LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
8:55 AM - September 28th, 2016
64TH ANNUAL SWISS FESTIVAL TO START
SUGARCREEK - Sugarcreek’s Swiss Festival is taking over the village for the rest of the week. Festival President Scott Gerber says he’s looking forward to the annual event celebrating the area’s cheese making history and Swiss heritage. Gerber says the late Tom Miller’s store fronts and murals all around town are just the beginning. The festival started 64 years ago when there were more than 40 Swiss cheese makers in the area. He says the number is down to just a handful now. The Little Swiss Miss will be named tonight. Thursday’s events include the People’s Choice Cheese Judging and cheese eating contests. The festival queen and Grand Champion Cheesemaker will both be crowned Thursday, as well. The steinstossen, playing alphorns, as well as parades and traditional food continue through Saturday night downtown.
NEIGHBORS SAVE WOMAN FROM BURNING TRUCK
UHRICHSVILLE - State troopers say neighbors saved a Dennison woman’s life when she wrecked her pickup truck on Indian Hill Road near Claymont High School Tuesday morning. Troopers say 32-year-old Crystal Roup drove left of center around a curve into a utility pole about 2:15 AM. The crash pinned her feet under the dashboard, and her pickup caught fire. The impact also knocked out power to the area and woke two neighbors who saw the fire’s glow. They were able to free Roup, who was also screaming for help, before the pickup was engulfed in flames. Troopers say she was taken to Aultman Hospital with minor injuries, but she was cited for drunk driving and failure to control.
POLICE SEEK FEES TO HELP PAY FOR TASERS
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Police say they hope to recoup the costs of buying tasers with proposed fines attached to disorderly conduct charges. Captain Joe Skinner has asked city council to consider imposing a fee of $30-$50 for anyone who receives a disorderly as the number grows every year. He says the department spent about $12,000 over the last year to replace outdated tasers and equipment. Skinner says deploying a taser is much safer than a handgun but he says the cost to carry tasers far exceeds handguns. The council safety committee is reviewing Skinner’s request and plans to review possible legislation at an upcoming meeting.
MORE ROSENBERRY GRANTS AWARDED
DOVER - The Rosenberry Foundation is again coming to the assistance of several area non-profits and schools for expenses. The foundation recently awarded more than $212,000 in grants, which it does twice a year to charities named by a selection committee. Tuscarawas County Humane Society shelter director Lindsey Lewis says she is thankful to receive nearly $22,000 to purchase a utility van to transport animals to emergency vet care or run other errands. Uhrichsville Mayor Rick Dorland says the city gets a $41,000 grant to replace doors, windows and lights at the city and service department buildings. Other Rosenberry grants this time include $11,000 for the Fair Board to install vinyl siding to the Four-Way barn and nearly $24,000 to Warwick Township to purchase hydraulic rescue tools.
COUNTY COMMITS TO PHILA ENERGY PROGRAM
NEW PHILADELPHIA - The Tuscarawas County commissioners are giving their support to a power conservation program to benefit New Philadelphia. The commissioners have agreed to participate in the American Electric Power energy savers program where the city earns credit in a points system for every customer that agrees to go through an energy audit or install energy efficient appliances. Commissioner Kerry Metzger says the courthouse, jail and other county buildings within New Philadelphia can move the city closer to its point total goal. Mayor Joel Day says New Philadelphia is at about 7-percent of its goal of 773 points, which if reached will earn the city a $35,000 check to upgrade the downtown street lights. The program started this month and runs through December.
RAISES SET FOR NON-BARGAINING CITY EMPLOYEES
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A compromise by New Philadelphia council is allowing the mayor and some department heads to receive raises along with all non-bargaining employees. Legislation approved Monday provides 3% increases for the seven leadership roles beginning immediately with the non-bargaining increases retroactive to January. Council member Rob Maurer says he was pleased to include those employees who had been excluded in the original legislation. Finance committee chair Darrin Lautenschleger says the resolution also calls for creating a pay scale for all employees—something many council members also support. Lautenschleger says the city’s human resources director is already working on a possible pay scale that could be ready for use while crafting the city’s 2017 budget. Council member Aimee May voted against the amended resolution because she felt it still fails to adequately address the pay scale issue.
STARLIGHT TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTS OK’d
NEW PHILADELPHIA - A new contract for the remaining transportation staff at the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities has now been finalized. The county commissioners have accepted the new three-year contract retroactive to September 1 between TuscBDD and the Teamsters for the two bus drivers and two transportation aides serving Starlight School. Board Transitional Assistant Superintendent Nate Kamban says this mirrors the recently approved OAPSE contract for the Starlight teachers by providing raises of $2 the first year and 25¢ in years two and three. He says this makes the wages more competitive with what the jobs pay elsewhere, which will help in recruiting and retaining workers. Kamban says the contracts establish starting wages of $14 an hour for bus drivers and $10 an hour for transportation assistants.
FLU SHOTS ARRIVE
NEW PHILADELPHIA - City health officials are reminding everyone to seek protection against the flu. Nurse Nicole Bache recommends everyone over six months old get a flu vaccine. Bache says now is the time to get a flu shot as it takes about two weeks to become fully effective, and the flu season is just around the corner. Bache says flu shot supplies are in good shape but reminds parents the nasal spray form that is popular among kids is no longer available this year. Bache says true influenza is much worse than the common cold and can even be fatal for high-risk groups.
COUNTY FAIR WRAPS UP WITH GIFT
DOVER – Tuscarawas County Fair officials say they are thrilled to receive more than $100,000 in grants to help repair the fairgrounds buildings. Fair Board President Greg Ellwood says he is grateful to the Tuscarawas County commissioners for matching a $50,000 state agriculture department grant as well as contributing another $2,600 for immediate roof repair from recent hail damage to some of the barn skylights. Commissioner Kerry Metzger says the projects are considered capital improvements. Meanwhile, the seven-day fair wrapped up with the traditional demolition derby Sunday night, drawing a good crowd. Paid attendance at the fair hit 12,597 on Saturday and 7,896 on Sunday, making the total for the week 51,354. The hot and sticky weather at the start of the week may have contributed to the overall attendance down 3,353 for the year compared with 2015.
CLAPPER CROWNED MISS CLAYLAND
UHRICHSVILLE - The new Miss Clayland is building on her personal life story to help others. 22-year-old Sarah Clapper of Louisville, Ohio, won the scholarship pageant held at Claymont High School over the weekend. Clapper’s platform is Athletes Helping Athletes who face a career-ending injuries. She was an emerging high school gymnast when a back injury changed her life, and she now partners with a group called Positive Strides that helps athletes avoid letting sports define who they are and provides mental and financial support to injured college athletes. Clapper says as Miss Clayland she will also compete for the fifth time at Miss Ohio next year, earning more than $10,000 in scholarships from pageants over the last few years. She was crowned Miss Clayland after playing piano as her talent, beating out seven other contestants Saturday. Among the local contestants, Gabby Bailey of Dover finished as second runner-up to Clapper.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
DENNISON – Five women will be honored as part of the 10th annual Lucille Nussdorfer Woman of the Year. Dennison Depot Museum Director Wendy Zucal says the award commemorates Nussdorfer, who started the Depot’s World War II Canteen and signifies the heart of volunteerism. This year’s five finalists include Ronna Coventry of New Philadelphia, Lois Muster of Uhrichsville, Pam Sprowls of Uhrichsville, Jan Thomas of Gnadenhutten, and Diana Youngen of Sugarcreek. The winner will be announced at this year’s banquet on October 13th.
SHERIFF’S OFFICE PROMOTES THREE
NEW PHILADELPHIA – One job change has prompted a series of promotions at the Tuscarawas County sheriff’s office. Veteran dispatcher Jon Specht is now the 911 communications director. Jim Torch takes over as human resources officer, and Tracey Judy leaves that job for the auditor’s office. She takes over for Allan Sayre, who became the Board of Elections director. Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell says the transition has been smooth, and the office is ready for the adjustments.