Emergency Reports | News Releases | Traffic | Participants
Sort by: Date | Category
Columbia (Tri-Cities/Yakima/Pendleton) News Releases for Sun. Mar. 3 - 11:46 am
Fri. 03/01/24
DOGAMI Governing Board to meet on March 14, 2024
Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries - 03/01/24 4:27 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Governing Board of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) will meet on Thursday, March 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. This public meeting will be conducted via teleconference. 

The meeting agenda, including call-in information, is available at: https://www.oregon.gov/dogami/about/govboard/boardagenda_3_14_2024.pdf

The DOGAMI Governing Board sets policy, oversees general operations, and adopts a strategic plan every six years. The Board meets at least quarterly. As active members of their communities, Board members provide an important connection between Oregonians and DOGAMI’s mission of providing earth science information and regulation to make Oregon safe and prosperous.


More than 200 firefighters attend Winter Fire School training in Salem (Photos) (Photo)
Ore. Dept. of Public Safety Standards and Training - 03/01/24 3:21 PM
Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024.
Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024.
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-03/1187/170394/thumb_20240225_DPSST_WFS_08.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2024

 

MEDIA CONTACT:
Sam Tenney, Communications Coordinator
sam.tenney@dpsst.oregon.gov
Cell: 503-931-4069

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE THAN 200 FIREFIGHTERS ATTEND WINTER FIRE SCHOOL 
TRAINING IN SALEM (PHOTOS)

More than 200 career and volunteer firefighters from nearly 100 fire agencies throughout Oregon attended the 19th annual Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, 2024. 

The two-day event was hosted by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) and included nine classes offered by the National Fire Academy, DPSST, and the City of Dallas Fire & EMS Department. Attendees included firefighters from city and tribal fire departments, fire districts, and wildland firefighters.

Classroom training sessions covered a wide range of topics including leadership, incident command, health and safety programs, tactical decision making, fire prevention education, and community risk reduction. The event also included hands-on training sessions on vehicle extrication, flammable gas and liquid emergencies, extinguishing vehicle fires, forceable entry, firefighter safety and survival, pumper operator simulations, and heavy vehicle operation.

Winter Fire School is offered free of charge and is held over the weekend to accommodate the schedules of volunteers who comprise most of the Oregon fire service.

“DPSST is proud to put on the annual Winter Fire School, which is the Fire Program’s biggest event of the year,” said Kayla Ballrot, DPSST’s interim Fire Program Manager. “Oregon’s firefighters will apply the knowledge gained from this weekend’s event, from hands-on classes to leadership training, to make their communities safer places to live. We received great student and instructor feedback and are already looking forward to next year.”

###

About DPSST
The mission of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is to pursue excellence in training and accountability for public safety professionals. DPSST certifies and licenses police, corrections, and parole and probation officers, as well as regulatory specialists, emergency telecommunicators and medical dispatchers, criminal justice instructors, private security providers, private investigators, fire service professionals and polygraph examiners in the State of Oregon.  DPSST works with public and private safety agencies around the state to provide basic, leadership and specialized training at the 237-acre Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem and regionally throughout the state. 




Attached Media Files: Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024. , Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024. , Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024. , Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024. , Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024. , Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024. , Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024. , Oregon fire service members participate in the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training's Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem, Ore. on Feb. 24 - 25, 2024.

Fatal Crash - HWY 97 - Klamath County
Oregon State Police - 03/01/24 3:10 PM

Klamath County, Ore. 29 Feb. 24- On Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 10:02 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy-97, near milepost 174, in Klamath County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a southbound Peterbilt CMV and trailer, operated by Desiree Danielle Johnson (34) of St. Petersburg (FL), when it lost control and jackknifed in the roadway. The Peterbilt spun and crossed into the path of a northbound Honda Pilot, operated by Elise Adair Farrens (37) of La Pine, where the Honda struck the CMV trailer.

The operator of the Honda (Farrens) was declared deceased at the scene. A passenger in the Honda, Daviana Marie Trussell (23) of La Pine, was transported to the hospital with critical injuries.  Trussell, who was pregnant, tragically suffered the loss of her child due to injuries sustained during the crash.

The operator of the Peterbilt (Johnson) reportedly suffered minor injuries.

The highway was impacted for approximately 3.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. The investigation is ongoing at this time.

OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Department, Crescent Fire, and ODOT.

 

###

 

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Study Meeting: March 5, 2024
Walla Walla Sch. Dist. - 03/01/24 3:00 PM

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997
Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information:  https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule


Fatal Crash - Hwy 101 - Curry County
Oregon State Police - 03/01/24 2:50 PM

Curry County, Ore. 29 Feb. 24- On Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 8:37 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy-101, near milepost 347, in Curry County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a Toyota Corolla, operated by Nathan Garcia (43) of Brookings, was northbound when it reportedly hydroplaned into the southbound travel lane. The Toyota spun into the path of a southbound Dodge Ram 2500, operated by Mark Nichols (78) of Port Orford, causing a side impact. 

The operator of the Toyota (Garcia) was declared deceased at the scene.

The operator of the Dodge (Nichols) was transported with reportedly minor injuries.

The highway was impacted for approximately 2.5 hours during the on-scene investigation.

OSP was assisted by the Curry County Sheriff's Department, Brookings Fire and Rescue, Cape Ferrello Fire, and ODOT. 

 

###

 

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Projects set to break ground this spring as WWPS announces preliminary Capital Levy projects schedule (Photo)
Walla Walla Sch. Dist. - 03/01/24 10:09 AM
2024-03/1288/170380/Preliminary_Capital_Projects_Schedule_030124.png
2024-03/1288/170380/Preliminary_Capital_Projects_Schedule_030124.png
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-03/1288/170380/thumb_Preliminary_Capital_Projects_Schedule_030124.png

WALLA WALLA - Look for contractors and heavy equipment on the south side of Walla Walla High School in the coming months as work is slated to begin later this spring on projects soundly approved by voters on the Feb. 13, 2024 Capital Levy measure. The first improvements to get underway are the new tennis courts and JROTC Raider Course at Walla Walla High School, located south of the main gym. These projects are targeted for completion by late fall 2024.

“We’re hitting the ground running on delivering on the promises we made to voters,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “We have met with our coaches and administrative staff to finalize our construction schedule and feel confident we’ll have everything in place to get started as soon as this spring.”  The project schedule includes intentional phasing to avoid program interruptions, while also addressing necessary bidding and product procurement timelines.”

The lighting project for baseball and softball at Murr Field is slated to begin in the fall and be completed prior to the spring season.  Garrison Middle School track resurfacing and tennis court improvements will also begin this fall after the fair with plans to complete it by the spring sports season as well. The improvements to Hayner Field, on the west side of the Wa-Hi campus, will kick off after the fall soccer season wraps up next school year. This area, which currently hosts varsity soccer, will get lights, field turf and a field house and serve multiple sports when completed. This extensive project is expected to be finished prior to the fall 2025 sports season. The all-weather track and baseball/softball improvements at Pioneer Middle School will begin in winter 2025 and will also be completed by fall 2025. The multi-sport complex at Walla Walla High School will begin following the 2025 track season. This facility will get lights, field turf, grand stands, a safer throwing area for track, concession stands, restrooms and a changing area for athletes. It is slated to be complete by the start of the 2026-27 school year.

“We have an ambitious schedule that will require a lot of planning and communication,” said Superintendent Smith. “We will work closely with our coaches, staff, students and families to make sure we minimize the impact to programs as we complete these historic improvements.”

A comprehensive website is being built to house all of the information regarding the Capital Levy projects.  The district is committed to ensuring open and transparent communications throughout the construction program.

“We are so thankful to the community for making these projects become a reality for our students, faculty and families,” said Superintendent Smith. “We will continue to be great stewards of our community’s resources to ensure we deliver on every promise made to voters.”

Learn more at:  https://www.wwps.org/departments/fac-op/capital-levy

###




Attached Media Files: 2024-03/1288/170380/Preliminary_Capital_Projects_Schedule_030124.png

ODF sends Strike Team to Assist in Texas Wildfires (Photo)
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 03/01/24 10:00 AM
Picture from the last time ODF was in Texas in 2022
Picture from the last time ODF was in Texas in 2022
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-03/1072/170377/thumb_IMG_9415.jpg

SALEM, Ore. – Today the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) deployed a strike team to Amarillo, Texas to assist in their wildfire suppression efforts. The strike team is equipped with five engines and a strike team leader, with a total of 16 firefighters traveling down to the state.  

The firefighters are going to Texas under mutual assistance agreements, making it easier to share resources. When wildfire activity is low in Oregon, firefighters can be spared to help in other places experiencing high levels of wildfire response. 

“We’re ready and willing to help whenever we receive the call from one of our partner states,” said Chris Cline, ODF’s Interim Fire Protection Division Chief.  “It’s the right thing to respond when someone is in a time of need, and we are honored to have the opportunity to serve.”

So how does Oregon send resources to help other states? This is all done through mutual assistance agreements creating a cache of reciprocal resources and a larger more comprehensive fire management system. In this system, Oregon does not only send out resources, but also receives and has received helpful resources when local capacity becomes overwhelmed.

 “The relationships built through our assistance in other states not only benefits them, but also Oregonians as we reach out for help when our fire season hits its peak.” Cline explained. In the 2023 fire season, Oregon received 173 out-of-state firefighters. 

Sending our firefighters on these out-of-state deployments helps them build relationships outside of our organization, learn new suppression tactics and gives them the opportunity to fight fire in a different landscape. These off-season deployments keep their skills sharp so they can come back to Oregon with new knowledge that can be applied to our future fire seasons. 




Attached Media Files: Picture from the last time ODF was in Texas in 2022

High School Art Exhibit Open Now Through March 22 (Photo)
ESD 123 - 03/01/24 10:00 AM
high school art exhibit
high school art exhibit
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1212/170350/thumb_IMG_0592.jpeg

PASCO, WA – The incredible talents of high school artists representing fifteen high schools across nine school districts are on display at the 51st Annual Regional High School Art Exhibit. Educational Service District 123 coordinates this annual exhibition of student art each year, and the 2024 show is now open to the public until March 22 at the Columbia Basin College Gjerde Center in Pasco.

This year’s exhibit features 278 pieces of outstanding artwork representing multiple mediums.  The juried show will recognize 15 Judge’s Choice, 10 Honorable Mention, and 10 Superintendent’s Choice awards.  Additionally, Central Washington University (CWU) will continue its generous tradition of awarding scholarships to selected students.

Students will receive their awards and/or scholarships during the award ceremony on Wednesday, March 13 at 5:30 PM at the CBC Gjerde Center. Judge’s Choice winners from ESD 123’s show will advance on to compete for a spot in the state Superintendent's High School Art Show led by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

The public is encouraged to visit the CBC Gjerde Center to view the student artwork now through March 22, as well as to attend the student award ceremony at 5:30 PM on March 13.  For more information, contact Molly Curtiss at 509.544.5787 or tiss@esd123.org">mcurtiss@esd123.org.

###

About ESD 123:  Educational Service District 123, based in Pasco, WA, is one of nine ESDs in Washington. Dedicated to delivering collaborative solutions that promote learning, ESD 123 serves 23 school districts in seven counties of Southeastern Washington. Under Superintendent Steve McCullough and its board of directors, this legislatively mandated, not-for-profit educational organization provides efficiency of educational systems and equity of learning opportunities for over 70,000 Washington students. For more information about ESD 123, please call 509-544-5700 or 888-547-8441 or visit www.esd123.org.




Attached Media Files: high school art exhibit , high school art exhibit

DPSST - Board & Policy Committee Recruitments (Application Deadline 3/15/2024)
Ore. Dept. of Public Safety Standards and Training - 03/01/24 8:42 AM

2024 Board on Public Safety Standards & Training

 and Policy Committee

Open Vacancy – Recruitments

 

The Board on Public Safety Standards & Training (BPSST) and established Policy Committees have open vacancies looking to be filled. The current vacancies are as follows:

 

BPSST: All Board applications must be submitted through Workday.com

  • Administrator of a Municipality recommended to the Governor by the executive body of the League of Oregon Cities
  • Representative of the collective bargaining unit that represents the largest number of individual workers in the DOC

Policy Committees: All Policy Committee applications are due by March 15, 2024.

Telecommunications Policy Committee:

  • One person representing telecommunicators
  • One person representing the public who has never been employed or utilized as a telecommunicator

Private Security/Investigator Policy Committee:

  • One person representing the health care industry
  • One person representing the public who have never been employed or utilized as a private security provider or investigator

Corrections Policy Committee:

  • Two people representing Non-Management Corrections Officers
  • One person representing the Oregon Sheriff’s Jail Command Center
  • One Corrections officer who is employed by the Department of Corrections at a women's correctional facility and who is a member of a bargaining unit

Police Policy Committee:

  • One person representing Non-Management Law Enforcement

To inquire about a vacancy, please visit Department of Public Safety Standards & Training : Board on Public Safety Standards & Training and Policy Committees : Boards and Committees : State of Oregon.

If interested in applying for a Policy Committee position, please complete and submit the Policy Committee Interest Form found under the ‘Board and Committee Resources’ section of the website listed above.

If interested in applying for a BPSST position, please complete the online application at Workday Board and Commission Opportunities. (Please note that an account may need to be created if not already in Workday)

For further information regarding the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training or its respective Policy Committees, please contact Samantha Kossa - samantha.kossa@dpsst.oregon.gov

 

Thank you,

DPSST Board & Committees Staff


Thu. 02/29/24
Traffic stop leads to seizure of fentanyl pills and powder (Photo)
Oregon State Police - 02/29/24 1:35 PM
Seized Fentanyl powder
Seized Fentanyl powder
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1002/170365/thumb_IMG_0405.jpg

LINN COUNTY, Ore. 29 Feb. 2024 – A recent traffic stop in Linn County resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of fentanyl powder and pills headed for the street. 

On Feb. 16, 2024, at approximately 4:30 p.m., an OSP trooper stopped a silver Honda Accord at milepost 219 on I-5 for a traffic violation. The trooper observed suspicious behavior by the vehicle occupants that pointed to possible drug activity. A K-9 unit was called to assist. 

The K-9 alerted on possible illegal drugs. A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of 10,000 fentanyl pills and four pounds of fentanyl powder from a grocery bag behind the driver’s seat. A small amount of other illegal narcotics was also found in the vehicle. 

The vehicle operator, Danny Yohan Cruz Benitz (18) of Oakland (CA), was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and attempted delivery of a controlled substance. Passenger, Walter Omar Mayorga Aguilar (20) of Sacramento (CA), was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, attempted delivery of a controlled substance, and a parole/probation violation.  

The investigation is ongoing and no additional information is available for release at this time.

 

# # #

 

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.




Attached Media Files: Seized Fentanyl powder , Seized fentanyl powder , Seized fentanyl pills

Oregon Division of Financial Regulation issues $160,000 in fines to Laura O. Shean for conducting unlicensed investment adviser activities (Photo)
Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services - 02/29/24 1:18 PM
2024-02/1073/170363/DFR-logo-blue.jpg
2024-02/1073/170363/DFR-logo-blue.jpg
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1073/170363/thumb_DFR-logo-blue.jpg

Salem – The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) issued a cease-and-desist order and fined Laura O. Shean and her company, PlanNow, LLC, a total of $140,000 for conducting unlicensed investment adviser activity and engaging in securities fraud.

The division, in an order filed in December 2023, also ordered Shean to pay $20,000 of previously suspended civil penalties because Shean violated a prior order the division issued in 2019. Shean was licensed as a securities salesperson, investment adviser representative, and resident insurance producer, but her insurance and securities licenses in Oregon were revoked by DFR in 2019. The division revoked Shean’s licenses because Shean misappropriated, through a series of six unauthorized transactions in 2017, more than $124,000 from an elderly client. In 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) permanently barred Shean from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity. In 2019, Shean consented to an order issued by the division that permanently bars her from holding any securities or insurance licenses in Oregon and ordered Shean to cease and desist from violating the Oregon securities law.

Following the issuance of the 2019 consent order, the division investigated Shean’s ongoing business activities and compliance with the consent order. The division learned through a consumer complaint that Shean, through PlanNow, was willfully and repeatedly engaging in unlicensed investment adviser activity, contrary to the terms of the consent order and in violation of the Oregon securities law. Shean was operating the PlanNow business in a manner calculated to conceal her unlawful business activities.

During the division’s investigation of Shean’s ongoing business activities and compliance with the consent order, Shean filed a false statement with DFR in 2021. In that statement, Shean falsely denied that she engaged in investment adviser business activities after the division issued the 2019 consent order.

DFR reminds people to do business only with investment professionals who are licensed in Oregon. On DFR’s website, you can check for a license and file a complaint if you believe you have been defrauded or been the victim of a scam. Our consumer advocates can be reached by calling 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or emailing .financialserviceshelp@dcbs.oregon.gov">dfr.financialserviceshelp@dcbs.oregon.gov.

The division also has recently published a tool – the Oregon Investor Guide – to give consumers another resource before investing money.

###

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dfr.oregon.gov and  www.dcbs.oregon.gov.​​




Attached Media Files: 2024-02/1073/170363/DFR-logo-blue.jpg

Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Bribing a Federal Official and Defrauding the Federal Aviation Administration in Moses Lake, Washington
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 02/29/24 10:02 AM

Spokane, Washington – Yesterday, Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Christopher Hamilton Clemens, age 42, currently of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and formerly of Clarkston, Washington, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in connection with bribing a federal contracting official with the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) and fraudulently obtaining a contract with the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) in Moses Lake, Washington.

According to the plea agreement, Calandra Charging Eagle was a contracting official at the BIA, in its Albuquerque, New Mexico office. BIA is a federal agency that, among other things, provides funding and oversight for improvement projects on American Indian land and facilities. One of Defendant Clemens’ companies, Hamilton’s West, was a government contracting company owned and operated by Clemens, which competed and sought to compete for BIA and other federal government contracts.

According to court documents, through her position as a contracting official at BIA, Charging Eagle had access to internal and confidential BIA estimates and other information regarding potential contracts, and had a role in approving contracts, modifications, and invoices. In 2018, between June and October, according to the plea agreement, Clemens and Charging Eagle engaged in a bribery scheme in which Clemens agreed to pay a $10,700 debt owed by Charging Eagle to the Sandia Resort and Casino, a resort, casino, and event center located in Albuquerque. In return, according to court documents, Charging Eagle agreed to use her position to steer BIA contracts, including an over half-million dollar contract to provide lightning protection improvements at the Navajo Nation’s Pine Hill School in New Mexico, to Clemens and his companies. According to court documents, Charging Eagle provided Clemens and his companies with inside confidential information regarding BIA’s procurement process, including, but not limited to, providing Clemens and his companies with confidential and internal BIA information in order to provide Clemens and his companies with an unfair competitive advantage in obtaining the Pine Hill School lightning protection contract and other BIA contracts.

On October 21, 2020, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Clemens and Charging Eagle with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and felony counts of paying and accepting a bribe, respectively. On December 9, 2021, Charging Eagle pleaded guilty to one count of violating 18 U.S.C. Sec. 201(b)(2), Public Official Accepting a Bribe, as a result of her role in the scheme and conspiracy with Clemens, and on March 17, 2022, Charging Eagle was sentenced to two-years of probation.  United States v. Charging Eagle, Case No. 2:20-CR-00142-TOR.

Prior to Charging Eagle pleading guilty to bribery, Clemens entered into a pre-trial diversion agreement with regard to the bribery scheme where he agreed to, and was ordered by the Court to, among other things, not commit any more crimes and to not engage in any federal contracting or subcontracting for a period of five years.  According, to court documents, in January 2022, approximately two months after being ordered to not engage in federal contracting, Clemens falsely certified, through a new company, that he was not prohibited from engaging in federal contracting. 

Based on Clemens’ false and fraudulent certification, according to the plea agreement, in August of 2022 Clemens went on, through the new company, to fraudulently obtain a design-build contract in Moses Lake, Washington, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  According to Clemens’ plea, between August of 2022 and October of 2023, while Clemens held himself out as the vice president of the new company, the FAA paid $479,818 to the new company under the design-build contract that it would not have paid had it known that Clemens had falsely and fraudulently represented that he was eligible to engage in federal contracting.  Clemens admitted in his plea agreement that he conspired with others to perpetrate the fraud on the FAA as part of his overall conspiring to defraud the United States including his earlier bribe to Charging Eagle to get BIA contracts.

 “Bribing a federal official is a serious violation that undermines the basic fairness that we all expect and deserve from our government,” said United States Attorney Waldref.  “Similarly, ignoring a court order and continuing to fraudulently engage in federal contracting cannot and will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “I want to thank our law enforcement partners, especial the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General, Western Region, for their tremendous and longstanding efforts in rooting out this conspiracy.” 

This case was investigated by the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Western Region. Assistant United States Attorneys Tyler Tornabene and Dan Fruchter are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.  Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for May 29, 2024, at 11:00 am in the Thomas Foley Federal Building and U.S. Court House in Spokane, Washington. 

 

United States v. Christopher Hamilton Clemens, Case No: 2-24-CR-00030-TOR.


Bureau of Land Management offers partners wildland fire equipment (Photo)
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 02/29/24 9:48 AM
Bureau of Land Management employees transfer the pictured water tender to the Wheeler County Rangeland Fire Protection Association in 2022.
Bureau of Land Management employees transfer the pictured water tender to the Wheeler County Rangeland Fire Protection Association in 2022.
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/5514/170354/thumb_52577913047_ff7bc2c418_k.jpg

Portland, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management’s Rural Fire Readiness program is dedicated to enhancing the firefighting capabilities of wildland firefighting partners. Through the program, the BLM can provide training and equipment, including supplies and communication devices.


BLM fire managers are announcing the opening of a 30-day application period for wildland fire equipment under the RFR program in Oregon and Washington. 


The RFR program provides a streamlined process for local cooperators to request and receive excess BLM firefighting equipment to better protect communities, natural resources, and critical infrastructure.


“We value our important partnerships with rural fire protection districts and rangeland fire protection associations,” said Jeff Fedrizzi, BLM Oregon-Washington State Fire Management Officer. “This program helps us all work better together in our collective interest of public safety.”


The equipment the BLM transfers to local firefighting partners, including supplies and radios, is ready to use. Wildland fire engines are transferred with items like hoses, fittings, tools, and radios to ensure immediate use by cooperators.


The BLM is accepting applications for 2024 from rural fire protection districts and rangeland fire protection associations for available vehicles, fire engines, equipment, and supplies. Cooperators who submitted a request in 2023 and would still like to be prioritized for that request do not need to submit a new request. Please reach out to the cooperating BLM districts to discuss rolling this request into the 2024 cycle. As equipment is prioritized and available, the BLM will work to transfer excess items to qualifying cooperators. 


To participate in the BLM’s RFR program, cooperators should work with their local BLM districts prior to applying. To find district contacts and submit an application, visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/rfr-apply


Cooperators must meet all the requirements to be considered for BLM RFR equipment transfers, including:
• Have an existing cooperative fire response agreement with the BLM;
• Serve a rural community or area;
• Have wildland fire protection responsibilities;
• Be in the vicinity of, or within, the wildland urban interface, or an established rangeland fire protection association;
• Be near BLM-administered lands and respond to wildland fires in support of BLM when available and as needed; and
• Provide a benefit to the BLM.

To apply, go to the BLM’s Rural Fire Readiness application page: https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/rfr-apply. Online and hard copy applications are due on March 29. 


For more information contact fire management staff at the nearest BLM district office: https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/rfr.


For additional information or questions, contact Larae Guillory, BLM OR/WA Fire Operations Specialist at 458-218-1598.


-BLM-

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 




Attached Media Files: Bureau of Land Management employees transfer the pictured water tender to the Wheeler County Rangeland Fire Protection Association in 2022.

Oregon Main Street Adds Two New Affiliated Main Street Communities to the Network
Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. - 02/29/24 9:44 AM

SALEM, Oregon – Oregon Main Street (OMS) has accepted the City Club of Forest Grove and Main Street Cascade Locks at the Affiliated Main Street level of the OMS Network. 

Communities participating at this level have a high degree of commitment to using the nationally recognized place-based Main Street Approach™ methodology to create lasting impact in enhancing their historic downtowns. 

Affiliated Main Street level communities must have a cohesive core of historic or older commercial and mixed-use buildings that represent the community’s architectural heritage and may include compatible in-fill. They must also have a sufficient mass of businesses, buildings, and density to be effective, as well as be a compact and pedestrian-oriented district.

The primary emphasis of the Affiliated Main Street level is to provide technical assistance to program’s in their formative years.  Acceptance into this level allows communities to participate in training, community assessments, technical assistance, and receive local capacity building support. There isn’t a fee to participate in the Oregon Main Street Network. 

The selection process included submitting an application that describes their district, previous efforts to improve downtown, readiness to implement the Main Street Approach™, board development efforts, in addition to other criteria. 

Currently, there are 100 communities in Oregon participating in one of the four levels of the Oregon Main Street Network: Accredited Main Street, Designated Main Street, Affiliated Main Street, and Connected Communities. Both communities were represented by their cities at the Connected Communities level prior to being accepted at the Affiliated Main Street level. In Cascade Locks, a local Main Street group is just forming so the timing is good to benefit the assistance Oregon Main Street can provide. In Forest Grove, they have been exploring the right structure for the main street effort and found a willing partner in the City Club of Forest Grove.

Oregon Main Street is part of Oregon Heritage in Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For questions, contact Oregon Main Street Coordinator Sheri Stuart, sheri.stuart@oprd.oregon.gov.

# # # 


Longenecker & Associates Creates New Engineering Scholarship at Washington State University Tri-Cities (Photo)
WSU Tri-Cities - 02/29/24 9:38 AM
Carol Johnson, a member of the L&A advisory board and Jason M. Hatfield, senior vice president operations for Longenecker & Associates present a check to WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor, Sandra Haynes to establish a new engineering scholarship.
Carol Johnson, a member of the L&A advisory board and Jason M. Hatfield, senior vice president operations for Longenecker & Associates present a check to WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor, Sandra Haynes to establish a new engineering scholarship.
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/6937/170352/thumb_53558774648_391aae2874_c.jpg

RICHLAND, Wash. - Longenecker & Associates (L&A) has established a new engineering scholarship at Washington State University (WSU)Tri Cities to support students interested in careers that support the important missions of the U.S. Department of Energy.

L&A has committed to providing $10,000 annually to support the new scholarship, which will be geared toward those studying engineering, cybersecurity, business or other fields related to environmental management and cleanup. L&A selected WSU Tri-Cities for the new scholarship given the university’s role in preparing students for work in the DOE’s nuclear cleanup program, especially at the Hanford Site in eastern Washington. 

“More than 30 years ago, L&A got its start in the communities of eastern Washington state supporting DOE’s cleanup of Hanford,” L&A CEO John Longenecker said. “We’re excited now to help support WSU Tri-Cities students who may want to be part of this important work or aid the other vital missions of DOE.” 

“As an R1 university that has a focus on energy, environment and agriculture, our high caliber engineering and applied sciences programs draw students and it’s the partnerships with our local DOE partners that gives them career connected learning and great job prospects after graduation,” commented Sandra Haynes, chancellor at WSU Tri-Cities. “We are grateful to L&A and their desire to support students on our campus allowing them to follow their dreams.”

L&A is a proud supporter of STEM education in communities near DOE sites. Along with WSU Tri-Cities, L&A helps to fund scholarships at Northern New Mexico College, the University of South Carolina-Aiken and Tennessee Tech University. L&A is also a strong supporter of the Roy G. Post Foundation, which provides scholarships for students pursuing careers in the safe management in nuclear materials.

“We’re committed to not only helping DOE today in its national security, environmental remediation and clean energy programs, but to building the next generation of workers and leaders necessary for continued progress and success,” Longenecker said.  

Founded in 1989, L&A is a premier woman-owned small business that supports the DOE and National Nuclear Security Administration. L&A leverages its experience throughout the nuclear security and cleanup enterprise to improve mission performance, deliver capital asset projects to schedule and budget, implement effective governance approaches and develop targeted business strategies for both large and small businesses.   




Attached Media Files: Carol Johnson, a member of the L&A advisory board and Jason M. Hatfield, senior vice president operations for Longenecker & Associates present a check to WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor, Sandra Haynes to establish a new engineering scholarship.

Wed. 02/28/24
United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington Hires Assistant United States Attorney Dedicated to Prosecuting MMIP Cases in the Northwest United States (Photo)
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 02/28/24 4:43 PM
2024-02/6857/170344/bree_headshot.PNG
2024-02/6857/170344/bree_headshot.PNG
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/6857/170344/thumb_bree_headshot.PNG

Yakima, Washington - United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref announced today that Bree R. Black Horse has joined her office as an Assistant United States Attorney dedicated to prosecuting cases involving Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP), in connection with the Justice Department’s MMIP regional program. AUSA Black Horse will work out of our Yakima Office, but she will serve throughout the Northwest Region – including in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and California. 

AUSA Black Horse is an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, AUSA Black Horse worked in the Native American practice group at the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend advising Tribal governments and enterprises on all aspects of federal, state, and tribal law, including tribal sovereignty, economic development, treaty rights, and complex Indian country litigation.  AUSA Black Horse previously served as a law clerk to Chief U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Morris for the District of Montana, and as a legal aid attorney and public defender for the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.  AUSA Black Horse was the Program Director for the 2023 Law School Admission Council’s Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program, which aims to make a law degree more accessible for diverse students from Central Washington.  She is a 2013 graduate of Seattle University School of Law where she was the Douglas R. Nash Native American Scholar as well as the co-founder and editor-in chief of the American Indian Law Journal.  She received her undergraduate degree from Seattle Pacific University in Political Science and Government in 2010. 

“Our District is committed to being a leader in addressing the MMIP crisis. I am honored to welcome AUSA Black Horse as the newest member of the Department of Justice,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref.  AUSA Black Horse will serve as the Assistant United States Attorney dedicated to prosecuting cases involving matters related to MMIP on Native American Reservations. Her appointment demonstrates DOJ’s commitment to combating the root causes of MMIP crisis and holding those who commit these crimes accountable. I am also grateful for the close relationships with have with our Tribal, Federal and State partners as we work together in the joint mission of ensuring justice for all. As we welcome AUSA Black Horse, we reiterate our shared commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all who call Eastern Washington home.”

AUSA Black Horse expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve in this important role. “For far too long Indigenous men, women and children have suffered violence at rates higher than many other demographics,” stated AUSA Black Horse. “As I step into this role, I look forward to working with our local, state, and tribal partners to identify concrete ways of reducing violence and improving public safety in Indian country and elsewhere.  I also look forward to honing my skills as a federal prosecutor and working with others who are dedicated to DOJ’s mission to seek justice on behalf of victims and their families.” 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office plans to hold a formal swearing in for AUSA Black Horse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will provide additional details when the schedule for that event is set. 

The MMIP regional program prioritizes MMIP cases consistent with the Deputy Attorney General’s July 2022 directive to United States Attorneys’ offices promoting public safety in Indian country. The program fulfills the Justice Department’s promise to dedicate new personnel to MMIP consistent with Executive Order 14053, Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People, and the Department’s Federal Law Enforcement Strategy to Prevent and respond to Violence Against American Indians and Alaska Natives, Including to Address Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons issued in July 2022. 

The program dedicates five MMIP Assistant U.S. Attorneys and five MMIP coordinators to provide specialized support to United States Attorneys’ offices to address and combat the issues of MMIP.  This support includes assisting in the investigation of unresolved MMIP cases and related crimes, and promoting communication, coordination, and collaboration among federal, Tribal, local, and state law enforcement and non-governmental partners on MMIP issues.  The five regions include the Northwest, Southwest, Great Plains, Great Lakes, and Southeast Regions, and MMIP personnel will be located within host United States Attorneys’ offices in the Districts of Alaska, Arizona, Eastern Washington, Minnesota, New Mexico, Northern Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Western Michigan.  Programmatic support will be provided by the MMIP Regional Outreach Program Coordinator at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

More broadly, this MMIP Program will complement the work of the Justice Department’s National Native American Outreach Services Liaison, who is helping amplify the voice of crime victims in Indian country and their families as they navigate the federal criminal justice system. Further, the MMIP Program will liaise with and enhance the work of the Department’s Tribal Liaisons and Indian Country Assistant United States Attorneys throughout Indian Country, the Native American Issues Coordinator, and the National Indian Country Training Initiative Coordinator to ensure a comprehensive response to MMIP.




Attached Media Files: 2024-02/6857/170344/bree_headshot.PNG

New Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits System Goes Live March 4
Oregon Employment Department - 02/28/24 3:44 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Feb. 28, 2024 

Contact:  

communications@employ.oregon.gov  

 

New Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits System Goes Live March 4 

New system is expected to improve the overall online customer service experience for Oregonians filing for unemployment 

FEB. 28, 2024 (SALEM, ORE.) – The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is five days away from launching a brand new, easy-to-use online system for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. UI benefits go live through Frances Online on Monday, March 4, at 8 a.m. 

Frances Online offers features that will provide a better customer service experience for UI claimants. It’s also mobile-friendly. Claimants will be able to do a lot more things online through self-serve features, instead of waiting for a letter in the mail or calling the UI Contact Center. 

“With Frances Online, we’ll be able to serve Oregonians better, and get their benefits paid quicker,” said David Gerstenfeld, director of OED. “We recognize that change can be challenging, but once we’re up and running, we believe claimants will appreciate all the changes that are coming.” 

Video of OED’s media briefing on Feb. 28, 2024 is available at: https://youtu.be/uaQMRkNFP34. 

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE PLANNED SERVICE OUTAGE  

The system migration begins tonight. Some services went offline last night, the Contact Center was closed today. And beginning at 5 p.m. tonight, all UI systems, phone lines and customer service options are temporarily unavailable through Monday, March 4, at 8 a.m. OED teams are working diligently to ensure a smooth transition and to restore all services on March 4. 

During the planned service outage, UI customers cannot: File an initial claim, file a weekly claim, restart a claim, check the status of a claim, or make changes to claim information; They also will not be able to make payments; Respond to requests for additional information; or complete identity verification. 

This system outage will allow OED to migrate the data from the old UI systems to Frances Online. Current UI customers who have ongoing claims will find that their information will be present in Frances Online when they create an account on or after March 4. 

“Frances Online is already serving employers and Paid Leave claimants,” said Lindsi Leahy, director of the Unemployment Insurance Division at OED. “We’re working diligently to ensure that the transition of UI benefits to this new system will be as seamless as possible for claimants.” 

Visit unemployment.oregon.gov/frances to learn about the new system, customer service impacts, new self-serve features, and what to expect on March 4. 

### 

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spoken-language interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503-947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to communications@employ.oregon.gov. 


DPSST Private Security and Investigator Policy Committee (PSIPC) -- Recruitment
Ore. Dept. of Public Safety Standards and Training - 02/28/24 2:51 PM

Department of Public Safety Standards and Training

Memorandum

DATE:            February 28, 2024

TO:                All Oregon Private Security Providers and Interested Individuals

FROM:           Suzy Herring

                     Program Manager 

SUBJECT:     Private Security and Investigator Policy Committee (PSIPC) – Recruitment

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (Department or DPSST) is accepting letters of interest, accompanying interest form, for two different openings on the 

Private Security and Investigator Policy Committee. The recruitment is open until Friday, March 29, 2024. The two openings are:

  • One person representing the public, who has never been employed or utilized as a private security provider or an investigator; and is not related within the second degree by affinity or consanguinity to a person who is employed or utilized as a private security provider or investigator.

 

  • One person representing the health care industry.

The Private Security/Investigator Policy Committee established by Oregon Revised Statute 181A.375, and is charged with the responsibility of developing policies, requirements, standards, and rules relating to the private security and private investigator disciplines. All recommended policies, requirements, standards, and rules are submitted to the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training (Board) for consideration. The PSIPC meets on a quarterly basisThe meeting calendar is listed here:  https://www.oregon.gov/dpsst/BD/Pages/default.aspxMembers of the PSIPC may be eligible for reimbursement of costs incurred traveling to and from meetings.

Nominations for membership must be submitted to the Department for presentation to the Board chairperson for consideration. All appointments to the committee will be subject to ratification by the Board. The term of an appointed member is two years. An appointed member may be appointed to a second term. 

If you are interested, you must complete and submit a Policy Committee Interest Form. This recruitment closes at 5pm on March 29, 2024. Interest forms must be received prior to the deadline. The interest form is available on the DPSST website. Here is a link to the form. Please send your completed interest form to: 

Samantha Kossa

4190 Aumsville Hwy SE, Salem, OR 97317

Samantha Kossa@dpsst.oregon.gov

Phone 971.209.8235


Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Special Meeting/Executive Session: February 29, 2024
Walla Walla Sch. Dist. - 02/28/24 12:35 PM

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997
Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information:  https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule


Doctor Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Accept Kickbacks in Connection with Fraudulent Telemarketing Scheme Victimizing Medicare and TRICARE Patients in Eastern Washington
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 02/28/24 11:29 AM

Spokane, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Thomas Andrew Webster, M.D., age 51, of Sylvania, Ohio, pled guilty to conspiring to accept kickbacks in connection with a fraudulent telemarketing and medical supply scheme throughout Washington and in other states. District Judge Mary K. Dimke accepted Dr. Webster’s guilty plea and set sentencing for June 26, at 1:15 in Spokane, Washington. 

The Medicare program provides health insurance coverage for elderly and disabled Americans.  The Department of Defense’s TRICARE program provides health benefits to United States Armed Forces military personnel, military retirees, and their dependents.  Medicare and TRICARE provide health insurance coverage for eligible health services, including, under certain conditions, for durable medical equipment (DME).  For DME to qualify for reimbursement, the DME is required to be ordered by a physician who is treating the beneficiary for a specific illness or injury, and is required to be part of the course of that treatment. 

During the relevant time period, Dr. Webster lived in Olympia, Washington, and was a licensed physician in Washington. According to the Plea Agreement and information disclosed in court proceedings, between May 2021 and September 2023, Dr. Webster participated in a telemarketing scheme and conspiracy.  A company identified as “Company A” obtained Medicare and TRICARE beneficiary information by using telemarketers to contact patients in Eastern Washington and elsewhere to obtain their personal and health information.  Company A then used the information to create a fake medical record that falsely and fraudulently reflected doctor visits and treatment that did not exist, and fraudulent medical orders for DBE.  Dr. Webster then signed the fraudulent medical documentation and DME orders, which were then sold by Company A to companies that used the orders to falsely bill Medicare and TRICARE.  Company A and Dr. Webster also falsely and fraudulently billed Medicare and TRICARE for the fictitious doctor visits and exams that did not take place. 

“Health care fraud and kickback schemes are a serious problem” said U.S. Attorney Waldref.  “They divert precious public funds away from treating patients, drive up the cost of health care services, and often make quality health care beyond the reach of the most vulnerable members of our community who need it the most. Telemarketing schemes that target and exploit the elderly and our servicemembers are especially pernicious because they prey on those who are often most in need of a doctor’s independent judgment that is not tainted or biased by the doctor’s own personal financial interest.” 

According to the Plea Agreement and information disclosed in court proceedings, Medicare and TRICARE paid more than $13.7 million for DME fraudulently ordered by Dr. Webster for thousands of beneficiaries in Eastern Washington and elsewhere, including beneficiaries who lacked the limb for which Defendant supposedly performed the exam and ordered the DME, because it had been previously amputated.  Dr. Webster also admitted to directly receiving at least $839,565 from Medicare and TRICARE for fraudulent doctor visits and exams that never took place. As part of the Plea Agreement, Dr. Webster agreed to forfeiture of bank accounts and other assets representing the proceeds of his criminal conduct. 

"Dr. Webster’s conviction culminates his illicit, greed-driven scheme to defraud federal healthcare programs, including the Department of Defense's TRICARE program," said Bryan D. Denny, Special Agent-in-Charge for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Western Field Office.  "Fraudulent healthcare billings inflate costs, erode public confidence, and in the case of the Department of Defense, ultimately degrade American warfighter readiness and undermine the missions of our military services.”

“Physicians that receive unlawful kickbacks in exchange for ordering medically unnecessary services erode the public’s trust and waste valuable taxpayer dollars” said Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).  “This outcome demonstrates HHS-OIG’s steadfast commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who defraud federal health care programs.”

“I am grateful for, and commend, the exceptional investigative work on this case performed by HHS OIG and DCIS, as well as the important forfeiture work that will return precious funds to the public so that they can be used for patient care” said U.S. Attorney Waldref.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to make our communities safer and stronger, by aggressively pursuing telemedicine kickback schemes, healthcare fraud, and elder abuse.”

The conspiracy offense carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in federal prison.  The case was investigated by HHS OIG’s Seattle Field Office and DCIS’ Western Field Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Fruchter and Tyler H.L. Tornabene are prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States; Assistant United States Attorney Brian M. Donovan is handling the forfeiture action. 

Case No. 2:23-cr-00135-MKD


La Oficina de Resiliencia y Manejo de Emergencias del Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Oregon anuncia que han abierto una oportunidad de ayuda económica para Centros y Redes de Resilienci
Oregon Dept. of Human Services - 02/28/24 11:10 AM

La Oficina de Resiliencia y Manejo de Emergencias (OREM por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Oregon (ODHS por sus siglas en inglés) anuncia que han abierto una oportunidad de ayuda económica para Centros y Redes de Resiliencia. Estos fondos son para apoyar a comunidades y personas mientras trabajan para prepararse para desastres y emergencias.

Me emociona que OREM, a través de la Legislatura de Oregon, pueda ofrecer estos fondos. Sé que las comunidades en todo el estado trabajan a diario para prepararse para emergencias. Estos fondos son para apoyar y mejorar ese trabajo, — dijo Ed Flick, Director de OREM. 

Un centro de resiliencia es un lugar donde las personas se reúnen a diario para compartir y encontrar recursos yapoyarse los unos a los otros durante una emergencia. Una red de resiliencia es una asociación de instalaciones, organizaciones, proveedores de recursos o proveedores de servicios que no se encuentran en una instalación física de un centro de resiliencia, pero que colectivamente cubren los mismos fines de un centro de resiliencia.

Cualquiera que apoya un centro o red de resiliencia puede solicitar estos fondos de ayuda. Queremos apoyar a las comunidades que tradicionalmente reciben menos servicios o se ven impactadas de manera desproporcional por emergencias para que soliciten estos fondos. Animamos a las personas y agencias que presenten una solicitud a que nos den la dirección exacta de su centro o red de resiliencia. La información socioeconómica y demográfica de la comunidad que rodea esa dirección se utilizará para asignar una puntuación a las solicitudes. Un total de $10,000,000 está disponible.

La solicitud cierra el 30 de abril del 2024.

OREM ofrecerá dos sesiones informativas para responder a preguntas sobre esta oportunidad de ayuda económica y el proceso de solicitud. Estas sesiones están abiertas al público y a todos los que puedan aplicar para esta oportunidad. Estas sesiones se llevarán a cabo en:

  • 29 de febrero del 2024 de 11:00 a.m. a 12:30 p.m. 
  • 12 de marzo del 2024 de 9:30 a.m. a 11:00 a.m. 

Puede encontrar más información sobre estas sesiones informativas y un enlace a la solicitud en https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/emergency-management/Pages/resilience-grants.aspx

Puede mandar sus preguntas acerca de ésta oportunidademgrants@odhs.oregon.gov"> oremgrants@odhs.oregon.gov.

 

 


Oregon Department of Human Services' Office of Resilience and Emergency Management is announcing the opening of the Resilience Hubs and Networks grant
Oregon Dept. of Human Services - 02/28/24 11:08 AM

Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Office of Resilience and Emergency Management (OREM) is announcing the opening of the Resilience Hubs and Networks grant. This funding is intended to support communities and individuals as they work to prepare for disasters and emergencies. 

“I’m excited that OREM, through the Oregon Legislature, can offer this funding. I know that communities across the state work every day to prepare for emergencies. This funding is intended to support and enhance that work,” said Ed Flick, OREM director. 

A resilience hub is a location where people come together daily to share resources, support one another and find resources during emergencies. A resilience network is an association of facilities, organizations, resource providers or service providers outside of a physical resilience hub facility that collectively serve the purposes of a resilience hub.

Anyone who supports a resilience hub or network can apply for this grant funding. Communities who are traditionally underserved and/or are disproportionately impacted by emergencies are encouraged to apply. Applicants are encouraged to provide the exact address of their hub or network. Socioeconomic and demographic information about the community surrounding that address will be used to score applications. A total of $10,000,000 is available. 

The application closes April 30, 2024.

OREM will host two information sessions to answer questions about the grant and the application process. These sessions are open to the public and all prospective grant applicants. These sessions will take place on:

  • February 29, 2024 11:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.
  • March 12, 2024 9:30 – 11:00 A.M.

More information about these information sessions and a link to the application can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/emergency-management/Pages/resilience-grants.aspx

 Questions about this grant opportunity can be sent to emgrants@odhs.oregon.gov">oremgrants@odhs.oregon.gov.

 


Selah Drug Distributor Who Sold Pound Quantities of Methamphetamine and Fentanyl in the Yakima Valley Sentenced to More than Eleven Years in Federal Prison
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 02/28/24 11:07 AM

Yakima, Washington - Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Ronald Lee Ralston Jr., 36, of Selah, Washington, was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine. United States District Judge Mary K. Dimke imposed a sentence of 138 months imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release. 

According to court documents and information disclosed at sentencing, the FBI developed information that Ralston and another man, Jessie Lee Johnson, were distributing large amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl from Ralston’s home in Selah, Washington. 

FBI Task Force members arranged for a confidential informant to set up a controlled buy at Ralston’s house. On May 4, 2023, the informant arrived at the home and tried to purchase methamphetamine from Ralston. However, Ralston said the methamphetamine he had on hand was spoken for and not for sale. While no sale took place that day, Ralston and Johnson were captured on video discussing future drug sales. 

On May 16, the informant returned to Ralston’s home and purchased one pound of methamphetamine and 100 pills of fentanyl from Ralston and Johnson for $2,000. Ralston also told the informant he could get any amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl with 24-hour notice. 

A search warrant was executed on June 7, 2023 at Ralston’s residence. In Ralston’s trailer, located on the property, law enforcement seized 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, other controlled substances, and two firearms. In the main residence, law enforcement officers seized another firearm and an additional half-pound of methamphetamine. 

Ralston and Johnston pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine on November 28, 2023. Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on March 12, 2024. 

“The FBI’s Drug Task Force identified Mr. Ralston and Mr. Johnson as major sources of dangerous drugs in Eastern Washington. I’m grateful for the quick work of Task Force Officers to shut down this drug operation,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “My office is committed to fighting the drug epidemic by aggressively stopping the supply of illegal narcotics in our communities.” 

“It is heartbreaking to see how these poisons destroy lives, relationships, and communities in Washington and across the United States," said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle field office. “The sentence in this case represents the significance the FBI, our federal, state, and local partners, and prosecutors place on saving lives through the removal of illicit drugs from our communities and holding those accountable who are responsible for their distribution. We are fighting back every time to take drugs off the streets.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Customs and Border Protection and the Selah Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Swenson. 


Oregonians donate $5.4 million to Cultural Trust in 2023 to support arts, heritage and humanities nonprofits statewide (Photo)
Oregon Cultural Trust - 02/28/24 10:13 AM
enTaiko of Portland received a $20,000 FY2024 Cultural Trust grant award to support an inclusive, multi-sensory concert experience for deaf and hearing audiences
enTaiko of Portland received a $20,000 FY2024 Cultural Trust grant award to support an inclusive, multi-sensory concert experience for deaf and hearing audiences
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1171/170323/thumb_enTaiko1.jpg

Salem, Ore. – Oregonians investing in the Cultural Tax Credit contributed more than $5.4 million to support arts, heritage and humanities nonprofits in 2023, the Oregon Cultural Trust announced today. The total, which represents a 3.5 percent increase over calendar year 2022, will fund grant awards to cultural organizations across the state this summer and continue to build the Cultural Trust’s permanent fund, now valued at more than $31 million. 

“We are inspired by the generosity of Oregonians and so grateful for their support during what continues to be a challenging economic climate,” said Cultural Trust Board Chair Sean Andries. “There are so many great cultural nonprofits doing incredible things in our communities and these funds allow us to provide them with the support they need to keep offering the projects and programming that help define culture across Oregon.”

“The Cultural Tax Credit continues to be a win-win investment for our donors,” said Cultural Trust Executive Director Brian Rogers. “While we’ve heard that nationwide giving levels are down, here in Oregon cultural donors can increase funding for arts, heritage and humanities organizations at no cost to them through the tax credit. It’s an unbeatable incentive.” 

The $5.4 million fundraising total represents 10,271 donations and 978 donors new to the Cultural Trust. It also includes $562,539 raised through an ongoing partnership with the Willamette Week Give!Guide. 

More than half of the money raised will be distributed directly to Oregon’s nonprofit cultural community this summer; the remainder will grow the Cultural Trust permanent fund. Cultural Trust grants are distributed to the five Statewide Cultural Partners – Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities and the Oregon State Office of Historic Preservation – as well as to 45 County/Tribal Cultural Coalitions, who regrant the funds in their communities, and directly to cultural nonprofits via the Cultural Trust’s Cultural Development Grants. 

The 86 projects supported by Cultural Development Grants in FY2024 include: 

  • Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay: $19,754

To support the enclosure of the open loading dock at Coos Art Museum so that the museum can greatly improve shipping and storage. The project also creates an area for the museum to add ceramics workshops/classes to its public activities.

  • Community Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene: $30,966

To support the Raise the Roof capital campaign for Eugene’s Woodmen of the World (WOW) Hall. Built in 1932, the National Register of Historic Places landmark was purchased through grassroots fundraising in 1975 by the Community Center for the Performing Arts to prevent demolition and continue its history as a community hub while preserving the incredible “floating” hard-rock maple dance floor (one of only three in Oregon). 

  • Cumberland Community Events Center, Albany: $11,134

To support the preservation of the historic character of Albany's only Queen Anne church by repairing and restoring one of the building’s most distinctive features, the stained-glass windows. 

  • Flora School Education Center, Enterprise: $6,944

To support access to Flora School’s activities, inside and out, for disabled attendees, volunteers, teachers and students by building an elevated wheelchair ramp. 

  • Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau, Grants Pass: $21,403

To support Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau in completing the Chateau's first Historic Furnishings Report. The report and its accompanying maintenance plan are vital elements to ensure that the restored and reopened Chateau remains a National Historic Landmark

  • Gather:Make:Shelter, Portland: $19,319

To support access for people experiencing houselessness to arts mentorship through a citywide sculpture project, public exhibitions and a mutual aid festival in downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.

  • Portland Playhouse, Portland: $26,274

To support the production of Anna Deveare Smith’s “Notes from the Field,” which draws on verbatim interviews to bring 18 voices into dialogue about the persistence of the civil rights crisis in American policing and education. 

  • Rejoice Diaspora Dance Theater, Portland: $17,649

To support the creation and production of “Rites of Passages,” a new performance by Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre that spans traditional and contemporary dance in celebration of Black history, present and future. 

  • Warm Springs Community Action Team, Warm Springs: $32,673

To preserve the rite of passage ceremony of the Name Giving Ceremony where Native youth receive their Indian Name. It will help families prepare for the giveaway part of the ceremony by hosting craft nights, food gathering trips and first-food processing classes. 

  • Wildlife Safari, Winston: $13,980

To support Wildlife Safari’s expansion of the use of its 300-seat outdoor theater, called the Safari Dome, by replacing stationary, aluminum bleachers (built in 1980) with new, retractable bleachers – increasing ways to use the space. 

View full list of FY2024 grant awards. 

The contracted partners for the Cultural Trust’s 2023 fundraising campaign were Watson Creative of Portland and Bell+Funk of Eugene. 

# # #

The Oregon Cultural Trust was established by the Oregon Legislature in 2001 as a unique means to reward Oregonians who invest in culture. Oregonians who donate to a cultural nonprofit and then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust receive a 100% state tax credit for their gift to the Trust.

 

 




Attached Media Files: enTaiko of Portland received a $20,000 FY2024 Cultural Trust grant award to support an inclusive, multi-sensory concert experience for deaf and hearing audiences

Computer available in Bend office to help taxpayers with electronic filing
Oregon Dept. of Revenue - 02/28/24 9:20 AM

Bend, OR—All Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns in 2024 can file electronically at no cost using one of Oregon’s free file options, and taxpayers in Central Oregon can now file their returns using a special kiosk set up in the Bend regional office.

The computer can be used to file taxes through the free fillable forms and Direct File Oregon e-file options.

The Bend office, located at 951 SW Simpson Ave, Suite 100, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed for lunch 12:30-1:30 p.m.). No appointment is necessary. Use of the computer to file taxes is on a first-come, first-served basis. Employees cannot help prepare returns but can answer basic questions.

E-filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund two weeks sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks.

Kioks are also available in the Eugene and Medford regional offices.

“We’re excited to offer Tthese computer kiosksoffers as a way to file electronically for those without a computer or those who fill out paper forms and want to transfer their data into one of the two available options to receive their refund sooner,” said Megan Denison, administrator of the department’s Personal Tax and Compliance Division.

 


Tue. 02/27/24
Milwaukie Man Wins $8.4 Million Oregon Megabucks Jackpot (Photo)
Oregon Lottery - 02/27/24 3:26 PM
David Schultze of Milwaukie claimed his $8.4 million jackpot Megabucks prize on Monday.
David Schultze of Milwaukie claimed his $8.4 million jackpot Megabucks prize on Monday.
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/4939/170302/thumb_Megabucks_DavidS_1080x1080_Textless.jpg

Note correction below: Ticket was purchased at Safeway in Gladstone, not Fred Meyer. 

Salem, Ore. – A Milwaukie retiree is the latest winner of Oregon's Game Megabucks, with a winning ticket worth $8.4 million.

David Schultze, 68, said he didn’t know he was sitting on millions until he checked his ticket last Friday morning. The winning numbers were drawn back on January 24, 2024. He spent the whole weekend in shock and claimed his prize on Monday at Oregon Lottery’s Wilsonville office.   

He doesn’t play much, but when he sees the jackpot “getting up there,” he can’t help but buy a ticket – just in case. Schultze purchased the ticket at Safeway in Gladstone. The store earned a $84,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. 

When asked about his plans for the winnings, Schultze said he will invest most of it. There are no plans for any big splurges.

Oregon’s Game Megabucks has some of the most favorable big prize jackpot game odds in the world. The jackpot resets to $1 million after someone wins. 

The Oregon Lottery recommends that you sign the back of your ticket to ensure you can claim any prize. In the event of winning a jackpot, players should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings. Players have a year to claim their prize. 

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $15.5 billion for economic development, public schools, outdoor school, state parks, veteran services, and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org




Attached Media Files: David Schultze of Milwaukie claimed his $8.4 million jackpot Megabucks prize on Monday.

State Forests Advisory Committee meets March. 8 in Salem
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 02/27/24 11:43 AM

SALEM, Ore.—The State Forests Advisory Committee (SFAC) will meet in Salem on March 8 at 8:30 a.m. This is a hybrid meeting and those interested can attend in person or via Zoom. The meeting agenda with Zoom link is posted on the SFAC webpage.

The State Forests Advisory Committee will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Oregon Department of Forestry (Tillamook Room), 2600 State St., Salem, 97310. Opportunity for public comment is on the agenda and is scheduled for 8:45 a.m.

Agenda topics include:

  • Draft habitat conservation plan and forest management plan for Western Oregon state forests project update
  • Overview of Fiscal Year 2025 annual operations plan
  • Implementation plan revision considerations for Fiscal Years 2026-27
  • Planning for SFAC meeting and field tour in May

SFAC’s role

The State Forests Advisory Committee includes citizens and representatives of timber, environmental and recreation groups. SFAC provides a forum to discuss issues, opportunities and concerns, and offer guidance to ODF on the implementation of the Northwest Oregon State Forests Management Plan. The plan provides guidance for managing 616,000 acres within the Tillamook, Clatsop and Santiam State Forests, and several scattered state-owned forest tracts in Benton, Polk, Lincoln and Lane counties through a balanced approach to generate revenue while preserving environmental and social benefits.

The meeting location is accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. Questions about accessibility or special accommodations for the meeting can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at(503) 945-7200.


North Franklin School District Superintendent Jim Jacobs Announces Retirement
North Franklin Sch. Dist. - 02/27/24 8:02 AM

Connell, WA – At their regular meeting on Monday, February 26th, the board of directors for the North Franklin School District (NFSD), accepted the resignation of Superintendent Jim Jacobs, effective June 30, 2024. After working more than 27 years in education, Jacobs plans to retire and looks forward to spending time with his family and friends. 

Superintendent Jacobs has led the North Franklin School District for the past 6 years. Throughout his 27-year career in the district, Jacobs has served in numerous positions, including teacher, summer school director, elementary principal, junior high principal, superintendent and regional representative to the WASA board of directors.

Jacobs’ motto is “Kids First, Education Always" and this shows in his relationships with students, staff and parents throughout the years. On behalf of the NFSD Board of Directors, Chairperson Terry Utecht stated, “It’s hard to imagine the North Franklin School District without Jim Jacobs in it, as he has served in many different aspects for over 27 years. The district has been blessed with Jim’s dedicated leadership for the past 6 years. He is a true leader in every sense of the word. The board is deeply saddened to see him go, but we are confident that the district is in a very healthy position which will help facilitate a smooth transition. We are excited to see what opportunities lie ahead for Jim and his family.”

In planning for Superintendent Jacobs’ departure, NFSD board members will immediately begin the discussion and formal process of a superintendent search. An online survey seeking community input will be provided this week, and staff and community forums to gather input in person are scheduled on March 6th at 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm at the district office.


Mon. 02/26/24
Glover named new Berney Elementary principal (Photo)
Walla Walla Sch. Dist. - 02/26/24 4:04 PM
2024-02/1288/170293/Glover.jpeg
2024-02/1288/170293/Glover.jpeg
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1288/170293/thumb_Glover.jpeg

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla Public Schools announces Sarah Glover has been named principal for Berney Elementary following an extensive hiring process. The principal selection process included two dozen staff, district, school board and parent representatives serving on the Berney Elementary principal screening and interview team. In addition, more than 50 families, community members, students and faculty attended the meet and greet and submitted input.

“Being named principal of Berney Elementary is a tremendous honor and responsibility,” said Glover. “As principal, I look forward to getting to know everyone and fostering a positive learning environment where every child feels valued, supported, and inspired to reach their goals.”

Sarah Glover currently serves as the academic interventionist at Adams Elementary in the Central Valley School District in Spokane. She completed her principal internship last school year. Before becoming the academic interventionist, Glover spent six years teaching 4th grade and served two years as a special education teacher, both at Adams Elementary. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s in Education from Grand Canyon University and a Master’s Degree in educational leadership from Eastern Washington University.

Joining Glover on her new adventure in Walla Walla is her husband of 20 years and four school-aged children. Two of her children will attend Wa-Hi, one will be 6th grader next year and the other will be a 5th grader at Berney. Sarah and her husband Corey keep busy with their kids' activities, but also enjoy playing golf and traveling. They have recently started playing pickleball and look forward to participating in community events and attending Walla Walla Sweet baseball games this summer.

“We are excited to immerse ourselves in all the things that make Walla Walla amazing,” said Glover. “I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the district and community for this opportunity to lead Berney Elementary. My family and I look forward to beginning this journey with you.”

Glover will report July 1, 2024.

###




Attached Media Files: 2024-02/1288/170293/Glover.jpeg

Housing Stability Council Monthly Agenda (updated) - March 1, 2024
Oregon Housing and Community Services - 02/26/24 3:09 PM

Feb. 26, 2024

The next Oregon Housing Stability Council meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2024. This will be a virtual meeting. You can find all relevant meeting materials on our website. The Housing Stability Council helps to lead OHCS to meet the housing and services needs of low- and moderate-income Oregonians by: 

  • Establishing and supporting OHCS’ strategic direction
  • Fostering constructive partnerships across the state
  • Setting policy and issuing funding decisions
  • Lending their unique expertise to the policy and program development of the agency

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5vfzdyiRTji0-P5Blrsi_Q#/registration

AGENDA:

9:00: Meeting Called to Order 

9:05: Report of the Chair

9:25: Report of the Director

9:40: Affordable Rental Housing Division
           Natasha Detweiler-Daby, Director, Affordable Rental Housing

  • Predevelopment Program Recommendation: Mitch Hannoosh, Senior Operations and Policy Analyst; Rick Ruzicka, Assistant Director Planning and Policy
     
  • Minority Women and Emerging Small Business Briefing: Claudia Cantu, Senior MWESB Initiative Analyst; Michael Parkhurst, Affordable Rental Housing Initiative Manager
     
  • Agricultural Housing Grant Resources Introduction: Mitch Hannoosh, Operations and Policy Analyst; Roberto Franco, Assistant Director Development Resources
     
  • Funding Resources & Set Asides introduction: Mitch Hannoosh, Senior Operations and Policy Analyst; Natasha Detweiler-Daby, Director
     
  • Funding Process Update and Discussion (no memo)Natasha Detweiler-Daby, Director Affordable Rental Housing

11:00: 15-minute Break

11:15: Homeownership Division
           Keeble Giscombe, Director of Homeownership Division

  • Public Hearing Comments in accordance with ORS 456.561
     
  • Veterans HOAP Allocation: Alycia Howell, HOAP Analyst
     
  • Oregon Lending Program 2023 Highlights: Scott Shaw, Assistant Director of Homeownership Lending
     

12:00: Meeting Adjourned

 

Registration for webinars closes thirty (30) minutes prior to each meeting’s start time.


Public comment is limited to council decisions on awarding loans, grants, or funding awards. Commenters will be allotted five (5) minutes per topic unless time is extended by the Chair. (ORS 456.561)


In the event public hearing time expires and you are unable to speak or you have comments regarding another topic not related to the agenda items, please submit your comments in writing via email or USPS.


To mail in comments, please use this address:
Oregon Housing and Community Services
Attn: Oregon Housing Stability Council Assistant
725 Summer St. NE Suite B
Salem, OR 97301
 


Residents Encouraged To Complete Fire and Emergency Services Survey (Photo)
City of Richland - 02/26/24 2:02 PM
2024-02/5957/170287/CommunitySurvey_RFES_FBInsta.png
2024-02/5957/170287/CommunitySurvey_RFES_FBInsta.png
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/5957/170287/thumb_CommunitySurvey_RFES_FBInsta.png

Richland Fire and Emergency Services is planning for the future and wants your input. If you are a Richland resident or business, please take a few minutes and complete the community engagement survey at bit.ly/rfescommunity

The survey is due by Friday, March 8. The results will be calculated and shared with staff during a strategic planning meeting on March 11-13.  

Questions can be directed to Captain Aust, raust@ci.richland.wa.us

 




Attached Media Files: 2024-02/5957/170287/CommunitySurvey_RFES_FBInsta.png

Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Special Meeting/Executive Session: February 27, 2024
Walla Walla Sch. Dist. - 02/26/24 10:20 AM

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997
Board of Directors Meeting Schedule & Information:  https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule


Two Men Indicted for Attempting to Sell 25 Pounds of Methamphetamine
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 02/26/24 8:58 AM

Yakima, Washington - On February 13, 2024 a federal grand jury for the Eastern District of Washington returned an indictment charging Jesus Birrueta-Mendoza and Germain Reyna Saucedo with one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Actual (Pure) Methamphetamine. 

In January of 2024, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) developed information that Birrueta-Mendoza had access to 50 pounds of methamphetamines and was offering to “front” a sample of the product. 

On January 11, HSI agents used a confidential informant to meet with Birrueta-Mendoza. At the meeting HSI agents observed Birrueta-Mendoza give the informant 40 grams of methamphetamines. A few days later, the informant arranged to buy 50 pounds of methamphetamines from Birrueta-Mendoza for $60,000. 

On January 18, Birrueta-Mendoza arrived at the Bi-Mart in Sunnyside, Washington to meet the informant. Saucedo was riding in the passenger seat of the vehicle.  The informant asked where the drugs were and was told the drugs were in the backseat. Birrueta-Mendoza then said the bag contained half of the agreed amount of drugs. 

Agents moved in and arrested Birrueta-Mendoza and Saucedo. Agents located a handgun in a holster on Saucedo’s waistband, along with $1,600 in cash. 

The next day, agents obtained a search warrant for Birrueta-Mendoza’s vehicle. Agents opened the bag on the back seat of the vehicle, inside were 25 individually wrapped packages of methamphetamines weighing a total of 25.70 pounds in packaging. 

“Over 25 pounds of illegal narcotics were taken off the street thanks to this seizure,” stated U.S. Attorney Waldref. “Illicit drugs harm our communities. My office, alongside our law enforcement partners, will continue to work tirelessly to protect our neighborhoods from those who distribute this poison.” 

This ongoing case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Murphy. 

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

Case: 1:24-CR-2007-SAB


Man Indicted for Decades-long Fraud of Veteran's Benefits, Identity Theft
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 02/26/24 8:52 AM

Spokane, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Raymond Kenneth Musgrove, formerly of Grant County, Washington, for fraud in connection with benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Indictment announced today charges Musgrove, formerly of Grant County, Washington, with false representation of a social security number, wire fraud, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft. The Indictment alleges that Raymond Kenneth Musgrove posed as J.M.C., a real person and military veteran, for several decades, collecting Veterans Affairs Compensation Payments and receiving healthcare at the VA in the name of J.M.C. According to the Indictment, Musgrove has purported to be J.M.C. since at least 1997, in the process collecting over $825,000 in federal funds from the VA to which he was not entitled. According to the Indictment, the VA terminated benefit payments several times after the real J.M.C. passed away in 2018, but each time Musgrove reached out to the VA purporting to be J.M.C. and requested that benefits should continue. The Indictment alleges that due to Musgrove’s misrepresentations, the VA continued to provide Veterans Affairs Compensation Payments in the name of J.M.C.

“Military Veterans have given selfless service to this country. Schemes to steal funds set aside to support them are an insult to their sacrifices,” said United States Attorney Waldref. “My office is committed to working closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure that federal government programs and missions are protected from fraudulent actions and will hold fraudsters accountable when they seek government funds in order to line their own pockets.” 

The fraud charges carry sentences of up to 20 years in federal prison as well as restitution for fraudulently obtained funds. This case was investigated by SSA-OIG and VA-OIG.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frieda K. Zimmerman.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Case No:         2:24-CR-00016-SAB


WSU Tri-Cities Black Student Union honors Elson S. Floyd during recognition event (Photo)
WSU Tri-Cities - 02/26/24 8:20 AM
The late Elson S. Floyd, WSU's 10th president speaks at an event during his tenure.
The late Elson S. Floyd, WSU's 10th president speaks at an event during his tenure.
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/6937/170275/thumb_Elson_Floyd.jpg

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University’s first Black president, the late Elson S. Floyd will be honored in a recognition event put on by the WSU Tri-Cities Black Student Union on Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. in the Elson S. Floyd building, in the atrium.

The community is invited to attend the unveiling of Floyd’s portrait and a plaque that will be hung in the building named after him on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. Floyd’s widow, Carmento Floyd will be in attendance.

Floyd was the 10th president of WSU and he served in this role from May 2007 to June 2015. He was known across the state and nation for his passion for increasing access and affordability for higher education and wholly embodying the Cougar spirit. 

The building, previously called the West building, was re-named in honor of the late President Floyd in May 2017 in recognition of his legacy at WSU, and to reciprocate the respect and care that he showed to students, staff, and faculty during his presidency. Current WSU Tri-Cities students wanted to take the recognition one step further and felt Black History Month was the appropriate time to honor him.

WSU Tri-Cities is located at 2710 Crimson Way in Richland.




Attached Media Files: The late Elson S. Floyd, WSU's 10th president speaks at an event during his tenure.