CLEVELAND COUSINS SENTENCED FOR INVASION
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The two Cleveland area cousins who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and aggravated robbery charges for an April Dover home invasion are receiving the same punishments. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos has sentenced 23-year old Leslie Maldonado and 21-year old Aaron Correa each to 8-years in prison for targeting the Franklin Drive home of an acquaintance for drugs, where two people were restrained with packaging tape and a third was injured by a gun during a scuffle. Correa was described as the one who planned the invasion, but Maldonado apologized for being an active participant at his sentencing. Maldonado and Correa were captured after a short high speed pursuit with Dover police that ended with a crash and foot chase following the April 4th home invasion.
MEYERS CHANGES PLEA TO GUILTY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A New Philadelphia woman is also accepting responsibility for the death of her young daughter under her boyfriend’s watch. 25-year-old Mercedes Meyers changed her plea to guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering charges for the August 2015 death of 3-year-old Kyli Thomas-Meyers. Meyers allowed Kyli to stay with 24-year-old Cody Dawes of New Philadelphia the night she was beaten to death, even though Dawes had been ordered to have no contact with them due to a recent domestic violence incident. Dawes is now serving 25 years for involuntary manslaughter and several additional charges in Kyli's death. Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer says he is recommending a five-year prison sentence for Meyers, though she could serve up to 11 years. Defense attorney Paul Kelley says he will argue for Meyers to serve less than five years when Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos sentences Meyers October 13th. Meyers will remain out of jail with an ankle monitor until then.
PROMISED SENTENCE QUESTIONED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County prosecutors are fighting to increase the potential sentence for a New Philadelphia man on illegal cultivation and possession of marijuana charges. 44-year old Todd DeMattio was renting a storage building on State Route 39 near Carroll County allegedly found with about 75 plants valued at $150-thousand in January. Common Pleas Court Judge Edward O’Farrell was promising DeMattio a sentence of only probation and community service if he pleads no contest. However Assistant County Prosecutor Mike Ernest says he informed the court he would likely appeal that sentence as he believes Ohio law establishes a presumption of prison time for the offense based on the amount of marijuana involved. Authorities discovered the marijuana while investigating DeMattio for domestic violence and assaulting a sheriff’s deputy. He is currently serving 90-days in jail and must complete a rehab program for a conviction on those charges. Ernest says he expects a hearing in front of O’Farrell to happen within a few weeks to determine whether his promised sentence can be granted.
RAPE SUSPECT ARRESTED IN ARKANSAS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police say a local rape suspect on the loose since June is in custody in Arkansas. Detective Shawn Nelson says authorities were able to track down 25-year-old Miguel Solis Garcia in a small town outside Little Rock from a tip after months of dead-end leads. Nelson says he is still unsure of Garcia’s immigration status as he goes by a list of aliases. He says it was Garcia’s arm tattoo that led authorities to positively identify him. Garcia is accused of raping his live-in girlfriend’s 12-year-old sister, who was spending the night in their New Philadelphia home at the time. Nelson says proceedings are set for today to extradite Garcia back to Ohio.
OPEN HOUSE PLANNED TO DISCUSS FLOODWAY AT SANDY CREEK
SANDY TOWNSHIP - Tuscarawas County officials say an upcoming flood risk open house in Stark County will benefit some Tuscarawas County residents living near the Sandy Creek. Local Floodplain Coordinator Jill Lengler says the Thursday meeting will showcase updated maps from a recent preliminary flood insurance study. Lengler says FEMA and ODNR officials have created a new floodway that will appear on the preliminary plans. Lengler says floodways make construction in a floodplain more difficult as a permit is required and more extensive engineering is needed but she says development is unlikely in this specific area (because it is the backflow of the Dover Dam. Lengler says the floodway for the Sandy Creek impacts some residents in Lawrence, Sandy, Warren and Fairfield Townships, Mineral City, as well as portions of Carroll and Stark Counties. The open house runs Thursday from 4-7 PM at the Stark County Public Library in Canton.
SAYRE NAMED NEW ELECTIONS BOARD DIRECTOR
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A Tuscarawas County auditor employee is moving into a new office. Chief Deputy Auditor Allan Sayre was hired Monday as the new county board of elections director, pending final approval by the secretary of state. Sayre takes over for Chuck Miller, who spent 30 years as director. Sayre says he has only a short time to settle in before the November election. He was among 13 applicants for the job that Miller retired from nearly two months ago. Sayre starts with the elections office September 12th but says he will be spending his free time learning the ropes. He spent six years with the auditor’s office and the previous five years as the area’s state representative in Columbus.
DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS INCREASE
DOVER - Area health officials are reacting to the latest drug overdose statistics. The Ohio Department of Health says eight people died of drug overdoses in Tuscarawas County in 2015, which is two more than the previous year. Tuscarawas County Health Department Alcohol and Addiction Program Director Andrea Dominick says the stats fail to deter users from abusing drugs. She says many think they are invincible. Dominick says health officials must continue to educate people of all ages about the dangers of drugs. ODH reports indicate the statewide increase was spurred by a sharp increase in fentanyl use. Dominick says the use of Narcan to reverse overdoses is helping locally, but she fears drug-related deaths could rise yet again this year.
TuscBDD OAPSE EMPLOYEES GET RAISES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A group of Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities employees is getting a raise later this week. The board agreed to increase the wages for the OAPSE staff, which includes staff at Starlight School and the workshop, department specialists, job coaches, and a secretary. Transitional Superintendent Nate Kamban says hourly employees are getting $1.50 more an hour with salaried employees also receiving a boost. He says he hopes the increases encourage employees to stick with TuscBDD longer as many receive training and then take higher-paying jobs elsewhere. This was Kamban’s first negotiating process since beginning as the transitional superintendent, and he says he feels prepared to work on another contract next month with the teamsters group. Kamban says the OAPSE negotiating took about six days to complete, with the board accepting the contract last week. The agreement that begins Thursday is expected to cost $1.8 million over the next three years.
SHARE-A-CHRISTMAS SECURES WAREHOUSE
NEW PHILADELPHIA – The annual Christmas charity Share-A-Christmas will operate its distribution center from a familiar site. T-4-C Director Louise Worsham says she is relieved to secure the James Fillmore Complex to sort through toy and other donations for a second year in a row. She says a site for the last two years has been in question up until nearly the last minute, making organizers nervous, but she says the two-room setup used last year is available again for the 2016 effort. Worsham says she can now concentrate on attracting a few more volunteers to help with applicant interviews and other tasks.
BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS NEEDS COMMUNITY TO PULL THROUGH
NEW PHILADELPHIA – The local Big Brothers Big Sisters program is hoping the community will pull through with a unique fundraiser and awareness campaign. BBBS East Central Ohio Director Heather Campbell says the “Pull for Kids’ Sake” competition challenges teams of 10 to yank a 15-ton American Electric Power line truck in a charity tug-of-war. The event is September 10th at Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia. She says the event includes T-shirts, park ride tickets, and food, but she says it also serves as a recruitment effort for more adult mentors. Her organization serves 375 kids in Tuscarawas and Carroll counties, but there are still 48 kids on the waiting list. She says four hours a month can change a kid’s life.
STATE BIKE ROUTE TO INCLUDE TUSCARAWAS COUNTY
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Local officials say they are working with the state transportation department to include Tuscarawas County roads in a statewide bicycle route. County Park District Director Jane Clay says volunteers are recommending the safest and most scenic route through the county to link with the state path. County commissioners approved the partnership last week. Dover and New Philadelphia city council committees are also working on their routes. Clay says the state will pay for any costs, including signage.
MAN CHARGED IN FATAL SHOOTING AFTER CRASH
SOLON (AP) - Records show a man charged with murder in the fatal shooting a woman after a traffic accident near Cleveland served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps and received treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Twenty-nine-year-old Matthew Desha told North Ridgeville police in 2011 about his diagnosis. Police were asked to check on him two years later after he stopped attending therapy sessions at a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic.
MAN SHOOTS NEIGHBORS, SETS HOUSE ON FIRE AND SHOOTS SELF
HOLLAND (AP) - Authorities in Ohio say a man shot two of his neighbors just after they put their children on a school bus. They say he then set fire to their home and shot himself. All three were taken to a hospital Tuesday, but their conditions haven't been released. The suspect's girlfriend says there had been a dispute between him and the neighbors.
KASICH BACK ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Ohio Gov. John Kasich is campaigning again in New Hampshire. For Republican gubernatorial hopeful Chris Sununu, that is. But the former presidential candidate - and chief Donald Trump critic - is also unabashedly visiting for himself.
ISLAMIC STATE COMMANDER KILLED
BEIRUT (AP) - The Islamic State group says its spokesman and senior commander has been killed while overseeing military operations in northern Syria. And it's threatening to avenge his death. The militant group's news agency says the commander, Abu Muhammed al-Adnani, was "martyred." The death would be the latest blow to the group, which has been on the retreat in Syria and Iraq. Adnani, a senior leader, has been the voice of the Islamic State over the past few years. He's released lengthy audio files online in which he delivered fiery sermons urging followers to carry out attacks.
LEGAL GROUP SUBMITS QUESTIONS TO CLINTON
WASHINGTON (AP) - A conservative legal group has submitted 25 written questions to Hillary Clinton about her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. Judicial Watch submitted the questions today following an order issued this month by a federal judge. The group has filed several lawsuits seeking government records related to Clinton. It was hoping to depose Clinton in person. It was not immediately clear from the wording of Sullivan's order whether Clinton must answer the questions under oath before or after the November election.
OBAMA ADVISERS DISCUSS STATE ELECTION SYSTEMS
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama's national security advisers are discussing whether to designate state election systems as "critical infrastructure." Spokesman Josh Earnest says that would make federal resources available to help states secure the systems. The FBI has warned state officials to boost election security in light of evidence that hackers had targeted related data systems in two states the agency has not identified. Federal officials are concerned that hackers, particularly those working for Russia or another country, could breach U.S. elections systems and wreak havoc on the November elections.
MLB: Cleveland Indians 1 - Minnesota Twins 0 (10 innings)
NCAA: Ohio State's depth at wide receiver took a hit Monday when the university announced Monday that Torrance Gibson has been suspended from school for unspecified reasons. Coach Urban Meyer said the suspension was not related to football, and "I disagree with it." He did not comment further. The university said Gibson was suspended for the fall semester for violating the student conduct code. Gibson is a redshirt freshman quarterback-turned-receiver. Coaches said he was to be in the mix at wide receiver with Noah Brown, Corey Smith, Parris Campbell, Austin Mack, and others. The Buckeyes open the season at home Saturday against Bowling Green.