Marietta woman killed in traffic accident | News, Sports, Jobs

MARIETTA — A Marietta woman was killed in a traffic accident Friday in Washington County, the Marietta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Jean R. Pekach, 92, of Marietta, was killed in a collision with a 2010 Mazda 3 driven by Jimella J. Bigley, 51, of Ravenswood on Ohio 7 near milepost 27 in Marietta Township, the patrol said.

The investigation found Pekach, driving a 2001 Honda Accord, was attempting to pull out of a private drive when the collision occurred. Bigley was traveling north on Route 7, the patrol said.

Pekach was taken to Marietta Memorial Hospital by the Reno Volunteer Fire Department EMS where she was pronounced dead, the patrol said. Bigley sustained serious, but non-life-threatening injuries and also was taken to Marietta Memorial by the Fearing Township Volunteer Fire Department EMS, the patrol said.

The accident happened around 12:30 p.m. Friday, according to the patrol.

Alcohol is not suspected to be a factor in the crash and both drivers were wearing a seatbelt, the patrol said. The accident remains under investigation, the patrol said.

Responding agencies include the patrol, Fearing and Reno fire departments and Westfall Towing.

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Storm damages property, halts travel | News, Sports, Jobs

I personally enjoy a thunderstorm…if the thunder doesn’t immediately follow the bolt of lightning. But I’m not sure how much I would have appreciated what has been called the most devastating storm in Matamoras history.

That particular event was on a Sunday afternoon. It was Aug. 8, 1915 at 5 p.m. The atmosphere had been unbearably hot and humid all day, and beginning at 2:30 in the mid-afternoon, distant rumblings of thunder were heard in the far southwest of town. It was nearly 90 minutes later before one could see the storm clouds gathering. Such a slow pace did not foretell a good omen of the coming event.

Throughout all this section of the Mid-Ohio River Valley incessant flashes of lightning brightened the black sky in all directions. There came a blinding rain with constant, continual rumblings in the sky. With the exceedingly heavy rains, the streets of town quickly flooded. All vehicle travel was halted by the fierceness of the storm. The rain ended with hail which cooled the air considerably.

Many people had attended a ballgame in Paden City, the mode of transportation being by means of railroad travel. A person could either cross the river by ferry boat from Matamoras to Friendly, and catch the train there or go to Fly, where another ferry crossed to the train station in Sistersville.

Everyone at the ballgame became storm bound, having to remain on the Union Traction cars. All travel was cancelled until the worst of the storm passed. The only relief in the meantime was the break in the humidity as cooler air came with the hail as it worked its way up the valley.

The “Matamoras Enterprise” of Aug. 12, 1915 carried a description of the destruction of the area. It read, “North Fork and Mill Creek came tearing out and the misfortune of one home was in having the back porch carried away and the whole building forced off its foundation. A 100-barrel tank belonging to the Sutton Brothers came down the creek to the river. A mowing machine owned by Wiley Amos was washed away and the engine house of a well on Mill Creek was completely demolished. Produce was scattered all along the road to the river and drift piles were full of snakes of all descriptions. Jim Run was on a rampage also and a great deal of damage occurred to oil wells and corn fields. The tubing in a well belonging to C.C. Stover was broken off and a 100 barrel tank taken from its spot.”

John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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Amish traffic signs being stolen — again | News, Sports, Jobs

Clarissa Kell | Daily PressAn Amish alert sign on County Road 426 in Escanaba Township is shown recently. A total of four Amish alert signs were stolen off county roads in Delta County in September.

ESCANABA — The Delta County Sheriff’s Department received a report on May 3 that two Amish alert signs had been stolen from County Rd. 426. The two signs were located on roads within the Escanaba and Cornell Townships. These thefts create a total of seven Amish alert signs that has been stolen from various roads throughout Delta County in just a two year time frame.

Four of these signs were stolen during the later months of 2019.

After Amish families moved into Delta County during the summer of 2019, the Delta County Road Commission installed six Amish alert signs on a number of county roads in both Cornell and Escanaba Townships to alert those driving in the area. The signs, yellow diamonds that depict a horse-drawn buggy, warn motorists that they may have to share the roadway with Amish travelers who occupy the shoulder when traveling.

On Sept. 9 and Sept. 21 in 2019, the first four Amish signs were reported to the sheriff’s department as stolen, two signs stolen on each date. In these incidents, the posts holding the signs were removed from the ground as well, meaning that the thief had to dislodge the pole from 3-foot deep concrete to obtain it. The signs were never returned, and the Delta County Road Commission replaced them all.

In the recent May 3 incident, only the signs were removed with the poles being left in place. As a result of the 2019 thefts, a camera was placed on at least one of the Amish alert signs in Delta County. According to the May 3 sheriff’s report, there was no indication that there was a camera at the scene of the crime.

The Delta County Road Commission is no longer replacing the Amish alert signs unless the township requests and pays for them. The current price for the alert signs is $80 each.

The theft of these signs raise a number of safety concerns for both the Amish community and motorists traveling the county roads. Horse-drawn buggies travel at a much slower rate than automobiles, which can catch motorists off-guard when traveling at high speeds. These buggies are also not built to endure high-level impact like most modern vehicles, which are equipped with seat-belts, airbags, and other protective measures.

Drivers in Delta County should be cautious when traveling county roads, for members of the Amish community travel to and from Escanaba and Gladstone for shopping needs. When coming into contact with a buggy, it is important to slow down and pass with care, leaving plenty of room between vehicles to ensure safety.

Before the 2019 thefts had even occurred, the Delta County Sheriff’s Department worked with the Amish community to have more Amish alert signs installed on the county roads. The request for more signs was due to increased safety concerns within the Amish community regarding the seriousness of automobile-buggy crashes.

Just over three months ago, there was an automobile accident involving a horse-drawn buggy in Michigan. On March 10, 2022 in Montcalm County, a buggy had been struck from the front by a pick-up truck that crossed the center line. The two occupants of the buggy were left seriously injured and their horse died. Their buggy, which had flipped upon impact, had endured significant damage.

After the 2019 thefts, local authorities urged thieves to return the Amish alert signs to no prevail. The signs, which are uncommon in comparison to your average stop sign, are hard to come by. Because they have to be specially made, or not readily in stock, the time to replace them is much longer than usual.

The Delta County Road Commission is asking the public report any information on the theft and vandalism of the Amish alert signs to the Delta County Sheriff’s Office at 906-786-3633.

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Prices pump brakes on travel | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple
Loretta Eastlack of Cortland pumps gas Tuesday afternoon at Valley View Food Mart on Elm Road NE in Warren. Eastlack said she is “very upset” with the cost of gas. AAA predicts 39 million people will travel 50 or more miles this Memorial Day weekend.

Gas prices are up — way up — but that won’t deter travelers excited to kick off their summer this coming Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA.

Amid record-high average gas prices Tuesday, AAA’s Memorial Day Travel Forecast predicted 39 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the holiday weekend.

AAA reported the national average for regular unleaded gas at $4.523 per gallon and the Ohio average at $4.358 per gallon on Tuesday — both the highest-recorded average prices, according to AAA’s online gas prices portal.

Still, AAA predicts 34.9 million people will travel by car, 30.1 million by air and 1.33 million by other means between May 26 and May 30.

While not meeting 42.8 million people who traveled during 2019’s prepandemic Memorial Day weekend, this year is expected to see 3 million more people travel compared to last year.

That represents a 8.3 percent increase in overall travel since 2021.

Despite gas prices holding at well more than $4 per gallon, travel by car is expected to increase 4.6 percent from last year. Air travel, on the rebound after the pandemic, is expected to increase about 25 percent.


About a dozen local motorists at two area gas stations Tuesday, however, overwhelmingly said “no,” they aren’t going anywhere this coming holiday weekend.

“I can’t afford it. I’m gonna stay home,” Bill Sparks of Mineral Ridge said. Sparks said he sometimes travels to visit in-laws in Kentucky — about a six-hour drive — but isn’t doing so this Memorial Day.

Tuesday at Country Fair gas station on North Canfield-Niles Road, Sparks put two gallons in a gas container for a car he is working on and his lawnmower — and that cost him about $9.

Of the customers at Country Fair, about as many were filling up gas cans for lawnmowers as were putting gas in their vehicles. Most went inside to prepay a set amount that wouldn’t fill up their tank or gas can but will keep them going for a while. One Salem man put just $6 worth of gas in his minivan, adding, “It’s all I can afford.”

None were planning to travel for the holiday, although Chris Thorndike of Austintown said his daughter is coming to visit from Boston.

“So there is travel happening,” Thorndike said.

Regular gas at Country Fair and the nearby Sheetz and Pilot gas stations, all located just off the Interstate 80, 680 and Route 11 interchange, was $4.49 per gallon.

At Valley View Food Mart gas station on Elm Road NE in Warren, gasoline was 10 cents cheaper at $4.39. There, Chuckie Love of Warren put $60 in his vehicle, and still didn’t fill the tank.

Warren resident Brian Geddes, a truck driver by trade, spent more than $92 to fill his personal pickup truck, which still had some gas in the tank.

“It hurts,” Geddes said. He added it’s not just $92, it’s the time that he worked to get that money. “That’s four hours of my life that I just put into my gas tank.”


While slightly under both the national and Ohio average, regular gas prices in the Youngstown-Warren area sat at a staggering $4.354 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. That likewise is the highest-recorded average price for the area.

That average price was up from $4.291 Monday, $4.173 last week, $3.779 last month, and $2.870 last year.

Diesel in the Youngstown-Warren area Tuesday averaged $5.283 per gallon, just slightly lower than Monday’s high average of $5.290, according to AAA data.

The lowest average gas price for an Ohio county Tuesday was $4.252 per gallon in Meigs County in southeast Ohio. The highest county average was $4.474 per gallon in Morgan County, also in the southeast part of the state.

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April storms impact air travel in North Dakota | News, Sports, Jobs

April snowstorms led to fewer airline passenger boardings for the month due to larger than normal airline cancellations rates, according to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Still, North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports posted 76,553 airline passenger boardings during April, a 23% increase from the 62,168 boardings the state experienced in April 2021. The number was about 17% below April 2019’s pre-pandemic passenger count of 92,063.

Of 190 scheduled departures from Minot International Airport in April, 36 were canceled, for an 18.9% cancellation rate, the highest rate in the state. The average statewide airline departure cancellation rate for the month was 9.6%. April has been historically in the 1-3% range for a statewide cancellation rate, the aeronautics commission reported.

“April was a challenging month for our airports and passengers particularly in central and western North Dakota, as they experienced an increased amount of delays and cancellations due to multiple major snowstorms.” said Kyle Wanner, executive director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. “Our airports did an incredible job in keeping up with snow removal operations to alleviate the impacts to the traveling public as best as possible. That being said, we look forward to improved weather conditions as we move into the summer months.”

Minot saw 10,149 passenger boardings in April, up 11.3% from a year ago but down 20.4% from 2019. Year-to-date boardings are up 37% in Minot and nearly 44% statewide from 2021.

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Ohio Becoming a Travel Destination | News, Sports, Jobs

Last week, the Department of Development’s TourismOhio division reported 2021 was the second-best year for visitor spending — $47 billion, which the division says supported approximately 411,000 jobs.

“Whether you’re looking to do things a little low-key, whether you’re a foodie and you’re looking to explore different food scenes, really quite frankly what’s great about Ohio is just the variety of things to do,” said Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik. “Ohio is a great place to visit because it’s easy to get to, but it’s also a really easy place to travel around. And there’s so much to see and to do, from traveling up to Amish Country or from traveling down to the Ohio River.”

Yes, traveling the Ohio River Valley is among the attractions for those considering whether to visit the Buckeye State. It’s up to us to make sure visitors will find it worth the trip once they get here.

Sure, we know how wonderful our region is, and just how much we have to offer, but are we rolling out the welcome mat — particularly for visitors who might have decided to vacation a little closer to home with gasoline prices being what they are?

Ohio’s emergence as a travel destination that earns billions for its communities might take some getting used to. But if we love it here so much, why shouldn’t vacationers? Let’s make sure each of us is doing our part to be hospitable, helpful and good ambassadors for our communities and state.

After all, we not only want travelers to make the trip, we want them to come back.

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PennDOT announces 2021 statewide traffic fatality totals | News, Sports, Jobs

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that in 2021, statewide traffic deaths increased to 1,230 from 1,129 the previous year.

Pennsylvania roadway deaths were up about 9%, in line with a recently released report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, projecting a national increase of approximately 12% in the first nine months of 2021.

“Safety on our roadways is a shared responsibility,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Whether you are a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist, we can all do our part to prevent crashes and fatalities. Buckle up every time you are in a vehicle. Always cross the road at an intersection or crosswalk. Always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle. Never drive, ride, or walk impaired or distracted. Let’s work together to reduce traffic deaths, because even one fatality is one too many.”

Pennsylvania’s updated 2022 Strategic Highway Safety Plan sets the groundwork for progressing “Toward Zero Deaths” by focusing on both infrastructure-based strategies and behavior change to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. This is done by implementing roadway designs that emphasize minimizing the risk of injury to all road users, reducing inequities in our transportation network, and using cost-effective, data-driven methods.

The plan seeks to substantially reduce traffic related fatalities and serious injuries by addressing several safety focus areas, including three priority emphasis areas: lane departure crashes, impaired driving, and pedestrian safety.

In 2021, fatalities in crashes involving lane departure increased to 596, up from 551 in 2020, accounting for nearly half of highway fatalities across the state. Strategies to combat these crashes are aimed at keeping vehicles on the roadway, within the proper lanes of travel, and include low-cost safety improvements such as centerline or shoulder rumble strips, high friction surface treatments and cable median barrier.

Speeding, impaired, and distracted driving are leading factors in lane departure crashes.

Fatalities in crashes involving impaired driving decreased from 471 in 2020 to 450 in 2021, but still account for more than 35% of fatalities.

Pedestrian fatalities increased to 182, up from 146 in 2020.

Other crash types with notable increases in fatalities in 2021 include:

• Crashes involving a 16 to 17-year-old driver

• Crashes involving aggressive driving

• Motorcyclist fatalities

• Crashes involving heavy trucks

• Unrestrained fatalities

According to national data, driver behavior is a factor in more than 90% of crashes.

For more information on reportable crash data, visit PennDOT’s Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool website,

For more information on the department’s highway safety initiatives, visit

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Traveling? Home COVID-19 test kits may not be enough | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Julie Riddle
Tracie Schaedig, receptionist at the Thunder Bay Community Health Service location in Rogers City, delivers a COVID-19 test kit outside the health center on Monday.

ALPENA — Residents who’ve had COVID-19 and want to get on an airplane or into a concert may need to prove that infection happened long enough ago that they’ve had time to recover — and home test kits don’t provide that detail, health officials warn.

Getting an official test at a clinic or pharmacy will say when the test was taken and can help residents prove their infection happened before recommended quarantine timeframes, officials say. COVID-19 tests can show positive results even after residents have passed the recommended quarantine time, officials say.

District health officials on Monday reported 29 new COVID-19 infections among Northeast Michigan residents in the past week, fewer than half the 76 newly reported cases the previous week.

Those numbers don’t paint the whole picture, said Cathy Goike, certified health education specialist for the District Health Department No. 4.

About 90% of people detecting COVID-19 recently have done so via at-home tests — and those test results don’t get reported to the public, Goike said.

Residents regularly call District Health Department No. 4’s hotline to report the sickness, like the seven people who had called by 9 a.m. Monday to report they’d tested positive over the weekend.

While health officials appreciate knowing about those positive tests, they can neither report nor verify them — and that can mean frustration for residents down the line, Goike said.

The virus can show up on tests for weeks after an infected person’s required quarantine period has ended. If an airline or entertainment venue demands proof of health, only tests conducted by medical personnel at health clinics or pharmacies will officially verify when someone had the sickness and whether they’ve had time to recover from it, Goike said.

While on-site testing offers an official say-so, at-home tests available from many pharmacies and free from the Health Department or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help residents decide what to do if they suspect they may be sick.

The COVID-19 variant currently predominant in Northeast Michigan usually produces mild symptoms, sometimes nothing more than an itchy nose, Goike said.

While the sickness may not lead to a hospital stay, especially for those fully vaccinated, “we still have a lot of vulnerable people out there” who could get very sick or even die if exposed to the virus, Goike cautioned.

Anyone who knows they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested and use caution in public, even if no symptoms appear, health officials say.

Tests may not detect the virus in an infected person for five days after exposure, but that person could still be contagious, Goike said.

Anyone who tests positive should isolate for five days after a positive test or first symptoms, when they are most contagious. They should wear masks in public for the next five days, when they are less contagious but can still transmit the sickness to others, according to current medical guidance.

Those living with people who have tested positive should do their best to stay separate and monitor themselves carefully for symptoms. Those without symptoms can continue their daily routines but should consider masking and stay at least six feet from others, especially around those in high-risk populations.

Those exposed should test three to seven days after exposure or if symptoms develop.

Links to order free at-home tests, find free testing sites, and learn other COVID-19-related information can be found at

Northeast Michigan public health officials reported three Northeast Michiganders who died in the past month after getting infected with the coronavirus.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.

Where to test

* Alcona Health Center: Same-day rapid testing and send-out testing appointments open to the community at the Acute Care Clinic on U.S.-23 in Alpena. Phone 989-356-4049 for appointment. Will send at-home tests to those with an order from a different provider or health care facility; any resident can pick up at-home test kits at locations in Alpena, Ossineke, and Lincoln.

* Thunder Bay Community Health Service: Same-day rapid testing and send-out testing appointments open to patients. Phone 989-742-4583 for appointment. Any resident can pick up at-home test kits at locations in Rogers City, Atlanta, and Onaway.

* Pharmacies: In Alpena, schedule COVID-19 tests at Meijer, Walgreens, and Rite Aid pharmacies by visiting the companies’ websites or at LeFave Pharmacy by calling 989-354-3189.

Free at-home tests are available from District Health Department No. 4 locations in Alpena, Atlanta, and Rogers City.

When to test

Take an at-⁠home test:

* If you begin having COVID-⁠19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or

* At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-⁠19, or

* When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines.

What if I test positive?

* A positive at-⁠home test result means that the test found the virus, and you very likely have COVID-⁠19.

* Stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home.

* If you test positive and have a weakened immune system or other health conditions, talk to a doctor as soon as possible about available treatment options.

* Contact your doctor for information about an oral medication available in some cases for the treatment of COVID-19.

What if I test negative?

* A negative at-⁠home test result means that the test did not find the virus, and you may have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. Check your test kit’s instructions for specific next steps. If you test negative, you should test again within a few days with at least 24 hours between tests.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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NDSU History Field School to be held May 31-June 11 | News, Sports, Jobs

File Photo
Pictured is the Ward County Historical Society Pioneer Village Museum at Burlington.

North Dakota State University history students will be on hand next month to help the Ward County Historical Society with archival and display work.

Angela Smith, a public history professor at NDSU, said this will be the fourth Public History Field School her students have done. In 2019, Smith and her students were at a museum in Fessenden; in 2017 at Linton; and in 2015 at Ellendale.

The work they will do at the Pioneer Village Museum in Burlington will be a bit different. At the other small-town museums, Smith said the students helped museum staff catalogue their historical treasures. The staff at the Pioneer Village largely know what they have and how to preserve it, but they are interested in learning how to present it to the public.

“We are going to focus specifically on interpretation,” said Smith, such as writing labels and creating explanatory posters about the different historical displays that help put it into context and tells a story about what it might have been like to live more than 100 years ago in Ward County.

“My students and I will be there for almost two weeks,” she said. “… In every town we’ve done this, it’s (been) wonderful. You get so much done in those two weeks because you have 15 people working on it for 12 hours a day

Smith said she has been impressed by all the historical society has accomplished, in its efforts to recover from the Souris River flood of 2011 and its move from the North Dakota State Fairgrounds to its new site at Burlington a few years ago. The students will also learn the history of Ward County before they travel to Minot.

The students who will receive class credit will do a week of training at NDSU in Fargo before they come to Minot. They will stay at the Minot State University dorms while they are taking part in the field school at the Pioneer Village Museum.

Bethany Andreasen, a history professor at MSU, had reached out to Smith and suggested the museum could benefit from a field school. Grants will provide money for some of the archival supplies and interpretive materials the work requires, and the museum has done some fundraising to cover the approximate $5,000 cost of housing, meals for the two weeks of on-site work, and some incidental costs. They will be in Minot from May 31-June 11.

Smith said she and her students will present a plan for their work at the museum to the historical society board and receive approval.

This is a partnership between the museum and the public history students, she said, and both will benefit.

Smith said she also plans to offer a genealogy workshop to the public during the field school. There will also be a personal archival tip session, and a historic photo scanning class. Smith said students have also recorded oral histories from residents during past Field Schools to help preserve precious stories. Students will give a presentation on June 11 to show off their work.

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