Local News

GP Police Snared Woman for Stealing Wood from Bi-Mart Due to Cold Weather
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for stealing merchandise from Bi-Mart after jumping a fence into a secured area of the store early yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers contacted 27-year-old Ivana Lynn Balcom during a patrol check at the store on Redwood Highway on Monday at about 3:35 a.m.. Police said they noticed several pieces of firewood scattered about along with three bags of wood chips. One bag had been ripped open by Balcom and the woodchips were in a pile. The suspect advised she took the items out of the fenced area so she could build a warming fire. Officers advised Balcom she was not allowed to be accessing secured areas and opening property that belonged to Bi-Mart. She reportedly told them she did it because she was cold. The suspect had destroyed the bag of woodchips and the store could not resell the item valued at about $10. Ivana Balcom was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief and 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass. Officers said they were unable to contact anyone from Bi-Mart, but they left a business card with the case number.
Posted on 11/14/23 11:00AM by Sam Marsh
 

OSP Cited Man for Warrant and Driving Violations after Redwood Highway Stop
The Oregon State Police arrested a man on an outstanding warrant after a traffic stop on Redwood Highway west of Grants Pass early yesterday. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Toyota Sienna driven by 35-year-old Benjamin Earl Buerstetta near milepost 4 of US Highway 199 on Monday at 9:51 a.m.. Troopers said they stopped Buerstetta for a traffic violation and discovered that he had a valid warrant for his arrest. They also learned that he was driving with a suspended license and no insurance. Buerstetta was cited to appear in court for the warrant, Driving While Suspended and No Insurance before being released. His minivan was impounded and towed to Grants Pass.
Posted on 11/14/23 10:58AM by Sam Marsh
 

GP Motorist Injured after Vehicle Left Redwood Highway in Jerome Prairie Area
A Grants Pass woman was injured late yesterday when her vehicle left Redwood Highway in the Jerome Prairie area. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the single-vehicle crash on US Highway 199 near Midway Avenue on Monday around 5:45 p.m.. Troopers said 67-year-old Vera Santa was driving a Kia Sedona in the dark without using her headlights when the wreck occurred. They said multiple complaints from fellow motorists had been received just prior to the crash. According to OSP, Santa said she lost control of the minivan, crossed all four lanes of the highway and through a wooded area before coming to rest on a parallel street. She was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries. Her damaged minivan was towed. Following an investigation, Santa was either cited or warned for a traffic violation. OSP was assisted by Rural Metro Fire Department and American Medical Response.
Posted on 11/14/23 10:40AM by Sam Marsh
 

OSP Nabbed Motorist for Impaired Driving after US Highway 199 Stop in Selma
The Oregon State Police arrested a motorist for impaired driving after a traffic stop on Redwood Highway in Selma last night. According to OSP, troopers pulled over a Ford F-150 driven by 63-year-old Susan Wanda Bryant-Grissom of Selma near milepost 20 of US Highway 199 on Monday shortly before 7 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Bryant-Grissom for traffic violations and she showed signs of impairment. After performing poorly in field sobriety tests, she was taken to the Grants Pass Sobering Center where she provided a breath sample that was nearly twice the legal driving limit. Susan Bryant-Grissom was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and lodged at the Sobering Center. A family member arrived to take possession of her pickup.
Posted on 11/14/23 10:38AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Makes 3rd Arrest in Three-Month-Old Shooting Death of Grants Pass Man
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The Oregon State Police has made another arrest in connection with the shooting death of a Grants Pass man that occurred more than three months ago. Josephine County Jail records show 19-year-old Alex Jaden Mersino was arrested and lodged last Friday night. One week earlier, 24-year-old Julian Cendejas and 23-year-old Isaac Simonian were jailed for the death of 35-year-old Dustin Allen Carstensen on August 4th. Cendejas, Simonian and Mersino are all being held on charges of Murder in the 2nd-Degree, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Criminal Conspiracy. OSP has not provided any additional details of its investigation, which is ongoing. The Josephine County District Attorney's Office has taken the unusual step of having probable cause affidavits sealed until the investigation is completed. Carstensen's death notice in the local newspaper announced it occurred on August 4th in Grants Pass, with no other information available. Court records indicate the homicide is the ninth to occur in Josephine County in 2023.
Posted on 11/14/23 6:26AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Woman Sunday for Downtown Rampage Using Jack Handle
Grants Pass Police jailed a woman for a weekend rampage in which she used the handle to a hydraulic jack to threaten motorists and break a restaurant window in the downtown area. The Police Department reports officers arrested 33-year-old Morgan Delin Weber for the incident that started at Debo Park on Sunday at 1:03 p.m.. Police said Weber was identified by multiple callers as a disorderly female near the park on SW G Street who was in and out of traffic and striking vehicles with the jack handle. No damage to any vehicles was reported, but the suspect's behavior caused public alarm as she broke out a large window at Climate City Brewing. Weber actively resisted being placed into custody by pulling away from officers and attempting to slip out of handcuffs while spitting and blowing mucous out of her nose. A spit hood was applied to prevent exposure to officers and the public. During transport to the Josephine County Jail, Weber struck her head against the divider in the patrol vehicle multiple times while using what was described as "colorful language." Her corrections officer requested she be placed on a detainer. Morgan Weber was booked into jail on charges including Felony 1st-Degree Criminal Mischief, Resisting Arrest, Disorderly Conduct and the resulting Parole Violation related to convictions for Harassment, Disorderly Conduct and Escape.
Posted on 11/14/23 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Man for Harassing TRMC Staff Treating Him after Crash
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for physically harassing staff members at Three Rivers Medical Center who were treating him for injuries sustained in a weekend motor vehicle accident. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 20-year-old Ulric Hill for the incident at the hospital on SW Ramsey Avenue on Monday around 1:30 a.m.. Police said Hill was transported to Three Rivers by ambulance as a result of a crash that occurred in Josephine County. While at the hospital, they said he became very agitated, hostile and aggressive with staff members. The suspect reportedly showed signs of impairment and blood-alcohol results were sent to the Sheriff's Office. Officers located Hill in imaging where he leaped from the examination table and slapped a security guard. He was escorted back to his room where staff assisted officers with securing him in restraints due to his hostility and violent behavior. He also reportedly struck a charge nurse, causing a small cut with limited bleeding. Ulric Hill was charged with two counts of Physical Harassment and one count of Minor in Possession of Alcohol by Consumption. He was cited to appear in court and left in the care of medical staff.
Posted on 11/14/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Pair for Theft, Weapon & Drug Crimes at Home Depot
Grants Pass Police arrested two people for theft, weapon and drug charges after a shoplifting incident at Home Depot last weekend. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a theft complaint at the store on NE Mill Street on Saturday night. Police said 33-year-old Samantha Jean Brown was identified as a suspect who passed all points of sale with over $100 worth of merchandise and failed to pay for the items. They said she admitted to the theft and other stolen goods were found in her vehicle along with drug paraphernalia. Officers said 29-year-old Eric Bryan Weldon was associated with a theft at Home Depot. During a consent search, he was found to be in possession of two stolen packs of batteries concealed in his shirt. He admitted to stealing the batteries as well as some lights hidden in the wheel well of a vehicle. He was also found to be in possession of a dagger and he was confirmed to be a convicted felon. Brown was lodged in jail for 2nd-Degree Theft and the narcotics violation. Weldon was lodged in jail for Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon and 3rd-Degree Theft. All the stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to Home Depot. The dagger was seized as evidence and the drug paraphernalia was destroyed.
Posted on 11/14/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Fair Board Holding Final Meeting of 2024 with Full Agenda
The Josephine County Fair Board will hold its final meeting of the year this evening with plenty of business on the agenda. Following the public comment period, Fair Board members will hear reports from the Auction, Facilities and Capital Improvement committees as well as a report on "Friends of the Fairgrounds." Fairgrounds Manager Tamra Martin's report will include updates on the grounds and finances along with the 2024 Josephine County Fair from August 7th-11th. New business items include Commercial Building Usage and Upcoming Events such as the Last Minute Gift Sale on December 16th and Santa's Workshop. Also on the agenda are Board Elections for Chair, Vice Chair and Friends of the Fairgrounds Liaison. The next meeting is set for January 16, 2024. Tonight's Fair Board meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Fairgrounds Floral Building.
Posted on 11/14/23 6:02AM by Sam Marsh
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City Council Okays Citizen Survey to Identify Preferred GP Public Safety Funding Options
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Less than a week after Grants Pass voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of a local option levy to help pay for public safety services, the City Council decided to mail out a survey to citizens to identify their preferences for additional funding. During its weekly workshop on Monday, the Council heard from City Manager Aaron Cubic, Police Chief Warren Hensman, Fire Chief Randy DeLonge and City Finance Director JC Rowley. Cubic said the City of Grants Pass is at "a critical point" in maintaining service levels for the police and fire departments. He said each department is experiencing fatigue and frustration while voicing the need for additional personnel. Chief Hensman said his department feels like it's on an island as the only police agency in Josephine County providing 24/7 service. Finance Director Rowley said it will take an estimated $4.5 million in additional funding to maintain current service levels, with $3 million more needed to increase fire and police personnel. The City Council has identified a total of six options for additional funding: a public safety utility fee, a food & beverage sales tax, a citywide retail sales tax, a combination of the utility fee and food & beverage tax, a combination of the utility fee and retail tax, or a significant reduction of police and fire services. The Council decided to mail out a citizen survey as soon as possible to identify public preferences among the listed options.
Posted on 11/14/23 5:58AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Must Comply with House Bill 3124 When Storing Homeless Property
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The Grants Pass Police Department continues to comply with House Bill 3124 when dealing with the unhoused population residing in city parks. The law -- which became effective in September 2021 -- requires cities to provide for storage and care of property taken from known and unknown property owners. Grants Pass police officers must retain property removed from an established campsite occupied by a known individual. The property must be kept in storage for 30 days. Found or abandoned property with apparent value or use must be retained for 90 days. Police officials said storage space within the city is challenging to find. They currently use space usually occupied by equipment at the City Shops. Due to the limited space and continued property being brought in, the need to find additional storage options has become critical. Storage locations must, by law, be located within the jurisdiction from which it was removed. Options being considered so far include the now vacant A-1 Exterminators building next to the police department, Conex boxes behind the A-1 building or the City Shops.
Posted on 11/14/23 5:55AM by Sam Marsh
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GP School District Announces Winners from Annual Holiday Card Design Contest
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The results are in -- the Grants Pass School District has announced the winners of the 2023 Holiday Card Contest. District-level winners in the annual competition are Hudson A. from Highland Elementary School in the K-1 division, Hayden K. from Riverside in the 2-3 division, and a tie in the 4-5 division between Canaan W. of Allen Dale and Juliette W. of Highland. Zayne J. of South Middle School earned first place in the 6-8 division and Peerada G. of Grants Pass High School grabbed top honors in the 9-12 division. The People's Choice winners were Canaan W. of Allen Dale and Peerada G. of GPHS. The Grants Pass School Board will recognize the winners at its meeting today. Nearly 700 people voted for their favorite holiday card designs, which are now heading to the printer. If you would like to purchase holiday cards from this contest, please visit "parentsquare.com/feeds/26062122."
Posted on 11/14/23 5:53AM by Sam Marsh
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