December 2 – 9
First off, congratulations to the Sheldon Irish Football team on their state championship win yesterday. In a back and forth defensive battle, the Irish capitalized on five Lake Oswego turnovers for the win: 13 – 6. This is the 4th state championship for Sheldon. Well done.
In local news, the week began with an attempted abduction at a local grade school. Police say an adult man tried to grab a nine year old girl while she was at a water fountain at Yujin Gakuen a Japanese Immersion Elementary School. A sketch of the suspect was released by police. The person is described as a white male, age 17 or 18 and 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall. There have been no arrests in the case.
Two children in Cottage Grove were the apparent target of what appeared to be another abduction attempt Monday afternoon. The two young children were in their yard when the parents say a man approached the children with an unfurled blanket in his outstretched arms. The father shouted at the man who then ran. Cottage Grove Police arrested Christopher Shawn Williams, 40 on criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.
A caregiver in a Eugene case was sentenced to 56 months in prison when she was found guilty of stealing more than $400,000 from an 84-year-old veteran. In court, Bimla Boyd signed back over to him the deed to his Eugene home and title to his 2011 Hyundai Elantra. Boyd then pleaded guilty to eight felony counts for stealing the 85-year-old man’s assets and financial identity. She also pleaded guilty to two felony counts for fraudulently concealing assets in order to obtain state food stamp and welfare benefits. Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley sentenced Boyd to 56 months in prison. To quote Elmer Fudd: Good riddance to bad rubbish.
A jury convicted Francisco “Frank” Ochoa of attempted murder, first-degree assault and unlawfully using his pickup truck as a deadly weapon when he struck and seriously injured his wife’s fitness trainer as the man walked his dog on March 14. Ochoa was also convicted of animal abuse for striking and killing the pit bull, Razer, and of hit-and-run for fleeing the scene of the incident. Both attempted murder and first-degree assault carry mandatory minimum sentences of 7½ years under Oregon law, but Vogt could chose to impose the sentences simultaneously.
Arson investigators are probing a fire that destroyed a home under construction in southwest Eugene early Wednesday morning. The Eugene Police Department said the cause of the fire appears to be suspicious and police are treating it as possible arson.
Convicted embezzler Sammantha Perryman was sentenced to more than three years in prison for stealing $1,000 or more 10 different times from George Sutton RV between September 2010 and May 2011. Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley also ordered Perryman to pay the company $82,212 in restitution — an amount negotiated as part of the 38-year-old woman’s plea deal. The deal also called for the state to dismiss an additional seven counts of alleged thefts from the business.
A man involved in Eugene’s first known gang murder and regarded by police as a prison gang leader, faces a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Beau Heleman Flynn, 34 was arrested in the Eugene Costco parking lot. He is considered the leader of the Eugene-rooted Westside gang in the Oregon state prison system. If convicted on the new charge, Flynn could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in a federal prison because of his criminal history. Here’s hoping.
Traffic accidents caused some tragedy this week: 26-year-old Morgan Tara Marie Smither died Thursday night in a one-vehicle rollover crash that left a stretch of River Road strewn with debris. 53-year-old Lisa Marie Leiblen was struck by a pickup truck Friday morning. Lieblen was taken to RiverBend Medical Center with serious injuries where she remains in the intensive care unit in critical condition. The driver of the pickup, Jeffrey John Firth, 39 of Walterville, was cited for the crash.
Springfield National Guard veteran Gregory Gordon Carr Gibb has filed a lawsuit against a subsidiary of Halliburton Energy Services, saying KBR Inc. knowingly exposed him to a toxic and cancer-causing chemical while he guarded employees of the military contractor as they restored an Iraqi water plant in 2003. One in Five persons exposed to the chemical are expected to develop cancer.
And finally Lane County Sheriff’s deputy Drew Wattier and his wife, who were seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident in Los Cabos, Mexico last week, were air lifted to a trauma center in San Diego on Wednesday.
We’ve already mentioned State 6A Football champions the Sheldon Irish, but the Sheldon men weren’t the only champions this week, the girls basketball team showed up as well. Tiwanna Hamilton scored 16 points and six rebounds helping sixth-ranked Sheldon defeat West Salem 45-41 in the championship game of the Luke Roth Tip-Off girls basketball tournament on Saturday night at Sheldon High. Willamette, Springfield, Monroe and Junction City also came away with wins this week.
Moving up a level to College sports, the rumor mill is in high gear about Chip Kelly and the NFL after Casey Matthews, the Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and former UO star, said Thursday he thought Chip Kelly could succeed in the NFL. Kelly didn’t help things when he declined to comment on reports suggesting he’ll be a hot NFL candidate this winter during a presser on Thursday.
Lane Community College reached the championship game of its own Dale Bates Tournament with an 84-68 men’s basketball victory over Portland on Saturday at the LCC gym.
The Ducks men’s basketball team dominated Idaho State in a 87-35 rout. And the Duck women’s volleyball team made it to their first ever Elite 8 tournament. Kenyon Barner missed out on the Doak Walker Award but joins the all-American elite.
OTHER NEWS and WEATHER
This week saw snow in the mountains, heavy rains in the valley, and more than a little wind.
The Forecast: Cloudy with a good (50%) chance of rain today (under 0.10 in. of rain possible), mostly cloudy with a good (50%) chance of rain tonight (under 0.10 in. of rain possible), mostly cloudy with patchy AM fog Monday, a mix of clouds and sun in the afternoon, mostly cloudy with patchy fog late Monday night, a mix of clouds and sun with a slight (20%) chance of rain in the AM, becoming mostly cloudy with a good (50%) chance of rain Tuesday afternoon, then rain Tuesday night highs near 50 lows near 40. Cloudy with a good (50%) chance of showers Wednesday, partly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers Wednesday night, a mix of clouds and sun Thursday, mostly cloudy with rain becoming likely (60%) at night and Friday, a good (50%) chance of rain Friday night, then mostly cloudy with rain likely (60%) Saturday highs near 45 lows 39-34. (seasonal averages high 46 low 34). Sounds like WillValley weather.
The homeless camping program is going rural in Lane County for the first time in two decades. Saint Vincent de Paul’s Lane County director, Terry McDonald, said that the city wants to see more homeless car camping in parks, which relieves some of the pressures for the program in town.
Occupy Eugene’s Medical efforts are bearing fruit, with service numbers doubling they are looking to open a Friday clinic as well. Occupy Medical is also seeing an upsurge in volunteers and community support.
Springfield School District Superintendent Nancy Golden is retiring. “This is the hardest decision I have made in my career,” she said. “I love this school district and have tremendous respect for the staff, students and community. Together we have done noble work.”
Eugene police want to reunite a personal diary from the 1960s with its rightful owner, who may have inherited the book after its writer died in an automobile crash in 1972.
The U of O sign on Franklin Blvd was defaced by someone unhappy with a school fraternity.
Farmhand Feed and Home Company of Cottage Grove is calling it quits, another victim of the economy and competitive pressure from larger companies.
In the face of falling gasoline tax revenues and a (marginally) growing electric/hybrid car market, ODOT has begun testing “per-mile” road use fee for new high MPG & electric cars.
Finally, EWEB has gone ahead and done what they planned to do regardless of community outcry or discussion: they have determined that they will raise water rates by 20% and electric rates by 4%. Rates will likely be raised again in the spring and the fall following the pattern of rate hikes by EWEB over the last number of years. Water rates have increased more than 37% over the last 3 years.