▶️ 50-year-old Dillon Falls time capsule vanishes, crushing family tradition

Jo and Randy Partipilo were marred 50 years ago at Dillon Falls. With the bottle of champagne, they celebrated their wedding day and began an annual tradition of adding memories on their anniversary. 

“We each put a note in the bottle every year, and capped it and buried it. Then we’d come back and put in new memories in every year,” Husband and father Randy Partipilo said.

The bottle was buried underneath a tree near where the couple got married. It wasn’t until this last Easter weekend the family discovered that the bottle — which had been buried at the same place every year for more than 49 years — had vanished.

 “On our 50th, we brought our family back which includes three daughters, three son-in-laws, nine grandchildren. I went down to pull the bottle out from where it’s been for 50 years, and it wasn’t there,” Randy said.

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It was also the first time the Partipilos showed their family the location of the bottle — a keepsake their daughters had heard about their entire lives.

“We knew that they did it every year. We had heard about it. And with it being their 50th wedding anniversary, they just wanted to share that with us and they wanted us to know where it was in case something happened to them some day,” daughter Jessica Ruhl said.

The Partipilos have a couple theories of what could have happened to the bottle.

“Mother nature I guess took it away. Erosion,” Randy said.

“We’re hoping that maybe someone has seen it the last few months. maybe took it home. Saw there were notes, but there was no information they had to get back to us,” Jo said.

The Partipilos say they are thinking about replacing the bottle and starting the tradition over, hoping they can get another 25 years out of it. They also say they’re thinking about changing the location from where the previous bottle was.

▶️ COCC ‘Clothing Connection’ gearing up for second-ever fashion show

The Clothing Connection is preparing for its second-ever fashion show. 

“The fashion show this coming Friday will be a celebration of this  resource for students, the partnership of the two campuses and some education about sustainable fabrics and how to shop with a sustainability focus in mind because it’s good for the planet,” COCC Education and Childhood Development Associate Professor Angie Cole said. 

The Clothing Connection is a Central Oregon Community College-OSU Cascades joint project, meant to keep clothing accessible for college students. 

“The clothing connection has been awesome. It’s a place I can come and use the stylist’s experience and collect clothing for future interviewing opportunities,” OSU Cascades business administration student Boaz Johnson said. 

It offers a wide variety of “gently used” clothing items to help students dress for important occasions for cheap, and sometimes, for free.

“It’s a resource meant to meet students needs as they dress for work, interviews, field placements, internships- they can come once a term and choose up to 10 gently used items for free,” Cole said.

Most items are donated from the community, and the Clothing Connection is open to all COCC and OSU Cascades students.

The Clothing Connection fashion show is April 21. The first show begins at 3 p.m. A second will be help at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and tickets are free here.

▶️ Mountain View senior mixes make-up with photography, wins national award

Mountain View High School senior Sahalie Carnahan-Ramsey received a national silver medal at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards last month. 

For Sahalie, art is just another form of communication.

“It’s a way to express my thoughts, what I’m thinking. It kinda turns something emotional into something visual,” Sahalie said.

Sahalie is the only national award-winning contestant in Central Oregon.

“Over the past ten years, I would say I‘ve probably had over a 1,000 national submissions from MVHS. Of those thousand, about five winners so it’s a pretty big deal,” Sahalie’s art teacher at Mountain View High School Carrie Erickson said.

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She’s been painting and drawing for years, But over the pandemic, she began experimenting with make-up and photography.

She soon found a way to combine those mediums into pieces of art. Some of them worthy of the highly coveted “gold key.”

“If you win gold keys, that goes to a national level. And I got my portfolio submitted to nationals, where it won silver.”

Sahalie‘s portfolio, “Displayed Thought,” consists of three works called “Alluring,” “Heartstring,” and “Mother Nature.”

Shahalie’s work will be displayed at The Commons near Drake Park until April 20.


▶️ Poaching in Oregon threatens already fragile mule deer population

Poaching is detrimental to the ecosystem, animal populations, and it is a major issue in the state of Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) says the state has passed legislation to address the issue “like no other state has.”

“This has no part of hunting. If you’re a poacher, you’re a poacher. I don’t want you apart of my community,” President of the Oregon Hunters’ Association and Turn in Poachers (TIP) coordinator Steven Hagan said.

Hagan has been hunting for 43 years.

Poaching impacts all species, but it has especially effected the mule deer population.

“Adult female survival over winter is at 70%. Modeling shows we need to be at 80% to keep a population even, so we’re trending downward. Poaching is a huge part of that,” Hagan said.

Poaching is incredibly difficult to detect, as most illegal hunts are committed in rural areas.

Yvonne Shaw with ODFW says it is estimated that only 5% of poaching is reported, making it difficult to track statistical trends.

“We do know that in a mule deer population in southern Oregon, it was discovered that poachers were taking more animals than legal hunters. In fact, poachers were more likely to take does, which impacted the number of animals on the landscape.”

Hagan says if you see it, report it.

“I want people to open their mouth. And not just the hunting community,  to do so, but the non-hunting community as well, which is obviously a bigger part of the citizens of the state of oregon. I want them to get boiling mad and say ‘not on our watch.'”

Poaching can come with a whole range of legal penalties, from the suspension of your hunting or fishing licenses and fines reaching more than $6,000, to a year in jail.

If you suspect poaching, you can call the TIP hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP or *677 from a mobile phone. You can also send an email.

▶️ Madras puts Dax the Droid to work to give sidewalks a grade

The sidewalk surveying robot, Dax the Droid, began his first day of work on Monday in Madras. His mission: evaluate sidewalks and report which areas could use improvement. 

“He will traverse through town and he will evaluate our sidewalks in a lot of different ways. He will be grading them, reporting when there’s no sidewalk and areas that need infill, he’ll be doing measurements for us,” Public Works Office Coordinator with the City of Madras Michele Quinn said.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get much done Monday due to connectivity issues between the droid and his operator, who is based in Philomath. 

When Dax is up and running, Dax can travel up to 4 mph. His battery can last for two hours on a single charge and he can withstand temperatures ranging from -4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. 

“We’re a pilot project, so Dax isn’t costing us anything right now. He’s out there and they’re supposed to give us the data when they’re done,” Quinn said.

Through Dax’s data collection he will be able to also report which areas in town still need to meet the American with Disabilities Act standards.

“We’re just excited to find out what Dax can provide for us, and hopefully use that information moving forward to secure grants for replacing some of the sidewalks and getting everything up to ADA requirements,” Quinn said.

Dax will be roaming around Madras all week. The city says do not be afraid to say “hi” if you spot him. 


▶️ Water managers increase Deschutes River water levels

If you often pass by or over the Deschutes River, you may have noticed a recent change. Water managers are increasing the water levels to help kick off the irrigation season.

Deschutes Basin Water Master Jeremy Giffin increased the flows from the Wickiup Reservoir into the Deschutes last Thursday from 100 cubic feet per second to 400 cubic feet per second.

“We are at the start of the irrigation season as of April 1, on Saturday. So we have many canals in Central Oregon turning on over the next two weeks. So we will be increasing the flows of the Deschutes River during this period,” Giffin said.

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Giffin says it is also a response to demands of habitat conservation plan. More specifically, for the Oregon Spotted Frog.

While most may not see a rise in the river just yet, others who pay close attention have taken notice.

“It’s cold, but once you get moving and you have the right equipment, you’re kinda warm. In fact, I put my head under the water at the end just to cool down,” river surfer Jeremy Sallee said.

River surfing had been closed on the Deschutes since August. It reopened on Sunday due to the increased water flow. 

Giffin says you can expect to see the Deschutes water levels to double over the next three weeks.

▶️ A.J. Tucker building has potential buyers after deadline extended

After a deadline extension, the historic A.J. Tucker building that went up for bid in March and is set to be moved finally has some potential buyers.

 “We extended the deadline because we did have some interested parties and we wanted to make sure they had the time they needed to fully explore the opportunity,” Deschutes County Facilities Director, Lee Randall said.

Deschutes County, the current owner of the landmark since the 1960’s, put it up for sale to make room for the Deschutes County Courthouse expansion. Anyone who buys it must deconstruct the building and relocate it somewhere else.

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“I think the primary challenge in selling is the relocation requirement. We are taking this first step to meet the requirements for the City of Bend Planning Code to be able to re-purpose the building. Any entity that were to come forward and provide a sealed bid for the project would need to also have a plan to relocate it,” Randall said.

Those who have shown interest in buying the building have not yet brought forward an official bid.

“If we receive a sealed bid offer, then we’ll work with those parties to create a contract and to move forward with the sale,” Randall said.

If no one from the community brings a bid, the county says there are other options for deconstructing the building.

The current deadline for bids is Thursday.


▶️ New Smith Rock master plan to be unveiled in April

Smith Rock State Park is getting ready to make some much-needed improvements that have been years in the making.

Oregon State Parks will soon be unveiling a new master plan that they say will address issues the park faces such as congestion, parking, and trail improvements.

“The park’s become really popular these last few years, and parking has become more and more of a challenge,” Smith Rock visitor Zane Ball said.

Manager of the park, Matt Davey, says it’s a 20-year vision that will help navigate Smith Rock’s exponential growth in visitors.

“Visitation has tripled since the 1991 master plan, and not a lot of facilities have come with that,” Davey said. “We’re really getting ready to start bringing in some new physical improvements and changing a little bit of the flow, the visitation, and just meeting visitors needs when they come to Smith Rock State Park.”

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Of course, with high volumes of people, parking can be hard to find.

“As more visitation has come, we haven’t really added much parking. We’re looking at improving the parking,” Davey said.

State parks is also looking at offering a welcome center, and trail improvements.

Some visitors have ideas of their own.

“There have been parking problems,” Smith Rock visitor, Cathy Drzyzgula said. “I think it would be great if the park could work with Deschutes County and make a bike path from Redmond out to the park. It’s only 15 miles. It would help with the parking and it would be a fun ride, too.” 

Davey says he anticipates draft designs of what these new improvements could look like to be made available to the public on April 7th. There will be meetings held on April 10, where the public can ask questions and leave comments on the direction of the plan.

You can find more information on those meetings here.

▶️ Redmond PD finds 15 cats abandoned in totes with no food or water

Redmond Police Department officers found ten adult cats and five kittens abandoned in totes after responding to a call at 8 A.M. on Monday morning. 

The cats were at Paul Hathaway Park, 1021 NW Rockcrest Ct., near a canyon edge. They did not have access to food or water, and they smelled of urine and feces, Lt. Jesse Petersen with the Redmond Police Department said. 

There was a suitcase left nearby with cat food inside. 

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Officers took the cats to Brightside Animal Shelter in Redmond for evaluations and vaccinations. 

“I’m shocked they were still in the crates when anyone arrived. Because most cats, if there’s an opened crate and it’s an outdoor area and they’re afraid, they are going to dart,” Assistant manager of Brightside Animal Shelter, Haley Halsey said.

Brightside told police all cats were in good condition. None of the cats were microchipped, preventing authorities from identifying the owner.
“Because they were in good condition, they were most likely not left over night. It was so cold that night, that if they had been left over night, there’s a potential that one of the kittens could have been hurt significantly,” said Lt. Petersen.
There will be some time before Brightside puts the cats up for adoption.
“We’re kind of waiting to see how this case turns out,” Halsey said. “We’re not sure at this point how long we have to hold these cats before we can spay and neuter them, and then adopt them out. The kittens are still too small to be adopted out so we’re going to send them out to foster for about two weeks.”

Redmond PD is still looking for the person responsible for the abandonment. If you have any information, you can call the non-emergency number at 541-693-6911. Reference RPD case #23-8507.   

In a press release Tuesday, Redmond PD said it is against the law to abandon a domestic animal or equine at a location without providing minimum care. It is also against the law, ORS 167.325 Animal Neglect, to fail to provide minimum care for an animal in a person’s custody/control. Penalties range from fines to jail time.

▶️ La Pine dance team invited to New York by Radio City Rockettes

A dance team from La Pine qualified for nationals over the weekend, but that’s not all. They also received an invite to New York from the world famous Radio City Rockettes.

“We’ll be able to rehearse with the Rockettes, and I think that’s really cool. I’ve always looked up to the Rockettes,” dancer Ruby Fireman said. 

The team out of Central Oregon Dancers Elite caught the attention of a judge on the weekend’s competition panel, who is a Rockette. The La Pine group was chosen out of over 25 other dance studios.

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There is a catch, though. The team must choose between competing in nationals or accepting the invitation as both events take place at the same time.

Most on the team seem to have already made up their minds.

“I’d rather go to New York because I’ve already been to nationals,” dancer Stevie Hall said.

“I would definitely love to go to New York, with my mom especially,” dancer Isabella Jones said. “It would so much fun to have a couple practices with the Rockette’s and experience everything that’s a part of that.”

There’s also the issue of money. 

“We need to fundraise a lot money to get there,” dance coach and owner of Central Oregon Dancers Elite Kelly Breen said. “It’s about $2,200 just to go, and another $1,800 to allow the families to take part and be there with their child. We’re looking to fundraise as much money as we can to make life a little easier on getting the kids there.”

The studio has until May 31 to meet their fundraising goal of $60,000, and is taking donations from the community. If interested, you can

  • call 541-306-8968
  • email centraloregondancerselite@gmail.com                                                                                                                                                                                                 

A GoFundMe has also been set up at this link.