Rogue Valley News, Wednesday, Feb 19 – Suspicious Vehicle Sought in Grants Pass by Josephine County Sheriff’s Department

News and stories from across the Rogue Valley and around the state, from


Rogue Valley Weather

Sunny, with a high near 57. Calm winds all day.

Partly sunny, with a high near 56.

Sunny, with a high near 58.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.

Today’s Headlines

Deputies with the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office have asked for the public’s help after a student reported a suspicious man at a bus stop on Tuesday morning.

At about 7:15AM on Monday, a stranger driving a blue SUV approached a student waiting for the school bus in the 2200-block of Hamilton Lane. The student told the Sheriff’s Office that they did not know the man driving the vehicle, and they declined to offer of a ride to school.

The driver was described as a white man in his 40s with no facial hair and medium-length brown hair.

“The driver was the sole occupant of the vehicle, which is described as a dark blue Nissan Pathfinder with large chrome wheels,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The Sheriff’s Office is asking citizens to stay vigilant for suspicious activity such as this and report strange vehicles matching the description of this vehicle.”

The non-emergency number for the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office is 541-474-5123, or call 911 for emergencies.

SOU President Linda Schott

Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott will lead a discussion of uncertainty in higher education as the university’s Campus Theme lecture series continues this week.

President Schott’s talk – “Uncertainty: The Only Certainty for Higher Education” – will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the SOU Art Building’s Meese Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Her presentation is the fourth in this year’s Campus Theme lecture series, which is examining uncertainty in a variety of fields.

President Schott’s discussion will outline some of the uncertainties facing higher education in an age where change is constant.

With technology advancing at an exponential rate, she has advocated making SOU “Oregon’s university for the future” by focusing on the human skills that set us apart from technology – such as creativity, communication, cultural understanding and ethical decision-making.

She has encouraged faculty and staff at SOU to be explore and participate in the evolution of learning technologies. She has taken steps to include adult learners and non-traditional students in the academic mix at SOU to offset the nationwide demographic decline of traditional college-age students.

President Schott has also encouraged belt-tightening measures, pursuit of innovative revenue-producing programs and a re-examination of Oregon’s higher education funding model in response to the continued uncertainty of state support for public universities.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading nationwide cause of death for children ages one through twelve years old.

In 2017, 1,906 children under twelve were injured in Oregon traffic crashes, 9 percent were reported not using a child restraint system.

It is estimated that car seats may increase crash survival by 71% for infants under one year old and by up to 59% for toddlers aged one to four. Booster seats may reduce the chance of nonfatal injury among four to eight year olds by 45% compared to safety belts used alone.

The most recent complete report by ODOT in 2017 shows that there were 11 fatalities in Jackson County during that year and that in 4 of those fatal accidents, seatbelts were not used (36.36%). Studies have shown that safety belts used correctly can reduce the risk of major crash injury or death by up to sixty- five percent.

The Medford Police Department would like to remind the public to drive safely and always use their seatbelt in a proper manner while operating their vehicle.

Two stakeholder teams meet next week for the first time as part of an ODFW process to develop the Rogue-South Coast Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan (RSP) for winter and summer steelhead, coho salmon and cutthroat trout.

The stakeholder teams convene in Gold Beach and Central Point for an introductory meeting to learn about ODFW’s Native Fish Conservation Policy, the fish conservation and management plan development process and to finalize a charter. Staff is also presenting a summary of fish counts and recent management practices, including current status data for the four native fish in the RSP.  

Stakeholder teams represent conservation and angling groups, watershed councils, fishing guides, recreational anglers and government entities. The teams meet with ODFW again in March and April, and staff hopes to have a draft plan ready for public review later this summer.

Meetings are open for observation by the public. Both meetings run 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and the agenda will be posted online on the RSP website.

·         Gold Beach: February 26, Curry Public Library, 94341 Third Street.

·         Central Point: February 27, Mace Watchable Wildlife Memorial Center at the Jackson County Expo, 1 Peninger Road.

Around the state

Today in Oregon is Exclusion, which means every student attending a school, Head Start, or licensed day care must have their vaccines up to date. 

Health facilities around the state will likely be very busy today at many parents have waited until the last minute to get vaccines for their student children. 

Families who wish for their student to be exempt from vaccines have options. A medical exemption must be approved by the department of public health.

To receive a non-medical exemption, a family must speak with a doctor, or complete an online module through the Oregon Health Authority.

Doctors recommend families keep their students’ immunizations up to date.

For last-minute vaccines, people can visit a county health clinic, a primary care doctor, or a school-based health center.

Timothy Ray Vance, 54, of Salem, Oregon, was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine throughout Marion County.

Vance has a long criminal history dating back to 1983. Vance served more than 20 years in prison after being convicted in Marion County Circuit Court in 1994 on two counts of robbery, two counts of burglary, and one count each of kidnapping and theft.

Two months after completing post-prison supervision, in August 2018, Vance was found to be involved in a large methamphetamine distribution network. By October 2018, investigators discovered the network’s source of supply and at least one informant who revealed they had purchased methamphetamine from Vance on ten different occasions. A different informant told investigators that on one occasion, Vance sold them one pound of methamphetamine for $3,200.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

PacificSource Community Solutions, the Medicaid division of PacificSource Health Plans, has announced the directors who will lead the Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) that provide Medicaid services in Lane County, Marion and Polk Counties, the Columbia Gorge, and Central Oregon.

Additionally, PacificSource and its partner Legacy Health will provide support as an Integrated Delivery System within Health Share of Oregon, which manages the Portland CCO.

“The directors serve as a critical link between the health plan, the community, and the CCO governing boards,” said Lindsey Hopper, vice president of Medicaid for PacificSource. “Their commitment to supporting the communities where they live and work will serve our members well.”

Elke Towey will serve as the director of the Columbia Gorge CCO, serving Hood River and Wasco Counties. She most recently served as PacificSource’s Columbia Gorge CCO program manager. 

Leslie Neugebauer will remain in her current role as director for Central Oregon’s CCO, serving Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, and Northern Klamath Counties.

PacificSource Community Solutions has served as the Columbia Gorge’s and Central Oregon’s CCO since 2012. In 2019, the OHA renewed those contracts and awarded PacificSource Community Solutions additional contracts to provide CCO services in Lane, Marion, and Polk Counties, beginning in January 2020. Trillium Community Health Plan also provides CCO services for members in Lane County.

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