NEW PHILADELPHIA (TUSCO TV) - United Way of Tuscarawas County officials are thanking supporters and volunteers for another year of giving. The organization wrapped up its 76th annual fundraising campaign with its yearly luncheon Thursday.  Campaign Co-Chair Chris Lane says it raised nearly $563,000 for local health and human services programs, up 3-percent from the previous year. This year’s top honor of the Vic Marsh Service Award went to Craig Laughlin of Dover, who extended his gratitude to everyone involved. The Organization Announced Jennifer Jones of Aultman Hospital will head up the 2019 campaign, which kicks off in May with the annual Color Us United race. Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell will serve as the United Way board chair next year. 

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court hosted Law Day for area high school students Thursday. Common Pleas Judge Edward O’Farrell says students were respectful and attentive as they sat in on court cases involving felony traffic and drug violations. He said he hopes the students will now think twice about the consequences of their behaviors. And maybe consider careers in the legal system. Court administrator Elizabeth Stephenson said the court co-sponsors the event with the educational service center. Area high schools pick which students will attend. Stephenson said she provides a crash course in the judicial system before students enter the courtroom. Stephenson said the event takes place three times a year and they invite participation from all area high schools.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County officials say they appear to be successful in their second attempt to bid a Wilkshire Hills Waste Water Treatment Plant improvement project. Metropolitan Sewer District Director Mike Jones says the bids received this time were within the required 10% of the estimated cost. Jones says the initial project was a single-phase overhaul, but he says to get lower prices from contractors they decided to split the work up. Jones says the first phase will be installing a new early stage filtration system to replace their current one from the 1970’s, before moving onto other parts of the facility. Later phases will also include a new generator for backup power at the treatment plant, as well as the complete demolition of the screen building. But Jones says they will first have to review the bids and select a contractor.

(WJER) - City council is working to match up the zoning at the Quaker Dome with the school district’s plans to put preschool classrooms there. New Philadelphia city council will soon vote on proposed zoning legislation that would allow the Quaker Dome to house classes there beginning next year. Zoning and Annexation Committee Chair Cheryl Ramos says the Quaker Dome is currently labeled an industrial zone. Ramos says the proposed changes would rezone the area to business and permit educational facilities in the city’s business zones. City council is hosting public hearing on the zoning changes on March 11 before they vote, as required by law.

NEWCOMERSTOWN (TUSCO TV) - Newcomerstown officials say the village’s finances have come a long way since being placed under fiscal emergency status in 2012. Mayor Pat Cadle says Fiscal Officer Lisa Stiteler’s guidance helped the village increase its fund balances by more than $2.5 million in the last five years. Stiteler, who came on board in the spring of 2014, says one of the biggest factors was the village switching to a money market account with a higher interest rate, generating over $76,000 in 2018 alone. She expects that to increase to around $100,000 this year. The village has also managed to lower insurance expenses and secure over $600,000 in grants since 2016.

(WJER) - The county’s Anti-Drug Coalition along with Personal And Family Counseling Services are showing educators and agencies how to approach kids about drug prevention. Coalition Coordinator Jodi Salvo says they have prevention training sessions covering three different programs over the next month. She says the first this week involves “Botvin’s Life-Skills Elementary School Trainings,” where participants learn about a comprehensive substance abuse and violence prevention program for upper elementary students. Salvo says all trainings are free and are being covered by state funding. Salvo says the other programs include “Strengthening Families Training” February 21st and 22nd, and “Keepin’ It Real” training March 14th and 15th.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) – The city prosecutor’s office is getting more room and storage space through a move that won’t cost taxpayers. Law Director Marvin Fete says his office will be relocating from the municipal building into the old fire station on Second Street SE in about a month. Fete says his prosecutors are currently working in small rooms with their files stored in the hallways, while he’s had to work out of his private law office. This switch will also give the new victim’s advocate a space where she can have private conversations with crime victims. 

(TUSCO TV) - The New Philadelphia School District is taking the next step toward creating a new learning environment for its youngest students. The school board has approved a contract to renovate part of the Quaker Dome into a pre-school for just under $836,000. Superintendent David Brand says this will feature four preschool classrooms to replace the ones the district has been using at starlight school, because starlight is re-programming and needs its space back. Brand says there are some areas at the athletic facility that aren’t being used, and this could fit into the master plan they want to develop. Brand says the work should begin soon and must be completed before school starts back up after summer break.

(TUSCO TV) - Students are embracing the power of positivity this week in honor of Valentine’s Day. High school Spanish Teacher Valerie Hershberger says district students are completing simple but meaningful daily tasks as part of the first-ever “Garaway Love Challenge.” She says this is to encourage students grades 7-through-12 to be kind to others and themselves by completing new challenges each day such as say hello to five people, talk to someone new, compliment someone and show gratitude to someone. Hershberger says they’ll be reminding students about of the importance of self-care during “Don’t Forget About You” Friday. Hershberger says the challenge is based on something she saw on social media, and the website called TheGreatKindnessChallenge.com. She then approached Superintendent Jim Millet, who agreed it would be a good idea to do this week for Valentine’s Day.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - The newest addition to the New Philadelphia Municipal Court system is introducing herself. The city prosecutor’s office has chosen Debbie Lebold to become their first victim’s advocate through a grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Lebold will make sure victims know their rights, have access to emotional support and are aware of what’s required of them throughout a court case.  Lebold grew up in Carrollton, is a 1989 graduate of New Philadelphia High School and previously served as a victim advocate in Summit County.  

(TUSCO TV) - Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services officials are hoping to improve security at their New Philadelphia office following a policy adjustment. Director David Haverfield says the county commissioners approved a resolution allowing JFS to authorize select employees to carry concealed weapons on the job. Haverfield says it’s just another added layer of protection they can use to keep employees and clients safe. He says they will choose which employees carry based on a volunteer system for staff with a concealed carry permit. County Sheriff Orvis Campbell says he will oversee their vetting and training process. Haverfield says they also considered hiring a security guard but decided this initiative would be cheaper and more effective, giving them protection beyond the front doors and further into the JFS offices.

(WJER) - Supporters pushing for a drug free Tuscarawas County are adding some resources to their fight.  The Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition spent five days last week in Washington DC with about 3,000 others for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Leadership Forum. Local coordinator Jodi Salvo says they were able to pick up new prevention skills. Salvo says they also had a day to meet with the offices of Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, along with Congressman Bob Gibbs. The purpose was to advocate for the funding needed to keep the communities and state safe. Salvo says the coalition has five committees that each focus on a different drug. Those committees will use this information from the trip to strengthen their action plans.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s engineer is telling motorists to be cautious driving with potholes popping up all over. Joe Bachman says with the large temperature swings, road conditions have continued to deteriorate. But Bachman says he needs is dry weather to be able to patch the problems until they can address them permanently in the summer using either a cold mix or the dura-patch. And Bachman says it takes significant labor to catch up with the crumbling roads as they keep taking more damage. He says 465 miles of roads and will take 3-5 weeks of patching. Bachman says all pothole complaints received by his department are recorded so crews can keep track and decide which areas need the most attention.

WASHINGTON (WJER) - The two congressmen representing Tuscarawas County say they want negotiators to reach a deal by the Friday deadline to both keep the government open and properly fund border security. 7th District Congressman Bob Gibbs believes there is bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for the president’s $5.7-billion border security request. 6th District Congressman Bill Johnson says he agrees there is a humanitarian and security crisis at the border, so the president could declare an emergency to get the funding for his long-promised wall. The last partial shutdown that started on December 22nd lasted 35 days.  

NEW PHILADELPHIA – (TUSCO TV) Tuscarawas County Board of Elections officials expect a light primary election this spring. Deputy Director Sarah Kneuss says there could be two mayoral primaries, both on the Democratic side. Uhrichsville Council President Mark Haney is seeking a rematch against incumbent Mayor Rick Dorland, while Tim Still is hoping to reclaim the Dennison mayor’s seat from Jeff Dryden. For tax issues, Dover and Garaway school districts are seeking additional operating funds. Perry and Warwick townships, the Union Cemetery District and the Indian Valley School District are asking for renewals. Kneuss says the board still must meet for certification February 19th to determine if the candidates qualify for the ballot.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Ohio authorities charged a man Thursday with aggravated murder in the 1992 slaying of a woman at a truck stop, one of four such killings they say he is linked to through DNA evidence. Samuel Legg III was extradited from Arizona to face charges in the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape in that case Thursday. Legg's court-appointed attorney declined to comment after that hearing. It's unclear if Legg has an attorney yet for the murder charges.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Planned Parenthood has sued Ohio over a law that bans dilation and evacuation abortions, one of the most common abortion methods. Former Gov. John Kasich signed the ban last year on the procedure known as D&E and which is commonly used in second-trimester abortions. The lawsuit asks a judge to stop the law from being enforced and to declare it unconstitutional. Attorney General David Yost says his office will "vigorously defend" the law's constitutionality.

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Some 100,000 people are being told to boil their water, schools are closed and diners' Valentine's Day plans are disrupted after a pipe broke in one of Ohio's largest cities. Crews in Dayton located the leak early Thursday under the Great Miami River and are working to repair it. As many as 400,000 people initially lost water altogether before authorities located the leak. Distribution sites for bottled water are set up around the city.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cats will now longer be used by an Ohio children's hospital in teaching doctors a method of examining human airways and lungs.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had complained to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center about practicing the procedure on cats. The animal rights group says there are alternative techniques to putting tubes down cats' throats and that the practice can cause respiratory distress, collapsed lungs or cardiac arrest.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he holds out hope of meeting President Donald Trump soon to resolve a crisis triggered by America's recognition of opponent Juan Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader. Maduro tells The Associated Press that a month into Venezuela's political crisis, his government held secret talks with the Trump administration and predicted he would survive an unprecedented global campaign to force his resignation.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to bypass lawmakers and declare a national emergency to siphon billions of dollars from federal coffers for his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Congress lopsidedly approved a border security compromise that would avert a second painful government shutdown, but the $1.4 billion in wall money in the bill is far below the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted he must have. Trump is expected to sign the bill and talk about border security on Friday.

BEIJING (AP) — An official Chinese news agency says U.S. and Chinese negotiators will meet next week in Washington for talks on a technology dispute. The talks are aimed at beating a March 2 deadline for a planned American tariff hike. The Xinhua News Agency's announcement followed two days of talks in Beijing that had been the last scheduled meeting before the March 2 deadline.

RUGA SETTLEMENT, Nigeria (AP) — On the eve of Nigeria's election on Saturday, the lack of campaigning in impoverished areas on the outskirts of the capital contrasts with the election-time bustle of downtown Abuja, where streets are adorned with posters of presidential candidates and their followers are bused in to boisterous events. It also highlights the frustration of many of Nigeria's poor amid a lavish election campaign as President Muhammadu Buhari tries to shake off a challenge by his billionaire rival, Atiku Abubakar.

NEW YORK (AP) — Some experts say that Amazon's decision to scrap plans to build a massive headquarters in New York City could scare off other companies thinking about either making NYC their home or a place to expand. Amazon decided not to build in Queens following fierce opposition from politicians angry about nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and the company's anti-union stance. Some 25,000 jobs had been promised.

NCAA MEN: Trent Frazier scored 15 points and Ayo Dosunmu buried a key 3-pointer with 29 seconds remaining as Illinois held off Ohio State 63-56 Thursday for its fourth win in a row.

MLB: Indians All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer says the final 10 minutes of his salary arbitration hearing was "character assassination" against him. Bauer beat Cleveland in arbitration for the second straight year and was awarded $13 million by the three-person panel over the Indians' $11 million offer. Bauer says he views the process very intellectual and is unemotional about it. He says it didn't sour his feelings about the Indians.

TODAY: Isolated showers before 10 am, gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 34 by 5pm
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy, Lo 20
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny, Hi 34
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, a chance of snow before 2 pm, then a chance of rain, Hi 38