State briefs

Secret Santa pays layaways

MIDDLETOWN — A Secret Santa has paid off nearly $5,000 in shoppers’ layaways at a southwest Ohio Wal-Mart store.

Store manager Darren Dooley tells the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News the anonymous Santa paid off layaway items at a Wal-Mart store in Middletown last week. He did the same thing last year as well.

Dooley says he knows the person’s identity, but that he doesn’t want it revealed.

“People are ecstatic when they come in to make their final payoff,” Dooley said. “It’s really overwhelming to them and they are very grateful.”

Dooley says layaways have also been paid at other Wal-Mart stores in the region.

Ceceli Abernathy was told the Secret Santa had paid off her $50 deficit for toys she purchased for her daughter at a Wal-Mart in Dayton. The Kettering woman called it a beautiful gesture.

“I’m blown away right now,” Abernathy said. “I can’t believe it. That is amazing. You really filled my heart with a lot of love.”

Golf carts may be allowed

TOLEDO — Toledo is considering allowing golf carts on city streets in at least two neighborhoods.

City council members are looking at permitting golf carts and other low-speed vehicles to be used in one neighborhood along Lake Erie and another near downtown.

City leaders say the idea could be expanded to other neighborhoods if it’s successful.

The program would begin next April and golf cart owners would only be allowed to travel on streets where the posted speed limit is 25 mph or less.

A few cities and several resort-type communities around Ohio already allow golf carts on city streets.

Under Ohio law, golf carts may be legal within specific parameters and with safety features added. They must be titled, licensed and insured like any other vehicle.

Woman fights for pet chickens

PERRYSBURG — An Ohio woman is fighting to keep her six chickens after she was told her pets had to go.

Raising poultry within 200 feet of an adjacent home violates Perrysburg’s agricultural use code.

But Krista Kiessling, who has owned chickens for three years, told city officials in June her chickens weren’t raised for agricultural purposes, The Blade reported ( ) .

Kiessling said she values the sustainable source of eggs, compost for her garden and natural bug control.

“We don’t want reckless care for the animals” she added. She has proposed a new ordinance that would allow up to six chickens on properties zoned for a single family.

Residents would have to obtain a $25 permit. Regulations would be created for chicken coops and squawking hens. Roosters would be banned, and slaughtering chickens would have to be done in accordance with state law.

Kiessling’s proposal is expected to be discussed at a city planning commission meeting next month.

The city has also proposed an amendment. It would ban raising poultry and any other animals not typically considered pets, including goats, pigs, skunks and llamas. That issue was tabled in September and hasn’t been revisited.

The planning commission can suggest approving or rejecting both proposals.

Brodin Walters, the city’s planning and zoning administrator, said both should make their way to city council. Only one is expected to be recommended for approval.

Colleges standing up for students

DELAWARE — At least eleven Ohio colleges and universities are standing up for immigrant students who could see their statuses change after President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month.

Some advocates, lawyers and universities are concerned that Trump could cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The program has allowed young immigrants to work and travel for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes.

The Columbus Dispatch reports ( ) Ohio State University, Ohio University in Athens, and Miami University in Oxford have joined other schools nationwide in signing a statement urging the continuation and expansion of the program.

Other Ohio signers include the Columbus College of Art & Design, Denison University in Granville, and Kenyon College in Gambier.

Petitions urging institutions to become “sanctuary campuses” have also been circulating on many campuses.