ROUND-UP: Target thefts decline, city saves on fuel, Comets hockey could return


FUEL WINDFALL

Amherst mayor Mark Costilow says the city should get more mileage due to falling gas prices.

Fuel costs have dropped an estimated 40 percent in the past two years, which frees up money to work on more projects.

Specifically, the mayor wants to redirect gas savings into street repairs and equipment purchases.

TARGET AND CRIME

Thefts at the Target store on North Lake Street have fallen off sharply in recent weeks, according to Amherst police Lt. Dan Makruski.

Police reports detailing shoplifting and shifty return scams have dropped off, so we asked: What has changed?

Makruski said security personnel have noticed fewer opened boxes around the store. The company has tightened its returns policy and workers reject some returns that seem suspicious.

“I would imagine the word’s getting out,” said the lieutenant, who put out a “thieves not welcome” message via the News-Times this past summer after dozens of theft complaints that drew officers to the store. “Most of the people who shop at Target, steal at Target, and then return it for cash, they’re seeing the returns get scrutinized… They’re not seeing the same return on it. It’s not worth it.”

There is still a limited amount of crime targeting the big box retailer, and Makruski says it’s usually drug-related.

He finds it unlikely that colder temperatures are the reason behind the theft slow-down.

“In our experience, people who are following that kind of (mission objective) tend to be heroin abusers. They’re not going to stop stealing just because it’s cold out,” he said.

APPOINTMENTS

Several members were appointed Monday to the Amherst design review board.

City council president John Dietrich named councilman Steve Bukovac to the board through the end of 2018. He replaces councilman Chuck Winiarski in that role.

Mayor Mark Costilow appointed Kevin Scalli and Dave Fox to seats through 2018; and Bob Pallante and Jim Yorks through 2019.

BACK ON THE ICE?

Progress is being made in reviving the Amherst Comets varsity hockey team.

Athletic director Casey Wolf said he turned in an application this past week for membership in the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League.

We’ll know in March whether the Comets are accepted into the league, he said.

If successful, a Comets hockey team will be able to launch next winter.

“We’re holding out here and we’re going to proceed as if we have hockey,” Wolf said.

TURNPIKE RECORD

More vehicles traveled on the Ohio Turnpike in 2015 than any other year in its 60-year history.

The total of 53.4 million vehicles in 2015 eclipses the previous record total from 2006, which was 51.8 million.

In 2015, the Turnpike also recorded the second most number of vehicle miles traveled in its history with over 3 billion. This was 39 million fewer miles traveled than in 2006.

“Relatively low gas prices, mild weather, and positive economic growth all contributed as factors in record traffic volume in 2015,” said Randy Cole, executive director.

FIFTH GRADE BASKETBALL

The Amherst Lil Lady Comettes White Team (15-4, 8-2 in Lake Erie League) defeated Olmsted Falls-Gold 25-6.

Lindsey McConihe led all scorers with eight points. Bella Simmons scored seven points. Izzy Fernandez scored a personal best four points, while Kristen Kelley, Leah Biedenbach, and Savannah Fellenstein each scored a bucket.

FASTPITCH SPOTS

The Amherst Rebels fastpitch softball travel team is looking to fill a couple of spots on the 2016 roster.

If interested, contact Lindsey Costello at 440-309-6125 or lynnz0301@aol.com.

VOTER REGISTRATION

The deadline to register to vote in the March 15 primary is 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

For more information, call the Lorain County Board of Elections at 440-326-5900 or visit www.loraincountyelections.com.

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