United States Attorney Dwight C. Holton
United States Attorney Dwight C. Holton
Fire bosses feel this is a turning point on the High Cascades Complex burning on at least 76,000 acres on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The fire has burned close enough to threaten about 200 structures but fire officials say none have been lost. Fire command spokesperson Tom Lavagnino says the cooler weather has been a welcome relief. “We've turned the corner on many of these challenges given to us. The last couple of days was a real challenge with the hot weather and low humidity. We're not getting that now; we're taking advantage of it where we can." He says its been a tough fight the past few days, and crews are starting to show their fatigue. Because of the massive fire-fighting effort there have been constantly changing road and highway closures in that area. ODOT still recommends that you avoid the area if possible.
A fire burning near Mt. Hood has grown to 1600 acres. It's burning in extremely rugged terrain. Jeree Mills, with the Northwest Coordination Center says it's burning in the same area as a fire two years ago. The previous fire eliminated much of the fuel that can cause the Dollar Lake Fire to grow. The historic Cloud Cap Inn is wrapped in protective material to keep it from burning.
Prineville’s Police Chief is being promoted to Brigadier General of the Oregon National Guard. A special ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, September 1st in Salem at Heritage Park. Chief Eric Bush says the promotion shouldn't interfere with his Police Chief work in Prineville: “Not directly; there will be some in-direct impacts. I’m going to be required to do some more traveling, but I am certainly able to serve as the Chief of Police as long as people here will have me and I look forward to that." The Oregon National Guard has 3400 members. Bush has been the commander of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Bush says in other National Guard news; the police department is excited to welcome back Officer Brandin Noland who just returned from Iraq after serving there for a year. His wife, Mandy is a 911 dispatcher.
You’ll see more cyclists tooling around Bend over the next several days as the 2011 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships are happening through Sunday. Micah Rice, the Managing Director for National Events for USA Cycling says they have been looking forward to the Bend event all year, because the conditions are always perfect. "We’ve got about almost 950 unique participants that are here with their families and of course spectators that have come from some of the surrounding communities for this five day event." Rice says the big draw is always the criterium, and this time it's two days long. Thursday's criterium is in Northwest Crossing for male riders 60-plus and women 40-plus. Friday's criterium will be in downtown Bend for the elite men 30 to 59 and women 30 to 39. Watch for street closures over the next several days.
The Sagebrush Golf Classic tried a new fundraising formula this year and it’s not clear whether they'll continue with it. Sagebrush events didn't make any money this year and so Deschutes Brewery stepped in and donated $30,000 to be split up among the 100 non-profits. Gary Fish of Deschutes Brewery headed up Sagebrush this year. “We're going through a lot of analysis and we learned an awful lot this year and we learned the new concept and there are certainly things we could have done better. But at the same time we want to know if the paradigm has shifted away from events as a source of revenue.” The nearly 100 non-profits did raise three quarters of a million dollars this year, but poor weather and a tough economic climate resulted in Sagebrush events failing to make money this year. So there were no matching funds for the nonprofits, until Deschutes Brewery donated them.
1500 crews are now fighting the High Cascades Complex on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The fire complex, at last count was 76,000 acres. When the afternoon winds picked up yesterday, the fire really started moving. Veteran firefighter Chris Orr was stunned by its power and speed. "It was the 2nd fastest moving fire I've ever been on in my 19 year career. Yesterday when it got established, about 11 o’clock. By 1900 hundred [hours] it had gone 7 miles to the south and east." Chris Orr spoke with our news partner, News Channel 21. the high cascades complex is now 15 percent contained and full containment is expected early next week.
A fire burning on the north slope of Mt. Hood has been very difficult to get to because of the steep, rugged terrain. The Dollar Lake fire has stayed relatively small at 1500 acres, as of this morning. That’s thanks to weather that’s somewhat cool, but that won’t last long. “Once you get across the Cascades, they’re not having this low marine layer, so they’re still have pretty warm temperatures.” Jerre Mills with the Fire Coordination Center says the terrain is rugged, with steep slopes and heavy smoke keeping fire crews at bay. Today nearly 300 headed up to the northeast edge of the fire to try to build a defense line to slow its’ advance. The historic “Cloud Cap Inn is the only major structure threatened at the moment. It’s being protected by space age wrapping of fire resistant material that looks a bit like aluminum foil. At latest word there is another structure that's threatened: it’s "Tilly Jane" a popular building with climbers.
What a wild weather year we've had! Contrary to the rest of the nation, we've had a very mild summer. And now Mother Nature is about to give us a taste of fall. "It’s as cold as 33 or 32. So I think our shot at a freeze is going to be Wednesday night into Thursday morning. And then we're going to warm up as we head into Labor Day weekend. I think Saturdays' high will be rocketing into the low 80's with morning lows still brisk and chilly, in the 40's, but at least the sun will be out if we have outdoor plans this weekend." Mark Thibodeau with the Weather Channel says that this is the time of year when we will start having pretty cold mornings and warm days. He adds that if you are growing tomatoes or other sensitive plants, you may want to cover them up tonight.
The U.S. Department of Justice is taking steps to block AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile. There are concerns the $39 billion deal would drastically reduce competition in America’s cell phone business. Representative Greg Walden says he's received assurances from AT& T officials that no layoffs would occur at T-Mobile Call Centers in Oregon should the merger go through. The Redmond Call Center employs 682 people. About 2200 Oregonians are employed at T-Mobile Call Centers in Redmond, Salem and Portland.
The emergency room is the most expensive place for people to go for primary care. Patients that do that really drive up the cost of healthcare. St. Charles in Bend has implemented an ER diversion programs that has had some pretty amazing results. They followed more than one hundred patients who had visited the ER nearly 800 times in 2010. Jim Diegel is the CEO of St. Charles Healthcare System. “The average Medicaid patient that goes to the ER on averages spends $2000. But the 144 patients we followed, the average cost if $66,000, so that's pretty significant dollars there.” The program pairs up healthcare workers and high risk patients to educate them on seeking reasonable healthcare and help them navigate the system.
Four major wildfires were agaom terrorizing the Warm Springs Indian Reservation Tuesday afternoon, and hundreds of families had to evacuate their homes. Those fires are now estimated at 76,000 acres. Last night fire bosses held a community meeting to explain their strategies in fighting the complex of fires. About 1500 fire crews are now fighting those fires called the High Cascades Complex.
Here’s the largest numbers for the Hancock Complex burning near Clarno. Last night, managers on the Hancock Complex Group of blazes burning near Clarno in North-Central Oregon said the blazes had grown to 59,000 acres. It’s now 80% contained, with full containment expected tomorrow. Nearly 350 firefighters were still on the fire Tuesday. Firefighters successfully held most fire lines in the cooler, windier conditions yesterday. Daytime temperatures are expected to be a little cooler for the next several days before returning to normal or above normal over Labor Day weekend. And firefighters continue to watch for any new lightning holdover fires from the past week’s storms.
Mt. Bachelor has announced their 2011-12 season pass rates, and pre-season ticket deals are available now. "Season passes are at their early season rates through the end of September, do if you purchase your pass anytime before September 1st and the 30th of the month, you've locked yourself in at the best possible rate for season passes for the winter. And we also have the value added offers that we have added in this year on your season passes to create a little bit more value on those." Spokesman Andy Goggins says they have some great deals for friends and family and a pass refund protection plan. All of the information is on the Mount Bachelor website and you can pre-order your passes there too. We have a link to Mt. Bachelor at kbnd-dot-com.
The new Central Oregon Community College Prineville Campus is open for students. The first day of classes won't be until next month, but the new 12,000 square foot building is open and being used by the community. Jeff Papke with the college says classes start for COCC on September 19th and for OSU on September 26th. “We're expecting total enrollment of 400 students. We started with four classes of 87 students last winter. 90% of the students are residents in Crook County and over 50% of them it's the first time they've taken college classes. The average age was 39. The campus was paid for by a bond issue approved by voters in 2009. Voters approved a $41 million levy to improve the COCC Bend Campus and build satellite campuses in Madras and Prineville.
About 1200 fire crews are trying to make progress today on the huge complex of fires burning on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. This afternoon fire officials said the complex is still estimated at around 62,000 acres. Monday afternoon, winds picked up and the fire gained a lot of ground. Fire spokesman Tom Lavagnino says the good news is that no structures have burned; although flames came very close to some homes. "The fire started to make a run on us. We utilized some air tankers from Redmond, which was pretty effective, and then we had a DC 10 from Sacramento, California and dropping about 12,000 gallons of retardant. Normal tankers hold about 3000 gallons, so this was a little bit bigger than that. So you can imagine that made a pretty good effect on the fire's spread.” He says aggressive firefighting efforts kept the homes safe and greatly reduced the impacts to the local community.
The Humane Society of Central Oregon is bursting at the seams with scared dogs. Spokesperson Lynne Ouchida says ever since last weeks' thunderstorms, they have received about 40 dogs that ran away from their homes, trying to escape the thunder and lightning. "Thunderstorms not only cause stress during the storm, but then they're on the run, they're away from home, they get disoriented and thankfully, either animal control or a concerned citizen brings them in. so, the animals that actually to arrive here, which in reality is really a small percentage, they're the lucky ones. They are safe and secure until their families come and pick them up." Ouchida says they do want people to pick them up quickly; and if you are a dog sitter, call them or check their web site to make sure the dog isn't just sitting in the kennel. Of course a lot of stress could be avoided if your pet had proper identification, either through an I.D. tag or I.D. chip that is placed under the pet's skin.
Over 800 firefighters are battling the 62,000 acre High Cascades Complex burning on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. And it's a tossup whether Mother Nature will help. "They are calling for some cooling over the next couple of days, so that part is good, but they're also thinking there might be some winds coming up too in the next couple of days. So it's kind of a wait and see attitude." Mark Morrow with the Northwest Coordination Center says nearly 200 homes are threatened by the fire. Six have already been evacuated.
As for air quality right now ; the DEQ issued an air quality warning for Prineville. And the air around Sisters is rated as "moderate". Surprisingly bend's air is currently considered "good".
You’ll notice smoky skies again in Central Oregon as wildfires continue to burn. The air quality index is in the good to moderately smoky range for Bend, but Prineville and Sisters are seeing higher levels that may be bothering some people. Frank Messina with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, says he's taken a lot of phone calls and here's his advice. “Well, basically for people to use common sense. People with compromised systems, especially young people with asthma or elderly people should be cautious about going out in the smoky environment.” You can go on the DEQ website to get the latest air quality index, but it is a 24 hour average. So be aware there will be parts of Bend today that will see increasing smoke in the air.
Today is the first day of school for some students. The Oregon Connections Academy is an online, tuition free public education option. Cindy Hovey of Bend says her two children Jett and Gabriel are both enrolled in online classes. Hovey says she has also discovered a lot over the years while being a "Learning Coach" for Gabriel, now in the fourth grade: “Actually it's been kind of a good thing for him and for me. I had no idea how fun it would be watching the little light bulbs turn on every time he learned something new. That really came as a shock to me because, that's just not the kind of person I was, and it’s like ‘let the teacher’s do the teaching and I’ ll just be the mom at home’. But, had I known how much I was missing, I would have done this with my older children too.” Hovey says they appreciate that if the kids learn something easy, they can move on quickly; and things that are tougher, they can spend more time on. Hovey's daughter, Jett begins kindergarten today too.
A report out today shows Oregon's middle class has taken a beating the last thirty years. The recession hit middle class workers especially hard. Jason Gettel with the Oregon Center for Public Policy says people are struggling in part because wages really haven't gone up. “And real earnings haven't changed much over the last 30 years. After adjusting for inflation the average Oregon worker has only seen about $477 year a year in 2009- 2010 than in 1993-1994.” The report found that even two working parents often struggle because of the high cost of housing and child care. Younger workers are also especially hard hit. Wages for workers 25 to 34 have declined since 1980, except for those with college degrees.
A string of large fires on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation has grown to 62,000 acres - they nearly doubled in size Monday. Nearby homes were evacuated and ODOT closed three major highways in the area. Highway 26 is still closed near Warm Springs with a detour in place. As of Monday night, the High Cascades Complex was 10% contained. At the very earliest, full containment is expected in about a week.
The Hancock Fire Complex near Clarno is now at 53,000 acres. The complex had moderate fire behavior Monday with a few flare-ups. Crews remain challenged by steep slopes, rugged terrain and dry grass that burns quickly. There are also several large fires near Mitchell, the largest. The Dead Dog fire was mapped at 13oo acres. Fire spokesperson Lisa Clark has an additional warning right now for avid hunters: “The main thing is we've entered into bow season. Soon we'll be entering into rifle season for hunting. We have had a lot of fires recently in Central Oregon. We definitely want to urge caution for people out there; if they're hiking through a recently burned area they should watch for stump holes or snags, and should watch for extra fire traffic out on our forest and range-land roads right now.” And -the fire near Black Butte Ranch ; about 8 miles away, is holding at 300 acres.
Bend Police tried something new last Friday night, free blood-alcohol breath tests at a popular downtown bar. They just released the results. Police officers and volunteers conducted the event at Boondocks, at 70 NW Newport Ave. Lt. Paul Kansky says the intoxilyzer test measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood system, being a measurement of their level of intoxication; the higher the percentage of alcohol in the blood, the higher the impairment. The legal limit of blood alcohol content in Oregon is .08. That means anyone with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, driving a vehicle while impaired, is committing the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. A total of 65 intoxilyzer tests were administered between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. The results: 38 participants resulted in under .080 that's about 58% and the rest tested over that. The highest test was point .258 more than three times the legal limit.
As the song says: you may have a right to par-tay, but is that always the best decision? A new requirement for incoming University of Oregon first year and transfer students under the age of 21 begins this month. Jennifer Summers, Director of Substance Abuse Prevention and Student Success at the University explains what AlcoholEdu for College is about: “It's an online prevention-based program to help to learn about life choices and how to make sure that they understand how to create a healthy and safe environment as they come to campus. So we're tying to empower the students here to make well-informed decisions about alcohol. And link their choices about drinking or not drinking to academic and personal success." Summers says the course also deals with sexual assault and abuse, another problem that is closely associated with alcohol abuse.
Fire crews from throughout the northwest are putting everything they have on several very large fires burning on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The Oregon and California Inter-Agency Team is now managing the High Cascades Complex. The size of the three major fires is estimated at more than 54,000 acres (as of 3 p.m. Monday) . Fire spokesperson Tom Lavagnino says they are facing many challenges, so they have several strategies. Helicopters are flying in water and dousing hot spots, and big bulldozers are digging some big fire lines. "Hand crews are going it in the stepped spots where heavy equipment can't get operate or may be closer to a home and then we have the structural protection folks who are kind of like City firefighters and they coming in from all over the area and look at each house and help the homeowner understand what makes it more defensible." About 200 structures are threatened and Lavagnino says a containment estimate of next Monday may be too optimistic. He says one positive note is that they have plenty of resources to throw at this fire because other states are fairly quiet so we aren't competing with them for crews and equipment.
If you are planning a trip to the valley, it's very important to keep an eye on Tripcheck. Peter Murphy with ODOT says the High Cascades Complex Fire has caused some major road closures. "We have Highway 26 closed up through the Warm Springs Reservation. And we also have Highway 97 closed from the 197/97 junction to Shaniko. So it's a situation where the fires are building in intensity." Murphy says back fires are being lit to try to get some control on the erratic fire, and for the public's safety and to give firefighters and equipment access, they decided to close the roads. Murphy says Highway 26 may be ale to have some lanes reopened by 9 p.m. tonight; but the fire could cause that decision to change.
The local Red Cross opened a shelter in Warm Springs and is providing help to families who may be affected by the wildfires nearby. Tom Farley says there is still a big threat to many people in that area. But Warm Springs as well as outside of Burns. "And with the possibility of new thunderstorms and the unpredictability of the fires, it’s still a very precarious situation. I know in the Warm Springs area as well as outside of Burns." The Oregon Red Cross is now responding to an average of 4 fires per months versus 3 per month in Oregon last year.
A prominent Bend orthopedic surgeon is considering a run for public office. Dr. Knute Bueher recently formed a Political Action Committee to investigate a run for Secretary of State in 2012. Dr. Buehler has never run for public office before, but feels he has the background for this job. “Secretary of State is an executive position. I have run the center, which is a fairly large facility that employs more people than the Secretary of State's Office, so I feel comfortable in that role. I think the Secretary of State's Office has underperformed for the last 12 years. There’s a lot of auditing, but not a lot of accountability.” Dr. Buehler plans to make a decision in October or November on whether to run. If he decides, he would be seeking the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in the may 2012 Primary.
The Boys and Girls Club in Redmond is looking to move to a new location. The Club just had a building donated to them that is across from Obsidian Middle School. Club spokesman Nate Wyeth says Cascade Child Center donated their building when they went out of business recently. “The current building that we have is across from Evergreen Elementary that is now shut down. It's at capacity. This new property is bigger. It’s twice the size; it’s just ideal for the Boys and Girls Club in Redmond.” The Boys and Girls Club held an open house on Monday to show supporters the new building and to start raising the quarter of a million dollars needed for renovations.
Firefighters continue to work on several wildfires burning in Central Oregon and are watching for any lightning holdover fires from the past week’s storms. Another storm passed through yesterday, putting down 740 lightning strikes in Central Oregon. Additional concerns include a potential increase in wind that could challenge firefighters throughout the area. One fire, the Shadow Fire, burning eight miles from Black Butte Ranch prompted emergency officials to go door to door at the Ranch just in case they had to order evacuations. Lisa Clark is with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center: “You know, we have a long history of fires in the Sisters area. There is a tendency for them to move from the west to the east. SO it really was precautionary. We knew a lot of people were seeing that smoke on the horizon, and so just giving them some information about what was going on as well as just information on the potential path the fire could take if they did not get it knocked down. But as of last night, things were looking out there.” It’s currently 350 acres and forward progress to the east has stopped. The largest fire burning on the Warm Springs Reservation is the Razorback Fire estimated at more than 20,000 acres and continues to burn on both sides of the Deschutes River. The Lower Deschutes River is not closed to rafting at this time. And the large rangeland Hancock Complex near Clarno is now 45,000 acres.
It’s estimated 17 million children nationwide come from food insecurity, meaning they often go hungry because they don't have enough food. That's one in four children failing to get the necessary nutritious food. Sandy Klein with NeighborImpact says they're seeing the same numbers here in Central Oregon. “Well, currently our unduplicated count of people being served is 16,000 each and every month and that's for the entire tri-county area and I'd say 35% are children. And that's up from just 14,000 last year. The numbers just keep increasing. Klein says they're also seeing fewer donations from the Oregon Food Bank at a time the demand is greater than ever. Cuts in food aid at the federal and state level are having an effect.
Two serious car accidents on Highway 97 north of Chiloquin Sunday afternoon. The first one happened just before 4 p.m. when a truck drifted onto the northbound shoulder, lost control and overturned. The driver was taken to a Klamath Falls hospital with serious injuries. The second accident occurred around 5:30 p.m., when a car driven by a Madras man failed to see traffic stopped and slammed into the back of a Honda Accord, causing a chain reaction involving four cars. Only the man driving the Honda was injured. James Bourg of Yakima, Washington was taken to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend where he remains in serious condition.
It wasn't a wildfire; it was a huge barn fire in Central Oregon and it resulted in $70,000 in losses. Fire officials say a barn filled with 70 tons of hay, a tractor and other equipment went up in flames Saturday evening along Lower Bridge Way in the Terrebonne area. Fire official say the fire was human-caused. It comes at a time when hay is in very short supply throughout Central Oregon.
Emergency crews near Black Butte Ranch were on standby Sunday afternoon in case they needed to evacuate the ranch. A new fire was spotted around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, burning north of Mt. Washington within the Mt. Washington Wilderness, 15 miles west of Sisters and about eight miles west of Black Butte Ranch. The smoke plume was visible over a wide area, including Santiam Pass travelers. The Shadow Lake Fire had burned about 350 acres by sunset, but officials said crews stopped forward progress to the east.
The Office of State Fire Marshal has mobilized four task forces to assist with protection of threatened structures. About 190 homes are threatened because of those fires and others, the air quality in Bend was declared unsafe yesterday morning. Bend Doctor Adam Williams has some advice: “People who are susceptible, people with asthma, other respirator conditions, I definitely advise saying indoors as much as possible. Make sure they have their inhalers, many people are on daily controller inhalers, and those definitely need to be used. Make sure that they are using them is they have stopped using them. And then havng a rescue inhaler on hand.” The Razorback Fire on the northeast corner of the Reservation was estimated Sunday evening at 20,239 acres. It jumped the Deschutes River and was burning on private and BLM land between Highway 197 and the river.
Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney has been heavily involved in a regional effort to reduce costs and in-efficiencies in the local system. She says they studied the data and found that a small number of people are overusing the system. For example some people are going to the emergency room as many as 62 times a year, more than once a week. "We started coming together and deciding to start pooling our dollars because we have the same cachment area; St. Charles, and so we can actually identify those folks who 82% are on the Oregon Health Plan, and so they have insurance we're already paying for it. They're in our emergency rooms so we're paying for it twice.” A new Senate Bill paves the way for a regional health care reform initiative, and Central Oregon is the pilot program. Baney says once those "frequent flyers" were identified, they focused on getting them into the care they needed and better comprehensive services so they wouldn't keep using the emergency rooms for non-emergency needs. This effort started about two years ago. And if the idea works it may be launched statewide.
Officials at Mt. Bachelor are winding down for the summer. Spokesman Andy Goggins says our very late arrival of warm weather made fore a very unique summer season. "It’s been good. Yeah, all in all, we had a couple weeks there in the middle of July where spring wouldn't quite end and we had some weather days, but other than that, it's been a very good summer. I think with July ski, over the July 4th weekend, when we operated for those three days for skiing and snowboarding off the summit. That was fun and got our summer off to a great boost." Goggins says the Labor Day weekend is the very last time for summer operations, and Sunday night is the final time to take part in the Sunset Dinner. Goggins adds that the winter snow season passes will go on sale September first, and new pricing will be released sometime this week.
Looking for a job? The auto dealers may be a good place for you. The local auto dealers in Central Oregon are seeing a slow, but very steady increase in car and truck sales. Toyota Scion General Manager Robert Durfee says they have already been hiring more staff: “We've been hiring. We’re just done hiring some additional sales personnel. So we are currently looking for finance people, we are looking for service advisors; we're looking for technicians. We’re pretty much hiring in every position. So if any listeners are out there looking for work, come and see us." Durfee says they project a 140% increase in dales this fall over last years' numbers. He adds that inventory is a bit light, especially for the popular Prius, because of Japan's manufacturing problems stemming from the tsunami.
Now that interest rates are historically low, and its not a sellers market, some people are thinking about staying put longer and sprucing up their homes instead of moving. Real estate agent Nick Crowder with Keller Williams says there are many factors that should go into your decision whether or not to remodel: “If it’s location based, my advice is always a move because you can't remodel a neighborhood. You can only remodel your house. If its something else like you're thinking this is great as 3 bed one bath but now we've got a kid or family staying with us, we need 2 bathrooms, then a remodel probably makes more sense as long as you have the space for it. So those are the easy ones." And many people do have the ability to remodel. While we always hear about the many people who are upside down right now; Crowder says 30% of the homes in America don't have loans on them so there is a huge chunk of the population that has 100% equity.
If your child hasn't had their proper vaccinations yet, there are several clinics this week. Clinics in La Pine, Bend, Redmond and Sisters will be held Monday through Thursday, 2 to 6 p.m. Heather Kaisner with the Deschutes County Health Department says many of them will be offered at school based clinics. “This is our first year offering all our clinics, now that we have all our school clinics up and running. We want to encourage people to use them. So I think we'll offer this every year at the end of summer.” Be sure to bring your child's immunization records to the clinics and if you have insurance, your insurance card. The cost of the vaccines is $15 per shot, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay.
Many families simply can't afford private school, but a Bend school is taking drastic measures to increase enrollment. The Waldorf School of Bend is drastically cutting its tuition for students this year. Moe Anderson is the school's Faculty Chair. “The faculty has agreed to work for minimum wage, we decided not to hire an Administrator and the Board agreed to cut tuition in half for the grades.” The kindergarten through 8th grade school on the south side of Bend usually has about 60 students and has been around for twelve years. Last year teachers worked for free and took on second jobs to keep the doors open.
A Sisters man is scheduled to argue his case against the Sisters School District before the Oregon Supreme Court next spring. Mike Morgan is suing the school district saying it borrowed $2-million to repair Sisters Schools, without voter approval. The school district used certificates of participation that don't require approval by voters. Sisters Superintendent of Schools Jim Golden says this all happened before he took the helm. “The bottom line is its a very narrow review by the Supreme Court, which is a review on his standing to sue regarding these full faith and credit obligation bonds. My understanding is its very limited in scope and it centers around does he have the standing to sue.” The Oregon Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case next March.
The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy is coming up; and one group of Americans want to honor the day in a very distinctive way. "Run to the Cascades" is a motorcycle rally that calls for riders to gather at the Crook County Fairgrounds on September 8th through the 11th. Aaron Myhra, a spokesman for the event says they already have a lot of riders signed up to attend: “When we started this, we really though this would be a regional type of situation, but as recently as two days ago, I got word that there's people as far away as Maryland and Illinois, New Zealand, very large groups of people, not just one or two coming from a very long distance." Myhra says they will have a 9/11 salute parade ride through Prineville on Saturday, September 10th, and their goal is to have one rider for every soul lost on the 9/11 attack, and every soldier from Central Oregon who has lost his life since then. Myhra says you don't have to come on a motorcycle to participate. It's also a fundraiser for about 15 different charities; many support veteran's services. For more info: http://www.runtothecascades.com.
Thirty homes and many more families were evacuated Friday night from one road in Warm Springs as a 1,000-acre fire crept closer to homes and firefighters worked to burn a line to stop it. The homes were being evacuated so fire crews could do an intentional burn-out operation so the Shitike Fire as it's now called won't get any closer to town and buildings. Fire officials say the 30 or so homes along the first six miles of Northwest Tenino Road are being evacuated and a Red Cross shelter is set up at the community center. They say it's so fire engines and personnel can easily get through the area as they try and stop the blaze.
A resident of the Country Sunset Mobile Park was startled when a man walked into her home Friday.
Geraghty was lodged at the Deschutes County Jail on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine, Criminal Trespass I, Interfering with a Peace Officer and Attempted Eluding a Peace Officer( Misd) and a Klamath County Probation Detainer.
Firefighters were able to make ample progress on the more than 200 fires reported since the lightning storm passed through Central Oregon Wednesday. The largest fire is still the Hancock Fire Complex burning near Clarno. The fire has grown to over 17,000 acres, at last report. It's burning on both sides of Highway 218 and on both sides of the John Day River. Firefighters continue to work on several fires in the Ochoco National Forest east of Prineville. Incident 606 in the Hamilton Creek area is 70% contained. Two other small fires near Johnson Creek, also east of Prineville, have containment lines completed and crews are holding them at bay. The fires in the Warm Springs Complex are now renamed the High Cascades Complex. They have a combined burn acreage of about 6,000 acres and crews are continuing to battle that fire.
Louisiana State University has suspended indefinitely its’ Quarterback Jordan Jefferson. The suspension comes after Baton Rouge Police issue an arrest warrant charging him and another player with second degree battery in connection with a brawl outside a bar last week. The fight on August 19th at a bar near the LSU campus resulted in injuries to four people. LSU is scheduled to play the Oregon Ducks on September 3rd.
We can now add 1200 new lightning strikes from last night to about 9000 from Wednesday’s big storm; most of last night's strikes were in Wasco County. Meantime, crews are hopping today fighting almost 200 fires in the region. No structures are threatened and the biggest impact so far is all the smoke in the air. “People who are susceptible, people with asthma, other respiratory conditions,. I definitely advise staying indoors as much as possible.” Dr. Adam Williams with Bend Memorial Clinic says people with asthma need to make sure they have their inhaler nearby, as well as a rescue inhaler. And even for people who don’t normally have breathing problems, those exercise addicts may need to skip the daily run outside. "When we exercise our ventiliatory rate can go up 10 times. So, if you're breathing 10 times as much; you are potentially breathing 10 times more of the irritants and the things that are in the wildfire smoke. So as hard as it is for those exercising addicts to take a break; I do definitely recommend doing it indoors or passing on it." Dr. Williams says overall air quality in Central Oregon most of the time is pretty good. For example: people who live in the valley have to deal more with pollen issues, and smoke from field burning. The largest fire right now is burning near Clarno at 15,000 acres, and several large remote fires are burning on the Warms Springs Reservation.
Oregon largest privately held company is getting a new president. A Canadian firm that is in the process of taking over as a majority owner of Jeld Wen is putting Philip Orsino, 57, in that top spot. Bend financial advisor Troy Reinhart says he's not surprised by this move: “It’s not to be unexpected. It’s just a little faster. I think they just want to get in their and roll up their sleeves, because they have really been beat up in this economy." Orsino replaces Rod Wendt who remains the Chief Executive of the Klamath Falls based company. Managers of ONEX, a Toronto based company, had said Orsino would become president when the $864 million deal closed, but Jeld Wen says he has already stepped in directing day to day operations.
An ex-Redmond Police Officer will spend three months in jail for stealing and selling guns from the Police Department. Besides 90 days in jail, Larry Prince will be on probation for five years, will serve 100 hours of community service and has to write a letter of apology. Our news partner News Channel 21 talked with Deschutes County D.A. Patrick Flaherty about his sentence. “We talked to every victim in the case, none of them wanted to see him go to prison. He certainly wouldn't be paying the restitution back while he's in the penitentiary and we wouldn't have any way to compel him to pay it back.” The Police Department and the people who bought guns from Prince want their money back. He owes them $27,000 in restitution.
The search for a new Redmond Municipal Airport Manager begins round three. Mayor George Endicott says it's a very difficult process, getting the right person for the job: "Well, there's a few things. One, of course, they have to be technically competent on all the FAA rules and TSA, because we are a commercial airport. Then we have the general aviation side, you know the private pilots, so the person has to be able to deal with those folks. And then third, there's a lot of undeveloped land out there that we want developed, so you need someone that also has a business development acumen." Endicott says the candidate also has to get along with everyone else in the city, because they are part of the team. He says they have decided to hire a consultant to find other candidates for the position. He adds that Carrie Novick will stay on the job until they find her replacement.
In Redmond, a search is starting for a new principal at Redmond High School. Today the school district has announced a change in leadership for Redmond High School beginning this fall. Lee Loving, the planning principal for Ridgeview High School, has been named as the Interim Principal of Redmond High School for the 2011-12 school year. Loving replaces Principal Brian Lemos, who is on leave. The search for a permanent Principal for Redmond High School will begin immediately and will follow a selection process similar to previous administrative searches.
Fire crews have been hopping in the wake of Wednesday’s big storm. Those strikes started about 200 fires. Lisa Clark with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center says all this action started Wednesday afternoon. “Yeah, beginning Wednesday afternoon we started tracking the storm as it went through much of southern and then eastern Oregon and then into western Idaho. It actually put down more than 8000 lightning strikes as it went through the area.” New fire reports have been arriving from reconnaissance planes, fire lookouts, fire crews on the ground and members of the public. Firefighters are working to contain new starts and many have been dispatched to multiple fires Thursday. Most of these fires have been quickly contained very small. The largest new fire is the Hancock Fire burning more than 10,000 acres east of Clarno. The fire triggered the evacuation of approximately 55 young campers Wednesday of the Hancock Field Station, a 10-acre science camp run by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry located one mile east of Clarno. The students may be allowed to return to camp as early as tomorrow.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon just returned from his second trip to Afghanistan. He was part of a Congressional delegation lead by Michigan Senator Carl Levin. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says he saw several changes from just 18 months ago. “A year a half ago there was a lot of discussion on the challenge of the Taliban units operating in southern Afghanistan near Kandihar. On this trip, the surge presence meant that was not as much of a problem. The conversation was much more about the sanctuaries in Pakistan and the threat they represent.” Merkley says endemic corruption continues to plague the Afghan government. The delegation met with Afghan President Karzai who admitted it was a problem and claimed he was working to reduce it.
The newly formed Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Board will help people find different health plans so they can comparison shop. Governor Kitzhaber appointed Sunriver small business owner Aelea Christofferson to serve on the Board. She's made a name for herself on the subject of health insurance, as she has struggled to supply affordable health insurance to her seven employees. This new board should help people find different health insurance options. “So it's really a two fold approach. It's to help people buying their own health insurance to be able to do some research and its also a way for people who may be eligible or who's kids maybe eligible to get government help assisted health insurance and how to get that.” The Board must submit a plan creating the state's first health insurance exchange by February 1st.
Anthracite: according to Wikipedia, is a hard, compact variety of mineral coal that has a high luster; and contains the fewest impurities of all coals. Anthracite is also the adjective used to describe the color of the new Oregon Duck football uniform. Brent Joseph with the Duck Store here in Bend, says it's a very dark coal color with neon green lettering, and neon green shoes - and it's meant to intimidate. "They’re shying away from our classic green and yellow. But from all the responses we've gotten here at the Duck Store with the new anthracite color, they really like it. It's very sharp and it looks good on everything. Especially when you pair it up with those neon colors. I can see it being intimidating to the other teams." Joseph says everyone is very excited about the big game at LSU in Cowboy Stadium on September 3rd. And, don't forget that you will hear every moment of that game, along with the pre-game right here on your Central Oregon Duck Station, KBND. The pre-game broadcast begins at 4 p.m.
State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend says the State's Revenue Forecast is coming out today, and she's not very optimistic: “Unemployment is up. Other things look more promising; but I think what they'll say is that we are holding our own, which is a problem.” She explains that's a problem because our State budget for the next two years anticipates some improvement in the economy. If the economy doesn't improve lawmakers will have to address those budget shortfalls this coming February.
Bend Police arrested a wanted felon after a vehicle and foot chase. Arrested was Danial Kennedy, 25. He's been wanted since August 3rd, after a domestic violence altercation where he threatened to use his gun against his girlfriend and daughter. Bend Police spotted his pick up Thursday afternoon at the intersection of SE Parrell and SE Chase Drive. They attempted to stop him with emergency lights, but Kennedy fled. He came to a skidding stop at the intersection and then took off on foot. Officers were able to catch him without injury. Kennedy is currently in the Deschutes County Jail.
Firefighters on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation also were very busy Thursday, tackling at least 35 fires of various sizes; double the number reported earlier in the day. About 130 firefighters were battling the High Cascades Complex of fires. The largest was a 1,500-acre blaze on Webster Flat, above the Deschutes River and northeast of Warm Springs. Another of about 1,000 acres was burning in the Seekseequa area southeast of Warm Springs. Another fire near the Warm Springs subdivision known as West Hills had burned about 150 acres, and one about 10 miles northeast of Kah-Nee-Ta Resort, was at about 200 acres.
We have the results of a crosswalk safety campaign conducted by the Bend Police Department recently. Bend Police say during the august 17th Pedestrian Safety Campaign, they gave out 14 tickets related to pedestrian safety and 10 warnings. Besides those tickets; police also handed out 21 citations for things like driving with a suspended license; driving uninsured, failure to wear a seat belt, no drivers license, and the unlawful use of a cell phone. This campaign was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Franklin and Harriman last Wednesday, August 17th.
You thought it was a big storm; well it was. The latest word from fire bosses is not 8000 lightning strikes from yesterday's storm. In Central Oregon, as of 9 a.m. this morning 110 new fires had been reported. Of these, approximately 70 have been confirmed as fires and responded to. While the majority of these have been quickly contained at less than one acre, three grew larger. Lisa Clark says the largest fire is near Clarno, and even forced some evacuations. It’s the Hancock Fire. It’s about 10,000 acres, and grew quickly. Two fires near Prineville also triggered a lot of calls to fire bosses; but no real threat to nearby homes. And Warm Springs reports 17 fire starts in mostly remote areas. A smaller storm is expected this afternoon or evening.
Fire crews in Warm Springs are reporting 17 fire starts so far. Along with the rest of Central Oregon, the Warm Springs Reservation experienced the spectacular lightning storm yesterday afternoon and evening. The 17 fire starts have been combined to one incident called the "High Cascades Complex". Fire officials say most of those fires are in the higher timber country; a few at the mid-level Ponderosa Pine and a few in the rangelands. At this point, no structures are in danger.
Full day kindergarten is coming to Oregon schools. The new law requires public schools to offer that option by 2015. State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend voted in favor of the idea. "Its not necessarily an unfunded mandate. If that were the case, I probably would've had trouble with the vote. But I have a five year old granddaughter and her name is Sophia, and she's ready to go to school; her, and all her little friends. And studies have shown that you know if our children prior into getting into third grade can read by the time they get there and that means early education. We have less problems with them later in life." Senator Telfer was a guest this morning on 11-10 KBND’s “Your Town;” she'll be on again on Monday, September 29th at 8:30 a.m.
It’s an experiment the Bend Police hope will deliver a message. Volunteer police officers will be at Boondocks in Bend Friday night, offering up free Intoxilyzer, better known as breathalyzer, tests to the patrons. "The point is, is people may have one or two drinks and feel pretty good. But then again, they don't really know how the alcohol, what the percentage is in their body. So it's going to be a free test, so they can come and take the test and find out exactly the percentage of alcohol is that is in their body and whether they're impaired or not." Bend PD spokesman Steve Esselstyn says this is the first time the Department is trying the test in a bar. He says the point is to help educate people about just how much alcohol it takes for you to actually be over the limit. the test is free and voluntary, and Esselstyn says this will be first of several events they plan to hold over the rest of the summer. They will be at Boondocks from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday night.
Mount Bachelor is working on improvements for the upcoming winter season. Spokesman Andy Goggins says they are expanding many of their food and beverage facilities: “One of the most noticeable improvements is; the Sunrise Base is the new Umbrella Bar that we’re putting out there. It’s going to be a fully circular, glass enclosed structure that's gunna be pretty cool. It’s pretty unique. These things are pretty popular in Europe and at a couple of the resorts in the U.S." Goggins says they have also bought two state of the art snow grooming machines, and have added solar panels to their office roof. The panels will generate enough power to offset the power needed for their Carrousel beginners lift. You will be able to see all the improvements when the mountain opens for the winter season; and that date will be dependent on Mother Nature, but the target is the weekend before Thanksgiving.
It was very hectic at the Deschutes County 911 Center during yesterday's big storm as lightning strikes sparked fires, and knocked out power. The 911 computer system was even down for a while. If we get another big storm, Shawn Pray, a dispatcher has some advice for people calling 911 to help out. "We had several reports given the current storm, we'd appreciate a specific location and any close structures to any fires that resulted from the lightning strikes, let fire department's know, that would be greatly appreciated.” At last report there were about 5400 lightning strikes from the storm.
Eight more students are coming forward alleging abuse at the now closed Mount Bachelor Academy near Prineville. The initial suit was filed in July with 9 students; now 8 more have joined bringing the total plaintiffs to 17. They are asking for $25.5 million in damages. The suit alleges emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
Attorney Kelly Clark, who is known for successfully suing the Boy Scouts, says this case if different because the alleged abuse is deliberately built into the program. “That's what makes this so troubling; that somebody thought that this kind of approach, which is way, way over the top from tough love. But we're not even in the same universe, but somebody thought that this made sense, that's what's so baffling about this.” Meantime, the attorney for the school says the allegations are untrue and that the program helped hundred's of students. Attorney Greg Chaimov also says that Mount Bachelor Academy was a licensed and accredited program that helped troubled teens with serious behavioral issues who could not otherwise be successful at home in school or in life.
Thousands of companies file for Chapter 11 protection every year in the U.S. The Bend Bulletin is just one of the latest companies seeking protection from its creditors. Bend bankruptcy attorney Jon Basham says the Bend Bulletin is looking to renegotiate its $18 million in loans, it owes Bank of America. Chapter 7 is businesses shutting down, they are liquidating. They are not trying to restructure their debt. Chapter 11 wants to continue operating and restructure some debt. The Bend Bulletin has had to pay $2 million in penalties and fees to Bank of America over the last couple years. They hope to reorganize their debt over the next six months.
Continued hot, dry weather and significant amounts of dry vegetation are requiring additional fire restrictions to occur in a portion of the Deschutes National Forest. Beginning just after midnight tonight, the use of fire will be restricted in the Skyliners Road area due to increased hazards and the close proximity of homes to national forest land. Forest Supervisor John Allen says this is because of an unexpected delay in the removal of hazardous fuels in the Skyliners Road area. Fire restrictions will prohibit the use of building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or charcoal stoves. Smoking is also banned except within enclosed vehicle or building, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Our forests, farmlands and neighborhoods are extremely dry in Central Oregon, and the Deschutes County Sheriff says we need to be especially vigilant. Sheriff Larry Blanton says if you notice careless or suspicious behavior; make sure you report it quickly: “It’s important as people recreate, drive on the back roads, in the areas that they are vigilant. Jot down suspicious license plates. That we help the forest service to investigate all fires. It’s important as people recreate, drive on the back roads, sometimes they can see a suspicious car today and noon and then tomorrow a fire breaks out ;it just depends because there are those that are accidentally or intentional set fire." Several recent fires in Oregon were human caused. For example: the one near Madras that burned 1000 acres started when people were using a burn barrel.
Officers will be on the lookout for traffic violators today in Redmond from 1 to 5 p.m. The primary locations officers will be on SW Highway 97 near SW Veterans Way and SW Canal Boulevard. Additional areas also include SW Highland Avenue and SW Glacier Avenue. The primary focus will be looking for distracted drivers.
The Bend Bulletin is filing for Chapter 11. The local newspaper owned by Western Communications says they are seeking protection from Bank of America. The disagreement is over the terms of paying back their more than $18 million in loans. Bulletin Editor John Costa explains what is happening: “We borrowed the money, from them, we want to pay it back in full. Make no bone about it, we’ve told them that all along; but we believe that the penalty interest that they’re charging us and the fees that they’re charging us now are unfair. we've always said we intend to pay it back in full, but we the penalties and interest rates are unfair. The whole argument really boils down to and argument on the interest of the note and the terms of the note.” Costa says they will continue to operate normally as they reorganize and create a plan to repay their debts to the bank. Costa expects a federal judge to rule on the case in the next six to nine months.
A bill by State Senator Chris Telfer is getting new life. Telfer met with the Governor's office Tuesday about revisiting her intention to streamline more of the state's regulation that is hampering business. “What they want to do is work with Senate Bill 988, which never got a vote, but liked the bill, about streamlining regulation and removing the chains around businesses neck, so they can actually get out and hire people.” Some of the regulation changes don't require legislation, but involve working with agencies to get them to simplify and minimize excessive regulation. Telfer says she's encouraged the Governor wants to work to improve the state's business climate.
It’s not the typical road project that usually has delays. The roundabout reconstruction at Mt. Washington, Century and Reed Market is completed. Officials with the City of Bend and all involved in the project were on hand today at noon to cut the ribbon on the new roundabout. "It’s about the 7 or 6 year life span we're noticing roundabouts are falling apart much faster than anticipated. And so we're looking for a way to improve the longevity of the roundabouts, so maintenance decided to go with a cement treated base. The advantage to this is: it's a little more expensive in the front end, but you get a road that lasts about 40 with 10% failure." Kevin Ramsey with the City says they typical road fails after seven years, so after about 14 years, the road will have paid for itself. Ramsey says they are very please that this project is completed in record time, because with the Labor Day holiday approaching, many people will want to get up to Mt. Bachelor and hiking trails for their end of summer fun.
You’ve probably noticed the smoke this morning; a wildfire is burning south of town. Fire officials say as of 9 p.m last night, about 60 acres had burned in a roughly 70-acre, thick pocket of Ponderosa Pine trees 2 1/2 miles northwest of Lava Butte. A stand of trees completely surrounded by lava fields. The fire, labeled Incident 440, was being fueled by a deep bed of pine needles, so it's likely to put up smoke for a couple of days, and will be monitored until it burns itself out. At the closest, the fire is about 2 1/2 to 3 miles south of Deschutes Riverwoods. The cause was not known, but fire official Lisa Clark says the area apparently is accessible by an ATV trail and is near a power line.
A 30 year old La Pine man is in the Deschutes County Jail following a crash along a Deschutes County Forest Service Road Monday night. Deputies say Devin Davis was traveling at a high rate of speed on a gravel road about six miles south of Pringle Falls when he lost control and rolled his mini van with his four children inside. Sergeant troy Gotchy is with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office: “Looks like when law enforcement arrived he fled on foot leaving his children at the scene. He returned a short time later and was arrested for DUII.” One of his children was seriously injured in the crash and taken to St. Charles. Davis also faces charges of second degree assault and four counts of reckless endangering another person.
Deschutes County Commissioners will start a national search for a new County Administrator. The Commissioners decided to fire Dave Kanner during his annual evaluation Monday night. Deschutes Ccounty Commissioner Tammy Baney says Kanner had great technical skills, but had some management style issues.
“It isn't so much it has to be someone you want to have a BBQ with. There is a way you convey a message and you inspire work and creativity particularly through an executive position during difficult times. There should be a culture of allowing folks to do what they do best and that is through leadership.” Dave Kanner was Deschutes County's Administrator for the last five years. Until a permanent replacement is found, Deputy County Administrator Erik Kropp will serve on an interim basis.
The Sister’s School District is a recipient of a very generous grant from the Oregon Chalkboard Project. It’s a non-partisan nonprofit working to improve Oregon's schools. The project awarded sisters schools a $97,000 grant to be used toward professional development for teachers. Superintendent Jim Golden was excited to deliver the news: “Now I can dream and plan for real school improvement, instead of just hunkering down and getting through the school year. This makes for an exciting entrance because basically the teachers who were involved last year loved it and they were thrilled to get the professional development to make themselves better.” This grant will be used to give teachers a second year of advanced training. It will also be used to develop a curriculum evaluation process for the 2011-2012 school year.
The cause of the Elk Fire near Madras has now been traced to an area resident's burn barrel from which flames escaped Monday afternoon. A spokesman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal said last night Tuesday evening that the Elk Fire had been contained. Jerri Mills with the Northwest Interagency Center says the fire started on Monday around noon, and spread both north and south at the same time, threatening homes and engulfing a pump station. “We were that close to the east side of the mountain. They get, what we call down slope winds. And they kick up. And so they can go either way.” And, there are two others large fires crews are working in eastern Oregon; one is near the dalles and burning on 1500 acres near where the Lower Deschutes River dumps into the Columbia River. The other is about 1300 acres and is 9 miles southeast of Arlington.
A Bend man accused of rape and other serious sex crimes will enter a plea next month. Tyrrell Lee Wilson, 57, allegedly abused two teenage girls and one adult female. Initially, he was facing 367 charges, but those counts were reduced to 66 in his first court appearance last week. Sergeant Clint Burleigh with Bend Police says this appears to be a big case and its possible that more victims may come forward. "We're interested if anyone has any information out there, whether they were possible victims or they have information they'd like to share with us or call the non-emergency number at 693-9311.” Our news partner, News Channel 21 was in court Tuesday and they report that the date for Wilson to enter a plea was set for September 14th.
Proof that conditions are tinder dry right now; a wildfire quickly grew to 100 acres in Madras this afternoon. It's called Incident 426 right now. Lisa Clark with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch says they are asking for help from all over Central Oregon: "We're definitely trying to route some more resources that way, pulling in some of our folks from the Dayville area and other parts around Central Oregon. So we'll definitely some assistance out there. Jefferson County has the lead at this time and they'll also re requesting assistance as needed." Clark says the fast moving fire is on private land, threatening some structures and is nearing BLM land. She says they do not know the cause at this point, as lightning does not seem to be a factor.
Unemployment continues to go up in Central Oregon this summer. The latest numbers out for July show unemployment increased in all three counties. Unemployment stands at 15.6% in Crook County, 13.4% in Jefferson County and 12.6% in Deschutes County. Regional Economist Carolyn Eagan says these numbers are familiar. “The trend we are seeing this year is exactly what happened last year. During the winter and the spring there were noticeable declines in unemployment, but during the summer it starts going up again. And if we continue like we did last year, we'll stay at 12.6% the rest of the summer and hopefully the rate will go back down in the fall and winter months. Deschutes County did add 850 jobs in July. There were job gains in all private sector industries.
Today, the Deschutes County Commissioners voted to give Tetherow developers their third and final extension on building a hotel. The area is citing as a destination resort so overnight lodging is required for before more homes can be built. Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney says the three one year extensions are allowed under their contract. She explains where they are currently at in the process: “They have most of the amenities in, but they don't not have the overnight accommodations without the overnight accommodations; they're not allowed to build a certain number of homes, depending on which land use.” The initial deadline to finish overnight lodging was September 2009. Meantime, an attorney for Central Oregon Land Watch, Paul Dewey says his group is opposed to any more extensions at Tetherow.
Bend Memorial Clinic has hired a new CEO. Greg Hagfors of Great Falls, Montana will fill the position. He will replace Marvin Lein who left BMC about six months ago. The clinic conducted a national search, which included more than one hundred candidates. BMC board member Dr. Rick Goldstein feels Hagfors will be a great fit. “Well, he's tremendously experienced and since Central Oregon Health Care issues tend to lag the rest of the countries, he will have experiences he can draw on. And the second part is his personal qualities. He's remarkably insightful and creative.” Hagfors has more than 25 year of healthcare experience. He will start the new job on October 3rd.
Sunday night lightning strikes were all show. Valerie Reed with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch says they were ready for the call, but the phones were silent: “We had several strikes on the Lower Deschutes National Forest. Walker range did pick up a couple of small fires, but on our response area we actually haven't had any reports as yet." Reed says they are thankful that so far, the season has been light; but the weather forecast is for more lightning by Wednesday. Officials with the Warm Springs fire say that fire is now contained and are predicting full control by 8 p.m.
Police had to completely shutdown Highway 20 east of Bend so they could detonate a suspicious object. It happened Sunday afternoon when a metal object wrapped tightly in duct tape was found off Highway 20 east of Bend, about 11 miles outside of Bend. Oregon State Police called in a bomb squad; and east bound lanes were closed for about three hours as the bomb squad made sure the device was detonated and rendered it safe.
A Bend man is recovering from a motorcycle crash on Butler Market Road near Eagle Drive around 9 o’clock Saturday night. The Sheriff’s Office says Zac Foxhoven, 41, was ejected after leaving the roadway and crashing through a fence. Accident reports indicate he was not wearing a helmet, and that alcohol was involved. Foxhoven is now in fair condition at St. Charles Bend.
State Representative Chris Telfer of Bend says too much regulation is choking Oregon businesses, and Tuesday she's meeting with the Governor to talk about ways to fix that. Kitzhaber is putting together a task force to look into the problem. “There is so much of a delay because of permitting processes. There is so much delay because of over-regulation." The task force plans to take a closer look at the regulatory environment and the permitting process in the state to see how much its strangling business; where there's duplication in rules and what can be done to loosen the noose on business.
A Eugene company that tracks foreclosures across the state saw them drop again in July. Gorilla Capital says in July in Deschutes County, notices of default were down 22%. John Helmick with Gorilla Capital says these latest numbers are a good sign. “What I like is year over year all the numbers are going down. From July 2010 to 2011, its down 64% in Crook County, down 54% in Deschutes County and its down 78% in Jefferson. Of the 17 counties, where Gorilla Capital tracks foreclosures, 14 counties saw a decrease or no change in month to month foreclosure filings.
Local health experts say parents who don't have kids in sports should also make sure their children get regular physicals. This time of year many sports families are scrambling to get that mandatory physical. School Based Health Care Supervisor, Elaine Severson says its also a good time to get the non-athletes to see a doctor: "We know that parents have a tendency to taper off on these. In fact in 2010, 54% of 8th graders in Deschutes County reported not having received a medical check-up in the previous year." If your child needs a physical, Deschutes County is offering a special clinic for students in Sisters on August 31st from 1 to 6.
Severson says its a walk in clinic and insurance will be billed but if you don't have insurance or can't pay for it the unpaid balances will not be charged.
Landscaping bark chips set another house on fire; this time in Terrebonne. 911 got the call around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Redmond Fire officials say when they got to the NE 1st Street address, they found someone was illegally burning household debris in an open pit. That fire spread to the bark, which had been placed in contact with the side of the house; well, you get the picture. The total damage is estimated to be between $5,000 to $10,000.
The Boys and Girls Club in Bend will not have to close down while repairs go on for its water damage. Rain and hail got into the club when contractors didn't cover the roof during recent repairs. The United Methodist Church behind the Club on Bond Street has volunteered to take them in for at least the next month.
“It could take more or less, but United Methodist says they will house us for as long as we need. Construction hasn't been working around children and that means it gets done much more quickly.” Club Director Lisa Burbidge says blowers are running on the Club's walls and gym floor trying to dry them out. It still isn't known if the gym floor needs to be replaced.
As of midnight, people working in the local forests are restricted from using certain equipment during the heat of the day. Lisa Clark, spokesperson with the Central Oregon Fire Management Service says we are now under an industrial fire precaution level two. "And that applies to our permitted commercial and industrial operations that happen on our range lands and in our forests. So people cutting wood, doing timber sales, and of the work that basically requires equipment with sparks." Clark says level two is also called a partial "hoot owl" and they can only operate the equipment between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. She says the land is just too dry and even a tiny spark, in the right conditions, can instigate a wildfire. She says if you are caught using power saws, cable yarding, welding or cutting metal, you will get fined.
The Center for Disease Control ranks concussions second only to auto accidents as the leading cause of childhood injury. Next week, The Center Foundation is holing an impact concussion baseline test for children ages 11 through 17. Matt Stutz is an athletic trainer at The Center: "The impact baseline test is a computerized test that allows us to measure, basically how the childs' brain is performing. In mental tasks, so we'll know that their normal scores are. And then if they sustain a concussion, we're able to then compare their post-concussions to what they were before." Stutz says its a tool to use in gauging their recovery from a head injury. The baseline testing will be at the center on August 29th, September 1st and 2nd, the cost is $10.
Late Friday night, Bend Fire is called out to a home on Mainline Drive in Bend to a car fire. The car was a fully restored 1956 Corvette owned by Tom and Sue Archey. The cause was determined to be an electrical fure under the hood. Estimated loss is $25,000. Below is the Bend Fire report.
The fire was quickly extinguished and the car was removed from garage to prevent any damage to the home. The investigation determined that an electrical failure under the hood ignited the fire. The fire damaged the engine and interior of the car. The car was fully restored in 2006 and was used for car shows all along the west coast. The fire damage was limited to the Corvette while there is some lingering smoke smell within the garage and home. The car and home were fully insured.
A Bend man has been arrested in Portland on multiple counts of sex crimes involving three female victims, two were minors. Detectives from the City of Bend Police Department assisted by detectives from the City of Portland Police arrested Bend resident Tyrrell Wilson, 57, While he was in Portland. The case involves three females, and numerous alleged sex crimes. Police Sgt. Clint Burleigh says there also may be more victims: “In any case like this, sometimes there are people who are victims of the crime and are concerned about coming forward. We're hoping that because Mr. Wilson is in custody people that may be concerned about coming forward now will feel more comfortable coming forward." The abuse allegedly happened over several years. Just to name a few of the charges: he faces 60 counts of sex abuse, 72 counts of prostitution, 70 counts of compelling prostitution and 20 counts of luring a minor. Tyrrell Wilson is now lodged in the Deschutes County Jail.
The numbers are in from the Deschutes County Fair, and organizers are calling it a very successful one. Paid attendance was up by 10%. The Expo Center's Director Dan Despotopulos says several factors contributed to the best attendance since 2008. “You know we had exceptional weather, we've kept prices reasonable. We had free buses; free concerts and over 37,000 came out to them. So there was a lot of things to see and do.” More than 73,000 people paid to go to the fair this year.” That's up from 67,000 last year. Overall, including those who got free admission because they worked at booths and exhibits, nearly a quarter of a million people attended the Deschutes County Fair a couple weeks ago.
A Salem woman's fight against cancer and the City is getting national attention. Jan Cline has bone cancer and was holding garage sales to pay for her mortgage and medical bills. Her niece, Summer Eikenbaum says Cox didn't know there was a City law forbidding more than 3 sales a year. "And after a neighbor complained a compliance officer came to her door and said shut it down or face jail time." Eikenbaum says her aunt apologized for not knowing about the 3 garage sale law, and explained that she was dying of cancer and needed the money. But was told by the compliance officer that there was no exception to the rule. The City of Salem has agreed to allow her, along with the Chamber of Commerce, to have a large one-time rummage sale under its direction to sell off all of her personal items.
It’s going to be at least another month before the Boys and Girls Club can use their building. It's still water logged from flooding a couple weeks ago. So today, the club is moving into the United Methodist Church behind the Club. Members will be there until the facility dries out and work is completed. Executive Director Lisa Burbidge says they also are in need of some supplies damaged in the flooding. “There are some things we are going to need over at the Methodist Church. Our board games, art supplies and sports equipment. We are going to have to replace them. They're in sorry shape.” The big move into the Methodist Church will take place between 3 and 6 p.m. Friday. Anyone interested in helping, is asked to contact the Boys and Girls Club.
The Boys and Girls Club in Bend continues to dry out. Drywall is removed from much of the walls, and blowers are going following the flood a couple weeks ago. While this work is underway, the kids are going on field trips and using other facilities. “Well, Boys and Girls Club is operating at Amity Creek Elementary Schools. They've opened their doors to us, so we can facilitate the construction work on the Boys and Girls club. We’ve been busing kids to the High Desert Museum and Cascade Indoor Sports and apparently the kids have been having the best week of their lives. Executive Director Lisa Burbidge says next week the Boys and Girls Club will be using the United Methodist Church right behind them. The church volunteered to let the club use their facility, for the next month of so, while work continues.
A 7 year old Madras boy was killed Thursday morning when he darted out in a crosswalk in front of a pickup truck. Killed was Austin Hollenbeak-Hatch. He was struck by Dennis Kluser, 64, as he was turning left from D Street onto 5th Street in downtown Madras. Police have determined the pedestrian had a walk sign, and the driver had a green light. They also believe the morning sun was a factor in the collision. Austin's mom, Staci Philibert tells our news partner, News Channel 21, her kids we're doing anything wrong: “My boys were doing right. They were walking when the crosswalk said “walk” and somebody didn’t pay attention. And didn’t see him, so me and my boys are going to have to suffer for the rest of our lives.” The boy was walking to the Madras Kids Club with his older brothers when he was hit. His brothers were not injured. The driver of the pickup was ticketed for careless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Bend Fire Officials say transients cooking outside are to blame for a fast moving brush fire that threatened the Christian Life Center Church outside of Bend Thursday afternoon. The fire burned 2.6 acres and forced crews to shut-down Highway 20 east of Bend near 27th Street. One witness, Youth Pastor David Hoole took some pictures of the flames using his cell phone: "Take a look and see how big it was; it was probably about 20 feet high the flames when it would catch something that would flame pretty good; pretty good sized blaze." The transients were cited for reckless burning. Fire bosses say fire danger is very extreme right now because of dry conditions, high temperatures and lots of fire fuel.
Big volatility returned to Wall Street today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down just over 400 points. Bend financial advisor Bill Valentine says if you are in your 30's, 40's or 50's, and have long term goals, today’s action will probably soon be a faint memory. But for retirees who are forced to take income out of their retirement accounts; short-term volatility can have a long term impact. "Truly volatility comes out in the wash if you have a long enough time horizon. If you're taking money out of your accounts, which most retirees are doing, what happens is because the amount you need doesn't change. If your assets are diminished, it can really impair your ability to come back. “ Today the market is taking a big hit because of more signs that a global recession could be just around the corner.
Friends, family, and complete strangers turned out in Forest Grove last night to pay their respects to a fallen soldier. Ryley Gallinger-Long, 19, was shot to death as he was helping an injured Marine in Afghanistan. Many people came out to say goodbye as his casket made its way from the airport to a funeral home. Ryley's brother, Zach, was touched by all of the community support: "As my mom was saying as he went by, it just takes your breath away with every single person. It’s amazing, it’s so nice to see how much everybody cares; he not just another number." Governor Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sundown on Saturday to honor Ryley Gallinger- Long.
School supplies can easily run a family more than $100 and in this economy; many families don't have the money to spare. That's why Mid Oregon Credit Union is trying to help by letting people drop off school supplies at local branches. Kyle Frick with Mid Oregon says those supplies will then go to local kids: “The big part of it is the school supplies and just the kids being able to come to school and have what they need to start learning.” He says they had a huge public response last year to this school supplies drive and this year it’s looking like people are even more generous, with even more donations coming in.
The Bend Farmers Market has a new look and a new place: it’s in a parking lot instead of a lawn. The market moved Wednesday from Drake Park to the Mirror Pond Parking lot. “This was the best business decision the best for the community and the best for accessibility to make that work.” Chuck Arnold is on the Farmers Market Board and says disability advocates told the City the Drake Park site was too tough to navigate. People in wheelchairs and powered scooters said they had trouble going to the market because of the soft grass and slopes of the terrain. Arnold says overall the move went pretty smooth: “Change is always a challenge for some people at first, some people were having a hard time finding the stalls they were used to finding at a certain location; but overall people want the quality food the community connection. People want to have the Downtown Farmers Market thrive.” During the off-season, the Market Board and the City will decide if it should stay there or move to another permanent location. Note: The Downtown Bend Farmers Market runs every Wednesday through October 12.
The Boys and Girls Club in Bend continues to dry out. Drywall is removed from much of the walls, and blowers are going following the flood a couple weeks ago. While this work is underway, the kids are going on field trips and using other facilities. “Well, the Boys and Girls Club is operating at amity creek elementary schools. They’ve opened their doors to us, so we can facilitate the construction work on the Boys and Girls Club. We've been busying kids to the High Desert Museum and Cascade Indoor Sports and apparently the kids have been having the best week of their lives.” Executive Director Lisa Burbidge says next week the Boys and Girls Club will be using the United Methodist Church right behind them. The church volunteered to let the club use their facility, for the next month of so, while work continues.
Earlier this week, we told you about Saving Grace being one of the “Best 100 Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon.” Looking deeper into Saving Grace's purpose, Executive Director Janet Huerta says it's a great honor, but at the same time, their dream is to go out of business. She says domestic violence statistics remain high and most victims never report the abuse. "We do know from other kind of large scale studied like all across Oregon, or whatever, that we're probably only seeing somewhere a third to a half of all the victims that are victimized every year. And we see an awful lot of people." Huerta says they do have some prevention programs in middle and high schools, but funding for them is sparse because showing prevention improvement stats is difficult to do. Huerta says one stat they are proud of is: if police intervene in a domestic violence case and those involved get help from a program like Saving Grace, there is a 60% reduction in re-assault.
Wells Fargo Bank is going to start charging customers in Oregon and Washington for using their debit cards for purchases; the fee is $3 a month. Portland Business Journal Reporter, Robert Goldfield says the charge will be for purchases and not ATM use. He says Oregon and Washington are part of five states where Wells Fargo is testing this idea. “It seems like maybe they are trying to soft sell this. They are alerting their customers. I think there will be some kind of backlash- to what degree is hard to say." He says this is part of a bigger move for more revenue in reaction to regulatory changes. The banks say some of those changes have been costing them money.
The jobless numbers for Oregon came out yesterday, almost unchanged at 9.5%, but experts say the "true" number is much higher, at around 20%. The broader jobless number adds in those who are working part-time or who have given up the job search, and Oregon ranks 4th worst in the nation. “I think we have to have our eyes wide open about the difficult position that we are in, employment-wise, and the long road that may be ahead of us for recovery.” Carolyn Eagan with the Oregon Employment Department in Bend says as hard economic times drag on, many people are getting discouraged and just dropping out the job search. Others are putting together a patchwork of part-time jobs. “Even if people have been able to find work, it’s definitely not in their field and they aren't getting paid as much as they used to. And part-time work right now seems to be a typical solution to the inability for them to find work and the income level that they need." Another interesting trend in Oregon; for the first time in state history jobs in leisure and hospitality outnumber factory workers. The three other states with a higher true jobless number are Nevada, California and Michigan.
Students at Bear Creek and Juniper Elementarys in Bend won't have to buy school supplies this year. The American Licorice Company, which makes Red Vines, donated $70,000 to pay for school supplies for the two school's students. Laurel Weiland with American Licorice, says this year, the company has doubled the funds it donates to their local communities. “We're focusing in Bend, Oregon, where are corporate offices are and in LaPorte, Indiana and Union City, California where we have manufacturing plants. We've identified the schools that have the highest number of kids in free and reduced lunch programs.” The free backpacks will be passed out at back to school barbecues at Juniper Elementary on August 31st and at Bear Creek on September 1st. Otherwise, kids can get the backpacks on the first day of school.
Another 'sign' of thanks is going up in Prineville. Today, around 8:30 a.m., another World War II Veterans Historic Highway sign will be installed near the Prineville Airport. Dick Tobiason, Chair of the World War II Historic Highway Committee says the Prineville Airport played a very important part in the war effort. "They trained about a hundred pilots in a little over a year. It was marvelous because the airport was built for that mission. There were buildings downtown, for housing the student pilots. I think they had four barracks. They could house 100 all together. And they built hangars there. A matter of fact, there are still two buildings still in use today. One is a hangar. And ones' another maintenance building but they're leftover from World War II." Tobiason says these will be the 15th of the 19 signs to be placed along 325 miles of U.S. Highway 97, State Road 39 and State Road 126. The signs hold a dual purpose: to thank the World War II vets and to educate the public about Central Oregon's contribution to World War II.
The E-Coli mystery is solved. Epidemiologists at Oregon Public Health confirm that deer roaming through fields at a Strawberry Farm in Washington County were the source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened 15 people in Oregon and killed one. The scientists say deer droppings sampled from the farm contained two different strains of E-Coli, including the one that made people ill in Multnomah, Washington Clackamas, Yamhill and Clatsop counties. It's not known how many deer in Oregon carry E-Coli.
The Bend Police need you help in locating a missing man. William Larry Bancroft was last seen this afternoon (8/17/11) at 1 p.m. at Walmart in Bend. He was shopping with his wife, and while she was in line she turned around and noticed he was gone.
Bancroft is 72 years old, 6’ 2” tall with a thin build, and weighs approximately 160 pounds. He has brown hair, hazel eyes and a moustache. Bancroft is wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes and a dark-blue plaid, long-sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
He is possibly in danger. If you have any information, please call the Bend Police Department at 541-693-6911, ext. 5.
A teenager from Terrebonne was flown by Airlink to St. Charles Bend this morning, following an accident in Crooked River Ranch around 7:10 a.m. "We had to close the road for about 40 minutes; Sgt. Deke Demars is with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and says it happened near 43rd Street and Chinook Drive when she crossed the center lane and crashed into a large rock wall. “The reason for the vehicle going from the center lane and onto the other side of the road is still being investigated. 16 year old female operating the car, she had to be cut out of the car by both Redmond Fire Department and Crooked River Ranch Fire Department working in conjunction. Airlink was also dispatched out and transported the female to St. Charles in Bend with non-life threatening injuries.” Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be involved in the crash, and she was wearing her seat-belt. Deputies were still looking into the possible cause.
More than one hundred people showed up at Highland Baptist Church Tuesday night to ask several Central Oregon lawmakers about the last session. All seven lawmakers from the Tri-County area were there to discuss what was accomplished. Considering the State Legislatures are evenly split, Democrats like Laurie Gould feel it was successful. Gould talked with our news partner, News Channel 21: “I think they got a lot accomplished, basically they had to work together and compromise because of the fairly balance split. We would like to see a few Democrats representing the people of Central Oregon. It would be nice if we had a balanced delegation and we are going to be working towards that end in 2012.” Republicans who attended also felt despite the even split in the legislature, lawmakers were able to work across party lines and get things accomplished.
The Redmond School District will implement a new way to assess its students success this year. Superintendent Shay Mikalson has come up with the “Performance Meter.” District spokesman Jon Bullock explains what it is. “And so what the performance meter does is collects data from adequate yearly progress report known as AYP and the State report cards and puts it into an easy to read format. And every time we get new data it allows us to include that data and also data not used by those ratings systems.” The Performance Meter will allow parents to see how the District is meeting its goals, such as perfect attendance, academic achievement and graduation rates, as well as parent and community engagement and teacher and principal effectiveness.
The new Junger Culinary Center at Central Oregon Community College is a state of the art facility. Executive Chef and Cascade Culinary Institute Director Gene Fritz says they designed the building with an eye on energy savings: "It's actually earth advantage certifies, which is a new commercial certification. We were a pilot project for Earth Advantage. And so there's a lot of efficiencies and sustainable principles built into the construction of the building and the equipment that's being used within the building. And so that's an exciting certification for us to achieve." Fritz says they have gone from a very small facility to about 15,205 square feet, with huge kitchens and a high tech teaching theatre. They have named the new restaurant in the facility "Elevation" to signify their mission of elevating students learning and food preparation to a higher level. Fritz says none of it could have become a reality without the community: "But the college and the community, through the fundraising campaign really got behind the project. And through the successful donations of people like the Jungers, who were significant donors for the opening of the Jungers Culinary Center. That represented the community in spirit, saying 'hey, we support this project'. It's all about what the community wanted to do at the beginning, and here we are, we delivered." Fritz says they will have about 125 students when they open for classes next month; and when they are fully operational, they will be able to accommodate about 250. A Grand Opening Ceremony - Open House is scheduled for October.
Do you know the difference between what the City does and the what the County is responsible for? Now, you can enroll in the Deschutes County College and learn a lot about what Deschutes County spends your tax dollars on. County Public Information Officer Anna Johnson says they make the classes fun for everyone, and there are field trips. “We realize that we're dealing with a slightly dry topic, so we really encourage our department heads and staff to make things as interactive as possible. Last year, our Road Department really did a nice presentation. We toured all of their garages, and they had all of their equipment fully lit up." Johnson says the classes meet each Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. beginning September 6th through November 8th. The class is free and dinner will be provided. You can apply for the college at the Deschutes County website; deadline is this Friday (8/19).
More than one hundred people turned out for a rare chance to see all of the local state lawmakers in one forum. It took place last night at Highland Baptist Church in Redmond. The audience was able to hear highlights from the seven legislators - about the last legislative session, and ask questions. At the event, Senator Chris Telfer also announced that she is meeting with Governor Kitzhaber next Tuesday to discuss the regulatory environment of the State. She asked those attending that if they have concerns or ideas about what regulations are strangling people to get back to work to let her know. And Senator Ted Ferrioli of John Day said lawmakers didn't do enough to bring more jobs to Oregon.
Deschutes County 911 officials say that Airlink was called to an accident this morning in Crooked River Ranch. A dispatcher says the single vehicle accident happened around 7:10 this morning at 43rd and Chinook. Airlink responded and landed on Chinook at 7:40 a.m. Deschutes County Sheriff's officials and Redmond Fire responded. Traffic in the area has been affected this morning.
The seven lawmakers from Central Oregon will be in Redmond tonight talking about the last legislative session. The non partisan Tri County forum was organized by the Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson County Republican parties. Keith Sime helped coordinate the event: “Well, the last couple months the three Republican Chairs came up with the idea to get legislative forum and with a lot of other folks, we put it together.” The forum starts tonight at 6:30 at the Highland Baptist Church in Redmond. Each lawmaker will speak for five minutes and then they'll open it up to questions. Chris Telfer, Jason Conger and Gene Whisnant will be among those local politicians answering questions.
Wednesday, Bend police could educate you about pedestrian safety with a ticket of $297. Police are doing the third of 4 Pedestrian Safety campaigns this summer. This operation will be in the crosswalk on Franklin and Harriman. Bend Police usually go to places where citizens say there have been problems with unsafe drivers in the past. They will be set up there from 10 to 2 p.m. and the safety campaign is funded thru federal grants awarded by ODOT.
Oregon State Police caught the fugitive of Monday night's high speed chase east of Bend. Kenneth Murphy, 27, was arrested Tuesday near the Deschutes County Jail, where he was waiting for his girlfriend to be released. Murphy was wanted out of Pennsylvania for a parole violation and was considered potentially violent and a flight risk. On Monday night, an OSP Trooper stopped Murphy's vehicle for speeding. When the trooper approached the car, he took off going at speeds up to 130 miles per hour. Eventually Murphy took off on foot, but his girlfriend was arrested.
It’s a triple crown for Saving Grace. For the third year in a row, Oregon Business Magazine has named Saving Grace as one of the “100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon.” Executive Director Janet Huerta says their biggest resource is their people and she appreciates them. "I care a lot about where I work and how rewarding and appreciated I feel. I’ve always said to people both when I’ve been interviewing for a job myself, I’ve said to my perspective employer as well as I’ve explained to people that I’m hiring that we spend more time at work and therefore the relationship that one has at work are really, really important." Huerta says this year is especially prestigious because the Oregon Business Magazine itself was selected as the top business magazine in the nation. Saving Grace was first organized in 1977, and is dedicated to stopping and preventing domestic violence and sexual assault in Central Oregon.
Bend Fire is warning people that we're under extreme fire danger. Hot and dry weather make conditions ripe for a wildfire to take off. Susie Lovisco is the Deputy Fire Marshal with Bend Fire. “The fires under extreme conditions start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely. They can be very serious and development will be faster than the fires developed in high danger ratings.” The fire department warns people to be extremely careful with their cigarettes; only put them in a non-combustible containers, keep lighters and matches from kids and not to burn in your backyard, it is forbidden within City limits.
All those pencils, “Pee-Chees” and crayons really add up. This is the busiest time of year for shopping; second only to the Christmas retail season. Julia Anderson is a former Business Editor for the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. She shares some insight into how big this retail season truly is: “You know it’s number two right after the holiday season; it’s a huge piece of the economy in terms of retailers, when people are shopping for school they are buying everything from lunchboxes to backpacks and clothing and if you add it all up its $7.4 billion nationwide." She also says the census bureau reports that 77 million people nationwide are in school. That's everyone from pre-school to law school and all those students in between.
Another feature that can showcase the beauty of Central Oregon is about to become declares as a scenic bikeway. Visit Bend President Doug La Placa says the Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway has been a collaborative project they have been working on for about three years. "Were at a very exciting stage. One of the four routes within the scenic bikeway has already received the official state designation. And the Twin Bridges Loop, which starts and ends in Bend, the final application was submitted to the State this week and we expect to receive the official designation sometime in November." La Placa says once the bikeway is designated, they can receive funds to help promote the bikeway while promoting Bend as a tourist designation, and for road improvements. La Placa says the ultimate goal is to have scenic bikeways that connect Bend to Sisters, Sisters to Redmond, and Redmond to Bend for a very beautiful loop in Central Oregon.
Duck fever is not limited to Eugene. The Oregon Club of Central Oregon has been going strong for about 33 years, and tonight is one of their biggest nights: the Fall Tailgate. Member Joni Carlson says the University has a great affection and respect for the Central Oregon chapter. “We are one of the biggest donators to Oregon Athletics because of our Legends Golf Tournament and other various things we do to help support that. But you know, the biggest part about being part of Central Oregon Duck Club is that we get that opportunity to get that "fix." You know, to be able to talk about all the things we want to talk about other than when were at work and other things." Tonight's big kick off will feature the new U of O Athletic Director, Rob Mullins. Members and non-members alike are invited. It's $25 for the dinner, and that money could go towards your annual membership. The party begins at 5:30 at the Bend Country Club.
Big cuts on the federal level are working their way down to Central Oregon. Tuesday in Redmond, supporters of the Youth Build Program are gathering to show the media, politicians and others how $1.2 million in federal cuts will affect people here. Youth Build spokesperson Laura Handy says the program helps high school drop-outs get on the job training and the equivalent of a high school diploma. They work on affordable housing projects for low-income families in Central Oregon. “Youth Build has a ripple effect on its local community, because as we work with young people to transform their own lives. They serve the community while they do that. First of all, we're going to lose the economic stimulus of close to $1-million of wages not paid to youth and staff.” Secondly, she says these young people won't get the help they need to be productive members of society. The "Community Impact Forum" runs from 11 am to 1 pm today.
A car chase with speeds up to 130 mph ended near Bend last night. Oregon State Police report that the westbound chase started around 10 o’clock last night east of Millican; and the trooper used various maneuvers to try to slow the car, even spike strips. Spike strips to deflate the car's tires and end the chase were set up closer to town, to keep it from reaching the more congested area. But the pursuit ended by around 10:15 p.m., when the trooper reported the car had turned south onto Gosney Road, where it stopped near a house and apparently a male driver jumped out and ran. Another person, reportedly a female passenger, was detained by troopers at the scene, as Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and K-9s were called in to help in the search. The suspect is still on the loose.
Bend’s neighborhood associations are a true success story says Justin Finestone with the City. The whole concept of neighborhood associations was created about 10 years ago has become so successful, the City will officially dissolve the Office of Neighborhood Associations at their next meeting. Cheryl Howard, a board member with the Orchard District Neighborhood Association says the office served its' purpose to help them get established. "Most of the associations are operating at very high functioning levels. Most of us understand how were supposed to operate. We have an excellent repoire with our City Councilors and city staff. And so the Office of Neighborhood Associations is really kind of past it's prime. We no longer utilize it in the ways that we used to." Howard says the associations will still receive funding they need to help keep residents informed about what is happening and other operations. They are all staffed by volunteers.
A fast moving fire charred about one acre in the Redmond area in the Dry Canyon yesterday afternoon. Redmond Fire officials believe the fire was human caused. There is no damage estimate since it only burned thru natural vegatation. Thirteen firefighters responded to the fire which was burning up the canyon towards some trees. It started shortly before 2 o’clock.
Crews had to help a lost biker in the Tumalo Falls area. Deputies with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue were dispatched to a report of a lost mountain biker in the area of the flagline mountain bike trail near the Bend Watershed yesterday. Werner had started his mountain bike trip earlier in the day from the Tumalo falls trailhead in plans of doing a loop on the Flagline Trail and eventually ending up back at the Tumalo Falls trailhead. As he was traveling east on the Flagline trail north of Tumalo Mountain he lost the trail and ended up going downhill into the Bridge Creek drainage of the Bend Watershed. Once Werner realized he was lost he called 911 at which time his GPS location was transmitted to the Deschutes County Dispatch center.
Local police say a medical problem may have triggered a fatal crash involving a 71 year old La Pine man yesterday morning. Deschutes County Sheriff's officials say Robert Currin, 71, died when his SUV ran off of Burgess Road in La Pine. Witnesses said Currin’s explorer suddenly left the road, going off the north side and coming to rest in dense willow bushes, less than two feet from the river. Currin was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. He was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and the airbag did deploy.
A freak accident crushes an Oregon State Police Trooper. Friday evening, just after six p.m. on Highway 20 west near Sisters, OSP Trooper Colin Tracy, 30, did what he's done hundreds of times, he stopped to help a driver change a flat tire. OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings tells us what happened next: "The van was already jacked up. The van was resting on the soft shoulder and they weren't able to get the spare tire down; so he slid underneath to try to see if he could get it loose so they could remove it. The vehicle slipped off the jack and then the back part came down on his upper body that was underneath the van. He was trapped underneath that van. Approximately there were a dozen people, we've heard, that may have stopped to help." Hastings said the bystanders were able to get the van back up on the jack and remove Tracy from under the van before medical aid arrived. He was taken to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. Hastings says he will be released today; but will be off duty until his medical condition improves. Hastings says they were not able to speak with all those people who stopped by to help and would like to do so. If you are one of them, contact OSP.
The Bend South All Stars is the only third team from District 5 to win the Oregon State Little League Title since it all started in 1959. And this year they were just one game away from going to the Little League World Series, but they lost to Big Sky Montana on Saturday, and came back home to a cheering crowd in Central Oregon Sunday. Team Manager Brad Waterman spoke with our news partner, News Channel 21: “I heard stories of big parties, big events at local restaurants and bars and people getting together to celebrate something that was new and fresh for the local community. We couldn't be more thankful for all the support we got from everybody.” The talented 11 and 12 year old boys came home with cars stuffed full of souvenirs and their minds full of great memories.
It’s a small time crime that's a real nuisance. Bend Police have seen a rise in car break-ins over the past few days. It's something that Bend PD spokesman Steve Esselstyn says they can almost set their calendar to: "Sometimes we'll see an increase when school gets out. There's a couple of reasons, obviously, the kids are on the street. But some of it has to do with the tourist season. There’s a lot more cars, a lot more opportunities and toward the end, when we get another surge of tourists coming for end of the summer fun, sometimes we'll see an increase too." Esselstyn says the basic tips are easy: don't leave anything you don't want stolen visible; lock it in your trunk or leave it at home because it's a crime of opportunity. And don't think that covering up your valuables with a blanket or coat will detract a thief; sometimes it makes them more curious as to what you wanted to hide. And always lock your car door and keep the windows rolled up.
Deschutes County 911 got a call about a fire Saturday afternoon around 3:30 in the area of Elk Lane and Todd Road. This is the area near Alfalfa that is not covered by any fire district or any wild land agency. Despite that fact, Bend Fire & Rescue, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service all sent engines to ensure the safety of people living in that area. But, it was up to the landowner, neighbors, and a truck from high desert water hauling to save the home. Two RVs, six cars and their shop were totally destroyed, as well as about two acres burned. Fire officials think the fire started in a travel trailer, but don’t know the exact cause. Total damage is estimated at $50,000.
It’s not a common event to have the entire Central Oregon legislative delegation in one place at one time. The Tri-County 2011 Legislative Wrap-Up Forum is taking place Tuesday in Redmond. State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend says because there will be seven lawmakers on hand; each will get about two to three minutes to talk about what was accomplished in the last session. "A lot of it's just going to be Q & A, and I think most of us legislators also want to hear peoples' concerns and moving forward into February’s session. But I think a lot of it's going to be Q & A and so a lot of information comes out of that type of process." Telfer says she expects a lot of questions about the budget, the education reforms and some of the healthcare reforms. Expected to attend are Chris Telfer, Ted Ferrioli, Doug Whitsett, Jason Conger, Gene Whisnant, Mike McLane and John Huffman. The Legislative Forum is at Highland Baptist Church in Redmond on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. They are asking you to bring nonperishable food or a monetary donation to support community efforts.
While student enrollment continues to be up at Central Oregon Community College, they have also expanded the ways to deliver classes. COCC President Jim Middleton says they now offer what they call "hybrid classes" that are partially in the classroom and also online. "We feel that hybrid approach can tap the best of both worlds. Sometimes it can be a little bit isolating to do the course entirely online. We strive to have multiple locations and multiple approaches to teaching the courses that can fit individual needs." Middleton says they don't do entire degrees online; a student still has to have some face time. He adds that they do have some openings for students first year classes in general education.
Fire officials have been warning us of the hazards of using bark mulch around our homes. The Bend Fire and Rescue previous warnings about bark fires became reality; this time in the middle of the night. Occupants of a home on Arrowhead Drive, near Tumalo, were alerted by smoke alarms around 3:30 Saturday morning and found smoke in the house. When firefighters arrived, they found that bark mulch that had been applied a week before was in contact with the outside of the house, and spontaneously ignited. The flames spread into the walls of the home. Total damage is estimated at $27,000. No injuries are reported. The fire department recommends gravel instead of bark.
It’s a time that parents dread every year; it's immunization time for back to school. Heather Kaisner with Deschutes County Health says it's very important to get your child immunized because some old diseases we thought were eradicated are making a comeback. "In Deschutes County, we've not had any measles cases, but worldwide we're seeing outbreaks of measles, especially in Europe, and in pockets within the U.S. and we have higher cases than we've ever had since 1996. So it's definitely a concern. People travel all over there's a lot of people coming here for a vacation. So it's even more important, especially that MMR vaccine." Kaisner says they are holding a back to school walk in clinic the week of August 29th on different days at various school based health centers. You can find those days and locations on the Deschutes County Health Department website.
A Sunday morning fire did an estimated $30,000 damage to a home in Crooked River Ranch on SW Chaparral Place. 911 got the call just after 1 a.m. Sunday morning. When firefighters arrived, they found smoke and flames coming from the roof. Damage was confined to the attic. Officials believe the fire was caused by an electrical problem in the house. There were no injuries.
Check your jams and jellies or freezer items. The Ron Spada Farms of Portland, Oregon is recalling about 4800 flats of strawberries because they may be contaminated with E-Coli bacteria. The berries were sold at several stores in Portland, Troutdale, Gresham and Hillsboro between June 11th and August 1st. Originally, the berries were bought from Jaquith Farms, which has been identified as a source of a cluster E-Coli contamination. As of Friday, there has been 14 confirmed cases of illness traced back to the berries. Cooking or freezing the berries may not eliminate the bacteria, and authorities are urging you to throw out any berries that may be in question.
Last night the celebrities put their "assets" on the line for the celebrity auction on the first night of the Ghost Tree Invitational Golf Tournament. Star athletes and personalities from some of your favorite movies and TV shows were on hand to go to the highest bidders to be a part of their golf team for todays' tournament. Joni Carlson with the Ghost Tree says today's tournament is all business, with a bit of fun thrown in. "Starting at 7:00 a.m., we have a tee off. They actually bid on celebrities to golf with them. And there's actually some golf pro's, some women. What they're trying to do is have some good scores so they can be the winners of the Ghost Tree Golf Tournament." Tonight is the casino night, and Saturday night is the traditional “Dinner on the Range” featuring about 20 restaurants from Central Oregon. The Ghost Tree Invitational is happening at Sunriver Resort.
A former Redmond Police Lieutenant who was in charge of the department's weapons supply says he did sell guns and other ammunition from the department's inventory. He admits to secretly selling police department guns for years. Larry Prince, 48, pleaded guilty in Deschutes County Circuit Court Thursday to five counts of theft, two counts of official misconduct, and first-degree forgery. Prince had been placed on paid administrative leave December 30th, while Police Chief Dave Tarbet had Oregon State Police investigate. Sentencing is scheduled for August 25th, and prosecutors say prince is s expected to receive a 60-days behind bars and five years probation. Prince also will have to write an apology letter to the Redmond Police Department and will lose all of his police certification, so he can never serve again. He also will have to pay back the victims.
A father and his two daughters narrowly escape disaster Thursday afternoon, as they floated into a swifter part of the Deschutes River and could not fight the current. Captain Corey Darling with Bend Police says just after 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon, Bend Fire is called out to the Colorado spillway for a water rescue. "A father and his two daughter got caught in the swifter portion of the river and were not able to get to the side of the river to get out and actually got caught at the spillway. Fortunately, they were able to grab on to the spillway before going through. The father and one of the daughters were able to get out. The other one was not able to and was holding on to the pillar until we got there." Darling says Barry Gregory, 55, Sarah Jo Gregory, 15, Molly Jo Gregory,6, all of Oregon City, were safely rescued; but apparently none of the victims wore a life jacket. The 15 year old was the victim who needed help getting off the spillway. The family was visiting the area and unfamiliar with the Deschutes River and the safe exits for the river.
Central Oregon Veterans now have a new place to go for challenges like post traumatic stress disorder and other issues facing returning soldiers. A new Veterans Center on Bend's east side held its grand opening today. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden was at today's ceremony: “The contribution of the veterans is what this is all about; this vets center is going to make a difference to the soldiers and the families. If we've learned anything since the Vietnam war its that the people we send to war come back to their families, their jobs and their communities with a unique set of challenges. We didn't get it right back in those days and that's why its so important we get it right this time.” He says many local vets and community leaders helped make this "one stop shop" become a reality. The Vets Center is on northeast Forbes Road.
Most of the members of the Congressional "super committee" have been named; and from the northwest, Washington Senator Patty Murray is appointed as a Co-Chair. U.S. Representative Greg Walden was in Bend Wednesday and tells our news partner, News Channel 21, that he believes the super committee will be very effective: “The negotiations between the Majority Leader Eric Kantor and the Vice President, Joe Biden produced a lot of different agreements that never necessarily came to fruition. Because those talks kind of fell apart, but there's actually a lot of a body of work that's been done independent of this committee, that it can take advantage of, moving forward." Walden says he is did not expect to be chosen for the super committee, but he feels he could have done a lot of good work in it. He says the committee has until November 23rd to report back to the full Congress on their recommendations. Then the Congress has to vote on them by December 23rd, or some automatic cuts take place that could be more severe than what any recommendations would be.
The roller coaster on Wall Street continues today. Bend financial advisor Bill Valentine is weighing in on all this volatility. He says everything that's happened over the past few weeks is grossly over-done. “And I think it’s better explained by investors memories of what happened in 2008. They are extremely skittish right now, and I don't mean to use term lightly but there literally is posttraumatic stress disorder going on. People are over-reacting to what's going on now. I'm a fiscal hawk. I understand the seriousness of what's going on in our national balance sheet level; but none of what's happened in the last two weeks is explained by the S & P downgrade - it’s more explained by skittish nerves." He says compared to 2008, banks and corporations are in much better shape; interest rates are still historically low, and we're in a growth pattern overall.
Recent reports indicate that Americans view their politicians with a lot more disdain, most likely thanks to the Washington impasse on the budget. Oregon Senator Chris Telfer says she's heard things a bit differently regarding the Oregon Legislature: “For the most part, I think the Oregon Legislature, this last session, pretty much played nice in the sandbox. There was a lot of compromise, a lot of thoughtful compromise and some good legislation got passed." Telfer says they did have some stalemate towards the end of the session and that's when the lawmakers began to make deals to get their bills passed. Telfer, along with all of the other Central Oregon legislators will be speaking at the 2011 Legislative Wrap Up next Tuesday in Redmond.
A Bend soldier who has put a national face on the mortgage crisis is home this week as the family faces foreclosure. Soldier Aaron Collette came home to Central Oregon, and on the same day the home was sold back to the bank. Father Tim Collette had an excellent credit score (810) and put $125,000 down on his home, but couldn't weather the storm when his construction business took a big hit. He's working again, but Collette was not given a loan modification. He hopes that others can at least learn from his experience: “I guess the biggest thing is don't give up; there are options out there. There are people who can help you. Maybe not save your house but they can keep you in your house longer." Nearly 3000 homeowners in Oregon are facing foreclosure; about 350 of those are in Deschutes County.
The woman who leads the White House Council on Environmental Quality was in Bend Wednesday. Nancy Sutley was at Sunnyside Sports Wednesday morning hearing from people in the recreation business, how the government could help improve business. Co-owner Don Dunleet says he gave Sutley some advice on making it easier to put in mountain bike trails. “I'm a long time environmentalist and these don't do any damage, not motorcycles or ATV. So streamline it, get it going, trials close to big cities. It’ll help.” Dunleet says the forest service can put up a lot of road blocks to building these trails, that he says attract people to Central Oregon.
The Boys and Girls Club still doesn't know yet if they'll have to replace the gym floor following last week's flooding. The contractor working on the roof didn't cover it completely so some rain and hail got in when a storm moved through. Parks and Rec owns the building and the board got an update during Tuesday night's meeting. Dallas Brown serves on the board: “It'll be a couple weeks before we find out the extent of the damage. Right now, I guess its 33% humidity and it needs to be down to 7% to 8% to be normal. So we're watching the water level in the building.” If a new gym floor is needed, the million dollar price tag, would be paid by insurance. Bend Parks and Rec authorized emergency contracts to repair any immediate damage at the club.
The City of Bend Employee Association has joined Bend Firefighters and Police in taking control of their health care needs. Bend City Human Resources Manager Rob Duvalle says with soaring insurance and health care costs, employees "saw the writing on the wall" regarding the City budget: "We can try and be proactive as we all chose to do in this recent situation and try and get in front of the game. And so do in a manner when all the parties are in control of their destiny and taking an active part in managing it towardshopefully a reduction in the increase in premiums for the employee and for the employer in the future." Duvalle says COBEA has agreed to a new high- deductible insurance plan that has a focus in preventative health. Duvalle says as of September first all 450 city employees will be part of the new insurance plan.
A 16 month old Culver infant who fell into the family backyard swimming pool two weeks ago has died. Authorities believe the 16 month old girl had been in the water for 3 to 5 minutes. The child had been on life support at a Portland hospital. The family and the infant under medical supervision, returned to their home in Culver where the child died on Tuesday, August 9th. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says neither the name of the victim nor the family will not be released. The Sheriff's Office and the Department of Human Services are still investigating the incident.
It’s been a long time coming, and now military veterans have one place they can go for all kinds of help. The grand opening of the Bend Veterans Center is Friday, and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and many other officials will be on hand for the opening ceremony. "The soldiers from Central Oregon have given a lot to us, and with this dedication, we're making sure that the people see that the community is stepping up to try to give a lot to them." Wyden says it's a "one-stop-shop" that will offer assistance for many issues that come with a vet returning from combat, as well and general information. Wyden adds that there are many, many dedicated members of the community that worked tirelessly to make the center a reality and he wants to recognize them at the ceremony. The open house is Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the new center on Northeast Forbes Road.
Bend Parks and Recreation is still getting input on what to do with the open space at Miller's Landing in Bend. The Parks and Rec Board has heard from many groups on their hopes for the planned development along the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District. Dallas Brown is a Parks and Rec Board Member: “One of the more vocal groups is the skateboarders. They would like to build a skate park. And gave testimony to that fact. I think the Board is taking all the cost estimates into consideration and are trying to decide what the best use of that land is.” Some of the other suggestions include a dog park or putting in volleyball nets.
Redmond Fire officials say a discarded cigarette sparked a fire that burned about a half-acre of brush and two vehicles between Bend and Redmond Wednesday afternoon. The fire cropped up around 2 p.m. in a field at on 73rd Street. A neighbor, Bonnie Cooper, who works from home says she saw thick, black smoke filling the sky. When she looked out her window, she saw her neighbor’s normally green pasture burning bright orange, on fire. She said if the wind had been blowing south, the fire likely would have spread to her property.
A public memorial has been set for former Senator Mark Hatfield. A private funeral service was held Wednesday. The public service for Hatfield is at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 24th. The memorial will be held at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. The former Governor and Senator was 89 years old when he passed away on Sunday.
Fans are still running at the Boys and Girls Club in Bend trying to dry things out, after last week's flooding. Rain and hail got in because there was not sufficient covering when a thunderstorm moved through. Roof repair was underway. The Bend Parks and Rec Board owns the Club and members got an update during Tuesday night's meeting. Dallas Brown is on the board: “We're going to have to see whether we'll have to redo the floor. We’re looking at probably about a million dollars. We’re hoping all it takes is the floor has to be refinished. We’re currently drying it out and we'll find out in the next couple week if it's salvageable.” Insurance will pay for the repair, if it's needed.
The attorney for Jordan Criado, the Medford man facing multiple charges for allegedly killing his wife, and four children before setting his house on fire is being represented by Geoffrey Gokey, a Redmond Public Defender. Gokey has tried at least 20 of these kinds of cases in Oregon. "Well I have a contract with the State of Oregon to defend people accused of capital murder and murder cases, and my name came up on a list. And I’m centrally located, so I was chosen by the State to go down there." Gokey says he met with Mr. Criado Tuesday night, and is waiting to hear from Jackson County Court as to when his next court date is. Gokey was chosen because of his specialized training and experience in these types of cases.
A northwest lawmaker has been named to the super committee. Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday he's naming Senator Patty Murray to co-chair a powerful "Super Committee" charged with finding more than $1 trillion in deficit cuts this fall. Political analyst Jim Moore says Murray was chosen for her ability to work across party lines and he had predicted her selection for several reasons. "She is the Chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, so her job for the next few years is to raise a lot of money so that Democrats can increase their majority in the Senate.” Reid says Murray has a depth of knowledge on budget issues and demonstrated her ability to work across party lines.
Some residents on Alfalfa Market Road east of Bend are concerned about possible bicycle -car accidents on the road. Andy Andrews has lived in Alfalfa for twenty years, but he says in the last couple years, bikers will ride five abreast on the narrow, windy road. “We're very concerned about bicyclists putting themselves in a dangerous position to be killed. And I think if we just talk about it there are things we can do. It's hard for drivers coming over the hill and seeing them ride several across and we want to make sure no one gets killed. That’s my major concern.” Andrews feels bikers when going down a hill should stay to the right and move out of the way, so no one gets hurt. He believes there's a way for both bicyclists and cars to share the road, so everyone can stay safe.
With all the woes in the stock market these says, it couldn't be a worse time to try to sell bonds. Oregon's largest private employer, Jeld Wen, is trying to sell $575-million in bonds as a prerequisite for a $864 million infusion from Onex Corporation, a Canadian firm. Tyles Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says they are going to have a tough road ahead of them because the S & P has rated these bonds as "Junk Bonds". "It doesn't seem like the best deal in the world for me, because they're going to have to pay such high interest rates on those bonds, and they're giving up a big part of their equity position in the company, and so they must be in a place where they, I’m sure are feeling a little bit backed into a corner and need to do this deal. I'm sure if they had their druthers, they'd rather not do this deal." Simones says Jeld Wen is in the construction business and resort industry and both fields have taken a big hit over the past few years; their company does not look attractive to investors.
A fast moving fire that destroyed two homes in Eagle Crest could easily happen again at businesses and other homes in Central Oregon. Fire officials say it started in bark dust; a popular landscaping material that is also a great fire starter. Bark dust is definitely a concern. Gary Marshall with the Bend Fire Department says it's one of those things that people become complacent about: “But if you just take a few minutes to think about it. Bark dust is made of wood and its usually very dry and pushed up next to your wood home or business and underneath dry shrubs or bushes that could also make a good torch.” All it takes is a cigarette butt, a stray firework or a child playing with fire landing in the bark dust. “And a lot of people don’t see the pavers and the amount of litter that collects underneath these ornamental bushes. And so all it takes is a little bit of heat from a creeping fire to ignite one of these bushes. And now, instead of having a smoldering fire, now we have a fire that is 3 to 4 to 5 feet high. A little touch that’ll spread right into your siding, underneath your eves, right into your attic.” He says the fire department is encouraging businesses to have cigarette trashcans outside their doors and homeowners to use other methods of landscaping.
More women have come forward with accusations of sex abuse against a doctor in the Dalles. This doctor is accused of taking advantage of women while they are incapacitated by drugs. Dr. Frederick George Field practiced at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center, was also charged with rape and 4 felony counts of sex before the new five came forward. The alleged crimes date back to 2007. The most recent attack happened in late July of this year. The hospital immediately reported field to the Dalles Police when the first accuser came forward in May, after the report he was never left alone with a patient. Field's been practicing in Oregon since 2005. A spokesperson for the hospital says the latest woman to accuse field was a hospital employee, not a patient. His medical license was suspended last week while the Oregon Medical Board investigates.
A Nevada truck driver was ticketed for careless driving after a Tuesday morning crash on Highway 97 near Chemult. Troopers say the truck was southbound on Highway 97 when it drifted into the path of a northbound truck. Luckily that northbound driver swerved to avoid the head-on crash, maintaining control. But the southbound truck continued into the ditch and up an embankment, knocking down several trees and flipping the truck onto its side. The driver was not injured.
This morning, the Federal Reserve announced plans to keep interest rates "exceptionally low" until at least mid-2013. This is in response to a recent slowdown in the U.S. recovery. For months, the Federal Reserve had been ambiguous on its timeframe, indicating it would keep its federal funds rate near zero for an "extended period," to help stimulate the economy. At noon, the Dow was down about 70 points, but still a much better day than Monday, -when the Dow plunged 635 points; it was historic. KBND has a perspective from someone who received a lot of frantic calls: Stock broker Steve Rustic with D.A. Davidson talks about some of the calls he received yesterday during the big drop: a day of a lot of fear and frustration. "And then there's the anger. The anger's palpable. You have people mad at the President, mad at the Democrats, the Republicans, the Tea Party, Unions, big business; everybody's mad." He says to calm fears of clients he asked them if they knew what the Dow closed at one year ago today. The answer is about 10,698. And yesterday's close was slightly higher than that, up one percent from a year ago.
Did you know that there is an Oregon tartan? You can see it and find out a whole lot more about all things Celtic at the High Desert Celtic Festival and Highland Games this weekend in Madras. "The State of Oregon kilt was actually designed here in Central Oregon. It was designed in 2003 and approved by the Tartan Board and by the State of Oregon. The Governor actually signed it, so it's the Official State Tartan. And the colors in it represent the deserts, the forests, the oceans, the rivers, the mountains, the volcanoes. It really has a lot of meaning in the colors and people can come and find out about it at the Celtic Festival." Debbie Faulkner says between 700 and a thousand people turn out for the games, music, food and camaraderie. The High Desert Celtic Festival and Highland Games is Saturday at the Jefferson country Fairgrounds; gates open at 9 a-m.
A campground on the Sisters Ranger District will close next Monday to allow for construction at the site. On August 15, Monty Campground on the Lower Metolius River near Lake Billy Chinook will be closed approximately one month ahead of its normal closure. "We are actually eliminating some of those sites; we’re going from 34 sites at the campground down to 12 sites, I think it will be popular for folks seeking more solitude experience. There's going to be more screening and spacing. We're going to improve it to meet ADA standards. So, I think it will be more popular in some ways.” However because it’s so remote the road to the campsite is difficult drive and a lot of people don't want to do that with campers. It is expected to reopen next May.
There’s a new fish species in town, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife want you to try your hand in catching some. ODF&W spokesperson Jessica Sall says it's called a "Tiger Trout.” “it's going to be kind of a new species in Oregon water. Tiger trout is a cross between a brown trout and a brook trout. And we're just kind of introducing them in a couple of lakes, one in southwest Oregon and northeast Oregon, in order to see what kind of angling opportunity they will provide to people." Sall says it has an unusual scale pattern; and for the time being, they want anglers just to catch and release the fish. Tiger trout are now in Fish Lake in southwest Oregon and Phillips Reservoir in the northeast. She says more good fishing news is that they have increase the daily bag limit on Diamond Lake from five to eight trout. You can get more fishing news at the ODF&W website, we have a link on the KBND links page.
Fire investigators say the fires that damaged two Eagle Crest homes Sunday evening, started in bark dust. They believe the fire spread to a deck and then to the homes. The homes on Cliff Swallow Drive sustained $340,000 worth of damage. Scott McKittrick rented one of the homes and told our news partner, News Channel 21, his immediate thought upon seeing the flames: “The biggest thing that's going through my mind is that everything I value, that I’ve collected over the years is gone.” The first started around 7:30 Sunday night and was under control within an hour and a half. Ddue to the extensive damage, investigators weren't able to determine what ignited the bark dust.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says there will be lots of water fowl to hunt this year. Michelle Dennehey with ODFW says hunters are going to have plenty of days available to hem for hunting. "The good news for water fowl hunters is we have another great season; we're open for 107 days, which is the maximum amount we can be open. We have a seven duck bag limit. Over in northwest Oregon, hunters will be able to take an additional cackler in their bag limit." Dennehey says there will also be more turkey tags this year for the Blue Mountain fall turkey hunt, and the area will be expanded. She adds that as of August first, youth hunters ages 17 and under must wear hunter orange hats or upper garments when hunting for upland birds and game animals.
Five of the six sitting Oregon members of Congress, all of the Democrats, voiced concern Monday about the potential closure of up to 41 post offices around the state. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden joined Representatives Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader in a letter to the Postmaster General Monday expressing concern over the possibility that as many as 41 post offices in Oregon could be closed by the United States Postal Service. They fear the closures would create an even longer trip to the post office for people in remote areas; in some cases as much as 30 miles one way.
An Oregon icon, Senator Mark Hatfield, is being remembered today as a champion for peace and a politician who transformed Oregon’s economy. He died Sunday in Portland at the age of 89. Hatfield brought in an estimated $3 billion in federal money that affects how Oregonians work, play and commute. Political science professor Jim Moore says Hatfield was known nationally for his anti-war position: “Within about 2 months, he was one of the first Americans to go into Hiroshima after the bomb dropped. He saw the devastation there so he became strongly anti-war, and so he stood up to Republican presidents; but he was a strong Republican. He stood up to Republican presidents he was one of a few of votes against wars in the Persian Gulf. He was against the Viet Nam War as Governor, and so that moral center became a real model for politicians.” Moore says Hatfield was able to take a strong stand because he was a very strong politician with a strong base and lots of power in Washington. When Hatfield left office he said his era of "moderate Republicans" was ending.
A Bend financial advisor says we deserve the downgrade from Standard and Poor’s (S&P). Today Standard & Poor's Ratings Services also downgraded the credit ratings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other agencies linked to long-term U.S. debt. All the downgrades were from AAA to AA+, reflecting the same downgrade S&P made of long-term U.S. government debt on Friday. Financial advisor Bill Valentine applauds the downgrade, saying our elected leaders from both parties have failed us: “The agency also lowered the ratings for farm lenders; long-term U.S. government-backed debt issued by 32 banks and credit unions; and three major clearinghouses, which are used to execute trades of stocks, bonds and options.” For the man on the street, Valentine says in the short term investments are taking a hit, but says he believes this is a panic sell-off and not a Bear market.
Fire crews were very successful taming the wildfires in Central Oregon over the weekend. Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch center spokesperson Lisa Clark says they are all well in hand: “Firefighters have done a great job over the past week, with the new fires that have started here in Central Oregon. The Deadman Canyon Fire which was burning north of Madras is 100% contained. The Brown Road Fire burning north of Maupin, along the Lower Deschutes River is 90% contained this morning." Clark says the Sutton Mountain Fires are about 70% contained. The weather forecast is for some thunderstorms this afternoon, possibly, and with the red flag conditions, crews are propositioning themselves in case a lightning strike causes problems.
The Boys and Girls Club is still drying out after last week's flooding, but they are open today. Rain and hail got into the Club because of work being done of the club's roof. Executive Director Lisa Burbidge says they don't know yet whether the gym floor can be saved: “The only concern and we won't know until the end of the week, whether the floor will be o.k., or whether we'll need to do interior work on the walls. We may need to close to for awhile to do work, but we haven't crossed that bridge.” Because the gym is closed while they try to dry it out, Burbidge says kids will go on more field trips this week.
He was an Oregon Governor, State lawmaker and the longest term U.S. senator in Oregon's history. Senator Mark Hatfield died yesterday at a Portland residence; he was 89. He was known for his anti-war views, and sometimes was at odds with Republican colleagues. As Chairman and later ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hatfield steered millions of dollars to public works projects in Oregon. They ranged from national scenic areas and hydropower dams to the state university system and the marine science center that bears his name in Newport, Oregon. And once said that: “Every President other than Eisenhower has been seduced by the military concept that that is our sole measurement of our national security and the more bombs we build, the more secure we are.” Hatfield said: “We are vulnerable in many ways we are not addressing; the needs of education, the needs of housing, the needs of nutrition, the needs of health, the needs of infrastructure."
A retired army pilot is reacting to the devastating news of the deadly weekend attack on U.S. Navy Seals. Dick Tobiason, President of the Bend Heroes Foundation says the weapons used to shoot down the large Chinook helicopter were probably pretty crude. He flew a fixed wing aircraft in the Viet Nam war. He says this both an emotional and practical loss. "Anytime you lose a well trained organization, theoretically they are our best. In north Viet Nam they knew we were flying low and they had their rifles adjusted.” The Special Forces Operatives were reportedly blasted by a rocket propelled grenade as they used to the aid of other troops in a firefight at an insurgent stronghold just west of Kabul.
Two adjacent homes at Eagle Crest Resort were heavily damaged by fire Sunday evening. Deschutes County 911 received several calls reporting that the homes were completely engulfed in flames. When Redmond firefighters arrived, they found the flaming structures were surrounded by a golf course, other homes, and a large area of wildland brush. The strong wind threatened to spread the flames quickly. In a heroic effort to contain the blaze, two wildland task forces were activated, bringing firefighters and equipment from a wide area of Central Oregon. It took them about 90 minutes to get everything under control. Mop-up operations continued late into the night. No cause of the fire has been determined.
Deschutes County 911 got several calls Sunday afternoon from a house in Deschutes River Woods reporting that a man was yelling at imaginary people, and then fired several shots from a rifle. The homeowner fled her Minnetonka Lane home after calling for help. When deputies, OSP Troopers, and Bend PD officers arrived, they confronted the man and ordered him to drop the weapon. The man cooperated and was taken into custody. Steven Lee Hartford, 59, was taken to St. Charles Bend for evaluation, and then booked into jail for three counts of reckless Endangering and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. There were no injuries reported.
Hate it or love it...garlic is a part of everyday life. The Madras - Culver area is ripe with a great garlic crop this year, and this is very good news for farm families and field workers. Brian Jones, Field Manager with Olam Spices and Vegetables, one of the companies who purchase garlic from our local growers, says he feared the late spring and summer was going to damage the crop for the second year: “As it turned out, the bulb formation, the clove formation is excellent this year. It’s as good as we've seen in the last 10 or 15 years. So I’m real happy with it. We’ll see how it does when we put it in a box, in about 2 weeks or so." Jones says there are about 20 farms employing hundreds of people that are ready for the harvest. He says they couldn't be happier with the forecast, considering last years disastrous crop due to a deep freeze over several days.
Alcohol is suspected to be the cause of an early morning car crash on Highway 20 near Jim Smolich Motors. Around 1:45 this morning, Bend Police find a 1974 Datsun upside down, resting on top of two pickups in the Smolich lot. Apparently, Eddie de la Cruz, Junior, of Hermiston, lost control of the Datsun, hit a light pole in front of the auto dealer and overturned, landing on top of the pickups. There was extensive damage to all three vehicles, light pole and landscaping. Bend Fire was able extricate de la Cruz from the Datsun; he was taken to St. Charles Bend for treatment of his injuries. Eastbound traffic on Highway 20 was diverted for about two hours while police conducted the investigation. De la Cruz was cited with criminal mischief and careless driving. Police say more charges are pending.
It was last Friday afternoon when the announcement is made about the S and P's decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+. Money Analyst Bill Valentine with Valentine Ventures says in the long run, it probably won't be meaningful to the Treasury Bond itself; but in the short run, it could be destablizing. "Is it a meaningful event that they would downgrade our credit? Yeah. Is S & P any more respected relative to Fitch or Moody’s? I guess it depends on whom you ask, but I would not say that there's an industry wide perception that S & P carries some greater clout than the other two. And I suspect that if S & P does, typically they tend to all fall in line, so I would assume that in a reasonably short order that if one did down grade, the other two would do a similar thing over the course of the next couple of weeks." Valentine says the reputations of all three credit rating agencies is not great now, because of their possible conflicts on interest in the credit crisis; but nonetheless, it will cause a big black eye for the U.S.
Don’t blink; you might miss a market rally.... or a plunge. It's been a roller coaster ride today on Wall Street. “Today verses yesterday; yesterday was a hockey stick. We fell way down and we stayed down. Today we’ve been up, we’ve been down, we’ve been back up again. It’s more of a trader’s day and it’s everybody trying to find where they want to be when going into the weekend. Try Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend says even after yesterday’s 500 point drop, he’s not hearing from that many nervous clients. And give some hope for what may happen after our huge economic correction is over: “We’ve got to remember that this truly is one of those once in a lifetime kind of things. We’ve got a balance sheet recession. We had too much debt at the government level; we had too much debt at the family level and the personal level. And we’re working our way through that. And the last tome this happened was in the 1970’s and that set us up for one of the biggest bull markets we ever had and I think this time will be much the same. Bt we have to work through it.” He says the biggest concern right now isn’t inflation, but deflation. Saturday on KBND at 10 a.m., Rinehart will focus more on what deflation could mean for people and our economy.
Today crews are working on a fire that started yesterday afternoon and quickly grew to 3000 acres. It's burning near Maupin and forced the evacuation of campgrounds in the area. Fire Information spokesperson Lisa Clark has more details: "We did evacuate all campgrounds between Buckhollow and which is right near where the Deschutes River lower access road crosses Highway 216 north of Max canyon. There are several campgrounds in there and they will remain closed at this time. The river itself is not closed people can put in for rafting day use is allowed but we are not allowing overnight camping at this time." She says the Brown Road fire may be human caused - it started near a boat launch and there were no lightning strikes in that area. Meantime - they are expecting full containment sometime today on the Deadman Canyon Fire northeast of Madras.
The Boys and Girls Club in Bend is closed today because of flooding in the building after last night's intense storms. Kids were performing a play at the club Thursday night when the storms moved through. Executive Director Lisa Burbidge says water started coming in: “And when the water started to be 4 to 5 inches deep and started to run down the wall, we evacuated the building. We got expert help to get rid of the water and started drying things out. The water actually seeped into the walls and went into all three floors.” The Boys and Girls Club is repairing its roof and that was why more rain got in. The Club hopes to reopen by Monday.
Hundreds of soccer players are traveling to Bend this weekend to participate in the second annual Bend Premier Cup. Bend's own soccer tournament draws players from all over the west. John O'Sullivan, the Director of Oregon Rush, the soccer club, which started the tournament: “Well, we're real excited. We've grown from 85 teams last year to 145 teams this year, so massive growth. There are teams from Oregon, Washington, Nevada, California and Idaho, converging on Bend for the next two to three days.” O'Sullivan estimates there will be between 4,000 to 5,000 people in Bend for the Premier Cup this weekend. The 282 games will be played on six fields around town and will wrap up on Sunday.
Stocks dropped more than 500 points today. It was the biggest one day drop since 2008. The markets are reacting to weak job numbers and still high unemployment claims. Bend financial advisor Bill Valentine says the market opened down and got worse: “Clearly we're lowering our expectations from reasonable growth to sub-par growth and its still to be seen whether we'll be in full blown contraction. The fact the unemployment remains so far this far into the economic recovery is very rare. We should be knocking off a percentage point every year and we're simply not doing that.” Over the last ten days, the dow has experienced the worst losing streak for stocks since 2008.
Fire crews are making great progress on the Deadman Canyon Fire, and Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch spokesperson Lisa Clark says they are 20% contained. "And current acreage is 3869 acres. They’re going to work today with the same 150 people working on the fire. They’re going to continue to hold and improve the containment lines. Protect the scattered structures that are in the area and work on any hot spots." Clark says Central Oregon has earned the nickname as "lightning alley" this fire season, as we had about 800 strikes during Monday’s storm that passed through. She adds that two- thirds of the wildfires in Central Oregon each year are caused by lightning strikes.
The Bend City Council has decided that they can mix water and electricity. Wednesday night, the Council approved to incorporate a hydroelectric facility in the City's Surface Water Improvement Project. "We’ve hired a design-built contractor for the work. We’re almost a 60% design with the Surface Water Improvement Project. And we expect construction to start next year. Of course new pipes will go in along Skyliners Road and that road's being redone by the Forest Service and the county so we'll be partnering with them on that project and then we'll build a filtration plant at our outback facility along with the hydro plant." Justin Finestone with the City says they can save about a half million dollars by "bundling" the facility with the water improvement project, and then, when all is working, they can keep water rates down. Finestone says the construction should begin next year and be done by 2014.
A large rally was held in downtown Bend Wednesday to support workers rights. Employees from unions representing Deschutes County, St. Charles and teachers gathered to support each other. Gail Rasmussen organized the rally: “[We want] good learning conditions, good working conditions and that working families are truly being supported in the effort to have strong, vibrant communities.” Many of those in attendance are in the middle of contract negotiations or just starting them.
Is the infamous hijacker known as D.B. Cooper buried in Bend? A grave marker at the Pilot Butte Cemetery features the name "Lynn D Cooper" and an Oklahoma woman claims that's her uncle. She also says he was the D.B. Cooper. Kelly Cannon-Miller, Executive Director of the Des Chutes Historical Museum says Central Oregon does have a connection to Lynn Cooper. “Estle and Irene Cooper moved out here from Missouri, and he worked for Brooks Scanlon Lumber Company. And their son, Lynn Doyle Cooper is the uncle in question for the woman who is saying it was her uncle. That would have made him about 12 when they moved to Sisters." Cannon-Miller says Marla Cooper of Oklahoma mentions that she visited her grandma in 1971; and that would be Lynn Cooper's mother. She says they don't have a lot of records about Lynn Cooper, because it's likely he died in another location and his remains were brought to Bend for burial; and death records are sealed for fifty years. Cannon-Miller adds that right now, she's taking these claims with a big grain of salt.
After 13 days of a stalemate, Congress reaches an agreement on funding the Federal Aviation Administration. Air traffic controllers and essential personnel were always on the job during the budget standoff, but all airport construction work was on hold. Collins Hemingway serves on an Aviation Committee for EDCO: he says it was a mess. “The FAA is actually shut down because of the budget fight. If not traffic controllers or essential staff, the FAA is closed. So that's the immediate problem. “ Friday the Senate is scheduled to pass the temporary FAA funding bill the House passed two weeks ago.
Police have now released the name of a Redmond man killed early this morning. The 35-year-old man was struck and killed by a semi-truck while apparently trying to cross Highway 97 near the Yew Avenue exit at Redmond's south end early this morning, Oregon State Police reported. Police say the victim was Jeffrey Dale McManus, from Redmond. ..And he was pronounced dead at the scene. A preliminary investigation shows McManus was trying to cross the road in the southbound lane of Highway 97 when he was struck by a 2005 freightliner truck pulling a semi-trailer traveling southbound. The truck's driver a, 43 year old man from Burbank, California was not injured.
The Bend City Council debated during Wednesday night's City Council meeting whether the City should switch to electing its mayor, like most large cities in the state. A split Bend City Council voted 4-3 Wednesday night not to send the question to voters; that decision goes along with a citizen committee’s recommendations. City Councilor Jim Clinton feels strongly we should change. “But a committee selected to look into the matter, recommended we continue to appoint the position.” Councilor Clinton says that's not what he's hearing from residents: “Yeah, I've heard feedback and its why wouldn't you want an elected mayor? but realizing that they've never gotten to vote for mayor. The main reaction I get is why wouldn't you do that since most cities do it pretty much.” Bend is only one of 19 cities in Oregon that doesn't elect its mayor. Councilors also agreed to proceed with a hydroelectric project on the major new City Surface Water Project. Councilor Mark Capell noted that with revenue from power generation, it will make the spendy project “cash-flow positive from the first year.”
It’s official: David Wu has resigned from his position. It took affect yesterday at the end of the day, making him the fourth member of Congress to resign this year in the wake of a sex scandal. The 56 year old had announced his intention to resign after the debt ceiling crisis was over. The Oregonian published allegations that he had an unwanted sexual encounter with an 18 year old woman. Wu has told his staff that his actions were consensual, but he opted to resign after House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi requested an ethics probe.
Bend professional cyclist Chris Horner is out of the hospital and doing better. He suffered a blood clot in his lung earlier this week. Horner told our news partner News Channel 21 he's back home after two days at St. Charles in Bend; that he's still a little sore and will be on blood thinners for the next six months. But he also says his cycling season is over.
From the expansive grasslands, to the rugged mountains, fire fighters in Central Oregon are busy today. Some of the fire fighters are being shifted away from the 3500 acre grassland fire north of Madras to a wilderness area, 35 miles northeast of Prineville. It’s challenging work for fire crews battling a blaze up in a rugged wilderness area. Fire spokesperson Lisa Clark says two fires have charred at least 800 acres on Sutton Mountain in a wilderness study area. "Very remote. There is private land on the outside and we are working with the private property owners adjacent to the wilderness study area to come up with suppression strategies and work thru that." Those two fires are challenging to fight because they are located in steep terrain. Some helicopters are being used to fight the flames. Clark says they were most likely sparked by one of the roughly 800 lightning strikes that hit Central Oregon Monday night.
A big moment for the City of Bend as the new police chief is being sworn in at 5 p.m. tonight. City spokesperson Justin Finestone says the ceremony acknowledges a turning point in Bend's history: “He started, I believe on Monday and so he's been here just this week and getting acquainted with all of his officers and his staff and he's just kind of getting used to being in Bend at this point." Jeff Sale was a Police Chief in Cheney, Washington, north of Spokane. He started on Monday.
The Bend City Council tonight will again debate whether the city should switch to electing its mayor, like most large cities in the state. City Councilor Jim Clinton feels strongly we should change. But a committee selected to look into the matter, recommended we continue to appoint the position. Councilor Clinton says that's not what he's hearing from residents: “Yeah, I’ve heard feedback and its why wouldn't you want an elected mayor? But realizing that they've never gotten to vote for mayor. The main reaction I get is why wouldn't you do that since most cities do it pretty much.” Bend is only one of 19 cities in Oregon that doesn't elect its mayor.
Efforts to bring more aviation jobs to Central Oregon are seeing some encouraging signs. Economic Development of Central Oregon and Oregon State University are announcing a partnership that will allow them to do research and development projects involving unmanned aerial systems. Collins Hemmingway is the chair of the EDCO Aviation Recruitment Committee. He is encouraged by the development of this collaborative drone program. “Our whole goal is to try and bring back the 800 jobs that were lost when we had two bankruptcies at the Bend Airport. The technology is very similar, we're talking small unmanned vehicles, instead of manned vehicles. Unmanned area is the only area in aviation that's growing right now.” Central Oregon is still waiting on a final decision by the FAA on six test areas for these drones.
New home building permits were up during the month of July, and that makes the building industry cautiously optimistic. Tim Knopp with the Central Oregon Builders Association (COBA) says after so many years of dismal statistics, upward trend numbers are refreshing. "You have to look at the numbers both on an annual basis and on a monthly and quarterly basis to get a trend and the trend is definitely up since last year. So we are cautiously optimistic, assuming at the federal level that they don't do anything to destroy the credit rating or the economy." Knopp says they are seeing an uptick in both new, single homes, construction, subdivisions and remodeling. He adds that any increase in building is a positive sign for everyone, in all businesses.
The Deschutes National Forest staff is almost ready to move into a brand new home. Spokesperson Jeanne Nelson Dean says the new building on Deschutes Market Road will have multiple uses: "We will have lots of our regular information there. And we really want to make that building a connection to the community, and that people will feel welcome there. We hope that it will be a facility that people will come into and we want to make connections to the schools there and a connection to the community in general." Nelson Dean says this is the first -ever home for the Deschutes National Forest, and it will also house the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Service. And, over the next week or so, road crews will be widening the roads at Deschutes Market near Butler Market as part of the building plan, so watch for flaggers.
Crook County Schools have made exceptional progress in reading scores, but that did not keep them off of the list for school districts needing improvement according to an Oregon Department of Education Adequate Yearly Progress Report. Crook County School Superintendent Duane Yecha says he believes that they have worked diligently on math and other subjects and have made very good progress; but it was not enough to take them off the "needs improvement" list. He adds that to get off the list, schools need to show consistent improvement over two years. The Jefferson County School District 509-J is also on the “needs improvement” list, and are eligible for Title 1A funding.
Bend Police are looking for an armed robbery suspect in an alleged hold-up that happened at the Conoco gas station near the Sugarloaf Motel Tuesday night. The victim, a lone gas attendant, reported he was in the gas pump office when a male suspect broke the glass door leading into the office. The suspect then demanded money while brandishing a firearm. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of money and fled on foot. The Bend Police Department received help from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police with the extensive search and perimeter of the area. The victim did not sustain any injuries during the robbery.
Wasco County officials say the largest wildfire sparked by more than 800 lighting strikes Monday night has grown to at least 3500 acres. Lisa Clark with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville says it’s east of Highway 97 in southern Wasco County on private and BLM land. It’s burning in a very remote area; but, due to the fire's location and firefighting traffic, Tuesday ODOT closed State Highway 293 from the junction with Highway 97 east to Antelope. Drivers going to Antelope or farther to Fossil are urged to take Highway 218 south from Shaniko.
A fatal accident in Bend that may have involved texting highlights the dangers of distracted driving. Bend Police say this hazard that may even be worse than drinking and driving. Steve Esselstyn with the Bend Police says they take distracted driving very seriously because they often see the devastating end result in fatal crashes. “Any accident always involves something to do with the driver. The driver has one job and one job only and that is to drive; not changing cd's not munching on a hamburger not looking at a map. But there are too many hazards out there and things happen too fast. But a driver has to do one thing and that's drive, and that's all they gotta do." He even says research shows that texting can actually be worse than drinking and driving, because the brain has to focus on a number of things at the same time.
St. Charles leaders are warning of more layoffs. The hospital is facing a $9-million budget shortfall. St Charles Health System CEO Jim Diegel says they laid off three workers last week. “So we're kind of going through a period that's not very fun. But it's necessary to adapt to changing market conditions. People ask me: are there going to be layoffs? Yes. Do we know how many ? No. We hope to have a better sense in the next sixty days. But to say we're not going to have layoffs would be misleading.” Diegel says the decrease of those with commercial health insurance and their better reimbursement rates and the increase of those on the Oregon Health Plan, with poor reimbursements, are creating the funding gap. St. Charles has a hiring freeze in place and plans to bring in a consultant to assess the hospital's staffing needs.
Oregon Department of Transportation had explored about 21 different options for the safety and congestion problems along U.S. 97 in the north end of Bend. ODOT Region 4 Manager Bob Bryant says in their Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the corridor, they have narrowed down the options to two; both are very similar. “Most of the alternative is common between the two. Where it was most difficult is how we connect back to the community and back onto Third Street on the north end of town. So essentially the primary difference between the two." Bryant says they are still at basically the talking stage at this point; and have set a public hearing date for August 24th, where anyone can express their concerns or ask questions. The draft report can be viewed at your public library or at the ODOT website: www.US97solutions.org.
It’s Deschutes County Fair time. And sometimes, after a long day of rides and entertainment, getting home is a challenge. Lt. Nathan Garibay with Redmond Police says the shuttle is very convenient and handy to use. But if you opt to drive, knowing when to leave is important. "As soon as the concerts get out, we start to see a real spike in the traffic exiting the fairgrounds. And then that goes on through closing time. And so there's a couple of hours period there where we have quite a few resources deployed out there on airport way trying to mitigate the traffic jams and the traffic hazards as best we can." Over the past few years, Fair and community officials have designed a shuttle schedule that will help ease traffic congestion and frayed nerves. Buses shuttle between Bend High, Redmond High and Sisters Elementary on a regular schedule. We have a link to the shuttle at kbnd.com.
Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden says the debt cutting deal passed by Congress and signed by the President will bring change. “They’re very effective enforcement tools here to get the country back on a path to where it won’t go off a financial cliff.” If Congress doesn't do anything about the budget; automatic, across the board cuts will kick in, and they would be very drastic. Walden says it's like a sword hanging over Congress to make sure they deal with the deficit.
The U.S. Senate approved the compromise debt ceiling bill this morning and the President signed it into law shortly after. Oregon's Senators were split on it. Jeff Merkley told his fellow Senators the bill before them hurt families too much to win his approval. “So on top of this gathering storm, the Obama - Boehner bill is estimated it will cost an additional 100,000 to 300,000 additional jobs. It’s taking us in the wrong direction. Mr. President shouldn't we be creating jobs and not destroying jobs?” Merkley feels the bill does not help the middle class and instead creates additional burdens for them to bear. Oregon's other U.S. Senator, Ron Wyden didn't love the compromise bill either, but voted for it because defaulting on our debts was unthinkable.
A federal court judge sentenced a Bend mortgage broker to 15 months in prison for mortgage and health care fraud. Del Barber, Junior, 46, was also ordered to pay his victims back more than $200,000. The Department of Justice says in November of 2009, Barber and 12 others were indicted on bank and loan fraud charges in connection with the collapse of "Desert Sun Development" headquartered in Bend. The indictments say Barber and others caused financial institutions to lose more than $19 million on bad loans. Barber is the first of several defendants who have pled guilty in the case to be sentenced. The case was investigated by the FBI, the IRS and the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities.
A search warrant obtained by the Bulletin shows that the driver in a fatal accident in bend last week was texting. Monday, July 25th, Forrest Cepeda was riding his bike on the shoulder of Reed Market Road near Pettigrew when is he was hit. The 16 year old died at the scene. The driver of the truck is Erik Conn, 28, of La Pine, according to the warrant Bend Police seized three cell phones belonging to Conn.
Two are arrested and charged with assault after a woman reports she was beaten with a baseball bat. Apparently just before 1 p.m. Monday afternoon, a woman staying at the Super 8 Motel near Highway 97 and Yew Avenue was beaten by James Ray Benson, 27, and Amanda Nichole Pierce, 25, both of Redmond, after an argument. The unidentified woman said a gun was also involved. The pair ran from the motel but were apprehended a short time later near the Juniper Golf Club. The pair is being held in the Deschutes County Jail on several charges including assault, unlawful use of a weapon and other charges.
There is news about one of Oregon’s largest companies. Klamath Falls based Jeld Wen, Incorporated says it will sell a majority stake in the company to Onex Corporation, a Canadian investment firm. The deal, reported to be worth $864-million, would give Onex a 58% share of Jeld Wen and end local control of Oregon's largest privately held company. Onex officials say the Jeld Wen headquarters will remain in Klamath Falls. Jeld Wen employs 20,000 people in more than 20 countries.
A Bend cyclist says Skyliners Road needs a wider bike lane than one planned for 2013. Tad Hodgert, a local dentist, has been riding bikes for nearly four decades. The Federal Highway Administration already agreed to expand the road's bikes lanes from five to six feet, and add lanes that don't even exist further up Skyliners Road. Hodgert says an extra two feet in width is the only way to keep bikers and drivers safe. But that change could also ring up more than $250,000 in project costs.
St. Charles Health System is facing a $9 million budget shortfall, and has had to trim staff and impose a hiring freeze. Spokesperson Lisa Goodman says last week they laid off three workers last week and put the hiring freeze in place. Still, she painted a worrisome fiscal picture. Goodman says "To date, St. Charles Health System is behind budget for the year by about $9 million." The shortfall is mostly due to increases in the number of patients on the Oregon Health Plan who are seeking services and decreases in the reimbursements they receive from the state for treating those patients.
Bend Police arrested a Bend man Monday afternoon for stealing a landscaping vehicle near Costco and crashing it. Workers with the truck and trailer were at a nearby apartment complex doing work, when Jesse Beltis, 37, got in and tried to steal it. A resident of the complex saw Beltis crash the truck into the apartment building and ran after him and detained him until officers arrived. Alcohol has been determined to be a factor in this incident. Beltis is charged with drunk driving and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Deschutes County Commissioners have voiced concerns about D.A. Patrick Flaherty with the State Bar. Specifically they are worried about Flaherty’s handling of a grand jury investigation and whether he could practice law if he were found guilty of official misconduct. County Commissioner Alan Unger says they were just looking out for residents and county staff. “The County has submitted info to the state bar on concerns we have. It’s up to them to investigate and come to their conclusions.” Patrick Flaherty, in a press release said he is disappointed that none of the County Commissioners spoke to him about their concerns, before contacting the State Bar. Flaherty convened a grand jury investigation into the release of job applications for the D.A.'s office to the Bend Bulletin.
Central Oregon business people are looking at the debt ceiling talks, and like many others they are also expressing their frustration. Compass Commercial President and partner Darren Powderly says there is obviously a lot at stake with the possibility of a drop in our credit rating: “The main discussion has been around the cost of borrowing, and what that would mean for small businesses across America. And what that would mean for small businesses here in Central Oregon which would put further downward pressure on an already beat up segment of the industry.” Powderly says low interest rates have probably been keeping us out of a double dip recession, depending on the loan. Powderly says they are historically low at 3, 4, 5 and percent: about 2% to 3% lower that they were about 5 years ago.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODF & W) just dropped almost 350,000 fish trout to roughly 500 high lakes throughout the Cascade Range. ODF & W spokesman Rhine Messmer says it can be very rewarding after a long hike to catch some nice trout and be able to cook them up for dinner, right out on the lake. It gives people a chance to have a fairly pristine fishing experience they wouldn't otherwise have: “But if we didn't stock them, there are some lakes that maintain themselves through natural re-production, mainly brook trout, but a few have rainbow trout. But if you have rainbow trout so we generally don't stock those lakes because it doesn't make much sense if they are already self-reproducing; but the majority of the lakes that were fish-less and needed stocking. The fish would die out within a few years." Rhine says while its really good fishing, lots of snow this year makes it trickier to access some high lakes, so be pre-pared.
Facebook’s addition to Prineville has been a real boost to that area. Just last week it was announced Facebook will be adding a second building with construction starting this fall. State Representative Jason Conger was a lead lawmaker on passing renewal of the state's enterprise zones this last session. He believes enterprise zones incentivize rural. “Not only do I believe it help bring the expansion sooner, but I think it would not have happened if it weren't for the enterprise zone. The data center was selected for that reason in the first place.” Conger says enterprise zones were key in bringing T-Mobile to Redmond and Bend Broadband to Bend.
A Bend man's pickup struck a Sandy Police car early this morning, injuring the officer who was making a u-turn to catch a traffic violator on Highway 26. The crash occurred around 4:45 a.m. when Jonathan Crain, 23, of Bend accidentally struck a Sandy Police Officer's car on the left front side, as he was beginning to move on a traffic stop. The officer was taken to a Portland hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Crain was not injured.
Now that the warm weather is definitely here, hundreds of people are flocking to the Deschutes River in downtown Bend, and police have a warning. Officers want to remind those cruising down the Deschutes that they have up to three units patrolling the river at all times to spot those who might be trying to conceal drinks.
Oregon’s Attorney General John Kroger will paddle a length of the Upper Deschutes River to make a point. Wednesday, .the AG will be in Bend to observe some areas of the Deschutes River that have some disturbing signs of pollution. "And it will be a short paddle tour of the Upper Deschutes River and will highlight sections of the river that are both beautiful and abundant with aquatic life, but also sections with visible and disturbing signs of water pollution and degradation of delicate habitat." Kate Medema with the AG’s Office says when Kroger took office, he vowed to enforce Oregon’s Environmental laws. The paddle begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Farewell Bend Park. There will be a public forum with the Attorney General at 6 p-m at Riverbend Community Room to discuss significant environmental issues.
History is made in Bend Saturday, as the Bend South All Stars Little League Team beat Ashland 14 to one, to become State Little League Champs for 11 and 12 year olds for the first time ever. Bend South Coach Brad Waterman says these kids are amazing.: “It was a huge win. The boys are amazingly calm and poised to be honest with ya, as 12 and 13 year olds. I’ve been excited and nervous and then about every motion in the gambit for the last couple of weeks. But these kids have been absolutely thrilled with their performance and seem to have a calmness about them that is amazing." Now, the All Stars travel to San Bernardino California to play in the Little League Regional Tournament beginning later this week. If they win that tournament, they will head to South Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the big game: the Little League World Series. They will be having a fundraiser tonight at Pappy's Pizza and at the Bend Elk's game Tuesday night.
Oregon State University Cascades Campus is looking for a new location. The University has hired Ambient Architecture to identify a location for the new campus in places other than Juniper Ridge. Stacey Stemach is the Principal Architect of Ambient Architecture: "I know Juniper Ridge has been earmarked for a university campus for some time. What we're doing is we're simply presenting an alternative that will be weighed by an Oregon State committee for the pros and cons of where to locate the new campus. So the work that we're doing is not the be-all and end-all of where the campus would be. It’s simply and alternative, a 'what if the campus was here?' in one particular area verses another." Stemach says they just want to identify and then offer a preliminary design of what a campus would look like in the areas they are interested in: such as the Old Mill District. He says it makes sense to build on Bend's west side, because most of the students are already living there.
A slowdown in home construction in Prineville during the last few years could mean some extra water is available for other possible businesses. Economic Development Manager for Prineville and Crook County Jason Carr says they continue to work on drawing new business to hard-hit Prineville, and having enough water to run those businesses could be a challenge. "Really what the City wants to do long term is to be able to re-allocate water at the Bowman Dam at the Prineville Reservoir so they can transfer some water rights from there to existing wells; so they can pump some more water than they currently have the rights for." Recently, leaders with Facebook announced they will double their footprint in Prineville, and Mayor Betty Roppe says they are also working with other notable businesses in hopes of bringing them to Prineville.
Now that we are in the heat of the fire season, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office wants to remind you not to think a fast moving wildfire can't happen here this summer. The long winter and mostly mild summer could have some people lulled into a false sense of security. Scott Shelton is with Deschutes County Search and Rescue and plays a role in fire evacuations. “You know Central Oregon, it’s an ever changing climate here; things happen very quickly to us. And many times I think we become complacent. But things change very quickly around here; we are in an area that has a history of wildfire and as we expand the urban interface has changed a great deal. So if we keep that in mind it will help us prepare; it will help them prepare. In the event of a fire you need to be prepared by having an emergency kit: keepsakes, medications and important records all easy to get to quickly. And if you have large animals you may need to have a special emergency evacuation plan in place.
The flap between Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty and County Administration takes another turn. Friday, Flaherty's issued a statement acknowledging the move from the County Commissioners to their lawyers instructing them to send a lengthy complaint against him to the State Bar. He says he was disappointed that the Commissioners did not speak with him first. In addition, Flaherty says he learned that Deschutes County legal counsel Mark Pilliod filed a tort claim notice with the State of Oregon indicating he intends to file a lawsuit relating to the grand jury investigation of the personnel file investigation earlier this year. Flaherty's statement concludes, "the truth will prevail."
BendBroadband announces it will work to install about 132 miles of fiber to build infrastructure for high speed internet access in La Pine, Madras, Prineville and Sunriver. This project initiative is awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment act to extend broadband access into rural communities. The cities have indicated they welcome the high tech advancement and look forward to working with Bend Broadband. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-September and it is estimated to be completed within a year. BendBroadband was awarded the initial $6.3 dollar grant through the federally funded broadband technology opportunities program. BendBroadband also contributed $1.9 million of their own funds towards the project.
A local author is enjoying some great success lately. For years Kim Cooper Findling of Bend has written for magazines, but this year she's had two books published. The first one was a travel guide called "Day Trips from Portland, Oregon" and the other was a memoir on growing up in Oregon. It's called "Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir." How it all happened, was surprisingly easy. “In the writing industry the common wisdom is you need to pitch yourself, really put yourself out there, never give up. I'm sitting at my computer one day and I get an e-mail from him that said he read my blog and he liked it, thought it was funny and wanted to know if I would write a book.” Findling plans to write a book about motherhood for her next project.
Summer is when kids are most likely to fall out of windows, and you may be surprised at how often this does happen. Registered nurse Sandy Nipper is from Legacy Emmanuel Children's Hospital in Portland: “There are about 2-3 window falls happening in the nation a day, and those are just the ones the media are covering." Nipper says parents and caregivers may not know how much little kids with their high energy are drawn to windows. Combine that with the false sense that window screens provide safety, they are actually designed to pop out easily in case of an emergency.
An explosion in a power transformer startled residents of the Ponderosa Cascade neighborhood east of Sisters early Saturday evening. Several people heard the explosion and then saw flames spreading to nearby brush. Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports neighbors worked together using garden hoses to slow the fire until firefighters arrived. Central Electric Co-Op officials say one of their transformers exploded and sparked the fire. The lights in the area flickered, but came right back on. There were no injuries and no damage to structures.
The Central Oregon Humane Society says extra precautions are necessary for your pets during this current heat wave. If your pet is outside during the day, remember to provide plenty of fresh water and protection from the sun. Remember that older, short muzzle and overweight dogs are more likely to overheat during hot weather. One way to keep them cool is to provide a wading pool to aid in cooling. Leaving your pet in a parked car can be a deadly mistake. The temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in a few minutes.
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