Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, November 20 2012 at 4:36 PM, Updated: Tue, November 20 2012 at 4:48 PM
Commissioners in Klamath County vote to continue discussion on a proposed water agreement...though others believe the 'Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement' is a lost cause.
Klamath Tribal Vice-Chairman Don Gentry notes that the key question before the commissioners was whether or not to extend the deadline on the KBRA by two years...
"Currently, without the amendment, the agreement expires December 31st, 2012."
Commissioners Cheryl Hukill and Al Switzer were in favor of the extension...
"I think that this is the only agreement on the table." Noted Hukill. "I think that the opposing team, if they want, they need to get together, they need to put a group together."
"And if somebody will come up with some alternate that's better, then that's where we should go." Stated Commissioner Switzer. "But right now, we've got to get this solved."
Commissioner Dennis Linthicum was opposed...
"The federal government isn't going to fund this. The federal government is already expressing doubts and concerns about getting involved."
The KBRA is aimed at providing farmers on the Klamath Project with more reliable access to water. Part of the deal would require the removal of four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River.
In the end, the board voted in favor of the extension...but the vote didn't end the controversy.
"They should have let this die." Said farmer Bob King. "It's a stupid agreement at the best."
"We really need to move forward with legislation." Said Don Gentry of the Klamath Tribes. "And get the folks, the nay-sayers that are opposing it to really understand what it does, and doesn't do."
The board of commissioners is one of about 40 groups that will be voting on the extension issue.
Commissioner Linthicum proposed tabling the measure until Commissioners-Elect Tom Mallams and Jim Bellet take office in January, but the motion died.
Both Mallams and Bellet are strong opponents of the KBRA.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.