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Grants Pass, Ore.–When prohibition was repealed, Americans celebrated with a passion for beer that led to a big demand for one of the brew’s key ingredients… hops. And Southern Oregon jumped on the bandwagon with a number of hop yards being re-established. Several were in the Grants Pass area, and others in the Applegate valley. And by the time the Great Depression was in full gear, the summer harvest of hops was a magnet for out-of-town workers, local students and others hoping to pick up a little spending money. But it wasn’t much by most accounts. Pickers were paid by the pound, and in 1936 and ’37, accounts say that only amounted to a penny or less a pound. And it took a lot of hops to make a pound! Average pickers might manage to gather a hundred pounds or less in a daylight to dusk picking day, with a small bonus paid for those who stayed to the end of the harvest that might last for several weeks.

Tall poles supported cross wires with twine hanging down upon which the vines climbed up to 20 feet high. The lines would be cut down and the pickers would gather all the little pinecone-like buds they could and put them in a bag, which was weighed, and the picker given a ticket-like receipt to be cashed at the end of each day. Adults and kids alike worked side by side. But at a penny a pound or less meant a dollar a day was what most pickers could expect to earn.

A letter to a Provolt woman in 1931 tells some of the story. Lois wright of Grants Pass writes:  “I think hop picking will start next Monday. In a way I am anxious for it to start and in a way I dread it. We are going to pick at the Kings”.  They were one of the commercial hop growers in the valley.  She continues, “I wish you could be there too. We could have lots of fun in our spare time. I’ve picked hops there before so I will probably know some kids there.”

Many families camped, or stayed in small cabins provided by some growers. Others slept in tents. Some in their cars. Facilities were bare and the work was tiring.Stronger workers with stilts strapped to their legs did the high work while kids and less experienced pickers worked on the ground.  In the early days the work was all done by hand, but in later years equipment was brought in that removed a lot of the handwork that made it such a laborious job.

The last hop harvest in Grants Pass was in 1989. The 400 acres leased by the John Haas company of Yakima was using mechanized equipment that brought the strings of vines into a building where the buds were stripped off, dried, and baled in burlap for shipping. It was labor issues that brought the harvest to its final end.

But hop growing is apparently making a comeback on a small scale. A small hop yard at Frau Kemmling’s in Jacksonville is just for show, at least for now. They hope to get a permit to make their own beer using their home grown hops. Nearby, Mike Bartlett of Bartlett’s Tree Service just harvested his first crop. About 25 pounds dried. He says he’s catering to the home brew crowd for now. Pointing to a hop bud, Mike says, “the component that makes these so useful is inside here. It’s called lupulin. It’s the yellow little powdery stuff in there and that’s what gives the beer its smell. That really nice aroma and it helps bitter it.”  So after 150 years, Southern Oregon hop history may be making a comeback, one vine at a time.


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A big change in the stubborn and dry weather pattern we’ve been locked into all summer will arrive this week. Skies will stay partly sunny today and high temperatures about 5-7 degrees cooler than the weekend.

Isolated thunderstorms will fire up in Central Oregon this afternoon and we’ll be watching out for a few storms in Northern Klamath and Lake Counties. Storms are also likely from Crater Lake National Park north.

Winds are out of the southwest today and that has brought smoke back into Central Siskiyou County. This will bring haze and smoke back into Southern Oregon the next 48 hours. Winds tomorrow will start ramping up, ahead of a closed low that will bring rain into our neck of the woods by Wednesday.

A fire weather watch is in effect for the Shasta Valley, Modoc, Klamath and Lake Counties Tuesday morning through Tuesday night. Winds will stay breezy through Thursday. Showers look to start at the coast Tuesday before turning to rain late Tuesday night.

A well defined band of rain will gradually move inland Wednesday into Thursday bringing measurable rain to most if not all of our region.

If you’d like more on your local weather head over to Facebook and/or Twitter!

Meteorologist Alyssa Caroprese

BREAKING NEWSGrants Pass, Ore. – The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety is investigating a shooting involving multiple officers. According to police, the shooting happened Sunday night around 9:30 p.m. in the Northwest area of Grants Pass.

According to the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, officers responded to the area for a reported incident involving shots fired, and during the investigation were involved in a shooting themselves.

The Josephine County District Attorney has activated Oregon State Police to lead the investigation into this case, police said.

A news conference will be held later Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.



Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich:

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota:

Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu:

Oregon wide receiver Keanon Lowe:

Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum:

Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen:

Oregon safety Erick Dargan:

Oregon running back Royce Freeman:

Oregon offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby:

CORVALLIS, Ore.–Oregon State will go into conference play 3-0 after they took down the Aztecs 28-7. San Diego State put the first points up, but Oregon State’s defense was able to shut them down the rest of the game, and the Beaver offense handled the Aztecs’ 3-3-5 defense well. Sean Mannion also broke the school record for most passing yards in the second half.

Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley:

Oregon State Quarterback Sean Mannion:

Oregon State Running Back Terron Ward:

Oregon State Linebacker Michael Doctor:

Oregon State Defensive End Dylan Wynn:

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With a long dry spell over the last few weeks and only a glimmer of showers last week, a much larger/stronger system is approaching. A large digging trough moving in from the west will usher in quite a bit of moisture with a series of cold fronts. Before I get to that, I’ll discuss the short term.

A cut-off low centered over Nevada today was tracking northeast and allowed a small amount of moisture and instability to enter the region from the east. Northern California, and the Klamath Basin had to deal with these small showers in the afternoon. These storms were more of a nuisance than a blessing. Because of the weak instability and lack of moisture, they were weak and short-lived. However, they did bring lightning with them. While most of the lightning was negative (near the rain base), there were a few positive strikes recorded near La Pine. Positive strikes are the ones that occur much further from where the rain is falling, also known as “dry lightning.” Truth is, even some of the negative strikes were dry as there was very little moisture with these storms.  There will be another slight chance for activity again on Monday afternoon with some heating, but not quite what we got today.

The glacier melt that occurred yesterday sent a river of water cascading down the southeast section of Mount Shasta. This filled Pilgrim Creek and Mud Creek with a debris flow that covered many small bridges and roads in the area. This was the biggest glacial breakdown in a few decades. The cause was the drought that the region has been sitting in for some time. CA Hwy. 89 was threatened with flooding from the event; but luckily, much of the debris and water was dammed up north of the road. Still, a FLASH FLOOD WATCH was extended until about 9 p.m. Sunday due to the extra rain that could have possibly added to the problem. As the daytime heating ended, the storms could not sustain themselves, and the watch has already expired because of it.

Now to the rain-maker. A very deep-digging low pressure trough has a large pool of cold air moving into the region. As the air gets cooler the further into the center of the trough, it sets up a frontal series situation. What this means is that slowly the cool air will approach, but it will do so in “waves.” The first frontal boundary will approach on Tuesday morning. It is weak (as it has the warmest of the cold air), and as it hits the ridge it will weaken and fall apart.  Therefore only a slight chance of isolated showers will reach the coast Tuesday. Wednesday, the strongest of the two fronts will enter the region and this one is packing more of a punch. Rainfall expected for all areas. The latest estimates have a few inches falling at the coast. Up to an inch in some parts of Northern California, and a quarter to a half an inch in the valleys and basin areas.

Now along with the showers, comes the wind. Winds will be increasing as they typically do right before the frontal passage. So Tuesday and Wednesday will bring strong winds to all areas. Gusts up to 45 mph are expected right before the fronts pass. At this time, winds should not warrant a wind warning, but will still be very gusty at times. However, a FIRE WEATHER WATCH is scheduled for Tuesday dues to the high winds. Existing fires and new flare ups have the ability to spread, especially with the dry fuels that wont receive rain until Wednesday/Thursday. It’s likely this will upgrade to a Red Flag Warning the closer we get.  Also, the areas that have been scarred by the fires (especially in Western Siskiyou Co.) may need a Flash Flood Watch issued, especially in steep terrain where flows will have no trouble getting started. This will be considered, the closer we get to the rain.

All-in-all, the rain and cooler air is on the way, timing can still change, but for sure by mid-week we will be getting some much needed help.

Thanks for logging on and enjoy your week!

Meteorologist Seth Phillips

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weed firefightersWEED, Calif. — At one point the Boles Fire had more than a thousand fire fighters on scene.

The Cal Fire Incident Management Team will be gone, leaving local resources in charge. The fire camp at the fairgrounds in Yreka is being taken down and final steps in handing the incident over are being made.

The remaining firefighters are still hard at work, sifting through rubble and doing whatever they can to help residents in the city.

weed churchWEED, Calif. — As residents return to their homes and fire crews move out, church services continue.

Nothing remains of the Presbyterian Church after the Boles Fire destroyed it and the Catholic Church across the street. Even with no building, service went on.

A small room inside the Weed Mercantile building hosted a few dozen church members. Every seat was filled, with some standing along the wall. Everyone was invited, but organizers say it was hard to get the word out with everything going on.

This isn’t the first time this church has burned down. An unknown cause lead to a fire that took down the building in the 1980′s. They rebuilt then and they say the will rebuild now.

bear attackCENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Oregon State Police is now reporting the bear attack in Central Point as unsubstantiated following their initial report and investigation.

Police said the incident occurred last night in the 4100 block of Grant Road. A 57-year-old man called 911 claiming he was attacked by a bear in his back yard. He was transported to the hospital with minor scratches on his arms, legs and face.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists and OSP said they take incidents like this very seriously, but after following up with the man and searching his property, there was not enough conclusive evidence to back up the claims.

“We looked good and hard in all kinds of different locations and we didn’t find any evidence of bears being around,” said Mark Vargas, the District Wildlife Biologist for ODFW.

Vargas said bears are known to bite during attacks, and there were no visible bite marks.  Also, scratches would have to be parallel and consistent and in this case, they were not.


Down SyndromeMEDFORD, Ore. — Currently nearly 400,000 people are living with Down Syndrome in the United States. On Sunday, dozens of people from across the Rogue Valley came together to raise awareness for the disorder.  Volunteers gathered at Alba Park around noon. There were games, food and other non-profits set up. The money raised from the walk is going to the Down Syndrome Association of Southern Oregon.

“They’re people too and that’s the key point here, they are no different from you and I, they laugh, they cry, they love, they live, they’re awesome,” said David Curry, the President of the Board of Directors for DSASO.

DSASO was founded thirty years ago. The organization donates money and time to nine different local counties across southern Oregon, from the coast to Lakeview.  It provides educational and outreach programs along with advocacy and support for those with Down Syndrome.

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