Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, March 22 2012 at 4:58 PM, Updated: Thu, March 22 2012 at 5:09 PM
Some Klamath Basin high school students will be spending their Spring break on a humanitarian effort in the Dominican Republic.
Cayla Haskins of 'Klamath Basin Youth Without Borders' explains...
"This spring break, I'm going to be traveling to the Dominican Republic with Youth Without Borders to help build houses."
"It will be my first time actually going somewhere for Spring break that's out of Oregon." Adds Lost River High School's Jennifer Aguirre.
The group is led by teacher and advisor Doug Matheson, who led similar efforts to Thailand in 2007, and Brazil in 2009.
Aguirre notes that each of the 8 students on this year's trip had to raise about $2500...
"Doing fund raisers like selling car wash packets, and restaurant coupon books - so it's been hard work, but I think it will be worth it."
Haskins adds: "A lot of it was donations from people around the basin, and a lot of family members chipped in."
The students will be helping to build a home about 100 miles west of Santo Domingo.
Haskins admits that she's a little nervous...
"And I'm also extremely excited to get out, see some of the world."
Aguirre hopes that their hands-on efforts at peaceful relations might prove more fruitful than government diplomacy...
"Having a group do this, shows a little different side that some people might not know is there of our country."
The students are scheduled to return on April 4th.
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.