Thursday, November 8th, 2007
By Shelley Grieshop
Smoking violation fine paid
  The manager of a southwest Mercer County bar agreed to pay a maximum $100 fine during the county's first appeal hearing for a violation of the Ohio Smoke-Free Workplace Act.
Robert Uhlenhake, manager of Wendelin Tavern, signed an agreement that orders him to pay a $100 fine to the state following the informal hearing held Oct. 16 at the health department office in Celina.
The Mercer County-Celina City Health Department board on Wednesday was informed of the outcome of the October appeal hearing and approved the action, which was recommended by independent and impartial hearing officer Angela Nickell, a local attorney.
According to Michelle Kimmel, environmental director for the health department, the violations against Wendelin Tavern involved the presence of ashtrays, smoking in a prohibited area, infiltration of smoke and not posting "no smoking" signs. The health department agreed to treat all the violations as "one event," with the penalty based on just one violation.
This is the second round of violations lodged against the bar; first violations net a warning letter. A future violation within a two-year period, starting from Sept. 4, would be deemed a third violation with a maximum fine of $500. If there are no other violations through Sept. 5, 2009, the tavern will be treated as a first-time violator again.
Violaters can either pay their fines or appeal them to a hearing officer, as Uhlenhake did.
Wendelin Tavern was represented at the hearing by Coldwater attorney David Bruns. The health department's attorney is Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Ikerd.
Kimmel, who has expressed her own frustration with the new law and its enforcement procedures, said it cost the health department about $350 in time, travel, postage and other expenses to hold the appeals hearing. The $100 fine to be paid by Uhlenhake will first go to the state with 90 percent or $90 of the fine returned to the county in a few weeks.
Kimmel said although complaints keep coming in and businesses continue to receive fines, no other appeals cases are pending.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Minster residents criticize Dannon's odor and noise
• Local watershed farmers could get priority funding
• Replacement named for zoning officer
• Crown worker killed in crash
• Condos going up in Rockford
• Installation of traffic lights at busy intersection to begin soon
• Health board working on easing economic burden
• Bids for street reconstruction lower than expected
• School board needs to seek more revenue
• Man injured in pickup truck rollover
• Difficult test awaits the Flyers at state
• Deer Park up next for Marion Local machine
a_d
Monday Night
65°
Clear
Tuesday
90°
Mostly Sunny
4%
Tuesday Night
69°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
27%
Wednesday
77°
Chance Thunderstorms
44%
Wednesday Night
60°
Partly Cloudy
12%
Thursday
76°
Mostly Sunny
5%
Thursday Night
57°
Mostly Clear
6%
Friday
79°
Partly Sunny
10%
Friday Night
60°
Mostly Clear
10%
Saturday
81°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
20%
Saturday Night
65°
Chance Thunderstorms
30%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d