AEP DONATES UTILITY TRUCK TO BCC
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Buckeye Career Center officials are showing off their latest educational tool for the utility linesman adult ed students. American Electric Power has donated a 2006 International Digger Derrick Truck to the program that was at the end of a lease. It is used to drill large holes into the ground for setting power poles and includes a crane. AEP Community and Customer Experience Manager David Wheeler says it benefits the company and the school. Adult Ed Curriculum Director Frank Polen calls it an invaluable resource. This replaces a similar truck that no longer works. Wheeler says one of these trucks new would probably cost over $100,000. He estimates the lease value at auction on this one would be between $6-10,000

UHRICHSVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH FELONY DRUG TRAFFICKING
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - A 34-year-old Uhrichsville man has been indicted on multiple drug and weapons charges stemming from a November raid of his North Water Street residence. Charles N. McIntyre faces a 10-count indictment from a Tuscarawas County Grand Jury that includes aggravated trafficking of the drug Ecstasy; possession of Fentanyl, Cocaine, Meth and prescription pills; and having weapons while under disability. He was released on bail following an initial court hearing. Uhrichsville Police had arrested McIntyre in November after responding to a call alleging McIntyre was threatening another man with a gun. They seized several items from his home, including drug paraphernalia and two handguns. McIntyre is scheduled for arraignment on March 29.

COUNTY ENGINEER DISCUSSES PROPOSED GAS TAX
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s Engineer is reacting to Ohio Governor Mike Dewine’s $7.43-billion transportation budget proposal announced Thursday. Joe Bachman says the state’s current .28-cent gas tax rate provides the county with $2.8-million in street funding. He says DeWine’s .18-cent state gas tax increase could give Tuscarawas County’s roads and bridges program a much-needed shot in the arm if approved by the legislature. He estimates it could bring in an additional $1-million a year for road work. Specifically, Bachman says they could use the money to revive the county’s bridge replacement program for the 273 bridges his department is responsible for. But he says the scope of the local funding increase depends on how the governor’s administration plans to distribute the money among local entities. The proposal designates 40% of funds collected through the tax for local government use.

AUTHORITIES SEARCHING FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER SUSPECT
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s sheriff is asking for the public’s help in locating an attempted murder suspect charged for a drug deal robbery-turned-shooting near Newcomerstown from December. Orvis Campbell says 36-year-old Ian Cultrona of Coshocton had been released from jail on his own recognizance with an ankle monitor ahead of trial. But Campbell says it was discovered that Cultrona had apparently removed the monitor when he failed to meet with his probation officer. A warrant for Cultrona’s arrest was issued Wednesday. The U.S. Marshals Service is assisting in the search. Cultrona’s photo is up on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.

NEW PHILA PAYS OFF QUAKER DOME MORTGAGE
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - School officials and booster members are expressing their appreciation to the community for helping pay off the Quaker Dome early. Quaker Club Representative Tom Farbizo says they made the final mortgage payment this month for the indoor athletic facility on East High Avenue three years earlier than first anticipated.  Farbizo says this $695,000 project was all done without using any taxpayer dollars. Superintendent David Brand says donations for this have come in from all over the country. Farbizo says paying that mortgage off early is saving the club about $25,000.

OHIO PAYS PARTIAL MARCH SNAP BENEFITS EARLY
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - The Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services Office says they are catching clients up on their snap benefits following the government shutdown. Executive Director David Haverfield says benefits recipients will receive half of their March benefits this Friday instead of their normal march delivery date. Haverfield says they want to make sure people are able to feed their families after benefits were put on hold during the shutdown. Haverfield says there were no guidelines in place to help them deal with this problem, but he says they had to backing of local agencies to make sure everyone was fed. Haverfield says after half the benefits are paid out on Friday, clients will receive the other half on their assigned issuance date. He says the Ohio JFS Department plans to then resume their normal benefits cycle in April. 

DOVER ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS TO REPORT POTHOLES
DOVER (WJER) – The city’s service director says his department is doing their best to fix the streets as winter continues crumbling asphalt all around the county. Dave Douglas says his crews are out every time the weather permits, filling potholes with about eight tons of hot-patch every day. He says residents can help them by reporting potholes to his office on the phone or through the city website. Meanwhile, Douglas says the city is still waiting for its salt order to come through, with reserves running out and no word on when to expect the delivery. He says ODOT is ready to lend the city salt if needed.

NEWCOMERSTOWN SHOOTING SUSPECT SENTENCED ON UNRELATED OFFENSE
NEW PHILADELPHIA (TUSCO TV) - One of the accused gunmen in an attempted robbery-turned-shooting last year near Newcomerstown has been sentenced to six months in jail for two unrelated cases. 22-year-old Lucian Lambes of Newcomerstown recently pled no contest to a felony drug charge from last June. Judge Edward O’Farrell also sentenced Lambes for improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle and two counts of felony drug possession from another incident last April. Lambes was out of jail on his own recognizance when he was arrested in December for a robbery and shooting along Liberty Road that injured a 17-year-old passenger in an SUV. O’Farrell says the trial for the December incident will likely be scheduled for the end of April or early May.

RETURNING UHRICHSVILLE COUNCIL WOMAN READY TO START
UHRICHSVILLE
(TUSCO TV) - A returning Uhrichsville councilwoman is getting back up to speed after a short break from public service. Linda Davis has returned to the council desk after a coin flip won her the Ward 4 seat recently vacated by Cathy Cottis. Davis says she ultimately regretted deciding not to run again when she was previously an at-large council member, so she was grateful for the opportunity to get back to serving the community. Council President Mark Haney says Davis brings a wealth of knowledge from her 20 years as a Uhrichsville public servant. Davis says she'll complete the remainder of Cottis' term and run for re-election this fall.

FELONY CASES RISE WITH DRUG ABUSE
NEW PHILADELPHIA
(WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s prosecutor says the new felony statistics report for 2018 shows some direct links between a rise in drug possession incidents and a spike in felony court cases last year. Ryan Styer says his office handled 463 new felony cases in 2018, compared to an average of 314 cases between 2015 and 2017. Styer says some factors for this include increased narcotics patrols, faster crime lab results at the state level and simply a rise in drug abuse. He says the report also shows crystal meth is growing in popularity again locally.

U.S. SENATORS VOTE TO LIFT TOWPATH AREA FUNDING CAP
WASHINGTON (WJER) - Our U.S. senators want to make sure the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition doesn’t face funding uncertainty the next couple years.  The amount of federal funding the coalition has been eligible to receive through 2021 has been capped at a total of $17-million.  Senator Sherrod Brown says he and Senator Rob Portman were able to get that cap lifted to $20-million in the latest Natural Resources Act, which now heads to the House for consideration.  Coalition President Dan Rice says they use most of these funds on grants awarded to communities to further develop and preserve areas along the Towpath Trail route, such as Dover. He says those grants are then able to leverage a tremendous amount of additional money in return. 

UNITED WAY FUNDRAISER CLIMBS, CELEBRATES VOLUNTEERS
NEW PHILADELPHIA (TUSCO TV) - United Way of Tuscarawas County officials are thanking supporters and volunteers for another year of giving. The organization wrapped up its 76th annual fundraising campaign with its yearly luncheon Thursday.  Campaign Co-Chair Chris Lane says it raised nearly $563,000 for local health and human services programs, up 3-percent from the previous year. This year’s top honor of the Vic Marsh Service Award went to Craig Laughlin of Dover, who extended his gratitude to everyone involved. The Organization Announced Jennifer Jones of Aultman Hospital will head up the 2019 campaign, which kicks off in May with the annual Color Us United race. Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell will serve as the United Way board chair next year. 

LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WITNESS JUSTICE AT LAW DAY
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court hosted Law Day for area high school students Thursday. Common Pleas Judge Edward O’Farrell says students were respectful and attentive as they sat in on court cases involving felony traffic and drug violations. He said he hopes the students will now think twice about the consequences of their behaviors. And maybe consider careers in the legal system. Court administrator Elizabeth Stephenson said the court co-sponsors the event with the educational service center. Area high schools pick which students will attend. Stephenson said she provides a crash course in the judicial system before students enter the courtroom. Stephenson said the event takes place three times a year and they invite participation from all area high schools.

COUNCIL REZONING QUAKER DOME FOR PRE-SCHOOL USE
NEW PHILADELPHIA 
(WJER) - City council is working to match up the zoning at the Quaker Dome with the school district’s plans to put preschool classrooms there. New Philadelphia city council will soon vote on proposed zoning legislation that would allow the Quaker Dome to house classes there beginning next year. Zoning and Annexation Committee Chair Cheryl Ramos says the Quaker Dome is currently labeled an industrial zone. Ramos says the proposed changes would rezone the area to business and permit educational facilities in the city’s business zones. City council is hosting public hearing on the zoning changes on March 11 before they vote, as required by law.

STATE NEWS:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine says he'll announce Thursday his proposed recommendation for increasing the state gas tax to address a chronic shortfall in spending on road renovations. DeWine, a Republican, said there are no other solutions outside a gas tax increase, while warning that any increase simply keeps Ohio from falling behind. He wouldn't provide details or say what the proposed increase would be. He spoke at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Three more wrongful-death lawsuits have been filed against an Ohio hospital system and a doctor accused of ordering potentially fatal doses of pain medication for dozens of patients. The Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System and Dr. William Husel now face at least 19 lawsuits. Husel's lawyers aren't commenting on the allegations. Mount Carmel has publicly apologized and put other staff on leave pending further investigation.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The State Highway Patrol says inmates at an Ohio maximum security prison were plotting "a possible escape attempt and possible riot" when the plan was interrupted. The patrol is investigating the Feb. 12 incident in which authorities confiscated three fake handguns, drawings of handguns, and a fake explosive device. The patrol referred to the possible escape and riot in an initial incident report obtained by The Associated Press through a records request.

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Police records say a woman abducted from an Ohio college campus and fatally shot in Kentucky had complained to police about her ex-boyfriend abusing her. The Mansfield News Journal reports that the records include allegations of sexual assault, stalking, harassment and domestic violence. Skylar Williams was a student at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus where authorities say she was forced into a car at gunpoint last week. Police say her ex-boyfriend later shot and killed her.

NATIONAL NEWS:
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has turned himself in to face a charge of making a false police report when he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tells The Associated Press that Smollett turned himself in early Thursday. The charge could bring up to three years in prison for the actor, who is black and gay.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — At least 81 people have died in a massive fire that raced through densely packed buildings in a centuries-old district in Bangladesh's capital, many of them trapped and burned beyond recognition. The fire in Dhaka's Chawkbazar area was mostly under control after more than 10 hours of frantic firefighting efforts. About 50 people were injured, some critically burned. Fire officials say road closures worsened traffic, slowing down fire trucks.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholic Church leaders attending a landmark Vatican summit on preventing clergy sex abuse have heard videotaped testimony from victims of the trauma of their abuse and the cruel indifference shown to them by bishops and religious superiors. One woman from Africa told the summit that the priest who began raping her at age 15 forced her to have three abortions, and beat her when she refused him sex.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Coast Guard lieutenant was scheduled to appear in court Thursday regarding allegations that he is a domestic terrorist with  hit list of potential victims. Authorities allege that Christopher Paul Hasson drafted an email discussing biological attacks and put together a list of prominent Democrats and media figures as he targeted specific victims. Hasson was arrested last week on gun and drug offenses. Authorities said they found 15 firearms and a thousand rounds of ammunition in his basement.

HOUSTON (AP) — Legal wrangling was expected to continue in court Thursday between the American Civil Liberties Union and the government over thousands of children separated crossing the Mexico border before a June court order requiring the speedy re-unification of families. Advocates and lawmakers are also questioning the treatment of children who cross with relatives other than their parents. U.S. Customs and Border Protection argued the group incorrectly categorized cases involving other relatives.

SPORTS:
NCAA MEN: Kaleb Wesson scored 22 points to power Ohio State over Northwestern 63-49. Kyle Young and Duane Washington Jr. each added eight points for the Buckeyes (17-9, 7-8 Big Ten). They snapped a two-game losing streak and kept their hopes alive of staying on the NCAA Tournament bubble with five regular-season games remaining. Northwestern lost its seventh in a row.

NFL: The Browns added to depth at wide receiver by signing Jaelen Strong, who missed last season with a knee injury. A former third-round pick, Strong sat out 2018 after tearing a knee ligament late in the 2017 season with Jacksonville. The 25-year-old has made three starts and played in 20 NFL games with Houston and the Jaguars. The 6 foot-2, 220-pounder has 31 career catches for 330 yards and four touchdowns.

WEATHER:
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy, Lo 25
FRIDAY: Mostly sunny, Hi 43
SATURDAY: Cloudy, rain likely, mainly after 2 pm, Hi 53
SUNDAY: Partly to mostly cloudy skies, breezy, Hi 57