Best of the Rogue Valley: Part 1

Best of the Rogue Valley 1 2023Another year, another Best of the Rogue Valley. If life is merely “enjoying the passage of time,” a philosophy that was explained to me during a late night bull session at the frat house in college, then I’ve been a very happy person for the last 37 years, when I first introduced this readers’ survey to Southern Oregon. Now there’s another publication in Medford to replace the defunct Mail-Tribune, and they’re doing their own readers’ survey. That’s cool, but guess what that brain trust decided to call it? Yep, the Best of the Rogue Valley. Seriously, they couldn’t come up with their own unique name instead of stealing it from the Sneak Preview? Oh well, I’m just going to enjoy the passage of time and not think about it.

So what has happened over the last year to influence the minds of our readers? I took the liberty of perusing the pages of the Sneak Preview for an update.

There was, of course, an election last fall for county commissioner, a hard-fought race featuring John West and Brian DeLaGrange. Brian had the name recognition as a city councilor and school board member, but John ran on a campaign of shaking things up in county government, and he emerged victorious. There was also an election for sheriff, and Dave Daniel easily won reelection for an unprecedented third term.

In December we featured the Rogue Valley Symphony, which was celebrating its 56th year in the Rogue Valley and rebounded nicely from the 2-year pandemic nightmare.

Lazy Acres Farm was the spotlight in January. The Applegate Farm had the dubious distinction of being featured on HGTV’s “Ugliest Houses,” and while they didn’t win the grand prize of $150,000, it did give them their 15 minutes of fame.

The great “Battle over Legal Notices” was the cover story in February, as the commissioners decided to punish the Daily Courier for doing what newspapers are supposed to do: keeping an eye on politicians. The commissioners made the decision to publish all legal notices in the Illinois Valley News, depriving the local paper of a good source of revenue. Hmm? What’s the best way to publish a legal notice so that the most people see it? Put it in a paper with a circulation of 1,350 in a remote area of the county or one with 9,250 that is spread out over the entire county? The commissioners chose 1,350, proving that math was not their best subject in school. Amazingly, they also have control over a $197 million budget. Here’s hoping they get a new abacus for Christmas.

Grants Pass Finance Director JC Rowley walked us through the annual budget process in the March issue, and somehow our eyes didn’t glaze over.

Hyla Lipson, director of the Grants Pass Museum of Art, couldn’t believe that some people didn’t know they existed, so we decided to put them on the map with a cover story in April.

The primary election got very interesting in May, as 22 people ran for ten different positions on the school boards, RCC board and library board. They say all politics is local, and that election proved it.

Our cover story in June tried to put a human face on homelessness as we interviewed a family that had been homeless for a year through no fault of their own.

And finally, last month we reported on how the Jackson County commissioners dropped Josephine County from the shared emergency alert system. Both counties admitted that it would not change anything, so our sub-headline read, “aka, Much Ado about Nothing.”

* * * * *

And here we are: the 37th annual Best of the Rogue Valley. Once again, we allowed readers to fill out a ballot online by requesting one via email. And to cut down on ballot stuffing, we required them to fill out a minimum of 20 honest answers. Seriously, those online polls are open to all kinds of shenanigans. You want Aunt Alice to win for Favorite Wig Fitter? Just send a link of the poll to all of your relatives in Sheboygan and Bratslava, and it’s a slam dunk. Our system still isn’t perfect, but at least we made people work for it.

Anyway, we entered all 302 voters into a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to a local restaurant, and we congratulate Bonnie Kallenberg of Grants Pass, who chose a night out at 115 Broiler.

So without further ado … the 2023 Best of the Rogue Valley.



 As a radio host or DJ, it can sometimes become a “Ground Control to Major Tom” moment. You stare into the control booth where your producer gives you the thumbs up and you begin to wonder, “Is anyone even tuned in to this show? Am I talking into the void? Where is my mother?” Then, the lights start flashing because you have 52 callers wanting to join the show or request their favorite song from the summer of ’69, and voila, life is good again.

This category proved the power of country music, as DJs Ashley Main and Jason Allen of KRRM ended up winning the hearts of our readers.

Others high in the standings were

  • Cassie Callas of KLDR
  • Bill Meyer at KMED
  • Aaron Stone of KLDR
  • Alex Bauer at KLDR


From the latest drug bust and five-alarm fire to the sex scandal at City Hall, our local TV news anchors have to approach each story with a dispassionate demeanor, letting the viewer make his or her own decision on the merits of the story. It’s not always easy to do, and our hats are off to local news anchors for not letting their personal opinions get in the way of the news.

Winning this spot with our readers was Craig Smullin, of KOBI-Channel 5. Craig joined the KOBI news team in 2005 after graduating from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He became News Director in December 2013.

The list also included:

  • Hailey Gravitt of KDRV-12
  • Jenna King at KOBI
  • Camryn Baber of KDRV


According to that editor hovering over your shoulder, you have 45 minutes to get that story into the computer. Sweating profusely, you Google “What to do when you have writer’s block,” and none of the first suggestions work. “Take a cruise to the Mexican Riviera?” Nope, not enough time. “Read Les Miserables.” Kidding, right? The Julie Rose translation was 1,194 pages. “Take two shots of bourbon; it worked for Ernest Hemingway.” Now that’s doable. You walk over to the desk of the crime reporter (who you know has a bottle of Basil Hayden hidden under the handcuffs in his bottom left drawer), and all of a sudden, your inner Pulitzer is unleashed.

Not all news is late-breaking events; sometimes, we just want to know what’s going on in the entertainment world. And in that regard our readers named Edith Decker, Features Editor, as the number one this year, followed by

  • Reporter Vickie Aldous
  • Editor Scott Stoddard
  • City Editor Chris Bristol
  • Features Reporter Kathleen Alaks
  • Reporter Lisa Dunlap 



Ah, the joys of opening one’s own business. I was in the same boat 37 years ago, and to be truthful, the first couple of years were tough. It was definitely a 24/7 commitment, but in the end, it paid off. Our hats are off to anyone who makes the plunge.

Topping the charts this year with our readers was Blossom Bar Cidery, located at 950 Kubli Road in Grants Pass, where Jeremy Hall and Erin Chaparro have turned Jeremy’s family farm into an “eco-friendly perry orchard powered by solar arrays and maintained using the organic methods introduced by Jeremy’s parents many years ago.” Oh, and they make some great hard cider and host a tasting room with a variety of events on a weekly basis.

The list also included:

  • Ajace NW Kitchen & Spirits at 966 SW 6th
  • Neko Sushi, located at 941 SE 7th
  • Woven and Wyld, an apparel, gifts and jewelry store, at 545 NE E Street
  • The White Owl Steakhouse at 117 SW G
  • T.i.s. Cosmetics & Aesthetics, located at 550 SW C Street
  • Encompass Person Centered, a community inclusion and exploration supports program at 303 NE E Street


Kudos to Hyla Lipson, Executive Director of Grants Pass Museum of Art. She is friendly, welcoming, and has made the museum a place to see art, learn art, and do art. There are concerts, poetry reading nights, movies about famous artists, and a warm, happy place to feast our eyes.

  • Favorite Veterinary Clinic: Pacific Veterinary with Dr. Jamie Chilton
  • Favorite Optometric Physician: Brett Napier
  • Best Women’s Shoe Store: Shoefly
  • Best Selection of Pet Products: Fred Meyer
  • Favorite Thing about Boatnik: The food
  • Best Place to Take Kids out to Eat: Weekend Beer Co.

* * * * *

  • Kudos to the Garden Club: About 103 folks—100 dynamic women and three amazing guys—who liven up Grants Pass with beauty, knowledge and a great plant sale every year.
  • Best Dog Trainer: Southern Oregon Dog Training
  • Favorite Playground to Take Kids/Grandkids: Tom Pearce Park
  • Best Liquor Store Salesperson: Jim at downtown liquor store
  • Favorite Meteorologist (local TV): Matt Hoffman
  • Favorite Painter: Winston Odom
  • Best Car Wash: Paradise Car Wash

* * * * *

  • Let’s give some love to our letter carriers who bring the public their Sneak Preview’s “Best Of” in triple digit temperatures.
  • Best Bakery: G.G. Sugarplum
  • Best Candy/Confections: Sandi’s Candies
  • Best Ribs: Cartwright’s
  • Best Eye Doctor: Matthew Richardson, Rogue Family Eye Care
  • Best Food Truck: Great Outdoor Grill
  • Best Ice Cream: Udder’s

* * * * *

  • Best nonprofit: Joe’s Place Ministries; they help about 70 kids a week in Cave Junction and Grants Pass
  • Kudos to Grants Pass firefighters. They are understaffed but work hard to keep our little town safe.
  • Best Restoration Company: Palm Industries. When you have any type of damage—water leaks, smoke, mold, etc. They are super friendly, compassionate, professional and helpful.
  • Favorite Massage Therapist: Charlotte Sperisen
  • Best Newspaper Delivery Person: Ethan Blauser
  • Kudos to Josephine Community Library, Barnstormers Theatre, the Food Bank, the Daily Courier, the Sneak Preview, UCAN, and all the folks who work in the health profession.

* * * * *

  • Nelson Maler, Diane Hoover and the four Rotary Clubs of Josephine County deserve special recognition. Nelson and Diane led a mini-capacity analysis workgroup, partnering with representatives from the Chamber, the City and the four Rotary Clubs. As a result, the Rotary Clubs will be hosting the 2025 Rotary District 5110 Conference in Grants Pass.


Yeah, as owner of the business, your job is definitely not 9 to 5. You live and breathe the business and it can become a 24-7 obsession, but sometimes that’s what it takes to survive in this dog-eat-dog world. Just kidding; it’s not that dramatic, but it does take a lot of time and effort to succeed.

And in that regard, our reads most often named Scott Draper of Club Northwest. I remember interviewing Scott about 30 years ago when he was just a young whippersnapper, and he and Fred Baida opened a fitness center in downtown Grants Pass. Then five years later he opened Club Northwest on NW Vine Street, turning it into one of the premier fitness centers in the Pacific Northwest, complete with a Kids Zone and a separate spa. And they’ll soon be adding pickleball courts—stay tuned on that.

The list also included:

  • Steve Roe of Roe Motors GM
  • Travis Boersma of Dutch Brothers and Grants Pass Downs
  • Chris Parker of Herb’s LaCasita
  • Restaurateur Dave Thomason
  • Josie Molloy of the Chamber of Commerce
  • Giff Gates of Gates Furniture


I subscribe to my high school’s Facebook page, and it’s extraordinary how those four years during teenagedom awarded us with so many life-long connections. And it’s not just former students weighing in but also former teachers, who were important parts of the whole process. In fact, I can recall about 20-25 high school teachers who made an impression on my life, or least memories, but seriously cannot recall the name of one teacher through four years of college. Good, bad or indifferent, it was a magical four years, and the teachers were a big part of it.

Quite a few high school teachers were named in this survey, with the top choice going to Carrie Alderson, a social studies teacher at Grants Pass High School, followed by:

  • Matthew Tousley, an English teacher at North Valley
  • Andy Frye, social studies at GPHS
  • Lois Macmillan, social studies at GPHS
  • Jenner Yriarte, physical education at GPHS
  • Neil DeForrest, English at NVHS


Growing up with six sisters, the last thing I needed at school was another “girl” bossing me around. Ironically, through eight years of grade school and four years of high school, I never had a principal who wasn’t a nun, and they all went by the name “Sister.” I tried not to hold that against them. It wasn’t totally bad, though. They were kind of mysterious, wearing burqas all day and using rosaries as belts. As far as principals went, I learned early on to avoid them at all costs. Why poke the bear, huh?

Here in the Rogue Valley, our normally-dressing principals all received a lot of votes, including Jake Musser, principal at Allen Dale Elementary, who came out on top.

Others in the hunt were:

  • Ryan Thompson, Grants Pass High School
  • Robert Lingo, South Middle School
  • Barret Sale at North Middle School
  • Kelly Smith, Lincoln Elementary
  • Brian Miller, Fleming Elementary


Congratulations to Nathan James and Ezekiel Freeman who, according to our expert staff of baby-watchers, won this category in an exact tie.


This category was extremely difficult, but in the end we had to give the nod to Stevie (Blackhurst) because of his age, 19, which is 92 in human years. Hang in there, Stevie. We’re pulling for you!

Other cute pets included Sprinkles the cat, and dogs Josie (Puntney) and PJ, a therapy dog for Bristol Hospice, Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility, and Asante Hospital.


I still remember that scene from the TV series “Alias” (which also starred my friend and GPHS graduate David [Holt] Anders), where Jennifer Garner is about to be tortured, and the guy comes at her with a pair of pliers and forces her mouth open. I was sweating bullets watching that scene, but Garner calmly said, “If you could, I’m having problems with this back molar,” then she got him in a choke hold with her legs and wrestled the keys out of his belt for a great escape. It was an outstanding move, but don’t try that with your dental hygienist when you’re getting a cleaning.

Once again, there were four dental offices that have a strong core of supporters among people willing to send in ballots. It was extremely close, and we usually just award ties, but that’s kind of boring, so we broke it down numerically. But remember, it was very close!

1. Rachel, Sten and Matt Erickson at Erickson Dental Care

2. Devin Nelson at C Street Dental

3. Steven and Aaron Rogers

4. Blake Anderson at A Street Dental

Also mentioned a lot were:

  • Sara Riechers
  • Michael Johnson
  • Doc Hales at Angel Lift
  • Greg Bigelow
  • Matt Johnson
  • Peter Pastrell
  • Richard Miller 


I’m reading a textbook on Immunology right now, and it is extraordinary how our immune system keeps us safe every second of the day. Right now there are billions of unique antibodies coursing through your blood cells just looking for foreign invaders to destroy. There are dozens of different kinds of cells willing to do the dirty work, not to mention helper cells and cytokines that identify the invaders and guide the soldiers to the battlefield. It is amazingly complex, and I don’t know how doctors can keep it all straight. Thankfully, they’re on top of it.

And in that regard, our readers have their favorites, including Heather Kahn of Rogue Medicine, who won this category. Heather has over 24 years of experience, graduating from Chicago Medical School in 1999.

Others high on the list were:

  • Marcel Wiggins
  • Tamara Medley of Women’s Health Center
  • Felicia Cohen of Women’s Health Center
  • Andrew Pitzak of Grants Pass Clinic
  • Richard Huffaker, D.O.
  • Judy Black at the Grants Pass Clinic
  • Tim Roberts at the Grants Pass Clinic 


Traditional medicine is very analytic and scientific in their analyses, but sometimes you just need to think outside the box. And once again, our readers named Naturopathic Physician Kristin Plunkett of the Naturopathic Medical Clinic as their favorite.

All of the local acupuncturists were mentioned, and the top five were:

  • Janet Moret, acupuncturist
  • Greg Doss, acupuncturist
  • Ellen Leonard, acupuncturist
  • Raven Sara
  • Sang Ly of Montage Oriental Medicine

Others on the list included:

  • The folks at Living Blu
  • Hypnotherapist Andrea Kremko
  • Jon Chambers, DC, at the Neuro Clinic


Ah, the 1980s. Every time I see a movie from that period and notice the hair styles, I say to myself, “What could they possibly have been thinking?” I checked it out on Wikipedia, and “amongst women, large hair-dos, puffed-up styles, permanent waves, and softer cuts typified the decade. Big hair that was often permed to achieve the desire volume is especially associated with women of the mid-1980s as well as male rock stars of that era, especially of the glam metal genre.” Thankfully, we’ve put all that behind us, although in forty years we’ll probably look back at the tattoos and lip rings and say to ourselves, “What were we thinking?”

Anyway, haircuts are an important part of living in a civilized society, and our readers mentioned 30 different ones, starting with Rachel Miles of Relic Salon at 1201 Rogue River Highway.

The list also included:

  • Brenda Malara of Studio G
  • Jackie at Salon Venusto
  • Ron Gillaspie at G2 Hair Studio
  • Kristi Benson at Lotus Salon
  • Dionne Horban of Lisadionne Salon & Spa
  • Lindsey of Salon Divine
  • Ginger Holder Skudstad at The Hairport


As someone who works in the garden a lot, I should probably have a manicurist on call. Dirt, cracked nails, ugly creatures that when blown up in an electron microscope look like something from The Alien … you name it, I got it.

Where to go when I need my nails to look spic and span? Many of our readers chose Forever Nails, located at 1634 Williams Highway, followed by:

  • A Nail Detail
  • Autumn at Salon Divine
  • Nails by Hannah
  • Perfect Nails
  • Studio 7even Nails & Hair


Every Sunday they become the most popular person in the community (I’ve even been known to consult them on a Thursday after a bad round of golf).

Our readers named quite a few pastors, including their number one mention, Matt Heverly of the Edgewater Christian Fellowship.

Others mentioned a lot were:

  • Bob Bonner of Calvary Crossroads Church
  • Father Robert Wolf of St. Anne’s Catholic Church
  • Mark Goens of River Valley Church
  • Ryan Scott at Newman United Methodist Church
  • Edward Nelson of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church


Here are some more funny incidents from court. I can’t attest for their veracity. It is the Internet, after all.

Lawyer: Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn’t you?

Witness: Yes, I went to Europe.

Lawyer: And you took your new wife?

And this:

Lawyer: Do yuk know how far pregnant you are now?

Witness: It’ll be three months on November 8.

Lawyer: Apparently, then, the date of conception was August 8.

Witness: Yes.

Lawyer: What were you doing at that time?

* * * * *

Our readers appreciate the work that local attorneys do making sure justice is dispensed fairly. Topping the list for 2023 was Richard Adams of Rogue Law Firm. Richard has been practicing law for 35 years as a “personal injury lawyer fighting for the people of Southern Oregon, holding big companies accountable for serious injuries.”

Others mentioned a lot were:

  • Rosalind Dagradi
  • Rebecca Peterson
  • Chris Mecca
  • Jason Hayward
  • Ben Freudenberg 
  • Kathi Holmbeck
  • Jim Dole
  • Carl Clyde


Well, we might as well do a couple of police jokes just to make things even with the lawyers.

Cop: When I saw you driving down the road, I guessed 55 at least.

Woman: You’re wrong, officer, it’s only hat that make me look that old.


Police officer: I’m arresting you for illegally downloading the entire Wikipedia.

Man: Wait, I can explain everything.

Okay, fairly lame, but our readers were still able to name a strong cadre of police officers as their favorites, including this year’s number one, Grants Pass Officer Lexi Pittman, who joined the force in 2019.

The list also included:

  • Sheriff Dave Daniel
  • Grants Pass Officer Scott Williams
  • Grants Pass Officer Mike Miner
  • Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Heller
  • Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman
  • Grants Pass Officer Mike Vorberg


When I first visited Grants Pass in February 1976, there might have been three restaurants in all of Grants Pass. Now there about 100, and they come in all shapes and sizes, eager to feed a growing population.

This is always a popular category with our readers, as they named 22 different restaurant owners, starting with their favorite, Dave Thomason of Taprock, Elmer’s, Human Bean and Pita Pit. Dave and Doneta got their start at a Carl’s Jr. on the corner of 6th and Hillcrest back in 1985, and now the Thomason Hospitality Group is a major player in Southern Oregon.

Others high on the list were:

  • David Carson of Carson’s Bistro
  • John Tamashiro of Matsukaze
  • Beth Forshay of Twisted Cork
  • Bret Musselman at 115 Broiler
  • Manuel Flores of Si Casa Flores
  • Chris Parker of Herb’s
  • Jose at Casa Amiga


In the Multi-Tasking Hall of Fame in Fez, Morocco, you can see dioramas of some very colorful characters, like a young mother with four kids under the age of four; a stockbroker driving down the Interstate talking on the phone with a computer touch screen on the console and a spreadsheet on his lap while a state police cruiser flashes its lights; and, of course, a special room is set aside for waitpeople. Keeping orders straight; making sure the vodka martini is extra dry with three, not two, olives; remembering names; keeping the cooks focused; consoling the busboy over the breakup with his girlfriend; getting the Giants-Dodgers game on the TV so that the old guy at table 3 doesn’t have a conniption fit, etc. etc. I highly recommend it the next time you’re in Fez.

Or you can just enjoy the many fine waitstaff here in Grants Pass, including this year’s winner—Julie Somebody at River’s Edge, followed by:

  • Debbie Hamblin of Powderhorn
  • Teddy Ednen at G Street Bar & Grill
  • Frank Arturi at 115 Broiler
  • Sara at Matzukaze
  • Dotti Kochis at 115 Broiler
  • Jillian at MaMosa’s
  • Kassy Roddy at the Laughing Clam


Back in the wild, wild West, bustling towns had 30 bars to every church. It wasn’t much different back in the Midwest, where I grew up in the 1950s/60s. There must have been a corner bar on every city block. The popularity of liquor in 19th century America can be easily explained. We were a country of immigrants from Ireland (whiskey), England (Scotch), Germany (beer), Italy (wine), and France (chartreuse). Is it any wonder that the Puritan ethic was quickly overwhelmed? The temperance people had their way from 1920 to 1933 with a constitutional amendment outlawing alcohol, but that was a disaster which was quickly overturned.

Want more information on this? Just ask your local bartender; they know everything. And in that regard, our readers were able to identify quite a few, including Dayna Spagnolo at the Weekend Beer Company at 1863 NE Washington.

Also mentioned were:

  • Chayse Murphy of Bohemian
  • Melody Burrell at Applebee’s
  • Brittany Spangle at OPPA


Vanity Fair magazine has a section similar to the Profile in the Sneak Preview where they ask famous celebrities interesting questions. A couple of years ago, they interviewed some famous old actor and asked, “If you could choose to come back after you die, what or who would it be?” And the guy answered, “A plumber.” It was pretty funny but semi-true. People don’t appreciate plumbers until something untoward happens with the toilet or the hot water heater leaks. Then you’re on the phone calling every plumber in town to get there immediately because you have no idea what to do.

Who to call in Grants Pass when something untoward happens? Our readers most often mentioned Michael Toch at Michael’s Plumbing, followed by:

  • Patrick Murphy at Shamrock Plumbing
  • Steadfast Plumbing & Drains
  • Murphy Plumbing
  • Rick at Heritage Plumbing
  • Grants Pass Plumbing
  • Mr. Rooter


Yeah, you can get the Ouija board out and see if you can resurrect Benjamin Franklin to fix that busted ceiling fan in the bathroom, but ol’ Ben probably has his hands full posing for hundred-dollar bills. Our readers certainly had an opinion about who to call as they named 21 different electricians, starting with their number one choice, Boggs Electric.  

Others mentioned a lot were:

  • Pro Electric
  • Double J Electric
  • Darin Fowler
  • Brownell’s Electric


Sinclair Lewis wrote the novel Main Street in 1920, depicting the downtown areas of small-town America as not only shopping centers but social places where the community gathered and exchanged information and local gossip. They are the glue that holds towns together, and that’s certainly true for downtown Grants Pass with its outstanding array of shops, restaurants, bars and parks.

Our readers agreed and once again they were able to name 30 different stores as their favorite. I hate to sound like a broken record, but The Kitchen Company at 301 SE 6th Street once again ran away with balloting, followed by

  • Fiona Bean
  • Rita’s – Live, Love, Shop
  • Gallop & Glitz
  • Sandi’s Candies
  • Shoefly
  • Grants Pass Pharmacy
  • Plaza Sewing
  • White Owl
  • Hart Jewelers
  • Glass Forge
  • Herb Shop


When shoppers want to step outside the downtown area, it’s definitely not a wasteland as our readers named 25 different stores as their favorites. Other than the Big Box stores, taking down the top spot was Aquarius Books & Gifts, located at 528 NE E Street.

The Top Ten included:

  • The Grange
  • TJ Maxx
  • Ross Dress for Less
  • Maurice’s
  • Home Depot
  • Diamond Home Improvement
  • Lavender Lane Essentials
  • Fred Meyer
  • Wal-Mart


According to my granddaughter Fiona, who just turned seven last week, every day of the year should be set aside for gift giving because it makes people (especially 7-year-olds) so happy. I’m sure all of the local gift stores would agree with that sentiment.

And in that regard, our readers once again named Hellgate’s Shop River Rock at 966 SW 6th Street as their favorite, followed by:

  • Aquarius Books & Gifts
  • The Kitchen Company
  • Fiona Bean
  • Rogue River Florists
  • Oregon Outpost
  • Grants Pass Pharmacy
  • Gallery One at Grants Pass Museum of Art
  • White Owl
  • Probst Flower Shop 


Yeah, when ol’ Shep starts banging his head into the coffee table because the hair is covering 90% of his vision, it just might be time to visit the dog groomer. According to ol’ Shep, and our readers, one of the best places to go is The Groom Shop, located at 1515 Redwood Avenue.

Other popular groomers are:

  • Home Away from Home
  • Petco
  • Canine Club
  • Just in Time
  • Purr Fect Pet Grooming
  • Bark Bath & Beyond


Yeah, good old plants, flowers and trees. Not only do they supply us with all the oxygen and food we need (meat actually comes from animals eating plants), but they can make the yard and garden look like something from the Garden of Eden. Watch out for those apple trees with snakes in them, though.

 And in this category, our readers most often chose Greenleaf Industries (150 Union Avenue) as their favorite, followed closely by Redwood Nursery at 1303 Redwood Avenue.

Others high on the list were:

  • New Hope Nursery
  • Grange
  • Fred Meyer
  • Home Depot
  • Bi-Mart
  • Diamond


According to Wikipedia, “The earliest known jewelry was created not by humans (Homo sapiens) but by Neanderthal living in Europe. Specifically, perforated beads made from small sea shells have been found dating to 115,000 years ago in a cave along the southeast coast of Spain.”

Well, it’s good to know that our cousins were keeping themselves busy. Meanwhile, our local jewelers have advanced well beyond perforated beads, and our readers certainly appreciate their efforts. This was extremely close as both Hart Jewelers (235 SE 6th) and King Jewelers (221 SE 6th) received a lot of votes.

Others mentioned were:

  • Fred Meyer
  • A Right Now Jewelry & Repair


Have you ever seen those runway shows in Paris where really skinny women wear some of the most outlandish and ridiculous outfits imaginable? You have to wonder if there are runway shows where normal clothes being worn by normal-looking women get the spotlight. That’s probably too boring for the media, but those are the fashions that end up at clothing stores around the world.

Anyway, when our readers wanted to go shopping for women’s clothes, they love the selection at Rita’s—Live, Love, Shop, located at 121 SE 6th Street, followed by:

  • Fred Meyer
  • THJ Maxx
  • Ross Dress for Less
  • Tierra del Sol
  • Wild Rogue Emporium
  • Maurice’s
  • Woven & Wyld
  • Fiona Bean


Thinking back on it, I probably bought my dad ties and socks as gifts, when in reality as a news junkie, he would have been just as happy with a year’s subscription to the Sunday Louisville Courier-Journal. Live and learn, I guess.

Our readers weren’t as baffled by this category as I was back in the day, and they mentioned Home Depot as their go-to shop. I suppose that would have been something to consider in my youth, as my dad was an avid gardener and could’ve used a good pair of gloves and some trowels.

Others high on the list were:

  • Fred Meyer
  • Diamond
  • The Grange
  • Bi-Mart
  • Harbor Freight
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods 


Here’s the thing about children’s clothes—you buy them something and within a year they’ve outgrown them. Growing up in a family of nine kids, my siblings and I got used to a lot of hand-me-downs, but it was always a treat when our mom would spring for something new (usually birthdays and Christmas).

Here in Grants Pass, our readers most often mentioned Fred Meyer and Wal-Mart, followed by:

  • But A Boo-tique (226 SE H)
  • The Baby Place (409 Union Avenue)
  • Everything but the Princess (301 NE F)
  • Goodwill (346 NE Beacon)
  • Bella Luna Boutique (307 SW G) 


There’s a reason why the fishing channel is so popular. Not only is it a great hobby that gets you outdoors trying to outsmart a fellow vertebrate, but when and if the Apocalypse comes and food is in short supply, knowing how to fish will come in extremely handy. I’ll even volunteer to do the dishes afterward.

 Believe it or not, but this category ended in a 3-way tie between Cartwright’s Market (825 Union Avenue); WinCo Foods (231 NE Terry Lane); and Fred Meyer (1101 Grants Pass Parkway).

The list also included:

  • Grocery Outlet
  • Albertson’s
  • Safeway


At the end of the 19th century, everyone was wringing their hands about the loss of jobs due to rise of automobiles. “What’s going to happen to blacksmiths, stables, horse feed stores, carriage manufacturers and repairmen, etc.? Oh, what is this country coming to!” One hundred and twenty years later, gas stations may be facing the same conundrum, as electric cars and charging stations are growing exponentially every year.

In twenty years, who knows what the landscape will look like, but for now gas stations are still important, and our readers mentioned most of them in this survey, starting with the Town Pump on NE 7th Street, followed by:

  • Fred Meyer Fuel Center
  • Chevron at NE Morgan
  • The Shell Station
  • Arco



Each year we ask our readers to answer four political questions just to gauge the mood of the community. These answers are “relatively” accurate since very few people stuff the ballot for them.

1. Should the City/County invest more in low-cost housing? The homeless is the most contentious issue affecting cities all across the country, and recent court decisions telling cities they have to allow camping on public property if there’s nowhere else to go has only compounded the problem. When it comes down to it, there’s a certain percentage of homeless people who would gladly live indoors if there were units available that they could afford. Should the City and County help the private sector in this quest with an infusion of money.

Yes, invest the money: 74%
No, stay out of it: 26%

 2. Should county elections become partisan (Democrat versus Republican)? That’s how the system worked until the early 90s when the Carlson sisters submitted a ballot measure changing local elections to non-partisan. A lot of people were happy with that change, as independent voters (those who didn’t align with either party) were now allowed to vote in the primaries. Today, a charter review committee, with the backing of two partisan county commissioners, want to bring back the bad old days, where we all have to listen to the partisan blather instead of focusing on issues that might actually improve the county. Oh, and if enacted, it would mean that 40% of the people (those who don’t belong to either party) will be barred from voting in the primary. Our readers gave two thumbs down to this idea.

Yes, make the elections partisan: 16%
No, it’s a dumb idea: 84%

3. Should the commissioners give the 4-H their tax levy money? Just days after this ballot appeared in the Sneak Preview, the commissioners decided to finally give the 4-H their money on a temporary, one-year basis. My sources at the Fairgrounds say this whole issue has been blown out of proportion as 99% of what 4-H does is great for kids and has nothing to do with politics. In reality, it’s just a few misguided individuals who made a big deal out of nothing, and the commissioners fell for all the grandstanding. Apparently, our readers agree.

Yes, give them their money: 79%
No, make the kids suffer: 21%

4. Do you think Mayor Sara Bristol is doing a good job? It’s mainly a ceremonial position, anyway, sort of like the King of England, although she does get to vote at City Council meetings in order to break a tie. The mayor is definitely passionate about solving the homeless issue, and her opponents are now blaming her for the homeless situation in Riverside Park. They’ve also triggered a recall effort and are out gathering signatures. If this survey is any indication, they’re going to have a rough time doing that.

Yes, she’s doing a good job: 66%
No, bad job: 34%

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Phew. It was a long and winding road getting this thing tabulated and written, and I need to go find a Decompression-Chambers-R-Us store. Anyway, see you in September for Part II.