Local News

GP Voters Okay Levy Renewal and Josephine County Law Enforcement District Winning
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Grants Pass voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of a levy to fund police and fire services in Tuesday's special election while the Josephine County Law Enforcement Service District was winning by a narrow margin. According to the unofficial results as of late last night, 78.22% of Grants Pass voters approved Measure 17-114 which is a five-year renewal of a $1.79 local option tax. Just under 22% of the voters said "no." The unofficial results show Josephine County voters approved Measure 17-115 by a 51.14% to 48.86% tally, a margin of 332 votes which is still too close to call. The law enforcement district -- which would include the City of Cave Junction -- would cost property owners 99 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value. Josephine County Clerk Rhiannon Henkels reported voter turnout as of 11:15 last night was just over 34%, with about 33.4% of the ballots accepted. She said the next election update will be released on or before November 17th. Over the next few days, ballots that were mailed in will be included in the totals.
Posted on 11/8/23 5:52AM by Sam Marsh

GP School District Hosted Oregon Department of Education Chief of Staff Who is GPHS Alum
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The Grants Pass School District recently welcomed the Chief of Staff for the Oregon Department of Education back to her alma mater. During her visit, Grants Pass High School graduate Tenneal Wetherell visited site-based special education programs, observed the district's new early learning program and toured the high school's Career and Technical Education programs. Wetherell's visit was highlighted by a meeting with members of the Grants Pass School Board when she recognized District 7 for its efforts in improving student reading and math scores across all grade levels for the 2022-23 school year. Wetherell said "it was wonderful to be back at my alma mater and see firsthand the great work the district is doing to support students." She added that "the special education programs, early learning initiatives and CTE offerings are impressive." The Grants Pass School District is grateful for Wetherell's visit and recognition of its efforts to improve student outcomes.
Posted on 11/8/23 5:48AM by Sam Marsh

BLM Waives Day Use Fees on Public Lands on Saturday to Celebrate Veterans Day
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The Bureau of Land Management is waiving recreation day-use fees for visitors on Saturday in celebration of Veterans Day. The BLM recognizes and honors veterans' contributions to our nation and invites visitors to explore the unique and diverse natural landscapes and facilities found on America's public lands. Barry Bushue, BLM Oregon and Washington State Director, said he's thrilled to honor and celebrate veterans across the nation with a fee-free day for everyone. It's the last of BLM's fee-free days of 2023. Within Oregon and Washington, the BLM's standard amenity day-use fees will be waived locally at Hyatt Lake Recreation Area. The standard amenity fee waiver does not apply to any expanded amenity fees for overnight camping, group day-use, cabin rentals or individual Special Recreation Permit fees along rivers. You can search all available BLM recreation opportunities to explore on your public lands at "blm.gov.visit."
Posted on 11/8/23 5:39AM by Sam Marsh

1st Tally of Ballots Shows GP and Josephine County Voters Favor Law Enforcement Funding
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The first tally of ballots in tonight's Special Election were encouraging for those hoping for a strong law enforcement presence in Grants Pass and Josephine County. According to the unofficial results released at 8 p.m., Grants Pass voters overwhelmingly passed Measure 17-114 -- a five-year renewal of the $1.79 local option levy to help pay for police and fire services. Approximately 78% of Grants Pass voters approved the measure, while 22% of the electorate voted "no." A total of 7,295 voters have weighed in so far. Josephine County voters also approved of Measure 17-115 -- a law enforcement service district for the Sheriff's Office which would cost property owners 99 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value The tally was much closer, with 52% of Josephine County voters saying "yes" and 48% saying "no." A total of 12,200 voters had returned their ballots as of 8 p.m.. Josephine County Clerk Rhiannon Henkels said approximately 4,000 ballots were received today. She said the unofficial turnout as of 5 p.m. today was about 29%. The next run of ballots will include those picked up at designated drop sites and it's expected to be released late tonight. Over the next few days, ballots that were mailed in will be included in the totals.
Posted on 11/7/23 8:18PM by Sam Marsh
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Board Set to Confirm Sheriff's November 1st Property Sale at Weekly Session
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners has only one action item on its agenda for tomorrow's weekly business session. Under Administrative Actions, the Board will consider an order confirming the Sheriff's Property Sale that occurred on November 1st. Under the order, the Commissioners are scheduled to accept the Sheriff's Return of Sale and the Sheriff's Certificate of Sale before authorizing distribution of proceeds from the sale. Under Requests and Comments from Citizens, participants are given three minutes to address the Board on just about any topic pertaining to Josephine County. Wednesday's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 11/7/23 11:31AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Man for 4 Crimes after He Entered Rental Equipment Yard
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for multiple crimes after catching him illegally entering an equipment yard last night. The Police Department reports officers eventually arrested 35-year-old Ian Seiwell Hogue for the incident at Grants Pass Equipment Rentals on Rogue River Highway at 8:37 p.m. Monday. Police said the business owner alerted them to an intruder after he was notified on his phone that someone was in the yard. They said he wanted to pursue charges if anyone was located inside the property. Responding officers contacted Hogue who they said "very clearly matched the silhouette seen on camera" at the equipment yard. They said the suspect lied about his identity and tried to leave the scene. After being advised he was under arrest, he fled on foot across the highway, impeding traffic. Ian Hogue was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Resisting Arrest, Disorderly Conduct, Escape and Criminal Trespass. He was being held without bail. The name "Jimmy Sparilin" was entered as an alias for Hogue.
Posted on 11/7/23 11:04AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Man on Local Felony Warrant after Circuit Court Appearance
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a man on a local felony warrant after he made a court appearance on Monday. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 49-year-old Clifford Jerone Tucker at the Courthouse on NW 6th Street in Grants Pass at 11:30 a.m. yesterday. Deputies said Tucker was wanted on a Josephine County felony warrant for Felon in Possession of a Weapon and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. No details of the alleged crime were disclosed. Clifford Tucker was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on $50,000 bail.
Posted on 11/7/23 11:02AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Apprehended 3 Fugitives on Local Warrants in Just Over 1 Hour
Grants Pass Police apprehended three fugitives wanted on local warrants in just over an hour last night. According to the Police Department, the first incident occurred on Monday at 6:38 p.m. when officers arrested 55-year-old Mark Wayne Tyler at the corner of NE 7th and E Streets. Police said Tyler was standing in a travel lane flipping off passing motorists. He was wanted on a Grants Pass warrant for failing to appear in court for Criminal Trespass and was lodged at the Josephine County Jail. The second incident happened on Monday at 7:16 p.m. when officers arrested 22-year-old Alexander David Sarver at a home in the 1,000-block of SW I Street. Sarver was wanted on a Grants Pass warrant for failing to appear in court for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Reckless Driving, Hit-and-Run Causing Property Damage and Criminal Mischief. He was lodged in jail. The third incident took place on Monday at 7:53 p.m. when officers arrested 40-year-old Ryan Nicole Welshonse at the Sunset Inn on NW 6th Street. Welshonse was the subject of trespassing complaint at the motel and when she was contacted, it was learned that she was wanted on three Medford Police Department warrants for failing to appear in court for Probation Violation related to Contempt of Court. She was lodged in jail.
Posted on 11/7/23 10:42AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Nabbed Transient for Stealing Items Off Porch of SW City Home
Grants Pass Police arrested a transient for stealing a blanket and lantern off the front porch of a southwest city residence early yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a theft complaint in the 700-block of SW L Street on Monday around 7 a.m.. Police said 43-year-old Donn Reeves Fincher was observed on a ring camera by the property owner taking the items that were valued at $25. They said Fincher was easily identified as the suspect due to his bright clothing and stolen items that were located in a shopping cart he was pushing a short distance away from the home. Fincher was booked into the Josephine County Jail for 3rd-Degree Theft. He was also trespassed from the residence. Officers noted the lantern was returned to the victim, but the blanket was heavily soiled and disposed of.
Posted on 11/7/23 10:41AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Evicted Campers for City Park Violations during Patrol Checks
Grants Pass Police evicted five campers for ordinance violations in city parks yesterday. At Baker Park, Andre Fisher, William Jensen and Jessica Pitts were all seen with trash around their tents which had been posted last week. Jensen and Pitts were cited for Illegal Camping and Scattering Rubbish, while Fisher was cited for Unlawful Utilization of Space. All three were trespassed from the park for 30 days. Twelve more camps were posted while four abandoned and soiled tents were taken to Southern Oregon Sanitation (SOS) for disposal. At Fruitdale Park, Kayasith Thavisack was cited for Scattering Rubbish and Unlawful Utilization of Space. He was trespassed from the park for 30 days. Fourteen tents were posted with a removal date of November 9th. One tent containing drug paraphernalia was disposed of. At Riverside Park, Vincent Manning was observed smoking with trash outside his tent which was inside the designated buffer zone. He was cited and trespassed from the park for 30 days. One tent filled with drug paraphernalia was disposed of and a load of trash was taken to SOS for disposal.
Posted on 11/7/23 10:39AM by Sam Marsh
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Crews Doused Fire that Damaged Groundskeeper Shed at GP Golf Club
Firefighters rushed to a reported fire at the Grants Pass Golf Club late yesterday. Grants Pass Fire & Rescue and Rural Metro Fire Department responded to the blaze that engulfed a groundskeeper shed at the golf course off Espey Road on Monday shortly after 4 p.m.. Grants Pass fire officials said the fire was knocked down and controlled within 20 minutes. There were no injuries reported and no damage estimate was available. Officials said the cause of the fire was under investigation. Firefighters were assisted at the scene by the Grants Pass Police Department and American Medical Response.
Posted on 11/7/23 10:38AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Man for Threatening to Burn Local School & Forcing Lockdown
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a man for causing a disturbance that forced a lockdown at a local elementary school early yesterday. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies responded to the incident at Fort Vannoy School in the 5,000-block of Upper River Road on Monday around 7:20 a.m.. Deputies said a caller reported that a male subject was at the school with a can of gasoline and a stick, threatening to burn the school down and threatening harm toward staff members. Because of the subject's words and actions, the school immediately went into lockdown. When deputies arrived on scene, they located 33-year-old George Edward Muse on the roadway outside the school. He attempted to run from them after being given lawful commands, but was apprehended in short order. After Muse was taken into custody, deputies located the can of gasoline and stick near the fence-line of the school. Deputies and staff checked the area for any other threats before the lockdown was lifted. George Muse was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 1st-Degree Disorderly Conduct and 3rd-Degree Attempted Escape. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 11/7/23 6:41AM by Sam Marsh
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