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Monday, February 10, 2014

A manager at Taco Bell near Vermilion has been arrested for stealing.

Samantha Flesher is charged with theft and safecracking. She’s accused of swiping $500 from the restaurant’s safe, and using it to buy food, cigarettes and drugs. Flesher is being held in the Erie County Jail.


Felony charges have been filed against a Greenwich man accused of having sex with a teenage girl.

19-year-old Lawrence Hickman is charged with unlawful sexual contact with a minor, and tampering with evidence. The alleged incident involving Hickman and a 14-year-old girl occurred in late December. Also arrested: Hickman’s 17-year-old girlfriend. She’s charged with complicity, obstructing justice and underage consumption.


A heroin dealer from southern Huron County is off to prison.

33-year-old Scott Polachek of Greenwich will spend five years behind bars. He was sentenced Friday, in Huron County Common Pleas Court. Polachek was arrested in July, at his home on U.S. Route 224. A search turned up more than 100 packets of heroin, plus crack cocaine, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia and various guns.


Police in Perkins Township are looking for two young women, who may have swiped almost $3,000 worth of designer eyeglass frames.

18 Ray-Ban frames, worth $160 each were stolen Saturday, from America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses on Crossings Road. Employees told police the two suspects were carrying large purses. Stolen frames are typically sold online.


Huron County Deputies are investigating the alleged sexual assault of two teenage girls.

The alleged incident occurred last week in Norwalk.  Because of the ongoing investigation, no other information is available.


Governor John Kasich has delayed the execution of a man scheduled to die next month.

Instead of March 19th, Gregory Lott will die by lethal injection November 19th. The governor’s decision comes, after last month’s lengthy execution of Dennis McGuire.


Pump prices—increasing over the weekend.

Today’s going rate: about $3.45 a gallon.


The U.S. Census Bureau says thousands of families fled Ohio during the latest economic recession.

Between 2007 and 2011, 26,000 people left the Buckeye State.  Most moved to neighboring states.


Friday, February 7, 2014

A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect until noon.

Cold conditions, and drifting snow have led to school delays this morning.


In case you missed it, the city of Norwalk’s parking ban has been lifted.

Huron County is under a Level 1 snow emergency. Also at Level 1: Sandusky and Seneca counties.


If you’re a Columbia Gas customer, get ready for higher bills.

Due to unusually cold temperatures, residential Columbia Gas customers will pay

20 percent more for natural gas this month, and 50 percent more than this time

last year. If below-normal temperatures continue, the cost could rise even more.


A Norwalk man accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl will stand trial in April.

23-year-old Stephen Erwin was arrested last Friday, on a secret indictment charging him with 12 counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The alleged encounters occurred between last May and October. Erwin appeared in court this week, to plead not guilty to the charges. His bond was set at $10,000, and his trial was scheduled for April 22nd.


More trouble for a Sandusky already jailed on serious felony charges.

Victor Robinson is accused of calling and threatening a woman in violation of a protection order.  According to reports, Robinson placed the call Wednesday morning from the Erie County Jail.  Robinson has been behind bars since August on charges of burglary, domestic violence and assault.


Two more business closings, in Norwalk.

Fancy That, a flower shop on East Main Street has shut down, and the Batesville Casket company quietly closed its Norwalk warehouse at the end of last year.


Radio Shack is closing up to 500 stores in the coming months.

No word is any area Radio Shack locations will be affected.


It’s a move that may have backfired a bit.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ed Fitzgerald is seeking a full-term pledge from incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich, if Kasich is re-elected this fall.  Fitzgerald’s request comes as rumors continue that Kasich will run for President in 2016.  But Republicans were quick to point out that Fitzgerald failed to serve a full term as Lakewood Mayor, leaving after three years to become Cuyahoga County Executive.  They also noted Fitzgerald started running for governor just two years into his new role.


Hundreds of Texas Hold’Em players will head to Kalahari next weekend, for the 8th annual North Coast Super Saturday Poker Championship.

The Early Bird tournament will be held Friday night. As Rotarian Nancy Beach explains, Main Event registration begins at 11 Saturday morning, with the tournament starting at 1. Various cash prizes will be paid, with first prize ranging from $8,000 to $15,000, depending on the number of entries. Proceeds will benefit various Sandusky Rotary programs. For more information, go to northcoastpokerchampionships.com.


In sports…

Another busy basketball weekend on 95.3 and wlkrradio.com.  Tonight, it’s live boys hoops action from Norwalk High School as the fourth-ranked Truckers stake on Bellevue.  Coverage begins at 7:30.  Tomorrow, it’s a basketball tripleheader.  At 2:30, it’s a big NOL girls showdown with Willard at Bellevue.  Then at 7:30 tune in for boys basketball as Perkins hosts Norwalk.  After that, it’s Roundball Replay with St. Paul at St. Mary Central Catholic.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Level 2 snow emergencies remain in effect for Huron, Lorain, Richland, Sandusky and Seneca counties.

Erie and Ashland counties are under a Level 1 snow emergency.


A small break from snow…But some forecasters say another storm is brewing and could hit here Saturday night.

As far as Tuesday night and yesterday’s storm…13 inches of snow fell in Berlin Heights.  In Norwalk, it was 7 inches of snow.


The City of Norwalk’s parking ban has been lifted.


The Norwalk Fire Department is asking residents to clear snow around fire hydrants.

Hydrants need to be visible and uncovered from snow and there needs to be a clear path for access.


When it comes to snow days for the 2013-2014 school year, Bellevue has used the most, 12.

Among area schools, EHOVE Career Center has used the fewest, 7.


If you’re a Columbia Gas customer, get ready for higher bills.

Due to unusually cold temperatures, residential Columbia Gas customers will pay 20 percent more for natural gas this month and 50 percent more than this time last year.  If below-normal temperatures continue, the cost could rise even more.


Perkins police say a fatal shooting at a home on Columbus Avenue was likely suicide.

Police were summoned to the home at Columbus and Cedar Brook Lane at 9 last night. Police are still investigating.


A semi-truck crash near Bellevue briefly shut down one lane of eastbound U.S. Route 20 last night.

According to reports, the rig jackknifed shortly after 6pm near Sand Hill Road.  The driver wasn’t hurt.  Bellevue firefighters were called on to clean up diesel fuel that spilled from the truck.


CVS Pharmacy has announced plans to stop selling tobacco and tobacco products, at all of its 7,600 locations nationwide.

CVS will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by October 1st. The move is expected to cost CVS up to $2 billion dollars annually. Officials said yesterday that the nation’s second largest drug store chain wants to focus more on providing healthcare.


Yesterday was the deadline to file petitions with the board of elections, for May 6th primary races and issues.

Among the issues: The Norwalk City Schools ‘five-for-five’ levy, and a 5.4 mill renewal for the Willard City Schools. In the city of Norwalk, two charter amendments will appear on the May 6th ballot. One would change city council terms from two to four years. The other would change the process used to select police and fire chiefs. There will be a primary race for Huron County Commissioner. Incumbent Republican Joe Hintz is being challenged by Bob Morgan. The winner will face Democrat Dennis Stieber in November.


Changes could be coming to the University of Akron.

School officials want to suspend 55 programs, including bachelors degrees in theater arts and geography and masters degrees in urban studies and physics…based on lack of demand, completion rates and research levels.


Hundreds of Texas Hold’Em players will head to Kalahari next weekend for the 8th annual North Coast Super Saturday Poker Championship.

The Early Bird tournament will be held next Friday night.  Doors will open at 6, with Sit ‘n Go’s and live action.  Registration for the Early Bird tournament begins at 6 with the tournament starting at 8.  The buy-in is $50.  Add-ons and re-buys will be $20.  The Main event will be Saturday, February 15th.  Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. with more Sit ‘n Go’s and live action.  Various cash prizes will be paid with first prize ranging from $8,000 to $15,000, depending on the number of entries.  Proceeds will benefit various Sandusky Rotary programs.  For more information go to northcoastpokerchampionships.com.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Winter Storm Warning continues until 5pm.

As expected, several inches of snow fell last night and early this morning. Through 8am this morning, the official snowfall measurement in Norwalk was 6 inches. Level 2 snow emergencies are in effect in Huron and Erie counties, along with Crawford, Lorain and Seneca counties. Level 2 means roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. There’s Level 1 snow emergencies for Ashland, Richland and Sandusky counties. Motorists should drive cautiously.


Parking bans were put into effect, including one in the city of Norwalk.


A child rapist from Erie County will spend 18 years behind bars.

38-year-old Raymond Smith was sentenced yesterday. He was labeled as a Tier III sex offender, meaning once released from prison, he’ll have to register his address every 90 days for life. Authorities said Smith began molesting the girl before she was a teen. The abuse continued for five years. He was charged with six counts of rape, and six counts of sexual battery. In a deal with prosecutors, he admitted to four counts of rape. The remaining charges were dismissed.


Defense lawyers are trying to stop Ohio’s next execution.

Federal public defenders want a U.S. District Court Judge to halt the March 19th execution of Gregory Lott. They claim under Ohio’s new lethal injection policy, there’s a substantial risk of lingering death, and unnecessary pain and suffering. Paperwork filed with the court said Lott could be alive for 45 minutes after being declared dead, and could even be resuscitated. Lott has been on death row for nearly 30 years, for killing an 82-year-old Cleveland-area man. Lott was close to execution in 2004, but it was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.


The May primary ballot is taking shape.

4 this afternoon is the deadline to file petitions for races and issues for the May 6th election.  We will have a rundown of top issues and races in news tomorrow.


It’s the rarest of rare…

Two area high school basketball players went over 1,000 career points on the same night. Plymouth juniors Tyrell Edminston and Tyson Beebe accomplished the feat last night, against Seneca East. We’ll have more in sports.


A special grand jury has returned a 25-count indictment against the Sheriff of Athens County.

Among the charges against Sheriff Patrick Kelly: theft in office, money laundering, tampering with evidence and records, and perjury. He’s accused of misusing public funds, then disposing of records. Kelly has denied wrongdoing, and said he won’t resign from office.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Different day, same story…snow.

We could get 4-8 inches tonight, and 1-3 more tomorrow. The National Weather Service Office in Cleveland has issued a Winter Storm Warning from 5 today, until 5pm tomorrow.

We’ll have up-to-the-minute information on the forecast and conditions, and if any, closings, cancellations, postponements and delays.


A trial date has been set, for a Bellevue-area man charged with rape, kidnapping and felonious assault.

Brian Jury’s trial will begin March 4th, in Erie County Common Pleas Court. Jury was arrested last November, after abducting a woman from Lorain, then taking her back to his camper on Strecker Road. Once there, he allegedly gagged and bound her, and raped her repeatedly. He left, and was arrested hours later in Lorain. The victim broke free, and was able to get help. Jury remains in jail, in lieu of $350,000 bond.


A Super Bowl partier from Collins was taken to jail early yesterday morning, after he was found inside a Vermilion home.

According to reports, the owners of the home woke up, and found Jeffery Knox crouching at the foot of their bed. He was escorted out, and was arrested a short time later by Vermilion police. Knox told officers he had been drinking all day at a friend’s Super Bowl party, left, then went back, but to the wrong house. He’s currently charged with burglary.


Perkins police are looking for the person or persons who stole more than 40 iPhones from a Sandusky Mall kiosk.

The missing phones were taken from a locked drawer this past weekend. A manager was able to give police serial numbers for the stolen cell phones.


The manager of an area motel is facing charges of theft, falsification and cocaine possession, after lying to police about being robbed at gunpoint.

Lee Gustafson Jr. of Bellevue was arrested Sunday, after telling Sandusky police he was the victim of armed assailants. Gustafson claimed he was forced to drive from the Budget Host Inn Hotel, to Barnes Nursery in Huron Township, where the alleged suspects got into a different car, then drove off. During questioning, Gustafson admitted to lying, and said he used a motel hot tub, while he was supposed to be working. Officers also found he was carrying a small amount of cocaine.


Incoming Ohio State University President Dr. Michael Drake will be paid $1 million dollars annually, plus other perks.

He’s been given a five-year contract.


A random drawing has been set up for residents who want to attend Governor John Kasich’s State of the State address.

To register, simply go online to: governor.ohio.gov-slash-tickets.  Residents may request up to two tickets.  Those selected will be notified by email on February 19th.  Kasich will speak February 24th at Medina High School.


And finally…

According to a new Amazon.com survey, two Ohio cities are among the top ten romantic cities in the country.  Cincinnati is 8th and Dayton 10th.  The results are based on things like sales of romance novels, relationship books, romantic comedies and smooth romantic singers.


In sports…

The Norwalk Truckers have fallen from first to fourth in this week’s Division II statewide boys basketball poll.  The team that beat the Truckers, Ontario, rose from fifth to second. 

The forecast has caused some of tonight’s high school basketball games to be bumped up, including Norwalk at Willard girls.  The junior varsity will tip off at 5 and the varsity at approximately 6:30.  You can hear that game on 95.3 WLKR and wlkrradio.com.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A split decision…

The famous Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday, which supposedly means six more weeks of winter. His lesser-known Ohio counterpart, Buckeye Chuck of Marion did NOT see his Shadow, which allegedly means spring will be here soon.


The National Weather Service Office in Cleveland has issued a Winter Storm Watch from 9 tomorrow night, until 4pm Wednesday.

We could get between 6 and 10 inches of snow.


More business closings, in Norwalk…

Corporate officials announced Friday that Kmart will close its doors for good in mid-May, putting more than 50 employees out of work. The store on Norwalk’s north side opened in the mid-1970’s. Also closing: A Main Street fixture. Crider Jewelers has announced plans to close, after a brief liquidation sale. Crider’s Willard location will close as well.


The Perkins Board of Education will meet in executive session this morning, to discuss personnel.

The 7am meeting will be held at the Administrative Service Center on Campbell Street.


State Senator Gayle Manning has announced plans to seek a second term in office.

The Republican from North Ridgeville filed her petitions last week. She represents Ohio’s 13th District, which includes Lorain and Huron counties, along with some of Seneca County. She’ll be challenged by Democrat Dr. Eric Kaple of Willard.


Tomorrow night is when Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan will deliver his ‘State of the City’ address.

The speech will be given, during city council’s regular weekly meeting.


State officials are reminding eligible Ohioans that they can get help managing energy costs this winter, through a payment assistance plan.

The PUCO says the Percent of Income Payment Plan Plus allows eligible Ohioans to pay utility bills, based on a percentage of household income. Eligible Ohioans who heat with gas pay 6 percent of their monthly income to their gas company, and 6 percent to their electric company. Those heating with electricity pay 10 percent of their monthly household income. More information can be found online, ohioenergyhelp.ohio.gov.


A Greenwich man is in the Huron County Jail, charged with multiple sex offenses.

23-year-old Stephen Erwin was arrested Friday on a 12-count secret indictment, charging him with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The victim is identified as a young teenage girl.


Sandusky city officials have announced plans for a series of town hall-style meetings, to reconnect with the community members.

The city commissioners will host meetings at 6pm February 13th at the Sandusky Public Library, 9am February 15th at Mr. Smith’s Coffee House on Columbus Ave, and 6pm February 18th at Sandusky High School.



Friday, January 31, 2014

A large number of firefighters and emergency personnel will gather in Perkins Township today, to say goodbye to former Perkins firefighter James Dickman.

Dickman and a fellow firefighter died Sunday, while battling an apartment fire in Toledo. A procession should arrive at Routes 2 and 250 at approximately 9:30 this morning, and will proceed to The Chapel on Galloway Road. Calling hours will be held there between 11 and 1, with services beginning at 1. At the end of the service, approximately 2pm, the processional will travel along parts of Galloway, Bogart Road, Campbell St and Milan Road. The procession will briefly pause at Perkins Fire Station #2 on Campbell, where Dickman was stationed as a firefighter.


Perkins High School and Briar Middle School will dismiss early today.

School will end at 2 at Briar, and 2:06 at Perkins High School.


A Norwalk woman faces up to three years in prison, for stabbing her brother late last year.

18-year-old Katelyn Taylor appeared in Huron County Common Pleas Court this week, and entered a guilty plea to a charge of attempted felonious assault. She’ll be sentenced in March. Authorities said Taylor used a kitchen knife to stab her brother, during an argument at their Old State Road home. He survived the attack.


14 people have picked up applications, in hopes of becoming the next treasurer of the Norwalk City Schools.

The deadline to submit them is today. The Board of Education is expected to interview three or four of the top applicants, and hire one of them in the spring. That person will replace Kenn France, who retired last month.


A new report says nearly 45 percent of Ohio households are on the edge of financial ruin, due to job loss or medical emergency.


As expected, Ohio State officials introduced the university’s new president yesterday.

63-year-old Dr. Michael Drake is taking over for Dr. E. Gordon Gee. He’s served as chancellor of the University of California-Irvine since 2005.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A plan to give school districts up to four extra snow days this year has cleared an Ohio House committee.

The House Education Committee voted in favor of the proposal yesterday. It still needs approval from the full House and Senate. Govenor John Kasich is pushing for a one-time increase, because of unusually severe winter weather. Normally, Ohio schools are allowed five calamity days.


The streak is over.

Top-ranked Norwalk lost to #5 Ontario, 63-61 at the ‘O-Rena.’ That snapped Norwalk’s streak of 57 consecutive regular season wins.


20 years in prison, for a 20-year-old Norwalk man accused of committing sex crimes.

Justin Collins was sentenced yesterday, immediately after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual battery. The alleged victim was a young girl. Collins was labeled as a Tier III sex offender, meaning once released from prison, he must register his address every 90 days, for life. A co-defendant, 36-year-old Jason Wooten is currently serving a 15-year sentence. A now-12-year-old boy will be sentenced next month, for his role in the case.


The Perkins Board of Education will try again.

Last night, the school board agreed to place a 10-year, 3.95 mill levy on the May ballot. It approved, it would generate nearly $1.7 million annually, and would go toward day-to-day operations of the district. Perkins voters haven’t approved a new levy since 2000.


Former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton was in federal court yesterday.

Bratton pleaded guilty to theft, for misusing funds while in office. Prosecutors said Bratton used about $9,000 worth of federal funds to buy personal items ranging from clothes to Cedar Point tickets. A routine audit in 2011 revealed what had happened. The money has since been repaid by Bratton. He’ll be sentenced in May. He faces up to 10 years in prison.


It appears Ohio State officials have found a new university president.

University of California-Irvine chancellor Dr. Michael Drake will be introduced this afternoon. That’s according to Ohio State’s student newspaper The Lantern and the Columbus Dispatch. Drake will succeed Dr. E. Gordon Gee, who retired last July.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Wind Chill Warning continues, until noon tomorrow.

Dangerously cold wind chill values could hit -23, -29 tonight, and -30 tomorrow. Tonight’s actual low will dip to 10-below.

Due to dangerously cold conditions, virtually all area schools are closed today.


The extreme winter conditions have forced school districts all over to use their five ‘snow days’ and more.

Now, Governor John Kasich is urging state lawmakers and the Ohio Department of Education to work on legislation that would provide a one-time increase in the number of days schools can take off, due to severe weather. Changing the number of calamity days would require action by the Ohio General Assembly. A bill has been introduced, to add four more calamity days for this year.


Checking snow emergencies…

Huron County is now under at Level 1, along with Erie, Lorain, Ashland and Crawford counties.

Sandusky, Seneca and Richland counties are at Level 2.


Utility companies are asking us to conserve electricity during the deep freeze.

The company in charge in Ohio’s electric grid wants people to turn off lights and electric appliances during today’s early evening hours.  Demand for power is expected to peak then, increasing the risk for rolling blackouts.


From the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services…

Huron County’s December unemployment rate was 10.8 percent, sixth highest in the state.  Rates in neighboring counties ranged from 6.6 percent in Sandusky County, to 7.6 percent in Crawford County.  The statewide average was 7.2 percent.


The Norwalk Truckers are number one in Ohio.

The boys basketball team is the top-ranked team in Division II, in this week’s statewide hoops poll. #1 Norwalk will play at fifth-ranked Ontario tomorrow night. You can hear it on 95.3 WLKR and wlkrradio.com. Live coverage will begin at 7:30.


It’s a light, but important agenda.

The Norwalk Board of Education will meet in special session tonight, to place an emergency operating levy on the May ballot. It’s the 5-for-5 levy—five mills for five years. If approved, it would generate $1.5 million dollars annually for the Norwalk City Schools.

Also on tonight’s agenda: discussion of budget cuts and revenue enhancements, and a resolution adopting a calamity day alternative make-up plan. An executive session is scheduled, to discuss personnel. Tonight’s meeting will begin at 7, at Norwalk High School.


Unhappy with her work, the Sandusky City Commissioners have given city manager Nicole Ard a choice: immediately improve her performance, or be fired.

The last-chance agreement was delivered to Ard yesterday. It gives her up to 60 days to turn things around. The city commissioners are looking for improvement in several areas, including financial planning, leadership and communication with others.


An area man accused of sexually abusing a girl for several years is behind bars.

63-year-old William Marton of Birmingham turned himself in yesterday, and was jailed on charges of rape and gross sexual imposition. More charges are expected. He’s scheduled to be arraigned this morning. Marton allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with the victim, between the ages of 7 and 12. The now-teenage girl came forward with the allegations last week.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Cleveland Office of the National Weather Service has changed a Winter Storm Watch, to a Winter Weather Advisory for the entire listening area.

It’s in effect from 1 this afternoon, until 10 tomorrow night. We could see up to six inches of new snow by tomorrow night, and blowing and drifting snow is in the forecast too.

A Wind Chill Advisory remains in effect until 1 today. Wind chill values could drop to 24-below.


Once again, virtually all area schools closed this morning due to hazardous weather conditions.

We update delays, closings, cancellations and postponements every 10 minutes on K96/95.3 WLKR and we post the information online at wkfm.com/wlkrradio.com.


An area tow truck driver was flown to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, after he was hit by a SUV.

55-year-old Scott Farrell of Sandusky suffered serious injuries yesterday morning on State Route 2, near Route 13 in Huron. According to the highway patrol, Farrell was hurt, when a Cleveland woman lost control, and hit him. At the time, Farrell was helping another driver. The crash remains under investigation.


A charge of child endangering has been filed against a Norwalk man accused of leaving four young children home alone, while he went looking for drug money.

The charge against 24-year-old Kyle Osborn is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. He’s due in Norwalk Municipal Court Monday. Huron County deputies said Osborn left a 6-year-old in charge of three other children, ages 3, 1 and 1, while he searched for money to buy heroin.


Norwalk Street Department crews spent the morning dealing with frigid conditions and a large water main break on Benedict Avenue near Dave’s Food Mart.


Lawyers representing a condemned killer scheduled to die in March want Ohio’s execution policy declared unconstitutional.

Attorneys for Gregory Lott say there’s a chance an inmate could remain clinically alive even after being pronounced dead. They also said inmates run the risk of experiencing unnecessary pain by suffocation, and they claim Ohio is violating federal and state law by using lethal drugs without prescriptions to carry out capital punishment. The suit is the latest in a series of legal challenges to Ohio’s lethal injection policy. Lott has been on death row for nearly 30 years, for killing an 82-year-old Cleveland man.


Ohioans are again buying a record amount of liquor.

The Ohio Division of Liquor Control says liquor sales jumped six percent last year to nearly 900-million-dollars.  State officials said buyers are turning to higher-priced, premium brands, with ‘Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey’ leading the way.


Newly released figures show Ohio’s December unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, down from 7.4 percent in November.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said 416,000 workers were unemployed last month.


For sale: naming rights to Ohio Turnpike bridges, service plazas and event the turnpike itself.

Legends Sales and Marketing has been hired to design a plan to sell long-term naming rights.  Marketing could begin this spring.