▶️ Redmond DIYers are finalists in national renovation challenge


Two Redmond renovators are in it to win it.

Hoping their self-taught skills in DIY projects will lead them to a $5,000 grand prize in a contest sponsored by Jeffrey Court Tiles and Home Depot.

Chelsea and Logan Johnson began taking on home renovations together in 2014 after buying their first home in Bend.

Shortly after they began showcasing their DIY work online, through their blog “Making Manzanita.”

“Our website at the time was focused on a lot of other things, then we just started focusing the website on sharing our renovations and teaching other people what we were learning along the way,” Chelsea said. 

After moving to Redmond, they got into this contest with only six weeks to completely transform their master bathroom, totaling around $13,000.

“We ripped everything out, took it down to the studs, and reconfigured the entire thing. We’ve got his and her dual-head showers over here.”

Chelsea says the biggest challenge was maximizing what used to be a small space – a task that clearly paid off in the end.

But the cherry on top a successful renovation would be a win against 10 other designers.

And and that $5,000.

“It would be such an honor, and I hope it would open new doors to working with more brands and some bigger opportunities if we did win,” she said. 

The Johnsons have a motto when it comes to their renovations: To make your house a home you love, regardless of skill level.

“Even if you don’t have a huge budget or a huge space, you can do little things and teach yourself everything you need to know.”

The competition ends in four days and you can cast your vote for the local couple here: Jeffrey Court Fall Renovation Challenge.

▶️ Bend Chamber hires new “Childcare Accelerator”


The Bend Chamber has taken a step in addressing a growing crisis in Central Oregon by hiring a new childcare accelerator.

“The childcare accelerator is really a position that was conceived of by a group of people across the region about what is it that we need,” said Katy Brooks, CEO of the Bend Chamber. “Her job is to find the right partners that get the costs to work, to get high quality childcare programming, and share those operational costs across a lot of different platforms.”

The new childcare accelerator, Megan Norris, says the primary issue to tackle when it comes to affordable childcare, is economics.

“When you’re looking at prices that are almost equal to home rental rates you’re seeing parents being forced to cut back hours or they are quitting their jobs altogether to be those childcare providers at home for their kids,” Norris said. 

Said Norris: “That’s why the Bend Chamber got involved in the first place is there are a lot of employers out there who are having a hard time keeping their workforce because there isn’t enough childcare to go around and somebody’s got to stay home.”

In addition to tackling access to affordable childcare across the region, Norris will also be a resource for local providers and existing facilities.

She’ll also be spearheading a collaborative pilot program between COCC and OSU-Cascades.

“We will basically be working with them to come up with some creative and innovative ways to provide more spots, possibly facilities really looking at potential for land and what that educational programming looks like for some of these early learning childcare centers,” Norris said. 

It’s not an issue that will be solved overnight, but Brooks said Norris’ hiring is the another step.

 “Collectively as a region how do we find the right properties, find the right quality programmings for that really important first three years and blend those two efforts together to bring that quality childcare to more Central Oregonians.”

Missing hiker found after a night in the woods near Eagle Crest

A 75-year-old Redmond woman who didn’t return from a walk in the woods with her dogs Tuesday night was found safe and sound Wednesday morning, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Search and Rescue Coordinator Lt. Bryan Husband said just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, 911 dispatch received a call from a woman saying her friend, Marion Price, had not returned from a hike she went on earlier in the day. Price, who lives in the Eagle Crest subdivision near Redmond set out on a hike in a large open area west of her home around 3:15 p.m.

Price had her Beagle mix dog with her as well as a friend’s Border Collie mix dog. Price was described as a healthy 75-year-old, but she had left her cell phone at home and was not believed to have a light source with her. It was unknown if she was dressed for the lower temperatures expected overnight, Husband said.

Five Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the area and began searching for Price. Fifteen DCSO Search and Rescue Volunteers also responded to assist with the search. The DCSO SAR Volunteers included ground searchers, UAS operators with FLIR capability as well as one SAR K9 team.

Husband said Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office SAR Volunteers continued searching for Price until about 1:00 a.m. Wednesday. DCSO deputies remained in the area throughout the night. About 6:00 a.m., DCSO SAR resumed planning and search efforts for Price.

Seven Deputies and 18 DCSO SAR Volunteers responded to assist. Around 7:48 a.m. deputies received a report that a gentleman walking his dog in the area came across Price and her dogs, and helped her back to the search staging area near Eagle Crest. Price was in good health and declined medical attention, Husband said. 

“She was able to huddle up with her dogs at the base of a tree and stay warm enough through the night and get a little bit of sleep,” Husband said. “This morning, early, she was able to wake up, continue walking. She ended up walking close to Barr Road and saw a jogger in the area and hailed the jogger down.”

Price told searchers she got turned around when the dogs led her off trail. She kept walking, trying to find her way back, until she got too tired.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind those recreating in the backcountry or rural areas such as this, to always be prepared for unexpected events that may cause extended return times. At a minimum, have a communication device, such as a cell phone, or whistle. Extra clothing, food and water are among other key items listed in the “10 Essentials.”


▶️ Former Bend resident still alive in Jeopardy! TOC


Former Bend resident Rachel Lindgren made her return to national TV Tuesday for her sixth appearance on Jeopardy!

Lindgren already won more than $75,000 after a five-day winning streak in 2018.

Tuesday, her friends and family came here to the Platypus Pub in bend to watch her compete in the Tournament of Champions.

Lindgren has done this before, so she knows how to prepare.

“Studying a lot – hitting up the kids section in the library because that’s usually the level Jeopardy is at,” Lindgren said. 

Before the filming in September, Lindgren studied during the day before she went to work.

Tournament of Champions questions are harder than questions in normal episodes.

“All of us were like wow these questions are hard,” she said. “You know it’s going to be hard but you don’t know how.” 

And her hard work paid off.

Lindgren finished in second place in the quarterfinal round and walked away with $13,601.

“Oh it’s so exciting,” said Paul Ponci, a friend who joined in to watch Tuesday night. “I knew she would do well because she’s super smart and has a great personality. She did us all proud.” 

Even with a lot on the line, Lindgren said she didn’t focus on the pressure.

“You kind of get into a zone and you forget about everything else,” she said. 

Lindgren said the end of the Tournament of Champions would be the end of her Jeopardy! career. She’s thinking about maybe trying to go on a few game shows in the future, but for now she’s taking her knowledge to trivia nights in her area – so watch out Corvallis.  

She’s not out of the tournament yet. The top four non-game winners with the highest money totals will advance to the semifinals as wild cards. So keep an eye on the show for the next week.

“It’s been really hard to keep this secret.”

Redmond woman killed in Hwy 97 crash

A Redmond woman died Tuesday in a two-car crash on Highway 97 between Bend and Redmond.

Oregon State Police said the preliminary investigation revealed that a 2017 Subaru Legacy, driven by 76-year-old Linda Dent of Redmond, was southbound on Highway 97 near the intersection with 61st Street when for unknown reasons crossed into the northbound slow lane and into the path of a 2018 Ram 3500.

The Ram 3500, an Oregon Department of Transportation Incident Response Vehicle, was driven by 38-year-old John Benson of Redmond.

Dent was pronounced dead at the scene, according to OSP.

Benson was taken to St Charles Hospital in Bend with minor injuries.

OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Bend Fire Department, and ODOT.

The crash happened at 11:45 a.m. and forced the closure of the northbound lanes of the highway for a few hours during the investigation and cleanup of the crash.

The highway fully re-opened just after 4 p.m.



▶️ Cover Story: Mecca Grade Estate Malt

Farming is tough work.
Farming the same piece of land on the High Desert for 100 years is even tougher.
Central Oregon Daily Photojournalist Steve Kaufmann takes us to Madras where the Klann family pioneered their land a century ago Today, they’re pioneering a method of malting that helps make that beer you’re drinking taste as good as it does.

▶️ Dog stolen from parked car; family offers $1k reward for return


A Bend couple is on the hunt for their beloved Dachshund, Franklin, after someone smashed their car window and stole the pup while they stopped to grab a beer.

After a long day of recreating with their dog, Justine Meyer and her boyfriend stopped at Big Dog Growlers on Bend’s south side. When they returned to their car, they found their car window had been broken and Franklin was gone.

“We took him to a spot we like to go fishing out by Deschutes River Woods. We got him in the car, instantly passed out because he was so tired from all the playtime he had just had,” Meyer said. 

They decided to leave him in the car to sleep while they went inside.

“We set up the bed in the car and didn’t think anything of it because we’re in the area a lot,” she said. “Just went inside and when we went to leave we saw that the window had been broken and he was no longer in the vehicle.”

The doors were locked and nothing else was missing from the car besides Franklin. They were parked near the alley, so unfortunately security cameras didn’t pick up a thing.

“We spent probably an hour and a half, maybe even two hours, just driving around the whole vicinity,” she said. “We went to Walmart and checked with the security guard, talked to some of the businesses that were still open like AM/PM, went into some of the neighborhoods.”

But little Franklin was nowhere to be found.

“It’s terrible to think that someone would steal him in the first place. It makes me sad to think like, ‘Is he getting fed, is he cold, is he getting all the love he needs?’ because he’s definitely like our baby,” she said. 

Justine filed a police report, and is now offering a $1,000 reward for Franklin’s safe return.

She also has a message for whoever might have taken him.

“He has a family, he has a good family, he’s well taken care of. We honestly just want to get our little guy back.”

Two people injured after Illegal pass leads to Crook County crash

Two people were injured Monday in a Crook County crash after a man tried to make an illegal pass on Powell Butte Highway, officials said.

According to Sgt. Mitch Madden of the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to a reported accident at 3:27 p.m. on SW Powell Butte Hwy near milepost 3. Initial reports indicated that two vehicles were involved and that one vehicle was in a ditch. Initial reports also indicated that two people were injured, Madden said.

Medics from Crook County Fire and Rescue had arrived on scene prior to law enforcement and were providing first aid to two female patients.

Madden said a 75-year-old Nancy Cruikshank of Powell Butte was traveling west bound on SW Powell Butte Hwy in a 2014 Toyota SUV. Accompanying Cruikshank was 72-year-old Kathy Stormer of Powell Butte.

Cruikshank was preparing to make a left turn into a driveway when a 2015 GMC van driven by 35-year-old Christopher Phillips of Bend sideswiped Cruikshank as he tried to unlawfully pass several vehicles in front of him to include Cruikshank, Madden said. Cruikshank’s SUV continued into a ditch where it collided head on with a small tree. Madden said the area Phillips attempted to pass the vehicles was marked as a no passing area by the solid yellow lines on the highway.

Both Cruikshank and Stormer were taken to St. Charles in Bend due to their injuries. Phillips was issued a citation for unsafe passing. There was no indication of drugs and/or alcohol on any of the drivers.

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Crook County Fire and Rescue, Redmond Fire and Rescue, Oregon State Police, and Dave’s Towing.

Bend-La Pine Schools superintendent to resign; accepts role with regional ed agency

Bend-La Pine Schools announced Tuesday that Superintendent Shay Mikalson will resign from the district after accepting a job with the High Desert Education Service District.

He will make the official announcement at the Nov. 12th school board meeting. Mikalson’s new position as Chief Student Success Officer for the ESD begins in July.

Bend-La Pine School Board co-chairs Julie Craig and Carrie McPherson Douglass say the board will meet on Wednesday to begin discussing the search process for Mikalson’s replacement.

“We will be announcing our next steps for our search process in the days to come and look forward to working with the community to select the next leader of Bend-La Pine Schools,” McPherson Douglass said in a statement. “The Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board is excited for the opportunity to continue the legacy of excellence in teaching and learning and to push our district even further towards our vision of an equitable and innovative system of schools that serves all students well.”

“We are grateful for Shay’s leadership over the past four and a half years as superintendent – we made progress in our efforts to provide a world class education to every student in Bend- La Pine,” said Craig. “Bend-La Pine Schools has every ingredient necessary to live up to that promise, with consistent community support, strong leadership and amazing educators and staff.”

Mikalson’s decision means Central Oregon’s two largest school districts will be looking for new leaders at the same time. Redmond School District Superintendent Mike McIntosh, who actually replaced Mikalson after two years as superintendent in Redmond, is also retiring at the end of the year.

Prior to being named superintendent in Bend in 2015, Mikalson served as the district’s assistant superintendent and director of instructional technology.

Mikalson says the last eight years with Bend-La Pine Schools have been some of the best in his career.

“I am proud of the gains that have taken place in our district – from broadening our definition of success to dramatically increasing graduation rates and passing the biggest construction bond in our history,” he said.

Since Mikalson joined the District in 2011, more than 2,500 new students have enrolled, three new schools have been constructed, and new a high school under construction today.

“We work diligently to build upon our successes in order to deliver the best teaching and learning environment in Oregon,” Mikalson said. “This year, we celebrated our best ever graduation rate, the Class of 2018 received more than $13 million in college scholarship offers, our students scored 57 points higher on the SATs than peers around the state, and we have refined our efforts to ensure every staff member and student have the teaching and learning environments they need to be successful.”

“I believe the collective work taking place today in our schools and departments reflects the very best our state has to offer and our district is well set up for success when my successor joins the district,” he added. “I am extremely proud to say that I have been a part of our district’s amazing team.”

ODOT closes McKenzie Pass for the winter

The Oregon Department of Transportation will close the Old McKenzie Pass Highway for the winter beginning Thursday.

It’ll be a two-phase process that starts the morning of Nov. 7th as ODOT crews will close the west side of the highway from the lower gate at OR 126 to the upper gate west of Dee Wright Observatory.

The west side of the highway has already seen winter conditions and is difficult to safely maintain. Workers will travel that length of the highway to escort any visitors from the area.

On the morning of Nov. 12, crews will close the eastern access at the gate west of Sisters and also travel the highway to escort any visitors from the highway.

This is the annual closure of the highway to motorized vehicles. The annual road opening to motorized vehicles is the third Monday in June.

Non-motorized users, including hikers and bicyclists, access the area at their own risk when it is closed to motorized vehicles. The road is not maintained for travel, but users should always expect crews and equipment that may be working in the closed area.