▶️ Gyms adjust processes again as Deschutes Co. moves back to high risk


On Friday, gyms, restaurants and event venues were required to adjust their capacity from 50% to 25% as Deschutes County moved into the high risk COVID-19 category.

For Barre3 Bend, an exercise studio, moving into the new category means limiting all indoor classes to only six people at a time.

“We were at ten, which doesn’t sound like a significant difference, but it really is,” Alisha Wiater, owner of Barre3 Bend, said.

Case counts locally are rising and Deschutes County’s category could get worse before it gets better.

But Waiter said vaccinations are offering some hope on the horizon.

“We hear from new clients, returning clients, every day that they’re ready to come back in and they’re happy to be back,” Wiater said.

Wiater said being flexible is just one aspect of being a business owner this year.

“I just have to keep my eyes and my vision and my focus moving forward and adapting and making it work for our community the best we can, even when we have these setbacks,” Wiater said.

Sharman Watt, owner of the Central Oregon Gymnastics Academy, said she doesn’t have to adjust much at her gym with the category change.

The academy has been operating at around 25% capacity anyway, even through moderate risk.

“Even at a low, even if we were at that low category, we can only operate at 50% and me along with probably everyone else breaks even at 75%,” Watt said. “We can’t even run at a capacity at any scenario that even breaks us even.”

While some people are getting vaccinated and may feel like they can put COVID behind them, Watt said business owners are still feeling the pain of this pandemic.

“I think a lot of people are out there and they just think that we’re all better, the vaccine is there and everything’s all better,” Watt said. “My business and any business like mine — it’s not better.”

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


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.

▶️ Titles, rivalries, undefeated season: Big weekend for CO high school sports


This might be the biggest weekend for high school sports in a long time.

Title games, rivalries, undefeated seasons are on the line.

There were times last year when it seemed we might not see any of that, but now these athletes get their chances in the spotlight.

“It feels pretty good to know that we wanted it enough, put in the work and that we deserve to be here,” Ridgeview senior Scout Bale said about playing in the teams Intermountain Conference league title game Friday.

The Ridgeview girls team went from not knowing if they would have a season, to winning two league overtime playoff games, to now fighting for a chance to bring home a league title.

This weekend is extra special for athletes considering COVID kept many of these students from a chance to compete at all last year.

“I always believed we would make it this far, I am really, really excited and thankful that we even got to play this season and that we did make this far because we deserve it,” said Ridgeview senior Marcella Franco.

The Ridgeview girls aren’t the only Ravens playing in a league title game against Hood River Valley.

The boy’s soccer team is also playing for a conference title at Hood River Valley, also on Friday.

For volleyball, Ridgeview travels to Crook County for their league title game Saturday starting at noon.

“I think that is pretty amazing for our school,” Bale said about how many Ridgeview teams are competing for IMC league titles.

Also in volleyball, the Sisters Outlaws are playing for a 4A title against Sweet Home, which is Saturday at Pleasant Hill, starting at 4 p.m.

“This is kind of like the game of all games,” Sisters senior Ellie Rush said about playing rival Sweet Home. “This is who is going to take it all. I am really excited to play them and hopefully it will be a really good game.”

“We are super grateful we even got to play this season after everything that has gone on and we’re super appreciative of our coaches, school, and staff for helping us get here and of course our teammates and everything for support,” Sisters senior Sophie Silva said.

In football, the Mountain View Cougars have a chance to do something teams rarely achieve.

“Anytime a group has a chance to go undefeated it’s special,” Mountain View Athletic Director Lance Haas said.

Mountain View (5-0) will look to remain unbeaten as they take on their Lava Bear rivals at Bend High Friday.

The game is scheduled to start at  7:15 p.m.

“It would be a great accomplishment for our kids and attribute just to their mental fortitude, their mental effort and our coaches and their sticktoitiveness,” Haas added. “To be in this spot and then to do it, is just a great accomplishment in an unheard of environment.”

Saturday is the last day for fall sports.

Spring sports competitions start next week.

Crooked River Ranch home destroyed by fire after weed burn spreads

A Crooked River Ranch home was destroyed by fire Friday after an outdoor weed burn spread to the property.

Assistant Fire Chief Sean Hartley said crews responded to the home at 14322 SW Buckhorn Place around 9:35 a.m. to find heavy fire and smoke coming from the backside of a single-story home.

The residents were able to get out of the home and nobody was injured, Hartley said.

It took crews about 40 minutes to put out the fire. Multiple crews remained on-scene for several hours performing salvage and overhaul.

The home was considered a total loss with an estimated value of $189,000.

Deschutes Co. COVID cases spiking; 560 new cases reported statewide

Deschutes County COVID cases are spiking again.

The OHA reported 51 new cases in the county on Friday, sending the current week’s count to 210.

It’s the highest single-day count since 71 cases were reported on January 26th.

Deschutes County reported 150 total cases last week, which was up from 132 cases the week before and 60 cases the week of March 20th.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 560 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the state total to 169,338.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (3), Benton (3), Clackamas (51), Clatsop (6), Columbia (7), Curry (7), Deschutes (51), Douglas (8), Grant (24), Harney (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (27), Jefferson (6), Josephine (18), Klamath (25), Lake (2), Lane (47), Lincoln (9), Linn (17), Malheur (2), Marion (33), Multnomah (97), Polk (11), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (10), Union (3), Wallowa (1), Wasco (1), Washington (83) and Yamhill (3).

There is one new COVID related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,440, according to the OHA.

Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Cases by County:
  • 828 in Crook County
  • 6,633 in Deschutes County
  • 2,034 in Jefferson County
Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Deaths by County:
  • 19 in Crook County
  • 72 in Deschutes County
  • 32 in Jefferson County
Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Vaccination data by County:
  • 2,222 series in progress with 4,310 fully vaccinated in Crook County.
  • Total people: 6,532
  • 23,461 series in progress with 46,775 fully vaccinated in Deschutes County.
  • Total people: 70,236
  • 2,603 series in progress with 4,595 fully vaccinated in Jefferson County.
  • Total people: 7,198

Vaccination data for counties now available

Vaccination data showing the status of COVID-19 vaccinations at the county level is now available on OHA’s vaccination dashboard.

It was temporarily disabled last week. OHA resolved an issue with its geocoding process, which had previously miscategorized the location of certain vaccinated individuals.

OHA continually analyzes all its data and performs ongoing data quality checks. Vaccination data requests that included county of residence were delayed due to this issue.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 53,121 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 33,410 doses were administered on April 8 and 19,711 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 8.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,108,731 doses of Pfizer, 993,824 doses of Moderna and 67,071 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 859,912 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 1,374,408 people who have had at least one dose.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

To date, 1,363,635 doses of Pfizer, 1,215,300 doses of Moderna and 193,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

St. Charles on Friday reported it had four COVID patients; one is in the ICU.

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 158, which is 10 fewer than yesterday. There are 39 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one more than yesterday.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

Central Oregon Daily News honored with 2 regional Emmy Award nominations

We’re honored and proud to be able to tell your stories each and every day here on Central Oregon Daily News.

Today, we’re doubly honored to say your stories have been nominated for two regional Emmy Awards – the only Central Oregon television news station to be nominated.

Allen Schauffler donned the safety gear, put on some gloves, and got dirty last year, walking a half-mile of southwest Houston Lake Road, picking up every single bit of trash.

▶️ Rubbish Roads: Junk litters every quiet country mile

Samantha O’Connor’s adventure was a bit more picturesque as she took us all to the clear waters of the Fall River.

It wasn’t a simple afternoon of fly fishing – it was to showcase a program called Tight Blue Lines, which helps first responders decompress and connect with nature.

▶️ Tight Blue Lines: Group lets first responders relax, focus on fish

Of course, Sam and Allen didn’t work on those two stories alone.

Central Oregon Daily News Photojournalist Steve Kaufmann was the talented photographer, editor and co-storyteller for both stories.

The winners will be announced during a virtual ceremony on June 5th.



▶️ War Stories: Kristin Gyford

Kristin Gyford was honored recently by the Veterans Administration, named a Woman Veteran Trailblazer for her work after her service.

Her time in uniform might not have gone as planned, but the life lessons from the Air Force helped make her who she is today.

And it also led her to therapy, a true calling, and a way to help others.

This is her War Story.

Public comment period begins on proposed paved trail connecting Bend-Lava Lands

The Oregon Department of Transportation and Deschutes National Forest are inviting the public to provide feedback on plans for a paved multi-use trail from south of Bend to the Lava Lands Visitor Center.

The proposed 6-mile long trail will start south of Bend at the Baker Rd/Knott Road Interchange.

From there it will wind through a forest and old lava flow, terminating at the Lava Lands Visitor Center at Lava Butte.

Along the way, the multi-use trail provides connections to the High Desert Museum, Sun Lava trail system, and Sunriver.

The proposed path would be built using funds from the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP), which is administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

The Forest Service’s environmental assessment can be accessed on the Deschutes National Forest project website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57665.

A copy of the environmental assessment is also available by contacting the Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest at 541-383-5300 or reaching out to the project manager at cristina.peterson@usda.gov.

For the next 30 days, public comments on the proposed project will be taken.

Comments may be submitted electronically to comments-pacificnorthwest-deschutes-bendftrock@usda.gov .

People are asked to put “Paved Path” in the subject line of their email. Comments must be submitted as part of the actual e-mail message, or as an attachment in Microsoft Word, rich text format (rtf), or portable document format (pdf) only. If using an electronic message, a scanned signature is one way to provide verification. E-mails submitted to e-mail addresses other than the one listed above, in other formats than those listed or containing viruses will be rejected.

Comments may also be submitted in writing by mail and sent to
Kevin Larkin, District Ranger, Bend-FortRock Ranger District
63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend, OR 97701.

Hand-delivered comments are discouraged at this time.

Anyone wishing to obtain additional information on the project or to provide comments over the phone should contact Cristina Peterson at cristina.peterson@usda.gov  or 541-383-4028.

Due to federal regulations comments provided to ODOT are not a part of the Forest Service’s public comment process and anyone who wants their comments to be considered as part of the environmental assessment process must also submit their comments to the Forest Service in the manner described previously.

The trail is a major component of the Lava Lands regional trail system concept, and is expected to serve more than 80,000 visitors a year once it is built.

The Deschutes National Forest currently is preparing an Environmental Analysis (EA) of the proposal, which will also include collecting and reviewing public comments for the portion of the trail within the Forest Service Boundary.

The focus of the feasibility study is to look at trail alignments.

As part of the next phase of the project, ODOT will work with partners including Bend Parks and Recreation District and Deschutes County to look at potential parking facilities in the vicinity of the Baker/Knott Rd.

To help the public better understand this project, ODOT has prepared an online open house website where members of the public can review the feasibility study completed for the project and provide feedback on the alternatives examined.

The open house is located at: https://odotopenhouse.org/openhouse/us97multiusetrailproject.

The site will be open for review and feedback through April 30.


▶️ 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.

▶️ Tumalo Irrigation District says pipe project still on track after vandalism


The Tumalo Irrigation District was almost finished piping a stretch of canals in Tumalo, when it faced an unexpected setback.

“We were pressure testing the pipe two weeks ago and it failed the pressure test,” Chris Schull, interim general manager of the irrigation district, said. “We went investigating to find where the water was coming up, and we located seven different drill holes.”

Holes intentionally drilled, costing an estimated $100,000 in damage, according to Schull.

“It is frustrating when these issues arise,” Schull said. “It costs the district money.”

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. They won’t comment on who might be the culprit.

But the piping has been protested in the past.

In March of 2020, eight property owners filed a lawsuit against this same project, citing environmental concerns.

“I don’t want to speculate,” Schull said. “I’m going to let the Deschutes County Sheriff — they’re the professionals — do their job.”

The district was able to fill in the holes, and Schull said the water turn on date won’t be delayed.

Starting April 19, water will flow through the pipe to around 50 patrons and 520 acres of irrigated land.

“We’re going to run it this year and see how it does,” Schull said. “If we have an issue that continues to arise, that would be something we’d look at doing in the next off season, of digging that up and replacing that at that point.”

The district is offering a reward up to $10,000 for any information on the vandals.

If you have any information, contact the Sheriff’s office.