La Pine High School roof fire blamed on roofer’s torch

La PINE – A roofer’s propane torch apparently sparked a fire that caused an estimated $30,000 damage to La Pine High School on Wednesday evening. While the fire was rapidly confined, it may have caused some smoke damage elsewhere in the school, officials said.

The alarm was received at 5:49 p.m. and the first crews arrived at the school, 51633 Coach Road, five minutes later, said Fire Marshal Jim Gustafson of the La Pine Rural Fire Protection District.

Two La Pine fire engines and two water tenders were called in, as well as a Sunriver engine, but it took only about 20 minutes to get the flames under control. Crews were on scene for more than two hours, Gustafson said.

The blaze occurred in the northwest common area entrance, next to the library, with extension into the ceiling space of the commons area. The fire was confined to the commons area, just short of the extension to the library, Gustafson said.

Damage included two windows, about 230 feet of heavy glue-laminated beams, 10 roof joists, sub-roof decking, insulation, sheetrock, 20 feet of heating duct, a drop ceiling and miscellaneous electrical wiring and components, Gustafson said. But residual smoke spread throughout the school, so some smoke damage is possible, he added.

Portions of the school are being re-roofed, and a propane torch had been used during the day. The fire cause was associated with the torch, the fire marshal said.

Prineville man home safe after unexpected night in woods

PRINEVILLE – A 61-year-old Prineville man who went for a ride with his dog in the Ochoco national Forest Tuesday ended up spending an unexpected night in the woods east of town after his pickup truck broke down, but was found in good condition by searchers Wednesday morning.

Authorities said it was another case of a situation that could have been resolved far quicker, had the subject been equipped with a cell phone.

Marvin Peters left Prineville around 1 p.m. Tuesday, said Wayne Inman, incident commander with Crook County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue. In the Fir Tree Spring area, the pickup experienced mechanical problems and would not run. He was unable to call for help and spent the night, trying again at daybreak to fix the apparent fuel problem.

Meanwhile, Peters’ wife called authorities Wednesday morning, advising that her husband was overdue and seeking Search and Rescue locate him. She also advised that he had some medical problems, making the search a priority, Inman said.

The woman was able to give searchers a specific area to start looking, so SAR targeted an area about 50 miles east of Prineville. Five volunteers and two deputies with the Search and Rescue team were dispatched to an area east of Big Summit Prairie.

Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Peters met a search team as he was driving out of the forest. Inman said he had been able to make a temporary repair of the vehicle and start for home.

“Search and Rescue recommends that backcountry travelers always carry a cell phone,” Inman said in a news release. “Even if there is no cell service in the immediate area, frequently a signal is possible just around the corner, or higher in elevation.”

Wednesday afternoon update on Cache Mountain Fire

4:00pm – The day is going well and crews are making good progress on the Cache Mountain Fire reinforcing firelines and mopping up. Air support continues to patrol the fire perimeter looking for hot spots, flare-ups, providing water and retardant drops. The fire is 95% contained and remains at 4,200 acres. Full containment is expected by tomorrow night at 8:00pm.
It was announced at noon today to residents of Black Butte Ranch that they would be allowed to return to their homes after 3:00pm. They were also told that only the residents and guests registered at the time of evacuation would be allowed to return today. All other visitors and vendors would be allowed to enter the ranch subdivision beginning tomorrow. Only residents living on Fiddleneck and Bracken Lanes will be allowed on those roads and in that immediate area.
US Highway 20 is open. Motorists can expect reduced speed limits and short delays between the Santiam Pass and Sisters.
Resources assigned to the fire today include 34 crews, two helicopters, 59 engines, 19 dozers, and 19 water tenders. Seven additional helicopters, including two provided through Weyerhauser, have been assisting. Total fire personnel assigned to the fire are 1,179.
##

‘It is with deep sadness…’: Broken Top remains confirmed as missing hiker

One of two months-old missing-hiker mysteries in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area has been solved, in sad but not surprising fashion: Remains found near the base of Broken Top Mountain’s west slope, west of Bend, were confirmed Wednesday to be those of a 24-year-old Pennsylvania man who vanished on a solo climb last November.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office and Deschutes County sheriff’s investigators used clothing and dental records to identify the remains found last Friday afternoon by hikers as those of Danny Curran III of Springfield, Pa. He had been reported missing Nov. 9 by his brother after he went for a climb up the 9,175-foot peak, triggering the second massive – and fruitless – search in the area in several months.

“It has been determined by the state Medical Examiner’s Office that the cause of death was hypothermia due to exposure to cold,” sheriff’s Det. Donald Pray said in a news release.

“I just can’t imagine – the poor guy,” Curran’s mother, Mary Ann, told bend.com after hearing the news.

Hikers called the agency by cell phone around 2 p.m. Friday to report that they had possibly located human remains. Sheriff’s detectives and members of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit responded, located and removed the remains, which were taken to the medical examiner in Portland on Monday for examination.

Curran had been camping at Green Lakes with his younger brother, Cavan, 20, when he left their camp on the afternoon of Nov. 7, saying that he intended to hike to the summit of Broken Top on an unspecified route. When he didn’t return that night, Cavan spent the next day searching, then hiked out to notify authorities.

Danny Curran did not have a pack or climbing gear with him, and his dark down jacket made the search even more difficult. He reportedly had some climbing experience and was in good physical condition, but was not prepared for an overnight stay, wearing jeans, hiking boots, a knit cap and gloves, and carrying a Swiss Army knife.

Formal word took days, but initial news made outcome clear

Mary Ann Curran told bend.com that they had gotten the call from Deschutes County authorities last Friday night, and were asked to fax their son’s dental records to Bend.

“But it was pretty much determined from the onset that it was Danny’s clothing,” she said. “I had sent out to Lisa (Jeffcott of Deschutes County SAR) a picture that Cavan had taken of Danny just five minutes before he left” on the fateful hike.

“The dental records were pretty distinctive,” the grieving mother said. “He was 24 and didn’t have any cavities. He only had three wisdom teeth out of four.” Plus, “he had special hiking boots on. We got info from REI Hiking Supply.”

It’s the call you are waiting for that you don’t really want to get,” Dan Curran, the young man’s father, told Delaware County Daily Times reporter Timothy Logue. “There was no wallet or identification, so they couldn’t say it with absolute certainty, but they were his clothes and his boots.”

Searchers believe the man most likely had reached the summit of Broken Top and ran into trouble on the way back to camp.

“The cause of death was listed as exposure,” Dan Curran said. “There was concern that he might have suffered a bad fall, but there was no sign of broken bones, no fractured skull or anything like that. There’s a possibility that he sprained an ankle and was unable to walk out.”

The father said autopsy results indicate Curran likely died on his first night away from camp. “They said he may have settled in an area where there was two feet of snow and died in his sleep,” he told the Pennsylvania paper. “Foremost in all of our minds is that he didn’t suffer.”

Hiker’s disappearance prompted hundreds of bend.com postings by friends, family

A National Guard helicopter and Air Force Reserve plane aided in the search for Curran, which covered more than 140 square miles and prompted a huge outpouring of support for family members in postings at bend.com. A family friend also created a Web site (http://www.dannycurran.net) to share photos and memories of their friend and loved one.

As the search wound down before Thanksgiving, with colder temperatures and snow moving in, Curran’s mother, Mary Ann Curran, posted a note to that site: “It is a very hard decision to leave Bend, but that time has come. … We will bring Danny home with us in our hearts and minds.”

Last June, Corwin Osborn, 45, of Bellevue, Wash., disappeared while hiking from the Devils Lake Trailhead and was last seen near the summit of South Sister. The athletic and experienced climber intended to reach the summit of one, perhaps all the Sisters, on an undetermined route. His father, who dropped him off at the Davils Lake Trailhead, reported him missing when he’d failed to show up at Lava Camp Lake Trailhead as planned.

In June, on the first anniversary of Osborn’s disappearance, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers returned to the Green Lakes trailhead, to begin posting a pair of fliers about the missing men at the entry to every trail into the high Cascades. They knew the summer would bring both snow melt and more hikers back to the area, possibly leading to such a discovery and the much-sought closure for not only family members, but searchers as well.

The Curran family sent an e-mail to their many family and friends late Wednesday: “It is with deep sadness that we must tell you that on Friday, July 26th, Danny’s body was found on Broken Top Mountain by hikers,” it began. “In the next several days, we will be completing arrangements for a memorial mass. We will post all information to the http://www.dannycurran.net Website.”

“Please keep us in your prayers,” they wrote. “Thank you again for your warm and loving support over these past months.”

’I can’t say enough to all of the people of Bend … how wonderful they are.’

Mary Ann Curran said they had yet to complete arrangements to fly to Central Oregon and retrieve the young man’s remains.

She said her husband had said, “You never quite get over it. You get a little less numb, and then this gets it all open again.”

As she had last November, when the mournful family members headed back East for a sad Thanksgiving, Mary Ann Curran wished to express her thanks to Central Oregonians for their support and kind words, prayers and condolences.

“I can’t say enough, to all of the people of Bend,” she said. “I can’t say how wonderful they are. They have been so supportive in the past months. I’ve stayed in touch with the people back there.”

And she also watched as friends and family of another missing person, snowboarder Kate Svitek, came together online at bend.com to share their wishes.

“I watched the thing on Katie,” she said, pointing out how the ability to post online messages is “a source of great comfort” for both sender and recipient. “I think people find it easier than picking up a telephone,” which can be far more intrusive. “It helps people to let us know and let those families know, we’re here and we’re thinking of you.”

Dan Curran told the Pennsylvania paper that the close-knit family has been doing about as well as can be expected in the months since Danny’s disappearance.

“Obviously, we all miss him terribly,” he said. “Like other tragedies, the further you get away from it – even though it hurts – the pain gets a little easier. But then you get the call, and everything resurfaces.”

“I know that we’re happy to finally bring him home.”

Cook Avenue construction work to last more than month

Construction crews will be doing road construction along Cook Avenue in
Tumalo. The construction will last approximately until September 2nd and
occur from 6:00 a.m. to approximately 7:00 p.m. All businesses along Cook
Avenue will be open normal hours. For more information call Jason Torrie,
Deschutes County Road Department, at 322-7111.

Oregon AG warns of telemarketer fraud over ‘No Call’ program

Attorney General Hardy Myers today issued an alert concerning fraudulent telemarketers claiming to be connected with the Department of Justice “No Call” program. In conjunction with the warning, Myers filed court actions against seven companies for No Call violations and a telecommunications company for billing and service problems.
“Telemarketers are calling Oregonians and citizens in other `No Call’ states claiming affiliation with the Attorney General’s Office and its `No Call’ program, “ Myers said. “Not only are they not connected with any government agency but they are using the information to commit identity theft.”
The “No Call” law prohibits telemarketers with few exemptions from calling residential phones listed on the Oregon “No Call” list. The two-year- old program has more than 80,000 subscribers and more than 1,200 telemarketers now purchase the list as dictated by law.
Investigators from the Arkansas Attorney General’s office reported that unlawful telemarketers calling in their state used the names of the “National Association Against Fraud” and “Fraud Stoppers.” The Arkansas Attorney General noted that neither company had any connection with his office or the state’s “No Call” program.
Myers reminded consumers that any caller claiming to be affiliated with Oregon’s “No Call” program and asking for credit card and bank account information is operating fraudulently and should be immediately reported to authorities.
In addition to the warning, Attorney General Myers today filed seven Assurances of Voluntary Compliance in Marion County Circuit Court for violations of the “No Call” law. Those named in the agreements and monies paid into the Department of Justice Consumer Protection and Education Fund include:
· Audio Hearing Center, Inc. of Salem, hearing aids and related services, $1,000
· Heidi Black of Corvallis, doing business as B & H Marketing, selling Herbalife products, agreed to cease telemarketing.
· Cambridge Financial Services of Solana Beach, California, selling and refinancing mortgages, $3,000
· Crime Free Security Systems, Inc. and Amad Razzaghy of Portland, sells and installs home security systems, $5,000
· Micron Filtration Technologies, Inc. of Vancouver, Washington, sells air filtration services, $2,000.
· Mission Hills Mortgage of Santa Ana, California, mortgage refinancing company, $7,500
· Waddell & Reed of Overland Park, Kansas, sells financial services, $4,000
The Department of Justice filed an eighth Assurance of Voluntary Compliance against VoiceStream Wireless Corporation of Bellevue, Washington for alleged misrepresentations concerning billing and service issues. Filed in Marion County courts, the assurance admits no violation of law.
Consumers from all areas in Oregon complained about misleading representations by VoiceStream concerning its per minute rates and complained of difficulties in using its equipment as well as obtaining service in some geographic areas.
Under the agreement, VoiceStream declared that all complaints pending against them as of March 2002 have been resolved. The company will resolve future legitimate complaints with refund checks, credit to the customer’s account or adjusting the customers account balance.
The company will make additional changes to its business practices and will pay Justice $22,500 for its consumer protection and education fund.
Consumers wanting information on Oregon’s “No Call” program may call toll-free at 1-877-700-6622 or online at www.ornocall.com Information also is available by calling the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at http://www.doj.state.or.us .

# # # #

Klamath Basin aid legislation clears Senate panel

WASHINGTON, D.C.–­At the urging of Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Ron Wyden
(D-OR) the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee today approved the
Klamath Basin Emergency Operation and Maintenance Refund Act of 2001 (HR 2828).
The legislation will compensate the Klamath Basin irrigation districts for the
costs they incurred last year to maintain canals in the project, despite the
fact that they received no water.

“Klamath basin farmers shouldn’t be expected to pay for the maintenance of
canals that were bone dry for most of last year because of a misguided federal
decision,” said Smith. “This bill will never make up for the total losses of
the past year, but it will provide some compensation to farmers.”

“I’m glad to see the government move one step closer to giving Klamath families
their due,” said Wyden. “Farmers who didn’t get a drop of water through these
canals shouldn’t have to pay for their upkeep. The Federal government has got
to be a better partner to folks in the Klamath Basin while we all search for
fair solutions to water and wildlife issues.”

Despite the fact that water was withheld from the irrigation districts for much
of last year’s planting season, the law requires local farmers and ranchers to
pay for the operation and maintenance of the project. This bill would require a
reimbursement for those costs. Irrigation districts would then be required to
return the savings to their members. The bill is expected to return over $4
million to irrigators in the Klamath Basin.

The bill must now go to the full Senate for a vote, which would send the measure
to the White House for the President’s signature. The bill passed the House in
November of last year under the sponsorship of Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR).

###

Senate panel approves Wallowa Dam rehab funding

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today passed
the Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation and Water Management Act of 2001 (S. 1883).
The bill was sponsored by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

“The projects authorized by this bill provide a positive approach, supported by
local interests, to resolving the water challenges facing the Wallowa River
Basin,” said Smith. “The cooperative efforts of all the parties involved are
now one step closer to being rewarded.”

“The Wallowa Dam project is a prime example of people working together to fix
local problems with locally-based, creative solutions,” said Wyden. “The
Committee is right to support that process, and I anticipate the full Senate’s
approval.”

The act would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the
Commissioner of Reclamation, to participate in the rehabilitation of the Wallowa
Lake Dam and in the Wallowa Valley Water Management Plan. Local entities have
developed these two projects with the participation of numerous state and
federal agencies and the support of local tribes.

The bill must now be approved by the full Senate. Congressman Walden is backing
a similar bill in the House.

###

Oregon ag news: Japanese get ‘berry’ good product

Oregon berry growers have given potential buyers from Japan a first hand look and taste of this year’s crop with hopes of future sales. Will the effort be successful? The proof will be in the pudding– or in the cobbler, as the case may be.

“We are trying to introduce the Japanese to some products they may have heard about, but certainly aren’t that familiar with– specifically caneberries,” says Patrick Mayer, international trade manager with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

According to Mayer, Japan is the top market for Oregon agricultural exports, representing about 40% of total exports at a value of more than a half billion dollars.

Oregon growers have had success exporting strawberries and blueberries to Japan in recent years. They hope to find similar interest from the Japanese in some of the lesser known small fruits. No other state grows the quantity and quality of such caneberries as blackberries, black raspberries, boysenberries, loganberries, and Marionberries. Throw in the traditional red raspberry– Oregon is the nation’s second leading producer– and you have an impressive menu for the Japanese palate.

“Even though the Japanese economy is not in great shape, it is still impressive,” says Mayer. “Consumers spend a lot of money on food and are very sophisticated. We need to educate them on why they should be eating these berries.”

Capitalizing on a health theme that has played well for blueberry exports to Japan, Oregon caneberry growers are working to create consumer demand. Mayer and local growers visited Japan in May, setting the groundwork for a reciprocal visit by potential Japanese buyers in July. This month, those buyers traveled to more than a half dozen berry producers in the Willamette Valley to see the fruit in the field as well as varied processed products. Federal funds helped make it all possible.

“It is wonderful to have them come over here,” says King Bredenkamp of Scenic Fruit Company in the Gresham area. “It gives them a first hand look at fruit in the field and how it is processed. I think they were impressed with what they saw.”

Bredenkamp is also part of the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, and says while the Japanese tour did not include every grower in the state, all berry producers could benefit from increased sales to Japan.

“We’ve been telling them about the extremely high nutraceutical value of caneberries,” says Bredenkamp. “For instance, the black raspberry has an extremely high level of anti-oxidants. The blueberry got popular in Japan that way. Well, the black raspberry has four times the amount.”

Anti-oxidants neutralize the effects of free radicals– those unstable compound molecules that can attack human cells and damage DNA.

“I’ve been trying to sell these berries into Japan for 17 years,” says Bredenkamp. “When I first started, they said they weren’t interested, but maybe someday the younger generation would be. Now, that younger generation is aging and we are seeing all sorts of interest. Sales of red raspberries have increased. We are now working on the black raspberry.”

Growers understand that they are competing on the world stage. Yugoslavia produces low-cost raspberries. Chile is also a major producer and exporter. Oregon is not going to compete on price and probably not in bulk. But for ingredients and flavorings, for example, it is hard to compare with the taste of Oregon.

“The inherent nature of our caneberries prohibits us from shipping them to Japan in a fresh product because they are a little too fragile,” says Mayer, who helped coordinate this month’s visit by the Japanese. “But there are good opportunities for us in the processed arena.”

IQF berries– individual quick frozen– are used in such popular items as smoothies. Berry toppings and purees are also forms that have a chance in Japan.

Two of the Japanese companies represented in the recent Oregon trip included Yamazaki, Japan’s number one baking company, and Ohayo Dairy, which is interested in flavorings for ice cream as well as for other dairy products. Of course, they were able to see the familiar Oregon blueberry. But a major emphasis was placed on caneberries.

Along for the five-day ride was a writer and a photographer from Dancyu Magazine– one of Japan’s leading food publications.

“Another way for us to get the message out about what we have in Oregon is to include the Japanese press,” says Mayer.

As part of the experience, the visitors from across the Pacific dined on a wide variety of dishes with a clear presence of Oregon berries. Among the products– a Marionberry sushi. It was a big hit.

One challenge is getting the Japanese to accept a berry that has noticeable seeds. Their experience with strawberries and blueberries has conditioned them away from fruit with seeds. A processed product is one way to eliminate those seeds.

Being able to seal the deal is the final challenge. Results of the most recent efforts may not become apparent right away. ODA’s marketing staff will continue its role of facilitating buyer and seller.

“The key is in the follow up,” says Mayer. “We were able to bring both sides together. We are in a good position to continue that discussion.”

The Japanese consumer– a noted berry lover– will need to develop some new tastes. Oregon growers will try to hasten that development while staying patient.

“Nothing happens overnight in Japan,” says Bredenkamp.

For more information, contact Patrick Mayer at (503) 872-6600.

OSU-Cascades Campus to offer new degree in tourism

BEND – A new bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation leadership and
tourism at Oregon State University-Cascades Campus should attract student
interest from across the state and nation, educators say, with a curriculum
tailored to the needs of a rapidly growing industry.
The educational program, which was officially approved this month by
the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, will begin this fall and expand
gradually over the next five years.
“As a four-year bachelor’s degree, this is definitely a unique
program for Oregon,” said Rebecca Johnson, a professor and associate dean in
the OSU College of Forestry. “It has an intensive focus on commercial
recreation and leadership development, and is something the state has needed
for a long time.
“Many other states with a strong tourism industry such as Oregon already
have educational programs similar to this,” Johnson said. “A program in
global tourism recently began at Colorado State University and they have
already had to limit enrollment. There should be many career opportunities
for graduates from this program, not only in Oregon but around the world.”
The new degree will begin with an option that emphasizes
international ecotourism, Johnson said, which will include an international
internship, study of a foreign language, exploration of the environmental,
economic and cultural impacts of tourism, and an understanding of
sustainability issues along with more traditional topics in the business and
marketing arena.
Later, three other options will be added to this bachelor’s degree:
commercial recreation and tourism; experiential education; and outdoor
recreation for special populations, such as the elderly, disabled or at-risk
youth. By the time the degree is fully phased in over the next five years as
many as five new faculty members working in this field may be added to the
OSU-Cascades Campus.
“There is already a lot of interest in the Central Oregon community
in this degree, because tourism businesses are looking for students with
appropriate training,” Johnson said. “With its many types of outdoor
recreation including skiing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and
wilderness adventures, Central Oregon is one of the best places in the
country to begin a program such as this. And it’s a great area for students
to get internships and work experience.”
Tourism is one of the leading industries in Central Oregon,
employing about 6,500 people in the three-county area. And the degree will
be a good complement to a two-year educational program in recreation
leadership now being offered at Central Oregon Community College, officials
said.
“COCC already has a strong program in outdoor recreation, as do a number of
other community colleges around the state, including Mount Hood,” said Jay
Casbon, campus executive officer of OSU-Cascades. “Until now, their
graduates have had to leave the state to complete four-year degrees. This
degree should be a perfect fit for both Central Oregon and the state as a
whole.”
The new program was set up jointly at OSU by the College of Forestry and the
College of Health and Human Sciences, and was begun in part with grant
support from the U.S. Department of Education.
-30-