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GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Summer doesn’t officially end for three more weeks, but Labor Day is sort of that reminder that Fall is quickly approaching. It’s the last holiday of the season, and it’s the last hydroplane race of the Cal-Ore season. The Wild River Labor Day Regatta on the Rogue River. There’s really three key events on the Cal-Ore schedule: the Tom Rice Memorial Day Boatnik Race, the Lower Rogue Challenge on 4th of July in Gold Beach and then Monday’s Regatta. Tyler McGinnis of Gold Beach came into the race as the points leader, but he says he comes to Grants Pass for more than just hydroplanes.

“Every year it’s a big family-occasion, and we come over,” McGinnis said. “We camp, and oftentimes there’s 30 of us so it’s kind of a good closure to the summer.”
“Labor Day is the last holiday of the season,” longtime racer Don Burnison said, “and for some of the people, they enjoy coming to the river, spending the weekend on the river and getting to watch the races. It’s a great family sport, and everybody seems to get along very well.”

But someone has to win, and that someone was Tyler McGinnis. Jeff Lewis finished second. Joel and Justin Hood followed. McGinnis is on quite a roll this year. He finished first in the Boatnik, but a rules technicality cost him the first leg which pushed him back to third, but then he won the Gold Beach race, and he takes Monday’s contest and therefore the season standings. McGinnis has his own business in Gold Beach and was recently married so it makes this win even more impressive because he hasn’t had a lot of time to practice this summer.

“Well, this summer, not a lot,” McGinnis said. “I had a busy summer so not a lot of time to work on the race boat stuff so I was fortunate to even make it here.”
“This is his moment in time,” Burnison said, “and he is an excellent racer. He’s got excellent equipment, and he’s going to be dominant until somebody else comes along.”


MEDFORD, Ore. — The largest air tankers in the country were both at the Medford Air Tanker base on Monday as they fought the fast-growing Happy Camp Complex.

While these tankers are top of the line for fire resources. Fire officials say they are also not cheap. Each flight costs about about 38,000 dollars, 25,000 dollars in retardant, and another 13 thousand in flight time.

Officials say the tankers can carry up to 11,000 gallons of retardant per load,
more than double what other tankers housed in Medford can carry.

Most of the tankers at the Medord Air Tanker Base carry 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 gallons per trip.

The tankers are rarely at the same base at the same time, and officials say Medford is one of the only bases in Oregon that can accommodate both.

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This weekend’s cold front dropped temperatures down to the 80′s, but highs on Labor Day were much warmer.  Lots of sunshine sent temperatures into the lower 90′s in the Rogue Valley, and even along the coast in Brookings, highs were in the upper 80′s.  Warmer temperatures on the coast were due to the Chetco Effect,  which will continue for the next few days.

High pressure has been building in over the Pacific Northwest over the past 24 hours, and for the most part, that will persist through the week.  We will see a dry cold front try to make its way through the area, but the cold air may struggle to make a big impact.  This is the one forecast uncertainty across the next several days.  As a thermal trough forms in our region, very warm air will settle in, making it harder for the cold air from the cold front to push through and drop temperatures by a substantial amount.  Even with models predicting highs in the lower and middle 80′s (an almost ten degree drop behind the front), actual highs will more likely only be a couple of degrees cooler behind the front.

We will continue to watch the development of this warmer air and the impact of the cold front.  One aspect of the forecast that does look a bit more certain: the end of the week will be hot, with highs several degrees above average for both Friday and Saturday.  This hot, dry weather will impact the fire fights around the region, which we will also be monitoring.  The smoke forecast for Tuesday involves a strong westerly component to the wind, which will be pushing smoke and haze back into southern portions of the Klamath Basin and central Siskiyou County.  Other locations will be seeing lots of sunshine.

For more information, or to send me your weather pictures, head over to Facebook or Twitter.

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

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MEDFORD, Ore. – With Labor Day weekend wrapping up, people are hitting the mall and other retail shops for some last minute back to school shopping.

This year though shoppers are not just stocking up the pens, pencils, binders, and the latest name brand clothing, they are stuffing their carts with high-tech gadgets as well.

Connecting Point in Medford said laptops are still the number one tech item for back to school, but managers said they are also seeing lots of families coming in to purchase tablets and smart phones for their students.

According to the National Retail Federation, people spend more money shopping during the back to school season than any other time of the year besides Christmas.

This year clothing still tops the list when it comes to favorite back to school shopping items, with the average shopper spending $223 on jeans, and name brand t-shirts.  However, spending on electronics is on the rise.    The average family is expected to spend $211 equipping their child with the latest computer related equipment.

“Kids certainly going off to college certainly have to take technology with them, whether it’s a laptop, computer, iPad, tablet of sort, they have to have those things to be successful,” said Jeff Thomas, the General Manager of Connecting Point.

In 2014, more people are also skipping the store all together.  The NRF estimates 22 percent of back to school shoppers are buying what they need online, using their smart phones or tablets.

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PROSPECT, Ore. — All 4,000 feet of the runway at the  Prospect State Airport are being used by helicopters to aid in the firefight, as they bring both crews and supplies right to the fire line.

Helicopters dotted the sky above prospect, constantly returning to the helibase to fill up on supplies before heading right back out. More than 400 firefighters are spending the night at the fire line, and the best way to get resources to them is by air.

“The majority of our firefighters are not returning here to the fire camp at night.  They are staying out on or near the fire line in the wilderness because it’s so far to get in there and get out every day,” said 790 Fire public information officer Jeanne Klein.

Originally a fire caused by lightning from a late July thunderstorm, the 790 fire has been burning ever since.

“Also, at the time this was started, there was a very high demand for resources- meaning crews and personnel to fight the fires. So these were prioritized and all the fires are out and this is the last remaining fire,” said Klein.

The Prospect State Airport has been closed to local pilots for weeks.

“Every other day or so he calls and says ‘what’s going on? Can I come in?’ and I say ‘no!’” said airport manager Walter Ridge.

Ridge said helibases have been set up here before, but not to this extent.

“We didn’t have the transporting of men out of here like they’ve been doing now,” said Ridge.

Steep and challenging terrain has led most crews to be flown to the fire. That same terrain is also working to fire fighter’s advantage.

“Rock out cropping and a lot of natural features that are causing the fire, when they run into those features, the fire activity lessens,” said Klein.

“For now, there’s no timeline as to when the Prospect State Airport will re-open, because it all depends on progress on the firefight.”

EUGENE, Oregon – Oregon quarterback MArcus Mariota, freshman runningback Royce Freeman and several wide receivers talk about Michigan State after Monday’s practice.

Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota:

Oregon Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost:

Oregon Running Back Royce Freeman:

Oregon Wide Receivers Coach Matt Lubick:

Oregon Wide Receiver Devon Allen:

Oregon Wide Receiver Darren Carrington:

Oregon Wide Receiver Dwayne Stanford:

rgo back to school shopping hot noteMEDFORD, Ore. — People are out and about this Labor Day getting in some last minute back to school shopping done. This year, 37 percent of people at least are browsing online for back to school shopping, according the National Retail Federation, which is more than ever before.

Connecting Point in Medford said they are selling smart phones and tablets for students, and laptops remain the number one seller.

College students are the ones spending the big bucks on technology, but middle school students and high school aged kids are buying new headphones and accessories because they use tablets, laptops and smart phones in the classroom for different activities.

Tune in tonight on NewsWatch 12 to find out what some of these tech items are going for an how you can have your child prepared for the first day of school Tuesday.

policeLEBANON, Ore. — Oregon State Police is investigating an early morning single vehicle fatal traffic crash Monday along HWY 34 near Denny School Rd. west of Lebanon. Oregon State Police is reporting that this was the fourth fatal traffic crash investigated by OSP troopers that has resulted in the death of five people during the Labor Day holiday weekend that continues through 11:59 p.m. Monday.

According to Lt. Vonn Schleicher, on Monday at about 3:50 a.m. a citizen found a crash scene with ejection along the south side of HWY 34 near Denny School Rd. Emergency personnel arrived on scene and confirmed 26-year old Bethany Leanne Wilson was dead.

OSP reported that the investigation showed a short time after 3:00 a.m. a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder driven by the victim was eastbound on HWY 34 when it crossed the centerline and westbound lane. The vehicle went into the ditch, returned back onto the roadway and rolled before coming to rest on its side along the south side of HWY 34. The victim was not using safety restraints and was ejected from the vehicle, according to OSP.

cnn kraft(CNN) — Before you throw cheese on your burger this Labor Day, you’ll want to make sure it’s not part of a new recall.

Kraft Food Groups is recalling more than 7,000 cases of Kraft American Singles. The problem stems from a suppliers “Out-of-standard storage temperatures” for one of its ingredients.

Four different types of Kraft American Singles are in question. Look for the “Best When Used By” dates of February 20th and 21st of 2015.

So far, no one has reported getting sick from the cheese.

Police-Lights-22-250x169DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. — A crash along Highway 138E about 22 miles east of Glide near Dry Creek in Douglas County took the life of two people on a motorcycle.

According to the Oregon State Police Sgt. Matt Bowersox, on Sunday at about 3:00 p.m. a 2003 Harley Davidson driven by Scotty Schull, 47 of Winston, was traveling westbound on HWY 138E near milepost 40 when the crash happened. The motorcycle went through a curve and it traveled into the eastbound lane and struck the side of an eastbound 2009 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup driven by Darrell Brintnall, 64 from Portland.

Schull and his passenger, Karen Black, 51 from Winston, were both later pronounced dead at the scene. Both were wearing protective helmets. Brintnall and five other occupants in the pickup were not injured, they were all wearing safety restraints.

HWY 138E was closed at the crash scene until 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Oregon State Police is continuing their investigation\

Below is some information from ODOT on crashes and holiday driving.

According to ODOT’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a brief look at Labor Day holiday traffic crash statistics in Oregon since 1970 indicates: 

* Fatalities average seven each year in Oregon over this holiday weekend. 
* Since record-keeping began, more than 280 people have died during this holiday period, making it the second deadliest major holiday of the year. 
* Alcohol is a contributing factor in over half of the traffic fatal crashes. 
* The highest number of traffic fatalities occurred in 1978 when 17 people died. 
* Oregon has never experienced a fatal-free Labor Day holiday weekend. Single fatality reporting periods occurred in 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2010. 

The Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and Oregon Department of Transportation offer the following safety reminders for holiday travel: 

* Be watchful for emergency vehicles and workers. MOVE OVER if you are approaching any type of emergency vehicle, tow truck or roadside assistance vehicle which is stopped on the roadside with emergency lights activated. 
* Get rested before you are tested. Fatigued drivers are more frequent during holiday weekends because of increased travel and activity. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination. 
* Stay up to date on road conditions by visiting or calling 5-1-1. Outside Oregon, dial (503) 588-2941. In work zones, even when workers are not present, all speed limits still apply and fines double. Inactive work zones still have equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway so drivers need to slow down and be alert. 
* Share the road. Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially at night. Bicyclists and pedestrians need to make sure motorists can see them, and motorists needs to make sure they are seen. 
* Watch out for motorcyclists, especially if the weather is nice. 
* Buckle up every trip, every time. Be sure to use child safety seats correctly. 
* Avoid distractions; don’t use a mobile device while driving. 
* Drive sober or let someone who is sober drive. 

Everyone is urged to play an important part in keeping our highways and city streets safe by immediately reporting aggressive, dangerous, and intoxicated drivers to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865) or call 9-1-1. 

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