ODOT closes McKenzie Pass Highway

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Nov 132014
 
McKenzie Highway done for the year.  Closed 'til next June.

McKenzie Highway done for the year. Closed ’til next June.

McKENZIE BRIDGE – With 6 inches of snow already accumulated on McKenzie Pass Highway and another 8-10 inches expected through Friday, the Oregon Department of Transportation will close Oregon 242 for the season as of 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov 13.

Even during its tenure as the main route between the southern Willamette Valley and central Oregon, the narrow, twisting roadway and high elevation made the highway too difficult and expensive to maintain and keep clear during the winter months.

ODOT’s records indicate that the earliest closure of the Old McKenzie Pass Highway occurred on October 18, 1996. The latest closure happened on January 10, 1939.

The highway is currently scheduled to reopen the third Monday in June (June 15, 2015), weather permitting. During the summer, about 300 cars a day travel the highway.

Bend man arrested after knocking 7,000 south Bend customers off cable

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Nov 132014
 
SE 3rd and Wilson 1am Wednesday morning

SE 3rd and Wilson
1am Wednesday morning

A Bend man lost control of his car early Wednesday morning at SE 3rd and Wilson and hit a ground-mounted cable internet/tv “hub” control box. The impact sent the box, chock full of electronics, sprawling down the sidewalk, kicking 7,000 Bend Broadband customers back into the 1940s. No internet. No TV. No phone. Even after service was restored customers weren’t particularly pleased because they wondered how could such a vital set of services be taken away from so many people for so long (10-18 hours depending on location) simply because somebody lost control of a car at an intersection.

The answer to that question is obviously something for another day after news media that’s interested enough digs around for an electronic engineering firm willing to talk to them. But suffice it to say whatever answer there is will come from Bend Broadband’s new owners – Telcom and Data Services based out of Chicago. They paid over a quarter-billion dollars for Bend’s homegrown cable system earlier this year.

Meanwhile the driver of the car that took out the “hub” box was later tracked down by Bend Police and identified as Nathan Goldberg. Goldberg was initially booked into the Deschutes County Jail and charged with reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, criminal mischief and tampering with evidence. Since all citations were misdemeanors Goldberg was simply issued citations and given a date to appear in court.

As for businesses that rely on Bend Broadband for vital data and financial transaction services they might consider acquiring “back up” services from the phone company (Century Link) which can provide bottom tier internet services for a nominal monthly bill. It’s cheap insurance.

Rep. Walden: On the opposite side of public opinion on Internet Neutrality issue

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Nov 122014
 
Rep. Greg Walden R-Eastern Oregonj

Rep. Greg Walden
R-Eastern Oregonj

This week, President Obama strongly urged the FCC to preserve internet neutrality – not letting the highest bidding interests buy the best and fastest service for their customers at the expense of everyone else. It’s sort of like “privatizing” what has been a public utility by pricing public and business competitors out of the running for equal access to the internet. A case of whoever shows up with the most cash gets the best service.

Many national polls have revealed that the overwhelming majority of Americans want big money out of prioritizing who gets to use the internet and at what speeds.

This week Eastern Oregon Congressman Greg Walden sided with those who are prepared to pay more to get more internet service by saying, in effect, that those who are the most successful and who can pay for the privilege of getting faster speed, should be allowed to do so. He reasoned that success breeds success and when that happens, everyone benefits. Supporters of Obama and Internet Neutrality counter: “It won’t happen that way. What the country will get is monopoly rule and whatever technological breakthroughs filter down to Main Street (or not) may not be the best service or product, but rather what a “controlled market” dictates.”

Here’s more from the Oregonian. Click here.

ODFW Board looking for more conservation driven candidates to fill ODFW director’s job

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Nov 122014
 
Planting fish in an Oregon River.  USFW photo

Planting fish in an Oregon River. USFW photo

Oregon Fish and Wildlife board members are trying to recruit who some might call a more environmentally sensitive director for the department, different from the last director which, it’s alledged,leaned more toward managing wildlife for hunting and fishing – rather than conservation.

In recent tough budget times, state agencies have had to push to derive much of their budgets from those who benefit most from good stewardship of the resource – hunters and fishermen. Now that those kinds of “clients” of ODFW are down in number it’s put a crunch on their budget.

It sounds like some Oregon natural resource management agencies have been trapped on a set of directives that maximizes use rather than conservation and preservation of the ecological health of the animals pursued.

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

Colorado and Utah sage groupse listed “threatened.” What’s next for the Greater Sage Grouse in Oregon?

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Nov 122014
 
Greater Sage Grouse Will USFWS begin looking at this version in Oregon?

Greater Sage Grouse
Will USFWS begin looking at this version in Oregon?

With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deciding to list Colorado’s Gunnison Sage Grouse as a Threatened Species, word quickly spread throughout eastern Oregon of the move and triggered the question, will Oregon’s Greater Sage Grouse be next? If it is, it could have substantial effects on agriculture and ranching in Eastern Oregon.

Here’s the story from the Oregonian. Click here.

Here it comes…

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Nov 122014
 
Drake Park after a light snow...

Drake Park after a light snow…

4:40pm
WARNING WINTER STORM

The National Weather Service has issued a number of warnings and watches for Oregon as a Winter storm shapes up with significant effects on travel quite possible. Here’s the latest…

* A Blizzard Warning is up for the western Columbia River Gorge where heavy snow, blowing snow and freezing rain is expected from 6:00am Thursday through 4:00am Friday. Snow accumulations could reach 5-10 inches followed by freezing rain as thick as a quarter inch. Add in wind chills around zero aided by strong east winds gusting to 65-70 mph.
* A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the Portland Metro area, McMinnville, Salem and all other communities in the northern and central Willamette Valley now through 2:00am Thursday. Snow accumulations from 1-3 inches and up to a quarter inch of ice build-up from freezing rain can be expected. The southern cutoff for this Watch is just north of Albany and Corvallis.
* A Winter Storm Watch has been posted for the Cascades where 10-14 inches of snow is expected on Thursday into Friday along with wind chills of 0F.
* A Winter Storm Warning is up for all of Eastern Oregon, with up to a foot of snow possible.
* A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 6:00am on Thursday for the Gorge, Portland Metro, and the northern and central Willamette Valley.
* Although the Coast Range from Salem to Eugene does not have an official advisory, 1-4 inches of snow is forecast for Wednesday night, followed by freezing rain and then warming to all rain tomorrow.
* There are currently no warnings, watches or advisories for the Central Coast. Winds should stay under 40 mph and precipitation is expected to be cold rain instead of a Wintery mix as temperatures remain above freezing.

For Bend:

weather forecast

Former Bend resident booked for child sexual corruption and encouraging child sexual abuse

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Nov 112014
 
Micah Kennedy Sexual coercion, Encouraging child abuse

Micah Kennedy
Sexual corruption, Encouraging child sexual abuse

A former Bend area resident has been arrested in suburban Seattle on charges of sexual corruption of a child, luring a minor and encouraging child sexual abuse.

The investigation began 10/14/14 when detectives learned that Micah Kennedy had been texting and using various social media sites to contact and pursue minor children for sexual purposes. 

Kennedy was arrested on 10/16/14 for Online Sexual Corruption of a Child in the First Degree and Luring a Minor. He is being held on $250,000 security in this case. 

Following his arrest, a search warrant was executed that revealed the defendant was in possession of multiple images of child pornography. As a result, he was also charged with 10 counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse and is being held on an additional $100,000 security in this case.



The Bend Police Department asks anyone with information regarding this case please call Detective Chris Morin at 541-312-7956. 

This investigation is ongoing.

Bend City Hall declares a temporary housing emergency

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Nov 112014
 
Bend City Hall

Bend City Hall

Emergency declared for additional shelter capacity

Posted Date: 11/10/2014

Based on a recommendation from Bend Fire and Rescue, City Manager Eric King has declared an emergency beginning on November 10, 2014. Severe weather conditions may result in capacity being reached at local shelters, threatening life and/or property, and creating a need for temporary housing facilities within the City.

The declaration is valid when overnight temperatures are expected to be 25 degrees Fahrenheit or below and area shelters have reached capacity. The declaration expires on February 28, 2015.

Wickiup Reservoir safe to swim/ski in again…

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Nov 102014
 
Wickiup Reservoir Now safe to swim in again

Wickiup Reservoir
Now safe to swim in again

Health advisory lifted November 10 for Wickiup Reservoir

Reduced blue-green algae levels confirmed

The Oregon Health Authority has lifted a health advisory issued September 19 for Wickiup Reservoir, located off South Century Drive in Deschutes County, about 40 miles southwest of the city of Bend.
Water monitoring has confirmed reduced levels of blue-green algae and their toxins. These reduced levels are not likely to be harmful to humans and animals.

Oregon health officials advise people who use Oregon water bodies for recreation to always be alert to signs of harmful algae blooms. People and their pets should avoid contact if the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish-red in color, or if the water has a thick mat of algae with an unpleasant odor.

For local information about water quality or blue-green algae sampling, contact the U.S. Forest Service Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District at 541-383-4000. For drinking water information, contact your local drinking water treatment facility.

For health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions about a news release, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400.

For information about advisories issued or lifted for the season, call the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767 or visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website at www.healthoregon.org/hab and select “Algae Bloom Advisories.”

Kitzhaber looks ahead: Tax reform, the kicker, education funding, rural funding problems, and Cylvia…

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Nov 102014
 
Governor Kitzhaber launches his 4th term...

Governor Kitzhaber launches his 4th term…

Governor John Kitzhaber is launching his fourth term as governor with some definite challenges ahead of him. The big one is trying to find money to make good on his promise for all day kindergarten for kids starting in the fall of next year. Kitzhaber will also have to figure something out to restore law enforcement in southwestern Oregon counties. A plan to cut more O & C timber for county revenue enhancements has yet to be worked out by sponsor Senator Ron Wyden. Kitzhaber will also have to contend with an impending tax kicker which will cause a reverse flow of revenue to the state. And there’s ethics issues with First Lady Cylvia Hayes who got torpedoed hard during the campaign.

Lots for Mr. Kitzhaber to wade through over the next four years. More from the Oregonian. Click here.