lightningDOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. — A lightning storm moved over the Douglas Forest Protective Association’s eastern border Tuesday evening, producing about 100 lightning strikes, according to a press release sent out by the DFPA. As of Wednesday morning, one fire has been located on DFPA protected land near Tiller.

The fire is about 1/5th of an acre and is staffed. DFPA is also assisting the Umpqua National Forest with several fires burning near DFPA protected land. The Douglas Forest Protective Association will monitor the lightning effected areas for the next several weeks, using ground patrols, reconnaissance flights, and detection cameras to locate any additional fires resulting from the lightning.

 

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WEATHER DISCUSSION

It was a very active Tuesday across the state of Oregon as thunderstorms developed left and right producing frequent lightning, hail and heavy rain. About 1,200 lightning strikes were reported over Jackson County alone and about 4,500 for Southern Oregon and Northern California. I’d suspect the state-wide count would be roughly double this.

Storms traveled north, northeast through inland counties of our forecast area and those to our north. We’re still waiting to hear from ODF and other fire agencies regarding lightning induced fires but suspect a growing number of smoke reports to continue throughout the day as a result. As of 8am, I am hearing of 29 new starts so far.

Fortunately for firefighting efforts, skies will be partly to mostly cloudy through the morning …keeping temperatures on the cooler side. Also, rain is likely with a front traveling through the Northwest. The front will pass to our east by the afternoon and skies will clear some. Showers look to move through the Valley this morning, tapering off by lunchtime. Early afternoon will bring a few showers to Klamath County.

Isolated storms are possible with this front and once it passes …as skies clear some. Tonight, the clear conditions will allow for a cold night to unfold east of the Cascades. Morning lows will be in the 30′s and 40′s here. Skies will stay clear through early next week. Temperatures will then soar into the weekend. Triple digits are once again likely across our valleys by Sunday.

VIEWERS, thank you for sharing pictures/videos, etc. from the storms yesterday. Your reports are very helpful and we try to get as much as we can on the air! The easiest way for us to get your stuff on the air is through Facebook (not so much email)! Continue to send your stuff in & we’ll continue sharing!

Meteorologist Alyssa Caroprese

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — When thunderstorms move into the area as they did on Tuesday afternoon, Fire Officials with the Oregon Department of Forestry are prepared to use all resources they have available.

Lookout points are often perched on mountain tops, and the staff use their unique perspective to track storms, lightning strikes, and fires that can result from thunderstorms.

Laura Glasscock spends 24 hours a day in the Soda Mountain lookout, and keeps a close eye on each storm system that moves into the area.

“So we watch that process going on. We watch for the dark bases, and the height of the column. We watch for what direction it is going,” said Glasscock.

The Oregon Department of Forestry staffs the lookouts with the help of 30 employees each summer.

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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Danny Miles recently announced that 2016 will be his last season coaching basketball at Oregon Tech. Miles originally was going to coach for another four or five years but pushed up the end date for a couple of reasons. Ultimately, after more than four decades in coaching, Miles is ready to move on, and the 2016 deadline gives him enough time to smoothly transition out of his coaching duties.

“I’m not ready to get out right yet,” Miles said. “I feel good about the kids that are here. I don’t want to let kids down that I promised something to, so I feel very good about it. I got two more years to coach and then I’ll be turning 70 and 45 years coaching this game. It’s been a lot of great moments but it’s time to do something else.”

Miles said as much as he’s loved coaching, he’s looking forward to retirement life. He’s planning to get a house along the Rogue River and there are some things he’s actually looking forward to leaving behind.

“I can’t wait to never go through Christmas Valley again at three in the morning coming home from a road trip from College of Idaho, that’s going to be great and not having to go to La Grande, Oregon is going to be wonderful, so there’s a lot of things like that I won’t miss at all,” Miles said. “I’m not going to miss the bus trips or things like that but I will miss the kids and the fans. We’ve had tremendous fan support here that’s second to none and the people are really special here and that’s why I’ve stayed all these years.”

Miles said he’s confident that Oregon Tech will find a good coach to replace him, but once he retires, he’s going to have a hands-off approach with the team. Miles said he thinks it would be best to stay out of the new coach’s way and let that coach run the team the way he sees fit.

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WEATHER DISCUSSION

Thunderstorms and lightning strikes scattered the landscape Tuesday, and after a very active afternoon and evening, southern Oregon and northern California will see a much quieter day Wednesday.  While a few embedded rumbles of thunder are possible, most locations will see scattered to isolated showers with the passage of a cold front.

Along with Tuesday evening’s thunderstorms, a few locations reported small hail and heavy rain.  One viewer near Wagner Butte recorded nearly half an inch of rainfall in less than half an hour.  In Phoenix and Talent, residents saw some small hail.  There were several severe thunderstorm warnings issued, and in Siskiyou County, hail reached severe limits.  Ten miles southeast of Somes Bar, hail one inch in diameter was reported by a trained weather spotter.

On Wednesday, the thunderstorm threat will be greatly diminished, but a few isolated storms are possible.  The upper level energy that created the outbreak Tuesday afternoon will be out of our area, so severe storms aren’t expected.  Temperatures will be cooler as well, with highs in the 70′s and 80′s for most locations.  After the front passes, gusty winds are also likely east of the Cascades.  Enjoy the cool down, though…temperatures will be back in the triple digits in the Valley and northern California by the end of the weekend.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

7-22 rob webCAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — Cave Junction may have a small presence of law enforcement, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t eyes and ears watching and listening.

“You might out run the police, but you’re not going to out run Facebook,” said Cave Junction resident Tim Duffy.

A Facebook page with nearly 4,000 followers is updated regularly and has reports of suspicious activity or crimes themselves. Duffy has lived in Cave Junction for years and said neighborhood watch groups have taken off in the past couple years.

“The neighborhood crime watch that we have actually does help because they give you license plate numbers, the color of vehicles, what time they were prowling the neighborhood,” said Duffy.

Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said neighborhood watch programs may have to be relied upon if resources become even slimmer in the future. In the meantime, he likes the community coming together.

“The public is standing up and doing this on their own and they’re sharing this information and I think it’s imperative. I think it’s an integral part of community safety,” said Sheriff Gilbertson.

The sheriff said the only drawback he can see is if a person possibly takes it too far and an innocent person is accused.

“We do still have laws relative to slander and I’d hate to see someone with good intentions, get caught up in making a bad judgment call,” said Sheriff Gilbertson.

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GOLD HILL, Ore. – Brie Malarkey assists a flood of customers at her dispensary, Breeze Botanicals in Gold Hill. Her patients are the first in Jackson County to pay a sales tax on marijuana.

And in her first three weeks of business, they generated a lot.

“We were able to return $1,800 dollars to the city council from patients,” said Malarkey.

The tax, a response to concerns from the community, is now the sole source of revenue for the city’s still non-existent public safety department.

And while it’s still uncertain whether or not sales will continue at the same rate, city leaders say early signs are positive.

“If this revenue stream is somewhat constant, we’re talking about paying for half a cop,” said City Manager Rick Hohnbaum.

But that revenue stream could soon be off the table for other cities thanks to the same measure that would make recreational pot legal in November. That measure, proposed by New Approach Oregon, would give the state exclusive rights to determine tax rates across the board.

Now cities like Central Point, Eagle Point, and Medford are among those hoping to pre-empt that measure.

In Central Point, the city council is already preparing for a first reading of an ordinance that would place a 5% tax on a dispensary’s income, along with a higher tax on recreational marijuana.

Unlike Gold Hill, which saw an opportunity for revenue, they say their goal is to push aspiring dispensary owners out.

“The council was very forthright in their opinion that they wanted to create a disincentive for these establishments to come to Central Point,” said City Manager Chris Clayton.

Cities like Eagle Point and Medford, meanwhile, are just beginning their discussion around taxes.

They say it’s largely driven by the fact that they may not be able to do it come November.

“Our legal advice has been that if we don’t come up with something that we might lose the opportunity to tax it,” said Eagle Point Mayor Bob Russell.

But dispensary owners say the flurry of ideas creates an uneven playing field.

Once the market becomes saturated, dispensaries will be competing to serve a limited supply of patients, and some may have price advantages over others.

“I would hope that wasn’t part of their decision making,” said Malarkey. “Hopefully it’s just customer service and product quality.”

As of now, Gold Hill and Ashland are the only cities in Jackson County to approve medical marijuana taxes. Ashland is also taxing at a 5% rate, with a 10% tax on recreational marijuana. Although neither tax has actually been implemented yet because there are no state-approved dispensaries operating in the city.

Central Point is set to have a first draft of their tax ordinance on July 24th. Eagle Point and Medford do not yet have ordinances written.

Thunderheads build on the horizon near Cave Junction's Rough and Ready Mill

Thunderheads build on the horizon near Cave Junction’s Rough and Ready Mill

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — The owners of Rough & Ready Lumber Mill in Cave Junction say every time a thunderstorm rolls through southern Oregon during fire season, they are anxious to see if their privately owned forest land survives.

Last year they lost some land due to the Douglas Complex fire.

They say they manage the land by clearing brush and other fuels, but a threat of nearby federal land, which is not maintained as well, worries them.

Tonight on NewsWatch 12 at 5 and 6, see what they are doing to calm fears of a wildfire as they watch for lightning.

MurphyCAVE JUNCTION, Ore.– A man is expected to face charges for running from police on an ATV. Oregon State Police said Michael Murphy was seen popping wheelies and driving recklessly on Highway 199 in Cave Junction, Monday evening.

When they tried to stop him, OSP said he took off. They said they eventually caught up to him when he came to a dead end.

He was booked in the Josephine County Jail on charges of eluding police, reckless driving, and several other traffic violations.

 

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Medford, Ore. – They may be one of the creepiest invaders of your garden – earwigs.  That’s why OSU Master Gardeners are offering some simple tips to get rid of them.

Earwigs are somewhat beneficial insects because they love to eat aphids as a primary food source.  However, they are omnivores and also eat tender plant buds.

One method to get rid of them involves an empty container, soy sauce and vegetable oil.  All you need to do is punch holes near the top of the container.  Fill it with equal parts soy sauce and vegetable oil, and put a lid on it.  When you put it out in the garden, earwigs will follow the smell of the soy sauce and drown in the mixture.

Another method is as simple as using a page from a newspaper.  Just roll the page from top to bottom, twist in the center and place it at a base of plant being infested.  The next morning, throw it out and place a new newspaper down. OSU Master Gardeners said you should see a significant decrease in the earwig population.

To see how to make these methods a reality, watch this ‘In the Garden’ segment.

You can also contact the OSU Master Gardener near you.

Jackson County - (541) 776-7371

Josephine County - (541) 476-6613

Klamath County - (541) 883-7131

Coos County - (541) 572-5263

Douglas County - (541) 672-4461

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