13 January 2015
December 23rd shooting justified says grand jury
A Douglas County grand jury has found a Reedsport Police officer was justified in shooting a Roseburg man December 23rd.
55-year old Robert J. Jenkins of Roseburg suffered from schizophrenia and had stopped taking his medication according to authorities. He was the driver of a car that had been the subject of several driving complaints when it came to a stop in the middle of Highway 101 south of Reedsport December 23rd. The car caught fire and a bus driver approached with a fire extinguisher, only to retreat when Jenkins waved what appeared to be a handgun.
Douglas County District Attorney Rick Wesenberg said investigators later learned it was an Airsoft .45 caliber replica.
Reedsport Police Officer Richard Fauver fired eight times after Jenkins pointed the replica at him.
Jenkins was taken to Lower Umpqua Hospital where he died later that evening.
Emergency Dept fund drive moving
The drive to raise $5-million to fund a major expansion of the Emergency Department at Peace Harbor Hospital is progressing well according to organizers.
Kay King is the volunteer chair of the drive. She says they hope to make an announcement next week during a dinner honoring major donors. The Peace Harbor Medical Center Foundation team has set a goal of $150-thousand they hope to raise prior to that dinner.
King says ground is expected to be broken on the expansion later this spring that will more than double the size of the Emergency Department. It’s not uncommon to have emergency patients waiting in the hallways because all six emergency beds and the triage room are filled to capacity.
Governor takes oath
The Oregon Legislature is officially underway for 2015, but lawmakers won’t begin meeting in session until next month.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, already the longest tenured governor on Oregon history, took his fourth oath of office yesterday morning in Salem.
Democratic Representative Tina Kotek of Portland was selected for a second term as House speaker. She is the first openly gay woman in the country to hold the top job in a state legislative chamber. She’s also the first Oregon lawmaker to serve multiple terms as speaker since Republican Karen Minness in 2003 and 2005.
Democrat Peter Courtney was elected to a seventh term as Senate President. He extends his record tenure in the Senate’s top position.
Lawmakers approved rules and introduced dozens of bills on the first day. They’ll return February 2nd to begin the 160-day session.
Minor injury accident
It looked far worse than it actually was. A two vehicle crash just east of Florence on Highway 126 Friday afternoon sent one person to the hospital, but only briefly.
Witnesses said a westbound Volkswagon sedan crossed the center line and struck an oncoming Geo Metro ab out 3:30 PM Friday. According to police, both vehicles spun with the Geo rolling before coming to rest on its wheels.
71-year old Ann Linder Kemp was the operator of the VW… she was not injured. 31-year old Joshua Gambill, the driver of the Metro, was transported to Peace Harbor Medical Center with minor injuries.
Traffic was blocked on 126 for about an hour.
Future First Citizen Nominees
Five Siuslaw High School Seniors have been nominated for the title of Florence’s Future First Citizen. One will be announced as the winner of that title during the Siuslaw Awards Dinner Wednesday, January 21st at the Florence Events Center.
Jonathon Griffes. David Johnston, Lyndsay Keppol, Courtney King, and Emily Rosinbaum were nominated by staff at Siuslaw High School.
Gas Prices Continue to Fall
Drivers in Florence are paying 89-cents a gallon less on average for regular gas this week than they did a year ago.
The local average cash-price dipped by seven cents in the past week and is at $2.27.
That’s compared to the National Average price as measured by Triple-A which fell a similar amount in the past week and is resting at $2.12 a gallon. Oregon’s average price is at $2.34.