news briefs

The Mail Tribune and Ashland Daily Tidings kicked off a new video contest this week asking entrants to shoot and direct videos that show why Rogue Valley summers are so great.

Videos in the contest, "Love Letters to Summer," should not be longer than three minutes. Entrants should think of them as actual letters or homages to summer. They will be judged on how well they capture Rogue Valley summers, technical merit and originality.

The Mail Tribune/Daily Tidings Web team will select the top videos. Cinemark gift cards will be awarded to the top three winners. A $20 Mellelo's gift card will be awarded to the People's Choice award winner.

Video submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. Aug. 6. Winners will be announced Sept. 2.

For more information, see

Good luck and have fun!

Gates in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that are closed during wet weather to prevent the spread of a root disease that affects Port Orford cedars are being reopened, forest officials announced in a news release.

The recent warm, dry weather enabled the Gold Beach and Powers ranger districts to start opening gates June 6, forester Stephen Boyer said in the release.

In the Gold Beach district, only one gate, which was vandalized over the winter, remains closed, on Road 3318-310. Gates will begin to be opened on the Wild Rivers Ranger District as melting snow and drying conditions permit.

The tree-killing disease is caused by a water-borne pathogen, so roads are closed in the wet, winter months so it can't be carried to new areas on muddy tires, officials said.

As the gates reopen, officials remind forest travelers that many high-elevation roads are still blocked by snow or winter damage such as fallen trees or rocks. Drivers should be cautious and carry equipment and supplies necessary for backcountry travel.

Local artists are planning to brighten up some downtown sidewalks with a demonstration of chalk art and hope their effort will lead to larger chalk art events in the future.

The Takin' It to the Street Chalk Art Fest will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Bartlett Street between Middleford Alley and Main Street.

The event is free and open to the public.

Artists will do demo art as samples to what a larger festival could offer. Signups for artists, musicians, sponsors, committee members and other volunteers for future events will also be available.

Battle of the Bones, an annual barbecue competition that includes microbrews, wine, live music and a kids' zone, will be held at Twin Creeks Park, 555 Twin Creeks Crossing Loop, Central Point, on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26.

Eight teams will cook approximately 500 pounds of meat and 20 gallons of chili to see who takes home bragging rights and a share of $10,000.

Pulled pork, baby back ribs, beef brisket and chicken thighs, along with the chili, will be available for tasting. Tasting tickets allow for one sample from each of the barbecue teams and give the taster the right to vote for their favorite.

Live music will be played both days. On Sunday, 10 bands will compete in the Best of the Bands competition, which carries a $1,000 prize.

The kids' zone will include jump houses, an inflatable obstacle course and Outreach to Space Exhibits from ScienceWorks.

Tasting tickets are on sale at US Bank branches and Central Point City Hall. Admission is free.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

All proceeds benefit the Central Point Parks and Recreation Foundation.

For details, see or call 541-664-3321, ext 265.

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