THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016

NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR SEPTIC SYSTEMS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Building a new house that relies on its own septic system in Tuscarawas County will require more space after County Commissioners amended the regulations for lot sizes. Regional Planning Director Jill Lengler says builders need a full acre and a half instead of the current .92 area to accommodate new state mandates. Lengler says the changes generally apply to farmland divided off for future homes. She says lots already on record can be grandfathered in, but she says to check the documents before the official change over. Lengler says current home owners who need to replace their septic systems will also have to install systems that meet the new state requirements and Lengler says that will be a little more expensive as well.

TWIN CITY MAN FOUND GUILTY OF INTIMIDATION CHARGES
UHRICHSVILLE - A Uhrichsville man is back in the Tuscarawas County Jail after a jury found him guilty on two of five counts. 56 year-old Mike Zobel was charged with intimidation, violating a protection order and three other counts for threatening a woman. Assistant County Prosecutor Amanda Miller says the jury found Zobel guilty of a lesser but included offense of menacing as well as the TPO violation. But she is satisfied. Zobel had been free on his own recognizance until today and will be sentenced next month. Miller declined to go into specifics about the incident that led to his arrest but referred to it as especially vulgar.

CAMPAIGN ENDS EXCEEDING A HALF MILLION DOLLARS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County United Way officials say the 2015 campaign proceeds will go a long way to strengthen area social service agencies despite falling just short of goal.  It was announced at Thursday’s annual luncheon the 2015 campaign collected more than $513-thousand to meet the needs of 24 area community impact programs, as well as provide grants for other services.  President Alison Kerns says she is still pleased the campaign reached 95-percent of the $540-thousand goal. Campaign Chair Kristin Zemis says she gives credit to everyone involved including the volunteers, donors and those running corporate campaigns to raise money at their workplace.

WOMAN INDICTED FOR ARSON
DOVER - A New Philadelphia woman has been indicted for a series of fires in the area surrounding Dover High School last year. The Tuscarawas County grand jury is charging 22-year-old Allison Ferrell with three counts each of arson and aggravated arson. She confessed to Dover police to setting garages and sheds on fire along Fifth St., Broad St., and Tuscarawas Ave. over a month’s time. Bond was set at $75,000 in Municipal Court after her arrest in December. Arraignments on the grand jury indictments are scheduled in two weeks.

MISTRIAL DECLARED FOR LYONS CASE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The trial for a Parral man is over with a hung jury. Court officials have declared a mistrial in the case against 57-year-old Bill Lyons. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the shooting death of his tenant 44-year-old Bill Lax last year. Lyons contends the shooting was self defense, but prosecutors say the evidence failed to support that claim. The jury deliberated three-and-a-half hours over the last two days but told Judge Edward O’Farrell they would never come to a unanimous verdict. Prosecutors have to decide whether to re-try Lyons, and a ruling is still needed about whether Lyons should continue wearing a house arrest monitor. 

GRANT REIMBURSES SEWER WORK
DOVER - Tuscarawas County Health Department leaders say area residents can apply for financial assistance to replace their septic systems. Sanitarian Mike Chek says it can cost up to $15,000 each to replace a system, but the Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund is making $300,000 available to each county for grants to pay for the work. Chek says low-income and other eligible homeowners should contact the county health department starting this fall to apply.

JAYCEE VILLA RESIDENT REPORTS ROBBERY
UHRICHSVILLE - Police are investigating a home invasion and robbery at the Jaycee Villas on Claymont Drive. An apartment resident says a man knocked on her door, and she let him inside for a bottle of water. Instead, he told her he was there to rob her and rifled through her things seeking prescription drugs. She was not hurt, but he got away. Police are seeking a white man about 5-foot-10 with an Amish-style chin beard and dark hair wearing a black-and-white long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans. The robbery was reported about 8 p.m. Tuesday. 

TUSCARAWAS FOURTH IN DEER TOTALS
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - State wildlife officials say hunters took over 12,000 more deer this past season compared to the year before. Tuscarawas County Wildlife Officer Wade Dunlap says hunters across Ohio killed 188,000 deer, with Tuscarawas County accounting for 4,922 of those. Dunlap says bag limits were lower this past season, but he says fewer crops to feed on encouraged the deer to move around more. Dunlap says Tuscarawas County hunters take advantage of all the opportunities to bag a deer, though he believes bow season is gaining in popularity. Tuscarawas County ranked fourth in state, with neighboring Coshocton County coming in first place with 5,700 kills. 

AIRPORT WINDOW ADS PAYING OFF
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The city of New Philadelphia is banking its first payment on a window advertising plan. The Quaker Digital Education Foundation is partnering to replace windows at the New Philadelphia airport and put advertising inside them. Foundation coordinator Tom Farbizo says he presented council Monday with the first check from selling five windows so far. He says the advertisers are making a three-year commitment to pay $1,200 to $1,500 a year with 40% of the money returned to the city and the rest into college funds for QDA graduates. Farbizo says the project also includes new wiring and lights installed by Buckeye Career Center students. Farbizo says he has verbal commitments on two more airport windows, which all face E. High Avenue.

ZIKA VIRUS IN STARK COUNTY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Health officials and lawmakers alike are voicing their concerns as the Zika virus continues to spread. 36 cases of the mosquito-transmitted illness have been reported in the US, including one in Stark County and one in Cleveland. Tuscarawas County Health Commissioner Katie Seward says only 20% of people infected show symptoms. Seward says the Ohio Department of Health is preparing to handle any future cases in Ohio, but she says this specific mosquito primarily resides in the tropics. Seward says while both the Stark County man and the Cleveland woman recently returned from Haiti on separate trips, the virus is also known to spread through sexual contact with an infected person. US Senator Sherrod Brown is calling for the FDA to accelerate the creation of a vaccine and treatment options. 

SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO MOVE AHEAD WITH RECONFIGURATION
UHRICHSVILLE - Claymont school officials say students will begin the 2016-17 school year under a new organizational plan. The school board approved the proposal with a 4-1 vote Monday. Superintendent John Rocchi apologized for failing to include parents in the discussions that began last fall, but he says the details had to be in place and listed on the board agenda before announcing plans to the public. Rocchi says all students will be grouped by grade level starting next year, and the Northside building will no longer be used for students. Dennison parent Tabatha Crawshaw says she feels betrayed by the school board and is disappointed in the lack of communication. She says she plans to sell her house and move out of the district.

CHUMNEY MURDERER SENTENCED TO LIFE
COSHOCTON - The final suspect involved in the killings of an elderly Strasburg couple learned his fate in court Monday. 22-year-old Jeff Stewart changed his plea and was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison with parole possible for his part in murdering Doyle and Lillian Chumney in January of 2015. Coshocton County Prosecutor Jason Given says Stewart will serve at least 50 years before release is even considered. In addition to the two counts of aggravated murder, Stewart also pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, robbery, arson, and two counts of kidnapping and will serve those sentences concurrently. Coshocton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Batchelor says he is unable to think of a more horrible crime. The Chumneys’ bodies were found inside their burned-out car near Bakersville. Stewart was charged for helping 30-year-old Bobby Clark of Dennison in the kidnapping and shooting deaths the Chumneys. Clark is serving life without parole for his role in the murders.

NP TO START CONTRACT TALKS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City leaders and unions are about to start contract negotiations. Mayor Joel Day says they will all undergo training for interest-based bargaining later this week. Day says the process has been used successfully in the past, but he says with a new administration in place, everyone needs a refresher. He says contracts for both AFSCME units as well as police and firefighters expired at the end of December, so he wants new agreements as soon as possible. Day says the process allows both sides to actually meet face to face at the bargaining table without hired negotiators. Day says all the parties will attend the training together, but each union will have a separate negotiating session scheduled later.

CITY BRACES FOR REVENUE, OTHER BUDGET CHANGES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Council members are laying the groundwork to form a city budget, calculating job losses and using a new process. Finance committee chair Darrin Lautenschleger says he is wondering how the Sears store closing at New Towne Mall will impact revenues, and council is changing how it communicates with department heads. He says the 46 employees at Sears who are paying income tax will disappear when the store shuts down in the next few weeks, and he says council will meet with department heads only as needed to avoid dragging them into council meetings unnecessarily. Lautenschleger says he also wants a summary document about how the budget was formed to post online and make available to residents. 

CITY LEADERS TO EXPLORE TIF
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City officials are exploring the idea of using a tax deferral program for future development. Mayor Joel Day says the planning commission will meet to consider tax increment financing. A TIF agreement collects service fees up to 75% for ten years from developers instead of property taxes. The service fees are placed in a separate fund established to be used for a specific purpose, like roads and water lines installed by the developers. Day says he wants to learn more. Goshen Twp. trustees established the plan for an apartment complex just outside New Philadelphia as well as a gas station on the east end. The idea also needs school district support because it would lose potential tax dollars during the ten years.

ADVOCATES PROMOTE DATING VIOLENCE AWARENESS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Area domestic violence prevention advocates are reminding parents and teens about the signs of dating violence. Harbor House Case Manager Aubrey Lattimer says February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month as couples prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Lattimer says she is concerned for high school students, who are less likely to seek help. Lattimer says many victims are subjected to violence at various times in their lives, as perpetrators are also likely to continue the habit into adulthood. Lattimer says one in every ten high school students has reportedly experienced physical violence from a partner in the past year.  

TuscBDD OFFICIAL SUPPORTS TERMINOLOGY CHANGE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Local developmental disabilities officials say they are applauding a movement in the state legislature to remove a term they find offensive from the state laws. A proposed bill would replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” when referenced in Ohio law. TuscBDD spokesman Nate Kamban says he feels this is the right move. Kamban says he believes society has also been catching on since county boards dropped the term from their titles about seven years ago. The proposal to remove “mental retardation” from state laws has cleared the house and now goes to the senate for consideration.  

SHERIFF SUPPORTS STIFF BACKGROUND CHECKS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County Sheriff Walt Wilson says authorities are trying to keep up with potential problems to prevent violent crimes. He says many rules are in place to prevent criminals or the mentally ill from buying guns. Wilson says the first defense is the courts reporting offenders. He says not just gun buyers but those who want a permit to carry a concealed weapon are also subjected to the checks. Wilson says he is always seeking new ways to prevent violence, but he is realistic about eradicating it completely.

ROVER PIPELINE QUESTIONS ADDRESSED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Local OSU Extension agents say they continue to receive questions about a proposed natural gas pipeline that will likely run through the northern part of Tuscarawas County. Natural Resources Educator Chris Zoller says he was first introduced to the plans for the Rover Pipeline over two years ago, though no specific date for construction has been set. Zoller says some farmers are concerned, while others are intrigued. Zoller says many farmers worry about the integrity of their fields after the pipeline is finished, but he says crop production is still possible once the line is installed. Meanwhile, the Carroll, Tuscarawas, and Stark County Farm Bureaus are hosting a briefing on the topic on February 25th in East Canton. 


STATE NEWS:

MAYOR APOLOGIZES FOR BILLING FAMILY OF DEAD BOY
CLEVELAND (AP) - The mayor of Cleveland apologized to the family of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer, for the city having sent the administrator of the boy's estate an expense claim of $500 for ambulance services. Mayor Frank Jackson said Thursday the claim shouldn't have been sent.

SALE OF PRISON OK UNDER STATE CONSTITUTION
COLUMBUS (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court says the sale of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut to a private company didn't violate the state constitution. The deal in 2011 made it the first state prison in the nation to be sold to a private company. The court's 5-2 ruling Thursday cleared the sale, which had been challenged by a union and by former prison employees.

CREWS RESCUE DRIVER TRAPPED IN VEHICLE IN RIVER
HUBER HEIGHTS (AP) - Fire crews have rescued a person trapped in a vehicle that crashed into the Great Miami River in southwestern Ohio. Authorities say rescue crews responded late last night to a report of a car that had crashed. They found a car that apparently had rolled down an embankment and ended up on its top in the river.

NATIONAL NEWS:
WILDLIFE REFUGE SIEGE IS OVER
BURNS, Ore. (AP) - The occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon is over. Surrounded by FBI agents in armored vehicles, the last four occupiers surrendered today. They were the last holdouts from a group that had seized the refuge nearly six weeks ago, demanding that the government turn the land over to locals and release two ranchers who'd been imprisoned for setting fires.

RUBIO EXPECTS POSSIBLE BROKERED CONVENTION
OKATIE, S.C. (AP) - Marco Rubio says having a brokered national convention this year would not necessarily be a bad thing. The Florida Republican said today his campaign is prepared to compete until the GOP nomination is decided - even if that means the GOP has to select a nominee at its July convention. He made the comments while having a late breakfast with reporters at a South Carolina Cracker Barrel. Rubio says the rules were never designed "to have everybody drop out after a certain time."

BIG DAY FOR ASTRONOMERS
WASHINGTON (AP) - Once again, Einstein had it right. A century ago, he suggested the existence of gravitational waves -- faint ripples in the continuum that combines both time and three-dimensional space. And today, scientists say they have finally detected those waves. Astronomers say it's a historic development -- one that could change the way we observe the universe and the violent collisions that are constantly shaping it. As one of them puts it, "Until this moment, we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn't hear the music." He says, "The skies will never be the same."


SPORTS:

NFL: A Columbus development group plans to stop pushing a request for the state to help pay $5 million to build a practice facility for the Cleveland Browns at Ohio State University so the team can move its summer training camp. The idea has drawn backlash in Cleveland.


WEATHER
:
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy, Lo 10
FRIDAY: 40% chance of afternoon snow showers, little or no accumulation, Hi 25
SATURDAY: Partly cloudy, Hi 11


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