THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2016

CHEMICAL DUMPING CONTINUES
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP - Bolivar firefighters say the Environmental Protection Agency will investigate a couple more chemical dumping incidents in the area. Chief Shawn Lynch says a Lawrence Township trustee caught a Cleveland-area environmental chemical company truck driver release approximately 100 gallons off the side of Towpath Road just before 9 AM Wednesday.  Another dump site was then located down the road a couple hours later. Lynch says this is close to where a soap-like liquid with traces of pesticides and herbicides was released late last month, which seems to be the case this time as well. Lynch says the truck driver told the trustee his vehicle had been leaking but then left shortly after being confronted before authorities could arrive. Lynch says it remains to be seen what type of environmental impact the releases this time around could have, though it did erode soil along a guardrail between the road and canal. Lynch says the truck’s information was also reported to the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s office for investigation. This follows releases also discovered near Beach City April 18 and south of Canton April 21.

LOCAL GOP PLEDGES UNITY BEHIND TRUMP
DOVER - Local party leadership says Republicans can now begin to move past a contentious presidential primary season and focus on uniting for the July convention. Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee after dominating the Indiana primary this week, causing Ted Cruz and John Kasich to suspend their campaigns. Tuscarawas County Republican Party Chair Doug Wills says that should silence any discussions about the possibility of having a contested convention in Cleveland this summer, but Wills says it is too early to guess who could run as a vice presidential candidate on a Trump ticket. Wills says the Tuscarawas County Republican Party agreed from the start to make no endorsements during the primaries but instead fully support the nominee once one emerged.  

BALTIC MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD ENDANGERING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A Baltic man is pleading guilty to a child endangering charge for leaving a loaded gun where a small child could reach it, which resulted in the child shooting himself in the leg. 27-year-old Adam Bays changed his plea Monday on the one-count indictment. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos released Bays on his own recognizance pending his sentencing hearing next month. He was charged following the shooting last November in his Baltic apartment. The child recovered.

DD BOARD TRANSITIONS NEW LEADER
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County’s Developmental Disabilities Board is on its way to filling the open superintendent’s job. Spokesman Nate Kamban was promoted this week to the transitional assistant superintendent with the goal of hiring him for the top job in July of 2017. Kamban says he will spend the next year meeting with clients and discovering how other boards around the state run their programs. Current Interim Superintendent Kellie Brown calls the process a good method for succession planning and recommended Kamban for the job. Kamban, who is a New Philadelphia High School graduate with a master’s degree, managed a disabilities project in Africa before returning to the US. He calls the TuscBDD job a dream come true. Brown is the Guernsey County DD Board superintendent and will continue to fill in as Tuscarawas County’s interim until Kamban takes over. 

CO-DEFENDANT SET TO TESTIFY AT ABDUCTION TRIAL 
NEW PHILADELPHIA
 - The Tuscarawas County prosecutor’s office is building up its case for a trial against an abduction suspect.  29-year-old Zenia Randle of Dover had her kidnapping and felonious assault trial pushed back to June 7. She is accused of abducting an acquaintance at gunpoint for an apparent drug intervention last November. Prosecutor Ryan Styer says an accomplice, 34-year-old Shauntae Metcalf of New Philadelphia, is expected to testify against Randle after Metcalf pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and tampering with evidence Monday. Styer says he is recommending a three-year prison term for Metcalf at her June 13 sentencing. 

SENIOR EXPO TO HIGHLIGHT LOCAL SERVICE PROVIDERS
DOVER - Tuscarawas County Senior Service Network members are highlighting the services available to a specific demographic. The 5th annual 50 Plus Expo is today at the Tuscarawas County Senior Center. Network President Yvette Schupbach says she expects up to 300 people to stop by and speak with the 40 vendors that plan to set up for the event. Schupbach says attendees can also participate in various health screenings and dispose of their unwanted prescriptions with the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office. The 50 Plus Expo runs from 8 AM to 12:30 PM with lunch served by the Dover baseball team.

JOB FAIR RETURNS TODAY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Employers with now-hiring signs are gathering under one roof to try and fill some of those job openings this week. The Tuscarawas County Job Fair returns to the Monroe Centre in New Philadelphia from 11 AM to 2 PM today. 7th District Congressman Bob Gibbs, whose office is one of the sponsors, says the event will also be a learning experience for him to provide a better glimpse of the local job market. Gibbs says one of the biggest struggles some employers are having is finding applicants who can pass drug tests. WJER Radio, which will broadcast live from the Job Fair, is also partnering with OhioMeansJobs and others to host the event.  

COMMITTEE CONSIDERS PARKING CHANGES
DOVER - Drivers seeking a parking space in downtown Dover may be getting some relief. City Safety Director Tim Tarulli says a handful of hair salon customers were upset recently as their appointments typically run past the one-hour parking limit downtown and they had to pay fines. Tarulli says council’s safety committee will investigate the city’s options, including extending the limit to two hours, issuing special parking placards, or possibly metered parking. In the meantime, Tarulli reminds drivers about unlimited timed parking spaces around the quadrants in the square downtown.

WATERPARK UPDATES SCHEDULED
UHRICHSVILLE
 - Officials say the Waterpark will undergo some repair work before the crowds arrive at the end of this month. Mayor Rick Dorland says safety equipment needs replaced to satisfy state safety standards, along with some cosmetic updates planned. He says keeping the Waterpark updated and clean will help bring in business this summer. Dorland says the updates will be paid for out of the general fund, but he expects the final cost to be under $10,000. He says along with new equipment, the pool also needs resealed and painted after the 2016 season.

COMPOST DROP-OFF SITE TO REOPEN
DOVER - City officials say residents throughout the region will soon have a place to toss their landscaping leftovers again. Service Director Dave Douglas says the Joint Solid Waste District has offered a grant to staff a compost facility for yard debris and grass clippings on Tuscarawas Avenue after the site was closed last year because of misuse. The facility is strictly for private residents living throughout the Tuscarawas-Stark-Wayne tri-county area. Douglas says he is planning to reopen the facility complete with security measures by June 1.

GRANT FUNDS OMEGA JOBS PLAN
WALNUT CREEK – A regional jobs plan can move forward with the help of a $164,000 federal grant awarded to the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association. OMEGA director Jeannette Wierzbicki announced the award here last week. She says the money allows for public-private partnerships to spur economic growth and job creation throughout the area over the next three years.

HOMELESS SHELTER PLANS FOR EXPANSION
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County Friends of the Homeless leaders say they want to expand both the Pathway to Wellness Program and the Homeless Shelter in the next five years. Board President Jack Ream says the Wellness Program currently helps five men each year get off drugs and alcohol, but he says many more need the free assistance. Ream says the proposed new homeless shelter could hold up to 100 people and also serve as the new site for the Pathway program. Ream says the board is seeking state and federal funding as well as private contributions. 

TuscBDD CREATING CITYWIDE DISABILITY REGISTRY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities leaders say they are working with the New Philadelphia Fire Department to create a special needs registry. TuscBDD Spokesman Nate Kamban says the data collection will better prepare first responders for when they receive a call from the home of a person with special circumstances, like sensory processing issues. Kamban says the registry is also intended to list elderly residents and people with physical disabilities. He says case managers are working to meet with all TuscBDD families to document their specific needs.  

PANHANDLE PASSAGE TRAILHEAD CONSTRUCTION BEGINS
UHRICHSVILLE - Twin City officials say the centerpiece to the pedestrian path linking Dennison and Uhrichsville is nearly complete. Dennison Council member Greg DiDonato says he would like the Panhandle Passage Trailhead on E. Fourth Street in Uhrichsville near the Little Stillwater Creek to open by Memorial Day. DiDonato says the park will include a small parking area, sidewalks, and a centralized access to the 1.1-mile trail to keep users away from the busy streets. DiDonato says organizers have secured about $60,000 of the $75,000 fundraising goal for the project.

STORMS KNOCK OUT POWER
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Weather conditions are much improved compared to what we experienced across The Valley overnight Sunday. The storms dropped hail as big as a quarter in size in some locations. Our listeners shared pictures of some of the damage caused by the hail, which you can check out on the WJER Facebook page. The strong winds also knocked some trees across roads, mostly in the northern part of the county. The lingering effects of the storm were also leaving some homes in the dark at different times throughout the morning. American Electric Power officials say about 300 customers lost service for around 90 minutes near the south end of New Philadelphia when a power line fell at 7:30 AM, which could have been caused by the aftermath of the storms. Later in the morning, the AEP Outage Map indicated about 800 customers were without service. However, AEP is now reporting the power is on for all of its customers in Tuscarawas County.
   

BUCKEYE GRATEFUL TO CONGRESS
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Buckeye Career Center officials say they will be able to continue to offer a variety of outside programming for vocational students thanks to an act of Congress. Principal Jay Davis says Congress reauthorized the Perkins Education Act, which provides around $300,000 a year to Buckeye alone. Davis says Buckeye often uses the funding to cover national skills competitions and other student organization costs that enhance the classroom and lab experiences for students. He says the competitive grant program dates back almost 30 years.    

FATAL PLANE CRASH INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
NEW PHILADELPHIA – State troopers are still trying to establish a timeline of events prior to a fatal plane crash in Carroll County last week involving a Youngstown area man. The pilot killed in the crash was 83-year-old Willard Olds of Canfield. Troopers say Olds left from the Carroll County–Tolson Airport on Sunday, April 24 but descended into a wooded area shortly after takeoff and struck several trees. The Carroll County Sheriff’s office and State Highway Patrol were notified of the missing aircraft Thursday night and located the plane the next morning southeast of State Route 39 near Mechanicstown. A dog reportedly survived the crash.
 

STATE NEWS:
STATE SEIZES EXOTIC ANIMALS FROM MASSILLON FARM
MASSILLON (AP) - The state has moved to seize tigers and other animals from a northeast Ohio farm, saying it has not met the requirements of a law cracking down on exotic animal ownership. A spokeswoman says Ohio's Department of Agriculture took action Wednesday against Stump Hill Farm in Massillon after the facility's attempts at accreditation stalled. Owner Cyndi Huntsman argues her facility is exempt from the requirements under the law.

NEW VENUE NEEDED FOR COPS' TRIAL
CLEVELAND (AP) - An Ohio appeals court says five white Cleveland police supervisors accused of failing to stop a chase that ended with officers killing two black suspects cannot face charges in the predominantly black suburb where the shooting occurred. Cleveland.com reports the court ruled the case must be tried in county court, where they were first charged, instead of in East Cleveland, where the case had been moved.

RICE FAMILY SPEAKS AT KSU 
KENT
(AP) - Tamir Rice's mother says at this year's commemoration of the 1970 shootings at Kent State University that it does not matter what race a person is when fighting for justice. Samaria Rice was invited to speak at Wednesday's event, which also focuses this year on the Black Lives Matter movement that Tamir's death helped fuel.

COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF STATE
COLUMBUS (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled Ohio can retroactively change funding for school districts and other political divisions. The Blade newspaper reports the court ruled 5-2 Wednesday that Toledo Public Schools cannot recoup $3.6 million in education subsidies withheld by the state to make up for discrepancies in enrollment figures reported for the district and charter schools.

NATIONAL NEWS: 
FLORIDA EXECUTION SENTENCES QUESTIONED
TALLAHASSEE, FL (AP) - Florida's Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today that will ultimately help it decide whether to reduce the death sentences of 389 death row inmates to life in prison. Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court found Florida's system of sentencing people gave too much power to judges rather than juries. Already, two executions have been halted because of the ruling. 
 
TRUMP RECEIVES COOL GOP RECEPTION
WASHINGTON (AP) - Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he will have to win support from congressional Republicans. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been critical of Trump's comments. Conservative Rep. Steve King, who is chairing the Republican Party committee, has said, "I've never seen a nominee pour out so many insults on other people as Donald Trump has," but King also says it is time to support the nominee.

CEASE-FIRE FOR ALEPPO
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Syria's military has confirmed a 48-hour cease-fire in the northern city of Aleppo after US officials announced an agreement had been reached with Russia. This as the UN's political chief tells an emergency meeting of the Security Council the Syrian government's bombing campaign in Aleppo over the last two weeks is among "the worst" of the five-year war.  The UN envoy for Syria said earlier today the alternative to a cease-fire in Aleppo would be "catastrophic," raising the possibility that 400,000 people could head for the Turkish border.

SPORTS:
NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers 123 - Atlanta Hawks 98 (Cavs lead series 2-0)
MLB: Cleveland Indians 4 - Detroit Tigers 0
H.S. BASKETBALL: New Philadelphia basketball coach Chad Spurgeon is stepping down to take the same job at Massillon Perry. He says he will miss New Philadelphia but is returning to his alma mater, and his wife also teaches at Perry.


WEATHER:
TODAY: 70% chance of morning rain, Hi 58
TONIGHT: 30% chance of rain, Lo 45
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, Hi 65
SATURDAY: 60% chance of rain, Hi 70

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