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Citizens for Truth suspends campaign against police chief

The Roseburg small business group Citizens for Truth has suspended its campaign to oust Roseburg Police Department Chief Gary Klopfenstein.

Joshua Brennon, spokesperson for Citizens for Truth, said via email Saturday that one of the group’s members had been “doxed” and concerns were brought up by other members.

“Because of this, we are suspending our campaign,” Brennon wrote. “Their safety and well-being comes first. Period. We asked the Chief (in our letter) to please look at how his actions, whether on purpose or not, have gave the assumption of bias policing to an already divided community concerning this mandate. We also explained our issue with his excuse of online system reporting absence and requested that he just be honest with the community in the future.”

The group further discontinued its website, timetogogary.com, on Thursday, but had reactivated the site by late Tuesday morning.

The change came just two days after The News-Review published an article citing the group’s complaints against Klopfenstein along with the chief’s rebuttal. The Citizens for Truth website had been online for approximately one week.

Citizens for Truth said Klopfenstein targeted Casey’s Restaurant in early May 2020 for COVID-19 violations, and ignored proper safety protocols during a Black Lives Matter rally in late May.

Klopfenstein said he was doing his job, which is to “educate, warn, then report.”

The group also asserts crime data reported by Roseburg Police Department to the FBI in 2019 was falsely inflated, resulting in Roseburg being named Oregon’s most dangerous city in a January 2020 report.

On its updated site, Citizens for Truth added a statement Sunday, specifying that the group was not anti-police nor did it have a specific political agenda.

“We believe that our timing to release (the) website and full information may have been confusing to some and a belief that we are associated with another group, Citizens Against Tyranny,” the statement reads. “We are not associated with this group. We are just a small group of small business owners and such that have concerns with our chief of police’s actions and statements.

“We just believe in holding public officials accountable.”

The group said they and their concerns are real, according to the website.

“Yes, we are real people with real concerns. We are not Russian disinformation operatives,” the website statement reads. “No, we will not be listing any prior or current members for the reasons stated above.”

Attempts to reach Brennon via phone went directly to voicemail.

Douglas County reports 21 new cases Sunday and Monday as vaccinations continue

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response team reported 10 new cases Sunday and 11 new cases Monday.

There were no new deaths reported.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 799 new cases Sunday and 666 new cases Monday.

The state reported three new deaths Monday and one new death Sunday.

The Oregon Health Authority reported the state continues to meet its 12,000 vaccinations per day goal. To date, 216,925 vaccinations have been given. In Douglas County, 2,349 people have been vaccinated so far.

For the most up-to-date information on where to get the vaccine once you become eligible for it, contact vaccines@douglaspublichealthnetwork.org.

Douglas County also operates a COVID-19 hotline at 541-464-6550.

The county is working to increase the number of vaccinators that will be able to get people vaccinated.

“(W)e encourage you to contact your Doctor, Physician, Family Practitioner or the Medical Office you frequent and encourage them to sign up as a vaccinator, so you can possibly go to them for the vaccine once it is available,” the response team said in a press release.

The vaccinations are still being given only to members of priority group 1a, which includes health care workers, first responders and nursing home residents and staff.

The state plans to move next to offering vaccinations to teachers, possibly as early as Jan. 25. After that, possibly by Feb. 8, people 80 and older will be eligible to receive the vaccination. Seniors younger than 80 will become eligible in a series of age-based waves after that.

The speed with which the supply of vaccines will become available to fill the demand remains unknown.

“While we are seeing high local demand for the vaccine, unfortunately the supply chain of vaccines has not caught up to the current demand. We continue to submit requests to OHA daily for more vaccines to be sent to Douglas County, so we can move forward with vaccinations for everyone that is eligible,” the response team said.

Six county residents are currently hospitalized with the illness, five locally and one out of the area. Douglas Public Health Network is supporting 513 people who are in isolation with the illness or quarantining because they’ve had contact with an infected person.

Students create fleece blankets to help community members in need

MYRTLE CREEK — About 100 local people will stay a bit warmer this winter, cuddled up in fleece blankets created by the Coffenberry Middle School Future Business Leaders of America.

Most years, the group does a fundraiser for the March of Dimes as its project. But this year, chapter president Jocelyn Malone had a different idea.

“She wanted to do something that directly related to our local community,” said Coffenberry Middle School math teacher and Future Business Leaders of America advisor Sandy Edwards.

Malone was already a volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul in Myrtle Creek, which assists low-income people in the community.

So she came up with the idea that the group could create fleece blankets to help people who might have trouble staying warm this winter.

St. Vincent’s donated some fleece for the group’s first blankets.

Edwards had recently joined the Facebook group of Maryland-based Kindness Grows Here, and saw that they offered a Kid Kindness Grant. The FBLA students applied for and won a $500 grant to purchase material to create 100 no-sew fleece blankets.

On Saturday, 15 student members went to school to put together blankets.

The blankets were then delivered to St. Vincent’s, which will give them out through its food pantry program free of charge to people who come there for food, Edwards said.

“It was really an awesome thing because we are giving directly back to our community,” Edwards said.