Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:12PM - 247 Views
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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

U.S. 52 near Wheelersburg will be named “U.S.M.C. LCpl Jonathan Etterling Memorial Highway” thanks to a bill passed by the Ohio Legislature Wednesday.

Etterling, 22, of Wheelersburg, died when the CH-53E helicopter he was in crashed near Ar Rutbah, Iraq. He was assigned to First Battalion, Third Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Died on Jan. 26, 2005.

The House concurred on House Bill 325, which names several memorial highways. Among the highways to be named is the one that will be named for Etterling.

“Jonathan Etterling was an inspiration to the community,” State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) said. “Even before he served our country, he was a servant at heart. He meant more than words can express to his family, his school, and to the community of Wheelersburg. I’m very pleased we were able to pass this legislation to name this stretch of road commemorating him.”

The Ohio House of Representatives also concurred on another bill which implements a better pseudoephedrine tracking system. Sponsored by Johnson and Danny Bubp (R-Lake Waynoka), House Bill 334 requires retailers and distributors of the drugs to participate in an electronic tracking system of the products through the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx). It also allows the state’s attorney general to enter into an agreement with National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, which administers the exchange, so that the information can be used by state and local law enforcement to identify those who seek to manufacture meth.

In addition to the provision cracking down on meth, an amendment was added in the Senate at the request of Attorney General Mike DeWine to ban new types of bath salts that are beginning to emerge. The legislature passed House Bill 64 last year which made it illegal to sell K2 spice and bath salts, but illegal drug manufacturers have changed the formulas enough to skirt existing law. House Bill 334 aims to stop the next wave of illegal drugs before they become widely used.

“This venture has been an extraordinary coordinated effort by the General Assembly and the Attorney General,” Johnson said. “This bill gets one step ahead of clever chemists who are trying to find ways to sell harmful drugs without legal consequences. HB 334 also makes it a lot harder for meth dealers to get a key ingredient, but it still allows our citizens to obtain their cold medicine when they need it. This bill will allow our law enforcement to identify meth dealers and act quickly to stop them, and I’m thrilled to see it pass.”

Johnson said both bills now head to the desk of Ohio Governor John Kasich for his signature.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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