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Medina man pleads not guilty to sex-related charges

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

MEDINA – A city man pleaded not guilty in court today to a series of sexual-related charges that include two counts of rape.

James McDonald, 48, of 880 Deepwood Drive, appeared in Medina County Common Pleas Court this morning to face one count of rape of a child younger than age 13, a first-degree felony; another rape count, also a first-degree felony; one count of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony; and one count of importuning, which is a fifth-degree felony.

McDonald allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with a 10-year-old girl in May 2005. The girl reportedly knew McDonald and was one of his daughter’s friends, according to a Medina Police report.

McDonald has lived with his parents on Deepwood Drive since 2003, according to court records. His two children also reside at the home.

The sexual imposition and importuning counts stem from alleged incidents in April of this year, according to an indictment.

“The victim’s parents brought her forward and made us aware of the allegations,” Police Chief Pat Berarducci has said.

Berarducci noted police began investigating the allegations around May 1.

Judge Christopher J. Collier set June 29 as a trial date for McDonald. A pre-trial hearing was slated for June 23.

McDonald is being held at the Medina County Jail on $150,000 bond.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.

Job opportunity

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

Email: gkattouah@yahoo.com

Realname: Gloria Kattouah

Company name: Gloria Kattouah

Address: 4200 Walnut Creek Lane

City: Sandusky

State: OH

Zip: 44870

Dayphone: 419-699-4005

Description: Immediate Opening for Live-In Nanny for infant twins. Must be experienced in child care and CPR certified. Bi-lingual is preferred. 1,600 sq. ft. apt., plus utilities included in benefits. Please send resume and references to: P.O. Box 1062, Sandusky, OH 44871.

Olde Towne Hall Youth Theatre holding auditions for ‘Honk Jr.’

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Olde Towne Hall Youth Theatre will be holding sign-up and auditions for their summer production “Honk Jr.” on June 4 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to be a part of this production. Auditions will be held for principal roles; however, everyone will sing and dance. Those interested in one of the leads, please bring something to sing.

If you have any questions, please call Sharon at 323-0073.

The theater is located just west of state Route 83 at 36119 Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville.

Video: Memorial day parade in ohio

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

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Take the whole family on a great getaway to see Thomas the Tank Engine and more

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Kathy Witt, McClatchy-Tribune

This summer, Thomas the Tank Engine and Sir Topham Hatt will join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion and Toto, too in Bardstown, Ky., a small town known far and wide as “The Bourbon Capital of the World” owing to its preeminent spot on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Liquid gold pedigree aside, Bardstown will greet families with beloved characters and childhood favorites and plenty of opportunities for making scrapbook-worthy memories.

With its dining car exhibit, ticket office and display of steam locomotive whistles, the Kentucky Railway Museum has an excellent and far-reaching collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia but for kids, the main attraction will be Thomas the Tank Engine. The classic storybook friend in a 15-ton replica of the original star of the popular Thomas & Friends series will roll into the museum, which is housed in a replica of the original brick L&N New Haven Depot, to take little engineers and their families into the countryside for a “Day Out With Thomas: Leader of the Track” on June 4, 5, 11 and12.

Besides the 25-minute excursions, kids will have an opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of The Railway, and to share in lots of activities: arts and crafts, storytelling, video viewing, live music, a magic show, bounce house and more. Also planned are commemorative merchandise and giveaways focusing on steam engines and diesel engines to celebrate the 2011 Thomas & Friends DVD movie, “Day of the Diesels” (Sept. 2011, Lionsgate).

Once back at the museum, everyone can check out the more than 100 pieces of rolling stock, including passenger cars, cabooses, refrigerated units, box cars, Railway Post Office cars and other assorted pieces. Also on display is a French 40-et-8 Box Car, a circa 1905-1908 box car that was filled with gifts and presented to each state and the District of Columbia in 1949 as a token of France’s appreciation to the U.S. for its help during World War II.

While Thomas is rolling about central Kentucky’s lush countryside, “The Wizard of Oz” gang will be following the yellow brick road right to the amphitheatre in Bardstown’s My Old Kentucky Home State Park, its wooded backdrop ideally suited for lions and tigers and bears not to mention flying monkeys and wicked witches on broomsticks.

Scheduled for 10 performances running from July 7 to Aug. 6, the classic musical will bring the entire cast to the stage, including a real dog playing the role of “Toto” and a cast of 60 young performers as The Munchkins. It will also feature more than 130 costumes, including an exact replica of Glinda’s famous pink gown from the 1939 movie.

The adult cast of “The Wizard of Oz” will be performing double-duty: Dorothy and company are also the cast of “The Stephen Foster Story,” Kentucky’s Official Outdoor Musical. This splashy Broadway-style musical celebrates the “It” composer of the mid-19th century, a rocker who gave America its first pop song with “Oh! Susanna” and Kentucky its official state song, “My Old Kentucky Home.” The musical, running from mid-June through mid-August, returns to the days of swinging hoopskirts and sing-along harmonies like Foster’s “Camptown Races” and features 175 colorful costumes swirling beneath the starlit sky and a paddlewheel boat that drops anchor right on the stage.

Bardstown offers plenty of affordable fun for families, including the free-admission Bardstown/Nelson County Historical Museum and My Old Kentucky Home State Park, where families can picnic in beautiful surroundings and kids can climb on the jungle gyms. Families can buy a money-saving three-attraction pass to visit the Civil War Museum (canons, rifles, Civil War drums), the Kentucky Stuffed Wildlife Museum (elk, bears, wildcats, deer, wolves, beavers) and Old Bardstown Village and its collection of frontier cabins. Civil War re-enactments are held here the third weekend of each month, now through December, and tickets cost just $4 for adults and $2 for children.

Bardstown has lots of kid-friendly restaurants, including Hadorn’s Bakery, where the donut holes simply melt in your mouth, and Hurst Drug Store, where everyone can order a milk shake and a cheeseburger at the old-fashioned soda fountain. There are lots of overnight options, too, including nearly a dozen hotels, several campgrounds and for the most adventurous families the Jailer’s Inn Bed & Breakfast, with its cheekily adorned jail cell guestroom. This is an actual prison cell in a circa 1874 jail that is surrounded by a stone fence. Families can tuck in for the night on two original cell bunks there’s a full-size bed, too amidst the cell’s black and white motif accented by a poster of Elvis Presley in full “Jailhouse Rock” hip-swivel.

If You Go

“Day Out With Thomas: Leader of the Track,” Kentucky Railway Museum, www.KYRail.org: 25-minute rides offered at 9, 9:50, 10:40 and 11:30 a.m., 12:20, 1:10, 2, 2:50, 3:40 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5 and11-12. (NOTE: No 9 a.m. ride on Sundays). For tickets, call Ticketweb at 1-866-468-7630 or visit www.ticketweb.com/thomas.html or www.KYRail.org. Tickets are $18 plus tax for ages 2 and up (service charges and fee may apply).

“The Wizard of Oz,” Stephen Foster Productions, My Old Kentucky Home State Park, www.StephenFoster.com: 8:30 p.m., Thursday and Saturdays, July 7-Aug. 6. Tickets: $18-$23/adults; $10-$12/children; children 5 and under are admitted for free. A special behind-the-scenes tour is offered at 7 p.m. before shows for $5 per person.

Info: Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist & Convention Commission, www.SampleOurSpirit.com.

Cleveland remembers black Civil War veterans

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

CLEVELAND (AP) — People in Cleveland have honored scores of black men who served in the Civil War and then were largely forgotten.

Hundreds gathered Monday for a Memorial Day observance at the city’s Woodland Cemetery, where 86 black Civil War veterans are buried. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported many of the graves don’t have headstones.

Historian Paul LaRue told the newspaper Cleveland was a prime recruiting area when the Union sought blacks to bolster its ranks. He said about 5,000 black soldiers from Ohio fought in the war.

Woodland Cemetery Foundation President Michelle Day said a volunteer is working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to get headstones for all 86 of the graves. She said the men were members of what was known as the U.S. Colored Troops.

Bill to dump Ohio front license plates nixed by police

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

COLUMBUS — A proposal to drop Ohio’s requirement for front license plates on vehicles is drawing opposition from law enforcement officials.

They say the front plates can make an impression on witnesses, and are picked up by surveillance and police cameras to help catch robbers or motorists who violate school bus safety laws.

State Rep. Rex Damschroder has offered a bill to eliminate front plates. The Republican from Fremont in northwest Ohio told the Dayton Daily News that car enthusiasts don’t like the way they look, and he says neighboring states that don’t require them do just fine.

The newspaper reports that the Ohio Legislative Service Commission estimates that dumping front plates would save the state as much as $1.65 million in annual printing and other costs.

Too little, too late for Ohio State

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Paul Newberry

Jim Tressel was just working the system. For much of the past decade, he knew his job was safe even while his program flouted the rules over and over.

The formula is well-known to everyone in the coaching profession: Win enough games, pad the coffers, capture a championship every now and then, and the job is yours unless you do something REALLY bad.

Tressel finally did something REALLY bad — covering up NCAA violations at Ohio State for close to a year — but you still have to wonder why it took so long for this day to arrive.

What we need is a death penalty for coaches. After two strikes, he’s done. For good.

Tressel would have been gone long ago.

Even before he got to Ohio State, Tressel ran afoul of the rules with his recruitment of the star quarterback at little Youngstown State.

Turns out, the man known as “the Vest” was just getting warmed up.

The sliminess went big time in the Big Ten, from the offensive coordinator who tried to arrange a loan AND a car for a recruit, to the future Heisman Trophy winner taking 500 bills from a booster.

There was never a shortage of Buckeyes on the arrest blotter, and the sleaze-o-meter was flashing like a slot machine when Tressel somehow figured out a way to get Maurice Clarett in school long enough to win a national championship before he traded his football uniform for prison scrubs.

No problem, coach.

As long as we’re beating Michigan and capturing trophies, it’s all good.

They could shut down these rogues if they really wanted to, but no one has the guts to take on deluded alumni who equate the success of athletic programs with the worth of their own lives? Certainly not Ohio State president/apologist Gordon Gee, who joked back in February that he had no intention of firing Tressel.

“Are you kidding?” Gee said. “I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

This was AFTER the president learned his coach had known for months that several players, including starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were selling off rings, uniforms and just about anything that wasn’t nailed down to a shady tattoo-parlor owner. Instead of telling his bosses about the NCAA violations, Tressel decided to keep that juicy little bit of information to himself.

Well, this episode of “Columbus Ink” wound up leading to the coach’s cancellation. Tressel was unable to stave off the critics of his don’t-ask-and-definitely-don’t-tell policy by volunteering for a five-game suspension — same as his wayward players — and agreeing to pay a hefty fine.

Coming across a hypocrite to the very end, Tressel signed off his resignation letter by saying, “We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine. We will be Buckeyes forever.”

As long as that plan doesn’t include another coaching job, we’ll be good with it. Some might be stunned by the seemingly sudden downfall for one of America’s top coaches (after all, Tressel was leading the Buckeyes to a Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas less than five months ago), but it never should’ve gone on this long.

The first major violation is enough to earn the head coach a one-year suspension, whether or not he was directly involved in the wrongdoing. Much like international doping standards hold athletes responsible for anything that goes into their bodies, a coach should be accountable for whatever is going on in his program.

A two-strike-and-you’re-out-rule would prevent someone such as Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari from skipping around the country just ahead of those pesky investigators. He had already moved on to his next gig when first UMass, then Memphis, had to forfeit any mention of their Final Four appearances because they had used ineligible players.

Likewise, Tressel would have been out before this latest bit of ugliness even had a chance to arise from the muck that is modern-day college athletics.

Maybe the schools could even work out a deal with the NFL, ensuring the sanctions are recognized by the pros so a scalawag such as Pete Carroll can’t bolt for a cushy job with the Seattle Seahawks right before the NCAA drops the hammer on his longtime employer, USC.

Of course, there’s little reason to believe the NCAA (puh-lease!) or the schools (double puh-lease!) have any real desire to get tough. There are too many people willing to write out big checks and look the other way, while pretending they care about cleaning things up.

For some insight into the wink-wink-nod-nod mindset that allowed the Tressel administration to carry on their rulebook-defying shenanigans for a full decade, check out the sign two students quickly put up on their porch in Columbus.

“Tressel Til I Die.”

Or listen to another of the sycophants who tolerated this sort of behavior for far too long, giving Tressel a gushy sendoff in a YouTube video.

“I do want to thank coach Tressel for his long service to our university,” athletic director/enabler Gene Smith said. “There were a lot of people that he touched in a highly positive way. We’re very thankful for his leadership during the years that we had great success on the field and off it. But more importantly, in the classroom.”

Even now, one gets the sense that Ohio State finally cut ties with its coach not so much because it was the right thing to do, but because it might help mitigate the inevitable NCAA penalties. The governing body came down hard on USC. The Buckeyes want to avoid a similar fate, which certainly wouldn’t have been possible with Tressel still on the payroll and other alleged violations coming to light on a nearly daily basis.

Maybe if Tressel had spent more time keeping an eye on his football team rather that writing not one, but two books on faith and integrity, he might’ve actually had a program that embodied those words. Instead, his career will be remembered for a joke going around Monday.

Jim Tressel, the coach who put the “vest” in investigation.

Contact Paul Newberry at pnewberry@ap.org.

Jim Tressel resigns as Ohio State football coach

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Rusty Miller

COLUMBUS — At the bottom of the stunning resignation letter that he carefully typed in his office on Monday morning, in the last lines above his characteristically neat and clear signature, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel closed with a personal note.

“We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine,” he wrote, referring to himself and his wife, Ellen.

Surrounded by a tremendous amount of controversy, Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State head coach on Monday. (AP FILE PHOTO)

Surrounded by a tremendous amount of controversy, Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State head coach on Monday. (AP FILE PHOTO)

“We will be Buckeyes forever.”

But no longer will he be the Buckeyes coach.

Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, re-signed Monday amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that sullied the image of one of the country’s top football programs.

He said the ongoing investigations and drumbeat of almost daily, sordid revelations were a “distraction” to the university and that he was stepping down “for the greater good of our school.”

Scheduled to go before the NCAA’s committee on infractions in August for lying to the NCAA and then covering it up — the most egregious of sins for a coach in the eyes of college sports’ ruling body — Tressel might just have accepted the inevitable.

Ohio State announced that assistant coach Luke Fickell, already tabbed to take over for Tressel during his self-imposed five-game suspension for his violations, will be the Buckeyes coach for the 2011 season. Ohio State will begin looking for a permanent coach who will take over next year.

It was a startling fall for the coach who wrote books about faith and integrity while sidestepping several major NCAA violations over the years. They dated to his days as the ultrasuccessful coach at Youngstown State, where he won four Division I-AA national titles, through a decade as Ohio State’s coach where he posted a 106-22 record.

The abrupt resignation, first reported by The Columbus Dispatch, capped six months of turmoil in the program.

In December, five Ohio State players — including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor — were found to have received cash and discounted tattoos from the owner of a local tattoo parlor who was the subject of a federal drug-trafficking case. All were permitted by the NCAA to play in the Buckeyes’ 31-26 victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, with their suspensions to begin with the first game of the 2011 season.

After the team returned from New Orleans, Ohio State officials began preparing an appeal of the players’ sanctions. It was then that investigators found that Tressel had learned in April 2010 about the players’ involvement with the parlor owner, Edward Rife.

A local attorney and former Ohio State walk-on player, Christopher Cicero, had sent Tressel emails detailing the improper benefits. Tressel and Cicero traded a dozen emails on the subject.

Tressel had signed an NCAA compliance form in September saying he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by athletes. His contract, in addition to NCAA rules, specified that he had to tell his superiors or compliance department about any potential NCAA rules violations. Yet he did not tell anyone, except to forward emails to Ted Sarniak, reportedly a “mentor” for Pryor back in his hometown of Jeannette, Pa.

Also on Monday, The Columbus Dispatch reported that Pryor is the subject of a “significant” inquiry by the NCAA and Ohio State regarding cars and other improper benefits he may have received.

Ohio State called a hurried news conference on March 8, 2011, in which it handed Tressel a two-game suspension (later raised to five games), fined him $250,000 and required him to issue a public apology and go to an NCAA compliance seminar.

Athletic director Gene Smith and Ohio State President Gordon Gee heaped praise on Tressel and said they were behind him 100 percent. Gee even joked when asked if he had considered firing the coach: “No, are you kidding? Let me just be very clear: I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

Gee was not joking about the Tressel situation over the weekend. Ohio State released a letter from Gee to the university’s board of trustees which said, “As you all know, I appointed a special committee to analyze and provide advice to me regarding issues attendant to our football program. In consultation with the senior leadership of the university and the senior leadership of the board, I have been actively reviewing the matter and have accepted coach Tressel’s resignation.”

Tressel’s downfall came with public and media pressure mounting on Ohio State, its board of trustees, Gee and Smith.

Smith said in a video statement Monday, “As you all know, we are under NCAA investigation. We will not discuss any of the matters around that case or any further accusations that may emerge. We will do what we always do. We respond to them, we collaborate with the NCAA and try and find the truth.”

Ohio State is to go before the NCAA’s infractions committee Aug. 12 to answer questions about the player violations and why Tressel did not report them.

This wasn’t the first time Tressel’s impeccable public image had been sullied by NCAA scandal. He’d gotten into trouble with the NCAA even before coming to Ohio State. He was the coach at Youngstown State when it received scholarship and recruiting restrictions for violations involving star quarterback Ray Isaacs.

Yet before that investigation had played itself out, Tressel was hired in 2001 at Ohio State.

Introduced at an Ohio State basketball game in 2001, Tressel vowed that fans would “be proud of our young people, in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Mich., on the football field.”

His first team went just 7-5, but the unranked Buckeyes shocked No. 11 Michigan 26-20. Tressel would go 9-1 against Ohio State’s archrival and 6-4 in bowl games.

In 2002, with a team led by freshman tailback Maurice Clarett, the Buckeyes won everything. They went 14-0, winning seven games by seven or fewer points. Ranked No. 2, they took on top-ranked Miami in the Fiesta Bowl for the Bowl Championship Series national title. In the second overtime, Clarett bulled over the middle for a touchdown and the Buckeyes held to clinch their first national title since 1968. After the game, Tressel held aloft the crystal football.

The following summer, Clarett reported that a used car he had borrowed from a local dealer was broken into and that he had been lost thousands of dollars in the theft. Clarett’s call to police came from Tressel’s office. Clarett admitted he had made up the break-in call and later took a plea deal. But the NCAA began looking into Clarett and the team. Soon after, he was declared ineligible. He would never play another college game.

There had been a stream of players getting in trouble at Ohio State, but in December 2004 backup quarterback Troy Smith was suspended for the bowl game and the 2005 regular-season opener for accepting $500 from a booster. Smith would go on to win the 2006 Heisman Trophy, leading the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record and a season-long No. 1 ranking. Despite being a heavy favorite in the national title game, the Buckeyes were routed by Florida 41-14.

They also were beaten badly in the national championship game the following year, 38-24, by LSU.

Tressel’s latest brush with NCAA violations was just too much — for him, for the university, for a program that prides itself on being somehow cleaner and better than others.

The author of two books about faith and integrity, he remains a scapegoat to many and a hypocrite to others. Even though he has many backers, a rising chorus of detractors had stepped forward during the ongoing NCAA investigation. There were also questions about his players and their friends and family members receiving special deals on more than 50 used cars from two Columbus dealers.

But at the same time, his image was that of an honest, religious man who never said or did anything without thinking it through first. His nickname was “The Senator” for never having a hair out of place, praising opponents and seldom giving a clear answer to even the simplest of questions.

Ohio State is not required to pay any buyout or severance to Tressel, who made around $3.5 million a year.

But the split between Tressel and Ohio State is not complete. The former coach is still required to join school officials when they go before the NCAA’s committee on infractions later this summer.

College notes: Mitch Supan takes fourth in discus

May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

Another season, another All-American award for Mitch Supan of Baldwin-Wallace.

The Medina native earned his second consecutive national award after a fourth-place finish in the discus Saturday at the NCAA Division III National Championships held at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Baldwin-Wallace’s Mitch Supan took fourth in the discus at the NCAA Division III National Championships. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Baldwin-Wallace’s Mitch Supan took fourth in the discus at the NCAA Division III National Championships. (COURTESY PHOTO)

A year after placing eighth in the event, the Walsh Jesuit High product flung the disc 168 feet, 3 inches.

Supan, a communications major, came into the event ranked fourth after recording a school-record of 174-8 at the Ohio Athletic Conference Championships in late April to cement his spot in the national field.

The sophomore also competed in the shot put and finished 17th with a 50-8¾ toss.

Baseball

Kent State senior Ben Klafczynski (Highland) had three hits and drove in pair of runs as the Golden Flashes crushed Miami of Ohio 11-0 to capture the program’s third straight Mid-American Conference title. No. 25 Kent State (43-15) will open the NCAA Tournament Friday against Texas State (40-21) in the Austin Regional.

Track and field

Catherine Wiemers (Medina) helped Findlay’s 4×400-meter relay team to a sixth-place finish over the weekend at the NCAA D-II Championships in Turlock, California. The foursome, which also included Raven Clay, Lindsey Schmitmeyer and Christine Zimmermann, clocked 3:45.90.

• Stephanie Foster (Cloverleaf) earned All-American status in the pole vault for Walsh after clearing 12-1½ at the NAIA National Championships at Indiana Wesleyan University.

• Ursuline College’s Annie Grindle (Wadsworth) and Jaimie Grindle (Wadsworth) helped the 4×1 and 4×4 teams to 16th-place showings at the NAIA Nationals at Indiana Wesleyan. The 4×1 finished in 48.83, while the 4×4 clocked 3:55.03 — a full-second faster than the foursome’s indoor time that took eighth at nationals in the winter.

• Despite recording a career best and the third-best toss in school history, Akron’s Eric Hubbard (Medina) placed one spot out of qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the hammer throw. The junior chucked 200-4, but placed 13th overall. Also competing at the NCAA East Preliminary was Kenny Owens (Wadsworth), who took 16th in the pole vault (16-6¾) and K.C. LaCross (Medina), who was 20th in the 400 hurdles (52.70).

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.