Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Man accused of $25,000 damage to Fort school

By Margie Wuebker

Plywood covers two entrance doors at Fort Recovery Middle School after Travis Bu. . .

Felony charges of breaking and entering, vandalism and making a false alarm have been filed against a St. Henry man who caused at least $25,000 in damage at Fort Recovery Middle School during the weekend.
Travis Buehler, 18, 4314 Lange Road, made an initial appearance in Celina Municipal Court on Monday afternoon but said little during the proceeding. Judge James Scheer set bond at $300,000 as requested by Mercer County Prosecutor Andy Hinders. A preliminary hearing Thursday morning will determine if there is sufficient cause to bind the case over for consideration by a Mercer County grand jury.
Scheer explained municipal court is merely the first stop and, given the seriousness of the charges, the matter will be transferred to Mercer County Common Pleas Court for disposition.
Fort Recovery Police Chief Jared Laux responded to the school at 865 Sharpsburg Road shortly before 12:30 a.m. Sunday in response to a fire alarm. After spotting numerous broken windows, he called for backup with St. Henry Police, the Mercer County Sheriff's Office and Southwest Mercer Fire Department responding.
Buehler, reportedly bleeding from cuts to his arms and chest, offered no resistance after being apprehended on a sidewalk near the building.
He allegedly entered the building after smashing a door possibly with a manhole cover and then traveled along the inside corridor known as Main Street leaving glass from interior and exterior windows in his wake.
"There is damage to 30 different windows in the building," middle school Principal Ted Shuttleworth told The Daily Standard. "There is also damage to display cases as well as the trophies and plaques inside."
Buehler also targeted the middle school office, leaving a path of destruction including damage to a computer, fax machine and printer. He apparently left computers elsewhere in the building untouched.
"We have no windows in the library at this point," Shuttleworth said, since all have been broken. "And you can enter the office by walking through empty windows."
He believes a John Deere pedal tractor and wagon plucked from a Charlotte's Web display in the library was used to inflict display case damage. Laux agreed that was indeed a likely scenario and that at some point the intruder pulled a fire alarm.
Fifty volunteers, including school employees, local firefighters and parents, came to the school around 8 a.m. Sunday and spent four hours cleaning up a virtual sea of glass. They even washed down walls to remove tiny shards in preparation for a 3 p.m. choir concert maintaining "The show must go on."
Nine sheets of plywood now cover missing exterior windows as the school awaits replacement work that could take contractors several weeks to complete.
Laux said a preliminary investigation indicates Buehler apparently acted alone with alcohol being a factor in the vandalism spree.
Buehler, who remains incarcerated at the Mercer County Jail following emergency room treatment at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater, faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted of vandalism, a fourth-degree felony due to extensive damage described as more than $5,000 but less than $100,000. The two fifth-degree felony charges - breaking and entering and making a false alarm - could each add another 12 months behind bars and a $2,500 fine.
Additional online story on this date
COLDWATER - The words spoken in awe as a new mom and dad counted each of their son's fingers and toes in an austere hospital room turned out to be strangely prophetic. [More]
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
Farmers in Mercer and Auglaize counties have been planting up a storm during the last week to make up for lost time due to a period of cold, wet weather in April.
Getting behind the watershed management plan is the best way to show Columbus officials that local groups are speaking with one voice on water quality issues.
Fort Recovery residents soon will be customers of the fifth cable company since cable came to town less than a decade ago.
"We have been notified b
Wildcats can claim the title outright with victory on the road at New Bremen tonight
MINSTER - The Minster Wildcats weren't considered the favorites to win the Midwest Athletic Conference baseball crown when the season started, but look at them now.
ELIDA - For Coldwater, it was much like the first meeting last week against Lima Central Catholic.
The Cavaliers scored one run early, then put it
Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
One portion of the MAC softball title chase was filled on Monday as New Bremen beat Minster 5-0 for the second straight game to finish the league at 7-1 and clinch a share of the MAC.