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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. 

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.

MVPD honors officers for success in drug cases

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - Law enforcement efforts to crack down on the sale of illegal drugs in the community have resulted in awards for outstanding service at the MVPD.

Public service, integrity, loyallty and dedication. Those are the qualities of the 2016 MVPD Officer of the year, Ptl. Jessica Butler.

Chief Roger Monroe says Officer Butler had to change positions this year and take over a new role of drug interdiction. Monroe said, "Since she's been in this position, [she's] been killing it.  I can't even tell you the amount of arrests [that] are being made, the contacts, and the production she has had since [she] has been in this position." 

Officer Butler has worked in the department 14 years. 

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MVPD 2016 Officer of the Year Ptl.Jessica Butler is congratulated by Chief Roger Monroe Thursday afternoon - KP Photo by Marty Trese

The Bartlett Award is named for the late Thomas Bartlett, MVPD's Chief from 1983-2006. The award is presented for outstanding performance in the line of duty. Chief Monroe says the award is given to the officer who also went above and beyond for the year. "In this case, we had a joint operation with BCI, MVPD and KCSO in working an ongoing drug investigation on a business that we have been trying to get into for over two years," said Monroe. MVPD had taken complaints about the business for five years.

Monroe continued "We had come to a standstill, we didn't have the manpower, so we reached out to BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation). They took the lead on the investigation.  During that investigation several MVPD officers assisted helping with surveillance, evidence collection, search warrants, and tagging evidence." 

Drugs, money, and guns were seized from that operation. It's been estimated that business did about a half million dollars of drug trade a year. The business has been shut down Chief Monroe couldn't give more information about the business or the particiulars of the case because it is still in litigation. 

Monroe says he couldn't decide on one person to give the award to saying based on "Their outstanding efforts and their long hours and extra time, the whole division deserves the award." The detectives are Sgt. Beth Marti, Cpl. James DeChant, and Det. Timothy Arnold.

Marti DeChant Arnold

L to R: MVPD Detectives Sgt. Beth Marti, Cpl James DeChant, and Timothy Arnold - KP Photo by Marty Trese    

Detective Sgt. Marti said, "Any award in this field is amazing. We hear a lot of negativity. Any time we're recognized for working hard it's really, really awesome." 

Detectives DeChant and Arnold said receiving the Bartlett award is a great honor.

Chief Monroe said "These guys did an outstanding job this year and the awards are well deserved."


Around Ohio: Nightclub shooting in Cincinnati leaves one dead, 15 injured

CINCINNATI - At approximately 2:20 a.m. a shooting occurred at Cameo nightclub on Kellogg Avenue on the east side of Cincinnati. There were 15 victims and at least one confirmed casualty.

The Cincinnati Police Department was actively investigating the scene throughout the day Sunday including interviewing multiple witnesses. The conflict is believed to have begun between specific groups or individuals earlier in the day, escalating and ultimately leading to this tragedy occurring at the nightclub.

Cincnnati police said in a news release that The Cameo club has a history of gun violence including a shooting inside the club on New Year's Day 2015 and a shooting in the parking lot in September of the same year.

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black said, "We recognize the horrific nature of this incident. I have full confidence in our police professionals who are devoting all the necessary resources toward working this case. I want to recognize all of our first responders who answered the call last night and handled a very difficult situation extremely well. As our assessment and investigation continues we will continue to share information as soon as we are able.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on Twitter that he was "saddened to learn about last night's shooting" and that he was offering the state's assistance.

East Knox Schools released from fiscal emergency

COLUMBUS – Auditor of State Dave Yost Tuesday released the East Knox Local School District (Knox County) from fiscal emergency, a status it held for more than two years.
The district spent a combined four and a half years shifting between fiscal caution, watch and emergency because of deficit fund balances and a failure to adopt and submit an acceptable financial recovery plan.
“Today, the district and its community can breathe a sigh of fiscal relief,” Auditor Yost said. “The decisions were not easy, but they were vital to the financial upswing the district is now experiencing.”
The district, which enrolls roughly 1,230 students, erased a projected $3.3 million deficit, in part, by reducing staff by 27 employees for approximately $1.5 million in annual savings. Also, the district is saving $144,000 each year from the closure of Bladensburg Elementary School, in addition to $19,000 by charging lunchroom utility costs to the food service fund instead of the general fund.
During the current fiscal year, the district will begin realizing added revenue from a 10-year, $1.2 million annual emergency levy passed on Nov. 8, 2016. The district also implemented a “pay to participate” fee for athletics, increasing revenue in the general fund by $50,000 each year. The fee will be phased out in fiscal year 2018.
Additionally, the district had to satisfy the following requirements to be terminated from fiscal emergency:
Effectively implement a financial accounting and reporting system in accordance with Section 118.10(A) of the Ohio Revised Code; Correct or eliminate all fiscal emergency conditions and prevent new ones from occurring;
Meet the objectives of the financial plan; and Prepare a five-year forecast in accordance with standards issued by the Auditor of State; the opinion expressed by the Auditor’s office is “nonadverse.”

The Ohio Department of Education placed the district in fiscal caution on Sept. 4, 2012 due to deficit fund balances. Auditor Yost declared the district in fiscal watch on Sept. 30, 2014 before elevating its status to fiscal emergency on Feb. 5, 2015 after it failed to adopt and submit an acceptable financial recovery plan.


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