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Gerry O'Brien

Gerry O’Brien

There was more news last week than buds on a cherry tree.

Consider: A new hotel for downtown Klamath Falls is announced. Hard on the heels of that, the Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA) announces a new event for the city. Klamath Community College’s student group hosts a public forum for the eight candidates running for its education board. And, the city and county schools wrestle over what to do if the teachers walk out May 8 in support of more school funding.

Let’s start with the last first. The proposed May 8 walkout of teachers in the county and city school districts will certainly bring attention to the plight of the schools. It is part of a statewide protest seeking some $2 billion in funding from the state Legislature.

It’s at odds with the districts’ policies over having teachers out, but trying to conduct classes, obviously. The union representing the teachers hopes to hold a Family Learning Expo at the fairgroungs … sort of an open house off campus … whereby students and parents can spend the time learning about what teachers are teaching.

It may force schools to close for the day, but it may force some schools to stay open, too, without teachers. It could cause a real safety issue for students.

Teachers have been striking and protesting across the country for more money for themselves and schools. It’s been effective and school districts have been finding the money.

However, it might be more effective if the teachers remain in the schools, in the classrooms, and invite the public in to see what and how they are teaching…sort of a counter protest, but one that has the students’ safety in mind.

What if the Klamath districts were the only ones in the state to not protest? That might send a stronger message — without the disruption — that lawmakers would certainly notice.

A hotel on the shore

The first shovel to build a new hotel in Downtown Klamath Falls will be turned in about two weeks. That’s thanks to hard work by KCEDA and many other partners hoping to develop the TimberMill Shores lots along Lake Ewauna.

It could be the lynchpin that will set off more development there. For now, let’s put aside the contentious Department of Human Services building issue there, and just congratulate all who worked hard in sealing this deal. A few more jobs downtown will have a nice ripple effect for our restaurants there.

Oktoberfest in September

It seems like new summer events are sprouting up like weeds in my lawn. (Sorry for the gardening references, my hay fever is acting up).

The Oktoberfest by KCEDA will be held at the Running Y Ranch and Resort on Sept. 21, but that is a traditional Oktoberfest kickoff. There may be another event that evening, but that’s under wraps for now. Also there’s an interesting event scheduled in June….again under wraps, but soon to be announced.

And, we are pleased to announce that the Tusk (Fleetwood Mac tribute band) concert and food truck pre-event outside the Ross Ragland Theater on May 18 is just shy of selling out.

Plus Klamath has some great staple events upcoming, such as the July 4th Freedom Fest (with an Eagles tribute band); the Firecracker sailing regatta (with some new additions this year) and the Klamath Kruise car show.

It’s shaping up to be a busy summer.

Candidate debate

If you missed the KCC education board candidate forum last week, sponsored by the Associated Students of KCC, you can view it at: facebook.com/KlamathCCStudentLife/.

To me, a live forum gives the voter a clear picture about who they may want to vote for. It is hugely helpful. Ballots go out in the mail May 1 and must be returned May 21.