COUNTY’S SHERIFF TALKS SCHOOL SAFETY AND DETERS HOAXES
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s Sheriff wants parents to talk with their kids about the school safety issue. Orvis Campbell was a guest on WJER with Bill Morgan morning on this topic. He says parents should have this discussions with kids about what they would do in a situation where there’s an actual threat. Campbell says parents need to also tell children there are consequences to making threats like the one that had New Philadelphia High School go under lockdown Wednesday. Campbell says he’s also worried people will hear all of these false threats and then be apprehensive to report a real concern. Authorities have been investigating evidence to get the identity of the person responsible for Wednesday’s threat at New Philadelphia.

PROGRESS ON PLANS FOR DOVER FIRE SUBSTATION
DOVER (WJER) - Firefighters say they are excited about where things stand with development of their new substation at the north end of town. Chief Russ Volkert says architects are very close to having a complete set of plans and council has started putting legislation in place for the project to go out to bid. He says hopefully they will be able to break ground this summer at the site on Dublin Drive. Volkert says he’s not anticipating any surprises once construction begins, which would take 8 to 9 months. He believes the project should end up costing between $1.4 and $1.6-million, which the city has been setting aside. Voters approved a 2016 levy for staffing the facility. 

3 DEMS FAIL TO MAKE STATE BALLOT
COLUMBUS -
There will be fewer names to consider for Democrats in the spring primary state races. Kelli Prather of Cincinnati was disqualified from the state auditor’s race for not having enough valid signatures, leaving Zack Space of Dover as the lone candidate on the Democratic side. Jonathan Heavey can’t run for governor and Neil Patel is out of the treasurer’s race, both for that same reason. Heavey is challenging the decision to leave him off the ballot. He called the signature review by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted "rigged," since Husted is GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine's running mate. Major party candidates need 1,000 valid signatures to get on the state ballot.   

SCHOOL SHOOTING THREAT FOUND IN NEW PHILADELPHIA CITY SCHOOL
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - The streets were blocked off outside New Philadelphia High School following reports of a shooting threat found inside a girls bathroom Wednesday afternoon. New Philadelphia Police Captain Joseph Skinner was on scene, and he says his department worked alongside the New Phila Highway Patrol Post, BCI investigators and the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department to make sure kids were let out safely at their normal time. Meanwhile, concerned parents congregated on all sides of the school, waiting for answers from law enforcement and school officials. Capt. Skinner says the road blocks were to allow officials to work more easily without having to direct traffic as well. Investigators are working to determine who made the threat in order to pursue charges.

TUSKY EQUIPPING POLICE WITH BODY CAMS
TUSCARAWAS (WJER) – Village officials hope some new technology will increase trust and safety between police and residents. Police Chief Ty Norris says council has agreed to purchase two body cameras for officers and a new system that incorporates cruiser dash cam footage with the body cams. He says this is meant to increase transparency on both sides of every interaction.  The equipment is costing nearly $8,500 and should be ready for use in a couple months. 

FIREFIGHTERS INVESTIGATE SMOKE INSIDE DOVER CHEMICAL
DOVER (WJER) - Firefighters say an oily substance used for heating filled a building with smoke at Dover Chemical last night. There was no fire, and no sort of vapor release. Captain Brooks Ross says after clearing the smoke out of the four-story building, plant officials were able to determine the oil was dripping out of a line. Ross says they had six fire departments respond, just as a precaution. Ross says some firefighters remained there a couple hours last night.  There were no injuries. 

SMOKING BAN IN PLACE AT COUNTY LIBRARY LOCATIONS
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County Library officials want to make the experience there a little more pleasant for people who don’t like cigarette smoke. Tuscarawas County Public Library Director Michelle Ramsell says they now have a smoking ban on the grounds of all five of their locations in New Philadelphia, Bolivar, Strasburg, Sugarcreek and Tusky. Ramsell says they are working to get up the signage now, and they will politely just ask violators to stop. She says the ashtray receptacles will remain on the library grounds so people unaware of the policy have somewhere to snuff out their cigarettes.  

FLOODS RECEDING, FOR NOW
DOVER (WJER) – U.S Army Corps of Engineers officials expect the water levels to continue dropping. Muskingum Area Operations Manager Jean Seidel says they were holding back water over the weekend at the Dover Dam to alleviate flooding in southern Ohio. She says the water has been going down gradually since opening the gates Sunday night. It's apparent the Tuscarawas River is still out of its banks though, especially along I-77 at Bolivar. And in Dennison, Council Member Greg DiDonato says they began syphoning the PHAC baseball fields Tuesday, where it was under a few feet of water that spilled over the levee. Seidel says they will keep an eye on river levels and watch the gauges downstream this week with more rain in the forecast.   

BIKERS HIT 150 MPH FLEEING POLICE
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s deputies just couldn’t catch up with two motorcycles that led them on a pursuit zigzagging through traffic across the northern half of the county at dangerously high speeds. Sgt. Bruce Lowery says the two street bikes initially fled when he tried to pull them over for speeding in a school zone in Mineral City Tuesday afternoon. Other departments joined the pursuit that went down SR 800, through Dover and onto I-77 north in a matter of minutes. The bikes hit speeds close to 150 mph on 77. Police abandoned the chase at the Stark County line, and authorities there were unable to track down the riders. Lowery will look at footage of the riders to try to get license plate numbers.  

POT HOLES TAKING A TOLL ON DOVER ROADS
DOVER (WJER) – City leaders say they hear residents’ complaints and are working to address them as the sporadic temperatures continue to destroy the city’s streets. Service Director Dave Douglas says pot holes are popping up all over town, even on the main streets.  He says they are waiting for the asphalt plants to open so they can seal the roads, as the cold patch technique they are currently using deteriorates quickly under rain and changing temperatures. Douglas says they will be looking for new techniques to patch the roads through the winter months, but for now the city is at the mercy of the asphalt plants. He is asking for patience from drivers, and to slow down.  

O’MEARA JOINS BOARD OF ELECTIONS
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER)  – There’s a new member of the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections.  The Tuscarawas County Democratic Party Executive Committee selected Dover Law Director Doug O’Meara to join the board during a meeting Monday night. He was one of four names in the running for the open spot on the four-person board.  He replaces Zack Space, who resigned to run for state auditor.   

NATIONAL ENGINEERS WEEK RECOGNIZED AT KENT TUSC
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Kent State Tuscarawas officials are showcasing one of their many areas of study over the next five days during National Engineers Week. Engineering Technology Department Director Paul Dykshoorn says they are partnering with local manufacturers as well as high schools throughout Tuscarawas County to give students a peek into the vast field of engineering. Dykshoorn says it allows kids to explore their interests and see if they would like to pursue them further. Dykshoorn says Thursday is the engineering expo at the Tusc campus, featuring local manufacturers who will be showcasing their products. He says students will also be there as awards are handed out for their engineering-inspired projects, this year focused around alternative and fluid energy. Dykshorn says the expo runs from 5:30 until 8:00 p.m., and is free for anyone to attend. 

NEW PHILA SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTS 6TH CLASS
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - A few more names have taken their places alongside the greatest contributors in New Philadelphia sports history. Seven individuals and three teams were inducted into the New Philadelphia Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday. 1964 graduate Mike Beitzel, honored as a player and college coach, says it’s the people he remembers most. 2010 graduate Will McEwan says the induction weekend had special meaning for his family. Longtime girls track coach Pat Veltri filled his remarks with humor and stories. 2006 graduate Richard Sandilands, who earned eleven letters in football, basketball and track, gave credit to his coaches. Dawn Mamula Stewart was also inducted, along with the late Bob Graham and Dave Milburn. They were joined by the 1966-67 boys basketball team and the 1986 and 1987 girls cross country teams. 

BOLIVAR DAM GIVEN HIGHEST SAFETY RATING
HUNTINGTON, WV (WJER) - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials say residents have even more reassurance following completion of rehabilitation work at the Bolivar Dam. Huntington District Commander Col. Phillip Secrist says its rating has now been upgraded to a Dam Safety Action Classification 5, becoming the first in the district to earn the highest safety score a dam can receive. Secrist says since the project was completed in October, it has already had a chance to showcase its strength with some of the recent heavy rain and a flood event a few months ago. That project finished nearly $18-million under budget and 18-months ahead of schedule.  

TUSCARAWAS COUNTY UNITED WAY HAS ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR
NEW PHILADELPHIA
(WJER) - The local United Way Campaign Chair is thanking the community and its businesses for helping to again exceed the campaign goal. Nichole Zesiger of the First National Bank of Dennison says with the help of volunteers and generous business owners, they were able to raise $545,724. She says with 19-agencies and businesses increasing their contribution by 10-percent or more from previous years, and four new businesses donating for the first time, it’s no surprise they were successful. Zesiger says there were awards for those businesses that stepped up contributions and helped united way reach their goal. And she says the Pioneer Award for businesses new to donating is a promising sign for the local United Way. This year’s campaign marks 75-years of raising money to spur good in the community through united way, and Zesiger says that’s not possible without caring people. That money will now be allotted by the board for different initiatives happening throughout Tuscarawas County. 

PROPOSED APARTMENTS STILL BEING DISCUSSED
NEW PHILADELPHIA
(WJER) - Tuscarawas County Commissioners have a lot to consider after a resident called to meet with the board over a development proposal in New Philadelphia. Commissioner Kerry Metzger says about 25-people from the south side of New Phila voiced concerns to the board Wednesday about the proposed apartment complex in Goshen Township, along with its need for a new waste water treatment plant. Metzger says the meeting ran until about 5 p.m., giving each person a chance to speak and possible send them out with a better understanding. The apartments are proposed to be constructed in Goshen Township, just outside the city limits. But Metzger says there are still a lot of steps to take before any decisions are made. Metzger says some of the common concerns among residents were increased traffic damaging the roads, too much stress being put on the south side elementary, and a rise in drug and other criminal activity. 

STABBING SUSPECT TO REMAIN IN JAIL WITHOUT BAIL
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Bail has been denied for the suspect accused of stabbing a New Philadelphia man in the chest outside a Dover bar. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Edward O’Farrell made that ruling Wednesday for 37-year old Joshua Barron of Dover. Barron has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and felonious assault charges for the February 3 stabbing of 30-year old Nick Hershberger. Defense attorney Mark Perlaky was unsuccessful in getting Barron put under house arrest instead of jail. Assistant prosecutor Mike Ernest argued Hershberger and other witnesses identified Barron as the assailant. Police testimony claimed Barron was drunk and unable to recall what happened at the time of the stabbing.

TRIAL SET FOR FINAL SUSPECT IN LUKE CABBAGE MURDER
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - The trial date is set for the last of three Jefferson County defendants in last year’s shooting death of 19-year-old Luke Cabbage of New Philadelphia. 20-year-old Jordan Robinson will now have his trial begin April 17th in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court on aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and other charges.  22-year-old Kyle Boyd already had his involuntary manslaughter trial set for March 13th. The shooter, 19-year-old Arnoldo Orduno, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder. He is serving a life sentence with parole possible after 25 years for the September 11th shooting in Newcomerstown that involved a drug deal and robbery. 

STATE NEWS:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio lawmaker says security officials did not follow protocol when they allowed a man now charged with raping, torturing and killing a woman into her office without proper identification. Democratic state Rep. Bernadine Kennedy-Kent says everyone was placed at risk when security allowed 53-year-old Anthony Pardon into her office Jan. 29 to get help with obtaining a state ID. Pardon visited Kennedy-Kent's office the same day police found the body of 24-year-old Rachael Anderson
 
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bill intended to help curb the state's opioid epidemic by increasing penalties for soliciting prostitutes has been introduced in Ohio's House of Representatives. A Democrat and a Republican in the House introduced the bill to increase the solicitation penalty from a third degree to a first degree misdemeanor, with increased jail times and fines. Democrat Sen. Enda Brown and a Republican senator will sponsor a sister bill. Brown noted a rise in prostitution among women with drug addictions.
 
CLEVELAND (AP) - Police say a car fleeing officers struck and seriously injured a teen in Cleveland. East Cleveland Sgt. Scott Gardner says officers tried to pull over the car around 9:45 p.m. Thursday after a license plate check revealed the vehicle was stolen. The driver refused to stop and later hit a 14-year-old boy, who has been hospitalized in critical condition.
 
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A late entrant into the Ohio governor's race is challenging the state elections chief's decision to keep him off the ballot because he lacks the required number of signatures on petitions. Democrat Jon Heavey late Wednesday called the signature review by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted "rigged." Husted is GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine's running mate.

NATIONAL NEWS:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - One geography instructor says "our new normal has yet to be defined" as he prepares to return, along with other teachers, to the Florida high school where a former student is accused of killing 17 people with an assault-type rifle. Teachers will be allowed to collect belongings from classrooms that have been off-limits since the slayings. It comes as the grieving community grapples with a revelation that the armed officer on campus did nothing to try to stop the shooter.
 
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says the National Rifle Association will eventually come aboard with his endorsement of a plan to bar those under 21 from buying semi-automatic weapons. As things stand now, he is in direct conflict with the NRA, which opposes the idea. His comments Thursday came amid a public reckoning over school gun violence after last week's Florida school massacre. Trump says Congress will eventually back it too.
 
BANGKOK (AP) - Human rights groups say authorities in Myanmar are destroying "crime scenes"   that contain evidence of atrocities committed by the nation's security forces against Rohingya Muslims forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. New satellite imagery of Myanmar's Rakhine state shows the government is using bulldozers to completely flatten dozens of villages burned during violence last year. The Rohingya believe the government is trying to stop their return by erasing remnants of their culture.
 
BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian government warplanes supported by Russia have pressed ahead with their bombardment of the rebel-controlled eastern suburbs of Damascus for the sixth day Friday, killing five people, opposition activists and a war monitor say. The death toll from the past week has climbed to over 400, overwhelming rescuers and doctors at hospitals.
 
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson has proposed paying for at least part of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and the Trump administration is considering the offer. U.S. officials say State Department lawyers are looking into the legality of the highly unconventional proposal to cover the embassy's costs through private donations. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy moves closer to reality. Officials say Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has approved a security plan for the move

SPORTS:
NBA: Bradley Beal scored 18 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. added 17 and the Washington Wizards spoiled the home debut for Cleveland's four new players with a 110-103 win over the Cavaliers. Washington is 8-2 since losing star guard John Wall with a knee injury. LeBron James scored 32 points to pace the Cavs.

WEATHER:
TODAY: Rain, Hi 64
TONIGHT: Cloudy with scattered showers, Lo 44
SATURDAY: Showers, rain could be heavy at times, Hi 53
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, showers likely, mainly before noon, Hi 62