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Schools warned to brace for cuts in state aid
Written by Larry Limpf   
Thursday, 15 April 2010 15:52

Eastwood school officials plan to cut spending next year by $500,000 and another $700,000 for the 2011-12 school year to meet anticipated losses of state revenue, Superintendent Brent Welker has warned district residents.

His words became even more prophetic after State Representative Randy Gardner issued a memo recently  to area school superintendents that include dire funding scenarios in state aid.

Rep. Gardner projects major cuts in state aid unless a major tax increase is enacted, significant new gambling revenues are realized, or the federal government provides even more stimulus money.

The projections in Rep. Gardner’s memo came as little surprise to Welker, who notes in his district newsletter that he and the Eastwood board have been expecting a 10 percent or so reduction in state funding for Eastwood for the 2011-12 school year.

“This will equate to roughly $600,000,” he writes. “I have also stated that in a worst case scenario, we can expect an additional 10 percent reduction for 2012-13. With the loss of Troy Energy funds after 2013, the overall impact to our revenues will be between $1.2 and $1.8 million per year over our current expenses.”

Gardner’s memo says area schools are likely to see cuts in state funding of between 22.7 percent and 30.1 percent in the budget that will go into effect July, 2011 unless the tax increase, gambling revenue, or stimulus funding scenarios happen.

 
Oregon starts Otter Creek Road improvement
Written by Kelly Kaczala   
Thursday, 15 April 2010 15:51

The Shelly Company, of Maumee, was expected to begin reconstruction and repaving of Otter Creek Road last week.

The project calls for the reconstruction of a 3.68 mile stretch of Otter Creek Road, which serves the city’s industrial area.

The project includes new underdrains, berm, storm culverts, site grading, and right-of-way restoration on Otter Creek road.

At a pre-construction meeting, the contractor was told to ensure minimal inconvenience and adverse construction conditions during the project, according to Oregon Public Service Director Paul Roman. The roadway work should be completed within approximately 180 days. The completion date is expected to be Sept. 28.

The city was awarded $3 million in federal transportation stimulus funds as a priority transportation project through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for reconstructing and repaving Otter Creek Road and Bay Shore Road between Corduroy and Wynn roads. The road is two lanes with turn lanes at major intersections. The project will not increase the number of lanes, but will provide two to four feet of paved berms in various locations, according to Roman.

The construction inspection contract was awarded to Mannik & Smith for $110,000. The only city cost for the project was $66,566 for design services from Dansard Gronke Long to assist the city engineering department, said Roman.

 
Portage River faces familiar problems
Written by Larry Limpf   
Thursday, 15 April 2010 15:50

Storm water runoff from agricultural fields, failing residential septic systems, and discharges from municipal and industrial sources continue to contribute to water quality problems in the Portage River watershed, according to a study by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Only about half of the watershed is meeting all of the standards of the Clean Water Act, the study says, raising concerns a proposal to remove trees, brush, and other debris along 46 miles  of the east and south branches of the river may result in more runoff of sediment into tributary streams.

Instead, the study recommends meetings with area counties and agricultural organizations to determine if alternatives to traditional stream cleaning could be effective.

The Portage River extends approximately 60 miles from headwater streams near the city of Findlay in Hancock County to its mouth in Lake Erie in Ottawa County near Port Clinton. The four major tributaries include the North Branch, Middle Branch, South Branch, and East Branch; smaller tributaries are Bull, Rocky Ford, Needles, Rader, Sugar and Wolf creeks, and Little Portage River.

Between 2006 and 2008, EPA staffers examined 30 streams in the watershed and found only 54 percent of the streams met aquatic life standards in the Portage watershed.

 
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