Teen’s ‘slim’ pig fetches fat price for good cause

REDMOND – It all started when 14-year-old Casey Frice of Sisters saw Chuck Burley at the Deschutes County Fair and asked if he had received his letter. (He hadn’t; it actually showed up in his mailbox at home that day.)

Casey’s 4-H pig, Pork, was underweight and could not go to auction this year. But hard work, dedication and devotion need not stop at the scale. Rather than lose faith when Pork weighed in at a mere 200 pounds, 25 pounds short of auction, Casey wrote a letter to Burley asking for help in purchasing Pork.

“I am with Outlawed Livestock, a Deschutes County 4-H group,” Frice wrote. “This is my first year with 4-H and I have learned a lot.”

Proving that persistence works, Casey approached Burley’s campaign booth at the Deschutes County Fair on Thursday, again asking for help. This time, he came armed with a story that would win over the hearts of several Central Oregonians.

Casey explained how some unlucky 4-H participants, whose animals do not make the cutoff, watch as other kids take their prizes to auction. Disappointed, these participants dedicate time to finding a buyer for their animals.

Time is something Casey does not take for granted.

Diagnosed at nine months old with a rare disease known as Histeositoses-X, Casey’s difficult experience with chemotherapy has taught him that faith results in good things.

As he explained to Burley with a toothless smile, “You see, now I’m cancer-free!”

In his letter, Casey, who has lived with his aunt and uncle since last fall, said he will “use some of the money I raise to help pay for teeth for myself. I was born with a disease that required radiation and chemotherapy for 11 years. This ruined my teeth, and I need implants with bone grafting.”

But that’s not all: “The rest of the money I will save for college, and to buy a new pig for next year,” Casey wrote. “I will also buy some school clothes for next year.”

Since Casey told Burley his story, and his goal of raising money for reconstructive dental surgery, Burley has been to visit Pork several times. The slender pig, whose name jests at his future, was still sleeping Saturday, under small photographs of Casey and a new sign sketched in ink pen that finally reads, “Sold.” And a mighty big check, too.

Burley took Casey’s story to some friends, who quickly spread the word. They were so moved after visiting Pork’s small stall in the Swine Barn, they offered to pitch in to make sure Pork sold for an excellent price. What they did not realize was that Casey’s pig was quickly becoming a celebrity around the fair.

Without Casey’s knowledge, money was being raised at an astounding rate by Leyla Estes of Prineville and others. The 4-H parents, motivated citizens, and community businessmen and women donated money to purchase Pork, whose final price was $10 a pound. Doing the math, Pork’s slender 200 pounds was the most charitable 200 pounds in Deschutes County – $2,000 worth of Pork on the hoof.

Casey exclaimed when presented with the final check, “Wow, there’s three, no four, no FIVE zeroes!”

With the tenacious efforts and generous contributions from several Central Oregonians at the fair, the money Casey receives for Pork will go towards reconstructive surgery from Oregon Health and Science University’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Little did Casey know that an interest letter labeled “IMPORTANT” would change his life and win the hearts of total strangers.

The names on the check, along with Burley, were Ben Westlund, Rick Dice, Gene Whisnant, Mike Daly, Harry Fagen, Nick Fagen, Alberta Johnston, and Mark and Susie Fagen-Wirges. (Yes, some of those folks are running for office, or for re-election, but this was all and only about a heartwarming case of pork-barrel non-politics.)

After the oversized-check presentation, Casey said he wishes a special thanks to all those who contributed to buying his pig, Pork.

Reporter Barney Lerten contributed to this story.

Heartbreak: Teen drowns at Prineville Reservoir

A fun summer day at Prineville Reservoir turned horribly tragic Saturday afternoon, as a 14-year-old Prineville boy out swimming with friends drowned, despite the combined efforts of several bystanders, as well as two friends who were pulled under and almost drowned as well, Crook County sheriff’s deputies said.

Undersheriff Jim Hensley said sheriff’s deputies, Prineville Fire paramedics and an Air Life of Central Oregon helicopter were dispatched around 1:30 p.m. to the boat moorage at Prineville Reservoir State Park, about 20 miles southeast of the city, on the report of a drowning.

Sheriff’s Marine Patrol deputies were on scene in about five minutes and began searching for the teen, identified as Levi Stevenson. More Marine Patrol boats were dispatched, along with on-duty staff. Marine patrols from Deschutes and Jefferson counties, along with search and rescue units from Deschutes and Crook counties were all contacted and responded to the scene to assist.

Shortly before 6 p.m., the boy’s body was located by Deschutes County Search and Rescue divers in about 60 feet of water, Hensley said. The victim’s family was present at the reservoir when the body was recovered.

Stevenson had been swimming with three friends at the time, authorities learned. They were swimming to a wave breaker that is part of the boat moorage area, about 250 feet from shore.

But when the teen was about 200 feet from shore, he told his friends that he was in distress and could not go any further, Hensley said. They tried to help him, but were pulled under the water with him. The friends were identified as Daniel Cornelio, 15, Jeremy Jensen, 16, and Nicholas Hammell, 15, all of Prineville.

The other teens began calling for help to other people in the area, Hensley said. State park employees responded and tried to help the victim, while an off-duty Oregon State Police Trooper dived into the water to attempt a rescue, swimming out to where the boy was last seen, but unable to locate him. Other bystanders also tried to locate the victim in the murky water, to no avail.

“This water they were in had zero visibility,” Hensley said, adding that the depth “drops down in that area.”

Third local teen to die in water-related incidents

The youths who tried to save their friend “feel like dirt,” despite their efforts, the undersheriff said. “He was grabbing them and pulling them underwater with them. They were trying to get him on his back, to get him to float. The last time he went down, he had hold of one of their legs, and they were going down with him. He let go of his buddy’s leg, and his buddy came back up.”

“You get kind of tunnel vision” in such frantic moments, Hensley said. “Some of the kids were walking around saying, `Nobody helped. Nobody helped. They stood around and did nothing,'” when in reality, several people did try to help.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s SAR sent five divers and support personnel to the park around 3 p.m., later locating the missing swimmer’s body in 63 feet of water, near the boat docks, said sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Bilyeu.

Hensley said it’s apparently the first drowning at the reservoir in about four years. But Stevenson was the second teen to drown in a Central Oregon reservoir in two weeks, and the third water-related death of an area teen-ager in that period of time.

Andrew James Huff, 17, of La Pine drowned on July 13 on a family outing at Wickiup Reservoir (bendbugle.com/?p=16751) while swimming across a fast-moving channel separating a small island and the main beach on the reservoir’s Deschutes Arm. In fact, Hensley said, the same Deschutes County dive team who recovered Huff’s body were the ones who found the Prineville youth on Saturday.

On July 24, Spring River resident Daniel Thomas Johnston, 18, went into the Deschutes River for less than a minute, and got out complaining of the cold and that he was unable to catch his breath. He quickly became unconscious and didn’t respond to resuscitation efforts.

Hensley isn’t sure there’s a big lesson to be learned to avert similar tragedies. “You know how teen-agers are – they are invincible,” or so many think, he said.

Numerous family members were either in the area or called to the scene, drawing out the heartbreak for some time.

“I have never had to give so many death notices,” Hensley said. “Another person would show up, then another person, then another person, saying, `What’s going on? We were told to show up here.'”

S. County residents worried about inmate camp

La PINE – More than 30 people sat and listened patiently at a recent meeting while Bend-Fort Rock District Ranger Walt Schloer outlined plans to move a 125-bed forest work camp for state prison inmates to Ogden Trail Group Camp in La Pine, explaining why the Forest Service and Oregon Department of Corrections chose that site.

Then they fired back over a variety of safety concerns and a lack of public input before the decision was made.

The Deschutes Conservation Camp has been operating at Deschutes Bridge for the past four years with portable toilets, showers, and tents. But it has to move, as the rock pit location will be used next year as a source of rock for crushing to complete a road project.

Schloer assured the audience July 22 at the La Pine Fire Hall that Ogden Group Camp was the most appealing site on the entire Deschutes National Forest for the work camp.

“There is already an organized group camp there, in a campground with amenities, that is half a mile from electricity,” Schloer told the group. He added that the site is at a lower elevation than the current site and has an existing water system. It is also located closer to the work area.

Debra Slater of the Department of Corrections addressed the group next. “All of the inmates are minimum-custody, nearing release,” she said. “These inmates vie for this educational skill-based program.” According to Slater, every inmate is interviewed. No sex offenders, inmates with family in the tri-county or arsonists are allowed.

The inmates have worked seven days a week, 10 hours a day in the forest for the past five summers, reducing the fuel load, approximately 27,000 acres worth. They have also cut firewood and worked inside parks. “We are releasing inmates who are ready to be released,” said Slater.

But there was a blemish on the operation’s perfect record this summer. Larry Lee Walker, 22, an inmate from Lane County, walked away from the isolated Deschutes Bridge Camp in June and is still at large. “He made a really nasty choice. When we pick him up, he will do five years,” said Slater. According to Slater, five days a week, there are 1,000 inmates working in Oregon.

The inmates are supervised at a 1-to-10 ratio while out on the job. The Corrections Department also posts signs where they are working and informs the local law enforcement of their presence.

Chris Muhleman of the Bend Bowmen questioned Slater about the skill level of the supervising staff and challenged the notion that walkaways won’t increase within a camp that is three miles from a major highway. “Walkaways are much more common in the more populated areas,” he said.

“Our officers go through a 10-week training course and are not armed,” replied Slater.

“How many staff are stationed at the camp?” questioned Muhleman.

State corrections Supervisor Jeff Forbes answered: “Seventeen people provide 24-hour coverage of the 120 inmates.” They are also “on-call” at all times.

“So, there are five on at any one time?” asked Muhleman. “The main issue isn’t that the crew isn’t doing a good job, my issue is knowing what they do. The guys that run look for easy access. At Ogden, you are a 5-minute walk to a pay phone to make a collect call.”

Jon Stewart, Forest Service “people programs” coordinator replied, “They have been working there for five years.”

“They haven’t been living there,” countered Muhleman.

Horsewoman Catherine Pritchett of La Pine changed the subject by asking, “Are these inmates violent, or are we talking about Martha Stewart-type inmates?”

“All crimes other than sex offenders,” said Slater. “Assaults? Yes. Manslaughter? Yes. Murderers are too old to bring up here by the time they are minimum-risk inmates. The majority are drug, alcohol and property crimes.” She admitted that some have been convicted of violent crimes.

“I’m against it. We have older people here. If they knew there was a prison camp near, it would hurt our business,” said Wilma Ealum, owner of the 117-site Cascade Meadows RV Resort, three miles west of Ogden Group Camp. “It would intimidate them. They hear shots at the pits nearby and get very excited.”

Lack of public input criticized

“Is this up for a vote?” asked a member of the audience. “No,” said Schloer.

Stewart kept bringing the discussion back to all the good work the inmates have done. He credited the crews with saving homes in Black Butte Ranch during the Cache Mountain fire. “We recognize that the community is at (similar) risk,” he said.

Maedawn Hernandez of La Pine responded, “Why can’t we put them in Sisters then and bus them here?” which brought calls of “Move them to Bend!” and “Why can’t you find another location?”

“Because this is the only one,” said Schloer.

“There are other places around that aren’t as scenic,” said Sherry Evertson of the La Pine Hoof Beats. “There are hundreds of miles of trails. This is where I take company when I want to impress them. There is an incredible drop from the source of the creek, with lush vegetation, falls and pools looking out over the La Pine Basin.”

Paulina Creek, Paulina and East Lake are the only sources of fresh water available on the Fort Rock District. The Deschutes National Forest website lists special activities at the group camp: Hiking, bird watching, bicycling, access to Peter Skene Ogden Trail (#3956) from Peter Skene Ogden Trailhead which is adjacent to campground.

Evertson disagreed with the panel’s justification for the site and claims of safety: “It is going to impact the area. People aren’t going to bring their families there and women won’t feel safe to ride and park their trailers there.”

Many other sites were mentioned, including a China Hat alternative. Stewart replied, “We worked closely with the Department of Corrections to find a site that they could manage.”

“You decided without asking the community,” responded Muhleman.

Feeling of betrayal

“The area is heavily used by bow hunters and endurance riders,” said George Johnson of the Oregon Bow Hunters. “You are asking us to move.” The Central Oregon Chapter has over 1,200 members and hosts a 3-D life-size target shoot every Memorial Day weekend. It is the largest single archery shoot in the state and brings in over $10,000 per year to the club, their sole source of revenue.

The Bow Hunters found out about the inmate camp when they applied for next year’s permit. “The Forest Service told them that the permit was denied because they had other plans for the area.” said Johnson. “World-class bow hunters come during tournament season and support the motels, restaurants and stores. This location works.”

The Bowmen were told to find another site, and then bring it to the Forest Service for approval. Bend Bowman Muhleman replied, “The task you have asked us to undertake is monumental. It is not simple to move a shoot of this magnitude. I am disappointed that we are losing this site.”

The reasons that the group camp is attractive to state prison officials are the same reasons the Bow Hunters and Horse People like to use it. Most of the audience raised their hands, signifying that they would use the camp if it was open.

The audience was told that the Ogden camp was deemed “under-utilized” by the Forest Service, based on reports from the concessionaire responsible for the camp. The group responded simultaneously:

“How do you use it when the gate is locked?”

“It’s locked, that is why it is underused!”

“The posting at Ogden doesn’t give an indication that these facilities are even open!”

A member of the audience offered a solution: “If it was self-serve, self-pay, it would not be an under-utilized facility.”

Les Moscoso, recreation operations and maintenance supervisor for the Newberry National Monument, told the group the gate was locked because the concessionaire doesn’t want to check the campground each day, and he didn’t think the gate was causing any problems. “I would have thought we would have gotten some calls,” he said.

Concerns were voiced about closing the trailhead to keep the camp from being visible to the public. The day after the meeting, at noon, there were five cars and four trucks with horse trailers at the trailhead that were within view of the Ogden Camp.

In addition, 400 people from the Telephone Pioneers of Oregon were at the Ogden Group Camp for a week. The Pioneers have been camping at Ogden as a group for 30 years, yet none of the campers or organizers had heard about the inmate work camp proposal.

The Pioneers installed the water system with volunteers. “We wanted to put in a septic five years ago, but the Forest Service wouldn’t let us,” said Russ Simonis of La Pine. Ron Smith of Bend added, “We offered to bring in power at our expense four years ago. Qwest was going to dig and bury the lines for us.” The group was told there couldn’t be any digging because of Native American artifacts in the area.

They used to camp for free, in exchange for all of the campground improvements they undertook each year. That all changed when the Forest Service started contracting out the campground maintenance. This season, the Pioneers paid $1,107 for one week at the camp.

“One of the things we did was put water in the camp, brought pipe in the campgrounds, planted 400 trees and grass as volunteers. We kind of adopted this campground. The Forest Service was in agreement at the time,” said Dan Aller of Bend.

“We feel that we have been shortchanged,” added Simonis.

“A number of campsites have been developed by private groups,” said Johnson of the Oregon Bowmen. He sited Cultus Horse Coral as an example of a campground that was built by private groups with private money that was then turned over to a concessionaire.

Alternatives raised, amid criticism

“Nobody has a problem with the concept. It’s where they want to put it,” said Evertson.
Bill Armstrong, commons manager, said he was concerned about losing access to the prisoners as a resource for help in cleaning up the perimeter of the Ponderosa Pines subdivision, east of La Pine.

The majority of participants expressed interest in continuing a more portable camp. According to Slater, the site will be obsolete as a work camp in four years, after the Madras state prison opens.

Stewart quoted a price of $27,000 per year to operate a generator for 10 weeks, as out of the range of their budget. When asked about alternative energy, he replied, “We have looked at them all.”

Stu Martinez of La Pine suggested using the mushroom camps on Highway 58 as an alternative solution: “The inmates could restore the damaged sites, and mushroom season doesn’t start until after the inmate crews are finished. The camp could be used for both projects.”

“We looked at those sites,” said Stewart.

“I really don’t think that you have seriously considered operating off of the grid,” said Muhleman. “A fire crew type of system.”

“They are expensive,” Stewart replied.

“I agree, how you pay,” shot back Johnson who works for ODOT. “I am suggesting there is already a kitchen unit in the state inventory you could use. The Department of Forestry has their own facilities, three that I know of, that the convict crews run for them when they are on fires. Why can’t you use that kitchen when they are not on fires?”

Johnson concluded, “I was amazed by the lack of participation. Was there public, user groups invited to be a part of the process?”

Regarding the opportunity to comment on the proposed camp and additional public meetings, Schloer said, “You can write to anyone you want. They will just send it back to me.”

Johnson disagreed: “Send it to your congressman. Send it to everyone.”

Moscoso acknowledged, “We could have done more outreach, I can see how we needed to get the word out.” Schloer added, “Another meeting with a bigger group wouldn’t have anything new to say.”

“This doesn’t look like the best spot right now,” said La Pine Fire Chief Jim Court as he concluded the meeting. “Not everyone will be happy.” But he encouraged the audience to keep an eye on the purpose of the prison work camp while finding a solution, the reduction of fuel hazards in the forests.

Send comments to:
Walt Schloer
Bend-Fort Rock District Ranger
1230 NE 3rd St Suite A-262
Bend, OR 97701

Crews ‘turn corner’ on 13,000-acre wildfire

The nearly week-old Log Springs Fire burning on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation grew to 13,000 acres Saturday, but crews also reached 50 percent containment, as the top fire boss said a growing army of more than 900 firefighters had “turned the corner” toward corralling Oregon’s first big wildfire of the summer.

“We really turned the corner on this thing today,” said Carl West, incident commander. “The rapid deployment of ground and air resources on this fire has made all the difference. This was a great team effort in pulling together to protect area homes and natural resources.

Fire crews on Friday afternoon successfully finished burning out fuels in the Beaver Creek Canyon between control lines and the blaze, greatly reducing the threat of spot fires and escapement, officials said.

With containment at 50 percent, fire managers still expect to reach full containment, barring unforeseen developments, by 6 p.m. Wednesday. As of Saturday, there were 923 personnel assigned to the blaze, supported by 65 engines, four bulldozers, 14 water tenders and five helicopters. The estimated firefighting cost to date was $2.96 million.

Over the first five days since the fire began last Sunday afternoon, two medium helicopters have dropped almost 79,000 gallons of water on the blaze. In just the last three days, two heavy-lift choppers doused flames with 387,000 gallons of water. A single-engine air tanker (SEAT) made 11 retardant drops, totally 5,300 gallons, to help contain the fire in areas outside Beaver Creek Canyon. Retardant drops were kept out of the canyon to protect the water quality and due to the location of a federal fish hatchery downstream from the fire.

West said crews were continuing mop-up work, moving in from the fire line toward the interior, extinguishing all visible “smokes” within 500 feet of the fire line.

South of Tribal Route 9, which remains closed, crews were focusing their efforts on remaining hot spots, especially around juniper trees, where buried roots and organic material still smolder. But fire activity was minimal on the north side of the blaze, as crews complete mop-up and patrol to find any new hot spots.

The Central Oregon Arson Task Force announced Friday that they had determined the first was human-caused, though they’re not yet sure if it was intentional or accidental. They asked anyone who was in the area that Sunday afternoon or who has any information to please call the Wildfire Hotline at 1-800-448-9453.

Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Casino remains 10 miles from the fire, and is reachable by Tribal Route 3, from the town of Warm Springs. Motorists on Highway 26 were still urged to use caution in the fire area, due to heavy fire-related traffic, an ongoing road construction project, and drivers distracted by views of the fire in the distance.

Two climbers die on slopes of Mount Washington

Two “very experienced” climbers from Washington state fell about 150 feet to their deaths on the slopes of Mount Washington after their climbing safety gear apparently failed, Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright said Saturday after searchers found and a National Guard helicopter removed the two men’s bodies.

The two men, identified as Thomas A. Seifert, 46, of Goldendale and Gary L Gentz, 50, of White Salmon, had set out Thursday for what was supposed to be a one-day climb of the 7,794-foot peak, which sits on the Linn-Deschutes County line, not far south of the Jefferson County border.

When the pair didn’t return home as scheduled, family members contacted Deschutes county sheriff’s officers, who eventually found their vehicle, parked at the Pageant Lake trailhead, near Big Lake, Burright said.

Linn County authorities were advised, and a search organized, the sheriff said. Organizations involved included the Linn County Search and Rescue Post, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit, and mountain rescue groups from Eugene and Corvallis. They were joined Saturday morning by a Blackhawk “medevac” helicopter from the 1042nd Oregon Army National Guard Unit, based in Salem.

Around 11 a.m. Saturday, the two men’s bodies were found by a Jefferson County team on the west side of the mountain, at the 7,190-foot level, Burright said. “They were still roped together, and had fallen about 150 feet, after their climbing safety equipment had apparently failed,” the sheriff said.

The National Guard crew airlifted the bodies off the peak, and they were taken to a funeral home in Sweet Home, pending arrangements to be returned to Washington state, the sheriff said.

“Both men were reportedly to be very experienced climbers, and previously had scaled several other mountains,” Burright said. “This was their first attempt at Mount Washington.”

Log Springs Fire: Saturday evening update

SIMNASHO – On Friday afternoon, fire crews successfully burned out the fuels in the Beaver Creek Canyon between control lines and the fire, greatly reducing the threat of spot fires and escapement.

“We really turned the corner on this thing today. The success of our burn out operations has greatly increased our confidence in our ability to control this fire,” said Carl West, Incident Commander. “The rapid deployment of ground and air resources on this fire has made all the difference. This was a great team effort in pulling together to protect area homes and natural resources,” West said.

Over the five day period since the fire started the two medium helicopters dropped nearly 79,000 gallons of water on the fire to help cool down hot spots and extinguish spot fires. During the last three days, two heavy-lift helicopters dropped 387,000 gallons on the fire. A single engine air tanker (SEAT) made 11 retardant drops (5,300 gallons) to help contain the fire in areas outside Beaver Creek Canyon.

Containment of the 13,000-acre fire is 50 percent with full containment projected by 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4. A total of 923 personnel (8 Type 1 and 18 Type 2 crews) are assigned to the fire. Fire Crews are being supported by 65 engines, 4 dozers, 14 tenders and 2 heavy-lift, 2 medium and 1 light helicopter. Estimated cost to date is $2.96 million.

Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Casino, located 10 miles from the fire is open and accessible via Tribal Route 3 through the town of Warm Springs. Tribal Route 9 (the northern route to Kah-Nee-Ta through Simnasho) is closed to all traffic at the junction of Hwy 26 due to fire along the roadway, smoke and heavy fire traffic. Drivers on Highway 26 through the Warm Springs Reservation should use caution when traveling in the fire vicinity due to the presence of heavy fire traffic, ongoing road construction and drivers distracted by distant views of the fire.

Crews are continuing to “mop-up”, working their way in from the fireline toward the fire interior extinguishing all visible smokes within 500 feet of the fireline. South of Tribal Route 9, efforts are being focused on remaining hotspots, especially around juniper trees where buried roots and organic material are still smoldering. On the north side, fire activity is minimal and crews are completing mop-up and continuing to patrol to detect any new hotspots.

Wild Oats Market schedules August events

August 4
11:00am – 1:00pm
ASK THE DOCTOR SERIES
Dr. Jeri Otterstrom
FREE
A Naturopathic Physician will be on hand every Wednesday to answer any of your questions or health concerns. August 4, 11, 18, 25

August 11
THE FACTS ABOUT HEALTHY VISION (No charge)
Dr. Ron Guiley
Wild Oats Market Cafe
6:30pm
Don’t miss this chance to learn some eye-opening facts about healthy vision. Join Dr. Guiley of Riverbend Eye Care as he discusses dietary changes that may help reduce the chances of age-related vision loss. We will also serve some eye-healthy snacks.

August 12
6:00pm
SPINAL CARE CLASS (No charge)
Dr. Willems
Join Dr. Willems, chiropractor, as he discusses ways to promote health by maintaining proper skeletal alignment.

August 12
HEALTHY SNACK OPTIONS
Vanessa Vargas, Dietician
Be sure to stop by munch ‘n music and visit with Vanessa Vargas, dietician at Bend Memorial Clinic. Vanessa will be sampling healthy snacks throughout the music series. Wild Oats will provide the healthy food option for August 12.

August 18
6:30pm
YOUR CHILD’S SUCCESS IN SIGHT (No Charge)
Julie Bibler
Be sure to stop by Wild Oats both from noon to 4 and at 6:30. Julie Bibler of the National Children’s Vision Foundation will be on hand to talk about the foundation and how they are helping hundreds of children in our local schools.

August 18
12:00pm – 3:00pm
BENEFIT BBQ
Wild Oats BBQ
Be sure to mark your calendar and plan to have lunch at Wild Oats. We will be holding a benefit BQ for the National Children’s Vision foundation on Wednesday, August 18 from noon to 3 p.m. Watch for store details on menu choices and price.

August 19
6:30pm
THE WONDERS OF ACUPUNCTURE (No Charge)
Chelsea Hunton, L.A.c., MSOM
Ever wonder what acupuncture needles feel like? They create a dullish, warm sensation with little to no pain. Most people experience relief or a sense of clarity immediately. Come by for a personal demonstration or just watch. Discussion included.

August 25
11:00am – 1:00pm
ASK THE DOCTOR SERIES (No Charge)
Dr. Jeri Otterstrom
A Naturopathic Physician will be on hand every Wednesday to answer any of your questions or health concerns.

House fire linked to pot growing; pair arrested

A fire that heavily damaged an 80-year-old northwest Bend home Friday night not only uncovered a marijuana-growing operation, leading to the arrest of two residents, but apparently was sparked by the illegal activity, police reported.

A neighbor’s call to 911 around 8:20 p.m. brought Bend police and firefighters to the home, at 1444 NW Hartford Ave., said police Sgt. John Gautney. Arriving units found flames shooting out a window of the single-story home, and the interior appeared to be fully engulfed, Gautney said.

The neighbor also used a garden hose on the flames until firefighters arrived. Fire crews quickly extinguished the flames, but there was considerable damage to the home, which was unoccupied at the time of the blaze. The small two-bedroom home, built in 1924, is a block from the intersection of 14th Street and Galveston Avenue.

The pot-growing operation was discovered inside the home during the firefighting operation, Gautney said. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team was called to the scene and began an investigation. Two Bend residents – Josh Jardin Smith, 28, and Alissa Ann Smith, 25, were contacted by police near the scene and were arrested on several charges.

The pair remained lodged in the Deschutes County Jail Saturday on drug manufacture, possession and delivery charges, as well as drug manufacture and delivery within 1,000 feet of a school, Gautney said. Total bail was $90,000 each.

A preliminary investigation determined the cause of the fire possibly was an overloaded extension cord used in the marijuana operation, Gautney said.

A damage estimate was still being compiled, said fire Battalion Chief Bob Madden. “They are trying to determine if it was possibly heat from one of the lamps or an overloaded cord, but it was definitely from the circuit there,” Madden said.

There was little sign of the damage from the front of the deep-purple home with white trim later Saturday, except perhaps some insulation in the front yard. But a glimpse from the side showed the damage, as did a view from a back alley.

Fire heavily damages home in NW Bend

A fire heavily damaged a small, 80-year-old home in northwest Bend Friday night, but no injuries were reported, officials said.

Bend firefighters responded around 8:20 p.m. to a report of a possible structure fire at 1444 NW Hartford Ave., said Battalion Chief Doug Koellermeier. Arriving crews found smoke and flames coming from a bedroom window in the single-story home.

A dozen firefighters and two engines called to the scene extinguished the fire “within minutes,” Koellermeier said in a news release, but not before there was heavy smoke and fire damage to the two-bedroom home, built in 1924, according to Deschutes County property tax records.

There was no immediate damage estimate, as salvage and overhaul operations were in progress, Koellermeier said. Fire investigators were on scene, looking for the cause of the fire.

In the news release, Koellermeier said Bend police provided “mutual aid assistance,” but didn’t provide other details. A 911 dispatcher said there was a man taken to jail at the incident.

Flying again: Retardant tanker returns to Redmond

REDMOND – An ex-Navy P-3 Orion airplane used to drop retardant on wildland fires has returned to duty at the Redmond Air Center, although it’s currently at work in Washington state, officials said Friday.

The Forest Service and Department of the Interior in May terminated contracts for 33 large air tankers used in firefighting because of concerns about aircraft airworthiness, and firefighter and public safety.

The decision was based upon National Transportation Safety Board recommendations issued April 23 at the conclusion of their investigation into three fatal air tanker cashes related to structural failures.

In June, the Forest Service signed an agreement with DynCorp Technical Services of Fort Worth, Texas, to provide expertise in analyzing airworthiness documentation provided by heavy air tanker contractors.

DynCorp has now cleared seven heavy air tankers for federal wildland firefighting. All seven aircraft are P-3 Orions.

Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis for each air tanker, and DynCorp is now analyzing documentation on additional aircraft, officials said. It is unknown how many other air tankers will return to firefighting work this summer.

Fire activity will guide decisions on where to assign heavy air tankers like the one now based at the Redmond Air Center. On Friday, the P-3 was suppressing fires in Washington.

Last year, a P-3 Orion and a Lockheed P2V were assigned to the Redmond Air Center. The P-3 normally carries 2,550 gallons of retardant, while the P2V has a 2,100-gallon load.