The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Pay raises of 2 percent for non-union employees of Lake Township were approved by the board of trustees during their final meeting of 2010.

Melanie Bowen, who chairs the board, said the increase is in line with raises given earlier to officers in the police department who are unionized.

The officers are in the second year of a three-year contract, she said.

The trustees also extended the contract for another year with Mark Hummer, the trustees’ administrative assistant. He will be paid $1,000 a month – an increase from $800 monthly.

He is also the township’s police chief.

The cold and icy weather last month caused some snow plows in Oregon to damage some irrigation systems in the city right-of-way, which angered some residents, according to Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian.

“We had a couple of people complain that city snow plows have hit irrigation systems just off the curb and they are fairly angry, thinking the city is responsible for that,” said Seferian at a council meeting last month.

One of the complaints was from a resident located in the Sweetwater addition, on the west side of Pearson Metropark.

Residents’ anger is misdirected, however, said Seferian, because the city is not at fault. Residents who put in the irrigation systems are responsible for their repair.

“Irrigation systems are not a permitted use in the public right-of-way, and that’s where these have been damaged,” he said.

The City of Oregon took in considerably less revenue last year than the year before, according Administrator Mike Beazley, who gave an end of the year financial assessment to city council at a meeting on Jan. 10.

“Our revenues came in about $1.6 million under budget,” he said. “Last year, we took in $17 million. This year, we took in $15,496,000.”

Income tax revenue fluctuated between $17.4 million and $17.6 million each year in 2007, 2008, and 2009, he added. “There was an overpayment by a large corporate taxpayer that got refunded the following year. This year, on the income tax side, we took in $15.9 million. That’s a fairly significant downturn,” he said.

“We did manage to control the impact on our revenues by really curtailing expenditures this year by $800,000. We ended up this year with a hit to the reserve of about $780,000. We expected it to be something north of a million, and it ended up coming in a couple hundred thousand dollars short of that.”

After the meeting, Beazley said the city has about $11 million in reserve.

Over the past several years the Toledo Public Schools have suffered many financial setbacks and still find the system struggling to keep up with the economy. There are many urban schools that are facing issues much like the TPS schools around the country. The once proud Toledo City Athletic League is now facing a challenge that may be its biggest ever.

Last year the TPS system eliminated middle school, freshman, and some high school sports with low participation. That was a big blow to the remaining high school sports. The biggest blow is the imploding of the TCL when seven schools left to form a new conference, the Three Rivers Athletic Conference. That now leaves six TPS schools, after Libbey closed this past season, for next season to be in the TCL and they include — Bowsher, Rogers, Scott, Start, Waite, and Woodward. I will admit all of this does not look good and listening to the present Commissioner of the TCL he doesn’t see much hope for the future. He doesn’t seem to want to fix the problems either.

Almost $1.5 billion changed hands at farmers' markets across the United States in 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of markets rose by 16 percent last year--from 5,247 to 6,132. More than three million Americans regularly buy food from the more than 60,000 farmers  who sell at these markets each year.

Even though I'm a big fan of this kind of grocery shopping, I was pretty surprised by those numbers. This isn't the result of some multi-million dollar corporate advertising campaign. Farmers' markets succeed because more and more Americans prefer to eat food that's fresh, grown locally, and bought directly from the farmer who grew or produced it. Instead of popping open a can or grabbing something from a box, you can get a real feel for your food and how it was created.

From Windham, Maine, to Hanalai, Hawaii, consumers are finding that going to farmers' markets isn't just for foodies or health fanatics. It's about better quality, tastier food, purchased in a location where you get a sense of community amidst the crisp greens, fresh meats, and artisan cheeses. You get to know where your food comes from and who produces it. You'll never get that knowledge in a big box store.

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