KWSO News for Fri., Mar. 18, 2022

The Elections for the 29th Tribal council is coming up on Wednesday March 30th and will take place at the Warm Springs Community Center Social hall from 8am-8pm. COVID-19 protocols will be in place, you will need a face mask for entry, temperature and COVID screening will be done as required and social distancing is a must for everyone’s safety. Absentee Ballot boxes will be set up at the Simnasho longhouse and the Seekseequa Fire Hall. Off reservation Tribal members can mail in their absentee ballot. In the Agency District there are 18 candidates looking to fill 3 positions, there are 6 candidates in the Simnasho district trying to fill 3 positions and in the Seekseequa district there are 6 candidates for the 2 positions there. You can check out the Warm Springs Program everyday as candidates who have come in for an interview at KWSO are on a continuous rotation until Monday March 28th.

The Warm Springs Tribal Police Department has put out a missing person report on Wednesday March 16th for Claudine Lynn Gray-Littleleaf. She stands at 5’1” is 65 years old, has brown hair and brown eyes, is of Native American descent and was last seen wearing a Black/purple jacket, multi colored scarf and black pants. She is considered endangered and may suffer from dementia. There have been several comments on their post on FB of people seeing her in Madras. The post on the Warm Springs Police Department FB page says she was last seen on March 13th. If you have any information, please contact the Warm Springs Police Department at 541-553-1171 or call 911.

Many projects in Jefferson County are happy to be awarded money from the $1.5 Trillion included in the federal omnibus bill that Congress passed and President Biden signed as reported by the Madras Pioneer. The Museum at Warm Springs will get $366,000 for its collection and Cultural Preservation, Historic Preservation fund. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs gets $915,000 for its project on Dry Creek Landfill Compliance Improvements. And the North Irrigation District will get $550,000 for its Jefferson County Main Canal Lining Project. The bill targets several projects in other communities across Oregon and provides grant dollars for concerns such as wildfire management, earthquake preparedness, racial justice and voting rights.

The race for Jefferson County Sheriff is seeing a 3rd candidate on the ballot according to the Madras Pioneer. Sheriff Marc Heckathorn is running in his first election and has recently added Rick DuPont who has worked for the Washington and Jefferson County Sheriff’s departments but is retired and lives part of the year in Arizona. Heckathorn filed papers and paid the fee for DuPont to against him in his race for the office. Jefferson County Clerk Kate Zemke thought it unusual enough to reach out to another county clerk for advice but said Technically there’s nothing wrong with what he did. Heckathorn’s opponent Deputy Sheriff Jason Pollock called it shady and said he’s learned that sheriffs in the past have used a third candidate to botch the election. According to election law if there are only two candidates filed for the office, the vote would be held during the general election in the fall. If there are three, then there be a vote in the primary. If one of the candidates received over 50% of the vote in the primary, that candidate would win the position. If none of the three candidates earned more than 50% of the vote, then the top two would square off in the general election.

For the first time ever, Oregon has hired a special prosecutor dedicated to locating, investigating, and prosecuting poachers. The Oregon Department of Justice’s new assistant Attorney General, Jay Hall, will be dedicated to enforcing anti-poaching laws and supporting local law enforcement in prosecution of these cases. Recently, the poaching of wildlife like deer, elk and wolves, has increased and it’s prompted conservation and environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity to call on the state to hire an anti-poaching prosecutor. CBD’s Quinn Read says this new role is a game changer as she says many times cases don’t get solved at a local level due to lack of resources. “Having someone here who can really focus and specialize and bring that expertise to enforcing our wildlife laws is really key” The Stop Poaching Campaign is a collaboration among hunters, conservationists, landowners, and recreationists to educate the public on how to recognize and report poaching.