KWSO News for Wed., May 13, 2020

Warm Springs lost a longtime Tribal Leader early this morning with the passing of Ken Smith.  Smith served on the 10th Tribal Council from 1965-1968 and then served as the General Manager for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs from 1971-1981.  From 1981 to 1984 he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs.  Following that service – Ken Smith returned to Warm Springs  to again serve as the Tribes’ Executive Officer until he retired in 1995.    Smith graduated from Madras Union High School in 1954 and was recognized in 2017 as a Madras Distinguished Alumni.  He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Oregon.  Funeral Arrangements are pending at this time.

Yesterday’s afternoon COVID-19 update from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs confirmed that the count for positive cases of COVID-19 on the reservation remained at 15.  252 tests samples have been done or sent in by the Health & Wellness Center, with 237 Negative results.   The medical staff began planning for community surveillance testing which is meant to monitor and proactively test our high-risk community members such as elderly patients in long-term care plus Essential Staff who are in contact with many in the community.

The Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday that of the 3,138 Oregonians who have survived COVID-19, nearly 45% have recovered, 26% have not yet recovered and 29% are still being assessed.  The death toll from COVID-19 in Oregon remained at 130 people yesterday.  There were 61 new cases statewide reported with 11 new presumptive cases of COVID-19.

Today is another day for the 509J school closure emergency meal program.  Each weekday schools send out breakfast, lunch and dinner to school sites as well as remote pick up sites.  District Superintendent Ken Parshall – “Something that I’m proud of that I learned last week – our meal service team served more than 42,000 meals in the month of April.  That’s a lot of meals being picked up.  And something I’s like to to emphasize for families… the meals being provided are not just for families in need.  We know that the shutdown and school closures have provided an extreme inconvenience and workload to families regardless of your financial settings.  So we don’t want families to feel like you have to be in financial need to pick up meals.  We hope all families will participate.  This is a convenience for families that are dealing with  teaching kids at home, shifts in job responsibilities, and stressful times around health and concerns around health. So we hope that all families will make sure to pick up meals – its’ meant for all families, not just for families in need.”    The meals program is for kids 1-18 years of age, they are free, and you can find the schedule and locations ONLINE.

The Emergency Relief Business Grant offered through The Warm Springs Community Action Team (WSCAT) is provided by the Oregon Community Fund (OCF). It is designed to support registered or non-registered, Native owned small businesses in Warm Springs. Funds are limited, so grants will be in the amount of $1,000 to help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Eligibility requirements are available ONLINE along with the application.

Earlier this month Tananawit distributed COVID-19 relief to 55 WS community artists with the goal of helping artists resupply with whatever they need to finish or start projects during this time.

Warm Springs police announced on their Facebook Page yesterday that they are seeking information related to the brush fire that occurred on Saturday on the hill alongside Highway 26 between the old mill site and the casino.  A reward is being offered. The fire started shortly before 3 on Saturday afternoon and mostly burned grass.  Engines were sent for structure protection behind Indian Head Casino and half the Hot Shot crew responded to get a handle on the fire, which they did.

All but four Oregon counties have now applied to reopen some businesses under Governor Kate Brown’s framework, unveiled last week. The four that have not applied are Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Lincoln counties. The other 32 proposals are under review, meaning the Oregon Health Authority is determining whether the counties meet the criteria for loosening restrictions.  Restaurants, bars, gyms and salons in approved counties could open as early as Friday. Residents of those counties could gather in groups of up to 25 without facing potential consequences.  But again – as of today – those plans to reopen are under review.