CCSD caps summer school enrollment after demand exceeds expectations

The Crook County School District has capped enrollment for elementary summer school due to high demand, officials said Monday.

Enrollment opened for the program in early April and it filled up within a few weeks.

The district expects the program to serve 630 students.

“This is absolutely incredible. We anticipated at least a few hundred students, but the numbers exceeded our expectations,” said Summer School Administrator Michelle Zistel. “The demand is so great, we’ve had to cap enrollment to match the number of staff members we have available.”

The elementary Summer Blast program will be held at Barnes Butte Elementary School and include a variety of fun and engaging activities that will also be educational.

Students will work on improving reading, writing, and math skills that are focused on STEM education, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Classes happen three days a week from June 29th through July 29th.

“Every week we’ll have a science-based theme with a focus on chemistry, biology, physics, or engineering,” said Activities Director Jonathan Oelkers. “We want this program to feel like a true summer camp, so we’ll start the day with a tribal challenge and end with tribal council to build unity and community with the student tribes,”

Plans are still being developed for summer school programs at Crook County Middle School and Crook County High School. Enrollment for those programs will open up in early May.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson said summer school became a priority for district leaders and the school board to regain lost educational opportunities during COVID-19 and create additional face-to-face time with teachers and staff.

The goal is to ensure students are caught up by next school year.

“The basics of reading, writing, math, and vocabulary remain key to future success for our students, so we reached out to our staff who came up with some amazing ideas to both recapture learning and make it a fun and memorable experience for students,” Johnson said.

Nutrition Services will provide breakfast and lunch for students each day, and families requiring transportation for summer school are asked to contact the district’s transportation department and sign up for bus service.

CCSD Transportation Department
(541) 447-7789

▶️ DNF conducts prescribed burns for first time since fall 2019


During the pandemic, prescribed burns weren’t happening through the Deschutes National Forest.

Deschutes National Forest Service said one reason they weren’t burning is to prevent the spread of COVID among firefighters.

The other reason: air quality.

“Lots of concern with putting smoke in the air during a pandemic that could have respiratory consequences for some folks,” said Alex Enna, prescribed fire program manager.

That pause caused a backlog in needed prescribed burns.

“We are not going to be able to catch up entirely, but if the weather windows line up and we don’t have an early start to the fire season, hopefully we will get those higher priority units done,” said Enna.

Wednesday was their first prescribed burn since fall 2019.

The agency has several burns scheduled.

“Those cross boundary burns in Shevlin Park, near the High Desert Museum, some burning in the Highway 97 corridor, near Sunriver and the westside of Bend,” said Enna.

Enna said when smoke is in the air, it means restoration and fire prevention are taking place.

“We need to make sure we are having that opportunity and taking that opportunity to conduct those prescribed burns so that we can do that good work on the ground and hopefully mediate those large fires that do happen,” Rob Newery, assistant fire management officer, said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, they burned 3,000 of the planned 1,000 acres of forest.

“It’s really essential for the health of the overall ecosystem that we are applying fire back in the landscape,” Newery said.

Weather permitted the burning will be completed by Friday.

Prescribed burning will continue through the spring.

Lakeside town battered by wildfires has a new worry

(AP) – The mayor of a lakeside Oregon town is worried that a plan to lower the risk of a large earthquake causing the nearby dam to fail will hurt its tourist industry.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has determined that a large earthquake could cause the spillway gates of the Detroit Dam to buckle, resulting in massive flooding, has announced it will try to minimize the danger by reducing the maximum height of the lake by five feet starting in April.

The nearby town of Detroit was heavily damaged by a wildfire last year.

It depends on visitors coming to enjoy the lake to help revive the economy.

The mitigation measure could affect boat ramp access.

Lawsuits seek over $1B from Pacific Power over wildfires

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Two new lawsuits filed in Marion County seek more than $1 billion in damages from Pacific Power, claiming the utility’s negligence led to wildfires in the Santiam Canyon last year.

The Statesman Journal reports the two lawsuits filed Wednesday represent over 100 people impacted by the Beachie Creek Fire.

The two law firms leading the effort, Edelson PC and Johnson Johnson Lucas and Middleton, say Pacific Power, doing businesses as PacifiCorp, “failed to safely design, operate, and maintain its infrastructure leading to the fire.”

They also allege that PacifiCorp failed to heed warnings of impending “historic” high winds and extreme drought conditions.

Pacific Power said in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation.

Construction begins on FEMA housing site for fire victims

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal officials are starting to build a temporary housing site for residents in Linn and Marion county who lost everything in the 2020 wildfires.

KOIN-TV reports the Mill City site will hold up to 16 temporary housing units, according to the Federal Emergency Management Association.

FEMA is setting up utilities and making sure they are accessible before the mobile homes arrive.

Media relations specialist for FEMA, La-Tanga Hopes, said the homes are expected to arrive in Mill City in three to four weeks, depending on the weather.

In Oregon, 250 families have been approved to receive FEMA Direct Temporary Housing.

The agency says that number has decreased over time as many households have located alternate temporary or permanent housing on their own.

Brown calling lawmakers back for special session on COVID, wildfire relief

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown is calling Oregon lawmakers back to the Capitol for a one-day special session, asking them to approve hundreds of millions of dollars to aid people and communities struggling with the pandemic and the effect of this summer’s devastating wildfires.

In a statement Tuesday Bown said the Legislature would convene Dec. 21 and consider $800 million in relief funding.

“Oregon families are struggling with unemployment, housing, food insecurity, and paying their bills — and those most impacted are the same people who are often left behind, including rural, Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities,” the Democrat said in a statement.

Since the start of the pandemic in Oregon, more than 95,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed and 1,161 people have died.

Shutdowns and restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 have also caused widespread job losses and business closures.

Deadly wildfires in late summer also burned about 1,500 square miles across the state and destroyed more than 2,000 residences.

▶️ RFPA partnership key to saving valuable rangeland from Paisley wildfire

More than one million acres burned.

Four thousand homes destroyed.

Nine lives lost.

Oregon’s 2020 wildfire season was one nobody here will soon forget.

But the work a group of volunteer firefighters in Lake County did on the Brattain Fire will forever be a bright spot in the state’s blackened landscape

Central Oregon Daily Photojournalist Steve Kaufmann reports on a successful partnership between ranchers and the federal government during a tough fire season.

Previous Coverage:

▶️ Despite evacuation notices, some Paisley residents stay behind as Brattain Fire burns


▶️ Bike for Humanity fundraiser set to help Oregon, California fire victims

This Halloween it’s not all about the candy.

Dust off your bike and make a difference.

Bike for Humanity, the global initiative co-created by basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton and wakeboard inventor Tony Finn will be hitting the streets for a socially distanced virtual ride to raise money for wildfire relief efforts in Oregon and California.

Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom has the story.

Oregon State researchers mobilize to study impact of wildfire smoke on wine

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University scientists have analyzed almost 500 samples of wine and grapes from throughout Oregon in recent weeks to better understand the impact of smoke on wine.

Wildfires devastated much of the West Coast of the United States last month, continuing a recent trend of wildfires occurring during the grape harvest in California, Oregon and Washington, three of top four wine-producing states in the U.S.

Grapes absorb smoke from the fires and at high enough levels that the smoke can negatively impact the flavor of the wine and lead to significant negative economic impacts for grape growers and winemakers.

In the immediate aftermath of this year’s fires, wine researchers at Oregon State, who had already been studying the impact of smoke on wine, mobilized to help grape growers and winemakers throughout Oregon. Elizabeth Tomasino and Michael Qian, who both study the chemistry of wine, started accepting samples of smoke-impacted grapes.

After processing the grapes and wine in their labs, they use a gas chromatography-mass spectrometer to analyze the compounds in them.

That analysis provides grape growers and winemakers a sense of how severely their grapes or wine have been impacted by the smoke and can help them decide whether it is worth harvesting the grapes or processing them into wine.

“From a research standpoint, it’s a lot of information that is going to be very useful for current projects and upcoming ones, but from an industry standpoint it may be quite disappointing,” said Tomasino, an associate professor of enology in the Department of Food Science and Technology in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Mike Rava, who grows 40 acres of grapes in Silverton, about five miles from where fires were burning last month, has made two trips to Oregon State in recent weeks to drop off samples with Tomasino.

In a typical year, he would sell his grapes to a winery for around $250,000. After the fires this year, he was trying to decide whether it was worth even picking the grapes. He was appreciative to receive feedback from Tomasino and supportive of their research effort.

“Since our vineyard site was so close to the fires – we’re so extreme with our site’s levels of smoke taint– I think this puts us in a very good data collection area to see if somehow we can save this wine; then we’re going to be learning something,” Rava said.

While the Oregon State researchers are able to provide some guidance to grape growers and winemakers, many questions remain about the impact of smoke on wine. These include:

  • Understanding what compounds in smoke contribute to a smoky tasting wine and what thresholds of those compounds wine drinkers will accept.
  • Determining the key compounds that contribute to smoke taint aromas in different grape varieties and wines.
  • Understanding how to remove those compounds without impacting the quality of wine.
  • Determining at what point in grape development the fruit is most vulnerable to smoke exposure.
  • Determining the relationship between characteristics of a smoke event – such as intensity, duration, proximity, particle size, type of fuel – to grape and wine impacts.
  • Developing standardized, reliable and affordable smoke testing methods for grape growers and winemakers.

“We definitely can get these answers,” Tomasino said. “It is just going to take some time.”

Last year, Oregon State researchers started to address these questions with funding from the American Vineyard Foundation, Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The University of California, Davis and Washington State University are collaborators on the USDA grant. Next year the three universities plan to submit a proposal for a larger grant to expand the research. Data they are gathering now from the grape and wine samples they have collected will be used in their grant proposal.

Tomasino and Qian are part of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, a collaboration between Oregon State, the Oregon wine industry and other academic partners. Other Oregon State researchers who are part of the Oregon Wine Research Institute and conducting smoke exposure research and Extension outreach include James Osborne, Patty Skinkis and Alec Levin.

▶️ ‘Surreal’ scene in fire-ravaged Detroit as HWY 22 reopens

Highway 22 fully reopened Tuesday night after devastating fires tore through the Santiam Canyon five weeks ago.

With the path through the hard hit town of Detroit now accessible, many folks are driving through and seeing the damage firsthand.

Central Oregon Daily News Photojournalist Steve Kaufmann visited the area and talked with some residents members about their cherished community.