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Recent drops in gas prices have many people thinking these are some of the lowest prices they’ve seen in years. It was at this time 41 years ago, when fuel prices were a tenth of what they are today, that the OPEC oil embargo kicked-in, and drivers began to go into sticker shock at the pump, if there was even gas to sell.

In this Oregon Trails, News watch 12′s Ron Brown takes a look at how that winter of shortages and long lines at the pump impacted our area.

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ASHLAND, Ore. — This is the last weekend of performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The theatre goes dark over the next four months as it prepares for the 2015 season.OSF is planning on renovating the bricks, which is currently a multi-functional space.

It is a loading dock, a performance venue, a lobby, a waiting area, a break room, and the festival’s general manager calls it “Ashland’s living room.” The effort to change it will begin this time next year. A donation of a half a million dollars will help fund the renovation. OSF says its priority is keeping the functionality but increasing the ease.

Ted Delong, OSF General Manager, says, “Really the big thing we hope to do is to level out the space as much as we can here on this hillside to make it more accessible for patrons who are in wheel chairs, have walking difficulty of any kind or who are wearing high heels whatever it might be.“ Another major project which should be completed by this time next year will benefit the actors.

The old production space, where the costumes, props, and sets were created has been cleared out. It will be renovated from top to bottom, and transformed into a rehearsal space, so the casts and crews from multiple shows will all be in the same building.

OSF wants your input on the future of the bricked area. There is a community meeting planned for mid-November, where people will see the first mock ups from the landscapers and contractors.

K9MEDFORD, Ore. — The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is getting a $10,000 donation meant to pay for a new police dog. For 11 years, Darco has worked in Southern Oregon as a K-9, but Darco is ready to retire.

So the members of the Southern Oregon kennel club have raised money to buy a new police dog. The check will be presented this weekend during the dog show in the Compton Arena at the Expo Center Fairgrounds in Central Point.

Jodi AriasPHOENIX, Ariz. — Dramatic developments today in the death penalty retrial of former Medford waitress and Yreka resident Jodi Arias.

The 34 year-old Arias has one final shot to convince a jury to spare her life. She was expected to take the stand today but in a surprise move, the judge cleared the courtroom as the defense called its first witness and did not reveal who it was. It is still not known who the mystery witness is or what was in his or her testimony.

Last year, a jury convicted Arias of the 2008 murder of then-boyfriend Travis Alexander, but the jury deadlocked on whether she should receive the death penalty.

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LACEY, Wash. — Quick thinking by a Seattle teenager with a cell phone helped capture an amber alert suspect, and ensure a little boy’s safety.

15 year-old Camryn Wood is being hailed a hero. Camryn and her dad were driving on the I5 in Lacey, Washington. After the alert came out, the father and daughter noticed a vehicle driving near them as the same description of the one over the alert. The father-daughter crime-fighting team tailed the suspect’s car into a hotel parking lot in Olympia, then waited until police arrived.

“I’m always looking out, because that’s just how me and my dad are,” explains Wood, “If somebody needs our help, and we have the opportunity to help, we’re gonna take it.”

Police say the suspect, Cassandra Wilhelm, is the mother of the 18 month-old boy, and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and a drug addiction. She’d been ordered by the court to stay away from the child, and reportedly assaulted the boy’s father before snatching him.

Seattle police say this is the quickest end to an amber alert they’ve ever had.

sleepmidday(Wexner Medical Center) — Most Americans who spend part of the year on daylight saving time look forward to the extra hour of sleep when it’s time to “fall back” to standard time. We are a nation of sleep-deprived people, and experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center say all ages suffer in various, unhealthy ways.

“For children, sleep deprivation can lead to behavior problems, trouble focusing and learning in school and it can affect their immune systems,” said Dr. Aneesa Das, a sleep medicine specialist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “Chronic tiredness makes it harder to cope and process what’s going on around you.”

When children enter the teen years, sleep becomes a bigger issue. Das says a teen’s circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, tells them to stay awake later and sleep later than children and adults do. She says only 15 percent of teenagers get the recommended sleep they need.

“Sleep is time the body uses to restore itself. Muscles and other tissues repair themselves, hormones that control growth, development and appetite are released. Energy is restored and memories are solidified, so we need to try to get regular sleep on a regular basis,” Das said.

For adults, sleep loss is even more serious. It accumulates over the years and has been shown to contribute to several chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and obesity.

Adulthood is also when sleep-related disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, are more likely. During menopause, women often experience night sweats and insomnia due to changing levels of hormones. As men age, an enlarged prostate can lead to more frequent trips to the bathroom overnight. Certain medications can also disrupt sleep, such as those for heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure and asthma.

“Adult sleep gets more fragmented, or interrupted during the night,” Das said. “This could be caused by a medical condition, caring for young children, light and noise disturbance, pets or just the stress of the day.”

Here are the recommended hours of sleep we should get throughout our lifetime, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

• Infants: up to 16 hours total, including naps

• Toddlers (1-3 yrs): 12-14 hours, including naps

• Preschool (3-5 yrs): 11-13 hours, most do not nap after age 5

• School-age (5-12 yrs): 10-11 hours

• Teens: 8.5-9.5 hours

• Adults: 7-9 hours

To improve the chances of getting a good night’s sleep, Das offers a few tips: don’t perform vigorous exercise within four hours of bedtime; have a wind down routine that includes dim light; avoid using tablets, phones and laptops before bed because they emit blue light that interferes with sleep; try a warm bath two hours before bedtime and beware of sleep aid medications because they can have side effects.

consumer-reports-logo 3x3(Consumer Reports) — You’ve heard it before you need at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day! Juicing offers a way to up that number.  More Americans are catching on; sales of juicers are up 25 percent in the past year.

Consumer Reports tested 13 juicers, both augers and extractors. Extractors spin very fast to separate the juice from the pulp. They produce less pulpy, frothier juice. Cold-press juicers, also called auger-style, make juice by slowly crushing and mashing produce. Auger-style juicers tend to be more expensive but in tests they produced more pulp, which can make for a more nutritious juice.

Convenience is also key. A juicer is not going to do you any good if you don’t like using it. So Consumer Reports pays close attention to things like how easy the machine is to assemble, how easy it is to clean, the size of the feed tube, since a wider feed tube means less time spent chopping fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces. For example, it takes a lot of time to scrub out bits of pulp from the Bella NutriPro juicer 13695.

The best of the bunch? The extractor-style juicer from Juiceman JM800S beat out pricier juicers. It costs $70. And the best of the auger-style is the Kuvings Whole Slow B600 that costs $400.

But don’t juice up everything you buy. Eating whole fruits and veggies is even better for you. Consumer Reports says, rather than buying a juicer, you might consider using a blender or food processor.  That way you’ll get all the nutrients plus fiber.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

saturation2MEDFORD, Ore. — As Halloween party-goers are getting ready for tonight, so is local law enforcement. Medford and Ashland police departments both say they will have extra patrols out tonight looking for drinking and driving, and other criminal activity.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Medford Police will both be providing support in downtown Ashland tonight. Officials hopes the extra police presence will dissuade crime activity.

Sgt. Don Lane with MPD explains, “Being proactive… trying to stop things before they happen and also visible presence. more people on the street in cars and people see police around a little bit more and hopefully they think twice before doing something too silly” The Sheriff’s Offices for Jackson, Siskiyou, and Douglas counties also say they will have increased patrols tonight.

Josephine County Sheriff’s Office says it does not have the funds for patrols tonight.

 

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MILWAUKIE, Ore. — An Oregon woman is being tested for Ebola. She spiked a fever this morning, after recently spending time in West Africa.

The unidentified woman is now in the Providence Milwaukie Hospital, outside of Portland. The Oregon Health Authority is testing the Portland woman for other illnesses as well. Oregon health experts just revealed this Ebola concern late this afternoon, even though they have been monitoring her twice a day for Ebola symptoms.

However, they’re not saying how long that monitoring has been going on. She recently traveled back to the Portland area after being in either Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia, which are three countries where Ebola is a problem. The Oregon Health Authority says the woman is, however, a low risk for Ebola. She did not have contact with any infected Ebola patients when she was traveling, but because of the travel history, health officials started monitoring her when she returned from West Africa, looking for symptoms.

This morning, she spiked a fever exceeding 102 degrees and when it was checked again within the hour and the fever persisted, health officials were then notified. An emergency medical team then determined she should be transported for further testing. OHA says those living in her house have already self-quarantined. Health officials say this does not by any means, mean that she has Ebola, but with her recent travel history, they are taking the extra precautions. The OHA says the plans they have put in place over the last several weeks were executed flawlessly today.

Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis says, “As soon as they developed symptoms, they were evaluated and moved safely to get definitely evaluation and care. Since there were no symptoms before that and there was no public exposure before that there’s no risk to the public.” The OHA says it will release the results as soon as they can, but must verify them with the CDC so it could take several days.Southern Oregon health experts say they are aware of what is happening in Portland, and agree the protocols in place worked well. Jackson County Environmental Public Health  says if a similar case were to happen here in Southern Oregon, officials are confident they can also contain the risk.

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Paul Sullivan went from being happy and well to without a home in the blink of an eye.

“My wife passed away in 2011 and I lost my business,” said Sullivan. “I began drinking.”

Sullivan is one of about 175 people who come to the Medford Gospel Mission each night. Most, like him, are working to regain their former lives that slipped away so quickly.

“Being homeless has opened my eyes to a lot of things,” said Sullivan. “It’s very humbling.”

According to the national Department of Housing and Urban Development, fewer and fewer Oregonians face that challenge. Their latest report shows that the number of homeless people in the state dropped by 12% in the past year, and about 30% in the past seven years.

But that rosy picture looks very different on the ground.

“It’s been static,” said Jason Bull, Associate Director of the Medford Gospel Mission. “We’ve had about the same amount of people year to year.”

Despite the falling numbers, factors contributing to homelessness – like drug abuse and poverty – are still putting many young people at risk. In Jackson County, childhood poverty went down less than 1% in the past year, from 27.3% to 26.8%. Child food insecurity barely budged, down from 27.9% to 27.8%.

Both are higher than the state average.

Hearts With A Mission, a program exclusively serving youth, has gone from 80 residents in 2010 to 127 in 2013.

“They’ll have a roof over their heads, but that doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate living space,” said founder Kevin Lamson.

But Lamson says that situation is likely to improve as agencies have made huge strides in the past few years in preventing at-risk youth from becoming chronically homeless adults.

“Our [previous] answer to kids who needed a safe place was a sleeping bag,” said Lamson. “In terms of how well our county is doing, I think we’re doing a phenomenal job.”

Those escaping homelessness say those efforts have given them hope. They say they’re aware of the resources available to them, and now the challenge that remains is to get others to reach out and grab a helping hand.

“If they really want to get out of that situation, they need other people,” said Sullivan. “There’s a lot of people in the community willing to stand up for that cause.”

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