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Thousands of federal drug inmates set for early release
(MGN Online Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of federal inmates serving sentences for drug crimes are set for early release next month under a cost-cutting measure intended to reduce the nation's prison population.

The more than 5,500 inmates set to go free in November are among the first of what could eventually be tens of thousands eligible for release. The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted last year to retroactively apply substantially lower recommended sentences for those convicted of drug-related felonies.

The commission, an independent panel that sets federal sentencing policy, estimated the prison terms would be cut by an average of 25 months.

Under the program, a judge reviews each prisoner's case to decide if his or her release would jeopardize public safety. Most of those eligible for consideration have already served 10 years or more.

The Justice Department estimates that roughly 40,000 prisoners could benefit from the program in the coming years.

The changes are part of a national bipartisan effort to rethink decades-long sentences for drug offenders, who are roughly half the federal prison population.

Reform advocates have long criticized sentencing disparities rooted in 1980s War on Drugs legislation that targeted crack cocaine.

The Justice Department issued new clemency criteria last year designed to encourage thousands of additional inmates to seek an early release. Two years ago, then-Attorney General Eric Holder directed federal prosecutors to avoid seeking mandatory minimum sentences — which limit the discretion of judges to impose shorter sentences — for nonviolent drug offenders.

Though sentencing guidelines are advisory rather than mandatory, judges still rely heavily on them in deciding on prison sentences. The guidelines recommend sentences that factor in the types and quantities of the drugs. The commission in April voted to lower recommended sentences across all types of drug offenses — meaning, for instance, that a cocaine package of a given size would now be linked to a shorter range of punishment than before.

Josephine County Fire Departments Suffer From Sheriff Budget Cuts
The Rural Metro Fire Department says they won't enter unsafe scenes, 10/06/15, (KTVL/Megan Allison)

By Megan Allison/KTVL.com

Grants Pass, Ore. --

Limited funding at the Josephine County Sheriff's Office is causing problems for local fire stations. Mike Shaw at Rural Metro Fire said his department will sometimes be called to unsafe scenes when the Sheriff's Office doesn't respond.

"It's an unfortunate situation in our county with the lack of law enforcement and sheriff's office availability. If we don't have somebody to clear that scene we're not gonna go in," he said.

Jim Hamilton is the Deputy Chief of Police in Grants Pass. He said when the first non-levy to the sheriff was voted down, the office could no longer fund 24-hour shifts.

"When there's no units available for them to respond they're limited in how many hours they can put people out. They're out there as much as they can but it only goes so far when you don't have the money to keep people out there," Hamilton said.

But he said calling the fire department to crime scenes is not the answer.

"They're not equipped with defensive weapons or anything like that, that would help in that situation. They're also not trained really to handle a domestic violence situation, or a robbery, or something like that," Hamilton said.

Shaw said if they know law enforcement is coming they will stay until the scene is clear. He said his team has learned to ask more questions to prevent going to unsafe scenes.

"We've been training our guys better to ask more questions of the dispatcher. Have the dispatcher ask more questions of the call-taker find out what's going on with the situation, if there's any information that just doesn't seem right then our guys need to look into it further," Shaw said.

UCC Scams & How To Donate Securely
There are almost 2,500 different GoFundMe accounts all with the keywords "UCC Shooting" in Medford, Oregon, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (KTVL/Ariana Rakhshani)

By Ariana Rakhshani/KTVL.com

MEDFORD, Ore.-- When victims of last week's shooting need help the most, some are taking advantage. They are trying to make fast cash.

There have been several fake accounts set up through GoFundMe. The crowdfunding site would not give an exact number as to how many scams have been found so far.

It said it put additional screening measures in place--to keep money from getting into the wrong hands.

"Unfortunately, whenever we have situations like this--whenever there's a huge outcry and a huge outpouring of people wanting to donate money--in the middle of that somewhere there's going to be someone trying to make a buck on the side, trying to scam somebody," Sergeant Brent Mak with Medford Police said.

One of the UCC shooting survivors, Chris Mintz, has raised almost $800,000 through GoFundMe. The site said that page is legitimate.

Mak said the most secure place to donate is at a bank. There are relief funds set up at Umpqua Bank and Rogue Credit Union.

Rogue Credit Union has raised more than $8,500, and all of that money will go straight to the families affected by the shooting. The bank also donated $7,500.

"The hope is to raise as much money as possible to get as many donations to the families affected, so they don't have to spend a dime of their own money for the funeral costs, the medical expenses," Rogue Credit Union's Chris Gray said. "Some of those families will have expenses for years to come, and it would be great if we could help them out with those."

Umpqua Bank has raised about $300,000 and it has donated $25,000 to the cause.

To donate, go to either of those banks, or click here to donate online through Rogue Credit Union.

Police: Grants Pass teen arrested, intended to confront an officer
(MGN Online Photo)

By KTVL Staff/KTVL.com

GRANTS PASS, Ore.-- Grants Pass Department of Public Safety arrested a 15-year-old teenager on Tuesday after police believe there was intent to force an armed encounter with an officer while wearing body armor in late September and made threats against members of law enforcement, according to a press release.

The teen, who was enrolled in North Valley High School, was arrested on charges of attempted menace, attempted unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of body armor.

Police were contacted Sunday about concern over the teenager's behavior and his obsession with law enforcement, firearms and police vehicles.

An investigation into threats against non-specific members of Josephine County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police and Grants Pass Department of Public Safety revealed that the teenager attempted to confront who he believed was a police officer in late September at a home in the 6000 block of Monument Drive, according to the press release.

The press release says that the teen retrieved body armor and a handgun from his home, but the teenager never confronted who he thought was an officer. The press release says that they believe the teen intended to cause an armed encounter.

The teenager was taken into custody Tuesday morning. A search warrant for his home was issued and officials seized three firearms, ammunition and a large amount of kevlar body armor, according to the press release.

The teenager is being held in juvenile detention.

SOU to host UCC support events Thursday
By KTVL Staff/KTVL.com

ASHLAND, Ore.-- Southern Oregon University will host three events October 8 on the Ashland campus to show support for Umpqua Community College.

A vigil will be held at 10 a.m. at The Third Eye on the Britt Lawn. The press release says the vigil will provide an opportunity to share thoughts and reactions to the shooting. Members of local faith communities as well as personnel from SOU. Open to the public.

At 11 a.m., a barbecue and fundraiser for UCC will be held at Stevenson Union Courtyard. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to support victims' families in Roseburg. Open to the public.

A community meeting for SOU students, faculty and staff only will be held at 2 p.m. in Hannon Library 352 to discuss concerns brought up by the shooting.

Parking will be free on campus until 2 p.m.

Officials: Man arrested for sexually abusing teen
Photo courtesy Jackson County Sheriff's Office

By KTVL Staff/KTVL.com

TALENT, Ore.-- A Talent man has been arrested following a three week investigation on suspicion of sexually abusing a teenager and detectives believe there may be more victims, according to a press release from Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

Maitland Kamaunu, 20, has been charged with Sodomy in the second degree, Sodomy in the third degree, Rape in the second degree, Rape in the third degree, Sexual abuse in the first degree, Sexual abuse in the second degree, and Unlawful delivery of marijuana to a minor.

Officials say that the investigation shows that Kamaunu met the teen on Facebook. They met in person later, where he provided her with marijuana and then sexually abused her.

Kamaunu turned himself in after being notified of the pending charges, according to the press release. Kamaunu was charged of similar crimes by Medford Police in March with another victim, according to detectives.

Detectives say Kamaunu has used these profile names to communicate with teenagers on Facebook: “Maitland Kamaunu,” “YungSteez Kahikinao’kala Traplife,” “Galexy Steez,” “Maity Kamaunu,” “Prawduct Kamaunu,” and “Anthony Steez.”

Kaumaunu may have also used other forms of social media, according to the press release.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 541-774-6800 and reference case 15-17331.

Information of the victim's age and location will not be released to protect her identity.

Oregon community colleges to hold vigils for Umpqua Community College
By KTVL Staff/KTVL.com

MEDFORD-- Community colleges throughout Oreogn are holding candlelight vigils Wednesday Oct. 7 from 5 to 7 pm in remembrance of the tragedy at Umpqua Community college.

Colleges participating:

  • Rogue Community College (All campuses)
  • Clackamas Community College 
  • Chemeketa Community College 
  • Columbia Gorge Community College  
  • Klamath Community College 
  • Linn Benton Community College 
  • Mt. Hood Community College 
  • Portland Community College (all campuses, Cascade, Rock Creek, Sylvania, and Southeast) 
  • Southwestern Oregon Community College

Participants are encouraged to wear green.

The RCC vigil is open to the entire community and the RCC Association of Student Government will provide candles, ribbons and tissues for all who attend. Security will be at all three locations of RCC.

Locations for RCC vigils:
  • Grants Pass Redwood Campus: the Rogue Bowl. 
  • Medford Riverside Campus: the Plaza outside the bookstore on the corner of 8th and Bartlett. 
  • White City Tablerock Campus: east entrance by the bookstore. 

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