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Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:18PM - 274 Views
Associated Press/PDT Staff



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Bob Strickley


PDT Content Manager


The opening verse of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ reads, "Should old acquaintance be forgot and never thought upon…" With that in mind and 2013 in full swing, the PDT newsroom staff takes a moment to reflect on the Top 3 local stories of 2012.


1. County budget in black, city seeing red


A permissive sales tax boost helped bring Scioto County out of the financial abyss in 2012. Meanwhile, the city of Portsmouth continues to receive warnings from the Office of the State Auditor concerning the lack of progress towards a deficit reduction.


The county commissioners eliminated the $827,611.41 deficit created by the closing of the Juvenile Detention Center, as reported by the Daily Times reported Dec. 14.


Chris McCoy of the State Auditor’s Office reported the unexpended balance of the county’s General Fund through November is at $1,894,019.94 thanks mainly to an increase in sales tax revenue.


"There’s excellent news to report this time around," McCoy told the Scioto County Planning and Supervisory Committee Dec. 13. "The outstanding deficit is no longer in existence. I think that’s excellent news."


On the other end of the spectrum is the fiscal status of the city.


As reported by the Daily Times Dec. 18, the Auditor of State’s Office said Portsmouth is doing little about some issues and nothing about others.


Representatives from the Local Government Section (LGS) of the Auditor of State’s office have been monitoring the progress of the items the city included in their fiscal caution plan to correct or eliminate the fiscal practices or budgetary conditions that prompted the declaration in the first place on Nov. 22, 2011.


Now, based on the third quarter financial reports provided to LGS for review, along with attending the city’s Finance Committee meeting, Robert R. Hinkle, Chief Deputy Auditor, said the progress made to date is "disappointing in the treatment of these important matters" in a letter to the city.


The evaluation said the city has made "very little progress" in becoming compliant with Ohio Budgetary law, including appropriations adopted within certified estimated resources. Hinkle said that was noted when reviewing the 2012 quarterly financial reports provided by the City Auditor as some fund balance deficits continue to increase.


2. Infra-Metals comes to town


A subsidiary of the publicly traded Reliance-Infra-Metals broke ground Oct. 25, 2012, after signing a development contract with the Southern Ohio Port Authority in March. The $13 million steel plant is being built at Bob Walton, Sr., Industrial Park in New Boston and will be Infra-Metal’s seventh plant. It is projected to bring 70 jobs.


A drawn-out, 5-year process and one that nearly did not happen, the project saw its final step towards reality earlier this month when Infra-Metals signed papers with SOPA officially transferring the land in New Boston to the company.


The deal was almost lost entirely after a bad first impression initially knocked New Boston out of the running for Infra-Metals. Infra-Metals Project Manager Michael Dean said it was former SOPA chairman Bob Walton, Sr., and local developer Don Hadsell who convinced the company to give them another look. To further entice the company, they were granted property tax abatements by the state of Ohio and the village of New Boston.


A driving force in the project from the beginning, Walton passed away in April of 2012.


3. Holsinger shooting case


On July 12, 2012, the controversial shooting involving Steve Holsinger and Tyler Staker took place at Holsinger’s residence in Wheelersburg. The shooting, and the subsequent legal process, polarized many in the community.


According to Scioto County Sheriff reports, Tyler Staker and his father Bob arrived at the Holsinger residence to repossess a piece of equipment that had not been paid in full.


According to Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini, detectives learned that Staker and his father had been at the location for more than an hour knocking on the door in attempts to retrieve the equipment.


Detectives, after speaking with a witness, determined that Holsinger came out on his porch with a gun, an argument ensued then cooled. However, Holsinger then pointed the gun at Tyler Staker’s face and Staker fired his own weapon at Holsinger. Holsinger was found deceased at the scene by authorities.


No arrest was made at the time.


Family and friends of Steve Holsinger then gathered July 16, 2012, at the Scioto County Courthouse to protest that no arrest had been made in the shooting.


Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said deputies followed the normal protocol.


Debates concerning concealed carry laws, repossession laws continued and the recording of the 911 call of the shooting was released. Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn told the Daily Times July 17 the case would be presented to a Scioto County grand jury.


On Sept. 24, the grand jury refused to return an indictment of Tyler Staker after six and a half hours of deliberation. On Sept. 30, the Daily Times reported on released grand jury testimony of a child witness describing the shooting.


This eyewitness’ testimony helped seal the Scioto County grand jury’s decision against indicting Tyler Staker of any criminal charges related to the shooting, according to Kuhn — who described the testimony as "compelling."


Top 10 news stories on portsmouth-dailytimes.com (listed by number of page views):


1. Local descendants not happy with ‘Hatfield & McCoys’ series (95,952 page views)


The History Channel aired a series on the Hatfields and McCoys feud. Paul Phillips of McDermott has ties to both families, and he was disappointed with the way the story was told.


Phillips said he heard stories growing up about the feud from his grandfather, Jesse J. Phillips. Those stories differ from what the History Channel portrayed.


"They had my great-grandmother as being a prostitute, and she was no prostitute. On the show Frank Phillips was shot dead on his wedding day," Phillips said. "Her (Nancy McCoy) wedding dress is on display at the 1810 House from their church wedding. If they did not have any kids how am I here?"


Phillips said parts of the show were accurate, however.


"There were bits and pieces of the show that was accurate, but not much."


Published June 1, 2012


2. Wheelersburg man killed in shooting (52,162 page views)


On July 12, 2012, the controversial shooting involving Steve Holsinger and Tyler Staker took place at Holsinger’s residence in Wheelersburg.


According to Scioto County Sheriff reports, Tyler Staker and his father Bob arrived at the Holsinger residence to repossess a piece of equipment that had not been paid in full.


According to Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini, detectives learned that Staker and his father had been at the location for more than an hour knocking on the door in attempts to retrieve the equipment.


Detectives, after speaking with a witness, determined that Holsinger came out on his porch with a gun, an argument ensued then cooled. However, Holsinger then pointed the gun at Tyler Staker’s face and Staker fired his own weapon at Holsinger. Holsinger was found deceased at the scene by authorities.


No arrest was made at the time.


Published July 13, 2012


3. West Portsmouth man arrested for kidnapping (46,061 page views)


A West Portsmouth man was arrested in the attempted sexual assault of a woman near Greenlawn Cemetery Aug. 25, 2012. Jeffrey Swick, 24, was taken into custody August 28 when he left his job at around 2 p.m.


The charge was kidnapping, a first degree felony. He was placed in the Scioto County Jail, where he was incarcerated under a $20,000 bond.


According to Portsmouth Police, shortly after 8 p.m. on Saturday, a woman was jogging alone and was attacked by a male who tried to sexually assault her.


Published Aug. 29, 2012


4. Teenager dies in single car crash (43,804 page views)


A single car crash claimed the life of a Scioto County teenager and injured two other teens.


Trevor A. Enz, 16, of Otway died after his 2008 Chevrolet Impala failed to negotiate a right curve on Ohio 348 near Adkins-Hoffer Hill Road, in Otway, around 2:30 p.m. July 17, 2012. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said the Enz vehicle was westbound on 348, when it drove off the left side of the roadway, struck a sign and several trees, coming to rest on its side in the middle of the roadway. Enz was pronounced deceased after being transported to Southern Ohio Medical Center.


A passenger in the vehicle, Erin L. Enz, 14, of Otway, was airlifted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Another passenger, Autumn N. Phipps, 15, of Lucasville, was transported by Ambulance to SOMC. According to an SOMC spokesman, Phipps too was later transferred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


Published July 18, 2012


5. Local OSU band members basking in performance praise (40,683 page views)


The Ohio State University (OSU) marching band is referred to as The Best Damn Band in the Land. According to some critics, their half time performance during the OSU-Nebraska football game reiterated that title.


Local members of the band Collin Poage and David Pettit said the band began training for the show a week and a half before the performance.


The band performed a nine-minute tribute to video games that some have called the best half time show of all time.


Since the performance the You Tube video has been viewed more than 14 million times.


Published Oct. 14, 2012


6. ‘Faking the funk’ (40,659 page views)


The Scioto County Homeless Shelter responded with frustration Jan. 4, 2012 to photos showing a supposed homeless man purchasing a large TV a week earlier at Walmart. Shelter Director Maureen Cadogan said it’s important not to let it scare people away from giving where it is really needed.


The man, identified as John Snavely, is often found on the corner of 11th and Chillicothe streets next to OSCO in Portsmouth holding a sign that says he is a disabled veteran, has no family, and lives in a tarp tent in the woods. Last week, Snavely was photographed purchasing a 42-inch Sanyo flat-screen television at Walmart in New Boston and paying from a large pile of cash. That television model was listed on Wednesday for $478.98 at Walmart.com.


"All these people out there who are faking the funk — they are jerks," Cadogan said. "Those people are out there not because it’s fun, but because they’re making good money, and that spot by OSCO is a huge spot."


Published Jan. 4, 2012


7. One dead in Lucasville fire (39,448 page views)


The Morgan Township Fire Department responded to the fire at around 1 p.m. Sept. 10, 2012, where they found Kurt McCall suffering from major burns to his body. It was then that the fire department was advised there was still a victim inside who could not get out. After they got the fire under control they found Lee R. McCall unresponsive inside the house. Two other people escaped the fire.


Published Sept. 13, 2012


8. Lack of arrest leads to protesting (37,333 page views)


Family and friends of Steve Holsinger gathered July 16, 2012 at the Scioto County Courthouse to protest that no arrest has been made in the shooting that left Holsinger dead.


"I’m here to get justice for Steve," Holsinger’s mother-in-law, Connie Reynolds, said, standing on the steps of the courthouse.


Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said deputies followed the normal protocol.


Published July 17, 2012


9. Buckler elected Domestic Relations judge (34,747 page views)


Democratic candidate Jerry Buckler won the election to Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Court Judge Nov. 6, 2012, defeating the sitting Republican judge Jay Willis and independent challenger J.B. Marshall, Jr.


"I’m a little bit nervous right now, but I’m happy. I’ve got my my family, my friends, my parents, my supporters, everyone who worked so hard. I’m thrilled," Buckler said.


The Democrat challenger, Buckler is a Lucasville resident who — in addition to his private practice of 16 years — is also a part-time city prosecutor and current member of the Valley School Board and Star Workshop Board and former teacher.


Published Nov. 7, 2012


10. Couple facing heroin charges (34,668 page views)


According to Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini and Portsmouth Police Chief Rob Ware, members of the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force, consisting of detectives from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, Portsmouth Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, arrested Jamie D. Craft, 29, of 502 Broadway St. in Portsmouth Dec. 20, 2012.


Craft’s husband Carson Craft, 33, was also served a warrant on indictment for similar criminal offenses. Carson Craft has been incarcerated in the Scioto County Jail since October.


Published Dec. 20, 2012



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