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Man who jumped into river to help save woman honored by New Franklin, Summit County officials

Staff Writer
The Suburbanite
Summit County Councilwoman Bethany McKenny thanks New Franklin resident Doug Nist for his heroism during a New Franklin City Council meeting. On June 11, Nist jumped into the Tuscarawas River in Clinton and helped rescue a woman whose car went over an embankment and into the river.

NEW FRANKLIN Mayor Paul Adamson and Summit County Councilwoman Bethany McKenney presented a New Franklin man with letters of accommodation for his heroic and selfless actions after he jumped into the Tuscarawas River last month when a car had veered off the road into the river.

On June 11, Dustin Nist was coming home from work when he saw a vehicle approach an intersection, run through the stop sign, through a parking lot and over an embankment. The vehicle became airborne, crossed the railroad tracks and landed in the river. The car became mostly submerged leaning on the driver’s side.

Nist then ran into the Clinton Fire Station to get help and then went back to the river, grabbed a railroad track timber and swam to the car. All the doors of the vehicle were locked so he smashed through the back window, talked to the passenger, and got her to unlock the door.

He said he did not know the extent of the woman’s injuries, so he did not want to pull her out of the car. He helped to hold her head above the water until the rescuers arrived from the Clinton, New Franklin and Coventry fire departments.

During the meeting, Nist introduced his mom, Melinda, and grandfather, Don, who, he said, have been a big inspiration to him his entire life.

“They are great people and I couldn’t be prouder to have them as family,” he said.

Nist said they have taught him and guided him through his life. He thanked them for everything they have done and taught him.

As Adamson presented a certificate to Nist, the mayor said he wished he could give him a hug and shake his hand. Adamson thanked Nist and said he couldn’t be more proud of Nist’s actions.

McKenny said she was happy to be at the meeting on behalf of the County Council.

“I thank God you were the right person and there at the right time and did the right thing,” McKenny said. “We are grateful to you and I am struck with your humility. We want to honor you.”

Nist said he was glad he was able to be there to help.

Environmental grant

Adamson announced the city was one of two Ohio cities to receive grants from the Environmental Protection Agency for a water project on State Route 93.

The city received $2.1 million in a grant and the Aqua Company will pick up $1.5 million of the additional funds. The approximate amount for the water project is $3.6 million. There is no mandatory tie-in for any residents, nor will residents be assessed a fee for the water.

Service Department administrative assistant position stirs debate

After some debate, council approved a resolution establishing the part-time position of Service Department administrative assistant.

Adamson said city officials concluded they wanted to have someone physically at the Service Department to assist with calls about five hours a day.

Councilman Andrew Fetterman said that the help is much needed, but he is not ready to do it at this time, due to COVID-19 and the loss of revenue.

Adamson said things should get back on track financially next year and the cost would be about $20,000 annually and $10,000 this year.

“We do have the need,” Adamson said. “I respect what you (Fetterman) are saying.”

Councilman Jim Cotts agreed with Fetterman and said he is not sure what the next year will bring financially. He asked if this was something that duties could be split between others and not fill this position.

“We are going to need this,” Adamson said. “We can delay it. I feel we can do it with a part time position. There is nobody in the Service Department to help administratively.”

Councilwoman Andrea Norris said she supports it. She said calls are going unanswered and that is a reflection on the Service Department. She said that it works within the budget.

“I look at it as a positive,” Norris said. “We are going to be providing somebody that doesn’t have employment right now an opportunity to come to work, to earn some money and to fill a need that we have.”

In other business, council:

• Approved a resolution to authorize the transfer from the general fund to the police district.

• Read an ordinance to replace and adopt regulations related to the registration of and solicitation by transient vendors operating within the city. There were some complaints about a vendor last year. It will be read again before passage.

• Heard from Adamson who reported that a deed has been filed for the acreage at the Tudor House. It includes 250 feet of lakefront property. New Franklin obtained this property with an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant money and no funds were supplied by the city. The city agreed that it will maintain it for recreational possibilities.

Council went into executive session to discuss police department personnel and no formal action was taken.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 5.

New Franklin resident Doug Nist (center) receives letters of accommodation from New Franklin Mayor Paul Adamson and Summit County Councilwoman Bethany McKenny.