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Published: Tuesday, 5/8/2007

County receives 2 dozen reports of ban violations

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
David Sneed, left, and Peter Davis light up outside the Rip Cord on North Erie Street, one of several
businesses named in complaints claiming violations of the statewide smoking ban. David Sneed, left, and Peter Davis light up outside the Rip Cord on North Erie Street, one of several businesses named in complaints claiming violations of the statewide smoking ban.
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Two dozen complaints about violations of the statewide smoking ban have filtered into the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department since enforcement of the law started last week.

Included on the complaint list are a five-employee Toledo manufacturer, Dales Corp., and a McDonald s restaurant. But absent from the list is Delaney s Lounge in Toledo, owned by Bill Delaney, an outspoken opponent of the ban who has vowed to appeal all complaints.

I have not seen his name, Larry Vasko, deputy health commissioner, said yesterday. He appears to be complying, because no one s complaining.

Ohio instituted a smoking ban in most public buildings Dec. 7, and public health officials started enforcing the law on Thursday. Since then, the Ohio Department of Health has received 844 complaints, while the Toledo-Lucas County department has received 24, according to the latest numbers available yesterday afternoon.

Local health departments are charged with investigating all complaints.

Businesses statewide will get a warning for the first violation, followed by fines ranging from $100 to $2,500 depending on the number of incidents. Individuals get a warning letter for their first violation and are fined $100 for each subsequent incident.

Mr. Delaney said he continues to support the Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association s legal battle opposing the smoking ban, and he plans to start a petition drive so voters can again address the issue in November.

Still, Mr. Delaney was pleased to find out the local health department had not received a smoking complaint about his lounge.

That s good news, he said. I know that I m a big target.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department yesterday released a list of businesses against which 12 smoking ban complaints were filed Thursday and Friday.

A patron who declined to give his name was smoking yesterday inside Caesar s Show Bar on Jefferson Avenue one of the businesses to receive a complaint about violations.

The bartender, who also refused to give his name, asked the man to put out the cigarette after a Blade reporter asked if the establishment was enforcing the law.

We try the best we can to get people to stop smoking, the bartender said.

The bartender would not allow The Blade to photograph the smoker inside.

Dales Corp. on Jackson Street was the only business that appeared twice on that list, and owner Dale Frantz could not be reached for comment. The company manufactures plastic paint container lids and other products.

Other smoking ban complaints were received last week in Toledo for the McDonald s at 831 West Alexis Rd.; Wesley s Bar & Grill on Adams Street; Club Chablis Inc. on North Detroit Avenue; Rip Cord on North Erie Street; Krieger s Pub on West Laskey Road, and Idle Time Club on Genesee Street.

Outside Toledo, complaints were received for Brandy s Diner in Maumee; Roadhouse in Richfield Township; and Mad Anthony s Tavern Inc. in Waterville.

Michael Roberts, owner of Wesley s, said he was surprised by the violation because he now has zero tolerance for smoking inside his bar.

We tell them to go smoke out back on the patio, he said. It s disappointing and strange because I have received more complaints than other establishments that are flagrant about it.

Mr. Vasko, the deputy health commissioner, said it was surprising to see a McDonald s on the list because those restaurants removed ashtrays from tables years ago. Still, he said, the department will investigate the complaint.

He declined to release the latest local list of 12 complaints received over the weekend until the businesses on it are notified. But besides saying Delaney s was not on the second list, Mr. Vasko said some businesses including Roadhouse appeared again.

We re starting to get duplicates, he said.

Staff writer Ignazio Messina contributed to this report.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:jmckinnon@theblade.comor 419-724-6087.



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