West Bank erupts in protest amid more Israel-Hamas fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Turmoil from the battle between Israel and Hamas has spilled over into the West Bank and sparked the most widespread Palestinian protests in years.

Hundreds of young demonstrators in multiple towns clashed Friday with Israeli troops, who shot and killed at least 11 people.

The protests erupted in multiple cities and towns.

Meanwhile, Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued into early Saturday, when an airstrike on a house in Gaza City killed at least seven Palestinians — the highest number of fatalities in a single hit.

That strike came a day after a furious overnight barrage that killed a family of six and sent thousands fleeing their homes.

Water crisis ‘couldn’t be worse’ on Oregon-California border

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A severe drought is creating a water crisis not seen in more than a century for farmers and federally protected fish along the Oregon-California border.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says it won’t release water into the main canal that feeds the massive Klamath Reclamation Project this summer, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system.

The agency previously said irrigators would get dramatically less water than usual, but a worsening drought picture means water will be shut off instead.

It also says it won’t release extra water to boost levels in the lower Klamath River.

Tribes say the water is needed to save juvenile salmon dying from a bacterial disease.

▶️ $25/hour wages help Sunriver Resort fill positions; sparks competition

Many businesses right now are having trouble finding employees – for a variety of reasons.

Sunriver Resort had a solution – just pay people more.

And it appears to be working.

Two days after a job fair, where Sunriver resort offered a staggering $25 an hour for housekeepers, the resort says they are now on pace to fill all positions they need for the summer.

A bold, but necessary strategy that paid off, said Damon Runberg, a regional economist with the Oregon Employment Department.

“Sunriver’s response was well, we will just offer higher wages and see if it makes it less difficult to find workers and it seems like the answer is yes in fact it was easier for them to find workers and address that labor shortage,” Runberg said.

Runberg says there is a record number of job openings in Central Oregon.

“It is likely going to make it so that other accommodations, other resorts are going to have to compete with the wage Sunriver set,” added Runberg.

Eagle Crest Resort officials say they aren’t competing with Sunriver as they are two different resorts in two different towns.

The resort did have trouble hiring employees, but after a $2 wage hike and a focus on younger workers, it’s now filling the positions they need.

“It definitely does increase the competition, increasing that bar that other businesses are going to have to meet,” said Runberg.

Vacasa Vacation Rentals told me it increased housekeeping wages to $25 an hour the day after Sunriver Resort did.

▶️ Sunriver Resort looking to fill 200 positions; new housekeepers offered $25/hour

Some business owners near Sunriver Resort say they don’t see it as competition.

“I think it is a great idea to raise wages, for people who work hard they deserve it and for people who work in this time, they really deserve it,” said Owner of Sunriver Rocks at the Sunriver Village Sean Meehan.

Meehan raised wages in his own store just last week.

“If other places are raising their wages then we should too,” added Meehan. “We want employees that are worth what we are paying them.”

Taylor Hare, one of Meehan’s employees, says she was not enticed to leave her current job to make more money at Sunriver Resort.

“Not even a little bit because I love my job so much,” said Hare. “I love the people that I interact with because we have a very specific customer base that come in and I like working with people, I don’t think I could work alone cleaning all day.”

I talked to several other businesses near the Sunriver resort that said the resort’s rise in wages is going to impact being able to hire employees for their own business.

Rep. Greene’s combative behavior could spark ethics review

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year before her election to Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene searched for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at her Capitol office, challenging the New York Democrat to “get rid of your diaper” and “talk to the American citizens.”

That’s according to a 2019 video unearthed Friday by CNN.

The since-deleted video, which was initially broadcast on Facebook Live, is just the latest example of the antagonism Greene has displayed toward Democrats.

The Georgia Republican has used her platform to float conspiracy theories, push Donald Trump’s false claims about a stolen 2020 election and further her own notoriety.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested Greene could face an ethics investigation.

OHA reports 10 COVID deaths, 713 cases statewide; promising modeling released

There are 10 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,582, the Oregon Health Authority reported Friday.

The OHA reported 713 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 194,542.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (6), Clackamas (100), Clatsop (6), Columbia (5), Coos (5), Crook (11), Deschutes (68), Douglas (10), Grant (13), Harney (2), Hood River (4), Jackson (39), Jefferson (8), Josephine (10), Klamath (35), Lake (3), Lane (46), Lincoln (4), Linn (29), Malheur (5), Marion (60), Morrow (3), Multnomah (120), Polk (14), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (17), Union (1), Wasco (2), Washington (70) and Yamhill (10).

Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Cases by County:
  • 1,124 in Crook County
  • 9,046 in Deschutes County
  • 2,206 in Jefferson County
Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Deaths by County:
  • 22 in Crook County
  • 74 in Deschutes County
  • 37 in Jefferson County
Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Vaccination data by County:
  • 8,443 people fully vaccinated or vaccines in-progress in Crook County.
  • 99,268 people fully vaccinated or vaccines in-progress in Deschutes County.
  • 9,173 people fully vaccinated or vaccines in-progress in Jefferson County.

Newest COVID-19 modeling report shows decline in transmission

Today, OHA released its latest COVID-19 forecast, which showed lower transmission of the virus through late April and projects fewer hospitalizations and daily cases through June 1.

According to the model, the effective reproduction rate — the expected number of secondary cases that a single case generates — was estimated to be 0.86 through April 28.

At that same level of transmission, daily cases would decline to 140 per 100,000 people, which would amount to an average of 420 new daily cases with 17 fewer daily hospitalizations by June 1.

If transmission increases by 20%, new cases would decline more gradually to 195 per 100,000 people, which would amount to an average of 590 daily cases and 26 fewer hospitalizations.

The report also addressed the impact vaccinations have had on substantially slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.

According to the report: “Vaccine immunity is helping prevent further spread of COVID-19. If we remove all of those who have vaccine immunity from the model calculations and look at the rate of infection, we see each infection spreading on average to 1.12 other people.”

Without any vaccine immunity, the estimated effective reproduction rate “would be 1.12 instead of 0.86, and new infections would still be increasing.”

More than 2 million Oregonians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 1.5 million have completed a vaccine series.

Johnson & Johnson allocations on hold

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine allocations being provided to state, local and territorial jurisdictions, and other partners, have been put on hold pending the U.S. Food and Drug Administration certification of doses produced at the Baltimore Emergent plant.

All currently allocated doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distributed are safe and have been cleared for use. The proportion of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on hold represents a small portion of vaccines allocated in Oregon. There are sufficient doses of Moderna and Pfizer to ensure providers can continue delivering doses statewide, at events and other locations administering the vaccines.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 37,164 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 24,318 doses were administered on May 13 and 12,846 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 13. The seven-day running average is now 32,278 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,901,445 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,452,653 first and second doses of Moderna and 118,128 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,552,152 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 2,033,360 people who have had at least one dose.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

To date, 2,250,495 doses of Pfizer, 1,833,420 doses of Moderna and 266,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change.

OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

St. Charles on Friday reported it had 39 COVID patients; seven in the ICU and four are on ventilators.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 337, which is 14 fewer than yesterday. There are 77 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is 11 fewer than yesterday.

The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 2,352, which is a 0.1% decrease from the previous seven days. The peak daily number of beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients in the most recent seven days is 351.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

 

2 hurt after kidnapping, chase, gunfire exchange with police

SILVERTON, Ore. (AP) — A Woodburn man is facing multiple charges after police say he kidnapped a teenager and hurt a second person in an incident that included a vehicle chase and exchange of gunfire with officers in Silverton.

The Statesman Journal reports Oregon State Police said officers responded Wednesday to a disturbance in Gervais, where they found a man with a gunshot wound.

Authorities then began following the suspect who allegedly kidnapped a 17-year-old and fled in a truck.

Police say he stopped on Highway 214 and gunshots were exchanged with officers.

Kenneth Peden III was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail where he is being held without bail. Police say the teen has life-threatening injuries.

Lava Lands, Lava River Cave set to open in Newberry Nat’l Volcanic Monument

Newberry National Volcanic Monument will open many of its sites for limited capacity due to COVID-19 for summer visitors next week.

Beginning on Thursday, Lava River Cave will open with daily operations through August 22.

The site will close on August 23 for the rest of the season for construction activities to improve access to the cave.

For COVID-19 mitigations, the entrance gate to the cave will open at 9 a.m. but will close intermittently for brief periods of time during the day to help manage crowd size in the cave and parking lot.

Closures of the gate will not be scheduled and typically will be limited to 30 minutes.

The entrance gate will close daily at 3:45 p.m.

In addition, visitors will be required to follow the current Center for Disease Control guidance for mask-wearing and social distancing while visiting Lava River Cave.

As this guidance is fluid, requirements may change throughout the summer.

However, visitors should be aware that it may be impossible to maintain distance of 6’ or more with others when underground.

This year the cave experience will end approximately halfway through the full length of the cave at an area known as the sand garden.  Visitors should plan on being underground for less than one-hour.

A valid recreation pass is required at Lava River Cave and may be purchased on-site. Lights to help people explore the cave will be available to rent on site for $5.00.

There are no picnic facilities or water at the recreation site. In the interest of preventing the spread of White-nose Syndrome to bats that reside in the cave, visitors cannot wear or bring into the cave any clothing or gear you have used in any other cave or mine.

Lava Lands Visitor Center also will open on Thursday.

However, due to current COVID19 conditions, the exhibit hall and theatre room will not open.

Staffed visitor contact stations will be located on the Lava Lands grounds and, though there will not be scheduled visitor tours or talks, informal interpretation opportunities will be available  to visitors.

The Deschutes National Forest’s partner Discover Your Forest will operate the visitor center lobby and bookstore.

Capacity will be limited in the lobby and bookstore and any entry will require visitors to wear masks.

Lava Lands Visitor Center parking area will remain open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for accessing trails and Lava Butte roadway on foot or bike.

The shuttle bus to the top of Lava Butte will begin operations on Saturday June 19th daily thru Labor Day.

The bus will operate continuously between the hours of 10 am and 4:40 pm with one half-hour lunch break.

Cost is $3 per person for round trip shuttle from Lava Lands Visitor Center and the top of Lava Butte.

Capacity will be limited  so there may be longer that normal wait times and no personal vehicles may operate during shuttle season. The shuttle is provided in partnership with Cascade East Transit and Discover Your Forest.

Outside of the shuttle operating system, visitors may drive in personal vehicles to the top of Lava Butte when the Lava Lands Welcome Station is open.  Time passes for going to the top of Lava Butte may be acquired at the Lava Lands Welcome Station upon entry to the site.

Starting about in  mid-August, parking at Lava Lands will partially closed for parking lot repaving.

Following that closure, parking will be very limited until the end of the season in October.

Paulina Visitor Center will tentatively open for the season from on Memorial Day weekend.

At Paulina Visitor Center, people should expect outdoor service initially and limited merchandise available for purchase. Interagency passes will be available at this location when the visitor center is open.

Interagency passes, annual passes, and the Newberry National Volcanic Monuments 3-day pass will be available at Lava Lands Visitor Center, Lava River Cave, Newberry Welcome Station and Paulina Visitor Center when those facilities are open.

States, business sort out what new CDC mask guidance means

More than a dozen states quickly embraced new federal guidelines that say fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or out in most cases.

But other states and cities and some major businesses hesitated amid doubts about whether the approach is safe or even workable.

As many business owners pointed out, there is no easy way to determine who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t.

And the new guidelines, issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, essentially leave it up to people to do the right thing.

Labor groups and others warned that employees at stores, restaurants and other businesses could be left exposed to the coronavirus from customers and could be forced into the unwanted role of “vaccination police.”

Oregon’s state health officer says businesses will be asked to either enforce mask policies or check whether customers have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The comments Friday by Dr. Dean Sidelinger came as he said the state was still working on releasing more detailed guidance for businesses.

Late Thursday Gov. Kate Brown said Oregon would immediately follow direction from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in the day which eased indoor mask-wearing and social distancing for fully vaccinated people.

Brown said Oregonians who are fully-vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most public spaces.

Sidelinger said for now it’s up to businesses to determine a person’s vaccine status.

“We anticipate an establishment or business will have a system in place for asking about vaccine status and verifying that,” he said, adding that it could be the card itself, a copy of the card or even picture of the card on your phone. “Because we need to know they’re vaccinated so that business knows that their employees and other customers are protected.”

Businesses are allowed to ask customers to show vaccination records, as it’s not a violation of the often misunderstood health privacy act known as HIPAA.

“HIPAA only governs certain kinds of entities – your clinician, hospital, or others in the health care sphere. It does not apply to the average person or to a business outside health care,” according to Kayte Spector-Bagdady, a Health law and medical ethics researcher at the Univ. of Michigan. “It doesn’t give someone personal protection against ever having to disclose their health information.”

Several major chains, including Home Depot and grocer Kroger Co., – including Fred Meyer stores in Oregon – announced that they would keep mask mandates in place for now.

Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Kentucky, Washington, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, North Carolina, Kansas and Rhode Island announced plans to fall in line with the guidance either immediately or in the coming weeks.

Brown said the new approach makes clear that vaccines are the fastest way to get back to doing the things “we all love.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called the guidance a “game-changer.” And Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the change is “a heck of a benefit.”

▶️ Origin Story: Jewel Images

Julia Kelleher moved to Bend during the recession to open a photography business.

Now, 13 years later, business is booming at Jewel Images.

For Kelleher, it was more than just capturing those precious moments with your child.

It was about bringing positivity into the world.

This is Jewel Images’ Origin Story.

 

Eugene man arrested on burglary chargers after Sun Mountain Fun Center break-in

A Eugene man was arrested early Friday morning after he broke into Bend’s Sun Mountain Fun Center, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Patrick Turner, 35, was charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, three counts of theft and two counts of criminal trespassing.

Sgt. Troy Gotchy said 911 received a call around 1:44 a.m. from someone at Sun Mountain saying there was a strong smell of sulfur in the area. The caller quickly hung up.

Just two minutes later dispatch got a call from an alarm company advising them of an active alarm at the same area.

Bend Police officers were tied up on another incident so several deputies responded, Gotchy said.

The first two on scene found the front door window smashed and they could hear someone walking around inside upstairs.

While the deputies waited in the lobby for backup, Turner came down the stairs and was confronted.

Gotchy said Turner was arrested without incident and taken to the Deschutes County Jail.