The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Despite the concerns of environmental organizations and local citizen groups, state lawmakers passed and Gov. Ted Strickland signed House Bill 363, which completes the transfer of oversight of large scale farm animal feeding operations to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The state legislature has been authorizing the agriculture department to assume more responsibility for issuing permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) since 2000. The new bill will transfer the permitting authority for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System for CAFOs to the agriculture department from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the bill:

• It specifies the director of the agriculture department has the authority to enforce terms of NPDES permits for discharging, transporting, or handling of pollutants, including manure, from CAFOS.

Habitat for Humanity of Wood County is looking for eligible partner families to build their own homes on three properties in Northwood.

The non-profit organization bought property on Owens Street, and is currently negotiating the acquisition of two parcels on Joseph Street, according to Tom Ehmke, the group’s executive director.

The group could lose grants if it doesn’t find partner families soon, said Ehmke.

“We have two $20,000 Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) grants that have to be used in the next building season, or we lose that money,” he said. “We were given a grant last year, and it’s a two year grant period. We were unable to find a partner family for whom we could build in Northwood, and now next year we need to have at least two families in order to use that grant money. So that’s an urgency here. We have a two to three month window to find a family so we could make sure they’re qualified before the building season begins in late April or early May.”

Eligibility is based on a family’s need, the ability to pay, and the willingness to partner, he said.

Catawba Landing is one of seven marinas along Lake Erie’s south shore to receive funding for underwater structures designed to attract fish,

Edwin Hammett, Executive Director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, said the Ohio Sea Grant College Program of The Ohio State University is receiving $9,900 for a project to build complex fish habitat structures in the marinas.

He said the structures will be constructed with polyvinyl chloride material in relatively shallow waters to help protect smaller fish.

Funding for placing the structures in two marinas in Sandusky, O., the Sandusky Harbor Marina and Venetian Marina, is also included in the project.

Hammett said the other marinas are located to the east of Sandusky.

The commission also announced the University of Toledo Civil Engineering Department will receive $14,998 for a project that will enable the detection of phosphates in the lake by improving a recently developed micro-sensor.

The sensing tool will be refined and tested to measure lower levels of phosphate and soluble reactive phosphorus.

Jerusalem Township Trustee Joe Kiss is optimistic that the board of trustees will be able to tackle how police services will be provided to the community.

Kiss said the board of trustees, with two new trustees taking their seats in January, will be appointing six people to a steering committee comprised of residents, business owners or managers, and others who have a stake in the community to review the township’s options.

“The sheriff stated he was going to have a car on the east and west side. We don’t know what amount of coverage that means. So we’re going to wait and see what happens once January 1 rolls around,” said Kiss. “But we decided to go ahead with the steering committee. We want to be proactive with the situation. We don’t want to be weeks and months behind on what we should do. The steering committee will be in place next year. They will start researching whether we should have our own police department, stay with the sheriff, or find ways to pay the sheriff.”

The township will continue to provide a substation at the town hall for sheriff’s deputies.

Residents in the Lake School District can certainly recall the Lake school levy

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fiasco a few years back.

After several failed attempts to pass a school levy, voters finally approved a 6.75-mill, five-year operating levy in August 2006. The vote was close even while passing, with 1,949 voters supporting the levy and 1,580 voters giving their "no" vote.

The operating levy raises an additional $1.4 million a year for the district, which had gone through a string of levy defeats going back to August 2004.

Dave Shaffer, a 1982 Lake graduate who has been the high school's director of athletics since 1999, watched levy after levy fail. In 2005, the school board cut extracurricular activities that were eventually funded through a private volunteer group, but with limited athletic teams.

"We scaled back in some of our programs," said Shaffer, who was an assistant athletic director at Lake from 1989-99. "We offered fewer junior high teams and we reduced our assistant coaching staffs. We lost approximately 150 kids district-wide who transferred out, which probably equates to a graduating class. That is hard to handle, and it was difficult.

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