Local News

BCC will Hold First Public Hearing on Ordinance to Regulate Public Hazards
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a public hearing regarding hazardous conditions on public property during its weekly business session this morning. The hearing is on the first reading of an ordinance that would amend Josephine County Code by adding a chapter on public hazards. The Commissioners -- as the Road Authority for Josephine County -- wish to regulate and control the stopping, standing and parking of vehicles on public roads and rights of way. If approved, a second reading and likely approval of the ordinance would occur August 9th. A second public hearing will be held on a Business Oregon Grant Closeout for Community Development Block Grant funding to improve public facilities and housing improvements primarily for people with low and moderate incomes. Under Administrative Actions, the Board will consider an order approving the sale of county-owned land on Pine Cone Drive that did not sell during the Sheriff's Auction held in September 2022. As part of the Consent Calendar, the Commissioners are expected to approve an order authorizing the execution of a permanent sewer line easement in the City of Cave Junction. Today's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 7/26/23 6:41AM by Sam Marsh
 

Former Principal at GPHS Becomes Human Resources Director for District 7
The former principal at Grants Pass High School is now the Human Resources Director for District 7. Ryan Thompson has been with the Grants Pass School District since 1995 as a teacher, mentor and principal. He has worked at Riverside, Parkside, Allen Dale and GPHS. Thompson said he loves seeing the long-term payoff of what education can do. He said it's rewarding to see students who once struggled find their way, develop their skills, increase their confidence, and find a career and path to follow. Thompson enjoys spending time with family, watching football, gardening, hiking, crabbing, rafting and cooking. His first job was working for the City of Cottage Grove doing minor road repairs and painting curbs and streets. His youngest daughter is the 16th member of the family to attend Oregon State University. Congratulations Mr. Thompson for the move to District 7 Administration!
Posted on 7/26/23 6:39AM by Sam Marsh
 

Flat Fire Grows to More Than 23,000 Acres and Additional Resources Brought in for Battle
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The Flat Fire has grown to more than 23,000 acres and wildfire managers have brought in more people to help battle the blaze. Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3 reported this morning that the Flat Fire was 23,104 acres and containment remained at only 3%. The wildfire is now staffed with a total of 1,593 personnel including 37 hand crews backed by 46 engines, 30 water tenders, eight bulldozers, eight brush-clearing masticators and 11 helicopters. Crews have been successful bringing fire down Wildhorse Road on the western side of the blaze. A combination of burnout operations and mop-up will take place on the northern flank of the fire. On the west and northeast sides, alternate fire lines are being established as a protective measure if primary control lines do not hold. Managers are monitoring a small spot fire with minimal behavior off the southeast edge near the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Structure protection groups will remain in the communities of Agness, Oak Flat and Spud Road. On north side of the fire near those communities, crews will continue to mop up and secure the edge of the fire line. The Coos Forest Protective Association and South Coast Lumber Company are establishing alternate control lines west of Forest Road 3318. Unstaffed Aerial Systems (drones) and helicopters will be assisting with firing operations. Managers continue to look at options to suppress the wildfire directly and keep it as small as possible.
Posted on 7/26/23 6:29AM by Sam Marsh
 

Citizen Group Seeking to Recall GP Mayor Turns in 4,301 Signatures to City Recorder
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A group of citizens attempting to oust Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol claims they have gathered more than 4,300 signatures on a recall petition that they have turned in to the City Recorder. In April, City Recorder Karen Frerk stated that 2,462 verified signatures were required to initiate the recall process. Chief petitioner Suzanne Barber said individuals who signed the recall petition were from every political party in Josephine County including Republican, Democrat, Independent and unaffiliated voters. She said the "diverse group of volunteers came together and spent 90 days collecting signatures to support a recall of the mayor and to seek new city leadership." Barber submitted the collected signatures to Frerk on Tuesday. The City Recorder is responsible for sending the signatures to the Josephine County Clerk for final verification. If the County Clerk confirms that the required number of verified signatures has been obtained, Mayor Bristol will be given five days to respond. According to Oregon election laws, she has two options: resign or challenge the results of the petition. The recall election would occur within 35 days of signature verification.
Posted on 7/26/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Employment Rose by 220 Jobs in June Led by Leisure & Hospitality
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Total payroll employment in Josephine County rose by an estimated 220 jobs in June led by the leisure & hospitality industry. The Oregon Employment Department reports there were 34,488 people working in Josephine County last month for a seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 4.9%, which was down from 5.2% in May and down from 5.3% in June 2022. Leisure & hospitality had the largest monthly gain with 80 jobs. Private education & health services, manufacturing and construction also added jobs over the month. Employment slipped by 20 jobs in wholesale trade, while government employment rose by 50 jobs in June. Over the past year, payroll employment in Josephine County fell by 80 jobs, a small loss of 0.3%. Industries adding jobs since June 2022 included private education & health services (+340), other services (+110) and construction (+60). Industries losing jobs over the year were leisure & hospitality (-250), retail trade (-170), manufacturing (-140), wholesale trade (-100), and professional & business services (-70). Government employment rose by 130 jobs over the past year.
Posted on 7/26/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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Commission to Hold 1st Public Hearing on Ordinance to Regulate Public Hazards
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a public hearing regarding hazardous conditions on public property during its weekly business session tomorrow morning. The hearing is on the first reading of an ordinance that would amend Josephine County Code by adding a chapter on public hazards. The Commissioners -- as the Road Authority for Josephine County -- wish to regulate and control the stopping, standing and parking of vehicles on public roads and rights of way. If approved, a second reading and likely approval of the ordinance would occur August 9th. A second public hearing will be held on a Business Oregon Grant Closeout for Community Development Block Grant funding to improve public facilities and housing improvements primarily for people with low and moderate incomes. Under Administrative Actions, the Board will consider an order approving the sale of county-owned land on Pine Cone Drive that did not sell during the Sheriff's Auction held in September 2022. The property would be sold by land-sale contract. As part of the Consent Calendar, the Commissioners are expected to approve an order authorizing the execution of a permanent sewer line easement in the City of Cave Junction. Wednesday's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 7/25/23 1:28PM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Man Jailed after Violent Incident on Redwood Highway in GP
A Josephine County man is heading to the Oregon State Hospital for an evaluation following a violent incident that occurred in south Grants Pass yesterday. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers pulled over a pickup driven by 47-year-old Thomas Charles Rockholt on Redwood Highway near Bi-Mart on Monday at about 1:30 p.m.. Police said Rockholt had committed a traffic violation and was visibly upset, gnashing his teeth and screaming at an ambulance that was transporting a female subject to Three Rivers Medical Center on a Peace Officer Mental Hold. He had initially refused to yield to a traffic stop at the South Y intersection and was hostile to officers, tensing his arms and putting his hands into a fist. An empty gun holster was secured underneath the dash, so the suspect was detained at gunpoint. Rockholt was ordered out of the truck and he resisted exiting the vehicle. He tried to kick officers after being placed in handcuffs and was taken to the ground where he grabbed an officer's genitals. A focused blow was delivered to the back of his head and he was subdued. Thomas Rockholt was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for five counts of Felony Assault on a Police Officer, two counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and single counts of Resisting Arrest and 3rd-Degree Sex Abuse. He has since been charged with 2nd-Degree Arson and 2nd-Degree Abuse of a Corpse, but no further information has been provided by law enforcement.
Posted on 7/25/23 11:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Arrested Woman for Violating Court Order and DUII at Merlin Store
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a woman for multiple crimes including impaired driving after she violated a court order by visiting a protected party at a store in downtown Merlin. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies responded to a restraining order violation involving 46-year-old Yolanda Rae Silva at Li'l Pantry Market & Deli around 10:45 a.m. Monday. Deputies said a female employee at the store had a valid restraining order against Silva, but she was seen driving a Honda minivan in the parking lot of the business. They said one of the stipulations of the court order prohibits Silva from contacting the other woman at her place of employment. Upon contact with Silva, deputies smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from her breath. The suspect consented to and performed poorly in field sobriety tests, so she was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where she provided a breath sample that was twice the legal driving limit. Yolanda Silva was booked into jail for Contempt of Court/Restraining Order Violation, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Reckless Driving.
Posted on 7/25/23 11:17AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Nabbed Woman for Stealing Merchandise from Walmart
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for stealing merchandise from Walmart last weekend. The Police Department reports officers were alerted to a shoplifting complaint at the big box retailer on NE Terry Lane on Sunday shortly after 7 a.m.. Police said 34-year-old Mara Johnson concealed $79 worth of items including clothing and electronics, then exited the store without paying for them. She was detained by loss prevention and held until officers arrived on scene. Johnson was charged with 3rd-Degree Theft and lodged at the nearby Josephine County Jail.
Posted on 7/25/23 11:15AM by Sam Marsh
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Occupant of Subaru on Flatbed Trailer Hurt When Car Rolled Off near Merlin
The occupant of a car being hauled on a flatbed trailer was injured when the vehicle rolled off the trailer in the Merlin area last weekend. On Sunday at 6:02 p.m., Rural Metro Fire Department, American Medical Response and the Josephine County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the incident in the 500-block of Galice Road. Rural Metro officials said the towing vehicle -- a Ford F-150 pickup -- lost control of the trailer containing the Subaru sedan that was minimally secured. The vehicle came to rest upside-down in the middle of Galice Road, blocking traffic. The female occupant was injured, but she denied medical transport to the hospital. A Sheriff's Office investigation determined that 67-year-old Clifford Mazza was driving the pickup towing the trailer at the time of the accident. He told deputies he was performing a repossession for a friend and when he left the residence a subject began following him. He stated he believed the subject bumped into the trailer, causing it to fishtail which resulted in the mishap. Deputies said no evidence was found to corroborate Mazza's story. They said the trailer appeared to be homemade and not suited for towing a vehicle plus the car did not appear to be secured on the trailer. Mazza was found to be driving with a suspended license, so he was cited to appear in court.
Posted on 7/25/23 11:14AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Felon for Parole Violation during Patrol at Baker Park
Grants Pass Police arrested a felon for violating his post-prison supervision during a patrol check at Baker Park early yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers contacted 35-year-old Michael Wayne Cheek at the park in the 700-block of East Park Street on Monday morning. Police said Cheek was cited for Camping in a Buffer Zone, his corrections officer was contacted and he was lodged at the Josephine County Jail without bail for Felony Parole Violation. He was also trespassed from the park for 30 days. Meanwhile, Rachel Riddle was cited for Scattering Rubbish. It was her second such offense this year, so she was also trespassed from the park for 30 days.
Posted on 7/25/23 11:12AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Issued Several Citations and Excluded 5 People from City Parks
Grants Pass Police issued several citations and excluded five people from city parks on Monday. The Police Department reports the first incident occurred at 7:58 a.m. yesterday when officers cited Ashley Strempel for Unlawful Utilization of Park Space at Fruitdale Park. The second incident happened at 8:33 a.m. yesterday when officers cited Austin Cecil and Raven Baysinger for Camping in the Buffer Zone and Possession of Marijuana at Morrison Centennial Park. Dre Buetow was cited for two counts of Unlicensed Dog. All three were trespassed from the park for 30 days. The third incident took place at 11:32 a.m. when officers cited Anna Newell for Camping in a Buffer Zone at Tussing Park. It was her second citations for the same violation, so she was trespassed from the park for 30 days. A total of 17 camps were posted and an e-mail was sent to the United Community Action Network. The fourth incident occurred at 12:55 p.m. when officers returned to Tussing Park to investigate a reported buffer zone ordinance violation. No violation was found, but Gayle Hooper was contacted inside a tent with burnt foil next to her. She admitted it was fentanyl, was cited and trespassed from the park for 30 days.
Posted on 7/25/23 11:10AM by Sam Marsh
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