The High Desert Museum has planned some very interesting and educational events for the summertime. Spokesperson Melissa Hochschild says beginning Tuesday, they will have longer hours - from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
She says the animal exhibits are a big draw for the Museum. "Coming at the end of May, we'll start all of our summer programs, and that's 2 animals shows daily with our mammals and birds. And we have “Raptors of the Desert Sky” where our birds fly free in a setting out in the woods while naturalists interpret their behaviors. And we've got people out at the cabin every day. Things are hoppin' and that starts Memorial Day weekend." Hochschild says the Museum gets about 150,000 visitors each year; the bulk of them on weekends. But it's such a large place, it never seems crowded. She says in addition to more programs and exhibits, summer rates will also be in effect beginning tomorrow.
Currently there isn't a wolf problem in Crook County,. but there is in Wallowa County; and that means there could be a problem in the future. Crook County is holding an informational meeting tonight to inform farmers what can be done to protect their livestock from wolves. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford: “Well, currently there have been some sighting, but not any definite wolves in the community. That's why its the best time to start up Wolf Depredation Committee. We can get our plans in place before it becomes a problem.” The meeting is tonight at COCC in Prineville from 6 to 8 :30 p.m. The money for the program comes from the Department of Agriculture to help pay for non-lethal means to protect livestock from wolves.
Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, will be speaking at McMenamins Old St. Francis on Wednesday, May 9th, as a fundraiser for the Des Chutes Historical Museum. Museum Director Kelly Cannon-Miller says the Oregon Historical Society and Wells Fargo are bringing the "Teddy Roosevelt's Oregon Road Show" to several Central Oregon venues next week. "He will extemporate. There will be a question & answer. And then we will be doing a special raffle to support the Museum but to buy tickets to win something from Teddy himself. The clever among your listeners will probably figure out what item Teddy will be giving away but I won't spoil it, you'll have to come see." Cannon-Miller says the nation's premiere "Teddy Roosevelt" impersonator, Joe Wiegand, will be joined by Wells Fargo History Museum's Steve Greenwood, who will talk about the history of Wells Fargo. She says although Teddy never came to Central Oregon, his role in conservation had a huge impact on our area. Space in the McMenamin's theatre is limited; you can buy advance $5 tickets at the Des Chutes Historical Museum ($10 at the door). The event is at 11 a-m May 9th.
Foreclosures and short sales continue to go on the market in Central Oregon, but realtors say its not decimating the market as feared. Builders are starting to build again because inventory is getting so low.
Terry Skjersaa with Duke Warner Realty says things are looking up. “Builders can build and there's demand for it and the builders who are building are selling. They are going under contract before even finished.” Distressed properties accounted for more than 60% of the homes on the market in Bend in 2009. Today it accounts for 11%.
COTV’s's "Talk of the Town" gave Tom Greene and Phil Henderson another chance to debate. The two Republican candidates are competing to take on current Commissioner Democrat Alan Unger in the fall.
At times the debate was contentious between the two: Phil Henderson: “But you've been in City Council and you haven't met with County employees to discuss consolidation.” Tom Greene: “That's not true! Henderson: “Well, Ii asked you specifically where did you cut costs and you talked about the UGB.” Greene: “I talked about UGB because it was a cost savings. We could have pushed it through, but it would have been fiscally irresponsible. We also started high deductible health insurance plans that was a cost savings.” You can catch COTV's Talk of the Town starting tonight at 6 p.m. It will be shown every night at 6 and 11 p.m. It's also available at COTV On Demand. KBND's Kelly Bleyer as part of the media panel asking questions.
The City of Sisters is courting a local brewery that wants to expand. Three Creeks Brewing Company plans to grow its business by deciding to bottle or can its products. The City is offering an incentive for Three Creeks to stay in town. According to an article in the Bulletin, last night the City Council voted 3-2 to discount sewer rates at the new production facility. The brewery would get a 30% rate reduction, with a maximum cut of 10,000 each year. The agreement also stipulates that Three Creeks put money toward future upgrades to the city's waste treatment system.
More changes in La Pine. The first Director of the La Pine Park and Recreation District has resigned. Justin Cutler, 31, has accepted a job on the Oregon coast and will be stepping down around the first of June. He will become the General Manager of the Sunset Empire Park and Rec District in Seaside, Oregon. The Chair of the Parks DistrictBboard says the Board hopes to hire a part-time interim director, then possibly a retired local resident with parks district experience.
A man called, "The Prophet of Doom" tells local community disaster volunteers what they might face someday. "Of all the disasters that could happen in the Pacific Northwest, the one that scares emergency preparedness people the most is a massive offshore earthquake that ruptures the 700-mile long earthquake fault that sits about 75 miles off our coast. An event that would be very similar to the event that happened in Japan." James Roddey is a disaster consultant hired to speak at Thursday’s Disaster Preparedness for Community Responders held in Bend. Roddey says most people think a coastal earthquake wouldn't have much impact in our area. "Power will probably be off. Food and fuel shipments will be disrupted. Highways across the Cascades will be damaged. I-84 will be closed. So, there’s certainly the possibility that even east of the cascades, communities will be isolated for a long time. " Roddey says its possible large numbers of disaster refugees could end up in Bend and Redmond.
It’s a move that could save 17 Bend postal jobs. The Postal Reform Bill passed by the U.S. Senate yesterday likely means Bend will keep its mail-processing center. "The 21st Century Postal Service Act" includes provisions that require the postal service to maintain overnight delivery for certain pieces mailed within the same processing area. The U.S. Postal Service in February announced its intentions to close all processing centers in Oregon except those in Portland and Medford; that means Bend would close. Post Office officials have said that closing the bend center could save the postal service as much as $2.1 million a year.
The owners of the resort development Pronghorn will receive a default notice from Deschutes County Commissioners this week. The Commissioners voted on Wednesday to take action to pressure the resort to start building their promised hotels. Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger says they have 30 days to try and resolve the issue. “I think the County's legal team had lots of discussions with the owners and legal representatives of Pronghorn. It's our hope they plan to move forward to build overnight units and keep Pronghorn in a successful building mode.” State law requires destination resorts to offer overnight lodging.
Pronghorn is supposed to have 192 units, but has only built 48 so far.
Home sales in Central Oregon are picking up, and local realtors say they're doing a brisk business. Sales during the first quarter in 2012 hit a five year high. In Bend, 424 homes have sold since January, compared to 400 in 2011 and 350 in 2010. Realtor Terry Skjersaa with Duke Warner Realty says he's keeping busy.
“Interest rates have stayed very low, so it's attractive for buyers. a lot of potential buyers out there. We have hit the bottom or near the bottom and so people are buying. Homes $300-$400,000 are selling well during the last couple months.” Skjersaa says homes $400,000 and below are selling well, and even some builders are starting to build again because inventory is getting so low.
The Crook County Sheriff continues to search for missing Robert Alan Bucknell, 55, of Prineville. The last time someone heard from Bucknell was March 28th, as far as the Crook County Sheriffs Office can ascertain. His car - a 1989 tan Jeep Cherokee was found on private property near the Prineville reservoir. Bucknell is 5’ 11” with brown hair and blue eyes. The Crook County Sheriff's Office does not suspect foul play at this time, but police are hoping someone in the community has information about Bucknell. We have posted a copy of the missing person flyer with this story.
For 10 years, Dottie the dog has brought smiles and comfort to many, and she's been inducted into the Oregon Animal Hall of Fame for her efforts. Dottie's owner, Christina Lewis, owner and manager of the Eagle Inn Adult Foster Home and the Shepherd's House was thrilled to learn of the honor, especially now, because Dottie is facing health issues of her own: “She spends a lot of time with my clients. Dottie has done this pretty much since the day she was born. I got Dottie 10 years ago actually and it's kinda funny to hear the story that she's awesome because Dottie’s got a lot of health problems. She has an enlarged heart, she's going blind, and she has a thyroid that does not work." Lewis says she initially bought Dottie to be a companion to her ailing husband who died several years ago, and then just began bringing Dottie to work and she instinctively knew what to do to comfort her clients. Dottie was honored at a special dinner and ceremony at Oregon State University last week.
And you thought you got a good deal on a refinance; the City of Bend is restructuring some debt and saving $2.5 million. In fact, on some bonds the City reduced its rate from 5% to 1.5%. Finance Director Sonia Andrews says the City will continue to take advantage of low rates in the future. "And the savings is through the life of the debt. So for example the police station debt,we're able to reduce the annual payments to about $63,000 year." And that adds up to almost a million dollars over the life of the loan. In that example the city's rate went from 4.96% to 2.60%.
Safety officials say it could take months to figure out what caused a Lancair plane to crash near Sisters. The crash killed the two men in the plane. The two victims have been identified as Patrick Franzen, 52, of Bend, and the plane's owner and builder, Harry League, 68, of Chicago. The crash was reported around 10:30 Monday morning by several eyewitnesses. The wreckage was found in a wooded area south of Sisters. At one point as many as 60 local volunteers were called in to look for the crash site. Forest Service Road 4606 will be closed today as the investigation continues and authorities are asking the public to avoid the area.
Developer Phil Henderson has raised more money than his opponent Tom Greene. The two Republican County Commissioner candidates are facing off in the primary in their bid to face Democrat Alan Unger in the general election. As of Monday, Henderson had reported raising $8000 through cash contributions and personal loans to his campaign. By contrast, Bend City Councilor Tom Greene was showing $4000. The largest contributions were from the Central Oregon Builders Association, Central Oregon Association of Realtors and fellow City Councilor Scott Ramsay. Tom Greene told the Bulletin that its harder to raise money now than when he ran for city council; and that a lot of people aren't very interested in funding primary elections.
The Presidential election is about six months away, and there will be lots of discussions on the differences between President Barack Obama and (presumptive nominee) Mitt Romney. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon says the growing income disparity in this country will be one of the issues voters will vote on. “I do think there's an enormous appetite to deal with the growing differential in income. Like in manufacturing, work that is outsourced, that is money not in this country and we lose the middle class and adds to that disparity.”
The candidates will each offer their vision for this country, and the role they want government to play.
A Bend woman who was high on prescription drugs when she crashed into a home is sentenced to 16 months in prison and loses her license for five years. The crash happened in March in northeast Bend. Prosecutors say Tamira Julian had just been busted for driving high 2 days earlier. She was sentenced Thursday. It was a close call for the people inside the home. Sarah Clark says she awoke to taillights in her kitchen and feared the car had run over year 8 year old daughter, Brittany. Brittany was okay; but says it was absolutely frightening and everything was destroyed in her bedroom. “It was scary- it was really, really scary. I have no bed, no furniture- pretty much nothing in my room.” Our news partner, News Channel 21, was in the courtroom for yesterday's sentencing. Tamira Julian apologized for her actions. Her psychiatrist says that Julian is mentally unstable and reliant on prescription drugs.
Highway 20 east, about eight miles east of Brothers was closed in both directions after a semi-tanker truck flipped on it's side and spilled some liquid, that could be hazardous.
Oregon State Police closed the roadway just before 8 p.m. Wednesday night at milepost 50, near the intersection with Fredrick Butte Road.
Bend Fire units, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and ODOT assisted OSP at the scene and set up about a quarter mile perimeter while they attempt to identify the liquid.
Our news partner, News Channel 21 reports that truck drivers coming from the east said they could smell something, and at this time OSP is considering extending the closure.
Hazmat teams were called to the scene around 9:30 p.m. and OSP says they expect the road to be closed for an extended amount of time.
1110 KBND will bring you more information when its available.
Bend La Pine Schools has been operating with a fiercely reduced budget for several years now, and keeping within that budget, Superintendent Ron Wilkinson says he's reorganized the District to be in a great place.
Beginning July first, several schools will have new principals and the administration has hired new positions, as others have either retired or moved on to new jobs. "When I started the process, literally began the conversation in December, when all those retirements started to come in; my commitment was to end up cost neutral and FTE [Full Time Employee] neutral. So frankly, within about a quarter of an FTE, the same administrative FTE, I think we're almost exactly on as terms of cost. So I think I’m hitting my targets."
Wilkinson says they recently hired Shay Mikalson as Director of Curriculum and Instructional Technology to help fill the gap Deputy Superintendent John Rexford is leaving by moving to be the High Desert ESD [Education Service District] Superintendent. He says there is an unprecedented number of retirements that are effective at the end of the school year, and he needed to fill many of those with internal promotions and several new hires.
The latest homeless numbers in Central Oregon are down slightly, and they show decreasing numbers of homeless children. The numbers are still too high, but Julie Lyche with the Family Access Network speculates on what the numbers mean: “I believe there's a leveling off of people. It doesn't mean the issues are any less intense for families, but some of our families chose to leave our area to find work in other places.” Area school districts have seen a decrease of more than 600 students in the last four years.
It’s estimated to cost as much as $170 million: a huge Bend sewer project. Friday in Bend, citizens can find out more about the huge idea at a special Chamber Town Hall breakfast. City Manager Eric King says they don't have the money to pay for the whole thing in the near future. "What most likely is an outcome is a focused public improvement program, where we focus with our infrastructure improvements on a specific area of town, the goal is to have shovel ready employment land. That’s what Bend is deficient in, and without that, land prices go high, we become less competitive. And we don’t attract the type of businesses that we want here to continue to diversify the economy." King says they are also trying to find ways to pay for necessary improvements without a huge increase to local sewer rates. The Bend Chamber Breakfast meeting on the sewer system for Bend is at 7:30 at the Bend Golf & Country Club.
Sunriver unveiled its new $18 million Aquatic Center over the weekend, with a ribbon cutting. The new facility won't actually open until the end of the month though. But Brooks Snavely with the Sunriver Owners Association expects it will be a huge boon to the area. “We have nine full time managers and we'll have up to 30 seasonal people working there. It's been a big impact on the local economy and it has been since it started construction 14 to 15 months ago.” The indoor facility will open its doors to the public on Monday, April 30th. The outdoor features will open on May 26th.
Legislation is passed that will bring help to Oregon's homeless and at-risk veterans. Representatives Gene Whisnant of Sunriver and Jason Conger of Bend championed House Bill 4027, that provides immunity from civil liability to registered volunteers that provide services such as medical, dental and pharmacy to the homeless and at-risk citizens through charitable organizations. Today, the Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, Bend's Band of Brothers and the Partnership to End Poverty are honoring Conger and Whisnant at a breakfast. COVO spokesman Chuck Hemmingway says the legislation was a real breakthrough to help vets; and honoring the lawmakers is long overdue: "It's a long overdue recognition. Representative Whisnant took up the banner for us in the 2011 Legislation session, and because of some objections, that bill didn't get through. But he had the wherewithall, the stamina to reintroduce it again and Jason Conger, who's a part of that committee, and they shepherded it through the Senate side of the House. This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for two of them." The breakfast is at Jake's Diner beginning at 11 a-m.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon wrapped up his "Made in Oregon" manufacturing tour in Bend. The Senator traveled to Portland, Eugene and Medford in addition to Bend, to hear from manufacturing leaders about how to keep and grow those jobs here. “I did a series of visits. I went to AE Solar, Deschutes Brewery and held a round table with five to 6 other groups. Really, each company has its own story. But the issues that came up are work force, education, healthcare and access to capital.” Senator Merkley plans to compile a list of the findings from the four roundtables. He promises to look for ways in which the federal government can help grow manufacturing jobs.
A big goal is reached, and thousands of people will be helped.
The United Way of Deschutes County announced that its not only reached the fundraising goal of $1.2 million; it's been surpassed as donations continue to come in. Spokesperson Darlene Rodgers says the number of those needed help from the services they fund is astounding. "Last year, we served over 72,000, in the sense of the programs we help fund. We served over 72,000 individuals. And these are not individuals counted multiple times. These are one-time individual counts. And that is nearly 1 in 3 residents of Deschutes County. So obviously, there are many people out there needing assistance." Rodgers says the United Way focuses on four key priorities: meeting people's most basic needs, giving every child the opportunity and a good start on life, protecting those most vulnerable from violence and abuse and keeping youth on track. She says they may have reached the goal, but the need continues and they are open to accept donations all year long.
The Central Oregon Community College Board has voted to increase tuition from $76 per credit to $82 as of this coming summer term, June 25th. COCC President Jim Middleton says they need the additional money to make up for dwindling state support and lower property tax revenues. “We're really funded in 3 areas: State funding, property taxes and tuition. The State had to cut 3%- 7% for next year. Local property taxes, another 1%.” Middleton says compared to the other community colleges in Oregon, COCC is still very competitive, coming in at the third lowest price in the state. COCC is earlier they held tuition steady for several years and now they are playing catch-up. The COCC Board met and approved the tuition hike on Tuesday night.
Another dog is shot and killed in Redmond, and the family is terrified. It happened Tuesday, when Kona, a 3-year-old blue heeler - red border collie mix walked into the owner's house and the family saw blood on her bed when she laid down. Redmond Police tell our news partner, News Channel 21 that this is the second time in a month that a dog has been shot . They do not have any leads.
Apparently, Kona was shot with a .22-caliber gun. That's the same gun type that injured a dog just a few days ago; that dog also had to be put down. The owner, Marcus Darms said Kona was a very good dog and not aggressive and never left the yard. He says his kids are terrified. Redmond Police would like to hear from anyone with information about this crime; you can remain anonymous.
The Kid’s Center in Bend gets over 2400 reports of child abuse each year from the tri-county area. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Kid’s Center Director Shelly Smith says educating the community to recognize signs of child abuse is an important aspect of child abuse prevention. She says most of the kids they see are under the age of nine, and many of them really don't know they are a victim. "And you have to realize that with kids that their whole world is their parents and their caregivers, so it takes a lot of courage for a child to speak up and say something. You know kids that are under the age of five developmentally don't even know the abuse is wrong. And so I think we've heard from kids that come in, they say: ‘You know I didn't know until I went to a sleep over at my friends house that what my dad was doing or what my mom's boyfriend was doing wasn't right, that their parents weren't doing the same thing." Smith says they have educational programs like "Darkness to Light" that will give you tools to identify an abuse child. Smith adds that law enforcement and teachers have a lot of training in how to deal with these cases and they should be your first point of contact if you suspect child abuse.
"Apple" will build a data center in Prineville. Officials met Tuesday night and approved the agreement. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford applauds the economic development. “Facebook has been amazing. They continue to bring data centers to our town and it's nothing but a positive.” Crawford says, with unemployment hovering around 14% in Crook County, these additional jobs are greatly appreciated. Apple plans to invest about $250 million in the Prineville facility and create at least 35 jobs.
And They’ll Get A Tax Break
Crook County Commissioners approve a tax break for Apple; and hope more will be moving into its Enterprise Zone. Commissioner Ken Fahlgren says Apple will have to meet certain criteria to get the 15 year tax break. “By giving them the concession, they have to spend $8 to $9 million and employ 35 people to receive the tax incentives up to 15 years. Apple has submitted plans to build a 10,000 square foot facility. Excavation on the property is already underway. Apple joins Facebook as another data center in the Prineville area.
Ten new businesses are starting up in downtown Bend. The head of the Downtown Bend Business Association, Chuck Arnold, says he's seen the most active quarter on record since he started tracking occupancy more than five years ago. Darren Powderly with Compass Commercial Real Estate Services says this bad economy really showcases the efforts of the Downtown Bend Business Association: “And they are keeping our downtown vibrant during probably the most horrendous economic downturn of our entire lives. My hats off to them, I thinks it’s a very valuable association for the downtown businesses to have. And people come to Bend’s downtown because its so quaint and so unique.” The occupancy rate is 92% for the first quarter of 2012; and year over year sales for existing businesses have edged up slightly.
Watch for smoke near Prineville tomorrow as fire officials plan another prescribed burn. Specialists with the Prineville Bureau of Land Management will be burning 100 acres of piles along the George Millican Road several miles south of the Prineville Airport. The project is expected to begin tomorrow and take two days to complete, depending on weather. The piles are leftover from a juniper thinning project designed to restore habitat and remove hazardous fuels. Most of the woody material was made available to the public for firewood cutting; but some smaller limbs and branches remain. No road closures are anticipated with this project, but smoke could affect visibility in the area so you are asked to drive carefully.
Bend Police continue to investigate the robbery at the Bank of the Cascades on Bend's south side. Detectives say a heavy set man, around 230 pounds entered the bank around the noon hour on Monday and demanded cash from a teller. The suspect then exited the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. Bend Police and the FBI are working together to find the suspect. Back in December, this same branch was held up by a man at knifepoint. Police are not sure if the two robberies are connected.
Local candidate Tim Knopp is reacting to the news about Rick Santorum dropping out of the Presidental Primary: “I don’t think that was totally unexpected. We kind of expected that the race would narrow before it got to Oregon. So it’s disappointing in many ways, that we’re not going to have lots of choices in – that Oregon won’t have a big impact in our primaries that relates to the Presidential race, at least for Republicans.” You may remember that Knopp stated during a 1110 KBND debate that of the candidates at the time he would've backed Santorum for President. Knopp is challenging Incumbent Chris Telfer in the Republican Primary for the Senate District 27 seat.
Tuition at Central Oregon Community College could be on the rise. President Jim Middleton says they must institute an $8-per-unit increase by next year if they are going to offset dwindling state support and property tax revenues. The increase, would be the fourth tuition increase in four years for the college. "We’re still very pleased that our tuition remains among the third lowest in the state. We are well below the average and really are competitive in that sense-so if someone were upset and went somewhere else they'd be paying more rather than less." The COCC Board met Tuesday night.
Just like Mt. Bachelor, Hoo Doo saw tremendous snowfall during the month of March. The ski hill's Marketing Manager, Leif Williams, says additional snow is prompting an extended season for skiers and snowboarders. They'll be open this coming weekend April 14th and 15th. “We hope to extend it to the following weekend April 22nd, depending on demand and conditions. If we get a couple weeks of heavy rain and there's snow runoff, we'll probably closedown.” Hoo Doo will make a decision the week of April 16th whether they'll be open the weekend of the 21st and 22nd.
To honor the late Stuart L. Shoemaker and Melvin L. Fuller, Bend Band of Brothers will display flags on Bend's Veterans Memorial Bridge, the adjacent Bend Heroes Memorial, and at Bend Elks Lodge #1371 on Saturday, April 7. The bridge is on Newport Ave. and crosses the Deschutes River.
Flags honoring these 2 WWII United States Navy Veterans and fellow WWII Veterans will be on display on Veterans Memorial Bridge and Bend Heroes Memorial from 7:00 AM through 4:00 PM. Volunteers wanting to help install flags should meet at the Memorial at 6:45 AM. Installations will be completed by 7:15 AM.
Members of Central Oregon Band of Brothers Chapters will form a flagline of 30 flags at the Bend Elks Lodge beginning at 1:30 PM. The memorial service for Mr. Shoemaker begins at the Lodge at 2:00 PM. The Lodge is located at 63120 Boyd Acres Rd., just northeast of its intersection with Empire Ave.
Mr. Fuller and Mr. Shoemaker were proud members of Bend Band of Brothers. Flags are provided by the Bend Heroes Foundation.
Attached is a photo of flags flown on Veterans Memorial Bridge and at Bend Heroes Memorial.
Local Band of Brothers Chapters with over 1,000 members are located in Bend, La Pine, Prineville, Redmond, and Sisters
The current U.S. Attorney for Oregon wants to be the State's Attorney General. Dwight Holton was in Bend Thursday meeting with media and supporters, with 40 days to go before the primary. Holton is facing fellow Democrat Ellen Rosenblum for the post. Current AG John Kroger is not running again due to health reasons.
Holton believes he's ready for the job. “This is an credibly important election. I'll work as hard as I can to win people's support. People are looking for a leader. They see this job as job to make communities and neighborhoods safer and stronger and that's what I’ve done my whole career and that's why I’m winning support.” There is no Republican running for Attorney General, so the winner in the May Primary will be Oregon’s new Attorney General.
The Bend City Council has decided to move forward with its plans for Surface Water Improvement Project. But the Political Action Committee formed to fight the plan is still against it. Organizers say they are raising money and are waiting until all the candidates file for City Council by August, before choosing the candidates they'll support. Ray Taylor is a retired water utility executive from California that supports the PAC's effort to get councilors to change their mind about the plan. “In my opinion and the opinion of a lot of other people, we're spending a lot of money to treat water that has an adequate groundwater supply that could be updated or expanded that would cost half as much money or less.” Taylor favors a groundwater only approach for the City's water supply. He says it's cheaper, easy to operate, flexible and responsive to the community's needs.
Dozens of horses and cows connected to a big animal neglect case in Crook County will be sold off next week, on Monday. Sgt. James Savage says the sale is similar to how a foreclosure would be handled: on the Courthouse steps, and they are looking for one buyer of the 55 horses and 22 cows. He says thanks to donations of cash, hay, and vet services the horses and cows are doing much better today. But its been tough on everyone: “55 horses and 22 cows. We're a small agency and its been very taxing on the County and Sheriff's Office, but thanks to the generosity of people in the community we've been able to maintain the care that they've needed and the feed.” Savage says back in 2009 when this happened before; they spent more than $100,000 to get the horses healthy again. And in that case, fewer animals were seized.
If business at the local credit unions is any indication, the local economy is starting to wake up again. Kyle Frick with Mid Oregon Credit Union says they are seeing more deposits and more people borrowing money: "From what we see at the credit union, we are seeing a lot more people making offers on houses; 2 and 3 offers on houses when people are out looking. Car sales are definitely up, so people are feeling more comfortable about borrowing.” Frick says car sales are a very healthy local indicator because that makes up about one-fifth of the local retail market.
The National Weather Service has extended its flood advisory for the Deschutes River until Thursday morning. Forecasters say water levels are dropping a bit, but remain very high, and will remain high for the next couple days. They expect some flooding in the Tumalo area. Water will move into irrigation canals over the weekend, and that will help lower river levels.
Fire destroyed a barn in Crook County early this morning northeast of Prineville, but animals and people in the nearby home got out o.k. Firefighters got the call just after 1:30 Wednesday morning. The flames were visible from Highway 26. The people in the home less than 100 feet from the barn were safely evacuated. The animals were also safely removed.
It was standing room only at Bend's Senior Center; people came out to U.S. Congressman Greg Walden's Town Hall Tuesday afternoon. Concerns with the threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons was one topic that Walden gave serious thought to, saying he's hoping economic sanctions will work: “There are also threats out there that we have to guard against. And I think a nuclear armed Iran is one of those threats. I would much prefer and hope that the sanction authority that we've given to the President, multiple Presidents now, on Iran, and the international effort that Secretary Clinton and others are leading to try to bring other countries into this economic sanctions effort, to try to force Iran not to proceed with its nuclear development, will work." Walden says the United States is the most called upon country to help with disasters, instances of genocide and other humanitarian efforts.
And on Rush Limbaugh…
The hotly debated topic of Rush Limbaugh's recent comments did not escape discussion at Tuesday's Town Hall meeting with U.S. Congressman Greg Walden. Walden was firm in his opinion about the controversial talk show host. Referring to his previous ownership of a radio station, Walden said: "I would not have tolerated a host of my talk show saying about an individual, what Mr. Limbaugh did. I just wouldn't. I've said that publicly, I'll say it here. I don't that that it's appropriate. I also don't think it's appropriate what some of the liberal talk show hosts have said (applause). I think it's coarse, I think it's wrong, I don't think it adds to the quality of the debate." The audience was very vocal about the subject, but all agreed that everyone is allowed to have an opinion, and most acknowledged that Limbaugh did apologize.
A very busy part of Bend is about to get more snarled due to a planned construction project. Bend Streets Supervisor Kevin Ramsey says "weather permitting" they'll start work on a big project Monday April 16th at Mt. Washington Drive and Northwest Crossing. "We just ask that one drivers slow down because the major detour actually goes by the high school. The businesses in the NW Crossing area will still be open. They'll be a residential and commercial detour, access all the NW Crossing businesses.” The $151,000 project replaces crumbling asphalt with a long lasting concrete surface. This is paid for with gas taxes. And after that road improvement is done; another big project will start nearby as part of the $30 million GO Bond (General Obligation Bond) voters passed last May.
In a story heard first on 1110 KBND, the head of Abilitree calls it his "field of dreams" a new much larger facility that is very visible. Executive Director of Abilitree, Jim Lee says they are hoping to move their 2 service sectors under one roof to the 12,000 square foot "Workensport" building on Reed Market and 9th Street. "One of the themes of that is bringing people with disabilities into the light of our community, and we want to have this be a legacy for our community and in the future people will know exactly where to go. Right now we're kind of buried in an industrial and residential area; tough to know where to go to get services." Abilitree is a local resource for adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Some Abilitree clients work at the Oxford Hotel, Deschutes Brewery and Sara Bella Upcycled. Lee was a guest on 1110 KBND's 'Your Town.'
Those who try to help veterans deal with the trauma of war report that women soldiers face many of the same mental health issues as their male counterparts. And some older veterans may be dealing with an additional issue: "You hear a lot about that there is PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] among women as well. One thing we hear about mainly with the older female veterans is military sexual trauma or MST." Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs spokesperson Mike Allegre says some women report being abused during a time when they were a smaller minority in the military. He says they see MST in veterans who served in the 1950's on up to the 1990's. To help these women, veterans groups are now aware of the problem and offering female counselors to those female veterans suffering from military sexual trauma.
27 AirLink employees get pink slips. St. Charles announced yesterday that they will sell Airlink to the largest air ambulance network in the country. Airlink spokesman Bob Gomes says he believes the new company, Med Trans-Corporation, is making a serious effort to hire the 27 AirLink employees. He says AirLink just didn't pencil out for St. Charles: "For St. Charles, the cost savings is that we won't be out the $1.5 million. The reason why they are able to do it is because of economy of scale: when you look at repairing and maintaining helicopters which is very expensive." The new company will also retain the AirLink name and honor current membership contracts. The deal is expected to close by mid-June.
Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says with 7000 cougars in Oregon, it’s not surprising to hear of many cougars encounters in Central Oregon. Recently, five cougars in the Sisters area were killing pets and acting too aggressive towards humans. So wildlife officials decided they needed to put down the five cougars. Blanton says its not an easy decision to do that, but public safety comes first: "So we whenever possible avoid doing that. But if there are cougars in a residential area where there's a threat to other animals or people we will address that situation and deal with it as we deem appropriate." Other cougar sightings over the past year were reported in Crooked River Ranch, Awbrey Butte and Deschutes River Woods. One cougar was trapped and killed in the Deschutes River Woods case last May.