(Feb. 21, 2020) - School District officials are calling the new high school’s gymnasium that’s nearing completion second to none. Athletic Director Tim McCrate says there won’t be another gym in the county that compares to it. McCrate says crews were in there painting earlier in the week. McCrate says the current gym has room for about 1,600 people. The new one will have around 2,100 seats, and the standing room will push the capacity to about 2,500.

(WJER) (Feb. 21, 2020) - A well-known dinner fundraiser benefitting Community Hospice is back for its 28th year at Tuscarawas Central Catholic Jr/Sr High School. The annual Community Hospice Rigatoni Dinner is tomorrow from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m at Central Catholic, featuring Cyl Krocker’s famous recipe. Krocker says it’s a popular event that always draws a crowd, and plenty of helping hands to make it happen. Fundraising and Events Coordinator Mona Sayre says like many of their other fundraisers, the rigatoni dinner always reminds them of the enormous community support they have. Dinners are $10 per person and include dine in all you can eat or take out. All the money raised through the Saturday event goes to support patient and bereavement care at Community Hospice.

(WJER) (Feb. 21, 2020) - The Newcomerstown Community is rallying around a couple who lost their home and six pets in early January. Katina Osborne says her parents, John and Teresa Osborne, didn’t have homeowners insurance because they needed the money to pay for her mother’s medical care following a heart attack and stroke. A benefit to help the Osbornes is scheduled for noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturday at West Elementary in Newcomerstown. There will be carnival games, a bake sale, vendor booths, a 55-inch smart tv giveaway, a 50/50 auction, and a Chinese auction with more than 50 items. Katina says the community has already been extremely supportive, both in donations to tomorrow’s event and contributions to a fund set up at chase bank.

NEWCOMERSTOWN (WJER) (Feb. 21, 2020) - Newcomerstown families are getting a chance to see the opportunities the district’s new athletic complex creates for student athletes. Superintendent Jeff Staggs says there will be a ribbon-cutting and open house Sunday from 2-4 p.m. to celebrate the completion of the new field house at Lee Stadium. It includes an indoor track, full-sized gym and batting cages. The $2-million project was paid for by the Vernon and Edith Lee Trust Fund, and  foundation grants were used to purchase new lockers and equip the fitness center. Staggs says student-athletes will get to start using the facility in around a week.

(WJER) (Feb. 20, 2020) - The West Layfette woman convicted for obstructing justice in the Newcomerstown area robbery and drug shooting incident from late 2018 is in jail denying she violated probation. 36-year-old Lisa Freetage was sentenced in November to two years’ probation with one year in prison reserved. Assistant County Prosecutor Mike Ernest says they filed a motion in December to have her probation revoked and an arrest warrant was issued for allegedly not following the terms of her probation. Claiming she tested positive for a controlled substance and failed to keep in contact with the probation office. Freetage was arrested and jailed February 6th. Ernest says she appeared for a notice hearing this week, to explain the allegations and she has requested a merit hearing where the prosecution would have to prove she violated probation. Ernest says that merit hearing has yet to be scheduled. After that hearing, Freetage could end up serving her reserved prison sentence or have terms of her probation modified. 

(WJER) (Feb. 20, 2020) - City officials' vision to bring increased connectivity to residents around town is taking shape after another public meeting with the engineers behind the plan. Officials heard from Ryan Smalley with Envisions who is overseeing the project alongside the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition to bring more pedestrian and bicycle access to the city. Smalley says their plan, based on community surveys, involves a combination of protected bike paths called cycle tracks, bike lanes, and actuated cross-walks. Smalley says the community surveys helped them understand where people wanted to go, and he says from there they tried to find the best routes to make reaching those destinations easy and safe. The plan consists of a proposed separated trail running from Buckeye Career Center to East High, a protect bike path from east high at Delaware Drive, and a mixture of cycle tracks and bike lanes stretching north and south around town. Now engineers will look for the easiest place to start installing the infrastructure in the next one-to-three years.

(WJER) (Feb. 20, 2020) - The Tuscarawas County commissioners are encouraging a local group advocating for their right to bear arms to take their fight to the state level.  Members of Ohio Stands United Ohio Tuscarawas County attended Wednesday’s board meeting urging commissioners to pass a resolution opposing restrictions to the Second Amendment. Commissioners ultimately rejected the resolution, citing the board's long-standing practice of not getting involved in political issues. Al Landis praised members for their tenacity and encouraged them to voice their concerns to state legislators. Organizers removed language from the original resolution that would have declared Tuscarawas County a Second Amendment sanctuary.

(WJER) (Feb. 20, 2020) Healthy Tusc officials are hoping to repeat their past successes in improving community-wide health. Chair Kim Nathan says multiple partners including health departments and the ADAMHS Board have been implementing plans to address top priorities they identified two years ago such as chronic adult illnesses and addiction. Nathan says local access to dental care has been getting better ever since it was listed as a need in Healthy Tusc’s 2015 community health assessment.

DOVER (WJER) (Feb. 20, 2020) - Area library leaders say there has been a positive response to a program recently made available in Tuscarawas County that mails free books to kids under the age of five monthly.  First Lady Fran DeWine was at the Tuscarawas County Public Library late last month to launch the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library program. Dover Public Library Director Jim Gill says 700 kids joined in the first two weeks after her visit. Gill says he would eventually like to see at least 75-percent of eligible kids enrolled. Parents can sign kids up at their local library or by visiting their library’s website. 

(WJER) (Feb. 19, 2020) - Council has allocated funds for a summer paving project and is now waiting for the Ohio Department of Transportation to schedule the work. Service Director Dave Douglas says the city will contribute $22,244 to resurface Commercial Parkway from the Dover park and ride to the West High Avenue railroad crossing in New Philadelphia as part of ODOT’s State Route 39 paving project. Douglas says ODOT will award a contract for the project soon, with additional funding coming from local, state, and federal sources. He says once that happens, ODOT will provide details about the total cost and work schedule.

(WJER) (Feb. 18, 2020) – City leaders are hoping to get started on some significant improvements at the Southside Community Park this summer. Tuscora Park Foundation Member Mike Ernest says the $2-million phase one plan for the Southside Park includes a trail with pedestrian bridges and a new entrance off Oldtown Valley Road, with a new dog park and pollinator garden near that entrance. Ernest says the city has now cleared one of two hurdles to secure an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to fund 75% of the cost. Ernest says the foundation still has to raise about $100,000 for the city’s share to receive the grant. He hopes to learn within about a month whether the grant will gain final approval at the state level.   

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) (Feb. 17, 2020) - Authorities say a Baltic man died in a reported trench collapse at a central Ohio construction site. The Granville Township fire chief confirmed the victim, identified as 39-year-old Drew Oswald, was killed Monday morning at a property in Licking County, east of Columbus. Officials didn't immediately release further details. As emergency responders were sent to the scene, The Advocate in nearby Newark reported that scanner traffic had indicated one person was trapped in a trench about 10 feet down. No one else was believed to be trapped, and no other injuries were immediately reported.

(WJER) (Feb. 17, 2020) - Firefighters say one child was hospitalized after a morning mobile home fire in town. Chief Judd Edwards says firefighters were called out to East High Street to find a single-wide mobile home heavily involved with reports of a child still trapped inside. Edwards says the call came in during a shift change, so they had plenty of firefighters to attack the fire and search for the child at the same time. Edwards says the child, a young boy who he estimates is around 2 years old, was transported for treatment for smoke inhalation with unofficial reports showing he is doing okay. Edwards wouldn’t say whether the boy had any other injuries. He says the State Fire Marshal is helping investigate what caused the fire but has no damage estimate at this point.

(WJER) (Feb. 17, 2020) - Early voting starts Wednesday for Ohio’s March Primary. Director Gail Garbrandt says the Board of Elections Office in the county courthouse will be open weekdays from 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m for early voting. In the week prior to election day March 17th, there will be extended hours until 7:00 p.m and added times on Saturday and Sunday. Voters should bring a driver’s license or other form of picture I.D. Garbrandt says early voters don’t need to worry – they’ll still get stickers. Voters will cast ballots on primary elections for president, congress, state supreme court, and local judges. Local issues on the ballot include school levies for New Philadelphia and Claymont.

(WJER) (Feb. 17, 2020) - A former ESPN sports reporter and columnist is bringing a unique perspective into suicide awareness to the performing arts center for parents and students. The Tuscarawas Area School Counselors, or TACA is hosting Kate Fagan for teen mental health night Tuesday. TACA President Lindsey Tidrick says Fagan will discuss her book “What Made Maddy Run,” about a university of Pennsylvania freshman track athlete who took her own life in 2014, exploring her depression and the pressure of social media. Tidrick says the Dover and Tusky Valley School Districts are sponsoring Fagan’s appearance. Many other local organizations will be there with informational booths. Teen mental health night is free to attend Tuesday and starts at 6:30 p.m at the Kent State Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center. 

DOVER (WJER) (Feb. 17, 2020) – Dover High School’s Celebration Day Saturday gave thousands of community members and alumni a chance to reminisce about the old building one last time. Between musical performances, visitors found their old classrooms and lockers and talked about their days as a student. 1979 graduate Patty Reynolds says her time as a Crimson Tornado shaped her life today. She also says the new high school is overdue. 2014 grad Cory Marshall says most of his memories come from the wrestling room with his teammates and coaches. He somewhat reluctantly welcomes the new school. The old high school is set to be torn down before next school year. Students and teachers are expected to start moving into the new building in March.

UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (Feb. 17, 2020) – Uhrichsville's mayor is asking council to update the city’s 2017 landlord registration ordinance to help them crack down on problem properties. Mark Haney says the city’s current ordinance requires landlords to update their registration annually and pay a flat $25 fee. Haney would like to see the ordinance changed so landlords must register each of their properties individually. He says that would also make it easier for police and firefighters to track down owners in the event of an emergency. He thinks Uhrichsville should look at similar laws in other municipalities and modify theirs accordingly. Law Director JJ Ong says Dennison officials updated theirs in 2018 to hold owners accountable for issues with their properties.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say one person is dead after a police shooting in Ohio's capital city. The Columbus Division of Police says the shooting happened around 5 p.m. Thursday at a motel on the city's north side. The agency says three officers were involved and none were injured. Sgt. James Fuqua is a spokesman for the police agency. He says the person killed was a suspect in a homicide, and shots were exchanged after police announced their presence and were met with gunfire. The city released a plan earlier this year meant to address police violence in the city.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Attorney General has cleared a proposal to update Ohio's voter registration system for the statewide signature gathering process. Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections is the group hoping to streamline how people register and receive ballots. The group's proposal would automatically register Ohioans to vote when conducting business at state Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices. It would also allow eligible Ohioans to register and cast a ballot on the same day during early voting and on Election Day. Attorney General Dave Yost on Thursday certified the petition's summary language and the validity of its initial 1,000 signatures. 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Local governments would get more authority over how Ohio's share of a national opioid settlement is spent — but their guaranteed percentage would remain at 30% — under an updated draft of the deal for divvying up the money that is being negotiated with the governor and attorney general. Some municipalities had pushed back against an earlier version of the so-called "One Ohio" agreement, arguing it did too little to assure cities, counties and towns hit hard by the opioid crisis that would be the primary beneficiaries of the settlement. But they also know presenting a unified front with Gov. Mike DeWine and Attorney General Dave Yost could save time, money and trouble down the line.

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with a car crash that killed a white supremacist leader. Emily Sherry entered her plea Thursday in the April 2018 death of Robert Ransdell. Police say 24-year-old Sherry was driving under the influence when she veered into oncoming traffic and struck Ransdell's car. Ransdell was pronounced dead at the scene. Ransdell led a white supremacist group based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky in 2014. Sherry faces up to 17 and 1/2 years in prison at sentencing, which is scheduled for March 31.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A church whose leader claims he is an angel of Jesus has become the biggest cluster of viral infections in South Korea. A total of 152 cases of COVID-19 infections have been found in the southeast city of Daegu and nearby areas since Wednesday. Most have been linked to a Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, where two recent services were attended by a previously confirmed patient. Little is known about the "patient zero" except that the woman in her early 60s had no recent record of overseas travel and was diagnosed with pneumonia last weekend. Some 1,000 Shincheonji church followers who attended Sunday services with her have been quarantined at their homes while authorities screen them for the virus.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's health minister said the last cruise ship passengers who tested negative for a new virus will leave the Diamond Princess on Friday after a much-criticized quarantine of the vessel ended. The ship has the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 634 confirmed cases and two deaths among former passengers. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said the mass disembarkation is set to end Friday, while dozens of foreign passengers return home, many to face second quarantines. Israel returned 14 people early Friday, and Australia said two of its returnees tested positive.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Intelligence officials have warned lawmakers that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign to help President Donald Trump get reelected. That's according to three officials familiar with the closed-door briefing. The disclosure raises questions about the integrity of the presidential campaign and whether Trump's administration is taking the proper steps to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. saw in 2016. The warning was first reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post. A senior administration official said it infuriated Trump, who complained that Democrats would use the information against him.

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets have followed Wall Street lower after a rise in virus cases in South Korea refueled investor anxiety about China's disease outbreak. Benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney retreated, while London and Frankfurt opened lower. Markets had been gaining on hopes the viral outbreak that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan might be under control. Stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data and interest rate cuts by Asian central banks have helped to buoy sentiment. But investors were jarred by South Korea's report of 52 new cases of the coronavirus. That renewed concern the infection is spreading in South Korea, Singapore and other Asian economies.

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (AP) — An Olympic wrestler is accusing a University of Michigan doctor of touching him inappropriately during medical exams at the school. Andy Hrovat says the physician's reputation for such conduct was well known among his teammates in the 1990s. Hrovat competed for the U.S. in the 2008 Summer Olympics. He tells The Associated Press that the encounters with the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson happened during his freshman year in 1998. He is the first athlete to make public accusations against Anderson following complaints this week from other former students that the doctor sexually abused them decades ago.

NCAA: Luka Garza scored 24 points, and No. 20 Iowa got strong contributions from its bench in a 85-76 win over No. 25 Ohio State. It was Garza’s 12th consecutive game of 20 points or more in Big Ten play, the longest streak for an Iowa player in 49 seasons and the most by any conference player in the last 20 years. Bakari Evelyn came off the bench to score 15 points for the Hawkeyes. Joe Wieskamp had 13 points, and Ryan Kriener added 12.

NBA: J.B. Bickerstaff is in a familiar place. For the third time in his coaching career, he's taking over after an in-season coaching change. This time it's in Cleveland after John Beilein resigned with 28 games left. Bickerstaff is the Cavaliers' new coach and he's thankful not to have the interim tag. The 40-year-old previously coached in Houston and Memphis and said those experiences prepared him to replace Beilein. Bickerstaff isn't planning any major changes to his lineups or rotations. He wants to continue to develop Cleveland's young players and salvage what's left of the season. 

MLB: Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco felt discomfort in his right leg during a spring training workout and is having tests. The 32-year-old Carrasco made an inspiring comeback last season after being diagnosed with leukemia, The Indians say he won't work out Thursday and the team plans to provide an update on his status on Friday. If Carrasco is out for any period, it will put further strain on Cleveland's pitching depth. Right-hander Mike Clevinger recently underwent knee surgery and will be out until mid-April.

NFL: Browns Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry elected to have hip surgery after initially opting not to have the operation. Landry was slowed by his hip all last season but still finished with a team-leading 83 catches for 1,1174 yards and six touchdowns. He visited a specialist after the season and decided not to have the procedure before changing his mind after playing with pain in the Pro Bowl. The Browns said Landry's surgery was performed on Tuesday in Minnesota. The team said he's expected to recover for the 2020 season. 

TODAY: Sunny, High 36
TONIGHT: Clear, Low 18
SATURDAY: Sunny, High 45
SUNDAY: Sunny, High 49  

Rainsnowand freezing rain before 7am, then rain and snow between 7am and 1pm, then rain after 1pm. High near 44.
Rain, snow, and freezing rain before 7am, then rain and snow between 7am and 1pm, then rain after 1pm. High near 44.
Rain, snow, and freezing rain before 7am, then rain and snow between 7am and 1pm, then rain after 1pm. High near 44.