Increased Enforcement for Marijuana Grows

County Commissioners Hoping to Add Two New Enforcement Positions

After months of discussion with state, county and city officials the Deschutes County Commissioners made a first step today in addressing the ongoing issues with marijuana enforcement and regulations in Deschutes County.

County staff confirmed today that they will be looking into the hiring and funding of two new law enforcement positions as part of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, known as CODE.
This was an idea proposed and supported by both County Commissioners and Bend City Councilors at a joint meeting held last week.

While CODE serves a tri-county area, these two positions would focus solely on enforcement in Deschutes County. The cost of hiring will likely be split, one going to the City of Bend for a police officer position and one would be a deputy sheriff position paid for by Deschutes County.

Commissioners also discussed raising the applications fees for marijuana grows in order to cover the cost of the extra time and effort county staff to deal with the complicated applications and the appeals that often follow.

Commissioners also floated the idea of putting a temporary pause on the processing of marijuana applications in order to clarify and fill in gaps in the current county code, but they are expected discuss those ideas in depth next week.

Gov. Brown Eliminates Tax Break Created by Trump Tax Cuts

In what she is calling a tough decision, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has decided to sign a Senate bill that will eliminate a tax break for tens of thousands of businesses in Oregon. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel joined us with details on today’s announcement.

During the press conference, Governor Kate Brown also called for a special session to look at extending the tax breaks for certain small business owners who are not included in the preferred tax rate offered by the state.
She is working with caucus leaders and presiding officers to make that special session happen in June.

Portrait Connection Paintings Unveiled

The Unveiling of The Portrait Connection Paintings in Bend

The creation of art, and especially painting, is often a solitary pursuit, but a new project called Portrait Connection is giving local artists a chance to work with children who are facing difficult challenges and leaving their families with a piece of art that marks a specific moment in time.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan followed two artists and the families of two children as they prepared for an emotional unveiling on Friday night in downtown Bend.

The Power of Art

How the Portrait Connection Brings Artists and Families Together

The creation of art, and especially painting, is often a solitary pursuit, but a new project called ‘Portrait Connection’ is giving local artists a chance to work with children who are facing difficult challenges and leaving their families with a piece of art that marks a specific moment in time.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan followed two artists and the families of two children as they prepare for what is sure to be an emotional unveiling in downtown Bend on Friday.

The unveiling of the portraits, as well as the artist/family meet ups, will take place Friday night at LAYOR Art + Supply in Bend on Wall Street at 5 PM.

Trial for Driver Accused of Hitting/Killing Cyclist Set for 2019

Driver Plead Not Guilty and Did Not Appear in Court Wednesday

Shantel Witt, 41, is accused of hitting 38-year-old Marika Stone of Bend with her pickup truck as Stone was cycling with two other people in late December. Stone died of her injuries.

Witt was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday and friends, family and local cyclists filled the courtroom to support the Stone family. However, just before 9 a.m. it was announced to the packed courtroom that Witt’s case would not be called.

Witt entered a plea of not guilty out of court and Deschutes County Court scheduled Witt’s trial for January 29, 2019.

During Witt’s January hearing, deputy district attorney Kari Hathorn said Witt had briefly drove off after hitting Stone but returned to the scene to yell at Stone’s surviving companions.

Witt also failed three field sobriety tests at the scene and acknowledged to officers that she took painkillers and muscle relaxers, according to court records. Officers found empty beer cans, prescription drugs and a 9mm pistol in her vehicle.

Addiction in Central Oregon

Representative Walden Discusses Drug Issues in Central Oregon

Representative Greg Walden was in Madras today to discuss substance abuse and addiction in Jefferson County and found that opioids are not as big a problem as other drugs in that area. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan was there for the roundtable discussion

You can reach out to Representative Walden’s office with any questions or feedback on any of the upcoming anti-opioid proposals before Congress by contacting Nolan Hern at Nolan.hern@gmail.house.gov or at 202-224-6730.

Learning Through Music

“The sound of human potential.” That’s the tagline for Cascade School of Music, the nonprofit music school that has been working to transform lives and enrich our community by providing exceptional music education and experiences for all Central Oregonians since 2002.

Get your tickets now, before April 6th, for a reduced price to attend the school’s upcoming benefit “The Gift of Music,” an evening of engaging music, dinner and unique auction packages. The event is on May 6th at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Skyline Ranch Road. 75% of tickets sales go directly to the nonprofit school. Find out about all of the classes and offerings at the school by visiting http://www.ccschoolofmusic.org/. The school has many summer programs and offers tuition assistance and scholarships. Along with financial donations, the school also is in need of instruments.

Terrebonne Horses Settle in at Rescue Ranch

More than 75 neglected horses were rescued from a Terrebonne ranch last Sunday and they are now receiving care at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Oregon’s Rescue Ranch as they make their long road to recovery. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Allison Roecker was at the ranch today to check on their progress.

The Sheriffs Office is still accepting donations to help provide care for the horses. If you’d like to donate, visit www.Sheriff.Deschutes.org
All donated funds will go toward veterinary care, farrier work, and other costs associated with the care of these horses.

Rep. Walden Talks with Bend Veterans

Representative Greg Walden was at Jake’s Diner in Bend today addressing the local chapter of “Band of Brothers”, and Central Oregon Daily’s Warren Shultz was there covering the story.

Veterans in attendance also had the opportunity for a question and answer period on the current state of VA care and what’s being done to improve it.