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Year in Review: November

*Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to a location on Redwood Hwy south of Cave Junction Friday, Oct. 27 for a landlord vs. tenant dispute. Oregon State Police Sergeant Walport of the major crimes unit stated that upon arrival JOCO found a dead body and called Oregon State Police close to 11 a.m.
*At their Oct. 25 meeting, the commissioners voted to suspend the acceptance of mineral exploration permits and mining leases. The county will refund the administrative fees paid by any organization with a pending mineral exploration or mining permit application, with the exception of the mineral lease application submitted by American Mineral Research, Inc. in May, which will be processed separately.
*Allegations of misconduct were leveled against an I.V. High teacher in mid-November, with unconfirmed rumors that an educator was trespassed from the property. If true, this would be the fourth incident involving teacher impropriety at the school in the past two years. School district policy prohibits discussion of staff performance at public meetings, which Superintendent Valenzuela reminded the audience of at the Nov. 15 meeting.
*The Illinois Valley High School football team had its first football playoff game since 2011.
In a muddy contest in Gaston, Oregon Nov. 3, the Cougars come out on top 16-12.
*The Illinois Valley Fire District Fire Chief John Holmes accepted the The District of the Year Award by the Oregon Fire District Director Association Nov. 2. The award was in recognition of the district’s contributions to its local community through several grants and assistance from the Oregon Fire Marshal’s Office. Holmes spotlighted five grants in a press release: $729,851 OSFM-Capacity Grant; $35,000 OSFM-Community Wildland Staffing Grant; $86,951 OSFM-Community Risk Reduction Grant; $22,105 Josephine County Community Benefit Funding Grant; $984,500 Oregon Legislative Assembly – House Bill 2588.
*Liz Paulsen, co-owner of Dave’s Outdoor Power Equipment, advocated for the use of safety chaps while operating chainsaws. According to the CDC, approximately 36,000 people are injured by chainsaws annually. According to Melinda Larsen that’s what nearly happened to her daughter Erica, who’d been learning how to use a chainsaw on their hobby farm just outside of Cave Junction. After the incident Larsen went to the shop to show Paulsen the shredded chaps and thank her.
*Josephine County’s local nonpartisan organization Citizens for Responsible Government held a public meeting at Wild River Brewery and Pizza Nov. 12 to discuss Measure 17-116, which will be on the May 2024 ballot. This measure would not only increase the number of county commissioners from three to five, it would also allow commissioners to be voted in by districts within the county. The aim of this rewritten charter is to provide Josephine County residents with more representation and control within local government.
*The city’s bulk water station had broken down the previous week, with the packet citing a cable failure as the source of the issue. Any hopes of finding a replacement cable were dashed when it was discovered that the manufacturer no longer produces this essential part. The only way that the public works department can fix it is to replace the entire meter.
*In 2024 a new preschool is coming to the Illinois Valley. It will be sited at Healthy U and is the brainchild of Healthy U Executive Director Sarah Kitting Children and Families Program Director Chelsea Hamblin. The opening date is set for April 15, 2024 but families can apply for enrollment beginning in January. Participation in the program has a maximum of 14 kids and will serve ages 3-5.
*As of Nov. 9 Josephine County Clerk Rhiannon Henkels said the law enforcement tax district measure was ahead by 332 votes. There were 444 contested ballots at the time; the district ended up passing. In a community meeting held in Cave Junction Oct. 20 at Wild River Brewing and Pizza, Sheriff Dave Daniel estimated the approximate $6 million will be used to fund patrol and dispatch services for the sheriff’s department, including 20-25 deputies, 6.5 dispatchers and 1.5 evidence techs.