ROBBERY SUSPECT ARRESTED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police say the suspect in Monday night’s armed robbery at a convenience store actually attempted to rob another gas station just moments before. Detective Captain Shawn Nelson says 25-year old Kevin Materna of New Phila is being held in the city jail awaiting felony charges for the incidents. Nelson says Materna first stopped at the Shell gas station on South Broadway but was unsuccessful. Nelson says Materna allegedly then went to the Speedway at West High Avenue and 3rd Street at around 11:30PM and threatened the clerk with a knife before leaving with $100. Nelson says a police canine tracked Materna to a house on Front Avenue but was unable to locate him Monday night. Nelson says Materna was then arrested following a Facebook post that gave away his location. No one was injured at either gas station.
STRASBURG WOMAN AWAKENS TO HOUSE FIRE
STRASBURG - Firefighters say a village woman got out safely after waking up to her house on fire Tuesday. Chief Dan Varner says the fire was first reported at the Brandon Curley home on North Wooster Avenue at 11:53 am. Varner says two people passing by who noticed the smoke started pounding on the door and woke up a woman who was the only person home at the time. Varner says firefighters from Dover and Bolivar assisted, and it took nearly two hours to have the fire out. Varner says the cause is listed as undetermined and the State Fire Marshal’s Office will send an investigator to the scene Wednesday, though nothing appears suspicious. Varner says he believes the home could have suffered about $50-thousand in damage, though no official estimate has been set and the home is not considered a total loss.
TASK FORCE FORMED TO ADDRESS DHS PLANS
DOVER - Dover school officials say a new focus group will make another attempt to define how high school building repairs will be addressed. Superintendent Bob Hamm says an invitation-only task force will again explore options after two bond issues, including a new building on site and off site, failed at the ballot box. Hamm says the idea is to bring in a fresh perspective. Hamm says the task force will try to determine how much voters want to spend to fix the aging building. Hamm says the task force will use a variety of outlets, including monthly meetings, coffee chats and social media, to gather as much information as possible to present to the school board by June.
SHOOTING RANGE IN CITY SIGHTS
DOVER - The city of Dover could be getting an indoor shooting range to open on the north end of town. Safety director Tim Tarulli says Pete Lengyel of Strasburg has approached the city about constructing a half-million dollar new shooting range in an area that’s mostly industrial off N. Wooster Ave. near Crown Rd.. Tarulli says the council safety and zoning committees will determine if the business should get an exception to the law that bans the discharge of guns in the city.
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY SECOND IN NATIONAL BUSINESS RANKING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County has earned its place on the economic development map. A new Site Selection Magazine ranking lists Tuscarawas County as number two in the nation for job creation and business investment among micropolitan communities. County CIC Director Gary Little says the designation alone will boost local efforts to attract new business. About 100 people, including state and local government officials were in attendance as the ranking was unveiled Monday morning at the Tolloty incubator in New Philadelphia, showing Tuscarawas County businesses generated 775 jobs and spent $27-million on growth in 2014. We are second only to Findlay, Ohio out of the more than 500 small sized communities ranked nationwide.
BACON GREASE SPARKS FIRE AT LUCILLE’S
DENNISON - Firefighters say a grease fire hampered service at Lucille’s Restaurant Sunday. Chief Dave McConnell says the diner like establishment inside the Dennison Depot was closed all day Sunday after a small fire ignited in the grill’s grease catcher at around 7:30AM. McConnell says the lone cook in the building was grilling bacon at the time and was unharmed. McConnell says his department only responds to a few commercial grease fires each year but he says the employee did the right thing by calling for help immediately. Lucille’s is closed on Mondays but McConnell says he’s unsure when the restaurant will reopen as cleaning could take a couple days. He says an exact damage estimate is unavailable.
COUNCIL PASSES CRA
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City leaders are halfway to offering a new tax incentive for businesses expanding and building here. Council approved the entire city, with the exception of residential areas, as a community reinvestment area. Council member Darrin Lautenschleger says the CRA allows for property tax abatement and provides income tax collections to be shared with school districts. He says state approval is the final step and he anticipates the Menards home improvement store planned for the former KMart building will be the first to apply.
NEW PHILA REFLECTS ON SERVICE PROJECTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - New Philadelphia’s service director says he’s looking back fondly on 2014 as he prepares for 2015’s list of projects. Jim Zucal says his street and service employees completed the Union Avenue storm sewer project and also replaced a number of old waterlines but he says the West High widening project tops the list of accomplishments. Zucal says he imagines the Community Development Block Grant project will take the cake this year as the city and county work together to put a bus lane in at West Elementary. Zucal says the city in 2014 also replaced flooring in the municipal court building and met the requirements to be named a Tree City USA for the 27th year.
ROSENBERRY FOUNDATION GRANTS AWARDED
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY – Seven area organizations are benefiting from the latest round of Rosenberry Foundation grants. Tuscarawas Central Catholic Elementary School will receive $35,000 that Principal Matt Ritzert says will be used to install energy efficient windows in the primary wing of the Dover school. Garaway Schools are receiving nearly $25,000 to resurface the athletic track; Newcomerstown schools will buy new band uniforms and instruments with $5,000; Strasburg Fire Chief Dan Varner says his department will use $15,000 for an automatic chest compression system to assist with CPR; and Horizons will purchase a van with match money.
CCC TO DISCUSS WARN
CARROLLTON- An environmental awareness group in Carroll County hopes to increase the amount of watchdogs keeping an eye on the oil and gas industry. Carroll Concerned Citizens chair Paul Feezel says the group’s meeting Thursday features Elissa Yoder, who will explain the need for public participation in the Water Alert Reporting Network or WARN. Feezel say the initiative aims to limit water misuse by the drilling companies and water haulers. Feezel says citizens are able to help police the environment when state agencies are unable to constantly monitor Ohio’s 200,000 miles of rivers and streams. Feezel says warn activists learn how to document and report pollution and water incidents and how to get the issues addressed quickly.