Local News

BLM District Hosting Conifer Mortality Field Trip in Applegate Valley on Friday
The Bureau of Land Management is hosting a public field trip later this week to see the ongoing conifer mortality in southwest Oregon. During the field trip, BLM foresters will discuss the agency's plan to strategically address the current crisis with conifers. More trees in southwest Oregon died between 2015 and 2019 than in the previous four decades. Increasing tree mortality is leading to concerns about increased fire danger and public safety issues. To help address the problem, the Medford District BLM is proposing to remove dead and dying trees from up to 5,000 acres over the next five years. The work would focus along roadways, near homes and in locations where land managers will have the best opportunities to stop fires while they are small. More information can be found on the project website at "eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2027249/510." The field trip will start near Ruch in the Applegate Valley on Friday at 11 a.m.. It will end around 3 p.m.. To RSVP for the field trip, please contact Todd Boren at (541)-618-2365.
Posted on 2/27/24 6:29AM by Sam Marsh

Britt Festival Orchestra Season Highlights Film Music & 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 Advisor 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 2/27/24 6:27AM by Sam Marsh

Estate of Deceased RVMC Patient Sues Asante and Nurse for $11.5 Million in Damages
News Image
The estate of a 65-year-old man who died while hospitalized at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center sued the hospital system and a nurse on Monday, alleging the nurse replaced his prescribed fentanyl with tap water. The Oregonian reports the wrongful death suit is the first to be filed against the local hospital since the shocking disclosure by Medford police last month that they were investigating potential crimes against patients involving the theft of "controlled substances," which may have led to "adverse" outcomes for some. It’s not clear how many people were affected -- Medford police and Asante representatives have declined to say. MPD Lieutenant Geoffrey Kirkpatrick on Monday declined to answer any questions. Justin Idiart, a Southern Oregon lawyer representing the estate of Horace Wilson, said he has nine clients whose medication was swapped out. He said another five have reached out for possible representation. He said the clients include loved ones of those who died as well as people who survived. The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of Wilson, who was treated at the hospital after he fell off a ladder and died of an infection. The suit names the hospital and nurse Dani Marie Schofield as defendants. Idiart said Schofield helped care for each of his clients. Schofield lives in Medford and has not been charged.
Posted on 2/27/24 5:56AM by Sam Marsh

National Weather Service Posts Winter Storm Watch for Higher Elevations of SW Oregon
News Image
Last weekend's warm weather will give way to another blast of winter this week in southwest Oregon. The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Watch for Jackson, Josephine, central Douglas and eastern Curry counties that runs from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday evening. Heavy snow is possible above 2,500 feet, with total accumulations of 12 inches possible. Snow is possible on US Highway 199 at Hayes Hill and Highway 238 at Jacksonville Hill on Thursday. Winds could gust as high as 50 miles per hour. Areas expected to be affected by the storm include Butte Falls, the Tiller-Trail Highway, Dead Indian Memorial Road, and portions of highways 62 and 140. Travel could be very difficult to impossible at times. The hazardous conditions could impact the evening and morning commutes. Travel is discouraged during the Watch period. If you must travel, stock your vehicle with an emergency kit including tire chains, a flashlight, batteries, blankets, food, water, medications and a fully-charged phone. A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant snow accumulations that may create dangerous travel conditions.
Posted on 2/27/24 5:54AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

UCAN Plans to Open Warming Shelter in GP This Weekend Because of Wintry Weather
News Image
United Community Action Network (UCAN) plans to open its warming shelter this coming weekend due to predicted winter weather. The UCAN Warming Shelter is located at 1990 NW Washington Boulevard, with the entrance on NW Morgan Lane. It's scheduled to be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and guests must be inside by 9 p.m. unless prearranged. Wakeup call is at 6:30 a.m. when breakfast and coffee will be available. All guests must be off the property by 8 a.m. each day. The availability of the shelter is dependent on volunteer coverage during open hours. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please let UCAN know by calling (541)-900-5818 or e-mailing "gpwarmingshelter@gmail.com." If you have already filled out your volunteer application and are ready to go, please sign up for a shift.
Posted on 2/27/24 5:52AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

GP Police Snared Man for Stealing Shopping Cart Full of WinCo Groceries
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for stealing a shopping cart full of groceries from a local supermarket. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to the shoplifting incident at WinCo Foods on Saturday at about 10:15 a.m.. Police said 41-year-old William Lee Asbery pushed a shopping cart full of WinCo property out of an emergency exit without paying for the merchandise. They said he was located a short time later pushing the shopping cart near the corner of NE D Street and Beacon Drive while snacking on some of the stolen items. Store surveillance captured the crime on video so Asbery was placed into custody. William Asbery was charged with 2nd-Degree Theft and lodged at the Josephine County Jail.
Posted on 2/26/24 11:16AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

GP Man Arrested for Stealing Freeze-Dried Skittles from Convenience Store
A Grants Pass man who made an unwise decision to steal some snacks from a local convenience store found himself behind bars at the start of the weekend. Grants Pass Police responded to a shoplifting complaint at the Arco AM/PM store on NE Terry Lane on Friday around 8:15 p.m.. Police said 40-year-old Jameson Andrew Zottola entered the store and tucked some freeze-dried Skittles into his clothing to conceal them before buying energy drinks. They said the suspect left without making any attempt to pay for the snack and the crime was captured on video surveillance. Officers located Zottola at his residence and he admitted to the theft, stating that he didn't have enough money for the candy. He was identified by the store manager as a "frequent offender." Jameson Zottola was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 3rd-Degree Theft. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 2/26/24 11:14AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

GP Police Cited Woman for Trying to Steal Pet Supplies from Grange Co-op
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for attempting to steal pet supplies from the Grange Co-op store over the weekend. According to the Police Department, officers responded to the shoplifting incident at the store on Schutzwohl Lane near Redwood Highway on Saturday at 1:35 p.m.. Police said 34-year-old Britnee LaFrance selected over $38 worth of dog flea and tick products, which she concealed on her person in an attempt to deprive Grange Co-op of its property. She was detained by store security until officers arrived on scene. Britnee LaFrance was charged with 3rd-Degree Theft. She was cited to appear in court and then released.
Posted on 2/26/24 11:13AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

OSP Collared Canyonville Man on Outstanding Warrants after North GP Stop
The Oregon State Police arrested a Canyonville man on outstanding warrants during a weekend traffic stop in north Grants Pass. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Toyota RAV-4 occupied by 47-year-old David Wayne Bell near the intersection of NE 6th Street and Hillcrest Drive at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The driver was not identified in the report. Troopers said they stopped the vehicle for failing to maintain its lane and they noticed Bell wasn't wearing a seatbelt. They also discovered that he was giving them a fictitious name to conceal the fact that he had outstanding warrants. The warrants contained charges of Probation Violation and failing to appear in court. David Bell was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrants along with a new charge of Furnishing False Information to Police. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 2/26/24 11:11AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

OSP Nabbed 2 Motorists for Impaired Driving Over Weekend in Illinois Valley
The Oregon State Police arrested at least two motorists for impaired driving over the weekend in Josephine County -- both of them in the Illinois Valley. According to OSP, the first incident occurred on Friday at 10:05 p.m. when state troopers pulled over a Toyota Tundra driven by 62-year-old Clive Anthony Crook near the intersection of Fir Drive and North Old Stage Road in Cave Junction. Troopers said they stopped Crook for multiple traffic violations and he displayed signs of impairment. After performing poorly in field sobriety tests, he was taken to the substation where he provided a breath sample that exceeded the legal limit. He was cited for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Reckless Driving. The second incident happened on Saturday at 11:35 p.m. when troopers pulled over a Chevrolet Impala driven by 33-year-old Eric Doss Warren on Redwood Highway near Kerby-Mainline Road. Troopers said Warren was traveling 90 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour speed zone and he continued to race through Kerby. Upon contacting the driver, signs of impairment were observed and he was placed into custody. He was taken to the Josephine County Jail where he provided a breath sample that exceeded the legal limit. He was lodged for DUII-Alcohol and Reckless Driving.
Posted on 2/26/24 11:10AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

Elderly Merlin Man Evaluated by Medics after Crash into Freeway Guardrail
An elderly Merlin man was evaluated after he crashed a vehicle into a guardrail on Interstate 5 in the North Valley area. The Oregon State Police reports troopers responded to a hit-and-run accident where the driver of a vehicle struck a guardrail and left the scene near milepost 61 of I-5 early Saturday morning. Troopers were able to locate the suspect vehicle and contacted its driver -- a 90-year-old Merlin man. They determined he was having a medical episode when the crash occurred. He was evaluated by medics at the scene. The man's Honda HR-V sustained minor damage in the wreck and it was towed into Grants Pass. No citations were issued.
Posted on 2/26/24 11:08AM by Sam Marsh
Read more

Rural Metro Crews Doused Mysterious Vehicle Fire on I-5 in Sunny Valley
Rural Metro Fire Department extinguished a mysterious vehicle fire on Interstate 5 in the Sunny Valley area late last week. On Friday at 12:18 a.m., Rural Metro crews from the North Valley Station were dispatched to the vehicle fire on I-5 near milepost 74. They were joined by the Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation. Rural Metro officials said arriving units found an abandoned vehicle off the freeway fully-involved with flames. Crews doused the flames and left the charred carcass of the vehicle in place until tow arrangements could be made. Firefighters wrapped it in colored ribbon to reduce the number of additional calls to 9-1-1. Officials said due to the absence of the driver, the cause of the fire was unknown.
Posted on 2/26/24 11:06AM by Sam Marsh
Read more