Local News

Josephine County SO Participating in Impaired Driving Blitz until Labor Day
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office is participating in an impaired driving enforcement campaign through Labor Day. The "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" traffic safety blitz started Friday and continues until September 4th. Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel encourages motorists to commit to sober driving each and every day. He said the Sheriff's Office is participating in the national campaign to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers. This summer, don't get burned by a DUII. Please do your part and don't drive if you're under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or narcotics.
Posted on 8/19/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh

Southwest Oregon Fire Agencies Responding Proactively to Advancing Smith River Complex
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The Oregon Department of Forestry and US Forest Service are working in close coordination to proactively plan should wildfires in the Smith River Complex burning in northern California cross into Oregon. As of Friday night, the closest fire was approximately one mile away from the border and not directly threatening Southern Oregon, but the lightning-caused wildfire complex continued to grow. The fires have the potential of impacting the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest within the next 48 hours. As a precautionary measure, the Josephine County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management have issued a Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation notice for the Illinois Valley from Rough & Ready Creek south to the California border including the community of O'Brien. Updated evacuation information is available at "rvem.org." Illinois Valley Fire Chief John Holmes said his agency and mutual aid partners are on alert and ready for structural protection at a moment's notice. He said affected residents will be updated with additional information as it becomes available and there may be some community meetings in the coming days. At last report, the Smith River Complex was a total of 12,699 acres, with structures, power transmission lines, communication sites, critical wildlife habitat, and historical and cultural resources threatened. US Highway 199 remains closed from the California border south to Gasquet. The best way to get from Southern Oregon to the Coast is Highways 42 and 42S to US Highway 101.
Posted on 8/19/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh

Additional Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Three Parts of Jackson County
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West Nile virus was detected in three mosquito samples collected on August 15th in east and south Medford as well as Phoenix. The Jackson County Vector Control District reports there have been four total West Nile virus detections in Jackson County this year. In 2022, mosquitoes tested positive for the West Nile on eight occasions, each in August or September when the virus tends to be most prevalent in Southern Oregon. Mosquitoes are collected by the Vector Control District as part of a routine surveillance program and tested using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction -- or RT-PCR. Residents are advised to take basic precautions against mosquitoes since West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. People should consult their health care providers if they experience any flu-like symptoms, especially in people over 50 years of age with underlying medical conditions. The virus also affects wildlife and domesticated farm animals. Horse owners should get their horses vaccinated for West Nile virus and horses with neurologic disease should be examined by a veterinarian. Testing is available at Oregon State University.
Posted on 8/19/23 6:11AM by Sam Marsh

Josephine County Animal Shelter Honors Volunteer and Organization with Raskin Awards
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A dedicated volunteer and an organization that connects disabled veterans with service dogs are this year's recipients of the Raskin Awards, an annual program honoring those who make significant contributions to improve animal welfare in Josephine County. Nancy Lindquist -- a lifelong animal lover and volunteer at the Josephine County Animal Shelter -- is the recipient of the 2023 individual award. She has been an active volunteer for many years, recently taking over the Toby Fund which works to provide medical assistance for animals whose caretakers cannot afford the treatments they need. Operation Rambo was awarded the 2023 organization award. It pairs disabled veterans with service dogs, giving these pets the chance to help someone in need while living a healthy and happy life. The Raskin Award was established in 2016 to recognize those individuals and organizations in the community that embody the spirit of animal welfare that the late Carl Raskin -- founder of the Josephine County Spay & Neuter Fund -- was renowned for. Learn more by visiting "josephinecounty.gov/raskin."
Posted on 8/19/23 6:09AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Captured Man Wanted on Felony Warrants during City Park Patrol
Grants Pass Police apprehended a man wanted on two local felony warrants during a city park patrol check early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers arrested 33-year-old Cody Wayne Nolen at Riverside Park on Thursday at 8:39 a.m.. Police said they spotted Nolen and knew that he was wanted on two Grants Pass felony warrants -- both for Probation Violation related to arrests for 1st-Degree Theft. He was also found to be in possession of fentanyl and a tooter, which were entered into evidence for destruction. Cody Nolen was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the no-bail warrants. He was also cited to appear in court for the narcotics violation.
Posted on 8/18/23 11:02AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Collared Local Fugitive after Williams Highway Traffic Stop near Murphy
The Oregon State Police apprehended a local fugitive last night during a traffic stop on Williams Highway near Murphy. OSP reports troopers pulled over an Acura sedan driven by 38-year-old Jordan Lee Wibbens of Glendale near milepost 6 of Highway 238 on Thursday at 10:54 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Wibbens for a traffic violation and discovered that he was wanted on a local warrant for Felony Parole Violation. He was placed into custody without incident. Wibbens was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the no-bail warrant. His vehicle was left legally parked at the scene of the traffic stop.
Posted on 8/18/23 11:00AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Apprehended Fugitive after Strange Incident in Downtown Wolf Creek
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office apprehended a local fugitive this week following an unusual incident in downtown Wolf Creek. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies arrested 27-year-old Allen Totten Behrle in connection with the incident in the 200-block of Old Highway 99 on Wednesday. Deputies said residents called 9-1-1 to report that the bridge they use to exit their property had been vandalized. The gate had been cabled with another lock through their lock and rocks had been placed on both sides of the bridge, which had been spray-painted with various symbols. The suspect was identified as Behrle and the incident location is near a vacant house that burned down recently. An investigation determined that Allen Behrle was wanted on a Grants Pass warrant for failing to appear in court for Menacing and Resisting Arrest as well as a Medford warrant for 2nd- and 3rd-Degree Criminal Mischief. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on $20,000 bail and was still in custody on Thursday.
Posted on 8/18/23 10:58AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man on Outstanding Warrant after Domestic Disturbance Call
Grants Pass Police arrested a man on an outstanding warrant after they responded to a domestic disturbance call in the northwest corner of the city early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers responded to the incident involving 35-year-old Bartholomew James Robert Lewis and a woman identified as Teresa Batts at NW Highland Avenue and Vine Street on Thursday at about 2 a.m.. Police said Lewis and Batts had been called in as a possible domestic based on screaming heard at that location. Upon contact, officers determined no crime had been committed. Police did discover, however, that Lewis was wanted on a Josephine County warrant for failing to appear in court for Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle. He was placed into custody and found to be in possession of methamphetamine. Bart Lewis was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant and he was cited for the narcotics violation.
Posted on 8/18/23 10:57AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Man for Trying to Steal from Fred Meyer & Resisting Arrest
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for trying to steal merchandise from Fred Meyer and then struggling with officers while being placed into custody yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a shoplifting call at the retailer located on the Grants Pass Parkway on Thursday at about 12:15 p.m.. Police said 40-year-old Daniel Wilfred Dawson attempted to steal over $147 worth of clothing from Fred Meyer by walking past all points of sale without paying for the items. They said he was stopped by loss prevention, but fled on foot to the nearby Grants Pass Shopping Center where he was found and arrested with some difficulty. He reportedly had threatened to knock out a store security officer. Daniel Dawson was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Theft and Resisting Arrest. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 8/18/23 10:56AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Cited GP Motorist for Causing Crash with Semi at North I-5 Interchange
The Oregon State Police cited a Grants Pass motorist for causing a crash with a commercial vehicle on Interstate 5 near the north freeway interchange yesterday. According to OSP, troopers and emergency crews responded to the two-vehicle collision in the northbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 58 on Thursday at about 2:20 p.m.. Troopers said evidence at the scene and driver statements indicated a Toyota Corolla driven by 29-year-old Skyler John Westra suffered engine failure, causing the car to drastically slow down. They said a Roseburg man was driving a Mack semi-truck pulling a trailer at freeway speeds, he was unable to stop in time and struck the rear of the car, pushing it into the guardrail and dislodging five posts. No one was seriously injured. The Toyota sustained significant damage and was towed into Grants Pass, while the semi was able to be driven away from the scene. Following an investigation, Westra was cited for Operation of an Unsafe Vehicle.
Posted on 8/18/23 10:54AM by Sam Marsh
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Medford Man Escaped Serious Injury after Colliding with Highway 238 Tree
A Medford man escaped serious injury or worse when he crashed his car into a tree off Williams Highway between Grants Pass and Murphy yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews were dispatched to the single-vehicle wreck near milepost 4 of Highway 238 on Thursday at 2:20 p.m. Troopers said 37-year-old Michael Andrew Leslie was driving a Ford Focus when he lost control of the vehicle, left the highway and hit a tree. No other vehicles were involved in the crash. According to OSP, Leslie denied medical attention and made arrangements to have his heavily-damaged car towed. No citations were issued.
Posted on 8/18/23 10:52AM by Sam Marsh
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Female Campers Trespassed from Westholm Park for Ordinance Violations
Two female campers were evicted from a Grants Pass city park for ordinance violations early yesterday. Grants Pass Police responded to Westholm Park on Thursday around 7 a.m. after receiving a complaint from a neighbor who lives on SW K Street. Police said the caller told them she was walking her dog when she noticed a tent located near the ballfield, which is a violation of city park buffer zones. Officers responded and contacted two women identified as Ashley Emerich and Ashley Hanson. Emerich was cited for Possession of a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance and Hanson was cited for Unlawful Utilization of Park Space. Both were trespassed from Westholm Park for 30 days. Police noted there were three large piles of garbage and junk covered by a trap near the park restrooms. They contacted community service officers to dispose of the debris.
Posted on 8/18/23 10:51AM by Sam Marsh
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