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Gerry O'Brien

Gerry O’Brien

There’s been a couple of disturbing news items in the paper the last week that we thought we should address and hopefully have everyone take note or even decide to help out.

Construction zone fatality

The recent manslaughter charges filed against a Klamath Falls woman in connection with the death of a road construction flagger last week points to a serious issue that needs immediate attention.

Cause of the accident was multi-faceted, in that the driver admitted to previously using meth, marijuana, a “sip of wine” and being unable to see properly due to the glare of the sun.

The accident happened around 8 p.m. right at sunset and nearly everyone who’s driven in K Falls knows how blinding that can be.

But there was also the issue of a distracted driver using a cell phone, according to court records.

Finally, there’s the frustration of drivers speeding through construction zones.

A person’s life has been lost here. We can’t imagine how horrible it was — and still is — for his crewmates who are out working on road projects this summer following this accident.

County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot is pushing for more patrols of construction zones and that’s a good start. But it shouldn’t have to be. Everyone needs to slow down and pay strict attention in construction corridors. Getting home or to a favorite weekend getaway a few minutes sooner is not worth the tragedy it can cause and pain that will continue for years to come.

Please heed the speed limits.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite

Another top-of-the-mind issue comes from last week’s story regarding a bed bug infestation at a locally controlled, public housing unit called County Village Apartments.

The tenants, which include several young children, have been battling the infestation, but can ill afford to pay for an exterminator. People in public housing have very little resources as it is. One of the women quoted in the article by reporter Holly Dillemuth was virtually homeless and living in a tent at the Topsy Reservoir before gaining access to the apartment. None of the residents can cobble together the funds to cover a full spraying of the units.

Common sense would dictate that if a tenant has an issue with pests, the landlord — in this case the Klamath Housing Authority — should pay for eliminating the problem. The housing authority also says it does not have the funds, and had cut back on such expenses a few years ago.

Landlords should really be prepared for such occasions, especially publicly funded housing. At this point, not much can be done, and the issue of bed bugs — if one reads between the lines of the story — may be much larger in the county than most people think.

The county health department can’t help because it does not act on nuisance bugs…and these apartments are under federal regulation.

Yet, if this problem is bigger than we currently know — and growing — we think the city, county and the housing authority ought to get together and find a rapid solution. Further, church groups and others could pool some resources to help here.

Let’s nip this on in the bud before it gets too far out of control.