DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 30, 2020) - Local health department officials say they want families to be safe but still have fun during trick-or-treating Saturday. Tuscarawas County Health Department Spokesperson Jennifer Demuth says with the county remaining at the red threat level, it’s important to take precautions whether you’re taking the kids around or passing out candy. She says to keep a distance from others outside your household, avoid homemade treats, and wear a cloth mask that covers your nose and mouth, even if it's under the one that goes with your costume. Demuth also suggests carrying treat bags for younger kids, wiping off candy wrappers when you get home, and showing off costumes virtually. New Philadelphia Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno says you can find creative and contact-free methods for passing out candy on the health department’s Facebook page.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 30, 2020) - Tuscarawas County’s elections director is encouraging voters to make their voices heard in this election in whatever way they’re most comfortable. Gail Garbrandt says all the county’s polling locations will be open Tuesday from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm with social distancing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, privacy screens between machines and masks required for voters. For those unable to make it to their polling location on election day or wanting to cast their ballot before then, Garbrandt says you can still vote early at the courthouse from 8 to 4 Saturday, Sunday from 1 to 5 and from 8 to 2 Monday. Absentee ballot applications must be postmarked by noon Saturday and mail-in ballots by November 2nd. Garbrandt says for faster processing, you can deposit your request in the secure boxes located at the courthouse outside the early voting area and the election board’s Ashwood Lane entrance. She ballots can be returned there as well until the polls close Tuesday.  

CARROLLTON (WJER) (Oct. 30, 2020) - Carroll County’s coroner says a technique called mitochondrial DNA analysis helped them identify the individual whose remains were found earlier this year along an embankment in Fox township as a Lee Township woman who had been missing since last September.  Mandal Haas says the remains were identified this week as belonging to 61-year-old Karen Hansen. He says her body was so decomposed that Ohio BCI investigators couldn’t collect DNA from her bones so they had to gather it at the cellular level instead, matching it with a sample provided by her biological brother. A property owner discovered what ended up being Hansen’s remains March 21 near the intersection of Bay and Torch roads in Fox Township. Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams says walked away from her residence and never returned. Haas says they were unable to determine the cause or manner of her death, but investigators found no indication of foul play.   

TUSCARAWAS COUNTY (WJER) (Oct. 30, 2020) - Ohio’s pursuit of clean energy is a focal point for both candidates running to represent the state’s 98th District. Incumbent Republican Brett Hillyer is defending his seat against Democratic challenger Todd Beegle, a political newcomer. Beegle says he’d like to see Ohio’s two nuclear reactors shut down eventually and replaced with newer ones. Hillyer says he supports House Bill 6, which will provide funding to the nuclear plants and solar projects through an 85-cent charge on Ohioans’ electric bills. He says the good parts of the bill, including overall rate payer savings and support for thousands of jobs, outweigh the bad, which include federal charges alleging former House Speaker Larry Householder took bribes to get the legislation passed. Complete interviews with the candidates are on the WJER Facebook page.

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 29, 2020) - Tuscarawas County Health Department officials say the increasing number of COVID-19-related deaths and hospitalizations in the county isn’t surprising. The department reported four additional deaths Thursday, bringing the total for the week up to seven. Spokeswoman Jennifer Demuth says two-thirds of those were individuals in area long-term care facilities but it’s all related to the increased spread we’re seeing in the community. Demuth says there’s typically a delay between when deaths occur and when they report them to the community because they want to be sure they’re COVID-19 related before adding them to the county’s total. Three of the individuals whose deaths were reported Thursday were women in their 90s. The fourth was a 76-year-old man, and the two reported Wednesday were two men in their 80s. The total number of deaths attributed to the virus stood at 36 Thursday.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 29, 2020) - The director of the local ADAMHS Board is letting voters know about the services they’re able to provide to the community with the tax levy that’s up for renewal in next week’s election. Natalie Bollon says Issue 22 is a five-year renewal of the half-mill levy that collects around $900,000 annually. Bollon says those funds go towards prevention efforts and to subsidize treatment for low-income and uninsured residents. She says without the levy, they would have to scale back on those types of services. The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home just over $12 annually. 

BALTIC (WJER) (Oct. 29, 2020) - Baltic officials say fire protection services could suffer if voters reject the village’s proposed tax levy on the ballot. Issue 8 is a 1-mill continuous replacement tax that would increase revenue for the department that serves the village along with Clark, Crawford and Bucks townships from about $8,000 a year to around $21,000. Mayor Keith Ely says it would allow the village to replace a 1996 fire engine. Ely says a new engine would cost roughly $300,000. He says once that’s paid off, the levy funding would support future vehicle upgrades in the fire department as needed.

(WJER) (Oct. 29, 2020) - Three candidates are campaigning for Court of Common Pleas judge in Tuscarawas County: Democrat Mike Ernest, independent Marvin Fete, and Republican Steve Thomakos. Thomakos says his more than 30-year career as an attorney qualifies him for the seat. Ernest says, as Tuscarawas County assistant prosecutor, he has the necessary experience. Fete, New Philadelphia’s law director, says his work in that city demonstrates how he’d serve as a judge. The winner will replace Edward O’Farrell, who was unable to run because of age limits. Full interviews with the candidates are on the WJER Facebook page.

(WJER) (Oct. 28, 2020) - State highway patrol officials are encouraging drivers to slow down and pay attention this time of year to avoid deer-related crashes. Sgt. William Bower of the New Philadelphia Post says they typically see an increase in these types of collisions in October, November and December, particularly in the early morning and evening hours when more people are on the roadways and deer are more active. He says in our rural area, they can pop up pretty much anywhere including on I-77 and U.S. 250. Bower says no one wants to hit a deer if they can help it, but it’s better to do that than to swerve and end up in a ditch or the path of another vehicle. He says if you would happen to strike a deer, pull off to the side or drive to a parking lot nearby and report the crash to the highway patrol or the law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction. 

MILL TOWNSHIP (WJER) (Oct. 28, 2020) - Township officials are describing the need for voters to pass the 1-mill additional tax levy for ambulance services on the ballot. Trustee John Edwards says this will cover the new service contract with Smith Ambulance, which went from $14 per resident to now $17.75. He says if the levy fails, the difference comes out of the general fund, taking money away from paving and other services. This would be the first new EMS funding for the township voters since a 0.5-mill levy was approved 20 years ago. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $35 a year.  

NEWCOMERSTOWN (WJER) (Oct. 28, 2020) - The Tri-County Joint Ambulance District is attempting to generate about $6,000 a year more for equipment purchases and operations through a replacement levy on the ballot. Assistant Clerk Gary Chaney says Issue 18 is a five-year, 0.5-mill replacement levy that would adjust to current property values. Chaney says it’s to cover rising expenses for the district that serves the villages of Newcomerstown and Port Washington, as well as Oxford, Perry, Salem and Washington townships. He says if the levy doesn’t pass, they could try again next year.   

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 27, 2020) - A 40-year-old New Philadelphia man could end up spending the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to sex crimes involving a juvenile victim. Jason Monaco was sentenced to an indefinite prison term when he appeared in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court last week and pleaded guilty to a 15-count indictment accusing him of rape, kidnapping and gross sexual imposition, among other charges. Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer says it’s always a good thing when they can secure a conviction in these types of cases without the victim having to testify at trial against the perpetrator. Monaco will be eligible to apply for parole after serving the first 15 years of his sentence, but Styer doubts the parole board would be willing to release him.

UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (Oct. 27, 2020) - Uhrichsville leaders are working to secure funding to transform land the Twin City Water and Sewer District plans to donate to the city into a new park for the community. Council last week authorized Thrasher Engineering to apply for ODNR Land and Water Conservation Program funding on behalf of the city. Service Director Belle Everett says if it’s approved, the money would be used toward the local match for several other grants they’re seeking to develop a public green space with parking, hiking trails and a boat ramp on the west side of town near the low head dam being removed starting this week. Meanwhile, Mayor Mark Haney is asking residents to send letters of support for the project to Thrasher Engineering at 400 3rd St. SE, Suite 309 in Canton. A description of the project and preliminary drawings are on the city’s Facebook page.

DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 27, 2020) - Tuscarawas County Senior Center officials are highlighting the services they’re able to provide with the operating levy that’s up for renewal this election.  Executive Director Jamie Smith says the 0.8-mill levy generates about $1.6-million annually to help the center provide transportation, nutritious meals, fitness opportunities and more to the county’s older adult population. She says without it, the center and its five satellite locations would not be able to operate. The levy is listed as Issue 21 on the Nov. 3rd ballot. Smith says it’s a five year-renewal of the center’s existing levy that costs the owner of a $100,000 home about 28 dollars annually. Levy dollars also fund in-home personal care and homemaker services and the center’s minor home repair program. 

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 27, 2020) - Council members are at odds over a proposed application requirement for holding events on city-owned property. Councilman John Zucal says the policy would help safety officials monitor events and protect the city from liability claims. Councilwoman Cheryl Ramos argued the policy, which would have an insurance requirement, would put too many restrictions and costs on citizens who want to host events. Monday’s Public Works and Economic Development Committee meeting ended with heated exchanges between audience members, who questioned the insurance requirement, and Zucal. The committee didn’t make a decision on the proposed application process and scheduled another meeting for November 9 to continue the discussion.

CARROLLTON (WJER) (Oct. 26, 2020) - The Carroll County man accused of supplying 14-year-old Jonathan Minard of Dellroy with a fatal dose of fentanyl last April and burying the teen’s body on his family’s farm will be spending six to nine years in prison under a deal struck with prosecutors. 31-year-old Matthew Little appeared in Carroll County Common Pleas Court Monday morning, pleading guilty to counts of involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse. Prosecutor Steven Barnett says Judge Michael Repella imposed sentences on each of the four counts and ordered they be served concurrently rather than one after another. Barnett says in cases like these, any sentence the judge might impose seems insignificant when weighed against the life that was lost, but he hopes Little’s conviction with no possibility of appeal will bring some closure to the teen’s family. Little was escorted from the courtroom in handcuffs to begin serving the sentence immediately.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 26, 2020) - The Tuscarawas County commissioners want the public to know that the county office buildings will be staying open, even with the county now red on the state’s COVID-19 map. Commissioner Al Landis says they feel confident about the extensive cleaning and protective measures in place since reopening during the summer. Landis says they include the installation of barriers at the service counters, using UV lights and foggers to kill the virus and the addition of extra help to clean high contact surfaces. Landis says the commissioners will also continue encouraging residents to take advantage of the services over the phone or online, when possible. The commissioners also ask employees and visitors to stay home if they have a fever over 100.4, or any other symptoms.   

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 26, 2020) - Tuscarawas county’s anti-drug coalition coordinator says it’s exciting to see substance abuse prevention efforts being recognized at the national level. Jodi Salvo says they were thrilled to see October recognized for the first time as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in a proclamation issued recently by President Donald Trump. She says the covid-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, so the timing of this designation couldn’t be better. Salvo says the proclamation comes amid a recent spike in overdoses and drug-related deaths that the coalition and its agency partners are working to combat with the Project Hope initiative that placed wooden silhouettes in area communities. The project was supposed to culminate with an awareness event at the courthouse over the weekend, but organizers ended up cancelling due to the county’s heightened COVID-19 threat level.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 26, 2020) – Tuscarawas County’s Job and Family Services office is lending a hand to tenants at risk of losing their housing when the moratorium on evictions expires at the end of the year.  Director David Haverfield says the agency is partnering with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services to administer a new rental assistance program that pays up to $1,500 to the landlords of income-eligible renters experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. Haverfield says to qualify for the program, applicants must have incomes at or below 200-percent of the federal poverty level and less than $2,000 at their disposal.  Applications can be filled out online at, or in-person at the JFS office at 389 16th Street SW in New Philadelphia. 


DOVER (WJER) (Oct. 26, 2020) - Tuscarawas County’s Safe Communities Coalition is using a nearly $42,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety to address traffic safety concerns in our community. Coordinator Kelly Snyder says it’s the fifth year in a row the coalition has been awarded this funding from the department’s Traffic Safety Office for its efforts to promote seatbelt usage and safe driving practices. Snyder says the amount is based on the number of fatal crashes in the county. She says there were 9 last year with 10 fatalities, down slightly from 2018 when 12 people died in 11 crashes, but the goal is always to get to zero. Snyder says the money funds outreach efforts like the Safety Days event last month at the Newcomerstown Wendy’s where they checked around 330 vehicles for seatbelt usage and rewarded those who were buckled up with food coupons. 

UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (Oct. 23, 2020) –The city is down a police cruiser temporarily after an unlicensed driver crashed into one last week, pushing it into another vehicle. Mayor Mark Haney was talking about the incident during Thursday’s city council meeting. He says there were no injuries, but the crash caused about $8,000 in damage to the cruiser. Haney says the driver was cited for driving without a license and violating the state’s move over law requiring motorists to get over a lane when they see a vehicle pulled over with its lights flashing or slow down whenever getting over isn’t possible. The fine for breaking the law is $300 for first-time offenders, increasing to $500 if the driver is cited a second time within year and $1,000 for three or more citations over the same time period.

CAMBRIDGE (WJER) (Oct. 23, 2020) - Investigators still have more questions than answers as they look into the death of a Uhrichsville woman whose body was found alongside U.S. 250 near Tappan Lake Wednesday morning. The state highway patrol has identified the woman as 32-year-old Erica McClain. Sgt. Jeff Bernard with the Steubenville Post earlier in the week said a motorist reported seeing a body in the road just after 7:30 am near the Lower Clearfork Road intersection. Trooper Brice Nihiser says investigators are still determining if her death was accidental or intentional. He says anyone with information should call the Cambridge Post at 740-439-1388. 

DANVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Four years after Donald Trump donned a miner's helmet at a West Virginia campaign rally and vowed to save a dying industry, coal has not come roaring back. The fuel has been outmatched against cheaper, cleaner natural gas and renewable energy. But many West Virginians applaud the president's efforts and remain loyal as he seeks a second term. These voters say they are attracted to Trump's "America First" slogan and anti-abortion stance. And they think he's the only one standing in the way of the entire industry closing down. West Virginia has lost nearly a third of its remaining full-time coal jobs since 2014.

LONDON, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of killing his wife and two children in an arson fire at their Ohio home in 2008 has been acquitted of all charges by a three-judge panel that heard the case. Peter Romans faced aggravated murder, murder and aggravated arson charges. The 60-year-old London man opted to have a three-judge panel hear his case, rather than a jury, and he could have faced the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors maintained Romans set the fire that killed his wife, their 12-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. Romans' lawyers said the fire was caused by a faulty part on his 2001 Ford Expedition SUV. The part was under recall at the time.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is giving a grave warning Thursday as nearly every county in the state was at a high-risk level for coronavirus infections. The Republican governor is calling on leaders of each county to create a "COVID defense team," to assess how to stop the spread of the virus infection on a local level. The Buckeye State is among dozens of other states facing a new wave of virus infections, with Ohio now breaking records previously set when the pandemic first hit in March. DeWine said the infection spread is happening mostly in social gatherings and less in bars, businesses and schools. 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two Ohio political operatives have pleaded guilty for their roles in a $60 million bribery case that investigators allege helped prop up two aging nuclear power plants. Juan Cespedes is a lobbyist who's been described by investigators as a "key middleman." Jeffrey Longstreth is a longtime political adviser to ex-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.  Both pleaded guilty in hearings Thursday before federal Judge Timothy Black. The hearings were held by video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cespedes and Longstreth's attorneys said their clients decided to plead guilty after reviewing the government's evidence. Sentencing dates weren't set.

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets and U.S. futures have sunk as investors look ahead to next week's American presidential election and weigh the chances of stimulus from Washington and Europe. Benchmarks in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated. Shanghai swung between gains and losses after the ruling Communist Party said it will try to speed up China's development as a self-reliant "technology power." Investors have been dismayed by a lack of progress in talks between the White House and Congress on new U.S. stimulus. Hopes for action ahead of Tuesday's election and potential wrangling over the outcome are fading.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's health ministry says coronavirus cases have topped 100,000, nine months after the first case was found in mid-January. The country confirmed 808 new cases on Thursday, bringing the cumulative COVID-19 cases to 100,334. That includes 712 people who were on a cruise ship that was docked off a Japanese port earlier this year. About one-third of the cases come from Tokyo. Nationwide, Japan has more than 1,700 deaths. Experts say Japan has so far managed to avoid "explosive" infections as in Europe and the U.S. without enforcing lockdowns, most likely thanks to the common use of face masks and disinfectant, as well as other common preventive measures including social distancing.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Trees on top of buses and cars. Roofs ripped off homes. Boats pushed onshore. Hundreds of thousands of people left in the dark. Hurricane Zeta has come and gone, but residents across the South are still digging out from the Category 2 storm that made landfall in Louisiana before racing northeast and out to sea. Six deaths have been linked to the storm. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says the damage was "catastrophic" in Grand Isle, a barrier island community south of New Orleans that was one of the hardest-hit areas. Zeta was the 27th named storm of a historically busy Atlantic hurricane season. 

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has wrapped up a five-nation anti-China tour of Asia in Vietnam as the fierce American presidential election race enters its final stretch. With just four days left in the campaign in which China has been a central theme, Pompeo visited Hanoi on Friday ostensibly to celebrate 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam relations. But as he has at his previous stops in India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia, Pompeo's main aim was to shore up support for pushing back on China. The Trump administration has made confronting China, its handling of the pandemic, human rights record and aggressiveness toward its smaller neighbors one of its main foreign policy priorities. China on Friday accused Pompeo of acting out of ideological prejudice.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — When Joe Biden was last in Iowa, his campaign was on the verge of collapse and he was soundly trounced in the caucuses. He returns Friday as the Democratic nominee, believing he's just days away from becoming president-elect. Iowa is among the clutch of GOP-leaning states that Biden is trying to bring back into the Democratic column. He'll also swing through Wisconsin on Friday while his running mate, Kamala Harris, courts voters in Texas. Trump, meanwhile, is playing defense in Michigan and Wisconsin. The president and Biden will both be in Minnesota, a longtime Democratic state that Trump is trying to flip.

NFL: Cleveland Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett was kept out of practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury. Garrett leads the NFL with nine sacks. He didn’t practice Thursday as the Browns continued to get ready for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Coach Kevin Stefanski said he expects Garrett to be on the field Friday. Stefanski indicated the Browns didn’t want to risk Garrett practicing outdoors in chilly weather and rain forecast. Garrett was the AFC's defensive player of the month for October. He had six sacks and forced two fumbles. The Browns lead the league with 14 takeaways. 

NCAA:  No. 18 Penn State will have its hands full when the Nittany Lions face third-ranked Ohio State. The Buckeyes are led by quarterback Justin Fields, who can beat opponents with both his arms and his legs. Penn State defensive tackle Antonio Shelton says Fields has gotten stronger during the offseason and is now even more difficult to tackle. Fields picked apart the Nittany Lions in Ohio State's 52-17 win last year, throwing for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Fields also added 68 yards rushing. 

TODAY:  Mostly cloudy with scattered showers, High 47
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy, widespread frost, mainly after 1am Low 29
SATURDAY:  Sunny, High 50
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, a chance of showers before 2pm, High 51
MONDAY: Mostly sunny, High 44