▶️ Mountain View kids take on ‘Les Misérables’ while theater teacher on leave

High school musical season is in full swing. For the students at Mountain View High School in Bend, their production of “Les Misérables” was a real test of courage and commitment. 

They — the kids — had to do it on their own while their theater teacher took paternity leave.

It’s not that unusual to see a high school doing a big production like “Les Mis” as long as the play is pared down a bit, the sets are simplified and the cast gets plenty of supervision.

There was no such paring down for this production.

“I was very nervous when we decided on this show,” said Heath Koerschgen. He’s the Mountain View Theater Director and the backbone of any school play here.

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Heath says taking on “Les Mis,” without him around for six weeks, sounded like a horrible idea.

“This thing is all singing. The storytelling is, I mean it never stops. Musically, vocally it is incredibly difficult,” said Heath.

Senior Ethan Jones volunteered to direct the play. To say his learning curve was steep is an understatement.

“Certainly a disciplinary aspect of it because I’ve never been the kind of person to be mean to people. And I’m really bad at it,” said Ethan.

 The first thing that had to happen for these kids, once reality set in, was collaboration. 

“It made it so we all really had to listen to each other and really had to hear everyone’s ideas,” said Sahalie Carnahan-Ramsey, who plays Cosette.

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“A big aspect that was hard for us was time-management,” said Millie Juesche, who plays Eponine. “All of the problems were up to us.”

For all of the seniors you meet in this story, “Les Mis” isn’t just a pass or fail project. It’s a passion project. A last chance to go big, even if it meant going it alone.

“You got to do what you love. It’s go big or go home,” said Caden Tomlinson, who plays Enjolras. “And ‘Les Mis’ is the story that speaks to me emotionally and I care about it. We had the passion so we decided we might as well put what we have together to make it.

“We knew it was going to be a lot of work and we’re here often for many hours at a time but we still love it so we’re willing to do what it takes,” Caden continued.

It took a community.

“We got a lot of help from some cast members’ parents financially supporting us in this,” said Ethan. “Just finding connections and bringing people in and having music directors and sound engineers and all that were all just stuff that we found just talking around and finding connections.”

 “If you work in the arts, you are constantly looking for help, for money, for resources. So, I could not have, with the budget that I have — working for the school district — I could not have put this on,” said Heath.

Just another obstacle for these young actors to overcome.


But after the final rehearsal, the last costume stitch, and the last brush stroke, the audience that knows this classic tale as well as any, didn’t come for excuses. They came for a show.

“I truly feel as far as high school productions concerned, this is phenomenal. It really is. I have also seen many professional productions that were not this good,” said Heath.

If an education in survival, in cooperation, in self-worth was supposed to be part of the theater arts program at Mountain View High School — mission accomplished. Because when the curtain is pulled and the lights go out, what these kids walk away with is a new level of confidence that is no act.

“You take away the messages that come from ‘Les Mis’ of forgiveness and of a second chance,” said Finney McFarland, who plays Javert. “And it kind of makes me view all people as better in a way. Kinda makes me view all people as my friend. Makes me want to achieve my potential and do the same for everybody else.”

“Les Mis” at Mountain View High School has four more performances to go, including a doubleheader on Mother’s Day Sunday. A ticket to this show is a peek at what this young generation is truly capable of when there’s no choice but to sink or swim. 

  • Thursday, May 11 at 7 pm
  • Saturday, May 13 at 7 pm
  • Sunday, May 14 at 2 pm and 7pm

Doors open 30 minutes before showtime.

Tickets are $12 for Adults, $7 for students (kinder-12th grade). Purchase tickets in advance online through the Touchbase payment system or pay cash/check at the door. For those buying online, follow the login instructions on the Touchbase home page and bring a printed copy of your payment confirmation as proof of purchase.

▶️ 2 Redmond educators named Oregon Career & Technical Ed teachers of the year

Two Redmond teachers were honored Friday by being named this year’s Oregon Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) teachers of the year. The awards shine a light on two teachers whose impact on students can’t be measured by a report card.

Teaching is a puzzle of sorts, with every student requiring a unique set of motivators — a personalized approach to gaining trust and commitment.

Redmond High School construction technology teacher Alan Wheeler knows that well. The Marine Corps and Air Force veteran is perfectly suited to keep these young students in line and to set them free.

“Everything is built around trust. You trust that they are going to do the right thing,” said Wheeler.

A back injury ended his military career and opened the door to a community of young, enthusiastic students who gave him new life. And on this day, Oregon’s ACTE Teacher of the Year award.

“It’s not because I’m great. It’s because we have a great community. We’re never in isolation, we’re never great alone. We’re great with a team,” said Wheeler.


Across town, Ridgeview computer science teacher, Joshua Davis lays out the algorithm for a successful career in coding.

Davis has been teaching for 23 years. But he is new to the career and technical education classroom. What the state, the school and his students already recognize is Davis’ ability to reach kids.

It’s part of the reason he is Oregon’s ACTE New Teacher of the Year.

“A big focus here at Ridgeview has always been relationships,” said Davis.”You know, relationships with each other as staff and particularly with students. We’ve had a lot of changes lately with covid and with staff turnover, but the one constant for me has been relationships.”

As the cost of college rises, classes like this and teachers like Davis and Wheeler are giving hundreds an avenue for success and, if they choose, a path to a career right out of high school. That is one goal of CTE.

Both teachers will tell you the recognition is appreciated and shared.

“I think just recognizing hard work, you know. We work really hard in this profession. It’s a demanding job and it recognizes that we’re doing good things in our district and our community,” said Davis.

Winning a CTE teacher of the year award is a huge honor, of course. But let’s face it, neither Davis nor Wheeler got into teaching to win awards. They got into teaching for this.

“Davis feels more like a friend than a teacher,” said student Jonas Cook. “I can’t imagine myself not wanting to hang out with him just as a person. He’s just a great individual and I love every second I’m in the classroom with him.”

Comments like this are the real reward.

“He helps everybody no matter what,” said Ridgeview student Mya Oakes. “If somebody’s struggling, he comes and helps them. If they’re behind, he lets them do it the way they can.”

“He likes to build people,” said Redmond student Isaac Key. “He likes to make really nice relationships with people.”

And these sentiments are the norm, not the exception.

“Teach life skills and teach us how to be good people and how to respect others and how to just help others out,” said Redmond student Adam Nye.

So, Joshua Davis being this year’s CTE New Teacher of the Year and Alan Wheeler’s trophy for CTE Teacher of the Year are a big deal. But, the greatest reward for these two happens any day and without notice.

“I think just recognizing hard work, you know. We work really hard in this profession. It’s a demanding job and it recognizes that we’re doing good things in our district and our community,” said Davis.

It’s a rare thing to have both winners from the same district and a rare opportunity for the students who get to call these two teachers friends and mentors.


▶️ Deschutes Co. Jail program aims to stop revolving door of addicted inmates

For years, inmates booked at the Deschutes County Jail who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have been left to detox in their cells, only to be released back to the neighborhoods, friends and dealers that got them there in the first place. And the cycle continues.

Inmates could take advantage of voluntary counseling. But for most, the goal is finding the next hit.

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson and his staff are implementing a plan to treat the inmate’s addiction first. So, for the first time ever, they leave with a clear mind and a network of services to keep them from ever coming back. 

It’s paid for with funds from Oregon Measure 110, aimed at channeling hundreds of millions of dollars of marijuana tax revenues into drug treatment and harm reduction programs.

RELATED: Oregon’s drug decriminalization gets poor marks on audit

RELATED: Ideal Option opens in Redmond to help those struggling with addiction

Khristine Fodor is a 35-year old mother of two. She’s a methamphetamine and fentanyl addict. 

She is now also a felon.

“I stole a car and I got my first felony from it. And put on probation,” said Khristine.

She was released from jail 72 days after losing her kids, her job and her home. What she still has is a drug dealer and friends who are still using. The odds say Khristine will die of an overdose within a week or be right back in jail in a few days.  

Khristine Fodor
Khristine Fodor


The Deschutes County Jail is also a second home for Shawnda Jennings. She too is a recovering addict, spending decades chasing her next hit of meth or heroin.

“I’ve been where they’re sitting. I know everything that they’re feeling. The loneliness, them being scared,” said Shawnda.

Today, she spends her time guiding inmates like Khristine out of the nightmare of addiction as a peer outreach specialist for Ideal Option drug treatment center in Bend.

She is the partner Sheriff Nelson was looking for to turn previous inmate outreach on its head.

For decades, the drug assistance offered in places like this consisted of therapy and mental health counseling if you could find it. And then, if you didn’t die of an overdose first, medication to curb the need for your drug of choice. Most inmates just don’t have that kind of time. They need help kicking their addiction immediately.

Enter Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), where killing their cravings is the first order of business, not the last.

“Once we can get them on an effective medication for them to be stabilized, start thinking about what they want to do, so that they’re not making decisions based on their cravings, their sickness, and all of those things that are not letting their brains process what a meaningful life can be, we’re gonna start that process,” said Deschutes County Sheriff’s Captain Michael Shults.

And that process has to start before they walk out the door.

“You have that small window. I mean, either they’re going to get help … they’re gonna go to their dope guy or they’re gonna get help.  So, being able to help that person within the first 24 hours is huge,” said Shawnda.

Shawnda Jennings
Shawnda Jennings


For addicts like Khristine, the new approach means new hope.

“If I didn’t have that, the chance of relapse would probably be a lot higher because my mentality on my body can’t fight that addiction on its own right now,” said Khristine.

She found that out a few months ago when she overdosed on fentanyl just days after serving a previous jail sentence.  A friend was carrying narcan. She would survive this time.  

“Probably 90% of the individuals that come into our jail have an addiction issue, a mental health issue or a medical issue or a combination of all of the above,” said Nelson.

The MAT program is where sheriff nelson feels his Measure 110 money is best spent. 

“To help them overcome their addiction challenge which is most likely leading them to a life of crime or driving the wedge between them and their family members and support structure,” said Nelson. “So, if they have access to medication assisted treatment and that helps them overcome their addiction, so that they’re not in the criminal justice system anymore, that’s a win.”

And not just a win for them. Every inmate at the jail eventually gets released and then becomes your neighbor, the clerk at your favorite store, filling your car with gas, the parent of a student in your child’s class. No one is isolated from this problem.

However, isolation from their past is key to the success of these addicts.  And that includes partnering with those who can provide job assistance and even temporary housing. Turning points and other groups are equal partners in this effort.

“The data shows that they are arrested at a significantly lower rate, they maintain their court appearances, they use the ER medical services less and they show up for court and they don’t come back,” said Shults.

The National Institutes of Health confirms that in states from Washington to Rhode Island, up to 70% of the inmates on the MAT program broke their addictions and never returned to jail.

Khristine is starting over: Looking for acceptance, hoping others can understand the struggle, forgive the deeds and open their minds. 

“I’m engaging in the community. I’m doing what I need to do. I’m seeing a psychologist. I’m taking steps toward my sobriety and my mental health and again, that’s all stuff that I got through jail,” said Khristine. “You can’t judge a book by its cover. And, if you believe in second chances, we are living proof of second chances.”

Every single inmate fighting addiction is now offered a shot at the MAT program and at a normal life before they leave.

“Does it mean they’re gonna take it when they walk out those doors? But at least we can be there to offer it to them,” said Shawnda.

Khristine took that offer and is now working on a job, permanent housing and proving she can be a good mother to her 4-month old and 2-year-old children.

MAT is funded by the taxes raised through cannabis sales, and while Sheriff Nelson disagrees with much of what Measure 110 allows, the fact that it pays for the mat program is an important consolation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

▶️ OSHA: Eastside Bend Safeway blocked exits a systemic issue, employee said

The Bend eastside Safeway has been fined by Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failures in keeping emergency exits clear and properly training staff. But there is a lot more detail in the 212-page report about what Safeway did and didn’t do right.

The fines and the report come in the wake of the Aug. 28, 2022, shooting that resulted in two deaths before the gunman took his own life.

Hours after the shooting, OSHA — acting on a tip from an employee — wanted to know if operations at Safeway hindered escape from the store.

The OSHA investigation found that one of the only three back door emergency exits that night was blocked by hundreds of pounds of drinks and food on stretcher-sized carts.

As the gunfire rang out, security photos showed that customers and employees attempted to shove the carts clear of the exit, including a father with his toddler in a shopping cart.

RELATED: OSHA fines Safeway for safety violations following Bend store shooting

RELATED: ’Heroic’: Bend Safeway worker among dead in shooting, tried disarming suspect

Before we go any further, it’s important to note the investigation found that nothing the store did contributed to employee Donald Surrett Jr’s death at the back of the store as he chose to stay and attack the shooter. And customer Glenn Bennett’s death occurred at the front of the store, seconds after the gunman walked inside.

Some employees claimed to OSHA they had never been shown these exits. One employee described the emergency training as “It sucks. There’s no training on emergency exit routes in the store.”

A painted guide on the floor showing people the shortest path to an exit was worn to near-invisibility.

A long-time employee told investigators that the blocking of exit doors has been a systemic issue, and that “blocked exits and walkways have been a problem for well over 10 years” — one that repeated complaints never solved.

Once OSHA announced an inspection of the store just days after the shooting, Safeway asked for a delay. When OSHA asked Safeway corporate for documents, including its own employer investigation and storeroom security footage, Safeway missed the deadline.

That prompted a warning from OSHA’s senior safety compliance officer: “I will not be reasonably obstructed from conducting my investigation.”

Safeway eventually complied. But employees told investigators, in the meantime, that management at the store cleared out the back storage areas and repainted the emergency exit floor guides. 

OSHA still found the store in violation of safety protocols, including a lack of adequate training and allowing emergency exits to be blocked on the night of the shooting.  

The Bend Safeway store also offered all employees a 15-minute online course on how to react to an active shooter. Surrett took that course just a year before the shooting. 

In a statement to Central Oregon Daily News, Safeway says it’s weighing its options on an appeal to the OSHA decision and minimal fine. It has until February 11 to decide. As for management’s response to constantly having thousands of pounds of product sitting in the rear of the store, the reason given to employees is that they just can’t hire enough workers to clear the area any quicker. 

▶️ Central Oregon family faced $18K loss, 6-month wait after Kia engine seized

There may not be a car company left in this country that hasn’t experienced the need for a voluntary or forced recall. How they handle that recall can make all the difference.

One Central Oregon car buyer was recently faced with a months-long wait for a recall repair and thousands of dollars in upfront expenses. After he reached out to Central Oregon Daily News, we learned this issue is far more widespread than this one family’s story.

“We’d initially thought about bankruptcy.”

Caleb Campbell and his wife, Janice, owned their 2016 Kia Sorento just long enough to get their son to-and-from school for a year. Just long enough to add a few animals to the family farm.

MORE RECALLS: Ford expands recall for possible engine fires even when they’re not running

Two weeks ago, the engine in that Sorento seized. It split the engine block, rendering the car undrivable.

Thankfully, the Campbell’s car qualified under a class action settlement against Kia. The Kia dealership in Bend would take the car and replace the engine.

“Later on that afternoon, my wife calls me and says ‘Hey, I just spoke with Kia and they’re saying it’s going to be 26 weeks.’ Might have been 24. It was between 24 and 26 weeks,” Campbell said. “And I said ‘Oh, my gosh. What’s going on with that?’ And she said ‘Well, we’re 29th in line. There’s 28 cars ahead of you with engine replacements.'”

And so, for the last two weeks, the Campbell’s Sorento has been sitting behind the dealership along with those 28 other undrivable Kias — destined to sit there for six more months.

The Campbells figured those six months of paying for a rental car, making payments on a car they can’t drive and insurance premiums would cost about $18,000.

Kia promised to reimburse much of it. The Campbells chose to buy another used car instead.  

What happened after Caleb contacted Central Oregon Daily News

We made a call to Kia America on the Campbell’s behalf, wanting more information about the line of some 30 vehicles needing new engine here. What we got was something very different and unexpected.

“So, not long after they responded to you, my wife got a call and basically what the service manager had said was that they had a technician that was out and that was the reason for the long delay,” Campbell said. “And the technician is now back and they’re calling customers and updating them on their updated service time and our car would be ready this week.”

The statement we got from Kia America confirmed that — sort of — saying in part:

“Kia America has reviewed the situation involving Ms. Campbell’s engine repairs. Unfortunately, vehicle repair times can be impacted by both staffing and parts supply issues.”

It went on to say the Campbell’s car should be repaired within the week. From 24 weeks to just two.

MORE RECALL NEWS: US report: nearly 400 crashes of automated tech vehicles

Thousands more Kia and Hyundai owners nationwide have similar issues

Did the the Campbell’s call to us get his car moved to the front of the line?

“While I’m happy with the resolution, getting it back sooner, I know that doesn’t help the other people that are waiting on their engines,” Campbell said.

Just head to social media and you will find thousands of people who have told their horror stories. There are entire Facebook pages dedicated to complaints about this same issue coast to coast. 

Kia: Owners must keep up with recalls

Neither Kia America nor Team Kia wanted to comment further on the Campbell’s case.  However, both agree owners have a responsibility keep up with recalls to make sure they’re covered. 

Their advice: contact the service department at your local Kia dealership and make sure your car isn’t missing any upgrades that could disqualify it from recall repairs.

“My interest is educating people out there and letting them know that if you have a Kia, these problems are out there and it may not be taken care of in a timely manner. And that could potentially break you,” Campbell said. 

Here’s another reason that call to Kia and Hyundai is so critical right now. The car company has expanded a recall on an exploding seat belt issue. There is also a class action lawsuit over engine oil consumption.

RELATED: Kia engine settlement information

KIA CUSTOMER CARE: 800-333-4542