KWSO News 1/29/19

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Anticipating possible additional federal government shutdowns, Oregon’s Senate president has prepared a bill that will allow federal employees who are working but not being paid to receive unemployment benefits, an aide said Monday. Lisa Taylor, spokeswoman for Senate President Peter Courtney, said the bill that would alter state statutes is expected to get its first reading in the Senate Tuesday.

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Public health officials are scrambling to contain a measles outbreak in the U.S. Northwest and are warning people to vaccinate their children. Officials worried Monday that it could take months to contain the highly contagious viral illness due to a lower-than-normal vaccination rate at the epicenter of the crisis. The outbreak near Portland has sickened 35 people in Oregon and Washington since Jan. 1, with 11 more cases suspected. Most of the patients are children under 10. The Oregon Health Authority and Deschutes County Health Services said late Monday they are actively investigating a potential measles exposure in Deschutes County and listed two possible public exposure locations, Mountain Air trampoline park and Juniper Swim and Fitness Center, both in Bend.

The three finalists in Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) presidential search will be visiting the district at different times in the next two weeks to introduce themselves to the community and take questions. The candidates will come to the Madras COCC Campus on the following dates: Dr. Kimberlee Messina, former vice president and interim president at Foothill College in California, February 5th from 3:15-3:45 p.m.  Dr. Tod Treat, interim vice president for instruction at Wenatchee Valley College in Washington, February 8th 1-1:30 p.m. And, Dr. Laurie Chesley, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan February 14th 3:15-3:45 p.m.

Tax season began in Oregon Monday. Department of Revenue Public Information Officer Rich Hoover says if you filed your taxes earlier than that, they will be processed in the order they were received. Refunds are delayed until Feb. 15, which gives the state time to complete the fraud prevention process. The delay gives the DOR time to confirm that the amounts claimed on returns matches what employers report to the state. The IRS is also holding federal tax refunds until after that date for those taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. Federal changes directly impact Oregon’s personal income tax, including changes to calculating withholding allowances for the 2018 tax year. This may mean that more taxpayers have a tax to pay or have to pay more than in the past. The Department of Revenue has an online withholding calculator so they can make any changes to their withholding in 2019. Oregon also now has its own W-4 form. Taxpayers can request that new form from their employers or download it online at, fill it out and return it to their employers. In Warm Springs, the Community Action Team is making appointments now and will begin offering free tax preparation next week.

The Warm Springs Cougars Youth Organization is putting on the All-Indian 3rd & 4th Grade Co-ed and 15 years and under (plus 2 non-Native) Basketball Tournament February 22-24 in Warm Springs. The entry deadline is February 15. The 26th Annual Warm Springs Cougars All-Indian High School Boys and Girls Basketball Championships will be held April 5-7, 2019. The entry deadline is March 22. FMI: Austin Greene, Tourney Director, 541-553-3243.