THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014 

 

GIBBS PRAISES LOCAL COMPANY
SUGARCREEK – Northern Tuscarawas County’s congressman is checking out the sights and concerns of businesses around his district over the holiday break.  7th District Congressman Bob Gibbs toured SUPERB Industries here Wednesday to see the manufacturing plant in action and learn more about how Washington can facilitate the company’s expansion plans. Gibbs says he is impressed by company President John Miller’s willingness to invest and create up to 75 more jobs at SUPERB. Gibbs says they also discussed the need for regulatory and tax reform to lower rates and return more money to businesses and consumers. Gibbs also held a question and answer session in front of the plant employees and discussed a proposal to fight expansion of federal EPA oversight on local waterways. 

COUNTY PASSES TWO-YEAR ELECTION AUDIT
NEW PHILADELPHIA
- Tuscarawas County’s November election has its final stamp of approval. A required audit of the vote counts was officially completed this week and certified by the local board. Tuscarawas County Board of Elections Director Chuck Miller says although most ballots are cast electronically, the audit procedure is similar to a hand count of a random sample. Miller says the paper trail starts in the electronic voting machines that also print out each voter’s decision. The results matched the electronic count 100%, but Miller says the audit is completed for every state or federal election in addition to the regular certification process and any recounts necessary.

BED TAX MONEY DISTRIBUTED 
SUGARCREEK - Leaders say hotel stays and bed tax proceeds are on the rise in the village. Committee Chair Keith Rathbun says the group is awarding $8,200 this time around to qualified applicants hoping to entice more visitors to their attractions. Rathbun says the village’s tourism future looks bright. Rathbun says The Budget newspaper will use its money for a stamp cancellation to commemorate its 125th anniversary in 2015, while the Carlisle Inn Live Theatre and Dutch Valley Fall Festival plan to market their individual programs. Village council approved the awards Monday. Rathbun says the Alpine Hills Museum is also benefiting again, with $1,500 for brochure production.

NEW POSITION TO FREE UP JFS STAFF
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services officials say a new position could level the playing field for all its employees. JFS director Michelle Tope says installing a training officer will provide all staff with the same job education. Tope says she expects a familiar face will take on the duties as the vacancy will be posted within the agency. Tope says the new position should generate productivity throughout the agency. Tope says it’s been more than 15 years since the agency has had a designated training officer and she says the switch will open a vacancy within the general staff. 

CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL ATTENDANCE RISES
DOVER - Union Hospital officials are reflecting on another successful Auxiliary Christmas Tree Festival. Spokesman Carey Gardner says attendance was up by 15% from the previous year and he says a record 97 trees were on display. Gardner says area companies got involved by creating their own entry but he says others gave monetary contributions. Gardner says the financial totals from the event should be announced in the coming months. Meanwhile, he says the festival committee is already planning for next year. Gardner says 5,000 people from at least six different counties enjoyed the festival this past November.

SHELTER REQUESTS CONTRIBUTIONS 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Local homeless shelter leaders say a program geared toward rehabilitation is crippling to funding. Tuscarawas County Friends of the Homeless Director Calvin White says a year after starting Pathway to Wellness, a drug and alcohol addiction treatment plan for men, additional costs depleted the shelter’s savings. White says that maintaining both the homeless shelter and the addiction program is essential. White says his call for assistance has resulted in more than $2,000 being donated to the shelter just this week, but he says the operating budget calls for about $375,000 a year. 

TRUSTEES AGREE TO FIRE CONTRACT 

SUGARCREEK - Sugarcreek Township residents will avoid paying double for fire protection in the coming months. Township Trustee Titus Slabaugh says the board approved a contract with the village Tuesday. Village Mayor Clayton Weller says a motion passed by council earlier this week would have charged homeowners individually for fire needs, if the trustees failed to sign the agreement. Weller says he’s glad the contract is now official. Meanwhile, Slabaugh says a counter offer to reduce the price was rejected by the village. He says the trustees have made similar moves in the past so he’s surprised the most recent attempt failed. Auburn Township and the Clark Township and East Holmes Fire Districts will also receive fire protection from the village. 

FIRE IGNITES DOVER HOME
DOVER  - Fire fighters say damage to a home on SR 516 is considerable after fire broke out in the garage early this morning. Fire Chief Russ Volkert says the estimate could reach $150,000 to the Eric and Megan McKean family home at 3069 SR 516. He says the garage was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. The attached garage roof collapsed as flames began to spread to the house. Volkert says the fire also burned overhead power lines that ignited a 30-foot long woodpile near the single story brick house. Volkert says no one was injured as the smoke detectors awoke the family and they all got outside safely, including the two family dogs. The cause remains under investigation. New Philadelphia, Sugarcreek and Dundee fire departments assisted to put out the 3 AM fire. Dover school busses on the high school/middle school run did not pick up students in that area today as the road remained closed.

DRIVER DIES FROM INJURIES
MIDVALE - State troopers say a crash on US 250 near Midvale two weeks ago has turned tragic. The driver of the pick up that flipped over the median December 2nd has died. 38-year-old Virginia Lute of Uhrichsville was flown by helicopter to Akron General Hospital as she was ejected from the truck during the wreck. Troopers still don’t know what caused Lute to drive into the median.

TEACHER ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
UHRICHSVILLE - A Claymont Junior High teacher accused of sending sexually explicit photos and text messages over his cell phone to a 14-year-old student is out of jail on his own recognizance.  29-year old Sean Green of Dover appeared in Tuscarawas County Court in Uhrichsville by video Tuesday. He is charged with pandering obscenity involving a minor and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.  Uhrichsville police arrested green at school Monday following interviews with him as well as the girl. Claymont has since placed green on unpaid administrative leave with additional disciplinary action possible.  Green is a junior high social studies teacher as well as the head varsity baseball coach and JV girls’ basketball coach.  His case is set for a preliminary hearing in southern district court Friday morning. 

PREPAID CARD SCAMMERS STRIKE AGAIN 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police are again warning area residents about phone scammers seeking large amounts of bail money. Detective Captain Shawn Nelson says his department has received three complaints Tuesday as one victim went to the bank to retrieve cash and was questioned by managers. Nelson says victims have no options to rely on once the money is transferred to a green dot card as the money is gone for good. Nelson says recent callers have pretended to be a jailed family member or legal official but Nelson cautions against such lies. He says anyone who believes they have been targeted should contact their local police department immediately

FOOD COLLECTION BEGINS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Share-A-Christmas volunteers say donations for the food collection are somewhat lower so far than in years past. Coordinator Carolyn Stutz says contributors have dropped off truckloads of apples and cereal but she says food will still be accepted at the Tuscora Park Pavilion from 9AM-3PM throughout the week. A number of Garaway High School student council members were unloading and sorting through canned goods and boxes Tuesday morning. Seniors Katie Walter and Samuel Wentworth say the experience is humbling. Former Judge Roger Lile has helped for the past 20 plus years. Lile says the students’ strength and quick hands are useful. The food, along with clothes and toys will benefit over 1,000 families in need this year. 

NON-UNION RAISES SET

DOVER  - Council approved raises for the city’s 30 non-union workers, including department supervisors, their assistants, and the police and fire chiefs, by establishing pay grades and benefits for the next three years Monday. Mayor Rick Homrighausen says the pay hikes average about 2.2%, which he says is similar to union contracts. The raises will costs the city another $33,000 a year in payroll in 2015.

100 GATHER FOR BUFFALO WILD WINGS OPENING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A new restaurant franchise is now open in New Philadelphia. Buffalo Wild Wings was able to draw a crowd waiting since Sunday evening as the first 100 customers received six free wings a week for a year.  18-year-old Indian Valley student Coby Eckstein was first in line. He says it was worth it to arrive about 8:30PM and stay up all night. Franchise owner Larry Tipton says the restaurant has a brand new design and feeds on the atmosphere. The Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce and other dignitaries held a ribbon cutting Monday morning.

POLICE BODY CAMS COMING INTO FOCUS
NEW PHILADELPHIA  - City police say they could be joining the growing list of departments considering the possibility of equipping its officers with body cameras.  President Obama is asking Congress to provide $263 million to departments for the cameras and training so that officers can record interactions with the public.  New Philadelphia Police Chief Mike Goodwin says he would only want the cameras for his 21 officers if the $800 per camera costs is covered by grant money. But Goodwin says the concern that might come down to a court decision is whether police will have to make everything the cameras record accessible to public records requests. Cleveland plans to spend $1.6 million on cameras for its 1,000 officers. Akron police are working on a deal to test out 30 body cams for free from the manufacturer.

UHRICHSVILLE ADJUSTS AMBULANCE LEVY
UHRICHSVILLE - Uhrichsville officials are reducing the millage on the city’s ambulance levy again. Council approved cutting the millage on the voter approved ambulance levy from 2.5 mills to 1.75 mills.  Mayor Terry Culbertson says the levy has always generated more money that what the city needs to pay Smith Ambulance for its services, so the city annually has to scale back the millage so that no extra money is collected from taxpayers.  

OHIOANS VOTE NO ON SPENDING BILL 
WASHINGTON - Ohio’s US senators are agreeing on their dissatisfaction with the spending bill approved by Congress. Democrat Sherrod Brown previously stated his concerns on repealing an existing Wall Street reform law, while Republican Rob Portman says the bill was passed too quickly. Portman says he is against government shut downs but wishes the public could have had time to review the 1,800 page document. The bill financially carries the government through September. The $1.1 trillion spending bill now awaits President Obama’s signature as it passed through the Senate Saturday with a 56-40 vote. 

CITY ONLINE ACCESS INCREASING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Officials say efforts to make more public documents accessible from home over the course of the year are going smoothly.  Mayor Dave Johnson says city council meeting minutes, agendas and proposed legislation are all now posted on the city’s website (www.newphilaoh.com) .  Johnson says the city began adding the sections to the website during the year as time allowed. Johnson says this gives the public a way to check online and know in advance what their elected officials will be discussing or are up for vote. Johnson says it can take a few days to get the website updated following each city council meeting.

 

 

STATE NEWS: 

HIGH COURT UPHOLDS TRAFFIC CAM ENFORCEMENT
CINCINNATI (AP) The Ohio Supreme Court has again upheld use of traffic camera enforcement by the state's municipalities. A lower court agreed with a ticketed motorist's contention that Toledo overstepped its authority with a camera system, but the Supreme Court justices split 4-3 to reverse the lower court ruling.

JUDGE FAILS TO ANNOUNCE DECISION
CLEVELAND (AP) A judge didn't indicate when he will issue a decision on the question of whether or not prosecutors used tainted grand jury testimony to indict six Cleveland officers in a deadly police shooting in 2012. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell concluded the 1 ½-day hearing without rendering a decision.

JUDGE RESIGNS OSU TRUSTEE SEAT 
COLUMBUS (AP) A federal judge is resigning his seat as an Ohio State University trustee to resolve an ethics investigation over his job teaching at the university's law school. An agreement with the state Ethics Commission calls for Judge Algenon Marbley to leave his seat next month and also teach law classes without pay in the spring and fall semesters.

 


NATIONAL NEWS: 

BOMBING SUSPECT MAKES FINAL APPEARANCE 
BOSTON (AP) The Boston Marathon bombing suspect has made his last court appearance before the scheduled start of his trial next month. And he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings. Tensions ran high outside the courthouse today -- and one bombing victim had a testy exchange outside with supporters of the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

TWO LEADERS KILLED
WASHINGTON (AP)  Two senior leaders of the Islamic State group have been killed in the past week by U.S. and coalition airstrikes over northern Iraq. That word comes today from U.S. officials. And it comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approves new orders for several hundred troops to deploy to Iraq to train Iraqi forces.

JUDGE CLEARS WAY FOR IMMIGRANTS
PHOENIX (AP) A judge has cleared the way for thousands of young immigrants in Arizona who are protected from deportation under an Obama administration policy to get driver's licenses. The preliminary injunction issued today bars the state from enforcing Gov. Jan Brewer's policy of denying the licenses to about 20,000 immigrants. The move in Arizona to deny the licenses was a reaction to steps taken by the Obama administration in 2012 to shield thousands of immigrants from deportation.


 


SPORTS:

NFL: Browns left tackle Joe Thomas knows his drought may continue. He'll probably have to wait at least another year to get into the playoffs. Cleveland's odds of making the postseason this season are extremely long, and Thomas, who's expected to earn his eighth straight Pro Bowl appearance, has accepted the Browns' likely fate. Thomas enjoyed being in the race this season and hopes for a taste of the postseason "before I retire." Last week, Thomas called former longtime teammates D'Qwell Jackson and Josh Cribbs, now with Indianapolis, and congratulated them on qualifying. Thomas told them he was happy about their success and says he hopes he's next.

NCAA: Familiar foes will meet in Friday night's Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl when Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater square off for the Division-III national champion. For the ninth time in 10 years, the teams will battle for the title in Salem, Virginia. The Warhawks (14-0) are the defending champions and have beaten Mount Union (14-0) in four of their last five meetings. But the Purple Raiders arrive riding an offense that scores more than 60 points per game. They are led by quarterback Kevin Burke, who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards and 49 touchdowns. The game will be the last at Whitewater for coach Lance Leipold. He's leaving to become Buffalo's head coach. A victory would give him a 111-6 career record, and as many national championships as losses.


 


WEATHER:
TONIGHT: 20% chance of flurries, Lo 27
FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, Hi 35
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, Hi 35

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