Street Dog Hero reports ‘a banner year’ in 2021

Many Central Oregonians might think of Street Dog Hero as an international dog rescue: saving dogs around the world from neglect, hunger, and abuse; transporting them to Oregon; and then fostering them in loving homes until they are adopted into their “Furever Families.”

And that much is true.

What many in the region may not know is that Street Dog Hero (SDH) also has a deep local commitment – rescuing dogs and providing much-needed spay, neuter, and wellness services to the communities that need them most – right here in Central Oregon.

In 2021, SDH continued its upward trajectory of dog rescue while also strengthening its local efforts in Central Oregon, and hiring its first executive director.

It was a banner year by all accounts.

Last year, SDH rescued 522 dogs and seven cats from Central Oregon and around the world.

Here in Central Oregon, they provided low-cost or free spay and neuter surgeries to 407 local dogs and cats, and provided wellness services to 100 local animals.

Internationally, SDH provided wellness services to 500 dogs and cats, as well as 386 free spay and neuter surgeries in Mexico.

Also in 2021, SDH hired Diana Fischetti as its first executive director.

Fischetti said she is thrilled to provide strategic direction and operational oversight for SDH.

Before joining SDH, Fischetti served as the Director of Development and Marketing at United Way of Central Oregon and prior to that, she co-founded, co-owned, and led the operations of Broken Top Bottle Shop.

Currently, she volunteers on the Boards of Directors of Kor Community Land Trust and OUT Central Oregon, and is a former Board member of The Environmental Center.

“Having fostered and adopted a dog from South Korea through Street Dog Hero in 2017, I have a deep heart connection with the organization’s mission and work,” says Fischetti. “As a lover of people, pets, and the planet, I am absolutely honored to bring my nonprofit expertise and business background to this lead and support SDH’s heartwarming work serving dogs and their communities locally and around the world.”

Since its inception in 2017 by Founder Marianne Cox, SDH has rescued 1,833 dogs from neglect, hunger, and abuse around the world, including from South Korean meat farms, overcrowded shelters in Texas, California, and Ohio, and from Central Oregon communities, providing them with wellness, sterilization, transportation, fostering, and adoption.

Since Cox founded the organization, SDH has also provided 1,569 spay and neuter surgeries (806 local and 761 international), as well as wellness services to 1,300 animals (100 local and 1,200 international), to underserved communities.

SDH concentrates its efforts where animals are least likely to receive essential care due to financial, geographic, and cultural barriers.

Organizational rescue efforts last year were focused in Central Oregon, Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, British Virgin Islands, Guam, Mexico, and South Korea.

Some of the most compelling rescues in 2021 included six dogs from Kabul Small Animal Rescue (KSAR) in Afghanistan with knowledge of the impending withdrawal of U.S. troops.

SDH envisions a world where all dogs are healthy, safe, cared for, and wanted.

This is why SDH is focused not only on saving dogs that currently need to be rescued but also on the root causes of pet overpopulation by offering low-cost and free sterilization in hopes of reducing the number of unwanted companion animals that are born.

With the need for affordable spay, neuter, and wellness at an all-time high, SDH was providing these essential services in Central Oregon in 2021, hosting pop-up “Clinics,” serving the communities of Christmas Valley, Madras, and the lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Through their Junior Heroes program, SDH works to educate and inspire the next generation by engaging kids ages six and up in volunteering at events, with foster dogs, and at Clinics.

Today’s youth will make decisions in their lifetimes that will dictate the outcome for future dogs around the world.

SDH also engages children through international Clinics as well, offering the opportunity for participating and education.

One unspayed female dog and her unaltered puppies can produce 67,000 unwanted puppies in only six years. 

One unspayed cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens.

Many don’t survive, or spend their lives plagued by disease.

Those that do survive often go on to continue the cycle.

SDH’s Junior Heroes program can help break that cycle.

As the local nonprofit enters 2022, it continues to deepen its local and international commitments under new leadership.

▶️ Bend fitness instructors place in POSA World Pole Championships

Central Oregon has itself a pair of world title holders competing in a sport that involves strength, flexibility, and balance.

Andrew Krueger and Shannon Daily both placed in the POSA World Pole Championships.

The Central Oregonians made the trip to Bologna, Italy for the competition in December.

The achievement has been a dream of Kreuger’s for a while now.

“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always wanted to be Team USA,” Kreuger said. “I’ve always wanted to do a world competition.”

Kreuger’s performance landed him a 7th place spot in the Men’s Senior Elite Pole Art category.

“I did something revolving around anxiety and depression,” Kreuger said. “The story that I wanted to tell was this person who’s making this decision to not necessarily feel better or be happy, but to just continue moving with their life.”

Daily, the extremely humble 59-year-old, placed 3rd in her age category at that same competition.

“I was going to retire at Sport at 60 because I’m going to be 60 this year,” Daily said. “Now I’m like well maybe I won’t do that. Maybe I won’t retire, maybe I’ll just keep going.”

Both Kreuger and Daily have backgrounds in gymnastics and are instructors at Seksé Fit in Bend.

The local fitness studio proves there is more to the pole than meets the eye.

“Even to look slinky and smooth,” Daily said. “It takes tons of strength and tons of flexibility.”

More competitions are likely in these instructors futures, but for now, they encourage locals to give this sport a go.

“If you’ve ever thought maybe this would be something I’d like, come and try it,” Kreuger said. “It’s worth it.”

▶️ Calling all subs; HDESD says now’s your chance to get into a classroom

If you’ve heard about the need for substitute teachers in Central Oregon and want to take on a substitute teaching job, the training process may be easier than you think.

“We’re always excited to have as many subs available as possible,” said Sheila Miller, the Public Information Officer for the Redmond School District.

The High Desert Education Service District places substitute teachers for every school district in the region

“We need about 60 to 70 subs a day,” said Jayel Hayden, the Director of Human Resources at High Desert Education Service District, “When I say that, I’m thinking about Bend La Pine, our largest school district. So we’re really closer to about 100 subs a day.”

For example, at Redmond High School this past week, 142 class periods needed substitutes due to COVID and other factors.

Due to a lack of staffing, only 56 class periods were covered by substitute teachers.

86 periods were covered by Redmond High teachers on top of their own classes.

▶️ Bend-La Pine Schools scrambles for subs to avoid return to remote learning

“They’re working so hard and they’re giving up their prep periods to make sure that students stay in their in-person learning,” Miller said, “We could not do that without the extra work that these staff members and teachers are doing.”

The HDESD is trying to fill that gap by letting people know just how easy it is for someone with a Bachelor’s degree, or someone that already has a teaching license, to make some extra income as a substitute teacher.

“It’s really that desire to be with kids and work with kids. One of the things that we like to see is subs that have good classroom management,” Hayden said.

If you have a teaching license, applying and scheduling an orientation is all that’s needed.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you need to…

  1. Fill out the HDESD application to be a substitute teacher.
  2. Apply for a restricted substitute license with the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
  3. Send an email to HDESD (kristen.johns@hdesd.org) confirming you applied for the license to schedule an orientation.

The license processing takes up to 60 days.

While there’s an immediate need for subs…it won’t go away after COVID.

“It’s never going to be zero. People have reasons why they can’t come to work all the time,” Miller said.

City of Bend to host virtual open house on Project Turnkey homeless project

The City of Bend will host a virtual community open house to share an update about Project Turnkey-Bend from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25.

The open house will include an update on the City’s plans for remodeling a recently-purchased motel to create emergency shelter units, including images of the proposed renovations and a timeline for completing the improvements. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

Attendees can view the open house two ways.

Community members can participate and ask questions by registering through Zoom. 

City of Bend gets $3M Project Turnkey grant for homeless shelter conversion

Another option is to watch the livestream of the open house without participating; no registration is required for this option. The registration link and livestream of the virtual open house are both available at bendoregon.gov/project-turnkey.

The City of Bend was awarded $2.97 million in state funding from Project Turnkey to purchase a motel property and remodel it for use as a managed shelter.

Located at 2346 NE Division St., the City will open the shelter after remodeling the 8,895 square-foot building and making improvements to the property. Once remodeled, it will provide 28 rooms for shelter use.

For more information on Project Turnkey visit www.bendoregon.gov/project-turnkey.

▶️ OSU-Cascades students, community members give back on MLK Day of Service

Books…furniture…clothes. 

It was all sorted by hand on Monday at the Humane Society of Central Oregon Thrift Store. 

Eighteen volunteers, made up of students from OSU-Cascades and other central Oregon community members, decided to use this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service to give back. 

“We reached out to several different places, some of them didn’t get back to me,” said OSU Events Coordinator and sophomore Isabella Crews, “But the Humane Society was super welcoming and friendly, and they got back to me very quickly.”

The holiday was passed by Congress in 1994 to honor the late figure, known for his contribution to the civil rights movement, and to continue his legacy of public service. 

“I think one of the best ways to help a community or help the world is to start small and help your own community, and I wanted to share that with my fellow students and encourage them and provide a place for them to volunteer as well,” Crews added. 

Volunteers were divided into two-hour shifts at both the thrift store and the animal shelter. 

Elena Strahm from Portland took the day to volunteer at the thrift store while visiting her mom, who lives in Sisters. 

“I’ve wanted to bring my son volunteering for a really long time but we just get caught up in life, you know? So the fact that we don’t work today or have school was a really good opportunity to give back,” she said. 

Her 8-year-old son, James, said his favorite part about volunteering was “chucking the bags in the cardboard bin.” 

“I love to volunteer…I just like to help people,” he said. 

For some volunteers, it wasn’t a first. 

“I had a professional career my whole life, and now I’m very fortunate to be retired in Bend, and we love to do any volunteer jobs that we can,” said volunteer Liz Rachum. “We’re big animal lovers here, so that’s why we support the Humane Society.” 

Everything they sorted will end up downstairs in the thrift store, where it will be sold to benefit some of central Oregon’s smallest and fluffiest community members. 

“People don’t realize that when people donate gently used items to our thrift store, they get sorted and they get sold, and about a third of our revenue is generated by the sales from our thrift store,” said Lynne Ouchida, Community Outreach Manager for the Humane Society of Central Oregon. 

“So donating and shopping at the thrift store has an immediate impact on helping us to save lives.” 

Four students also volunteered at the shelter itself, where they helped organize the storage room. 

“OSU-Cascades students have come out for a few years in a row so…it’s nice to have a relationship with an organization. They know the types of jobs here at the shelter as well as at the thrift store, and they’re usually animal lovers, and they want to give back to help those animals in need,” Ouchida added. 

Sorting clothes, saving lives, and spreading positivity were the main objectives of the day. 

Ouchida said that donations had also been pouring in online and in person in honor of Betty White’s 100th birthday, which would have been the 17th. 

For more information on volunteering with the Humane Society, visit hsco.org

UPDATE: Missing 16-year-old Bend girl found safe, returned home

Bend Police have located 16-year-old Aracely Gonzalez-Arteaga, who was reported missing on January 13th.

Officers were notified Sunday just after midnight by a community member of Gonzalez-Arteaga’s possible whereabouts.

Officers responded to the location and were able to locate the Mountain View High student, who was found unharmed.

Foul play is not suspected and Gonzalez-Arteaga has since been reunited with her family.

The Bend Police Department would like to thank the community for their assistance in locating Aracely.

▶️ The return of the Oregon Wrestling Classic

One of the biggest wrestling tournaments in the state kicked off today, the Oregon Wrestling Classic at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center, in Redmond.

After a small hiatus last year, the dual-style tournament is back.

All classifications 1A-6A were there and athletes were ready and eager to get things rolling.

There is no vaccine requirement for this year’s Classic, but event officials tell us several COVID protocols are set in place, but no fan limitations.

The classic continues through tomorrow with championship matches beginning at around 8 p.m.

 It is a cash only event and tickets will cost you $15.

Proposed sculptures on display for Bend’s new Alpenglow Community Park

Models of the proposed art sculptures for Alpenglow Community Park (located at 61049 S.E. 15th Street) will be on display at the downtown Bend Deschutes Public Library from January 15-29 and at the Larkspur Community Center from January 31-February 7.

Community members of all ages are invited to review and provide input on the three finalist’s works of art mutually selected by the Art in Public Places committee, Bend Park & Recreation District staff and Bend Park & Recreation Foundation members.

The sculpture selected will be included in the public art collection for Bend Park & Recreation District.

At 37 acres in size, Alpenglow Community Park will provide a wide array of recreational activities for users of all ages and abilities while retaining the natural characteristics of the existing landscape.

This new community park is expected to open by summer 2022. The sculpture will be located in a native grass area west of the event pavilion, directly adjacent to the park’s central pathway.

This open area can be seen from various vantage points throughout the park, and the sculpture is envisioned as becoming a focal point for everyone enjoying the park.

“The caliber of responses to the call for artists was extraordinary and we reviewed excellent submissions,” said Romy Mortensen, President of Art in Public Places.” The finalists are three very talented artists with international portfolios, and we eagerly welcome the public input to help select a piece that speaks to our community.”

The three finalists were selected from a call to artists that attracted over 85 submissions.

The three artists are Troy Pillow from Seattle, WA; Michael Stutz from Fallbrook, CA; and Joshua Wiener from Boulder, CO.

The selected art sculpture is anticipated to be installed in late fall 2022.

“Art brings community together and parks are very much the same way,” said Ian Isaacson, landscape architect and project manager, Bend Park and Recreation District. “Southeast Bend is growing and changing rapidly and Alpenglow Park will become a hub of community gathering. The art sculpture will add to the outdoor experience and we’re excited to have public input help inform the final selection.

Art in Public Places has created a page on the website offering the community the opportunity to contribute their public input online.

For the first time, AIPP welcomes public comments online increasing the community engagement with new public art in Bend.

Images of the three models can be found at https://artinpublicplaces.org/public-input.html.

Funding for the public art is from the Bend Foundation, a non-profit founded and funded by Brooks Scanlon and Brooks Resources Corporation.

Art in Public Places is a non-profit organization that provides art to various locations throughout the city of Bend. For more information, visit https://artinpublicplaces.org/

Bend man arrested on drug trafficking charges after brief police pursuit

A Bend man was arrested Thursday on drug trafficking charges after a Bend Police K-9 found drugs in his car, according to authorities.

Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said detectives identified 37-year-old Schaun Michael Johnson from an ongoing investigation as a fentanyl and methamphetamine trafficker.

After a surveillance operation in several counties, Johnson was pulled over by police on Highway 97, between Sunriver and Bend.

Vander Kamp said during the traffic stop, Bend Police K-9 “Lady Bug” detected the presence of drugs in Johnson’s 2021 Ford F-150.

After Lady Bug alerted her handlers, Johnson sped away, leading Deschutes County Sheriffs deputies on a chase, said Vander Kamp.

DSCO ended the pursuit out of concerns for public safety.

Vander Kamp said Johnson threw large amounts of methamphetamine and fentanyl from his truck onto the highway as he drove off.

Detectives briefly closed the highway to collect the drugs from the roadway. 

Other detectives found Johnson’s truck off the road, just south of the Baker Rd. exit.

Johnson left the truck and ran into the nearby woods.

Deputies and detectives searched the area with the help of a DSCO drone and a U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement tracking K-9.

Johnson was soon found running in the area, and immediately surrendered when he was confronted by law enforcement.

Vander Kamp said when authorities searched Johnson’s truck, they found methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and prescription drugs.

Johnson, a convicted felon, also had a stolen pistol, according to Vander Kamp.

He was taken to the Deschutes County Jail and charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of controlled substances, unlawful possession of heroin, tampering with evidence, felon in possession of a firearm, 1st degree theft, and two counts of attempting to elude.

 

Damaged Skyliner lift at Mt. Bachelor out of commission indefinitely

The Skyliner Express chairlift at Mt. Bachelor will be out of commission for “an indefinite period” after crews on Wednesday discovered damage to major components that likely will have to be remanufactured. 

President and GM John McLeod provided the update on the ski area’s website, saying when the popular lift went down just before Christmas, they knew it would be a complex fix but believed the damage was limited to standard, available components.

“Had this been the case, we had all the parts necessary to have Skyliner back in action for the upcoming weekend,” he said. 

Instead, the quad sustained damage to “major components,” McLeod said that will require Mt. Bachelor and the lift manufacturer, Doppelmayr, to engineer a solution.

McLeod said teams are already implementing contingency plans to re-imagine the resort for a period without this important lift and the terrain and parking area that it serves. This will include:

  • Moving some of the Woodward Parks to new areas of the mountain
  • Expanded grooming of less frequently groomed areas of other parts of the mountain
  • Running shuttles from the Skyliner parking lot so it can continue to utilize that parking area and provide access to Skyliner trails for those willing to ride a bus back to West Village for their next lap (think untouched powder runs on certain days!) 

“Our resort will transform over the next few days and possibly weeks as we explore ways to make lemonade from this bunch of lemons,” McLeod said.

He said crews finished recovery work on the Summit chairlift, which had experienced extensive icing from a week-long storm cycle. 

Weather kept the lift closed Thursday, but McLeod expected it to turn on Friday.

“The weekend looks clear for continuous Summit operations,” he said. “As always, the Mt Bachelor team’s dedication and creativity will shine through, and although we are all sad to be without Skyliner for a bit longer, we will do whatever we can to make the most of what we have, which is still plenty!”