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News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bond is set at $750,000 for a Huron woman who was allegedly drunk when she drove into the Huron River with two children in the back seat.

One of the children, four-year-old Javin Jaques was pronounced dead at Fisher-Titus Medical Center early this morning.  The other child, seven-year-old Autumn Collinsworth is ok.  32-year-old Lindsey Gundlach is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and DUI.  Her blood alcohol level was .12.  The incident occurred just after 11 last night at Franklin Flats in Milan Township.  Sheriff Paul Sigsworth says Gundlach was backing from a driveway when she backed into the river.  Gundlach and the girl were able to escape from the car.  Divers were called in to get Jaques.


Authorities have finally ID’d the man who died in a recent blaze, at a halfway house in Sandusky.

The November 30th blaze at the Beacon House on Venice Road claimed 33-year-old Stephen Jett of Barberton. The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

 

A Vermilion woman is free on bond after being charged with the 2009 death of her husband.

36-year-old Julene Simko turned herself in Friday on several charges, including aggravated murder.  Hours later, she posted a $500,000 bond.  Simko is accused of shooting and killing Jeremy Simko inside their home five years ago.  She claimed an intruder shot her husband.

 

The Norwalk Area United Fund is on the move.

The office is relocating from its present location on East Main to the corner of East Seminary and Benedict.  The new location will be handicapped-accessible.  Officials no campaign donations will be used in the move.

 

It could be a white Christmas…

The forecast calls for a mix of rain and snow showers on Christmas Eve and a chance of snow showers Christmas morning.

 

A reminder that due to the increased presence of the flu, visitor restrictions are in place at Fisher-Titus Medical Center.

Those restrictions include no visitors under 18 and no visitors with flu-like symptoms.


Around the state…

Ohio pharmacies are dealing with shortages of flu medication.

The Ohio Pharmacists Association says the demand for Tamiflu is overwhelming. The medication is used to ease flu symptoms.

Last week, we told you that AAA is projecting 98.6 million people will travel for the holidays.

AAA now says in Ohio, a record-high 3.8 million people will go at least 50 miles from home between tomorrow and January 4th.

Ohio prisons officials are considering electric fences as one of several options to increase security at state correctional facilities.

Other options may include secondary fencing, nets and sensor-based drones.

Friday, December 20, 2014

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 9 this morning, for Huron, Ashland and Richland counties.

It was issued, because of light freezing drizzle.

 

Gas prices have dropped below $2 a gallon in some locations around Erie County.

Self-serve regular is $1.99 or less at gas stations in Sandusky, Milan, Castalia and Huron.

 

Winter officially begins at 6:03 Sunday evening.

For what it’s worth, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says Winter in the Lower Lakes region will be colder than normal, with the coldest periods in late December through January and in early February. Snowfall will be above normal.

 

Area authorities are searching for a former Milan man accused of sexually abusing his stepdaughter.

42-year-old Andrew Schnee, now of Bellevue has been charged with 17 counts of rape. Anyone with information should contact the Milan Police Department, or the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. Schnee’s estranged wife, 43-year-old Kimberly Schnee was arrested yesterday, on a secret indictment charging her with rape, endangering children, complicity and permitting child abuse. The alleged sexual abuse began when the girl was 9, and continued for seven years.

 

A Canadian company is now doing business in Norwalk.

CPS Wood Products of Ontario has set up shop in a portion of the former CVG building on the city’s west side. CPS manufactures wood pallets and crates for MTD in Willard. The company currently employs about a dozen people in Norwalk. That number could grow to 25.

 

There’s a new push, to legalize marijuana in the Buckeye State.

A group calling itself “Responsible Ohio” is putting together plans to have the issue placed on the November, 2015 ballot. If approved, the constitutional amendment would have 10 select property owners grow marijuana to sell for medical and recreational purposes. The approach is similar to the one used to legalize casinos in four Ohio cities. 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form.

 

An early Thursday morning house fire did about $25,000 damage, to a home in Norwalk.

Firefighters were summoned to 68 South Linwood Avenue shortly after 12:30 yesterday morning. They were able to contain the blaze to the kitchen area, but smoke damage affected the home throughout. The owner of the home tried to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher, but flames flared up, when he went outside for fresh air. The blaze may have been sparked, by too many things plugged into a single outlet.

 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Norwalk mayor Rob Duncan is denying allegations that he inappropriately touched another man at the Ernsthausen Recreation Center.

According to the Norwalk Reflector and the Sandusky Register, the alleged incident occurred last month, in the locker room. A New London man filed a complaint with the Norwalk Police Department. The matter was referred to the Erie County Prosecutor’s Office, which opted not to file charges, after interviewing both men. Duncan said the allegations are false.

 

A student at Perkins High School has been charged with inducing panic, for allegedly threatening to blow up the school.

The 16-year-old boy was arrested yesterday afternoon, and was taken to the Erie County Juvenile Detention Center. According to reports, the teen posted a YouTube video, using his school laptop. In the video, boy said “…we’re going to blow the school up. We’ve got Tommy guns, we’ve got Glocks.” Perkins school officials quickly saw the video, disabled the boy’s computer, and called police. A search of his locker turned up no weapons. He told officers he was joking.

 

A girls basketball coach with area ties has been dismissed from his job.

The school board relieved Mansfield Madison coach Brian Carr of his duties last night. Carr failed to notify school officials that he was charged in a late August domestic violence incident at his home. Carr previously served as girls basketball coach at Plymouth.

 

A limited number of hard copies of the 166-page book, “Norwalk’s championship: A historic state title — and the maligned city that embraced it,” will be available one last time before Christmas.

According to author Mark Hazelwood, there are 61 copies left of the book. He’ll be selling copies of the book again at Sheri’s Coffee House from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. this Saturday. The book goes inside the incredible four-year run of the Norwalk boys’ basketball team, culminating in the Division II state championship in March. The cost is $20 by cash or check. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Weekends Without Hunger program, in memory of Hazelwood’s late grandmother, Margaret, who worked at League School’s cafeteria from 1965-87. Hazelwood sold 184 copies last week during the book release at Sheri’s. The book is also available for purchase any time via credit card on Amazon.com.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Two Huron County boys high school basketball teams will head to Cleveland today, for matinee hoops.

 Monroeville and South Central will play at Quicken Loans Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 3:15. You can hear complete live coverage on 95.3, WLKR and wlkrradio.com.

 

The Erie County Board of Elections Office will be closed all of next week.

The office will reopen on Monday, December 29th.

 

U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan has been chosen to chair a government subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits and Administrative Rules.

The Republican from Urbana represents Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches from Coldwater in Mercer County, to eastern Lorain County. It includes some of Huron and Erie counties.

 

Ohio Democrats have a new leader.

As expected, David Pepper of Cincinnati was elected chairman last night, by members of the Ohio Democratic Party’s Executive Committee. He’s replacing Chris Redfern, who announced his resignation last month.

 

Perkins police say no one was injured, in a three-car crash on Milan Road.

The crash occurred yesterday. According to reports, it was caused by a 95-year-old driver.

 

The Sandusky Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a head-on crash that left two men dead on State Route 51 in Ottawa County.

84-year-old George Neukom of Tiffin, and 65-year-old Harold Schaffer of Toledo were pronounced dead at the scene yesterday afternoon. Troopers said alcohol may have played a role in the crash.

 

The city of Norwalk will soon begin looking for a part-time construction inspector.

Once hired, the inspector will work for $20 an hour, approximately 30 hours a week, about 36 weeks per year. Since 2012, the city has spent just $300,000 on inspection consultants.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spurred by an improving economy and falling gas prices, AAA says 98.6 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home, during the year-end holiday season.

That’s an increase of four percent, compared to last year, and it’s the highest number since 2001. The holiday travel period begins December 23rd, and ends January 4th.


A Vermilion man is facing several charges, after leading Erie County deputies on a weekend chase, while allegedly drunk.

Stephen Bertoni was arrested, after the 2.5 mile chase along Mason Road. According to reports, speeds varied between 30 and 60 miles per hour. Bertoni was taken to jail, and later freed on bond.


Tonight is when Ohio Democratic Party officials will meet, to select a new leader.

It appears David Pepper of Cincinnati will be named as the party’s new chairman. If all goes as expected, Pepper will replace Chris Redfern, who resigned after sweeping November losses to Republicans. Pepper is a former Hamilton County Commissioner. Last month, he ran unsuccessfully for Ohio Attorney General.


Former Congressional nominee Sharen Neuhardt withdraw from the race for Ohio Democratic Party Chair.

While doing so, she criticized party leadership for potential conflicts of interest, and $2 million in debt.


An Ashland man charged with killing his girlfriend while on vacation entered a surprise guilty plea yesterday.

Nathan Summerfield pleaded guilty in a North Carolina courtroom, to charges of murder and kidnapping, in connection with the July, 2012 death of Lynn Jackenheimer. He was immediately sentenced to 30 to 39 years in prison. Summerfield strangled and stabbed Jackenheimer, then dumped her body, while vacationing on the Outer Banks. He returned Jackenheimer’s two children, ages 13 and 3 to Ashland, then disappeared for a month. He was found by U.S. Marshals, at a hotel in Medina County. During yesterday’s hearing, Summerfield claimed he was under the influence of Ambien, and doesn’t remember killing Jackenheimer.

 

A former assistant coach at Fremont Ross High School will spend four years behind bars for sexual battery.

36-year-old Johnny Alridge was sentenced yesterday in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court.  In addition to prison, Alridge was labeled a Tier III sex offender, meaning once he’s out, he’ll have to register his address every 90 days.  Alridge was arrested earlier this year after school officials and authorities learned he was involved with a 17-year-old female student.  Alridge worked as an assistant football coach at Ross High.

 

The Erie County Board of Elections Office will be closed all of next week.

The office will re-open on Monday, December 29th.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Two men from Oregon state were arrested last week, after they were caught with a substantial amount of marijuana.

The two were arrested, after they were pulled over for speeding on the Ohio Turnpike, near the Route 250 exit in Milan. During the stop, a trooper smelled raw marijuana. A search of the car turned up cookies with pot, and marijuana wrapped like Christmas gifts. The men were taken to the Erie County Jail.


Records show Governor John Kasich spent more than $17 million, in his bid for re-election.

His chief opponent, Democrat Ed Fitzgerald spent about $4.6 million. Kasich won re-election, with nearly two-thirds of the vote.


Meanwhile, State Senator Gayle Manning spent more than $1 million, to remain in office.

Her opponent, Marcus Madison spent approximately $55,000. Manning represents the 13th district, which includes Huron and Lorain counties.


Bankruptcy is looming for Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation, the operator of Horseshoe Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Las Vegas-based Caesar’s owns or operates 52 casinos worldwide. The company generated $8.6 billion in revenue over 12 months, but lost $3.5 billion during the same period. Part of the problem: annual interest payments alone are $2 billion. Caesar’s has closed three casinos this year. Even if the company files for bankruptcy protection, experts say casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati won’t be affected.


A bizarre story out of Columbus…

A man who smashed his pickup truck into a school bus claims he crashed, because he was being assaulted. The driver said he was weaving through traffic at a high rate of speed Friday morning, trying to get to police headquarters, because his girlfriend was beating him with a pop can. But the man’s truck slammed into a school bus at Broad and High streets, pushing the bus onto the sidewalk. Two people crossing the street were hit. One, a 21-year-old Ohio State student was killed. The other, the city’s engineer suffered serious injuries. Three special needs students on the bus were unharmed. The bus driver suffered minor injuries.

The driver of the pickup and his girlfriend remain hospitalized. Columbus police continue to investigate the crash.


Tomorrow night is when Norwalk City Council will pay tribute to Bob Carleton.

The second-ward councilman passed away last month, at age 72. A resolution honoring and commemorating Carleton is expected to be approved, during tomorrow night’s meeting of city council. The meeting will be the first for Carleton’s replacement, Erin Smetzer.


The Erie County Engineer’s office is considering dropping the speed limit, along some of Campbell Street in Perkins Township.

If approved, Campbell, between Bell Avenue and Bogart Road would drop from 55 to 45 miles per hour. A decision could come next week.

 

This Saturday is when Willard High School’s baseball and softball teams will hold a fundraiser for the ALS Association.

A silent auction featuring signed Major League Baseball memorabilia will be held in the Willard High School Commons Area during the boy’s basketball game against Bellevue.  Bidding will end at halftime of the varsity game.


Friday, December 12, 2014

A boil advisory remains in effect for the village of Bay View.

It was issued late yesterday morning, after a water main break. It should be lifted by late this afternoon or early evening.

 

Norwalk City Council has a new member.

Erin Smetzer will represent the second ward. She was appointed yesterday. She’s filling the seat of longtime councilman Bob Carleton, who died last month. Smetzer is a Norwalk native, and a graduate of Miami University in Oxford. She’s the owner and administrator of Junior Explorers Child Development Center.

 

A man who recently won election to the statehouse was in court yesterday, to plead ‘not guilty’ to three felony charges.

Steve Kraus is charged with burglary, breaking and entering and theft. He’s accused of stealing valuables from a home in Danbury Township this past spring. Kraus is scheduled to stand trial in April. He’s currently free on bond. Kraus beat Chris Redfern in the race for Ohio’s 89th House district, which includes Erie and Ottawa counties. It’s not known if Kraus will be sworn into office next month.

 

A Norwalk Middle School student was rushed to the hospital yesterday, after he was hit by a car while walking home from school.

The accident occurred shortly after 2:30 on Norwood Avenue. Witnesses told police the 14-year-old boy crossed the street, and was darting between cars, when he was hit. The boy was taken by ambulance to Fisher-Titus Medical Center. His injuries weren’t considered life-threatening. So far, no charges have been filed.

 

A former nurse from Bellevue is facing nearly 40 felony charges, for allegedly stealing prescription medication from patients.

37-year-old Andrea Alley is charged with 23 counts of illegal processing of drug documents, and 16 counts of theft of dangerous drugs. Alley was a nurse at Windsor Lane Healthcare Center in Gibsonburg. She was fired in July, after nursing home officials investigated allegations against her. The case will be turned over to a grand jury.

 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Old State Road in Norwalk will be open to traffic as normal tomorrow.

New water and service lines are installed, and are working. More work, including pavement widening will take place in the spring.


One more vote, and so-called “red light cameras” will likely become history.

The Ohio House has passed a bill that requires a law enforcement officer to be present for tickets at all traffic cameras. Critics of the measure say the mandate would make such cameras too expensive to operate. The measure is off to the Senate for a vote.


2015 may be the year Ohio has a ‘sales tax holiday.’

A House Committee has approved the measure. It now awaits a vote by the full House. If approved, it would establish August 7th, 8th and 9th of next year as days when certain school supplies, clothes and instructional materials would be exempt from county and state sales taxes. It won’t include computers or tablets, or sports equipment.


Erie County deputies are investigating an early Tuesday morning ATM theft, in Margaretta Township.

According to reports, a thief used a sledgehammer and a crowbar to smash open an ATM at Bayside Tavern and Drive-Thru. The crime was caught on video, but the man’s face was covered, and he wore gloves and heavy clothing. He made off with more than $2,000.


A Democrat from Cincinnati says he has the votes, to be named the state party’s next Chairman.

David Pepper claims he has the support of nearly two-thirds of the Ohio Democratic Party’s executive committee. A formal vote is expected next week. Pepper is a former Hamilton County Commissioner who ran unsuccessfully last month for Ohio Attorney General. Party chairman Chris Redfern announced his resignation, after Republicans swept statewide offices, during the November election.


Today’s the day a book about Norwalk High School basketball is released.

Norwalk’s Championship: A Historic State Title, and the Maligned City That Embraced It will be sold at Sheri’s Coffee House between 3 and 6 today and tomorrow, and between 9am and noon Saturday. The book is 166 pages long, and costs $20. It was written by Mark Hazelwood, a Norwalk resident, and Sports Editor of the Sandusky Register.

 

After weeks of rumors, it’s now official.

The Sandusky Bay Conference will expand by absorbing the entire six-team Sandusky River League and adding Vermilion.  The expansion will begin with the 2016-2017 school year and the 15-team conference will consist of two divisions:  Bay and River.  For football and wrestling, the Bay Division will consist of Clyde, Edison, Huron, Oak Harbor, Perkins, Port Clinton and Vermilion.  The River Division will consist of Margaretta and current Sandusky River League teams Lakota, Fremont St. Joseph, Sandusky St. Mary, Fostoria St. Wendelin and Tiffin Calvert.  For all other sports, Margaretta will be in the Bay Division with two other SRL members, New Riegel and Old Fort participating in the River Division.  In most sports, there will be two divisions with a champion crowned in each and crossover games for schools that are interested.

 

SBC President Jeff Goodwin will join us live during this Saturday’s Locker Room Show to talk more about the expansion.

The Locker Room airs from 9 until 10am.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A third arrest has been made, in connection with a multi-county burglary ring.

28-year-old Jamie Brant of Monroeville is facing one count of receiving stolen property. Brant’s brother—James Brant—and Katherine Straughn of Bellevue are key suspects as well. Both were arrested last week. All three are accused of breaking into homes and businesses in Huron, Seneca and Ottawa counties. Deputies have recovered $50,000 worth of stolen items. More arrests are possible.

 

A Willard man accused of manufacturing crystal meth is going to prison.

36-year-old Billy J. Kilgore was sentenced yesterday to 18 months behind bars. Kilgore was arrested by Willard police in late June.

 

A former Clyde man who stole numerous grave ornaments must pay nearly $8,000 restitution.

In addition, 25-year-old Jeffery Huey of Solon must serve three years probation. Huey was arrested in June of 2013, after detectives learned he had stolen urns, benches and more from graves in Michigan, all the way to Sandusky. He was caught in the act, after authorities placed a hidden camera at the Oakland Cemetery in Perkins Township.

 

The Huron County Commissioners continue to work on the 2015 budget.

An interim budget must be in place by the end of this month. The final budget must be approved by March 31st.

 

A Norwalk woman injured in a car-semi truck crash in Milan remains in critical condition.

27-year-old Dawn Weatherspoon was flown to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, after Monday’s crash at Routes 250 and 13. The highway patrol continues to investigate the crash.

 

The Ohio Senate has approved a bill legalizing firecrackers, bottle rockets and other consumer-grade fireworks.

Currently, Ohioans can buy consumer-grade fireworks, but must sign paperwork saying they’re taking them out of state within 48 hours. Senate Bill 386 would change that, and would tax fireworks at four percent to fund firefighter training and enforcement. It does give counties and townships the power to ban fireworks, or restrict dates and times when fireworks could be set off. The measure was sent to the Ohio House for a vote.

 

Statewide gambling revenue was down 11 percent in November.

Figures from the state show the biggest drop was at the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, were revenues fell 20 percent, compared to last year. Revenues fell by 10 percent at the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, five percent at the Hollywood Casino Toledo, and four percent at Hollywood Casino Columbus.

 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Norwalk woman was flown to a Toledo hospital, after her car hit a semi-truck.

27-year-old Dawn Weatherspoon was injured shortly before 5:30 yesterday morning on U.S. Route 250, near State Route 13 in Milan. According to the highway patrol, Weatherspoon’s small car hit a tractor-trailer, after going left of center. Milan firefighters were called in to use the Jaws of Life, and Weatherspoon was flown to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, with incapacitating injuries. Her current condition is unknown. The trucker wasn’t hurt. The highway patrol is trying to determine why Weatherspoon went left of center. Alcohol use has been ruled out.

 

A Willard man has been charged with felonious assault, for allegedly running over his ex-fiancee.

29-year-old Ian Robinson was arrested late Saturday night, after the incident outside a home on Section Line Road near Bellevue. According to reports, the two had been arguing, and when Robinson tried to leave, the victim stood in front of his car, and wouldn’t move. Robinson then bumped her and knocked her down, before running over two-thirds of her body. She suffered substantial injuries, and was taken for treatment. Robinson was taken to the Huron County Jail. He’s due in court next Monday.

 

A girls basketball coach with area ties could be out of a job.

According to the Mansfield News Journal, Mansfield Madison head coach Brian Carr was suspended last week, after school officials learned of an earlier domestic violence incident. Carr was arrested at his Plymouth home in late August. He initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed his plea to no contest to a reduced charge of attempted negligent assault. He was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence and was placed on two years’ probation, was fined $200, and was told to attend anger management counseling. Carr failed to notify the school of his arrest, and the outcome of the case. Officials learned about the situation via a newspaper article. Carr has been the girls head coach at Madison since 2012. He previously did the same job at Plymouth, and had coached at other area schools.

 

An arrest warrant has been issued for a northwest Ohio woman who failed to appear for her arraignment.

62-year-old Marilyn Perry of Lindsey was due in Huron County Common Pleas Court yesterday morning, to answer to a charge of aggravated vehicular assault. The felony charge is tied to an early August incident in downtown Bellevue. While allegedly intoxicated, Perry hit a woman who was exiting her car. The victim suffered serious injuries. She continues to recover.

 

Hunters checked 64,485 deer during Ohio’s seven-day deer gun season, which ended Sunday.

That’s about 10,000 less than last year.

 

Two Sandusky teens were taken to juvenile lockup, after they were caught going through cars parked at the Sandusky Mall.

The boys, ages 15 and 17 were arrested Sunday afternoon, after they were confronted by a shopper. When questioned by police, the two initially denied the allegations, before the younger boy admitted to the crimes. The two teens were charged with criminal trespassing and receiving stolen property.

 

The Norwalk Board of Education will hold its regular monthly meeting at 7:30 tonight, at Norwalk High School.

The public is welcome to attend.