KWSO News for Fri., Jan. 14, 2022

This week Warm Springs Tribal Offices have remained closed to all but essential employees in an effort to slow the current spike in COVID-19 cases in our community.    Tribal Council will be meeting with the local COVID-19 Response Team today, to review data and determine if the Tribal Closure should be extended or if offices will reopen on Monday.

Please continue to take COVID-19 precautions by wearing a face mask and maintaining distance from others and please get vaccinated and make sure you get your booster.

Reminding you that there is a fee breakfast and lunch program that the Jefferson County 509J school district is sponsoring for this week’s closure of the Warm Springs K8 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The program is for youth ages 1 to 18.  Meals can be picked up curbside by bus drop off at the K8 this morning from 9-11am

This week the Jefferson County School District announced changes to indoor spectator guidance for all athletic and activity events, beginning on Monday, January 17. These changes are being made to address rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19.  There will be reduced capacities in facilities and at events.  For athletic contests between two schools, spectators will be limited to four spots per participant. Each athlete, cheerleader, or coach participating at the event will be able to invite four spectators. Names will be checked at the door. No printed tickets will be issued and no walk-ins will be allowed. Events involving more than two schools may have further capacity limitations. For specific such events, decisions will be made prior to the event based on number of students participating and size of the venue.   By accepting the pass and checking-in at the gate, spectators will agree to and be required to follow all COVID protocols, including wearing a mask at all times that covers the mouth and nose.  Spectators will be able to watch many athletics and activities events via the NFHS streaming service with the district covering costs to ensure this service is free for families while capacity is reduced.  By doing this implementation and with spectators following COVID-19 safety protocols, student athletes will be able to continue to compete.

In a front page article in this week’s Spilyay Tymoo – it’s reported that the Warm Springs Jail project has identified a potential preferred site for the future facility and that site is next to the Warm Springs Media Center in the field across our parking lot.  The project is in the early planning phase, and Tribal Council will review the proposed preferred site before any final decision.  The facility will be funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  A new jail has been a goal for the Warm Springs Tribes for over 10 years.  You can read the article in the Spilyay to learn more.

The Oregon Department of Revenue is offering tips to taxpayers in preparation for the 2022 tax filing season. They will start accepting efile tax returns on January 24.  The tax filing deadline this year is April 18.  Returns will be processed in the order they are received. However, as in years past, the department won’t issue personal income tax refunds until mid-February. A refund hold is part of the department’s tax fraud prevention efforts and allows for confirmation that the amounts claimed on tax returns match what employers report on forms W-2 and 1099.   Taxpayers should organize their tax records and get everything you need together for filing an accurate tax return.

The Warm Springs Community Action Team will be offering Tax Aide again this year with a drop off and pick up service.  You can schedule an appointment for February by calling 541-553-3148.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) has increased the income limits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program to 200% of the federal poverty level, or $2,147 a month for an individual or $3,660 for a family of three.  The previous income limit for these programs was 185% of the federal poverty level, or $1,986 a month for an individual or $3,386 for a family of three. This change took effect in Oregon on Jan. 1, 2022, and approximately 18,000 new households are expected to be eligible to enroll in SNAP. Approximately $25 million in additional food benefits will be issued to Oregonians annually.

In preseason basketball play yesterday the Madras Girls basketball team be 3A school Riverdale 53 – 36.  League play starts next Tuesday for both boys and girls White Buffalo Teams against Molalla.