Local News Archives for 2015-12

Redmond Airport Restaurant to Close

REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Airport’s main restaurant will be closed for the next month. Renovations at Avalon Aeropub are scheduled to begin Monday, January 4 to double the square footage and seating capacity of the dining area.


During the closure, visitors will have access to an expanded selection of pre-packaged sandwiches and salads at the coffee shop on the main floor. The restaurant is expected to reopen February first.

Air Quality Warnings Issued

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Air Pollution advisory for Central Oregon, through Monday. Frank Messina, with the DEQ's Bend office, says conditions are perfect for smoke and other pollutants to get trapped at ground level. "The National Weather Service has designation air stagnation conditions and as a result, we’re issuing an air pollution advisory because we don’t get a lot of ventilation during those times and air pollution would just not blow through."


The advisory stretches from Kennewick, Washington to Pendleton, into Prineville and Bend.
Messina tells KBND News smoke from woodstoves, outdoor burns and fireplaces are common pollutants this time of year. "When you have good ventilation it blows through and it’s not a problem. But, during these inversions, that’s why we have this advisory."
The very young, elderly and those with respiratory problems are at highest risk for problems. "Let’s use some common sense, you know? Don’t put off a lot of pollution; especially no open burning and only use certified woodstoves. Try to limit the amount of air pollution as much as possible, for you and your neighbor," says Messina.
To monitor air quality across Oregon, visit the DEQ's Air Quality Index website

Crook Co DA to Lead Oregon Prosecutors

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County District Attorney is making history. Daina Vitolins was elected president of the Oregon District Attorneys Association, becoming the first woman to run the group of county prosecutors. “I’m really honored and pleased that the Oregon District Attorneys Association chose to elect me as their president.  I think we should have had a female president sooner but I’m excited to be making history on behalf of the Oregon District Attorneys Association,” Vitolins tells KBND News.


 “I also bring the rural perspective which is often forgotten in the valley. I’ve learned that quite clearly. And somebody needs to be there and be sure to remind everybody that Oregon is the entire state; central, eastern, and southern Oregon as well as the valley.”


Vitolins will lead the panel of 36 District Attorneys, as they consider legislation that impacts safety in Oregon. Vitolins has served as Crook County DA since November of 2008.

JCSO Search and Rescue Sent Into the Snow

MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County Search and Rescue teams were busy Tuesday night with two separate missions involving people lost or stuck in the snow.


Sheriff Jim Adkins says the first was a man whose truck got stuck – the SAR team was able to pull him out using a tracked vehicle. "People need to think about where they’re going and be prepared in case they do get stuck and need to spend the night out somewhere; so they have blankets, food and water. People need to know when they get off the main roads, that there is a likelihood that the secondary roads are not being groomed."


In the second mission, a ten-member team spent several hours searching for a Camp Sherman woman who failed to return from an evening walk with her two dogs. Crews fanned out across the area and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue was put on standby, although not activated. Sheriff Adkins says she was unaware of the massive effort when she arrived home on her own at about 4 a.m., nearly 11 hours later. He tells KBND News she was very lucky, "The only thing that she complained about was wet feet; that she was well-dressed for the elements and she and her dogs were just fine."
She reportedly got turned around in the snow. He says, although neither subject was in grave danger, the two missions weren't wasted efforts. "Even for us, it’s a great training opportunity for the real thing, anytime we can go out and put our skills to the test. You come back from a mission like this and you critique; you interview the subject who was lost and find out how we missed her in our search. Where was she when we were in a particular area? What could we have done differently to actually locate her?"

Arrest Leads to Outpouring of Support for Kids

BEND, OR -- A Bend father was arrested on drug trafficking charges just before Christmas, leading to an outpouring of support for his three children from local businesses and detectives. 


The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team developed information last week that 38-year-old Olen Grimes was involved in trafficking street-level quantities of methamphetamine in the Bend area. Detectives contacted Grimes at the Dairy Queen on S. Highway 97 on December 23. They say he tried to discard a small amount of drugs when he ran from police. He was quickly taken into custody and the drugs were recovered from a restaurant trash can.


At the time of Grimes' arrest inside, his 12-year-old son was in a parked car, just outside. According to CODE, Dairy Queen employees provided the boy with free ice cream during the investigation. Detectives later learned Grimes had two other children at home. All three kids were taken into protective custody and placed in the care of extended family. Food 4 Less in Bend donated a gift certificate to the family for a holiday meal, and CODE and Deschutes County Sheriff's detectives used personal funds and resources to purchase gifts, which were delivered by detectives to the family on Christmas Eve.


Grimes is charged with Possession and Distribution of Methamphetamine and Child Neglect in the First Degree. He's scheduled to appear in court on Thursday. 





Three Killed in Eastern Oregon Train Crash

UNION, OR -- Three people were killed in the small eastern Oregon town of Union, when a train collided with their car, Tuesday afternoon. Oregon State Police are investigating the crash and have only released limited information, so far.


Preliminary information indicates that a Jeep Cherokee turned into the path of a Union Pacific Railroad train, just before 3 p.m. The train struck the vehicle and all three people, along with a dog, were ejected.


Investigators say 43-year-old Clayton Colpitts and 40-year-old Penny Jo Colpitts, both of

Union, as well as 20-year-old James Johnston of Chiloquin, were all pronounced dead at the scene. OSP says they have not yet determined who was driving at the time of the crash. 


The rural crossing displayed crossing signs with a stop sign, but does not have crossing-gate arms. The train did not derail and no injuries were reported aboard the train. 


Prineville Increases Social Media Presence

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Because people are either too busy, or too intimidated to attend Prineville City Council meetings, the city is inviting residents to submit questions via social media. Bill Mintiens is Prineville's community relations contractor. He tells KBND News, “It really fulfills the goal of getting people involved and engaged in getting them to ask those questions that are sort of burning in the back of their minds but they’re not going to go to the council meetings, or the court meetings to ask them.”


He says Prineville and Crook County constituents can submit questions through Facebook or Twitter, then “We'll have the appropriate city official or staff person answer those questions. And it’s the first time we’ve done it with video and I think that was really enticing.” Those video answers are posted to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube


A resident recently submitted a question about the Purple Heart signs in Prineville. In less than 24 hours, the video response received more than 500 views. By the way, the Purple Heart designation is thanks to local vets who asked City Councilors for the declaration, in honor of injured veterans.

Bend Soccer Field Fundraising Progressing

BEND, OR -- After several years of discussions between the Bend FC Timbers and the Bend Parks and Recreation District, rumors of delays have swirled around fundraising for new soccer fields. Rod Buzzas is chairman of the field campaign for the Timbers, and says the club was initially unaware of what was necessary. "Well, somewhat naively, I think we had anticipated that once we signed the agreement with Park and Rec, that we would be able to raise our $3 million in a year and build the fields in another year. So, getting our feet on the ground and getting things going took a longer period than anticipated, but we’re full steam ahead, now." He tells KBND News, "For this project to take off, and to even begin the fundraising, we had to have architectural plans and a variety of other steps in place before we could take off. We got a late start, so to speak, but by no means has the fundraising been delayed or gone flat."


Bend FC Timbers is leasing land just north of Pine Nursery from Parks and Rec, to eventually build four multi-purpose turf fields. "We really, officially started our fundraising campaign around the first of September. We initially had engaged with Park and Rec many years ago, although officially and formally a little over a year ago; but we realized after we put together our time constraints around that, that there was a lot of groundwork that needed to be set," says Buzzas. 


Buzzas says they’ve already raised about a half million dollars. They need $1.7 million to start phase-one of construction and he expects that’s about two years away. Eventually, he says they'll build four turf fields, along with a clubhouse and other facilities, that could be used for soccer, lacrosse and other sports.
To hear our full conversation with Rod Buzzas about the field complex project, and the growth of the Bend FC Timbers, visit our Podcast Page

Birth Control Law Takes Effect

BEND, OR -- In July, Governor Kate Brown signed into law House Bill 2879, which allows pharmacists to dispense contraceptive patches and "the pill" to women 18 and older without a doctor's prescription.


Angela Valerga, a registered pharmacist at Cascade Custom Pharmacy in Bend, tells KBND News, “It’s quite a big change. They no longer have to wait to make an appointment with their doctor or be seen in a clinic atmosphere to get a prescription medication which, for those who still do not have health insurance, can be a bit of a financial burden.”
Pharmacists who choose to participate are required to take a five-hour online class. Patients still must be evaluated by a Pharmacist, “We will have some paperwork for them to fill out. Get a full medical history. And then if everything aligns properly we can then determine the proper therapy for this patient,” says Valerga. This screening can take up to 40-minutes and no appointment is required, which may place an extra time burden on pharmacists.
Oregon joins California and Washington as the only states to pass such a law.

Madras Couple Accused of Murder by Abuse

MADRAS, OR -- A Madras couple was arraigned Tuesday on murder charges, in connection with the death of a one-year old baby girl. A Jefferson County Grand Jury indicted 25-year-old Raine Austria and 20-year-old Garry Lee Vineyard, December 18, on a number of charges including Murder by Abuse, Manslaughter in the Second Decree and Criminally Negligent Homicide. 


Investigators say Katerina Austria died on or about March 30, 2015, just a week after her first birthday.


Following Tuesday's arraignment, District Attorney Steven Leriche released a statement, saying a lengthy multi-agency investigation was conducted after the baby's death, in consultation with the KIDS Center in Bend.


Austria and Vineyard were arrested Monday, and are being held on a million dollars bail. They're due back in court in February.

Jefferson County Deputy Honored

BEND, OR -- A Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy has been named Oregon Enforcement Deputy Sheriff of the Year for 2015. Deputy Ron Larson was honored earlier this month, during the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association’s annual conference in Bend. 


Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins nominated Larson, who has served with the JCSO since 2012.

Lawmakers Prepare for Legislative Days

BEND, OR -- Oregon state lawmakers are each allowed to introduce two bills during the upcoming short session. But, before legislation can go up for a vote in February, they will be discussed and vetted during Legislative Days in about two weeks.


Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) tells KBND News preparations are already underway. "Everybody has their bills in Legislative council – some people may have their bills back to them now. They’re trying to get to a point they can have people sign on to them during our January Legislative Days, which is three days - and has really turned into 5 days now - of being in Salem for the second week of January to basically have hearings." Knopp used a public survey to determine his priorities. He plans to focus on PERS Reform and Sustainable Forest Management during the February session.
He says no votes will take place in January, "You can’t act on anything, but you can basically have informational hearings. People are trying to get their bills heard in that session so they’re teed up for two weeks later, when the February session starts."  Knopp adds, "At least you can flesh out a little bit who’s supportive, who’s really opposed, because they may come to testify on the bill during the informational hearings; so that’s helpful for Legislators to get that feedback." Legislative Days are scheduled for January 13-15, at the state capitol. 
To hear our full conversation with Senator Knopp, visit our Podcast Page

Office of Emergency Mgmt Looks Back on Busy Year

SALEM, OR -- Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management is looking back over a busy year. Andrew Phelps took over as Director in February, just ahead of a record-breaking summer. "We had 24 counties declare drought emergencies; we had a statewide emergency declaration for wildfires; and at the end of 2015, multiple counties were included in a state emergency declaration due to flooding and severe winter weather. A pretty busy year, but we’re looking to build on everything we’ve learned in 2015 for a much better, safer and happier 2016."


But, Phelps says there were good aspects of his first year at the helm. "We conducted hundreds of hours of training, facilitated dozens of exercises and wrote, reviewed and revised dozens of plans; all with the number one goal of insuring Oregonians are better prepared of any emergency or disaster regardless of cause."


He issued a plea, asking Oregonians to take emergency preparedness seriously in the New Year. And, he’s asking for everyone’s help. "We all have a role to play to make sure we’re better prepared in 2016; and we’re asking you to share your emergency preparedness resolutions in 2016 on social media. Simply use #ReadyOR16 and include what you’re resolving to do to be better prepared in 2016."


For tips on getting your family prepared in the New Year, click HERE

School Clothes Effort Expands into Winter

BEND, OR -- For a number of years, The Assistance League of Bend has given clothes to needy students in the fall. But, the nonprofit's “Operation School Bell” now extends past the holidays into the winter months.


Family Access Network (FAN) advocates supply a list of needy students, kindergarten through 12th grade. The Assistance League's Beverly Adler tells KBND News, “We want to be there to meet the needs after the holidays and be able to dress children who may not have been able to participate in the fall drive or may not have lived here. And for some children it’s the first new clothes they’ve ever had. Can you imagine?”
She says it costs about a hundred dollars to clothe a student. “It certainly usually can buy them a sweatshirt, a pair of jeans or two, some sweat pants, socks, underwear, a pair of shoes, shirt, sweaters, a hat and some gloves,” says Adler. The fall effort clothed 1,700 students. She hopes to supply new clothes to 200 more in February, but they’re looking for donations and volunteers to reach that goal. 
Click HERE to learn more.

Senator Wyden Visits Central OR Next Week

BEND, OR -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will kick off 2016 with a series of town hall meetings in Central and Eastern Oregon. Sunday, January 3, he’ll be at St. Charles Prineville at 4:30 p.m. Monday morning he’ll make a stop at Ridgeview High in Redmond at 9:45, then Senator Wyden heads north to the Madras City Hall at 12:30 p.m.


“I am so proud to represent the entire state in the true Oregon tradition by throwing open the doors of government so we can get beyond sound bites and have substantive discussions with Oregonians about their ideas to make our state and our country an even better place,” says Senator Wyden (D-OR).
Meetings are also planned for Wasco, Wheeler, Gilliam, Sherman and Hood River counties on Tuesday and Wednesday, including a milestone in the small town of Fossil. “My promise to Oregonians of town halls each year in each county began in Wheeler County, which is why there is no better place to hold this landmark 750th town hall.” Wyden's first Oregon town hall was held in Fossil 20 years ago, shortly after he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Senator Jeff Merkley will also be in town next week, with stops scheduled for Madras, Prineville and Bend on Tuesday, January 5.
Photo: Senator Wyden meets with constituents in Terrebonne, July 2015.

Pavilion Opens to Big Crowds

BEND, OR -- After some weather related construction delays, the Bend Park and Recreation District’s new $11.4-million ice rink is now open. In its first two hours of business, more than 500 skaters hit the ice at the Pavilion, located at the corner of Colorado and Simpson. 


Parks and Rec Executive Director Don Horton was on hand Monday, to help deal with the crowds. “All hands on deck today. So my job is to do whatever needs to be done and right now I am handing out skates.” He tells KBND News, “I think the community has been wanting this for decades. And so being able to put the final touches on the facility and being able to open it in good shape I think is well worth the time. And it looks like everybody is having a good time. A lot of smiles on people’s faces.”
Bend teen Kelsey Adair was all smiles. “I really am glad so we don’t always have to travel up to Seventh Mountain to go skating.” Her dad Tony Adair adds, “I Love hockey, so we’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Hockey and curling leagues are set to begin, there’s an outdoor warming fire for spectators, and beer will be available for adults.

Snow, Holidays Bring Shoppers to Downtown Bend

BEND, OR -- Downtown Bend shops dream of a White Christmas, and this year didn't disappoint. Rod Porsche, Executive Director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, says the holidays are hugely important to local retailers. “It’s second only to the heavy tourist season in the summertime for most of our retailers and restaurants in downtown Bend.”


He tells KBND News, more snow on the hill means better sales for downtown merchants. “It’s a game changer. I think if you look at the statistics, if there’s great skiing on Mt. Bachelor, that means there are people in downtown Bend, And that is really key for us. Particularly the restaurants and the bars.”


IRS Scam Continues in Bend

BEND, OR -- Bend Police continue to investigate calls from con artists claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, pressuring victims to give up personal and financial information. Local reports initially came in June but scammers have continued, threatening jail time or financial penalties for unpaid taxes. 

Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says con artists are getting more clever. "They’re spoofing caller ID numbers, so it’ll say ‘IRS’ and look more legitimate. It’s a little concerning. We just want to get more information out to the community so they’ll be prepared if they do get a phone call, because it could happen to any one of us; all they need to do is find your phone number."  And, he says these reports are tough to investigate, "Unfortunately, it’s very tough for us because a lot of times these scammers aren’t even in the United States; and it becomes a federal case. I think the best bet is to follow the information given out by the IRS and the IRS is taking this very seriously." Click HERE for tips from the IRS.
"The IRS does not initiate contact with the taxpayer by the telephone or through email. So, if you get an email from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, that’s most likely a phishing scam," David Tucker, with the IRS, tells KBND News. He says the agency typically contacts taxpayers by U.S. mail.
He also says electronically filing taxes is the safest way to transmit your information to the IRS. "If you file electronically and then request direct deposit, that’s the fastest way and safest way to get your refund back to you."

Driver Charged with DUII After Hitting House

TERREBONNE, OR -- A Terrebonne man is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, following a Saturday evening crash into a residence. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says 57-year-old Scott Smith was northbound on NW 19th Street when he failed to negotiate a curve. After shearing off a power poll, the pickup rolled into the front yard of the residence, colliding with the home as it came to a stop.


No one was injured inside the home, although a second residence was without power for a short time while Pacific Power crews repaired the damaged pole.


Smith was evaluated at St. Charles Redmond and later arrested for DUII, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering and Criminal Mischief. His passenger was not hurt. 


Terrebonne Shop Destroyed by Fire

TERREBONNE, OR -- Redmond Fire crews were able to save a nearby home after a shop was destroyed by a Saturday morning blaze. Firefighters arrived just after 7 a.m. to find the shop fully involved. 


The 'F' Avenue residence, just 20 feet away, sustained some damage, including a window broken from heat exposure. 


Damage is estimated at about $60,000 and the cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Snowmobiler Injured Near Todd Lake

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Search and Rescue was dispatched to Elk Lake Lodge on Saturday, to help transport a Seattle woman injured in a snowmobile accident. 


Katje Fiala was reportedly snowmobiling near Todd Lake when she crashed between two trees at about 10:30 a.m., Friday. She did not initially report the accident, but realized Saturday morning that further medical treatment would be needed. The 36-year-old woman was renting a cabin near Elk Lake and Lodge personnel notified the Sheriff's Office.


Rescue efforts were complicated because Century Drive is closed for the season, only open to snowmobiles and skiers. A Search and Rescue team rode snowmobiles to the lodge and determined Fiala should be transported to the hospital by helicopter. Life Flight was dispatched and landed on Century Drive, near the entrance to Elk Lake. Fiala was transported to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries.

Prineville Man Killed in Saturday Crash

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A 51-year-old Prineville man was killed in a rollover crash on Juniper Canyon Road, Saturday evening. Investigators believe the driver became distracted and lost control of the vehicle. The passenger was ejected and died at the scene.


According to the Crook County Sheriff's Office, Sandra Kenner of Prineville was driving northbound after dropping a family member off, just after 5:15 p.m., December 26. They say she became temporarily distracted, realizing the family member left a cell phone in the vehicle. Kenner was handing the phone to her passenger, Anthony Johnson, when she lost control.


The 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee struck a rock wall, crossed both lanes of traffic and came to a rest on the west side of the road. Kenner was transported to St. Charles Hospital in Prineville with non-life threatening injuries. Johnson was thrown from the car and was pronounced dead at the scene. Both were wearing seatbelts at the time. 


The investigation is ongoing and no citations have been issued.

Six Injured in Santiam Crash

SISTERS, OR -- Icy roads are blamed for a crash that injured six and shutdown the Santiam Pass for several hours, Christmas Day. Oregon State Police say a Salem woman was eastbound on Highway 20 at about 10 a.m., Friday, when she lost control and struck a westbound pickup, head-on. A doctor in another vehicle stopped and provided medical attention to some of the injured before paramedics arrived.


Four passengers in the Chevy Tahoe were taken to St. Charles Bend. The driver of the pickup, 44-year-old Richard Barge of Terrebonne, and his passenger, 40-year-old Kimberly Barge, were also taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 



OSU Cascades Responds to Court Win

BEND, OR -- Oregon's Supreme Court ruled Thursday it will not hear an appeal by Truth in Site, challenging the new location for OSU-Cascades on Bend's west side. University officials declared the decision "a gift," following the Christmas Eve announcement.


The state's High Court was the last option for the opposition group that believes OSU should submit plans for expansion beyond the 10-acre parcel now under construction on Chandler Avenue. Justices weren't required to hear the case, and typically don't weigh-in on land use battles.


Truth in Site did not return our calls for comment. OSU-Cascades released the following statement, relating to the Supreme Court decision:


The last legal obstacle standing in the way of Oregon State University – Cascades’ development of a 10-acre campus in Bend was removed today when the Oregon State Supreme Court decided to not consider an appeal filed in opposition to the campus.  
“We remained confident throughout this land use process that our site plan for the campus was sound,” said Becky Johnson, OSU-Cascades vice president. “This is great affirmation and a timely recognition.”
The Supreme Court decision to not consider the appeal was made public on Christmas Eve and marks the fifth decision in support of OSU-Cascades’ site development plan for the 10-acre campus on Bend’s west side.  An independent hearings officer, the Bend City Council, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals and the Oregon Court of Appeals all previously ruled in favor of the plan.
“We are very grateful to the countless supporters in the community who have waited for this final approval, Johnson said. “We are eager to move forward and fulfill the region's vision for a four-year university in Central Oregon,” Johnson said. 
Construction of the 10-acre campus began in June and university officials anticipate the campus opening for classes in fall 2016.


Online Resource Now Available for Victims

PORTLAND, OR -- Getting through the holidays comes with special challenges for crime victims, but there's a new Oregon-based website full of information to assist them. Help. Hope. Heal. is an online guide for family members who aren't sure what to do or say to help a survivor of domestic violence or other crimes.


Kerry Naughton, with the Partnership for Safety and Justice, says crime victims need to know those closest to them truly care and are willing to listen. "It's so important to get support from the people who they already know and love. we know most crime victims and survivors will reach out to family members or friends first before reaching out to law enforcement or any of the social services that may be available."


She says, "We provide a list of things that are helpful to know, helpful things to do and helpful things to say to your loved ones who survived crime and violence. And, we also provide a lot of resources, both in Oregon and across the country, and just some basic tips for self-care."


Click HERE to access the website.

New Homeless Center Looks to Grow

BEND, OR -- The new women and children’s center run by The Shepherd’s House has been open less than two weeks. But, Director of Women and Children's Ministries Gloria Hall tells KBND News the facility is filling up quickly. "We have room for five, we have four in there now. So, we have one opening and we have a lot of people calling for that opening. I just got a call from a lady who has one child and she’s pregnant. And she said, ‘in fact, I’m starting to have pains, and I think I might have this baby today; and I have to be out of this house in the next three or four days.’"


Hall says the facility at Bear Creek and Dean Swift Road is not a "shelter." The single women who move in need to be prepared to make long-term life changes. "They come into a three-month basic services, it’s a stabilization phase. There’s usually a lot of PTSD during that time, so we have a counselor on staff that works with them. Then, we have a chemical dependency counselor, too. So, those are the two presenting issues, usually."
Shepherd's House Executive Director Curt Floski says he knew the center would quickly reach capacity. "We have over a thousand children and women that are homeless, in some form or fashion. Right now, we run the Redmond cold weather shelter and 50% of those accessing that shelter are women and they’re living in their cars, some of the camps, or they simply don’t have a place to go. It’s truly a huge crisis for us right now." Floski says last year, only about 1/3 of those at the Redmond cold weather shelter were women. He says they can help with emergency needs at the main shelter in northeast Bend, but womena aren’t able to stay overnight; and the Bethlehem Inn is consistently full.
Floski submitted a conditional use permit to city officials this week, asking to expand from five to nine residents. "The bigger vision is to expand that to a 40-bed-plus facility for women and kids. We have another piece of property that a donor has purchased. We’re in the first phase of the capitol campaign to begin to move forward on that and it’s about a $1.2-million project."

Ski Resorts Get Early Christmas Gift

BEND, OR -- Local ski operators are thankful and excited as they gear up for holiday visitors. Stirling Cobb of Mt. Bachelor tells KBND News December’s snowfall dwarfs where they've been the last couple of years at this time. “In the '13-'14 season we received 30” of snow in December. The last year, in the '14-'15 season, we had a little bit better year with 70” of snow in December. And already this month, with another week to go, we already have 151” of snow.” He adds, “You know, this is that December is supposed to feel like here at Mt. Bachelor.”


Neighboring Hoodoo opened last week. Leif Williams has a similar report. “Compared with last year, with maybe five to six inches of snow on the ground at this time, this is night and day. We’ve got 65-plus inches on the ground right now.” And that translates into great ski conditions for locals and holiday tourists. “I just took two runs and there’s powder above my knees and some spots above my waist.”

Robbery Suspect Needed Money for Gifts

BEND, OR -- The Bend man accused of robbing a Selco Credit Union last week, remains in the Deschutes County Jail, and we're learning more about his alleged crime. A criminal complaint written by an FBI Special Agent says Brett Gillispie-Comstock entered the bank in Northeast Bend twice before handing a note to the teller demanding $5,000, according to The Oregonian. He left with more than $1,300 in an envelope, telling the employee, "I hope you have a really good holidays."


The complaint says he told investigators that he and his mother had lost $400 gambling and needed money for rent, a Christmas tree and presents. He allegedly went on a shopping spree before police found him trying to hide behind a recently purchased Christmas tree. 
Gillispie-Comstock is scheduled to appear back in court on Tuesday.

La Pine Home Destroyed by Fire

LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine home is a total loss after fire tore through the property, Wednesday. A number of passers-by called 911 at around 11 a.m. to report the blaze; a couple of citizens even stopped to bang on the door in an effort to make sure no one was inside. 


Day Road was closed for several hours so that firefighters could battle the flames in below freezing temperatures. Crews were able to limit the damage to the trailer and several additions, saving three nearby outbuildings and an RV trailer.
The homeowner had left a couple of hours prior to the incident and no injuries were reported, although a couple of dogs are unaccounted for. 

Bend Woman Killed in Hwy 20 Crash

SISTERS, OR -- A Bend woman was killed in a head-on collision that tied up traffic for several hours between Sisters and bend, Wednesday morning. Oregon State Police investigators say 74-year-old Karen Langeliers was westbound on Highway 20 when she lost control on the icy roadway, just before 10 a.m.


Her car crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a Ford F-350 pickup, driven by a 71-year-old Molalla man. Langeliers was pronounced dead at the scene; the other driver was not hurt.
The investigation is ongoing, but preliminary information indicates icy conditions contributed
 to the cause of the crash. Highway 20 was closed for about two hours and had one lane closed for another hour after that while officers reconstructed the scene.


Record Number of Holiday Travelers Expected

BEND, OR -- A record number of holiday travelers are expected to leave home over the next week. "It is going to be very, very busy no matter how you travel. If you drive, expect a lot of other of folks on the roadways; if you fly, expect airports to be jam-packed. This is the first time ever that AAA has projected more than 100 million traveling for a holiday." Marie Dodds, with Triple-A Oregon, tells KBND News, "For the Christmas and New Years holiday, we’re looking at 100.5 million Americans nationwide, this is up about 1.5% compared to last year. And, here in Oregon, we’re looking at around 1.2 million Oregonians traveling for Christmas and New Years."


Dodds says, "Clearly the lower gas prices are encouraging folks to get out there and travel." Prices are about 30-cents a gallon lower than this time last year. She says that's adding to consumer confidence and encouraging families to leave home. 
If you're traveling by air, Michael Irwin with the TSA in Portland says you should arrive at the airport at least two-hours in advance. Frequent travelers can save time by signing up for pre-check; it costs money, but he says it can be worth it.
And, remember, gels and liquids over 3.5 ounces must be in plastic bags and taken out of carry-on bags at security check-points. If you're packing gifts, don't wrap them. Security officials will need to check them, as well.  

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

BEND, OR -- If there is a pooch on your gift list, you’ll want to consider some advice from the Humane Society of Central Oregon. Lynne Ouchida says keep in mind your dog’s chew strength before getting a chew toy. “Rawhides can be dangerous. They can be bitten off in large chunks that can be swallowed and then expand. The ends of the knotted rawhides are notorious for being chewed off and swallowed whole and then often times you end up at a vet clinic having that removed.” And, avoid chew toys that have easily removable eyes and other small parts that cannot be digested.


Also, make sure to keep ribbons and string from opened presents away from pets. “We don’t want our pets to chew them,” says Ouchida. “They can be ingested and cause some difficulties with the intestinal track.” 
And, to make sure your holiday dinner isn’t spoiled by a sick animal; avoid feeding them scraps of rich fatty foods - Save those for left-overs!

Ice, Speed Blamed for Crash

PRINEVILLE, OR --An Idaho man was injured when he lost control of his vehicle and rolled on Powell Butte Highway, Tuesday night. Crook County Sheriff's deputies responded just after 9:30 p.m. and found the pickup on its top. 

Investigators say the 47-year-old man attempted to pass another vehicle and lost control on the ice. The truck crashed through a fence and rolled onto its top. 
Antone Richter, of New Plymouth, Idaho, was taken to St Charles Redmond with non-life threatening injuries. Speed and ice are both believed to be factors in the crash. 

Central Oregon Jobless Numbers Drop

BEND, OR -- Unemployment rates dropped significantly across Central Oregon, last month. Regional Economist Damon Runberg tells KBND News Deschutes County holiday hiring led the charge. "Between October and November we saw the retail sector jump by 400 jobs. I looked back historically at other periods of retail holiday hiring and we’ve never seen that big of a jump happen. Obviously, these estimates could be revised next month. But, needless to say, we’re pretty confident that there was some pretty strong retail hiring and it says a lot about consumer confidence here in Central Oregon." Deschutes County's rate dropped ½ a percentage point in one month, which he says, "is a huge drop, down to 5.8%; we’re now pretty much in line with the state unemployment rate. That could largely be chalked up to really strong retail hiring, which was much larger than we’d typically expect."

Despite the gains in Deschutes County, other areas didn't fair as well. It was just a year ago that Prineville's Woodgrain millworks began laying off hundreds of workers. And Runberg says Crook County still hasn't recovered. "We’re actually still seeing Crook County continue to shed jobs over the last year, and that’s mostly in the wood product/manufacturing sector. Other than that, if you look at the other industries in Crook County, they’re just really struggling to gain any sort of momentum over there. Crook County was the only rural county in Oregon to post job losses over the last year." However, Crook County’s jobless rate still dropped .3% in November, to 8.3% - its lowest rate in nearly eight years. Jefferson County remained relatively unchanged at 7.6%.
Overall, Runberg is encouraged by the trend, "If you look at the labor force over the last year, it’s actually grown at a pretty good level. Often times, a growing labor force – which is a good thing, especially in the tight labor market like we’re in today – a growing labor force can often put upward pressure on the unemployment rate. So, to see this large of a drop in the unemployment rate despite having gains in the labor force, it’s really impressive."

Commercial Kitchen Coming to Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond officials are helping to rehab a local business many have considered a blight on the downtown core for a number of years. Community Development Director Heather Richards tells KBND News City Councilors are pleased with the new direction for the old property. "The Urban Renewal agency approved a loan to one of our property owners in the downtown area, at the corner of Glacier and Highway 97 – where Highways 126 and 97 intersect - it used to be an adult dancing club. The property owner is going to reposition that property into what we call a Commercial Kitchen Incubator."


Richards explains, "It’s actually a really interesting concept. It’s for those people interested in trying to get into commercial food products, but don’t have the capital to afford a commercial kitchen immediately. So, the developer builds it then rents it out by the hour. There’s three in Bend that are very successful with waiting lists; we have a lot of Redmond businesses that are driving to Bend to create their products, then bringing it back to Bend to sell. So, we think there’s a lot of opportunity there."


The loan by the Urban Renewal Agency will allow the property owner to begin construction right away. "It’s a great example of how Redmond works. John Stark, who is the Executive Director of Redmond Economic Development, and the property owner got together and started talking about opportunities for that property. John had been aware of this need that was sort of building in the community. So, he had the dialog with the property owner, they then came to the city and said, ‘How can we partner with them to make this happen?’ And that’s how it all came together." Richards expects work to be completed within six months.  

Reaction Mixed Over County Pot Decision

BEND, OR -- Reaction to the county's decision to not allow marijuana-related businesses on rural farmland was clearly divided. Lindsey Pate operates a small medical marijuana growing operation. “I mean I’m devastated. We’ve essentially been waiting for the regulations to come out because we do want to enter the recreational market. We see it as a huge opportunity for us, especially as a small family-owned operation.” She adds,  “It’s so hard to hear when you’ve worked so hard to be a transparent grower, it’s so hard to hear that we’re going to have to wait longer to hear if this is something we can or cannot do.”


Read more about the decision by Deschutes County Commissioners to opt out of creating regulations for pot-related businesses for 90 days


County resident Chris Jewell applauds the 90-day opt out but thinks it’s not enough. “Well I’m very positive to opting out. I think they could have given it some more time. I think 90-days is a little short.”  But, she's cautious about the future, “I get the impression they do not want this to go to a vote in November and I question why? They need to hear the people instead of just let five or six people make the decision for all of us.”
A number of marijuana growers that gathered after the meeting were clearly unhappy with the decision.

Deschutes County Says No to Pot, For Now

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners opted to hit the "pause" button on regulating pot businesses in unincorporated areas. Commissioner Alan Unger supported the decision to opt out, temporarily. "I hear us, as a board, saying we're not exactly ready today to be comfortable with moving forward with any kind of regulation; and that we want to continue to talk about it, work with a citizens committee to become comfortable and help the citizens in the county be more comfortable. Then we can consider a path in the future, whether it's rescind and opt out or whether it's to say 'ya know, this is so contentious we've got to take it to a vote in November.'" Although, he admitted he's not in favor of sending the issue to voters because he thinks it would be too contentious. The board plans to form a citizens committee to provide more feedback.


Commissioner Tammy Baney was concerned about being sued by farmers. "Oregon has Right to Farm legislation that statutorily defines what that looks like, different from a Colorado, different from a Washington. So, that makes us different and, again, why I don't want to stick our neck out without knowing what that looks like. I want to see where that plays on another county, versus us, first." Clackamas and Jackson counties are moving forward with regulations, and Commissioners are watching what happens in those areas.


It was a unanimous vote to opt out, for now. But, Commissioners plan to revisit the issue in 90 days, after the state Legislature meets for its short session. In March, commissioners could permanently "opt out" and have voters decide the issue in November, or they could go forward with regulations. 

Arrest Made in Crook County Animal Killings

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man has been arrested in connection with a string of animals found shot in rural Crook County. Ronald Livermore faces multiple charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a silencer, aggravated animal abuse and criminal mischief.


The Crook County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police have been investigating the deaths for several months. Deputies executed a search warrant at Livermore's Prineville home and vehicle Monday morning, and obtained evidence linking the 67-year-old to multiple shootings of yearling calves.


Livermore's bail was set at $665,000.


Prineville Driver Injured in Crash

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man was injured in a rollover crash on SE Juniper Canyon Road, Monday evening. Crook County Deputies found the pickup on its side, with 63-year-old Robin Taylor still inside, just after 5 p.m.


The driver was pulled out and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Investigators believe he lost control on icy roads. 


After a day of slick conditions and intermittent road closures, the Oregon Department of Transportation reports all highways in Central and Eastern Oregon are open and flowing freely, Tuesday morning.

Wind Blamed for SE Bend Power Outage

BEND, OR -- More than 850 Pacific Power customers were without power fore more than an hour and a half, this morning, after wind took out a transformer on the south side of Bend. 


Traffic signals along Third street from Reed Market to Badger Road were out, causing delays during the morning commute. A number of area businesses were also without power, including Fred Meyer.
Pacific Power crews restored service just after 9 a.m.

SAT Exam Undergoes Facelift

BEND, OR -- High school juniors considering taking the SAT exam this year have options on timing, which could impact which version of the test they take. The College Board will administer the current test for the last time in January.


Sheila Reed, Director of Sylvan Learning in Bend, says parents may find the new scoring easier to understand. "You’ll get an 800 point score for the evidence based reading and writing section, and get 800 points for the two math sections. The optional essay won’t be included in that 1600, it’ll be a separate score. So they're going back to the 1600 score, which as parents, we understand that score more so than the 2400 that it’s been."
And, she says the new version could benefit students – no longer will they be penalized for wrong answers, and it’s more streamlined. "Before it kind of jumped around. You’d have a little bit of reading; little bit of math, little bit of writing, and then you’d cycle through and do them all over again. So, you had 25-minute bursts of those. The test sections will be longer, but at least you’re getting the whole subject over with in that test section," says Reed. The test is also going from nearly four hours to three, and the now-optional essay will be at the end instead of the beginning of the exam. 
Reed says it’s important kids prepare and study for the right version. "It’s one test on one day; and you can certainly take it more than once, but it’s a pretty important test. And for most people, it’s probably one of the most important test they take in their whole life and they’re 17-years-old when they take it. So, it’s something I really want kids to take seriously, because when it comes down to college entrance, it’s going to be important; and more importantly, scholarship opportunities." The new SAT will be available, beginning in March.

Co. Commissioners Deliberate Pot Restrictions

BEND, OR --  Deschutes County Commissioners will hold a public deliberation on proposed land use regulations for marijuana related businesses in unincorporated parts of the county. After a series of contentious public hearings, and a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve marijuana businesses with some land use restrictions, County Commissioners are expected to say “yes” or “no,” Monday.


Commission Chair Tony DeBone tells KBND News, “The discussion, the formal deliberations about the opt-out opportunity that was put in place by the House Bill 3400, kind of talked about how do we have local control for decisions about production, processing wholesaling and retail.” That means Commissioners can ban marijuana related businesses altogether, or accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation that places light, odor and noise controls, setbacks and restricting such businesses to 20-acre minimum parcels on land zoned Exclusive Farm Use.  “Do  we just not allow any activities in the rural county. If we do, then we figure out what reasonable regulations, zoning, and time, place and manner regulations. How do we want to limit the opportunity if somebody to get a recreational license to grow in the rural county?” says DeBone.
The Board of County Commissioners will deliberate during their business meeting at 10 a.m.

La Pine Man Arrested After Bend Bank Robbery

BEND, OR --  Bend Police responded to reports of a man robbing the Wells Fargo on Third Street Friday afternoon with dynamite strapped to his body. The call came in just after noon.


A 72-year-old La Pine man faces first degree robbery and kidnapping charges in connection with Friday's robbery. Police say Thomas Henderson also had a loaded gun when he entered the bank and demanded money. After about a half hour, police negotiators convinced Henderson to surrender. He allegedly held a bank employee hostage during that time.
The robbery shut down nearby streets for several hours while the OSP Bomb Squad responded from Salem. Those explosives were later determined to be fake.
Henderson was arrested, but was later released from jail because of concerns over his health. He was ordered to return to the  jail at a later date.
This was the second bank robbery in Bend, last week. Brett Gillespie-Comstock was arrested Wednesday after allegedly robbing the Selco Credit Union on Highway 20. He's due in court December 23. 

Warm Springs Approves Growing and Selling Pot

WARM SPRINGS, OR  -- Members of the Warm Springs tribe overwhelmingly approved growing and selling marijuana in a vote Thursday.  The measure was approved by 86 percent.


The tribe must now meet with the Governor's office to come up with operating rules.


It is estimated the operation could bring in more than $170 million dollars in its first seven years.

Grand Jury Hands Down Indictment in the Murder of a Redmond Woman

BEND,OR-- A Deschutes County grand jury has indicted 23 year old Mario Morataya with aggravated murder inteh shooting death of his girlfriend, REbekah Gomes.


They also charged him with attempted kidnapping in the second degree and unlawful use of a weapon.


Gomes was shot and killed in front of her Redmond home on the night of December 11th.


Investigators believe the 24 year old woman waas shot because she was trying to end the relationship.


Morataya's next court hearing is scheduled for December 21st.

Work to Start Soon on Evergreen Elementary

REDMOND, OR -- Work is expected to start shortly on renovating Redmond's Evergreen Elementary into a city hall. The Redmond City Council this week approved funding for the 11 million dollar project.


Heather Richards, Redmond's Director of Community Development will oversee the project. "So what it says is Skanska is entering  into this $9,250,000 project with the knowledge it can assuredly move forward and Skanska is ready to go into construction today."


The city of Redmond bought the abandoned Evergreen School in 2011 for 250-thousand dollars. The plan is to redevelop the property into a city hall. The school was built in 1922.


Read more about the plans for Evergreen.


This project also allows the urban renewal agency to try and secure a partner to redevelop the current city hall into a privately owned family entertainment center.

Head of Oregon Food Bank Updates the Fight Against Hunger

PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon ranks as the 13th largest state when it comes to residents suffering from hunger.


The head of the Oregon Food Bank, Sussannayh Morgan says we've made some strides in recent years, but we have a long way to go.


"The first thing I wntn to say is there are way too many people experiencing hunger in Oregon and SW Washington.  There are 800,000 people suffering from hunger, that's one in five.  If that were a disease, we'd call it an epidemic, one in five."


Morgan says three out of four people accessing their foodbanks are living at or below the poverty line.


For a family of four, that's less than 25-thousand dollars a year.


Morgan says the food bank has greatly expanded the amount of fresh produce offered and their school-based pantries.

Millennials and the Slacker Myth

BEND, OR -- Millennials are slackers addicted to their smart phones, live in their parents' basement and don't work. Those myths were addressed by millennials at the City Club of Central Oregon, Thursday night.


Millennials were born between 1980 and 1996. Three local millennials poked some holes in the myths about their generation. Damon Runberg is a 28-year-old economist at the Oregon Employment Department. He says his generation of workers are looking for jobs. "Millennials today entered the workforce at a time when there were just no opportunities. And so a lot of them decided to enter college. And, as doing such, they're not in the labor force. So, one of the myths we see about millennials is that labor force participation has dropped for this generation. But really, if you're in a college institution, you're not in the labor force."


Runberg says college students living in a dorm are counted as living with their parents, so statistics showing more millennials living at home are skewed. "And so, as we see college enrollment go up, the notion that they're living more with their parents might be a false narrative."

The Holidays and Dementia

REDMOND, OR -- The holidays can be a stressful time, even under the best of circumstances. But, for those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia, it can also be confusing and overwhelming. Tracie Flores, Director of Operations at Country Side Living in Redmond, says it’s still important to include them in the festivities. "You’re no longer going to create lasting memories for the people with dementia or Alzheimer's, but you yourself will create memories and it’s important to carry those memories through that you can share as you get older with your children and your grandchildren."


But, she says keep visits relaxed, with expectations low. Family and visitors need to pay attention to the person's body language; and don’t be afraid to cut a visit short if needed. "Are they communicating to you that they’re tired, anxious, upset or overwhelmed? Read their body language. It’s so important that we take into account they might be overwhelmed and over stimulated. So, just removing them from that stimulation." Most importantly, remain flexible. "A lot of times they get so used to living in a community that that is now their home. Don’t let that hurt your feelings, be happy that you chose that home."
Stephanie Roderick, Executive Director of Country Side Living, says it’s also important family caregivers take time off during the holidays. "Get a break; take yourself to a movie; take a nap, whatever you need to do to take care of you. We’re not seeing much of that happening, and they need to."

Christmas Valley Postmark in High Demand

CHRISTMAS VALLEY, OR -- The Postmaster in one south central Oregon town is getting extra work this time of year. 


When you're the Postmaster of Christmas Valley, you’re bound to get some special requests. "Oh, people send boxes of cards to be postmarked," Darrel Krabill tells KBND News. Postmaster Krabill says those requests come from all over the world. "One from New Jersey that she always sends every year; has for quite a number of years. Let's see; Ohio, Idaho, Germany, one from France." And of course many from Oregon.


Krabill says more people are sending e-cards this year, so the number of requests for a Christmas Valley postmark has declined a bit.


Snow, Ice Lead to School Closures and Delays

BEND,OR -- A mix of snow and rain is making for messy, slick roads Thursday. Several local school districts cancelled or delayed classes.


Bend-La Pine Schools and Jefferson County 509-J Schools closed for the day. COCC and OSU Cascades were on a two-hour delay starting at 10 a.m. Crook County, Redmond and Sisters Schools were also all delayed by two hours.


Central Oregon remains under a winter weather advisory until 7 p.m. Thursday.

Residents Speak Out on Bend's Troy Field

BEND,OR -- Bend residents had a chance to speak out on what they want the city to do with Troy Field in downtown Bend.


A hearings officer Wednesday heard from people whether the site is fit for commerical development.  It's currenlty a fenced in park.


The Bend LaPine school district owns the land and the school board accepted a nearly two million dollar offer from a Portland developer to build a boutique hotel.


Local architect Katherine Austin thinks there's a way to preserve some green space and sell the land.


"So my thought was the city could make it commerical, but have an overlay of public use and require the hotel to have a public access and create a green roof and have a glass tsairway or elevator and have public access and have a play area and maybe a little track."


The school district wants to sell the land to build new schools. 


The hearings officer will make a recommendaiton and the city council is expected to take up the matter early next year.

Local Financial Advisor Reacts to Int. Rate Hike

BEND,OR -- The feds have been talking about it for awhile, and Wednesday they finally did it. They raised short term interest rates by a quarter point.


Bend financial advisor Tyler Simonis says the unanimous decision was widely expected. "This is the most anticipated and telegraphed rate increase. They were sort of dovish, meaning they're going to be really cautious about raising rates. They've been talking about it since 2015 and they were backed into a corner since this was the last meeting of the year, so they had to raise rates."


The last time feds raised rates was back in 2006.


The move means savers will make a little more money on their investments and it'll cost borrowers more to go to collect or buy cars or homes.

Police Make Quick Arrest in Bend Bank Robbery

BEND, OR -- It didn't take Bend police long to make an arrest in a Selco Credit Union robbery in northeast Bend Wednesday.


The department got the call just after 10 a.m.  Lt. Clint Burleigh says good descriptions by Selco employees helped officers track down the suspect quickly, nearby.  


Lt. Burleigh says they arrested 28-year-old Brett Gillispie-Comstock in the Barnes and Noble Parking lot. "He had purchased a Christmas tree and was carrying it on his shoudler close to his head in an attempt to conceal his identity."


A Redmond police K9 searched the nearby area and was able to locate a large amount of the cash taken.


Gillispie-Comstock faces several counts of robbery and theft.

ODOT Urges Drivers to Get Informed

BEND, OR -- During winter storms, the Oregon Department of Transportation sends nearly 50 trucks out across the region to try and keep state highways clear. But, ODOT’s Peter Murphy says despite their best efforts, the department still get complaints from frustrated drivers. He says many don’t realize how easy it is to get road conditions and crash reports in real time. "A couple of years ago, it was much more of a challenge to get information than it is now. Today, if you have a mobile phone, you can go to tripcheck.com; we have cameras all across the state, so you can see what’s going on. If you can call 511, that’ll give you information about the state’s highways."


He says ODOT also now has a full-time social media manager who works to get information and pictures posted, sometimes within minutes. "We’re doing a much better job getting information out about what’s taking place on the highway, complete with pictures. So, Twitter and Facebook are really good sources too; plus, Tripcheck and 511 – those are four sources that you can reach, whether it’s the middle of the night or you’re away from a radio station."


Homeless Population Most Vulnerable in Winter

BEND, OR -- When freezing temperatures hit the region, emergency responders are often the first line of help for those struggling with homelessness. But, Bend Police Chief Jim Porter says not all without shelter are willing to get in from the cold. "There’s a broad spectrum of issues that we face with individuals living outside in camps who are, if you will, homeless or travelers or whatever they want to label themselves as. It starts with, a lot of these people have mild to severe mental illness and they do not want assistance." But, Bend Police Chief Jim Porter says there are a variety of reasons why some refuse help – ranging from mental illness to a pet that’s not allowed at a shelter.

He says those battling addictions usually know they would need to quit their habit before entering a shelter. "They just cannot go into someplace like the Bethlehem Inn because it’s drug and alcohol free. And then we have those who have dogs, and a lot of shelters don’t take dogs. These folks lead a very solitary life and their animals mean everything to them, so it’s hard for them to separate. A lot of them have so many personal belongings that they can’t pack them all over."
But, Chief Porter says officers are often dispatched to check on someone sleeping outside, when a concerned citizen calls in. "We determine at that point are they a threat to themselves by not getting assistance? And then we have some statutory authority to take them into custody to keep them from freezing to death or dying." He says officers try not to force someone into custody, and that’s when Critical Response Teams are dispatched. "[They] help them get to a shelter, relieve their problems and try to solve advanced problems – what are we going to do with your dog while you’re being treated for the frostbite you’ve incurred. Because, quite frankly, it’s not unusual for us to find people who have been a victim of weather."
Chief Porter says anyone worried about the safety of someone living outside, should call 911 and let officers evaluate the proper response.

COID Center to Relocate to Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- The city of Redmond has reached an agreement to relocate the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center from Prineville to the Redmond Airport. COID provides dispatch support and coordination for high-risk incidents; most commonly large wildfires. Redmond’s Community Development Director Heather Richards says the deal creates a great partnership. "They can leverage Roberts Field, and the infrastructure there to launch their air fleet, in terms of their firefighting. And, they also have other campus entities at Roberts Field, as well; so we’re bringing that all together." COID works with the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Prineville BLM and Oregon’s Department of Forestry, among other agencies.


Richards says, "It’s something we’ve been working on for at least the last 8 or 9 years. But, coming to a conclusion, where we were able to negotiate an agreement where the city can come in and build the facility for them and negotiate a long lease for them, that was a very big project and a very big step for us and them." The city will work with the Forest Service to design the new 7,000 square foot dispatch center; COID has agreed to a 20-year lease.
Richards expects construction to begin within the next year.
To hear our full conversation with Heather Richards, visit our Podcast Page.

Training Available for Nervous Winter Drivers

BEND, OR -- With more snow predicted for the region, driving conditions will likely get sketchy - again. Deschutes County Public Works Director Chris Doty says skid car training can provide real world winter-driving experience, without the danger. "It’s a great opportunity for new drivers and new people to the area who maybe haven’t had the experience in dealing with snow and ice, or if you’ve been here for a long time and you lack the confidence, this is a great opportunity to gain some of that confidence and be a safe driver out in the system."


The one-day class involves one-hour of classroom time, followed by three-hours behind the wheel of a skid car. "It’s a standard street-legal car that’s mounted with outriggers and hydraulics that allows the instructor to basically take some of the weight off some of the front tires and back tires to simulate these conditions. You get real world experience in this contained environment, and you’re not going to hurt anybody or anything," Doty tells KBND News. Drivers learn things like proper acceleration, steering and braking techniques, skid and slide prevention and recovery. 


Legal drivers, 15 and older are eligible to participate in the program, which is offered daily by appointment. Doty says certificates for the skid car training make a great gift.
To listen to our full conversation with Chris Doty, visit our Podcast Page.

Oregon Unemployment Drops Again

PORTLAND, OR -- The state's unemployment rate continues to drop, thanks to rapid job growth. State employment economist Nick Beleiciks says, "Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to 5.7% in November; that's down from 6% in October." He says that's more than a full percentage point lower than November 2014. The drop also moves the state's jobless rate closer to the national level, which is holding steady at 5%.


Oregon leads the nation in job growth, adding more than 58,000 positions so far this year. "Job growth over the year is running at about 3.3%; that’s right about where it was during the last expansion," says Beleiciks. Eight of Oregon's 13 leading industries added 800 jobs or more last month. Retail led the way, opening 2,400 positions, far more than its usual seasonal increase. 

Madras PD Search for Pot Burglary Suspects

MADRAS, OR -- Madras Police are investigating a weekend burglary at a medical marijuana dispensary. Officers responded to Central Organics, on SW 4th Street, just after 1 a.m. Saturday. The burglars were gone by the time officers arrived.


Investigators say the business owners released video surveillance, but the suspects are wearing face and head coverings. One man's face could be seen briefly, and officers are following up on possible leads. 


Anyone with information regarding the burglary, who can identify one or both of the suspects, is asked to call Detective Mel Brown at Madras PD, at 541-475-2424.


Shelter Open for Those Without Power

LA PINE, OR -- Last weekend's storm dumped more than 30" of snow on south Deschutes County, causing a major outage for Midstate Electric customers. Power has been restored to many, but dozens of La Pine residents could remain in the dark until Wednesday.


The Red Cross has opened a shelter at the La Pine Calvary Chapel, behind Ray’s Market on 3rd Street. Lisa Stroup, with the Red Cross, says the biggest priority is staying warm. “Temperatures and staying warm are of course our number one concern. And then if people aren’t in their home and don’t have access to their food and those kinds of things then the shelter is a good place to come and get a warm meal and a cup of coffee and be able to get some information and stay n top of what’s happening.”
She says the shelter will will remain open as long as necessary. “The shelter will be open 24-hours a day as long as first responders indicate to the Red Cross that it is needed. Then at some point, as it starts to pare down, there will be signs on the shelter to let people know where to go and what the resource phone numbers are.” At the height of the outage, more than 2500 customers were without power in southern Deschutes and northern Klamath counties.

FAN Receives Large Anonymous Donation

BEND, OR --  The Family Access Network received its largest donation ever, earlier this week. And, the giver remains anonymous. The $50,000 donation simply arrived in the mail. 



FAN Executive Director Julie Lyche tells KBND News, “This was an amazing surprise to us and I don't know if you’ve ever had the experience of opening an envelope and just screaming. That is exactly what happened with this gift.”
The non-profit provides services for children in need in Deschutes County. Lyche says the donation is timely. “Starting at the beginning of the school year and through the holiday season is really where we are looking at how are we going to support all the services in our schools through the course of the year and the needs that we have for families and so the timing of this was perfect.” 


Health Insurance Deadline Today

BEND, OR -- Health insurance open enrollment will continue through January for 2016 coverage. However, you must sign up by today (Dec. 15) to prevent a lapse in coverage. Jason Epple, with Century Insurance in Bend, tells KBND News rates have gone up for most Oregon carriers. "It's a real difficult time right now in the health insurance industry. I know rates have gone way, way up and the cost of the Affordable Healthcare Act has increased the cost of health insurance coverage. And it's going to continue to go up."


Moda increased rates significantly for 2016, after suffering big losses this year. Epple says Moda received a large share of the state's newly insured, but many hadn't seen a doctor for a while and the company paid out much more than it took in. "Whenever you have a 25-35% increase, like with Moda - Moda had probably 90% of the individual market in the state of Oregon and had to take a very large increase. The other carriers - Providence, Regence and PacificSource - they're great carriers as well, and they're not significantly less than Moda; so everyone is really quite close."


Epple recommends customers study plans before enrolling. "Everybody out there needs to take a more active role in understanding their health insurance. We've all been forced into this, so you need to understand your health plan. You need to like your carrier, because you're going to be spending a lot of money. Carriers have a little bit different tweaks to their plans so finding that plan that's the best fit for you, it's not easy but it's now more important than ever." Some insurers will automatically enroll you into a plan similar to what you had this year if you don't sign up yourself. 


Visit Healthcare.Gov or contact your insurance agent to sign up. Those enrolled by today will have coverage on January first. 


Murder Suspect Arraigned, Saving Grace Reacts

BEND, OR -- The man accused of shooting his girlfriend as she ran from her northeast Redmond home Friday night, was arraigned in Deschutes County Court, Monday afternoon.


Investigators believe 23-year-old Mario Morataya murdered 24-year-old Rebekah Gomes because she was trying to end the relationship. Janet Huerta, Executive Director of Saving Grace in Bend, tells KBND News it’s a tragedy that happens more often than most people realize. "We call this post-separation violence, and it’s actually much more dangerous. People don’t think of it that way, but if we had a chance to interview all of the homicide victims, we would probably find out that 100% of cases, people were trying to leave."


She says the highest risk of violence is typically the two years following a break-up. "I think most people think that if you just get away you’re safe. It’s very important to remember safety planning, and it has to be done continuously. You don’t just do it once; you might have to do it on a daily basis; you might have to do it multiple times a day. Saving Grace provides these kinds of resources to help people safely get out of these relationships and stay safe." She adds that the concern revolves around an abuser's need for control over the relationship. "Their way of maintaining control is usually using some sort of coercion or threat of violence. In the past, it might have been enough just to say ‘I will kill you’ or, ‘I’m going to hurt your mother, your father, your child.’ And, when a victim is saying ‘no, I don’t want this anymore, I’m going to get away.’ They then go back to ‘the way I’m used to doing it is by using violence, the threats aren’t good enough.’ She still goes, and the gun is pulled."


And, Huerta says the death of Rebekah Gomes is indicative of a societal trend. "It’s unfortunately not unique. I think one of the reasons we don’t see more of it here is because our population is so low relative to the rest of the world. You can go to other places and you’ll see one or more of these a day. It’s unfortunate that it takes something like this to think about it, ask questions about it. But, now that we’re here, let’s honor this life that was lost by thinking about how do we all have healthy relationships."


Gomes' family started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. She leaves behind a 5-year-old son. Morataya faces a number of charges, including Murder and Kidnapping. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 21. 

FAA, Roberts Field Ban Hoverboards

REDMOND, OR -- Effective immediately, air carriers and the Federal Aviation Administration have imposed restrictions on certain batteries. Nicole Jurgensen, with the Redmond Airport, tells KBND News the popularity of hover-boards, especially during the gift-giving season, prompted the unusually swift action. "One of the reasons for the quick response from air carriers and the FAA is the size of the lithium ion batteries has increased so much, they are a risk for that spontaneous combustion, which does not mix with aircraft at all."


While hover-boards are banned completely, Jurgensen says smaller batteries are allowed, if they’re removed and packed in a manner that prevents them from short-circuiting. "If they have batteries, and can get turned on during flight because things shift, and it’s an item that can cause heat or a spark, then it creates another danger all on its own. So, remove the batteries and then tape the terminals so they don’t bounce into each other. That’s the safest way to travel with batteries if they’re not packaged in their original packaging."
She recommends travelers be familiar with what is and isn’t allowed before they get to the airport to make sure the check-in process goes smoothly. And, remember to wait to wrap gifts until you arrive at your destination. Roberts Field expects a record number of travelers this holiday season.


Prineville PD to Swear in New Chief

PRINEVILLE, OR -- For the last 15 months, Les Stiles has served as Prineville's Interim Police Chief, but he will hand over the reins on Tuesday. Former Deschutes County Sheriff Stiles stepped in after the city fired its previous Chief, last year.


He says he's leaving a couple months ahead of schedule because he has reached his goals, including updating the department's accreditation. He tells KBND News he recently told City Administrator Steve Forrester, "'I've completed everything you wanted completed. And, if I leave two months early, that salary savings will fill a nice hole to fill the last vacant officer position that will be there March first. Will you commit to putting the salary savings in that hole so they can hire an officer, and we're done?' He said, 'Les, go!'"


Stiles admits he stayed longer than most interim Chiefs. "Pretty generally, interims are around for 6-9 months, and you find your replacement and move on. There was a unique set of circumstances there, with what Steve [Forrester] wanted done, that took it longer. And, in the last 15-16 months, it's been some of the most gratifying months in my career. It was really gratifying to work with a team of people, and it was a small enough agency, that you know everybody." He says he plans to take time to fish, work on his house and read. His wife Carol just retired this summer.


Prineville Captain Dale Cummins (pictured) will be sworn in as Chief Tuesday afternoon. He served as Deputy Chief with Gresham Police before moving to Prineville. 

Hoodoo To Open Friday

SISTERS, OR -- Hoodoo Ski Area has announced plans to open for the season this Friday, December 18, just in time for winter break. Currently, Hoodoo has 35 to 40-inches at the base and more snow is predicted for this week. 


The resort will be open Friday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and then plans to extend hours when night skiing begins next Monday. 
More details, including ticket prices, will be released as opening day approaches.

Suspect Arrested in Redmond Fatal Shooting

REDMOND, OR -- Law enforcement made arrested the man suspected in Friday night's fatal shooting in northeast Redmond. Investigators say public tips led to the discovery of Mario Morataya's pickup truck at a hotel in Mitchell, Oregon. A Wheeler County deputy contacted him near the vehicle and took him into custody without incident. A shotgun was recovered from inside the truck at the time of his arrest.


Redmond Police believe 23-year-old Morataya shot 24-year-old Rebekah Gomes in the back during a domestic dispute, as she was running from her attacker. Gomes lived on NE Larch Ave with other family members and was in a relationship with the suspect. They believe she was trying to end the relationship when she was shot in front of her home, just before 11 p.m. Friday. She was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead.


Morataya was transported back to Redmond and interviewed by the RPD Investigations Unit and Oregon State Police. He is charged with murder, kidnapping in the first degree, assault and unlawful use of a weapon.

Woman Found Shot in NE Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police are investigating the death of a woman found laying in the road in the 800 block of NE Larch Ave. just after 11 p.m., Friday. When officers responded to the area they discovered the woman was suffering from a gunshot wound. She was rushed to St. Charles Redmond where she was later pronounced dead. Investigators are not releasing her name.


Police are looking for Mario Morataya, a person of interest in the investigation. He was last known to be driving a black 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup, with Hawaii license RYE746. They believe 23-year-old Morataya is enroute to California, and are asking anyone who sees this vehicle to immediately call 911 and do not approach him. He is considered armed and dangerous.


Northeast Larch, between 7th Street and 9th Street, is closed for the investigation. Redmond Police ask that no one attempt to enter the area or try to retrieve a vehicle parked there. They say every effort is being made to process evidence vital to the investigation and reopen the scene as quickly as possible.


One Killed, Three Injured in 97 Crash

LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine man was killed in an icy crash on Highway 97 near Sunriver, Friday night. According to Oregon State Police, a southbound semi truck lost control at about 8:15 p.m., crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a pickup, head-on. 


The driver of the pickup, 30-year-old David Taylor, was pronounced dead at the scene. A woman and 7-year-old boy were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 
The semi driver, 30-year-old Dennis Woods of California, also suffered non-life threatening injuries.  He was cited for failing to drive within his lane.

First Homeless Women's Shelter Opens in Bend

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's first homeless women's shelter opens this weekend.  As KBND was first to report, The Shepherd's House in Bend will run the facility for addicted, abused homeless women and their children.


Curt Floski, Shepherd's House Executive Director, tells KBND News, "It's at 2120 Bear Creek Road. We've had a gracious donor step in and purchase the property and worked out a really great deal through a lease. We're just really excited about the opportunity."


Until now, homeless women have not had a lot of options in Central Oregon. The Shepherd's House current shelter only accepts men and the Bethlehem Inn has limited openings. This new shelter will provide a safe space for women and children and, Floski says, long term help. "In terms of really addressing the issues of homelessness that women really find themselves in, often living in their cars or living in cars with their kids, that's become a real challenge. And, there are just really limited services in Central Oregon. We're really excited to have the opportunity to start stepping in." 


He says the first resident will be a single mom and her fourth grad son who have lived in their car for three years. But there are already plans to expand. "We're going to initially bring in three women and we're in the process of a conditional use permit to expand that, hopefully to nine women. Then, we have an adjacent property that we're working on; our hope and goal is to expand that to a 40-bed facility for women and children. Along with that, in this house, we'll have a chemical dependency counselor and a domestic violence counselor available. We're also going to have a case manager."


An open house will be held tomorrow from 1-4 p.m. at the shelter at the corner of Bear Creek and Dean Swift Road. Public tours will be available. 

Brown Declares Emergency in NW Oregon

SALEM, OR -- Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in 13 counties Thursday night, due to severe weather on the west side of the state.


Her declaration was at the request of local officials in Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill Counties – areas impacted by this week’s high winds, flooding and landslides. 


Brown says this will ensure state resources get to communities once local resources are exhausted.

Pavilion Ice Rink Delayed Again

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Rec has delayed the opening of The Pavilion ice rink, again. 


Officials had thought the facility at Colorado and Simpson would be ready for skaters before Christmas. But, they say recent snowfall and cold temperatures set that back a few days.


Read more on The Pavilion's previous delays.


They expect it will now open sometime during the week of December 28. 

Bend Fourth Fittest City in the U.S.

BEND, OR -- Bend is one of the fittest cities in the country, according to a new study. It's the second year financial tech company Smart Asset has conducted the study that evaluated things like the concentration of fitness professionals and fast food restaurants.


Nick Wallace is the company's Data Editor. He tells KBND News, "Bend has a really high concentration of fitness professionals. We found that there are 41 people employed in those types of jobs, for every 10,000 people in the workforce, which is actually really good for these cities. And, it also has a really high concentration of fitness businesses - that's rec centers, fitness centers, that kind of thing; there are quite a few of those in Bend." Bend has the 13th highest concentration of fitness professionals in the country. As for restaurants, Wallace says, "Bend has a very low fast food ratio. Only 36% of restaurants in Bend are fast food restaurants, which is actually really good across the country. In most places, it's at least 40% or usually closer to 50%."


Bend moved up two spots this year, going from sixth to fourth place. The most fit city was Missoula, MT, followed by Boulder, CO and Corvallis, OR. Wallace says there were commonalities among the top spots. "One really interesting trend we saw, there are a lot of mountain towns, or towns located close to the mountains like Bend is. It looks like at least half of the top 10 are close to a mountain range. We speculate those types of environments draw people who are interested in fitness and who lead an active lifestyle." Other cities in the top ten include Madison, WI, State College, PA and Boston, MA.

Winning Bend Lotto Ticket Claimed by Iraqi

SALEM, OR -- The winner of the $6.4 million lottery ticket bought in Bend in August has finally come forward, but he's not from around here. The Oregon Lottery is paying out the prize to an Iraqi man who purchased the ticket from an Israeli website called Lotter.com. 


Oregon Lottery Executive Director Jack Roberts believes this is the first time this has happened. "By and large, in Europe, they don't have those huge jackpots. So, there's a huge market, particularly for the Powerball and MegaMillions. It never occurred to us that someone would be buying Megabucks here, and offering them on the internet."


Lottery officials consulted with the Oregon Attorney General who determined the transaction was legal because someone in bend purchased the ticket in person, initially. Roberts says the winner claimed his winnings in Salem. "I met with him, I talked to him. He does seem to be someone that I didn't suspect he was in any criminal activity. But, he did say he was concerned about the safety of himself and his family, living in Iraq. He actually lives in Baghdad." Roberts agreed to keep the name secret, but that issue could still be challenged in court. "I think what he was concerned about, his family has had problems. He told me, he's a Kurd and lives in Baghdad. He said 'we have both sides against us, and we are very careful and very protective.'"


He says the man opted for the 25-year annual pay out and has already received his first payment. The original ticket was bought at Binky's Deli and Lottery Outlet in Bend. The store will receive a 1% "selling bonus," totaling about $64,000. 

RPA Breaks Ground on New School

REDMOND, OR -- It was a who’s who of Redmond dignitaries Wednesday afternoon, wielding golden shovels and hard hats as they celebrated the groundbreaking of Redmond Proficiency Academy’s new campus.


Last week’s snow delayed the ceremony, and yesterday’s rain forced the event inside. But that didn’t dampen the excitement of RPA Director Jon Bullock, as he addressed the crowd of Redmond dignitaries and students. "Our school opened with 150 students and now serves more than 800 students, including all of you. As a result of our growth, we’ve had to operate out of five buildings on two campuses, and we’ve been blessed with this opportunity to occupy the Hugh Hartman building for the last two years. As the community grows, there’s a need for the school district to use this facility, once again." RPA must move out of the Hartman building, so the school district can create an early learning center, focused on all-day kindergarten. 

The new middle school is being constructed just a couple blocks from the existing facility. Bullock gave students their first official glimpse at the plans. "So you know, the building is going to be about 24,000 square feet. To give you an idea, this building [Hartman] is about 65,000 square feet, so it’s going to be somewhat smaller. But, as you also know, there are parts of this building we don’t use. And some of you haven’t even seen all parts of this building. So, our building is going to be designed to fit exactly what RPA needs, which is a unique learning environment."
RPA's new middle school should be open by fall, and crews are already working at the site. Bullock acknowledged things are moving quickly. "Building a building isn’t as simple as finding a place and throwing up a place to be. There’s a lot paperwork that’s involved with this, there are permits and things the government has to look at to ensure we build a wonderful safe space for you. Because of the great work of the city of Redmond, the staff that works with Mayor Endicott and the great support of Commissioner Unger, that process was very smooth." Work will be paid for by revenue bonds sold by the charter school. 


Read more about the site.


Transient Accused of Redmond Check Fraud

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police arrested a Linn County transient suspected of writing large fraudulent checks to area RV dealers. Investigators say 48-year-old Aaron Bostwick tried to purchase generators and other RV-related items with checks written from a closed business account. 


He was arrested Monday and booked at the Deschutes County Jail. Police believe he had only been in Central Oregon three days. They're looking for other businesses who may have also received bad checks from Bostwick. 

Redmond Midtown District Mtg Tonight

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond will hold its third and final public workshop, Wednesday evening, to review the final draft of the Mid-Town Revitalization plan. The Mid-Town District stretches from NW Fourth to Seventh streets, and from Antler north to Kingwood.


City officials have been working to create a vision for the district for more than a year, and are now hoping residents and business owners will provide guidance in this final stage of planning.
Funding for the work will come from grants. Tonight's workshop begins at 6 p.m. at Redmond City Hall.

Indoor Clean Air Act Changes in 2016

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act is getting an upgrade, January first. Penny Pritchard, Deschutes County’s Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, tells KBND current law only prohibits tobacco in and around public buildings, and doesn’t include marijuana and e-cigarettes. "We’ve got a lot of loopholes and it’s just really confusing for the public to understand what we’re talking about. I’ve had a lot of complaints within Deschutes County from businesses asking to implement their own vapor-free policies because people are actually vaping in theaters or in other public places."


She says that current loophole doesn’t protect people from the potential risk of new second-hand inhalants, like e-cigarettes. "High levels of vapor emitting formaldehyde, so that’s a public health concern. You know, we honestly need longer-term research as well, to fully understand the impacts of what e-cigarettes can do to overall health." The new law includes all inhalant delivery systems. Pritchard says, "So that means both marijuana and e-cigarettes can’t be used in any place that smoking is prohibited. The Clean Air Act says you can’t smoke, vape or use tobacco within 10 feet of any entrance or exit of any building."


Pritchard says updated indoor clean air act decals are available for free for businesses from Deschutes County Public Health. 

Sen. Merkley Answers Climate Change Critics

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Critics say Democrats who attended the United Nations' Summit on Climate Change won't be able to bring the changes they promised, because their party isn't in party.


Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says the promises they made were based on programs already in law. "The points we’re making were grounded in the American system. And that is, once regulations are in place, they have tremendous momentum and it’s hard to change them." Those programs include the clean power plan and vehicle emissions programs.


Senator Merkley says anyone who doubts whether climate change is a reality should talk to Oregonians. "In rural Oregon, they’re seeing the impact on forests from pine beetle, they’re seeing it from extended fire seasons, on the streams they fish, on farms where water is effected in the Klamath Basin, and they’re seeing it in the oyster industry."


He says that if action is not taken now, it'll be too late to bring about change that could stop temperatures from rising. He thinks world countries should meet every five years to review progress. 

Eastern OR Man Arrested for Prineville Robbery

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police arrested a Cove, Oregon man last week, for an armed robbery at the Prineville Circle K Convenience Store that occurred November 30. OSP game troopers contacted 46-year-old Vaughn Alan Waugaman on a fishing violation, December first. They say he provided false information and they noticed his vehicle was similar to one seen the night of the robbery. 


On December 8, authorities obtained a search warrant for Waugaman’s trailer and vehicle at the Castle Rock Campground and found evidence connecting him to the robbery. 
He was booked at the Crook County Jail on Robbery, Menacing, Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon and Theft. The gun allegedly used in the robbery was found near O'Neil Highway.

More Pile Burns West of Bend

BEND, OR -- More pile burns are planned for this week. Fuel specialists say they could start as early as Tuesday, burning 167 acres west of Bend.


The units to be burned are approximately five miles west of Dillion Falls and include leftover woody debris from previous vegetation management activities.
Open flames may be present for up to a day and smoke and steam could remain in the area for over a week.

Co Commissioners Support 911 Funding

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners agreed yesterday (Mon) to move to the next phase of development of a new 911 levy. Steve Reinke, Director of Deschutes County 911, briefed Commissioners on the benefits of replacing the current operating levy with a permanent funding source, which he says will help pay for a new countywide radio system. "Probably one of the biggest things is, the public safety agencies who are currently paying over a half-million dollars in user fees to be on the existing radio system, those fees will no longer be necessary under the new system. And, that will provide those agencies the funds they need to buy the mobiles and portables to operate on the new radio system that we’re going to be constructing."


County Commissioners are also the governing body of the 9-1-1 Service District. Reinke encouraged them to support asking voters in May to replace the current levy. "And, I think it’s important to point out, this is only an incremental change. We’re moving from 36-cents to a maximum of 42.5-cents, which is a 6 1/3-cent increase if we were to levy the full amount. The 911 User Board and our stakeholders have all agreed that we’ll only use the full 42.5-cents when necessary." He says, on a $200,000 home, that increase equates to about a dollar more a month.
Commissioner Tony DeBone supports the proposal. "People really do expect to be able to call 911 and have a service dispatched for their needs when there’s an emergency. And this is the next generation of consolidated voice and data radio infrastructure. We have analog radios; and there are many technologies available out there, digital, narrow-banding, next generation data and video. And this will empower us to get there." Commissioner Alan Unger agreed; Commissioner Tammy Baney was not there.
A public hearing is scheduled for January 13, after which time, the Board of Commissioners will decide whether there is enough support to send the issue to the May ballot. 


Road Rage Suspect Sought

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are looking for a man they say pointed a gun at a woman during a suspected road rage incident. Investigators say the incident occurred at about 2:30 Sunday afternoon on the Bend Parkway near Pinebrook Blvd. 


According to the woman, she and the man were both driving northbound when he cut in front of her. She honked, which then caused him to speed up and hit the brakes repeatedly. She says she wanted to get a description of the driver, so she pulled up next to him. When she looked over, she says the man was pointing what she believed was a handgun at her.


The suspect was last seen driving eastbound on Pinebrook from Highway 97. Officers canvassed the area, but were unable to find the suspect vehicle. It's described as a mid- to late-1990s Range Rover, with oxidized paint and a black roof rack. Anyone with information is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. Bend Police asks that you don't approach the vehicle. 

Two Seriously Injured in Early Morn Crash

LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine woman faces drunk driving charges after her vehicle crashed into a tree off South Century Drive, early Tuesday morning.


Two other women were also in the pickup when the crash occurred, just before 1;30 a.m.; both were taken to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. 


Medics evaluated the driver, 31-year-old Carla Bauer, before she was taken to jail on DUII and Assault charges. 

Public Help Needed to Find Wanted Man

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's office is asking the public to be on the lookout for a man wanted for several outstanding warrants.


Detectives say 36-year-old Clay Wesley Jamison is believed to be living in the Prineville area, but has been known to frequent Madras, Redmond, Bend and the Willamette Valley. He's wanted for stalking, violating a restraining order, being a felon in possession of a firearm and computer crimes. 


Deschutes County Lt. Chad Davis tells KBND News, "Mr. Jamison has been involved in several cases in Crook and Deschutes County in the past several months, violating restraining orders and stalking a particular victim. And, we’ve not been able to locate him." 

He says Jamison may have committed crimes as recently as Saturday, and he's aware law enformcement is looking for him. "We’re asking for this to be a Crimestoppers feature story, so there’s going to be some possible reward money for anybody who 

were to supply information on his whereabouts." 


Jamison is described as a white male, 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, with dark hair and beard, and blue eyes. He may be driving a silver passenger car or green pickup.
Anyone with information on Jamison's whereabouts is asked to call Deschutes County dispatch at 541-693-6911. 
Clay Wesley Jamison (DMV)

Crook County Launches Alert System

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County has a new emergency notification system. "Alert Crook County" went live December first. Deschutes and Jefferson counties are expected to launch their own versions, soon.


Crook County Emergency Manager Michael Ryan tells KBND News the system will alert residents about severe weather events, power outages, floods and wildfires. "We can reach out and get information to cell phones and landlines, on the telephone side. And then, under other types of media, we can do text messages and email, and we can do that to multiple numbers for one client."


The county had an emergency reverse dialing system, but that was based on landlines and many only have cell phones now. Ryan says the new technology will no doubt save lives. "Prior to this, we didn't have a rapid means of notifying people. Now we have that ability, we can quickly get the word out. The system is very fast to respond and gets the word out in minutes rather than hours. That's what makes the difference when you're trying to evacuate people."


Landline numbers are automatically registered in the new program, but others need to opt in. "The opt-in component gives the user the ability to go in and tell us how you want us to contact you," says Ryan. "You don't have to give us everything, but you can give us phone numbers, email accounts, all those kinds of contact media that you want us to get in touch with you, and you can prioritize it."

For more details, visit AlertCrookCounty.org

Redmond Shop and Coop Destroyed

REDMOND, OR -- A southwest Redmond shop and chicken coop were destroyed by fire, Sunday evening. When fire crews arrived at the Yew Ave property just before 5 p.m.,they found the two structures fully involved. Their first priority was to keep the blaze from spreading to the nearby home. 


No people were harmed, and a small amount of chickens were rescued from the coop. 
The fire left about $25,000 in damage. Its cause is under investigation, but firefighters believe it may have been an electrical problem. 

Hundreds Come Out in Bend to Ask OLCC How to Get Licensed to Sell Recreational Marijuana

BEND, OR -- The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is traveling the state informing people what they have to do to get licensed to sell recreational marijuana next year.


They were in Bend Thursday to hold their first workshop.


More than 300 people showed up at the Riverhosue Convention Center for the presentation and to ask questions.


Steven Marks is the Director of the OLCC.


"We've done our rules, the OLCC temporary rules and that's going to guide our application process.  So we're out explaining the application process trying to clear expectations on what they have to do to comply, how to be a licensee and have a safe, compliant recreational system.  We want them to understand from the get go."


The OLCC will begin accepting online applications for the recreational marijuana license program on January 4th.


"A lot of good people are working to deal with these  first time, difficult policy questions.  This is not an easy job and there are going to be struggles at the local government and state levels.  But we're really trying to give Oregonians a safe system for customers of that system."


Marks say recreational dispensaries won't open until after October first.

Bend Police Officer is Recognized for his Life Saving Skills

BEND,OR -- The Oregon Police Officer Association has awarded Bend Police Officer Kyle Voll with its life saving award.


Officer Voll is the one who responded to the Central Oregon Irrigation District canal off of Purcell  back in July.


A female was in the irrigation canal yelling for help.


Officer Voll was able to pull the female from the canal and onto the bank.


It was later determined the woman had dementia and had fallen into the water 200 yards upstream.


Officer Voll's actions prevented her from drowning.

Bend Woman Faces Animal Neglect Charges

BEND,OR --- A Bend woman is facing charges of animal neglect. 


36 year old Janice McDaniel is charged with leaving her dog outside with no food or water in single digit temperatures for an extended period of time.


Police say the dog had dug a hole in the landscaping at the home on N-E Nova Loop to stay warm.


The dog was taken to a vet who determined the dog was suffering from dehydration due to lack of available water.


The dog's owner, Janice McDaniel was arrestd and is charged with animal neglect in the seocnd degree.

Bend Voters Will Have Final Say on Local Gas Tax in March

BEND, OR --  Bend residents will vote on a 5 cent a gallon local gas tax in March.


The Bend City Council settled on the amount of the tax after more than an hour of discussion during Wednesday night's council meeting.


The vote was 5 to 2 with councilors Victor Chudowsky and Casey Roats voting no.


Councilor Sally Russell believe the time for talking is over .. its time to address the city's 80 million dollar backlog in street maintenance.


She also wanted to hold a special election in March, rather than wait until May.


"If we make a small investment in the election, we are able to implement the tax at the beginning of the tourism season.  And I think its important we need to share this burden with the people who use our infrastructure."


Mayor Jim Clinton agreed.  He knows time is money.


"It'd be true tha the tax would raise $200,000 a month with a fuel tax of five cents and waiting two months would cost $400,000 and delaying fixing the deteriorating roads would be another $200,000 a month, so in essence its $800,000 at play."


Councilors Casey Roats and Victor Chudowsky wanted to wait until May, but the five other councilors wanted to put the tax on the March ballot.  


The council voted to sunset the tax after ten years.

Familiar Name Decides to Run for Crook County Commissioner

PRINEVILLE, OR  -- A familiar name in the Prineville area has decided to run for Crook County Commissioner.


Prineville City Councilor Jason Carr just filed the paperwork to run for the open seat next May.  


He feels he would bring a lot of experience to the post.


"You know I've been in Prineville since 2007 as Economic Development Director and I've served on a variety of committees and local boards and I feel like with my experience I can help with economic development and job creation.  I could make a difference running for commissioner."


Currently there are six canddiates running for the Crook County Commissioner opening.


The current commissioner, Ken Fahlgren is running for Crook County Judge.

Prineville Plans for First Roundabout

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville is looking at putting in its first roundabout, but some residents don't like the idea.


City Engineer Eric Klann says most  support the plan, but some envision a small neighborhood roundabout for the intersection of Highway 126 and Tom McCall Road.  He says it will be a much larger one to accommodate semis.


"The safety of this.  This is going to reduce the number of fatalities by 90 percent and reduce the number of accidents by 75 percent.  With that data, how can we not look at a roundabout?"


Choosing a roundabout rather than a traffic signal at this intersection in front of the industrial area is safer.


Oregon Department of Transportation funds will pay for a majority of the 4.5 million dollar project with Crook County contributing half a million and Facebook and Apple contributing a half a million more.


Construction should happen during the summer of 2018.

County Commissioners Hear Pot Thoughts

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners held two public hearings Wednesday on proposed marijuana-related business land use regulations. A parade of people testified on proposed land use regulations for pot growers in unincorporated parts of the county. The regulations would limit marijuana related businesses to 20-acre minimum parcels of Exclusive Farm Use land, odor abatement, setbacks from property lines and limiting lighting at night.


At Wednesday night’s hearing, those in favor stressed job creation and cooperation with neighbors. Those opposed complained of odor, safety and lower property values. “I did not vote for the pot industry to move to Bend’s rural farmland and grow and process large quantities of marijuana," said one person opposed to the plan. Another suggested, “I would really urge you to opt out and just give it more time for more research."


But, many testified in favor of reasonable regulation. "We want the chance to show you that a regulated cannabis industry can work and how regulations can make good neighbors. If you have a smelly pot farmer next door, it’s going to reduce your property value. It might be slightly offensive to some people but to some people that is the smell of a thriving business.” Another added, "A well-regulated cannabis market will bring in much-needed jobs in Deschutes County and great tax incentives. ”


County Commissioners will accept written comments on the proposed land use regulations for cannabis related businesses in rural Deschutes County through 5 p.m. on December 17. They plan to then hold deliberations on the proposed regulations December 21.


Commissioner Alan Unger told the group those deliberations could include opting out altogether, as allowed by the state.

Bend Spay and Neuter Moving to Larger Facility

BEND, OR -- The Bend Spay and Neuter Project is ready to undertake a major move - just across the street. Executive Director Megan Gram tells KBND News, "We have struggled for years to keep up with the need for surgery, so we’d been booking out surgeries two or three weeks in advance. We tried to negate that in a variety of ways but it wasn’t really working. So, we ended up adding on to our medical team and just being able to do more surgeries in one day; and that’s been really successful." But, she says, that wasn't enough. "We’ve been outgrowing the space for quite some time, now. We had been working on adding members to our medical team and getting them specially trained in high-volume, high-quality spay and neuter. So, our team is ready to go and we’re able to safely and efficiently perform up to 50 surgeries per day. And, we’re realizing that, while we have the capacity, we don’t necessarily have the space to do it." Gram believes a combination of growing awareness and a growing local population is contributing to the increased demand.


The new facility is just across the parking lot from the nonprofit’s current location at Ninth and Wilson. Gram says finding the right spot, and moving, may be the easy part. "The space is a bit larger than our current space and it’s going to require us to purchase some additional dog and cat kennels to increase our capacity the way we want to. And, we actually have office space, which is exciting. Historically we haven’t had office space so we’re going to be needing some cubicles, some desks. We’re also hoping to be able to host community events at our new location." She says with 750 additional square feet, it should still be efficient enough for them to significantly increase the number of surgeries performed each day. 
The public is invited to a “pre-open house” party on December 15, to get a sneak peek at the new building. Click HERE for more information; RSVPs are requested by December 11.
Gram expects the new clinic will be ready for them to move in January or February. 


Desch County to Hear from Public on Pot Rules

BEND, OR --  The creation of regulations for marijuana-related businesses in unincorporated Deschutes County is the subject of public hearings, Wednesday. Deschutes County Commissioners will hold the two public hearings today to handle anticipated crowds. Two recent Planning Commission public hearings on pot land use regulations in rural county land attracted a total of 400.


Commissioner Tony DeBone says they want to hear from as many people as possible, Wednesday. “We want to make sure people have the opportunity to communicate on this subject. So we figure since this will give people the opportunity to come at 1:30 in the afternoon or 6:00 and give feedback directly to us as Commissioners on the subject of land use for marijuana production in the rural county.” DeBone adds, “At this point, this is the public hearing. We’re asking for people to put information on the record on this topic. And then we’re going to be taking that, figuring out what’s the position of citizens of the area; what’s fact; what the state is doing about marijuana production and licensing and then we’re going to be deliberating.” Those deliberations will be held December 21 and 28.
Emotions ran high at the final Planning Commission meeting, so much so that the Commission cleared the room. The Planning Commission recommended not opting out, or disallowing marijuana production, as the state allows for. 
Today's public hearings are at the Deschutes Services Building, in the County Hearings Room.

RPA Reveals Middle School Site Plans

REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Proficiency Academy is moving ahead with the sale of $7 million in revenue bonds to fund construction of its new middle school. RPA will purchase two-acres at the corner of 25th and W. Antler to build its new 24,045 square-foot facility.


Executive Director Jon Bullock tells KBND News, "This is a culmination of a 2.5-year process to find the right spot, the right builder and the right design." He adds, "This facility isn't going to be a traditional school. It's going to be a modern industrial look. We're going to utilize a lot of concrete flooring and open ceilings; and, we're going to use some really cool colors and features that make it feel like the unique place that it is."


Bullock says the school is purchasing about two-acres from The Bridge Church, just down the street from RPA's current middle school. "They own about five-acres and were buying just over two acres from them to build our school. We're going to have a shared parking agreement with the church and a shared field-use agreement, because we're going to develop parking and field space on part of their site, as well."


Read more about the partnership between RPA and The Bridge Church.


The new middle school will hold about 300 sixth through eighth graders. Groundbreaking was supposed to take place Wednesday afternoon, but will be rescheduled due to the weather conditions. Construction is expected to be completed by August, so students can start in the fall.


Read more about the construction timeline

Redmond Church Pleased with Land Sale to RPA

REDMOND, OR -- The lot where Redmond Proficiency Academy plans to build its new middle school has been owned by The Bridge Church of the Nazarene for nearly 20 years. Pastor Kevin Campbell-White tells KBND News selling two acres at 25th and W. Antler to the charter school just made sense. "It’s just a perfect arrangement because, when they’re doing business we’re not, and when we’re doing business they’re not. So, we’re really excited about the opportunity to share the things that we’ve been blessed with, with RPA and the community, which is what we’ve always wanted to do. This was just a perfect thing that God put in our lap."


Read more about the construction timeframe.


The partnership with RPA includes an agreement for the school to develop shared space, which Campbell-White says could also benefit the community. "Part of the agreement was that they would develop some of the shared properties for us to use. But, with the money from the sale, we’re able to further develop some of them to make them even more effective, not only for us but for them; and also for things like Parks and Rec. Our big field will be developed into a soccer field." And, he says, the land sale will help the church fund a future performing arts center that could also be used by the school.
Pastor Campbell-White says his board had casually discussed selling the vacant property for a while, but they weren’t sure who would be interested; until about four months ago. "It was after a board meeting on a Monday night. I threw up one of those Hail Mary prayers, and I just said, ‘God, if you want us to sell this, can you please just send us a buyer because I don’t even want to deal with this.’ And I got a call two days later from RPA saying, ‘have you ever considered selling a piece of your property?’" He has tried to communicate future plans with neighbors, and he says a number of nearby residents told him they're excited about the development. 


SOBA Noodles Damaged by Fire

BEND, OR -- Fire broke out at Soba Noodles in downtown Bend Tuesday afternoon, and investigators say it started when an employee tried to thaw frozen gutters with a blow torch.


When firefighters responded to the restaurant at about 2:20 p.m., they had to cut through sections of the wall and soffit to fully extinguish the blaze. 
Bend Fire recommends using ice melt or chiseling out the ice to avoid fires like this. 
Soba Noodles will remain closed until the roof and siding can be repaired.

Wednesday School Closures/Delays

BEND, OR -- Due to icy road conditions across the region, a number of school districts have delayed or canceled classes, Wednesday:


CLOSED - Redmond, Jefferson County 509J, Culver, Sisters, Central Christian Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne.


TWO HOUR DELAY - Crook County Schools.


COCC and OSU-Cascades have canceled classes that begin before 10 a.m.  All campuses will open at 9:30 a.m.


NeighborImpact Head Start: All morning classes in Redmond and Prineville are canceled. All NeighborImpact offices will open at 10:30 a.m.


Jefferson County Circuit Court will open at 1 p.m.

Bend Hammers Out Fuel Tax Details

BEND, OR -- After hearing nothing but support at Monday night’s public hearing, the Bend City Council began working out details of a proposed local gas tax to help fund street improvements. Five people testified at the public hearing, all in favor of a local gas tax. The city is looking for about $2.7 million a year to help address overdue road maintenance. 


Much of the discussion following the public hearing addressed limiting the length of the tax and how much it would be. Councilor Doug Knight said, “The responsible thing to do is to actually have a sunset clause, in the form of a reauthorization. How many years would you think? I think 10 years or something.” In general, Councilors agreed with that 10-year sunset, or reauthorization. They also agreed to address a tax of 10-cents a gallon.

Sending the proposal to voters in March would cost taxpayers $60,000 to $70,000; however, if they wait for the May ballot, it would cost nothing. Councilor Doug Knight argued for March. “This is an unfunded liability and a resource that only degrades as time moved forward. Then you’re going to want to sign contracts as soon as possible. You’re going to want to capture the primary paving season.” It was acknowledged there will likely be organized opposition, and a free election could be more palatable to voters.  
The City Council is expected to make a final decision Wednesday.


Crook County Sheriff to Retire

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff announced Monday he will step down at the end of the year, after five years on the job. Sheriff Jim Hensley is recommending the Crook County Court appoint Undersheriff John Gautney to serve out the rest of his term. 


Sheriff Hensley has been involved in Crook County law enforcement for 33 years, starting as an officer with the Prineville Police Department in 1981. He later moved to the Sheriff's Office and was elected Sheriff in 2010. 


Saving Grace Begins Collecting Family Donations

BEND, OR -- Saving Grace begins collecting donations Tuesday for its annual holiday "Adopt A Family" program. Lauren DuBose tells KBND News they are trying to help more than 20 families who have escaped domestic violence. "We have advocates that are working with the families, they kind of come up with a wish list - Everything from household items that Mom might want, to clothing for the kids. We also really love giving experiences – a trip to the movies or Juniper Swim and Fitness; things that these families might not otherwise be able to do together."


She says each wish list represents the needs of multiple families. "With everything that we do, safety is our top priority so we make sure to keep the list generic. So, ‘family #2’ might really encompass two or three families that we’re working with and we’re able to kind of disguise it enough to where we feel they are still safe but still able to take in some of those great donations that are really going to make their holiday special."
DuBose adds, "We probably have about 50 families that we’re working with this time of year through our various services. That’s not only the shelter, but we’re working with so many other families through different services including counseling, our Mary’s Place supervised visitation and exchange center, people are coming for our support groups or they’ve received legal help from us and they’re staying in touch for counseling and other services."
Saving Grace will collect donations of unwrapped gifts through December 18. Click HERE for the complete Adopt A Family wish list. To hear our full conversation with Lauren DuBose of Saving Grace, visit our Podcast Page


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