New Philadelphia, OH
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WJER News

NEWS HEADLINES

8:23 AM - April 21st, 2017

 

 

 

THREE SUSPECTS CONNECTED TO EAST SIDE DRIVE THRU ROBBERY
NEW PHILADELPHIA
 - Police say heroin addiction continues to fuel crime locally. Detective Captain Shawn Nelson says three suspects have been connected to the East Side Drive Through robbery late Monday night. The primary suspect who actually committed the armed robbery, Brian Vitt of New Philadelphia, is currently in custody while his brother Nicholas Vitt and Nicholas’ girlfriend Terry Bederka, both of New Philadelphia, will now face a grand jury after they admitted to the crime that led police on a late night man hunt. But Nelson says key evidence helped lead investigators in the right direction leading to two arrests Nicholas and Terry, who admitted to their involvement and also identified Brian Vitt, Nicholas’ brother, as the one who robbed the drive thru… Nelson says that information was corroborated with security camera video. Nelson says all three suspects admitted that the theft was an attempt to get money that would then be used to purchase heroin. Brian will be officially charged Friday, while Nicholas and Terry will be bound over to the Tuscarawas County Grand Jury. 


 

 

 

ONE HURT IN HOUSE FIRE
UHRICHSVILLE
 - Fire fighters say one occupant in the house at 7825 Kilpatrick Drive SEE had to be transported by helicopter for injuries sustained in a house fire Thursday morning about 8:30. Fire Chief Judd Edwards says the house, which the auditor’s website reports is owned by Jeannie Albaugh, may be a total loss. He says crews were on scene for nearly eight hours securing the scene. The State Fire Marshal’s office is assisting with an investigation into the cause, although Edwards says he does not believe it to be suspicious 

 

 

 

PAPER BALLOTS RETURNING 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Tuscarawas County voters will soon be using paper ballots again. County commissioners have approved the purchase of new scanners to replace the current electronic voting machines that are nearing the end of their useful life. Board of Elections Director Alan Sayre says there will be one scanner per precinct. The scanners will read paper ballots that are like the ones sent through the mail now for absentee voting. Once voters at the polls fill out the ballots, they will take them to the scanner machines to be counted. Deputy Director Sarah Kneuss says the new system also fulfills Ohio voting paper trail requirements.   However, the current electronic machines will still be in use for next month’s primary election as usual. 

 

 

 

TWO FATALITIES UNDER INVESTIGATION
CARROLLTON - Carroll County Sheriff’s officials have been investigating two separate fatal incidents from early Wednesday. Sheriff Dale Williams says a house fire discovered just after 1 a.m. on Jade Road in Dellroy killed 33-year-old Brian Wright. Williams says the state fire marshal is working to determine the cause, which could be suspicious. Deputies then had to go to a motorcycle accident on Arbor Road about 2:30 a.m. that killed 38-year-old Mitchell Brown. He was originally from Oklahoma but has been staying in Malvern for a local oilfield job. Brown appears to have lost control going over a hill-crest, crashing into an electric pole and snapping it. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Alcohol is not being ruled out as a factor in the crash.

 

 

 

POLICE OFFICER LIED ABOUT BEING SHOT
NEW PHILADELPHIA - There has been a shocking update in the shooting of a Newcomerstown police officer last week. Officer Bryan Eubanks’ claims about how he was shot the morning of April 11th were all fabricated. He never pulled over a black Geo Tracker, which authorities have been looking for, and he was never shot in the arm by a passenger described as having neck tattoos. Sheriff Orvis Campbell says Eubanks has been dealing with some mental health issues following a murder case and admitted he shot himself in a failed suicide attempt. Eubanks’ story began to unravel when investigators interviewed witnesses who were logged into the automatic license plate reader inside Eubanks’ cruiser. Eubanks has been released to his family and is seeking psychological treatment. Eubanks has also been fired from the police department. The county prosecutor’s office will consider charges against him.  

 

 

 

GIBBS STILL PUSHING FOR HEALTH CARE FIX
DOVER
 - One of our local Republican representatives in Washington is not giving up on the GOP’s effort to replace the Affordable Care Act, even after the Republicans' health care bill died on the House floor. 7th District Congressman Bob Gibbs says replacing Obamacare is difficult without putting people at risk of losing their insurance. He says the Republican plan would focus on risk-sharing agreements and innovation grants at the state level to lower health care costs. He says creating more competition in the health care industry will force premiums to drop. Gibbs spoke on this at the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce’s legislative luncheon Tuesday at Union Country Club. 

 

 

 

DRIVE THRU ROBBED AT GUNPOINT
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police are looking for the suspect who robbed the Eastside Drive Thru on Beaver Avenue about 10 p.m. Monday night. It was not revealed what the suspect got away with before running off. The employee there told police she was robbed by a white man with a gun. She described the suspect as having dirty blonde hair with something white over his face, a black hoodie, and jeans. A resident on nearby Fair Avenue found a black hooded sweatshirt, believed to be worn by the robber, in her front yard about 20 minutes later. Police might have DNA testing done on that hoodie to see if there are any matches on file.  

 

 

 

PHILA FIRE STATION DEBUT SET
NEW PHILADELPHIA – The city is preparing to unveil the new fire station after construction began just under a year ago. Fire Chief Jim Parrish says the station is on track to be completed in about two months. An open house is planned for June 24th to showcase the over $4 million building approved by voters in late 2015. Parrish says most major construction is finished, with crews now focused on interior work. Details for the June 24th open house are not set yet, but residents can expect tours to happen sometime around 1 p.m. that Saturday. 

 

 

 

TRAFFIC LIGHT PROJECT PROGRESSES
DOVER – City officials are preparing to move on to phase two of the traffic signalization project. Monday, council approved legislation allowing the service director to enter into a contract with TMS Engineers for $182,000 to begin designing the lighting system after actual installation completed in phase one. Service Director Dave Douglas says the city is pursuing grant money through the Ohio Department of Transportation that could account for nearly 90% of the project cost. He says the city will also need to conduct a traffic study to better synchronize the lights on Tuscarawas Avenue, as the last study there was done about six years ago.

 

 

 

HEROIN TOWN HALL WITH AG THIS WEEK
NEW PHILADELPHIA - State lawmakers and local officials are teaming together later this week to spread the message of saying no to drugs and to help those hurt by addiction. “Tusc Talk: An Evening to Discuss Heroin and Other Opiates in Our Community” happens Thursday at Welty Middle School starting at 6 p.m. State Representative Al Landis has helped set it up. He is bringing in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to be there for a town hall style format. It is also about supporting those in the community who can play a role in prevention and treatment. He says according to the latest statistics, Ohio led the nation with 3,050 overdose deaths in 2015. The event is also in support of the new “Got Your Back” campaign, which encourages people to post pictures standing back to back with someone on social media, meant to highlight the importance of helping each other resist drugs.

 

 

 

PHILA COULD ADD HARRY CLEVER HANGAR 
NEW PHILADELPHIA - New Philadelphia officials are considering some additions at the city airport. Council has discussed creating legislation to construct a new 12-bay hangar at Harry Clever Field, as recommended by the airport commission. It is estimated to cost about $430,000. Mayor Joel Day says the city is looking at loan options first, but he says the hangar would generate revenue for the city through rent, fuel, and maintenance.  

 

 

 

FUNDING CUTS LEAD TO UHRICHSVILLE LEVY ATTEMPT
UHRICHSVILLE – City leaders are pointing to the state to explain why they are asking for a tax increase on the May ballot. Council member Joel Peterson says continued reduction in funding from the state is forcing the city to scale back services provided to residents. He says Uhrichsville has lost about $146,000 in state funding over the years. May’s income tax levy would be used to pave the streets in Uhrichsville, if approved.   

 

 

 

LIGHT WINTER SAVES ENGINEER'S FUNDING
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The county’s engineer says this year’s mild winter has paved the way to smoother roads this summer. Engineer Joe Bachman says his department still has about 4,000 tons of salt left, and he says the county just ordered 2,000 more tons through the Ohio Department of Transportation for next winter. Bachman says crews spent significantly less time treating roads this season. Bachman says that money can now be carried over and used for summer roadwork. He says the light winter also allowed him to add another road to the plow routes, even after reducing those routes last fall in preparation for continued budget cuts.

 

 

 

STATE NEWS:
 

NEW EFFORT TO ID REMAINS FOUND IN 1989
MARION (AP) - Authorities hope a newly released facial reconstruction by a forensic artist can help identify skeletal remains found in an Ohio creek nearly 28 years ago. The remains of an unidentified man were found in Flat Rock Run Creek in Marion County in July 1989. He was wearing blue jeans, a flannel shirt, a sweater, and tennis shoes. Officials will not say how he died.

 

 

 

PROSECUTOR WANTS TEENAGE MURDER SUSPECT TRIED AS ADULT
URBANA (AP) - A prosecutor wants a 14-year-old Ohio boy accused of killing his father's girlfriend tried as an adult. Champaign County's prosecutor says he has asked a judge to transfer the case from juvenile to adult court partly because of the seriousness and "deliberate and premeditated nature" of the alleged offenses. The teen told police an alternate personality stabbed and shot Heidi Taylor. His attorney says the boy has mental health issues.

 

 

 

DeVOS VISITING OHIO
VAN WERT (AP) - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to visit a public school in Ohio with the president of a national teachers union, who has been among her most vocal critics and has suggested DeVos does not understand what students need to succeed. DeVos and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten on Thursday are scheduled to visit a school in Van Wert, a few miles from the Indiana state line.

 

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS:


PESTICIDE MAKER TRIES TO SCRAP RISK STUDY
WASHINGTON (AP) - Dow Chemical is pushing the Trump administration to scrap the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species. Lawyers representing Dow and two other makers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three Cabinet agencies.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS EXECUTION PLAN AGAIN THROWN INTO DOUBT
LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP) - An aggressive effort by the state of Arkansas to carry out its first executions since 2005 stalled for the second time this week as courts blocked lethal injections planned for Thursday, prompting Gov. Asa Hutchinson to express frustration at the legal delaying tactics. While Wednesday's court rulings could be overturned, Arkansas now faces an uphill battle to execute any inmates before the end of April

 

 

WEATHER:


TODAY: Cloudy, showers and storms arriving later in the afternoon, high 79


TONIGHT: Cloudy, showers moving out after midnight, low 52


FRIDAY: Partly sunny, high 64


SATURDAY: Cloudy, high 55