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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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Judge Wetzel attends Ohio opiate crisis conference

MOUNT VERNON – Knox County Common Pleas Judge Richard Wetzel joined other legal professionals from around Ohio on Friday in attending a conference highlighting resources and treatment programs available to offenders suffering from opiate addiction.

The Opiate Summit was presented to judges, magistrates, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Featured topics included drug court best practices, the future of sentencing reform and program assistance to children impacted by the opiate crisis. Speakers included judges from various courts in Ohio, as well as representatives of the Ohio Supreme Court and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

The conference was sponsored by the Ohio Judicial Conference, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and held at the Ohio State Bar Association of Columbus headquarters.

“The Knox County Common Pleas Court is on the front line of the opiate crisis,” said Wetzel. “Our probation staff is actively attending the latest trainings on how to best address these issues with those on their caseloads, and how to allocate all appropriate resources at their disposal. We are committed to helping our community in this battle against drugs and crime.”

Under Ohio law, probation officers must complete a minimum 20 hours of continuing professional education each year. The Knox County Common Pleas Court’s Adult Court Services department policy calls for a minimum of 40 hours of training.

Within the past year, two of the court’s three probation officers became certified in Crisis Intervention, and the third officer is scheduled to begin the program next month. Two of the department’s officers also became certified in Thinking for a Change, a cognitive behavioral therapy program designed to change the criminogenic thinking of offenders.

All three officers are on schedule to surpass their annual training requirements, with much of that training time focused on the drug crisis, according to Chief Probation Officer Lisa Lyons. 

St. Vincent students compete in District Science Fair

MOUNT VERNON - 15 St. Vincent de Paul students competed in District Science Fair in Marion, Ohio this past Saturday. Eight students are now eligible to move onto the State Science Fair. Five Special Awards were also earned by the students.

Special Awards were:
Best 6th Grade Project- Matthew Salvucci who also Earned the US Navy Award.
Meteorological Society Award- Grace Mayville
B-WIser Scholarship and Air Force Award-Kylie Schaeferle

Students Who Received Superior ratings:
Camille Fuller, Bryan Sabula, Kylie Schaeferle, Alex Beuhrer, Grace Mayville, Kaitlyn Morgan, Ty Oliver, and Matthew Salvucci

Students who received an Excellent rating:
Claire Duffy, Cameron Miller, Sophia Percy, Harrison Lingel. Alayna Ferrell ,Hailey Frazee, and Mary Grace Richardson.

Municipal Court: 3 found guilty, 3 warrants issued

MOUNT VERNON – Judge John Thatcher found three guilty after trials to the court and other hearings held in the Mount Vernon Municipal Court on March 1, 2017.

Philmore B. Cooper, 32 of Columbus, was found guilty of speeding, 69mph in a 55mph zone, after a trial to the Court. Trooper Anthony Matheny of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Mt. Gilead Post testified for the State of Ohio. The Court sentenced Cooper to pay a fine of $45 plus court costs.

Scott Owens, 20 of Fredericktown, was found guilty of possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia after a trial to the Court. Patrolman Ronny Flynn of the Fredericktown Police Department testified for the Village of Fredericktown. The Court sentenced
Owens to pay a fine of $75 plus court costs.

Todd J. Rhinebolt, 32 of Mt. Liberty, Ohio, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of driving under financial  responsibility suspension and failure to use reasonable control while driving. The Court sentenced Rhinebolt to pay a fine of $200 plus court costs for the driving under suspension charge and an additional $75 for the failure to control charge.

Thomas C. Kemmer, 43 of Fredericktown, failed to appear for his scheduled court trial. The Court issued a warrant for his arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $250 cash or surety without the application of the 10%

Justin L. Pfeiffer, 19 of Howard, failed to appear for his scheduled court trial. The Court issued a warrant for his arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $250 cash or surety without the application of the 10% provision. The Court also forfeited his previously posted bond.

Quinton T. Blair, 41 of Mount Vernon, failed to appear for his scheduled court trials. The Court issued a warrant of his arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $500 cash or surety without the application of the 10% provision. The Court also forfeited his previously posted bond.

Director of Law Rob Broeren represented the State of Ohio and the Village of Fredericktown in all of these cases

Expanded conceal/carry law could mean concealed handguns on Ohio college campuses

By Dylan McCament, KnoxPages.com Reporter 

MOUNT VERNON - A new law that expands concealed-carry rights in Ohio is set to go into effect March 21. Among other provisions, the law will give state colleges and universities new authority to decide whether to permit licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on campus. 

Under current state law, the carrying of firearms on campuses is banned, even by those with a concealed handgun license (CHL). Colleges and universities have no legal discretion to set policy regulating the carrying of firearms on campus. The new law, Ohio Senate Bill 199, allows the boards of trustees at these institutions of higher learning to vote allow or to disallow the concealed carrying of firearms by those who hold a CHL. The boards also have the authority to allow only a certain licensed groups - such as faculty or staff - to carry concealed firearms.

KnoxPages.com has sought comments from the Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Central Ohio Technical College and Kenyon College regarding the bill and its possible implications for each institution. A representative from each was asked whether the boards of trustees had voted on the matter and whether the college or university in question was opposed to or in favor of allowing concealed carry on campus.

In response to questions on S.B. 199, Joe Noonan, assistant to the Chaplain for Mission and Ministry Opportunities at the MVNU, gave the following written response: "We have had representatives from the university present in various settings to learn about the bill and are framing our policies moving forward to present to our BOT."

Cheri Russo, a spokeswoman for COTC, gave the following written reponse to questions: "The college has no position on S.B. 199 at this time. This will be discussed in public session by the board at our March and May meetings."

She added that COTC's current concealed carry policy is in perfect compliance with S.B. 199.

Mary Keister, director of news media relations at Kenyon College, issued the following written statement in response to questions regarding the new law: "Kenyon College does not allow firearms on campus. A message will go out to the campus community in the near future regarding S.B. 199's implication for Kenyon's campus."

In an interview, Mark Kohlman, the chief business officer for Kenyon College, said, "The college has always had a policy banning weapons on campus. This law doesn't change that."

Governor John Kasich signed S.B. 199 on Dec. 19, 2016, in the wake of a knife attack on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus. So far, the impending law has had little effect on the policies of a number of state universities. Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, and Wright State University - to name a few - have announced plans to continue the ban on concealed firearms on campus.


S.B. 199 will also force private employers to allow CHL holders to store firearms or ammunition in a vehicle located on a company-owned parking lot. Currently, private employers have the legal right to restrict the carrying of firearms on company property, including parking lots. Concealed carry laws will be expanded in others ways as well: CHL holders will be allowed to carry firearms at public, non-secure areas of airports, private aircraft and some daycare centers. Active members of the military who have the same level of training as a CHL holder will be granted concealed carry privileges without a license.

The controversial new law has drawn both criticism and praise from groups across the state. The Ohio Chapter of Moms Demand Action, a group that promotes gun safety, released a statement calling S.B. 199 a "a dangerous gun bill" that "limits the ability of businesses to keep people from carrying guns on private property" and added that law enforcement officers, business leaders and college students have voiced concerns about the bill.

Those in favor of the bill include the National Rifle Association and the Buckeye Firearms Association, an Ohio gun advocacy group, which has stated that it is pleased by "the changes and improvements" that S.B. 199 will make to Ohio law.

Women United hosting signature event

MOUNT VERNON - Women United, a United Way of Knox County Women’s Leadership Initiative, will be hosting their signature event, “Power of the Purse, on Friday, May 5, 2017, in Gund Commons, on the Kenyon College Campus.

The “Power of the Purse” event is for women who enjoy and appreciate a variety of new, unused purses. The evening includes dinner and networking, along with a silent purse auction and exciting live purse auction. Gently used purses will be sold on the “Bag Lady Boulevard” which is a collection of gently used purses at rock bottom prices.

Proceeds from this event will be used to support the projects of Women United, specifically Recovery Housing for women and children and the empowerment program ROX.

Donations of new and gently used purses will be accepted at United Way, located at 110 East High Street, Mount Vernon, between the hours of 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.

To reserve a ticket or a table for the event, contact Katie Peterson at  740.397.5721 or email [email protected]

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