Area news briefs

Former Warren man accused of rape of boy

WARREN – An 18-year-old Warren man was indicted Thursday on an accusations of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy.

Tyler Aikins of Riverside, and formerly of the Warren area, remains in Trumbull County Jail pending his arraignment Monday on a charge of rape that carries a potential life sentence. He also is charged with two counts of gross sexual imposition.

Indictments against Aikins said the acts occurred between October and November of 2013. Prosecutors said Aikins was in the same home with the boy who was under another’s care and the charges allege force or threat of force.

Part-time firefighter arrested on sex charge

AUSTINTOWN – A part-time Liberty firefighter was placed on unpaid leave after he was arrested this week on sex charges.

Jackson Township police said they were called by parents who discovered their 15-year-old daughter had been in sexual relationship with an older man.

Police Chief Greg Taillon said Jesse Culbertson admitted to the relationship and was arrested. He was arraigned Thursday on a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and remains at the Mahoning County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond pending a court hearing March 5, according to Tribune Chronicle news partner WYTV 33 News.

A police report states that both Culbertson and the girl admitted to having contracted the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia during the relationship.

Vehicle crashes into house in Champion

CHAMPION – A car crashed into a residence on the 6400 block of Shaffer Road on Thursday afternoon.

Fire Capt. Charles Joseph said that the accident occurred around 2:48 p.m. when a car lost control and drove into the garage area of a house. The collision caused damage to the garage, as well as the foundation of the house.

There were no reported injuries, and Joseph said that Champion police are investigating. Names of the driver and the residents were not released.

Clothes dryer blamed for Champion house fire

CHAMPION – A morning house fire was reported Thursday at 723 State Road after a clothes dryer caught fire. Fire Capt. Charles Joseph said residents were alerted by a smoke detector.

Firefighters were called at 6:55 a.m. and were backed up by Bazetta and Warren fire departments. No injuries were reported, and the family is being assisted by the American Red Cross. Their names were not released.

Joseph said the damages for the fire were reported at $10,000.

Area news briefs

Father reports assault of 4-year-old son

WARREN – City police are investigating allegations of rape involving a 4-year-old Youngstown boy.

The boy’s father, also of Youngstown, stated that his son told him that two people he knows “were assaulting him,” according to a Warren police report. He told police he believes the assaults have been ongoing for about a year and a half, the report states.

The father told police his son spoke with a teacher about the incidents, and that the teacher contacted Mahoning County Children Services, which previously investigated.

Champion approves all-day kindergarten

CHAMPION – The Board of Education on Monday approved offering all-day kindergarten starting with the 2014-15 school year at Champion Central Elementary.

Champion is among a few local school districts, including Howland, that currently offer only half-day kindergarten.

School Superintendent Pamela Hood said costs for the program will be met through savings generated by budget adjustments and shifting of money.

Central principal Alexandra Nannicola said full-day kindergarten will benefit students by allowing for more instructional time during the day to best prepare children to move to first grade.

Youngstown sorority donates to city schools

During its regular board meeting tonight, the Youngstown Board of Education will receive the Youngstown Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

The group will present adopt-a-schools educational materials; third-graders will receive learning packets with grade level science and social studies readers, math and word cards. Also, principals of Martin Luther King and Williamson elementary schools, Artemus Scissum and Wanda Clark, will receive African-American books for their school libraries.

The meeting will be 6 p.m. today at the I.L. Ward Building, 20 W. Wood St., Youngstown.

Democrats to endorse candidates Wednesday

WARREN – Trumbull County Democratic Party central committee members will meet to endorse candidates in the May 6 election at 6 p.m. Wednesday at DiVieste’s Banquet Hall.

Dinner will start at 5:30 p.m., and the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner, provided to central committee members, will cost $20 for non-committee members. The banquet hall is on North River Road in Warren.

Area news briefs

Gov. Kasich to speak to McKinley Club

WARREN – Gov. John Kasich will be the guest speaker at the annual Mahoning Valley William McKinley Club dinner on March 17.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the McKinley Memorial Auditorium in Niles. Tickets cost $25 and will not be sold at the door. Reservations can be made by contacting the Mahoning County Republican Party at 330-629-7006 or by email at

The event is held every year to observe the birthday of President William McKinley, who was born in Niles in 1843. He was the 25th president of the United States.

Niles man charged in fatal truck crash

CANTON – The Ohio State Highway Patrol in Canton charged a Niles man in connection with a fatal crash that killed a woman last month.

Michael Sudano Jr., 57, was arrested Tuesday on charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter in the Jan. 4 death of Paula Haas Jeffers, 37, of Waynesburg. Both of the charges are misdemeanours.

Troopers said Sudano was driving a dump truck on state Route 44 that turned into the path of a small car in which Jeffers was a passenger. The driver of the car was not seriously injured.

Sudano was booked into the Stark County Jail but released later on bond.

Open house set for new sewer project

WEST FARMINGTON – The village will hold an open house for the new sewer project at 4 p.m. Monday at the Farmington Senior Center, 151 W. College St.

Engineer Adam Voris from EMH&T engineering and planning firm and Joyce Gray of the Rural Community Assistance Program will attend to answer questions that pertain to each user.

Mayor Thomas Christlieb said residents will also have the opportunity to review their agreements, rights-of-way and sign if they choose.

County plans to upgrade restrooms

WARREN – Trumbull County commissioners Thursday agreed to advertise for bids for restroom improvements at the Trumbull County Board of Elections, 2947 Youngstown Road S.E.

The upgrades would make the restroom facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

United Way, dealer to give away Diesel Cruze

AUSTINTOWN – If their key fits, one of 10 finalists who donated at least $156 to local United Way chapters will drive away in a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel, courtesy of Greenwood Chevrolet, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Greenwood Chevrolet teamed up with the United Way of Trumbull County and the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley to reward donors who gave during the 2013 campaigns. All donors who contributed $156 or more a year – $3 a week – qualified for one chance in the drawing to win the car. Donors of $200 or more received two chances in the drawing.

Commissioners postpone hotel move

LIBERTY – Trumbull County commissioners tabled discussion on a 49 percent, 10-year tax abatement agreement for a hotel on Belmont Avenue.

An issue arose because the initial application for the abatement was filed by Perni & Perni Equities LLC, which recently changed its name to Liberty Belmont Properties LLC.

Due to the change, Liberty Belmont Properties LLC must file a new application that reflects its new identity before commissioners can proceed with their discussion, which could be revisited as early as next week.

Liberty Belmont Properties LLC is planning to build a $6.5 million Comfort Inn at the site of the old Ramada Inn in what is now the Belmont Avenue Reinvestment area.

area news briefs

Appointment sought for county health board

WARREN – The Trumbull County Health District Advisory Council and the Trumbull County Board of Health are seeking interested parties who want to apply for an appointment to a five-year term on the health board.

The advisory council requires all interested parties to complete a nomination petition for appointment to the Trumbull County Board of Health, a copy of which can be obtained from the health department office or the health department website at

To qualify, a candidate must be registered voter residing within the health district and must file a nominating petition on a form prescribed by the advisory council. Residents of the cities of Warren, Niles and Girard are ineligible.

Letter of interest, resume and nominating petition are to be sent to attention Johnna Ben, Trumbull County Health Department, 176 Chestnut Ave., N.E., Warren 44483 by 4 p.m. Feb. 24.

Re-enactor to portray Douglass

Michael Crutcher will portray Civil War-era African-American statesman and social reformer Frederick Douglass on Feb. 22 in Warren.

From 10 a.m. to noon, he will be available for a meet-and-greet at the Warren-Trumbull County Library, Thomas Meeting Room. Refreshments will be provided. At 2 p.m., Crutcher will portray Frederick Douglas at the Trumbull County Courthouse in Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan’s courtroom – the largest in the state of Ohio. At the end of his portrayal, he is available to answer questions.

Douglass spoke in Warren in 1847 and again at the Warren City Building on March 1, 1876.

The event is sponsored by the CW 150 Committee of the Sutliff Museum, Trumbull County.

Government offices to be closed today

Post offices will be closed today in observance of the Presidents’ Day federal holiday. Only Express Mail will be delivered.

The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library and its branches as well as most federal and government offices are also closed today.

Area news briefs

Liberty trustees, fire union settle contract

LIBERTY – A new three-year contract gives township firefighters a 4-percent pay increase and calls for them to pay more for their health care.

Firefighters will pay 12 percent toward their health care premiums, an increase from the 10 percent they pay now, but only for one year. Township administrator Pat Ungaro said the Affordable Care Act will determine any change in premiums past the first year of the contract. He said premiums are expected to rise in the future.

Under their current contract, starting firefighters make $13.46 an hour. Wages increase up the line of command to $24.54 for a captain or paramedic. There are no wage increases in years three and four of the new agreement.

Trustees approved the agreement on Monday.

Guard to welcome home 130 soldiers

WARREN – The Ohio National Guard will welcome home 130 soldiers from the 838th Military Police Company during an 11:15 p.m. gathering today at Packard Music Hall.

The unit provided 24-hour site security and force protection operations at various locations in Afghanistan. During their deployment, soldiers successfully processed more than 75,000 vehicles through the numerous military installation access control points they manned.

Due to the unit’s late arrival from its demobilization station, a formal welcome home ceremony will not be conducted.

Warning issued on HEAP phone scam

NILES – The Ohio Development Services Agency is warning senior citizens of a telephone scam where the caller, claiming they are from the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), solicits personal bank information and Social Security numbers.

The calls come from an 800 number, and in all cases the caller says HEAP was given extra money to help customers because of the recent cold weather. Some solicitors refer the program as the “Energy Assistance Program.”

If you receive a call or have already received a call, report it to the ODSA Office of Community Assistance at 800-848-1300.

HEAP is a federal program run by the state to help eligible low-income Ohioans with the cost of home heating.

Lordstown Public Affairs Board to meet

LORDSTOWN – Members of the Lordstown Board of Public Affairs will meet noon today at the village hall to discuss employee wages and agreements with Imperial and Halcon Resources for water service.

Area news briefs

Three hired at Job

and Family Services

WARREN – Trumbull County commissioners Wednesday hired three people to work in the Trumbull County Department of Job and Family Services.

Stacia Mueller and Karen Ross will begin Monday as unit support workers. They will earn $11.69 an hour. Stephen Infante Jr., who was hired as a maintenance repair worker, will begin the same day and earn the same wage.

All three will be on probation for nine months.

Foundation gives $10K for Howland stadium

HOWLAND – The Home Savings Charitable Foundation recently issued a $10,000 check to the Howland Community Stadium Foundation.

The money is meant to provide support for the “FEEL THE P.U.L.S.E.” campaign, which seeks to renovate and modernize the Howland Community Stadium with the sole use of private funds.

Plans for the renovation include a new turf field; home seating for increased capacity; additional visitor seating; a new lighting system and electrical upgrade; expanded restroom facilities; expanded Hall of Fame; new ticket office; entrance gates; and complete ADA access.

House delays formal vote on calamity day bill

COLUMBUS – The Ohio House has held off taking a formal vote on a plan to let schools take up to four additional days off this year because of the season’s extreme weather.

A House spokesman said Wednesday that members plan to take an additional week to continue to work on the number of days in the proposal and review its costs.

Snow and frigid temperatures have led many districts across Ohio to exhaust their five allowable calamity days. Some have cancelled classes for 10 or more days.

Gov. John Kasich has been among those advocating adding extra snow days on a one-time basis this year.

Another proposal slated to get a Senate hearing Wednesday would excuse high school seniors from makeup days that fall after their scheduled graduation ceremonies.

Proposal would let scooters park on walks

COLUMBUS – Ohioans could park certain motor scooters and motorized cycles on sidewalks under a proposal slated to be voted on Wednesday by state representatives.

Current Ohio law bans vehicles from parking on sidewalks, while allowing bicycles. The proposal would let people park motor scooters or certain motorbikes on sidewalks, as long they do not impede the flow of pedestrian traffic. The state Senate passed an earlier version of the bill.

State Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati sponsored the measure after hearing about the parking struggles of his law partner. He has said the change could encourage people to commute in more energy-efficient ways.

Ohio’s OT for snow removal piling up

COLUMBUS – The overtime that the state of Ohio is paying crews to keep roads cleared during this snowy winter may cut into road construction projects later in the year.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has a $2.8 billion budget. This winter, it already has spent $13.1 million on overtime for statewide snow and ice removal, up from about $9.8 million all of last year. Two years ago, the state spent $5.7 million on overtime.

“We’re going to make money available out of that $2.8 billion to get that (snow-removal) job done,” spokesman Steve Faulkner told The Columbus Dispatch. “Does that mean it could come at the cost of a project here or there later on as we move through this year? Sure. But we have an obligation to keep our roads safe, clear and passable to the motoring public.”

Ohio’s total cost for keeping roads clear so far this winter has been about $85.6 million, already higher than last winter and far higher than during the mild winter two years ago.

Area news briefs

Austintown to vote on employees’ discipline

AUSTINTOWN – The Austintown Board of Education will vote today on a recommendation to suspend two employees without pay.

The agenda for tonight’s regular meeting shows a recommendation to suspend Cindy Todd, AELC cafeteria manager, for three days, and Beth Heinz, Fitch cafeteria manager, for one day. The recommended discipline is “consistent with the OAPSE collective bargaining agreement and in accordance with the severity of their misconduct,” according to the agenda.

According to Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca, the two suspensions are not connected. One of the suspensions involves poor treatment of other school employees, while the second deals with improper labeling of food products in the cafeteria.

The BOE will vote during today’s meeting at 6 p.m. at Austintown Middle School.

Lupo trial set to open April 8 in federal court

YOUNGSTOWN – The man accused of dumping oil field waste and brine into a storm sewer a year ago is scheduled to stand trial in April.

The trial date for Benedict Lupo of Poland is scheduled for April 8 in Cleveland Federal Court. His final pre-trial hearing is scheduled for March 24 before U.S. District Court Judge Donald Nugent.

Lupo, who owns D&L Energy and other natural gas and oil companies based in Youngstown, faces a single count of violating the federal Clean Water Act. He is accused of ordering an employee to dump the waste down the drain, leading to millions of dollars and months of cleanup.

A co-defendant, Michael Guesman of Cortland, has pleaded guilty to the same charge and is awaiting sentencing.

Girard land purchase will expand cemetery

GIRARD – At Monday evening’s Girard City Council meeting, council voted to approve the purchase of a house, located at 1193 N. State St. in Girard. The house sits on property adjacent to Girard Liberty Union Cemetery.

Council approved a payment not exceeding $37,000 for the house itself.

Girard Mayor James Melfi said that the house is sitting on property that the city had separately purchased in 2012, but that the house purchase, which is expected to be completed in short order, will clear the way for expansion of the cemetery.

“The house will be demolished, and the plan is to use the land for future cemetery property,” Melfi said.

Couple arrested in child endangering

FOWLER – Two people were arrested Monday after police found unfit living conditions in their mobile home where children were also residing.

Police said the trailer, located at 7 North Quail Road, had no hot water, dirty diapers strewn across the floor and the couple were even using a toaster oven for heat.

Tiffany Woody, 21, and Kristopher Clay, 24, were taken into custody on child endangering charges.

The couple has lived together in the mobile home for about a year and have two children together, a 3-month-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. Police found the 2-year-old’s diaper leaking with urine and feces, the police report states.

Upon a search of the home, police also found a digital scale with marijuana residue on it.

Area news briefs

Truck crash shuts down traffic on I-80

HUBBARD TOWNSHIP – A tractor-trailer rig traveling east on Interstate 80 caught fire on Thursday, temporarily shutting down traffic.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol confirmed that the truck, which was carrying lime, caught fire just west of the U.S. Route 62 exit about 11:45 a.m.

Troopers said the driver was not hurt, and no other injuries were reported.

Traffic was backed up to the Route 711 connector for a short period of time.

Lordstown officials to meet on contracts

LORDSTOWN – Members of the village’s Utility Committee and the Board of Public Affairs will meet in executive session at 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers to discuss contract negotiations.

Contacts sought for area women’s clubs

WARREN – All women’s clubs in Trumbull County are asked to send their updated contact information in for the 2014 Women’s History Celebration Committee’s Luncheon program. This year, the club president, and the club member responsible for all correspondence, along with phone numbers and email addresses, will be included.

Deadline to be included in this year’s program is March 1. Send all updated information to Tribune Chronicle special projects coordinator Beky Davis at bdavis@tribtoday .com.

Area news briefs

Man tells troopers Bigfoot caused crash

FAIRFIELD – A 17-year-old Colum-biana man claimed he saw Bigfoot while driving on Bunker Hill Road last week.

Robert James Mehlen Sevenich of Metz Road was southbound on Bunker Hill Road, southwest of Columbiana County, at 2:55 a.m. Jan. 28 when he went off the south side of the road and into a rock, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol report. Sevenich told a trooper he went off the road to avoid a “creature” he described as at least 7 feet tall, with green glowing eyes, hairy and very well built.

When asked by the trooper if what he saw was human, Sevenich replied, “No” and said he believed it to be Bigfoot, the report states.

Sevenich was cited for failure to control. The trooper searched the area for any evidence of what Sevenich described, but none was found, including any footprints of that nature. Sevenich did not appear to be under the influence of any illicit drugs, the report said.

Snow bans still in place in Trumbull communities

A number of Trumbull County communities continue to have snow parking bans in place. Cars parked along the streets, which would impede snow plows, are subject to towing.

Communities with bans in place until further notice are Brookfield, Cortland, Girard, Liberty, McDonald, Niles, Warren and Weathersfield.

ODOT orders extra salt for southern Ohio

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced it will be ordering 150,000 tons of road salt to be distributed strategically across the state. None will be seen locally.

According to ODOT spokesman Brent Kovacs, ODOT District 4, which contains Trumbull, Mahoning, Ashtabula, Portage, Stark and Summit counties, is doing well on salt.

“We currently have 52,000 tons on hand,” he said.

The district is also still receiving “active shipments” of salt, albeit in small varying amounts, Kovacs said, adding areas in the southern part of the state will be benefiting the most from the surplus request.

ODOT is responsible for maintaining all interstate highways and state routes that do not fall within municipalities.

Updated contacts sought for area women’s clubs

WARREN – All women’s clubs in Trumbull County are asked to send their updated contact information in for the 2014 Women’s History Celebration Committee’s Luncheon program. This year, the club president, and the club member responsible for all correspondence, along with phone numbers and email addresses, will be included.

Deadline to be included in this year’s program is March 1. Send all updated information to Tribune Chronicle special projects coordinator Beky Davis at

Area news briefs

Howland approves 3.9-mill emergency levy

HOWLAND – The Howland Board of Education on Monday gave final approval for placing a 3.9-mill additional emergency operating levy on the May 6 ballot.

Board President Warner Bacak said the levy would generate $2.07 million annually for 10 years for the district’s day-to-day needs and operations.

Bacak said the district has received less in-state funding over the years. In recent years, the district has cut staff, and without more money, more cuts would take place, he said.

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay about $136 a year.

Man reports intruder attacked him in home

WARREN – A 20-year-old local man was treated at Trumbull Memorial Hospital after he told police a stranger walked into his home on Hollywood Street N.E. and started punching him in the face.

James Lamar Richardson said a man who identified himself as ”Dre” walked in the house through an unlocked front door about 4 p.m. Saturday and attacked him. Richardson told officers he didn’t recognize the man and the attacker gave no reason for the attack.

Police said Richardson suffered apparent minor injuries.

One arrested in Howland drug raid

HOWLAND – A 50-year-old township man was arrested at his residence Monday morning on felony drug trafficking charges.

Marshall W. Finch, 2572 Athens Drive S.E., was taken into custody after what police called a two-month investigation by the TAG Law Enforcement Task Force. Finch is facing fourth-degree felony drug trafficking charges.

Police discovered what is believed to be marijuana and heroin, along with $340, drug paraphernalia, a digital scale, packaging materials, cell phones, one firearm and other items believed to be derived from the sale of drugs, according to a TAG news release.

Investigators also found four dogs at the residence with no running water. The Trumbull County Dog Warden took custody of the dogs.

Finch was transported to the Trumbull County Jail.

Howland police assisted the task force in the investigation and arrest.

Brookfield approves new police, fire pacts

BROOKFIELD – Township trustees on Monday approved three-year contracts with both police and fire unions, retroactive to Jan. 1.

Fire Chief Keith Barrett said the International Association of Firefighters Local 3443 represents six employees who will receive no pay increases in the first two years and a 3-percent increase the third year.

Police Chief Dan Faustino said the local Ohio Patrolman’s Benevolent Association represents seven employees who will receive no pay increase the first year and 2 percent in the second and third years. They will also receive an additional $250 for having their required certifications.

Faustino said negotiations with police have been ongoing since November.

Area News Briefs

Privatizing public education program set

CHAMPION – The Trumbull County Superintendents’ Association is hosting a countywide program about the costs and consequences of privatizing public education at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Champion High School auditorium.

Local superintendents will present information about the consequences of privatizing public education and how privatizing impacts their districts.

The program will include a presentation by William L. Phillis, executive director of Ohio’s Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. Phillis will speak about the impact of the privatization movement on public schools in Ohio.

Crews fix water main break in Cortland

CORTLAND – Cortland Street Department crews were called out around 10:30 a.m. Sunday to North Mecca Street, between state Route 88 and West Main Street, to fix a water main break.

Reports indicate street crews spent about three hours to locate and fix the break.

Water was shut off for a short period while the main’s break was fixed and was restored after 1:30 p.m.

Last week, water main breaks occurred throughout the area due to extreme cold temperatures, including in Brookfield where water boil alerts were issued for sections of Bedford Road. Today, a boil alert was issued in Campbell following a series of breaks.

Area news briefs

Shoplifting suspects surrender

NILES – Two women wanted in connection with a theft at the Eastwood Mall turned themselves in Friday morning.

The two suspects were questioned and then released without being charged, police said.

Police said two officers were threatened when they confronted the two females as they were attempting to steal merchandise at the Macy’s department store around 7 p.m. Monday. As the loss prevention officers tried to apprehend the females, one of them stated to “shoot them” and the other one put her hand in her purse and stated she was going to shoot them and told them to back off, according to a Niles police report.

The women then fled the mall area in an Acura, but store employees were able to capture the suspects’ images on digital video recordings.

Niles detectives plan to meet with the city prosecutor and on Monday to determine potential charges.

Accident closes U.S. Route 422

SOUTHINGTON – Traffic was rerouted late Friday night after an accident along U.S. Route 422 near the state Route 305 intersection. The eastbound lanes of 422 east of Route 305 were closed shortly after the 10:20 p.m. crash.

It was unclear how many vehicles were involved in the crash or the extent of any potential injuries, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesman. Troopers remained on the scene at press time.

Witnesses said it appeared that multiple vehicles were involved.

Traffic heading eastbound into Warren was detoured onto Route 305, according to the patrol.

Elderly fire victim dies at burn center

WARREN – An elderly man whose house caught fire last week has died.

Richard Brugler, 85, died at the Akron Children’s Hospital Burn Center Thursday night.

He had and his wife, Jean, were each transferred from a local hospital to the burn center after fire broke out Jan. 22 at their home at 1359 Beechcrest St. N.W., Warren. Officials at the time said they were both suffering from smoke inhalation.

An update on his wife’s condition was not available.

County lifts boiling alert in Brookfield

BROOKFIELD – The Trumbull County Sanitary Engineers have lifted the boil advisory for water customers on Bedford Road.

The boil alert was issued Wednesday for water customers from 900 block of Bedford Road continuing to Stewart Sharon Road due to a water main break. The alert was lifted Friday.

Court mistakenly releases two inmates

WARREN – A clerical error at Newton Falls Municipal Court resulted in two inmates from the Trumbull County Jail being released erroneously.

The jail released Christopher Macaluso and Randall Rine, both robbery suspects, after the court advised them to do so.

A sheriff’s deputy located the two walking on Mahoning Avenue a short time later, and they were taken back into custody.

Ex-funeral director guilty in wife’s death

CLEVELAND – A former funeral director from Poland pleaded guilty Friday to charges linking him to the 1992 death of his third wife, Diane, who was poisoned.

Robert Girts, 60, faces a sentence of six to 30 years worked out between prosecutors and his defense attorney after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and insurance fraud – a secondary charge added to the plea.

Girts will be given credit for 16 years he spent in prison.

He was originally charged with aggravated murder and was convicted twice before those convictions were thrown out. He was released from prison in 2008 and was awaiting the third trial until Friday’s plea.

Couple sought in forged checks scam

WARREN – Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for a Cleveland area couple accused of cashing forged checks in Trumbull County.

Maj. Tom Stewart said the couple are driving a blue Audi with a plastic-tinted cover over the license plate. Stewart said the phony checks appear to be from Gillette Nursing Home.

Stewart identified the couple as Narkita S. Foster, a black female, age 39, 5-foot-4, 120 pounds, and Antonio Reed, a black male, age 22, 5-foot-7, 200 pounds.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the couple can call detectives at 330-675-2504.

Fairhaven welcomes Nicholson clients

In response to news that the Nicholson Center in Niles may have to close permanently due to loss of funding from closings during cold weather, the Fairhaven Program announced Friday it would like to help.

The Nicholson Center and Fairhaven Program provide services to adults with developmental disabilities.

“Although this is a very difficult situation for the individuals attending the Nicholson Center and the employees, Fairhaven’s history has always been to help people with disabilities receive the services they need,” Fairhaven Superintendent Edward J. Stark said.

Individuals who may be losing their services may contact the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities at 330-652-1116 to request assistance from Fairhaven, he said.