KWSO News for Fri., May 20, 2022

Unofficial results in the Primary Election in Jefferson county: Jefferson County Commissioner Position 1 shows Mark Wunsch has a lead over incumbent Mae Huston with over 38% of votes as Huston has over 34% votes, Laurie Danzuka is coming in with just under 27% votes. Mark Wunsch and Mae Huston will now move to the General election to decide who gets Commissioner Postion 1 because there was no candidate with over 50% of votes in the Primary election. Jefferson County Commissioner Position 2 shows Incumbent Kelly Simmelink keeping his seat as he dominated the votes over Sabria Rios, having just under 68% of votes and Rios coming in just shy of 32% of votes. Jefferson County Assessor Ray Soliz ran unopposed. The Jefferson County Sheriff race shows challenger Jason Pollock took the votes over incumbent Marc Heckathorn with over 52% votes as Heckathorn came in just over 43% of votes. The voter turnout for Jefferson County shows that as of 6:00am this morning, there have been 6690 ballots accepted out of 16,665 registered voters which is 40% turnout so far.

The St. Charles Health System is undergoing staff cuts in order to reduce expenses to try to dig out of a financial hole brought on by needs during the COVID-19 Pandemic. St. Charles Health System President and CEO Joe Sluka in a press release stated that they must reduce their workforce this week, eliminating 76 positions that were already vacant, but that wasn’t enough, they are also reducing 105 positions that will result in layoffs. With skyrocketed labor costs, increased equipment and supply costs, decreased revenue and having to pay back pandemic relief funds, it brought them to the point where they have to take additional action to ensure the long-term financial stability of the health system. Sluka talks about the possibility of more cuts in the future. “Despite all of our best efforts to reduce expenses, as you can see our costs continue to accelerate and we will take more cost cutting measures over time. We are hopeful that the impact to our caregivers is something that we will not have to resort to again. But we can never say never on that, we will always monitor the financial situation to make sure again that we have a high quality health system for the communities that we serve. At this point there is nothing being planned or nothing on the table and we hope we don’t have to resort to this again.”  Sluka also stated that although the decisions are incredibly difficult, they are being made in order to stay committed to becoming a more efficient health system that is well-equipped to continue caring for the people of Central Oregon.

In Local Sports: The Warm Springs Nation Little League (WSNLL) had 3 games in action yesterday, the Minor Baseball red chiefs faced off against the blue chiefs and after a hard fought game, they finished with a 4-4 tie. The Lil Bucks traveled to Sisters to take on the outlaws. With some strong pitching from Jesiah Johnson and EJ Denney, they also had some good base running from Keadyn Jensen and Emery Spino had the game winning hit that gave the Lil Bucks a 7-6 win. The Junior Baseball Springers hosted the JC Braves yesterday with both teams playing some iron man ball with 9 players apiece. The Braves jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning and after two innings they were up 7-2, with the Springers holding the Braves to no runs in the 3rd and closing the score to 7-4 at the end of the 3rd. However some tough pitching and a lack of baserunners in the 4th and 5th inning end up costing the Springers as they dropped the game 17-5. Next up on the schedule for WSNLL the Major Softball team is hosting Sister’s today at 6pm with Minor Softball on the road to Bend South game at 6pm. Tomorrow the Minor Baseball chiefs will have a game at home at 1pm. In Madras High School Sports, the Lady Buffs are on the road for a play-in game at Marshfield in Coos Bay tomorrow with first pitch at noon. The Buff Boys baseball will be hosting Elmira/Triangle Lake tomorrow in Play-in action as well. Their first pitch is at 2pm. In MHS Track & Field, the Tri-Valley Districts were held this past weekend and the Buffs came away with 1st Place in the Boys side and 2nd place by the girls. The OSAA 6A/5A/4A Track & Field Championships kick off today and Madras High School is sending 19 Student/Athletes to compete this weekend.