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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A meth lab bust in Plymouth has led to two arrests.

24-year-old Nickolas Arrendondo, and 19-year-old Miranda Burton were arrested Tuesday, at their State Route 103 home. They’re accused of manufacturing and selling crystal meth in the Plymouth and Willard areas. The arrests were made, after a long investigation by deputies from Huron and Crawford counties. Arrendondo and Burton are being held in the Crawford County Jail.


A Sandusky man accused fatally stabbing a Norwalk infant has been ruled competent to stand trial.

The decision was made yesterday, in Erie County Common Pleas Court. 20-year-old Denzel Castile is charged with aggravated murder, in connection with the May, 2013 death of his cousin’s infant, 11-week-old Athena Castile. Authorities said she was fatally stabbed, at a Sandusky home. While he’s been found competent to stand trial, doctors must now determine if Castile was legally insane at the time. He remains at a Toledo psychiatric hospital.


A Sandusky woman accused of injuring a motorcyclist during Ohio Bike Week 2013 has accepted a plea deal.

Christina Merlo pleaded guilty this week, to charges of DUI and aggravated vehicular assault. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed three other charges. Merlo was arrested last June, after a hit-and-run crash at Washington Row and Columbus Avenue. Police said after hitting the biker, Merlo backed over him, and fled the scene. The biker, from Illinois suffered serious injuries. Merlo will be sentenced in late June.


The U.S. Coast Guard spent the overnight hours and this morning searching Lake Erie for four missing boaters.

The boaters went missing last night near South Bass and Rattlesnake Islands.  According to reports, they were fishing.  Officials found their capsized boat this morning, Davis-Besse, near Oak Harbor.  One body was found this morning.


A sex offender from Bellevue is off to prison.

28-year-old Lee Gustafson Jr. was sentenced yesterday to four years behind bars for unlawful sexual conduct with a 15-year-old girl.  The crimes occurred last May and June.  Once he’s released from prison, Gustafson will be on five years of parole.  He’s been classified as a Tier II sex offender, which means he’ll need to register his address twice a year for 25 years.  Gustafson’s troubles aren’t over.  He’s facing charges of falsification, theft and cocaine possession.  Those charges were filed in February in Erie County after he claimed he was held up at gunpoint, and then kidnapped while working at a Sandusky hotel.  He recanted after he was questioned by police.


A Norwalk man is facing more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

23-year-old Stephen Erwin will be sentenced next month.  Erwin and a 15-year-old girl had sex in May and June of last year.


Back for a 10th year…Tool Time.

It’s a fundraiser for the Norwalk Area United Fund. It’ll be held between 1 and 4 Saturday, at the Expo Center at the Huron County Fairgrounds. Tool sets, generators and much more will available for auction or raffle. The list includes a basketball autographed by the state champion Norwalk High School basketball team. This year’s grand prize is a 2014 Polaris 4-wheel ATV. Again, Tool Time will be held from 1-4pm this Saturday at the Huron County Fairgrounds. Admission is $5.


U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is coming to Huron.

She’ll be at BGSU-Firelands from 5 until 7pm next Tuesday, to discuss workforce development and education. The forum is open to the public. Kaptur is a Democrat who represents Ohio’s 9th District.


Afternoon baseball this afternoon on 95.3, WLKR.

The Tribe and Tigers will play at 1:08.  Indians Warm Up begins at 12:37.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The highway patrol is investigating a head-on crash that claimed a Norwalk woman.

According to the Norwalk patrol post, 37-year-old Holly O’Neal was killed shortly before 7 yesterday morning, when she lost control on Whittelsey Road, near Lais Road. Her car hit one driven by Mylinda Johnson of Norwalk. Johnson and two 14-year-old passengers, Kayla and Luke Johnson were taken to Fisher-Titus Medical Center. Troopers said there was no indication of drug or alcohol involvement, and weather conditions were not a factor. The crash remains under investigation.


Former President Bill Clinton is coming to the Buckeye State this summer.

He’ll headline an Ohio Democratic Party’s annual state dinner in Columbus, June 13th.


Republican officials will be in Ohio this month, to scout potential sites for the party’s 2016 national convention.

A small team of Republican National Convention staff and advisors will be in Cincinnati on the 29th, and Cleveland April 30th, to gather more information about each city and their bid to host the 2016 convention. The same team will make visits to Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas and Kansas City. Official visits from the full party delegation could take place in selected cities in late May and early June.


The former treasurer of the Norwalk Knights of Columbus has admitted to stealing more than $100,000 from the organization.

66-year-old Gerald Weisenberger pleaded guilty yesterday to one count each of felony theft, and securing writings by deception. Each charge is punishable by up to 18 months in prison. He’ll be sentenced June 11th, in Huron County Common Pleas Court. Authorities said Weisenberger skimmed the money between 2006 and 2011.


Attendance was down slightly, but profits were up, at yesterday’s Norwalk Rotary Club Pizza Bake Off.

Just over 900 people showed up to eat pizza from six different establishments. This year’s profit was nearly $11,000, or $2,200 more than last year. It’s also the largest profit ever. Proceeds will go toward local children’s activities, including D.A.R.E. and Safety Town, the library’s summer reading program, scholarships for Norwalk and St. Paul seniors, and similar programs.


Charges could be filed against a Sandusky man, after a raid of his home turned up suspected child pornography.

Secret Service agents and Sandusky police searched the man’s East Market Street home Monday, and seized laptops and memory cards. They’re being sent to a crime lab for testing. The man allegedly downloaded pictures from a site flagged by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He returned home during the search, but wasn’t arrested. He declined to take a lie detector test.


Huron school officials have approved massive budget cuts.

Five teachers will lose their jobs by the end of the academic year. Also slashed: certain stipends, along with 20 supplemental contracts. Administrators will not receive raises during the upcoming school year. The cuts will save the Huron schools about $680,000 annually.


As high school prom season approaches, the Norwalk Police Department will dedicate extra patrols, to help ensure students are safe.

In days surrounding local proms, and nights of proms, officers will work overtime hours, looking for drunk drivers, speeders and aggressive drivers. Grant money will cover the cost of overtime.


In sports…

After getting canceled by the cold last night, the Indians and Tigers will try again tonight.  Indians Warm Up begins at 6:37, with game time at 7:08 on 95.3, WLKR. 

The Cavaliers will finish the season at home tonight against the Brooklyn Nets.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It’s Tuesday, April 15th, tax deadline day 2014.


It’s Pizza Bake Off day, in Norwalk.

Pizzas from six different establishments will be featured, during the Norwalk Rotary Club’s 15th annual event, at Norwalk High School. The doors will open at 4:30, and pizza will be served until 7. All-you-can eat admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children 10 and under. Melissa Sharp will broadcast live from today’s Pizza Bake Off.


As expected, a federal judge has issued a ruling that says Ohio must recognize same sex marriages performed in other states.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black also put a hold on his order. The immediate effect is unclear.


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified revised petition language to overturn the state’s ban on same sex marriages.

DeWine’s decision almost clears the way for supporters to begin collecting signatures, to place the issue before voters.


A Bellevue man remains at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, after a car-motorcycle crash on U.S. Route 20, near State Route 4.

28-year-old Brandon Green was injured Sunday night, when he slowed to turn left, and was hit from behind. His condition is unknown. The highway patrol continues to investigate the crash.


A Sandusky clergyman says race and sexism were factors in the recent dismissal of City Manager Nicole Ard.

The Rev. Thomas Darden spoke, during yesterday’s commission meeting. He claimed Ard was fired, based on the color of her skin, and gender. Ard is black, as is Darden. Darden is a former Sandusky City Commissioner. The late March vote to fire Ard was 4-3. Two of four votes to dismiss were cast by black city commissioners, one of whom is female. All three votes to retain her were cast by white city commissioners. The commissioners denied Darden’s allegations, and said the decision was based on Ard’s job performance.


Norwalk’s annual egg hunt is set for this Saturday, at Baines Park.

The Easter Bunny will be there, and various activities, including fire truck tours and games will begin at 1, with the egg hunt after that. Ages 2 and under will begin at 2, preschools at 2:15, kindergarten and 1st grade at 2:30, and 2nd through 4th graders at 2:45. Well over 3,000 eggs will be filled with candy and prizes. No child will leave empty handed.


After 10 seasons, Monroeville boys basketball coach Zac Reer is out.

Despite pleas from players and supporters and a recommendation by Superintendent Gregg Elchert to re-hire, the board of education declined to renew the coach’s contract.  Last night’s vote was 4-1.  The decision means Monroeville is now looking for a boy’s basketball coach and head football coach.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The 600 block of Birchwood Drive in Perkins Township is closed until further notice, due to an active house fire.


A nice weekend is in store…

70 tomorrow and mid-70′s Sunday.


A final reminder…

The city of Norwalk’s limited spring trash pickup is next week. Residents may dispose of nine extra bags, or three large items, or any combination at no cost. One large item equals three bags.


Family Dollar has announced plans to cut jobs, and close about 370 stores, as it tries to reverse sagging sales and earnings.

It’s not known how many jobs will be lost. The discount store operator said the move should reduce annual operating expenses by as much as $45 million. Family Dollar currently has more than 8,100 stores in 46 states, including several locally.


The owner of a Sandusky restaurant has been sentenced to federal prison, for tax evasion and cash smuggling.

Three family members were given probation. Haralambos Gonos will spend 18 months behind bars, on multiple counts of bulk cash smuggling and conspiracy. His sons each received two years probation. The family owns Dianna’s Deli, and the Depot Family Restaurant in Sandusky. Prosecutors said family members engaged in a complex scheme to hide income from those establishments.


The Ohio Wildlife Council has approved new white-tailed deer hunting regulations.

Among them: decreased deer bag limits in many counties. The council also approved dates for 2014-2015 deer hunting seasons. Ohio’s deer archery season will begin September 27th, and will last until February 1st. The youth deer gun season will be held November 22nd and 23rd, while regular deer gun season will run from December 1st through the 7th. The deer muzzleloader season is January 2nd through the 5th. The Ohio Wildlife Council also removed bobcats from the state’s endangered and threatened species list. Bobcats are still considered a protected species, with no hunting or trapping season.


Tax Day is rapidly approaching.

It’s next Tuesday.


A new state report shows well over 100,000 low-income Ohioans have signed up for expanded Medicaid, while thousands of others are waiting to hear if they’re eligible for the taxpayer-funded health program.

The new program took effect January 1st.


If you’re a fan of local sports or know someone who is, listen up…

To help raise funds for the Norwalk High School after-prom and senior activities, head basketball coach Steve Gray and members of the Division II State Championship Basketball Team have donated two signed basketballs.  One will be given away by raffle.  Tickets will be sold in front of Norwalk’s Wal-mart between 10 and 6 tomorrow and April 19th at Sheri’s Coffeehouse.  Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.  Another signed basketball will be sold by silent auction.  It’s open to individuals and businesses with a minimum bid of $500.  You can email your bid to nhspostprom2014@gmail.com.  Winners will be drawn April 26th.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Felony charges have been filed, in connection with a theft and chase in Sandusky.

The suspect in the case: An 11-year-old boy. He was arrested Tuesday night, after snatching a cell phone from a CVS employee, then threatening her with a combination ice scraper-snow brush. The boy fled the store on food, but was found a short time later. According to reports, the boy was cornered in the backyard of a Sycamore Line home. He taken to the Erie County Juvenile Detention Center, on charges of robbery, tampering with evidence, theft and obstruction.


Some like it, others don’t.

Either way, the Sandusky Bay Barge Party is back. It’ll be held July 12th. The Barge Party was called off last year, due to financial and legal reasons. In 2012, it was marred by underage drinking.


Norwalk and Huron City Schools are now sharing an interim treasurer.

Betty Schwiefert has been working in Norwalk since early this year. She stepped in, after the retirement of longtime treasurer Kenn France. She’s now been hired for the same post in Huron, after the retirement of Mike Weiss. Schwiefert retired as North Point Education Service Center’s treasurer in 2012. North Point is helping both Norwalk and Huron, in finding new treasurers.


A traffic stop in Wakeman led to two felony arrests this week.

The car was pulled over for erratic driving. A check of the driver, 25-year-old Jonathon Minaya of North Olmsted, turned up a warrant for felony robbery. A passenger, 27-year-old Christopher Young of Cleveland was wanted for rape. Suspected drugs were found in the car. Both men were taken to the Huron County Jail.


If you’re wondering what’s going on with Norwalk’s Wendy’s restaurant…

It’s being torn down, to make room for a bigger restaurant. The neighboring Royal Motel is coming down too, as part of Wendy’s expansion plans. The new building should be open in June.


After more than two years of study and review, a state panel is finalizing a report on capital punishment in Ohio.

The report by the Ohio Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force includes sweeping changes.  Among them: banning executions of the mentally ill, requiring DNA evidence or a videotaped confession, eliminating certain crimes from the possibility of a death sentence, including kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson and aggravated robbery.  Some of the proposed changes would have to be approved by the General Assembly and sign into law by the governor.


The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments in two months on the use of traffic cameras.

A motorist in Toledo is the latest person to challenge so-called ‘red light cameras.’  Several motorists around the state have won recent lawsuits.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It’s a baseball doubleheader day on 95.3.

At noon, it’s the Tribe and San Diego Padres. At four, it’s live high school baseball from All-Pro Freight Stadium, as the Norwalk Truckers take on the Clyde Fliers.


Another sizable jump, in gas prices.

At some area stations, yesterday’s jump was nearly 30 cents. At most pumps, self-serve regular is now $3.79 per gallon.


Starting tomorrow, the State Highway Patrol will join local law enforcement agencies, in a push to reduce distracted driving-related crashes, and to raise awareness about the dangers distracted driving creates.

The Patrol will also enforce Ohio’s texting while driving law.


The Erie County Sheriff’s Office has announced plans to work high visibility traffic enforcement throughout the county, for DUI and speed enforcement, and prom season.

Special attention will be paid to State Routes 2, 4, 6, 60 and 61, along with U.S. Route 250.


Uptown Norwalk is losing a business.

Crumbs Confections on East Main will close for good, May 3rd. The bakery opened three years ago.


Norwalk City Schools and North Central State College in Mansfield are teaming up to offer dual-enrollment classes.

Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, Norwalk High School students will be able to take psychology, sociology, and Calculus I and II classes through North Central State College.  Students can choose to take those classes for high school OR college credit.  More dual-enrollment courses may be offered later.


The Margaretta Local Schools’ Board of Education has scheduled four special board meetings, to discuss hiring a new superintendent.

The first meeting was held last night. Future meetings are scheduled for Friday, and next Tuesday and Wednesday. All meetings will be held behind closed doors, at the board office in Castalia. Current superintendent Ed Kurt is leaving this summer. He’s been hired for the same job in Findlay. More than 20 people have applied replace Kurt.


A Norwalk man is facing a grand jury indictment for allegedly setting fire to a house in Willard.

58-year-old Samuel Sherck is currently charged with arson in connection with a late March fire that destroyed a home on B&O Pike.  No one was injured in the blaze.


Three people have been arrested, for running an illegal casino in northeast Ohio.

Authorities said the trio ran their own casino in Canton, complete with 200 slot machines. The three now face federal charges.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Huron County storm spotter training will be offered tonight, in Norwalk.

Skywarn training will begin at 6:30 at Norwalk High School. It’s free, and the program will last about two hours. Among the topics to be covered: how to identify severe weather, reporting it to the National Weather Service, and weather safety. Those attending will be given a Skywarn spotter ID card.


An 80-year-old Willard man accused of raping an autistic Plymouth woman pleaded not guilty yesterday.

Howard Zerkle was arraigned in Huron County Common Pleas Court, on charges of rape, sexual battery and kidnapping. His bond was set at $150,000. He’s scheduled to stand trial in June. Zerkle was arrested Friday, on a secret indictment. The alleged incident involving Zerkle and the 18-year-old victim occurred in January.


Seven years in prison, for a gunman who shot a man at a Sandusky car wash last year.

Marcus Campbell learned his fate yesterday. There’s more… The victim in the case was arrested before sentencing. Bart Carruthers is charged with aggravated menacing, for allegedly threatening Campbell. According to reports, Carruthers called the Erie County Jail, and told a corrections officer to make sure Campbell wore a flak jacket to his sentencing hearing. Campbell shot Carruthers at a self-serve car wash in January of 2013. The shooting turned out to be a robbery setup gone wrong.


Fundraising efforts are underway in Willard, to restore the old clock tower.

It was built in 1913, and sat atop the former city hall building. It was removed and placed in storage in 1997. Now, a group of residents and businesses want to place the clock tower at the old city hall site. It would stand about 45 feet tall. The fundraising goal is $100,000. If you’d like to donate, or want more information, go to Facebook, and search for ‘Save Willard’s Clock.’


The city of Norwalk’s Street Department will begin hydrant flushing next Monday.

The project should be complete by the end of April. Flushing may result in cloudy or discolored water. Residents should run cold water for 15 to 30 minutes, and the problem should disappear.


From ODOT…

State Route 99, between Routes 4 and 113 in Erie County is closing Monday for a culvert replacement and structure repair work.  The closure should last a month.



Monday, April 7, 2014

A federal judge says he’s striking down Ohio’s voter-approved ban on same sex marriages.

Judge Timothy Black announced his intentions Friday. His ruling will force the state to recognize gay couples legally wed elsewhere. State attorneys plan to appeal.


Today is the deadline to register to vote, or update voter information.

Also, the Board of Elections Office will be open until 9 tonight, for early voting.


A Norwalk man is in critical condition after a crash on U.S. Route 250 in Avery.

58-year-old Efilas Lopez is at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.  Also at V’s:  24 year-old Daniela Lopez of Norwalk.  She is in fair condition.  The driver, Lorenzo Lopez and a third passenger, Elver Lopez of Norwalk were taken to Fisher-Titus Medical Center.  According to reports, they were injured Saturday when the other driver, 16-year-old Trenton Sheldon of Norwalk turned into Lopez’s path, while turning from 250 into the Colonial Inn South.  Sheldon was taken into Fisher-Titus.  He was later charged with failure to yield. 


An 80-year-old Willard man is facing charges of rape, sexual battery and kidnapping.

Howard Zerkle was arrested Saturday by Willard police, on a secret indictment out of Huron County Common Pleas Court. He was taken to the county jail. The victim is an autistic 18-year-old Plymouth woman, and the alleged incident occurred in January.


Sandusky police are investigating a double stabbing, at a home on Shelby Street.

According to reports, a man and woman were taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center last night, both with serious injuries. Police said it appears the two were the only ones involved.


Around Ohio…

Vandals have destroyed dozens of Civil War-era headstones, at a cemetery in Zanesville. Nearly 100 headstones were knocked over or broken last week. Authorities are looking for the person or persons responsible.


A Cleveland television station has issued an apology, after an inaccurate report that said Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had been indicted.

The information was posted Friday, on the station’s website. WEWS Channel 5 officials said an internal investigation is underway, to determine how the erroneous report was posted. Haslam has never been charged, in connection with a fuel rebate scandal at his family’s business, Pilot Flying J.


More Ohio news…

It was a record-setting weekend for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”  The film brought in $96.2 million during its first weekend in theaters, a record for April.  Much of the movie was shot in northeast Ohio, including Cleveland.


Ohio’s Classic Lotto jackpot is up to $66 million.

The next drawing is tonight. No one has won the jackpot since October of 2011.


The city of Norwalk’s annual limited spring trash pickup will begin one week from today.

Residents may dispose of three large items, or nine extra bags.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Flood Watch is in effect until 5 today, and a Wind Advisory will begin at 2, and last until 11 tonight.


If Mother Nature cooperates, the Indians home opener will be played today.

The Tribe and Minnesota Twins are scheduled to play at 3:05pm. But, the forecast for Cleveland is for showers and thunderstorms through late afternoon. We’ll be live at Progressive Field, starting at noon. You hear comments from players, coaches and front office personnel, along with Indians play-by-play announcer Jim Rosenhaus. After that, stick around for Indians Warm Up at 2:37, on 95.3, WLKR.


A Fremont man accused of killing his estranged wife, then surviving two self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head will stand trial this fall.

The trial of Randy Ross was scheduled to begin Monday in Ottawa County Common Pleas court, but it was moved to October 6th. Ross is accused of shooting Amy Ross at her sister’s home near Oak Harbor in late March of 2013. He then turned the gun on himself, but somehow survived two shots to the head. He’s now facing death, by lethal injection.


A Sandusky woman is facing a felony theft charge, for allegedly swindling more than $1,000 from a senior citizen.

When questioned by police, the suspect, Kimberly Moots claimed a Nigerian man she was dating online was responsible for stealing the money. But bank records show Moots used the victim’s debit card nearly two dozen times between early and mid-March. Transactions occurred at fast food restaurants, gas stations and stores. Records also showed payments were made for cell phone and electricity. Moots is described as a family friend of the victim. She’s now in the Erie County Jail, in lieu of $5,000 bond.


Norwalk City Schools will conduct kindergarten registration and screening the week of April 21st, by appointment only.

Your child must be five years old before August 1st. To make an appointment, go to norwalktruckers.net, or call 419-660-1816. Parents must bring copies of the child’s birth certificate, immunization records and custody papers, if necessary.


A reminder that Skywarn spotter training will be offered Tuesday, at Norwalk High School’s Fisher-Titus Learning Center.

The free program will begin at 6:30, and will last two hours.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Today and tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the Super Tornado Outbreak of 1974.

The outbreak was one of the worst in U.S. history. Nearly 150 tornadoes touched down in 13 states, including Ohio. 330 people were killed, and 5,000 injured. In southwest Ohio, the city of Xenia was hit by an F-5 tornado. The twister killed 34 people, injured more than 1,100, and destroyed over 1,000 homes, along with churches, schools and businesses. The same tornado also struck Wilberforce University and Central State University, destroying many buildings and injuring several people on each campus.


Locally heavy rainfall is expected today and tomorrow…It could lead to flooding, especially tomorrow.


Three Norwalk residents face drug charges, after a raid of their Route 61 home.

Thomas Vermilion and Felicia Eldridge are charged with possession of oxycodone. Darrell Keegan is charged with possession and trafficking, and tampering with evidence. All three were arrested yesterday morning.


A Norwalk woman will stand trial next week, after turning down a plea bargain on drug trafficking charges.

Heather Hodgkinson is accused of selling ‘magic mushrooms.’ Her case will be heard in Huron County Common Pleas Court. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison.


Trial has been delayed for a Fremont man charged with killing his estranged wife.

Randy Ross’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court, but it was moved to October 6th.  Ross is accused of shooting Amy Ross at her sister’s home near Oak Harbor in late March of 2013.  He then turned the gun on himself, but survived two self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.  He’s now facing death by lethal injection.


22 people have applied to become superintendent of the Margaretta Local Schools.

Several applicants are local, including former Huron City Schools superintendent Fred Fox, who was fired last year. Current Margaretta superintendent Ed Kurt is leaving for Findlay.


Kent police have arrested a man thought to have fired a shot at Kent State.

The suspect was arrested late last night, a few hours after the initial report. No one was hurt. The campus was on lockdown for more than two hours.


Two Ohio cities remain in contention, to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Cleveland and Cincinnati are finalists, along with Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas and Kansas City. Columbus is out of the running.


In sports…

Weather permitting, the Cleveland Indians will open the home portion of the schedule tomorrow against the Minnesota Twins.  Gametime is scheduled for 3:05, with Indians Warm-Up at 2:37 on 95.3, WLKR.  Before that, we’ll broadcast live from Progressive Field starting at noon.  You’ll hear comments from players, coaches and front office personnel.