The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

The retirement of a key member of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office administrative team puts Sheriff Bob Bratton in a bit of a bind.

Steve Levorchick, captain of operations, handed in his badge Aug. 31 after nearly a quarter of a century of service.

“Steve’s going to be looking at security jobs or something like that,” Bratton said of his after- retirement plans. “He’s going to do fine. He’s just 48 years old and with his experience, he’ll be able to do almost anything.”

Levorchick, who has been on vacation several weeks prior to retirement, could not be reached for comment.

He began his career in with the department in 1987 as a member of the road patrol. He was promoted to supervisor/sergeant of shift and then later to the criminal investigation/detective division. During that time, he also assisted the administrative staff and had served as commander of the Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team.

In February 2005, he was promoted to captain of operations.

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A recreational use water quality advisory posted on the beach of Maumee Bay State Park last month due to high levels of microcystin in the water on Aug. 18 was still in effect by press time last Thursday.

Microcystin is one of several toxins produced by blue green algae blooms. It can affect the liver and nervous system if ingested.

The algae problem plaguing a number of inland lakes across Ohio is primarily the result of runoff from farm field nutrients.

A sample of the water at Maumee Bay State Park on Aug. 18 showed microcystin levels at 577 ppb (parts per billion), almost 29 times higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of 20 ppb, according to Dina Pierce, northwest district media coordinator for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. For recreational water, WHO considers microcystin levels of 20 ppb or higher to be a moderate to significant health risk.

“The beach is not closed,” said Pierce. “The algae bloom in the lake and the algal toxin levels can fluctuate greatly day-to-day, even during the course of a day.”

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VP route puzzling, chief says
The recent visit of Vice President Joe Biden to Toledo last week has left one local law enforcement official puzzled.

After the vice president’s stop at the Toledo Jeep Wrangler assembly plant, his motorcade took him to a fundraising event for Gov. Ted Strickland’s re-election campaign at the Belmont Country Club in Perrysburg.

Lake Township Police Chief said he and other Wood County officers, including Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, who were providing security for the vice president, agreed the preferred route they suggested for the motorcade was I-280 to State Route 795 to Perrysburg.

Instead the motorcade took I-280 to the Ohio Turnpike to I-75, then to Buck and Bates roads before eventually getting on Route 795 into Perrysburg.

“It was as if they didn’t want to drive by what’s left of Lake High School on State Route 795,” the chief said, alluding to the school damaged by a June 5 tornado, which also destroyed the Lake Township administration building. “They were within a stone’s throw of the damaged high school. It was a slap in the face of the residents of Lake Township. I’m glad he was here for the Jeep recognition but they were so close it would have been nice they could have taken five minutes to talk with school officials.”

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Measuring the body fat of students appears to be falling flat with some school administrators.

A state law goes into effect next month that regulates food and beverages in schools includes a provision for body mass index (BMI) and weight screening for students in four grade levels. BMI is a measure of body fat based on a person’s height and weight.

But the law allows districts to seek a waiver from implementing screening programs and some school officials say they plan to do just that. 

It comes down to how to best utilize time and financial resources for school administrators.

“If we were to do our own BMI testing we would need to contract with a service provider to come out and do the assessments. Therefore, this is yet another unfunded mandate. The time required for reporting of this information and getting the results out to parents would require more time for our already overworked office staff. Obesity is a national health care crisis, and correcting the problem should be within the public health realm and not public schools,” Eastwood superintendent Brent Welker said in his weekly newsletter.

Northwood superintendent Greg Clark said he’ll be recommending the board of education not implement a testing program.

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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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NFL domestic violence

Will the recent reports of domestic abuse by NFL players affect your viewing of professional football?
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