The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Tiger Ridge Exotics supporters say testimony from an Ohio Department of Agriculture worker has them fearing that the agency is not taking good care of the 11 animals it seized.

Employing a search and seizure warrant, ODA officials removed six tigers, a lion, black leopard, liger, bobcat, cougar and Kodiak bear from Tiger Ridge on a cold Wednesday afternoon in late January.

The animals from the Stony Ridge exotic animal shelter remain at the holding facility until appeals are heard from 71-year-old owner Kenny Hetrick and his Toledo attorney, Karen A. Novak.

In Columbus, administrative hearings over the search and seizure finished last week and this week begins a hearing over the Hetrick’s appeal permitting for exotic animals, which was denied by the state. Last week in Bowling Green Wood County Common Pleas Court, Judge Kelsey Reeves ruled against the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s filing requesting the court to dismiss a lawsuit brought on by Hetrick.

Last Monday, an ODA worker testified that a cougar, Cindy, was bleeding when it arrived at the ODA facility in Reynoldsburg. The ODA acknowledged that the cougar had sore paws and they had put down rubber mats to help them heal, but ODA Communications Director Erica M. Hawkins said the worker exaggerated its testimony.

Just days after rejecting a petition for a proposed amendment to the state constitution to legalize marijuana, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected a similar petition from another group.

Last Monday, DeWine rejected the petition from the group, Responsible Ohio, entitled “Medical Marijuana and Personal Use Amendment” that would have added a section to the constitution to allow adults age 21 and older to grow marijuana at home.

He found two defects in the summary language of the group’s petition:

• The summary language omits that the proposed amendment permits the sharing of specified amounts of marijuana between adults 21 years old and older.

• The summary language does not accurately reflect the manner in which proposed taxes would be distributed.

“After reviewing the submission, I conclude that I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment,” DeWine said in a letter to the petitioners.

Oregon council on Monday approved the purchase of four new vehicles for $89,252 from Lebanon Ford, of Lebanon, Ohio for the police division.

The cost of the new 2016 Ford Utility police interceptor vehicles, originally priced at $110,152, was reduced because of a trade-in credit of $20,900.

Lebanon Ford provided the lowest quote for the new vehicles, and a higher trade-in credit, than Mathews Ford, Oregon. Mathews submitted a quote of $119,324, with a trade in-credit of $17,000, for a total cost of $102,324.

Police Chief Mike Navarre said the transition from the sedan to the SUV Ford “provides a lot of advantages for our officers.”

He said the Ford Utility police interceptor is widely used.

“It’s the most popular police vehicle used right now in the U.S.,” he said.

Navarre said Mathews Ford was aware of the state contract through the Cooperative Purchasing program, but bid much higher.

The company planning to construct a 22-mile natural gas pipeline between the cities of Maumee and Oregon has filed its opposition with the Ohio Power Siting Board to a request by a coalition of about 20 residents for another hearing on the project.

The residents, calling themselves the Oregon Lateral Citizens Coalition, filed their request with the siting board last month to push for an alternate route for the 24-inch-diameter pipeline that will supply natural gas for an $800 million electric generation plant along Lallendorf Road in Oregon.

While not opposing the generation plant, the residents want the siting board to hold a full hearing on the pipeline project as proposed by North Coast Gas Transmission, a Columbus- based company.

From Maumee, the pipeline would run under the Maumee River and through the City of Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township. From there, it would proceed northeast through Lake Township, the Village of Walbridge and City of Northwood, ending in Oregon.

The Drinking Water Protection Act, which would protect drinking water from harmful cyanotoxins passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 375-37 on Tuesday.

Toledo last August issued a three-day tap water ban after microcystin, a cyanotoxin, was found in samples taken from the Collins Water Treatment Plant, which draws water from the western basin of Lake Erie.

The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), would push federal agencies to provide clear protocols and oversight in the event of a large-scale algal bloom and would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide a strategic plan to Congress for assessing and managing the risks associated with algal toxins in drinking water provided by public water systems.

During the water crisis, “concerns and questions were, and have since been, raised about health effects data, testing protocols, treatment processes, and appropriate short and long term responses,” Latta said in a speech on the floor of the House Tuesday.

“During hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, witnesses testified on the further complexity of this issue due to the numerous algal toxins…that may have potential negative health effects when present in public drinking water,” he said.

Speed Limit

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