The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Seventy-four percent of 12-18 year olds have a profile on a social networking site, a Kaiser Family Foundation study concluded.

“Parents that think their kids don’t might be surprised that their kids do,” Oregon Schools information technology director Nathan Quigg said. “Most kids have switched over to Facebook because once Grandma and Ma got on MySpace, it was no longer hip. I’m sure once there is something new, they’ll switch again.”

Facebook has a rule that a child must be 13-years-old to have an account, but that is not always the case.

“Who checks? My 6-year-old can come along and say she’s 65,” Fassett Middle School information technology instructor Amy Sweet said. “But if you want to see more — see what people really have you must have your own settings. I strongly recommend if your child has a Facebook account, you must get the password.”

Sweet noted that social networking pages can be great for communication, when used in the right way.

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A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children ages 8-18 spend 53 hours a week using entertainment media, or about 7½ hours per day. The same study found that only 30 percent of students have time limits for television, computer, or video games.

Acronyms and abbreviations have become their language, and while many parents have caught onto the technology and language, others have not. Many of these school-aged children have no idea what kind of trouble they can get into.

This school year, speakers from Oregon City Schools, the Oregon police department, and the Lucas County prosecutor’s office gave a presentation to Clay High School in which students were broken up into groups to discuss sexting, social networking, and the threat of sexual predators on the internet. Two other presentations last spring and fall were to students at Eisenhower Middle School.

“When I talked to the kids I asked how many have cell phones and I thought I was going to get laughed at,” Oregon Schools technology director Nathan Quigg said. “Ninety-eight percent of them raised their hands and when I asked who doesn’t have them, a handful said they don’t.”

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Denial of zoning change upheld by court

An appeals court has upheld a decision by the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court to deny a request for a zoning variance by a man who wanted to construct an 8,200-square-foot building in Allen Township on land zoned for agricultural use.

Tim Miller had asked the Sixth District Court of Appeals to reverse the common pleas court decision after the lower court affirmed a decision by the township’s board of zoning appeals to deny the variance request.

Miller filed a request with the township for a variance permit in May, 2008. The zoning board, which conducted a public hearing on June, 4, turned him down, citing the township’s zoning resolution that sets a limit of 3,000 square feet for accessory buildings in an agriculture district.

The common pleas court affirmed the zoning board decision on July 10.

Miller’s appeal contended the common pleas court erred by disregarding that the zoning board’s decision constituted “unreasonable and arbitrary enforcement of the (zoning) ordinance.”

He also argued the common pleas court erred when it didn’t rule a typographical error in the zoning board’s public hearing notice adversely affected his request.

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Genoa officers claim hostile work environment

The Ottawa County sheriff is recommending Genoa village officials hire a special investigator immediately to look into allegations of a hostile work environment leveled by three village police officers against Chief Randy Hill.

The officers – Sgt. Todd Mocniak, Kevin Miller, and Mike Woods - recently gave several pages of written complaints and issues regarding Chief Hill to councilman Eric Hise.

The councilman then asked Sheriff Robert Bratton for his opinion on the seriousness of the complaints, Bratton said.

“They need a special investigator to review all their issues to be fair,” Bratton said after turning over his response to Hise on March 3. “They need to act immediately. We don’t know what the chief’s response will be to this.”

Chief Hill said he hasn’t seen the documents and declined to comment.

Sheriff Bratton emphasized he is not stating a hostile environment exists in the village department. However, once “these words are used,” action needs to be taken quickly, the sheriff said.

“There needs to be an investigation immediately conducted to find out the validity and if there is or is not this type of situation,” Bratton wrote in his response.

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A hearing to decide if the Ottawa County Humane Society unlawfully seized dehydrated and malnourished horses from a Carroll Township farm is scheduled for March 18 in Ottawa County Municipal Court.

Robin Vess, who has pled not guilty to charges of animal cruelty, filed a motion to suppress with the court, claiming the Humane Society entered the property without a search warrant and violated her Fourth Amendment rights as well as the Ohio Constitution.

“…The humane society…entered onto the property of the defendant, into a closed barn which is attached to the residence, without a warrant, and unlawfully seized approximately 40 horses,” the motion states. “Since the plaintiff entered without a warrant, the seizure of evidence was unlawful and cannot be used against the defendant. As such, the law requires suppression of all such evidence.”

Vess is represented by Toledo attorney Mark Davis. To support Vess’s contention, the motion cites federal as well as state cases.

“The Ohio Supreme Court has been particularly protective of a homeowner’s right to be free from unlawful seizure,” the motion says.

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