News In Brief

Warren native dies in Virginia auto accident

A Warren native died Friday night in an auto accident in Virginia.

William Marcella, 43, was killed in Bristol, Va., late Friday when his late-model Oldsmobile hit two vehicles before becoming airborne, according to the Bristol Herald Courier newspaper.

Police said that it appeared that Marcella was killed by the impact of the initial crash.

Marcella was a Niles McKinley High School graduate.

Cincinnati raises $1 billion in donations

CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati has joined about two dozen public universities nationally that have completed billion-dollar fundraising campaigns.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the university passed the billion-dollar mark late last month, raising the money through private donations in a campaign started in 2005.

University officials say about $370 million will go to UC’s medical school and other parts of the Academic Health Center. Other allocations include $319 million to UC’s various colleges, $135 million to university-wide programs including $76 million to athletics, and $171 million to research.

About $101 million of the donations will pay for student scholarships.

But university officials say more will be needed as it moves forward with projects including renovation of Nippert Stadium and Fifth Third Arena and plans for a new law school building.

Dayton airport camera to track coyotes

DAYTON – Officials at a southwest Ohio airport plan to use a camera surveillance project to monitor coyotes nearby, hoping to determine better strategies to keep them off the runways.

The Dayton Daily News reported the city has approved spending $20,000 on the six-month, high-resolution camera project at Dayton International Airport. The camera is to be used only to monitor wildlife in the area.

The airport is protected by 10-foot-high fencing that has kept away deer. But coyotes and foxes still pose a problem, possibly by slipping under the fence.

Director of Aviation Terry Slaybaugh says a coyote found dead on a runway last year apparently had been hit by an aircraft.

Staff, wire reports

News In Brief

West Farmington to meet on water rates

WEST FARMINGTON – West Farmington Village Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to give a second reading to water rate adjustments.

Prior to the meeting, the Board of Public Affairs will meet at 6 p.m. and will hold a public meeting on the water rates at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Allen Patchin said on Friday discussion at the meetings will include going over a new rate structure. He said the village’s water department is not quite breaking even and is dealing with the need for maintenance at the water plant and Environmental Protection Agency mandates.

The current rate is a $30 flat rate for the first 2,000 gallons and $1.35 per 100 gallons. Plans are to come up with a new structure with a flat rate for up to 99 gallons and a new cost per gallon for each 100 gallons of water after that.

Patchin said rules and regulations will also be changing for delinquent accounts and tap-in fees.

EGCC will host alumni gathering

STEUBENVILLE – Eastern Gateway Community College graduates of 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 are invited to attend an upcoming gathering.

The EGCC Alumni Association will host an informal dinner 6 p.m. Thursday at a Steubenville restaurant, where alumni will have the opportunity to greet and enjoy the company of former classmates.

Alumni interested in attending should call the Career Services office at 800-86-COLLEGE, Ext. 113 or Ext. 110.

Trombold chosen for PUCO board

COLUMBUS – Gov. John Kasich has chosen a former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff member to fill an opening on that board.

The Republican announced Friday he’s appointing 42-year-old M. Beth Trombold, now at the Ohio Development Services Agency. Her appointment must be confirmed by state senators.

Trombold, of Columbus, was the only woman among four finalists. She was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former commissioner Cheryl Roberto and then a full term ending in April 2018.

By law, Roberto’s seat can’t go to a Republican because the party already controls three of five seats.

Democrats criticized Trombold’s appointment, pointing to her voting history.

Resident drops suit over fine sent to Newtown

CANTON – An Ohio taxpayer is dismissing his lawsuit over a $5,000 court fine that a judge directed to the Connecticut community where 26 people were killed in a school shooting.

The taxpayer’s attorney says he dismissed the suit Friday after the judge had the money returned to Stark County in northeast Ohio.

Attorney Craig Conley had filed the suit, saying the law didn’t allow the judge to send the money to the Newtown school support fund instead of having it paid to the county. Conley says the taxpayer he represents is satisfied his concerns have been addressed.

The money was paid by a former Ohio high school basketball coach convicted of videotaping boys in a locker room shower.

Man acquitted of third count in Batman case

CLEVELAND – An Ohio man who earlier pleaded guilty to two charges for bringing a loaded gun, ammunition and knives to a showing of the latest Batman movie has been acquitted of a third weapons count.

A judge heard evidence on the third charge without a jury in Cleveland on Friday and acquitted 38-year-old Scott A. Smith, of North Ridgeville. The third charge was having a weapon under disability, which prosecutors said was a drug dependency.

Staff, wire reports

Smith pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of carrying a concealed weapon.

Smith was arrested at an Aug. 4 showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Westlake. His attorney says Smith had the weapons for protection in case someone tried to copy the Colorado theater shooting that left 12 dead three weeks earlier.

News In Brief

Salem cop pleads not guilty to OVI

CANFIELD – The Salem police officer charged with operating a vehicle under the influence and a marked lanes violation entered a plea of not guilty during arraignment Wednesday night in Mahoning County Court in Canfield.

Gary Poage, 47, of Salem, appeared with attorney Walter Ritchie before Judge Scott Hunter, who released him on his own recognizance and said a pretrial date will be set.

A patrolman with the Salem Police Department since June 1993, Poage was suspended without pay on Tuesday pending the outcome of the court case. Police Chief J.T. Panezott said he was evaluating Poage’s personnel file “to decide if any other action will be taken prior to this being resolved in court.”

Poage’s vehicle was stopped at 2:32 a.m. Sunday on South Broad Street by Canfield Police after allegedly traveling left of center and weaving. He was found to be more than three times over the legal limit for alcohol after blowing a 0.260 during a portable breath test. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08.

At the police station, he agreed to a chemical test which resulted in a reading of 0.244.

Man charged in $8.8M tax scheme

CLEVELAND – A northeast Ohio man has been indicted on federal charges alleging he made false claims for income tax refunds totaling more than $8.8 million.

Federal prosecutors in Cleveland say Brian Krantz and corporations he controlled were issued 17 refund checks amounting to more than $3.6 million as a result of the alleged scheme.

Prosecutors say it involved fake Internal Revenue Service forms and that Krantz used some of the proceeds to finance a real estate venture.

The 45-year-old Twinsburg man was indicted on 30 counts of making false claims and one count of conspiring to make false claims after an IRS investigation.

It wasn’t clear Thursday if he had legal representation.

Prosecutors say his alleged co-conspirator pleaded guilty.

Man who died in rescue hailed as hero

COLUMBUS – Police have provided a funeral escort for a central Ohio man who died trying to save a child from an icy pond last week.

Columbus police and other first responders said they were treating Thursday’s funeral of 30-year-old James Jenkins as that of a hero and fallen brother.

Jenkins died after going into a pond at a Columbus apartment complex after a 5-year-old child fell in on Feb. 7. Rescue divers pulled Jenkins and the boy from the freezing water some time later. Both later died.

Witnesses say Jenkins did all he could to try to save the boy’s life. He tried to hold the boy’s head above the water as they both struggled in the icy pond.

Youth pastor charges with sex with teen

TROY – Authorities say a youth pastor at a western Ohio church has been charged with having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl he was mentoring.

The Dayton Daily News reports that bail was set at $100,000 Wednesday for 26-year-old Michael Mohler. He was a staff pastor at First United Methodist Church in Troy.

Detectives say Mohler became involved with the girl through the church and began mentoring her when she came to him for advice about her boyfriend. The alleged sexual contact took place at his home in August.

The church said Mohler has been relieved of his duties.

He was in jail Thursday. Online records did not indicate if he had an attorney.

Staff, wire reports

News in brief

Warren police investigating burglaries

WARREN – City police are investigating recent reports of three burglaries – including one involving the theft of several guns.

According to reports, Mark S. Morrison, 54, Hall Street, told police someone broke into his home on Sunday and took copper pipes along with two shotguns and a rifle.

Also on Sunday, Frank J. Sarna, 52, Southern Boulevard, told police that someone came into his home and took several items including a printer.

On Monday, Aaron Wells, 20, Southern Boulevard, reported that a TV and three LeBron James T-shirts were taken from his apartment.

Ryan meets with guns rights advocates

WARREN – U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, met with gun rights advocates Tuesday to discuss ways to develop legislation to address gun violence.

It was Ryan’s second meeting on the issue; he met with police and other law enforcement officials on Jan. 31 for their perspective. Next, the Democrat plans to meet with mental health and education groups for their perspective before introducing legislation, maybe in the next few weeks.

Participants Tuesday came from rural and urban areas around Ohio and included a gun dealer and sportsmen.

Salem cop suspended for OVI charge

SALEM – A police officer here has been suspended without pay after being charged with drunken driving.

Gary A. Poage, 47, of Salem, was charged with OVI and marked lanes after a traffic stop early Sunday on South Broad Street, just south of Fairground Boulevard in Canfield, blowing a 0.260 during a portable breath test. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08.

According to the Canfield Police Department report, he was placed under administrative license suspension and his driver’s license was seized, so he’s not permitted to drive. He has not worked since the incident because he was already scheduled to be off.

Poage has been a full-time patrolman with the department since June 1993.

According to records on the Mahoning County Court website, he’s scheduled to be arraigned for the misdemeanor charges at 5 p.m. today in Canfield.

Southington BOE seeks to fill opening

SOUTHINGTON – The Southington Board of Education will be seeking interested applicants to fill an opening on the board as member Tim Arbogast has resigned as he is selling his home and moving from the school district.

The board accepted the resignation on Monday.

School Treasurer Janet Ward said applications can be submitted to the school district by noon Tuesday, to the attention of Board President Mike Davis.

She said the person selected by the board will finish the remainder of Arbogast’s four-year term, which ends Dec. 31. If the person seeks to return to the board he or she would need to run in the November general election.

Ward said the board has 30 days to fill the opening with a special meeting to be called after the board has received and reviewed the applications.

Hartford, Brookfield to meet over fire services

HARTFORD – Hartford Township trustees have scheduled a work session for 6 p.m. today at the township hall to meet with Brookfield Fire Chief Keith Barrett over fire protection services Brookfield provides to Hartford.

News in brief

Champion man dies in Braceville crash

BRACEVILLE – A 23-year-old Champion man died Friday after his car slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer rig that had stopped for a school bus picking up students.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported that Dennis R. Baker was driving his 2010 Chevrolet Malibu about 6:45 a.m. on state Route 5 near Warren Ravenna Road when he slammed into the back of the semi truck. He was was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown where he was pronounced dead. Troopers said he was not wearing a seat belt.

They reported that the driver of the 2001 Mack truck, Stephen J. Cary, 22, of Canfield, was not injured.

The crash is under investigation.

Car slams into crowd during crash vigil

YOUNGSTOWN – Several people gathered for a vigil for a man killed in a hit-and-run accident were injured by another hit-and-run car that rammed the crowd Friday evening.

Units were called about 6:30 p.m. to Hylda Avenue on the South Side on a report of a traffic accident. Once they knew what had happened, detectives and traffic investigators were called, a police spokeswoman said.

She said several people were injured but she was not sure how many.

Witnesses told Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 News that a car turned off its lights, sped up and ran into the crowd.

The vigil was held for Robert Brown Jr., 23, who was killed about 3 a.m. Sunday as he left a birthday party at a nearby bar and was hit by a car. Police are still looking for the driver of the car that hit Brown.

Boil alert lifted in Brookfield

BROOKFIELD – A boil alert issued Thursday morning in Brookfield Township following a water main break has been lifted.

The alert was for Warren Sharon Road east of Valley View Drive, Lincoln Avenue, Yankee Run Road, Brookfield Avenue, Golf Drive, Wintergreen Driver and Spring Road.

A boil alert means that precautions should be taken to boil the tap water used for drinking and ingestion. A rolling boil for three to five minutes is adequate.

Area hospitals lift visitor restrictions

Due to the decrease in the number of influenza cases in the Mahoning Valley, Humility of Mary Health Partners is lifting the visitation restrictions it enacted in mid-January, according to a release.

“The number of patients coming to the emergency departments with influenza-like symptoms has decreased substantially, making it no longer necessary to restrict visitation,” said Nick Kreatsoulas, D.O., HMHP chief medical officer. “However, we still ask anyone who isn’t feeling well or has flu-like symptoms to refrain from visiting until they are feeling better and are symptom-free.”

Humility of Mary operates St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown and St. Joseph Health Center in Warren.

Police find drugs during traffic stop

YOUNGSTOWN – Police found marijuana and heroin after pulling over a driver for not signaling properly about 8:30 p.m. Thursday on the South Side.

Reports state Johnny Eiland, 21, of West Woodland Avenue, pulled into a drive next to a vacant 141 E. Delason Ave. home after police pulled him over and was nervous and had trouble finishing his sentences.

When police searched the car, they found 14 bags of marijuana and four bindles of heroin, along with two rocks of crack cocaine.

Eiland was taken to the Mahoning County Jail and arraigned Friday on a felony charge of trafficking in drugs and two for possession of drugs. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday.

News In Brief

Boil alert issued for parts of Brookfield

BROOKFIELD – A boil alert was issued Thursday morning in Brookfield Township following a water main break. The alert is for Warren Sharon Road east of Valley View Drive, Lincoln Avenue, Yankee Run Road, Brookfield Avenue, Golf Drive, Wintergreen Driver and Spring Road.

A boil alert means that precautions should be taken to boil the tap water used for drinking and ingestion. A rolling boil for three to five minutes is adequate.

The alert is in effect until further notice.

Youngstown man arrested in shooting

PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A Youngstown man was shot by a township police officer about 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, and the man also wounded a woman in a North Hermitage Road home, police said.

Pennsylvania State Police at Mercer said the man, identified as Jessi Hudson of Youngstown, shot the woman after police responded to a 911 call at the home, WYTV 33 News reported.

The responding officer heard gunfire, went inside, and exchanged fire with Hudson, who then barricaded himself inside the house, reports state. He came out after a two-hour standoff.

Hudson and the woman’s wounds are not life-threatening. He was arraigned on counts of aggravated assault, burglary and manufacturing or delivering drugs and is in the Mercer County Jail on $300,000 bond.

A spokesman for the Mercer Barracks said state police are investigating the use of force by the Pymatuning Township officer.

Champion trustees OK lighting district

CHAMPION – Township trustees gave their approval for a lighting project for Dalton Drive.

A public hearing was held Wednesday for the six property owners on the dead-end street, which also has vacant lots.

Trustee Chairman Jeff Hovanic said Ohio Edison will install street lighting service. Residents will pay for the service through assessments on their taxes. The cost will be $294 for first year, including installation, and about $50 a year after that.

Trustees also rescheduled a workshop to 6 p.m. Wednesday with the county planning commission and township zoning commission and zoning appeals board to review a survey to be sent out to residents on questions for the updated comprehensive plan.

Smoke detector program offered

HOWLAND – The Howland Fire Department will give away smoke detectors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bolindale Fire Station 31, 3403 Ridge Road S.E.

Fire Chief James Pantalone said the program is targeting residents living in the Bolindale area of the township. One smoke detector per household will be given out with proof of township residency and a matching photo identification.

Pantalone said the high volume of fires in Howland and throughout the Mahoning Valley in recent weeks has heightened concern for the safety of residents. Smoke detectors can save lives, he said.

Residents should check their smoke detector batteries at least twice per year when changing their clocks, he said.

Milton Township trustees demote chief

MIILTON – Trustees demoted the township’s police chief at a meeting Thursday.

Michael Saltsman Sr. was demoted from police chief to corporal officer effective immediately, according to WYTV 33 News. Trustees said there was no specific reason for the demotion other than they wanted a change in leadership.

As an officer, Saltsman will earn a lower salary, but his medical benefits, seniority and sick time will carry over. Retired Austintown Detective Robert Schaeffer is being brought in as interim chief until a replacement is found.

Saltsman had no comment after the meeting.

Tribune Chronicle

News In Brief

African American History event canceled

YOUNGSTOWN – The Black History Month event African American Pyramid Awards originally scheduled for today at the Youngstown State University Chestnut Room, Kilcawley Center, has been canceled.

Cash, drugs seized during traffic stop

YOUNGSTOWN – Police found more than $2,400 in cash and some drugs during a traffic stop about 6:25 p.m. Tuesday on the North Side.

Officers pulled over a car on a ramp for state Route 711 at Gypsy Lane because it did not signal for a turn and saw one of the men in the car, Ryan McGee, 25, of Superior Avenue, trying to hide three plastic bags from officers, a police report states.

He was ordered out of the car and searched. Officers found marijuana in one bag, and cocaine in the other two, plus $2,430 in cash on McGee, reports state. He was arrested on drug charges.

The driver of the car, Brandon Clinkscale, 28, of Dayton, was taken into custody on warrants from Trumbull County for drug trafficking, drug abuse and being a fugitive. He was taken to the Trumbull County Jail and McGee was taken to the Mahoning County Jail.

Multi-vehicle crash sends one to hospital

LIBERTY – At least one person was transported to a local hospital after being injured in a multi-vehicle crash Wednesday morning at the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Churchill Road, a 911 supervisor confirmed.

Information on the name or condition of the individual was not available. Witnesses said two of the vehicles collided head-on about 9:30 a.m.

No other information was available Wednesday.

Youngstown man arrested in stabbing

YOUNGSTOWN – A man was arrested Tuesday at his McBride Street residence in connection with a stabbing that happened at a party there last month.

Jerod Warren, 49, is facing the charge of felonious assault in the 8:55 p.m. Jan. 27 stabbing of Keith Arroyo, 29, also of McBride Street.

Witnesses told investigators that Arroyo and Warren were both drunk and that Warren stabbed Arroyo during a fight, the police report states. Arroyo was treated at St. Elizabeth Health Center for his wounds.

Warren was arrested at his home about 1 p.m. Tuesday on a warrant and taken to the Mahoning County Jail.

Cobwebbed rifle found in vacant home

YOUNGSTOWN – Police said they found an old .22-caliber rifle inside a vacant Florida Avenue home Tuesday morning while investigating a burglary call.

Officers were called to the home because two men were inside who claimed they were there doing salvage work for an out-of-town company, a police report states. The men produced the paperwork but still were cited for criminal trespass because they broke into the home, the report states.

When police searched the home, they found the rifle covered in cobwebs in an upstairs room, the report states. They took it to be stored in the department’s crime lab.

Man not injured after falling through ice

BAZETTA – A local man escaped injury when he fell through the ice at Mosquito Lake near Hillside Cemetery while ice fishing Wednesday afternoon.

Bazetta fire officials said the man, whose name or age were not available, was attempting to walk back to land when the ice cracked beneath him, and he slipped and fell into the water.

Officials said he had already pulled himself out of the water when rescue crews arrived just before 1:30 p.m. They said he did not receive any medical treatment at that time, but they did not know whether he intended to seek any on his own later.

No other information was available Wednesday.

Tribune Chronicle

News In Brief

Two arrested in Youngstown murder

YOUNGSTOWN – Police have charged a Parmalee Avenue man for the murder of 53-year-old David Sharp Friday on Dogwood Avenue in the Rockford Village apartment complex.

Larry Blue, 32, will face charges of aggravated murder and felonious assault.

Also wounded in the shooting was Matthew Sharp. Police say the two were in a car in the parking lot when they were shot. A third person in the car was not injured.

Khadijah Nicole Payden Briggs, 19, of Maplewood Court, was arrested on a charge of complicity to aggravated robbery.

Court records show the two have yet to be arraigned.

Stokes is the city’s first homicide victim of 2013. In 2012, Youngstown had 26 homicides.

Man gets two years for aggravated assault

WARREN – A man with addresses in Warren and Cleveland was sentenced to two years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated assault.

RaShawn Pierre Jordan, 25, was sentenced to one year on each of the assault charges with the terms running concurrently and an additional year for a firearm specification.

Jordan admitted to shooting at three people in a car near the intersection of Pearl Street and Parkman Road S.W. on July 31.

Bloomfield-Mespo to act on safety plan

BLOOMFIELD – The Bloomfield-Mespo Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the high school to contract with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office for security and to consider revisions to the safety plan including authorizing personnel to carry firearms on school property.

Action is scheduled to be taken.

Oxygen is ruled out in DeForest Road fire

HOWLAND – The fire department said that oxygen did not play a role in a fatal fire Jan. 25 that killed a 1393 DeForest Road S.E. woman.

Initial reports said an oxygen tank was found in the home, but township fire Chief James Pantalone said in a news release that the victim, Joyce Barker, 71, did not use oxygen regularly and that when the tank was found by firefighters it was not damaged in any way.

Pantalone said oxygen has been ruled out as a cause and also in helping the fire spread. He said the state Fire Marshal’s Office will release a cause when the final autopsy report is completed.

Preliminary test results by the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office show that Barker died of smoke inhalation, the release states.

Barker had a medical alert switch on her wrist, but the switch only alerted a neighbor or a family member and not 911, the release states.

Youngstown woman reports abduction, rape

WARREN – A 23-year-old Youngstown woman told city police she was abducted and raped Saturday night.

Warren police reported they were called to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown to obtain information from the victim concerning a report of sexual assault. Details were sketchy and police did not say where the woman was when she was abducted, where the assault took place or if a suspect has been named. However, the woman may have suffered possible internal injury, according to reports.

Warren woman reports assault

WARREN – A 26-year-old city woman told police she was assaulted by two men on Ohio Street late Saturday night.

Lisa Nelson told police she was walking north from West Market Street about 11:30 p.m. when the two men struck her from behind and she fell to the ground. She reported that the men struck her several times in the face and kicked her.

According to reports, the men checked her pants pockets before fleeing the scene. She told police she did not have any money. Police said she suffered an apparent minor injury.

Tribune Chronicle

News In Brief

Calendars mark February days

I f you’ve got a thing to do, the calendar has a day to do it on, providing you’re perusing the correct calendar. It’s why you may have showed up a bit underdressed on Friday, national Work Naked Day.

February also features such gems as Toothache Day, Do a Grouch a Favor Day and Plum Pudding Day.

And, of course, there’s Cow Milked While Flying In An Airplane Day, which commemorates the Feb. 18, 1930, flight of a Guernsey named Elm Farm Ollie, aka ”Nellie Jay,” in a Ford Trimotor airplane during the International Air Exposition in St. Louis. Nellie Jay was both the first cow in flight and first cow milked in flight. Hey, why not?

For a short month, February packs a decent punch.

The whole thing is Black History Month, to reflect on the stories and contributions of African-Americans.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, to consider television commercials over pizza and nachos. Also, there’s some sort of game.

There’s Presidents Day, which commemorates closing offices once instead of 40-some times a year for each American president’s birthday.

February also features the Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and Purim. Plus there’s that day marked by a kid in diapers flapping about with a bow and arrow, and another that makes a fuss over groundhogs and shadows. That should be enough excitement for anybody.

Apparently not.

Periodically, I flip through the pages of the other calendars marking some of the more, uh, unusual celebrations. Fortunately, I looked closely enough to see that Working Naked Day is to be celebrated ONLY by people who work from home. Phew!

Coming up Thursday is Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day. Don’t be stingy and use just one.

This Friday is Extraterrestrial Culture Day in New Mexico, “to celebrate and honor all past, present and future extraterrestrial visitors in ways to enhance relationships among all citizens of the cosmos, known and unknown,” according to memorial passed by the state legislature.

Here’s a sampling of what else you can hoot and holler over this month:

Friday: Fly a Kite Day, and Laugh and Grow Rich Day.

Saturday: Read in the Bathtub Day, and Toothache Day.

Feb. 11: Don’t Cry over Spilt Milk Day.

Feb. 12: Plum Pudding Day.

Feb. 13: Get a Different Name Day.

Feb. 14: Ferris Wheel Day.

Feb. 15: National Gum Drop Day, and National Hippo Day.

Feb. 16: Do a Grouch a Favor Day.

Feb. 18: Thumb Appreciation Day. Text that one to a friend. It’s also National Battery Day.

Feb. 19: National Chocolate Mint Day.

Feb. 20: Hoodie Hoo Day. (You go outside at noon, wave your hands over your head and chant, ”Hoodie Hoo.” Why? Because it’s Feb. 20.)

Feb. 23: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, and Curling is Cool Day.

Feb. 27: Polar Bear Day (if the polar bear sees a seal’s shadow… )

Feb. 28: National Tooth Fairy Day, and Public Sleeping Day.

Ah, just celebrate every day. There’s always a reason, even if you have to make your own by booking a flight for you, your cow and a milk bucket.

Spend more crazy days on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook, or write Cole at

News In Brief

Man gets at least 36 years in shooting

YOUNGSTOWN – A city man was sentenced Thursday to 36-to-life in prison for murdering a South Side man in 2011.

Donovan Miller, 26, was found guilty in December of aggravated murder and evidence tampering in the death of Quest Wagoner, 22, at 1139 Inverness Ave. Wagoner was shot once in the head and may have been asleep when he was killed on Sept. 22, 2011, according to police.

Prosecutors say Wagoner was killed in a dispute involving a drug deal.

YSU, Hope Center

offer free tax help

YOUNGSTOWN – Free income tax assistance is open to taxpayers Saturday at two sites in Youngstown.

The Mahoning Valley Hope Center will hold a free tax filing day from 9 to 5 p.m. Saturday for those who have incomes of less than $60,000. Tax counselors have been trained by the Ohio Benefits Bank. All returns can be e-filed free of charge. Direct deposit also is available.

Call 330-369-3010 for more information, or call 330-369-3010 or 330-418-6178 to schedule an appointment for tax filing.

At Youngstown State University, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is offering the assistance of trained business students from the Lariccia School of Accounting and Finance and professional volunteers. Free electronic filing also will be available.

The income tax preparation will be held in computer labs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the first floor of Williamson Hall, 221 N. Hazel St. For more information, call 330-941-3084.

Taxpayers should bring wage and earnings statements (W-2 forms) from all employers, interest statements from banks (1099 forms), a copy of last year’s tax return, if available, and other relevant information about income and expenses.

Ex-boosters leader awaiting sentence

NILES – The former head of the Niles Frontliners Club is awaiting the completion of a presentencing investigation after pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to a fifth degree felony for the theft of $22,090 from the booster organization.

James A. Mullen III, 47, 2165 Coates Court, Girard, admitted taking money from the Frontliners Club, which is a booster organization for the Niles Red Dragons Football Team. Mullen wrote several checks payable to cash and made three electronic transfers between May 31 and July 23, 2012.

A judge will use the information of the presentencing investigation into his background to determine his sentence. Mullen has already made full restitution to the organization, prosecutors said.

Early-morning fire destroys vacant house

MECCA – Fire destroyed a vacant house at 2461 Giffith Drive early Thursday, officials reported.

Mecca fire Chief Curtis Woofter said the blaze was fully involved when firefighters arrived just after 1:30 a.m. Fire crews were called back around 8 a.m. when the fire rekindled, he said.

The house had been empty for almost a year, he said. No injuries were reported.

Woofter said the cause has not yet been determined, and that the State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.

Woofter said he does not know whether Thursday’s fire is connected to three sheds that burned in that area in recent weeks.

Tribune Chronicle