▶️ Central Oregon dog trainer has 4.7 million fans on TikTok

He’s a dog trainer based in Culver that breeds and trains elite protection dogs and now he’s amassed an online following in the millions thanks to his TikTok videos. 
 
His name is Matt Folsom, and breeding and training Malinois protection dogs is his passion. And when you watch Matt and his dogs work, it’s pretty clear this is a little different level than training old fido how to fetch or sit.
 
And over the last three years, it’s become crystal clear that people enjoy watching him work. As in the 4.7 million people following him on TikTok.
 
 
 
 

▶️ ‘Be More Like Millie Walk’ honors Larkspur Community Center fixture

She was a fixture at Larkspur Community Center. On Monday, she was honored on what would have been her 100th birthday.

The inspirational 99-year life of Millie McGillivary was celebrated with an event appropriately titled the “Be More Like Mille Walk.”

RELATED: 99-year-old Bend woman inspires Larkspur Community Center lap after lap

RELATED: Remembering Millie

▶️ Bend 18-year-old is the in-demand photographer of social media influencers

He’s just 18 years old and he’s already been a professional photographer for four years.

Joshua Mannila now splits his time photographing his peers in Bend and social media influencers in Los Angeles.

“When I was a freshman, I got a girl asking me to do her senior photos, and I was kind of like, Whoa, that’s kind of crazy,” Joshua says. “And so I did my friend’s senior photos. And I guess from there, I just kind of spiraled. I started setting prices, started doing photoshoots for people. People started seeing my stuff all over Instagram.”

But the photography spark was lit much earlier.

“When I was in fourth grade, I got an iPad Mini from for Christmas and it was my first real electronic that had a camera on it and I just instantly fell in love with taking photos.”

Joshua Manilla
Joshua Mannila

From an iPad Mini, to a point-and-shoot digital camera, to a Polaroid and on and on. The camera bag grew, and Joshua’s passion grew right along with it.

Fast forward to today and business is booming for the 18-year-old who just graduated from high school.

“Today, I am a senior photographer in Bend, so I do pretty much senior photos every single night. Last year I was doing them every single day for all of my friends. This year, pretty much same thing.”

And it’s not just Central Oregon calling for sessions. Los Angeles and social media influencers has opened their arms and is asking Joshua to take their photos, too. 

“I love going to L.A. and I feel so creative when I’m down there because being around people who are creative makes me creative, too.”

Joshua Manilla photos
(PHOTOS: Joshua Mannila)

It all started with an influencer liking a photo Joshua had posted on Instagram. They then reached out to see if Joshua would be up for shooting photos for them.

“This is crazy. I’m shooting with you in Los Angeles, and I just thought it was the most surreal moment because it was kind of like my dream is starting to become true.”

All of sudden, the doors started opening. Next thing you know, Joshua was flying to L.A. every other weekend to shoot.

“I am shooting for influencers, creators, people with anywhere from 5,000 followers to over a million, and they’re all verified on Instagram.”

For friend and model Andie Taylor, who has done multiple shoots over the years with Joshua, there’s a comfort level working with a peer that makes the experience more enjoyable. 

“To have it be someone younger and someone I can relate to more and someone who knows more what I feel like younger people are wanting from their photos. So I feel like he’s able to offer something that someone who’s older maybe wouldn’t understand as much,” Andie says.

Joshua Manilla and Andie Taylor
Joshua Mannila taking photo of Andie Taylor.

“I think my age has really helped my success because when when I do a senior photo shoot, the model doesn’t really feel awkward because I’m their age to pretty much,” Joshua adds. “And so we can relate a lot versus someone who’s 20, 30 years older.”

Joshua plans to attend the University of Oregon this fall as a freshman, but ultimately plans to make the move to Los Angeles and pursue photography full-time in the near future.

▶️ Warm Springs opens new store to promote, celebrate work of local artists

A community of artists came together in Warm Springs over the weekend to celebrate the opening of a new store that will feature, promote and sell art made by local Warm Springs artists.

RELATED: Check out the artwork selected for two Bend roundabouts

RELATED: 2nd Redmond Music & Arts Festival welcomes 20 local artists

 

▶️ 250-mile runs? Bend ultra runner ‘comfortable with uncomfortable’

How do you like to spend your days off? Maybe a beer with the boys or a barbecue with friends and family or maybe even get a little exercise in.
 
For Ben Dullum, he likes that last option. But replace little with a lot — a lot a lot.
 
“I started doing 50-milers, 100K, and then I really got addicted to the 100 milers and a little bit beyond. So it was just this last May that I ran a 250-mile race in Arizona in the desert of Arizona,” says Ben.
 
“And it’s definitely become a passion. And it’s that drive of kind of how far can I go? Ben’s a physical therapist by trade. I work in the critical care units, both the progressive care unit that’s kind of my main hub.”
 
Ben’s a physical therapist by trade.
 
“I work in the critical care units, both the progressive care unit that’s kind of my main hub. And then I will float down to the intensive care unit as well.”
 
 
Ben Dullum
Ben Dullum
 
He spends his days at the hospital helping folks out. But when he’s not there working, he’s chasing down vistas and chasing down a feeling.
 
“Been very stressful, so we all need things in our lives that we do when we’re not there to recover and cope. And mine happens to be running.
 
“I love those special moments where you are in a beautiful area and you’re alone.
 
“Specifically around here, like sunrise and sunset. I love them and I run for those moments. I love running through the night with the few people that are crazy enough to do that with me Getting up to a ridge, having a meal, and just watching that sunrise up over the mountains.”
 
 
His passion is evident, and passion is the driving force that keeps his legs churning over and over and over.
 
Ben’s not a pro runner. He’s not sponsored and he only enters races occasionally. For Ben, it’s all for the love of running. 
 
“To some extent, you have to … you have to fully do it to fully get it and get to those limits where you’re uncomfortable. I think we’re as humans, we’re all too comfortable with being comfortable. And it’s those moments of so much stress that you’re very uncomfortable that we grow. And I’ve I’ve learned to be quite comfortable being uncomfortable.”
 
Ben Dullum
 
If you’re one of those who thinks the term “fun run” is an oxymoron, Ben’s got a message for you.
 
“All the time I hear people say, like, ‘I’m just not built for running. Running is not for me. Running is painful.’ And I 100% understand that. The young Ben was one of those. And I think the biggest message to say is that there’s there’s a form of running for everybody.
 
 
“You don’t have to go do the 250-miler or you don’t have to go self-supported 100-miler in the woods. But there are those moments where it makes it totally worth it and totally fun. And I think that everybody should give it another try.”
 
Ben plans to continue running long distances and discovering new trails and vistas. He says he’ll look to enter the occasional race, but mainly looks forward to running by himself or with one or two friends.
 
Ben Dullum

▶️ Central Oregon teen to compete in Junior Pan Pacific Swim Championships

The Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships get underway this week in Hawaii and Central Oregon will be represented by 17-year-old Diggory Dillingham.

He’s a missile in the pool and he’ll represent the USA in both the 50 and 100 meter freestyle events.

Diggory will be competing on Thursday in the 100 meter free and then again on Saturday in his signature event the 50 meter free.

Eric Lindstrom caught up with the young swimming sensation before he left for his first international meet. 

▶️ Bend man completes 3,600-mile triathlon for mental health awareness

Racing the top-level Ironman triathlon is something relatively few people on this Earth have ever attempted. Even fewer have completed.

Then there is Justin True of Bend. The 30-year-old recently did his own 3,600-mile triathlon across the country. It was a mission to raise funds and awareness for mental health.

“It’s kind of the saying of ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ And you just go bite-by-bite,” Justin said.

“I’m a vegetarian, so that’s probably isn’t very good,” he added with a chuckle.

Justin had one of the most ambitious or some might say crazy ideas to test his body, mind and spirit.

Justin True

“It started out as a very small, little egg and eventually started growing, growing, growing. Now it ended up being a 3,600-mile journey across the United States.” 

Why?

“I was beat growing up. Homeless at times and my dad kicking me out of the house and nowhere to go. Sleeping on park benches. Sleeping in my friends’ pool sheds and too embarrassed to tell anybody about it and talk about what was going on. My brother overdosing 15 times growing up. My mom getting stabbed.

“This isn’t what I set out to do, man. This isn’t life. I didn’t choose to be here. Why should I be here? None of us chose to be here. Why can’t I choose to quit and end it?

“So I tried. And I realized that’s not the route to go. Luckily, I was able to fail at it twice and find out that I’m meant to be here.

“I’ve always had to do these challenges to keep myself busy. Have a goal in mind of what I wanted to do.”

RELATED: ‘It’s OK to ask for help’: Oregon’s 988 mental health crisis line launches

Justin True training

And what Justin wanted to do was inspire. Inspire anyone that might be going through their own mental health issues and their own struggles. So on the first day of May — the first day of mental health awareness month — Justin dove into the water and set out on his journey.

“I swam from Key Largo to South Beach Miami, leading into a 2,900-mile cycle from Miami to Belmont Park in San Diego. And then a 600-mile run from Belmont Park to the Golden Gate Bridge.”

There were challenges and adversity all along the way, but Justin’s message was the one constant.

“No matter what lows or highs or lows you’re going through and you don’t think it’s ever going to get better, just keep telling yourself ‘It will get better, it will get better’ and ‘Today may not be my day. Tomorrow may not be my day. There’s a shark. Next day there’s jellyfish that could kill me. Well, obviously this isn’t my day, but soon, I’m going to keep fighting. I’m going to keep fighting for tomorrow and get hit by a car. Well, today’s not my day. But I’m going to keep fighting for that day that’s going to make it all worthwhile.’

Justin True Swimming

“You never know when you’re finally going to have that day where you’re so happy you made it to. And I wanted to inspire people by doing that where it doesn’t matter what happens. Just keep fighting. Make it to tomorrow. Make that promise to yourself that if you make it to tomorrow, it’ll be alright. And if it’s not alright, make that promise again. And, eventually, those will add up to 5, 10, 15 years and a life you’re proud … sticking it out.”

He eventually ran across the Golden Gate Bridge, finishing his journey a little more than six weeks after it began.

Justin True finishing triathlon

Justin raised more than $20,000 for mental health awareness and, most importantly, had proved to himself and anyone paying attention that anything is possible.

“There’s a reason my brother survived. There’s a reason my mom survived. There’s a reason why I survived. I want to live to tell that story and hope that one person can connect to somewhere in there and just know that everything is going to be alright no matter what happens. You need to keep it in your head. And, overall, just want to make my mom proud.”

Justin said it was the messages coming in on social media that kept him going. Anyone that reached out and said they were inspired or had been motivated to make a positive change in their lives was what fueled him daily. 

Justin hopes to write a book and release a documentary in the future about his experience.

For more information or to donate to his cause head to https://www.truetriathlon.org/

Justin True

▶️ Bend golfer competes at first-ever US Adaptive Golf Open

Austin Morris of Bend just competed in the first-ever U.S. Adaptive Golf Open held at Pinehurst in North Carolina. It was the first time the USGA has held a national championship showcasing the world’s best golfers with disabilities.

Austin, 34, says he’s been playing since he was 16. 

He suffers from a rare disease called Moyamoya, a condition that causes the veins and arteries in his brain to be constricted.

“I’ve had three major strokes and can’t feel anything on the left side of my body,” said Austin. “It can be scary.”

RELATED: Pronghorn qualifier golf tournament sends three to U.S. Open Championship

Part of moving forward for Austin as a teen was developing a love for the game of golf and spending hours on the range and at the course. 

“I’d practice all day,” said Austin.

Fast forward a decade and that love and dedication is allowing Austin the opportunity to compete at thee U.S. Adaptive Golf Open.

The tournament is three rounds of stroke play. For Austin, it’s realizing a dream years in the making and helping inspire the next generation of golfers — adaptive or not.

So the next time you face adversity, remember Austin and just keep on swinging. 

Austin finished tied for 65th at the Open. He said the entire experience was one of the best of his life.
Austin Morris
Austin Morris

▶️ Prineville man who walked 33 miles to work gifted car from total stranger

After Central Oregon Daily News told the story of Eric Akers, the Prineville man who walked 33 miles to work in Bend after his car broke down, the emails started pouring in from people who wanted to give him a hand.

Or a car.

We told the story Wednesday of how Eric’s car broke down. Rather than call in sick, Eric got up and started walking. In about 6 1/2 hours, he made it to his job in Bend to start his night shift.

Chris Arsenault and his wife were inspired and reached out to us. Sitting on their property was a 25-year-old Honda they no longer needed.

“I bought this car from my uncle. My aunt bought it brand new in ’97,” Chris told Eric when we introduced them to each other. “It’s a clean little car. My wife and I want to give you that car.”

RELATED: Prineville man walks 33 miles to work in Bend after car breaks down

Prineville Walker folo

Chris said he was on a tractor when the story came across his phone. He was impressed by Eric’s dedication.

“We decided we have more cars than we need, so we wanted to give him this little Honda,” Chris said.

“I feel really blessed. Thank you.” Eric said.

“I think, especially in today’s time, we need to help people. We need to help our neighbors,” Chris said. “It’s a rough time. People are divided and so I wanted to help him.”

Would Chris have walked 33 miles to work?

“There’s no way I would have done it. That’s what inspired me to do this, and my wife, too,” Chris said.

“He just handed me the paperwork for the car and told me it’s mine,” Eric said.

On his first drive, Eric said the car handles and sounds good.

“The kindness and generosity of the community has been overwhelming,” he said.

Several other people also reached out to Central Oregon Daily to make similar offers.

Watch the story below that led to this act of generosity.