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Medford Hosting Western National Softball Tournament Again
By Aaron Nilsson/KTVL.comMEDFORD, Ore. -- About 30 softball teams from Oregon, Washington and California traveled into Medford this week
It's the Western National Softball Tournament with the city.
Players and coaches all said they are ready to get playing.
Coaches and teams checked in at The Inn at the Commons and some said they can barely wait to get swinging.

"We're excited. The girls are excited. Just want to play. Get the first pitch and go!" Pete Vargas said.

Pete Vargas coaches the El Rio Riots team out of Oxnard, California.
He said his team usually plays games in deserts and played in Arizona last year, so they're used to heat, but he said his coaching staff still helps the girls keep cool.

"Just try to rest, so we cut back on field practices and then lots of fluids, water. No heavy foods. We try to dictate what they eat and when they eat," Vargas said.

The softball tournament was held in Medford last year, but the one thing different this time around is no smoke.
Last year, wildfires burning in Douglas County forced shortened games and short practices, but the city said clear skies this time around will make the tournament more fun for everyone.

"Ultimately it came off and everything was fine, but it just cast a pall on the tournament and I am just so relived we don't have to deal with smoke this week, so far knock on wood," Rich Rosenthal said.

Medford's park and recreation superintendent, Rich Rosenthal, said bringing all of the new visitors to town is economically great for the valley too.
Rosenthal said this tournament brings in about several hundred thousand dollars.

"A lot of these teams only play one game a day so they have a lot of downtime so they're looking for things to do. Parents and kids types of things. It really is an economic boom," Rosenthal said.

Coach Vargas said his players and their parents are not thrilled about the distance between southern California and Medford, but at the same time, Vargas hopes the team will one day appreciate the many places they've seen.

"We are hoping no matter the place we get, it's the memories, the idea of them being together and seeing other things besides Oxnard," Vargas said.
One thing coaches didn’t plan for was the new turf here at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Some coaches say their players needed to run out and buy rubber cleats today because metal cleats are not allowed on these fields.
The tournament runs through Sunday, August 3rd.

ACCESS and Other Food Banks Struggle During Summer Months
By Aaron Nilsson/KTVL.comMEDFORD, Ore. -- Medford food banks said summers are rough on food donations.
The demand is highest in the summer.
Some food banks reported record numbers the past 12 months.
ACCESS in Medford said it recently helped 4,000 families. 
That's the highest number ever for the agency in one month's time.
Nutrition directors at ACCESS said it distributes around 60,000 pounds of food per week.
Right now it's pulling from other resources to keep up with the demand.
"One way the public can help in terms of this particular time of year is, it's obviously past time for planting, but hopefully people are seeing an abundance in their garden and maybe in that abundance they don't need all of it and they can contribute some to the food bank," ACCESS Nutrition Programs Director, Philip Yates, said.
ACCESS said it continues its partnership with Rogue Recycling.
Customers can bring in one can of food to the recycling center and get one dollar off a bag of compost.
That dollar is then donated back to ACCESS for its food program.

ODF, BLM: 2 new fires reported at national parks
From Bureau of Land Management: Lakeview, Ore – Interagency fire crews have been responding to reports on lands managed by the Fremont-Winema National Forest, National Park Service and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). 

Two new fires were reported today, are the Launch Fire, which is reported to be 100 acres located near 4-mile lake in the Fremont-Winema National Forest at Township 36 Range 5 Section 5. Resources working this fire include 8 engines, 2 helicopters, 1 air attack and a hand crew.

The second fire is the Pumice Fire located in the Crater Lake National Park at Township 32 Range 6 Section 5 and reported to be 10 acres. There are currently 2 helicopters, 1 air attack and 4 engines working this fire with more resources being ordered.

The cause of both these fires are under investigation.

Suppression and mop-up efforts continue on the Ferguson Fire, approximately 30 miles east of Klamath Falls, Oregon is currently at 200 acres. The Klamath County Sheriff Department has lifted the Level one evacuation notification on the Ferguson Fire.

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