COUNCIL CONSIDERS WATER AND SEWER ORDINANCE UPDATES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Officials say they are working to clarify two city ordinances related to water and sewer line connections outside of city limits. Law Director Marvin Fete says council held a first reading Monday for legislation that would allow council to deny any request for new utility extensions. Fete says he believes the current language that says outside hookups shall be permitted already gives the city authority to deny requests, but some council members have asked for the additional subsection. Fete says he doubts the proposed change would have any impact on the current court case filed against the city by developers who claim the city is wrongly demanding property in Goshen Township be annexed into the city to receive water and sewer services. Council also held a first reading on an ordinance that would set outside water and sewer rates at two times what city residents pay. The current legislation passed in 2000 states they will pay 50% more than those inside the corporation.
POLICE CALL SHOOTING ACCIDENTAL
DOVER - Police say one person was hurt when a gun accidentally went off in his Cross St. home. Employees at the Union Hospital emergency room contacted police when they were treating the man for a gunshot wound to his hand. Police believe he might have been cleaning the gun and forgot to unload it prior to the 5 PM incident.
UHRICHSVILLE WOMAN TO SERVE PROBATION FOR CAR BREAK-INS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A Uhrichsville woman is avoiding additional time behind bars. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos sentenced 31-year-old Ashley Bates to three years of probation Tuesday after Bates changed her plea to guilty for a list of charges including theft, petty theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, and possessing drug paraphernalia. Investigators say locally, Bates and her mother shattered vehicle windows and stole personal items from YMCA and Planet Fitness customers and were suspected of committing similar crimes in other counties. Court officials say a sentence from New Philadelphia Municipal Court in another case will keep Bates in the Tuscarawas County Jail until May.
DEER SEASON OFF TO SAFE BUT SLOW START
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - State wildlife officials say they are optimistic deer gun season totals will increase as the week goes on. Hunters killed over 18,700 white-tailed deer on opening day this year compared to over 22,000 on opening day in 2015. Spokesman and Harrison County Game Warden Nick Turner says Tuscarawas County currently ranks fifth in the state, as local hunters checked 645 deer Monday, down 13 from the previous year. He says rain and mild temperatures tend to impact the numbers. Turner says neighboring Coshocton County had the most opening day kills with 767, also down from last year’s 888. Turner says hunting access has a lot to do with harvest success in Coshocton because the county has more public hunting and wildlife areas. Turner says Tuscarawas County has experienced no injuries or major problems so far this gun season. Deer gun season runs through Sunday, December 4 with an additional weekend December 17-18.
LOCAL STUDENTS FEARFUL BUT SAFE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - At least two local students attending Ohio State University say they were scared but are safe after an incident on campus Monday. New Philadelphia senior Jamie MacAdam is a civil engineering major and was supposed to be in the Watts Hall engineering and science building where the incident took place. MacAdam says his professor canceled the class last week, but he says friends were sheltering in place in other buildings, stacking desks against the doors and turning out the lights. New Philadelphia sophomore Jenna Tolloti has similar stories, receiving texts from roommates about the problem even before the university alerts went out. The Associated Press reports Ohio State Department of Public Safety Director Monica Moll identified the now-deceased suspect as 18-year-old OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan. He is accused of driving a car into pedestrians and then stabbing people at the scene. She says Artan was born in Somalia and living in the United States as a legal permanent resident. Meanwhile, authorities say the officer who killed him was university police officer 28-year-old Alan Horujko, who had been on the job for less than two years. Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone says it was fortunate there was a nearby gas leak that the officer had gone to investigate. Stone says it helped position Horujko to respond to the attack so quickly. Those injured in the attack included an Ohio State faculty member, four graduate students, and three undergrads.
LANE RECONFIGURATION TO EASE CONGESTION
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City officials say plans are in the works to ease congestion and improve safety at the W. High Ave. and Bluebell Dr. intersection. Service Director Ron McAbier says the state transportation department has agreed to pay the entire $439,000 to transform an eastbound lane heading into town by McDonald’s into a westbound left turn lane onto Front Ave. McAbier says no new lanes will be added, but drivers will have to adjust to three westbound lanes and only one eastbound lane to the top of the hill. The project also includes adding two crosswalks to allow pedestrians a safe way to access restaurants and businesses in the area. McAbier says the work could include wider turning radiuses to help with truck traffic when the work is complete in 2018.
SCHOOL DISTRICT LOOKS FORWARD TO JOINT TRAIL PROJECT
NEW PHILADELPHIA - School officials say they are grateful for a partnership with the city. A project along Crider Ave. NE includes installing new water and sewer lines, but a grant is also allowing the school district to build trails for outdoor hands-on experience for learning. Superintendent David Brand says the work, which could be complete by the spring, will include more than just trails, and the collaboration with the city makes the $240,000 project worthwhile. Brand says students who have taken international field trips get a more intense experience, but he says the trails will offer similar hands-on work on a smaller scale, closer to home, and open to all grade levels as well as the community.
HOLIDAY EVENT KICKS OFF PARADE SEASON
TWIN CITIES - Community members are officially ready for the season following the annual Twin City Christmas Parade Monday. The annual event included dozens of floats and entries marching from Dennison into Uhrichsville this year. Spokeswoman Teri Edwards says the event was magical with the lights and effort put into each unit. Edwards says the parade also showcases area businesses to encourage residents to buy Christmas gifts from area stores. The parade is sponsored by the Clayland Lions Club. Other area parades are scheduled for this coming weekend.
TROOPERS COMMEND DRIVER SAFETY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - State troopers say they had few holiday traffic problems over the weekend. New Philadelphia Patrol Post Commander Lt. Mark Glennon says his troopers were called to just 14 minor crashes compared with 21 last year during the Thanksgiving reporting period. He says extra patrols and visibility helps drivers pay attention, especially when traffic volumes hit their peak. Glennon says drunk driving arrests were also down for the weekend, but troopers will remain vigilant for the rest of the holiday season. He says his troopers also wrote 78 tickets, mostly for speeding, down by three from last year’s Thanksgiving weekend.
FIRE SUBSTATION STAFFING FIRST, THEN CONSTRUCTION
DOVER - Officials say it will take a few years to open the new fire substation on the north end of town. Fire Chief Russ Volkert says he first plans to hire three firefighters in 2017 and three more in 2018, all paid for through the tax levy passed by voters last March. Volkert says the city has been saving money to construct the new substation for many years, and he hopes to put the project out for bid in 2018, but he says the city has already hired an architect to design the station, and utilities have been extended to the property off Dublin Drive.
ANNEXATION TECHNICALITY REQUIRED
DOVER - Officials say they are beginning the process to expand the city’s border. Council Zoning Committee Chair John Correll says city council passed legislation to annex 9.7 acres into Dover at the end of Dublin Drive. He says the property is already owned by Dover and the Dover Land Development company but needs officially annexed to extend utilities including electric, street, water, and wastewater services. Correll says council will also likely hold a public hearing to rezone the property as commercial to allow for future expansion, if the annexation is approved at the county level.
WASTEWATER PLANT UPGRADES PLANNED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City officials say safety upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant are ongoing. Service Director Ron McAbier says the city has lined up a $70,000 grant, city money, and possibly an Ohio Public Works Commission loan to pay for the manual bar screen replacement. He says the system separates the incoming material but puts employees in danger as it requires hands-on action three stories up, and workers are often alone at the time. McAbier says the new system will be mechanical and have a finer screening system. He says the city has been working for the last several months to obtain funding for upgrades at the wastewater plant.