The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

A Genoa police officer suspended for arranging restitution in a stolen bicycle case involving a mentally-challenged resident should be lauded not punished, his lawyer said Monday.

“He should be commended for what he did – not chastised. He was helping that girl that lost the use of this bicycle,” attorney Tom Tomczak said regarding his client, Police Sgt. Todd Mocniak.

The sergeant served a three-day suspension without pay following a Feb. 23 hearing with Genoa Mayor Mark Williams in connection with the fall 2009 theft investigation. He was scheduled to return to work Wednesday.

Williams, who also serves as the village’s safety director, determined Mocniak had violated a police manual policy regarding “abuse of position.”

“We basically do our best to ensure all employees adhere to the policy of the department. The appropriate steps were taken and we hope it never happens again,” Genoa Police Chief Randy Hill said last week after the decision.

Tomczak, however, described the hearing as unfair from the outset.

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Northwood City Council has given a first reading to renew its contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc, that would continue its automated photo speed and photo red light enforcement program.

The city had been negotiating with Redflex Safety Solutions, of Arizona, for the past year to renew its contract to continue operating its stationary speed and red light photo enforcement cameras that have been installed at the intersections of Lemoyne and Woodville roads and Oregon and Wales roads, which have a high incidence of speeding, since 2005. The cameras target motorists who speed and run red lights, then Redflex issues citations.

Northwood discontinued Redflex’s speed van, a mobile vehicle that issued citations to motorists for speeding, late last year.

Negotiations had broken down last year because Redflex wanted to charge more for the cameras once the van was discontinued.

The revenue funds public safety improvements in the city, including a continuous right turn on Wales Road and flashing lights at Lark school. Also, funding was used to bring back a laid off police officer last year.

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Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner is considering another round of city layoffs due to further decreases in income tax revenues this year.

“I have proposed cutting five full-time jobs, and one person would go from full-time to part-time,” Stoner told The Press last Wednesday.

The layoffs would include two full-time police officers, tax clerk, court clerk, and cleaning lady. “And the city clerk would go from full-time to part-time,” he said.

Administrator Pat Bacon has already informed the employees of the proposed layoffs, said Stoner.

“We just don’t have the money to continue paying them,” said Stoner.

“I’ve done everything I could to not affect the residents with these cuts,” he added

City council learned at a meeting on Feb. 25 that income tax revenues dropped 16 percent in January and February of this year, compared to the same period last year.

“If the city continues to lose revenue at that rate, we could see a loss of $700,000 in revenue by the end of this year,” said Stoner. “That’s big.”

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East Toledo businessman throws hat into election

East Toledo businessman Dan Steingraber, a Republican, stood inside the lobby

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of the Weber Block Wednesday morning to make official his candidacy for Lucas County commissioner.

“This is an important day for me and my family, as you are well aware. This was not an easy decision for me to make,” Steingraber said with laryngitis in his voice while surrounded by over 20 supporters.

“These folks are here today because they know me. They know what I stand for and they know I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe,” Steingraber continued. “They know that I have not only encouraged, but made a commitment to talk the conservative talk and walk the conservative walk.

“Lucas County has suffered from a lack of conservative leadership for too long. It’s time for us, conservatives, to lead and engineer a conservative path to economic development and jobs and increase employment through the application of solid economic and conservative principals,” Steingraber continued.

Steingraber, who lives on Grand Bay Drive, Oregon, joins Republican candidates Pam S. Hanley of Sylvania, George Sarantou of Toledo, and Andy Glenn of Holland in seeking to represent their party during the general election Nov. 2. The primary is slated for May 4.

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An Oregon accountant’s allegations that a state auditor forged tax documents containing his signature appear to be substantiated by an internal investigation by the department for which she works.

But nearly six months after filing a complaint against Rebecca Thatcher and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Joel Dollarhide, a certified public accountant with Tucker, Kissling & Associates, still plans to file a lawsuit to procure documents he claims the department has been keeping from him and recover financial damages.

Dollarhide’s complaint alleges Thatcher, an ODJFS unemployment compensation auditor, forged tax forms that had his signature on them when she was conducting an audit last summer of his client, a Sylvania builder.  He said the forged audit forms show the builder as under-reporting employee wages to the Internal Revenue Service with his signature to certify the figures.

Thatcher, who was working out of the department’s Toledo office, completed the audit in June, 2009. Much of her work focused on the builder’s wage and tax records for 2007.

While reviewing the results of the audit, Dollarhide noticed that three ODJFS quarterly wage report forms were copied from a third-quarter form he had signed when Thatcher was in his office in May.

"At no time did I give Mrs. Thatcher the authorization to copy or use my signature on the other three tax forms and or any other forms,” Dollarhide says in his complaint. The department’s investigation, which was concluded in November but only released to him last month, states the evidence supports his claim.

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Poll module

Christmas spending

Are spending more, less or the same amount this year for Christmas?
70635881 [{"id":"27","title":"More","votes":"0","pct":0,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"28","title":"Less","votes":"1","pct":50,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"29","title":"The same","votes":"1","pct":50,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/12-christmas-spending No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...