Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 2/21 – Klamath Falls Man Accused Of Kidnapping Woman From Seattle Faces New Indictment & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Wednesday,  February 21, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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Klamath Falls Man Accused Of Kidnapping Woman From Seattle Faces New Indictment

A new federal indictment accuses Negasi Zuberi of an attempted escape from the Jackson County Jail and a second kidnapping in addition to the alleged abduction of a woman from Washington to Oregon last summer.

A three-week trial is now set to start in federal court in Medford on Oct. 7. Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Sweet estimated at least 50 witnesses will be called at trial, with roughly half based in Klamath Falls or Medford.

The superseding indictment now accuses Zuberi, 30, of also kidnapping a second woman in Klamath County on May 6, of an attempted escape from his cell in the Jackson County Jail in August and of unlawfully possessing a handgun, a shotgun, two rifles and numerous rounds of ammunition as a convicted felon.

He initially faced a two-count indictment charging him with kidnapping and transportation with Intent to engage in sexual activity.

The new eight-count indictment charges him with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, two counts of being a felon with ammunition, and one count each of transportation for criminal sexual activity and attempted escape.

Federal prosecutors say Zuberi in July kidnapped a woman from Seattle after posing as an undercover police officer, drove her 450 miles to Klamath Falls, sexually assaulted her on the trip and then locked her in a cell in the garage of his rental home in Klamath Falls.

The new indictment doesn’t give any details on the second kidnapping charge.

It picks up the alleged jail escape case that was initially filed against Zuberi in state court. According to court records, aJackson County maintenance worker noticed an unusual noise coming from one of the cells while he was outside the county jail about 12:45 p.m. on Aug. 22 and alerted sheriff’s deputies. Deputies found Zuberi on his bunk bed, near a window that appeared to be chipped, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

He’s accused of using an improvised, screw-like device to strike and shatter glass in the cell, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. He then covered the shattered glass with books and paper in an apparent attempt to hide it, the affidavit said. The device was found attached to his sandal, the affidavit said.

Nonetheless,Zuberi was transferred back to the Jackson County Jail last week from the federal prison at Sheridan. Zuberi requested the transfer in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane last week. (READ MORE)

A man charged with murder after allegedly shooting another man dead at Weldon’s laundromat in East Medford was arraigned in court Tuesday (2/20/2024).

Last month, 18-year-old Jesus Armando Pena Jr. was taken into custody after allegedly fleeing the scene that left 51-year-old Justin Keaton dead. Police conducted a multi-day man hunt that ended with his peaceful surrender near Rogue River and Grants Pass.

Pena Jr. had warrants for his arrest after escaping Oregon Youth Authority custody.  Pena junior pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled for a pre-trial on April 1st, 2024.

Sheriff’s Deputies Rescue Infant and Toddler Abandoned in Woods by Suspect On-the-Run

JCSO Case 24-0935

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies rescued an infant and toddler after they were abandoned by a wanted suspect on-the-run this afternoon. The suspect, Justin Ryan Trompeter, 24, of Trail is wanted for fourth-degree domestic violence assault, third-degree robbery, first-degree theft, and reckless endangerment for an incident that occurred February 7 in Shady Cove. If you know of the suspect’s whereabouts, call ECSO Dispatch at (541) 776-7206. He is known to frequent the Shady Cove and Trail area.

While searching for the suspect, JCSO deputies discovered Trompeter was hiding with the children, ages 6 months and 1.5 years, deep in the surrounding Jacksonville woods. Deputies quickly located a vehicle at the top of Wagon Trail Drive with the two young children abandoned and alone in the car around 1:30 this afternoon. Trompeter had fled the scene before deputies’ arrival. The children were checked by Mercy Flights medics then turned over to Department of Human Services (DHS) personnel for safe keeping. New charges of first and second-degree child neglect are being added by the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

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Management Issues at Crater Lake Prompt Feds To Consider Terminating Concession Contract

Clouds appear over Crater Lake on June 1, 2023, in Crater Lake, Ore. Management issues at Oregon's Crater Lake have prompted the federal government to consider terminating its contract with the national park's concessionaire. Crater Lake Hospitality is a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Aramark and is contracted through 2030 to run concessions such as food and lodging. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

Years of management issues involving facility upkeep and staff at Oregon’s Crater Lake have prompted the federal government to consider terminating its contract with the national park’s concessionaire.

Crater Lake Hospitality, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Aramark, is contracted through 2030 to run concessions such as food and lodging. But the National Park Service’s Pacific West regional director, David Szymanski, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the agency will terminate its contract with the company unless it “shows cause as to why NPS should not do so.”

Szymanski did not specify a timeline of when that might happen and declined to comment on communications between the federal agency and the company, the news outlet reported. National Park Service guidelines require it to provide written notice to a concessioner when a termination is under consideration.

“Termination would be an extremely rare action, and one we don’t take lightly. But consistent failures to meet contract requirements led to our notice of intent to terminate this contract to protect visitors and park resources,” Szymanski told the news outlet. “If NPS terminates the contract, NPS would organize an orderly discontinuation of Crater Lake Hospitality’s operations at the park and work to transition to a short-term contract with another operator to minimize impacts to visitors.”

The comments came two months after Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden wrote to the National Park Service to highlight his “serious concerns” about Crater Lake Hospitality. In a public letter, he asked the federal agency to “take immediate action to prevent concessionaire mismanagement from continuing to threaten Crater Lake National Park, its visitors, or the employees who live and work there.”

In recent annual reviews, the National Park Service has slammed the concessionaire over poor facility upkeep, failure to complete maintenance projects and a lack of staff training. The reviews have also noted staff reports of sexual assault and harassment, and subpar living and working conditions.

Aramark said it was taking steps to improve conditions. “The challenges at Crater Lake National Park are not indicative of our overall business operations,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Aramark signed a 10-year contract at Crater Lake in 2018, taking over from hospitality company Xanterra, which had operated there since 2002. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aramark’s contract was extended to 2030.

According to National Park Service guidelines, the agency can terminate a contract with a concessionaire to protect visitors from unsanitary or hazardous conditions or to address a default of contract, among other reasons.

As The Oregonian/OregonLive reported, a concessionaire can be found in default for receiving an overall rating of “unsatisfactory” in one annual review or ratings of “marginal” in two consecutive reviews, according to the guidelines. At Crater Lake, Aramark received an “unsatisfactory” rating for 2023 and “marginal” ratings in 2022, 2021 and 2019.  (SOURCE)

Hearts with a Mission, a program to help local seniors who need assistance, is seeking volunteers.

The volunteer-based program — which started in January 2023 — has 90 volunteers ready to help, but more than 100 seniors who need assistance.

Stephanie Miller, the Hearts For Seniors Program Manager, said that it’s a heartwarming job and fulfilling volunteer work.  Residents can apply here.

David Grubbs’ Murder Investigation Remains Active

Community still looking for answers in violent 2011 murder of David Grubbs on Ashland, Oregon bike path

The Ashland Police Department’s investigation into the murder of David Grubbs on November 19, 2011 remains open and active. Recently two new detectives have been assigned to look into new leads that have come in.

This case remains important to David’s family, the community, and the Ashland Police Department. As detectives continue to pursue these new leads, anyone with additional information is encouraged to reach out to the Ashland Police Department at 541-488-2211.

The reward for information leading to an arrest on this case remains at over $21,000.

Fauna Frey, 45, disappeared in Oregon on a road trip, June 29, 2020, following her brother’s death  —

https://original.newsbreak.com/@ada-e-1668135/3304227455096-fauna-frey-45-disappeared-in-oregon-on-a-road-trip-june-29-2020-following-her-brother-s-death

PART 2 – Newsweek Podcast Focusing on The Disappearance of Fauna Frey From Lane County

Here One Minute, Gone the Next —– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disappearance-of-fauna-frey-pt2-feat-sheriff/id1707094441?i=1000630100040

PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public.

READ MORE HERE: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-what-happened-fauna-frey-new-clues-uncovered-1827197?fbclid=IwAR3Z3Glru5lIgqiYXbs_nA1Fj8JuCIzM11OHSVHfwIucfq2f_G5y9y5bnmQ

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email FindFaunaFrey@gmail.com.

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

Oregon permanent standard time bill survives after Senate splits

Supporters agreed to amend the bill to say Oregon will only end daylight saving time if and when Washington and California do the same

An effort to switch Oregon to permanent standard time will live to see another day after hitting a temporary roadblock on Tuesday when the state Senate split evenly on the bill.

It takes 16 “yes” votes to pass a bill in the 30-member Senate, and Sen. Kim Thatcher’s Senate Bill 1548 had just 15 senators on board when it first came up for a vote on Tuesday.

That set the Keizer Republican and other supporters on a mission to change a colleague’s mind or find a compromise in the minutes before the Senate adjourned for the day and dashed all hopes for ending the twice-annual clock change.

Several hushed, intense conversations later, Thatcher and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland, had a solution: Instead of trying to have Oregon lead the way on switching to standard time and hoping other West Coast states would catch up, supporters agreed to amend the bill to add a trigger clause clarifying that Oregon would only ditch daylight saving time if and when Washington and California do the same.

Thatcher told the Capital Chronicle she came prepared with a motion to reconsider the bill if it failed because many of her colleagues hadn’t made up their minds. Three of the senators who unanimously voted it out of a committee last week ended up voting against the bill on the floor.

“I did not know where it was gonna land,” she said. “I tried to get that intel and it was just that nobody knew where they were.”

For Thatcher, who five years ago pushed a bill to switch to permanent daylight time, it was a clear choice. There isn’t the same momentum around moving to daylight time as there seemed to be in 2019, and permanent daylight time would require an act of Congress while states can move to standard time on their own.

An effort stalled in Washington this year, but bills are alive in California and Idaho, where a bill was introduced late last week.

“We can ditch the switch for real this time,” Thatcher said.

A broad-ranging debate in the Oregon Senate covered religious freedom, interstate commutes, health concerns, school start times and Arizona. The majority of the opponents – 12 of the 15 – are Democrats, but so are co-sponsors Steiner, Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego and Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem.

Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, represents a vast section of eastern Oregon including Malheur County, which is on Mountain time and would have ended up two hours ahead of the rest of Oregon if the bill passed as drafted. Findley supported it.

But Sen. Bill Hansell, the Athena Republican who represents northeast Oregon, had the same concerns as Sen. Michael Dembrow, a Democrat who represents north Portland. Hansell said his constituents, many of whom do business in Washington and go to Walla Walla, Washington, for services that aren’t available in smaller eastern Oregon cities, want to make sure they stay in the same zone as Washington.

Dembrow sees the same issue on a larger scale in Portland, where thousands of people commute between Portland and Vancouver or southwest Washington each day.

“What that means is that for two-thirds of the year, Portland will be an hour different from Vancouver and southwest Washington,” he said. “All of those people – there are thousands of people who live in southwest Washington and commute to Oregon, or vice versa, are going to have to change their watches twice every day.”

Public health, religious concerns

Steiner said switching to permanent standard time takes a stand for public health and religious freedom. Steiner is Jewish, and her religion includes morning prayers that can’t be recited until after sunrise. Permanent daylight time would make it all but impossible for Jewish people to congregate and say prayers in the morning, she said.

Steiner’s also a doctor, and she noted that medical research indicates changing clocks is bad for mental and physical health. She urged senators to move forward with adopting year-round standard time, saying Oregon could lead the way.

“​​Once we’ve done it and we’ve demonstrated the benefits and we’ve demonstrated our commitment to this, I think we’ll see Washington and California and a lot of other states picking up the mantle sooner,” Steiner said.

Most states observe daylight saving time, but Hawaii and most of Arizona are on standard time year round. Indiana didn’t start observing the twice-yearly time change until 2006.

Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, reminded colleagues that they heard a lot about Arizona while discussing economic development and the semiconductor industry last year.

“If I recall correctly, I think that economic horsepower state beating us out for economic development is the state of Arizona, and they’re on standard time,” Boquist said. “Let’s be like Arizona. Let’s get more economic development, let’s get more people moving here. I don’t know if this helps, but it sure didn’t hurt in Arizona.”

Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin, D-Corvallis, said switching to standard time might make more sense in southern states that don’t see the same swings in daylight hours. Portland is dark for nearly 16 hours a day in December, while the sun is out for more than 15 hours in peak summer. Her constituents and her brother have strong feelings about ending the annual switch, which Gelser Blouin said her brother calls “abuse of clocks.”

Gelser Blouin said she understands arguments for keeping standard time for students who need to get to school safely. The sun has been rising earlier and earlier for the past few weeks, and by March 9, the last day before daylight saving time begins, it’ll rise around 6:30 a.m. The following Monday, the sun won’t rise until 7:30 a.m. But Gelser Blouin said the real problem to fix is early school start times.

“With apologies to my brother, my no vote will once again support ‘abuse of clocks,’” she said. (SOURCE)

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek Uses Legos To Explain The State’s Housing Crisis

She posted a video on Instagram where she uses Lego built houses and Lego people to show how the lack of housing leads to bidding wars and higher prices that make buying a house impossible for many people. https://www.instagram.com/p/C3X9kHrI6p8/

“Right now, there are too many people who need an affordable place to live. SB 1537 is a critical step in the right direction, building more homes for Oregonians to live – brick by brick – to ease our housing crisis.”

She says 440-thousand homes are needed over the next 20 years to keep up with demand. The Governor supports a bill in the Legislature that would allow cities to expand urban growth boundaries to increase housing construction. The bill is opposed by groups that are fighting urban sprawl.

The Oregon House has passed a bill that would allow school districts to install cameras on school bus stop arms to catch drivers that don’t stop.

On one day last year, Oregon school bus operators reported over 14-hundred drivers violated red stop lights on their buses. The bill would give school districts a tool to catch violators, if they want to install the cameras. It’s not a requirement.

The bill also extends the deadline to retrofit buses with new, cleaner burning diesel engines. Supply chain issues are making it impossible to meet the deadline of next January. It would be extended by one year. The bill passed the House unanimously and moves to the Senate.

After a case of bubonic plague was confirmed in Oregon earlier this week, some people may wonder if there’s a danger of the disease spreading in the US.

The Oregon resident, who was the first to contract the infection since 2015, reportedly caught the infection from a pet cat, according to state health officials.

Experts shared with Fox News Digital what people should know about the infectious disease — including how to recognize symptoms, seek out treatment and prevent infection in the first place. (READ MORE)

Crime Stoppers Featured Case #24-04 – Wanted for Murder – Analiesa Golde

The Portland Police Bureau in conjunction with Crime Stoppers of Oregon is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a wanted murder suspect.

55 year old, Analiesa Golde is wanted for the murder of Philip Pierce, after Pierce was found deceased on January 26, 2024 inside a residence in southeast Portland. Golde’s whereabouts are currently unknown but it is believed she fled the Portland area. Golde was last seen driving a burnt orange, 2015 Toyota 4 Runner, with Oregon license plate 501HSB.

If anyone has information that could lead to the location and apprehension of Golde, they are requested to notify law enforcement immediately. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers of Oregon.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information reported to Crime Stoppers of Oregon that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime, but tipsters must remain anonymous. Secure and anonymous tips can be left at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com, or you can visit the app store and download P3 tips for smartphones or tablets.

Oregon Kids Credit offers big boost for lowest-income families

Free filing assistance available to help taxpayers claim their credits

Salem, OR—A new state tax credit could provide up to $5,000 for Oregon’s lowest income families who file an Oregon state income tax return.

The Oregon Kids Credit, created by the Legislature last year, is a refundable credit for low-income people with young dependent children. For those with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of $25,000 or less, the full credit is $1,000 per child for up to five dependent children under the age of six at the end of the tax year—a maximum benefit of $5,000. A partial credit is available for individuals and families with an MAGI up to $30,000.

When combined with the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Oregon Earned Income Credit, it could help boost the tax refund for the lowest income families to more than $13,000.

The EITC is for people with an adjusted gross income of up to $63,398 in 2023. Families may be eligible for a maximum refundable credit of $7,430 on their federal tax return, and a maximum Oregon EIC of $891 on their state tax return.

All three credits are fully refundable, meaning the portion of the credit that is larger than what a taxpayer owes can be refunded. Taxpayers may even be able to claim the credits and receive a tax refund if they don’t normally file a tax return.

To claim the credits, taxpayers must file a return. To assist taxpayers, Oregon offers several free filing options, including free fillable forms and the new Direct File Oregon. Taxpayers who need help filing their taxes can also find free assistance options on the agency website.

Families who are eligible for the Oregon Kids Credit are also likely eligible for the partially refundable Working Family Household and Dependent Care Credit (WFHDC), which helps low- to moderate-income families pay for the care of their dependents while they’re working, looking for work, or attending school.

To encourage Oregonians to save for college and job training, the Education Savings Credit for Oregon 529 Plan contributions allows single filers to receive a refundable credit of as much as $170 ($340 for joint filers) if they contribute to an Oregon College Savings Plan account before tax day. The refundable tax credit is also available for contributions to an Oregon ABLE Savings Plan account, which empowers people experiencing disabilities to invest and build financial security without jeopardizing their eligibility for vital state and federal benefits.

For more information about the federal EITC, the Oregon EIC, the Oregon Kids Credit and other similar credits, go to the Tax benefits for families page.

Taxpayers can dial 2-1-1 or visit the Oregon Department of Revenue website to find free tax preparation sites by using our interactive map. For more information on the EITC, visit https://www.eitc.irs.gov/. For questions about Oregon taxes, call the Department of Revenue at 503-378-4988.

Refunds distribution has begun
The annual refund hold that is part of the agency’s fraud prevention efforts has been completed and the department began issuing the first refunds of the 2024 tax season Monday.

In 2024 Oregon is returning $5.61 billion in surplus revenue to taxpayers in the form of a “kicker” tax credit. Taxpayers will receive their kicker as part of their refund, or the kicker can reduce the tax they owe.

Most refunds are issued within two weeks, but returns that need more review may take up to 16 weeks before a refund is issued. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund by using the department’s Where’s My Refund? tool on Revenue Online. A video outlining the refund process and timelines is also available to help taxpayers understand the process.

Oregon Blue Book Cover Photo Contest Underway

The front cover of the 2023-2024 Oregon Blue Book showcases a hillside covered in beautiful balsam root and lupine flowers at Rowena Crest, captured by Oregon photographer Micah Lundsted of Eugene. The book’s back cover shows an image of three rockfish made at the Oregon Coast Aquarium by Dale George of Grants Pass.

A hillside covered in flowers of purple and yellow. In the sky is a scattering of clouds reflecting sunlight in blue and purple.

Which images will cover the 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book? The Oregon Blue Book cover photo contest kicks off today, giving amateur photographers the chance to submit their photos to answer that question. Photo contest winners will be selected in October 2024 by Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade.

“Choosing the cover photos for the Oregon Blue Book is an honor,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “The images are a chance to see our beautiful state through the lens of the many talented amateur photographers who live in Oregon.”

The contest is open to Oregon residents of any age who earn less than half their income from photography. Images must be Oregon related and should be submitted in the portrait, rather than landscape, orientation. Two images will be selected for the cover: one for the front and one for the back. Visit the Oregon Blue Book Photo Contest guidelines for more information: https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/about-conte…

Images can be submitted through the Oregon Blue Book website portal or via U.S. mail. The deadline to submit photos for consideration is October 27, 2024. Contact the Oregon Blue Book Managing Editor at Oregon.Bluebook@sos.oregon.gov with questions or for additional information.

DETAILS

What: 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book Cover Photo Contest
Who: Amateur photographers who live in Oregon
When: February 7, 2024-October 27, 2024
Where: Submit online or through U.S. Mail
Why: Photo on the cover of the 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1109674113319848

 

Call us at 541-690-8806.  Or email us at Info@RogueValleyMagazine.com

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