The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for later this month to consider testimony in a case centering on rates for FirstEnergy’s all-electric customers.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio said it set the hearing for Jan. 27 in Columbus to allow parties more time to prepare testimony.

After holding six public meetings to accept comment on all-electric rates, including one in October in Maumee, the PUCO is entering the final phase of a process that will decide the fate of a discount for those consumers. Currently, the discount is scheduled to remain in effect through May 31 of this year.

FirstEnergy implemented discounted rates in the 1970s for consumers in all-electric homes.

In 2006, the PUCO approved an agreement between the company and cities of Akron, Toledo, and Cleveland to establish electric generation rates through 2008 to shield consumers from potential “rate shock.” The so-called rate certainty plan was considered necessary because a competitive market in electricity generation hadn’t developed after the state adopted a format for de-regulating the industry.

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While it had plenty of critics, the bill signed recently by President Barack Obama that extends current income tax rates is getting a round of applause from  - of all people - conservationists.

That’s because House Resolution 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, includes an incentive for landowners who enlist their property with a voluntary conservation agreement.

Kevin Joyce, executive director of the Black Swamp Conservancy, says the incentive has enabled the conservancy to work with landowners to conserve more than 4,500 acres of productive farmland and natural areas between 2006 and 2009.

The incentive had expired at the end of 2009 but was included in the bill retro-active to Jan. 1, 2010.

It applies to a landowner’s income tax by:

• Raising the deduction an owner can take for donating a voluntary conservation agreement from 30 percent of his or her income in any year to 50 percent.

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The Oregon Planning Commission on Dec. 21 voted to recommend approval of a Conditional Use permit in an R-2 Medium Density Residential District at 2083 Autokee Street that will allow for the operation of a local history museum in a building that is currently a church.

The applicants for the Conditional Use were Michael Joseph and Gary Cashin, agents for owner Harbor View Missionary Baptist Church.

Jim Gilmore, Oregon’s commissioner of building and zoning, said the property is located at the southwest corner of Mississippi and Autokee streets. The surrounding zoning is R-2.

Gilmore said the museum would have a lower impact on the community compared to the church.

Joseph said the five year plan for the museum includes gathering historical data on communities that existed in the past, such as Immergrun, Momany Town, South Shore Park, Ironville and Harbor View, for students to study.

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Do you love your megabank?

I'm talking about your local branch of CitiChaseWellsMorganofAmerica--or some similar financial conglomeration. As you might have learned from experience, they have thousands of bankers who specialize in finding innovative new ways to gouge consumers worldwide. From rip-off fees to refusing to refinance home loans, the friendly slogan of these giants is: "We don't care. We're too big to fail!"

Unfortunately, Washington is too cowed by Wall Street money to cut these arrogant and avaricious giants down to size. But guess what? You and I can do it. We can make them smaller, one deposit at a time, by simply moving our money out of their clutches. After all, it's our money.

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Six months after a tornado destroyed the Lake High School building, district officials have unveiled plans for a new building they say will be open for the 2012-13 school year.

Tim Krugh, school board president, said Wednesday the project will cost about $25.5 million and retain features of the former building which the community said it wanted, including a fixed-seat auditorium and a field house.

The new building will cover about 143,000 square feet, about 20,000 square feet more than building it replaces.

The main entrance faces to the west and will be flanked by office space. A two-story glass atrium will run the length of the building, enabling it to take advantage of natural light, said Dan Tabor, of The Collaborative, lead architect for the project.

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