Rogue Valley News, Friday 4/26 – Medford Police Turn Over Asante Criminal Investigation Results to District Attorney, Lots Of Great Events Around the Valley This Weekend & 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

Friday,  April 26, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

May be an image of map and text

Medford Police Turn Over Asante Criminal Investigation Results to District Attorney

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office says today it has received the results of Medford Police Department’s criminal investigation of allegations of deadly drug diversion at a Medford hospital.

It says this afternoon it received Medford Police Department’s (MPD) results of its investigation into claims that a former Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center (Asante) nurse diverted medication intended for patients, replacing it with hospital tap water that caused deadly in-hospital infections.

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office (JCDA) says it has MPD’s results which investigated the claims of criminal theft and misuse of controlled substances by the former Asante nurse. MPD has said that Asante administration reported the possible drug diversion in December.  In prior online postings, it disclosed that it had experienced serious infections in numerous patients.

MPD’s investigation started in December. JCDA says today it “involved the review of tens of thousands of documents, including medical records, and interviews with dozens of witnesses.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Patrick Green is reviewing the investigation results.

Green said today, “I would like thank the Medford Police Department for its diligent and meticulous work on this complex and expansive investigation. I want to assure the community that I am working hard to review the results of the investigation expeditiously. If charges are filed, I will remain the lead prosecutor and assign two other senior prosecutors as co-counsel to assist with the prosecution. I share the community’s concern with this case and will ensure it remains a top priority going forward.”

JCDA says, “Given the ongoing nature of this investigation and the possibility of future pending criminal charges, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office will not be releasing further facts regarding this investigation.”

Asante’s media liaison Abby (has refused to share a last name) told NewsWatch 12 today it “cannot comment on personnel matters” when asked about both the criminal investigation and reports that Asante’s chief executive officer left that position this week.

NewsWatch 12 confirmed that one of at least three Asante CEOs was removed from his position and from the building, escorted by three security personnel, and we’re awaiting a response from MPD about its work on the investigation.  Green said he has no further information he can provide. (SOURCE)

 

Early-Morning Burglary Investigation Leads to Arrests in Rural Central Point, Deputies Seize Guns, Drugs, Cash

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies arrested two suspects yesterday after an early-morning burglary in rural Central Point. Yesterday morning, a JCSO Community Service Deputy took a report from ECSO Dispatch just after 8 a.m. of a burglary in the 5700 block of Upton Road. Through the investigation, JCSO deputies identified several suspects and tracked them to an address in the 100 block of Laurelhurst Street, also in rural Central Point.

JCSO deputies obtained a search warrant for the property and identified a female suspect on scene. During the initial search of the property, deputies located an additional suspect hiding under a shed. The man did not respond to commands to come out and barricaded in the crawl space. After a lengthy standoff, deputies persuaded the man to give up through the use of pepper spray and a K9.

JCSO Criminal Investigations Division (CID), and Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives responded to assist in the arrest and search of the property. During the search, investigators discovered 10 firearms including a stolen pistol, and an AR-style rifle with no serial number. Deputies also found body armor, an illegally-manufactured silencer, methamphetamine, heroin, Butane Honey Oil (BHO), 35 lbs. of processed cannabis, and 58.3 grams of fentanyl. Deputies also uncovered nearly $19,000 in cash.

The first suspect was Kelli Margaret Hernandez, 44, of Medford. She was arrested for conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary, and hindering prosecution. She was booked and lodged at the Jackson County Jail.

The second suspect was Mickey Ray Galatz, 28, of Central Point. He was arrested on 15 charges related to the incident, in addition to five outstanding warrants. The new charges include second-degree burglary, first and second-degree theft, second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree trespass, interfering with a peace officer, felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of body armor, possession of a prohibited firearm, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, unlawful distribution of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of heroin, and unlawful distribution of heroin. For the fentanyl Galatz was charged with unlawful possession of a schedule II-controlled substance – substantial quantity, and unlawful distribution of a schedule II-controlled substance. The outstanding warrants include probation violations for felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of felony unlawful possession of heroin, attempting to elude police by vehicle, and a Klamath County warrant for first-degree burglary and first-degree aggravated theft. Galatz is lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

This case is under further investigation with deputies following additional leads. There is no more information for release at this time.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Grants Pass Homelessness Case

Homeless rights activists hold a rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22, 2024 in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson and Smith v. Spizzirri, a dispute over the constitutionality of ordinances that bar people who are homeless from camping on city streets. Homeless advocates protest as Supreme Court hears Grants Pass case - The  Washington Post

WASHINGTON — A majority of U.S Supreme Court justices Monday seemed inclined to side with an Oregon town’s law that bans homeless people from sleeping outdoors, in a case that could have broad implications for local ordinances related to homelessness across the country.

During oral arguments in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson, conservative justices said that policies and ordinances around homelessness are complex, and indicated it’s a policy question that should be left up to local elected representatives rather than the courts.

“Why do you think these nine people are the best people to judge and weigh those policy judgments?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked, referring to the Supreme Court.

Taking a much different tack, the three liberal justices said that Grants Pass officials went too far and targeted homeless people with fines for the basic human need to sleep when they camped outside.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor grilled the lawyer for Grants Pass on how the city law essentially criminalized homelessness.

“You don’t arrest babies who have blankets over them, you don’t arrest people who are sleeping on the beach, as I tend to do if I’ve been there a while. You only arrest people who don’t have a second home, is that correct?” Sotomayor said.

The case originated in Grants Pass, a city in northwest Oregon that argues its ordinance is a solution to the city’s homelessness crisis.

An attorney representing a group of homeless people argued that they are involuntarily without housing because there are limited shelter beds for the number of homeless people in the area. The lawyer also said the ordinances criminalize homelessness through fines and potential jail time for camping or sleeping in outdoor spaces.

The town of nearly 40,000 has about 600 people who are homeless and the only nonprofit that can provide shelter can house only up to 100 beds, according to a brief submitted by the nonprofit, Grants Pass Gospel Rescue Mission.

‘Cruel and unusual punishment’ —- The justices are being asked to decide whether the enforcement of that local ordinance on regulating camping on public property violated the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the Eighth Amendment.

Theane Evangelis, the attorney representing the city, argued that the city is going after the conduct of unhoused people, rather than the status of homelessness.

“We can look at the law and it has a conduct element — the conduct is establishing a campsite,” she said.

The attorney representing the plaintiffs, Kelsi B. Corkran, argued that the ordinance is a violation of the Eighth Amendment by inflicting punishment for the status of being homeless.

“Although the city describes its ordinances as punishing camping on public property, it defines campsite as any place a homeless person is while covered with a blanket,” she said. “The city interprets and applies the ordinances to permit non-homeless people to rest on blankets and public parks, while a homeless person who does the same thing breaks the law.”

Corkran is representing Gloria Johnson and John Logan, who are both homeless.

Effects across the United States — The case could not only have implications for the city in Oregon where the case originated, but for cities across the U.S., particularly in the West, that have similar ordinances and are grappling with an increasing homelessness crisis.

There are nearly 327,000 people who are homeless in the country, according to most recent U.S. Census data. States with the highest population of homeless people per 10,000 people include California, Oregon, Washington and Montana, according to five-year estimates in the American Community Survey.

Outside the court, advocates gathered to show their support of the injunction that bars the city ordinance from taking place.

“Homelessness is a result of systemic issues such as a lack of affordable housing, exorbitant rents, and a shortage of well-paying jobs,” Sarae Lewis, a spokesperson for Community Solutions, said in a statement. “Arresting and fining people for sleeping on the streets is ineffective, keeps people homeless for longer, and distracts from real solutions like those we see working in communities across the country.”

Community Solutions, a nonprofit that works to end homelessness, was joined by other organizations that advocate for people without homes such as the National Homelessness Law Center and the National Coalition for the Homeless.

History of the case — The city is appealing to the Supreme Court after lower courts ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Johnson and Logan, who are homeless residents of Grants Pass.

A federal judge blocked the city’s ordinance that prohibited people from camping and sleeping in parks and on public property. Grants Pass also barred people who are homeless from using blankets, pillows or other material to protect themselves from the weather while sleeping outside.

If that ordinance was violated, it carried a $295 fine that, if not paid, increased to more than $530. Repeat offenders could also be jailed for up to 30 days.

A three-panel judge on the 9th Circuit determined in 2022 that the city has such strict restrictions on anyone sleeping outdoors that it led to a ban on being homeless. 

That decision relied on a 2018 case, Martin v. City of Boise. The case involved homeless plaintiffs who sued the city of Boise, Idaho after it fined them under a camping ordinance.

The 9th Circuit found that the city’s ordinance violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment because it imposes criminal penalties for homeless people sleeping outside or on public property when they do not have access to a shelter.

On Monday, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson noted that the state of Oregon enacted a statute that codified the Martin case, saying city regulations “of this nature have to be objectively reasonable as to time, place and manner, with regards to people experiencing homelessness.”

“It seems like the state has already precluded Grants Pass from doing the sort of thing it’s doing here,” Jackson said to Evangelis.

Evangelis said that the new law was not similar to the Martin case and that the city ordinance also takes into consideration the safety of the community.

“They protect the health and safety of everyone and it is not safe to live in encampments,” she said. “It’s unsanitary. There are the harms of the encampments themselves on those in them and outside.”

City’s argument — Evangelis argued that the court of appeals was wrong in its interpretation, as well as the plaintiffs, who cite a 1962 Supreme Court decision in Robinson v. California.

In that case, the Supreme Court deemed that a state cannot criminalize someone for their status of being addicted to drugs because it violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

That case barred the criminalization of narcotics addiction, but not the conduct of the crime that someone who is addicted to drugs might participate in, such as using, buying, selling or possessing drugs.

Evangelis argued that the Grants Pass law is “so far removed from what was at issue in Robinson that it just isn’t implicated here.” She said that the city’s ordinance does not criminalize the status of homelessness.

Justice Samuel Alito said that the Robinson case “presents a very difficult conceptual question.”

“The point is that the connection between drug addiction and drug usage is more tenuous than the connection between absolute homelessness and sleeping outside,” he said.

Evangelis said that the case the plaintiffs are making is that camping or sleeping outside and being homeless are “two sides of the same coin.”

“It’s collapsing the status that they claim into the conduct,” she said. “So we think the conduct here is very clear, because it applies generally to everyone. The law does not say on its face, ‘It is a crime to be homeless,’ I just want to make that clear.”

Justice Elena Kagan asked if under Robinson, the status of homelessness could be criminalized.

“I don’t think that homelessness is a status like drug addiction,” Evangelis said.

Kagan said that homelessness is a status, because “it’s the status of not having a home.”

Evangelis said she disagreed with that because being homeless is a fluid experience that could change from day to day.

Jackson said that the city’s ordinance seemed to punish the basic need for sleep.

“What’s happening is you’re only punishing certain people who can’t afford to do it privately,” she said.

Corkran argued that if someone is violating the city ordinance, and is told to leave but they have no place to go, that means that person is homeless.

“So again, homelessness is not something you can do, it’s just something that you are,” she said. READ MORE: https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-supreme-court-appears-lean-215843827.html

 

𝙊𝙣𝙚 𝙁𝙖𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙞𝙣 𝙃𝙤𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝘼𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙪𝙚 𝙍𝙚𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙁𝙞𝙧𝙚

Fire crews and Medford Police responded late Monday (April 22) to a residential structure fire on the 2300 block of Howard Avenue.
May be an image of fire
 
Upon arrival, MPD Officers started evacuating nearby residents and Firefighters began attacking the fire which had broken out in a two-story garage that had living quarters in the upstairs area. First responders reported that flames had consumed the vehicle in front of the garage, the garage door and flames were coming out of the single-access point.
 
Firefighters encountered very heavy fire and smoke conditions, and limited access but eventually were able to gain entry and knock down the fire. Sadly, the person living in the garage building did not survive and has been identified as 71-year-old Don Tersieff.
 
Investigators from MFD and MPD are currently working to determine the origin and cause of the fire.
 
We’d like to express our sincere condolences to the grieving family during this difficult time.
While the response units arrived within 4 minutes and 17 seconds from being dispatched to the fire, there were several access challenges including surrounding vehicles, nearby structures, and substantial amounts of stored material which all contributed to the intensity of the fire and prolonged access to the inside of the structure.
 
Based on records available from the City’s Building Safety Department the structure was originally built and permitted as a garage-only in 2005. Since then, the structure appears to have been modified and used as living quarters without updated permits and associated approvals. Additionally, the building did not appear to have working smoke detectors.    Medford Firefighters Local 824

 

The Oregon Cheese Festival is coming to the Expo in Jackson County

The event will allow residents to sample artisan cheese from across the region. There will also be specialty food, beer, wine and cider available.  The Cheese Festival starts Saturday 4/27 from noon to 5 p.m. for anyone 21 and older. It will also be open on Sunday for all ages from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. 
Tickets are $25 and $35 at the door. MORE INFO: https://www.oregoncheesefestival.com/

 

 

May be an image of text that says 'Rogue Gem & Geology Club's Gem & Mineral Show at the Josephine County Fairground, in Grants Pass, Oregon Vendors Demonstrators Silent Auction Raffle, Kids Corner Display Cases Fluorescent Room Food Truck Friday, Saturday & Sunday Apr 26-28, 2024 ROGUE ഞොആോ Geology Gem& Club Friday 10 am -5 pm Saturday 9 am 5 pm Sunday 10 am- 4 pm CENILE ード Homeni 2 DHEEAN www.RogueGemAndGeology.com 物 PASS ΑΡΜΙΣΙΝ FREE facebook.com/GrantsPassRockClub/'

 

 

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'SPRING PLANT SALE: SUNDAY, SUNDAY,APRIL APRIL 28TH Pellinater PollinaterProject Project Rogue Valley peeT NATIVE PLANTS THAT SUPPORT POLLINATORS! Pollinator Project Rogue Valley In the lot behind 312 N. Main Street Phoenix, OR wwwPelintoProjectRogueVally.o NATIVE PLANT SALE TODAY hledor Prajed 이라에 dNg'

 

Superhero Run-Hearts With A Mission  Saturday 4/27

 

 
 
 
We are so honored that Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters is donating a portion of their sales of 15th Anniversary Beans and Hardware through the end of June to FOTAS!
 
And, looks like we might have a new dog walking volunteer, as well! Yay!  Please support these folks and their amazing coffee!  griffincreekcoffee.com
 

May be an image of 8 people and text

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

 

 

Lane County Sheriff’s Office Update on Recent Tragic Cases in Lane County including LCSO cases 24-2102 (Assist OSP on Amber Alert), 24-2110 (Hwy. 36 Homicide), and 24-2113 (Cinnamon Ave. Homicide).

One year after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, Oregon among top states keeping people covered

More than one million people are keeping their Oregon Health Plan benefits due to Oregon’s efforts to expand coverage options

SALEM, Ore. — With more than 90 percent of the state’s 1.5 million renewals complete, more than 4 out of 5 Oregonians are keeping their Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or other Medicaid benefits.

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), which ended one year ago in April 2023, the federal government allowed states to keep people on Medicaid benefits. This ended when the pandemic emergency ended, so over the last year Oregon has been making sure everyone on OHP is still eligible.

At this point in the PHE unwinding process:

  • Just 1,078 members, about 0.07 percent, still need to respond to renewal requests 9,573 members, about 0.65 percent, have responded to their renewal but are awaiting state action on the response.
  • The remaining renewals, about 8.72 percent of the total, will occur over the summer.

Oregon’s 81.8 percent renewal rate continues to be the third highest in a national comparison of state renewal rates by KFF, a nonpartisan health policy organization. Oregon’s high renewal rates are due to proactive efforts by the state to keep people covered, including extended response timelines, and adding the upcoming OHP Bridge program for adults with higher incomes.

Members who have not received a renewal yet should:

  • Keep their address and contact information up to date.
  • Check their mail or ONE Online account for their renewal letter.
  • Do what the renewal letter asks as soon as possible. Anyone concerned they missed their letter should get help with their renewal via one of the ways to find help listed below.
  • Members who did not respond to renewals can still re-open their case three months after it closes if they are still eligible, and they can reapply at any time.

Although most people are keeping coverage, approximately 240,000 people will lose or have reduced medical benefits and need to consider other coverage options.

  • People who do not have coverage through an employer or Medicare may be able to enroll through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and get financial help. Most people who enroll through HealthCare.gov qualify for this help.
  • The Marketplace is sending information to people who are no longer eligible for OHP benefits, advising of other potential coverage options.
  • People who have recently lost OHP benefits can enroll anytime until November 30, 2024, or within 60 days of their benefits ending.
  • For more information and ways to get help signing up for Marketplace, Medicare, or employer coverage, see “What to do if OHP is ending” below.

On Feb. 13, 2024, the federal government approved a revised plan for Oregon’s remaining 126,000 post-pandemic renewals.

Many of these renewals were affected by a federal request for more than 30 states to review automated renewal processes or restorations of some Oregon Supplemental Income Program Medical (OSIPM) benefits. A May 2024 technical update to Oregon’s ONE Eligibility system  will enable Oregon to use the new automated  process  for the remaining renewals.

Renewal letters will be sent to members in four waves between June and September. Members will still have 90 days to respond, and 60 days’ advance notice before any termination or reduction in benefits. This means the final responses would be due in December 2024, and the final closures will happen in February 2025.

Data about pandemic unwinding renewals appears in the Medical Redeterminations Dashboard.  The dashboard data and these press releases will not include renewals for OHP members who have already renewed early in the unwinding process, who are coming up for renewal again. Over time, Oregon is switching to renewing most OHP members every two years instead of annually.

April OHP renewal data — As of March 19, 2024, 1,317,810 people have completed the renewal process. This represents 90.6 percent of all OHP and Medicaid members.

  • 1,077,765 people (81.8 percent) were renewed and kept their benefits.
  • 226,042 people (17.2 percent) were found ineligible.
  • 14,003 people (1.1 percent) had a reduction in their benefits. Most of these members lost full OHP but were able to continue Medicare Savings Programs that help pay their Medicare costs.

Find help renewing your benefits

  1. Learn more about how to renew your Oregon Health Plan medical coverage.
  2. Call the ONE Customer Service Center at 800-699-9075. All relay calls are accepted, and help is available in multiple languages. Wait times are lowest between 7 and 8 a.m.
  3. Visit or call a local Oregon Department of Human Services office. People can find their local office at https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/Pages/office-finder.aspx.
  4. Visit a community partner for free, in-person help. To find one near you visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp (English) or orhim.info/ayuda(Spanish).

What to do if your OHP is ending:

  • First, review the case summary in your letter to make sure the information used to make the decision was correct. If that information has changed, notify the state via one of the options above If the information on file for you is correct and you disagree with the decision, you can request a hearing. Learn more about hearings.
  • Explore options through an employer. If you, your spouse, or a parent are working, you may be eligible for health coverage through that employer. Talk to your manager or Human Resources department to see if you qualify. You will have a special enrollment period to enroll mid-year due to loss of OHP benefits.
  • If you have or are eligible for Medicare: For help understanding and choosing the right Medicare options, go to https://OregonHealthcare.gov/GetHelp to find an insurance agent or a counselor at the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA). You can also call SHIBA at 800-722-4134.

If you need to sign up for Medicare for the first time, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-772-1213 to enroll by phone or find a local office. You can also enroll in Medicare online at ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up.

  • Nearly 80 percent of Oregonians qualify for financial help through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to answer a few quick questions, find out how much you can save and find out how much coverage may cost you. You can also call the Marketplace Transition Help Center at 833-699-6850 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted).
  • Need free local help finding other coverage? Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find professional help near you.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) are committed to transparency and will continue to send monthly information about medical coverage among Oregonians as the agencies continue to track the programs. Check our ONE Eligibility Operations Dashboards for more frequent updates on medical renewal data and wait times for callers to the ONE Customer Service Center.

 

Oregon Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Engage in Animal Crushing Resulting in the Torture, Mutilation and Murder of Monkeys

EUGENE, Ore.—An Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for his role in a conspiracy to torture, mutilate, and murder monkeys, and then produce and distribute videos of those acts in exchange for money raised by an online animal abuse group.

David Christopher Noble, 48, of Prineville, Oregon, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

“The victims in this case cannot speak for themselves, but the impact of the grotesque violence brought upon them is unmistakable. At the direction of David Noble and his co-conspirators, the producers of these animal abuse videos not only killed monkeys but did so in a way that extended their pain and suffering as long as possible,” said Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eugene and Medford Branch Offices. “Today’s sentence should make it clear to others engaged in this heinous conduct that they will be held responsible for their crimes.”

“David Noble’s depraved actions not only inflicted unspeakable agony upon innocent creatures but also tainted the very essence of humanity’s moral fiber,” stated Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. “Under Noble’s direction, the production and distribution of grotesque animal abuse videos represented a dark descent into the abyss of cruelty and exploitation. Today’s sentencing underscores our unwavering commitment to holding individuals like Noble accountable for their reprehensible crimes against compassion and decency.”

According to court documents, from January 2022 through February 2023, Noble conspired with others in the District of Oregon and elsewhere to send multiple online payments to co-conspirators overseas to fund the production of videos depicting the torture, mutilation and murder of monkeys. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Noble administered an online group wherein members would raise funds to produce, discuss ideas for, and share animal abuse videos.

In Noble’s messages to the group, he expressed his enjoyment of videos depicting the torture and murder of long-tailed macaques, which members of the group, including Noble, referred to as “rats.” In one message to the group sent in June 2022, Noble expressed that the only thing he did not like in abuse videos was when the torturers “kill the rats too quickly,” and he further expressed a desire that they “keep it alive make it suffer make sure it knows to fear you and that you end its existence at any time.” In another message, Noble claimed “the noises they make from pain and abuse are some of my favorite sounds.”

In 2006, Noble, a former United States Air Force officer, was dismissed from the Air Force and ordered to serve six months in military custody following a court martial for fraud and an unprofessional relationship. In early February 2023, following the investigation in this case, investigators executed a search warrant on Noble’s residence and found approximately 50 videos depicting animal abuse, along with several firearms and ammunition.

On May 18, 2023, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned an indictment charging Noble with conspiring to engage in animal crushing and creating and distributing animal crush videos, creating animal crush videos, and illegally possessing a firearm as a dishonorably discharged person.

After his home was searched, Noble relocated from Prineville to Henderson, Nevada, and, on June 13, 2023, was arrested in Henderson. The next day, he made his first appearance in federal court in Las Vegas and was ordered detained pending his transfer to Oregon. On July 21, 2023, after arriving in Oregon, Noble was again ordered detained based on the nature of his offenses, including the extreme violence associated, and his possession of firearms.

On January 10, 2024, Noble pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in animal crushing and creating and distributing animal crush videos.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and prosecuted by William M. McLaren and Adam E. Delph, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

 

Oregon Housing and Community Services and Neighborhood Partnerships announce $11.5 million in funding to support Individual Development Account savers

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), in partnership with Neighborhood Partnerships (NP), announce $11.5 million in funding to support the Individual Development Account Initiative statewide. 

An Individual Development Account (IDA) is a matched savings account, where the money participants save is multiplied up to five times by the program. As Oregonians face inflation and rising housing costs, IDAs provide a crucial resource for those with lower incomes to address financial needs such as down payment savings, higher-education costs, microenterprise investments, emergency savings, and investment in other wealth-building assets, supported by financial education and literacy. 

IDAs are offered by a statewide network of community organizations, housing authorities, schools, and colleges.

“The Oregon Individual Development Account Initiative serves as a powerful example of collaboration between state governments and community-based organizations to build more inclusive, resilient, and equitable communities across the state,” said Andrea Bell, OHCS executive director. “The additional investment underscores the state’s commitment to facilitate solutions that advance social and economic mobility.”

To date, the IDA program has empowered more than 17,000 Oregonians in 35 of the state’s 36 counties, distributing $68 million in matching dollars to savers. Through its network of providers, the Initiative makes IDAs accessible to Oregon residents who have been excluded from opportunities to build lasting financial stability, including residents from Black, Native American, Latinx, and Asian communities throughout the state.

“As the longtime administrator of the Oregon IDA Initiative, Neighborhood Partnerships and our network of community-based partners are thrilled to receive an additional $5 million from the Legislature, which will be used by Oregonians with lower incomes to increase the power of their own savings to reach self-determined financial goals, including first-time homeownership, higher education, and entrepreneurship,” said Luke Bonham, IDA program manager.

This funding is being distributed through fiduciary organizations to aid Oregonians in achieving their financial goals through matched savings. The addition of $5 million in General Funds allows a two-phased funding approach in 2024-25 to help support the IDA Initiative’s continued growth and success. The approach aims to increase reach in underrepresented counties, graduate BIPOC savers at rates that promote racial equity in asset building.

For more information about the IDA Initiative and how to get involved, please visit https://oregonidainitiative.org/.

About Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS)  — OHCS is Oregon’s housing finance agency. The state agency provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of low and moderate income. OHCS administers programs that provide housing stabilization. OHCS delivers these programs primarily through grants, contracts, and loan agreements with local partners and community-based providers. For more information, please visit: oregon.gov/ohcs.  

Two Arrested By Lincoln County Law Enforcement For Luring Minors

On April 18th, 2024, Lincoln City Police, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Newport Police, Toledo Police, and Oregon State Police conducted joint investigations into Child Luring crimes in Lincoln County. During the investigations, officers posed as underage children on various online social media platforms and were contacted by two separate adult men who were offering to meet up for a sexual encounter. The following arrests were made during the course of these investigations:

Jagdeep Singh, age 23 of Salem, was arrested after attempting to meet with a child for sex at an undisclosed location in Lincoln City. Singh was charged with Luring a Minor and Online Sex Corruption of a Child 1st Degree, and lodged at the Lincoln County Jail.

Alec Adams, age 27 of Depoe Bay, was arrested after offering to meet with a child for sex at an undisclosed location in Lincoln County. Adams was charged with Luring a Minor and Online Sex Corruption of a Child 2nd Degree, and lodged at the Lincoln County Jail.

The Lincoln City Police would like to express our thanks to all the local law enforcement agencies who took part in this joint operation working together in partnership to keep all of our Lincoln County citizens safe. A special thank you is also sent out to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Lake Oswego Police Department for their assistance with the operation. 

The Lincoln City Police wants to encourage parents to monitor their children’s social media activity and discuss with them the possible dangers of communicating with strangers online. These investigations are conducted in an effort to reduce criminal activity and to further enhance the safety of our community.

 

EPA Announces Oregon Department of Energy to Receive $86M to Deliver Residential Solar

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Oregon Department of Energy has been selected to receive $86,600,000 through the Solar for All grant competition to develop long-lasting solar programs that enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from distributed residential solar. This award is part of the historic $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which was created under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to lower energy costs for families, create good-quality jobs in communities that have been left behind, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis.  

The Oregon SFA Coalition (OSFAC) will leverage existing solar technology incentives and support platforms through a coordinated program delivery system, designed specifically to meet the needs of low-income households and residents of disadvantaged communities in Oregon. Together, OSFAC members will enable solar installations at single-family households with little to no upfront customer cost and provide point of sale rebates for multifamily buildings that provide tangible benefits to low-income residents. The program will also support financial and technical assistance to develop Consumer Owned Utility Territories’ Community Solar projects in areas outside of OCSP coverage, as well as workforce development activities. This diversified approach will maximize use of existing resources and the breadth and diversity of households served throughout the state.  

“President Biden committed to making the largest investment in our nation’s history to combat global climate change. Our announcement today ensures every community has a green energy future,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Casey Sixkiller. “This funding will be used to supercharge the deployment of solar power in communities, create jobs, make our power grid more resilient, and lower the cost of energy for every household.” 

The grant to the Oregon Department of Energy is among 49 state-level awards EPA announced today totaling approximately $5.5 billion, along with six awards to serve Tribes totaling over $500 million, and five multistate awards totaling approximately $1 billion. 

 “The Oregon Department of Energy is thrilled to be part of a coalition bringing significant solar dollars to our state,” said ODOE Director Janine Benner. “While past programs have helped expand access to solar for many Oregonians, it has been a challenge to lower the costs enough to ensure low-income households and other disadvantaged communities could participate. Solar for All can make this happen.” 

A complete list of the selected applicants can be found on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Solar for All website.  READ MORE: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-oregon-department-energy-receive-86m-deliver-residential-solar-lowering#:~:text=SEATTLE%20(April%2023%2C%202024),to%20deploy%20and%20benefit%20from

 

ODOT Reminding The Public That Political Signs Posted Incorrectly Will Be Removed

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) would like to remind the public that political signs posted incorrectly will be removed.

ODOT will remove improperly placed signs like the one above and hold them at the nearest ODOT maintenance yard. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

During election season ODOT tells us they receive complaints from the public and candidates regarding the improper placement of political signs on the state highway rights of way, where only official traffic control devices are allowed. Improperly placed signs can distract drivers and block road safety messages. Wrongly placed signs will be taken down and held at a nearby ODOT district maintenance office for 30 days. To reclaim signs, go here to find the nearest ODOT maintenance office. Signs are prohibited on trees, utility poles, fence posts and natural features within highway right-of-ways, ODOT tells us. They also are prohibited within view of a designated scenic area. State highway width rights of way can vary considerably depending on the location. Check with your local ODOT district maintenance office to determine whether placing a sign is on private property or highway right of way. Local municipalities may also regulate the placement of political signs. Political signs are allowed on private property within view of state highways with the following restrictions:

  • Signs are limited to 12 square feet but can be up to 32 square feet with a variance from our Oregon Advertising Sign program
  • Signs cannot have flashing or intermittent lights, or animated or moving parts
  • Signs must not imitate official highway signs or devices
  • Signs are not allowed in scenic corridors
  • No payment or compensation of any kind can be exchanged for either the placement of or the message on temporary signs, including political signs, which are visible to a state highway

For more information go to ODOT’s Outdoor Advertising Sign Program.

Oregon Secretary of State releases 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released a civic engagement toolkit today, aimed at helping organizations do voter registration and voter turnout work in the 2024 elections. The tools included in the 2024 toolkit are official, non-partisan, research-backed and free to use with or without attribution to our office. Download the 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit here.

 

Oregon Offers Electric Car Rebates Again – Apply Now Until June 3rd

Home

Due to high demand and limited funding, OCVRP will be open for a short time in 2024. Vehicles must be purchased or leased between April 3, 2024, to June 3, 2024, to be eligible for a rebate. Applicants have six months from their date of purchase or lease to apply. Low- and moderate-income households can prequalify for the $5,000 Charge Ahead rebate by completing the application now at https://apps.oregon.gov/DEQ/Voucher/apply.

Oregon to Honor Fallen Law Enforcement Officers May 7th, 2024

Every year, the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony honors the state’s law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. This year’s ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem. The annual event commemorates the more than 190 fallen officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the state of Oregon since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies. The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is proud to host the ceremony in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and various statewide law enforcement associations.

 

 

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

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

Must Read

Rogue Valley News, Thursday 6/23 –Olsrud Family Gives $12 Million To Asante Women’s And Children’s Hospital; Candlelight Vigil and Gofundme Campaign for 7-Year-Old Boy Who Drowned In Eagle Point

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Monday 12/11 – Rogue Retreat Crossing Ready To Open 30 New Duplex Units & Other Local and Statewide News…

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 7/14 – Jackson County Fair Opens Today, Air Quality and Fire Updates

Renee Shaw