THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014


FORMER GHS BAND DIRECTOR SENTENCED 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A former Garaway High School band director has been sentenced for having a relationship with a student. 28-year-old Ryan McPeeks of New Philadelphia was ordered to spend four years in prison and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery for the encounter that happened when the girl was 18 but still a student at the school. Judge Elizabeth Thomakos told McPeeks there is no excuse for his actions. Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer says McPeeks is also accused of relationships with other former students within months of graduation and an attempted relationship with current student through social media but Defense Attorney Derek Lowry says other activities should have no bearing on the sentence. Styer says he will recommend McPeeks become eligible for judicial release and sex offender treatment after nine months in prison, but Thomakos says she is making no promises.

DOWNTOWN STORE ROBBED AT GUNPOINT 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police say they are pursuing leads to an armed robbery Tuesday night. Detective Captain Shawn Nelson says the man showed the clerks at Marty’s Coaches Corner on East High Avenue a 45-caliber semi automatic handgun about 10 PM and demanded money. Nelson says he can only guess on the motive for the hold up but Nelson says investigators are using surveillance video and other sources to track down the suspect. The suspect got away on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash from the register and the safe. He is described as a 6-foot tall black man who was wearing a red bandana over his face and hoodie.

COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES DEBATE PORT AUTHORITY
DOVER - Tuscarawas County’s two contestants for commissioner are voicing their differing opinions towards the former port authority. Republican incumbent Kerry Metzger says the organization, now known as the Economic Development and Finance Alliance or ED-FA, helps bring businesses into the area with one director and five commissioner appointed board members. Metzger says the agency is an asset for the county. His opponent, Democrat John Miceli calls the organization a “run away train” and believes the operations conducted by the ED-FA should be handled by private enterprises.  Metzger and Miceli were live for our WJER Town Meeting Wednesday. The program Thursday features Juvenile Court Judge Linda Kate and her opponent Bob Preston at 1 PM. then at 1:30 John Carlisle and Jay Hottinger will be in to discuss their race for state senate.

WJER TOWN MEETINGS DIAL UP ELECTION INFO

TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Election Day is  a week away so WJER is hosting its Town Meetings all this week. The shows start at 1 PM when we will tackle a different issue or candidate race every day. The WJER Town Meetings continue Thursday with the candidates running for juvenille and probate court judge. Incumbent Judge Lina Kate and challenger Bob Preston will be in our studios beginning at 1 PM. Then at 1:30PM, State Rep. Jay Hottinger and John Carlisle will discuss their bids for 31st District State Senate. You can call in your questions or email them to wjer@wjer.com. 

TOWN MEETING HIGHLIGHTS STATE REP RACE
DOVER - Tuscarawas and a portion of Holmes County residents will choose next week between a two-term incumbent and former village mayor for the 98th district State Representative seat. Both Republican Al Landis of Dover and Democrat Jeremiah Johnson of Sugarcreek were live for our WJER Town Meeting Tuesday. One caller questioned Landis about local funding cuts. Landis says municipalities have recently experienced a 5-8% loss but he says the reduction stems from the high unemployment rates four years ago as the tax base also shrunk. Meanwhile, Johnson says educational needs vary across Ohio’s districts. He says teachers’ input should be considered before the state makes another move with the Common Core standards. Join us again Wednesday during our Town Meeting as we speak with County Commissioner Kerry Metzger and challenger John Miceli. We’ll begin taking your questions live on the air at 1PM. 

MAYOR EXPLAINS FOUR ISSUES DURING TOWN MEETING
UHRICHSVILLE – The city’s mayor says he’s counting on voters to pull the city through the next few years financially. Mayor Terry Culbertson says the ¼% income tax increase up for vote next week would bring in nearly $200,000 a year and would support capitol improvements and the general fund. Culbertson says gas and electric aggregation issues are on the ballot as well. If passed, residents would have to opt out of the two individual programs. Culbertson says aggregations would also help limit costs for the city owned properties. Voters will also be asked to approve a .5 mill park levy renewal to maintain the public parks and ball fields. Culbertson was a guest on the WJER Town Meeting Monday. 

MAN INDICTED FOR BURGLARY SCHEME 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A New Philadelphia man held in the Tuscarawas County Jail accused of several break-ins now faces additional charges. 23-year-old Justin Litman has been indicted as a suspect in the burglary at Big Money Pawn Shop in August. The suspect made false calls to police to send both Dover and New Philadelphia officers in opposite directions from the Bowers Avenue shop. Litman was arrested when police say they found several stolen items in his home from the pawn shop, as well as items missing from vehicles around his south side neighborhood.

ELMORE FACES FELONIOUS ASSAULT CHARGES 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A domestic dispute between two brothers has escalated into an indictment from the Tuscarawas County Grand Jury. 21-year-old Devin Elmore, of Gnadenhutten and formerly of Uhrichsville, faces two counts of felonious assault. He is accused of stabbing his younger brother in the chest. Police found the South Wallace Street victim in an alley July 30th when he identified his assailant at the time. Elmore was arrested three weeks later when he found at a Sherrodsville home. He remains free on bond pending his arraignment in December.

PATIENTS SEEK BLOOD BATTLE WIN 
DOVER - Union Hospital patients will benefit from an annual tradition in the valley during week ten of the high school football season. The 17th annual Dover- New Philadelphia Blood Battle is Wednesday at the Tuscarawas County YMCA in Dover. UH spokesman Carey Gardner says residents from all over Tuscarawas County pitch in to help, regardless of which school they root for on Friday nights. Gardner says New Philadelphia came out on top last year in the Blood Battle with 32 units donated compared to Dover’s 30. He says the winner this year will again be announced during the big game. Gardner says fans unable to make it to the Y Wednesday can stop by the hospital’s donor room this week. 

COUNCIL TO CONSIDER SUPPORTING SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE
NEW PHILADELPHIA – A council committee wants to learn more about the federal government’s possible vision to consolidate Social Security offices. Union representative Lee Montgomery recently sent the city’s mayor a letter asking council to pass a resolution of support in retaining a local office and the employees there. Chair Cheryl Ramos says she wants Montgomery to come to her next committee meeting to explain why council should pass the resolution of support and why the request is coming. Ramos says her committee will also research proposed bills in the US House and Senate that could be targeting rural Social Security offices as part of budget cutting moves.

COUNCIL WELCOMES MENARDS PLANS
NEW PHILADELPHIA  - Council members have begun discussing the plans to have a Menards home improvement store take over the site of the former K-Mart building.  Public Works Committee chair Darrin Lautenschleger says the mayor’s administration and company officials will have to settle on a tax abatement amount before the company is then able to apply for a Community Reinvestment Area tax exemption through the state.  But Lautenschleger says he feels the request by Menards of a 50% abatement for 10 years is fair, since the project could total nearly $20 million. Lautenschleger says he is also hearing all positive comments from council members and the public about Menards’ request. Lautenschleger says he believes the agreement could be in legislative form by the next council meeting in two weeks.  

MORE PATIENCE ASKED OF WEST HIGH DETOUR DRIVERS
NEW PHILADELPHIA – City officials say the detours around the West High Ave construction are still creating some issues. Mayor Dave Johnson says a sign has been put up on West High telling drivers that businesses near where the road is closed between the railroad tracks and the five-points intersection remain open. However business has still been down for of those nearby restaurants and companies. Service director Jim Zucal says some drivers taking the detour into town along Front Ave have missed or ignored the three no left turns signs posted at 7th St SW, as police have issued more than 100 citations in that area.  Zucal says the West High is on schedule to be 90-percent complete and open to traffic by November 15th, while the final coat of asphalt will be applied in the spring.

CITY RESEARCHES DAM REMOVAL 
UHRICHSVILLE - Leaders say grant money could fund the removal of a useless area dam. Law Director Brett Hillyer is looking into the idea of taking the structure out of the Big Stillwater Creek near Newport and Trenton Avenues on the city’s west side. Council President Mark Haney says the dam was useful when it was first put in in the 1940s but has not been used for a number of years. Haney says the dam is a liability for the city as children tend to play near the water and adults fish in that area but he says the project would have to be grant funded. Haney says the open water could also entice more outdoor enthusiasts to use the waterway for canoeing and kayaking.

PRINCIPALS WAGER ON THE BIG GAME
NEW PHILADELPHIA – The high school principals in Dover and New Philadelphia says lunch is on the line for the 111th meeting of their rival football teams this week. New Phila’s Eric Jurkovic says the friendly wager also means the loser provides T-shirts. Dover Principal Teresa Alberts says the public is also invited to contribute toward the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge the two principals took part in at the rival soccer match earlier this fall. Students and staff are also dressing up for different theme days all week. The Rotary Sportsmanship Banquet is tonight at Buckeye Career Center and the spaghetti dinners/community pep rallies are set for Thursday in both towns. Hear the game from Quaker Stadium on 1450 Friday.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT LASTS ALL WEEK
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY – Little ghosts and goblins will be out trick-or-treating all week as communities set beggar’s night on different days. Tuscarawas County Safe Kids Coalition is reminding families and drivers to watch for the events that start in Dover and New Philadelphia Tuesday night and run through Saturday afternoon. A complete schedule can be found at www.wjer.com. Health Educator Megan Campbell says kids should wear something reflective and parents should check candy for choking hazards and food allergies.


STATE NEWS: 

PET DUCKS COSTLY FOR VET
WEST LAYFAYETTE (AP) - Army veteran Darin Welker will have to pay a $50 fine and court costs for owning pet ducks he says help him with his post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Welker was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in town and was found guilty Wednesday. The Coshocton Tribune says Welker recently gave away eight of the ducks but still has six. He argued that he has a fenced in yard, and sometimes the ducks are inside the house, making themselves at home in his recliner. 

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE
COLUMBUS (AP) The state Supreme Court has narrowly upheld the death sentence for a man who killed a northeastern Ohio police officer during a traffic stop. Before the court was an appeal by 30-year-old Ashford Thompson, convicted of fatally shooting 33-year-old Twinsburg officer Joshua Miktarian in 2008. 

LAWMAKER PLEADS GUILTY FOR ETHICS VIOLATIONS
COLUMBUS (AP) A state lawmaker from Cincinnati has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor ethics law violations related to taking Bengals tickets from lobbyists then failing to properly report them on required disclosure forms. Democratic state Rep. Dale Mallory entered the pleas today in Franklin County Municipal Court. The 49-year-old Mallory is a four-term lawmaker term-limited at the end of this year.


NATIONAL NEWS: 

LAVA DISSECTS TOWN
PAHOA, HI (AP) - Civil defense officials on Hawaii's Big Island say lava from the Kilauea volcano is about 225 yards away from the main road in the town of Pahoa. Once the lava crosses the road and a bypass road, it'll effectively slice the town in half, and most residents won't be able to get to the area's only supermarket a mile from the town center. Some of Pahoa's 950 residents already have left and some businesses are closing. But other people are vowing to stay.  

SUPERSTORM SANDY CLEANUP CONTINUES 
BELMAR, N.J. (AP) The recovery from Superstorm Sandy -- which struck two years ago today -- hasn't been complete in parts of New York and New Jersey. Many homes, boardwalks and businesses have been rebuilt, but there are still many people who aren't able to return to their homes. Federal officials today toured a New Jersey neighborhood where many residents are struggling to rebuild. One woman said she and her six-month-old daughter are living with four other relatives in a 37-foot trailer next to a partially-built home.

 


SPORTS:
WORLD SERIES: San Francisco Giants 3 - Kansas City Royals 2 - (Giants win the series 4-3) 

NBA:  Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he never worried his relationship with superstar LeBron James was beyond repair. When James signed with Miami four years ago, Gilbert publicly attacked James in a scathing letter. The two had a frosty relationship until meeting this summer to talk through their differences in the days leading up to James announcing he was re-signing with Cleveland. Catch the season opener on 1450 at 8PM tonight.

WEATHER:
TODAY: Partly sunny, Hi 53
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy, Lo 37
FRIDAY: 80% chance of afternoon rain, Hi 50
FRIDAY NIGHT: 70% chance of rain or snow, no accumulation expected, Lo 33
SATURDAY: 60% chance of morning snow showers, changing to rain by afternoon, Hi 43

HEAR COMPLETE NEWSCASTS ON 1450 AND​​ ​​

WWW.WJER.COM 

THE VOICE OF THE VALLEY FOR 64 YEARS

​​