Rogue Valley News, Tuesday, Oct. 15th -Gold Hill Mother Remains in Custody After Crash

Rogue Valley News update, from

TUESDAY, OCT. 15, 2019

Rogue Valley Weather

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…

Authorities have arrested a Gold Hill mother after Sunday’s crash that sent her two children to the hospital.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies suspect alcohol impairment contributed to the crash. Sunday afternoon dispatch received a 911 call reporting a rollover crash in the 2200-block of Kirtland Road, near the intersection with High Banks Road. 

The caller reported one person had been ejected from the white 2008 Toyota Tercel during the crash. Deputies responded to the scene and said the driver, Amanda Leigh Knutson, 31, of Gold Hill, and her two sons, ages 6 and 10, were the occupants of the vehicle.  The six-year-old was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. All occupants were transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center with injuries.  At the time of this release, the injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. 

Knutson was issued criminal citations for the following charges:  driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII); assault in the third degree; recklessly endangering another person; and reckless driving.  She was released to the care of the hospital to receive medical treatment.  The case will be forwarded to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The investigation into the crash is ongoing.  Anyone with information can call Deputy Ponder at (541) 774-6800. 

Democratic candidates debate again tonight on most major TV networks at 5PM PT.

On TV tonight, 12 democratic presidential candidates will take the stage in the 4th Democratic Debate from Westerville, Ohio.


The annual open enrollment for Medicare starts today and the Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) Program in the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace is ready to help. Medicare annual enrollment is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 years or older or younger than 65 with Social Security Disability Income. People living in Oregon who are 65 years or older may be eligible to sign up and find health insurance that best meets their needs. Medicare covers many medical costs, including visits to the doctor, prescription medications, and preventive care such as mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes treatment, and blood pressure screenings.

Medicare annual enrollment for 2020 benefits runs through Dec. 7, 2019. Enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) or prescription drug plan (Part D) for the first time or make changes between these dates so coverage begins without interruption on Jan. 1, 2020. There is also an extended MA open enrollment period from Jan. 1, 2020, to March 31, 2020. You must be enrolled in an MA plan to use this extended open enrollment period to make any changes.

“Medicare Advantage and Part D plans are sold by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare,” said Lisa Emerson, Medicare (SHIBA) program analyst. “They can change their cost and coverage each year, so it’s important to do annual check-ups to make sure you have the coverage you need in 2020.”

There is a new Medicare plan finder tool this year, the first upgrade in a decade. The new plan finder is at

The finder allows users to shop and compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. The updated finder also provides people with Medicare coverage and their caregivers with a personalized experience through a mobile friendly and easy-to-read design that will help them learn about different options and select coverage that best meets their health needs. 

Free information and help is available by calling 1-800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting

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.

SAIF is offering 29 free ag safety seminars in 17 cities across Oregon including Central Point. Last year, more than 2,180 workers and employers attended SAIF’s seminars. According to Courtney Merriott, senior safety management consultant at SAIF and presenter at this year’s seminars they purposely hold these in the off-season to encourage attendance and said their 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.

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. Scheduling for the In-person seminars to be held in Central Point will be announced shortly.

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), in consultation with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, created the Oregon Supportive Housing Institute to provide technical assistance and training to a cohort of ten groups focused specifically on Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) development.

Ten teams were selected out of the 29 applications received, demonstrating the high demand for PSH.

 One of six priorities identified in Oregon’s Statewide Housing Plan, PSH provides service-enriched affordable housing to help the most vulnerable individuals and families lead more stable lives. This is a national model and best practice for serving individuals living with a serious persistent mental illness and persons experiencing chronic homelessness. PSH leads to cost savings in public systems by providing upfront intervention that creates savings downstream in the healthcare and justice systems.

“Too many of our community members are struggling to find and maintain housing,” said OHCS Director Margaret Salazar. “PSH is a proven model that changes lives to break the cycle of homelessness.  This is a first step for us to implement this model in Oregon.”

 The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division is asking for the public’s help for information regarding the unlawful take of a buck deer north of Sisters.  A 4×4 buck deer was found shot with a rifle and left to waste near the intersection of Camp Polk Rd and Wilt Rd.  Investigators believe the deer was shot sometime around September 5th during the buck deer archery season.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact OSP Trooper Aaron Roth at (503)583-5199 or through the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (mobile).

** Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators** 

The TIP program offers preference point rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of big game mammals.

Preference Point Rewards:

* 5 Points-Bighorn Sheep

* 5 Points-Rocky Mountain Goat

* 5 Points-Moose

* 5 Points-Wolf

* 4 Points-Elk

* 4 Points-Deer

* 4 Points-Antelope

* 4 Points-Bear

* 4 Points-Cougar

Or the Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward fund also offers cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, Furbearers, Game Fish and Shellfish.  Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags and for the unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags.

* $1,000 Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat and Moose

* $500 Elk, Deer and Antelope

* $300 Bear, Cougar and Wolf 
* $300 Habitat Destruction

* $200 Illegally Obtaining License/Tag(s)

* $200 Unlawful Lend/Borrow Big Game Tags(s) 
* $100 Upland Birds and Waterfowl 
* $100 Furbearers 

* $100 Game Fish and Shellfish 

How to Report a Wildlife and/or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity: 

TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP(677)

TIP E-Mail: (Monitored M-F 8:00AM – 5:00PM)

The Oregon Supportive Housing Institute will run from November to March with monthly two-day classes.

Participates will receive individualized support in project planning, including a specialized supportive services plan, operating procedures, and PSH team development.  The cohort teams represent a diverse mix of urban and rural areas. The Institute provides a pathway for OHCS and partners to achieve the ambitious goal of 1000 units of PSH over the next five years to implement the Statewide Housing Plan.

Participants in the Institute will receive preference when applying for PSH development funds. OHCS received $50 million in the 2019 Legislative Session for the creation of PSH homes. The Oregon Health Authority received $5.4 million for operations and supportive services.

A 34-year-old Oregon State Hospital psychiatric patient, Peace Wickham, was reported missing yesterday.

Wickham is not considered to be an imminent danger to himself or others. He is accused of unauthorized departure. OSP is conducting an investigation to help locate him. Wickham was admitted from Lane County to the Junction City campus of Oregon State Hospital in September of 2016. Wickham was found guilty except for insanity on the charges of assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, and felon in possession of a restricted weapon.Hospital officials reported the missing patient to state and local law enforcement agencies and described him as a male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 255 pounds, with a shaved head and brown eyes. He has two tattoos, the state of California on his right forearm and Hawaii on his left forearm. When last seen, he was wearing a gray fleece sweat shirt, tan pants, and tan hiking shoes with rubber laces.

In McMinnville, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum holds their signature fundraising event of the year, “Fly me to the Moon” Saturday, November 2nd, 2019.

This annual fundraiser benefits the Museum, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Featured guest Burt Rutan, designer of iconic vehicles SpaceShipOneVoyager, and the Museum’s own Beechcraft Starship, will attend and present. “We are thrilled to have Burt Rutan attend and speak at our fifth annual Gala. This accomplished aerospace professional continues to inspire and contribute to the fields of aviation and space technology, which dovetails nicely with our mission,” says Interim Executive Director John Rasmussen.

The Museum’s mission is “To inspire and educate, promote and preserve aviation and space history, and honor the patriotic service of our veterans.” While the Museum campus offers stunning examples of aviation/space achievement, we also strive to create an environment that teaches our younger generation the importance of human skills, like mathematics, science, teamwork, determination, and perseverance. Museum staff and volunteers work at bridging the gap between aerospace history and future innovation.

The 2019 Fly Me to the Moon Gala will bring together aviation and space enthusiasts to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments and to look towards the future of the Museum. A guided tour for fundraiser attendees led by Museum Interim Executive Director John Rasmussen takes place from 4-5pm, starting in the Space Museum building. Main event begins at 5pm. Tickets are $100 per person, and business sponsorships are available. Tickets are available for purchase on the Museum’s website, Formal attire is suggested. 

The Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have signed an agreement that will enhance protections for the Pacific fisher on nearly 184,000 acres of land owned by the Oregon Board of Forestry.

This includes the Santiam, Gilchrist and Sun Pass state forests as well as other Board of Forestry land in Lane, Douglas, Coos and Josephine counties.

Under this Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), ODF will provide conservation measures for the Pacific fisher, a cat-sized member of the weasel family that lives in lower-elevation conifer forests. The Pacific fisher is a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Populations have been reduced over time due to trapping, habitat removal and other impacts. The USFWS will soon decide whether to list the animal as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Environmental benefits are a key factor in managing to achieve the greatest permanent value of our state forests,” State Forester Peter Daugherty said. “This agreement provides a great opportunity to work with our federal partners to proactively contribute to the conservation of a rare species that has historically made its home in Oregon’s state forests.”

“The Oregon Department of Forestry has put tremendous effort into conserving the Pacific fisher,” said Paul Henson, Oregon State Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Through their voluntary candidate conservation agreement, ODF will protect den sites, contribute to research and monitoring, and consider the possibility of future releases on their lands to increase the fisher population.  These voluntary efforts are essential to conserving our rare wildlife.”

In return for providing these conservation benefits, the state receives assurances that no additional conservation measures or future restrictions will be required on Board of Forestry-owned land covered under the CCAA if the species is listed, so long as the CCAA remains in place and is fully implemented. The agreement runs through June 20, 2048.

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