Local News

Jackson County SO Provides Tips to Prevent Theft of Holiday Mail & Packages
Mail theft is on the rise this holiday season in Jackson County along with the rest of Southern Oregon and across the country. Nationwide from 2018-2023, United States Postal Inspectors have arrested almost 9,000 suspects for the theft of mail and packages. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office reports the biggest risk in our area is unlocked mailboxes along rural roadways, but thieves steal mail in cities as well. There are some steps you can take to protect your mail. Use a locking mailbox, get informed delivery to know what mail is arriving and when, promptly pick up your mail and try not to leave letters or packages in your mailbox or at your door for any length of time. Inquire about overdue mail. If you do not receive a check, credit card other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the sender as soon as possible and ask about it. Don't risk sending cash and be careful about what you send. Arrange for prompt pickup. If you cannot be home to receive a package, make another arrangement or use USPS Hold Mail Service. When shipping packages, use the Hold for Pickup option and the recipients can collect the package at their local Post Office. When mailing something important, consider requesting Signature Confirmation for the intended recipient. For more information on preventing mail and package theft, go to the US Postal Inspection Service website at "uspis.gov/tips-prevention/mail-theft."
Posted on 12/21/23 1:01PM by Sam Marsh

Commissioners Put All Library Annexation and Withdrawal Requests on Hold for 60 Days
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners has put all library annexation and withdrawal requests on hold, including five annexation petitions on the agenda Wednesday and four withdrawal petitions that were continued from last week. Based on advice from Legal Counsel, the Board voted 3-0 on Tuesday to place all petitions pertaining to the Josephine Community Library District on hold for at least 60 days. During the weekly business session yesterday, Library Director Kate Lasky argued that all five petitioners had fulfilled the procedures required for annexation and said she considers blocking annexation petitions "suspect," adding that the laws for adding properties to an existing service district are different than laws for removing them. One of the library annexation petitioners commented that the deadline for the Board to take action on the requests is January 18th, which is sooner than the end of the 60-day moratorium. As part of the Consent Calendar, the Board reappointed Jennifer McGowan to a three-year term on the Josephine County Fair Board and it approved an order cancelling the December 27th business session due to a lack of a quorum. In Requests and Comments from Citizens, the Board heard from a large number of proponents for the sale of the Pipe Fork timber property near Williams.
Posted on 12/21/23 12:58PM by Sam Marsh

Home Replacement Assistance for 2020 Labor Day Disaster Survivors in Talent Next Year
The Homeowner Assistance and Reconstruction Program (HARP) will be the first assistance available directly to 2020 Labor Day disaster survivors administered by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). The program is part of ReOregon, which is funded by a $422 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HARP assistance will help low- and moderate-income homeowners who still need to repair, rebuild or replace their homes. Those who have already completed repairs or rebuilding may be reimbursed in a future phase of HARP, if funds are still available. OHCS will begin accepting applications for HARP by the end of March 2024. One Southern Oregon organization will be conducting outreach and providing in-person support to help survivors work through the application process. ACCESS of Jackson County, NOWIA Unete Center for Farmworker Advocacy and Firebrand Resilience Collective are working on the Remake Talent project. In addition, Unite Oregon in Jackson County will be assisting with outreach work. OHCS recognizes how challenging this disaster has been and wants to work with survivors to ensure they have the resources they need to apply to the appropriate ReOregon program.
Posted on 12/21/23 12:55PM by Sam Marsh

Chamber of Commerce Now Accepting Band Apps for 2024 Concerts in the Park Series
The Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting band applications for the 2024 Concerts in the Park season. The Chamber is seeking bands that have a strong stage presence, showmanship and sets appropriate for the entire family. To ensure proper decorum and expand opportunities, bands who have previously played at Concerts in the Park in Grants Pass must wait three calendar years to re-apply. Applications are due by January 22, 2024. The Chamber is also looking for individuals or groups at each concert to sing the National Anthem. This is an esteemed volunteer opportunity. All applicants must be willing to audition for Chamber staff. Applications are due by February 23rd. The Chamber would not be able to continue to offer this free gift to the community without the help of partners and supporters. Sponsorship levels are offered to fit any budget. There are several vendor options available for Concerts in the Park as well. For questions or more information about Concerts in the Park, please contact Christie Swafford at (541)-226-3101 or send an e-mail to "cswafford@grantspasschamber.org."
Posted on 12/21/23 12:52PM by Sam Marsh
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GP Physician and Medical Practice Settle Health Care Fraud Allegations with US
A Grants Pass physician and his general medical practice have paid $115,000 to settle allegations by the United States that -- on behalf of himself -- he submitted fraudulent medical reimbursement claims to Medicare, TRICARE and the Veterans Health Administration. According to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon, 60-year-old Wendell Heidinger and Optimal Health of Southern Oregon, LLC, paid the money to the United States Treasury. US attorneys contended that -- between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2020 -- Dr. Heidinger and Optimal submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare, TRICARE and VHA coded as "evaluation and management" when frequency specific microcurrent (FSM) treatments were primarily provided. Medicare considers FSM as an investigational treatment for which it does not provide coverage or payment. Medicare is a public health insurance program administered by a federal agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services. TRICARE is a civilian health care program administered by the Defense Health Agency. VHA is an agency within the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It's the largest integrated health system in the United States and provides primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services to American veterans. This settlement was the result of a coordinated investigation by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon, HHS Office of Inspector General and DHA.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:40AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Felon for Parole Violation after Stealing from Local Supermarket
Grants Pass Police jailed a felon for violating his post-prison supervision this week after he was caught stealing hundreds of dollars' worth of merchandise from a local supermarket. The Police Department reports officers arrested 58-year-old Jack Lee Osborne for the incident at WinCo Foods on NE Terry Lane on Monday afternoon. Police said Osborne filled a grocery cart full of items valued at nearly $450 and went past all points of sale while making no attempt to pay for the stolen property. They said he was detained by loss prevention and placed into custody by officers. Jack Osborne was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Theft and the resulting Parole Violation stemming from a 2017 conviction for four counts of 1st-Degree Forgery and eight counts of Mail Theft. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:39AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Motorist for Hit & Run after He Damaged Vehicle at Hospital
Grants Pass Police arrested a motorist for hit-and-run after he damaged another vehicle and a parking post at Three Rivers Medical Center this week. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to the incident at the hospital on SW Ramsey Avenue on Monday evening. Police said an investigation determined that 28-year-old Jarron Wood was trying to drive around a parked vehicle in the TRMC Emergency Room drop-off loop when he impacted the vehicle and ran over a parking post. They said he quickly backed up and departed without making an attempt to contact the vehicle owner or TRMC. Wood's DMV information was obtained via hospital security video and he was contacted at his residence on SW Bridge Street about 2-1/2 hours after the mishap. He told officers he thought he hit a construction cone and that it wasn't a big deal. Jarron Wood was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for two counts of Hit-and-Run Causing Property Damage.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
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California Man Hospitalized after Crashing Commercial Vehicle on Interstate 5
A California man was hospitalized after he crashed a commercial vehicle on Interstate 5 in the Hugo area early yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency personnel responded to the single-vehicle wreck in the northbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 65 around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Troopers said an investigation indicated 47-year-old Chad Everett Stevens of Bakersfield, California, experienced a medical emergency and fainted while driving a Kenworth semi-truck. They said the crash caused state property damage and the Oregon Department of Transportation assisted with the tow recovery. According to OSP, Stevens was transported by ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center for an evaluation and treatment of unspecified injuries. Caveman Towing hauled the semi-truck and trailer to their yard in Grants Pass.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Cited Motorist for Causing Williams Highway Crash near GP Golf Club
The Oregon State Police cited a motorist for causing a crash on Williams Highway near the Grants Pass Golf Course. OSP reports troopers and emergency crews were dispatched to the two-vehicle wreck on Highway 238 near Torrey Pines Road around midday Monday. Troopers said an investigation indicated a Toyota Camry driven by 66-year-old Cynthia Swan had stopped on the highway to turn onto Torrey Pines when it was rear-ended by a Subaru Legacy driven by 44-year-old Amanda Toddings. There were no injuries reported, but both vehicles were towed into Grants Pass. Following the investigation, troopers cited Toddings for Following Too Closely and No Insurance.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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BCC will Hold Hearing for Library Annexations, But No Library Withdrawals
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing for five annexations to the local library district during its weekly business session this morning, but the pending library withdrawals are not included. The Board last week continued a public hearing on requests to withdraw four properties from the Josephine Community Library District to this week, but they are not on the meeting agenda. The latest library annexation requests were made by petition of the landowners, without election. They agree to join the library service district and pay associated taxes to receive library services. Under Administrative Actions, the Board will consider approval of Finding of Fact & Decision in the matter of an appeal of a planning director's decision to approve an oversized accessory structure on Summer Lane in Grants Pass. The Consent Calendar contains a reappointment to the Josephine County Fair Board and the cancellation of the weekly business session on December 27th due to a lack of a quorum. Today's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Rotary Clubs' FORK Project Feeding Needy Families over Holiday Season
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Rotarians in Josephine County are making sure that elementary school students have plenty to eat over Christmas vacation. On December 13th, members of all four local Rotary clubs met at the Josephine County Food Bank and put together nearly 300 brown grocery bags full of food for children from both the Grants Pass and Three Rivers school districts to take home over the holidays. This effort was made possible through a generous grant provided by the AllCare Health Community Advisory Council. During the 2022-23 academic year, the FORK Project purchased 16,526 individual food items that were distributed to 524 children. Additionally, 300 full-sized brown bags went home to families in need during the 2022 holiday break and another 300 before the 2023 spring break. Experts say there is strong evidence that school feeding programs positively affect school enrollment and attendance rates. All of the money donated to the FORK Project goes toward food with the goal of reducing food insecurity for elementary school students. Do you want to be part of the solution? Donations can be made online through the Redwood Foundation at "redwoodforeducation.org/projects."
Posted on 12/20/23 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
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GP School District Closing NE Dean Drive for Large Crane in GPFLEX Construction Project
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The Grants Pass School District is currently working on the creation of the GPFLEX campus across from the District Office and the next couple of days are big ones for the project. The construction company is bringing in a large crane today to place the buildings on their foundations. This portion of the project will last through Thursday. Grants Pass High School Principal Michelle Napier said NE Dean Drive between A Street and Olive Street will be closed. She said family members who normally drop off or pick up their students at that location will need to use an alternate place. Students walking back from lunch today and Thursday will need to use NE 8th Street to get to the GPHS campus as Dean Drive will be closed. A small section of the parking lot across from the D7 office will also be closed and A Street near the gym and football field will have no parking. Napier said there is a potential -- if the timing of the project is delayed -- that the GPHS after-school bus loading zone will need to change to A Street. If this occurs, she said they will send out a ParentSquare message and staff will direct students.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:10AM by Sam Marsh
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