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News

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

By order of Mayor Rob Duncan, all flags in Norwalk are to fly at half-staff until 7 tonight, to honor veterans who served in Vietnam.

 

Yesterday marked 43 years since the final troops returned to the U.S. from Vietnam, marking the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

 

 

The Ohio Department of Transportation Department is kicking off its 2016 construction season by announcing more than 1,100 projects across the state.

 

The cost of those projects will top $2 billion. 81 projects are planned for the eight-county region of District 3, which includes Huron and Erie counties. The total investment in District 3 will be $170 million.

 

 

A new report shows the number of pedestrians hit and killed by cars in Ohio during the first half of last year rose dramatically.

According to the report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 56 pedestrians were killed in Ohio between January 1st and June 30th of 2015. That’s an increase of nearly 125%, compared to the same period in 2014. The average percentage increase for all states was 6%.

 

The “Price is Right Live!” is coming to the area this fall.

Based on the popular TV game show, the interactive stage show has given away more than $10 million in cash and prizes since its inception nine years ago. The “Price is Right Live!” will take place at the Sandusky State Theatre November 15th. Tickets will go on sale at 10am this Friday. For more information, go to sanduskystate.com or priceisrightlive.com.

 

The Huron County Board of Elections will meet at 8 this morning, to certify the results of the March 15th primary election.

 

 

Lorain city officials are working to hammer out a budget-plan by tomorrow’s state-mandated deadline.

 

Council members will get together tonight to review their options to overcome a projected deficit of $3.5 million. Those options include unpaid furloughs of city workers and a tax-credit-reduction for those who live in the city but work elsewhere.

 

 

In case you didn’t notice, gas prices have increased to $2.09 at many stations in Norwalk and Willard.

 

Monday, March 28, 2016

A one-car crash in northern Richland County has claimed a Willard man.

21-year-old Omar Delapaz died yesterday morning, a short time after his pickup truck flipped over on State Route 61 in Plymouth Township. According to the highway patrol, Delapaz failed to negotiate a curve, and may have been speeding.

 

Medical marijuana is one step closer to appearing on the fall ballot.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified paperwork submitted by the Marijuana Policy Project. DeWine had rejected four previous attempts, due to wording issues.

Paperwork is now in the hands of the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, and will go to the Ohio Ballot Board. If approved by both, supporters will need to gather more than 300,000 signatures on petitions by early July to qualify for the November ballot.

 

An Ashland County contractor is being sued by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The suit accuses Global Home Solutions and its owner, Jeffery Workman of Nova of doing incomplete and shoddy work for its customers. Four consumers have filed complaints against Global Home Solutions, reporting total losses of $8,400. They said they paid for home improvement projects, such as garage or deck installations that were not completed. DeWine is seeking refunds for those affected.

 

Governor John Kasich will spend much of this week campaigning in Wisconsin.

He’s scheduled to appear at Town Hall events today and tomorrow, and at a Republican rally Friday night.

 

Norwalk City Council’s Finance Committee will meet at 6 tomorrow night, in the Police Training room.

After that, city council will meet in work session. One of the items on the agenda is a resolution establishing a fire station construction fund.

 

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office has announced plans to step up patrols for prom season.

Federal grant money will cover the cost of overtime high-visibility enforcement patrols in traditionally high traffic crash areas, including U.S. Route 250, State Routes 2, 4, 60 and 61, along with Darrow, Mason and Strecker Roads.

 

 

Top honors, for two Cedar Point-owned properties…

The beachside Hotel Breakers has been recognized as one of America’s “Top 20 Hotels for Families” in TripAdvisors 2016 Traveler’s Choice Awards. In addition, Cedar Point’s Bay Harbor restaurant has been named one of OpenTable’s “Top 10 Diners’ Choice” winners.

 

The Spring/Summer 2016 edition of the Voice of the Firelands magazine is out.

The free magazine includes a Cleveland Indians season preview, plus game and promotional schedules, along with schedules for the Columbus Clippers, Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit Tigers and Lake Erie Crushers. It also includes the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Schedule, and a list of this year’s drivers. The Voice of the Firelands magazine can be found at select businesses around the area, and at the Radio Ranch.

 

Friday, March 25, 2016

A scam alert, from the Huron County Chamber of Commerce…

 

Area residents have received calls from someone claiming to be associated with

the local chamber of commerce, and seeking personal information. Huron County Chamber of Commerce officials said the caller is not connected to their agency, and is most likely a scam. The calls are coming from a 402 area code.

 

 

The Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross has a new executive director.

 

Lara Kiefer of Loudonville stepped into the role earlier this week. The Red Cross Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter serves Huron, Erie, Lorain, Ashland, Holmes, Richland and Wayne counties.

 

 

Weather should be fine, for tomorrow’s egg hunt in the Maple City.

The Norwalk Parks and Recreation Department’s annual egg hunt will be held at Baines Park. Fun activities begin at 1, and the egg hunt starts at 2. There will be four different age groups for the egg hunt.

 

An arbitrator has ruled the city of Vermilion acted properly when it fired police officer David Jones.

 

Jones was accused of having sex while on-duty with dispatcher Katie Kovach, who was off-duty.

Kovach was also fired…she too, is appealing her dismissal.

 

The choices were 30 days in jail, or wearing a sign saying “I am a thief. I stole from Wal-Mart.”

A Trumbull County man, 43-year-old Greg Davenport chose the latter. He stole merchandise from Wal-Mart in Girard, Ohio in December. Earlier this month, Davenport entered a ‘no-contest’ plea to a misdemeanor theft charge. The judge told him to chose: a month in jail, or wearing the sign outside the store eight hours a day for 10 days. Davenport said the sign option was better than jail.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tornado sirens will go off at 9:50 this morning, as part of a statewide drill for Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Ohio sees more than a dozen tornadoes each year. Just last week, a small twister caused damage near Dayton.

 

A reminder that SKYWARN spotter training will be held tonight, at Norwalk High School’s Fisher-Titus Learning Center.

The free class begins at 6:30.

 

New domestic violence legislation has been introduced in Columbus.

If approved by state lawmakers, the “Safe At Home” bill would require offenders to give up all firearms when convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, or served with a civil protection order. It would also ban individuals convicted of domestic violence from buying or possessing firearms. Supporters said the ultimate goal of the bill is to save lives.

 

Huron County continues to rank high, in terms of unemployment.

New figures from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show Huron County’s February unemployment rate was 9.3 percent, or 9th highest out of 88 counties. Rates in surrounding counties ranged from 7.1 percent in Erie County, to 5.8 percent in Seneca County.

 

Yesterday’s Sandusky Rotary Club Pizza Challenge was a big success.

In three hours time, more than 1,100 pizzas were served to more than 1,500 people. Proceeds will be used to help cloth needy children in the Erie County area.

 

The Norwalk Rotary Club’s 17th annual Pizza Bake Off will be held April 19th, at Norwalk High School.

 

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A new report says Ohio is second in the U.S., when it comes to school bomb threats.

According to the Educator’s School Safety Network, Ohio schools had 59 bomb threats between August of last year, and this January. Only Massachusetts had more, with 75 bomb threats. In Ohio, nearly 60% of bomb threats occur in high schools. 21% occur in colleges or universities, 18% in elementary schools, and 3% in middle schools. According to the report, threats made to secondary and post-secondary settings usually come from a student seeking disruption or notoriety.

 

The Sandusky Rotary Club’s annual Pizza Challenge begins at 4, and until 7 tonight at Sandusky High School.

14 different pizza places will be on hand. All-you-can-eat admission is $12 for adults, and $6 for seniors 65 and over, and kids 12 and under. Proceeds will benefit Rotary Clothes Kids.

 

Provisional ballots from the March 15th primary election will be accepted or rejected, during a Monday meeting of the Huron County Board of Elections.

The Board will meet again next Wednesday, to officially certify results from the primary.

Both meetings will begin at 8am, and both will be held in the Board office, in the Huron County Administration building on Milan Avenue in Norwalk.

 

A consumer watchdog group is trying to block a merger between two of Ohio’s largest banks.

Inner City Press/Fair Finance Watch has complained to the Federal Reserve about the pending deal between Huntington and First Merit banks. The group claims the merger will hurt consumers and small business owners.

Huntington announced in January it would buy First Merit for $3.4 billion. The deal would create a bank with 1,100 branches in the Midwest. It would also lead to the closure of more than 100 branches, with half of those in northeast Ohio.

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has rejected a fourth petition for a medical marijuana amendment.

According to a media release, DeWine found at least 11 defects with the summary language. Supporters are working to fix the wording. If eventually approved, the issue of medical marijuana could appear on the fall ballot.

 

Construction continues on Cedar Point’s newest roller coaster.

All of Valravn’s track is in place and now, crews are focused on computer and electrical work. Valravn will debut when Cedar Point opens in May.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A head-on crash in Richland County has left a Greenwich man dead.

79-year-old Clarence Jackson was killed late Saturday morning, when he failed to negotiate a curve, and went left of center on State Route 545, near Pepper Road in Mansfield. His car hit an SUV driven by an Ashland man. The driver of the SUV and a passenger were taken to OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

 

A Willard man accused of shooting and killing his neighbor last summer will undergo another mental health evaluation.

Separate doctors already found 50-year-old James H. Blair is competent to stand trial, and knew right from wrong when he allegedly shot and killed 62-year-old Linda Ciotto in late July. The findings mean Blair doesn’t qualify for a ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ plea. However, Huron County Public Defender David Longo requested another evaluation. The request was granted by Judge James Conway. The evaluation will cost up to $3,500, and will be paid by the state. Blair remains in the Huron County Jail.

 

A recount could occur, in a primary race in Richland County.

Just 216 votes separate Darrell Banks and incumbent county commissioner Tim Wert.

That’s not enough to trigger an automatic recount, but that could change after provisional ballots are counted later this month. Banks is mayor of Bellville. Wert has been a Richland County Commissioner for 12 years.

 

The Bellevue Board of Education has made it official.

Bellevue will join the Sandusky Bay Conference, starting with the 2017-2018 school year. The school board okayed the move late last week. Norwalk, Willard, Sandusky, Shelby, Tiffin Columbian are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks. Ontario is leaving for the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference. As we told you last week, the SBC is expanding to 18 teams for football and 21 teams for most other sports.

 

SKYWARN tornado and severe weather spotter training will be offered in Norwalk this Wednesday night.

The class will be held at Norwalk High School’s Fisher-Titus Learning Center. Registration starts at 6, and the free two-hour class begins at 6:30. Those who complete the class will be given a SKYWARN spotter ID card.

 

Two local schools have announced plans for kindergarten registration.

In Bellevue, kindergarten registration will take place between April 6th and April 8th, at the Bellevue Public Library. To make an appointment, call 419-484-5000.

Edison will conduct kindergarten registration in May. Appointments may be made starting April 10th, by calling Edison Elementary at 419-499-2471.

 

 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The city of Norwalk will dip into its Capital Improvement Trust Fund, to build a new fire station.

That’s because 75% of voters okayed a plan to use up to $3.5 million from the fund to construct a new fire station at the former Home Lumber site. The new fire station should be operational sometime next year. The current Norwalk fire station has been in use since 1912. You’ll hear comments from Norwalk Fire Chief John Soisson in news tomorrow.

 

A Norwalk man won yesterday’s primary, for the right to represent Ohio’s 57th House District, which includes all of Huron County and much of Lorain County.

Republican Dick Stein won the most votes, in a four-way race. Stein will face fellow Norwalkian and Democrat Tom Dunlap this fall. Dunlap was unopposed in the primary. Current State Representative Terry Boose is unable to run, due to term limits. He’s seeking the county commission seat currently held by Dunlap.

 

Skip Wilde of Norwalk won the Republican primary, in the race for Huron County Commissioner.

Wilde defeated Bob Morgan of North Fairfield, 4,277 to 3,858. He’ll face Democrat Michael Nottke of Bellevue this fall. Nottke ran unopposed in the primary. The winner will fill the seat currently held by Gary Bauer. Bauer is retiring at the end of the year.

 

Huron County will have a new engineer in 2017.

Lee Tansey of Wakeman won yesterday’s primary runoff, topping current deputy engineer Carlos Delafon Luna of Willard. Tansey will be unopposed in November.

Local liquor options in Norwalk’s first and second wards were approved, and the majority of voters in the Tri-Community Joint Fire District said yes to a three-mill renewal.

 

Once again, voters in Perkins Township have rejected a school levy.

Nearly 53 percent of voters said “no” to a five-year, 5.8 mill emergency operating levy. 2,774 people voted against the levy, while 2,514 voted yes. If approved, the levy would have generated $2.5 million annually.

 

Groton Township voters approved a five-year renewal for fire and ambulance services, and voters in the Vermilion school district approved a five-year renewal.

 

Erie County had two Democratic primary races for county commissioner.

Incumbent Pat Shenigo picked up 69 percent of the vote to defeat challenger Grant Harding. Shenigo will be unopposed this fall. Jim Lang also collected roughly 69 percent, to defeat Jeffery Ferrell. Lang will face Republican Matt Old in November.

 

After topping former Sandusky City Commissioner Dannie Edmon, Ottawa County Auditor Lawrence Hartlaub will face incumbent Republican State Representative Steven Arndt this fall.

The winner will represent Ohio’s 89th District, which includes Ottawa and Erie counties.

 

Also of interest…Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer easily won yesterday’s Republican primary.

He topped challenger and Clyde police Chief Bruce Gower by more than 2,500 votes.

He’s expected to face two independent challengers in November.

 

 

In the presidential primary, John Kasich and Hillary Clinton were the big winners in Ohio.

Kasich collected 46 percent of the vote, compared to 34 percent for Donald Trump. Clinton picked up 56.5 percent of the vote, compared to roughly 43 percent for Bernie Sanders.

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A break from the rain, but more is on the way.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected late tonight and tomorrow morning. After more than 1.6 inches of rain fell in the Maple City, the Norwalk Police Department issued a Flood Warning for the Norwalk Creek. The creek was expected to reach flood stage this morning. A Flood Warning was issued for the Huron River at Milan, due to minor flooding issues.

 

You may have heard tornado sirens in Norwalk this morning.

They went off around 7:30. It was a false alarm, caused by a malfunction.

 

At least one tornado touched down in western Ohio yesterday.

An EF-1 twister hit the small village of Phillipsburg in Montgomery County. It damaged at least one house and a barn. Funnel clouds were spotted in Darke, Preble, Shelby and Miami counties.

 

Bond is set at $80,000 for a Willard man accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

62-year-old Thomas J. McDaniel is charged with rape. He was arrested over the weekend, after a short investigation by Huron County deputies. The alleged incident occurred at McDaniel’s home on State Route 99. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 22nd, in Huron County Common Pleas Court.

 

According to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, more than 417,000 Ohioans took advantage of early voting.

The deadline to cast early ballots was 2pm yesterday. More than 255,000 ballots were cast by mail, while 162,000 were cast in person.

 

It is primary election day.

The polls are open until 7:30 tonight, and we’ll have results, starting at 7:45. Along with the presidential primary, there are some local high-profile races and issues.

Voters in Norwalk are deciding on a proposal to use $3.5 million from the city’s Capital Improvement Trust Fund to build a new fire station.

In the Perkins school district, voters are deciding on a five-year, 5.8 mill emergency operating levy.

If approved, it would generate $2.5 million annually for day-to-day operations. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home just over $200 a year.

 

As far as local races, Republicans in Huron and Lorain counties must pick one person to run for 57th District State Representative.

The list includes Kathryn Frombaugh of Rochester, Timothy Opsitnick of Avon, Dick Stein of Norwalk and Lee Charles Waldrup of Bellevue. The winner will face Democrat Tom Dunlap of Norwalk this fall. In the race for the 89th District House seat, former Sandusky City Commissioner Danny Edmon is running against Ottawa County Auditor Lawrence Hartlaub. Both are Democrats, and the winner will face Republican incumbent Steven Arndt later this year.

 

Huron County Republicans must choose of one two people running for county commissioner.

The winner between Bob Morgan of North Fairfield and Skip Wilde of Norwalk will square off against Democrat Michael Nottke of Bellevue in November.

In Sandusky County, incumbent Republican Sheriff Kyle Overmyer is being challenged by Clyde police chief Bruce Gower. The winner will appear on the fall ballot.

 

Of course, all eyes are on Ohio’s presidential primary.

Many polls suggest governor John Kasich is in a tight race with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders has closed the gap in Ohio, but Hillary Clinton is expected to win the state’s Democratic primary.

 

Monday, March 14, 2016

It appears foul play was not involved in the death of a Norwalk man.

That’s because preliminary autopsy results show 42-year-old Brent Thomas died of natural causes. Norwalk police originally believed his death was suspicious, because it appeared there were signs of trauma and forced entry to his residence. A neighbor found Thomas dead in his Spring Street apartment last Thursday evening, then contacted police.

 

Due to problems with wording, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has rejected a petition to legalize medical marijuana in the Buckeye State.

Supporters of the issue said they’ll submit a revised petition this week. If approved, Ohio voters could decide on medical marijuana this fall.

 

Tomorrow is primary election day.

The polls will be open between 6:30am until 7:30pm.

 

Governor John Kasich continues to campaign across Ohio.

Earlier today, he made stops in Youngtown and North Canton. He’ll be in Westerville tonight. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was in Youngstown and Akron.

 

Funeral services will be held this week for Marie Tansey of Vermilion.

 

Tansey served on Vermilion City Council and was later elected to the statehouse,

representing parts of Lorain and Erie Counties. Tansey died late last week, at age 86.

 

 

Sentencing is scheduled for April 4th, for a child rapist from Sandusky.

Last week, an Erie County Common Pleas Court jury found Michael Walls guilty of more than two dozen charges. During a lengthy trial, the victim, now 19, testified Walls sexually abused her multiple times a week for most of her childhood. Walls is facing multiple life sentences.

 

Monroeville Elementary Principal William Butler is one of 17 applicants for the top job in the Clyde-Green Springs Schools.

The list also includes two internal applicants—Clyde High School principal William Webb, and middle school teacher and former girls’ basketball coach John Cahill. The remaining applicants are from various parts of Ohio. Current superintendent David Stubblebine is leaving, when his contract expires this summer.

While finding a new superintendent, the Clyde-Green Springs Board of Education will search for a new treasurer. Current treasurer Joyce DuPont is leaving for the same job with the Norwalk City Schools.

 

Tomorrow night’s meeting of Norwalk City Council has been canceled.

City Council’s next meeting will be March 22nd.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Flags at all public buildings and grounds in Ohio are being flown at half-staff, in honor of Nancy Reagan.
The former first lady passed away Sunday, at age 94.

New figures show Huron County’s January unemployment rate was nearly twice the statewide average.
While Ohio’s average was 4.9 percent, Huron County’s jobless rate was 9.6 Percent, or 10th highest in the state. Rates in surrounding counties ranged from 5.6 percent in Lorain County, to 7.7 percent in Erie County. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the state’s highest unemployment rate was in Monroe County, 13.8 percent. Delaware and Mercer counties had the lowest jobless rate, four percent.

It appears Norwalk has lost a restaurant.
Los Buenos Amigos on Cline Street apparently closed for good Sunday. Decorations and all furniture were removed from the building. The Mexican restaurant opened in the summer of 2014.

A spokesperson for US Steel declined to comment on specifics, but union officials say the plant in Lorain will be idled until further notice on March 27thdue to a lack of orders.

That means, about 300 workers will be off the job, along with another 300 already sitting at home.
Firefighters have determined an electrical issue sparked a weekend blaze that damaged a home on Arlington Road in Berlin Township.
As we told you yesterday, firefighters from Berlin and Milan Townships and Norwalk were summoned to the scene late Friday night. The fire had been going for at least 30 minutes when crews arrived at the home. It took about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control. No one was injured.

A blast that was heard from miles away could lead to criminal charges.
A Milan man shot at an exploding target Sunday evening along Huron Avery Road in Huron Township, causing a loud boom to be heard in Berlin Heights, Milan, Huron and some of Sandusky. Erie County deputies were dispatched to the scene, and found a man used a rifle to shoot at Tannerite. Deputies seized the rifle, and a report was sent to the prosecutor’s office for consideration of charges.

The city of Norwalk’s Planning Commission will meet at 7pm tomorrow, in the City Hall Conference Room.