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Published: Saturday, 6/29/2013

State to investigate bug spraying at patio

BLADE STAFF

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will investigate an incident involving a Toledo Area Sanitary District driver who sprayed people seated outdoors at a restaurant in the Uptown neighborhood, but officials said Friday the driver will not be penalized for the incident.

The spraying, which occurred between 11 p.m. and midnight on June 21 on the patio of Manhattan’s restaurant, affected a dozen people who were seated there with food and drinks.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department officials said a health department sanitarian was sent to the restaurant Thursday and verified manager’s account of the events.

Health department officials, who said they spoke with the sanitary district on Friday, also said the state agricultural department would investigate.

The sanitary district said it spoke with the truck driver, David Barlow.

Mike Bruce, sanitary district garage manager, said Friday that General Manager John Heineger interviewed the driver Thursday, and he interviewed him again on Friday.

Mr. Bruce said Mr. Barlow told them that he sprayed the Adams, Jackson, and 16th streets intersection only once. He said the driver told them that when he drove by a second and third time, the blowing machine was running but the spray was turned off.

Mr. Bruce added that the driver said he did not see patrons on the patio and did not hear anyone shout at him.

“No penalities will be given. ... There will be no additional training; we always emphasize to our drivers to be conscientious of pedestrians. ... But we will talk to all drivers about this,” he said.

Mr. Bruce said this is Mr. Barlow's first summer with the sanitary district and this was his first time spraying the downtown area.

However, a patron who was on the patio said she will file a formal complaint.

Jemma Hostetler, who was having food and drinks on the “well lit” patio when the truck passed by, said Friday that she called the sanitary department to give her side of the story and will send a written complaint to the sanitary department and the mayor’s office.

“I don’t want to see him fired but, I would have liked an apology. ... I have no problem standing behind what I said,” she said.



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