Jefferson County School District 509J closed, others delayed

Due to the snow and icy road conditions, some schools are closed or delayed Friday, Feb. 16. 

JEFFERSON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT 509J: CLOSED

REDMOND SCHOOL DISTRICT: 2-HOUR DELAY 

CULVER SCHOOL DISTRICT: 2-HOUR DELAY 

SISTERS SCHOOL DISTRICT: CLOSED

No other schools have announced closures or delays as of 5:30 a.m.

▶️ Sisters home a total loss after Thursday morning fire

A home in Sisters is rendered a total loss after fire broke out early this morning.

Fire crews were called to the house Northeast of Sisters at 2:00 a.m. Thursday.

When they got there, crews say the house was heavily involved in fire and part of the roof had collapsed.

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“Our crews worked through the night there some difficulty with deep snow of cold weather, snowing, but they were able to keep it from spreading,” Division Chief Jeff Puller said.

The home was unoccupied, as it was under a remodel, so no one was harmed.

The house is an estimated loss of $2.5 million, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

Chimney fire spreads to roof structure of a home near Sisters

Firefighters from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District (SCSFD) responded to a report of a house fire in the 69000 block of Deer Ridge Rd road northeast of Sisters Sunday morning.

Crews arrived to find smoke and flames from the roof of the home near the metal chimney pipe. The fire had extended to the roof structure and was burning in a void space between the ceiling and the roof of the home.

Engine crews from Sisters, the Cloverdale Fire District and a ladder truck from Black Butte Ranch Fire District, were able suppress the fire and keep it from extending any further. Firefighters remained on scene to overhaul the fire and salvage property within the home.

“Our firefighters were able to arrive quickly and control the fire before it caused additional damage.”, said Fire Chief Roger Johnson. “A big thank you to our neighboring Districts for supporting this operation.”

SCSFD said, the home was occupied at the time of the fire and all occupants were able to evacuate with no injuries reported. Property damage is estimated to be between $20-30,000.

It is recommended that all fireplaces, wood stoves, chimneys and flues be cleaned and inspected annually to ensure safe operation. Additionally, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested every six months.

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Redmond man found guilty except for insanity in 2022 murder of Cloverdale woman

A Redmond man was found guilty Thursday in the murder of a Cloverdale woman nearly two years ago.

The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Alexander Smith, 24, was found guilty of murder except for insanity in the death of 55-year-old Tina Klein-Lewis. He was also found guilty of burglary.

Under Oregon law, “except for insanity” that means the judge places the defendant under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board.

The DA’s office said Smith was given a lifetime commitment to the Psychiatric Security Review Board and sent to the Oregon State Hospital.

RELATED: Redmond man arrested in death of Tina Klein-Lewis

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Klein-Lewis was found dead on her property on Cloverdale Road, a few miles east of Sisters. The DA’s office said at the time that she was found in the bucket of a tractor by her boyfriend.

Smith is a 2018 graduate of Redmond High School and was a student at Oregon State University, the DA’s Office has said. At the time of his arrest, the DA’s office said Smith had no known connection to Klein-Lewis.

▶️ Murder trial underway in 2022 death of Tina Klein-Lewis near Sisters

The trial is underway for a Redmond man charged with murdering a Sisters woman nearly two years ago.

Alexander Smith, 24, is charged with second-degree murder in the May 2022 death of 55-year-old Tina Klein-Lewis.

Klein-Lewis was found dead on her property on Cloverdale Road, a few miles east of Sisters. The DA’s office said at the time that she was found in the bucket of a tractor by her boyfriend.

The trial began Thursday and is expected to conclude Friday.

Smith is a 2018 graduate of Redmond High School and was a student at Oregon State University, the DA’s Office has said. At the time of his arrest, the DA’s office said Smith had no known connection to Klein-Lewis.

RELATED: Redmond man arrested in death of Tina Klein-Lewis

RELATED: Suspect in Tina Klein-Lewis murder had no known connection to her, DA says

 

 

 

▶️ Sisters paramedics ‘won’t ever forget’ delivering baby in back of ambulance

Sisters-Camp Sherman paramedics delivered a baby in the back of an ambulance while on the way to the hospital last weekend.

“Mom was a champion,” Paramedic Pat Burke said Thursday. “She was able to stay calm and work through the contractions and the labor. She did an unbelievable, amazing job.”

For Shift Commander Cody Meredith, the experience left a mark.

“It’s one for the career, for sure,” he said.

RELATED: Baby girl delivered in back of Sisters ambulance

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The crew picked up the family after a call of a woman in labor. But on the way to the hospital, it became clear this wasn’t going to be a routine scenario.

“During the middle of the call with my partner in the back, we kind of knew that it was going to be in an imminent delivery,” Burke said. “We went back on our training and we were able to set up the back of the ambulance and get mom prepped.”

“So we pulled over, finished the delivery, and then had dad come around and come in the back and help cut the cord,” Meredith said.

The baby girl was delivered successfully. The crew tells Central Oregon Daily the family is doing well.

 “The plan was initially to get dad back for the childbirth, for the birth of a child, but it happened so fast and we couldn’t find the place to pull over, so the child was born,” Burke said. “We got back on the road and went to the hospital. It was pretty emotional when we got to the hospital. The whole staff was there welcoming us. It was just a really, really good feeling.”

For the crew in an occupation that sees an awful lot, they say this call won’t be soon forgotten.

“I don’t know that there’s anybody on staff right now that has had a live delivery in the back of an ambulance,” Meredith said. “That’s how rare it is.”

“I’ve never been a part of a delivery in the field,” Burke said. “That experience with the mom and the family. One of those memories that you’ll never forget.”

▶️ Some art at Sisters Elementary removed for roundabout construction

The Sisters community is removing hundreds of art pieces along the eastern entrance to town on U.S. Highway 20. It’s to prepare for construction at a nearby intersection later this year, including a roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Locust St.

While designed to make the area safer, it will temporarily take away some of the beauty of the stretch of road for those driving in.

“There must be, I would say, a close to the 1,500 pieces painted,” organizing artist Laura Campbell said. “And they’re painted front and back so that the elementary school kids could see their artwork.”

RELATED: Baby girl delivered in back of Sisters ambulance

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Most of those pieces now rest in storage, awaiting a new home.

“To not damage the installation, we’ve taken it (the art display) down so they can start construction here in March,” Sisters School District Superintendent Curt Scholl said. “We anticipate sometime over our spring break that they’ll be tearing down the fence and reestablishing the fence for our elementary school so they can start construction.”

Since 2017, the piece has been a defining part of the drive into town from the east.

“This is the main highway, so it’s pretty cool for the kids to have their artwork for the community and also just people driving through our town to see this story of Oregon and the story of our community and how important art is,” Campbell said.

Right after volunteers teamed up to move it to storage last week, Campbell received questions from friends about what’s next.

“They’ve heard that it’s being moved and seeing it being moved and people are really kind of sad to see it go,” she said. “It’s kind of a welcoming to Sisters.”

Don’t worry. The art is in good hands and won’t be gone for long.

“We like the symbolism that gives and shows to the community,” Scholl said. “It’s really a conversation about where we re-install, not that we’re not going to.”

The most likely option for the art’s home is at the new Sisters Elementary School, currently under construction near the middle and high schools on the other side of town.

Campbell says she hopes the city will plan new art in that space after the roundabout is completed to continue welcoming visitors and locals.

Baby girl delivered in back of Sisters ambulance

Sisters-Camp Sherman paramedics helped deliver a baby in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital over the weekend.

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District said crews were dispatched to a call of a woman in labor. They arrived to find the mother was having contractions about two minutes apart. She was helped to the ambulance to be taken to St. Charles in Bend.

It became clear the ambulance wouldn’t make it in time. After a few rounds of pushing, the mother delivered a healthy baby girl.

RELATED: Genevieve’s Bumpdates

The ambulance then pulled over so the father could come inside to cut the umbilical cord and meet his daughter.

“Our Paramedics train for this type of scenario, but labor and delivery are not routine calls for service for our ambulance crews,” Chief Johnson said in a statement.

“The crew considers it an honor to have been part of this special moment for this family,” Captain Cody Meredith said.

▶️ Redmond and Sisters Cub Scouts race pinewood derby cars, a 50 year tradition

Local Cub Scouts held their Pinewood Derby at the St. Thomas Catholic Church in Redmond Saturday.

Cub scouts from the Redmond and Sisters packs raced derby cars that they designed and built over the last two months.

The unpowered cars are made from a block of pine wood, plastic wheels and metal axles then raced on a timed track.

“This race teaches them sportsmanship, it’s hard to be in front of all of your peers and have your car not win, so I think it teaches them that as well as perseverance,” said Melisa Dennis-Leigh, Cubmaster of Pack 27 in Redmond.

Awards are given for fastest times and other categories, the top three fastest in each den get to race in districts coming up in March.

The pinewood derby is a tradition held annually for over 50 years.

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▶️Sisters cold weather shelter user feels gratitude, hopes for permanent option

One of the people who stayed at the temporary Sisters cold weather shelter during the frigid temperatures earlier this month says he has great appreciation for the group who helped pull it together.

Randall Schwartz believes a permanent option could help others he saw using the shelter who are suffering from mental illness.

“I was out there in the snow and I couldn’t get around real well, and this lady came by and she stopped and directed me into the shelter,” he said.

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Schwartz was stuck. He says the shelter pulled him out of the woods during the nights he needed it most. The option of a warm place to sleep, even for a few days, left him with heavy gratitude.

“They (shelter organizers) deserve a lot of respect just because they were going out of their way to help all these people beyond the shelter, you know, going to get them fuel and feeding them and driving them around, taking them places,” he said.

This was Schwartz’s first experience using a shelter. He stayed three nights until the shelter’s 24-hour operations allowance expired, then he moved to a hotel paid for by cold weather shelter volunteers for another three nights.

“Some of the people that were there were very unappreciative, very demanding and some really ill mentally,” he said. “I can see them needing service. You know, they do need help.”

Approval for the shelter was set to expire Thursday. But one day before that, the city issued a new order allowing it to reopen during extreme weather. That order runs through Mar. 14.