Local News

Voters Reminded Registration Deadline is Tuesday for May 16th Special District Election
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After achieving the highest voter turnout in the country in November 2022, Oregonians will vote in the May 16th special district election. May elections in odd-numbered years select representatives for local districts such as school boards, library boards, water districts or transportation districts. In Josephine County, voters will decide seats on the Grants Pass School Board, Three Rivers School Board and Josephine Community Library District Board. The voter registration deadline is tomorrow for the May 16th special district election. If you have moved or changed your name, you may need to update your information by the end of business on Tuesday, April 25th. If you're not currently registered to vote in Oregon, you can register online at "oregonvotes.gov." You can also register in person at local election offices. The Oregon Secretary of State is encouraging eligible people to vote in the May 16th election. Drop your completed ballot in the mail with no postage necessary, use an official ballot drop site or drop off your ballot in person at your county elections office.
Posted on 4/24/23 6:46AM by Sam Marsh

Rogue Community College Reports Total Student Enrollment is Up by 13% This Year
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Rogue Community College is reporting its enrollment is up 13% over enrollment numbers at the same time last year. RCC President Randy Weber said more students are returning and enrolling in courses and programs at the college's three local campuses in Grants Pass, Medford and White City. True to RCC's commitment to accessibility for all, its students come from a wide range of backgrounds and starting points. Weber noted over 25% of RCC students are 35 years old or older. He also said they currently have 979 high school students taking classes and they served 350 military veterans at their campuses last year. The RCC Adult Basic Skills Program is aiding 672 adult students who attend RCC to finish their GEDs, improve math and writing abilities, or learn English as a second language. With a laser focus on workforce development for Southern Oregon, RCC continues to see strong enrollment in short-term training programs and industry-specific certificates, offering over 80 certificate and degree programs.
Posted on 4/24/23 6:44AM by Sam Marsh

Mount Ashland Ski Area Ended Historic Season on Sunday with Record Number of Guests
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The Mount Ashland Ski Area held its last day of skiing and snowboarding on Sunday, ending a historic season for the resort and closing weeks later than its usual closing date. The local ski area finished with 128,625 guest visits this season, smashing the previous record of 106,003. It was also the fifth snowiest winter on record with 343 inches of snow as of yesterday. Mount Ashland General Manager Andrew Gast said they are incredibly thankful to the community that came up to play in the snow this winter. Mount Ashland will be launching its new summer operations program next month. For the first time, the ski area will be opening the lodge to the public for meals and snacks every Saturday and Sunday. The resort also plans to host Youth Adventure Days, guided hikes, group runs and rides, and other gatherings. Summer hours are expected to begin on Memorial Day Weekend.
Posted on 4/24/23 6:42AM by Sam Marsh

Authorities Identified Ruch Homicide Victim and Suspect Remained on the Run
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The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has identified the homicide victim from this week's incident near Ruch and the suspect in the homicide remains on the run. In a Friday afternoon press release, the Sheriff's Office identified the deceased as 53-year-old Jason Marc Kinney of Jacksonville. Condolences have been extended to his family. Early Thursday morning, sheriff's deputies discovered Kinney's body after rushing to a report of shots fired at a home in the 14,000-block of Upper Applegate Road. Details on how Kinney died were not disclosed, but investigators identified the suspect as 64-year-old Michael Wayne Ray of Jacksonville. Ray has so far eluded capture for the homicide. His vehicle was located near Applegate Dam on Thursday afternoon, but an intense search of the area was unable to locate the suspect. As of Friday afternoon, he was still on the lam. Michael Ray is described as a white male adult, standing 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighing around 190 pounds, with blue eyes and gray hair. He is considered armed and dangerous. Deputies will continue extra patrols and presence in the Ruch area. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Michael Wayne Ray is urged to dial 9-1-1 or call Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon at (541)-776-7206.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:28AM by Sam Marsh
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Ashland Police Arrested Jacksonville Man for January 14th Fueling Station Fire
The Ashland Police Department has arrested a Jacksonville man in connection with a January 14th fire at a local fueling station. APD reports officers arrested 32-year-old Talon Casey McComb at his home on Highway 238 outside Jacksonville on Thursday. On January 14th, APD officers and Ashland Fire & Rescue responded to a fire at the fueling station located at 60 Shamrock Lane. APD Chief Tighe O'Meara said the fire was found to have been caused by a person stealing gas from the underground tanks and a piece of heavy equipment parked in the area. He said the fire presented an immediate potential threat to the surrounding neighborhood -- Wingspread Mobile Home Park -- and beyond. Police remained vigilant in following up on the investigation when they placed McComb into custody. He was lodged at the Jackson County Jail on charges of 1st-Degree Criminal Mischief, 2nd-Degree Theft and Reckless Endangering. Chief O'Meara said McComb had been released from custody by Friday.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:27AM by Sam Marsh
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Two Josephine County Jail Inmates Served with Warrants for Additional Crimes
Two Josephine County Jail inmates are facing additional charges after they were served with outstanding warrants this week. The Sheriff's Office reports the first incident occurred on Thursday at 1:42 a.m. when deputies served a Jackson County warrant on 57-year-old Gregory Albert Metzger of Grants Pass for failing to appear in court for Menacing and Disorderly Conduct. Metzger was already in custody for three counts of Contempt of Court/Restraining Order Violation and two counts of Driving While Suspended. The second incident happened on Thursday at 2:34 p.m. when deputies served two Josephine County felony warrants on 33-year-old Chance Richard Johnson of Wolf Creek for two counts of Probation Violation related to previous arrests for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. Johnson was already in custody for 1st-Degree Theft and Criminal Conspiracy. Gregory Metzger and Chance Johnson remain lodged at the adult jail facility.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:25AM by Sam Marsh
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Police Officers and Deputies Worked Together to Snare Theft & Drug Suspects
Grants Pass police officers and Josephine County sheriff's deputies worked together to arrest two people for theft and drug crimes early yesterday. The Police Department reports officers were alerted by deputies that McKayla Nicole Harris and Tanner Smith were passed out in a vehicle parked near WinCo Foods on NE Terry Lane around 2:30 a.m. Friday. Police said they had probable cause that Harris was involved in a recent shoplifting case, so officers and deputies blocked in the Toyota Tundra. Drug paraphernalia was observed inside the vehicle, so both Harris and Smith were cited to appear in court for Methamphetamine Possession. Further investigation revealed that Harris was the suspect in the shoplifting case and she was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 3rd-Degree Theft. Smith was released and placed into contact with the vehicle owner so it could be determined if there was a civil agreement for the purchase of the truck.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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State Legislature Recognizes Southern Oregon University's 150th Anniversary
The Oregon Legislature recognized the 150th anniversary of Southern Oregon University last week by adopting a resolution that applauds and congratulates the university for its ongoing "service, leadership and contributions" to the state. The legislation -- House Concurrent Resolution 1 -- was signed by Oregon Senate President Rob Wagner in an event attended by SOU President Rick Bailey and SOU Board of Trustees Chair Danny Santos. SOU -- which was founded in 1872 as the Ashland Academy -- has celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary throughout the current academic year. The institution has been in its current location since 1926 and was known by a total of nine other names before becoming SOU in 1997. Last week's resolution was sponsored by State Representative Pam Marsh and State Senator Jeff Golden, both of Ashland. It was co-sponsored by representatives Kim Wallan, Zack Hudson, Boomer Wright, Emily McIntire, Ricki Ruiz and David Brock Smith. The resolution contains 19 "whereas" notations recognizing everything from the evolution of SOU's name and focus to its commitment to sustainability to the leadership of its graduates.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:09AM by Sam Marsh
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Dozens of GP AVID Students Traveled to Colleges to Learn about Programs
Dozens of AVID students from North Middle School, South Middle School and Grants Pass High School recently traveled to colleges around the region to learn about each school's programs and offerings. Some students visited Lane Community College in Eugene and others visited Umpqua Community College near Roseburg. After the visits, all the students and the bus drivers got a chance to see the Oregon Ducks versus Oregon State Beavers baseball game at PK Park in Eugene. AVID is an elective course that stands for "Advancement Via Individual Determination." It teaches students study and organizational skills, strengthens their writing skills, takes them to visit colleges and universities, helps them explore careers, and assist them with the application process for their post-secondary plans. Throughout their time in the AVID program, students will visit colleges all over Oregon. It's a great way for students to get a look at the schools available in their home state.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:08AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Vehicle Theft Suspect Rams Vehicles and Stops I-5 Traffic before Friday Morning Arrest
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A Cave Junction man was jailed early yesterday after he stole a vehicle and used a second vehicle to ram several other vehicles while trying to elude law enforcement in north Grants Pass. According to the Grants Pass Police Department, 27-year-old Chauncey Justice McKinney was eventually arrested near Interstate 5 on Friday morning after he tried to flee on foot. A Grants Pass police officer spotted a stolen Dodge truck and followed it to NE Hillcrest Drive near NE Terrace Drive where McKinney pulled into a residential driveway. Other responding officers successfully blocked the suspect in, so the suspect entered an Acura sedan and began ramming vehicles -- including patrol cars -- before leaving the sedan behind and attempting to flee on foot. With assistance from the Oregon State Police and Josephine County Sheriff's Office, Grants Pass Police set up a perimeter around the neighborhood to capture McKinney who by then had stolen a bicycle. The suspect once again fled and began jumping fences toward I-5. He then ran out onto the freeway and as vehicles stopped, he tried to enter them. No one let him in, so he continued his flight across I-5 and over the guardrail south of the freeway.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:04AM by Sam Marsh
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Health Care Workers Organizing at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford
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More than 250 health care technical workers at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford have filed for union recognition with the National Labor Relations Board. The group -- comprised of radiologic technicians, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy aides, surgical technicians and others -- will be represented by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA). ONA already represents frontline registered nurses working at Rogue Regional. The technical workers identified a wide range of issues as their primary reasons for organizing including safe staffing levels, affordable health insurance, respect, and wages that are competitive and that include cost of living increases. Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center is a Level 2 trauma center. Health care providers and workers there have been nationally recognized for their heart and stroke care, orthopedic services, cancer care and diabetes care. It's also home to Southern Oregon's only neonatal intensive care unit. The National Labor Relations Board will determine a union election date in the coming weeks.
Posted on 4/22/23 6:02AM by Sam Marsh
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White City Sheriff's Office and Community Partners Start Local Graffiti Cleanup Project
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The Jackson County Sheriff's Office White City Community Action Team joined with community partners, non-profit groups and local kids this week to clean up graffiti and trash. The effort was part of White Mountain Middle School's Project GRACE, which stands for "Graffiti Removal Achieving Community Empowerment." Students from White Mountain Middle School and Eagle Point High School helped with cleaning up the graffiti and trash. Project GRACE plans on frequent clean-up efforts to maintain the cleanliness and safety of the White City community. This week's event included many community partners including the Sheriff's Office, Jackson County District Attorney's Office, Jackson County Community Justice, Oregon Youth Authority and Eagle Point Student Services.
The effort also included non-profits such as United Way of Jackson County, Youth 715, Real Life Church and Familia Unida Bike Builders. Local businesses that participated were Spartan Boxing, Cascade Community Pool and K&T Restaurant Janitorial Services. Special thanks goes out to the White City Young Marines.
Posted on 4/22/23 5:59AM by Sam Marsh
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