FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2014


THREE BATTLE IT OUT FOR CONGRESS
DOVER - Two of the candidates running for the 6th U.S. congressional seat disagreed on just about every issue brought up on the WJER Town Meeting Friday. Incumbent Bill Johnson and his challenger Jennifer Garrison were in our studios for a lively hour and a half program, that also touched on their personal lives. One WJER caller questioned their views towards charter schools. Garrison, who is a lawyer and former state representative, says she is against under-performing institutions. Johnson, who is vying for his third term, says one-size fits all educational standards fail to meet the needs of many Ohio children. While both find faults with Obamacare, Johnson says he is pushing for more options for patients and their doctors. Garrison says she is against Medicare and social security reductions. Also in the race to represent southern Tuscarawas County in congress is Green Party candidate Dennis Lambert, who was unable to attend the Town Meeting. 

EBOLA QUARANTINE NEARLY OVER
DOVER – Tuscarawas County Health officials say two local residents show no signs of Ebola with only a few more days left in their voluntary quarantine. County Health Department Director Katie Seward says both have been cooperative during the daily monitoring. They were on an airplane with Texas nurse Amber Vinson, who has since been cleared of any symptom as well. Seward says the two local residents are anxious to resume their daily lives and get back to work.

FALL BACK AND  CHANGE YOUR BATTERIES 
DENNISON - Dennison firefighters are reminding area residents to add one more thing to their to-do lists this weekend. Daylight Savings Time ends early Sunday and Chief Dave McConnell says falling back also means its time to change the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. McConnell says a fresh battery can make all the difference in the midst of a fire. McConnell says residents should also check the manufacturers date on the back of the machine to see if a new unit is needed. McConnell says 71% of smoke alarms, which failed to operate in home fires nationwide, had missing, disconnected or dead batteries.

JUDGE CANDIDATES DISCUSS FUNDING
DOVER - Tuscarawas County voters will decide the fate of the Juvenile/Probate Court next week. Incumbent Judge Linda Kate has held the position since 1996, while her opponent Bob Preston, is an area attorney. Both were live in our studios for the WJER Town Meeting Thursday, answering email and call-in questions from listeners. One caller questioned Kate’s efforts to find outside grant funding, but she explained previous options require contributions from the court to sustain programs. Preston says he would be more involved in the community if elected but Kate says ethical rules prohibit some of those activities and she volunteers outside her jurisdiction. 

31st STATE SENATE DISTRICT CANDIDATES SQUARE OFF
DOVER- The two candidates running to represent Tuscarawas County in the Ohio Senate are trying to grab last minute votes from WJER listeners. Democrat John Carlisle of Licking County, who has served as a township trustee for 12 years, says he favors more state funding and oil and gas taxes to be returned to impacted areas. Carlisle says he is against how Ohio is rolling out Common Core education standards. Republican opponent State Rep. Jay Hottinger, who is leaving the State House after eight years due to term limits, says the standards can be tweaked but must stay to keep Ohio competitive. Both are pledging to remain committed to the needs of Tuscarawas County despite the five-county district. Both candidates appeared live in our studios the WJER Town Meeting Thursday.   

COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES DEBATE PORT AUTHORITY
DOVER - Tuscarawas County’s two contestants for commissioner are voicing their differing opinions towards the former port authority. Republican incumbent Kerry Metzger says the organization, now known as the Economic Development and Finance Alliance or ED-FA, helps bring businesses into the area with one director and five commissioner appointed board members. Metzger says the agency is an asset for the county. His opponent, Democrat John Miceli calls the organization a “run away train” and believes the operations conducted by the EDFA should be handled by private enterprises.  Metzger and Miceli were live for our WJER Town Meeting Wednesday. 

TOWN MEETING HIGHLIGHTS STATE REP RACE

DOVER - Tuscarawas and a portion of Holmes County residents will choose next week between a two-term incumbent and former village mayor for the 98th district State Representative seat. Both Republican Al Landis of Dover and Democrat Jeremiah Johnson of Sugarcreek were live for our WJER Town Meeting Tuesday. One caller questioned Landis about local funding cuts. Landis says municipalities have recently experienced a 5-8% loss but he says the reduction stems from the high unemployment rates four years ago as the tax base also shrunk. Meanwhile, Johnson says educational needs vary across Ohio’s districts. He says teachers’ input should be considered before the state makes another move with the Common Core standards. 

MAYOR EXPLAINS FOUR ISSUES DURING TOWN MEETING
UHRICHSVILLE – The city’s mayor says he’s counting on voters to pull the city through the next few years financially. Mayor Terry Culbertson says the ¼% income tax increase up for vote next week would bring in nearly $200,000 a year and would support capitol improvements and the general fund. Culbertson says gas and electric aggregation issues are on the ballot as well. If passed, residents would have to opt out of the two individual programs. Culbertson says aggregations would also help limit costs for the city owned properties. Voters will also be asked to approve a .5 mill park levy renewal to maintain the public parks and ball fields. Culbertson was a guest on the WJER Town Meeting Monday. 

LAWSUIT COULD CONTINUE AGAINST FORMER HOSPITAL BOARD
CLEVELAND- Attorneys leading a $15-million lawsuit against the former board members of Twin City Hospital are considering their next legal move. The suit filed in 2012 claims the 12 board members were reckless and their approval of the hospital’s expansion in 2007 contributed to its bankruptcy in 2010.  However the Fifth District Court of Appeals by a two-to-one decision has agreed with lower courts that the board members are immune to the lawsuit. Bankruptcy trustee attorney Jon Yarger says he will soon decide whether to ask the Ohio Supreme Court to consider taking the appeal and rule whether the case should be decided by a full jury trial. Attorney Dave Dingwell, who represents the former board members, says he is pleased all the courts so far have dismissed the reckless claims against his clients. 

FORMER GHS BAND DIRECTOR SENTENCED 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A former Garaway High School band director has been sentenced for having a relationship with a student. 28-year-old Ryan McPeeks of New Philadelphia was ordered to spend four years in prison and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery for the encounter that happened when the girl was 18 but still a student at the school. Judge Elizabeth Thomakos told McPeeks there is no excuse for his actions. Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer says McPeeks is also accused of relationships with other former students within months of graduation and an attempted relationship with current student through social media but Defense Attorney Derek Lowry says other activities should have no bearing on the sentence. Styer says he will recommend McPeeks become eligible for judicial release and sex offender treatment after nine months in prison, but Thomakos says she is making no promises.

DOWNTOWN STORE ROBBED AT GUNPOINT 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police say they are pursuing leads to an armed robbery Tuesday night. Detective Captain Shawn Nelson says the man showed the clerks at Marty’s Coaches Corner on East High Avenue a 45-caliber semi automatic handgun about 10 PM and demanded money. Nelson says he can only guess on the motive for the hold up but Nelson says investigators are using surveillance video and other sources to track down the suspect. The suspect got away on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash from the register and the safe. He is described as a 6-foot tall black man who was wearing a red bandana over his face and hoodie.

MAN INDICTED FOR BURGLARY SCHEME 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A New Philadelphia man held in the Tuscarawas County Jail accused of several break-ins now faces additional charges. 23-year-old Justin Litman has been indicted as a suspect in the burglary at Big Money Pawn Shop in August. The suspect made false calls to police to send both Dover and New Philadelphia officers in opposite directions from the Bowers Avenue shop. Litman was arrested when police say they found several stolen items in his home from the pawn shop, as well as items missing from vehicles around his south side neighborhood.

ELMORE FACES FELONIOUS ASSAULT CHARGES 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A domestic dispute between two brothers has escalated into an indictment from the Tuscarawas County Grand Jury. 21-year-old Devin Elmore, of Gnadenhutten and formerly of Uhrichsville, faces two counts of felonious assault. He is accused of stabbing his younger brother in the chest. Police found the South Wallace Street victim in an alley July 30th when he identified his assailant at the time. Elmore was arrested three weeks later when he found at a Sherrodsville home. He remains free on bond pending his arraignment in December.

PATIENTS SEEK BLOOD BATTLE WIN 
DOVER - Union Hospital patients will benefit from an annual tradition in the valley during week ten of the high school football season. The 17th annual Dover- New Philadelphia Blood Battle is Wednesday at the Tuscarawas County YMCA in Dover. UH spokesman Carey Gardner says residents from all over Tuscarawas County pitch in to help, regardless of which school they root for on Friday nights. Gardner says New Philadelphia came out on top last year in the Blood Battle with 32 units donated compared to Dover’s 30. He says the winner this year will again be announced during the big game. Gardner says fans unable to make it to the Y Wednesday can stop by the hospital’s donor room this week. 

COUNCIL TO CONSIDER SUPPORTING SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE
NEW PHILADELPHIA – A council committee wants to learn more about the federal government’s possible vision to consolidate Social Security offices. Union representative Lee Montgomery recently sent the city’s mayor a letter asking council to pass a resolution of support in retaining a local office and the employees there. Chair Cheryl Ramos says she wants Montgomery to come to her next committee meeting to explain why council should pass the resolution of support and why the request is coming. Ramos says her committee will also research proposed bills in the US House and Senate that could be targeting rural Social Security offices as part of budget cutting moves.

COUNCIL WELCOMES MENARDS PLANS
NEW PHILADELPHIA  - Council members have begun discussing the plans to have a Menards home improvement store take over the site of the former K-Mart building.  Public Works Committee chair Darrin Lautenschleger says the mayor’s administration and company officials will have to settle on a tax abatement amount before the company is then able to apply for a Community Reinvestment Area tax exemption through the state.  But Lautenschleger says he feels the request by Menards of a 50% abatement for 10 years is fair, since the project could total nearly $20 million. Lautenschleger says he is also hearing all positive comments from council members and the public about Menards’ request. Lautenschleger says he believes the agreement could be in legislative form by the next council meeting in two weeks.  

MORE PATIENCE ASKED OF WEST HIGH DETOUR DRIVERS
NEW PHILADELPHIA – City officials say the detours around the West High Ave construction are still creating some issues. Mayor Dave Johnson says a sign has been put up on West High telling drivers that businesses near where the road is closed between the railroad tracks and the five-points intersection remain open. However business has still been down for of those nearby restaurants and companies. Service director Jim Zucal says some drivers taking the detour into town along Front Ave have missed or ignored the three no left turns signs posted at 7th St SW, as police have issued more than 100 citations in that area.  Zucal says the West High is on schedule to be 90-percent complete and open to traffic by November 15th, while the final coat of asphalt will be applied in the spring.

CITY RESEARCHES DAM REMOVAL 
UHRICHSVILLE - Leaders say grant money could fund the removal of a useless area dam. Law Director Brett Hillyer is looking into the idea of taking the structure out of the Big Stillwater Creek near Newport and Trenton Avenues on the city’s west side. Council President Mark Haney says the dam was useful when it was first put in in the 1940s but has not been used for a number of years. Haney says the dam is a liability for the city as children tend to play near the water and adults fish in that area but he says the project would have to be grant funded. Haney says the open water could also entice more outdoor enthusiasts to use the waterway for canoeing and kayaking.

PRINCIPALS WAGER ON THE BIG GAME
NEW PHILADELPHIA – The high school principals in Dover and New Philadelphia says lunch is on the line for the 111th meeting of their rival football teams this week. New Phila’s Eric Jurkovic says the friendly wager also means the loser provides T-shirts. Dover Principal Teresa Alberts says the public is also invited to contribute toward the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge the two principals took part in at the rival soccer match earlier this fall. Students and staff are also dressing up for different theme days all week. The Rotary Sportsmanship Banquet is tonight at Buckeye Career Center and the spaghetti dinners/community pep rallies are set for Thursday in both towns. Hear the game from Quaker Stadium on 1450 Friday.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT LASTS ALL WEEK
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY – Little ghosts and goblins will be out trick-or-treating all week as communities set beggar’s night on different days. Tuscarawas County Safe Kids Coalition is reminding families and drivers to watch for the events that start in Dover and New Philadelphia Tuesday night and run through Saturday afternoon. A complete schedule can be found at www.wjer.com. Health Educator Megan Campbell says kids should wear something reflective and parents should check candy for choking hazards and food allergies.


STATE NEWS: 

ODH STRENGTHENS PROTOCOLS 
COLUMBUS (AP) New Ohio protocols say travelers returning from West African countries that have Ebola outbreaks are to be quarantined at home for three weeks if they've been exposed to anyone potentially infected with the virus. The Ohio Department of Health says the protocols go beyond federal recommendations but are still respectful to travelers.

MINORITY VOTERS TARGETED
COLUMBUS (AP) The Ohio Democratic Party and advocates for the homeless are claiming that restrictions imposed by two state laws governing absentee and provisional ballots intentionally disenfranchise minority voters. They are raising the concerns in a proposed supplemental complaint to a 2006 case dealing with provisional ballots.

FOWLE ATTEMPTED TO SPREAD GOSPEL 
LEBANON (AP) An Ohio man back home after being detained in North Korea for nearly six months says he left a Bible in a nightclub hoping it would get into the hands of the underground Christian church. Jeffrey Fowle says it was his attempt to "spread the Gospel." He was detained after North Korean officials found the Bible.

 

NATIONAL NEWS: 

SPACE ROCKET EXPLOSION KILLS ONE
MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) Virgin Galactic isn't offering any details of what happened today over California's Mojave Desert, where its space tourism rocket "SpaceShip Two" exploded after taking off on a test flight. Officials say one crew member was killed and another was seriously hurt. The debris is scattered in the desert.

RESIDENTS RELIEVED FOLLOWING FREIN’S ARREST
MILFORD, Pa. (AP) Residents of northeastern Pennsylvania are relieved that Eric Frein in custody, after a seven-week manhunt for the survivalist accused of a shooting ambush that left one state trooper dead and another wounded. And as state police paraded the former fugitive in front of a courthouse today, people who turned out to see him said they are glad they can now move on with their lives. And plans for trick-or-treating in Barrett Township are back on.

JURY CONVICTS BAND MEMBER
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) A jury has convicted a former Florida A&M University band member of manslaughter and felony hazing in the death of a drum major who prosecutors say was brutally beaten during a hazing ritual aboard a bus. After a short deliberation, the jury convicted Dante Martin in the death of Robert Champion. The charge carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors said Martin was the ringleader of the hazing.

 

SPORTS:
MLB: The Cleveland Indians have exercised their $3.5 million option for next season on utilityman Mike Aviles. He hit .247 with 16 doubles and five home runs in 113 games. A versatile player, Aviles played six positions, including 28 at third base and second.

WEATHER:
TONIGHT: Mix of rain and snow possible, Lo 35
SATURDAY: 50% chance of showers, Hi 43
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, Hi 45


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