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Monday, December 28, 2015

Today’s outdoor conditions are not ideal for deer hunters.

Ohio’s deer-gun season is again open today and tomorrow, from one half-hour before sunrise, to one half-hour after sunset.

 

1.6 inches of rain fell in Norwalk, through 8 this morning.

 

Five Erie County natives killed overseas will be honored in 2016. The Erie County Heroes Bill, which renames roadways in honor of the U.S. Armed Forces members who died in combat was signed last week by Governor John Kasich. Four were graduates of Huron High School: Special Forces Sgt. James Fekete, Army Sgt. Terrance Mesenburg, U.S. Navy Fireman James Baumer, and Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Finke Jr. The other is Army Specialist Charles Odums II, a graduate of Sandusky High School. Appropriate ceremonies will be scheduled next year to place signs, and to pay tribute to the five men.

 

Ohio voters will have plenty of choices in 2016.

Republicans and Democrats will run for various local, statewide and federal offices next year. Members of the Green Party will run for certain offices as well. Missing from the ballot will be the Libertarian Party. That’s because the Party is not a recognized political party in the state of Ohio. To gain recognition, a minor party must collect at least three percent of the vote in the most recent race for president or governor in Ohio, or turn in petitions with signatures of at least 500 people who voted in the last major election.

 

The city of Norwalk’s annual Family First Night will be held this Thursday night, at the Ernsthausen Recreation Center.

It’s a safe and family-friendly way to ring in the New Year. It begins at 8pm and runs until midnight, and Family First Night includes swimming, bingo, bounce houses and inflatables, live music, laser tag, door prizes and more. Admission is $5 per person.

 

When it comes to high-speed broadband service, a new study shows Columbus leads the state.

Nearly 80 percent of homes had high-speed internet access in 2014. Youngstown had Ohio’s lowest broadband rate, 69 percent.

 

From Norwalk City Hall…

The city’s Income Tax Review Board will meet at 1pm tomorrow in the conference room at City Hall. Norwalk’s Records Retention Commission will meet at 11am Wednesday, also in the conference room at Norwalk City Hall.

 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Four million Ohioans will hit the road, during the Christmas and New Years’ holiday travel period.

Nationally, more than 100 million Americans are traveling at least 50 miles for the holidays. 90 percent are going by car.

 

Heavy travel means more law enforcement officers are on the road.

They’ll be out in full force through January 3rd. Last year in Ohio, two dozen people died in 23 traffic crashes between Christmas Eve and New Years’ Day. Alcohol was a factor in nine of those crashes.

 

As we have for many years, we’ll air tonight’s Christmas Eve services, live from St. Peter Lutheran Church in Norwalk.

The first service begins at 7, and the second one starts at 11.

 

Of course, all government offices and banks will be closed for tomorrow’s Christmas holiday.

Trash pickup throughout the area will be delayed by one day.

 

Another mixed bag, in terms of area unemployment rates.

Two counties were at or near the statewide average of 4.5 percent. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Lorain County’s November jobless rate was 4.2 percent. It was 4.4 percent in Seneca County, 4.5 percent in Sandusky County, and 4.8 percent in Ashland County. Richland County’s November jobless rate was 5.4 percent, and it was 5.5 percent in Erie County. Huron County checked in at 6.1 percent, and Crawford County, 6.5 percent. Monroe County had Ohio’s highest jobless rate last month, 9.7 percent. Geauga and Medina counties tied for lowest, 3 percent.

 

Figures from the Ohio Association of Realtors show the Columbus area has the highest average price, in terms of home sales.

Between January and November, the average cost of a house there was just over $193,000. The most affordable housing market is in Marion, just over $101,000. The average cost for a home in the Firelands area is just shy of $128,000.

 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

If today’s projected high of 66 is accurate, it would break Norwalk’s record of 63, set in 1933.

 

Two Norwalk residents are dead, victims of a head-on crash in Lorain County.

63-year-old Leon Clowtis and 59-year-old Susan Clowtis were killed yesterday afternoon on U.S. Route 20 in Pittsfield Township. According to the Elyria Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, their car went left of center, and hit one driven by 75-year-old Benny Riggs of Elyria. Riggs suffered serious injuries and was flown from the scene to Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center. U.S. Route 20 was closed for about 2 ½ hours after the accident.

 

As of Monday, 1,070 people have been killed on Ohio roadways this year.

That’s a nine percent increase, compared to last year.

 

As Ohioans prepare for holiday festivities, the state highway patrol and the Ohio Department of Transportation are urging safety while driving.

That includes no drinking and driving and no distracted driving.

 

A reward is being offered, for information leading to person or persons responsible for setting fire to a historic home just south of Huron County.

Firefighters from five departments, including New London were summoned to the vacant home on U.S. Route 224 in Nova early yesterday morning. According to reports, the blaze was so intense, firefighters focused on containing it and preventing it from spreading to nearby properties. The 4,000 square foot farmhouse eventually collapsed into the basement, then was extinguished. The massive home was built in 1901…Some locals say it was ‘haunted.’

 

A convicted sex offender from Bellevue will avoid time behind bars, if he stays out of trouble.

In court this week, 29-year-old Michael Jett was placed on three years’ probation, and was declared a Tier I sex offender, meaning he’ll have to register his address once a year for 15 years. In addition, his probation offer may opt to place him on house arrest, or impose a 30-day discretionary jail sentence. Jett was arrested over the summer, after he sent a sexually explicit Facebook message to a 15-year-old boy.

 

Oberlin College has rescinded an honorary doctorate given to comedian Bill Cosby in 2010.

Cosby is under fire, amid allegations he sexually abused dozens of women.

 

No big winners last night, so Friday’s Mega Millions prize has grown from $94 million to $104 million.

Tonight’s Powerball jackpot is worth $227 million, and tonight’s Ohio Classic Lotto prize is up to $17 million.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

More information has been released, about a weekend murder-suicide at a Shelby nursing home.

According to reports, 77-year-old George Johnston shot and killed his wife, 76-year-old Carol Johnston at the Crestwood Care Center, then turned the gun on himself. Nursing home employees found him alive, and he was flown to a Columbus Hospital. He was pronounced dead later in the day. While investigating, Shelby police learned Johnston had told nursing home employees that his insurance was running out, and he didn’t think he could care for his wife if she was released. Investigators believe the two agreed on the arrangement before the shooting.

 

A weekend barn fire in Norwalk remains under investigation.

Norwalk firefighters were summoned to 400 South Norwalk Road shortly after 6 Sunday night. They arrived to find the metal barn engulfed in flames. The blaze was brought under control within minutes. However, the barn was deemed a total loss, along with a truck, an ATV and tools. Damage estimates were placed at nearly $60,000.

 

The Ohio Department of Transportation is touting its real-time traffic portal—OHGO.com.

Officials said OHGO.com helps you avoid traffic tie-ups by posting current highway traffic speeds, accidents, slowdowns, travel times, road construction and more.

 

Employees at three Norwalk businesses must appear in Norwalk Municipal Court, for allegedly selling tobacco to minors.

Workers at Dave’s Food Mart, Dublo’s Carry-Out and Friendship Food Stores were caught selling cigarettes to minors, during a weekend compliance check conducted by the Norwalk Police Department. Officers said unannounced compliance checks will continue, to ensure businesses are following the law.

 

Nearly 70 Ohio National Guard members will be home for Christmas.

They returned to Columbus yesterday after serving a year of duty in Kuwait.

 

In sports…

We’ll be live at Norwalk High School, for tonight’s NOL boy’s basketball matchup between the Truckers and the Willard Crimson Flashes. Coverage begins at 7:30 on 95.3 WLKR and wlkrradio.com.

 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The new season, Winter 2015-2016 officially begins at 11:48 tonight.

 

Parts of the snow belt spent some of the weekend digging out.

Pierpont, in Ashtabula County received 13 inches of snow. 8.3 inches fell in Jefferson, while the city of Ashtabula saw 7 inches of snow.

 

Police continue to investigate an apparent murder-attempted suicide at a nursing home in Shelby.

According to reports, Shelby police received a 9-1-1 call from Crestwood Care Center late Saturday morning. They arrived to find a woman dead from a gunshot wound, and her husband next to her with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was still alive, and was flown to a Columbus hospital. His condition is unknown.

 

Also under investigation: last week’s shooting in Sandusky.

34-year-old Janel Koch was shot in the chest, in her Central Avenue apartment Thursday evening. She was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center, then was transferred to a Toledo Hospital. Koch continues to recover. Sandusky police believe the shooting was tied to a robbery. The shooter remains at-large.

 

Bob Morgan is resigning, as North Fairfield village administrator.

His resignation takes effect December 31st. Morgan is running for Huron County Commissioner next year.

 

School officials in Norwalk have begun the search for a new treasurer.

Applications are being accepted, and the deadline is January 22nd. North Point Educational Service Center is coordinating the search. The job came open in October, when Sue Lehmann resigned to become treasurer of the Fostoria City Schools. She had worked in Norwalk for just over a year. Retired EHOVE Career Center treasurer Larry Hanneman is serving as interim treasurer.

 

Friday, December 18, 2015

To the east of us, it could be a snowy weekend.

Part of the snow belt could up to nine inches of snow.

 

An early morning head-on crash has claimed a Monroeville teen.

18-year-old Brandon Preece was killed just before 7 this morning on State Route 99, near Mead Road in Ridgefield Township. According to the Norwalk Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Preece veered left of center, and was hit head-on by a semi-truck driven by Kevin Miller of Monroeville. Miller suffered minor injuries. Troopers said drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash.

 

The state’s unemployment rate rose slightly in November.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, it was 4.5 percent, compared to 4.4 percent in October. It’s still lower than the U.S. average of five percent.

 

A New London man accused of sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl will spend nearly a year and a half in prison.

32-year-old Scott Moser was sentenced yesterday in Huron County Common Pleas Court. He received 17 months for importuning, and 11 months for attempted tampering with evidence. Judge James Conway ruled the sentences will run concurrently. Moser pleaded guilty to the charges last month. They were tied to a June incident in Norwalk. Once released from prison, Moser will be on probation for five years, and will be labeled as a Tier I sex offender, meaning he’ll have to register his address once a year, for 15 years.

 

Four Detroit residents were arrested this week, after they were caught trying to use stolen credit cards at area businesses.

Perkins police described the two men and two women as a ‘fraud crew.’ All four were taken to the Erie County Jail, after officers found they had numerous stolen credit cards and gift cards.

 

So far this year, more than 1,600 people have told the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, they’ve had their identities stolen.

That’s up from about 1,300 for all of last year. Also on the rise…complaints from people getting calls from supposed agents from the IRS, demanding personal information and money.

 

It appears, chickens, ducks and other friendly fowl will return to county fairs across the Buckeye State in 2016.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has lifted its ban on bird shows…a ban that was put in place earlier this year due to concerns over the possible spread of avian flu.

 

Officials at Ohio University are considering raising tuition and fees for incoming freshmen, in the fall of next year.

An OU budget advisory committee has recommended raising tuition by 1.7 percent, increasing the fee for out-of-state students by 5.5 percent, and raising charges for room and board by 3.5 and two percent. The Ohio University Board of Trustees will vote on the proposed increases January 22nd.

 

In sports…

We’ll be live in Bellevue, for NOL boys basketball action between the Redmen and the Norwalk Truckers. Tonight’s coverage begins at 7:30 on 95.3 WLKR and wlkrradio.com.

 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Races are set, for the March 15th primary election.

It’s a crowded field, in the race for local state rep. Four Republicans have filed petitions, to run for the 57th District House seat. The winner between Kathryn Frombaugh of Rochester, Timothy Opsinick of Avon, Dick Stein of Norwalk and Lee Waldrup of Bellevue will run against Democrat Tom Dunlap of Norwalk next fall. The seat is currently held by Republican Terry Boose of Norwalk. Boose can’t run again, because of term limits. However, he’ll run for Huron County Commissioner next fall. His opponent will be Democrat Howard Smith of Norwalk. The winner will replace Tom Dunlap. In the race for Huron County Commissioner, Republicans Bob Morgan of North Fairfield and Skip Wilde of Norwalk will square off in March. The winner will face Democrat Michael Nottke of Bellevue in November. All three are running for the commission seat currently held by Gary Bauer, who’s retiring at the end of next year.

 

Also on the March primary ballot:

Two Democrats running for Huron County Engineer. Carlos Delafon Luna of Willard is up against Lee Tansey of Wakeman.

 

No primary races will be held for several other Huron County offices.

In the fall election, Democrat Daivia Kasper will run for a full term as Huron County Prosecutor. She was appointed to the seat earlier this year, after the retirement of Russ Leffler. Kasper will be opposed by Republican James Sitterly. Incumbent Democratic Sheriff Dane Howard is being challenged by Republican and former deputy Todd Corbin.

 

Two Wakeman residents will square off next fall, for Huron County Recorder.

Democrat Marilyn Dillon will face Republican Jan Tkach. Two Republicans, Clerk of Courts Susan Hazel and Coroner Dr. Jeffery Harwood are running unopposed. Also running unopposed: incumbent Democratic Huron County Treasurer Kathleen Schaffer.

 

More names could appear on the ballot next fall.

While yesterday was the deadline for Democrats and Republicans to file petitions, independent candidates have until March 14th to file.

 

Just five issues will appear on the March primary ballot.

Four are in Norwalk. One is a proposal to allow city officials to use money from a trust fund to build a new fire station. Another is renewal of a levy for current expenses. The other two are local liquor options for Speedway and Friendship Food Store, both on the city’s north side. The only other issue on the primary ballot is a renewal for the Tri-Community Joint Fire District.

 

To Erie County, where incumbent Democratic County Commissioner Pat Shenigo is being challenged by former Vermilion school board member Grant Harding.

Longtime Democratic Erie County Commissioner Tom Ferrell isn’t seeking re-election. His brother, Jeff Ferrell is seeking the seat, as is Jim Lang. Both are Perkins Township Trustees. The winner will face Republican Matt Old in the fall.

 

A number of other Erie County incumbents are running unopposed…

including Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, Sheriff Paul Sigsworth and Judges Tygh Tone and Roger Binnette.

 

Former Sandusky City Commissioner Dannie Edmon is running for the Ohio House.

The Democrat will face Larry Hartlaub of Ottawa County in the March primary. The winner will run against Republican Steve Arndt in the fall. Arndt was appointed to the seat this fall, after the House dismissed Steve Kraus.

 

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Plymouth man was killed, in a head-on crash in southern Huron County.

46-year-old Jeffery Levi died shortly before 6 last night, when he veered left of center on U.S. Route 224, west of State Route 61 in New Haven Township. According to the Norwalk Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, his car hit an SUV driven by 43-year-old Tracy Howell of Willard. Howell was taken to Mercy Willard Hospital, for treatment of serious injuries. It’s not yet known if drugs or alcohol played a role in the accident.

 

As expected, Norwalk City Council has approved the city’s 2016 budget.

It was approved, during last night’s meeting. The meeting was city council’s last scheduled one for 2015.

 

If you haven’t mailed out Christmas packages yet, you still have a little time.

Recommended mail-by dates include December 19th for First Class Mail, December 21st for Priority Mail and December 23rd for Express Priority Mail. The Sandusky Post Office will be open between 10 and 4 this Sunday, and will offer full retail services.

 

With orange barrel season in the rear view mirror, the Ohio Turnpike Commission is already looking toward the 2016 construction season.

They’ve adopted a $144 million capital improvement budget, the largest in 15 years.

 

A Memphis man who rejected a plea bargain with an eight-year prison sentence will spend 36 years behind bars.

37-year-old Randy Young received the maximum sentence yesterday in Erie County Common Pleas Court. Last week, a jury found Young guilty of several charges tied to a New Years’ Eve armed robbery at Shell gas station on Cleveland Road in Sandusky. Young held a gun to the head of an employee, and then wished the clerk a Happy New Year, before fleeing with cash and cigarettes. He was arrested a week after the holdup. Young has a lengthy criminal history in Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

AAA is predicting the number of year-end holiday travelers will top 100 million for the first time on record.

Between December 23rd and January 3rd, nearly one in three Americans will take a holiday trip. That’s a 1.4 percent increase from last year. AAA says the rise in holiday travelers is due to a stronger job market, rising incomes and lower gas prices.

 

Officials continue to investigate last week’s train derailment near the village of Plymouth.

A number of cars hauling coal and gravel went off the Wheeling and Lake Erie tracks, causing the rail line to be completely blocked. Crews with heavy machinery were brought in to clear the scene.

 

Longtime Lyme Township Trustee Michael Nottke has made it official.

He’s filed petitions to run for Huron County Commissioner. The Democrat is seeking the seat currently held by Gary Bauer. Two Republicans are running for the same seat—Skip Wilde of Norwalk, and Bob Morgan of North Fairfield. They’ll square off in the March primary election.

 

In March, voters in the Vermilion School System will decide on a renewal levy of nearly 10 mills.

It would replace two levies that are about to expire. Those levies bring in about $4 million annually.

 

A weekend crash in eastern Huron County sent four people to the hospital.

It happened at approximately 8 Sunday night, at the intersection of State Route 60 and Route 18 in Clarksfield Township. According to the Norwalk Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 74-year-old Clarence Bennett of Elyria failed to stop, and went off the road into a ditch. Bennett and two passengers were taken to Fisher-Titus Medical Center. A third passenger was flown from the scene to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. The crash remains under investigation.

 

The Norwalk school board’s final meeting of 2015 will begin at 7:30 tonight, at Norwalk High School.

The short agenda contains mainly routine items.

 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has released a complete list of fairs, for the 2016 fair season.

The list includes 94 county and independent fairs, along with the Ohio State Fair. The first county fair will be the Paulding County Fair, June 13th through the 18th. The final fair of the season will be the Fairfield County Fair, October 9th through the 15th. In between, the Erie County Fair will begin August 9th, and the Huron County Fair will begin August 15th.

 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Two new record highs were set in Norwalk.

Saturday’s official high temperature was 69 degrees, breaking the mark of 62 set in 1949. Yesterday’s official high in the Maple City was 65, which broke the record of 64 set way back in 1901. It’ll feel more seasonal by the coming weekend, with highs in the 30’s. Winter 2015-2016 begins exactly one week from today.

 

Barring something unexpected, the city of Norwalk’s 2016 budget will be approved tomorrow night.

It’s one of several items on city council’s agenda.

 

A Plymouth woman accused of killing a Willard man will be arraigned one week from today.

A Huron County grand jury recently indicted 36-year-old Mary Keene on four charges, including vehicular homicide. Authorities believe Keene was under the influence, when she caused a head-on crash that killed 56-year-old Donald Vasquez of Willard. The crash occurred in mid-April on State Route 13 near Greenwich. Vasquez died about three weeks after the accident.

 

An Erie County grand jury has charged a Perkins Township man, in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend.

29-year-old Brandon Twarek is facing charges of aggravated murder, two counts of murder, kidnapping and felonious assault. Twarek is accused of stabbing 22-year-old Karen Holmes of Marblehead, November 25th at his parents’ East Bogart Road apartment. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole. Twarek remains in the Erie County Jail, in lieu of $1 million bond.

 

A Sandusky man was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center, after suffering non-life threatening injuries in a house fire.

Firefighters were summoned to the man’s McEwen Street home late yesterday morning. The man contacted firefighters, after he awoke to find the house in flames. Crews had the blaze under control within 20 minutes. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

 

State Senator Randy Gardner has been lauded for maintaining a perfect voting record during his time in the Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives.

Senator Gardner has never missed a roll call or a vote on bills, amendments or policy resolutions, casting 9,811 consecutive votes. In addition to his voting record, Gardner serves on some of the most important committees in the Senate. Gardner represents Ohio’s 2nd District, which includes all of Erie, Ottawa and Wood counties, along with portions of Fulton and Lucas counties.

 

4pm this Wednesday is the deadline to file petitions with the Board of Elections, for the March primary election.

The Huron County Board of Elections will meet at 8am this Friday, to certify petitions. The meeting will take place in the Board office, in the Huron County Administration Building in Norwalk.