Four-wheelers found after cold night south of Bend

Searchers on snowmobiles Saturday night found three Bend men who apparently became lost during a four-wheeling excursion in the Deschutes National Forest more than a dozen miles south of town and spent more than a day and night in the snowy cold, dressed only in jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes.

The three men, in their 20s, headed out in a pickup truck on Friday and had taken no food or water with them, said Deschutes County sheriff’s Cpl. Shane Nelson. The trio did bring a cell phone along, but were too far out of town for any reception, Nelson said.

The three men spent the night in the pickup and started to hike out around 2 p.m. Saturday, Nelson said. After about 4 ½ miles, the cell phone began to work and they called authorities. Deputy Rhett Hemphill said Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crews had to use snowmobiles and headed 15 miles off China Hat Road at Forest Road 1810.

The pickup was found about 7 p.m. at the intersection of forest roads 9710 and 9720, and the men were found a few minutes later in the Swamp Wells Butte area, Nelson said. The three men were taken to St. Charles Medical Center for treatment of mild hypothermia.

Two Madras teens arrested in school break-in

MADRAS – Two Madras teens have been arrested – one through police use of heat-sensing infrared gear – in a weekend break-in at Madras High School’s Buff Learning Center, police said. Their alleged loot included an interesting combination: Lots of candy, and toothbrushes.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, Madras police and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies responded to the learning center on Southeast Buff Street after a custodian reported finding two subjects in the school, who fled when he confronted them., said police Sgt. Steve Webb.

When officers arrived, attention soon focused on a large field on the southeast side of the building, Webb said. Using a FLIR (forward-looking infrared) unit mounted on a Madras patrol car, one suspect, 15 years old, was spotted in the field and taken into custody.

The other suspect, a 16-year-old, was able to flee the area on foot, Webb said. But at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday, sheriff’s deputies located him bicycling near the Jefferson County Courthouse and took him into custody.

Police determined the pair allegedly gained entry into the school through a classroom window. While inside, the teens allegedly took a large amount of candy used in the school’s store, toothbrushes and several other items from one of the classrooms. Damage to some doors and a window was estimated at close to $1,000.

The two teens were taken to a juvenile detention center by Jefferson County juvenile authorities, and face second-degree burglary, criminal trespass and theft charges, as well as first-degree criminal mischief and possession of burglar’s tools, Webb said. They are due to appear in circuit court on Monday.

Good Samaritan has truck stolen for his trouble

A Deschutes River Woods resident who gave an acquaintance a ride Saturday allegedly had a knife held to his chest and his pickup truck stolen for his trouble. But the suspect was arrested a short time later, after he allegedly got the pickup stuck in the yard of a home in the nearby Mountain High subdivision, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said.

The 50-year-old alleged victim had given the 28-year-old suspect, later identified as Gerold Duane Hansen, a “courtesy ride” to find a friend’s home shortly after 5 p.m. in Deschutes River Woods, said sheriff’s Sgt. Merlin Toney.

The driver stopped at the River Woods Country Store to let Hansen out of the 1976 Chevy pickup, but while there, the suspect allegedly held a knife to the victim’s chest and demanded the truck, Toney said. Hansen then allegedly took the truck and fled east on Knott Road.

A short time later, the pickup was reported to be high-centered in the side yard of a home on Ridge Heights, in the Mountain High subdivision, Toney said. Bend police responded to the scene and arrested Hansen, who was still in the allegedly stolen truck.

Paramedics also had to respond to the scene, Toney said, as Hansen allegedly was reacting to alleged use of illegal drugs. He later was taken to the county jail in Bend and lodged on charges of first-degree robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, Toney said.

Mountain of help: Food drive smashes record

The Central Oregon Community Action Agency Network (COCAAN) food warehouse is again full, thanks to the generous donations of skiers and snowboarders who traded 26,780 pounds of food for 6,800 Mt. Bachelor lift tickets.

Volunteers from the National Guard and the Deschutes County Juvenile Center, with help from the Knott Landfill and U.S. Postal Service, spent a snowy Friday loading and weighing all of the donations.

The weight of the food donated at the 14th annual Free Ski Day is likely a record, surpassing the amounts given each of the previous three years. All donated food will stay in Central Oregon to help the needy of Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties.

Mt. Bachelor spokesman Chris Johnston said the resort is thrilled with the results of this event, but wants to make sure credit is given where it is due.

“Our donation of $240,000 worth of lift tickets is substantial, but this food drive could not happen without the help of the volunteers,” he said. “If the National Guard or Juvenile Center didn’t or couldn’t provide the manpower, there would be no food drive.”

Johnston also reminded people that giving should not be a one-time occurrence.

“The COCAAN staff say this donation is huge, yet their warehouse will be empty again in just a few weeks. Everyone should visit www.cocaan.org to find other ways of helping the needy of Central Oregon.”

Mt. Bachelor is in the Cascade Mountain Range just 22 miles southwest of Bend, Oregon. Ski Magazine readers again ranked Mt. Bachelor’s lifts best in North America. TransWorld Snowboard magazine readers rate Mt. Bachelor one of the Top 5 resorts in North America. 3,683 acres of terrain surround the classic cone-shaped peak of 9,065 feet. Mt. Bachelor receives 350 inches of light, dry snow each year.

For more information please visit www.mtbachelor.com or call 800-829-2442.

Spanish immersion potluck dinner slated

The Language Institute of Central Oregon, LLC, will host a Spanish Immersion potluck dinner from 6-7:30pm on Saturday, Feb. 7. This is a free event, just bring a favorite dish from any Spanish-speaking country ready to serve. Only Spanish will be spoken and all levels are welcome. LICO is located at 1224 NW Galveston in Bend, across from and just west of DiLusso Bakery. For more information or to RSVP, call 419-4196.

Super Flap: Wyden disses CBS for rejecting ad

 DeFazio among 28 in House also claiming network has bowed to GOP pressure

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has joined more than two-dozen fellow Democrats in the House in criticizing the CBS-TV network for refusing to run a paid ad from www.MoveOn.org during Sunday’s Super Bowl that targets President Bush for amassing a $1 trillion deficit that the nation’s children will have to pay off.

CBS, owned by Viacom, notified the MoveOn.org Voter Fund recently that it would not allow the winning spot from its recent “Bush in 30 Seconds” TV ad contest to be aired during the football telecast, expected to draw 130 million U.S. viewers and a billion worldwide. CNN has agreed to show the ad twice during the Super Bowl’s halftime, and MoveOn.org is urging people to switch channels to CNN and watch the spot at 5:10 and/or 5:35 p.m. PST. In explaining its decision, CBS cited a long-standing policy against running “issue ads” that could be deemed controversial. MoveOn.org officials said they were told an ad from the group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also was rejected, but that an “issue ad” by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will be aired during the game. Previous anti-drug ads aired during the Super Bowl sparked controversy by linking drug use to support for international terrorism. The brief spot, also viewable online at www.bushin30seconds.org, shows several youngsters working at adult jobs, such as dishwasher and trash collector, then asks: “Guess who’s going to pay off President Bush’s $1 trillion deficit?” In his letter, sent Tuesday to CBS Television President Les Moonves, Wyden said the rejected ad “seeks to make the point that the cost of the current federal budget deficit will ultimately be borne by today’s children. While the advertisement in question does have strong political overtones, I see nothing in it that could be viewed as offensive or inappropriate for a general audience.” “I would therefore like clarification as to why, if MoveOn.org is prepared to pay the going rate, CBS would refuse to carry its advertisement,” Wyden wrote. “Your network has publicly claimed that its refusal to air the ad reflects an established corporate policy. Where is that policy set forth, and what is its justification?” “To the extent that your network elects to sit in judgment of the substantive content of ads that are not in any way offensive, does it use criteria that are clear, consistent, and public, so that would-be advertisers know what to expect and have some assurance that they are not at the mercy of arbitrary or politically motivated decisions?” the senator asked. “Finally, how would you argue that excluding selected messages from perhaps the most-watched broadcast program of the year based on their political content – effectively reserving this coveted air time for advertisements for beer and other commercial products – is consistent with your broadcast stations’ public interest obligations as users of the public airwaves?” Wyden concluded, thanking Moonves “for your prompt response.” House Democrats also attack network Oregon Democrat Peter DeFazio was one of 28 House members who sent a similar letter to Moonves, expressing their concern that CBS’ “action sends a negative message to the American people about your network’s commitment to preserving our democratic debate.” “Censoring this ad is an affront to free speech and an obstruction of the public’s right to hear a diversity of voices over the public airwaves,” the members of Congress wrote. They noted that along with the anti-drug ad, “CBS also will air a spot by Philip Morris USA and the American Legacy Foundation advocating against smoking” during the game. “Issue ads are commonplace and important for democratic debate,” the Democrats wrote. “Yet CBS seems to want to limit that debate to ads that are not critical of the political status quo, and in the case of the MoveOn ad, of the president and by extension the Republican-controlled Congress.” The House members said the decision “appears to be part of a disturbing pattern on CBS’s part to bow to the wishes of the Republican National Committee. We remember well CBS’s remarkable decision this fall to self-censor at the direction of GOP pressure. The network shamefully canceled a broadcast about former President Ronald Reagan which Republican partisans considered insufficiently flattering.” “Perhaps not coincidentally,” the congressmen and women wrote, the decisions come “at a time when the White House and the Republican Congress are pushing to allow even greater and greater media concentration – a development from which Viacom stands to benefit handsomely. The appearance of a conflict is hard to ignore. There may not be a fire here, but there certainly is a great deal of smoke.” “You have been entrusted by the American people as stewards of the public airwaves,” the letter concluded. “We ask that you not violate that trust and that you not censor this ad.”

Session drummer offering lessons in Bend

New York City session and performing drummer Rod Norman will be teaching lessons on the drum set at Central Oregon Music located next to ShopKo on Saturdays.

Rod will take both beginning and experienced drummers. Lesson will include free printed materials outlining simple ways to improve your drumming. Rod currently performs with Random Theory, Blues Quarter, and The Ward Stroud Band.

Students wishing to make an appointment should
call Rod at 408-0117 to reserve a slot.

Tower Theatre celebrates happy re-birthday

Perhaps there’s an inverse formula at work: The longer and tougher the struggle to make a dream reality, the shorter the speeches when the finish line is reached. Maybe that’s why there were just a few brief remarks and salutes Friday before the ribbon was cut and the reborn Tower Theater was officially open for an hour or so of snooping and perusing before the kickoff of a week of special grand reopening events.

By contrast, the Southern Crossing, a span that prompted controversy for a few years, opened last fall with a fairly subdued, relatively short ceremony, followed by a timber carnival. But that helium-balloon and ride-your-bike day was a bit fancier, compared to the simple event that marked completion of the Tower Theatre’s redo. That’s probably because the real fun is the wide variety of performances theatergoers will get to see in coming days, weeks and months (the schedule for the opening week events and more can be found at www.towertheatre.org).

It’s been more than a decade since Act III Theatres shut the last downtown movie house, which first opened 64 years ago. After a $4 million fund-raising effort (about 10 percent of that public funds), Friday’s ribbon-cutting event occurred before a dark, empty stage (before preparations’ for Friday night’s debut performance by Body Vox) and with even less folderol than most Bend Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cuttings (the food stayed wrapped up behind the new lobby’s glass counters, and no wine or bubbly poured.)

Most of the 450 or so seats were filled on a snow-swirling Friday afternoon by folks wanting to see how it all turned out. This was the public’s first chance to sneak a peek, after a private affair Thursday night, where the people who had shelled out $750 a pop over the years got to seek out and take a seat beside the shiny gold plaques inlaid in the wooden armrests of the plus velvet chairs.

Tom Karren of the investment firm D.A. Davidson welcomed everyone and handed the mike to Gary Capps, former Bend Chamber executive director Gary Capps. He thanked those who sold the building to the city in 1994, and recalled how the first effort to save and restore the building fell through.

After that, he said, the chamber and then-city councilor (now Deschutes County Coimmissioner) Tom DeWolf did a feasibility study and asked the city not to sell the building, but to give supporters of the idea of a community performing arts center a chance to make it happen.

“They said fine – if you raise $300,000 in the next two weeks,” Capps recalled. That was the start of a bid to raise $4 million, and a renovation that has “taken a little longer than we hoped,” he said.

“What we have here is quite a little jewel,” Capps said, turning to Marie Hutchens Easter, who owned and operated the theater for 15 years. “She told me she spent 24 hours a day and slept down here,” he said.

Capps thanked DeWolf and Charlene Dempsey, co-chairs of the Tower Theatre Foundation and years-long fund-raising effort.

“Tom has been the spiritual leader, while Charlene and the committee did the interior design work,” Capps said, introducing DeWolf, who began with a typical DeWolf kind of remark:

“How cool is this?” he said, with a beaming smile, to a cheering response from the theater’s first real audience since the movies of the early `90s rolled on the big screen. “It is such a thrill.”

DeWolf said the private function the night before went alright, and “we believe we have 75 percent of the bugs worked out.”

‘It took a lot of prayers’ to pull it off

Calling out to various VIPs who helped make the theater project happen – the architects, the contractors – DeWolf also ribbed Marty Brazil, formerly Marty Smith, founder of Designers Fine Jewelry downtown, whom he noted recently got married on the same day, and next door to Britney Spears in Las Vegas.

Capps got the mike back for a few moments and said DeWolf’s remarks made clear why he’d called him the “spiritual leader” of the crusade to save the Tower: “It took a lot of prayers.”

Before the ribbon was cut, however, came a piece of original music – a “Fanfare for the Tower” — performed, performed by Clyde Thompson and performed by the Cascade Brass Quintet. The cameras flashed and the crowd clapped as the red chamber ribbon was cut by DeWolf and Dempsey, and pretty soon, everyone got to get up and scamper around the facility while the brass group played.

The downstairs bathrooms got a special look-see, due to the colorful art deco murals done by David Kinker, commissioned by the foundation. Numerous other wall murals cover the walls upstairs, in the halls behind the balcony seats, all harkening to the past, of showgirls and guys with pencil-thin mustaches.

“It’s gorgeous – so cool!” said visitor Dale Van Valkenburg, who planned to return with his two kids Sunday for the Tears of Joy Puppet Theater’s presentation of “Rumpelstiltskin.”

The week features just about every kind of music and performance imaginable, from the play “Love Letters,” with Eva Marie Saint and her husband, to cowboy poet Rudy Gonzalez and a special showing of DeWolf’s favorite flick, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” complete with a visit by Karolyn Grimes, who played the youngest Bailey child, Zuzu, in the 1946 movie.

DeWolf went on KBND radio Friday morning to talk and answer questions about the theater. He said parking will be a challenge, but that most events are in the evening, when it’s a little easier (and noted that there are probably 150 fewer seats in the place than when it showed movies).

The big givers in the fund-raising effort were JeldWen, which contributed $500,000, and the Meyer and Murdock trusts, at $350,000 each. As for public dollars, the feds provided $225,000 (DeWolf frequently notes that Rep. Greg Walden suggested the idea to him, not vice versa) along with $200,000 from the Bend Urban Renewal Agency and $35,000 from Deschutes County (being commissioner helps).

Theater opens debt-free, `on solid ground’

DeWolf also insisted to Bend.com that the city did not “forgive” the debt for the foundation’s $4455,000 purchase of the facility – a majority of the council didn’t favor that. So instead, $145,000 was paid in cash and there’s a $300,000 long-term lease agreement. That involves holding city council meetings at the theater, but it’s unclear yet how much the council may take advantage of that, depending on how a tryout of the theater as a meeting site works out in coming months (and whether a similarly sized, more utilitarian meeting space at the new state-county office building works and pencils out better).

Among the folks on the aisles, checking it out Friday was Mayor Oran Teater, a member of the Tower’s advisory board. “I grew up in the theater business,” the Klamath Falls native said. “My dad ran movie theaters.” Park board member (and former city council colleague) Suzanne Johannsen had a big hug for DeWolf, and said she would have forgiven the debt, had her view prevailed at the time.

Some have asked, and more will ask: Will the facility cover its costs, without the need for more public dollars? Many performing arts facilities around the country, despite the best of intentions, don’t have that kind of track record. But DeWolf said they are off to a good start, opening the place without any debt and with money in the bank.

“Assuming the remaining pledges come in timely,” he said, “we won’t need a `bridge loan’ for operations. We have $200,000 for operating reserves and $300,000 for endowment (to help small groups cover the rental fees, already discounted for non-profits).”

“We believe this will be more than sufficient to ensure that the Tower will operate in the black long after you and I are pushing up daisies,” DeWolf said. “There will be continued fund-raising by the foundation to bolster these funds, for repairs and maintenance, for the purchase of the Steinway piano we’ve acquired, and for additions to our sound system down the road.”

“The Tower is good to go, and on solid ground,” he said.

Time will tell, of course. But it was hard to find anyone Friday who didn’t like what they saw, and hoped it would help strengthen downtown, Bend’s arts scene and all that. (Presumably, anyone who disagreed wouldn’t show up at such an affair – and if they did, would keep such talk to a whisper, or to themselves.)

It’s not just the inevitable doubters, critics and naysayers who have their eyes on the bottom line.

“I think it’s just great,” said Tower volunteer Shirley Ray, who’s lived in Bend for 55 years and greeted folks as they entered. “I’m just hoping they can make money.”

Roads turn icy, dangerous around High Desert

Snow showers and temperatures around freezing combined to slicken roads across Central Oregon Friday night, after a strong, blustery cold front pushed through region, bringing varying amounts of snow and gusty winds as well.

The National Weather Service dropped a snow advisory for the region Friday afternoon as snow showers began to taper off. Forecasters had predicted that 3-5 inches could accumulate, primarily south of Bend, and said west winds gusting to 40 mph would create some blowing and drifting snow.

Snow fell steadily at Mt. Bachelor as throngs flocked to the slopes Friday for the 14th annual “Free Ski Day,” exchanging food for free lift tickets and helping the “Feed the Need” program operated by the Central Oregon Community Action Agency Network (COCAAN).

Nine inches of new snow since daybreak brought plenty fresh powder Friday, but strong winds and cold temperatures of 16-20 degrees made it less than enjoyable for some, despite a base of 131 to 136 inches. Over at Hoodoo Ski Area, near Santiam Pass, a half-foot of new snow pushed the base to 76 inches heading into the weekend.

Officially, Bend had an inch of snow by Friday morning, the second bout of measurable snow this week. A Deschutes County 911 dispatcher reported “a lot of little accidents” during the morning commute, but none that caused injuries.

Oregon State Police Sgt. Eric Brown said triioers were kept busy Friday with wrecks both on Santiam Pass and Century Drive, where vehicles on the way to or from Bachelor’s free day had rollovers, fender-benders or slid off the road, some due to bad passes.

Winds gusted above 50 mph in both Bend and Redmond overnight, while they tore the roof off of a greenwood in the small east Jefferson County town of Ashwood.

Things turned worse as darkness fell Friday, with Highway 97 reported to be extremely slick over Lava Butte, south of Bend. A crash occurred on the Bend Parkway near the Reed Market Road exit, a reported rollover on Powell Butte Highway near the Deschutes-Crook county line, and another crash blocking traffic on Highway 26 over Mount Hood for a time. Later there was an injury crash on Third Street at Brosterhous Road.

Another winter storm warning was in place for the Cascades, with another 6-12 inches of snow expected.

Much of the rest of the state was dealing with a different problem – flooding, as warmer temperatures ahead of the storm melted snow and sent some streams over their banks. Flood warnings were issued, especially for coastal streams, and high winds knocked out power for thousands of Portland-area residents. Madras actually tied a record high for Jan. 29 on Thursday, reaching 58 degrees.

Locally, forecasters said a varying chance of snow showers (or rain at times) would linger through the weekend and throughout the coming week.

Columbia spring chinook fishery allocation set

Following the direction of the Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commissions, the directors of the states’ fish and wildlife departments announced Friday that sport anglers in the Columbia River spring chinook fishery will be allowed 60 percent of the incidental impacts to upriver fish listed under the Endangered Species Act and commercial fishers will get 40 percent.

In reaching their decision, the officials noted that fisheries managers are to approach season planning with these percentages as hard targets. Both states directed the sport and commercial fisheries to be closely held to the agreed-upon percentage allocation. However, as in any fishery, a minimal amount of flexibility will be allowed to respond to unanticipated changes in run timing, river conditions or other factors, the commissions agreed.

“These fisheries are set very conservatively to protect wild fish-while allowing harvest opportunity for healthy, hatchery stocks,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Jeff Koenings, Ph.D. “As always, conservation is paramount in conducting sustainable fisheries.”

The allocation figures will be used to set fishing seasons for what is expected to be the second-largest spring chinook run on record. Those seasons will be determined Thursday, Feb. 5, in a Columbia River Compact meeting in Oregon City, Ore.

In addition to setting the upriver-impact allocation, the directors reiterated the importance of avoiding conflicts between recreational and commercial fishers when setting seasons. The directors agreed pre-season planners need to emphasize commercial fishing opportunities earlier in February and March to avoid gear conflicts, as much as possible, with anglers during recreational seasons in April.

The allocation figures reflect how the allowable impact on wild fish is shared between non-tribal sport and commercial fishers. Although all fishers target hatchery-produced chinook, some wild fish are inadvertently caught and die from handling stress. Upper Columbia and Snake River wild spring chinook are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act and the allowable “impact” on wild fish is limited to 2 percent of the wild run in non-tribal fisheries.

Koenings and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Director Lindsay Ball stressed that pre-season planning for the spring chinook fisheries also should be based on a federally-established limit of 2 percent incidental impact to wild steelhead. This figure reflects incidental catches of wild steelhead that occur as the steelhead co-mingle with spring chinook during a portion of the fishing season.

Koenings and Ball credited past efforts to develop selective fisheries for the opportunities that await anglers this season. Noting that avoiding impacts on wild steelhead will be emphasized in setting upcoming fishing seasons, the directors called on commercial spring chinook fishers to step up efforts to avoid handling wild steelhead.

“The commercial fishery has come a long way in becoming selective, but we want to continue to work with the industry to be creative in finding ways to avoid handling steelhead,” Koenings said. “In doing so, we are creating the stable, sustainable fishery so necessary to develop high-value harvests.”

This year’s total run of Columbia River spring chinook is predicted to be the second-highest on record since counting began in 1938 at Bonneville Dam. More than 497,000 wild and hatchery spring chinook are forecast to enter the Columbia River this year.

Koenings also credited federal funding for Columbia River hatchery operations as an important factor in providing overall fishing opportunity, but noted the federal Mitchell Act funding that mitigates negative effects of the hydropower system is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.