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Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Wooden Shoe gets another chance to fix health issues

By Leslie Gartrell
WAPAKONETA - Auglaize County Board of Health members on Tuesday voted to extend the probationary period for Minster's Wooden Shoe Inn.
The landmark restaurant's owner has been in hot water after board members last month threatened to suspend or revoke the food service license. Environmental Health Director Curt Anderson said the bar and eatery had averaged five critical violations and 19 non-critical violations per inspection over the past two years and five inspections. Critical violations have the potential to cause food illness outbreaks.
Anderson said the owner had been sent a letter of concern in July 2017 regarding the inspections of the previous two years. And in an April 19 letter to license holder Fred Meyer, Anderson wrote the board of health would consider revoking or suspending the establishment's food service license as a result of a "repeated failure to maintain substantial compliance" with the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code.
After a 3-2 vote, board members at the May meeting approved an immediate inspection and a 30-day probationary period for the restaurant to make significant improvements as well as create standard operating guidelines for workers. Board president Linda Kitzmiller and members Dorothy Miller and Thomas Freytag voted for the motion, while vice president Dan Harpster and member Kim Prueter voted against the motion. Harpster and Prueter said they supported stronger action.
Meyer and longtime employee and building owner John Hobler returned to the board of health on Tuesday morning with standing operating guidelines as well as a progress report and a schedule of work to be done. Anderson said he noticed the men had made progress but still have much to do.
Meyer said staff have been cleaning every morning before opening, and he has hired Master Maintenance of Minster to help power wash and clean. Meyer also noted plans are in place to fix the ceilings and walls within 90 days and to get new flooring in 180 days. In addition, the bathrooms will be remodeled, the back bar will be removed and the kitchen will be expanded to use the space for storage among other changes and improvements.
Kitzmiller said she has noticed a visible difference from the outside of the building, and Harpster applauded Meyer and Hobler for their changes and operating guidelines. However, he said it needed to be more specific and include food preparation guidelines.
Anderson said Meyer and Hobler have made progress, and as long as they stick to their improvement schedule and continue to clean, they should have no further issues.
"If we fall backwards, then we don't deserve to come back, period," Meyer said.
All board members approved an additional 30-day probationary period and inspection for the Wooden Shoe Inn and quarterly inspections pending the continued improvement.
Board members also,
• approved an epidemiology contract with the Mercer County Health District to create Auglaize County's response plan.
• renewed the Women, Infants and Children dietitian contract of Julie Echols at a rate of $30 an hour.
• approved changes to the salary structure by eliminating two unfilled positions. The position of family and children first coordinator has been absorbed by the department of job and family services, and the Help Me Grow director position has been absorbed by the Auglaize County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
• approved a class title change for the registrar position. The position held by Beth Sanders will go from clerical 2 to clerical 3 status, which includes additional responsibilities including acting as backup for the fiscal officer.
• approved a funding request from the Healthcare Coalition for travel expenses.
• approved revisions to the cultural and linguistic competency policy.
• met in executive session for 20 minutes to discuss personnel and employee compensation. After the session, members voted to increase the registrar position salary by 5%.
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