7:59 AM - June 23rd, 2017
COMMISSIONERS HOLD OUT FOR MCO DOLLARS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County leaders are holding on to hope after the Senate also left Governor John Kasich’s changes to the Medicaid sales tax collection in their version of the biennial budget. Commissioner Kerry Metzger says there’s only one other option that could reverse the decision, which would create a $700,000 shortfall in Tuscarawas County’s yearly budget. He says an amendment was added to the MCO sales tax proposal, which means the House must now review the legislation before it can be approved. Metzger says the continued reductions in funding from the state level have been disheartening. The house must now approve the Senates’ version of the budget in time for the June 30th deadline, and Metzger says that’s when we’ll find out if the restored the funding to the counties. However he says we won’t feel the effects of that decision until 2019.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER LOOKING AHEAD
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County’s small business owners can continue receiving free help growing their business through a local non-profit resource. Wednesday, the commissioners agreed to partially fund the Kent State Small Business Development Center with a $3,000 contribution in the 2018 fiscal year. Director Steve Schillig says the money helps pay experts in various fields act as consultants for businesses in the area. Schilling says those specialists are paid $50 an hour through the SBDC, and can offer a range of services both general and in-depth. Schillig says the development center has helped start 45-businesses locally, all free to the clients, paid for through contributions from a number of entities.
FIRST TOWN DAYS ROYALTY TO BE CROWNED
NEW PHILADELPHIA – We find out tonight who will be the queen for this year’s First Town Days festival, which starts a week from today. The queen’s scholarship pageant is at 7 p.m. at the Welty Middle School auditorium. Queen’s committee chair Joe Croft says four high school girls are in the running, with the winner receiving a $1,750 scholarship. WJER’s Bill Morgan is again serving as master of ceremonies.
HABITAT RAISES 500TH HOUSE
CANTON - Habitat for Humanity is looking to the future after hitting a milestone. Spokesman Kevin Miller says the East Central Ohio Chapter, which includes Tuscarawas County and four others, recently raised the walls on its 500th house, which is going up in the northeast side of Canton. The chapter has been around for 30 years. He says Habitat also demolishes older homes, as well as performs deconstruction on them, where they take out all the usable materials that still have some life left in them. Miller says Habitat is also planning a dedication ceremony for a home in Dennison next week.
PHILA SCHOOLS PURSUE REPLACEMENT LEVY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The New Philadelphia School District wants to replace and increase an existing permanent improvement levy in November, and school officials are telling voters they will actually be paying less if the issue is approved. Treasurer Julie Erwin says this replacement levy in the fall would be for 1 mill, but even with passage, property tax bills are still estimated to be lower by an average of $20 a year because the district’s fixed value 1-mill bond issue that was passed to remodel the high school after the 1992 fire is coming off the books in December. The replacement levy would collect about $460,000 a year. The expiring bond issue is costing about $469,000 annually. The November levy would replace a permanent improvements levy originally passed at .8 mills, but its effective rate has dropped to .3 mills over time.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT ON WATCH FOR WEST NILE
DOVER - Tuscarawas County Health Department officials are stepping up their mosquito control efforts as summer starts and West Nile is already showing up elsewhere in the state. Environmental Director Caroline Terakedis says their new approach this year of increased surveillance and treating standing water also includes setting traps in parks and along roads. They are looking for mosquitoes that can carry specifically West Nile and Zika. Terakedis says if they find those types of mosquitoes, they are then sent to Columbus for testing to see if they are carriers. There have been no signs of West Nile locally so far this year, but samples have already tested positive in Franklin, Lorain, and Summit counties recently.
REP. SENATOR HESITANT ABOUT NEW HEALTH CARE BILL
WASHINGTON D.C. - Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senator says he is not going to make any decisions on the Senate’s Health Care Bill until he actually gets to see the details. Rob Portman says the senate members have been discussing different ideas, but he has seen no legislative language, and there is no bill to review yet. Portman says he is not committed to passing a health care bill by the July 4th recess if it does not address some of his top concerns, such as protecting Ohioans covered by Medicaid and the Medicaid expansion. Portman says the health care bill has to be made public with a score from the Congressional Budget Office to know its cost before the senate can vote on it.
METEOROLOGISTS FORECAST A MILD SUMMER
PITTSBURGH - Summer has arrived. So what is the weather going to be like for the season? Pittsburgh National Weather Service Meteorologist Lee Hendricks says except for Thursday, it could still feel a little more like spring out there, maybe through the end of June. Hendricks says this continues how the rest of 2017 has gone so far, as we have been transitioning from a La Nina to El Niño weather pattern. However, he expects things to even out for the summer months, with normal amounts of precipitation and temperatures just above average.
NAMES RELEASED IN FATAL WRECKS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - State troopers are still trying to learn more about two fatal crashes in Tuscarawas County last week. Lt. Mark Glennon says it was 25-year-old Mykal Isom of Oberlin, Ohio, who was thrown from a car and survived Wednesday as it crashed on I-77 near Stone Creek. He was not found until Friday when someone heard him calling out for help. The man killed in that crash, 48-year-old Brandyne Parks of Elyria, was apparently the driver. Meanwhile, the fatal crash Thursday night in that same area appears to have happened when a car slammed into the back of a commercial truck that pulled in front of it in the passing lane on I-77 south. The two men in the car were coming from an internship at Progressive Field and were en route to Ohio University. The car’s driver, who survived, is 21-year-old Andrew Banks of Avon, Indiana. They are waiting on medical tests to confirm the identity of the passenger killed in the wreck, who was not from the area. Banks was unable to provide the victim’s full name because they just started working together.
TUSCORA PARK BOARDWALK ALMOST READY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Some relatively unused space at Tuscora Park could soon become a main attraction. The new 150-foot boardwalk can be seen lining the waterfront at Tuscora Pond with the gazebo perched at the far end. It was an almost $200,000 project that was funded mainly through donations, and Rotary Treasurer Carey Gardner says it was great to see the project through from beginning to end. Gardner says he wants everyone who helped make the boardwalk possible to be part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony next Wednesday. The ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m at Tuscora Park. Gardner says the boardwalk comes in time to help celebrate the Rotary Club’s 100th anniversary.
STOCKDALE SERVICES SET
BEACH CITY - Services have been set for the two Stockdale family members killed at their farm near Beach City last week. The memorial service for 54-year-old Kathy Stockdale and her son, 21-year-old James Stockdale, is at 1 p.m. Saturday at the NewPointe Community Church in Dover. Authorities say 25-year-old Jacob Stockdale shot and killed his mom and brother last Thursday before turning the gun on himself as deputies arrived on scene. The family says Jacob remains in critical condition, but they are optimistic about a recovery. Older brother Calvin issued a statement saying he is unsure why Jacob did it, but the family loves him and forgives him.
GOVERNORS WARY OF MEDICAID COST SHIFT IN SENATE HEALTH BILL
COLUMBUS (AP) - Governors in states that expanded Medicaid are wary of a bill revealed Thursday by Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate. The expansion of the state-federal program has allowed 11 million lower-income Americans to gain health coverage. The Senate GOP bill would continue funding the coverage for slightly higher-income adults longer than the one passed earlier by the House, but would phase out federal support within seven years.
JURORS SET TO RETURN FOR 5TH DAY IN POLICE SHOOTING RETRIAL
CINCINNATI (AP) - Deliberations in the second trial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot an unarmed black motorist have gone on longer than in his first trial. Jurors in Ray Tensing's murder retrial will get back at it Friday, their fifth day. They've deliberated nearly 26 hours, compared to 25 hours over four days before a November mistrial was declared.
COUNCILMAN ASKS IF CITY CAN STOP RESPONDING TO OVERDOSES
MIDDLETOWN (AP) - An Ohio city councilman has asked if city emergency crews could stop responding to drug overdose calls as costs for those calls mount. The Hamilton-Middletown Journal News reports Middletown City Council member Dan Picard has asked if there is a law requiring the city to respond to overdose calls. City Manager Doug Adkins declined to comment on Picard's suggestion until he gets an opinion from the city's law department.