Local News

GP Police Arrested Man for Stealing Items from Walmart and Fleeing on Bike
Grants Pass Police snared a man for stealing merchandise from Walmart yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a shoplifting complaint at the big box retailer on NE Terry Lane on Tuesday at about 10:40 a.m.. Police said 43-year-old Nathan K. Mitson stole less than $100 worth of items from Walmart and fled from loss prevention on a bicycle. They said he was eventually located and detained on NE Spalding Avenue by the old lumber mill. Mitson reportedly admitted to the heist and was charged with 3rd-Degree Theft. He was cited to appear in court and then released after being trespassed from Walmart.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:32AM by Sam Marsh

OSP Arrested Motorist for Impaired Driving after Traffic Stop in Downtown GP
The Oregon State Police arrested a motorist for impaired driving last night during a traffic stop in the downtown area. According to OSP, troopers pulled over a Chevrolet Silverado driven by 63-year-old George Alan Marconi near the corner of SE 7th Street and Voorhies Way on Tuesday at 10:42 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Marconi for a traffic violation and he appeared to be impaired. They said he refused to participate in field sobriety tests, so he was taken to the Grants Pass Sobering Center where he provided a breath sample that was more than twice the legal driving limit. George Marconi was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. He was cited to appear in court and released, but his pickup was impounded.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:31AM by Sam Marsh

Motorist Cited for Causing Tuesday Wreck on Williams Highway near Provolt
No one was injured, but a motorist was cited for causing a wreck on Williams Highway in the Provolt area yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to a two-vehicle collision near milepost 12 of Highway 238 on Tuesday at 12:04 p.m.. Troopers did not provide any details about the incident, but they identified the involved parties as 24-year-old Suellyn Louise Nelson who was driving a Kia Rio and 71-year-old William Dar Benton who was driving a Dodge Wayfarer. According to OSP, no one was hurt and only the Kia was towed. Benton was able to drive his vehicle away. Nelson was identified as the at-fault driver and she was given a traffic citation for causing the crash.
Posted on 2/28/24 11:30AM by Sam Marsh

Victim from White City Shooting Died Last Week, Suspect Charged with Murder
The victim from the January 28th shooting in White City died last week and the suspect has been charged with murder. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday identified the victim as 36-year-old Casey Ryan Helmka of Medford. His next of kin has been notified and their condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. On January 28th at 6:51 p.m., sheriff's deputies responded to a call for gunshots and someone calling for help in the area of 29th and Falcon streets. The suspect -- 27-year-old Hector Cruz Orozco of White City -- was no longer on scene. An initial investigation showed Orozco and the victim were at a mobile home in the 3700-block of Falcon Street, the two exited the residence and Orozco shot the victim at close range before fleeing on a bicycle. The next day, investigations led detectives to a house in the 7800-block of Laura Lane in White City where they served a search warrant with assistance from SWAT, K-9 and Crisis Negotiation teams. The suspect was placed into custody on Monday, January 29th, at 5:54 p.m.. Hector Orozco was originally charged with 2nd-Degree Attempted Murder, 1st-Degree Assault and two counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. A Jackson County grand jury upgraded the Attempted Murder and Assault charges to 2nd-Degree Murder during a February 22nd hearing. The Jackson County District Attorney's Office will prosecute the case, which remains under investigation.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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Portland Area Teen Jailed for Causing Crash that Injured Woman in North GP
A Portland area teenager is in custody for causing a motor vehicle accident that injured another person in north Grants Pass this week. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to the two-vehicle head-on collision between a Jeep and small sedan in the 2100-block of NW Vine Street near Club Northwest late Monday night. Police identified the driver of the Jeep as 18-year-old Timothy Torrance Billings, but did not identify the other motorist. They said a 20-year-old female in the sedan was trapped underneath the dash board of the heavily damaged car. After she was extricated, she was transported by ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center with hip pain and other unspecified injuries. According to the report, there was a noticeable odor of marijuana coming from Billings' vehicle and he showed noticeable indicators of impairment. He told officers he believed he was in Beaverton and was supposed to be picking up a friend from Tigard. He also stated that he was traveling at 75 miles per hour. Both vehicles sustained heavy front-end damage from the crash and were towed. Timothy Billings was cleared by medical staff at the hospital and then lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 3rd-Degree Assault, Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances, Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangering.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:28AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Selma Felon for Weapons after He Returned to Foreclosure
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a Selma man for a weapons crime after he trespassed on a foreclosed property near Lake Selmac this week. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 47-year-old Bohdan Hayes Robertson in the 500-block of Lakeshore Drive around midday Monday. Deputies said a real estate agent called 9-1-1 to report that Robertson had returned to the property after it was foreclosed upon and he had been legally evicted. They said the man broke back into the residence and was living there with his dogs. Upon arrival, deputies were able to get Robertson to exit the home through the window he broke to get inside. The rest of the windows and doors had been boarded up. He is a convicted felon who was found to be in possession of a gun. Bohdan Robertson was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where he was lodged for Felon in Possession of a Firearm and 1st-Degree Criminal Trespass. The gun was seized as evidence while the dogs were picked up by Animal Control and taken to the Animal Shelter.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:19AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Jailed CJ Man for Weapons Violations & Warrant after Selma Traffic Stop
The Oregon State Police jailed a Cave Junction man for weapons violations and an outstanding warrant following a traffic stop on Redwood Highway in Selma. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Toyota Avalon driven by 37-year-old Edward Thomas Burke, III, near milepost 20 of US Highway 199 on Monday afternoon. Troopers said they stopped Burke for traffic violations and discovered that he was wanted on a local bench warrant for failing to appear in court. During contact with the man, officers developed probable cause that there was a firearm in the vehicle and that he was a convicted felon. According to OSP, a loaded firearm and ammunition were located in the vehicle. They were seized as evidence and Burke was placed into custody. Edward Burke was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant along with charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Felon in Possession of a Weapon. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Jail Inmate Served with Eagle Point Police Felony Warrant
A Josephine County Jail inmate already being held for serious criminal allegations is facing even more after he was served with a warrant early yesterday. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies served 31-year-old Chance Vaughn-Edward Kersten with a warrant issued by the Eagle Point Police Department on Tuesday at 12:35 a.m.. Deputies said the Eagle Point warrant charged Kersten with failing to appear in court for Felony Identity Theft. The latest charge seems quite familiar. Chance Kersten was already in custody for local crimes of Felony Aggravated Identity Theft, Felony Identity Theft, Felony 1st-Degree Theft and Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle. He remains in custody without any scheduled bail.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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BCC Expected to Adopt Amendment to Rural Code for New Homes in Forest
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the second reading of an amendment to the Rural Land Development Code during its weekly business session this morning. Following a second public hearing, the Board will consider the second reading and adoption of an ordinance that amends the development code for wildfire and emergency safety standards and criteria for new dwellings. The amendment drops the requirement for developers to acquire fire protection from a private provider before receiving a building permit for homes in forest commercial and woodlot zones. In other business, there will be a Ground Water Presentation from Kevin Gill. The Consent Calendar contains an appointment to the Josephine County Elected Officials Compensation Committee. Today's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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National Weather Service Posts Winter Storm Warning and Advisory for SW Oregon Region
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The National Weather Service has upgraded a Winter Storm Watch for southwest Oregon to a Winter Storm Warning above 2,500 feet as well as a Winter Weather Advisory above 1,500 feet. The Winter Storm Warning for Jackson, Josephine, eastern Curry and eastern Douglas counties runs from 4 p.m. today through 4 a.m. Friday. The Winter Weather Advisory for the region runs from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. Heavy snow is expected above 2,500 feet, with total snow accumulations of six to nine inches. There will be over a foot of snow in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and Douglas County foothills. Winds are expected to gust as high as 60 miles per hour. Snow is expected above 1,500 feet, with total accumulations of one to three inches possible and up to six inches above 2,000 feet. Winds could gust up to 30 miles per hour. The Winter Storm Warning includes the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, the Tiller-Trail Highway and portions of Highway 138. The Winter Weather Advisory includes portions of Interstate 5 north of Grants Pass, Hayes Hill Summit, and Highways 199, 138 and 42 near Camas Mountain. Affected communities may include Cave Junction, Selma, O'Brien and Glendale. Travel is strongly discouraged because of dangerous driving conditions.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:10AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Downtown Welcome Center Closing for Renovation Project This Friday
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The Downtown Welcome Center in Grants Pass will be closed for renovations and moving to a temporary location on Friday, March 1st. The temporary location is across 6th Street at 138 SE G Street inside the mall of shops. The phone number remains the same -- (541)-476-7574. The remodel is expected to last through September and the public restroom will be closed during the renovation. There are two Portland Loo public restrooms in the Beaver parking lot at 7th and G streets and in the Osprey parking lot at 5th and H. The renovation includes the installation of three exterior-facing ADA-accessible restrooms and exterior modifications including restoring the look of the original colonial building. The project also includes landscape and patio improvements to remove trip hazards and improve the functionality of the exterior space as well as interior modifications and reconfiguring the offices to allow for additional staffing. The Grants Pass City Council invested considerable time choosing options for both the interior and exterior features for the existing Welcome Center building, which had several structural and cosmetic issues.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:02AM by Sam Marsh
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Sheriff's "Team Belly Floppers" to Participate in 16th Annual Southern Oregon Polar Plunge
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Members of the Josephine County Sheriff's Office will be plunging for a purpose this weekend to support Special Olympics Oregon athletes. For "Team Belly Floppers," this has become one of their favorite events supporting one of their favorite organizations. Last year, the team raised $4,200 for Special Olympics. This year, they've upped their goal to $7,500. To donate, please visit "support.soor.org/team/534673." Hundreds of people across the Rogue Valley will don their costumes, work uniforms or swimming attire and jump into an unheated outdoor pool to make a splash for Special Olympics on Saturday at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford. It's the 16th Annual Southern Oregon Polar Plunge. The fundraising event -- when participants raise at least $50 to take the plunge -- opens with registration at 9 a.m., with teams hitting the water at 11. All proceeds benefit Special Olympics Oregon athletes by providing uniforms, sports equipment, health and wellness programs, and year-round sports training for more than 5,000 "special" athletes across the state.
Posted on 2/28/24 6:00AM by Sam Marsh
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