▶️ Shepherd’s house hosts annual Thanksgiving dinner for homeless community

Shepherd’s House Ministries shared a Thanksgiving dinner with many in the homeless community Wednesday afternoon.

“There’s something really magical that happens when we sit down at tables and share meals,” said Evan Hendrix, director of navigation services at Shepherd’s House Ministries. “Biases tend to fade away, judgments tend to move to the side, and we’re able to connect with each other in really authentic and meaningful ways.”

With their primary Lighthouse location under renovations, the annual turkey dinner took place at their temporary location — the old Blue Dog RV building on 2nd Street and Franklin Ave.

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“The primary goal of this event is to create a warm and inviting space for people to come in, eat a delicious Thanksgiving meal, but more importantly, to be able to sit down with other folks in the community, be they unhoused or not, and break bread together,” Hendrix said.

Hendrix expects this year’s meal will feed up to 200 people.

“My hope would be that they would experience genuine community, that this would feel not all that dissimilar from Thanksgiving meals or holiday meals, that they would share around their own tables, in their own homes.

Each year, the event is made possible by community donations, the volunteer efforts of more than a dozen people and partnerships with the city and bend businesses. 

▶️ ‘Brown Friday’: Day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest for plumbers

Thanksgiving is the season for friends and family, but also the season for clogged pipes.

While you might associate this Friday with your holiday shopping, for plumbers it’s one of the busiest days of the year, known as “Brown Friday.”

“I would say that it’s a newer term,” Sunset Plumbing Service Manager Cameron Childress said. “Usually this time of year, we see an influx of calls, things aren’t usually put to that type of stress.”

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RELATED: Redmond trucking company gives 100 Thanksgiving meals to people in need

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Journeyman plumber Nick Sherrillo has celebrated by working the holiday several times.

“It seems like every Black Friday is memorable,” he said. “There’s something that always comes up that lets you remember the last one.”

He says the most common issue around holidays is related to clogs.

“Everybody’s putting those plates of Thanksgiving dinner in the sink,” he said.

If you’re looking for a clog-free holiday experience, Childress says to avoid putting grease down the sink and consider getting a check-up on your system.

“Issues with the holidays is people aren’t proactive,” he said. “It’s a maintenance thing, and a lot of time the last thing on people’s mind is their plumbing system.”

Sherrillo says he gets Thanksgiving off this year, but is ready for a high number of calls when Friday rolls around.

“You can imagine how many times you flush the toilet compared to what you normally do or running the kitchen sink, anything like that,” he said. “We’re working hard.”

▶️ Mt. Bachelor to make decision by Wednesday on Black Friday opening

We’re now just a week out from Mt. Bachelor’s scheduled opening day on Black Friday, but the forecast for whether chairs will spin is still a little cloudy.

“It’s sunny and warm up here at Mt. Bachelor, but that is going to change here soon,” said Lauren Burke, Director of Marketing and communications and Mt. Bachelor. “It looks like we’re going to get some snow over the weekend and we’re keeping a close eye on the forecast.”

That storm is expected to drop more than a foot of snow through the weekend, the mountain expects to have a better idea by Monday if shredding on November 24 will be a reality.

“We will make a decision by Wednesday at the latest next week,” Burke said. “Hopefully everybody’s doing their snow dances this weekend.”

The last time Mt. Bachelor opened on Black Friday was back in 2019.

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RELATED: Christmas tree permits for Deschutes, Ochoco forests now available

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▶️ Bend girl hit by e-bike injured. Family finds law ‘not black and white’

A High Desert Middle School student was left with multiple broken bones after her family said she was hit by someone riding an e-bike.

“I have a fractured collarbone and elbow,” sixth grader Sivan Malchy said. “The bike came out of nowhere, they were going really fast. I feel like I was in shock a lot, so I didn’t even really kind of cry.”

She’s now at the beginning of her road to recovery. For now, no playing the tuba and no soccer.

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Jill Leonard, Sivan’s mother, was close by and rushed her daughter to the hospital.

“I was really proud of her because I would not have been able to handle it the way she did,” she said. “It was really scary, though, at one point that she had like eight different people around her, you know, working on her.”

Leonard says the e-bike rider, a 17-year-old, was fully cooperative and got their own injuries checked out. But when she called police, she didn’t get the reaction she was expecting.

“Honestly, that disappointed me. They’re like ‘nothing we can do,'” she said. “How are people going to be held accountable for hitting people? Now, if this is a car that hit my daughter, I think it might have been a little bit different.”

Nar Malchy, Sivan’s father,says he feels the same way.

“God forbid she would be more hit, would that trigger any other investigation?” he said.

Shortly after Central Oregon Daily News interviewed the family, an officer came to their home to continue the investigation.

Meanwhile, Sivan will start the healing process.

“I have trouble doing like really simple things,” she said. “Random things like getting up out of a chair, like I tried brushing my hair today and it just was not the best.”

Her parents feel they continue to lack the answers they’re looking for.

“It’s not black and white in the law,” Leonard said. “Maybe this is just the catalyst … ‘Let’s put some accountability in when next time there’s an accident. A, B and C are put in place.’ So then people feel like, ‘okay, my daughter got hurt? This is what’s going to happen now.’”

Bend Police said Friday the incident is under investigation.

Leonard said she contacted the city of Bend months ago to try and install a crosswalk at the intersection where Sivan was hit. That hasn’t happened.


▶️ La Pine Chamber of Commerce to host grand opening of new location

The La Pine Chamber of Commerce is hosting a grand opening Friday afternoon to celebrate its new location. The Chamber moved earlier this year after the previous building’s owner put the lot up for sale.

“We’re fortunate to find a fabulous older building that was vacant for quite a while and we were able to remodel it to suit our purposes and we’re reopening with all the stuff we had in the old building,” said Ann Gawith, executive director at La Pine Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Daniel Richer believes the celebration could help La Pine continue its growth.

“I think that it’s a great opportunity for the city’s expansion, now that we have a nicer location,” he said.

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Although the new chamber location isn’t as easy to find from Highway 97, the move allowed the mural to relocate too, with greater visibility.

“Sometimes people drive right by the mural where it used to be because it was just kind of congested out that corner,” Richer said. “Now, I think it’s a little bit better and people have an opportunity to stop and appreciate it.”

The mural was previously on the south facing wall of the old La Pine Chamber of Commerce building. In the new location, includes a bench and is freestanding.

Gawith hopes the mural will help draw people into the chamber’s office.

The celebration Friday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. The chamber says everyone is invited to celebrate, and kick off the holidays with a tree lighting, food, drinks and more.

“Come on down to La Pine and do your Christmas shopping. There are some fabulous other shops, great places to eat. Make it a day trip and come join us,” Gawith said.

▶️ Winterfest returns to Old Mill District in 2024

Central Oregon’s favorite winter festival is returning to its previous home — the Old Mill District in Bend — Lay It Out Events announced Monday.

Organizers hope a return will help make access easier for more residents in the area.

“What we learned was it was hard for people to travel from bend to the fairgrounds during those times, so coming back here is kind of a no brainer,” Lay It Out Events Producer Aaron Switzer said.

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Mike Tarahteeff lives in Larkspur and has fond memories of previous years in the Old Mill. He says Winterfest’s return to Bend is likely to bring him back.

“Although Redmond’s not that far away, it’s far enough away that we kind of decided we didn’t want to make the trip,” he said. “There’s so much good in this going on here (Old Mill District).”

Organizers say they will continue to offer carnival rides, a feature that was picked up at the fairgrounds.

The six live music acts will perform at Hayden Homes Amphitheater.

“It’s a winter outside festival. That’s Bend’s core. And so being able to get on the amphitheater stage here and do live music again in this environment is going to be incredible,” Switzer said.

The festival is set for Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 16-18.

“I’d be happy for them to continue to do it and bring it back to bend along the river here,” Tarahteeff said.

▶️ Israeli PCT hiker creates special connection with Bend community

Earlier this year, Israel native Aric Tsypkin set out to complete the Pacific Crest Trail that runs up and down the West Coast. 

Two days before completing the trail, his home country was invaded.

“On the 7th of October, I looked up in my phone and I saw the news. I had messages from friends saying like, ‘How? Where are you? Are you okay? Are you back home?’ Tsypkin said. “Then my mind was just racing for these two days that I had left to finish the trail.”

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After completing the PCT, Tsypkin was forced to rethink his future plans. Going home was out of the picture, so he applied for a visa extension and landed back in Central Oregon.

During his stop in Bend, he says he got hooked with a taste of free beer and float on the river.

“Bend was the best stop on the trail along all the other towns,” he said. “For now, I’m happy to be here.”

After finding a place to stay, Tsypkin shared his story on several of Bend’s Facebook groups, hoping to connect with the community. What happened next he couldn’t believe. So many messages arrived in his inbox, he couldn’t respond to them all.

“Tons of people, sending messages privately and just offer their help,” Tsypkin said. “They invited me to climb and hike, run with them.”

He says he also received overwhelming support after his journey.

“I tell the story and they always smile at me and share their compassion and prayers for Israel,” he said. “It feels great, it’s a beautiful community here.”

Tsypkin says he going to make the most of his Central Oregon stay but hopes that a return home to see his family will become more possible in the coming months.

“I call my parents and my siblings every day,” he said. “Staying away for a few more months would be smarter and wiser. To let it cool down, and hopefully we’ll get a cease fire, and we can find like a solution for the conflict.”

▶️ Ribbon cut on new low-barrier homeless shelter in Redmond

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Thursday for the completion of a new low-barrier shelter in Redmond that will be run by Shepherd’s House Ministries.

Once operational later this month, guests are welcomed after 6:00 p.m. and will be able to stay through 7:00 a.m. the following morning.

The timing comes only days after Bethlehem Inn, down the street, paused operations because most of their rooms sat empty.

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RELATED: Bethlehem Inn pauses Redmond shelter operation; considers long-term options

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“We know from our winter shelter we’re going to see 25 to 30 people fairly easily who are seeking shelter,” Director of Low-Barrier Service John Lodise said.

Lodise is convinced Shepherd’s House’s model will keep this location busier. He believes there isn’t a lack of houseless individuals seeking shelter but rather that many can’t immediately clear high-barrier requirements.

“They don’t have to change their lives immediately in order to start to get help,” Lodise said. “They don’t have to become clean, they don’t have to pass a background check, they can just come in and connect and then begin to get that help.”

“Making those initial changes on your own is extremely difficult,” he said.

Lodise says this location is an accessible bridge from the streets toward healthier habits.

“We’re going to miss the Bethlehem Inn because having those hurdles waiting past our facility is important,” Lodise said. “It gives our guests yet something else to work toward.”

Shepherd’s House also operates the Lighthouse Navigation Center in Bend, which consistently hits its 50-bed nighttime capacity.

Next year, the Redmond facility plans to expand toward 24/7 services.

▶️ Mt. Bachelor partners with Campfire Hotel to house seasonal employees

Affordable housing is considered one of the greatest challenges for recruiting new employees to Central Oregon. Mt. Bachelor thinks it may have found a unique solution, announcing a new partnership Wednesday with the Campfire Hotel to open up 30 rooms to seasonal mountain employees.

Employees could move in as early as this month.

“We’re both benefiting from it in addition to the community,” Campfire Hotel General Manager Daniel Elder said. “It’s a win-win-win situation and we’re really excited about it.”

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Campfire will set aside 30 of its 100 rooms to accommodate the workers.

“Bachelor is the owner of the room essentially for these five-and-a-half months and then their employees are then their tenants,” Elder said.

It’s the kind of partnership more businesses around Central Oregon may begin to embrace. According to a report from the Bend Chamber of Commerce, the median price of an area home has more than tripled since 2010 to more than $750,000.

“People who are excited to be a part of the mountain and being up there playing in the snow all day, and then you get to come back here and enjoy the firepit, enjoy our saltwater pool,” Elder said.

Mt. Bachelor did not tell Central Oregon Daily News how much each person would have to pay for a room, but they said the price was well below market average.

▶️ Donate your pumpkins: Animal rescue sanctuary asks for holiday leftovers

Are you looking for a use for that leftover Halloween pumpkin? Harmony Farms Sanctuary near Tumalo says they want your Jack-O-Lanterns for a good cause.

“The nice thing about pumpkins is almost every type of farm animal likes pumpkins too,” volunteer Shari Dumont said. “Instead of just doing their pumpkin carving, having it for a couple of days and then disposing of it in the garbage or composting it, just knowing it’s a good feeling that you’re doing something really good for these rescued farm animals.”

Harmony Farms Sanctuary is volunteer and donation powered. On the farm during Halloween this year, they’ve rescued more than 140 animals.

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“The majority of them have been abandoned, abused or neglected,” Dumont said. “They come here and they live out the rest of their lives in peace and harmony.”

A donation drop-off location is set up at the Pottery House in Tumalo, 64653 Bruce Ave, Bend, OR 97703

“They’ll have a crate with our name on it that will say for Harmony Farm Sanctuary,” she said.

Pumpkins bedazzled or drawn on are not accepted, but all others are welcomed by the Harmony staff and most of all, Eleanor Pigby and her hungry friends.