Rogue Valley News, Friday, Jan. 31 – Oregon Arts Commission Awards Grants To Oregon Shakespeare Festival And Many Others in Southern Oregon


Rogue Valley Weather

Today  Partly sunny, with a high near 53.  Cloudy overnight, low around 32.

Saturday  A slight chance of rain after 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 52. Snow level 5200 feet rising to 6300 feet in the afternoon. Overnight a slight chance of rain mixed with snow, with little accumulation, low of 28.

Sunday  A chance of snow at times on your Superbowl Sunday, with a high near 35. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 35.

Tuesday  Mostly sunny, with a high near 40.

Today’s Headlines

The Coronavirus is now a World Health Organization public health emergency. No cases reported in Oregon yet.

While the Coronavirus has spread all over China and is moving rapidly to other countries across the globe, including the United States, no cases have been reported so far in Oregon.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

The declaration came the same day the first person-to-person transmission of the virus was documented in the United States. In total, there have been six confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, all infected people except the latest in Chicago had traveled to China recently. There have been no deaths from the virus in the United States and no confirmed cases in Oregon.

Local authorities and health experts say the best place to get information about the coronavirus is from the Center for Disease Control, WHO and other reputable sources of information. Lane said aside from those resources, there are local options for information. If you have any questions call your health care provider.

Thursday night, Josephine County 911 received multiple calls for a Commercial Fire at Burger King on Rogue River Highway.  It was reported that smoke and fire were coming from the roof of the restaurant. 

Grants Pass Fire Rescue, Grants Pass Police, Rural Metro and AMR responded to the fire.  Crews arrived within four minutes of the tone out to find smoke and fire showing from the roof.  Crews quickly laddered the building, made entry into the structure and isolated the fire to the broiler system.  Damage was contained to the area around the broiler and roof.  Trained employees along with a working fire suppression system assisted in early fire detection and control. Staff evacuated the structure prior to arrival of firefighters.

No injuries were reported during the incident and the business will most likely be shut down for a short time for repairs.

At this time the cause of the fire is believed to have started in the hood system.   If you have any further information about the fire, please call Grants Pass Department of Public Safety at 541-450-6260.

Pot and Drivers on the road. The number of drivers in fatal crashes testing positive for marijuana has doubled since it was legalized in Washington State, according to a study by AAA. The numbers are growing rapidly in Oregon as well.

Before marijuana was legalized there in 2012, nearly 9% of Washington State drivers involved in fatal crashes were high. Between 2013 and 2017, that rose to 18%.

Just a couple years later, Oregon followed suit and legalized the drug. In 2015, the sheriff’s office says Jackson County had 18 drug-related DUIIs, but admit it doesn’t have specific data on the type of drug involved. In Southern Oregon, “Smoking marijuana, ingesting marijuana in any fashion and then driving is as bad as drinking and driving,” Mike Moran, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, said.

“The bulk of our drug DUIIs are marijuana,” Moran said.

For the next few years there was an increase in numbers, but in 2019 it fell to 23.

“It’s really more of a cognitive type of impairment, more mental impairment than a physical impairment like you would see with alcohol use,” Lt. Trevor Arnold, Medford Police, said.

Medford police say it too has seen a rise in marijuana on the roads since legalization. For drivers, police have one simple message.

“Impaired driving is impaired driving no matter if it’s a legal substance or an illegal substance,” Lt. Arnold said.

AAA plans to expand this same study to other states when there’s enough data to show a correlation.

A $15 million lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died at the Oregon State Penitentiary accuses prison staff of failing to treat the 54-year-old inmate for flu and then covering up his flu-related death.

Michael Barton, of Medford was already experiencing mental illness and dementia when he came down with the flu in January 2018.

According to the lawsuit, he did not receive a flu vaccine at the prison in 2018 or in 2017. The wrongful death lawsuit, filed on behalf of Barton’s brother Stephen Brown, accuses the Oregon Department of Corrections medical staff and officials of negligence, civil rights violations, disability discrimination and ruining or destroying evidence surrounding Barton’s death.

Prison officials declined to comment on the allegations made in the lawsuit or the Disability Rights Oregon review, citing the pending litigation. Barton entered state custody in 2017 after being convicted of robbing a Medford bank.

Oregon Arts Commissions awards dozens of grants around the state to various theaters and organizations.

Creative minds at 138 Oregon arts organizations will be empowered by $1,118,435 in fiscal year 2020 Operating Support Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission.

Ranging from $3,114 to $ 29,924, the grants are available to nonprofit organizations with arts at the core of their mission and budgets over $150,000*.

“We often hear that these are the most important grants we award,” said Arts Commission Chair Anne Taylor. “They alleviate some of the economic pressure and allow Oregon arts organizations to focus on their missions.”

Organizations receiving Operating Support from the Arts Commission last year expended $213 million, employed 11,681 FTE and produced events and activities that were attended by close to 3.7 million people.

*Organizations with budgets under $150,000 are eligible to apply for Small Operating Grants.

Fiscal year 2020 Operating Support Grants in Southern Oregon were awarded to:

Chamber Music Concerts, Ashland: $5,049

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association, Ashland: $29,924

Rogue Valley Art Association, Medford: $6,761

Rogue Valley Chorale Association, Medford: $3,114

Ross Ragland Theater, Klamath Falls: $12,895

Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland: $4,733

Southern Oregon Film Society, Ashland: $4,520

Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, Ashland: $3,938

Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, Medford: $4,777

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. 

The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at:

The Oregon Legislature may convene its 2020 session without Senate President Peter Courtney, who has been in a Portland hospital for nearly a month receiving treatment for a staph infection in his replacement hip and other complications.

While attending a reception at a conference in Arizona the first weekend of January, Courtney said he suddenly couldn’t walk. This sent him to the emergency room and later, via medical transport back to Oregon, to OHSU Hospital. Courtney said his doctors aren’t certain how the bacteria got into his hip, which was replaced in 2009.

There is speculation Courtney’s workout on a stationary bike before the conference contributed.

Susan Tranberg, 61, of Eugene, Oregon, pleaded guilty today in federal court to mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and tax evasion after defrauding her former employer, the Weyerhaeuser Company, out of more than $4.5 million.

“Susan Tranberg used her intimate knowledge of the Weyerhaeuser Company to perpetrate a lengthy and complex fraud. She went to great lengths to disguise her actions and mislead her colleagues,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “She then took her scheme a step further by evading paying taxes on her fraudulent gains. Her crimes reflect a complete disdain for her employer and utter contempt for her responsibilities as an American taxpayer.”

“Between 2004 and 2019, Susan Tranberg purported herself as a trustworthy and dedicated employee. In reality she was embezzling more than $4 million dollars,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell. “She cheated both her employer and the American taxpayers by evading taxes on her embezzled income. The IRS is committed to promoting taxpayer confidence by ensuring every taxpayer pays their fair share regardless of the taxable source.”

According to court documents, beginning as early as June 2004 and continuing to January 2019, Tranberg defrauded Weyerhaeuser out of more than $4.5 million by submitting fraudulent invoices for payment to a fake vendor she created. Tranberg had worked for Weyerhaeuser in Springfield, Oregon in various positions for more than 40 years.

Tranberg faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. In addition, a conviction for aggravated identity theft carries a two-year mandatory minimum sentence required to be served consecutive to any other prison sentence imposed.

As part of her plea agreement, Tranberg has agreed to pay $4,581,218 in restitution to Weyerhaeuser and $807,033 in restitution to the IRS.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Law enforcement officers and their behavioral health partners are helping residents in crisis on a regular basis.  In an ongoing effort to support these professionals with specialized training, the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is partnering with other public safety organizations to begin offering the Certified Crisis Intervention Specialist (CCIS) course statewide in 2020.

The three-day CCIS course is intended as an advanced training opportunity for individuals that have completed the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) course already offered across the state.  The CCIS course focuses on high-level verbal skills for de-escalation when working with a person in crisis. 

The course was developed by National Anger Management Association (NAMA) stakeholders; Dr. Richard Pfeiffer, Laura Moss and Andy Prisco.  Successful completion of the CCIS course results in formal certification from NAMA in crisis intervention skills.  This is the only credential available from a professional mental health association in de-escalation and crisis intervention.

Over the past year, six individuals have undergone intensive, developmental coaching from Growth Central Training (a training purveyor of NAMA credentials) to become certified to teach the CCIS course in Oregon.  The following facilitators received their instructor credentials from NAMA at the completion of their training on January 29, 2020 at DPSST.

  • Sgt. Liz Lawrence – City of Bend Police Department
  • Linda Maddy, LCSW – Department of Public Safety Standards and Training
  • Ridg Medford – Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc.
  • Sgt. Jason Ritter – Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sgt. Diane Stockbridge – Port of Portland Police Department
  • Melissa Thompson, MA – Deschutes County Health Services

DPSST’s Director Eriks Gabliks said “we are very proud to be the first state to host this valuable train the trainer program and greatly appreciate each of the individuals who completed this important training program and the organization’s around the state they represent.  We look forward to the next step of this program which is having this talented team of instructors, which blends an instructional team of a responder and clinician, offer the CCIS training around the state to our first responders who help Oregonians in crisis on a daily basis.”

 For more information on CITCOE please go to

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) operates the Oregon Public Safety Academy which spans more than 235 acres in Salem.

DPSST provides training to more than 25,000 students each year throughout Oregon and at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem: certifies qualified officers at various levels from basic through executive; certifies qualified instructors; and reviews and accredits training programs throughout the state based on standards established by the Board.

Must Read

Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 1/25 – Fatal Crashes on I-5 and Hwy 199, Ride Share Scooters Come to Medford

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Monday 3/4 – Pacific Power Crews Continue Winter Storm Outage Response & Other Local and Statewide News…

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Friday 12/8 – Local Child Exploitation Task Force Investigation Leads to Federal Prison for Eagle Point Woman & Other Local and Statewide News…

Renee Shaw