8:13 AM - September 22nd, 2017
GRAND JURY WILL CONSIDER CHARGES FOR NEWCOMERSTOWN MURDER
UHRICHSVILLE - The cases of three Jefferson County men charged with conspiracy in the murder of 19-year-old Luke Cabbage are being bound over to a grand jury to consider formal charges. 19-year-old Arnoldo Orduno 20-year-old Jordan Robinson and 22-year-old Kyle Boyd appeared for an initial hearing in Southern District Court Thursday afternoon. The Prosecution called Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Jeff Moore as a witness. Moore recounted his investigation, which started when a cell phone records search showed Orduno had been in contact with the victim in the hours leading up to the murder. When questioned, Orduno confirmed he was with both suspects that night, but denied any connection to the incident in Newcomerstown. However cell phone records also place Orduno in Newcomerstown on the morning of the murder, leading Orduno to then change his story. But, statements from both Boyd and Robinson indicate they had all planned to rob cabbage in a staged drug deal, and implicated Orduno as the gunman. Orduno then changed his story one last time, naming himself as the aggressor in his final statement to detective Moore. Judge Brad Hillyer found probable casue to send the cases to the grand jury and continued all three men’s bond, which was set at two million dollars for Boyd and Robinson, and five million for Orduno.
IT’S 922 DAY IN THE TWIN CITIES
DENNISON - Village officials are showing community pride like they do every year on this day. The phone prefix numbers that have come to identify the Twin Cities are again being dialed for another 922 Day celebration at McCuskey Park. Village administrator Tammi Taggart says it begins with a parade at 5:15 p.m. There is a superhero theme this year, highlighted by appearances from both police departments. This will also the last chance to donate to the 922 food drive for the Twin Cities Food Pantry.
GUNMAN ROBS PHILA DRUG STORE OF PRESCRIPTIONS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police are looking for the suspects who robbed the W. High Avenue Rite Aid of prescription drugs about 7:30pm Wednesday. A store employee says a suspect used a silver automatic handgun and got away with “all of their controlled substances.” He was described as being a 6-foot-tall black man in a red wind jacket. Other witness accounts say there were two black men between 20 and 30 years old who ran off behind the store and left in a gold van. Those witnesses say the one suspect was in a track suit and the other in a dark blue sweatshirt and jeans. Both had hats on. The gunman also dropped a cell phone and left it behind at the store.
STRASBURG GAS STATION ALSO ROBBED
STRASBURG - Strasburg police are investigating their own robbery from Wednesday night. Chief Bob Kutcher says it happened at the Valero gas station on N. Wooster Avenue about 11:45pm. The suspect is a medium build white man, about 5’ 7”, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a gray bandana over his face with sunglasses. The suspect handed the clerk a note that claimed another man with a gun was forcing him to rob the store. The suspect ran south with an undisclosed amount of money. Police will review surveillance video from nearby businesses. They will also talk to New Philadelphia police to see if there are any similarities to the Rite Aid robbery.
PHILA TO CONSIDER CEMETERY LAND DEAL
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Council members are giving residents opportunities to weigh in on a proposed land swap to give the city more cemetery space. Service Director Ron McAbier says the city has a tentative deal awaiting council approval to exchange 33 acres it owns on Donald Drive for 8.9 acres from a private owner off 20th Street on the city’s east side. This land would be turned into burial ground. McAbier says council plans to hold two special meetings and a regular meeting so the authorization legislation can go through three readings before it is voted on. Mcabier believes this property could accommodate burials for the next 75-100 years. He also says the land being traded near Donald Drive is unusable for any city purposes.
KIDS ENJOY LIVE DISPLAYS AT THE FAIR
DOVER - The kids sound like they have been having a good time at the Tuscarawas County Fair this week. A group of Newcomerstown pre-school students toured the fairgrounds Wednesday, learning about the different animals and exhibits as part of the fair’s Old McDonald’s Farm experience. They will all have something to remember it by. Fair Board Director Dan Widder is in charge of the Old McDonald’s Farm display, which allows the kids to come up close to see mother barn animals with their young ones. Widder says you would be surprised at how the students pay attention. As far as the fair schedule, Wednesday is the concert with Erica Dawn, the Joseph Sisters, and Chris Higbee. Thursday is the open class draft horse hitch show and drag race.
GIBBS MEETS WITH FAIRGOERS
DOVER - Tuscarawas County fairgoers were getting to share thoughts and concerns directly with their congressman Tuesday. 7thDistrict Representative Bob Gibbs was at the GOP’s booth under the grandstands to hear from constituents. Gibbs tells WJER he was hearing a lot about healthcare, and he is hoping the Senate can pass an overhaul bill soon so it can head to conference committee. He also expects there to be tax reform legislation drafted in the next couple weeks.
SCHOOL BOARD LOOKS READY TO FILL VACANCY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A familiar name has been nominated to join the New Philadelphia School Board. The board will vote Monday night whether to appoint New Philadelphia Fire Chief Jim Parrish to fill the vacancy left by Steve Jenkins’ resignation. Board president Don Kemp says the school board members are the ones who first nominate the candidate to fill a vacancy, and then they officially vote on it. Kemp says they had 21 people send in letters wanting to join. The board then interviewed seven of them. Kemp hopes Parrish is a popular pick because he says Parrish’s fire safety background would be a benefit to the school buildings, while his EMT training gives him knowledge about the drug epidemic. Parrish also has labor-management experience.
ONLINE SHOPPING THREATENS BRICK AND MORTAR
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A New Philadelphia financial advisor says it is another example that no brick-and-mortar retailers are safe anymore. Paul Gorgas is talking about the announcement by Toys R Us to file bankruptcy, joining 18 other businesses such as Payless and Gymboree to do the same since the start of the year. He calls it another side effect of the internet and online sales. Gorgas says the biggest culprit is Amazon. He says Toys R Us will remain open through at least the holidays, while they re-negotiate with their creditors and suppliers.
KENT STATE BRINGS BACK DISTINGUISHED SPEAKERS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A once-loved event at the Kent State Tuscarawas campus is making a return as the school approaches its golden anniversary. Spokesman Chad Conrad says the university will once again host its Distinguish Speaker Series, which is now being called “Tusc Talks” with a featured speaker every year starting this October. Conrad says the program offers a unique opportunity to hear from people we may otherwise never have a chance to meet. Conrad says they will split the focus between students and the public for each series installment. The first Tusc Talk is October 12th at 7:30pm and is free for the community. He says there will also be a book signing by that speaker, astronaut Scott Parazynski, following the talk.
FAIR ART EXHIBITS GET NEW LOOK
DOVER - Tuscarawas County Fair officials are aiming to create a new feel inside one of the barns this year. Senior Fair Board member Jacque Peters says the Fine Arts barn is a chance for people who are not in 4-H to showcase their skills by submitting entries in photography, scrap booking, quilting, and even baking categories. She says they have rearranged the exhibit to appear more like an art gallery this year. They have been busy collecting, judging, and displaying the projects inside the barn, which is just down from the Clover Café. The fair runs through Sunday.
PRIME TIME FOR FLU SHOTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Health department officials are letting us know it is not too early to start thinking about getting a flu shot. Nursing Director Nicole Bache says they have been offering the vaccine for a few weeks already. It is better to act now instead of waiting for flu season to pick up in October and November. Bache says you can get the shot now without having to worry about it losing effectiveness at the end of flu season. Bache says any flu cases around Ohio have been very sporadic so far. Kentucky has had some confirmed cases near Louisville.
THE BEST SEVEN DAYS IN SEPTEMBER ARRIVE
DOVER - The 2017 edition of the Tuscarawas County Fair begins today. Tuscarawas County 4-H Program Coordinator Kiersten Heckel says visitors might notice some changes, such as a new booth in the commercial building showcasing the different community service projects done locally by 4-H members throughout the year. The fair board has also made some landscaping improvements around the fairgrounds, and some of the barns and buildings also have new roofs this year.
FREE FAIR ADMISSION FOR VETERANS
DOVER - A recent Day One tradition at the county fair continues today. The fair board is showing its appreciation by letting veterans in free today. Holly Lane with the Tuscarawas County Veterans Services office says all they have to do is show proof they served. Lane says the veterans will also be receiving free food vouchers today, good to use at a few of the stands. The fair schedule today is highlighted by the tough truck show at the grandstands at 7:30pm.
HISTORIC TRAIN RESTORATION UNDERWAY
DENNISON - An important piece will be added to the Dennison Depot as work begins to restore the Chesapeake & Ohio Steam Engine No. 2700 it acquired 20 years ago. It is being paid for by an ODOT transportation enhancement grant and other matching funds. Director Wendy Zucal says the steam engine will be a focal point as visitors enter the historic Center Street district. Project head Jason Johnson will create an accurate but cosmetic restoration using both original and replicated pieces of the train.
MURDER SUSPECTS CHARGED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The three suspects who allegedly admitted to being involved with the shooting death of 19-year-old Luke Cabbage of New Philadelphia are in the Tuscarawas County Jail. They are 22-year-old Kyle Boyd, 20-year-old Jordan Robinson, and 19-year-old Arnoldo Moreno, all of the Jefferson County area. The initial holder charges against them include aggravated murder, robbery, and conspiracy. Cabbage was found dead in a Newcomerstown front yard Monday morning.
WARDEN SPARING MORE DOGS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The county’s dog warden is making progress on his goal of cutting euthanasia rates in his department. Terry Warner says they are down 50% since he started partnering with six other shelters across county and state lines to find temporary homes for lost animals. Warner expects to lower euthanasia numbers even more by finding additional shelters to partner with, and he hopes more owners will be getting dog licenses thanks to a new mailing system. Licenses can help reunite lost dogs with owners as well as reduce shelter populations.
FIRST PROBABLE HUMAN WEST NILE CASE REPORTED LOCALLY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County health officials are reminding us to follow tips to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate breeding sites. The county has had its first probable human case of West Nile reported for 2017. Health Commissioner Katie Seward says the man went to get checked earlier this month after experiencing some of the symptoms that can include a fever and joint pains. However, he did not require hospitalization. Seward says the county has also had its first horse of the year test positive for West Nile, in the northwest part of the county. That horse is expected to be OK.
GOOD NEIGHBOR PROJECT MARCHES ON
STRASBURG - The Strasburg man determined to mow 100 lawns for free has wrapped up that project and is immediately starting up the next. Good Neighbor Project Founder Andrew Wilsterman says he now wants to walk 100 miles of Tuscarawas County picking up litter and even some followers along the way. Wilsterman says you can find him on Facebook at the Good Neighbor Project page to find out how you can become a part of the movement. Wilsterman says since finishing his first goal he has been inspired to keep finding ways to help out and give back. Wilsterman says there will also be potluck at Tuscora Park to get the Good Neighbor supporters together and plan for the projects to come.