Local News

One Driver Cited after Two Related Crashes on Interstate 5 near Wolf Creek
Two related crashes on Interstate 5 in northern Josephine County yesterday resulted in a citation for one motorist. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the first crash in the southbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 78 at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Troopers said 61-year-old Daniel Christonson of Azalea was driving a Toyota RAV-4 and he stated 30-year-old Rosamaria Reyes of Wolf Creek lost control of the Dodge Journey she was driving and slid into his vehicle, causing him to veer off the freeway and into a tree. Neither driver was injured. Reyes told OSP that her vehicle began to drive "funny," so she maneuvered to the I-5 shoulder. Neither vehicle showed signs of contact, so no citations were issued. While multiple vehicles were stopped at the crash scene, a Kia Forte driven by 36-year-old Kevin De Jesus of Grants Pass lost control and slid in between vehicles on the shoulder, impacted the sideslope and rolled over. None of the vehicles already on the shoulder were hit by the Kia and the driver was not injured. Following an investigation, De Jesus was cited for Failing to Drive Within Lane. The Toyota and the Kia were towed to Grants Pass.
Posted on 2/1/24 10:57AM by Sam Marsh

Jackson County SO Accepting Applications for Citizens Academy until Friday
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is still accepting applications for its 2024 Citizens' Academy, but time is quickly running out. The Sheriff's Office is looking for citizens and community leaders to apply for the academy that will start toward the end of this month. The due date for applications is Friday. Attendees will be notified of their acceptance by February 9th. The Citizens' Academy topics include a presentation from Sheriff Nate Sickler and a tour of the Jackson County Jail. The classes start on February 20th and run through May 14th. The classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m., with a couple of Saturday mid-morning hands-on classes included. Regular attendance is mandatory to remain the academy as there are limited openings. Attendees must be over the age of 18 and be able to pass a criminal background check. Previous or current involvement with the community is highly encouraged. You can download an application from "jacksoncountyor.gov." Applications can then be dropped off at the Sheriff's Office at 5179 Crater Lake Highway or e-mailed to "pinihr@jacksoncountyor.gov" before the deadline.
Posted on 2/1/24 10:55AM by Sam Marsh

Fiery Accident on Redwood Highway South of O'Brien Claimed Life of Motorist
A fiery wreck on Redwood Highway near O'Brien claimed the life of a motorist yesterday. On Wednesday afternoon, the Illinois Valley Fire District, American Medical Response, Josephine County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash near milepost 36 of US Highway 199. Few details about the incident were disclosed, but IVFD officials confirmed one person died of severe injuries in the accident. The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center reported the driver was trapped inside the burning vehicle. The Oregon Department of Transportation was brought in for traffic control as the highway was completely shut down until it reopened to a single lane at 1:57 p.m.. OSP was completing the investigation and we are still awaiting a press release with more details on the fatal crash.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:28AM by Sam Marsh

Detectives Investigating Armed Heist at Time Out Sports Bar in South Medford
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The Medford Police Department was investigating an armed robbery that occurred early yesterday at a sports bar in the south part of that city. MPD officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Time Out Sports Bar in the 1200-block of Stewart Avenue on Wednesday at about 2 a.m.. Upon arrival, officers discovered the suspect had fled on foot. They learned that an unknown subject displayed a handgun and demanded money from an employee who was in the process of closing the business for the night. The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. Officers used a police K-9 to track the suspect through nearby neighborhoods, but they were unable to locate them. MPD has released a photo from the business's video surveillance system in hopes that a member of the public may have some information about the suspect's identity. The suspect is believed to be a young white male with a slim build. He was wearing all dark clothing, a hood, gloves and a black-and-white face mask along with distinct Van's brand shoes. Anyone with information on this case can call Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon at (541)-770-4783 and reference MPD Case #24-1792.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:26AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Felony-Level Crimes after Fight in the Downtown Area
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for multiple felony-level crimes this week after a fight between at least two male transients broke out in the downtown area. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 35-year-old Anthony John Gambale, IV, for the incident in the 400-block of SE 7th Street on Tuesday night. Police said Gambale intentionally caused physical injury to another man by punching him several times in the head. They said he was aided by another male subject who has yet to be identified. The victim had pain and swelling, but denied medical attention or transport to the hospital. During the altercation, Gambale took the victim's backpack which he claimed contained over $3,000 in personal items. The suspect was located several blocks away, but he did not have possession of the backpack and refused to speak about it. He is a convicted felon and was found to be in possession of some weapons. Anthony Gambale was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 3rd-Degree Assault, Felony 3rd-Degree Robbery, Felony 1st-Degree Theft and two counts of Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:25AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Motorist Facing Numerous Charges after DUII Crash on Redwood Highway
A Grants Pass motorist is facing numerous charges after he crashed into the back of another vehicle on Redwood Highway this week. Grants Pass Police and emergency crews responded to the two-vehicle collision on US Highway 199 at Ringuette Street on Tuesday night. Police said 31-year-old Nicholas Thomas Ryder was both impaired and suspended while driving his truck with his two juvenile children inside. They said he crashed into the back of a vehicle that was lawfully stopped at a red light at the intersection. Fortunately, no one in either vehicle was hurt. Upon contact with officers, Ryder displayed numerous indicators of impairment including bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol. His truck was disabled in the center of the highway and his children were escorted to safety at the nearby Dairy Queen. Ryder refused to participate in sobriety tests, so a search warrant was obtained and he was taken to Three Rivers Medical Center for a legal blood draw that revealed impairment by alcohol. After providing a breath sample at the Josephine County Jail, Ryder was booked for Felony Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Felony Driving While Revoked, five counts of Reckless Endangering and Probation Violation related to a previous arrest for Felony Driving While Suspended. He was also cited for No Insurance.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Arrested Man for Causing a Disturbance at Redwood Christian Church
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a man for causing a disturbance at a local church this week. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to the incident at Redwood Christian Church in the 4900-block of Redwood Avenue on Tuesday night. Deputies said a woman called the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center to report that 32-year-old Derick Licona Weinhold was involved in an altercation at the church and he used a baton to smash all the windows out of a minivan parked there. The caller said the suspect took off running down Redwood Avenue. An investigation determined that Weinhold -- for unknown reasons -- vandalized his own vehicle. The damaged vehicle was moved off the church premises. Weinhold was placed into custody at a nearby property and he was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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Rural Metro & GP Firefighters Extinguished Recreational Vehicle Fires in Hugo
Multiple fire agencies responded to reported explosions that rocked a Hugo area neighborhood early yesterday. On Wednesday at 5:37 a.m., Rural Metro Fire Department and Grants Pass Fire & Rescue were dispatched to the incident on Jess Way near Three Pines Road. Crews arrived to find two recreational vehicles fully-involved with flames after what was initially believed to be a structure fire. No occupants were located and no injuries were reported. Rural Metro officials said the cause of the RV fires has not been determined.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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Rural Metro Conducted Annual Apparatus Operator Class at NV Industrial Park
There's a reason you may have seen several green fire trucks running around in the North Valley Industrial Park the past two weekends. Rural Metro Fire Department has been conducting its annual Apparatus Operator Class for six firefighters who are learning the next phase of the job. Keeping with requirements of National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) 1002, which is the standard for Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualifications, the student firefighters have been navigating about 10 different engines and water tenders through cone courses, and working to perfect pumping and water supply operations. Through heavy rain and bright sunshine, the class has commenced the last two weekends in the local industrial park as it provides relatively quiet streets that pose few traffic issues. Rural Metro officials said the next phase of the class includes over-the-road driving practice. Motorists can expect to see the green fire apparatus out and about as the students put in many hours of required drive-time.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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Commission Approves New Fee Schedules for Animal Shelter and Recreation Department
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The Josephine County Board of Commissioners approved new fee schedules for the Animal Shelter and Recreation Department during its weekly business session on Wednesday. The Board voted 2-0 to approve the fee changes following a public hearing. Commissioner Dan DeYoung was absent. Finance Director Sandy Novak testified that the fee adjustments were made so users will pay for most services from Josephine County instead of the bills being footed by taxpayers. The Animal Shelter fee schedule will increase slightly for adoptions while the Parks Department will increase fees for some campground services, and various plot sales for Granite Hill Cemetery will start in March. Josephine County Public Health Director Mike Weber made a presentation on the Animal Shelter by stating it is hampered by aging infrastructure, a lack of funding and inadequate staffing. In a comparison with 15 similar facilities, the local shelter had the 3rd-highest number of animal intakes and the 3rd-lowest level of funding with the lowest ratio of staff per animal. Weber unveiled a proposed Animal Shelter Levy to upgrade the facility and services. The total cost would be 47 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value including 27.6 cents for operations and 19.4 cents for the facility. The operations portion of the levy would continue for five years while the facility portion would cease after an Oregon Business Loan is paid off.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
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RVCOG Announces Local Needs Assessment Survey for Older and Disabled Adults
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The Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) has opened a needs assessment survey for older adults and adults with disabilities. RVCOG is the Area Agency on Aging for Jackson and Josephine counties. RVCOG's Senior and Disability Services and Senior Nutrition departments conduct a survey every four years to assess area needs. RVCOG officials encourage citizens to share their experiences and opinions with them by completing the survey. Your input will assist them in planning for the future needs of older adults and adults with disabilities in Southern Oregon. The information you provide will be used to prioritize programs, services and supports in their 2025-2029 Area Plan. The survey should take about 15 minutes of your time to complete. No identifying information is being collected and your responses are confidential. At the conclusion of the survey, you will be asked if you would like to participate in a drawing for a $50 VISA gift card. The survey closes on March 1, 2024. For more information, visit "rvcog.org."
Posted on 2/1/24 6:10AM by Sam Marsh
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OR State Fire Marshal Applauds Success of Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grants
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The Oregon State Fire Marshal's commitment to wildfire resilience is yielding significant successes from wildfire risk reduction grants and investments in local communities. This innovative funding approach allows communities across the state to develop local solutions to reduce wildfire impact. It was made possible by Senate Bill 762. Among the triumphs are 22 strategic investments totaling more than $2.6 million and 106 Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant projects amounting to $18 million. These funds were used to empower communities, fostering a collaborative spirit in the face of increasing wildfire risks. The City of Jacksonville undertook a significant project in Forest Park, leveraging investment funds from the OSFM. The city created substantial fuel breaks by thinning dense brushlands, pruning trees and removing debris, safeguarding public spaces. This one-time funding is part of a multi-pronged approach to the OSFM's efforts in rising to the challenge of wildfire.
Posted on 2/1/24 6:01AM by Sam Marsh
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