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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Celina leader blasts flashing strobe light ban

Council also discusses reports of roaming dogs

By William Kincaid
CELINA - A state law prohibiting flashing strobe lights is stupid and dangerous, city council president Jason King said Monday night.
Safety service director Tom Hitchcock earlier this year agreed to remove the strobe devices from stoplights at the intersections of Market Street and state Route 703 and state Route 29 and Havemann Road after being alerted by St. Marys officials, who learned the devices are prohibited by the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices in the Ohio Revised Code.
The lights in both cities - St. Marys had three strobe lights - had been installed as an added safety measure.
The law states "strobes shall not be used within or adjacent to any signal indication."
"There's a lot of people that have been hurt there (intersection of state Route 29 and Havemann Road). A lot of accidents," King said at the regular council meeting. "I don't know how many there's been but there's been a lot of close calls, and I've actually witnessed other close calls at that intersection. Is there anything we can do to petition the state to get those strobes back in there because I think it's a stupid law."
"You'll never get the strobes back in because they cause seizures in some people," Hitchcock said.
More people probably die in accidents than have seizures from strobe lights, councilman Bill Sell pointed out.
That doesn't mean, however, that the city can't petition the state to erect some kind of stop-ahead signs, Hitchcock said.
King said he was nearly killed Sunday at the intersection.
"I went across the highway and someone coming down the hill ... heading out of town, he didn't even stop and they screeched their tires and just missed my back-tire of my motorcycle," King said. "I mean, he locked them up good ... and (he) kept going through the red light."
The state prohibition could be perilous, he added.
"And now they increase it to 60 miles per hour, take the strobe lights out, which makes it even more dangerous," he said.
Council members on Monday night also discussed roaming dogs and residential bonfires.
Councilman Fred LeJeune said he received calls from a concerned citizen about roving dogs at Eastview Park pond.
"She was walking her small dog on a leash and evidently there's a gentleman with a pickup truck who has three dogs, unleashed, that he lets out of his truck to run around the pond area. She was very scared and actually picked her little dog up and just turned around and left," he said. "But that's not the first time she's seen the gentleman."
  The woman is reluctant to call the police or share a license plate, Lejeune said
Celina Police Chief Tom Wale, who noted city law requires dogs to be leashed or under control, said without a complaint or timeframe, it will be hard for officers to address the situation.
"There are dogs that are not obedient that are truly running wild and I've experienced it myself," he said.
It's primarily a nuisance but the woman in question was scared because of the large dogs, according to LeJeune, who said the dogs have been at the park around 3:30 p.m. at least four times in a month.
"She shouldn't have to be scared," Wale said, adding he'll notify his officers.
Councilman Eric Clausen reported he had received a phone call from a woman concerned about billowing smoke from a residential bonfire. Clausen asked if there are requirements on how far away a bonfire must be from a neighboring home.
According to Wale, fires are allowed to cook food and for warming purposes and must be contained to a cubic yard.
If police receive a call, they will check to see if the fire is unsafe or unattended. If so, they will attempt to make contact with the resident before putting out the fire themselves with a hose or requesting the fire department send a grass truck.
The resident told Clausen the neighboring fire was blowing into her home. Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said the situation is a civil issue to be resolved between neighbors.
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