Category: Lake County FL

Property in Lake in the Hills caught fire on Tuesday afternoon, causing $375,000 in damage although no injuries were reported. Additionally hurt was a neighboring house. Tuesday around 2:20 p.m., the 200 block of Stickley Lane in Lake in the Hills received a complaint of a structure fire. The Huntley Fire Protection District responded.

According to Huntley Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Patrick Fortunato, when firefighters arrived, they discovered intense fire conditions coming from the back of the two-story house.

The first arriving fire crews set up a water supply from a nearby fire hydrant and established a hose line deployment and fire attack from the back of the house. In order to stop the fire from spreading, Fortunato added, crews set up more hose lines and went inside the house as well as the one next door.

The home’s occupants were all able to leave it without incident. No other inhabitants were discovered after firefighters searched the home once more. According to Fortunato, the majority of the fire was located in the attic, on both levels, and at the back of the house. The fire was swiftly put out by firefighters.

Read More:Lake County Board Members Are ‘Inundated’ With Unincorporated Garbage Hauling Issues

According to Fortunato, a nearby house that was exposed to the fire’s heat suffered non-structural damage. Then, to guarantee that the fire didn’t spread further, firefighters carried out a thorough overhaul. Two cars in the garage were destroyed by fire exposure, while the house suffered significant smoke damage. The house had functional smoke detectors, and no injuries were reported as a result of the incident, Fortunato stated.

The initial damage estimate is $375,000, and the cause of the fire is still being looked into. The house is still unlivable. The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, Marengo, South Elgin, and Woodstock fire departments aided the Huntley Fire Protection District at the scene and with covering the district for other calls.

Read More: Teenagers In the Lake County Jail Were Found To Have Shivs in Their Cells

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Since a waste hauling agreement with two businesses went into effect in unincorporated regions on June 1, some Lake County Board members claim they’ve been “inundated” with phone calls from irate and bewildered constituents. Groot is now the only garbage, recycling, and yard waste pickup service in the rural northern half of the county. Lakeshore Recycling Systems provides the same services in the southern part.

When the arrangement was announced, the county stated on its website that “unincorporated residents will notice a decrease in their garbage transportation rate in the vast majority of cases.” According to the county’s website, the service would cost between $240 and $310 a year on average. However, many citizens are complaining to local commissioners about rising costs for things they did not agree to or want.

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At Tuesday’s regular meeting, District 17 member Michael Danforth, whose district covers major unincorporated areas of southwestern Lake County, expressed his discontent with the board. “It’s critical that we get our arms around this,” Danforth added. “Everything appears to be fine in theory. I believe we’re all getting phone calls now that we’re living this out.”

Linda Pedersen, a member of District 1, said she has been inundated with calls and emails from citizens both before and after the service began. “I know I’ve talked on this issue more than any other board member,” Pedersen added, “but I do happen to agree with member Danforth.” “I have (a homeowner’s association) that has had a garbage hauling contract for a long time. You have to have everyone in that community, in that HOA, otherwise, you’re not eligible, according to our contract (with the haulers).”

The new hauling arrangement was approved on a party-line vote, with the board’s minority Republican caucus voting nay. The bill was passed in January and went into force on June 1st, along with open burning restrictions in unincorporated areas. Danforth said the two topics appear to be resonating on a magnitude he hasn’t seen previously in his constituency.

“In the five years I’ve been on this County Board, I’ve never gotten as many phone calls and emails as I have on this,” Danforth remarked. According to Pedersen, the overall garbage hauling cost for Felter’s Association, an unorganized group of properties around Lake Catherine, will increase by nearly $15,000 per year. Only associations having waste transportation agreements in place before Jan. 11 that cover all households inside the association are exempt from the new hauling arrangement, according to the county website.

An exemption request by the Mid-Lakes Volk Brothers community in Antioch Township near Lake Marie was also denied. The previous contract with Waste Management “did not meet the contractual criterion for an HOA exemption,” according to the county. People in some of these places, according to Pedersen, have different agreements for summer houses or modest amounts of garbage that require separate waste hauling arrangements.

“I just don’t think we’ve considered some of the little issues that have arisen,” Pedersen added. “Like summer houses with garbage cans that need to be (hauled) during the summer or on weekends.” It has resulted in a major and dangerous problem in our areas. “I’m just wondering whether we should take another look at it.” Pedersen’s district encompasses much of Antioch as well as parts of Fox Lake and Lake Villa, and she represents unincorporated areas.

The county moved to establish the agreements after identifying a chance to lower costs with consolidated service, improve stability with a five-year agreement with a 2-3.5 percent annual increase limit, and reduce pollution, according to Eric Waggoner, the county’s planning, building, and development director. “Reduces greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of garbage collection and is better for local roadways,” Waggoner said in an email to the News-Sun. “In some neighborhoods, two, three, or even four haulers were picking up rubbish and recycling on one local street once a week, on different days of the week.”

“Fewer trucks mean less wear and tear on the roads, as well as less traffic congestion,” Waggoner noted. Kevin Hunter, a member of District 5, said he’s received an avalanche of calls from homeowners in unincorporated regions like Fox Lake, Ingleside, Volo, and elsewhere. “I’ve been dealing with this for the last three weeks, and these are legitimate questions,” Hunter added.

He claimed that the county’s planning and development department did a decent job putting up a proposal for requests in 2021, but that the board failed to properly analyze the “intricacies” involved in particular places within the county. Hunter stated, “We’re not in the waste business.” “I’m not here to ask, ‘Did we have any idea about the waste business?’ We didn’t know what we were doing.”

“I’m hoping this comes to a halt,” Hunter added. “Eric and his team did an outstanding job.”Some residents’ problems have been linked to Board Chair Sandy Hart, who represents District 13, through Danforth, who said he had passed constituents on to members of the board who voted in support of the change.

While Hart praised the employees, he did admit that the county should take individual instances into account as it continues to receive resident complaints. “It’s so new,” Hart remarked, “and I have faith in our planning and development staff.” “I have faith in them to make any necessary adjustments.” Hart mentioned a woman she met with, saying she told the county’s planning and development team about her concerns, and “they repaired it for her.”

If “anything was missed or may be adjusted,” Hart said she anticipated receiving more information from county personnel. Residents who were rejected exemptions are stuck with the service they don’t want for the time being. “It’s tarnished Lake County,” Pedersen added. “It has,” says the narrator.

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Should government land in Lake County be utilized to sell “war weaponry” like the high-powered AR-15 semi-automatic rifle? Following the May 24 massacre of 19 third and fourth-grade students and two teachers at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that necessitated DNA testing to identify some of the victims because the children’s bodies were utterly torn apart by bullets fired from an AR-15, Lake County Councilman Charlie Brown, D-Gary, believes it’s time for county officials to have that discussion.

“I’m not sure what else an AR-15 is used for besides combat,” Brown explained. “Why are these war weapons being sold on federal land?” Brown is alluding to a gun show conducted every six to eight weeks at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point, which features dealers selling AR-15s on a regular basis. He stated that he has no objections to the gun exhibition itself and that he is not attempting to steal anyone’s firearms.

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However, in the wake of Uvalde, as well as the recent tragic shootings of two people in a Gary nightclub and a shooting at a graduation ceremony in the Steel City, Brown wonders whether the county can’t take action to prevent the sale of specific rifles, such as the AR-15, on the fairgrounds. “I’m aware of only one function for these things: to kill someone. We aren’t at war in Lake County, either “Brown remarked.

Brown attempted earlier this week to persuade the Democratic-controlled county council to pass an ordinance prohibiting the sale of AR-15 rifles on the fairgrounds. Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, endorsed the idea wholeheartedly. “When are we going to act?” she questioned her coworkers.

“There are more limits that should be put in place. I’m not sure why we sell those guns. They kill a large number of individuals in a short period of time “Cid remarked. While Council President Ted Bilski, D-Hobart, sympathizes with Brown’s viewpoint, he insists that a ban on AR-15 sales at the fairgrounds can’t be hurried, given the likely litigation and the fact that the county’s three-member Board of Commissioners has jurisdiction over how the fairgrounds are used.

Brown responded by saying: “All that nonsense about what the present legislation says is a waste of time. Let us hear from the residents of this county about whether they want us to put this on the front burner so that no more lives are lost unnecessarily.” Following the meeting, Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond, expressed curiosity about knowing more about what the county may do to regulate or control how entities leasing space at the fairgrounds utilize that space, especially given the AR-15 is a legal product.

Lake County Wants To Stop Gun Shows At Fairgrounds From Selling AR-15S.
Lake County Wants To Stop Gun Shows At Fairgrounds From Selling AR-15S

“I’ve asked people to look into what we can do within the confines of the law and the Constitution to better serve our taxpayers. Charlie makes several valid concerns, in my opinion. But I’m at a loss for words right now. I believe it is a worthwhile investigation, but I am unsure of the solution “Repay stated in his case. The commissioners may, he argued, theoretically, prohibit the selling of all products on the fairgrounds.

While Repay recognized that going down that road would certainly result in the county losing rental revenue, it would put a halt to AR-15 sales without appearing to target gun sales. Another idea, according to Repay, is to require fairground vendors to maintain a real storefront in Lake County or Northwest Indiana. As a result, he claims, the county is preventing existing companies who sell weapons or any other goods, as well as employ locals and pay property taxes, from being undercut by transitory competition operating on the fairgrounds.

“If we discover a solution, I’d like it to be a decent one that can stand up to any form of court scrutiny,” Repay added. “I’m not opposed to firearms. I have a large collection of firearms. There will be no AR-15s. I also bought a couple of them at a gun show.” A firm called Central Indiana Gun Exhibits organizes the two-day gun shows at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Vendors pay $50 for an eight-foot display stand, which includes electricity.

Central Indiana Gun Shows is owned by Daniel Hedger of Richmond, Indiana. When contacted by The New York Times, he said it was the first time he’d heard of the potential restriction on AR-15 sales at his Crown Point exhibition. “I have no idea where they came up with that,” Hedger remarked. “I’m not sure you could do it legally. I’d have to consult with my lawyer.”

The AR-15, as Hedger pointed out, is a specific rifle manufactured by Colt’s Manufacturing Company. However, he estimates that there are about 200 identical rifles made by other manufacturers that aren’t AR-15s and may still be sold even if the county prohibits merchants from selling AR-15s on the fairgrounds.

“Personally, I am not a fan of an AR. To be honest, I’ve never been fond of the rifle. But I don’t believe you can put a label on it “Hedger remarked. He stated that ARs are always for sale at Crown Point gun shows, including the one coming up July 2-3 at the fairgrounds. “Everything from hunting rifles to bolt-actions to law enforcement carries to shock guns,” he stated.

“The majority of the weapons used in crimes were purchased from dealers. The paperwork was completed in a legitimate manner. They don’t usually come from gun shows; instead, they come from gun shops or are stolen in crimes “Hedger remarked. Medical negligence, intoxicated driving, and even blunt force trauma from hammers, according to Hedger, kill more people than guns, and no one is proposing a ban on selling the vehicle used most frequently in deadly drunk driving collisions.

“Politicians go after things that make them feel good and make them seem good in the eyes of the public,” Hedger explained. “You can spend all day stacking laws on the books. Criminals will continue to break the law.” Officials should consider banning social media if they want to restrict anything, he said, because criminals use Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram to improve their tactics and connect with people who are also interested in committing crimes.

“People have the ability to feed into your ego. They have the ability to exacerbate your fury. It feeds the fires of lunatics who want to do something dumb “Hedger remarked. The next Lake County Council meeting is set for July 12 at the Crown Point Government Center. Because it is also a courthouse, guns are not permitted inside.

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Three detainees have died in the two and a half years since the federal government stopped overseeing the Lake County Jail: two from drug overdoses, one with COVID-19 problems, and one from a preexisting heart condition. Attorneys for the families of four of those detainees have filed lawsuits saying that correctional personnel violated their civil rights by failing to provide proper medical care and supervision to avoid their loved ones’ deaths.

The defendants refuted charges that the Lake County Jail had a history of insufficient medical staffing, inadequate acute and chronic medical treatment, insufficient suicide prevention training, and insufficient thorough suicide assessments in court documents.

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Martinez stated in a statement that a report released by the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics in December 2021 found that local prisons had a death rate of 16.7 per 10,000 bookings in 2019.
“The Lake County Jail receives about 10,000 bookings each year,” he said. “We’ve had two deaths at the jail so far this year, which is less than the national average.”

According to the federal report, the rate of prison suicide fatalities in 2019 was 4.9 per 10,000. The number of people who died in jail as a result of drug or alcohol abuse was 2.6 per 10,000. According to police and the Lake County coroner’s office, a 33-year-old Lake Station man booked on April 13 was discovered unresponsive at about 12:30 a.m. on May 6 by a correctional officer conducting a routine check.

Correctional officers and jail medical staff attempted life-saving procedures and called an ambulance, but the man was pronounced dead after being transported to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville.
According to the coroner’s office, the man died of suffocation by hanging. The man was being held at the jail on a petition to terminate his probation in a case from August 2021 in which he pled guilty to misdemeanor methamphetamine possession.

According to information released by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, two convicts committed themselves in 2021. According to court papers, a 62-year-old Lakes of the Four Seasons man named Christopher DeRisi died from asphyxia caused by hanging on March 3, 2021. According to documents, he was detained in March 2021 on domestic assault allegations.

Daniel Skonieczny, a 23-year-old Crown Point man, died of asphyxia caused by hanging in mid-September 2021, according to court papers. Skonieczny was arrested on multiple drug-related allegations on September 13, 2021. The Sheriff’s Department gave his death date as Sept. 16, 2021, and a lawsuit gave it as of Sept. 17, 2021.

The men’s deaths were the first since Lake County, former Sheriff Rogelio “Roy” Dominguez, and other county boards and officials signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice in December 2010.
The agreement was struck after federal investigators looked into a number of inmate suicides, injuries, and disease outbreaks and found in 2009 that the institution had frequently, deliberately, and continuously violated inmates’ constitutional rights by ignoring known or substantial risks of harm.

The county poured money into repairing the problems under former Sheriff John Buncich, who was convicted in a bribery conspiracy in August 2017, and the jail’s annual operational budget ballooned to more than $22 million. That money was on top of a $7.2 million compensation paid in 2012 to former convicts who said they were confined in overcrowded holding cells for weeks or months, forced to sleep on a concrete floor tainted with human excrement, and given “virtually nonexistent” medical care.

Martinez made it one of his first priorities after assuming office in 2017. He hired former Warden Michael Zenk, an experienced corrections manager who had served as the warden of federal prisons in Pennsylvania, New York, and Georgia, after a worldwide search. During an October 2018 evaluation, the Justice Department acknowledged significant improvements in the jail’s use of force and mental health standards under Zenk’s leadership.

Zenk noted at the time that understaffing concerns remained a problem at the jail, but Martinez had made steps to address the issue. In December 2019, a federal judge signed an order officially ending federal supervision. Warden Todd Wasmer, who came to Lake County after serving as warden at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Nebraska, took over for Zenk, who retired in January.

Wasmer previously worked for CoreCivic, a private prison operator, in Florida and Arizona for 14 years in a range of positions ranging from corrections officer to assistant warden.

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Around midnight on Wednesday, a vehicle carrying four individuals, three adults and one child, collided in Lake County. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a Dodge Durango was going on County Road 561 south of Florida Boys Ranch Road.

According to troopers, the car failed to handle a right-hand curve and left the road. The vehicle eventually came to a stop on a grassy shoulder and collided with a tree. Photos of the crash site outside her home were provided by a neighbour.

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“We’ve seen much too much on this journey. Cars fly down this road, which is extremely dangerous. I believe the speed limit is around 55 miles per hour. Everyone reaches the age of 70 “a neighbour remarked Troopers say it’s too early to estimate how fast the Dodge Durango was driving when it slammed into a tree after failing to make a right-hand curve. The impact on the front end was tremendous.

According to neighbours, the route presents certain difficulties at night due to the 55 mph speed limit, curves in the road, and lack of illumination. “You can’t take your eyes off the road if you don’t know the area because the turns are perilous. It’s quite easy to get off the road “a neighbour remarked

She wants a reduced speed restriction, greater road lighting, and reflectors to identify the road’s twists and turns. Troopers are attempting to establish a link between all of the persons in Durango. According to authorities, all of the occupants of the vehicle died at the site.

A 24-year-old Orlando guy was identified as the driver. A 48-year-old Orlando male and a 23-year-old Orlando woman were confirmed as the adult passengers. Clermont’s 5-year-old girl was the victim. Troopers confirmed there was a child seat in the car this afternoon, but the girl was not in it.

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A Cobb man has been detained in connection with a gunshot that occurred early Tuesday morning. Hunter Christian Toles, 23, was charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Corey Paulich.

At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff’s deputies were summoned to the Rainbow Road area of Cobb Mountain on a complaint of a female who had been shot, according to Paulich. Deputies visited the female victim, who had received a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

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According to Paulich, the victim was able to disclose the location of the occurrence as well as the identification of the individual who shot her, and she was then sent to a local hospital for treatment. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit issued a search warrant at a home on Rainbow Road in Cobb with the help of the Sheriff’s Crisis Response Unit, according to Paulich.

Toles, who the victim had named as the suspect, was taken into custody without incident there, according to Paulich. Toles was taken to the Lake County Detention Center. Toles was arrested just after 6 a.m. and booked shortly after 9 a.m., according to booking records.

Battery with a felony of serious bodily injury, aggravated assault with a handgun, aggravated child abuse, and a misdemeanor of displaying a firearm in a menacing manner was among the charges on his arrest sheet. On Tuesday afternoon, he remained in detention, with bail set at $100,000, according to his arrest record.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Lake County Superior Court on Thursday, according to jail records. On Tuesday afternoon, Paulich informed Lake County News that police were still looking into the case and interviewing witnesses. Paulich said the sheriff’s office had past contact with Toles, but it was largely as a reporting party in events. Detective Nate Newton can be reached at 707-262-4236 if you have any information on this event.

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According to the Florida Highway Patrol, an accident involving a tree and a vehicle that occurred early on Sunday morning on State Road 19 north of Pittman resulted in the death of a man from Paisley who was 36 years old.



The man was driving his sedan northbound on SR-19 near State Road 445 at approximately 2 a.m. when it went off the roadway for an unexplained cause and its left side collided with a tree, according to the state troopers.





A report on the collision states that medical personnel unable to save the victim declared him dead at the scene.

The crash, which resulted in fatalities, is currently being investigated by state police.

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Investigators recovered bags of dried marijuana, pounds of methamphetamine, and other substances from a Lake County residence where a suspect was apprehended and many guns were located Friday. According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the months-long investigation focused on a property in the 2800 block of Merced Street in Nice.

Officials said they found 3.4 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.8 ounces of fentanyl, 24 grams of heroin, and “a considerable amount of packaged marijuana” after serving a search warrant on the property. The street worth of the meth, fentanyl, and heroin was estimated to be $170,000.

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There were also weight scales and many weaponry unearthed, one a “ghost gun” that had been adapted to function as a fully automatic weapon.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, a suspect was recognized at the scene as Brandon Weilert, also known as Brandon Grandis, who has a prior conviction for an unspecified felony. He was detained on charges of selling and distributing narcotics as well as owning a machine gun.

_Guns, Drugs Seized, Suspect Arrested
Guns, Drugs Seized, Suspect Arrested

Nearly 70 pounds of powder cocaine, over 11 pounds of methamphetamine, over three pounds of heroin, nearly eight pounds of ketamine, over five pounds of illegally trafficked cannabis, and hundreds of grammes of crack cocaine, ecstasy, and fentanyl were among the drugs seized last year.

The SIG, in addition to drug enforcement, has a “significant emphasis” on human trafficking, according to Covelli.

The substances confiscated last year included approximately 70 pounds of powder cocaine, over 11 pounds of methamphetamine, over three pounds of heroin, nearly eight pounds of ketamine, over five pounds of unlawfully trafficked cannabis, and hundreds of grammes of crack cocaine, ecstasy, and fentanyl.

According to Covelli, the SIG places a “major emphasis” on human trafficking in addition to drug enforcement.

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Starting June 1, unincorporated Lake County will have new open burning limits, as well as new consolidated garbage services in some areas, according to county officials. In January, the Lake County Board of Commissioners adopted additional burning limits. According to county officials, the limitations are intended to reduce the health effects of smoke exposure from open burning.

The unincorporated Lake County citizens and businesses will be subject to a permanent open burning ordinance beginning June 1. Recreational wood-burning fires measuring three feet by three feet by three feet used for warming, cooking, and other recreational reasons are now permitted throughout unincorporated Lake County under the new rule.

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Non-woody yard debris, such as leaves and grass, is no longer allowed to be burned by residents and businesses in unincorporated regions. Garbage, waste, and construction materials must not be burned. Between November 1 through March 31, woody yard trash, which often consists of sticks, branches, and tree limbs, can be burnt during daytime hours.

Following agreements with Groot Industries and Lakeshore Recycling Systems, new integrated garbage services for select townships in unincorporated areas will begin on June 1. The trash service agreements were created in anticipation of many people needing a different way to dispose of landscape waste as a result of the new regulation.

Groot and LRS will both provide garbage and recycling services, as well as landscape waste collection. Groot is the new waste hauler for Antioch, Benton, Grant, Newport, Waukegan, and Zion Townships’ unincorporated sections. For unincorporated areas in Cuba, Libertyville, Moraine, Vernon, and Wauconda Townships, LRS is the new waste carrier.

Unless they live in a neighborhood with a home owner’s association (HOA) and the HOA has a single contract with a specific hauler that covers all residences within the HOA effective before January 11, residents in these townships are subject to the county’s new agreement.

Unincorporated residents in Avon, Ela, Fremont, Lake Villa, Shields, and Warren Townships will continue to have their own garbage transporter arrangements. Beginning Monday, new Groot and LRS customers will receive bins. Officials claim that the new consolidated services will be better for local roads because there will be fewer haulers on the roads each week, and the consolidation will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

With Groot and LRS, the county signed price-competitive garbage service agreements. Most unincorporated people will notice a reduction in their garbage hauling costs, which will fall between $240 and $310 per year on average. Officials said both haulers give a 10% senior discount and that there is a restriction on how much a resident’s bill can be adjusted annually to avoid huge hikes.

Before the new ordinance, Lake County was the only county in the Chicago metro area with no limitations on burning yard debris in unincorporated areas. The new regulation allows recreational wood-burning fires no more significant than three inches by three inches by three inches, according to an earlier version of this item.

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TWP. OF RIPLEY – When mushroom hunters discovered what they thought was a live hand grenade on Monday morning, it was a potentially fatal surprise. Around 10 a.m., the hunters discovered an unexpected discovery in the woods near a residence on Township Road 511 in Big Prairie.

The Ashland County Bomb Squad was dispatched by the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office. The bomb squad was dispatched immediately, according to Holmes County Chief of Detectives Richard Haun. What are Mother Nature’s indicators that it’s morel season?

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Art Holden: “It has been in the woods for a long time,” Haun explained. “Nobody was able to figure out what it was. We simply contacted the bomb squad, who took care of the situation. They didn’t have to move it this way. It appeared to be some form of apparatus, although it was too old to be properly identified.”

The squad arrived at 11:42 a.m. and had left by 1:20 p.m., according to the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office. The Ashland team consists of six players. The facility is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The bomb squad assists the counties of Ashland, Erie, Holmes, Huron, Knox, and Richland, as well as Crawford, Morrow, and Wayne. To help with these calls, the squad deploys two robots that were received through grants.

When mushroom hunters discovered a live hand grenade in Holmes County early Tuesday morning, they called the Ashland County Bomb Squad. According to the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, the hunters discovered the hand grenade in the woods near Township Road 511 in Big Prairie Township around 10 a.m.

The grenade had been there for some time, according to the sheriff’s office, and no one knew what it was. The bomb squad arrived quickly and successfully exploded the weapon with no injuries.

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