Tree dedication

at The Castle

The Castle will be conducting a tree dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday in honor of Arbor Day. One of last remaining “witness trees” on the property from the time of the construction of The Castle in 1855 was recently removed due to safety concerns, so a new tree has been planted. Those at The Castle will also be discussing some new archaeological findings that were discovered during the installation of the new tree.

For information: 373-4180.

Armory project

gets $20,000 grant

A $20,000 grant from the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund has been awarded to Armory Square Inc. toward construction of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms during the third phase renovation of Marietta’s National Guard Armory building.

“The current plan for Phase 3 of the armory renovation project is to combine this $20,000 from the Sisters of St. Joseph with the Ohio Department of Transportation Scenic Byways Grant of $252,397 for an intermodal transportation travel and tourist information center,” according to Armory Square Inc. member Jane Tumas-Serna.

The ODOT grant requires local matching funds of $63,000, and Tumas-Serna said the $20,000 grant from the Sisters of St. Joseph reduces that matching amount to $43,000, for which fundraising efforts continue, including the sales of engraved bricks for a new walkway across the front lawn of the armory.

A press conference announcing the $20,000 grant was held on the steps of the National Guard Armory at 9 a.m. today.

From local reports

Report highlights problems with

fracking database

DENVER – A new report raises serious concerns about the online database used by 11 states to track the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The Harvard Law School report says FracFocus, a reporting site formed by industry groups and intergovernmental agencies in 2011, has loose reporting standards, makes it too difficult for states to track whether companies submit chemical disclosures on time and allows for inconsistency in declaring chemicals trade secrets.

The 11 states that require companies to divulge fracking chemicals through FracFocus: Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.

Fracking involves pumping water, fine sand and chemicals underground to split open oil- and gas-bearing rocks.

The site and its operators don’t regulate fracking in any way, but rather provide a repository for relevant information.

Though each state has different reporting requirements, FracFocus offers just one form for disclosing fracking chemicals. This flaw, the Harvard report says, creates loopholes that could allow operators to avoid sharing information required by state law.

Most states also require fracking reports be made within a certain timeframe. Colorado, for example, requires operators to disclose their fracking chemicals within 60 days of completing the process. But FracFocus provides no easy way for regulators to verify when a report was submitted, according to the Harvard report.

From local, wire reports


Bond continued

for accused burglar

Bond for accused burglary suspect Ira D. Blair, 28, of 139 Groves Ave., was continued at $500,000 Friday. Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane continued the bond while he took time to think over the defense’s request for a reduced personal recognizance bond, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

Blair was found bleeding and asleep inside 423 Third St. on April 3, according to the building’s owner, David Martin. The same day a dead body was found inside Blair’s Groves Avenue home. No one has been arrested in connection to the death. Police have not said that Blair is a suspect.

An autopsy for the deceased, 68-year-old Frank Stephens, was completed in Montgomery County but the Marietta Police Department is withholding the findings, citing the ongoing investigation into Stephen’s death.

Blair’s attorney, Rolf Baumgartel, argued at his preliminary hearing that the $500,000 bond was too high for the fourth-degree felony count of burglary for which Blair has been charged. Baumgartel is now asking for a personal recognizance bond.

Lane said he would likely make a ruling about the bond today or Wednesday, said Schneider.

Man arrested for Beverly break-in

A set of fingerprints led to the arrest of a Beverly man who was charged with breaking and entering at the Beverly Eagles Club in November.

Robert Wells, 32, of 2535 State Route 83, was arrested at the Beverly Police Department after being questioned Thursday, according to Police Chief Mark Sams.

“He admitted to the breaking and entering, and had been arrested on other unrelated charges before,” Sams said Monday. “We were able to match his fingerprints with prints found at the scene.”

Wells entered the club through a basement door and once inside damaged other interior doors as well as a safe and coin-operated machines before leaving the facility with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Sams said the incident is still under investigation, but police do not believe Wells was involved in a series of break-ins that occurred around the same time as the Eagles Club incident.

Wells was placed in the Washington County Jail Thursday, but was released Sunday after posting $5,000 bond.

Grand jury seated in football rape case

COLUMBUS – An eastern Ohio grand jury will begin work in about two weeks to investigate whether other laws were broken in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped by two high school football players last year.

Nothing is off the table for the Jefferson County panel selected Monday in Steubenville, said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

“The grand jury is a very good investigative tool as well as a very deliberative body,” DeWine said. It will investigate everything that happened before and after the rape, he said.

The 14-person grand jury – nine members and five alternates – that was seated Monday morning will begin hearing from witnesses April 30, said Dan Tierney, a DeWine spokesman. DeWine has said his office needs more time to evaluate evidence.

Some of the outstanding questions in the case include whether anyone knew about the rape early on but didn’t report it and how dozens of teens attending a party that preceded the attack got ahold of beer and other alcohol.

DeWine has also previously confirmed that the grand jury will look at allegations of another rape the previous April.

A judge last month convicted the two football players of penetrating the West Virginia girl with their fingers after an alcohol-fueled party, once in a moving car and later in the basement of a house.

Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, was sentenced to at least a year in the state juvenile detention system, minus about two months he spent in jail before the trial.

Trent Mays, 17, was sentenced to at least two years in juvenile detention because he was also convicted of photographing the underage girl naked.

One of the reasons DeWine wanted a grand jury is because, even though the teens were arrested within days of the August attack, charges of a cover-up have dogged the case.

Part of that related to inaccurate reports early on that the local prosecutor’s son, who plays on the football team, was involved in the attack.

From local, wire reports