OthonRobertCamposJr1MEDFORD, Ore. – Othon Robert Campos pleaded guilty to Murder, First Degree Robbery and First Degree Burglary in Jackson County Court Tuesday morning. He murdered Frank Damiano, also known as Tony Della Penna, almost exactly a year ago.

Campos is scheduled to be sentenced on January 30th. However, as part of his plea deal, he has to testify in the trial of the co-defendant in the case, Merlin Bound.

Bound’s sentencing date is scheduled for January 20th.

Today, we are going back to the scene of the crime to talk to people who may have known Damiano.

Tune in tonight on NewsWatch 12 for the full story.

9-29-WILDLIFE-SAFARI-250x250WINSTON, Ore. — Halloween is right around the corner and the Wildlife Safari is getting ready for its annual Zoobilee.

Besides getting to check out the safari’s newest additions, including two marmosets, visitors can play games, visit different booths, and even see some special Halloween themed shows.

“It’s called Dr. Frankenstein and the Superspecies Serum. Basically there’s a group of us that will be acting in it and live animals performing in it and Dr. Frankenstein will be trying to make the perfect animal,” said Jennifer Osburn, Lead Village Zookeeper.

The Zoobilee takes place on October 25 from 5-8 p.m. Admission is $5 per person or $4 with a canned food donation.

John-Ambrosini-SR-209x300ROSEBURG, Ore. — The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office needs help looking for a Coos Bay man who was reported missing on Sunday.

Investigators say 59-year-old John Ambrosini, Sr., left his home in Coos Bay on Friday, Sept. 26 to go for a motorcycle ride to the Roseburg area and was to return home later that evening. They say he last spoke to family members by telephone at about 2 p.m. on Friday.

Ambrosini is 6 feet tall, weighs 185 lbs, and has gray and black hair and beard. He has tattoo sleeves on both arms and a skull tattoo on the front of his left leg. He was last seen wearing a dark color hooded sweatshirt, jeans and motorcycle riding leathers.

He was riding on a 2008 black Harley Davidson motorcycle with black saddle bags, OR license M693784.

Anyone with information about where Ambrosini is should call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 541-440-4471

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A weak cold front passed overhead last night and allowed for a little cooler air to make its way into our region. With the front, came light showers, and some areas received measurable rain. Notable rainfall totals are 0.30″ at Fish Lake and a quarter of an inch in Ashland. This was the last of the showers for quite some time.

We enter an inactive weather pattern starting today. High pressure will start moving in and start the dry, and warming trend. Before we get there, the cold front is allowing for our overnight lows in the Klamath Basin to near freezing or below. This will prompt a FROST ADVISORY and a FREEZE WARNING to go into effect for the Klamath Basin, the east side of the Cascades, and portions of Siskiyou County from 1 to 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Sensitive vegetation could be affected by the cold overnight lows. There will be an inversion layer a couple hundred feet above the surface with warmer temperatures.

As high pressure builds in, temperatures will have an opportunity to warm up. Expect to have temperatures above average once again by the end of the week. The coast will also see a warm up with offshore flow creating a Chetco setup. Skies will be mostly sunny and Brookings could see the mid to upper 70′s from Wednesday to Saturday.

Thanks for logging on and have a great day.

Meteorologist Seth Phillips

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MEDFORD, Ore., — Do you have gently-used coats hanging in the closet that are never worn? Kids in Southern Oregon need those coats to keep them warm during the coming cold and wet weather.

The cooler temperatures are on their way and NewsWatch12 wants to make sure local children are ready for them.  NewsWatch 12, Windemere and a variety of other businesses are teaming up for the annual Coats For Kids campaign.

This year’s Coats for Kids drive runs  through October 24th.  Click here for a full list of drop off locations.

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MEDFORD, Ore.–  This year, Sparrow Clubs in Oregon is expanding by adding another director to launch clubs year-round in Central Oregon. The new hire made his way to Southern Oregon for training, but he has already taken flight.

The new director, Michael Leeland, told the students at North Medford, “I am here to empower you, to encourage you to make a difference in someone else’s life.”

This is exactly how Sparrow Clubs was initially started. In 1992, there was an infant in desperate need. Nine-month-old Michael Leeland would have died without a $200,000 surgery. A 7th grader, Dameon Sharkey was willing to help.

Michael Leeland said, “He was the most picked on kid in that school.”

Even so, Dameon gave his whole life savings, $60 to his teacher, Jeff Leeland; Michael’s dad.

Leeland said Dameon was just a kid, doing what he thought was right. He said, “It sparked a level of compassion that he couldn’t have dreamed of.”

Dameon’s classmates, and Jeff’s students at a Seattle-area junior high, all stepped up to help. Jeff’s $60 donation, quickly turned into $40,000 and finally the full amount of $200,000. It was enough to save Michael’s life, and launch Sparrow Clubs; which in turn saved hundreds more.

Today, the lesson Dameon taught, lives on.

Leeland said, “One person, one person; it only takes one person to make a change in someone’s life.”

A lesson that Sparrow Clubs’ newest employee, Leeland, the baby who inspired Sparrow Clubs, can now credit for his life a healthy adult.

He said, “If it wasn’t for one person who decided to stand up and make a difference, and decided to step in to make a difference, then I probably wouldn’t be here right now.”

Now just hired by Sparrow Clubs, to make that difference himself, Michael Leeland said, “I felt like it was a chance for me to pay it forward in a way, and continue to carry on Dameon’s legacy.”


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A weak cold front is pushing through Monday evening, and that means a good bit of cloud cover and a few spotty showers Monday night.  By Tuesday afternoon, temperatures will be a couple of degrees cooler than Monday, but temperatures take a nose dive Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

In portions of northern California and east of the Cascades, we will be seeing lows anywhere from 25 to 35 degrees…those are some of the coldest temperatures of the season.  This is cause for a freeze watch that goes into effect for the aforementioned locations at 11 PM Tuesday until 8 AM Wednesday.  Temperatures will be coldest near valley floors, as a temperature inversion will set up and keep things a bit warmer slightly aloft.

Dare I say, “enjoy the cold?”  That’s because temperatures will be on a quick trip to the middle 80′s by the end of the week in both the Rogue Valley and northern California.  High pressure builds in behind Monday’s cold front, which means lots of sunshine to help daytime highs climb.  Offshore flow is in the cards for the coast, so we will be expecting 70′s for highs through Thursday.

For more information, or to send me you weather pictures, head over to Facebook or Twitter.

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

mt ashland dryASHLAND, Ore. — Mount Ashland is revealing the results of their recent ski survey. The survey had 1,200 responses telling mountain management what they want to see over the next 50 years.

Some want to see longer runs and faster lifts, others focused inside the lodge, calling for better food, a bigger bar, and more lodging.

“Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day, there is still a lot of work to be done, you know, having clear results in the survey will help us put a better path forward on what we are going to do to make the experience better for all of our users,” said Jamie Schectman, the Interim Marketing Director of Mt. Ashland.

Mount Ashland management is also implementing new programs this year like $99 Carload Mondays, to boost revenue. Tuesday is the last day to buy discounted season passes. People can purchase those online or at the Mt. Ashland office.

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WHITE CITY, Ore. — The VA Domiciliary’s director in White City finally responded to NewsWatch 12′s request for an interview Tuesday. Veterans are getting a chance to say what they want about the care they are receiving at the White City Dom.

NewsWatch 12 was at the town hall meeting last Friday where veterans say they were blocked from speaking to the media. Veterans living at the White City Rehabilitation Center are required to sign a form before talking to the media. Director of the White City VA Dom Don Burman said these forms were available at the meeting that took place last Friday.

“We’ll continue to look at that policy and see if it makes sense we want to protect the veteran and the veterans rights we want to protect their privacy we don’t want to restrict our press,” Burman said.

However, while NewsWatch 12 was at the VA on Friday, the VA said those forms were not available at the meeting.

Since the story first aired on Friday, frustrated veterans and their family members have been contacting us and sharing their stories.

Allen Ehr is one of many veterans who is dealing with frustrations right now. He went to five VA meetings last week and says he doesn’t agree with veterans having to sign a form to speak to the media.

“If you do not sign the waiver you do not get to speak,” Ehr said.

Burman said the reason it uses these forms is to release the VA of liability when veterans speak about their experiences.

“If a veteran was going to be on camera and discuss personal health information, we called it PHI, then we would ask that they would fill out a waiver if you will indicating that they’re going to talk about it and we do that from a legal perspective,” Burman said.

The Portland and Roseburg VA facilities say their town halls are meant to be open forums. They offered a seating section for people who did not want to be on camera and knew the media would respect those wishes.

Veteran’s affairs leaders across the state and even at the regional level say they were shocked to hear that it was handled differently in White City. Many veterans were also surprised to have been told by the VA that they only had three minutes each to tell a life time of experiences with the VA.

Veterans who did not make it to last week’s town hall meeting or for the many who felt they were not heard, you can share your story online here. VA officials on the national level said they really do want to hear from everyone.

SOU Retrenchment Final

ASHLAND, Ore. — Despite a tough last year, Southern Oregon University is seeing some of the highest enrollment numbers in the school’s history.

Students returned to campus today for events, and the first day of classes.

SOU’s welcome week is underway and began with a meet Ashland event in front of the union. The university will also have an outdoor activity fair, and a welcome back bash this week. Students and staff also welcome new university president, Dr. Roy Saigo. While official enrollment numbers have not been released, staff is optimistic about student growth.

“Enrollment is actually looking pretty good. We were forecasted to be down a little bit and the preliminary numbers show that we might be up a little bit more than we expected,” said Lisa Garcia-Hanson.

Enrollment administrators also say the university had the most freshman applications in the school’s history this fall.

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