A Bend businessman who specializes in solar energy for consumers says it's no longer a "fringe" movement- it's very widespread- especially in sunny Central Oregon. It may be widespread, but solar power is still controversial when it comes to mandates and tax breaks. Some say solar power is expensive and still not very efficient. Mike Hewitt, owner of E-2 Solar in Bend says the efficiency of solar power is not the main issue: “We don't look at solar as the only energy source out there. We're moving up on a time that we have to diversify our energy in the United States. We're seeing that the crisis in Japan is just one of the examples. We heard the President talk last night about being able to diversify our energy; solar is not going to be the only solution. We have to look at bio-mass, we have to look at wind, we have to look at solar." Hewitt also says each person's break even point is different depending on tax breaks, how much sun we get and how much power costs increase. An Oregon-based conservative think tank, the "Cascade Policy Institute" believes that mandates from the state forcing power companies to use renewable energy will raise rates in Oregon.
Hundreds of deputies will be out on the north Santiam River near Detroit, looking for the body of missing Bend woman Lori Blaylock this weekend. Don Thompson with the Marion County Sheriff's Department says six different agencies will be out this weekend searching on the water and on foot: “We're going to be focusing in the Idana and east end of Detroit Reservoir. There will be several hundred deputies, several hundred volunteers. It's actually a training exercise. What we're doing is combining the two, because we have a real need for the area to be searched.” Search and Rescue crews were out along the north Santiam in December and January searching for Blaylock's body after someone thought they say something in the water, but officers weren't able to find anything because of fast current and murky water.
Redmond students will be get out of school an hour early on Wednesdays next year. The School Board voted last night to approve early release, so teachers can get together for professional development once a week. School Board President Jim Erickson says research supports that this time is well spent: “We have to put people together, put teachers together with specialists, like classified folks, particularly on reading. Give folks time to do that work.” Redmond has been considering early release for a couple years. In the past, there was some concern from working parents about what they would do about child care. But because of Redmond's switch to four day a week school, the District has plenty of after school activities and options for students to participate in.
Drivers get a few more days this year to get their studs off of their tires before possibly getting a $190 fine and a Class C traffic violation. ODOT extended the studded tire season through Monday, April 4th because of continued tough driving conditions in snow zones. ODOT's Peter Murphy says going forward they hope more drivers will switch away from using studded snow tires. “Please look at those studless tires in the future if you can. Everyone knows the damage that studded tires cause to our roads, and that's just a plus for ODOT to say they're your highways and the studs do a lot of damage and there are some really good tires out there that can handle whatever your needs are." ODOT says studded tires cause at least $40 million in damage each year on city streets, county roads and state highways. The normal deadline for stud removal is April 1st.
The Redmond School Board unanimously approved a scheduling change for the 2011-2012 school year. Similar to the Bend La Pine early release day, all Redmond schools will end one hour early on Wednesdays, starting in September. A published report states district staff and teachers have been working on this plan for about a year. The reason for the shortened day is to allow teachers more time for professional development. Now, there are about 30 school districts in the State with early release or late start days. Judy Newman, President of the Redmond Education Association is a bit worried that teachers could be expected to stay longer on Wednesdays, after training was over.
The Bend La Pine Schools Boundary Committee has another week to think things over. In the words of Superintendent Ron Wilkinson, the Middle School Boundary Committee is in overtime, but he doesn't want the Committee to rush into a decision. Still, the clock is ticking because of planning deadlines for the upcoming school year. The Committee took a straw poll vote Wednesday and 14 of the 25 members voted for option 1-B; which is Pine Ridge students going to Pilot Butte as well Ensworth kids having a choice between Polit Butte or Sky View Middle Schools. Kevin Garig is the Principal at Pine Ridge and a member of the Boundary Committee: “I do think there has been a good amount of public input. There is a point we have to take that input and move ahead, and do we keep talking about it or make a decision, and I think we are at a point where we make a decision.” The Committee talked about getting more information on the number of parents affected by the TAG or Talented and Gift Program and how that looks by moving some students to Pilot Butte Middle School. The Committee will meet again next Wednesday at 4pm and the pressure is one for them to make a recommendation to the District at that time.
The numbers of homelessness are up in Central Oregon. Wednesday, the Homeless Leadership Coalition released the numbers from a one day count taken January 27th. On that day, 2200 individuals stated they were homeless. “But the numbers that hit hard for me this year when I took a look at the data in front of me is that we nearly hit 50% for the number of kids that are homeless in our region.” Rachel Baker is a staff attorney for Legal Aid. She says that is the highest it's ever been. Baker was disappointed that number of disabled and elderly homeless continue to be high. One out of five homless families are living in cars or tents which is also a significant increase over last year because they can't afford rent. The number of homeless veterans is also up. Last year it was around 80, this year it was more than a hundred. Service providers say they need to find new ways to work together and find resources. The amount of money available for housing assistance has decreased.
Saving Grace is holding a very special event to kick off April being Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month. "Were inviting the public to come out Friday, April at noon, to join us for our "Hands Around the Courthouse" in Madras. It’s actually at the Jefferson County Courthouse. And we're wanting everyone to come out, join hands, as we make a circle of unity around the courthouse." Lauren Biskin, spokesman for Saving Grace says they have held "Hands Around the Courthouse" for many years. She says it's a great visual symbol about what everyone is doing together to prevent child abuse and sexual assaults. Hands Around the Courthouse is at noon on Friday, a light lunch will be provided. All they are asking is for you to join the circle.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to end America’s dependence on overseas oil. Republican, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe co-sponsored the bill. It's called the Energy Security Act of 2011, and would help keep America's focus on reducing our dependence on foreign oil. “America’s addiction to foreign oil is a severe threat looming over our nation's economic and national security and that threat is growing larger every year. By continuing to place our energy security in the hands of nations that don't have our best interests in mind, we leave American families and businesses vulnerable to spikes in gas prices and a severing of the national fuel supply.” This legislation would create a National Energy Security Council that would report directly to the President.
Deschutes County is getting a "clean bill" of health so to speak. An intensive National County Health ranking shows Deschutes County in the top tier in Oregon for how healthy people are. Deschutes County Health Spokesman Tom Kuhn says the County did especially well when measuring health behaviors: “It must mean that we have a lower percentage of people who smoke who that are obese that drink excessively. It sounds like some of the preventative messages that we try to get out there in public health are effective. Of course, Deschutes is very well-known that for physical activities and things of that nature. People around here tend to be very active and try to lead healthier lifestyles." Other Central Oregon counties did not do nearly as well. Crook County was in the middle of the pack at number 14; and Jefferson County ranked at the very bottom of the 33 counties that were measured in Oregon.” This is the second year that the University of Wisconsin Popular Health Institute has done the "Health Check-Up'. Overall; Benton County was the healthiest county in the State for the second year in a row.
The family of missing Bend woman Sandra Meyer is still trying to make sense of the possibility their stepfather killed their mother. Sandra Meyer has been missing three weeks. Her husband, John killed himself a couple weeks ago. Investigators believe he had something to do with her disappearance. Sandra's son, Dave Conde just moved to Bend to be near his mother: “It's a complete shock, whatever was going on wasn't something anyone expected or could see signs of.” Detectives found a substantial amount of Sandra's blood in a Meyer home heating duct. Our news partner, News Channel 21 talked with Sandra Meyer's son.
More than 300,000 people are sleeping on cots in shelters after the earthquake that hit northern Japan nearly three weeks ago. The aftermath that could last ten years or more. Seismologists say it's the 5th largest quake measured since 1900. With more than 440,000 people originally placed in shelters, even though about 10,000 are released each day, numbers of people in dire straights are still high. "We’ve got 360,000 to 370,000 people sleep on cots in Japan who may not ever be able to go home. So this is definitely a human tragedy if not just an economic one." Executive Director Tom Farley says there are some 2 million Red Cross volunteers trained to respond, but he adds it will ten years or more for the people to recover from the trauma. “Some of that's emotional. You're sitting in a shelter, you don't know where you're mom is, and so some of that is rebuilding not just homes but neighborhoods that have been wiped out and so the International Red Cross has experience in this kind of disaster response.” If you've like to help victims of the earthquake in Japan, there are three ways to donate to the Red Cross: call 1-900 Red Cross, go to www.redcross.org , or simply text the number 90999 and a $10 donation will automatically be billed to you.
More than 150 patrons of the Bend La Pine School District turned out Wednesday night to speak out about proposed boundary changes. Many of those in attendance are very opposed to proposed boundary changes. School officials say it's needed now to keep some schools from becoming overcrowded. Some parents were very vocal and very opposed to the changes. One was Shelly Hall: “There was never any notice from the November press release that they said they sent out. And I know the media got it. There was nothing in the media, till the time the first meeting was held December 15th, notifying parents of the ability to be on the committee.” Some feel proposed boundary changes should follow more geographic boundaries. Kids should attend school near where they are lived without being bussed across town. Some are concerned about economic factors. Susan Jasiorkowsky says she is frustrated: “It affects so many families. Especially int his economy, especially the Pine Ridge area where there’s a low SES. ” Another meeting will be held today from four to 5pm at which time a decision may be made. Many in attendance last night want the District to get more public input and wait.
The Oregon Senate approved the immigrant tuition bill Tuesday on a 18 to 11 vote. State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend voted against it: “I voted no. Illegal means illegal. These are not children as was said on the floor of the Senate. These are 18 and older. The only way to get citizens is to go back to the country of origin and enter legally, which is a time consuming thing.” The bill allows some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Oregon public universities. It now goes on to the House for their consideration.
This afternoon we should have a better idea about how to approach our local homeless problem, and if it's getting worse. The numbers from the annual "Homeless Count" are being released. Kenny La Point with Housing Works says the Homeless Count is important because it helps them determine causes, address specific needs and generate funding streams for the region. He says the count is a large effort coordinated between many local agencies that help the homeless and others: “We had some great volunteer help this year. It went very smoothly, we had some good weather, which can change how the count numbers look. But we had some good volunteers and so it was good." The one-day count was held on January 27th and the results will be released later today.
Many Oregon farmers are taking advantage of federal dollars available to switch to green energy. Don Hollis, is the Renewable Energy Coordinator for Oregon. He says farmers are ready to make the investment. “They see that doing nothing is not the answer. The answer is doing something. They’re putting PB system to run irrigation, operate wells to water livestock and looking at other alternative energy such as wind and geothermal to offset energy cost.” The Rural Energy for American Program, known as REAP, makes federal funds available to farmers who apply to make the switch to renewable energy.
Times are tough, and the state's budget is reflecting that. Local Representative Gene Whisnant of Sunriver says the plan unveiled by the powerful Ways and Means Committee Tuesday is responsible. House Republicans are celebrating a budget that reflects a pay freeze for state workers, and a much larger emergency reserve fund. " I think it's a very responsible budget in this economic recession and I think we've protected education, K-12 budget as best we can in this situation." Republican Representative Gene Whisnant says the $14.6 billion spending plan is close to what the Governor plan was; but this new plan actually proposes higher K-12 funding. Whisnant says they'll be tackling school funding first, probably in the next few weeks. He also says this is early in the session for Ways and Means to come out with its budget.
Members of the local Guardian Angels are trying to help women defend themselves against attackers. They are hosting a free self-defense class this weekend. “There are a lot of rape cases here in Central Oregon. ” David Hart with the Guardian Angels here in Central Oregon says their mission is to prevent crime. A little over a year ago, they patrolled the Bend parks when there was a rash of homeless people getting attacked; and this Saturday they are presenting a free self-defense class in hopes of preventing future rape cases. Hart says when there isn't a lot of crime to stop, they have other important projects too: “We put our attention more on helping elderly, shut-ins, who can’t afford their heating bills in the winter. We bring them firewood, we work with some youth programs, anti-drugs things like that.” The Self Defense workshop is from 2 to 4:30 on Saturday at the Bend Aiki Martial Arts on 18th Avenue next to our studios for Combined Communications.
Nine Central Oregon heroes were honored Tuesdy morning during the seventh annual Red Cross Heroes breakfast. Among those was Dale Gilbert who put his life on the line as he used his pickup as a barrier when the driver of a small sedan had medical problems the night of December 13th on highway 97 south of Redmond. “She went on into the center lane and almost hit a couple cars head on, and that's when I couldn't watch someone get taken out head on "actually I'm going to go up here, I would rather them hit me than hit someone else head on. 911: "I don't want you to get hurt sir." Gilbert: ‘I won't.’ Because I figured my truck can be repaired but lives couldn't.” That small sedan clipped Dale's truck and hit two other slow moving cars. Dale was not hurt. Others honored include Dianne Brock and Dan Hulbert of Caring for Troops, Fred Boos for going into a burning Bend home to save a woman, Sylvia Aker and Tina Countryman, Debbie Boettner for helping with preventative medicine in fossil, and Sergeant Ryan Craig and Corporal Kyle Thompson, both receiving significant injuries while serving in Afghanistan.
The latest numbers show that home prices continue to fall in most major U.S. cities. A Bend financial advisor says this is what we should expect for a while as part of the housing bottom. Tyler Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says the stock market didn't even react to the data. It's already priced in. For homeowners in Central Oregon; he says our housing bottom may last even longer. “The problem with housing, especially in places like Bend, is that housing and income have to rise together. When one of those, like housing, rises much faster than income, then the math doesn't work eventually it has to come back together to that's why in bend incomes didn't even come close to rising nearly as much as housing prices, so incomes can support payments." He also points out that the market has totally rebounded from the huge losses it sustained shortly after the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan.
They pull people out of burning buildings; deliver babies in restrooms at work, and put their own lives at risk to head off a traffic accident. They are local heroes that are being honored by the American Red Cross today at its 7th Annual Heroes Breakfast. Red Cross spokesman Tom Farley talks about the Bend man who rescued a woman from a burning home. "A local gentleman who was driving home with his kids- noticed that there was a house on fire- so he stopped, called 9-1-1, found someone in bed asleep - woke the owner and got the woman out safely and the house was totally engulfed shortly after that." Fred Boos wins the health and safety hero award for that act. The annual Heroes Breakfast is the major fundraiser for the local Red Cross Chapter; it's at 7:30 am at the Riverhouse in Bend.
Deschutes County's new District Attorney and Commissioner may have gotten off on the wrong foot. But, they're trying to change that. Commissioner Tony DeBone proposed a couple weeks ago to cut D.A. Patrick Flaherty's salary by twenty percent to help pay for some expensive grand jury investigations he started.
That issue was resolved last week with an apology by the target of the investigation. He apologized for accidentally releasing private information to the media. Commissioner DeBone wants to move on: “Obviously we had a personality conflict pretty quick, but if we can put this behind us, it's full speed ahead and real positive.” DeBone has asked for a meeting with D.A. Flaherty to iron out any differences.
People love to play in Central Oregon. Unfortunately they also seem to get lost a lot; even if they're from here. This year has been a very busy year for Deschutes County Sheriff Search and Rescue. Many people come to Central Oregon to live their passion; whether it's horseback riding, skiing, snowshoeing or feeling the wind against your face on a thrilling ATV ride. Unfortunately the fun often turns to a crisis when someone gets hurt or lost: “And it's happened a lot this year. Search and Rescue crews have spent some weekends on more than one mission.” Sergeant Joe Deluca with Deschutes County has some advice: “Take experienced people with you.” He says there are parts of Deschutes that are so vast and desolate that even the long time locals familiar with the terrain can get lost.
Some of the Deschutes Library branches will be open fewer hours to close a budget gap. Library Director Todd Dunkelberg says the move is needed because they expect to see a 3.6% drop in tax revenue this year: “We're actually looking for the first time since the Library District has been in existence, our revenues are actually decreasing and for us decreasing by 3.6% which is having a fairly substantial impact on us.” The library has been able to cut expenses by not replacing workers who have left and by cutting back library hours. The smaller branches, east Bend, La Pine, Sisters and Sunriver will only be open five days. Redmond will be open six days and the main downtown Bend branch will be open seven days a week, but with some fewer hours.
Search and Rescue crews had another busy weekend after an overdue rider east of Bend prompted a search late Saturday night. The overdue ATV rider was found okay early Sunday morning; but the outing serves as a warning to others. A chilly lesson for Jan May, 56, of Albany, Oregon had gone off solo without food or a cell phone. Family and friends searched first and then called in authorities. Crews found her around 1 a.m. She was cold, but otherwise okay. Sergeant Joe Deluca of Deschutes County says at least she was dressed well for the conditions: “Which was a great help; but, you know when we're dealing with inexperienced riders and don't have a knowledge base of that area, and don't realize how vast it is. There's really not too many people around; especially this time of year to give you a hand if something does go wrong." He says this area 20 miles east of Bend can be dangerous for non-locals and even people familiar with the area, because it's so desolate.” He says you should never ride alone, and you should bring maps, a cell phone and other tools like a GPS. It also can't hurt to bring some extra food and water.
After a few rough years, Dustin Weber, 25, is being remembered as a young man who was excited to get a fresh start. But his life was cut short by the tsunami that struck the west coast more than two weeks ago. Yesterday, in a special service, Dustin Weber's life was honored and remembered. Weber had lived in Bend most of his life; attending Trinity Lutheran School and then Mountain View High School. Pastor Robert Luinstra says it was very tough to get the news that Weber had been swept out to sea; he says the family would like him to be remembered as a child of God. “They wanted him to be remembered as they wrote in the first line of the obituary; the Lord lifted him up and took him home." His close friend, Blaise Butcher says he found some comfort in the fact that Dustin was very happy around the time of his death; he was very excited to be fixing up a beach home he had inherited from his grandmother.
Now that he has a few months of legislative work under his belt, 1110 KBND asked Representative Jason Conger is being a Congressman is all he thought it would be. Although Conger says he didn't realize the breadth of bills that the House needs to consider each session: "I knew it was going to be hectic. I knew it was going to be very fast paced and a lot of work. I didn't realize quite how many bills would be introduced." Conger says which bills get heard first is a very political process: "The bill is introduced, and then it gets assigned by the Speakers' Office. And we have, because it’s a 30-30 split in the Legislature; there's two speakers; 2 co-speakers. So that whole process, of the assignment, what committee, obviously there' a lot of forum shopping going on. You know, if you want a bill to pass you might put ii in one committee, if you want it to die, you might put it in another." In all, Conger says he is very honored to be our Congressman.
One of Bend's favorite restaurants fell victim to a burglar over the weekend. Bend Police responded to an audible alarm around 11:30 at Sargent's Cafe on north 3rd Street, and saw damage to the front door. A suspect was seen fleeing from the area on foot. After a short foot pursuit, Daniel Silvas, 33, was arrested and evidence linking him to the crime was found. Restaurant owner Jim Aylward says he doesn't keep money in the building after hours; so the only loss is about $500 worth of damage to the door and glass counter countertop where the cash register sits.
Oregon is known as a leader in helping keep seniors in their homes. But proposed budget cuts may put some of that State funding in jeopardy. Department of Human Services spokesman Gene Evans says the Governor has presented his budget, but lawmakers have the final say: “The proposal calls for a 16% reduction of those services, and these are things line assisting someone with their medication, or assisting someone with bathing, or getting dressed, or eating or mobility. So these are just kind of day to day activities, that with a little assistance people can stay at home.“ The legislature must approve the budget by the end of June.
If you are 50 or older and out of work; it's going to take you longer to get hired. "And nationally, AARP research shows that it takes 6 months.” That's why AARP of Oregon is traveling the state to help those boomers hone their skills: “And we're all competing for similar work and there's a point when 5 years of experience is as valuable as 10 years of experience. So that's one thing that people have to know that they need to be ready to compete with people from other generations as well as their own generation.” Joyce Demonnin says we are in a four-generation job market now. That means people who are 50 plus may be interviewed by someone 10 to 20 years younger. She says be prepared to do online job applications; to cater your resume' to specific positions, and to keep your look and approach very current and relevant.
It’s a hot button item that the legislature is grappling with this session: should children of illegal immigrants be granted in-state tuition for higher education? Republican Jason Conger says he's given it a lot of thought. "I’m opposed to it for a variety of reasons. Probably the biggest three is that they are here illegally. They have a lot of good arguments that really do, and are compelling. They tug at your heartstrings, like; it's not their fault that they are here. You know their parents brought them here. And they want to stay and they want to be productive members of society. And all of those things are legitimate. But at the end of the day, they're still here illegally." Conger says the bottom line is that in-state tuition rate is subsidized by the taxpayers, and he doesn't think it's fair that we should pay for someone who is here illegally to take up the seat of a child who is a legal resident. He adds that there are some community colleges that don't differentiate between in state and out of state students. So that could be an option for them. He also says he's open to finding a path to citizenship for these students, but using college money is not the way.
Many people are under a lot of stress, and it’s resulting in more calls to crisis hotlines. Terry Schroder with Deschutes County Mental Health Services says the need is greater than ever: “One of the things we look for and try to work with is: develop appropriate sense of hope, and also how much hopelessness and helplessness is existing. The stronger those two, hopelessness and helplessness, the more there's a risk involved.” Deschutes County offers a 24 hour crisis hotline. Just call (541) 322-7500.
It’s another business expansion story. Sara Bella Upcycled just moved from the Old Mill District to a larger, ground floor space at Northwest Crossing. Business owner Sara Wiener explains that she keeps plastic bags from going to the landfill by making bags, belts, wallets, aprons and more. She explains part of her inspiration. “I realized the number of plastic bags that we were consuming in our society and here in Bend; just watching the number I was accumulating in my own life was dramatic; just from getting the newspaper everyday." She says in Mexico, plastic bags are so prevalent some locals call it the "national flower" and in parts of Bali people can’t swim at the beach because the plastic bags get tangled in your legs. Tune in Tuesday for “Take Five” on 1110 KBND- we'll have more on her inspirational story.
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Department is now investigating the disappearance of Sandra Meyer as a murder-suicide. They've now ruled the death of John Meyer, her husband, found shot to death in their home last week, a suicide. Sandra Meyer was last seen on March 9th when her husband claimed she was going to a book club meeting and hasn't been seen since. Officers say they've found a substantial amount of Sandy's blood in one of the home's heat ducts. They've also located Sandy's purse under the residence. John Meyer did leave behind a couple letters, but he denied any involvement in his wife's disappearance. But police believe otherwise.
Friends of Dean Marsh are mourning his loss today. He attended High Lakes Christian Church in La Pine. Members of his church helped look for Dean over the last week. His body was found in the Deschutes River in the La Pine State Park Thursday. Dulcy Pierce remembers her friend: “He was a man of faith. He was one of the most caring and compassionate people, truly that I had ever met. He also had a smile on his fact and a word of encouragement. We’re all pretty devastated. We were hoping against hope and praying for a happy ending.” Marsh had moved to La Pine about two years ago from Washington State.
An autopsy is being conducted today in Portland on a La Pine man found in the Deschutes River yesterday afternoon. Dean Marsh, 58, had been missing since Saturday afternoon. Investigators say it may be tough to come up with a definitive answer in Dean Marsh's death: “In situations like this, its been our experience that it would be very difficult to determine how somebody ended up in the river. Did they jump in themselves, if they fell in, if somebody pushed them in, especially being unwitnessed. So being able to determine that or not, is yet to be known.” Captain Marc Mills of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says Marsh was found in the Deschutes River about 1000 yards north of the McGregor View Point, where his truck was parked.
Health officials are now calling the three meningococcal cases in Central Oregon a small cluster and not a community outbreak. Crook County Communicable Disease Coordinator Karen Yeargain says the three people did not spread the disease among themselves, rather the conditions were right in each case for the disease to take hold. “These people were probably just caught in the right conditions at the right time, if you will, a perfect storm. Rather than have a broad community risk. We don't have a broad tidal wave hitting the community.” Final test results are pending in the death of a Deschutes County infant. Yeargain says the infant's small size and the rapid spread of meningococcal inside a patient's body were undoubtedly factors in the death. She says health officials have treated everyone around these three patients and are confident it will not spread.
Central Oregon lawmakers are not in Salem today- they are here “In-District” in hopes of hearing from many of you. They are hosting a number of public meetings. State Senator Chris Telfer and Representative Jason Conger, both of Bend are at Pappy's Pizza tonight at 5:30. "We are going to hold a Town hall meeting; public invited. We’d love to hear from anybody with concerns, comments about what progress we're making or any particular issues they'd like to bring up- or just to get an update." there is also a town hall meeting tomorrow morning at 9:30 at the Redmond fire station.
Deschutes County Sheriff's deputies have found the body of a missing La Pine man. Dean Marsh's body was found about 1000 yards north of the McGregory viewpoint in the Deschutes River Thursday afternoon. His truck was found near the river earlier in the day. Marsh of la pine was last seen on Saturday afternoon.
Captain Marc Mills says the community played an important role in this case: "The media has been wonderful in reporting Mr. Marshes missing and we have been getting information in; and this person, this individual called based on what they hear or seen in the media, it's been very beneficial that the community's gotten involved the word has gotten out and I strongly believe that's why the vehicle was located in this time frame.” The Crook County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Parks employees also assisted Deschutes County in the search. The Medical Examiner is investigating the exact cause of death.
There was a two-vehicle injury crash on Boyd Acres Road around 9:45 Thursday night that resulted in serious injuries. Sharon Shuker, 64, of Bend was driving south on Boyd Acres when she was struck head-on by Shad Michael Thornton, 36, of Klamath Falls. The accident occurred near Ross Road. Bend Fire had to extricate Shucker from her car. Both Shucker and Thornton were taken to St. Charles with serious injuries. Sharon Shuker is in serious condition and Shad Thronton is in fair condition this morning. Police determined that alcohol is a factor in the crash. Thornton has been charged with DUII and Assault 2.
A contentious issue involving the Deschutes County District Attorney appears to have ended. D.A. Patrick Flaherty had taken a case to the Grand Jury over concerns that employment applications regarding new hires at the District Attorney's Office was released to the news media. As part of the agreement, County Counsel Mark Pilliod admits that much of the information should not have been released: “I am gratified that Mr. Pilliod, the County Counsel has accepted responsibility for his actions so that this matter can be put behind us. The District Attorney's Office is looking forward to working cooperatively with the County Counsel's Office in the future. I am confident that we will forge a very strong relationship with County Counsel.” In a letter released to KBND News, Pilliod states he understands the District Attorney's decision to investigate the matter and that he appreciates the D.A.'s decision not to further prosecute. The letter goes on to state Pilliod is looking forward to a much better working relationship with the District Attorney's office in the future.
The investigation into the three recent cases of meningitis cases in Central Oregon, has concluded there’s been a small cluster, rather than a community outbreak of the disease. Karen Yeargain with the Crook County Health Department says the first two cases occurred in Crook County the second and third weeks of March.
On March 22nd, a third case caused the death of an infant in Deschutes County. Health officials say since this isnot a community outbreak, recommendations for the meningococcal vaccine are not being expanded at this time.
State Senator Chris Telfer will be holding several Town Hall meetings starting today, in Central Oregon. Telfer says she wants to hear what's on people's minds: “It's just a great opportunity for us to be able to communicate with our constituents. We, on the east side of the mountain are at a disadvantage. So we want to use the two days to let people hear what we see happening in the legislature as well as hear what some of their concerns or desires are.” The first Town Hall will be this morning at 9:30 in the Sunriver Homeowners Room on Abbot Drive. Tonight she'll be in Bend at Pappy's Pizza starting at 5:30 p.m. And Saturday morning she'll be in Redmond at the Redmond Fire Station starting at 9:30. Telfer will be accompanied by Representatives Whisnant and Conger at different forums.
It’s the one year anniversary for the Oregon Lottery adding Mega Millions to their game menu. Experts say tonight’s drawing is mega-exciting. Tonight, you could be a hundred-millionaire. $312-million is up for grabs in the Mega Millions drawing. Chuck Bowman with the Oregon Lottery says big jackpots brings mega-interest: “It seems like, once the jackpots get to that $100-million level, people really start playing. There are those loyal players that play, and I say this with air quotes "only" $20-million. They'll play then, 'cuz they think that $20-million is a indeed a big chuck of money, which it is. Ya know when it gets to $100-million and above, that's when the folks, who don't normally play decide; now it's time for me to play." Bauman says if you win, you will have the option of a lump sum or an annual payout of about $8 million a year for about 26 years. If you haven't already done so, you need to buy your ticket by 7 pm tonight.
This Sunday, friends and family will say goodbye to the Bend man who was swept out to sea when the tsunami hit the west coast. "It's hard because there's no closure; cause we may never find him." Close friend Blasie Butcher says despite extensive searches they haven't found Dustin Weber's body. Dustin Weber, 25, was taking pictures of the big waves south of Crescent City when a huge wave caught him off guard. Weber had just moved there from Bend a few weeks prior to the tsunami. Butcher says after some tough times during his earlier years; he went to his grandmother's home overlooking the ocean and mouth of the Klamath River, ready to start fresh: “He was on top of the world. This was his way to get things figured out, and get some time to himself and he was very ecstatic about his new home and getting a pad where it was a fixer upper home and he was happy." The service is open to the public and is at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bend at 2 o'clock Sunday.
Times are definitely changing in how we approach education. The long held tradition of a half day of kindergarten may be a thing of the past soon in Oregon. “Kids are different that they were 10 -15 years ago.” State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend says many kids are ready for a full day of kindergarten; and the sooner they seriously start their education, the better. Senate Bill 248 easily passed in the Senate and now moves to the House. It mandates full day kindergarten starting in 2015. "We are giving ourselves 4 years to come up with trying to come up with the funding for this. This is not an unfunded mandate; the Legislature will continue to be a part of this and trying to work at how we can fund fulltime indergarten.” Telfer says all but two Senators voted for the bill. They cited funding concerns as the reason.
Some more encouraging news on the unemployment front. The latest unemployment numbers for February in Central Oregon are all down. Regional Economist Carolyn Eagan says Crook and Deschutes County's unemployment fell a point and Jefferson County's fell close to a point: “I think that the highest seasonal adjusted rates are behind us. Last year the seasonality of our employment is changing, we've been talking about that because of what's happening in construction and manufacturing.” Crook County has the highest unemployment rate at 16.4%, followed by Jefferson at 13.4% and Deschutes is at 13.1%.” The industries with the most job creation include professional and business services and educational and health services.
Governor Kitzhaber signed into law today bills that will extend unemployment benefits up to 26 weeks for Oregonians who have exhausted other options. The bills passed with overwhelming support. It allows the state to use $225 million in federal funds to extend unemployment benefits for twenty weeks. Nearly 50,000 Oregonians will be eligible for the additional benefits by the end of the year.
State Senator Chris Telfer wants to hear from you over the next couple days. She'll be holding Town Hall meetings Friday and Saturday in Sunriver, Bend and Redmond with Representatives Whisnant and Conger. “I that that transportation is something that we’re working hard on and it looks like it’s going to be going through; and that’s going to open up some lands for some economic development, so people may want to talk about that. And you know, we’ve got a lot of bills still, that we’ve not heard. But some people may have an interest in specific bills. But they also may have an overall interest in the budget, and how that may unwind.”
Senator Telfer will be in Sunriver Friday morning at 9:30 at the Sunriver Homeowners Room on Abbot Drive. On Friday night, she'll be at Pappy's Pizza in Bend at 5:30 p.m. And Saturday morning she'll hold a Town Hall meeting starting at 9:30 at the Redmond Fire Station.
A major RV rally is returning to Redmond this summer and is expected to bring millions of dollars to Redmond and surrounding area businesses. Executive Director of the Redmond Chamber of Commerce, Eric Sande says they're happy to have "The Rally" here in Central Oregon: "The vendors who come and stay to put on the show, stay in the hotels so it'll increase occupancy during their stay here and of course the rental cars do very well and they also ship a lot of stuff home so the shipping companies do very well the UPS's and so on. So it's a wide range event that covers pretty much the whole spectrum of the community." He says it's not just a time for people who already own an RV to get together. There will be shows, classes and other activities for the general public, including organized hikes bike rides and the 8th Annual Dog Show, "Oregon Tails". They expect about 3800 RV's to visit the area, including over a 1000 brand new units on display. The rally, sponsored by Dish Network runs from July 14-17.
As of the first of the month, certain rental units in Oregon must have working carbon monoxide detectors as well as the standard smoke detector. “Carbon monoxide poisoning kills about 2100 people every year and injures ten-thousand more. It’s an odorless and colorless gas. It’s a silent killer and a lot of people have sources of carbon monoxide in their home.” Bend Deputy Fire Marshall Cindy Kettering says House Bill 3450 requires the carbon monoxide units be placed within 15-feet of sleeping areas. Rental units that use all electric heat and hot water heaters are exempt from this requirement. Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased at many places that sell standard smoke detectors. There are some units that detect both carbon monoxide and smoke.
Deschutes County search and rescue were called around 11:30 Wednesday morning, about a 68 year old Bend woman who had fallen while cross country skiing and injured her leg. She was unable to walk. A search team was able to locate Sandra Dunahay and transport her on ambu-sled to Bend Fire Paramedics who took her to St.Charles. Then, around 5:00 PM, Deschutes County 911 received another call about a woman who apparently became lost while snow shoeing. Jeenie Valcans, 51, from Corvallis, became disoriented after leaving Edison Snow Park. SAR was able to locate her from her cell phone pings. She was found about two miles north of the snow-park in good condition.
An extensive search for a missing la pine man Wednesday turned up nothing. And authorities say they can't rule out "foul play." Dean Marsh, 58, has been missing since Saturday and family members say it’s not like him to just disappear. About a dozen search and rescue crews spent much of Wednesday searching the area on the ground and in the air. An airplane looked near the snowline in case Dean Marsh got stuck somewhere,but so far, no leads. Captain Marc Mills with Deschutes County says they are also contacting agencies in Washington and California." The family is adamant that it is very uncharacteristic of Mr. March to not be in contact with them, or a friend. Which leads us to continue to be as diligent as we can about attempting to locate him. We can’t rule out foul play, ‘cue we have nothing indicating actually one way or the other. We certainly would like to, but at this point, we are unable to do that.” They are watching his credit cards and bank accounts for any activity. Mills says they believe he did gas up at his regular La Pine gas station. The station does not have cameras and the attendant couldn't say for sure if Marsh was there Saturday afternoon.
"Americans for Prosperity of Oregon" just launched a statewide TV ad campaign that highlights what they call government waste, fraud and incompetence. The ads feature so-called "PER’s Poster Children". The commercial that just started running in Bend and throughout Oregon highlights a state worker who's getting a pension check of about $15,000 a month, after allegedly costing the state about $200 million, because he botched a large project. Spokesman Matt Evans says an earlier campaign seemed to generate a lot of interest. It's actually been very positive; thousand’s responded, hundreds sent messages to lawmakers to reform PERs. Americans for Prosperity of Oregon describes itself as a grassroots organization that works for limited government and economic freedom.
What can the State Treasurer's office do to help turn Central Oregon's economy around? Treasurer Ted Wheeler was in Bend Wednesday asking questions about how the State can grow the economy. “The bottom line for me is, that until Central Oregon's economy turns around, the State's economy can't turn around. So I am highly motivated to be here, to listen to what people are saying and to hammer out a plan to help them grow the economy here locally.” Wheeler says the Treasurer's Office has hundreds of millions of dollars through the Oregon Growth Account and the Oregon investment fund. Those funds are designed to help small businesses grow and create jobs. Wheeler says he is actively looking for ways to help small and emerging Central Oregon companies, and he wants to talk to those companies in person to prioritize where the need is and where the money will do the most good.
Mt. Bachelor has almost a record base and the mountain hosts Spring Break skiers this week. Spokesman Andy Goggins says this weekend is usually when they see the biggest crowds. Right now the mountain is also in the process of switching over from winter skiing to the festive and warm spring ski season: “Normally, when we get into the spring weather pattern and a little bit more sunshine, and we go from nice powder conditions to spring corn conditions, it’s pretty festive. People skiing in shorts and t-shirts and just enjoying the sun and nice soft, snow." Goggins says their Spring Break numbers may be a little more diluted this year because Easter is much later and the breaks for Oregon, California and Washington are spread out more this year.
America lost a real life movie star Wednesday when Elizabeth Taylor died at the age of 79 of congestive heart failure. Elizabeth Taylor was a star from her formative years, starring in forty years of films. Later in life she used her celebrity to draw attention to causes such as Aids. Orit Schwartz is the artistic director of Bend film: ”It is a sad day, but she had an amazing life, but she left behind her legacy. An amazing body of work. Her humanitarian efforts for people who didn't have a voice. She spoke out and people listened to her because she was Elizabeth Taylor.” Elizabeth Taylor passed away at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, surrounded by her family.
It’s an effort to make our neighborhoods nicer by putting families into homes left vacant due to foreclosure. There’s a stimulus program that offers zero interest loans for some buyers of foreclosed homes. So far the stimulus program has helped fill 78 foreclosed homes in Deschutes County, and funds are currently available in hard hit Crook and Jefferson counties. Greg Blackmore is the Affordable Housing Program Coordinator. As part of his job he goes out to the vacant homes. “When I drive up to a property for the first time, I see a home with a lawn that’s typically burned out and you can tell the house is not well-maintained. If you go to that same house three months later, after its been lived in, you can obviously see that there’s a family living thee, there’s a new neighbor there. They’re maintaining the property, they are maintaining the property, and they’re maintaining the lawn. And that in an of itself is stabilizing communities.” Families can apply for the zero interest loans the maximum amount is $35,0000 and the home must be a primary residence, not investment property. Blackmore says you can call him at the City of Bend for more information.
Police officers will be out today trying to catch drivers who run red lights. The enforcement detail will be from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The primary locations they'll be are: SW Highway 97 near Veterans Way and Canal Boulevard. They'll also be at SW Highland Avenue and SW Glacier Avenue. Officers from Bend, Redmond, Oregon State Police and Deschutes County Sheriff's Office will be patrolling.
It’s a growing problem, and Deschutes County is not immune from it. Sexual predators are on the prowl on the Internet and they are looking for kids: “Some of the current statistics show that one in seven kids are sexually solicited on line, and four percent of kids are aggressively solicited on line. That means they were asked to leave their home or meet with someone.” Deschutes County Sheriffs Detective Zack Neeman says the Internet has leveled the playing field so it's as much a problem in the smaller towns across America as the big cities. Neeman says parents need to be very aware of the risks in social networking, and that kids and parents should keep personal information private. Do not share your physical location, phone numbers, or dates of birth on line. Neeman says there are ways to kids to participate in social networking, but to do it safely.
Spring break is often a popular time on Mt. Bachelor. Spokesman Andy Goggins says the big crowds will come in this weekend and they'll be able to track the tally then. He says the crowds probably won't be as large this year compared to years past because Easter falls much later. And the spring breaks from Oregon, Washington and California are spread out more. One thing is certain though; the snowpack is great - almost record breaking. "So far this year to date we are at 148 inches at the base of the mountain 177 inches at the mid-mountain snow stake, which is unbelievable for this time of year. Our season total is 504 inches. That's about 70 inches short of our total season record." Goggins says the record season was the 1998-1999 season, so with a good base they are expecting a healthy season of "spring skiing."
Just in time for the big tourist season, Visit Bend has launched some TV ads that will appear in some major markets around the northwest. Visit Bend's Lynette Braillard says the ads are designed to appeal to the adventurous outdoor players. They plan to saturate the high travel corridor of Oregon: "They will actually start airing May first, along the I-5 corridor in Oregon. Our primary markets are Portland, Salem, Eugene. And then also southwest Washington and in the Seattle market." Braillard says the spots highlight the outdoor lifestyle that we're so well known for. She says most locals never get to see the ads that play elsewhere, so they have put them on the Visit Bend website for you to view. You can view the ads by clicking here and prepare to get excited about Bend!
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says his latest tax reform package has the potential to create two million new "red-white-and blue" jobs every year. He says he wants to remove the tax incentives for American companies to go overseas. Right now companies say they are doing that because the U.S. corporate tax is one of the highest in the world. Wyden is hoping more of his colleagues understand the urgency for change: “Write off for small business and the chance to get American manufacturing going again. That produces more of that of us coming together, so that our voices prevail against the scores and scores of lobbyists. I think we are reaching that point.” In his latest tax reform proposal, Wyden says he hopes to make it more difficult for future Congresses to "unravel" any tax reform that does occur. He says the goal would be to increase the procedural hoops so that the American people could clearly see any effort to push big tax loopholes for special interest groups.
It’s a major moment for the largest construction project in Central Oregon. Today, south of Bend, a lot of trucks will be on the road as ODOT's contractor pours the deck on the new southbound bridge on the U.S. 97 Lava Butte Project. ODOT's Peter Murphy says the popular highway is in "transition" right now, but will be much better at the end of the summer when this $16 million project is done. "What we'll end up with is a big separation between northbound and southbound lanes. We'll have more capacity so it'll be safer and better. And the way traffic has been growing in the Bend area for so long, this was a real critical need that we had here, the volumes were up. It was too close together; we had two lanes close to each other. We'd get winter weather set in, so it was a real problem; lots of crashes, so the time was right, we found the money." He says the stimulus money made an important difference is helping this large project move forward. Almost $12 million came from stimulus funds.
Hundreds of people came through the doors during this first day of Bend's new Eastside Library on Tuesday. This new branch will give people another option to check out materials. Karoline Lamer is the Supervisor of the Eastside branch. “We’re seeing library cards that haven’t been used in 15 years or more. We saw a card that probably a collector’s item today. So it’s been really exciting to be able to serve that older population that didn’t have quite as go of access as they did before.” The new Eastside Branch is located on Highway 20 near the Forum Shopping Center. It's open Tuesday through Saturday.
Legendary movie actress Elizabeth Taylor died today at the age of 79. Taylor died "peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles," said a statement from her publicist. She was hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure, "a condition with which she had struggled for many years; though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be." Though a two-time Oscar winner -- for "Butterfield 8" (1960) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1966), Taylor was more celebrated for simply being Elizabeth Taylor. Elizabeth Taylor was born in London, England, in 1932 and moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1939. Taylor appeared with Ann Revere in the film "National Velvet" in 1944. The film was a smash hit and made Taylor MGM's top child star.
They are capturing the spirit of Oregon with the new products from Oregon Spirit Distillers. The product recently got approval to be distributed statewide. Owner Brad Irwin says it's been a labor of love for many years. "The production of spirit is a fascinating combination of craft and science. I discovered it, mostly on accident. But it really captured my attention. Right now there's this movement towards craft distillation, where a lot of local small local producers of spirits can be reflective of their local community." Oregon Spirit Distillers offers handmade vodka right now, but in a few weeks, they plan to launch a marionberry cordial and they also are barreling some whisky that should be available in 2014. Irwin says they will also offer a specially designed spirit once a month, only in the tasting room. Currently, their tasting room on Butler Market Road is only open on Saturdays. We have a link on your “Links” page here.
It’s another case of meningococcal meningitis in Central Oregon; this time in Deschutes County, and it took the life of an infant. Close contacts to the baby have been contacted. At this time, there is no known connection to the two confirmed Crook County cases. Tom Kuhn with Deschutes County Public Health: ‘We have no evidence so far to show that these cases are connected; we've done some investigations to see if these people knew each other and so far, that's come up negative. The next step will be to identify what strain of the disease that it might be and if they are all the same strain. At that point we may be able to better connect the dots, but we don't know all the strains of them at this time." Kuhn says its very rare and not very contagious, especially if you have a strong immune system. Health officials say those are higher risk are smokers, college students in dorm room, military recruits, some world travelers, and people who have certain immune system disorders. There is also a vaccine available to protect against some strains.
Plans to extend jobless benefits are sailing through the House and Senate in Salem. Yesterday the Senate approved two bills to extend federal and state unemployment benefits. KBND talked to local lawmakers; Senator Chris Telfer, and Representative Gene Whisnant about the bills: Telfer: “Deschutes County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the State, continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates. We’ve got some people there that need some help. And we don’t see a whole lot of economic development going on and creation of jobs. So, we need to help those people in Central Oregon. But at the same time, we’re extending those benefits, which will, unfortunately cost the employers a few extra dollars, we want to revise the unemployment system. We want t improve it. We know we have employers that are having trouble getting employees because people don’t want to go off unemployment.” Gene Whisnant: “as a member of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, I have already voted for both bills last week, to extend unemployment benefits. I put on the record of Ways and Means, the hearing, I’m concerned about the additional burden on the State revenue of about $30-million that this imposes. But there’s no way I can tell these people, especially in my District, that are unemployed that we can’t continue to help them until we get this State business straightened out and try to get more people working.” Lawmakers say the move will help about 50,000 people in Oregon.
Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney says Commissioners are trying to improve the acrimonious relationship with the District Attorneys Office. Last week County Commissioner Tony DeBone suggested cutting D.A. Patrick Flaherty's salary to help pay for expensive Grand Jury investigations. But now, Commissioner Baney says they hope the former Attorney General the County hired, Dave Frohnmayer will be able to resolve this: “We need the D.A.’s Office to be successful. It’s a part of the services we provide. And every day we spend internally fighting is taxpayer money that is wasted. I am hopeful, through Dave Frohnmayer, we will be able to reach some sort of resolution.” Commissioner Baney says Flaherty's pay cut proposal is off the table. She hopes the D.A.'s Office will realize any release of private information given out during a public records request was just a simple mistake, nothing more, not worthy of a Grand Jury investigation.
The family of a missing 58 year old La Pine man are still concerned about where Dean Marsh is. He was last seen on Saturday afternoon when he said he was going to get some gas and visit some friends nearby. His son, Dan says the family is struggling for answers: “No history of depression, no history of a situation where he would leave his family.” Marsh did just lose his job at a funeral home a couple weeks ago, but his son insists that his father's mental outlook was good. Marsh left his home in a black 2000 Dodge Dakota with Oregon plate XRE 834.
Police could be taking a new look at the information surrounding the case of missing bend woman Sandra Meyer. According to a published report, Bend Police Captain Jim Porter says they suspect foul play, partly because Meyer was very close with her family and would not have been out of touch with them for this long. The report says porter declined to provide details on any evidence that may have been found in the home. Police intend to search new areas this week. Sandra Meyer, 72, disappeared almost two weeks ago, after never showing up at a book club meeting. Her husband, John, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his house March 16th. Police have not said if Meyer shot himself.
The head of Economic Development for Central Oregon is reacting to the big announcement that AT&T is buying T-Mobile. The T-Mobile Call Center is the region's 4th largest private employer. EDCO played a big role in bringing T-Mobile here. Roger Lee with EDCO: “Well, certainly we’re looking at that with interest. Certainly we’re very interested in making sure that that employer maintains their presence in Redmond. We’ve not heard anything contrary to that thus far. It’s something we’re going to keep an eye on.” According to EDCO; the Redmond Call Center for T-Mobile has about 850 workers. This $39 billion deal would make AT&T the largest U.S. cell phone company, passing Verizon Wireless for the top spot. As for changes that could affect the Call Center, business wires are reporting that the biggest areas of overlap are seen in the retail stores, not necessarily in call centers. “The reality is: there’s customers involved here in both companies. Consolidating their operations, obviously they’re not looking to reduce the number of customers. And customers need care.” The regulatory review is expected to take about a year and then any possible changes or layoffs would come after that.
The grand opening of a new meat store on Bend's north side is also helping the victims in Japan. Owner Shin Nakato is from Japan and wanted to do something to help. He gave away hundreds of burgers and asked people instead to donate to the victims. He raised about $1500. ”Everybody was very giving and kind and sympathetic to what they're going through. We couldn't ask for a better turnout. We really appreciate everybody thinking about the victims and the disaster going on over there.” Nakato plans to raise more money for the victims at his east coast restaurants as well.
With Facebook getting closer to completion, the prineville area is becoming a place some other businesses are looking at to relocate. Economic Development of Prineville and Crook County is working with the City of Prineville to include about 975 more acres of property the its enterprise zone. EDCO spokesman Jason Carr says they have not expanded the area since 2003: “When Facebook came in and purchased the 125 acre parcel that they have, we started looking around, realizing we didn't have any other large lots of that size or larger, with the ability to utilize the enterprise zone. So for example, if another data center wanted to come in or another large company that needed a large lot but also wanted to utilize the enterprise zone, we didn't have many options for them to look at." Now that Facebook is doing so well, they realize that things need to change. Carr says they already have some drafts to the Prineville City Council and they should get approval in a few weeks so they can move on for state approval.
For more than half a year, students and parents of Summit band members have been raising funds to pay for their trip to Carnegie Hall. Well, they did it. They managed to raise $46,000 so all 44 band members can travel to New York. Scott Robson was instrumental in all the fundraising efforts. They're all going. They’re excited. They’re going to have a big concert on April 7th at Summit High at 7 p.m. Come on down. It's a free concert; you can listen to the music the kids will be playing at Carnegie Hall. Summit's wind ensemble will be traveling to New York April 20th through the 24th. They're one of 18 bands invited to play at the prestigious hall.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden says far too many foreign companies are getting away with not paying duties and tariffs on goods shipped to the U.S. Senator Wyden says its time these duty and tariff laws are enforced. “I believe we're gonna get legislation passed soon. It will be bipartisan on behalf of the hard workers so they're not victimized by trade cheats.” Wyden and Republican Senator Olympia Snow of Maine are co-sponsoring legislation that will hold customs accountable to investigate foreign companies not paying tariffs and duties. Wyden is in Bend today. He'll be at the Bend Senior Center this morning and speaking at the Oxford Hotel for the Central Oregon City Club at noon.
50 Central Oregonians turned out over the weekend to hear some ideas for re-drawing legislative boundaries. Of those, 30 testified at a public hearing at OSU Cascades in Bend. “There were people who spoke from Sunriver, Bend, and Redmond feeling there was synergy there. There are shared school districts, economic development, and they want keep that as a Senate District. Knowing that Senate District will have to spin off about 28,000 people.” Senator Chris Telfer says there will also have to be two House Districts that will be drawn through the city of Bend. The first proposed map could be ready by mid April. The final map must be settled on and signed by the Governor by June 30th. There are about a half dozen more public hearings that will be conducted as part of the process.
It’s another missing person case in Central Oregon. Today the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is reporting that a 58 year old La Pine man is missing. Dean Russell Marsh has been missing since Saturday afternoon. His wife, Lorraine Marsh says he had left their home between 2 and 3 p.m. to get gas in La Pine and then go visit two friends in the local area. Marsh has not returned home or contact his wife and he didn't state any other possible destinations. He was driving a black 2000 Dodge Dakota pick-up with a standard cab that has a Dutch Bros sticker in the rear window and a cracked front windshield, Oregon license plate XRE 834. Marsh is a white male, 5'10" weighting 165 pound with short grey hair. Anyone who's seen Marsh in the last three days is asked to contact the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.
Police are investigating a shooting in Warms Springs that involved a Warm Springs Tribal Police Officer and a non-tribal member. The victim of the shooting is described as a 22 white male of Madras. His name is being withheld pending the notification of family members. The Warm Springs Police Department says the shooting happened last night around 10:40 during a traffic stop at the Warm Springs Forest Products property. The officer involved also had minor injury and was treated and released from Mt. View Hospital. The officer is on administrative leave pending an investigation by the FBI and Oregon State Police.
It sounds easy enough. One person, one vote. But the issue gets more complicated when you put that into practice and start redrawing legislative boundaries. As people move around the State, some legislative districts pick up more, some lose residents. In areas like Bend that have had a net gain over the last decade, the House Districts need to be re-drawn. The goal is to have joint communities of interest or neighborhoods in the same district, but where do you draw the line? “There was a variety of discussions around that. People have different perspectives. Our task here is to see what different people in the state have to say about that.” Representative Tobias Reed is one member of the Redistricting Committee. Chris Telfer Co-Chairs the Committee and says one thing she wants to avoid is the situation in John Day where the Legislative boundary goes right through the middle of town. People on different side of the street have different Representatives and that's confusing.
Police continue to search for clues in the disappearance of a 72 year old Bend woman. Sandra Meyer has now been missing for almost two weeks. Her husband John was found shot to death in their home last week. In an attempt to get more leads, the family has put up a website: www.findsandrameyer.com to jump start the investigation. Officers continue to search the Meyer home for evidence. Meyer was last seen March 9th when her husband claims she left their home to go to a book club meeting. Her car was later found the next day at the Old Mill District Parking lot.
So far only two cases of meningococcal have been confirmed in Crook County. Health officials say they don't have any other suspected cases, but are monitoring the situation carefully. “Our concern level is up there because this is a serious disease, when it happens. We want to take a look and see if we can find connections, see if it becomes anything that is a community-wide risk; what are the things we can do to decrease that.” Karen Yeargain with the Crook County Health Department says it does not look like there will be a community wide outbreak. She encourages people to decrease their chances of throat irritation by not smoking and staying away from other sick people because the meningococcal can enter the blood stream from a break in the throat lining. This bacteria is normally present in fifteen percent of the population, but they don't know why two cases have emerged no in Crook County.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will be in Central Oregon over the next couple days. Senator Wyden will host a series of Town Hall meetings. Wyden will be in Jefferson County today at 4:30 p.m. at the Jefferson County Senior Center. On Tuesday, he'll be in Deschutes County. At 9:30 a.m. he'll be at the Bend Senior Center and at noon he'll be speaking at the Central Oregon City Club at the Oxford Hotel. Then, at 3 p.m. he'll conduct a Town Hall in Prineville at the Soroptimist Senior Center.
Redmond Schools is making plans to cut its budget next year to compensate for its $9 million shortfall. Director of Operations, Mike McIntosh says even though they'll be opening a new high school in 2012, they won't be adding staff: “Our student body population in Redmond is expected to remain relatively flat. So, when we open the high school by splitting the current kids and the staff into two separate buildings. So we won't have to add a significant number of teachers.” Redmond Schools is asking every school employee from the superintendent down to take a 3.7% pay cut and plan to cut 28 positions.
The State is responding to the radiation scare from Japan by setting up a special hotline. The toll free number has updated information from experts who are monitoring our air and water for radioactivity. Here's a sample of what you could hear if you called the number: "According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, due the thousands of miles from Japan, Hawaii, and Alaska and the west coast; we are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity. Since the explosion there have no elevated readings of radioativity detected in Oregon and air sample reports remain normal. Oregon Public Health receives hourly reports of atmospheric data and will continue to monitor the situation." There are two radiation monitoring stations in Oregon; one in Portland and one in Corvallis. The toll free hotline number is 1-877-290-6767.
It’s all about the money as Central Oregonians head to Salem. Concerned Central Oregon parents will make the trek over the mountains this coming Monday to lobby lawmakers on behalf of disabled children. “Just like all of the programs they are talking about more cuts to funding for early intervention and early childhood special education. We have already taken a 57% cut to that program. And frankly, as important as that age group is, we just can't afford to have any more cuts.” Diana Hanson is President of the Central Oregon Disability Support Network. She says humans develop more from birth to five years of age that at any other time in their life. She wants to tell lawmakers they will need money ahead to help take care of issues while kids are still in their formative years than to try and re-train them later.
Bend continues with a reputation for being a bicycling mecca, and now is chosen as a location for a very special cycling event. The Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association has decided to move their handmade bike show from Portland to Bend. "You know the handmade bike culture in Oregon is one of the most vibrant in the country, in that there will be over 40 handmade bike manufacturers from the State of Oregon displaying there bikes, which are beautiful. Beautiful bikes, and very artistic and they'll be displaying them at the show." Visit Bend's Doug La Placa says the handmade bike show will occur in tandem with the Halloween Cyclocross Crusades in later October. The Crusades typically attracts about 1000 contestants and many more spectators. La Placa says these two events are the largest and most prestigious cycling events in the northwest. He adds their timing is perfect because October is generally considered a slow tourism season.
A huge business deal affects the region's fourth largest private employer. Yesterday, AT&T announced its buying T-Mobile in a cash and stock deal valued at $39 billion. This will make AT&T the largest cell phone company in the U.S. Currently, Verizon is the biggest. It would also reduce the number wireless carriers with national coverage from four to three and the plan is sure to face close regualtory scrutiny. T-Mobile has a Customer Service Call Center in Redmond that opened in 2004 with about 250 employees and has grown to about 850 workers as of April 2009. That's according to Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO).
More than a dozen protesters sporting a megaphone showed up during the noon hour at a Bend US Bank branch Friday. They were protesting what they call "greedy" practices of US Bank. Members of the Service Employees International Union are angry because the bank charges for subsequent ATM withdrawals from Reliacard. That is the card the state of Oregon uses to distribute child support and other payments. “They are only allowed to draw money out twice a month without a fee. Then it's $3.00 per withdrawel. The problem with unemployment is they could receive a check every week.” Spokesperson Bonita Williamson accuses US Bank of helping get the nation into the economic distress it is currently in, and now wants to make money of the backs of the unemployed. A spokesman for US Bank says there are no fees for debit transactions with Reliacard and he says the program saves the State thousands of dollars by allowing funds to be electronically distributed to recipients.
A Prineville Police officer had to shoot and kill a dog that attacked him while he was trying to arrest two drug suspects. It happened Thursday when Prineville Police and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team attempted to stop a vehicle as part of a methamphetamine investigation. Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush says they deal with aggressive dogs on a regular basis and it's very rare that it escalates to this point: “The dog left the vehicle and went after the officer. While the officer was struggling with the passenger who was resisting arrest at the time, and the dog died immediately. So this is very rare. And we work very hard to prevent these types of things and its very tragic that the owner put this dog in that position." He says its fairly common for drug dealers to train their dogs to attack people in order to protect their drugs. Whitney Nicole Marks, 19, and Rolland Wayne Halsey, 19, were arrested in the incident.
It’s a celebration in Oregon for those who enjoy making beer and wine at home and sharing with friends. The bill that also brings back hobby beer competitions is easily sailing through Salem. “Oregon has a long tradition of home brewing." Jason Conger of Bend says the bill had a lot of support from both parties because it clarified a law that stopped home brewers from taking the alcohol away from home. That stifled things like county fair competitions and sharing your home made brew with friends at their home. Conger says their was a public outcry when the spigot was turned off on these popular hobby events: “As you probably know a lot of our breweries were founded by folks who got their start in home brewing and the brewery business in Oregon is a big job creator; certainly in Central Oregon that's true as well." Senate Bill 444 clarifies that those who brew craft beer or wine at home can share it with friends and neighbors and enter into competitions.
The investigation continues into the shooting deaths of three wild horses this past week. A sheriffs deputy found the horses shot to death in the Ochoco National Forest about 18 miles east of Prineville. Sheriff Jim Hensley says, “one of the horses was pregnant and it was a gruesome sight.” If you have any information on the senseless shootings, please contact the Crook County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Larry Blanton says this is this was the best shredding event they have ever had, saying that more than 350 cars arrive with over 5 tons of paper. The event also collected food for the NeighborImpact program. Deputies were on hand to collect dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office will continue to host free shredding events on a quarterly basis.
Investigators expect to release more details today on the search for missing Bend woman, Sandra Meyer. Her husband, John was found shot to death in his home on Wednesday. Police are not saying anything about his death, other than they're investigating whether it was self-inflicted. Officers have searched several locations for Sandra, with no success. Friends and family remain puzzled on Sandra's disappearance and the death of her husband. Sandra's husband claims his wife left for a book club meeting a week ago Wednesday night and was not seen since. Her car was later found in the Old Mill District parking lot.
Health officials in Crook County fear they may have a second case of meningitis. On March 9th, a Crook County High School student was diagnosed. He's in a Portland hospital upgraded to serious condition. "Any strain of meningococcal bacteria is very serious, and the fatality rate is high” says Health Department Spokesperson Kerin Yeargain. Crook County health officials in Prineville are on alert; they are trying to figure out if there's another case of meningitis. Yesterday, a 24 year old male with similar symptoms was taken to the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Emergency Department and then to St. Charles via Airlink. Yeargain says there are a handful of people who had close contact with the man and they have been notified. Yeargain says there is a vaccine available to prevent some cases in teens: “In Oregon, about little over half of the strain that we see is Type B, which is not contained in the vaccine. So we prevent that with mainly being aware and catching the illness quickly and doing preventative treatment for close contact.” The rest of the strains seen in Oregon are preventable thru vaccination.
A memorial service for Dustin Weber, the 25 year old man killed when a tsunami wave hit Crescent City, California, will be held next weekend. Weber was attempting to photograph the huge waves in northern California last Friday, when one carried him out to sea. Attempts to rescue him failed. Dustin grew up in the Bend area and attended Trinity Lutheran Church, and had just moved to Crescent City. His memorial service will be next Sunday march 27th at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran.
A visionary Bend leader will be laid to rest today. Former Bend City Manager Art Johnson died earlier this month. His funeral will be at Grace First Lutheran at 1:30 today. Pastor Joel Liabratten says he was a leader in the community and at his church. “All the stories just parallel what I've heard, the process of being a gentle man, but a very organized and insightful man. People liked working for him. He had a big impact on Central Oregon in a lot of ways.” Art Johnson was Bend's City Manger from 1972 to 1986.
Redmond police say a suspect in the sexual abuse and sodomy of two juvenile females that took place in Redmond on Wednesday has been arrested. The Bulletin reports the incident occurred inside a travel trailer in the parking lot of the Redmond WalMart early Wednesday morning. Police identified the suspect as Brian William York, 47, of Phoenix. They said he was headed to Coos Bay to deliver the trailer to a business on the Oregon coast. Redmond Police are looking for other victims of similar crimes that may involve the suspect. Those with any information should contact police.
A new high school opens in Redmond to three grade levels in the fall of 2012, and when it does, students will have more choices. The new state of the art school will include a TV studio, a dental clinic, and a green engineering laboratory. “Green engineering is something that is a burgeoning industry and we are in discussions with various venders and various community colleges about various community colleges about programs they offer. We will work in the next year and a half to design classes that ensure out students will remain competitive in the ever changing work environment.” Redmond School District Planning Director John Bullock says the new school will allow the District to continue offering quality and state of the art education. The high school boundaries will follow the middle school boundaries. Under the current plan, students attending Elton Gregory or Terrebonne Community School will go to Redmond High School. Students from Obsidian or Tumalo School would go to Ridgeview, but students will be allowed to attend the high school that better matches their career goals.
There is possibly a second case of meningitis in Crook County. The Crook County Health Department was notified yesterday about a 24 year old man who went to a Prineville hospital and was then taken by Airlink to St. Charles. On March 9th a 16 year old Crook County High School student was diagnosed with meningitis and has been fighting for his life in a Portland hospital. Karen Yeargain with Crook County Health Department says this disease is pretty rare in Oregon and Crook County: “For Crook County, since 1996, our high school student was the 5th diagnosed confirmed case of meningococcal disease. Our current person, if meningococcal is confirmed for this person, that would make number 6. Two cases in this close time span, of course is of concern. And the Crook County Health Department will be working with the State Health Division to determine if we’ve reached the community threshold where we feel there’s a general risk as opposed to a specific contact-based risk. Yeargain says Colbey Cloutier, 16, is now is now off of life-support and the condition has been upgrade to "serious."
Salem State Senator Chris Telfer was surprised by the crime; and State Representative Jason Conger of Bend was a witness. They are talking about an 18 year old Salem man who broke into the State Capitol Building Wednesday night. "It's interesting. State police have an office; they have a number of cars parked here; surprised someone would try to break into the State Capital." State Senator Chris Telfer says many people were talking about it in Salem. "It was strange, to say the least, especially Jason Conger who witnessed it.” Troopers say Ellis C. Dishion of Salem was arrested for investigation of criminal mischief and criminal trespass. He was not injured.
A huge demand is forcing COCC to close its admissions. College officials say despite continued efforts to add classrooms and both part-time and full-time faculty positions; Central Oregon Community College is unable to continue to accommodate the number of registrations. They are closing the admissions process for fall term as of 8 a.m. on Monday, March 21, one week before the beginning of the term. COCC has grown from about 4,200 students per quarter to 7,500 in the current term. The college has closed admissions earlier several terms in the last two years. Each quarter in the past two years, between 200 and 400 students have applied for admissions but been unable to register for a single course.
The Crook County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public's help in the shooting deaths of three wild horses this week. A sheriff deputy found the horses shot to death in the Ochoco National Forest about 18 miles east of Prineville. Sheriff Jim Hensley says the discovery was disturbing: “But I can tell you this is not something that happens everyday. One of the horses was pregnant and it was a gruesome sight.” If you have any information on the senseless shootings, please contact the Crook County Sheriff's Department.
Deciding districts for lawmakers; it’s sometimes a controversial process. Saturday, Bend citizens can come out and make their suggestions that may shape state government for years to come. It's your chance to get on record. Every 10 years the Legislature and Congress redraws the lines. A lot of growth in Deschutes County makes the conversation very important right now. Lawmakers will be taking local public comment tomorrow at OSU -Cascades Campus in Cascade Hall from 10 to 1 p.m. State Senator Chris Telfer of Bend is the Senate Redistricting Committee Vice-Chair. They are doing a series of hearings across the State and unfortunately had to cancel their first one: "Well, we were supposed to go to Tillamook last Friday, but it was probably the first time in history that it got cancelled because of a tsunami!" They had hearings scheduled for today in La Grande and Burns. They plan to reschedule the Tillamook hearing.
The search for Sandra Meyer continues today- on the heels of yesterday's discovery of her husband. John Meyer was found in his Bend home, dead of a gunshot wound. “We're still asking the public to be vigilant.” Bend Captain Jim Porter says several different agencies have been involved in the week long search for Sandra Meyer; from Bend Police, Deschutes County and Klamath County and specialized equipment like a sonar boat and tracking dogs, to hopefully pick up clues.” Captain Porter says they also have some surveillance video to go through. "We still have some video we have not been able to review and that's based on the fact that some of the video that we get is on different formats. There are so many surveillance companies out there that produce surveillance equipment and so we're still working on those; and most of those are out of the Old Mill District area." He says the tracking dogs did pick up Meyers scent in the Old Mill District area, but the high winds have been a challenge.
If the Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone gets his way, District Attorney Patrick Flahertys' salary will be cut by about 20%. The Bulletin reports that DeBone believes Flaherty has “run amok and is wasting taxpayer money.” The plan is to offset the cost of the current Grand Jury investigation Flaherty began last month with the savings from Flaherty's salary reduction. DeBone says the County just doesn't have the budget for a court battle: “And the other part of this is: out legal counsel, the one we pay fulltime staff, is the target of this investigation. So now, to cover ourselves we have to go to outside legal counsel. So this is lawyer challenging a lawyer, so we needed to hire another lawyer. And it’s a real shame at this point.” DeBone says County staff is sending a lot of time with Flaherty's public records request, and that is becoming quite expensive, along with the attorney's fees. Flaherty charges that the County intentionally released personal information about his employees. The State says most of Flaherty's salary, about $104,000, is paid by the State and the County supplements it with another $26,000.
The husband of the missing Bend woman has been found deceased in the couple's home. John Evert Meyer, 71, was found yesterday dead from a gunshot wound. Bend Police Captain Jim Porter spoke with KBND's Lori Raab yesterday shortly after they released the information to the media: LR: When was the last time anyone had contact with him? Porter: We’ve not completed our investigation to truly find out who the last person was who had contact with him. Our investigation is ongoing, so at this point, we cannot say who actually was the last person to have contact with Mr. Meyer. LR: Can you tell us how this affects the search for his wife? Porter: It doesn’t affect the search for his wife. The search for this wife has been ongoing since the day she was reported missing. And is continued right up to today. And we’re searching the river and the riverbank once again. Along with numerous areas around Bend and Deschutes County, which could potentially yield information about her whereabouts.” Captain Porter says someone reported to Deschutes County 911 that John Meyer had been found in the home. Last week, John Meyer reported that his wife, Sandra had not returned home after leaving to attend a book club meeting in downtown Bend.
Drawing new boundary lines on maps, it’s almost always a controversial move for a school district. In the Bend La Pine Schools District, a special committee is giving it's recommendation soon to the Superintendent. The changes are needed to solve a big over-crowding problem at Cascade Middle School. After hearing from lots of parents; committee members are deciding how to shift some students away from Cascade Middle School to alleviate over-crowding. John Rexford is the District Deputy Superintendent: “Its’ capacity is about 800 students plus or minus a little and right now we anticipate 975 students there this fall. You just start getting a lot of friction. Lots of kids in the hallways, the cafeteria; lots of kids in the common spaces, with a few modulars that we have out there. We actually have classrooms for them right now, but in the long run as we continue to grow, there's just not enough room to handle that many students." The boundary committee met Wednesday and drafted a recommendation that all Pine Ridge Elementary students attend Pilot Butte Middle School, while Ensworth Elementary students having a choice between Pilot Butte or Sky View Middle School. Also, a small group of Buckingham Elementary student will also go to Sky View. There will be another public forum about this proposal after spring break, then the committee will give its formal recommendation to the School Board.
The City of Bend is getting a taste of what tightening the federal financial belt feels like. Bend City Councilor Jim Clinton had applied for federal earmark dollars to help pay for an applied research center. Earmarks have fallen to the budget axe. Clinton says this research center could be key to economic development. “We are trying to generate high wage jobs, and these jobs have large job multipliers. If you can get a company that pays it's people about 80-k, and it's outside money, that generates a lot of additional money in the economy.” Such a center could share research between companies, which is something that typically doesn't happen in private industry. Clinton says he hopes the City will continue to be a partner and look for other local partners who see the vision. Clinton says this project is something the local area will have to push and not look for help from either the state or the federal government.
St. Charles Health System has created a new position to help lead their integrated care. Dr. Michael Boileau is the hospital's new Chief Clinical Officer. The hospital's CEO, Jim Diegel says this will give doctors a seat at the table: “And its part of our commitment to have more physician and other provider leadership within the organization, so that those that actually deliver care are also in significant roles of leadership from an operational and a strategic planning standpoint.” Dr. Boileau will work with Chief Physician Officer Dr. Jeff Absalon. Dr. Boileau will start at St. Charles in the newly created position by May 1st.
Redmond Mayor George Endicott gave a report card on the state of the City during his annual address on Wednesday. He admits we are living through some challenging times. “We are in austere times. I’ll use that word, financially. We’re tightening our belts. We’re in caretaker mode. We’ll be doing a little maintenance in the coming year, no construction, we got a grant so many some road construction. Probably going to delay Evergreen is maybe becoming City Hall, delay it a year.” Mayor Endicott says they'll continue to look at possible economic development for the city and expanding their Urban Renewal District.
Some good economic news for the State of Oregon. Standard and Poors just improved it's bond rating. Bend financial advisor Troy Reinhart: "They upgraded the State of Oregon to AA+, which means basically we're a better bet not to go broke than we were before. It means that the State of Oregon may be able to restructure some of its debt to get a lower interest rate. That usually comes along with getting your debt rating raised." Standard and Poors says the upgrade reflects its view that the State has shown a willingness to make revenue and spending adjustments to correct some of the current imbalances during the low part of the revenue cycle.
The missing 72 year old Bend woman, who hasn't been seen for a week now is getting national attention. CNN's Nancy Grace featured the Bend case on her national show. Sandra Meyer was last seen, last Wednesday night when she headed out for a book club meeting. Her car was found in the Old Mill District shopping center parking lot the next day, but no sign of her. Officers and friends and family have conducted numerous searches with no success.
Redmond Mayor George Endicott is delivering the “State of the City” address at the Juniper Golf Club today. We talked with the Mayor about what he's going to talk about. “We’re in austere times now, I’ll use that word, right now financially. And so we’re tightening our belts. And really we’re almost in a caretaker mode. We’ll be doing a little bit of maintenance, probably. Probably no construction this year. Maybe a little, we have a grant coming in, so we might do some road construction, but nothing else. We’re probably going delay the Evergreen School, if we end up with it, to turn it into City Hall, we’ll delay that for a year.” Mayor Endicott says they'll continue to look at possible economic development for the City and expanding their Urban Renewal District.
Crews are out right now in Bend hoping to make a dangerous crosswalk on the Parkway safer. Last October, Bob Hunt, 55, of Bend was struck and killed while attempting to use the crosswalk near Reed Market Road. ODOT's Peter Murphy says right now work crews are doing the initial work to install a pedestrian activated warning light. “And so motorists should be aware; we’re currently installing it we're drilling the bore holes. In the next two weeks or so they'll be some real progress.” Murphy says the new device will be a big bright yellow rectangular light that flashes rapidly when someone is in the crosswalk.
More than 100 people in Bend came out on Tuesday to show their support for workers rights and specifically Wisconsin Public Workers who have had their collective bargaining rights taken away. Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger was one of the speakers at the downtown rally: “The union helps us to speak with one voice. I think we need two voices, there are two sides. We need to be supporting our employees and we have to be fair and that takes two sides to make that fair.” Wisconsin abolished collective bargaining for State workers in an effort to balance its budget and union workers fear other states will attempt to do that as well.
This is Academic Week at Bend High School. It's a chance for the Lava Bear staff honor those students in many areas focusing on academics. Bend High Principal HD Weddel says the campus is buzzing this week: "This is like homecoming week. But the spin is academics. It’s huge. This is the third year we've done it and we have banners up. Kids look forward to it all year. And it rolls right into spring break, so lots of enthusiasm, really a lot of fun." Weddel says each day has a theme. Monday was 4.0 Day, with those students having an ice cream social; Tuesday was Perfect Attendance Day and kids got lunch served by the staff dressed in robes Today is Character Awards, for those students showing great character traits like: balanced, Communicative, principled, risk taker and caring. Thosekids were served a pancake breakfast. Thursday will feature a College Bowl Assembly and Friday is another ice cream day for students with a 3.75 cume. Another highlight will be the schools’ award from OSAA for sportsmanship.
There’s a lot of talk lately of the “big one” hitting the northwest and what that could mean for us in Central Oregon. We talked to ODOT about their role in a major disaster. Peter Murphy with ODOT says they would play a big role here in Central Oregon if a disaster of that magnitude were to strike. "In a worst case scenario, we'd become headquarters because we have the communications systems here at the traffic operations center to talk to the rest of the State, in case the need arises; in the event that things were very serious then we'd have supplies come into the Redmond Airport for example, and then from this side ODOT would push it's way through to the other side of the valley to do whatever it could. Now that's a worst case scenario. He explains ODOT has the ability to move things; the trucks the graters and the equipment that can clear highways and fix roads so that people can drive on them.
Rumor has it we are overdue for a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. Bill Steele with the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network says he thinks California's San Andres fault could go first. Steele says research shows that we are on a 500 year cycle with major earthquakes on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
The last one was in 1700 and it sent a tsunami to Japan. He says they continually monitor seismic activity, but don't know if the next big quake is coming tomorrow or centuries from now.
Some investors were running for cover this morning in light of the uncertainty in Japan with the nuclear power crisis. In Japan, the market has lost more than $700 billion in the last two days. In the U.S., we are having one of the worst down days in awhile. As of noon, the Dow was off 132 points. But it was much worse this morning. "We were way-way down out of the box this morning -they had to put trading curbs in.” Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says this morning the Dow was down 279 points, almost 3% at one point. Then the sellers left suddenly and the market started rebounding. He says his phone started ringing at 5 am and its been non-stop all morning. "Clients are asking whether they should be worried about all this and our answer to all this is: that markets usually over-react to things and we think that is what is going on. If you live in Japan, this is Armageddon, and we understand and our hearts go out to them. But probably for the regular retails investor at the end of the day, just stay the course and this thing will correct itself and we'll come out at the other end and there will be some positive things that come out of this.”
If you're struggling paying for your heating bills, NeighborImpact wants to hear from you. Their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program has more funds available. Judy Hogue with NeighborImpact is encouraging people to apply: “It's a federal program which has been part in place to assist families with portion of their heating bills. It's meant to help in a jam a one time basis, to get them caught up or back on their feet type thing.” You must meet income qualifications. As a general rule of thumb, a family of four earning nearly $43,000 would qualify.” To apply, call NeighborImpact at 541-504-2155. They do not accept walk-ins.
More positive signs in Oregon’s latest unemployment numbers for February. State Employment Economist Nick Beliceks says the state's unemployment rate continues to drop slightly and add jobs. The speed of job growth in Oregon has accelerated, adding 9800 jobs, the largest monthly jump since 1996. Unemployment continues its downward trend. February unemployment at 10.2% is essentially unchanged from January’s 10.4%. Oregon's unemployment rate has been 10% or higher for the last 25 months. The previous record was 28 months, back in the early 1980's.
Governor John Kitzhaber says a Bend company is a success story. Yesterday, the Governor came to Central Oregon to speak at the annual Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) luncheon and stop by Kialoa Canoe Paddles. The company makes a full line of carbon fiber and handcrafted wood paddles for outrigger and dragon boat racing. He says it's a good example of a business working with a State agency to grow its business. “The State assists small and medium sized businesses in many ways, first by connecting them to export markets; second by connecting them to supply chains to larger companies and providing innovation research to our States’ universities and helping them access the capital that's necessary to help them grow and build their businesses.” Kialoa Paddles is one of hundreds of small businesses that have received help from the State's Economic Development Agency: Business Oregon.
It’s a crime that ends up costing you money. Bonneville Power Administration officials are offering a reward for information related to the theft of copper wire and fuel at a Redmond Work Station. BPA spokesman Doug Johnson says the theft of copper wire is a problem that gets passed down to everyone: "And the bad thing about this is the cost that we incur, and they do get into the hundred's of thousands of dollars each year, and ultimately are recovered from Northwest rate payers. We have to fold those costs into our bill, so anyone who pays a power bill in the northwest ultimately winds up with these charges on their bill in someway shape or form." The incident happened during the last weekend of February. Thieves stole copper wire and fuel from a vehicle at a work site just outside the substation. The damage and loss is estimated at close to $2000.
Bend’s new Eastside Library will open next Tuesday March 22nd. Deschutes Public Library Director Todd Dunkelberg says they're excited to offer this new alternative to those living on Bend's east side: “We're finalizing the Internet connection. Computers are a big part of what we do. So we should be ready to go next Tuesday. We've got the books in place; the furniture is in, so we're just about ready to open those doors.” The new Eastside Branch on Highway 20, off Dean Swift Road will be open Tuesday through Saturday, mostly 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be closed on Sunday and Monday.
There are several things that will have to change if Oregon is going to pull itself out of the recession. That’s the message that Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber brought to Bend Monday. One the things that has to change is a perception: “Saying very clearly that Oregon is open for business. We have had a lot of talk over the last 18 months over the poor business climate in the state. It’s my intention to turn that around. While we still have a long ways to go, we will have a lot to be proud of.” Kitzhaber says more jobs are coming to the State. “The Oregon Business Plan has set an ambitious objective of creating 25,000 jobs per year, each year for the next 20-years. That’s about 2000 jobs per month. We created 6500 jobs in Oregon in January. It was announced in Monday’s EDCO meeting that 9800 jobs were created in Oregon in February. Kitzhaber says Oregonians are going to have to take a "leap of faith" and be willing to embrace new ideas for health care, education, and state funding.
The Crook County School Board voted unanimously Monday night to hire Oregon education veteran Duane Yecha as the District's new Superintendent. He will replace Ivan Hernandez, who is leaving at the end of the school year. Yecha is currently the Superintendent for Winston-Dillard School District in Douglas County, where he has served the past six years. This will be his 31st year in education, all in Oregon school districts. He says his first objective would be to model a student-first attitude, making that first and foremost in all decision-making. He also indicated that it would be important for him to collaborate with the staff and community, while building from the District’s strengths and honoring the past. He begins July first.
Crook County High School students learned last week one of their students has meningitis. The District is taking steps to keep everyone else healthy. The Health Department notified parents and researched who had face to face contact with the infected student. Karen Yeargain is with the Crook County Health Department.
There's a couple of antibiotics that clear the colonizing of the bacteria. We had between 20 and 30 people we did recommend preventative treatment for. They will take the antibiotics for a couple days. Meningitis is difficult to transmit and no one else has shown any symptoms of having it.
Emergency officials on the Oregon coast near Seaside and Cannon Beach say they learned from Friday's tsunami warning and widespread evacuation. One weakness they uncovered was the difficulty in notifying people about the big waves headed to the Oregon coast. Tom Bennett with Clatsop County explains: “Our 911 reverse 911 calling system didn't reach everyone we wanted to. Part of that is people who have only cell phones it doesn't automatically get a hold of those people unless they have registered with the system so we are going to use this to encourage people who only have cell phones and don't have a landline to go ahead and register.” Another problem they saw was people going back on the beach way too early to watch the waves. Bennett explains the tsunamis are a series of waves than can take hours and hours. Overall, Bennett says the evacuation went well with thousand's of people heeding the warning and not panicking.
The fourth death in Deschutes County from Hantavirus was recently confirmed by the Deschutes County Health Department. Tom Kuhn, Heath Department spokesman says they could not identify or give out any details surrounding the death, but he says they want to get a warning out to residents to protect themselves from the disease. He says the disease comes from rodents, especially the deer mouse: “The symptoms are similar to like a cold or flu. Things like fever and muscle aches, shortness of breath and coughing. Oftentimes people think they have the flu, but then they symptoms become so severe, they have the need to become hospitalized. Also, 36% of all Hantavirus cases result in death. There is no cure for Hantavirus.” Kuhn says if you find mouse droppings in your home, garage or shed, do not sweep or vacuum the area. You should make a mixture of bleach and water, spray the area, and let it soak in before cleaning it up. He adds that you should wear a facemask, gloves and place the droppings in a double plastic bag for disposal and throw the gloves away as well. For more information, contact the Deschutes County Health Department.
"Race to Nowhere" is a documentary about a teenager who committed suicide because of a bad score she got on a math test. It drew a big crowd at the Tower Theater in Bend last night. “Race to Nowhere" raises questions about the high stakes in the college admission process, the stress related to that, and the current shift toward "teaching to the test". Julie Amberg with the Cascades Academy of Central Oregon isn't surprised that the film is drawing a big crowd. " And I also think that people know in their gut perhaps that it doesn't feel right to see their children so stressed; so they are also looking for answers.” Amberg says some parents of teens report them being so-overscheduled with school, homework, sports and other activities that they rarely can spend quality time with their children. The documentary pre-sold 240 tickets for the Bend showing at the Tower Theater.
Bend Police plan another limited search today for a 72 year old Bend woman missing since last Wednesday. Sandra Meyer’s car was found in the Old Mill Shopping District parking lot, but no sign of Sandra. She was last seen by her husband Wednesday night when she was supposedly heading to a book club meeting. Friends and family were out searching for any signs of her Sunday in the Old Mill District: Meyer's friend, Teddie Allison: “God, if we can bring her back home, that would be the best possible solution. Or any evidence that would reminds us has been here.” Volunteers handed out flyers to people at the Old Mill and around town in an effort to find her.
It was a life lesson for students in the Bend La Pine School District. Following the earthquake and tsunami, spokesperson Julianne Repman says they are helping a group of Japanese exchange students who just arrived here: “They literally arrived just prior to the tsunami and earthquake. So when they came to school we really came to school, we really started to hustle and work together to make sure we could get phone calls out for them, and get all the information that they needed and really make sure that they had the tools they needed to process the situation; and also the resources so they had folks to really talk to, to get what their seeing on TV, they were internalizing and be able to find out that their families at home were safe and sound.” A band from Mountain View High School is scheduled to go to Japan next week. Repman says they're evaluating the situation and will decide soon if they'll still take the trip.
Governor Kitzhaber is speaking at the Riverhouse in Bend today for the annual EDCO luncheon; but some local Republicans say they won't be there. Executive Director Roger Lee says they've received a few calls from people who said they didn't want to come because of politics. Lee says EDCO is non-partisan and the of Board of Directors wanted to host the person who was elected as Governor, regardless of party: "Governor Kitzhaber was elected and whether you like it or not. He is our top elected official for the next four years in our State and it's important that we engage and try to figure out how to do whatever is possible from a State perspective to improve the business climate here and create a situation where new job growth can happen." Lee says the Governor's comments will be about 20 to 30 minutes, allowing for a lengthy question and answer session after his remarks.
Before the EDCO luncheon; Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is popping by a Bend business for a tour. He's stopping by Kialoa Canoe Paddles as part of the "Rebuilding Oregon Business Tour". Christine Miles with the Governor's Office says this business is a good example of a small business that's successfully used a state resource: “Business Oregon helps businesses get off the ground. They have programs that help businesses build and create a good sturdy business so the governor's going to be there to see firsthand one of the businesses that took advantage of a program thru business Oregon." The small family owned business has become an international exporter of canoe paddles.
Lawmakers are tackling the daunting task of redrawing district boundaries because of population changes in the State. House and Senate leaders will be traveling the State holding public hearings to get input. House Redistricting Co-Chair Shawn Lindsley says they'll be in Bend this Saturday. “And basically these public hearings that we’ll have, it will provide all Oregonians across the State with an opportunity to discuss the redistricting process and give us insight and input on how the legislative and Congressional Districts may change as a result from the population. We need to hear from citizens to make sure we know where the communities of interest are and where we should draw the proper lines.” The public hearing on redistricting in Bend will be held Saturday, March 19th at OSU-Cascades from 10 am to 1 p.m.
A rally to show support for workers rights is planned for downtown Bend Tuesday afternoon. Central Oregon Community College student Chris Lawler is organizing the rally to show support for public workers in Wisconsin: “Most of the people I hang around are lower or middle class. People think it’s a partisan issue. It’s not a partisan issue; it's a class issue. They’re attacking the lower and middle class. The response I’ve gotten is outrage.” Lawler invites all people who support the rights of private and public workers to have union representation to come out to Tuesday’s rally across from the Bend Public Library. The rally starts at 5:30 p.m. and should wrap up in an hour. Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger is slated to speak.
About 35 friends, family and residents gathered in the Old Mill District Sunday morning to search for missing Sandra Meyer, 72. Meyer was last seen by her husband when she left home Wednesday evening, to go to a book club meeting. Her red VW was found in the Old Mill District. Meyers' husband, John, discovered Sandra missing when he woke up Thursday morning, realizing she had never come home. Police have not turned up any leads. Bend Police and Deschutes County Sheriffs Search and Rescue volunteered their own time to continue the search Saturday night and the community got involved Sunday morning. Family member Jim Pasichuke said the family and other volunteers spend the weekend delivering thousands of flyers to people, cars and businesses around town.
A Bend man swept into the ocean on Friday is being remembered by his best friend as someone who had a rough life, but was turning it around. A 25 year man who just moved from Bend to Klamath, California appears to be the only west coast death resulting from Friday’s tsunami. Dustin Weber, a graduate of Mountain View High School was swept out to sea has he took picture of the huge waves hitting the beach near Crescent City California. Two friends dove in to try to rescue him, but couldn't. The search was suspended on Friday after helicopters covered more than 250 square miles. Weber's friend, Blaise Butcher says he had moved to Crescent City two weeks ago and was moving in and fixing up a home he inherited from his grandmother. The family expects to hold a service in Bend in about two weeks.
The community is invited to meet the finalists for the Marshall High and Ponderosa Elementary School Principal positions. It's a chance to meet the candidates that could have an impact on your child, if they attend or will attend Marshall High School or Ponderosa Elementary School. Three finalists to become the new principal of Marshall are: Julie Linhares, Frank Hanson and Al Hulbert. Frank Hanson already works at Marshall as the Student Services and Special Programs Coordinator. Al Hulbert is currently the Assistant Principal at Summit High and Julie Linhares is the Assistant Principal at Crescent Valley High in Corvallis. All have extensive teaching experience. There are four finalists for Ponderosa Elementary School Principal: Stephen Austin, Kimberly Bonner, Jason Hoffert-Hay and Anissa Wiseman. Kimberly Bonner is currently working at Ponderosa Elementary. Anissa Wiseman is at Pine Ridge Elementary. Stephen Austin is the Assistant Principal at Landstuhl Elementary-Middle School in Germany and Jason Hoffert-Hay is the Principal at Clover Ridge and Timber Ridge School in Albany. You can meet the Ponderosa candidates today at 4 pm in the school's gym. Then Tuesday, you can meet the Marshall candidates at 3 pm in the Marshall Commons.
Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred in a transient cap north of Deschutes Riverwoods Friday night. The victim, 27 year old Ragan Rainwater called the Deschutes County Sheriffs Office around 6 p.m. to report he had been attacked by two unknown men and one stabbed him in the arm. He stated the suspect then fled in a truck. An extensive search of the area by the Deschutes County Sheriffs Office, Oregon State Police and Bend Police, but they did not find the assailants. Rainwater was taken to St. Charles for treatment of his stab wound. The suspects are described as white, 20 to 30 years of age, one with short hair wearing military fatigue jacket, blue jeans and brown boots. The other was wearing a black beanie with shoulder length brown hair a white long sleeve thermal shirt with black graphics on the sleeve, blue jeans with paint spatters and white tennis shoe. They were driving a white extended cab truck. If you have any information, contact law enforcement.
Tens of thousands of people being evacuated this morning on the Oregon coast. This morning the first waves from the huge earthquake in Japan are hitting the coast. We talked with a meteorologist in Portland about the danger these waves present. Johnathan Wolfe says they expect the biggest waves to hit the Oregon coast between 9 and 11 this morning. Some police along the beach are reporting people coming to the beach to watch the waves, and emergency officials repeat that is very dangerous and to stay away from the coast all day. Wolfe says the 8.9 quake is the fifth largest in recorded history.
The tsunami warning affects the whole coast including Clatsop County. Tom Bennett is an emergency Public Information Officer with Clatsop County: “It's not just a single wave; it’s a series that can last for hours. We’re evacuating about 7000 or more people in affected areas just in Clatsop County. Local communities have their own sirens; reverse 911 systems goes out into the unincorporated areas. There's a call and we can pick out regions of the county and send it to the phone.” Police did a sweep of beaches getting reports that some are going to the beaches to watch the waves. Roads are very busy going out of the area; a lot of congestion. Remember, the series of waves can last for several hours. Already, an 8th wave in the series that hit the Aleutian Islands in Alaska was the worst.
The 8.9 earthquake in Japan last night and resulting tsunami had the Oregon coastal area on high alert over the past 12 hours. In fact some coastal areas were evacuated as a precautionary measure. Experts say it's just a matter of time before Oregon is hit by a major earthquake and tsunami. How will this affect Central Oregon? Marty Betsch, Emergency Services Coordinator with St. Charles says, our area could be the safety net for people west of the Cascades: "How that will affect Central Oregon is the mass humanity that will potentially come over. We’re not going to feel it much when it comes to the tremors. What we might feel is a few building that aren't quite built for earthquakes, might lose a couple of bricks." Betsch says residents from the central coast will be instructed to head in our direction for shelter. That would mean hotels, schools, or even the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Fairgrounds could be deployed as shelter areas. In fact, emergency authorities have asked that 1110 K-BEND be the point of contact for travelers should a major evacuation occur.
Geology Professor Bob Reynolds at COCC says the magnitude of the Japan earthquake and tsunami is eye opening: “I'm amazed at the size of the earthquake, even more so the intensity of the waves that came ashore to move buildings and bridges. Pretty impressive as well as devastating.” The 8.9 magnitude earthquake caused a 23 foot tsunami and has killed at least 300 people, but the death toll is expected to climb higher. The quake hit at about 3 a.m. Japan time. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, its the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history.
Bend Honda is moving next week. After thirty years, the Honda dealership will be moving out of the dealership on Northeast Third. It will help the dealership owned by Lithia to separate its two franchises, GM and Honda. GM will stay put and Honda will be moving to the former Toyota facility on Highway 20. Bruce Klouda is the dealership's General Manager. “We're doing it for that reason and also in part because there are far more models than there were when Bob Thomas started Honda franchise in 1975. Now expansion model line, there's not adequate product display either.” Bend Honda will be moving its cars next Tuesday and hope to open for business in their new location by Wednesday. Both facilities will undergo renovations to improve waiting areas during the next ten months.
Local drug enforcement agents stop another drug dealer. On Wednesday, detectives with the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) obtained a search warrant for a home on northeast Thurston Avenue in Bend. This is the result of a three month investigation into illegal trafficking of narcotics in Central Oregon. Arrested is José O. Coca-Argueta for distribution of cocaine. They seized one and a half ounces of cocaine, and other paraphernalia associated with the distribution and manufacturing of the drug. The estimated value of the cocaine is approximately $1500. Coca-Argueta is lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on several drug charges and is also on an ICE - or immigration hold.
In Bend, a sleeping 10 year old boy was almost struck by a pick-up truck that crashed into his house early Thursday morning. Bend Police Lt. Brian Kindel says they got a call shortly after midnight (Thursday): “We responded on a call of a motor vehicle crash on Dennis Court in northeast Bend. The homeowner says a Dodge pickup crashed thru his yard and into his house, narrowly missing his 10 year old sleeping child's bed." Bend Police say they arrested Jeremiah Kempton, 21, of Bend for DUII, criminal mischief, reckless endangering and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Police say Kempton drove the truck over a 5 foot rock embankment. The damage to the home was estimated at around $1000.
Oregon is one of the few states in the nation that allows parents to use faith healing as a defense to murder charges. But that may soon change. Thursday, the Oregon House passed a bill that would eliminate this defense. KBND talked to the bills’ chief sponsor, Dave Hunt of Clackamas County: “We've had a series of problems in Clackamas County and some other counties. The most recent example with thru the 'Followers of Christ Church', where parents have refused to give their children medical treatment and those children have ended up disfigured or dead when they clearly would've been cured or lived had they received proper medical treatment." The bill passed with no opposition; and Hunt says there is also strong support in the House. Oregon is one of only three states with a religious defense to murder; one of only three states with a religious defense to manslaughter, and the only state with a religious defense to both crimes.
Another case of a missing Bend woman had local authorities on the second search and rescue in the past week. Lt. Ben Gregory with Bend Police say Sandra Meyer, 72, was reported missing by her husband this morning: "At this point in time, all we know is Sandra did not return home last night. She left for a meeting and did not return home. And this morning when her husband work up, he discovered that she did was not home and called us. We do have a description of her vehicle, which is a Volkswagen. And we have since located that vehicle in the parking lot of the movie theatre at the Old Mill District." Apparently Meyer left her home around 5:30 Wednesday night to attend a book club meeting; she never arrived at that. Gregory says Meyer is about 5’4”, 120 pounds with brown hair and eyes. She was last seen wearing black slacks, red turtle neck sweater, black boots and a jacket. She could possible be carrying a large red-orange leather purse. Her car was a red Volkswagon Toureg. Authorities are continuing the search at this hour. If you have seen her or have any information, contact Bend Police: 541-639-6911.
Deschutes County is bracing for cuts; especially departments that rely heavily on property tax revenue. A couple of examples of Deschutes County Departments affected by weak property tax revenue are the County Clerks Office, the District Attorney and Veteran’s Services. The County Administrator, Dave Kanner, says unlike the federal government, state and local governments can’t do deficit spending, so they have to make the numbers work: “When you talk about "the budget" it's important to bear in mind that the county budget it is made up of about 100 different funds. Some are in really good shape; some are in bad shape. So overall I think the picture is grim but manageable." Deschutes County is expecting money from property taxes to be down 3% to 4%.”
On Sunday, Bend lost a former City Manager who was instrumental in the City's growth. Art Johnson, 82, was Bend's City Manager from 1972 to 1986. Johnson was very popular with employees for his easy going manner. Joel Liabratten is the Pastor at Grace First Lutheran Church and has known him for almost twenty years. “Well, he was always a man of dignity and integrity. Also, he had a great sense of humor. He loved to tell little jokes, and he would get a little smile on his face, just like he was a little boy, it was so endearing.” Pastor Liabratten calls Art Johnson a patriarch of Grace First Lutheran. His funeral will be Friday at the church at 1:30 p.m.
The Redmond School Board heard an impassioned plea from teachers Wednesday night not to remedy the financial crisis the District faces on the backs of teachers. Board members and teachers alike realize the current recession is a problem is a far-reaching problem, but how to deal with it on a local level is the question. Karen Gray is a member of the Teacher's Union and says to ask instructors for a third year to take a hit on salaries is going to be a hard pill to swallow: “When you ask people, teachers are givers, that's why we do what we do. So to continue to ask and ask and ask,, is I think unrealistic sometimes.” She says quality of education has continue to improve, but continuing to ask more of teachers with less pay is not a sustainable trend. The School Board approved a proposal to ask more senior teachers to retire early and thus hopefully save some jobs. Mike McIntosh is Director of Operations: “We believe it’s cost effective. In our District, there’s a minimum of 10 that we hope to find that it starts costing more money more than we would gain if we go much past 20.” School Board members were sympathetic to teachers, but said tough decisions will have to be made. Right now up to 80% of the students are on reduced or free lunches, revealing how serious the recession is. Board members and teachers alike feel it's time for a dialogue to rethink how to deliver education in the current economic reality.
Local authorities along with search and rescue spent about 20 hours searching for Carly Phillips, 26, of Bend. Phillips was reported missing around 7:30 Tuesday night. Her parents said she had not returned home after running errands earlier in the day. Police and family began searching and around 10:30 Tuesday night. Her black Subaru was found near the Benham Falls Day Use Area. Search and Rescue worked through the night all day Wednesday. SAR was about to call off the search for the night when they discovered Phillips' body in the Deschutes River. A swift water rescue team recovered her body. Investigators will look into the cause of Phillips death; an autopsy is scheduled for today. She had recently moved to Bend from Montana to live with her parents.
La Pine is taking steps to take over its own sewer and water districts. A public hearing drew 50 people who support handing over the reins to La Pine to improve the City's economic development. Rick Allen is La Pine's City Manager. “Under this we'll be able to offer one stop shopping. That’s why we have the support of COBA- Central Oregon Builders Association and EDCO (Economic Development for Central Oregon) and Roger Lee. We hope this will get La Pine on an even playing field with other folks here in the region.” City Councilors will vote on whether to take over the district at their meeting March 23rd.
There are over 1300 public schools in the State of Oregon. And here in Central Oregon, one school, M.A. Lynch Elementary in Redmond, is one of only seven schools to be selected for this year's Champion Schools Award. Principal Desiree Margo says the staff and students have worked very hard to achieve this award. "Well, it's really about closing the achievement gap. We know that every year, with our State testing and our annual yearly progress, we're looking at all students being successful. But historically, certain groups have not been successful. Our special education students and our English Language Learner or ELL students really haven't made the same success. And so this award is all about closing that achievement gap, really making a difference for all kids and all kids being successful. And so that's what this award is about and that's what M.A. Lynch has done and we're just thrilled to be awarded this." Margo says they started programs at the school that involve students and parents beyond the regular school hours and have encouraged much more involvement in the whole child experience. She says she shared the news with the staff and student body and all are very proud. They will receive a $3000 award as well as a trophy and media recognition.
The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement arrested a Bend man for illegally trafficking heroin Tuesday. Officers arrest Jordan Ashley, 24, of Bend following a high-speed chase. Ashley was stopped by an officer and then drove away before the officer could reach his car. He traveled down a dead end road and then fled on foot.
Officers caught him and took him into custody. This arrest follows a three month long investigation by the CODE team into the illegal trafficking of heroin by Ashley in the Central Oregon area. Officers seized 23 grams of heroin, worth about $2500 at the time of Ashley's arrest. He is charged with reckless driving, and possession and delivery of a controlled substance in the first degree.
Earlier we brought you the story about the increase in illness during these winter months. Denise Del Colle with Central Oregon Pediatric Associates says last year, there was such a huge scare about H1N1, that this year people might be forgetting the basic practices of avoiding viruses: "Be very careful about touching anything and then touching your eye. Anybody coughing within 6' if the face, the virus or bacteria, floats on little particles of saliva when you sneeze or cough and it can go right into the eye and that's how a lot of people get sick." Del Colle says there is a high incidence of strep, and RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus and croup this season, especially for kids with weakened immunities. She says symptoms include fever and a croaking type cough or wheeze. Early diagnosis can keep the kids out of the hospital. She adds to remember the basic hygiene practices: cover your cough, frequent and washing and use hand sanitizers.
Either reauthorize timber receipt payments or allow counties to engage in more timber harvesting. That’s the message that Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney took to Washington D.C. recently and shared on your town this morning on 11-10 KBND's "Your Town". The concern is that the secure rural funding program might fall under the budget axe. Baney says allowing selective thinning and harvesting could create jobs and increase forest health: “It’s really critical for us to manage those resources and make sure that we don't catch fire. It’s a public safety issue. Secure rural schools means many things to us. Not only is it the dollars that come in to help pay for roads, and for some of our schools; but it also means proper forest management practices.” In it's hey day, the secure rural school funding meant $3.2 million for Deschutes County. It has been gradually decreasing and is due to end in 2012. Right now, this program helps fund Deschutes County Road maintenance.
A local financial advisor says it may be tempting for the President to tap into our country's oil reserves, but he doesn't think it's a good idea. Tyler Simones is with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend: "I think that's an aweful idea. This is a temporary fixible thing and things in the Middle East will resolve themselves and the prices of oil will trade backwards; it’s supposed to trade in the $80 range and so for the President to tap the oil reserves; it would be a mistake.” High gas prices can have a chilling effect on our economic recovery. Simones says every $20 above $90 impacts GDP about half a percent.
Officials in Wasco County have ruled the death of a Bend man, Dan Carter, a suicide. Carter went missing last September, when he told his roommate he was going to drive the McKenzie Pass. He was never seen again. His car was found in the Mount Hood National Forest last December. A couple days later his remains were found about a mile away. The medical examiner's report and detectives concluded his death was a suicide. A knife was the only weapon found nearby.
The need for " Backpacks in Bend" is growing. The need is greater than ever for students to be supplied with a stable food supply over the weekend. The program started at Nativity Lutheran Church. The youth group puts together the backpacks with non-perishable food, so kids whose main food supply is the school district, don't go hungry over the weekend. Amy Fraley started the program: “We started with 25 backpacks and we're up to more than 100 families per weekend and that represents at least 300 meals per weekend.” Backpacks in Bend started in the fall of 2009. The Rotary Club of Bend is helping raise funds this spring to support this program.
It’s a cost neutral idea that could help child abuse victims in Oregon. Central Oregon lawmakers, Senator Chris Telfer, Jason Conger and Gene Whisnant are all pushing a bill that would pave the way for a customized license plate. Money raised would be routed to places like the Kids Center in Bend: “The concept is to, like so many, the Cultural Trust has the Crater Lake license plate, there are various license plates where you pay an extra $5 or whatever and that money goes into a specific pot of money to help fund certain programs." Representative Whisnant has been pushing for this for several years, and one lawmaker was blocking it; that person is no longer in Salem. Telfer believes there's a good chance this bill will go through, that there seems to be a lot of support for it.
Steven Paul Blaylock, the man accused of murdering his wife, Lori Blaylock, was back in court Tuesday, and via video link from jail, entered not guilty plea to murder and manslaughter charges. Blaylock is charged with killing Lori and dumping her body in the North Santiam River last October. Blaylock was arrested last November after police found evidence of Blaylocks' involvement in Lori's disappearance. They also found a sweater belonging to Lori buried on the bank of the North Santiam River. In December, kayakers saw what appeared to be a body in the river, but weather conditions dislodged the body before a search team could reach it. Steven Blaylock is scheduled to be back in court on March 28th to set a trial date.
A judge has granted a Bend man accused of rape, leeway to live in Portland. Accused rapist Thomas Harry Bray is allowed to move to Portland to live with his brother in between his court dates. Tuesday, visiting Judge Hugh Downer originally denied Bray's request to live in Los Angeles during the trial, but is allowing him to live in Portland, while wearing a GPS tracking device. He is also forbidden from leaving the state. Bray, 37, is charged with two counts each of rape and sodomy along with counts of strangulation, sexual abuse and assault for the alleged February 25th attack on a 23 year old bend woman. He is also currently on paid administrative leave from COCC.
Central Oregon Community College and its student government have made changes to the constitution so they can work better together in the future. Representatives from both sides have been meeting over the last couple months and they feel they're reached a good compromise. Brenda Pierce is the ASOCCC Marketing Coordinator: “As the college has grown, the need for student government and a student voice has grown. It was necessary to better define the structure what students and the board related, how acknowledged.” In the future, student leaders must maintain a minimum GPA, have a student load of at least 6 credits and they are limited to a three year term.
A Bend attorney who specializes in foreclosures and other business law says the legal issues surrounding some foreclosures in Oregon will probably be "messy" for a while. The problem hinges around the electronic signing process, called "mortgage electronic registration system, " or MERS. The system was developed so that loans could quickly change hands. About half of the loans in our country have these electronic signatures and now some are questioning the legality of those contracts; especially when it comes to foreclosures. Attorney Paul Heatherman says there's no law right now in Oregon with regards to the State Supreme Court: “So we're trying to get some guidance. We don't have a lot right now in Oregon. The bottom line is this will probably slow down the rate of foreclosures at least in the short term, because there has to be some definite rule whether state by state or thru Congress, what to do with these MERS problem loans." MERS is listed as an agent for lenders on more than 60 million U.S. home loans.
If you or your kids are sick right now, you are not alone. “We are seeing everything from a lot of vomiting, diarrhea illnesses that are going around right now. Of course a lot of respiratory stuff. Actually, influenza season is actually not as bad as it was last year, but we are seeing a lot of other stuff.” Doctor Jennifer Warton of Bend Memorial Clinic says there have been several strep outbreaks at schools and walking pneumonia. She recommends good hygiene practices such as washing hands, eating a good diet with lots of antioxidants and fruits and vegetables.
With interest rates at historic lows some people in Central Oregon are restructuring their debt and trying to pay things off faster. Kyle Frick with Mid Oregon Credit Union says they are seeing a lot of people being pro-active with their finances. “Even for people who've suffered through this recession and have had some really bad things happen to their credit; right now obviously is a great time to think, “What can I be doing to try and repair my credit report and take advantage of these rates?” And for some people its a lot easier than they think."
One popular option is a credit card that is 5.84%. He says the card doesn't have a balance transfer or cash advance fees. He says credit unions are also limited to charging 18% at the most on any loans.
The status of hundreds of foreclosures in Oregon seem to be in question, and Central Oregon realtors are waiting to see what happens next. Realtor Tom Green says banks seem to want to slow down and make sure all paperwork is accurate and all procedures have been followed before they proceed: “It’s those homes where banks have canceled basically the notice of default that they sent out to a lot of homeowners. We were hearing numbers Monday of 300, this morning we were hearing during an MLS meeting that 66 homes last Friday had their foreclosure notices cancelled.” Green says how this plays out will affect how many homes are on the market this summer, and that will affect prices at that time. Green says in some other states, lucky homeowners have received their homes free and clear because vital paperwork had been lost.
Music artist Erin Cole-Baker is helping organize a fundraiser for her friend and former musical partner Erin Zurflu who has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. The 29 year old has insurance, but treatment will still cost her tens of thousands of dollars. Her friends are holding a concert this Thursday with food and auction items to help Erin pay her medical bills. “So when we heard she had lung cancer, we knew this was a good thing to do. The community would support her. It's come together very well. We’ll have food from Parilla Grill, drink from Baryard Beer and we'll have food and drink and silent auction that we have donated.” The benefit concert and auction for Erin Zurflu will be this Thursday March 10th from 6 to 11 p.m. at Century Center at 70 SW Century Drive. A $10 or more donation is asked for at the door.
The latest jobless numbers for the entire state of Oregon have been released for February. The Oregon Employment Department shows the state jobless rate for February was 10.5%. Unchanged from January. State officials also just released January numbers for Central Oregon and it shows month to month improvement in all three Central Oregon counties.
Oregon Congressman Greg Walden and fellow Republicans say they have a bulls eye on the nation's budget: “Our mission is to reduce the deficit, it's a $1.6 trillion according to the President. And we are going to fund this government and do the things that are necessary, but we are also going to extra the reforms that are long overdue, root out the waste and fraud, and cut spending.” Last week, the House of Representatives voted to extend government operations for another two weeks. Walden says the last session of Congress never brought a budget to the House floor, so this year, lawmakers are having to pass resolutions to keep the wheels turning. He adds that it's high time lawmakers stop delaying the tough budget decisions that need to be made.
Unemployment is going down in Central Oregon according to the latest numbers. The unemployment rates in all three Central Oregon counties fell in January. Deschutes and Jefferson County's unemployment fell a half percentage to 14%, and Crook County fell one whole percentage point to 17.6%. Carolyn Eagan is with WorkSource Oregon: “Where we are in all of the countries just about where we were in January in 2010. It’s a good sign we're holding steady compared to a year ago. For the last quarter of 2010 and now moving in 2011 and I like that. I think that means our employment situation has stabilized.” Crook County saw the biggest drop in unemployment thanks to jobs added in logging and mining.
Critics of Juniper Ridge say that multi use development in northeast Bend say it's a money pit, but despite the economy, proponents say it has a bright future. For the City of Bend, it's a financial perfect storm. Launching a major project like Juniper Ridge during what some are calling the great recession. Scott Seward of Bend is among those saying it's a money pit and none of the promises have been delivered: “”No scientific research or high tech companies that were supposed to pave the way. No comprehensive or competitive analysis to evaluate the superior viability of Redmond or Prineville to attract new tenants and new schools.” Juniper Ridge Project Development David Dietz disagrees, but he admits Juniper Ridge is not for any company looking for land. “You are attracting a different breed of company, not people who are looking to pay three dollars for Base, Alter, and Brinson. You are looking for companies that are looking to build Leed quality buildings like Les Schwab.” Diets says he is confident you will hear more interest about Juniper Ridge from outside Deschutes County when there is more money to market the project. Until then, there is what he calls moderate interest by Deschutes County office and light industrial companies in locating at Juniper Ridge. Despite the recession Dietz says he feels the long term prospects for Juniper Ridge are very good.
Want to learn more about the City of Bend? They say give us five hours and we'll give you the City. Justin Finestone with the City of Bend: “Bend 101 is kind of a mini citizens academy that is going to take peoplethrough city operations; through our budgets, finances, what all our departments do. We are doing it because we want people to better understand where their tax dollars are going.” The City is going to take Bend 101 on the road, so if your group has five hours, call the City and they will customize a program that fits your needs. At the end of the five hours Finestone says you will have a much better understanding of everything from police and fire to the community development department.
Do you tweet? Are you all a "twitter" about the possibilities with social media? Many people in Bend seem to be excited about it. In fact, a Bend Chamber program on Social Media Marketing set for today is already sold out. One of the panelists, Kelly Walker says it can be a great tool for small businesses to leverage their advertising. Still there is some resistance to change: "I think some of it has to do with, to some extent, age group or experience. Some have been successful with traditional advertising. We're not saying not to do that we're saying to integrate the new technology into it so on your commercials tell your customers where they can go on Facebook and Twitter, that type of thing and tie it all together.” The Chamber says that more than 80% of online adults use social media and these "member communities" are now more popular than email. Tomorrow's panel discussion is at 7:30 am at the Cascades Theatrical Company.
Students who go to Central Oregon Community College may soon be feeling some of the impact of the recession: State revenue and property tax income is down, so the college officials will probably raise tuition. COCC spokesman Ron Paradis explains: "Right now the tuition and fees total at COCC are the lowest in any Community College in Oregon and we're pleased with that of course, but as we look at the future, looking at different revenue options and the board will be considering tuition increase from $70 per credit to $76 per credit." Ron Paradis says State Funding Revenue is down about 60%. If approved, the tuition hike will take effect summer term.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) plans to build a new facility in Bend. It will house about 76 employees from ODOT's Highway Project delivery staff. The two-story 20,000 square foot building along Third Street, south of Empire, will put these workers under one roof. The year long construction project will start this summer and bring dozens of construction jobs to the area. ODOT is still determining the feasibility of renovating the old Welcome Center Building to become the permanent location for the DMV Office in Bend. They plan to hold public meetings on the subject in the future.
Project Connect hit the road this last weekend. The project that offers free medical and dental care, clothing , and food to those struggling is now mobile. This is an expansion of the annual project connect held every fall at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds. Cindy Pasko, the Director of Partnership to End Poverty, says their van was at Bend City Hall on Sunday: “It is successful, because we are able to give out of our personal abundance of our time, out of our hearts. It is successful for people coming to get those services and that perhaps in small ways or large ways, we are able to help them stabilize in their life or relieve some of their pain.” Project Mobile Connect is a collaborative venture with Partnership to End Poverty, United Way and the Oregon Community Foundation.” Project Mobile Connect will next be at River Woods Church in Bend on May 6th.
Another administrator with Bend Memorial Clinic has resigned. Randal Avolio, the Chief Operating Officer resigned, BMC officials confirmed Friday. A published report says Avolio wants to pursue other opportunities. This is the second departure of a BMC official in the last 10 days. The report goes on to say an official with BMC indicates that the departures do not indicate a change of direction for the clinic.
Some people are struggling to put food on the table, and now they are hit with a big tax bill from Uncle Sam. The Partnership to End Poverty, a Central Oregon non-profit group, helps a lot of low income people with their taxes. The problem they're seeing this year is that some families are not getting back as much money because a stimulus incentive is gone and others owe because they didn't withhold enough out of their unemployment checks. “I have a family that has owed early year and he cannot even file his Oregon returns until he has paid off past taxes or they'll go to the credit bureaus and they'll start trying to claim and docking pay which he doesn't even have." Sara Holtzclaw with the Partnership says she's seen some people owe as much as a lump sum of $1000 each year; which is a lot when you're struggling just to feed your family.
This May, Central Oregon Radiology Associates will be getting a new diagnostic tool to help patients. Dave Magness is the Director of Imaging: “PET scan is an important modality for the cancer side of things, in the cancer community its used a lot for that because it’s very sensitive to tumors. And you also have it attached to a diagnostic quality CAT scanner. And CAT scan is very specific, so you get the sensitivity from the PET scan, you get eh specificity from the C-T scan.” This PET scan is currently at St. Charles, but will be moved to Central Oregon Radiology associates in May, as part of a partnership with the hospital.
It’s a bill in Salem fashioned after a successful program in Florida. If passed, students who can't read will not be promoted to fourth grade. Holding kids back until they can read; its something they started in Florida about 10 years ago, and it seems to be working. Bend Representative Jason Conger sits on an Education Committee in Salem: "Florida's had tremendous success at turning its K-12 education system from one of the worst performing in the country to one of the best. Currently the fourth grade reading scores of Hispanic kids in Florida school systems are about half a grade level higher than all kids in Oregon." Conger says he thinks the idea has merit. Some are against it though; those who spoke out in opposition say holding back students could hurt their self esteem - that kids learn at very different rates and that the bill could have an un-intended negative affect on some class size.
Lawmakers are making progress in cutting the deficit, but there is still a long way to go. That’s what Congressmen Greg Walden and House Whip Kevin McCarthy said in Bend last week. Walden said on Thursday, the House voted to remove a burdensome 1099 Tax Filing requirement from businesses. That same legislation also will carve $166 million from the federal deficit: “So there are ways to find solutions that not only reduce the deficit, relieve a burden on business and create jobs and we did it in a bipartisan way.” As an example, McCarthy says discretionary spending has increased 83% over the last three years. He adds that government needs to live within it's means and at the same time grow the economy. Obama’s budget projects that 2011 will see the biggest one-year debt jump in history, or nearly $2 trillion, to reach $15.-4 trillion dollars by September. 30th.
There’s a new program from the Bend Fire Department that would save many lives of our senior citizens. The Central Oregon Council on Aging has teamed up with Bend Fire for a new program called Safety Outreach for Seniors - or - S-O-S. Marie Phillis with COCOA says they need a few good seniors to help out: “This program is going to give us such a great opportunity. We’re looking for 10 volunteers that might like to go through a training and help us to evaluate that home environment of the seniors so we can recognize any deficiencies that would place our seniors at risk for death or injuries." Phillis says the program will take a big burden off of the fire department. They are hoping to get some senior citizens for the training. Volunteers must pass a background check, because they will be entering private homes for inspection. They will then report back to the fire department with recommendation on how to make the home safer. For more information, contact COCOA- we have a link on our Links page.
State Representative Gene Whisnant has a plan to save the State $225 million. He says many state positions are funded; yet remain unfilled for more than six months. Whisnant introduced his reform bill on Monday. “I think it’s a wake up call, not good management practices.” Whisnant says freeing up those funds from unfilled positions would allow lawmakers to put more money toward public safety and education and other services.
More than 100 people marched in downtown Bend Thursday night showing their support for Planned Parenthood. Similar marches have been held in Eugene and Portland, after the U.S. House last month approved a bill that would stop funding Planned Parenthood. Supporters of the agency feel this legislation is misguided, and want to make their voices be heard. “A lot of men and women who support a very important cause, maybe with the spirit of these people and doing what we think is things, we'll make things happen.” In Oregon, more than 2000 women a week use Planned Parenthood. The measure to stop government funding of Planned Parenthood now goes to the Senate.
The student selection committee has released the top three choices for the mascot of the new high school in Redmond. They 3 are the Coyotes, the Rattlers or the Ravens. The possible colors to go with the mascot are a dominant color or purple with an accent of white, black or silver. Next Wednesday the committee will hold its final meeting at 4pm at Redmond High School. The construction of Ridgeview High School is paid for by a 2008 School Bond Construction Levy. The 1,400-student school is located on southwest Elkhorn and is scheduled to open its doors to students in the Fall of 2012.
A Bend non-profit group that started here and has international impact; The Sacred Art of Living Center is celebrating it's 15 year anniversary this weekend. Founder Richard Groves worked in hospice for many years and noticed that dying patients and care-workers had some un-met emotional and spiritual needs. His group trains medical professionals locally and around the world. Groves says when people are in their final stages of life they have a much different perspective and priorities. "To hang out around the sacred art of dying makes the sacred art of living a little more meaningful, because I think for many of us who are busy and on the treadmill of life priorities can get warbely, and in this work we're reminded about what's essential in life." The Sacred Art of Living Center created a workshop and retreat series that is the nation's first comprehensive training and certification program for spirituality in end of life care. The 15-year anniversary celebration is Saturday night at the Riverhouse at 7 pm. It's a Celtic themed party with entertainment and dessert.
It’s time to re-map Oregon’s Congressional and State Legislative Districts. Lawmakers say an equally divided House will lend to a very fair process. District lines are re-drawn every ten years. Hillsboro Republican Shawn Lindsay says in past decades the process has been tipped blue or red, depending on the make up of the Legislature. “One decade is Republicans have had a pretty good lop-side and Democrats have had a pretty good lop-side and we’ve been able to control each other by the collar. This year it’s different: 30-30 House.” Lindsay and other committee members hope it will reduce challenges after the Legislature finished their work. A series of public hearings will be held around the state.
With the release of 2010 Census data last week, Oregon lawmakers and their staffs are embarking on redrawing the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts to account for population shifts. Sen. Chris Telfer of Bend, the top Republican on the committee, said maps under preparation would show how the current districts are over or underpopulated. Her District, which is in the fastest-growing part of the state during the past decade, will have to shrink by about 28,000 people. Deschutes County grew by 49% in the past decade. It's a task they have failed to achieve for decades; especially in 2001, when a threatened parliamentary maneuver by the House's majority Republicans prompted a five-day walkout by House Democrats. Republicans never followed through after Senators from both parties said they would not go along and Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, then in his second term, vetoed both plans passed by Republican majorities. If lawmakers fail to enact plans by July 1, Secretary of State Kate Brown will get the chore of redrawing the Legislative Districts so that each Representative has about 63,000 people and each Senator about 126,000 people.
State Representative Jason Conger is co-sponsoring a bill that would limit aggressive demonstrations at military and other funerals. Thursday in Salem there was a lot of testimony on the bill. Conger says the Supreme Court decision will actually help them write better bill. "We're working on it in light of the constitutional interpretation of the Supreme Court, to make sure that whatever comes out of the committee whatever comes out will withstand a constitutional challenge. It's an interesting discussion about balancing free speech and the rights of mourning families." Conger says he was repulsed by the Supreme Court ruling. He believes this bill can be written in a way that it's specific enough that it’s a win-win for everyone.
Deschutes County health officials are closely watching a measles case in the northwest. Heather Kaisner is the Immunization Program Coordinator for Deschutes County Health. She says there are no confirmed cases of measles in Deschutes County. The two cases of measles are in Clark County which is only about a 3-4 hour car ride from Bend. "I think this is a good reminder to parents: this is close to home, and its just a car ride away. And with spring break coming up; that it's a really good reminder to parents to make sure the children have the proper MMR vaccinations to keep them healthy in case there is an exposure here in Deschutes County." She says measles is extremely rare, contagious, and sometimes deadly. She says it takes 95% of the population to be vaccinated to keep measles from coming back.
Another green light is given for the Juniper Ridge Project. Without discussion, Wednesday night, Bend City Councilors authorized a little more than $9800 of extra work for current Juniper Ridge Project Manager David Dietz. When his contract is completed in May, Dietz will have been paid more than $100,000. Dietz will help develop a strategy to find a master developer and will help form an owners association. After May, the City is looking at handing off work on the Juniper Ridge Project to a new position at the City. Pending budget approval, the Bend business advocate will be a liaison with the Chamber of Commerce and other city economic development efforts. Depending on experience, this new two-year position could pay up to $94,000 annually. A vocal opponent of Juniper Ridge told the Council Wednesday he believes Juniper Ridge is a waste of money and is nothing but unfulfilled promises. However, City Officials and staffers say they are pleased with Dietz’s work.
Right now; thousands of dollars in Central Oregon are pouring in to help children who are fighting cancer and other serious diseases. It's one of the most successful radio fundraising events in America and its happening right now on our sister station Country 99.7 The Mountain. The Mountain has been involved in "Country Cares for St. Jude Kids" for the past five years and they've raised more than $146,000. St. Jude Kid’s spokesperson Kelly Hutsell says Actor Danny Thomas started St. Jude's as a top-notch medical research facility in Memphis. The cutting edge research done there is then shared with other hospitals throughout the country. "His goal again was to find the cures so that no child would suffer anywhere. So all the protocols, all the research studies, that are taking place in Memphis and that are working are then being funneled out to local hospitals. SO there are several local hospitals here in Oregon that use our protocols that are helping families that then don’t have to fly to Memphis. They don’t have to go through the trouble of uprooting their lives, uprooting their families lives and being misplaced for an extended period of time.” So far the local Radiothon has raised about $2400 in its first few hours. It’s going on today until 6pm and tomorrow from 6am to 7pm. You can donate online by going to the Mountain website ; click here.
Disabled veterans, who aren't able to get to the VA Clinic in Bend for medical care, are getting some help. The Veterans Administration bought a new van and had it delivered to Central Oregon last week. It's part of the VA Rural Healthcare Initiative. Chuck Mann schedules reservations for the van. He says the van will really help a segment that isn't currently served: “It's because we have a lot of veterans out in rural areas who are too disabled can't driver or financially couldn't afford it. They can come see their primary care doctor and they're not doing it. So that's what its going to be used for.” The van will travel to Redmond, La Pine, Madras and other rural areas to bring veterans to the Bend VA Clinic. To schedule a ride, call (541) 408-5853.
U.S. Representative Greg Walden will be in Bend on Friday with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy for a news conference. The two will be at the Carlson Sign Company in Bend around 11 a.m. The two will discuss who the House of Representatives is working to remove barriers to job growth. The House just acted this week to avert a government shutdown by passing a resolution that cuts $4 billion in spending.
It's seen as a way for communities to join together to improve Highway 97. Last night, Bend City Council discussed the “Trip 97 Partnership”. Bend, Redmond and Madras officials say they all have the same problem, and it's that fact that could be key to getting some meaningful improvements. That is working together. Chris Doty is public works director for the city of Redmond: “The concept is; lets view Highway 97 not as a series of intersections that we have to mitigate piece by piece by piece or improve piece by piece by piece. But one holistic corridor. Look at how we can fund improvements.” Those funding mechanisms could be tax increment financing or other means to come up with the local match. This collaboration could also give the Highway 97 corridor more attention in Salem. Madras City Manager Mike Morgan says this could also give added attention to what he says is the need for change in the transportation planning rule. That is the rule, which allows ODOT to essentially put the brakes on development if existing roads can't handle the increased traffic. “Which has cost us development, jobs and taxes within out community.”
What should be considered in determining the hotel-motel tax in Bend? Bend City Councilors spent more a lot of time talking about that Wednesday night. The question they are debating is whether extra fees should be considered as a "room rate" and thus subject to the City's 9% tax. Hotel-motel operators believe only the "room rate" should be taxed. The City Council is undecided and split over the issue. Councilor Mark Capell says he is concerned hotel-motel operators could avoid the tax by increasing extra fees, and thus avoid the tax. Councilors Scott Ramsey and Tom Green want to talk to the operators and think about it longer before they decide.
Richard Ward Clarke, the man accused of killing his roommate with a baseball bat, has entered a plea. Tuesday in court Clarke plead "not guilty" in the death of Matthew Fitzhenry, 36. Fitzhenry was found badly beaten in the home on northwest Georgia Avenue on October 17th. He later died from this injuries. Clarke is scheduled to be back in court March 26th. Clarke was released from prison about a year ago after serving time for theft, burglary and having a firearm.
It’s a sign that the economy is steadily picking up. Dent Industries, is a green energy company that makes recorders for utility companies. They will be moving into the old Columbia River bank building on Emkay Drive. "We identified that for Dent Industries, and they went ahead and got control of it through some negotiations at an incredible price. 50% of the price that it would cost to rebuild that building today is the price that they eventually purchased the building for. And what's perfect for this is: there a green company, they're adding jobs, and now they acquired this facility and that will enable them to continue to grow." Darren Powderly with Compass Commercial Real Estate, who represented Dent Industries in the sale, says Dent Industries now has room to expand and bring more high skilled, high tech jobs to Bend. Powderly was a guest on Wednesday morning's "Your Town" on KBND.
Bend Broadband is raising its cable rates again. The company sent out notices to customers in the mail this week. Bend Broadband is raising prices on its most popular TV packages by 3% to 5% starting on April first. The cable company says the cost of television programming has gone up 9% this year. They say the cost of television programming is the single largest expense for cable companies. Bend Broadband is also raising the cost for some set-top boxes and their DVR service fee.
The State of Oregon is fining an online payday lender that ended up charging an Oregon customer more than 800% in interest on a short-term loan. Spokesperson Lisa Morawski says an unlicensed Utah company lent an Oregon consumer $350 and charged them a total of $842 for the 52 day loan. Morawski says the Department of Consumer and Business Services is cracking down on unlicensed payday lenders. "But oftentimes we find that if a business isn't licensed in Oregon they often aren't following Oregon rules and laws governing payday lending. For instance; Oregon caps the annual interest rate at 36% in this particular case the lender ended up charging the consumer an annualized interest rate of over 800% for a loan." This company was fined $10,000 and told to cease and desist doing business in Oregon. If you'd like to protect yourself, make sure a lender is first licensed in Oregon. You can go to the DFCS website at dfcs-dot-oregon-gov or call them toll free at 1-866-814-9710.
March Madness is coming up and area urologists are using that basketball tournament to get you thinking about male birth control. They want men to come in for vasectomies during March, so they can recuperate while watching college basketball. Dr. Andrew Neeb is with Bend Urology: “We’re trying to make it fun. We’re trying to combine the NCAA, the basketball tournament, with vasectomy. And the ides is: you can come in, have your vasectomy right before the Sweet 16 or the Final Four and just enjoy the game, get some sympathy from your wife and your kids. And have a bag of peas and a pizza and just kinds hang out for a couple of days.” The twenty minute outpatient procedure usually requires men take it easy for a couple days afterward.
The Central Oregon Visitors Association (COVA) and the Central Oregon Golf Trail are partnering to market- promote and sell the new 2011 Central Oregon Golf Trail Player’s Card. Player’s Cards will be sold at the Central Oregon Visitors Association Welcome Center in the Old Mill District. The COVA Welcome Center is open 7 days a week. The Player’s Card is available for $119.00 and only 500 cards will be sold. Cardholders will receive one round of golf at 50% off at sixteen participating Central Oregon golf courses. They include: Aspen Lakes, Awbrey Glen, Black Butte Ranchs’ Big Meadow, Brasada Ranch, Crooked River Ranch, Eagle Crest Resort, Ridge & Challenge courses, Juniper, Lost Tracks, Meadow Lakes, Pronghorn Nicklaus, Quail Run, Sunriver Meadows & Woodlands, Tetherow and Widgi Creek. COVA Director Alana Audette says this card fits in with their mission to grow the region as a world class golf destination.
A Central Oregon news reporter has been subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury over the release of personal information. The Bend Bulletin was looking for information to determine qualifications of workers in the District Attorney's Office. Personal data, such as phone numbers were released to the media. District Attorney Patrick Flaherty: “When the County released the documents to the Bulletin, some of the information released contained private information of the type I just described, and some of that information is prohibited by law from disclosure.” The Bulletin says they are within their rights to request that information and will go to court to defend their actions.
Cascade Middle School is more than one hundred students above capacity and the Bend La Pine School District is looking at ways to redistribute that population. A public forum was held Tuesday night at Pine Ridge Elementary, where parents could come out and express their view. Parent Angie Monday says moving kids will add more challenges to parents. “It is going to be more time, a bigger burden trying to get kids to and from school, it's going to be a burden for sports as somebody brought up.” There are more public meetings scheduled for tonight at High Lakes Elementary and on Thursday at Einsworth Elementary. Some of the options being considered are moving Pine Ridge Elementary students to Pilot Butte Middle School instead of overcrowded Cascade Middle School; or moving High Lakes and Miller Elementary students to Pilot Butte.
It’s an effort to bring jobs to Central Oregon through the Enterprise Zone Program. Facebook near Prineville and T-Mobile in Redmond used the incentive of Enterprise Zones in their decision. State Representative Jason Conger of Bend says the program waives property taxes for the business for at least 3 years as long as the business is creating a certain number of new jobs. "This is actually a very cheap way to create jobs. The average cost all over the State for Enterprise Zones per jobs is a little over $3000 per job. So it's very inexpensive compared to other ways, for economic development for businesses to locate here." The Enterprise Zone Program was due to expire soon, so Conger is pushing a bill that will extend the sunset date to 2023. Conger says the Bill, 34-94, has received a lot of support so far.
With all the snowy weather we've had this winter there's a good chance that you may need chains on your car; especially if you travel over mountain passes. Suzette Teagarden, owner of Reed Market Auto Service says its good to practice putting on chains in your garage. If you want help they'll even pitch in if needed. "Like I said, practice putting them on when you’re in a condition that doesn't require you to put them on. Bring your car in; we can teach you how to put the chains on safely. You also should do it in a dry condition; a lot better than when you are on the mountain.” It's also very important that you choose a safe place to pull over and put on the chains. Reed Market Auto Services hosts a free clinic for women only. The next one is on March 17th from 6 to 7 pm.
Nurses at Central Oregon Community College are holding a free health fair for students and the public today. They are offering health information on STD's, sleep deprivation, exercise, stress, eating right even organ donation. Second year COCC nursing students have held this health fair for the last three years. It will run until 2:30 p.m. this afternoon. Again the fair is free and is being held at Willie Hall in the campus center.
A brand new manufacturing business is up and running today in Redmond. LMH Industries has leased a 17,000 square foot building for the new cable assembly manufacturing facility. Once they are up to full speed they hope to have 40 people working there. Company spokesperson Nikki McQuilliams says the company is happy to be in Redmond. "We did look at several different sites within Oregon and ultimately decided with Redmond’s favorable workforce and demographics that logistically it was just the best place for our business." LMH will manufacture cable assemblies and wire harnesses often used by the military and in the medical industries. They will initially hire about 15 employees.
A Central Oregon domestic violence shelter is speaking out after a 23-year old woman was assaulted over the weekend in Bend. Saving Grace says women should be careful because there are often no warning signs from a man planning an assault. “With sexual assault we can't pinpoint any warning signs. When someone is going to commit the act of sexual violence, that is what they are going to do.” Lauren Biskind with Saving Grace says sexual assault victims experience severe physiological trauma and will come forward when they are ready. She encourages all victims to seek help from organizations like Saving Grace.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about a Bend child abuse case Tuesday, but the high court may not actually rule on it. The Justices are looking at the constitutionality of a child's interview at school concerning whether her father sexually abused her. The girl's mother sued the police and social worker saying it was unconstitutional to interview her daughter while at school. But the justices told lawyers Tuesday that since the victim is over 17 and does not have to worry about talking with child welfare officials again, the case is moot. The Supreme Court's decision will come before June.
The Oregon Department of Justice issues a warning about a deceptive company named “Smartraiser”. DOJ spokesman Keith Dubanevich says they’re not what they say they are: “There are people knocking on doors, allegedly soliciting money to provide care packages to our military personnel overseas. When in reality, they are a for-profit entity and very little, if any of the money is going to our military.” The scam, so far, has only been run in Washington County, but could spread around the state. The approach is similar to a scam conducted last summer in which sales crews suggested that buying a magazine subscription was a charitable donation. AG John Kroger says Oregonians should protect themselves by researching charities before donating. Go to the Attorney General’s website and click on the “check on a charity” button.
Bend Police say no other alleged rape victims have come forward, but they want to get the word out in case other alleged victims are out there. Sergeant Clint Burleigh says when it comes to cases involving rape, assault and intense trauma, its’ often difficult for victims to report it to police. “It’s a very traumatic situation. The trauma that is inflicted on anyone who goes through this is terrible. And what we want to do is to make sure that victims of these types of assaults will call close friends or family members and ask for some advice or some help to see what they should do. And it is very hard for victims to come forward. Even with the Police Department wanting to help and do what’s right, it’s very hard for people to come through and relive that traumatic situation when we have to understand what happened.” Besides potential victims; Bend Police are also asking for people who may have any information about the case.
Oregon’s unemployment remains essentially unchanged in January. Our unemployment stands around 10.5%. But Economist David Cooke says we've seen several consecutive months of increasing job growth. “Oregon has seen strong payroll employment gains over the last four months: in October, up 6800, November up 2400, December up 4000 and January up 6300.” Educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing all added more jobs than usual in January.
Student reaction at Central Oregon Community College is mixed to the news of a part time instructor being arrested and charged with sexual assault. The college has replaced Thomas Bray, 37, as a part time anatomy instructor. Bray faces several charges after he met a 23-year old woman on line, then the two went back to his residence over the weekend where the alleged sexual assault took place. A college spokesman says background checks are not run on part time instructors. About half of the students we talked to think that background checks should conducted. A few students say the young woman should not have gone back to Bray's residence. He has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Bend Memorial Clinic is looking for a new Chief Executive Officer. Marvin Lein, who has held the job for five years, has resigned. BMC spokesperson Christy McLeod: “We just made the announcement today that Marvin Lein has resigned from Bend Memorial Clinic to pursue other opportunities. I think he's just determined to pursue other opportunities out there.” The Board of Directors has selected Dr. Sidney Henderson to serve as interim CEO while undergoing the search for a new CEO. Dr. Henderson has filled in previous times as interim CEO.
Monday, ODOT was warning Portland drivers not to travel the passes because the weather was so bad. Today, the snow has stopped and the passes are passable, but: “You definitely have to be prepared for the travel conditions. Santiam Pass is snow packed. The temperatures are just above freezing, so it's better to go over during the day with traction tires on your wheels. Dave Thompson with ODOT says traction tires or chains are required to travel the passes currently.
Central Oregon Community College has replaced the part time anatomy instructor arrested for rape over the weekend. Thomas Bray, 37, is charged with two counts of first degree rape and sodomy. According to police, Bray met the 23 year old victim online. They met for a drink Friday night and she went back to his apartment where was sexually and physically assaulted. Ron Paradis with COCC says Bray only taught one class at the college, so they don't usually do background checks: “It's a self disclosed and we do background checks sometimes, but not for most part time faculty.” Bray is on unpaid administrative leave. Another instructor has been assigned to his class. Bray posted bond Monday morning and was released from jail until his next court appearance.
A spokesman for the Bend Police Department has a warning about the dangers of online dating. Steve Esselstyn says there are many predators out in cyberspace: “The biggest message you have to remember about cyberspace is two dimensional: height, width and no depth, and that means you don't know who you're talking to you don't know their background you don't know what their motives are. You have to be extremely careful. And if you do go ahead and make a contact; that's fine, but do it in a public place. Do your homework and make sure you know the person extremely well before you decide to go someplace alone with him." Esselstyn says in cyberspace people can take on their own identity and victims don’t have the advantage of watching for body language; eye contact and other communication signals that only in-person contact can achieve.
A leader in Bend's community theater has died. Carol Johnson Bryant, 83, is the co-founder of the Cascade Theatrical Company. She's directed more than 50 plays at CTC and Lana Sane says she will be greatly missed: “She was very close to me and kind of served as my inspiration and personification of why were here and why we do what we do throughout good times and bad times.” Bryant also started the "Family Kitchen" at Trinity Episcopal Church that feeds the homeless.
If passed in the Oregon Legislature it will be called Zoe's Law. It's a law designed to protect animals in kennels from abuse. “Wewere dismayed that the kennel regulations in Oregon are lacking. They cover space requirements and sanitation, but that is about as far as they go.” John and Karen Burton live in Central Oregon. Bill 2471 is named after their dog, Zoe. Zoe died June first from injuries received while being cared for in a local kennel. John says their goal is now to protect other pets. The multi-faceted law establishes background checks for employees, sets up specific protocols for animal care. The law would also establish a website administered through the Department of Agriculture which would be used to list kennels involved in abuse cases. Karen says there has been a lot of support for the legislation and prospects for passage look good.
Two Central Oregon residents were injured in a crash near Government Camp that shut down the area for about three hours Sunday evening. According to Oregon State Police, Jerry May Bafford, 20, of Madras was going west on Highway 26 and lost control on a curve of packed snow and ice. She collided almost head-on with a Honda CRV driven by Stephanie Clanin of Bend. Bafford and her passengers Aaron Kuper, 23, of Redmond were taken to the hospital. Bafford is listed in serious condtion at Oregon Health & Science University. Kuper was listed in "fair" condition at St. Charles.