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Watching Top 5 and Texas gas



Published: Sun, March 11, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Monday will be the second offering of a new feature we debuted last Monday — The Top 5 Most Wanted.

Based on Week 1, you all took to the page with great interest — especially one of the 20 people listed.

The page spotlights suspects wanted by top area legal agencies.

The participating law-enforcement agencies are:

The U.S. Marshals, pursuing fugitives across northern Ohio and into western Pennsylvania.

The Mahoning County Violent Crimes Task Force involves many local agencies working through the FBI.

The Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department.

In addition, the new feature also includes the Mahoning County Job and Family Services and its pursuit of child-support payments.

That agency was our first point of action last week, when one of the men featured, Charles Bush, saw his picture in the paper and turned himself in. He owed more than $14,000 in support.

Several calls from readers also went in to that same agency about Edward Wildes, who owed more than $40,000 in support. He was arrested last week.

The task force was able to capture Dario Correa on charges of aggravated murder and arson.

Trumbull County officials had their best response from a singular publicity effort due to Top 5, and were able to get leads on two guys possibly down in Texas.

Actually, the first call on this new offering came in from Crimestoppers, seeing if they can be on the page.

We are eager to grow the page in many ways with several agencies as this feature evolves.

Also worth noting about the page is its initial online appeal. The entire page is available on Vindy.com (see the special features ticker on the right side of the home page), and last week’s page was downloaded nearly 1,000 times by readers.

We hope the Top 5 will be a weekly must-read for readers who want to contribute to the Valley’s well-being.

The Top 5 also is keeping with a promise I offered several weeks ago that we’ll have some new readership offerings forthcoming.

More unique shale-gas coverage also was our pledge, and that promise starts to take form this week when reporter Karl Henkel joins a group headed to Texas for in-depth reporting on how the shale-gas industry affected life there.

The effort is being led by our partners at The NewsOutlet.org at Youngstown State University. Nine students and two professors will team up with Henkel for a five-day reporting surge that will highlight some fascinating aspects of the gas industry in Texas.

The storytelling prospects there for us are as dynamic as the emerging industry is here.

I’m learning a lot as we work our way through the story assignments, and quite honestly, I’m a little more wary of this new expansion here.

I’m still a believer in the necessity and the opportunity.

But based on what Texas is experiencing now, and seeing what we experienced with the earthquakes, I think we will need the outspoken and often audacious tactics of people such as Sen. Bob Hagan as we grow into this industry.

Did I really just say that? Yes — I did. Hagan was among the loudest last fall, while many other state leaders were just counting the income.

Though the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was bold Friday in its findings on the earthquakes and tagging it the “nation’s toughest,” what the “preliminary report” highlighted was how inept the ODNR was at the start and how nonspecific they are as we proceed. They pointed a lot; yet they left many questions as well. But, alas, it is just a (cough) “preliminary” effort.

If you think we had episodes, wait till you read about Texas.

They certainly have success. But they have many problems. They may be the state that promoted “big gas,” but they certainly have not perfected it.

It’s up to Ohio to learn from that, and we expect our reporting to help us along.

They all leave Wednesday. We will keep you posted daily as they explore Texas.

The results will be a reporting series that will debut in a couple of weeks.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com.


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