THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2016

COMMISSIONERS SELECT FEDERAL GRANT RECIPIENTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Four Tuscarawas County communities will share the latest funding from the federal Community Development Block Grants. County Economic Development Director Scott Reynolds says commissioners selected paving as well as curb and sidewalk rehab projects in Port Washington, Tuscarawas, Barnhill and Sandy Township. The work totals $213,000 and benefits more than 200 households. Reynolds says it is tough to narrow down the recipients from the half million dollars in requests. Reynolds says a few communities also provide some matching money. He says it’s helpful but has limited influence on the selection process. Reynolds says he encourages communities to continue to apply for the funding as the studies identifying the low to moderate income areas remain in effect for several years.

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR TO FEATURE DOVER NATIVE
COLORADO - The nation will get to watch a Dover native try to conquer an extreme obstacle course that puts contestants through a series of physically demanding challenges on television. Adam Stroup, now of Boulder Colorado, participated in a taping of American Ninja Warrior from Indianapolis that will air June 13th on NBC.  Stroup says while he is unable to give away the results of his run ahead of time, the course ended up being tougher than he expected.  Stroup says he only had about three weeks to train for the show once selected for his audition video that showed him participating in sports such as snowboarding and rock climbing. 

CHIPOTLE, STARBUCKS AND SMOKE TO COME TO NEW PHILADELPHIA
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Leaders say they are excited to possibly welcome three new prospective businesses into the city soon. Mayor Joel Day says operators of the popular restaurant franchise Smoke the Burger Joint recently applied for a liquor license. Day says the company, along with Starbucks and Chipotle are expected to build a new facility on Bluebell Drive. Day says no building permits have been filed yet but he is anxiously awaiting construction to possibly start later this year. Smoke the Burger Joint also has locations in nearby Canton and Carrollton. The restaurant’s website shows new restaurants coming to New Phila, Boardman, Massillon and Wooster in 2016.   

LITTLE FREE LIBRARY INSTALLED IN TUSCORA PARK
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscora Park patrons now have the opportunity to pick up a book from the new Little Free Library during their visit. Tuscarawas County Public Library Public Relations Associate Megan Kovalaske Grimm says the concept began in 2009 in Wisconsin and is now worldwide. She says the idea is for people to take a book to read and replace it with the same or a different title. Kovalaske Grimm says the selection in the Little Free Library will vary once readers start using the new addition but she hopes it will provide a title everyone will enjoy. Kovalaske Grimm says the Tuscarawas County Public Library and New Philadelphia Rotary partnered to install the library this week.

ELECTIONS CHIEF DISSECTS PRIMARY PARTY SWITCHING
COLUMBUS - Ohio elections officials say many Tuscarawas County voters followed suit and switched party affiliations for the March primary election. Locally, 210 Republicans voted for Democrats while 1,000 Democrats switched and voted Republican. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted told WJER Wednesday that he believes many factors played into the changes but he thinks some voters had higher motivation to cast republican ballots because of their like/dislike for specific candidates and the fact that Governor John Kasich was still in the running. Husted says party jumping is common as many Republicans and unaffiliated voters supported now President Barack Obama in 2008. He says voters can still change their minds again in November and vote for whichever candidate they choose. Husted says he anticipates high voter turnout in November as statewide 1.8 million Ohioans decided to join or switch political parties in March.

HOLIDAY TRAVELERS HIT THE ROAD TODAY
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - The AAA auto club says the Memorial Day weekend road trips are starting up today.  Spokeswoman Chelsea Pompeani says today and Monday are expected to be the two busiest travel days for the extended holiday period.  She says road assistance crews are bracing for the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record, with 38 million Americans leaving home, which is the most since 2005 thanks in part to lower gas prices. Pompeani says with more travelers on the roads, AAA expects to send tow trucks out to assist more than 350,000 stranded drivers this weekend. She says more than 5.6 million people are expected to hit the road this weekend in our region alone, which stretches from Ohio to Wisconsin.  She recommends checking vehicle battery life and tire pressure to help ensure safe travel.

ART SHOW THIS WEEKEND
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities leaders say they are showcasing local talent this weekend. Community Connections Specialist Chris Sapp says the first annual art show runs Friday from 10-5 and Saturday from 10-3 at the World of Possibilities store on Fair Avenue. Sapp says at least 20 individuals will have pieces for sale. Sapp says the disabled individuals devote many hours into perfecting their crafts.

CASH STOLEN FROM TWO MEXICAN RESTAURANTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - New Philadelphia and Dover police are working together to solve two break-ins at popular Mexican restaurants on the same night. New Philadelphia Detective Chaz Willett says thieves got away with a cash box from Tlaquepaque on Wabash Avenue and Dover Detective Chad Mowrer says the cash register from El Papa’s on Wooster Avenue was also reported stolen early Monday morning. An undisclosed amount of money was taken. Willett says the front doors were pried open at both locations, possibly with a screw driver. Mowrer says both the register and cash box were found together in a dumpster in another part of the county but the money was gone. Police have released photos of one suspect from the surveillance video hoping the public will recognize him. Check the WJER Facebook page to view the photos.

PLANTIFFS OUTLINE DEMANDS FROM DOVER SCHOOLS
DOVER - A plaintiff is suggesting how the Dover School District should address complaints in a lawsuit alleging discrimination against immigrant students.   The Ohio Immigrant Worker Project along with two parents and two students are suing Dover Schools for allegedly segregating limited English-speaking students in a way that holds some back academically.  Project Director Jeff Stewart says the district has also set the students up to drop out by failing to enroll them in classes needed for graduation. Stewart says he expects some others with similar accusations will also join the suit. Despite incorrectly referring to the superintendent as a former principal and attributing negative comments to her which she denies, Stewart says the district should be including the students in mainstream classes and make sure they advance one level per year through extended learning opportunities programs.

LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST DOVER SCHOOLS AND SUPERINTENDENT
DOVER - The Ohio Immigrant Worker Project along with two parents and two students have filed a lawsuit against the Dover City Schools and its superintendent Carla Birney. The lawsuit alleges that both have intentionally failed to ensure that limited English proficient immigrant children receive services and support to learn English. It also alleges that the students have been segregated during regular class hours and during lunch periods. The lawsuit states these actions have resulted in students failing to advance their English skills and earn credits for graduation. The lawsuit also accuses Birney of saying “These children do not need to know a lot of English, only the difference between the words mop and broom.” Birney tells WJER she is unable to discuss any legal matter regarding the district but she says the alleged quote attributed to her is false. The suit was filed May 16th in US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. 

PHILA CONTRACT PROCESS RAISES CONCERNS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Some New Philadelphia Council members say they are dissatisfied with how long they get to review worker contracts. Council recently approved the fire and police union agreements in a special session and most recently suspended the rules to pass the AFSCME clerical contracts Monday. Council has 30 days to approve or deny the contracts once they are union-ratified, but council member John Zucal says the documents arrived to council floor with little time to spare. Mayor Joel Day says he expects that to improve with experience as he believes the human resources consultant delayed in getting the info to the city. Finance Committee Chair Darrin Lautenschleger says he is cautiously monitoring the city’s financial forecast as the contracts are approved because expenses are growing faster than revenue.  The 13 clerical employees are receiving 50-cent per hour raises this year and 45-cent increases in years two and three. Council member Cheryl Ramos says she cast the lone no vote because she is unsure the budget can accommodate all of the recent raises. The service union is expected to vote on its new contract this week.  

WEBCAM TO SHOW FIRE STATION PROGRESS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City leaders say residents will see the new fire station come to life over the next few months. Fire Chief Jim Parrish says construction on Front Ave. SE is expected to begin in June and the community will be able to watch the progress live online through a donated webcam. Council approved the more than $4 million in contracts awarded to Colaianni Construction of Dillionvale, OH, RT Hampton Plumbing of Massillon, Wood Electric and All Comfort Heating and Cooling of New Philadelphia. 

STUDENTS BUILD CHIMNEY SWIFT TOWER
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County officials say the parks department is doing its part to protect a threatened bird species. Parks Director Jane Clay says Buckeye Career Center students constructed a tower Wednesday at the Trenton Heritage Park for chimney swift birds to occupy. Clay says the free standing tower is designed to look like a real chimney to attract the chimney swifts in Tuscarawas County as many chimneys are used in homes and are too dangerous for the birds. Clay says the $500 cost is covered by an Ohio Department of Natural Resources WILD School grant and she is happy to have area students assist with the project. Clay says the parks department is also seeking local sponsors to purchase two trail cameras to place in the tower, with hopes of sharing the chimney swift footage with local schools and the community. 

FIRE DESTROYS MOBILE HOME
NEWCOMERSTOWN - Firefighters say they are unsure what caused a weekend mobile home fire. Spokeswoman Heather Wells says the structure on Washington Avenue was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived just after 10 AM Sunday. Wells says no one was injured but the mobile home, owned by Doug and Cynthia Smith, is considered a total loss. The cause remains undetermined but is believed to have been accidental. 

MWCD ADJUSTS TO OIL AND GAS DECLINE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is moving forward with a scaled back capital improvement plan.  Director John Hoopingarner says the plan to enhance the MWCD parklands has been reduced from $160-million to $120-million, due to the slowdown in the oil and gas industry and resulting decline in leasing revenue. Hoopingarner says the plan’s most significant infrastructure improvements will go on as scheduled, such as electric, water and sewer extensions where necessary, Wi-Fi service and more. Hoopingarner says the cuts to the plan mostly involve programming additions that were to be offered to visitors.

EAST ELEMENTARY NAMED A LIGHTHOUSE SCHOOL
NEW PHILADELPHIA - One elementary school is being recognized for excelling in a leadership development program for young students.  Parents, teachers and staff packed into the gymnasium at New Philadelphia’s East Elementary Monday during an assembly to celebrate being named a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by the Franklin Covey Company.  Principal Laurie Hall says the school had to show evaluators it is meeting the criteria in nine categories developed from the Stephen Covey book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” East Elementary is one of only three schools in Ohio and just over 200 globally to receive to be named a Lighthouse School.   

ENGINEER WITHDRAWS FROM DUNDEE WATER PROJECT
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County officials say they are working through an unusual problem with the engineering firm for the Dundee waterline project. County Water and Sewer Director Mike Jones says the contracted firm, Michael Benza from Brecksville, is going out of business June 1, even though construction on the $2 million water line project already started. Jones says Quicksall and Associates from New Philadelphia agreed to take over, but it could take a couple weeks for the government to clear the action. The Dundee project is replacing water lines with larger pipes for better water pressure and fire protection.

BED TAX EXTENDED, COLLECTION ELECTRONIC
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County officials say the way hotel operators pay bed tax money to the county is being streamlined. County Auditor Larry Lindberg says beginning in July hotel operators will be able to transfer the 3% fee electronically to the auditor’s office if they choose. He says the change simplifies the process because it used to go to the commissioners’ office first.  Lindberg says the bed tax will also be charged for guests staying 30 days or less instead of the previous 15-day guideline. He says this impacts few visitors, but is helpful to oil and gas workers in the area who stay for long periods of time. Lindberg says the majority of the county bed tax benefits the Convention and Visitors Bureau. It generated $585,000 last year and $4.7 million over the last 10 years.

NEW COMMITTEE TO RESEARCH PROPERTY SALES
DENNISON - Village leaders say they have a method to keep track of the growing number of village properties for sale. Solicitor JJ Ong is proposing a subgroup research whether lots owned by the village are large enough for the buyer’s needs and then avoid overpricing. Ong says the village has a history of miscommunications that can now be avoided. He says the group could also gauge neighbors’ interest in properties before putting them up for sale.

DENNISON TO DRUG TEST EMPLOYEES
DENNISON - Village leaders say they are catching up with other areas by approving an official drug testing policy. Council member Greg DiDonato says all employees will be subject to screenings as a safety precaution. But DiDonato says the testing will only be in force at the hiring date and if there is an incident.  DiDonato says most public employers already have similar drug testing in place with some even implementing random employee testing. But he says Dennison will keep the defined testing times for now. 

PERFORMING ARTS CENTER RELEASES SEASON’S SCHEDULE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Performing Arts Center officials say they believe this year’s schedule includes a performance for everyone to enjoy. PAC General Manager David Mitchell says the lineup includes a mix of comedy, dance, Broadway and musical concerts beginning September 10. He says he is especially excited to have musical groups Lonestar, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Mannheim Steamroller. He says the a cappella group Voice Play will meet with area students prior to performing. Mitchell says he feels the 20th anniversary tour of Riverdance, as well as Saturday Night Fever and the Backstage Musical Comedy 42nd Street will draw crowds, as well. The schedule was unveiled Friday evening to PAC members. Pre-sale packages will be available for purchase June 6 with single show ticket sales starting June 13. See the complete lineup at www.kent.edu/tusc/event-listing.


STATE NEWS:
DeWINE TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR
COLUMBUS (AP) - Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine has confirmed what political prognosticators have reported for months: He's running for governor. The 69-year-old Republican shared his less-than-secret plans with a Dayton charter school official Thursday in a conversation overheard by a reporter. DeWine told the Dayton Daily News the discussion had been confidential - but the substance was true.

BOATING INVITED BACK TO BUCKEYE LAKE
COLUMBUS (AP) - State officials will let the water level rise in central Ohio's Buckeye Lake after keeping it low for over a year as a precaution because of a deteriorated dam. Ohio's Department of Natural Resources said Thursday it will let the lake fill enough to accommodate boating this summer. That's welcome news for area businesses that suffered while low water deterred visitors. 

ROBBERY SUSPECT FATALLY SHOT
CINCINNATI (AP) - Cincinnati police say a bank robbery suspect was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer after leaping over a bank counter with a plastic bag over his hand, indicating he was armed with a weapon later found by police. Police Chief Eliot Isaac said Thursday the officer pulled his weapon Wednesday when suspect Terry Frost vaulted over the counter and fired when Frost apparently pointed his bag-covered hand at him.

 


NATIONAL NEWS:
RENEWED CONCERNS OVER CLINTON EMAILS 
WASHINGTON (AP) - Yesterday's inspector-general's report on Hillary Clinton's email practices as secretary of state is renewing concerns that Clinton was not completely forthcoming when she turned over her work-related emails to the State Department. The investigators found three emails that had never been seen before -- including one from Clinton in which she expresses worry that her personal messages could become "accessible" to outsiders. 

FIGHTER JETS CRASH INTO ATLANTIC OCEAN
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Navy officials now say they are not sure if two fighter jets collided before they crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast. They say the two F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters were involved in an "in-flight mishap" this morning, and that an investigation is underway. The Coast Guard had initially said the jets collided in air before crashing. The jets crashed during a training mission off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Officials said the four aviators were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. 

TARGET SETTLES LAWSUITS
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The retailer Target says it has settled lawsuits stemming from the stabbing of a 16-year-old girl inside one of its stores. The girl's family claimed the retailer didn't provide enough security to keep her from being stabbed by a homeless man in March 2013. The girl has recovered, and the homeless man, Leon Walls, has been convicted and sentenced to prison. But Target sued two of three men who helped subdue Walls, claiming they helped bring about the attack by bringing a "street" dispute into the store. The men then countersued, saying they were hurt merely by trying to help the girl.

 

 

SPORTS:

High School Baseball Division 2 Regional Semi-Final: Steubenville 4 – New Phila 3


NBA: The NBA's All-First Team has been announced and it is no surprise that Stephen Curry of the Warriors and LeBron James of the Cavaliers top the list. Curry got 129 first-place votes and James 125. Completing the first team are Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs, Russell Westbrook of the Thunder and DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.

 


WEATHER:
TONIGHT: Cloudy, slight chance of showers, Lo 65
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, 30% chance of afternoon showers, Hi 85
SATURDAY: 50% chance of afternoon rain, Hi 85

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