Ribbon cutting


The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. today for Tax 29, 1301 Boardman-Poland Road, Unit A.

Tax 29, a tax preparation company, has served the Mahoning Valley for more than 10 years and added its Warren office last year. The newly expanded Boardman location and increased staff will enable the company to continue to serve a growing clientele.

Group seeks permit for JOANN move


On Dec. 28, the GDP Group, an architecture, engineering, planning and construction services company, applied for JOANN Fabric and Craft Store to receive a zoning permit and certificate of occupancy with the Boardman Township Zoning Department.

The zoning department approved the permit for the business to occupy the former HHGregg location at 441 Boardman-Poland Road.

The business is currently located at 7386 Market St., across from Southern Park Mall.

The permit request does not give a time line for when the relocation will take place.

JOANN corporate offices and the GDP Group could not be reached for comment.

Man who assaulted gay men gets prison


One of four Texas men accused of using a dating app to assault and rob gay men has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say 21-year-old Nigel Garrett and three other Dallas-area men were charged with hate crimes, kidnappings, carjackings and using firearms to commit violent crimes.

An 18-count indictment alleges the men arranged meetings at victims’ homes through a social media dating platform for gay men. Investigators say most victims were tied up, assaulted and robbed at gunpoint.

Garrett was sentenced Wednesday after a plea agreement. The other three suspects also have pleaded guilty. They’re awaiting sentencing.

Homeless man charged in killing of ’60s soul singer


A homeless man has been charged with killing former 1960s soul singer Betty Jane Willis during an attempted rape.

Twenty-two-year-old Rosendo Xo Pec was charged Wednesday with murder with special circumstances and could face the death penalty. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

The 76-year-old Willis recorded the 1960s songs “Someday You’ll Need My Love,” “Act Naturally” and “Take My Heart.”

She was living on the street when she was attacked shortly after 4 a.m. New Year’s Day.

Prosecutors say she was sleeping in a strip mall parking lot in Santa Ana when Pec began sexually assaulting her.

When she screamed for help, prosecutors say Pec repeatedly punched her in the head and choked her to stop her screams. She died at the scene.

Staff/wire reports

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