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Published: Friday, 4/27/2001

Group forming residents patrol in Lagrange area

Lagrange Development Corp. wants its neighborhood residents to sign up for a new program designed to stop illicit drugs, prostitution, and other crime in the area.

Jennifer Wise, Lagrange Development's Weed and Seed coordinator, announced the Citizens on Patrol program during last night's Lagrange Village Council meeting.

Ms. Wise said she is looking for 50 to 60 volunteers who would contribute four hours every two weeks patrolling the Lagrange area. She said the volunteers would be trained by Toledo police and use walkie-talkies to com- municate.

She said the Citizens on Patrol will not attempt to make arrests but inform the police of any suspicious activities.

“We don't want to put you in harm's way,” Ms. Wise said. “You live here, so you know this community better than anyone and know if anything doesn't look right. We want you to be the eyes and ears of your neighbors.”

Lagrange neighbors huddled in caucuses to identify their main crime problems. Drugs, prostitution, loud noises from car stereos, and gangs were often mentioned as the top problems.

Two night clubs have been singled out by council members as attracting crime to the area. Council members are planning to appear before city council next week to ask that the liquor permits for the RGN Night Club, 3325 Elm St., and the Classic Lounge, formerly known as Edzius, 2814 Lagrange, not be renewed.

City council is scheduled to meet Monday to consider the objections.

Dawn Carmony, who lives with her six children across the street from the RGN Night Club, said noise from the club has kept her up until 3 a.m. She said patrons loiter in the neighborhood, congest streets, and leave sidewalks and the porches of some residences strewed with liquor and beer bottles.

“We are just tired of it,” Ms. Carmony said. “There are men and women urinating on the lawn. It's just nasty.”

Michael Urbanski said many neighbors have drawn the line about the Classic Lounge after hearing gunfire from the club recently.

He said the club has created a hostile climate for neighbors.

“If you want to come into the neighborhood, have a drink and dance, you don't have to be rude to the neighbors,” Mr. Urbanski said.

The development corporation, in a letter from Linda Detrick-Jaegly, its economic development director, complained of gunshots, drug activity, and disturbances at the Classic Lounge.

She said a tavern in the middle of a business district can be an asset “but the owner has to take control.”

Ms. Detrick-Jaegly said the Classic Lounge is just south of a stretch of Lagrange that is being refurbished with sidewalk repairs, landscaping, and decorative benches.

She said business owners are improving building facades but “all these efforts are futile if one business is allowed to operate with total disregard for public laws and regulations.”

The village council complained that the Classic Lounge and RGN Night Club show a “total disregard to their surrounding neighbors” and are unsafe.

A Toledo Edison notice on the front door of the RGN Night Club states that the electric service has been turned off because of an unpaid bill. A notice from Columbia Gas was found on the side door of the club stating that the gas would be disconnected May 7 because of an unpaid bill.

Attempts to reach those named in papers submitted by the neighborhood groups as owners of the two establishments were unsuccessful. The clubs were closed yesterday evening.

A letter from Janet Smolenski, president of the council, said the group has collected police reports, videotapes, and other documentation to support their request that council object to license renewals for the two bars.

Lt. Dan Schultz of the Toledo police vice squad said that he had just learned of the request and was reviewing police reports concerning the two bars.

Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz, in whose district the bars are located, said he had received complaints about both of them, but would listen to the complaints of the neighborhood organizations and decide whether to vote to object to a license renewal.

Objections must be received by the Liquor Control Commission by May 2. A hearing will be scheduled to determine whether the licenses should be renewed.


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