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

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

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

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

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

By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

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.

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.

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

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

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.

 

▶️ Back to the drawing board as Bend looks for new spot for homeless shelter

By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

The Bend City Council will go back to the drawing board after canceling plans to turn a local motel into a homeless shelter.

The proposal was part of Project Turnkey, a state funded-grant program to help communities address homeless situation. 

After the termination of a purchase and sale agreement with Old Mill and Suites, the council directed staff to begin pursuing and evaluating other hotel properties that meet the criteria for Project Turnkey.

“The city’s commitment to establishing more shelter beds in the city of Bend has not changed,” said Economic Development Director for the City of Bend, Carolyn Eagan. “All seven councilors support that, the city manager and the executive management team of the city support that endeavor. So, we are not taking our foot off the gas.”

The city’s goal is to enter into a new agreement by the end of April, whether it is at the Old Mill and Suites or a different location.

“We are absolutely committed to finding a property for the Turnkey grant funds and we will pursue that to the last day it is available to us.”

The deadline to apply for Turnkey funding is June 30.

▶️ Grant money to help City of Bend buy motel for future homeless shelter

Riese Sullivan’s job with COVO is to get veterans off the street and into houses.

“Any way to get more individuals off the street and into somewhere stable, where they can continue to recover and have a spot they can call their own,” said Sullivan. “Any base landing point that can have is going to be an assistance or help to them.” 

Sullivan said new homeless faces and new homeless camps are popping up every day.

“This isn’t a problem that is going away soon,” he added. “This is the time to come together as a community.”

In the meantime, the City of Bend will move quickly to find the right property for a temporary homeless shelter.

“We want to make sure the property we do acquire for this purpose first and foremost, meets the needs of the humans in the community that will want to use it for housing and also meets our obligations to our taxpayers of the City of Bend that we buy a good property,” said Eagan.

OHA reports 168 COVID cases – including 3 deaths – in vaccinated patients

(AP) – Of more than 700,000 people in Oregon who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 168 still tested positive for the virus and three died.

The Oregon Health Authority says that while the vaccines are all highly effective, no vaccine is 100% effective.

Vaccine breakthrough cases are instances in which a person received a positive COVID-19 test result at least 14 days after the final dose of any COVID-19 vaccine series.

Many of the vaccinated people who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced asymptomatic infection.

None of the vaccine breakthrough cases were associated with a COVID-19 variant.

The cases have been reported in 25 counties and all health care preparedness regions (Region 1: 76; Region 2: 29; Region 3: 27; Region 5: 9; Region 6: 4; Region 7: 17; Region 9: 6).

AllState

OHA is not reporting the regions in which the deaths took place.

Vaccine breakthrough cases can be prevented by basic public health interventions, such as masking, physical distancing and avoiding social gatherings.

The three deaths represent fewer than 2% of the vaccine breakthrough cases, and none of the vaccine breakthrough cases were associated with a COVID-19 variant.

State and local epidemiologists are continuing to track and investigate vaccine breakthrough cases and are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect information that may provide insight into characteristics associated with vaccine breakthrough.

▶️ Mt. Bachelor ski patrollers honor fallen friend with final ceremonial sweep

If you’ve ever skied the slopes of Mt. Bachelor, chances are you’ve seen them.

If you’ve ever had an epic wipe out on the hill, they’ve probably helped you back down.

We’re talking about the red jacket-wearing Mt. Bachelor National Ski Patrol.

They’re a volunteer group that helps the pro patrollers keep the mountain safe.

Last weekend, patrollers past and present gathered for a celebration of sorts – and to remember a fallen friend.

Central Oregon Daily News Photojournalist Steve Kaufmann takes us to the unique ceremony for one of their own.

▶️ After year on hold, Honor Flight will resume taking veterans to D.C.

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

After a year of delaying plans due to COVID-19, trips to Washington D.C. with the Honor Flight of Central Oregon will resume in September.

Richard Harley, a veteran of the Korean War, is excited to travel to the capital with the program.

“All of the guys that I talk about the trip with have all said they’re amazed to see it,” Harley said. “To see the wall with the names on it, all of the things that are there representing our great country.”

Honor Flight provides a free trip to D.C. for WWII, Korean and Vietnam War veterans.

The flights have been on hold since the pandemic began.

“It’s going to be so much bigger now, having not been able to go,” Dane Prevatt, President of Honor Flight of Central Oregon, said. “It was a little discouraging over the last 18 months, pushing the dates back and changing things. I think now, having had been cooped up for a year plus, it’s going to be an amazing trip.”

Prevatt said the trip means a lot to the veterans, as it’s something they looked forward to through the pandemic. It’s also a way veterans can process their own time in the service.

“It means everything to them,” Prevatt said. “It brings back so many memories and it really institutes a healing process.”

Harley agrees that the trip will be an opportunity to spend time with others who understand his experience.

It’ll also be an opportunity to visit the nation’s capital, which he’s never seen before.

“To share this with the other people who have been there and know what we’re talking about — it’s a great relief and a pleasure,” Harley said.

You can learn more about how to donate, volunteer or get involved with Honor Flight at the group’s website.

 

Bend home where 3 people were killed is destroyed by fire

Investigators are looking into a fire Tuesday night that destroyed the home where a woman was fatally injured on Christmas Day 2020 and two people were found dead in March.

Bend Fire & Rescue crews responded to 60971 Granite Drive around 10:45 p.m.

The fire was quickly extinguished and kept from spreading to neighboring homes and trees, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.

On March 21st, two brothers-in-law, 66-year-old Jeffrey Taylor and 69-year-old Benjamin Taylor were found dead inside the home.

And in January, 43-year-old Daphne Killian-Banks was taken off life-support after suffering injuries in the home on Christmas Day.

Randall Kilby, 35, has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder in connection with the killings.

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Kilby’s mother, Darlene Allen, was living at the home at the time of the alleged murders.

According to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, Allen told police she saw her son kill Jeffrey Taylor with a hatchet after an argument.

She was able to get help and lead police to her son the next day, Hummel said.

Lt. Juli McConkey said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“The person who was on the property saw that there was flames and went next door to a neighbor who called 911,” McConkey said.

The fire was first reported in the main living area of the home by Allen, who was sleeping in her car nearby.

Allen, who was at the home Wednesday morning, told Central Oregon Daily News she was not home when the fire started.

Oregon State Police, the State Fire Marshal and other investigators were also on the scene Wednesday morning.

“After a thorough investigation of the fire, a direct cause was not determined,” Derlacki said.

▶️ Bend man charged in double homicide and December fatal assault