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Circus elephants discover underground oil tank

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GENEVA – The Carson & Barnes circus was in town over the weekend. The circus was based in the vacant lot on Route 20 between South Eagle Street and Swan Street. Two Asian elephants that weighed over a combined 1,500 pounds were housed on the east side of the lot near South Eagle.
City Manager Jim Pearson said Fire Chief Doug Starkey called him Sunday night and said there was a problem at the circus site. The elephants stepped on what was an unknown underground oil tank and ruptured it.

New Kent State president visits Ashtabula campus first day on the job

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ASHTABULA - Dr. Beverly Warren’s first day on the job as the new Kent State University president was July 1.  Just moments after 1 p.m., Warren arrived at Kent State University at Ashtabula with 13 other high-ranking Kent State officials for a tour of the campus.
When Warren was hired in January, she stated one of her goals was to unite each of the eight campuses of Kent State University as one university.
As Warren and her group arrived, she was greeted by the very enthusiastic group of Ashtabula faculty and staff. There was even a mascot on hand with a welcome sign.
No one seemed happier than Dr. Susan Stocker, the Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of the Ashtabula Campus. Stocker gave Warren a big hug before inviting the whole contingent inside for a tour.
“I can’t express how excited we are to have her here on her first day,” Stocker said. “It is such a thrill and we are so honored.”

Floating lanterns are illegal to sell and launch in the state of Ohio

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GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE – Floating Lanterns were made popular by the Disney movie Tangled and have become a favorite for wedding parties. The lanterns can look beautiful as they float into the sky and over the lake. However they can be a real menace when they land.
The Geneva-on-the-Lake Fire Department wants you to know the lanterns are illegal to sell and use in the state of Ohio.
“The Fire Marshall was just here and she told us the lanterns were illegal in the state of Ohio to sell and launch,” Geneva-on-the-Lake Fire Chief Tim Mills said.
The lanterns have caused several problems in the village. One got caught in the power lines and almost caught a telephone pole on fire. Another lantern got caught in a tree and caused a tree fire. Last Fourth of July one landed on the roof of the tattoo shop and caught the tar of the roof on fire.
“There is a little canister when they light them and it burns real hot,” Mills said. “It is the accelerant that burns hot. It is a real pain. They light them over here on the Strip and they go over buildings.”

Ashtabula threatens to veto proposed commissioners’ generation fee

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ASHTABULA – The Ashtabula County Commissioners asked local governments for feedback on two possible options to pay for EPA mandated recycling access for 90 percent of the county.
One would be an assessment on each improved parcel in the county, which would be a fee about $6.75. The second would be a generation fee, which the solid waste district would collect. The fee would be based on $5 a ton fee. Since county residents average two tons of waste a year, the average fee would be $10. Local businesses would also be affected. One local business estimated they would have to pay well over $100,000 in a generation fee.
The city of Geneva council instructed city manager Jim Pearson to draft a recommendation letter stating the city opposes both fees. Geneva feels it would be double taxed since the city already does curbside recycling.
Now Ashtabula city council has instructed city manager Jim Timonere to do the same.
“We are definitely opposed the generation fee and we have a problem with the parcel fee because our 19,000 residents are already paying for our own recycling within the city. Why should we supplement the rest of it?” Timonere said.

Ashtabula yard waste pickup sticker program is no more

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ASHTABULA – Council approved an ordinance ending the yard waste sticker program. The city will pick up yard waste bags as scheduled in the Harbor through Friday but after that the new rules will take place.
Residents will no longer have to pay for a sticker to pick up yard waste bags. However the city will now only collect yard waste bags in the months of April, May, October and November. During those months it will be a free service.
In every other month, residents who want to get rid of yard waste will have to take it to a roll-off stage by the recycling center. In addition the city will no longer sell the yard waste bags. Residents will need to buy the bags from a store themselves and then transport it themselves to the recycling center.

McDonald’s to hold ‘soft opening’ on Friday night

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JEFFERSON - The new McDonald’s in Jefferson will hold a soft opening on Friday night, July 11. 

Joshua Million Changes Plea To Guilty; Faces Life In Prison Without Parole

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CONNEAUT  -  Joshua Million escaped the death penalty, but will spend the rest of his life in prison without parole after changing his plea to guilty via an “Alford Plea” in the February rape and murder of four-year-old Melanie “Lainie”  Powell of Conneaut.

Geneva disagrees with county’s recycling funding options

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GENEVA – City Manager Jim Pearson and Assistant City Manager Jennifer Brown recently attended the Ashtabula County commissioners’ presentation on the Solid Waste District.
The county is being mandated by the EPA to provide access to recycling for 90 percent of the county. The county does not have the funds to do this. The commissioners have proposed two options to pay for this. One would be an assessment on each improved parcel in the county, which would be a fee of about $6.75. The second would be a generation fee, which the Solid Waste District would collect. The fee would be based on a $5 a ton fee. Since county residents average two tons of waste a year, the fee would be $10. Local businesses would also be affected. It is estimated that one local manufacturer would be required to pay $3,000 a year.

Signature Health opens at site of former Ashtabula Hotel

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ASHTABULA - Signature Health invited guests and community leaders to celebrate the ribbon cutting of its new location on June 26.
Signature Health has renovated the former Ashtabula Hotel building that was once considered the elite social center of Main Avenue but has been mostly unoccupied since 1985. Signature Health first started looking for the right property five years ago and it has been a long process.
“We found this site and determined it was the right site,” Signature Health President and CEO Jonathan Lee said. “We had a groundbreaking almost two years ago.  We had a lot of planning and behind-the-scenes work and a ton of time working with the Historic Preservation people.”

Jefferson’s Scenic Railroad ends operation

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JEFFERSON – The Ashtabula Carson & Jefferson Scenic Line has ended its operation after 23 years.
The AC&J Scenic Line offered hour-long, 12-mile train rides June through October, and the first two weeks in December. The passenger cards were vintage 1925 or 1926 cars, while the engine was a 1950-Alco diesel. The caboose was from 1956.
The line sometimes offered special events such as a ride with Santa or Civil War Weekend where Union soldiers would board the train for a train ambush on Confederate soldiers camped at Carson Yard.

Trapper Bob can humanely remove nuisance animals

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JEFFERSON - Bob Clark has spent most of his life on and off trapping animals. In February of 2013, he founded Trapper Bob’s Nuisance Trapping.
At first business was slow, then Clark realized that what his customers really wanted was humane trapping. Customers wanted the animals trapped and removed from their property and not killed.
“I now primarily run a humane service,” Clark said. “About 98 percent of my business is humane trapping. Humane trapping is what the people want, plain and simple.”