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Published: Tuesday, 7/15/2008

Council OKs youth curfew in Rossford

BY MEREDITH BYERS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Nights just got a little shorter for Rossford's youths.

City council voted unanimously last night to adopt an ordinance that would enact a curfew for the city. The curfew mimics Toledo's ordinance, which specifies limits by age.

Children younger than 11 must not be on any street, alley, park, sidewalk, or other public place without a parent or legal guardian between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Youths 11 to 16 may be out until 11 p.m., and those 16 to 18 may be out until midnight.

The ordinance, introduced at a council meeting July 7, states anyone violating the curfew is "unruly, neglected, dependent, and/or a child without proper parental care." They could be cited into Wood County Juvenile Court. Parents, lawful guardians, or other adults who allow a child to violate curfew are guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.

"I commend council for their swift action in taking a look at this. I still feel Rossford is a safe place to live. The curfew is an additional tool, and it's there to help our police officers keep our city safe," Mayor Bill Verbosky, Jr., said.

Mr. Verbosky said a meeting will take place with Sgt. Todd Kitzler, the acting police chief; Larry Oberdorf, president of council; Ed Ciecka, the city administrator, and Melissa Purpra, the city prosecutor, to discuss how to implement the curfew. After that meeting, the acting police chief will meet with the entire department to further discuss the implementation.

Michael Watrol, 16, of Rossford, a junior at St. Francis de Sales High School, spoke out against the curfew.

"As a law-abiding citizen, this proposed curfew would prohibit me from going to movies, prom activities, numerous sports activities, and something as simple as picking up a pizza," he said.

Council members assured Mr. Watrol that school and adult-sponsored activities, including prom and sports practices, were not restricted under the curfew.

Last month, council heard several complaints from residents about vandalism, gangs, threats of violence, and foul language, particularly in the area of Oak, Maple, and Walnut streets. Residents said a greater police presence is necessary.

Mr. Oberdorf said the curfew "is not a cure-all, but it's a tool to help deal with problems."



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