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26 November 2020

Accused killer's ex remembers 'the monster' who terrorized her


Robert Keegan – Courtesy JCSO

By Brad Smith

ASHLAND, Ore – Some people aren’t shocked by Robert Paul “Bob” Keegan’s arrest after he allegedly shot a young Black man on Nov. 23.

His ex-wife Amy Jo Hoppins is one of them.

While a GoFundMe account in Keegan’s name proclaims that he’s a kind and loving man, a good father – Hoppins and others say otherwise.

“Bob’s a violent man. Violent, manipulative, abusive and cruel,” she said. “Everyday I was with him, I felt threatened. I was strangled, suffocated and hit. I lost count the number of times he threatened to shoot me. He even drugged me from time to time. And, even worse, was how abusive he was to my son. One time, he even lit a torch and threatened to burn my home. Yes, he’s that crazed. He was a monster.”

A son that Keegan had custody of at the time of the shooting. Keegan and his son were staying at the Stratford Inn after claiming he’d lost his home during the Almeda Fire. While media reports stated Keegan was from Talent, Hoppins said her ex’s last known address was on the 300 block of Kent Street in Ashland.

At around 4:20 a.m. Monday, Keegan, allegedly shot and killed a young Black man named Aidan Ellison, 19, Ashland. Ellison was reportedly in the Ashland's Stratford Inn parking lot and listening to music. Cops said that Keegan was not happy about the loud music and -- armed with a concealed handgun -- went outside to confront Ellison. An argument ensued and Ellison was shot. Keegan was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm (Keegan didn't have a concealed weapon permit) and recklessly endangering another person. As of press time, Keegan is in the county jail and held without bond.

While it has been reported that Keegan didn’t have a criminal record, Hoppins stated that in 2012 she got a restraining order against him when they lived in Coos County. However, she claimed that Keegan routinely violated the restraining order and the physical and emotional abuse continued.

“He’d force his way into my home and take my phone and car keys,” she said. “And, when I did make a report – nothing was done. Bob had a way of convincing people that he was the good guy. He’s still good at it.”

One anonymous source claimed they knew both Hoppins and Keegan when they were together.

“Amy was always terrified,” they said. “Not only of Keegan but his goddamned family. Some of them threatened her on a number of occasions and she didn’t know what to do.”

Hoppins said in January 2015 Keegan left with her son. She has been waging a fight to get custody of her son and, ever since, the threats have continued.

“At one point, my lawyer said it was a good idea to leave,” she said. “So, I did. I’m in another part of the country and I’m still afraid. My son, when we do talk, has told me about Bob and his family talking about what they want to do to me. Yes, I’m scared as hell.”

The anonymous source said it was possible that Keegan supposedly had his records expunged – explaining why nothing is on record.

“He’s just the sort of slime who would do that,” they said.

Hoppins said she’s contacted the Ashland Police Dept. and told them about her past with Keegan. She has also doubled down on her efforts to get custody of her son.

“I don’t think he’s safe with (Keegan’s) family,” she said. “They’re just as bad as he is. He needs to be somewhere safe from them.”

Hoppins said Keegan might have a bail hearing next month and that bothers her.

“I’m worried that he will come after me next,” she said. “Bob thinks he’ll get away with murdering this young man and he’ll be emboldened after this. I worry about what he might do to my son. He’s that dangerous.”

Hoppins said she “grieves” over Ellison’s death.

“He’s dead and my ex is responsible for it,” she said. “I’m so sorry for his family and friends and I wish I could do something for them. That young man didn’t deserve that. And his loved ones don’t deserve this pain and suffering now. No one does. I want them to know that they’re in my heart and prayers. I just wish I could do something for them.”

She hopes Ellison’s loved ones will find justice.

“I hope they lock up (Keegan) for life,” she said. “I hope the investigation will reveal other things about him and what he’s done. What he did to Aidan – that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m certain of it. That’s why I’m hiding from him and his family.”

25 November 2020

KTVL: Southern Oregon's local media dumpster fire

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are spinning in their graves.

At around 4:20 a.m. Monday, Robert Keegan, 47, Talent, allegedly shot and killed a young Black man named Aidan Ellison, 19, Ashland. Ellison was reportedly in the Ashland's Stratford Inn parking lot and listening to music. Cops said that Keegan was not happy about the loud music and -- armed with a concealed handgun -- went outside to confront Ellison.

Yes. Keegan armed himself before going outside. You read that right.

An argument ensued and Ellison was shot. Keegan was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm (Keegan didn't have a concealed weapon permit) and recklessly endangering another person. As of press time, Keegan is in the county jail and held without bond.

An already tragic story was worsened by a local media outlet's bungling.

The culprit? KTVL Channel 10, the CBS affiliate. Remember CBS? Murrow's battles against social injustice and the Red Scare. Cronkite -- a man that many respected and trusted as he presented the CBS evening news. Both seasoned journalists.

A few months ago, KTVL bashed and shamed the homeless as MPD's Keystone Kops swept thru Hawthorne Park -- not once did the KTVL news readers challenge law enforcement. And, it was very embarrassing when KTVL and other local media outlets said nothing when a fellow reporter was arrested and mistreated for doing their job.

In typical KTVL fashion, their report focused on the murder suspect: Keegan and his son lost their home in the Almeda Fire and had been staying at the motel. They talked about his GoFundMe account. Got quotes from people, saying how wonderful he was. A great dad and so on.

What did KTVL say about Ellison?


Not a single thing save that he'd been shot and killed.

KTVL took a beating on social media. Harsh comments condemning their "reporting" were later removed. KTVL also removed quotes that "might seem insensitive to (Ellison's) family and friends.

Oh. In other posts on social media, some idiots even leapt to Keegan's defense regarding the concealed gun. Or made snide remarks about the current Covid-19 freeze and linked it to the murder.

It's Southern Oregon. It has a lot of stupid white trash.

KTVL screwed up. Again. Murrow and Cronkite would be ashamed of what they've done recently.

The Rogue Free Press wants to hear from Aidan Ellison's family and friends. Unlike KTVL, the Rogue Free Press wants to tell his story.

One hopes that Ellison will get justice. His family and friends deserve that much -- along with an apology from KTVL.

16 November 2020

Whiterwater park opponents in for big surprise


By Brad Smith

GOLD HILL, Ore.  – Those opposing a proposed whitewater park near Gold Hill are in for a surprise: It’s been a part of the city’s parks master plan since 2015.

May 18, 2015, to be exact. That’s when the city council passed and adopted the parks and open space master plan: Councilors Doug Reischman, Gus Wolf, Margaret Dials, Karen Baker and Donna Silva voted their support for the plan and Chris Stanley was against it. Then mayor Jan Fish and city manager Rick Hohnbaum signed off on it.

Over the last several months, Councilor Danielle Hinkley said she’s been in touch with citizens who say they have concerns about the whitewater park project, which has been spearheaded by Stephen Kiesling. Hinkley said some locals felt their “concerns” about a whitewater park were ignored and felt the city shouldn’t be involved or backing it.

However, it is in the parks and open spaces master plan – and there was plenty of public input.

Hohnbaum said the process putting together the master plan was very thorough.

“We had a series of whitewater park meetings with at least two large intergovernmental ones with tribes and four small group ones with county and local so I would say six (meetings),” he said. “In addition, Molly Bradley, our AmeriCorps intern,  had organized some park trail meetings. There was a lot of input and support from (Gold Hill) residents.”

Richard Hart, a Gold Hill resident who’s been active in previous park projects, was involved in the process leading up to the master plan’s finalization.

“Meetings? There were a lot of meetings and the public was right there,” Hart said. “We reached out to many in the community, even kids – kids are our future and we wanted to hear what they had to say, what they wanted. As for the actual meetings, they were well attended.”

Hart said it’s frustrating because over the last five years, some residents have developed “selective amnesia.”

“Some have said Gold Hill residents were left out of the whitewater park discussions,” he said. “Some have said it was never talked about publicly. That’s not true. There were meetings and the public was there. Those are on record. Some have claimed the tribes were shut out and environmental issues were ignored. That’s nonsense: (Kiesling) included the tribes in the process and many environmental agencies were brought in. Were the i’s dotted and t’s crossed? Yes, they were.”

Hart feels that a number of local “negative elements” are playing on people’s fears and stirring up rumors and misinformation.

“They know about the whitewater park’s inclusion in the master plan,” he said. “They know – but it’s my view that they’re misleading others in order to stir up trouble. These people don’t want Gold Hill to prosper. They want it to be a dead-end bedroom community that has nothing to offer. No growth. No jobs. Nothing.”

One source said that social media has been a problem with some people pushing fake narratives and those narratives have found their way into city council meetings.

“When (Hinkley) brought up the Ventura story, well, that was embarrassing,” the source said.

In a social media post, an individual claiming to be from Ventura, Calif., said they didn’t want Gold Hill to be like their hometown. “Ventura used to be a sleepy little town until tourism ruined it,” they said. Hinkley would use that very phrase during a city council meeting.

“They don’t want that to happen to Gold Hill and I don’t want to see that happen either,” she said.

The problem was that Ventura was never a “sleepy little town.”

By the 1930s, Ventura had a population of more than 11,000 people and over 14,000 within a decade. Along with an oil boom and lucrative fruit produce businesses in the area, Ventura was always known for its tourism trade. Hart grew up in the area and laughed at the social media post. “Ventura has always been a booming place,” he said. “It was never a small town like Gold Hill. However, someone made a comment on social media and people believed it, not bothering to check it out.”

Which circles back to the whitewater park, he said.

“You have people making some wild claims about the whitewater park and how people weren’t aware of this or that,” Hart said. “We know that’s not true. There was a very thorough, well documented process involved and it was never underhanded. It’s all there in the master plan.”

The anonymous source said they were “perplexed” by Hinkley bringing up misleading social media posts during council meetings.

“You would think a councilor would take the time to fact check social media posts before saying something on the record,” they said. “I’ve talked to her a number of times. She’s smart but she should have checked things herself. I have to wonder if someone is feeding her misinformation and she blindly accepts it. Now, I have to wonder: ‘Is this the sort of person I want representing my best interests?’ No.”


13 November 2020

Commissioner Colleen Roberts is an idiot

If you look up the definition of moron in the dictionary, here's the picture you will find beside it.

MEDFORD, Ore. – Face it, Jackson County: You have some goddamned idiots for county commissioners.

Colleen Roberts is one of the dumbest politicians ever to be in office. She makes Trump look like Einstein at times.

Earlier this week, Roberts – along with Rick Dyer, who’s also an idiot – pushed back against County Administrator Danny Jordan’s suggestion the commissioners release a statement supporting mask-wearing, social distancing and washing hands. Roberts, instead, said an announcement saying using vitamins to boost people’s immune systems was better. She opposed any sort of “government mandate” regarding masks because it should be a person’s choice to wear one or not.

Roberts, along with Dyer, felt Covid-19 restrictions were harmful to personal freedoms and businesses. And she was concerned about kids not being able to play sports.


Money and somebody’s crotch urchins not being able to play football are more worrisome to Roberts than people’s lives.

Late this spring, Roberts spoke at an anti-lockdown rally in Medford. Before speaking, she urged people to ignore social distancing and crowd in closer to the stage area. As it was, many of those people were not wearing masks. Roberts was upset that people couldn’t go to church but a woman could still get an abortion.


She went there.

That’s the mentality of this woman. If you ever have a face to face talk with Colleen Roberts, as you look into her eyes – you might as well be looking into a bottomless pit. If there was ever a zombie apocalypse, she’d unfortunately survive because she’s brainless. If you listen to her speak, it’s like fingernails scratching a blackboard.

That’s the caliber of our “leadership” here in Jackson County.

All of Oregon is undergoing spikes of new cases and there are a few outbreaks in the county, one at a healthcare facility. It’s not looking good.

And Commissioner Colleen Roberts thinks “taking your vitamins” is the message people need to hear.

Jackson County is so screwed.

07 November 2020

Trump's a sore loser as Biden embraces victory

 It’s finally over – well, the first battle is.

Earlier today, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden won with more than 273 electoral votes – meantime, Donald Trump continues his usual barrage of baseless claims and outright lies.

According to the Associated Press, Biden’s victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed processing. Biden crossed the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania.

Also, the AP said Kamala Harris made history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice. The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government, four years after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992. The AP reported that Trump earlier repeated his unsupported allegations of election fraud and illegal voting on Twitter. One of his tweets, quickly flagged as potentially misleading by Twitter, claimed: “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”

Here in Oregon, the Biden-Harris ticket took the state with more than 56 percent of the votes or 1.3 million while Trump garnered over 40 percent or over 940,000. In Jackson County, Trump got over 63,000 votes while Biden received more than 58,000.

On local social media, Trump supporters fumed over their candidate’s defeat, echoing his false claims of ballot tampering and other conspiracy theories.  Pro Trump Facebook groups called for demonstrations and protests. Others launched into racist attacks on Harris, claiming that she wasn’t Black and questioned her American citizenship.

Trump’s attorney and former drag queen Rudy Giuliani held a news conference outside a Philadelphia landscaping firm called Four Seasons – with an adult bookstore within sight. It was a sad but wonderfully humorous coda to Trump’s reelection campaign.

Various media outlets reported that Mitch McConnell is already planning to  disrupt Biden’s cabinet picks. A number of Senate and House races are still up in the air and there are rumors Nancy Pelosi might be ousted as speaker.

In short, other battles are up ahead.

Meantime, many are celebrating the fact that Betsy DeVos will soon be out of a job as well.

04 November 2020

Convicted child abuser member of RV Salt Shakers hate group

This is Trevor Emptage's Facebook profile picture. In March 2012, Emptage held a small child under scalding hot water.

By Brad Smith

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – A convicted child abuser is a member of the hate group, RV Salt Shakers.

Last week, Salt Shaker leader Jon Clement and another member Ryan Clark were arrested by Grants Pass police after illegally firing shotguns as their pontoon boat drifted down the Rogue River near some public parks. It would seem the RV Salt Shakers attract a certain criminal element.

Case in point: Trevor Maurice Emptage.

On March 4, 2012, Rogue Regional Medical Center ER doctors contacted law enforcement after seeing a 1-year old girl with first and second degree burns to her feet. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted an investigation and found that her foster father, Emptage, was angry after the child had defecated in the bathtub – there was evidence showing the child was held in scalding hot water by force.

Emptage would later plead guilty to second-degree assault as additional counts of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment were dismissed in a plea agreement. While second-degree assault is a Measure 11 offense, Emptage received a sentence of 34 months rather than the mandatory 70 months due to having no criminal record. Emptage’s wife and members from his church wrote letters asking for no jail sentence. He was ordered to turn himself in by July 2, 2013.

Emptage was seen on video recordings harassing people outside of the Medford Planned Parenthood clinic on Nov. 3. When Pepper Shaker counter protestors confronted Emptage about his child abusing past, he countered that he’d “found Jesus and was saved.”

Evidently, while being in church, he hadn’t found Jesus before.

Emptage, 37, now works tech support for Burning Diode Technology Services in Central Point.

It's not clear if having a criminal record is a prerequisite for RV Salt Shaker membership.

Trump's election night meltdown is yet another disgrace


It was bound to happen eventually.

Trump's election night meltdown was a nadir for our country. Outright lies and then threatening our election process . . . it was disgusting and goes against everything about us, the Constitution and what our Founders dreaded.

It was not our finest moment.


It's going to be rough, the next few days . . . hell, maybe even a week or two. We can expect to see more meltdowns from this orange skinned shitgibbon. And, we'll see Biden act as a mature, calm and thoughtful human being.

Someone we need right now.

I know.

Some of you don't like Biden but after Trump's recent meltdown . . . do you really want another four years of this vile display of childish behavior, bullying and lies?


It's going to be okay.

It's going to be better.

We don't need another four years of Trump.

01 November 2020

Proof that even if you have lots of money . . . you're still white trash . . . .

 Ashland's version of the Clampetts took offense at the @ashlandmemes Instagram account. They had their minions file a number of complaints and the social media platform removed it.

I'm happy to report that the 2.0 account is currently active. Check them out.

Racism. It's acceptable at the Sportsman Tavern in Cave Junction, Ore.

 From a reader:

"So this dude decided to dress up in Confederate/Trump gear and wear black face for Halloween in Cave Junction where he enjoyed his night at the Sportsman Tavern in CJ without being kicked out or even called out for his costume.  

"Just a heads up to any of my friends who may be in CJ looking for a drink. Stay away from Sportsman Tavern."

Do you want to do business with the Sportsman tavern?

Cancel Culture: It Happened to Me

Yes -- I was "canceled" . . . . By Brad Smith Ever since I wrote and published the article about Talent Elementary special educati...