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WJER News

FOOD FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS MONTH-LONG DRIVE

10:07 AM - August 31st, 2015

MIDAVALE - Twin City community officials say a local school rivalry could help benefit the hungry during the second annual “922 Food Fight.” Event organizer Kathy Norman says the competition collects non-perishable food and cash donations during the Indian Valley-Claymont football game this Friday to donate to the Twin City Food Pantry. Norman says the fight against hunger hits close to home with 25% of Tuscarawas County families considered food insecure. She says the food drive has become a good learning experience for students. The overall food drive began last week and will continue through September 18th with donations accepted at the First National Bank of Dennison and both fire stations in Uhrichsville and Dennison.

AIRPORT UPGRADES TAKE FLIGHT

10:06 AM - August 31st, 2015

NEW PHILADELPHIA – Harry Clever Field officials are enjoying recent upgrades while planning for hangar expansions. Airport Commission chair Don Kennedy says the main hangar was repainted after years of peeling. He says the outside was also lettered with the airport frequency and the name of the city to benefit pilots. In addition, he says 38 airplanes are currently housed there, but requests could easily fill 15 new spots. 

PRACTICE SESSION NETS EXPOSURE AND ADVICE

10:06 AM - August 31st, 2015

NEW PHILADELPHIA – Tuscarawas County economic development officials say they are pleased with the feedback from a national consulting firm that listened to a mock site selection presentation by local business leaders. Tuscarawas County CIC director Gary Little says the day-long practice session provided area officials with helpful advice, including an incentive to work on attracting bigger companies than originally thought, but he says it also informed the company about what the area has to offer. 

CLARK SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE

10:05 AM - August 31st, 2015

COSHOCTON - A Dennison man is spending the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing a Strasburg couple in January. 30-year-old Bobby Clark of Dennison pleaded guilty in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court Friday to kidnapping Doyle and Lillian Chumney from their home and driving them to rural Bakersville where he shot them and eventually set their car on fire. Clark spoke only to answer Judge Robert Batchelor’s questions. Batchelor also dismissed eight other charges from Clark’s original indictment and removed the possibility of a death penalty. Coshocton County Prosecutor Jason Given says the Chumney’s children unanimously agreed to the change of plea and indictment amendments. Strasburg Police Chief Bob Kutcher says this tragedy will never fade from the minds of Strasburg residents. The trial of Clark’s alleged accomplice, 22-year-old Jeff Stewart, is scheduled for December. He faces life in prison. 

MAN CHARGED IN CHILD’S DEATH

10:39 AM - August 28th, 2015

NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s detectives say a man who was babysitting a toddler Sunday is now charged in connection to the child’s death. Prosecutors say 23-year-old Cody Dawes of New Philadelphia faces two counts of child endangering and remains held in the Tuscarawas County jail on $500,000 bond. Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell says 3-year-old Kyli Thomas was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon and was being kept on life support for possible organ donation. Campbell says doctors dispute the several conflicting stories about how the child was injured at her 8th Drive NE home. County Prosecutor Ryan Styer says Dawes’ charges could change as the process moves forward. Styer says Dawes was arrested two weeks ago for domestic violence against the child’s mother and was ordered to have no contact with her but was allegedly staying at her home when the incident occurred. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.

VICTIMS' ADVOCATE CLARIFIES PROTECTION ORDERS

10:39 AM - August 28th, 2015

TUSCARAWAS COUNTY - Domestic violence officials say the protection order system can work, but it has its flaws. County Prosecutor’s Office Victims’ Advocate Deb Baker encourages victims to seek protection orders to keep abusers away, but she says victims often falsely believe they can grant permission for offenders to return. Baker says abusers can manipulate victims to take them back, but that fails to help the situation. She says civil and criminal protection order violations result in the offender’s arrest. A no contact order violation influences only bond conditions. She also reminds the public every case is different, and do not be too quick to judge.

GAS AGGREGATION IMPLEMENTED

10:38 AM - August 28th, 2015

UHRICHSVILLE - City officials say residents could see a difference in their gas bills by November thanks to the new aggregation program. Mayor Terry Culbertson says he will sign the contract sometime next week to lock the city into a set price for natural gas with the company Trebel, LLC. Letters will be mailed to homeowners explaining the process soon. He says it does take time to implement the program voters approved in the May primary election.

BUDGET SURPLUS HELPS PUBLIC SERVICE OFFICES

10:37 AM - August 28th, 2015

NEW PHILADELPHIA - Two Tuscarawas County agencies are benefiting from a budget surplus. Job and Family Services director David Haverfield says he is transferring $93,000 in leftover federal money to the Tuscarawas County Child Support Enforcement Office. He says the money will still be used for its intended purpose. Child Support Director Traci Berry says after surviving cutbacks for the last ten years, every dollar is appreciated. Haverfield says his office is also making an even trade for dollars with three other counties to better fund his programs that need money. Berry says the $93,000 will be used to fill a vacant position as well as for programs to find parents who owe back child support.

COUNTY MEETS LEGAL NEEDS FOR CONSORTIUM

10:37 AM - August 28th, 2015

NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County commissioners say are taking steps to make the county’s health care consortium official. The board passed bylaws and an agreement regarding health benefits Thursday that must be adopted by all of the member entities by the end of the year. Commissioner Belle Everett says the documents are needed for the consortium to continue to exist. Everett says the group is composed of various Tuscarawas County townships and agencies that provide services for county residents, like the Board of Elections and Family and Children First Council. Everett says the commissioners are planning a meeting for October 7th to answer any questions members might have about the bylaws and benefits of the consortium. 

DRUG OPERATION DISCOVERED

9:30 AM - August 27th, 2015

NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police say they are amazed at the detail involved in a marijuana growing operation discovered in an industrial area on the city’s south side. Detective Capt. Shawn Nelson says a former sign manufacturing building up for sale at 820 Cookson Avenue SE has apparently been used for the drug business for some time. Nelson says the discovery is one of the biggest operations in city history with elaborate lighting, filtration, growing, and drying rooms. Nelson says no arrests will be made until test results come back on the marijuana seized. He says there were about a dozen mature plants, but he says there was also evidence of about 100 other plants harvested there.