The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Financal reporting awarded
Two public entities in Wood County have been recognized for their financial reporting.

The Northwestern Water and Sewer District has received the “Making Your Tax Dollars Count” award for the district’s fiscal year 2009 audit.

The award, presented by the Auditor of State’s office, requires recipients to submit a comprehensive annual financial report that includes no findings or other issues. There must also be no other financial concerns involving the entity.

A Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the Eastwood Local School District by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada for the district’s annual financial report.

The award was presented to Dave Michel, district treasurer.


Levy meeting
A meeting for residents who want to assist with the levy campaign for the Harris-Elmore Public Library will be Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Genoa Christian Church, 415 Main Street, Genoa.

A 1.1-mill, 5-year operating levy will be on the November ballot.

The Genoa library is a branch of the Harris-Elmore Library.

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A second forum to acquaint students and parents with the building that will temporarily house Lake High School is scheduled for Aug. 24.

The building, being leased to the Lake district by Owens Community College, will be open at 6:30 p.m. for the public to view. The forum will start at 7 p.m.

Lake staff members refer to the building, located at 2249 Tracy Rd., as “The Hangar.”

“We’re definitely behind the eight ball,” said Jodi Takats, Lake’s curriculum director. “But we’re working as hard as we can to get everything ready. Temporary walls are currently up and just about finished. It seems to be going well.”

The district’s high school building at the corner of Lemoyne Road and State Route 795 was destroyed in a June 5 tornado.

School fees were being collected last week at the Tracy Road building, Takats said, adding it was the first time some students had been in the building while others have been assisting with the preparations.

Lake Superintendent Jim Witt welcomed those attending the first forum held last Tuesday at the middle school media center.

“Our goal is to try to make our students feel comfortable and to relieve anxieties as they relate to changes in our school routine,” he said.

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Oregon City Council is reviewing a proposed ordinance that would allow the city to manage its right-of-way by permitting reasonable access, conserve capacity and ensure the rights-of-way are protected.

City Law Director Paul Goldberg at a committee of the whole meeting last month said the city has been discussing ways to protect the rights-of-way for a long time.

“We had thought some time ago that it was appropriate, and the state legislature is giving the city the authority to control our own rights-of-ways,” he said. “We started working on this thing a year-and-a-half ago. This is a lengthy ordinance. We did look at it internally three or four times and made a number of changes. We invited all the utility companies that have utilities in our city rights-of-way to several meetings. We got their comments. We didn’t want to make it too onerous on them, so we did make some substantial changes to try and fit in with what they thought was appropriate but still protects the city’s interest.”

Goldberg suggested that the ordinance should be discussed further and that it get three readings.

“The main thing is to ensure our rights-of-way are protected. Anyone who is going to occupy our rights-of-way are going to have to have a permit, and give us all sorts of information,” said Goldberg, adding that Public Service Director Paul Roman needs such information to protect the city’s water and sewer lines in the rights-of-way.

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A rash of recent vehicle break-ins may have been halted in Lake Township with the arrest two men by a township police officer.

Brandon J. Cervantez, 19, Northwood, was charged Aug. 17 with three counts of complicity to theft and Chad Luce, 23, Toledo, was charged four counts of theft and one count of criminal trespassing.

Patrolman Nick Hannan observed the two on bikes about 2:45 a.m. on Walbridge Road. While he was talking with the men a Waltham Road resident came upon them and reported a vehicle had been broken into.

Hannan’s report said Cervantez and Luce became very nervous while he was talking with them.

Since early August, several vehicles have been hit.

In the Plumey and Owen roads area, there were four vehicles broken into on Aug. 10. A GPS system, CDs, prescription sunglasses, and clothing were reported stolen.

A wallet was reported missing from a vehicle the day before.

A resident of the 4000 block of Frey Road on Aug. 2 reported the theft of a car stereo. A car stereo was reported stolen Aug. 11 by a Lakeview Drive resident.

Police Chief Mark Hummer reported the arrests while giving his monthly department report at the Aug. 17 meeting of the township trustees.

A few residents in the audience cheered after he spoke.

For most of the teams that compete in the Waiter’s Race at the Birmingham Ethnic Festival, it’s

all about simply running fast and trying not to spill too much beer in the process.

But for Joe Sparks, there’s more to it than that. That’s why he’s been a member of the winning team for six years running.

“Learning how to balance the tray is where the skill comes in,” Sparks said. “You have to be really steady and light on your feet.”

Joe Sparks ran the race barefoot. (Ken Grosjean)

The Waiter’s Race is one of the more popular events at the Ethnic Festival, which was held on Consaul Street in the Birmingham district for the 36th year. The race, which was first held in 1996, usually kicks off the festival on Saturday night, but this year it followed a celebrity eating contest.

“Each year the crowd gets larger and larger,” Sparks said. “People are lined up on both sides of the street. They had about 1,000 people show up this year.”

The race consists of usually six to eight four-man relay teams. The Hungarian Club is a consistent competitor along with teams from Tony Packo’s, the Iron Workers, the VFW, the Rumpus Room, and the Steel Workers.

“Each team starts from Tony Packo’s all the way to the VFW and back,” Sparks said. “Each person has a bar tray and on the tray there is a pitcher of beer and two full glasses of beer. You start at Tony Packo’s and exchange with the other runners on a four-man relay.

“When a person comes in, you have to fill both glasses up to the top. If it spills, you have to fill it back up. There are judges at each exchange. Each person runs their part, a quarter of the distance to the next exchange point.”

Sparks said the Ethnic Festival Waiter’s Race was modeled after a long standing European tradition.

 The scoring is based on how much beer each team has left in their pitchers and beer glasses.

The Hungarian Club was this year’s overall winner, and Tony Packo’s and the Iron Workers tied for second.

Sparks, who was born in the Birmingham district and now lives in Perrysburg, was joined on the Hungarian Club team by Tim Whitney of Petersburg, Mich., Tom Fridrick of Toledo and Tony Szilagye of Rossford.

The Hungarian Club has won the Waiter’s Race six years in a row, tying the Rumpus Room for all-time wins.

“Tony and I practiced once for 15 minutes, and Tim and Tom practiced about the same amount of time about a week before the race,” said Sparks, who is a Hungarian Club committee member. “Because of our schedules, we didn’t all practice together. Tony and I have been on the same team for all six years. Tim has been on the team for five years and Tom for four years.”

Sparks is an expert in running, so he ran the anchor leg on the relay - barefooted. He has taught the Pose Method of running since 2002 and invented the EZ Run Belt, which teaches the skill of running properly.

Tim Whitney, Tony Szilagye, Joe Barocsi-Sparks and Tom Fridrick. (Ken Grosjean.)

“I put all the pressure on myself to be the anchor,” he said. “I teach people how to prevent themselves from over striding and using proper running mechanics, so I’m a good guy to be on the team. These guys knew how to run, but I tweaked their form - short, tiny steps so the tray doesn’t bounce.”

Sparks said he wanted to compete in the relay for the Hungarian Club in order to honor his Hungarian heritage and “reclaim my roots.” He is adopted, but both of his birth parents are Hungarian.

“I wanted to do something that was fun and something I knew I was good at,” said Sparks, 54, whose Hungarian birth name is Barocsi. “The guys on this team are my friends and we like to run.

“We’ve competed in races and triathlons. We were probably the oldest team, running against guys half our age.”

He added that it was a “thrill” to win the Waiter’s Race and have the Hungarian Club’s name etched on the trophy for the sixth straight year.

“The trophy is a big keg of beer plastered with all the different clubs that have won,” he said. “Here’s our name on it the last five years and now we get to put ‘2010’ on there. If we win (again) next year — no one has won seven times. The Rumpus Room has won six times and so have we, so next year we can be the winningest team. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a way to connect with other people. And, we love the competition.”

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