▶️ Fisher, Lava Bears fly past Comets, move on to semifinals game

The No.2 ranked 5-A softball team in state, The Bend Lava Bears took care of business against Crater on Friday, earning a 7-0 victory.

Bend now takes on Lebanon at home on Tuesday.

In 4-A the Crook County Cowgirls took on the top-rated Henley Hornets and held their own, losing 9-8.

In baseball, Ridgeview lost to West Albany 8-2 in an away game.

Also traveling, the Mountain View Cougars who lost to Wilsonville 4-1.

At the 4-A level,  Crook County lost to No. 1 ranked Scappoose 8-1.

In 3-A, Sisters lost to Cascade Christian 9-2, and the La Pine Hawks fell to Banks 8-4.

▶️ Twinning! Madras Elementary has 7 sets of twins

Something unique is happening at a tiny Central Oregon School. Madras Elementary currently has seven sets of twins.

“I had never even honestly seen but one set of twins when I was a child. And then after these twins were born, I’m seeing them everywhere,” said Susan Wommick, grandmother of twins Michael and Angel. “It’s like it’s like a bloom of twins.”

“That’s just insane to me,” said Viany Garcia, the mother of twins. “When they called me about it, I was like, there’s no way there are that many sets of twins.”

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At Madras Elementary, a school of 345 students, you may just turn your head twice because the school will have you seeing double.

“Very uncommon, really,” said 5th-grade teacher John Lewis. “Through most of my teaching career, I’ve seen, and I’ve taught at school with over 1,400 kids before, and there was two sets of twins. There was only two sets.”

Just over 3% of childbirths are twins. At Madras Elementary, their percentage is over 4%. And the twins at Madras are all different types.

There are identical twins, which result from the fertilization of a single egg, with the fertilized egg then splitting into two. 

There are fraternal twins, which result from the fertilization of two separate eggs during the same pregnancy. They share half of their genomes, just like any other siblings. Fraternal twins may not be of the same gender.

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And then there are mirror twins. They have certain physical characteristics in common — these similarities are just reflected on opposite sides of their bodies. For example, one left-handed and the other right-handed.

“In kindergarten, in first grade, they were swapping classes constantly,” said Wommick. “One liked the other teacher better than the other. So we were constantly trying to figure out who is who. And then they got the trick of the teacher handing in the pencil and whoever grabbed it with which hand they can figure out who is.”

Mirror twins only occur when a single egg splits, and that split causes specific traits to develop.

If you think that is strange, those that spend a lot of time with twins say they even silently understand each other.

“They can communicate just looking at each other and I think you check your answer there without saying any words,” said Madras Elementary teacher Lauren Boyle.

“Sometimes, as I like to say, a little secret twin language sometimes,” said Lewis. “So, they can get things passed between each other that you’re not even aware of.”

In a school full of twins, Lewis is unique in his own right. No, he’s not a twin. But…

“My one half of my head is distinctly different than my other half,” said Lewis. “I’m genetically split across my body.

“My one thumb doesn’t necessarily have a hitchhiker, but this one does,” Lewis said, showing us that his left thumb can bend back more than his right when he extends it.

“Everyone notices I have a blue and a green eye and they wonder what’s going on and I’m all alone,”Lewis continued. “Apparently, I was supposed to be a twin, but I never broke apart. Or I absorbed my twin.”

The school separates the twins from classrooms, giving the kids a chance to grow as individuals.

It’s not the similarities, same birthday, or unique language that makes them special, but the love. the caring, and the bond.

I mean, as much as they do fight their best friends, so it’s great to see their bond and how different they are at the same time,” said Garcia.

Twins still have their own communication in their own connection,” said Wommick. “So I think it’s amazing, and I think that gives them a lifelong friend no matter what because they’re always going to be connected.

▶️ Olympic medalist Diggins, US Cross Country visits Bend to teach young skiers

The U.S. Olympic Cross Country Ski Team made a stop in Bend on Wednesday to host a clinic for young skiers.

The team, led by three-time Olympic medalist Jessie Diggins and head coach Matt Whitcomb, aimed to inspire young skiers to challenge themselves while also having fun and being good teammates.

“We want people to see that, yes, you have to work hard and challenge yourself if you want to go to the Olympics, but you can also have fun and love what you’re doing and be a good teammate. And those are equally important things,” said Diggins. She won the first-ever U.S. Cross Country Olympic gold medal with teammate Kikkan Randall in 2018.

The clinic kicked off Wednesday with an event at Riverbend Park. That was followed up Thursday morning with a 4-hour training session at Mt. Bachelor.

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The team visits Bend every May to take advantage of the world-class skiing at Bachelor.

“We’ve had 30 kilometers for the last two weeks, and we still have two more days to go,” said U.S. Cross Country Ski Team head coach Matt Whitcomb.

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Kids at the clinic were separated into groups and had the opportunity to learn from Diggins and other members of the team.

The clinic included games aimed at improving agility and core strength, as well as getting to know each other and introducing themselves to the local community.

The U.S. Olympic Cross Country Ski Team has been visiting Bend for the last 20 years, and Diggins has been coming for over a decade.

“The local ski community has been so welcoming. Every single year they open their arms to us and their trail systems, and we just feel so at home here. We love being here and we love interacting with the skiers,” said Diggins.

▶️ Culver baseball, softball shows up big on senior night

The Culver baseball and softball teams both played in their final regular season home games on the year. The boys and girls both played in a double-header.

Softball defeated Regis 9-1 and 18-2, while the baseball team had a few closes victories, 2-1 and 9-7.

The baseball team is currently is second play in league play  (13-5) and the softball team is sitting at that third-place spot in league (12-7).

Both teams are expected to play in the postseason.

You can find scores and schedules here: 

▶️ Queen of the mound: Lava Bear Addisen Fisher’s journey to top prospect

▶️ Mountain View bests highly ranked 5-A Ridgeview in league leader shootout

▶️ Madras High School creates Native American tribal room

Once the idea of a Native American Tribal Room came about at Madras High School, the school district was all in.

“Kids wouldn’t come talk to me because they believed that they were in trouble because I worked in student services, and so that was kind of a barrier for my position,” said Native American Community Liaison Mariah Stacona-Alexander. “And so my idea was, you know what, we saw this need from our education committee and parents and so that’s how this room came about.”

Recently opened, it brought a safe place for kids to go during and after school.

“I was excited because it was just going to be in the room, and I think that’s pretty cool to have our own room,” said MHS sophomore James Napyer.

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“It’s just like a home to other people,” said MHS sophomore Rebecca Francis. “If they don’t feel comfortable anywhere else, they always come here to work or to, like, eat or get food or something.”

Stacona-Alexander says the room has brand-new computers for students and areas designed to get schoolwork done.

“The furniture,” she said. “We just wanted a comfortable, neutral color so the kids just don’t feel overwhelmed with too much colors or anything like that. So that’s kind of where the color scheme comes in.”

More than 30% of the student population is Native American at Madras High School, which now has a room — open to all — that embraces and welcomes Native American culture.

“As far as the room, the mural is made up of different basket designs,” Stacona-Alexander said, “So the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs is made up of three tribes — Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute. So once you take a look at the room, you will see those different basket designs. So we try to represent our three tribes.”

It’s a place to reflect and embrace the past while looking toward and preparing for the future.

“We have a lot of resources on the wall from clubs,” she said. “Graduation requirements. Johnson O’Malley forums, which helps students pay for any activity school related. So there’s just a bunch of different programs that use this room because we oftentimes try to bring in resources for our Native American students.”

▶️ 2 Redmond safe parking locations near Highway 97 approved

The Redmond safe parking transitional housing program is expanding once again, meaning there will be new places people can live out of their cars and vans while following certain rules.

A Point in Time homeless count was presented to the Redmond during Tuesday night’s city council meeting. The snapshot on January 24 counted 262 homeless in Redmond.

“Nineteen children who are under the age of 18,” said Unhoused Services Data Coordinator for NeighborImpact, Caitlin Rodgers. “Of our adult population, 12 community members are veterans. Seventy-five community members are experiencing chronic homelessness.”

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Executive Director Rick Russell for the Mountain View Community Development says the safe parking program sees one-third of participants move on to some sort of stable housing.

“In front of the Redmond City Council for our fifth and sixth Safe parking site,” said Russell. “If they approve it, it would open up 12 new parking spaces, and that would give us a total of 27 spaces for families in Redmond.”

Russell gave a presentation along with Shepherd’s House Ministries on the potential new east and west Highway 97 locations.

“Community development has worked out a plan to lay down a layer of gravel there and where the safe parking vehicles will be parked will be on top of that gravel. And there will be a strip from the highway connecting it,” said Shepherd’s House Redmond Director Andrew Hoeskma.

“On the east side, there is less total feedback from neighbors and really broadly supportive. We did not hear back from Dutch Bros or Abby’s, but the businesses to the south broadly supported the program.”

The council unanimously approved both sites and some additional costs for the project.

“There are a few issues on the property that we need to address,” said Russell. “We need to do some cleanup there and some prep work, and it’s going to take about three weeks. So we think by June 1st, we should be up and running.”

The Redmond Police Department recently awarded Rick Russell and the Mountain View Fellowship Church the Community Partnership award.

PR Hwy 97 5823 Post Approval


▶️ Housing, commercial development near Old Mill gets planning commission OK

A new development is working to transform 33 acres of dirt into a plethora of housing and commercial space in Bend. The Timber Yards master Plan now been given the go-ahead by the city planning commission.

The development would be on SW Industrial Way, next to the Box Factory and the Old Mill District. It would include 1,600 housing units, a 180-room hotel, retail and office space.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing Monday, getting input from developers and designers for the project and from the public.

“We have this really rough crossing right on the apex of this horizontal curve, and everyone knows what I’m talking about,” said Joe Bessman with Transight Consulting for Timber Yards Development. “When we come in here, part of our first phase is going around about there, not only to slow down traffic, which is what it’s going to do but to have those enhanced pedestrian crossings around there.”

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Several people spoke from businesses right next door to neighborhood associations and environmental groups. The comments ranged from excitement to concern.

“We’re very excited about the development. We’re excited by the plan, the conceptual plan. We’re excited by the team,” said co-Founder of the Crux Fermentation Project Paul Evers. 

“We’re very nervous about what that future holds for the business, as well as fire safety for customers and employees, that we have continued access,” he continued.

“We are the little village being trampled by elephants,” said Karen Harding with Old Bend Neighborhood. “The Timber Yards development offers much to our city, but without traffic mitigation on Sizemore, the elephants will trample our dogs, our children, and the safety of our neighborhood. Please redirect the elephants.”

“Simply put, this project is transformative not only for this project site but for the entire core area in the city of Bend,” said Cities and Towns Program Manager at Central Oregon LandWatch Corie Harlan.

The planning commission discussed the project before they decided unanimously to recommend the development to the Bend City Council.

▶️ Mountain View bests highly ranked 5-A Ridgeview in league leader shootout

The Mountain View Cougars baseball team hosted the Ridgeview Ravens Friday night and bested the Wolfpack in a high scoring 14-13 victory.

This put the Cougars on top of the Intermountain Conference with only a few games left in the season.

Caldera, Bend’s newest high school, still without a senior class yet, lost to Redmond 8-6 in their game.

For the rest of the baseball and softball scores visit: https://www.osaa.org/activities/sbl/schedules

▶️ Sisters Park and Rec in agreement to turn school into community center

It looks like Sisters Country is getting something the public has been asking for — a more significant community center.

Things are moving forward for the Sisters Park and Recreation District to repurpose the Old Sisters Elementary School into a community recreation center once a new elementary school opens in 2024.

“We’ve just entered into a letter of intent with the school district,” said Executive Director at the Sisters Park & Recreation District Jennifer Holland.

“(We) also continue to hear is there is not enough drop-in basketball. Opportunities are drop-in pickleball opportunities and more time to do fitness programs or expand child care seats, which is another need here in the community. We do live in a child care desert.”

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Holland says having more space would allow the district to better serve the community’s needs.

The recreation district hopes to finalize a lease agreement by August.

“Our intent would be to spend that summer moving into the old elementary school and making it fit for our needs to be able to have a grand opening sometime in fall to be able to start serving the community,” said Holland.

The community asked for a larger community center. Now, it is the community that is going to choose the operational fate of the possible new facility.

Voters will see a Parks and Rec Option levy on this May’s ballot, a renewal of the current rate of $0.15 per $1,000 assessed property value.

“If that wasn’t to pass, it would make the transition more difficult,” Holland said. “I’m not sure if it is something that we would be able to proceed with. We are a highly underfunded special district, so the local option levy is a renewal at the current rate. It’s not adding more taxes, but it does allow us to have the flexibility to take advantage of these opportunities when they come about.”

Local Option Levy Education Flyer_Updated