▶️ Madras’ Operation Rudolph makes sure no child spends Christmas without gifts

A group of non-profits is doing everything they can to ensure kids in the Madras community receive Christmas gifts this year.

“I think kids that have a tough road at home understand the value of these gifts,” said Kim Smythe with Operation Rudolph. “They know what it means to not have.”

It’s an operation going on for three decades, powered by volunteers in the Madras community.

“Operation Rudolph is literally a community-driven project that’s to serve the children of our community that are just disadvantaged, usually financially,” Smythe said. “Jefferson County is the second-most economically disadvantaged county in the state, and so that impacts us a lot.”

RELATED: Retired Redmond music teacher finds hobby in homemade holiday lights display

RELATED: Bend Fire’s Santa Express is back, collecting for those in need

From Toys for Tots to the fire and police departments and several businesses around the area, they’ve all come together to help those in need.

The biggest group of helpers is high school students.

“Last year, they did almost 500 hours of they donated and this year they’re over 300 already,” Smythe said. “I expect them to at least reach 600.”

“A lot of the time, it really does, you know, affect me emotionally,” said Ava Leach from Madras. “So knowing that I can come here and make a difference is really, I don’t know, impactful.”

Smythe says a lot of the kids who are on the list for financial assistance are the same kids spending their Christmas break volunteering to help those in the same situation.

“Maybe this lets them have more money to put towards their electricity or just paying some basic bills knowing that their children again are going to have a happy, joyous Christmas,” Smythe said.

▶️ Bend Fire’s Santa Express is back, collecting for those in need

It’s the season of giving and Bend Fire and Rescue is making it easy with the Santa Express.

“Santa Express is about helping the kinship community, the people in need,” said Bend Fire captain, Brandon Ladd. “We’ve been doing it for over 21 years at least. And all the donations go to the Salvation Army and they have about 500 to 600 families they help each year.”

Santa Express started Monday night and continues through Wednesday. Firefighters roll through on a fire truck with music and, of course, Santa.

“It’s an easy way to interact with our community in a positive way and not in an emergency way,” said Ladd. “We get out there with Santa. He’s out there helping us out and we get to talk to the people. And it’s really fun.”

You can donate food, clothes and toys for families in need. But if you can’t donate when the Santa Express pulls through your neighborhood, you can still donate at the Bend Fire and Rescue stations and the Salvation Army.

“It just helps out,” Ladd said. “Like with everything getting harder to afford. Everything’s a little tighter. So the people that are need have a greater need. And so this way we can hopefully get collect a lot of stuff this year. Every year we have a ton of stuff and hopefully people come out and do the same thing. So hopefully I’ll help a lot of people.”

RELATED: Santaland open in Old Mill District through Dec. 23

  • Tuesday December 5th – Three Pines Ridge, Shevlin Ridge and Shevlin Meadows neighborhoods (map of route)
  • Wednesday December 6th – Pineridge, River Canyon and Aspen Rim neighborhoods (map of route)

Drop off non-perishable foods, new toys or clothing at any of these locations. Boxes will be in place until Friday December 15:

  • Bend Fire & Rescue Fire Stations – blue recycling bins will be at each system for drop offs:
    • West Fire Station – 1212 SW Simpson Ave
    • East Fire Station – 62420 Hamby Rd
    • North Fire Station – 63377 Jamison St
    • South Fire Station – 61080 Country Club Dr
    • Tumalo Fire Station – 64725 Cook Ave 
    • Pilot Butte Fire Station – 425 NE 15th St 
  • The Salvation Army – 515 NE Dekalb Ave.
  • The Bend Airport flight center – 63132 Powell Butte Highway 

If you can’t make it any of these locations and would like someone to come by and pick up your donation in the Bend area, call 541-322-6386 to arrange a curbside pickup. 

▶️ Retired Redmond music teacher finds hobby in homemade holiday lights display

What started as a one-person band turned into a holiday ensemble.

“First is just get an idea what type of animation would I like,” said David Sime of Redmond. “What type of instrument? If it’s an instrument, what type of other display?”

Sime worked as a music teacher in the Redmond School District for 30 years. When it came to picking a retirement hobby, it wasn’t golf or fishing.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Santa Claus visits Good Morning Central Oregon to talk about Bend Christmas Parade

RELATED: Festival of Trees to benefit Hospice of Redmond patients, families Saturday

Instead, he makes metal Christmas display lights.

“I get some three, six-inch wire and I just put it down and bending and cutting and make the shapes from there,” Sime said. “It’s just, you know, weld them together and make them make the whole display.”

Sime was inspired by the lights display at Eagle Crest. Sime’s display has a strong musical theme.

Displays can take anywhere from days to weeks to create. From singing reindeer to dancing elves, Sime has no plans on pumping the brakes.

“I just like making them,” Simes said. “It brings me joy and I just hope that some of that other joy, I get spread to other people.”

You can see the display on SW Reservoir Drive in Redmond.

▶️ Mountain View falls to Wilsonville in Oregon 5A football title game

The Mountain View Cougars led the Wilsonville Wildcats for most of Friday night’s Oregon 5A football championship game. But a strong fourth quarter for Wilsonville allowed them to come away with a 29-23 victory.

Conner Calvert made two field goals in the first half for the Cougs while quarterback Conner Crum threw a touchdown pass to Jack Foley.

Nick Colyer caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kallen Gutridge for the only score in the half for the Wildcats.

RELATED: Mountain View football sendoff Friday morning for 5A state championship game

RELATED: Mountain View football looks for 1st state title since 2011 Friday

Crum ran 14 yards before diving into the end zone, putting the Cougars up 20-7 in the third. 

Gutridge countered with a 55-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to Mark Wiepert

Calvert made another field goal at the start of the fourth quarter to make it 23-14.

That’s when Wilsonville took over. Gutridge threw another touchdown in the fourth quarter to Nick Crowley.

Then, the Cougars failed on a fourth down try on their 35-yard line. The Wildcats took advantage, and the lead, after a 30-yard pass from Gutridge to Crowley.

Mountain View had one more chance and got the ball all the way down to the Wildcats’ 12-yard line. But a sack on Crum and three incomplete passes ended their final drive to give Wilsonville the win.

▶️ Cost of Thanksgiving meal down from record prices in 2022

We’ve all been there. Last-minute holiday meal shopping.

“I have just about everything,” said Susan Rice of Bend. “We’re having a stuffed pork roast, green beans, of course, and maybe a little cranberry sauce and a pumpkin pie. Homemade. We were last-minute shopping for apples and butter lettuce.”

According to The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 38th annual survey, the average cost of this year’s classic holiday feast for 10 is $61.17, or less than $6.20 per person. It’s a 4.5% decrease from last year’s record-high average of $64.05

“I actually agree that it has gone down, and I was surprised and really thrilled because it made the whole meal just that much easier to put up with,” said Holly White of Bend.

“I mean, we had all the trimmings this year and we didn’t know if that would be a good idea,” she said. “It’s great. It’s so nice to have a lower price for once. It’s a surprise.”

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables — the turkey — helped bring down the overall cost of dinner.

RELATED: What’s open, closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

RELATED: Shepherd’s house hosts annual Thanksgiving dinner for homeless community

The average price for a 16-pound turkey is $27.35. That is $1.71 per pound, down 5.6% from last year.

Some stores have been selling turkeys for less than $1 per pound.

“It’s been really nice, actually very casual,” said Samantha Corban-Miller of Los Angeles. “A lot more casual than Los Angeles. So far, so good.”

“Actually, it’s been really fun,” White said. “People are in really good moods. I haven’t had any cross people or too long of lines or anything like that.”

Overall, a Thanksgiving meal is still 25% higher than it was in 2019, highlighting the impact of high supply costs and inflation on food prices since before the pandemic.

Stores closed on Thanksgiving

Open on Thanksgiving

▶️ Mountain View football looks for 1st state title since 2011 Friday

Before Thanksgiving rolls around, the Mountain View Cougars football team is preparing for one final game — for the Oregon state championship.

“I think we always knew that the potential was there, but we had to really go out and execute, and that was the key thing, just seeing for all of us how we could execute and how we would be able to,” said Mountain View junior Brady Kennedy.

Mountain View is 12-0, and is set to face 11-1 Wilsonville Friday in Hillsboro for the 5A crown. It would be their first title since 2011.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Mountain View headed to state football championship game vs. Wilsonville

“Everyone’s got a lot of nerves, but it’s just going to be so fun to go out there and just give it our all,” said Mountain View junior Jack Foley.

The Cougars have been great on the offensive side of the ball, using a balanced attack to move the ball down the field.

“After the Summit game was when we really started to realize like how many pieces we had in place that could just start going our way. And then from then on, it was just like, okay, let’s go see what we can do,” said Kennedy.

It’s the defense that stands out above the rest. It only allowed 75 points all season, nearly half as many points given up as the next-best defensive team. And it’s logged four shutouts.

“Our DB crew is pretty pretty loose,” said senior Kaden Alayan. “We’re pretty fun. That’s how we do most of our games where you just have to be loose, relaxed, and, you know, every practice, we’re going at it, getting our jobs done and still having fun.”

Through the ups and downs, good and bad, the Mountain View football team has become a family.

“Last year, it just really wasn’t our year,” said Alayan. “We just didn’t really have that bonding like we have had this year.”

“There’s no backstabbing, and we come out on the field every single practice, every single game, and we work together, and it just shows the shows on the field,” said Foley.

A football send-off is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 a.m. Kickoff in Hillsboro is 4;30 p.m.

▶️ People who decorate early for Christmas tend to be happier, study finds

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

“Christmas is coming,” said Santa Claus. “We’ve got to have enough time to go see all the kids and make all the visits, make the toys fit the round. Set out. Check the nice list. Check the nice list again. You know, it’s crazy at this time of year.”

Kris Kringle and the Christmas spirit were at Coastal in Redmond Monday night, three days before Thanksgiving.

For some, taking out that Christmas tree is too early.

“Post-Thanksgiving because it should hit December before they start putting Christmas up because we’re still focused on Thanksgiving,” said Jason from Redmond.

“We’re not going to decorate ’til after Thanksgiving,” said Brianne of Redmond. “You got to do Thanksgiving first, then you can decorate.”

RELATED: Family Kitchen, longtime Bend free meal program, looking for new sponsors

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

And while some may agree, a new study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology finds that the sooner you put out your Christmas decorations, the happier you will be.

For locals Joe, Malory and the family, they hang up the stockings as soon as they roll away the Halloween pumpkins.

“October 31, November 1,” said Joe and Malory of Redmond. “My favorite parts. The lights. My favorite part is the blow-ups. My favorite part is Santa.”

So, putting up the lights and snowman decorations out early could jump-start that joy.

The study also claims that people who decorate outside their homes are viewed as friendlier and more approachable than those who don’t decorate.

“I got some hot cocoa, a cookie and a candy cane,” said young Emily.

“I love the holidays! It gives me a chance to cook, make eggnog, that sort of thing. Celebrate family, togetherness.”

But no matter when you decorate here in Redmond, the Holiday spirit is alive and well.

▶️ Redmond man ready to compete in Special Olympics Oregon Fall State Games

It will be a weekend full of games and competition and a special opportunity for those who don’t always get a chance to play.

“It’s definitely kind of nice because I enjoy competing with them because, you know, otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be able to play sports,” said Special Olympics Oregon Fall State Games competitor Zachary Herrmann. “So what this allows us to do is give us a different perspective. Any competitive level.”

Herrmann, 27, of Redmond is competing in his second Oregon Fall State Games this weekend. His sport — one he played since he was a kid — is soccer.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Bend 86-year-old still has passion for basketball, brings home gold medals

RELATED: Jefferson County father, son wrestle each other at collegiate alumni match

“So we practice here on this field for about two hours every week,” he said. “Lot of drill training, a lot of just like scrimmages, just so that we can get a feel for others of what the matches are going to be like.”

When Herman is not working at Mcdonald’s, he’s on the field with other athletes from the High Desert Special Olympic program.

“And those who aren’t competing this weekend are going to be, you know, doing all the conference stuff so that, you know, anywhere from photography to doing surveys with parents of athletes or just spectators,” he said.

The Games are organized for those with intellectual disabilities and take place every year at Providence Park in Portland.

▶️ Bend City Council assesses camping code 8 months after launch

There’s no such thing as the perfect plan. That also goes for accommodating the homeless.

That’s why the city of Bend spent Wednesday night assessing the good, bad and the ugly of a camping code that took effect earlier this year.

“With our camping code, we always knew it was really important to come back and take a look at how it’s working,” said Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler. “That’s what I’m going to be doing tonight, is making sure that we’re hearing from our staff about any changes that might be needed right now and in the future.”

RELATED: Shepherd’s House asking for Thanksgiving food, winter gear donations

RELATED: Another old Bend motel being converted into low-income housing

After lots of time creating and implementing the Bend camping code, the city council heard an update on how things were going. City staff and local law enforcement presented their lists, including monthly notices, abandoned vehicles, and calls for service.

It then cited a few trends that have emerged with the new code, like fewer longer-term encampments, less resistance to clean-ups and the removal of property.

There was also a focus on where the homeless can and should go when forced to move. That’s especially important with the rule that vehicles have to move every three days by a minimum of 750 feet.

“So here I am stuck here going, how do I get out of here,” asked a homeless man during public comment. “You guys have any resources for me? A direction? A phone number? Something?”

It’s homeless folks like this who can use shelter in the meantime, something else the city continues to work on through safe parking, managed camps and non-profit shelters.

Councilor Megan Perkins says that over the last few months, the council, the county, local service providers and the state have been working on a list of properties for outdoor camps.

“The idea is that these are diverse properties for RV camping, safe parking, you know, outdoor managed camp, supportive camp, and they have been sort of honing these properties based on, you know, feasibility. Can they actually can you actually, you know, make something work there,” Perkins said.

Bend adopted changes to its Municipal Code in December 2022. Application of the new code began in March 2023 and staff reported no citations have been given out since that time.

▶️ Summit boys soccer celebrates state title at end-of-year banquet

Another blue trophy belongs to the Summit High School boys’ soccer team.

“As the clock ticks down, you know that excitement’s there. And there’s nothing better than when it hits zero,” said head coach Tom Bunnell. “Just the celebration for the guys is so fun, you know? I mean, that is why you play the game, and especially high school sports. High school sports are really cool.”

The Storm won the Oregon 5A boys soccer championship Saturday.

On Tuesday night, it was time to celebrate.

“I mean, won a state championship,” said senior Tommy Carroll. “Lots of positive. Super happy. Some great growth from players overall this season.”

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Summit Storm win Oregon 5A Boys Soccer championship

RELATED: New Summit boys soccer coach brings pedigree of 5 state title

From the seniors to the freshmen, everyone contributed to this championship season.

“After the 3-0 South Eugene game in the preseason, I feel like after that game confidence just started growing after that. Abd we just started seeing in practices like we knew we had a chance of getting to the final, and we just had to put in results and effort,” said freshman Quentin Swanston.

The Storm ended the season with a 15-1-3 overall record and outscored opponents 73-7 this year.

“So I didn’t really know the guys,” Bunnell said. “I could tell right away that it was a great group of guys, a real tight-knit group of guys, good friends. They got along. And with me, the team concept is everything, especially in high school sports. You don’t have enough time not to be friends.”

It’s the program’s second state title in the last three years, the first under Bunnell. This was his first season with Summit after winning multiple state titles in Washington.

“It’s a celebration with all the teams, which, you know, it’s something here that I think we’re going to really go with, and that is you’ve got 80 guys and they’re the team,” Bunnell said. “I know that sounds really cliche, but this is where you kind of get to celebrate the program as a whole and what’s coming.”