Local News

Commissioners Approve Library District Withdrawal Petition in Split Decision
Following a lengthy public hearing this morning, the Josephine County Board of Commissioners has approved a petition that withdraws a property from the local library district. The Board voted 2-1 to approve the petition submitted by the Mike & Winnie Pelfrey Trust to withdraw their property from the Josephine Community Library District. Commissioner Dan DeYoung cast the lone dissenting vote. Both Mike and Winnie Pelfrey testified that the library district does not benefit their property, but a district representative contended that the decision sets a precedent that will be felt across the state. There was ample public testimony both for and against the withdrawal petition. For the record, withdrawing their property from the library district will save the Pelfreys $111.63 each year in taxes. Commissioners Herman Baertschiger and John West said since property owners have the right to opt in to the library district, they should also have the option to opt out. Commissioner DeYoung said the state statute regarding district inclusions and exclusions was vague, and he was not ready to make that decision. In other business, the Board unanimously approved the certified results of the November 7th special election and formed the Josephine County Law Enforcement District. Property owners outside the City of Grants Pass will pay 99 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value to support the district, which was officially passed by 299 votes.
Posted on 12/6/23 12:36PM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Jailed Man for Causing Motel Disturbance Based on Middle East War
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for causing a disturbance at a north-city motel that was based on the current conflict in the Middle East. The Police Department reports 29-year-old Nishad Vishwas Dawkhar was arrested at the Motel 6 on NE 7th Street on Tuesday at 11:12 a.m.. Police said Dawkhar was observed at the motel yelling at the manager. They said he was detained by officers and displayed indicators of impairment. Management presented video of the incident showing the suspect claiming that he had a gun and yelling about Hamas. During a consent search, no firearm was located. Nishad Dawkhar was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct and he was being held without bail.
Posted on 12/6/23 12:35PM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Collared Man Wanted on Felony Warrant at Northgate Shopping Plaza
Grants Pass Police apprehended a man wanted on a local felony warrant during a patrol check at the Northgate Shopping Plaza yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 21-year-old James Anthony Hall, Jr., in front of the Alibi Tavern on NW 6th Street at 3:05 p.m. Tuesday. Police said they were contacted by Hall's corrections officer earlier in the day and advised that his client was wanted on a Josephine County felony warrant for failing to appear in court for 1st-Degree Burglary. Officers spotted him walking through the plaza and placed him into custody without incident. James Hall was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant and his bail was set at $100,000.
Posted on 12/6/23 12:33PM by Sam Marsh

East GP Noise Complaint Resulted in Arrest of Man on 3 Medford PD Warrants
A noise complaint on the east side of Grants Pass late last night resulted in the arrest of a man wanted on three outstanding warrants. Grants Pass Police responded to the complaint in the 1800-block of NE Fairview Avenue on Tuesday around 11:40 p.m.. Police said a resident called 9-1-1 to report that there was a motorhome parked in front of his home and he could hear a couple arguing inside. The caller initially thought they heard a gunshot, but it turned out be a vehicle backfiring. In any event, the caller requested law enforcement contact due to disturbing the peace. Responding officers contacted the couple including 38-year-old Nicholas Ryan Long who was found to be wanted on three warrants issued by the Medford Police Department. Charges contained in the warrants included 3rd-Degree Robbery, 2nd-Degree Burglary, 2nd-Degree Theft and 3rd-Degree Theft. Nicholas Long was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail.
Posted on 12/6/23 12:32PM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Arrested One, Cited Three & Evicted All in City Park Patrols
Grants Pass Police arrested one person, cited three people and evicted all of them during city park patrols on Tuesday. During a patrol check at Baker Park, officers contacted 61-year-old Timothy Teige and discovered that he was wanted on a Grants Pass warrant for Criminal Trespass. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail and trespassed from the park for 30 days. Alyssa Moran was cited for Illegal Camping, Unlawful Utilization of Space and Possession of Fentanyl. She was trespassed from the park for the next month. A large amount of trash was collected and taken to Southern Oregon Sanitation. During a patrol check at Morrison Centennial Park, a person identified only as "Teal" was cited for Buffer Zone Violation and Unlicensed Dog while a person identified only as "Dixon" was warned for Buffer Zone Violation. Teal was issued a 30-day exclusion. Also at Morrison Centennial Park, Cierra Lokken was cited for Driving While Suspended and No Insurance. She was trespassed from the park for 30 days.
Posted on 12/6/23 12:31PM by Sam Marsh
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Authorities Investigating Another Shooting in Medford that Wounded One Person
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The Medford Police Department is investigating yet another shooting in which a person was wounded yesterday. MPD and other law enforcement agencies responded to a Tuesday shooting at an apartment complex located on the northwest corner of Roberts Road and North Keene Way. As a precaution, North Medford High School was temporarily locked down. The single victim was transported to a local hospital where they were listed in stable condition. According to a 3:30 p.m. update, law enforcement agencies had concluded the area search in east Medford and the suspect had not been located. The investigation is continuing. MPD detectives said they can confirm that this incident is not related to the recent shootings that left two men dead at an apartment complex on Highgate Street and another man wounded outside Buffalo Wild Wings on Delta Waters Road.
Posted on 12/6/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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GPPD Apprehended Out-of-State Fugitive Wanted for Murder and Other Felonies
The Grants Pass Police Department has apprehended a fugitive from out-of-state who is wanted for murder and other felony-level crimes. Josephine County Jail records show Grants Pass police officers arrested and lodged 36-year-old Rick Eric Braton Lester on Monday night. The Grants Pass Police Log made no mention of the incident in its daily report, but Lester was lodged on charges including Fugitive from Another State, Aggravated Murder, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, 1st-Degree Robbery, 1st-Degree Burglary and Felony Probation Violation. No other details were available, but Lester was being held without bail pending extradition proceedings that will send him back to the unspecified state to face those charges.
Posted on 12/6/23 6:15AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Apprehended Man Wanted for Committing Domestic Violence in Bend
Grants Pass Police apprehended a man wanted for allegedly committing domestic violence in Central Oregon. The Police Department reports officers arrested 47-year-old Brett Christopher Zacha in the 1,000-block of NW Hawthorne Avenue on Monday evening. Police said the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office requested assistance in locating Zacha who was wanted on a felony warrant for Domestic Strangulation, Domestic 4th-Degree Assault and Domestic Menacing. The Bend Police Department advised that Zacha had fled the area and was now living with his father in Grants Pass. Officers confirmed with a Hawthorne Avenue neighbor that Zacha was living at that address and driving a 2021 Ford Ranger pickup before moving in and making the arrest. Brett Zacha was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the outside warrant. He was being held without bail pending transfer to the Deschutes County Jail in Bend.
Posted on 12/6/23 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Incarcerated Man for Throwing Rocks at Vehicles on Redwood Highway
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for throwing rocks at vehicles on Redwood Highway this week. According to the Police Department, officers responded to multiple reports of a disturbance involving 29-year-old Jonathan Daniel Mahoney on US Highway 199 near Henderson Lane on Monday morning. Police said they arrived on scene to find Mahoney standing in the highway median and throwing rocks at vehicles. They said the suspect grabbed a large rock and hit the driver-side door and window of a woman's Chevrolet Suburban, shattering the window. The female employee of Henderson's Lineup was shaken but not injured. Based on the large number of calls that came in to the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center, it was determined that Mahoney's actions caused a great deal of public alarm. Jonathan Mahoney was placed into custody and booked into the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Criminal Mischief and 2nd-Degree Disorderly Conduct. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 12/6/23 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Cited GP Motorist Claiming to be 'Sovereign Citizen' for Running Red Light
The Oregon State Police cited a Grants Pass motorist who claimed to be a "sovereign citizen" for running a red light near the downtown area this week. According to OSP, state troopers pulled over a vehicle driven by Brian Markl for the traffic violation at the intersection of NW 6th Street and Evelyn Avenue on Monday afternoon. Markl initially refused to roll down his window and started recording the contact. Troopers said Brian Markl had license plates on his vehicle indicating he was a "sovereign citizen." Upon contact with him, he stated that he was traveling and did not need a driver's license. He was able to produce an identification card and he did have valid insurance on the vehicle. Markl was cited for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device, and he was warned for No Operator's License and Expired Registration. He was advised that the warnings were issued because he was "misinformed" and was being given "an opportunity to remediate."
Posted on 12/6/23 6:09AM by Sam Marsh
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BCC to Decide Library Withdrawal Request and Create Law Enforcement District
The Josephine County Commissioners will find themselves in the unusual position of considering a requested withdrawal from the local library district during their weekly business session this morning. The Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing in the matter of withdrawing a property from the Josephine Community Library District. The property is owned by the Mike & Winnie Pelfrey Family Trust. Since the establishment of the district, dozens of properties have been annexed into the district and none have opted out. Under Administrative Actions, the Board is expected to approve an order declaring the results of the November election final and forming the Josephine County Law Enforcement District, which passed by a margin of just 299 votes. Commissioners will also consider an order revising a current purchasing policy. The Board will open the meeting with its monthly recognition of employees and by presenting Oregon State Marine Board Life Saving Awards. Today's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 12/6/23 6:01AM by Sam Marsh
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SOU Laboratory of Anthropology Receives National Recognition for History Preservation
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The Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA) has received an award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its collaborative work with other agencies on the Chinese Diaspora Project. The Chinese Diaspora Project is a wide-ranging effort to research and document the lives of Oregon's early Chinese immigrants. SOULA and other entities collaborating on the project received the National Trust Historic Preservation (NTHP) Award for Federal Partnerships in Historic Preservation during a recent conference in Washington, DC. The NHTP is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to save historic places nationwide and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is an independent federal agency -- the two entities partner in presenting the award. SOULA works on the ongoing project with agencies including Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon State Parks, Oregon Historical Society and the Portland Chinatown Museum. Researchers are using local history and public archaeology to challenged dated stereotypes and highlight the transnational lives of the Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans who helped establish the early infrastructure and economic industries of Oregon.
Posted on 12/6/23 6:00AM by Sam Marsh
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