Grants Pass

Best of Grants Pass 2012

Before jumping into this 26th annual readers' survey, let's review some of the more momentous events of the last year. In a supreme example of irony, two female political figures—County Commissioner Sandi Cassanelli and City Manager Laurel Samson—were ousted from their jobs. Now, to fill the gender void, two women are running for the open County Commissioner spots. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

We did a special report in November about dwindling funds at the Animal Control Center. That facility is something I think most people feel is important to the community. The commissioners could put an extremely small tax increase on the ballot to pay for the Animal Shelter, and I think it would pass.

It took about a month, but in December the toxic oil spill at the River Road Reserve got a cleanup. The area next to it is part of the Josephine County Food Bank, but unless the City wins the lottery, the rest of the 248 acres won't be developed anytime in the near future.

Best of Grants Pass 2013

The last "Best of the Rogue Valley" was in August/September 2012, and since then we've had a massive storm on the East Coast, a presidential election (and inauguration), a royal pregnancy (and birth), a scandal within the IRS (they should be audited!), a leak within the National Security Agency (they should be bugged!), and Phil Michelson winning the British Open. I almost feel as if I'm in a time warp.
Locally, the November election brought us two new county commissioners—Cherryl Walker and Keith Heck—while the voters also rejected proposed changes to the Grants Pass City Charter. In the spring, voters narrowly rejected a county-wide public safety levy, leaving the county jail as a revolving door for criminals.
Cover stories in the Sneak Preview included updates on the Library and Fairgrounds, both of which are struggling for funds since they got cut off during the budget crisis. Meanwhile, the City is still contemplating a pedestrian mall on 5th Street between G and H, and the Caveman Statue will stay. We did a cover story on the ol' Caveman in last month's issue, and sadly, the man gracing the cover, Hank Geiske, died a couple of weeks ago. The community will miss him.

Best of The Rogue Valley 2015

Back in July 1986, when I started the Sneak Preview, I modeled it after a free, alternative newspaper in Denver called Westword. I had been dividing my time between Denver and Grants Pass since 1976 and felt it was time to settle down and do something productive. Back in the day, Westword had an annual readers' survey, "The Best of Denver," that was extremely popular, and in September 1987, I decided to introduce the concept to the Rogue Valley. It was a big hit, and today our sister publications, the Ashland and Medford Sneak Previews, and the Talent News & Review, also include readers' surveys.

The concept is so popular that I have counted four other publications in the valley that have attempted the same thing. I'm not complaining, mind you. Since I borrowed the idea from Westword, it's not like I had a patent on it. I do take comfort in the fact that we were the first, the trendsetters, and all the other publications are mere copycats (smiley face).