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Sylvania Township News
Township News
Drug Take-Back Day, Annexation, Drug Bust, Drunk Driver, Snow 

NATIONAL DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY  November 26, 2019
Sylvania Township police collected a total of 36.4 lbs of drugs collected during the recent National Drug Take-Back Day, according to Maria Hoschak-Gagnon,  executive director of Sylvania Community Action Team, which coordinates the activity locally.

She noted that the day has recently resulted in a reduced amount of drugs disposed, but that’s the result of people being more aware generally of the need to safely get rid of out-of-date or no longer needed medications.

Ms. Hoschak-Gagnon said that as an example of that, township police have collected and incinerated 272.8 lbs. of such medications since its last Drug Take-Back Day in April.

The Sylvania Township Police Department has a bin for such items to be disposed of in the lobby of police headquarters, 4420 King Rd.

She added that Drug Take-Back day and its advertising remain beneficial.

“About half the people disposing of drugs on that day this year said it was the first time,” they had taken part in the activity.

ANNEXATION LATEST  November 26, 2019
 Lucas County commissioners have asked for legal briefs before issuing a decision on the city of Sylvania’s request to annex a residential portion of Sylvania Township.

The request for written arguments came after procedural challenges to the city’s petition for annexation and testimony from township officials and residents opposing the forced action.

Richard Malone, an attorney representing the township, argued to commissioners that the city did not present enough valid signatures for the properties in the targeted Country Walk subdivision.

He noted that of five properties which are held in trust there were signatures but for two of them there was no document showing that the signatures were of people authorized to sign. He raised issues with others which cumulatively resulted in the city having only 15 valid signatures for the 31 properties, less than the 50 percent required on petitions for annexation.

Mr. Malone also noted that the hearing was beyond the 90-day requirement for a hearing, because it had earlier been continued after it was learned the agent for the petitioners had failed to publish a public notice.

The city of Sylvania has insisted that property owners sign a petition for annexation because they agreed to when they signed up for water service or such an agreement was in title work for the property.

Mr. Malone also noted that one of the requirements for approving an annexation is that benefits must outweigh detriments which would occur for property owners and the surrounding area.

Residents who oppose annexation generally complain that they will be subject to a municipal income tax, but will see no improvement in government service.

Oliver Turner, administrator of Sylvania Township, told commissioners that, “township residents have been deliberate in choosing a home community,” for reasons including schools, recreation and the simplicity of township government.

He said, “forced annexation erodes the deliberate choices as well as the common good of the area and community.”

The annexation of these properties, he said, will cost the road and bridge fund $8,000 and $26,000 in funding for police.  He added that the city has taken recent action to annex 70 more parcels with immediate plans for 400 more.  Mr. Turner said commissioners had received affidavits from township residents stating they would not choose to be annexed but for “a looming threat that water service would be discontinued,” if they didn’t sign the annexation petition.

Joe Verkennes, a township resident near the area targeted for forced annexation, called the city’s action a land-grab and a money-grab.

He and other residents who spoke at the meeting voiced complete satisfaction with the township’s services and that the income tax not only takes money, but because of that reduces the value of homes taken into the city.

Mr. Verkennes has taken to Facebook to urge residents to contact Lucas County Commissioners to voice their opposition to the city’s forced annexation policy.

Other residents, presidents of homeowners’ associations, also voiced their opposition and the opposition of members of their associations to the forced annexation.

John Crandall, chairman of the trustees, echoed Mr. Turner’s comments noting that the city and township until now have been able to work together on such issues as establishing the senior center, operating the recreational districts and on economic development. He said he is saddened and disappointed in the city.

Both Mr. Crandall and Mr. Turner said they hope to continue to work on a cooperative basis with the city.

 

As the meeting was about to end, Mr. Malone told commissioners that they should decide the issue on the preponderance of the evidence presented in the testimony and noted that no one from the Sylvania city administration nor any resident had spoken in support of the annexation petition.

DRUNK DRIVER  November 25, 2019
When your friend at the office Christmas party suggests, “just one more,”  the best idea is to say no.

One reason, at least if you’re heading into Sylvania Township, is the rise in drunk driving arrests in the recent past.

In the month of October, township police made 26 arrests for drunk driving, compared to 19 in October the previous year. At the end of October, the police had made a total of 185 drunk driving arrests through the year, more than the total of 155 for all of 2018.

Police Chief Paul Long said he has never directed officers to specifically increase drunk driving enforcement but has made no secret of the fact that he considers it a serious offense.

The chief pointed to a late-October arrest which he said must have required a lot of guardian angels to keep people safe from the alleged drunk driver.

Responding to a call, Sylvania Township police found Anthony McCoy, 52, of Kendalville, Ind., passed out, stopped with his foot on the brake at a green light on eastbound Central Avenue at  Holland-Sylvania Road, according to the police report.

When the officer shook him awake, Mr. McCoy said he was “waiting for his food,” but was unaware of where he was.

He told the officer he didn’t need a field sobriety test, saying “I’m drunk. I already know I’m drunk,”

He eventually took a breath test resulting in a blood alcohol level of 0.178, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Based on a quick records check at the time of his arrest it was found that he had at least 6 prior drunk driving convictions in Ohio and Indiana and that he had a pending drunk driving charge in Indiana. He told police of one other in Alabama.

He was charged with felony drunk driving, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 months in prison. A warrant has been issued for his arrest after failing to appear in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Although it is unlikely that “just one more,” at the office Christmas party or anywhere else will result in such an extreme case for most people, Chief Long said the dangers of drunk driving are the same.

The possibility of arrest is always there, and the potential for an accident, injury or death is real the chief said.

SNOW November 12, 2019
A few hours before Sylvania Township got its first snow event of the season,  Rob Nash, township road superintendent, began a chess match with Mother Nature.

He was relying on weather forecasts and tracking radar to help decide when it would be necessary to stop leaf collection efforts and turn to snow and ice control.

“Safety first.  We ask for residents’ patience in getting to the leaves, but we need to first make sure the streets are as safe to travel as possible,” he said.

Some crews continued on leaf collection through the day, but four trucks were refitted to snow and ice control at about 2 p.m..

Crews continued on that task overnight and were back at it the next morning.

He said normal leaf-collection efforts will resume as soon as possible.

In below-freezing temperatures some of the collection equipment can freeze, Mr. Nash said. It has to be taken out of service and brought into the garage to thaw.

He cautioned that the weather also has the obvious negative effect of freezing piles of leaves.  Although the job becomes somewhat easier after a freeze, crews still have to wrestle with the resulting sodden mess.

BUST  November 12, 2019
Sylvania Township recently took part in what is described as a multi-agency, multi-year investigation in what has resulted in indictments against 31 people for a number of narcotics conspiracy violations.

Police Chief Paul Long said the township police have had an officer assigned to the FBI-led drug task force for years.  The group’s efforts have led to many other prosecutions, but he added that it is rewarding to see now and then front-page attention paid to their efforts.

Due to the confidential nature of his work and that it is ongoing, the chief said it was decided that the officer shouldn’t speak publicly, but Chief Long added that it’s important for people to know that cases of this sort appear exciting when indictments are announced but they are the result of months and sometimes years of tedious, step-by-step procedures.

The police “know who they are looking for. They know who the bad guys are, but you have to build a case. You have to be able to prove it.

“It can take a long time,” particularly in building a case which has resulted in 31 people indicted. The activities of suspects can intersect with some defendants sometimes and others at other times.

It takes time to sort out suspects in a criminal enterprise of this size and scope.

Although most of the defendants are from Toledo, others are from Arizona and Mexico.

Chief Long acknowledged that none of those arrested are from Sylvania Township, but added that the victims of narcotics trafficking, the users, those who become addicted, those who overdose are in our community and everywhere in northwest Ohio.

Without being specific, the chief also noted that drug deals are often in large commercial parking lots and pointed out Sylvania Township has a number of them.

Although trying for specific measurements can be difficult, he said that sharing of information between other members of the Sylvania Township police, the task-force member and the township’s member of the DEA task force has enhanced township law enforcement.

He also noted that the FBI has paid for extensive training for the township officer in the ability to use cell phone towers to track suspects who are carrying a phone.

“He’s had all the training that’s available to non-federal agents,” the chief said, noting that the township recently used his skills to track a suspected burglar, arrest him, and charge him with a number of offenses committed in the township.

All of the alleged members of the drug ring are charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics, many face additional charges such as illegal possession of firearms and interstate travel in the conspiracy. As arrests took place, police seized a total of about $400,000, quantities of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl and a number of firearms.

U.S. District Court Judge James Carr has set a pretrial conference in the case for Dec 12.

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*The next Sylvania Township Board of Trustees meeting is December 3  (Regular Meeting),  5:00 p.m.,   
click for agenda

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