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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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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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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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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Teenagers possibly experiencing end of summer anxiety might be to blame for a mini-crime spree in Ottawa County’s west end, says Sheriff Bob Bratton.

Over the past week and a half, there have been more than a dozen vandalism and theft reports filed by Allen Township residents. The offenses range from vandals using pipes to dent cars, tossing patio furniture and other items into pools and ponds as well as spray painting houses and wiping human feces across the front door of a home.

“We have a lot of kids out in that area at night – up there walking around,” said Bratton, who lives in nearby Genoa. “It’s starting to escalate for some reason.”

Deputies aren’t single-minded though. They are open to a myriad of possibilities.

“About a year ago, there were reports of kids saying there was some gang activity moving in out there. You just never know,” Bratton added.

The road patrol deputies are on high alert as is the sheriff. He collected the names of victims and spent Wednesday going door-to-door to talk to people.

One Honeysuckle Lane resident hadn’t been victimized. However, he was concerned about finding a couple of sets of footprints on the dew-covered lawn that led to the back of house, the sheriff said. “If these kids are moving behind the houses we are going to have to change the way we patrol.”

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Poll module

Christmas spending

Are spending more, less or the same amount this year for Christmas?
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