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May 25, 2020

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Copper theft, meth bust, keeping Ada police bus

By Amy Eddings

There were no meetings and no reports forthcoming from Ada village council committee heads during the village council meeting Tuesday night.  But Police Chief Mike Harnischfeger had plenty to say when it came time for him to give his monthly public safety report.

He said someone tried to steal copper wire from the construction site of the new wastewater treatment center at East Lincoln Avenue near Grass Creek, cutting an opening in the wire fencing around the plant.  A patrol officer interrupted the theft and discovered the wire.

“It’s always a bit concerning when we have that type of stuff around,” he told Mayor David Retterer and council members, noting that such construction material is also present at the site of where the new Mercy Health - Ada Family Medicine practice is being built on West North Avenue.  “We’re keeping a close eye on these two projects." 

And then there was the bust of a meth lab at an apartment at 415 N. Main St. on Nov. 21.  Rodrick Stevens, 31, faces a charge of illegal assembly of drugs.

“At the scene, investigators were able to determine this person was in the process of putting materials together in order to manufacture meth,” Chief Harnishfeger told the Icon.  The charge carries less weight than the actual manufacturing of meth, but Chief Harnishfeger said the investigation isn’t over.  “There will be other charges,” he said.  He would not elaborate.

Stevens and his wife were new residents to Ada, having moved here recently from Florida.  Chief Harnishfeger said they quickly were “on our radar.” They immediately became known to police officers because of frequent visits to the apartment to answer domestic violence calls.

“We had responded to several calls for service involving domestic violence. We were there four times in 30 days,” he said. It was during one of those visits that officers noticed “unknown substances” in the apartment, and alerted the Ada Liberty Fire Department, the Hardin County Sheriff, and a special state-run investigative unit out of Bowling Green, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

If convicted, the police chief said Stevens "will go away for a long time.”  Meth production carries a mandatory prison sentence of six months to 10 years, depending on whether it was being made near juveniles.

2016 appropriations
Other news resulting from the council meeting included the last reading of the appropriation ordinance for the amended 2016 budget of $460,869.46. 

Council members also approved an emergency ordinance that will turn a non-improved public alley into private property.  The alley runs behind 130 and 138 S. Johnson St. north, from East Lincoln Avemue to another alley. Keith and Mary Wire and Peter and Judith Hruschka joined together in the petition to the village to vacate the property.  Theirs are the only properties abutting the alley.

The emergency resolution shortens the public comment period from approximately two to three months, to 30 days.

Leaf collection
Village assistant administrator Jamie Hall reported that the leaf collection machine was back in operation, after being out of service for approximately two weeks due to a radiator leak. He noted that service was “messier,” due to decay in leaf piles that have been sitting curbside for a week or more and to recent drizzling rain.

“Some had to be picked up with a tractor because they had sat out there so long, they’d gotten wet and mushy,” he explained.

Leaf collection ends for the season on Friday, Dec. 4. Residents who need leaves picked up after that date are to bag them and to call the Village for pick-up.