THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 2015 

FREEZING RAIN COATS ROADS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County engineer’s officials say they will continue to monitor the roads and changing weather patterns today. Road Superintendent Steve McQueen says the rain combined with freezing temperatures that began at about 9 a.m. this morning put a glaze on roads around the county, with the Dover area and north getting hit the worst.  McQueen says all 16 department trucks have been out spreading salt since 10 a.m. to combat the slick conditions. Mcqueen says he is expecting their efforts along with the slightly warmer weather to improve the situation this afternoon. Emergency responders were busy this morning with cars sliding off roadways, as well as some fall injuries with people slipping on the ice, with sidewalks and steps particularly tricky. 

ACCESSTUSC TO ADDRESS HEALTHCARE BARRIERS
DOVER - Healthcare and other social service providers are banding together for a common cause. A new program called Access Tuscarawas is designed to help patients seek appropriate care from hospitals to mental health, while addressing other barriers to care, like transportation. Union Hospital CEO Bruce James says it is refreshing that so many agencies and area hospitals can coordinate efforts to keep patients healthy. Union Hospital social services manager Jessica Kinsey says accesstusc.org is the website with comprehensive information, but there is also a video, brochures and other outreach to educate patients to know where to turn regardless of their issues. A committee has been meeting over the last year to develop the referral system unveiled to various agencies Wednesday. The next step is to implement the system countywide.

CRASH KILLS 22-YEAR-OLD
NEW PHILADELPHIA - State troopers say one man is dead after he was thrown from his pick up truck in a crash. Troopers say 22-year-old Taylor Renicker of New Philadelphia lost control around a curve on Old Town Valley Rd. near New Philadelphia’s south side about 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. The truck flipped over a guardrail, ejecting Renicker. Troopers say he was not wearing a seatbelt but the crash remains under investigation.

CHUMNEY SERVICES SET, REWARD OFFERED
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Tuscarawas County residents are banding together as the investigation into a Strasburg couple’s double homicide continues. Dental records confirmed the bodies of Doyle and Lillian Chumney were located in their burned out car in Coshocton County last week. Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer, who is a part of the multi-jurisdictional task force working on the case, says few details are being released, though the task force remains committed. Meanwhile, local restaurant and bar owner Todd Meldrum is offering a $4,000 cash reward to anyone that provides a tip to law enforcement that results in an arrest. Meldrum says the community has contributed nearly half of the money but he says he was compelled to help. Memorial visitation for the Chumney’s will be Friday from 1-3PM and 6-8PM with services on Saturday at 11AM, both at the Geib Funeral Center in Dover. 

TARDY TRASHCANS GET WARNINGS
UHRICHSVILLE - City officials say they have finally started doing something in response to complaints about trashcans staying out too long.  Mayor Terry Culbertson says he had police officers place warning stickers early Wednesday morning on about two dozen trashcans that were still out at the curbs, since an ordinance requires cans to only be out from 6 p.m. the night before Friday collections to 6 p.m. the day after.  Culbertson says this has been a recurring issue since switching to citywide trash services in with the big green containers in October. Culbertson says he is he hoping the warnings work and he is unsure when the city could start citing people if they still refuse to put their trashcans away.

CHAMBER AWARDS WELLER, HARDING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce has recognized its latest class of award winners. The annual chamber banquet Tuesday revealed this year’s Citizen of the Year as Sugarcreek Mayor Clayton Weller. His work to enhance the downtown, spur economic development, and put a Hollywood spotlight on town with the made-for-TV movie “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek” caught the chamber’s attention. This year’s chamber Hall of Fame inductee is former Union Hospital CEO Bill Harding. Although retired, Harding continues to work on the chamber’s legislative committee and has served as interim chief for the county health department and Personal and Family Counseling Service. The Budget newspaper advertising manager Milo Miller was named as the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year. Other winners previously announced include New Philadelphia music teacher Cheryl Graham as Educator of the Year, Lauren Manufacturing as Large Business of the Year, Solid Rock Photos as Small Business of the Year, and the Tuscarawas County United Way is Organization of the Year.

REVERSE 911 TEST CALL TARGETS BALTIC AREA 
BALTIC - Tuscarawas County officials say a reverse 911 call to a portion of Baltic residents Thursday will better determine the efficiency of the emergency notification system. Sheriff’s Department Communications Manager Jim Torch says Baltic was chosen to receive the test call this year because the small village is a part of three counties. Torch says the call is expected to reach nearly 322 phones. Torch says the reverse 911 system was used a few years ago during the Dover Chemical leak and worked well to warn residents of past flooding but Torch says he’s still shocked at how many people have failed to sign up. Torch says the test call is scheduled to be made around 8:30 Thursday evening and will include a brief message that clearly advises that the call is just a test of the system.

COMMITTEE REVIEWS MENARDS’ ABATEMENT PLAN
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The pieces needed to bring a Menards home improvement store into New Philadelphia are coming together on schedule. The city council Public Works committee met Monday to discuss progress with Menards real estate representative Rodney Wekkin and a consultant with the firm crafting the Community Reinvestment Area plan to qualify for 50% property tax abatement for 10 years.  Wekkin says the city has been accommodating each step of the way. Committee chair Darrin Lautenschleger says the CRA designation could extend citywide, except for residential areas, so other businesses moving in could also receive the benefits. Wekkin says Menards hopes to break ground at the former K-Mart site later this year and open next spring with 125 employees.

DOVER SETS INCOME TAX ALLOCATIONS
DOVER – City officials are again counting on another strong year of income tax collections.  Auditor Nicole Stoldt says income tax revenue in 2014 was nearly $7.8 million, and the city anticipates collecting about that much or slightly more in 2015.  Stoldt says that income has helped the city make it through state funding reductions in recent years.  Stoldt says most of the revenue is split based on need between police and fire pensions, street and maintenance repairs and cemetery funds, as well as the general fund. Stoldt says council has agreed to place 25-percent of the income tax revenue into the master capitol fund, anticipated to result in about 1.9-million dollars for projects this year.

HOMELESS SITUATION REEXAMINED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Local agencies are partnering up again to compile information so the county can better assist its homeless population.   ADAMHS Board project coordinator Mike Dotts says volunteers were conducting the annual Point in Time homeless count Tuesday to try and learn how many people have nowhere permanent to live.  Dotts says the numbers are then used to show the need when applying for grants to continue homeless services that go beyond just providing a bed and a meal.  Dotts says the volunteers were planning to go to the homeless shelter, the Harbor House domestic violence shelter and area soup kitchens for Tuesday’s homeless count. Results should be known later in the week.  

FLOOD PLAIN DEMOLITION WORK ADVANCES 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County officials say a plan to alleviate flooding problems downstream from the Dover Dam can move forward as soon as a demolition company can make time. Flood plain coordinator Jill Lengler says the project will tear down four houses off SR 800 near Potschner Dr. She says the project called for companies to take the job twice and finally received two bids just last Friday. Lengler says three homes will be gifted to Dover Township for green space and the fourth will be cleared for the Dover riverfront parklands.  Lengler says originally eight properties were tagged for demolition but four homeowners changed their mind.

PLANNING CONTINUES ON SANDYVILLE WASTEWATER PLANT
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County officials are putting the final touches on financial details for work enhancing the Metropolitan Sewer District’s operations.  Tuscarawas County Commissioners have approved a supplement to the existing service agreement with Stark County on the engineering and planning phase for the Sandyville Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements. District Director Mike Jones says Stark County will pay just over half of the cost for the approximately $1.5-million project. Jones says the work slated for next year consists of replacing old infrastructure since much of the equipment is beyond its useful life in the facility, which is more than 30 years old.

WINTER WEATHER HITS BACK
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY  -  County Engineer Joe Bachman says even after plowing and salting the nearly 1,000 lane miles Monday, the roads really need a healthy dose of sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures to completely clear. 
     The Highway Patrol responded to several minor fender benders and cars sliding off the road during the Monday morning commute, but the most significant was an apparent wrong-way driver traveling north in the southbound lanes in York Twp. south of New Philadelphia at lunchtime. No injuries were reported.

UHRICHSVILLE RETURNS TO BALLOT
UHRICHSVILLE - City voters will be asked again to approve a 1/4% income tax hike in May. Council President Mark Haney says the city still needs the $250,000 the tax would generate per year. He says many projects, including street repairs, have been put off because of declining state funding, and workers have also endured pay cuts and other measures to save money. Haney says gas and electric aggregation proposals along with a cemetery levy renewal are also schedule to appear on the May ballot.  

MOBILE MEALS SEEK ASSISTANCE
DOVER
- The non-profit group that delivers 180 meals to 90 Tuscarawas County residents every day is seeking new volunteers. Mobile Meals Coordinator Kim Nay says the group packs up coolers at Union Hospital and drives them out to people who can't cook for themselves. She says most volunteers put in about one hour a week, but many are retiring soon and need replaced. To volunteer, call the Mobile Meals office at 330-364-0870.

CHUMNEY FAMILY SEEKS ANSWERS
STRASBURG - There is still no word on suspects in the double murder of an elderly Strasburg couple found in Coshocton County last week. The family of Doyle and Lillian Chumney issued a written statement over the weekend pleading for anyone with information about the killings to come forward. The family also thanked the community for all the prayers and their privacy. The Chumney's bodies were discovered in a burned-out car in Bakersville Thursday. Police say the couple was kidnapped from their Strasburg home Tuesday. Right now, the task force investigating the case has yet to name any suspects.

TASK FORCE FORMED TO INVESTIGATE DOUBLE HOMICIDE
BAKERSVILLE - Strasburg police say two bodies found in a badly burned car in rural Coshocton County are those of a missing Strasburg couple, as confirmed Friday by dental records. Their deaths have also been ruled a homicide. Police Chief Bob Kutcher says a passerby spotted the charred car near Bakersville Thursday morning, which matched the description of a Pontiac owned by 88-year-old Doyle Chumney and his 79-year-old wife Lillian Chumney. The couple had been missing since early Wednesday. A special, multi-jurisdictional task force is now investigating the murders. The task force includes Strasburg police, the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Coshocton and Tuscarawas County sheriff's offices, Coshocton and Tuscarawas County prosecutor's offices, and the Coshocton County coroner's office. Meanwhile, nearly 100 people turned out for a candlelight vigil near the Chumney's home and a service at the Strasburg United Methodist Church Friday. The Bodmer Ave. home remains blocked off with caution tape with a small part of the side yard  filling with flowers and candles as a memorial. 

 

STATE NEWS: 

CONGRESSMAN SWITCHES ABORTION STANCE 
COLUMBUS (AP) A Democratic congressman in politically divided Ohio has publicly declared a position switch on abortion. Congressman Tim Ryan, of Niles in northeast Ohio, writes today in the Akron Beacon Journal that he initially opposed the procedure that ends pregnancy but now favors abortion rights.

AUTHORITIES SEIZE EXOTIC ANIMALS 
STONY RIDGE (AP) Ohio authorities have started seizing tigers and other exotic animals at an animal sanctuary near Toledo. The Ohio Department of Agriculture began rounding up the animals today after issuing a warning last year to the owner of the facility.

MANSION OWNERS SUE INSURANCE COMPANY 
CINCINNATI (AP) The owners of a southwest Ohio mansion that burned to the ground last year are suing their insurance company for almost $60 million for allegedly not honoring their claims. Court documents show homeowners Jeffrey and Maria Decker sued Chubb National Insurance this month in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati. The lawsuit says the insurer didn't honor the couple's insurance claims and gave no reasonable justification.

 


NATIONAL NEWS: 

LYNCH VOWS TO BE INDEPENDENT
WASHINGTON (AP) Loretta Lynch is vowing to be independent from President Obama if she's confirmed as attorney general. She testified today to a Senate panel as Republicans accused current Attorney General Eric Holder of being too politically close to Obama. During the hearing, Lynch defended the administration's new policy granting temporary relief from deportation to some 4 million people who are in the country illegally. A second day of confirmation hearings starts today.

SECOND STORM LINGERS
BOSTON (AP)  More snow could be on the way for New England. Forecasters are watching two weather systems expected to hit Friday and into the weekend. The first is a fast-moving storm that could pile up to four inches of snow on the more than two feet already covering the Boston area. Forecasters say a second storm loaded with moisture is expected to head over the region this weekend, and could bring snow, or snow turning into rain, starting Sunday night.


SPORTS:

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers 99 - Portland Trailblazers 94

NFL: A day after giving the same one-sentence response at Super Bowl Media Day, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch had another scripted answer to any questions. Lynch said "you know why I'm here" to every question except one. He stayed for five minutes. He came out to a podium instead of his original assigned spot on Wednesday.  The only time he had a different answer was when he was asked what music he'll listen to pregame before facing the New England Patriots on Sunday at the Super Bowl. He said "new song. Marshawn.  You know why I'm here." On Tuesday, Lynch said: "I'm here so I don't get fined" while talking to reporters at Media Day.

WEATHER: FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY THRU 2 PM TODAY
TODAY: Freezing rain likely, ice accumulating to a trace amount, then rain, Hi 38
TONIGHT: 70% chance of rain, then some snow after midnight, Lo 20
FRIDAY: Partly cloudy, Hi 23
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, Hi 25

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