MEDFORD, Ore. — People with allergies may soon see a new way to treat them, thanks in part to a Medford medical facility.

The FDA has approved a pill therapy to treat hay fever at home in place of allergy shots. The Allergy and Asthma Center of Southern Oregon in Medford helped develop data for the clinical trials, and say it will give more options to patients.

“It’s a great option for someone who just can’t stand the thought of a needle going into their arm. It’s also a great option for people who’s lifestyle prevents them from coming in once monthly for allergy shots,” said Dr. Kevin Parks.

So far, the FDA has approved the treatment for grass and ragweed, and is expects to approve more target allergens in the next few years.

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oz Fitness Center in Medford will be closing its doors in soon and members were surprised to hear the news, leaving them shopping for a new gym.

Members were informed of the closing on Thursday with a simple note on the door of the center. It read that oz attempted to renegotiate rent with the landlord without success.

The gym will remain open through the month, and will close on April 30.

Other fitness centers in the area have already seen traffic from oz members who are in the market for a new gym.

The Medford Oz facility refused to comment on the situation. The corporate office has not answered requests for statements at this time.

4-18 tattoo fundraiserMEDFORD, Ore. – A local tattoo shop is raising money for one of Portland’s biggest child-care charities.

Rogue Tattoo is planning a fundraising event for next month. On May 17th customers can come in and get a tattoo of their child’s name for $80. Nearly all (90%) of that money will go to the Ronald McDonald House.

The owner of the shop, Josh Ludlow, says he became motivated by the loss of his son. He says after the charity provided care and support for his family, he knew he wanted to give back.

“Our eyes were opened and our hearts were turned to something that was so amazing and giving that if I didn’t give back, I think it would just haunt me for the rest of my life,” said Ludlow.

The fundraiser event will take place all day on May 17th. Ludlow says that’s a day before what would have been his son’s second birthday.

Walk-ins are welcome that day for anyone who wishes to get a tattoo of their child and give to the charity.

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ASHLAND, Ore. – A sirloin steak sizzles on the grill of Omar’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant. A year ago that popular cut cost the restaurant just under $4.00 per pound, now it costs them over $4.60.

“Restaurant owners here in town are very aware of it,” said co-owner Chris Del Monaco. “It’s a tough time right now.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices across the country are rising about half a percentage point each month. Beef is leading the way.

According to local butchers, it’s by a long shot.

“Nationally-wise they say it’s going to go up 13%,” said Cameron Callahan, owner of The Butcher Shop. “I’ve already seen a 33% increase in our beef prices.”

Local ranchers say drought conditions have pushed up the price of feed, forcing them to cull as much as half their herds and leading to the lowest beef production in 63 years.

Meanwhile foreign demand is stretching that supply thin.

“We’re now exporting to Japan again,” said Callahan. “At that crucial time when we’re low on cattle, we’re now exporting more of that cattle when we were not doing that before.”

Callahan says he hasn’t seen a drop in demand for beef yet, but he predicts it’s a matter of time before prices become too much and customers switch to poultry or fish.

Meanwhile, steakhouses like Omar’s can’t afford that luxury. They say it won’t be long until they have to re-tool and re-price their menu, testing just how far we’re willing to go for that precious beef.

New Online Tax Credit in Jackson CountyCAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Harvard researchers say Wikipedia searches are more effective and timely than CDC reports, according to a study published in the Journal “PLOS Computational Biology” today.

Authors David J. McIver John S. Brownstein found “Wikipedia usage accurately estimated the week of peak ILI activity 17% more often than Google Flu Trends data and was often more accurate in its measure of ILI intensity. With further study, this method could potentially be implemented for continuous monitoring of ILI activity in the US and to provide support for traditional influenza surveillance tools.”

You can read their entire research here.

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Middle school can be a tough time for students, with a new school, new work, and a bigger challenge making friends. Some students at Hedrick Middle School remember how lonely it felt just trying to find someone to eat lunch with.

“I had to sit with my brother for a while,” said 8th grader Makenna Peters.

Peters and other members of the Hedrick student council saw how easily cliques were being made, and how quickly bullies seemed to pop up. So they decided to do something about it.

“We didn’t like how many people were eating alone at the beginning of the year,” said 8th grader Kiley Pauck. “Especially at the beginning of the year when there are so many new people.”

So the student council started a new program to simple get students talking. They developed theme days in the school cafeteria day. On Superhero Day, for example, some students were given cards with heroes like Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man printed on them. They would be directed to sit at a cafeteria table labeled with the same card, along with many students they had never met or talked to. As a result, it started a conversation between those students, and friendships were sparked.

“I think you just need to start with conversation, like, ‘hey, what do you like to do with your free time? What’s your favorite class in school?’” Peters said.

Hedrick was honored by the Teaching Tolerance program, put on by the Southern Poverty Law Center, as one of 75 schools across the U.S. that have pushed for tolerance and respect among students.

“The more students are known and feel known and have a chance to be known in a school, the less likely they are to be bullied or to be a [bully],” said Principal Dan Smith.

The Hedrick student council will travel to the Oregon Association of Student Councils spring conference later this month, and will teach their program to 50 other schools from across Oregon.

White_chicken_eggYONKERS, NY –There are a lot of choices when it comes to eggs in the supermarket and prices can vary widely.

Consumer Reports looked into it and found that not all eggs are what they’re cracked up to be.

Experts at Consumer Reports tasted various eggs — including supermarket brands, organic eggs, eggs with no antibiotics, no hormones, white eggs and brown eggs.

They found taste deteriorated the closer an egg got to the date on the carton.

But beyond that, the eggs all tasted pretty much the same.

Consumer Reports says the eggs with “no hormones” may sound like a better choice, but the egg industry as a whole does not use hormones.

However, you may want to pay a little more for organic eggs.  Consumer Reports says they’re better for people, chickens and the planet.

And Consumer Reports Director of Safety, Dr. Urvashi Rangan,  says “Eggs without antibiotics are another good choice. Just be sure the package says ‘No antibiotics used.’”

This report is based on an article in the May, 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine

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ROGUE RIVER, Ore. — The ABC Network and “First Book” reached across the country last month to find schools in need of new books through the “Be Inspired” campaign. NewsWatch 12 asked the community to participate by nominating schools and programs deserving of new books for kids.

Southern Oregon entered more nominations than any other part of the country and two local schools received the most nominations of any in the entire nation. In fact, Rogue River Elementary School received the most nominations overall. Shady Cove Elementary came in a close second.

Alexia Burkey with a couple of nice trout she caught at Shorty's Pond in Molalla, one of 340 ponds, lakes and streams that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks with trout.

Alexia Burkey with a couple of nice trout she caught at Shorty’s Pond in Molalla, one of 340 ponds, lakes and streams that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly stocks with trout.

MEDFORD, Ore. — Starting next week, trout season will begin for many Oregon anglers with the opening of several popular fisheries. On Saturday, April 26, hundreds of miles of rivers and streams and many lakes will open around the state for trout fishing.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says while many lakes and some rivers and streams are open to trout fishing year-round in Oregon, the early trout opener in April continues to be a tradition with many families, and the first chance of the year to fish several popular locations.

Some of these popular locations include:

Hyatt Lake and Howard Prairie Reservoir in Jackson County, and Hemlock Lake in Douglas County.

Large portions of the Willamette, Santiam and McKenzie rivers and many small streams in the Willamette Valley.

Crane Prairie Reservoir, Big Lava Lake, South Twin, Wickiup, Odell and other Central Oregon lakes.

Krumbo and Pilcher reservoirs, Wood and Powder rivers and portions of the Sprague and Williamson rivers in the southeastern part of the state.

Anglers should check the 2014 sport fishing regulations for even more water bodies that open April 26. In addition, many more rivers and streams will open for trout fishing on Saturday, May 24.

For anglers getting ready to hit the water, ODFW offers a lot of information to get started fishing or deciding where to go, including:

Trout stocking schedules – includes maps showing you how to get to each stocking location
The Recreation Report – weekly updates from agency experts on the latest fishing conditions
Trout Fishing in Oregon – how to fish for trout in rivers and lakes
Easy Angling Oregon – 101 great places for newcomers and families to fish
Family Fishing Events – bring the whole family, we’ll provide the fish, the gear, and plenty of encouragement
Local and Regional Guides – 50 places to fish close to Portland, Bend, Roseburg, and Medford

COTY HAMMOND RYAN LONGLEYCENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Two men from Washington were arrested Thursday night after an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper discovered they were hauling about 45 pounds of marijuana and a quarter pound of hash in their vehicle. The OSP trooper stopped the Saturn station wagon around 11:00 p.m. Thursday for a speeding violation. The driver, Ryan Longley, 23, from Lake Tapps, Wash. and passenger Coty Hammond, 22, from Spanaway, Wash. were traveling northbound on Interstate 5 at the time.

A search led the OSP trooper to the marijuana and hash concealed in trash bags inside the car. The estimated value is over $110,000, according to Oregon State Police. Hammond and Longley are both lodged in the Jackson County Jail for felony Unlawful Possession and Delivery of a Controlled Substance — Marijuana.

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