9-30 rob webASHLAND, Ore. — Nearly a year after caution tape lined around the home of Frank Damiano, the mobile home park is quiet, but the memories of their neighbor remain.

“Positive and happy and accepting and open. Just one of those people with that magnetic personality,” said neighbor Kris McAdam.

It’s that outgoing and warm spirit neighbors said has been missing since last October.

“He is missed. I mean, at the bar-b-q that we have annually, several people mentioned, you know ‘I miss Tony. I wish he was here. It’s not the same without him,”‘ said McAdam.

While the neighborhood is quiet, the courtroom was busy. Tuesday morning, Othon Robert Campos changed his plea to guilty for a felony murder charge, 1st degree robbery and 1st degree burglary. When Judge Lorenzo Mejia asked how Damiano was killed, Campos said the other man he was with stabbed him. As part of the plea, Campos will have to share more details.

“The Co-Defendant, Merlin Bounds, still has a trial set for January of 2015, and part of his plea agreement was that Mr. Campos would truthfully testify in that trial,” said Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert.

It’s only after that trial, Campos will be sentenced, with the murder charge alone carrying a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years. Until then, friends and neighbors remember Damiano and the impact he had on the community.

It’s better to just remember Tony the way he was, with a smile,” said McAdam.

PLASTIC

ASHLAND, Ore. — The city of Ashland implemented a ban on plastic bags last May, but gave the city a six month waiting period before they were required to completely phase out plastic. Their goal was to no longer have plastic by this November.

The city ordinance was put in place to try to encourage everyone to embrace a more green option of using reusable bags. Now all businesses have until November 6th to phase out the plastic, and roll in the paper or reusable options.

Ashland officials say they have been talking to businesses around town and most, if not all of them, have already made the move. They say most of them are just waiting to implement the 10 cent charge for paper bags.

“The businesses keep that money and that is in exchange for phasing out of a less expensive bag obviously. Plastic bags is cheaper than a paper bag,” Ashland Management Analyst Adam Hanks said.

Hanks said leaders did their research before approving the fee. Several surrounding cities with similar ordinances also implement a 10 cent fee for paper bags. That fee is meant to help off-set costs for businesses, and also encourage people to go with reusable options.

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Colleen Roberts and Kevin Talbert are running against each other for Jackson County Commissioner Position Three, but Roberts is running as both the republican and democratic candidate, while Talbert represents the Independent Party.

Roberts, who is a registered Republican, won the Republican Primary Election in May. According to the Jackson County Elections Office, when a candidate receives the most write-in votes from one political party, they have the option to accept the nomination for that party, even if they are already a candidate for another. Therefore, both party labels are assigned to one person.

For the first time in Jackson County, both the labels will be shown on the ballot.

Though Talbert is running as an Independent candidate, he is a registered democrat and is afraid the double party listing will confuse voters.
Roberts says she was honored to accept the democratic nomination.

“It won’t change how I campaign. My message is the same I believe in small government and liberty and freedom and I think that resonates across party lines,” Colleen Roberts said.

“She will be listed as both a Republican and a Democrat which is quite a concept if you think about it and I’ll be listed as the independent so it will be tough for voters just to go by label in this and know who the candidate really is,” Kevin Talbert said.

Both candidates say they embrace voting for the candidate, rather than the party affiliation.

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WEATHER DISCUSSION

The cooler air behind last night’s cold front is no surprise, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a shock to the system for those that live in the Klamath Basin and parts of northern California.  Lows Wednesday morning will be in the lower 30′s, down to the middle 20′s east of the Cascades.  These will be the coldest temperatures we’ve had so far this season.

With that in mind, a freeze warning takes effect at 1 AM Wednesday and last until 8 AM the same day.  That means the occurrence of temperatures below freezing is certain for the warned area.  In addition, a frost advisory is in effect for the same areas with the inclusion of the I-5 corridor in central Siskiyou County.  That means a frost is possible for the areas under the advisory.

A frost is possible once again Thursday morning in the Klamath Basin, then the warm up begins.  Highs will be between five and ten degrees above average on Friday, then the heat will ebb a bit by the start of next week.  And rain chances?  Don’t expect showers time soon.  The next seven days remain dry and sunny for all inland locations.

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

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Part of Riverside Park in Grants Pass will be temporarily closed for playground renovations starting October 1. The Grants Pass Parks and Recreation department is tearing down the old wooden playground, and replacing it with a new $140,000 steel playground.

“There’s a lot of adventure areas on this park so the kids are going to have a great time even if they are just playing hide and go seek,” said Lora Glover, the Assistant Director of Parks and Community Development. “There’s a lot if physical activities for them to keep that energy going.”

The new structure will also be handicap and wheelchair accessible, partially modeled after the Blue Slide Park project.

According to Glover, the replacement has been in the works for a few years, and is finally happening due to safety concerns and maintenance costs.

The project is expected to 4-6 weeks and should be complete by the middle of November.

libraryGRANTS PASS, Ore. — Josephine Community Libraries are gearing up for the November elections. After collecting thousands of signatures last spring, a library taxing district is on the ballot.

The voting campaign “Yes! Libraries Matter” is now in full swing.  Yard signs will start going out this weekend, and supporters will be going door to door to raise awareness and support.

“We feel the votes are out there, we just have to make contact and make sure people do turn out and do vote,” said Harry Mackin, one of the campaign organizers.

Organizers estimate 16,000 “yes” votes will need to be cast in order to win the election. If passed, Josephine County residents would pay 39 cents on every $1,000 dollars of assessed property value to expand library hours and services.

steven wiseKLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — A man is wanted in Klamath County for Arson and Attempted Murder.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s office in conjunction with the Klamath County District Attorney and the Oregon State Police are conducting an investigation of an Arson Fire that happened Monday.

The structure located at 3547 Crest St. was occupied by two persons at the time the fire was intentionally started.

Steven Wise is a wanted person connected to the Arson. Wise is described as a 26-year old Male, Caucasian,6’2”, 170 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes, and numerous facial and neck tattoos.

An arrest warrant has been issued for him, charging Wise with Attempted Murder and several counts of Arson in the First Degree.

riverside parkGRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Riverside Park in Grants Pass is getting a new playground structure. It’s going to be a 4-6 week process to take the current one out and replace it.

The City’s Parks Department is spending about $140,000 on the project and is planning for it to be handicap accessible, similar to Blue Slide Park.

It’s going to be assembled by volunteers in the community.

Tonight on NewsWatch 12, we learn why it’s being replaced and also how it could affect crime rates in the park’s area.

cnn ebola(CNN)[Breaking news alert published at 5:50 p.m. ET]

A person traveling from Liberia to the United States has been diagnosed with Ebola, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Tuesday. The person, whose identity was not released, left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20, he said. At that time, the person did not have symptoms. “But four or five days later” that person began to show symptoms, Frieden said. The person was hospitalized and isolated Sunday at a hospital in Texas, he said.

[Original story published at 5:42 p.m. ET]

A patient being treated at a Dallas, Texas, hospital is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

Several other Americans were diagnosed in West Africa and then brought to the United States for treatment.

The person who first tested positive for Ebola in the United States is a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, hospital spokesman Stephen O’Brien said Tuesday.

The adult patient developed symptoms days after returning to Texas from West Africa, and was admitted into isolation on Sunday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The Ebola outbreak has been centered in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, though there have been concerns about international air travel and other factors — including the fact the symptoms might not appear until two to 21 days after one is infected — may contribute to its spread.

More than 3,000 people in West Africa have died after being infected with Ebola, according to a World Health Organization report from last week. The same report stated that there had been 6,553 cases of the virus overall, though the number is suspected of being much higher given difficulties in tracking and reporting the disease.

According to the CDC, Ebola causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which can affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding. Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat, each of which can be easily mistaken early on for other ailments like malaria, typhoid fever, meningitis or even the plague.

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.

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