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ODF drone continues grounded

By Jessica De Nova/KTVL.com

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore.-While one local fire agency has been able to take advantage of a quadcopter for about one year, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has sat grounded for more than one year.

The Illinois Valley Fire District is reaping the benefits of one local photographer’s UAS hobby.

Fire Chief Dennis Hoke said his agency doesn't own the machine. It's property of photographer Dale Sandberg.

Sandberg uses a DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus. Each battery pack for this model can keep it up in the air for about 15 to 20 minutes.

For about one year, this UAS enthusiast has enjoyed recording Illinois Valley Fire crews and their work. Whether he's out getting videos of trainings, investigations, or a wildfire, Sandberg's hobby is one Chief Hoke and his volunteer crews welcome with gratitude.

“So we could do things smarter and faster and better we have a very limited staff,” said Hoke.

Meanwhile, ODF’s UAS has sat grounded for about one year.

“If indeed the process changes to enable us to be able to use the UAV on our fires this coming fire season we're all for it,” said Fire Prevention Specialist with ODF, Brian Ballou.

ODF owns its drone and to fly it, its operator, an ODF employee, said he needs to pass the Federal Aviation Administrations private pilot knowledge test. 

The agency hopes the proposed regulations for drones released on Feb. 15, 2015, by the FAA give ODF’s UAS operator permission to take off or at least practice without having to pass that test.

“We need the flexibility to be able to fly it, to use it, to find out what the problems are and figure out how we can resolve these things,” said Ballou.

 Once the kinks are worked out, the plan is to send ODF’s aerial scout through southern Oregon's forested mountainous country when flames take over the terrain.

“Something that's gonna provide us with information that'll help our firefighters in their mission to be safe and effective and if you can't be safe you can't be effective,” said Ballou.

Both Ballou and Hoke agreed, as long as safety and rules are top priority, the sky is the limit.

Jackson Co. pioneering specialty courts
Justin Matthews/KTVL.com

MEDFORD, Ore.-     The Jackson County justice system is using non-traditional ways of keeping people out of trouble.

There are four "specialty" courts.

they provide treatment services for people with things like substance abuse or those with mental health problems, instead of just lodging them in jail.

"Treat these folks differently that the traditional criminal justice route wasn't necessarily the best route for them and that there were better ways to help them make behavioral changes and gain stability," said Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Greif.

The newest specialty court is mental health court.

Judge Greif hopes to have the program's official roll-out by April 1st.


News10 Evening News Break Feb. 24
1. Local consignment shops not sure about their future after a new city ordinance takes effect. It was first created for pawnshops, but now the new law will affect other businesses. The Medford City Council passed an ordinance back in December requiring pawn shops and secondhand stores to hold property they purchased from others for 15 days before selling it to the public. But taking effect March 22, these businesses will also be required to take a photo of the property and upload it to a police database to help catch stolen items. But for secondhand shops, this means uploading thousands of pictures a wekk and because there is no price limit in the ordinance, that means things under $1 would still need to be uploaded. Failing to do so would constitute a misdemeanor offense. Kid To Kid owner Kori Forney says she wants to see a dollar amount added to the ordinance -- if the city council doesn't, it could put many consignment shops out of business. Some are already considering not following the ordinance. The City of Medford considers a secondhand dealer as "a person engaged in the business of buying -- or taking -- in for consignment from the general public any item of value." It includes, but isn't limited to, goods, wares or merchandise, new, used or for resale.

2.The Medford Police Department is asking the public to be on the lookout for an alleged pair of thieves. Officers say two people were caught on surveillance stealing goods from the WalMart on Center Drive. They say when the two were confronted by employees, they sped off with the stolen items in a black Honda. If you have any information, contact Medford police officers.

3. A new exhibit at Kid Time takes children to the grocery store. The new Sherm's Food-4-Kids exhibit opened at Kid Time in Medford today. It is part of facility's next phase of development. Food-4-Kids teaches children about nutrition, early learning and school readiness. Kid Time will be replacing and building new exhibits throughout the museum in hopes of incorporating more art and music. It all comes after a financial struggle, figuring out ways to keep the doors open. One of those ways was to launch a Kid Time preschool in September. The preschool is full-time and enrollment is nearly full. It is a big peice in Kid Time's long-term sustainability plan. The museum also added an outdoor space and, like the new Sherm's exhibit, the museum plans on collaborating with other businesses in the community to help the facility's growth.

4.The Klamath County Sheriff's Office made a second arrest in connection to the murder of a Klamath Falls man. Deputies arrested Barbara Bareilles of Eureka yesterday. Donald Black was shot and killed in his home last month. Joseph Woodward was arrested the day after the shooting.

5. Siskiyou County sheriff's deputies arrested a man trying to flee early this morning. The sheriff's office says Sage Barlow of Mount Shasta had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest. When he was found, he ran away on Highway 97 toward Ray's Food Place. Deputies used a K9 to catch him. He was transported to the hospital and booked in jail.

6. Two separate stolen artifact investigations in Klamath County. Police say artifacts were found in two separate cases last week. State troopers initially told News10 they arrested Douglas Cotallese, but they clarified that he has not been arrested, yet.

7.Jackson County ballots are out with voters deciding on a local tax for the sale of marijuana. It is not often Jackson County sees a special election in March, but Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker said Measure 15-133 to tax marijuana on the local level is gaining voters' attention. The measure has four different taxes proposed for the sale and production of medical and non-medical marijuana. Walker says this election is going to be different from any other she has been a part of, pulling in at least a 50 percent of the voters in Jackson County. The deadline to turn in ballots is March 10. Walker wants to remind voters to remember to sign their ballot before dropping it off.

8. Jackson County Measure 15-133 to tax marijuana within county limits has four different taxes proposed for the sale of medical and recreational marijuana. It would put a $35 tax on every ounce of medical pot flowers, $10 per ounce of medical pot leaves and $5 for every ounce of immature medical cannabis plant. Recreational pot would be the same, but since it will already be taxed at the state level, you would double everything.

9. A developing story tonight -- two dogs dead after a fire started in a Medford home this afternoon. Firefighters got the call for the home on Parkview Court. Medford's fire chief says it looked like it started in the kitchen. The firefighters were able to get the fire out quickly. No one was hurt. The cause is not clear at this time.

10. A judge set a trial date for William Parkerson. He is the man accused of shooting Klamath County Sheriff Deputy Jason Weber in the face.; His case will go to trial July 20. He faces attempted murder charges.

11. Crimestoppers: The man who robbed Abby's Pizza in Grants Pass and stabbed the store manager remains on the loose. Police say he got away with cash from the Abby's on Williams Highway just before 10 p.m. last Friday night. He used a knife tos tab the manager in the chest. Now police need your help finding the robber. The manager has been released from the hospital. The robber is described as a white man, about 25-years-old and wearing a white ski mask. The case number is 02-24-15. If you have any information on the robber in this crime, call Crimestoppers. Depending on the case and information given, Rogue Credit Union will pay you up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and filing of charges. You can remain anonymous.

Fire Kills Two Yorkies
Ariana Rakhshani/KTVL.com

MEDFORD, Ore. -- A fire in a Medford home killed two Yorkie dogs Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters responded to the call in the 3000 block on Parkview Court. Medford's fire chief said it looked like it started in the kitchen.

They got the fire out quickly and no one was hurt. The cause is still not clear at this time.

Medford Laws Upset Consignment Shops
Ariana Rakhshani/KTVL.com

MEDFORD, Ore. -- A city ordinance upset some second-hand stores in the community.

Medford city council passed a city law Dec. 18, 2014 that said second-hand shops are required to hold items they purchase from the public for 15 days before selling in their store, and the property must be photographed and uploaded to the city's electronic pawn reporting system, which begins March 22nd. These laws were put in effect to prevent more theft.

Kid to Kid owner Kori Forney said she does not have the space to hold items for 15 days, and she cannot afford to hire another person to take photos of everything that comes through her doors.

My Daughter's Closet owner Tami Abeloe said she does not immediately purchase items from her consignors, so she thought her business did not qualify as a second-hand shop that meets the law's criteria, but the law said any business that resells property must follow the ordinance.

Chief Tim George of Medford Police said he does not agree that this will make businesses go out of business, and it only takes two minutes to takes a picture.

Jackson County pushing a local marijuana tax
By Molly Trotter/KTVL.COM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- It's up to the voters in Jackson County to decide what they want to pay for marijuana when it becomes legal in July.

"To eliminate the black market we have to have reasonable taxation that will allow local communities to benefit from the state tax as well as the revenue from the local businesses," Brent Kenyon, a member of the Measure 91 finance committee.

Kenyon wants to push for voters to educate themselves on what a local tax could bring to the county.

"Will force the counties to a lawsuit paid for by taxpayers dollars just like the special election we are having right now," Kenyon said.      

Measure 91 states cities and counties cannot put a local tax on any marijuana, but the Jackson County measure on march's ballot cites home rule authority to make it happen.

Kenyon says per pound the black market wholesale price is anywhere from $800-$1000 dollars. Right now dispensaries pay $1,500, but if additional taxes pass in the special election dispensaries could pay up to $2,000 per pound.

"What we would see is a stronger black market and a failure of Measure 91 as we wrote it," Kenyon says.

Jackson County is looking to add up to 25 percent tax on the sale of marijuana raising the tax up to 55 percent on recreational pot.

"The board looked endless into a lot of testimony for adopting this ordinance we did it through a public process a public hearing and the board thought this was the best way to go about it in the unincorporated parts of the county," Joel Benton, County Council in Jackson County, says.
   
Charting new territory, Benton says they want to make sure the county gets the funds they need to keep up with the laws in place.

"The ordinance doesn't specify where the money has to be spent so it will be deposited in the general fund. the majority of the general fund dollars go into public safety and those types of things," he said.

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