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
Monday, April 20, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Sunny this morning, then partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Highs around 70 in the valleys and in the lower to mid 60s at higher elevations.
Mostly cloudy in the morning then clearing. Highs in the mid 60s to lower 70s.
Cloudy. Chance of rain in the morning, then rain in the afternoon. Highs in the lower to mid 60s. Southwest winds around 5 mph. Chance of rain 80 percent.
Partly cloudy. Slight chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the mid 60s to lower 70s.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s to lower 70s. Lows in the lower to mid 40s.
The weekend brought Jackson County no new cases of Covid-19 according to Jackson County Public Health.
The total number of cases in the county is 48. Still, no fatalities have been reported. The uptick in the entire state of Oregon has not peaked as of yet, at all.
“Staying home as much as possible during this time and practicing physical distancing remains an important strategy. Under Governor Kate Brown’s executive orders that are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” said Jackson County Public Health.
Governor Brown announced a framework this week for lifting “Stay home. Save lives.” There is no indication that what she calls “reopening Oregon” will happen soon, as the intent is to prevent a spike in cases.
She did indicate that lifting the “stay home” order will involve the input from local leaders and business people throughout the state. Meanwhile, community members are asked to continue isolating best practices. It is important that community members continue to stay home, practice social or physical distancing of six feet, disinfect surfaces, and frequently wash their hands.
Now that COVID-19 is in our community, these actions are urgent to prevent further spread.
COVID-19 claimed two more lives on Sunday in Oregon, raising the state of Oregon’s death toll from 72 to 74, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning.
OHA also reported 66 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 1,910.
The new COVID-19 cases reported are in the following counties: Clackamas (1), Curry (1), Deschutes (2), Jackson (1), Klamath (2), Linn (2), Marion (18), Multnomah (26), Polk (1), Umatilla (2), and Washington (4).
When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act three weeks ago, the bill included some much-needed economic support for Main Street.
For millions of Americans that is coming in the form of Economic Impact Payments of up to $1,200 for qualified individuals and additional dollars for households with children. The first waves of these payments are being issued to people who have direct deposit information on file with the Internal Revenue Service or Social Security Administration.
Other qualified Americans will receive hard copy checks over the next several months. While almost $150 billion has already landed in the hands of working families, not all eligible consumers have received their funds.
The delay is caused by an overwhelming volume of payments for the U.S. Treasury to distribute, and the effective dates the Treasury set on the payments.
For example, while the Treasury announced the first wave of payments would be deposited into accounts April 13, the effective date set was April 15.
The Treasury processed another wave of payments Friday, but the funding won’t likely post to consumers’ accounts this Monday, because the effective date is not until April 22.
The confusion between when payments are issued, vs. when the funds are actually posted to consumers’ accounts is frustrating. But the good news is, the payments are coming.
Summer concerts canceled. In Medford, the Britt Music & Arts Festival’s Board of Directors, staff, and musicians of the Britt Orchestra Committee have agreed the 2020 BFO Season cannot proceed as planned.
All previously scheduled performances between July 31 – Aug. 16 have been canceled. The Britt staff and BFO musicians will explore a variety of alternative possibilities, ranging from virtual concerts to smaller, more intimate performances by members of the Britt Festival Orchestra (BFO) as conditions permit.
For those who have purchased tickets to the 2020 Britt Festival Orchestra, the value of tickets will be credited to their Britt account by default if they do not request a donation or refund option. Britt Fest asks customers to consider a tax-deductible donation of the value of tickets to the Britt Festival Orchestra, which will help to ensure the future of the BFO.
Alternately, they may use the value of 2020 tickets toward 2021 Festival ticket purchases, or they will issue refunds.
During the week of April 5 to April11, the Oregon Employment Department received 53,800 initial claims for unemployment benefits. That’s in addition to a revised total of 243,000 initial claims filed during the prior three weeks.
The Oregon Employment Department continues to prioritize efforts that can get the most benefits to the greatest number of affected Oregonians the fastest.
Those who have been able to successfully file an unemployment claim in Oregon over the past several weeks will at last begin getting the additional funds heralded by the federal CARES Act, the Oregon Employment Department announced on Friday.
OED hinted on Thursdaythat the CARES payments would begin coming out within the week, even as initial claims skyrocketed for the third week in a row. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 was signed into law on March 27. The CARES Act allows payment of extra federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week.
OED says that it began issuing those payments on Friday. Oregonians who are already eligible for regular unemployment benefits and the federal funds will receive two weekly payments — one for regular UI benefits, and an additional $600 payment. Individuals will be receiving the CARES benefits using the same payment method as their regular benefits for the week.
The CARES payments will be paid for each week someone is eligible from March 29 through the week ending July 25. The $600 payments are supposed to be retroactive for those eligible for payments.
In order to received the $600 benefit, you must have an existing unemployment claim, continue to claim weekly benefits, and remain eligible to receive benefits.
TO FILE AN ONINE CLAIIM FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS GO TO: Oregon.gov/employ or call 1-877-FILE-4-UI.
For help finding jobs and training resources, contact your local WorkSource Oregon center or go to WorkSourceOregon.org. Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.
In Central Point, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has announced two arrests in a homicide case from January this year.
The investigation began on the morning of 011020 when JCSO was dispatched to a report of a deceased person along the roadside on Cobleigh Road near Butte Falls. The victim was later identified as Cody Joseph Baize, 28 years old, of Grants Pass, Oregon. The case was investigated by the Jackson County Major Assault Death Investigation Unit.
Further investigation over the last 3 months lead investigators to arrest Joshua Wayne Bull, 32, of Grants Pass, Oregon and Theodore Stacey Johnson, 33, of Grants Pass, Oregon They are both lodged at Jackson County Jail for the crimes of Murder in the Second Degree, Kidnapping in the First Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
Bull had been lodged in the Josephine County Jail for a Post Prison Supervision Sanction on an original charge of Delivery of Controlled Substance to a Minor. He was arrested there and taken to Jackson County Jail.
Johnson had been lodged in Jackson County Jail for Parole Violation on an original charge of Robbery II. Additional charges in this case were added today.
JCSO thanks the following agencies for their valued assistance in this investigation:
The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office; Oregon State Police; Medford Police Dept., Ashland Police Department; Jackson County Probation, Josephine County Probation; Grants Pass Department of Public Safety and the Albany, Oregon Police Department.
If anyone has information that may further assist this investigation, please call the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Tip line at 541-774-8333.
On Tuesday of last week in Medford, a female victim reported she had been abducted and sexually assaulted by an unknown male who threatened her with a knife. The assault took place during daylight hours in the 3000 block of Crater Lake Avenue.
During the assault, the suspect stole the victim’s cell phone and debit card before fleeing the area on foot. Investigators worked to identify the unknown assailant and a search of the crime scene provided evidence of the assault.
On Wednesday detectives located video surveillance from a local business which visually identified the suspect as he attempted to use the victim’s debit card. Additional information from Jackson County Parole and Probation led investigators to a possible suspect who matched the victim’s description and the man identified in the surveillance video.
As detectives and officers searched for the suspect, a Medford Police Officer contacted Marc Alan Burnett, 65, on an unrelated call for service. Investigators responded and Burnett was transported to the Medford Police Department where he was interviewed and subsequently charged with the following crimes:
- Kidnap 1st Degree
- Robbery 1st Degree
- Sexual Abuse 1st Degree
- Sexual Penetration 1st Degree
- Assault 2nd Degree
- Identity Theft
Burnett was lodged at the Jackson County Jail and is being held on $957,050.00 bail.
The Board of Josephine County Commissioners has voted to allow meetings for county advisory boards and committees to be conducted electronically.
Josephine County canceled most meetings of advisory boards, committees, councils and commissions last month due to the restrictions imposed by federal and state mandates regarding COVID-19.
The electronic meetings of these groups will be coordinated through Josephine County staff of the relevant department for each group, or that group’s chairperson. More information will be provided by each board or committee in their future public notices.
Josephine County continues to be extremely appreciative of the ongoing service provided by its advisory board volunteers.
State wildlife biologists counted 158 wolves in Oregon this past winter, a 15 percent increase over last year’s count of 137, according to the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2019 Annual Report released today.
This annual count is based on verified wolf evidence is considered the minimum known wolf count, not an estimate of how many wolves are in Oregon. The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely higher, as not all individuals present in the state are located during the winter count. A total of 22 packs were documented during the count, up from 16 packs in 2018. Nine other groups of 2-3 wolves were also identified.
Nineteen of Oregon’s wolf packs successfully reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups that survived through the end of 2019, making them “breeding pairs,” a 27 percent increase over last year’s number.
Today, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust released its Winter 2020 Quarterly Grants Report, detailing 96 new capacity building grants to nonprofits serving the Pacific Northwest.
The grants, totaling $14.8 million, were awarded across five sectors of community service – Arts and Culture, Health, Human Services, Education and Scientific Research. This includes $4.3 million for nonprofits serving Oregon communities.
The full Winter 2020 Quarterly Grants Report can be found online here. In addition to our Quarterly Grants encompassing projects proposed through the Trust’s Strategic Project and Initiative Grant Programs, the Murdock Trust has awarded emergency support grants to nonprofits addressing community needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the issuance of more than $28 million to 18 counties in western Oregon as a part of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act extension, according to a news release.
The funding will go directly to the counties, supporting investments in education, infrastructure, public safety, health services and other critical expenditures made by these jurisdictions.
The Bureau of Land Management manages the SRS program in Oregon and California Railroad Revested Lands, known as the O&C Lands, in concert with the U.S. Forest Service. The O&C Lands lie in a checkerboard pattern through 18 counties of western Oregon.
These lands contain more than 2.4 million acres of forests with a diversity of plant and animal species, recreation areas, mining claims, grazing lands, cultural and historical resources, scenic areas, wild and scenic rivers and wilderness. SRS payments are made to over 700 counties across the United States, including the 18 counties containing O&C Lands, according to a formula set by Congress.