Redmond man charged in attempted hemp farm robbery: A Redmond man faces several charges related to an alleged Christmas day attempted robbery of an industrial hemp farm, which he mistakenly thought contained marijuana, according to a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office news release. Mitchell Bruce Ballard, Jr., 31, of Redmond, and a woman whose identity has not been released, led Oregon State Police in a pursuit just after noon after attempting to steal what they believed was marijuana from a licensed industrial hemp farm on NE O’Neil Way, officials said. The farm owners found the pair trespassing on the property and called dispatch, telling officials they were holding Ballard and the woman at gunpoint after Ballard threatened them with a weapon, officials said. Ballard and the woman then attempted to flee in their pickup truck, officials said. The truck became stuck on rocks and Ballard crashed into the owners’ vehicles, causing significant damage, officials said. An Oregon State Police trooper saw the truck leaving the area and began pursuing the pair, but stopped the pursuit in the interest of public safety. Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies and detectives then searched the area and found Ballard and the woman on the public lands near Negus Landfill Transfer Station and chased them on foot. Ballard was arrested and charged with robbery, felony attempt to elude police, reckless endangering, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and failure to perform the duties of a driver, officials said. Police have identified the woman and are continuing to search for her, but are not releasing her name at this time.
Central Oregon Retired Educators meeting: Guest speaker Karen Gentry, United States Forest Service education program director, will share at the meeting, which is open to retired educators and anyone interested in education. The meeting is scheduled for Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, 1113 SW Black Butte Blvd in Redmond. Reservations are required and the cost for lunch is $10. Call 541-350-0499 for reservations. Contact: Lois Frey 541-548-3491.
Redmond student honored: Brook O’Keefe, of Redmond, has been named to the fall 2018 president’s list at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. The president’s list recognizes students who received a 4.0 GPA for the term.