▶️ Windy25 Memorial Fund making a difference and making due during pandemic

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

16 years ago this week, an aircraft in Craig Wilhelm’s unit went down in Afghanistan.

The tragedy killed 18 soldiers, five of whom were Wilhelm’s.

The Bend resident and former Army commander later co-founded Windy25 Memorial Fund, a non-profit named after the aircraft’s call-sign, dedicated to honoring the fallen heroes and their families.

“We always vowed as a team and as a unit that we would want to memorialize these soldiers and honor their families by creating an organization that did just that,” Wilhelm said. “Our mission is to illuminate these soldiers’ life stories and help their families as they continue to endure.”

Windy25 hosts a run in Las Vegas annually, but this year, the pandemic is forcing the fundraiser to be held virtually.

Washington resident Douglas Taylor will be running with his family in Portland Saturday to honor his sister, Brooke, who served in Afghanistan at the same time.

Brooke did make it home.

“It’s always been very important to me to one, support my sister, as she helps honor those service members who lost their lives,” Taylor said. “Also keeping in mind the Gold Star families of the service members and honoring their legacy and the sacrifices they’ve made.”

Georgia resident Sheldon Spivey lost his nephew Michael in the aircraft tragedy, and sees the non-profit as the ultimate support system.

“I grew up in a military family,” Spivey said. “My father is retired, I was in service, my brothers, and so it just felt like home.”

Wilhelm will run in Bend Saturday to pay his respects.

“We want to make sure that we remember our battle buddies,” Wilhelm said. “Remember their families and honor their families, and let them know that we do not ever forget their loved ones or their life stories.”

Windy25 will be hosting a Live Facebook event on Saturday at 9 a.m. to spotlight different races and runners worldwide.

You can learn more about or donate to Windy25 Memorial Fund at windy25.org.

▶️ Taste This: Shaker Box Cocktail Club

Aisha Ali wanted to “shake” things up, so she started Shaker Box Cocktail Club.

The service offers live, online mixology parties with cocktail ingredients and a bartending kit sent right to your front door.

Even alcohol delivery can be arranged!

On this episode of Taste This, sponsored by Newport Avenue Market, Meghan Glova introduces us to the Bend based business.

Learn more at shakerboxcocktailclub.com.

▶️ Reservations for Central Cascade Wilderness Permit System begin Tuesday

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Reservations for the Central Cascade Wilderness Permit System begin Tuesday.

The new system will require day use and overnight permits for 19 of the 79 trails in the Mount Washington, Mount Jefferson, and Three Sisters wilderness areas.

Some of the most popular trails include Devils Lake Trailhead, Green Lakes Trailhead, and Tam McArthur Rim Trailhead.

20-50% of day-use permits will be available to reserve, as well as 40% of overnight permits.

Once the season starts May 28th, new permits will become available every day.

The goal is to keep these areas the way they are for the future, while still providing access.

“We understand those are beautiful trails, we understand that’s why people want to go on them,” said Jean Nelson-Dean, Deschutes National Forest public affairs officer. “We just would like to spread out the use a little bit to some of the other trails, and hopefully people can have some new experiences.”

Bend residents Anna Phelps and Kelsey Carson see the pros and the cons of the new system.

“It’s important to maintain our forests,” Phelps said. “You know, it takes a level of education to go outside and be safe and be respectful. And so I think in one instance it’s not a bad idea to have a permit system, on the other hand it’ll be a change.”

Deschutes National Forest has been working with its partners, including hotels and tourism agencies, to pass the message along to tourists.

“Yeah it’ll be a learning curve,” Carson said. “But people will figure it out.”

Day-use permits are per person, per trip for $1.

Overnight permits are $6 per trip for up to six people for up to 13 nights.

Wilderness rangers will be checking.

“There’s plenty of outdoor recreation left to have here,” Nelson-Dean said.

Permits will be reservable at 7 a.m. on April 6th at recreation.gov.

Where do I need a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit?

  • All overnight visitors to the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness are required to have a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit.
  • Day-only visitors to the trailheads listed in the links below are required to have a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit. A new permit is required for each outing.
  • Mt. Jefferson Map
  • Mt. Washington Map
  • Three Sisters East Map
  • Three Sisters West Map

The list includes popular hikes such as the Green Lakes Trail and Broken Top Trail.

You won’t need a permit to hike around Todd Lake.

▶️ Deschutes County expands vaccine eligibility; frontline workers now included

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

On Wednesday, Deschutes County announced it is expanding COVID-19 eligibility to Group 7 of Phase 1B.

The sudden change now includes frontline workers, adults 16 and older with one or more underlying health conditions with increased risk, and individuals living in a multigenerational household.

“For our Group 7 individuals,” Molly Wells Darling, Deschutes County deputy incident commander said. “Many received links this morning if they were already pre-registered to go ahead and sign up for an appointment.”

Frontline workers include healthcare workers, grocery store employees, retail employees, and journalists.

“Frontline workers are defined as people who, for their job or their occupation,” Wells Darling said. “They are in contact with people throughout the day within six feet of these people for more than 15 minutes in a day.”

It’s ahead of the state’s timeline, but Wells Darling says efficiency of the mass vaccination clinic at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds is one reason the county is ahead of schedule.

“We can administer 3,100 vaccinations each day,” Wells Darling said. “So as we continue to get more vaccines, we just continue to increase our vaccinations here at the clinic.”

Wednesday was Pamela Steinke’s fourth time volunteering at the clinic, and she continues to be amazed how well it’s running.

“I mean they can’t say enough good things about the clinic,” Steinke said. “How easy it is, they thought it was going to be hard to get to, it’s very easy, it’s quick, and they feel very safe.”

Deschutes County received over 8,000 vaccines this week and appointments are almost filled.

For those in Group 7 who did not receive a sign-up link Wednesday, Wells Darling says don’t worry.

“Be patient, it’s coming,” Wells Darling said. “It’s also very much based on how much vaccine we get and how many people we have signed up.”

Once you receive a link to sign up for a vaccination appointment, you must sign up within 48 hours.

We should learn in the next two days how many first-dose shots Deschutes County will receive for next week.

▶️ Taste This: Blissful Spoon

High demand convinced Miki Bekkari it was time to move her business from the farmers market to a brick and mortar.

Bekkari is now selling savory dishes and perfect pastries at one of Bend’s newest bistros.

On this episode of Taste This, sponsored by Newport Avenue Market, Meghan Glova dives into the (mostly) gluten free menu of Blissful Spoon.

Blissful Spoon is located in downtown Bend.
65 NW Newport Ave.
Bend, OR 97703

▶️ Bend couple ‘lucky’ after giant pine topples onto home during windstorm

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Steve and JoLee Bryant were in their living room during Sunday’s windstorm.

Around 5 p.m., a tree – a 100-foot-tall Ponderosa Pine – crashed through the roof.

“Had the tree fallen a little bit to the right, there’s a good chance it would’ve come straight down through the house,” Steve said. “The structural components of the corner of the house kind of protected it and prevented it from falling all the way through.”

JoLee was sitting in a recliner just below where the tree fell through the Widgi Creek house.

JoLee’s chair was damaged, but she ducked just in time.

“She caught a two by four on the shoulder,” Steve said. “But it avoided doing any kind of harm or injuring her.”

Many other Bend residents experienced fallen trees, power outages, and damaged street signs.

One viewer tells Central Oregon Daily News that Southwest Bend off of Brookswood Blvd. was without power for over seven hours.

The Bryants have lived at Widgi Creek for nine years and have seen other trees come down in their neighborhood.

“Over the years there’s been a few homes that have been hit,” Steve said. “But that’s the price you pay for living in a beautiful wooded area.”

Crews removed the tree early Monday afternoon, but there is structural damage to repair.

“The house is badly damaged, but things that we can replace we’ll replace,” Steve said. “We were very lucky.”

▶️ Redirect the Check: The Giving Plate

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Central Oregon Daily’s second round of “Redirect the Check” continues, where you can donate part of your stimulus check to benefit three local non-profits.

One of those non-profits is helping feed families across the region.

The Giving Plate is the largest food pantry in our tri-county area, feeding thousands of Central Oregonians every year.

“By serving our community and providing food, we just feel like we are meeting a really basic need,” Director Ranae Staley said. “Showing compassion and care and hope by sharing food.”

In 2020, The Giving Plate served over 10,000 families.

Many of those families were struggling from the pandemic and that need carried over into the new year.

“90% of the people we serve are housed, and a lot of people don’t realize that,” Staley said. “They equate hunger to homelessness.”

The food pantry is completely community-funded and those funds allow The Giving Plate to continue making a difference.

Staley said she wants to remove the stigma around asking for help when it comes to hunger.

“Every dollar that comes in from Redirect the Check will be used towards the food relief programs that we’re operating,” Staley said.

You can donate to “Redirect the Check” here.

▶️ Taste This: Kanpai

Fish is always fresh, never frozen at Kanpai in Bend.

The sushi restaurant has held a spot on Newport Avenue for 16 years, giving customers a literal taste of what traditional rolls, nigiri, and Omakase should be like.

On this episode of Taste This, sponsored by Newport Avenue Market, Meghan Glova tries this high quality local favorite.

Kanpai is located at 990 NW Newport Avenue
Bend, OR 97701

▶️ August double homicide still under investigation; lack of evidence to blame

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

While a suspect has been charged in last weekend’s double homicide, there is still another Bend double homicide case that needs to be solved.

Natasha Newby and Ray Atkinson were murdered in their home near Pilot Butte last summer, and it’s still under investigation.

“As of right now we have insufficient evidence to charge anyone,” John Hummel, Deschutes County District Attorney said. “But I hope that changes.”

There is a suspect in this case, but no arrest has been made.

▶️ As police investigate double homicide, friends remember the ‘kindred souls’ killed

Hummel says what’s missing is evidence that proves without a reasonable doubt who did it.

“If we move forward now with a little bit of evidence and our suspect is found not guilty at trial, if we get new evidence the day after trial, we can’t go back and try them again,” Hummel said. “So you only get one shot at this and you need to get it right.”

Hummel says in the seven months since the two murders, his team has worked the case every day and the lack of filed charges doesn’t reflect what goes on behind the scenes.

“It happens to be that we’ve had three homicides close in time that have required more investigation, so that’s standing out to the public,” Hummel said. “But it’s not because anything has changed, it’s because these cases have required more investigation than previous cases.”

Hummel adds that Bend’s most recent double homicide does not put more or less pressure on the District Attorney’s Office to solve the case from August.

It’s still a matter of needing better evidence.

“We go as soon as we can possibly go while ensuring the Constitution is complied with,” Hummel said. “And while ensuring we have sufficient evidence so guilty people will not walk free.”

Hummel does not believe the current suspect is a threat to the community.

▶️ 3 Bend murders, same suspect; 1 victims’ family blames District Attorney

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

From the beginning, the family of Daphne Killian-Banks suspected Randall Kilby of their mother’s Christmas Day assault – an assault that led to her death.

Three months later, Kilby has been charged with second-degree murder for the death of Killian-Banks following a double homicide that occurred in the same house she was assaulted in.

Kilby was also charged with second-degree murder for the deaths of 66-year-old Jeffrey Taylor and 69-year-old Benjamin Taylor.

Rio Killian, one of Killian-Banks’ daughters, says she’s lived in Bend her entire life and has never felt more unsafe in her community.

“He could’ve came here at any time and he wasn’t in jail,” she said. “We lost our mom, I feel like they brushed her death just aside. I don’t feel like they took it very seriously.”

Their most recent tragedy was learning of Sunday’s double homicide, and that the man charged with the two murders was also charged with killing their mother.

DA: Double homicide suspect used hatchet; also charged for 2020 fatal assault

“Things haven’t changed at all since my mom passed,” said daughter Laci Killian. “I mean I feel like we’re just living in this nightmare, not getting any answers. No closure, and maybe it’s coming now, but it’s been how long? And it took two more lives to get justice for one person. It didn’t need all that, you know?”

The family puts much of the blame on Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel.

They say by not arresting Kilby, Hummel has done a poor job at keeping the community safe.

“He is failing at his job,” Laci said. “He failed somebody else’s family.

Hummel says if he gave the Killian sisters “what they wanted” in January, the jury would not be able to give them what they want down the road.

“Homicide is not a game. Nobody takes this crime more seriously than me and the team in my office,” Hummel said. “If he was charged when he was acquitted, people rightfully would say Hummel why were you so quick out of the gate? We don’t want to go too quickly and we don’t want to go too slowly. We want to go immediately when we have sufficient evidence to prove someone’s guilt.”

The Killians want to know the situation and details surrounding their mother’s death.

However, they say the DA’s office won’t provide them with specifics until the case it brought to a grand jury.

“What if that was me and my sister that were killed?” Rio said. “Because he’s out walking around me and my children?”

In a news conference Monday, Hummel said he did not have the evidence to charge Kilby with the murder until Sunday.

Laci says she confronted Kilby with her boyfriend over two weeks ago, requesting he take a lie detector test.

While with Kilby, Laci says she met Jeffrey Taylor – who Kilby referred to as “dad.”

According to Hummel, Kilby’s mother lived with Jeffrey and Benjamin Taylor and witnessed Sunday’s murder.

In a situation where the family has been piecing facts together, all they want now is answers.

“I mean even though we have a piece of paper that’s saying he’s being charged with murder, that’s not closure,” Rio said. “We don’t know what happened, we don’t know why it happened.”

Kilby is due to appear in court on March 29th.