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Rogue Valley News, Friday 12/11 – Salvation Army and Toys For Tots In Need Of More Toy Donations for Local Kids, Oregon Cabaret Theater Announces 2021 Schedule

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting and RogueValleyMagazine.com

Friday, December 11, 2020 

Rogue Valley Weather

Today- Rain likely, mainly after 4pm. Patchy fog before 10am. Snow level 1600 feet rising to 2900 feet. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 43. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Saturday- A 20 percent chance of rain before 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 49. Calm wind becoming east southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Sunday- Rain. High near 48. South southwest wind 3 to 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Monday- A 20 percent chance of rain before 10am. Snow level 3600 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.

Tuesday– A chance of rain. Snow level 3400 feet rising to 6200 feet in the afternoon. Cloudy, with a high near 46.

HEADLINES

The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,586 new COVID-19 cases statewide Thursday.

The new confirmed and presumptive cases bring Oregon’s total during the pandemic to 89,838. There have been more than 2 million negative coronavirus tests in Oregon. There were 13 additional deaths reported Thursday in connection with COVID-19 in Oregon, bringing the state’s death toll to 1,123. 

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon is 576, which is four fewer than Wednesday. There are 127 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds, which is five fewer than Wednesday, according to OHA.

OHA also reported Thursday it was adopting new guidance for quarantining to follow CDC guidance. A person who has been exposed to the virus will need to quarantine if they have spent more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period in close proximity (less than 6 feet away) with an infected person.

If a person has been near someone with COVID-19, they should stay home and at least 6 feet away from everyone, including the people they live with, for 14 days.

If there are no symptoms, ending the quarantine early can be considered after 10 days without testing, or after seven days if there is a negative result from an antigen or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that was administered less than 48 hours before they end quarantine.

If someone chooses to shorten their quarantine period, there is a small chance they may spread the disease to others post-quarantine, according to OHA, so it is critical they continue monitoring their symptoms for 14 days.

If the person does develop symptoms, they should continue to avoid contact with others and call their healthcare provider to discuss testing.

For more, go to https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.

Oregon introducing new framework for counties

Starting Dec. 3, Oregon is introducing a new framework of safety measures based on each county’s COVID-19 risk level.

The new framework has four risk levels. At each risk level — Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk — health and safety measures and guidance for businesses and individuals apply.

Oregon counties that reduce their COVID-19 risk level in coming weeks and months will be able to incrementally move to lower levels.

It’s important to note that there is no zero risk category. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses and communities can reopen, and stay open.

At every risk level, to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, Oregonians must continue to wear face coverings, watch their physical distance, wash hands, stay home when sick, and keep social get-togethers and gatherings small.

Visit Coronavirus.oregon.gov for details.

Interactive Risk Levels per Counties

https://public.tableau.com/profile/oregon.health.authority.covid.19#!/vizhome/OregonCOVID-19PublicHealthIndicators/Risk

Salvation Army and Toys For Tots In Need Of More Toy Donations for Local Kids

MEDFORD — The Salvation Army of Jackson County and Toys for Tots have teamed up this year to provide for families in need, but COVID-19 and other impacts mean that the need has never been greater.

The Salvation Army said on Thursday that the organization is providing for 1,500 families this year — 1,000 more than in previous years. As a result, the organization and Toys for Tots are leaning on more generosity from the community than ever before.

The Salvation Army has taken the lead in the combined collaboration with Toys for Tots this year in order to ensure that more families are provided for during this challenging year,” Major Jason Koenig said in a statement. “With this in mind, The Salvation Army has experienced the challenges of businesses who normally would host an angel tree have either declined this year or returned the angel tags without toys due to COVID-19 related business closures.”

About half of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree donors are gone this year, and Koenig says that the organization either needs 1,500 Angel tags to be adopted by donors, or it needs $30,000 toward purchasing the toys in time for distribution by Christmas. The Salvation Army is also looking for volunteers to help with toy sorting and distribution over the next two weeks.

“We are very thankful this year, that the Jackson County EXPO has allowed us to use one of their buildings as our toy sorting and distribution site,” Koenig said. “This allows for us to maintain COVID-19 guidelines as we are able to have social distancing in this very big area. Masks are required to be worn by all volunteers.”

For more information or to volunteer, contact the Salvation Army in Medford at (541) 773-6965 ext. 101, visit the website, or visit them at 304 Beatty Street, Medford, Oregon 97501.

You can donate new, unwrapped toys at the Salvation Army storefront in the lower level of the Rogue Valley Mall. Donations will be collected now through December 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Multiple Grants Pass Businesses Vandalized Overnight

One man is now in custody after someone smashed the windows of three businesses in downtown Grants Pass on Wednesday night, according to the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.

Police responded to “numerous alarm calls” from downtown shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Officers arrived to find that the windows had been broken out of three businesses on SW 5th and 6th streets. The damaged businesses were US Bank, Cash Connection, and Rapley Motorsports.

Witnesses in the area directed the officers to two “suspicious persons” nearby, GPDPS said, and officers detained both of them. After looking through surveillance footage, officers arrested one of them — identified as 30-year-old Gregory Jackson-Angus.  The other person was identified and released, GPDPS said.

Jackson-Angus was taken to the Josephine County Jail on charges for Criminal Mischief and Possession of Methamphetamine, but two of the vandalism cases are still under investigation, GPDPS said. Jackson-Angus is a person of interest. Anyone with additional information should contact the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety at 541-450-6260.

Oregon Cabaret Theater announces 2021 schedule

Hoping for the best, the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland has announced its planned performance schedule for 2021. The season opener, assuming the Covic-19 pandemic allows, will “The Spitfire Grill, which was set to premiere last April but wasn’t performed before it could open. It is scheduled to run Feb. 25 through April 18.

“We were ready to go when the pandemic hit,” said director Valeria Rachelle. “The set was built, the actors were ready, and I just felt like this story — the story of re-birth and a town coming alive again was the perfect way to start our 36th season. It’s moving and heartfelt with a beautiful score. Our version features actors playing their own instruments on stage, which has not been done before.”

The Cabaret’s spring show will be the musical comedy, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.” In the show, a new tenant arrives at Armadillo Acres, Florida’s most exclusive trailer park. When Pippi, a stripper on the run, comes between Jeannie and her tollbooth collector husband, Phil, troubles begin.

“I think that we can all agree that in the year 2021, we are going to need to share a good laugh,” said Cabaret associate artistic director Galloway Stevens. “I had the privilege of seeing the show a few times in Florida and it provides so many laugh-out-loud, belly-rolling moments. Absolutely pure escapist fun.” “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” will open April 29 and play to June 20.

Offered July 1 to Sept. 5 is a musical tribute to a rock ‘n roll legend Buddy Holly in “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.” Set between 1956 and 1959, the musical traces his early rise to fame with the Crickets to the night the music died, when he was killed in an airplane crash. Featuring hit songs like “That’ll be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “La Bamba,” and “Johnny B. Goode,” Buddy celebrates the lives lost on that fateful night and the lasting impact he had on music.

Performing Sept. 16 to Nov. 7 will be the Cabaret’s fourth show of the season, one originally planned for the fall of 2020, is “Poirot: Murder on the Links, an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s second novel that featured the iconic Belgian detective.

In the play, Poirot arrives in France to find his client brutally murdered and lying face down in a shallow grave on a golf course. Before he can find the murderer, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse.

“It was heartbreaking to have to cancel this show we had worked so hard on in 2020, and we heard from so many people that were disappointed they didn’t get to see it. The upside is we have some more time to work on the piece,” said adapter and Cabaret managing director Rick Robinson. “We had a workshop of the show early in 2020, and so many good things fell out of it and now there’s a full year to really polish the script so we’re ready to present it when this theatre is full again next September.”

The Cabaret will finish its season with a world premiere play by playwright Carlos Zenin-Trujillo, “Christmas, Contigo”, from Nov. 18 to Dec. 31. For Iris Delgado Piñeira, the holidays mean returning to her family home in Hialeah with a surprise, her boyfriend and soon to be fiancé, Bryan.

“The Cabaret invites you to join the Delgado-Piñeiras as they fall in love, reconnect, rediscover traditions, and prepare a Noche Buena for the ages. It’s a show about family, about the immigrant experience, about what we forget, and what we remember,” said playwright and Southern Oregon University graduate Zenin-Trujillo. “It’s a show about all of the trials and tribulations that go into creating a Cuban Christmas.”

“Our themes for our 2021 season are hope and resilience,” said Galloway Stevens, a frequent Cabaret performer and director. “There’s a light at the end of this tunnel and we hope to meet our audiences there in 2021.”

On Handling of COVID Restrictions

The Oregon Cabaret will open its doors on Feb. 25, if allowed by state and local governments. The management will continue its policy of “exceeding state mandates regarding cleanliness, safety and mask protocol to keep employees and audiences safe.”

“We’re moving forward with optimism,” said managing director Rich Robinson. “We were able to complete runs of “The Odd Couple” and our Cabaret Series without incident in a socially distanced venue from July through early November. We’ll be ready to do so again at the end of February 2021.”

Robinson said seats will be sold on a social distance pattern for first three shows with the goal and hope of opening to full capacity for the fall and winter productions. “2020 has been a trying year at work for the Cabaret box office staff,” he admitted. For more information: https://oregoncabaret.com/

The former UPS driver accused of shooting at drivers along I-5 in southern Oregon has
been indicted on 34 counts in Jackson County Circuit Court, the county District
Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.

State troopers arrested 49-year-old Kenneth Ayers in August following a string of shootings between Douglas, Josephine, and Jackson counties — one of which injured a woman near Central Point.

A Jackson County grand jury indicted Ayers on three counts of Attempted Murder in the
Second Degree, one count of Assault in the Second Degree, eight counts of Unlawful
Use of a Weapon, 14 counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person, two counts of
Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, and six counts of Criminal Mischief in the Second
Degree. Ayers’ next court date is scheduled for Thursday, where he is expected to be arraigned on the indictment. The case against him is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Virginia Greer.

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

Oregon to get 100K vaccine doses in first distribution wave

There is hope as the nation gets closer to a coronavirus vaccine. Vaccine experts at OHA said 100,000 doses will be given to the State of Oregon from Pfizer.

Officials with OHA say both vaccines are 95 percent effective. Like other vaccines, it’s common to have side effects after they’re given, the severity of which can vary depending on the person.

As for the country, OHA officials said 100 million doses will be sent out and we won’t expect more until summer of 2021. Regardless of where they are sent, the Pfizer vaccine will require ultra-cold storage.

“The Pfizer order is a minimum order size of 975 doses, so those are being targeted to those larger hospitals,” said Rex Larson, Planning Unit Manager with Oregon Health Authority, “and the Moderna allocations, they are coming a week later, but they’re going to go some of those smaller, rural hospitals that wouldn’t be able to use the entire Pfizer allocation and won’t be able to store it.”

Nine different hospitals throughout Oregon will have ultra-cold storage. Specific hospitals will be announced later.

Pfizer vaccines are expected to be released on Dec. 15 and the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 22

Rain and snow returns to Oregon this weekend!

Rain and snow returns to Oregon for coming week, following dry spell

Rain in the valley and snow in the mountains will be possible just about every day for the coming 10 days, bringing a much-needed shot of moisture during what’s supposed to be the state’s wettest month.

Snow is also expected at pass levels, with 6 to 12 inches expected Thursday to Saturday. Driving could be a moderate challenge, with snow on the road, but no whiteout conditions are expected.  

“We had a big high-pressure system sitting off the coast that just acted like a giant boulder that blocked all the storm systems trying to come in from the ocean,” National Weather Service meteorologist Clinton Rockey said. “It’s finally moving out of the way, and as a result, we should see a series of systems and not too many blue skies.”

Largest active COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in Oregon are at prisons

There are 124 active COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in Oregon as of this week reported by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The three largest active workplace outbreaks in Oregon are at prisons. 

In this week’s workplace outbreaks data from the OHA, six of Oregon’s correctional institutions showed up in the report. The largest active outbreak remains at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, with a total of 554 cases reported.  

The three largest active workplace outbreaks in Oregon are at prisons and account for 1,349 total cases :

  • Snake River Correctional Institution, Ontario: 554 cases (The first reported case was June 24, 2020 and the most recent onset was reported Dec. 4, 2020).
  • Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Pendleton: 522 cases (The first reported case was July 8, 2020 and the most recent onset was reported Dec. 7, 2020).
  • Oregon State Correctional Institution, Salem: 202 cases (The first reported case was Sept. 28, 2020 and the most recent onset was reported Dec. 3, 2020).
  • Deer Ridge Correctional Institution, Madras: 57 cases (The first reported case was Nov. 13, 2020 and the most recent onset was reported Dec. 3, 2020).
  • Coffee Creek Intake Center, Wilsonville: 8 cases (The first reported case was Nov. 4, 2020 and the most recent onset was reported Nov. 23, 2020) .
  • Sheridan Correctional Institution, Sheridan: 6 cases (The first reported case was Oct. 19, 2020 and the most recent onset was reported Nov. 25, 2020).

Springfield police search for person involved in overnight shooting

Springfield police detectives are searching for the person believed to be involved in an overnight shooting in Springfield, Springfield Police Department said Friday morning.

The incident happened in the area of 28th and Marcola. SPD said the call came in around 3:10 a.m. Friday. A white male was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Commercial crabbing to open on southern Oregon Coast

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open along the southern Oregon Coast in time to put crab on the table for Christmas.

Fishery managers announced crab vessels will be allowed to set gear beginning Sunday from Cape Falcon near Manzanita south to the California border. The first pull of ocean crab pots starts Wednesday.

Commercial crabbing is delayed on the North Coast until levels of the marine toxin domoic acid drop in crab caught in Washington state. More testing is needed in Washington to determine crab is safe. The two fisheries will start together.

Crab tested in Oregon’s harvest areas have remained well below alert levels.

The West Coast commercial Dungeness fishery is coordinated under a tri-state agreement between Washington, Oregon and California. It is Oregon’s most lucrative fishery, with an average ex-vessel value of $39.5 million. Last season, Oregon crabbers landed more than 20 million pounds of crab.

The recreational crab fishery is already open along the entire Oregon Coast.

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