The Press Newspaper
A coalition of volunteers organized to assist emergency management agencies during times of crisis is conducting a volunteer recruitment campaign this month and in March.
About a year ago, emergency management agency directors in Erie, Ottawa and Huron counties decided to join forces to establish what they call a Disaster Volunteer Coalition (DVC) to enhance and better coordinate volunteer efforts throughout the region.
Their rationale for forming the coalition stems from the fact that most police departments in the area are adequately staffed to handle daily calls but often stretched too thin to handle calls during major emergencies. Many local fire departments rely heavily on volunteers.
Consequently, when emergency-related issues such as finding shelter for victims, coordinating volunteers and assisting with social services must be met, other organizations – like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) are needed to fill the void.
“Our concern is that we have well trained help to serve the residents of the region when they need it most,” said Fred Peterson, director of the Ottawa County Emergency Management Agency. “We need to ensure that when we call upon volunteer organizations that they know each other, work well together and carry out the mission we depend upon them to fulfill.”
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a public information session and hearing Feb. 18 on a proposal for dredging of the Toledo Harbor navigation channel.
The meeting will be held at Toledo City Council Chambers, One Government Center, 640 Jackson Street.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has applied for the certification for the project, which would involve dredging from the channel’s upper lake approach to the lower end of the channel near the mouth of the Maumee River.
Dredged material would be disposed in an open-lake area about 3.5 miles from the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse.
Dredging would not start before July 1.
Ohio EPA staff will present information about the proposed project during the informational session, which will be followed by a hearing for submitting public comments and questions for the record regarding the Corps’ application.
A man sentenced to 11 years in prison for possession of cocaine will be re-sentenced following a decision by the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court ruling.
Rafael Gonzales, 56, had appealed his sentence from the Wood County Court of Common Pleas, arguing the court erred in how it presented evidence during the trial.
“Because the state failed to introduce evidence as to the purity or weight of the cocaine in this case, we find that appellant’s penalty enhancement under Revised Code must be reversed and vacated,” the appeals court ruled.
Gonzales had been found guilty in 2013 after being indicted for purchasing two kilograms of cocaine from an undercover officer. The purchase took place in July 2012 at a Super 8 Motel along I-280.
The charge against him included a major drug offender specification because the amount exceeded 100 grams.
The cocaine was seized by officers and tested by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which confirmed the drug actually was cocaine. The BCI analyst, however, wasn’t available to testify at the trial and the test results were not admitted in the case. Consequently, prosecutors relied on the testimony of officers and an informant who arranged the sale.
The City of Oregon was all over national news because of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 42-20 national championship victory over the Oregon Ducks.
Now, Mayor Mike Seferian says the publicity is turning into an economic development and promotion tool.
The momentum started when Oregon natives and Whitmer teachers Matt Squibb and Mark Rabbitt began an online petition to have the city’s name changed for the day of the national championship game. The petition went viral, garnering 2,000 signatures within three days, so Seferian felt compelled to take action.
Not wanting to be identified with the University of Oregon football team, the city of Oregon changed its name by proclamation to “Oregon, Ohio Buckeyes on the Bay, City of Duck Hunters” for one day, Monday, January 12 — when the Buckeyes and Ducks played for an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision championship.
Everyone from The Sporting News to ESPN Magazine and ESPN cable got on the media bandwagon.
Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner said the city still faces challenges following the 2007 recession that saw significant budget cuts. But the city, he said, is “slowly improving” economically.
“As with the past few years, the message for 2015 is one of continuing challenges tempered by optimism,” said Stoner in his state of the city address.
“We will continue to adhere to a prudent spending plan as we move through a slowly improving but still uncertain economic time in our city. While the challenges of economic downturn still linger and the hoped for recovery has not fully materialized, there are signs of improvement and we are extremely hopeful about the future,” he said.
He noted that the city started off this year with a positive general fund carryover.
“We have approved a balanced 2015 budget totaling $4,632,255 and we project our 2015 general fund revenue to total $4,636,380,” he said.
Income taxes were up 5.7 percent from 2013. Total General Fund expenditures increased by $192,932 or 4.7 percent from 2013.
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