Local News

BCC Okays Collective Bargaining Agreement & Delays Animal Shelter Levy
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners approved a collective bargaining agreement and delayed a decision on whether to refer an animal shelter levy to voters during its weekly business session this morning. The Board voted unanimously to approve the collective bargaining agreement with the Laborers International Union of North America Local 737. The new contract with 75% of Public Works employees had been continued from last month. Public Works Director Rob Brandes said the three-year agreement includes a 4.5% cost of living increase with Josephine County picking up the 6% contribution to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). He added that the workers covered under this pact have agreed not to seek another cost of living hike for three years. A resolution to refer to voters a five-year local option tax levy for the Animal Shelter was tabled until next week because the language for the Voters Pamphlet had not yet been completed. If approved by the Board, a proposed levy charging 47 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value will appear on the May 21st election ballot. The weekly public comment period was both varied and lively. Citizens spoke both for and against the Animal Shelter levy, in support of the Pipe Fork property sale and for the proposed County Charter amendment. Also brought up by citizens were local school boards and the need for a Josephine County Fire Protection District. One man who identified himself only as "The Boss" was nearly thrown out of the public meeting when he used expletives in a rant against what he called "domestic terrorism" by the Board, Grants Pass City Council and Grants Pass Daily Courier.
Posted on 2/7/24 11:35AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Collared Man on State Warrant after He Stole Beer from WinCo
Grants Pass Police apprehended a man wanted on a statewide felony warrant yesterday after he stole a beer from a local supermarket. The Police Department reports officers arrested 40-year-old Philip Raymond Nerpel for the incident at WinCo Foods on NE Terry Lane at 2:09 p.m. Tuesday. Police said Nerpel was detained by loss prevention for stealing a beer. They said he provided a fictitious name to officers, but he was properly identified and then found to be wanted on an Oregon State warrant for Felony Parole Violation. Philip Nerpel was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the statewide warrant plus charges of 3rd-Degree Theft and Furnishing False Information to Police. He was being held on a no-bail detainer. Jail records show Nerpel was also arrested for Parole Violation on January 8th of this year and June 20th of last year.
Posted on 2/7/24 11:33AM by Sam Marsh

Grants Pass Man Arrested after Turning Himself in on Statewide Warrant
A Grants Pass man was jailed this week after he turned himself in on a statewide felony warrant. The Grants Pass Police Department reports 41-year-old Jason Andrew Williams was arrested at the GPPD station on NE 7th Street on Monday at 10:16 a.m.. Police said Williams came into the station lobby and stated that his corrections officer was looking for him because he was wanted on an Oregon State warrant for Felony Parole Violation. The underlying charges included Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Hit-and-Run Causing Property Damage and Criminal Mischief. After the warrant was confirmed with Williams' corrections officer, he was placed into custody and transported to the Josephine County Jail where he was lodged on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 2/7/24 11:31AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Used Video Footage to Nab Man Who Stole Blower from Motel
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for stealing a leaf blower from a north-city motel yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to the theft at La Quinta Inn & Suites on NE Morgan Lane on Tuesday around 11:25 a.m.. Police said a motel worker called them to report his backpack blower -- valued at $900 -- was stolen. The worker advised that the motel surveillance camera caught a male subject taking the blower and driving away in a gray Nissan Frontier. A short time later, another La Quinta employee reported a vehicle matching that description was parked at the downtown liquor store on SE 8th Street. Contact was made with 69-year-old James Cecil Black who matched the suspect description in the video footage. The leaf blower was located in the back seat of his vehicle. James Black was charged with 2nd-Degree Theft and lodged at the Josephine County Jail. The stolen leaf blower was returned to the motel worker.
Posted on 2/7/24 11:30AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Wanted on Warrants Snared after Entering Local Police Station
A Grants Pass man wanted on two local warrants was arrested early yesterday after he entered the police station to retrieve some of his belongings. According to the Police Department, 29-year-old Kraig Dean Toothman entered the GPPD lobby off NE 7th Street on Tuesday at about 9 a.m.. Police said Toothman quickly left the building when he learned he was about to be arrested for two Grants Pass warrants that included charges of 3rd-Degree Escape and 2nd-Degree Criminal Trespass. He was located about three blocks away a short time later and placed into custody. Kraig Toothman was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrants and he was still in custody this morning.
Posted on 2/7/24 11:28AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Evicted 8 Campers from City Parks for Ordinance Violations
Grants Pass Police evicted a total of eight people from city parks during routine patrols this week. At Kesterson Park, Jacob Reeder, David Guest, Ashley Hanson and John Hanson were all cited for Illegal Camping when they failed to remove their campsites after 72-hour notices were issued on February 1st. The Hansons were also cited for Unlawful Use of Park Open Space and trespassed from the park for 30 days. At Gilbert Creek Park, Matthew Williams and Rose McLaughlin were cited for Scattering Rubbish and issued 30-day exclusions because it was their second such violations within one year. At Westholm Park, Caleb Rossiter was cited for Illegal Camping when he failed to remove his campsite after a 72-hour notice was issued on February 1st. He was also cited for Buffer Zone Violation and trespassed from the park for 30 days. At Morrison Centennial Park, Derek Hood and Maria Guerrero was cited for Buffer Zone Violations. They were trespassed from the park because it was their second violations within the past year. At Tussing Park, Glenn Miller was cited for Illegal Camping when he failed to remove his campsite after a 72-hour notice was issued at the beginning of the month. It was his second citation in the last year, so was issued a park exclusion.
Posted on 2/7/24 11:25AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police Jailed Suspect for Murdering Man at SE Park Plaza Apartment
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The Grants Pass Police Department has arrested a man in connection with a murder that happened early yesterday in the southeast part of the city. The Police Department reports officers responded to the incident in the 1,000-block of SE Park Plaza shortly after 4 a.m. Tuesday. Police said a male subject called 9-1-1 to report he had shot another man. Upon arrival of officers, 25-year-old Kiernan Fucci exited the residence and surrendered. Inside the apartment, officers discovered a male who was deceased from at least one gunshot wound. The deceased has been identified as 23-year-old Jhonathan R. Davis, Jr.. Grants Pass Police Lieutenant Jeff Hattersley said other occupants of the apartment were confirmed to be unharmed. He said there was no risk to the public and the incident was limited to the apartment. Kiernan Fucci was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on charges of 2nd-Degree Murder and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call the Grants Pass Police Department at (541)-450-6260.
Posted on 2/7/24 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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RADE Search Warrant Nets Drugs, Guns, Explosives & Arrest in Colonial Valley
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Assisted by multiple agencies, Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) arrested a suspect for drug and weapon crimes after serving a search warrant in the Colonial Valley area north of Grants Pass this week. On Monday around 4 p.m., members of the RADE team, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Grants Pass Police Department, Oregon State Police Explosives Unit and US Homeland Security served the warrant in the 300-block of Colonial Drive. The search warrant revealed multiple ounces of methamphetamine, eight firearms (three of which were stolen), US currency and illegal explosives including blasting caps and other destructive devices. The suspect -- 76-year-old Michael Edward Dills -- was placed into custody and booked into the Josephine County Jail for Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of Meth. Additional drug- and gun-related charges against Dills were referred to the District Attorney's Office for consideration. The RADE team is a multi-jurisdictional task force that identifies, disrupts and dismantles local, multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency and prosecutor-supported approach. RADE is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. It is composed of officers from OSP, GPPD, Josephine County Community Corrections and the Josephine County District Attorney's Office.
Posted on 2/7/24 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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OSP Arrested Woman for Causing Ruckus at GP Parkway & Parkdale Drive
The Oregon State Police arrested a woman for causing a disturbance on the Grants Pass Parkway this week. OSP reports troopers observed a female subject on Highway 199 at its intersection with Parkdale Drive on Monday morning. Troopers said 34-year-old Marissa Elizabeth Winters was screaming at traffic that was stopped at a red light at the intersection. They did not disclose what or why she was screaming. Winters was immediately placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct.
Posted on 2/7/24 6:13AM by Sam Marsh
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IVFD Dispatched to Chimney Flue Fire Already Suppressed by Occupants
The Illinois Valley Fire District rushed to the scene of a chimney flue fire in Cave Junction late yesterday. On Tuesday at 4:44 p.m., IVFD crews responded to a reported structure fire in an unspecified location. It was clarified to be a flue fire. IVFD officials said the occupants of the home had suppressed the fire prior to their arrival. Crews confirmed there was no further extension into the home. Officials said the fire was extinguished with no further issues. No one was hurt and there was no damage estimate available.
Posted on 2/7/24 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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BCC to Consider Collecting Bargaining Agreement & Animal Shelter Levy
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners faces a short agenda with two important considerations for its weekly business session this morning. Under Administrative Actions, the Board will decide whether to approve a collective bargaining agreement between Josephine County and the Laborers' International Union of North America Local 737. The labor union represents Public Works employees including road maintenance workers, vehicle service workers and mechanics as well as traffic control, road surface and vegetation control coordinators. In other business, the Commissioners will decide whether to refer to voters a five-year local option tax levy for the Josephine County Animal Shelter and Animal Control. If approved, the levy charging 47 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value will appear on the May 21st ballot. Today's public meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium.
Posted on 2/7/24 6:00AM by Sam Marsh
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GP City Council Prepared to Relax Restrictions on Utility Easements and Erosion Permits
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The Grants Pass City Council is preparing to relax restrictions on utility easements and erosion control permitting to help spur development of affordable housing. During its weekly workshop this week, a majority of the City Council signaled its intent to amend some development codes in response to complaints from the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Josephine County. The HBA recently sent a letter to the City of Grants Pass with a list of 22 items it considers detrimental to developing middle- to low-income housing including utility easements and erosion control permits. Those items were the focus of this week's workshop session. Grants Pass Public Works Director Jason Canady stated the current city codes and standards were designed to protect citizens -- but he acknowledged that some of the rules might be outdated, especially in light of new state mandates enacted to create more affordable housing across Oregon. HBA officials said private easements for water and sewer hookups give them the ability to serve land-locked parcels or those without street frontage. They also said the current rule mandating water meters in public rights of way should be relaxed to allow them on private streets serving new affordable housing developments. The City Council listened intently to the HBA's concerns and stated they would be relaxing some of the current requirements to help create more affordable housing in a city that desperately needs it.
Posted on 2/7/24 5:57AM by Sam Marsh
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