Rogue Valley News, Monday; No Sign of Missing Woman, Geraldine Hendricks

Rogue Valley News update, from

MONDAY, OCT. 14, 2019

Rogue Valley Weather

Monday, Columbus Day
Sunny, with a high near 73. Overnight, clear with a temp of around 44 degrees.

Partly sunny, with a high near 73.

A 50% chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 67.  90% chance of light showers overnight.

A slight chance of showers during the day, with a high near 61.

Today’s Headlines…

Search and Rescue officials of Jackson County report no new developments in the search for Geraldine Hendricks, who remains missing, as reinforcements have arrived from regional search and rescue organizations to assist in the search for her.  Hendricks suffers from dementia.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) search and rescue (SAR) officials say search personnel covered a lot of ground Sunday, but have not located Geraldine “Gerry” Hendricks.

Sunday’s search included SAR personnel from Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Klamath, and Modoc counties, and personnel from the Oregon State Police. SAR teams searched with ground teams, K9’s, ATV’s, hasty rigs, and drones. A private fixed wing aircraft and Civil Air Patrol also checked the area from above.

Hendricks is described as 5’2”, 100 lbs., with short dark gray hair. She was last seen wearing a pink flannel long sleeve pajama set. SAR officials believe Hendricks left her home on foot sometime after 6:15 p.m. Saturday.  They would like to hear from anyone who may have seen her walking or given her a ride. 

Anyone with information can call dispatch at (541) 776-7206. SAR officials thank everyone who has offered to respond to the area and help search; however, they ask people to stay clear of the area at this time so search teams can be managed effectively.

A Gold Hill mother faces criminal charges following a rollover crash on Sunday that left her two children injured, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Dispatch received a call reporting the crash in the 2200-block of Kirtland Road near High Banks Road just before 2 p.m. on Sunday. The caller said that one person had been thrown from a white 2008 Toyota Tercel in the crash, JCSO said.

Deputies, troopers from Oregon State Police, and emergency crews from Fire District 3 and Mercy Flights all responded to the scene.

After their arrival, authorities identified the driver of the Tercel as 31-year-old Amanda Leigh Knutson of Gold Hill. Her two sons, ages 6 and 10, were in the car with her. It was the 6-year-old who had been thrown from the vehicle during the crash, JCSO said.

“All occupants were transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center with injuries,” the agency said. “At the time of this release, the injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.”

Knutson faces criminal citations for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), assault in the third degree, recklessly endangering another person, and reckless driving. She remains at the hospital receiving treatment. JCSO said that the case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing, JCSO said. Anyone with information can call Deputy Ponder at (541) 774-6800, reference case #19-21731.

Brian Thornburg, arrested in Grants Pass assault of a woman at 7/11.

Early Sunday morning the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety 911 Dispatch received a report of an assault in front of the 7/11 store on 6th Street.

It was mentioned a 36 year-old female had been punched by a male and a cell phone was stolen. As GPDPS police units were responding, dispatch advised the male suspect had brandished a knife and made threats to stab the female after chasing her. The male suspect fled the area on foot in an eastbound direction. Police units arrived and set a perimeter in the last known area for the fleeing male suspect. He was quickly located and ran from officers to the area of SE 8th and SE M Streets. He was placed in custody without incident after being challenged by police officers.

The male suspect was identified as 46 year-old Brian Thornburg, who has a last known address of Selma. After witness statements were obtained, police units located the knife where Thornburg had thrown it when he saw officers arrive. The knife was seized for evidentiary purposes.

Thornburg was lodged at the Josephine County Adult Jail on numerous charges to include Robbery 1, Assault, Unlawful use of a Weapon, Menacing and Disorderly Conduct. The female victim sustained minor injuries.

For the first time since 2009, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is planning to utilize helicopters in a prescribed burning operation, via helitorching.

Often referred to as “aerial ignitions,” helicopters can be used in areas where topography and conditions pose tactical or safety challenges to ground crews. This particular unit will utilize the helitorching method, which is essentially a large drip torch that is slung from the underside of a helicopter and is well-suited for the sort of terrain and fuel types in the prescription unit. The 350-acre unit is located next to Applegate Lake, on the northeast side of the lake and north of Latgawa Cove campground. Hand ignition began Saturday, with crews working on the edges of the unit to prepare it for aerial operations. The helicopter will be assisting crews on through reconnaissance efforts and supply transport, and will transition to ignition operations today.

The RRSNF has approximately 60 personnel committed to the burn, including firefighters from the neighboring Bureau of Land Management’s Medford District.

Free Farm Safety Seminars Kick Off This Month from SAIF.

Farm work is a whole lot safer than it used to be. But as far as SAIF is concerned, even one injury or illness is too many.

That’s why SAIF is offering 29 free ag safety seminars in 17 cities across Oregon. The first will be in La Grande on October 28, and they’ll continue through March. Nine of the seminars will be presented entirely in Spanish. Last year, more than 2,180 workers and employers attended SAIF’s seminars.

“We purposely hold these in the off-season to encourage attendance,” said Courtney Merriott, senior safety management consultant at SAIF and presenter at this year’s seminars. “Our goal is to provide the latest safety content for the industry, so that every ag worker goes home safe and healthy each night.”

This year’s seminars will focus on four topics: respiratory personal protective equipment, working at elevation, safety leadership for anyone, and incident analysis—a structured process for identifying what happened and reducing recurrence of injuries moving forward.

In March, SAIF will also offer webinars online in English and, new this year, Spanish.

The seminars are designed primarily for people working in agriculture but are open to anyone interested in ag safety and health—they don’t have to be insured by SAIF.

In-person seminars will be held in Bandon, Central Point, Clackamas, Corvallis, Eugene, Hermiston, Hillsboro, Hood River, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Madras, Milton-Freewater, Ontario, Salem, The Dalles, Wilsonville, and Woodburn.

Spanish seminars will be held in Central Point, Eugene, Hermiston, Hillsboro, Hood River, Salem, The Dalles, Wilsonville, and Woodburn.

All will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and lunch will be provided.

Employers with small ag businesses who attend the seminar, or watch the webinars, will meet OSHA’s instructional requirement—one of four requirements that exempt small agricultural operations from random OSHA inspections.

Three hours of technical and one hour of business continuing education credits will be offered if approved by the Landscape Contractors Board. Producer continuing education credit hours for licensed insurance agents have been requested and are pending approval by the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

More information—including registration details—can be found at

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