County Funding, Drought Relief Topics At Town Hall

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Sat, May 11 2013 at 2:40 PM, Updated: Sat, May 11 2013 at 7:28 PM

Senator Ron Wyden announced plans for a Klamath Basin water hearing at a town hall meeting in Klamath Falls today, and also hinted at a possible new strategy for county timber payments...

Senator Wyden says that current drought conditions have made water issues a priority.

Off-Project Rancher Becky Hyde agrees:  "It's a summer where we easily could pit farmers and ranchers against one another, and against the Klamath Tribes."

Wyden announced plans to hold a hearing in Washington D.C. next month focusing on Klamath Basin water issues...

"June 20th, our committee is going to be having a hearing to specifically look at Klamath Basin issues - and I want to make sure that all sides have an opportunity to be heard."

Klamath County Commissioner Jim Bellet recently sent a property tax bill to Washington D.C. for four million dollars...Wyden says he understands the county's frustration, and hinted at possible relief...

"The point of the O&C strategy that we'll be announcing here very shortly is to try to get us to a permanent resolution, so that folks won't feel they have to send those bills to Washington."

About 70 people attended Wyden's town hall meeting.

Other topics included biomass facilities, liquid natural gas exports, environmental risks faced by soldiers overseas, and human rights issues raised by treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo.

After the meeting at OIT, Senator Wyden traveled to Lakeview and held a second town hall meeting...marking 668 town hall meetings that Wyden has held since being elected to office in 1996.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

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.

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