Year in Review: June

*Illinois Valley Wellness Resources introduced a program to give away new air purifiers to those who qualify. IVWR Programs Director Laura Mancuso submitted a grant application to the Oregon Health Authority under their emergency preparedness and environmental health program and was awarded $65,000 to invest in air purifiers and replacement filters.
*Evergreen Elementary kindergarten teacher Suzie Garman retired after 31 years of service. There was a retirement celebration coordinated by parents of her current 2022 – 2023 class at Jubilee Park Saturday, June 3. Incredibly, Garman spent all 31 years of her teaching career at Evergreen Elementary School in the kindergarten class. She had a yearbook present of almost all of the classes she taught over the years. “I want to thank all the families over the years that made my career successful and a special thanks to the 2022-2023 class of moms that coordinated my retirement party,” said Garman.
*After a dramatic overhaul of Josephine County’s budget for the 2023/24 fiscal year, four budget committee hearings and still more cuts that totaled $2.1 million after amendments were made to the proposed budget, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the budget at their May 31 weekly business session.
*Cave Junction continues to expand its housing construction sector. Since 2017, one hundred and seventeen new homes have been built here. But the recent increase in mortgage interest rates may have started to cool things down.
*The nonprofit Illinois Valley Living Solutions partnered with the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization to deliver a presentation to community members regarding the planned transitional housing facility I.V. HOPE Village. This presentation gave locals the opportunity to learn more about the regulations, goals and layout of the planned facility, and intended to put to rest any concerns fueled by rumors regarding this project.
*On June 6, the Illinois Valley Rotary Club Students of the Year were celebrated during the Rotary Club’s meeting at Wild River Pizza and Brewery. These students proved to the staff at their respective schools that they embody the Rotary’s core principles and values of truth, fairness, goodwill and benefit to their community.
*The Josephine County Commissioners drew a flurry of statewide headlines when they voted to strip local funding from the Oregon State University Extension Service and its 4-H program as well as terminate a decades-long service agreement over what they claim is a “woke agenda.” The vote was 2-1 to defund the 4-H Extension Service District and 2-1 to terminate the service agreement with Oregon State University. Commissioner DeYoung was the no vote in both instances.
*On Tuesday, May 30 the CJ Council voted to opt in to the proposed law enforcement service district. “The reason we went along with it (is) because our citizens must have law enforcement services,” said Council President Jean Ann Miles. “We have a lot of grows out in our area and a lot of cartels and a lot of people that would do us harm if we did not have sufficient law enforcement.”
*During the June 12 CJ Council meeting, Luke Galley of ZCS Engineering, the company behind renovations to the I.V. Library, expressed interest in using Grants Pass city codes dictating library parking to expand the library’s parking lot. The councilors declined the request, not wanting to set a precedent, which may have caused a slight delay to the renovation project.
*Outgoing school district board members Susan Fischer-Maki and Jamie Wright said farewell at their final board meeting. “I think that it’s very important for our youth to stay active and doing fun stuff and meeting new people and I’m proud of Three Rivers School District for doing that,” Wright said, and Fischer-Maki added, ““This is an amazing community and amazing district… Thank you for everything that you so tirelessly put into the youth and families of our community and to my fellow board members, thank you for allowing us to be here for the last year.” Both received plaques commemorating their service.
*The Hathkapasuta River Celebration had a good turnout June 24. Sponsored by Cultural & Ecological Enhancement Network, the weather was perfect for children to splash in the water and participate in hands-on activities from the Oregon Caves, I.V. Watershed Council, Illinois River Valley Arts Council and much more, all while listening and dancing to the groovy tunes of Sunrise and the Starseed Experience and the Frankie Hernandez Band.
*To offset budget cuts due to inflation and the need to direct additional funding to law enforcement, the county raised fees charged by departments at their June 21 meeting. Such fees were restaurant / water inspections; parole electronic monitoring program; play checking and review fees; notary fees; and dwelling development permit fees.
*On June 21, the commissioners decreed that JoCo Public Health will begin providing medical services at the county jail, rather than the private company that has done so, because the business is pulling out of Oregon. Public Health will use its operating funds to provide medical services to inmates, then get reimbursed out of the jail fund.