Local News

OSP Apprehended Four Fugitives in One Day This Week in Josephine County
The Oregon State Police apprehended four fugitives in one day this week during traffic stops in Josephine County. OSP reports the first incident occurred on Thursday at 10:31 a.m. when troopers pulled over a Chevrolet Suburban driven by 36-year-old Nicolas Cruz-Lopez for speeding near milepost 31 of Redwood Highway. Cruz-Lopez was found to have an active warrant for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and he was lodged at the Josephine County Jail. The second incident happened on Thursday at 12:53 p.m. when troopers pulled over a vehicle driven by 40-year-old Aaron Walter Hathaway-Neel for speeding in an unspecified location. Hathaway-Neel was found to be wanted on an outstanding warrant and he was lodged at the adult jail facility in Grants Pass. The third incident took place on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. when troopers stopped a Honda Accord occupied by 69-year-old John Bush for multiple traffic violations near milepost 27 of Redwood Highway. Bush was wanted on a local warrant for Probation Violation and he was jailed on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 5/20/23 5:29AM by Chuck Benson

Android Phones Create Backlog of Hang-Up Calls at Josephine County 911 Center
The Josephine County 9-1-1 Agency is asking Android phone users to turn off the Emergency SOS feature in the settings of their devices until an issue is corrected in a future release. Phones will still be able to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. Josephine County 9-1-1 Manager Marci Haack said the Emergency SOS feature in the settings of Android phones call 9-1-1 after the side buttons are pressed five times in rapid succession. The result is many accidental calls are being placed to the center. Haack said for each of these calls, a dispatcher must call back to determine if a true emergency exists. Calls that go unanswered are then sent to an officer to attempt to locate the caller and check their welfare, tying up emergency responders who are then unavailable for actual emergency calls. Over the month of March, Josephine County 9-1-1 noticed a 31% increase in hang-up calls and a 49% increase in these calls over the month of April from the same months in 2022. When questioning callers about the reason for the accidental calls, the vast majority have been determined to come from Android phones in pockets, vehicle cup holders or purses. To turn off this feature on an Android, go to the settings of the phone, clock on the magnifying glass to search and type in "Emergency SOS." You can then slide the toggle to turn the feature off. The feature has a built-in alert to notify callers prior to the calls being placed. However, many times the alert is either not working or not noticed in time to prevent the call.
Posted on 5/20/23 5:27AM by Chuck Benson

US Senator Wyden will Hold Josephine County Town Hall at NV High School
US Senator Ron Wyden has announced he will hold an open-to-all town hall meeting next week in the Grants Pass area. The Josephine County Town Hall at North Valley High School is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24th, at 10 a.m.. A town hall at Crook County High School in Prineville will take place on Monday evening. Wyden has already held 23 town halls throughout Oregon in 2023 as well as 1,050 town halls overall statewide in fulfillment of his pledge to hold at least one town hall each year in each of the state's 36 counties. Senator Wyden said the "Oregon Way" is all about throwing open the doors of democracy so everybody in every part of the state has the opportunity to ask questions and share suggestions.
Posted on 5/20/23 5:26AM by Chuck Benson

USFS to Work on Road Repair Projects in Gold Beach & Powers Ranger Districts
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the Gold Beach and Powers Ranger Districts will be implementing road repair and construction projects at multiple locations this summer and fall. All locations are scheduled for full closures. Construction will begin on the Miller Bar Road on May 22nd. This road accesses Miller Bar, a popular recreation spot on the Chetco River east of Brookings. The contractor is willing to open the area up for the Memorial Day holiday weekend to allow for recreational use -- but once the weekend is over, the area will be closed again until construction activities are completed. The remaining sites will be scheduled by estimated start dates, but are subject to changes based on reasonable delays. Construction updates will be shared as they become available. The US Forest Service projects were funded through the United States Department of Transportation Emergency Relief of Federally-Owned Roads program and are administered by Forest Service engineers. Approximately $1.8 million is being invested into the region to provide access and protection for our public lands
Posted on 5/20/23 5:25AM by Chuck Benson
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Medford District BLM Announces Repairs Done on Slide Blocking RR Trail
The Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management has announced that repairs have been completed on a landslide that blocked the Rogue River Trail. A BLM crew has mitigated the landslide on the popular hiking trail at milepost 21.5, approximately one mile upstream from the Rogue River Ranch. The slide had compromised around 150 feet of the trail. This week, the BLM's Firefighting Crew 10 completed the work needed to reopen the Rogue River Trail. They hiked the trail from Grave Creek to the Rogue River Ranch and cut out downed trees along the way. BLM Crew 10 is veteran fire crew dedicated to the recruitment and employment of military veterans. The 20-person crew primarily works on fire suppression during the fire season, but it also assists with fuels, timber, recreation and other needs during the off-season. Crew 10 Superintendent Beau Lee said clearing the trail is part of the annual on-boarding of staff to build team cohesion while maintaining the recreation site. He said the trail logout and repair is great technical training for the crew and really helps them prepare for the upcoming fire season.
Posted on 5/20/23 5:24AM by Chuck Benson
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OLCC Levies Stipulated Settlement on Prospect Pizza Company, GP Bars Closed
The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) ratified several stipulated settlement agreements for both alcohol and marijuana licensees during its meeting this month -- including one establishment in Southern Oregon. According to OLCC, Prospect Pizza Company in Prospect has agreed to pay a $6,045 fine or serve a 32-day license suspension for two unspecified violations. Two Grants Pass establishments are now closed after surrendering their liquor licenses. The Old Barn Tavern on Redwood Avenue surrendered its license on April 6th due to a history of serious and persistent problems. The Wonder Bur in downtown Grants Pass surrendered its license on May 1st due to a history of serious and persistent problems documented over many years. The most serious offense occurred last year when an off-duty bartender got into a fight with three patrons and assaulted an older man who later died at the hospital. Bar owners David and Caitlin O'Malley also decided to shut down the popular Wonder Bur Café, which was located next to the bar on SW H Street. They said they are looking for other business opportunities in the Grants Pass area
Posted on 5/20/23 5:22AM by Chuck Benson
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Deputies Jailed Felon for Parole Violation after Stringer Gap Domestic Call
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a local felon for violating his post-prison supervision following an incident in the Jerome Prairie area yesterday. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 29-year-old Brandon William Sousa Measel in the 1700-block of Stringer Gap Road on Thursday at about 12:40 p.m.. Deputies said they were alerted to a domestic disturbance by a passing motorist who reported seeing Measel harassing his female passenger, who reportedly got out of Measel's vehicle and ran off into the nearby woods. Upon arrival, deputies contacted the woman who told them that it was a verbal argument only and Measel did not assault her. The suspect was contacted and found to be in possession of a Xanax bar in his pocket. It was seized as evidence and for destruction before deputies contacted his corrections officer. Measel was subsequently transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Parole Violation. The female passenger agreed to pick up his vehicle at a nearby store.
Posted on 5/19/23 11:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Jailed Man for Illegally Entering Savage Street Home
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for multiple crimes after he unlawfully entered a residence in the north part of the city early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers arrested 41-year-old Daniel Jack Freitas for the incident at a home in the 1,000-block of NE Savage Street on Thursday around 10:15 a.m.. Police said the homeowner observed Freitas enter her residence and walk into the back yard through a surveillance camera. The caller reported the suspect entered her home through a sliding glass door which he left wide open along with another door when he left. She said he rummaged through items, but did not steal anything. The victim drove home from work to confront the suspect, but he had already left the property. Officers located him a short time later on NE John Drive and placed him into custody. Daniel Freitas was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 1st-Degree Burglary and Misdemeanor 1st-Degree Criminal Trespass. He was warned for trespassing at the residence as well as two other nearby homes.
Posted on 5/19/23 11:16AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Incarcerated for Repeatedly Terrorizing Neighbors on Jenn Way
A Grants Pass man who had been terrorizing his neighbors over the past few days found himself incarcerated for his offenses last night. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers responded to a disturbance in the 100-block of SW Jenn Way on Thursday at about 8 p.m.. Police said neighbors called 9-1-1 to report that 54-year-old Karl Adrian Keehnen had been terrorizing them for three days and he attempted to enter their home on SW Jenn Way. The victims told officers that Keehnen yelled at them because he believed they had contacted police. In another incident, the suspect allegedly was aggressive toward a man taking his trash can out to the street and ripped his shirt. According to the report, Keehnen chased away a neighbor's ride to work when he tried to enter the vehicle. The suspect reportedly challenged his neighbors and told them "things were not going to end well" for them. Upon arrival, police interviewed Keehnen's neighbors and then placed him into custody. He was lodged in jail for Harassment and Disorderly Conduct.
Posted on 5/19/23 11:14AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Snared Man for Weapon & Drug Violations in Redwood Highway Stop
The Oregon State Police arrested a motorist for weapon and drug violations during a traffic stop on Redwood Highway near Wonder early yesterday. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Toyota Tundra driven by 39-year-old Diogenes Pena of Orlando, Florida, near milepost 11 of US Highway 199 on Thursday about 8 a.m.. Troopers said they stopped Pena for speeding and he consented to a search of his vehicle, which uncovered a concealed gun and around two pounds of marijuana. Both the gun and cannabis were seized. They also discovered the driver had no license or insurance. According to OSP, Pena was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. He was cited to appear in court and released, but his vehicle was impounded and towed to Grants Pass.
Posted on 5/19/23 11:12AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Arrested Motorist for DUII after Redwood Highway Stop in Grants Pass
The Oregon State Police arrested a motorist for impaired driving after a traffic stop on Redwood Highway in southwest Grants Pass late last night. According to OSP, troopers pulled over a Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by 33-year-old Michael Dan Cowell on US Highway 199 near Allen Creek Road on Thursday at 11:27 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Cowell for running a red light and observed signs of impairment when they contacted him. They said he refused to participate in field sobriety tests, so he was taken to Three Rivers Medical Center for a legal blood draw that showed his blood-alcohol content to be nearly three times the legal limit. Michael Cowell was subsequently lodged at the Grants Pass Sobering Center for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Reckless Driving. He was also cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device and his pickup was impounded.
Posted on 5/19/23 11:10AM by Sam Marsh
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Motorist Nabbed for Drugged Driving after Early AM Contact on GP Parkway
Grants Pass Police arrested a motorist for drugged driving after a contact on the Parkway early today. The Police Department reports officers observed a 2012 Nissan Murano sitting at the traffic light at the intersection of the Grants Pass Parkway and East Park Street at 12:50 this morning. Police said the driver -- identified as 36-year-old Matthew Gary Beard -- appeared to be slumped over, so they turned around and found him passed out after having missed at least two light cycles at the signaled intersection. They observed a cut straw and a piece of tin foil with a brown sticky substance inside the vehicle which looked like heroin. After several minutes, Beard woke up and denied drinking alcohol or using drugs, although he showed numerous signs of impairment. He was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where he provided a negative breath sample, but declined to provide a sample of his urine that would detect narcotics. Beard was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances and lodged in jail. He was also cited for Failure to Provide a Urine Sample and his vehicle was impounded.
Posted on 5/19/23 11:08AM by Sam Marsh
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