MEDFORD, Ore. — With just hours left in 2012, we take a look at the stories that ripped across the headlines in the later parts of the year.
Cuts to timber payments came to a head throughout Southern Oregon, when dozens of inmates were released from the Josephine County Jail without timber payments and with the failure of a tax levy to fund public safety. In late May, 39 inmates some with as many as 20 felony charges were back on the street. Meantime, more cuts meant fewer deputies patrolling those streets.
In the late summer and fall, it was ribbon cuttings and even a lei cutting of several big box stores. After years of debate, a Super Walmart opened its doors in south Medford in august. Just months later, the Northgate Shopping Center came to life as half a dozen stores opened in Medford.
In September, federal agents raided one of the biggest marijuana farms in Oregon. At the time, the owner of High Hopes in Ruch said federal agents took about 400 plants for 200 patients. It happened almost a year to the date after a group of state lawmakers toured the High Hopes marijuana farm.
In October, a Valley Cab driver was shot and killed by one of his passengers. Medford Police say William ‘Huey’ Huson was last seen working on Howie’s on Front Street. His body was found the next day near the airport. His car was found near Hawthorne Park. No arrests have been made.
A month later, a Jackson County Jail inmate escaped. Following Bradley Monical’s escape, deupties searched throughout Southern Oregon, offering a $6,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. He has still not been found.
To end the year, Mother Nature delivered some strong storms; from flooding in Brookings, with as much as 10 inches of rain falling in just 24 hours, to winter storms that shut down the I-5 several times during the busiest travel times of the year, even resulting in a 60 car crash. Right before Christmas, knocking out power for 20,000 people in Southern Oregon and Northern California for a week.