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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio


Statements released on death of retired Sheriff Barber

MOUNT VERNON - Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer released the following statement regarding the death of retired sheriff David Barber:

At approximately 12:13pm on Sunday April 2, 2017 officers responded to the residence of retired sheriff David Barber after he was discovered deceased by family members.

Mr. Barber appeared to have died from a gunshot wound. His death appears to be the result of a suicide, however an autopsy is being conducted as part of the investigation.

David Barber served as the Sheriff of Knox County from 1993 to 2013.

Knox County Coroner Dr. Jennifer Ogle also released a statement saying that Barber died of a single gunshot wound to the left chest (not head as stated in original report). Dr. Ogle said, "At this point, no foul play is suspected. However, the investigation is ongoing and will be treated with the same sensitivity and attention as any other coroner's case in Knox County. A forensic autopsy is being performed today, this should give us a definitive manner of death."

Related KP news:

The community has reacted to the news of Barber's passing. You can read that article here.

To listen to a clip from an audio interview with Sheriff Barber at his retirement party click here. 

Former Knox County Sheriff David Barber found dead

MOUNT VERNON - Former Knox County Sheriff David Barber was found dead in his home on Kinney Road Sunday.  

Barber retired after 20 years as sheriff in 2012. He served a total of 40 years in law enforcement begining at the Mount Vernon Developmental Center and then as police chief in Centerburg. He was the longest serving sheriff in Knox County history.

Barber, and five fellow KCSO personnel, received the 2011 Ohio Distinguished Law Enforcement Group Achievement Award from the Ohio Attorney General.  The award was given following a triple murder/kidnapping case that stunned Knox County. It was the outstanding police work done by the KCSO and other local law enforcement agencies that led to the killer's apprehension and arrest. 

At his retirement gathering in January of 2013 Barber told KnoxPages.com that he was, "..blessed to have [had] excellent men and women working for me."

And speaking of his 20 years as sheriff, Barber said, "One thing I did was bring the Knox County Sheriffs Office into the 21st century." Barber oversaw the implementation of internet access to all cruisers, social networking for the department and a higher level of training and weaponry.

Barber file

Photo of Sheriff Barber displayed at the KCSO


ODOT kicks off another near-record year of road construction

COLUMBUS – A second-straight near-record construction season is underway across Ohio. This year, the Ohio Department of Transportation will invest $2.3 billion into the state’s roads and bridges, just shy of the record-$2.4 billion investments made in 2014 and 2015.

This construction season will include 1,098 projects, 26 valued at more than $10 million. Workers will pave 6,945 miles of roadway – enough for a two-lane road from Seattle to Key West, and repair or replace 1,281 bridges.

“Since Gov. John Kasich took office, we have invested an unprecedented $14 billion in Ohio’s infrastructure,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “Our transportation network is Ohio’s greatest man-made asset, and it is our duty to ensure it is in the best condition possible. That’s why 93 cents of every dollar we’re spending on roads and bridges this year will go to preservation.”

Safety is always the top priority, and this year’s construction program will include 191 projects aimed at making our roadways safer. These projects range from reconfigured intersections to additional signage and signals.

“We have seen an increase in the number of traffic deaths in Ohio over the last three years, and we are working hard to reverse this disturbing trend,” Wray said.

ODOT is also working to make the existing system work more efficiently by leveraging technology like the OHGO app, intelligent transportation systems, and recently-approved variable speed limits and smart mobility corridors.

“The easy movement of people and goods from place to place is part of the ODOT mission statement. Those aren’t just words on paper,” Wray said.

Last year, there were 6,041 crashes in work zones resulting in 28 deaths, 186 serious injuries, and 810 minor injuries. The top cause of work zone crashes is following too close. Drivers need to pay extra attention and follow signs and directions in work zones to ensure the safety of workers and motorists.

New Opioid prescribing guidelines announced for Ohio

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

COLUMBUS - State officials came together Thursday to announce new prescribing guidelines for opioids in an effort to help prevent addiction. Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director for Ohio's Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services said that the state has been working for six years to fight opiate abuse. Strides that have been made so far include:

*2.5 milion fewer opiate prescriptions in Ohio
*162 million fewer doses of opiates dispensed
*80% less doctor shopping
*340% increase in Ohio's online prescription monitoring system

Dr. Hurst said the guildelines set the prescribing limit for the first episode of acute pain to a seven day supply for adults and five day supply for patients under 18. Patients and parents for juveniles will have to be advised of the benefits and risks of the medication. The exceptions are for cancer, hospice and MAT (medication assisted treatment for addiction) patients.

Dr. Mary Applegate, medical director for the Ohio Department of Medicaid said these limits are not random. Overprescribing patterns were looked at through OARRS, Ohio's Automated Rx Reporting System. OARRS is a web-based system that collects information on all outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances that are dispensed by Ohio licensed pharmacies and prescribed or personally furnished by licensed prescribers in Ohio.

Dr. Applegate said, "The issue related to opioid related deaths [is that] young people, folks in their early 20's [are dying]. We have an extra focus on not starting that very first prescription which happens for children and adolescents."
"Doctors still need to be able to alleviate pain and suffering, however they have a tighter system of safety in place to guide safe prescribing," said Dr. Applegate.

Governor John Kasich tweeted, "Ohio is a leader in [reining] in opiate prescriptions and we’re going even further today."

Critics of the new guidelines asked on social media about what happens on day eight for those adults needing opioids for chronic pain. While alternatives will need to be sought, the idea expressed at Thursday's announcement was that that these new guidelines are designed to help families and communities throughout the state.

Final phase of Woodward project 50% complete

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Pat Crow of the Woodward Development Corp. updated city council on the restoration of the Woodward Opera House during a Streets and Public Buildings Committee meeting Monday evening. The project is 50 percent complete and “fully stocked” with contractors. Plumbing is 80 percent complete and HVAC systems are on site but not yet connected.

The WDC is seeking accelerated state approval for three storefronts on the basement level of the Woodward structure (101-105 S. Main St., 6-10 W. Vine St.). Crow said it will be difficult to put a food establishment in those areas, but they will be ideal for anything retail or an exercise facility. Two locations will be basement stone; one will have an enhanced finish. All three will be handicap accessible from the interior of the building.

Work on the Woodward structure will be complete by Dec. 31. Crow did not give a time frame on the Annex structure (107-111 S. Main St.) He said two tenants are interested in space.

Costs for the restoration stand at $22 million. Two Mount Vernon contractors are involved on the project, another is from Ontario and a fourth is Columbus based. Crow said that the majority of contractors come from within a 30-mile radius of Mount Vernon.

In its legislative session, council gave the third and final reading to ordinances increasing wastewater rates and establishing a parking violations bureau. The wastewater increase takes effect April 1. The parking violations bureau establishes a formal means by which the city can tow or boot a car if a resident fails to pay a parking ticket.

Council also approved legislation authorizing appropriations, bill payment and establishing pay rates for seasonal personnel in the city's streets, parks, cemetery, water/wastewater and engineering departments. Interested applicants should contact the mayor's office at 740-393-9517.

Council gave a first reading to the annexation of 3.249 acres into the city. The parcel is located on the northeast corner of Newark and Glenn roads. It is an expedited Type 2 annexation.

There was no public participation at Monday night's public hearing on the rezoning of 1199 Newark Road. Chad Kiefer of Smetzer's Tire Service requested that the 4.49-acre parcel be rezoned from residential to general business. The city's Municipal Planning Commission recommended the rezoning.

Kiefer said that Smetzer's plans to operate a tire sales and services retail outlet on the property. He intends to maintain the existing four-unit apartment complex; three of the units have tenants and the fourth is being renovated. Kiefer said there are no “hard plans” for the house; if ever it gets to the point where it needs major renovations, a decision will be made at that time how to proceed.

Councilwoman Nancy Vail, chairwoman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, said she has received a couple of calls from residents concerned about increased traffic during the day. City Engineer Brian Ball said he looked at the preliminary plans and sees no issues. Access to the tire shop will line up with Dixie Drive; a second access point is on Progress Drive. Ball said the plans show adequate parking and have addressed the requirements for storm water runoff.

Smetzers Tire Center parcel0001

Proposed site for Smetzer's Tire Center in Mount Vernon

Kiefer said the retail outlet will have 10 to 12 employees. Councilman John Booth said he is familiar with Smetzer's Wooster facility and said that it has a good reputation. Store hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday; and closed on Sunday.


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