Injured hiker rescued from Smith Rock hiking trail

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers rescued an injured hiker from Smith Rock State Park Sunday.

Deschutes County Dispatch received a 911 call around 1 p.m. from hiker Raili Marks, of Seattle, who had injured herself while hiking the Misery Ridge trail.

She was reportedly near the trail’s overlook and could not walk without help.

Ten Search and Rescue volunteers, one deputy, and members of the Redmond Fire Department arrived on the scene.

After hiking up to Marks, they loaded her onto a wheeled litter and took her down the trail to a waiting ambulance.

She was taken to St. Charles in Redmond to be treated for her injuries.

Bend PD staff member arrested for DUII in Parkway crash

A non-sworn Bend Police Department staff member was arrested for DUII following a car crash on the Bend Parkway Friday.

Jamie Caron-Clarkson, 45, along with two passengers collided with a 25-year-old Bend man while driving southbound on the Parkway at around 11 p.m.

Caron-Clarkson was believed to be impaired at the time of the accident and police immediately turned over the investigation to the Oregon State Police and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

She was arrested following the DUII investigation after being taken to St. Charles in Bend.

The crash is still being investigated by the Oregon State Police.

An internal affairs investigation will find whether Caron-Clarkson violated policies of the Bend Police Department.

According to a department spokeswoman, Caron-Clarkson is a Program Specialist Lead – Records & Evidence.

Injured hiker rescued at Benham Falls Trailhead

Deschutes County Search and Rescue helped a Florida man who had injured himself hiking Sunday near Benham Falls.

Philip Wolfkill, of Ocala, Fla., reported he had slipped on some ice near the edge of the river and was unable to walk.

The DCSO Search and Rescue K9 unit was training nearby and was able to arrive within 30 minutes of the call, along with one Sunriver Police Department officer.

Five other volunteers arrived on the scene and a Special Services Deputy provided the required rescue equipment.

They were able to load Wolfkill into a wheeled litter and take him down the trail to a Bend Fire Department ambulance.

Wolfkill was taken to St. Charles in Bend to be treated for his injury.

Meth, heroin seized; Bend man arrested near Terrebonne

A Bend man arrested last week on drug charges and failing to register as a sex offender.

DCSO had been investigating 39-year-old Dana Johnson for the sales of controlled substances in the county.

On April 8, they learned he would be arriving in the county with possible drugs in his possession.

Detectives spotted Johnson driving a Jeep Wrangler down Hwy 97 near Terrebonne.

Various law enforcement including CATT deputies and DSCO SWAT stopped him at the Ogden Wayside.

DCSO Deputy Ben Bartness and his K9 Masa discovered controlled substances in Johnson’s car, including 3/4 of a pound of methamphetamine and 1/2 pound of heroin.

They also found over $7,000 in cash and a loaded handgun.

Johnson was taken to St. Charles in Bend, where he was given medical treatment, and then booked in the Deschutes County Jail.

▶️ Local venues, vendors handling fair share of rescheduled 2020 weddings


For many couples, 2020 was the year of rescheduled weddings.

Things still aren’t completely the same in 2021, but engaged couples are tired of waiting.

“They’re kind of starting to see the writing on the wall,” said Lindsay Borkowski, Sunriver Resort director of sales and marketing. “That their wedding of 200 people may not be a reality for them, even in 2021.”

“It’s a tough year,” added Brandon Sirstins, Brasada Ranch director of sales and marketing. “People didn’t stop getting engaged during the pandemic. I think you could argue that more people probably got engaged.”

Rearrangements and restrictions aren’t stopping many couples from celebrating their big day.

Borkowski says one venue, the Great Hall at Sunriver Resort is booked almost every Saturday for the rest of the year.

“More and more we’re seeing weddings that have been postponed going forward in 2021, deciding just to do it,” Borkowski said. “Just making sacrifices based on what we’re experiencing right now.”

For venues, it’s a good problem to have.

Sirstins says 80% of the couples who planned to have their wedding at Brasada Ranch in 2020 have stuck with them into the new year.

“We are completely booked out for 2021,” Sirstins said.

Bend Photographer Kayla Thorson says she had some wedding reschedules of her own, but overall, business has been great thanks to elopements.

“Most of my couples, especially locally, were like we just want to get married,” Thorson said. “We will get together with our friends and family later.”

That includes Portland couple Stacy Mann and Tony Chung, who will be eloping at Smith Rock State Park in March.

“It’s so hard to tell with COVID when things are going to be back to normal when things are going to open up,” Chung said. “When people are even going to be comfortable attending weddings.”

Couples, venues, and vendors are all making do, but in the end, there will be no shortage of local weddings in 2021.

▶️ Prineville mother frustrated with limited curriculum on Black History Month


What did you learn today?

That’s a question Prineville resident Amber Vandenack asks her 6th grade daughter every day after school.

But it’s what the 11-year-old Crook County Middle School student, who is black, wasn’t mentioning that stood out to Vandenack.

“Well, did you learn anything about Black History? Because it was February 1st the first day I asked,” Vandenack said. “She was like no, and I put it off a little bit. I said okay it’s only the first day, let’s give it a week and see how it goes.”

A week went by, Vandenack’s daughter still reported back nothing.

Vandenack then called the school and the superintendent, she was told that Black History Month is not part of the school’s curriculum and it’s up to teachers whether to discuss it.

“I was mad,” Vandenack said. “I cussed a few times.”

According to Jason Carr with the Crook County School District, students do learn about Black History.

“It is something that is covered,” Carr said. “It is something that we believe is important.”

However, there is not a single month of the curriculum devoted to Black History Month.

Assistant principal Marques Hase says this is because Crook County Middle School takes a “holistic” approach to Black history, incorporating it into lessons throughout the entire school year.

“We focus on Black History throughout the content throughout the year,” Marques Hase, assistant principal said. “Not specifically just Black History Month, just throughout the year.”

Vandenack says what frustrates her the most is that slavery and segregation is the bulk of the black history her daughter is learning.

“It breaks my heart that my daughter only hears the bad,” Vandenack said. “Doesn’t hear about the good things that African American and black people do.”

Since our conversation with Vandenack, she spoke with school district curriculum director Stacy Smith.

Smith is hoping the school district can find unique ways to celebrate Black History Month with more positive content.

“The school district is happy to partner with the family and weave in additional lessons that meet the request,” Carr said. “We value the opportunity to have an open conversation with our parents to ensure our schools are a welcoming and positive place for all of our students of color.”

▶️ ODFW receives multiple reports of wolf sightings in Terrebonne


Terrebonne resident Peter Coughlin was playing with his German shepherd in the backyard Thursday afternoon until something caught his eye.

“All of a sudden I see these two, what I thought were coyotes or dogs at first coming through at a brisk pace towards the east of our property,” Coughlin said. “Through the Juniper trees and sage brush.”

Once he found out another Terrebonne resident claimed to see wolves minutes later, Coughlin went looking for tracks.

“Since we had a lot of moisture recently,” Coughlin said. “Definitely leaves some good imprints.”

Wildlife biologist Andrew Walch says although it’s more common in other parts of the state, wolves occasionally come to Central Oregon and winter is a likely time for them to do so.

“So far, most every wolf report we get in Central Oregon is a transient wolf passing through,” Walch said. “Dispersing.”

Walch says the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife gets a few wolf reports per week in our region.

However, it’s tough to say how many are confirmed sightings because ODFW can’t always get to them all.

“On ones that seem likely and plausible,” Walch said. “We try to get out there and take a look and see if we can verify what was going on.”

Walch adds there was another promising report out of Terrebonne last week, and someone from ODFW will meet Coughlin to investigate his sighting.

You can report wolf sightings at

▶️ Health official says U.K. COVID strain ‘may impede’ getting back to normal


If you were expecting life to get back to normal any time soon, B.1.1.7 or the U.K. strain of COVID-19, may have just changed that.

“So the concern here is that it makes it much harder to contain the spread of the virus,” said Dr. George Conway, Deschutes County Health Services director. “So just at the time that we were hoping as the weather got warmer, and maybe as we got towards spring break, and we could be opening up schools and whatnot, this may impede that.”

Conway says the strain recently found in Bend is more efficiently transmitted than other variants.

OSU research finds highly contagious U.K. COVID strain in Bend sample

The sample was collected from wastewater on December 22nd by Oregon State University, as part of the university’s TRACE COVID-19 project.

Genetic information was not discovered until January 21st, so what took so long?

“We have to extract, then we do a PCR test to see if it’s positive,” said Brett Tyler, OSU Genome Research and Biocomputing director. “If that’s positive then it gets referred to the sequencing lab, it takes about a week for the sequencing lab to process that, and then we had another week gap in there due to the holidays.”

Conway says this will likely require the general public to continue to take precautions, but there is good news.

“B.1.1.7 strain does not appear to be any more resistant to the protective effect of the two vaccines that are being used in the U.S. right now,” Conway said.

Conway did emphasize that this strain has been in the United States for a while, and catching this sample allows Oregonians to prepare.

▶️ Parents, teachers react to Bend-La Pine Schools reopening plan


Christina Kennedy is a mother of three and first grade teacher at Lava Ridge Elementary.

When she heard students will soon be returning back to school, she described it as a sigh of relief.

Kennedy said all of her kids will return in some capacity.

She also thought the staggered start among grades was a good call by the school district.

“With the numbers that we have and just all the different schools, and all the different programs, and different types of schools and all of that,” Kennedy said. “I really think it’ll feel less tumultuous.”

Christie Otley, also a mother of three, said she agrees.

Otley is happy the school district is providing a choice to return, but she is leaving that decision up to her kids.

“Overwhelmingly they wanted to go back,” Otley said. “My oldest son, he really likes the scheduling that Bend-La Pine online has provided for him and the flexibility. So he still hasn’t really given me a concrete answer on his.”

Not everyone feels as confident in reopening schools.

On our Facebook page, Mariah S. wrote, “our county is still in the extreme risk category.”

Amy M. also said, “nothing about school will be normal.”

As for teachers who don’t feel comfortable going back yet, Bend-La Pine Schools said they could sign up for a leave of absence and have their positions held for next year.

That deadline for that decision, however, has passed.

The school district also opened 10 to 15 positions to teach online for internal staff only.

“The district, as a whole for their purposes, has really done an amazing job” Kennedy said.

▶️ Local women attending D.C. rally share experience of chaos at the Capitol


Prineville resident Deborah Tilden says her experience in Washington D.C. this week has been mostly peaceful.

However, she is disappointed with what she saw at the Capitol Wednesday afternoon.

“It was really shocking to me,” Tilden said. “I just kept praying that there would not be an escalation.”

Tilden says she got a bad feeling once people started to make their way up the Capitol steps and began to back away herself.

“Just stay there, don’t try to breach into the building,” Tilden said. “They are doing business inside that building and they need to do their job of what we are expecting them to do.”

Bend resident Judy Thomson says if she’d had a chance to enter the Capitol, she would’ve taken it.

“I would have definitely gone,” Thomson said. “I would’ve followed them because they were patriots and all they were doing was carrying flags. No bullets, not any kind of weapon.”

Though few details have been released, a woman was shot inside the Capitol Wednesday and later died.

Tilden says violence shouldn’t have been a part of the protest. She simply wanted to be heard.

“That’s what 99.99% of people were here for,” Tilden said. “Is to make a statement that we truly care about this election.”

Tilden and her friends will return to Central Oregon tomorrow.