Local News

Grants Pass Police and Firefighters Kept Heat on Criminal Offenders and Off Structures
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Grants Pass police officers and firefighters kept the heat on criminal offenders and off structures in the community last week. According to the Weekly Report filed by Grants Pass City Manager Aaron Cubic, police officers responded to a total of 592 calls for service along with 302 officer-initiated calls that resulted in 48 arrests, 13 citations, 70 warnings and three highly-intoxicated people being lodged at the Sobering Center. Cubic also reported that officers conducted a total of 95 traffic stops in the city and made 12 referrals to the Oregon Department of Human Services. The Community Response Team (CRT) made a total of 215 contacts with potential trouble-makers last week while arresting seven people, citing 53 more and warning 74 others. The CRT unit also trespassed 30 individuals, posted 79 transient camps and removed trash from 30 campsites -- primarily in city parks. Grants Pass Fire & Rescue responded to a total of 79 calls last week including 26 for emergency medical service, one report of fire or smoke, 19 lift assists, three rescue situations, two assists to other agencies and one false alarm. The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center fielded a total of 904 emergency calls in addition to 778 calls for non-emergency service.
Posted on 2/26/24 5:38AM by Sam Marsh

GP Salvation Army Appeals for Community Support to Replace Disabled Box Truck
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The Salvation Army in Grants Pass is facing a critical challenge as its box truck has broken down. Salvation Army Regional Director Sharre Whitson said this unforeseen event has severely impacted their ability to provide crucial services -- particularly their food pantry -- which supports individuals and families in need across the area. Whitson said the box truck has been instrumental in transporting food supplies, clothing and other necessities to those who rely on their assistance. With its recent breakdown, the organization has been forced to resort to renting a truck, which limits their outreach efforts and amount of aid they can provide to the community. The organization is reaching out to businesses, community leaders and individuals to rally behind their cause and contribute toward the replacement of the box truck. Every donation -- no matter the size -- will make a significant difference in restoring The Salvation Army's ability to serve those who rely on their assistance during challenging times. Those wishing to support The Salvation Army Grants Pass can make donations online at "salvationarmy.org" or by contacting their office at (541)-237-8671.
Posted on 2/26/24 5:35AM by Sam Marsh

Chamber of Commerce Passes Out Awards at 100th Birthday Banquet on Friday Night
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The Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100th birthday while passing out awards at its annual banquet on Friday evening. The event was held at the Grants Pass Boys & Girls Club and the masters of ceremonies were Jason Allen and Ashley Main of the Grants Pass Broadcasting Corporation. Melissa Vierra of Evergreen Federal Bank was presented with the Community Spirit Award and Mark Stutzman of Farmer's Building Supply was named Person of the Year. The Rising Star Award went to Nick Alexander of Nick Alexander Films. The architecture award was given to the Williams branch of the Josephine Community Library District. The Small Business Excellence Award was presented to Logan Design and the Large Business Excellence Award went to Evergreen Federal Bank. Outgoing Chamber of Commerce board members Win Howard, Greg Roe and Lawton Leseuer were honored as was Chamber CEO Josie Malloy, who is leaving her post later this week.
Posted on 2/26/24 5:33AM by Sam Marsh

Suspected Forger Jailed After Passing 2 $100 Bills at Major Retailers
Grants Pass City Police arrested and lodged a man in jail on a forgery charge after passing multiple $100 bills at different retailers. Friday morning City Police received a call from Grocery Outlet that a man had passed a fake $100 bill and security footage was available along with the bill. City Police contacted the suspect in Riverside Park just before one o’clock Friday afternoon and placed him into custody. According to the City Police narrative Russell Ellis Davis, 36, was identified from surveillance as having passed two fake, $100 bills, one at Fred Meyer and one at Grocery Outlet, where he was initially caught on video. Davis retained the property from Fred Meyer and admitted to the crimes but was only lodged on one count of forgery I because the admissions from the Fred Meyer incident were not yet corroborated
Posted on 2/24/24 7:49AM by Chuck Benson
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63-Year-Old Man Jailed Following Alleged Assault
Josephine County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a 63-year-old man Friday afternoon after allegedly assaulting his niece. According to the Sheriff’s log the incident began the female approached the Dutch Bros location in the 200 block of Tech Way in a hysterical state saying she had been assaulted by her uncle. Multiple calls documented the female’s escalating behavior and being in a verbal confrontation with a male. Deputies arrived and placed Dennis Lokken into custody, transported him to the Josephine County Jail and lodged him on a single charge of assault IV. No bail was listed in the jail’s information.
Posted on 2/24/24 6:05AM by Chuck Benson
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Sheriff’s Department Asking Help in Locating Missing 14-Year-Old Boy
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The Josephine County Sheriff’s office is asking the public’s help in locating a missing 14-year-old boy.
Thursday the Sheriff’s office received a report that Kaiden Eugene Thayer had left his residence on Hubbard Lane in Grants Pass around 6:30pm that same day on foot. He was wearing black pants, a black sweatshirt over a gray and white sweatshirt and black shoes. Kaiden is described as young white male with black hair and brown eyes. Kaiden stands 5’5” and weighs about 120 pounds.
Posted on 2/24/24 5:44AM by Chuck Benson
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Douglas County Sheriff's Office Reporting Familiar Scam is Making a Comeback
Subjects posing as officials from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office in an effort to scam community members out of their money. Deputies have once again started receiving reports from people contacted via phone by individuals posing as DCSO employees such as Lieutenant Brad O'Dell and retired-Lieutenant Mike Root. The scammer will tell the intended victim they have missed a court appearance, owe fines or have a warrant for their arrest and then demand payment. The victim is often directed to immediately make payment or they will face consequences including arrest. These tactics are never used by real law enforcement agencies. It is critically important that the community is aware of these tactics and shares them with their family members and friends -- especially those who may be vulnerable to falling victim to the scams such as elderly people. Do not focus too much on specific scam tactics as scammers often change their methods over time. They can easily obtain new phone numbers and change them often. They may use "spoof" programs to make your Caller ID show an agency's actual phone number. They may use the names of actual employees to make the call seem legitimate.
Posted on 2/24/24 5:33AM by Chuck Benson
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US Senator Wyden Urges Park Service to Keep Crater Lake Operations Running
US Senator Ron Wyden is urging the National Park Service to keep Crater Lake operations running as the federal agency decides whether to dissolve a contract with the company that manages lodging, dining, retail and boat tours in the park. The Oregonian reports Wyden's letter comes one week after news that the National Park Service has threatened to terminate a contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark, which has operated in the Southern Oregon park since 2018. Aramark, under its subsidiary Crater Lake Hospitality, is currently under contract through 2030. It also provides services at the Oregon Caves National Monument. Federal officials have accused Aramark's subsidiary of a litany of management issues at the park, including shabby living conditions for park employees, park buildings in a state of disrepair and serious environmental hazards. The National Park Service plans to terminate the contract unless the company "shows cause as to why NPS should not do so." That decision came two months after Wyden sent out his first public letter on the issue, laying bare a number of "serious concerns" about operations by Aramark's subsidiary, and asking the federal agency to "take immediate action to prevent concessionaire mismanagement from continuing to threaten Crater Lake National Park, its visitors, or the employees who live and work there." National Park Service documents released since Wyden’s complaint have backed up the senator's accusations, and former employees have confirmed additional problems in the park, including payroll issues that led to withheld paychecks – an incident filed with the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries. Federal officials have not said how long they're giving Aramark to respond, or what might happen to park services should the termination go through. The National Park Service's concession guidelines note that contract termination can be "time consuming," but offer no specific timeline, as the circumstances can vary.
Posted on 2/24/24 5:32AM by Chuck Benson
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GP 9-1-1 Communications Center Received More Than 900 Emergency Calls
The Grants Pass 9-1-1 Communications Center answered over 900 emergency calls over the past week. In its Week in Review posting on Facebook, the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center reported 904 emergency calls between February 15th and February 22nd. The Grants Pass Police Department received a total of 908 calls regarding both emergency and non-emergency incidents. American Medical Response received 232 calls and Grants Pass Fire & Rescue got 78. A total of 37 calls were dispatched to Rural Metro Fire Department while the Illinois Valley Fire District received 18, Williams Rural Fire Protection District received five and the Oregon Department of Forestry got three.
Posted on 2/24/24 5:30AM by Chuck Benson
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ODOT Reports Geology Team to be Drilling along Larson Creek Path Next Week
The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced that a geology tech team will be conducting drilling along the Larson Creek Path in Medford next week, but the multi-use path will still be accessible during the project. ODOT officials said the work will be conducted between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. starting Monday. They anticipate the work will take a couple of days.
Posted on 2/24/24 5:28AM by Chuck Benson
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Britt Festival Orchestra Season Highlights Film Music and Classical Favorites
The Britt Festival Orchestra has announced its 2024 season, with three weeks of exciting outdoor programming in historic Jacksonville from June 13th-29th. Under the leadership of Artistic Advisory Peter Bay and Guest Conductor Alexandra Arrieche, the Britt Festival Orchestra's 62nd season highlights film music alongside beloved classical favorites. The season features four extraordinary soloists: pianist Gabriela Montero, violinist Geneva Lewis, violinist Alex Gonzalez and cellist Joshua Roman. The season will be anchored by two evenings of "Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert" following 2023's sold-out production of "The Princess Bride." John Williams' score will be performed live-to-picture by the full orchestra in one of the most iconic films of the 20th century. The Britt Festival Orchestra is well-known for showcasing living composers, and this season features works by many of the greatest composers still working today. Tickets went on sale Friday on the Britt website "brittfest.org." There will be no member pre-sale for the Britt Festival Orchestra concerts.
Posted on 2/24/24 5:27AM by Chuck Benson
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IVFD Crews Extinguished Small Vegetation Fire Caused by Downed Power Line
The Illinois Valley Fire District extinguished a small vegetation fire caused by a downed power line near Selma early yesterday. On Friday at 6:58 a.m., IVFD and Pacific Power crews responded to the power line issue in an unspecified location of the Selma area. First arriving units reported a small vegetation fire that had started from a downed power line. Utility crews temporarily cut off the electricity so firefighters could put out the small blaze. There were no injuries reported.
Posted on 2/24/24 5:26AM by Chuck Benson
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