THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2013
VAPOR VICTIM FILES LAWSUIT
NEW PHILADELPHIA - An Akron truck driver is suing Dover Chemical over the vapor cloud released in 2012. Kenneth E. Fry says in his suit filed in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Wednesday that he suffers ongoing throat and lung problems after inhaling the chemicals. Documents say Fry was driving a truck on I-77 outside Dover at the time of the vapor release and the later identified chemicals engulfed the cab of his truck. A number of emergency crews responded the vapor release and the interstate was closed for several hours. The suit says fry requires medical treatment for reactive airway dysfunction syndrome. The suit seeks unspecified damages in excess of $25,000 claiming the company was negligent and reckless.
TOWPATH BRIDGE OPENS
BOLIVAR - Tuscarawas County’s portion of the Towpath Trail now has a direct connection to the north. The Tuscarawas River Aqueduct Bridge linking the trail in Tuscarawas and Stark counties is now complete. During a ceremony Thursday, retired Congressman Ralph Regula says he first saw the need to preserve the canal lands for recreational purposes 60 years ago, and he would later obtain funding through his position on the House Appropriations Committee to make this bridge a reality. Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition President Dan Rice says work on the million dollar bridge began this past July and he feels this will have an economic impact since businesses are asking for these types of amenities. Rice says fundraising is also underway to open a trail head and parking area next year near this bridge, which is located off SR 212 north of Bolivar.
NO CHANGES TO COUNTY INSURANCE PLAN
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County employees will maintain the same health insurance through at least next year. County Commissioner Kerry Metzger says the system that covers 600 people will be grandfathered into 2014 instead of making changes for the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Metzger says by maintaining the same rates and benefits, the county health insurance is exempt. But he says no rate hikes could drain the system. Metzger says he wants to wait as along as possible to avoid implementing any more Obamacare provisions. Metzger says the county offers three different plans in its self-insured system, but Aultcare is the third party administrator.
PHILA GEARS UP FOR CHRISTMAS PARADE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - New Philadelphia officials are preparing for a snow covered Christmas Parade Friday. Business and Community Association Director Deb Knisely says despite forecasted cold weather and large amounts of snow, about 60 units have already signed up for the annual event. Knisely says many will be decorated with holiday spirit as they travel from Tuscora Park, to the square and back to the park. Knisely says in addition to Christmas lights, she expects a couple floats to showcase toy land and nativity scenes. Knisely says children can also drop off their letters to Santa that evening. knisely says the parade Friday evening steps off at 6 PM with line up and registration at the park beginning at 3:30.
TOY DRIVE EXCEEDS PAST DONATIONS
DOVER – WJER-Indian Valley FFA Toy Drive organizers are thanking the community for coming through again this year. Toy Drive Chair Diane Glazer says 15 truckloads of toys and bicycles were donated during the 12-hour event at the WJER parking lot Wednesday, exceeding last year’s 14 loads. Nearly $3,600 was also dropped off to benefit the Share-A-Christmas effort. Glazer says the toys will be sorted and distributed over the next couple weeks.
LAWMAKERS EARN PROMOTIONS
COLUMBUS – Two state lawmakers who used to represent Tuscarawas County are moving up in the ranks. State Senator Joe Schiavoni of Boardman will become the next minority leader in the Senate following a vote by his fellow Democrats Wednesday afternoon. He will replace Sen. Eric Kearney of Cincinnati who is running for lieutenant governor. And Sen. Lou Gentile of Steubenville as assistant minority whip. The full Senate must act on the transition.
COUNTERFEIT BILLS RARE LOCALLY
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Tuscarawas County Deputies say attempts to limit counterfeit money processing and sharing seem to be working. Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell says technology used in the latest 100-dollar bill is extremely advanced and hinders criminals from creating a similar bill but Campbell says occasionally a fake one slips through. Campbell syas the department usually received about six counterfeit money complaints every year and he says each are investigated thoroughly. Campbell says special counterfeit detecting markers used by many cashiers helps to deter the use but he encourages shoppers to be vigilant this holiday season as manufacturers can sometimes beat the system.
AID AVAILABLE FOR FIRST ENERGY GAS BILLS
AKRON – Local Dominion East Ohio natural gas customers are getting a chance to help out their friends and neighbors struggling with energy expenses. Spokeswoman Tracy Oliver says customers on their next bills will be able to donate to the company’s Energy-Share program. Oliver says this funds one-time aid for income eligible customers at risk of having their gas disconnected who have already exhausted all other forms of winter energy assistance. Oliver says customers can apply for the Energy-Share program at the Salvation Army in New Philadelphia.
PHILA WINS CELEBRATE MY DRIVE PRIZE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - New Philadelphia High School students and staff have learned the results of the State Farm "Celebrate My Drive" contest to encourage safe teen driving. New Philadelphia State Farm agent Lisa Hoy made the $100,000 announcement official during an assembly Tuesday. Hoy says during a week in October, students pledged to drive safely and community members could vote for the winner. Hoy 700 schools competed and the results were extremely close. High School Principal Eric Jurkovic says winning was a community effort as football fans voted at games, out of state family members showed their support and students even put in extra effort during school hours. Jurkovic says $10,000 of the prize must be used to promote safe driving and he is accepting recommendations from students on how they want to spend the remaining $90,000.
DEER HARVEST SLIPS
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Wildlife officials say hunters checked in 853 deer in Tuscarawas County on the first day for deer-gun hunting season. The top county in Ohio was Coshocton with 940 harvested, followed by Ashtabula, then Tuscarawas, Muskingum and Guernsey Counties. Spokesman Jeremy Carter says most harvest numbers are down 13-23% compared with last year. He says fewer deer are in the woods as the system to keep the deer population down is effective.
COUNCIL RESCINDS EARLY ENROLLMENT
SUGARCREEK - Sugarcreek officials are rescinding an early healthcare insurance enrollment to save money. Village Administrator Bill Theiss says officials previously approved a re-enrolment option with medical mutual that would have prolonged a 30-35% increase, from the Affordable Care Act, for a few months. But Theiss says recent issues with the healthcare program are benefiting the village for the time being. Theiss says ultimately the change temporarily halts the excess costs that accompany Obamabcare. Theiss says the village’s insurance coverage remains the same as council approved the measure Monday night, which impacts 15 full time employees.
TIN TOWN SPEED ISSUE REVISITED
DOVER – A Dover man and his neighbor on city council are again raising concerns about vehicles speeding in front of their homes along E. Broadway. Jay Goudy spoke to council this week about the same issues he brought up this past April which he feels have yet to be resolved. Council Member Bob Mueller says he agrees the traffic in their neighborhood does pose risks. Goudy says vehicles appear racing out of the Reeves Mill Industrial Park when work lets out between 80-100 miles per hour. Mueller says he suggests installing speed bumps there and additional postings of the 25 miles per hour speed limit. He also wants police to give more tickets instead of warnings.
YARD DEBRIS DROP OFF SITE BECOMES TOO EXPENSIVE
DOVER - Officials say the city will likely close down its yard waste collection site near the Light Plant in a couple weeks. Service Director Dave Douglas says the Earth’n Wood Company of Canton currently hauls away waste from the bin and uses it for mulch at a minimal cost to the city, but wants to charge $275 per load after December since its mulch materials supply for 2014 is adequate. Douglas says that’s too expensive for the city as the bin sometimes needs emptied twice a week or more. Douglas says he will also discuss the situation with the Solid Waste District to see if there are other options available.
T-4-C OPTIMISTIC ABOUT REACHING GOALS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - December is bringing increased involvement to make the Share-A-Christmas program a success again. T-4-C Director Louise Worsham says she is anticipating even more people stepping up to help as the WJER Indian Valley FFA Toy Drive gets underway Wednesday, followed by other events throughout the county. Worsham says the number of families applying for help is down from last year, but she says there are still too many at about 1,100 total. Worsham says the cash contributions have reached $86,000 toward the $150,000 goal and she is hoping the community comes through by the time food and clothing vouchers are distributed.
COMMISSIONERS APPROVE TEMPORARY LOAD LIMITS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County communities are preparing for the winter season by lowering their roadway weight restrictions. The County Commissioners approved seasonal frost law load limits today for roadways with bridges in Salem and Wayne Townships. County Engineer Joe Bachman says the process is fairly common and helps preserve the road’s integrity as large amounts of snow begins to melt. Bachman says the limits are commonly reduced by 50% and should be followed by all trucks with heavy loads but he says like speed, load limits are hard to enforce. Bachman says some municipalities even send maintenance agreements to local haulers for voluntary cooperation. Bachman says the load limits are usually enacted for mid December through mid April.
FAMILIES PURSUING THE PERFECT TREE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Christmas trees have been flying off of lots and shelves around the valley a little later than usual this season. Many shoppers say they still waited to get a tree until after Thanksgiving, even though it landed near the end of November this year and some retailers opened up a week or so earlier as a result. Gary Baker of Dover says his family has still been following its normal routine this season. People browsing at Fox Nursery in New Philadelphia all had reasons for wanting a live tree, including the smell and tradition of having one. Sarah Heaston of New Philadelphia says bringing out her three young kids while tree shopping is all part of the holiday experience.
HOLIDAY TRAVELERS IMPRESS TROOPERS
TUSCARWAS COUNTY - State troopers say they are encouraged by the numbers from the holiday traveling weekend. New Philadelphia Post Commander Lt. Mark Glennon says his troopers wrote mostly speeding tickets in the 73 enforcement stops made from last Wednesday until midnight last night. He says the faster 70 mph speed limit failed to slow them down. Three people were cited for drunk driving in our area. Glennon says his troopers also handled 26 crashes, but none with serious injuries. They also made contact with 136 other drivers whether to give them a warning or assist with car trouble.
DEPUTIES OFFER ONLINE SHOPPING TIPS
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Sheriff’s deputies are alerting online shoppers planning to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals to be cautious. Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell says fraud complaints involving people attempting to purchase gifts over the Internet do usually increase locally over the holidays. He says a common scheme involves scammers who set up websites to mimic those of larger retail stores to obtain a shopper’s personal information. Campbell also recommends using credit cards instead of debit cards because they are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act and avoid purchasing over public computers or networks.
WINTER WEATHER TO HIT OHIO
CINCINNATI (AP) Temperatures in the 50s and 60s across much of the state are expected to plunge 30 to 40 degrees by the weekend. The National Weather Service says a cold front moving through will bring rain changing to a wintry mix overnight in most of Ohio, followed by significant snowfall later tomorrow in the southwest and central regions.
BUS DRIVER ARRESTED FOR RAPE
SPRINGFIELD (AP) A western Ohio school bus driver has been arrested on rape charges that police say involve an 11-year-old student. The Clark County sheriff's office says 21-year-old Adam James Overholser of New Carlisle is charged with rape of a child under 13. The sheriff's office says the driver had initially befriended the child, who was a passenger on his bus.
BIG DRUG BUST
COLUMBUS (AP) Authorities say cocaine and marijuana with an estimated street value of more than $500,000 was found in a house in Columbus. Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott says the drug seizure today was part of a large-scale joint investigation by a local task force and the Drug Enforcement Agency targeting cocaine distribution. Two men were arrested.
MORE HEALTHCARE ISSUES
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Another problem has emerged with healtcare.gov. People shopping for insurance on the site may be informed they're eligible for Medicaid and that their information is being sent to state officials to sign them up. However, state Medicaid directors say they're not receiving usable data to enroll or contact those people. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has informed 36 states using its site that another system is being developed to send the information and more complete files could be sent as soon as next week.
ALLEGED VICTIM FEARS FOR OTHERS
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) The woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault says she worries that her case will discourage rape victims from coming forward. The alleged victim and her family released a brief statement today after the state attorney said he did not have enough evidence to charge Winston, noting the woman's memory lapses about the events. The family says it appreciated the state attorney's investigation after what they called an "inordinate delay" by the Tallahassee Police Department.
WHITE HOUSE DISMISSES THREAT
WASHINGTON (AP) The White House says it has no reason to believe that a stolen shipment of highly radioactive cobalt-60 recovered in central Mexico posed a threat to the United States. The missing material was found removed from its protective container yesterday near where the stolen truck transporting it had been abandoned in central Mexico. The International Atomic Energy Agency called the material "extremely dangerous," though there was no sign of contamination to the area where it was found.
NCAA FOOTBALL: Isaiah Lewis has tried to move on from the painful memory of the 2011 Big Ten title game, when his penalty for running into the punter ended Michigan State's chances of going to the Rose Bowl. He'll have a chance for redemption Saturday when No. 10 Michigan State faces No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis. The penalty on Lewis in 2011 enabled Wisconsin to run the clock out on a 42-39 win over the Spartans in that year's league title game and it negated a long return by Michigan State that might have changed the outcome. It was a cruel way for the Spartans to lose, and one that Lewis hasn't forgotten.
TONIGHT: 90% chance of rain and snow,1-3 inches accumulating Lo 33
FRIDAY: 90% chance of rain changing to snow, an additional 1-3 inches expected, Hi 35
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, Hi 28
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