The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

A pledge by the state for a financial assistance package of up to $7.3 million will help Lake school officials proceed with the design of a new high school building and to recover some of the costs incurred while preparing a temporary replacement for the district’s tornado-damaged school, Jim Witt, superintendent, said.

But the Lake administration and school board remain in negotiations with the district’s insurance carrier over how much of the former high school building can be renovated.

School officials, Witt said, are of the opinion the entire building needs to be razed and replaced while the insurance company contends some classrooms and office space are salvageable pending further testing.

Witt, State Representative Randy Gardner, and State Senator Mark Wagoner hosted a press conference Wednesday at the Middle School – one day before the district’s new school year began – to announce the aid from the state, which includes $4.8 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and up to $2.5 million through the Ohio Department of Education.

The OSFC funds will enable the board and administration to “get heavily into the design phase” of a new building, Witt said, adding Lake officials remain dedicated to having a new/renovated high school building open for the 2012-13 school year.

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Columbia Gas of Ohio encourages its customers to protect themselves from individuals impersonating company employees or contractors.

In the wake of a customer on Elm Street, Toledo recently paying $200 to an individual posing as a Columbia Gas employee, a second such scam has been reported. This time a Columbia Gas customer on Starr Avenue in Oregon reportedly paid $242 to an individual posing as a Columbia Gas representative.

To avoid becoming a victim, Columbia offers these suggestions:

• All Columbia employees and contractors carry identification cards bearing their name, photo and identification number and will be happy to show them.

• Columbia Gas collectors do not take cash or check payments at the door. Payments can only be made over the phone or at an approved payment center. Columbia Gas does not work collections on the weekends.

• Do not allow entry into your home to people who claim to offer a Columbia refund. Columbia employees never deliver cash refunds or “rebates” to customers homes. All account transactions are handled through the mail or at a Columbia Gas customer office.

Residents who are not sure about an employee’s identification, or to verify work to be done in or around one’s home, call Columbia’s emergency response telephone number at 800-344-4077.  Representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If a person claiming to be a Columbia employee does not have proper identification, call the police and then call Columbia at 800-344-4077. Be prepared to give a detailed description of the individual and their vehicle.

We have all seen the misshaped, strange looking trees that have been trimmed because they intrude power lines.

Because they remind Toledo Area Metroparks land management supervisor Tim Gallaher of similar-shaped sculptured Japanese trees, he nicknames those mutilated trees by the roadside “Bonsai” trees.

The only problem is, after they are cut by the utility companies, the Metroparks have to deal with what is left. Gallaher says most die because they have been severely stressed by the trimming, and now they have to be replaced around the perimeter of the park.

“It would make a lot more sense to remove them,” Gallaher said. “An option would be to plant some tree, like a dogwood, that would only grow so high that could create that buffer then we wouldn’t have that cyclical trimming.”

As a result, much of Pearson’s perimeter is being cleared, as are certain areas inside the park where dead ash trees, killed by the emerald ash borer beetle, have been removed. There is also evidence of damage by other invasive species.

“It’s not just the perimeter, but from the interior of the park in that direction, and then we’ll have a much more in depth plan for re-vegetating it from the trail system to the lake,” Gallaher said. “It’s two-fold. This park is very stressed around the perimeter. You know, we want to get natives back in there and/or, if we don’t use natives local to this area, we want to create some sort of buffer system between the trails and the road just for the park experience.”

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The villages of Genoa and Elmore will help pay for the closing of a coal-fired power plant in southern Ohio but it should not affect their daily electric rates, village officials said.

The two municipalities must pay a share of the closing costs ($55,000 for Genoa over three years and $49,500 for Elmore) for the Richard H. Gorsuch Generating Station in Marietta because of their affiliation with American Municipal Power Inc. Both of the western Ottawa County villages have received their electricity from AMP-Ohio for years.

However, in recent months, AMP-Ohio has been in discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio EPA over repeated plant violations in conjunction with the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review. The problems date back to 1981.

The entities recently agreed to a Dec. 31, 2012 closing date. But operations will cease at the plant by Dec. 15, 2010. The plan is to operate all four boilers during summer peak season and then reduce to two boilers by mid-December, according to an AMP-Ohio press release.

“Harry Truman was President when this plant first began generating electricity,” AMP President/CEO Marc Gerken said in the release. “AMP acquired partial ownership in 1988, and since that time the plant has been a reliable source of power for our participating members. We are very appreciative of the Gorsuch staff and the dedication they have shown through the years. Unfortunately, the current situation makes retiring the plant the only reasonable business decision, and the decision that makes the most sense for our participants.”

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Woodville Village Administrator Bob Rickard will be retiring Sept. 30 after working for the village for 35 years.

When he started, Rickard worked in the wastewater department and earned his Class I Wastewater and Water operators’ licenses. Nine years later, in 1984, when Ted Bowen retired from the Village Works Administrator position, Rickard was hired as his replacement and worked under that title until early 2009.

Village council made the change to a village administrator position – a post he was then appointed to.

During his tenure, Rickard oversaw or had a part in many projects, including the widening of State Route 20 to four lanes, improvements to downtown parking, the building of the new water treatment plant and the demolition of the old one, sewer treatment plant and lift station expansion, waterline loops and extensions, Flag Park flagpoles and pond, various Ohio Department of Transportation projects, a new utilities building, new substation and distribution circuits, downtown revitalization project, improvements to the town hall and police department building, and the building of a new water line from the municipal wells to the treatment plant.

He saw the construction of two new subdivisions and a McDonalds restaurant on State Route 20.

Asked what he would have liked to see done before retiring, he replied “Well field expansion project and electric distribution line upgrade.”

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