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January 19, 2016 06:47 PM

From felons with guns to people harassing media and law enforcment, the Harney County Sheriff David Ward has had it with VanillaISIS and their occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

In today's press release, Ward details run-ins with the law the occupiers have had while in Eastern Oregon, as well as events surrounding the almost three-week standoff.

He wraps it up saying, "I then personally met with Ammon Bundy, who has proclaimed to be the leader of the occupation, on Thursday, January 7, 2016 to discuss a peaceful resolution. I asked Ammon and his group to leave, which he stated he would not do. From that point forward, the occupiers at the refuge have been considered by law enforcement (local, state and federal) to be criminals -- and they need to vacate the refuge.

It's clear at this point that the Bundy group does not have the interests of Harney County in mind -- they're in it for their own agenda. We will continue to work to keep you safe while they continue to not keep their word."



News Release from Harney Co. Sheriff
Posted on FlashAlert: January 19th, 2016 5:29 PM

We continue to work with our law-enforcement partners to protect the Harney County community during the armed and unlawful occupation occurring at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

Some events have occurred in the community involving criminals heading to or from the refuge. These are listed below: 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14 -- Oregon State Police (OSP) stopped a vehicle for a lighting violation. The driver -- Dwane Kirkland, of Hamilton, Montana -- was arrested on charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. He was in possession of a handgun and a rifle. The vehicle he was driving had switched plates and was uninsured. 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15 -- OSP arrested Kenneth Medenbach, of LaPine, at the Safeway in Burns. He was arrested on probable cause for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. OSP recovered two vehicles stolen from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during this encounter. 

Occupants of the second vehicle fled the scene before police arrival. The Sheriff's Office is working to identify and arrest these suspects. If you have any information, please contact the sheriff's office with tips at 541-573-1362

Every time a trespasser from the refuge operates a vehicle that belongs to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they are committing a crime. We will not tolerate it when they come into our community driving stolen vehicles. 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 17 -- OSP discovered a traffic crash on Greenhouse Lane near Highway 20. An investigation revealed the driver -- Darrow Burke, of Ukiah, California -- lost control on an icy corner and rolled. He was not injured, but was cited for no operator's license. Mr. Burke told OSP troopers he had been at the refuge for the past week. 

Law enforcement has also had multiple contacts with non-Harney County citizens who claim they are in the community to act as intermediaries between the FBI and the trespassers. Many of these people are armed with handguns and assault rifles. These persons -- as well as the trespassers -- are wearing police/military-style body armor when contacting law enforcement. They continue to conduct surveillance on law enforcement and have harassed members of the media. 

We will continue to work with our partners to keep Harney County safe while the FBI works toward a peaceful resolution at the refuge. Additional law enforcement resources have been moved towards locations to be poised to react to any situation that may occur. This includes notifying the hospital of more people in town and ensuring they have the capability to handle any medical emergency. 

Today's events include: 

- Today at noon, a "Rally for Malheur" was held in cities throughout Oregon, hosted by the Audubon society. 

Tonight at 7 p.m., Harney County is hosting its second Community Meeting in the Burns High School gym. We encourage the community to show up to hear the latest updates and make your voices heard. 

The Bundy group continues to break its repeated promises to leave the refuge if the community asked them to do so. On Monday, January 4, the community did just that -- and the Bundy group failed to leave. 

I then personally met with Ammon Bundy, who has proclaimed to be the leader of the occupation, on Thursday, January 7, 2016 to discuss a peaceful resolution. I asked Ammon and his group to leave, which he stated he would not do. From that point forward, the occupiers at the refuge have been considered by law enforcement (local, state and federal) to be criminals -- and they need to vacate the refuge. 

It's clear at this point that the Bundy group does not have the interests of Harney County in mind -- they're in it for their own agenda. We will continue to work to keep you safe while they continue to not keep their word. 

January 18, 2016 01:46 AM

As Martin Luther King Jr., Day dawns, a couple of brothers from Eugene, Jake and Zach Klonoski remind Oregonians that it's not just a day off, but a day of action. The action they seek is against the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

As humorous stories both true (people are sending them dildos) and satirical (old birdwatcher takes them out with a wrestling move) circle the internet, the brothers write that most Oregonians have "felt the shame of our state being mocked in national media as the occupation has stretched on with no end in sight."

The full press release is below.

We are often reminded that the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. honored today demands that we make this holiday a day of action and not simply enjoy a day off.

For Oregonians, this MLK Day carries with it a deep frustration.  For sixteen days, the highest profile protest in the nation is on our soil, though it is not being conducted by Oregonians.  Deep in southeastern Oregon, a small group of heavily armed, out-of-state militants have seized public land and buildings on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  An inheritance of every American, President Teddy Roosevelt set aside the Malheur NWR in 1908 “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”  Three hundred twenty species of birds visit or live in the Malheur NWR, a treasure of the great Pacific Flyway that stretches from Alaska to Patagonia.

Most Oregonians have heard the militants demands that public lands be auctioned off and felt the shame of our state being mocked in national media as the occupation has stretched on with no end in sight.  Admirably, law enforcement authorities have restrained themselves to avoid violence or injury – though clearly the law is being flouted and the local community does not support the occupation.

 Still the specter of violence hangs over Oregon this MLK Day, and there is insufficient outlet for Oregonians to respond to the offensiveness of this illegal intrusion.  This day more than any other demands action.

But as MLK reminded the nation in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.  We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” 

We find creative lessons for the situation in Harney County in a small southeastern German town, Wunseidel.  There an annual neo-Nazi march glorifying the Third Reich regularly embarrassed the local community. 

Until 2014. 

That year when the Neo-Nazis gathered, to their surprise their marching route was demarked meter-by-meter and the community came out to cheer them on.  Local residents had organized and pledged donations for every meter the marchers preceded that would go to EXIT Germany, a group dedicated to supporting the safe exit of neo-Nazi from extremist groups.  The YouTube video of the 2014 march-turned-Walk-a-thon is a thing of beauty.

We know the occupiers of the Malheur still have internet access, the tweets of the anti-government activists requesting snacks be mailed by US Post Office are infamous. 

That connectivity opens a path for us all to teach these out-of-staters a lesson about Oregon.  We invite you to visit www.GOHOMEmalheur.org where you will find information on the “Getting the Occupiers of the Historic Oregon Malheur NWR Evicted” campaign (G.O.H.O.M.E.).  You can also add a per day campaign pledge of any amount that you choose, your donation will increase with each day that the occupation of the Malheur NWR continues.

At the end of the occupation the collected donations will be distributed between the four groups below, groups antithetical to the occupiers’ message of brute force and rage, as well as the privilege and narcissism inherent in their goals.

 • Friends of Malheur NWR – a civic organization dedicated to the environmental and educational goals of the Malheur NWR, the Refuge’s upkeep and protection, and to promoting the NWR system;

•      Americans for Responsible Action — a national political action group, founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre by former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford, to advocate for common sense gun control and Second Amendment rights;

•     Burns Paiute tribe – the original inhabitants of the Malheur region, dispossessed despite a 1868 treaty, the tribal leadership has eloquently given lie to the occupation’s claim to be fighting for the “rightful owners” of the Malheur.

•    The Southern Poverty Law Center – a decades-old organization that monitors extremist groups around the United States and reports on their activities.

Each day the occupiers choose to continue their illegal occupation of our lands, they will be increasing funding of these groups.  Their illegal occupation will be transformed into an occupy-a-thon, raising money that will assist in undoing any accomplishment they hope will emerge from their efforts.

Our fondest hope is that in a cold building in Harney County, an occupier will read this article, type in www.GOHOMEmalheur.org and witness the combined statement of thousands Oregonians, of tens of thousands of Americans, demonstrating the futility of what he is doing.  Deflated, he will shoulder his weapon and peacefully depart our state —the threat of physical force defeated by our collective soul force. 

If you would like to send your message, visit www.GOHOMEmalheur.org.  The language to announce your pledge on social media is there to share far and wide.  Make a pledge and honor this day of action, while demonstrating to the occupiers of the Malheur NWR how to act for change with discipline and dignity.

The Klonoski brothers are the sons of Judge Ann Aiken. Aiken has taken criticism for being the judge who sentenced the Hammonds, the men who committed arson on federal lands, to the full five years the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that they be sentenced to. 

Jake Klonoski told The Register-Guard that, "“We have not spoken to her about this, she doesn’t know what’s going on, and we have no intent to speak to her about this because it has nothing to do with her."

January 15, 2016 02:39 PM

Deb Elder, aka DiveGirl Deb, of Eugene is active on both the local and national level to advocate for lyme disease education and better medical acknoledgment and treatment. She formed the Flippin Lyme Foundation after returning to Eugene from a protest in Washington, D.C. last May. Contact her at  lymediseaseeugeneor@gmail.com

January 11, 2016 03:17 PM

New study out of OSU says those popular exercise DVDs might do more harm than good.

January 11, 2016 11:27 AM

David Bowie; Memorial

I don’t like this one bit, not one bit Mr Bowie. I don’t like this one bit, Mr Bowie, one bit.

A father a teacher a sister

A brother a lover

But death like life like art aren’t about me

Unless the me is a you and the you were a we

If I had a cathedral I’d carve your face in it. I don’t like this one bit, Mr Bowie, one bit.

But I don’t have a cathedral so I just sit

And look into the inky black spin of your records

You slipped and escaped, eluded our grasp, one last trick, one last prank, one last message.

It’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

I don’t like this one bit, not one bit Mr Bowie. I don’t like this one bit, Mr Bowie, not one bit. 

January 11, 2016 04:29 PM

Birders don't like being bullied away from their favorite nesting grounds, at least according to this satirical tale. Turns out it didn't really happen, as much as we would have liked.

January 8, 2016 05:14 PM

Last night Eugene's art and tech communities came together under one roof at the Hult Center to discuss collaborations. The turnout was great and seemed pretty evenly distributed between tech and art.

Public Art Manager Isaac Marquez gave a presentation with slides of past collaborative art projects, done by both Eugene and out-of-state artists. He discussed the "projection bombs" the city has instigated in the past with projection art around the city.

Marquez also announced that Montreal DJ and artist Kid Koala will be coming to the Hult April 22 with his project Nufonia Must Fall, his graphic novel-turned puppeteer live-action silent film about a robot trying to write a love song. Marquez screened a short promo (see below); it looks like it’s going to be one of the best events to come to the Hult Center in 2016.

The UO School of Music and Dance’s Brad Garner and Shannon Mockli performed choregraphy with projection mapping done by Harmonic Laboratory, a UO-based interdisciplinary artist collective (see photo below). The city of Eugene is looking for artists, techies and more to get involved with its multimedia art fest (sub)Urban Projections, where Kid Koala will perform, in late April. For more info, visit suburbanprojections.com.

More on the techie side of things, local game designer and programmer Ted Brown, a member of Bitforest ( an org for “Eugene Area Game Developers”), spoke to the crowd.

“This is the first time the Hult Center has reached out to the tech community,” Brown said. “I was really excited.”

“This is the first time something like this has happened in Eugene,” he continued.

January 7, 2016 02:37 PM

Climate change? Go ahead, try and deny it. 

Or pay attention to some of that science-type stuff coming out of OSU.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A mild winter, an early spring and warmer-than-average temperatures every season have contributed to a record-breaking year, as 2015 will go down as the warmest in Oregon since state records began in 1895.

Oregon’s previous record high average temperature of 49.9 degrees was set in 1934 – the height of the Dust Bowl – when the entire country was plagued by hot, dry weather.

Despite a cold, icy end to December in Oregon, the average temperature in 2015 was 50.4 degrees, not only a record but far above the average yearly temperature for the 20th century, which was 47.8 degrees, according to Oregon State University’s Philip Mote, who directs the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute on campus.

“In previous years, we’ve had periods where the weather was warmer for differing spells,” Mote said. “In 2015, though, it was warmer than average almost all the way through the year.”

A combination of meteorological conditions and greenhouse gases led to the record warm year, he added.

The statistics are from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Oregon was not alone in experiencing a warm 2015, according to Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU. Washington, Montana and Florida also experienced record high temperatures, and in several other states 2015 went down in the top five of all time.

It appears this will be yet another record warm year for average global temperature, Dello pointed out, and it is officially the second warmest year in the United States, despite blizzards and Arctic temperatures in the Northeast.

“If you are 31 years of age, you have not lived through a single month in which the global temperature was below average,” Dello said. “And if you are 31 and living in Oregon, you have only experienced three years here that were cooler than the 20th-century average.”

Researchers calculate the average temperature for each day by looking at the highest and lowest temperatures. If the high reaches 90 degrees and the low is 60, that day’s average temperature is 75 degrees. They then calculate the average monthly temperature, and finally, the average yearly temperature.

The average for the state is done by analyzing temperatures at a series of long-established weather stations throughout the state.

“We had a ridge of high pressure that set up and kept the weather warm and dry throughout most of the summer and fall,” Mote said. “That followed a winter in which we got nearly average precipitation, but much of it came from the south and it fell as rain instead of snow.”

Mote said the record-setting 2015 weather was a combination of meteorological phenomena and the Earth gradually getting warmer because of human activities.

Through rigorous statistical analysis, scientists are able to tease out the impacts of El Niño, greenhouse gas emissions, volcanic activity and solar activity on temperatures.

Mote said 2015 would have been a warm year because of meteorological conditions, but the 1-2 degrees (F) attributable to greenhouse gases pushed temperatures into record territory.

“There’s little doubt that the insulation of the planet from greenhouse gas emissions played a role in the warming throughout the year,” he said.

The OSU researchers say expect more of the same in 2016.

“With El Niño and the remnants of The Blob (a huge warm patch of water in the North Pacific Ocean), it should be another warm year for the Earth, and for Oregon,” Dello said.

January 5, 2016 03:55 PM

Tom Hayden's Democracy Journal has a story and link today (Jan. 5) on a documentary investigating the NRA. Timely in light of Obama's talk on gun safety in the U.S.