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Police chief on extended medical leave

BUCKEYE LAKE – Sgt. Andy Davis will be acting police chief while Chief James Hanzey is on an extended medical leave.

“The village will be using auxiliary police officers and getting help from surrounding police departments and the Licking County Sheriff’s Department,” said Buckeye Lake Village Council President Charlene Hayden, who added that shifts will be covered until Hanzey returns to work. “Andy Davis is working extra, as needed, and he has really stepped up to the plate to make sure this situation is getting handled,” she said. “(Council clerk Valerie Hans) has been helping him as much as she can with regards to working out a schedule and handling the court cases already on the books.”

Mayor Rick Baker said the Licking County Sheriff’s Department would maintain a particularly strong presence in the village during

Hanzey’s absence.

In other village news:

• Monday night, several people expressed disapproval with the Licking County Board of Elections changing Buckeye Lake Village’s polling place from Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the Union Township Complex on Beaver Run Road. Hebron and Union Township residents will vote there as well.

“That’s going to put a real burden on some of our residents,” said council member Barry Herron. He wondered if transportation to the polls would be available.

“Moving the polling place out of the village is the most idiotic thing I’ve heard in my life,” said Buckeye Lake Fire Department Captain Dave Ruton. “That’s ridiculous 30 days before the election.” The fire department has a 5-mill levy on the Nov. 5 ballot. Ruton suggested organizing a community petition to return voting to the village after this election.

Licking County Board of Elections Deputy Director Gloria Carson said previously that polling places are being consolidated all over the county. She said the county now uses laptop computers for voter check-in and there is no longer any differentiation between precincts on the voting machines; anyone from any precinct can vote at any machine. “Remember when you’d have a line in Precinct B, but no line in A,” said Carson. “That won’t happen anymore.” She said the Village of Buckeye Lake is now one precinct. Carson said the board of elections consolidated precincts from 125 precincts countywide to 95.

“It may not work for all places,” she said. “We’re going to look over it after voting.”

“There is early voting,” said resident Charlotte Basnett. She said residents could vote before Nov. 5 at the Licking County Administration Building in Newark. Absentee ballot applications are available at the village office and The Beacon.

Licking County Board of Elections Director Sue Penick said she was unaware of any transportation to the polls for local voters. A Licking County Republican Headquarters representative said she was also unaware of any transportation plans.

Grace Cherrington, Licking County Democratic Party chair, said her party would offer rides to voters. Former Buckeye Lake council member Kaye Hartman is helping coordinate transportation for voters. Cherrington said voters may call the Democratic headquarters at (740) 349-8273 to request a ride. “We don’t ask people their parties,” she said. “We’re encouraging people to vote early.”

• Hayden said there will be a Meet the Candidates night Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m. at the Buckeye Lake Fire Department. “Candidates will be given an opportunity to share their credentials and expertise for being mayor or a council member,” she said. There will be several preliminary questions for all candidates to answer, with questions from the audience to follow. Council members said Buckeye Lake mayoral candidate Brenda Hileman and council candidate Peggy Wells would not attend the meeting because they believe the fire department setting poses a hostile environment.

• Herron questioned criticism of the Oct. 5 Fire Prevention Parade in Beacon Letters to the Editor, in which residents were concerned about a lack of traffic control. “What’s with the barricades and bringing up an issue that’s not an issue,” said Herron.

Council member Clay Carroll, who is also safety committee chair and a mayoral candidate, said he was blamed. He said renting barricades for the entire length of the parade route would cost roughly $4,400 per parade.

Council member Jeryne Peterson, also a mayoral candidate, doubted Beacon Letters to the Editor accuracy, saying they contain “esquire truth,” and are the equivalent of “adult bullying.”

“I would certainly agree with the ‘adult bullying’ part,” said Hayden. “Is the local news media trying to make the residents think more people are jumping on the ‘don’t pass the fire levy’ bandwagon?”

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