The latest news stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the digital home of Southern Oregon, Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Rogue Valley Weather
Grants Pass Police Searching for Bank Robber
Monday morning just before 11:00 am, the First Interstate Bank on Union Avenue in Grants Pass was robbed. After demanding money, the male suspect fled from the bank on foot to the parking lot of the nearby Walgreens where a vehicle was waiting for him. The suspect left in an unknown direction. Nobody was physically injured during the robbery, but many were in fear for their safety.
No weapons were displayed by the male suspect who was described as an approximate 6’4” tall white male in his 30s to 40s, weighing 220 to 240 pounds and having some facial hair. The male wore a black beanie cap, black glasses, and a bright orange shirt over a dark long-sleeved shirt. The vehicle the robber fled in was described as a white Kia Optima with tinted windows.
Anyone having information related to this investigation is asked to call Grants Pass Police Detective Brown at 541-450-6345. Grants Pass Police Department
Marijuana Search Warrants Served By Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
On May 19, 2022, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) in partnership with Oregon State Police, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) executed a search warrant in the 3000 block of Southside Road regarding an illegal marijuana grow site.
During the execution of the warrant, approximately 4,400 marijuana plants were located inside multiple greenhouses on the property. The marijuana plants were seized and destroyed.
23 year-old, Vincent R. Lopez, was taken into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana.
The Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) executed a second search warrant on May 19, 2022 in the 200 block of Forest Glen Road regarding an illegal marijuana grow site.
During the execution of the warrant, approximately 1,200 marijuana plants were located inside multiple greenhouses on the property. The marijuana plants were seized and destroyed.
Two individuals were detained for officer safety however, the primary suspect is still outstanding.
At the time of this press release the` investigations are ongoing and no further details are being released. Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
Fatality accident in Selma. Illinois Valley Fire District
05/23/2022 – A fatal two-vehicle crash closed US 199 (Redwood Highway) in both directions one mile north of Selma, Oregon, near mileposts 18-19. Yesterday. ODOT said that this was a lengthy closure for crash reconstruction and cleanup. A detour was in place onto Draper Valley Road. Units from several agencies responded, with OSP taking lead on the investigation: IVFD, AMR, Sheriff’s Department, OSP, ODOT, and Oregon Towing. Illinois Valley Fire District There will be no pictures posted at this time. OSP is the lead on the investigation.
Parking and Camping are Free on State Parks Day – Valley of The Rogue State Park
Oregon State Parks is celebrating its centennial on State Parks Day, Saturday, June 4. Parking and camping are free on State Parks Day, a tradition since 1998. Several special events and service projects are planned June 4 to celebrate State Parks Day and the Oregon State Parks centennial. Nearby, at Valley of the Rogue State Park, visitors are invited to watch two professional wood carvers create new sculptures they will donate to the park. They will be working 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. June 4 and 5 at the Valley of the Rogue rest area.
Bear Camp Road to Coast to Open
A favorite and often challenging shortcut between the Rogue Valley and Gold Beach is scheduled to open on May 27. Earlier today, the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management issued the following information regarding the opening of Bear Camp Road:
Bear Camp Road will be open for public travel starting on May 27th for the recreation season. The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest will have completed removing what remains of the winter’s snowdrifts. Not all BLM and National Forest roads have been maintained or checked after the winter season.
Motorists are advised to drive with caution and avoid using less-traveled roads, particularly earlier in the season before all road surfaces are thoroughly dry. Good preparation and driving habits are important when traveling on backcountry roads, as weather and road conditions may change rapidly.
Be prepared with extra blankets, food and water, clothing, and emergency equipment. When driving, keep lights on, drive slowly and be prepared to stop for oncoming traffic, particularly on blind corners. U.S. Route 199 and U.S. Highway 101 are recommended for trailers, motor homes, and oversized vehicles year-round.
Rogue River Closure: Boatnik Races
2022 Boatnik Races
To: Waterway Users
From: Josephine County Sheriff Marine Patrol
Re: Water use regulations and race event schedule
During the Boatnik Races, the Rogue River will be closed in designated areas and during designated times (Refer to the race schedule listed below). All spectators will remain off the water until the races are over. All spectators will remain 50 feet from the waterway at all times.
Movement on the water is Restricted to Law Enforcement, Rescue personnel and Authorized Race Officials during the closures. Private boats are not allowed to assist with crash/rescue operations for safety reasons.
Boats can be anchored on the shoreline if it is deemed safe by Race Officials and Law Enforcement. All users shall be OFF the water and in an approved area 1 hour prior to the start of the race. Any unauthorized boat on the water during the closure may be cited for Reckless or Unsafe Operation (ORS 830.315 & 305 / $421.00). Law Enforcement will be patrolling the waterways during the race events.
Closed Friday May 27th, 2022 Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge during events scheduled from 7:00pm to 10:15pm.
Closed Saturday May 28th, 2022 Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge during events scheduled from 12:00pm to 6:00pm.
Closed Sunday May 29th, Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge during events scheduled 10:00am to 6:00pm.
Closed Monday May 30th, 2022 Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge during race events scheduled from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Monday May 30th, 2022 the Rogue River from Baker Park to Robertson Bridge including all boat ramps will be CLOSED during race events scheduled from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.
We want to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently. This report covers the three-day period from May 20 to May 22, 2022. Visit our dashboard, linked below, and hover over the new cases graph to view new presumptive and confirmed case numbers reported to OHA by date. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: https://public.tableau.com/views/OregonCOVID-19Update/DailyDataUpdate?:language=en-US&:toolbar=n&:display_count=n&:origin=viz_share_link
If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, find resources, get support and take the COVID-19 Case Survey to report your positive at-home test: Visit govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-positive-test, or Call the COVID-19 Support Hotline at 866-917-8881, or Text “OHACOVID” to 61222.
The Hotline is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Language interpretation is available. While you’re not required to report your positive at-home COVID-19 test results we highly recommend you do so. Your honesty helps us understand how the virus is affecting you and your community. We also recommend letting close contacts know about potential exposure. Hospitals, health care providers, laboratories and local public health authorities are required to report test results.
Oregon-Washington BLM to impose fire restrictions, fireworks ban starting Friday
Fire restrictions will be in place across Pacific Northwest starting May 27 to help protect local communities.
The Bureau of Land Management announced that the use of fireworks, exploding or metallic targets, steel component ammunition, tracer or incendiary devices and sky lanterns will be prohibited on public areas across Oregon and Washington.
Those who violate those prohibitions could see a $1,000 fine and/or a prison sentence of up to a year. People who are found responsible for creating wildfires on federal lands may be held responsible to pay off fire suppression costs.
“Fire restrictions help protect our first responders, local communities, and public lands from accidental wildfires,” Barry Bushue, BLM Oregon/Washington state director. said. “We are continuing to see drought conditions across Oregon and Washington. By following fire restrictions, the public can help us focus our fire resources on naturally caused fires.”
May is Wildfire Awareness Month. CLICK HERE to read more about the fire restrictions.
Oregon Cracks Down On Seatbelt Violations With ‘Click It Or Ticket’ Campaign
Make sure you buckle up, as law enforcement agencies across Oregon roll out a statewide crack-down on seatbelt violations.
The effort is part of an annual nationwide “Click It, or Ticket” campaign.
Local agencies will use federal funding to educate people about seatbelt and child seat laws.
Oregon Department of Transportation data from 2020 shows improper seat belt use was a factor in 32-percent of deadly crashes in the state. The campaign runs through June 5.
Oregonians Get Early Glimpse of 2023 Health Insurance Rates
Salem – Oregon consumers can get a first look at requested rates for 2023 individual and small group health insurance plans, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services announced today.
In the individual market, six companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 2.3 percent to 12.6 percent increase, for a weighted average increase of 6.7 percent. In the small group market, nine companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 0 percent to 11.6 percent increase, for a weighted average increase of 6.9 percent. Our initial review has found that insurers have identified inflation, medical trend, and enrollment changes as factors in the proposed increases. See the attached chart for the full list of rate change requests.
Oregonians will also see an uptick in premiums due to the expiration of temporary enhanced subsidies for on exchange individual market plans. The additional premium support has helped to lower monthly premiums by an average of 46 percent since enactment in 2021. Under the enhanced subsidy structure, people between 151 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level can get a bronze plan for as low as $1 per month, with other plans varying in costs. The loss of subsidies will equate to an approximate $11.9 million increase every month for Oregonians.
Health insurance companies submitted rate requests to the department’s Division of Financial Regulation on May 16. The requested rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer. Every county has at least four companies available for people to buy insurance on the individual market.
Over the next two months, the division will analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover Oregonians’ health care costs. The division must review and approve rates before they are charged to policyholders.
“Oregon continues to have a strong and competitive insurance marketplace, with four carriers offering plans statewide and Oregonians in most our counties having five or six companies to choose from, ” said Insurance Commissioner and DCBS Director Andrew Stolfi. “The Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to allow Oregonians to find reasonable rates.”
The Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to help stabilize the market and lower rates. Reinsurance lowered rates by 6 percent for the fifth straight year.
Virtual public hearings about the 2023 health insurance rates will be held July 27-28. A web address to watch the public hearings will be posted at oregonhealthrates.org. At the hearings, each insurance company will provide a brief presentation about its rate requests, answer questions from the division, and hear public comment from Oregonians.
“We look forward to a thorough public review of these filings as we work to establish next year’s health insurance rates.” Stolfi said. “We encourage all Oregonians to join us for the virtual public hearings and provide feedback on their health insurance plans.”
Oregonians are encouraged to comment on rate change requests during the public comment period, which opens later this month and runs through July 7. The public can submit comments at oregonhealthrates.org and during the public rate hearings.
Preliminary decisions are expected to be announced in early July, and final decisions will be made in early August after public hearings and comment periods end.
About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and dfr.oregon.gov.
Greater Idaho Movement Alters Proposal Map Following Defeat In Josephine and Douglas Primary
Greater Idaho doesn’t want Southwestern Oregon anymore. The group advocating to make rural Oregon counties part of neighboring Idaho “announced that it will propose a less ambitious map to state legislatures as ‘phase 1’ of the project. The map only adds eastern Oregon to Idaho. The map does not give Idaho any coastline – Oregon would
keep all of southern Oregon west of, and including, the Cascade (mountain) Range.”
The group anticipates putting a question on the Morrow County ballot this November and a Wallowa County ballot next year. The proposal would put fourteen eastern Oregon counties and three partial eastern Oregon counties under the governance of Idaho. The area has a population of 386,000. This is 9% of the population of Oregon and 63% of the land area of Oregon.
Under phase 1, Idaho would almost tie Montana in land area but have twice the population of Montana. The movement is asking Oregon state legislators for hearings and for cosponsors for a resolution that would invite Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on moving the border.
ODFW Wants Reports Of Snapping Turtles
Snapping turtles, an invasive species in Oregon, are nesting this time of year and are more likely to be encountered on land which is an opportunity for the public to help out.
Snapping turtles can harm native turtle populations as well as amphibians, mammals, birds, and fish. ODFW wildlife biologists have seen an uptick in reports, and some snapping turtles have been captured recently by members of the public.
If you find a snapping turtle on land and can safely do so, contain the turtle and immediately contact ODFW. For example, put a large sturdy container such as a plastic storage tote over the turtle and place a heavy object on top to prevent the turtle from escaping. Stay away from the snapping turtle’s head – they have a long neck and a powerful bite.
The common snapping turtle, indigenous to the eastern United States but invasive in Oregon, can reach up to 18 inches in length. Its top shell is strongly serrated and varies from tan/brown to olive to almost black. Its long tail has three rows of saw-tooth keels.
Invasive turtles can be delivered to your local ODFW office when they are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call ahead to arrange your delivery.
Please report sightings of snapping turtles to ODFW by visiting https://oregonturtles.org.