New cell phone law to begin


By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

Obetz Police Chief Mike Confer said April 4 is the day the hands-free cell phone law goes into full swing.

“So, if you don’t have your Bluetooth connected to your car, make sure you get it done,” Confer said at Obetz City Council’s March 13 meeting. “It’s a primary offense now, so all you have to do is be holding your phone in your hand while your car is in motion and you can get pulled over, unless it’s up to your ear. But you messing with your phone or even holding your phone and it’s not up to your ear won’t be good.”

According to a press release from Governor Mike DeWine’s office, under the new law, a driver may still use their device in specific circumstances, such as when their vehicle is parked or stopped at a red light. Drivers are also permitted to swipe their phones to answer a call and to hold their phones to their ears during phone conversations. Emergency calls are also permitted in all circumstances. Law enforcement will issue warnings to drivers found violating the law for the first six months following the effective date of April 4. After this six-month grace period, law enforcement will have the authority to issue citations.
Penalties include a fine of up to $150 for a driver’s first offense and two points on their license unless a distracted driving safety course is completed. Increased penalties can occur if the driver is a repeat offender.

Confer also stated that in the past month the Obetz Police had 852 calls for service, patrolled 3,415 miles, had 45 moving violations, (five of which were speeding), one felony arrest, cited a semi-truck being in the neighborhood, 12 offense reports, eight crashes and one domestic violence incident.

Executive sessions
Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson addressed questions regarding closed executive sessions and how they work.

“With respect to economic development, it’s fairly simple,” said Davisson. “When you’re dealing with some of these companies and you’re trying to arrange for them to come into town, they often don’t want anybody to know that. So you can have private discussions about what that looks like. We are dealing with a number of companies. It’s unfortunate that we have to have those executive sessions so frequently, but that’s ultimately how we get those companies to come.”

He said any resulting legislation has to be approved or rejected in open council.

According to Ohio’s Sunshine Laws, only certain matters may be discussed in executive session. A board may only discuss the following six topics in executive session: the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of an employee or official, or the investigation of charges or complaints against an employee, official, licensee or student, unless the employee, official, licensee or student requests a public hearing; the purchase of property for public purposes or the sale of property at competitive bidding; conferences with the board’s attorney to discuss matters which are the subject of pending or imminent court action; preparing for, conducting or reviewing negotiations or bargaining sessions with employees; matters required to be kept confidential by federal law or rules or state statutes; specialized details of security arrangements. Executive sessions are for the purpose of deliberations only. No action may be taken during an executive session.

Zucchinifest update
Mayor Angela Kirk said work on this year’s Zucchinifest is progressing.

“For Sunday night, the opening act is Matt Schuster, who is Tik-Tok famous with over 500,000 followers. The main act is one of country music’s biggest stars, Brantley Gilbert.
Kirk said, “We are still working on our Saturday night show. We don’t have a Friday night show, yet, but if we get something that falls into our lap and is very cheap or free, we’ll let you know.”


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