Illegal burn pile + afternoon winds = Fire escapes – endangers homes.

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Jun 212017

Illegal outdoor pile burn was blown out of control and threatened nearby homes.

Crook County Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a grass fire on the hill behind SE Willowdale in Prineville at 4:51 pm on June 21st. Engines arrived to find a fire being pushed by the wind and threatening several homes. Four engines from Crook County Fire and one water tender along with resources from Oregon Department of Forestry, BLM and Forrest Service kept the fire to 7 acres. No structures were lost and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was an illegal open burn pile that got out of control in the wind.

Tax hike to preserve Oregon Medicaid enroute to Gov’s desk for signing

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Jun 212017

Governor Brown
Archive photo

A bill to raise $550 million in health care taxes on hospitals and health care plans, in order to fund Oregon’s Medicaid program, is on its way to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk. The bill was passed on a bipartisan vote in the Senate. Governor Brown says she will sign it.

Here’s the story in The Oregonian. Click here.

Fatal head on 97, just south of Terrebonne

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Jun 212017

Fatal Crash just south of Terrebonne about 1:30pm Wednesday.

Just after 1:30 pm, Troopers from the Bend Area Command responded to a report of a two vehicle crash on Highway 97 near Northwest Galloway Avenue, a few miles north of Redmond.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a light blue Honda SUV, driven by 26 year old Amber Paplia, 26 of Madras, was traveling northbound on Highway 97. A red Toyota Camry was traveling southbound at this location with four occupants. The Toyota driver was identified as 78 year old Dennis French, of Gaston. The other occupants in the Toyota were identified as 76 year old Gaston resident, Marjorie French, 49 year old Diane Acevedo and 11 year old minor child, both from San Bruno California.

Honda driver Paplia crossed over into the oncoming southbound lanes and French, driving the Toyota, was unable to avoid impact resulting in a head-on crash. Marjorie French, the front passenger of the Toyota, was pronounced deceased at the scene as a result of the crash. Dennis French and Paplia were both transported to the Redmond area hospital for serious injuries and both Acevedo and her minor child were transported to a Bend area hospital for non-lifethreatening injuries. Fatigue is believed to be a contributing factor in the crash.

Wildfire burning near Clarno, Wasco County

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Jun 212017

Clarno (Rhoades Canyon) fire along John Day River
Courtesy photo

Firefighters Respond to New Wildfire near Clarno, Wasco County

Central Oregon – Firefighters responded yesterday to a new wildfire near Clarno, Oregon. The fire was reported yesterday just before noon along Highway 218, one mile east of the John Day River. Incident #301, called the Rhoades Canyon fire, grew quickly to the south due to light, dried-out grass, steep slopes and wind, and is currently estimated at 8,000 acres. The cause is under investigation. The fire is 10 percent contained at this time.

Increasing temperatures over the next several days and afternoon winds will continue to challenge firefighters. The fire is burning in a mix of land administered by the BLM including a portion of the Spring Basin Wilderness, private land, and fee title land managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs called the Pine Creek Conservation Area. Firefighters protected several historic structures during the initial response to the fire, and no additional structures are considered threatened at this time. The John Day River and Highway 218 remain open.

The fire is staffed today with several engines from the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management and Wheeler County Fire and Rescue. In addition, there is a Type 1 handcrew (Hotshot crew) and a Type 2 handcrew, each providing 20 firefighters. Due to the limited number of roads in this area, the crews are being supported by two single engine air tankers (SEATs) and two Type 2 helicopters, and one Type 1 helicopter.

The rapid growth on the fire is a sign that vegetation in Central Oregon is quickly drying out. Lower elevations along the river canyons that are typically hotter and dryer are quickly moving toward extreme. Fire restrictions are currently in place along portions of the John Day, Lower Deschutes, Crooked and White Rivers in Central Oregon, requiring visitors to use white gas and propane stoves only for heating and cooking. Fire officials would like to remind everyone to take care as they head out to recreate in Central Oregon – where campfires are allowed, make sure someone is always there to watch them and make sure they’re “dead out” when going to bed or leaving the campground. As we approach the 4th of July holiday, please remember that fireworks of any kind are illegal on public land.

Information about the Rhoades Canyon Fire and other Central Oregon wildfires will be posted on the Central Oregon Fire Information Blog at and you can follow Central Oregon wildfires on Twitter @CentralORFire. For large fires at the local, regional or national level, please visit InciWeb at

Dreaming out loud about FUTURE Redmond area parks and recreation facilities

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Jun 212017

RAPRD seeking public input on the need for a Recreation Center June 28.
From Redmond Area Park and Recreation District

Redmond Area Park and Recreation District is conducting a Recreation Center Feasibility study to look at the programming and operational needs of a new Recreation Center. This study will prioritize the needs and desires for upgrading and improving recreational facilities and services and determine the current and future level of services for the community based on public input.

Some of the proposed ideas include an upgraded Aquatic Center, an indoor multi-sport facility to include basketball and more classroom space for other activities.

We want to hear from residents, business owners, special interest groups, and any other interested parties regarding a potential new Recreation Center. We will be hosting a Public Forum on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Redmond Early Learning Center, 2015 W Antler Ave, Redmond OR 97756. Everyone is encouraged to attend. The RAPRD has hired GreenPlay, LLC, to oversee this study.

If you have any questions regarding either the study or the public forum please contact Katie Hammer, Executive Director at 541.548.7275 or at

Two prison escapees on the loose in Eastern/Central Oregon

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Jun 212017

Rittain McAuliffe
Youth Camp Escapee

Micah West
Marion County

Oregon State Police (OSP) is asking for the public’s help to capture two Oregon Youth Authority youths that escaped from La Grande’s Camp Riverbend Youth Transitional Facility, at around 7:50 p.m., June 20, 2017.

Escapee #1: Brittain MCAULIFFE, age 18, of Central Point, is described as a white male, 5’10”, 220 pounds, stocky build, tattoos on both forearms, one described as “Native Pride”. His hair is short on the sides and the top is approximately six inches long with ponytail. He wears glasses and was wearing a white tank top, black shorts with a red stripe on the sides, and black and red mid top shoes.

Escapee #2: Micah WEST, age 18, of Salem, is described as a white male 5’11” 155 pounds, multiple tattoos, one is described as a derringer pistol on one arm. One is an eagle tattoo on his chest and a cross tattoo on left forearm. West is bald and was wearing a dark blue hoodie and blue jeans.

Anyone who identifies them is asked to not approach them, use caution and immediately contact law enforcement.

Anyone with information regarding the location of MCAULIFFE and or WEST is asked to call OSP Southern Command Center dispatch at 541-664-4600 or 9-1-1. Refer to OSP case number SP17211022.

OSP is being assisted by Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Youth Authority.

Is the end near for homeless camps out East Antler?

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Jun 202017

Redmond City Council, County Commissioners and other discuss “End of Antler” homeless problem

Redmond City Councilors and Deschutes County Commissioners sat down in a meeting room in the new Redmond City Hall Tuesday and talked about a growing problem off East Antler in Redmond that stretches out into the county wildlands.

Although the BLM owns most, if not all of the land being squatted on by hundreds of homeless people, it reached out to Redmond and the county to deal with what they called a clear and present danger to the public. The lands out there are federally owned but a big part of it has been taken over by a lot of homeless people – some living in tents, some in R/V’s and some just camping out.

Problem area involving squatters – those down on their luck who are just trying to stay alive and hopeful things will change for them.

Deschutes County Property and Facilities Property Manager James Lewis told commissioners and councilors that a swelling population of homeless people have taken over a large area off Antler posing a hazard to those who like to hike, bike or otherwise try to enjoy the wildlands just inside and just outside the city limits. But Lewis pointed out that many of those who lawfully recreate in the area don’t feel as safe as they used to feel before the homeless, by the hundreds, moved out there. Lewis said there have been reports of gunshots and fights. Redmond Police and Fire have been out there quite a bit putting out fires and cooling down hot heads who want to fight. Redmond Economic Development Inc. said new manufacturing facilities at the end of Antler are having to keep their eyes for homeless vandals who tamper with company equipment to get water and generally tresspass.

Lives off East Antler because there is nowhere else for him to go.

At that point a few full time residents who joined the meeting piped up that there are two classes of residents out there – mature adults who are making the best of their situation – and others who do drugs, make messes and cause trouble. One resident who said he works as a volunteer for St. Vincent DePaul, which makes water and propane deliveries out there, says there are a lot of good people just trying to survive under very difficult conditions. He said the trash, discarded mattresses, car tires and all the other garbage that populates the area come from otherwise law abiding citizens who are either too cheap or too lazy to take their trash to the transfer station. One resident said he and other responsible residents do periodic clean-ups, filling up to three dumpsters donated by the local landfill. All said they would be happy to become effective eyes and ears for law enforcement to help keep the place safer.

Redmond City Council, County Commissioners and other discuss “End of Antler” homeless problem.

Then Lewis chimed back in saying that the situation out there has crossed the line of being tolerable. “There are fights, drug use and other disturbances,” he said, “that are making regular folks, who like to hike out there, very nervous and they feel they’re being deprived of their right to use public lands – lawfully – unlike those who are squatting over hundreds of acres.”

Baney challenged Lewis by suggesting that the committee explore ways to work closely with the “good residents” to help expel the ones who cause trouble. Baney told Lewis “I know what you’re saying but you’ve heard them – they have nowhere to go. We should try to pursue a parallel track to better manage the area by enacting closer coordination with who we know to be just trying to survive and be helpful.”

One of the Antler area homeless residents said “It’s too bad we don’t have enough vacation R/V parks in the area. The ones we have are constantly booked up. Baney said she’d like to look into that.

And that’s where they left it. The city council and the county commissioners agreed to pursue options that might find everyone a place to live affordably and then turn the East-of-Antler wildlands back over those who tread lightly, don’t cause fires or defile the wilds east of town.

August 21st
Solar Eclipse
Redmond to Warm Springs along Hwy 97

Preparing for the Solar Eclipse

And the councilors and commissioners talked briefly about how Deschutes County, in coordination with Crook and Jefferson Counties, are doing everything they can to prepare Central Oregon for the Solar Eclipse on the morning of August 21st. It was pretty well agreed that there will be upwards of a half-million people strewn along Highway 97 and country by-ways waiting for the sun to be completely covered by the Moon coming between the Sun and Earth.

The full Moon cover of the Sun will be visible for a couple of minutes in a pathway that extends to Madras on the north to Redmond to the south. All other areas will see only a partial eclipse.

The commissioners and councilors were told that emergency services will be on the job like always. They said all those eclipse “Lookie Loos,” strewn along Highway 97 from Bend to Warm Springs will likely slow down, if not stop altogether. Local residents are warned to fill up their vehicle gas tanks no later than two days before the eclipse. And don’t forget to “food up” at the grocery store because all those out-of-town eclipse watchers will be pretty hungry driving all the way from the Valley and from Portland to see such a spectacle. Redmond City Hall will be closed that day but a lot of emergency responders will be on duty to keep things under control.

One other point – in order not to overload local cell towers with all the extra people in Central Oregon, emergency responders say portable cell towers will be set up in strategic spots so that cell service should not suffer any big outages.

More on this as it develops.

Kitzhaber and Hayes apparently not out of the woods yet

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Jun 202017

Cylvia Hayes and former Governor John Kitzhaber
Oregonian photo

Although the Oregon Department of Justice dropped its case against former Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancee Cylvia Hayes over criminal allegations that Hayes used her state office to promote her business, the State Ethics Commission has stepped in to investigate the two for ethical violations.

Here’s the story in The Oregonian. Click here.

Community College Update…..

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Jun 202017

COCC Redmond Campus
COCC photo


Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) Redmond campus is holding an information session about its Allied Health programs at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5, in Building 3, Room 306. The health programs covered will include dental assisting, massage therapy, medical assistant, pharmacy technician and veterinary technician.

The session will include a description of each occupation, the typical clinical and administrative duties, as well as the certification or licensing required. There will also be a review of the structure, length and cost of each of the programs. It is not necessary to be enrolled at COCC to attend this session. Reservations are not required. For information, call 541-383-7420.


Central Oregon Community College (COCC) is holding a nursing school overview from 5-6 p.m. at the Bend campus, Wednesday, July 5, in the Boyle Education Center, Room 155.

Nursing Orientations are information sessions held multiple times annually designed for students interested in COCC’s associate degree in nursing. Sessions cover minimum requirements to apply to the program, how applicants are selected, deadlines and more. The formal presentation usually runs 45 minutes with plenty of time for questions during and after. Prospective nursing students are strongly encouraged. Reservations are not required.