The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Monday, March 22, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- Showers likely. Snow level 3500 feet rising to 4500 feet. Cloudy, with a high near 55. Calm wind becoming west northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Tuesday- Partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 60. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Wednesday- Partly sunny, with a high near 59. Calm wind.
Thursday- A 20 percent chance of rain before 11am. Snow level 3500 feet lowering to 3000 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 54.
Friday- Sunny, with a high near 65.
Oregon reports 224 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 1 new death
There is one new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,363. The Oregon Health Authority reported 224 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 161,531.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (8), Clackamas (21), Columbia (6), Coos (6), Deschutes (11), Douglas (8), Grant (3), Jackson (12), Jefferson (1), Josephine (13), Lake (1), Lane (8), Linn (12), Marion (38), Multnomah (28), Polk (4), Union (2), Washington (40) and Yamhill (1).
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 22,232 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 14,149 doses were administered on March 20 and 8,083 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on March 20.
Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).
Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 1,509,386 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations occurred at Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs).
To date, 1,858,385 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon.
These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine situation in Oregon, visit our webpage, which has a breakdown of distribution and other useful information.
Registered Sex Offender Arrested on 12 New Counts of Sex Crimes in Grants Pass
On March 18, 2021, Detectives with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) and Oregon State Police (OSP) arrested 42-year-old David Manning Koger on 12 counts of felony sex crimes.
Koger, a registered sex offender, is reported to have subjected the victims to sexual contact on multiple occasions. Both victims were under 12 years of age at the time of the incidents.
This investigation began in February 2021 with a report to GPDPS of sex offenses which occurred between 2013-2015. OSP became involved when it was discovered the incidents had occurred both in and outside the city limits of Grants Pass. Detectives were also assisted by the Children’s Advocacy Center, Department of Human Services, and Josephine County Community Corrections. Koger was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on all charges.
Anyone with information about this case, or an incident of a similar nature, is encouraged to contact Det. John Lohrfink with GPDPS at 541-450-6260, reference case 21-07285. — Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety
Gun Shot Victim at Hog Creek Boat Landing Near Galice
On March 21, engine 7505 from the Rural Metro fire station in Merlin was first to arrive at the scene and initiate patient care to a critical gun shot victim at the Hog Creek Boat Landing.
Engine 7505 from the Rural Metro fire station in Merlin was first to arrive at the scene and initiate patient care to a critical gun shot victim at the Hog Creek Boat Landing. Quickly backed up by an ambulance from American Medical Response, firefighters also activated a medical transport helicopter from Mercy Flights Inc, to take the still-breathing patient to a Medford hospital.
Rural Metro’s Battalion 5 cordoned-off a portion of the parking lot to facilitate establishing a safe landing zone for the helo.OSP and the Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident. First Responders extend a thank you to the passerby that found the victim and called 911.
Rural Metro Fire plays a significant role in many emergencies across the region beyond just fire suppression. Through many years of training, equipping and collaborative relationship-building with adjoining forces, local firefighters are able to bring the highest quality care, specialized assets, and management of emergency scenes in service to our community.
OSP and the Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident while first responders extend a thank you to the passerby who found the victim and called 911.
Restaurant Owner Working To Donate 100 Easter Baskets to Fire Victims
A restaurant owner in Grants Pass is hoping to spread some joy for fire victims on Easter. Cynthia Hewitt, owner of Cynthia’s Home Sweet Home restaurant, says she wants to help community members affected by last year’s wildfires.
Hewitt herself was once a fire victim, so she’s hoping to gather up enough goodies to give 100 kids Easter baskets in time for the holiday. “Easter is special and lot of people are still displaced, so I wanted to do something,” she said.
Hewitt hopes to add a book, baked goods from the restaurant and a small gift to every basket created. She is looking for a venue in town where she can give the baskets out. To learn more or help join the cause, visit Cynthia’s Home Sweet Home Facebook page.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
UPDATE – Death Investigation – Lincoln County
Oregon State Police investigators have received and investigated more than 180 tips from the public, law enforcement partners and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Using available dental records, field contacts, and other investigative techniques, investigators have been able to exclude 61 individuals from being the child whose remains were recovered.
Investigators are still actively working to identify the deceased, and reviewing information regarding missing children which changes and is updated frequently.
Several different investigative efforts are underway, including DNA analysis. With the assistance of the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, DNA has been extracted, and is awaiting analysis. This analysis is expected to provide investigators additional information regarding the race, origin, eye color, and other genetic details that may help lead to her identity. A sketch with the updated race and genetic details will be released upon receipt of the DNA information.
Anthropological and forensic dental examinations of the female child recovered at in the H.B. Van Duzer State Forrest Scenic Corridor have so far determined she is between 61/2 and 10 years old. She stood between 3’10’ and 4’6” tall. She had long black or dark brown hair. She died at least 30 days prior to her discovery on December 10, 2020.
Investigators continue to ask anyone with information about the identity of the deceased or the circumstances surrounding her death to call the Oregon State Police at 800-442-0776 or OSP (677).
As part of the ongoing investigation into the discovery of a female child’s remains at the Van Duzer Rest Area in Lincoln County, the Oregon State Police (OSP) continues to solicit the public’s assistance in identifying the child and the circumstances around her death. To date, we have received over 150 tips from citizens in the United States and Canada. We are deeply appreciative of the public’s input so far, and continue to accept information which may lead to the identification of the child.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office has estimated the child’s age to be 6.5 to 10 years old. She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and has long hair that is dark brown or black. Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete. A sketch completed by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at our request has also been released.
OSP, in partnership with the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and numerous state and local agencies across the United States, are using a variety of means to include or exclude known missing persons who match the general description and/or sketch previously released. This may include, but is not limited to, dental records, age, descriptors, and confirmed sightings via verifiable sources, and/or recent contacts with family or friends that demonstrate they were alive after the remains of the unidentified female were discovered in Lincoln County.
OSP will not comment on the individual methods used to exclude each child.
In an effort to refocus the public’s attention and reduce duplicative tips, OSP is now prepared to publicly exclude the following reported missing children from our investigation:
- Dulce Alavez, age 6, from Bridgeton, NJ
- Addyson Gibson, age 12, from Portland, OR
- Noelle Johnson, age 7, from Portland, OR
- Niayah Bylenga (AKA Niayah Crawford), age 7, from Pendleton, OR or Ritzville, WA
- Tarie Price, age 8, from Gretna, NE
- Breasia Terrell, age 10, from Davenport, IA
OSP reminds the public that while these children have been excluded from our investigation, they are all still reported missing and we ask the public to continue to be vigilant for these children and all other missing persons reported across the nation.
The Oregon State Police is releasing the attached approximation sketch of the child that was found in Lincoln County on December 10, 2020.
Sketch was provided with assistance of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or OSP (677).
Oregon State Police Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the remains of an individual discovered in rural Lincoln County.
On December 10, 2020, Investigators were summoned to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation. At this location, investigators found the remains of a female child.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office estimate the deceased’s age to be 6.5 to 10 years old. She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and had long hair that is dark brown or black. Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete.
Due to the condition of the remains she had likely been deceased at least 30 days before she was discovered.
If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or OSP (677).
No information regarding the cause or manner of death is available for release at this time.
On Thursday, December 10, 2020 Oregon State Police Major Crimes Detectives responded to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation.
The area is a heavily wooded state park in Lincoln County, Oregon.
Due to the terrain OSP Detectives were assisted by Lincoln County SAR members.
At this time the deceased has yet to be positively identified. No further information regarding this individual is available for release until identity is established and next of kin can be notified.
An investigation into the circumstances of this incident is active and ongoing. No further details are available for release at this time. — Oregon State Police
Five Wolves Found Dead in NE Oregon
Five wolves were found dead in northeastern Oregon in February, according to law authorities.
On Feb. 9, a collar on a wolf indicated a mortality signal in the Mt. Harris area in Union County. Arriving officers found a total of five wolves dead. The cause of death is unknown, he said.
On Feb. 9, a collar on a wolf indicated a mortality signal in the Mt. Harris area in Union County, Oregon State Police Capt. Timothy R. Fox said in an email on Friday afternoon when asked about it by The Associated Press.
Arriving officers found a total of five wolves dead, Fox said. The cause of death is unknown, he said. All five carcasses were taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife forensic lab to determine the cause of death, the email said.
“This is very unsettling news for a species that is only just beginning to recover in Oregon,” Kathleen Gobush, Northwest program director at Defenders of Wildlife said in a news release. “Predators, particularly wolves, are often the target of ruthless persecution, and the killing of one wolf, not to mention five, appears to follow a growing pattern of grave concern. Defenders of Wildlife will continue to work to make Oregon safe for people and wolves.”
The incident is under investigation, according to Oregon Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy.
Oregon Wildfire Response Released a New Detailed Hiking Map to the Public
Recently, Oregon Wildfire Response released a new detailed hiking map to the public. The map was created to help people better understand where hiking closures are, because of last year’s wildfires, to help the public plan ahead, avoid closed areas, and recreate safely outdoors.
Oregon currently has a large number of post-fire recreation area closures across many land management agencies because of the 2020 wildfire season. According to Oregon Wildfire Response, there was a need for a ‘one-stop-shop’
map for the public to be able to understand where these closures are.
The agency says that by creating this map, this allows the public to plan ahead and be prepared prior to arriving at their hiking destination. According to Oregon Wildfire Response, the map is not updated in real-time which means that there could be delays on when a hiking trail opens back up. During last year’s wildfire season, more than a million acres of land was destroyed and more than 3,000 buildings were completely eradicated.
Oregon’s Recreation Site Status Map: https://wildfire.oregon.gov/Pages/Recreation-Impacts.aspx
Fatal Crash on Hwy 99W in Lane County
On Friday, March 19, 2021 at approximately 8:00 A.M, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 99W near mile post 108.
Preliminary investigation revealed a Chevrolet Avalanche, operated by Christopher Sole (36) of Eugene, was southbound when it left the roadway and struck a tree. Sole sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.
OSP was assisted by Junction City Police Department, Junction City Fire Department and ODOT — Oregon State Police
PacificSource Health Plans Reports 2020 Financial Results
PacificSource Health Plans announced consolidated financial results for the twelve months ended December 31, 2020. PacificSource reported a $48M profit in 2020. This number is the combination of a loss on 2020 underwriting results of $8M and the recoupment of a $56M “Risk Corridor” payment from the Federal Government for losses in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The recording of the $56M reflects the successful result of a lawsuit relating to the Federal Government’s failure to pay its obligations under the Affordable Care Act in prior years. In accordance with Statutory Accounting Principles, this $56M is recorded in premium revenue in the 2020 financials, the year it was finally received.
“While PacificSource Health Plans had not budgeted a loss in 2020, it was important for our company to be supportive of providers, members and communities during the Pandemic,” said Peter Davidson, executive vice president and CFO of PacificSource. “The result is that we had an underwriting loss on our 2020 membership activity that was offset from some delayed Federal revenue from a number of years ago and also from investment earnings. We continue our focus on members and providers as communities address the ongoing impact of COVID-19.”
About PacificSource Health Plans:
PacificSource Health Plans is an independent, not-for-profit community health plan serving the Northwest. Founded in 1933, PacificSource has local offices throughout Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington. The PacificSource family of companies employs more than 1,500 people and serves over 523,700 individuals throughout the Greater Northwest. For more information, visit PacificSource.com.