The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

The State Fire Marshal has ruled a fire at the Stony Ridge Inn, Latcha Road, was caused by arson and is asking for more information about the blaze from the public.

Investigators were able to rule out all accidental causes for the fire, which was reported about 5:47 a.m. on Feb. 17, and found significant evidence the fire was intentionally set.  The fire marshal’s office said “specific information” about the fire was also gathered during interviews over the two days following the fire.

Now, investigators are asking for other witnesses to come forward and a Blue Ribbon Arson Award notice has been posted at the property. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the identification of those responsible.

No one was seriously injured in the fire, which caused heavy damage to the restaurant and bar of the inn. The nearby hotel wasn’t affected.

“Working together, investigators from all of the involved agencies have been able to put together a clear picture of what occurred Wednesday morning at the Stony Ridge Inn,” said Tim Spradlin, Chief of the State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau. “We believe, though, someone still has more information about the case and we hope they will come forward.”

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At least two of the three owners who partnered to purchase the Weber Block wish to continue renovating the building.

Businessman Bill Lorenzen and his son Justin Lorenzen are two of three partners who purchased the historic building from the River East Economic Revitalization Corporation, which closed and liquidated its assets. 

Justin lived in East Toledo until he was 10 years old, and understands the historic importance of the Weber Block. His family later moved to Oregon, and Justin lives in downtown Toledo now.

The partnership is in business to develop and sell commercial estate, including shopping centers, heavy industrial buildings, and warehouses.

“(The Weber Block) doesn’t really pull a profit right now, but as a kid walking through there and stuff like it is a little bit of nostalgia for us,” Justin Lorenzen said.

“We’re looking forward to remodeling it and bringing it up to speed, and in the next year or so we hope to have it fully occupied or as much as we can. We’re going to have all new windows, probably all new furnaces, and to do that is not going to be cheap.

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Oregon city council on Monday will vote to accept the final tap-in charges for the installation of a sanitary sewer that will serve several parcels in the area of Lallendorf Road and Cedar Point Development Park.

“Along the way, it serves 11 properties,” said Finance Director Kathy Hufford at a Committee of the Whole meeting last Monday. “There is no requirement for property owners to tap in. But when they need to tap in due to septic failure, or they just want to tap in, the fee they have to pay is listed in the ordinance.”

Those fees range from a low of $5,957.39 to a high of $61,368.28.

Councilman Jerry Peach said the project “is of great benefit to property owners.”

“There’s not an obligation to tap in, and the system is there when needed,” said Peach.

Mayor Mike Seferian said the “cash to tap” process is more economical compared to residents petitioning for sanitary sewers.

“This cash to tap eliminates a couple procedures. It would likely be a little more costly if it had been a petitioned project. So it’s probably one of the more economical ways to achieve sanitary sewer and does have the other benefit of paying as you choose to use it,” said Seferian.

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For some insight into how the area’s housing market is faring Jeff Carpenter need look no further than the local property tax receipts for the Lake Local School District.

It’s not a pretty picture: In fiscal year 2008, which began July 1, 2007, the district received about $6.2 million – roughly $685,000 more than the year before. But by fiscal year 2009 a drop in local tax revenue had begun and by the end of the year the district received only $6.04 million.

In the first half of fiscal year 2010, the district is $16,372 below where it was in 2009 in local revenues.

“The county auditor is telling us that property tax delinquencies among homeowners are three times higher than normal,” Carpenter, the school district’s treasurer, said last week. “It’s been showing up in our revenues and I’m sure other districts are seeing the same thing.”

The district’s earnings on invested funds have also been dwindling.

In 2008, Lake’s investments earned $229,493 when interest rates were in the range of 5 to 5.5 percent. In 2009, the district earned $123,833 as rates slid to between 2 and 3 percent. In the first half of 2010, Carpenter is projecting the district will earn less than $9,000 on investments receiving on average less than .02 percent.

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A ruling by the Ohio Fire Marshal’s office on the cause of a fire that destroyed a restaurant at the Stony Ridge Inn, Latcha Road, was expected by last Thursday.

Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer described the fire as “suspicious” in origin and said Thursday afternoon that the Fire Marshal told him an announcement was pending.

He said someone at the nearby motel and passersby reported the fire about 5:40 a.m. Wednesday.

The kitchen area of the restaurant was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Seven area fire departments responded and were able to get the blaze under control in about two hours but were at the scene for several more hours to battle “hot spots,” the chief said.

“The restaurant is completely destroyed,” Chief Hummer said. “The bar and banquet areas suffered water and smoke damage.”

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms have also been called in to assist with the investigation.

One firefighter was slightly injured when he slipped on ice, the chief said, but there were no serious injuries reported.

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 CommonPeople1

Giving money to people along road

Do you feel compelled to give money to people holding signs along the road asking for money?
1081590206 [{"id":"10","title":"No, I'm not sure they're legitimate.","votes":"5","pct":62.5,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"11","title":"No, I'm afraid they will use it for drugs.","votes":"1","pct":12.5,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"12","title":"Yes, I feel good about helping someone down on their luck.","votes":"2","pct":25,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"13","title":"Yes, we could all end up like that.","votes":"0","pct":0,"type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /communitypolls/vote/1-root.html?Itemid=222&id=5 No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...