Rogue Valley News, Monday, Dec. 23 – Weekend Accident on Hiway 99 Kills Pedestrian

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

Monday, December 23, 2019

Rogue Valley Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 47. Tonight, patchy freezing fog with a low around 31.

Tuesday Patchy freezing fog in the morning, possible light rain in the afternoon with a high near 41.  Snow level near Medford at 1700 feet.   Overnight, possible rain at times mainly after 11pm. Snow level 2200 feet. Cloudy, with a low around 33.

Wednesday, Christmas Day A 20% of showers before 11am. Snow level 2400 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44.

Thursday Patchy freezing fog before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 41.

Friday Patchy freezing fog before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 43.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

On Sunday approximately 3:56 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a vehicle that struck a pedestrian on Hwy 99 near Glenwood Road.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a GMC Yukon, operated by Tyre Jones (32) of Phoenix, was southbound on Hwy 99 when he struck a pedestrian, Anthony Lux (27) of Phoenix, who was in the roadway. 

A southbound Jeep Cherokee, operated by Jasmine Turk-Bly (37) of Medford, also struck Lux. Lux was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Hwy 99 was reduced to one lane in both directions for approximately two hours.

Oregon State Police are continuing the investigation into the discovery of human remains yesterday near Interstate 5 in the Roseburg Area.

Preliminary investigation revealed that in June of last year Oregon Department of Transportation personnel were in the area of Interstate 5 near the exit 124 NB off ramp performing maintenance operations.  In the course of their work ODOT personnel located human remains and immediately contacted OSP. OSP Troopers and Detectives responded to the scene and with the assistance of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Medical Examiner confirmed that it was human remains.  The remains consisted of a human skull.  Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deployed Search and Rescue personnel to further assist in searching the area for additional remains and did not find any. Through DNA testing the remains were determined to be Scott Evenson (44 years of age at time of recovery) from Myrtle Creek. 

On Friday, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Detectives made an arrest in a child pornography case first reported in 2018. 

The investigation began in September 2018 with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The initial report was that child pornography was being downloaded at a residence in the 7300 block of Upper Applegate Road near Jacksonville, Oregon.

The investigation led to a search warrant being served at the home of the suspect. Subsequently, evidence belonging to the suspect was analyzed by the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force. Seven hundred images of child pornography were found along with over fifty images of animal sexual abuse.

Detectives arrested Gary Lee Watts, 61 years old, of the 7300 block of Upper Applegate Rd. Jacksonville, Oregon at his home this morning. Watts was lodged at the Jackson County Jail.   He is lodged on twenty counts of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse I (ORS 163.684) and ten counts of encouraging Sexual Assault of an Animal (ORS 167.341.) His bail is $250,000.

Last week the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association recognized several members of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for their service in 2019. The recipients of the awards were also recognized at the Jackson County Board of Commissioners meeting on December 11.

The Awards received for their service in 2019 were:
Civil Supervisor of the Year: Sergeant Donny Adams.
Meritorious Service Award: Corporal Jesus Murillo.
S.A.R. Manager of the Year: Chris Duran.
Life Saving Award: Deputy Catherine Williamson. (She was serving with Josephine County SO at the time and we are proud to now have her at Jackson County SO.)
Life Saving Award: Team 4 of JCSO: Sgt. Ben Weaver, Detective Lucas Tobias, Deputies Peter Bilden, Evan Westhelle, Cody Ponder, Tom Hohl, K9 Remco and Rogue River PD Officer Ty Darr.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregonians will have to pay $18 to $110 more per year to register their vehicles come January 1st as the state implements a new tiered fee structure with higher rates for vehicles with better gas mileage.

The change will add the most front-end cost to owners of fuel-efficient hybrids and electric cars, which contribute less money to Oregon’s fuel tax revenues than gas-guzzler vehicles such as sports cars or pickup trucks. The state said the new fees are necessary to comply with Oregon’s constitution that requires everyone who uses the roads to pay their fair share, and electric car owners can avoid costs by allowing the state to track their mileage.

But while some owners support the change, others say the increases contradict the state’s efforts to reduce emissions and have at least 50,000 electric cars registered by the end of 2020.

Salem – The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services released its first report to the Legislature on prescription drug prices in Oregon. The program is the first in the United States to gather and publicly disclose comprehensive data about prescription drugs.

Before the report was finalized, a public hearing was held in November where Oregonians shared stories of how the cost of drugs affects their lives.

One story came from a nurse who helps patients with diabetes:

“I often found my patients would simply go without their diabetes medications because they could not afford them. We had a pharmacy at our safety net clinic that could provide lower cost medications, but even with our lower prices, many patients could not afford insulin and other diabetes medications.”

Another was from an Oregonian who cannot retire because of the cost of prescriptions:

“My spouse needs to take Eliquis, 5 milligrams, twice-a-day. A 90-day supply costs $1,343. Again, why so much? My spouse has nine different prescriptions that have to be taken. Another costs $400 for a 30-day supply. My spouse is retired, and Social Security is only $1,200 a month. I continue to work to receive insurance benefits to cover those drug costs. I cannot retire until my spouse dies; I can’t afford to.”

“The stories we received were heartbreaking, emotional, and insightful,” said Andrew Stolfi, Oregon insurance commissioner. “The data taught us a lot, and the consumer stories confirmed exactly why this program matters for all Oregonians.”

The report reveals several findings and provides recommendations for legislative changes to reduce the effect of rising prescription drug costs.

Findings include:

  • U.S. prices are typically five times more than the highest price globally for prescription drugs reported to the program. For example, the median price for cardiovascular drugs reported to the program was $580, while the majority of prices in other countries ranged from $5 to $164.
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  • Most of the annual price increases reported to the program range from the reporting minimum of 10 percent to approximately 20 percent. Manufacturers attribute these increases to rebates, the use of co-pay assistance programs, obligations to shareholders, research and development costs, and other related factors.

Recommendations include:

  • Patient assistance reporting for new prescription drug reports – New drug reports currently do not include any patient assistance information, despite several new drugs coming to market with patient assistance.
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  • Transparency across the pharmaceutical supply chain – The price of a prescription drug is influenced by several factors, including the interactions and financial negotiations between pharmaceutical supply chain entities. These entities can influence the price paid at the pharmacy counter, the cost of health insurance premiums, and how prescription drugs contribute to overall health care costs.

The program will continue to build upon the information received in the first year to improve the program for the future and to continue to understand the effect of drug prices and costs. As more information is received, the program will engage in analyses to inform policies to reduce the cost of prescription drugs to Oregonians.

All Oregonians can access the report and view the public hearing by visiting the program’s website. 

All Oregonians are encouraged to report an increase in the cost of their prescription drugs or share their story one of four ways:

For more information, visit dfr.oregon.gov/drugtransparency.

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