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News

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.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The official snowfall measurement in Norwalk: eight inches. 

As of late this morning, Sandusky County was still under a Level 3 snow emergency, which means all roads are closed to non-emergency personnel.  Level 2 snow emergencies are now in effect in Seneca and Ottawa Counties.  Huron, Erie, Ashland and Lorain Counties remain under a Level 1 snow emergency.

 

Snow and blowing snow shut down virtually all area schools again.

If and when there are school closings or delays, we will have information every ten minutes starting at 6am.  You’ll also find it on our website, wlkrradio.com.

 

The highway patrol believes alcohol may have been a factor, in last week’s crash that claimed a Willard man.

As we first told you Friday, 28-year-old Ted Patrick was killed early Friday morning on U.S. Route 224 in Seneca County’s Bloom Township. Troopers said Patrick’s pickup truck went left of center, and hit a utility truck head-on. Patrick was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Governor John Kasich wants to deliver his State of the State speech on the road again.

He’s eyeing the southwest Ohio city of Wilmington, for the February 24th address. Last year, Kasich delivered the speech in Medina. Before that, it was Lima and Steubenville.

 

Toledo mayor Michael Collins is in critical condition, after suffering a heart attack, while driving around, checking road conditions.

 

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

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

 

Soldiers from an Ohio National Guard unit are heading overseas.

150 soldiers from the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment will provide assistance in Kuwait.

 

Friday, January 30, 2015

We’re keeping an eye on this Sunday.

There’s a 90 percent chance of snow, but just how much snow remains to be seen.  Some forecast models say it could be several inches.

 

A head-on crash in Seneca County has claimed a Willard man.

28-year-old Ted Patrick was killed at approximately 2:20 this morning on U.S. Route 224 in Bloom Township.  According to the Highway Patrol, Patrick’s pickup truck crossed the center line and drove into the path of a bucket truck owned by American Power Company.  The crash remains under investigation.

 

A Valley View man was charged with failure to control, after crashing a car at U.S. Route 6 and Perkins Avenue yesterday afternoon.

According to the highway patrol, 24-year-old Jason Carney was traveling at a high rate of speed on Perkins Avenue, when the car went off the road, went airborne, and hit a utility pole, snapping the pole in two. Prior to the crash, Carney had passed numerous cars. He was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center, for treatment of minor injuries. The crash shut down the intersection of Route 6 and Perkins Avenue, and Norfolk and Southern Railroad stopped all train traffic, due to low-hanging wires. The car, a 2015 Chevy Impala, owned by his employer, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, sustained heavy damage.


A longtime Huron County employee is facing a drug charge.

Lynn Chapin of Norwalk is charged with permitting drug abuse. She’s due in court next month. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. The charge goes back to last fall, when deputies discovered a suspected marijuana-growing operation inside the home Chapin shares with her live-in boyfriend, Gregory Dauch. Marijuana seized at the scene was sent to a state lab for testing. Earlier this month, Dauch was charged with cultivating marijuana. Chapin was charged earlier this week. Chapin works at the Huron County Auditor’s Office. She’s been a county employee since 1989.

 

With an eye on hiring a new superintendent, the Perkins Board of Education has scheduled three special sessions for February.

The first one will be held at 6pm Monday.  After that, the school board will meet in special session at 6pm February 9th and 5pm February 11th.  The board will interview applicants during the second and third meetings.  All three meetings will be held at the Administrative Service Center.

 

A recent traffic stop on the Ohio Turnpike turned into a big drug bust.

Two Nevada residents were jailed after they were pulled over January 21st near the Baumhart Road exit in Lorain County.  Troopers became suspicious during the stop leading to a search of the car.  That search turned up more than 200 pounds of marijuana worth $1.2 million.