The Press Newspaper
Driving by Tiger Ridge Exotics animal shelter in Stony Ridge, one notices that owner Kenny Hetrick and volunteers are working around the clock to upgrade and repair the facility that once housed exotic animals.
Two weeks ago, the Ohio Department of Agriculture officials removed six tigers, a lion, black leopard, liger, bobcat and Kody, the Kodiak bear, that Hetrick’s family said was in hibernation when the ODA officials arrived.
The ODA had denied Hetrick’s application to operate an exotic animal rescue facility, saying the application was submitted 298 days late and that a visit by inspectors found “your facility illustrated that you have failed to comply with caging requirements needed for public safety and care standards intended to protect the animals” under the Ohio Revised Code.
Most of the animals were aging, including a tiger and black panther that were 14 and 16-years-old. A wolf hybrid was allowed to remain on the property because that species is not applicable to state law.
The animals are at a newly-built multi-million dollar holding facility in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where ODA Communications Director Erica M. Hawkins told The Press they are doing well.
As the dump trucks roll into the Toledo Executive Airport for a construction project, the Lake Township trustees are preparing to make sure any resulting damage to township infrastructure is repaired.
The trustees Tuesday approved an agreement with Ryan Inc., a Wisconsin firm, to have the company or its subcontractors be responsible for repairing damage caused by the increased truck traffic to the work site.
Mark Hummer, township administrator, said the airport is constructing a dedicated taxiway for a runway and he anticipates “several thousand tons of stone” to be trucked to the airport for the taxiway’s base.
Trucks will be entering the airport property from a temporary entrance along Drouillard Road, south of Ayers Road, according to the agreement. They will approach the airport from State Route 795 and Cummings Road.
Township road crews have already videotaped the haul route, including the roads, storm sewers and road shoulders and will videotape during and after the construction, Hummer said. The agreement also calls for the placement of a steel plate to protect a storm tile and underground Toledo Edison high voltage line that run parallel with Drouillard Road.
Legislation proposed by State Sen. Randy Gardner will establish an office in the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to specifically coordinate efforts with local governments to address algae and related issues in Lake Erie.
Sen. Gardner said an Office of Harmful Algae Management and Response in the Ohio EPA would work with water treatment plants by monitoring intakes and conduct in-lake testing for toxic algae.
Senate Bill 1 was scheduled for two hearings last week and is co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Peterson (R – Sabina) and Sen. Cliff Hite (R – Findlay), who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. The sponsors said last week they anticipate a vote in the senate this month.
Gardner said the bill requires the OEPA director to coordinate responsibilities with the natural resources, agriculture and health departments as well as consult with local governments and water treatment plant operators.
“No matter how much progress is made in reducing phosphorus levels in the lake, we know our water treatment plants need and deserve our best efforts to support their mission to keep our drinking water safe,” he said.
Officials from Northwood and the Northwest Water and Sewer District have compromised on the designs of an above ground 2 million gallon flow equalization basin or sanitary sewer overflow storage tank that would hold sewage and storm water during heavy rain events before it can be released and treated by Oregon’s sanitary sewer treatment plant.
The city has a contract with the district for water and sewer services from Toledo and Oregon.
Oregon has an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to make improvements to its system, which affects the district, Tom Stalter, manager of engineering of the district, said recently at a Northwood Plan Commission meeting. “We can now only allow 5 million gallons per day to run into Oregon. Under dry weather, this is fine. However, under wet weather and the conditions of the sewers, this causes a problem.”
The district reviewed the flow over 18 months and determined “we exceeded 5 million gallons a day 60 times,” he said.
The district’s contract with Oregon was renewed last April. It mandates the implementation of a new control structure for the flow, which travels down one main line into the city of Oregon before it is treated.
The 30 foot tall basin, which is scheduled to be completed by this October, will be located on a 2 acre parcel parcel between Curtice Road and Wise Street. It will be 1,350 feet east of the nearest house in the Greenway Estates subdivision. The tank will catch and hold the excess flow of sanitary sewage and storm water temporarily before it is released for treatment in Oregon.
State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D. Oregon) was recently given the “Legislator of the Year” award by the Ohio Farmer’s Union.
“Rep. Sheehy has worked closely with farmers in and around his district to better understand how fertilizers work on the land and what practices work best to keep nutrients in the soil and out of Lake Erie,” Ohio Farmers Union Spokesman Ron Sylvester told The Press last week. “His legislative agenda on the House Ag Committee has reflected a no-nonsense approach to agriculture and water quality.”
Sylvester in particular noted Sheehy’s legislative proposal last year to ban the spreading of livestock manure and chemical fertilizer on snow and frozen ground on farm fields in the Maumee River Watershed. Last year, it passed the House, but failed in the senate and expired on Dec. 31. It is expected to be reintroduced in the state legislature this year. Phosphorus, which fuels the algal blooms in Lake Erie, is in fertilizer and manure. When it is spread on snow and frozen ground, the phosphorus is at risk of running off of fields and into area watersheds during the spring thaw.
“During deliberations over H.B. 490 last year, Sheehy fought for an amendment to prohibit the spreading of manure on frozen or snow-covered ground in the Maumee River watershed. He also put forth amendments in committee that would have helped aggregate existing data on all farm fertilizers – including manure – from various state and local sources,” Sylvester said. “This data would not have individually identified farms or farmers, but would allow state officials to get a watershed view of potential nutrient run-off hotspots. While many House members talk about basing regulation on science, Rep. Sheehy was actually giving legislators a mechanism to collect the data they say that they want.”
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