NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 5, 2020) - City residents will soon be seeing a new park start to take shape on south side of the city.
Service Director Ron McAbier says they’re getting ready to award the bid for the first phase of the southside community park project. He says the lowest came back at around $250,000 less than the original estimate, so they’re going to invest the savings back into the project. Phase 1 features include a walking trail, dog park and pollinator garden. McAbier says the work is expected to start in July and should be finished up by next summer. McAbier says the project has been awarded a more than $1.5 million Clean Ohio Grant and a $32,000 Nature Works Grant, plus another $40,000 from the Ohio & Erie Canalway coalition. He says the city will only have to pay around $375,000 to extend water and sewer service to the 23-acre property.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 5, 2020) - The Quaker Cinema is cleared to reopen soon under the governor’s orders, but owner Mike Ernest says they will be holding off for a few extra days. Governor Mike DeWine announced indoor movie theatres are able to resume operations starting June 10 while maintaining social distancing, along with museums, aquariums and art galleries. But Ernest says they need new movies to be released before they can start selling tickets again. Ernest says the first film coming out – “Mulan” - is set to be released June 24 which they’ve set as their tentative opening date. He says once they do reopen the theater will look a little different with limited seating. Ernest says he expects people will actually prefer having more space to themselves in the theater. He says people in the same group will still be allowed to sit next to each other.

DOVER (WJER) (June 5, 2020) - The New Philadelphia City Health Department and the Tuscarawas County Health Department Friday reported the fifth COVID-19 related death in the county. They say the individual was a 79-year-old female residing in a local long-term care facility. The County Health Department reported three new cases of COVID-19 in the county Friday. The department reports 378 total cases, that’s 28 more than a week ago. The latest report indicates there are 65 actives cases and 11 hospitalizations. 309 people have recovered from the virus.


TUSCARAWAS COUNTY (WJER) (June 5, 2020) - Area fire departments and law enforcement agencies have been making the transition to the new countywide 911 system this week. Sheriff Orvis Campbell says the MARCS communication system went partially online Monday and is now operating at full capacity. Campbell says he’s already noticed a huge improvement in both clarity and coverage, and he expects it will only get even better as they add on more towers. The $8.6-million project was paid for by a temporary, half-percent sales tax increase. Voters approved the tax in 2018, and it expired last October.


DOVER (WJER) (June 5, 2020) - Firefighters say no one was injured when the three-stall garage at a Cross Street home caught on fire Thursday evening. Captain Mike Mosser says the blaze was already well-involved when they arrived at the home in the 1400-block around 5:45 pm. Mosser says a woman and child were home when it happened but made it out prior to their arrival. He says they don’t yet know what might have caused it, although nothing appears suspicious. Mosser says the fire gutted the garage and everything in it, but there only smoke damage to the living portion of the residence.   

DOVER (WJER) (June 4, 2020) – The school district’s superintendent says they will be soon changing the Walnut Street skyline. Carla Birney says external demolition is set to begin next week for the old high school as they prepare the grounds for the new school year in the fall. Birney says crews will be razing the building in steps to avoid damaging the new high school nearby. Birney says they are working with the company conducting the demolition to salvage some of the old bricks to give to residents as mementos of their old school. But she says some will have to remain in place, as they will be keeping the 1962 library, cafeteria, and gymnasium wing. Birney says they are planning to auction off old furniture, equipment and other items from the old high school Sept. 12, barring any remaining restrictions from the pandemic.

ZOAR (WJER) (June 4, 2020) - Walkers can help keep local history alive this weekend on a leisurely stroll through Zoar Village. Tammi Schrum says the village Saturday will host Maifest - the traditional German celebration welcoming spring. She says while coronavirus restrictions prevent them from doing everything they had planned, people can still register for 3K and 5K walks highlighting historic sites. Registration is $10, which includes a wooden lapel pin from Warther’s Cutlery and lunch. Register on the Historic Zoar Village Facebook page, through, or by calling the village, before 4 p.m. Friday. Instead of a German car show, the village will welcome owners of German cars to drive through the village, stopping for pictures at historic sites. The village will also present its first event in a live Facebook speaker series at 2 p.m. that day. Former site manager Kathy Fernandez will present information and welcome questions about Historic Zoar Village.

WARREN (WJER) (June 4, 2020) - The county engineer says a part of a Warren Township Road will be closed for a few days so crews can clean out the ditches there. Joe Bachman says Anderson Valley Road will be shut off to traffic starting today between Oldtown and Angel Valley roads. He says mail and emergency response vehicles will still be able to get through, but others will have to take a different route. The closure is scheduled through next Tuesday. Bachman says the work can be completed rain or shine so the weather shouldn’t delay the timeline. Meanwhile, Sandy Ridge Road between Laurel Creek Road and state Route 258 will remain closed during the daytime this week for a culvert replacement project.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 3, 2020) - The Tuscarawas County Health Commissioner is explaining the decision not to put demographic information on social media about the fourth COVID-19-related death in the county. Katie Seward says they’re not trying to hide the information – which is available on the Ohio Department of Health website - they just want to show respect for the deceased’s family. She says comments on previous posts speculated on the identity of the deceased and questioned the cause of death. Seward says the idea floated on social media that health departments profit from labeling deaths as COVID-19-related is untrue. She says health departments are facing financial difficulties because of the strain of the coronavirus, and the department does not list the cause of death on death certificates. She says health officials are still concerned about COVID-19 spreading in the community and hope people take precautions as they try to resume normal life. She says wash your hands, practice social distancing, and don’t go to work if you’re sick. The Health Department reports 64 active cases of COVID-19 in the county, with 10 hospitalizations. 299 of the 367 total cases in Tuscarawas County have ended in recoveries.


DOVER (WJER) - Local health officials are confirming the area's fourth COVID-19 death. Tuscarawas County Health Commissioner Katie Seward and New Philadelphia City Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno issued a joint statement Tuesday evening, offering condolences to the family. Data on the Ohio Department of Health websites indicates the individual was a male in his 50s.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 3, 2020) – The city’s mayor says he’s remained focused on growing the city over the last three months despite an uncertain future amid the pandemic. Joel Day expects to unveil phase one of the city’s new master plan sometime in June or July. Day says professor Michael McInturf and his team of graduate students at the Cincinnati School of Architecture have been working to find ways the city can enhance its assets to attract businesses while improving residents’ lives. He says McInturf identified potential growth areas on the city’s east, west and south sides. Day says McInturf will be able to suggest things like rezoning certain areas to free up business potential, updating traffic patterns and identify underutilized sections of the city, including the Tuscarawas River. Days says the master plan will show city leaders what is possible in the city. From there, it will be up to them to determine which projects to focus on and how they could be funded. 

UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (June 3, 2020) - City officials are hoping to take advantage of state and federal grant opportunities to improve a few more roads in the city. Mayor Mark Haney says they’re planning to apply for funding through ODOT’s Transportation Alternatives program to install new sidewalks along McCauley Drive and a Small Cities Grant to improve Trenton Avenue.
Haney says the city will also be seeking an Economic Development Administration Grant to repair South Wardell street. He says drainage issues and heavy truck traffic from a former business have really taken a toll on the road there. Haney says some of the programs they’re looking at cover 95 percent of project costs, which helps stretch the city’s budget.    

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 2, 2020) – City officials say recent state funding cuts are delaying a lighting replacement project at the city-owned airport. Airport Commission Chairman John Zucal says the Ohio Department of Transportation had approved city’s request for a $95,000 Aviation Grant to install new runway lights, but officials they’re now saying the funding won’t be available this year.  Service Director Ron McAbier says the city already had the site surveyed and bought most the materials for the project, but the agency has agreed to pay them back. The lights improve visibility for pilots flying in at night. 

DOVER (WJER) (June 2, 2020) - Work on a new trail along the Tuscarawas River in Dover will have to wait until at least next year. City Service Director Dave Douglas says with schedules getting thrown off by the coronavirus pandemic, he’s going to wait until January to start bidding for the project so crews can have a full season to do the work. Douglas says funding is available for the city’s portion of the project – just over $100,000. ODOT will provide the majority of the funds. Douglas says a separate project to connect that trail to Wooster Avenue and Front Street will also wait until at least next year because it turned out to be more expensive than they anticipated.


NEWCOMERSTOWN (WJER) (June 2, 2020) - Village officials say they’ve decided to go ahead and open the village pool this summer, but only those residing in the Newcomerstown School District will be able to swim there. Mayor Pat Cadle says with most festivals and events cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions they wanted to give kids to have a place to hang out and have some fun this summer. Cadle says they’ll have to limit attendance, though, and make sure pool-goers are practicing social distancing. The pool is scheduled to reopen next Monday. Cadle says they’re doing this with council’s blessing as a service to local taxpayers.



NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 1, 2020) - Tuscarawas County Senior Center officials are sharing how they’re working to meet the needs of members during the extended closure. Program Coordinator Vicki Yates says they’ve been offering their daily lunches for curbside takeout and will continue to do so until state officials say it’s safe for the center to reopen. She says advanced reservations are required, and the menu can be found on the senior center’s website and Facebook page. Yates says while the ban on indoor dining has been lifted for bars and restaurants, it doesn’t apply to senior centers. Meanwhile, the center’s transportation service is back up and running, and they’ve also launched a series of virtual fitness classes to help members stay active. Yates says seniors can call the center to make transportation arrangements or sign up for one of those classes.

DOVER (WJER) (June 1, 2020) - The Tuscarawas County Health Department is reporting positive cases of COVID-19 at three area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The most are at New Dawn Rehab and Care Center in Dover, where 25 cases are reported among residents and staff. New Dawn officials say the cases there include five residents and two staff members and attribute the others to center’s COVID-19 care unit. The other cases include one staff member who tested positive at Park Village Health Care Center’s Dover location, and one resident at Amberwood Manor in New Philadelphia.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 1, 2020) – Mayor Joel Day says it’s clear the community is ready to support our area businesses with the latest initiative to jumpstart the local economy. Day says their Restart Tusc initiative with the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation is a grant program that helps businesses shutdown by the pandemic reopen their doors. Day says to date, they’ve raised just over $100,000 in aid and they are already getting ready to award the second round. Day says they are structuring their grants to be given out for those who need them first based on the governor’s reopening directive. The first round of funding amounted to roughly $41,000. Day says the money can be used for things like inventory, bills, and social distancing equipment.

NEW PHILADELPHIA - Hundreds descended on the square yesterday to protest the death of a Minneapolis man killed in police custody, but the demonstration ended much differently than those in other parts of the country. Drivers honked in support of protesters as they chanted in unison and held up signs denouncing the killing of George Floyd and other acts of police brutality. The demonstration continued to Tuscora Park where organizers called for solidarity in the face of injustice. City police and sheriff’s officials were on hand to make sure things didn’t get out of hand. However, no issues were reported.

CANTON (WJER) (June 1, 2020) - Stark County Sheriff’s officials say a 22-year-old from Mineral City has been charged for the shooting death of another man in Pike Township. Austin Friend is charged with one count of murder, an unclassified felony, for the shooting of 22-year-old Josh Beshore early Saturday morning in the 6600-block of Maplehurst Avenue SE. Sheriff’s officials say Beshore was shot in the head and later succumbed to his injuries. He's being held at the Stark County Jail, and a Canton Municipal Court judge set his bond over the weekend at $1-million.

TUSCARAWAS COUNTY (WJER) (June 1, 2020) - County health department officials say residents shouldn’t to be concerned if they see some low-flying planes and helicopters in the area this week.  Environmental Health Director Caroline Terakedis says pilots will be dropping oral rabies vaccines, known as baits, over the next week in Tuscarawas and neighboring counties. She says it's part of a collective effort between the USDA and state and local health departments to immunize the area's raccoon population to help stop the spread of the virus. Terakedis says the baits look like frozen ravioli and are coated in a fishy-smelling substance to make them more attractive to wild animals. She says they're not dangerous, but people should still try to avoid touching them and wash their hands if they do happen to pick one up.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 1, 2020) - The New Philadelphia Municipal Court is opening back up to the public this week, but visitors are going to wear a mask when conducting business there.  court administrator Judee Dzigiel says they’re strictly adhering to the state’s guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so only 10 members of the public will be allowed in the building at a time. Dzigiel encourages people to first check the court’s website to see if they can conduct their business or make payments online. Eviction hearings are resuming this month, as are the municipal and inmate work programs. Dzigiel says small claims and other civil matters are low priority and will be scheduled at the discretion of the court.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 29, 2020) - Area festivals, events and museum tours may be on hold for now, but the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau is making sure visitors and residents can still experience springtime in our area.  The CVB’s Diane Lautenschleger says they’ve created a driving tour so families can pack into the car and take an evening or weekend drive with some specific destinations in mind. The tour includes some walkable sites in downtown New Philadelphia, Historic Zoar Village and Fort Laurens, so Lautenschleger says it could even be pieced together over several trips. Maps for the driving tour are available at the CVB’s kiosk so people can just walk in and grab on their own. Lautenschleger says they were compelled to keep people active even with so many places temporarily closed down. Other sites include the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, and the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek. The kiosk at the CVB is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 


COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that zoos, theaters, playgrounds and other indoor and outdoor facilities can reopen June 10. The governor's directive on Thursday also applies to country clubs, museums, laser tag facilities and roller skating and ice skating rinks. DeWine said the openings must be accompanied by appropriate sanitation measures and social distancing procedures since the threat of COVID-19 remains. The facilities have been closed for weeks as part of the state's stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The governor has yet to address mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events.

(WJER) (June 4, 2020) - Ohio’s two senators this week both talked about how the federal government can address racial inequality and police reform. Republican Senator Rob Portman cited an example from Cincinnati, where federal funds were used to improve community-police relations after a police shooting fueled riots there in 2001. Portman also suggested a national commission to address racial inequality. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says he is pushing Congress to pass the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act. Brown also spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday, condemning President Donald Trump’s response to the protests and decrying systematic racism.

COLUMBUS (AP) — The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate has rejected proposals by fellow Republicans in the House to require written consent for the state to track the spread of the coronavirus. The House would have required in-writing permission before the Health Department could undertake what is known as contract tracing, which allows investigators to contact people who've been in close and recent proximity to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Senate Republicans say the proposal goes too far and could rule out people willing to allow the tracing but unable to sign a form.

COLUMBUS (WJER) - Gov. Mike DeWine says health care providers can resume all previously delayed surgeries. The governor’s order also says health care providers need to keep adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, including enough for an unexpected outbreak of covid-19. Meanwhile, DeWine says the plan is for students to return to classrooms in the fall. He says it is up to each district to set the date for the first day of school. In Tuscarawas County, the Health Department reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday. Officials say 287 people have recovered from the virus while 10 are hospitalized.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio’s governor and a U.S. senator say the military shouldn’t be sent into their home state. Both Gov. Mike DeWine and Sen. Rob Portman say it should be up to mayors and state leaders to decide what's needed to restore order. Portman says the National Guard can handle Ohio's situation. President Donald Trump has vowed to send the military into states to quell protests if state authorities don’t restore order. Protests have swelled nationwide over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after a police officer used a knee to pin him by the neck until he stopped moving. DeWine says he thinks cities have done a good job so far handling the protests. 

(AP) — A police officer escaped injury when his helmet was struck by a bullet during a Cincinnati protest amid a third day of protests in Ohio following George Floyd’s death. The officer was working to disperse a crowd near the University of Cincinnati early Sunday when several shots rang out. The Columbus Dispatch reported that a fire at the four-story Residences at Topiary Park burned for hours, causing part of the roof and several floors to collapse. A fire official told WBNS-TV that an attempt was made to set fire to other apartment building under construction next door. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Saturday he was calling out the state’s National Guard and highway patrol to help enforce laws in Columbus

COLUMBUS (AP) — The governor of Ohio said he was calling out the Ohio National Guard and also asking the highway patrol to help help enforce laws in Columbus as the mayor of that city and Cleveland both announced 10 p.m. curfews following damage to businesses amid protests over the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd. Gov. Mike DeWine said the vast majority of protesters wanted “simply to be heard” and focus attention on the death of Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck, and other injustices. But he said their voices “are sadly being drowned out by a smaller group of violent individuals."

(AP) — Authorities say nine firefighters responding to a fire aboard a ship in Florida have been hospitalized after the ship exploded. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department official said the explosion Thursday injured eight and sent one to the hospital for heat exhaustion. A fire official says they are all stable. First Coast News reports the ship was a Norwegian vessel carrying old and used cars.

(AP) — Demonstrations in cities across the U.S. condemning racism and police abuses after the death of George Floyd remained large but had turned notably more subdued Thursday evening. The calmer protests came on the same day as prosecutors charged three more police officers and filed a new, tougher charge against the officer at the center of the case. The most serious charge filed Wednesday was an accusation of second-degree murder against Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck. The three other officers at the scene were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The widow of a retired police captain who died during a night of violent protests in St. Louis says he was trying to protect a friend’s pawn shop. David Dorn’s last moments were caught on video and apparently posted on Facebook Live, though the video has since been taken down. He was killed by people who had broken into Lee’s Pawn & Jewelry, and his body found on the sidewalk at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. No arrests have been made. A former colleague who knew Dorn for 30 years praised him for his dedication to mentoring youths and for holding his officers to the strict ethical standards.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — America’s cities were boarding up windows, sweeping up glass and covering graffiti after the country’s most significant night of protests in a half-century. The demonstrations spilled into another day of unrest Sunday, fueled by killings of black people at the hands of police. The turbulence was sparked by the death of George Floyd after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes. Dozens of protests were underway or expected Sunday, from Miami to Kansas City to San Francisco. They were largely peaceful, but sparks of crime persisted. In Philadelphia, people robbed stores in broad daylight.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials are seeking to determine whether extremist groups have infiltrated police brutality protests across the country and deliberately tipped largely peaceful demonstrations toward violence. Officials are also investigating whether foreign adversaries are behind a burgeoning disinformation campaign on social media. Federal law enforcement officials insist far-left groups are stoking violence, but experts who track extremist groups also report seeing evidence of the far-right at work. Officials have seen a surge of social media accounts with fewer than 200 followers created in the last month, a textbook sign of a disinformation effort.


NBA: The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format for restarting the season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida. The format calls for each team playing eight games to determine playoff seeding plus the possible utilization of a play-in tournament for the final spot in each conference postseason field. The plan includes the 16 teams that were holding playoff spots when the season was stopped on March 11, plus all other clubs within six games of a postseason berth.

BROWNS: Odell Beckham is staying as close as he can to the Browns this offseason. The star receiver has been a “model guy,” according to new Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Beckham skipped the majority of Cleveland's offseason program last year after arriving in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants. Beckham struggled with a core muscle injury throughout the season and didn't click as the Browns hoped with quarterback Baker Mayfield. Van Pelt said Beckham has attended Zoom meetings and been “all in” with the offense being installed by new coach Kevin Stefanski.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Bowling Green's baseball program has been saved. The school said it is immediately reinstating baseball, which had been dropped last month due to financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bowling Green was facing a $2 million athletic budget shortfall due to the coronavirus outbreak. Baseball was cut in hopes of saving other sports from a similar fate. However, an outpouring of support by former BGSU players and donors saved a program that produced former Dodgers and Indians All-Star pitcher Orel Hershiser.

NBA: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is considering new dates for the induction of its star-studded Class of 2020. Hall president John Doleva says dates to replace the postponed August ceremony include mid-October and next spring. With Kobe Bryant due to be enshrined posthumously, it's certain to be a big event. Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan also are members of the induction class. So is college coach Eddie Sutton, who died last month.

NHL: The league has a coronavirus testing plan for players and staff if it returns to play. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says players would be tested for COVID-19 daily while games are going on. That could require 25,000-30,000 tests at a cost of millions of dollars. Players insisted on regular testing in the name of keeping themselves safe and healthy. The league does not expect that amount of tests to interfere with the needs of the general public. 

TODAY: Chance of showers and storms after 1pm. High near 82. 
TONIGHT: Slight chance of showers and storms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. 
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. 
SUNDAY: Sunny, with a high near 74.