Local News

GP Police Captured Fugitive after He Wrecked His Vehicle into Another and Fled
Grants Pass Police captured an out-of-county fugitive last night after he wrecked his vehicle into another vehicle and fled the scene. The Police Department reports officers tracked down and arrested 41-year-old Stephen Nathaniel Lockett, IV, near the corner of NE 7th and Steiger streets with the help of an Uber driver on Wednesday at 8:09 p.m.. Police said a motorist was in the right turn lane at the F Street and Grants Pass Parkway intersection when both vehicles tried to turn right at the same time and Lockett crashed into the driver-side of the other vehicle. They said Lockett stopped momentarily and then fled, but he was followed by an Uber driver who witnessed the incident. The bystander called 9-1-1 and led police to the suspect. Upon contact with Lockett, police discovered that he was wanted on a Clackamas County felony warrant for failing to appear in court for three counts of 3rd-Degree Robbery and one count of 2nd-Degree Theft. Stephen Lockett was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant and for Hit-and-Run Causing Property Damage. Fortunately, no one was hurt -- but the victim's vehicle had a broken steering wheel and had to be towed.
Posted on 12/21/23 1:09PM by Sam Marsh

OSP Arrested Uncooperative Motorist during Contact on Interstate 5 North of GP
The Oregon State Police arrested an uncooperative woman for two crimes late last night during an encounter on Interstate 5 just north of Grants Pass. OSP reports troopers responded to a call for service regarding a disabled vehicle blocking a travel lane on southbound I-5 near milepost 61 on Wednesday shortly before midnight. Troopers said they located 55-year-old Rhonda Bentley-Lewis and her 14-year-old son in the disabled Honda Odyssey. They said the woman became agitated and refused to obey commands to get off I-5 to a safe location. She had to be physically moved off the freeway. Bentley-Lewis resisted arrest and troopers were forced to use custody techniques in order to subdue her. She was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct. Her minivan was towed into Grants Pass. According to OSP, the male juvenile was placed into protective custody and taken to the Hearts With A Mission Youth Shelter in Medford.
Posted on 12/21/23 1:08PM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Arrested Man for Breaking into Trailer after Receiving Eviction Notice
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for returning to a park and breaking into his trailer after being evicted from the premises in October. The Police Department reports officers responded to the trespassing complaint involving 71-year-old Russell Dewitt Coe at the Royal Trailer Park on Lewis Avenue on Wednesday shortly after 9 a.m.. Police said the park maintenance manager called 9-1-1 to report that Coe was intoxicated and had broken a window to get into his trailer. The manager had been told to call police if Coe returned after he had been previously served by the courts and legally evicted. Upon arrival, officers arrested Russell Coe and lodged him at the Josephine County Jail for Criminal Trespass. His trailer and vehicle have been filed as abandoned and they will be removed by the property owner.
Posted on 12/21/23 1:06PM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Incarcerated Woman for Stealing Beer and Harassing Store Manager
Grants Pass Police arrested a woman for stealing a beer from a Rogue River Highway convenience store and then harassing the manager when he attempted to stop her late yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers responded to a theft complaint at the Market & Deli in the 1,000-block of Highway 99 on Wednesday around 4:45 p.m.. Police said 41-year-old Gayle Lee Hooper proceeded past all points of sale with a beer valued at $3.89 and proceeded to drink it just outside the store. They said the store manager took the beer from the suspect and ordered her to leave. That's when she stepped on the manager's foot and punched him. Hooper was located a short time later at Morrison Centennial Park where she was placed into custody. She was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Physical Harassment and 3rd-Degree Theft.
Posted on 12/21/23 1:04PM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Nabbed Man for Stealing Beer and Drinking It in Walmart Restroom
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for the brazen act of stealing a beer from Walmart and drinking it inside the store early yesterday. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to a theft complaint involving 35-year-old Travis Carrasco Boget at the big box retailer on NE Terry Lane on Wednesday at 7:47 a.m.. Police said Boget selected an adult beverage from the shelf at Walmart, went into the restroom at the rear of the store and consumed it before disposing of the can in the garbage. They said the value of the beer was $3.37. Travis Boget was contacted, placed into custody and transported to the nearby jail facility where he was booked for 3rd-Degree Theft. He was held without bail.
Posted on 12/21/23 1:03PM by Sam Marsh
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Jackson County SO Provides Tips to Prevent Theft of Holiday Mail & Packages
Mail theft is on the rise this holiday season in Jackson County along with the rest of Southern Oregon and across the country. Nationwide from 2018-2023, United States Postal Inspectors have arrested almost 9,000 suspects for the theft of mail and packages. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office reports the biggest risk in our area is unlocked mailboxes along rural roadways, but thieves steal mail in cities as well. There are some steps you can take to protect your mail. Use a locking mailbox, get informed delivery to know what mail is arriving and when, promptly pick up your mail and try not to leave letters or packages in your mailbox or at your door for any length of time. Inquire about overdue mail. If you do not receive a check, credit card other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the sender as soon as possible and ask about it. Don't risk sending cash and be careful about what you send. Arrange for prompt pickup. If you cannot be home to receive a package, make another arrangement or use USPS Hold Mail Service. When shipping packages, use the Hold for Pickup option and the recipients can collect the package at their local Post Office. When mailing something important, consider requesting Signature Confirmation for the intended recipient. For more information on preventing mail and package theft, go to the US Postal Inspection Service website at "uspis.gov/tips-prevention/mail-theft."
Posted on 12/21/23 1:01PM by Sam Marsh
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Commissioners Put All Library Annexation and Withdrawal Requests on Hold for 60 Days
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners has put all library annexation and withdrawal requests on hold, including five annexation petitions on the agenda Wednesday and four withdrawal petitions that were continued from last week. Based on advice from Legal Counsel, the Board voted 3-0 on Tuesday to place all petitions pertaining to the Josephine Community Library District on hold for at least 60 days. During the weekly business session yesterday, Library Director Kate Lasky argued that all five petitioners had fulfilled the procedures required for annexation and said she considers blocking annexation petitions "suspect," adding that the laws for adding properties to an existing service district are different than laws for removing them. One of the library annexation petitioners commented that the deadline for the Board to take action on the requests is January 18th, which is sooner than the end of the 60-day moratorium. As part of the Consent Calendar, the Board reappointed Jennifer McGowan to a three-year term on the Josephine County Fair Board and it approved an order cancelling the December 27th business session due to a lack of a quorum. In Requests and Comments from Citizens, the Board heard from a large number of proponents for the sale of the Pipe Fork timber property near Williams.
Posted on 12/21/23 12:58PM by Sam Marsh
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Home Replacement Assistance for 2020 Labor Day Disaster Survivors in Talent Next Year
The Homeowner Assistance and Reconstruction Program (HARP) will be the first assistance available directly to 2020 Labor Day disaster survivors administered by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). The program is part of ReOregon, which is funded by a $422 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HARP assistance will help low- and moderate-income homeowners who still need to repair, rebuild or replace their homes. Those who have already completed repairs or rebuilding may be reimbursed in a future phase of HARP, if funds are still available. OHCS will begin accepting applications for HARP by the end of March 2024. One Southern Oregon organization will be conducting outreach and providing in-person support to help survivors work through the application process. ACCESS of Jackson County, NOWIA Unete Center for Farmworker Advocacy and Firebrand Resilience Collective are working on the Remake Talent project. In addition, Unite Oregon in Jackson County will be assisting with outreach work. OHCS recognizes how challenging this disaster has been and wants to work with survivors to ensure they have the resources they need to apply to the appropriate ReOregon program.
Posted on 12/21/23 12:55PM by Sam Marsh
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Chamber of Commerce Now Accepting Band Apps for 2024 Concerts in the Park Series
The Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting band applications for the 2024 Concerts in the Park season. The Chamber is seeking bands that have a strong stage presence, showmanship and sets appropriate for the entire family. To ensure proper decorum and expand opportunities, bands who have previously played at Concerts in the Park in Grants Pass must wait three calendar years to re-apply. Applications are due by January 22, 2024. The Chamber is also looking for individuals or groups at each concert to sing the National Anthem. This is an esteemed volunteer opportunity. All applicants must be willing to audition for Chamber staff. Applications are due by February 23rd. The Chamber would not be able to continue to offer this free gift to the community without the help of partners and supporters. Sponsorship levels are offered to fit any budget. There are several vendor options available for Concerts in the Park as well. For questions or more information about Concerts in the Park, please contact Christie Swafford at (541)-226-3101 or send an e-mail to "cswafford@grantspasschamber.org."
Posted on 12/21/23 12:52PM by Sam Marsh
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GP Physician and Medical Practice Settle Health Care Fraud Allegations with US
A Grants Pass physician and his general medical practice have paid $115,000 to settle allegations by the United States that -- on behalf of himself -- he submitted fraudulent medical reimbursement claims to Medicare, TRICARE and the Veterans Health Administration. According to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon, 60-year-old Wendell Heidinger and Optimal Health of Southern Oregon, LLC, paid the money to the United States Treasury. US attorneys contended that -- between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2020 -- Dr. Heidinger and Optimal submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare, TRICARE and VHA coded as "evaluation and management" when frequency specific microcurrent (FSM) treatments were primarily provided. Medicare considers FSM as an investigational treatment for which it does not provide coverage or payment. Medicare is a public health insurance program administered by a federal agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services. TRICARE is a civilian health care program administered by the Defense Health Agency. VHA is an agency within the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It's the largest integrated health system in the United States and provides primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services to American veterans. This settlement was the result of a coordinated investigation by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon, HHS Office of Inspector General and DHA.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:40AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Felon for Parole Violation after Stealing from Local Supermarket
Grants Pass Police jailed a felon for violating his post-prison supervision this week after he was caught stealing hundreds of dollars' worth of merchandise from a local supermarket. The Police Department reports officers arrested 58-year-old Jack Lee Osborne for the incident at WinCo Foods on NE Terry Lane on Monday afternoon. Police said Osborne filled a grocery cart full of items valued at nearly $450 and went past all points of sale while making no attempt to pay for the stolen property. They said he was detained by loss prevention and placed into custody by officers. Jack Osborne was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for 2nd-Degree Theft and the resulting Parole Violation stemming from a 2017 conviction for four counts of 1st-Degree Forgery and eight counts of Mail Theft. He was being held on a no-bail detainer.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:39AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Motorist for Hit & Run after He Damaged Vehicle at Hospital
Grants Pass Police arrested a motorist for hit-and-run after he damaged another vehicle and a parking post at Three Rivers Medical Center this week. According to the Police Department, officers were alerted to the incident at the hospital on SW Ramsey Avenue on Monday evening. Police said an investigation determined that 28-year-old Jarron Wood was trying to drive around a parked vehicle in the TRMC Emergency Room drop-off loop when he impacted the vehicle and ran over a parking post. They said he quickly backed up and departed without making an attempt to contact the vehicle owner or TRMC. Wood's DMV information was obtained via hospital security video and he was contacted at his residence on SW Bridge Street about 2-1/2 hours after the mishap. He told officers he thought he hit a construction cone and that it wasn't a big deal. Jarron Wood was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for two counts of Hit-and-Run Causing Property Damage.
Posted on 12/20/23 6:31AM by Sam Marsh
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