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News

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.

 

Friday, January 22, 2016

An alleged armed robbery in Sandusky has led to charges against four people, including three from Norwalk.

18-year-old Melanie Frank, 19-year-old Marcus Lay and 20-year-old Alyah Valliant of Norwalk were arrested Monday, along with 20-year-old Kayla Corwin of Sandusky. According to reports, the four went to the victim’s Venice Road residence and forced their way in. Frank allegedly pulled a knife, and the group demanded money. The 23-year-old victim didn’t have cash, so the group took his cell phone and cigarettes, then assaulted him. The four fled, after a neighbor heard the commotion and called Sandusky police. They were caught a short time later. Lay, Valliant and Corwin remain in the Erie County Jail. Frank is free on bond.

 

New figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show the state’s unemployment rate rose slightly in December.

It was 4.7 percent, compared to 4.5 percent in November. It’s still lower than the national average of five percent.

 

The final JV and varsity basketball games were played last night, at Monroeville’s West Street gymnasium.

The Monroeville Lady Eagles topped St. Paul 61-49. Teams will begin playing in the brand new Monroeville Athletic Complex tomorrow. The new building was made possible through an anonymous $1 million donation and private local fundraising efforts. An open house will begin at 11, and a dedication ceremony will begin at 12:10. At 1, it’s girls basketball against New London followed by boys basketball tomorrow night, featuring Monroeville and Lucas.

 

Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov has issued a statement on the college website, saying, he will not respond directly to 50 demands from members of the Black Student Union.

Two of the more controversial demands are creating “Black Safe Spaces” at Oberlin College, and paying black student leaders $8.20 an hour for organizing efforts.

 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A murder suspect from the Cleveland area is behind bars, after his arrest near Berlin Heights.

According to the Milan Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 49-year-old Gregory Baxter of Warrensville Heights was apprehended shortly before 2:30 yesterday morning, on the Ohio Turnpike in Berlin Township. Troopers said he was caught driving a stolen car. When questioned, Baxter said he stabbed and killed his girlfriend, 49-year-old Tracy Bender about two hours earlier. He was taken to the Erie County Jail, and was later turned over to Warrensville Heights police. Baxter is facing several charges.

 

 

An Elyria woman who stole thousands of dollars from a Norwalk construction company will spend two months in the Huron County Jail, and must pay back the business.

39-year-old Michelle Dawley was sentenced yesterday, in Huron County Common Pleas Court. After jail, she’ll be on probation for five years. If she violates terms of her probation or fails to make restitution, she could be sent to prison for a year. Last summer, Dawley was employed by a company hired to clean at BOCA Construction, and while there, she swiped the cash. After company officials contacted Huron County deputies, she was interviewed and arrested. The Sheriff’s Office recovered about $6,000 during the investigation. Dawley still owes nearly $8,000.

 

 

A longtime Norwalk business is closing its doors.

Parts Distributors Inc, or PDI will cease operations in the coming weeks. The auto parts store has been in business since the 1950’s. The decision to close PDI comes on the heels of the death of the store’s owner and president, Tom Olak. PDI employed nearly a dozen workers.

 

 

A new federal grant of nearly $37,000 will allow Erie County deputies to conduct overtime high-visibility patrols in high-crash areas.

Target areas include U.S. Route 250, State Routes 2, 4, 60 and 61, along with Darrow, Mason and Strecker Roads. Enforcement will take place during Super Bowl Weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

To the snow belt and Chardon, where 29 inches of snow fell in 48 hours.

The forecast could change, but it looks like we’ll avoid the so-called mega-storm that’s expected to hit the East coast. As of now, the storm will affect parts of central and southern Ohio.

 

More cars, trucks and busses used the Ohio Turnpike last year than any other time in its 60-year history.

53.4 million drivers used the toll road, breaking the previous record of 51.8 million set in 2006. Turnpike officials said mild weather, a better economy and lower gas prices were factors. Another stat…nearly 55 percent of all drivers used E-Z Pass on the Ohio Turnpike.

 

Gas prices continue to fall.

Today’s statewide average is $1.64, while the nationwide average is $1.87. By far, California has the highest average for gas, $2.73. Oklahoma has the nation’s lowest average gas price, $1.57.

 

Another house fire, this time in the Willard area.

Willard Fire and Rescue was summoned to the Boughtonville Road scene shortly after 1:30 Monday afternoon, after a chimney fire spread quickly throughout the house. Due to windy conditions, it took over two hours to bring the blaze under control. Crews were at the house until 8 Monday night. Mutual aid came from Plymouth, Greenwich and Fairfield Township.

 

Huron County Treasurer Kathleen Schaffer has announced her upcoming off-site tax collection schedule.

For people who don’t want to drive to Norwalk or mail their property tax payments, Schaffer will be at the Wakeman Village Offices on Monday, February 1st; the Willard Senior Center Tuesday February 2nd, and New London Village Offices on Wednesday February 3rd. Hours at each location will be 9am until noon. Off-site property tax payments must be made by check or money order. No debit or credit cards or cash will be accepted, and the tax bill must accompany the payment. Also, the drive-thru at the County Offices Building, off of Seminary Street in Norwalk will be open February 8th through the 12th from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. When using the drive-thru, taxpayers must have their current bill stubs, and must pay by check….No cash will be accepted at the drive-thru. Second-half Huron County property taxes are due by 4:30 p.m. February 12th .

 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fire destroyed a Groton Township home and sent a man to the hospital with serious burns.

Rick Schippel was injured yesterday morning. His current condition is unknown. Groton Township firefighters, along with crews from Perkins and Margaretta townships were summoned to Schippel’s Mason Road home shortly before 10am yesterday, after gusty winds pushed flames from a wood burner in the garage to the house. It’s believed Schippel suffered second and third-degree burns, while trying to fight the blaze with fire extinguishers.

 

A weekend fire at a State Route 601 home did $10,000 damage.

Norwalk firefighters were called to the scene just before 12:30 Sunday morning. The small blaze was quickly brought under control, and no one was injured. Heat from a wood burner sparked the fire.

 

A Facebook post from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is generating a bit of controversy.

The post shows a picture of the electric chair, and the words “Time to bring back consequences.” The Facebook post went up yesterday, hours after the shooting death of Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell. A number of people ‘liked’ the post. Others said it was inappropriate.

 

Restaurant chain Max and Erma’s is closing 13 locations in the Midwest, including three in Ohio—Westlake, Canton and Sylvania.

Officials said Max and Erma’s is streamlining its operations. The chain filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, and was bought out the following year.

 

Charges of felonious assault and domestic violence have been filed against a Milan woman accused of attacking her husband.

60-year-old Virgie Connors was jailed over the weekend. According to reports, Connors was arrested after kicking her husband in the groin, then trying to stab him with a kitchen knife. Erie County deputies were dispatched to a home on State Route 113 East, and found Connors outside unconscious, with cuts on her arms. She was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center, and then became violent with medical personnel after regaining consciousness. A breathalyzer test showed she was under the influence of alcohol. Deputies said before the attack, Connors allegedly threatened to frame her husband for domestic violence.

 

In sports…

It’s a high school basketball doubleheader night on 95.3 WLKR and wlkrradio.com. Live at 7:30, its girl’s hoops action, with Norwalk at Willard. After that, it’s boys Roundball Replay, with Willard at St. Paul.

 

Monday, January 18, 2016

A small village in Knox County is in mourning today, after the shooting death of a police officer.

Danville officer Thomas Cottrell was killed last night. His body was found shortly after midnight, behind the Danville Municipal Building. His gun and cruiser had been stolen. The alleged gunman, 34-year-old Herschel Jones was captured around 2 this morning. Authorities said Jones was on a hunt to kill a law enforcement officer. Dispatchers received a call last night from a Jones’s ex-girlfriend. She said Jones was armed and was “looking to kill an officer.”

 

A medical condition may have caused a crash that claimed a Milan man and damaged other cars.

According to the Sandusky Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, it happened just after 9 Saturday morning, in the parking lot of KBI. 53-year-old Todd Reber was leaving the factory and driving toward Perkins Avenue when he apparently suffered a medical episode, and lost control of his pickup truck. His truck hit three parked cars and two concrete barriers before jumped a curb and crossing Perkins Avenue. The truck came to rest, after hitting a large steel pipe filled with concrete near Walt’s Auto Repair. Reber was unresponsive at the scene, and was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The crash remains under investigation.

 

This Saturday will be a big day in Monroeville.

That’s when the brand new Monroeville Athletic Complex will open to the public. The new Monroeville Athletic Complex was built with an anonymous $1 million donation, along with other private monies.

 

In his run for the presidency, Governor John Kasich has earned endorsements from three New Hampshire newspapers.

The Nashua Telegraph, Foster’s Daily Democrat and the Portsmouth Herald backed Kasich in their Sunday editions. The Telegraph called Kasich a “pragmatic problem solver” with executive experience. The other two newspapers said Kasich isn’t the flashiest one among Republicans, but is the best qualified because of his previous leadership as a congressman, and as governor.

 

There are many ways to size up the economy, with one being the number of new business start-ups.

In Ohio, the Secretary of State’s Office says there were more than 97,000 applications filed with the state last year, the sixth consecutive year of increases.

 

Friday, January 15, 2016

A bar fight has left one person dead and two Norwalk men behind bars.

52-year-old Kevin W. Knott is currently charged with involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault. His son, 26-year-old Kevin E. Knott is facing a single count of felonious assault. Both men are being held in the Wood County Justice Center. The two are accused of severely beating 48-year-old Elwood Lock of Lorain last Thursday night, at a bar in Millbury. Lock was rushed to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, with serious head injuries. He died Wednesday. Another man, from Eastlake was injured as well, but he’s out of the hospital. Lake Township police are continuing their investigation.

 

Ohio Governor John Kasich says he’s happy with how he did, in last night’s GOP

Presidential debate…

Kasich still trails by a large margin in most major polls.

 

Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday.

Most government offices and banks will be closed on Monday. Trash pickup will be on its normal schedule.

 

The recent K96 and 95.3 WLKR ‘Step Up For Soldiers’ campaign was a big success.

As Troop and Family Assistance Center Specialist Patricia Markowski explains, your donations will be distributed locally…

 

Put-In-Bay is in the running for “Best Midwest Town”, in a contest sponsored by ‘Midwest Living’ magazine.

It’s the only Ohio town to make the final 12. Criteria included fun neighborhoods, unforgettable events and bucket-list scenery.

 

LeBron James will help produce, and star in a new reality TV series called “Cleveland Hustles.”

The series will debut this summer on CNBC. LeBron and business partner Maverick Carter will give four aspiring local entrepreneurs a chance to realize their dreams, while revitalizing a neighborhood in Cleveland. LeBron and Carter will get assistance from business experts, who will invest in and mentor the entrepreneurs.

 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

No one in Ohio won yesterday’s $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot, but three tickets sold in the Buckeye State are worth $1 million each.

Those tickets had all five numbers, but not the Powerball. They were sold in Cleveland, Toledo and Centerville. The winning numbers were 4-8-19-27 and 34. The Powerball was 10. Three big winning tickets were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee.

 

An attempt to thaw frozen pipes sparked a blaze that left a Sandusky family homeless.

Sandusky and Perkins Township firefighters were summoned to the West Cedarwood Drive scene yesterday afternoon. When they arrived, the trailer home was fully engulfed in flames. The blaze was brought under control within 20 minutes, but firefighters were at the scene for a few hours. No one was injured.

 

It could be a sign that Ohio’s job market is improving.

Data released yesterday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services shows fewer claims for unemployment benefits were filed last year than in any other year since 1973. More than 420,000 applications for jobless benefits were filed in 2015. Figures also show claims for benefits have been trending lower since 2009, when there were 1.2 million applications for benefits.

 

It’s 30 days in a jail and a $250 fine for a Lorain County man accused of entering a car to film a dying teen.

41-year-old Paul Pelton had pled ‘no contest’ to ‘vehicle trespass’ and ‘disorderly conduct’. Police said Pelton filmed the aftermath of a crash back in July. One teen survived the crash, the other did not.

 

Some good news, for Columbia Gas customers.

The company says customers will see the lowest natural gas prices in 20 years, with the average residential January bill coming in just under $100.

 

New London village council is back to full strength.

Marion Paramore was chosen to fill one of two vacant seats. Paramore ran for village mayor last fall. Mike Willis was picked to fill the seat previously held by John Martin. Martin won the mayor’s race in November.

 

Girls high school basketball is back on the air on 95.3 WLKR and wlkrradio.com.

Live at 7:30 tonight, it’s Margaretta at Willard.

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A dozen area schools began the day with a two-hour delay. Of course anytime there are school closings or delays, we’ll have the information on the air every ten minutes, starting at 6am. School closings and delays are also posted on our website.

 

A Plymouth teen involved in threats toward other students will stay out of juvenile lockup and may have his record sealed, if he behaves himself.

In Richland County Juvenile Court yesterday, the 16-year-old boy was found guilty of inducing panic, aiding and abetting and falsification. The now-expelled teen was sentenced to 90 days in juvenile detention with credit for 36 days served. The remainder of the sentence was suspended. He was placed on intensive probation, and must perform 100 hours of charity work. In October, the Plymouth teen supplied student phone numbers to a friend in Parma Heights. The Cleveland-area teen then sent threatening text messages to some of the students. Both boys were arrested after a short investigation. The case against the Parma Heights teen is pending.

 

Rob Ludwig will lead the Norwalk Board of Education in 2016.

Ludwig was elected president, during last night’s organizational meeting. Kevin Cashen was elected vice-president. New school board member Lisa Wick was sworn in last night. She’s replacing Ralph Ritzenthaler. Wick will serve as the district’s EHOVE Career Center rep.

 

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has announced a $643,000 federal loan for Erie County, to help build a new wastewater collection system for the village of Bay View, and the Bay Bridge area.

Brown said the loan will help improve water quality in the Sandusky Bay, help reduce harmful algae blooms and result in fewer beach closures. He also said the loan builds on a $6 million effort to support water quality improvement efforts.

 

An investigation is underway, to an alleged theft by a Norwalk city employee.

A special prosecutor from Bellevue is leading the investigation, but due to the ongoing investigation, officials have declined to release more information.

 

Sports news…

A handful of area teams are ranked, in the first statewide girl’s basketball poll of the season. In Division II, Oak Harbor is second, Bellevue is sixth, and Norwalk is ranked 16th. In Division III, Ashland Crestview is ranked second, and Willard is 18th. Huron High School has a new head football coach. Longtime assistant Sam Hohler is replacing Tony Legando, who retired after the 2015 season. Coach Hohler will be a guest on this Saturday’s Locker Room show, which airs between 9 and 10am. Buckeye basketball is back on the air tonight. Ohio State will take on Rutgers at 6:30, and you can hear all the action on 95.3 WLKR.