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WHITE CITY, Ore. — Olivia Tucker has owned her mini horse, Tuff, for four years. She plays with Tuff, exercises Tuff, and bonds him him.

“He’s got quite a personality, and we get along pretty well,” Tucker said.

This year, Olivia and Tuff became more than friends. They became a team.

“I just decided to show minis this year,” Tucker said. “I went to a clinic with my mom, and I took him with me, and since I thought, ‘well, this is kind of fun. I think I actually will do showing this year and see how that goes.”

In their first show in May, Olivia and Tuff qualified for the American Miniature Horse Association World Championships in Fort Worth, Texas in September.

“I know that the competition’s really tough out there,” Roberta Hardy, Olivia’s mother, said. “I mean, there’s a lot of nicer horses out there. I was very, very happy and surprised when she qualified at her very first show.”

It was her very first show working with a mini, but Olivia has experience with bigger horses.

“I still do show big horses, just not as much this year, and I like it because they’re fun,” Tucker said. “They have personalities as you can see with Tuff right now.”

“A lot of people say they’re just large dogs with hooves and some of them are,” Hardy said. “You know, they’ve all got their little quirks.”

Sometimes that can create an even bigger challenge in competitions, but Olivia has a pretty good teacher. Her mother started showing minis a year before Olivia.

“Since this is my first year, I don’t know much about the dress code and how they’re supposed to look so it’s nice being able to have her help me and have the rule book with her all the time,” Tucker said.

“I love it. It’s really amazing, and seeing her out there this year several of the judges have complimented her on what such a nice, beautiful little picture they make when they’re driving,” Hardy said.

Her mother is also going to the World Championships, not to compete, but to support her pupil and daughter.

“She’s actually living my dream, but this is, you know, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and she needs to go,” Hardy said.

 

“For more information on how to donate/sponsor Olivia on her trip, email Roberta Hardy at crazyminilover@hotmail.com or visit Olivia’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OliviaandTuff

TURTLE!ROSEBURG, Ore. — Turtle sales have spiked lately because of the popularity of the Ninja Turtles that were made famous in the 90′s. However, proper care was neglected to many of these pets and many have died because of it.

Susan Barnes, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hopes that the latest Ninja Turtles movie won’t cause another spike in turtle sales. “Turtles require a lot of care and have special diet and habitat needs to keep them healthy. Turtles also carry salmonella which can make people, particularly children, very sick.”

She goes on to explain that there are certain breeds that are popular, but also illegal to buy, sell or trade. These breeds include: Red-eared Sliders, Map Turtles and Snapping Turtles. “These are the most common turtles we see as pets, but it’s illegal to have them in Oregon because they are invasive species,” Barnes said. “If they get out into the wild, they are harmful to our native turtles which we are very concerned about.”

Neglect and poor care is common when it comes to turtles. Kids often lose interest quickly because they can’t fight crime and take down Shredder like their famous cousins the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Parents are usually left with the responsibility of disposing of the animal and the cleanup and aftermath.

Parents are urged to consider the responsibilities and health risks that come with adopting turtles. It is also enough to mention that some breeds can last 40-100 years and grow to be very large. Maybe the best bet would be a smaller animal that can keep interest and require less maintenance.

For more information on turtles in Oregon, visit the ODFW website http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/turtles.asp

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WEATHER DISCUSSION

Thursday’s temperatures were very near average for most locations.  Medford saw its average high for this time of year, as did Klamath Falls.  Expect slightly cooler temperatures on Friday as a weak cold front passes late Thursday night and early Friday morning.  It will also bring with it low clouds to portions of the coast and inland areas north of the Umpqua Divide.

By Saturday, what is known as a thermal trough sets up in northern California.  This occurs when the air near the earth’s surface warms, causing the air to rise higher up in the atmosphere.  This removes mass (the air) from the surface, lowering the pressure and creating the thermal trough.  With the trough in place, the Chetco effect in Brookings will warm temperatures there into the middle 70′s on Saturday.

Next week we will get another dip in temperatures on Monday, but by the middle of the week, our pleasant weekend will be only a memory.  Highs Tuesday and Wednesday are projected to be in the middle and upper 90′s in the Rogue Valley and northern California.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

Marijuana TRUCK2CURRY COUNTY, Ore. — Illegal medical marijuana grows in Curry County were shut down, after complaints from local residents.

Last week, police were given consent to search a home on South Chetco Road. Police say Bruce McHenry had several medical marijuana cards on file, but there were more plants than allowed for those patients.

On Thursday, another search was carried out in Gold Beach. It was also determined Lawrence Simpson was out of compliance for the same reason.

The district attorney was forwarded the cases for prosecution.

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Opportunity Village in Eugene

ASHLAND, Ore. — A local organization is following the lead of other cities to help low-income families.

The Ashland Community Resource Center is watching so-called “tiny home” communities, such as Dignity Village in Portland and Opportunity Village in Eugene, to see how to best plan for Ashland.

The homes are easily affordable and movable and building costs are estimated at around 5-thousand dollars to $20,000. The goal would be to buy a property that will accompany twenty small 200-square foot homes.

The Resource Center said many low-income families are unable to afford even the lowest priced housing they’ve seen in Ashland.

“Right now the cheapest place you can rent in Ashland is $550 a month. Our minimum income for a family of three with Tanish is $550 a month. If you are disabled it’s $700 a month,” explains Director Leigh Madsen.

It could be a multi-year process before tiny houses become a reality in Ashland.

Bear Camp Road ClosedSELMA, Ore. — A small section of Bear Camp Road (Forest Service Road 23) is scheduled to be closed temporarily starting Tuesday, August 26th. The closure will last approximately three weeks for culvert replacements.  As long as there are no complications or delays, the road will be re-opened on Friday, September 19th.

Gold Beach District Ranger, Tine Lanier, says,“We are very fortunate to receive the Legacy Road funding needed to make improvements on one of our primary routes for recreation access to the Rogue River and to the National Forest,” There will be an alternate route on FSR 2308 also known as “Burnt Ridge Road.”

This alternate route will provide a loop for all traffic to avoid the construction area. Users of this detour and route are encouraged to reduce speed to minimize impacts to the road surface. The new detour will add approximately 15 min of extra travel time. Please plan ahead if using this route.  The culvert replacement is vital for keeping Bear Camp Road open.

“We regret any negative impacts that this closure may have on outfitter guides and recreationists during the high use season and appreciate your patience during repairs,” added Lanier.

 

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There are a lot of activities this weekend, one of the last before school and sports resume.

If treasure hunting is your game head out to the 6th Annual Tie Days Swap Meet. Several vendors are setting up at Shady Kate’s Boutique on Highway 62 in Shady Cove to offer deals on their antiques, art, crafts, and collectibles.

The event is free and comes with a day of music, beer and wine tasting, BBQ, a water slide, and face painting. It runs from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

 

One of Southern Oregon’s largest music festivals and educational Hemp Expo will kick off for three straight days.

Starting Friday speakers, advocates, two stages of concerts, and vendors will be featured at the 5th annual hemp expo. It’s located in Grants Pass off Highway 238 near Williams highway.

Tickets are $25 for the day Friday and Saturday $20 on Sunday and if you want to camp out for the weekend, tickets are $75.

 

On Sunday, you can get an up-close and hands on look at alpacas.

“Andresen Acres Alpacas” is hosting an open house at their ranch in eagle point on Linn Road, to the northwest of Walmart. It’s open from 11am to 5pm.

The small family ranch has more than 20 alpacas. Tours will be offered with lots to learn about the animals as well as special alpaca merchandise from socks and scarves to yarn and other gifts.

The event is free and open to anyone.

 

The 12th Annual World of Wine Festival is ongoing in Jacksonville at Bighmam Knoll.

More than 200 wines from 50 Southern Oregon wineries are being poured for participants to taste. Friday afternoon you can catch a seminar and Saturday is the grand tasting and silent auction.

All the money from the event will benefit Asante and the Children’s Miracle Network.

 

The very first BBQ and bluegrass festival will kick off at Lake of the Woods on Saturday. Music will play all day both Saturday and Sunday at Lake of the Woods resort.

Bands will start playing at 2pm. The BBQ dinner begins at 4pm.

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CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — The air is clear here at the Illinois Valley Airport in Cave Junction, but 50 miles south the air is so smoky, it’s impacted the ability to use air resources on the Happy Camp Complex.

Nine helicopters, ranging from Type 3′s to Type 1′s were all on the ground early Thursday afternoon. Lingering smoke at the happy camp complex caused crews to be on hold. They may be on hold, but they are still hard at work, training every chance they get in preparation for when they do take off.

“Deploy the bucket, get it all ready to go, the pilot will lift, go do what he does with the helicopter water wise. We either hike to the fire or walk to the fire and we start cutting fire line,” said helicopter crew member Chad Lawson.

Later in the afternoons, weather patterns allow smoke to clear out of the fire area and helicopters a chance to lift off.

“Air attack is in the air, helico just went up to see if smoke ceiling has risen enough that we can get aircraft into the fire and start working,” said Lawson.

The helibase set up is temporary and involves a team effort, including a mobile air traffic control tower.

Titus gall is at the Illinois Valley Airport for the first time and keeps an eye on all aircraft coming or going be it private planes or the helibase.

“Those small airplanes that use this airport could very easily be turned over, literally turned over by the rotowasher on one of these helicopters, so we have to be vigilante as to what we’re doing here,” said Gall.

Helibase officials say the goal is to have the aircraft keep the fires small, while hand crews contain it. Helibase officials say they’ll remain here until their resources are no longer needed.

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(CONSUMER REPORTS) – For pregnant women who eat tuna, it would be wise that not all tuna is safe.

This includes canned tuna and even sushi. These products contain high levels of mercury, which can damage the baby’s brain and nervous system. Many varieties have been known to contain high levels of mercury.

Consumer Reports analyzed the FDA’s research and can tell you which fish are safe and which you should avoid. The government advises young children and women who are pregnant, or breast-feeding to avoid the four fish with the highest mercury levels. These include: Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel, and Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The FDA is also considering adding Marlin and Orange Roughy to the list as well. Tuna is also a fish that has experts worried.

Tuna is responsible for 40% of our mercury exposure. Higher levels were found in canned tuna, fresh tuna, and sushi. Ways to avoid this exposure are that pregnant women not eat tuna at all. Anyone else who does eat tuna, should limit the amount they intake. Experts say that there are several other better choices for seafood: Wild and Alaska Salmon (canned or fresh), shrimp, sardines, tilapia, scallops, oysters, and squid.

This does not necessarily mean for people to skip the fish altogether. Food experts agree that, fish with lower levels of mercury can also be high in other health benefits, like protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The man convicted in federal court of setting a bomb at the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office last November will also spend time behind bars for a series of burglaries committed before the bombing.

Alan McVay pleaded guilty in Jackson County Court Thursday to four counts of burglary and a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Those burglaries were committed at several homes in 2011 and 2012.

He was sentenced to three years in prison, which will be served at the same time as the 15 years he is serving for the bombing at the D.A. office. He is also ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution to the burglary victims.

“The likelihood of restitution is probably pretty slim given the federal sentence and state sentences, but one never knows,” said Donald Denman, who represents the estate of one of the burglary victims. “We could always hope that some restitution might be made.”

In court, McVay apologized to the burglary victims.

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