▶️ Bend Park and Rec fall program registration Tuesday; You need to move fast

Registration for fall recreation programs at Bend Park and Recreation District opens Tuesday morning.

Fall programs run from September through December. BPRD said programs “include youth and adult activities, no-school day programs, arts, outdoors, swimming, sports and ice season favorites including skating, hockey and curling.” The full schedule can be found in the Fall 2022 Online Playbook.

Registration opens Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. and spots are expected to fill up quickly.

RELATED: Bend’s Kids’ Corner childcare program back after 2-year hiatus

Those interested are encouraged to register online or in person at the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, Larkspur Community Center or the District Office during regular business hours.

But note that if you don’t already have a household account, setting one up can take up to 24 hours. Everyone is encouraged to verify their account details before registration opens.


▶️ Bend-La Pine school bus safety event this week for new riders

From the Bend-La Pine School District:

New bus riders, kindergarten students and their families are invited to learn about bus safety and take a spin on a school bus during the Winnie the Pooh School Bus Safety programs at Bend Transportation Department’s Bus Center August 16 and 17. During the events, families will watch a short movie featuring Winnie the Pooh, learn about the rules of bus riding and ride a bus together.

“The Winnie the Pooh Bus Safety events are a great opportunity for us to meet new bus riders and make sure they understand bus safety and how to ride our buses,” said Kim Crabtree, Director of Transportation. “These events give us time before the start of the year to answer questions and demonstrate the safety features of buses, so come September, both riders and families feel confident about students riding the bus.”  

RELATED: School supply price hikes burden families; local efforts in place to help

RELATED: Central Oregon schools see staffing relief ahead of 1st post-pandemic year

The popular, one-hour sessions are scheduled to take place at 501 SE Second St., Bend (at the corner of Second and Wilson avenues in Bend). 

  • Tuesday, Aug. 16, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday,  Aug. 17, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

At the events, students learn how to cross the street safely, line up to wait for the bus and about behavior expectations while riding the bus. A Spanish-speaking staff member will be available during all sessions. Refreshments will be provided. 

For more information on the Winnie the Pooh School Bus Safety Program, contact 541-355-5702.

▶️ Overnight paving work in Sisters begins Monday

The Oregon Department of Transportation begins road construction in downtown sisters Monday.

Crews are planning to work on pavement preservation down Highway 20 — also known as West Cascade Avenue — between Locust and Pine Streets.

Work will be done overnight Monday through Thursday from 10:00 p.m. – 5:30 a.m.

Crews will be flagging traffic through one lane during construction

Drivers can expect delays of up to 20 minutes.


▶️ 1st Balanced Bend Mental Health Festival takes over Drake Park

With the stress of planning summer vacations and the start of the school year around the corner, it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental health. 

An event in Drake Park on Sunday looked to spread that message. 

The first ever Balanced Bend Mental Health Festival gave visitors a chance to learn about healing and the resources available in Deschutes County. 

24 vendors offered various services, including the Deschutes County Stabilization Center, Blissful Heart Wellness Center, Deschutes Wilderness Therapy and Wildflower Wellness Massage. 

It was organized by Savanna DeLuca, the founder of Wild Heart Therapy and Consulting, who viewed the event as her ‘gift to Bend’, and a way of introducing herself and her company. 

“It’s not a fair, it’s not an expo, it’s a mental health festival,” she said. “Which I think is unique, and I chose festival because it’s a really playful and joyful experience. I didn’t want people to think they were going to come and be sold a lot of products. I want people to really come and benefit from today if nothing else, and hopefully build relationships with practitioners so hopefully moving forward they can continue to have healing in their lives.”

The event also saw classes for things like yoga, dance, and trauma-releasing exercises. 

Four different local bands took to the stage to provide a calming background to the event. 

“I hope that people come today and have a little bit of fun and a little bit of healing, and I hope they learn about a resource in our community they didn’t know existed, or they learn that there’s a way to heal outside of traditional therapy that they might not have considered before,” DeLuca added. 

All of the proceeds from the festival are going toward providing family therapy scholarships for local families. 

▶️ Eyes in the sky: Married Deschutes fire lookouts share day in their life

They’re called eyes in the sky and there are eight sets of them on the Deschutes National Forest.

They are fire lookouts — those trained spotters perched atop buttes around Central Oregon.

On these lookout towers, some days are busier than others.

“First thing in the morning when you get up you’ve got your coffee, you’re scanning, you’re looking around,” says Shannon Hodgson.

For Shannon and Joey Hodgson, a Friday morning in July was one of the latter.

It just so happens that the day we were shooting this story, Incident 406 broke out. People in Central Oregon know it as the Old Wood Fire — that 26-acre fire that started between Sunriver and La Pine on the afternoon of July 15.

RELATED: 26-acre fire between La Pine and Sunriver

Shannon and Joey were all over it.

“Is that a smoke out there Shannon?” asks Joey.

“I think it is,” says Shannon.

Shannon Hodgson
Shannon Hodgson

From their location at Round Mountain Lookout, they get on the horn.

“Hey Lava, this is Round. You’ve got both of us here. We think we see a real smoke near Sugar Pine,” says Shannon.

“Small blue-gray column,” says Joey.

“Burlington Northern has a crew on scene. They’ve extinguished the fire at this time,” says a voice back over the radio.

“I just want to let you know it’s still visible from here,” says Joey.

Old Wood Fire Lookout
A look at the Old Wood Fire near La Pine, Ore., from the Round Mountain Lookout tower, July 15, 2022.

A studio apartment at 5,900 feet

“They call us eyes in the sky,” says Shannon.

Complete with a tiny office and a fold out bed.

It’s overlooking the Deschutes National Forest — one of eight lookouts on the front lines of detection.

This husband and wife team has 26 seasons under their belts. Fifteen of those are on the Deschutes.

“We’re really fast and we want to be good at our job because we love this forest,” says Joey.

Sure, this is a story about wildlife detection. But it’s also a love story about a couple married 28 years.

The Hodgsons were staying at Warner Mountain Lookout in the winter of 1996. They went snowshoeing and got stranded. They dug a snow cave and awaited rescue.

That epic outing put them on a new path toward becoming fire lookouts.

Joey splits his workweek between Round Mountain and Lava Butte.

Shannon, whose uncle was a lookout for one season, pitches in even on her day off.

“You can’t help but jump in,” said Shannon.

Joe and Shannon Hodgson
Joe and Shannon Hodgson work the Round Mountain fire lookout tower.

The job is not without its downsides.

“You end up with eyestrain, says Shannon. 

There’s lighting storms

“Scare ya, it will scare ya,” she adds.

And paychecks that are smaller than the views.

‘It’s a lifestyle,” says Joey.

But it’s a critical gig during fire season.

In addition to spotting fires, they’ll also send back pictures and give real-time information to crews on the ground. It’s a critical job where minutes matter because where there’s smoke, there’s a fire.

▶️ ‘I’m shocked’: Bendites react to $20,000 Sunglass Hut robbery

Three people robbed a Sunglass Hut in the Old Mill District on Sunday morning, Bend Police said, getting away with multiple pairs of high-end sunglasses. And it appears that someone matching their description may have been involved in a theft at mall in Springfield hours later.

Bend Police were sent to the store at 450 SW Powerhouse Drive at around 11 a.m. 

Police said an investigation revealed that three people — one man and two women — had come in to the store and started taking sunglasses off the shelves and putting them in bags. 

RELATED: DCSO: Trailhead theft suspects caught with guns, drugs, replica police gear

RELATED: Bend man arrested after stabbing near emergency shelter

They continued to take the items even after being confronted by a store employee. Police say they left with around $20,000 in stolen merchandise. 

Police obtained security camera photos of the suspects and the car they used to escape. 

The car was a gray Hyundai, possibly a Sonata, with tinted windows and no license plates. There was damage on the driver’s side of the car. 

They ask that if you see the people in the photos, that you call the non-emergency dispatch center at 541-693-6911.

The suspects face charges of Aggravated Theft I and Burglary II if they are found. 

Some Bend residents told us they were shocked, while at least one didn’t seem as surprised.

“I’m shocked. That just seems excessive especially for that amount of merchandise in that store, and that’s terrible to hear,” said Bend resident Julie Taylor.

“It’s definitely surprising. I am kind of shocked that someone would think they could get away with stealing that much in Bend and in such a populated area too,” said Bend resident Micah Cash.

“I expect anything to happen here,” said Lou Crooks of Bend. “I mean, you get a lot of people coming in, you get a lot of people going through the pandemic. They’re getting desperate. It could have just been kids messing around. Maybe it was a bet or a dare, but for the most part I think Bend is a really safe community.”

As Bend’s population grows, police say they are not seeing more calls.

“We don’t have any indication that crime is increasing in Bend,” said Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller.

A few hours after the Sunglass Hut was hit, there was a reported theft at the Shoppes at Gateway, a shopping mall in Springfield. While police and mall security couldn’t provide specifics to Central Oregon Daily News, Bend Police say it does appear those involve match the description of the Sunglass Hut suspects.

Sunglass Hut theft suspects Aug. 7, 2022
Bend Police are looking for suspects who they say stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from Sunglass Hut in the Old Mill District, Aug. 7, 2022. (Credit: Bend Police Department)

Sunglass Hut theft suspects Aug. 7, 2022
Bend Police are looking for suspects who they say stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from Sunglass Hut in the Old Mill District, Aug. 7, 2022. (Credit: Bend Police Department)
Sunglass Hut theft suspects Aug. 7, 2022
Bend Police are looking for suspects who they say stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from Sunglass Hut in the Old Mill District, Aug. 7, 2022. (Credit: Bend Police Department)

▶️ World-renowned horse gentler brings methods to Redmond ranch

Communication, not control. It’s a horse-gentling method that’s been working for Anna Twinney for 25 years, and she’s bringing it to Redmond this week. 

This week, Twinney, founder of organization Reach Out to Horses, is running a horse gentling clinic at Safe Acres Ranch. 

Over the course of seven days, the 10 students will work with young, wild mustang foals only a few months old who were rescued off of the Warm Springs Reservation by the Warm Springs Horse Network. 

“A good way to think of it would be that they’ve lost their home,” Twinney said. “They’ve lost their family, their future, perhaps their identity. So here’s a chance for a kind hand to come in, instead of being forceful…we’re bringing in the language of the horse.” 

RELATED: Newborn mustang foal orphaned, rescued and adopted by surrogate mother

Twinney’s methods are based on mutual trust and communication between a person and a horse, and using body language and emotion as a mode of connection. 

“All of our movements say something to these little beings, and through that we’re building the trust, we’re building the respect, but also we’re building that relationship and that connection so they have a smooth start into domestication,” she said. 

At the end of the week, the young foals will have learned enough skills to be ready for adoption through the Warm Springs Horse Network. 

RELATED: Horse rescue celebrates 10 years, opens their gates to the public

Vicki Bennett, co-owner of Safe Acres Ranch, has been passionate about Twinney’s methods for the past couple of years. They inspired her to open the rescue ranch in the first place. 

“They allow the horse to have a voice,” she said. “It’s teaching me to recognize their behavior. So many behaviors are thought of as ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’, as opposed to they’re scared or confused. If you don’t understand the difference perhaps you’re short-changing them, you’re not giving them the best version of yourself.”

“Anna teaches you to understand an ear movement, a shift in the weight, and it’s wonderful to have the confidence to communicate and understand with just my body, no talking no noises, and they understand it,” Bennett added. 

She said Safe Acres definitely wants to host future clinics like this in the future. 

Reach Out to Horses has assisted 10,000 horses around the world through their gentling methods. 

“I want to get as gentle as I can get,” Twinney said. “I don’t believe we have to be firm, I don’t believe we have to do force, and I don’t think you need to get a result in a way of putting individuals in chutes or roping them, there’s another way. It’s gentle and kind and compassionate, and it’s through a dialogue and a communication. We as human beings can get what we need without forcing it.”

You can find more information on www.reachouttohorses.com

If you are interested in adopting one of the rescue horses gentled this week, you can visit the Warm Springs Horse Rescue Facebook group here, or you can visit SafeAcres.com

Bend North LL defeats Alaska 12-2, stays alive in Northwest Regional

The boys from Bend remain alive in their quest to get to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

Bend North defeated Alaska Sunday, 12-2 in the Northwest Regional of the Little League World Series. The game was called in the fourth due the run rule, which states the game ends if one team is up by at least 10 runs after four innings.

Evan Guadalupe pitched 3 1/3 no-hit innings for Bend North with eight strikeouts.

It was a big rebound for Bend North, which lost its opening game to the team from Bonney Lake/Sumner, Washington on Saturday. The tournament is double-elimination.

RELATED: Bend North Little League World Series Northwest Regional schedule

RELATED: Bend North falls 10-1 in Little League World Series regional game

Now, Bend North has a couple of days to rest up before playing at noon on Wednedsay on ESPN. They will face the loser of Monday’s Washington vs. Idaho game.

If Bend North wins on Thursday, the head to the regional title game on Thursday.

Alaska dropped to 0-2 for the tournament and was eliminated.



▶️ 5 people taken to hospital after Prineville head-on collision

A car crash on Saturday afternoon resulted in the arrest of a Prineville man on multiple charges. 

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office said Prineville Police were called to the intersection of N Main St. and NW Terrace Lane at around 1:30 p.m. after receiving reports about a vehicle crash with injuries. 

The sheriff’s office said police found that Rodrigo Ortiz Gonzalez, 45, of Prineville had been driving his 2014 GMC truck north on Main St. when he crossed over the center lane before making a left turn. 

This caused him to collide head-on with a small Dodge SUV traveling south. 

RELATED: Shoplifters take $20,000 in goods from Bend Sunglass Hut, police say

RELATED: Motorcycle rider rescued after crash near Pine Mountain

Though the details of injuries have not been disclosed by Prineville Police, five people were taken by Crook County Fire and Rescue to St. Charles Prineville for treatment.

Ortiz Gonzalez was also taken to St. Charles in Prineville for evaluation before he was booked at the Crook County Jail on the following charges: 

  • DUII
  • Assault III 
  • Reckless Driving 
  • Reckless Endangering Another Person 

Northbound traffic on N. Main St. was diverted for more than an hour while the investigation took place. 

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office said it would like to thank the Prineville Police Department, Crook County Fire and Rescue, and nearby neighbors for their help. 

▶️ Fly Creek Fire near Lake Billy Chinook at 280 acres, 5% contained

Firefighters reported forward progress on the Fly Creek Fire, which forced campground evacuations near Lake Billy Chinook, had been stopped Monday afternoon.

The fire is at 280 acres and is 5% contained. A dozer line has been constructed around 80% of the fire, according to Central Oregon Fire Information.

Firefighters are battling to keep it from reaching nearby homes.

“It will probably grow as it moves down toward the lake,” said Fly Creek Fire Public Information Officer Stacey Lacey. “We have engines, hand crews, lots of air resources. We have fire bosses scooping up water putting fire on the edges so crews can get in there. We have retardant planes here. Things are progressing really well here today.”

The fire is located on Balancing Rock along the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook. 

RELATED: Central Oregon Daily fire season information

RELATED: Know your wildfire evacuation levels as fire season ramps up

Six engines and a dozer worked through the night Sunday. Two hand crews, one Hotshot crew, six engines, one dozer and one tender were set to be “actively engaged” in working to increase containment.

The Deschutes National Forest said resources have been dropping retardant around the perimeter of the Fly Creek Fire to help control spotting and to allow crews time to build direct line along the fire’s edge. 

Two nearby Forest Service campgrounds — Perry South and Monty — were evacuated Sunday night. Hundreds of residents of the Three Rivers Recreation Area, just a couple of miles downwind of the fire, are on Level 2 — get set to leave — evacuation notice.

Jerry Cummins from Redmond came to check his boat that is moored at the Three Rivers Marina.

“We are a little concerned with our boat, with the ash and the embers. With the fire being so close, we try to keep an eye on that. We came out to check that and hopefully not get in the way of firefighters and emergency crews,” said Cummins.

For information on evacuations, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/JeffersonCountyORSheriff.