On Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Mercer County Sheriff's Office will be holding a drug take back event as part of the National Drug Take Back Initiative. During this event, the public will have the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to The Mercer County Detention Facility parking lot at 4835 State Route 29. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Please do not bring syringes or liquids. This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. So far in 2017, the Mercer County Sheriff's Office has collected over 81 pounds of prescription drugs from the Drug Drop Box located in the lobby of the Sheriff's Office and from take back events. The public is reminded that if they are unable to make it to the organized take back event, the drop box in the lobby of the Sheriff's Office is available 24 hours a day. The Miami County Sheriff's Office is also holding a take back event on Saturday, from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. residents can bring unwanted pill medications for disposal to the Miami County Sanitary Engineer's Office (Transfer Station) located at 2200 North County Road, Troy, Ohio. This curbside drop-off gives the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. In Darke County, the Greenville Police Department will be collecting at 122 W. Main St and the Darke County Sheriff's Office will collect at the Family Health Building in Greenville at 5735 Meeker Road.

    Back in September, we reported on a armed robbery in Union Township in Miami County. During the home invasion, Keason Twitty was shot by the homeowner outside of the home on North Montgomery County Line Road. The homeowner called 911 and said a group of men kicked in the door of his house and shot at him. Corey Dixon, 18, entered a plea of guilty to first-degree aggravated burglary with a gun specification, second-degree felony conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and aggravated assault in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Thursday. As part of Dixon's change of plea, a joint recommendation of seven years in prison was submitted to the court. Dixon also agreed to cooperate with state prosecutors and testify against co-defendants in the case. Three years will be mandatory due to the gun specification. Dixon could face a maximum 22 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. He was ordered to complete a pre-sentence investigation. He will be sentenced on June 12. Dixon remains incarcerated at the Miami County Jail. Eric Santos, 31, also remains in jail on a felony first-degree aggravated burglary charge. A motion to suppress evidence hearing has been set for Friday.

    In a follow up from Wednesday's fire in downtown Greenville, the investigation continues for the Greenville Fire Department. Just before Noon, multiple emergency personnel responded to the 322 South Broadway after reports of heavy smoke coming from the structure. Home to Gray House Comics and Games, it was reported as a 3 alarm fire that appeared to start in the rear of the two-story building. The store was unoccupied at the time of the fire, as was the upstairs apartment. An estimate of total damages has yet to be determined. The good news, no one was injured. Several other business' and buildings surrounding the Gray House were also damaged. Crews were fast and efficient in responding to the blaze. Section of Broadway and Sycamore Street were closed for some time as crews worked to put out the fire and then investigate and clear the scene.

    The Greenville Police Department (GPD) responded to a domestic dispute that turned into a stabbing Thursday morning. According to the GPD, the dispute began at a home across the street from McMiller's Carryout on Martin Street and continued to the parking lot of the business and eventually under the awning near the carryout window. Although still in the early stages of the investigation, police believe the female subject was the aggressor and had multiple household knives and stabbed the male victim in the chest. The victim was transported to a Dayton hospital where his condition is unknown. The female was taken to Wayne HealthCare where her condition is also unknown. Charges are likely. The incident remains under investigation.

    More than 2,500 runners took part in the 8th Annual Grand Blue Mile on Tuesday in Downtown Des Moines', Iowa. This year's event included the prestigious Men's & Women's USATF 1 Mile Road Championships. Darke County's own Clayton Murphy finished on top out of the 19 men's competitors, setting a course record with a finish time of 3:59.96. Busy week for Murphy as on Monday we reported him winning gold by anchoring the men's 4X800 team in the World Relays in the Bahamas over the weekend. From the first ever Tri-Village FFA Clayton Murphy 5K to winning 2 professional races, April has been a fast and successful month for Murphy.

    Darke County Parks is hosting a fitness program called 5K Fit every Thursday @ 5:30pm from now through May 18th. Join them throughout the spring to get healthy. They'll have three different programs for you to choose from (walking, walking/jogging, and running) to suit your fitness needs and help you work towards a healthier lifestyle. With everyone setting their own goals and moving at their own pace, feel free to join them at any point during the program. For every time you attend, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free registration for the Raptor Run/Walk" on Saturday August 5th at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. Please dress for the weather and bring a timing device and water bottle. For questions or weather updates, call the Nature Center at 548-0165.

    On Tuesday, at 9:02pm Darke County Sheriff Deputies along with Tri-Village Rescue, New Madison Fire and Miami Valley Careflight responded to an injury accident in the 4400 block of State Route 121. Preliminary investigation revealed a 2004 Chevy Trailblazer driven by Tiffany Bercaw (24), of Greenville, was northbound on State Route 121 when she was attempting to pass a farm tractor. Bercaw lost control of her vehicle, traveling off the right side of the roadway overturning multiple times. Bercaw was ejected from the vehicle. The Greenville woman was airlifted from the scene by Careflight to Miami Valley Hospital, where she is listed in stable condition.

    On Friday, April 21, 2017 at approximately 11:49 P.M., the Darke County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call requesting an ambulance to 7724 Martin Road Bradford, Ohio in reference to a man that was stabbed.
     Darke County deputies responded to that residence along with Gettysburg Fire and Rescue. The investigation revealed Benjamin J. Reed (35) and Benjamin J. Hampshire (23) both from Union City, Ohio, made entry into the residence and assaulted Jason R. Garrett (33) of Greenville, Ohio. During the altercation, Mr. Garrett stabbed Mr. Reed in the chest and abdomen. Mr. Garrett and Mr. Hampshire both fled the residence prior to the deputy's arrival. Mr. Reed was transported by Careflight to Miami Valley Hospital. Mr. Garrett was located shortly after in Greenville and was transported to Wayne Health Care by Greenville Township Rescue for treatment of the injuries he sustained during the altercation and was released later that day. On Saturday April 22, 2017 at 3:53 P.M., deputies located Mr. Hampshire at the Hunter Oak Apartments in Greenville, Ohio where he was taken into custody without further incident on charges of Aggravated Burglary. Mr. Reed's condition is unknown at this time. This case will be presented to the Darke County Prosecutor's Office for further review and additional charges are likely. This case remains under investigation.

    The Darke County Commissioners met on Monday, for their regularly scheduled meeting and on the agenda was Curt Garrison, Safety Service Director from the City of Greenville, to discuss dispatch and MARCS Radios between the City and County. Garrison presented 2 pages with a total of 12 questions to ask the Commissioners about Dispatch and MARCS Radios. The 1st question was pertaining to the City having a written agreement with the Commissioners outlining terms, cost, grievance procedures and other administrative details to dispatch services. Commissioner Mike Rhoades provided a simple no to that agreement. From that no, a few of the other questions on the list were eliminated. The question that provided the most details was #4 which asked if the Commissioners had a sustainable funding source to provide long term dispatch services to the County at no charge. Commissioner Rhoades informed Garrison and a large crowd on hand that the County did have a sustainable funding source and added that last year, Tri-County Mental Health Board approached Darke County about a facility for treatment to battle the drug epidemic. The County has plans to sell the County Home to Tri-County Mental Health and with that, saving $500,000 a year from the expense to keep up the County Home. There are currently 20 people in the County Home. Rhoades assured that there were homes and funding available to relocate the people at the County Home. The $500,000 savings will be moved around, but will serve as the primary source for dispatch funding. Another question was pertaining to a possible property tax levy to fund equipment. Commissioner Rhoades answered that Garrison and Chief Butts were aware of that through discussion with the Communication Team. That group will gather on Wednesday, to talk about those numbers and a levy. The Commissioner added that with the recent addition of MARCS Radios from ODNR, that price total should be lower, but a tax levy will be coming in the near future for equipment/MARCS Radios. Darke County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker said he is pushing for the move to the MARCS system and it should be for 2018. It has been well documented that this move is needed because of the current outdated system. The next Darke County Commissioners meeting will be Wednesday, April 26th at 1:30 in Downtown Greenville.

    On Friday, at approximately 7:56 PM, Darke County Deputies along with Union City OH. Rescue and Liberty Township Fire and CareFlight responded to the 7400 block of Palestine Union City Rd on a report of a injury crash with a car into a tree. Preliminary investigation revealed a black 1995 Chevy Trailblazer driven by Jeremy M. Kimball 42, of Winchester IN., was traveling northbound in the 7400 block of Palestine-Union City Rd and drove left of center traveling off the left side of the roadway and striking a tree. The driver was taken to Miami Valley Hospital by CareFlight for his injuries and Kimball was not wearing a seatbelt and alcohol is a suspected factor in this crash. This accident remains under investigation by the Darke County Sheriff's Office.

    Greenville police responded to another gas station robbery Sunday morning.
    According to Greenville Police Department reports, the armed robbery occurred at approximately 7:17 a.m. at the Sunoco gas station, 841 Martin St., Greenville. The reports indicate the suspect, identified as possibly a white male with a short/stocky build – wearing a white hoodie and a black ski mask, brandished a knife to the gas station clerk before fleeing on foot with about $230 in cash. The Darke County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit attempted to track the suspect, but to no avail. This marks the third time since 2014 the gas station has been robbed by an armed suspect. If you have any information about this robbery, contact the Greenville Police Department at 937-548-1103 or the Darke County Sheriff's Office at 937-548-2020. You can also call the private Crime Stoppers tipline at 937-547-1161 or submit a tip online at darkecountycrimestoppers.com/tips.

    One person was transported to an area hospital following a crash on OH-49 South Monday morning. A preliminary investigation revealed that at approximately 7 a.m. a southbound vehicle on OH-49 reportedly went over the center line, hitting a northbound Ford SUV at the Pitsburg-Laura Road intersection. The driver of the car was transported to Miami Valley Hospital, while the driver of the SUV was treated and released from the scene.

STATE TO FIGHT DRUGS - April 21, 2017
    The state of Ohio will receive $26 million to fight heroin and prescription drugs, part of a pot of $485 million in grants that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering to battle the drug epidemic. According to Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, the money will be used over the next two years for medication-assisted treatment, prevention, screening, recovery supports and addressing secondary trauma among first responders, including law enforcement and emergency medical technicians. The money comes from the 21st Century Cures act, a law enacted in December 2016 that will provide $1 billion over two years to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic. Sen. Rob Portman fought for opioid funding to be included in the bill. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also supported the bill, but protested when the distribution of federal dollars was slow to go out. Brown and other Democratic colleagues sent a letter to President Donald Trump earlier this month calling for the money to be released.

HIT & RUN SUSPECT CAUGHT - April 20, 2017
    On Wednesday, we reported on that hit and run on Washington Avenue. The Greenville Police Department has caught up with Ethan Louk, 23, who’s believed to be the driver of a truck that struck a bicyclist in the 500 block of Washington Ave. Louk, was southbound in a light blue truck on Washington Ave. when its believed he intentionally crossed the centerline and continued off the left side off the street. Louk's vehicle hit an adult male riding his bicycle on the sidewalk. Louk immediately fled the scene, but was later apprehended and transported to the Darke County Jail. He is currently charged with Felonious Assault, a second-degree felony, and is awaiting bond. Additional charges are possible, pending a review by the Darke County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The male rider of the bicycle was not seriously hurt.

BRADFORD HOUSE FIRE - April 20, 2017
    A fire broke out Wednesday afternoon inside a Darke County home near Bradford. The fire was reported around 4:40 p.m. in the 8900 block of Old U.S. 36 in Adams Twp. The house initially was reported as engulfed to emergency dispatchers. No one was inside the single-story home, and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was not released. Firefighters from Bradford, Covington and Pitsburg were requested to the scene.

    Summer Camps are coming back for Darke County Parks. The day camps this year feature "Things With Wings," a flight themed camp for 6 and 7 year olds, will run June 19th through 23rd from 10am to 12pm. "Rocks," a geology camp, will run June 26th through 30th from 10am to 12pm. The camps for 8-9 year olds include "Trailblazers," an adventure and hiking themed camp on July 10th through 14th. "Ocean Explorers," a sea themed camp on July 24th through 29th. The 10-12 year old camps are "Let's Paddle," a canoe and kayak camp on June 12th through 16th from 1pm to 4pm and "Survive the Ohio Territory," a survival themed camp on July 31st through August 4th. The final day camp offering is "Adventure Zone," an action packed camp for 13-15 year olds on July 17th through 21st. The two mini camps for 6-9 year olds offer a condensed program with three days of camp involving hands on activity, take home crafts, and lots of time outdoors. The sessions offered are "Stamp into Nature," a letter boxing camp on Monday, June 12th through Wednesday, June 14th. "Christmas in July," a Christmas themed camp on Wednesday, July 5th through Friday, July 7th. For more information about any of these camps or to sign children up, please contact the Nature Center at (937) 548- 0165 or email info@darkecountyparks.org.

    City of Greenville Council met on Tuesday night for their regularly scheduled meeting and Matt Staugler, from the Darke County Visitor’s Bureau addressed council pertaining to a downtown kiosk. The Visitor's Bureau along with Main Street Greenville were looking for approval from Council for a potential kiosk in front of the Welcome Center on Broadway in Downtown Greenville. The majority of Council spoke highly on the project, but Council President, John Burkett, Safety Service Director, Curt Garrison and Law Director, Eric Brand, had concerns and questions over the project with safety and potential legislation. The Visitors Bureau and Main Street Greenville are paying for the project with one side of the Kiosk focusing on Darke County and the other side providing information about Downtown Greenville. Staugler informed council that this will not be the only kiosk going up in the county. Plans have been made for a kiosk to be put in Downtown Versailles and at Eldora Speedway. Council Member Tracy Tryon made the motion to have legislation prepared for the May 16th meeting for the Kiosk, the legislation will have an emergency clause. The next City of Greenville Council meeting will be Tuesday, May 2nd at 7:30 in the City Building.

    I-75 South is closed north of Piqua after a crash which was the result of an overdose, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol Piqua Post. All southbound lanes closed after the crash, which occurred shortly after 9 a.m. At 9:30 a.m., a tow truck was on scene and troopers were working to open one lane up to traffic.

    Back in June, we reported on a fatal crash on State Route 571. A New Paris man appeared Monday in Darke County Common Pleas Court for sentencing from the crash last summer that killed a Greenville Woman. Aaron Holmes, 31, entered into a plea agreement with the Darke County Prosecutor's Office on four counts, including Felonious Assault, amended from Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, two counts of Aggravated Vehicular Assault, and one count of Driving Under the Influence. Last year, Holmes went left of center on State Route 571, just west of Greenville. He struck a vehicle driven by Ryan Sanders of Greenville. Sanders' vehicle then hit a car driven by Linda Stebbins, 61, of Greenville. Stebbins was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in her car, was injured and transported to Miami Valley Hospital by CareFlight. Sanders was treated at Wayne HealthCare in Greenville. Holmes refused treatment at the scene. Holmes was sentenced on all counts to seven years in prison, with 74 days in jail credited, with five years suspended. He must serve a mandatory two-year sentence. If he fails to comply to the terms of his imprisonment or probation upon release, he could be returned to prison. Holmes is also required to pay court costs, $375 for the DUI charge, & $10,628 in restitution for the victim's funeral costs.

    A Troy woman convicted of forgery for signing names of customers of Check into Cash on loan paperwork without their knowledge was sentenced Monday, to two years of community control and restitution of $1,401. Pennie Roberds, 46, originally was charged with four counts of forgery and one of theft involving four checks for loans totaling $1,401 in November and December. Troy police said business video showed Roberds allegedly processing loan documents while no customer was in the store. She later pleaded guilty to one count of felony forgery in Miami County Common Pleas Court.

    The Darke County Friends of the Shelter would like to thank the Lydia Schauer Foundation for there wonderful donation. Most of the walls inside the Darke County Animal Shelter are cinder block and needed to be painted, so the Director of the Shelter has asked the organization to brighten up the inside of the Shelter with a special paint scheme to create a nice and friendly atmosphere for the people who are coming to the Shelter to find a four-legged companion or family member. The adoption room now has a ceiling. To improve the noise level, the ceiling was lowered and small roof was placed on top of it. This had actually been suggested by people that were looking to adopt their four-legged companion.
     The rest of the money is put towards the upkeep of "Scentral Park". The Dog Park requires a lot of daily, weekly and monthly maintenance. Most of it is done by the volunteers. The Darke County Friends of the Shelter cannot thank the Lydia Schauer Foundation enough for all they do for the Darke County Friends of the Shelter.

DRUG BUST IN SIDNEY - April 14, 2017
    On Wednesday, at approx. 9:00 AM investigators and officers from the Sidney Police Department executed a narcotics search warrant at 708 Port Jefferson Street, Sidney Ohio. Recovered during the search were meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. As a result of the search warrant, arrested is Clark J Murray, age 43, who resides at the Pt. Jefferson Street residence. Murray is charged with one count of Trafficking in Drugs felony of the 4th degree and two counts of Possession of Criminal Tools a felony of the 5th degree. As a result of the charges Murray was taken to the Shelby County Jail. Information resulting in this warrant was derived in part from concerned citizens. All citizens are asked that if they have any information about drug activity to contact the Sidney Police Department at 937-498-8777 or Crime Stoppers at 937-492-8477 (TIPS).

    Earlier this week, The Erwin Bros. Trucking Company of Ansonia received word from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they were approved a plan to set up a septic system at their fuel stop located at the intersection of U.S. Route 127 and State Route 49. The approval gives the Erwin’s hope to bypass the City of Greenville’s requirement to sign a pre-annexation agreement for sewer and water services. The Erwin Brother’s had hoped to open in December, but the city has been holding sewer and water because Erwin’s has refused to sign that pre-annexation agreement that would have required the company to install a third lane, curbs, sidewalks, streetlights or whatever the city zoning requires when and if annexation were to ever to take place. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), located across the street from EB Fuel Center, did not have to agree to the same requirements. The city has 30 days to file an appeal with the EPA. There is still work and requirements ahead for Erwin Brothers in hopes to opening their fuel center, but the company has plans to open in late May or early June. When the fuel center does open, the business is expected to employ approximately 25 people.

    The Darke County Agricultural Society met on Wednesday for a special board meeting. The Fair Board accepted Brian Rismiller’s resignation as President so that he could accept the contract that the board had prepared him to become Fair Manager. Rismiller leaves the position as President and that means Vice President, Dean Neff, will take that seat. The Board Elected Doug Martin to take Neff’s seat as vice president. There were several roles that the President held that will transfer over to incoming President Neff.

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