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News

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Cleveland Office of the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for the area, from 4 this afternoon, until noon Friday.

 

In case you missed it, we tied a record low in Norwalk Sunday night. The official low in the Maple City was 10-below zero, tying the mark set back in 1943.

We could set a new record tomorrow night. The projected low is 13-below zero.

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

 

With extreme cold expected tomorrow, the city of Norwalk Utility Billing Department is reminding residents that there is a drive-thru drop-off box in front of the Norwalk Police Department for payment of water bills.

Residents can use the drop box to avoid having to leave their cars.

 

The Norwalk Police Department is investigating a weekend break-in, at the Huron County Humane Society.

Two people entered the building early Sunday morning, and stole a small amount of cash. Some of the crime was caught on tape, and officers have pictures of the suspects and their car. Anyone with more information should contact the Norwalk Police Department.

 

The $60 million building that will house Borgers USA in Norwalk is nearing completion.

Mayor Rob Duncan talked about that and more, during last night’s ‘State of the City’ address. The German-based automotive supplier broke ground last August, in the Firelands Industrial Park. Once it’s up and running, the factory will employ over 200 workers. Also mentioned during Duncan’s speech: the 2014 Norwalk Truckers Division II state basketball championship, Imagine Norwalk, waterline replacement, and the need for a new fire station.

 

A man charged in a triple homicide in Fremont will spend at least 44 years in prison.

34-year-old Igmidio “Roger” Mista was scheduled to stand trial yesterday, but instead, he agreed to plead guilty to three counts of murder. According to the Fremont News Messenger, he was immediately sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole until 2059. Last March, Mista opened fire at the Last Car Bar, killing three men, including an off-duty Elmore police officer. The motive remains unknown.

 

The search will begin soon, for a new school treasurer in New London.

Susan Gutherie is resigning, effective July 31st. The Board of Education accepted her resignation Monday night.

 

A group pushing a ballot issue to legalize marijuana in the Buckeye State is changing its proposed constitutional amendment.

Revisions by ‘ResponsibleOhio’ include allowing Ohioans to grow up to four marijuana plants for personal use and reducing the tax rate from 15 to 5 percent.  If approved, marijuana grown at home would have to be raised indoors and in a secure location inaccessible to anyone 21 or under.  ‘ResponsibleOhio’ is gathering signatures on petitions in hopes of getting the issue on the ballot this November.  One or two other issues to legalize pot could be on the same ballot.

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2015

Students across Ohio will begin taking the new Common Core test today.

The exam replaces the former state proficiency tests in math and reading. In addition to increasing opposition from educators and parents, there are concerns about possible internet connection issues.

 

An Akron man is facing a handful of charges, after a weekend chase in southern Huron County.

19-year-old Damien Hester fled from a Greenwich police officer early Saturday morning. Speeds reached 100 miles per hour, and the pursuit was called off after four miles, because of dangerous conditions. However, Hester was involved in a crash a short time later, and was stopped by Plymouth police and Huron County deputies. After a blood alcohol test, Hester was jailed on charges of DUI, reckless operation, driving with a suspended license and failing to comply. He’s currently free on bond.

 

Tonight is when Norwalk City Council will hear the first reading of an ordinance that toughens the law against people with unpaid city income taxes.

According to the proposal, court costs, attorney fees, and fees paid to a collection agency could be passed along in tax cases three years old or older.

 

Today, the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio will kick off its annual ‘Harvest for Hunger’ campaign.

The Food Bank serves Huron, Erie, Crawford and Lorain counties.

 

Tax season is underway, and the IRS has issued its annual list of most common tax scams, called the ‘Dirty Dozen’

Identity theft tops the list, followed by potential tax swindles pitched by phone and email. IRS spokesman Mike Dobzinski says scammers may even try to file taxes in your name, to claim your refund. Other tax deceptions on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list include schemes to hide money offshore, and promises of ‘free money’ for inflated refunds.

 

The brutal cold has Lake Erie nearly covered in ice, and it’s putting a dent in fish supplies.

According to various reports, ice is blocking commercial fishing boats, leading to a shortage of yellow perch, at a time when they’re served up at Lenten fish fries that begin this week.

 

To southwest Ohio, where a convicted felon is running for mayor.

Steven Williams was released from prison in 2000, after serving three years for kidnapping. Now, he’s seeking the top spot in the city of Hillsboro, a town with about 6,600 people. He says he’s turned his life around, earned a college degree, and is now a logistics analyst. Nothing is preventing Williams from running. Ohio law states that felons can regain their voting rights after completing all terms of their sentence. The current mayor of Hillsboro, Drew Hastings, is seeking re-election. In addition to being mayor, he’s a professional comedian.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Today is President’s Day.

Government offices and most banks are closed for the holiday. No mail, but trash pickup is running on its normal schedule.

 

Road conditions, heavy snow and limited visibility are being blamed as factors in a crash that killed a Michigan woman and her unborn child.

Saturday’s crash on the Ohio Turnpike occurred about seven miles east of the Milan exit. According to the highway patrol, 32-year-old Beverly Smith was a passenger in a pickup truck that slid under a tractor-trailer. Smith was eight months pregnant. Her husband, 33-year-old Eric Smith suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries. A total of eight vehicles, including five semis were involved in the accident. Six other people were injured. The crash shut down the westbound lanes of the turnpike for hours.

Snow and high winds caused dozens of other traffic mishaps around the area. Most were minor.

 

The U.S. Coast Guard led a man and his teenage daughter to safety, after they became disoriented while snowmobiling along the Lake Erie shoreline.

The two called 911 at 5:30pm Saturday, after becoming lost between South Bass Island and Catawba Island. Coast Guard personnel from Detroit used an airboat and a helicopter to find the pair by pinging a cell phone to locate them.

 

Norwalk mayor Rob Duncan will deliver his annual ‘State of the City Address, during tomorrow night’s meeting of Norwalk City Council.

 

Residents of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati will soon be able to renew their vehicle registration at the grocery store.

Kiosks will be set up at select supermarkets in those cities by late March or early April. Kiosk users will be able to swipe their driver’s license and credit card to receive their vehicle registration stickers. If the pilot program is successful, the BMV will install more kiosks around the state.

 

In sports…

We’ll have girl’s high school basketball tonight on 95.3, WLKR and wlkrradio.com.  Live from Norwalk High School it’s the Lady Truckers and the Clyde Lady Fliers.  Coverage begins at 7:30.

Friday, February 13, 2015

If you’re the superstitious type, keep in mind today is Friday the 13th.

 

A published report says the criminal case against an area superintendent could be dropped.

According to the Fremont News-Messenger, attorney James Murray says he’s confident the case against Clyde-Green Springs superintendent David Stubblebine will be dismissed. Murray’s comments came yesterday, after a one-hour closed door meeting with a prosecutor. Stubblebine is charged with obstructing official business, for blocking Clyde police from investigating a marijuana complaint at McPherson Middle School in December. Stubblebine allegedly turned police away, after a student was caught with a small amount of pot.

According to the News-Messenger, it wasn’t the first time Clyde police were stopped from investigating a complaint in the Clyde-Green Springs Schools. Last May, officers were turned away, after receiving word a student may have brought a gun to Clyde High School. School officials told police it was a rumor, that the student was questioned, and no gun was found.

 

The former Clyde-Green Springs superintendent who stole nearly $300,000 from the district has applied for early release from prison.

51-year-old Todd Helms was sentenced to eight years in prison back in 2010, for using phony invoices, misusing the district’s credit card, and putting school money in his own bank accounts. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Helms agreed to plead guilty 10 to felony Charges, and forfeit his pension to pay back the stolen money. A possible early release in 2015 was also part of the plea bargain.

 

The city of Columbus will NOT host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Party leaders said yesterday the convention will be held in Philadelphia.

 

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly will be sentenced next month, after being found guilty on 18 of 25 criminal counts, including theft and corruption.

A 12-person jury returned the verdict yesterday afternoon, following 16 hours of deliberation. Kelly was immediately declared a flight risk, and was cuffed and taken to jail, to await sentencing. Kelly stood trial last week and early this week, for selling county-owned property, and steal county and campaign funds.

 

The Norwalk Board of Education has wrapped up first-round interviews, with seven superintendent applicants.

Board members conducted interviews Tuesday, Wednesday and last night.

 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Huron City Schools superintendent Dennis Muratori is now one of three finalists for the same job in Elyria.

Second round interviews are scheduled for February 21st, and a decision is expected next month.

 

Tonight is when the Norwalk Board of Education will interview three applicants for superintendent.

Three more interviews are scheduled for tomorrow night. One applicant was interviewed last night.

 

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows 55 percent of Ohioans approve of Governor John Kasich’s job performance.

30 percent disapprove.

 

As we first told you yesterday morning, workers at KBI in Sandusky overwhelmingly rejected the company’s contract offer.

435 of 442 union employees, or 98 percent, said no to the proposal, which contained substantial cuts in wages, health insurance and other benefits. It’s not yet known if the union and the company will meet again.

 

A Sandusky woman was arrested Tuesday, for allegedly swiping cash from her employer.

Jessica Sears is facing a felony charge of safecracking, and a misdemeanor count of theft. She’s accused of stealing more than $700 from a safe at Sears, in the Sandusky Mall. She’s currently free on bond.

 

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins will be laid to rest today.

The 70-year-old Collins passed away Friday, days after suffering cardiac arrest.

 

Jury deliberations are underway, in the corruption trial of Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly.

Kelly is charged with 25 criminal counts. Among the accusations against him: spending public money on himself, destroying records, and selling county-owned copper to a scrap yard.

 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Willard Board of Education has approved a proposal for school uniforms.

Last night’s vote was 5-0, and the new policy will take effect with the 2015-2016 school year. A special committee will meet, to finalize details.

 

The Norwalk Board of Education is looking for public input, on the 2015-2016 school calendar.

The discussion will be held, during the public participation portion of tonight’s school board meeting. The meeting will begin at 7:30, in the library at Norwalk High School.

 

A Norwalk man accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl is now facing up to a year-and-a-half in prison.

20-year-old Scott Eastman pleaded guilty yesterday, to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He’ll be sentenced in April, in Huron County Common Pleas Court. In addition to possible prison time, he’ll be labeled as a Tier I sex offender. Eastman and the 13-year-old girl engaged in a month-long relationship last fall.

 

A Sandusky man has been arrested a second time, in connection with a decades-old murder in Florida.

65-year-old Carl McCauley was arrested Friday, on a Polk County, Florida warrant charging him with murder and sexual battery. McCauley was first arrested last August, in connection with the 1987 stabbing death of a Tampa Bay woman. But, he was released about two weeks after his arrest, while Polk County detectives gathered more evidence. McCauley is being held in the Erie County Jail, pending extradition to Florida.

 

With the factory’s future in doubt, 98 percent of union workers at KBI in Sandusky have rejected the company’s contract offer.

The final tally was 435 no and 7 yes.  The results were confirmed this morning by a union official who wished to remain anonymous.  KBI’s proposal contained a number of substantial employee concessions, including wages and health insurance.  The plant manufacturers wheel bearings for cars.  Previous to KBI, the company was known as New Departure and then Delphi.

 

The city of Norwalk may soon crack down on those with unpaid income taxes.

With an eye on recouping expenses paid by the city, legislation on tonight’s work session agenda calls for reasonable administrative costs to be added to penalties and interest on unpaid Norwalk city income tax cases three years old, or older. According to the measure, administrative costs may include fees connected to tax collection or litigation, including court costs, filing fees, attorney fees, and any fees paid to a collection agency. Discussion is expected tonight. A formal vote could come later this month or in early March.

 

Supporters of a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in Ohio have unveiled ten proposed growing sites.

The nearest locations to us are Lorain and Toledo. The group ‘ResponsibleOhio’ is trying to get enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot this November.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A late Saturday night blaze destroyed a home on Bogart Road, across from Margaretta Elementary School.

The fire killed two dogs. It’s believed the blaze began in the kitchen.

A portable heater sparked a Saturday morning blaze that destroyed a garage in Norwalk.

The fire also damaged siding on the house at 231 West Main. No one was injured.

 

A Michigan woman remains in the Erie County Jail without bond, after admitting she tried to kill her infant daughter.

33-year-old Ruth Smith of Lansing, Michigan was arrested Friday, after trying to smother her seven-month-old daughter in the parking lot of Kalahari. Smith herself called 9-1-1, and said she was trying to kill her daughter. Deputies quickly arrived at the scene, and found the baby healthy and alert. As a precaution, the infant was taken to the hospital. When questioned, Smith said she was in custody dispute with the girl’s father, and would rather kill the baby, then let him have her. Smith is charged with attempted murder.

 

The Norwalk Board of Education will meet in special session twice this week.

The board will meet Wednesday and Thursday, at 7pm each night. The closed-door meetings will take place at Norwalk High School. The board is expected to interview applicants for the superintendent’s job.

 

Tonight is when the Willard Board of Education is expected to decide on mandatory school uniforms.

The meeting will begin at 7pm, in the board conference room.

 

As you may have heard, Radio Shack has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and will close nearly 1,800 stores nationwide.

The list includes 82 Radio Shack stores in Ohio, including the one in the Sandusky Mall.

 

Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot has grown to $450 million.

That’s because no one won Saturday’s $380 million dollar prize. However, there was one ‘Match 5’ winner, worth $1 million, in Ohio.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snow may have caused a Monroeville school bus to back into a utility pole.

It happened yesterday afternoon on Breit Road. No one was injured. The bus sustained minor damage. Students were transferred to another bus.

 

As we first told you at noon yesterday, seven people are in the running to become the next superintendent of the Perkins Local Schools.

A total of 30 people applied for the job. Of the seven to be interviewed, two currently lead area school districts: South Central superintendent David Brand, and Benton-Carroll-Salem superintendent Guy Parmigian.

Three others lead school districts in northeast Ohio, and one is superintendent of a school district in northwest Ohio. The other is an administrator in Parma. The board will interview all seven applicants during closed-door meetings scheduled 5pm next Monday and Wednesday, in the Administrative Service Center.

 

In Norwalk, the Board of Education will get its first look at the list of applicants for superintendent.

The school board will meet in special session at 7 tonight, at Norwalk High School.

 

Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan will seek a second term in office, and at least for now, he’s running unopposed.

The Republican filed his petitions with the Board of Elections yesterday. No one else, Republican or Democrat filed to run. But, independent candidates have until May 4th to file petitions.

 

For now, there’s just one race, for Norwalk City Council.

Democrat Chris Castle and Republican Alan Furey will square off in November, in Norwalk’s 4th ward. Both filed petitions, ahead of yesterday’s 4pm deadline. Current 4th ward councilman Chris Mushett is one of four people running for four-at large seats. Another change…current 2nd-ward councilwoman Erin Smetzer is seeking an at-large seat, and current at-large councilman David Wallace is running in the second ward.

 

As far as issues, the May ballot will be very light.

There’s a new 10-year, 4.95 mill levy on the ballot in the Monroeville school district, and a five-year, one-half percent income tax continuation in the city of Bellevue. Voters in Wakeman Village and township, and the village of New London will vote on natural gas aggregation.

 

Poker players will converge at Kalahari tomorrow night and Saturday for the 9th annual North Coast Super Saturday Poker Championship.

We’ll have more in news tomorrow.

 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Some forecast models suggest this weekend could be a lot like this past weekend, in terms of snow.

 

A Norwalk doctor is under investigation, for alleged ‘questionable prescribing.’

A state pharmacy board spokesperson said Dr. Robert Reeves has been under investigation since last month. State agents and Norwalk police used a warrant to search his West Water Street office yesterday. During the search, authorities seized prescription drugs, patient information and financial records. No arrests were made, but all information will be sent to the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office, for possible felony charges.

 

Friday wasn’t a good day for a Norwalk man.

23-year-old Darrel Keegan was jumped and robbed at a home in Perkins Township. According to reports, Keegan went to the home to collect from someone who owed him money. As he entered the home, he was beaten and robbed by two men. They made off with $500, and his cell phone. The two men remain at-large.

Also on Friday, Keegan was arrested on a Huron warrant charging him with burglary. He’s accused of breaking into a home there, while the resident was in the Huron County Jail. Keegan allegedly stole a TV and video games, DVD’s, shoes and numerous hats. Keegan allegedly sold some of the stolen goods. Other items were found at his Whittelsey Avenue home.

 

A Sandusky woman is facing up to six months in jail, for stealing a boy’s athletic shoes.

20-year-old Jasmine Townsend is charged with theft, for stealing the $200 LeBron James athletic shoes from the boy Sunday, during this 11th birthday party. When confronted by the boy’s mother and police, Townsend admitted to taking the shoes. She was charged and released. The shoes were returned to the boy.

 

Seven people have applied to become the next superintendent of the Perkins Local Schools.

Two are from the area—current South Central Local Schools superintendent David Brand and Benton-Carroll-Salem Local Schools superintendent Guy Parmigian.  We’ll have more in news tomorrow.

 

Around Ohio…

Toledo Mayor Michael Collins remains in critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest Sunday afternoon.

Ohio Edison customers can expect to soon pay more for electricity.  Average residential rates are going up by about $4 a month.  Commercial and industrial customers will pay more as well.

J.M. Smucker is adding pet food to its jam, coffee and baking line products.  The Orville-based company says it’ll acquire Big Heart Pet Brands for nearly $6 billion.  Big Heart is the nation’s leading maker of dog and cat foods, including Meow Mix, Nine Lives and Milk Bone brands.

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Norwalk and Milan firefighters were called on Monday, to battle a blaze that destroyed a car and garage on Deep Dale Drive.

The call came in shortly after 7:30 yesterday morning. Crews arrived minutes later, and found the car and the garage engulfed in flames. According to reports, firefighters had difficulty getting to the blaze, because Deep Dale Drive is a private road, and wasn’t plowed. After gaining access, firefighters were able to contain the blaze in a short amount of time. No one was injured, and early damage estimates were placed at $40,000. Firefighters believe the blaze was sparked by the car, but the exact cause is unknown.

 

Saturday’s Polar Plunge in Sandusky was a big success.

It raised more than $25,000, for the Special Olympics.

 

Officers with two more area law enforcement agencies will soon wear body cameras.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Perkins Police Department have ordered new body cams, and both say they should be in use by early spring. The Sandusky Police Department recently ordered body cameras. Those are expected to ‘go live’ sometime this month.

 

Later this week is when the Norwalk Board of Education will first see the list of applicants for superintendent.

The board will meet in special session at 7pm Thursday, to review and discuss applications. The closed-door meeting will be held at Norwalk High School.

 

4pm tomorrow is the deadline to file petitions with the Board of Elections Office, for the May 5th primary election.

 

Tomorrow’s Powerball jackpot is worth $317 million.

 

As expected, Governor John Kasich released his two-year budget proposal yesterday.

If the plan is approved, more than half of Ohio school districts would see their state funding reduced.  State income taxes would go down, but the state sales tax would be hiked by $2.5 billion.  Also part of the proposal: a plan to phase out Medicaid payments for independent providers who give in-home care services.

 

In sports…

It’s a high school basketball doubleheader night on 95.3, WLKR and wlkrradio.com.  Live at 7:30, it’s the boys basketball with Port Clinton at Norwalk.  After that, it’s girls Roundball Replay, featuring Edison and Norwalk.