▶️ Redmond VFW post gets new paint job completely off donations

Sometimes, all that’s needed for a new beginning is a fresh coat of paint.

The newly named Art Horsell Deschutes Post Number 4108 for the Veterans of Foreign Wars got a new outdoor paint job.

The task, completed Friday morning, is the culmination of months of planning and donations and a week of labor.

“We noticed it needed some help,” said Ricardo Cisneros, co-owner of S&C Painting Solutions.

“It’s essentially just metal,” said Andrew Soriano, the other co-owner, about the paint previous paint job. “The paint fully came off four to five years ago.”

Formerly covered with paint chipped and weary, the post got a fresh coat of promise.

“It took over a week in total,” Soriano said.

RELATED: Program to aid Oregon veterans is back and needing volunteers

A week and four painters to paint the entire outside of the building including signs, metal doors and window sills.

“As far as the paint that was donated, it was about 80 gallons from Miller,” Soriano said.

“I didn’t know that they were painting the sign up there and doing the different colors and it used to be just white,” said James Russum, the Commander for the Redmond VFW.

“Being a veteran myself and a newer business owner, we wanted to have a way to put our name out there and also show our appreciation to our community,” Cisneros said.

And in doing so, the VFW hall, built around 1959, can continue to serve with a charm unique to its members.

“One of the things they wanted was a battleship gray entryway to you know go with the whole VFW sort of thing and it was powder blue,” Soriano said. “So it was pretty beat up, pretty beat down by the sun and bleached up. To see that and this whole area right here is probably my favorite part because it really pops.”

The building pops in each before and after photo, showing the care put into each paint stroke.

By refreshing the paint, there’s a hope the posts’ tradition will refresh for a younger audience.

“I think it will also help to get veterans my age to come along, which is a lot of my goals right now to continue it on,” Russum said.

Continuing on a tradition of honoring veterans and the Central Oregon Spirit.

“I mean, this is a small community, I know Bend, Redmond is getting bigger everyday but for us it’s small, it’s tight-knit,” Soriano said.

▶️ Bend City Council votes to purchase land next door to Rainbow Motel

After buying the Rainbow Motel off Franklin Avenue for $4.5 million in January, the City of Bend is looking for more land in this area. And more land purchases are expected to follow.

“And we’re going to continue to look to see where we can have opportunities to get land,” said Melanie Kebler, a Bend City Councilor.

City Councilors voted unanimously Wednesday night to buy the land next door to the Rainbow Motel where Paulson’s Floor Coverings currently resides.

“So the Rainbow Motel will continue to operate and continue serving the folks that are using it for housing right now and the Paulson Flooring is going to continue being there for another year,” Kebler said “That was part of the negotiation that they’ll continue to lease that and keep that spot for another year.”

RELATED: Bend considers requiring ‘home energy scores’ on homes for sale

The $2.9 million purchase will be logged as long-term debt for the city budget.

“We work with an internal and external financing team to kind of make sure we’re timing the market best as possible and get those long term debt proceeds,” said Sharon Wojda, a Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for the City of Bend.

So taxes won’t go towards the land purchase.

“We can pay for it over a 20-30 year term kind of like you would with a house or a mortgage,” Wojda said.

As for what the land will eventually become?

“If there’s a city hall, that there could be a community park, a civic center, potentially affordable housing so more than just a city government office we want it to be a better place to come together,” Wojda said.

“So nothing much will change quickly, but it’s a big opportunity for the future,” Kebler said.

A future of a brand new city hall and the ability to expand the central area of Bend for more economic growth.

“The city is not only trying to support with all of our policies to help redevelopment there, but by being a partner and putting our money where our mouth is and saying we also want to catalyze development there,” Kebler said.

Once the land is purchased, the city will take a couple years of planning before building anything on the land.

▶️ Bend financial advisor says have a plan if you win $630M Mega Millions

Tuesday’s Mega Millions’ drawing came up without a winner, so the jackpot climbs to $630 million for this coming Friday.

It’s the fifth-largest jackpot in history and heading for fourth place.

So what would you do with the money?

“It’s a shock in a lot of ways to those people both positive and negative,” said Chris Chiampis, a financial advisor for Northwest Mutual in Bend.

“Oftentimes in my profession, we come across people that come across large sums of money,” Chiampis said “More often than not, they’re thinking of fantasyland first.”

RELATED: Here are the winning numbers for 5th-largest Mega Millions jackpot ever

Chiampis said he knows of many people that come to a financial advisor only after their finances are on the downturn.

Lottery winners should seek out a financial advisor, tax planner, public accountant, and attorney.

As for spending, Chiampis says that any immediate investments is a bad idea, so don’t pretend you’re an investor on “Shark Tank.”

But there’s more to think about than what to buy.

“A big aspect I think is also safety, believe it or not,” Chiampis said “And where that information is displayed or who knows about that I would minimize that.”

In Oregon, the names of the lottery winners, the money they made, and the city they bought the ticket in are all public records.

Even wearing a mask, like some winners donned in the past, can’t help conceal your newfound fortune.

“Oftentimes, you hear old stories of athletes that get big sums of checks and you know some years later end up washed up in some shape or form,” Chiampis said.

So if you won the Mega Millions jackpot, people will know. But you can be smarter than 70% of lottery winners that wind up broke after seven years.

“Without that plan, you might see someone do what they think is an investment, per se, but isn’t wise,” Chiampis said.

The next Mega Millions numbers will be announced Friday at 8:00 p.m.

And though no ticket sold in Oregon has ever won Mega Millions jackpot, it’s still fun to discuss what you would do with the money.

“I would spend my money to make an animal sanctuary, because I want to be a zoologist,” said Faith Rockwell.

“I’d buy the town local bar that’s up for sale, and turn it into a kids and youth center,” said Angela Blank.

“Probably pay my college bills,” said Talia Segal.

“Probably college tuition and giving to families that are less fortunate,” said Georgia Lee.

“Probably my college tuition and I’d like to travel all over and not worry about it,” said Juliet Rie.

“Probably buy a bunch of cars,” said Abby Akins.

“Put it into savings for college so I don’t have horrible student debt to pay off,” said Maddie Joyce.

Charred trees from 2021 Grandview Fire being cleaned up to reduce danger

As fire season bears down on the High Desert, many people think about the immediate damage but not the clean-up that follows.

The Grandview Fire, which began on July 11, 2021, burned more than 6,000 acres. It burned mostly on the Crooked River National Grassland. some privately owned lands under the protection of the Oregon Department of Forestry and some Deschutes Land Trust managed lands.

The result? All of those burned acres, especially those by the road, heighten the possibility of burned trees falling and causing harm.

“But this is what our ecosystem has evolved with,” said Kassidy Kern, the Public Affairs Officer for the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland.

An evolved ecosystem that’s used to the occasional fire, but that humans still aren’t. And burned trees can topple onto roads and potentially hurt passersby.

“Forest Service came in and evaluated all the trees for failure or potential to fail onto the road and survivability,” said Christian Benedict, a Forest Service representative.

RELATED: Fire that closed Highway 26 between Madras and Warm Springs contained

“After a fire, making sure that you’re mitigating not necessarily the impacts of the fire on the landscape but the impacts on the land while the fire was being fought and put out,” said Rika Ayotte, the Deschutes Land Trust Executive Director.

For the Deschutes Land Trust, that means managing trees on their own without letting natural fires thin down forests. For the Forest Service, it means the private company with the highest bid takes the burnt wood as sellable lumber.

“At that point, the tree is then processed into log form and those logs are then decked and then loaded onto a log truck which is ultimately delivered to a local mill in the Pacific Northwest,” Benedict said.

RELATED: Free Central Oregon program inspects outside your home for fire risk factors

But not every snag, or burned tree, should be taken out of the forest.

“Animals probably live better in a wildfire adapted ecosystem than as we do as humans,” Ayotte said “So in a lot of cases, wildfire is a necessary natural process that creates habitats.”

However, mitigation is used to keep landscapes resilient, despite the number of human caused fires that are so damaging here. 

“You know it is important for us and the safety of our community to make sure that we balance leaving those natural snags and those fire impacted trees but also to make sure we’re not putting our communities and our folks at risk,” Ayotte said.

“It’s a very natural process that this would happen. We fully anticipate this to happen more,” Kern said “We’re more concerned about those human-caused starts.”

According to the Forest Service, humans are at fault for more than 150 fires every year in central Oregon.

“If we can eliminate those and keep our communities safe, we’re going to have a good fire season,” Kern said.

We talk a lot about mitigation to control fuel before a fire. Turns out, it’s just as important after a fire. 

▶️ Bird flu could halt Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo poultry barn

For bird owners in Central Oregon, the recent bird flu quarantine has them on edge. As a Central Oregon tradition draws near, that edge creeps closer.

The Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo coming up Aug. 3-7 typically has an entire barn dedicated to the showing of many types of farm-based birds.

However, the current outbreak of bird flu could close the barn doors on that part of the show.  It would put a stop to those plans and break the hearts of dozens of local 4-H and FFA kids.

“Which bird do I want to take?” said Madyson Forsell, a Deschutes County 4-H Poultry Member while holding one of her chickens, named Megan.

Forsell is faced with a tough decision.

“Do I want to take a bird I’m really close with and raised from a chick? Forsell said. “Because I’m scared it will get bird influenza and have to be put down.”

RELATED: Bend under bird flu quarantine; Risk to humans low

RELATED: Bird flu found in Deschutes County flock; Regional quarantine ordered

It’s a fear many agriculture bird owners have as part of Deschutes County is under an active two-week quarantine with bird flu passing around the area.

“Members are asked to have filled out a survey that was sent out on Friday by the ODA State veterinarian to do surveillance over the county to see where the spread is,” said Elizabeth Brunner, the Deschutes County 4-H Program Coordinator.

In the meantime, the fair has already announced no water foul, geese or ducks are allowed to be displayed this year.

“They are silent carriers of the avian flu and that’s why we don’t want them at our fair because they don’t necessarily have, when they contract it, they don’t necessarily show symptoms,” Brunner said.

For the rest of the birds, it’s a waiting game.

“And if we have another case pop up, I won’t be able to show the birds I worked with at fair,” Forsell said.

“When the quarantine comes up, we could potentially have the rest of the poultry here minus our water foul,” Brunner said.

Birds that many agriculture kids put their lives into, with Forsell typically showing two or three during the annual county fair.

“So like this one here, I raised it from a little baby chick, like two days old,” Forsell said, pointing to Megan.

If the birds are removed from the coop of animals to show, Deschutes County has ideas to still let kids work on their skills.

“We have stuffed chickens that our kids will be able to show,” Brunner said “We’ll also have some other small animal knowledge events our kids can partake in.”

“Which really sucks personally for me because this is my second to last year showing birds,” Forsell said.

But the risk is there.

“Unfortunately, if it breaks out during the fair, all the birds have to be out down,” Forsell said.

For market birds already set to be killed at the end of the fair, a breakout would end at the Expo barn.

“As long as they would be checked by a licensed veterinarian,” Brunner said.

For the birds meant to go home, their young owners are left “pretty sad and disappointed,” Forsell said.

If you have questions about the bird flu and how it will affect the poultry barn at the county fair, you can contact Deschutes County 4-H at (541) 548-6088 or email elizabeth.brunner@oregonstate.edu.

▶️ Bend man one of 20 Timbersports athletes competing for national title

It’s not your average sport, but it sure does chop up a lot of attention.

Bend will be represented in the STIHL Timbersports Championship in Arkansas next weekend.

“It’s the original extreme sport,” said Bend resident and Timbersports athlete David Green “The STIHL series is what I would call the Super Bowl of our sport.”

Green, a police chaplain by day, is finishing up his training before he heads to Little Rock to cut out the competition.

“Anything I can do to mimic chopping, helps,” Green said while weight-training “So triceps pull-downs really incorporate your triceps and back to pull down and it kind of mimics the underhand chop.

“Competed in Timbersports and it’s been 16 years,” Green said between bicep curl sets.

16 years leading to becoming one of the top 20 Timbersports athletes in the nation.

“So I was forced to learn to use my whole body correctly and then take that as I’ve hopefully gained mass over the years to where I can use technique and strength,” Green said.

RELATED: ‘It’s just surreal’: Maupin Track of Dreams opens

Skill and strength used throughout the championship in six events.

“And you have three chopping and three sawing,” Green said.

They’re the Standing Block Chop, the STIHL Stock Saw, the Underhand Chop, the Single Buck, the Hot Saw, and the Spring Board; a race between two competitors chopping into their trees to insert a plank and climb higher and higher till they chop off the top.

“A stronger upper body can really benefit in pushing and pulling the saw,” Green said “So this is why I do a lot of upper body, a lot of shoulder exercises.”

“Most guys that can chop under 20 seconds, it’s a real goal,” Green said.

Green is chopping with tools not found at your local hardware store.

He brought a high-tempered carbon steel axe specifically ground for eastern white pine.

Each axe is costly, and most athletes have 10 – 20 axes specialized to different types of wood according to Green.

“There are only a few different ax companies in the world that make these kinds of competition axes,” Green said “This thing will cost $600 – $700 brand new. It’s not the cheapest hobby.”

A hobby that surprisingly doesn’t mesh with his surroundings.

“You’d think living in Central Oregon with all the trees that this would be easy but it’s not,” Green said “For this sport you need greenwood which means fresh, fresh, fresh timber. Fresh cut tree. A lot of the species that we cut we actually can’t cut here.”

So Green travels to the valley and Washington for his practice logs.

Logs that have run out as the competition draws near.

“Honestly, it’s just getting exposed to the different wood, different people, and not being afraid to ask questions about how to get better and what to do,” Green said.

Strategies Green utilized over those 16 years of college and professional competition to make it to the STIHL Championship series.

“I’m hoping not to let anyone down,” Green said.

To watch the STIHL Championship Series, airing times for CBS Sports will be announced soon.

STIHL also has their own YouTube channel, where previous championships are available.

▶️ ‘Wonderful gesture’: Bend DoorDash driver leaves flowers for sick customers

When you order a meal or groceries off a delivery app, an unexpected item may feel like a mistake. For a few people in Bend, that extra item is a “get well” gift from a complete stranger.

“Whoever this person is, is doing a wonderful gesture,” said Dalia Martinez, a Bend Resident.

For Martinez, contracting pneumonia a month and a half ago was devastating.

“It was really hard to be off of work and deal with it,” Martinez said.

So she ordered cough drops, cold medicine, and orange juice from a delivery app.

One extra item arrived too.

“When they dropped it off it had a small bouquet of flowers, and when I saw that I thought it was a mistake,” Martinez said.

Daisy bouquet in hand, Martinez messaged her DoorDash driver, Rene.

“And then I got a message from my DoorDasher saying ‘Hope you get better, Rene,’” Martinez said.

Though the flowers eventually wilted, the good will did not.

“Then my son got sick a week and a half later,” Martinez said.

Martinez ordered medicine again, got the same delivery person, and guess what?

“And when I told him he got flowers too, he was really really happy about it. He said ‘I got flowers mom,'” Martinez said.

Another bouquet bought by Rene.

MORE CENTRAL OREGON KINDNESS: Prineville man who walked 33 miles to work gifted car from total stranger

And the Martinez’s aren’t the only people receiving petals.

“Our groceries showed up and there were flowers in it,” said Rivka Gluck, another Bend Resident “And I was a little confused.”

Gluck and her boyfriend ordered medicine after catching COVID-19.

Same Rene, same gift, same message from the receiver.

“She sees that someone’s sick so she puts a bouquet of flowers in there so they know she’s thinking of them,” Gluck said.

Gluck posted the roses she got on Facebook, where community members swarmed the post with love, including Martinez sharing her story.

“I saw on Facebook that someone else got to encounter this gesture and I think it’s the sweetest thing,” Martinez said.

Only one mystery remains: who is Rene?

For security reasons, DoorDash would not provide either woman with Rene’s contact information and messages through the app delete after a certain time period.

“It was super sweet so I’d love to meet this person,” Martinez said.

“Some random stranger out there who still does good deeds like that, it really inspired me to do nicer things for people,” Gluck said.

Sprouting up to give strangers flowers and help to heal.

“This is the Central Oregon I grew up with,” Martinez said “Everyone is helping each other.”

Rene, if you’re reading this, we would love to meet you and give you a bouquet! Please email info@centraloregondaily.com or call (541) 749-5151.

▶️ Crooked River Round-Up Races to honor late jockey at Friday festivities

Cradled between beige hills and sparse trees is the Crook County Fairground — home of the Crooked River Round-Up Races 

“Once a year you sit down and you say, ‘It’s not necessarily a memorial anymore, it’s a celebration of who he was,'” said Doug Smith, the Chairman of the Race Committee for the Crooked River Round-Up Races.

A celebration of Eduardo Guiterrez Sosa, a jockey who passed away during the Crooked River Round-Up last year.

“Whenever you see a picture of Eduardo, you see his smile,” said Hector Magallanes, Sosa’s former friend and horse trainer “Even if he was upset, bothered by whatever, he never showed it. Eduardo was not only a very close friend off the race track. He was a phenomenal dad.” 

RELATED: “Like losing a brother”: A jockey’s emotional return after racetrack tragedy

RELATED: “Our hearts are broken”: Fallen jockey honored after tragedy

“He always tried really hard to run a good race,” Smith said “If you look at those things, that’s Eduardo, that’s what we want to remember.”

Remember and celebrate on Friday for the first annual Eduardo Gutierrez Sosa Memorial Races, a title those who knew Sosa, hold dear.

“Seeing that race every year, it’s going to be close to our heart really, I mean his name alone,” Magallanes said.

A race between older fillies and mares with jockeys determined to display their best.

“Just for the riding community, they’re all going to try to win it,” Magallanes said “Just the meaning of it, his meaning, really.”

A community that raised over $42,000 in the wake of tragedy.

“And that money went to his family to help take care of his three kids,” Smith said.

“It honestly gave me the chills, listening to Deno when he was announcing it,” Magallanes said “It puts a knot in your throat.”

Beyond raising money for the family this year, the Round-Up is asking attendees for one more thing.

Wear some pink.

“Pink was Eduardo’s favorite color,” Smith said “You’ll see the board of directors all decked out in pink and celebrating.”

Celebrating, once again, the sight of fleeting horses and the memories of a jockey and his smile.

“Whenever we see that race, it’s going to be a reminder,” Magallanes said “We’ll never really forget him.”

Gates open Friday at 5:30 p.m. The race starts at 7:15 p.m.

From July 2021: Here’s how the community responded in the aftermath of the tragedy.

▶️ Drink beer to plant a tree? Sunriver Brewing partners for good cause

It’s an idea that started in smoke. Now, beer enthusiasts can help plant trees.

“After the devastating fires that went on in Oregon over the Labor Day time period a couple years ago, we knew we had to do something,” said Ryan Duley, the Director of Marketing for Sunriver Brewing.

Oregon Parks Forever, and many others, felt the same.

“Sitting in the smoke two summers ago and thinking ‘oh this is awful,’” said Seth Miller, the Executive Director for Oregon Parks Forever.

That’s when Miller got an idea.

“Knowing the public land managers were already struggling to keep up with their budgets so I thought how can we help?” Miller said.

RELATED: Little Did I Know: Worthy Brewing has a farm

RELATED: ‘It’s an honor’: Meet Bevel Brewing’s new rotating mural artist

By drinking beer, of course, for the “You Buy One, We Plant One” initiative.

“So $1 for every 6-pack of either our beer, Stoller wine, Portland Cider cans, and now Fort George cans,” Duley said.

From July through August, that dollar plants a tree.

The full list of wineries and breweries participating are:

  • Stoller Wine Group
  • Fort George Brewery
  • Portland Cider Company
  • Sunriver Brewing

“To be clear, this is not like putting sod in,” Miller said “It takes a while for the seedlings to grow and for the trees to then mature. So this is really something that we’re doing for our children.”

“The first year did great,” Duley said “We were able to raise our $25,000. It was our target goal $25,000 which plants 25,000 trees.”

According to Sunriver Brewery, they anticipate another 25,000 trees this year.

Pine Tree

The program has planted more than half a million trees since they started the promotion last year.

Oregon Parks Forever hopes to hit their goal of one million trees planted to start patching up the damage of the fire season.

“And so rather than reacting to fires as we did in the past, we’re trying to get ahead of it this year,” Miller said.

“But I think that as a collective we really know that it was devastating and we really want to do something good for giving back,” Duley said.

Oregon Parks Forever planted 128,000 trees last year in Oregon State Parks, 214,000 trees in Oregon Department of Forestry lands, 65,000 trees in Marion County, and 146,000 trees in Josephine County.

Each brewery will have a cling or sign near their beer for “You Buy One, We Plant One.”

▶️ Some trails in Sisters mountain range still have snow, Forest Service warns

Golden sunshine, blooming dandelions and the fierce gurgles of stream water passing by. It just feels like summer in the High Desert.

However, traveling up into the wilderness could spell out a much different, and chillier, story.

“The last time I ran it there was no snow,” said Erica Raggio at the entrance of Green Lakes Trailhead “It was very easy. It took me about, easy, relatively. It took me about 50 minutes up.”

For Raggio and Emily Keddie, their run Thursday was a bit different than last time.

“But this time it took an hour and a half to get up, so almost twice as long,” Raggio said.

“It was tough,” Keddie said “It’s harder to run on snow of course but it was a beautiful day.”

According to the Forest Service, at 5,800 feet, 85% of the trails are under 1-3 feet of snow.

Trail No. 10 connecting Green Lakes and Soda Creek is completely hidden by pack and is extremely difficult to navigate.

“So anyone going up there has to be prepared for slippery conditions early in the morning and then it starts to get slushy as the afternoon wears on,” said Kim Jacobson, a Forest Service Volunteer at Green Lakes.

RELATED: Sisters Country Trails wants your feedback on proposed projects

Above 6,300 feet, snow shoes are highly recommended.

It’s something even Deschutes County search and rescue abided by last week to rescue a climber.

“To access the lost and injured person they had to use snowshoes and ski on skis to scale the mountain and that’s not typical for this time of year,” said Mike Biondi, a Lieutenant for Deschutes County Search and Rescue.

“So many come back and they say ‘Ok, I’m tired of fighting the snow,’ and others are fine with it and go all the way up,” Jacobson said.

The advice from the people brave enough to take on the uneven ground?

“If you’re starting early enough, you’re going to be alright because the snow stays hard in the morning,” said Brad Power, a hiker “But if you’re starting later, right about now, the snow is going to get pretty slushy so spikes might be a good idea or poles.”

“You’re on a surface that’s sinking and uneven so prepare for your legs to be a little more tired,” Keddie said.

“Definitely bring good shoes,” Raggio said “I would bring poles. Plenty of water.”

And if you’re not as experienced, especially with self-navigating, don’t travel to higher elevations.

Volunteers with the Forest Service here at Green Lakes Trailhead say the snow is rapidly melting.