▶️ Central Oregonians enjoy a favorite fall tradition at Smith Rock Ranch

Smith Rock Ranch in Terrebonne opened for the fall season on Saturday.

The working farm has been around for over 20 years and is open all October for visitors to come enjoy a variety of activities for all ages.

The main attractions are the pumpkin patch, corn maize and the ever-popular pumpkin cannons.

Also available are pony rides, a zoo train, a petting zoo, mini golf, wagon rides, as well as food vendors and a harvest market.

Each year the corn maize has a new theme, this year’s theme is Corn Cob Squarepants.

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RELATED: Bend thrift store hosting ‘Mutant Doll Art Show’

RELATED: Art installations going up downtown; Bend Fall Fest this weekend

▶️ Central Oregon high school football Week 5 scores, schedules

Below is a look at the scores from the fifth week of action for 2023, provided by ScoreStream.

Culver already played on Thursday night, falling to Willamina 69-50.

You can also find the full 2023 football schedules for Central Oregon High Schools at these links

Bend | Caldera | Crook County | Culver | La Pine | Madras | Mountain ViewRedmond | Ridgeview | Sisters | Summit



Praxis Health opening new Redmond urgent care facility

Medical care is expanding in Redmond. Praxis Health is opening a new High Lakes Urgent Care on Wednesday, Oct. 4. It will share the same building as High Lakes Health Care at 645 NW 4th Street.

Here is the announcement from High Lakes Urgent Care:

High Lakes Urgent Care – Praxis Health is pleased to announce the grand opening of a new Urgent Care location that will expand our team and provide more high-quality healthcare services for our community.

Beginning October 4th, 2023, the High Lakes Redmond Urgent Care location will share the same facilities as High Lakes Redmond located at 645 NW 4th St Redmond, OR 97756 This expansion marks the continued growth of Praxis Health (gopraxishealth.com), Oregon’s largest, independent medical group, recently voted Best Medical Group 2023 in Central Oregon for the sixth year in a row (The Source Weekly) and winner of The Community Choice Award of The Best Medical Group 2023 in Bend (The Bend Bulletin).

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RELATED: St. Charles adding more breast cancer, reconstruction specialists to region

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High Lakes is focused on providing the highest possible level of compassionate, individualized care. As an organization that is family-owned and operated, we believe in the importance of delivering community-oriented care through accessible services that optimize the health and quality of life for all persons. We recognize that patients’ trust in their healthcare professionals is extremely valuable to clinical practice, ensuring that their personal needs are placed at the forefront. We are excited that this expansion will help provide on-site, team-based urgent care for all our patients. Praxis Health is rooted in our local communities and our goal is to remain connected to the people and places as we continue to grow. We promise to continue to deliver outstanding, personalized care to all of our patients while honoring the needs of each community that we serve. For more information about us, please visit our website at HighLakesHealthCare.com.

▶️ St. Charles adding more breast cancer, reconstruction specialists to region

It was a week before Christmas when Esther Toso officially heard the news that would change her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 300,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2023. About 43,000 will die from the illness. 

In smaller communities, like Central Oregon, resources are often slim to those suffering from medical challenges. Many times, patients are forced to drive to Portland or Seattle to get adequate care. St. Charles is working to change that by bringing more resources to the High Desert.

“If anybody called me today and said, ‘I’m going through … I have breast cancer,’ I will have coffee with you,” Esther said over an afternoon cup of coffee. 

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Esther and her family were, as she says, “nomads” leading up to her diagnosis. She, her husband and their son, were traveling the world. She happened to be in Sisters for a multi-week stretch around Thanksgiving when she first discovered the lump.

She’d been getting annual mammograms and, prior to this, nothing had popped up as a concern. 

“Totally blindsided me,” Esther said. “My health history is my family with diabetes or strokes or all these things. I never thought cancer was in my story.” 

Her cancer story is still being written, with the plot line subject to changes. When she learned of the cancer, her family decided to stay in Central Oregon and call Bend home. 

“I love the energy of Central Oregon and I wanted to be here for my treatment,” Esther said. She and her husband got married in Sunriver, so the area holds a special place in their life. 


One of the biggest surprises in her story was when she was told she’d need a single mastectomy. 

“Originally, it was only supposed to be a lumpectomy,” Esther said. “Then they found more pieces of the cancer in my breast from an MRI.” 

Dr. Caitlyn Truong was the one who took the cancer out. She’s the first fellowship-trained breast surgeon St. Charles has ever had. The qualification means she spent an extra year learning at Stanford, following her board certification. There she was, “surrounded by world experts, innovation, research.” 

Acquiring a surgeon with this status is one way the only hospital in town is expanding breast cancer care. 

“Not only did I rotate through the surgical specialties, but I spent time on medical oncology, radiation oncology. We spent time looking under microscopes with the pathologists,” Dr. Truong explained. “So, you get, kind of, the whole picture of what a breast cancer patient goes through during her treatment.” 

Dr. Caitlyn Truong
Dr. Caitlyn Truong

Dr. Truong moved to Bend from Denver in November. Esther was one of her first patients on the High Desert. She says she hasn’t seen a huge difference in care between the big city and smaller town. 

She calls St. Charles’ approach to the disease “comprehensive,” touting the medical center’s high-risk program which aims to provide greater care to those with a greater risk of getting the cancer. The goal is to “catch it when they are early stage one rather than a higher advanced stage.” 

Another point of pride for Dr. Truong is one of the hospital’s latest job posting. St. Charles is now looking for its own reconstructive surgeon. Reconstructive surgery is an essential part of breast cancer care. 

“We only really see that at academic centers or very large community centers, to be able to post a position for our own reconstructive surgeon,” Dr. Troung explained. 

This would’ve been a huge help to Esther. 

“There was no surgeon in town that would do it at that time. And I was told I might have to drive over the pass,” Esther explained. 

Due to an insurance issue with the reconstructive surgery, she was faced with a choice: Wait for a local surgeon to get covered by her plan, postponing her surgery, or travel across the Cascades for her mastectomy, reconstruction and follow ups. 

“Just to think of having to possibly be in a hotel to try to heal or drive over the past and the pain that you’re in. It’s just ridiculous,” Esther said. 

She decided to wait for Plastic Surgeon Dr. Emily Borsting to get covered by her insurance plan. The decision pushed back her surgery by two months. 

St Charles Cancer Center


Now, she’s waiting for her next scan to check if all the cancer’s been removed. Then she can proceed with another part of her reconstruction. Does she feel uneasy being in that situation right now?

“When you have the cancer diagnosis, no matter what your journey’s been, it’s always going to be there. It can come back. So, yeah, the unknown is hard,” Esther admitted. 

While you can’t run from a cancer diagnosis, you can run to help others forced to join what Esther calls a “sisterhood.” 

On Sunday, survivors and supporters will run the Heaven Can Wait 5K benefitting Sara’s Project. The local organization helps those in the breast cancer battles, like Esther. 

“When I first had my first appointment with Dr. Truong first, she spent an hour and a half with me,” Esther explained. “Everybody cared. They look at you – they treat you as a human being and they take the time to answer all your questions.” 

That caring included a care package, courtesy of Sara’s Project. 

“The goodie bag will have fuzzy socks, chapstick and notebooks,” Dr. Truong explained. “It just seems like such a small token, but it just shows the patients that there are people out there that knows what you’re going through, knows that it’s a struggle and wants to give you something to help you get through.” 

That’s exactly how Esther felt when she got that package. 

“It really made all the difference to my perspective on it’s gonna be OK,” Esther said. 

Esther has plans to travel again in the coming year, once this chapter of her life wraps up. She has plans to go to Germany, where she was born, and Greece. 

Her outlook on life has changed since she first heard those life-changing words less than a year ago. 

“I think that anybody that has been confronted with mortality, looks at life a little bit differently,” Esther said. “You appreciate every breath and every moment.” 

A part of this new outlook includes running, something she didn’t used to do. She hopes to be at the Heaven Can Wait 5K on Sunday. 

Dr. Borstein is a sponsor of the race. Dr. Truong is the keynote speaker. Each of those women, a huge part of her journey and many others along the High Desert.

Esther knows she battled breast cancer in a time St. Charles was growing its care, but she says knowing the growth in the works. The hiring of a reconstructive surgeon and the expansion of a cancer center in Redmond gives her hope for future breast cancer patients in Central Oregon. 

If you’d like to attend the Heaven Can Wait 5K, you can sign up online through Saturday or in-person on Sunday. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. The race kicks off at 10:30 a.m. It’s being held at Redmond High School. 


▶️ Central Oregon Stamp Show Saturday in Redmond

The 2023 Central Oregon Stamp Show is Saturday in Redmond.

You can bring your own stamps to sell or trade. There will also be some available to buy. You’ll find everything from single stamps to collections and there’s even a free pile of stamps for the kids.

The event is at the Zion Lutheran Church from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

RELATED: Redmond’s Heaven Can Wait 5K for breast cancer awareness is Sunday

▶️ Redmond’s Heaven Can Wait 5K for breast cancer awareness is Sunday

The 24th Heaven Can Wait 5K to support breast cancer awareness is Sunday at Redmond High School.

If you’d like to attend the Heaven Can Wait 5K, you can sign up online through Saturday or in-person on Sunday. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. The race kicks off at 10:30 a.m.

The event started because of Sara Fisher, a local teacher. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985. That’s when her friends and family banded together and created Sara’s Project. That project still makes an impact today.

“Really designed to support breast cancer patients all throughout Central and Eastern Oregon,” said St. Charles Foundation Executive Director Jenny O’Bryan. “It can help with things like patient support, lodging, transportation, meals for those coming from far away, mammograms, early detection, things that let cancer patients know that they’re not alone.”

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: St. Charles adding more breast cancer, reconstruction specialists to region

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One group also involved in Heaven Can Wait is the Assistance League. They have been participating at this event since 2014. On Sunday, members of the non-profit are handing out free handmade hats, comfort shawls and more to cancer patients and survivors. They will there 8:30 a.m. to noon.

▶️ Operation Warm bringing hundreds of winter coats, shoes, socks to local kids

The Redmond Rotary was busy Tuesday preparing to hand out winter coats and other clothing for Operation Warm.

The group started the project five years ago to support children who need clothing.

The Rotary handed out 50 coats for kids when they first started the project. This year, it is handing out 400 shoes, 132 coats and 715 pairs of socks.

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RELATED: Free farm-to-table meal kits for Sisters seniors through pilot program

Beyond keeping schoolchildren warm, the project hopes to build self-esteem.

“It gives the child some positive reinforcement. Somebody cares about them and they feel good about themselves,” said Marvin Kaplan, Operation Warm project chairman.

If you are interested in helping out with outreach like Operation Warm, reach out to the Rotary Club of Redmond.

Study: ‘Viral’ Instagram content brings 4% more monthly visitors to Smith Rock

A new study from Oregon State University finds that, despite what many may think, images posted on Instagram is not necessarily causing more tourist traffic on Oregon public lands. But one place in Central Oregon is among the rare exceptions.

Researchers found that “viral” content led to about a monthly visitor increase of about 4% at Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, Silver Falls in the Cascade foothills and Oswald West and Ecola on the Oregon Coast. Other than those locations, he researchers saw no evidence that Instagram was having an effect on visitor traffic.

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RELATED: Broken beam delays Smith Rock footbridge replacement project

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Here is the full release from Oregon State University: 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Except for modest visitor increases at a small percentage of iconic places, Instagram content is not resulting in more tourist traffic on public lands, according to a study by researchers at Oregon State University.

The findings, published in Land Economics, counter a common news media refrain that geotagged posts on social media are “ruining the great outdoors,” said Steve Dundas and Ashley Lowe Mackenzie of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The research also adds to the ongoing quest to understand the role social media plays in society, as well as to policy discussions around social media regulation, the scientists note.

“This has a number of interesting policy implications for public land managers,” said Dundas, associate professor of applied economics. “Access to information on the online activity for publicly managed areas could help administrators better understand visitor trends and behaviors to help steward these locations for current and future generations.”

Dundas and Lowe Mackenzie paired 18 years of visitation data to Oregon state parks with data on park-specific geotagged Instagram posts and their engagement, or the volume of likes and comments that those posts generated.

Geotagging means attaching geographic information to images, video or other content captured by smartphones or other GPS-enabled electronic devices. The information includes latitude and longitude coordinates, altitude and other data, making a potentially hard to find spot much easier for new visitors to locate.

The researchers found that the cumulative effect of “viral” content was associated with monthly visitor increases of about 4% at four of Oregon’s 50 state parks: Silver Falls in the Cascade foothills, Smith Rock in central Oregon, and Oswald West and Ecola on the coast.

Beyond that quartet of locations, the researchers saw no evidence that Instagram was having an effect on visitor traffic.

“During the 2010s, public lands across the United States experienced large visitation increases, which led to overcrowding of some parks,” said lead author Lowe Mackenzie, who completed her doctorate in applied economics this spring. “Some journalists accused social media, and in particular Instagram, of causing this increased visitation. The reason Instagram received the blame was that content was often geotagged. Journalists created headlines about the public loving our parks to death with Instagram clearly labeled as the responsible party.”

But that rather simplistic storyline is largely inaccurate, Dundas said.

“Our paper finds that content on Instagram is not associated with increased visitation in most parks,” he said. “To the extent Instagram content and engagement do impact visitation to public lands, they don’t do so uniformly. Our results suggest locations with picturesque or iconic landscapes may be susceptible to impacts from social media because the content generated at those sites may become popular online and has the opportunity to spread to many new people.”

That is to say, it’s not just sharing photos with specific geographic info that makes a difference in how many visitors a spot receives – the photos have to receive high engagement.

“We found viral content uploaded and geotagged to Smith Rock, Silver Falls, Oswald West and Ecola state parks had a prolonged effect on increasing visitation at these parks – not just an effect right after the contest was posted,” Lowe Mackenzie said. “Our research concentrated on the impacts of Instagram; however, other online sites that use engagement as a way to promote content could have had impacts as well – Twitter, Tiktok, AllTrails, YouTube, etc.”

Public land managers have a responsibility to protect habitats and ecosystem health while also facilitating the visitation and enjoyment of the lands they’re responsible for, Dundas notes. But management agencies are often underfunded and understaffed, meaning that big increases in visitation can lead to the degradation of both sensitive ecosystems and the visitor experience. 

“Our results provide some insight into how land managers may be able to use social media to understand visitation trends and to be better prepared,” he said. “Social media represents a relatively new way for people to gather information and learn about new places. This research represents a first step in trying to understand how this online information translates to offline behavior changes.”

▶️ Cascade Equinox festival success suggests more for music lovers in future

The Cascade Equinox festival welcomed thousands of music lovers to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds over the weekend.

Cascade Equinox marked the second multi-day music festival in two months for the fairgrounds. The inaugural FairWell Festival brought tens of thousands of music lovers in July. It’s left festivalgoers wondering if this type of event is becoming more the norm in Central Oregon.

The festival went, for the most part, with rave reviews. By early afternoon on Monday, many campsites still needed to be packed away.

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RELATED: FairWell Festival traffic: Sheriff’s office works to ‘improve, adjust’ plan

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“Lots of positive vibes. Just great, great folks and great music and dancing,” Kris Wilhelm said.

He traveled from Bellingham, Washington, for the festival and spent much of Monday cleaning up his group’s site.

It’s the type of positive experience that fairgrounds director Geoff Hinds hopes becomes the norm.

“We know that just the sheer growth of music in Central Oregon continues,” he said about bringing in more similar music events. “The success of Fairwell Festival and what we anticipate from the organizers of this is the success that certainly prepares the way.”

Hinds says it’s too far out to determine if any similar events will be in the lineup for the fairgrounds next year.

Reviews from inside the grounds were overwhelmingly positive. Reviews from neighbors online were a different story, many claiming that bass could be heard across Redmond.

“This event had some additional volume challenges that we worked through with the promoter,” Hinds said. “We continually made adjustments throughout the weekend and tried to make sure that the impact was the least possible.”

Hinds added that the weather and type of music likely carried the sound farther from the grounds.

Wilhelm, unsurprisingly, had no qualms in the volume department.

“Absolutely stellar experience, super, super well done. I’m ready for next year already,” he said.

Hinds says the fairgrounds’ changes surrounding entering and exiting helped avoid congestion at different pinch points. Back in July, getting in and out of the Fairwell Festival at the fairgrounds proved more complex, with many forced to wait in the parking lot for several hours.

Postal Service job fair at 4 Central Oregon locations this week

Four Central Oregon post office locations will be holding a job fair Thursday.

The Postal Service said it is trying to fill thousands of positions across the state. USPS says there is an urgent need for mail carriers, clerks and mail handlers.

USPS said starting pay varies depending on the job. Starting pay for carriers ranges between $19 and $20 per hour paid bi-weekly.

The job fair will be 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Thursday at these locations. No appointment is necessary

Prineville Post Office

155 NE Court St.


Bend Post Office

2300 NE 4th St.


Redmond Post Office

618 NW Hemlock Ave.


Madras Post Office

73 SE 6th St.


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