Six people appeared before Judge Martin Burchfield in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, while Probate-Juvenile Judge Kevin Taylor also heard one case on Wednesday.
Faith Busbey, 33, of Lima, pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony, during an arraignment hearing held Wednesday. She was released on a personal surety bond and a pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, August 5.
Two people also entered changes of plea during hearings held Wednesday.
Carl Elston, 36, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor (reduced from a fourth-degree felony). A presentence investigation was ordered in the case and sentencing scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, September 9.
Ryan Shields, 29, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to one count of failure to register as a sex offender, a felony of the fourth degree. A presentence investigation was also ordered in Shields’ case and he will appear for sentencing at 9 a.m. September 9.
Drew Kenny, 22, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his probation by failing to take drug test when requested. A pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. August 5.
Ohio Attorney General’s information
COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has rejected the petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would attempt to legalize marijuana for medical use in the state.
On July 20, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled “Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment,” from the group Ohio Medical Cannabis Care LLC. A total of 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters were submitted; however, Attorney General DeWine found at least four defects with the summary language:
The summary language omits references to amendment language explaining that patient registry cards are automatically accepted if the proposed Ohio Medical Cannabis Commission fails to enact an approval process or to respond to applications within a specified time.
The summary language omits the reasons listed in the amendment for which the proposed commission may revoke patient registry cards.
The summary language omits references to amendment language specifying certain actions the proposed commission must take in a certain period of time after the effective date.
The summary language states that certain individuals administering marijuana to underage patients “shall not be criminalized,” when no such prohibition exists in the amendment language.
“For these reasons, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment,” DeWine stated in a letter to the petitioners,” DeWine noted.
The full text of today’s letter and of the amendment petitions submitted can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/BallotInitiatives.
Van Wert Optimist Club information
The Optimist Club of Van Wert will sell Rager’s Recipe Sausage Sandwiches at the Van Wert Council on Aging Warehouse Sales July 30-August 1 and August 6-8.
The club will offer sausage sandwiches and drinks from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday on both weekends. The public is invited and proceeds will benefit the Optimist Club’s programs for local youth.
Founded in 1981, the Optimist Club of Van Wert is one of 2,900 Optimist International clubs around the world. The club meets every Thursday at Willow Bend Country Club, from noon to 1 p.m., and is dedicated to making friendships, having fun, serving area youths and promoting optimism as a way of life.
For more information, call 567.259.5277 or speak to a member.
Van Wert Elks information
Van Wert Lodge 1197, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, helped sponsor the annual DARE Camp, which this year was held at the S.F. Goedde Building the week of July 12.
The variety of activities provided for the campers included swimming at the YMCA and a water fight that concludes the camp on the last day. Van Wert Lodge, through a Promise Grant it received from the Elks National Foundation, provided hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and pop for the campers each day. On the last day of camp, the campers were all treated to ice cream, also provided by the Elks.
Promise Grants are administered through the Elks National Foundation to local lodges that want to sponsor any type of drug- and alcohol-free event in the community.
United Way of Van Wert County information
Van Wert area residents are invited to join the United Way of Van Wert County at the ninth annual Van Wert Rib Fest for its “When Pigs Fly” event.
Little plastic numbered pigs will be dropped from a Van Wert Fire Department ladder truck on the fairgrounds at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 8. Two lucky winners will receive a cash prize following the contest: $500 for the pig that lands closest to the target and $100 to the pig that lands farthest away from the target.
Tickets are $5 each, or 6 for $20, and can be purchased at the United Way Office, from any United Way board member, the Van Wert Area Convention and Visitors Bureau or at the fairgrounds during Van Wert Rib Fest.
This year, in addition to the flying pigs, the United Way will hold a 50/50 contest. Stop by the United Way tent at the Rib Fest and take a guess at the number of pigs in a jar for only $1 a guess. The winner will win half of all money collected.
United Way of Van Wert County is located at 1151 Westwood Drive. For more information call 419.238.6689, email email@example.com, or visit the United Way website at www.unitedwayvanwert.org.
The Van Wert Business Development Corporation (BDC) has contributed to the van Wert Airport Terminal Feasibility Study Fund. The Airport Board is raising $12,000 to be used for this study, and to be proactive in determining any future expansion at the airport. Shown are (from the left) Airport Authority Board President Steve Bailey, BDC Board member Andy Czajkowski and Airport Authority member Mike Keysor. (photo submitted)
Ohio Dept. of Health information
COLUMBUS — Record rainfalls this summer have had a negative effect on Grand Lake St. Marys, as harmful algae blooms have again caused problems on the lake.
Ohio public health officials have elevated a public health advisory as a result of increased levels of microcystin toxin in the 13,500-acre lake, along with the probable case of a person getting sick after recreating on the lake.
Signs have been posted on Grand Lake public beaches and boat ramps recommending that visitors and pets avoid swimming and wading in the lake. Boaters and jet-skiers are encouraged to understand the risks of exposure to higher levels of microcystin, especially if the lake shows scum, slime or resembles spilled paint.
Microcystin is a toxic chemical produced by cyanobacteria (often called blue-green algae), which cause harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs can occur in lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers when there are warm temperatures, sunlight and excessive amounts of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) in the water. Some HABs are visible as thick mats or scum on the surface of the water, which can vary in color, including bluish-green, bright green or even red or maroon.
“We are seeing high levels of microcystin that are likely the result of record rainfall this year,” said Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Microcystin levels at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park beaches recently ranged from 63.4 micrograms per cubic liter (µg/L), sometimes expressed as parts per billion, to 99.6 µg/L. According to the World Health Organization, there is a high relative probability of acute health effects during recreational exposure to microcystin in contaminated water beginning at 20 µg/L.
Swallowing or coming into contact with water containing high levels of microcystin can make people sick, including but not limited to rashes, hives, skin blisters and runny nose to severe diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, abnormal liver function and difficulty breathing. The most common ways individuals come into contact with HABs during water recreational activities include accidental swallowing of contaminated water while swimming; skin contact through swimming or wading; and breathing in aerosolized water droplets (misting) while power boating, jet skiing, water skiing or tubing.
VW County Council on Aging information
Through a partnership with Legal Aid of Western Ohio, the Van Wert County Council on Aging will be offering free legal aid services. While the service is available to anyone, emphasis will be placed on the senior population.
Rebecca Steinhouse will serve as Legal Aid’s local liaison for the Van Wert County Council on Aging. Steinhouse has worked for Legal Aid of Western Ohio for more than 17 years and specializes in elder law. However, she and Legal Aid of Western Ohio can also offer legal expertise in the many other areas, such as family law, domestic violence, consumer law and public benefits.
The services will be offered on a quarterly basis and appointments are very limited. While all individuals age 60 and older are eligible for these services at no cost, those under 60 must be low-income eligible individuals.
For those interested, the next session will be Thursday, August 13. Those interested in meeting with Steinhouse or need further information on Legal Aid of Western Ohio can contact the Van Wert County Council on Aging at 419.238.5011.
The Van Wert County Council on Aging is an advocate for independent living in later years and is partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation.
VW County Health Dept. information
CINCINNATI — The Kroger Company is recalling Kroger Ground Cinnamon, Kroger Garlic Powder, Kroger Coarse Ground Black Pepper and Kroger Bac’n Buds sold in its retail stores, due to possible contamination from Salmonella.
A sample of Kroger Garlic Powder from a store in North Augusta, South Carolina, was tested by the FDA and found to be contaminated with Salmonella.
Stores under the following names in the 31 states where Kroger operates are included in this recall: Kroger, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, City Market, Smith’s, Dillons, Baker’s, Gerbes, Jay C, Ruler Foods, Pay Less, Owen’s, and Scott’s.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
After more than a decade of relief, more than 30 frustrated Sunset Court residents were again looking for answers to flooding problems from Van Wert City Council.
What has been called the wettest June since 1892, which dumped more than 20 inches of rain on the city, was blamed for flooding problems for the southern portion of Sunrise Court, as water from an adjacent field poured into a portion of the subdivision.
Several Sunrise Court residents who attended Monday’s City Council meeting talked about how the flooding has adversely affected them — problems that included the loss of a couple of vehicles to water damage and difficulty in getting to, and from, their homes.
Since houses in the area are built on concrete slabs, several residents also said their homes were threatened by flooding that, in some cases, came within inches of their front doors.
Mayor Don Farmer used a slide show in his discussion of what has been done in the past two decades to alleviate flooding in Sunrise Court, but also noted that the historical rainfalls last month were the main culprit in the area’s recent flooding problems.
“There is no community that can plan for that size of rainfall,” the mayor said to Sunrise Court residents.
Van Wert Agricultural Society members recently raised $2,000 by operating a parking lot security detail for the 2015 Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA). Funds were donated to The Van Wert County Foundation to be applied to the Future Agricultural Leader Scholarship Fund established in 2014 by the Agricultural Society. Income from the fund will provide scholarships in any ag major for local residents who participated in the Van Wert County Junior Fair. Agricultural Society security team member Ron Owens is shown presenting a check to VWCF Executive Secretary Seth Baker. Other security team members included Barb Waltz, Gerald Gordon, Aaron Knittle, Jami Agler, Brennon Profit and Ann Marshall. For more information about scholarship funds, or to donate, contact The Van Wert County Foundation at 419.238.1743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (photo submitted)