Local News

SOCET Task Force Raided Central Point Home Where Child Porn was Uploaded
The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint interagency task force served a search warrant at a Central Point residence early yesterday. SOCET served the warrant in the 1100-block of Crown Avenue after discovering hundreds of images of child exploitation were uploaded from the home. Detectives are interviewing witnesses and involved parties, and the investigation is ongoing. During the raid, investigators seized digital devices which will be forensically examined by the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force for further evidence of child exploitation. A tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children started the investigation, which led to subpoenas and the search warrant. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Oregon State Police, Medford Police Department, Central Point Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted with the warrant service. SOCET is a joint interagency task force that started in June 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force also consists of investigators from the Grants Pass Police Department as well as prosecutors from local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine counties.
Posted on 4/26/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh
 

ODF Extinguished 1st Fires of 2023 in Jackson & Josephine Counties Monday
The Oregon Department of Forestry responded to and extinguished the first fires of 2023 in Jackson and Josephine counties this week. Reported early Monday off the 16,000-block of Water Gap Road near Williams, the Watts Mine Fire was caught at a little more than three-quarters of an acre by the middle of the day. It was on BLM land and the cause is under investigation. On Monday afternoon, ODF was requested by Jackson County Fire District #5 to respond to a grass fire in the 1500-block of Tyler Creek Road off Highway 66 near Ashland. That fire burned an estimated two acres on private land before being put out, with its cause still under investigation. A third fire was reported shortly before 4 p.m. near Birdseye Creek near the City of Rogue River. Jackson County Fire District #1 was able to extinguish it at a small size and its cause is also under investigation. No homes or buildings were lost. ODF officials say these local fires are a good reminder that -- while snowpack levels are higher than in recent years -- rainfall in the valleys is still below average and a slight drought persists across Southern Oregon. With warm and windy weather in the forecast this week, the risk of fires spreading increases because the region is prone to wildfire due to topography, vegetation types and climate.
Posted on 4/26/23 6:28AM by Sam Marsh
 

GoFundMe Account Set Up to Help Family of Boy Hurt in Fall Off Ocean Cliff
The Grants Pass community is rallying to help a local boy who had to be rescued by the US Coast Guard after suffering a horrific fall while hiking on the Oregon Coast with a friend's family. Eight-year-old Nolan Haptonstall, 36-year-old Ryan Acord and his two sons were hiking on a marked trail which got narrow at one point, causing all four of them to slip off the edge and down an embankment. Acord and Haptonstall went over a cliff and fell to a rocky beach about 13 miles north of Brookings. Acord was killed in the fall and Haptonstall was seriously hurt. Due to the rugged terrain, it took three hours to get the boy to a helicopter so he could be flown to a Gold Beach hospital and then to a hospital in Portland. Haponstall is now at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) where he is being treated for a skull fracture. His parents rushed to Portland and both will be out of work for an unknown amount of time. Along with the added expense of being out of town, the family will also be facing large medical bills. Friend Jodi Robertson started a GoFundMe account to help the Haptonstall family cover the expenses arising from Nolan's tragic accident. In the first day, more than $6,000 was raised. To donate, please visit "gf.me/v/c/hqp/the-haptonstall-family."
Posted on 4/26/23 6:19AM by Sam Marsh
 

IVFD Crews Responded to Morning Crash and Evening Medical Emergency
The Illinois Valley Fire District responded to two incidents yesterday that occurred in the morning and the evening. On Tuesday at 9:29 a.m., IVFD and American Medical Response were dispatched to a single-vehicle rollover crash in the 6800-block of Takilma Road. Upon arrival, emergency units found that there was no occupant of the vehicle there. The vehicle was flagged for towing and units cleared the scene. On Tuesday at 6:14 p.m., IVFD, AMR and Mercy Flights were dispatched to the football field at Illinois Valley High School for an adult with a medical emergency. The unidentified patient was airlifted to a local hospital for treatment. IVFD officials said they are very fortunate to have access to an air ambulance. They said the helicopter reduces time getting a patient to a higher level of care.
Posted on 4/26/23 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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BCC will Consider Trash Disposal Rate Increases as Part of Busy Agenda
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners will tackle a busy agenda for its weekly business session this morning. The Board will start the meeting with rate increase presentations from Southern Oregon Sanitation and Republic Services followed by consideration of resolutions to amend the Solid Waste Collection Franchise Agreement with both companies. As part of Administrative Actions, the Board will consider a grant agreement with the Three Rivers School District for tobacco education and cessation services, a contract for the Lake Selmac Water Treatment Plant, a contract for Indian Mary Park campsite upgrades, an agreement with the state for improvements to the Courthouse and a redevelopment loan award for cleanup of the Dimmick campus. In other business, the Commissioners are expected to approve the findings of fact in the matter of an appeal to approve a partition and property line adjustment on Rio Mesa Drive. Today's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 4/26/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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9th Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument made by President Barack Obama in January 2017. Former President Bill Clinton designated the local monument in 2000 under the Antiquities Act as "a biological crossroads and ecological wonder known for its incredible diversity of wildlife and plant species." Cascade-Siskiyou is the only National Monument in the nation specifically established to protect biodiversity. Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center, said the court decision confirms protection of this special area of federal land and is a major victory for the Monument and the spectacular variety of plants, fish and wildlife that depend on its ecological integrity. Brown said the court decision affirms the 2019 decision of an Oregon federal court that President Obama lawfully expanded the Monument and that the expansion did not violate the Oregon and California (O&C) Lands Act. A similar case brought by timber industry groups in Washington, DC, remains pending. Monument supporters -- ranging from local residents and conservation groups to elected officials -- plus tribes, business owners, scientists, hunters and anglers have fought for decades to protect this special area straddling southwest Oregon and northwest California that is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity.
Posted on 4/26/23 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
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Total Payroll Employment in Josephine County Increased in March and Over the Year
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Total payroll employment in Josephine County increased by 190 jobs in March. According to the Oregon Employment Department, there were 34,383 people working in Josephine County last month for a seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 6%, which is down from 6.4% in February. The March 2022 rate was 4.8%. Industries adding jobs in March included private education & health services, leisure & hospitality, construction and manufacturing. Transportation, utilities & warehousing had an estimated loss of 20 jobs. Government employment rose by 70 jobs over the month. Over the past year, payroll employment in Josephine County increased by 190 jobs, a gain of 2.1%. Those job gains leave the county 200 jobs above the March 2020 pre-pandemic total. Industries adding jobs since March 2022 included private education & health services (+340), leisure & hospitality (+200) and other services (+50). Those losing jobs over the year were professional & business services (-170), retail trade (-30) and construction (-20). Government employment rose by 170 jobs over the year. A gain of 100 jobs in local government education and 40 jobs in other local government accounted for most of the yearly gain.
Posted on 4/26/23 6:01AM by Sam Marsh
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Galice Resort Now for Sale after Four Decades of Ownership by the Thomason Family
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The Thomason family, who has owned, grown and nurtured the Galice Resort on the Rogue River for 43 years, is selling the resort and two adjoining residential properties. A 2021 fire destroyed the resort's original main building, restaurant and store, but tourists who fish, hike or enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking on the river's Wild and Scenic section continue to visit. Debbie Thomason's parents Gil and Mary Lou Thomason bought the Galice store in 1981 and expanded the business over time, serving three meals a day to hundreds of customers in spring, summer and fall. The Galice Resort's rafting operation is equipped to handle up to 325 people a day, she said. There are also guided trips and raft rentals, "and much potential for continued growth," Thomason told the Oregonian/OregonLive. The asking price for the resort: $2,299,000. Thomason raised her family in the Riverview House, which is for sale at $699,900. In 2020, she bought her parents' Rogue Retreat House and converted it into a rental. It is also for sale at $699,900. Thomason said new owners would be able to continue the lodging, restaurant, rafting and shuttle businesses.
Posted on 4/26/23 5:57AM by Sam Marsh
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Commission to Consider Trash Disposal Rate Increases as Part of Busy Agenda
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners will tackle a busy agenda for its weekly business session tomorrow morning. The Board will start the meeting with rate increase presentations from Southern Oregon Sanitation and Republic Services followed by consideration of resolutions to amend the Solid Waste Collection Franchise Agreement with both companies. As part of Administrative Actions, the Board will consider a grant agreement with the Three Rivers School District for tobacco education and cessation services, a contract for the Lake Selmac Water Treatment Plant, a contract for Indian Mary Park campsite upgrades, an agreement with the state for improvements to the Courthouse and a redevelopment loan award for cleanup of the Dimmick campus. In other business, the Commissioners are expected to approve the findings of fact in the matter of an appeal to approve a partition and property line adjustment on Rio Mesa Drive. As always, there will be Requests and Comments from Citizens when the public can address the Board of three minutes on topics pertaining to Josephine County. Wednesday's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 4/25/23 11:18AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Two Felons for Violating Supervision Agreements Late Sunday
Grants Pass Police jailed two felons for violating their supervision agreements in separate incidents last weekend. The Police Department reports the first incident occurred on Sunday at 4:03 p.m. when officers arrested 52-year-old Tyler Allan Pinard of Grants Pass at the A-1 Market & Deli on SE 8th Street. Police said they located Pinard at the store and knew that he was wanted on a Josephine County felony warrant for Parole Violation related to an unspecified conviction in 2021. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail without bail. The second incident happened on Sunday at 6:52 p.m. when officers arrested 51-year-old Matthew James Fournier of Grants Pass near Big Lots off NE Agness Avenue. Police said Fournier's corrections officer wanted him arrested for Probation Violation related to a previous arrest for 3rd-Degree Escape. He was lodged in jail on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 4/25/23 10:15AM by Sam Marsh
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Anonymous Tipster Led to Apprehension of Man on Grants Pass Felony Warrant
An anonymous tipster led police to apprehend a local man on a Grants Pass felony warrant early yesterday. The Grants Pass Police Department reports officers arrested 32-year-old Shane Alan Barton near the corner of SE Trooper Way and Yorktown Drive shortly after 9 a.m. Monday. Police said they received a call from an anonymous person that Barton was seated inside a Honda Odyssey that had been parked there since early that morning. The caller said they did not want the vehicle sitting on the street anymore and requested it be checked due to drug activity taking place at a nearby apartment complex. Upon arrival, officers contacted Barton and discovered that he was wanted on a Grants Pass felony warrant for Identity Theft and 2nd-Degree Theft. He was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on $25,000 bail. According to the report, a toddler in Barton's vehicle was released to their mother.
Posted on 4/25/23 10:13AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Snared 3 Men for Weekend Disturbances at Riverside Park
Grants Pass Police arrested three men for separate incidents at Riverside Park on Sunday. The Police Department reports the first incident occurred on Sunday at 1:02 p.m. when officers arrested 39-year-old Tyler Jon Watsabaugh at the city park. During a routine patrol check, police said they observed Watsabaugh walking toward the gazebo restroom area. He was known to have a valid trespass order and when contacted, he told officers he knew he was trespassed, he did not care and he had to use the restroom. That's when police contacted his probation officer. Watsabaugh was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass and Felony Probation Violation related to an incident in which he fired gunshots at the park last year. He was held without bail. The second incident happened on Sunday at 1:50 p.m. when officers responded to a fight at Riverside Park and arrested 20-year-old Ethan Roy Wilcox. Police said Wilcox was involved in a physical fight at the park and found to have a valid trespassing order there. He was placed into custody and lodged in jail for Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Trespass and Possession of Methamphetamine. The third incident took place at 7:50 p.m. when officers arrested 30-year-old Brandon Alan Halliday at Riverside Park. He was contacted during a patrol check and found to have been trespassed from the facility. He was lodged in jail for Criminal Trespass and issued another 30-day park exclusion order.
Posted on 4/25/23 10:11AM by Sam Marsh
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