LOCAL HEADLINE NEWS: 4/29/2016
11:02 AM - April 29th, 2016
STOLEN CAR PURSUIT ENDS IN CRASH, STANDOFF
GUERNSEY COUNTY - State troopers say they are still negotiating with a driver of a car reported stolen from Canton who led troopers on a high-speed pursuit and crashed near Salt Fork State Park this morning. Cambridge Post troopers say the car rolled on its side after hitting stop sticks in the road, but the driver is threatening to harm himself with a gun and keeping authorities at bay. Otherwise, the driver and a passenger are believed to be unhurt. New Philadelphia Post troopers picked up the chase with Canton police near Strasburg about 5 AM and continued for about 25 minutes before the crash.
CRASHES CREATE LONG DELAYS ON I-77
DOVER - Firefighters say the I-77 standstill in both lanes Thursday and the resulting detour backups into town all started with a semi-truck crash. Captain Brooks Ross says the semi, driven by a Belmont County man, initially rear-ended another vehicle in the southbound lanes around 10:30 AM and then continued into the northbound lanes where another crash happened with separate vehicles trying to avoid a collision. Ross says crews had to clean up approximately 75 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled from the semi. Ross says two people were treated at the hospital for minor injuries. The northbound lanes were closed for about an hour and half.
FIREFIGHTERS DOUSE MOBILE HOME FIRE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Firefighters say no one was injured in a single-wide mobile home fire Thursday afternoon. Captain Wes Tucke says crews arrived at 297 Fork Road SE to find smoke coming from the roof and fire in the laundry room and bedroom. Tucke says owner Alex Weinhardt, who lives nearby, reported the fire. The tenant, Chris Clark, was away from the trailer at the time. Tucke says damage is estimated at $20,000. He believes the fire began in the laundry room, but the exact cause is still under investigation.
CAMPAIGN TO FUND TRAINING BUILDING IS UNDERWAY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Firefighters are selling personalized bricks for a project separate from the new fire station. Chief Jim Parrish says the bond issue approved by voters last year will cover the fire station construction costs, but he says money to pay for a metal fire training building next door will come from the brick project and other fundraisers. Parrish says they are teaming up with the school athletic boosters with a goal of raising $300,000. Parrish says the school’s Quaker Club is doing most of the work handling the engraved brick orders, which sell for $100 each. Parrish says the training building could also be used by neighboring fire and police departments as well as vocational schools.
CEMETERY LAND REMAINS LIMITED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - New Philadelphia officials say they are continuing to search for possible land to expand the city’s cemeteries. Cemetery Superintendent Kelly Herron says the East and Fair Avenue sites are nearly full while a few new emergency-only spaces have been cleared in the Evergreen Burial Park. Herron says the cemetery board is also reviewing possible land opportunities as the number of plots continues to decrease. He says lot sales in 2015 were up $14,000 from the last two years combined. Herron says people wanting to buy more than two plots are also running into problems as few still exist.
OFFICIALS SEEK TIPS ON FOOD STAMP FRAUD
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Tuscarawas County Department of Job and Family Services is asking for cooperation to crack down on food stamp abuse. Fraud Investigator Tim Haswell says 11,000 people received food assistance in Tuscarawas County in 2015, totaling $15.3 million, but Haswell says it is estimated that 2% of food stamp recipients nationwide are committing fraud, which can include failing to report everybody who lives in the recipient’s home as well as all sources of income. Haswell says his agency investigated 249 fraud complaints in 2015, and about half of those cases were substantiated. He says people can make anonymous complaints to the department by phone or over its website.
PAC TO UNVEIL SEASON TO MEMBERS IN MAY
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Kent State Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center leaders say this year’s season unveiling will be slightly different than in years past. General Manager David Mitchell says the PAC is hosting a members-only event on May 20th, but leaders have decided against holding a public event as well. Mitchell says the VIP setting celebrates the center’s biggest fans and includes a wine tasting and presentation of the upcoming shows. Mitchell says he signed the last contract for the upcoming season just this week. He says he is anxious to let community members know what performances they can expect to see in the PAC’s sixth year. This year’s unveiling is a few months earlier than usual as officials say they hope to get a jump start on ticket sales before summer officially gets underway.
TRAFFIC LIGHT PROJECT TO BEGIN MONDAY
DOVER - Officials say the long-awaited traffic signalization project is scheduled to get started Monday. Service Director Dave Douglas says city leaders met with the contractors recently for a preconstruction meeting to hash out the final plans. He says all involved agencies need to be on the same page before the project begins. Douglas says the city is paying 20% of the $1.8 million project to replace and synchronize the dated traffic lights from Iron Avenue along Wooster Avenue to County Road 80, with ODOT paying the rest. He says traffic delays are to be expected throughout the process. Douglas says the involved lights should all be replaced and activated by the end of the year.
AEP DEMONSTRATES SAFETY, EQUIPMENT TO BUCKEYE STUDENTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Buckeye Career Center students are gaining a new appreciation for what it takes to be a utility line worker. About 15 employees with American Electric Power put on a demonstration outside the school Wednesday morning, where they simulated having to climb power poles using pulleys to hang transformers without the aid of bucket trucks. Adult Education Director Frank Polen says this served participants in the adult utility workers program as well as high school students in the electrical, energy operations, and natural resources programs, which could all lead to careers with AEP. AEP line crew supervisor Mike Miller of New Philadelphia says this goes along with the company’s mission to give back more to the communities it serves, and he was pleased to see the interest. For training purposes, AEP also donated about $10,000 worth of insulated poles known as hot sticks that give workers the ability to reach the lines from the ground.
CITIES PARTNER IN APPLICATION FOR CHIP FUNDING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - New Philadelphia is again joining with the city of Uhrichsville to apply for federal housing funds. Municipal Services Corporation Spokesman Tony Danzo says the two municipalities are submitting a joint application, as they have in recent years, to leverage more money from the Community Housing Improvement Program. Danzo says the state determines which towns receive the money each year. Danzo says the two cities split the award and use the money to help low- to moderate-income residents with home repairs or renovations. He says New Philadelphia has received the grant yearly since 1996. Danzo says the application is due next Friday, though it could be September before the funding recipients are announced.
TEENS COMPETE IN DRIVING ROADEO
DOVER - Nearly 60 teenagers took over the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds to prove they can safely drive a car. The 22nd annual Teen Driving Roadeo was held Wednesday with teams from all ten area school districts. Garaway took the top team prize. Safe Kids Coalition Co-Coordinator Patty Maag says the program has been so successful over the years because of the support from law enforcement, the schools, and businesses. The students had a variety of confidence levels competing in the multiple choice, essay, and driving skills tests. County Coroner’s Office Investigator Cathy Clarke also had a demonstration to avoid distracted driving, including texting and even loud music. Clarke says her presentation is always a learning experience, but she says the overall program is working well. The Roadeo awards cash prizes from first to fifth places in all three categories.
TRAVEL TUSC DAY FOR INSIDERS AND VISITORS
DOVER - Tuscarawas County tourism leaders say they are beginning the busy travel season by cross-promoting local attractions. Convention and Visitors Bureau Partnership Development Director Diane Lautenschleger says officials with historical sites, restaurants, and others will attend Monday’s “Travel Tusc Day” to first network with each other then staff booths for the public to gather information. Lautenschleger says she hopes to draw out-of-town interest while also informing area residents of their options locally. Lautenschleger says it is important for all tourism business employees to be educated about the area to recommend additional attractions to customers. The free public event will be held at Warther Museum in Dover from 5 to 7 PM.
CITY, OWNER SPLIT COSTS TO CATCH CATS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Officials say they have found a humane way to rid one city neighborhood of its growing feral cat population. Mayor Joel Day says he has hired a professional nuisance control operator to trap the cats around the area of Carrie Avenue and 2nd Street NW. Day says neighbors have been complaining about smells and nighttime cat fights for more than a year. He says a horse barn that was built when the land was outside of the city has become a dump site for area residents' unwanted cats. Day says the trapper charges $15 a day plus $20 for each trapped animal, but he says the property owner has agreed to pay for half of the expenses with the city covering the rest.
APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR SIDEWALK REPLACEMENT PROGRAM
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City leaders say they are already seeing interest in this year’s sidewalk replacement program. Service Director Ron McAbier says at least 10 applications have been picked up from his office in just over a week, and the deadline to apply is June 1st. McAbier says city officials will then determine the most deserving sidewalk undertakings. McAbier says the city sets aside $25,000 to fund the work each year, but he says the landowners must pay for half of the replacement. McAbier says the sidewalk replacements must be done by one of three city-approved contractors, and the program fails to include funding for tree or root removal.
FOOD TRUCKS INVADE KENT TUSC
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The concept of bringing in mini-restaurants on wheels is proving to be a popular decision at Kent State Tuscarawas. The university held its latest Food Truck Invasion event with two vendors from the Cleveland and Akron areas parked on campus Tuesday serving students and others who were able to stop by on their lunch breaks. Southern Thangs truck owner Julianna Trunko of Copley says her operation prides itself on experimenting and coming up with some unusual food preparations and offerings. Derek Studt of New Philadelphia was brave enough to try a hot roasted bacon ice cream sundae from the truck. Students who took time between classes to grab a bite to eat say they would like to see the trucks come by more often. Organizers were expecting to raise a few hundred dollars for the campus golf team through the event. The next food truck invasion on the campus is set for next Tuesday.
COMMISSIONERS HEAR CDBG REQUESTS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Tuscarawas County commissioners now have to decide how to best split up the limited amount of Community Development Block Grant funds available for area municipalities and organizations this coming fiscal year. Community leaders are asking for more than $530,000 through 11 requests, though commissioners have only $170,000 to divide among four requests serving low-to-moderate income individuals. Salem Township Trustee and Tuscarawas Village Administrator DJ Meek says he was at Monday’s public hearing with the commissioners to explain requests for both entities and how funding options are limited. Other requests include $38,000 for sidewalk improvements in Uhrichsville and $31,000 for the wages of three bus drivers at the Society for Equal Access. Fund recipients will be announced next month.
LOCAL LORE COLLECTION UNDERWAY
DOVER - Time is running out for people to have their stories included as part of a living history book being compiled into a book to be published by the Dover Public Library. Local History and Genealogy Librarian Claire Kandle says the deadline for submissions and the chance at the $200 prize for best story is Sunday, May 1st. Kandle says the entries should involve personal stories of interest or legends passed down from family members that help create a picture of Tuscarawas County’s past. Kandle says she will be looking for the most touching story when judging for the prizes. Entry forms are available at the library’s front desk and online athttp://www.doverlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Tapestries-of-Tuscarwas-County.pdf.
GIBBS ADDRESSES BUSINESS LEADERS
SUGARCREEK - Northern Tuscarawas County’s congressman is updating area business leaders on what has been keeping lawmakers busy lately on Capitol Hill. 7th District Representative Bob Gibbs was the featured speaker for the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce legislative luncheon Monday where he discussed the federal budget along with what he considers a regulatory overreach by the executive branch and other topics of interest for those in attendance. Gibbs says it is difficult to provide confidence about the economic future as long as the nation’s debt continues to pile up.
FLAMING TRUCK, DOUBLE CRASH BLOCK I-77
STRASBURG - State troopers say I-77 was closed Sunday morning near Strasburg for 90 minutes as crews cleaned up a truck fire northbound and a double crash southbound. Troopers say the truck driver was moving from Florida to Elyria when the rental truck had engine trouble and burst into flames about 9:30 AM. While crews were putting out the fire, traffic in the southbound lanes slowed to watch. The driver of a Mini Cooper then hit the back of an SUV, and then a pickup truck hit the Mini Cooper. Troopers say no one was seriously injured, and both the Mini Cooper and pickup drivers were cited with failure to keep an assured clear distance among other citations.
GUNS REMOVED FROM NEW PHILADELPHIA HOME
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police say they are making room for the 48 guns confiscated from a N. Broadway home after a domestic violence incident. Captain Ty Norris says the owner was arrested over the weekend, and a protection order was issued today. Norris says gun removal is a fairly common procedure for his department when a protection order is issued. He says he believes the man is a firearms collector as many of the guns still have tags and appear to have never been fired. Norris says police also located a large amount of ammunition in the home, which he says is not all that uncommon because people tend to buy ammo in bulk. Norris says the firearms vary from handguns to rifles. He says it took three officers and two cruisers to remove and transport the weapons.
TABLETS, TEXTBOOKS BOTH NEEDED FOR BLENDED APPROACH
UHRICHSVILLE - Claymont school officials are working on gaining additional tablets for students in the upper grades as well as new math textbooks for the younger grades. Curriculum Director Jodie Miles says the district currently uses Chromebooks in grades 5, 6, and 9, but she says the program needs to expand to keep up with the kids’ technology skills. Miles says the math textbooks are still needed regardless of how many levels are using tablets. Miles says choosing textbooks requires just as much focus as electronic devices to determine if they are user-friendly and motivational and meet new educational standards. She says the district will continue to purchase more tablets to phase in the program for grades 5-12 by the 2017 school year.
DRIVERS DETOURED, LANES REDUCED FOR ROADWORK
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Ohio Department of Transportation is beginning to tackle more of its $18 million in construction projects for Tuscarawas County this year. District 11 spokeswoman Becky Giauque says the US 250 east ramp at Uhrichsville will be closed through the end of enxt week for a bridge project. The detour takes drivers to the US 36 Trenton Ave. exit and directs them to get back on in the opposite direction to catch US 250 east. Crews have started joint repairs where more than four miles of SR 39 east of Sugarcreek will be paved. Giauque says the I-77 paving project between Strasburg and the Stark County line will begin next week, which will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction overnights from 7 PM to 7 AM.