Rouge Valley News and Weather, Friday, Dec. 20 – Car Crashes Into Grants Pass School Bus; Six Students Injured

The latest news from around the Rogue Valley and across the state of Oregon, from RogueValleyMagazine.com.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2019

Rogue Valley Weather

Today   Partly sunny, with a high near 61. Breezy, with a south wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph.  Overnight, 30% chance of rain, low of 49.

Saturday   Rain likely, mainly after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. South wind 11 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Rain expected overnight, low around 37.

Sunday   Showers. Snow level 3500 feet. High near 43. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Monday   Partly sunny, with a high near 44.

Tuesday   Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 43.

Today’s Headlines

A car crashed into a school bus, injuring six children in Grants Pass yesterday morning. The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said police and fire responded to the crash on highway 199 in Grants Pass at 9AM.

The bus with approximately 35 children was headed on a field trip when a 31-year-old driver in a Hyundai Sonata failed to stop for a red light in time and hit the bus from behind at about 35 mph. Six children who complained of pain were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police who say the driver of the car was issued a citation for following too closely.

Arrested: Jerimie Lee Lunsford for robbery of Lucky Lizard.

Patrol officers and detectives with the Grants Pass Dept of Public Safety conducted an extensive investigation into the armed robbery of the Lucky Lizard, which occurred early last month.

With assistance from area surveillance cameras and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, 45 year old Jerimie Lee Lunsford was identified as the suspect. 

Lunsford was contacted at the Josephine County Jail, where he was already housed on unrelated charges. He was lodged today on the new charges of Robbery I, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Theft II. 

Originally on November 2nd, Grants Pass Police responded to 261 Rogue River Highway for a reported armed robbery involving a firearm. During an investigation it was determined an unknown male suspect entered the Lucky Lizard, displayed a firearm and demanded cash from the register. 

Once the suspect received the undisclosed amount of cash from the employee, the suspect fled the business.  The suspect’s direction of travel was unknown at the time but evidence later revealed that the suspect was indeed, Lunsford.

A southwestern Oregon woman will serve 25 years to life in prison for shooting her estranged husband in the head.

The Mail Tribune reports that a jury has found 74-year-old Louise Richards guilty of second-degree murder in the Aug. 28, 2017, shooting death of her husband, 70-year-old Terry Richards, at the home they shared in Central Point.

She was sentenced by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Barnack.

Louise and Terry Richards lived in the same house despite divorce proceedings going back roughly a year, according to court documents.

The day of the shooting, Louise Richards worked a shift at the school bus yard, paid a $1,400 divorce-related legal bill, made herself lunch and drank “one to three glasses of wine,” according to deputy district attorney Ben Lull.

The couple then argued about terms of a divorce settlement previously negotiated through a mediation process. The victim told the defendant he wanted to seek more than the current settlement would have given him, Lull wrote.

Prosecutors said Louise Richards retreated to her bedroom, emerged later with a handgun and shot Terry Richards while he was sitting in a recliner. She called a friend and then called 911, prosecutors said.

On Tuesday the Ashland Police Department and paramedics from Ashland Fire and Rescue responded to an injury car/motorcycle crash at the intersection of Wimer and Scenic Streets.

The driver of the motorcycle was determined to have died from severe trauma suffered during the crash. The driver of the car was unhurt.

The crash appears to have been caused by excessive speed on the part of the motorcycle. APD can now identify the man as 29 year old Ashland resident Jamison Peil. Mr. Peil was thrown from his motorcycle when it collided with another vehicle. Mr. Peil was wearing a helmet, but unfortunately, still died from his injuries.

A drop in demand and increase in gasoline stocks are sending pump prices lower in time for the busy holiday travel season.

For the week, the national average for regular dips two cents to $2.55 a gallon. The Oregon average drops five cents to $3.07. This is the seventh-largest weekly decline in the nation. Oregon also has the third-largest monthly decline in the nation with a drop of 20 cents.

After 12 weeks, Hawaii bumps California as the most expensive state, while California slips to second place. Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona round out the top seven. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the 22nd week in a row.

 An Oregon transgender woman is suing Miss USA pageants, saying its rule that limits competition to “natural born female” is a form of gender discrimination.

The Oregon Health Authority has kicked off a series of media campaigns to educate people about the dangers of marijuana and tobacco vaping, help people quit, and encourage youth to avoid these products.

The campaigns began earlier this month and are being launched in three phases:

  • Smokefree Oregon tobacco and vaping cessation campaign, Dec. 3, 2019, to Feb. 16, 2020 — This campaign will reach adults and young adults who use tobacco and vaping products, including people of color, people with low incomes and other groups most affected by tobacco use. The campaign urges people who use tobacco — including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and all other products — to call the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line and get support to quit for good.
  • Stay True To You and Talk With Them/Habla con ellos prevention campaigns, Dec. 13, 2019, to April 30, 2020 — These campaigns expand the Stay True to You youth marijuana use prevention campaign and the Talk With Them/Habla con ellos campaign for parents and educators. The expanded campaigns educate youth, parents and educators on the health effects and consequences of using any vape product — both THC and nicotine. They also include resources for parents and educators who are concerned about how to help youth in their lives struggling with vaping addiction.
  • Smokefree Oregon tobacco and vaping prevention campaign, April to June 2020 — This campaign will feature new advertisements and resources to help local agencies and organizations prevent tobacco use and vaping. The campaign will focus on supporting counties, tribes and health equity partners in their work to counter tobacco and vaping industry influence on Oregon’s youth.

All the campaigns use a mix of media including website content, social media posts, digital and search engine advertisements, and billboards.

Creating a statewide prevention and education campaign aimed at discouraging the use of vaping products was among the actions Governor Kate Brown directed OHA to take in her Oct. 4 executive order to address the vaping public health crisis. The executive order also directed OHA to adopt rules that ban the sale of flavored vaping products, but the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a stay on those rules Oct. 17 that has kept them from taking effect.

“Addressing the vaping and tobacco use problem in Oregon requires a comprehensive approach. This includes OHA’s statewide media campaigns to let people know that the Oregon Quit Line offers evidence-based medicine and counseling to quit nicotine and vaping addiction,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist, OHA Public Health Division.

“As we continue to investigate what’s causing the vaping-associated lung injuries that have sickened 20 people in Oregon and thousands across the country, we are taking these important steps to encourage people who do vape to quit and prevent others from even starting,” Sidelinger said. “It’s especially important to protect young people, who are particularly at risk of getting hooked on these products.”

In addition to these campaigns, OHA will continue to post the latest information about e-cigarette and vaping-associated lung injury, resources for the public and tools for health care providers and partner organizations on www.healthoregon.org/vaping.

OHA health experts are still urging people not to vape. Those who do vape and wish to quit can contact the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line to take advantage of free cessation resources, including eight weeks of nicotine replacement therapy such as patches or gum. The Quit Line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

For more information, visit www.healthoregon.org/vaping and click on “Digital media toolkit” for examples of materials used in the campaigns.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Anita Green of Clackamas, Oregon, holds the title of 2019 Miss Earth Elite Oregon and competed in the 2018 Miss Montana contest. She applied to participate in the Miss United States of America pageant last year but her application was rejected.

This policy is discriminatory because it denied her the full and equal advantages and privileges of the defendant’s services in violation of Oregon’s public accommodations law, the lawsuit says.

The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon.

Though the Nevada-based pageant is a private business, the suit contends that the way it operates requires it to follow Oregon public accommodation law.

The suit asks a judge to order Miss United State of America pageants to end its alleged discriminatory policy and remove its restriction that prevents transgender candidates from competing.

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