The Local News of Newberry Country


“We’re Here to Help People Out”

“It’s a side of the Sheriff’s Office that people don’t usually get to see,” observed Deputy Kyle Kalmbach, shown during one of his visits to a local elementary school. “As deputies, we come during our lunch hour to just hang out with the kids, and answer their questions about what we do. On occasion, we bring armored vehicles with lights and sirens, and let students honk the horns. Or we engage in competitions such as “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” or dodge ball games with the kids versus the cops. We even push each other on swings and teeter totters. It’s part of our job – which is 100 percent helping people.”

By Andrea Hine, Staff Writer

“People think that we’re always out chasing bad guys, but the average deputy is really community driven. I don’t know how many times we do simple stuff like brushing snow off cars, changing lightbulbs, or climbing trees to rescue a cat – which many don’t associate with cops.”

Deputy Kyle Kalmbach of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office wants to set the record straight. “In La Pine, some people live way back in the forest. During the winter when these areas are pretty inaccessible, we bring them groceries, blankets, and gas for their heaters. A lot of times the money comes out of our own pocket.

“We keep extra coats, gloves and hats in the back of the vehicles – some of the clothes are our own. We’re here to provide a service – to help people out,” he emphasized.

Kalmbach, a teacher at La Pine Middle School for more than 10 years, estimates that he interacted with 1,000 families and 1,500 students during his tenure there. “I loved teaching and I love kids,” he said, “and coached the varsity basketball team, as well as football & baseball.”

Joining the Sheriff’s Office at age 36, Kalmbach applied the same principles to both career choices. “When I was a teacher, I could just have given out worksheets, and taught the same lessons year after year. Instead, I wanted to spend more time with the students, and was always looking for a better way to introduce new ideas.

“Those of us with the Sheriff’s Office aren’t here to just bust people and throw them in jail. We try to figure out how we can help them. Most of those we see are good people; they just make bad decisions. Our job is to listen and possibly offer some advice so they don’t make the same decision again.”

Kalmbach continued: “La Pine is a 30-minute drive from the jail in Bend. That means we have 30 minutes to make an impact on that person’s life. We try to keep the transport window (which separates the front and back seats) open and form a relationship – to figure out ‘how do we fix this so we don’t have the same interaction again?’

“People I’ve arrested have called back to ask for more help, and even gotten back in touch years later,” noted Kalmbach. “’I’ve moved, am engaged and found a job,” said one man. “I wanted you to know how well I’m doing.’  Everyone else had given up hope; I showed sincerity in his well-being, and told him that ‘when you get out, you have a friend.’

“This has happened with a lot of deputies, including instances when people have attempted suicide, and don’t want to be patronized. ‘You’re the only people who care about us,’ the deputies are told.

“In order to be a good cop, you have to be there to help. And if we don’t have the resources, we’ll find someone who does,” Kalmbach said. “Our ultimate goal is a healthier community – and we’ll do whatever it takes.”

Central Oregon Symphony Lends its Cellists to La Pine Library

Book borrowers paused, video renters took a break from perusing titles, and computer users lifted their hands from the keyboard as cello music filled the La Pine public library’s community room on a recent Saturday afternoon. The product of a partnership between the Central Oregon Symphony and two area library systems, “Music in Public Places” drew a crowd of several dozen attendees. The hour-long concert by the Bend Cello Collective featured music by composers ranging from Mozart to Michael Jackson.

The musicians (from left to right) – Amy Mitchell, Emma Chaput, Evan Sigvaldsen, Austin Lenahan, Janet Gesme and Leo Reincke – include a helicopter pilot, a science teacher, a marathon runner and speakers of German, Russian and Spanish.

“This was my grandmother’s idea,” admitted nine-year-old Braeden Poore, the youngest concert-goer. “But I’m happy that I came.” (Grandmother Annie Stiles, manager of the Outpost, was perpetuating a family tradition, having been introduced to classical music by her father when “I was just a little kid.”)

A second Central Oregon Symphony performance, also in the library’s community room and offered free of charge, will feature the Dove String Quartet. It takes place on November 4 at 2 p.m.

3,000-Square-Foot St. Vincent Expansion Underway

By Staff Writer

Jerry Moore (left), CEO of St. Vincent de Paul, noted that the thrift store currently has six volunteers and 14 paid employees – one of whom, Heather Looomis (right), was recently promoted to manager. “All of them live in La Pine, so the money goes right back into the community.”

“Sometimes out of habit, I want to go into the back of the building, but there’s no back to go into!” admitted CEO Jerry Moore, who is adjusting to construction efforts that will expand the St. Vincent de Paul facility by 3,000 square feet.

“What was the back has been torn down, and we’ll have a large drive-up covered area for donation drop-off and storage. Work is going along really well, including digging for the foundation and pouring the concrete. We’re actually a little ahead of schedule, and hope to finish by November.” Moore explained.

“This project culminates several years of talking, and only became possible after we obtained a significant amount of grant money,” he continued. “The efforts will include sidewalks, paving and landscaping in harmony with that of our next-door neighbor, Mid-Oregon Credit Union.”

Moore recalled that he first visited La Pine in 1988 when helping a friend drive up a truck and trailer. “I had such a good time that my wife didn’t think I was ever coming home.”

The couple – attracted by the change in climates throughout the year, as well as the area’s hunting and fishing – relocated here from Southern California in 1999. “We had been looking for a small town, with good, friendly people – characteristics that described La Pine then, and which describe it now.”

First becoming involved with St. Vincent through his church, Moore “got volunteered to serve on the board.” He then agreed to take on the job of CEO, “thinking I would stay in the position for a year. It’s going on nine years now.”

(Moore previously worked in management for General Telephone, now Verizon, and “had 440 people working for me. I traveled extensively to oversee the conversion to digital telephone technology – which was a big step in the communications industry.”)

Under Moore’s leadership, St. Vincent de Paul “has grown financially, as well as in size. We currently have six volunteers and 14 paid employees – one of whom, Heather Loomis, was recently promoted to manager. All of them live in La Pine, so the money goes right back into the community.”

Donations to the thrift store support the nonprofit’s social services component. “Under the direction of Jamie Smith, the only paid employee, it is run 99 percent by volunteers,” asserted Moore. “Its services include providing food, showers, propane, gasoline (to help people look for work), and even a dental van.”

Volunteers have always been a mainstay of the organization. “When the land and the building (which had been a carpet store) were purchased 7-8 years ago, the facility was renovated in only two months with the help of 75 volunteers,” he recalled.

Moore noted that “we really don’t blow our own horn, and prefer to stay low key. Our employees are very motivated – and we all do the best we can to serve the community.”