Local Headline News

7:19 AM - March 20th, 2018

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New Phila Lions Club Backs the Blue
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) - An initiative is taking off as people show their support of all Tuscarawas County law enforcement. The Back the Blue campaign started after a New Philadelphia Councilman recounted how in Texas signs are placed supporting police officials. New Philadelphia Lions Club member and former police officer Sam Hitchcock explains that the idea had merit given situations happening all around the country. “With so many anti-police sentiments going on, there’s an overwhelmingly amount of people who support law enforcement and to just punctuate that and give people the opportunity to display that support.” Not only is the New Philadelphia Police Department logo present but the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s logo is on the sign as well. Hitchcock says the signs are $20 with all proceeds going to the Lions Club, therefore going back into the community. Message Sam on Facebook for more information or to order a sign. - Mary Alice Reporting





Early Stage Business Start-Up Workshop Available
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) -  A local organization is offering a class to help you get started or get the word out about your newly established business. Kent State University at Tuscarawas Small Business Development Center Certified Business Advisor Joe Belinsky points out that these start-ups are essentially mom and pop stores where people can be creative and resourceful. The Monday, March 19th class is $20 and includes a package of materials related to discussions of making and keeping up with a business plan. “So that you have an idea of where your market is, how you go about attracting it, and the importance of designing a plan for the future as well as for starting.” - Mary Alice Reporting




68 U.S. Senators Cosponsor SESTA
Washington, DC (WTUZ) - Debates recently began in United State Senate about the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and an Ohio Senator is urging approval of the bill. On the Senate floor, Republican Rob Portman spoke about the countless investigative hours spent on the bill that would curb the selling of women and children online and provide trafficking victim’s justice. SESTA is a bi-partisan bill and Portman pointed out that this is an increasing issue affecting every state due to the efficiency of the internet. “They understand this is a federal responsibility to change this law because it’s a federal law that creates this opening for websites to engage in this kind of behavior without accountability. They’re effectively shielded from prosecutions or lawsuits and this legislation take away that shield.” That federal law is called the Communications Decency Act which was put in place to protect internet freedom; however, Portman specified that this legislation was enacted in 1996 when the internet was in its early stages. According to Portman, SESTA, if approved, would allow prosecutors to hold websites accountable for taking money to place indecent and exploited advertisements on their websites. He noted the bill allows victims to get justice and removes the liability protections. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports between 2010 and 2015, there was an eightfold increase of women and children being trafficked online. 
A Senate vote is expected in the upcoming week. - Mary Alice Reporting





Common Pleas Court Judge/Staff Attend Dispute Conference
Columbus, Ohio (WTUZ) -  For the first time, mediators, lawyers, and judges were able to gather for a seminar to participate in a Dispute Resolution Conference. 400 people made the trip to Columbus including Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos, Mediator Andrea Fischer, and Court Administrator Elizabeth Stephenson. Stephenson believes it has been a long time coming for the Ohio Supreme Court to get court mediators together. “It can be a lonely job if you are the only mediator in the county like our mediator might be, so connecting those people are great” The Tuscarawas Common Pleas Court mediation program began in 1991 with the help of a grant. “What we send to the program is civil cases regarding contract disputes and things like that, and also our domestic relations, and the settlement rate is in the high 70’s.” The conference featured 100 speakers and some sessions involved discussion around Franklin County’s new online dispute system and a civil stalking pilot mediation program happening in 12 counties. - Mary Alice Reporting





Ex-boyfriend Faces Burglary Charge
Coshocton, Ohio (WTUZ) - A West Lafayette man is in custody following an investigation from a Friday threat. The Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office reports a deputy, who was working security at the Meadows Apartments on Magnolia Street, was informed by a woman that her ex-boyfriend broke into her apartment and threatened her with a knife in front of her small children. The man fled the scene and Sheriff Detectives were called to assist in the investigation. Later, the suspect’s vehicle was located and after a traffic stop, 21-year-old Derrick Hill was arrested without incident. He is now charged with a 1st-degree felony of aggravated burglary.





A Call to Boost Local Foods in 2018 Farm Bill
Washington, DC - Federal lawmakers are ramping up their work on the 2018 Farm Bill, and some Ohio farm groups and producers say measures to boost local foods should be included. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says the Local FARMS Act he introduced in the Senate can help family farmers and local growers reach new markets and improve access to fresh foods for Ohioans. That was the exact mission of Betsy Anderson and others in Wooster when they created Local Roots Market and Cafe eight years ago. “The connection to the food is just so different when you grow it yourself,” Anderson says. “And our market gives people an opportunity to meet with the farmers and really see exactly where their food’s coming from. People just seem really happy.” The Local FARMS Act includes investments in programs such as the Local Food Promotion Program, which Local Roots has utilized to enhance its cooperative over the years. The House Committee on Agriculture is holding a hearing on the 2018 Farm Bill today. Anderson says Local Roots and the area economy have both benefited as a result of funding from the program. She explains the market was able to expand its advertising, and bring in more local shoppers and sellers. “The producers are from our communities,” she notes. “We had about 200 already selling products, and then we got up to 284. And sales continue to increase. We saw a bit over half a million dollars a year in local product.” According to USDA data, more than 167,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food through farmers markets and other similar channels in 2015, generating nearly $9 billion in earnings for local producers. The 2018 Farm Bill could move to the full House by mid-March and be in the Senate in May. - Ohio News Connection





Drug Trafficking Charge Handed Down
Coshocton, Ohio (WTUZ) - Formal charges are filed against one person after a search warrant netted drugs and other related items. The Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office says Detectives conducted the raid on March 15th on a home in the 300 block of N. 3rd Street where along with drugs, five adults, two female and three males, were taken into custody. 42-year-old Christopher Bradley, of Coshocton, is charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, a 2nd-degree felony. The remaining adults have since been released from police custody. Detectives note that a February search warrant, at the same residence, also resulted in the seizure of several types of drugs and cash. Assisting in the on-going investigation is the Coshocton County Prosecutors Office. - Mary Alice Reporting






Raid Reveals Drugs in Coshocton Home
Coshocton, Ohio (WTUZ) - The Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office found drugs and cash while executing a search warrant on Thursday. Just before noon, detectives entered the home in the 300 block of North 3rd St., where they found drugs, drug-related items, and cash, all of which were seized. Taken into custody at the scene were 5 adults, two of which were female, and three which were male. The names of the suspects will not be released until formal charges are filed. This is the same home where drugs and cash were found during a search on February 23. Five individuals were arrested on that date. 






Juvenile Facing Charges Over School Threat
Magnolia, Ohio (WTUZ) -  A Sandy Valley student is facing charges as Tuscarawas County officials continue their mission of “no tolerance” for school threats. Deputies were called to the school on Thursday afternoon after students overheard a threat of a school shooting. When confronted about the statements, the student reported that it was merely a joke and was not intended to be threatening. The suspect has been suspended from the school district, with additional repercussions possible. A report will be sent to the Juvenile Prosecutor for charges. Sheriff Orvis Campbell had stated last month that school violence is a serious matter, and they will not tolerate any threats, real or not. Any student who does so will face criminal charges.






TEACH Act Focuses on Opioid Addiction
Ohio (WTUZ) - A State Congressman has introduced a bill that endorses advanced education for pain management and alternative treatments. Bill Johnson explains the goal of the Training, Education, and Community Help (TEACH) to Combat Addiction Act is to teach health care professionals about substance abuse and pain management. He believes there are two main areas that have attributed to the opioid crisis, one being the black tar heroin coming across the Mexico border. “The second was in large part due to misguided medical responses to pain management and misunderstandings about the addictive dangers of opioids.” He notes the bill would authorize the NIH Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs) program to enhance and improve how health care students are taught about pain and treatment. The TEACH Act will head to committee for review before going to the house floor for consideration. - Mary Alice Reporting






Lady Quakers Head to State Semi-Finals
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) -  A local basketball team, with 23 straight wins, is making history as they head to the 2018 OHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament. A crowd gathered Thursday morning at the Middle School/High School to send off the New Philadelphia girls’ varsity basketball team and Coach Tracy Payne as they travel to Columbus. “[the sendoff was] indescribable. That was just awesome. Our community, our school, everybody’s so great, and we’re excited to go down and compete tomorrow.” The girls stopped at the district elementary schools where they received a big welcome and send off from students and staff. Friday at 3pm, the Division II Lady Quakers (25–2) take on Toledo Rogers High School at the Jerome Shottenstein Center. Big Z Sports will have live play-by-play coverage beginning at 2pm. City and school officials are planning a community welcome home celebration on Sunday, March 18th at 2pm at the downtown gazebo. - Mary Alice Reporting







Farm Discussions Wrap-up in Washington D.C.
Washington, DC (WTUZ) - Around 100 Ohio farm bureau members are in Washington D.C. to hear and lobby legislative leaders. Ohio Farm Bureau Federation President Frank Burkett explains over the three days, they advocated national issues such as immigration, tax reform, regulations, and trade. Among the many leaders heard during the 72nd annual trip include U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, USDA Undersecretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. - Mary Alice Reporting







Ohioans Divided Over Education Consolidation Bill
Columbus, Ohio  - An Ohio House committee continues to debate a bill that would change the oversight of education in the state. If passed, HB 512 would fuse the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development into one agency headed by an appointee of the governor. The Ohio School Board Association is among the critics of the measure. Deputy director of legislative services Jay Smith said there are concerns that it would take away the authority of the publicly elected leaders of the Department of Education, who work directly with local school districts. “By creating what some would call a mega-agency, they feel that some of those direct services would be lost,” Smith said; “whether it’s dealing with complex issues related to our school funding formula or other areas that local school districts rely on resources from the Ohio Department of Education.” Supporters see the measure as a way of improving cooperation and communication between the agencies and aligning K-12 and secondary education with workforce development. 
Several career and technology centers support the proposal, while the Ohio Board of Education, the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers are among those who oppose. Smith said it’s troubling that the legislation was drafted without consulting these organizations or others who represent teachers and public school districts. “There was no collaboration; there was no stakeholder feedback from the field going into this proposal,” he said. “So I think that’s somewhat alarming.” There are also concerns that a cabinet-level agency would make it more difficult for educators, parents and students to have input on educational policies. But supporters counter it would ensure governors are held accountable for Ohio’s education laws.





$1 million Paving Project set for Summer
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) – Motorists shouldn’t be impacted too much for a paving project set to occur during evening hours. New Philadelphia City Service Director Ron McAbier says work will begin on State Route 416 beginning in June. “From general services at Commercial Avenue SE and travel all the way up S. Broadway, N. Broadway, and all the way out to Seven Mile Drive. We look forward to that starting and they will get out of town for a week because of First Town Days.” He notes that bids came in higher than expected at $1,605,884. The city will be paying just over $311,000. The remaining funds will come from the Ohio Department of Transportation since the project is an 80/20 split with the city. The contract was awarded to Shelly and Sands. - Mary Alice Reporting





Statehouse Fellowship Registration Open
Columbus, Ohio (WTUZ) -  College graduates are invited to apply for a Statehouse Fellowship position to learn more about the Ohio General Assembly. 98th District State Representative Al Landis urges people to look into the position and notes that throughout his term, three legislative aides were part of the Ohio Legislative Service Commission Fellowship Program. “They’re going to hire 24 folks to work with members of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate. This is just a great opportunity that’s just coming out of college that is interested in political science or communications to be up close and personal with state government.” Fellowship applications will be accepted until April 1, 2018 and the two telecommunication position’s deadline is April 30th. Landis notes that, along with fellows receiving full state benefits and $31,200 as a yearly salary, they also have the opportunity to earn a $2,000 bonus based on program service length. Visit or call 614-466-3615 for more information. Application material can be mailed to: Ohio Legislative Service Commission Fellowship Coordinators, Vern Riffe Center, 77 South High Street, Ninth Floor, Columbus, OH  43215-6136 - Mary Alice Reporting





Crime Cases Up at Prosecutors Office
Tuscarawas County, Ohio (WTUZ) – Property crime cases are on the rise for Tuscarawas County prosecutors with most of them related to drug addictions. Assistant Prosecutor Scott Deedrick says that, based on his 21 years of experience, he is seeing more offenses motivated  to get money for drugs. “That’s either by admission or other red flags, like they have lots of drug convictions and of course, it’s not unusual for folks to sell whatever they have, then unfortunately family members and friends are often next victims, even neighbors.” He notes that sometimes a person wanting money to buy drugs may approach people in parking lots with a tale asking for money and the promise to repay. Deedrick adds that theft and shoplifting crimes are increasingly putting a strain on first-responders and citizens. “Law enforcement, medical personnel, EMT’s dealing and responding to drug overdoses. People that we, of course, need to have in treatment facilities the waiting is longer, more people are in jail, in prison and this is increased stress on tax payers.” This increase is only related to property crimes and not the rise in drug trafficking or possession charges. In 2017, Tuscarawas County saw 132 theft/receiving crimes, 88 drug offenses, and 57 cases related to burglaries or B&E’s. - Mary Alice Reporting





Buckeye Students Qualify for National Competition
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) – Buckeye Career Center students are heading to a national competition for the Business Professionals of America. Fifteen students recently placed in the top 3 during the state leadership conference.  Six individuals and 2 teams will have the opportunity to represent their school in May. Buckeye Public Relations Coordinator Shyanne Carroll says the school has three programs that compete. “Here at Buckeye, we have one program on campus and that’s computer technology/network systems; but we also have the Garaway Business Program that we operate out of Garaway High School. Their students are able to enroll in that and then we also have our Buckeye Business Academy which is at the East Holmes Campus and now we have many who have qualified for nationals.” Students who qualified for the national competition will travel to Dallas, Texas, May 9-13. “Buckeye takes care of that for them they’ll get to go and experience Dallas, Texas; spend a few days there exploring while they’re also competing, so we’re really excited for our students.” The BCC East Holmes Chapter was one of seven chapters in Ohio to earn the BPA Chapter Activities Award of Excellence. 

National qualifiers include:

Buckeye Career Center Computer Technology/Network Systems students Alex Mann (Claymont) – 4th place in System Administration with Microsoft and Zane Robertson (New Philadelphia), Aaron Albaugh (New Philadelphia), and Sydney Sinkovich (New Philadelphia) – 2nd place Network Design Team. Garaway Business Program qualifiers include: Peyton Miller – 3rd in Payroll Accounting; Karson Schrock – 4th in Payroll Accounting; and Bethany Rider – 4th in Banking and Finance. Buckeye Business Academy East Holmes Campus qualifiers include: Josh Garber, Thomas Troyer, Micah Troyer, Kerri Miller, Mary Beth Mullet, Anson Troyer, Treva Beachy, and Joshua Yoder – 1st place Parliamentary Procedure Team.

Students who placed in the top 10:

BCC Computer Technology/Network Systems: Tristan Steinbach (Indian Valley) – Cisco Systems; William Abel (Dover)- Computer Security; and Robert Dotson (Garaway) – Computer Security. Buckeye Business Academy East Holmes Campus: Josiah Miller, Caleb Miller, Abe Hershberger, and Chris Miller – Top 10 in Small Business Management Team; Grace Miller – Top 10 in Administrative Support Concepts; Joshua Yoder and Josh Garber – Top 10 in Business Meeting Management Concepts; Treva Beachy, Josh Garber, Micah Troyer, Thomas Troyer, and Joshua Yoder – Top 10 in Parliamentary Procedure Concepts; and Josh Garber – Ohio BPA Merit Scholar Top 10.

Statesman level Torch Awards from BCC East Holmes Campus: Rachel Weaver, Annie Shetler, Karlin Yoder, Diane Sclabach, Chris Miller, Josiah Miller, Treva Beachy, Micah Troyer, Thomas Troyer, Mary Beth Mullet, Josh Garber, and Joshua Yoder.





New Philadelphia Man Sentenced for Fraud
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) - After pleading guilty to six felonies for fraud in January, a New Philadelphia man will pay more than $90,000 in restitution. Keith Elsesser, 51, was sentenced on Monday afternoon for selling fraudulent securities to two victims. The two grand theft charges and four counts of unlawful securities practices stem from a scheme where Elsesser lead the victims to believe they were investing in an energy drink venture between 2011 and 2013. Elsesser, instead, spent the money on groceries, movies, rental cars, and entertainment. $10,000 of the restitution was repaid during sentencing on Monday, and $1,500 will be paid monthly until his debt is paid. Along with restitution, Elsesser will spend 7 days in jail and be under community control for 5 years. Elsesser was prosecuted through the Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section.





Seven Paving Areas Set for Uhrichsville
Uhrichsville, Ohio (WTUZ) – With budget constraints in mind, city officials are getting ready for paving season and they have chosen to begin with roadways in the downtown area. hrichsville Mayor Rick Dorland says that the city entered into a county paving program and originally they chose 13 streets for paving. “We set a budget and we started adding up the 13 streets so we figured we better start whittling it down. I concentrated on the downtown area and we got down to seven streets, and it’s about $343,000.” City administration estimates that a street levy will have generated about $240,000 and the city will cover the remaining cost of around $1,000 from the Capital Improvement fund. He notes the plan is to repave the seven roads from curb to curb. “Just about the whole downtown is going to be done. All of E. 3rd Street, N. Main, N. Uhrich, N. Dawson, Thompson Street, and then we’re going to do a little piece off of Indian Hill Road, out by the high school.” Dorland adds that getting the streets paved is a work in progress and that the city also had to consider the cost of striping for the newly paved roads. - Mary Alice Reporting





Wind Turbine Legislation Discussion Continues
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) – Regulations for wind turbines is now in the hands of the New Philadelphia Zoning and Annexation Committee to talk about legislation details. Mayor Joel Day explains that previously, the planning commission approved recommended wind turbine guidelines. “Basically, what it does is it would restrict the construction of future wind turbines to just industrial areas in the city. There would have to be a fall zone, there would have to be noise studies, and a number of other technical specification in order to get a building permit.” The first committee meeting for legislation discussion is Monday, March 12th at 6:45pm in council chambers. - Mary Alice Reporting




Daylight Savings Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers
Ohio (WTUZ) – AAA is sending out a safety message for drivers and pedestrians after the clocks moved one-hour ahead over the weekend. AAA East Central Director of Legislative Affairs Theresa Podguski explains that morning commuters may be driving in the dark and your visibility may be reduced. “Time change comes a change when the sun rises and sets. AAA is asking motorists to slow down and be extra alert, especially in the morning hours when it will be darker for a later period of time.” She asks for drivers to be careful of any children walking to school and to slow down when approaching a crosswalk. “You have children who are going to bus stops, walking to school, crossing at corners so it’s important for motorists to be extra alert during those hours as well.” Podguski adds for you to leave room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see pedestrians crossing in front of you. - Mary Alice Reporting




Shot Fired, No Injuries
Coshocton, Ohio (WTUZ) – Deputies are actively investigating a report related to a home being fired upon. According to the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, they received several 911 calls for possible gunshots in the area of S. 7th and Vince Street around 8:25pm on Saturday, March 10th. Deputies search the immediate area and were unable to locate a gunman; however, several witnesses were interviewed and officials discovered bullet holes going into a home. No injuries have been reported. The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information referencing this on-going case to contact their office at 740-622-2411. - Mary Alice Reporting




McDonald’s B&E Suspect in Custody
New Philadelphia, Ohio (WTUZ) – Not many details are being released, but the New Philadelphia police department reports a burglary suspect is in custody. Law enforcement responded Thursday night to a robbery at McDonald’s, on 4th Street, and employees noted that a man came through the drive-thru window, took the cash drawer, and then left through the window. Detectives went through surveillance video and conducted interviews, and on Friday, they were able to obtain a confession and recover most of the money. A name is not being released at this time until charges are officially filed. - Mary Alice Reporting




Sheriff’s Office Encourages School Involvement from Law Enforcement
Wooster, Ohio (WTUZ) – The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging all law enforcement agencies to make a known presence at schools in their communities. Sheriff’s Captain, Doug Hunter, explained he is working to visit local schools more often. “Spent the entire day at the Northwestern Middle School,” he said. “As I was speaking with these students, some of them expressed concerns for their safety. [I] did my best to assure them that school is a safe place and that’s exactly why we were there to keep it that way.” Captain Hunter stressed that it’s important all law enforcement agencies have a presence in schools. “I’m going to encourage you to do the same. You probably have some time that you can take your paperwork into the school,” he said. “Clear off a spot there and do business and bolster relationships as well as providing security within that particular environment.” He added its important students understand that law enforcement is there to keep them safe and that trust is formed between police and kids. - Michaela Madison Reporting




Easter Basket Items Needed for Children Battling Cancer
Ohio (WTUZ) – Non-Profit Project Ed Bear is asking the community to help fill 85 Easter baskets for children battling Cancer. The volunteer-led organization has been working closely with Akron Children’s Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies to provide comfort to kids with cancer since 1994. Dr. Jeffery Hoard with Akron Children’s Hospital says the organization has been great for the kids and the hospital as a whole. “Over the 13 years that I’ve been here now, I’ve worked very closely with Project Ed Bear throughout that time,” explained Dr. Hoard. “Our program has expanded and so has the help that Project Ed Bear has given us, from helping us renovate our clinic lobby so that it’s much more child-friendly.” The community is asked to donate items like handmade cards, Amazon gift cards, Easter stuffed animals, crayon sets, journals, and more. The donation deadline is March 23rd and can be mailed to: 656 Chilham Circle, Uniontown, Ohio 44685, Attn: Susan Summerville - Michaela Madison Reporting