Local News

OHA Lifts Recreational Use Health Advisory for Galesville Reservoir near Azalea
The Oregon Health Authority has lifted the recreational use health advisory issued for Galesville Reservoir in southern Douglas County. OHA had issued the advisory on June 26th. Water monitoring has confirmed that the level of cyanotoxins in the Azalea-area reservoir is now below recreational guideline values for people. The state agency advises recreational visitors to continue watching out for signs of cyanobacteria blooms as blooms can develop and disappear on any water body at any time during favorable blood conditions. People should be aware that only a fraction of water bodies in Oregon are monitored for blooms and toxins, so it's important they become familiar with signs of a bloom, exposures and symptoms by visiting OHA's Cyanobacteria Harmful Algae Bloom website at "healthoregon.org/hab." When recreating, people -- especially small children and pets -- should be kept away from areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick-like paint, pea-green or blue-green, or if they notice thick brownish-red mats or bright-green clumps suspended in the water.
Posted on 7/1/23 5:22AM by Chuck Benson

Medford BLM District Joins ODF in Increasing Local Fire Danger Level to High
The Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management has joined the Oregon Department of Forestry today in raising the local fire danger level to "high." As of 12:01 this morning, certain activities on BLM-managed lands in Josephine and Jackson counties will be restricted to prevent human-caused fires and reduce wildfire potential. Starting today, campfires will only be allowed at the Hyatt Lake Campground and the lower section of the Rogue River below the high-water mark. In all other areas, visitors can use portable stoves that use liquefied or bottled fuels. Otherwise, campfires or any other type of open fire -- including the use of charcoal briquettes -- is prohibited. In addition, using a chain saw or other equipment with internal combustion engines for felling, bucking, skidding, wood-cutting or any other operation is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.. A firewatch of at least one hour is required following the use of a saw. Welding or operating a torch with an open flame is also prohibited between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
Posted on 7/1/23 5:20AM by Chuck Benson

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Provides Update on Fire Season Thru June
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has had 20 fires that burned a total of four acres so far this season. Forest officials said the most recent blaze was a holdover lighting fire on Brown Mountain located on the High Cascades Ranger District that was corralled at 1/2-acre. Crews will continue to work the Brown Fire for the next few days until it is declared completely out. In preparation for triple-digit heat this holiday weekend, the local forest has increased fire and law enforcement presence. They have 18 engines, two 20-person initial attack crews, one wildland fire module, two 10-person suppression modules, one bulldozer, two falling modules, miscellaneous overhead, the Siskiyou Rappel Crew, one fixed-wing reconnaissance plane and one air attack plane with one heavy helicopter arriving today. Over the holiday weekend, citizens are reminded that no fireworks are allowed on public lands. Be extra careful when towing trailers and avoid parking over dry vegetation.
Posted on 7/1/23 5:18AM by Chuck Benson

Oregon DEQ Issued 16 Penalties for More than $256K for Violations in May
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued 16 penalties totaling more than $256,000 in May for various violations including five in the southwest part of the state. Fines ranged from $1,050 to $42,392. Alleged violations included companies failing to minimize pollution from construction and industrial stormwater, cities failing to meet water pollution limits, a university failing to test its spill prevention equipment, and an individual operating a waste disposal site without a permit. Locally, West Coast Reclamation of Jacksonville was fined $17,873, Central Pipeline of Central Point was fined $9,444 and Diamond Properties Oregon of Selma was fined $7,309 -- all for stormwater violations. In Douglas County, Frankie J. Hamilton of Riddle was fined $33,984 for a solid waste violation and the Fred Wahl Marine Construction of Reedsport was fined $12,709 for a stormwater violation. Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines to the state treasury or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project.
Posted on 7/1/23 5:16AM by Chuck Benson
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IMET Raided 4 Black Market Cannabis Growing Operations in Jackson County
The Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) raided four black-market cannabis growing operations in Jackson County over the last month. Overall, IMET detectives seized approximately 11,500 marijuana plants on four separate properties near Ashland, Sams Valley, Jacksonville, and Wimer, but investigators don't believe the grows are connected. IMET and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant this week in the 10,900-block of Ashland-Climax Road north of Ashland. Detectives discovered 22 greenhouses with about 6,800 illegal cannabis plants. There was no one at the scene, so no arrests were made. There was no licensing in place for the property. IMET served another search warrant on May 25th in the 19,300-block of East Evans Creek Road near Sams Valley. Detectives discovered three greenhouses with more than 1,200 illegal cannabis plants. There was no licensing in place. IMET served a third search warrant in the 100-block of Hamilton Road near Jacksonville on May 26th. A total of 1,163 marijuana plants were discovered. A man ran from law enforcement, but was apprehended a few minutes later. He was identified as 25-year-old Daniel Nava-Valdez and he was lodged at the Jackson County Jail for Unlawful Manufacture and Possession of Marijuana as well as Interfering with a Peace Officer. Detectives served a fourth search warrant in the 15,600-block of East Evans Creek Road near Wimer on June 2nd. At the unlicensed grow, IMET discovered around 2,250 marijuana plants. Multiple subjects were on scene and charges are pending a review by the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.
Posted on 7/1/23 5:15AM by Chuck Benson
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Oregon Department of Forestry Increasing Fire Danger Level to "High" Saturday
With a Heat Advisory through Independence Day and vegetation drying out, the Oregon Department of Forestry has announced it will increase the fire danger level tomorrow in Josephine and Jackson counties. On Saturday at 12:01 a.m., the fire danger level on lands protected by ODF in its Southwest District will increase to "high" and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will increase to "2." The primary difference between current prevention restrictions and those that begin Saturday affects the public use of power-driven equipment such as chain saws, mowers, weed-eaters, and the cutting, grinding and welding of metal. The use of such equipment will be prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.. This does not apply to the mowing of green grass or cultivation of agriculture. Other fire prevention regulations that will remain in effect include no outdoor debris burning, no fireworks within 1/8th of a mile of ODF-protected lands, and no exploding targets or tracer ammunition or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge. Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds. Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads. Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roadways, in boats on the water or other specifically designated locations. IFPL 2 is a limited shutdown, which is entirely separate from all other public fire restrictions. Industrial and commercial equipment can operate on ODF-protected lands after 8 p.m. and before 1 p.m. daily. For more information about local fire season public restrictions, call the Grants Pass ODF Unit at (541)-474-3152 or the Medford ODF Unit at (541)-664-3328. Fire season information is also available at "swofire.com."
Posted on 6/30/23 11:46AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Snared Nationwide Fugitive after Investigation into Jet Boat Pilot Fight
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office apprehended a nationwide fugitive late last night when they arrested a man for assaulting another man. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 42-year-old Larry Joseph DeRousse, Jr., at a residence on Nursery Lane in the Cloverlawn area of south Grants Pass on Thursday shortly before midnight. Deputies said they contacted DeRousse in connection with a fight between two jet boat pilots that occurred earlier in the day in the 2300-block of Pickett Creek Road. They said the suspect attacked the other man who sought treatment for fairly minor injuries at Three Rivers Medical Center. The victim wanted to press charges. During the subsequent investigation, deputies learned that DeRousse was wanted on a nationwide theft warrant out of Paducah, Kentucky. The Sheriff's Office contacted the Paducah Police Department to confirm the extraditable warrant. Further investigation revealed that DeRousse was a former professional MMA fighter who competed under the name "Booker." Larry DeRousse was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the fugitive warrant along with a charge of 4th-Degree Assault. He was being held without bail and faces extradition proceedings that will likely send him back to Kentucky.
Posted on 6/30/23 11:43AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Investigation Led to Arrest of Local Felon for Multiple Crimes
A Grants Pass Police Department investigation has resulted in the arrest of a local felon for multiple crimes. According to the Police Department, 35-year-old Daniel Craig Hlavinka, Jr., was arrested Thursday morning at the Josephine County Community Corrections Office on NW 4th Street. Police said Hlavinka committed a vehicle theft on June 23rd and he moved the stolen vehicle to a parking lot on SE K Street where he returned a short time later and stole a jack as well as all four tires off the vehicle. The incident was captured on video surveillance from businesses in that area. With assistance from Community Corrections, Hlavinka was placed into custody. He reportedly admitted to the crime and directed officers to a Monument Drive property where the stolen tires could be recovered. Daniel Hlavinka was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle and 2nd-Degree Theft as well as the resulting Felony Parole Violation. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 6/30/23 11:42AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Not Registering as Sex Offender & Probation Violation
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for violating terms of his probation by failing to register as a convicted sex offender late yesterday. The Police Department reports officers arrested 33-year-old Brandon Alexander Lorenzi after responding to a domestic disturbance in the 900-block of Rogue River Highway on Thursday around 4 p.m.. Police said they were alerted to an incident in which a man and woman were sitting in a vehicle at that location screaming at each other. Upon contact, both parties denied any physical altercation and said their disagreement was verbal in nature. A routine records check revealed that Lorenzi was out of compliance with his sex offender registration. He stated that he registered with the Oregon State Police in April, but they had no record of it. It was determined that he had not registered with OSP since June 2021, so he was placed into custody. Brandon Lorenzi was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and the resulting Probation Violation. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 6/30/23 11:40AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Incarcerated Man for Frightening Workers at North City Gas Station
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for frightening employees at a north-city gas station last night. The Police Department reports officers responded to a disturbance at the Chevron station on NE Morgan Lane around 8 p.m. Thursday. Police said 53-year-old Michael Maxwell was believed to be under the influence of an unknown substance when he lunged at two gas station employees. The workers were not hurt and they actually requested a welfare check on the drug-fueled man. Upon arrival, officers contacted Maxwell who was hostile and got into a fighting stance with his fists raised. He was eventually subdued at the point of a Taser and placed into custody without further incident. Michael Maxwell was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct.
Posted on 6/30/23 11:39AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Collared Theft Suspect after Spotting Him Wearing Stolen Clothing
Grants Pass Police arrested a theft suspect yesterday after he was spotted wearing some of the stolen clothing. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to a theft complaint at Rita's Live Love Shop on SE 6th Street on Thursday shortly after 1 p.m.. Police said 41-year-old Daniel Jack Brabham Freitas stole two pairs of shorts valued at $74 from Rita's by exiting the business without paying. They said he was located in the downtown area an hour later and wearing a pair of the stolen shorts. Freitas reportedly told officers he had purchased the shorts from the Booth Street Thrift Store, so they checked and confirmed the shorts were not from their store. Daniel Freitas was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 3rd-Degree Theft.
Posted on 6/30/23 11:36AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Cited Man for Drug Possession after Suspicious Activity Call
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for drug possession while investigating a car-clouting incident on Rogue River Highway early yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a report of suspicious activity in the 1,000-block of Highway 99 on Thursday shortly before 2 a.m.. Police said a caller reported hearing doors slam and a vehicle alarm going off on a Jeep that was parked at that location after its owner arrested earlier in the week. No one was seen inside the SUV, but the caller said a male subject was standing close to the vehicle as well as another nearby vehicle that had been abandoned. Officers arrived on scene and contacted a man they identified as Alic Hendrickson who denied entering the Jeep. He consented to a search and his backpack contained a small amount of methamphetamine along with a 1911-style BB gun in a black case. If the Jeep owner reports a stolen BB gun, this case can be reopened. Hendrickson was charged with Methamphetamine Possession. Per Measure 110, he was cited to appear in court and then released for the narcotics violation.
Posted on 6/30/23 11:34AM by Sam Marsh
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