Local News

North Medford High Secured after Suspicious Man Wanders onto Campus
North Medford High School was placed in "secure" status on Thursday when a maintenance employee observed a suspicious male subject on the campus, but the situation was quickly resolved. The Medford Police Department reports the incident occurred around 2:10 p.m. yesterday. The man was not inside the gated area of the school and it was believed he may have been experiencing a mental health issue. The North Medford School Resource Officer placed the school in "secure" while he searched the area for the subject. Multiple officers responded to the school to assist. It was confirmed the subject left the campus and never made access inside the gated area. MPD said it was still working to identify the man, who faces trespass charges. North Medford was in "secure" for about 15 minutes until the incident was over. As part of this protocol, students are moved indoors, all exterior doors are locked, and the students and staff continue business as usual inside.
Posted on 5/12/23 6:28AM by Sam Marsh

GPHS Orchestra Selling Donuts to Help Pay for Trip to Carnegie Hall in NY
Citizens can help the Grants Pass High School Orchestra achieve a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by purchasing donuts this weekend. The GPHS Orchestra has been invited to perform at the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York City in March 2024. Orchestra members will each have to pay about $2,800 in order to participate in this incredible trip to stay in the Big Apple and play at Carnegie Hall. This is just one of many fundraising events to help them on their way. Krispy Kreme Donuts will be on sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at three locations in Grants Pass. They will be available at Abby's Pizza off Williams Highway, Human Bean off NE F Street and Umpqua Bank, also off NE F Street. A dozen donuts costs $12. Purchasing a box of original glazed donuts from an orchestra member or from the stands tomorrow helps a student musician pay for music-related travel and experiences such as Carnegie Hall.
Posted on 5/12/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh

ODF Asks Residents to Consider Alternatives to Outdoor Burning to Help Prevent Fires
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The Oregon Department of Forestry and other fire prevention experts urge the public to exercise caution when disposing of yard debris this spring. With fires already occurring in the state -- particularly in the Southwest Oregon and Central Oregon districts -- residents need to keep fire prevention at the top of their mind. Now is a great time to trim trees and bushes, and tidy up plants around your home to create a "defensible space" around your property. Defensible space creates a buffer around your home that can help protect it from catching fire. After your cleanup, you will have a lot of debris to dispose of. Debris burning is the leading human-related fire cause on ODF-protected lands -- so as you begin this spring clean-up, ODF and Keep Oregon Green urge you to put some extra thought into how you want to dispose of your yard debris. Considering alternatives to burning like composting, chipping or slowly disposing of it via your yard debris bin -- if you have one -- helps to prevent wildfire in your area. Check with your local disposal company for recycling options. By choosing an alternative disposal method or burning under safe conditions outside of fire season, you can help significantly reduce the risk of a wildfire.
Posted on 5/12/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh

Five Local Agencies Receive Oregon Service Capacity Grants from State Fire Marshal
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To boost capacity with the Oregon fire service and better prepare communities for wildfire, the Oregon State Fire Marshal has announced the recipients of the $13.5 million Oregon Fire Service Capacity Grant. The grant funding is part of the agency's efforts to rise to the challenge wildfire poses to Oregonians. The goal of this grant is to provide small- to medium-sized Oregon fire agencies with resources to boost firefighting and fire prevention staffing over the next three years. These agencies protect communities and play a pivotal role in wildfire prevention and suppression. The additional prevention staff will be an added resource for communities and property owners to assess and guide state residents. Locally, the Applegate Valley Fire District received grant funding for two more firefighters and one fire prevention position. The Illinois Valley and Evans Valley Fire Districts each got funding for two more firefighters while the Rogue River and Williams Fire Districts received grants for one firefighter and a prevention staffer.
Posted on 5/12/23 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Announces "Airport Day" Event at GP Airfield Won't Lift Off in 2023
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Josephine County has announced that the popular Airport Day event held annually at the Grants Pass Airport will not take place this year. Airport Day is an annual free festival held at the airfield on Brookside Boulevard in the North Valley area. In the past, the event featured aircraft tours, food and fun. Due to staffing changes and other factors, Josephine County Airports Department decided it wouldn't be feasible to host the event this year. Newly-named Airports Director Steve Dobbs said it's unfortunate they won't be able to hold Airport Day in 2023. He said he's hopeful that taking this year off will give them time to collaborate with the airport community to plan and create a truly memorable and safe Airport Day in 2024. Dobbs asks that community members interested in joining the planning process for Airport Day 2024 contact him by visiting "josephinecounty.gov/airports."
Posted on 5/12/23 6:02AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Jailed Man for Shooting & Wounding Another Person at Merlin Home
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a man for multiple crimes late last night after he allegedly shot and wounded another person near Merlin. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies responded to reports of multiple shots fired in the 700-block of Abegg Road on Wednesday at about 11:15 p.m.. A neighbor had called 9-1-1 to report hearing five or six gunshots and screaming at the residence. Upon arrival, deputies investigated and learned that 43-year-old James Lee Bunn, Jr., had shot at a vehicle containing his stepdaughter and her friend. The friend -- who was not identified in the report -- suffered a gunshot wound when a bullet grazed their head. The vehicle -- a Toyota Camry -- was also struck by gunfire. Deputies took the victim to the Iron Oar Bar & Grill on Galice Road where they were evaluated by American Medical Response and then transported by ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. The stepdaughter was not hurt. James Bunn had fled on foot after the shooting, but he returned and was located at a guest house where he was placed into custody. Bunn was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on felony charges of Aggravated 1st-Degree Assault and Unlawful Use of a Weapon plus misdemeanor charges of Pointing a Firearm at Another Person and Menacing. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 5/11/23 11:04AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Snared Woman for Threatening Roommate with Knife at SE GP Home
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a woman last night for threatening her female roommate with a knife at a residence in southeast Grants Pass. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a disturbance at a home in the 1900-block of Fruitdale Drive on Wednesday around 8:20 p.m.. Deputies said a hysterical woman called 9-1-1 to report that 30-year-old Andrea Ucelo had threatened her with a knife. The victim told dispatchers Ucelo was very intoxicated and she had locked herself in the bathroom for safety. Dispatchers said they could hear the suspect yelling outside the restroom. Upon arrival, deputies placed a highly impaired and uncooperative Ucelo into custody. They were forced to hobble the suspect prior to placing her in the patrol vehicle. Andrea Ucelo was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Domestic Menacing.
Posted on 5/11/23 11:02AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Firefighters Doused Residential Structure Fire Caused by Burning Candle
A candle burning in a bedroom of a south Grants Pass residence was determined to be the cause of a fire that damaged the dwelling late yesterday. Grants Pass Fire & Rescue and Rural Metro Fire Department were dispatched to the structure fire in the 900-block of Fruitdale Drive on Wednesday at 4:41 p.m.. Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke showing from the single-story home. Crews contained the blaze within 10 minutes of arriving on scene. It was contained to the room of origin with heavy smoke damage throughout the house. Firefighters were assisted by the Grants Pass Police Department as well as nearby residents who helped by pulling a hose to a fire hydrant. No injuries were reported, but an animal succumbed to the smoke. Battalion Chief Brandon Rigaud said the cause of the fire was determined to be an unattended candle left burning in a bedroom. He said candles should never be left unattended and they should always be placed on a stable, non-flammable surface.
Posted on 5/11/23 11:01AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Nabbed Theft Suspect and Charged Him with Robbery for Fighting
Grants Pass Police arrested a shoplifting suspect and charged him with robbery after he fought with employees at a local supermarket yesterday. The Police Department reports officers responded to a theft complaint at WinCo Foods on NE Terry Lane on Wednesday around 3:35 p.m.. Police said 22-year-old Hunter Lee Bryant selected packages of gloves valued at about $4 and exited the store without paying for them. They said the suspect was approached by loss prevention and fought with them to get away with the gloves. The entire incident was captured on video surveillance. No one was hurt and the suspect was placed into custody upon the arrival of law enforcement. Hunter Bryant was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 3rd-Degree Robbery and Misdemeanor 3rd-Degree Theft.
Posted on 5/11/23 10:59AM by Sam Marsh
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"Dangerous" Man Arrested for Trespassing at Rite Aid in GP Shopping Center
Police arrested a man for trespassing at a store in the Grants Pass Shopping Center last night after he returned to the scene of a previous crime. Grants Pass Police responded to a trespassing complaint involving 34-year-old Evan Timothy Hall at Rite Aid in the 900-block of NE D Street on Wednesday at about 7:30 p.m.. Police said Hall returned to Rite Aid after being trespassed from the store two days prior. They said a store employee told them the suspect had been violent in the past by throwing items around and screaming. She called him "dangerous." Evan Hall was placed into custody without incident. He was lodged at the adult jail facility for 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass.
Posted on 5/11/23 10:57AM by Sam Marsh
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Riverside Park Camper Arrested for Defying Exclusion Order from Day Before
A camper at Riverside Park was arrested yesterday for defying an exclusion order that had been issued the day before. Grants Pass Police contacted 45-year-old Michelle Mae Richardson under Caveman Bridge at the city park on Wednesday around 11 a.m.. Officers said she had returned to the park one day after being trespassed for 30 days. Richardson was lodged in jail for 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass and her property was seized. On Wednesday afternoon, officers cited Bart Lewis for Scattering Rubbish at Riverside Park. It was his fifth citation at the park in the last 12 months, so he was trespassed for 30 days. On Wednesday evening, officers cited a man identified as "Armstrong" for parking his vehicle in a disabled parking space at Baker Park. Armstrong reportedly was asked to leave and when he did not, he argued with officers and said he was being harassed. Eden Jessup was asked to pick up his property, which was strewn about.
Posted on 5/11/23 10:56AM by Sam Marsh
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Medford Man Died after Crashing Motorcycle on Highway 238 near Jacksonville
A Medford man was killed this week when he crashed his motorcycle into another vehicle on Highway 238 near Jacksonville. On Tuesday at about 1:30 p.m., the Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to the two-vehicle collision near milepost 28. OSP said a preliminary investigation indicates a BMW motorcycle ridden by 56-year-old Bryce Beal was traveling west on Highway 238 when Beal lost control while negotiating a corner and traveled into the eastbound lane. The motorcycle was struck by an oncoming Jeep Wrangler driven by 61-year-old James Sweeney of Vail, Colorado. Beal was pronounced deceased at the scene, while Sweeney and his 61-year-old passenger were not injured. The highway was impacted for three hours during the on-scene crash investigation. OSP was assisted at the fatal crash scene by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Medford Police Department and Oregon Department of Transportation.
Posted on 5/11/23 6:58AM by Sam Marsh
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