STABBING SUSPECT FOUND DEAD
DOVER TOWNSHIP - Tuscarawas County authorities say the man suspected of stabbing another man in Dover Saturday apparently took his own life. Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell says a knife was found Tuesday next to the body of 48-year old Ronald Stevens in a strip pit near Dummermuth Road in Dover Township. Campbell says Stevens allegedly stabbed the 51-year old Dover man multiple times in the 300 block of E. Front Street. Campbell says he believes the victim was a friend or boyfriend of Stevens’ ex-girlfriend, though the motive remains undetermined. Campbell says Stevens’ body was sent to Stark County for an autopsy and he says authorities are still reviewing evidence found inside Stevens’ truck.
ARMED ROBBERY INJURES ONE
DOVER - Police say they are searching for suspects who tried to rob a man with a BB gun. The 40-year-old New Philadelphia man was taken to Union Hospital with multiple BB gunshot wounds on his arms and legs. He was also hit in the head as the men demanded money. But witnesses told police the assailants ran off when they emerged from a home on Sterling Ave. just before 10 PM Wednesday.
PLANE LANDS ON HIGHWAY
TAPPAN LAKE - State troopers say US 250 on the east side of Tappan Lake is open to traffic again after a small airplane made an emergency landing Wednesday. Troopers say the plane was traveling from New Philadelphia airport to Cadiz when it lost power over the lake and landed on the highway inside Harrison County. No one was injured on the ground or in the plane, piloted by 58-year-old Mark Burkhart of Wheeling, WV, but traffic backed up in both directions for several miles. Steubenville Post Lt. Joe Fetty says the FAA will begin its investigation today.
RACING MOTORCYCLE CLIPS TRUCK, CRASHES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - State troopers say they believe two motorcycles were racing in and out of traffic when one hit a truck on I-77 North near Strasburg Wednesday night. New Philadelphia Post Lt. Mark Glennon says a motorcycle driven by 29-year old Corey Haught of the Bolivar area clipped the left rear tire of a pickup truck driven by 28-year old Jeff Margo of Dover, about 9:35 pm. Glennon says Margo’s truck then overturned into the median while Haught slid off the road with his motorcycle. Haught was not wearing a helmet and is being treated in the intensive care unit today at Akron City Hospital. Margo was treated and released Wednesday. Glennon says citations are pending and alcohol is believed to have been a factor, while troopers also want to question the other motorcycle rider who left after briefly returning to the scene.
AMERICAN PICKERS EYES REGION
CARROLLTON - Carroll County tourism officials are trying to recruit a History Channel show about a couple of antique treasure hunters to the area. Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Amy Rutledge says producers from the show American Pickers have sent out notices that they plan to film segments throughout Ohio in late September and early October. Rutledge says her office has been contacted to recommend local homes or sites with any belongings of interest that could be sifted through by hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. Rutledge says she feels the area could have much to offer that is unique to this region. Rutledge says American Pickers is looking for leads on collections that could include vintage bikes and toys, military items, pop culture memorabilia and more.
AREA BRIDGES CLEAR INSPECTION
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Ohio Department of Transportation officials say a number of state owned bridges in Tuscarawas County are clear for another year of travel. District 11 Bridge Engineer Dr. Waseem Khalifa says crews used a snooper truck to review the structures this month. Khalifa says the truck is furnished with a large bucket that helps workers achieve a closer view. Khalifa says federal requirements mandate that bridges be inspected every two years but he says Ohio goes beyond that and reviews most bridges yearly. Khalifa says initial reports indicate no immediate concerns in Tuscarawas County.
SCHOOL LEADERS REACT TO AUDITOR’S SUGGESTIONS
NEWCOMERSTOWN - School officials say they have accepted a recommendation from the state auditor to reduce cost but disagree with a number of other suggestions. Superintendent Jeff Staggs says the district has contracted with AVI Food Systems for cafeteria service this year to limit the fund’s current deficit, which reportedly hit nearly $600,000 by fiscal year 2013. State Auditor Dave Yost also recommends that Newcomerstown close East Elementary to save 195,000 annually. Staggs says the district is reviewing its options as the building currently serves pre-school through first grade students, along with two portable classes. Staggs says eliminating seven teaching jobs is also impossible for Newcomerstown as nearly 20% of the students require special education services.
WAIT CONTINUES ON FERRIS WHEEL REPAIRS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscora Park ride operators are still holding on to a slight amount of hope that the Ferris wheel could be operating again this summer. RTY President Carey Gardner says the Ferris wheel has been down since last month when the hydraulic motor and pump malfunctioned. Gardner says it would take a few months to order the repair parts from where they are manufactured in Scotland, so two companies are searching to see if the parts are available anywhere in the United States, which will still likely take weeks and extend beyond Labor Day, when the rides close for the season. Problems with the train engine also shut that ride down earlier this summer, but only for a few days before the First Town Days Festival.
SEI-TuscBDD MEDIATION BEGINS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Both sides plan to continue talks in a dispute between the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Starlight Enterprises, Inc. The Tusc DD board caught SEI officials off guard in June by voting to end its lease at the workshop. Tusc DD Board President Stephanie Wilson says members of both boards had a chance to contribute to the discussion at the initial mediation session Tuesday. SEI Board President Donna Beitzel says the session lasted about three and a half hours, though little about the meeting is being released publicly right now. She says SEI is moving forward with its programs as usual, despite the threat of the October deadline. She expects the next mediation session to happen sometime next month.
VALLEY WELL REPRESENTED AT STATE FAIR
DOVER - Tuscarawas County’s 4-H members are showing off their best work in Columbus over the next two weeks. 4-H program coordinator Barb Airgood says the state fair starts Wednesday, and local exhibitors have a history of winning top prizes. With chickens and turkeys banned from fairs this year to reduce bird flu exposure, Airgood says the number of local poultry projects is down about 75% because they are limited to information-only entries. Airgood says local kids are taking part in a variety of project areas from public speaking to food and clothing to livestock. The state fair runs through August 9th.
TEEN CHARGED IN MULTIPLE CAR THEFTS
BALTIC - Tuscarawas County sheriff’s deputies say they have a solved a series of stolen cars with the arrest of at least one teenager and possibly a second. Detective Sgt. Jeff Moore says 17-year-old Brandon Cummings of Baltic is charged with auto theft and is being held in the Juvenile Attention Center. Moore says Cummings is accused of taking at least eight cars for joy rides, including three in one night, and breaking into others over a five-week period. The cars were found abandoned on back roads from Sugarcreek and Baltic to Coshocton between June 9 and July 15. Moore says the car owners made it easy for the teenagers by leaving vehicles unlocked and keys inside.
ARSON SUSPECTED IN BARN FIRES
YORK TWP. – Tuscarawas County sheriff’s detectives say they have a strong belief that fires, which damaged two barns, over the weekend were arson. Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell says the Saturday afternoon fire at the Dalton and Cindy Renner farm on Renner Rd. was reported by a teenager, who is the only suspect. Campbell says “it’s obvious” that diesel was pumped from one barn and splashed around the second barn before they were set on fire about 1PM. Campbell says the teen was the only one outside at the time and may have set the fires out of boredom. His clothes are being sent to a lab for testing and he remains at home with his parents pending formal charges expected in a few weeks. The fire damaged hay and a tractor stored in the barns, but Campbell says the buildings are repairable.
NEW PHILA CONSIDERS REUTILIZATION PROGRAM
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City leaders say they are looking into a program that would help rid the city of unsightly properties at a lower cost. Service Director Jim Zucal says council is considering a land reutilization program that would allow the city to submit vacant homes to the county for foreclosure and possible demolition. Zucal says each property would cost the city $2,500. He says the city is eyeing 368 4th Street NW as a possible submission as the doors are boarded up and the current owner is $30,000 behind in taxes. Zucal says the property would belong to the city if it fails to sell at two sheriff’s auctions. He says it could then be used by New Phila Schools for additional parking. Zucal says any houses to be considered for the program must be vacant for some time and approved by the housing review team.
COUNCIL VOTE CONTINUES FIRE STATION DEBATE LONGER
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A proposed resolution to create election ballot language for a new fire station could also take three readings to pass. Council Monday failed to approve the legislation on an emergency basis with council members Winnie Walker, Cheryl Ramos and Sandy Cox again voting against suspending the rules. Law Director Marvin Fete says the resolution clearly states in bold print that the $5 million would be used to construct, furnish and equip a new fire station. Meanwhile, Fete says if voters approve the issue and the city pays the bonds back before the 25 year term is up, the city would stop collecting additional tax money. Council meets again tonight for a second reading of the resolution. Council last week had three full readings on legislation to set the millage needed for the bond issue to appear on the November ballot to build the new station.
ACTING FIRE CHIEF EYES STATION NEEDS
UHRICHSVILLE - The city’s acting fire chief says he has a list of priorities he would like to address before a permanent chief is hired later this year. Captain Judd Edwards was promoted to the temporary position last month when Chief Art Tripp announced his retirement. Edwards says the role carries more responsibility. Meanwhile, Edwards says the department is applying for a $45,000 grant from Lowes Home Improvement to possibly perform some upkeep on the fire station. He says the renewal levy that is up for vote this November would be used for future equipment and fire truck needs. Edwards says the fire station currently houses six vehicles. He says the 1997 ladder truck has become extremely costly to maintain and could eventually be replaced if voters approve the renewal levy.
JUVENILE ATTENTION SYSTEM TO SEEK MORE MONEY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County commissioners should know soon how much more money they will need to contribute to the juvenile attention system. Multi-county system Superintendent Clay Riker told commissioners recently that it is time to reinstate a few detention facilities that were closed, especially in Stark County, so the budget will change this coming year. Riker says some of the 30% of services cut over the last decade have been requested for reinstatement by the juvenile courts in the five-county system. Tuscarawas County is slated to pay its nearly $137,000 share for 2015 and the increase could be determined after more budget meetings this week. Riker says he approached commissioners now to keep them prepared for the new budget numbers.
WORK PROGRESSES ON NEW EMERGENCY CENTER
DOVER - Union Hospital officials say work on the new emergency center is progressing on schedule, despite the less than perfect June and early July weather. Spokesman Darrin Lautenschleger says the steel for the walls and the elevator shaft are in place with work on the roof planned for august. Lautenschleger says the parking lot was the first item to reach completion earlier this year. He says patients heading to appointments in the medical park area, behind the hospital, catch the perfect view of the center’s progress. Lautenschleger says the hospital is still accepting donations for the $5 million capital campaign to put towards the $17.7 million project.
TEST DRILL SEEKS ADDITIONAL WATER SOURCE
DUNDEE - Tuscarawas County Water District officials says they are hopeful an attempt to find a third drinking water well for the Dundee area will be successful. Director Mike Jones says one of the two wells serving the area needs some rehabilitation, but it is difficult to shut down the one that produces 72,000 gallons a day and still meet demand. Jones says contractors will first dig a test well later this summer to make sure the location is right. Earlier this month, Tuscarawas County commissioners approved spending $45,000 to drill the test well.
BROWN PROFESSES TO BE PART-TIME ADVOCATE
WASHINGTON - Ohio’s democratic US senator says first it was overtime and now it’s part time. Sherrod Brown says he wants companies to coordinate with their part timers’ lives after hearing anecdotes about unexpected work schedules causing problems. Brown says he is concerned that schedule conflicts is a widespread issue and researching whether government should get involved. He says a letter-writing campaign he was involved with led to the president issuing an executive order that salaried employees making fewer than $50,000 annually will be allowed to claim overtime hours starting in 2016.