Klamath Basin News, Monday, July 18 – 3 Killed in Highway 97 Crash; Illegal Marijuana Grow Operation Busted Near Sprague River

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The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald & News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insuranceyour local health and Medicare agents.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 93. West wind 3 to 6 mph. Overnight will be clear with a low around 56.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 95. Clear overnight with a low around 57.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 94. Light and variable wind becoming west southwest 8 to 13 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 91.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 89.

Today’s Headlines

Three Killed on Highway 97 on Saturday. Oregon State Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Hwy 97 at milepost 230 near the Silver Lake Junction Saturday afternoon. The accident left three people dead.

A Suburban was traveling south on Hwy 97 when the vehicle in front of them rapidly decelerated.  The driver of the Suburban, Andrew Castiricone  from San Carlos, CA, swerved into the northbound lanes striking an FJ Cruiser head-on.  The FJ Cruiser, driven by Ramsey Mohammed Mahmoud Shanbaky from San Mateo, Ca. hit the vehicle behind it, a Subaru, driven by Kevin Richard Smith  from Medford.  Another vehicle, a Lexus, driven by Robert Brian Anderson from Chico, Ca., sustained damage from the crash debris. 

The driver, Andrew Castiricone, and one of the passengers, Nicole Lindeman from San Carlos, Ca, of the Suburban were pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the FJ Cruiser, Ramsey Mohammed Mahmoud Shanbaky, was also pronounced deceased at the scene. 

All other occupants of the Suburban and FJ Cruiser were transported to an area hospital with serious injuries as well as the driver of the Subaru. 

The crash blocked Hwy 97 for approximately 3 hours.  OSP was assisted by Chiloquin Fire and Rescue, Chemult Rural Fire, and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Klamath County Sheriff’s detectives, deputies, and members of the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET) served a search warrant on a marijuana grow operation near Sprague River late last week.

The property, located on Curry Street, contained multiple illegal cannabis plants in temporarily placed “hoop-style” greenhouses. Illegal cannabis was seized and destroyed on site. Kenneth Wilson was on scene at the time the search warrant was served. He was interviewed and later arrested and lodged at the Klamath County Jail for Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, and Unlawful Use of Ground Water.

This case was the result of an extensive investigation of illegal/black market marijuana growing operations. For this site, there was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing. Klamath County Code Enforcement responded to the scene as did the Oregon State Water Master and Klamath County Solid Waste. In addition to the criminal charges, Oregon State Water Master and Code Enforcement found the grow operation in violation of their enforcement code.

This investigation is ongoing with detectives working on additional leads. No further information is currently available for release.

If you have information on illegal marijuana grow operations please contact us at mjtipline@klamathcounty.org

The death of a cow in the Fort Klamath area of Klamath County is attributed to a member of the Rogue Wolf Pack.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, on Tuesday, July 12, a livestock owner found a dead 11-month-old, 775-pound cow in his 400-acre pasture on private land. The incident was investigated that day. According to the report, “the carcass was mostly intact with some consumption of tissue on the rear hindquarters. It was estimated that the cow had died the night prior to the investigation.”

According to the finding there were more than 60 pre-mortem bite scrapes near the left elbow and on both hindquarters above the hock and at the groin, measuring up to three inches in length and a quarter inch in width. Pre-mortem hemorrhaging and associated tissue trauma up to two inches deep was found underlying these bite scrapes.

Unlike 2021, when the Rogue Pack was involved in the most deaths of cattle, this month’s incident is the first since Jan. 21, when the Pack killed a mixed breed livestock guardian dog inside of an electric wolf resistance fence in a private land pasture about 600 yards from a house in the Boundary Butte area of Jackson County. In that incident, investigators said wolf tracks were found near the dog’s carcass and it was determined at least four sets of wolf tracks entered and left the electric fence about 300 yards from the carcass.


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Oregon’s drug decriminalization oversight council is adding Josephine County to the State’s list of counties with approved Behavioral Health Resource Networks (BHRN) for support of Oregon Measure 110 — and support from its funding.

A BHRN is a drug addiction treatment and recovery program approved for viable implementation and State funding from Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act of 2020, also known as Measure 110.

Its Oversight and Accountability Council (OAC) now is including Josephine County among approved BHRNs in 27 county regions for drug treatment and recovery services.

Jackson and Klamath counties are still blue, and waiting.

OHA has a statewide map showing BHRNs approved for funding (in orange), and other BHRNs selected by the OAC (in blue) in negotiations for funding approval, such as Jackson and Klamath Counties.

The measure intends to serve people using substances or diagnosed with a substance use disorder with drug treatment and recovery services.  OHA says it was written to advocate for criminal justice reform “in response to the high rate of drug addiction and overdoses in Oregon.

Ross Ragland Theater is partnering with Retro Room Records to bring Paul Rodriguez to this month’s Ragland Comedy Night at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 24. This show is appropriate for ages 18 and up.

According to a news release, Rodriguez is a “friendly as all get-out, Latino stand-up comic.” He was born in Mexico but raised in East Los Angeles. He has appeared in dozens of TV shows, series, and comedy features and was a late night regular for several years on network talk shows.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to the theater’s website at www.ragland.org. The box office is open noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays or two hours before show time the day of any show at 218 N. 7th St.

Oregon’s Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is now available to anyone dialing or testing 988 on their phone. The program officially launched Saturday at midnight.

As a result, people in Oregon and nationwide who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis will be able to call, text or chat 988 to get compassionate care and support from trained crisis counselors. The new three-digit 988 number will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was established to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs.

The 988 number is easy to remember, like 911. 988 will be available to help people who are experiencing a range of behavioral health crises, including: thoughts of suicide or self-harm, substance use, or any other kind of behavioral health crisis.

People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

The 988 dialing code connects callers to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; a network of local crisis call centers throughout the country. In Oregon, 988 call centers are operated by Lines for Life statewide, and Northwest Human Services. 988 call services will be available in English and Spanish, along with interpretation services in more than 150 languages. 

Around the state of Oregon

Task Force Busts Black-Market Marijuana Grow; Arrests Armed Suspect Attempting to Flee; Seizes Nearly 3k Plants, Ghost Gun, Stolen Pistol, 1k Lbs. Processed Cannabis; Code Enforcement Fines Total $18k

JCSO Case 22-4007 – Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives including Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies and Medford Police Department (MPD) officers served a search warrant on a marijuana grow site on the 4100 block of Corey Road in Central Point early Thursday morning.

In Medford, an armed suspect attempted to flee the scene where over 3,000 plants were found, but the man was quickly detained hiding at a nearby property on the 3400 block of Randall Avenue.

The suspect was armed with a pistol and has been charged with interfering with a peace officer, resisting arrest, second-degree criminal trespass, unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful carrying or concealing of a firearm, and unlawful manufacture of marijuana. The suspect was lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

The property contained approximately 2,748 illegal cannabis plants in seven greenhouses, as well as approximately 1000 lbs. of processed black-market marijuana, and seven firearms.  One of the seized rifles was a “ghost gun” which means it has no serial number. These guns are often made at home with parts purchased separately and then assembled, making it difficult to trace. One of the handguns was reported stolen out of Florida. On the property eight subjects were detained, interviewed, and released.

The illegal cannabis was seized and destroyed on site. Detectives identified additional suspects and investigations are ongoing.

This case was the result of a months-long investigation of an illegal/black market marijuana growing operation. There was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing at this location. Jackson County Code Enforcement responded to the scene to conduct an independent investigation. Code Enforcement issued citations totaling $18,000 for unapproved marijuana production, unapproved greenhouses, solid waste, and riparian corridor destruction.

While regulatory agencies investigate permitted cannabis operations, IMET is focusing on the black-market marijuana trade in the Rogue Valley. IMET is a multi-agency task force funded by a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. The task force includes personnel from JCSO, MPD, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigations are open and ongoing with detectives working additional leads. No further information is currently available for release.

Missing Man Found Deceased Near Mill Creek Falls

It is with great sadness that the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) confirms that Cecile “Kim” Smith was located deceased today in the area of Mill Creek Falls.

Smith was located along with his dog by family friends that had came out to search for him.

JCSO Deputies and Search and Rescue were on scene searching as well and responded to investigate. Preliminary investigations determine that Smith had fallen in the rugged terrain.

Smith was recovered via helicopter and turned over to a JCSO Deputy Medical Examiner detective. Smith’s dog was ok and assisted out by the same family friends. Thanks to everyone that responded to help.

Alarming Number of Missing Women in Southern Oregon

May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'MISSING PERSON HELP BRING MARIAH SHARP HOME! Last contact: June 21, 2022 in Cave Junction Age 32 Light brown-blonde hair 5'7"/ thin build For any information that can help us find her, please contact her family (541) 630-0355 OR Central Point Police: 541-664-5578 #HELPFINDMARIAH'

Another woman has been reported missing in Southern OregonMariah Sharp has been missing from the Central Point location since June 12th, 2022. Mariah Sharp is 5’7″ – thin build – long light brown/blonde hair – light blue eyes. She has a tattoo on her upper chest.

The last time she had contact with her family was when she dropped off her daughter at their home on June 11th, 2022 and then was seen on her friends Ring Camera in Central Point right after midnight on June 13th, 2022. That was the last time she was seen. Her daughters birthday party was planned for the next day and Mariah never showed, called or messaged anyone.

Mariah then traveled in her red Kia car to Cave Junction, OR where she had parked behind Perfect Pizza for weeks. She was living out of her car in the parking lot behind the pizza place where the pizza employees had witnessed her staying there until June 21st, 2022 when they had seen her walk off from her car to never return and has vanished.

Her car was disabled in the pizza parking lot and eventually left abandoned. Mariah’s family filed a Missing Person Report with the Central Point Police Department in the beginning of July and posted her details on Facebook. It was then that the pizza employee saw the post and contacted Mariah’s mom to let her know he’s seen her and the details about her car being abandoned. Central Point Police reached out to the employee and has the information for the police report. The Detective is investigating Mariah’s phone and bank activity.

Mariah has never left her two minor children without contact and it’s not in her character to leave without a trace. Her two children, family, and friends need her back home, and is desperate for the community’s help to bring Mariah back home.

Please share this to spread the word. You can call the family at: 541-630-0355 or Central Point Department at: 541-664-5578 Case #24-22-4366 – or leave a PM on this Facebook Group Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/439056298111359

All AIC’s involved were transported to an area hospital for evaluation and treatment. All three of the AIC’s have or are expected to make a full recovery. The Sheriff’s Office will not identify who the involved AIC’s are as this relates to their private medical matters. The investigation into just how the drugs got into the facility continues this week.

COVID-19 remains widespread across Oregon. Consider spending more time outside with friends and family as much as possible over indoor activities.

If you are indoors, wearing a well-fitting mask – such as a KF94, KN95, N95 or a cloth mask over a surgical mask – offers additional protection. The current COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at preventing severe illness and death.

COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone 6 months and up; COVID-19 boosters to everyone 5 years and up. To learn more and find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit http://ow.ly/nnSn50JXhWb.

Wear a mask if COVID-19 symptoms, positive COVID-19 test or exposed to someone with COVID-19. CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels show many Oregon counties at high: Wearing a mask indoors is recommended. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines/boosters. Take more precautions if you're at high risk for severe illness. Medium: Consider a mask and other precautions if you're at high risk. Stay up to date with vaccines/boosters.
Two colored shapes, with faces, smiling. A dashed line heart connects the two. Text reads: If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

The new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is easy to remember – just like 911 – and offers compassionate care and support for anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, substance use, or any other kind of behavioral health crisis.You can also dial 988 if you’re worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.Trained crisis counselors are available 24/7. Available on every landline, cell phone and voice-over-internet device in the United States, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

Just Two and a Half Years Before Dr. Fauci Retires.

Anthony Fauci, 81, the nation’s preeminent infectious-diseases expert who has served as the face of the coronavirus pandemic response for more than two years, will retire by the end of President Joe Biden’s term after more than 50 years in government, he confirmed Monday to The Washington Post.

“By the time we get to the end of the Biden administration term, I feel it would be time for me to step down from this position,” Fauci said.

Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. In that role, he has advised seven presidents through all manner of public health crises, including HIV/AIDS, the 2001 anthrax attacks, Ebola, Zika and coronavirus.

After President Donald Trump publicly criticized Fauci and said he would consider firing him, Biden heralded Fauci’s decades in public service and made Fauci his chief medical adviser upon winning the presidency. Biden has leaned heavily on Fauci in his response to the pandemic, which has continued to spread rampantly throughout the country despite the widespread availability of vaccines.

Fauci has since said that the coronavirus is here to stay but that the United States needs to reach a lower threshold of infections to get out of the pandemic phase. The BA.5 variant has become dominant in the United States and has proved especially difficult to contain because antibodies from vaccines and previous coronavirus infections offer limited protection against the latest omicron subvariant.

[Fauci’s retirement from the limelight couldn’t happen soon enough for America. -Editor/BasinLife]

Fire Officials Warn Wildfire Fuels Are Dangerously Dry

Even though this spring made history by being one of the wettest on record in Oregon, now that summer has arrived in full force, fire crews say that an extra dose of precipitation is already drying out.

Bootleg Fire 2021

Local fire crews, along with the Oregon State Climatologist, are calling it a false sense of security. All that rain the Pacific Northwest has been boasting about during spring is now running low.

Now, the fuels firefighters watch so closely during the summer are dangerously dry. When you’re in the forest, you’re walking on what’s called the duff layer. This is where you’ll find pine needles, small sticks, and other build-ups. About two inches below that is the surface soil layer. Even further down is the root layer. It’s about three feet deep.

This is where the concern lies for fire crews. According to the most recent wildland fire potential outlook, parts of eastern Washington and Oregon are at a higher-than-normal risk for a wildfire.

Looking at the U.S. Drought Monitor, about a third of Oregon is still under extreme drought.

The Oregon Department of Forestry reminds the community as temperatures heat up this week, it takes all Oregonians to prevent wildfires.

Officials say to not park your car over tall or dry grass, know the burn bans before you spend time outdoors, and safely dispose of cigarette butts.

Road Rage Victim Killed Near Grand Ronde

(Grand Ronde, OR)  —  Oregon State Police need the public’s help to find a suspect in a road rage incident that left a man dead on Highway 18 in the Coast Range west of Grand Ronde.  It happened Wednesday night around 9 p.m.

The victim stopped to let the suspect vehicle pass when a passenger in the vehicle fired multiple shots, killing the driver.  A passenger in the victim’s vehicle escaped injury.  Investigators are looking for a black car with a round emblem on its hood.  The shooting suspect is described as a young man in his early 20s, small in stature with short, dark hair.

Juvenile Killed In Officer Involved Shooting in Salem

(Salem, OR)  —  Police say a wanted juvenile was killed in an officer-involved shooting Wednesday afternoon in Salem.  The suspect was wanted for a shooting at Salem Center Mall in March and a shooting in a parking lot at Columbia Bank last month.  

Police found the suspect in a car on Oak Park Drive Northeast and claim the suspect pulled a gun, leading to an exchange of gunfire.  The suspect died at the scene.  An officer was also injured, but he’s expected to survive.  The officers are identified as Brian Frazzini, Eric Hernandez, Ryan Morris and Adam Waite.  They’re on administrative leave during the investigation.

Cattlemen Disburse Wildfire Grant Funds to Affected Ranchers

2021 was another disastrous year of large and dangerous wildfires that swept through rangelands in many areas of Oregon. The loss of grazing ground and timberland were devastating but farm structures were also destroyed. We deeply thank the many dedicated folks that risk their lives fighting these fires and protecting people, livestock and property.

OCA Wildfire Assistance fund has been a gathering place for receiving and disbursing donations for Wildfire Assistance to affected cattle producers. In 2019 and 2020 over $45,000 was distributed for wildfire losses to affected producers. OCA received over $37,000 in donations to assist cattle producers and other entities covering losses and expenses caused by 2021 Wildfires.

Cattle producers were eligible for funds to reimburse losses incurred from 2021 wildfires. Applications were taken through May 31, 2022 to allow producers time to assess losses and costs. The majority of the funds will go to replacing fencing, burned working/loading facilities, costs of relocating cattle and horses to other grazing areas and purchasing additional feed to replace burned range land. The majority of the losses were as a result of the Bootleg and Cougar Peak fires in Lake and Klamath Counties and wildfire in Douglas County.

The applications were reviewed by the OCA Private Lands – Wildfire Assistance Committee and approved for disbursement. Total loss applications received were $128,886. 100% of the funds totaling $37,790 will be distributed to 7 applicants approved for funding.

Major donors were Grange Co-op, Northwest Farm Credit Services, BL & RA Hjort, Aaron Borror and Malott Livestock, LLC. A total of 34 individual and business donors contributed to the fund and many more donated at the OCA fund raiser.  OCA appreciates every donation to  help producers recover some of their losses.  Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

AAA Survey Shows Car Shoppers Still Hesitant to Buy Electric Vehicles

Despite improved technology and a reduction in purchase prices, Americans aren’t rushing out to buy electric vehicles. “Gas and diesel prices soared to record highs this spring, and that has made electric vehicles more attractive to about a quarter of all consumers, especially younger generations,” AAA’s Marie Dodds states, “But other factors, including the higher purchase cost of an EV, concerns about access to charging, and range anxiety, are still holding consumers back from going electric.”

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In the survey, about 25% of respondents say they’re next vehicle is likely to be electric, “The number one reason is to save money on fuel – 77% say that’s why they’d want an EV,” says Dodds. But, 24% weren’t sure about buying an EV, while 51% thought it was unlikely or very unlikely they’d buy one. 

The numbers haven’t changed much since a 2019 survey. Dodds says consumers are worried about the higher price tag for EVs, access to charging and, there’s what she calls range anxiety, “60% of Americans think electric vehicles can travel between 100 to 350 miles before running out of charge, which is true. These findings suggest the increase in range over the last several years isn’t enough to completely address consumer concerns.”

No surprise, younger drivers are more likely to buy EV: 30% of Millennials compared to 16% of Baby Boomers.

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Women Missing Since May between Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg per Oregon State Police

MAKENNA KENDALL                                   5/3/2022
ERICA LEE  HUTCHINSON                          5/26/2022                          
DANIELLE MARIAH SHARP                          6/12/2022          
KAITLYN RAE NELSON                                  6/14/2022                 
BROOKLYN JOHNS                                     6/14/2022
DONNA LEPP                                               6/27/2022  
BARBARA  DELEPINE                                    7/4/2022                     
KENDRA MARIE HANKS                              7/7/2022
CORI BOSHANE MCCANN                             7/8/2022
RAVEN RILEY                                                7/13/2022
TAHUANA RILEY                                        7/13/2022

Women Missing Since May in Lane County per Oregon State Police

BREISA RAQUEAL SIKEL                            5/3/2022
HANNAH MARIE RHOTEN                             5/17/2022
MARISSA ALEESA DAMBROSIO                  5/18/2022
LOUISA DAY AVA                                           5/28/2022             
AMY CHRISTINA SULLIVAN                          6/1/2022
NIKKI ELIZABETH  ZEREBNY                              6/6/2022
SHADOW STAR SEVIGNY                               6/17/2022
SHAUNA LEAH HOGAN                             6/17/2022
AIRIONNA CHEALSEY RHODES                    6/27/2022           
KARISSA RENEE ADAMS                                7/6/2000
VERONICA ESSYNCE DELERIO                    7/6/2022
AUBRIE HANNA STEPHENS                           7/10/2022     
LARA IVEY STEINMETZ                                 7/11/2022
SARA LINDSAY SCHAEFER                            7/12/2022

That’s 26 women missing in 2 1/2 months between Medford and the Eugene area. Four more just over the last couple of days. That averages out to 8 women missing per month in Southern Oregon.  https://www.oregon.gov/osp/missing/pages/missingpersons.aspx

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