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May 30, 2020

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Council approves money for Fourth of July concert, increases donation

By Amy Eddings
The Ada Village Council voted to contribute $1,500 toward the cost of a free concert by the Lima Symphony Orchestra on July 2 on the grounds of Ohio Northern University, an increase of $500 from last year.

The decision, tabled from the last meeting two weeks ago, came after ONU First Lady Chris DiBiasio addressed council members and Mayor David Retterer.  She and ONU resident artist and music lecturer Kirsten Osbun Manley are spearheading the fundraising efforts for the second annual Fourth of July-themed concert.

“This is not an ONU event,” she said.  “These are two individuals who feel strongly that we want to provide this kind of experience here in Ada."

She said costs have increased, due in particular to the need for a larger stage, and that her fundraising goal is $18,000.  The concert will be held outdoors, on the grounds of the university, with the Field House as an alternative site should the weather prove uncooperative.

The council's approval of a $1,500 contribution was an about-face since their last  meeting two weeks ago, when they debated whether the village had contributed $500 or $1,000 in 2015, and whether a $1,000 contribution this year was too steep.

Councilor Don Fleming, Finance Committee chairman, said he made the motion for the $1,500 amount after considering the other amenities the village offers.

“I was thinking of money people voted to spend on the pool and the money donated to the Depot and the caboose and the flags and flowers and I think this equals or exceeds those items, individually,” he said.  “That’s why I made this motion.”

There was no lengthy debate this time.  Councilor Beth Fenton, who had suggested at the last council meeting that a $1,000 contribution was too high, abstained from the vote.  She is one of several council members who are employed by ONU or who have relatives employed there. 

Bob Carder

Also addressing the council was Bob Carder, who’s running to be a Hardin County commissioner.  Carder, who was born and raised in Kenton, said he’s “seen the county diminishing” since he was a child and that he wants to increase job opportunities, improve communication between the county government and its villages and municipalities and expand treatment options for heroin and opioid addicts.

 “We can arrest people, put them through drug court, but what do we do with them after they’re out?” he said.  “We need better after care programs, get agencies working together to come up with how people go through rehab and return as productive citizens."

He also has a special concern about some county intersections, suggesting they should be four-way stops instead of two-way stops.  He said he lost a daughter three years ago in a traffic accident at a county intersection. 

Other actions and newsworthy items arising from the village council meeting:   

• Ohio Northern University has a request before the village to rezone 57 acres of its property near the southwest corner of W. Lima Ave. and Klingler Road, from an R1-Residential use to an E1-Educational use.  A public meeting will be held on the application on June 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Depot.  Councilor Jim Oestreich, who’s a member of the Village Planning Commission, said ONU is considering placing solar panels there.  

“That’s not to discuss, how the university plans to use it,” he said of the public hearing.  “Only whether the property can be an E1 use.”  He noted other stretches of ONU property, including grounds fronting W. Lima Ave. where the university has built student housing, are zoned E1.  

“It should have been done like that in the first place,” he said of the 57 acres.

• Ada Police Sgt. William Purdy and his K9 partner, Jaeger, received their professional certification for patrol and narcotics detection from the National Association of K9 Handlers.  “We’ve had four narcotics apprehensions in the last four weeks, utilizing the canine,” said Chief Michael Harnishfeger. 

He noted that this week is National Police Memorial Week, and he thanked local businesses for their contributions of pizzas and other food.  “No donuts yet,” he said with a smile.  But then he turned serious.

“This is the week we remember Officer James Ferrall, who was killed in the line of duty on July 22, 1937,” the chief reminded those in attendance at the meeting.  Officer Ferrall is the only Ada police officer who has been killed in the line of duty.   

• Volunteers are needed Thursday, May 19, at 4 p.m. to help plant Ohio Northern University’s third annual vegetable garden.  First Lady DiBiasio said the harvest from the eight raised beds will go toward the community meal program hosted by ReStore and to the local food bank.  The beds are located at Affinity Commons, on Polar Bear Way near W. Lima Ave.  

“We will be planting vegetables they can use: tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, squashes, pretty basic kitchen garden stuff,” said the First Lady.  

Councilor Terry Keiser has received a grant to help cover the costs of plants, gardening equipment and other supplies.  All that’s needed is helping hands.  And that, he said, is where his colleagues could help.

“I’d like to see Council take a week where Council will take care of these beds,” he said, grinning as he held up a  sign-up sheet.

Thursday’s planting is open to members of the public. Children are encouraged to take part.