Following is a look back at 2019 from the pages of The Newcomerstown News. The first few paragraphs from the selected stories from each week from July to December are presented here.

JULY

July 3, 2019

A small group of neighborhood children look at a tree that was blown over June 24 as the result of a strong thunderstorm that moved through the region. Local amateur Meteorologist Don Keating reports a peak wind gust of 42 mph at 5:30 p.m. at the storm moved through. Rainfall for the day was 0.84". At one time, there was a tornado warning in effect for portions of Guernsey, Coshocton and Muskingum counties. There weren’t any tornado touchdowns reported but severeal people reported spotting a funnel cloud in Muskingum County."

July 10, 2019

An autopsy has been ordered at the Licking County Coroner’s Office for a 7-year-old boy after his body was recovered from Salt Fork Lake in Guernsey County Monday morning.

Afton Taylor, of North Canton, drowned at the lake late Sunday evening, but his body was not recovered until 9:15 a.m. Monday.

"We do not suspect foul play, but an autopsy has been ordered due to the nature of the accident and the age of the victim," said Guernsey County Coroner Dr. Sandra Schubert.

July 17, 2019

Newcomerstown village council recently heard a first reading concerning the establishment, control and regulation for village residents to display house or building numbers on premises located within the village.

It has been reported or identified that some residents do not have house or building numbers displayed, or at least clearly visible on places of residence or establishment.

The village has determined that the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Newcomerstown would be best served by the ordinance for a uniform street number display system. The system would facilitate the emergency personnel, public utilities and postal service to quickly identify and locate properties within the village.

GNADENHUTTEN — Harley Hunn, 15, was crowned the 2019 Gnadenhutten Fireworks Festival Queen, in the Indian Valley High School Auditorium. She is the daughter of Audrey and Barry Hunn.

Hunn will be a sophomore in the fall and was crowned by 2018 Queen Megan Allan. Contestants were required to tell the audience what the Fourth of July means to them.

July 24, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE — The Ridgewood Local Schools Board of Education heard a letter of praise from the Laborer’s International Union #134 regarding the chosen contractor for the athletic facility project.

Superintendent Mike Masloski read the letter from the union at the board’s regular meeting on July 12.

Union representatives praised the district for choosing Hathaway Inc. as the contractor, as it will help support many union families within the local community.

It’s official. The Family Dollar Store on Main Street in Newcomerstown has permanently closed and workers removed the sign on Wednesday. Several of the buildings on Main Street are now empty with village and community officials looking at ways to attract new businesses to Main Street.

July 31, 2019

The Olde Main Street Museum will present a true trip down "Memory Lane" on August 2-3 as Chris Hart and Ray McFadden present "The Last Customer" on two successive nights.

Set in 1967 at the Post House on Old Route 21 in Newcomerstown, the short order cook is played by living historian Chris Hart and his last customer before closing of the establishment is played by living historian Ray McFadden. The two reminisce about how State Route 21 affected the lives of those living in the area and express concern about how the coming Interstate will affect the community. They look back at the many families and generations who used the road to come to the area seeking a better way of life during WWII and the post-war period.

Once again the village is receiving reports of persons misusing the recycle bins. Council member, Heather Stein-Wells reports that she recently received a call from an individual that recently witnessed two adult males drive up to the recycle bins in a truck piled high with garbage bags, and illegally deposit the multiple garbage bags into the recycle bins during daytime hours

AUGUST

August 7, 2019

While it’s technically not "new," the website (www.newcomerstownoh.com) for the village of Newcomerstown has very little that remains the same as it was earlier this year.

"It is not a new website but a drastic overhaul of the old one," Mayor Pat Cadle explained. "We have not been satisfied with (the website) since taking office here. Last year we contracted with Dotson Design out of Coshocton to help us redesign the website to where it would provide the information companies and people would want to find out about us.

"We provide pictures and links to the different opportunities available in Newcomerstown whether it’s a contact to the Community Improvement Corporation site or what places we have to eat out at."

Cambridge City Band and Vane Scott’s Many Faces of Old Glory have teamed up to perform a live concert on the Cambridge City Park main stage for the Salt Fork Arts & rafts Festival.

August 14, 2019

The Cooley Hotel will soon be only a memory for residents of Newcomerstown. For the past several years, the memories have been anything but pleasant memories as the structure has become a significant eye-sore, as well as a safety hazard. According to a report given by Mayor, Patrick Cadle, the structure is scheduled to be imploded between August 23 and September 10, 2019.

In a now obsolete little Tuscarawas County missionary village known as Salem, once located several miles east of Newcomerstown, the very first wedding ceremony documented in the state of Ohio took place. It was on July 4, 1780 when Miss Sarah Ohneberg and Reverend John Heckwelder were united in marriage. The ceremony, taking place in the village chapel was performed by Adam Grube, a veteran missionary visiting the Tuscarawas Valley.

To everything there is a season, a time to build up, a time to break down (Lyrics to Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds)……the former Simonds-Heller Tool Company had been an icon of Newcomerstown for nearly a hundred years when the factory closed their doors forever. The business was established in the early years in New Jersey, and moved to Newcomerstown just after the turn of the century. Rex File Company was introduced to Newcomerstown residents in the spring of 1907. The factory employed many of the local residents, and business was booming until a devastating fire took place in June, 1917. The Rex File Company was re-built by the following fall of 1917 and later was purchased by the Heller family, and re-named Heller Tool Company. Simonds purchased the establishment in 1955, though the giant smoke stack, dismantled in 1977, still proudly displayed the Heller name. The business was sold out, and the Newcomerstown site closed its’ doors in late 2007.

August 21, 2019

Despite being only 3-years-old when Coach Woody Hayes died, former Ohio State University linebacker Bobby Carpenter said the influence of the legendary coach of the Buckeyes has impacted him and generations of players, fans and coaches.

Carpenter spoke Aug. 17 at the Gateway to Fall Festival, held each year to benefit the Thomas R. Little Foundation, which donates money to several community betterment groups each year. Carpenter, an All-Ohio player at Lancaster High School, went on to play for the Buckeyes and was the 18th overall pick of the NFL draft, playing seven years at the professional level. He now is a part of "Carpenter and Rockman" sports program on the radio station 97.1, "The Fan," and is also an analyst for ESPN.

August 28, 2019

There is no doubt that the football players at Newcomerstown play with a lot of heart and resiliency, and they believe in what head coach Dirk Gadd is preaching.

The Trojans did not win a game in either of the last two seasons, yet last year the numbers of players rose from the previous year. And this year, the number of players who came out for Newcomerstown football is again up significantly from last year.

"I believe this is the year that the program starts gaining momentum. It’s a process. My first year, we weren’t very competitive. Last year, we were very competitive in a lot of games — we just needed to learn how to win and this year I believe we will do that," Gadd said.

NEW PHILADELPHIA — A 33-year-old Cleveland woman was identified as the motorist who died after her 2005 Ford Escape went airborne at a bridge construction site on Interstate 77 near Newcomerstown.

Kari Kerley died as the result of the crash that happened at 2:26 a.m. Sunday, according to Sgt. Gary Wolfe of the New Philadelphia Post of the State Highway Patrol.

SEPTEMBER

September 4, 2019

The smell of sawdust is evident in the air as one walks into the quaint woodworking shop of Wayne Dyer’s in nearby Port Washington. This master of woodcrafts has been creating incredible pieces since 1985.

He began by making an assortment of furniture items which included swings, chairs, tables, gliders and more. He continued this aspect of woodworking until retiring from Valley Mining in 2012. That’s when he decided to take things to a new level.

Officials are hoping that a new $1 million rail spur will make the Newcomerstown Industrial Park more inviting to businesses.

Mayor Pat Cadle said the approximately quarter-mile-long spur off the Panhandle Rail Line is expected to be completed by September 2020.

The spur will provide service for a chemical transfer station being built by Reagent Chemical & Research Inc., a company based in New Jersey. Hydrochloric acid will be brought in by rail and then transferred to trucks for distribution to customers. The plant will employ about 15 people, Cadle said.

September 11, 2019

MILLERSBURG — Upon receiving the news that she had won $5 million from the Ohio Lottery, Millersburg’s Brenda Simpson thought someone was pulling her leg.

"I was in total disbelief," Simpson said. "This is not true. I just couldn’t believe it. It’s still sinking in."

But she is ready for the fabulous life after she won $5 million in the Fabulous Fortune Top Prize Drawing on Aug. 29.

It’s one of the traditions of the fall, as the county fair season swings through the Buckeye State and local 4-H members swing into action by taking their projects for judging at the Tuscarawas County Fair, Sept. 16-22, at the fairgrounds in Dover.

Along with the cotton candy, french fries and all the smells and aromas of the midway and the livestock barns, the Tuscarawas County Fair will offer a variety of activities and events.

Area residents who want to go and support local 4-H members from the southern part of Tuscarawas County can look for members of the Buckhorn Bandits 4-H Club, the Buckhorn Tribe and the Kountry Kids 4-H Club among others.

September 18, 2019

Consider it addition through subtraction as the Newcomerstown community saw the beginning of the removal of an eyesore Wednesday afternoon that will allow needed parking for several local organizations.

The four-story Cooley Hotel on Canal Street in Newcomerstown was to be brought to the ground Wednesday by the company "Wreck It Rich" with TR Construction, Inc. in charge of the whole demolition project. While the hotel was considered for several developmental ideas over the years, it had actually never been used after being built in the 1920’s.

COLUMBUS – A family-centered treatment and trauma-informed care pilot program has expanded to 14 additional counties including Tuscarawas County, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services recently announced.

The other counties include Allen, Ashland Auglaize, Cuyahoga, Harrison, Licking, Lucas, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Union, Wayne, and Williams counties.

September 25,2019

The Aladdin Kambri Shrine has come to the aid of the West Lafayette Fire Department by providing money for thermal imaging masks that will allow firefighters to identify possible victims at the scene of a fire. According to Steve Hampton of the Shriners, the group has donated approximately $11,000 in the past year to the West Lafayette Fire Department that has allowed the purchase of 10 thermal imaging masks.

COSHOCTON — A Columbus man who was lost in the woods in western Coshocton County for several hours was found late Wednesday after he was located by the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office drone team.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call at 2:41 p.m. about the man, who was lost in the woods on state Route 541 West. A friend called to report the man missing, saying that he last saw the man at 7 a.m.

OCTOBER

October 2, 2019

STRASBURG — Even though it’s usually Tigers that roar, the roar from Newcomerstown’s fans said it all as Wyatt Conner scampered from 33 yards out for his third touchdown of the game, late in the fourth quarter.

That was the final as the Trojans, who were winless the last two seasons, continued to impress Friday night as they marched into Ron Hurst Stadium and beat the Tigers handily 34-13, behind a monster game by Conner.

Newcomerstown improved to 3-2 after the Inter-Valley Conference clash, while Strasburg fell to 2-3.

Local 4-H members from southern Tuscarawas County enjoyed a nearly perfect week of weather for the 2019 Tuscarawas County Fair as sunny days led to good crowds and good times.

Jenna Marstrell, head advisor for the Buckhorn Bandits 4-H Club, compared the 2019 Tuscarawas County to her memories of going to the same fair as a youngster.

"My experience at the fair this year was even more exciting than I remember as a child," Marstrell said. "I not only had the privilege of being an advisor to the Buckhorn Bandits, I was also a 4-H parent for the first time. It was great to see all of our hard work and dedication payoff, families supporting one another and our kids make lifelong memories!"

Amanda Heavily, advisor for the Kountry Kids 4-H Club, agreed that it was a week to remember for the 4-H members.

"It was a great week," Heavily said. "This is the culminating event for these 4-Hers who work so hard all year long. They learn and grow from these projects and experiences. I love watching their growth."

October 9, 2019

A true indication of the ‘rebirth’ of the Newcomerstown High football program rang throughout Lee Stadium on Friday following a pulsating 35-28 victory by the host Trojans over Tusky Valley in an Inter-Valley Conference match-up.

Making all the sweet noise for the Orange and Black faithful to enjoy was the Lee Stadium traditional ‘Victory Bell’ as Trojans’ players and coaches took turns clanging the sweet sounds of victory which improved the Newcomerstown season mark to 4-2.

Trojan senior QB Gavin Weaver found junior Coltin Meek with a 21-yard touchdown pass with just 32 seconds left to play to give Newcomerstown the wild 35-28 victory.

Thanks to the generosity of a former Newcomerstown resident and her business partner, cancer patients at the West Virginia University Cancer Institute have a new resource to aid in their care.

Earlier this year, Keeley Humberson, a graduate of Newcomerstown High School and the daughter of Dave and Lisa Mason of Newcomerstown, teamed with her business partner, Robert Colabianchi to donate 120 chemo care kits to the WVU Cancer Institute. Humberson and Colabianchi have founded KBs Chemo Care Kits.

October 16, 2019

Hunter Shryock has a full time job that many would envy.

His office is a 21-foot Phoenix bass boat and he works at the site of the latest Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.

The 2007 Newcomerstown High graduate ended the 2019 season on a run on the profession fishing circuit and has earned a dream spot in next year’s Bassmaster Classic.

"It’s worked out pretty good, especially in the last third of the year," he said. "As the year went on, I started coming into my own."

Sometimes tragedies bring out the best in mankind. Steve Jones, of Newcomerstown, sees this while working with the faith-based "Eight Days of Hope" to bring relief to victims of natural disasters all over the United States.

Recently, Jones has been with work crews in Beaumont, Texas, that suffered massive damage from the rains and flooding brought on Tropical Depression Imelda in the Gulf of Mexico in mid-September.

The Associated Press reported the widespread damage was brought to the Houston area by one of the wettest tropical cyclones in U.S. history.

October 23, 2019

The harvest of a five-and-a-half-year-old buck that Justin Bair nicknamed "Stickers" was some three years in the making.

Now that the dogged, obsessive pursuit of one of the largest whitetails ever taken in Tuscarawas County — or the state for that matter — is finally over, Bair isn’t looking forward to filling the unmistakable void that’s going to follow.

"I don’t know what I’m going to do," said the 1999 Indian Valley graduate. "That deer was such a huge part of my life for three years."

The Newcomerstown Historical Society hosted Chris Hart’s "The Tell-Tale Heart" in a special Halloween presentation Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19. The Historical Society is also hosting an event as part of the Newcomerstown community Halloween event on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 2-4:30 p.m.

October 30, 2019

Although fall has recently arrived, and the next summer pool season eight months away, Newcomerstown resident, Michelle Mozena, is thinking ahead for next summer. Mozena presented an idea for a splash pad at Cy Young Park & Pool to Newcomerstown village council during the recent regular council session.

Mozena presented several photos of various styles of splash pads that the village could study, and discuss if they have an interest to pursue construction of a splash pad. Mozena said that she believed the community would benefit from the splash pad since there is not one in the area. She said that the splash pads is a safe mode for younger children to enjoy the water, and also for children, or even adults that have medical handicaps, and have not ability to get into a swimming pool.

Mike Hoskins of Newcomerstown became ARTSNCT’s 2019 recipient of the Manuel Yingling Music Award in a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 19.

Michael Wise, director of ARTSNCT, said, "Mike is very well deserving of this prestigious award. He is totally selfless about sharing his time and his love of music with our youth, our elderly ... and our entire community!"

The Manuel Yingling award is presented annually for "Superior Musicianship and Outstanding Dedication.

NOVEMBER

November 6, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE — With a 50-21 victory over Newcomerstown the Ridgewood Generals checked off a couple of goals for the season.

They wrapped up a perfect season and also won an outright Inter-Valley Conference championship.

"I thought we were pretty lethargic tonight," RHS head coach John Slusser said. "It was pretty low key but we came out and took care of business."

While on paper the game looked like a mismatch, Trojan mentor Dirk Gadd challenged his troops to make the Generals work for the win.

"We have up some big plays but I thought we made them work," Gadd said. "That is a good football team with a lot of talent."

It’s more a punch from the past instead of a blast from the past.

Roy Caldwell, of Uhrichsville, himself once a boxer, found a 1931 fight card recently that included a name familiar to Newcomerstown residents and all fans of The Ohio State University Buckeyes football team: Woody Hayes.

Woody was fighting at 160 pounds and was taking on Tommy McMillen of New Philadelphia, fighting at 155 pounds, in the eighth bout on the fight card.

November 13, 2019

Voters in the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District were strong in support of a tax levy renewal, 409-230, or about 64 percent voting yes when they went to the polls on Nov. 5.

Superintendent Jeff Staggs emphasized, "This is not a new tax. This renewal levy was originally passed in the winter of 2005. The renewal levy generates $750,000 a year for the general expenses of the district. With this renewal levy the district will be able to stay in the black for the foreseeable future."

In Tuscarawas County, officials said 13,776 voters cast ballots out of the eligible 54,702 voters, or about 25 percent. Voter turn-out in Coshocton County was better, with 8,974 ballots cast out of a possible 21,771, or about 41 percent.

Michael Wise, founder and executive director of ARTSNCT, the Arts Center of Newcomerstown, was recently recognized by Google, the search engine giant, for being a veteran-led "highly rated" organization.

Wise, who grew up in Newcomerstown, was a Sergeant (E-5), U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. He was a musician in the Second Marine Division Band, Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion, Fleet Marine Force.

November 20, 2019

Newcomerstown Village Council recently discussed concerns about multiple cemetery markers in the East State Street cemetery that appear unstable. According to Street & Cemetery Superintendent Travis Goodwill, following a recent assessment, some of the stones are noted as leaning, sitting on loose, crumbling foundations, and are fast becoming a major safety concern. Goodwill said that there had been a recent report of an individual that was fatally injured in another state when a large, unstable cemetery stone had fallen over onto the individual while they were visiting the cemetery.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and their elves will be busy in the Newcomerstown area over the next several weeks.

The annual Newcomerstown Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, with line-up beginning at 5 p.m. and the parade moving out at 6 p.m.

Following the parade, Santa will be available at the Newcomerstown East Elementary School, 137 S. College Street on Saturday, Nov. 23, for free pictures with children from 6 to 8 p.m.

And, through the magic of Christmas, Santa Claus will also be available at ARTSNCT, also on S. College Street, also at the same time, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23.

November 27, 2019

NELSONVILLE — Saturday night’s Region 19 final between Ironton and Ridgewood was indeed a battle of wills with the Tigers smashmouth physical running game against the Generals preferring the spread.

Haunted by missed opportunities Ridgewood fell behind 21-7 at the half and couldn’t rally in a 24-14 loss in front of a standing room crowd at Boston Field.

"We had some chances early and didn’t capitalize and that really came back to bite us," Ridgewood coach John Slusser said. "Ultimately they just beat on us physically and took it to us."

The Victory Canteen Singers and the Victorian Gospel Singers will combine for holiday shows on Dec. 6-7 at the Olde Main Street Museum on Canal Street in Newcomerstown. Tickets have already been sold out for the two nights. Pictured are members of the Victory Canteen Singers and some of the cast members. Seated, l to r, Cheryl Bordner, Peggy Newell, Kay Dennis, Diane Throckmorton, Melba Guy, Tiffany Camburn. Standing, l to r, Miriam Stein, Ray Booth, Dave Boyer, Chuck Newell, Steve Guy, Dave Boyer, Sue Scott, Vane Scott, John Machan, Sharon Guy, John Ourant.

DECEMBER

December 4, 2019

Melissa Hayes, center, is this year’s Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center Exemplary Educator for Newcomerstown Schools. She is a second-grade teacher at the Newcomerstown West School. Hayes was joined by West School Principal Erin Peoples, left, and Superintendent Jeff Staggs.

Gunnery Sergeant John Marstrell, son of Paul and Katey Marstrell of Newcomerstown, was a Veterans Day speaker for students at Newcomerstown’s West Elementary.

December 11, 2019

Host Newcomerstown High held on to upend Beallsville 57-51 for the Trojans first win of the season on Tuesday in non-league hardwood action.

Leading by a 27-21 margin at the halftime break, the Trojans managed to maintain the upper hand with the two teams battling to a 30-30 second half draw.

Senior Alex Porcher led the Trojans with a game-high 18 points, along with six steals while Cayden Wilkin and Braxton Wilson each chipped in with eight points. Jacob Evin led the NHS rebounding effort with seven and added five points for the winners.

December 18, 2019

The Newcomerstown Historical Society will honor local law enforcement with a dinner and short program on Jan. 9, at the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center, 213 W. Canal St., Newcomerstown. Attendees are expected from various law enforcement agencies from Coshocton, Guernsey and Tuscarawas counties.

On Jan. 9, partnering organizations in support of law enforcement officers nationwide, will promote National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.). In light of recent negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, there is a need to show law enforcement officers that our citizens recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen, in public service to us all.

December 25, 2019

Just in time to get Santa and Mrs. Claus back to the North Pole for Christmas, The Polar Express has wrapped up its 2019 season with trips from Dennison to a temporary North Pole in Newcomerstown.

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum runs The Polar Express trips with the support of the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad. This train ride offers families a magical Christmas experience aboard a train headed for the North Pole, leaving from the Dennison Depot and arriving in Newcomerstown.

Newcomerstown Council has asked the Newcomerstown Emergency Rescue Squad (NERS) to negotiate a new contract with the village.

The current contract expires in June 2021.

NERS provides both fire and EMS service to Newcomerstown. Tri-County Ambulance also serves the village.