Incumbent Bend City Councilor Kathy Eckman is seeking another term on the Council. She says the City is in the middle of several important projects, she wants to see through. “I made the decision because I feel I have the background and I have a big passions for the work the city council does and local government. And we've got the momentum on these infrastructure projects and economic development and I’m going to stand by that.”
Eckman will be facing Ron Bozell and Doug Knight for her city council seat.
A Bend financial advisor says the new cell phone company that's doing business soon in Redmond is very different than the company it's replacing. Oregon based Consumer Cellular is opening a call center in the same into the spot that T-Mobile is soon vacating. Tyler Simones with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says the company targets older clients who want a basic cell phone, with a low monthly fee, minus the big contract. “Most seniors think of the cell phone as an option for emergencies and the only time they turn it on is when they want to use it; unlike the rest of us who's phones are on all the time, and it’s our only phone. And the senior market still has a home phone, and they just use it when they travel or for emergencies. The rest of the time its off, so this is a good option for them at just $10 a month. They have really big buttons so they are really user friendly. Most of those people in that market don't care about Smart Phones and other things we use it for." Simones also says compared to a big national company like T-Mobile, an Oregon company would probably be less likely to close an Oregon call center.
The General Manager of Pronghorn says a new elite status for the resort will attract wealthy tourists from across the country. Pronghorn is now the only five star luxury branded resort in the Pacific Northwest, and now they can target wealthy tourists from throughout the country. Spencer Schaub was a guest on 1110 KBND's "Your Town" and says the overall tourism industry seems to be picking up in Central Oregon. “Everybody seems to have this warm feeling that things are moving forward for the summer season. This does this put us on the map for that segment. Aberge has a national reach throughout the United States and internationally. We will be their 9th property and their portfolio. I know they’ve got a couple of other properties in their portfolio that are some new properties potentially joining us. This is exciting. We’re very happy about it. We believe it restablizes Pronghorn as a property.” And Shawb agrees that wealthier tourists may be an important niche market for Pronghorn, as statistically the middle and lower middle class was hit much harder in the great recession.
Commute Options week is June 16th through the 23rd, but the fun of tracking your "options" could be rewarded all month. Kim Curley with Commute Options says they have a new program: "Drive Less-Connect" that is easy to use, and you can keep track of all the miles and energy you save, and be in the running for weekly prizes during their Commute Options Challenge in June. “It's free, it's secure. You choose who get to see. If you want to put a trip out there and say 'I need a carpool partner,’ they can see that one trip, or that leg of your trip. Or you can use it as a personal log and earn your prizes and not have to interface with anybody." Curley says it is super simple to sign up on the Commute Options website. She hopes that once you try it, you'll see how easy it is for you to make a difference by saving gas, and causing less harm to the environment. Go to CommuteOptions.org for more information and to sign up.
Jefferson County investigators are looking into a possible homicide near Warm Springs. The body of a man in his 40's was found in an abandoned railroad tunnel near Warm Springs. Sheriff's investigators don't believe the man is from the area they also think his death occurred recently.
A fisherman discovered the body on Wednesday morning. Officers believe the man was killed Tuesday night or Wednesday morning near the Rainbow Market about half a mile from Highway 26. The Jefferson County’s Sheriff's Department is asking anyone who saw suspicious activity in that area, to please call them.
Oregon State Police are investigating whether a man found shot in a pickup truck near Burns was shot by officers or by himself. The adult man was found following a run in with officers. He had fled officers when they visited a remote home to investigate whether he was a wanted fugitive out of Indiana. Lieutenant Gregg Hastings is with the Oregon State Police. “And as he was trying to drive away, the Harney County officers fired at least one round off. Officers to find the pickup and they found a one fourth mile away. He was pronounced decreased and was found with a rifle lying next to him in the pickup.” Hastings says they are waiting for the autopsy results to learn whether the bullet came from the officers gun or the man's own rifle
For the last several months, Crook County has had to nurse back to health 50 some horses and cows who were neglected by their previous owners. Robbie Kirzy adopted several of the horses and is taking care of them. She spoke with our news partner, News Channel 21. “To me this is pretty bad. I man, I’ve seen worse but, you can see her bone right here. Like, she doesn't have any muscle, it's just pure bone right here. It’s all lose like she had muscle there, but its gone.” Kirzy and her husband bill founded an equine rescue and rehabilitation center in February. Since then she's taken in 14 of Crook County's neglected horses and plans to take more.
People willing to buy foreclosed homes in Redmond or La Pine could be eligible for some financial help.
The federal funds are available to help qualified people become homeowners and help remove some of the foreclosed homes from the local markets. La Pine Mayor Ken Mulenex says he hopes more people take advantage of the funds. “So you get someone who qualified and they're able to buy a home. Here is 20% down, no interest, no payments until the house is sold again. It really makes a great opportunity for someone looking for a house.”
La Pine and Redmond qualified for the federal funds because of their high unemployment rates. It's hoped the program will help shore up property values and prevent blight areas with so many foreclosed homes. The program area is being expanded in these communities to get more people to take advantage of it.
A popular Bend thrift store is closing down in a few days, and a huge sale is happening today and tomorrow.
The Bend Thrift Store is not going out of business; it’s relocating from NE Franklin Avenue to NE Thurston.
Money made from the thrift store goes to support "Feed the Hungry" and other Bend Community Center programs. And the economy also seems to be affecting the volume of business itself at the thrift store: “What we see at our location is a lot of families coming in and finding great clothes. We get every name brand that you can think of and a lot of them are brand new. And we get everything in. It seems we've seen a lot more people especially in the last year and a half and I think that is a sign of the economy." Spokesperson IIainie Gleason says the new store will have the same square footage, but the layout is better. Again, the Franklin Avenue store closes on June 4th, and reopens on Thurston on June 30th.
The announcement that Consumer Cellular, an Oregon based company plans to move into the T-Mobile facility by August first, could not be better news for the area. Roger Lee, with Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) says it was a matter of timing meeting opportunity. "You know, they were in a position where they really needed a facility, in fact were looking at space in Arizona, they may have mentioned that, before this announcement came (T-Mobile leaving) and we immediately got them information; the same day and within 2 days, they'd done the site visit so it was a very exciting time so see something actually from start to almost finish, within a 4 month time frame is pretty unusual." Consumer Cellular CEO John Marick says they are thrilled to have the opportunity to move to Central Oregon, as many of them already spend a lot of time here. He adds that they plan to open by August first; and the plan is to employ about 650 people within a few years.
A dramatic four car crash on Highway 97 snarled traffic for hours and sent two people to the hospital. Yesterday afternoon's head-on collision also almost involved a Deschutes County Sheriff's patrol car. Deschutes County Sheriff's officials say it happened shortly after 4 on Highway 97 just north of O'Neil Highway near Redmond. Shortly after the crash, News Channel 21 spoke to Traci Cooper with the Redmond Fire Department: "Typically when we have someone flown, that means its pretty serious injuries. In the four vehicles we had two injured persons: one transported by medic the second just recently was flown out by Life Flight." The Sheriff's deputy who was almost struck, instead became a witness. Officials say it appears it was caused when Robert Lorenzen, 22, of Madras crossed over the center line and struck two vehicles head-on. Lorenzen had to be cut from his vehicle and he was taken by Life Flight to St. Charles Bend. Another driver, Clyde de Moisy, 57, of Bend was taken by ambulance. They both have non-life threatening injuries.
It’s the best news that Redmond could receive: a big cellular company is moving into the T-Mobile building and bringing jobs with it. Wednesday, at the Redmond Chamber of Commerce, Central Oregon officials gathered to hear the announcement by Consumer Cellular CEO John Marick, that they are putting the finishing touches on leasing the T-Mobile building. Marick says opening a new branch of their Portland company in Redmond was a natural progression: "You know really, it was the comfort level with the community and the people. As you know, we're from Oregon and we spend a lot of time here in Central Oregon. And the employees that we have are really what makes our company, and so we needed a place that we felt that we could continue to grow and have the quality of employees that are going to help us take care of our customers the way we want to. And in talking to all the people in Central Oregon, and the folks that are currently at T-Mobile, we felt that this is a great pace to be." Marick says they already held a meeting with the current T-Mobile employees, telling them what was happening, and they plan additional meetings with them over the next several days about future employment. They plan to have the new facility open by August first, with up to 75 workers, and over the course of several years, eventually employ about 650.
The first clean up request to the Forest Service stirred up controversy, but a similar clean-up event is being approved for this weekend. Last August, the Forest Service said “no” to a planned volunteer trash pick-up off of China Hat Road near Bend. Spokesperson Jean-Nelson Dean says the difference between the current request and the one that was rejected is the fact that those asking to do the clean-up gave the Forest Service more time. According to an article in the Bulletin, last August a teen from Southern California was visiting Central Oregon and noted the trash. He quickly tried to rally a volunteer clean-up; but the request was denied because there wasn't enough time to organize safety training for the volunteers. Jean Nelson Dean explains that sometimes hypodermic needles and other hazardous materials are left in the forest.
A La Pine woman died in an accident last weekend as she crossed Highway 97. Leaders in La Pine say two many people are dying or are getting injured, and they are looking at doing some things to make it safer.
La Pine Mayor Ken Mulenex says first they have to inform pedestrians and drivers alike to be on the lookout for each other. There's also an ODOT overpass project for the Wickiup Junction area that is waiting for funding.
“It's a shovel ready program that's a top priority of ODOT. It's in the $22 million range. But with our economy, the stimulus dollars are not there. We’ve been told if we get some stimulus money it will get taken off the shelf.” It’s hoped the project will be completed in the next couple years. In the meantime, the City hopes to put up some caution signs along the highway to warn drivers and pedestrians to be on the lookout for each other.
It's a big announcement today at 2pm in Redmond about a company coming to the area. Local business and city leaders and a representative from the Governor's office are at today's news conference. We'll have hourly local news updates at half past the hour.
28 neglected thoroughbred horses under the care of the Crook County Sheriff's Office are facing an uncertain future. Authorities say it's come down to two options: find them a new home or send them to slaughter. County Assistant Legal Counsel Eric Blaine tells our news partner, News Channel 21 that the county does not have the funds to care for the animals in perpetuity, so they need to decide how to handle the situation. A single neglect case has already cost the Sheriff's Office more than $20,000 and countless hours. The horses are now up for adoption. Contact the Crook County Sheriff's Office for more details.
Many kids in Bend will be experiencing their first track meet tomorrow. The popular Hershey's Track and Field meet is a basic introduction to track and field. Rick Ekman, a Sports Coordinator with the Bend Parks and Recreation Department says the free track meet is for boys and girls who are between 9 and 14 years old, and will be held at Bend High School. "Basic introduction to track and field and it’s a regional and national event so the winners will advance to the state meet which is something exciting this year because the state meet is going to be held at Hayward field - just a week after the U.S. Olympic Trials in track; so the kids can watch the trials and then compete on the same track if they win here in Bend." Hayward Field is in Eugene at the U of O and is one of only four Class 1 Internationally Certified Tracks in the United States. The local track meet in Bend usually has the highest participation numbers in Oregon, with about 200 athletes on average. Field events begin at 4:00 pm / running events begin at 5:30 p.m. 1st place finishers in each category will advance to the state finals meet.
“Business Oregon” just certified a large industrial piece of land in Redmond as 'Project Ready.' Getting that designation means that a company locating on the 95 acre site could start construction could start within 180 days. Mayor George Endicott says the are trying to send out the message that Redmond is open for business. "Its just one more of those tools in the tool kit to try and help us develop. Any roadblock we can remove from developers the better off we are, and its a concentrated process. It took awhile, but we got it done and so we're competitive now in terms of attracting good companies.” Many of Oregon's highest profile business relocation and expansions have occurred on "certified" sites. Examples include Facebook in Prineville, Subaru in Portland and Google in the Dalles. The "Desert Rise Opportunity Site" is located near East Antler Avenue and NE 17th Avenue.
Healthcare officials in Oregon know that changes needed to be made to the Oregon Health Plan. It serves the state's low income; but it's model was not sustainable to serve the growing numbers of people on the rolls. Coordinated care organizations, or CCO's, will help coordinate hospitals, doctors and other providers that serve the state's 600,000 patients. Robin Henderson with the Central Oregon Health Council feels these CCO’s could be a model for the nation. “It could be for everybody. There could be other state funded health insurance agencies in the future. I could see this being open to anyone who's got interest.” Last week the Central Oregon Health Council held public forums to answer questions on how the new CCO's would work. It's believed better coordinated care will result in better outcomes and lower costs.
Bend City Councilor Jim Clinton has announced his intention to seek a third term on the City Council. Clinton, 68, says he's an independent voice for ordinary citizens. An article in the Bulletin says Clinton, a retired physicist, has consistently been the dissenting vote on many projects, including the $70-million Storm Water Improvement Project and Urban Growth Boundary. With Clinton's announcement, one candidate has expressed intentions to run for each of the four council seats up for grabs this year.
The U.S. Department of Labor says the latest findings show the bend workers earn about 10% lower wages than the national average. But industries like healthcare and law enforcement were actually above the national average. Economist Todd Johnson is with the U.S. Department of Labor. “Well, one thing that draws down the overall wages being down 10% is those industries like management, business and financial services, computers and mathematical careers. They are not in high demand in Bend and wages were significantly lower than in other metro areas.” Nationally, the average worker earns $21.74 an hour.
High gasoline prices aren't stopping people from hitting the road this three day weekend, and many of those eager travelers are coming here to Central Oregon. Triple A's Marie Dodds says their research shows the two hot spots for the holiday the Oregon coast and Central Oregon: “Central Oregon; that is always one of the favorite destinations for Memorial Day and most holidays. Of course you've got everything from Black Butte to Sunriver, hiking, golf, mountain biking, horse back riding, these are reasons why Central Oregon is such a popular destination.” Other very popular places are Crater Lake, and even Disneyland and sometime Hawaii for people who can stretch out their weekend by a few extra days. Triple A says 11% of the population will travel this weekend and on the west coast, travel is expected to be up by 1.6% compared to last year. Most people, 88%, will travel by car.
It’s another budget challenge, and more job losses are predicted. The High Desert Education Service District (ESD) is planning a budget for the next fiscal year that mirrors the tough economic times were are experiencing. The agency serves school districts in Deschutes and Crook counties. According to an article in the Bulletin, the ESD’s planned budget would cut several positions and assumes the remaining staff will not receive any cost-of-living increases. The ESD handles many services for local school districts ranging from special ed to early education classes, and legal representation.
Poor snow conditions made the first half of the winter season disappointing for Mt. Bachelor business. But conditions improved and the crowds came in the spring; ending the 2012 winter season with numbers just slightly below last year's, and officials say it's a success.
According to a Mt. Bachelor news release, the entire U.S. Snowsports industry suffered its' worse season since 1991, with a 15.7% drop in visits over last year. The Pacific Northwest fared much better than the rest of the nation, with only a 12% drop.
Mt. Bachelor officials made the decision to cut hours and days of operation in April to save money and, thanks to late season snowfall, the visitor numbers jumped significantly above last year at the same time. Dave Rathbun, President and General Manager says he's excited to be finishing strong and on a positive note considering where they were just three months ago.
Close to 3000 people registered for the pole pedal paddle race this year. Last year a record 3200 athletes came out for the PPP. Molly Cogswell-Kelly, Events Director for the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, says the money raised is going to a good cause: "So we raise money for our youth athletes that are in our program that get the highest level training at Mount Bachelor, in alpine racing and Nordic skiing, and free ride snow board and free ride ski and then cycling." According to Kelly, three members of the U.S. Ski Team have been training with the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation since they were seven years old. Kris Freeman has made a name for himself as an elite Nordic skier with the U.S. Nordic Ski Team, but this week, he showed off his versatility as he won the 36th Pole Pedal Paddle. Last year's winner, Andrew Boone came in second and Stephanie Howe took home the title for Elite Women Athletes for the third time.
The Bend La Pine School Board will hear from people tonight who want the district to stop offering flavored milk. The group has gathered hundreds of signed petitions. They want the district to get rid of the flavored milk and fruit juices in school cafeterias. Dr. Stephen Archer, an obesity specialist, will be presenting the petitions. “This effort will not stop based on whatever they decide to do. If able to get rid of flavored milk and fruit juice, then we'll celebrate that by looking for other subject we can collaborate on looking for the best and healthiest school menu for the kids.” The group wants the sugary beverages removed because one third of our kids are overweight or obese.
As we approach fire season, the Deschutes National Forest Service is announcing a new Manager for the Redmond Air Center is now Maurice Evans. Evans was a forest fuels special on the Deschutes National Forest until his recent promotion. Spokesperson Jean Nelson Dean says running the Redmond Air Center is an important job. “The Redmond Air Center, that is part of the Deschutes National Forest is a national resource. We have smoke jumpers, all of our retardant planes, spotter planes, firefighters come there and get sent out of there. We have, what is called is our cache; if you think about it, it’s a big warehouse that supplies all those tents and generators and chairs and tables for when we have fire camps. And they support the whole nation, mostly the Northwest, but our air center really is a special place.” Evans replaces Dan Torrance, who retired in January. In another leadership change, Shane Jeffries, the District Ranger of the Bend Fort Rock Ranger District is now the new Deputy Forest Supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest. Jeffries takes over that post following Mary Farnsworth's promotion to forest Supervisor on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
The Redmond teen remains in critical condition at a Portland hospital after being nearly electrocuted Sunday near Culver. Kyle Reed, 18, suffered the accident while hunting for small animals in the Culver area. He lifted up an irrigation pipe when an animal ran under it, and it touched a live power line overhead. Another burn victim; Michael Flint, 61, is also in the Burn Unit at Legacy Emmanuel in Portland, he's the man burned in a downtown Bend house fire back in April. He is still in the Burn Unit, but has improved to fair condition, after initially being in critical condition when he first arrived there.
An experimental project on the side of the Newberry Volcano near Bend will give new insight into new ways of renewable energy. Alta Rock Energy is testing the process that creates geothermal energy by sending water thousands of feet below the surface; heating it up and sending it back up. Michael Moore is the project manager and he talked with our News partner, News Channel 21. “To have it be something like this, where it's sort of next step in geothermal development, where you are trying to create something and not just tap into something that's already there; it's pretty interesting science.” Scientists says if successful, the project could lead to a new green revolution across the country.
The Senate passed legislation extending Timber Payments as part of its Transportation Bill. It's now before a House committee. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is trying to push the House to pass it; through a letter signed by 25 Senators of both parties supporting the bill. “As we pursue policies for more active management , where we can get our folks working again, back in the woods, thinning out those overstock stands. And putting people to work in the private economy; we very much need those funds for schools and law enforcement and basic services and the Senate passed the measure I wrote with the Oregon delegation. And now we’ve got to – through this conference committee, and the bipartisan letter ought to help.” The bill would spent $109 billion for two years and would preserve just under 3-million jobs.
The Bend Chamber of Commerce is supporting the City Council's move to suspend the sewer extra strength charge. The fee is aimed at businesses that generate a lot of waste, and it aims to recoup some costs associated with treating it. Chamber spokesperson Courtney Linville says the Chamber is glad that the City will delay the charge until they figure out a fair way to assess the fee. "The sewer extra strength charge is an extra fee that only 12 businesses in Bend pay; Deschutes Brewery, some mechanics shops, and different things. And it’s just a charge because of the extra waste that these businesses do produce.” The Council passed the "resolution" last Wednesday. It gives the City a year to work with local businesses and do more research figure out the best way to handle the "extra strength charge".
The Bend La Pine School District is expanding its online classes. Currently, classes for middle and high school students are offered, but the district will be adding classes for younger students starting next year. Bend La Pine Superintendent of Schools Ron Wilkinson says the district realized it had to keep up with the times. “We think as we go along down the road, all students will take some kind of online course. We looked at what colleges are doing and we wanted to stay cutting edge. This is one of those things where the world is wide open. So our first step is to offer K-12.” The expanded classes will be called Bend La Pine Online. It used to be called the Virtual Instruction Program.
$10-million is paving 17 miles of a well used part of Century Drive. It's the often hazardous route from Bend up to Mount Bachelor. Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson Peter Murphy says starting this week there crews will be in the area prepping for the big project. "We've got a $10 million project and it's going to re-pave about 17 miles of road. And anybody's who's been up that way knows that road takes a hit every year. Fortunately, we were able to find some funds from a Forest Service partnership. We'll be able to re-pave the critical 17 miles." The full-on construction will start in June and run through October. Drivers can expect up to 20 minute delays at times. There will be flaggers and a pilot car guiding traffic.
The new Sunriver Police Chief will be the man who has been the interim police chief. Captain Marc Mills from the Deschutes County Sheriffs Office will be Sunriver's new Police Chief. He took over back in February, when the previous police chief was fired. The Sunriver Board had narrowed down the candidates to two: Marc Mills and a police chief from northern Washington state. Ron Angell, who serves on the Sunriver Board is happy with their decision: “He has great experience and all the right credentials and great compassion for the job. He seems like he will really enjoy the community and will become involved with all aspects of the community. We’re very excited about that aspect of Marc's demeanor.” Mills was on loan from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office while he was the Interim Police Chief.
Oregon’s First Lady, Cylvia Hayes and Governor John Kitzhaber are on a mission to end poverty in Oregon and Hayes’ first step is Hayes' "Prosperity Initiative". Both were in Bend on Thursday, and one stop, at the Healy Heights community room, where a “Head Start” program was in full swing, the pair visited with some of the children and toured the complex. Hayes spoke about her "Prosperity Initiative" where she is encouraging more Oregonians to get involved with helping organizations like NeighborImpact, to lift Oregon out of poverty. "The prosperity initiative that I'm working on is really taking a two-prong approach. On the one hand, we are raising awareness about the crisis of poverty in Oregon and about the inspirational organizations that are available to help people who have those immediate acute needs. But just as importantly, we are addressing the root causes, how do we start to prevent the need on the front end?" Hayes described her own battles with poverty when she was younger; and that fixing the poverty problem begins with more community involvement. During the visit to Healy Heights, the Governor also signed a proclamation making may "Community Action Month" and encouraged all Oregonians to step up and help these community organizations take steps to end poverty.
Sunriver has picked its final two chief of police candidates. The Sunriver Service District board fired its previous Police Chief back in February. Marc Mills from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Department has been filling in since then and is one of the final candidates. The other one is Scott Sterland who is currently a Police Chief from a town in northern Washington state. Ron Angell on the Sunriver Board, feels they have a good pool to chose from. “I do feel we have good candidates. Both have tons of experience and certification and both have great skills for community policing. And that's a priority. That's a priority.” The public can attend a "Meet and Greet the Candidates" today at the new SHARC facility in Sunriver starting at 3. The Board will meet and make a decision Friday afternoon.
Doug Knight says he's made his decision on which Bend City Council seat he'll run for, and it's Kathie Eckman's seat. According to an article in the Bulletin, Knight announced his candidacy a month ago, but hadn't narrowed it down to which position he'd run for. Knight, who is the Chair of the Bend Urban Area Planning Commission, reportedly sent out an email with the announcement yesterday. Four of the seven Council seats will be on the ballot in November. Meantime, Kathie Eckman, who has spent 15 years on the Council, says she hasn't decided yet whether she'll run for re-election.
Several people and businesses are being honored in Bend. Last night the Bend Chamber of Commerce held its annual “Sage Awards” dinner and the Citizen of the Year is Jim Lussier. Lussier has lived in the area for 40 years and served as President and CEO of Saint Charles for about 15 years. He has also spent many hours volunteering in local organizations. Other “Sage” awards went to 10 Barrel Brewing, Webfoot Painting Company, and Healthy Beginnings. About 300 people attended last night's event, which was held at the Riverhouse Convention Center.
Local non-profit groups are tapping into the pool of OSU-Cascades students who may be looking for their passion and important life experiences. Tuesday at OSU-Cascades, several groups such as Healthy Beginnings, the Forest Service and Coalition for Human Dignity held a “Volunteer Fair” on campus. Organizer Kate Roth says at the last fair, 75 students signed up to volunteer: "I think it will help because it will give them an opportunity to be involved. And it helps them discover their passion: Coalition for Human Dignity, U.S. Forest Service, environmental causes, so many things out there, just put yourself out there." Organizers say its a win-win because students get something good for their resume' and the non-profits get some much needed help.
The breathtaking Highway 242 may open soon to cyclists. ODOT's Peter Murphy says crews have been plowing through the snow yesterday and today to make a one-lane path on the scenic McKenzie Highway before the snow melts for the season; cyclists can enjoy the rugged ride through the mountains. There’s probably people listening right now who are saying 'all right!” The snow will eventually melt away so that cars can drive through. Last year the snowpack was so tall and heavy that the popular route didn't open until mid-July. At one point there was 30 feet if snow covering the highway.
In a story heard only on 1110 KBND, Central Oregon Land Watch has filed an “Intent to Appeal” Deschutes County's ordinance that allows for special events on farmlands. Watch spokesperson Paul Dewey says the group will appeal the ruling to the State. The group believes that large and loud weddings and other events on farmland will have a cumulative negative impact on wildlife, and on neighbors. "Frankly, if the County had taken a more cautious approach on this, they could've taken a more middle ground, and allowed the farmers to have activities and still protect the neighbors.” Dewey believes a more moderate approach would have been to not allow events with amplified noise, and to cap the number of people at more like 100 people, rather than the 500 people currently allowed under the ordinance. He believes it could take up to 6 weeks for the Land Use Board of appeals to rule on the appeal.
Summit High School students have racked up some impressive academic achievements lately. U.S. News and World Report ranks Summit as one of the best in the nation. Looking at test scores, the school was put in the country's top 5% of high schools. Bend La Pine Superintendent of Schools says these recognitions are proof the district is doing its job. “Obviously, as a district we're really focus on college readiness. That’s one of our top goals. Under Lynn's leadership it's a little bit ahead of our other high schools, but not by a long ways. Summit Principal Dr. Lynn Baker is retiring after this year after forty years in education. He’s been Summit since 2004.
At around 21%, it's a very low voter turnout so far but Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says the whole state is low. Blankenship says the one problem she's seeing with those ballots they have already received is lack of a signature: "Just make sure that voters remember to sign their ballots before they turn them in. And we do get a few folks that are trying to do their spouse a favor, that may have difficulties with signing, and because they have power of attorney over other things, have signed their ballot for their spouse, and that doesn't work for voting. The actual voter has to sign their ballot. So if there are any questions, they can call out office; there are things we can do to assist them." Blankenship says all counties seems to be reporting that there is voter apathy right now, and that's not unusual for a primary, but there are some hot races that should have voters excited. The voters pamphlet and the clerk's website lists all locations of the drop boxes, and several are open 24 hours.
The Central Oregon Regional Tourism meeting is scheduled for June 5th. There was to be two sessions: a morning and afternoon one. The morning one was to include just the boards of Visit Bend and the Central Oregon Visitors Association. Visit Bend says it will only participate with all the other regional representatives in the afternoon meeting and will skip the morning session. Commissioner Tammy Baney is looking forward to bringing everyone together. “And there was some concern there would by a consolidating of COVA and Visit Bend, and that is not the intention of the county. It is the number one economic driver for our region. It brings people, jobs. It’s really important piece to our area. It is critical who's doing what and how we can help one another.” The regional meeting will be held Tuesday, June 5th.
Bend swimmer Tom Fristoe is taking on a pretty ambitious challenge. The Bend Bulletin reports, he is taking on the triple crown of open water swimming. It calls for competitors to swim around Manhattan, from Catalina Island to San Pedro, California, and finally the English Channel. Fristoe, 54, says he'll be swimming in the marathon swimming contests in June and July. He's been training for the feat since October.
Primaries are more partisan than General Elections; so how partisan will this week's election be? Former Bend Mayor Bruce Abernethy, who ran for the State Legislature in 1994, says he's seen politics become even more partisan in recent years. And he thinks that's a bad omen for getting things done. “For me, I consider myself a moderate Democrat. For me I'm worried about the lack of moderate Republicans. There are fewer people who will reach across the aisle. People like Dick Lugar and Orrin Hatch. The partisanship is increasing. People who are willing to compromise are being punished by the Republican Party.” Abernethy faults both Republicans and Democrats for rewarding increasing partisanship at the expense of working across party lines.
Forest service officials have several prescribed burns scheduled over the next few months. Lisa Clark with the Bureau of Land Management says they are preparing for a long summer with lots of opportunities for wildfire. "It is a cycle. And you know and that's why nature, through the lightning storms that we have pass through Central Oregon, we're going to get, on average about 450 wildfires a year and at least about half to 2/3's of those are ignited by lightning. And that's kind of natures historical way of cleaning up the forest and causing that regeneration. And causing the life cycle to continue to move through there. It's where we live and how we're learning to live with that, that's going to improve our safety." Clark says they have projects near Sisters, in the Crescent area and the Crooked River National Grasslands. She says they are in the process of thinning many areas, and having less fuel, in the form of trees for wildfires to feed will make any ground fires easier to fight.
The residents of Crook County got some great news from U.S. Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon; the legislation called “Central Oregon Jobs and Water Security Act” is moving forward in the House. Walden says it can't come fast enough; as he's met with Apple officials, who are excited about their new project in Prineville and are already looking to the future. "They're going to have a rapid start to the first phase; and then have a whole unique way of building out the rest. And I’m told there's a third, unnamed center being considered. Time is of the essence here. We need to get this legislation not only through the House, which I have every confidence that we'll do, but we need to get it moving in the Senate." Walden says he's gotten assurances from the Majority Leader of the House that the legislation will be on the House floor in the next couple of weeks and the Democrats have signed off on it. Walden says once the Act is passed; construction jobs to build the facilities will surface, because there will be adequate water to sustain the business.
Kelly Goff, a Bend La Pine School Board member died Thursday night. Elected to the board in 2009, Goff was very active in the school district; often volunteering at Ponderosa Elementary School and served for two years as the PTA President. An article in the Bulletin says Superintendent Ron Wilkinson announced the death on friday "with great sadness." School Board Chair Ron Gallinat praised Goff for her dedication to Bend La Pine Schools an offered help in any way. Goff was the mother of three children; she was 35 years old. The family is finalizing a memorial service, details are not known at this time.
Bend Police are asking for your help to find another missing person. The family of David Marks, 44, reported to police that they had not seen or heard from him since May 7th, which is unusual. Apparently, Marks is known to rock hunt and camp in remote areas around Burns and Lakeview. Foul play is not suspected at this time. Police describe Marks as a white male, about 6’, 170-190 pounds with short brown thinning hair. His car is a green 1990 Land Rover. If you have seen marks or have any information about him, please contact police.
Rease Endicott of Prineville has won a $4.4 million Megabucks Jackpot, Oregon Lottery officials said Friday. Lottery spokesman Chuck Baumann tells our news partner, News Channel 21, Endicott hit the winning numbers in Wednesday's Megabucks drawing and showed up with his winning ticket Friday at Oregon Lottery offices in Salem. Baumann said Endicott had opted for the one-time "lump sum" payment, rather than annual ones, so after taxes, his prize was $1.47 million. Endicott bought the $1 ticket at the Lamonta Roadhouse in Prineville, and used the "quick pick" method to choose his numbers.
It was an un-scheduled morning break for about 200 Jeld Wen workers in Bend this morning when a fire suddenly broke out in a dust collecting bin. It started shortly after 8:30 and drivers on the parkway and people at nearby businesses could see the smoke and flames. Bend Deputy Fire Marshal T.J. Johannsen says crews were able to isolate and extinguish the fire pretty quickly: "On arrival they did see smoke coming from the dust collection area, but they were able to enter the unit and get it out quite quickly." Johannsen didn't anticipate any violations in connection to the fire. She says all of the safety equipment was working and that dust particle fires are tough to prevent. One longtime employee at Jeld Wen says it was only the second fire in that building in 30 years.
A large prescribed burn near Bend went as planned. It was just 7 miles west of town on Skyliner's Road. Katie Lighthall with Project Wildfire says they ignited the 100 acre area around 11 a.m. Thursday and winds cooperated. She watched from on top of Pilot Butte and says if the planned burn didn't go well - they had a back-up plan. "In terms of back-up plans; the 107 acre square is completely surrounded by equipment and fire crews. So we really anticipate that with the weather and the light amount of debris that is on the ground, it should be a low intensity fire, and it should do everything we expect it to do. As far as back up plans we have all kinds of resources out there to handle it." Crews will be in the area throughout the weekend to handle mop on the fire. The burn is being done to reduce hazardous fuels and improve the long-term health of the fire-dependent habitat in the area.
A Bend man is facing drug charges in a huge pot bust. Police say the street value oaf the marijuana seized is $250,000. It started with a Tuesday night traffic stop by Oregon State Police north of Klamath Falls. Brandon Manger, 23, of Bend was arrested and charged with possession and delivery of a controlled substance. Police say they discovered about 107 pounds of marijuana in Manger's sports utility; again worth an estimated $250,000. Manger was taken into custody and lodged in the Klamath County Jail.
President Obama has come out in support of gay marriage, but believes each state should decide the issue. The President has been reluctant before now to back the issue. Gay Rights activist Mike Lovely of Bend is glad the President's position has evolved. “I'm glad this is happening. It's another step in the right direction and at my age, I’ve run out of patience and cheeks and I want things to happen now.” John Philo with the Tea Party doesn't think this is the most important issue for voters. “I think its something should go before voters in each state and quite honestly it's a state's rights issue to direct their population.” Currently 30 states have constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage and six states have legalized civil unions.
A truck fire that authorities believe was intentionally set did not cause damage to the adjacent mobile home. Around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Bend Fire was called to a report of a small pick up on fire near the intersection of Romaine Village Way and South Highway 97. Fire crews saw a huge black column of smoke as they neared the location. They were able to put out the fire with tank water, before any damage is done to the nearby home, but damage to the truck is listed at $500.. The investigation determined that it was human caused and "potentially” intentionally set. The investigation is turned over to Bend Police.
Bend Police have located a missing Alzheimer’s patient who wandered away from his home in southwest Bend Wednesday morning. The man walked away from his home in the Brookswood subdivision. He was located a couple hours later about five miles away. The man participates in the Deschutes County Sheriff's Project Lifesaver Program. It helps adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer's, autism, Down's Syndrome and dementia, get back home. The man was in good condition and happy to be back home.
The National Association of Home Builders says Bend is one of four cities added to it's “100 Housing Markets That Will be Improving in May.” It's a detail that is not necessarily "news" to local realtors; they are already seeing that action on the streets. Our news partner, News Channel 21 spoke with Kathy Ragsdale, the CEO of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors who says the numbers look very good for new construction which is up considerably compared to six months ago. "New construction is becoming more valuable. People are willing to pay more for new homes, and that's always a good sign for the economy." Six months ago the average buyer spent $156 a square foot on a brand-new home. Today, that number has jumped $20 to $176 a square foot. Thursday’s "Take Five," we have an in-depth report on the local housing market, including news from south county where some people still believe its sleepy down there.
Epic Aircraft is now the owner of its manufacturing facility. It had been leasing the facility but now was able to acquire the 90, 000 square foot building at the Bend Airport. Robert Raimondi with Compass Commercial Real Estate Services says this is just another sign a troubled industry is making a comeback here. “I think its going to be tremendous catalysts to re-establishing Central Oregon as an aviation center once again. I'm very hopeful that 's the case. I think our next big hurdle is the Cessna facility to fill it and bring back more jobs to Central Oregon.” Earlier this year, Epic Air was bought by a Russian company, and with this acquisition, can obtain additional certification to produce not only experimental aircraft but production aircraft as well.
Eagle Point teachers and the Reynolds Education Association in Multnomah County both have voted to go on strike. Joyce Rosenau, who heads the Reynolds Education Association, says one of their objections is that school districts want the right to reopen and re-negotiate parts of the contract any time. “Every step that we have taken is to get a settlement: We declared impasse to get a settlement; we are taking a strike vote to get a settlement. That’s all we want. Negotiating for over a year, every time, to get a contract is not an ok way to go.” Rosenau says the district originally raised far more points to negotiate than the teachers, and the two sides remain at a standstill over many of them. The strike is set for May 21st.
A Sister’s homeowner tried to deal with a fire in his dishwasher; when it became too much for him, he called 911. The fire crews were dispatched to the two story home around 11:30 a.m. Monday. An investigation found that the fire started in the dishwasher’s electrical pump motor. The dishwasher and nearby cabinets were destroyed and fire officials don’t have a total damage estimate yet.
The biggest story on AP reporter ever broke cost him his job, and now the Associated Press is apologizing, 67 years later, and there's a local connection. The reporter was Edward Kennedy and his daughter lives in Bend. Julia Cochran says her father covered the biggest story of the century, the day the Germans officially surrendered back on May 7th 1945. Kennedy was told to hold onto the story and not report it for 36 hours; but 12 hours into the embargo, the Germans went on public radio and announced the surrender. Our news partner, News Channel 21, spoke with Cochran: "Instead of standing behind him, saying this was freedom of the press issue, they folded. They were told that the story was going to be embargoed for 36 hours, went to the censor, said this is ridiculous the story is already out. They ignored him. So he decided to release the story himself." And the reason for the embargo?? Josef Stalin wanted to stage a second surrender ceremony, and allied leaders went along with him. In 1963, a car accident cut Kennedy's life short, keeping him from ever publishing his story; but his family went forward and his book came out Monday. It’s called "Ed Kennedy's War: V-E Day, Censorship and the Associated Press."
The City of Bend is holding a special meeting tonight to explain changes to the City's noise code, and in some extreme cases violators could face a fine of $10,000. City Recorder Robyn Christie says they are trying to deal with many popular events in the city; that may not be too popular with neighbors trying to relax in their nearby homes. "One thing we want to do is make sure the ordinance is clear so that neighbors know what the expectations are, as well as businesses. We want to make sure that neighbors aren't disturbed in their homes after 10 o'clock, but we also want businesses to have successful events." Christie says the fines for a noise violation will start at $750 and graduate up to $10,000 for a flagrant and chronic violator. Tonight's Open House is at City Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. Council members are expected to vote on these changes during their May 16th meeting.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is trying to open up more overseas markets for Central Oregon farmers and business people. Wyden chairs the Trade Sub-committee and says that negotiations are taking place right now that could open up markets in Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia, which could be good news for Oregon. "What we do best in Oregon is that we grow things. We're an Ag state. One out of 7 jobs depends on exports, and what we ought to be doing, and this is certainly true for Central Oregon. We ought to growing things here making things here and then shipping them, manufacturing. I want to get into these foreign markets particularly Asia." Wyden also says if the discussions are successful, iconic Oregon products like beer, wine, blueberries, hazelnuts, cherries and pears may be served at tables across Asia. Wyden was in Bend last week to talk about the possibilities of drone testing coming to Central Oregon.
It’s no secret that Bend's Innovation Theaterworks has struggled financially, as have others. But it will carry on offering "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" as their next production this June. Artistic Director Brad Hills says less disposable income for people is making it difficult for local theatrical companies. “There's the simple case that people's expendable income dollars are down. There's a limit on how much they can spend on entertainment and since there's an awful lot of choices, it's hard. I think we're all looking at creating enough diversity to carve out a sustainable operation. Hills says they've had to scale back their productions to reduce costs. "The Complete works of William Shakespeare" will open on Friday, June 8th.
A citizen sprang into action after narrowly escaping a crash on the NE Negus Way overpass.
Redmond Police report Friday night, around 10:45, Jose Francisco Estrada was driving on the road when a car driven by Patricia Webb, 24, for unknown reasons, veered sharply to the left - crossing in front of Estrada’s car, hitting a guardrail, becoming airborne and coming to rest approximately 50 feet down the overpass embankment.
Both Webb and her passenger, Rebecca Kral were injured and taken to St. Charles - Redmond with their injuries.
Estrada, the driver of the car that narrowly missed being hit by Webb’s car, stopped his car, called 9-1-1 and ran down the embankment to render aid until emergency authorities could arrive.
Redmond Police are still investigating the cause of the crash; but Webb was arrested for Assault 2, Criminal Mischief 1, DUII, Reckless Endangering (2 counts) and Reckless Driving.
The Central Oregon Builder's Association Spring Home and Garden Show begins today. Andy High, President of COBA says this year they have hundred's of vendors featuring everything you want to know about improving or building your home and garden, and they are adding an exciting new display. “And we also teamed up this year, we're very excited with local auto dealers who will be presenting a new car auto show as well, so we have 2 shows for one, at the same time. It’s pretty exciting." The COBA Spring Home and Garden Show runs Friday through Sunday at the Deschutes County Expo Center. You can get information and a $2 - off coupon on the COBA website.
It was a full house at Redmond’s newest high school for its first public viewing. Last night the school district held an open house and more than one thousand people came out to get a first hand look at the 250,000 square foot facility. Students like Natalie Ahlum can't wait to start in the fall. “It is beyond description. I actually started crying the first time I saw the library. It’s circular shape, two stories, completely open, couches, desks, where you can study, everything on wheels so can more around. We can't wait to start here and make this the best school year ever.” The school cost $65 million, paid for by a $110 million bond passed by voters in 2008.
A fake crash in La Pine kills everyone except for the drunk driver who caused the accident. With prom night tomorrow; local students are using the shocking video to in hopes of preventing a real life crash. Our news partner, News Channel 21talked with students about this unique way to make the point. "Any of you conscious in there? This could really happen. I'm brain dead and go to the hosp and my parents pull the plug. I'm a drunk driver.” A senior at La Pine High School, Sierra Langdon, says they've had a lot of issues with drinking during prom weekend, and she wanted to help shock fellow students into sobriety. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens,and one out of three of those is alcohol-related.
You’re eyes will not be deceiving you this weekend; the moon will appear extra-large in the sky. Bob Grossfeld with the Sunriver Observatory says it's called a "super moon," when the moon is unusually close to earth. "The orbit of the moon around the earth isn't precisely a circle. It actually comes closer to us; so it's slightly bigger, and of course it reflects more light, so it makes it even brighter." Grossfeld says that there is a Haley's Comet meteor shower that should be visible this weekend too, but because the moon will be so bright, the meteors may not be visible. Grossfeld says it's going to be a great time for a viewing party too, and the Observatory will be open Saturday night 9 to 11 p.m.
Several properties in Deschutes County will be available for bid in an auction of foreclosed properties. Deschutes County Property Specialist Teresa Rozic says all of the properties will be sold "as -is" and there is a minimum bid. "This year, we're offering three vacant lots in Bend. One in the Sunriver--south area. I have a property in La Pine that has a very nice shop building on it. Then I have a beautiful 5 acre lot in Redmond that has a view of Smith Rock with a home that the former owner started many years ago, but never finished." Rozic says there are other properties that are known as "residuals" and tend to be odd shaped. The auction is Wednesday, May 16th at 10 a.m. in the County Building at 1300 Wall Street. She recommends you register early if you are planning to attend the auction; and you must have cash or a cashier's check to purchase the property. You can get more information on the Deschutes County website: www.deschutes.org/PublicAuction.
The Cascades natural aquifer has always made Bend's city drinking water quite tasty, and lots of others agree. Recently, Bend Public Works employees entered some water samples into an American Waterworks Association competition, to identify the best water in the Pacific Northwest. The city's Justin Finestone says Bend's water won that competition, and now it's on to the national competition. "The American Waterworks Association National Conference is in June in Dallas and again, we'll be representing the Pacific Northwest; Oregon Washington and Idaho were at that conference and have a chance to be the best tasting water in the United States and we hope we win. We think we have a great shot because we know how good our water is. We know how much the breweries like it; and how good the beer tastes because of it, so we think we have a strong chance." Finestone says the water is judged on odor, flavor and aftertaste. He says Bend always gets high marks for it's water; but this year they feel will be "our" year to win.
The campaign rhetoric is being kicked up a notch in the State Senate race between Incumbent Chris Telfer and her challenger Tim Knopp. You hear the campaign ads all the time, and lots of letters to the editor have dominated the local newspaper. Former Bend Mayor Bruce Abernethy is one of many lately, who has written a letter to support Telfer. He says he supports her even though they come from different parties. “I think I'm perceived as a Democrat. But she told me I think my candidate appeals across the specter. I’m no nonsense and people can respect that and move forward. From my perspective, I was trying to write a letter that said although I disagreed with her, she brings real assets to Salem.” Abernethy says Telfer is bright and creative, and unique in the Legislature, with her CPA background.
A prescribed burn off of Skyliner's Road near Bend may attract a lot of attention. The burn will be about 100 acres and could send a lot of smoke into the area. Katie Lighthall with "Project Wildfire" says the homeowners in that area know how dangerous their location is, and they've been very aggressive in clearing away fire fuel near their homes and neighborhoods. "They’ve been very supportive of the pres. burn effort and are really excited to see this done because it's going to provide a buffer for their community. And make them even more safe with the work they've done already." The prescribed burn will be located about 7 miles west of Bend on Skyliners Road and will happen next week; weather permitting. Another large burn is planned on 700 acres south of Bend near Horse Butte.
Oregon State Police and other police agencies negotiated for hours with the ex-boyfriend holding his ex-girlfriend hostage at a Crescent Lake cabin. Just before 5 p.m., Alberto Martinez, 28, left the cabinusing Melody Mickel, 26, as a human shield. OSP SWAT team fired one shot at Martinez, causing a non-life threatening injury, and allowing the release of hostage Mickel. Police believe the Mickel was kidnapped by Martinez, her ex-boyfriend last Thursday while she was working at Rite Aid. Earlier Tuesday, she and Martinez were barricaded in her grandparents cabin in Crescent Lake, while negotiators tried to convince him to let her go. During the standoff, her cousin, Angela Goring, who lives in Redmond, just wanted Melody out of that house. “She is so strong keeps her head when things get rough. She's a survivor. She will survive.” Goring claims Martinez is a registered sex offender who kidnapped another former girlfriend nine years ago, and was charged with kidnapping and sexual assault charges.
Sunriver will interview seven candidates to find their next police chief. The Sunriver Service District Board fired former Police Chief Mike Kennedy in February, saying the Department needed a change in policing philosophy. Ron Angell is the Chair of the Sunriver District Managing Board. “I'm pleased with the number, breadth and qualifications of applications; the ones we received. And hopefully we'll move forward and have a good result.” The interviews will occur the week of May 14th, with the final candidates being revealed on May 17th during a public forum.
Due to a programming error, Democrat and Republican voters in Precinct 46 (NE Bend) were issued an incorrect ballot which included State Representative, 53rd District, instead of the correct 54th District. The error has been corrected. Replacement ballots that include State Representative, 54th District will be mailed later this week. Democrat and Republican voters in Precinct 46 should vote with the replacement ballot that contains State Representative, 54th District contest.
If voters have already mailed the first ballot, it will only be counted if Deschutes County Elections does not receive the replacement ballot. If voters do not return the replacement ballot, all contests on the first ballot will be counted except for State Representative, 53rd District, as the voter is not eligible to vote on that contest.
In order for the replacement ballot to be counted, voters must return it by 8:00 p.m., Election Day, Tuesday, May 15.
Deschutes County apologizes for any inconvenience this error may have caused voters. Voters that have questions may contact Deschutes County Elections at (541) 388-6547.
Oregon State Police and other police agencies are negotiating with a Hermiston woman and her ex-boyfriend in a Crescent Lake cabin. The woman, Melody Mickel, 26, was believed to be kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend Alberta Martinez. Police believe she was kidnapped from her job at Rite Aid in Hermiston on Thursday. She and Martinez are barricaded at her grandparents cabin in Crescent Lake. Her cousin, Angela Goring, who lives in Redmond, wants to get her cousin out of that house. “She is so strong and se keeps her head together and keeps calm and I know it’s got to be the roughest thing that she’s ever gone through in her life, but I just have to believe she’s got her will and her head together and she’s a survivor, and she will survive.” We will have more information as it becomes available.
The State Senate race between Chris Telfer and Tim Knopp is getting more statewide attention; this time from of pro-life and pro-family groups. Teresa Harke with 'The Oregon Family Council' says they are backing Tim Knopp because of he is pro-life and supports "traditional" marriage. She says Incumbent Senator Chris Telfer wouldn't answer the Family Council's questions on traditional marriage, abortion and other social issues. Harke also believes that these social issues may determine the race: “In the Republican Primary when you've got two candidates who are qualified, who are decent on jobs and the economy, people will look to second tier issues. Right now people care most about the jobs and economy, but they are going to look at, okay, I think you're strong on economic issues, but where do you stand up compared tothe platform. So if you've got two people who are great, then I'm going to go with this person." The Oregon Family Council has about 40,000 household members and 2000 church members. They recently sent out a mass mailing to potential voters explaining why they are backing Tim Knopp.
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