Local News

GP Police Nabbed Motorist for DUII after Allen Creek Area Traffic Complaint
Grants Pass Police arrested a motorist for impaired driving after he was called in as a traffic complaint in the Allen Creek area on Wednesday afternoon. The Police Department reports officers contacted 52-year-old Arturo Gonzalez-Hernandez after he parked his Dodge pickup in a bicycle lane next to a fire hydrant on Allen Creek Road at 4:20 p.m. yesterday. Police said Gonzalez-Hernandez had been called in by a fellow motorist who saw him weaving in and out of traffic heading both north and south on Allen Creek Road. Upon contact with the suspect, officers said he admitted to driving on a public roadway and he displayed numerous signs of impairment by alcohol. After performing poorly in field sobriety tests, Gonzalez-Hernandez was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where he provided a breath sample that was nearly three times the legal driving limit. Gonzalez-Hernandez was lodged for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Driving While Suspended. He was also cited for Open Container. His pickup was impounded.
Posted on 10/12/23 11:10AM by Sam Marsh

Motorist Hurt after Crashing Car into Highway 238 Curb near GP Golf Course
A young motorist was hurt when she crashed her vehicle into a curb on Williams Highway near the Grants Pass Golf Course early yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the single-vehicle wreck on Highway 238 near Whispering Drive on Wednesday at 8:10 a.m.. Troopers said 20-year-old Olyvea Mae Matson was driving a Nissan Altima west when she lost control of the car and struck the sidewalk curb on the south side of the highway. They said she explained a car pulled out in front of her from Morris Lane and she swerved to avoid crashing into the other vehicle. According to OSP, the unknown vehicle was not identified and Matson hurt her hand in the crash. It was not disclosed whether she needed medical treatment for the injury. Her wrecked car was towed to Grants Pass. No citations were issued.
Posted on 10/12/23 11:07AM by Sam Marsh

Motorist Escaped Injury after Striking Large Deer on RR Highway East of GP
A motorist escaped injury when he struck a large deer on Rogue River Highway near Grants Pass early yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the vehicle versus animal collision on Highway 99 near Whispering Pines Lane on Wednesday around 6:50 a.m.. Troopers said 29-year-old Robert George Lowell was driving a Ford hatchback when a large buck deer ran out in front of him and he was unable to stop. They said he was not injured and his damaged vehicle was towed from the crash scene. According to OSP, a Chrysler sedan driven by a 25-year-old man then struck the deceased deer, causing minor damage and a flat tire which was repaired.
Posted on 10/12/23 11:05AM by Sam Marsh

Chambers of Commerce Hosting Informative Socials on Proposed Law District
The Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce is hosting an informative social this evening on the proposed law enforcement service district that will appear on the November election ballot. Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel will be the guest speaker at the event that runs from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Fruitdale Grange at the corner of Parkdale Drive and Rogue River Highway. Sheriff Daniel will be discussing the law enforcement service district and there will be time for questions. The permanent funding district would cost taxpayers 99 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value. On October 20th, the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a similar informative social at Wild River Brewing and Pizza Company in Cave Junction.
Posted on 10/12/23 10:58AM by Sam Marsh
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Authorities Recover Body of Man Who Drowned on Lower Rogue in September
Authorities have recovered the body of a man who drowned on the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River late last month. On Monday afternoon, the Josephine County Sheriff's Office was notified that a deceased male was located between Upper and Lower Washboard on the Lower Rogue. Marine Deputy Wolf said the deceased male was later identified as 46-year-old David Bartecchi of Colorado who was the subject of a reported drowning at Wild Cat Rapids on September 28th. Wolf said a local rafting outfitter, Orange Torpedo, volunteered their time and assisted the Sheriff's Office in recovering Bartecchi. The body was rafted about two miles downriver to Black Bar Lodge where lodge staff assisted. Hull & Hull Funeral Service brought the deceased back to Grants Pass. Information provided to 9-1-1 Dispatch indicated a group of 11 people in five rafts were navigating the wild section of the river when one of the rafts got stuck in the middle of Wild Cat Rapids about five miles below Grave Creek Boat Ramp. While trying to free the raft, Bartecchi slipped on a rock and fell into the water. Due to the swift and dangerous water, the victim was pushed into a large "strainer" made by two large rocks. Several people in the group attempted to pull him out, but they were unable to do so due to the pressure of the water.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:25AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man on Felony Warrant after Welfare Check at Fast Food Eatery
Grants Pass Police jailed a man on a local felony warrant early yesterday following a welfare check in the parking lot of a fast food eatery. The Police Department reports officers arrested 38-year-old David Scott Anderson at In-N-Out Burger on NE Morgan Lane on Wednesday at 2:13 a.m.. Police said restaurant employees called 9-1-1 to request a welfare check on a male subject who was slumped over the steering wheel of a Ford Crown Victoria in the parking lot. The vehicle was running and workers knocked on the window several times, but the man did not move. Upon arrival, officers found Anderson sleeping in his vehicle. They knew he was wanted on a Grants Pass felony warrant for two counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, so they woke him up and placed him into custody. David Anderson was lodged at the Josephine County Jail in lieu of posting $25,000 bail.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Snared GP Man on Outstanding Warrants after Crash on Redwood Highway
The Oregon State Police arrested a Grants Pass man on two outstanding warrants after he crashed his pickup into another vehicle on Redwood Highway this week. OSP reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the two-vehicle collision near milepost 8 of US Highway 199 on Tuesday. Troopers said 35-year-old Marcus Kenneth Lacross was driving a Toyota pickup when he rear-ended a Volkswagen Jetta driven by a 40-year-old Selma man. The Jetta was stopped at a construction zone. No one was injured, but both the Toyota and Volkswagen were towed into Grants Pass. During the investigation, troopers discovered that Lacross was wanted on two Jackson County warrants for Criminal Mischief. Instead of being lodged in jail, he was cited to appear in court and then released.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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Vehicle Sustained Major Damage after Striking Tree on Crooks Creek near Selma
A vehicle sustained major damage when it struck a tree near Selma late yesterday. On Wednesday at 4:46 p.m., the Illinois Valley Fire District and Josephine County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the single-vehicle wreck in the 700-block of Crooks Creek Road. Arriving units found a vehicle had crashed into a tree. Deputies and firefighters searched the area, but found no occupants. A short time later, the occupants returned and declined any medical attention. They were not identified. The vehicle was removed from the crash scene by JP Auto & Metal Recycling. The Sheriff's Office was investigating the cause of the accident.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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BLM Extends Withdrawal of SW Oregon's Wheeler Creek Research Natural Area
The Bureau of Land Management has extended the withdrawal of the Wheeler Creek Research Natural Area in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest for another 20 years. BLM officials said this extension allows the US Forest Service to continue managing the 334-acre site to support forest science research and to protect the region's unique natural heritage including rare plant and animal species. The Wheeler Creek Research Natural Area has been closed to mining development since 1983 to protect the site's high-quality native ecosystems, which are home to rare species including Oregon's northernmost Redwood trees. The Forest Service requested an extension of the withdrawal for an additional 20 years to continue these important restrictions. The Forest expects no changes to the Research Natural Area's operations, policy, management practices or allowable uses as a result of the withdrawal extension. The BLM is responsible for processing requests for federal land withdrawals on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. Under the extension, the land remains withdrawn from location and entry under United States mining laws, subject to valid existing rights.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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Red Cross Reports Cooking Causes Most US Home Fires, Offers Safety Steps
During Fire Prevention Week, the American Red Cross Cascades Region reminds everyone that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and offers safety steps to follow to help avoid one of these blazes. Dawn Johnson, Regional Communications Director for the Red Cross, said the top reason for cooking fires is someone leaving the stove unattended while cooking.

The Red Cross offers 10 steps to help stay safe while cooking:
1) If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended.
2) Don't wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
3) If you're simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly.
4) Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
5) Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area.
6) Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stove or oven.
7) Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
8) Consider keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
9) Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the house.
10) Install a smoke alarm in or near your kitchen.

To learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit "redcross.org/homefires."
Posted on 10/12/23 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
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Commission Approved Ordinance Amending Land Development Code in Split Decision
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In a split decision on Wednesday, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that amends the Rural Land Development Code concerning farm and forest zoning. Following a public hearing on the second reading of the ordinance, the Board voted 2-1 to make the necessary changes to exclusive farm use, farm resource, forest commercial and woodlot resource zones. Commission Vice Chair John West cast the dissenting vote. James Black of the Planning Department testified that the ordinance is in response to statutory changes required by the Oregon Legislature and that local development codes concerning farm and forest zones had not been updated since 2005. He said changes to farm zones include agri-tourism while changes to forest zones include new rules on the building and replacement of residential structures. Commission Chair Herman Baertschiger said he voted against the changes when he was a member of the Oregon Senate, but he was voting to approve them at the county level due to the state mandate. He said Oregon is one of a few states that has statewide planning, which he argued is the root of many housing problems.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:08AM by Sam Marsh
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US Forest Service Lifts All Emergency Closures Related to Smith River Complex North
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The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has terminated all emergency area and road closures associated with northern end of the Smith River Complex. Effective Wednesday, Acting Forest Supervisor Jake Winn lifted the closures that had been put in place when the wildfire complex was still active and threatening the southern Illinois Valley. The closure included a portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest on the Wild Rivers Ranger District that lies north of the Oregon/California State boundary and is bounded by the Illinois River on the east, the California border on the south, the North Fork of the Smith River on the west and Buckskin Peak on the North. The area closure also included a portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that lies south of the Oregon/California state boundary. Forest officials said the wildfire threat is now over and there are no more evacuation orders or notices in effect for the communities of O'Brien and Takilma. At one time, both were under Level 3 "Go Now" and Level 2 "Be Ready" notices. The latest report showed the Smith River Complex was holding at 94,620 acres with 95% containment.
Posted on 10/12/23 6:01AM by Sam Marsh
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