The latest news from across the Rogue Valley and around the region, from RogueValleyMagazine.com
THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Today Morning rain then partly sunny with a high near 43. Snow level 2600 feet. Overnight, cloudy with a low of 32.
Friday A 30 percent chance of rain after 10am. Patchy fog before 10am. Snow level 1800 feet rising to 4700 feet. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 46. Calm wind. Overnight, rian with a snow level of 4900 feet down to 3600 feet. Low of 37.
Saturday Showers. Snow level 3300 feet. High near 43. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. More rain overnight with a low of 35.
Sunday Rain. Snow level 2200 feet rising to 3100 feet. High near 44. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
On Tuesday, November 12th, 2019, skeletal human remains were recovered in a wooded area just over the Douglas County border off Highway 227. The remains were believed to be those of Malina Lynn Nickel, reported missing 11/23/16.
This discovery was made during a separate homicide investigation in which Destiny Finch was the victim. The remains were transported to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office and turned over to Dr. Nici Vance, State Forensic Anthropologist for further evaluation.
The suspect in that case, Shane Ryan Michael Wayman, DOB 08/15/98, was indicted on charges of Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree and Abuse of a Corpse in the Second Degree, based on circumstantial evidence found at the scene which tentatively identified the remains as Malina’s.
On January 6th, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives received the lab report back from Oregon State Police on the skeletal remains submitted for DNA analysis. DNA testing confirms the remains are those of Malina Nickel.
The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety is investigating an injury hit and run crash which occurred on Rogue River Hwy near Cloverlawn Drive on January 6, at about 6pm.
The crash involved a vehicle striking a pedestrian who received serious injuries. The suspect vehicle fled the area eastbound on Rogue River Hwy. The pedestrian was transported to an out of area hospital for treatment.
The suspect vehicle is described as a silver colored 2 door, 90’s to 2000’s smaller sedan. There may be damage to the front and/or hood of the vehicle from striking the pedestrian. See attached photo.
The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety is asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect vehicle and driver. Please contact Ofc. Shali Marshall at 541-450-6260 if you have any information related to this crash, the identity of the driver, or whereabouts of the vehicle.
The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is pleased to announce the graduation of its 394th Basic Police Class.
The Basic Police Class is 16-weeks in length and includes dozens of training areas including survival skills, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, ethics, cultural diversity, problem solving, community policing, elder abuse, drug recognition, and dozens of other subjects.
Locally graduates include Police Officer Hayden Best of the Medford Police Department, Deputy Sheriff Ryan Brand and Deputy Sheriff Logan Martin
of the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, Police Officer Riley Gomes of the Ashland Police Department and Deputy Sheriff Cynthia Mallari and Deputy Sheriff Cory Pine of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced the results of the “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving Campaign” conducted between December 2, 2019 and January 2, 2020.
During the campaign deputies working on ODOT grant-funded overtime focused on DUII enforcement. There were 26 DUII arrests made by JCSO.
During the month of December, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety participated in a state wide high visibility DUII enforcement program.
Grants Pass Police arrested 26 people for driving under the influence of intoxicants – alcohol and/or controlled substances. Thirty-one drivers were issued citations or arrested for Driving on a Suspended License and three juveniles were cited for being in possession of alcohol.
In 2019, the department made a total of 330 arrests for driving under the influence of intoxicants, and cited or arrested 592 drivers for driving on a suspended license.
Around the state
Gas price averages are showing little movement this week but that could change if crude oil prices fluctuate due to geopolitical concerns surrounding events in the Middle East.
For the week, the national average for regular remains at $2.59 a gallon. The Oregon average falls a penny to $3.02.Gas prices are starting 2020 at higher prices than at the start of 2019. The national average is about 35 cents more and the Oregon average about 10 cents more than a year ago.
Around the state two Portland residents have been charged with unlawfully possessing the same stolen handgun.28 year old Christopher Eugene Miller and 27 year old Kebrin Larry Jones are charged in a two-count indictment with unlawfully possessing a stolen 45 caliber handgun. Miller and Jones join 34 year old Desmond Boris Washington also of Portland who was previously charged in a separate criminal case for unlawfully possessing the same handgun.
All three defendants are convicted felons and not permitted to possess firearms. Agents recovered the stolen firearm while executing a search warrant on Washington’s Portland residence. All three defendants memorialized their unlawful possession of firearms in a publicly-available music video posted to YouTube.
The State of Oregon identified 2,494 victims of human trafficking across Oregon in a 12-month period between October 2018 and October 2019. The new data was collected by the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).
In commemoration of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, on Friday, Jan. 10, 2019 Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Rebecca Jones Gaston, director of the DHS Child Welfare Program, will honor the efforts of Oregonians who work to prevent human trafficking, including an award honoring an inter-agency team which stopped a trafficking ring in Lane County. The awards ceremony which is open to the media, will also help raise awareness about Oregon’s current intervention efforts and recognize the work of Oregonians who are taking a trauma informed and victim-centered approach to trafficking intervention.
“Human trafficking and the exploitation of minors, sadly, affects every corner of Oregon. The individuals and community members we are honoring on Human Trafficking Awareness Day represent the courage, trust, and strong inter-agency partnerships necessary to help keep our most vulnerable Oregonians, especially children, safe from traffickers,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum
“DHS is proud to recognize the efforts of our Lane County and Clackamas Child Welfare awardees for their teamwork and collaboration,” said Jones Gaston. “Preventing human trafficking is not just one organization’s goal, it takes everyone to work together to make a difference in this issue, which is why the teamwork and passion exhibited by these awardees is so critical.”
Awards will be presented on Friday, Jan. 10 at the Oregon DOJ office at 100 SW Market Street in Portland, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Media is welcome to attend.
Team Award: Lane County Team
Lane County Child Welfare Office: Susan Lopez, Tanya Huff, Melissa Erickson, Kyle Belknap, Bridget Byfield, Chuck Nyby, Melissa McCormack.
Federal Bureau of Investigation –Special Agent Isabel Scharn, Special Agent Damara Schlitz, SOS Joseph Peoples, Victim Specialist Florence Mackey.
Lane County Department of Youth Services Probation Officer Jordan Sies, DelBrico Kriner and MH specialist Martin Starr.
Eugene Police Department – Detective Curtis Newell, Detective Jed McGuire.
Albany Police Department– Officer Gabe Flores, Albany Police Department
Above & Beyond Award
Advocate: Tanel Tucker, Safety Compass
District Attorney: Mike Botthof, Multnomah County District Attorney
Law Enforcement: Officer Heather Hisel, Milwaukie Police Department
DHS: Kelly Walsh, Clackamas Child Welfare Office
Other: Tom Perez, EPIC
Victims of human trafficking can be any age, race, nationality, gender, or sexuality. If you are concerned that someone you know might be a victim of trafficking, call the Oregon Abuse Hotline – 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).
Many parts of Oregon remain at risk of high radon – an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas. It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes up from the ground and is drawn into buildings, where it can build up to dangerous levels.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after cigarette smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
“Every homeowner should test their home for radon every two to five years,” says Curtis Cude, Radon Awareness Program manager at the Oregon Health Authority. “The best time to test is during the heating season, when the windows and doors are closed up tight.”
Many test kits are priced between $15 and $25 and can be found in most hardware stores. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that of common home repairs, such as painting or having a new water heater installed.
The Radon Awareness Program collects radon test data from test kit manufacturers in an effort to understand which areas of the state have the potential for high radon levels and to identify areas where educational outreach efforts need to be focused. The program is offering a free radon test kit to residents whose homes are in ZIP codes with fewer than 20 radon test results. Residents can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive instructions on how to get a free test kit, which will be provided while supplies last.
There will be an opportunity to attend a free educational event to learn about radon, areas of concern, health effects and community resources. For details about the event visit the Northwest Radon Coalition website.
For more information on which areas of the state are at moderate to high risk of having elevated radon levels, radon testing and mitigation, or to order a test kit online, contact the Radon Awareness Program at email@example.com or visit http://www.healthoregon.org/radon.
Joseph Garza from Portland knows the person who is responsible for his $100,000 Powerball win – his father.
“When I won, the first thing I did was call my mom and say that my dad was sending us a miracle,” Garza said of his father who passed away last August. “Part of the prize is going to go to for a donation to the church where we held his service. It was beautiful and they did a great job.”
Garza won using the numbers he has played for the past three years, a combination of his old baseball jersey and birthdays of family members. He won after purchasing a $9 Powerball ticket with the Power Play option for the Jan. 4 drawing. The jackpot for that drawing was $237 million.
Garza matched four of five numbers one of which being the Powerball number, meaning he was one number away from the jackpot prize. Luckily, Garza spent the extra $1 per drawing to get the Power Play option. When players add Power Play, prizes other than the jackpot can be multiplied up to 10 times. In this case, the Power Play number was 2, thus doubling his prize from $50,000, to $100,000.
“I always play with the Power Play,” he said. “I figured if I got lucky, then it would really pay off! It did, I won another $50,000 because of it!”
Garza purchased his winning ticket from the Plaid Pantry on SW Broadway in Portland and joins other Oregon Lottery winners who have won more than $38 billion in prizes since 1985.
The Oregon Lottery reminds players to always sign the back of their Lottery tickets, regardless of the game. In the event of winning a jackpot, they should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings. Prize winners of more than $50,000 are advised to contact the Lottery office and schedule an appointment to claim their prize.
Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, state parks, Veterans services, Outdoor School and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org