Warm Springs burglary suspect faces federal charges after arrest

A wanted Warm Springs man was arrested Tuesday and faces federal charges stemming from a burglary at the Tribal Utilities Department earlier this year.

Levi Joshline Jim was wanted on two tribal warrants, a Jefferson County felony warrant and a Washington State warrant in addition to being the primary suspect in a breaking and entering/theft case involving a stolen Ford F350 pickup, a utility detector, security system and tools.

Warm Springs Tribal Police Chief Bill Elliott said detectives were in the Upper Dry Creek area on Tuesday and saw a man who was identified as Jim.

When the detectives attempted to contact Jim, he ran but was captured after a brief chase.

Based on the follow-up interview Jim, and other evidence, the WSTPD detectives determined they had enough probable cause to charge him with the theft at Tribal Utilities, theft of the tribal pick-up and other break-ins that had been occurring around the reservation.

Jim’s Jefferson County felony warrant was the result of an indictment for multiple burglaries that occurred at businesses in Madras during the month of October.

He was jailed on the outstanding warrants until formal charges can be made in Tribal Court, and as the theft from Tribal Utilities qualifies as Theft or Embezzlement from a Tribal Organization, a federal offense, this case will be forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office for review of charges.


Madras man dies in one-car crash on Highway 197 near Dufur

A Madras man was killed Wednesday morning in a car crash on Highway 197 near Dufur.

Oregon State Police said 25-year-old Garet Nunnery was heading north on the highway around 8:25 a.m. when he drifted into the southbound shoulder and rolled multiple times.

Nunnery was pronounced dead at the scene, OSP said.

Highway 197 was closed for about three and a half hours during the investigation.

2 Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s deputies recognized for life-saving efforts

Two Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been recognized for their life-saving efforts last summer during an incident at Lake Billy Chinook.

The Oregon State Marine Board recognized heroic efforts by Sheriff’s Office deputies, marine safety officers and private citizens, in five separate counties this season, during the agency’s virtual post-season conference held on November 18.

The Life Saving Award recognizes individuals who have exhibited heroism, going above and beyond the call of duty, by directly attempting to rescue one or more persons involved in a water-related incident.

On June 26, Jefferson County Sheriff deputies noticed a group of young men running into the water near the Crooked River boat launch at Lake Billy Chinook.

The young men were swimming to an offshore floating dock. Initially, deputies thought they were racing each other until they heard a person yell that someone was drowning.

Deputy Marty Kaczmarek turned around and saw that there were two people struggling to stay afloat.

One person was submerged with just the top of his head visible.

Dep. Kaczmarek removed his vest and gun and immediately jumped in the water with two other bystanders.

Dep. Kaczmarek and the two bystanders swam out to the floating dock where the two swimmers were struggling.

Dep. Kaczmarek, with the help of a bystander, grabbed one victim and swam him back to Sr. Dep. Melody Zistel, who was now standing in the water up to her neck.

Sr. Dep. Zistel helped pull the victim to shore with the two men.

The first victim was breathing but couldn’t talk and was out of breath.

Three more men swam out and pulled the second victim from the water as Dep. Kaczmarek and Sr. Dep. Zistel was tending to the first victim.  Sr. Dep. Zistel coordinated the medical response and both men were taken to the hospital.

The deputies’ quick actions, along with other civilian bystanders, directly led to two lives being saved.

For more information about the Marine Board, visit https://boat.oregon.gov.

Local farmers, ranchers eligible for up to $4K in grants from HDFFA

Farmers and ranchers in Central Oregon are now able to apply for an On-Farm Efficiency Grant, the newest program offered by the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA).

Farmers and ranchers may apply for up to $4,000 in grant funds to put towards infrastructure upgrades, equipment purchases, professional development, and/or technical assistance.

The goal of this new project is to invest in increasing the ability of Central Oregon producers to overcome shocks and strains on their operations by providing direct farm investments.

“After a really bumpy year for many of our partners still feeling the impact of covid disruptions compounded by severe drought and irrigation cuts, we are excited to be able to invest in projects that will build resilience for the producers growing our food and nourishing our communities,” says Annie Nichols, Agricultural Support Manager for HDFFA.

The High Desert Food & Farm Alliance will redistribute a total of $40,000 in funding from the USDA under the Community Food Project and Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program grants.

A majority of the funds were allocated to HDFFA as an extension of one of the grants through the American Rescue Plan Act passed earlier this year.

Applicants must be located in Crook, Deschutes, or Jefferson Counties or the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

They must be operational during 2021, primarily sell their products within Central Oregon, and be mindful of the environmental impact of their operation.

Grants will require a 50% match in funds which can be provided through cash, in-kind donations, and/or labor. Applicants have until December 20th, 2021 to apply.

Learn more and apply at hdffa.org/ofeg.

▶️ Jefferson Co. Sheriff takes teen through law enforcement simulator

One split decision could change everything when it comes to law enforcement.

A Jefferson County teen got the chance to train as a police officer, learning how to deal with dangerous situations.

“You are always responding to whatever they are doing, you are responding to their actions and so they always have the jump on you,” Jefferson County Sheriff Marc Heckathorn said. “Even you are prepared for danger, sometimes it is very, very fast and you have to be able to make those split-second decisions about what tool you need for what situation and this simulator provides a great way to do it in a safe environment.”

A small-town county sheriff and a 16-year-old teenager interested in law enforcement led to virtual training.

“I have kind of always wanted to be a police officer,” said 16-year-old Madras teen Johan Poland. “I like it. I have a strong sense of justice.”

“I invited Johan to come down here and we did a one-on-one session,” Heckathorn said. “We ran him through probably a dozen scenarios, different types.”

Scenarios through a “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” law enforcement simulator.

“If you pull out a gun, even if you don’t discharge it,” Heckathorn said. “Why did you pull out that firearm, what made you do that and check all of the boxes, cause anytime we do any type of force it is extremely important that it is justified and that is why we are constantly training on it.”

The two also went on a police car ride along.

“When I was his age, I got to go on some ride alongs,” Heckathorn added. “I thought it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, going out and making, pulling people over and responding to calls. So I wanted to give a little of that back.”

“I think we just need to have a better overview of police in the youth these days,” Poland said. “With everything that has been going on, it hasn’t been that great, so I hope I can help others see the good in police officers.”

Poland hopes to study criminology in college after he graduates high school.

▶️ Sport of Kings: Ancient art of falconry alive and well in Central Oregon

Called the Sport of Kings, falconry has roots that date back much further than 17th-century England.

A traditional sport still practiced around the world and right here in Oregon.

Recently a group of falconers got together for their annual meeting in Madras and we tagged along on a hunt.

Bentz, Iowa congressman visit with farmers, ranchers near Madras

Oregon Rep. Cliff Bentz visited the Central Oregon Livestock Auction near Madras Friday, talking to ranchers about agriculture issues.

The congressman was joined by a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra.

The two Republicans heard from the community about concerns in the agricultural arena ranging from cattle and crops to our surrounding forests and water.

Congressman Bentz hopes that in the upcoming legislative session Oregonians can feel there is another person on the Agriculture Committee who understands their problems.

“Now Congressman Feenstra knows the issues we are facing out here and when I go over to him and say Randy I need your help on the money for the new irrigation system out of Lake Billy Chinook, he will know what I am talking about,” Bentz said.

The farm bill is adjusted roughly every five years.

It is slated to be looked at and passed in the next legislative cycle.

▶️ ‘They made the call to answer’; Madras celebrates Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a day when we honor those who served our country.

Some never got a warm welcome home.

“You were called names, spat on, ” Vietnam Veteran Leonard Hellwig said. “Nobody came over to you .. thanked you .. nothing. It was like you were a leper and they stayed away from you. It, It wasn’t easy.”

Hellwig was in the Air Force as a crew chief on F-100 fighters and B-57 bombers in Vietnam.

“It’s taken me a while just to get over that, maybe I haven’t all the way, but I’m trying,” Hellwig said. “Being out here with other veterans, talking with them, maybe just life in general, it’s very healing and that’s why I have dedicated myself now, working with the VFW as much as possible.”

Dedicating himself to make sure other veterans get the welcome home they deserve.

“They made the call to answer, to support their country and we need to support them as well now,” he added.

Events began and ended with a gathering at the community center, hosted by the Madras VFW.

“I just think that the obligation that they fulfilled along with their families is worth remembering and respect and that is what it is all about to me, respecting those who have done, what they’ve done for everyone in this country,” said Vietnam Veteran Craig McDonald. “To bring these things in to focus and remember those who made it all possible and continue to make it possible. That’s the importance of it for me personally.”

A day of honoring. a day of remembering, a day of respect, Veterans day.

Jefferson Co. voters approve $24M school bond measure

Jefferson County School District voters have approved the district’s $24 million bond measure.

It has been nine years since the passage of the last bond measure in the Jefferson County School District.

By Wednesday morning, the bond was passing 58% to 42%.

The approved bond measure is not estimated to increase the current tax rate due to savings from refinancing previously issued bonds and old bonds retiring.

In addition, the district has qualified for a $4 million matching grant from the State of Oregon’s OSCIM program.

“Thank you, voters, of the Jefferson County School District,” said Jefferson County School District Superintendent Dr. Jay Mathisen, “This proposed bond measure will allow the district to make critical health and safety improvements and upgrades to all of our schools. It will truly allow our students to flourish in 509J and get better every day.”

▶️ Jefferson Co. schools look to improve security, facilities

The $24 million bond measure will allow the school district to protect the community’s assets by improving the health, safety, and security in all of the district’s buildings, repairing and updating aging facilities and expanding vocational and early learning opportunities.

The bond will also allow the district to make much-needed improvements at the Madras High School Soccer Fields.

The district will be releasing information about the Citizen Oversight Committee in the coming weeks.

This committee is an independent, volunteer, citizen-led committee established to oversee the use of bond funds.

Jefferson County School District will plan to issue bonds in early 2022 with bond projects estimated to begin in the summer of 2022.

“This is a critical moment for the future of our district and for our students,” shared Laurie Danzuka, Jefferson County School District Board Chair. “The district will now be able to improve the health, safety and security for all students. We are beyond grateful for our community for believing in this bond measure and supporting our current and future students.”

For questions or more information about the Jefferson County School District Bond Measure 16-98, please visit https://509jschoolbond.org