FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014
MAYOR BREAKS TIE FOR TRASH CONTRACT
DENNISON – Village residents will have to use a single hauler for trash and recycling services soon. Mayor Tim Still cast the deciding vote to break a tie among council members Thursday to contract with Kimble. Council member Mike Walker says he believes residents who spoke at council meetings support reduced rates and are excited about the recycling aspect. But council member Susan Edwards says a door-to-door survey by Kimble included opinions from renters without trash expenses. Still says the service could begin by October first.
DENNISON POST OFFICE TO STAY OPEN
DENNISON – The village is getting to keep its post office as the US Postal Service makes more budget cuts targeting rural locations. Massillon Postmaster Bruce Murdock explained to about 15 residents at a community meeting Thursday that the Dennison office is guaranteed to stay open but likely have its weekday window hours cut from eight down to four under a proposal based on survey responses. Murdock says the new Monday through Friday retail hours would be from 12:45 to 4:45 p.m. Village residents William and Linda Peter say the hours could be challenging for people with daytime jobs. He says the village will be notified at least 30 days prior to any retail hour changes taking effect.
COSTS OFFSET TEACHER, CLASSIFIED RAISES
NEW PHILADELPHIA – City school board and staff are sticking to a campaign pledge to voters from the spring. The school board has approved new three year contracts for the teachers and classified employees that include no raises for the first year, while raises of 2.75% in years two and three are offset by insurance plan concessions by the employees. Treasurer Steve Sherer says the district vowed to keep costs down wherever possible even after the spring levy approval. He says he also applauds the employees for helping share the sacrifice. Sherer says the three-year contract for the teachers kicked in August first while the contract for the OAPSE classified staff is retroactive to July first.
COMMISSIONERS SUPPORT JFS EMPLOYEE’S FIRING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County commissioners are backing officials at Job and Family Services to fire an employee. Commissioners Thursday voted 2-1 to support terminating client intake worker Kathy West for insubordination. Commissioner Chris Abbuhl says he trusts the hierarchy’s process. West attended the commissioner meeting to explain that no clear priorities are defined for her job. Commissioner Belle Everett says she voted against the decision to fire west after a half-hour long executive session because she viewed at as a first offense. West had completed the first three months of a year-long probationary period.
K9 REX ARRIVES TO DOVER PD
DOVER – City officials are welcoming the newest member of the police department brought in to sniff out drug traffickers. Safety Director Tim Tarulli says a Belgian Shepherd named Rex has now joined the force as the K9 dog to serve alongside officer Bill Nedrow. Tarulli says Nedrow and Rex will begin a month-long training session together in Warrensville Heights next week. Tarulli says the K9 unit startup costs of about $13,000 are being covered by public donations.
’50 SHADES’ PROMOTES ‘OLD FASHIONED’
HOLLYWOOD – The movie filmed around the Tuscarawas Valley is starting to capitalize from a culture clash set for the box office in February. Writer-director-actor Rik Swartzwelder says his movie "Old Fashioned" and the film adaptation of the book "50 Shades of Grey" are both set to be released during Valentine’s Day weekend next year. Swartzwelder says the polar opposite values between the two movies is already provoking a discussion about dating and society. He says the looming showdown in theaters is getting "Old Fashioned" mentioned in articles by Time Magazine, Variety, Yahoo, MTV and other outlets. Meanwhile, Swartzwelder says he will return to our area sometime this fall to sign advanced copies of two books that are tied into his movie.
FIRE CHIEF TO RETIRE, MAYOR TO PICK REPLACEMENT
SUGARCREEK - The village’s longtime fire chief says he is calling it quits after 42 years in the business. Jim Harrison announced this week that he will retire August 31st to take advantage of his current public employee retirement benefits before the system changes at the end of the year. Harrison says he’s seen numerous advances in training and apparatuses during his stint. Harrison says the job has gotten more difficult over the years as buildings now contain more chemicals and flammable materials but he says the experience has been bittersweet. Harrison says his replacement is expected to be named by the mayor later today.
TRASH TRUCK DRIVERS FIRED OVER CRASH REPORT DELAY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Three New Philadelphia employees are out of jobs for their response to a crash involving a city garbage truck. The accident into a guardrail on I-77 near Dover happened July 5th but was only reported to city officials July 29th. The city has now fired the truck’s driver, Howard Poorman, as well as the driver of a second city truck present for the crash, Chad Aubihl. Meanwhile their supervisor, General Services Superintendent Mark Henke, resigned Tuesday. State troopers last week cited Henke with falsification and obstruction while Poorman was also ticketed for a driving violation. Mayor Dave Johnson says the discipline follows an in-depth internal investigation. Service Director Jim Zucal says lengthy interviews with the drivers still offered no explanation for the reporting delay. Longtime city employee Jim Martin will now serve as the interim general services superintendent.
ARMY-NAVY CLUB EXPLODES
STRASBURG - Fire fighters say they are puzzled about what happened at the Shady Rest Army-Navy club early this morning. Fire Chief Dan Varner says the state fire marshal is helping to investigate what looks like an explosion inside the building but no apparent fire. He says the building was destroyed with bowed walls and a collapsed roof. Varner says a lightning strike during the severe thunderstorm at the time might have played a role, but he will rely on surveillance video to determine a cause for the extensive damage. A ruling from the state fire marshal may take a couple days. A sheriff’s deputy saw a haze over the building about 4 AM while on patrol, otherwise the incident may have gone unnoticed in the remote area north of Strasburg.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS LEAVE WAKE OF PROBLEMS
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Road crews say they got an early start today after nearly three inches of rain fell in a short time along with violent thunderstorms. County Engineer’s Office supervisor Steve McQueen says a half dozen roads are closed as high water remains an issue for the usual flood-prone areas and he reminds drivers to avoid traveling through water-covered areas. 911 authorities say SR 212 between Wilkshire Hills and Zoar, along with portions of SR 800 north of the Dover Dam were closed from high water and trees down. American Electric Power says about 200 Tuscarawas County customers are without service this afternoon, down from more than 500 this morning.
GRANT FUNDS INTERVENTION AT AREA DISTRICTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - More 21st Century Learning Grants are making their way to Tuscarawas County in time for the new school year. The federally funded grant program is awarding $200,000 each for New Philadelphia, Dover, Garaway, Tusky Valley and Indian Valley districts for the 2014-15 school year. Local Educational Service Center Superintendent Kevin Spears says the funds pay for programs to help students meet state and local performance standards. Spears says the ESC is receiving $3.3 million in all for schools in Tuscarawas, Carroll, Holmes and Belmont counties.
JOHNSON TALKS VA REFORM
DOVER- Ohio’s 6th district congressman says the Veterans Affairs reform bill passed recently covers just a portion of what needs done to truly care for U.S. veterans. Congressman Bill Johnson says an outside study currently underway is looking into the department’s operations to figure out what still needs fixed. Johnson says he is appalled that so many veterans have experienced long wait times and poor service. Johnson says he is pleased that veterans who live a far distance from a VA hospital or clinic can find others ways to receive treatment and he says high level employees are being watched closely. Johnson, who is currently traveling his district while in recess, made a stop at WJER Tuesday.
SUPPRESSION SYSTEM STOPS FIRE AT DQ
BOLIVAR - Firefighters say a grill fire at a Bolivar restaurant caused little damage Tuesday. Chief Shawn Lynch says his crew was called to Dairy Queen on Canal Street just after 10AM. Lynch says luckily, an employee activated the burger grill’s fire suppression system, which put out the flames prior to the department’s arrival. Lynch says a crew must now come in and clean the kitchen before DQ can serve grilled or fried items again but he says no real injuries came of the small fire. He says just one-person refused treatment after she inhaled the suppression chemical. Lynch estimates clean up costs to be under $1,000. He says Dairy Queen just re-opened in the new building three months ago.
DENNISON ANNEXES PIECE OF UNION TOWNSHIP
DENNISON - Tuscarawas County officials say a new hotel in Dennison will bring added prosperity to the area. Commissioner Chris Abbuhl says the board approved an expedited annexation request by the village to take ownership of 5.32 acres of Union Township for a proposed hotel. Abbuhl says he saw no reason to stall the effort. Dennison Mayor Tim Still says council agreed to take the property in May, though the Cobbelstone Hotel owners have yet to begin work on the State Route 800 property but Still says he believes construction will commence soon. Sill says the company has until October to begin or they must return the feasibility study costs. Dennison also passed a lodging tax in preparation for the new hotel.
COMMISSIONERS, ENGINEER TALK CASH AND ROADS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Tuscarawas County commissioners and county engineer remain at odds on who should fund infrastructure needs. The board recently sent a resolution to the state requesting a portion of leftover 2014 funds be split between all Ohio counties but Engineer Joe Bachman says the county should return the favor and use a portion of its projected extra $1.1 million to repair roads and bridges. Tthough no reaction has been received from the state, Commissioner Kerry Metzger says the board must consider numerous other departments and projects before extending any extra funds to the engineer as they have already identified $14 million in future projects in next few years. Metzger says the majority of Bachman’s expenses are supported by license and motor vehicle taxes and not the county’s general fund.
STABBING SUSPECT ARRESTED, VICTIM CHANGES STORY
UHRICHSVILLE - A Uhrichsville stabbing suspect is being held in the Tuscarawas County jail after nearly three weeks on the run. Uhrichsville police officer Mike Hickman says Tuscarawas County sheriff’s deputies found 21-year-old Devin Elmore at a house in Sherrodsville Sunday. A press release says deputies were acting on a tip and took him into custody without incident. Hickman says Elmore is accused of stabbing his 19-year-old brother in the chest at a S. Wallace St. home July 30. Hickman says the victim is recovering from surgery as the knife cut his heart, but the victim is now claiming he fell on the knife instead. Hickman says Devin Elmore is being held on the grand jury indictment for felonious assault and domestic violence, but charges are also pending against the victim for changing his story.
SEWER DISTRICT CUTS TWO EMPLOYEES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County officials say they are laying off two employees from the Tuscarawas County Metropolitan Sewer District. The commissioners approved the decision to abolish the engineering technician positions Monday. Department Director Mike Jones says rising costs and a tighter budget lead to the cuts. He says the department also increased prices recently to help make up the difference but it is still not enough. Jones says the $127,000 recouped from the salaries will help the department greatly, as the district is currently operating with a deficit. Jones says the jobs will officially be terminated September 5th, though the two employees are eligible for unemployment benefits. He says their duties can be performed by others or contracted out at a lower cost in the future.
CITY RAMPS UP PAVING WORK
DOVER – City officials say they are spending some future paving budget money to get ahead on paving work. Service Director Dave Douglas says he is using $75,000 from future paving budgets to resurface portions of 16 streets and alleys most impacted by last winter’s harsh conditions. He says it will add to the allocated $275,000 for this year being used to mill and resurface high traffic areas. Lane reductions on Wooster Ave. start today between 17th and 23rd Sts. and eight other roads will be paved completely.
SENATOR TOUTS LAUREN ON MFG TOUR
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Ohio US Senator Sherrod Brown says a local plant is helping the state maintain its high ranking as third in the nation for manufacturing employment. Brown toured Lauren Manufacturing Monday, which employs about 300 people and makes polymer products. He told workers that the economy depends on jobs created along the manufacturing line and he is seeking support for legislation for increased cooperation among vocational and college education.
MISSING SWIMMER FOUND DEAD IN COSHOCTON COUNTY
WEST LAFAYETTE - Newcomerstown officials say a teen missing in the Tuscarawas River was found dead Saturday. Fire Department Spokeswoman Heather Wells says 17-year old Rusty Grewell was swimming in the river near Beech Street last Sunday when he went under and failed to resurface. Wells says after almost a full week, rescue crews spotted Grewell’s floating body about a mile east of the SR 751 bridge near West Lafayette. Wells says Grewell’s body was taken to Licking County for an autopsy and toxicology test. Wells says numerous area fire departments, police, divers, and community members assisted in the search and recovery efforts throughout the week.
BUCKEYE CAREER CENTER KICKS OFF BACK TO SCHOOL
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Buckeye Career Center leaders say they hope to avoid any first day jitters for new students this year. Superintendent Bob Alsept says the first ever Buckeye Palooza today features sporting events, games and food. Alsept says although high school kids have been in school for a while, transferring during the last two years can be difficult, too. Alsept says he the celebration will also serve as an icebreaker for teachers, too. New Buckeye students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing today for their first day of class. Seniors return tomorrow. Several other area school districts are also starting the fall term this week.
METH CASE FIRST TO REACH JURY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County prosecutors say a Uhrichsville man’s drug case is the first of its kind in the county. Assistant County Prosecutor Mike Ernest says 29-year-old Jason Walker was convicted on three counts involving making and possessing meth. Police found dozens of two-liter bottles used for making meth at Walker’s former house in Newcomerstown in April. But Ernest says this is the first one to stretch into a jury trial as most others agreed to a plea deal. Walker will be sentenced next month and could receive a maximum of 12 years in prison for Tuscarawas County crimes. But Walker also faces similar charges in Stark County for allegedly having meth-making materials in his car at a shopping mall in June.
RUMOR PROMPTS RUN ON BOTTLED WATER
TOLEDO (AP) - Officials in Toledo - where a Lake Erie algae bloom made the city's tap water unsafe to drink earlier this month - are fighting rumors that water problems persist. The Blade newspaper reports that the rumors of another "do not drink" advisory became so persistent on Thursday that the city issued a statement asking residents not to panic. As the city was issuing the statement, residents were busy buying up bottled water at grocery stores.
TURNPIKE SPONSORS AVOID NAMING RIGHTS
CLEVELAND (AP) - The state is expected to pursue opportunities to collect revenue through sponsorships along the state turnpike, but will not sell naming rights for the 241-mile toll road. Gov. Kasich wants to use the turnpike as a revenue source that would help fund the state's transportation budget.
MURDER SUSPECT CAPTURED AT B-DAY PARTY
PAINESVILLE (AP) - A suspect in a Painesville murder last month has been captured in Detroit this week, with investigators saying they dropped in un-announced on his birthday party. The (Willoughby) News-Herald reports federal marshals found the house decorated for the party, and then found Walter Tate in the basement.
HEROIN CONNECTION BUSTED
TOLEDO (AP) - Police say 26 people have been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges. Nearly all of those cited in the 55-count indictment are from Toledo. Investigators say the operation moved large amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana to Toledo from Mexico, Illinois and the Southwest.
FIRE FIGHTERS HURT IN ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY (AP) - One firefighter is in critical condition and another is in fair condition after a charity stunt went terribly wrong in Campbellsville, Kentucky. The local police chief says four firefighters were taking part in an "ice bucket challenge" and were in a fire truck ladder dumping water on college students when the ladder got too close to a power line. Police say they ladder never touched the power line, but it carried such a high voltage that it was able to energize the truck, shocking the firefighters.
FOLEY'S PARENTS HAD HOPE TO THE END
ROCHESTER, NH (AP) - The parents of slain journalist James Foley say they underestimated how brutal the Islamic State militants were when they received emails from them demanding ransom for their son's release. John and Diane Foley tell NBC's "Today" show they received several emails in December and thought one that came last week was a sign that they could negotiate with the militants.
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - Two new cases of Ebola have emerged in Nigeria. The country's health minister says the patients are the spouses of a man and woman who had cared for Patrick Sawyer. The Liberian-American was already infected with Ebola when he flew into Nigeria last month. He infected 11 others before he died. Nigerian officials initially claimed the risk of exposure to others was minimal because Sawyer was whisked into isolation after arriving at the airport. But officials later acknowledged that Sawyer was not immediately quarantined.
EX-CONS STAGE HOSTAGE STANDOFF
CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Corrections says both suspects in a 20-hour hostage standoff this week in a Chicago suburb are parolees. One is a convicted murderer who was under electronic monitoring. A department of corrections spokesman says an alarm did go off when 40-year-old David Jordan did not return to his home Tuesday afternoon, but by then the hostage drama in the city of Harvey was already underway. Jordan and 41-year-old Peter Williams were charged today with attempted murder, home invasion, kidnapping and sexual assault.
LIGHTENING STRIKE INJURES SOLDIERS
FORT DRUM, NY (AP) - Army officials say six soldiers are recovering after lightning struck during a field exercise at Fort Drum in northern New York. A Fort Drum spokeswoman says the soldiers were taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening. Four returned to duty this morning, while two remain hospitalized.
MLB: Minnesota Twins 4 - Cleveland Indians 1
TODAY: 70% chance of showers or storms, Hi 83
TONIGHT: 60% chance of rain, Lo 65
SATURDAY: Partly sunny and humid, Hi 85
SUNDAY: Mostly sunny, still humid, Hi 85
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