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WEED, Calif. –  The students of Weed High School are finally returning to class this week, eight days after a fire ripped through their town.

Many of the students are still dealing with the devastation of the Boles fire, but many said they were thankful to be back. Tuesday, students and administrators said, was a day of grief, strength, and survival.

“For us it’s part of a healing process and it helps them realize there are others that are feeling what they are feeling,” said Weed High School Principal Mike Matheson.

While the elementary school dealt with classroom changes after the fire damaged some of the primary wing, Tuesday morning at the high school began with an emotional assembly,  where students had a chance to share their stories from the day of the evacuations.

School leaders it will still take a while before everything is completely back to normal. Students are not allowed to walk around the fire areas, so open-campus lunch is closed and kids cannot walk to class.

There are also changes to bus routes and times parents can access the roads in the area.

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WEED, Calif., — The city submitted a plan for approval with the county and state. If approved the cost of debris removal, even hazardous material would be next to nothing with the State of California covering 75% of the tab and insurance, federal assistance and donations covering the rest. While waiting for the go ahead experts from the Siskiyou County Environmental Health Department and California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control started the process of identifying and removing toxic and hazardous waste.

They are looking for the obvious like paints, aerosols, propane, and ammunition. But also asbestos which is predicted to be a problem in the rubble of the Boles Fire. Experts worry because so many of the homes which burned were built in the 1920′s and likely have a high level of asbestos. Even if all that’s left of the home is ash, officials worn the danger is still high. When burned at such a high heat the tiny particles become incorporated into the ash and then are breathed in as people work or carried by the wind.

The team will test each and every destroyed or damaged property, sending samples back to a lab for processing. It’s a process they hope will wrap up by the end of the month.

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WEATHER DISCUSSION

A large, textbook, comma-shaped area of low pressure is poised to make its way inland over the next 24 hours.  We’ve been anticipating the strength of this storm system for about a week now, and although models are a bit inconsistent with the exact timing of the cold front, most model outlooks agree that we are going to get some measurable rainfall on Wednesday.

Highest amounts, up to two and a half inches, are possible along the coast, where we’ll see steady rain over several hours.  For some locations in the Cascades, like Crater Lake, amounts could top one inch.  We will see less accumulation over west side valleys and east of the Cascades.  Grants Pass can expect around an inch, while Medford will likely see a little less – more like a quarter up to three quarters of an inch.  In the Klamath Basin, expect less than a quarter of an inch in most areas.  Northern California is one region that may see a fair amount of rainfall, and that’s good and bad news.

The good news? Steady, substantial rain will help suppress the pre-existing fires in Siskiyou County.  The bad news – heavy rain over burn scars is a threat for flash flooding.  When a wildfire moves through, it burns off the vegetation and its roots that holds the soil in place.  When that no longer exists, the loose soil is more susceptible to landslides.  With rainfall amounts expected to be between one and two inches across Siskiyou County, a flash flood watch has been issued that continues all day Wednesday throughout Wednesday night.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.– The men accused of $500,000 worth of Oregon Trail Card fraud were each sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. Severo Toro-Castellon and Raphael Ortega-Vargas were the owners of the Carniceria Mi Pueblo Market. Klamath Falls District Attorney Rob Patridge said both pled guilty to five counts of aggravated theft.

“This was an important case for Klamath County. We sent a clear message locally and we hope throughout the State of Oregon that using your Oregon Trail card to obtain drugs and money is not acceptable. Business owners are now on notice that if you are utilizing a legitimate business for illegal purposes we are going to hold you criminally accountable and do what we can to take your business.”

They were also ordered to pay back 125, 000 dollars in restitution.

OISMEDFORD, Ore. — Deadly officer involved shootings are on the rise. Just this year, 35 have already been killed in the line of duty. This is 46 percent increase from previous years.

Police said there is no apparent reason for the increase. In southern Oregon, there have been five officer involved shootings since January. While no officers were killed, some were close calls.

Medford Police says in several instances, mental illness has been linked to the officer involved shootings, and even though officers go through 40 hours of training for helping people dealing with mental illness, they can never be too prepared.

“We really now have a better understanding of what it looks like how best to respond to that, but there are still situations that even with all the training in the world isn’t going to allow you to defuse a volatile situation that has already gotten out of hand,” said Lt. Mike Budreau with Medford Police.

Officers said drugs also play a role in officers involved shootings, more often than not.

GoodwilltruckMEDFORD, Ore. — Southern Oregonians donated 57 large bins worth of food, cleaning supplies, and household items to victims of the Boles Fire Monday. A truck load of boxes filled with supplies made it’s way to Weed Tuesday.

The donations in the boxes that went out Tuesday morning were mainly focused on providing immediate needs. Contents of these boxes included water, nonperishable food and pet food.

Oldland Distributing in Central Point volunteered one of its trucks and drivers to deliver the boxes to Weed. Goodwill workers began loading up the truck Monday night and finished Tuesday morning.

With a donated warehouse already lined up, those supplies will be available tomorrow, next week, or whenever residents need them.

Oldland truck driver Ray Leonard says this is just a small way of showing how the community is coming together.

“It’s very heartwarming to see what other people have done and this is just in a small way what we can do to give back as well,” Leonard said.

The supplies are being delivered to a Crystal Geyser warehouse in Mt. Shasta. Each of the boxes weigh around 750 pounds each, totaling 30-thousand pounds of donations.

floodMEDFORD, Ore. — The intense fire season paired with rainstorms moving into the area could be a danger to communities near burn areas. The fires have stripped the ground of any grass and plants, only leaving ash and debris in their place. With loose ground, flash floods are more likely to happen.

The Oregon Bureau of Land Management is on the lookout for possible floods and debris flows from the burn areas. The BLM will send out a burned area rehabilitation group to look at some areas affected by fires.

BLM public affairs officer Jim Whittington says the group is planning to put down straw and larger logs to keep the water from running downhill.

A lot of times burned trees and limbs can block up a drainage and then it gets a lot of water behind it and it releases that all at once and that can cause a problem for downstream residents, for fish in streams and all kinds of other issues,” Whittington said.

The BLM is asking if community members are driving in an area that has been burned, to be aware. Drivers could be in danger of flash flooding from higher areas even if burn areas can’t be seen from the road.

Shumate VisitMEDFORD, Ore. — The new Medford superintendent is spending a day in each of the 19 Medford schools, as part of an effort to familiarize himself with the district.

On Tuesday, Dr. Brian Shumate took a tour of Hedrick Middle School, talked to students, and met teachers.  This is the fourth school visit for Shumate so far.

He’s challenging administrators and teachers to look through the lens of the kids. Overall, everything is in good shape.

“Students are engaged, teachers are very much into their content and their relationships with kids, and really demonstrating a variety of instructional strategies to reach all kids,” said Shumate.

Teachers and administrators at Hedrick Middle School were glad to see Shumate taking the initiative to spend one whole day at their school.  They hope this is helping them build closer relationships and establish respect.

One of the main goals moving forward is to increase graduation rates. Currently, the district is hovering around 60 percent.  Administrators along with the superintendent are working to increase that number to 80 percent by 2017.

The key is to get kids engaged at a young age and keep them engaged.  Shumate is challenging each school to create instructional strategies to reach all types of learners.

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[UPDATE 4:00 P.M.]  The man who died during a shootout with police Sunday night has been identified as 29-year old Daniel Diaz. Diaz lived on Northwest Blossom Drive in Grants Pass.

According to the Josephine County Court, Diaz was charged with Two Counts of Menacing in August, 2014 and failed to appear for his status hearing on those charges September 4th. A warrant was placed for his arrest after not appearing. It is unknown if those charges had anything to do with the incident on Sunday.

Oregon State Police are continuing their investigation into the shooting today, and expect an autopsy to be done this week.

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety held a news conference Monday morning to discuss the officer involved shooting incident that occurred Sunday night.

Police said it happened at 9:38 p.m. on Blossom Drive in Grants Pass. A woman called police reporting that a man was outside her house, armed with a handgun, yelling at her and her husband and she reported that shots were fired.

Police responded and the man retreated into another house on Blossom Drive and barricaded himself inside.

Betty Wright is a resident in Grants Pass and said she heard gun shots from her bedroom one block away.

“I was awake and I heard this yelling and I thought good grief they’re shooting off firecrackers over there and there was a lot. I’m not sure; Six, eight, there was a lot of shots,” Wright said.

At 10:22 p.m. the SWAT and negotiation teams arrived and contacted the suspect by phone, he eventually hung up and at 11:12 p.m. started firing more shots from inside the house. At 11:28 the suspect started shooting again and then there was a break in fire, which police believed he was reloading his weapon, and police returned fire.

After officers fired their shots, SWAT teams entered the residence armed with rubber bullets and found the man dead in the bedroom.

The entire incident lasted two hours. Three officers were involved, one sustained minor injuries while climbing a fence to enter the property.

Interim Chief of Grants Pass Police Bill Landis says officer safety is a concern, especially with a growing number of officer involved shootings nationally.

“I think folks with guns and the volatile that we live in poses threats to law enforcement and we are certainly seeing that on a national scale more than I can recall,” Landis said.

Next of kin is being notified, so we do not know the name of the subject involved. The home in which the subject barricaded himself is known to police, but it is unclear if the subject is in fact the resident of that home.

Further investigation of this shooting has been passed off to Oregon State Police. The three officers involved have been given paid administrative leave.

cnn ebola web(CNN) — 1.4 million Ebola cases is the worst-case scenario predicted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said the cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could be between 500 – 50,000 and 1.4 million by January, 2015.

That is if there are no additional interventions or changes in community behavior.

The estimate was derived from a new forecasting tool developed by the CDC.

On Monday, the World Health Organization said the official death toll from Ebola in West Africa has climbed to more than 2,800 in six months, with 5,800 cases confirmed as of Monday.

Since the outbreak was first reported in March, the World Health Organization said 337 health care workers have been infected and 181 have died.

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