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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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Grand Jury cases involve meth, heroin and cocaine

MOUNT VERNON –On April 4, 2016, the Knox County Grand Jury issued fourteen indictments in a wide variety of cases.

Gary S. Gregg, 55, of Howard, was indicted for Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs, a second degree felony. Gregg was arrested with approximately 50 grams of methamphetamine during an undercover drug operation in February. The indictment also contains forfeiture specifications for a 1987 Chevy Silverado and $16,140.00 in cash. This case was investigated by Det. Lt. Craig Feeney.

Eric Azbell, 29, of Mount Vernon was indicted for Kidnapping, a second-degree felony, Abduction, a third-degree felony, and Felonious Assault, a second-degree felony. The indictment alleges Azbell attacked his victim with a taser. This case was investigated by Mount Vernon Police Ptl. Tyler Berger. In a separate case, Azbell was also indicted for Possession of Methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony. This case was investigated by State Highway Patrol Trooper James King.

Albert F. Johnson III, 33, of Mansfield, was indicted for Rape, a felony of the first degree, and Gross Sexual Imposition, a fourth-degree felony. The indictment alleges that the victim was less than thirteen years of age when the offense occurred. This case was investigated by Morrow County Sheriff’s Office Det. Marissa Gibson, and KCSO Det. Danial Bobo.

Robert M. McDonald, 47, of Nashport, was indicted for Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, a second-degree felony, and two counts of Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol, first-degree misdemeanors. The indictment alleges that McDonald was intoxicated when he caused the death of his truck’s passenger, Pamela Ballard, on State Route 13. This case was investigated by the Mount Gilead Post of the State Highway Patrol.

Joshua L. Jones, 32, of Burbank, and Travis W. Rhodes, 34, of Shreve, were indicted for two counts of Breaking and Entering, fifth-degree felonies, Petty Theft, a first-degree misdemeanor, Safecracking, a fourth-degree felony, and Theft from a Person in a Protected Class, a third-degree felony. This case was investigated by Knox County Sheriff’s Det. Lt. Craig Feeney and Det. Sgt. James Ferenbaugh.

Terry T. Barker, 35, of Columbus, was indicted for Possession of Cocaine, a third-degree felony, and Possession of Heroin, a fourth-degree felony. Barker was charged as the result of a traffic stop. The case was investigated by MVPD Ptl. Jessica Butler.

Cierra N. Steigerwald, 28, of Mount Vernon, was indicted for two counts of Receiving Stolen Property. One count alleges Steigerwald received a 2014 Toyota Corolla, a fourth-degree felony, and the other count alleges she received a Lowe’s credit card belonging to the same victim, a fifth-degree felony. This case was investigated by MVPD Ptl. Matthew Jones.

Richard D. Poole, 35, of Mount Vernon, was indicted for Possession of Heroin, a fourth degree felony. This case was investigated by KCSO Det. Lt. Craig Feeney and Det. Brandon Minot.

David M. Griffith, 42, of Centerburg was indicted for Falsification, a fourth-degree felony. The indictment alleges that Griffith falsified an application to obtain a concealed handgun license. This case was investigated by KCSO Lt. Tim Light.

Haylee P. Robinson, 33, of Mount Vernon, was indicted for two counts of Forgery, fifth-degree felonies, two counts of Theft, fifth-degree felonies, and one count of Theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. This case was investigated by MVPD Sgt. Travis Tharp and Sgt. Andrew Burns.

Dane E. Ferenbaugh, 34, of Fredericktown was indicted for Possession of Heroin, a fifth-degree felony. This case was investigated by Fredericktown Police Ptl. Ronny Flynn.

Ryan McKenzie, 34, of Mount Vernon, was indicted for Burglary, a second-degree felony, Trespass in a Habitation, a fourth-degree felony, Disrupting Public Services, a fourth-degree felony, Assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, and Criminal Damaging, a second-degree misdemeanor. This case was investigated by MVPD Ptl. Zachary Miller.

Katrina Worden, 42, of Utica, was indicted for Robbery, a third-degree felony, Trespass in a Habitation, a fourth-degree felony, and Theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. This case was investigated by MVPD Ptl. David McElroy.

Arraignments on these cases are scheduled for April 15, 2016 in the Knox County Court of Common Pleas.

Concerns raised about tent camping in city parks

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter


MOUNT VERNON — Monday night, City Council gave a first reading to an ordinance allowing tent camping in city parks. Before its second reading at the April 25 council meeting, the administration will amend the ordinance to reflect council members’ concerns.

As written, the ordinance allows the safety-service director to issue a temporary camping permit to a recognized nonprofit or charity for a special event; the event cannot exceed three consecutive days. Council members requested specific language be added to note temporary camping applies only to Ariel-Foundation Park, not all city parks. Other concerns included specifying what areas of the park could be used, months camping will be allowed and what constitutes a recognized nonprofit.

Mayor Richard Mavis said the ultimate plan is to develop a lease agreement with the Ariel-Foundation Park Conservancy that gives the conservancy the authority to schedule events at Ariel-Foundation Park; for other city parks, the scheduling authority remains with the city. Councilman John Booth noted that if problems occur, people would look to the city for resolution rather than the conservancy.

Doug McLarnan of the Knox County Park District told council members he has received several inquiries from cycling groups about camping opportunities in the city, specifically the downtown area. Although he took no position on the camping ordinance, he told council that as the bike trail is better developed, the camping issue will start coming to the fore.

Busy summer ahead with city projects

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter


MOUNT VERNON — City Council members discussed six projects in a 6:45 p.m. committee meeting, and then passed emergency resolutions dealing with five of them during council’s legislative session. The projects include:


  • Street resurfacing: $430,000. Bids to be opened in next several weeks.
  • Commerce Drive reconstruction and traffic signal: $267,373, city’s share $17,000. Anticipated finish date June 30. Initial grant was $150,000; the city received a second grant of $100,000 with the proviso that the city assumes ownership of the signal and street from Blackjack Road to the city limits.
  • West High/Sandusky street intersection: $510,000, city’s share $145,862. Start date July 1.
  • CA&C storm water project: involves removing, grinding and reusing asphalt to slope the parking lot so water will drain into three filtration areas. The three areas will become rain gardens with decorative plants and vegetation. The parking lot will have 31 parking spots. Potential start date in June. Funding through EPA grant.
  • Downtown sidewalk: $440,000, city’s share $33,000. Funded by Community Development Block Grant. Sidewalk to run from Gay Street, around Public Square to High Street to Sandusky Street. Aug. 6 anticipated completion date.

Legislation authorizing the sixth project, a CDBG-funded sidewalk from Vernonview Drive north of the Kroger Co. to and along Beech Street, received a first reading. The sidewalk on Beech Street will be on the north side of the street.

Council members also passed emergency legislation authorizing the sale of a 2003 Chevrolet Impala no longer needed in the water department, authorizing the city to apply for $75,000 in CDBG money and authorizing the city to apply for $300,000 in CDBG critical infrastructure development money for fiscal year 2016. Mayor Richard Mavis said that if the city receives the entire $300,000, it would be used for improvements on Pleasant Street between Mulberry and North Main streets. If the minimum of $75,000 is received, it will be used to extend the Beech Street sidewalk toward Sychar Road.

The emergency appropriations council passed include:

  • $6,129.88 to parks maintenance and repair for Ariel-Foundation Park from a Delaware-Knox-Marion-Morrow grant
  • $11,000 to special projects from Municipal Court estimated revenue
  • $5,000 for July 4th fireworks from Ariel-Foundation Park Conservancy
  • $100,000 to street paving from Jobs Ohio grant
  • $33,900 from the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County to fund summer seasonal help
  • $31,719 from the Ariel Foundation to fund a tree inventory conducted by the Shade Tree and Beautification Committee

Legislation allowing camping in Ariel-Foundation Park received a first reading; the ordinance will be amended and up for second reading at the next council meeting.


Editor's note: This was the first city council meeting to be streamed live on the city's website.  You can watch the recorded meeting at this link.

Local resident scammed in phone fraud


MOUNT VERNON - On Monday, a local resident reported to the Sheriff's Department that she received a call from an unknown person claiming to be her grandson.

The suspect stated that he had been in a car accident with a rental car that he was driving. The suspect claimed
that his insurance would not cover a $2000 repair bill, and she needed to send the money through Apple Iphone gift cards. She withdrew $2000 from her credit card and purchased the cards. She was then in contact with a "Ralph Davenport," a representative from the fraudulent car rental agency. She gave the card numbers to the suspect.

She contacted her grandson after the transaction. He stated that the information was false and he did not rent a car nor get into an accident.

Benefit planned for Williams family whose farm was devastated by fire

CENTERBURG - The Stanley and Anna Williams family suffered an incredible loss on February 20, 2016, when their 12,000-square-foot barn burned. The loss included 20 feeder cattle, a goat, two tractors, hay and straw. But the loss that seemed like family to folks in the Centerburg area were the three draft horses - JR, Doc and Bill - who were part of the teams that pulled the hayrides at the Oldtime Farming Festival for more than 20 years.

One section of the barn at 6179 Graham Road, just north of Five Corners, was built in 1890. Fire investigators said there was so much damage to the barn that it was impossible to determine the cause, but it was thought to be electrical. The loss was estimated to be $200,000. Firefighters from 10 departments pumped 90,000 gallons of water into the fire without much effect.

A benefit is being planned for Sunday, April 17, at the Centerburg Conservation Club, 5680 Sycamore Road. Starting time is 3:00 p.m. with a hog roast at 4:00, admission by donation.

The list of activities and events includes a Poker Run starting at Wyandot Golf Course with registration beginning at 10:00 a.m., a Trap Shoot starting at noon, a raffle for door prizes (which are still being collected), a Gun Raffle, and a Bass Fishing Tournament with registration starting at noon. Flat-out donations will also be accepted. All proceeds will go to the Williams family to help them rebuild.

Contacts include Dave Griffith at 614-400-5262, Beth Hardin at 740-594-4625, Kathy Griffith at 740-358-6038 and Dennis Bartley at 740-627-1398. Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Williams-Family-Benefit-206763093017562/

Horses stagecoach
Two of the Williams family draft horses are shown here pulling a stagecoach in the Oldtime Farming Festival parade in 2007. The photo from the Festival file was sent in by Ruthie Kreidler. The stagecoach was built by John Eley for Bob Newton, who at that time was president of the Festival. Sitting atop the stagecoach, from left, are Stanley'Williams, Newton's grandson Colton Hill and Donna Williams, Stanley's daughter-in-law. (Festival file photo)

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