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Published: Thursday, 6/10/2010

2 Toledoans accused of looting

BY CLAUDIA BOYD-BARRETT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

While volunteers continue to offer time and money to help tornado victims, police yesterday announced a black-eye to the disaster response: the arrest of suspected looters.

Two Toledoans, Adam W. Klier and Ashley S. Wills, both 23 and residents of 4737 Luann Ave., were charged Tuesday night by Lake Township police with theft in connection with missing copper, aluminum, and other scrap metal.

Court documents show the two, who are to appear tomorrow morning in Perrysburg Municipal Court, were stopped at 7 p.m. along Cherry Street near the Norfolk Southern Railroad in Millbury, where they were issued a summons after being found with a trailer full of material. Mr. Klier additionally was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, records show.

While police made their first arrest for looting after the weekend storms, authorities in both Ohio and Michigan yesterday said they are making progress - from requesting federal assistance to find-ing a new home for the destroyed Lake High School in Wood County.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland yesterday sent a letter to President Obama seeking a disaster declaration for Wood, Ottawa, and Fulton counties. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm declared a state of emergency for Monroe County yesterday afternoon.

The declaration allows county authorities to seek financial and other aid from the state and federal government.

Monroe County has spent more than $4 million on cleanup efforts so far, said Dale Zorn, vice chairman of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners. That does not include the village of Dundee, which has spent well over $100,000 on tree clearing alone, Vllage Manager Patrick Burtch said. He estimated the total cost of recovery efforts for the village at around $500,000.

Mr. Zorn said overtime has been a big expense for the county sheriff's department, and that could lead to a funding shortage if no outside aid is found.

Marilyn Roth, left, and Grace Bookenberger, hug at a community prayer service at Calvary Lutheran Church on Bradner Road in Lake Township. The  service was yesterday.
<br>
<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW</b></font>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100609&Kategori=NEWS16&Lopenr=609009999&Ref=PH"target="_blank"><b>Lake High School graduation photo gallery</b></a> Marilyn Roth, left, and Grace Bookenberger, hug at a community prayer service at Calvary Lutheran Church on Bradner Road in Lake Township. The service was yesterday. <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW</b></font>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100609&Kategori=NEWS16&Lopenr=609009999&Ref=PH"target="_blank"><b>Lake High School graduation photo gallery</b></a>
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

He was hopeful the governor's declaration would help stave off such problems.

"It's very important for us to get the designation from the state," Mr. Zorn said. "That does open the doors to reimbursement."

Dundee Community Schools will reopen tomorrow after a three-day hiatus because of power outages. Superintendent Bruce Nelson praised the efforts of volunteers who came out to clean up the debris-scattered schools and grounds. "We had a phenomenal turnout," Mr. Nelson said. "Things look fantastic."

School in Dundee concludes Monday and a graduation ceremony will take place at 7 tonight at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.

In Ohio, state emergency management officials were busy compiling the results of a joint state and federal damage assessment of the storm-affected areas. They hope to determine whether the region meets the necessary threshold for federal assistance before the end of the week.

There is also progress involving Lake Local Schools.

Owens Community College is in discussions with the district about providing classroom space for high school students on the college's Toledo-area campus this fall, college spokesman Brad Meyer confirmed yesterday.

At a board meeting Tuesday, college trustees affirmed their commitment to helping the high school. Owens is ready to assist Lake High School and the school district in its plans to continue instruction to their students," Mr. Meyer said.

TPS Superintendent John Foley also sent an e-mail to Lake Schools Superintendent Jim Witt and offered assistance in the wake of the tornado that destroyed Lake High School.

That help could include use of any empty TPS building, Mr. Foley said. Mr. Witt gave his thanks in an e-mail reply but has not asked for specific assistance, Mr. Foley said.

There was no word on reconstruction plans for the school.

Columbus City Schools has stepped in to help Lake Local Schools with transportation needs over the summer by providing 10 school buses. The storm damaged several of the district's buses.

Volunteers from Columbus will drive the school buses to Wood County tomorrow.

Kim Norris, spokesman for Columbus City Schools, said the buses no longer were needed by the district and had been put up for auction. They have been certified as safe by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, she said.

City of Toledo crews were in Lake Township and Fulton County again yesterday helping with the massive task of clearing debris and rubble from Saturday's powerful tornadoes.

By 5 p.m., city employees had collected more than 700 tons of material, said Dave Welch, Toledo's director of public service.

The Bell administration authorized seven dump trucks, one excavator, and three front-end loaders and enough city employees to operate the equipment in Lake Township.

Jen Sorgenfrei, spokesman for Mayor Mike Bell, said the debris would be taken to the Hoffman Road landfill and sorted on site.

The city also sent crews to Fulton County, where at least two tornadoes destroyed homes in Swancreek and York townships. Two three-person crews, two speed-loader trucks, and two chipper trucks were sent to the county, Ms. Sorgenfrei said.

Staff writers Tom Henry, Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, and Ignazio Messina contributed to this report.

Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at:

cbarrett@theblade.com

or 419-724-6272.



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