The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

A Lucas County Court of Common Pleas jury recently found several Oregon City officials retaliated against a female police sergeant for her testimony in a previous sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by a female police officer against the city.

The jury awarded Oregon Police Sgt. Kelly Thibert $25,000 in damages.

In addition, the city paid Thibert $85,000 in legal fees.

Thibert’s lawsuit, filed in 2008, accused the Oregon police department, ex-Mayor Marge Brown, and Police Chief Richard Stager of alleged sex discrimination and retaliation after she testified on behalf of former Oregon police officer Candace Elliott, who had filed a lawsuit against the city for sexual discrimination in 2004.

While the jury agreed that Thibert was retaliated against, it did not find Brown and Stager's conduct can be considered sexual discrimination.

Thibert, who has been an Oregon police officer since March, 1993, had alleged that Stager and Brown “acted with reckless disregard” for her rights. “These actions were motivated by Sgt. Thibert’s sex, her participation in prior proceedings concerning allegations of discrimination, and her good-faith reports of discriminatory conduct,” stated the lawsuit.

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A 94-year-old Harbor View woman told Western Lake Erie water keeper Sandy Bihn she can remember a time when the Toledo area was the place to be for tourists.

SandyBihn
               Sandy Bihn

“From May to Labor Day, this used to be the most happening place in the United States. It was the fishing and the swimming,” Bihn said.

It was a time in the early 20th Century when this area produced more jobs for recreation than for industry. Bihn interviewed the woman two years ago for a documentary being produced about the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse.

The woman told Bihn that European dignitaries would arrive “just to be here.” 

The woman recalled pristine beaches at Presque Isle, and Bihn says Toledo Blade articles would talk about so much fish “you could walk on them.”

That was before pollution began lowering the quality of natural resources at this end of Lake Erie, Bihn alleges. She says we are still not protecting that resource, and the problem continues to worsen.

Bihn noted that the Great Lakes have more U.S. shoreline that the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico combined.

“We have more shoreline here, but the laws don’t work the same for us because it’s not considered a coastline,” Bihn said.

Lake Erie is the 11th largest lake in the world, but because it is shallow with 11 million people living along its shores, it is in vast need of “more wetlands, more foresting, and we don’t have it,” Bihn said.

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Chances are if you’ve attended a festival or football game in the Genoa or Elmore areas the past few weeks someone has given you a brochure promoting a levy issue on the November ballot in support of the Harris-Elmore Public Library.

Georgiana Huizenga, library director, said library supporters have relied heavily on face-to-face contact to promote the levy.

Voters in the library’s service area, which includes all of Allen and Clay townships and Harris Township except for a portion in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District, will decide a 1.1-mill, 5-year property tax levy.

It’s the first time the library – based in Elmore with a branch in Genoa – has gone to voters for local millage.

“We have gotten our message out by passing out stickers at the Woodmore/Genoa football game, distributing literature at the Genoa Street Fair, and holding a bake sale and distributing literature at the Elmore Irish Fest,” Huizenga said. “We have also spoken to the Elmore and Genoa village councils, the Harris, Clay, and Allen townships trustee meetings, and various other organizations.”

If passed, the levy would generate about $250,000 annually.

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Local businessman and college professor Ray Nissen says if you are out of work, you should take the initiative and start a business. In doing so, pick a business you have a passion for.

“Unfortunately, the days of the big paying factory jobs are gone. People are struggling out there, and if they just look at some of the things they can do,” Nissen said.

“Five percent of the new jobs are created by small businesses and start-ups. Right now is a perfect opportunity to become an entrepreneur because a lot of corporations, even my family business that I work for, are sitting on their hands,” Nissen continued.

“They are not taking any risks because they are afraid of what the economy is going to do, you know. There is a lot of opportunity out there, and that is the first thing I talk about. It’s like the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity for people to hurdle.”

Nissen should know. In 1983, he left the University of Toledo, where he was a business instructor, and joined three others in a start up called Thermal Gard of Ohio.

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By Over the summer, Woodmore High School Spanish teacher Tom Adams went on a one week mission trip to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, with his sister and three other members from her church in Temperance, Michigan.

During the mission trip, Adams stayed with fellow missionary Kathy Kemmer, who has been living in the country for the past six years.

While in Nicaragua, Adams and his team were involved in many projects to help the local impoverished communities which include working at a local orphanage, building furniture for a preschool and helping elementary students make Ojo de Dio or God’s eyes, which is a simple arts and crafts project.

Adams and his team also completed larger projects. For three days, they built one 11 foot by 11 foot house each day using only concrete for the floor, a wooden frame and tin for the roof and siding. Although it may seem like not such a nice home, it was a vast improvement to their previous homes which were made from trash from the city dump.

“There are many beautiful parts to Nicaragua, but there are also parts that are devastatingly poor and need help,” Adams said.

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