TROOPERS REPORT FEWER HOLIDAY CRASHES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - State Troopers say they believe their increased presence on the roadways this weekend helped more drivers safely make it to their backyard barbeques and fireworks shows. State Highway Patrol New Philadelphia Post Commander Lt. Mark Glennon says his troopers responded to 10 crashes during the four day holiday reporting period that wrapped up Sunday, which is six less than a year ago. Glennon says two of the crashes involved alcohol and none had life threating injuries. Glennon says his troopers also made about 830 traffic stops, with 606 of those resulting in tickets. Glennon says his troopers made eight drunken driving arrests during the 4TH of July holiday reporting period, which is the same as a year ago.
WEEKEND FUN STARTS WITH A BANG
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY – The area lit up with patriotism over the weekend in celebration of our nation’s independence. Fireworks displays erupted all over the county throughout the weekend, including shows at Midvale Speedway, Tuscora Park, Gnadenhutten, and Atwood and Tappan Lakes. Port Washington resident Chase Gibson says becoming a marine has changed the way he views the holiday, adding even more pride for serving his country. James MacAdam of New Philadelphia says July 4th is also a time to reminisce. Gnadenhutten resident Kelsey Kochman says her town’s festival has become a tradition for her family. Ideal weather conditions also attracted large crowds throughout the area.
FIREWORKS SPOOK AREA CANINES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County dog pound operators say they are still trying to reunite canines with their families following the July 4TH holiday weekend. Assistant Dog Warden Terry Warner says at least five dogs were captured over the last few days after they took-off in fear of nearby fireworks. Warner says the loud booms make dogs panic. Warner says it is important to register your dog with the county and to make sure the tag is attached to the animal’s collar, as many dogs will run up to two miles away from home to find relief. Warner advises pet owners to be cautious for the next month or so as area residents continue to let off fireworks. He says to keep dogs leashed while outside and leave a TV or radio on in the home to help muffle the loud sounds.
WORK TO UPDATE PARK PLANS APPROVED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County’s Trail and Greenspace Plan is getting an update. The Tuscarawas County commissioners Monday approved paying more than $14-thousand to the Environmental Design Group for a revised map showing completed projects completed over the past 10 years and locations for proposed work. Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition President Dan Rice says the update will also include a 3-to-5 year strategic plan that will outline a strategy for the county on achieving new parkland goals with current funding levels. Rice says the plan will also include public input, with community meetings expected for later in the fall. Rice says Environmental Design Group expects finish the strategic plan update in about four months.
DRESS A CHILD REGISTRATION BEGINS
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Tuscarawas County Dress-A-Child officials are gearing up for this year’s registration for the program, which begins tomorrow. Spokeswoman Becky Mastin says parents are invited to stop by various sign-up locations with their photo ID’s and proof of income to register. Mastin says Dress-A-Child assisted 1,200 kids last year. Mastin says contributors donated over $100,000 to the program in 2014, allowing each child to receive an $85 voucher for clothes. She says the numbers vary each year. A complete list of registration dates and locations can be found on our homepage.
MAYOR TOURS LOCAL EYESORE
NEW PHILADELPHIA – The city’s mayor recently went were few other people have gone since the Super K-Mart store on Bluebell Dr. closed its doors in 2002. Mayor Dave Johnson says he gained special permission from the Menards company, which recently acquired the property for a new home improvement store, to go inside and view the abandoned structure. Johnson says the building’s interior is covered in black mold, graffiti, and standing water, though he saw no people staying inside. Menards officials plan to begin demolition later this month with construction on the new building to start next year and the store opening sometime in 2017. Johnson reminds residents that trespassing on the property is dangerous and illegal.
GRANT TO EXPAND RURAL INTERNET ACCESS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The valley will be getting its share of a nearly $300 million grant to expand internet broadband to under served rural areas. Frontier Communications spokesman Tim Coolman says the company will use $800,000 from the Connect America grant funding to make the high speed internet services available for the first time at about 2,600 homes in the outlying communities of Tuscarawas County to meet growing demand. Coolman says business grade broadband will also be offered in those areas targeted for upgrades. He says the community will be notified as the six-year program progresses.
STARLIGHT FACTIONS AGREE TO MEDIATION
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County commissioners say they have high hopes for a positive solution to a dispute between Starlight Enterprises and the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Commissioner Chris Abbuhl says both boards have agreed to meet with a mediator to discuss the workshop building lease. The TuscBDD voted last month to terminate the lease in the next four months and offer its own workshop programs. Abbuhl says the negotiations will include board members only without other administrators to allow board members to discuss their issues uninterrupted. Abbuhl says although the county commissioners are not involved with the programs, calls to his office have declined since the mediation plan was announced.
RESIDENTS DEAL WITH WATER CONTAMINATION
OXFORD TOWNSHIP - Tuscarawas County health officials say 10 Oxford Township homeowners must now decide the best manner to treat their contaminated ground water. Health Commissioner Katie Seward says county officials met with nearly 60 area residents Wednesday to explain the options after potential carcinogen PCE and nitrates were found near the Mizer Addition following a diesel fuel spill in January. She says the contaminants were not from the spill but were found thanks to the testing. Seward says residents could choose to permanently tap into the village of Newcomerstown’s water or install their own filtration units. Seward says grants could help fund connection to village water, while individual filters would be at the homeowners’ expense. She says currently the residents are receiving bulk water from the village and bottled water from the state Emergency Management Agency.
OHIO ELIMINATES PARCC TESTING
COLUMBUS - Students across the state will have a new test to prepare for next year as lawmakers, in the recently passed state budget, stripped the sharply criticized PARCC testing. State Education Superintendent Richard Ross says the consortium was used to administer math and English assessments online a few times during the school year. He says the state now plans to work with the American Institutes for Research, which already administers science and social studies tests. Ross says he is also pleased that state lawmakers have contributed more funds to K-12 opportunities for Ohio students, while also promising funding levels no less than what districts are currently receiving. Ross says a timeline for creating the new tests is unavailable but he hopes to have information to school officials by fall.