Wednesday, May 28, 2014

House Dems consider guns action

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the wake of the shootings near the University of California Santa Barbara, House Democrats are considering an amendment to an appropriations bill that would enact stricter background checks for gun purchases.

Read more:

Poet Maya Angelou dead at 86

Reports: Maya Angelou dead at 86: The legendary American poets autobiographical works often centered on racism and civil rights.

Athens County under flash flood watch, watch for changing weather conditions

ATHENS - The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for portions of Southeast Ohio including Athens County from 2 p.m. Wednesday May 28 through 6 p.m. Thursday May 29.

Rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected through Thursday afternoon. The showers will be moving slower tonight and Thursday. 

Any shower or storm could contain a local downpour with an inch of rain falling in less than an hour. If repetitive or prolong showers hit the same area, flash flooding can occur or small streams and creeks.

Flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a dangerous situation. If you live along a flood prone small stream, monitor water levels often, even late tonight if repetitive or prolong rain occurs. Be prepared to take action should stream levels rise quickly or a flash flood warning is posted. County and local officials should also heighten their weather awareness.

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Shale well leaks during drilling process, forcing evacuations in Morgan County

Shale well leaks during drilling process, forcing evacuations in Morgan County

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Road rage suspect arrested on two counts of attempted murder

Timothy Wilbur
MCARTHUR – The Vinton County Sheriff’s Office says a man was arrested after a road rage shooting incident Saturday evening.

According to a media release, Timothy Wilbur, 50, of Radcliff, allegedly shot at and ran off the road, a vehicle being driven by a juvenile near Vales Mills Road in Radcliff. Deputies spoke with the 16-year-old victim who stated an older male individual fired shots while chasing the victim’s car and ran the teen’s vehicle off the road.

Following what the sheriff’s office described as an intense investigation, deputies attempted to detain Wilbur who allegedly resisted arrest and was tasered (sic) by deputies.

Wilbur is being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville on a $750,000 bond and faces a laundry list of charges including two count of attempted murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, possession of criminal tools, improper handling firearms in a motor vehicle and aggravated menacing.

Sgt. Matt Kight and Deputies Josh Nickell and Richard Hixson conducted the investigation and the State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. The case has been forwarded to the Vinton County Prosecuting Attorney for review.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gentile calls for property tax relief for senior citizens

Amendment would extend homestead exemption, reinstate property tax rollback, increase Local Government Funds

COLUMBUS - State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) offered an amendment that would have repealed Gov. Kasich’s elimination of the 12.5 percent property tax rollback and restored property tax relief to Ohio’s senior citizens. Kasich’s mid-biennium budget review bill, House Bill 483 passed the Senate by a vote of 24-8.

State Sen. Lou Gentile
Last spring, Republicans made drastic changes to the homestead exemption and the property tax rollback during last minute budget negotiations without any public input. The governor’s budget included provisions that have hurt elderly Ohioans and communities across the state.

“By eliminating rollbacks, it negatively affects bond issues being brought forth by schools and local governments,” Gentile said. “These changes were unfair and my proposal today would have restored fairness to schools and property owners by reinstating the 12.5 percent rollback the state pays on local property tax bills for all future new and replacement levies.”

What makes the 12.5% property tax rollback even worse is coupling it with the scaling back of the homestead exemption. Those who are turning 65 and earn more than $30,000 are really going to be hit hard by this budget. This change leaves roughly 40,000 households affected. Democrats urged that if there’s to be a threshold for the homestead exemption it should be based on public input so it’s fair and appropriate and does not hurt the middle class.

"My concern is that the threshold for the homestead exemption is too low, and it will prevent thousands of would-be-seniors, who may be retired, on fixed-incomes or who are struggling financially, from taking advantage of much needed tax relief that they are counting on,” said Gentile. “We shouldn’t raise taxes on senior citizens to pay for income tax cuts that benefit wealthy Ohioans. As the cost of living increases for Ohio’s seniors, the state should take into consideration the impact this will have on their quality of life.”

Gentile also offered support for restoring the funding percentage that local governments and libraries receive from GRF to the level that existed prior to the governor’s cuts. The amendment would have helped raise the local government fund (LGF) percentage to 3.68% and the Public Library Fund (PLF) percentage to 2.22%.

HB 483 now moves to the House of Representatives to review and approve the changes made in the Senate. If agreement cannot be reached, the bill will go to a conference committee. The bill must be approved by the end of June. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Vinton County: Weekend traffic stop yields felony arrests

By Michael O'Brien

James Blazer
MCARTHUR – The Vinton County SheriffOffice said a deputy, assisted by McArthur Police, made several arrests Sunday following a traffic stop near the Duncan Square Trailer Court.

After stopping a vehicle, Deputy Richard Hixson saw a male subject exit another vehicle and enter a nearby trailer. Hixson recognized the subject as having several felony arrest warrants. Hixson requested assistance from McArthur Police Department Patrolman James Wes Kight.

Entering the trailer suspect James Christopher Blazer, 25, of McArthur, was found hiding in a closet. Blazer was arrested on a felony warrant from Vinton County. Blazer is also a suspect in several incidents of breaking and entering in Jackson and Pike counties.

Kayla Caudill
During the search for the suspect Hixson and Kight also arrested Sara Boyer, 28, of McArthur, on an outstanding warrant out of Chillicothe. During the investigation, Kayla Elizabeth Caudill, 23, of McArthur, was arrested for felony obstruction of justice after Caudill allegedly tried to prevent Blazer from being taken into custody.

Blazer and Caudill were transferred to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, SEORJ. Both are scheduled to appear at a bond hearing Tuesday May 20. Boyer was transferred to the Chillicothe Police Department.