LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2016
8:51 AM - August 24th, 2016
DEPUTIES BATTLE EVOLVING DRUG CULTURE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County sheriff’s detectives say the local drug culture continues to change. Detective Phil Valdez says synthetic drugs are increasingly popular, with many people using a leafy vegetable that mirrors marijuana but is sprayed with meth-like chemicals to create spice. Valdez says many users obtain the plant legally but have the chemical shipped illegally from china. Valdez says any spice confiscated in Ohio gets sent to the state crime lab for testing. He says the list of man-made chemicals varies, so it can be hard to keep track of all the dangerous substances. Valdez says Tuscarawas County’s participation in a multi-county drug task force has helped authorities crack down on various drugs and traffickers who travel throughout the region.
NON-UNION WORKERS HAVE TO WAIT FOR RAISE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A city council resolution that would grant pay raises to 27 city employees and four elected officials is receiving some resistance. Council member Cheryl Ramos says she would like to see the resolution amended to include raises for only the non-bargaining workers. Council member Aimee May joined Ramos and Rob Maurer in voting against suspending the rules to pass the 3% raises immediately. May says she would like to see a pay scale established as well. The legislation will be up for its second reading at the next council meeting in two weeks.
SENIORS TAKE OVER TUSCORA PARK
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The familiar sounds of oldies music and bingo calls were echoing throughout Tuscora Park for the area’s older population Tuesday. Tuscarawas County Senior Center Director Pam Ferrell says an assembly line of about 30 volunteers served up approximately 500 lunches for the center’s annual Picnic in the Park Tuesday. The event attracted a mix of new and returning faces once again, with attendees looking forward to the entertainment and the company. Donna Rothacher of New Philadelphia says she has attended every year since 2007, particularly for the bingo.
NOVEMBER ELECTION BALLOT CERTIFIED
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County Board of Elections officials say they are talking one step at a time in preparing for the November presidential election. Deputy Director Sarah Kneuss says she is anticipating large voter turnout for local candidates and issues as well. The board certified all but three liquor option issues Monday. Sunday options for The Mustang in Mill Twp. and Kickin’ Country in Bolivar failed to have enough valid signatures. But no liquor license is available for Grinder’s in Dover disqualifying its petition to appear on the ballot. But Kneuss says printing the ballot, training poll workers and more are still to come. Elections office staff have also been turning over with the retirement of Board Director Chuck Miller among other employee moves. The board is scheduled to name Miller’s replacement next week. The voter registration deadline is October 11 with early and absentee voting starting the next day.
SIDEWALK PROGRAM SOLD OUT
NEW PHILADELPHIA – The city’s service director says he is requesting more money for the city’s 2017 sidewalk replacement program. Ron McAbier says he distributed the allotted $12,500 among 13 applicants and had to turn a few residents away from the program. He says homeowners are responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalks on their properties so free money helps encourage needed repairs. McAbier says officials score the applications to determine which should be selected each summer. He says high traffic locations and areas near schools tend to score pretty high, though the repairs range in size. McAbier says the program helps residents fix up their walk ways while also increasing sidewalk safety and appearance.
COMMISSIONERS PURSUE ARC GRANT
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Tuscarawas County commissioners are hoping to lower the bill for the planned Sandyville wastewater treatment plant improvement project. The commissioners are applying to the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association for a $225,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant request. Commissioner Kerry Metzger says as part of the application, the county pledges to secure matching funds of more than $2.1 million through local contributions, loans, and other grants.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS SOUGHT
DENNISON - Dennison Railroad Depot Museum officials are asking for nominations to include with an elite list of volunteers. The group will be announcing its 10th annual Lucille Nussdorfer Tuscarawas County Woman of the Year at an October 13th dinner. The award is named for the World War II canteen founder and Ohio Governor’s Women’s Hall of Fame inductee. Committee member Connie Finton says the museum is accepting nominations for this year’s award through September 1st. She says nominees must have made significant contributions to the county in areas such as education, youth or senior services, and charitable work.
DEPUTIES SALUTE OVERDOSE SOLUTION
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County sheriff’s deputies say a new program that allows deputies to treat overdosing drug users is working out well so far. Local deputies have been carrying a supply of Narcan since June. Detective Phil Valdez says it is useful not only for the patient but for anyone else who may be exposed unintentionally, like children or the deputies themselves. Although paramedics have had the opioid antidote for some time, Valdez says deputies may arrive before an ambulance and need at least limited medical training as first responders. He says a deputy administered Narcan to a Midvale couple who were both overdosing last week and saved their lives. Earlier that same day, a Mill Township man survived an overdose because medics used Narcan for him, too.
VENDING MACHINE BAN CONSIDERED
DENNISON - Council members say they want to determine whether the increasing number of residents putting vending machines out in front of their homes is appropriate. Village Solicitor JJ Ong says the situation started off as a single complaint, which has prompted village officials to dig deeper and consider taking action. Ong says council members have discovered a few other examples while investigating through town. He says he is researching if the village can limit the residential vending machines through zoning regulations or other options.
EXPECTANT MOTHERS OFFERED FREE DIAPERS TO QUIT SMOKING
DOVER - Tuscarawas County Health Department officials are again offering incentives for pregnant women to stop smoking. Health Educator Nicole Dorsey says the Baby and Me-Tobacco Free program helps expecting mothers quit cigarettes during their pregnancy and rewards them with free diapers once a month if they remain smoke free. Dorsey says smoking during pregnancy reduces the chances of delivering a healthy baby. Dorsey says mothers enrolled must also participate in four prenatal quit smoking cessation sessions for tips on dealing with cravings and advice on staying smoke free after pregnancy. Dorsey says participants must be pregnant and a daily smoker or have been a daily smoker three months prior to becoming pregnant. She says they must also take a carbon monoxide breath test monthly to receive the diapers.
EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS INCREASE FOR DAY CARE
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services officials say state-licensed child care providers will soon play a role in preparing young kids to enter kindergarten. JFS Child Care Supervisor Adam Wilson says the state’s new Step Up to Quality program requires providers to help children with a variety of skills rather than merely making sure they are entertained all day. Wilson says a five-star rating system will ensure providers have the proper qualifications and training to advance through the program. He says the rate of pay also increases as their ratings improve. All child care providers will have to become part of the program by 2020. Wilson says there are 60 approved child care centers and in-home facilities in Tuscarawas County.