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News In Brief

Rogue Farms begins hop harvest

INDEPENDENCE — The seventh annual Rogue Farms hop harvest kicked off in Independence on Monday morning.

This year’s harvest began with Rogue Farms Freedom hops. From cutting the bines off the trellises to picking, separating, sorting, kilning, cooling and baling the cones, it takes at least 24 hours to process one variety of hops, according to a press release from Rogue.

Rogue grows seven varieties of hops. People may watch the harvest from the tasting room patio at the farm, 3590 Wigrich Road, Independence.

Federal disaster loans available

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Small, nonfarm businesses in Polk County may apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought in Clackamas and Marion counties that began June 16.

Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

The deadline to apply is April 12, 2016. For more information or to apply: disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Driver may have been impaired

WILLAMINA — A Portland man was killed in a single-vehicle car crash on Saturday morning on Highway 18 near mile post 28.

Jose Bermudez Gutierrez, 30, of Portland was driving a white Chevrolet Malibu eastbound on SR Highway 18 near mile post 28 when he veered off the road and struck a tree. Alcohol and marijuana use are being investigated as contributing factors of the crash.

The right front passenger, Juan Bermudez Gutierrez, 21, of Portland, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jose Bermudez Gutierrez was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The right rear passenger, Brian Quintana, 22, of Portland was transported to Oregon Health & Science University with critical injuries.

Oregon State Police troopers are leading the investigation. OSP was assisted by West Valley Fire, the Polk County District Attorney’s Office, the Polk County Medical Examiner and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

MPD cracks down on traffic laws

MONMOUTH — Beginning Monday, Monmouth Police Department officers will participate in a statewide traffic enforcement blitz, on extra alert for proper safety belt and child car seat use, as well as looking for people speeding or violating the “hands-free” cellphone law.

This enhanced enforcement is paid for by dedicated funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Officers will be working extra hours, dedicating their time to traffic enforcement and education.

Second closed for railroad repairs

INDEPENDENCE — Second Street, from C Street to D Street, will be closed from Aug. 26 to Sept. 2 in Independence. The closure is due to railroad track repairs.

This includes the Monmouth Street/Second Street intersection.

If you are headed to or from downtown Independence headed east or west, you will be detoured. Monmouth Street eastbound will be detoured at Third Street. If you are traveling on North Main Street, you will be detoured at B Street. Those on Corvallis Road will be detoured at D Street.

Willamette & Pacific Railroad and the city of Independence are working together on the project, which consists of two blocks of track repairs and road repairs.

Salem man arrested on sex abuse

WEST SALEM — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Hugh Reeves, 58, of West Salem in the 2500 block of Lincoln Road Northwest, West Salem, on Aug. 11 on two counts of first-degree sex abuse against a non-relative minor female.

Reeves was lodged at Polk County Jail on $150,000 bail.

The arrest came after an investigation that began on July 31, where the minor reported allegations of abuse to an adult stemming from an incident on July 30 at Reeves’ home. Deputies conducted a search warrant at Reeves’ residence on Aug. 11. During the search warrant, items of interest were taken, including five desktop computers, one laptop, four external hard drives, four flash drives, two internal hard drives, two tablets, a camera and surveillance system with cameras inside and outside the house.

It is possible other victims are involved who have yet to come forward.

Anyone with more information may contact Polk County Sheriff detective John Williams at 503-623-9251.

Willamina couple survives crash

WILLAMINA — Paul Dolan, 80, and his wife, 81, both of Willamina, suffered minor injuries in a fiery crash on Highway 18 on Aug. 12.

Dolan was driving eastbound on Highway 18 when he approached a vehicle stopped, waiting to turn onto Pittman Road. Dolan swerved to the right and missed the stopped vehicle, but over-corrected, crossed the highway twice and went down a 25-foot embankment. Dolan’s vehicle came to rest upside-down and caught on fire.

Witnesses stopped and pulled the couple from the vehicle before it was fully engulfed.

Salem woman charged for theft

DALLAS — A West Salem woman was arraigned on Thursday in Polk County Circuit Court after being indicted on 17 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, four counts of first-degree theft and 13 counts of misdemeanor theft.

Victoria Leigh Ruiz, 29, was formally charged by the Polk County District Attorney’s Office for the acts, which are alleged to have occurred from January through May against multiple elderly and dependent victims.

Circuit Court Judge Sally Avera set bail for $195,000.

Salem man faces manslaughter

DALLAS — A West Salem man was arraigned on Aug. 11 on charges of manslaughter, felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Nicholas Anthony Ransom, 34, was formally charged by Polk County District Attorney’s Office in the fatal shooting of Matthew Pierce, which occurred in West Salem on July 15.

Ransom’s bail was set by Circuit Court Judge Monte Campbell at $115,000.

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