TRUSTEES OPT OUT OF FIRE CONTRACT EXTENSION, SIGN 5-YEAR AGREEMENT WITH DENNISON
MILL TOWNSHIP (WJER) (Dec. 2, 2020) –  The Mill Township trustees are explaining why they decided to move the township’s fire protection contract from Uhrichsville to Dennison next year. Corey Henry says after many months of meetings and discussions, they decided to contract with an entity within the region’s new ambulance district to promote collaboration and resource-sharing. Uhrichsville’s firefighters union's released a statement on its Facebook page last week claiming the decision was not in the best interest of the township's residents and businesses. Henry says the only thing that’s going to change is which department shows up first when a fire call comes in. The Dennison Fire Department will also be adding Union Township to its coverage area after officials there opted into a similar contract with the village. Uhrichsville has held the fire protection contacts for both townships for over 50 years. Both agreements are effective January 1st.

DOG OWNERS ENCOURAGED TO PICK UP 2021 BEFORE FEE DOUBLES
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Dec. 2, 2020) - Tuscarawas County’s auditor is explaining why it’s so important to have your dog properly licensed. Larry Lindberg says not only is it the law in Ohio, but it can help your dog find its way home if it gets lost. Lindberg says residents can purchase a one-year license for $16 through January 31st. But he says if you wait until after the deadline, the price doubles and you could be cited if your dog gets loose in the meantime. Lindberg says you can buy them online through the link on the county’s website and in-person at his office and 18 area businesses. He says those needing to renew an existing license should receive an application in the mail they can fill out and return with their payment. Lindberg says you can also purchase a three-year license for $48 or a lifetime one for $160. 

UHRICHSVILLE TO HONOR TAX-SHARING ARRANGEMENT WITH DENNISON
UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (Dec. 1, 2020) - Council members are accusing the mayor of overstepping his authority in ordering the auditor to stop paying Dennison its 37-percent share of the taxes collected on Claymont High School. Mayor Mark Haney in a November 12th letter informed the village that a Columbus-based law firm had reviewed the more than 20-year-old agreement between the two entities and deemed it invalid. Council President Buck Cottrell says that’s not Haney's call to make as the authority to enter into and modify contracts rests with council. Cotrell has asked the finance committee to review the contract and law firm's findings. He says the agreement stands unless council decides otherwise. Dennison Mayor Greg DiDonato had pledged to take Uhrichsville to court if needed to recover the roughly $20,000 in taxes the city owed the town for this year plus legal fees and interest. 

PERCI GARNER TAPPED AS HEALTH CHARITY’S NEW DIRECTOR
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Dec. 1, 2020) - A familiar name in local sports will head up an area charity that helps get medical services and equipment to those in need.  Former Dover star athlete Perci Garner, who had a stint as a reliever with the Indians, is taking over as director of The Rainbow Connection. He’s replacing Carmel Haueter, who’s retiring after 22 years in that role. Garner says it’s always been a goal to get involved in the community. Haueter says after their last telethon, she started feeling that it was time for someone else to step up and become director. She will be working alongside Garner until her final day on December 31st.   

SUPERINTENDENT EXPECTS SNOW DAYS TO REMAIN AN OPTION
DOVER (WJER) (Dec. 1, 2020) – The Dover School District superintendent is shooting down speculation that students will no longer get snow days in the future since they have adapted to learning from home during the pandemic. Carla Birney says Dover does have an option now when the weather is bad to call a remote learning day, but that will mostly be reserved for when it’s expected to be too snowy or cold for an extended period. But Birney says she personally thinks students still deserve some snow days as a time to relax and just be kids. Dover and a few others were getting their first snow day today, including New Philadelphia, Strasburg and the Tuscarawas Central Catholic schools. Several area districts were already on remote learning schedules because of the coronavirus.

CHARGES UNLIKELY IN SWAT TEAM RESPONSE INCIDENT
NEW PHILADELPHIA
(WJER) (Dec. 1, 2020) – New Philadelphia’s police chief says it’s unlikely a city man will face charges for an incident early Monday that resulted in the SWAT forcing its way into his Oak Street Residence.  Mike Goodwin says it started around 12:30 a.m. when the man’s 11-year-old son called the station saying the two of them believed someone was outside and had taken refuge in the basement. But as the call went on, they started suspecting the man was experiencing a mental health issue. Goodwin says there was no answer when officers knocked on the door, so they forced their way in. He says both were ok, but the man was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. Goodwin says they probably won’t seek charges unless something else comes to light during the investigation, although a report has been sent to the county’s Department of Job and Family Services.  The son is currently staying with relatives.

MODIFIED TOY DRIVE WEDNESDAY TO BENEFIT SHARE-A-CHRISTMAS FAMILIES
DOVER (WJER) (Nov. 30, 2020) – T4C is reminding everyone about what they will and won’t be taking ahead of the WJER Indian Valley Toy Drive Wednesday. Director Louise Worsham says they’re only accepting new toys this year, nothing used. They’re not taking bikes, and the only books being accepted are new coloring books along with new crayons. Worsham says Indian Valley FFA students will be in the WJER parking lot collecting those items from 7 am to 7 pm Wednesday. She says if donating, keep in mind Share-A-Christmas has more kids in the 6 to 9-year-old age range in the program this year.  She says they’re also usually short on gifts for kids in the 10 to 12 age group since they’re sometimes harder to buy for. along with cash donations for shopping vouchers for participating families. Worsham says they are also again accepting cash donations for shopping vouchers for participating 

PEDESTRIAN HOSPITALIZED AFTER CRASH IN DOVER
DOVER (WJER) (Nov. 30, 2020) – Police are investigating a crash that injured a city woman walking to work Monday morning. Patrolman Josh Roach says the 18-year-old was crossing at the intersection of North Wooster and Slingluff just before 7 am when she was struck in the crosswalk by an oncoming vehicle. Roach says firefighters treated her at the scene and then transported her to a hospital in Canton. He was still waiting for an update on her condition Monday afternoon but says the injuries she sustained didn’t appear to be life-threatening. Roach says once they’ve finished reviewing the witness statements and had a chance to interview the victim, they will decide whether to seek charges against the driver, who he describes as shaken but cooperative. He says with the time of day and rainy conditions, it’s possible the driver didn’t see the woman crossing. 


STATE WILDLIFE OFFICER SHARES HUNTING SAFETY REMINDERS
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY
(WJER) (Nov. 30, 2020) – The county's wildlife officer is encouraging hunters to keep safety in mind if they're planning to take advantage of deer gun season this week. Mike Budd says preparation is key to a safe and successful hunt, and that includes making sure you have a valid license and permit, wearing 'hunter orange' and inspecting equipment before you head out into the woods. Budd also suggests reviewing the safety tips listed at wildohio.gov. He says a lot of it is common sense, but it's easy to forget things in the heat of the moment. Budd says hunters should also be mindful of the county's three-deer limit and the Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Areas in Wayne and Sugarcreek townships. He says any deer killed in those areas must be checked in at either Sugarcreek Village Hall or the Walnut Creek Township Garage.

HIGHWAY PATROL POST GETS NEW COMMANDER 
NEW PHILADELPHIA
(WJER) (Nov. 30, 2020) - The new commander of the New Philadelphia post of the State Highway Patrol is focused on reducing traffic fatalities in the county. Lt. Laura Taylor took over earlier this month from Lt. Mark Glennon, who retired in April. She says she’s also looking forward to working with the Safe Communities Coalition of Tuscarawas County. Taylor is from Canton and has 28 years of experience in law enforcement. She started as a dispatcher in Massillon and most recently worked in the State Highway Patrol Internal Affairs office in Columbus.


SUPERINTENDENT EXPLAINS CONTACT TRACING, CASE REPORTING DELAYS

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Nov. 24, 2020) - City school officials are addressing rumors the district is under-reporting its COVID-19 case numbers. Superintendent David Brand says if you hear of a positive case not listed on the district’s website, it’s usually because they’re waiting on confirmation from a physician or the local health department. He says suspected positive cases don’t come to school while test results are pending, but they don’t begin contact tracing until the results come back to make sure they’re quarantining the appropriate number of students. He says the turnaround time can vary from 24 hours to two days or more based on testing levels. The district on Monday was reporting seven active student cases and no infections staff members. Brand says they’re prepared to move to a fully remote or hybrid learning model if needed, but he says the cases they’ve been seeing so far have been the result of out-of-school activities and not virus spread within the buildings.

 

COUNTY REPORTS YOUNGEST VIRUS-RELATED CASUALTY

DOVER (WJER) (Nov. 24, 2020) - Area public health officials have announced six more COVID-19 related deaths bringing the total number of casualties attributed to the virus during this pandemic up to 63. The Tuscarawas County and New Philadelphia City health departments issued a joint statement Tuesday afternoon saying the individuals who died included two women in their sixties and one in her 80s and two men in their 90s. The sixth was a 36-year-old man. County Health Department Spokesman Jennifer Demuth says it’s a stark reminder that a person’s age or health status doesn’t make them immune from the dangers of this virus. The county was reporting 1,387 active infections today representing around 1.5 percent of the county’s estimated 92-thousand residents. 

 

NEWCOMERSTOWN OFFICIALS CONSIDERING SAFETY GRANT REQUEST

NEWCOMERSTOWN (WJER) (Nov. 24, 2020) - The village will be among the municipalities seeking a $400,000 transportation grant aimed at keeping kids safe on their way to and from school. OMEGA Transportation Planner Megan Carmel is preparing the village's application for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. She says a survey of the available routes to school revealed a need for sidewalks on Bridge Street from State to the railroad tracks and along Miskimen Drive between the middle and high schools. Carmel is suggesting the village seek funding for those projects and to add pedestrian signal at the intersection of State and River streets. She says if the village’s application is approved, the grant that would cover the entire cost of all three projects with no local match. Council members will review the proposal and vote on whether to proceed during their December 7th meeting. 

UNITED WAY’S 2-1-1 NOW PROVIDING COVID-19 ANSWERS
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Nov. 24, 2020) - The United Way of Tuscarawas County is using its information hotline to take some of the pressure off our local health departments. President Robin Waltz says residents can now call 2-1-1 for answers to common COVID-19-related questions, or text their zip code to 898-211 weekdays from 9-5 to connect with an operator virtually. Waltz says it’s for general inquiries only and not questions regarding a specific case or quarantine situation. She says those types of questions should instead be directed to your physician or the health department in your jurisdiction. Waltz says if your employment or financial situation has been impacted by the virus pandemic, their 2-1-1 operators can also link you up with local programs and resources to help you get back on your feet.

DEPOT CANCELS POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDES, OFFERS REFUNDS 
DENNISON (WJER) (Nov. 23, 2020) - A popular Christmas-time attraction out of the Twin Cities is the latest casualty of the pandemic. Dennison Depot Railroad Museum Director Wendy Zucal says the board of trustees has voted unanimously to cancel next month’s Polar Express train rides after consulting with health officials and many others. She says even with their vigorous cleaning and safety strategy, a big concern was attracting so many people from the Columbus and Western Pennsylvania areas, where cases are surging. She says ticket holders can accept full refund with the option of donating part or all of the money they get back to the museum or have their tickets roll over to next year. This is the first time the polar express trips have been cancelled in their 21 years of operating in Dennison.  

STATE NEWS:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A leading business group is asking employees to model best practices for reducing the spread of the coronavirus. The Ohio Business Roundtable is a nonprofit organization of large Ohio companies' chief executive officers. The group on Tuesday announced the Coalition to Stop the Spread with a goal of publicizing the risk to Ohio's economy if things get worse. The announcement comes as Ohio's economy continues to show signs of weakness. Last week, the state said 30,177 Ohioans filed initial claims for unemployment compensation, a 21% jump from the week before. Both COVID-19 hospitalizations and case numbers continue to spike.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Legislation filed Tuesday would delay the collection of nuclear subsidies under the law at the center of a $60 million federal bribery probe as Ohio Republican lawmakers struggled to find common ground on a repeal effort. Republican Rep. Jim Hoops introduced a bill to halt the collection of at least $170 million in nuclear and solar subsidies for one year. The $1 billion nuclear bailout will add a fee to every electricity bill in the state starting Jan. 1. The eleventh-hour bill comes after months of Republican infighting on what action to take on the nuclear bailout legislation that led to the downfall of their former speaker. 

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — One of the leading companies in autonomous vehicle technology plans to open a new testing site in Ohio. The new site being built at the Transportation Research Center near Columbus will allow the company to work on motion control testing and heavy-duty truck testing. The company says the research center also will be used to run trials in varying weather conditions. Waymo's main testing facility is near Merced, California, but this will be its first permanent location at a third-party test site. It plans to open the new center in Ohio sometime in the middle of next year.  

CLEVELAND (AP) — A wintry storm has blanketed Ohio with snow, leaving tens of thousands of people in the northeast part of the state without power. The brunt of the gusty storm blew in early Tuesday morning with snowfall totals of 6 inches or more in and around Cleveland. Areas around Toledo and Columbus each received several inches. Numerous accidents on icy streets and interstates have been reported. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from Sandusky in north central Ohio east to Ashtabula county in the Ohio's far northeastern corner through Wednesday morning. 

NATIONAL NEWS:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell says he's sticking with his scaled-back COVID-19 relief bill with the goal of passing a significant down payment during the lame-duck session and then revisiting the topic next year. The Kentucky Republican made the announcement after President-elect Joe Biden called upon lawmakers to follow a similar path. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi resumed talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about a year-end spending package that could include COVID-19 relief provisions. Yet it's unclear whether the flurry of activity will lead to progress. Time is running out on the lame-duck session and Donald Trump's presidency.

UNDATED (AP) — British officials have authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, greenlighting the world's first shot against the virus that's backed by rigorous science and taking a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic. The go-ahead Wednesday for the vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech comes as the virus surges again in the United States and Europe, putting pressure on hospitals and morgues in some places and forcing new rounds of restrictions that have devastated economies. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency recommended the vaccine could be used after it reviewed the results of clinical trials that showed the vaccine was 95% effective overall — and that it also offered significant protection for older people.

UNDATED (AP) — Nearly 37,000 people died of COVID-19 in the U.S. in November, the most since the dark early days of the pandemic. It's engulfing families in grief, filling newspaper obituary pages and testing the capacity of morgues, funeral homes and hospitals. States have begun reopening field hospitals to handle an influx of patients that is pushing health care systems — and their workers — to the breaking point. Hospitals are bringing in mobile morgues. And funerals are being livestreamed or performed as drive-by affairs. Health officials fear that the situation will be even worse in coming weeks, after many Americans ignored pleas to stay home over the Thanksgiving holiday.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — In a breakthrough, the United Nations says it and Ethiopia's government have signed a deal to allow "unimpeded" humanitarian access to the embattled Tigray region, at least the parts under federal government control. This will allow the first food, medicines and other aid into the region of 6 million people that has been cut off during fighting that began a month ago between the federal and Tigray regional governments. For weeks, the U.N. and others have pleaded for access amid reports of supplies running out. A U.N. humanitarian spokesman says the first mission to carry out a needs assessment begins Wednesday.

UNDATED (AP) — Global shares and Wall Street futures are mostly lower after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite index both set fresh record highs. Benchmarks fell Wednesday in Paris, London, Hong Kong and Shanghai but climbed in Tokyo and Seoul. Investors are betting that coronavirus vaccines may bring on a fuller global economic recovery despite the challenges of immunizing billions of people. Revived talk of new help for the U.S. economy also has boosted sentiment. Australian shares were almost unchanged despite news Wednesday that the economy expanded at a 3.3% pace in the last quarter as it began to recover from pandemic lockdowns. Oil prices were lower.

SPORTS:
NFL:  Browns star Myles Garrett was activated from the COVID-19 list after missing two games, clearing the defensive end to return this week against Tennessee. Garrett tested positive for the virus on Nov. 20 after he was isolated from the team for two days while having symptoms. The Browns won both games without their best player — and one of the NFL’s top defenders — but are relieved to have him back for their playoff push. However, the Browns will be without safety Ronnie Harrison. He was placed on injured reserve after tests showed he suffered a severe shoulder injury on Sunday against Jacksonville.

NCAA: Ohio State held on to the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff rankings after having its last game canceled. The Buckeyes landed behind No. 1 Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson for a second straight week. The top seven teams were unchanged from last week’s rankings after the playoff contenders either won comfortably or didn’t play because of COVID-19 issues. Texas A&M was in fifth and Florida sixth. Ohio State had to cancel its game at Illinois last week, the second game of the season the Buckeyes have lost. The College Football Playoff has set no minimum number of games played to be eligible for the playoff.

NBA: The Cavaliers finally feel like a team again. The Cavs were excluded from the NBA's bubble in Orlando after their season was stopped by the pandemic. The omission deprived them of playing in competitive games and coach J.B. Bickerstaff says it forced him to attend youth soccer games just so he could yell at referees and get some of his fire back. The Cavs are excited to build off their short run last season with Bickerstaff. He took over when John Beilein stepped down and had Cleveland playing its best ball of the season.

WEATHER:
TODAY: Gradually becoming sunny, High 39
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy, Low 23
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, High 41
FRIDAY: A slight chance of snow followed by rain, High 43











 












 


 


 


 



 


 


 



HIGH TURNOUT STILL EXPECTED FOR ELECTION DAY
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Nov. 3, 2020) - Tuscarawas County elections officials are expecting a healthy turnout at the polls, even with a record number of voters casting their ballots early. Board of Elections Director Gail Garbrandt says the number of mail-in ballots returned for this election already surpasses the combined early in-person and mail-in totals for 2016, not counting the more than 6,000 people who took advantage of early voting. But with 65 to 70 percent of the county’s approximately 58,000 voters expected to turn out for this election, they anticipate between 15,000 and 20,000 residents will be casting their ballots today. Garbrandt says voters will see social distancing markers at all 81 polling locations, along with privacy screens and masked working wiping down the machines. She says masks are required for voters as well, but they will have some available at each location if you forget to bring one. Garbrandt says voters will also need to bring identification with them. It can be a driver’s license, state-issued id card, or a bank, utility or credit card statement with your name and current address on it, but not a social security card or passport.