Local News

State Troopers Collared Washington State Fugitive in Weekend Traffic Stop in CJ
The Oregon State Police apprehended a Washington state fugitive during a weekend traffic stop in Cave Junction. OSP reports troopers pulled over an Isuzu Trooper driven by 54-year-old Chad Roy Dishmon of Grants Pass on Caves Highway near Laurel Road at 7:21 p.m. Friday. Troopers said they stopped Dishmon for multiple traffic violations and discovered that he had switched plates on the vehicle, his driving privileges were suspended, he had no insurance and he had methamphetamine in his pockets. He was cited to appear in court and released, and the Isuzu was impounded. Dishmon's passenger -- 57-year-old Terril James Wallace of Sedro-Woolley, Washington -- provided false information multiple times, had meth in his pockets and was found to be wanted on a Washington state felony warrant for Escape. Wallace was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant. He was being held without bail pending extradition to Washington.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:29AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Jailed Two People for Attempting to Steal Trading Cards from Walmart
Grants Pass Police jailed two people for trying to steal hundreds of dollars' worth of merchandise from Walmart last weekend. The Police Department reports officers arrested 31-year-old Derrik Ryan Miller and 35-year-old Breeanna Claudette Peaslee at the big box retailer on NE Terry Lane on Saturday afternoon. Police said Miller and Peaslee were detained by Walmart loss prevention after they proceeded past all points of sale with more than $834 of assorted trading cards that were concealed under their groceries. Both were immediately placed into custody. Miller and Peaslee were lodged at the nearby Josephine County Jail for suspicion of 2nd-Degree Theft. Miller was also charged with Contempt of Court-Restraining Order Violation as Peaslee is a protected party in a valid no-contact order out of Jackson County. Both suspects were being held without bail.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:28AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Jailed Man on Local Warrant and More after Skirmish at Restaurant
Grants Pass Police arrested a man on an outstanding warrant and other charges following a weekend skirmish at a north-city restaurant. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to a trespassing call at Denny's on NE Morgan Lane on Sunday at 5:05 a.m.. Police said 26-year-old Caeden Pearce Backanen and Eric Weldon were called in for trespassing and scattering rubbish at the restaurant. They said Weldon gave his name upon request, but Backanen delayed and provided a false name of "Kerby" while generally acting like he had a warrant for his arrest. Turns out he did. Backanen was wanted on a Jackson County warrant for failing to appear in court for Contempt of Court. He attempted to flee on foot, but was subdued with the use of force. Medics were called to the scene, but the suspect refused any attention. Caeden Backanen was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant plus new charges of Resisting Arrest and Escape. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:19AM by Sam Marsh

Illinois Valley Firefighters Battled Monday Evening Large Vehicle Blaze in Kerby
The Illinois Valley Fire District battled a large vehicle fire in Kerby late yesterday. On Monday at 5:51 p.m., IVFD crews responded to a reported vehicle fire in an unspecified location in the Kerby area. Initial reports from the 9-1-1 Communications Center stated that large explosions were occurring while dispatchers were on the phone with the caller. Arriving units found a recreational vehicle partially involved with flames and the fire was extinguished with no extension to other structures or property. IVFD officials said the cause of the fire was under investigation.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:16AM by Sam Marsh
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Rural Metro Crews Extinguished Small Car Fire on Canaan Street near Murphy
Authorities were investigating why a newer Kia sedan caught fire in the Murphy area last weekend. On Sunday at 1:05 p.m., Rural Metro Fire Department was dispatched to a vehicle fire near the end of Canaan Street. Arriving units found the car fully-involved with flames and crews extinguished the blaze, keeping it from spreading to the nearby house. There were no injuries. Rural Metro officials said the rain-saturated driveway added an extra challenge to fire apparatus attempting to access the scene after the ground gave way under the weight of the engine's 29,000 pounds. Thanks to other winch-equipped units on scene, the engine was freed within an hour. Officials said the mishap had no effect on the suppression of the fire.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:15AM by Sam Marsh
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King Jewelers Announces Closure of Store in Downtown Grants Pass in May
A well-known custom and repair jewelry business in Grants Pass has announced it will be ceasing operations at its downtown store on SE 6th Street this spring. Established in 1979, King Jewelers has served the community for over forty years. To bid farewell, the store will be hosting a closeout sale from April 1st to May 11th or until the inventory is depleted, offering customers a final opportunity to visit and purchase items at great prices. The closure of King Jewelers signifies new opportunities and a desire to explore uncharted territories, according to business owner Nick King. He said the store's dedication to its customers remains unchanged and gratitude is extended for the unwavering support received throughout the years. The King Family is working with a local business that is looking to purchase the downtown building. To stay updated on the closeout sale and any future developments, customers are encouraged to follow King Jewelers on Facebook.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:14AM by Sam Marsh
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More Than 9,000 Public Comments Received on Amendments to Northwest Forest Plan
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The initial comment period for the US Forest Service's Northwest Forest Plan concluded February 2nd. The Forest Service had been accepting comments on a Notice of Intent that the agency will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the effects of proposed amendments to the plan. More than 9,000 comments were received from the public which are now being analyzed to refine the proposed action, identify initial concern, and explore potential alternatives and environmental impacts. Using that information, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be created, posted and available for public viewing and additional comments in the coming months. In addition to public comments, the Forest Service has been actively engaging state and local leaders, tribes, community-based organizations and others. The proposed amendment will affect the land management plans of 17 national forests and grasslands across 24.5 million acres of federally managed lands in western Oregon and Washington and northwest California. The Northwest Forest Plan was established in 1994. After nearly 30 years, the plan needs to be updated to accommodate changed ecological and social conditions.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:02AM by Sam Marsh
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Oregon State Fire Marshal Launches Incentive Program for Defensible Space Projects
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To help those living in communities most likely to be impacted by a wildfire, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is launching an incentive program to help Oregonians pay for defensible space projects. As part of the program, those who meet eligibility requirements will receive a $250 one-time payment. Homeowners, renters and property owners must live in select areas of the state, and then request and receive a free defensible space assessment. The free assessments are given by a local fire service agency member or an OSFM representative. An expert will walk the participant's property with them and provide valuable one-on-one time to discuss how to build and increase their fire resiliency. After the assessment, those who qualify will receive the payment in the mail for their participation. This incentive is designed to encourage people to implement the recommendations received during their assessment. Nearly all communities in Josephine and Jackson counties qualify for the program including Grants Pass, Cave Junction, Williams, Merlin, Rogue River, Gold Hill, Central Point and White City. For more details about the OSFM program, visit the agency website.
Posted on 3/12/24 5:00AM by Sam Marsh
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ODOT Reports Bridge Replacement Work to Close RR Highway at Foots Creek for 30 Days
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The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced that work on Rogue River Highway bridge replacements will begin in earnest in the near future. This ODOT project will replace three 1920s-era bridges on Highway 99 with structures that are better able to withstand earthquakes. The bridges are located east of the City of Rogue River at Birdseye Creek, Foots Creek and Millers Gulch. Construction has begun at the Foots Creek Bridge. Watch for intermittent lane and shoulder closures through the work zones and expect delays of up to 20 minutes, Mondays through Fridays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.. Starting in the middle of this month, Rogue River Highway will be closed at Foots Creek for approximately 30 days. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes. The contractor will provide a vehicle for bicyclists and pedestrians -- including those with disabilities -- who need to travel through the closure area.
Posted on 3/12/24 4:58AM by Sam Marsh
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One Person Hurt & Another Arrested for DUII after New Hope Crash near Murphy
One person was injured and another was arrested after a weekend crash in the New Hope area just west of Murphy. On Saturday at 5:13 p.m., the Josephine County Sheriff's Office, Rural Metro Fire Department and American Medical Response were dispatched to the single-vehicle rollover crash in the 8100-block of New Hope Road. Deputies said an investigation determined that 47-year-old Justin Ryan Gerlitz was driving a BMW sedan when he lost control of the car on a sharp corner about a half-mile west of Lincoln Savage Middle School. They said the car took out a mailbox before landing upside-down in a ditch. Gerlitz and a passenger identified as "Steven Velasquez" were able to extricate themselves from the wreckage and denied any injuries. The third occupant of the overturned car -- identified as "Michele Gerlitz" -- was removed from the vehicle and transported to Three Rivers Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. According to the report, Justin Gerlitz displayed signs of impairment at the scene and performed poorly in field sobriety tests. He was lodged in jail for Felony Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Reckless Driving. The wrecked BMW was hauled to the impound yard. Rural Metro officials praised a neighbor who helped direct traffic through the crash scene, which allowed rescuers to focus on patient care.
Posted on 3/11/24 10:10AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Snared Fugitive on State Warrant after Son Requested Welfare Check
Grants Pass Police apprehended a fugitive wanted on a statewide felony warrant over the weekend after his "distraught" son requested a welfare check on the man. The Police Department reports officers arrested 48-year-old Joshua Ray Reyes at a home in the 900-block of NE D Street on Friday at 11:25 p.m.. Police said Reyes' son called 9-1-1 regarding his father's drug use, stating that he had overdosed on fentanyl. Officers rushed to the scene to find Reyes was not heavily impaired by drugs and that his son left the residence. The man believed his son called the police on him so he could steal his property once he was arrested. A routine records check revealed that Reyes was wanted on an Oregon State warrant for Parole Violation stemming from a previous burglary conviction, so he was placed into custody. Joshua Reyes was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 3/11/24 10:08AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Collared Woman on Local Felony Warrant in Cave Junction Traffic Stop
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office jailed a woman on an outstanding felony warrant following a weekend traffic stop in downtown Cave Junction. The Sheriff's Office reports deputies pulled over a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup driven by 52-year-old James Myers in the 100-block of South Redwood Highway around 2:20 p.m. Saturday. Deputies said they quickly learned that Myers' driving privileges were suspended. They also discovered that his passenger -- 53-year-old Mary Jeanene Myers -- was wanted on a Josephine County felony warrant for Probation Violation related to a previous arrest for Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Domestic Menacing. Mary Myers was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where she was lodged on a no-bail detainer. James Myers was cited to appear in court for Driving While Suspended and then released.
Posted on 3/11/24 10:06AM by Sam Marsh
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