The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Oregon Fire Chief Bill Wilkins, who announced last November that he would retire this June, left his post last Friday.

Mayor Mike Seferian said at a council meeting last week that Wilkins submitted a memo that read: “I submit a memo dated Nov. 1, 2009, of my intent to retire on June 25, 2010. This letter serves as my notice that I will be retiring under the police and fire pension system as fire chief for the City of Oregon effective Feb. 12…”

Wilkins left early to take a job with the state fire marshal’s office, Seferian said after the meeting.

City council unanimously concurred with the mayor’s acceptance of Wilkins’ retirement.

“I think Wilkins has served the city in a very distinguished manner, with a high degree of professionalism and integrity,” said Councilman Mike Sheehy. “Whatever he does, in his future career as a firefighter, I wish him the very best.”

Council President Clint Wasserman agreed.

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Following a security breach in the Oregon Municipal Complex last Friday, the public can only gain access to the building through the main front entrance, which is installed with scanners.

The public will not be able to use doors to the east of the building that are commonly used to pay utility bills, pull building permits, or enter the tax department.

Public Service Director Paul Roman, who is also acting city administrator, said an individual had violated a court order not to contact the tax department, which raised security concerns among employees.

Roman said he met with Oregon Municipal Judge Jeffery Keller, Police Chief Richard Stager, and Mayor Mike Seferian on the matter.

“People in the tax department felt threatened,” Roman said at a committee of the whole meeting last Monday.

Restricting the public’s access through the main doors, Roman added, has been difficult.

“Some people will be upset by it at first,” he said. I would hope that most residents would understand it.”

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Talking to Bosnian emigrant Emina Causevic, a Clay High School sophomore, you

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can barely recognize a hint of an accent.

That is because Emina was 3-years-old when she arrived in America with her family. She and her older sister, Minela, spoke at last year’s naturalization ceremony at Clay, where they were among 46 individuals sworn in as U.S. citizens.

“I talked about mostly how grateful I am, and in the future I’m going to be a college student,” Emina said.

“I really wouldn’t have gotten that chance maybe if I were in Bosnia. Or maybe I would have gotten to go to college and maybe not have the same pay or same opportunity as I would here, and to be able to have it with family and everything like that.”

Joining the sisters in attaining citizenship was their father, 48-year-old Esad, a military veteran who is employed here at an auto parts factory. Their mother, 39-year-old Mirsada, is a quality control inspector for Chrysler and often travels on the job.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will extend its deadline to accept public comments on an application by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase open lake dumping of dredged sediment to Feb. 22. The original deadline was Jan. 21.

The Corps. of Buffalo, N.Y., annually dredges the Toledo Harbor navigational channel to keep the Toledo Harbor open to shipping. Most of the dredged material is then dumped in the open lake area of Lake Erie.

The Corps applied for a water quality certification for the project, which includes the Maumee River and lake approach channel. If approved by the Ohio EPA, the Corps would dredge approximately 2 million cubic yards of sediment annually between 2010-2012. About 1.9 million cubic yards of material would be dumped in the open lake area of Lake Erie, a practice that has long been opposed by the agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and local environmental activists. The remaining 100,000 cubic yards would be placed into a confined disposal facility in the lake.

Last year, the Corps was authorized to dump up to 900,000 cubic yards of sediment in the open lake.

The Toledo Harbor is the most heavily dredged of all harbors in the Great Lakes because it is the shallowest.

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An additional $48.8 million has been earmarked for 42 water quality improvement projects in Ohio from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and loans from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The funding covers four area projects:
• Village of Gibsonburg received a $477,318 ARRA subsidy and an equal no-interest loan to construct storm sewers and expand the capacity of its treatment plant to handle additional stormwater, preventing overflow into the Portage River.
• Village of Helena received a $600,000 ARRA subsidy to combine with a $200,000 no-interest loan to replace failing home septic systems with a wastewater treatment plant and sanitary sewer system with a pump station to service properties in the village.
• Northwestern Water and Sewer District is receiving a $536,634 ARRA subsidy to re-structure a $1.1 million loan received in April, 2009.  The loan is through the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund, which is administered by the Ohio EPA and offers assistance for private and public entities.

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Poll module

Christmas spending

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