Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, October 2 2013 at 3:22 PM, Updated: Wed, October 2 2013 at 3:44 PM
Jets are still flying at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, despite a federal shutdown.
173rd Fighter Wing Commander Colonel Jeremy Baenen says F-15's will continue flying out of Kingsley Field...
"The priority with the Air Force is to continue the fighter training here at Kingsley Field, to ensure that we don't have any delays in our pilot production."
The Colonel was concerned that about 340 of the 900 people who work at Kingsley were facing possible furloughs...
"We asked for an exception, to continue flying operations, and we ended up at the end of the day with 29 furloughs."
Baenen notes that the 173rd is faring much better than the 142nd Fighter Wing out of Portland...
"I don't have the exact numbers - they're running about 1000 personnel, airmen at Portland - and I think they are in the couple of hundred of furlough folks."
The 29 furloughs from Kingsley are all members of the Civil Engineering Division, who perform a variety of tasks at the base, such as foreign object damage control on the runway, snow removal, and facility maintenance.
Colonel Baenen notes that while others will be stepping up to fill those tasks, those on furlough will be missed...
"They're part of our team, and we still feel that loss - even though it could have been much worse."
Statewide, about 1000 Guard members are being furloughed.
Civilian employees at Kingsley Field were furloughed for six days earlier this year due to sequestration.
Those furlough days were completed in mid-August.
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.