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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Dr. Ted Bowlus, a Republican candidate for a seat on the Wood County Board of Commissioners, says the next board should make economic development a top priority and adopt a regional approach in the county’s water distribution and purification system.

 “But we have to be certain Wood County has equal representation and benefits from a regional format,” he said. “There have been three studies, one by Sylvania, one by Toledo and one by Wood County, and all three agreed there should be a regional approach for the future.”

 Bowlus, a podiatrist, said he’d like the county to aggressively push for development of green energy projects but such an effort should emphasize jobs for county residents.

 “In the future we’ll need air tight contracts that will provide for local workers for construction as well as local employees,” he said, adding the board of commissioners should also more tightly monitor and control fuel pipelines crisscrossing the county.

 “There are more that are planned,” he said. “One thing that concerns me is one of the pipeline operators wants to establish a compression station near Waterville. The problem with that is they want to pump ethane through the pipeline and it contains suspected carcinogens. When it’s compressed the chemicals will be released and could affect an area about five miles in diameter. That’s my concern.”

 The Wood County Landfill will also likely have to be expanded during the next board’s term in office, he said.

 In addition to the statutory responsibilities of the board of commissioners, Bowlus says the board will have a “moral duty” to push for a long-term solution to the drug problem.

 “We’ll have to work closely with county agencies on the opiate problem. It’s not just heroin. Narcotics in general are a real concern. It’s something we can advocate for. We can take a stance and not just represent the residents but do what’s best for them,” he said.

 

Kuhlman seeks re-election

 Incumbent Joel Kuhlman, a Democrat, is also vying for the seat with a term that begins Jan. 3, 2017.

Kuhlman, an attorney, was appointed to the board of commissioners in February 2012, to complete the unexpired term of Alvin Perkins, who retired.

 He was elected to the board in 2013.  While economic development will continue to be an over-riding concern for the next board, Kuhlman expects a decision will be made in the next year or so on the water system.

 “Some of the options would require the construction of infrastructure to service the area,” he said. “A decision will be needed on how we move forward, whether as a region with the City of Toledo. I think we’re optimistic about that potential as long as we can agree on certain issues. The question is how do we do this at the lowest cost to Wood County residents? The other issue is how much of a say do we have in management of the system itself. That’s become a higher priority for us than it was in the past. It’s a complex issue because not all Wood County residents get water from Toledo. There is quite a network in the county.”

 The commissioners have held several hearings with farmers, university researchers, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to gather data on Lake Erie’s western basin.

 Kuhlman said the board may consider a resolution yet this year on whether or not to request an “impaired” status for the basin, which would provide for special protection and remediation programs under the federal Clean Water Act.

 Environmental groups have been pushing for enactment of the impaired status, arguing it’s needed to battle the algal bloom problem.

 Kuhlman said the county has appropriated about $25,000 to make Narcan available to persons who overdose on opiates. It blocks the drug’s effects and reverses an overdose.

 “Many of the people in jail don’t have health insurance. That’s where we found a gap. They’re not eligible for Medicaid and lack their own insurance,” he said.

 In other races for county administrative positions, only the races for sheriff and treasurer are competitive.  Incumbent Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn is being challenged by Ruth Babel-Smith and in the treasurer’s race, Jane Spoerl and Jason Hartigan are vying for the office.  Incumbent Cindy Hofner is the only candidate for the clerk of common pleas court; incumbent Douglas Hess is unchallenged in the coroner’s race; incumbent Paul Dobson is unchallenged for the prosecutor’s office, and incumbent Julie Baumgardner is the sole candidate seeking the recorder’s office.  John Musteric is the only candidate in the county engineer’s race.

       

 

 

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