Ada council heard from Ada citizen Maya Fischhoff during their regular council meeting Tuesday. Fischhoff’s goal was to encourage the council to issue an affirming statement welcoming all it’s citizens, especially those here from foreign countries. She further explained her feelings about the executive order that banned refugees from entering the United States. “I think it has made people who are here and not from the US feel precarious and unwelcome.” said Fischhoff. Mayor David Retterer did not support the action, because Ada has been a welcoming community for a longtime and reaffirming just isn’t necessary. Fischhoff shared her belief that for those people who haven’t been here that long, a reassurance is important. Council members Terry Keiser and Beth Fenton discussed the statement that was released by Ohio Northern University President Dan DiBiasio reaffirming that the university welcomes all students despite their nationality. Keiser and Fenton agreed that the statement sent an important message in response to what is happening in the country right now. Councilman Don Fleming expressed his opposition. “Making a statement speaks for the whole community and we can’t do that,” Fleming said. “Actions speak louder than words.” He went on to share his experience owning apartments, pointing out that he has rented to people of every race, religion and nationality. “I think it is kind of ambiguous, this body (village council) doesn’t need the reaffirmation,” Jane Napier, the village’s solicitor, said. “I think it just sends a message, especially to international students, that they are welcome,” Keiser replied.

Council member Cathy Cole agreed that it was an important message, saying it should be “all encompassing for the community, a welcoming community for all.” Council settled the topic with a 4-2 vote supporting the a message of reaffirmation. Fiscal Officer Crystal Huffer read the following statement, affirming the village’s stance on diversity:

“The village of Ada welcomes all persons, including international people and their families.”

Retterer shared details of the successful Made In Ada Football Festival with the council. “Amy Eddings, Chris Burns-DiBiasio, Wynn Hauenstein, The Wilson Factory and all the local Ada businesses, so many people were involved, it was a great success.” Retterer said.

People came from all over to attend the celebratory Superbowl kick off. Retterer said he met football fans from Akron, Gahanna, Indianapolis and Toledo. and expressed his pride at the community’s ability to celebrate an Ada company that brings the small town to a national stage every year at the end of football season.

Also during the meeting, business water credits were granted for Tavern 101 & Hays Insurance. Village Administrator Jamie Hall explained that the businesses have a year to apply for the credit, and it takes effect on the next billing cycle after it is approved. Chief of Police Michael Harnishfeger shared the police department’s implemtation of a weekly training bulletin. “Each week all our officers get about five to seven questions related to policy, a small test to keep the department up to date on policy.” Harnishfeger said. Council also approved Harnishfeger’s recommendation to end the probationary status of Ptl. John Iten and offer him a full-time, non-probationary position with beneftis and pay as per union agreement. Officer Iten’s probationary period is scheduled to end on Feb. 14. During his one year probationary status, Officer Iten has been routinely evaluated to the satisfaction of his supervisors. He was awarded the Ada Police Department’s Life-Saving Award in October of 2016.

The next regular meeting of the Ada Village Council is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the village offices.