Local News

Emergency Agencies Team Up for Toys for Tots Program in Josephine County
If you are in the giving spirit this holiday season, the Toys for Tots program is now underway. Rural Metro Fire Department, American Medical Response and Grants Pass Fire & Rescue are teaming up with the Rogue Valley Young Marines & Marine Corps Reserves and Josephine County Toys for Tots again this year to bring a special Christmas to kids in need. You can drop off new unwrapped gifts at several locations including Rural Metro Station 1 on Williams Highway, Rural Metro Station 2 on Monument Drive, Rural Metro Station 4 on Redwood Highway, Rural Metro Station 5 on Azalea Drive, Rural Metro's Administration Office on NE 6th Street, AMR's Administration Office on NW F Street and the Parkway Fire Station on East Park Street. Additional drop-off events this year will be in front of the Grants Pass Bi-Mart today and on Saturday, December 2nd, as well as at the Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony in Grants Pass. If you want to register your child to receive a gift from Toys for Tots, please visit: "josephine-county-or.toysfortots.org."
Posted on 11/25/23 6:04AM by Sam Marsh

How to Get Help and Avoid High Call Wait Times at ONE Customer Service in Oregon
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With the end of the COVID-19 federal public health emergency, the state is required to review eligibility for all 1.5 million Oregonians who have Oregon Health Plan (OHP) and other Medicaid benefits. These medical renewals combined with unprecedented levels of people applying for and receiving medical, food, cash and child care benefits have led to a historically high number of callers to the ONE Customer Service Center and is impacting call wait times. The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) is encouraging people in Oregon to use new alternate contact options given the high call wait times at the ONE Customer Service Center. The center provides phone support to people in Oregon calling to apply for or get help with their benefits. ODHS anticipates that wait times will remain high during open enrollment season for Medicare and the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. While people can apply for OHP any time of year, both open enrollment events increase awareness of an interest in applying for OHP. The ONE Customer Service Center can be reached by phone at 1-(800)-699-9075, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Call wait times are the lowest in the morning between 7 and 8, especially on Tuesday mornings. People are also welcome to visit their local ODHS office with questions.
Posted on 11/25/23 6:03AM by Sam Marsh

Southern Oregon University Enrollment is Expanding with Significant Upturn This Fall
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Fall term admission numbers suggest the continuation of a strong rebound in enrollment at Southern Oregon University, led by the institution's largest freshman class since 2018. The number of new freshmen at SOU increased this fall by 15.1% compared to a year ago, while the number of incoming transfer students is up by 10.6%. According to SOU, the overall student headcount halfway through fall term is 162 higher than that of last fall -- a 3.4% gain to a total of 4,889. The increases among freshmen and transfers account for 84 and 30 students, respectively. SOU experienced a double-digit percentage decline in enrollment during the years following the COVID-19 pandemic and regional wildfires of September 2020. The university's turnaround began with small enrollment increases for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years, and has picked up momentum with encouraging overall numbers this fall. SOU officials said student retention plays a significant role in this fall's positive enrollment picture. Last year's freshman cohort returned this year at a rate of 66.3%, while total undergraduate retention is at 78% this fall.
Posted on 11/25/23 6:00AM by Sam Marsh

GP Holiday Shoppers Encouraged to Spend Locally on This "Small Business Saturday"
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Following Black Friday, it's Small Business Saturday when holiday shoppers are encouraged to spend their money at small local retailers. Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol recently presented a proclamation recognizing the economic impact of Small Business Saturday to Josie Molloy, the Executive Director of the Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce and Grants Pass Downtown Welcome Center are the acting "neighborhood champions for small business" in the Shop Small event taking place today. November 25, 2023 is Small Business Saturday – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. This year, we know that small businesses need our support now more than ever. Small Business Saturday is a marketing initiative that was created and promoted by the American Express credit card brand to encourage holiday shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the United States, during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.
Posted on 11/25/23 5:57AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Man for Attacking Sister and Pet at CJ Residence on Thanksgiving
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a man for multiple crimes after he allegedly attacked his sister and a pet in Cave Junction early Thanksgiving Day. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested Joseph Stephen Christopher for the incident in the 100-block of North Caves Avenue on Thursday at 7:40 a.m.. Deputies said a woman called 9-1-1 to report that her brother grabbed her and squeezed her neck so she had trouble breathing. The caller said her brother becomes violent when he gets "stressed out." She did not want to press charges and requested he be taken to the hospital for mental health evaluation instead. According to the report, Christopher also threatened his sister and an elderly male roommate who removed knives from the kitchen, hid them and tried to de-escalate the situation. Information was also disclosed that the suspect might become violent with responding deputies who were able to take him into custody without incident. Joseph Christopher was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Domestic Strangulation, Domestic 4th-Degree Assault, Menacing and 2nd-Degree Animal Abuse. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 11/24/23 10:27AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Restraining Order Violations after Domestic Disturbance
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for multiple counts of violating a court order after a domestic disturbance that occurred late last night. The Police Department reports officers arrested 45-year-old Jeffrey Ray Roberts shortly after 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Roberts was booked into the Josephine County Jail at 11:22 p.m. for five counts of Contempt of Court-Restraining Order Violation and one count of 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief. No other information about the arrest was available. Jeffrey Roberts was being held without bail.
Posted on 11/24/23 10:25AM by Sam Marsh
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Oregon State Troopers Incarcerated Man on Thanksgiving Day for Stealing Vehicle
The Oregon State Police arrested a man on Thanksgiving for stealing a vehicle. The Grants Pass office of OSP is not publishing its daily logs due to the holiday, but Josephine County Jail records show troopers booked 28-year-old Cameron ML Sullivan on Thursday at 5:45 p.m.. There was no information available on the circumstances of the arrest including a location. Cameron Sullivan was lodged in jail for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and Attempt to Commit a Crime -- all felony-level charges. He was being held without bail. More information will become available on Monday when OSP releases its logs from the long holiday weekend.
Posted on 11/24/23 10:24AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Cited Man on Restricted Warrant While Investigating Illegal Woodcutting
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a man on an outstanding warrant while investigating a report of illegal woodcutting in the Williams area this week. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies contacted 42-year-old Michael Gaines about four miles up Fields Road on Wednesday afternoon. Deputies said they found Gaines cutting firewood on the side of the road. They detained him and warned him that he needed to obtain a woodcutting permit from the Bureau of Land Management. A routine records check showed that Gaines was wanted on a Josephine County restricted warrant for failing to appear in court for Trespassing. He was cited to appear on the warrant and then released from custody.
Posted on 11/24/23 10:22AM by Sam Marsh
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Elderly GP Woman Who Refused to Stop Using Car Cited for Suspended Driving
An elderly Grants Pass woman who refused to take no for an answer was cited for a driving violation this week. According to the Grants Pass Police Department, an 82-year-old woman came to the local office on Wednesday afternoon to request the return of her operator's license that had been taken from her for being a suspended at-risk driver. Police told the woman that the reason her driver's license was taken had been explained to her on three separate occasions by three separate officers, but she continued to drive her vehicle in opposition of her suspended status. She was told not to drive away from the police station, but she vowed to continue driving no matter what she was told. As the defiant motorist pulled out of the parking lot onto NE 7th Street, the officer pulled her over and cited her for Driving While Suspended. Her vehicle was towed for being in a "No Parking" area and blocking a driveway on Jackson Street. The woman was provided with paperwork for the tow and given a ride to her residence.
Posted on 11/24/23 10:21AM by Sam Marsh
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Jackson County Detectives Jailed Eagle Point Couple for Sexually Abusing Child
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Detectives with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office arrested an Eagle Point couple last week for multiple sex crimes involving a child under the age of 12. On Thursday, November 16th, Special Victims Unit detectives placed 28-year-old Colton Joseph Thornton and 31-year-old Elizabeth Nicole Shockey-Rydall into custody as the result of a recent investigation. Thornton was charged with 1st-Degree Rape, 1st-Degree Sexual Abuse and two more felony-level sex crimes while Shockey-Rydall was charged with two counts of 1st-Degree Sexual Abuse. Both were lodged at the Jackson County Jail. This case remains under investigation with Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives working additional leads. It is believed Thornton may have other juvenile victims. Anyone with information about the suspect is encouraged to call SVU Detective Jill Wenzel at (541)-770-8928.
Posted on 11/24/23 6:38AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Man on Nationwide and Local Warrants after RR Highway Stop
Grants Pass Police apprehended a man wanted on nationwide and local warrants for drug trafficking in the southeast part of the city earlier this week. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 42-year-old Daniel Wayne Stephenson during a traffic stop in the 700-block of Rogue River Highway shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday. Police said Stephenson was driving a Dodge pickup when they stopped him for a traffic violation. They said he initially was noncompliant with officers and it did not take long for them to figure out why. Stephenson was wanted on a United States Marshals Service warrant for Parole Violation and a Grants Pass felony warrant for Unlawful Possession and Delivery of Fentanyl. He was placed into custody after the warrants were confirmed. Daniel Stephenson was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 11/24/23 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
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Reports of Fight in Downtown GP Led to Capture of Felon on Statewide Warrant
Reports of two men fighting in downtown Grants Pass this week led to the arrest of one of them on a statewide felony warrant. The Police Department reports officers were alerted to a disturbance involving two men at the corner of SW 5th and L streets on Wednesday afternoon. Police said witnesses reported that 44-year-old Danial Bryan Cook and another man were engaged in a physical and verbal altercation, which was causing public alarm. Callers said they would "hug it out" and then go back to fighting. Upon arrival, officers contacted Cook who advised that he and his friend were just "playing around" and no one was hurt. A routine records check revealed that he was wanted on an Oregon State warrant for Felony Parole Violation. Underlying charges included Failure to Report as a Sex Offender, Disorderly Conduct, Petty Theft and Offensive Littering. Danial Cook was placed into custody and booked into the Josephine County Jail on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 11/24/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
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