News RSS Feed | KOBI-TV NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2 http://kobi5.com Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:11:02 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Medford PD ready to catch serial arsonist http://kobi5.com/news/item/medford-pd-ready-to-catch-serial-arsonist.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/medford-pd-ready-to-catch-serial-arsonist.html Medford PD ready to catch serial arsonist

Medford, Ore.--  Police and fire crews said they're ready to catch a suspected serial arsonist after 22 suspicious fires have burned since late June.

Thursday Officer Richard Renfro was out patrolling the streets of West Medford on more vigilant then ever.i

"The longer that this goes on the higher the risk that somebody is seriously going to get injured or killed," said Renfro.     

Officer Renfro said the whole thing is just frustrating. For example Wednesday night, two fires on the same street,  then two more just hours later blocks away.

"It's easy for suspects to be just one block away or one alley away and I could be chasing him all night and always be one step behind him."

And because it's fire, evidence is hard to find.

"Fires are a crazy thing they can start real small and give the suspect a head start. And he's got the advantage in knowing when he's going to go, where he's going to go, when he's going to start the fire and an exit strategy."

Police are heading to every fire call right now. Treating them all as an opportunity to catch the serial arsonist.

Renfro said it's starting to get in the way of responding to other calls. Sometimes delays of up to two hours.

"It's not a matter of what we know what we think or what we believe its a matter of what we can prove."

And prove he will. Officer Renfro said every street he patrols brings him and the department one step closer to finding a suspect.

He also said they appreciate every call they get even if it doesn't lead them to finding a suspect right away.

If you see anything suspicious call 911.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:12:16 -0700
Medford serial arsonist strikes again http://kobi5.com/news/item/suspicious-fire-burns-hundreds-of-tree-top-crates.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/suspicious-fire-burns-hundreds-of-tree-top-crates.html Medford serial arsonist strikes again

Medford, Ore. -- Update: Medford's serial arsonist strikes again. The person is  believed to have started fires at four different locations in just the last 24-hours, all in the downtown area.

Medford police said they are now up to 22 arson investigations since late-June. At this point, fire officials told NBC5 News, the cost is probably in the thousands of dollars as investigators continue to respond to all these fires.

According to police, the most recent string of arsons began on Wednesday night around nine with a small fire lit in the alcove of the Beaver Tooth Oak Warehouse in the 400 block of South Fir Street.

Then around 3:30 in the morning, just down the road in the 600 block, roughly 30-foot flames shot up scorching hundreds of crates at the back of the Tree Top Plant.     

Hours later at 7:50 a.m. police found bushes on South Holly Street smoldering and minutes after that, around eight, a tree was lit on fire at Hawthorne Park.

Medford Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg said investigators are focused on catching whoever is responsible.

"The cops have a bunch of extra people out every night responding to these calls as they come in and so we're going to catch the guy sooner or later, whoever's doing this," said Kleinberg.

According to Kleinberg, it's also possible there are copycats out there, which highlights how important it is that residents keep a watchful eye out for any suspicious activity. This is especially true for the people living in the West Medford and Downtown areas.

Police said they're relying on witnesses and surveillance cameras for now. MPD said the more times the arsonist strikes, the more likely the suspect's luck will run out.

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A suspicious fire breaks out in West Medford Thursday morning, just after 3:30 a.m., with flames rising 30 feet in the air near the railroad tracks on Fir Street.

A security guard for the plant attempted to battle the flames with nothing but an extinguisher. The flames scorched hundreds of crates at the back of the Tree Top Plant.     

Officials say it appears the fire started along the railroad tracks and the wind pushed it into the nearby crates. The boxes were empty, but employees say the loss is still costly.

When police arrived on scene they immediately began asking for descriptions, searching for a suspect.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:25:23 -0700
Being a good crime witness http://kobi5.com/news/item/being-a-good-crime-witness.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/being-a-good-crime-witness.html Being a good crime witness

Are you a good witness?

A string of arson fires since late June have plagued the Medford's city core but so far few witnesses have come forward with information. Medford Police say people ofter over look a criminals description and focus on their behavior.

Nikki Wright is staying at a friends house and believes she encountered the serial arsonist police are looking for after a significant fire broke out just down the street from her residence.

"My friend walked down to Circle K to get cigarettes and I was sitting on the front porch waiting, playing on my phone. a man dressed in all black came out of the shadow and asked for a cigarette. (It was) A gut feeling that something was not okay.

Even with her brief conversation with the man, Wright offered little description but said she hear police talk about a possible suspect over her mobile phone scanner app.

"it was exactly the same guy."

Medford police Lieutenant, Mike Budreau says they often use eyewitnesses to get leads but people forget the information and testimony becomes convoluted.

" They look at the person and thing well that looks really odd, or that guys just weird... but when we ask what did they look like, people usually say something like, i think he had this on." Budreau said.

Hours after the fire broke out near Wright's residence, another fire was reported blocks away at Hawthorn park. Police and fire are investigating a small garbage fire and a palm tree which they believe were both intentionally set.

"It's broad daylight a lot of people are going to work a lot of people out and about- it's a sunny day and to light fires at this time... it's very brazen."

However, few witnesses came forward and Medford police still don't have a suspect or a solid description.

 

 

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:15:43 -0700
Change thief strikes multiple businesses http://kobi5.com/news/item/change-thief-strikes-multiple-businesses.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/change-thief-strikes-multiple-businesses.html Change thief strikes multiple businesses

    Medford, Ore -- The Medford Police Department wants the public to be on the lookout for a change-stealing criminal.

    They say he started his crime spree in late June. Stealing hundreds in change from a machine at a Little Caesers and he hasn't stopped there.

  It can take hours or even days before businesses realize they're the victim of theft and by then the thief is long gone.

 "Whatever tool that he had, he used right there to open it up," said David Boteilho. 
 
  Photos of a suspected thief are making the rounds in local restaurants and entertainment centers. Photos of a man suspected of stealing hundreds in change.

  "Every single one of us were completely shocked," said Lisa Brown.   
         
  Stolen right under the noses of unsuspecting employees like Brown at Lava Lanes in Medford.

  "He just used his jacket, covered it up, threw away the collector in our building, used the money in our building and tried to hit more of our machines,” said Brown.

  Police say the suspect has hit half a dozen businesses. From Little Caesar's in June to a virtual jukebox at the Trophy Club just last week.

  The problem is, often nobody notices a crime has been committed until long after the suspect is gone.

  "He just walked right across the front counter there with the bill collector underneath, and walked out," said Boteilho.

  If you recognize the man in the surveillance photos please call Medford Police.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:28:49 -0700
ODOT to hold open house on Highway 99 improvements http://kobi5.com/news/item/odot-in-the-works-to-improve-highway-99.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/odot-in-the-works-to-improve-highway-99.html ODOT to hold open house on Highway 99 improvements

Phoenix, Ore.--  The Oregon Department of Transportation will host a meeting for the public Thursday to get the public's input on a proposed Highway 99 corridor plan.

Just a couple days ago Kihan Yun said he saw a car crash in front of his Farmer's Market in Phoenix.

"A lot of accidents in a 6 month period."

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation the stretch of Highway 99 between Garfield Street in Medford and North Valleyview in Ashland sees 80 accidents a year, 5% of them fatal.

That's just one of the reasons Ian Horlacher with ODOT said the road needs work.

"We have plenty of capacity it operates well but safety wise especially in the sections between Phoenix and Talent and Talent and Ashland where it's a four lane section there's a lot of turning cars...there's a lot of rear ending accidents," said Horlacher.

ODOT is now starting a 20 year plan for the Highway 99 corridor it includes widening sidewalks and narrowing lanes. 

From Phoenix to Ashland instead of four lanes there'd be two with a middle lane for turns. A  bike lane would be added to the entire 10.5 mile stretch.

"Everyone's competing here for their space within the roadway," said Horlacher.

Yun said he's interested in the details and so far hopes ODOT follows through with the proposed changes.

"How many people have to be dying in this road. Then they finally pay attention."

The "drop-in" open house will be at Jackson County Fire District #5's Talent station at 5811 South Pacific Highway from 4pm until 7pm.

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:15:29 -0700
New U.S. citizens sworn in at Crater Lake National Park http://kobi5.com/news/item/new-us-citizens-sworn-in-at-crater-lake-national-park.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/new-us-citizens-sworn-in-at-crater-lake-national-park.html New U.S. citizens sworn in at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park, Ore. - There are 17 new American citizens in Oregon tonight, following an emotional ceremony at Crater Lake National Park.

Gloria Davis was born in Guatemala - but at noon, she became a U.S. Citizen...

"One of the greatest things that could happen - I've been wanting to do it, and finally this day is here."

John McCaffrey is from Scotland - but he now calls the United States home...

"I loved it from the moment I got here.  Fantastic place.  Ate my first hamburger when we landed."

17 people from 9 different countries took the oath of allegiance, with Crater Lake as the unforgettable backdrop.

Evelyn Sahli of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains why video crews were on hand to document the event...

"We're filming a video that's going to be shown at every administrative naturalization ceremony throughout the country."

Mark Rout of New Zealand has been balancing school with citizenship classes...

"I think it's a pretty great thing.  It's something that we've worked very hard for, it's taken a lot of time, a lot of risk - and it's something that we're very glad to have pay off."

The new citizens provide a unique perspective.

"I think Americans are the most critical of themselves."  Says Richard Rout of New Zealand.  "But no, they're well liked around the world."

"All the different cultures that we have in this country really contribute to the success of the country, in my belief."  Adds John McCaffrey.

Gloria Davis says she felt bad when she was unable to serve on a jury in Grants Pass - and she hopes to get a second chance...

"Next time, I can serve."

This is the second year that Crater Lake has hosted a naturalization ceremony.

About 7 thousand people are sworn in as U.S. Citizens in Oregon every year.

Nationwide, that figure jumps to about 650 thousand.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:27:18 -0700
Byron Higinbotham - Higs Gym http://kobi5.com/news/item/byron-higinbotham-higs-gym.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/byron-higinbotham-higs-gym.html Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:38:21 -0700 Governor Kitzhaber: Marijuana or daycare http://kobi5.com/news/item/governor-kitzhaber-pushes-for.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/governor-kitzhaber-pushes-for.html Governor Kitzhaber: Marijuana or daycare

Ore. -- Governor John Kitzhaber is taking steps to keep medical marijuana cardholders from operating home-based child care centers.

Right now, five Oregon home-based daycare's are owned by people who have medical marijuana cards.

According to a spokesperson for Kitzhaber's office the governor is asking the group that oversees early childhood education to make people choose between their business and cannabis.    

The State Office of Child Care has looked at medical marijuana as a private health matter, with providers abiding by certain conditions attached to cannabis use.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:08:20 -0700
GMO labeling initiative qualifies for Oregon ballot http://kobi5.com/news/item/gmo-labeling-initiative-qualifies-for-oregon-ballot.html http://kobi5.com/news/item/gmo-labeling-initiative-qualifies-for-oregon-ballot.html GMO labeling initiative qualifies for Oregon ballot

Ore. -- It's official: an initiative to require the labeling of genetically modified foods in Oregon has qualified for a statewide vote in November.

The Secretary of State's Office said Wednesday that it certified 118,780 signatures - well above the 87,213 needed to qualify for the ballot.

If adopted, the initiative by "Oregon GMO Right to Know" would require manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to label raw and packaged foods produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering.

The measure would not apply to animal feed or food served in restaurants.

It would be effective January 2016. A similar measure was defeated in Oregon in 2002.

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:45:57 -0700
Comic-con 2014: Thursday's big events http://kobi5.com/news/national-world-news/item/comic-con-2014-thursday-s-big-events.html http://kobi5.com/news/national-world-news/item/comic-con-2014-thursday-s-big-events.html Comic-con 2014: Thursday's big events

(NBC News) Following Wednesday evening's brief preview, Comic-Con makes the jump to light speed Thursday when the first full day of events kicks-off in San Diego.

A celebration of what's hot in comic books, film, TV, video games, costumes and collectibles, the four-day festival is expected to attract more than 130,000 fans to the San Diego convention center and environs.

Fan-boys and -girls will flock to the big events - especially the cast reveals and sneak peeks of highly-aniticipated blockbuster movies. This year's titles lighting up the pop cutlure radar include "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Antman," Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" and the final installment of the latest Tolkien-based trilogy, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

Fans enjoying Day 3 of San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of Monica Garske

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:38:39 -0700