Local News

Commissioners Approve First Reading of Ordinance Amending Farm and Forest Zoning
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The Josephine County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the Rural Land Development Code for the zoning of farm and forest lands. The Board voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2023-005, which implements changes and amends text pertaining to Exclusive Farm Use and Farm Resource Zones along with Forest Commercial and Woodlot Resource Zones. The second reading and possible adoption of the ordinance was scheduled for October 11th. Deputy Community Development Director James Black testified during a public hearing that the amendments are the result of new laws mandated by the Oregon Legislature and that the code concerning farm and forest lands in Josephine County has not been updated since 2005. He said the code amendments were vetted by the Rural Planning Commission, which recommended their approval to the Board. According to Black, a number of definitions were changed by requirement of the new state statutes. Among other things, he said farm zones now include provisions for agricultural tourism and forest zones now include changes regarding dwellings and the replacement of dwellings.
Posted on 9/28/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
 

Forest Service Type 3 Organization Assumes Management of Smith River Complex North
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A smaller Type 3 organization has assumed management of the Smith River Complex North, replacing Northwest Incident Management Team 8 yesterday. The US Forest Service reports this smaller organization will continue to manage resources working on the lightning-sparked wildfire complex, with suppression repair taking place across the northern edge of the complex and a secondary containment line being completed between the Chetco and Winchuck rivers. The Smith River Complex area received an additional half-inch of precipitation after getting around 2.5 inches earlier this week. At last report, the complex was 94,508 acres and containment was 85%. Fire resources plus a local Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest road engineer are assessing the ability to continue work without creating additional damage such as rutting roads and creating erosion issues. Some work is planned including hand-seeding and applying mulch to specific locations identified by fire resource officers. Formal daily updates have ended, but people can still get informal updates on the Smith River Complex North Facebook page.
Posted on 9/28/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
 

Grants Pass High School Hosting Hispanic Cultural Celebration on Saturday Afternoon
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Citizens are invited to attend a unique event at Grants Pass High School this weekend. Project Youth Plus is presenting an "Hispanic Cultural Celebration" at GPHS on Saturday. Organizers say there will be Hispanic food available for purchase in the GPHS Commons from 3 to 5 p.m.. Food and beverage choices include tamales, pan dulce, agua frescas and churros. From 5 to 6:30 p.m., there will be Hispanic entertainment in the Performing Arts Center featuring Centella Mariachi, musicians, dancers and more. This event is being co-sponsored by Grants Pass School District 7, AllCare Health, SO Health-E and the Equity Project. All profits go to the GPHS MeChA Club, which is for all students with a focus on minority outreach within the school and community.
Posted on 9/28/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
 

Board Approves 1st Reading of Ordinance Amending Farm & Forest Zoning
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners this morning approved the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the Rural Land Development Code for the zoning of farm and forest lands. The Board voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 2023-005, which implements changes and amends text pertaining to Exclusive Farm Use and Farm Resource Zones along with Forest Commercial and Woodlot Resource Zones. The second reading and possible adoption of the ordinance was scheduled for October 11th. Deputy Community Development Director James Black testified during a public hearing that the amendments are the result of new laws mandated by the Oregon Legislature and that the code concerning farm and forest lands in Josephine County has not been updated since 2005. He said the code amendments were vetted by the Rural Planning Commission, which recommended their approval to the Board. According to Black, a number of definitions were changed by requirement of the new state statutes. Among other things, he said farm zones now include provisions for agricultural tourism and forest zones now include changes regarding dwellings and the replacement of dwellings. Board Chair Herman Baertschiger said he supports the ordinance because it's state law, but it shows "how the Oregon Legislature likes to micro-manage high-value resource lands."
Posted on 9/27/23 11:54AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Collared Texas Fugitive after Responding to Burger King Theft Call
Grants Pass Police apprehended a fugitive wanted for crimes committed in Texas while investigating a theft complaint at a local fast food restaurant late yesterday. The Police Department reports officers arrested 42-year-old Christopher Lee Meredith at the Burger King on NE 7th Street on Tuesday shortly after 5 p.m.. Few details about the arrest were disclosed, but officers said they responded to a theft complaint at Burger King and contacted two people including Meredith and an unidentified female companion. A routine records check revealed that Meredith was wanted on five felony warrants issued by the Eastland County Sheriff's Office. Charges contained in the warrants included failing to appear in court for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Theft of a Firearm and Bail Jumping. Christopher Meredith was lodged without bail at the Josephine County Jail pending extradition proceedings that will likely send him back to Texas. His female friend was detained, but she was not arrested.
Posted on 9/27/23 11:53AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Woman for Several Crimes after River City Grill Disturbance
Grants Pass Police jailed a woman for five crimes last night following a noise complaint at a downtown watering hole. The Police Department reports officers arrested 64-year-old Cathy Ann Young outside River City Grill in the 100-block of SE K Street at 7:56 p.m. Tuesday. Police said they contacted Young as the source of a disturbance at the bar. They said she was very hostile with officers and was trespassed from the business. In response, she threw a paper bag of trash onto public property, refused to pick up the trash and attempted to flee on foot. After being placed into custody, Young reportedly struck at officers with her arms and then spat more than 50 times inside the patrol vehicle, covering the partition window with her saliva. Cathy Young was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Attempted Assault on a Peace Officer, Resisting Arrest, Escape, 3rd-Degree Criminal Mischief and Offensive Littering. She and a male companion -- identified only as "Storms" -- were both trespassed from River City Grill.
Posted on 9/27/23 11:52AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Snared Man for Court Order Violation after Foothill Boulevard Stop
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a man for violating a court order after a traffic stop about four miles east of Grants Pass late last night. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies pulled over a vehicle driven by 65-year-old Kim Lee Franklin in the 4,000-block of Foothill Boulevard on Tuesday at about 11:20 p.m.. Deputies said they stopped Franklin for speeding and failing to drive within his travel lane. Upon contact, they discovered that he was legally prohibited from any contact with his female passenger. This constituted a Restraining Order Violation. Kim Franklin was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where he was booked for Contempt of Court. The vehicle was handed over to the female passenger, who is a licensed driver and the vehicle's registered owner.
Posted on 9/27/23 11:50AM by Sam Marsh
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Troopers Nabbed California Man for DUII after Traffic Stop on Caves Highway
The Oregon State Police arrested a California man for impaired driving during a traffic stop in the Illinois Valley late last night. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Dodge Challenger driven by 43-year-old Jason Michael Howard of Berkeley, California, near milepost 3 of Caves Highway on Tuesday at 11:22 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Howard for driving recklessly and he refused to yield to lights and siren until he reached a residence where he was staying. They said he displayed multiple signs of impairment, but refused to participate in field sobriety tests or to provide a breath sample. A search warrant was obtained and Jason Howard was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass for a legal blood draw that documented his strong impairment. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Reckless Driving. His vehicle was parked and secured.
Posted on 9/27/23 11:49AM by Sam Marsh
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Troopers Seeking Person Who Abandoned Jeep in South GP Irrigation Canal
The Oregon State Police was looking for the person who abandoned a vehicle in an irrigation canal in south Grants Pass earlier this week. OSP reports troopers were dispatched to the incident near Flespy's Bar & Grill at Fruitdale Drive and Maple Lane late Monday night. Troopers located a black Jeep Wrangler that had been driven into and abandoned in the canal in front of the local watering hole. The owner could not be found and the vehicle could not be left where it was due to a concern for the waterway. It was towed as a hazard. Due to heavy rain received on Monday, the Grants Pass Irrigation District ended the 2023 season Tuesday and was preparing to drain all of its canals of water.
Posted on 9/27/23 11:48AM by Sam Marsh
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ODF Southwest Further Reduces Fire Danger to "Low" in Josephine and Jackson Counties
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Due to continued widespread rainfall, the Oregon Department of Forestry has lowered the fire danger level in Josephine and Jackson counties to "low." It's the second such fire danger level reduction in the past three days. Effective immediately, the fire danger level has been reduced from "moderate" to "low" while the Industrial Fire Precaution Level remains at "1." ODF Southwest officials ask residents to be aware that this level change means that some fire restrictions for the public remain in effect. Outdoor debris burning -- including piles and burn barrels -- is still prohibited until the end of fire season. No fireworks are allowed on or within 1/8th of a mile of ODF-protected land. Also still prohibited are exploding targets, tracer ammunition and bullets with explosive charges in their base. The use of power-driven machinery such as chainsaws, mowers and weed-eaters in areas of flammable vegetation is no longer required to shut down at a certain time, but operators should continue to be very careful as the 2023 fire season is not over. Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds and on private land with the landowner's permission. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in areas clear of vegetation at any time. Smoking while traveling is only allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.
Posted on 9/27/23 10:07AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Felon for Parole Violation after Disturbance at Riverside Park
Grants Pass Police jailed a local felon for violating his post-prison supervision after responding to a violent disturbance at a city park this week. The Police Department reports officers arrested 43-year-old Nicholas John Knox Knowles at Riverside Park on Monday morning. Police said they responded to the park due to a male subject attempting to gain access to a security vehicle while trying to pick a fight with the guard. They said the man was yelling at everyone with his fists up and in a fighting stance. It was also reported that he was dancing around and causing public alarm. Upon arrival, officers contacted Knowles for his unruly behavior and placed him into custody for Disorderly Conduct. They contacted his corrections officer who requested he be placed on a detainer for violating terms of his supervision. Nicholas Knowles was lodged without bail at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Parole Violation. Jail records show it was his seventh such violation since May.
Posted on 9/27/23 6:50AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Collared Sandwich Shop Worker for Stealing from Employer
Grants Pass Police arrested a worker at a local sandwich shop this week for stealing from her employer. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to the incident at the Subway on NE Agness Avenue on Monday afternoon. Police said 38-year-old Melissa Renae Routenberg was observed on surveillance deleting cash orders off the register and later pocketing the cash to ensure the till matched the amount in the register. Routenberg was also observed taking two $50 bills out of the register and hiding one of them in her palm while putting the other in the safe. Melissa Routenberg was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for suspicion of 2nd-Degree Theft.
Posted on 9/27/23 6:48AM by Sam Marsh
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