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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — From the high hills above downtown Klamath Falls, the view down 6th Street to the railroad viaduct overpass and beyond is spectacular. It’s also unusual for a town in Southern Oregon.

“Part of the South 6th Street that we know today actually dates to the 1880′s and probably much earlier, out beyond the little town site of Altamont,” says Klamath County Museum Director Todd Kepple. “But there is a gap in between the town of Klamath Falls and Altamont. And so in the very old days people had to drive up by the canal on an old road to get out to the countryside east of Klamath Falls.”

Kepple says what we see today is nothing like the first little road that bounced over the railroad tracks and headed into what is now called the south suburban area.

“It was just over a hundred years ago that there was just a simple grade crossing across the railroad tracks. There’s a big flour mill that stood on the west side of the tracks. So it was around 1906 when they connected South 6th Street with the road out by Altamont and the whole road then became known as South 6th Street. Even though all the other numbered streets end here at the railroad tracks or even further west. South 6th street is the one street that got connected all the way clear beyond Altamont clear out to the Lakeview-Merrill Junction,” Kepple explains.

It was also one of the first street of any length to be paved in Klamath Falls and Klamath County.

“Well, fist it was ‘macadamized’, which means they just put down gravel and covered it with oil and it became a sort of pavement,” said Todd says.

That then led to businesses sprouting up all along the road, from gas stations, to movie theaters and shopping centers.

“Once south 6th street made its way across the railroad tracks then suddenly we had a connection with all of that suburban countryside to the east of Klamath Falls and subdivisions sprang up on both sides south sixth street. Businesses located along South 6th Street, and so that’s why today we have this major thoroughfare.”

6th Street actually begins as north sixth up in the hills above town, comes down through the south suburban area as South 6th Street and continues for several miles clear out to the Highway 140 junction. Todd Kepple thinks that maybe a name change is in order.

“I’ve wondered why we couldn’t try to rename South 6th Street,” Todd says. “Seems like we ought to be able to come up with something more creative. Something that evokes more of an image of something more befitting of the beautiful countryside, or the rich heritage and history we have here. So I would like to see somebody put together some kind of a naming contest and see if we can’t come up with something better. ”

Until then, just as it has for a hundred years, this bustling boulevard of business will remain the only numbered street in Klamath Falls that extends beyond the railroad tracks as a commuter and commerce lifeline to this community in the sun.

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High pressure has built itself into the area allowing for sunny skies and limited cloud coverage to be the story for the weekend. A weak cold front will approach the coast on Saturday morning. This front will break down as it approaches due to the high pressure already in place. This will bring showers to the coast and some Cascades areas. Expect the rain to move in in the morning at the coast and then the afternoon for the Western slopes of the Cascades. Showers will not last long however as the ridge of high pressure will break the front apart after crossing the coastline. Snow levels will remain high with the system, so no snow is expected.

The rest of the area will see mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies for the remainder of the weekend. Conditions will be beautiful for Easter Sunday. Next week will bring a series of frontal systems that should prove to bring a little bit more rain to the area. The first front will pass overnight on Monday. This will bring showers starting Monday evening and rain on Tuesday. A cooler air mass is also being pushed in with this storm. Temperatures are expected to drop up to 15 degrees in some areas with this cold front. Rain will continue to fall throughout the week and into the weekend.

Meteorologist Seth Phillips

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MEDFORD, Ore. — People with allergies may soon see a new way to treat them, thanks in part to a Medford medical facility.

The FDA has approved a pill therapy to treat hay fever at home in place of allergy shots. The Allergy and Asthma Center of Southern Oregon in Medford helped develop data for the clinical trials, and say it will give more options to patients.

“It’s a great option for someone who just can’t stand the thought of a needle going into their arm. It’s also a great option for people who’s lifestyle prevents them from coming in once monthly for allergy shots,” said Dr. Kevin Parks.

So far, the FDA has approved the treatment for grass and ragweed, and is expects to approve more target allergens in the next few years.

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oz Fitness Center in Medford will be closing its doors in soon and members were surprised to hear the news, leaving them shopping for a new gym.

Members were informed of the closing on Thursday with a simple note on the door of the center. It read that oz attempted to renegotiate rent with the landlord without success.

The gym will remain open through the month, and will close on April 30.

Other fitness centers in the area have already seen traffic from oz members who are in the market for a new gym.

The Medford Oz facility refused to comment on the situation. The corporate office has not answered requests for statements at this time.

4-18 tattoo fundraiserMEDFORD, Ore. – A local tattoo shop is raising money for one of Portland’s biggest child-care charities.

Rogue Tattoo is planning a fundraising event for next month. On May 17th customers can come in and get a tattoo of their child’s name for $80. Nearly all (90%) of that money will go to the Ronald McDonald House.

The owner of the shop, Josh Ludlow, says he became motivated by the loss of his son. He says after the charity provided care and support for his family, he knew he wanted to give back.

“Our eyes were opened and our hearts were turned to something that was so amazing and giving that if I didn’t give back, I think it would just haunt me for the rest of my life,” said Ludlow.

The fundraiser event will take place all day on May 17th. Ludlow says that’s a day before what would have been his son’s second birthday.

Walk-ins are welcome that day for anyone who wishes to get a tattoo of their child and give to the charity.

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ASHLAND, Ore. – A sirloin steak sizzles on the grill of Omar’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant. A year ago that popular cut cost the restaurant just under $4.00 per pound, now it costs them over $4.60.

“Restaurant owners here in town are very aware of it,” said co-owner Chris Del Monaco. “It’s a tough time right now.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices across the country are rising about half a percentage point each month. Beef is leading the way.

According to local butchers, it’s by a long shot.

“Nationally-wise they say it’s going to go up 13%,” said Cameron Callahan, owner of The Butcher Shop. “I’ve already seen a 33% increase in our beef prices.”

Local ranchers say drought conditions have pushed up the price of feed, forcing them to cull as much as half their herds and leading to the lowest beef production in 63 years.

Meanwhile foreign demand is stretching that supply thin.

“We’re now exporting to Japan again,” said Callahan. “At that crucial time when we’re low on cattle, we’re now exporting more of that cattle when we were not doing that before.”

Callahan says he hasn’t seen a drop in demand for beef yet, but he predicts it’s a matter of time before prices become too much and customers switch to poultry or fish.

Meanwhile, steakhouses like Omar’s can’t afford that luxury. They say it won’t be long until they have to re-tool and re-price their menu, testing just how far we’re willing to go for that precious beef.

New Online Tax Credit in Jackson CountyCAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Harvard researchers say Wikipedia searches are more effective and timely than CDC reports, according to a study published in the Journal “PLOS Computational Biology” today.

Authors David J. McIver John S. Brownstein found “Wikipedia usage accurately estimated the week of peak ILI activity 17% more often than Google Flu Trends data and was often more accurate in its measure of ILI intensity. With further study, this method could potentially be implemented for continuous monitoring of ILI activity in the US and to provide support for traditional influenza surveillance tools.”

You can read their entire research here.

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Middle school can be a tough time for students, with a new school, new work, and a bigger challenge making friends. Some students at Hedrick Middle School remember how lonely it felt just trying to find someone to eat lunch with.

“I had to sit with my brother for a while,” said 8th grader Makenna Peters.

Peters and other members of the Hedrick student council saw how easily cliques were being made, and how quickly bullies seemed to pop up. So they decided to do something about it.

“We didn’t like how many people were eating alone at the beginning of the year,” said 8th grader Kiley Pauck. “Especially at the beginning of the year when there are so many new people.”

So the student council started a new program to simple get students talking. They developed theme days in the school cafeteria day. On Superhero Day, for example, some students were given cards with heroes like Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man printed on them. They would be directed to sit at a cafeteria table labeled with the same card, along with many students they had never met or talked to. As a result, it started a conversation between those students, and friendships were sparked.

“I think you just need to start with conversation, like, ‘hey, what do you like to do with your free time? What’s your favorite class in school?’” Peters said.

Hedrick was honored by the Teaching Tolerance program, put on by the Southern Poverty Law Center, as one of 75 schools across the U.S. that have pushed for tolerance and respect among students.

“The more students are known and feel known and have a chance to be known in a school, the less likely they are to be bullied or to be a [bully],” said Principal Dan Smith.

The Hedrick student council will travel to the Oregon Association of Student Councils spring conference later this month, and will teach their program to 50 other schools from across Oregon.

White_chicken_eggYONKERS, NY –There are a lot of choices when it comes to eggs in the supermarket and prices can vary widely.

Consumer Reports looked into it and found that not all eggs are what they’re cracked up to be.

Experts at Consumer Reports tasted various eggs — including supermarket brands, organic eggs, eggs with no antibiotics, no hormones, white eggs and brown eggs.

They found taste deteriorated the closer an egg got to the date on the carton.

But beyond that, the eggs all tasted pretty much the same.

Consumer Reports says the eggs with “no hormones” may sound like a better choice, but the egg industry as a whole does not use hormones.

However, you may want to pay a little more for organic eggs.  Consumer Reports says they’re better for people, chickens and the planet.

And Consumer Reports Director of Safety, Dr. Urvashi Rangan,  says “Eggs without antibiotics are another good choice. Just be sure the package says ‘No antibiotics used.’”

This report is based on an article in the May, 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine

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ROGUE RIVER, Ore. — The ABC Network and “First Book” reached across the country last month to find schools in need of new books through the “Be Inspired” campaign. NewsWatch 12 asked the community to participate by nominating schools and programs deserving of new books for kids.

Southern Oregon entered more nominations than any other part of the country and two local schools received the most nominations of any in the entire nation. In fact, Rogue River Elementary School received the most nominations overall. Shady Cove Elementary came in a close second.

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