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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tomorrow is when the speed limit will change, on two streets in Norwalk.

Republic Street will go from 25 to 35 miles per hour. Westwind Drive, from Wal-Mart to Whittelsey Avenue will drop from 35 to 25 miles per hour.

Jury deliberations are underway, in the trial of a Willard man accused of kidnapping and raping a mentally impaired girl.

81-year-old Howard Zerkle is accused of taking the 19-year-old victim from her home in Plymouth, to his apartment in Willard, where the alleged sexual assault occurred. The alleged crime occurred in late January. He was indicted in April, on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual battery.

A Sandusky police officer fired for exchanging nude pictures with his then-supervisor’s fiancée, and dishonesty may be back on the job soon.

According to the Sandusky Register, a visiting judge and an arbitrator agree that former officer Todd Smith was wrongfully dismissed in 2012. In addition, the judge strongly recommended that Smith be reinstated with back pay, which could top $100,000. Smith was fired for dishonesty, insubordination and conduct unbecoming an officer. Another officer, former Sgt. Stephen Ritterbach was fired for his involvement. He was later reinstated, but was demoted to the rank of officer.

According to reports, Ritterbach’s fiancée at the time told Smith she and Ritterbach had an open relationship, and wanted to have sex with both men. Smith and the woman then exchanged nude pictures, something Smith initially lied about to investigators. He later changed his story. The Sandusky City Commissioners will decide Monday if they’ll bring Smith back, or fight the ruling.

Odds and ends from Tuesday’s election…

Voter turnout in Huron County was higher than expected, 40 percent. In Erie County, it was 44 percent.

Statewide, 3.1 million voters cast ballots. That’s about 40 percent of Ohio’s registered voters. Officials say it’s the lowest voter turnout in a gubernatorial election since the Secretary of State began tracking it in 1978. They also said it could be lowest in Ohio

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office says more than 813,000 Ohioans voted before the polls opened Tuesday morning.

Voters across Ohio approved 65 percent of school issues on Tuesday’s ballot. Locally, several renewals passed, but new school levies in Monroeville and Sandusky failed.

Local results came in fairly quickly Tuesday night. That wasn’t the case in Lucas County…Final results there came in at 2:34am yesterday morning. All election results are unofficial, until certified by the board of elections later this month.

Perkins police are looking for the person who broke into a Milan Road business, and tried to cut open the store’s safe.

It happened late Monday or early Tuesday, at the Dollar Tree. The intruder was unable to access the safe.


Best of luck to the Huron Lady Tigers Volleyball Team.

The team is in tonight’s Division III State Semi-Finals at Wright State University.  Huron will play Frankfort Adena at 6.  The winner will advance to Saturday’s State Championship match.

Monday, November 3, 2014

In sports…

First-round high school football playoff pairings are set.  Friday night, it’s Perkins at Norwalk, Mansfield Madison at Clyde, Keystone at Bellevue and Port Clinton at Kenton.  Saturday night, it’s Vienna Mathews at St. Paul, Lucas at Plymouth and Columbia Station at Huron.  Speaking of Huron, the Lady Tigers’ Volleyball Team is in the Division III State Semi-Finals.  Huron will play Frankfort Adena at 6pm Thursday at Wright State University.

An early Sunday morning crash has claimed the lead singer of the popular regional band, the CoCoBeano’s.

Just hours after performing at Sawmill Creek in Huron, 30-year-old Scott Gast was killed, when his van rolled over, after going off I-90 near Avon. It’s believed Gast fell asleep at the wheel, while driving home to Fairview Park. The highway patrol continues to investigate the crash.


Two 21-year-old Norwalk men have been arrested in connection with a number of recent car break-ins.

Matthew Buffington and James Bailey are accused of breaking into as many as 30 cars in a single day.  Police recovered a number of stole items.

It’s a chance to chat with the superintendent of the Norwalk City Schools.

Dr. Will Folger will host “Coffee and Conversation” tomorrow, at Sheri’s Coffee House on Whittelsey Avenue. The event will be held from 9:15 until 10:15am, and it’s open to anyone.


State Street, between Clifton and League Streets in Norwalk will be closed this Thursday for the installation of the steeple at St. Mary’s Church.

If you’d like to cast a ballot ahead of tomorrow’s election, you have just hours to do it.

You can vote in-person at the board of elections office until 2 this afternoon. If you’re waiting until tomorrow to vote, the polls will be open between 6:30am and 7:30pm. We’ll have complete election results tomorrow night.

A published report say Chris Redfern may be on his way out, as chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

According to the Fremont News-Messenger, discussions about the future of the party’s leadership have been taking place for months. Redfern has been chairman of the state Democratic Party since late 2005.


Health officials confirmed yesterday that 42 Ohioans are no longer being monitored for Ebola.

122 people are still on the contact list, but are expected to be cleared tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s multi-state Mega Millions jackpot is worth $321 million.

Powerball is up to $178 million, and Ohio’s Classic Lotto jackpot is worth $7.8 million.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Monroeville and Norwalk volleyball teams won their regional matchups last night, and the revamped Cleveland Cavaliers will open their season tonight.

We’ll have more in sports.


Classes in the Monroeville Local Schools are delayed by two hours today.

Trick-or-treat in Norwalk will be held from 6:30 until 8 tonight. Children should go only to homes with a front porch light on. Motorists should be extra careful.


Perkins Township police are looking for three men posing as police officers.

The three entered a Boston Road home Tuesday night with guns drawn, and handcuffed a man inside. The man was the son of a construction worker sent to the home to retrieve a tool. The imposters told him he was breaking and entering. The man was able to convince them he had permission to be there. The three released the man a short time later, and left the scene. The imposters were wearing baseball caps and windbreakers with the Perkins police logo, along with police duty belts. Perkins police officers do not wear caps or windbreakers. All officers have photo ID, including a badge number and name.


Testimony is underway, in the trial of an 81-year-old Willard man charged with rape, sexual battery and kidnapping.

The case of Howard Zerkle is being heard in Huron County Common Pleas Court. He’s accused of sexually assaulting a mentally impaired 18-year-old Plymouth girl in late January. If convicted of all charges, Zerkle could spend the rest of his life in prison.


Huron County Recorder Jan Tkach is warning residents about a wave of mail and phone calls that county residents may be receiving from several companies.

These companies may send an official-looking letter, or may call homeowners with an offer to provide a certified copy of their deed for exorbitant fees. Property owners can receive copies of their deeds for a nominal fee from the county Recorder’s office. If you have questions, simply contact the Huron County Recorder’s Office.


Norwalk’s East Main, at Milan and Woodlawn will be re-paved today.

Manhole covers will be adjusted afterward, and the road should be open to traffic by tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It’s regional volleyball night at the “O-Rena” at Ontario High School, and at the Elida Fieldhouse.

Norwalk will play Bowling Green at Ontario, and Monroeville will play Toledo Christian at Elida. We’ll have updates on both matches on Twitter (@953WLKR) and on Facebook, (95.3, WLKR).

Huron County’s new 2-1-1 service is up and running.

It ‘went live’ yesterday morning. 2-1-1 is an easy-to-dial service for information and referral to area services and resources, 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year. 2-1-1 is offered by the Norwalk Area United Fund.


Felony charges could be filed in connection with a loud explosion that rang out along the eastern edge of Norwalk Saturday morning.

According to Major Mike Cooksey with the Huron County Sheriff’s Office, deputies raced to Summit Motor Sports Park after dispatchers fielded numerous calls from people who heard it.  Some people claimed a plane crashed and they were advised to stay in their homes.  After checking the area and finding nothing, deputies began questioning raceway employees.  That’s when they learned the explosion was a Halloween prank.  Cooksey said deputies are still taking statements.  Once the investigation is complete, a report will be sent to the Norwalk Law Director’s Office for consideration of charges.

The Edison school board will meet behind closed doors tonight, to discuss personnel.

Tonight’s executive session will begin at 5:30, in the conference room of Edison Elementary. Action is possible, after the closed-door meeting.

A Huron man is facing several charges, for allegedly trying to hit his girlfriend with his car, then smashing the door of a nearby residence.

21-year-old Brandon Torres was arrested Monday, on charges of attempted vehicular assault, attempted aggravated burglary, aggravated menacing and domestic violence. Huron police were summoned to a Berlin Road apartment complex Monday morning, after a witness said a man was trying to run over his girlfriend in the parking lot. The two had been arguing. When he learned one of the residents was calling police, he smashed the caller’s front door, before fleeing the scene. He was stopped a short time later, and was taken to the Erie County Jail.

The Vatican has defrocked three greater Cincinnati priests, for sexual misconduct involving children.

All three—Thomas Kuhn, Thomas Feldhaus and Ronald Cooper—had been on leave for years, and had been barred from all church activities. Kuhn had been suspended since 2002, Feldhaus since 2003, and Cooper since 2004.

An Akron dad facing charges, for allegedly driving his son to fight another boy, then cheering him on.

Walter Ganous is charged with inciting violence, child endangering and complicity to assault. Police said the man’s son is 13 and over 200 pounds, while the victim is 12, and 100 pounds. A video shows the younger boy’s ankle was shattered, and Ganous could be heard urging the boy to continue the attack.

Trick-or-treat in Norwalk will be held between 6:30 and 8 tomorrow night.


The final planned honor flight from Toledo to Washington D.C. left this morning with 118 Vietnam Veterans.

Those vets are sightseeing in the nation’s capital, including a visit to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.  They’ll return tonight.  The final flight was paid for by an anonymous donor.  Since 2005, the Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio has made 37 trips from Toledo to D.C. carrying over 2,000 Veterans to the nation’s capital.  The Honor Flight was originally created to take aging World War II Veterans to see the World War II Memorial.  It was later expanded to include Korean and Vietnam Veterans.


Mega Millions has grown to $284 million.

The next drawing is Friday night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A big cool down is on the way.

Mid-70’s yesterday, 72 today, 53 tomorrow, 51 Thursday, and 47 Friday. Rain and snow showers are likely Friday night, followed by a high of just 39 on Saturday.

Yesterday’s official high in Norwalk was 79 degrees.

It was three degrees shy of the record set in 1927.

A jury has convicted a Monroeville man charged in connection with a November, 2013 stabbing outside a Sandusky bar.

32-year-old Joseph Moffit was found guilty yesterday of felonious assault and tampering with evidence. Moffit stabbed 32-year-old Joseph Dendy, after a fistfight outside of Daly’s Bar. Dendy suffered four stab wounds, and was unconscious for three days. A sentencing date for Moffit has not been set. An accomplice, Dustin Ramsey of Sandusky will be sentenced next month, for misdemeanor assault. He was originally charged with felonious assault, but agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, in exchange for testimony against Moffit.


No new business so no meeting of Norwalk City Council tonight.

Council’s next meeting will be next Tuesday.

Last week, we told you about plans by Sears Holdings Corporation to close dozens of Sears and Kmart stores.

Sears is closing four stores in Ohio, but none are local. Affected stores are in Fairborn, Marion, Solon and Springfield.

The Main Street School in Norwalk will again be the site of Miss Maple City.

The annual scholarship pageant will be held there this Saturday. 10 young women will compete for the title, with the winner representing Norwalk at the 2015 Miss Ohio scholarship pageant.

Tough Mudder is on the move.

Next year’s extreme endurance event will be held May 9th and 10th, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. It had been held at Lahm Airport in Mansfield.


In sports…

For the second straight week, the Norwalk Truckers are ranked #6th in Division III in the statewide high school football poll.  Clyde is 9th in Division III.  In Division IV, Bellevue is holding steady at #14.  In Division V, the Huron Tigers are up one spot to #8.  In Division VII, St. Paul is down one to #6.  Plymouth dropped a spot to #12.


Amy Mihaljevic’s murder remains unsolved after 25 years, but authorities say new leads may be on the horizon.

They’ve put out a call for friends and acquaintances of Amy’s late mother, Margaret McNulty, to come forward with any information.  The FBI says the man who lured the Bay Village girl from a shopping center in 1989 knew her after-school routine and family history, leading to a theory that her killer knew her mother.  The 10-year-old girl’s body was found in a field in Ashland County’s Ruggles Township.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A New London woman remains in critical condition, after a one-car crash in Fitchville Township.

30-year-old Kathryne Couch was injured late Friday morning, when she lost control on U.S. Route 250. Her car went off the road, and flipped over several times. She was flown to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo. A passenger, 42-year-old Thomas Burnsworth of New London suffered lesser injuries, and was taken to Fisher-Titus.

The highway patrol says alcohol was a factor in a weekend motorcycle crash that left a Fremont woman dead.

30-year-old Tianna Graham was critically injured late Friday night. She later died at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo. Troopers said Graham was a passenger on a motorcycle that failed to negotiate a curve on Port Clinton Road in Sandusky Township. The Yamaha motorcycle hit a mailbox and a tree, before ejecting Graham and the driver, 34-year-old Jason O’Grady of Fremont. O’Grady suffered minor injuries, and refused treatment. He was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, DUI, driving under suspension, no motorcycle license and failure to control.

There’s more information about last week’s meth lab bust in Bellevue.

According to reports, three children, ages 14, 12 and 9 were present, when police raided a home on Hamilton Street Wednesday night. All three were taken to The Bellevue Hospital for medical evaluations. After that, they were turned over to children’s services. Bellevue police arrested three people, after discovering materials used to make crystal meth. Kara Hale, Michael Highlander and Shane Williams remain in the Sandusky County Jail, unable to post bond.

This week’s in-person early voting hours: 8am until 5pm today through Friday, 8 until 4 Saturday, and 1 until 5 Sunday.

A reminder that leaf pickup in the city of Norwalk will begin the week of November 17th.

Today’s average for gas in Ohio: $2.93.

The lowest average in the U.S. is in South Carolina and Missouri, $2.80. The highest average is in Hawaii, $4.05.

The Ohio Senate is ready to begin debate on a bill that would create a nearly year-round school year.

The measure being introduced today would add 40 days to the school year in public and charter schools. Supporters say the measure puts students in classrooms longer to learn more, and eliminate the summer “brain drain.”

Tonight’s Ohio Classic Lotto jackpot is worth $7.4 million.

Tomorrow’s Mega Millions prize is worth $252 million, with a cash option of $153 million. Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is up to $142 million.

A Ross County bank manager is facing 33 years in prison, for embezzling $4 million.

Prosecutors said Joseph Molnar of Chillichothe swiped the money from Huntington Bank over a seven-year period, ending in 2012. He pleaded guilty to federal charges last week. A sentencing date has not been set.

A bridge replacement project continues on Old State Road, between Penn Road and State Route 162 in North Fairfield

According to ODOT, the project should be complete by December 21st.

This is the weekend we “fall back” to Eastern Standard Time.

The one-hour time change will occur at 2am Sunday.


Last week we told you about plans by Sears Holdings Corporation to close dozens of Sears and Kmart stores.

Sears is closing four stores in Ohio, but none are local.  Affected stores are in Fairborn, Marion, Solon and Springfield.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Three people are behind bars, after a meth lab bust in Bellevue.

According to reports, Kara Hale, Michael Highlander and Shane Williams were arrested late Wednesday night, at a home at the corner of Hamilton and Kilbourne streets. All three were taken to the Sandusky County Jail.


Sears is disputing a report that says the company plans to close more than 100 stores and layoff more than 6,000 employees.

Seeking Alpha, a financial news and market tracker claims the company will close 55 Kmart Stores, 30 Sears Department Stores and 31 Sears Auto Centers.  The story says many of the stores are in the Midwest, including Ohio.  Sears Holdings currently owns nearly 800 stores and 1,100 Kmart Stores.  A sears spokesperson said store closing and layoff numbers are not accurate.  He declined to provide new figures.

A state board may reconsider a decision to allow a proposed wind farm in Greenwich.

The matter could be discussed next week in Columbus.

A verdict could come today, in the trial of a Monroeville man accused stabbing another man during a November, 2013 fight outside Daly’s Bar in downtown Sandusky.

The case involving 32-year-old Joseph Moffit was heard this week, in Erie County Common Pleas Court. Prosecutors told the jury that Moffit stabbed 32-year-old Joseph Dendy four times, causing serious injuries. Jury deliberations will begin this morning.

Ohio State University officials have released new allegations against former band director Jonathan Waters.

The school delivered new information to The Columbus Dispatch about sexual assaults Waters allegedly ignored, and nudity-filled videos of band members, including some with Waters’ involvement. The information was released in response to Waters’ wrongful termination suit against the university.


Federal health officials say Cleveland’s response to the Ebola scare will be a national model.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control’s Ohio response team told City Council yesterday the coordination between the city and hospitals made the crisis ‘manageable.’  People who had contact with nurse Amber Vinson were also celebrated for ‘staying put’ for monitoring.

Norwalk City Council has cancelled its Tuesday, October 28th meeting.

City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for November 4th.

In-person early voting will be offered tomorrow.

Hours at the Board of Elections Office will be 8am until 4pm.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a partial solar eclipse later today.

If you can see it, the eclipse will reach its peak at approximately 5:45pm.

Monthly Social Security benefits will increase slightly, starting in January.

Officials with the Social Security Administration say the average recipient will notice an increase of roughly $20 a month.

A weekend crime spree has led to several criminal charges against a Sandusky man.

35-year-old William Peabody is accused of swiping his father’s pickup and cell phone, stealing his parents’ credit cards, and breaking his girlfriend’s nose. He’s currently in the Erie County Jail, on charges of theft and grand theft, felonious assault, domestic violence and possession of drug paraphernalia. He’s also facing two outstanding Huron warrants for theft and burglary.

Huron County Deputies are investigating a burglary at a gas station on Norwalk’s north side.

It occurred at Shell, outside of Tractor Supply Company.  No other information is available.  Deputies are also investigating break-ins at Indian Trails Campgrounds in Fitchville and the former Lyme Elementary School in Bellevue.


Norwalk City Council has given approval to a request from Police Chief Dave Light to trade in the department’s existing guns for new ones.

The trade will greatly reduce what the city has to pay for new firearms.

The state has issued a warning about an unclaimed funds scam that’s making the rounds in Ohio.

A company called the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators is sending out postcards, asking people to call a toll-free number, to search for unclaimed funds. Callers are prompted to provide their Social Security number and other information. Officials say the company isn’t registered with the state, and isn’t authorized to do business in Ohio. To search for unclaimed funds for free, simple Google ‘Ohio Treasure Hunt.’

Coming up this Saturday in Uptown Norwalk—Monsters on Main.

It’s a chance for parents and children to enjoy Halloween fun. As Kristie Wert, Program Manager, Main Street Norwalk explains, there’s something new this year: a superhero parade. Other activities include merchant trick-or-treat from noon until 2, face-painting, food, a Fall Family Photo Spot, along with pizza and popcorn.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unemployment in Huron County and the surrounding area was down last month, according to new figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Huron County’s September unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, compared to 6.6percent in August. Erie County’s jobless rate went from 4.7 percent in August, to 4.6 percent last month. Rates also went down in Lorain, Ashland, Richland, Crawford, Seneca and Sandusky counties. The state’s highest unemployment rate last month was in southeast Ohio’s Monroe County, 10.1percent. Mercer County, in western Ohio had the state’s lowest jobless rate, just 2.9 percent.

At least so far, in-person early voting is down in Huron County.

Sharon Locke, Director of the Huron County Board of Elections says early voting is slower than usual. Registered voters can cast ballots ahead of the November 4th election by mail, or at the Huron County Board of Elections Office, between 8am and 5pm Monday through Saturday and Sunday hours will be offered next weekend as well, 8 until 4 Saturday, and 1 until 5 next Sunday. Early in-person voting will be offered Monday, November 3rd between 8am and 2pm.

An update, from Norwalk Public Works Director Josh Snyder

Storm and sanitary sewer work on East Main is complete. Early next week, driveways should get poured, and new asphalt placed on the road. The next phase of the Wooster-Marshall Street project is well underway. The main line should be tied in over the next week. The final portion of Norwalk’s 2014 street resurfacing project will take place next week on Milan Avenue between St. Mary’s Street and Main, and on Linwood Avenue, between Chestnut and Forest streets. Expect traffic delays.


An Ohio man detained in North Korea for five months is back home.

56-year-old Jeffery Fowle of Miamisburg was abruptly allowed to leave yesterday.  He arrived at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton early this morning.  Fowles was arrested in May for allegedly leaving a Bible in a North Korean nightclub.  Two other Americans remain in custody.


State health officials are monitoring more people for possible exposure to the Ebola virus.

The Ohio Department of Health says 159 people are being monitored, but so far, no symptoms of Ebola have been reported.

The clock is ticking, on efforts to save world history for Ohio’s high school students.

Students need to learn world history to pass the current Ohio Graduation Test, but the test will be phased out next year, and replaced by exams that only cover American History and government. Corbin Moore with the Ohio Council for Social Studies says if the class is an elective, students won’t take it, and will miss out on learning about important global events. Senate Bill 96 would add World History to the list of social studies credits required for graduation. It passed the Senate in the spring, but has been in a House committee since then. The House has until the end of the year to act.

It’s a chance help Huron be named as one of the “Coolest Small Towns in America.”

The city is in budgettravel.com’s national contest, for 2015. As of yesterday, Huron was second among 70 cities, trailing Hillsborough, North Carolina. To vote, go to budgettravel.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Six area high school football teams are ranked in this week’s statewide poll.

In Division III, Norwalk is down one spot to #6, while Clyde remains 10th.  In Division IV, Bellevue is back in the poll at 14th.  In Division V, Huron has moved up one spot to number 9.  And in Division VII, St. Paul remains at #5, while Plymouth is ranked 11th.

District volleyball begins tonight at Willard High School.  In Division IV, two state-ranked teams, St. Paul and Buckeye Central will play at 6.  After that, it’s state-ranked Monroeville and South Central.

Mental health issues may have played a role, in a bizarre high-speed chase involving a semi-truck.

The driver, 61-year-old Ronald Weaver of Tennessee was hospitalized, after Sunday’s chase. Weaver fled Dollar General in Sandusky, after employees confronted him about shoplifting an armful of items. He drove his rig west into Ottawa, Lucas and Wood counties, before he was stopped on I-75 near Bowling Green. Law enforcement officers used ‘stop sticks’ multiple times during the chase. When it ended, some of Weaver’s tires were completely off the rims. All told, the chase lasted 75 miles and an hour and 15 minutes, with speeds up to 95 miles per hour. Weaver was taken to a Toledo hospital, for a mental health evaluation. He’s currently charged with fleeing and eluding, with more charges pending.

The highway patrol has released information, about a major drug bust, on the Ohio Turnpike.

260 pounds of marijuana, worth $1.3 million dollars, was discovered during a routine traffic stop last Thursday in Wood County. During the stop, a trooper smelled raw marijuana, leading to a search that turned up nine duffel bags full of pot. Two people, Tiffany Samuels of Pittsburgh, and Santos Romero of Las Vegas were jailed on charges of marijuana trafficking and possession.

A Perkins Township girl missing for several weeks has been found, in Dubuque, Iowa.

15-year-old Chyanne Crawford-Nickles was found, safe and sound Saturday. She had been missing since early September.


Ohio is getting much-needed funds to help fight the state’s Ebola crisis.

Lawmakers have approved spending $800,000 for protective clothing and the cleanup of places where the virus might be present.


Unemployment in Huron County and the surrounding area decreased in September, according to new figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Huron County’s jobless rate was 6.1 percent last month compared to 6.6 percent in August.  Erie County’s unemployment rate decreased slightly to 4.6 percent.  Jobless rates also went down in Lorain, Ashland, Richland, Crawford, Seneca and Sandusky Counties.

Election Day is two weeks from today.