Year in Review: August

*The Cave Junction Farmers’ Market has a new, shady spot for local youths to gather as they learn about how they can work to create a more environmentally conscious future for themselves. Cultivate Kids, a hands-on program that aims to teach children how to develop sustainable life skills, teaches gardening, plant identification and composting.
*On July 26, the commissioners held a public hearing in the matter of adding a section entitled ‘Hazardous Conditions on Public Property’ to the Josephine County Code. “The purpose of this chapter is to protect the community by ensuring the county has better control of stopped vehicles, unauthorized objects and personal property left on public roads or public property that create health, safety, or traffic hazards,” the ordinance reads.
*The Josephine County Animal Shelter bestowed its annual Raskin Award upon Operation Rambo, a local nonprofit that connects military veterans with dogs who were rescued from shelters before being trained to be service dogs. Nancy Lindquist also received the Raskin Award for her volunteerism. Shelter Manager Laura Jensen remarked, ““Her scope of advocacy has ranged from volunteering at the shelter, transporting animals, fostering cats, helping with evacuation shelters, taking on TNR projects, chairing the Shelter Advisory Board and most recently she has taken over the Toby Fund after the passing of its founder and former Raskin Award winner Kathy Oxendine.”
*Josephine County Clerk Rhiannon Henkels sat down for an interview to discuss her responsibilities and challenges in a politically divided time when election integrity and those responsible for counting votes are in the hot seat. The duties of the clerk’s office include: conducting elections, keeping public records, recording land records and liens, processing property tax appeals, accepting U.S. passport applications and even issuing marriage licenses.
*Kalmiopsis Community Arts High School opened Aug. 28 with 26 enrolled students in grades 9, 10 and 11, and a limited number of spaces remaining. Local teachers Melissa DeNardo, Kaci Elder and Ryan Forsythe share leadership as teacher leaders; they developed the school alongside teachers Gina Angelique, Sara Kinstler and Kimiko Maglio.
*The Rogue River Watershed Council presented to the county Aug. 2. From RRWC’s humble beginnings in 2015, when it had two employees and a budget of roughly $450,000, the watershed council has grown to six employees and $1.56 million in annual expenses, according to Executive Director Brian Barr. The organization reported having 15 active streamside forest restoration projects.
*Aug. 2 was also the day the commissioners formally approved the law enforcement service district’s inclusion on the November ballot. “These are important times,” Sheriff Daniel remarked at the meeting. “This is an important issue. This is an important matter. We’re talking about something that is a foundation of our community, of our county: public safety.”
*The former Kerby Pines RV Park got a top to bottom makeover, starting with its name. Ken and Cari Wegner purchased the property three years ago and gave it the upscale name of Mountain Timber Estates. For starters, the Wegners demolished about 15 homes that were not reparable. Then they repaired and completely remodeled many others with new plumbing, flooring, painting, cabinets, appliances, hardware, and they resealed roofs. The homes were then put on the market for $75,000 or less.
*Early in 2023, nonprofits such as Max’s Mission, Emergency Preparedness, HIV Alliance, JoCo Food Bank, and JoCo Public Health volunteer nurses gathered in Riverside Park to provide food, COVID-19 vaccinations, Narcan education and kits, wound care, blankets, sleeping bags, pet food, toiletries, and anything else they could think of to help people in need. Soon after, similar events known as Pop Up Public Health Wednesdays came to the I.V.
*The commissioners adopted their new hazardous materials ordinance Aug. 9, which imposes penalties on individuals for illegally dumping possessions on county property. In addition to detailing the penalties created by Chapter 8.20, Assistant Legal Counsel Allison Smith also remarked, “This ordinance also directs the public works director, public health director and sheriff to work together to create a policy regarding how this ordinance would be enforced and how violations would be prioritized.”
*Harvey’s Construction was selected by the CJ Council to install the pending Jubilee Park Splash Pad Aug. 14. The contractor submitted a bid of $139,000 and pledged to provide 24-hour work site security until the project’s completion. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new additions to the park were slated for Sept. 2 at 11 a.m.
*This year’s county fair was praised by the commissioners at their Aug. 16 meeting. They called the idea to make admission free “genius” as attendance was very high. Commissioner DeYoung said he hadn’t seen as large a concert crowd since the Beach Boys came to the fairgrounds over 20 years ago.
*Illinois Valley Fire Chief John Holmes was recently presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the IVFROG during the District’s monthly Board of Directors meeting. “We wanted to express our deep appreciation for I.V. Fire District’s role in securing needed staffing and equipment from numerous funding sources,” said Cheryl Nelson, IVFROG Engagement Coordinator, who awarded Chief Holmes the plaque.
*A grant in the amount of $22,105 from the Community Benefit Funding Grant from the Josephine County Commissioners will go toward the purchase and installation of an emergency standby generator for the Illinois Valley Fire District: Station 4 in O’Brien. This will allow, in the event of power outages, engines to remain plugged-in and in running condition, garage doors to be easily opened and closed, heaters to continue running in the bays during the winter months, and will ensure that emergency communications are in ready response.
*The commissioners held the first of two public hearings on a proposed road service district during their Aug. 23 meeting. Public Works Director Rob Brandes said the purpose of the district was to funnel $600K in federal SRS grant dollars to the district’s fund rather than road fund, with the hope that doing so would keep that money from being deducting from PILT payments to the county.