The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

EarlyDeadlineChristmas2014

A rural Oak Harbor man is facing a felony operating a vehicle while impaired charge after his Dec. 13 arrest. Authorities say this is the sixth time Steven Ontko, 42, Portage River South Road, has been picked up for the violation.

Ontko spent the rest of the weekend in the Ottawa County Detention Facility after his arrest shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday in the driveway of his home. He appeared Monday in Ottawa County Municipal Court. Following his hearing, he was released on a $10,130 cash bond, according to detention facility records.

Ontko is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 22. The charge is a third degree felony, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Ontko has five previous OVI convictions, occurring in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, records show.

Oregon City Council approved a $19.8 million budget for next year, slightly more than 2014’s budget of $18.4 million.

“We believe with this budget, we can maintain Oregon’s tradition of a high level of services for our residents,” said City Administrator Mike Beazley.

The city will continue its $1 million road improvement program that was in the 2014 budget.

“It’s so important, in terms of quality of life for our residents and from an economic development prospective,” he said. The city will also continue upgrading Navarre Avenue.

“It is our main street. It’s an important investment in our future, as we go forward,” said Beazley.

In addition, upgrades will be made to capital equipment, some of it as the result of a harsh winter earlier this year, he said.

“Some of that investment stems from some of the high costs and wear and tear that came from a very tough winter,” said Beazley.

The biggest expense next year will be for police, fire and EMS services, which total $10,301,898.

The Eastwood school board Monday approved a resolution to participate in the Ohio School Facilities Commission program – a step that will formally allow the district to receive state funds for the construction of a new elementary school building, pending OSFC approval.

The board’s resolution will be considered during the OSFC’s January meeting and then submitted to the state controlling board for final approval, Dave Michel, the school district’s treasurer, said.

The board plans to use revenues from a tax abatement agreement with The Home Depot and public utility taxes from a Troy Energy plant to cover most of the district’s share of construction costs.

Michel said the district will pay $12.45 million for the project. Of that, $1.45 million will come from the district’s general fund to cover what are called locally funded initiatives not covered by the OSFC. The local initiatives will be finalized during the design process.

The OSFC is expected to provide approximately $7 million for the project.

While the fate of a bill that would legalize the use of consumer grade fireworks in Ohio is unclear, one thing is certain; the bill drew ardent supporters and opponents during a hearing last week.

The bill soared through the Ohio Senate like a bottle rocket shortly after being introduced last month, but didn’t make it out of a House of Representatives committee hearing last Wednesday – the legislature’s final day in session of the year – for a floor vote.

Current law requires consumer grade fireworks purchased in Ohio to be transported out of state within 48 hours of a purchase and prohibits their use in the state.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dave Burke (R- Marysville), said it would reflect major changes in the industry that have resulted in safer products and also enact a fee for the Ohio Fire Marshal’s office to conduct training programs and enforcement.

When he introduced the bill, Sen. Burke, whose district covers seven counties, including Sandusky and Seneca, said fireworks use has risen more than 600 percent since 1976 while the injury rate has dropped; from 38.3 reported injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks consumed to 6.1 injuries per 100,000 pounds in 2013.

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