▶️ Guilty verdict in 2020 Madras murder

A Jefferson County jury came back with a guilty verdict Friday against a man in a 2020 murder in Madras.

Josiah Washington was found guilty on multiple charges including second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon for the shooting of 18-year-old Jonathan Bonfield in Madras.

Josiah and his brother, Jakobi, were arrested at the time.

Sentencing for Josiah is set for June 14.

Jakobi will go on trial in November.

RELATED: Report: Man convicted in murders of Terrebonne couple may get another trial

New Council on Aging executive director on expectations for future

Cassie Regimbal, the new executive director for the Council on Aging of Central Oregon, joins us in studio to talk about her expectations for the organization’s future and programs she’s excited about.



▶️ Your video and photos: Central Oregon thunder, lightning and rainbows

You’d have to be in a soundproof dungeon not to have heard or seen the thunder and lighting rolling through the High Desert Thursday night.

Here are just some of the dozens of photos and videos you sent us via weather@centraloregondaily.com and info@centraloregondaily.com. 

The video above was taken from northeast Bend, looking east. You can make out the double rainbow with a vertical lightning strike going through it.

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RELATED: Your 7-Day Forecast

Jesse Jerome Blythe messaged this to us on Instagram — a super slo-mo of the lightning moving across the sky.


Next, we see lightning strike behind Pilot Butte courtesy of Bill Breneman.


Back to northeast Bend, where Kristina Grubb snapped this beauty.

Lightning Rainbow 5-18-23


Eddie DeBoy got another great shot of it from the Pilot Butte neighborhood.

Lighting Rainbow 5-18-23


Another crack of lighting from Pete McCracken.

Lightning rainbow 5-18-23


Let’s see what this looks like from a higher perspective. Preston Paranada sends this one to us from atop Pilot Butte.

Rainbow lightning from Pilot Butte 5-18-23


And Stacy Abena sent us this side-by-side rainbow and lightning bolt.

Lightning Rainbow 5-18-23


Our former Central Oregon Daily News colleague Allen Martin sent us this hail video from Three Rivers.


And some more hail from La Pine, courtesty of T.G.

La Pine Hail 5-18-23


This is one of our favorite shots. Look how the rainbow seems to act a border, surrounding the orange beneath it. Thanks to Marisela Berlanga for this one.

Orange rainbow


Thanks to Phyllis Van Etten for showing us a glorious rainbow behind Old Glory.

American flag rainbow


Heidi Hadley brings us Rey, enjoying the weather from Dayspring Drive Park.


We apologize, but there was so much, we couldn’t get them all in. Anytime there is some spectacular weather you want to show us, please send it to weather@centraloregondaily.com. 

Madras, Prineville airports getting federal funds for runway improvements

Madras Municipal and Prineville airports are getting more than $1.4 million combined in federal funds for improvements. They are among six airports in Oregon that will be seeing an influx of cash.

The money from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program goes toward runway and pavement improvements and other construction projects.

The airports getting money include: 

  • Madras Municipal: $955,040
  • Prineville: $450,000
  • Florence Municipal: $921,947
  • Southwest Oregon Regional: $500,000
  • La Grande/Union County: $450,000
  • Scappoose $160,000

The awards were announced by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

RELATED: Redmond Airport increases maximum parking rate 60%

▶️ 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.

▶️ COIC picks 7 Central Oregon homeless projects for state money

The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) is sifting through applications of those looking to receive funding from the $200 million Governor Tina Kotek authorized to fight homelessness.

Central Oregon has been awarded nearly $14 million of that. Nonprofits and city governments are among those making requests.

“A project in Madras, a project in Redmond, a project in Bend. Really, a good group of projects that out of the gate will give a sharing of that funding across the region,” said COIC Executive Director Tammy Baney.

So many projects, in fact, that it would cost $21 million. That’s $7 million more than the governor is allocating for the High Desert.

COIC is picking seven projects to move forward with at this point.

“We know we need to serve veterans. We need to serve out medically fragile. We also need to serve LGBTQ+ youth,” said Baney.

>>> Central Oregon Daily News is on YouTube. Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

One of the biggest allocations of funds is going to the City of Madras.

“This will be a 29 bed facility. It’ll be a shelter that’ll have a congregate kitchen area facility as well. They intend to do some affordable housing in that area too,” said Baney.

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Eleven other projects are in the works, but the council needs more information about their proposals.

“We will be working with those projects to get the questions answered and then we are coming up with a mechanism in which we might be able to fund them before we do another funding allocation,” said Baney.

She says Crook County has not filled out an application for any of the state money.

“We’re working closely with that community to make sure that they are represented and funded with the funding, too, to support their needs,” said Baney.

While the money does not have to be spent all at once, it does need to be committed to projects by January 2024.

MAC Meeting 8 Supporting Slides

▶️ Low turnout for Tuesday election can mean each vote counts more

The special district election is Tuesday with a number of races that will be of interest to folks around Central Oregon, including school board elections.

Since it’s not a presidential or gubernatorial year, turnout is expected to be lower. 

“In this local election, because of the lower turnout, your vote will have a greater impact,” said Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison.

Experts say the results of special district elections can have immediate effects.

“Those people elected to those positions make some very important positions that impact the citizens out there on a more day to day basis,” said OSU-Cascades political science professor Judy Stiegler.

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Those positions?

“We’re voting for district directors for local districts such as the library, community college, fire, school boards, water, sanitary, park and rec,” said Dennison.

Leading the way for voter turnout as of Monday is Crook County at 29% — doubling its turnout from the last special district election in 2021.

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Deschutes County has a 21% voter turnout. 

“This election, we tend to have right around 30% and we’re less than that now. But again having a couple of days here for voters to turn out hopefully boosts that up,” said Dennison.

Jefferson County is close to 15%. 

Stiegler says not voting gives smaller, partisan groups more power.

“What you’re effectively doing by not participating in these elections is you’re handing the elections over to to those small groups of people. I don’t care what side of the fence politically you’re talking about, but to small groups of people,” said Stiegler.

Ballot drop-off boxes close at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. The initial results will be posted shortly after voting closes.

Car chase ends in crash – shuts down Highway 26 for hours

On Saturday night, a Jefferson County deputy began chasing a vehicle near Madras.

The pursuit ended when the suspect tried crossing Highway 26 on Elm Lane without stopping. The driver caused a three-vehicle collision.

Due to the crash, the suspect was life-flighted to St. Charles in critical condition. Two of the vehicle occupants from the crash were also transported to St. Charles.

There is not information, yet, on why the chase began. However, police say an investigation is ongoing. 

▶️ 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: 

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▶️ 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.”