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Friday, February 5, 2016

17 months in prison, for a Norwalk man who had sex with a teenage girl.

41-year-old Joseph Claus was sentenced yesterday in Huron County Common Pleas Court, on a single count of gross sexual imposition. Once out of prison Claus will be on parole for five years, and as a Tier I sex offender, he’ll be required to register his address once a year for 15 years. The incident involving Claus and the 13-year-old victim occurred last October, at his Williams Street apartment.

 

More charges have filed against five Sandusky teens accused of taking part in a recent armed robbery.

Along with attempted murder charges, the boys—ages 16 and 17—have been charged with aggravated burglary and robbery, and felonious assault. All of the charges are tied to the January 25th shooting and robbery of a Forest Drive man. Shots were fired, and the boys forced their way into the victim’s home. A bullet hit the man in the arm, and traveled into his chest. The victim was hospitalized, but has since been released. All five teens remain in the Erie County Juvenile Detention Center.

 

A collection agency may be hired, to help recoup unpaid traffic tickets in Greenwich.

Officials are considering using a collection agency, because over 400 speeding tickets issued via the village’s traffic cameras haven’t been paid. Greenwich Village Council is expected to consider the proposal in the coming weeks.

 

It happened late last month, but details are just coming out.

An Oregon man was arrested January 27th, after he was caught with 21 pounds of marijuana on the Ohio Turnpike, west of Fremont. 29-year-old Russell Hines was eastbound on the turnpike, when he was pulled over for slow speed, and a lane violation. A search of his car turned up nearly $200,000 worth of pot. He was charged with drug trafficking, and was taken to the Sandusky County Jail.

 

Kindergarten registration in Bellevue is scheduled for April 6th, 7th and 8th.

Appointments may be made by calling the Board of Education Office, 484-5000.

 

Next week is when the drive-thru will be open, for residents to make Huron County property tax payments.

The drive-thru is on East Seminary Street, behind the Huron County Office Building…Hours will be 8:30am until 4pm. There will be a change this year. Cash will no longer be accepted as payment at the drive-thru. All cash payments must be made inside the Huron County Treasurer’s Office. To avoid counterfeit money, all cash will be run through a ‘cash discriminator’ to scan the bills. Any money deemed ‘suspicious’ will not be accepted. Huron County property taxes are due one week from today.

 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A man hauling construction debris suffered minor injuries, when his truck flipped on its side in Milan Township.

Timothy Dunlap of Monroeville declined treatment. According to reports, yesterday afternoon’s mishap occurred at Routes 250 and 13, when debris shifted during a right-hand turn, causing the rig to roll on its side, spilling the debris on the road. The intersection was closed for about two hours. Dunlap was charged with a load violation.

 

The Huron County Republican Party has scheduled a local debate for 6pm February 17th, at the New London Village Hall.

County commissioner hopefuls Bob Morgan and Skip Wilde will be there, along with four Republicans running for the Statehouse: Kathryn Frombaugh of Rochester, Timothy Opsitnick of Avon, Dick Stein of Norwalk and Lee Charles Waldrup of Bellevue. Also scheduled to participate: U.S. Congressman Bob Gibbs, and Republican challenger Terry Robertson. Huron County Republican Party officials will ask questions, and they’ll accept questions from the audience as well. Again, the debate is set for February 17th, at the New London Village Hall. Primary election day in March 15th.

 

State Representative Steven Arndt has been picked to serve as a member of the House Transportation Committee, and the Turnpike Legislative Review Committee.

In addition to those committees, he serves on the Armed Services, Veterans Affairs and Public Safety committees, the Commerce and Labor Committee, and the Economic and Workforce Development Committee. Arndt represents Ohio’s 89th District, which is made up of Erie and Ottawa counties.

 

A suspected drive-by shooter who targeted the wrong home is in the Erie County Jail.

18-year-old Jeremiah Velez of Sandusky was arrested yesterday afternoon on charges of felonious assault and obstructing official business. The charges are tied to a January 26th incident at a Fulton Street apartment complex. Sandusky police said Velez’s target was a resident who owed him money. Instead, he shot up the wrong apartment. A 25-year-old woman and her nine-month-old infant were in the apartment, but both were unharmed.

 

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

With temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50’s, a new record high could be set in Norwalk.

The current record is 55, set in 1931.

 

Firefighters continue to investigate a blaze that claimed a Sandusky man.

69-year-old Charles Purkeypile of Sandusky died early yesterday morning inside his Milan Road apartment. Officials suspect he was smoking in bed while using an oxygen machine. The blaze remains under investigation.

 

Officials with Michael’s craft store have announced plans to buy the parent company of rival and Ohio-based Pat Catan’s.

The deal between Michael’s and Lamrite West is worth $150 million. No stores will close, and no employees will lose their jobs. It’s not yet known if the sale will affect Pat Catan’s plans to open a new store in Norwalk.

 

Norwalk City Council has approved a lease-purchase agreement for new phones.

The new citywide phone system from Frontier will cost $81,000.

 

A change, involving Imagine Norwalk.

This summer’s three Friday downtown events—June 3rd, July 1st and August 5th will be coordinated by the Norwalk Jaycees. Imagine Norwalk’s third summer season will again feature music, food and more.

 

A Bellevue man accused of going online to solicit sex from a girl under 13 will undergo a mental health evaluation to determine if he knew right from wrong and to see if he can aid in his own defense.

71-year-old Lawrence Green is charged with felony importuning. He was arrested in early January, after a month-long investigation. Green remains in the Huron County Jail, in lieu of $30,000 bond.

 

Police in Fremont are looking for a man who robbed KeyBank yesterday afternoon.

The man walked into the bank just before 4 and gave a teller a note demanding money. He fled the scene on foot, and hasn’t been seen since.

 

A change, involving the Greenwich Township Trustees.

The trustees have changed meeting times to 5:30, the final Tuesday of each month.

 

Nearly a dozen people have applied to become the next treasurer of the Norwalk City Schools.

Three are from the area. Of the 11 applicants, three have experience in school finance. The Norwalk Board of Education hopes to hire a new treasurer by next month.

 

February 16th is the deadline to register to vote, or change voter information in time for the March 15th primary election.

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It’s a split decision.

Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this morning, which, according to legend, means an early spring. But, his Ohio counterpart, Buckeye Chuck saw his shadow, which is supposed to mean six more weeks of winter.

 

A Grafton man has been sentenced to life in prison, for killing a Sandusky resident.

35-year-old Joseph Sandy will be eligible for parole in 20 years. Sandy was sentenced yesterday in Erie County Common Pleas Court, after pleading guilty last Thursday to a charge of aggravated murder. The charge was tied to the December, 2013 death of 86-year-old George Martin. Sandy stabbed Martin, and then set fire to his Campbell Street home. Authorities believe Sandy went to the house, to steal money for drugs. Sandy’s wife, 25-year-old Bethany Sandy of Norwalk was involved in the crime. She remains in the Erie County Jail, pending court proceedings.

 

Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan will deliver his annual ‘State of the City’ address to city council one week from today.

Sandusky’s Polar Plunge was a big success. The annual fundraiser for the Special Olympics raised more than $25,000.

 

North Fairfield village councilman Tom Leto could be named village administrator.

Mayor Josh Radcliff has recommended that Leto fill the seat previously held by Bob Morgan. North Fairfield council could decide as soon as next week.

 

A special prosecutor has been named, to oversee a missing drugs investigation involving Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer.

Delaware County Prosecutor Carol Hamilton O’Brien will decide if the matter should go before a grand jury. Overmyer has been accused of mishandling prescription drug boxes collected around the county. He’s denied wrongdoing.

 

After getting just 1.9% of the vote during yesterday’s Iowa Caucus, governor John Kasich is hoping for a strong showing in next Tuesday’s New Hampshire presidential primary.

Ted Cruz won the GOP Caucus. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders finished in a virtual tie.

 

 

 

Monday, February 1, 2016

We just missed tying a record high in Norwalk yesterday.

The official high in the Maple City was 59. The record was 60, set in 1916.

 

Ohio Governor John Kasich has picked up a big endorsement.

The New York Times editorial board has endorsed Kasich to win the Republican nomination for president. Last month, he was endorsed by three New Hampshire newspapers. The Times also endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

 

Kasich’s campaign for the presidency has led to a lot of time outside the Buckeye State.

A study by the Columbus Dispatch shows Kasich has spent at least 130 days out-of-state during the past ten months…That equals 26 five-day workweeks. In response, the Ohio Democratic Party posted a help-wanted ad on Columbus Craigslist, seeking new leadership.

 

A Norwalk business owner who parked at the Huron County Jail with marijuana stashed in his car is going to prison for a year.

53-year-old Kenneth Green was sentenced last week. Last year, Green was serving a 90-day jail sentence with work release privileges, for selling marijuana. While in jail, pot was found in his car, during a random patrol of the grounds. Green is the owner of KG’s Automotive Repair on East Water Street.

 

Five Sandusky teens are facing serious charges, including attempted murder.

The boys, ages 16 and 17 were arrested Friday, in connection with a January 25th shooting on Forest Drive. Police believe the victim, a 22-year-old man was shot during a robbery attempt. He was taken to a Toledo hospital, and continues to recover. Sandusky police recovered three firearms used in the shooting. The boys remain in juvenile lockup, pending court proceedings. They could be tried as adults.

 

A high-speed chase through parts of seven counties has led to criminal charges against a North Ridgeville man.

33-year-old George Tiller was arrested at 2:15 yesterday morning, an hour after the chase began in Cuyahoga County. According to reports, police tried to stop Tiller for speeding and suspected drunk driving. Tiller fled into Medina County, then Wayne, Ashland, Richland, Morrow and Delaware counties, with speeds reaching 100 miles per hour. Along the way, Tiller hit a concrete barrier, and drove on at least one flat tire. Fortunately, traffic was light and no one was injured.

 

A reminder that off-site Huron County property tax collections will continue tomorrow and Wednesday.

Huron County Treasurer Kathleen Schaffer will be at the Willard Senior Center tomorrow, and New London Village Offices on Wednesday…Hours at those locations will be 9 until 12. Off-site Huron County property tax payments must be made with a check or money order, and the tax bill must accompany the payment.

 

Friday, January 29, 2016

You’ll notice a change Monday morning, on 95.3 WLKR and wlkrradio.com.

Fox News will be replaced by CBS News at 6, 7, 8, noon and 5.

 

It’s an annual fundraiser for the Special Olympics, and it’ll take place tomorrow in Sandusky.

The official opening ceremony will begin at 12:15, and the Polar Plunge will take place at 1 at the Thirsty Pony. Dozens of people who secured pledges will plunge into a pool of cold water, to benefit the Special Olympics. Last year, $25,000 was raised at the Sandusky Polar Plunge. Participants may pre-register between 5:30 and 7:30 tonight, or 10 tomorrow morning. Those who don’t want to take the plunge, but want to support the Special Olympics can pay $30, and receive a ‘too chicken to plunge’ t-shirt.

 

A city of Norwalk employee accused of stealing a street sign will not face criminal charges.

The general services worker allegedly swiped a street sign and hid it where no one would find it. A special prosecutor assigned to investigate the theft found the employee wasn’t truthful during interviews, but he also found that proving theft beyond a reasonable doubt would be too difficult.

 

Sentencing is scheduled for Monday, for a man accused of stabbing a Sandusky resident, then setting fire to his house.

35-year-old Joseph Sandy of Grafton could be sentenced to life in prison, with a chance of parole in 20 years. He appeared in Erie County Common Pleas Court yesterday, and entered a plea of guilty to a charge of aggravated murder. In exchange, the prosecutor’s office dismissed several other felony charges, agreed not to pursue the death penalty. Sandy and his wife went to the Campbell Street home of 86-year-old George Martin in December of 2013, with the intent to steal. Instead, Sandy fatally stabbed Martin, and then set fire to the house. The case was under investigation for six months, before Sandy’s wife revealed her involvement. Bethany Sandy of Norwalk remains in the Erie County Jail, and is facing several complicity charges.

 

Dog owners…

If you haven’t done so yet, you don’t have much time to buy new tags for 2016. In Huron County, the deadline is Monday. In Erie County, it’s Tuesday.

 

In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more about a proposal to use $3.5 million in trust fund money, to build a new fire station in Norwalk.

The issue will be on the March 15th primary ballot.

 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Norwalk woman reported missing has been found.

19-year-old Raven Marvin was found yesterday. Previous to that, she hadn’t been seen since Sunday.

 

Huron County’s December unemployment rate was well above the statewide average of 4.7 percent.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Huron County’s jobless rate was 7.3 percent or 12th highest in the state. Except for Lorain County, all counties surrounding Huron County were higher than the state average as well. Erie County was at 6.1 percent, Crawford County was at 5.8 percent, Richland County 5.6 percent, Ashland County 5.1 percent, and Sandusky and Seneca counties, 4.9 percent. Lorain County’s December unemployment rate was 4.5 percent.

 

Plymouth-Shiloh Schools Superintendent Dr. James Metcalf will fill dual roles for the remainder of the school year.

Along with superintendent duties, he’ll serve as high school principal. Former principal Amanda Mahon resigned last month, after accepting a job at Mid-Ohio ESC. The Plymouth-Shiloh Board of Education will begin the search for a new principal in the spring.

 

A former employee of Lorain County JVS has been charged with sexual battery.

23-year-old Monique Overstreet of Elyria allegedly had consensual sex with an 18-year-old student last November. Records show she was a part-time classroom aide, before resigning in mid-November. She’s currently free on bond.

 

The state’s sales tax holiday on back-to-school items could become an annual thing, if bipartisan legislation is approved in Columbus.

Under Senate Bill 264, no local or state sales tax would be charged on clothing priced at $75 or less and school supplies that cost $20 or less. If approved, the annual sales tax holiday would take place during the first weekend of each August.

 

Ohio-based Wendy’s is investigating reports of unusual activity on debit and credit cards.

Officials with fast food chain said yesterday that fraudulent charges may have occurred on cards used at some locations. Wendy’s is encouraging customers to watch for unauthorized charges on their cards.

 

The Huron County Board of Elections will hold a special meeting at 7:30 tomorrow morning, to discuss the review of statewide petitions.

The meeting will be held in the Board office, in the Huron County Administration Building in Norwalk.

 

They’ll be ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ Saturday.

The annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics will be held in Sandusky. We’ll have more, in news tomorrow.

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New developments in the case of a Willard man accused of fatally shooting his neighbor.

50-year-old James H. Blair has been found competent to stand trial on several charges, including aggravated murder. He’s also been disqualified from entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Blair underwent separate mental health evaluations, but Huron County Public Defender David Longo wants one more round of testing. Blair was arrested in late July, after the shooting death of 62-year-old Linda Ciotto. She was shot and killed while mowing her Kirkwood Drive lawn. Authorities believe Blair killed her, because he thought she was mowing too late in the evening. He remains in the Huron County Jail, in lieu of $1 million bond. A trial date has not been established. Blair’s mother, 73-year-old Billie Ann Hinkle is scheduled to stand trial in April on charges of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. She’s accused of hiding the gun used in the shooting.

 

More news from Huron County Common Pleas Court.

A 71-year-old Bellevue man accused of soliciting sex from a girl under 13 says he’s innocent. Lawrence Green was arraigned earlier this week. He entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of importuning, and was assigned a March 10th trial date. Green was arrested January 7th. He remains in the Huron County Jail, in lieu of $30,000 bond.

 

There’s a new member of Monroeville Village Council.

Susan Rogers was appointed last night, and she’ll serve a full four-year term. She’s stepping in for Terry Reed, who opted not to seek re-election.

 

2015 was a record-setting year for liquor sales in Ohio.

According to the Division of Liquor Control, sales of hard liquor topped $1 billion last year. That’s a 7.3% percent increase, compared to 2014. By far, the top seller was Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey.

 

A spokesman for Huntington Bank believes they’ll receive regulatory approval by September for their purchase of First Merit for $3.4-billion in cash and stock.

First Merit will take on the Huntington name and some branches located near existing Huntington branches will close.

 

A top honor for a student at Edison High School.

A piece by Jacob Grant has been named as the 89th House District winner of the 2016 Ohio House of Representatives Student Art Exhibition. His work will hang at the Statehouse until December 30th.

 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

38 years ago today is when Ohio was the midst of the worst blizzard in the state’s history, and perhaps the worst storm of any kind in the Buckeye State.

The Blizzard of 78 was classified as a rare ‘severe blizzard.’ It paralyzed virtually all of Ohio with heavy snow, blowing snow and whiteout conditions, ice and extremely dangerous wind chills. People all over Ohio were trapped in their homes and cars. Many homes and businesses had no heat. 51 Ohioans died in the Blizzard of 78.

 

Ohio governor John Kasich has picked up a major endorsement.

The Boston Globe is urging New Hampshire Republicans to vote for Kasich, in the February 9th primary election. In pre-election polls, Kasich is running third there, trailing Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

 

A chimney fire sparked a blaze that damaged a Fayette Road home.

According to Chief John Chapin, 10 New London firefighters were summoned to 5795 Fayette Road at approximately 1:45 Sunday morning. The Rochester Fire Department also responded, with a water tanker. New London firefighters removed part of the ceiling and some of the roof to extinguish the flames. There were no injuries, but the home sustained smoke and water damage.

 

A reminder…

Monday, February 1st is the deadline to buy 2016 Huron County dog and kennel licenses. The cost is $16 for one year, or $48 for three years. After Monday, the cost will double. Dog and kennel licenses may be purchased at the Huron County Auditor’s Office, the Huron County Dog Warden’s Office, the Huron County Humane Society and at Mapleview Animal Hospital, all in Norwalk. Other locations include Bellevue Animal Hospital, York Animal Hospital, Buck’s Hardware in Greenwich, Gilbert Hardware in New London, Country Counter Market in North Fairfield, Wakeman Hardware and Willard Fish ‘N Game.

 

Starting tomorrow, Remington Street, between Cleveland Road to Laurel Lane in Sandusky will be closed for 45 days, for a major sewer project.

 

It’s a merger, between two of Ohio’s largest banks.

Huntington Bank is buying First Merit bank, for $3.4 billion in stock and cash. The deal was announced yesterday.

 

We’re now paying between 20 and 25 cents more at the pump.

Yesterday, most service stations increased gas prices, despite the fact that supplies remain high, and crude oil prices remain down.

 

Monday, January 25, 2016

As expected, Winter Storm Jonas buried the east coast in snow, with some spots getting 30 inches.

The storm brushed some of southern Ohio as well. 16 inches of snow fell near Marietta, while parts of Athens and Lawrence counties saw more than a foot of snow.

 

It was 38 years ago today that the Blizzard of 78 hit Ohio, paralyzing the Buckeye State.

Between January 25th and January 27th of 1978, one to three feet of snow fell, and winds averaged between 50 and 70 miles per hour, pushing wind chills to 60 below zero. Thousands of people were stranded in their home and cars. Many homes and businesses had no heat or power. The Blizzard of 78 claimed 51 people in Ohio.

 

This weekend is Hall of Fame Weekend at Norwalk High School.

Six people will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday: Bob Chappelear, Janet Conway, Jim Gregory, Jeff Phillips, John Schroeder and Skip Wilde. A banquet will begin at 5pm at Norwalk High School, and the induction ceremony will be held before the start of Saturday’s Norwalk-Bellevue boy’s basketball game. Tickets for the banquet are $15 each, and will be sold through Thursday at Norwalk High School. Reservations are required, as tickets won’t be sold at the door.

 

No felony charges, against a Sandusky man accused of accidently shooting and killing his fiancée.

Instead, an Erie County grand jury has charged 26-year-old Jermane Kennedy with negligent homicide, and using a weapon while intoxicated. Both charges are first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The grand jury declined to consider other charges, including murder, involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide. The misdemeanor charges against Kennedy are tied to the January 1st death of 25-year-old Katelin Castile. After a night out, Kennedy was showing a 9mm handgun to a friend when it went off, causing a bullet to hit Castile in the neck. Kennedy was originally charged with felonious assault.

 

The city of Vermilion’s Civil Service Commission has upheld the November, 2015 dismissal of the police department’s second-highest ranking officer.

Captain Michael Reinheimer was fired after wearing a pin supporting marijuana legalization, improper firearms training and driving under suspension. Reinheimer had been a member of the force since 1999.

 

The State Highway Patrol says two Maryland men are facing drug charges, after being busted on the Ohio Turnpike.

Troopers said they found 40 pounds of marijuana worth $160,000 in a hidden compartment, after pulling the driver over for a routine traffic violation in Lorain County’s Henrietta Township.

 

Next month is when the Ohio House may vote on a bill that would drastically reduce unemployment benefits.

In its present form, House Bill 394 would cut unemployment benefits from 26 to 12 weeks, with increases possible, if Ohio’s jobless rate goes up. Construction workers would be capped at 20 weeks.

 

Norwalk City Council will meet in work session tomorrow night.

Items up for discussion include road work, a new tobacco policy, business signs and a new phone system for city-owned buildings.

 

Gas prices continue to fall.

Today’s Ohio average is $1.56.