UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (Oct. 23, 2020) –The city is down a police cruiser temporarily after an unlicensed driver crashed into one last week, pushing it into another vehicle. Mayor Mark Haney was talking about the incident during Thursday’s city council meeting. He says there were no injuries, but the crash caused about $8,000 in damage to the cruiser. Haney says the driver was cited for driving without a license and violating the state’s move over law requiring motorists to get over a lane when they see a vehicle pulled over with its lights flashing or slow down whenever getting over isn’t possible. The fine for breaking the law is $300 for first-time offenders, increasing to $500 if the driver is cited a second time within year and $1,000 for three or more citations over the same time period.

CAMBRIDGE (WJER) (Oct. 23, 2020) - Investigators still have more questions than answers as they look into the death of a Uhrichsville woman whose body was found alongside U.S. 250 near Tappan Lake Wednesday morning. The state highway patrol has identified the woman as 32-year-old Erica McClain. Sgt. Jeff Bernard with the Steubenville Post earlier in the week said a motorist reported seeing a body in the road just after 7:30 am near the Lower Clearfork Road intersection. Trooper Brice Nihiser says investigators are still determining if her death was accidental or intentional. He says anyone with information should call the Cambridge Post at 740-439-1388. 

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 23, 2020) - The city has about $65,000 in CARES Act money left to grant to small businesses. Council this week approved $5,000 grants for seven Dover businesses, including WJER. City Auditor Nicole Stoldt says city officials started with $100,000 they intended to give away to help local businesses with costs associated with the pandemic. Meanwhile, the city has already distributed all but $11,000 it set aside for social services after awarding a pair of grants this week to the Tuscarawas County Senior Center and Clinic for the Working Uninsured. Grant applications are available on the city’s website.

COLUMBUS (WJER) (Oct. 22, 2020) - Tuscarawas County has moved to second-highest threat level on the state’s color-coded COVID-19 advisory system. Governor Mike DeWine made the announcement Thursday, saying the county and 37 others are now at the red threat level, up from 29 last week. DeWine says the Tuscarawas County’s incidence rate is 217 cases per 100,000 residents, more than double the state average, and has seen sustained increases in new cases, hospitalizations and outpatient admissions. Area public health officials say the red designation indicates a very high risk of exposure and increased spread within the community and that residents should continue to follow current health orders and limit their activities as much as possible. The county was reporting a record 220 active cases Thursday and 25 hospitalizations. Twenty-five residents have died from COVID-19 complications, and county health department officials are waiting for the death certificates to be finalized for five others. 

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 22, 2020) - The county’s move to the red threat level in the state's COVID-19 advisory system is changing learning plans in the Dover school district. Students in Grades 4-8 will be joining the high schoolers on a modified schedule through at least the end of the month, learning in the classroom two days a week and remotely the other three. Other districts including Tusky Valley, Claymont, New Phila revised their restart plans to allow in-person learning to continue at the red level, depending on the situation in each building. Claymont high schoolers have been learning remotely since last Thursday due to an increase in COVID-19 infections in the building, and the district has cancelled the Mustangs' football game against River View next Friday. Meanwhile, Tuscarawas County Senior Center officials say the centers will no longer be opening Nov. 9th, as announced Wednesday.   

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s Anti-Drug Coalition coordinator is reminding residents about the communitywide drug take-back event happening this weekend. Jodi Salvo says people can bring any unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications to three drive-thru drop-off sites Saturday to have them disposed of safely and confidentially. she says they can’t accept liquid and peroxide-based medications, or syringes, which can be placed into a coffee can or laundry detergent container and deposited in your trash can. she says the goal is to get potentially addictive drugs out of area homes because substance abuse often starts in the medicine cabinet. the collection runs from 10 am to 2 pm and is being held in partnership with the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office, State Highway Patrol and local recycling district. Collections will take place at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, Trinity Twin City and the Mercy Health Center in New Phila.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 22, 2020) - Historic Schoenbrunn Village officials are hoping to make up for having to cancel this year’s Colonial Trade Faire and other events with socially distant Halloween experience. The village is hosting its first-ever drive-thru pumpkin glow with hundreds of decorated pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns crafted by supporters set up in themed displays across the village’s lower level. Dennison Depot Director of Museums Jacob Masters says admission is $5 per carload for this family-friendly event that runs from 6 to 10 pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He says participants can also tune into a specific radio station to enhance the experience with Halloween music. Tickets can be purchased on event nights at the village or in advance at eventbrite.com. 

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 21, 2020) - Local health officials aren’t releasing much information about eight Tuscarawas County residents they say tested positive for COVID-19 and died recently. Tuscarawas County Health Department Spokesperson Jennifer Demuth said Wednesday afternoon they were waiting for death certificates to be finalized before including these eight cases among the county’s COVID-19-related death total. She says the county has not seen this many COVID-19-related deaths in such a short period of time. Without these eight cases, the county has reported 22 COVID-19-related deaths. The health department was reporting 195 active cases Wednesday and 22 hospitalizations. Of the county’s 1,271 cases to date, 1,053 have resulted in recoveries.

WARREN TWP (WJER) (Oct. 21, 2020) - The state fire marshal’s office is still working to determine what caused Monday afternoon blaze that claimed the life of 52-year-old Scott Levengood. Public Information Officer Brian Bohnert says it appears the fire started in the kitchen of Levengood’s home in the 4700-block of state Route 212 northeast, but he says they won’t know much else until the autopsy is complete. Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s detectives are assisting with the investigation to determine whether the death was a homicide or the result of foul play. Lt. Jeff Moore says there’s no indication at this point that the fire was anything other than an accident. He says it appears Levengood was asleep in his bed and didn’t wake up when the fire broke out just before 1 pm.

STEUBENVILLE (WJER) (Oct. 21, 2020) - Steubenville Highway Patrol Post officials say they believe they’ve identified the woman whose remains were located along U.S. 250 Wednesday morning and are now in the process of notifying her family. Sgt. Jeff Bernard says troopers and Harrison County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene shortly after 7:30 am to find the woman deceased with visible injuries. He says a passerby called 911 after spotting someone laying in the roadway near the Lower Clearfork Road intersection believing the person may have been struck by a vehicle. Bernard says an autopsy being conducted by the Harrison County Coroner’s Office and evidence gathered at the scene will help them figure out what happened. He says they don’t know at this point how the woman got there and whether her death was accidental or intentional. 

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 20, 2020) - Area students are wearing their commitment to creating a drug-free movement in their schools this week. This is National Red Ribbon Week, the largest drug-abuse prevention campaign in the U.S., starting in the mid-80s as a tribute to a fallen DEA special agent. Ohio Guidestone Youth Prevention Specialist Jessica Sexton says they have students in the Youth-2-Youth Program bringing awareness and explaining the impact of the usage in their areas and high schools, especially now during the pandemic. Sexton says the schools are participating on their own with announcements and social media activity this week. Tuscarawas County Commissioner Al Landis says they also once again proclaimed this Red Ribbon Week in the county with the courthouse scheduled to be lit up in red on Saturday. Sexton says students from six schools are also going to decorate a door at Landis’ home as part of a national competition.  

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 20, 2020) - Tuscarawas County health officials are reporting another COVID-19 related death and a climb in hospitalizations. The county’s 22nd reported death was a 59-year old man. Hospitalizations have also gone from 12 on Monday to 18 Tuesday, but as county health department spokeswoman Jennifer Demuth was explaining, some could involve facilities outside the county. She says when they report on the number of Tuscarawas County residents who are hospitalized, they aren’t necessarily all in Tuscarawas County hospitals. The county did go down though from 202 active cases Monday to now 192.  

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 20, 2020) - Tuscarawas County Senior Center officials say they’re excited to start welcoming members back into their buildings, even if it’s on a limited basis. Executive Director Jamie Smith says a grant from the Ohio Department of Aging will help offset the costs associated with testing staff members bi-weekly for COVID-19, which the state requires for senior centers to reopen. Smith says they hope to reopen the Dover building for indoor dining Nov. 9th with appointments required for fitness classes and occupancy limited to 50-percent capacity. She says the Claymont, Garaway, Mineral City and Westchester satellites would reopen for weekday lunches the same day, with curbside meal pickup remaining available at all six senior center locations. Smith says they’re hoping to resume small group activities like card games and bingo around May of next year or once we make it through flu season.

SHERRODSVILLE (WJER) (Oct. 20, 2020) – The village’s fire chief is providing a few more details about the Monday afternoon blaze the claimed the life of 52-year-old  Scott Levengood. Bill Booth says the State Fire Marshal is still looking into what caused the fire that was reported by a passerby around 1 pm, but it appears to have originated in the kitchen area of the home in the 4700 block of state Route 212 in Warren Township. He says firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming out of the eaves of the structure and entered through a set of sliding glass doors. Booth says he’s not sure if Levengood died before or after firefighters removed him from the home. The primary cause of death is pending and an autopsy is being performed. 

DOVER – (WJER) (October 19, 2020) – Local health officials are reporting the most active COVID-19 infections in Tuscarawas County since the pandemic began. The Tuscarawas County Health Department says there are 201 active cases in the county. Health department officials reported six more Tuscarawas County residents were hospitalized over the weekend, bringing the total to 12 COVID-19 hospitalizations. They say the message is the same – social distance, wear masks, and stay home when sick. The health department says of 1,197 total cases here, 975 people have recovered and 21 have died. The department has reported 51 new cases since Friday.

COLUMBUS (WJER) (Oct. 19, 2020) - Ohio Department of Transportation officials were using a national day of awareness to remind drivers to move over a lane for any vehicle with flashing lights parked on the side of the road and slow down if that isn’t possible. Monday was National Move Over Awareness Day, and ODOT Press Secretary Matt Bruning says getting over isn’t just the law in Ohio - it’s also the right thing to do. Bruning says ODOT was using its 130-plus digital billboards to remind drivers about the law and why getting over for law enforcement, road workers, and disabled vehicles is so important. He says it’s a message they promote year-round on social media with their ‘Move Over Mondays’ campaign. ODOT has logged more than 35-hundred work zone-related crashes so far this year resulting in 17 fatalities and 951 injuries, and another 500 crashes involving law enforcement, tow truck drivers and construction and utility workers.

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 19, 2020) - The dover school district is receiving funding to help kids build self-awareness and coping skills to deal with the mental health challenges of these trying times. The district has accepted a grant for more than $33,000 from the local ADAMHS Board.  High School Counselor Michelle Grimm says this will be used on social and emotional learning curriculum for all grades across the district, following the new standards in the state adopted by the department of education a year ago. Grimm says the funding will also be used to implement “Hope Squad” suicide prevention groups at the middle and high school, involving students who can identity problems early and help peers through tough situations. The district will also be bringing in ESPN Columnist Kate Fagan later in the month to speak about her book “What Made Maddy Run,” the story of a young athlete whose struggles ended in suicide.   

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 19, 2020) - A Tuscarawas County court official is earning a statewide commendation for the efficient and innovative way jury services are handled here. The Ohio Jury Management Association is giving its 2020 Award of Excellence to Court Administrator Elizabeth Stephenson. An announcement on the award says Stephenson has had a significantly positive effect on jury service in the county, but she says everything’s been a team approach. Stephenson says she’s been involved with the association in different ways, having previously served as a presenter at its conferences, and developing a guide for conducting trials during the pandemic, which was shared on the association’s website. She believes they looked at her contributions over time when choosing her. Stephenson will be presented with the award during the association’s 2021 conference in April.  

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 19, 2020) - Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation officials are letting small businesses owners and nonprofit leaders know about a new grant opportunity being made available by the county. Applications are now available on the Tusc EDC’s website for the Tuscarawas County CARES Grant Program. Businesses Development Director Jason Ricker says it reimburses applicants for up to $10,000 in expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying restrictions not already covered by another grant or loan program. He says that could include things like mortgage and utility payments, training costs for furloughed employees, and money spent on COVID-19 testing, cleaning supplies and PPE. You can find the grant application and eligibility information at tuscedc.com/restarttusc. The deadline to apply is at 5 pm Oct. 30th with funding expected to be awarded in mid-November.

DENNISON (WJER) (Oct. 19, 2020) - Council will be seeking additional bids for the fire department’s new storage building after making some design changes to bring down the cost of the project. Mayor Greg DiDonato says they expected to spend between $185,000 and $200,000 to have a four-bay garage put up behind the fire station, but the bids that came in ranged from $249,000 to $340,000. Council rejected the first round of bids Thursday. DiDonato says they’re going to replace the masonry firewall with one made out of drywall, rework some of the plumbing and try again.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 19, 2020) - Members of the local coalition working to educate residents about human trafficking are letting us know the signs to watch out for and more with a new podcast series. Tusc Against Trafficking board member Molly McMath says this 10-part series aims to shine a light on how human trafficking happens and what it looks like in our community. McMath says they premiered the first episode, “Human Trafficking 101,” on the Tusc Against Trafficking website and Facebook page Oct. 6, with additional episodes posted at 6 pm every Tuesday and Thursday. Other topics in the series include labor trafficking, trauma, online safety and addiction. McMath says the series concludes with a Q&A session Nov. 5. Viewers can submit questions through the Tusc Against Trafficking website or Facebook page.

BOARDMAN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman has been charged with child endangerment after her child grabbed her gun from her purse and caused it to fire in a Sam's Club. WKBN-TV reports that court records show Amanda Karr was charged Wednesday. Police say that no one was shot but that two people reported leg pain after the shooting. Police say they found bullet fragments and plastic fragments, apparently from a shopping cart. Police say Karr told them that she looked away briefly and that the child retrieved her gun from a concealed compartment, disengaged the safety and pulled the trigger.

CIRCLEVILLE,, Ohio (AP) — President Donald Trump will campaign Saturday in central Ohio while Democratic vice president candidate Sen. Kamala Harris will head to Cleveland as the traditional bellwether state appears to be a toss-up for Nov. 3. Vice President Mike Pence is due to be in Swanton in northwest Ohio on Friday after an appearance in Cincinnati on Wednesday. The battle for Ohio's 18 electoral votes has heated up after polls indicated Democratic nominee Joe Biden was well within range of Trump. Trump in 2016 won by 8 percentage points in the state no Republican has reached the White House without carrying.

MEDINA, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio county prosecutor says an investigation has concluded that signs of a struggle at the office of a township trustee who went missing were staged before his death. The body of Lafayette Township Trustee Bryon Macron was found in a lake in February 2017, about two months after he was reported missing. A county coroner said Macron had six stab wounds, none of which would have proven fatal. Cleveland.com reports Prosecutor Forrest Thompson on Thursday said the cause of Macron's death remains undetermined after an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.  

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say seven people have pleaded guilty in a string of dozens of pharmacy burglaries in Tennessee and Ohio. The U.S. attorney's office said six of the seven defendants will serve between three years and six months to 15 years in prison after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglarize pharmacies. A seventh person is awaiting sentencing. The group broke into more than 90 businesses and pharmacies from February 2017 to December 2018. They wore masks and gloves as they took various drugs from the pharmacies to re-sell. Pharmacies were burglarized in Columbus, Ohio, and the Tennessee cities of Brownsville and Memphis.

UNDATED (AP) — Poland's government has announced all of the country will become a "red zone" of strict anti-COVID-19 restrictions starting Saturday, just short of a lockdown. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki appealed to Poles to strictly observe the restrictions in order to protect lives. The appeal came as the nation of 38 million hit another daily record of new registered infections — over 13,600, with 153 deaths. The measures, which are being expanded from local red zones to the whole nation, include wearing masks at all times outdoors and switching all primary schools to remote learning.

BEIJING (AP) — China is vowing to retaliate if the U.S. proceeds with the sale of advanced weaponry to Taiwan worth more than a billion dollars. The statement from China's defense ministry gave no specifics but the development marks a further deterioration in ties between Beijing and Washington that have hit their lowest ebb in decades. The State Department on Wednesday announced it had greenlighted the sale of 135 precision land attack missiles, associated equipment and training to Taiwan to improve its defense capabilities. China regards Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary. Washington maintains only unofficial relations with Taipei but U.S. law requires it to ensure Taiwan can maintain a credible defense.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and Britain have signed a free trade deal, the first such major post-Brexit agreement. It reduces tariffs on goods like Yorkshire lamb sold in Japan and on auto parts for Japan's Nissan plant. A British trade official and Japan's foreign minister appeared at the signing ceremony in Tokyo. The deal is expected to boost British trade with Japan by 15 billion pounds, or $19.5 billion. For Britain, however, the boost is far less than the drop in trade it will suffer with the rest of the EU due to Brexit. British-made coats and shoes, Stilton cheese and British biscuits will become cheaper in Japan.

MIAMI (AP) — A weakened Hurricane Epsilon is moving northward over the Atlantic Ocean, a day after after skirting well east of Bermuda. Epsilon's top sustained winds fell Thursday to 85 mph, dropping it from a Category 2 to a Category 1 storm. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Epsilon was about 195 miles east of Bermuda on Friday morning. Bermuda weather officials on Thursday evening had discontinued a tropical storm warning for the Atlantic island. Gradual weakening is expected into the weekend, but large ocean swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the coasts of New England and Atlantic Canada in coming days.

UNDATED (AP) — World shares and U.S. futures have advanced after President Donald Trump and his challenger former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in their second and final debate before the Nov. 3 election. Stocks rose Friday in Paris, London and Tokyo but declined in Shanghai. The debate over, investors will again be focused on hopes for another round of aid for the U.S. economy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said progress was being made on talks to deliver more stimulus but it remains unclear if the Democrats and Republicans will manage to set aside their differences to provide help for businesses and millions of people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.


NCAA: Ohio State receiver Chris Olave and quarterback Justin Fields have been itching to get back on the football field since a blown route ended a comeback bid by the Buckeyes in last December's national semifinal. No 5 Ohio State opens the pandemic-delayed Big Ten season Saturday against Nebraska and the atmosphere will be quite different. Cavernous Ohio Stadium will have about 1,600 people inside, mostly family and friends of the players and coaches. The Cornhuskers are struggling to return to relevance as coach Scott Frost begins his third season. Veteran quarterback Adrian Martinez will lead Nebraska.

NFL: Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry isn’t letting a broken rib keep him off the field or stop his consecutive games streak. Landry revealed he suffered the injury in an Oct. 11 win over Indianapolis. The five-time Pro Bowler took a vicious hit from behind after a catch in the first quarter. He crawled to the sideline to get medical attention. Landry returned to the game and he also played last week against Pittsburgh. He hasn't missed a game in six-plus NFL seasons with Miami or Cleveland. The Browns play at Cincinnati on Sunday. 

TODAY: Increasing clouds, a chance of showers, mainly after 4pm, High 80
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy with showers, possibly a storm before midnight, Low 45
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, High 52
SUNDAY: Mostly sunny, High 54