Rogue Valley News, Friday 6/7 – Medford Police Partnering with Businesses to Prevent Retail Thefts, Shady Cove Homicide Victim Identified & 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,  June 7, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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Medford Police Partnering with Businesses to Prevent Retail Thefts

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𝙎𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙎𝙪𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙨 𝘼𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙁𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙍𝙚𝙩𝙖𝙞𝙡 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙛𝙩 𝙀𝙣𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙊𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣:
On Thursday, May 30, MPD partnered with local retailers’ loss prevention employees and Special Agents from the Oregon Department of Justice for a focused enforcement targeting retail theft. The operation was conducted at Burlington Coat Factory and TJ Maxx inside the Medford Center from 12 to 8 PM. As a result of this enforcement effort seven individuals were arrested for theft.
MPD is seeing an increase in confrontations between loss prevention employees and suspects. The suspects have often times armed themselves with weapons such as pepper spray, knives and firearms in the event they are confronted by loss prevention. This problem has resulted in loss prevention not confronting suspects due to fear of being injured.
Because of this, retailers are partnering with local law enforcement for focused operations to proactively reduce theft in stores. By dedicating resources to these areas, law enforcement can apprehend suspects and dismantle organized retail theft rings. Due to the high interest from retailers, more operations are being planned.
If your business is interested in partnering with MPD, please contact Lt. Don Lane at 541-774-2292.

Shady Cove Homicide Victim Identified and Cause of Death Determined

Next of kin has been notified. The victim in the June 1st homicide in rural Shady Cove is Lowell Driver III, 64, of Trail, Ore. Our condolences go out to his friends and family.
A Jackson County Grand Jury returned an indictment today on charges of second-degree murder for the suspect, Travis Driver, who is the son of the victim.
An Oregon State Police forensic pathologist conducted an autopsy on Tuesday revealing the cause of death as blunt force trauma. There is no further information available for release at this time.
ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE:   Sheriff Deputies Arrest Suspect in Rural Shady Cove Homicide 

SHADY COVE, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies responded to a potential homicide call today, June 1st at 11:03 a.m. in rural Shady Cove. ECSO Dispatch received the 911 call for a possible homicide with an armed suspect on scene at a property in the 23000 block of Highway 62 north of Shady Cove. JCSO Deputies arrived with the SWAT Bearcat to locate the armed suspect.

ECSO Dispatch received another 911 call for the potential suspect at the Trail market in Trail, Ore. JCSO deputies responded to the market and took the suspect into custody without incident. The victim’s name will be released pending next-of-kin notification.

JCSO Medical Examiners arrived to the scene of the crime to begin the death investigation. Cause of death is pending the autopsy by an Oregon State Police forensic pathologist. Detectives from JCSO and Central Point Police Department responded to the scene to assume the homicide investigation.

The suspect, Travis Clayton Driver, 34, of Shady Cove, is in custody charged with second-degree murder. He is lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

This case is open and ongoing with detectives continuing their investigation. Jackson County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case. There is no further information available for release at this time.

Asante Names New CEO of Rogue Regional Medical Center and Ashland Community Hospital

Brandon Mencini was named CEO of Rogue Regional Medical Center and Ashland Community Hospital.

Mr. Mencini brings more than two decades of healthcare executive leadership experience to the role, according to a June 5th health system news release.

Rogue Regional Medical Center and Ashland Community Hospital are part of Medford-based Asante.

This all comes during Asante’s Drug Diversion scandal as top Asante leaderships were either fired or stepped down.

Three Jackson County Creeks Exceed Bacteria Levels

Three creeks in Jackson County have exceeded the state standards for bacteria levels when it comes to recreational contact.

According to the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG), Natural Resources Department, the routine monthly water quality testing indicates sections of Bear Creek, Griffin Creek, and Jackson Creek have elevated levels of bacteria.

Possible causes of the increased bacteria include pet, livestock or wild animal waste, leaking septic systems, illegal dumping from RVs or  portable toilets as well as “any other activity that results in the discharge of fecal matter into creeks or through storm drains.”

Specifically sections of Bear Creek between South Valley View Road in Ashland to Fern Valley Road in Phoenix have been impacted. Additionally Griffin Creek at Beall Lane in Central Point and Jackson Creek between West Ross Lane in Jacksonville to Dean Creek Road in Ashland have higher levels.

MORE INFO: RVCOG Natural Resources Department website.

 

May be an image of 9 people and text that says 'Frog 0' Faire Community Children's Festival Riverside Park June 8, 2024 FREEI FREE! 9 AM -2PM - 2 PM ลุนไพ้ iz 304 E. Park St, Grants Pass GET READY FOR LOTS OF FUN! family activities obstacle course face painting performances by food Trucks local kid's classes Princess lessons and more! games crafts vendors art allcarehealth® EVERCREEN FEDERAL BANK SUMMIT CONSTRUCTION PAINTING SOS Southern Oregon Sanitation Inc. LEGACY FAMILY & LEADERSHIP'

 

Popsicle Patrol – Saturday June 8th

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The Medford Police Department will be helping residents stay cool this summer by handing out free popsicles and water to kids and adults during their Popsicle Patrols.
901 Rossanley Dr, Medford, OR 97501     2pm to 4pm
The popsicles and waters will be handed out while supplies last.  https://www.facebook.com/events/2762383037252144/?ref=newsfeed

 

 

 

Suspect In Medford Stabbing Murder Trial Set Later This Month

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'HANNAH MARTIN'The woman accused of stabbing another woman to death in Medford is headed to trial later this month.  Hannah  Marie Martin is charged with robbery in the first degree and two counts of murder in the second degree. The case is scheduled to go to trial on June 25.

Medford Police said 31-year-old Brittany Lovrovich was stabbed in the parking lot area of Rumors Lounge on Riverside Avenue on March 22, 2022.  The suspects, Martin and Zackary Carl Helwagen are charged with two counts of second degree murder.

The defense said they are working on selecting jury members and they have four witnesses they plan to call during the trial.  Helwagen is scheduled to go to trial on September 9.

 

Crater Lake National Park is seeking public input on a draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan. Public comment on the plan is being sought through June 14

The National Park Service (NPS) is dedicated to serving all visitors to help them find meaning in the resources of the national park system and its stories. Recently, park staff embarked on a process to ensure that key park experiences are available to all visitors, regardless of race, nationality, socioeconomic status, or ability. Park staff conducted a self-evaluation of the accessibility of park facilities, services, activities, and programs. Based on these findings, staff then drafted a transition plan that identifies opportunities and critical steps for improving accessibility parkwide.

This draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan resulted from the work of an interdisciplinary team of NPS staff, including planning, design, and construction professionals; and interpretive, resource, visitor safety, maintenance, and accessibility specialists. The draft plan identifies key visitor experiences at the park and existing barriers to accessing these experiences for people with disabilities.

The plan provides recommendations for removing barriers at priority park areas, including specific actions, example site plans, and anticipated time frames for implementation. It also addresses park policies, practices, communication, and training needs.

The goals of the plan are as follows:

1) Document existing park barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities.
2) Provide an effective approach for upgrading facilities, services, and programs.
3) Instill a culture around creating universal access.

All recommended actions will be subject to funding, consultation with other agencies, consultation with Tribes, and compliance with federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Moving forward, the National Park Service will use this plan as a guide to obtain funding and plan and implement projects that will improve accessibility throughout the park.

Your input on the draft plan will help us as we work to ensure that Crater Lake National Park is more accessible to all visitors. To review the draft plan and send online comments, click on “Document List” or “Open for Comment” on the left side of the web page. The plan will be open for comment for 37 days, from May 8, 2024, to June 14, 2024. —- https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=123216

 

Possible Missing Person — Rogue River Trail 

Press Release

Press Release

DETAILS: On Friday May 17, 2024 at approximately 4:44 pm, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received a citizen report of a backpack and dog leash that was found on the Rogue River Trail and there appeared to be no sign of a person or dog in the area.  The reporting party stated that they noticed the backpack on their way down the trail. Upon seeing the backpack and belongings still in place later that afternoon on their way out, the citizen made a report to the Sheriff’s Office.

On Saturday May 18, 2024, a Josephine County Sheriff’s Office deputy hiked the trail and located the backpack on the trail approximately 1 mile south of the Grave Creek Boat Ramp. A search with verbal callouts did not locate a person or dog.  Additionally, a drone was utilized to try to locate the owner. Further investigation revealed the backpack has possibly been in that location since Wednesday May 15, 2024. The contents of the backpack suggested the owner was preparing to start a multi-day camping trip and items in the pack did not appear to have been used. There was also no identifying information located in the pack. The Sheriff’s Office is concerned the owner of the backpack may have become injured or lost. No missing persons reports have been filed that match the situation nor is there any evidence of foul play.

The Sheriff’s Office is actively trying to locate the owner of the backpack.   If you have any information regarding the backpack or who the owner may be, please contact the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office 541-474-5123.

State Holding Open House Meetings on Community Wildfire Programs in Central Point and Grants Pass

— A series of six open houses about the state’s new community wildfire risk reduction programs are scheduled June 3 through July 1 across Oregon. These events will offer opportunities to learn about new defensible space and home hardening standards, as well as the draft wildfire hazard map.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The resource-fair style open houses are being held in the communities that have some of the greatest levels of wildfire hazard within the wildland-urban interface. Each open house will begin with a short presentation and introductions, but visitors may stop in at any point during the event to get questions answered about the draft hazard map and associated community wildfire programs.

Representatives from multiple agencies will be present to have one-on-one or small group conversations to help people understand Oregon’s statewide wildfire programs.

  • Oregon Department of Forestry representatives will address questions on administrative rules and hazard zone assessment appeals.
  • Oregon State University representatives will address questions on wildfire hazard science, statewide data sources, and updates to the draft hazard map made over the last two years.
  • Oregon State Fire Marshal representatives will address questions regarding defensible space standards, code adoption process and implementation.
  • Building Codes Division representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home hardening construction standards, related code provisions, and implementation.
  • Division of Financial Regulation representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home insurance market and requirements of insurers under Senate Bill 82 (2023).
  • Wildfire Programs Advisory Council members will address questions on statewide policy direction for wildfire programs and council business.

Meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Central Point—Monday, June 17, Jackson County Fairgrounds, Mace Building, 1 Peninger Rd., Central Point, OR 97502
  • Grants Pass—Thursday, June 20, Grants Pass High School, 830 NE 9th St., Grants Pass, OR 97526
  • Klamath Falls—Monday, June 24, Klamath County Event Center, Hall #2, 3531 S 6th St., Klamath Falls, OR 97603
  • The Dalles—Monday, July 1, Oregon Military Department Armory, 402 E. Scenic Dr., The Dalles, OR 97058

Find more information on ODF’s wildfire hazard webpage.

To subscribe to information related to updates on the statewide wildfire hazard map, visit the ODF website.

Background: The 2021 Legislature passed Senate Bill 762 that required the Oregon Department of Forestry to develop and maintain a comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk that included wildland-urban interface boundaries and five fire risk classes by June 30, 2022, in collaboration with Oregon State University. After the initial version of the map was rescinded August 4, 2022, ODF and OSU began gathering feedback and incorporating it into future mapping efforts.

The 2023 Legislature passed Senate Bill 80 that made several changes to the map including changing the name from a “risk” map to a “hazard” map, reducing the number of hazard classes from five to three, and changing the appeal and notification requirements.

Written comment or questions about any aspect of the implementation of Senate Bill 762 and Senate Bill 80 may be submitted by email at any time to ehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov“>odf.wildfirehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov.

 

Child Exploitation Task Force Arrests Eagle Point Man for Victimizing Children Online Nationwide, Investigators Looking for Additional Victims

JCSO Case 22-4129 EAGLE POINT, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force arrested a Medford man on multiple child sex crime charges at 2:28 p.m. today in Eagle Point. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and Eagle Point Police Department assisted with the arrest at a business near the intersection of Hwy 62 and West Linn Road.

During their investigation, SOCET discovered the suspect was communicating nationwide with at least five underage victims through several social media sites. SOCET investigators identified a 13-year-old victim from Kansas City, Missouri, and are attempting to identify the additional underage victims.

The suspect, Zachary Elijah Bowen, 22, of Medford, Ore., was arrested on 12 felony charges including using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct, 10 counts of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, and luring a minor. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

SOCET started investigating Bowen after more than a dozen National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) cyber tips led to multiple residences where he lived in Portland and at a licensed marijuana farm in Trail, Ore. SOCET served a search warrant on February 7, 2023, at the marijuana farm in the 4700 block of Highway 227 in Trail. Investigators seized digital devices for forensic examination by Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF).

Investigators found evidence of Bowen communicating nationwide with at least five underage victims through social media sites such as SnapChat, Instagram, Kik, and Google under the username “zach_grant2152.” If you have any information on Bowen, contact investigators through the Sheriff’s App “Submit a Tip” feature. Download the App here: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a72997501. You can also call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 22-4129.

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from JCSO and Homeland Security Investigations with some collaboration from Oregon State Police and Medford Police Department; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.

This case is under further investigation with detectives following additional leads and attempting to identify other victims. Jackson County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case. There is no further information available for release.

 

These are pretty good odds: About 1 in every 4 students who apply for an RCC Foundation scholarship will receive one. Most awards are $1,000-$6,000 per year. 💵💰
But you can’t receive a scholarship if you don’t apply! The deadline to apply for 2024-25 scholarships is June 1.  —-   Visit roguecc.edu/scholarships to get started.

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

 

Officials are urging people to avoid a stretch of the north Oregon coast after a dead humpback whale washed ashore over Memorial Day weekend and Quelling Rumors

The whale came ashore on the sands of Nehalem Bay State Park, just south of Manzanita, prompting warnings from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All three agencies issued warnings Monday on posts to social media as well as signs on the beach. The area where the whale washed ashore is also a protected area for endangered snowy plovers, making it especially vulnerable to intrusions.

A beached whale is not necessarily unusual for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, but the agency has had its hands full since a 34-foot juvenile humpback whale washed ashore at Nehalem Bay State Park on Memorial Day.

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While the whale, which was likely killed by a boat strike, continues to rot on the north coast beach, park officials have been busy shooting down Facebook rumors and fending off visitors who have been straying into restricted areas.

On Wednesday, the parks department posted to Facebook clarifying that it has no plans to blow up the whale carcass, citing a post making the rounds that claimed otherwise. Detonation comes up practically every time there’s a beached cetacean in Oregon, as people relive the infamous exploding whale incident of 1970.

These days, officials typically leave whale carcasses to rot naturally on the beach, allowing the bodies to be utilized by the other creatures of the local ecosystem. Park officials on Wednesday said that after more than a week, natural decomposition has “left nothing but an unrecognizable blob and a horrible stench.” https://www.facebook.com/OregonStateParks

New Oregon laws passed during this year’s legislative session took effect Thursday.

They include laws aimed at home affordability, curbing hunger, growing the state’s semiconductor work force and preventing firearm-related suicide.

Producing More Affordable Housing (Senate Bill 1537)

Introduced at the request of Governor Tina Kotek — this new law creates a new revolving loan fund to make interest-free loans to local governments to help finance production of affordable housing and moderate income housing projects. The fund is seeded with $75 million.

The law also grants qualifying cities a one-time expansion of their Urban Growth Boundaries. Cities under 25,000 people can expand by 50 acres, while cities over 25,000 people can expand by 100 acres. In the Metro area, the cap is 300 acres. Cities must display that they have done comprehensive planning and permitting before expansion and demonstrate need for both housing and land.

SB 1537 further establishes the Housing Accountability and Production Office to support local governments as they work to achieve their housing production goals.

Supporting First Time Homebuyers (Senate Bill 1527)

SB 1527 removes administrative barriers so that more Oregonians can access the First Time Home Buyer Savings Account Program, making it easier to take advantage of the personal income tax subtraction. This program allows low- and median-income Oregonians to use the money deposited into this account for costs associated with buying a home, such as down payments and other closing costs.

Preventing Firearm Suicides (Senate Bill 1503)

This new law creates the Community Safety and Firearm Suicide Prevention Task Force, a 17-member panel charged with developing recommendations for ways to reduce suicides by firearm and associated community safety risks. SB 1503 identifies several issues the task force will study, including:

  • How to better support youth and rural Oregonians experiencing suicidal ideation
  • Barriers to suicide prevention support
  • Barriers to implementing best practices for community safety and suicide prevention
  • How domestic violence is a risk factor for community safety threats and suicide
  • Risks to first responders

Modernizing Oregon’s Emergency Medical Services (House Bill 4081)

This new law works to make sure Oregonians get the emergency medical care they need by:

  • Establishing an EMS program to administer a statewide program and improve EMS standards.
  • Creating a State EMS Director position to oversee this program.
  • Forming an EMS Advisory Board to develop the program and provide advice and recommendations.
  • Starting Regional Advisory Boards to develop plans to implement best practices, informed by local resources and capacity within hospital trauma regions.

Growing Oregon’s Semiconductor Workforce (House Bill 4154)

In a more recent report, the Semiconductor Workforce and Talent Assessment found that the semiconductor and related manufacturing industry employs nearly 31,000 workers, with an average annual wage that’s approximately two and a half times the average statewide wage. HB 4154 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to create a statewide semiconductor industry consortium, establishes the Semiconductor Talent Sustaining Fund to build an education-industry pipeline, and promotes STEM in education.

Reducing Hunger, Ensuring Equal Access to Hot Food (Senate Bill 1585)

SB 1585 creates a task force to work to reduce hunger and ensure equal access to hot food for Oregonians who are elderly, experiencing homelessness, or have a disability and receive support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) via federal programs like the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). The RMP is a federal option program that states can sign up for to allow SNAP participants to buy meals from restaurants that choose to opt-in to the program. Nine other states already participate in the RMP.

Oregon launching Summer EBT food benefits program for school-aged children

Summer EBT Logo

Need to know: 

  • Summer EBT is a new federal food benefits program to help families buy food for their school-aged children during the summer.
  • Oregon will provide more than $35 million in Summer EBT food benefits to around 294,000 school-aged children beginning in late June 2024.
  • Families with eligible children will receive a one-time payment of $120 in food benefits.

 

Oregon Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) is a new food benefits program to help shrink the hunger gap when children are on summer break and don’t have easy access to healthy meals at school. Summer EBT starts in late June and will provide $120 per eligible child to buy food.

“Summer break is days away for families with school-age children. During the summer, many families must provide another 10 meals per child, per week. The strain that puts on a family’s grocery budget can amplify child hunger. Summer EBT is on its way to help,” said Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) which is partnering with the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) to provide the new program.

“Summer EBT is an evidence-based program proven to reduce child hunger and support healthier diets. We want to raise awareness about this new program and make sure families know what to expect and do when the program begins,” said Fariborz Pakseresht, ODHS Director. “Child hunger can have lasting impacts on health and academic achievement. Getting every eligible child connected to Summer EBT will help Oregon’s children thrive year-round and as they grow up.”

Who is eligible for Summer EBT food benefits? — Families can find details about Summer EBT at sebt.oregon.gov.

School-aged children are typically eligible for Summer EBT if:

  • Their household already participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Oregon Health Plan (OHP, also known as Medicaid), or
  • They are in foster care, or

They attend a school that offers the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, and their household’s income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals, or

  • They attend a school that offers the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program and are:
    • Enrolled in migrant programs
    • Experiencing houselessness
    • Participating in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
    • Attending Head Start

Families receiving Summer EBT can continue participating in other meal programs in their schools and communities.

Summer EBT benefits are not considered in a public charge test and are available to children regardless of immigration status.

How will families receive Summer EBT food benefits?  — There are two ways families can access Summer EBT benefits. About 70 percent of eligible children will be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT. Families of the remaining 30 percent of eligible children will need to fill out a simple application.

  • Automatic enrollment: Families that participate in SNAP, TANF or OHP will be automatically enrolled and don’t need to apply. Children in foster care also will be automatically enrolled. For families receiving SNAP or TANF benefits, Summer EBT will be added to the household’s Oregon EBT card. For families receiving OHP, a new EBT card will be mailed to the address on file. Families will get a letter for each eligible child by mail or email when their benefits have been sent. They will receive the benefits in one payment.
  • Application: Families with children who are not automatically eligible can apply for Summer EBT. To be eligible, children must be enrolled in a school with free or reduced-price meals and live in a household that meets the income requirements for free or reduced-price meals. At sebt.oregon.gov, families can sign-up to get a notification by text or email when it’s time to complete the application. As part of this application, families must provide the child’s name, school, date of birth, address and household income. Qualifying families will be mailed an Oregon EBT card. They will receive the benefits in one payment.

Families can use their Summer EBT benefits at stores and farmer’s markets that accept EBT.

More about Summer EBT –

Summer EBT became a new, permanent program for states and certain Indian Tribal Organizations through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. Most states will start providing Summer EBT in June 2024. Oregon’s participation was made possible through an investment from the Oregon State Legislature of $12 million. That investment will draw $83 million in federal funding to Oregon, mostly in the form of grocery benefits families will spend in their communities.

Additional resources to help meet basic needs:

  • Families can get more support from other summer meal programs as well as through these food resources: Find food resources in your community: needfood.oregon.gov
  • Find a food pantry: foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org
  • Text the word “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304
  • Learn about government programs and community resources for older adults and people with disabilities: Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon at 1-855-673-2372 or https://www.adrcoforegon.org.
  • Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org
  • Find local resources and support by contacting your local Community Action Agency: www.caporegon.org/find-services/

State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council Will Meet on June 11

Salem, Ore. – The State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council will meet at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. The meeting will take place remotely via the internet on Microsoft Teams and is open to the public. The agenda and handouts will be posted on the council’s website.

  • What: Meeting of the State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council
  • When: Tuesday, June 11, 2024, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Where: Microsoft Teams | Join Meeting
  • Meeting ID: 216 565 392 995 Passcode: ekgWVp
  • Phone: +1 503-446-4951 Phone conference ID: 944 308 59#
  • Who: State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council

The State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council was established by Governor Kotek’s Executive Order 23-26, Establishing a State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council.

The purpose of the Council is to recommend an action plan to guide awareness education, and usage of artificial intelligence in state government that aligns with the State’s policies, goals, and values and supports public servants to deliver customer service more efficiently and effectively. The recommended action plan shall include concrete executive actions, policies, and investments needed to leverage artificial intelligence while honoring transparency, privacy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Meetings of the State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council are open to the public.

Public comment may be made during the meeting. Sign-up for public comment is required as spots are limited. Sign-up closes Monday, June 9 at noon. Written comment will also be accepted. Written comment can be submitted by mail to the Council Support Office, 550 Airport Rd SE Suite C, Salem, OR 97301 or online via the office form.

Accommodations can be arranged for persons with disabilities, and alternate formats of printed material are available upon request. Please contact Enterprise Information Services at 503-378-3175 at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting to request accommodations. Closed captioning is included on the Microsoft Teams meeting.

Links:

Linn County Sheriff’s Office Investigates as Fire Destroys Dozens of Storage Units Near Lebanon

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan reports yesterday, June 5, 2024, at 7:33 p.m., Linn County Dispatch received a report of flames coming from the Storage Depot in the 36000 block of Highway 34, near Lebanon.  The fire was reported to grow quickly.

Photo by Corbin Henderson

3rd Alarm Fire destroys multiple storage units.

At 7:33pm June 5th Lebanon Fire District was dispatched to the report of a structure fire in the 36000 block of Hwy 34. Initial reports said the there was a storage unit on fire and flames could be seen. The first arriving officer reported heavy smoke coming from the structure with exposures on both sides of the building. The incident commander quickly requested a second alarm for more additional units and personnel to help battle the blaze. The fire was difficult to extinguish due to water supply and the number of units involved. The incident commander upgraded the fire to a third alarm, which brought in more fire apparatus and personnel to help.

Multiple law enforcement and fire personnel responded to the scene and found multiple storage units involved with active fire. Deputies contacted the caller, Micah Schulte, 43, of Lebanon who gave statements about a torch in his possession that caused the fire after it fell against furniture. Statements provided included using the torch to heat concentrated marijuana product.

At around 2:00 am Lebanon Fire district was able to release all the outside agencies that assisted with the fire which included, Albany Fire Department, Scio Fire District, Sweet Home Fire District, Brownsville Fire District, Harrisburg Fire District, Halsey-Shedd Fire District, Tangent Fire District, ODOT, and Linn County Sheriffs Office.  The Lebanon crews remained on scene until early this morning and then were relieved by the oncoming shift.

Excavation equipment was brought in this morning to assist with the overhauling the fire and aiding in the final extinguishment of deeply seated areas. Fire crews remained on scene until late this afternoon fully extinguishing the fire.

Our investigation team spent most of the day on-site determining the cause and origin of the fire. They were assisted by Oregon State Fire Marshall and LCSO.

Deputies will continue to investigate as leads develop and more information becomes available from the Oregon State Fire Marshalls Office. Schulte was taken into custody and lodged at the Linn County Jail for Reckless Burning and Criminal Mischief II.

Fire crews and deputies continue to work on scene and gather information. The cost of the damage is unknown at this time, but several storage units are impacted, and the damage will be significant.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Caleb Riley with the Linn County Sheriff’s office at (541) 967-3950.

Oregonians Targeted By Text Tolling Scam

A new nationwide texting scam is targeting Oregon drivers now. Ellen Klem, with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office says the phishing scheme started in the midwest earlier in the spring. “I’m honestly not surprised it’s happening now, because now is the time where everyone is gearing up to drive.”

The text claims to be from “Oregon Toll Service” and says the recipient owes an $11.69 outstanding balance; they face a $50 late fee if they don’t click on a link and pay up. Klem says some people may identify the fraud right away, because Oregon doesn’t have tolling, “But, we live next to all these other states that have tolls.” And she worries some will fall for it.

“They are not interested in the $11,” says Klem, “They are interested in much, much more.” She believes the scammers want your personal information, and clicking on the link could allow them to access other data on your phone.

The text has all the markers of a scam, like contact out of the blue from an unknown agency. “There’s a lot of really cheap or free technology out there that allows the scammers to pretend to be somebody they’re not. So, in this case, they’re pretending to be associated with an agency that administers tolls in the state of Oregon. But that doesn’t exist,” says Klem, “Second sign: There’s some sort of emergency. In this case, you have an unpaid bill; that’s frightening to a lot of people.”

She suggests not being in such a rush to respond to every text or email, “These phones, they’re everywhere and we have this sort of automatic response to click on a link or to pick up every phone call. And, I want to remind people just to slow down and think before you click on anything.” Klem adds, “Really, at the end of the day, this is a text message that you can and you should ignore.”

If you get a text, email or phone call you’re not sure is legit, call the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer hotline at 877-877-9392. Volunteer experts are available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

West Coast’s ShakeAlert System gets Major Upgrade

The ShakeAlert System is available to cell phone users in California, Oregon and Washington.

The U.S. Geological Survey and its partners are announcing a new capability to characterize large earthquakes quickly, helping inform the public about potentially damaging shaking headed their way. In addition to over 1500 seismic sensors that detect ground shaking, the ShakeAlert System now makes use of sensors that detect earth-surface movement via satellite.

“While rare, earthquakes greater than magnitude 7 can have the greatest impact on human lives and infrastructure,” said Robert de Groot, with the USGS ShakeAlert Operations Team. “Future major offshore earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, which could be similar to the 2011 M 9.1 earthquake in Japan, underscore the importance of incorporating satellite data stream into the ShakeAlert System.”

The newly added ShakeAlert capability that uses data from real-time Global Navigation Satellite System sensors may more quickly and accurately determine the magnitude and the area of shaking from very large earthquakes, resulting in faster notifications for people to take a protective action, such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On. GNSS data, which includes the well-known US-based Global Positioning System, are now used in addition to seismic data to detect earthquakes. While seismic sensors measure how quickly the ground is shaking, GNSS sensors measure how far the ground moves up, down, or sideways during an earthquake.

The ShakeAlert System, currently available in California, Oregon, and Washington, can protect people and infrastructure by delivering alerts to cell phones and triggering automatic actions like slowing down trains to prevent derailments, opening firehouse doors so they don’t jam shut, and closing valves to protect water systems.

The ShakeAlert GNSS integration and ongoing operations is a partnership of the USGS, the National Science Foundation funded EarthScope Consortium, university partners with significant contributions from the University of Washington, Central Washington University, UC Berkeley, and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System is managed by the U.S. Geological Survey in partnership with state agencies and universities and it is a public safety tool for over 50 million residents and visitors in California, Oregon, Washington. When the ShakeAlert seismic sensor buildout is completed at the end of 2025 there will be a network of over 2000 ShakeAlert stations poised to protect residents and visitors in California, Oregon, and Washington.

For more information on how this new capability works, watch this video.   (SOURCE)

Oregon has the highest rate of animal vehicle collisions on the West Coast.

The Oregon Zoo and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have developed a project to identify the deadliest roads. The iNaturalist Roadkills of Oregon project asks you to take photos of animals killed by cars.

The picture will be uploaded into an app, so biologists will be able to track areas where the most collisions occur. Currently, only large animals like deer and elk are tracked. This project will monitor all animals that are killed.

Roadways and vehicular traffic are a significant contributor to fragmentation of habitat and impacts to wildlife, including injury and mortality. The purpose of this project is to improve our understanding of the impacts of roads on Oregon’s wildlife, and to identify roadkill hot spots and vulnerabilities among a diversity of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. This information can help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and make roadways safer. Please go to: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/roadkills-of-oregon/journal

Come to the World Beat Festival to Experience Global Cultures: Ukraine is the 2024 Featured Country

Salem Multicultural Institute is excited to celebrate Ukraine as the 27th annual World Beat Festival’s featured country. World Beat is one of Salem’s premier community traditions, offering a vibrant two-day program of international music, dance, song, theater, food, crafts, customs, rituals, and folklore. This year’s festival will begin Friday evening, June 28, and run through Sunday, June 30, at Salem’s Riverfront Park.

Kathleen Fish, Executive Director, emphasizes that this is the only festival of its kind honoring the Salem/Keizer community’s rich tapestry of cultures. “There are 107 languages spoken in our school district. The festival recognizes and explores the cultures of many of these families.”

The festivities kick off Friday, June 28, from 5 to 10 p.m. with “Friday Night at the Beat,” featuring vocal performances and fire dancing on the Main Stage.

The festival opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, with the Children’s Parade. Kids who want to participate in the parade will assemble at the Pavilion at the North End of the park.

Each child who attends will receive a passport at the entrance gate to collect stamps from each World Village. Village tents will feature kid-friendly cultural games and activities. This year’s activities include making cherry blossoms in the Asian Pacific Village, Pysanky (traditional egg decorating) in the European Village, Arpilleras (traditional Chilean textile art) in the Americas Village, and crafting Nguni Shields in the Africa & Middle East Village.

Adults can enjoy beverages in the beer garden while listening to live music. Boating enthusiasts can cheer on their favorite teams during the World Beat Dragon Boat Races.

“We had over 25,000 guests attend last year, enjoying performances on seven stages representing more than 50 different countries and cultures. Our visitors come from all over the Northwest and even Canada,” added Fish.

Organized by the volunteer-driven Salem Multicultural Institute, the festival requires 400 volunteers annually to manage setup, stage operations, and cleanup. Volunteers contributing at least four hours receive an event T-shirt and free entry to the festival.

Admission to the festival is $10/1-day pass/adult or $15 for the weekend. Children 0-14, SNAP card holders, and Veterans are free.

You can view a complete schedule and vendor list or sign up to volunteer atwww.worldbeatfestival.org or call (503) 581-2004.

About the World Beat Festival: The World Beat Festival originated in the late 1990s and was conceived by two young mothers, Mona Hayes and Kathleen Fish, who wanted a space to celebrate cultural heritage. Starting with a small gathering in 1998, the festival has grown into Oregon’s largest multicultural event of its kind. www.WorldBeatFestival.org, 503-581-2004.

About the Salem Multicultural Institute (SMI): The vision of the Salem Multicultural Institute and the purpose of the World Beat Festival and World Beat Gallery are to create an environment of openness for all people. In all our activities, SMI aims to be family-friendly, economically inclusive, and culturally authentic. Visit the gallery located at 390 Liberty ST SE, Salem. www.salemmulticultural.org.

 

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