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      Local propane suppliers grapple with shortage

      Tim Teague, owner of Country Hearth that sells heating and grilling appliances, learned firsthand last week about the region's propane shortage when he got his weekly delivery."Last Wednesday when my delivery man came he said there had been a price increase and he asked if he could fill my order only to 50 percent," Mr. Teague said.The combination of the extremely cold winter and increased exports of propane account for the shortage. "When we have a cold snap, homes use a bit more propane," Mr. Teague said.

      Teague was busy filling tanks brought in by his customers, but he fears running out of his supply in a matter of days. "I do have some accounts that have dropped off their tanks, but having only fifty percent of capacity I may possibly run out by the weekend," Mr. Teague said.

      On Monday, Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a statewide emergency declaration in order to expedite shipments of propane gas and help ease tight propane gas supplies brought on by the recent cold spell. Gov. Kasich is also asking the federal government to take similar steps, so propane gas shipments can come into Ohio more quickly from other states. "This will help get propane companies re-supplied so Ohioans who use propane to heat their homes can stay warm, while also doing it safely," Gov. Kasich said.

      Kasich's declaration will allow shippers with valid commercial driver licenses to transport propane or heating oil to drive longer hours consecutively than they normally would, as long as they can do so safely.