. The accident happened shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Officers say, Bill Lea's pickup traveled across the westbound lane, off the north shoulder and collided with several large boulders. He died before paramedics could get him to a hospital.
Around 4:45 Tuesday afternoon, Bend Fire responded to a brush fire off Knott Road near Stevenson Ranch. Deschutes County Sheriffs arrived on the scene before Bend Fire and was able to knock down the approximately 400 square foot patch of dry brush fire. The investigation reveals that a utility pole had damaged and loose wires. A witness saw sparks at the top of the pole just before the fire. Central Electric Co-Operative assessed the damage and repaired the damaged wiring and insulator. Bend Fire reminds you to keep vegetation and grass cut short to reduce the risk of wildfire and limit the spread of any fire that might occur.
One man is killed in a single car crash on Highway 26 west of Warm Springs Tuesday afternoon. According to Oregon State Police, the man was eastbound on Highway 26, following a friend in another car, when for unknown reasons traveled across the westbound land, colliding with several boulders. The victim was taken to Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center, but died before Air link could transport him to St. Charles in Bend. The victim has not been identified, and more details will be reported after OSP has finished the investigation. Highway 26 was down to one lane for two hours while the police investigated.
Some are calling this session one that could go down in the history books for education reform. Tuesday lawmakers blessed a package of 14 education bills; both parties are calling it a victory. State Representative Jason Conger of Bend: “It will likely represent the most fundamental education reform in Oregon history.” The bills deal with improving charter schools, adding flexibility into the system for teachers, parents and students and allowing for state funded all day kindergarten. One bill would also eliminate the elected state schools superintendent position, and give that role to the Governor. We spoke with current State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo recently about that idea: “It would not take effect until after my term as expired. And so I am starting my third term, so I’m in the first year, of a four-year term.” Castillo says while she doesn't support this part of the Governor's Education Reform Plan, she does agree with Kitzhaber on most of his other ideas. The Governor also praised lawmakers for their actions on education bills, and says they've successfully shifted the debate from funding schools to structural changes needed in Oregon to deliver better results for students.
State Representative Gene Whisnant has two bills that are headed to Governor Kitzhaber’s desk for his signature. One bill requires state agencies with 100 or more employees to report the ratio of employees to supervisors. It's hoped it will reduce management overhead. “I had an opportunity to tour the prison at Madras last year and it seems to me there was a lot of management overhead and not enough people guarding prisoners. So I was happy to sign on to this bill.” The other bill allows employees who are victims of harassment to take unpaid leave for a reasonable amount of time.
No layoffs - but no new jobs either- those are some of the highlights of a Deschutes County budget that Commissioners may approve today. County Administrator Dave Kanner says the budget is pretty much flat and the County continues to hold on and hope for a better economy. "We are very, very fortunate to have some well-funded reserves and because we have these reserves we can draw them down to offset some cost increases. It’s obviously not a long-term fiscal strategy but it should be able to carry us through these tough economic times until we get back to more normal revenue streams.” The total budget is $267 million, down from $271 million in the current fiscal year. It needs to be approved by the end of this month because the new fiscal year starts July 1st.
An economic forecast shows Oregon will take a long time to dig out of the weak economy, and especially Central Oregon. Deschutes County Administrator Dave Kanner reacts to the news that the Bend area may not be back to job levels we saw before the housing bubble for at least another 10 years: "You can ask 10 different economists for their opinions. I'm not sure anybody does know what's going to happen, and I've seen various projections ranging from 2014 to 2020 in terms of when we'll get back to pre-recessionary levels. But obviously if we're looking at being in this economic morass until 2021. That would be a different story.” The report also shows that the Eugene area won't fully recover until the year 2019. And Portland’s job market is expected to be restored until mid 2014. Corvallis was expected to have the quickest comeback with job levels restored by 2013. The report was released on Monday by IHS Global Insight, an economic forecasting firm.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has added a crosswalk near Pilot Butte to help with pedestrian safety. Drivers and pedestrians will see the new light and crosswalk at 12th and Greenwood. Rex Holloway is with OODOT: “It's a crosswalk very similar to what we put on the Bend Parkway. It's pedestrian activated and there's signage there to help motorists to know where to stop and there's flashing lights.” Holloway reminds bicyclists and pedestrians to activate these crosswalks lights when crossing the road. Drivers get used to seeing these lights flashing when someone is crossing and when they don't do it, many drivers assume no one is crossing.
A ground-breaking event comes to Sisters Saturday. Brews, Views and Bar-B-Ques is a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned barbeque event. What that means is, the very prestigious KCBS will be providing judges and organizers to conduct the competition, and everyone can see the pit masters at work. "They can talk to them. Of course I don't guarantee that they will give their secrets away. But you can talk to them. Ask them some questions. You know, everyone likes to talk about their bar-be-cue. So, you can learn a lot and you can taste some bar-be-cue." Jeri Buckmann with the Sisters Chamber of Commerce says the event begins on Saturday with the pits being fired up and the meat getting on the smoke or heat, and judging is Sunday. Roy Slick, owner of Slick’s Barbeques in Bend and Sisters says he’s very excited to have the competition in his backyard. He’s well known among the barbeque circuit, and last year drove over 6000 miles sampling “que” from all over the nation. He’s also the President elect of the National Barbeque Association. The Sister’s event also features other food booths, music and a beer garden. It will be across the street from the Les Schwab in Sisters and it's free to attend.
State lawmakers are getting close to putting a close on this legislative session. State Senator Chris Telfer has been through this before and says it’s obvious to her that the 2011 session is almost one for the history books. "What happens is, we find out within about 24 hours that we're going to be done and everything just dies. Everything that's in committee, all the bills that are being worked on and negotiated; they just die. I've heard Wednesday, I've heard Friday; time is of the essence I can say that." Senator Telfer and State Representative Jason Conger of Bend both say they are looking forward to returning to sunny Central Oregon.
The U.S. Supreme Court stops a class action job discrimination lawsuit against Wal Mart. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled the Wal Mart female employees who claimed they were unfairly paid less then men, didn't prove their case. Pamela Hulse Andrews, who owns Cascade Publications says this decision hurts the female worker: “Clearly there has been discrimination, so many stats that back that up. Women are not getting the same pay at the same level of employment. It’s not a good thing for our country. This is not a good thing.” This case had blossomed into a class action lawsuit involving hundreds of thousands of female employees, but this Supreme Court decision prevents the case from going forward.
Oregon Highway 22 east of the Marion County town of Gates was closed for about four hours Monday afternoon... and evening after a semi-truck overturned and a carton containing a hazardous chemical ruptured inside the trailer.
The incident lead to the release of ammonia fumes Oregon State Police reported.
Troopers said the liquid chemical spilled onto other chemical containers, resulting in ammonia fumes coming from the trailer and the resulting highway closure until Northwest Firefighters Hazardous Materials team could contain the incident.
According to OSP Trooper James Ward, a 2011 Volvo truck pulling a semi-trailer carrying miscellaneous food, groceries and mixed cleaning chemicals, driven by Timothy Ratzenburg, 33, of Palmdale, Calif., was traveling on Highway 22 near milepost 36.
Ratzenburg reportedly lost control trying to avoid an unidentified obstacle on the highway and his truck and trailer overturned on the highway shoulder.
A carton containing a corrosive chemical, sodium hydroxide, ruptured, leading to fumes emanating from the trailer. Troopers said a decision was made to completely close the highway until a hazardous material response team could respond and stabilize the situation before the remainder of the cargo could be off-loaded and the vehicles removed.
Ratzenburg was not injured. His passenger, German Olan, 43, of Mohave, Calif., received minor injuries.
The Gates Fire Department assisted on scene with traffic control and initial identification of the involved hazardous material. ODOT coordinated further traffic control and scene clearance.
OSP is continuing the investigation.
The road first reopened to one lane of traffic, with flaggers letting drivers through in alternating direction. ODOT warned motorists of long delays and urged them to avoid the area until the cleanup was complete. They said one detour option was state Highway 226 through Lyons and Scio to U.S. Highway 20.
The power was out for about 7 hours to about 15 residents near Terrebonne early this morning, as crews work to replace a downed power pole from a car crash. Jeff Beaman with Central Electric Cooperative says there's a lot more to getting the power restored than people think. "When a power pole goes down like that and goes across the road, crews are required to gather flagging services and insure that there is proper safety in place, around the project before they commence with and go forth with replacing that pole." Beaman says the driver who downed the pole is responsible for all costs of having the pole replaced. The accident happened around 3 a.m. this morning. The driver, Devon Olden, 21, and his passenger James Carranza, 21, both of Bend, are unhurt; and alcohol is believed to be a cause. Beaman says replacing a power pole is the lengthiest power outage; because of all the parts that must be in place for the work to be done. Power was restored to residents affected by 10 a.m.
Two out of five private sector employers in Oregon plan to hire workers over the next six months. State Employment Economist Nick Beleicks lists the occupations expecting to hire: “The top of the individual occupations, but the number of businesses that are saying they are hiring were: retail sales persons, farm workers, truck drivers, office clerks, teachers and instructors, waiters and waitresses.” Most employers who plan to hire will do so to replace workers leaving or to hire seasonal workers.
Local police and city officials are rolling out the red carpet today for five candidates vying for the Bend Police Chief job. Bend Police Chief Sandi Baxter is retiring at the end of the month. So today five candidates for that position are in town getting an overview of the city. Kurt Chapman is an Assistant Human Resources Manager for the city: “There are 5 candidates from Washington and California. They arrived yesterday and today they are meeting with the Chief and touring the police station; having lunch with the Chief, touring the town, ride alongs.” And tonight it’s your chance to meet these five candidates. There is a reception at McMenamins from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the candidates will face panel and one-on -one interviews and then the five will be whittled down to two top candidates. The City hopes to have a new chief in place by mid- August.
Schools out and the weather is finally getting hot. With highs expected in the 80s for tomorrow and Wednesday, that often means kids sometimes stay outside later than they should. Local police are reminding everyone that we have curfew laws in Central Oregon. Redmond Police Chief Dave Tarbet says the curfew there is midnight. "With school being out, the kids can get restless, a little bored. We ask that parents be mindful and know what their kids are doing. We do have a curfew law; after midnight there really is no reason that a kid should be out bumming around the town. If they're under 18, so please have them stay home. Know where they're at know what they're doing; be involved in their lives so they're not getting in trouble being involved in things that are dangerous to them or to others." The City of Bend also has a curfew law. Its also midnight during the summertime, and 10 pm on school nights. The exception to the rule is if the minor is traveling to or from a job. Bend Police say when there's a violation, usually the kids are sent home to the parents, but those with chronic curfew problems may be cited.
It’s starting to feel like summer out there. Temperatures will reach into the 70's today, with higher temps expected Tuesday. Mark Thibodeaux with the Weather Channel knows people have been waiting for warmer weather. “And not a second too soon. This has been a cool spring. Summer officially starts tomorrow and our temperatures will be a little above average. Normal for us is mid to upper 70's and we've just been shy of that for many, many a day. And it looks like we'll be in the low 80's on Tuesday.” Temperatures are expected to dip into 60's on Thursday and Friday, but will warm up again on the weekend.
Unemployment in Central Oregon held steady in May according to the latest numbers. Unemployment fell slightly in Crook and Deschutes County and remained the same in Jefferson County. Carolyn Eagan with work source Oregon blames the weather in part to for sluggish numbers. “In all three counties, we only had about half the hiring we would typically see in May. And we’re also seeing the total civilian labor force, so that the number of employed people plus the number of unemployed people. That number is lower than it would normally be. So that would lead me to believe that seasonal hiring, that we would expect for spring and into summer has not happened yet because of the darn cold weather.” With our temperatures starting to warm up , Eagan expects our June numbers to reflect more of our usual hiring patterns. Unemployment in Crook County is at 15%, 12% in Deschutes County and about 12.5% in Jefferson County.
News Release from Patrick Flaherty's Office today:
Chief Deputy District Attorney Traci Anderson and Deputy District Attorney Pat Horton have submitted letters of resignation effective July 5, 2011.
Ms. Anderson is a stellar prosecutor with an incredible work ethic who enthusiastically took on the many challenges our office has encountered during the transition period. At the same time, Traci worked nearly every major case that has come in since January as well as several major cases that were pending when she arrived. Ms. Anderson also completely revamped the process by which Measure 11 cases are screened, set in motion the re-structuring of how all cases are processed from intake through file closing, and served as an outstanding mentor to the younger prosecutors in the office.
Traci Anderson’s departure is a huge loss for the District Attorney’s Office as well as her many friends and colleagues. She will be sorely missed.
Pat Horton came on board as a management analyst and as such assessed the office policies and procedures then in place as well as the physical environment of the office. Mr. Horton, with the able assistance of Traci Anderson, efficiently went about implementing or setting in motion many of the procedural and structural changes he recommended. He was also of invaluable assistance during the recent budget process.
I was honored to have Pat Horton, who was the Lane County District Attorney for 12 years, come on board and am deeply grateful for his outstanding service. His drive and enthusiasm for seeing justice done is remarkable. We will miss him; and will hunt him down if he fails to visit us regularly.
There will be no further comment. Thank you.
Two bend men crash into a power pole just before 3 a.m. northwest of Redmond. Devon Olden, 21, was driving his car and apparently drifted onto the shoulder of northwest Hemholtz, at the intersection of Coyner, losing control of the car and crashing into a Central Electric Co-Op Power Pole. Olden and his passenger, James Carranza, 21, were found by Deschutes County Deputies about a quarter mile away, and unhurt. Police believe alcohol is involved. 14 homes are still without power.
Below is the police report:
On 6-20-11 at approximately 2:52 am deputies from the Deschutes County Sheriffs Office responded to the intersection of NW Coyner and NW Helmholtz for a report of a vehicle that crashed into a power pole. It was reported the occupants of the vehicle were attempting to flee the area of the crash seen
As the responding deputy arrived within approximately a quarter of a mile from the crash scene the deputy located the driver and passenger of the vehicle involved in the crash. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Devon Olden. The passenger was identified as James Carranza.
The Initial investigation determined that the driver of the vehicle was traveling east bound on NW Coyner. As he drove the vehicle past NW Helmholtz, the vehicle drifted to the right, on to the shoulder of the road. Devon lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a fence and a Central Electric Cooperative power pole causing extensive damage to the pole and vehicle.
The Driver and passenger were not injured. The passenger was released at the scene of the crash. Devon Olden was taken into custody for the following crimes DUII, Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver and Reckless Endangering.
Central Electric Cooperative employees responded to the location to repair the power pole. It is estimated that the damage to the power pole caused approximately fourteen homes to lose power.
As the session winds down, State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend says there's still a $21 million hole in the public safety budget. "One of the things you might be looking at is people being released from prison; and we're trying to avoid that.” State Senator Telfer says a $21 million shortfall in the public safety budget, and Senator Chris Telfer says, that can mean some can mean some tough decisions. “That would be one of my biggest concerns; that we don’t start releasing people out of prison earlier. Voters of Oregon have mandating stricter sentences and expanding the sentences. And we’re trying to find the dollars to actually implement that.” Voters recently mandated longer sentences for some crimes, and Senator Telfer says the state needs to find the money to carry out that requirement.
A record marijuana grow operation discovered in northeastern should serve as a warning to anyone who frequents remote areas in Oregon. 91,000 pot plants, six suspects, and lots of guns! That's what authorities found in what the state is calling the largest pot garden ever in Oregon. Ken Mannix with the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) was part of a pretty large bust last month in Wheeler County, and says this is all part of a much bigger trend: “There's been a significant increase in outdoor marijuana grows, not only in Central Oregon, but also throughout the state over the years." Mannix says its because the crops are so incredibly lucrative. Witnesses describe the area as having heaps of trash, miles of plastic tubing, herbicides and toxic chemicals, and more than a miles of marijuana plants. In this case, the six men arrested are facing drug charges but may also have to answer for environmental crimes because of the huge mess in the national forest site.
Deschutes County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a possible HAZMAT incident near the Bend Airport. The Sheriff's Office is trying to find out who dumped some unknown white substance into an irrigation canal Sunday afternoon along Waugh Road east of the Bend Airport. Bystanders say a man driving a tan or tan and brown pickup with a canopy and pulling a utility trailer stopped along Waugh Road about 1:30 p.m.. He dumped some white substance into the canal from a container sitting on the trailer, and then left the area. When deputies arrived, they could see the white substance in the water. Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID) says there is no indication the dumping was done to tamper or poison the canal and says it appears the male was cleaning some piece of equipment and used the canal as a dumpsite. If you know anything about this incident, you are asked to contact the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office 541-693-6911.
Saturday’s fire at Bed Mart was human-caused according to Bend Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Dave Howe. He says firefighters found several mattresses burning on the loading dock at the rear of the business near Highway 20 and Purcell when they arrived around 2:45 p.m. The flames spread up an outside wall. Firefighters were able to stop the flames just before they burned their way to the inside of the structure. Damage is estimated at $20,000. The investigation continues.
A new feature at this years' "Bite of Bend" this weekend. Kelly Kerbs with the Northwest Spirits Show says there will be a special "Spirits Pavilion" during the “Bite". "We have a cocktail competition. We’re calling it the “Bartender's Brawl” and we're bringing in distillers from all over the northwest, up and down the west coast and even some from as far away as Brazil. So pretty much all over the country. And you'll be able to sample all kinds of straight spirits and tiny mixed cocktails. And then of course there will be a couple of full bars inside the Spirits Pavilion." Kerbs says some of the top mixologists have already submitted their recipes; but will mix them during the competition, and the judges will make their selection. At stake for the top bartender is a trip to Mexico to visit world famous Casa Noble Tequila. The Bite of Bend is in downtown Bend this Saturday and Sunday.
Redmond City Councilors had to make tough budgeting decisions in the budget just approved last week. The mayor wants to change the process next year. The Council had to cut nearly $2 million from the budget and in order to do that, they had to prioritize what to fund. Mayor George Endicott wants to do things differently next year: “We're going to change next year addressing priorities. I want to start in January prioritizing things, what we call racking and stacking.” Endicott wants to get started on the budget earlier next year, because he believes it will be another tough year.
Charles Niswonger was Bend's first mortician. His funeral home in downtown Bend. The Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Home is turning 100 years old. Jerome Daniel bought the funeral home in 2004 and isn't surprised the businesses has lasted this long. “So when we are embracing families who have lost loved ones, when done properly, a bond is created. It really is a relationship that is unique and wonderful and its survived 100 years.” The Bend Chamber of Commerce will be holding an "after hours" event at the downtown funeral home this Wednesday, June 22nd starting at 5 p.m. to celebrate its century mark.
An update on a home invasion robbery in La Pine. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspects and police have actually taken one in custody in the Medford, Oregon area. Early Friday morning Medford police arrested Marcus Dudley Jackson, 26, as he left a Medford motel. The other two suspects remain outstanding at this time. Sheriff’s Office detectives are in Medford working with Medford police on search warrants and actively pursuing the outstanding suspects. I is possible that one of the suspects is still in the Bend-La Pine area.
The CEO of Prineville's Memorial Hospital is taking over the reins at St. Charles Redmond. Bob Gomes will be replacing Patrick Varga who left to take a similar job in California. Gomes will be the acting CEO of the larger Redmond hospital and continue his duties at the Prineville hospital. “I think looking over the next few months, as we continue to restructure St. Charles for the future, our leadership will decide whether its a good enhancement to sustain our long term effort.” The Redmond hospital is about twice the size of the Prineville hospital. St. Charles is examining ways to better deliver integrated care and this management change is one of those changes.
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has found a llama that was roaming at large in northwest Redmond. The animal is currently being cared for at the Sheriff's Office Large Animal Rescue Facility in Bend. The animal is 3 to 5 years old male, chocolate brown in color. It was found roaming an area north of Highway 126 and west of NW 101st Street for the last couple months. Previous attempts to capture it weren't successful. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriffs Department at 541-693-6911.
A serious burn case in the Portland area should serve as a warning to parents in Central Oregon. A 12 year old boy is being treated for serious burns over much of his body at a Portland Burn Center. This, after gasoline vapors ignited while he was trying to light some toys on fire. It was the second incident within one hour where a child in the Portland area was burned. Brian Barker from the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue says luckily a sheriff's deputy was in the area when the boy caught on fire: “A Washington County Sheriff's Deputy is driving down 160th and looks into a driveway of a house and sees a we year old boy on fire and people helping trying to put the flames out.” The parents were inside the home at the time and had no idea their son was on fire. Emergency officials hope this is a wake up call for parents everywhere to remind their children not to play with fire and chemicals.
Early this morning, Bend Police arrest three 18 year olds for defacing several properties in Bend recently. Around 1 a.m. this morning, a Bend Police officer saw a car illegally parked at Ponderosa Park. Upon investigation, three teens were found in the park and there was evidence of the freshly applied graffiti. Arrested are Elisa Michelle Bellah, Tyler Rios, Damien Pooschle, all of Bend, with several criminal mischief charges. Police also found evidence that the trio is linked to other graffiti incidents: at Westside Church, Christian Life Center, the Westside McDonalds, an alley on Bond Street and the railroad underpass on southeast 3rd Street. Police believe more victims will come forward. If you have any information or have been targeted for graffiti defacement, contact Bend Police at 541-693-6911.
Leadership Bend in partnership with Tetherow is raising a lot of money for charity today on the golf course. Participants are playing 100 holes in one day to raise money for several area youth charities. It’s called "Chip in for Children." Stacy Pickavance is with Leadership Bend and Teatherow: “We came up with the unique one day event, where we ask golfers to collect pledges and with our sponsors. And they have raised nearly $30,000.” 14 teams are out on the course today and play is expected to wrap up at 5:30 p.m., when a three course dinner will follow. The charities slated to get the funds include: Cascade Youth and Family Services, First Story, Family Access Network, Healthy Beginnings and Children First for Oregon.
State tax breaks for businesses across Oregon will probably go away soon. This session, lawmakers are taking an extensive look at the many tax breaks the state offers and is taking out ones that aren't used much or are too generic. State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend was heavily involved in this process. Telfer says by making these changes, the state will go from $273 million worth of tax credits to just $10 million in the next bi-ennium. "So a lot of credits didn't get extended. A lot of them got cut dramatically. Some of them, I think, are warranted. I kept waiting to hear; give me a justification as far as jobs created, never really did hear any of that. But for $10 million, there's not a lot of money going into any of them." The process of going through all these credits also resulted in new tax breaks for conservation projects, renewable energy generation and transportation, and solar panel manufacturing.
A Central Oregon real estate agent who's been in the industry for 17 years is reacting today to a national report from "Housing Predictor" that names Bend as number one for the worst housing markets in 2011. Cat Zwicker-Grant, Principal Broker for Desert Sky Real Estate, says the article was generated in Scottsdale Arizona and is using data that is behind the current trend. She says "Housing Predictor" is probably looking at high foreclosure numbers for Bend thru the end of April. "Is that number a trueness of where the housing market is going? Or is that catching up in a self-correction? And so what would've been better to see with that is the May numbers, which show that while we do have 245 more homes in default that a 17% decline over the same period last year. So that shows that that would be signs of improvement.” Yesterday's article in "Housing Predictor" ranked the 25 worst housing markets in the country and put Bend as number one with a projected price drop of 11% for this year.
A handful of protestors marched outside the Jefferson County Courthouse Thursday trying to get justice for the Ross family. Leonard Ross died on November 20th in a car accident near Culver, when another driver ran a stop sign. That driver, Andrea Orozco is not facing charges in connection with his death. She is facing multiple charges of assault and reckless endangering for injuring ten others in that crash. Friends of the victim are upset: “I just feel like it's an injustice for what's going on. I feel we need to know answers; we need to know why. I hope Leonard and Linda get some justice.” Jefferson County's D.A. is still considering whether additional charges will be filed.
The CEO of Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville will take over as the acting CEO of St. Charles Redmond. The previous CEO, Patrick Varga left to take a similar job in California. Bob Gomes will take on the additional duties in Redmond, along with his job at the Prineville hospital. The appointment is made on an interim basis, as St. Charles is continuing to evaluate and reform its leadership structure as part of the development of an integrated delivery system.
Visit Bend is about the release their figures showing that the number of people choosing to visit Bend is increasing each month. "The City of Bend and Deschutes County both reported their transient room tax collections for the month of April. And the good news continues in the tourism industry. April represented the 17th consecutive month of year over year increases in transient room taxes in the City of Bend. That's very positive news, and we're hoping that momentum continues through the summer." Visit Bend spokesman Doug La Placa says having the upward trend year after year means that the City of Bend can help fund the tourism industry, and help pay for some city improvements.
The Oregon State Bar says an article on the front page of the Bend Bulletin gives the wrong impression of a current investigation involving Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty. It leads people to believe that the State Bar has made some conclusions, but the bar says its still way too early for that. “That is not a correct headline. We have not made any conclusions. We are just above beginning of our Disciplinary Council’s Investigation.” Katery Walsh with the Oregon State Bar says other statements about the investigation made in the article are also misleading. She says they are just starting to look into the case, and any conclusions are pre-mature, at best. “We are just above beginning of our disciplinary councils Office. The file first went through an initial screening process, and we did find, during that screening process, that there was enough evidence to forward it to Disciplinary Council’s Office. But Disciplinary Council’s Office has only just the investigation.” She believes the investigation will take at least several more weeks. When it's concluded if they have a case against Patrick Flaherty they would then take it to a State Board that acts like a grand jury. Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty says he will not comment on an on-going investigation.
The Redmond Education Association and Redmond School District have reached a tentative agreement on a contract for the 2011-2012 school year. REA members ratified the agreement with an overwhelming 84% vote in favor of the proposal. The joint settlement agreement proposed by both parties is not official until ratified by the RSD Board of Directors, which is anticipated Wednesday, June 22.
“Reaching an agreement required diligence and flexibility by everyone involved,” RSD Superintendent Shay Mikalson said. “We are relieved to have an agreement in place before the end of the school year.” Under the tentative settlement, teachers have agreed to forego a 1.8% cost of living increase deferred from last year. In addition, the 190 day contract will be reduced by six days, five non-instructional days and one student contact day, the same number eliminated during the current year. The agreement further provides licensed employees with delayed step and column increases that will occur two-thirds of the way through the 2011-2012 school year.
“Redmond teachers are solidly behind this proposal and we look forward to starting the 2011-2012 school year with a collective bargaining agreement in place.” said Karen Gray, incoming REA President. Members of bargaining teams for each group have been meeting since February to reach an agreement that would help balance a budget that included a nearly $9 million dollar shortfall.
Snow hounds don't put away those skis and boards just yet! Mt. Bachelor has announced that it will be open to the top of Summit Express for skiing and snowboarding over the July 4th weekend. "It’s a rare occurrence, but with the record snowfall we got this year, and the temperatures we've had this spring have allowed the snow pack to remain relatively stable in the upper elevations." Mt. Bachelor spokesman Andy Goggins says the lift tickets are $30, but 2010/11 midweek season pass holders can get a special ticket price of $20.” Also, beginning on July first, summer operations on the mountain begin with chairlift rides, hiking, lunch daily at Scapolo's and the famous sunset dinners. For more information go to: www.mtbachelor.com
People are so generous to panhandlers in the Bend area, that we're getting a reputation among transients that we're a great place to visit to get money. That's according to the head of the Downtown Bend Business Association. “This is really going to hock some people, but there is actually a texting network amongst some transients around the northwest and the west.” Chuck Arnold says people are very generous here and the word is getting out: “I actually spoke to someone from northern California, that were here a couple of months ago and luckily, they’re gone now. But some transients that were performing some bad behavior downtown and they said they actually got a text from someone in Medford, and it said Bend was a good place to go, because you can get a god handout there.” He says social workers report that about 90% of the cash given to panhandlers goes to drugs and alcohol. The downtown area can get more panhandlers during the warmer months.
A cougar apparently darted in front of two cyclists out for a trail ride earlier this week. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports Jennifer Cosgrave and Suzanne Walsh, both from Bend, were six miles into the Marazak Trail Wednesday afternoon when they encountered the big cat. After seeing the cougar, Cosgrave called her husband to tell him where they were in case the cat came back; and he did a few minutes later. The cougar seemed docile and shortly after ran back into the woods. No one was hurt, but the women say they planned to act “big” by holding up their bikes if the cougar became aggressive. They said they are ready to get back on the trail again, but will be more prepared. AS Walsh says: “We have to shard it with them because it’s their home too.”
Redmond City Council made tough cuts to approve its budget this week. Mayor George Endicott says they had to make nearly $2-million in cuts, to make the budget balance: “These are austere times. We cut $2-million out of the budget because of money we won't get and other things like things we have to fund legally, to make up $2- million. Part of that means non-profits won't get money and part of that is not buying new equipment.” The budget passed 4 to 2, by cutting $1.6 million in spending and dipping into the City's reserves for $400,000. Endicott says the only non-profits they put in the budget were the Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) and Redmond Economic Development, because these agencies do work the City would have to if they weren't funded.
As the weather gets warmer more people tend to head to the downtown Bend area, and some of those people are panhandlers. Chuck Arnold with the Downtown Bend Business Association says they have a campaign called "Say No to Panhandlers" and they hope to expand that idea beyond downtown to the greater Bend area: “The experts have told us that about 90% of the people who are asking for change, about 90% of that money is going for drugs and alcohol and that was astonishing to me. I know people are good hearted in this community; I know they are generous here, and I think it's important if they want to be generous, to resist to not to give out food and or money to somebody who's on a corner." Arnold says they are also working on card to give to pan-handlers that lists the social service programs that can assist them.
The Bend housing market is again making headlines. Today in an article the "Housing Predictor" ranked Bend as number one in the worst 25 housing markets for 2011. The national article from the "Housing Predictor" ranked the top 25 markets where they are projecting the largest home price drops. Bend ranked number one with a predicted price decline of about 11.5%. Las Vegas was second at 10.8% and Atlanta, Georgia made the list, but just barely, at number 25. The report estimated homeowners will see an 8.2% drop this year. There is a silver lining to the national article: overall, it says home prices across the country are stabilizing. One reason the article gave for Bend being number one could possibly be the fact that we're such large market of second homes.
Bend Parks and Rec is declaring its geese hazing program a success and so will not kill any geese this year. Last year the Parks District euthanized more than 100 geese to decrease the unmanageable geese population in area parks. Paul Stell with Parks and Rec says they're feeling pretty good about what they’ve accomplished. “We've managed to cut the population just about in half from last year. The hazing program and egg oiling, we're made a lot of headway.” Stell says the current geese count is around 250, down from more than 400 last year. He says their volunteer hazing program has been very effective in getting the geese to move on.
The job outlook is bleak for teenagers in the northwest this summer. Oregon's unemployment rate of 27% for young workers is pretty high, and even worse in Washington state where it's 34.5%. Here's one reason: " A number of workers didn't retire when they were initially planning to because of the recession and the stock market and therefore they've created a lot more competition for younger workers who have less experience." Dave Wallace, an economist with the Washington State Employment Security Department, also says there aren't as many construction jobs available to younger workers during the summer.
A speaker known around the world for promoting walkable communities is speaking in Bend today and tonight. Dan Burden is the keynote speaker at Bend's City Club. The title of his message is "From Blight to Boon." Jeff Monson with the City Club says some of the challenges for cities are big highways that cut people off from them. "He's well-known in the field for bicycling, walking, promoting walkable communities, community design. His catch phrase is: “building towns for people, town centers and communities for people and helping them develop parks and encourage active participation.” At least 100 people were signed up for today's City Club event. He's also speaking tonight at St. Charles in Bend at 6 p.m. While he's in Central Oregon, he's also meeting with local leaders and planners to take a look at potential improvements on Galveston and on parts of Third Street in Bend.
A Redmond company has stepped to the plate to make sure Redmond holds a 4th of July fireworks display.
High Desert Aggregate and Paving has offered to fill in any funding gaps and has pledged to be the designated sponsor in the future. Redmond Mayor George Endicott made the announcement Wednesday morning on KBND's Your Town. “We're still looking for private donations. It’s very nice that a company stepped up and said they will fill in the gaps. But we're still asking citizens to try and contribute a little.” Contact the Redmond Chamber of Commerce to make a donation to the fireworks display. Earlier this week, the Chamber put out a plea that unless $3000 more was donated, there would be no 4th of July fireworks in Redmond this year.
Redmond Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eric Sande says: “The Redmond Chamber of Commerce would like to personally thank all those who made donations to the fireworks show. And, special thanks goes to MediSISS for their generous $1750.00 contribution.
We would also like to give special recognition for the hard work and dedication from Ron Jr., Edwin and Ron Sr. Gregory for their relentless commitment, creative posters and door to door soliciting of support for this patriotic event.
It is without a doubt that we could not have been successful without the tremendous support of the Central Oregon media and their outstanding coverage of this story."
Deschutes County Sheriff's deputies are still looking for three Hispanic suspects involved in a home invasion in La Pine. It occurred early Wednesday morning when they broke into a La Pine home, pepper sprayed the homeowner at gunpoint, and then stole firearms and other property. Captain Marc Mills with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Department wants to calm people's fears. “There should be no reason people should be alarmed that we have a group of being doing home invasions.” Detectives believe this was a targeted home invasion, and that the homeowner and suspects are all acquainted. More details will be released soon. Deputies are looking for three suspects, two males and one female, all Hispanic and all believed to be in their 20's.
The High Desert Museum has a very special speaker visiting the Museum tonight. The 2010 Earle A. Chiles Award recipient, Martin Goebel, President of Sustainable Northwest, will be speaking on keeping a sustainable environment. “He’s going to be talking about his work in helping communities; restore and maintain ecological health and balance diverse interests. He’s really an inspirational environmentalist. And he talks about promoting economic opportunities in rural settings.” Dana Whitelaw with the High Desert Museum says the lecture is free to Museum members and $3 for non-members. Whitelaw says there will be a question and answer period after his talk; it begins at 6 p.m.
The Stock Market is had another wild ride Wednesday. Tuesday, the Dow closed up in triple digits; yesterday all those gains and more are being erased. As of 12:25 Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 200 points. Tyler Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend explains why there was a big sell off Wednesday: “So equity markets are selling off because people in Greece do not like the government's austerity methods; and so they are rioting in the streets.” He says Greece isn't a huge economy. He explains we are all inter-connected in a world economy and some big American companies could be affected by Greece defaulting on its debt.
Oregon may be on the verge of major education reform. State Representative Jason Conger of Bend spent much of his time in Salem on several bills that he says if they pass would have a huge impact to the education system. “If we're successful in passing all of these bills, it will likely represent the most fundamental education reform in Oregon’s history; the combination of all of the bills.” Here are some of the highlights from those six bills: all day kindergarten in Oregon, more options and financial accountability for charter schools, more flexibility for parents who need to transfer to different school districts, and one bill gives teachers the ability to use online classes for students. One bill would also make the Governor the State Superintendent of Schools.
The Oregon Mountain River Chapter of the American Red Cross was quickly on the scene when a Warm Spring family's home was destroyed by fire early Tuesday. The Red Cross Emergency Services Coordinator Bobbie Bourne says they help those in immediate need with essentials: “We provided rooms for them at Kah Nee Ta for three nights, which is on the reservation. So that gives them local housing. And then we also provided money; a Red Cross debit cars actually so they will be able to buy food and buy clothing and food." Bourne says three adults and five children were all affected by the fire, and the Red Cross was immediately available with counseling and the other support. She says that they have helped over 550 people with emergency support since January, and all their workers are volunteers and the support given is all from donations.
The summer is here, so how is hiring looking? A recent report by the national federation of independent business found differing results depending on the business. Larger businesses are faring better than smaller ones. Stephanie Miller with Express Employment Professionals in Bend says they've been seeing some encouraging signs. “Well, we definitely saw beginning of the month was slow, but now we've gotten busier with the weather being better. We’re seeing more positions turn into full time work; companies looking for temporary workers as a gateway into fulltime regular help. A recent national survey found a slightly larger share of companies planned to decrease rather than increase their workforce.
It’s official: teachers in the Bend La Pine School District now have a contract with the District. Last night at the school board meeting, members voted unanimously to approve the one year contract. The contract eliminates cost of living raises for teachers and other increases. District leaders say this plays a big role in helping them deal with a $15 million budget shortfall.
About 125 young men and women are graduating today from the Oregon Youth Challenge Program. Board member Dennis Luke says the program is know for helping high school drop outs get a second chance at a diploma or GED. The 22 week program is compared to a boot camp because of its emphasis on discipline and good work habits. Luke says during the ceremony it’s inspiring to hear the students tell their personal stories. "Many of them will tell you they were doing drugs; they were sleeping in, they were running with the wrong people. And they are turning their lives around. It’s not really a boot camp; but it is a lot of self-discipline and education is a big part of it through the Bend La Pine School District. So these kids are really turning their lives around and some people say they were “throw away” kids and they’ve come back.” Oregon Youth Challenge graduation was at 11 am today at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds. The Oregon Youth Challenge started here in the mid 1990s.
Redmond will have 4th of July fireworks, thanks to a local company. High Desert Aggregate and Paving stepped forward and said it will fill in any funding gaps needed to make sure the event happens. The Chamber of Commerce put out a plea earlier this week, that more than $3000 more was needed for the display. Today on KBND's "Your Town" Mayor George Endicott announced the fireworks were on. “What's happened is: a donor has said he would fill in any gaps. We're still looking for private parties to donate. Just last night at the City Council, I got a check for $100 so. Contact the Redmond Chamber of Commerce to make a fireworks donation.
Prineville Police are on the lookout for a white car involved in a hit and run Tuesday. A 31 year old woman was hit Tuesday morning around 7 a.m. along NE Laughlin Road. Captain Michael Boyd is with the Prineville Police Department. “She was well off the roadway. The vehicle left the roadway six to eight feet, struck her from behind mainly with the side view mirror and knocked her to the ground and injured her and the vehicle kept going, made no effort to stop and left the area.” The woman was treated for minor injures and released from Pioneer Memorial Hospital.” Police are looking for a white sedan that would have damage to the passenger side rear view mirror. If you have any information, please call Prineville Police.
Three suspects are on the loose today, after a frightening home invasion robbery in La Pine early this morning that involved guns and pepper spray. “There should be no reason the public should be alarmed. That we’ve got a group of people out here doing home invasions.” Captain Marc Mills with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says the home invasion was in a home on Holgate Court. He says the three armed suspects broke into the home, then: “met our victim at gunpoint. They pepper-sprayed him, which incapacitated him. He tried to fight back a little bit and the gun again came into play.” He says they allegedly took several long rifles and left in a dark colored SUV. Deputies are looking for three suspects: two males and one female; all Hispanic and all are believed to be in their 20's.
It’s great news for the City of Redmond. An anonymous donor came forward with a donation to cover the cost of the Fourth of July fireworks display. Less than 24 hours before the fund raising deadline, the donor gave a $6,000 donation to save the day. The announcement came at last night's Redmond City Council meeting. This is the third year that the City has had funding issues for the fireworks display. Redmond Mayor George Endicott is our guest on today's "Your Town" and he will give us more details.
If your kids depended on school lunches, you can still get them at area parks this summer. The free summer lunch program is funded in part by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant. Superintendent of Bend La Pine Schools, Ron Wilkinson says the program really meets a need. “We're in a community where there is far more poverty than is evident. I think whenever it is possible to address this need. This community has stepped up to try and provide services and support.” Anyone 18 and younger may get the free lunches. Times and places of the free lunches are listed on the Bend La Pine School District website.
A new grant is aimed as changing school meals in the Jefferson County and Culver School Districts to offer more nutritious meals that students will prefer. The $25,000 grant will bring together Oregon State University researchers and the Extension Services plus local county health departments. Glenda Hyde with the OSU Extension Service says the money will be used for various things: "We are doing a number of different things. We’re paying for some resources within the district, within one of the school districts to do some of their own recipe testing to make the changes for lower sodium and lower sugar. And then Culver School District has opted to have that review, analysis and testing done on campus with some dietetics students who are supervised by the head of the dietetics program there." Hyde says during the school year, many students eat about two-thirds of their meals at school, and they hope this program will help them develop good eating choices. She adds that they chose Jefferson County and Culver Schools because statistics show they are some of the unhealthiest areas in the state.
The Oregon House has approved a bill that removes public access to records of publicly-funded domestic violence shelters. But they're sending it back to the Senate with a somewhat controversial amendment that would limit the public access to concealed handgun license records. Representative Margaret Doherty disagreed with the move. The amendment on concealed handgun license records was originally covered by another bill that was stalled in committee. The combo bill moves back to the senate for further consideration.
In Forest Grove, a sleepover turned violent when an un-invited teenager arrived in the middle of the night with a shotgun. Forest Grove Police say the teen showed up around 4:30 a.m. with shotgun. He confronted the dad who met him in the garage with a handgun of his own: “The father says the suspect actually threatened to shoot him; said he was going to shoot him.” Captain Aaron Ash-Paw with Forest Grove Police says the dad decided not to wait to get shot: “The father grabbed the barrel of the shotgun fired a warning round into the ceiling. The shotgun discharged, fortunately it missed." The suspect left on foot without being captured. Police know who he is, and now, they are just trying to locate him. A middle school is right across the street from this home, but school officials say they are not in lockdown and its business as usual for them.
No agreement was reached during yesterday's negotiating session between the Redmond School District and the teacher's union. The School District must make cuts to close its $8 million budget shortfall. During Monday’s session, the two sides exchanged proposals, but reached no agreement. Judy Newman, the President of the Redmond Education Association says the process has been frustrating: “Last night was time I think we we're disappointed. And I think we need a time, a day, to kind of cool off. I am optimistic that we will all remain professional, and that we can come to the table and come to a consensus that will help us reach the budget deficit that they need. We feel that we have given them a proposal, where they can balance their budget.” No further bargaining sessions have been scheduled, but Newman hopes after school finishes up Wednesday, more will be. Some of the sticking points, include deferring cost of living increases and increases for experienced teachers and cutting more student contact days.
Many of us have cabin fever from the long winter, and now it’s easier to hit the open road up on the popular Cascade Lakes Highway. Tuesday, crews opened the gates to the highway at noon. It's been a long winter, and Deschutes County spokesperson Anna Johnson says the route is always pristine, but with 6-7 foot snow banks, it may be a little bit more of a mountain adventure than usual right now: “They need to remember that the trailheads around Cascade Lakes Highway, as well as the campgrounds and the parking areas may be covered with snow and ice so don't get y our hopes up too much. There is some access, but it's not 100%.”
And with all of that snowmelt, the County also warns you to watch for wet pavement and icy roads.
It’s the 11th hour for the Redmond fireworks show; and with only half the money raised to pay for the event, the Redmond Chamber says it's not looking good. Chamber spokesman Eric Sande says they still need to raise $3500 by June 15th to have the show. "We're about halfway there; it's a good start. But we need to finish; we've got a day to do it. We're definitely asking if its in your thought process to write the check and bring the funds in. We only have about 24 hours to do it and it's not looking all that hopeful at the moment." Eagle Crest Resort used to sponsor the community 4th of July fireworks show but had to drop out a few years ago because of the economy.
Oregon’s unemployment for May decreased slightly, but job growth remains anemic. The State's unemployment was 9.3%, down from 9.5% in April. State Employment Economist Nick Beleiciks. “Oregon added just 1300 jobs in May. That's coming off a loss of 2000 jobs in March and a gain of 110 jobs in April.
Manufacturing experienced a weak may only adding 100 jobs when more than 1000 is the norm. Leisure and hospitality is experiencing some volatility, with fewer jobs added than expected. But finance activities had a good month, actually adding 1200 jobs.
It’s legislation aimed at saving money by reducing middle and upper management in state government. The Oregon House today passed the legislation that required state agencies to begin moving toward an 11-1 employee management ratio. The bill, House Bill 2020, requires all agencies with more than 100 employees to review its management to staff ratios as well as the job descriptions for positions. "We can look at ways to make agencies less top heavy during each budget cycle and force them to come together and more efficient." State Representative Jason Conger of Bend supports the bill. Conger says it would save an estimated $50 million.
Today, June 14 is Flag Day and the 236th birthday of the US Army, the oldest military service in our nation. Bend Parade of Flags will honor the day with 200 flags in downtown Bend, on Veterans Memorial Bridge, and at Bend Heroes Memorial. Flags will be installed by Mountain View Navy Junior ROTC Cadets.
A 19 year old woman is in fair condition, following a serious car accident on Highway 22 east near Mill City Saturday. Oregon State Police say Reilly Noble of Bend was eastbound on Highway 22 east when she ran off the road onto the shoulder and lost control. She struck a motor home head-on. Noble was extricated from her car with serious injuries. She was taken to a Portland hospital where Monday she is in fair condition.
Collective bargaining for a 2011-2012 contract between the Redmond Education Association and Redmond School District did not result in settlement Monday night. Bargaining teams for each party met and exchanged proposals. Following the District's counter proposal to REA's latest offer, members of the REA bargaining team informed the District they were not willing to make further concessions now were they willing to exchange further proposals.
The district offered two proposals during Monday’s bargaining session, the ninth meeting between the two groups since February. The first proposal would provide licensed employees with the same compensation and same number of work days in the coming year as was negotiated for the 2010-2011 school year. An alternative proposal offered by the district would defer step and column increases for two-thirds of the year and would eliminate two additional non-student contact days.
During Monday’s meeting, REA asked for increased salary for all licensed employees in the form of step and column increases midway through the school year, as well as an additional 1.3% cost of living increase midway through the school year for those not eligible for step increases. The REA proposal includes cutting two additional student contact days beyond the district’s proposal.
“Unfortunately, tonight’s bargaining session did not conclude with a settlement,” RSD Superintendent Shay Mikalson said. “We remain hopeful a settlement still may be reached before the end of the school year.”
Earlier this year classified, confidential, and administrative employee groups made agreements for the 2011-2012 school year that provide employees the same compensation and the same number of work days as the current school year.
No further bargaining sessions have been scheduled.
Two people received minor injuries Monday afternoon during a two-car crash on highway 97 and a state rec road near La Pine. Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Tim Holbrook says around 2:30 p.m., a pickup driven by Steven C. Leake, 20, from Tucson, Arizona was northbound on Highway 97 when a 2006 Ford Explorer pulled out from the west side of the intersection into the path of the pickup. The Dodge pickup collided into the driver side of the Ford Explorer driven by Howard F. Snider, 84, from Stayton. Both vehicles traveled off the east side shoulder and the Ford Explorer came to rest on its top. Both drivers were taken to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend with minor injuries. They were using safety restraints and airbags deployed on both vehicles. A 32-year old male passenger in the Dodge pickup was not injured. Snider was cited for failure to obey a traffic control device.
The City of Bend has named five finalists for the police chief position. Kurt Chapman with the City of Bend says 22 qualified applicants were identified, and from those, the list was narrowed down to five. “The five finalists for the position are all from out of state. They are Mr. Michael Davies; he’s from Discovery Bay, California, Mr. George Delgado from the Vancouver, Washington area. Mr. John Foster from Nevada City, California, Mr. Garr Nielsen from Eureka, California, and Mr. Jeffry Sale from Spokane, Washington.” The City will conduct interviews with the five finalists on June 21st, and hope to have a new chief by August. There will be a meet and greet with the candidates Monday, June 20th at McMenamins. Chapman says they had to hire a professional search agency to find candidates, as for the first time in 30 years, they needed to look outside of the County. He adds that the job is very attractive because of the great reputation the Bend Police Department has, and they has 22 applicants. The new chief will replace Sandi Baxter, who is retiring.
It’s hoped the Central Oregon Health Council just approved by state lawmakers will be a model for the state on how to cut healthcare costs and increase accessibility. The council includes representatives from all three Central Oregon counties, as well as those from hospitals and health insurers. This group has been doing things like targeting patients who use the ER as their primary healthcare provider and giving them other options. Dr. Robin Henderson, the Director of St. Charles Behavioral Health believes they're doing important work. “We're not going to get more money to provide healthcare to those who can afford it; so we're going to have to figure out how to provide a better job and be a better community partner. It’s been an exciting thing to be a part of and one of the cool things I got to do in my career.” The Health Council has reduced ER visits and healthcare costs by providing those chronic ER users, with other healthcare options.
The gates to Cascade Lakes Highway were opened at noon Monday. Deschutes County officials still caution you: watch for wet pavement and spots of ice due to snow melt-off. Five to six foot vertical walls of snow still exist on either side of the roadway. Plus, trailheads, campgrounds, and parking areas may still be covered with snow or ice. The County also says there are no parking areas available between Mt. Bachelor and Elk Lake.
It’s a busy week in Central Oregon for those training to become wildland firefighters. 40 men and women are training in Redmond and Sisters to be qualified as entry level firefighters. Lisa Clark with Central Oregon Fire Management says once they have their training they will join more than 300 other federal and state wildland firefighters this summer. “During this week they'll have a variety of classes: fire behavior, maps, GPS, units, navigating, as well as learning out to operate some of the equipment life engines and pumps." Clark says they receive hundreds of applications for this work, but have to whittle those down to about 40. She says it’s hard work but those chosen enjoy being in the outdoors and having a good paying summer job, especially in this economy.
Nearly 500 kids are signed up for the Boys and Girls Clubs summer programs. Executive Director Lisa Burbidge says classes at the Bend club got under way Monday. “During the summer, we know it’s so important for kids to be engaged. It’s important they go to museum, field trips. It helps get them more prepared and ready to go back to school when the fall comes.” The Bend club is full, with a waiting list this summer, but there are spots at the Redmond and Terrebonne clubs.” The Redmond and Terrebonne branches will open for summer programs next week.
Investigators today are looking into a fatal plane crash this past weekend. Monday, emergency crews were able to reach the wreckage in a rugged part of northeastern Oregon near Ukiah. Umatilla County Emergency Management officials say that three people were killed in the crash. They've been identified as Janice Davis, 51, of Hermiston, Oregon and Ned Kayser, 53, and Gerald Hunter, 74, both of Klickitat County, Washington. County spokesperson Jodi Florence says the plane took off on Saturday: “They took off from Dallesport Washington, which is an airport near the Dalles, Oregon. It's just on the other side of the Columbia River, and they were headed to Wyoming." The terrain is so rugged the forest service had to cut roads so that rescuers could get to the crash sight. Florence says this is the second plane crash the Umatilla County Emergency crews have assisted with this year.
The Bend La Pine School Board will vote tomorrow on a teachers contract that the District says will help them balance the budget for the upcoming year. The agreement, which was ratified by the Bend La Pine Schools’ Teachers Union on Friday, will also add back one day to the school year. Superintendent Ron Wilkinson talked about the agreement this morning on KBND’s "Your Town." “The agreement includes them foregoing a cost of living increase that’s been deferred for the last couple of years; and they’ve agreed to not take that, and not to take any additional cost of living increases; no increases in insurance caps. So basically a zero, zero, zero kind of agreement. But it allows us to do what we need to do to balance this budget.” In all, the District has made nearly $15 million in reductions to balance the K-12 education state budget shortfall for the 2011-12 school year.
OSU Cascades handed out 200 degrees Sunday afternoon at Drake Park. More than 1500 family and friends turned out to see their graduates walk across the stage for their degrees. Former State Senator Neil Bryant, delivered the keynote address: “If you could write a job description for yourself right now, what would it be? I believe and I hope that it would include that the love for the world will be enough for you to assume responsibility.” Bend La Pine Schools Superintendent Ron Wilkinson was there to shake hands. “And as I told the group I did have something in common with them. If they started kindergarten in the Bend La Pine School District 13 years ago, I started at Bend La Pine School District as Director of Human Resources. It was great time.” During the ceremony, OSU Cascades presented the campus's first annual Distinguished Service Award. Libby Westlund, the widow of State Lawmaker and Treasurer Ben Westlund, received the award on his behalf.
A Bend teen who was seriously injured when she dashed across Highway 97 in north Nend Thursday evening is getting better. A nursing supervisor at St. Charles said yesterday, that Rose Marie Ascencio, 14, was in fair condition, upgraded from serious condition. The accident happened near Grandview Drive, by Space Age Fuel, at about 6:30 Thursday night. Deschutes County deputies witnessed the accident and say the teenager was standing the middle turn lane and dashed out in from of a car. The speed limit in that area is 45 mph.
An open house to present current design plans for the Skyliner's Road Improvement Project will be Tuesday night. Deschutes County Road Department's George Kolb says they hope to make the road amenable to all uses. "It’s going to be widened out; to a width of possible 34 feet, through the main portion of the forest service, through some parcels until you get to the subdivision. Then it will go down to 32 feet, and the reasoning behind that is we're trying to get 6 foot bike lanes on each side of the road, which would be 11 foot travel lanes and 6 foot bike lanes, which would give you your 34 foot width, and then once we get into the subdivision, we would narrow those bike lanes down to 5 feet." Kolb says construction is now slated for 2013; but they want to hear what the public has to say about this preliminary design. The open house is Tuesday night at Miller Elementary from 6 to 8 p.m. and everyone is welcome.
A Utah man is in the Jefferson County Jail after being arrested on several charges involving a high speed chase near Warm Springs. Leo Elliott, 25, lead police on a wild pursuit from portland to 20 miles east of Government Camp. There Elliott was involved in a hit and run crash and proceeded to drive recklessly at 100 miles per hour at times. Officers finally stopped him when they deployed spike strips and his truck finally lost control and crashed. He then ran down an embankment, but officers caught him. Elliott is charged with driving intoxicated, attempting to elude a vehicle and reckless driving.
Bend-La Pine Schools’ Teachers Union ratified an agreement for a contract that will help the District to balance the 2011-12 budget, and add back one day to the school year. Superintendent Ron Wilkinson said that the more than 800-member Bend Education Association agreed today to several concessions that will allow the District to balance the budget. The more than $4 million in 2011-12 concessions include:
- Dropping the deferred cost of living increase (was due July 1, 2011)
- No new cost of living increase for 2011-12
-No increase in the District insurance contribution
-A delay in the step increase for additional experience
- Reduced professional development and tuition reimbursement
-Acceptance of six furlough days (down from seven in 2010-11).
In all, the District has made nearly $15 million in reductions to balance the K-12 education State budget shortfall for the 2011-12 school year.
A project that always raises a lot of public interest is coming back to life. The Federal Highway Administration and Western Federal Lands Highway Division is holding an open house to present information about the proposed reconstruction of Skyliners Road. In partnership with Deschutes County and the Deschutes National Forest, the WFL proposes to reconstruct to road to provide a durable surface and to widen the paved road to accommodate the mixed uses pm the road. The Skyliners Road Improvement Project starts at the western city limits of Bend and extends westerly for about 8.4 miles to the junction with Forest Service Road 4603. Construction is currently scheduled for spring of 2013; but the open house is Tuesday, June 14th from 6 to 8 pm at Miller Elementary. They will encourage questions.
This week, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is expected to sign new District maps for state lawmakers. Legislative leaders hailed the plan as a historic bipartisan agreement because the Legislature hasn't successfully redrawn Legislative Districts since 1981. But not everyone is happy. Republican State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says the maps were drawn to provide an advantage to give an advantage to incumbent Legislators and the Democrat Party: "And the registration will become more blue. It will go from a 2.5% Democrat advantage currently to about a 6% Democrat advantage after re-apportionment." The state is required to draw new boundaries every 10 years to go along with population changes revealed in the census. Some Republicans said they would support the compromise only to keep the task from being handed to the Democratic Secretary of State.
A 19-year old Bend woman was seriously injured late Saturday morning when she lost control of her car, and it collided with a motor home on Highway 22 E near Mill City, Oregon State Police reported Sunday. According to OSP Senior Trooper Jay Davis; a Volkswagen Beetle driven by Reilly Taylor Noble of Bend was eastbound on the Highway near milepost 34 when it traveled onto the shoulder. Noble over-corrected and lost control of her car, which spun around and crossed into the westbound lane, where it was struck in the rear by a motor home driven by Terry R. McFarlane, 73, of La Pine. Noble was extricated from her car by responding Mill City Fire Department personnel and transported to Santiam Memorial Hospital in Stayton for treatment of serious injuries. McFarlane received minor injuries but refused transport to a hospital. The crash remains under investigation
A new bill this session hopes to prevent elder abuse in Oregon. The House bill passed unanimously in both chambers and creates an Oregon Elder Abuse Work Group. AARP Governmental Affairs spokesperson Rick Bennett says elder abuse can come in the form of physical, verbal or financial abuse, and sometimes comes from paid care givers or even unpaid friends and family: “More care is being given by family members, then say, paid employees at facilities and that often means the person who is impaired the person who needs assistance from their family members is quite often being abused by those who same family members as well." He says the bill won't come with a cost to taxpayers because it’s a volunteer elder abuse work group. After they compile their report the group will report back to state lawmakers. The State's long-term care ombudsman says elder abuse it a bigger problem than people realize and calls it a silent problem.
Central Oregon’s largest construction project may see a lot of activity starting Tuesday. They hope to pave a four-mile section with the top layer on the Lava Butte Project just south of Bend. ODOT's Peter Murphy says the weather will direct the schedule: "What we're hoping for right now is a stretch of sunny weather so we can start putting on what we call the top lift down on the highway itself and that way we'll be able to open up one lane. It has to be 40 degrees minimum, and totally dry. So obviously it's been a little wet lately, but its just starting to break.” When finished, the large project will make a noticeable difference in the trip between Bend and Sunriver. $12 million of the $16 million came from the stimulus plan.
There about 66 Oregon wild land firefighters who are dispatched to other areas of the country to help with current fires. While La Nina has brought cool, damp weather to most of Oregon this year; areas in Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico are experiencing some of the toughest fire conditions in a long time. Rod Nichols with the Oregon Department of Forestry says it's not just a good thing to help out our neighbors; the firefighters gain some valuable firefighting experience going to these different areas: “And they're surprisingly able to adapt quickly to these different situations, different terrain, different fuel types. And when they come back, we always fell that they have some really valuable experience because they know a whole lot more about fighting wildfires from being out there." In case you're wondering, those firefighters will be back in Oregon by the time our wild land conditions get to dangerous levels.
It is usually only on Los Angeles TV that you see pursuits like this. Apparently spike strips help bring this one to an end near Warm Springs. It all started around 1:40 Sunday afternoon when Portland Police notified Oregon State Police they were pursing a red pickup truck that was fleeing from a hit-and-run crash near Gresham on Highway 26. Portland Police gave up the chase, but in the meantime, OSP got numerous complaints about the truck involving reckless, high speed driving, and vehicles being run off the roadway. Warm Springs Police were investigating an unrelated crash on Hwy 26 east of Government Camp when the suspect vehicle entered the crash scene and rear-ended another vehicle and injured one person. A Warm Springs Police car chased the suspect vehicle, and spike strips were deployed. The suspect finally crashed near MP 101. The driver fled on foot, but was eventually captured and arrested. The suspect driver was transported by Warm Springs Fire Department to Mountain View Hospital in Madras for a medical evaluation. OSP took custody of the suspect, but no information has been released other than to say he is a 25-year-old man from Utah.
This weekend's training exercises for the Oregon Civil Air Patrol (CAP) turned in to the real thing when the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center requested their assistance in a real search for a missing plane. The CAP spent most of Sunday searching for a Bellanca single-engine aircraft with three people on board that left the Dalles Saturday afternoon headed for Wyoming, and never reached the destination. The CAP launched five planes early Sunday morning to join the search, and one of the crews spotted what may be wreckage in a mountainous area of Umatilla County. A ground team from the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office was working its way into the remote area late Sunday afternoon. No information about the people on the plane has been released.
“With My Own Two Wheels”, a feature length documentary about the bicycle as a vehicle for change around the world is coming to Sisters. The film's co-producer, Jacob Siegel-Bottner says the goal of the film is to show how important transportation is to developing countries, or any country, and how easy problems could be solved by having a bike to ride. He gives an example of what they found when they went to India: "The boys all got bikes when they graduated from middle school so that they could get to high school, because there were only high schools at the district level, so you had to travel quite a ways to get there. And the girls weren't getting bikes, and so it was literally just the bike that was preventing the girls from going to school. It was really cool to see a non-bike related development project realize the bike was the missing link." With My Own Two Wheels weaves together the stories of five individuals from around the globe, and how the bicycle changed their lives. The film will be shown at the Sisters Movie House the evening of June 22nd; and prior to the showing, there will be a bike ride with Siegel-Boettner from Blazing Saddles to the movie house. Thee will be a second showing in the Tower Theatre on June 25th, and there will be a bike event at Drake Park prior to the screening. Proceeds from the film will go to world bicycle relief. Click here for more information.
Many people are wondering where our warm temperatures are. A cool, wet spring has delayed planning for many crops throughout the state. Doug Stott, the host of "Garden Talk" on KBND, says there have been some positive aspects of the season: “This year is considerably cooler all the way through. The temps have been cooler but at least they've been consistent and we haven't had the dramatic swings 60, 70, 80 degrees that is harder on the plans and harder on the people.” This is the second year in a row, that a cool, wet spring has delayed planting for Oregon farmers.
Crook County continues to struggle with high unemployment, but one of the bright spots for the county is the addition of Facebook. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford says when Facebook opened its’ doors earlier this year, it was a real shot in the arm. It's given us a spotlight on our community, nationwide and almost worldwide. In addition to that, they’ve helped our local businesses so much. They gave $1500 for a flag at the to of the grade and now that’s lit. So that will fly 365, 24/7. To the high school sports, all across the community.” There have been complaints that Facebook's Data Center only employs 40 people, but the construction involved 250 workers. The project also gained Prineville some exposure as a friendly place to do business.
Early Saturday morning, two guests at the Oxford Hotel in Bend were awakened by an intruder entering their 4th floor hotel room through an unlocked balcony door. The victims, Robert and Michelle Siewart from California, yelled at the suspect: Peter Landman, 26, of Bend, who was walking around their room. Landman grabbed a bottle of wine and left through the same balcony door. An accomplice, Benjamin Shirley of Bend was also on the balcony; both scaled down the side of the hotel and fled on foot. Bend police were able to find both suspects. Shirley was found in a dumpster at the Chase Bank on Northwest Franklin Avenue. He was taken into custody and the investigation reveals that Peter Landman was the second suspect. Police were able to reach Landman by phone, and he turned himself in. Both men are charged with burglary and criminal trespass.
Bend Police were very busy Friday night with several incidents. Aaround 11 p.m. last night, transient Jeffery Dale McManus, 35 was assaulted and robbed of an unknown amount of cash as he was sitting on a bench near ShopKo in Bend.
Then, early Saturday morning, Bend Police respond to a call of a domestic dispute on Voght Road in Bend.
You can read the police reports below:
Date: June 11, 2011 Case # 11-03-04229
Date & Time of Incident: June 10, 2011 / 11:00 PM
Type of Incident: Robbery II
Location of Incident: ShopKo / 60 NE Bend River Mall Ave.
McManus, Jeffery Dale
35 year old transient
Johnson, Richard Stephen
33 year old transient
Bonham, James C.
32 year old transient
Randolph, Robert D.
48 year old transient
On June 10th, 2011, at approximately 11:00 PM, officers from the Bend Police Department responded to the ShopKo parking lot regarding a physical assault which was in progress. When officers arrived they contacted McManus and found out he had been sitting on a bench near a bus stop resting. Shortly before the assault took place Johnson, Bonham and Randolph walked by McManus. McManus and Randolph were acquaintances. Johnson, Bonham and Randolph then asked McManus if he wanted to go drink beer with them. When McManus got up to go with them Johnson, Bonham and Randolph hit McManus and knocked him to the ground. Once McManus was on the ground Johnson, Bonham and Randolph continued to kick and hit McManus. Once McManus was incapacitated Johnson, Bonham and Randolph went through McManus’ pockets and stole an undisclosed amount of cash.
Officers located Johnson, Bonham and Randolph in the immediate area and arrested all of them on the below listed charges without incident. Johnson, Bonham and Randolph were lodged at the Deschutes County Jail.
McManus suffered minor cuts, bumps and scrapes, but he refused medical attention.
Charges: Robbery 2nd Degree
Assault 3rd Degree
Date: June 11, 2011 Case # 11-03-04233
Date & Time of Incident: June 11, 2011 / 1:32 AM
Type of Incident: Manufacture, Possession & Delivery of Methamphetamine
Location of Incident: 63351 Vogt Road
Ortiz, Manuel Jose
35 year old Bend resident on Vogt Road
Wampler, Courtney Danielle
29 year old Bend resident on Vogt Road
Delgado, Tina Louise
26 year old Bend resident on Vogt Road
On June 11, 2011, at approximately 1:32 AM, officers from the Bend Police Department responded to a reported domestic dispute at 63351 Vogt Road. When officers arrived they learned Ortiz and Wampler, who are involved in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, got into a verbal argument. Delgado, who is a roommate with Ortiz and Wampler, called police when the argument became heated.
Officers on scene determined the argument between Ortiz and Wampler was not physical and no arrests would be made regarding the domestic dispute, however, during their investigation methamphetamine, paraphernalia, packaging material, cash and a firearm was located. Two young children, a twelve year old girl and a six year old boy, were at the residence and in close proximity to the illegal narcotics. The Department of Human Services was notified, and the children were released to a relative pending further investigation.
Ortiz, Wampler and Delgado were transported to the Deschutes County Jail where they were all lodged on the below listed charges.
Frequenting a place where controlled substances are
Endangering the welfare of a minor (2 Counts)
Around six thirty Thursday evening, while traveling north on Highway 97, Deschutes County deputies see a girl standing in the center turn lane near Grandview Drive in Bend. Rose Marie Ascencio, 14, of Bend trying to cross the highway, but ran in front of a car driven by Maria Olivera, 21, of Redmond. The deputies say Olivera could not avoid the collision with the girl and aided the victim until paramedics arrive. Ascenio was taken to St. Charles Bend for treatment of her injuries, where she remains in the ICU this morning. Northbound traffic was diverted to the shoulder of the highway for about 30 minutes. No citations were issued. The investigatin is continuing.
Two different climbing groups got caught in a slide on Mt. Hood Thursday morning and a huge chunk of ice broke loose and knocked one woman onto the edge of a cliff. That’s according to fellow climbers who witnessed the event. “Perhaps we were about 100 yards west of the Hogsback and about 50 yards below the Bertram, they weren’t doing the standard route, they cam around the west side of Crater Rock.” That was one of Meredith Jakes, 30, climbing party, calling 911, after Jakes, who is from Hood River, was climbing Hogsback on Mt. Hood, when a large slide of snow and ice headed right towards them. “She was struck by a 20’ x40’ chunk of ice.” Clackamas County Detective Jim Stroving says she suffered face, neck and back injuries after being hit and then falling 300 feet. The Hogsback is a long and narrow knife-edge ridge beginning at about 10,000 feet on Mt. Hood, an area that often requires crampons and is the more technical section of the mountain's most popular, south face-climbing route.
The State of Oregon calls it a $1.9 million fraud case involving a Bend financial advisor, who allegedly took clients money for many years. Officials with the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business services say Jacqueline Atkinson of Bend defrauded clients almost $2 million over a 17 years. They issued a cease-and-desist order and fined Axa advisors $75,000 for failing to supervise its former registered representative, Jacqueline Atkinson. The State says from 1989 to 2006, Atkinson sold fictitious investments with promised guaranteed rates of 6% to 10%. But in reality, Atkinson deposited client funds into her bank account and kept the money. “The unfortunate thing in this case is that a lot of the victims were elderly and many of them knew Ms. Adkinson, so there was a trust there.” State spokesperson Melanie Mesaros says as part of the order, Axa agreed to compensate clients and make them whole.
Forest service officials now have five suspects in what they call one of the worst vandalism cases they've ever seen at a local cave. In April a local archeologist visited the area for the first time this spring and was shocked to find graffiti on the trees and cave's features, plus damaged rocks and trees and fires that destroyed many of the cave's cultural and ecological resources. Jean Nelson Dean with the Deschutes National Forest Service says at this point they don't know if the area can be restored, or how much that might cost: “We are bringing in people to look at what can be fixed. Obviously there are some things that can't be fixed; the trees can't, the trees that were cut down, but in terms of the graffiti, we're looking at in terms of the historically significance and culturally significant features, and what we can do there. We hope we can, but it was pretty significant damage, so we'll just have to see." The five suspects have been referred to the U.S. Department of Justice. The suspects may face misdemeanor, felony or civil action. The "Hidden Forest Cave" is located south of Bend.
The Bend City Council recently decided to continue its affordable housing fee for a couple more years. The fee was due to sunset, but Bend City Manager Eric King says the Council took action. “The program sunsetted after five years. If they didn't act it was allowed to sunset, wouldn't be able to reinstate it until 2018. But they decreased the fee instead of one third of 1%, it is now one fifth of 1%.” The affordable housing fee on a $200,000 project would be around #400 dollars. Eric King was the guest on KBND's Your Town" Thursday morning.
Families who live in the Madras area now have a local theater to enjoy. The "Madras Cinema 5" is now open and the community celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday. Spokesperson for the company, Linda Benjamin says the owner Chuck Natvasil has several theaters around Oregon and enjoys bringing entertainment to smaller communities. She says the community approached him about coming to Madras and they've been very well-received there: “Absolutely. I've been visiting a lot of the businesses in the area. And because we're just opening and want people to check out our theater we're doing a lot of discounted movie passes. So if anyone wants to go to Facebook and “Like” us at Madras Cinema 5, I have gone in there and listed all the different merchants in the area, and you can go visit those merchants." Benjamin says they also plan to do community events and birthday parties and movies for families with special needs kids. The theater owner is a retired school principal who grew up outside of Portland in Scappoose.
Governor John Kitzhaber has signed into law an expansion of Oregon's Bottle Bill that will require a five cent deposit on energy drinks, juice and tea containers no later than 2018. Senator Jackie Dingfelder has been a champion of the legislation, and say she’s glad the state is taking conservation seriously. Glass, aluminum and plastic containers that hold liquor, wine and milk are not included. The bill also expands the state's effort to move to redemption centers, instead of grocery store bottle returns.
Not everyone is happy that the Bottle Bill is now law
State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend says she's disappointed in the passage of the bill, and she plans to do something about it. "I think its going to line the pockets of some and what I’m going to do between now and February is come up with legislation that these nickels, these unclaimed nickels, that amount to about $20-25 million will be diverted to the unclaimed property of the Department of State Lands which then goes into the Common School Fund." Telfer says they are looking to fill a gap of about $15 million in the schools for the end of the year. She adds that it would be better educate people on recycling rather than inflate prices on bottles.
We now know the name of at least one of the five finalists for the Bend Police Chief position. Eureka, California Police Chief Garr Neilsen confirmed to the Contra Costa Times that he is a finalist for the position. Neilson has served Eureka as the top cop for four years and is one of five vying for the police chief position, now that current Chief Sandi Baxter plans to retire. Neilsen said he is attracted to the Bend job because it is closer to his family and it's a larger city and that Bend's Police force is known for its progressive philosophy. The City of Bend will conduct a two-day interviewing process on June 20 and 21st, where he will be interviewed by the city manager, a group of police representatives, a panel of community members and department heads.
U.S. Representative Greg Walden of Oregon will be in Central Oregon this weekend for several events. He will be delivering the commencement speech at the Central Oregon Community College Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. He will then attend a luncheon with military academy appointees and their families before heading to Prineville to discuss Bowman Dam issues with City leaders. Then at 3:30 p.m., Walden will hold a community meeting to discuss Bowman Dam and water at the Apple Peddler Restaurant in Prineville. He will cap off the day by attending the Sisters Rodeo in the evening.
A three month investigation by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team nets Oregon State Police a huge drug bust in Prineville this week. OSP pulled over Cindy Lou Eckenberg, 51, Mattawa, Washington and during an investigation of her car, found about three pounds of methamphetamine, 11 ounces of cocaine, 350 ecstasy pills, a stolen gun and $53,000 in cash. Police estimate they were able to take about $100,000 worth of drugs off the streets. Eckenberg was taken into custody, but spent only two hours in jail and was released early due to jail overcrowding.
You can hear great music, enjoy good food, while helping the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri this weekend. On Sunday, the Common Table Restaurant will be holding a "Joplin Relief Dinner' with live bluegrass music from several local bands. Local musician Josh Hart is helping coordinate the event: “Just a wonderful music lineup. Prairie Rockets, Aaron Cole Baker, for the first time- Black Strap with Moon Mountain Ramblers as “Black Mountain Strangers”. It’s Sunday June 12th, “Dinner for Joplin.” The event is being hosted by the same people who did a similar fundraiser for the Japan tsunami and earthquake disaster. All the proceeds will go to the Joplin tornado victims. The dinner is Sunday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Common Table Restaurant on Oregon Avenue. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children.
Governor Kitzhaber signed the state's new bottle bill into law today. Nearly 40 years ago, Oregon became the first state in the country to pass a bottle bill to address the growing litter problem. This new law will add beverage containers like water bottles, sports drinks and teas in the recycling efforts. It also increases the deposit from 5 to 10 cents to encourage higher recycling rates. This increase kicks in if recycling rates drop below 80%.
Updating you on the Wednesday late afternoon six car crash on Highway 97 near Yew Avenue in Redmond. According to the Oregon State Police report: Janet Churches, 50, from Redmond was driving southbound on the Highway when, while attempting to change lane, collided with an SUV driven by Stephen Coleman, 49, also from Redmond. Churches lost control of her vehicle and spun into the northbound lanes, where she collided with a car driven by Judy Stoltz, 57, of Redmond. Then, Terri Brinkley, 34, of Prineville crashed into Churches’ car. Shawn Palmer, 32, of Redmond crashed into the rear of Brinkley's car, and continued on to also crash into a car driven by Elevina Palm, 20, of Portland. Janet Churches was pronounced dead at the scene; Judy Stoltz, Terri Brinkley and Shawn Palmer were all taken to St. Charles Bend with various injuries. Elevine Palm and Stephen Coleman were not injured. The investigation into the crash will continue.
Redmond Police arrest the owner of a Redmond UPS Store for public indecency. Arrested was Howard Clark, 47. His employee called police saying Clark exposed himself to her. Police are asking others to come forward if there are additional victims involving Mr. Clark at the UPS store.
The residents at an assisted living facility proved that their regular fire drills paid off. The staff at The Heights Assisted Living facility on Southwest 32nd Street in Redmond called Redmond Fire to report smoke coming from the janitor's closet. "Staff went ahead and evacuated the wing where the smoke was coming from, the upstairs and downstairs portion of that. When crews arrived on scene, it was determined that we had smoke coming from the building. So at that point, because weather conditions weren't too adverse this morning, just to err on the side of safety, we went ahead and moved them to the front of the residence." Fire Marshal Traci Cooper says the cause of the fire was some combustible materials too close to a heat source. Cooper says the residents knew exactly what to do, thanks to regular fire drills, but it still was a cause for excitement in the facility. Cooper says no one was hurt and all the residents were taken back into the facility a short time later. There was minimal damage.
Since 2004 when "House of Hope" opened its doors in Bend and Redmond, 700 people have been helped. But now "House of Hope" is in danger of closing. Founder Darlene Woods says it's been a labor of love that has taken all her family's retirement funds. The bank is threatening to close their thrift store in Redmond, if the building isn't sold. “We need to save our thrift building. The banks says they will take $250,000 to clear it. So I’m standing in faith. We have a new sign called "Hope Center." We believe God is that big, he can bring this about.” House of Hope runs a home for men in Bend and a home for women and children in Redmond, along with the thrift store. These homes provides affordable housing for people in a community living atmosphere. Woods says they are looking to partner with someone to turn the thrift store into a shelter and job training center.
Earlier, ODOT was pondering the costs of plowing through 30 ft. tall snowdrifts on McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway. Wednesday, they decided not to leave the job to Mother Nature and started breaking through all that snow and ice. It's beautiful, breathtaking, and unfortunately closed right now. “It really is a stunning place to go; You know, I’ve traveled a lot of roads around, and you know this one of the better ones. “ Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Murphy says the popular scenic McKenzie Highway that winds thru the wilderness area from Sisters to the town of McKenzie Bridge is only open during the warmer months.
Right now, snow plows are trying to bust thru all that snow and ice, but its a slow slog ; “And then as the plow tries to get through it; it moves say, feet per minute, you know it’s not going very fast.” Murphy says they hope to get the scenic route open soon. Murphy says the costs of plowing the route are about $7500 a day. They hope it will be open by the end of the month.
One person is dead; the result of a six-car crash on Highway 97 near the Yew Avenue exit around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The highway was closed in both direction for 2 ½ hours as emergency workers and police responded to the crash. Apparently the crash occurred in the northbound lanes, with one car spinning into the middle lane and another overturned, several people were trapped inside their cars. Our news partner, News Channel 21 says, according to witnesses, many motorists stopped to try and help the injured and AirLink was brought into transport the most seriously injured, but one person died an hour after the initial crash. One lane of Highway 97 was open by 8:30 p.m. and all lanes were open by 10 p-m. The names of the victims are not identified at this time and police are continuing the investigation.
The Governor is expected to sign a major health care reform bill that will create a health insurance exchange in Oregon. Mitch Greenlick of Portland is a Co-Chair of the House Health Care Committee. He explains how this program could work for a small business owner; and those who work for the business. "Under the exchange, they can put say $300 a month or whatever they want into the exchange and their employees will be able to make their own decisions about the nature of the health insurance. They'll be so-called bronze, silver or gold plans. So if you want to buy a less expensive plan or one that's entirely covered by your employer, or if you want a more comprehensive plan you'll be able to put your own pre-tax dollars into the plan and buy up to a more expensive plan." The Exchange will also allow qualified businesses and individuals to access federal tax credits available in 2014, to help make premiums more affordable.
When Bend High School seniors walk across the stage to graduate this Saturday, they'll be joined by a distinguished honorary graduate. Bob Maxwell, 90, Oregon's only living Medal of Honor recipient will be receiving his diploma with the students. He left school in the 7th grade and fifty years ago received his GED, but he'll formally go through the ceremony on Saturday. “I completed the 7th grade and went to go to work on my family's farm in Kansas. That’s what was customary to go to work on the farm when we got old enough. We just changed occupations from school to farm.” Veterans advocate Dick Tobiason approached Bend High officials to get the ball rolling: “I did ask the Principal of Bend High a couple years ago. I asked again recently with the new Principal and he said sure. He deserves this recognition.” In 1944 during World War II, Maxwell fell on a live grenade in France to save his fellow soldiers. His extraordinary act of bravery earned him the Medal of Honor.
It was a new idea, just a few years in existence, and it seems to be working. Health clinics integrated with school systems for quick and convenient access for students to health care. School based health centers are making it easier for parents to stay at work and kids to spend more time at school and less time traveling to the doctors’ office. Elaine Severson is an R.N. with Deschutes County Health Services. She says the centers offer comprehensive physicals, hearing and developmental screening. They can also diagnose and treat illnesses, and even write prescriptions right there in the facility that's either right across the street or often located on the school's campus. “Well, kids fourteen and under need parental consent and parents can pre-consent for kids to receive care, but the staff always makes sure that they call the parent and have a lot of communication with them.” Deschutes County Health Services has five school based health centers operating in the area. And they'll be offering sports physicals this summer for little or no cost depending on whether or not you have insurance.
The Prineville District Bureau of Land Management will soon begin work on a vegetation management project about six miles west of Redmond. Jake Akerberg with the BLM says they plan to treat up to 1300 acres. "We're starting out in the Eagle Crest unit, and that's around Eagle Crest itself. And the primary goal out there is to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the area. And what the plan is; is we're going to be going out there and removing some of the younger juniper to remove the chance of continuous ground fire could move through the area is the overall goal." Akerberg says the felled junipers will be available for firewood cutting. He says right now they are in the planning stages; identifying areas that should be avoided because of environmental concerns. But they plan for the project to begin in September, and will last for several years. There will be a community meeting to explain the program on Monday, June 27th at 5 p.m. at the Eagle Crest Conference Center.
Renters that are living in homes that are going through foreclosure now have some protection from having an eviction sprung on them. Tuesday, Senate bill 491, which State Representative Jason Conger of Bend sponsored, passed in the House. The bill aligns Oregon law to the more protective federal laws and provides better notice to tenants of their options throughout the foreclosure process. Conger says this bill is good for tenants, who now have more explicit detail of their rights and it's good for lenders and purchasers of foreclosed properties to have greater clarity in the law. The bill now moves to the Governor's desk for signature.
Oregon Legislative negotiators Tuesday announced a landmark bipartisan deal to redraw the State's Legislative Boundaries to account for population changes over the last decade. If the agreement is ratified by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber, it will represent the first time since 1981 that lawmakers have been able to draft a successful redistricting plan instead of handing the issue to the Secretary of State. Four legislators have come up with a plan that will redraw the State's Legislative boundaries. Achieving the plan is a major accomplishment according to Senator Chris Telfer, Republican from Bend.
It’s been 60 years since the Legislature has been able to draw legislative boundaries. “This is a fair and bipartisan plan that I believe can provide Oregonians with quality representation over the next 10 years.” The new maps take into account population changes. The largest areas of growth are Clackamas and Washington Counties and Bend. The Legislature has to agree on the plan before the Governor can sign off on it.
The report into previous investigations into the Oregon Department of Energy reveals conflicting opinions on whether four workers should have been fired. The workers were recently reinstated following a year long review of the case. They were accused of steering a $60,000 subcontract to a Bend company, co-owned by Governor Kitzhaber's girlfriend, Cylvia Hayes. One of the reports was released Tuesday. The first two investigations into the charges found the employees manipulated the contracting process and should have been fired. But the most recent look at the case, the recommendation was to reinstate the employees.
More good signs for Central Oregon's economy. The latest numbers from the Employment Department show that all three Central Oregon counties saw their jobless rate drop from March to April. The hardest hit county in Central Oregon, Crook County, saw a jobless rate of 15.3% in April, down from 15.7% in March. The County added 60 jobs during that time. In Deschutes County, the WorkSource Oregon report shows 630 jobs added in April, typically the County adds about 730 jobs this time of year, but April was very cold, which slowed some hiring, still the jobless rate fell from 12.6% in March to 12.4% in April. And Jefferson County also saw a drop in its jobless rate comparing March to April; it slipped from 12.8% to 12.3% unemployment.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to kill a third wolf from the Imnaha Pack in northeastern Oregon. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Michelle Denney realizes any decision to kill a wolf is controversial, but they are trying to prevent further livestock losses and landowners have already tried non-lethal measures: “There is a slight chance the third wolf won't be killed.” Dennehy says if the wolf doesn't return to this area, then they will not go after it. As for the non-lethal measures; landowners have used electric devices on fences to deter wolves, removed bone piles from their property and changed grazing practice to reduce the risk of wolf kills on their herds.
Today, the Redmond Police Department is conducting a Pedestrian Safety Operation in several areas. Redmond Police Lieutenant Gary DeKorte says previous operations have been very successful. "We go through set parameters, and we select a crosswalk at a busy area with the city. And we have a decoy, who's trained when traffic approaches, to safely step into the crosswalk and attempt to use the walk. The object is to see if whether people will stop properly as they are supposed to, for people in marked crosswalks." DeKorte says they will be at the school zone at Rimrock and Deschutes from 9 a.m. until noon. Then they'll move the operation to 6th Street and Glacier from noon until 3 p.m. Depending on the circumstances, if you fail to stop for a pedestrian, you could get a warning or a ticket, with a price tag beginning at about $230.
Redmond School officials and the Teacher's Union met Monday but did not reach agreement on a new contract. The school district's latest proposal lays off 28 teachers, and keeps the remaining teachers salaries at the same level as this year, teaching the same number of days. The school district originally called for a 3.7% pay cut for teachers, but removed that in the latest proposal. The two sides are scheduled to meet again next Monday (6/13) to see if they can hammer out an agreement then.
St. Charles in Redmond is looking for a new CEO. Patrick Varga will be leaving in a couple weeks to take a similar job in Redding, California. “I think the highlight for me is our patients and the community. We’ve been connecting with the Redmond campus. It’s been here since the 1950's, and it’s such a joy. They taught me many things as a leader.” Varga has been St. Charles Redmond's CEO since 2006. Before that he was the Regional Pharmacy Manager for the Bend and Redmond hospitals. His last day will be June 24th, when he will leave to become the Chief Operating Officer for Mercy Medical Center in Redding.
This is a week that some parents dread, and some students are very much looking forward to: it's graduation week and the last week of school. Doctor Lynn Baker, Principal at Summit High says this week they will bid adieu to about 265 seniors, and this class is a special one. "We have, for the first time ever, a student with perfect attendance this year. All through 13 years of public school. And then we have another student who got a perfect score of 36 on the ACT this year, so it's a special class." Dr. Baker says with each year he's noticed an increasing number of kids who commit to post high school studies, and says this year up to 85% of students will go on. Summit's graduation ceremony is Saturday night at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center, and it will be televised on COTV.
And about that perfect attendance….
A Summit High School senior will receive recognition at graduation this Saturday for an impressive accomplishment. Her name is Lindsay Fox: “I have never missed a day of school since kindergarten. For 13 years I’ve had perfect attendance.” Lindsay says she loves school and just didn't want to miss any of it. She plans to attend the University of Oregon this fall and study childhood education. She hopes to become a kindergarten teacher.
It’s the dilemma of every newsroom; every time a scandalous story about infidelity, sexting, or inappropriate twittering, hits the headlines, do we cover it or ignore it? Professor Jim Foster is a Political Science Professor at OSU Cascades: "We are facing a lingering stubborn recession we're facing a debt cieling crisis. Straight talk is a precious commodity; so in a way, that deceitfulness bleeds into public life and I think that's a major source of concern and my students are aware of that and are deeply troubled by it." Foster says despite the fact that it can and often should be considered mudslinging to report on sex scandals; it does reflect on the honesty, integrity, and character of public officials. We have a poll here on the website where you can vote on what you think.
Thousands of people in Redmond enjoy the local fireworks display on the fourth of July, but this year the show may not go on. The Redmond Chamber says they are a few days away from their deadline to raise enough money for the show, but only are about halfway to the goal. Chamber Spokesman Eric Sande says its a very popular event: “The show has been going on for many, many years and Eagle Crest Rresort was the sponsor. With the economy a couple of years ago, they had to drop that sponsorship, so it just fell to the community if they wanted to make that happen. If they wanted to do fireworks at the fairgrounds, they needed to fund it. It’s not really the Chamber's event it’s the community's event." Yesterday a local business stepped up with a $2500 donation; that came from High Desert Paving and Aggregate. The Chamber already had $1000, so this pledge brings them to $3500, about half-way to the goal with just 8 days left to raise the money.
Can’t get enough chocolate? A bend landmark is expanding to a new location. Goodies Chocolate and Ice Cream Factory is opening a new location in the Scandia Plaza in Bend Saturday. Co-owner Dane Danforth says this store will be a bit different from their other stores: “We took a little different path on this because the primary focus of this facility is for people to be able to see or watch us make chocolate and ice cream; along with the museum that will have the history of chocolate and ice cream. But the main focus is the tour part of the facility. And then we will be having self serve candy and our ice cream, fudge, chocolate and caramel corn." Danforth says they have hired about 25 people to staff the new facility, and some will learn how to conduct a tour. The grand opening is Saturday at 10 a.m.; the Jelly Belly Bug and mascot will be on hand, and there will be prizes and fun for everyone.
A bill that hopes to draw business to tough hit areas in Oregon is making its way to the Governor's desk; but another bill could negate its positive impact. A bill sponsored by Representative Bill Witt of Clatskanie would mandate prevailing wages in enterprise zones. Representative Jason Conger of Bend sponsored the bill that extends the sunset on Enterprise Zones. He says forcing prevailing wages would kill some projects: “For smaller projects in particular, it’s really a potentially significant price increase in price of construction.” There's a deadline of 5 p.m. today for the Prevailing Wage Bill to make it out of committee and onto the floor. Democrats say Republicans are blocking this bill from getting a floor vote.
We’ve had a rash of stories lately of male politicians behaving badly. in the last month we've heard sordid details on Arnold Schwarzenegger , John Edwards and now New York Representative Anthony Weiner. The scandal started breaking last week, when the New York Congressman says his twitter account was hacked and someone sent a nearly naked picture of him to a college student in Seattle. Monday, Weiner admitted he sent the photo himself. OSU Cascades political science professor Jim Foster isn't surprised. “There is a classic in the political science literature by a guy named Harold Lazlow called “Psycho Pathology in Politics”. And he makes basically, that argument, that because of the sort of narcissistic, outgoing, needy personality that lends people to go into politics, it shouldn’t surprise any of us, when, as your say, they kind of behave badly, because they like the spotlight. They have room-sized egos and somehow that leads them to the position of thinking: “Maybe I can get away with it. Maybe the rules don’t apply to me.” Professor Foster says stories like this make it more challenging to get younger people involved in the political process.
About 20 locals are fighting a massive fire in Arizona today. The Wallow Fire is being called one of the worst wildfires in Arizona history. It's already scorched more than 200,000 acres since it began last Sunday and continues to grow. Keith Rockow works in operations at Pat-Rick, a Redmond company that sends out contract firefighters when needed; and working on fires like this can give some much-needed cash to people who may be unemployed right now. "Of course it helps tremendously with the local economy. Young kids 19 to 24, or 25 to 30, trying to make ends meet to keep food on the table or their lights on. Put people to work they pump that money back into the economy." He describes Pat-Rick as a national resource that provides initial attack crews on fires. He says they got the call Friday afternoon and the government requested them to be ready to go by 5 o'clock Saturday morning. They left Redmond Saturday morning on a chartered aircraft bound for Phoenix, Arizona.
A local logger was out in a remote area of Crook County when he stumbled on what he thought was the skull of a cougar. Brian Gillen has since found out that the skull and bones he found was actually that of a Native American. The twist is; that the remains are very old. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports that Gillen told them the location felt eerie when he first got there and now he knows why. The Crook County Medical Examiner, Kenneth Long, and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab determine the bones and skull Gillen found belong to a member of the Warm Springs Tribe, and could date back as far as the 1800’s. The Warm Springs Tribe will now decide what to do with the remains. A tribal spokesperson says they do not discuss Native American remains or burials.
Prineville Police say six people have been arrested and charged with a number of crimes related to possessing methamphetamine and passing counterfeit $5 bills in Prineville. Chief Eric Bush says the counterfeit $5 first surfaced a in late May and then again last week. He says phony $5 bills are rare, because usually they make larger bills, like $20's. He says counterfeiters may be counting on the merchant to not report a crime involving smaller bills. “I strongly encourage any retailers who receive counterfeit currency to report that to police right away, regardless of the size of the denomination. $5 doesn't seem like a lot of money but when you look at the scale you can mass-produce those bills. You can have a pretty negative impact on the retail community; it costs a lot of people a lot of hard earned money, accepting those $5 and then being out that cash." Four of the people arrested are from Prineville and two are from Mead, Washington. The four Prineville residents are: Seth Jokinen, 30, Shannon Smith, 42, Rudy Nino Parras, 51, and Leanne Jean Thompson, 59.
If you have never gone fishing, but would like to try it, this weekend can help you decide. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is sponsoring a free fishing day for everyone, in all lakes and rivers that allow fishing. "Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with a number of partners are hosting a variety of free fishing events that weekend. They’re all over the State from east to west and north to south. Chances are, you can find one near where you live. And at these events, there are often rods and reels for you to use. Volunteers who are there to show you how to bait the hook, cast the rod and reel it in." Jessica Sall with the ODF&W says free fishing means licenses and tags are not required, although all other regulations do apply, such as bag limit and size restrictions. You can go to the ODF&W website for fishing locations and other information.
Redmond School District officials and the teachers union will try to hammer out a final contract today when the two sides meet. On the table is the District's latest proposal that cuts 28 positions and includes no pay increases, to close the District 8 budget shortfall. Originally the District proposed a 3.7% pay cut, that teachers opposed. Continued optimism about the Oregon economy has the District looking at $56 million more than anticipated, so School Board President Jim Erickson says they dropped the proposed salary cut. “That freed up a 50-50 offer instead of a 49-51 allocating in each of the two years. And that allowed the District to drop its’ 3.7% salary cut and offered 6 days lost, same as last year.” The two sides will meet today, and if an agreement can't be reached, again next Monday, June 13th.
You’ve probably already heard a lot of discussion regarding Juniper Ridge, a local commercial development. Roger Lee with Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) shares news that business owners and commercial real estate companies have been waiting to hear. "Juniper Ridge is finally ready to launch so we'll have 25 acres to sell in this first phase this month and so we're getting the word out that companies are actually able to purchase land develop land develop buildings and it's the first time in a long time that we've had this opportunity here we're going to be making a large push into Northern California as well as the L.A. (Loa Angeles) markets to try to attract the type of companies that want to be here." Lee says something that will help that project take off as we draw close the end of legislative session, is the Enterprise Zone Bill. That's the property tax break of 3-5 years for business that relocate to the area. Lee says it passed both the House and the Senate and is currently on the Governor's desk to be signed.
Prineville Police had a busy weekend breaking up an alleged drug and counterfeiting ring. Six people have been arrested and charged with a number of crimes related to possessing meth and passing counterfeit $5 bills in Prineville. Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush says the counterfeit $5’s first surfaced a in late May at the 7-11 on 3rd Street and Debbie Sue’s Cafe. Then last week counterfeit $5’s turned up at the Towne Pump Gas Station on NW Madras Highway. Bush says its not unusual for find alleged drug criminals also tied in with counterfeiting; he says what is rare is making $5 bills; “Four of the people arrested are from Prineville and two are from Mead, Washington.” The four Prineville residents are: Seth Jokinen, 30, Shannon Smith, 42, Rudy Nin Parras, 51, and Leanne Jean Thompson, 56. Police say the investigation continues and additional arrests are possible.
Thousands turned out Sunday for the 12th Annual "Heaven Can Wait" Walk and Run to fight breast cancer. Breast cancer survivor and race founder, Charlene Lavesque says it was a sea of pink: “Everybody wants to be a part of this, from sponsors, participants, volunteers. We never have problems getting volunteers; they just show up.” The first year, 250 showed up. This year more than 4000 are running and walking for a cure. Over the last twelve years, $750,000 has been raised. The proceeds go to Sara's Project, a program that funds cancer research and provides free mammograms and breast health education.
Registration is now open for the Summer Shootout Marble Tournament at the Des Chutes Historical Museum. This is the second year for the nostalgic tournament, and Museum Director Kelly Cannon-Miller says everyone who came last year really got into the spirit of the competition. "We had a blast; you don't need to know how to play marbles to join ins And let me tell you, it got super serious, when it came down to that last marble game, and the bike was on the line, you never saw so many serious kids." Cannon-Miller says there will be two categories: children seven to 14 will vie of a brand new Treck bike; and high schoolers through adult can compete for an X-Box. She adds that you don't need to know how to shoot marbles, an instructor will be on hand, and they will provide the marbles so everyone will be on an even playing field. The shootout is this Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Des Chutes Historical Museum. You can get the details and register on their website.
The Patriot Flag is in Bend today. The Patriot Flag is a donation that was given to pay tribute to the public safety personnel, veterans and those lost on 9/11. The Flag is traveling over a 50 week period, and Bend gets the privilege of flying the flag from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. today from a ladder truck in the Old Mill District. Everyone is invited to attend and view this memorial.
A pickup truck full of relief supplies from the Bend area is in Joplin, Missouri, helping tornado victims. Josh Hart traveled there in a truck donated by Robberson Ford last week. Before he left, he collected supplies at Ray's Foods. What he saw when he arrived in Joplin, is like nothing he's ever seen. “The news, photos, do nothing, you tube videos, are nothing what it actually looks and feels like on the ground. I stood at the center of the tornado. It’s disgusting. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Hart says he's working with Messenger College in Joplin, a bible college. All the donated supplies are set up in their warehouse for victims to come and get.
A lobbyist for rural Oregon says lawmakers need to wake up. Karla Kay Edwards, with the Cascade Policy Institute says while the recession hit Portland in 2007; rural Oregon has been struggling since the early 90's. For example, she says on average, Oregonians make only 91¢ on the dollar compared to the average wage nationwide. But in rural Oregon, it’s just 75¢ on the dollar compared to personal income nationally. The spotted owl listing is just one component to a larger trend. She says "On top of that. You’ve seen additional environmental laws that have impacted those farmers and foresters, and those are our mainstays of our economy. In return we've been told that it’s okay because you'll have eco-tourism and different tourism but the reality is that we're trading good family wage jobs for minimum wage jobs that are seasonal instead of permanent." Edwards says there hasn't been much movement to help all of Oregon this session; a 30-30 split in the House has just stopped many bills, including the ones that could help rural areas. She believes if rural lawmakers joined together regardless of party affiliation, they could get some meaningful legislation passed.
A man exposed himself to employees at two different drive-thru coffee stores over the weekend and got caught. Bend Police say it happened on Saturday morning, at the Human Bean on NE Greenwood. On Sunday morning, an employee at Blenderz, on Greenwood near NE 8th suffered the same experience. The suspect descriptions matched, as did the vehicle description of a red Mazda 4-door. The vehicle was located, and Robert Porter, 68, of Redmond was arrested for four counts of public indecency. If you have had a similar experience with this vehicle or person, Bend PD would love to talk with you.
St. Charles Immediate Care Facility has been opened for a year and continues to get a lot of use. St. Charles CEO, Jim Diegel says they opened the new center in part to give people without insurance a place to get treatment, besides the Emergency Room. Mission accomplished. “There's been an appreciable number of patients who now go to immediate care instead of the Emergency Room and it works better for them. Diegel says Immediate Care does not turn people away for inability to pay and their charges are much more reasonable than the Emergency Room.
State Representative Gene Whisnant of Sunriver says it’s looking like an important water bill for Central Oregon will make it thru this session. Whisnant says his top priority is getting the "The Deschutes Basin Water Mitigation Bill" through session. The Bill would extend the Deschutes Basin Water Management agreement to the year 2029. It was due to sunset in 2014. Whisnant says the agreement is important because local cities, farmers and others need the stability in knowing what their water resources will look like for many years. "Again, I want to get rid of the sunset forever but at least we've extended it for 15 years now to 2029, so at least someone who's looking at moving here or doing something can say okay we know this program will stay in place during that long period of time." Thursday the bill passed out of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources, which Whisnant believes was its’ toughest challenge. He says groups like Water Watch, Friends of the Metolius and others support the bill.
The Obama Administration plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan beginning in July. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon feels our mission has changed. “We're now, unfortunately we're now off on a different mission, nation building. And we have to be very thoughtful about that. We're spending $100-billion a year and we're not spending it on infrastructure, education and creating jobs here in America.” Senator Merkley says he is organizing a letter from Senators to be sent to the Obama Administration about a substantial and sustained draw down and not just a symbolic gesture.
Senior citizens who rely on getting a free lunch at the Bend Senior Center will have to travel a bit further north for the meal. It's a product of budget cuts. The Senior Lunch Program is moving from the Bend Senior Center to Bend's Community Center in mid-August. Bend Community Center Director Taffy Gleeson says they welcome the seniors; as it is a way to leverage their ability to feed people with their ability to feed the growing population. Organizers at the Senior Center say splitting up services gives every non-profit the chance to specialize in their area, and it helps the different organizations use their budgets more economically. Gleeson says they plan to serve lunch to up to 100 Seniors each day. Bend's Community Center is located on Northeast Fifth Street, just north of Greenwood.
This weekend is the 71st Annual Sisters Rodeo. The cowboys that have entered the competition really do prove that "It's the Biggest Little Show in the World." Four time world champ bareback rider, and local boy Bobby Mote of Culver is topping the list; and he'll be challenged by world-ranked Tilden Cooper and Kaycee Field. There are at least seven very popular events; and for first- time visitors to the rodeo, there's lots of hospitality. "It’s definitely a great way to get started. Generally, throughout the rodeo, the announcers will explain what's going on and what the goal is and how the competitors can win their event. There’s plenty of people around to talk to that are willing to sit down and explain it as it’s going on. It’s a great way to meet new friends and catch up with old friends." Sisters Rodeo Queen Emily Clark says there will be plenty local representation too. Central Oregon always has a lot of talented participants. The Sisters PRCA Rodeo begins on Friday and runs through Sunday.
A Sunday afternoon crash in La Pine sent one man to the hospital. Sheriff's deputies determined that William Everly, 76, of La Pine stopped at a stop sign on Pine Forest Drive, and then pulled out in front of a pickup driven by Prineville resident Mark Jeys, 32, that was traveling on Burgess road. Jeys told deputies he was unable to avoid the collision. Everly was transported to St. Charles Bend, treated and released. He was cited for failure to obey a traffic control device. No other injuries were reported.
Two Bend men were victims of a hit and run car pedestrian crash early Saturday morning. Shane Coffey, 24, and Joel Sousa, 21, were walking on Northwest 13th Street near Northwest Jacksonville Avenue in Bend when they were struck by an unknown suspect driving a light colored 80’s or 90’s Suburu. Both victims were taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life-threatening injuries. If you know anything about this incident, contact Bend Police.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) ran two missions Saturday afternoon. The more serious of the two incidents started around 1:30 when SAR responded to the # 70 trail, south of the Ground Hog off-highway vehicle play area, which is approximately 25 miles east of Bend. Phillip Miller, 56, of Forest Grove was injured in an off-road motorcycle crash. SAR members transported him to an area where Airlink could pick him up. He was taken to St. Charles Bend where he was listed in serious condition on Sunday.
Bend City Councilor Jodie Barram got a significant hair cut Friday for a good cause; the fight against breast cancer. She pledged to shave her head for Sara's Project, if she could raise $5000. “It was very overwhelming, I was getting nervous as we got down to the wire. But man, this community pulled through. And brought it and we rised the $5000 for Sara’s Project and just…what a huge hurrah for the women cancer survivors of our community.” She raised it and a hairdresser cut it off. Jodie lost her mother to breast cancer earlier this year.
Freshman lawmaker Jason Conger of Bend is thrilled that a bill that extends Enterprise Zones in Oregon passed in the House and Senate and is now on it's way to the Governor's desk. Conger says the zones offer an incentive for businesses to re-locate or expand in hard hit areas, and the zones were scheduled to sunset. His bill would push out the sunset date to 2023. “It was very exciting to have a bill that I made my legislative priorities, that I'd focused on and worked on the entire session finally get thru the Senate without amendment, which means it passed both chambers. And now it’s on its way to the Governor and I am very, very confident that he will sign it. There's no reason he wouldn't. And a lot of effort went into that more than it should've taken frankly, but to get it all the way thru the process was really rewarding and exciting." Conger says Enterprise Zones in Central Oregon have lured in Facebook in Prineville, T-Mobile in Redmond, and Bend Broadband.
Representative Gene Whisnant says he's crossed a major hurdle in a bill that is his top priority this session. House Bill 3623 "The Deschutes Basin Water Mitigation Bill" would extend the water management agreement to the year 2029. It was due to sunset in 2014. Whisnant says the agreement is important because local cities, farming and others need the stability in knowing what their water resources will look like for many years. “This Bill would re-authorize the successful mitigation conservation program we've had for over 15 years. As anything, you think everyone’s for it; but we ran into some roadblocks. But yesterday, I think we crossed the last roadblock and the bill should move forward. “ It passed out of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources and now moves to the full committee and then the House and Senate. He says at the end of the day, they had support from Water Watch, Water for Life, Friends of the Metolius and the Water Resource Department. With this hurdle out of the way, Whisnant believes the Bill has a good chance of making its way thru the session.
Bend City Councilor Jodie Barram is more than half way toward her goal of raising $5000 to fight breast cancer. So far she's raised $3800. Barram lost her mother to breast cancer this year and wanted to do something big to raise funds for Sara's Project. So she's going to cut off all her hair, if she can raise $5000 for this local program that helps increase early detection of the disease. Jodie will be back at Murray and Holt this afternoon collecting funds; and if she reaches her goal, the big haircut is scheduled for 5 p.m. We'll keep you updated.
Spring soccer just wrapped up, but soccer lovers can watch some top-notch play at Summit High School tonight. Oregon Rush has fielded a women's premier soccer league team and their opening home game is tonight. “Hopefully, they'll see a huge crowd. One of the things we're doing is offering free entrance for Oregon Rush players who wear their uniforms and we've got 1100 players. So hopefully there will be a huge crowd, with a festive atmosphere, kind of a Bend Elks for soccer.” Head coach, John O'Sullivan says the women's team is made up of current Rush players, college alums and top collegiate and senior women's players from around Oregon. Tonight's game against Spokane Shine gets underway at 7 p.m. at Summit. There's another game Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Summit. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids.
How much do you know about the Constitution? You have a chance to learn more tomorrow. Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes County's Republican parties are sponsoring the Constitution Seminar with Lewis and Clark law professor Jim Huffman. Kate Adams helped organize the event: “They'll learn the basis of the Constitution and how it has been misrepresented often times. There's also an opportunity to ask question of Jim Huffman.” The seminar runs Saturday June 4th from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Highland Baptist Church in Redmond and it’s free.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists has released a bear captured Wednesday after roaming in a field next to Tualatin Elementary School. The bear was released into an aspen grove in the Oregon Coast Range Mountains west of Carlton at approximately 11 a.m. yesterday. The bear appeared a little groggy but overall was in good condition when it stepped out of the trap where it had been held captive since the previous day when it was treed in a Tualatin neighborhood. Biologists wanted to make sure the bear was in good health before it was released into the wild. The release site in the Oregon Coast Range was selected for an abundance of food, water and cover.
There will be three pink fire trucks, staffed with firefighters in pink turn outs in Bend this week to help celebrate the “Heaven Can Wait Walk” on Sunday. They have traveled to Central Oregon all the way from Glendale, Arizona, a 2600 mile round trip. Our sister stations, Country 99.7- The Mountain and 98.3 The Twins will be out at Murray and Holt Motors collecting donations for Bend firefighters to have mustaches removed and heads shaved. As an added bonus, City Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Jodie Barram will shave her head if $5,000 in donations is reached. The Arizona firefighters charge nothing for their time and effort; they take their own time to travel throughout the U.S. to help support fund raisers to find a cure. They will be in different locations throughout Bend this weekend. They are asking that stop and show your support and maybe help by making a donation for cancer research in our community. If you are a cancer survivor you are encouraged to sign the fire truck. There are signatures from all over the United States of survivors of not just breast cancer but any type of cancer!!
And speaking of Barram…
Bend City Councilor Jodie Barram is preparing to get her hair cut for a good cause today. Barram says she will cut off her long locks, if she can raise $5000 for Sara's Project. It's a local program that promotes early detection of breast cancer. For Jodie, it's personal: “This year its much more poignant because I lost my mother in February to breast cancer. And having been there at the end when she went to heaven, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.” Barram will cut one inch off her hair for every $500 dollars raised, or all her hair if $5000 is raised. She will be collecting pledges today at Murray and Holt in Bend most of the day. The big haircut is scheduled for 5 p.m. today.
Thursday was opening day for a new indoor market in Redmond. The owner of "Redmond's Bazaar" Jerry Parks says in this tough economy some small business owners have had to come up with creative solutions to save money and make money. "We have so many talented people here in Central Oregon; the problem is getting their products to market because of the exorbitant cost of getting stand alone storefronts. You have all the rent space and tax and license and it just goes on and on. And its' just prohibitive for a small person to feed their family business, or make something and get it out there." This new indoor market comes on the heals of the closure of 2 similar markets in Bend. Parks says zoning won't be a problem for Redmond’s Bazaar; the year around market is located in an 11,000 square foot building on Highway 97 in south Redmond, Thursday thru Sunday.
The temperatures are beginning to creep up, and eventually summer will get here. Kevin Benton with the Oregon Department of Forestry says now is the time to get your property cleaned up to prevent wildfires. "Items such as pine needles or leaves that may be in the gutters on the roof. That material up there. That material needs to be removed. What we call ladder fuels around the structure. You want to provide a good fuel break around your structure, at least 50 feet around the structure and what we're looking for ladder fuels there is tall brush, or brush underneath exiting trees that would allow a fire to climb up into the trees, adjacent to the home or near that home." Benton says owners of homes that are on land protected by ODF have received certification packets to help them comply with the Oregon Forestland Urban Interface Fire Protection Act. You can always request your local fire department, or Department of Forestry Fire specialist to inspect your property and advise you on fuels reduction.
Builders in Bend will continue to pay a fee that is earmarked for affordable housing projects; but the amount of the fee is now lower. Wednesday night, the Bend City Council voted to renew the fee that was going to sunset. The measure had to be adopted under an emergency clause to meet a state deadline, and the vote had to be unanimous. “The important thing is that it passed. That the fee is continued, and that it will continue to help the city.” Central Oregon Veterans Outreach Board President Roger Riolo said the fee helps organizations purchase apartments and other buildings for affordable housing. This program helped Christine Hubinik move from crisis housing to an apartment. “We have this very typical American lifestyle as opposed to having this very troubled and traumatic and potentially scarring life of living in transitional housing.” The Council voted to lower the fee to one-fifth of one percent from the current one-third of one percent of the value of new construction. For example: on a $200,000 home, builders would pay $400 towards the affordable housing fund.
Darrel Middlekauff will spend the rest of his life in prison. The La Pine man was found guilty of brutally murdering his wife, Brenda in 2002. Her remains weren't found until 2005. Brenda's sister, Rita, was at Wednesday’s sentencing and addressed her former brother in law in court. “Little did she know, she would come face to face with the devil when she met you.” Middlekauff was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 24 years for other crimes involving sexual abuse and methamphetamine.
Hannah Allison, 14, of Bend competing in the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. this week, just missed the cutoff for Thursday’s semi finals. 41 of the 275 spellers from all over the country will advance to the semi-finals, with finals being tonight. This is the second year Hannah has competed in the National Spelling Bee. There were two representatives from Oregon this year; the other girl, Katie Fo, from Beaverton is competing in the semi finals. Hannah is taking it all in stride and is looking forward to watching the rest of the Bee with her friends. As a 14 year old, this is the last year Hannah can compete in the National Spelling Bee.
The State has cleared and reinstated four Department of Energy workers for alleged misconduct. It was believed the employees were steering government contracts toward the firm where Governor Kitzhaber's partner, Cylvia Hayes worked. These workers have been on paid administrative leave since last August.
The investigation wrapped up last December, but there were different decisions on what should be down. Nigel Jaquiss is a reporter with a Portland weekly covering the story: “What's really interesting is our information shows the DOE recommended these workers be fired, and then Governor Kulongoski had a retired judge do an independent review and he thought they should be fired. And this governor, Governor Kitzhaber brought in an independent lawyer and he recommended they be reinstated than fired.” The employees were told Wednesday they were cleared to return to work today and none of them will face any disciplinary actions.
Tower Theater can boast another big show coming up this summer. If you don't know them, it's pretty likely you know someone who does. It's the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Ray Solley with the Tower Theater says we're lucky to have them here in Central Oregon. "They really wanted to play here. They know there's a huge fan base here; a lot going on in this community throughout this summer but that night is clear sailing so we expect everybody to be at the Tower.” Tickets go on sale for members Friday, and for the rest of the public June 6th. For tickets and to see the summer schedule just log on to: www.towertheater.org.
One of Bend's most notorious killers was back in front of the parole board this week, as he is every other year. But this time his hearing was postponed for several months. Jeffrey Spoonire is called the "thrill killer" because he shot a total stranger, a popular St. Charles nurse as she was out walking on a trail near her Bend home. The murder happened almost 30 years ago, in 1982, and the family continues to fight to keep Jeffrey Spoonire locked up. St. Charles nurse Mary Ann Thomas Hosier was out walking on her usual trail on Century Drive when she was killed. The victims’ mother says Spoonire was out shooting squirrels when Hosier walked by and he thought it would be excited to see what happened if you shot a person. That's why he was dubbed the "thrill killer”. Deschutes County D.A. Patrick Flaherty is petitioning against Spoonire's release, and says when the Parole Board meets again he's going to ask the Board not to review it for 10 years rather then the current every other year schedule. Wednesday's hearing was postpone because Spoonire is set to have a psychiatric evaluation within the next 3 months, after that a new parole hearing date will be set.
Noxious weeds are springing up all over the county, thanks to the wet weather we've experienced this year. The eighth annual "Let's Pull Together" community weed pulling event is next Saturday, June 11th. Dan Sherwin, Deschutes County Vegetation Manager says they have some designated areas in Redmond, Sisters, Bend, Sunriver, and La Pine where people can gather to identify and pull the noxious weeds: "The problem with noxious weeds is, ya know, they will take over native grass areas and they're really not good for livestock or wildlife. They don't want to eat 'em. Some of these plants are very poisonous and can cause problems to humans and livestock and animals. So, there's a lot of reasons why we need to get rid of the weeds here in Central Oregon." Sherwin says they get up to 1200 volunteers showing up for the weed pull event. He adds that soon after they pull the weeds, they will sow seeds of plant species that can help deter noxious weeds. If you would like to get involved, go to: www.letspulltogether.com.
U.S. Representative Greg Walden is trying to move a "Wild and Scenic" boundary line away from the Bowman Dam. He calls it a small act that could provide a huge economy benefit to hard hit Crook County. “We need to get this done, and get people back to work in Central Oregon.” Congressman Greg Walden just introduced House Bill 20-60 which would move the Wild and Scenic Boundary line just a quarter mile downstream. That would allow for a hydroelectric power station, and give extra water credits to the City Prineville, allowing for more business development. “It could be huge for Central Oregon. It means real life construction jobs, maybe as many as 50 if it becomes law, just to do the hydro piece. But it also means some certainty for water deliveries for agriculture, for the citizens of Prineville and for growth of companies line Facebook that are looking at Central Oregon to locate.” In a preservation move in 1988, Congress designated about 18 miles of the Crooked River as a national wild and scenic river. But the boundary line goes thru the center of the Dam, and the head of the Bureau of Land Management believes the intent of Congress was to place it just below the Dam.
Wednesday, Governor Kitzhaber announces a new nonstop air cargo service that connects Oregon and southwest Washington with Asia. Asiana Cargo will depart Portland International Airport three times a week to Inchon, Korea. The nonstop air service will provide local businesses and shippers faster transit times, competitive pricing, reduced damage to cargo because of less handling and cost savings. Kitzhaber says it makes sense for Oregon to be a part of this new service: “Oregon currently ranks ninth in this country in per capita value of exports. And with 470,000 jobs, reported by International Trade in Oregon, we hope to make those statistics better. And Asiana Cargo will certainly help us do that." Kitzhaber says the service is set to begin on September and will serve Oregon’s top three trading partners in northeast Asia, Korea, Japan and China.
Parking on Mount Washington Drive between Century and Chandler Drive has become a danger for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. The City of Bend, with Bend Parks and Recreation, and Bend Police have attempted for years to warn drivers about not parking on the roadside. Now, it will be illegal. Sergeant Tom Pine with Bend Police says they are trying to stop a tragedy from happening: "The issue has become the number of times there has been close calls. We’ve looked at this; we've looked at the speeds in that area. We’ve looked at the volume of traffic. We have young pedestrians, based on the school in the area and again the use of the recreational fields there, and so to this date, I am not aware of a particular incident. But the issue here is an attempt to prevent that kind of incident." Sgt. Pine says they will be issuing parking tickets from now on, and they will patrol the area during Skyline Field events.
This week there have been several black bear sightings in the Portland and Vancouver area. Wednesday morning, classes at Tualatin Elementary School were canceled after a black bear wandered into a field next to the school. And in Vancouver, a bear was captured after it got too close to a college in Vancouver. In Central Oregon, this is the time of year when bears may wander into some residential areas looking for food. Local wildlife biologist Steven George says they sometimes see bears in Sisters and the west part of Bend. They've been hibernating all winter and now they are pretty hungry: “So they haven't been eating at all, so that means they are going to be looking for food. So they are very vigorous searching for food." George says they especially like our garbage; so don't leave food uncovered outside. He says the last local sighting was in west Bend last spring near Farewell Bend Park.
Classified workers in the Redmond School District have ratified a contract for next year. It has no salary increases. In 2009, these workers agreed to defer a 1% wage increase. And the current District budget crisis has prompted them to eliminate the deferral altogether and maintain their current salaries for the coming year. The final vote was 79% in favor of the contract and 21% against it.
A sharp dive in private job growth and a continued slowdown in the manufacturing sector combined to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average down almost 280 points Wednesday, its biggest drop since early March. Troy Reinhart is with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend. “Continuing bad news on the job front and manufacturing slowing down. It’s still growing but not growing at the same pace. We’ve been in this sort of a slow drift upwards or sideways, and continuing bad news on threw job front and manufacturing slowing down, it’s still growing, but it’s not growing at the same pace. We’ve been in this slow drift upwards or sideways and this is just enough of a catalyst to send some people out of the Market. Like yesterday (Tuesday) was enough, just with what was going on in Greece, the EEU to send people back into the Market. So I think people are trying to figure out where we’re going and how fast we’re gong to get there and that causes lots of volatility.” Doubts about the economy's strength that built throughout may were compounded by a pair of reports that were weaker than investors expected. The ISM's Manufacturing Index fell and private employers added just 38,000 jobs in May, down from 177,000 in April. Analysts had expected 180,000 new jobs.
A Redmond woman will spend six months in jail for the double fatal crash in Bend last July. Judy Swift ran a stop sign at Neff and Hamby Road last July 9th, killing Darleene Coursey, 77, and her son, Gregory Coursey, 52, of Prineville. Bob Coursey, 78, who was driving, survived. But his son, Randy says he's not the same.
“He suffered head trauma in this accident and he's suffered bouts of memory loss that are massive. He can't remember one thing to the next, day by day and he's also suffering major bouts of depression at this time.” A plea agreement was reached behind closed doors Tuesday. Judy Swift will spend six months in jail, 90 days wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet and serve 500 hours of community service. She also loses her drivers license for life.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon was in Bend this morning, pushing for us to do something about our continuing dependence on foreign oil. Merkley spoke at the Bend Transit Center about his plan to end our dependence in two decades. It ramps up the use of electric cars, increases travel options and improves infrastructure as well as develops alternative transportation fuels. “Each time the prices jump at the pump, there's a lot of talk about doing something, but then we don't follow through. It’s the same thing as repairing a roof that is leaking when it rains and the next day is a sunny day. This is unacceptable.” Merkley says this year, two thirds of America’s oil imports came from nations that don't share our goals or values.
Lawmakers continue to struggle with the state's budget. The education budget is set, but proposed cuts for Oregon’s Medicaid Program, the Oregon Health Plan, is still being discussed. St. Charles CEO Jim Diegel says hospitals around the state are concerned about proposed large cuts to OHP, and what that will mean for local doctors and medical centers. it does look like there will be an increase in the hospital tax. “We think that will help stem the proposed cuts, so instead of cuts of 19%, it will be 11%. But it's still a cut. The concern is that type of cut will mean less access for these patients and of course, that's to be seen.” Diegel is in on talks with Governor Kitzhaber about how to improve the delivery of healthcare in the state and lower costs.
You may have heard of speed dating; but speed lending? Now that's a new concept. There’s an interesting event hosted by local business assistance organizations you may not want to miss. It's not as if you'll walk in looking for a small business loan and walk out with cash in hand; but future, new and existing business owners can meet face to face with Central Oregon lenders to see if they're interested. " This might be an opportunity to come in and meet a bunch of different lenders at the same time and kind of get an idea of what that financial institution likes to do meet the folks and then you can follow up with them later if you want to submit an application." That's Mike Testerman from Mid Oregon Credit Union. He says rumors that lenders are overly tightfisted right now, aren't necessarily true. "If you're a business owner, what you need to do is to go out and talk to the lender. The only way they make money is to make loans. And so they're going to be wanting to do that." For more on how to register for this June 8th workshop, luncheon and speed networking event; just write to email@example.com.
The Redmond Police Department is conducting a Pedestrian Safety Operation Tuesday, June 7th. They will be at the school zone at Rimrock and Deschutes in Redmond from 9 a.m. until noon; then from noon until 3 p.m. at 6th Street and Glacier. They will be issuing tickets or warnings to drivers who fail to stop for a pedestrian, or accelerates before the legally required distance is reached. In a news release, Lt. Gary DeKorte says the primary focus of the program is to raise awareness of pedestrian safety issues, and to reduce the number of accidents within the City limits of Redmond.
Oregon freshman Representative Mike McLane from Powell Butte thinks the State has to come up with more ways to cut frivolous spending to fund necessary services. McLane wants to start with the State's ongoing investment in the "drive less, save more" campaign. It tries to persuade people to drive less to save money. “We do have a storm that is going to hit Oregon and it’s a fiscal tornado. We have to prepare for it. The federal government after the next Presidential election is going to cut funding to reduce the deficit and Oregon is going to see need for state services go up and we won't have federal dollars to fall back on.” McLane feels the $2-million spent on the "Drive Less, Save More" program would be better spent on transportation for seniors and people with disabilities.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is in Central Oregon for a couple town halls. He'll be in Prineville and Bend today. One of the subjects he expects to address is the troubled housing market that continues to be a drag on the economy. Merkley believes we need to act now to put housing at the top of the national agenda: “B all estimates, there's another five million foreclosures to come. What I'm arguing for is a foreclosure modification programs that is straight forward and reasonable and quick. It’s currently a horrific effort for families seeking modification.” Merkley says in the coming weeks, he'll be renewing his call to the Obama Administration to better address housing issues facing this country.
A national report is showing a dip in national housing prices, and it also shows that Portland is one of the hardest hit cities. The new report out Monday shows Portland home prices fell 7.6% in the past year. The Standard and Poors Index ranked 20 top cities. Portland had the third-worst drop among surveyed cities.
But, going forward, the trend may be turning around in Central Oregon. The national story may sound bleak, but the President of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors says local agents are seeing more positive signs that should support better pricing in the near future. Lester Friedman explains: “We're seeing a lot of activity, a lot of buyers who've contacted realtors who are looking. Anecdotally, all the realtors that I speak with in our association say have told me they are busier than they have been, so that bodes well.” At the same time, Friedman says they are starting to see foreclosures come back on the market after the banks had withdrawn them as they sorted through legal questions over the mortgage electronic registration system or "MERS": "But inventories are still low, and as buyers look for houses, with fewer to choose from, it helps support pricing.” The drop put home prices in Portland at levels not seen since the fall of 2004. Seattle was one of only two cities on the list to show year-to-year growth in home prices.
A Red Cross disaster relief volunteer Sandra lee Haggard of Terrebonne has begun serving those affected by the May 11th tornadoes in Minnesota. Haggard is trained in disaster relief skills and is joining more than 40 other Oregonians who are serving as Red Cross volunteers throughout the 22 states reeling from the devastation left behind after this spring’s flooding and tornadoes. The Red Cross says her service will help provide emergency shelter, food, first aid, communication and emotional support to those affected.
Two Warm Springs residents have been sentenced in a murder the federal judge describes as "extraordinarily brutal." Prosecutors say the murder of Lucinda Stwyer of Warm Springs involved stabbing and strangulation. Attorney Scott Kerin says both defendants: Jolena Waner and Antonio Brito were active meth users before and during the crime: “Its a little unclear why the homicide happened. Part of that is because Jolena Warner had made different statement to different people about why it happened. At one point she told someone that it was a revenge killing. That she blamed Lucinda Stwyer for a murder of her cousin. And this was her payback for that. She made other statements to other individuals that this was a robbery attempt, that resulted in the death of the victim.” Jolena Warner, 30, who was considered the lead in the murder, was sentenced to 30 years in prison; and Antonio Brito, 25, received 18 years. The murder happened in September of 2008.
Sunday was the last day of the ski season for Mt. Bachelor. They ended the season with a big bash on the mountain that included a barbeque, two bands, and the highly anticipated pond skimming championships. Now that they have has a few days to take a breath, Mt. Bachelor spokesman Andy Goggins says it was really a remarkable year. "The snowiest snowfall on record, this season. 665 total inches this year which exceeds our average of right around 380, so between the snow that just hasn't seemed to stop or let up and the extension of the winter season, all in all ended up being a good season for us up here." Goggins says they will have a bit of down time, but are planning to re-open the mountain on July 1st for the summer season. Those regular season and midweek pass holders will be able to use their passes to get a lift ticket to the top of Mt. Bachelor for summer hiking and recreation.
The Des Chutes Historical Museum is participating as a "Blue Star" museum this summer. "The Blue Star Museum program is something that is an offshoot of the National Endowment for the Arts, that allows active duty military members and their immediate family into participating museums for free between Memorial Day and Labor Day." Museum Director Kelly Cannon-Miller says military members and their families only need to show current military I.D. such as a Common Access Card (CAC), DD Form 1173 I.D. card or a DD Form 1173-1 I.D. card. The military includes all active duty members includes Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves, and their families. Cannon-Miller says over the summer they get thousands of visitors to the museum. The next big event is the Summer Shootout, an annual marble tournament on June 18th. For more information, go to the Des Chutes Historical Museum website: click here.