The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the online digital home of the valley, RogueValleyMagazine.com
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Mostly sunny, with a high near 67.
Sunny, with a high near 71.
Sunny, with a high near 74.
Sunny, with a high near 72.
As of this Tuesday morning officials at Jackson County Public Health are reporting two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 39 cases.
Six people have been hospitalized with the illness. Cases have been almost evenly split between men and women and have been somewhat more prevalent in people age 60 or older — though a number of confirmed cases have occurred in people as young as their 20s.
“Cases in Jackson County are largely distributed throughout the county, which demonstrates community spread, and is widely dispersed,” health officials said. “Therefore, one city is not safer than another. It is best that everyone stay at home, practice social distancing, wear an alternative mask when they are out accessing essential services, minimize the number of times they need to access essential services, refrain from hosting or attending social gatherings, and wash their hands frequently. These actions should be taken by all people during all times of the week, including the weekends.”
In Josephine County Public Health officials have two new known cases of Coronavirus, bringing the countywide total number of cases to 16.
According to the City of Grants Pass as of April 3, three of the area’s cases have completely recovered. One person has been hospitalized.
regon public health officials have identified 64 new cases of the new coronavirus in the state as of 8:30 a.m. on Monday, April 6, as well as two more deaths attributed to the virus.
The latest death brings the state total up to 29.
Within the state of Oregon, there are now a total of 1,132 cases of known Covid-19 according to The Oregon Health Authority.
OHA is reporting 64 total new cases in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (6), Columbia (2), Curry (2), Deschutes (1), Douglas (1), Jackson (6), Josephine (3), Klamath (3), Lane (2), Linn (1), Marion (11), Multnomah (10), Polk (2), Umatilla (1), Washington (12).
Samples for 20,669 people have tested negative for COVID-19 in the state so far.
Examples of people who have recovered fully after testing positive for the coronavirus have been reported only sporadically by local health officials thus far, and the state has yet to report a clear and total across the state.
OHA has a partial, but incomplete count of how many people in the state have been hospitalized from the virus. According to that data, at least 400 Oregonians have been hospitalized, and just over 80 have been put on a ventilator.
On Monday, Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) detectives received information regarding a subject who was in possession of a substantial quantity of methamphetamine and living in O’Brien, Josephine County.
Detectives were able to determine the subject to be William Thomas Gillespie, 35.
Detectives located Gillespie at the Best Western Inn in White City, Jackson County.
He was subsequently arrested and found to be in possession of a 1/2 pound of crystal methamphetamine. Detectives subsequently went back to Gillespie’s residence located at 36541 Redwood Hwy, Josephine County, and seized 12 firearms and more controlled substances, scales, packaging material and ammunition. Gillespie is a convicted felon on post-prison supervision for Felon in Possession of a Weapon and Assault 4.
Gillespie was lodged in the Josephine County Jail Felon in Possession of a Firearm x 10 and a Probation Violation detainer. The drug charges from the hotel in White City will be referred to the Jackson County DA’s Office for prosecution. Additional charges are to be expected in Josephine County as well. Anyone with questions can call RADE and Det. Sgt. Doni Hamilton at 541-450-6370.
AROUND THE STATE OF OREGON
The Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington sold a total of 48.8 million board feet of timber at auctions last month. The timber, located on Oregon and California Railroad Revested (O&C) Lands across western Oregon, sold for nearly $13.8 million.
“Timber sales continue to support Oregon’s economy and well-paying jobs in local communities,” said BLM Oregon/Washington Acting State Director Jose Linares. “These sales are also an important tool to accomplish our forest management objectives.”
For every million board feet of timber harvested on BLM-administered lands in western Oregon, an estimated 13 local jobs are created or maintained and $647,000 of non-Federal employment income is invested into local economies. One million board feet of timber is enough to build approximately 63 family homes.
The BLM’s forest management objectives include producing a sustained yield of timber, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, restoring dry forest ecosystems, reducing wildfire hazard, maintaining road networks, and protecting water quality.
PacificSource announces that it will waive all out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, diagnosis and treatment for its fully insured commercial, Medicare Advantage, and health savings accounts (HSA) members.
This waiver will apply to those members who have received or will receive care between Jan. 31 through June 30, 2020, regardless of place of care. The organization’s self-funded businesses will have the option to adopt these provisions.
“This expansion of our coronavirus coverage is critically important to our member’s health and well-being,” said Ken Provencher, president and CEO of PacificSource. “We hope this helps provide an easier pathway for everyone in the communities we serve to get the care they need during this unprecedented time.”
To support staying at home measures to limit COVID-19 exposure, PacificSource is encouraging members to use telehealth phone or video services as their first option for care. This includes routine visits for primary care or specialty care as well as behavioral health.
PacificSource is an independent, not-for-profit community health plan serving the Northwest. Founded in 1933, PacificSource has local offices in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington.
The Oregon Department of Revenue is warning taxpayers of calls and email phishing attempts related to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic and federal government relief payments. These scams can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.
Taxpayers should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites, and social media attempts that request money or personal information.
“Oregon taxpayers should take extra precaution to guard their personal information from these unscrupulous scam attempts,” said Oregon Department of Revenue Director Nia Ray. “Most people who qualify to receive a stimulus check do not need to sign up, apply, or verify any personal information, online or else where.”
The Oregon Department of Revenue and the IRS remind taxpayers that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Taxpayers should look out for phishing emails asking them to verify their personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking taxpayers’ private information in order to send them money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:
- Charitable contributions.
- General financial relief.
- Airline carrier refunds.
- Fake cures and vaccines.
- Fake testing kits.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. People should be alert to scammers posing as the IRS to steal personal information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
…Reporting coronavirus-related or other phishing attempts
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to email@example.com.
Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. The page is updated quickly when new information is available.
For more information on taxpayers protecting themselves, or what to do if they’re a victim of identity theft, taxpayers can visit:
You can visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments. You can call 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 (toll-free) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance. For TTY for hearing- or speech-impaired, call 800-886-7204.
The Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland has redesignated to the 142nd Wing effective March 6th. Colonel Adam Sitler, 142nd Wing Commander, said the redesignation highlights the prestige of becoming a Wing.
The Wing redesignation is an important step to recognize the diverse mission sets within the 142nd Wing. The governing Air Force Instruction specifies that the nomenclature of a Wing reflect what it is designed to do. In their case, they are fortunate to have a Special Warfare Mission, and a Fighter Aircraft Mission.
When a Wing has multiple mission areas, the proper designation is “Wing” which reflects both the Special Operations, and the Fighter mission. Sitler went on to clarify that the name change does not change the unit’s mission. He said we are still fully committed to flying fighters, and we’ll continue to excel in that mission area. We are fortunate to have one of the two Air National Guard Special Tactics Squadrons. The 125th Special Tactics Squadron will continue to thrive, now, and into the future.
April is National Safe Digging Month. Call 8-1-1 before you dig to find any underground utilities that could endanger you
Homebound residents may be tempted to get their exercise with yard work and long put-off projects. Pacific Power urges customers to call 8-1-1 two days before doing any digging in their yards, even for something as simple as planting a tree.
Even during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the nationwide 8-1-1 hotline is working. With a simple call, utility location professionals will come and identify any underground utilities that could prove hazardous to your work.
The national public opinion survey of homeowners conducted in March by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the people who dig near them, also revealed the most popular planned projects cited among surveyed homeowners who plan to dig include:
- Planting a tree or shrub (47 percent)
- Building a patio or deck (24 percent)
- Building a fence (21 percent)
- Installing a mailbox (8 percent)
Pacific Power and its sister utility in the mountain states have approximately 20,000 miles of underground cable in the West. There are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States. These buried facilities, including gas, water, sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet, landline telephone, provide the services Americans depend on for their basic everyday needs. But if you don’t know where they are buried before you dig, you are in danger. Even if you are lucky enough to not be harmed, you could be responsible for causing a service outage in your neighborhood—and potentially be responsible for the substantial repair costs.
If you are planning a job that requires digging, even if hiring a professional, a call to 8-1-1 is required before work begins. The 8-1-1 service is free and couldn’t be easier. It’s a Federal Communications Commission-designated national one-call number that connects a caller from anywhere in the country to the appropriate local one-call center. The one-call center then alerts local underground facility owners so they can mark the approximate location of their lines with paint or flags.
To learn more about electrical safety or to order free electrical safety materials, call Pacific Power’s public safety department at 800-375-7085 or visit pacificpower.net/safety.