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Rogue Valley News, Monday, 10/19 – Fire Restrictions Still In Effect on Public Lands in Medford District

Medford, Ore. – As the weather continues to stay warm and red flag warning persist,  the Bureau of Land Management Medford District is reminding the public that we are still in Moderate Fire Danger and that public use restrictions are still in effect on BLM-managed lands in southern Oregon.  

“It’s been a long fire season, are we aren’t out of the woods yet,” said District Manager Elizabeth Burghard. “Please help protect our local communities and public lands by following the personal use restrictions.” 

Additionally, the following activities are restricted: 

  • Campfires or any other type of open fire, including the use of charcoal briquettes, is prohibited on BLM-managed land.
  • Smoking is only allowed while inside a vehicle or while stopped in an area at least three (3) feet in diameter that is clear of flammable vegetation.   
  • Operating a motor vehicle and parking off road (including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles) is only allowed on roadways clear of flammable vegetation.   
  • Using fireworks, exploding targets, or tracer ammunition is prohibited.   
  • Using a chainsaw or other equipment with internal combustion engines for felling, bucking, skidding, woodcutting, or any other operation is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM. A fire watch of at least one hour is required following use of a saw.    
  • Welding or operating a torch with an open flame is prohibited.   

Visitors to BLM-managed lands are also required to carry with them tools to ensure small fires can be put out quickly, including a shovel, axe and at least one gallon of water or a 2.5 pound fire extinguisher.

Violation of these restrictions can result in a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year. 

For updated information on public use restrictions, please visit and the Oregon Department of Forestry at  

Rogue Creamery President President David Gremmelsin Medford.

It was exactly one year ago today that a small American creamery from Oregon made national and international news.

On October 18, 2019, Rogue Creamery from Central Point, Oregon, earned the title of “best cheese in the world” for their Rogue River Blue Cheese at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy. It was the first time in the history of the competition that an American cheese was selected as grand champion.

In honor of Rogue River Blue’s historic win, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a proclamation designating October 18 as Blue Cheese Day.

Similar to the “Judgement of Paris” in 1976, when American wines triumphed over the best French vintners in a blind taste test, this was a statement win and a landmark moment for American artisanal and farmstead cheeses.

U.S. Dairy Export Council President, Tom Vilsack said, “This is more than a win for Rogue Creamery of Central Point, Oregon, The ‘Best Cheese’ title creates a halo effect that will cause global customers to look at all U.S. cheeses in a brighter light.”

This was no small feat. An international panel of 260 judges selected Rogue River Blue out of more than 3,800 cheeses from 42 countries.

The judges experienced the signature Rogue Valley terroir captured within each taste of the organic, cave-aged blue cheese wrapped in Syrah grape leaves soaked in pear spirits, with flavors of sweet pine, wild ripened berries, hazelnuts, morels and pears. It earned their high praise and respect.

This special cheese is the product of seventeen years of hard work and refinement by President David Gremmels with support from his dedicated team at Rogue Creamery and their organic herd of Brown Swiss and Holstein cows. Rogue Creamery is a certified B-Corporation that serves as a model for sustainability in dairy, committed to leaving a positive impact on people, animals, and the planet.

“I am humbled and filled with gratitude. This is the greatest distinction a cheese can receive,” said Rogue Creamery President, David Gremmels. “What extraordinary validation of our commitment to quality, of the place that inspires our cheese – Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley – and of the excellence of the growing American artisan cheese industry.”

Since the 2020 World Cheese Awards were postponed to 2021, Rogue River Blue will have the rare distinction of continuing its reign as “best in the world” for two years running.

Headlines from Around the state of Oregon

The Covid-19 pandemic and wildfires across the state of Oregon has sent many people looking for help when it comes to putting food on the table.

The Oregon Food Bank says the need has doubled that what they typically see. The organization estimates that one in four people are struggling to feed themselves or their family. According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, in 2018 one in 10 Oregonians lived in poverty, that’s roughly 516,000 people. Of that forty percent live in deep poverty. 

From Salem, The Oregon Department of Human Services has received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service to offer the Disaster Supplemental Assistance Program in eight Oregon counties impacted by the historic wildfires.

The eight approved counties are Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion.

Anyone that lived or worked in one of the eight counties during the wildfires that began Sept. 7 and suffered disaster losses may be eligible to receive one month of DSNAP assistance.

DSNAP benefits are provided via an EBT card, similar to a debit card, and can be used to purchase food at grocery stores and other authorized SNAP retailers.

The benefits will be available to anyone who suffered any of these losses during the wildfires:

Damage to or destruction of the home or self-employment business.
Loss or inaccessibility of income including a reduction or termination of income or a significant delay in receiving income due to disaster-related problems.
Disaster-related expenses (home or business repairs, temporary shelter, evacuation, food loss, etc.) that are not expected to be reimbursed during the disaster benefit period.
Please note that people seeking assistance may pre-register for DSNAP beginning Saturday, October 17, 2020, through Thursday, October 22, 2020.

Due to COVID-19, all applications will be completed online. For more information and to applyvisit the DNAP website. If you need assistance, call 2-1-1 or reach out to the Aging and Disability Resource Connection at 1-855-ORE-ADRC.

Oregon reports 220 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 0 new deaths

Oregon’s death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from Saturday, Oct. 17, and remains at 620, Oregon Health Authority reported early this morning on Monday. OHA reported 220 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 39,532.

Lane County reported another 33 new cases overnight on Sunday.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (3), Clackamas (8), Columbia (4), Coos (4), Deschutes (6), Douglas (2), Jackson (21), Josephine (1), Klamath (2), Lane (33), Lincoln (1), Linn (7), Malheur (2), Marion (33), Morrow (1), Multnomah (58), Polk (2), Umatilla (3), Wallowa (1), Washington (22), and Yamhill (6).

Federal agents and demonstrators clashed outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in South Portland for several hours late Saturday, with officers eventually using tear gas and detaining several people.

Demonstrators gathered at Willamette Park and walked about a mile (1.6 kilometers) to the ICE building, arriving at about 9 p.m. Saturday. Department of Homeland Security officers first responded as protesters tried to tie mylar balloons to a gate outside the building, according to reports.  Federal officers used smoke, an irritant and non-lethal munitions to break up the crowd while demonstrators threw playground balls or rocks at officers in several exchanges throughout the night, officials said.

The demonstration, in honor of those who have died in ICE custody, came as part of the near nightly protests in Portland calling for criminal justice reform that began after the death of George Floyd in late May.

Protesters in Portland are continuing night after night and defacing Portland’s downtown federal courthouse. Candidate Adrian Brown is vying as a career federal attorney to be on the circuit court.

She notes the 2012 settlement agreement between City Hall and the feds regarding the Portland Police Bureau’s use of force against those suffering from mental illness, Brown says she has spent a career making change from within the system.

Brown says she championed that case within the office which was not a popular decision. She says she wants to do the right thing and is willing to be the person to make the sometimes unpopular decisions for the good of the people.

What she cites as her biggest accomplishment — serving for 10 years as Oregon’s federal civil rights coordinator, a position she created here and worked in D.C. during the Obama years to establish in 30 other districts across the country — has received little attention.

Brown captured roughly one third of the vote in the primary election — a six-way melee that illustrates just how rare open seat judicial elections have become, as most on the bench retire mid-term and have replacements appointed by the governor. Brown herself applied for Multnomah County judicial seats in 2017 and 2018, but the governor ultimately picked other candidates.

Brown’s opponent in the November run-off, Rima Ghandour, would be the first Muslim-American and Arab-American woman to hold a judgeship in the state of Oregon. 

Brown notes that Billy J. Williams, the top federal law enforcement official in Oregon, would ultimately be Brown’s boss, and has publicly clashed with area leaders for months, refusing to un-deputize local officers and calling for a sterner response to demonstrations at the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse.

As a career prosecutor, Brown said she has no control over the headlines made by political appointees such as U.S. Attorney General William Barr.  Stay tuned.

According to a Lake County Oregon grand jury, a sheriff deputy was justified when he shot and killed an armed, mentally ill man at a Lakeview motel.

Deputy Craig Kintzley shot and killed Terry Dickson Sept. 12 at the Interstate 8 Motel in Lakeview. According to Lake County District Attorney Ted K. Martin, Dickson suffered “long term mental illness.”  According to a report completed by the Oregon State Police, Kintzley arrived at the motel after reports of popping noises and that “someone was shooting at the building.”

Kintzley talked to witnesses and determined a man inside a hotel room was shooting a gun. Kintzley called for backup and took a position nearby. Dickson soon exited his motel room while armed and “did not obey commands to drop the gun which at times was leveled at Deputy Kintzley” and near bystanders, according to Martin. Kintzley said he fired one shot as Dickson backed into his room. After a SWAT team arrived and entered Dickson’s motel room, they found him dead.

Oregon artists may now apply to a new Artist Relief Program created by the Oregon Arts Commission in partnership with The Oregon Community Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. Awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be distributed until the program fund, totaling just over $1.25 million, is depleted.

“Without our artists, there would be no art in Oregon,” said Brian Rogers, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission. “We feel strongly that, in addition to the significant relief we were able to provide to arts and cultural organizations through federal CARES Act funds allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Cultural Trust, we need to offer relief funding to struggling Oregon artists as well. We are extremely grateful to The Oregon Community Foundation and the Miller Foundation for joining us in that effort.”

The purpose of the Artist Relief Program is to provide relief funding to Oregon artists who have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic due to cancellations of exhibitions, performances, rehearsals or other activities with a stipend, events, teaching opportunities, book signings or other professional presentation opportunities. Guidelines are now posted on the Arts Commission website.

“In times of crisis, artists help us make sense of our world and stay connected to one another,” said Martha Richards, executive director of the Miller Foundation. “The Miller Foundation stands with Oregon artists in this difficult time because we recognize the critical roles they play in our communities and our lives–they are the foundation of our state’s arts ecosystem.”

“Oregon Community Foundation is thrilled to be a partner in this new Artist Relief program,” added Jerry Tischleder, Oregon Community Foundation’s program officer for arts and culture. “We recognize that independent and freelance artists are vital to the recovery of our communities, bringing hope and inspiration to the world while using their creativity to help process the collective trauma, grief and loss we’ve all experienced in these unprecedented times.”

The program supports professional artists from specific disciplines who have experienced or anticipate experiencing loss of revenue of $1,000 or more between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

The artistic disciplines supported are: Literature (creative non-fiction, fiction, play writing and poetry); dance (including choreography); music (composition and music performance); theatre and performance art; folk and traditional arts; visual arts (crafts, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media and new media); design arts; and media arts.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Awards must be spent by July 31, 2021.

Artists from underserved communities, including (but not limited to) rural communities and communities of color, as well as artists with disabilities, are especially encouraged to apply.

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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.

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