The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

A Genoa police officer suspended for arranging restitution in a stolen bicycle case involving a mentally-challenged resident should be lauded not punished, his lawyer said Monday.

“He should be commended for what he did – not chastised. He was helping that girl that lost the use of this bicycle,” attorney Tom Tomczak said regarding his client, Police Sgt. Todd Mocniak.

The sergeant served a three-day suspension without pay following a Feb. 23 hearing with Genoa Mayor Mark Williams in connection with the fall 2009 theft investigation. He was scheduled to return to work Wednesday.

Williams, who also serves as the village’s safety director, determined Mocniak had violated a police manual policy regarding “abuse of position.”

“We basically do our best to ensure all employees adhere to the policy of the department. The appropriate steps were taken and we hope it never happens again,” Genoa Police Chief Randy Hill said last week after the decision.

Tomczak, however, described the hearing as unfair from the outset.

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Northwood City Council has given a first reading to renew its contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc, that would continue its automated photo speed and photo red light enforcement program.

The city had been negotiating with Redflex Safety Solutions, of Arizona, for the past year to renew its contract to continue operating its stationary speed and red light photo enforcement cameras that have been installed at the intersections of Lemoyne and Woodville roads and Oregon and Wales roads, which have a high incidence of speeding, since 2005. The cameras target motorists who speed and run red lights, then Redflex issues citations.

Northwood discontinued Redflex’s speed van, a mobile vehicle that issued citations to motorists for speeding, late last year.

Negotiations had broken down last year because Redflex wanted to charge more for the cameras once the van was discontinued.

The revenue funds public safety improvements in the city, including a continuous right turn on Wales Road and flashing lights at Lark school. Also, funding was used to bring back a laid off police officer last year.

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Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner is considering another round of city layoffs due to further decreases in income tax revenues this year.

“I have proposed cutting five full-time jobs, and one person would go from full-time to part-time,” Stoner told The Press last Wednesday.

The layoffs would include two full-time police officers, tax clerk, court clerk, and cleaning lady. “And the city clerk would go from full-time to part-time,” he said.

Administrator Pat Bacon has already informed the employees of the proposed layoffs, said Stoner.

“We just don’t have the money to continue paying them,” said Stoner.

“I’ve done everything I could to not affect the residents with these cuts,” he added

City council learned at a meeting on Feb. 25 that income tax revenues dropped 16 percent in January and February of this year, compared to the same period last year.

“If the city continues to lose revenue at that rate, we could see a loss of $700,000 in revenue by the end of this year,” said Stoner. “That’s big.”

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Joel Dollarhide’s complaint centers on an Ohio Department of Job and Family Services audit of a client’s reported employee wages in 2007.

The audit contends the client under-reported wages that year by $19,257:
• $5,641 in the first quarter
• $11,642 in the third quarter
• $1,974 in the fourth quarter

Multiply the total by Ohio’s 0.4 percent contribution rate for unemployment tax and the client appeared to owe a little more than $77 in additional contributions for the year.  The department also levied $23.90 in interest based on the audit figures.

Dollarhide has been pressing the ODJFS for details – by employee name – of the wages the department says were under-reported for each quarter.

“I have reviewed the payroll reports for these periods and can not determine how you arrived at the (under-reported) wages,” he writes in a June 18 letter to the compliance auditor.

To date, he hasn’t received the data.

If the audit results would stand, his client could also lose a state credit deductible from federal taxes, Dollarhide said, adding the credit would be around $500.

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service would levy interest and penalties and Dollarhide’s accounting firm could be held liable for the client’s losses.

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        A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for April 26 in Ottawa County Municipal Court for an Elmore man accused of posting threats on a Facebook page against the Arabian Horse Rescue Mission.

        According to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, Shaun Harder, 23, was arrested Feb. 26  on one count of aggravated menacing , a first degree misdemeanor.

        One of the comments posted by Harder on his Facebook page states: “the horses need ppl like us; the Arabian Horse rescue group needs to be slaughtered like livestock,” according to the sheriff’s department.

        On Jan. 29, Ottawa County Humane Society personnel went to a Carroll Township farm to remove horses which were suffering from severe malnourishment and dehydration.

        Forty-two charges of animal cruelty were filed in municipal court against Robin Vess, 54, who was living at the farm on Behlman Road.

        Sheriff Bob Bratton said Harder has been a volunteer with the Humane Society. That agency   became embroiled in a dispute over custody of the horses with Arabian Horse Rescue Mission, of New Jersey.

        The sheriff said a detective from his office was contacted Feb. 19 by the Toledo office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance regarding the threats on the Facebook page.

        More than 30 rescued horses were transported to the Sandusky County Fairgrounds to be rehabilitated and then sent to foster homes.

        At the time, Nancy Silva, Ottawa County Humane Officer, said she and rescue team members found one dead foal at the Vess farm and three horses that were down and had to be euthanized. One horse had to be euthanized after it was taken to the fairgrounds.

Ebola outbreak

Are you worried about the possible Ebola outbreak in the United States?
1986832636 [{"id":"22","title":"Yes, there are already cases in the U.S.","votes":"1","pct":5.26,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"23","title":"Yes, we should quarantine people traveling from Africa who enter the U.S.","votes":"15","pct":78.95,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"24","title":"No, the government has it under control.","votes":"3","pct":15.79,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /component/communitypolls/vote/10-ebola No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...