The Press Newspaper
Ralph Doren, who was found guilty in 2006 of aggravated murder in the slaying of Northwood resident Deanna Meeks, was convicted again in the Wood County Court of Common Pleas last month after an appeals court last year overturned the first conviction.
Doren was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after 20 years.
Meeks was 19 when she was found slain in her Lester Avenue Home on June 7, 1991.
Doren, 59, had been a co-worker of Meeks’ mother’s boyfriend at the time he burglarized the home, unaware Meeks was in the house. He killed her so she couldn’t identify him.
The case went cold for years until it was re-opened in 2003 by former Northwood Police Chief Gerald Herman and Capt. Trent Schroeder, the lead investigator in the city’s cold case unit.
The trial court convicted Doren in 2006 for aggravated murder and sentenced him to life in prison with eligibility for parole after 20 years.
But the Ohio Court of Appeals 6th Appellate District on Jan. 19, 2009, overturned the conviction, saying an error had violated Doren’s fundamental right to a fair trial. The court, in a 2-1 decision, vacated Doren’s conviction and remanded the matter for a new trial.
In 2005, when Northwood City Council reviewed a plan by the police department to install Redflex automated photo speed and red light enforcement cameras at two intersections, the city’s share of the revenue from citations issued to motorists were only to be used for traffic safety improvements.
The continuous right turn lane on Wales Road and the flashing lights at Lark School are examples of such improvements. The revenue is also used as compensation for a police officer who had been laid off.
Now, with the city struggling with budget cuts and reduced income tax collections, council is considering redirecting the funds into the general budget, which is down by 7.3 percent this year.
Earlier this year, council voted 4-3 in support of a new, three year contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., of Arizona, which operates the automated photo speed and red light enforcement cameras at the intersections of Woodville and Lemoyne roads and Wales and Oregon roads.
The city is receiving a greater share of the revenue received from traffic citations issued as a result of the cameras.
Repairs to Lake Elementary and Middle schools won’t delay the opening of the schools for the 2010-11 school year, according to Tim Krugh, president of the Lake Board of Education, who says the board has reached agreement with the district’s insurer for roof repairs to both buildings.
The middle and elementary schools were damaged in a June 5 tornado that also destroyed the nearby high school building.
The school board is also close to deciding on how to proceed with replacing the damaged cafeteria and boilers for the middle school.
“Both of these buildings will be ready for school come late August,” Krugh said. “That’s our goal and we think it’s realistic. Some of the roof work may be done later but the buildings themselves will be ready to go. That work has been authorized and we’re working on the details for getting the boilers at the middle school operating. The heat we may not need until October, hopefully. But we hope to have the cafeteria running by the time school starts. We’re looking at a permanent structure for the cafeteria rather than a temporary structure because the costs may not be a whole lot more.”
Red Cross donates funds to the United Way
The funds were originally donated to the Red Cross to help respond to relief efforts associated with the tornadoes that swept through Northwest Ohio the weekend of June 5.
“The Red Cross received such an outpouring of good will from the community that we’ve covered our expenses and want to pass on that generosity,” said Tim Yenrick, regional director of the American Red Cross. “This money will help families with long-term counseling, legal services and individual needs that have yet to be met.”
Several weeks ago, a long-term recovery committee made up of social service agencies and emergency personnel formed in Wood County. The group voted United Way to administer funds for long-term efforts.
Two communities in the Press distribution area have acquired a reputation for speed enforcement.
One, Woodville, is home to Speed Trap Diner, an eatery located at the village limits featuring a 1950 DeSoto black and white police car with a cherry on top, which is attached to the diner’s roof. The other, Northwood, has two red-light camera intersections that also nab speeders in addition to red light runners. At the Woodville Road-Lemoyne intersection, there are digital signs that flash motorists their speed, warning them to slow down before the camera shoots their picture.
As you can see, neither community hides their speed enforcement policy. In Woodville, Police Chief Roy Whitehead told a Press reporter he found the diner’s approach humorous and a positive influence on his department’s goal of reducing speed past two elementary schools located on U.S. 20. The four-lane highway has heavy truck and transient traffic.
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