Another icy rescue in Bend. Recently it was an elk that fell thru the ice this morning a dog was rescued. Bend Fire officials responded to the report of a dog out on the ice in Mirror Pond. Upon arrival they found a dog sitting on the ice near the middle of the river. After walking around for a few minutes, he fell through the ice. A firefighter in a dry suit, tethered to the shore, proceeded across the ice and rescued the dog, bringing him to shore without incident. Bend Fire warns you never walk on ice on the river, do not allow animals on the ice, and do not attempt to rescue animals on the ice. Instead, call the fire department: we are trained and equipped to handle this type of incident.
State police say a 19-year old Madras man was killed Thursday in a two car head-on collision just north of Bend. The accident happened at 12:20 p.m. on Highway 97 about one mile north of town and traffic was detoured for three hours during the accident investigation. ODOT’s Peter Murphy: "A head-on collision on Highway 97 is tragic, but it also disrupts traffic completely. And it takes time to filter out what happened and that our first responsibility is to figure out what happened. Then number two; create a safe situation for everyone else. And it just takes time and it's got to be frustrating for people who are out there on the road. But I just hope that everyone understands that this is the way a process like this unfolds." State Police say Derek Lybbert-Arizmendez was southbound in a sedan when he drove across the snow covered median and hit an SUV head on. John Siemens of Bend was driving the second vehicle and received only minor injuries.
There was an apparent crime spree in Bend Thursday night. Between 10:15 and 10:30, Bend Police responded to a report of three armed robberies at three separate locations. Police believe that the robberies could be connected, based on information from the investigation. The theft of personal property and cash was the motive for the robberies. In all cases, one or two individuals accompanied the suspect. They are described as a male, possibly Latino, about 5’8” with a medium build. He could have a handgun. They were driving a dark colored compact sedan. If you have any information about these events, contact Bend Police at 541-693-6911.
The Deschutes County Search and Rescue was activated to help search for a missing skier on Mt. Bachelor Thursday night. Around 5:30, the search team along with other search teams from around the State and Mt. Bachelor Ski Patrol began the search for Jake Denham, 14, of Portland. Apparently Denham was last seen on the hill around 3 p.m. getting on the NW Express Ski lift. Around 2 a.m., Denham was found on Mt. Bachelor in good condition. He had lost one of his skis while skiing down a steep slope. He was able to get out of the steep terrain and build a snow enclosure to get out of the elements. When rescuers found him, it was -5 degrees outside. He was taken to the Mt. Bachelor Guest Services Building where he was evaluated by paramedics and reunited with his family.
A warning for those of you who like to play in the backcountry: recent weather patterns can mean a higher danger of avalanches. A small avalanche on Mt. Bachelor on Wednesday serves as a reminder; when weather conditions change quickly and we get a lot of snow, the danger is there. Andy Goggins with Mt. Bachelor says they have daily avalanche patrols: "Especially with the last week's storm cycle bringing in about 57 inches of new snow in less than 5 days.” No one was injured in Wednesday's small avalanche and it was business as usual on Mt. Bachelor yesterday. Weather experts remind you to watch the conditions and your immediate surroundings. Ken Boone with the Weather Channel: "Also the terrain your in because that can be a factor as well.”
New Years Day is Saturday, but in preparation for the big day, many government offices and businesses will either be closed or have shortened hours. Deschutes Public Library is open from 10 a.m – 5 p.m. Crook County Library will be closed both today and Saturday; Jefferson County Library will be open on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:00 pm. Post Offices will be closed on Saturday. Banks will be closed Saturday. Bend’s Juniper Swim and Fitness Center will close at 7:00 p.m. today and will be open from 9 a.m. t noon Saturday. Redmond's Cascade Swim Center will close at 1 p.m. today and will be closed Saturday. Liquor Stores: Bend North Liquor Store will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Bend East from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Bend West from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Bend South from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., La Pine from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Prineville from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Redmond South from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Redmond North from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sisters from 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunriver from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday: Bend North liquor store will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bend East from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bend West from noon to 5 p.m., Redmond South from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the Sunriver liquor store will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. All other liquor stores will be closed Saturday.
Southbound traffic is now getting through, but Police are warning drivers to avoid highway 97 just north of Bend. Earlier today there was a fatal head-on collision at milepost 133, near Bowery Lane. The accident is still affecting traffic in that area because of the investigation. If you're driving; ODOT's Peter Murphy is asking for your patience. Murphy says early reports show the vehicles involved are an SUV and a Dodge passenger vehicle. The accident happened at 12:20 pm.
The Bend City Council voted to give City Manager Eric King a $3000 raise next year, following a positive job performance review. Mayor Kathie Eckman says Eric King is well deserving of the 2% raise. “The economy the way it’s been with the recession, he had not had a salary increase. He did turn it down. He wanted to set an example for the staff. He didn't feel comfortable taking a remuneration for the last three years.” Eric King's salary for 2011 will be just over $150,000. The City is starting to implement a performance compensation program for managers instead of an automatic cost of living increase.
Three sheriffs offices and the Willamette Ski Resort participated in a rescue operation Wednesday night that may have saved the lives of three Oregonians. Two men and a woman were snowshoeing near the ski resort when they became exhausted walking through three feet of fresh snow. The call for help came in at 7 last Wednesday night but rescuers faced the same daunting challenge as those being rescued. “The individual breaking the trail for the group could only break trail for two to seven minutes. They would then have to stand to the side and be shuffled back for a 45 to 90 minute rest period before they were able to break trail for the group and continue on.” Deschutes County Sheriff Captain Mark Mills said rescuers reached the three a little after five this morning. They had built a snow cave and were in good shape. None of the three required hospitalization and Mills said they had been adequately prepared to spend 24-hours outdoors. Two members of the rescued party were from Eugene and one was from Central Point.
Mt. Bachelor is fully open again today, after an avalanche closed part of the mountain Wednesday. Spokesman Andy Goggins says a resort guest reported the avalanche at 10 a.m. and the resort's Avalanche Team responded to make sure no one was injured or trapped under the snow. “There we no victims reported to be caught in the slide. But the Mt. Bachelor Ski Patrol kept that area closed and proceeded to run a full search procedure, including the use of our avalanche dogs.” It occurred near the top of the Skyliner Express chairlift. Weather experts say the recent quick change in temperatures and a large amount of snow are prime avalanche conditions. Ken Boone with the Weather Channel: “You know every time it snows and you get a new layer of snow on top of each other, the bond in between the layers isn’t necessarily always strong. Sometimes if you get a weak enough bond in between those packs of snow maybe you get a lighter snow and then you get a heavier snow on top of that. That bond in between the two different layers could cause an avalanche as well.” Boone says steep terrain is another avalanche factor. So if you're going out in the back-country he suggests that you're constantly aware of the weather conditions and forecast; and your immediate surroundings.
Warm Springs police found a missing hunting party including a 3 year old Wednesday afternoon. Dustin Jones took his daughter hunting with two other men Tuesday on the reservation. Family members became concerned when they hadn't heard from them by 7:30 Tuesday night. The four spent the night in their car when their car got stuck in the snow and were able to make it out to a main road Wednesday morning. Dustin Jones and his daughter suffered minor frostbite and were taken to Mountain View Hospital for treatment.
The constant pattern of snow, rain and very cold temperatures made conditions ripe for problems on Mount Bachelor. A small avalanche was reported to mountain officials around 10 a.m. Wednesday. The Avalanche Response Team was set in motion and they began searching for anyone who may have been trapped under the snow. Patrollers determined no one was trapped or hurt in the snowslide. In a published report, Andy Goggins with Mt. Bachelor says the slide occurred in an area known as Cliffhanger, an area susceptible to avalanches. The area was closed off, but they expect to be able to return to normal operations today.
The CEO of the Bank of the Cascades says they are starting to see some bright spots in the local economy, especially with restaurants and retail businesses. CEO Patti Moss was the keynote speaker at a Bend Rotary Club luncheon Wednesday. Moss talked about the recent dark days of the recession. She says no one could have predicted the magnitude of the real estate bubble: "The challenges that the bank faced were a result of a very, very depressed real estate market.” She explains E-Risk managers at the Bank had planned for a worst case scenario of property values dropping 35%; but in some cases they saw values drop as much as 90%.” Going forward; it’s a much brighter picture for the Bank. A recent capital raise of $177 million will make the Bank of the Cascades one of the strongest community banks in the country. Moss says: “The highlight for me was - that was a highlight!"
As 2010 draws to a close, a lot of people are looking at their finances and how to improve them next year. Financial Advisor Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management was on the KBND Morning News Program, "Your Town" Wednesday morning talking about some common bad habits. “Well, first the basic thing people have to learn is sorting out wants versus needs. Some learn that as a small child, some are older. There are a lot more wants than needs. Basically you need food, shelter and a way to get back and forth to work, everything else is wants.” Troy Reinhart will be hosting a new show on KBND called "Financial Focus" Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon beginning on January 8th.
The floodwaters have receded in Prineville this morning; but it was a close call for several homes and a barn. Tuesday night a couple of homes were threatened by high water from a nearby drainage ditch crews even built a wall with sandbags and evacuated animals from a barn. Crook County Emergency Manager Sgt. James Savage says the water was almost an unwelcome guest in one home: "And with the warmer weather and the heavy rains and the snow started to melt, it was more than the ditch could handle. It went over the banks and pooled in an area and this one residence at 2555 Paulina Highway had water right up to the back of the house." Savage says crews stayed overnight to make sure that the water couldn't get into the home. He says this happens often when there's a rapid snowmelt and heavy rains. If you live near a drainage ditch it's important to clear out any debris so it doesn't get clogged and add to the problem.
Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is applauding Bend businesses for high compliance with State regulations. A minor went into those businesses under cover and tried to buy alcohol. Over three days last month, most of the businesses refused to sell alcohol to the minor. “One of them was 92%, one of them was 74%, and one of them was 100%. Out of 14 businesses that are staff checked, a 100% of them refused to sell alcohol to minors, so that's really great results.” Christie Scott of the OLCC says there are many reasons not to sell alcohol to minors. Some of those include interfering with brain development and possibly leading to alcohol addiction in later years.
The popular Deschutes Brewery in downtown Bend is expanding. The restaurant on Bond Street has been around for more than twenty years and for that long they've been talking about expanding. Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish says it's finally going to happen. “We are looking to expand our pub downtown so we can decrease the wait time for customers. Also for some much needed upgrades to the kitchen, that has been overtaxed. We're really excited. We're going to do it right.” With the expansion , the restaurant will nearly double in size. The work is expected to be done late 2011, early 2012.
Deschutes County is purchasing new software for the 911 Dispatch Center. It will cost a little more than $1.1 million. “This was one of the issues that were part of the ballot measure when we passed the 2008 serial levy. What had happened is we have an extremely dated records management system for law enforcement.” Deschutes County 911 Services Director Rob Poirer says another problem dispatchers now have is the current system doesn't integrate well with emerging technologies. For example, he says the new system will increase efficiencies by such options as allowing filing of minor police reports on line. It may take up to a year to phase in the new software. Poirer says the annual maintenance cost will be about $200,000.
If you've been outside lately, you know the temperatures have really dropped. Scott Lawrimore with the Weather Channel says we better brace for a blast of arctic weather. “That northwest wind is really pouring in. The cold front is moving in. Our temperatures have really dropped. Our normal highs are around 40, but we're in the upper 20's with wind chills in the teens. With some light snow flurries northwest of Bend.” We'll see a couple inches of snow over the next couple days. Temperatures should warm up into the 30's and 40's again, on the weekend
2011 will be a time for new beginnings for Judy Stiegler. For the last two years she was District 54's State Representative, but she lost her re-election in November to Jason Conger. Looking back, Stiegler says she's proud of what she accomplished: “I enjoyed my tenure, brief as it was as a State Legislator. I felt I did my job in a very competent manner. I kept the interests of the District front and center all the time. You know, people may have disagreed with some of the decisions I made, but first and foremost I always want folks to know that I was keeping the best interests, in total, of the people of this District in mind.” Stiegler has been working with Jason Conger to make sure the transition in Salem is a smooth one. Stiegler doesn't plan to run for public office again, but she admits you never say never.
Do you have a superstition or tradition you do on News Years? Many people truly believe that what you eat, who you kiss or who enters your home at midnight will affect the new year for you. Local clairvoyant and astrologer Eileen Lock says these traditions can work for you, if you believe in them. "We all have a belief in something. And I really believe at the beginning of the year everybody kind of goes back to that. All Christmas season and all holiday season there's all this 'believe, believe' all around, written everywhere. And it's like; remember, believe in the magic. Believe whatever you believe in and then focus on that. And so I think that's kinda what happens." Lock says there is always a special emphasis on New Years because people want to start a brand new year with a clean slate; that they take time to reflect on the past and find ways to improve or change and then in essence, make their own good or bad luck.
From Snopes.com other superstitions include: stocking up your cupboards & having plenty of cash in your wallet to ensure prosperity. Paying off your bills and settling debts. Also, the first person who enters your home will influence what kind of year your will have. Ideally, he would be tall, dark haired, good looking and carrying gifts, including a coins and salt. Finally, open your doors to let the old year out and make a loud noise to scare away evil spirits so they can’t enter your home in the new year.
Several homes in Crook County experience potential flooding Tuesday evening. A clogged drainage ditch threatened a home on Southeast Hill Drive in Prineville yesterday around 8 p.m. Crook County Sheriffs Deputies find a clogged drainage ditch backing up water flowing through a culvert that ran under Hill Road. The Crook County Road Department was able to clear the debris and water from the home's back yard. Then two homes on Southeast Paulina Road also were threatened with flooding as a drainage ditch on the Highway had extremely high water that continued to rise. Crook County Search and Rescue were activated and they began to build a defensible wall of sandbags on the east side of the residences to prevent the water from coming into the house. Heavy rain and snowmelt along with debris in the culverts are determined to be the cause of the high water. Crews monitored the situation overnight and will continue to watch today. No homes were damaged.
Bend Police get a lucky break. Tuesday, at Third Street and Murphy Road, police were searching for a theft suspect and they recognized a car involved in multiple retail thefts in Bend and Redmond. They stopped the car, but when approached, the driver sped off north on Parrell Road. The car stopped on Badger Road, a dead end street. The driver, Jared Reed, 34, a transient, was taken into custody after a brief foot pursuit. The passenger, Angela Robinson, 26, also a transient, was also taken into custody after finding her hidden in the yard of a nearby home. They are both lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on multiple charges including attempt to elude, reckless driving, possession of methamphetamine and warrant violations.
Today a Central Oregon community is saying goodbye to its police chief. This afternoon people can stop by from 4 to 6 and say a farewell to Redmond Police Chief Ronnie Roberts. Starting in January, Chief Ron Roberts' staff will double; he's moving on to Olympia, Washington as Police Chief there. He'll manage a much larger staff in a much larger city, a place that has a history of protests that sometimes turn violent. Roberts says he's proud that he's been able to build a strong foundation of community policing. He says his journey north is bittersweeet, because he's loved living and working in Redmond. He has a home in Central Oregon and still plans to play here. Roberts was the Police Chief in Redmond for 3 and a half years.
This year has been very tough for the Bend community and the police force. Bend Police have seen a record number of five homicide cases and an increase in other violent crime. Lt. Ben Gregory was on KBND's "Your Town" this morning and talks about how tough it is to be the first one on the scene of a violent crime. "We get a call; shots fired. The officer arrives on scene and he or she has to make a decision whether or not it's safe to enter a residence, makes a decision to do so. If those shots are fired doesn't know what they might see when they go inside. It's always been very interesting to me in the 20 years I’ve been doing this, we can take this same officer; see this trauma see all of the destruction, have them clear in a short period of time, and then send them to a parking complaint.” Bend Police Chaplain Jim Crowley says the community has also had a very high number of suicides this year.
Mount Bachelor has been blessed with a lot of powder this season, and it's having a big impact on skier numbers. “We have about 240 inches of snow to date and we are in the midst of a pretty big dump right now. In terms of snow on the ground, people are getting pretty excited about that. Season Pass sales were up about 6% this year heading into this season.” Mount Bachelor's Andy Goggins says a healthy number of visitors are coming from around the northwest. Alana Audette of the Central Oregon Visitor's Association says lodging properties have reported an increase of from 2 to 14% as compared to the week before Christmas last year.
Toyota Scion of Bend has moved into a bigger facility on the south end of Bend, near the outlet stores. The dealership moved out of its former facility on Highway 20. General Manager Robert Durfee says the building is environmentally friendly as well: “The entire building will have no environmental impact, we return the same water to water supply. Recycling, everything about the dealership is 'green’.” Durfee says the dealership has seen a nearly 40% increase over sales from 2009.
Big decisions to be made in Salem this year for Oregon’s budget. Bend Senator Chris Telfer says it's time to change the budgeting process. “I’m drafting legislation to move us away from this current service level approach which just enables bigger and bigger budgets every year. More towards a continued improvement level which is based on performance, which means we are not going to fund something that is not performing, and let's define what performance is.” Telfer says one example is instead of asking how many people received food stamps; we need to ask how many people were able to get off food stamps. Telfer says many in Salem play a shell game with the numbers. She questions the shortfall and says the State will have a $1.4 billion increase in revenue next biennium. She says the practice of calling a reduction in a proposed budget a "cut" is deceptive and has to stop because it's not a true cut in services.
A California woman remains in critical condition following Monday’s bad accident on Highway 97 south of La Pine. Coby Webb, 40, is in critical condition at St. Charles in Bend, her 4 year old son is serious condition with non -life threatening injuries. The Washington State couple in the SUV that hit them is also hospitalized. The driver of the SUV, Moises Garcia Jimenez is in fair condition, his passenger Maria Garcia, 53, is in serious condition. Police say Coby Webb lost control of her Ford pickup pulling an empty trailer and slid into the northbound lane and was hit by the SUV.
As 2010 winds down, centennial celebrations for three Central Oregon cities also come to a close. The 3 cities marking their 100 year anniversary are Redmond, Madras and Culver. The Mayor of Culver, Shawna Clanton, says it's important to get connected with your community's history: “I think everybody needs to know their roots and where they came from. It's a sense of pride; I'm an Air Force brat; so I've lived all over the world. I've made culver my home and the more I learn about the history of Culver and the people that pioneered this area, the prouder I am to be able to even in this short time belong to this community." Culver, Madras and Redmond all had many special celebrations throughout the year to remember their 100 year birthdays.
The City of Bend will soon be able to sell land to prospective buyers in the Juniper Ridge Development. A hearing officer approved a zone change that affects about 256 acres dedicated to light industrial uses. The space can also be used for office space for corporate or regional headquarters. The next step will be to break the land into separate parcels and create a marketing plan. In a published report, Bend Development Manger Jerry Mitchell says "the zone was our last big push in getting land to the market; it's a big milestone for us." once completed, Juniper Ridge could have a similar feel as Northwest Crossing.
The Oregon State Department of Lands was set to purchase about a half acre of land of off southwest Bluff Drive in the Old Mill District in October. The deal was put on hold when concerns were raised about the property owner’s relationship to a top department official and some procedures had not been followed. Apparently no appraisal had been done on the land. On October 12th Governor Ted Kulongoski, who chairs the State Land Board halted to sale to review the sale. This prompted at Department of Justice to examine if ethics laws were followed. Now the state is retooling procedures in purchasing land to make sure everything is above board.
A head on crash on Highway 97 just south of La Pine seriously injured four people and closed the highway for several hours Monday morning. Police say a Ford pickup pulling an empty horse trailer was southbound on Highway 97 just after 9 a.m. Monday morning when it jackknifed into the northbound lane. A northbound SUV struck the Ford pickup' s driver's side. The pickup driver and one of her passengers was airlifted to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. Two other passengers were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Names are not being released at this time.
The Veteran’s Administration is sending over a caseworker to help provide some subsidized housing vouchers for homeless veterans. The "Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program," known as "VASH" issues vouchers to eligible homeless vets that will pay 70 to 100% of their rent. There's been a holdup because of hiring freezes at the VA. Kenny LaPoint with Housing Works that helps administer the program says some help is on the way: “They bring over somebody who can make decision as to who receives vouchers. Technically, it’s an off site caseworker. It doesn’t solve the problem permanently, because we don’t have a caseworker in the area and we’re not able to issue the entire amount of vouchers that we have, it sounds like it will be able to issue between 5 and 10 vouchers at this time.” The way the program works is eligible veterans apply and VA caseworkers decide who will get the 25 vouchers for Central Oregon veterans. The vouchers are then applied to their rent. LaPoint hopes a permanent caseworker will be here next month.
Every night dozens of homeless teens in Central Oregon try to find a warm place to sleep. Some end up sleeping in alleys, doorways and even garbage bins. Tim Bach, the co-founder of ICON City, used to be a homeless himself. Now he's reaching out to homeless teens in Central Oregon. Bach says just the other night they took care of about a dozen kids on a very cold night. When the shelters are full, teens get mummy bags and try to find a warm dry place to sleep. Recently, it was a close call for a couple of kids who camped out in a garbage bin. "Had a couple of kids the other day. The kids were in a garbage bin and the truck came in the morning and lifted them up and dumped both of them in the back of the truck and just saw that happen and those kids had to kick and scream to get some help and that guy took the day off. He was just shook (up), so I went to pick those kids up." Bach was a guest on KBNDs Your Town Monday. If you want to help, go to: www.iconcity.us
The people who rescued a wayward elk in an icy pond are being honored by PETA. Bend Police and the golf club staff at Awbrey Glen are getting an award for high profile elk rescue. Last week an elk was trapped in the pond when she broke through the ice and couldn't get out. Alicia Woempner of PETA says they've already mailed out "PETA’s Compassionate Action Award". Woempner says: "In the past we've given them to organizations like the California Coastal Commissions for cancelling 4th of July fireworks in order to protect nesting seabirds. We've given them to an electric company for rescuing a cat who'd been stranded in a tree for 10 days; and other awards like that." The Bend Police Department and golf club stall will each receive a framed certificate and a letter of appreciation.
The Vets Center in Bend is still on track to move into its new location off of Highway 20 near Lava Lanes and WorkSource Oregon, early next year. The Center's Director Gary Hunter says the major reconstruction is done. “We're still looking at February 1st. Things are going well. A lot of work is done, we're just doing finish work. So we'll be very happy to get in February first.” Hunter says painting and carpeting remains to be done. He’s excited to move into the new facility that will be more comfortable for veterans. He adds it offers more room for the growing number of veterans using the Center since it opened this summer.
Allyson’s Kitchen in Bend's Old Mill District will be closing its doors for good this Friday. Majority owner Lynne Galligan says the recession and debt from the original owners forced the decision: “It's been in the background for the last two years. The former owners had financial difficulty and filed for bankruptcy in January 2009, which is when I took over to see if we could hang on through the recession and get us through this.” At it's peak, Allyson’s Kitchen employed 18 workers. The store sold kitchen supplies and food at its deli.
It’s been almost seven months since an explosion rocked the Nosler Bullet Plant in Bend and investigators are still trying to determine what caused the blast. Company spokesman Zack Waterman says it's still officially a mystery, but he would like to see it solved. “I hope so, I hope so; but as we know it now, we don't know anything as far as the ignition source.” Waterman says the Company is in the last stages of reconstruction. It could be finished as early as next month, but a lot depends on the weather. The Company has taken the opportunity to increase operational efficiencies and improve safety. That includes more concrete and changes to the electrical system to reduce the chances a spark could set off another explosion. 106 employees are now doing the work of 130, which is how many workers were employed as Nosler before the explosion.
Oregon is on a top ten list but this isn't anything to brag about. A new report about impaired drivers ranks Oregon among the worst states with the highest numbers of people driving under the influence of drugs. Counselor Don Ziegler with Serenity Lane in Bend says the report was just issued this month. It puts Oregon with nine other states, in the highest category for impaired drivers. When you combine those drivers with ones that are drunk and driving, the roads are especially dangerous. "So when you think about that, you've got somewhere between 1 and 6 to 1 in 8 drivers coming at you that are under the influence of something at any given time on the weekend and at night." Most of the other states that ranked high on the report were in the south and northeast.
As 2010 comes to a close so does a rare opportunity. Financial planners are seeing clients come in and talk about converting some of their taxable retirement money to a tax free ROTH IRA. The reason why 2010 is important is because you're able to spread the income tax burden over two years, instead of one. A Bend certified financial planner says he's seeing some clients make this move. Brian Stallcop has an Edward Jones Office in West Bend. “That's right; so if you do that this year, you'll actually realize the taxable income in 2011 and 2012. And that's a unique opportunity, you won't be able to do that after this year." Everyone's situation is different, depending on your age, income and goals. So it's important to talk to tax and financial planning experts before you decide.
It’s a system that has helped Redmond Police recover thousands of dollars in stolen property, and they want to see more people use it. It's called the "Report It" system, offered by leads online. “Many people may already serial numbers recorded on laptops and computers in their home, and maybe even written down in a safe place that may not be able to find when needed. What would happen if that laptop or computer was stolen and now they don't have that information anymore.” You can store an unlimited number of items with serial numbers "on-line" and can also store three pictures per item, which is very helpful for tracking jewelry. Redmond Police Detective Curtis Chambers says the service is free of charge and can be accessed from any computer with access to the internet.
Bend’s Family Kitchen supplies 3500 meals every month to struggling families and people. The Kitchen is also now providing sack lunches to the Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, for when they go out to check on the homeless at area camps. Donna Thayer with the Family Kitchen says they are also helping their pets too. And we're also been able to put dog food in as well into the COVO van with the sack lunches. A lot of those folks have dogs. And their pets are their families, so we've been able to send dog food out there too. Central Oregon Veterans Outreach checks on area homeless every week.
Several downtown Bend restaurants are under new ownership. Chuck Arnold with the Downtown Bend Business Association says people will have some different choices. We're got some changes afoot, about Mars Bistro is changing its name and its menu. Giuseppe’s is going to be Caldera Grill, new owners on Bond and Decoy on Bond Street is now changed to Bond Street Grill. There are also some new lingerie and upscale consignment shops opening up downtown.
A herbal substance marketed as incense but consumed as a sort of synthetic marijuana is being pulled from stores nationwide. Referred to as "Spice," "K-2" or "fake weed," the stuff has been readily, and legally, available here in Oregon. But last month, the DEA issued a 30-day notice that the five chemicals commonly found in "Spice" are being placed in the same category as heroin and marijuana. That means, sales and possession of fake weed is illegal here in Oregon as of last Friday.
Lots of smiles on Mount Bachelor Thursday. Drew Jackson with Mount Bachelor could hardly contain his enthusiasm as Mother Nature has provided enough snow for a whole mountain experience. “:You can see that folks are just out enjoying the epic conditions right now. We’ve had about three feet of new snow in the last seven days. The snow has stayed cold, dry, fluffy, just perfect winter conditions and there's plenty of snow on the ground. In fact, our base total range is from five to seven feet here on the mountain." The summit backside's opening day was today, and that means all 360 degrees of the mountain can be used for skiing or snowboarding. Jackson says the terrain park is also up full speed. You can see all of Mt. Bachelor's features by going to their website; click here
Pronghorn is opening up its restaurants to the general public, and they are announcing a special fundraising event. Pronghorn spokesperson Jaclyn Beaudreau says in the past the area has been more exclusive, but now they want to be more of a destination resort. As part of that new emphasis they are doing a special fund raising event next Wednesday for the American Red Cross. "What it is; we have the blood drive on Wednesday, December 29th, from 12 to 4. And we do know there are people who might not want to give blood but want to come and donate. We also are doing a fantastic menu that day for breakfast, lunch and dinner & 25% off of all proceeds that day will go directly to the American Red Cross." Beaudreau was a guest on KBND's "Your Town" Thursday morning.
Bend’s Family Kitchen is seeing more and more people come through the doors for their meals. They serve six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Donna Thayer, the head of the Family Kitchen served at Trinity Episcopal Church downtown says the need is greater than ever. “What we're seeing is a 30% increase over the number of meals we're serving as compared to last year. Starting in July we saw a big increase in the number we're serving.” Thayer says they're currently serving 3500 hundred meals a month. The family kitchen is run by volunteers from ten churches and pays for the food through grants and donations.
Thousands of Bank of the Cascades shareholders are voting by proxy and in person today. they are deciding whether to issue $177 million of company common stock to private investors. Bank of the Cascades CEO Patty Moss says if passed, it will make a tremendous difference for the bank and allow BOTC to be among the best capitalized community banks in the northwest and even the nation. Strong local banks are vital to pull communities out of hard times. “You want to have very, very strong banks in those markets and particularly community banks are more likely to lend to markets such as to Bend, to Redmond, to Boise, and Medford, Portland, Salem. You want strong banks that know their communities there. So it ends up being a good thing for the bank and for the community. “ According to a recent FDIC report, the Bank of the Cascades is Deschutes County's number one bank; holding about 29% of the local deposits. Wells Fargo is 2nd at 16% of market.
A Washington D.C. based environmental group says it's not trying to put blame on local cities for contamination of hexavalent chromium. A single sample taken an Avion Water Company customer's tap was one of 35 taken across the country that showed levels in excess of what the State of California is proposing as a public health standard. “This is an upstream pollution problem that needs to be stopped at the source. We need better water source protection and while we do advocate all utilities do their own testing for this and let their all their customers know the results, this doesn’t mean that they’re the ones responsible for the pollution.”
Leanne Brown with the Environmental Working Group says the only consumer level filtering system that can remove this chemical is a reverse osmosis system. Hexavalent chromium can come from manufacturing, pulp mills, and leather tanning.
Bend Police continue to investigate last Wednesday’s shooting for a Bend woman and her two small children. The mother, Julie Still, 39, and five year old Gracie were shot and killed in northwest Bend. Grant, 2, has been released from the hospital and is recovering. Investigators say the bullets have been sent to the crime lab and no conclusions have yet been made in the case. Pepsi of Bend, the employer of husband and father Chuck, are helping to raise money for family expenses as the son heals and father and son rebuild their lives.
A warning today from the State Treasurer. Even with new federal regulations, you can still get burned on gift cards. “We’re advising folks to read the fine print, because there are some of these cards that do expire.” Treasury Office spokesman James Sinks says gift cards are popular for a reason; they allow you to get the stuff you really want, but make sure you use it!! “ Every year, billions of dollars of gift cards go unspent. SO the first thing the Treasurer is doing is reminding people, hey, if you’ve got there cards, spend them. It’s money and if you sit on them for too long, there are certain kinds of cards, even with Oregon and national laws now, that still allow for inactivity fees and for the cards to expire.” He says you also want to make sure the packaging isn't tampered with because that could mean someone has stolen the pin number and then all the money off the card.
Wednesday, House Republicans released the draft of a House rules package for the 112th Congress. The resolution will be voted on the first day of the new Congress, in January. Transition Chair Greg Walden says it provides a series of reforms to the current rules including: the stipulation that no rules shall be voted upon without bring available on line for at east three calendar days and reforms in the budgeting process that places limitations on long-term spending. In addition, the rules will reinstate a six-year term limits on committee chairs. In a statement released from Congressman Walden, he says: "These new rules put in place the congressional reforms proposed in the Pledge to America. The package makes it easier to address one of the top priorities of the American people: cutting spending." You can review the highlights of the reforms by clicking here.
Christmas Day is Saturday, but in preparation for the big day, many government offices and businesses will either be closed or have shortened hours. Deschutes and Crook County Libraries will be closed both Friday and Saturday; Jefferson County Library will be open on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:00 pm. Post Offices will have shortened hours on Friday. Banks will be closed Saturday. Bend’s Juniper Swim and Fitness Center and Redmond's Cascade Swim Center will close at 1:00 p.m. Friday. Bend liquor stores will be open on Friday: Friday, Bend North liquor store will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Bend East from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bend West from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Bend South from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., La Pine from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Prineville from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Redmond South from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Redmond North from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sisters from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunriver from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday: Bend North liquor store will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Sunriver liquor store will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All other liquor stores will be closed Saturday.
It’s a big moment for the Bank of the Cascades. Thursday, shareholders will hold a special meeting in part to vote on a plan to issue $177 million in company common stock to private investors. A "yes" vote from shareholders means that the Bank of the Cascades would be among the best capitalized community banks in the nation. That's according to a recent statement by CEO Patty Moss. As of Thursday morning, thousands of proxy votes have been counted and the final vote will be held at 5:00 p.m. Parent company, Cascade Bancorp recently announced the $177 million capital raise with four leading investors. Moss says closing this deal would mean that the banks’ capital ratios would notably exceed regulatory agency benchmarks of a well capitalized bank. A recent report from the FDIC shows that the Bank of the Cascades has the largest amount of the deposits in Deschutes County, at 29%.
"Overwhelming" is how the family is describing the outpouring of support to a Bend family recovering from the tragic shooting death of a mother and a five year old girl. Two year Grant is said to be making a miraculous recovery. The children's father, Chuck Still is a route driver for Pepsi of Bend. The company has set up accounts at Bank of the Cascades and Selco Credit Union for donations to help the family. “Our customers wanted to reach out and help. So we created some little certificates that people can purchase for a dollar, or whatever purchase amounts our customers want to do. Then they write their name and message and it gets put up on the wall.” Betsy Skovborg with Pepsi of Bend says more than $2000 has been raised thus far. The money will help with living and other expenses as Grant recovers. Pepsi is also looking at the possibility of stepping up an educational fund for the boy. Meanwhile, neighbors and friends have decorated the still home in northwest Bend with Christmas decorations as a memorial.
Avion Water officials admit they are very frustrated today over questions about the safety of their water. This after a study is released by a Washington D.C. based environmental group claiming their system has levels of a cancer causing chemical called hexavalent chromium. Avion's system was ranked tenth highest of 35 cities across the nation. “We are telling our customers that according to current standards, our water is safe. When they took this test, it was an incredibly sensitive test. The amount they are looking for is equivalent to three seconds in hundred years.” Avion Water Vice President Jason Wick says the EPA has not yet set a standard for hexavalent chromium. He adds that Avion does test for total chromium levels and results show the system is within standards. Wick says the environmental working group tested from a customer's tap and not directly from the source, which he believes makes the results suspect.
Equine Outreach is in desperate need of hay, homes for horses and overall donations. Spokesperson Joan Steelhammer says times are really tough right now and that's affecting people who've had horses for most of their lives: "In one case I had a woman who lost her husband and lost her house and had to give up her horse of 12 years. I had an eighty year old man have to give up a horse he had for 30 years; it's really hurtful." She says just feeding a horse can cost about $200 a month. Right now Smolich Motors is teaming up with the Outreach for the "Horsepower to Horses" Campaign. Each dealership will have a drop off location for people who want to donate their old cars to help fund the program. Equine Outreach serves Central Oregon and helps with horse rescue, rehab, adoption and placement.
National retailers are projecting a better Christmas season this year as compared to last year. But locally we're hearing conflicting results. Noelle Fredland with the Old Mill District says foot traffic is up: “The trends we've been seeing is 60% up over last year and some up by 80-90%. I would say about 40% are neutral ground, either matching last year's numbers or slightly below.” Chuck Arnold with the Downtown Bend Business Association says things are down slightly: “Year over year it's a little slower than last year. A lot of sectors have made a turn, but I think retail is tending to be a little late on the recovery at this point.” Arnold says they have seen more foot traffic downtown in the last week.
There are a lot of drunk and drugged drivers on the icy roads right now. Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says times are tough and it seems people are using more drugs and alcohol. "We unfortunately are the ones responding to those horrific accidents, involving the impaired driver. Lets not forget that driving under the influence doesn't just involve alcohol. We see prescription medication, controlled substances, whether it's meth or marijuana or a alcohol or a combination of all of the above, it's a dangerous combination; speed and vehicles and driving under the influence or impaired.” Blanton says technology is helping police crack down on drinking and driving. He says many citizens use their cell phones to report suspected drunk drivers. Blanton was a guest this morning on KBND's “Your Town” this morning.
If you missed the lunar eclipse on Monday night, there's another good reason to gaze up into the sky this week. Anyone in Oregon who says they don't believe in Santa Claus might want to check first with the North American Air Defense Command. NORAD is responsible for keeping the airspace safe in North America. Every Christmas Eve its' radar spots Santa racing around the world and dropping off tons of gifts. So how does he get all that work done in just one night? Lt. Stacey Knott with NORAD says it might take a little bit of magic. "We’ve asked him about that. Santa’s kind of in a different kind of time plane, and so the time is a little different for him. That’s how he is able to get all around the world in that little bit of time." Knott says Santa usually starts his rounds in the Eastern Hemisphere, and when he arrives in North America, NORAD's fighter jets intercept him to ensure a safe journey. Knot says there are about 1200 uniformed and civilian volunteers who work each Christmas Eve to answer phone calls and e-mails requesting information about Santa’s whereabouts. NORAD has been helping Santa for about 50 years. You can link to the NORAD Santa Tracker at KBND.com.
Officials with the City of Sisters have realized the wisdom of the passage of the gas tax last March. They projected that they would collect about $126,000 from the 3¢ a gallon gas tax. In just a few months, they have already collected about $63,000. City residents approved the tax to help pay for street maintenance. But there is a lawsuit from some opposed to the tax, pending so the City will not spend that money until the lawsuit is resolved. If the tax is overturned, a published report states the City will return the money to voters or gas stations.
The phone has been ringing off the hook at Bend City Hall Tuesday after reports that a toxic chemical may be in the Avion Water system. City officials are very frustrated and question the accuracy of testing attributed to the environmental working group. A newly released study states that Bend is tenth among 35 cities in the nation for the presence of hexavalent chromium n it's drinking water. “I’m concerned about the verbiage coming out and saying that the City of Bend is supplying toxic carcinogenic water which is not true, and I am concerned that they are not supplying us with provable data, they are not giving that to us.” City of Bend Laboratory Manager Steve Prozak says this chemical was made famous in the legal case involved Erin Brockovich. Prozak says the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency has yet to determine what is a safe level for hexavalent chromium. This study says the sample from Avion Water was .78 parts per billion. Prozak says the City does test for total chromium levels and those are well within safe limits.
Central Oregon Veterans Outreach is trying to provide housing for struggling veterans in the La Pine area. Chuck Hemingway with COVO says they're close to closing on a house: “We're working what we call our South County Veterans Housing Project. And the first step in it is to acquire a single family residence in the south County area, in La Pine that we can use to house either several male veterans or a veteran family.” They expect to close on the two bedroom house on January 9th and hopefully some veterans can move in soon after. Grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development help pay for the La Pine home.
Deschutes County Commissioners have given the go ahead for $900,000 to be spent on minor remodeling of the County Jail. The money will be taken from a jail contingency fund and eventually replaced by future land sales. “We have identified about four or five projects that we would like to do in the jail, that we would like to maintain our existing facility and do a couple of small things to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the facility.” Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says the money will be used to expand kitchen and evidence storage, as well as the size of the lunchroom and relocate a supervisor office. Voters rejected a $44-million bond six months ago to double the capacity of the jail and Blanton says this minor remodeling is needed now to improve efficiency.
Icy steps and sidewalks are keeping local doctors busy. Dr. Thomas Wendel works in the Urgent Care Center at Bend Memorial Clinic. He says in the past few days, they've been very busy treating patients who fell on the ice. “That's manifesting itself frequently in broken ribs, broken shoulders, broken hips and the more favorable just have bothersome bruises and cuts in those areas. We are seeing that sort of spectrum and indeed all ages. If you throw in sports; we're seeing a lot of fall related injury associated with skiing and snow boarding." Wendel says many people are falling at their homes in daily activities like taking out the garbage. He says it's important to take a few extra minutes and put on shoes with better traction.
A fight broke out in the parking lot of Trinity Episcopal Church just before 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. Apparently Patrick McKinley Mills, 20, of Bend and several other men began arguing while waiting to be served food at the church. They began physically fighting. At one point one person drew a knife. Mills and another man began struggling over possession of the knife. Another man then head-butted Mills, causing an injury to him, but not from the knife. The assailant fled the scene. When Bend Police and Bend Fire arrive on the scene, they bandaged Mills head and took him to St. Charles for further evaluation. There were no charges or arrests at this point in the investigation. If you have any information, contact Bend Police.
It was an unusual site in the Awbrey Glen Golf Course early Tuesday morning. "We had a elk that was on the golf course, off of hole number 12 on Putnam Drive that had decided it was going to try to walk across the pond on hole number 12 near the green. And she fell through the ice and was stranded in the middle of the pond." Keith Kessaris with Awbrey Glen Golf Club says the elk was getting tired trying to find a way out of the pond. The elk was up to her neck in icy water. It took Bend City crews, Bend Police and Awbrey Glen workers combining their efforts to rescue the elk out of the pond. They got a small boat and were able to lasso the elk. Then, using another rope tied to the boat, they were able pull her out of the water. The who incident took about an hour. The good news is no one, including the elk was hurt in this incident. Kessaris says about three years ago, a heard of about 30 elk discovered the abundant food in Awbrey Glen and have come down every winter.
The attorney representing Deschutes County Deputy District Attorneys is alleging the County is not bargaining in good faith. Attorney Becky Gallagher is referring to last week's unanimous decision by Commissioners to delay voting on a proposed contract until after the first of the year. Commissioner Dennis Luke disagrees. “I think the County did bargain in good faith. The bargaining teams on our side did put it on the record. The bargaining team on our side recommended approval of the contract. The Board has not voice any opposition to the contract itself.” Luke says the only decision the Commissioners made was to delay making a decision until after the first of the year. Since the Deputies will not have a contract when incoming District Attorney Patrick Flaherty takes office after January first, four of those deputies have been told they will not be retained in the new administration. The major stipulation on the proposed contract is that deputies can only be fired for "just cause". Flaherty told Commissioners he believes this contract is an attempt to nullify the election and prevent him from selecting the team he wants.
Deschutes County Commissioners have okayed a $900,000 loan to help pay for a jail remodeling project. “In 1994 the average daily population was 80. Today it's more than 200. When you have that many people in a facility, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The building will become worn and improvements will have to be made. We have identified four or five projects we would like to do in the jail.” Sheriff Larry Blanton says the loan is coming from a Sheriff’s Office Contingency Fund and the plan is to pay it back by selling real estate the County owns. Blanton says those projects include more space in the lunchroom, relocating a supervisor's office, adding more room for storing food for the inmates and evidence. The County will soon be advertising for construction bids on this project.
Roads throughout Central Oregon will continue to be slick throughout the holidays. ODOT officials are asking you to drive slower and not get over-confident; even if you have studs or four-wheel drive. Rick Williams with ODOT says even with road crews trying to make the highways safer, there is only so much they can do. Mother Nature usually prevails: “What's typical for Central Oregon: it warms up during the day, a little layer melts on top, then around 3 to 5 starts to refreeze right in time for the evening commute. Then it gets pretty tricky. You get a mixture of heavy truck traffic and cars mixing together; places like Lava Butte or up in Cow Canyon, north of Madras, it makes for some pretty tricky driving." Williams says one problem they are seeing is that when they put de-icing materials on the road to make it safer; then people drive about 15 miles an hour faster which is usually too fast for the slick conditions. Rick Williams was on the KBND Morning News Program "Your Town" this morning.
A bar fight in downtown Bend ends in an arrest. Bend Police say the suspect, Kenneth Hill, 36, of Bend, allegedly hit Tara Payne, 24, in the head with a bottle. Authorities say around 2 a.m. Hill and a friend of Payne's got into an argument outside of Westside Tavern on Galveston and he allegedly threw a bottle towards the two women and the bottle hit Payne in the head. Hill was charged with assault two and taken to the Deschutes County Jail.
The State's Suicide Hotline has been unusually busy in recent days. olunteers are used to getting about 18,000 suicide calls a year. The surprise recently was when five rescue calls happened within just two hours. "It's stunning. It's stunning when you see these types of calls coming in. Let's say the average suicide call we get is on a scale of 1 to 10 emotionally about a 5. These calls have been coming in at about a nine!" Spokesman Tom Parker says they are seeing more intense pain connected to the holidays and the difficult economy.
A 2 year old boy involved in a homicide at his northwest Bend home last week has been released from a Portland hospital. The boy's mother, Julie Still, 39, and his 5 year old sister were found shot to death last Wednesday. Bend Police continue to investigate the homicide, but are not releasing much information. But we know Julie Still had lived in Bend for twenty years and had volunteered at such organizations as the crisis pregnancy center, the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers / Big Sisters and Grandma's House. She also served on the Board of the Alyce Hatch Center, a regional resource for young, disabled children and their families.
A Central Oregon man has pleaded guilty to murder in the August murder of his girlfriend, Roberts “Bobbie” Jones last August. Michael Sain faces life in prison and must serve more than 37-years in prison before he will be eligible for parole. He will be sentenced Wednesday by Judge Alta Brady. The victim's body was found dumped in the woods west of Bend. Sain entered an Alford Plea, which means he does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict him if he went to trial.
ODOT is proposing a flashing lights warning system on the Bend Parkway to increase safety at two pedestrian crosswalks. One at Reed Lane and the other at Badger Road. “A person will come up to the crosswalk and push a button. What that will do is it activates amber warning lights on the Parkway both north and southbound to alert motorists.” ODOT's Rex Holloway says bike-pedestrian warning signs will be placed in the medium and on the right side of the Parkway in advance of the two crosswalks. Officials are planning on installing the new warning system this spring. Area residents have been pushing for ODOT for a solution after Robert Hunt, 55, was killed in October as he crossed the Parkway.
Old man winter made his presence known this weekend with several snowstorms blowing through the area. Weather channel Meteorologist Mark Thibodeau says the snow shovel and its owners got a workout. “Well across the area we saw anywhere from 6 inches to over a foot and a half of snow. We really got socked pretty good. It varied by elevations. And it's been a big travel week across the United States and we're in for more active weather.” Thibodeau says we'll see more snow on Wednesday, and then we'll warm up into the 40's and may see rain, with another chance for snow on Christmas Day.
A 72 year old Bend man is reacting today to the historic repeal of "don't ask don't tell". Mike Lovely is a gay man who served in the army in the 1960's. “I wish this would've happened a long time ago; but at least I'm living to see it." Mike Lovely says he's running out of patience and believes that gays should've been allowed to serve openly in the military years ago. “I’m getting impatient. Not only for me but for everybody else. And it also brings to mind my uncle, who is gay, served in the second World War in North Africa and Japan and six months before is was to retire, after many years of service, somebody found out he was gay and he got run out and never got a dang dime of retirement from the military and that still burns my craw.” Meantime; some of the frontline soldiers have said they believe openly gay soldiers will create a distraction and undermine the military. Stephen Bomar with the Oregon Military Department: “I wouldn’t be able to comment on any specific soldier and what their opinion is. But front line, rear detachments, whichever policy is in place is the one that will be enforced and adhered to. And I think that’s why we’re looking at full implementation taking up to a year. It’s getting it down to every unit. You have to conduct the training and implement the policy. That will change many subjects to include family programs, hoe that is handled, reintegration. “ The President is expected to sign the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Wednesday.
Bend Police continue to investigate the homicide in a northwest Bend home last week involving a mother and her two young children. Julie Still, 39, was found shot to death along with her 5 year old daughter. Her 2 year old son survived and is improving at a Portland hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was listed in fair condition on Friday. Police are not releasing much information, but we know Julie still had lived in Bend for 20 years and had volunteered at such organizations as the Crisis Pregnancy Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Oregon, Big Sisters and Grandma's House. She also served on the Board of the Alyce Hatch Center, a regional resource for young, disabled children and their families.
Oregon’s statewide jobless rate is holding steady at about 10.5%, but that's not the case for Central Oregon. “Well unfortunately the rate jumped in two counties. In Crook County, the rate went up to 19.2% in November and in Jefferson County the rate went up to 16% in November. In Deschutes County the rate was virtually the same. It went from 15.2% in October to 15.% in November.” WorkSource Oregon analyst Carolyn Eagan says one bright spot in Deschutes County was the government sector added 450 jobs. However, that was offset by 430 jobs lost in private industry. The retail sector added 210 jobs in Deschutes County and the foot and the accommodation industry lost 460 jobs.
It’s like to children's story: "The Little Engine That Could." The Sisters Movie House scored a coup by landing an opening day screening of the Coen Brothers' remake of “True Grit". Owner Lisa Clausen says since Sisters has a reputation for being a cowboy town, it made perfect sense to have the movie debut here. "You know we have people who come out here from all over Central Oregon actually to experience what the Sisters Movie House is all about. And “True Grit” it sort of personifies what kind of film does really, really wellhere and people have come to expect from us." Clausen says they started lobbying the studio for the movie over the summer. They were able to demonstrate how popular the Movie House is, and that made a big impression on the distributors. This remake of “True Grit” is said to be truer to the novel rather than the John Wayne movie. Opening night is Wednesday.
The national forests are being managed under rules made in 1982 and a lot has changed since then. The rules are now under revision. Some conservation groups want president Obama to push for stronger rules to protect wildlife, fish, public access and drinking water sources. Jane Danowitz with the Pew Environment Group says the new rules will be a blueprint for how national forests should be managed: "It means that, where activities such as logging should take place, it should be done in a sustainable manner. And where valuable fish and wildlife habitat should be protected, the government needs to be required to take steps to do so." The groups have signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack describing their "holiday wishes" for stronger rules and a commitment to scientific review in the new forest management policies. The first draft for public comment is expected as early as January.
The holidays are not always a Hallmark Card for everyone. Local counselors say they see a lot of anxiety and depression cases this time of year. Jane Meyers has been a counselor in Bend for 18 years. She says the shorter days, higher expectations and strained family relationships add together for a "perfect storm."
And now the economy is one more factor: "People are dealing with economic pressures and that always comes together because of the holidays. And this year it's even worse because so many people in our community and really across the world are dealing with severe economic issues; and some people have the boss that lays them off just before Christmas. You always hear those stories of some people that this happens to." Meyers says depression can lead to suicide. So it's important to watch for warning signs. Some signs include: talking about suicide, no hope for the future, withdrawing from others and a sudden sense of calm.
Meyers was a guest this morning on KBND's "Your Town."
A record number of homicide investigations this year is taking its toll on Bend Police detectives. There have been five homicide investigations in 2010 - a record number for the Bend Police Department. Lt. Ben Gregory doesn't have an answer as to why this is the case; but says its definitely unusual: “In years past I have been here for 21 years and I recall never having this many homicides in any given year. I recall years when we didn't have a homicide, but I do know in the last three years, we have one in 09; one in 08 and one in 2007. This year is exceptional.” Lt. Gregory says the impact of this has meant a lot of extra hours for detectives, but the emotional toll has been perhaps worse for Police and the overall community.
Bend Police have solved a case and arrested a Bend teenager. Last week, Bend Police took reports of four vehicles having windows broken while driving on SW Reed Market Road. Officers followed up on tips from citizens and determined a BB gun caused the damage. Nick James Norman, 17, has been arrested for five counts of reckless endangering and four counts of criminal mischief. Police seized the BB gun believed to be used as evidence . No injuries have occurred, but Ben Police Officer John Lawrence tells our news partner, News Channel 21, a passenger was sitting beside the window struck in one instance -- and could have been hurt, had the projectile landed inside or the window shattered. Norman is lodged in the Deschutes County Juvenile Detention Center.
There’s a new warning out today for consumers: those who specialize in stealing your debit card and credit card numbers now have a new way to do it. You’re in danger of this new form of theft if you have a debit or credit card that you don't physically swipe through a machine. Thieves are now able to grab the numbers off of those cards by standing next to you and putting a small machine near your purse or wallet. The machine is able to read the numbers if it's close enough. So far; local bank experts say they haven't seen this surface in Central Oregon, but it is happening in some of the bigger cities. The advice from bankers is to be aware of your surroundings and especially be careful of a stranger trying to stand too close to you in a crowd. If your credit or debit cards have a “(((“ symbol; they are vulnerable.
Bend Fire officials are thanking the citizens who called 911 to report a structure fire around 5:30 Saturday afternoon in the 200 block of SE Wilson. Battalion Chief Bill Boos says without the quick notification, things could have been much worse. The vacant 70 year old home was most likely inhabited by local transients. Firefighters put out the fire within about 20 minutes, but the building, values at about $80,000 was almost totally gutted and is a total loss.
A small plane flipped on the runway of the Sunriver Airport shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday morning. News Channel 21 reports a single-engine piper cub had already touched down and was slowing down when something caused it to flip onto its top. Officials noted there was snow accumulation on the runway and that could have been a cause. The pilot was apparently flying alone and was not injured. The plane has been moved off the runway.
A Madras soldier seriously injured in Afghanistan continues to recover in a Bethesda, Maryland hospital. Army Sgt. Ryan Craig suffered serious head injuries when a bullet went through his helmet on November 19th. He's undergone several surgeries and remains in intensive care. His mother, Jennifer is by his side. “We actually had physical therapy set him up in bend for the first times the accident, so that’s a huge milestone for us and it was pretty incredible.” Ryan is expected to remain in Maryland for a couple months and then hopes to be transferred to Oregon. A fund to help the family pay for medical expenses has been set up at Bank of the Cascades.
State officials will be in Bend Wednesday to personally look into claims by a water usage watch dog group that the City is illegally taking water from the Bridge Creek Watershed. “We do some background check information, fact finding. Meet with the City and determine you know exactly what is going on. What their City is capable of. Learn from the City why and how they are operating it to determine why things are occurring the way they are.” Kyle Gorman is a Regional Manager for the Oregon Water Resources Department. "Water Watch" claims the City is wasting water by running the Bridge Creek pipeline full and discharging some of that directly into Tumalo Creek without using it. City officials claim they need to run the pipeline at capacity to prevent damage to the aging pipeline. Bend City Water officials say part of the investigation includes snowmobiling into the water shed.
Eric "Gabe" Wisehart agreed to a plea deal that settles the case against him. As a result of his "Alford Plea" he is guilty of one count of racketeering, four counts of first degree aggravated theft and one count of offering to work as a contractor without a license. An Alford Plea is one where the defendant does not admit guilt, but recognizes that there is evidence against him that could lead to a conviction. Wisehart was charged with stealing more than 2-million dollars from his clients by way of cash, services or equipment. Wisehart was accused in 2009 with 29 counts of racketeering, theft and working as a contractor without a license. By Wiseharts’ agreeing to the six counts, prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining 23 charges. He could end up serving a maximum of 61 years in prison with over a million dollars in fines. Sentencing has not been scheduled.
Outgoing Crook County Sheriff Rodd Clark is leaving office on a high note. One of his employees has gained state wide accolades for his conscientious work at the jail. Crook County Sheriff's Office Jail Commander Al Bond was recently chosen as the Oregon State Sheriff's Association Jail Commander of the year. And the reason is clear; he is able to maintain the jail with some real positive reinforcement: "Well, it's to treat people the way the way you'd want to be treated and do you best to do the right thing, is the model that we use from where we learned at the command college that I attended 3-4 years ago. And I try to hold those standards, even prior to that time and up to today." Sheriff Clark says Bond has a very effective way of handling prisoners: “In order to keep inmates happy and compliant and not looking for ways to cause trouble and escape, he's developed several programs that rewarded the prisoners for positive activity. And they've responded really well to that. They have a nickname; they call it 'Grandma's House'". Clark says Bond's programs and methods of running the jail have saved them plenty of money over the years. He adds that he really had to trick the normally humble Bond into coming to the convention where he was surprised with the award.
More people in La Pine are turning to the Community Kitchen for help. Currently the food pantry hands out 400 food boxes every month. Christina Riggs with the Kitchen says they were just turned down for a third time for a Community Development Federal Grant. She says the need is greater than ever: “Between 2008 and 2009, 43% increase. Last year, we served over 16,000 meals. Right now we're at 19,000 meals and we haven't even finished the year yet.” The La Pine Pantry is in the process of remodeling a donated building from Deschutes County. It was an old Knott Landfill building and the Kitchen will be using it to hand out food boxes. The remodeling should be done by the end of the year.
We’re in for some snowy weather this weekend. Weather Channel Meteorologist Dave Lew says Central Oregon will see the most substantial snowfall of the season so far. “This is the beginning of a very stormy pattern here for us. We’ve been watching this whirling dervish of a low pressure off the northwest coast, and that’s throwing a lot of Pacific moisture our way, up against the mountains. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for our area through Sunday morning. That will likely be upgraded to a warning later on today and tonight. Expect 6 to 10 inches of snow by the time everything kind of winds down later Sunday.” The snow is expected to start after midnight tonight.
A 61 year old La Pine man was killed in a traffic accident near Wickiup Junction last night. Sheriff's officials say Wesley Powell died when he pulled out in front of a semi on Highway 97. Sheriff's officials are investigating Thursday night's fatal crash to see if alcohol was a factor. Sergeant Vance Lawrence with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says it appears that drinking did play a role. “A combination of icy windshield; drinking may be a factor. Warn people that even a few drinks can impair your judgment and reflexes." Highway 97 was clocked in both directions three miles north of La Pine for about two hours. The driver of the Peterbilt was a 27 year old man from California and he wasn't cited. Lawrence says the semi wasn't able to stop in time to avoid the accident.
A Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team surveillance operation nets a large meth bust. Around noon Thursday, members of the "CODE" team and Redmond Police served a search warrant at a home on Southwest 29th Street in Redmond. The search reveals about four and a half pounds of methamphetamine and about $15,000 cash as well as scales and packaging materials. They were able to arrest Alan Orlando Rodriguez, 23, of Redmond, on Possession, Delivery and Manufacturing of methamphetamine.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is going in for prostate cancer surgery on Monday. Wyden learned about his cancer last month, caught in the early stages and opted to undergo surgery. Fellow Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says he spoke with Wyden yesterday and that he was in good spirits and looked great. Merkley says he wishes Wyden a speedy recovery and he's confident he'll be back in the Senate in no time.
Police are continuing to investigate a residential shooting in northwest Bend that has left two people dead, and a two year old boy in the hospital. Investigators say the husband, Charles Still is telling them he came home from work at 5:45 Wednesday night to find his wife, Julie and their five year old daughter and two year old son shot. When police arrived, Julie and the daughter were both dead. The two year old boy is in a Portland hospital with non life threatening injuries. Police say they believe they have talked to all persons involved and they are not looking for anyone. Neighbors are telling KBND Radio News the Stills seem to have been a happy family. “Their daughter would often come up to us and be friendly and nice. Other than that, we would see them leave their house and come back in and be friendly neighbors.” Wes Coughlin lives next door to the Stills and says the little girl who was killed came over and volunteered to help them move in 2 1/2 months ago. Other neighbors tell KBND that family was often out playing in the snow. Police say they are continuing to investigate.
Democratic U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thursday afternoon Wyden made the announcement and plans to have surgery this Monday at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Wyden was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer during his annual physical in November. Wyden says that he reviewed all the options with several doctors and decided to take a pro-active approach and have the surgery. He says thanks to routine screening the cancer was diagnosed very early. Wyden could miss some key votes; he says he scheduled the surgery awhile back anticipating that the Senate would have recessed for winter break.
Big changes could be coming soon for those caught drinking and driving. An expert panel is pushing for new rules hat would double the mandated treatment time for drunk drivers. Thursday in Salem a special planel is meeting to crack down more on drunk drivers . If approved, the idea would mandate one year of treatment for repeat offenders and a six months for the first DUII arrest. Don Zeiglar with Serenity Lane in Bend says it's important to go after even first time offenders more aggressively. “Statistics years ago showed on a national average a person who gets their 1st DUII has driven up to 80 times already." Zeigler is on the panel making the recommendations to the State. He says some people who come in voluntarily for treatment say they've been driving drunk for years without facing any serious consequences.
Oregon Congressman Greg Walden has been named the Chairman of the House Subcommittee that will oversee communications and technology policy in the 112th Congress. The subcommittee is one of six panels under the full Energy and Commerce Committee, which includes the Federal Communication Commission. He says what it means for Oregon is he will have influence that will affect nearly 10,000 jobs in the state: "As we've seen from the establishment of Google in the Dalles, the new Facebook project in Prineville, the first cell tower in Fossil and a long list of other projects in the State; communication and technology play a critical role in the economy and quality of life in rural Oregon." Walden says his business experience of owning a group of radio stations gives him a unique understanding of communications and technology. True to his vow for openness, Walden broke the news about his appointment via a twitter message in Morse code.
Attracting more film production to Oregon will be the topic of discussion at a teleconference at Central Oregon community college today. It will take place at the college from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Brad Douglas, President of the Central Oregon Film Alliance says they did this last year as well. “And its just an opportunity to get different film alliances throughout the State of Oregon and get an overview film making and the State Legislature's incentive programs and what impact its having on bringing filmmaking and production into the State of Oregon.” The Central Oregon Film Alliance acts as a regional film commission providing resources for film, television and media production.
Bend Police have identified two people killed in a residential home shooting early Wednesday night. Police say Charles Still came home from work at 5:45 pm and called police when he found his wife and two kids with gunshot wounds. Police responded and found Julie Angela Still and her five year old daughter dead. The two year old son has been transported to a Portland hospital with non life threatening gunshot wounds. Police have recovered a weapon and say they believe all the parties involved have been accounted for and are not looking for anyone. Detectives are continuing to process the scene. Ken Bent lives two doors north of the Fresca Street address: “They seemed happy, they didn't seem like they had any problems. They were always outside playing with their kids in the snow. Seemed like a happy couple to me.” Autopsies have been scheduled.
Today thousands of Dish Network customers in Central Oregon cannot view KOHD TV, the local ABC affiliate. That's because negotiations broke down between Dish Network and Chambers Communications, the owner of KOHD. The five year contract expired Wednesday night at midnight. Dish spokesperson Francie Bauer says Chambers Communications was asking for almost a 500% increase to carry the station. She was surprised that Chambers allowed the contract to expire. "No one has ever not negotiated when asking for a 500% rate increase. So this is the highest one I've seen where someone is not willing to come to the table and offer something more reasonable.” Meanwhile, Chambers Communications has a statement posted on their website. They say that Dish rejected several offers from them. Chambers also points out that they've reached new long term agreements with every other major cable and satellite carriers at the same "fair market" rate they are asking of Dish.
The Deschutes County Commissioners voted to wait on approving a union contract until after DA-Elect Patrick Flaherty takes office. Flaherty will take over the Department on January 3rd, but Commissioners won't vote on possibly approving a union contract until January 12th. Commissioner Dennis Luke says the acrimony occurring at the DA’s Office during the changing of the guard has been unfortunate. “I think it became very personal. This is the County's business and any time you let things get personal, it effects how you handle things. I think both the current DA and the incoming DA let this get a little personal.” Luke says since there won't be a contract in place when Flaherty takes over, DA's are at-will employees based on the employment agreement they signed when they took the job. Flaherty has said he plans to keep all but four of the attorneys.
There is a battle brewing in Central Oregon over whether to allow the testing of aerial drones. At Wednesday night's City Council meeting, councilors discussed the proposal. The Council voted five to two to draft a letter supporting drone testing. Proponents say it will bring badly needed jobs to the region; pilots are concerned about safety, and still other like Meg Brookover of Bend want nothing to do with supporting this military application: “I say no, if it’s a military drone, which have killed 750-1000 civians in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I would not support the military drone endeavor.” Pilot Gary Miller is helping with the Bend Airport Master Plan: “Accident rate with UAV’s is three times that for the regular general aviation.” Bend City Councilor Jodie Barram has several concerns over the Council: “This letter encourages further fringement on private pilots and their right to airspace. I’m not comfortable with that.” Councilor Oran Teater supports drone testing. “I have a nephew that just got back from Afghanistan and thank God, we’ve got these over there ‘cuz it saved his life.” The FAA will ultimately make the decision, and indications are they will get a lot of input from Central Oregonians.
Economists have been saying our recovery is going to be a long slog and KBND money analyst Bill Valentine echoes that sentiment: “We're basically digging out of 25 years of excessive consumption, interest rates coming down and balance sheets loaded with debt. And we're paying the price for that.” Valentine believes it will be four to five years before we feel things are returning to normal. But he does see encouraging signs the economy is improving, just slowly. Bill Valentine was the guest on "Your Town" during the KBND Morning News this morning. He will be regular monthly guest on Your Town beginning in January.
It’s a common problem fire departments run into during the winter: people are trying to keep their livestock warm and rig heat lamps in sheds and pens to help keep them warm. Wednesday, around noon, Redmond Fire was called to a fire in an outbuilding off on O'Neil way. "In those pens, the owner has some pigs and she was using a heat lamp to help keep them warm. One of the heat lamps had come loose and dropped lamp-side down onto the straw, which ignited. Luckily a couple of contractors were going to that residence to do some work, discovered the fire early on and were able to extinguish it with a garden hose." Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper says when Redmond Fire arrived on the scene, they made sure the fire was completely out. No pigs were harmed. Cooper says if you need to use a heat lamp, make sure it is well away from any combustible material and out of range for the livestock to bump it, causing it to dislodge and come into contact with the bedding materials. If in doubt, you can always call the fire department and they can inspect your set up.
Two people are dead and another hurt after a shooting in northwest Bend. Around 5:50 Wednesday night, 911 dispatchers received a call for help. That help arrived and responders found two people dead inside and a third person hurting. The Oregon State Police Crime Lab responded and officials said it was going to be a long night. Bend Police Lieutenant Ben Gregory would only say that the public is not in danger and that investigators are still working out the details. Shortly before 10 Wednesday night, District Attorney Mike Dugan confirmed that police are investigating a homicide. Almost 15 police cars were on the scene on Fresca Street.
Red ink in the City of Bend's budget. That issue faced Wednesday night by City Council. The City Council received a committee report on more cutbacks. City Councilor Jeff Eager: “The hole in the budget is being described as about $17 to $27-million dollars over the next five years. Built into that number is some fairly significant increases in police and fire to ensure we can maintain our current level of service.” Departments want 25 more police and fire. The committee wants to cut that to four new police and four new firemen. Other proposals. Cutting back contribution to Community Development, stabilization reserve fund and cutting $1.1 million to streets. All of this will save almost $15-million in five years. “What the Council will have to do in conjunction with the budget committee in January is to look at this recommendations and balance them with other needs of the City, recognizing that public safety is a priority for the General Fund and make some tough decisions.”
Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to delay a decision on a proposed Deputy District Attorney contract until the new DA is in office. Incoming District Attorney Patrick Flaherty says approving a contract now that only allows firing for cause would tie his hands in selecting his new staff. “I'm grateful that they are going to give me the opportunity to sit down as a District Attorney and to discuss the contract that has been proposed and so on.” Flaherty tells 1110 KBND News that some voters have told him they want to see some "house cleaning" in the DA's Office. Flaherty told Commissioners that only four of the 18 deputy district attorneys have been told they will not be retained in the Flaherty Administration. Commissioner Alan Unger voted for the delay, but says he supports the contract because he doesn't want the county to face a charge of bargaining in bad faith. The contract will be discussed again with the new County Commission during their second business meeting in January.
A Bend man was killed in what is described as a freak accident in Glide, Oregon. David Sheldon, 57, died Tuesday when a large tree fell on the van he was sleeping in. David Sheldon loved nature and would sometimes sleep in the woods after doing marketing work at his job in Roseburg. Dwes Hutson with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office: "This was a freak accident, We're in timber county so its not uncommon to have wind storm that bring trees down and so forth, but to happen to come down across a van where someone is sleeping out in a remote area; just a freak accident." For 18 years, Sheldon did marketing work for a Roseburg company. His boss Tim Bogan says it wasn't unusual for him to sleep in his van: “Dave was a lover of the outdoors. If you see where he passed away, it’s a beautiful setting; it’s right on the north Umpqua River.” In Bend, Sheldon was active in community theater and the Cascade Festival of Music
A vice president at St. Charles Health System will head up Governor-Elect Kitzhaber’s health policies. Mike Bonetto has been at St. Charles for a couple years, but has decided to take the full time job as a Senior Policy Advisor for Kitzhaber in Salem. Bonetto knows the job will be challenging, but believes it will provide an opportunity to improve healthcare. “From state budget perspective, a State budget perspective, the State Medicaid Program, the Oregon Health Plan, has some financial difficulties ahead of it. So, how do we do this so that really tries to hold people harmless, but the same time gets us out of our current inefficient system.” Bonetto says he's met with Kitzhaber several times and is impressed with his grasp of the budget. He’ll start the Senior Advisor job after the first of the year.
The State's unemployment remains at 10%, but more jobs were added last month. Some encouraging signs: Connie Druliner with Express Employment Professionals says they're seeing more companies use temporary workers or flex forces. “With the economy still lagging, working really hard, we're seeing companies add people with flex force so don't disappoint people or lay off people. We’re seeing a lot of that.” Manufacturing, engineering , accounting and the medical industries are all adding jobs.
A spokesman for local real estate agents isn't alarmed by a new report showing home prices falling in Bend and Redmond. A report issued Tuesday compares November 2009 to November 2010, and shows a 9% drop in the median price of homes in both cities. Tom Green, Past President of the Central Oregon Board of Realtors, says year-over-year price decline reflects the fact that we're bouncing along the bottom of the market. But going forward he's seeing signs of life: “More and more people are saying that they're busy. Six months ago we weren't getting a lot of people saying they were working with buyers. But now, just about everybody I know in the business is working with one or two buyers and more and more reports like that are coming out.” Green believes there is a lot of pent up demand for homes and that more buyers and higher prices will hit the market this spring.
We could get a better look today on what the Administration of incoming Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty will look like. A rather heated campaign has spilled over into the transition from outgoing DA Mike Dugan to Flaherty. Deputy District Attorneys have hammered out a labor agreement that states they can only be fired "for cause". Commissioners have a tentative meeting this afternoon with Flaherty and then are expected to vote on the proposed contract with the Deputy District Attorneys. 1110 KBND News will be at the meeting and will have details in our KBND Afternoon News program.
The Bend La Pine School Board has picked Cheri Helt to be its newest School Board member. She will replace Wells Ashby who was elected to be a Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge. Helt owns Zydeco Restaurant in downtown Bend. As a mother of three and also a business owner, she believes she will bring a unique perspective to the School Board. Helt says her priority will be to work with state lawmakers to increase school budgets back to 2005 levels. She will fill the seat until the May election.
The Oregon Water Resources Department has issued a determination on allegations that the City of Bend is operating its municipal water supply illegally. Water Watch says it's similar to the City of Bend leaving the water tap running all the time and occasionally taking a drink. The Bridge Creek Watershed Pipe Operations is at capacity all the time and the excess is dumped into Tumalo Creek, causing water quality issues there. But a news release from the City says the Water Resources Department is siding with the City. Water Watch does not agree: “Well, our response is that this is the City spinning the issue and it doesn't change anything in the complaint, or the validity of the complaint.” The City's news release states Water Resources has determined that the pipe needs to run at capacity to maintain pressure and keep from damaging the aging pipeline. City Attorney Mary Winters says the City will work with Water Resources to look at reasonable interim steps to deal with some of the complaint issues. City officials believe the timing of the complaint was designed to have the City Council rescind approval of the City's Major Surface Water Improvement Project. Water Watch is still looking over the State determination before they issue a response.
This morning, the KBND Morning News was given a musical treat. Members of the Summit High School band came in to play several of their favorite songs. Spokesman for the group, Scott Robson, says they have been invited to play at Carnegie Hall in New York and need to raise money to get there. So they are on the stump to let people know about their efforts. "Tomorrow (Thursday) night they're having a free concert at Summit High School at 7:30 p.m. And you can actually hear the band that's going to be going to Carnegie Hall in April 2011. We will also be selling tickets to the jazz concert on Sunday at the Riverhouse. Cameron Clark has generously donated part of the proceeds of each ticket sale from the Summit High School kids to help us with our the fundraiser." Robson says the kids are thrilled to be one of 18 high school bands chosen in the nation to perform. The 44 band members need to raise about $70,000. They are about a third of the way there. Again, they will have a free performance at Summit High Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.; The concert is free, but they will gratefully receive any donations at the door.
Congressman Greg Walden was chosen to head the House Republican Transition Team because the new Majority Leader, John Boehner admires his work. A recent survey of Oregon voters indicates that Walden is the most admired elected official currently serving Oregon. The website Oregoncatalyst.com reports that Walden, the lone Oregon Republican in Congress, was the overwhelming choice. Walden says he has always thought that the House is the "peoples house"; that they are stewards of taxpayers’ money and the public's business. He says will continue to fight for openness in government and that's what people respond to. Even political and ideological opposite, Congressman Earl Blumenaur says Walden brings a refreshing view to his job. KBND would like to congratulate Greg Walden for being Oregon's most admired elected official.
A Deschutes County judge refused to lower bail for the couple accused of scamming people out of thousands in a wellness center franchise operation. Todd Surgeon and Laurie Rose are charged with theft and fraud. Four victims were in the courtroom Tuesday afternoon, including Richard Lee. “The four of us on the victim list, our lives have all been radically altered over the past year, because of our involvement with these people. We’ve collectively lost a lot of money through investing in this business.” Surgeon will be back in court on December 29th and Laurie Rose will be back in court for a plea hearing on December 23rd.
The phone is ringing off the hook at the Humane Society of Redmond. A lot of people want to adopt "Nala", the pit bill-lab mix who is credited with saving the life of another dog one week ago. “She was out with Alan, who usually works with her and he knows her very well. And he was walking her down the road and he kept pulling her towards the ditch.” Volunteer Chris Bowersfeldt says a blind cocker spaniel called "Chadwick" was in the bottom of that ditch in the cold snow. Even though five other dogs walked past the ditch that morning, only Nala alerted to the cocker spaniel. Chadwick survived and now Nala is a hero. Even though every one wants to adopt the "hero dog", the shelter wants to make sure this high energy dog goes to the right home. “She also is not good with cats, so we need to find her just the right home. So we are going to be fairly choosy, which is how we are with all of our dogs.” Chadwick's owner, Tina Mazzariello is grateful for Nala's persistence and says the smaller dog is doing well and adjusting to her new home.
It’s a first for Prineville; a homeless shelter just opened this week. A house next to the Crook County Sheriff's Office was converted from a storage place to a five bed shelter for men. Cook County Commissioner Ken Fahlgren says times are tough and Prineville really needed a shelter. “I think what we're seeing is there are different faces of homelessness. There are people who've never had a need in their life and have come to a point where they don't have a job or they don't have a place to be and maybe families aren't here to help them. They're just the eyes and the ears of those in our community who we know we need to help and we do take the time to do that." While the County took the lead role, the new shelter was also group effort from local contractors, churches and other volunteers. In the end it only cost the County a few thousand dollars. Fahlgren calls the project a success and says if the need continues they'll consider opening another local shelter.
More than 50 officers, deputies and troopers from several different law enforcement agencies spent a couple of hours spreading holiday cheer Tuesday. This is the tenth year of Shop With A Cop. “The kid’s reactions are very similar to law enforcement's reactions. I don't know who benefits more, either the law enforcement officers reactions or the kids, I think it's a coin toss.” Deschutes County Sheriffs Lieutenant Shane Nelson says $36,000 was spent this year. This year, they are shopping for more than a hundred kids and the final tally isn't in yet. What do the kids think? Well, they were thrilled to be able to buy things for their families, get some needed clothing for themselves. Nelson says they were able to talk about their lives and their families and have a great experience in general. If you would like to donate to Shop With A Cop, call the Deschutes County Sheriffs Office or your local Central Oregon law enforcement agency.
Oregon’s unemployment has hovered around 10% for more than a year. KBND money analyst Bill Valentine says last month's unemployment rate ticked up slightly, but that just means more people are actively looking for work. “This is the recovery, believe it or not. It’s going to be a series of little improvements with an occasional setback. And it's going to take several years for it to really feel like we are recovering. So I’ll call today’s unemployment numbers a minor victory; but one that puts us in the right direction.” In November in Oregon, payroll employment rose by 6300.
A bipartisan group of U.S. House members signed a letter asking the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its stance on biomass power. In the preliminary draft of the rules on greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA did not consider biomass power a renewable power source, placing it in the same category as fossil fuels. Congressmen Greg Walden, and Peter DeFazio are leading the charge to encourage the EPA to exempt biomass for what's called the "Tailoring Rule"* until the agency has a chance to review a host of comments they have received on the issue. 32 members of Congress have signed the letter to the EPA. Central Oregon has at least two major biomass power proposals underway; a 20 megawatt power plant scheduled for La Pine and a 35-megawatt plant in development in Warm Springs. The two plants are to cost about $200-million and will bring in about 100 jobs.
*EPA's “Tailoring Rule "tailors" permitting programs to limit the number of facilities that would be required to obtain new source review and Title V operating permits based on their greenhouse gas emissions. EPA said the threshold would cover power plants, refineries and other large industrial plants while exempting smaller sources like farms, restaurants, schools and other facilities.
Redmond’s plans for a new outdoor skating rink will have to wait until next winter. Mayor George Endicott says the City ran into a couple roadblocks trying to rush the project. “The final analysis was: it’s going to cost us more than twice as much as we anticipated. The only chiller available was twice was twice the size we needed. The cost was going to be prohibitive, and we tried to rush it and couldn’t quite make it happen.” Endicott says the City is moving forward with fundraising and hope to have the skating rink available by next winter.
Central Oregon’s largest golf event is moving. Next August, the Ghost Tree Invitational, which raises money for local charities will be at the Sunriver Resort and Crosswater Golf Club. For the last five years it's been at Pronghorn, but Ryan Chackel with the Ghost Tree Invitational says the Sunriver facility allows the event to grow it's new celebrity auction. They wanted to move their celebrity auction indoors. “It was a priority of ours to move the event indoors; which Sunriver has a lot of options, like the Great Hall and some others that they can present to make that happen for Thursday night. So that’s hosting a couple of hundred people inside which isn’t easy for some local golf clubs. Also one of the bigger decisions we had was in regards to our celebrities. We needed them on site at one place. And Sunriver has the ability to host our 30 sports and entertainment celebrities in one location so it makes the logistics a lot easier.” The Ghost Tree Invitational will be August 11th through the 13th next year.
We’ve seen three counterfeiting cases in Bend during the last few weeks. Bend Police say it's unusual to see that many in a short time span. Consumers and cashiers need to take a closer look at the cash they handle. When it comes to counterfeit bills, it’s a little like the game of hot potato, the last one stuck with the phony money loses. Bend Police Sergeant Ron Taylor says often banks and businesses are the victims; but sometimes the consumer gets stuck. "If the bill is of relatively good quality, it is not uncommon for a person or a business who takes that bill to give it back out in change and then it filters down to some unsuspecting citizens. So just because a bill is received from a legitimate business does not always mean that it is a real bill." Taylor says advanced technology is making it easier for more people to make bad bills.
For eight years, the Deschutes County Sheriff Office has joined efforts with the Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center and SYSCO Foods to supply many hungry families a holiday meal during the Christmas season. "The Deschutes County Sheriffs Office is proud to assist those people less fortunate than ourselves this holiday season with more than 575 complete holiday meals, all though donations. We typically pick that up at the Riverhouse from the SYSCO truck; again provided from the Purcell family, SYSCO Foods and the La Pine Food Basket. Deschutes Country Sheriffs Office transports that to La Pine." Sheriff Larry Blanton says members of the Department along with other volunteers will meet at the Riverhouse next Monday to assemble and deliver the food baskets. Blanton says there are also some toys and needed clothing items included with the baskets; all coming from community donations.
A private four-year religious college is looking to move to Sisters in the next couple years. Mac Hay, Economic Manager for Sisters says they've been talking with Gutenberg College out of Eugene for awhile. “They really like Sisters. It’s a good fit for both Sisters and the College. A small town; a small college.” College leaders will be in Sisters this Thursday to answer questions from the community. Hay says if the applications are approved by the City Council, the college should move in during the next year or two.
$410,000 worth of improvements are planned for Meissner Snow Park seven miles southwest of Bend. “The funds will help us do the final expansion at Meissner Sno Park to expand the sno-park by 60 parking spaces. As most visitors know on the weekends that place gets pretty crowded.” Amy Tinderholt of the Deschutes National Forest says construction funds won't be available until 2015 but planning work will precede that. Money will also be allocated for shuttle buses, a new shelter and new toilet facilities.
The Tower Theatre is getting a jump start on their goal for more community outreach. Cast members of the upcoming B.E.A.T. production of "A Christmas Carol" are visiting local schools to perform scenes from the play. "We try to keep it interactive. So we talk about Charles Dickens himself. We talk about the premise of the play. But we also talk about what London was really was like in 1843, which was when the play was set, from Mrs. Cratchit's perspective. The poverty and what times would have been like." Rebecca Singer, who plays Mrs. Cratchit in the play, says some of the students are chosen to play parts in the scene and many are inspired to find out more about the theatre. A Christmas Carol will be at the Tower Theatre Friday through Monday. You can get more information at the Tower Theatre website.
Bend Parks and Recreation is excited to be adding of two new parks to the District. The downturn in the real estate market means they can buy land at a much cheaper rate for future parks. They are close to buying nearly five acres of land near the Old Mill District called "Millers Landing." “And lots of people think this is the highest and best use of that land, a community park to be used by kayakers, canoers, anglers, families, pictures. I can go on and on.” Greg Cushman is with the Trust for Public Lands. They are close to raising the $1.8 million for the Miller Landing Project. The second park is known as Gopher Gulch and its up river from Tumalo State Park. It's expected to take five years before these two new parks will become a reality.
More weather is headed our way, and this time high wind is the concern. “We are really going to see a big increase in winds. We are going to be talking about gusts in excess of 45 miles per hour around the dinner hour. Then we will settle down with that and see some breezy conditions, but again 45 mile per hour winds are going to make it very difficult to drive.” Weather Channel forecaster Danielle Banks says we can expect rain around 10 and 11pm to continue omorrow. Temperatures should cool off into the 30s by Tuesday into Wednesday. Expect some light snow Tuesday night and another system by the weekend to bring even more snow. Wednesday’s highs should only reach into the upper 30s.
A swat team was called out to Redmond Saturday after a woman threatened to hurt herself and another woman with several large knives. “We were able to get the hostage out without the other person inside knowing that they were leaving. It resolved that portion of it. At that point we were left with a person who refused to come out, eventually we were able to convince the person to come out and take her into custody.” Redmond Police Lieutenant Nathan Gariby says officers responded to the Stafford Square Apartments just after noon Saturday. One neighbor said the woman inside was "freaking out" and eventually broke a window with a knife. Gariby says the person taken hostage was a caregiver. Four neighboring apartments were evacuated.
Racers and participants enjoyed a rather balmy winter day for the last day of the USA Cyclocross National Championships in Bend. If you ever go to a Cyclocross, make sure to take your cowbell. More than 8000 spectators watched the event Sunday and 1600 racers journeyed to Bend for the Wednesday through Sunday event. John DuFont is a spectator from Bend: “I don't want to see anybody crash, I like the strength and endurance that they have. Their poise and balance is exceptional, they are amazing.” What about the racers, what do they like? Cody Peterson is with Hutch's Bicycles: “The pain, riding when it hurts, looking at the next guy suffering, and wanting to give it that little bit extra.” Katie Compton of Colorado Springs and Todd Wells of Durango, Colorado were winners in the Sunday's elite races.
Meanwhile, we won't know the full economic impact for another month of the just completed USA Cyclocross National Championships. But preliminary numbers show the event gave a tremendous off-season shot in the arm to the region's tourism. “Preliminary estimates would reflect direct tourism spending, meaning the money coming out of the tourist's pockets and into cash registers of local businesses at just over a million dollars. It will probably fall at about $1.1- $1.3 million. And then the long term economic impact and the secondary spin will take the total economic impact to between $1.5 and $2 dollars.” Doug La Placa of Visit Bend says about 3500 visitors came from almost every state to either race or watch. It's about the same size as the other national cycling championship events, but La Placa says the biggest impact of this event is that it occurred during the off season. This is the final year of the two year USA Cyclocross Championship contract with the cycling organization but La Placa says the event was so successful he is sure Cyclocross will be back in the future.
Searchers believe they have found the body of a murdered Bend woman, but the Santiam River is to treacherous to recover it. On Saturday, kayakers spotted the body trapped in tree branches in an eddy of the Santiam. It's believed to be the body of murdered Bend woman Lori Blaylock. By the time Marion County deputies hiked into the remote location, they opted to try to recover the body Sunday. However, after repeated attempts divers had to give up because the current is unsafe. Recent rains have caused the outflow from Detroit Reservoir to double to 5,000 CFS as of yesterday. Officials say no positive identification of the body has yet been made, but searchers say the timing and location of the discovery make it highly likely that it's the body of Lori Blaylock. Her husband Steven has been arrested and is charged with her murder. He is due back in court next week.
Searchers believe they have found the body of a murdered Bend woman, but the Santiam River is to treacherous to recover it. On Saturday, kayakers spotted the body trapped in tree branches in an eddy of the Santiam. It's believed to be the body of murdered Bend woman Lori Blaylock. By the time Marion County deputies hiked into the remote location, they opted to try to recover the body Sunday. However, after repeated attempts divers had to give up because the current is unsafe. Recent rains have caused the outflow from Detroit Reservoir to double to 5,000 CFS as of yesterday. Officials say no positive identification of the body has yet been made, but searchers say the timing and location of the discovery make it highly likely that it's the body of Lori Blaylock. Her husband Steven has been arrested and is charged with her murder. He is due back in court next week.
Gutenberg College, a private four year liberal arts college based in Eugene, is exploring the relocation of its College to Sisters. The College plans to file a planning application with the with of Sisters on Friday, December 17, seeking an amendment to the Sisters Development Code to allow colleges as a conditionally permitted use in the City’s light industrial zone. The Development Code currently allows vocational schools in this zone via a conditional use permit. The purpose of a conditional use permit allows the City to review uses that are permitted in the underlying zoning district but which because of their size; operation or other characteristics require review on a case-by-case basis. As part of the exploration process, Gutenberg officials will be available to answer questions about the college’s programs, curriculum and its reasons for selecting Sisters. A community forum is planned for Thursday, December 16 at 5:00 p.m. at the Sisters Library Community Room.
Finding affordable daycare can be challenging in Deschutes County, so the Deschutes County Commission on Children and Families is looking for input. They will be conducting a survey of employers and employees during December and January to find out what issues exist and how the county can help. Mary Lorence says the purpose of the survey is to educate the community. “For childcare providers and people who work in the field, they usually have low wages and long hours and it costs a lot for parents, so it's kind of a struggle.” Some of the companies that have agreed to the survey are T-Mobile and Deschutes County employees.
So far this fall, more than 18,000 utility customers are taking action to reduce their power bills. The free products and advice are offered thru the Energy Trust of Oregon program. "We've saved Oregonians over $600 million in energy costs, so we're having an impact." Energy Trust of Oregon spokesperson Megan Clark says all it takes is a phone call and a local energy expert will come out to your place. The short visit can make a big difference in the long run. "A lot of older homes, they're not up to current code in terms of insulation levels. That a really good place to start. So we'll look in your attic and look under your home and measure your insulation levels and determine if you have code levels and if not, we'll not only let you know that but we'll provide you the info to add insulation to your home." The program is funded through a charge that's already on most utility bills.
The awesome food scene in Bend is the focus of a large spread in Sunset Magazine this month. Bend won the "Most Food Focused Ski Town Award" in Sunset Magazine. Magazine editors looked at 70 different ski towns for their "Best Ski Towns of the West" edition. PR Director, Dana Smith says the writers and editors had to experience all 70 places before giving the awards: “Then, we all talked amongst ourselves. And we chose categories that would make people want to travel to those towns; and we even talked to people who didn't ski. We wanted places that had an epic western backdrop, but we wanted them to really express what's important to people who are traveling around the west, and when it came to Bend, food really set it apart." There are ten total categories; some of the other topics include: The Most Relaxed, The Prettiest, and The Most Charming.
Sunset Magazine has about 5 million readers. Smith says this article may help bring more tourists to Central Oregon.
A Redmond resident held another woman against her will and sparked a five-hour standoff with Redmond Police, OSP, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, and the Central Oregon Eergency Response Team Saturday afternoon. The suspect was seen by neighbors waiving a knife in the air and yelling out of her apartment window near NW 4th Street and Greenwood. Patrol officers rescued the captive woman. The suspect was taken into custody around 5:30 p.m. and sent to a hospital for evaluation. Streets in the area were closed during the incident and several other apartments were evacuated.
If you've been to area grocery stores lately, you've probably seen the Salvation Army Bell Ringers out. Major Robert Keene with the Salvation Army says the need is greater than ever this holiday season, but giving is down. “We're a little behind last year. We’ve obviously could use more. We have 1700 families registered and we're a little bit behind bell ringing as far as income.” The original local Salvation Army goal was $85,000, but Major Keene says they probably won't make that. They hope to raise $73,000 this Christmas season, which is down about 12% from last year.
Oregon is ranked among the top 10 worst states when it comes to the number of DUII arrests; and the stats show that the rate is even higher in Central Oregon. Add holiday parties to the mix and it can be pretty dangerous out there. A longtime drug and alcohol counselor says he's seen too much death in his line of work. And one thing about drinking and driving, it's 100 percent preventable. It's especially bad this time of year with holiday parties. Jerry Gjeswold says you just need to have the courage to speak up. He offers this script: “You know we recognize tonight that you’ve had a little bit too much to drink and we think its in your best interest not to get behind the wheel of a car and drive. And of course people typically respond with “Oh I’m fine, I’ll be okay, well, you know, if you go out and something were to happen to you, I would just be devastated, because I care too much.” Gjesvold says drinking and driving has much more serious consequences in other counties- in one you lose your license for life and in Malaysia, your spouse has to go to jail with you for six months
A court has ruled that a person riding a bicycle while intoxicated in Oregon can be charged for a violation of the three strikes rule on an existing driver’s license revocation. Franklin Abbey, a Deschutes County man, is charged with such an offense. He claimed that a bicycle-based charge could not count on a “three strikes conviction”. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the conviction.
The largest moths in the world are at the High Desert Museum right now. Museum spokesperson Dana Whitelaw says they just got a shipment of 10 Atlas Moths. They are currently in their 5 to six inch long cocoon that looks like a dried leaf; when they start emerging, they get really big! "They're about 7-8 inches in their wingspan. And they'll be in the exhibit for another 2-3 weeks is about how long we'll be able to keep them in the exhibit. And we had some several weeks ago and they're a real highlight for adults and kids alike to see the largest moth in the world." The moths are part of a popular butterfly exhibit. The Museum is located south of Bend.
Alert clerks at the Arco P-M at Third and Greenwood were suspicious of a $20 bill a man was trying to use around 1:00 p.m. Friday. They called Bend Police. The suspect gave a false name when police questioned him, but upon investigation, found the car he was driving had switched plates and was actually a car stolen from Kingman, Arizona. They discovered the suspect's real name, Nicholas Swope, 37, from the Dalles and arrested him for outstanding warrants from Skamania County, Washington. Police also discovered over $6200 in forged $20 and $100 bills in his possession and the printer used to produce the bills. Swope was apparently traveling through Bend from Nevada. This case does not appear to be linked to other cases involving forged bills in Bend. Swope is lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on multiple forgery and other charges.
More bizarre ramblings from convicted child killer Diane Downs at her parole hearing. She tried to explain her behavior as searching for the truth into who shot her children. She says “I took my wounded children to the hospital to get help. Not because I wanted them dead, but because I wanted them alive.” Downs again denied involvement and weaved conspiracy theories about the "real killer". Doug Welch was the original detective in the 1983 case. Welch says Downs should remain in prison for life for shooting her children in cold blood. The Parole Board took less than half an hour to deny her parole and also extended her next hearing for another ten years saying she lacks remorse and remains a danger to society.
Democratic Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio says it doesn't make sense to go into debt to pay for the extension of tax cuts to the wealthy that President Obama and Republicans want. DeFazio says the other expenses being added to the Bill for the sake of adding jobs aren't worth the return. The President predicts the Bill will pass. If it doesn't, the tax cuts will run out for all taxpayers at the end of December. The cost of extending the tax cuts is now estimated at $900-billion over two years. DeFazio says all of that money will have to be borrowed. He continues to fight it.
Big changes could be coming soon to those caught drinking and driving in Oregon. A State advisory board is seriously thinking about increasing treatment time for first time offenders to 6 months; repeat offenders would spend a year in treatment. Those proposed requirements would double what is currently mandated. One criticism of the idea is it could end up costing the State more in the short-term. Jerry Gjesvold of Serenity Lane served on the Governor's Advisory Committee for DUII Legislation for 16 years. He believes this additional early treatment will prevent more costly alcohol and drug problems in the future. “I think it's dollars well spent, if we can get people turned around, that's the issue. Or the data will not show that until we have it in place over a period of time.” Gjesvold says data shows that one dollar spent in treatment saves $12 to 15 in money not spent on other social services.
There are concerns that the City of Bend is damaging ten miles of Bridge Creek by taking more water than is needed. That's the claim of Water Watch of Oregon. Water Watch spokesman John DeVoe: “What they do is a pipe full management scheme. The pipe is always full but they aren’t using all that water. The water they don't use they move ten miles downstream and dump into Tumulo Creek, and that is wasteful use under Oregon Water Law.” But that claim is still under investigation by the Oregon Department of Water Resources. The City of Bend’s Justin Finestone says they are taking a look at the complaint. “Are attorneys are going to look at the letter and analyze it in detail. And when they’re finished with that next week, we’ll be able to have a more detailed response. Till we hear differently from the attorneys, we will continue to operate our water system in the same manner that we have operated it for decades.” Right now, the City uses about 11-million gallons of water every day from the Bridge Creek Watershed. That's about half of the Bend's daily usage.
Big crowds are already coming out for the Cyclocross National Championships races going on this week in Bend. Doug La Placa with Visit Bend, says the big races will be this weekend: “The crowds have, again, exceeded out expectations. At this stage of the week we’re still in somewhat less prestigious racing. So we’re not expecting big crowds, but we still had over 1000 people watching the races. Which is an indicator that we’re expecting enormous crowds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.” The National Championships will go through Sunday. With temperatures expected to be in the mid to high 40's, participants expect some muddy racing conditions in the Old Mill District.
It’s a weekend filled with activities in Central Oregon. What can hold five tons, including a jolly old fat man in a red suit? Well, it will be in the 9th Annual Night Light Parade Saturday night at 5 in Prineville. “We have a rather outstanding transport for Santa Claus. You would have to be here to believe it. It was made by the National Guard folks. They have been working on it for sometime, so you can imagine their skill set in making a float.” Bill Gowen is the CEO of the Prineville / Crook County Chamber Of Commerce. Other events include “Wreaths Across America” at Deschutes Memorial Gardens. Green Christmas wreaths are laid on veterans graves. You can take five cans of food to the Sisters Drug Store and get a free photo with Old Saint Nick. The Humane Society of Redmond will have a “Furry Friends Food Drive” Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at four different locations. Motorcyclists of Central Oregon will help out Santa by having their Central Oregon Toy Run, Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
Around 7:00 p.m. Thursday night, 911 Dispatch receives to a call that someone's car window was shot out as they drove in the area of Reed Market Road near Alderwood Circle. Within five minutes, two more reports came in about the same problem. The investigation reveals that all three cars were traveling in the same direction when an unknown projectile hit the windows, causing them to break. A search of the area didn't result in finding any one or any evidence. Police are asking for your help. If you have any information about this incident, contact Bend Police.
The Bend La Pine Schools Board has narrowed their search for a new board member. Wells Ashby's seat became vacant when he was elected Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge. Board Chair Peggy Kinkade says they had a variety of applicants: "We took applicants over the course of a few weeks. We had five applicants for the position. This past Tuesday night the full School Board in a full public session interviewed all five of the candidates and took a vote to narrow the list to two finalists. Those two finalists are Mike Hotzclaw and Cheri Helt." Kinkade says next Tuesday, the Board will decide who will fill Ashby's Zone 1 seat. She adds that they hope the candidate will then run in the May election to complete Ashby’s term. Mike Holtzclaw is a Dean at COCC. Cheri Helt is a co-owner of Zydeco Restaurant and is on the Board for the Education Foundation for the Bend La Pine Schools.
It’s a challenging time for non-profits but CORIL, Central Oregon Resources for Independent Living is thriving. Director Jim Lee says their program pairs up people with developmental disabilities with businesses to do meaningful work. It’s a win-win for everyone. “CORIL is a very inspirational place. Not a place where you feel sorry for people with disabilities. If you come into our work center you see people with disabilities doing amazing things. It's really a celebration. We're always looking for volunteers, businesses to help and we're always looking for people to financially invest in our mission.” Jim Lee says funding has been challenging since 2008, but they've made cuts to get by. Lee was the guest on "Your Town" during the KBND Morning News Thursday.
"All options are on the table." That's the word today from the State in choosing a new DMV office in Bend. Yesterday the DMV announced that they are pulling out of controversial plans to open an office at the Brookswood Meadow Plaza. Going forward, the State plans to open up all ideas to the robust Public Works process used in large highway projects. ODOT's David House says that will mean lots of public testimony, lots of time and all ideas, including Brookswood Plaza, up for discussion. House says what is lost with this direction is the ability to negotiate better deals thru a private process. "For example we've been using the Department of Administrative Services to act as a real estate agent to essentially act as a private company and go out and negotiate confidentially and get the best deal for taxpayers. We can do that when it's a space that's under 10 thousand square feet." Hundreds of neighbors near the Plaza fought the DMV's plans to move in; they feared the office would bring in too much traffic and thought the location was too remote for most people in Bend.
The medicinal use of marijuana in Bend is getting more attention as two businesses open new locations. 1110 KBND's Dave Adams talks to Sandy Burbank, the Executive Director of Mother's Against Misuse and Abuse, otherwise known as “Mama's Marijuana.” Burbank and several other women started the MAMA organization, she says, to teach people how to use marijuana legally. “Sold people on the magic bullet , we have all this advertising about prescription drugs on TV. Prescription drugs kill over a 100,000 people a year.” Burbank says MAMA's Marijuana is a clinic in which a patient sees a doctor to be evaluated to see if the drug can benefit them. Then they teach Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Law. She would like to see the law changed so the use is regulated by the medical community and not by law enforcement. She speaks against what she calls "renegades"; that is the people sharing or selling pot in the name of medicinal relief with the eye on profit. Burbank says she doesn't promote marijuana use, but favors decriminalizing it. MAMA's is located on Revere in Bend.
The Redmond School Board offered its Superintendent Shay Mikalson a new three year contract, paying $127,000, $7,000 more than he is currently making. School Board President Jim Erickson says the new contract won't start until July of 2011. “$120,000 earning this year, is a good salary, but it's not commiserate with what superintendents make. $127,000 is what Vicki Fleming would have made had she come back. She would have been making the same amount this year.” Mikalson's current contract is the "interim" offer the District gave him before they offered him the Superintendent's job permanently.
The head of a real estate development company, Brooks Resources, is heading to St. Charles Medical Center. After 17 years, Kirk Schueller is leaving Brooks Resources to be the Bend hospital's Chief Administrative Officer. Schueller sees similarities with both jobs, though they're in different industries: “Real estate is slogging through. And here we have healthcare; beginning of new healthcare. So they're both going through transition in both industries. So I’m going out of the frying pan into the fire. I don't know.” Schueller's position at St. Charles is a created post , part of a larger hospital alignment. He will start at the Hospital in mid January.
A group of University of Oregon students will begin a three day immersion study here in Bend on December 10th; which is the beginning of their normal winter break time. They want to investigate homelessness and poverty. Laura gGangaard with the U of O Service Learning Program says about eight students will do everything from serving meals to interviewing homeless and out of worker people. "Basically just looking at the difference faces of poverty in bend. What it looks like compared to here; different climate, different environment. And they'll be doing some service at various shelters around town; the Bethlehem Inn, the [Bend] Community Center. They’ll be talking with representatives at the economic development council and living options for teens. And then doing some other activities around their service issues as well." Grangaard says hopefully the trip will inspire a lifetime of community service. KBND will keep up with the students to get their impression on the homeless problems in bend and we will report to you their findings next week
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say they have found more deer dead from adenovirus hemorrhagic disease than in the past. ODF&W spokesman Steven George says once a deer is exposed, there is nothing that can save it. "What they're dying from is a disease called adenovirus hemorrhagic disease. It’s a disease specific to just deer. Pets, livestock do not get it, it kills most of the animals that are exposed to it. We had a major outbreak about 6-7 years ago at Crooked River Ranch." George says they encourage you not to feed the deer because the disease is passed to deer through nose to nose and saliva contact and so it will wipe out a congregating herd. He says a couple of months ago, they were finding about one to two dead deer every day in the Cove Palisades Park and Crooked River Ranch area, but the numbers are going down now.
Now that the DMV has terminated their lease for an office at Brookswood Meadow Plaza - will the landlord get stuck with a bill?? That question is being raised because the State is in the process of assessing their costs. ODOT's David House says the State has a tough balancing act of being fair to Scott Lovejoy while also protecting the taxpayer's money. He says they've never had to send a bill in the past. "This is the first time we've had issues with moving an office. We've moved several in the last couple of years; Springfield, Salem, Grants Pass, Corvallis, and we don't have the kinds of issues. This is the first time I can recall in the past several years that we've had to back out of a lease because of issue with not being able to move in." Scott Lovejoy responded exclusively to KBND this afternoon: I'm pleased that the neighbors have had the issue resolved to their satisfaction because we want to be a good neighbor. Regarding the DMV; we are looking at our legal recourse. “
A Bend musician is having a banner week. Chris Beland is releasing a new album and he met his biological father for the first time in 31 years. For all these years, Chris thought another man was his dad, but a paternity test proved otherwise. Instead veteran guitarist, songwriter and producer John Beland is his real dad and he traveled to Bend to meet his son on Tuesday. “It's been an incredible experience for us. Our families and friends. So its not just affected Chris and I. We received so many positive Facebook well wishes overseas. Fans of my band have been following the story. It’s really been neat.” You can catch the whole interview of the Beland reunion on our sister station Clear 101.7fm, Thursday at 8 p.m. on "The Homegrown Music Showcase with Dori Donoho."
A Public Safety Funding Committee will recommend to the Bend City Council a series of cuts that could help with the projected $17-million to $27-million budget shortfall in the cities General Fund over the next five years. City Communications Manager Justin Finestone says the Committee took into account all City Departments when coming up with their recommendations: "The Committee has come up with several recommendations both on the cost containment side and some revenue enhancement. On cost containment we presented them with project growth of City revenues over the next five years. And what they wanted to do was bring personnel costs in line with that growth. So what they're going to recommend to Council is that personnel compensation, City wide not just for police and firefighters certainly, but for all City employees not grow more than revenues."
The Committee also recommends reductions of some services from the General Fund and to enhance revenue, to deploy a Transportation Utility Fee to replace the Street Maintenance funding that would come out of the General Fund.
A few customers showed up today at one of Bend's marijuana sharing clubs, but afternoon customers were greeted by a locked door at Central Oregon Alternative Therapy (COAT) on Division Street. Paul McCord of Bend has smoked marijuana for 20-years: “I have arthritis bad, bad arthritis and I am here to get some medical marijuana.” When asked if it helps: “Absolutely, absolutely, I am in terrible pain all the time and it really, really does help.” Neighboring businesses have mixed reaction. Victoria Collier works for flex force. “Definitely gonna be a negative thing for our company and for Arc-Point as well. We are both drug free, so having people coming and getting marijuana next door will not be a positive thing for us.” But Gary Sobala of Rival Sports Club Bar and Grill is willing to give "COAT" time to see if they will be a good neighbor he says he has talked to 50 people and only one percent have a problem with it.
The multitude of geese that call Drake Park and several other city locations home have been a source of irritation for the Bend Parks and Recreation District for years. It's not the geese themselves, but the mess they leave behind. Now officials are faced with another decision on dealing with them again. Last summer, they used lethal measures to kill some geese and that caused uproar with animal loving residents. "We’re working on a non-lethal program right now and hopefully, that will be successful. We’ll know come summer, whether or not we got the job done. We’re going to try and beef this program up with some more volunteers and get people involved who have trained dogs that can help herd the geese out of the parks." Paul Stell with the Parks Department says recent counts indicate there are about 100 fewer geese than the last count, so some of their efforts are paying off. They are working with the City Council to pass an ordinance against feeding the geese in the park. What is your opinion? We have a poll here on the KBND website about controlling the geese population.
Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney says the transition from one D.A. to another hasn't been a smooth one. Patrick Flaherty will be taking over for Mike Dugan in January. “This has been an unfortunate situation after 26 years, we have a changing of the guard at D.A.'s office. It has played itself out often in the media, which isn't the best thing. Internally things are working well. Patrick is going to do a great job serving. and he has a great relationship with the County.” Next Wednesday, D.A. Elect Patrick Flaherty is scheduled to meet with the County Commissioners to discuss the transition. Baney was on "Your town" During the KBND Morning News this morning.
What do you think about a proposed contract with the Deschutes County District Attorney? Deputies say their main reason for wanting a contract is to ensure they are only terminated for "just cause". County Commissioners want to know what you think? A few people showed up today at the County Commissioners morning meeting to discuss this contract. “Two people testified and we tried to answer their questions. The contract is on line. We will take comments up through next Wednesday when we are scheduled to vote. People have the opportunity to go on line, look at and e-mail any questions or comments and we will do our best to answer them.” Commissioner Dennis Luke says he supports the contract. Commissioner Alan Unger says he also favors the rights of employees to have a grievance procedure, but he wants to hear from incoming District Attorney Patrick Flaherty before he decides how to vote. If Commissioners reject the contract, it will have to go be re-negotiated and if that fails, it would be sent to binding arbitration.
The DMV is backing out of plans to open an office at Brookswood Meadow Plaza. David House with O-DOT says they decided to terminate their lease because they office would not be ready for them to move in on January 15th
: "We'd already pushed the date forward for December by 1 month because of the slowed process in getting it prepared. And thru no fault of his own he's unable to get it ready by the 15th. So, we’re going to back out of the lease and going to start a search with all options on the table." The permitting process by the City of Bend slowed down the construction timeline for the DMV project. House says they will start from scratch and include lots of public testimony in citing the new office; that process could take several months.
“Stop the DMV” is Happy With the Outcome
The "Stop the DMV" group has been working for the last three months to prevent the DMV from moving into the Brookswood Meadow Plaza. Leader Joe Mansfield reacts to today's surprise announcement. “Well honestly I’m a little shocked. This was our hope and goal, but I didn't expect the announcement to come until December 15th. Little shocked it came out today but certainly happy and elated.” Mansfield says neighbors want to work with the owner of the Brookswood Meadow Plaza to bring in more business to the shopping center. Specifically they would like to see a restaurant or retail shops in the southwest Bend location.
It took all day to get it done, but union representatives and Saint Charles-Bend have reached agreement on which employees can vote for a union. The National Labor Relations Board had scheduled a 1:30 public hearing Tuesday, but that was postponed while closed door negotiations ensued. Employees told KBND News that the stumbling block was whether or not to include AirLink, CNA's and technicians. Dorothy Vevert works in the Nutrition Department at Saint Charles-Bend. “They agreed to include the departments we wanted to have to go for this union. They are only right now excluding AirLink, but they will allow them to vote.” Vevert says employees were concerned about a number of things including staffing levels: “It will help because we will have more support, better hours, more staff on hand. In the long run it will help for the patients.” Vevert says it's an agreement that both sides feel good about. She said staff was concerned that if something wasn't done reduced staffing levels would have affected patient care.
A marijuana sharing club is expected to open today in Bend. Even one of the operators says it's sure to create a stir. Chris Smith plans to open Central Oregon Alternative Therapy today. He talked to the Bend City Council last week: “There is going to be an interesting subject broached here in Bend. I am opening a business named “Coat.” It's an acronym. It stands for Central Oregon Alternative Therapy.” It's a marijuana sharing club where people using marijuana for medicinal use can share it in a controlled environment with each other. At least one nearby business has already complained to the City. Smith expects more and says he welcomes questions from the City or others. COAT will be located on NE Division Street. COAT's website says they will be open today for paperwork only for prospective patients to submit applications. City Council members say there is nothing they can do right now as long as the club's follow the law, but will continue to monitor the situation.
There’s a lot of potential for tourism to bloom in Jefferson County. For years, Jefferson County officials banked on various areas of the county to promote destination resorts. With the recent state decision not to allow destination resorts mapping in the prime Metolius area, the County now is looking to market Jefferson County as a whole. "A number of folks who have shown up at public meetings have really voiced this idea that boy, we have a lot of existing recreational amenities and tourist based amenities. Perhaps we should be focusing on those." Jefferson County Community Development Department Director John Skidmore says the idea is still in it's infancy, and they are putting ideas on paper now. They hope to get the County Commissions support so they can go forward with promoting Jefferson County.
What a difference a couple of years makes, especially for investors. Recently the Stock Market has been flirting with two year highs. A Bend certified financial planner remembers the fall of 2008 as a very emotional time for his clients. Brian Stallcop with Edward Jones Investments helps hundreds of people ranging from small business owners, to professionals and retirees. " I think 2 years ago people were just terrified; it just seemed lie the markets had fallen off a cliff. And I think now that they've recovered and people account balances have recovered somewhat; they're feeling a lot more confident. But they're still nervous about the economy." At one point Tuesday’s trading, stocks hit their highest level since just before Lehman Brothers announced its bankruptcy in early September of 2008.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Oregon are having a tremendous year. "Things are great at the Boys and Girls Clubs. I don't know if you realize but its been 2 years at the Boys and Girls Clubs and we have been in the black for the last 2 years and we are celebrating that and we are going into the holiday season feeling really good about what's happening." Executive Director Lisa Burbridge says they are serving over 1500 children in Bend, Redmond and Terrebonne with after school and summer programs. There is a fundraiser this Friday at all Dutch Bros. coffee shops with a "Buck for Kids" day. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Oregon. Tell them you heard about it on KBND!
No, your ears are not deceiving you. Fans of the Doctor Laura Show on weekday evenings won't be hearing her any longer on the radio. Doctor Laura was scheduled to have her last broadcast by the end of the year, but it is apparently ending early. KBND will broadcast the Jim Bohannon Show for now. But, get ready for something new and exciting in the very near future!
Governor elect Kitzhaber is putting together his transition team and it includes some Republicans. Ron Saxton, the 2006 Republican nominee for governor will serve on his transition team for education issues. He believes funding is one of the biggest problems facing schools. What we need to talk about is multi year budget approach, not just a short term. So we can talk about predictable funding schools can rely on for a number of years, so I think that will be the top of the list. Ron Saxton has served on the Portland School Board and is currently a Vice President with Jeld Wen.
It’s called a day that will live in infamy. Those are the words that are branded in the national consciousness after the Japanese surprise attack of Pearl Harbor 69 years ago. There are at least three Central Oregonians who served at Pearl Harbor during the attack. “It’s Chuck Selington in La Pine and he’s a Coast Guard veteran. He was on the USS Taney. And the other gentlemen who was at Pearl Harbor is Ray Kuhn from La Pine. He’s also a Navy veteran. The third one is Harvey Walren also a Navy veteran from La Pine who is a survivor of Pearl Harbor.” Dick Tobiason is a local veterans advocate. He says this will be the last year for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association to meet in Hawaii because so many of them have died.
It’s his last project as a Bend City Councilor. Oran Teater has his sights set on clearing up what he calls an eye sore at the corner of northeast Division Street and Revere Avenue. “Whether you are coming down Division or you are coming off of the Parkway. It's one of our entries and the buildings on there in my view have little or no economic value. I would just like to see us skin the lot anyway we can. Who knows how long it will take before there is any market for that property.” Teater says the buildings owned by the bank and they are willing to work with the City to knock down the buildings. The first step is to make sure there is no asbestos material inside. Teater says this project is not likely to be completed when he steps down from the Council the first of the year, but he plans on following it through to completion.
City leaders in Bend anticipate further cuts in services in the coming years. Bend City Manger Eric King says our revenue and services must balance. “There's continuing concern that our property taxes growth is minimal and will not support the size of our government. So we will be looking at further costs to have a balanced budget and by law we do have to have a balanced budget. “ The City is in the process of developing next year's budget. It will be presented to the Council in May. Eric King was the guest on the KBND Morning News Program "Your Town" this morning.
There’s a lot of potential for tourism to bloom in Jefferson County. For years, Jefferson County officials banked on various areas of the county to promote destination resorts. With the recent State decision not to allow destination resorts mapping in the prime Metolius River Basin area, the County now is looking to market Jefferson County as a whole. "A number of folks who have shown up at public meetings have really voiced this idea that boy, we have a lot of existing recreational amenities and tourist based amenities. Perhaps we should be focusing on those." Jefferson County Community Development Department Director Jon Skidmore says the idea is still in its infancy, and they are putting ideas on paper now. They hope to get the County Commissions’ support so they can go forward with promoting Jefferson County. Skidmore says there is some funding available; as the State kind of compensated the County for their decision on the Metolius River Basin.
The additional $25 weekly payment added to unemployment benefits will stop at the end of this week. It was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Also, Congress continues to debate extending the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, through December 31st of 2011. The program being considered would not add weeks of benefits to the unemployment program. It would only extended the deadline in which a person could file for benefits. So people who had exhausted all 53 weeks of benefits, would not get additional benefits. But they could be eligible for high-extended benefits, a program that allows for up to 20 additional weeks of benefits.
Freezing fog is making travel in Central Oregon tough. Three flights out of Redmond's Roberts Field were cancelled this morning and a major highway was blocked last night. Redmond -Horizon flights to Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City were grounded this morning. Freezing fog also halted flights last night.
And north of Madras, weather was the main factor in an accident that closed Highway 97 and Highway 197 at Cow Canyon. "It seems that what we're getting is this freezing fog that's settling in and as we get out there to take care of it, it freezes up faster than we can get to it. So we put our gear out on the highway to try and sand it and de-ice it; by the time we get up to the Cow Canyon Area the 2 trucks had gone sideways.” Peter Murphy with ODOT says no one was injured in the crash. Throughout Central Oregon, numerous minor accidents were reported last night and this morning. Weather forecasters are expecting an active weather pattern throughout the week.
'Tis the season for holiday shopping and more counterfeiting. Police say they often see more bad bills passed this time of year because stores are busier. A few days ago, Bend Police arrested three men in an alleged counterfeit ring. Sergeant Greg Owens with the Bend Police Department says better technology seems to make counterfeiting easier. In the recent bust, the bills were described as pretty convincing. Here's what to watch for: “When you're looking at money look for things that are odd; does it feel right? Is the paper feel different: is it an odd color? Is it an odd size?? A lot of time they're bigger or smaller than real money."
Cashiers and business owners need to watch for people buying a very low priced item with a large bill. This past weekend- three people each allegedly used counterfeit $20 bills at the 7-11 on south Highway 97. The clerk was able to give police a description of their car leading to a quick arrest.
The issue of union representation at Saint Charles Health Systems will be the subject of a special public hearing in Bend this afternoon. The hearing will be conducted by the National Labor Relations Board: “Trying to determine which group of employees would be eligible to vote to chose whether to be represented or not.” After that, the NLRB's Rich Ahern says half of those workers will have to vote for union representation. That election is expected after the first of the year. Some of the workers say they want more respect and more of a say in how the hospital is run.
All the snow lately is building up a good base at Mt. Bachelor. The ski hill was busy this weekend as a lot of people hit the slopes. “The percentage of terrain is most of the front side of the hill and we opened the west side this weekend, the outback express lift. We opened that on Saturday.” Andy Goggins with Mt. Bachelor says currently four lifts are open.
A Bend woman says her pit bull barely escaped alive from a deer attack. Tiffany Rounds says her ten-year old dog "Daisy" ran outside Thursday morning in south Bend to confront a buck and two does. The deer charged the dog, pawing her with their hooves and the buck jabbed the pit bull with it's antlers: “I am concerned that there are so many right now in town, in these small little areas. They are everywhere. I am afraid they will attack someone else's dogs and I don't think it will happen with someone else's dog but what if.” Rounds says Daisy will survive. She suffered a punctured chest cavity and will have to be kenneled for up to two months to recover. The attack occurred in Romaine Village.
The Bend Parks and Recreation District and the Oregon Department of Transportation are now in agreement on an application for a $79,000 grant to fund the design of an expansion of a Deschutes River Trail. Bend Park's Planning Director Bruce Ronning says the application needed to include ADA requirements and the new application does meet that. He adds that even with a revised application, the cost of the entire project is not yet determined: “The bridge and trail project will cost what it will cost. It won't cost anymore. What we've lost is the opportunity to apply for recreation trails program grant in a timely way. That grant application is due on January 14th. We were hoping that we could get the preliminary design work done sufficiently, that we could apply for that grant." Ronning says there was no assurance that they were going to get part of a $1.2 million from the Oregon State Parks Grant Program. There are other grant programs that they will pursue and now they can begin doing research on those.
Crook County Schools will be looking for a new superintendent next year. The current Superintendent, Ivan Hernandez plans to retire at the end of the school year. “Well I chatted with my bride, and I also have to include my 97 year old mother, I want to give her some of my time that she has left. All those factors, given also that retirement systems are changing, we thought it best to activate our retirement.” Herandez has been the Superintendent of Crook County schools for two years. He and his wife of 46 years plan to retire to Fern Ridge outside of Eugene.
Scott Ramsay is busy getting up to speed on city government before he takes office as Bend's newest city councilor next month. The recount that just finished determined that Ramsay was the winner over Chuck Arnold by just three votes. Ramsay says he's got a lot to learn in three weeks. “My number one goal is to listen, listen, listen, listen to everyone in the process. To the people that I’m running into on the streets, to my acquaintances and associates in the business world. To City staff, current Councilors; because there's so much that goes on bore decisions are ever brought before the City Council that the general population doesn't hear about.” Ramsay was the guest on "Your Town" during the KBND morning show this morning.
Great news for skiers over the next month, you can expect more of that what powder to pile up on the mountains. More weather systems are headed are way: “We have a system coming up about every three or four days. We have one that looks like it will come in tonight into Wednesday, based on computer guidance with mostly rain, mixing up with snow. Then a wet weather system into the weekend.” Mark Thibodeau of the Weather Channel says in the next few days more of the snow should fall in the higher elevations. Right now there are six inches of snow in Sunriver. Mount Bachelor has received four inches of snow in the last 72-hours.
When you visit downtown Bend, you may notice some unusually decorated trees. "A Christmas of Change" is a friendly competition for non-profits to raise money over the holiday season: "We've had a number of trees downtown. You’ll see some of them, just a handful this year, that have been sponsored by local community organizations. So, while we've decorated the trunk of every tree and the tree up on the corner of Greenwood and Wall, you will also see the sponsored trees from these different community organizations that have extra decorations on them and they just look great." Downtown Bend Business Associations' Chuck Arnold says there are little tubes attached to each tree, where you can donate to the non-profits tree and the proceeds will be donated to beautify downtown bend and other charities.
Temple Grandin has become a familiar name to those who have seen the Emmy Award TV movie on her life. She was recently named one of the most influential people by 2012 by Time Magazine. She came to Bend this last weekend for the Oregon Cattlemen Associations Conference at the Riverhouse Convention Center. Temple Grandin is a college professor who is revolutionizing how cattle are slaughtered with a focus on animal welfare. The subject of the HBO movie named after her, Grandin is not only a luminary in the ranching world, but she is also autistic. Grandin says the movie has generated publicity about autism, but she was here about her contributions to the cattle industry: “Well it certainly created a lot of publicity and I'd say about 90% of the emails I get concern autism but I also get about 10% of correspondence involving livestock, you know and people are happy that some one is out there working on improving for livestock and the public is hungry for information they just want to know how things work.” The convention lasted all weekend a featured speakers from topics ranging from new government regulations to how to deal with wolves and a Cowboy Christmas Village filled with local vendors.
Three Bend men are charged with passing counterfeit money at the 7-Eleven store on the south edge of Bend early Saturday evening. The three suspects entered the store together, and each one of them allegedly passed a fake $20 bill to the clerk, who surmised the money wasn’t real. Bend Police responded to the scene and put out a broadcast on the suspect and vehicle. A short time later, officers spotted the car and stopped it. From that contact, further suspects were contacted, search warrants were obtained, and arrests were made. More counterfeit money was confiscated. So far, Tyler Jo Shinkle, 20, Brett Hudspeth, 21, and James Dhaenes, 21, have been charged. More arrests will follow. Bend Police are asking for assistance from businesses and citizen in locating the remaining counterfeit bills. If you suspect you were given a counterfeit bill during the past two weeks, contact Bend PD.
Not everyone is having a joyous holiday. Some of the challenges facing the troops returning home from the Middle East may surprise you. The unemployment rate in Oregon is about 12%, but it's much higher for returning vets. “About three times that right now. Especially for those who have been deployed in recent years, so it's tough for them to get that job.” Mike Allegere with the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs says the other major issue is post traumatic stress: “Anytime you are in or even near a war zone, you don't even have to be taking shots at you. You can be near the action and still have some sort of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) problem.” Allegere says many times returning vets, both men and women will hide the problem because they want to get back with their families. His advice is get help before you get your family involved.
Giving’s down, while the need is up. The United Way of Deschutes County is running behind the goal they've set. The donations are needed to help kids, families and seniors in Central Oregon. People who have been generous in the past, are actually needing help now. “It’s obvious to folks, most everybody’s had someone close to them that is suffering.” United Way Executive Director Ken Wilhelm says many people coming in to the Bend Community Center for meals say they've never had to ask for help before: “It’s everything, it’s families, single parent household. One of the groups that I’m a little more concerned about it is the senior population because they’re living on fixed incomes and they many not have as many resources to call upon as maybe some of the younger folks do.” $740,000; that's the campaign goal of the United Way of Deschutes County. Wilhelm says they are currently behind pace by about $30,000.
A 23 year old Bend woman is facing multiple charges stemming from an August 17th crash that killed two. Prosecutors say toxicology reports indicate Stacia Roberts had at least three controlled substances in her blood when the accident on Highway 20 near Black Butte occurred. Two passengers in the car, Joshua Herrin, 19, died at the scene and Nina Blackmore, 18, was critically injured. She was flown to St. Charles Bend, where she died the next day. Roberts and the fourth passenger, Casey Hoyle, 20, were also taken to St. Charles for treatment and were released. The investigation reveals the foursome had spent several hours at Cougar Hot Springs, where they drank beer and smoked marijuana. Witnesses say they saw Roberts' car moving at erratic speeds and weaving. A published report says Roberts had traces of ecstasy, marijuana and some kind of opiate in her blood. Roberts will have to wear a tracking device, alcohol monitoring and submit to random drug testing while she awaits trial. She is released to her parents custody.
Sisters Economic Development Manager says he's cautiously optimistic some new businesses will be moving into their city. Mac Hay says he's currently talking with seven different companies about expanding or moving here: “A couple of them are equipment assembly companies. One of them is an expansion of an existing company here in Sisters. They might put in a production line. Another one is an expansion of a retail company. And one of them is an educational component that I think would really a great fit here in Sisters.” Hay expects he will have some announcements in about six months.
A local grocery store makes a "Top 50 Retailer" list by the Gourmet Retailer Magazine. Newport Avenue Market owner Rudy Dory says he stumbled upon the news while thumbing through the magazine. "We were somehow nominated. And it's a really exciting honor it's a very prestigious award. Trader Joe’s is a winner, Sur la Table Kitchen Store in Seattle is another one. So it's real exciting to be able to be mentioned with these great retailers." Dory says he doesn't know who was responsible for their nomination. Newport Avenue Market is one of two Oregon businesses achieving the honor. The other is Kitchen Kaboodle in Portland. All of the nominees will be honored at the very prestigious Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January.
By Wednesday expect to see a big influx of visitors to Bend for the 2010 National Cyclocross Championships. This is the second year that Bend has hosted the national championships and Visit Bend's Doug La Placa says the cycling officials have fallen in love with our area: "We have, as a community, have delivered national championship events to USA Cycling that have truly raised the bar of what they now expect from their host cities. As a community, we have gone above and beyond in delivering a quality event to USA Cycling. What really separates bend from the rest of the country in terms of host cities is the amount of enthusiasm and entertainment that we incorporate in to world class racing." La Placa says this year, the addition of a Cross Culture Arts Festival will make this years five day event extra special. He adds that last year, the event infused over a million dollars into the local economy and this years' event will be even bigger, with more competitors from every state in the nation. The Cyclocross runs Wednesday through Sunday in the Old Mill District.
Now that hunting season is over, the Crook County Search and Rescue Team is gearing up to go help lost snowmobilers and cross country skiers. Crook County Search and Rescue spokesman Wes Palin says they went on seven missions this hunting season; many more than usual. “Most of it has been planning issues.”
People who are extremely irresponsible may even have to pay for the search. "It’s a rarity; there is a statelaw where we can charge but that would be an extreme case where the resources were not used property." Besides dressing warm for the winter conditions and taking enough emergency supplies, Palin says you need to file an exact plan of where you'll be and check in with someone back home once a day.
Don’t try to go to the Prineville DMV Office later this week; it won't be open. "DMV's going to close the Prineville Office for 2 days; Thursday and Friday December 9th and 10th, so it can replace and repair some flooing in the Prineville Office. It just needs some replaceing and repairng after years and years of wear and tea,- normal maintenance that will take a couple of days to fix." The Prineville Office will re-open next Monday. DMV spokesman David House says those extra customers from Crook County may show up at offices in Madras, Redmond and Bend. If you don't like going to the DMV, there are many things you can now do online or by mail.
The owners of a Bend wellness center are facing 45-counts of Securities fraud, theft and other charges after a nine month investigation. Bend Police have arrested Todd Surgeon, 40, and Laurie Rose, 42, over allegations they defrauded several victims through a scheme tied to the purchase of a wellness center franchise. The initial complaint alleges $49,000 was defrauded from one victim. That lead to an investigation which uncovered other victims. Surgeon and Rose are the owners of Surgeon's Incorporated. They have also conducted business under the name of “Reverse Aging Naturally of Bend”, Surgeon Naturally Offering Wellness and other names. The two are currently lodged in the Deschutes County Jail.
An argument over a traffic incident late Saturday night resulted in the arrest of Gregory Elder of Bend for unlawful use of a weapon and menacing. Elder had been walking with his wife and the family dog near NE Robin Court and NE Hampton Lane when a vehicle driven by Matthew Trager drove past them. Elder felt the vehicle came too close to his wife putting her in danger. An argument ensued between the two men. Elder returned to his home and obtained a shotgun. Trager and his passenger called Bend Police Department and said they felt threatened. Elder was arrested a short time later at his home, where the gun and other weapons were confiscated.
A vote could happen as soon as early next month to unionize employees at Saint Charles Medical Center. One federal labor official says it's the largest attempt he's seen in the last couple of years to unionize. The employees who want the union have started a website detailing their concerns. Those include seeing more jobs outsourced and having more of a say in hospital operations. “Our feeling is that we don't need a third party to enter into the picture to talk to our caregivers.” I asked Katy Vitcovich about concerns workers are not being respected. “I know that's one person and I know this morning (Friday) I have had ten emails this morning saying the opposite.” The National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing in Bend next Tuesday to determine which employees would be represented if the vote is successful. More than the 30% of employees have signed a petition asking for the union. More than half of the employees must vote for a union for it to be implemented.
Redmond School District leaders are bracing for a $5 million budget hole next year. District leaders are holding informational meetings to inform staff about what's on the horizon. Director of Operations, Mike McIntosh says enrollment is flat and state funding is down, so once again the District is dipping into its reserves. “I call that in my presentation that the habit, spending more than we have each year and we have to change that or minimize that live up to the revenue stream that state forces and local forces as well.” McIntosh says everything is on the table to balance the budget from lay offs to wage freezes or cuts.
Another helping hand for veterans is coming from the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. More veterans can qualify for the OR-Vets Home Loan Program. Vets who qualify can get a 15-year fixed rate mortgage for a 3.25 or 3.75 fixed rate for 30-years. Advocates say home ownership is very important for veterans: “Establishes them in the community. It gives them a place of self worth and being like that. Plus giving them a very good rate to get into that home is something that they have deserved. Something that while they served, they earned and that is something ODVA is trying to provide there.” Mike Allegre of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs says even veterans who purchased homes using the separate VA Home Loan Program may be eligible for the Oregon program.
Oregon State Police warn you that Civil War emotions should be played out on the gridiron, not Oregon roads. OSP Sergeant Eric Judah says traffic in and around the Corvallis area will be very congested and there are a few tips they have to keep you sane on this high-octane day. "Leave early. If you think it's going to take you 2 hours to get there; then make it 4 hours. Especially closer to kickoff that you get; it's going to get more and more crowded. So leave early, have a lot of patience; give the car in front of you plenty of room. Also, if you see something that looks dangerous, or possible an intoxicated driver, call that in." Judah says they will have extra patrols out this weekend. They estimate at least an addition 15,000 cars on the roads near Corvallis. And finally, designate a driver if you plan to tailgate with alcohol or drink at the game.
Big day tomorrow (Saturday) for Duck and Beaver fans. The Civil War game is being played in Corvallis. Justin Fisher with the Duck Athletic Fund says the rivalry is creating a lot of excitement. “It's been a lot of fun whether Duck or Beaver. On this side of the mountain people are so friendly. It’s such a fun rivalry. And we're talking with the Civil War meaning for the BCS title. It's never been a game of this magnitude before. The Civil War game pregame begins at 11:30, kickoff at 12:30 on Saturday. You can hear it right here on KBND.
The same clues helped Bend Police solve a burglary case just a few weeks ago. Shoe prints in the snow led police to the suspect. Around 3:30 this morning, a resident called 911 to report a suspicious person entering an apartment on Forum Drive. When officers arrive at the scene, they noticed a person standing near some vehicles in the parking lot. The person ran from the officers, but was caught a short time later. An investigation reveals several items that were taken form the apartment including computer equipment and kitchen supplies. The shoe prints in the snow matched those of the suspect, Adrin Cruz, 17, of Bend. He was arrested on a Burglary II charge and is held in the Deschutes County Juvenile Department.
There are some positive economic signs in Central Oregon: “We've got a lot of existing companies in Bend that are adding jobs, that are expanding, moving to new buildings. Probably a good eight to ten companies. Recruitment is a little bit harder.” Eric Strobel of Economic Development for Central Oregon says many companies are opting to stay put until the economy improves. Export companies are the ones expanding right now, including technology and manufacturing.
A Bend construction company will start soon on a multi-million dollar project at Central Oregon Community College. The Health Career Building is expected to make a big difference to students and the general public. COCC leaders just awarded the $10-million contract to HSW Builders of Bend. The 47,000 square foot building will have classrooms, medical clinics -and even rooms for a good massage. COCC spokesman Ron Paradis describes it as a cornerstone of last years bond measure: "The building is critical because we've got a lot of health career programs and they're very popular with the students. They generally lead to good family wage jobs here and throughout the state, and right now we're cramming those programs in wherever we can.” The general public will also benefit because the building will house a dental assistance office and a massage clinic right on the first floor. On December 14th HSW Builders of Bend will start underground electrical work - and they expect to finish the project by spring of 2012.
The theme is: Christmas Carols on Parade. This Saturday is the 26th Annual Christmas Parade through downtown Bend. Co-Chair Ernie Gilpin says with 88 entries, this is a huge parade: "It's the biggest parade in Oregon. I always say that we have more entrants than the parade up in Portland or any parade that I’ve seen advertised. So we're the largest parade in Oregon." Gilpin says because of the theme, there will be plenty of music that the crowds can join in singing too. And, he's got a few surprises up his sleeve to thrill the crowd. Of course, the crowning moment will be a visit from Santa. The Parade begins at noon at Harmon and Newport. Street closures will begin around 11 am.
Women and children who have had to flee from an abusive situation are going through a very difficult ordeal. Saving Grace is an organization that helps shield and provide a sense of safety and comfort in these situations. Those families that are sheltered by Saving Grace need a little joy this Christmas season. Most have left a situation with only the clothes on their backs. The "Adopt A Family" program will help shower these families with some joy when they need it most. "It allows the community to come together and make donations such as toys, coats, food donations for families who have left their homes with little or nothing at all, and just providing for them a comfortable holiday atmosphere at the shelter when things are really hectic." Paula Little with Saving Grace says you can go to their website to see a wish list of items. They also welcome cash donations. They ask you deliver your gifts, unwrapped to their offices in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville through December 21st. We have a link to the Saving Grace website on our links page.
A Bend man is excited that his prize hound is going to the prestigious Westminster Dog Show. Dean O’Neal just found out that his Ibizan hound "Pauli" is going to February's show. O’Neal raises the very rare hounds that experts believe are one of the most ancient dog breeds. In case you're a big fan of the show; O’Neal describes the breed, so you know what to watch for: “They originated in Egypt and if you remember from your school days, pictures depicted on tomb walls, dogs standing erect on their back legs and with their ears up in the air, that's the Ibizan hounds. “ O’Neal says "Pauli" is ranked 4th in the country for her breed and so she automatically qualifies to go to Westminster. The show entry is limited to 2,500 dogs. The 135th annual dog show is scheduled for February 14th and 15th at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Oregon and Oregon State spirit were in full display at Bend La Pine Schools Thursday. "College Day" allows students and staff to dress in their favorite college colors. It started several years ago as a way to encourage students to look beyond high school. Sky View Middle School Principal Scott Edmundson says a lot of students dressed up: “We had probably, at least 40% of our students wear colors. A vast majority of then were Duck and Beaver clothing and wigs and hats and pom-poms and socks and all sorts of neat outfits today. We had quite a few of our staff members participating as well.” Edmundson estimates about 70% of the middle school's staff participated in College Day.
A popular steakhouse in Redmond will have a new home in Bend. The Brick house Steakhouse is opening an additional restaurant here in Bend overlooking the Old Mill District. Owner Jeff Porad says he's been working on this for years. “We opened in Redmond three years ago, and I’ve been looking in Bend for six years. The right opportunity presented itself and I had to jump on it. “ The Brickhouse is located at the end of Wall Street at Industrial Way and is bringing twenty new jobs to the area.
The construction project planned for Skyliners Road should be right on target. County Commissioner Alan Unger says recent reports that the City and County plans to improve Skyliners Road could we waylaid for a while because the City of Bend hasn't made a decision about funding the pipeline that needs to go in the same time as county road construction. "Well, it's a project that needs to all happen together for us to use our money wisely. And because it just makes sense to do that. I don't think anybody wants to do it any different than what we planned to do. So it's just a question of do we stay on our timeline or not." Unger says he is reasonably sure that the City will make a decision soon and that the plans for Skyliners overhaul will stay on schedule and budget. He adds that actual construction is slated for 2013.
The Deschutes County Commissioners are lending the Redmond Humane Society another $100,000. The shelter has struggled the last couple months, in part because of an influx of cats. Mike Daly, the President of the Redmond Humane Society Board says things are looking up: “Fortunately we've been able to get by thanks to some help from the County and more income from the thrift store, we pulled out of the hole. We’re doing quite well now coming into the end of the year.” The County lent the Redmond Humane Society $1.4 million two years ago, and so far they have paid about $600,000 back.
It’s been a busy season so far for the Crook County Search and Rescue Team. Spokesman Wes Palin says they've already gone on seven search and rescue missions this fall: “Most of it has been planning issues. We've been called out on people who were overdue and hadn't checked in, and they were basically fine. They just hadn't checked in." Hunting season is usually their busiest time of year and now that it's over Palin says they shift gears to rescue stranded snowmobilers and cross country skiers. He says when you go out in the wilderness tell people back home where you're going to be and check in on a daily basis. Of course, you need to always dress for winter conditions and bring enough food and water in case you get lost or injured.
Bend’s newest City Councilor was in the audience at Wednesday night's council meeting. Business owner Scott Ramsey was busy taking notes and getting ready to assume position seven after the first of the year. That’s the post currently held by Oran Teater. Ramsey was just announced the winner by only three votes over Chuck Arnold. “I'm certainly paying a lot more attention than I used to pay when I was watching City Council meetings because a lot of this stuff is stuff I’m going to have to deal with.” Ramsey says he wants to use his business experience to help the City. Proposed projects involving water treatment and the City's watershed are top on his lists of concerns.
Bend's new City Councilor for position seven is now official; it's Scott Ramsay. Election workers conducted a recount and the vote difference between Scott Ramsay and Chuck Arnold was only three votes. The recount resulted in a one vote gain for Scott Ramsay, who says he's ready to get to work: “It's a relief have it behind me, so now I can start concentrating on what I need to do to jump in with both feet come January.” His challenger, Chuck Arnold says the whole process has been a positive one and he wouldn't hesitate to run again: “I feel, after spending yesterday watching the recount process, which was mandated by the State and spending the day watching that and the thoroughness and care of which our County Clerk goes through to make sure this is done in the most equitable way, I'm blown away and very satisfied with the result.” Scott Ramsay will take office in January.
Deschutes County Commissioners want to meet with incoming District Attorney Patrick Flaherty December 15th. It's a transition that has been marked by a lot of tension by such actions as the incoming DA telling the existing deputies DA's they will have to reapply for their jobs. This proposed meeting just happens to be the same day Commissioners are expected to vote on whether or not to accept a contract with the Deputy District Attorneys. Commissioner Dennis Luke: “We would like an opportunity to talk to him one on one. I have met with him personally, but that was before the contract was finished. And I think each of the Commissioners have met with him individually. We would like him to come and have an open discussion.” Deputy DA's have formed a union and have demanded a contract that includes a stipulation that they will only be fired "for cause". Commissioners will conduct a public comment period December 8th 10am on the proposed contract to give you a chance to see the details. Commissioner Dennis Luke and others feel the public has a right to see what's in it.
They are called Marijuana Sharing Clubs and two are proposed for Bend. Some local residents don't like it, and the issue is now in front of the Bend City Council. The operator of one proposed club assured Councilors it's not a "dope house". Chris Smith plans to open a business called Central Oregon Alternative Therapy. “I'm not going to operate this club after daylight. We will be closing at six o'clock every night and opening at noon. I intend to legally provide a safe place for access for people who are allowed to get medicine via the Oregon Medical Marijuana regulations.” However, not all residents are convinced. Mama’s Medical Marijuana is proposed at a location near NE Division Street. “Having Mama's Medical Marijuana in the same small business complex will damage our business through association through proximity.” Kathleen Shabough owns Arc-Point, a drug testing company is located at 2600 NE Division Street near the proposed Mama's Medical Marijuana. Central Oregon Alternative Therapy is proposed at Fourth and Purcell. City Councilors say there is nothing they can't shut down the clubs as long as they follow the law, but will continue to monitor the situation.
It’s not going to be cheap, but Bend City Councilors say it will be an investment in the City's water system. Wednesday night, on a five to two vote, Councilors voted to continue designing a membrane filtration system. Councilor Mark Capell says several engineering firms recommend the City continue using surface water. “All four of those engineering firms came basically to the same conclusion and that is to continue moving forward on surface water. The one complaint I heard from citizens is that HDR (the engineering company) was self serving in saying go for this.” Analysts say membrane filtration is the best way to screen out any debris should a fire ravage the Bridge Creek Watershed. But it could cost up to $25-million. That's something Councilor Jim Clinton balks at: “At our last meeting, I decided that this was looking to me like this was not a path that was in the best interests of the rate payers of Bend.” The Council can still change it's mind and stop the project, but for now City Manager Eric King says it's in the best interests of the City to continue designing the more efficient filtration system.
Wednesday night, Bend City Council authorized spending $100,000 to assess its future software and computer needs. “Two years ago, we started setting aside money so that we are not asking for additional money. This is money that we have been setting aside. Our main operating software is 20 years old, and is reaching the end of it's life.” Bend City Manager Eric King says this study is an overall assessment of what the City's future needs are, and is a better expenditure of money than simply purchasing a single piece of software. City Councilors unanimously endorsed the request saying they are having difficulty doing something as simple as sending email.
Two old friends kept talking about getting the band back together. The founders of "Two Old Hippies," Tom and Molly Bedell and Breedlove's Kim Breedlove announce that they are doing just that- joining forces to create a new guitar company. They have cheekily named it "The World's Coolest Guitar Company." Both Tom Bedell and Kim Breedlove are products of the 60's and as their news release states, "the spirit of peace, love and rock 'n roll has never left them." The Bend based facility will continue operations and expects to expand to create the Bedell USA -a custom shop. Kim Breedlove will continue to drive the Breedlove product development and Tom Bedell will have the perfect workshop to further advance his Bedell and Great Divide Guitar Creations.
A popular steakhouse in Redmond will have a new home in Bend. The Brickhouse Steakhouse is opening an additional restaurant here in Bend overlooking the Old Mill District. Owner Jeff Porad says he's been working on this for years: “We opened in Redmond three years ago, and I’ve been looking in Bend for six years. The right opportunity presented itself and I had to jump on it.” The Brickhouse will open today at 4 p.m. It's located at the end of Wall Street, at Industrial Way and is bringing 20 new jobs to the area.
The District Attorney's Office has the Stephen Trono shooting case. Lt. Ben Gregory with the Bend Police Department says they finished their investigation into the shooting at the trono home in October and sent their findings on to the District Attorneys Office. Brandi Shroyer with the D.A.'s Office is handling the case and has not announced any inclination whether there will be charges filed or not. Stephen Trono was allegedly accidentally shot by his wife in their bend home back in July. He survived after being shot eight times and spending many months at Bend and Portland hospitals. It's not clear whether the changing of the helm at the D.A. Office is affecting this case.
The Economic Development Manager for Sisters says the controversy over his hiring has quieted down. Mac Hay was hired by the City Council for the job, after doing it on a volunteer basis for more than a year. “I think more people are more comfortable hat the City is trying to do and what I’m trying to do. I didn't take it as a personal matter. We all have the best interest of the city at heart. We’ll certainly be going more public.” Hay plans on starting an Economic Advisory Team to get more public input on economic development. He also is talking with about seven companies looking at expanding or moving into the Sisters area. He hopes to be able to make some announcements in the next six months.
An annual fundraiser nets a big check for local schools. “Ski for Schools has been a program that's been raising funds for the Education Foundation for Bend La Pine Schools for about six years. Executive Director Heather Vistadt with the Foundation says the fundraiser was very successful this year. "We raised over $21,000 in support of both Bend La Pine and Redmond School Districts. So we are really excited about it and we are really thankful to the community for their support." Vistadt says over the past six years, the Ski for Schools Program has raised about $120,000 for the Bend La Pine and Redmond Schools. The money is used in various ways; to help kids pay for extracurricular activities, or to help teacher purchase needed materials and equipment for the classrooms. She adds that the next big fundraiser will be a chili cook off and rail jam at the Athletic Club of Bend. If you have one of the “Ski for Schools” vouchers this is the only week you can use it at Mt. Bachelor.
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is hoping it will help jump-start the aviation industry in Central Oregon. Tonight, the Bend City Council will be asked to endorse a proposal to designate the vast desert between Burns and Brothers as a test area for drone aircraft. “And that is one reason we started reaching out to the UAS, the Unmanned Aerial Systems or drones market. That seems to be the one area where there is money. The government is funding a lot of research and development, a lot of private parties are working on this systems. They can be used for the military, which is their primary use and where most people know them from, but also law enforcement and forest fires.” Collins Hemingway is Chairman of the Aviation Recruitment Committee for EDCO. The hope is that they will be able to share the airspace with the military. Hemingway says there is a lack of drone testing airspace in the U.S. and having such an area here could attract that industry. The request would have to go before the FAA, and Hemingway says if they drag their feet, then Oregon’s congressmen may have to get involved. Hemingway says having the city and county endorse the project would show there is local support.
Bend High Junior Kenny Dailey has been selected as a semi-finalist for the High School Rudy Award. Yesterday, Drew Bledsoe announced Dailey was one of 50 finalists for the award. Dailey grew up homeless for about three years and found himself in some not-so-good situations. With the help of a middle school teacher, he found sports and completely turned his life around. The High School Football Rudy Awards searches for the most inspirational football players in America who best demonstrate the exemplary values of football legend Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger, the iconic figure of the classic football film RUDY. The top 12 finalists will be announced December 28th. To vote for Kenny, go to the links page and look for "Rudy Awards".
Election workers counted ballots all day Tuesday for the Position 7 Bend city Council race, but still no official results yet. There was only a two vote difference between Scott Ramsay and Chuck Arnold, with Ramsay leading. The automatic recount was conducted but Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship had some final details to do, so the final tally won't be announced until this morning. The results of the recount will be the final say. Both candidates say they will not contest the results. We'll have those results as soon as they become available.
The Bend City Council has a full agenda tonight. Everything from drone aircraft to water filtration. Councilors will discuss a prioritization list for the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council on a "needs" inventory for economic development. Water once again will spring up as an issue. Staff is asking for the okay to proceed with design work on a membrane filtration system that could end up costing $25-million. Even though it's more money than a U-V light system, staff says it could filter out forest fire debris if the Bridge Creek Watershed ever burned. Councilors will consider a resolution to spend $100,000 to evaluate their computer system with an eye to efficiency and the future. Council will also be asked to give their support to allow drone flight-testing east of Bend. The Council work session will start at 5pm.
A seasonal Oregon Department of Transportation employee may be charged with official misconduct for allegedly taking a car without the owner's permission and forging a title and registration. It all started the night of November 12th when a driver was arrested for DUII south of La Pine on Highway 97. The vehicle was left on the side of the road. Investigators believe that Heath Allen Hansen, 34, of La Pine used his ODOT position to report the vehicle as abandoned, and then removed the vehicle to his residence. Hansen claimed that he had contacted the registered owner of the vehicle to return it, but in fact the listed registered owner is not the current owner of the vehicle. That vehicle has since been returned to the real owner's girlfriend and Hansen faces several charges including theft, forgery, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Many friends, business associates and co-workers are saying good-bye to a longtime Bend man. Hundreds of people packed into the Tower Theater yesterday for a Memorial service to honor Jason Mitchell. Mitchell, 36, was employed by Bank of the Cascades. CEO Patty Moss says she was proud to know Mitchell. "You know we are proud to have Jason as part of our team." Moss says Mitchell worked for the bank for 14 years. He started when he was 22 as a teller and most recently was a Senior Commercial Lending Officer. "Jason was really a welcoming - all inclusive. He made more friends and introduced people to each other in a way that expanded his circle of friends everyday." The service at the Tower Theater was so large that people also filled the Liberty Theater.
The latest Oregon statewide school report card is out, and state officials are pleased. It shows that more schools are meeting the goal of adequate yearly progress than were meeting the goal last year. More than 71% of schools in the state are meeting that benchmark. The head of the Bend La Pine Schools says his schools are doing well. “Our assessment is that we are making steady, continuous progress and we are significantly out performing most of our peers in the state of Oregon. And are making the progress to where we want to be in terms of national standards.” Bend La Pine School Superintendent Ron Wilkinson says the focus is to continue to improve. He says the biggest key is getting kids to read by the end of third grade. Another goal is to get students ready for college is to have students through algebra by ninth grade. 18 of the 27 schools in the Bend La Pine Schools met the State benchmark for annual yearly progress.
After 25 years, a popular downtown Italian restaurant is closing its doors. Giuseppe’s served its last dinners Tuesday night. Owner Peggy Falcare says she'll miss the people most of all. “All the people that come through the door. It’ll be a special night for anyone who comes through the door. It’s a quick goodbye for the people who won't get a chance to come in.” Some local owners will be opening a new restaurant in Giuseppe’s location on December 7th. It'll be called "Bond Street Bar and Grill."
It could breath life back into Central Oregon's ailing aviation industry. That’s the hope of Collins Hemingway, who is the Chairman of the Aviation Recruitment Committee for the Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO). They are trying to get a specific test area designated east of Bend for remote control or drone aircraft. “When we started talking to U.A.S. manufacturers, they all said the same thing. There is a severe lack of test areas for those aircraft. Any region that could somehow come up with one would have an advantage in getting business to come their way.” Hemingway says the vast area from Burns to Brothers and south to the Nevada border is already used by military pilots. He would like to see it designated so drone manufacturers could use it for testing when the military isn't using it. Local Congressman says the proposal would have more credibility if local government supports it. The Bend City Council will be asked to sign a letter of support at tonight's meeting.