Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, April 3 2012 at 3:36 PM, Updated: Tue, April 3 2012 at 3:48 PM
The 'Stop the Hurt' campaign to help end child abuse is having an impact in Klamath County. Some special events will be held Wednesday in Klamath Falls as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Kim Estes of the Klamath County Commission on Children and Families says the 'Stop the Hurt' message is paying off...
"We have a 60% awareness rate now from our commercials, and DHS calls have gone up 50% for people looking for resources, and finding out more about how they can stop child abuse."
Jill Sipes of the Oregon Department of Human Services notes that ten kids were on hand for a special proclamation today by the Klamath County Commissioners...
"City Council proclaimed last night, and the commissioners proclaimed this morning that we recognize April as 'Child Abuse Prevention Month."
The kids presented candles to the commissioners to represent the five kids in the U.S. who die every day as a result of abuse and neglect. Sipes says that nearly 1000 pinwheels will be placed on the Klamath County Courthouse lawn Wednesday as part of a national 'Day of Hope.'
"This is going to represent the number of assigned cases to the DHS office, which was over 960."
And that's just the number over the past year...
"We're one of the highest in the state, but we're also a community that's really concerned about it - and we're a community that's working toward solutions, instead of just talking about the bad stats." Said Kim Estes.
And that gives kids in Klamath County a lot of hope for the future.
'Day of Hope' observations will be held Wednesday afternoon at 3 at the Klamath County Courthouse. 'Hands and Words are Not for Hurting' National Director Ann Kelly is scheduled to be on hand for that event.
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.