Local News

GP Police Collared Fugitive Wanted on State Warrant after Trespassing Complaint
Grants Pass Police apprehended a man wanted on a statewide felony warrant while investigating a trespassing call early yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a trespassing complaint involving 40-year-old Philip Raymond Nerpel at Mill Street Car Wash on NE E Street on Monday around 10:15 a.m.. Police said the car wash manager called 9-1-1 and reported a male subject was laying down behind a dumpster and it appeared he had been there all night because he had a shopping cart and chair set up next to him. He was covered with a blanket. Officers arrived on scene, contacted Nerpel and discovered that he was wanted on an Oregon State warrant for Parole Violation stemming from a previous burglary conviction. He was placed into custody without incident. Philip Nerpel was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant and he was being held on a no-bail detainer. His personal items were logged into evidence for safe-keeping. He was trespassed from the car wash.
Posted on 1/9/24 11:15AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Snared Probation Client on Local Felony Warrant at Corrections Office
Grants Pass Police arrested a Josephine County Community Corrections client on a local felony warrant yesterday. The Police Department said officers were contacted to serve an arrest warrant on 39-year-old Amy Elizabeth Baker at the Corrections Office on NW 4th Street on Monday at about 2:30 p.m.. Police said Baker had checked in with her probation officer who discovered she was wanted on a Josephine County felony warrant for Parole Violation stemming from a conviction for Methamphetamine Possession. They said she was aware of the warrant and placed into custody without incident. Amy Baker was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 1/9/24 11:14AM by Sam Marsh

Home Depot Trespasser Arrested for Returning to Store after Summer Fraud Try
A man who had been trespassed from Home Depot due to a past fraud attempt last summer was arrested yesterday for returning to the store. Grants Pass Police responded to a trespassing complaint involving 34-year-old Brandon Enrique Montemayor at the store on NE Mill Street at 3:41 p.m. Monday. Police said a Home Depot employee called 9-1-1 to report Montemayor was inside the store after he had been trespassed from the business last summer. They said he was arrested for attempting to fraudulently return a store item. Responding officers contacted Montemayor in the Home Depot parking lot and placed him into custody. He told police he forgot he had been trespassed from the store. Store managers did not forget and they wanted him prosecuted. Brandon Montemayor was charged with 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass and lodged without bail at the Josephine County Jail.
Posted on 1/9/24 11:13AM by Sam Marsh

OSP Arrested GP Motorist for Impaired Driving after RR Highway Traffic Stop
The Oregon State Police arrested a Grants Pass man for impaired driving last night following a traffic stop on Rogue River Highway. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Toyota FJC driven by 65-year-old Gregory Allen Johnson near milepost 2 of Highway 99 on Monday at 7:20 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Johnson for traffic violations and he displayed signs of impairment. They said he performed poorly in field sobriety tests and was then transported to the Grants Pass Sobering Center where he provided a breath sample that exceeded the legal driving limit. Gregory Johnson was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Reckless Driving. After being cited to appear in court, he was lodged at the Sobering Center. His vehicle was released to a family member or friend.
Posted on 1/9/24 11:08AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Snared Two Men for Multiple Crimes after Catching Them in Stolen Vehicle
The Oregon State Police arrested two men for multiple crimes after catching them in a stolen vehicle last weekend. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Ford Escape driven by 61-year-old Joseph Patrick Ohotto of Grants Pass and occupied by 46-year-old Jeffrey Earl Benz of Deming, Washington, on the Grants Pass Parkway near NE Agness Avenue on Saturday shortly after midnight. Troopers said they stopped Ohotto because the car had been reported stolen from a 70-year-old Grants Pass man. They said Benz fled the scene on foot, but he was apprehended a short time later. A large amount of marijuana was found inside the vehicle and both men were placed into custody. Joseph Ohotto was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and a local bench warrant. The stolen vehicle was recovered and the registered owner was notified. During the jail intake process, Jeffrey Benz was found to be in possession of a large amount of fentanyl and a misdemeanor amount of methamphetamine. He was lodged in jail for Felony Possession of Fentanyl, Misdemeanor Possession of Meth, and outstanding warrants for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and failing to appear in court.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:38AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Trio for Stealing Walmart Merchandise, Two Worked Together
Grants Pass Police arrested three people for stealing merchandise from Walmart last weekend -- two of them for working together in a planned heist. The Police Department reports officers responded to a shoplifting complaint at the store on NE Terry Lane on Sunday shortly after 11 a.m.. Police said 38-year-old Steven Elijah Robison and 30-year-old RubyRose Markey worked together to select and conceal $176.77 worth of merchandise in bags. Both subjects fled in a vehicle with the stolen items when confronted by loss prevention. They were tracked down by officers and stopped at 7th Street and Evelyn Avenue before being placed into custody. All the stolen items were returned to Walmart. Robison and Markey were both lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Theft and Criminal Conspiracy. They were being held without bail. A third person in the group -- 44-year-old Jake Eli Nickell -- was also found to be in possession of items stolen from Walmart. The loss was just over $90 and he was lodged in jail for 3rd-Degree Theft. He was also being held without bail. A total of five people were detained, but two of them were released.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Nabbed Man for Disrupting Traffic on RR Highway at Parkdale Drive
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for disrupting traffic in the middle of a busy intersection in the southeast part of the city last weekend. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to a man kneeling and standing on Rogue River Highway at Parkdale Drive on Sunday at 10:38 a.m.. Police said an employee at the Grants Pass Bottle Drop Center called 9-1-1 about the incident involving 53-year-old Shon Morley Asbury. The caller said Asbury was kneeling in the roadway screaming, drivers were honking at him and the worker was concerned the man would be run over by a vehicle. A short time later, Asbury reportedly stood up and wandered on the highway causing traffic to back up. The caller advised he seemed to be "out of it." Responding officers located Asbury and placed him into custody. He was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct and was being held without bail.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:29AM by Sam Marsh
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GP City Council Holds Special Meeting with No Sessions Slated for January
Following Monday's workshop, the Grants Pass City Council convened a Special Meeting to take care of some routine items since all the regular meetings this month were canceled. The first regular meeting of the year is set for February 7th. Two items were pulled from a lengthy Consent Agenda for separate votes. They were a resolution adopting the City Manager's annual evaluation and a resolution adjusting the salary schedule for Year 3 of the Grants Pass Police Association's collective bargaining agreement. Following discussion, the City Council voted 6-2 to approve City Manager Aaron Cubic's evaluation which gives him a $4,249 increase in his base salary. Cubic's total salary and deferred compensation is now $219,493. The current cost of his Social Security, health insurance, wellness benefits and Worker's Compensation plus other benefits increases from $89,422 annually to $93,174. With little discussion, the Council voted unanimously to adjust the salary schedule in a one-year opener of the Grants Pass Police Association's collective bargaining agreement. Effective January 1st, wages will be increased by 6% for all workers represented by the union at a total cost of $579,813.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:27AM by Sam Marsh
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Pacific Power Prepared to Respond to Weather-Related Outages Due to Storm
Pacific Power is monitoring the winter storm that has arrived in the Pacific Northwest regions of Oregon, California and Washington, and the utility's crews are prepared to respond to weather-related outages. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect through Wednesday afternoon. The weather forecast calls for strong winds that could result in electrical outages through early Wednesday morning. Pacific Power encourages customers to always be prepared for outages and the utility supports emergency management organizations, recommending residents have an emergency plan for up to 72 hours without essential services. There are some simple steps customers can take to prepare and be informed. They include updating your contact information so they can reach you; signing up to receive outage alerts by text, e-mail or phone; restocking your outage kit; keeping mobile devices charged so they may be used in an emergency; and tracking outages and more with their free app. Text OUT to 722797 to report your outage or STAT to check status. Call 9-1-1 and report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-(877)-508-5088. Visit "pacificpower.net/outages" for electrical service restoration estimates.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:17AM by Sam Marsh
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GP City Council in Favor of General Sales Tax and Utility Fee for Public Safety Funding
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The Grants Pass City Council has elected new leadership for 2024, but it didn't come easy. Three attempts to break a 4-4 deadlock between Councilors Vanessa Ogier and Rick Ryker were unsuccessful, so Ogier was elected Council President and Ryker was elected Vice-President. Councilor DJ Faszer was nominated, but not elected. With Mayor Sara Bristol absent, Ogier then led Monday's bi-weekly workshop session where the main topic was once again public safety funding. During a marathon presentation followed by discussion, the Council voted 6-1 on a funding plan that includes a 1.5% general sales tax and a $12 hike to monthly utility bills. After mulling the supplemental funding options for public safety, the Council concluded that the general sales tax and utility fee was the best way to go because a food and beverage tax targets one specific industry. The general sales tax would spread the tax among all businesses -- with some exceptions -- and generate about $10 million per year, which would allow the addition of nine full-time employees in the next fiscal year -- seven of them in much-needed public safety positions. The general sales tax would be capped at 1.5%, which means it could not be increased without the consent of Grants Pass voters. The City Council plans to hold a February 15th public forum on the plan before officially adopting it at a future regular meeting, perhaps in early March.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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NWS Adds Localized Winter Weather Advisory to Current Winter Storm Warning for Region
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Snow down low in southwest Oregon has now become a distinct possibility. The National Weather Service has added a localized Winter Weather Advisory to the existing Winter Storm Warning. The Winter Storm Warning above 2,000 feet remains in effect while the Winter Weather Advisory runs from 10 o'clock tonight through 9 a.m. Wednesday. Heavy snow and blowing snow is expected above 2,000 feet in Josephine, Jackson, eastern Douglas and eastern Curry counties. Total accumulations of up to 12 inches is expected, with up to 24 inches possible over the highest terrain. Winds could gust up to 50 miles per hour. For the Winter Weather Advisory, snow is expected with accumulations of 1 to 3 inches and possibly up to 5 inches on or near the valley floor. The most likely time for this to occur will be tonight into Wednesday evening. Snow accumulations in the valleys will be tricky and much will depend on the intensity of precipitation. Affected roadways include portions of Interstate 5 from Ashland to Rogue River and between Grants Pass and Roseburg, Hayes Hill Summit, Jacksonville Hill, and highways 62, 140, 227, 234, 238 and 46 east of Cave Junction.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:12AM by Sam Marsh
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Mount Ashland Announces Opening for 60th Anniversary Season is Thursday Morning
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The Mount Ashland Ski Area plans to open for the season on Thursday, weather permitting. The local ski area's 60th anniversary season will begin exactly 60 years to the day after its first-ever opening in 1964. On Monday, Mount Ashland Manager Andrew Gast reported the mountain had received 18 inches of snow in the past week, enabling crews to begin preparation work this past weekend. He said ski patrol and grooming teams are working on final preparations now and all lower mountain lifts are expected to be open by Thursday morning. On opening day, the ski area will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and plans to offer Beginner, Intermediate and Advance terrain. The forecast calls for between 9 and 18 inches of new snow over the next couple of days. Mount Ashland calls the first day of the season "Day Onesie" and guests who arrive wearing any one-piece style of clothing can win prizes. The first 60 guests in the lift lines will receive a commemorative 60th anniversary neck tube.
Posted on 1/9/24 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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