KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – A crowd of about 150 people met with Senator Jeff Merkley for a town hall meeting at Oregon Tech Tuesday.
One of the most emotional moments came during a discussion on gun control when a woman noted the personal link Merkley has to a victim of gun violence.
One of Merkley’s cousins, Rebecca Ann Carnes, was killed alongside eight others in 2015 at Umpqua Community College.
Merkley noted the challenge of finding a balance in gun legislation. “We need to keep wrestling with how to honor the Second Amendment while finding a way to greatly reduce the carnage we’re experiencing.”
Water issues were also a key topic.
“We can deal with the drought – that’s not the issue,” Klamath Project irrigator Sam Henzel. “The issue is that the federal government is stealing the water that we are paying to store in Upper Klamath Lake.”
Other topics included social security, the Jordan Cove Project, economy and the cost of living, and access to public lands.
Bernadette Kero was there to thank Merkley for helping to free her daughter Stacey Addison when she was unjustly imprisoned in East Timor in 2014.
“He was such a wonderful help,” Kero said. “And I didn’t get a chance to meet him personally.”
Merkley says he hasn’t ruled out a presidential run in 2020. Keeping the option open – but I’m really focused on the political battles of 2018.”
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.