Regional roundup

Shark Week provides name for latest fire

KLAMATH FALLS — While normally named after the nearest major geographic feature, wildfires have become so numerous in Klamath County that more creative designations have been used.

Karen Takai, a spokesperson working with the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP), said the small Megalodon Fire was named to celebrate the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week programming event (megalodon is an extinct species of giant shark).

Approximately 35 new fires have been reported in Klamath and Lake counties since a new set of storms moved into the area Sunday afternoon. However, most of the incidents have been small.

Takai said all but a couple of the new fires have been under an acre in size. She noted 20 fires were started Sunday. She said all but two of those incidents had been suppressed. At least 15 confirmed fires were reported Monday.The largest blaze is the Crane Creek Fire, still small at 6.5 acres. It was located about five miles south of Lakeview and was not threatening any structures.

Takai said a new blaze south of Silver Lake was being paid close attention to as well, though an exact size estimate was not available Monday.

Oregon high court 

rules in deputy's favor 

ROSEBURG — The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy was justified in August 2010 when he went on private property without a warrant and rescued Grace, a starving horse whose recovery was followed by thousands on Facebook.

 The unanimous decision affirmed rulings by the Court of Appeals and Douglas County Circuit Court that Animal Control Deputy Lee Bartholomew acted lawfully when he took the horse to a veterinarian for treatment.

 Bartholomew reported that he thought he was on firm legal grounds because he believed the horse was in imminent danger.

 Grace gained attention worldwide through a Facebook page set up after her rescue. She had more than 6,000 fans when she died in July 2011 at the age of 28 from the lingering effects of starvation.

 Teresa Ann Dicke, 53, and Linda Diane Fessenden, 52, shared ownership of Grace during the abuse.

 Dicke was found guilty by a Douglas County jury of first-degree animal neglect and first-degree animal abuse, and sentenced to eight months in jail. Fessenden was found guilty of second-degree animal neglect and sentenced to 90 days in jail. Both were barred from owning domestic animals for five years.

 The women argued Bartholomew violated the Oregon Constitution and Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when he seized their property without a warrant and that he couldn’t prove the horse was in imminent danger.

 They moved to have the evidence suppressed, but it was denied by Circuit Judge George Ambrosini.

 The appeals court concluded Bartholomew had grounds under the emergency aid exception, which allows an officer to enter property without a warrant to end suffering or prevent harm to someone. The court concluded the protection extended to a horse.

 Fessenden and Dicke appealed again, arguing Grace was property and that the exception shouldn’t apply to property.

 The Supreme Court agreed the horse was property, but found that the exception applies in “circumstances that require swift action to prevent harm to persons or property.”

Larson's store nears the end of its run

MEDFORD — Whether it was nursing along the family business from its humble origins, expanding operations to three other cities, or fending off national competitors, Bruce Larson's perseverance kept the Larson's Home Furnishings afloat and changing with the times and trends. Now, with Bruce's waning health and his son and daughter pursuing successful careers in California and Europe, the store's days are numbered.

After nearly 70 years, Larson's will shutter its appliance and furniture locations on South Fir Street sometime within the next three months.

"My Dad is 79 and it's time for him to retire," said Troy Larson, who launched a wealth management firm 16 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. "Rather than bring in a liquidation team and letting employees go, we're going to do a total liquidation sale next month. Then we'll take a look at inventory and decide if we need a little longer, or go to auction."

He said the buildings, a multilevel, 46,500-square-foot building north of 10th Street and a 24,270-square-foot structure south of 10th Street connected by a sky bridge, will go on the block this week.

Al and Lulu Larson bought a local appliance repair business on East Main Street in 1945 and before long got the local Maytag franchise. Bruce learned the business as a young man, starting as a washer repairman. He went off to Northwest Nazarene College before eventually acquiring his father's share of the company in 1963 and later his mother's interest. He pushed the superstore concept long before many of his national competitors, expanding into Klamath Falls, Roseburg and Redding, Calif., in the 1980s.

— from staff and local reports

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