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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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Oregon schools deserve credit for taking risk on wind and solar

These were the midnight ponderings drizzling through my humidity-sopped brain as I patiently waited for the rain and heat to abate while tossing and turning, searching for a night of restorative sleep.

The Energizer Eagles
As we make the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy, we need leaders willing to take risks. Dennis Slotnick, Dean Sandwisch and the Oregon Schools deserve credit for taking the lead in developing wind and solar energy in our schools. In seven months, these energizer Eagles have saved $43,343 in utility costs with wind turbines located at Clay High School and Eisenhower Middle School. This is a promising start for a controversial project. The turbines are located in one of America’s busiest migratory flyways and more study on their affects on birds and bats should continue. However, initial reports are good. They show only one bat found under the turbine at Clay.

The district will also bring on line solar panels being installed on the roofs of Jerusalem and Starr schools. The panels are expected to produce 2.2 megawatts of power annually.

The benefits go beyond the money savings for taxpayers. These projects show students our future—the use of alternative energy as a supplemental form of energy.

Other schools should take note.
 

Red light cameras
Northwood City Council didn’t want to make a decision on shutting down the controversial red light cameras so it tabled a vote on renewing the contract with Redflex over and over again until the contract expired.

Can’t say I blame them. I was against the cameras at first, then came to support them after former police chief Gerald Herman loosened the camera trigger to “nine you’re fine, ten you’re mine” and installed a flashing speed warning device for motorists coming downhill past Northwood schools.

Those steps seemed fair. He considered adding a countdown on the crosswalk to let motorists know how many seconds they had before the light turned yellow. Still would like to see these at all intersections. The countdown can aid drivers in determining whether or not to slow down to avoid running the light.

These steps struck a balance between safety and what many called an unwarranted money grab at the expense of residents hit hard by the Big Recession. Citations cost $110 with much of that going to Arizona. That’s money not being spent here in local businesses.

On the plus side, the continuous right turn lane at Wales and Oregon rds. was paid for by camera funds. So too were the speed monitor trailer, two tornado sirens and the transfer of school lights from the closed Lark Elementary to Lemoyne Road.

We may not miss the cameras, but we’ll miss the safety improvements the city could have made.


Wrong but right 
P.J. Kapfhammer, Oregon School Board president, was found guilty of disorderly conduct in Maumee Municipal Court for confronting and shouting obscenities at a young autistic man who was on the Clay campus working out with the baseball team. Kapfhammer didn’t recognize the youth and confronted him demanding to know who he was and what he was doing there. The young man, who was an honorary member of the baseball team, turned away from him and didn’t respond.

Obviously, Kapfhammer didn’t handle the situation correctly. He could have remained calm, but after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, he had a heightened interest in knowing what the man was doing there.

Autism encompasses a wide range of behavior that, to many of us, would seem abnormal. One young man I know cannot communicate by speech, but rather does so by pointing and making unintelligible sounds. He is well-mannered until a trigger word or action sets him off.  I once saw him at a family gathering rocking back and forth on the couch seemingly enjoying the day when he lurched forward, grabbed a wine glass and hurled it against the sliding glass door.

Kapfhammer may have been wrong in how he handled the incident, but he was right in handling it.


Females are smarter
For the past 16 years, The Press has honored The Top Ten students of the senior class at 10 area high schools. Females typically dominate in academic achievement. This year was no exception as 69 percent of the 106 honored were females. In 2005, it was 61 percent and in 1998, 75 percent.

The most popular colleges chosen were: The University of Toledo (26); Bowling Green State University (19); The Ohio State University (17) and Owens Community College (6).

Most popular fields of study: engineering, especially biomedical engineering (18 percent), followed by nursing, business and education in that order.

Engineering was the hottest field in both 2005 and 1998. Computer science was hot in 1998, but no one chose it this year or in 2005.

Sixty-two percent played at least one sport, virtually the same percentage as in 2005 and 1998.


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