Lately I’ve been reminded of an old campfire skit. The leader is speaking calmly to the gathered campers when someone races in with arms flailing, shouting: “Help! Help! It’s all around me!” The host reacts with genuine concern: “What’s all around you?!” The intruder smiles, shrugs and replies nonchalantly: “The air.”
Goofy, I know, but I’ve recently been experiencing that same feeling. Not about the air, but about chemical substances – 80,000 potentially toxic synthetic substances in current use in the U.S, of which only 200 or so have been safety tested by our government.
Under current law, chemical products are judged “innocent until proven guilty,” rather than asking industry to research a substance’s safety before companies put the stuff into the environment. It’s just that sort of thinking that got us in trouble with DDT, dioxin, and PCBs – once “beneficial” chemicals now deemed deadly, and banned.
A slew of new safety studies, two new congressional bills, and numerous product recalls (including 28 million boxes of Kellogg cereal this summer) have amped up debate over the potential toxicity of chemical compounds that are, literally, all around us: in our food, water and air, and scariest of all, in our bodies and the bodies of our children.
Henry Bergman Co. of Genoa was the winning bidder for the Pearson North Trail. Bergman was the lowest of the six bids received. Work will begin immediately (scheduled to start tomorrow) and be concluded by November 5.
The trail will be a 1.7 mile loop along Wynn Road and Seaman Road, looping around the Johlin Cabin historical area. There will be six “rest stops” with benches and picnic tables and an elevated trail overlook.
The total project cost is $228,000. A grant from the Clean Ohio Trails Fund will pay for $205,000 of the total and Metroparks will pay for the remainder out of our permanent improvements budget.
Competitive bids were received August 13 for the Pearson Metropark Multi-purpose trail construction.
The scope of work for the project includes earthwork, construction of stone paths and rest areas, wooden deck overlook and trail boardwalk, benches, tables, fine-grading, landscaping, and seeding.
Six contractors submitted bids with Henry W Bergman, Inc., being the apparent lowest and best bid, Metroparks officials said. After signing the contract, the work will begin on August 26 and be completed by November 5.
The work is being paid for from capital improvement funds. An ODNR Clean Ohio Trails Grant will reimburse up to $205,497 of engineering and construction costs and Metroparks is required to provide a 25 percent match. Total project costs are estimated at $251,582.18 which includes bidding/advertising costs of $2,135, engineering costs of $21,400, the contract amount $198,301.90 and a 15 percent contingency fee amounting to $29,745.28.
Oregon City Council last Monday expressed concerns about the recent announcement by FirstEnergy that its FirstEnergy General Corp. subsidiary plans to cut back operations at the Bay Shore power plant as a result of the slow economy, a lower demand for electricity, and pending federal environmental regulations.
“We all have mixed feelings about the announcement by FirstEnergy,” said Councilman Mike Sheehy at last Monday’s council meeting. “Clearly, they’re making reduced operations. I’m quite pleased the operation with BP will continue. It’s something we can all be proud of. It’s an operation that serves BP, FirstEnergy, and our community. I hope that continues to be ongoing.”
Years ago, BP upgraded its Toledo refinery and partnered with FirstEnergy in the use of petroleum coke, a waste byproduct from the refining process. A new boiler built by FirstEnergy uses petroleum coke to generate low-cost steam to make electricity at the plant. The process, which saves BP in disposal costs and FirstEnergy in fuel costs, also benefits the environment by reducing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions.
In keeping with their motto, “Let’s build something together,” Lowe’s has awarded Lake Local Schools a pair of grants totaling $54,800 to help the district rebuild in the aftermath of the June 6 tornado.
In addition, about 80 volunteers from four local Lowe’s stores are stepping up to lend their time and talents in a variety of projects to get the schools ready for the coming school year.
A $50,000 grant, awarded through the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, will be used to help fund the construction of a multi-purpose room that will be used as a temporary cafeteria for the middle school until the new high school is completed, according to Christie McPherson, Lake Elementary principal.
A $4,800 grant, awarded through the Lowe’s Heroes grant program, will go toward replacing mulch and gravel around the elementary school playground.
“From the very beginning, the folks at Lowe’s reached out to help us,” McPherson said, adding that it was Darcy Mueller, manager of the Rossford Lowe’s who suggested the district may be eligible for grant awards through the home improvement store’s various corporate citizenship programs.
“She’s been so helpful – we have a `let’s try this together” kind of thing,” McPherson said of Mueller. “She has spearheaded the efforts and gets in there in the trenches with the volunteers.”
The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) wants parents to know that they are not alone if they are uncertain about bus service in the Toledo Public School District when school starts on August 26.
To help reduce a multi-million dollar budget deficit, the Toledo Board of Education reduced its transit service to state-mandated minimums, including the elimination of bus transportation for all high school students and any student in grades K-8 who lives less than two miles from the school they attend.
“TARTA plans to have additional buses available at key locations throughout the city that can be pressed into service, when it detects heavy usage on a given fixed-line route,” said James K. Gee, TARTA’s general manager. “With the radical change to its busing policy instituted by Toledo Public Schools, TARTA is not sure exactly what to expect during the initial days of this school year.”
The Toledo Public School System (TPS) will pay for transportation on TARTA for those who qualify in grades K-8, and will issue special passes.
Previously, TPS had paid TARTA for service during school hours at no cost to students, and had provided some yellow bus service. TARTA also previously operated special routes with buses picking up and dropping off students at school.
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