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, July 21, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Today Sunny and hot, with a high near 103.
Wednesday Sunny and hot, with a high near 98. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 89. Light northwest wind.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 91.
COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 262. Oregon Health Authority reported 277 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 14,847.
The two deaths were residents with pre-existing conditions that were 76 and 92 years of age respectively.
Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) officials report seven new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Monday, July 20, bringing the total to 157. As of Monday morning 6,443 tests have been processed for Klamath County. Jackson County in particular has seen multiple new cases every day for more than a week, reporting a record 16 cases on Sunday. On Monday, public health officials reported 5 new cases, bringing the county total to 243.
Josephine County reported 7 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 75. Of the 75 total cases, 13 are currently presumptive and 62 are confirmed.
To protect yourself from the Covid virus, you are reminded to keep your distance by maintaining six feet of social or physical distancing between yourself and others. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, utilizing hand sanitizer when washing facilities are not available. Sanitize surfaces that are often touched. Avoid gatherings of any size where social or physical distancing is not possible. To protect others around you, cover coughs and sneezes. Stay home when sick. Wear a clean mask in public spaces, including outdoors when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.
Quick Tips to Beat the Heat from Pacific Power
With a heat wave continuing to roll into Southern Oregon this week, Pacific Power wants to remind customers how to beat the heat, use less energy, and stay ahead of possible high bill surprises down the road.
- Get some fresh air. Open your windows during the early morning and evening, and use fans to circulate the fresh air.
- Keep clear of the sun. Close blinds and drapes during the warmest parts of the day. Keeping the sunlight out of your home will keep it cooler.
- Be AC savvy. Set your air conditioner to 78 degrees when you’re home, and 85 when you’re away. Running your AC at temperatures lower than 78 degrees can increase your electricity bill by up to 8 percent. Also, keep inside air vents clear from furniture and other objects. Make sure the outside unit is free of obstructions.
- Reduce indoor heat. Push the use of heat-producing appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers to cooler parts of the day. Grilling outside, washing dishes by hand and air-drying clothes are great alternatives.
- Be safe. With sweltering temperatures, you need to protect yourself. Drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Also check on any neighbors who may have limited contact with others and may need a fan or other assistance. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, we can look out for each other.
- If you are already worried about your power bill, call us now. We can set up payment plan or refer you to local agencies for bill assistance. Call us any time at 1-888-221-7070.
- Lastly, unplug. Make a conscious effort to unplug items not in use. Even if they’re not on, they’re drawing energy. For more Wattsmart energy and money-saving tips visit pacificpower.net
Around the state of Oregon
Federal officers have conducted surveillance of protesters from upper floors of the downtown Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, analyzed live nightly video footage and posted undercover agents among crowds to arrest people on allegations ranging from shining lasers at officers to breaking plywood protecting courthouse doors, federal records reveal.
Federal officers also have shared some of their information with Portland police officers, who assisted them in two arrests earlier this month, the documents disclose. In the predawn hours of July 11, a Portland officer detained a man identified by the Federal Protective Service as having shined a green laser into the eyes of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in an overlook position on the seventh floor of the federal courthouse and later shining it at federal agents emerging from the courthouse.
Marshals also tried to stop a 23-year-old man now identified as Jacob Gaines who hit one of the federal officers three times with the hammer, according to the affidavit.
The Portland officer brought another man, Edward William Carubis , to the federal courthouse that morning, according to Micah Coring, a Federal Protective Service agent. Carubis, 24, is now accused of assault on a federal officer, one of at least a dozen people facing federal allegations stemming from the late-night and early morning protests outside the courthouse.
Figuring out health insurance was complicated, even before facing a global pandemic. To help Oregonians sort through health insurance plans and programs, the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace has awarded grants to nonprofit community groups and insurance agents. The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace runs OregonHealthCare.gov and helps people get insurance when they do not have job-based coverage and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program.
Grants totaling $786,500 will be awarded to eight community groups and 29 insurance agents. Awardees use these grants to spread awareness of the upcoming Marketplace health insurance open enrollment period, and to help Oregonians enroll in coverage through HealthCare.gov and the Compact of Free Association Premium Assistance Program. For many people, open enrollment is the only time of the year to sign up for a private health plan or switch plans. Open enrollment will run from Nov. 1 through Dec.15 for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2021.
The Oregon Heritage Commission has recognized the Great Oregon Steam-up, presented since 1970 at the Powerland Antique Museum grounds in Brooks, as an Oregon Heritage Tradition. The event was set to mark its 50th year later in July with the annual display of Oregon’s agricultural history in the form of early machinery exhibits, steam powered equipment shows, and other vintage vehicles on view at the more than 60-acre site. All that ground to a halt due to Governor Brown’s coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.
The Great Oregon Steam-Up normally takes place over two midsummer weekends. Traffic would get heavy at the Brooks exit from Interstate 5 as nearly 5,000 visitors a day wandered the displays. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the 2020 event has been modified to a “drive-through” experience dubbed “Rollin’ Thru Steam-Up.” Visitors can travel through the displays to see what each independent museum on the grounds has to offer — all while remaining in their vehicles. Some of the displays come from museums representing the antique logging industry, the Pacific Northwest Truck Museum, Oregon Electric Railway and others.
President Trump is again accusing Portland leaders of losing control of their city.
Trump tweeted that the city’s leadership has lost control of protesters, whom he called anarchists and agitators. Trump added that he’s trying to help Portland, not hurt it, by sending in federal troops and protecting federal property.
Federal officers backed by an executive order protecting monuments started cracking down on anti-police-brutality protests in Portland this past week, using tear gas and projectiles and hauling people off the streets in unmarked vehicles.
Long-term care facilities in Oregon permitted to offer outdoor visitation with safeguards
Oregon’s licensed long-term care providers may begin providing limited outdoor visitation for residents if the facility develops a plan to adhere to required safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Following the safety prerequisites including health screenings, face coverings, physical distancing and limits on the number of visitors is mandatory as Oregon continues to experience an increase in outbreaks at long-term care facilities. While visits with family and friends are essential to well-being, they also create significant risk, not only for the individual who is seeing a loved one, but for everyone who lives and works in that care facility.
The Department of Human Services outdoor visitation policy applies to all facilities licensed by the Office of Aging and People with Disabilities including nursing, assisted living, residential and memory care facilities as well as all adult foster homes. Facilities that are currently coping with COVID-19 cases, or suspected cases, may not offer outside visitation until DHS determines that the outbreak has resolved. All current indoor visitation restrictions issued in March remain in place regardless of the reopening plan status of the county where the facility is located; however, residents are free to leave and return to their facility if following all public health guidance.
“We hope this policy provides some relief to residents, their family members and friends who we know have suffered extreme hardship as a result of visitation restrictions required during the pandemic. Balancing resident safety with the essential need to have contact with family and friends is challenging as COVID-19 presents life-threatening risks and spreads rapidly in congregate care settings,” said Mike McCormick, interim director of the DHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities. “We will continue to evaluate all long-term care policies in partnership with Oregon Health Authority to ensure they are in line with Governor Kate Brown’s reopening plan for the state.”
- For more information on DHS requirements for facilities providing outdoor visitation, see a copy of the policy issued here.
- Visit this DHS webpage for lists of facilities reporting cases of COVID-19 that would not be able to adopt outside visitation. These lists are updated on Tuesday and Friday.
- DHS guidance issued for residents who leave and return to a licensed long-term care facility.
- Long-term care providers, residents and family members with questions should reach out to: SOQ.LTCInfo@dhsoha.state.or.us.
Paddlers of non-motorized boats will need to carry a Waterway Access Permit beginning August 1. The permit is required for all non-motorized boats 10 feet and longer and replaces the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Permit. Failure to show the permit is a Class D violation with a $115 fine.
The permit funds two programs: One is the AIS Prevention Program which is co-managed by the Marine Board and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). The rest of the revenue is directed to a dedicated account for the development and improvement of non-motorized access and other services for non-motorized boaters. The Marine Board’s Boating Facility Program administers the competitive grant program and recently accepted the first grant applications. These programs will develop new boating access and improve facilities by adding vehicle parking spaces, non-motorized boat launches, restrooms, low-freeboard docks, etc. and will continue to fund ODFW-managed boat inspection stations for aquatic invasive species. Grants will also be available to Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribal governments, and public and non-governmental organizations for boating safety education, equipment and access to underserved communities.
Permits are not required on federally designated wild and scenic rivers where other permits are already required (boater pass or lottery permits) or for youth 13 and younger. Permits are transferrable to other paddlecraft. For example, if a family has two or more paddlecraft, but only one is on the water at one time, then only one permit would be required.
Three purchasing options are available: One week (valid for 7-days from the date of purchase from ODFW) for $7, one calendar year for $17, and two calendar years for $30.
Permits can be purchased through:
- ODFW Electronic Licensing System where you can print out permit or display using the ODFW App;
- Boat Oregon Store (downloadable PDF to save on mobile device or print and carry with you). If it’s your first time using the Boat Oregon Store, here’s some help getting started.
On Sunday, July 19, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 95 near milepost 59.
Preliminary Investigation revealed that a 2017 Freightliner and trailer combination, operated by Kenneth White (59) from Mesa, AZ, was northbound when it collided with a 2002 Subaru Legacy that was traveling southbound in the northbound lane. Investigation indicates the Subaru was passing in a no passing zone.
The operator of the Subaru was pronounced deceased. Name will be released when all notifications are made.
Also on Sunday, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a multi-vehicle crash on Hwy 203 near milepost 12. Preliminary investigation revealed that a Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by Keith Walker (62) of La Grande, was northbound when for an unknown reason it entered the southbound lane and collided with a Ford F350 pickup and then a Toyota Camry.
Walker sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.
U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Matthew Hogan Peters, 36, of Dana Point, California, has been charged by superseding information with healthcare fraud and tax evasion.
Peters, who owned and operated local compounding pharmacies, was previously indicted by a federal grand jury on December 19, 2019, on charges that he submitted dozens of fraudulent patient attestations in support of reimbursement claims to CVS Caremark, a national pharmacy benefit manager.
“Seeking to defraud pharmaceutical insurance providers is a crime that impacts all Americans in the form of increased health care costs. Mr. Peters added to Americans’ shared losses resulting from his crimes by further depriving the U.S. of millions in personal income taxes owed,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “These charges demonstrate our commitment to stopping health care fraud in any form and preventing anyone from cheating the IRS.”
“Mr. Peters made calculated decisions to divert health care fraud proceeds with the intent of evading his more than $5 million dollar tax liability. His actions hurt all Americans who pay their fair share of taxes,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell.
The new charges, filed today, accuse Peters of willfully evading the payment of approximately $5.49 million in federal income taxes from 2014 through 2017. Peters is accused of diverting millions of dollars in corporate revenue for various personal uses, including funding real estate projects in Belize and purchasing homes in Incline Village, Nevada, and San Carlos and Laguna Beach, California.
Peters owned and operated Professional Center 205 Pharmacy and Portland Professional Pharmacy, compounding pharmacies located in Southeast Portland.
On 07/20/20 at 2022 hours, officers with the Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety responded to a report of an armed robbery involving a gun at 1690 Webster Road (Reinhart Volunteer Park).
During the investigation the male juvenile victim, 16-years-old, advised cash and other items of value were taken from him forcibly while the suspect held a gun on him.
Detectives were called and responded to assist in the investigation. Through the investigation, two suspects were identified as Joseph Tripp and Mitchell Savoie.
Both Tripp and Savoie were contacted and later lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Robbery in the First Degree. Some of the property taken in the robbery has been recovered and returned to the victim and his family.
Today, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust released our Spring 2020 Grants Report, outlining a variety of capacity building grants to nonprofits serving the Pacific Northwest. The report and a full list of grants can be found on our website.
- 41 grants totaling $10.9 million across the Pacific Northwest.
- 32 grants to nonprofits serving Oregon totaling $5 million.
- Grants are made to organizations across the Pacific Northwest serving in five sectors – Arts and Culture, Education, Healthcare, Human Services and Education.
- With these grants and capacity building and COVID-19 emergency grants previously announced this year, the Murdock Trust has invested more than $40 million in grants in 2020.
About M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust
The Murdock Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.