The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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.

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Northwood, which is struggling with budget cuts due to reduced income tax collections, will not pay for insecticide used for mosquito spraying this summer.

Currently, the city is using insecticide left over from last year, Administrator Pat Bacon said to city council at a committee of the whole meeting June 3.

“When it’s gone, it’s gone. We’re not purchasing more,” said Bacon.

A 55-gallon drum of insecticide would cost the city $4,400, she said.

The city will continue to use larvacide in the catch basins, she added.

“Putting in the larvacide in the catch basins is very important, and we’ll continue to do that,” she said after the meeting.

Mosquito spraying only benefits those living in subdivisions, not in rural areas, she said.

“We only go into residential subdivisions, so we’re not servicing the entire city. We’re not going out where the industry is, we’re not going out on Curtice, Fostoria and Bradner roads. We’re only doing it where the subdivisions are. If you’re not benefiting the entire community, that’s one of the first things to eliminate. We’re all taxpayers, but only those who live in the subdivisions have the benefit,” she said.

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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.

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A member of a committee established to monitor the financial assistance being collected for Wood County victims of the June 5 tornado says there will likely be a need for the panel to continue meeting until the end of the year.

With some residents being without adequate insurance to replace property and others struggling to meet basic needs, the work of the Long Term Tornado Disaster Committee isn’t likely to conclude soon, said John Castellanos, a captain with the Lake Township Fire Department who is a representative of the department on the committee.

Representatives of the Red Cross, United Way, Catholic Charities, WSOS Community Action, area churches, local government, and the township’s emergency responders meet weekly to assess the on-going efforts to help victims financially.

“The committee was set up to assist all the victims of Wood County. I think there will be a need for another six months or so with some people being homeless or without insurance. We want to make sure people realize 100 percent of the money you send in goes where it’s supposed to go,” Capt. Castellanos said, adding committee members are also emphasizing there is no administrative cost siphoning  donation money.

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Residents of the Village of Millbury and Lake Township received an update Wednesday on recovery services available to them in the wake of the June 5 tornado responsible for the deaths of six people and millions of dollars in property damage in their community.

Millbury Mayor Mike Timmons said the village and township are waiving zoning permit fees for storm-related reconstruction projects and the Wood County Building Inspection Department plans to open a satellite office in the township to process building permits.

Residents who need to raze foundations should contact the Northwestern Water and Sewer District which will sever water lines so they don’t get crushed during a demolition.

Officials  at the meeting, held at the Millbury Fireman’s Recreation Center, said there were several  services available:

• Mike Sibbersen, Wood County Auditor, reminded residents with damages to fill out forms to adjust the appraised property valuations for next year’s taxes. Affected residents should contact Brian Jones at the auditor’s office, (419) 354-9174.

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NFL domestic violence

Will the recent reports of domestic abuse by NFL players affect your viewing of professional football?
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