Local News

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
 

Motorcyclist Seriously Injured after Rear-Ending Car on Riverbanks Road
A motorcyclist was seriously injured this week when he rear-ended a vehicle that was making a turn on Riverbanks Road. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency personnel responded to the two-vehicle collision near milepost 20 of State Route 260 on Wednesday at about 1 p.m.. Troopers said an investigation determined that 58-year-old Darryl Lawrence Smart was riding a Honda FBL motorcycle west behind a Hyundai Elantra driven by 49-year-old Gregory William Phillips. They said Phillips slowed to make a left-hand turn into a private driveway when Smart slammed into the back of his vehicle. According to OSP, Smart sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was transported by ambulance to Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford for treatment. Phillips was not hurt in the crash. Smart's heavily-damaged motorcycle was hauled into Grants Pass by Bulldog Towing while Phillips arranged for a tow of his damaged car.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:56AM by Sam Marsh
 

Woman Jailed for Assaulting Deputy after Domestic Call on Fish Hatchery
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a woman for violating terms of her probation early yesterday after she struggled with deputies following a domestic disturbance call in the Fish Hatchery area. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies eventually subdued and arrested 35-year-old Cassandra Juliette Reed at a residence in the 2100-block of Fish Hatchery Road on Thursday at about 12:20 a.m.. Deputies said they were alerted to a highly-intoxicated female subject who was breaking windows at the home. They said a caller to 9-1-1 stated that the subject had gotten into physical fights with several people before they were able to hold her down on the ground. She continued to make threats while being restrained. Upon arrival, deputies determined that Reed had gotten into an altercation with her grandson and both parties had been drinking. She had skinned knees sustained in the fights, but refused medical attention and resisted efforts to calm her down. At some point during the incident, she allegedly assaulted a deputy. Cassandra Reed was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony Assault on a Public Safety Officer and the resulting Probation Violation. She was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:51AM by Sam Marsh
 

GP Police Snared Motorcyclist for Weapons Crime in Highway 199 Stop
Grants Pass Police jailed a motorcyclist for a weapons violation this week after a traffic stop on Redwood Highway. The Police Department reports officers pulled over a motorcycle operated by 30-year-old Zachariah Travis Jones on US Highway 199 near Ringuette Street late Wednesday night. Police said they stopped Jones for failing to display license plates and operating an unsafe vehicle with no running or brake lights. Upon contact, they said Jones took off his helmet and placed a backpack in his lap. He stated there was a firearm in the backpack and it was discovered that his concealed firearm permit was revoked. Officers seized the gun and revoked permit, and then placed Jones into custody. Zachariah Jones was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. He was also cited for Failure to Display License Plates and warned for Unlawful Operation of an Unsafe Vehicle. His motorcycle was towed as a hazard.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:49AM by Sam Marsh
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OR State Fire Marshal Still Offering 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grants
The Oregon State Fire Marshal has announced the return of the wildfire staffing grant -- but time is running out to apply. Last summer, this grant played a pivotal role in the 2022 fire season. The OSFM issued grants to 179 local fire agencies, which allowed them to hire additional staff. The funding not only improved wildfire response, it also provided additional capacity to local fire agencies to respond to other calls. The state agency has allocated $6 million in funding to the program this year and applications are still open through today. Local fire agencies can apply for up to $35,000 to hire additional firefighters using the current district or department staffing model. Priority will be given to agencies whose annual property tax income does not exceed $2 million. This information can be found at your tax assessor's office. Agencies with an annual property tax income exceeding $2 million are eligible. These applications will be reviewed after the application period closes today. Grant selections will be made based on the remaining funds.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:46AM by Sam Marsh
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Rural Metro Hosting Swift-Water Rescue Training Event near Merlin Today
After the recent double-drowning tragedy at Indian Mary Park that has drawn considerable attention to safety on the Rogue River, Rural Metro Fire Department is hosting an annual training event today near Merlin. Rural Metro Operations Chief Austin Prince said this training was planned before the May 12th accident that took the lives of Dan and Lynn Boyum of Grants Pass. Today at 10 a.m., firefighters will be learning techniques to rescue people in distress in fast-moving water. Basic self-rescue techniques that are helpful to those who find themselves in distress will also be covered in the training on the Rogue. Prince said a strict rule of wearing a life jacket will be imposed for anyone wanting to go within 10 feet of the river's edge. With warm weather rapidly melting abundant snow in the mountains, rivers such as the Rogue are running higher and colder than normal for this time of year, with swift currents just under the water's surface. All recreationists should take extra precautions if they plan to be on or near rivers this spring and summer.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:44AM by Sam Marsh
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First Responders Invite Families to Kids' Safety Fair at Shopping Center
Emergency first responders are inviting local families to attend the Kids' Safety Fair at the Grants Pass Shopping Center on Saturday. The free event will be located in the Staples/Petco parking lot in the 900-block of NE D Street tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. This year's Kids' Safety Fair will include a Car Seat Clinic as a new addition. Have your child car seats checked by public safety personnel to ensure proper size and installation for maximum safety. There will also be free bicycle helmets provided by the Caveman Kiwanis while supplies last. Climb, explore and learn about fire engines, police department equipment, search and rescue vehicles, and ambulances. Participating agencies include the Grants Pass Police Department, Grants Pass Fire & Rescue, Josephine County Sheriff's Office, Rural Metro Fire Department, American Medical Response, Josephine County 9-1-1 Agency and Josephine County Firewise. There will be face-painting by Annie the Clown, balloon animals by Cowboy Bob, three bounces houses, the Farm Life petting zoo and a special appearance by Smokey Bear.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:42AM by Sam Marsh
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MADGE Nabs Drug Dealer Responsible for Numerous Recent Rogue Valley Overdoses
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Following a nearly year-long investigation into local drug trafficking, the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) team has arrested a 22-year-old man who is believed to be linked to numerous overdoses in the Rogue Valley. According to the Medford Police Department, the MADGE investigation revealed Mason Jeffrey Barrette was obtaining drugs from the San Francisco Bay Area and bringing them into the Rogue Valley to distribute. Barrette was reportedly using a third-party apartment in the 1800-block of Crater Lake Avenue as a hub for this criminal activity. Detectives obtained and executed a search warrant at the apartment, which led to the seizure of over a half-pound of fentanyl and various quantities of other drugs including Xanax, methamphetamine and psilocybin mushrooms. On May 5th, Mason Barrette was lodged at the Jackson County Jail on charges of Unlawful Manufacture, Possession and Delivery of Fentanyl, Unlawful Delivery and Manufacture of a Controlled Substance within 1,000 Feet of a School, Unlawful Possession of Psilocybin, Unlawful Possession of Xanax, Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance to a Minor, Unlawful Possession of Meth, and Supplying Contraband to a Jail Facility. This case was presented to a Jackson County grand jury on May 5th and Barrette was indicted on all the listed charges.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass City Manager Says Closure of Riverside Park is about Public Safety Risks
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Considering the recent homicide at Riverside Park along with increased incidents of risk to public health and safety there, the City of Grants Pass will close the park to all members of the public for approximately one month. The 2023 Boatnik Festival will run as scheduled at Riverside Park from Thursday, May 25th, through Monday, May 29th. After the conclusion of Boatnik, the park closure will go into effect from Tuesday, May 30th, through Thursday, June 22nd. In preparation for Boatnik, Grants Pass Police are in the process of posting 72-hour notices to remove campsites for anyone currently residing in Riverside Park. Police will then post signs about the closure of the park to all people before the closure goes into effect. Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic said the homicide that occurred May 14th was an extreme threat to public safety, though it is not the only threat to public safety and health to occur at Riverside Park. The reopening of Riverside Park will be directly associated with new changes to parks codes that will be implemented on June 21st. These changes will provide additional options for reducing public safety risks once the park reopens.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:29AM by Sam Marsh
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SOSA Office Manager Zandra Jansma Named Oregon Education Support Professional of Year
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In a surprise announcement event this week, the director of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), superintendent of the Three Rivers School District and principal of Southern Oregon Success Academy (SOSA) honored a dynamic office manager as the state's 2023 Education Support Professional of the Year. Zandra Jansma is the Office Manager at the Southern Oregon Success Academy (SOSA) -- and so much more. SOSA serves the population of at-risk youth in the Three Rivers School District. Three Rivers Superintendent Dave Valenzuela said Jansma is one of the hardest working, most caring and dedicated members of the school district family. He said she has not only been an integral part of the success at SOSA over the years, she has also been an integral part of so many students' lives, seeing many to the goal of graduation. Thanks to ODE's partnership with the Oregon Lottery, Jansma received an award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.
Posted on 5/19/23 6:19AM by Sam Marsh
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Motorcyclist Seriously Hurt after Rear-End Crash into Car on Riverbanks
A motorcyclist was seriously injured yesterday when he rear-ended a vehicle that was making a turn on Riverbanks Road. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency personnel responded to the two-vehicle collision near milepost 20 of State Route 260 on Wednesday at about 1 p.m.. Troopers said an investigation determined that 58-year-old Darryl Lawrence Smart was riding a Honda FBL motorcycle west behind a Hyundai Elantra driven by 49-year-old Gregory William Phillips. They said Phillips slowed to make a left-hand turn into a private driveway when Smart slammed into the back of his vehicle. According to OSP, Smart sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He was transported by ambulance to Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford for treatment. Phillips was not hurt in the crash. Smart's heavily-damaged motorcycle was hauled into Grants Pass by Bulldog Towing while Phillips arranged for a tow of his damaged car.
Posted on 5/18/23 11:24AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Man for Multiple Felony Crimes Related to Investigation
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office has jailed a man for multiple felony-level crimes, but the agency gave no explanation about the incident. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies arrested 34-year-old Zachary Robert Leahy on Wednesday morning, with the location of the arrest listed as the jail in Grants Pass. According to the newly-abbreviated Sheriff's Log, Leahy's arrest was related to a criminal investigation with a case number -- but no other details were available. Zachary Leahy was charged with Felony 2nd-Degree Assault, Felony 2nd-Degree Kidnapping, Felony Coercion, Strangulation, Interfering with Making a Report and Felony Parole Violation. He was still in custody this morning on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 5/18/23 11:22AM by Sam Marsh
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