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Year in Review: December

*Dec. 6 marked the first time the commissioners granted a request by a landowner living within the Josephine Community Library District to opt out of paying their taxes. The tax is $0.39 per $1,000 assessed property value. Mike Pelfry and his wife Winnie argued the library does not benefit their property; Board Chair Baertschiger and Commissioner West agreed while Commissioner DeYoung voted against the decision. Library proponents argued the couple does benefit from services and the increase of property value linked to libraries.
*Lil Pantry signage was a tall topic at the Cave Junction City Council meeting held Dec. 11 at City Hall. The first reading of Ordinance 602 took place, which would amend the city’s municipal code to place restrictions on portable signage for businesses. This ordinance includes a one portable sign per business limit, places firmer regulations on signage size, and also includes that signs be no more than 10 feet from a business’s entrance. Ultimately, it was decided that the ordinance needs to be rewritten again to address some of the council’s concerns and take into consideration Cave Junction’s size and the layouts of local businesses.
*After the commissioners’ unprecedented decision Dec. 6 to grant a local couple’s petition to withdraw their property from the Josephine Community Library District, and the associated taxes, four more families submitted petitions to follow suit, which the board considered at their Dec. 13 meeting. They voted to continue the matter to a future meeting after being informed by a citizen participant of possible legal violations pertaining to their actions. The district one day prior had reportedly been poised to file an injunction with the Josephine County Circuit Court to prevent other property owners from opting out of taxes.
*Illinois Valley Fire District responded to a single vehicle incident in the 100 block of White School House Rd. Dec. 7 for a vehicle that crashed into a tree. According to a press release from IVFD, one critical patient was transported to the hospital and the other occupant was deceased at the scene. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting the investigation.
*According to a press release sent midday Dec. 4 to Senator Robinson and Rep. Lily Morgan, the state announced the closing of the Cave Junction DMV office. DMV’s decision to close the Cave Junction office and refer customers to Grants Pass was made by balancing multiple factors- including an expiring office lease, plus building and technology constraints-with the desire to provide consistent customer service to the region.
*A trash fire was extinguished in the 100 block of S Boundry Ave. Tuesday, Nov. 28. According to the Illinois Valley Fire District, the fire was originally responded to as a grass fire but responders found a 10×10 trash fire involving tires.

*On Dec. 8 a two vehicle incident occurred at the intersection of Caves Highway and Laurel Road. According to the release from IVFD. One person was transported by AMR, and the roadway was shut down for a few minutes. Scene will be turned over to OSP, for the investigation. Jerry’s Tow removed the vehicles from the scene.
*The Illinois Valley Fire District honored members for years of service. Deputy Chief/EMT-I Jeff Gavlik for 29 years. Firefighter/EMT Collin LeMasters with four years. Firefighter/EMT Ryan Hartman for two years. Chief John Holmes would like to thank Deputy Chief Gavlik, Hartman and LeMasters for their dedication to IVFD and the Illinois Valley!
*Between the evening of Nov. 27 and early morning of Nov. 28, the Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserves was the victim of a large-scale burglary. Multiple items of property belonging to the National Park Service were taken during the crime. A black Can Am UTV, a large dump trailer, and a Tool CAT were taken along with a variety of other assets. The estimated value of the stolen property is in excess of $100,000. Additionally, during the burglary the perpetrators intentionally cut down trees within the park damaging resources in the monument.