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Eagle Riders donate to latest Habitat build

To Lisa Miller, “it’s amazing” how many members of the Bryan and Williams County community have come together already for the latest Habitat for Humanity of Williams County home build project.

Miller and her son, Trey, and daughter, Zahira, are the Habitat partner family for the latest Habitat for Humanity house now under construction at 615 E. Bryan St., in Bryan.

According to Lisa Whittaker, Habitat board vice president, about 200 individuals and groups have contributed time or funding assistance for the latest Habitat house so far, “and that list will get longer,” as the build project proceeds into the summer and fall, she said.

Wednesday, the Eagle Riders motorcycle club became the latest to join that list when James Fenter, club secretary, handed over a $1,000 check to Habitat Executive Director Mary Ann Peters during a brief gathering at the build site that included Whittaker, Miller and her children, and a handful of other Habitat board members and volunteers.

Fenter said the Eagle Riders motorcycle club includes motorcycle riders who are members of the Bryan Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 2233 club. The funds represent the proceeds raised from the Eagle Riders’ spring memorial ride.

“Someone suggested (donating to) Habitat. We had a vote at our meeting and we agreed,” Fenter said.

“We’re thankful for groups like the Eagle Riders for all they do that allows us to do this for our partner families,” Peters said, explaining that donated funds help defray the costs of materials and contractors who do the work that cannot be accomplished by volunteers during the community build days.

Delayed by the excessive spring rains this year, the house’s foundation has finally been poured, and Peters said Habitat will announce the community volunteer build day in the coming weeks. The East Bryan Street site is the 33rd house built by Habitat for Humanity of Williams County in its 28 years, she said.

Miller works at Fountain Park Assisted Living, Memory Care & Villas, in Bryan, and is attending nursing school to become a registered nurse. She currently rents in Bryan and said owning her own home has been her dream for a long time.

“We’re really excited,” Miller said Wednesday.

Portman: Relief for farmers is possible

Ohio farmers were struggling prior to this year’s extremely wet weather, but the federal government is considering programs to help this year.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he is working with colleagues to get some assistance for farmers, especially those in Ohio.

“Farmers have been hurting, even before this year’s wet weather, for three reasons,” Portman said.

Those reasons include low prices for corn and soybeans, which are among Ohio’s largest crops, as well as increased global competition and a decrease in global demand.

When asked, Portman agreed the recent trade tariff war with China has also not helped matters.

“Until this year, China was two-thirds of our soybean market,” Portman said.

However, the senator is also hopeful there can be some relief coming for farmers in the near future, if Congress can be persuaded to act.

Congress is expected to consider soon whether to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal, which, if approved, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“The USMCA is popular with farmers because it should increase the market for (agricultural) exports to Mexico and Canada,” Portman said.

He added those countries are already two of the biggest markets for corn and soybeans, and while it likely won’t increase demand in those areas, it should help other agricultural sectors.

Portman said he hopes Congress approves that agreement prior to its August recess, and he intends to take to the Senate floor next week to urge lawmakers to do so.

He added he is also hopeful the federal government will help with this year’s wet growing season, which resulted in far less corn and soybeans planted than normal.

Portman said a program is being considered for aid that would help farmers get through this year, as well as another one that would provide assistance for those wanting to plant cover crops this year.

In addition, he is hoping a declaration of emergency will be made, which could provide additional financial assistance.

“We had more rain this spring and summer than in recordable history,” Portman said. “Farmers are having a tough time right now.”

Pioneer Days, McLaughlin ride this weekend

Pioneer will be the place to be this weekend with a one-two punch of events that will provide everything from a parade and live music to a motorcycle run, kids events and capped off with a fireworks display.

The weekend will feature both the Pioneer Days festivities and the sixth annual Kaleb McLaughlin Memorial Ride and Organ Donation Awareness Day.

“Friday is, essentially, Pioneer Days, you know, the old street dance is coming back,” said Davinna Nickloy, one of the organizers of Pioneer Days. “We’ll have Triple Shot playing at 8 o’clock and we’ll have the beer garden. We also have bounce houses for the kids, a water slide down at the park along with kids’ karaoke that’s at 4 o’clock.”

A three-on-three basketball tournament is set for 5 p.m. with prizes paying out for the top three teams, she added.

This will also be the second year that the parade will take place on Friday night.

“We really like the evening parade; it went really well last year,” Nickloy said. “We’re happy to do it again this year ... It’s supposed to be a beautiful night to have the kids out and watch a nice parade.”

The lineup for the parade will be at 6 p.m. at the Kustom Fit parking lot and the procession will travel south to Mill Street.

“We’re going right down State Street,” Nickloy said.

That will lead into Saturday’s event, which will be the Kaleb McLaughlin Memorial Ride.

Kim Oxender organizes the ride and awareness day every year in honor of her son, Kaleb McLaughlin, who died in a drunk driving accident.

The event has grown every year since its inception.

“Last year we had 252 bikes; This year, we’re hoping to have the same amount if not more,” Oxender said. “We just hope more people get to understand how important it is, organ donation, and how it affects every single one of us.”

The Tree of Life — an organization for people who need an organ donation — and the Tree of Hope — an organization for people who have had a donation — will be recognized at the event, she added.

“People can see this is real stuff,” Oxender said.

The bike registration will start at 11 a.m. with a blessing at 12:30 p.m. and kickstands going up at 1 p.m.

In addition, a 5K will begin registration at 7 a.m. with the race starting at 8 a.m. A breakfast will be served at 7 a.m. and a blood drive will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition, there will be a live gun raffle, silent auction, a bicycle giveaway and inflatables, water slide and face painting for kids.

The event will end at sundown with a fireworks display that will be shot off at North Central Local Schools.

“We hope people will come and enjoy their families and learn a little bit about how they can be a hero,” Oxender said.

Columbus legal team to assist board of elections

The Columbus law firm of McTigue & Colombo has been approved by Williams County Commissioners to act as special prosecutors on behalf of the Williams County Elections Board in its defense of the 3-1 vote to deny a petition to place a county charter issue on November’s ballot.

The board, on Monday, denied the ballot issue, stating that the proposed charter issue exceeds the scope of the powers afforded to local governments by the state.

The Williams County Alliance, which originated the county charter proposal and worked to secure valid voter signatures through the petition process, is represented by Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge — who specializes in environmental and energy issues and is associated with the nonprofit Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

Lodge and the environmental defense fund have been involved in several Ohio charter issues, including the Lake Erie Bill of Rights passed by Toledo voters in February.

On behalf of the Alliance, Lodge, on Tuesday, informed the board of elections that he found denial of the petition unlawful and unconstitutionally invalid. He requested that the matter be heard in Williams County Common Pleas Court on or before July 17.

McTigue & Colombo were brought in at the request of Williams County Prosecutor Katie Zartman because of the firm’s expertise in election law and ballot access.

Charter-related law is very complicated, Zartman said during an emergency meeting of the Williams County Board of Commissioners on Monday morning. The law firm has the experience and will add to the efforts of her office in addressing the issue before the courts.

Zartman said her office wasn’t recusing itself from the matter, but will be assisted in defense of the board of elections by McTigue & Colombo. The agreement with the firm specifies legal services and legal advice concerning the board’s decision not to certify a county charter initiative petition to the ballot, and responding to petitioner’s counsel’s request to provide reasoning for the decision.

The request for appointment of the law firm had to be approved by Common Pleas Court Judge J.T. Stelzer and then by the Williams County Board of Commissioners. Billing for the law firm is stated at $300 per hour for attorneys and $100 for paralegal work.

The matter is expected to be heard in Williams County Court of Common Pleas by July 17.

Some charges against suspect in Bryan killing dropped in Michigan

In exchange for waiving his extradition hearing in Ohio, several charges against the suspect in the killing of a Bryan man were dropped Wednesday in the suspect’s home state of Michigan.

The move is meant to expedite the beginning of proceedings in Ohio on a Williams County warrant out of Bryan Municipal Court charging Ryan K. Dangerfield, 38, whose last address is in Reading, Michigan, with voluntary manslaughter. Extradition from the Hillsdale County Jail to the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio via the Williams County Sheriff’s Office is expected by the end of next week.

Charges dropped in Hillsdale County’s Second District Court include a previous misdemeanor charge of aggravated assault, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000; a Nov. 5, 2018, charge of operating a motor vehicle without insurance, a one-year misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500; and two counts of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer, both two-year felonies with possible fines of up to $2,000.

The latter two charges stem from his June 25 arrest at a residence in rural Reading, after authorities pursued him on a warrant out of Bryan Municipal Court.

That warrant was issued after Dangerfield was named a suspect in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Bryan resident Dylan Bible at Colonial Manor Motel on June 23. Bible was stabbed in the left rib cage, according to court documents. He was later pronounced dead at Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers-Bryan.

Voluntary manslaughter is defined by Ohio Revised Code as such: “No person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.” In Ohio, a conviction of the crime carries a sentence of three to 10 years in prison.

Williams County Prosecutor Katie Zartman has indicated that upon completion of the investigation and presentation to a grand jury, that charge could be enhanced or reduced in severity, if applicable.

Prior to a previous hearing that was canceled, Dangerfield claimed the stabbing was in self-defense.

“I didn’t initiate the fight. It’s on video, straight up on video,” said Dangerfield, indicating he was egged on by two men, including Bible, who he said were present during the incident.

Additionally, Sarah Doyle, who is listed as a permanent resident of Pikeville, Kentucky, but who had been living in Pioneer, saw her felony charge of accessory after the fact reduced to resisting and obstructing. She was given credit for 11 days served, and was ordered to pay miscellaneous fines.

According to Hillsdale County Prosecutor Neal Brady, the bloody shirt Dangerfield allegedly wore at the time of the stabbing was found in Doyle’s vehicle. It was Brady’s belief that she had driven Dangerfield to Michigan after the incident.

Doyle could still face charges in Williams County, pending the result of an ongoing Bryan police investigation and the review of her case before a grand jury.