Wells Fargo $45K grant helps Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity build 3 homes

Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity with a $45,000 grant to build three affordable homes.

Two of these homes will be in Redmond, and one home in Bend. The funding is part of an $8.1 million donation to Habitat for Humanity International for capacity building and direct mission support to build, renovate and repair more than 350 affordable homes across the United States.

The grant is provided through Wells Fargo Builds and is part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s $1 billion philanthropic commitment to create more housing affordability solutions by 2025.

“We’ve had a rich history of working with Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity to strengthen our neighborhoods through philanthropy and volunteerism,” said Cindy Johnson Wells Fargo’s Greater Oregon Region Bank President. “Safe and stable housing enables people to build upon the rest of their life and, together, we can shift the narrative to help others understand that housing affordability is both an economic and humanitarian crisis that’s taking a toll on millions of people.”

Wells Fargo Builds provides philanthropic financial assistance from the Wells Fargo Foundation to support the construction, renovation, painting or repairing of homes with low-to-moderate income households.

In 2019 alone, Wells Fargo employees volunteered more than 1.9 million hours of service to strengthen their communities, including building, repairing, and improving 674 homes across the U.S. with several organizations through Wells Fargo Builds.

“We are truly thankful for the long history with Wells Fargo and their commitment to our organization,” said Robin Cooper Engle, director of development. “Their financial support and employee labor has helped us build affordable homes for 30 families in need in Bend and Redmond over the past 12 years. That is a significant contribution that we highly value.”

The grant will support the construction of three affordable homes in Bend and Redmond. The home in Bend will benefit a single mother and her daughter at the organization’s first Net Zero cottage community for 10 families. The home will be affordable to build and affordable for the new homeowner to maintain.

Climber injured after fall at Smith Rock State Park

A 22-year-old climber was injured Saturday in a fall at Smith Rock State Park, according to Redmond Fire and Rescue.

Battalion Chief Garrick Terry said the climber fell about 90 feet while rappelling Monkey Face, then tumbled another 150 feet down a steep grade coming to rest near the trail system.

Redmond firefighters and paramedics and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office deputies used Redmond Fire’s raft to cross the river to tend to the climber.

The climber was then brought back across the river to an awaiting Airlink helicopter that flew him to St. Charles in Bend.

The accident happened about 2:22 and the rescue took about an hour, Terry said.

▶️ Locals excited for famed Sturgis motorcycle rally despite COVID risks


Sturgis is the world’s largest motorcycle rally.

Once a year, riders from around the country gather in the small South Dakota town for a big celebration.

Redmond resident Donn Hougham, his wife Marni, and their close-knit group of Harley fanatics are traveling over 1300 miles to experience the bucket list-worthy rally.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We live life to the fullest, I’m not scared,” Hougham said.

For its 80th anniversary, as many as 250,000 people are expected to attend Sturgis this year.

And believe it or not, that’s a small number compared to previous anniversary years – more than 730,000 attended in 2015.

Donn says he’s not concerned over the number of people that will likely show up, and that COVID aside, he and his friends are not the types to worry about what they can’t control.

“We pretty much live life. We’re just not afraid, we’re cautious, but we’re not afraid,” Hougham said. “We’re trying to live without all the chaos. We did do the lockdown like everyone else did. We wondered this isn’t much of a life so once riding season came we were riding.”
Donn’s wife Marni says they’ve already missed out on enough since the start of the pandemic.

“All of our runs, all of our rides were canceled, and we ride all summer long. Sturgis is still open, it’s still happening, it’s still going. This is a big deal for us because we haven’t had any of those big runs and fun trips.”

But are they concerned with getting sick and bringing it back to Central Oregon?

Not necessarily.

The group says they’ll be taking the precautions they feel comfortable with.

“The flu virus is out there every year. People have died from that,” Hougham said. “Yes be careful, if you’re worried and you want to wear a mask, then wear a mask. If you’re worried about social distancing too close, then don’t stay next to your buddy. Or if you go shopping, stay away from people. That’s your personal choice and your personal fears. We as a group don’t have those like others do, so we’re going.”

In the end, it’s an experience they’re not willing to miss out on and big crowds are just a part of the deal.

“We live life to the fullest, and so if that means wear a mask, then I guess we’ll wear a mask. But if not, then we just live.”

▶️ Alaska Airlines announces new rules: No mask, no flight, no exceptions


Get your face coverings and masks ready. Starting August 7th, having a mask is the only way you’ll be boarding an Alaska Airlines flight.

Flyers age two and up will be required to wear a cloth mask or face covering.

Those unwilling or unable to wear a mask will not be allowed to fly.

Arkansas resident Julian Mink flew out of Redmond Wednesday and he thinks the new policy is a bit much.

“It seems to me that it’s a little overboard comparatively in history,” Mink said. “It’s like why would they react so strongly to this when there are other things that could’ve been reacted to.”

According to AAA Oregon, it’s too soon to tell if they’ll see a boost in travel numbers by the end of the year.

If you want to plan that future trip through Alaska, you better keep a mask on during your next flight, because if you refuse, the airline will suspend you from future travel.

Redmond resident Carmah Parr says she thinks this is fair.

“I think they’re reasonable because you can decide not to fly and stuff like that,” Parr said. “So you kind of have to abide by rules.”

Something both Parr and Mink agreed on was how they felt about the age requirement.

“I do think two is a little young,” Parr said.

“Having to handle that, especially if you have two or three kids–I can’t imagine,” Mink added.

If you simply forget your mask, Alaska will have them available upon request.

ODOT says changes unlikely at Hwy 97/O’Neil Hwy junction

Two people were killed Saturday in a crash on Highway 97 and the O’Neil Highway Junction – the same stretch where a Terrebonne man was killed in early July.

Three dead in less than a month have some calling on the Oregon Department of Transportation to change the intersection north of Redmond.

A number of comments our Facebook page ask for changes like a center divider or a traffic signal or reduced speeds.

ODOT Spokesman Peter Murphy said four people have died at or near the junction in the last six years.

One between 2015-2019 and three this year.

“We have plans for that particular intersection; you know, we have plans all over the place,” he said. “But, it’s important that people understand that the random nature of the crashes that we experience complicates the solutions.”

ODOT has already installed rumble strips in the area and there are plans to eventually add signals warning highway drivers there is opposing traffic.

But, because of the relatively low number of serious crashes along that stretch, it’s not considered a high priority for major improvements.

Terrebonne man killed in Highway 97 crash

Terrebonne motorcyclist killed in 3-vehicle New Year’s Eve crash

Redmond man charged with harassment after alleged incident with Trump supporter

A Redmond man has been charged with harassment for allegedly shoving another man and challenging him to a fight over his support for President Trump.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced the charges Monday, saying “everyone needs to exhale.”

“Tensions are spun up tighter than a drum right now and it’s starting to play out on our streets,” he said. “Preach, protest, advocate, cajole, criticize: I’ll fight for your right to do so. Commit a crime during your advocacy and I won’t hesitate to charge you with a crime.”

Hummel said the incident happened at the Redmond Fred Meyer on July 17th when 59-year-old Dobbs Pressley was gassing up his car, which was adorned with numerous stickers and placards supporting Trump.

Two young women started yelling at him, disagreeing with his political beliefs, Hummel said.

Daniel Kaough, 51, a Fred Meyer employee, intervened and shoved Pressley and challenged him to a fight, Hummel said.

The physical contact stopped and Redmond Police responded and de-escalated the situation.

Police issued a citation to Kaough, charging him with harassment and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.

Hummel reviewed the incident and on Monday charged Kaough with one count of harassment.

He’s scheduled to be arraigned on August 28th.

2 from Madras killed in Highway 97 crash near Redmond

Two people were killed Saturday in a two-vehicle crash just north of Redmond at the O’Neil Highway Jct., according to Oregon State Police.

Capt. Tim Fox said the crash happened around 1:20 p.m. when a 2004 Honda Odyssey, driven by 53-year-old by Robert Gregg of Madras, was entering Hwy 97 when it was struck by a southbound commercial semi driven by a 56-year-old California man.

Gregg and his passenger, 46-year-old Antonia Romero of Madras, sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene.

The truck driver was not injured.

Hwy 97 was partially closed for several hours during the investigation.

Oregon State Police was assisted by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Redmond Fire Department and ODOT.

The crash snarled traffic in the area for hours. ODOT had one lane of traffic open through the intersection for most of the afternoon.


▶️ RSD, Sisters announce school to begin online; hope for Nov. return


Redmond and Sisters students will start the new school year online, but officials are holding out hope for a return to the classroom before Thanksgiving.

Superintendents of both districts made the announcement Thursday in an email to parents.

Redmond Superintendent Charan Cline also said the start of the year has been pushed back two days to Thursday, September 10th.

“This was not our choice and it was not our desire,” Cline later told Central Oregon Daily News. “We’d like to get our students back in the class, back in the schools as soon as we can.”

Earlier this week Gov. Kate Brown issued a new set of health metrics counties across the state would need to meet before school districts could reopen to students.

Counties need to see fewer than 10 COVID cases per 100,000 people and have a 5% or less test positivity rate for three weeks in a row.

Deschutes County currently has about 54 cases per 100,000 and a 4.6% test positivity rate. It hasn’t met the metrics for the last three weeks.

“Our students’ return to the classroom will depend on our community’s ability to reduce the spread of coronavirus by following recommended health and safety practices.
We must all be in this, together.”
– RSD Superintendent Charan Cline

In fact, just one Oregon county – Wheeler, where there have been zero reported cases – meets the metrics.

There is an exception in counties that see COVID cases at 30 per 100,000 people, but that too seems to be an unlikely number to meet as cases trend up.

“Overall, there has been a 77% increase in new cases over the last seven days in Deschutes County,” Cline told parents.

The district will monitor the metrics and announce in October if it has any plans to return to an in-person or a hybrid model.

But that wouldn’t happen until November 2nd at the earliest.

“We are prioritizing the return for our K-3 students as soon as metrics allow to ensure that our youngest learners receive face-to-face instruction,” Cline said. “Our students’ return to the classroom will depend on our community’s ability to reduce the spread of coronavirus by following recommended health and safety practices. We must all be in this, together.”

Sisters Superintendent Curt Scholl said students will attend online for at least the first six weeks of the school year.

Bend-La Pine, the region’s largest school district, said Wednesday it hoped to make an announcement later this week on its plans for fall.

Meanwhile, some school districts across the state have all but scrapped any plans for a return to the classroom in 2020.

Cline said the new comprehensive online learning model “will be distinctively different than what was offered in the spring.”

Here’s what parents can expect:

  • Using Canvas Learning Management System, students will log into one single portal for their daily coursework and communication with teachers, providing predictable schedules and routines.
  • Redmond School District teachers will teach courses with graded assignments and course grades. Progress will be monitored and feedback provided.
  • Redmond School District teachers will use a standards-based comprehensive curriculum by Florida Virtual School, which is specifically designed for online learning. RSD teachers will use this curriculum for both on-site and online learning to ensure consistency when students transition back to the classroom. Teachers also have the ability to customize the curriculum based on their students’ needs.
  • Daily instruction from the teacher (live or recorded) will keep students strongly connected to teachers and classmates.
  • Students will also have opportunities to get individual support from their teachers as needed.
  • Clarity will be provided around attendance and participation.
  • Greater family engagement and partnership.

“It’s going to be a pretty robust system and we’re really excited about it,” Cline tells us. “We’re not happy about going into this distance learning, but we think the product that we’re going to give our students is going to be much, much better.”

Scholl agreed.

“With what we learned in the spring, the strength of our teaching staff and the new guidelines from ODE, we know that we will be able to deliver an improved version of CDL compared to last spring,” he said. “We are confident that whatever model of instruction we start the year with, the tradition of a strong school system in partnership with the Sisters community will continue.”

Cline provided links to videos for parents to get used to the new learning systems:

Canvas parent overview video: https://youtu.be/t-5sWZODhY8
Canvas overview video: https://youtu.be/7tdrDiVSyLA

“Although this announcement is not what any of us wanted to hear, I hope that it can provide clarity and a plan for students, parents and staff moving forward,” Cline said. “This year will be unlike any other school year in history. We know that our students and families will have challenges but we are here to walk this path with you. Your partnership, communication and support are now more than ever, vital to our students’ success.

You can read Cline’s full statement here.


100-year-old WWII vet passes away in Redmond; survived Japanese slave labor camps

A 100-year-old World War II veteran who survived three and a half years in a Japanese slave labor camp passed away Wednesday in Redmond.

Clarence Cal Graham was captured on Corregidor and was able to escape from the last camp just after the bombing of Hiroshima; he witnessed the bombing of Nagasaki, according to his obituary.

After the war he married his true love, Doris Lueders, and enjoyed a long and happy marriage before her death, his obit continued.

Graham retired after a long career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service, and rose to the rank of Lt,. Colonel in the Oregon National Guard.

Later in life he authored a highly acclaimed book, “Under the Samurai Sword”, documenting his experiences during WWII.

He has been featured in Tom Brokaw’s book and documentaries about the Greatest Generation, according to his obit.

Graham is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He lived in Redmond for about 10 years.