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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio


Ohio man charged in Virginia car attack

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Associated Press reports an Ohio man accused of plowing his car into counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia is set to make his first court appearance.

Col. Martin Kumer, superintendent at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, says 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. has a bond hearing Monday morning.

Fields lives in Maumee, Ohio. He is charged with second-degree murder and other counts after authorities say he drove into the crowd, fatally injuring one woman and hurting 19 others.

Fields has been in custody since Saturday. Jail officials told The Associated Press they don't know if he's obtained an attorney.

A high school teacher said Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolized Adolf Hitler and had been singled out by school officials in the 9th grade for his "deeply held, radical" convictions on race.

Local "Drive Sober" campaign kicks off

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Saturday at the Dan Emmett Festival, local law enforcement officers kicked off a countywide effort to educate residents about the dangers of impaired driving. The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign runs from Aug. 16 through Sept. 4.

“During this time, we encourage the public to call us with what you see,” said Sgt. Travis Tharpe of the Mount Vernon Police Department. “You are our eyes and ears.

“We are definitely seeing a trend change with respect to impaired driving,” he continued. “It's not just alcohol, and officers are being trained how to recognize other types of impairment when operating motor vehicles in the state of Ohio.”

Drive Sober officers 2017


Local law enforcement officers kicked off the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign on Saturday at the Dan Emmett Festival. Pictured are, from left, Sgt. Travis Tharpe, Mount Vernon Police Department; Lt. Gurjit Grewal, Ohio State Highway Patrol; Capt. Jay Sheffer, Knox County Sheriff's Office; Patrolman Matt White, Fredericktown Police Department; and Lt. Mark Perkins, Danville Police Department, with his K-9 partner, Rezza. KP Photo by Cheryl Splain


“Last year, over 420 people in Ohio were killed because someone chose to get behind the wheel impaired,” said Lt. Gurjit Grewal of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “As part of the patrol's ongoing effort to contribute to a safer Ohio, troopers have continued an increased focus on impaired driving in 2017. But we can't fight this battle on our own; we need your commitment to plan ahead to designate a sober driver or call for a ride. If you drink, don't drive.”

In 2016, OSHP troopers made 25,219 OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs) arrests statewide. Troopers have averaged well over 24,000 citations each of the last five years.

There were 14,420 OVI-related crashes in Ohio in 2016 that killed 423 and injured 8,785. Those crashes accounted for 37 percent of fatal crashes in Ohio. Speed was a contributing factor in 59 percent of the crashes.

“We have a lot more people who are driving impaired because they are using drugs or other substances,” said Grewal.

All OSHP troopers undergo training in detecting substance abuse, but the patrol also has drug recognition experts who receive additional training. “The DREs are able to do a lot more things and use their skills to support us,” said Grewal.

“Some of the trends we've been seeing throughout Knox County with our office is a lot more impaired drivers as far as not only alcohol but with drugs,” said Capt. Jay Sheffer of the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

Sheffer said KCSO deputies are getting about three traffic stops a week where drugs are in the vehicles with impairment. “The big thing is, we're going to step up our enforcement,” he said. “You're going to see a lot more cruisers out there making traffic stops and trying to get this epidemic under control.”

Patrolman Matt White of the Fredericktown Police Department said that his department is seeing the same trends as the county and state agencies regarding impaired driving with alcohol and illegal drugs. “Our department as a whole is increasing our education to combat that,” he said.

White said his department is also seeing an increase in impaired driving with alcohol due to a couple of bars now operating in Fredericktown. “Recently we went from being a dry town to selling alcohol, so that has added to some of the statistics,” he said.

“I'm going to piggy-back on what everybody has already talked about,” said Lt. Mark Perkins of the Danville Police Department, who was at the kickoff with his 3-year-old K-9 partner, Rezza. “The epidemic with the drugs only continues the problem of impaired driving. Impaired driving doesn't just mean alcohol. This is the beginning of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, so we'd like to encourage everyone to drive sober. If you're going to drink, don't drive.”

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is sponsored by the Knox Safe Communities Coalition of Knox County.

Drive sobert k9 Perkins


Festival-goers get the chance to meet Rezza, a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd-Doberman mix, and Lt. Mark Perkins of the Danville Police Department during Saturday's kickoff of the countywide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The campaign is sponsored by the Knox Safe Communities Coalition of Knox County. KP photo by Cheryl Splain


Knox County Grand Jury indictments August 7, 2017

 MOUNT VERNON - The Knox County Grand Jury indicted 11 persons this week on various drug charges, breaking and entering, and theft.

 All are scheduled for criminal arraignment on August 25 in Knox County Common Pleas Court.

Cody Jay M. Lewis - Aggravated Possession of Drugs, Felony 5th degree; Operating a Vehicle under the Influence, Misdemeanor 1st degree

Lisa M. Rohal - Aggravated Possession of Drugs, Felony 5th degree, Possession of Marijuana, Misdemeanor 1st degree;  Illegal use or Possession of Marijuana Drug Paraphernalia

Nicole M. Mitchell - Theft, Felony 5th degree

Derrick Rowe - Theft, Felony 5th degree

Roy Wilson – Forgery, Felony 5th degree; Theft, Felony 5th degree

Anna Frost -   Forgery, Felony 5th degree; Theft, Felony 5th degree

Donald E. Johnson – Breaking and Entering, Felony 5th degree; Theft and/or Grand Theft, Misdemanor 1st degree

Steven Thompson – Aggravated Possession of Drugs, Felony 5th degree

Edward Horn – Permitting Drug Abuse, Felony 5th degree

Tia R. Moore- Permitting Drug Abuse, Felony 5th degree


President Trump declares opioid epidemic a national emergency

CLEVELAND – Ohio's U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman applauded the Trump Administration which declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency Thursday. Brown has worked with members of both parties to secure federal resources and address the opioid crisis in Ohio communities, which have been hit particularly hard. 

By declaring the opioid epidemic a national emergency, the Trump Administration can now take important steps that Brown has called for to address the crisis, including additional funding and lifting an outdated cap on the number of beds covered by Medicaid at residential treatment facilities. Brown has a bill with U.S. Senator Rob Portman, which would also lift the outdated cap.

“Communities across Ohio don’t need a declaration to tell them the opioid crisis is an emergency. While this is an important step, combatting the opioid epidemic requires more than words -- it requires meaningful action and investment,” said Brown. “Law enforcement officers throughout Ohio have told me that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. I hope that the Administration works quickly and prudently to finally take the steps necessary to call this opioid epidemic what it is – a national emergency – and follow-up with meaningful action and investment.”

The Trump Administration’s declaration of a national emergency comes following recommendation from the Administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Several of the Commission’s recommendations are proposals Brown has worked on, including:
Eliminating an outdated cap on the number of beds at substance abuse treatment facilities that can be covered under Medicaid. Current law limits use of Medicaid funding for residential mental health or substance abuse treatment to facilities with just 16 beds or less, which prevents many Ohioans from getting the help they need. Brown has legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to lift the cap so Ohioans can get care. The Commission’s report notes this is one of the quickest ways to get people into treatment.

Portman said, "There is no doubt that this heroin and prescription drug epidemic is a crisis affecting our entire country, and I applaud the president for his decision to declare it a national emergency.  While Congress has made some progress in addressing this crisis by passing the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act and the 21st Century CURES Act, we can and should do more.  We must continue to fully fund important programs on prevention, treatment, and recovery, and we must take additional legislative action to help stop overprescribing, increase the number of treatment beds covered by Medicaid at residential treatment facilities, and help stop the flow of synthetic opioids that are shipped into this country through the postal service. I was pleased the Trump Administration again endorsed the STOP Act in its interim opioid report last week, and I would urge the Senate to act on this bipartisan legislation soon.” 

Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Brown has worked on legislation to expand use of MAT, which was included in the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), which Brown supported. He has also cosponsored The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (TREAT Act) to further expand access to this effective form of treatment.

Increasing access to naloxone. Brown has called on the government to boost funding to help first responders maintain a supply of naloxone and supported CARA, which authorized funding for overdose reversal drugs.

Providing more resources to Customs and Border Patrol to keep fentanyl out of the U.S. Brown teamed up with Senator Portman on a pair of bills to help block the flow of fentanyl to Ohio communities, the INTERDICT and STOP Acts. The STOP Act, which Brown is cosponsoring, would help USPS detect these drugs. Brown’s INTERDICT ACT provides Customs and Border agents with additional resources to screen for fentanyl safely and effectively.

Last week, Brown applauded a proposal issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reduce the production of prescription opioids by 20 percent next year. The DEA is responsible for establishing annual quotas determining the exact amount of each opioid drug that is permitted to be produced in the U.S. each year. Brown asked the agency to take this step.


Three locations in Knox County test positive for West Nile Virus

MOUNT VERNON - Trapping and testing of mosquitoes in Knox County has resulted in the positive identification of West Nile Virus (WNV) in three different locations. Late Monday, the Knox County Health Department received notification of the positive results from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) which had placed the mosquito traps at the end of July.

The positive samples were collected in Fredericktown, Gambier and the Apple Valley area of Howard.

Knox County joins 19 other Ohio counties with positive WNV activity including neighboring Richland and Licking counties. As of Monday, ODH and local health departments have placed traps in 43 counties this summer, collecting nearly 8,000 samples of which over 200,000 mosquitoes were tested. Despite the positive collections, there have been no reports of West Nile Virus in humans

Nate Overholt, environmental health director with the Knox County Health Department said the agency “will conduct pesticide spraying in the areas where the positive mosquitoes were trapped.” The environmental health staff will also treat areas of standing water with larvacide to help reduce the mosquito population.

“The entire state is seeing an earlier onset of mosquitos infected with West Nile Virus than in years past,” said Overholt. Statewide, positive cases were on the rise early in July. Last year, an increase in positive cases did not happen until mid-August. The last positive collection of infected mosquitoes in Knox County was in late August 2015.

WNV is spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito, which gets the virus from biting an infected bird. The virus can cause an infection in humans that can lead to encephalitis. Many types of birds can be infected, but crows and blue jays are most likely to die from the disease. Horses are also prone to WNV.

Most people who become infected with WNV do not have any symptoms. About one in five people who become infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection, and care is based on symptoms.

Overholt urged local residents to take personal measures to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Those measures include using insect repellent containing DEET and empting water-holding containers such as plant saucers, outdoor toys, old tires and other items around your home. Mosquitoes need just a small amount of water to lay their eggs which hatch in just a day or two.

“Mosquitoes are likely to be biting between dusk and dawn,” said Overholt. “If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, cover up by wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Also, wear, light colors. They are less attractive to mosquitoes.”

The Health Department will spray for mosquitos this Thursday, August 10th at 5:30 a.m. in Apple Valley. If the spraying is cancelled due to inclement weather, it will be rescheduled.


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