Champion for Children Award Given to Recreation Manager

Bend, Oregon- Sue Jorgenson, Bend Parks and Recreation District’s  Recreation Manager, was presented the Champion for Children award this afternoon at the 10th annual Champions for Children Luncheon. Nearly 200 community members and dignitaries were in attendance. Jorgenson was selected based on her commitment to children, years of service, dedication to serving diverse audiences as well as her other efforts in supporting other programs throughout the community. “Sue Jorgensen spends countless hours advocating and giving children a voice in our community whether it is; in her job as Recreation Manager for Bend Park and Recreation District or in a number of youth focused advisory roles” explained Sue Boettner who nominated Jorgenson.

The other five nominees included Lolly Nelson from Deschutes County Children’s and Family Commission, Linda Gilpin from Together for Children, Jay Smith from CASA,  Heather McNeil, from Deschutes Public Library and Kate Moore from the Deschutes County Health Department.

The Champions for Children Luncheon is an annual fundraising event that provides Healthy Beginnings with community awareness and helps provide needed support and donations to help support and expand the service. The luncheon’s key note speaker, Duke Shepard was joined by several other dignitaries including Representative Gene Whisnant, and Representative Jason Conger.

“The donations raised today will go to support direct services in Central Oregon, and help us screen and connect kids to needed services. The program serves hundreds of children and families each year and every family attending a Healthy Beginnings screening receives extensive information on the health and development of their child. Funding is always a challenge for a private nonprofit like Healthy Beginnings” explained Holly Remer, the programs Executive Director.

The program will also be providing families with support in the application and renewal process for Healthy Kids Health Insurance, a state wide initiative. This project is for families with uninsured children – whether they are working or not AND for families struggling with finding insurance options for their kids.  OHP has expanded the income guidelines, meaning more children will be covered without cost to the family AND many others will have the option to purchase coverage at a reduced cost – a huge benefit for working parents struggling to provide health insurance for their children.

DHS Announces Action Plan for Employment First Grant

An action plan has been announced by Oregon’s Employment First Program for the $100,000 grant recently awarded by the United States Department of Labor. Oregon will be partnering with Washington State, considered a national leader in Employment First. Washington will be Oregon’s mentor in helping to create opportunities to help people with disabilities get jobs in mainstream workplaces.

The goal of the grant program is to provide states with help to transform their employment efforts for individuals with developmental disabilities to a model known as “integrated employment.” Integrated employment is best described as jobs held by individuals with the most significant disabilities, in typical workplace settings, with wages paid by the employer consistent with wages paid to workers without disabilities for the same or similar work.

“Oregon is working hard to increase the development of employment opportunities for our citizens with disabilities, including those with the most severe disabilities,” said Mike Maley of the DHS Office of Developmental Disability Services. “This action plan will help people with disabilities to obtain meaningful and well paying jobs.”

Working with Washington, Oregon’s action plan includes establishing an employer initiative and developing more effective ways to interface with the business community to create economic opportunities. The state will outreach to Oregon’s Workforce Investment Boards, state and local, and to employers and businesses large and small to create better opportunities for persons with disabilities.

“Part of growing Oregon’s economy and staying competitive is ensuring an inclusive and diverse workforce; where every citizen contributes with their full potential,” said Bridget Dazey, a member of the Governor’s Workforce Initiative and Program Manager, Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County. “The public workforce system is a necessary partner in moving Oregon to a more comprehensive Employment First model. This program will allow the ‘pioneers’ of Oregon’s Employment First model to continue building the foundation and infrastructure to make it a success.”

In addition, Oregon will develop a detailed strategic plan with clear policy and vision statements.  The state also plans to create better efficiency by strengthening and aligning roles, practices and funding mechanisms of key partners in all agencies that do similar work.

Oregon will also use the funding to support several pilot programs transitioning youth from school to work, and to provide assistance and mentoring for providers in local communities. It also will support local job developers who work with clients to create business development opportunities.

DHS is already working on a five-year strategic plan to increase integrated employment outcomes and decrease reliance on sheltered workshops. This grant resource supplements the agency’s ongoing work by helping to identify effective and replicable strategies.  DHS expects to continue its efforts within current staffing and funding after the grant ends.

“It is time to move past the stereotypes and misconceptions that people with disabilities can’t work,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy for the United States Department of Labor. “Research clearly shows that people with significant disabilities can work in the community and earn minimum wage.”

Organizations that represented Oregon in Washington, D.C recently included: Department of Human Services Office of Developmental Disability Services; Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities; Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services; Oregon Department of Education; and the Governor’s Workforce Initiative.

Oregon is one of three protégé states receiving the funding. Tennessee and Iowa were the other two states that received funds. Washington State received funding as the mentor state.

Bend-La Pine Schools Board of Directors Name Zone 4 Representative

Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Michael Jensen to complete the Zone 4, south Deschutes County, Board position being vacated by Tom Wilson on June 30. Jensen will complete the remainder of Wilson’s term, which will be July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

Jensen calls himself ‘an active volunteer’ whose community engagement spans two decades. Most recently, Jensen volunteered his time with Bend-La Pine Schools’ La Pine Advisory Committee, La Pine Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Sunriver, Central Oregon Builders Association, and Aspire.

Jensen is the owner of JensenOne Marketing & Photography and is a continuing education instructor at Central Oregon Community College.
Wilson has served as a volunteer Director for Bend-La Pine Schools since 2001. He announced his intention to resign from his position after moving from Zone 4 this spring.

State Police Negotiate for Crescent Lake Hostage Release

Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing to negotiate with an adult male who is holding an adult female hostage inside a cabin in the Crescent Lake area in northern Klamath County. There are no known injuries to anyone involved.

OSP SWAT team is on scene and the area is contained while negotiators communicate with the persons inside the cabin. Law enforcement responded to the area Tuesday morning after receiving information that a vehicle of interest related to a missing person case in Umatilla County was spotted in the area.

OSP will update this situation upon conclusion. No other information will be released at this time while negotiations are continuing to resolve this safely for everyone involved.

OSP is being assisted by U.S. Forest Service, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Klamath County Sheriff’s Office