The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Saying the Lake Erie water crisis last August is a wake-up call, a coalition of environmental, agricultural and other organizations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to declare the lake’s western basin an impaired watershed.

Despite the passage last month of Ohio Senate Bill 1 – a bipartisan measure prohibiting the application of fertilizer and manure on frozen and saturated ground within the basin – the organizations contend in a letter to Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, “no meaningful measures have yet been taken to reduce the levels of algae-feeding phosphorus” in Lake Erie. Consequently, there will “almost certainly” be another crisis this year.

A section of the Clean Water Act requires lists of impaired waters to be compiled, defining “impaired” as waters for which regulations and other required controls aren’t stringent enough to meet water quality standards set by states. The act requires states establish prioritized rankings for waters on the lists and calculate the amount of a pollutant a body of water can receive and still meet quality standards.

The organizations are asking the EPA to pay more attention to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations that typically house hundreds or thousands of livestock.

Two neighboring school districts with levy requests on the May 5 ballot have tentative plans to cut spending on operations by a combined $1.8 million if they don’t receive additional revenues.

In their levy campaigns, however, the administrations and school boards of the Genoa and Woodmore districts, are citing different reasons for how they arrived at their current financial situations.

In the Genoa district, voters will decide an additional 5-mill, 5-year emergency levy that would, if approved, generate approximately $1.025 million annually, and a 5-mill, 5-year renewal levy that generates about $400,000 a year.

The administration has been focusing on the loss of revenue from the state during presentations at forums and meetings with residents to promote the levies.

“The bottom line for us is our problem stems from reductions by the state,” Bill Nye, treasurer, said in a recent interview.

The district receives about half of its operating revenues from the state and about a third from local real estate taxes.

Revenues from tangible personal property taxes – levied on business inventory and equipment - have dropped as the state phased those taxes out. Reimbursements from the state to help schools and local governments by offsetting the loss of revenues have also dropped.

In a day when East Toledo residents are complaining about blight and the negligence of commercial properties, one property owner is taking a step many don’t.

Dan Ridi of Daridi Investment, LLC is renovating the façade of his two commercial buildings at 653 Main Street, which sits at the corner of Starr and Main.

The building sits on just over one-tenth of an acre and has five units — one unit provides about 1,500 square feet and the other four about 800 feet apiece. Ridi is spending his own money without the help of a land bank or government grants.

“When he first bought it, he was only going to fix it up if he got people interested in them,” District 3 councilman Mike Craig said. “They would say, ‘Hey, I need this many square feet,’ and he’d say, ‘Here, look at this, I’ll remodel it for you,’ and then he decided that he was going to just remodel it because he thought it would be easier to market it that way.”

Ridi says it helped that the City of Toledo got tougher on recycling companies, and he credits Craig partly for that because as East Toledo’s councilman, he helped pass the legislation.

“I’m going to tell you, Michael Craig, he played a big role in this, too. He’s been involved with me from day one. He has a lot to do with it as well and I appreciate his time,” Ridi said.

Oregon is looking at changing the capitalization or “all caps” of its council agenda to make it easier for the public to read and understand.

“It’s a housekeeping measure that the mayor and I have been talking about,” said City Administrator Mike Beazley. “I just want to float an idea out there. We use the all caps system for our ordinance titles now.”

Current research in the field notes that all caps are less likely to be read in a document, he said.

“An Indiana law blog heading “All caps are all wrong,” and another well known published article in the field called “Hiding in Plain Sight,” notes the problems with all caps, said Beazley.

“When you put something in all caps, people are less likely to read it, less likely to understand it. Most spell checks on computers don’t even check words that are in all caps, so you end up with more spelling errors. The things you put in all caps are less likely to be read than anything else in your document,” he said.

Beazley’s sister, a law professor at Ohio State, published an article that “got a lot of attention in the appellet courts,” he said.

“Most courts are going through the process of changing these rules now to make life easier and to make documents clearer,” he said.

State Rep. Michael P. Sheehy (D-Oregon) saw an opportunity when a new commissioner took the helm of Major League Baseball.


State Rep. Michael P. 

Couple that with a new legislature in the Ohio statehouse, and its ammunition enough to make some noise to MLB about Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from the sport he loved so much.

In 1989, Rose, now 74, had voluntarily agreed to a lifetime ban from MLB because he gambled on baseball games, but he always insisted that he never bet to lose.

Peter Edward "Pete" Rose, who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, is the all-time leader in hits, at bats, and games played, and he is the only Major Leaguer to play more than 500 games at five different positions.

His name is as well known as anyone enshrined in MLB’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., so the Ohio House District 46 state rep believes it’s time to get Rose the accolades he deserves.

“I listened to sportswriter Frank DeFord a couple years ago on the radio and then I read an article about it, and he was pushing for it and I said, ‘Hey, that makes a lot of sense,’” Sheehy said.

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