WEEKEND HEADLINES

GREEN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO INDICTMENT 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A former Claymont Jr. High teacher accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student has returned to court briefly on new charges in the case.  29-year old Sean Green of Dover was arrested in December for allegedly exchanging nude photos over a cell phone with a 14-year old student, and later resigned in January.   Green plead not guilty Thursday in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court to the felonies from a March indictment that includes one count of pandering obscenity involving a minor and two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.  Green will remain out of jail on his own recognizance but must continue to stay away from Claymont school grounds. He is also prohibited from using a cell phone and must have no contact with anyone under the age of 18.

CLAYMONT STUDENTS SUSPENDED FOR SHOOTING AIRSOFT GUNS
UHRICHSVILLE - Claymont school officials say nine high school students are suspended for an undisclosed amount of time for firing airsoft guns at students after school Monday. Superintendent John Rocchi told WJER the incident happened in the high school parking lot, though no one was injured. Rocchi says an internal investigation occurred this week and resulted in the suspensions. He says the involved students are also banned from their extra-curricular team activities for the time being, though he declined to state their specific involvements. Uhrichsville Police Chief Vince Beal says he was only notified of the incident Thursday and has no plans of investigating after consulting with the Tuscarawas County juvenile prosecutor.   

JOB FAIR ATTENDANCE SLIPS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The response to the most recent employment fair in the area is being interpreted as another sign that the job market is improving. Goodwill Industries hosted its 2015 spring Community Job Fair at New Towne Mall Thursday with 34 employers in attendance ranging from banks, nursing homes and oil and gas companies.  Goodwill Program Specialist Penny Martin says more than 200 people registered for the event to see what was available, a number that has seemed to drop along with the unemployment rate in recent years. However Martin says the turnaround is making it difficult on some of the companies that are trying to fill skilled jobs. Jobseekers told WJER they had a variety of reasons for turning out, but most walked away feeling optimistic about their chances of landing work. Martin says the employers were looking to fill a mix of jobs such as home health aides, office positions, engineering and more.   

DENNISON TO CRACK DOWN ON TRASH SITUATION
DENNISON
- Leaders are working to enforce village laws regarding trash collection and payments. The village approved a single hauler contract with Kimble last fall, which mandates that all homes and rentals use the Kimble service. Council member Greg DiDonato says the company has halted pick up for some residents who have failed to pay their bills for at least three months, which he says breaks village law because they technically have no trash hauler. DiDonato says he feels delinquent residents have had enough chances to pay their bills and should be cited immediately. DiDonato says he’s also concerned about landlords failing to pay for their renter’s services, which is also mandated in Dennison.

COMMISSIONERS JOIN SUPPORT FOR FFA CAMPNEW PHILADELPHIA - A campaign to raise money for a new facility at the FFA camp in Carroll County is well on its way. Camp Muskingum Director Todd Davis says they have $1 million toward the $2.5 million goal and construction should begin this fall. He says the Leesville Lake complex has been getting by with a temporary set up since a fire at the facility in 2011. Davis says he is collecting letters of support for the project from groups, including the Tuscarawas County Commissioners Thursday, to include with grant applications. The new nature center will also accommodate 350 people with a stage, and a welcome center highlighting the oil and gas and other energy industries in the area. 

FIRE RATINGS TO LOWER PROPERTY OWNER INSURANCE
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Fire officials say the city and area business owners should benefit from lower insurance premiums beginning in July. Fire Chief Jim Parrish says the department was recently re-evaluated by the Insurance Services Office, which improved the city rating form a Class 4 to a Class 3. He says they look at everything from the fire fighters’ ability to respond and fight fires to the city’s water system. He says it translates into better insurance rates for property owners. Parrish says he is inviting the evaluation crew back in the next few months to possibly improve the city rating even more. The last evaluation was completed in 1999.

ARTS COUNCIL RESEARCH PHASE COMPLETE
NEW PHILADELPHIA
- An arts council in Tuscarawas County is one step closer to becoming a reality. The group researching the idea recently completed its information gathering attempt. Research sub-facilitator Diane Lautenschleger says volunteers looked into arts council’s across the nation and also took inventory of the local art scene. Lautenschleger says the research phase originally included 15 area professionals and community members but quickly grew to nearly 50 people, volunteering their time towards the effort. Lautenschleger says the group received approval from the Tuscarawas County commissioners last fall to conduct the feasibility study and she says the results will be presented in the coming weeks.      

UPDATED PIPELINE MAPS AVAILABLE
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY
- Residents who might be impacted by the proposed ET Rover Pipeline have a chance to view the latest route changes made by the company. Spokeswoman Vicki Granado says updated maps reflect the results of surveying work and are now available at the Tuscarawas County Public Library and online. Granado says following all permit approvals, construction on the unit could begin next year but she says it would take a few years before the entire 711-mile natural gas unit is complete. Granado says the $4.2 billion investment is expected to run through 29-miles of Tuscarawas County, passing through Fairfield, Sandy and Warren Townships.

ONLINE TAX FILING RELIEVES DEADLINE PRESSURE
DOVER - It appears fewer people waited until the deadline to get their taxes done this year.  Tax forms were due with a postmark of yesterday (April 15).  However, Dover Post Office head window clerk Jjerry Murphy says he was only bracing for an increase in traffic from people dropping of their taxes closer to the 5 PM closing time.  No post offices in the region offered extended hours since the IRS expects 87% of filing to be done online.   A Dover tax preparation business office owner Shirley Wallick says she had a busy day because many still seek the benefits of a professional to file taxes even at the last minute. A Dover woman says she was relieved to complete the process on time.

CHIP FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA
- Qualified New Philadelphia and Uhrichsville residents could take advantage of funds to fix up their homes this summer through the Community Housing Improvement Program.  Local CHIP Administrator Tony Danzo says Uhrichsville has about $275,000 available while New Phila has $320,000 but Danzo says he encourages residents to apply soon as the funds quickly diminish. Danzo says low income or elderly home owners can request money to fix up the inside or outside of their properties, in addition to accessibility needs. He says his office also helps choose a contractor to complete the work. Danzo says he expects all of the available money will be distributed soon as the busy construction season is already underway.

PORTMAN WANTS NUCLEAR FRAMEWORK DETAILS
WASHINGTON - The Ohio Republican in the US Senate is explaining why he feels Congress needs a voice in the Iranian nuclear negotiations.  The White House has indicated that the president will sign legislation to allow Congress to reject the final deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions, if a deal is crafted ahead of the June 30th deadline.  Senator Rob Portman says he believes having Congress involved only strengthens the chances of getting a deal to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. However Portman says he first wants to see the framework for nuclear deal that was reached earlier this month since the White House and Iranian leaders have been giving conflicting details about it. 

FEEDING PROPOSAL DESIGNED TO HELP DUCKS NOT GEESE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Council has another option to consider to reduce the geese population at Tuscora Park. Council is considering a ban on feeding geese. But Operation Warm and Cozy waterfowl specialist Rosemary Haflinger is worried the ducks will suffer as they rely on people feeding them. She is proposing her group care for the ducks at the park with scheduled feedings at night while the geese are away at their resting areas. She is also requesting Operation Warm and Cozy be exempt from any feeding ban and is willing to work with city and park officials if approved. However, group president Julie Tripodi says residents are also concerned about the proposed feeding ban.

COUNTY DISPATCHERS AND DEPUTIES RECEIVE RAISES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A number of Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s office bargaining employees have new contracts in place. The Tuscarawas County commissioners approved the agreements Monday for the 911 dispatchers to receive 25-cent raises this year, along with three percent increases for the next three years, while the deputies will receive 25 cent raises for 2015 and 2016 plus 3% increases each year through 2017. Commissioner Kerry Metzger says a cap on employee insurance contributions was also removed in exchange for the base wage increases.  Sheriff Walt Wilson says he’s pleased that his employees are receiving some extra compensation for their work. He says positions elsewhere should be less tempting with the wage increases. Meanwhile Wilson says negotiations are ongoing for the corrections/ jail employees.

HAMM STEPS DOWN AS DOVER SUPERINTENDENT
DOVER – City School Superintendent Bob Hamm is leaving the district for what he is calling his retirement-resignation. He told the school board Monday he will officially step down August 1 after 42 years in education and the last 14 years as Dover’s superintendent. Hamm says it’s time to spend more time with grandchildren in the Columbus area, but he will deeply miss the school board members, staff and families. The board also accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Kevin Keffer, effective at the end of the school year.

PHILA SEEKING FIRE STATION ARCHITECT
NEW PHILADELPHIA -
New Philadelphia is entering the next phase of exploring the possibility of constructing a new fire station. Fire Chief Jim Parrish says the city is in the process of choosing an architect after purchasing land downtown on Front Avenue  last October where a new station could be built.  Parrish says 14 architectural firms submitted qualifications to be considered for the work ahead of this month’s deadline, and in about a month he hopes to have that list narrowed to three of four that will be asked to present project proposals to the city. Parrish says he expects to then spend another month or two reviewing the finalists. 

MENARDS TAX ABATEMENT APPROVED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Council has approved the final piece of legislation necessary for the Menards company to open a new home improvement store in town.  Council passed a Community Reinvestment Area tax exemption agreement with Menards, providing a 50-percent property tax abatement for 10 years to redevelop the former Super Kmart site off Bluebell Drive with a new building.  Committee chair Darrin Lautenschleger says the tax abatement ordinance was approved on its first reading Monday to facilitate construction as early as possible, with a groundbreaking possible this summer followed by the opening next year.  Lautenschelger says the project’s total investment is estimated at $18.3 million for the new 236-thousand square foot facility.  

ELECTED OFFICIALS’ PAY RAISES TO BE FINALIZED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Council is continuing to take the necessary steps to implement raises granted through the recent budget. Salary committee chair John Zucal says the 3% pay increases are in process for non-union workers and now elected officials as well.  Zucal says administrators and council members need to be considered in different legislation for transparency. But he says he is hoping council passes both measures to pay the raises to workers and office holders at the next meeting April 27. Zucal says the raises are retroactive to January 1 because the city operates on a fiscal year that follows the calendar year.

STEM CURRICULUM COMING TO DOVER ELEMENTARIES
DOVER
- Dover elementary students are the next round of kids to take advantage of Project Lead the Way funding. The district’s three elementary schools each received $15,000 grants to implement science, technology, engineering and math or STEM programs. Assistant Superintendent Carla Birney says the money will be put to use during the 2015-2016 school year in grades three, four and five. Superintendent Bob Hamm says Dover High and Middle school students have experienced great success with Project Lead the Way courses so he’s glad to see the effort filtering through the younger classes. Birney says the money comes from the Chevron and Marcellus Foundation. 

SCHOOL BUILDING DAMAGE TO BE REPAIRED
DENNISON – Claymont School officials say they will make the Intermediate School building safer before the end of the year. A board resolution declares the crumbling columns at the front entrance an urgent necessity for repairs. Superintendent John Rocchi says the harsh winter made the damage even worse than when they first started talking about them last summer. Rocchi says the work to remove the columns will cost about $140,000, which will come from the building maintenance fund. He says even though the building is listed on the National Historic Register, the cost to restore them would be double and there are no requirements regarding repairs.

RUN FOR HOME ATTRACTS HUNDREDS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A Canton man is this year’s Union Hospital Run for Home half marathon winner. Nik Schweikart crossed the finish line in just over one hour and 11 minutes. And Rebecca Nussbaum of Lakeville in Holmes County was the top women’s finisher at one hour 23 minutes. Race Director Matt Ritzert says the run from Tuscora Park to Dover City Park and back was successful even with 800 runners instead of the usual 1,000 or more. He says attracting runners is a problem for many races as the harsh winter made it difficult to train properly. Meanwhile, a 59-year-old half-marathon runner from Walnut Creek collapsed after finishing the race and receiving his medal. He is in serious condition at Aultman Hospital. Ritzert says it will take a few weeks to sort out how much money the two-day event will donate to the Tuscarawas Valley Habitat for Humanity after contributing about $140,000 in the last seven years. Detailed race results can be found at http://results.chronotrack.com/event/results/event/event-10633

EMERGENCY CENTER EXCAVATION UNDERWAY
DOVER - Union Hospital is keeping more of the money it is spending on a new emergency department local.  Spokesman Carey Gardner says six of the project’s 20 construction contracts that were recently awarded went to local bidders, resulting in about 60-percent of the project’s $14-million construction budget being spent with area companies for labor and building materials. Gardner says crews are getting the site ready to lay the foundation and begin installing steel beams this spring, with the new $17.7-million emergency center slated to open by next summer.   

LOCAL PROGRAMS SEEK TO END SEXUAL ASSAULTS
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Officials at Tuscarawas County’s rape crisis center ---Compass-- are continuing their mission to support victims and call attention to the problem.  April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Director Molly McMath says she wants to end myths surrounding sexual assaults because they are frequently occurring locally and most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, including neighbors or family. Compass also conducts several programs, including advocacy for victims as well as week-long programs in the schools. She also encourages everyone to wear a teal colored ribbon this month to show support for the awareness programs. The Rape Crisis Line is staffed 24 hours a day at 330-339-1427.

CITY PLANS FOR FARMERS’ MARKET
UHRICHSVILLE – City officials are planning to open a Farmers’ Market for a second year in a row starting in June. Council member Gayle Mick says last year’s brief market in the fall was so successful at bringing people downtown that organizers are ready again. Mick says the market features backyard gardeners’ produce but she also welcomes flowers and other items. The market will run Thursdays 3-6:30PM June 11 through the end of October on N. Water St. behind the Alcove Pet Store.


STATE NEWS:

OHIO MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY
COLUMBUS (AP) - An Ohio man accused of plotting to attack a military base or prison after returning to the U.S. from terrorist training in Syria has pleaded not guilty. A federal indictment says Columbus resident Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud left the country a year ago to train and fight with terrorists in Syria. 

ARREST WARRANT CANCELED
CINCINNATI (AP) - An arrest warrant for a woman accused of deliberately making her 9-year-old son sick by contaminating his IV with fecal matter at a Cincinnati hospital has been withdrawn after she showed up in court. A Hamilton County judge in Cincinnati issued the warrant yesterday after 35-year-old Candida Fluty, of Kermit, West Virginia, failed to attend a scheduled hearing. 

KASICH TRAVELS TO SC
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - Ohio Governor John Kasich is making a trip to South Carolina this week. On Friday, the Republican governor is making a stop at the Upstate Chamber Coalition Luncheon in Spartanburg. Later in the day, he's scheduled to tour Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville before attending a barbecue holding by the Spartanburg GOP.


 

NATIONAL NEWS:

TENNESSEE TEEN FACES TERRORISM CHARGE
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Nashville teenager has been arrested on a state terrorism charge -- accused of threatening schools in Tennessee and three other states. Authorities say a joint investigation by police and the FBI led them to the student, who's accused of being responsible for multiple emails and phone calls threatening violence. Police were so concerned about one of the threats yesterday that they closed a high school in Nashville and wouldn't clear it to reopen until it had been swept by the bomb squad. The student hasn't been identified, and police haven't given his age.

OBAMA SAYS HE'LL BE 'CREATIVE'
WASHINGTON (AP) - The issue of just how quickly the sanctions on Iran will be lifted could be resolved through what President Barack Obama calls "creative negotiations." Iran wants the sanctions over its nuclear program to be lifted immediately as part of a deal with the U.S. and others -- but the initial agreement calls for the penalties to be removed over time. Obama told reporters today that his main concern is making sure that if Iran violates the agreement, the sanctions can be quickly reinstated.

APPLE WATCH SALES EXCLUSIVELY ONLINE
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - People who want to buy the new Apple Watch won't be able to walk into a store and leave with one -- at least, not for the next several weeks. Apple's retail chief has told store workers that the watch will continue to be sold only through online orders, for now. It's a departure from the way Apple has launched other new products, like the iPhone. 

SPORTS:
NFL: Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has apologized to the team and its fans and asked for privacy during his recovery from an undisclosed substance problem. Manziel released a statement through the Browns on Friday. He thanked doctors and staff at Caron, a Pennsylvania facility which specializes in the treatment of drugs and alcohol. Manziel was discharged last week following a 2 1/2-month stay. Manziel says he takes "full responsibility for my actions" and he intends to "work very hard to regain everyone's trust and respect." Manziel intends to attend Cleveland's offseason practices next week. Manziel had a rough rookie season in 2014. He spent most of it as the team's backup before making two starts.

WEATHER:
FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, Lo 48
SATURDAY: Sunny, Hi 75
SATURDAY NIGHT:  Partly cloudy,  Lo 45
SUNDAY:  Mostly cloudy with a chance of afternoon showers,  Hi 68
SUNDAY NIGHT:  80% chance of rain,  Lo 53
MONDAY:  Cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms,  Hi 68 

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