Rogue Valley News, Friday 2/23 – Soak-A-Sheriff Event Benefits Local Special Olympics Athletes Saturday & 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

Friday,  February 23, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

May be an image of map and text that says 'TODAY FRI 02/23 HIGH6 2% Precip. Plentiful sunshine. High 63F Winds light and variable. TONIGHT FRI 02/23 LOW °F 6% Precip./0 Partly cloudy skies. Low 36F and variable. Fri 2/23 36°F light 2/24 65° 37'F TOMORROW SAT02/24 HIGH 65 37 °F 6% Precip. Mainly sunny. High around 65F Winds light and variable. Sun 2/25 64° 43°F Mon 2/26 45° 33°F Tue 2/27 50° 40°F Sunny Wed 2/28 54° 43°F Sunny Thu 2/29 50° 38°F Mostly Sunny F3/1 in Rain 0in Sat 3/2 33°F Cloudy Sun 3/3 35°F Few Showers 0.2in Rain Showers 0.13in 0.63 Rain/Snow Showers AM Snow Showers'


U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is urging the National Park Service to keep Crater Lake operations running as the federal agency weighs whether to dissolve a contract with the company that manages lodging, dining, retail and boat tours in the park.

Wyden’s letter comes one week after news that the National Park Service has threatened to terminate a contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark, which has operated in the Oregon park since 2018. Aramark, under its subsidiary Crater Lake Hospitality, is currently under contract through 2030.

On Thursday, Senator Wyden followed up with a letter to National Park Service Director Charles “Chuck” Sams III after NPS announced its intent to terminate the contract with Aramark due to an inability to live up to its contractual obligations.

In his letter, Senator Wyden states: “It is clear the National Park Service has acted with urgency and decisiveness to date in responding to my concerns by issuing a notice of intent to terminate the existing contract to the concessionaire responsible for these issues. As you move forward with this process, I ask that you take every available step to minimize impacts on visitors and park resources during the transition to a new concessionaire.

“As spring approaches and the winter conditions moderate, visitors will begin returning to the park in large numbers to enjoy a wide range of activities. It is important that these visitors are able to find places to rest, get a bite to eat and learn about the history of this incredible place while planning their hikes, boat tours, and scenic rides around the caldera’s spectacular rim. These services must be maintained as they are essential to park safety and attracting the visitors from all over the world that support small businesses in the surrounding gateway communities.”

JOIN THE FUN: Soak-A-Sheriff Event Benefits Local Special Olympics Athletes This Saturday 

Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office – 02/22/24 12:47 PM

Link to video from 2023 Event:

Notify PIO Aaron Lewis if you are going to attend and would like interviews with participants.

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) hosts the third annual “Soak-A-Sheriff” event fundraiser from 10 am to noon this Saturday, February 24 in the JCSO parking lot (5179 Crater Lake Hwy. Central Point). This family-friendly event will raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) athletes.

Join Sheriff Nate Sickler and deputies as they get drenched by Jackson County Fire District 3 firefighters for a great cause. Donations are welcome and all proceeds go to support Special Olympics Oregon athletes! To help our team go to – click donate and type “Team JCSO.”

This will be a fun community and family event. We will have a kiddie jail, stickers, swag, polar bear for selfies, Team Grilled Cheese and Boba Tea food trucks, and more!

Plus, this year actor and Jackson County resident, Daniel Zacapa, who played Chief Palledorous from the movie, ‘The Sandlot’ will be there signing autograph pictures and posters and other fun things from the film along with lots of other baseball memorabilia – with all the proceeds going to Special Olympics. Come by and say hello have a picture with Squint’s grandfather ‘For-ever’!

Soak-A-Sheriff is one of several local micro fundraising events leading up to the annual Southern Oregon Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. This year the Plunge is on March 2nd at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford, and benefits more than 12,000 athlete-participants with disabilities across the state.

In 2023, Soak-A-Sheriff raised around $1,500 and we are looking to top that this year. All money raised provides uniforms, sports equipment, and health and wellness programs in addition to year-round sports training for athletes with disabilities.

For more information, contact Kim Andresen at or call 541-841-6875. To register for the Southern Oregon Polar Plunge go to or for more about SOOR go to

Police are out on Highgate street requesting medical code 3, they have 2 DOA’s with GSW’s to the head. Family members outside that don’t know what is going on. They are with LE, so should be being informed.


𝙃𝙚𝙙𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙈𝙞𝙙𝙙𝙡𝙚 𝙎𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙤𝙡 𝙇𝙤𝙘𝙠𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙇𝙞𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙙:

We can confirm that there is NO threat at Hedrick Middle School. The scene is all clear and we have confirmed that this was a false alarm which activated Medford School District’s emergency response system.
Upon receiving a report of shots fired, we immediately secured students through established lockdown procedures and in just a few minutes all students were secured behind locked doors.
Officers moved throughout the school to confirm that there was no threat. We appreciate the quick response of our Officers and MSD staff.


.BODYCAM VIDEO: Sheriff’s Deputies Rescue Infant and Toddler Abandoned in Woods by Suspect On-the-Run; Grand Jury Indicts Today on All Charges

BODYCAM Available for Download Here:

JCSO Case 24-0935  —-   MEDFORD, Ore. – A Jackson County Grand Jury indicted a man today wanted on charges stemming from multiple incidents involving domestic violence and child endangerment. The suspect, Justin Ryan Trompeter, 24, of Trail is wanted for two counts of second-degree child neglect, felony fourth-degree domestic violence assault, third-degree robbery, first-degree theft, harassment, and two counts of reckless endangerment.

The suspect remains on-the-run with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies continuing their investigation. If you know of the suspect’s whereabouts, call ECSO Dispatch at (541) 776-7206. Trompeter is known to frequent Jacksonville, Shady Cove, Eagle Point, and Trail.

JCSO deputies were originally searching for Trompeter in connection with a February 7 domestic violence assault call where he fled the scene at a high rate of speed with the children. On Friday, February 16, JCSO deputies received information that 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 around 1:30 p.m on Friday, February 16. JCSO deputies approached the car with caution, but Trompeter had fled the scene before deputies’ arrival. Deputies found the two young children abandoned and alone in the car. Deputies believe the children may have been left alone in the vehicle for up to two hours. Further investigations revealed suspected fentanyl and meth in the car with the children.

Mercy Flights medics checked the children on scene then turned them over to Department of Human Services (DHS) personnel. After the incident, the children were treated at a local hospital and remain in DHS care. This case is open and ongoing with deputies following additional leads. If you know of the suspect’s whereabouts, call ECSO Dispatch at (541) 776-7206.


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)


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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  —

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.

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.


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

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

FBI-Portland Offers Sextortion Prevention Tips

FBI-Portland is ramping up efforts to prevent child sextortion, after seeing  a massive increase in sextortion in recent years. “From out to Prineville, to Bend, to Medford to Eugene and here in Portland, to the coast. It is happening everywhere,” Supervisory Special Agent Travis Ostrem told parents during a Wednesday webinar.

The crime involving explicit images of children boils down to blackmail and there are two forms: Financial and Traditional. “Financial sextortion, where the predators are looking for monetary gain from the children, to stop them from sending images. We’ve also sextortion, which is the typical child exploitation of sexual images, where they’re asking for additional images.”

He urges parents to start talking with kids early about the dangers of sending any photos online. Predators target victims as young as 11. He also suggested parents monitor the apps children are using, set parental controls and know who kids are talking to online, “Technology is growing faster than we can control it. But you all can get ahead of it. Look out for your children.”

A similar webinar was offered last week to school administrators. “We’re trying to be proactive because we don’t want any more of these cases. If we can eliminate it, just like getting drugs out of the schools from our kids, eliminate sextortion,” said Ostrem. “Sextortion is on a massive rise. We’re seeing it throughout, not just the country but in Oregon too. In every portion of the state, if there is some type of wifi or cellular connection to the internet, children can be sextorted.” He notes Oregon cases have increased by 20%, and at least 20 resulted in the victim taking their own life. “One suicide is too many. One child being sextorted is too many. The damage that can do to mental health is horrible. What we see normally is one predator will target up to a hundred victims.”

FBI-Portland hosted a chat on X – formerly Twitter – Thursday at noon to answer more questions about protecting kids from sextortion. (SOURCE)

Office of Small Business Assistance Releases 2023 Annual Report and Reaches 10-Year Milestone

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released the 2023 Annual Report from the Office of Small Business Assistance (OSBA) today:…
As the number and complexity of regulations and requirements grow, the OSBA continues to serve as a valuable resource for Oregon’s small businesses.

“Oregon aims to be a small business-friendly state, but there’s more we can be doing to help these businesses operate,” said Trevor Leahy, the Small Business Ombudsman. “The 2023 legislative session saw 60 new bills affecting small business passed into law. Part of what we do is communicate with small businesses on their terms to help them stay in compliance with these evolving rules and regulations.”

The OSBA is a resource for businesses and nonprofits in the state of Oregon with 100 or fewer employees. Businesses may contact the office if they feel they have been treated unfairly by, or have unresolved questions of, state agencies, boards, commissions and councils, or any unit of local government.

This year marks 10 years for the OSBA, having opened to the public in January 2014. Since then, the office has grown from one staff member to a team of five, has been to every county in Oregon, attended hundreds of public events, and helped over 14,000 small business customers.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to look back on ten years and see all the hard work the OSBA has done and the many ways it’s paid off,” said Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade. “Small businesses are an invaluable part of our local communities. I know the team looks forward to another 10 years of serving as the voice of small business in Oregon government.”

In 2023, OSBA helped a total of 2,624 customers connect with 96 units of government, including cities, counties, and state and federal agencies. Of all OSBA cases, 61% involved customers seeking information, with 1,239 inquiries about business registrations and the Secretary of State Corporation Division.

Representatives from the OSBA participated in 105 outreach events and visited 25 Oregon counties, accomplishing its goal to enhance and increase its visits across Oregon. The office participated in a major collaborative effort with the Oregon Employment Department and the Eastern Oregon Workforce Board to engage businesses in Eastern Oregon. Seven state agencies participated, covering nine communities and reaching nearly 300 employers in Eastern Oregon.

To read the Annual Report, visit the Office of Small Business Assistance website. Print copies are available upon request by emailing or calling 844-469-5512

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)

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)

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:…

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 with questions or for additional information.


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

ODFW Announces Stamp Art Competitions

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is making a call to area artists to compete in one, or all three, of ODFW’s 2025 stamp art competitions.

The winning artist in each contest receives a $2,000 award and their winning artwork is used to produce collector’s stamps and other promotional items, sales of which benefit Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and their habitats.

For more information on contest rules and to order stamps and art prints, visit:

Entries will be accepted beginning Aug. 30 through Sept. 27 by 5 p.m., at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr., SE, Salem, OR 97302.

Entries can be mailed or hand delivered. If you hand-deliver your entry, call ahead to make arrangements at 503-947-6314.

Here’s a look at the three categories:

Habitat Conservation Stamp

Art entries must feature a “Strategy Species” identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy in its appropriate habitat. Not all species in the strategy are eligible, so use the qualifying list of species.

See contest rules and entry form for more information and a list of eligible species at

Waterfowl Stamp Contest

Art entries must feature one of the following species in its natural habitat setting: Ring-necked Duck, White-winged Scoter, or Barrow’s Goldeneye.

See contest rules and entry form for more information at

Upland Game Bird Stamp Contest

Art entries must feature California Quail in its natural habitat setting.

See contest rules and entry form for more information at

Artists should not the highlighted new for 2025 information in the contest rules and the final page for packaging tips.

A panel will judge artwork based on artistic composition, anatomical accuracy of the species and general appeal.

Collector’s stamps, art prints and other promotional materials are produced from first-place artwork. Proceeds from product sales are used for habitat improvement, research surveys and conservation projects.

Interested artists are encouraged to visit ODFW’s stamp art competition website for more information on the contests and to view entries from previous years.


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