Sen. Brown and colleagues urge aggressive solution to keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and 10 of his Senate colleagues this week urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to aggressively work towards implementing short term measures and finding a long term solution that would stop the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. The Senators also asked USACE for several updates on its progress implementing proposals from the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee’s feasibility study released earlier this year.

“With thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at stake, we need to do everything we can to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of invasive species,” Brown said. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to be aggressive and make progress towards temporary and permanent solutions that would stop the spread of Asian carp once and for all. The Army Corps can better achieve this by working with Congress and keeping it informed of its progress.”

USACE, as part of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, released a feasibility study in January 2014 that evaluated alternatives and technologies that could be used to combat the spread of Asian carp. Included in the report’s alternative proposals were separating the Mississippi River Basin from the Great Lakes; a new lock system that would pump treated water in and pump untreated water out; and several options to protect Chicago from flooding and allow the shipping industry to coexist with efforts to combat the spread of Asian carp.

This report, however, did not include a formal recommendation as to which alternative would be most effective. Brown and his colleagues therefore urged USACE to work with Congress, local authorities, and other stakeholders in order to determine the best strategy to combat what has already cost Ohio jobs, revenue, and valuable resources. According to the State of Ohio, more than $10 billion of the state’s nearly $40 billion tourism industry is derived from counties along the Lake Erie shoreline.

Brown continues to work towards stopping the spread of Asian carp and protecting the Great Lakes and the jobs that they support. In July 2013, at Edgewater Park along Lake Erie, Brown called for passage of the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013 (GLEEPA), bipartisan legislation he is co-sponsoring which is intended to protect the Great Lakes and the millions of jobs they support from a variety of ecological threats and invasive species like Asian carp. At the press conference with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Brown also applauded that week’s announcement by the Obama Administration that it would implement a new, $50 million strategy for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

While more work needs to be done, this decision built on momentum created when, in May 2013, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which included an amendment Brown introduced that would prevent the invasion of Asian carp into the Ohio River. Based on the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, and passed unanimously 95-0, the amendment would enable the federal government to have a more effective partnership with state and local entities that are working to slow the spread of Asian carp.

Brown’s letter to USACE can be read in its entirety below:

The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC  20310-0108

Dear Secretary Darcy:

As Senators from Great Lakes states, we are committed to protecting the lakes from a variety of threats, including from invasive species like the destructive Asian carp.  We want to impress upon you the need to implement short-term measures to stop Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes, and to move aggressively toward a long-term solution.  The January 2014 Great Lakes and Mississippi River Inter-basin Study (GLMRIS) outlined both short- and long-term options for preventing inter-basin transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) and we want to ensure that you are advancing the options that look most promising and implementing measures that are already available. 

We also have a number of questions for you concerning the process of moving forward with different options for protecting the Great Lakes from ANS:

• How are you planning to use the $3,000,000 Congress appropriated for GLMRIS in fiscal year 2014 (FY2014)?  The GLMRIS report explains that you will work to “build consensus toward a collaborative path forward for GLMRIS.”  What does that statement mean?  What exactly will you be doing to further define a collaborative path forward?

• The GLMRIS report identifies a number of nonstructural control technologies that could be implemented in the short-term.  You note in the report that these activities are not traditionally performed by the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps).   For that reason, are you finished with the evaluation of this alternative?  Will you be recommending to the Asian Carp Regional Coordination Council (ARCC) that these measures be implemented immediately?

• To move forward with a long-term solution, a phased implementation may be needed.  What interim measures could the Corps move forward with that would allow for the most flexibility with a long term solution? 

• The Brandon Road Lock has been identified as one location at which work could be undertaken as an intermediate solution (e.g., including a GLMRIS lock and an electrical barrier).  Does the Corps need further direction from Congress to study interim ANS control technologies at Brandon Road? 

• Legislation passed in July 2012, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act,” authorizes the Corps to proceed directly to preconstruction engineering and design if a project is ‘justified.’”  How would the Corps determine if a project is justified?  Is it correct to assume that this process would be less involved than when making a recommendation in a “Chief’s Report”?

• To study and implement an interim demonstration of control technologies at Brandon Road (including a GLMRIS lock, an electrical barrier in the channel, and any additional necessary ANS control technologies), can the Corps provide a cost estimate to perform this work (and a breakdown between direct and mitigation costs)?  Could you provide a rough time estimate for completing the study, design and construction of this project?  Does the Corps have current authority to undertake this effort? What trigger or direction would the Corps require to further study such an interim demonstration project?

• Does the Corps need a non-federal partner if the project is funded at full federal funding?

• Will the Corps undertake an independent peer review of the GLMRIS alternatives?

• What triggers the Corps to further study potential long term control alternatives?

• A typical Corps feasibility study includes a detailed evaluation of alternatives, along with cost and benefit estimates, and a recommended alternative.  We understand that for navigation and flood control projects, benefit-cost ratios for each of the alternatives are calculated.  For environmental projects, we understand the Corps selects the preferred alternative as the most cost-effective means of producing environmental benefits.  If the Corps moves forward with making a recommendation, what metrics would the Corps use to select a preferred alternative?

• The fiscal year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill provided authority to the Corps to implement emergency measures to prevent invasive species from dispersing into the Great Lakes by way of any hydrologic connection to the Mississippi River basin.  What decision criteria will be used by the Corps to determine whether there exists an emergency?  If the Asian carp continue to move toward the Brandon Road lock, would the Corps consider using the emergency authority provided in the omnibus appropriations bill to implement measures at the Brandon Road lock, such as fixing the lock gates and/or constructing an electric barrier at the mouth of the lock? 

We look forward to receiving a prompt reply to our questions.  Thank you.


Ballreich named Snack Manufacturer of the Year

Ballreich Bros Inc. of Tiffin is excited to share news of their latest award, as Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery magazine’s Snack Manufacturer of the Year for 2014. The magazine’s Editor-in-Chief surprised Ballreich with the award during Friday’s photo shoot for the cover story of their April edition. The award considers longevity, giving back to the community, environmental conservation, innovation, expansion, character and other relevant factors. Digital copies of the magazine, once released, and other pertinent information can be found at 

“Ballreich is proud of and thankful for this outstanding recognition. Every day, we strive for continuous improvement in this competitive snack industry while trying to maintain a humble, yet inviting culture. This national award honors our efforts,” said Haley Thomas, Ballreich Director of Sales and Marketing. “We greatly appreciate the support of our customers and the hard work and dedication of our employees. Thank you for everything!” 

Ballreich’s has been a family-owned manufacturer of quality potato chips and other products for over 90 years. They have a strong, branded presence throughout Ohio and have experience in both nationwide and international distribution via branded and private label mediums. 

For more information on Ballreich, visit


Terra State offers Henry Ford Museum trip

Terra State Community College is still accepting reservations for the Life Scholars trip to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, on March 27.

The museum showcases American ideas and innovations, both technological and social, that have changed our lives. Exhibits include an exploration of the first 40 years of flight and an array of artifacts representing powerful change, including the presidential limousine in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated and the bus on which Rosa Parks took a stand for civil rights.

The group will also visit the Ford Rouge Factory for a self-guided, five-part experience that includes the Legacy Theater, the Art of Manufacturing Theater, the Observation Deck, the Dearborn Truck Plant and the Legacy Gallery.

The cost is $85 for Life Scholars members and $95 for non-members, and includes all tour fees, bus fees and the bus trip. Lunch is on your own at any of three restaurants in the museum. The bus will depart from Terra State at 8:15 a.m. and return at 7 p.m. To register, call 419-559-2255.


Boys basketball head coach needed at PCHS

The Port Clinton City School District is in need of a Head Boys Basketball Coach to replace Coach Troy Diels. Coach Diels is resigning from his coaching position after nine years at the helm but will remain with the district as PCMS Assistant Principal.

Limited teaching positions may also be available.

The Port Clinton City School District is a district of approximately 1800 students located on the shores of Lake Erie.  In 2013, the District completed a construction project to build state-of-the-art schools, funded by the generosity of the community. The new school includes Bataan Memorial Elementary Campus (Primary PK-2 and Intermediate Grades 3-5), a New Middle School (grades 6-8) on the high school campus and one high school (9-12).  More information is available online at

Interested applicants should submit resume, cover letter, and references no later than April 21, 2014, to Port Clinton High School, Attn: Mr. Rick Dominick, Athletic Director, 821 S. Jefferson Street, Port Clinton, Ohio 43452.


Tristan Auxter earns rank of Eagle Scout

Tristan Oliver Auxter has obtained the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America. He is a member of Troop 360 in Port Clinton which is sponsored by Trinity United Methodist Church. Tristan joined scouts in first grade as a Tiger Scout with Cub Scout Pack 361 of St. John Lutheran Church. He finished Cub Scouting by earning the Arrow of Light. In becoming an Eagle Scout it has afforded many learning and leadership opportunities for Tristan. He has earned 34 merit badges, served as Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Scribe and Bugler. In completing an Eagle Scout project, Tristan has gained many lifelong skills.

The Eagle Scout project Tristan chose was to add outside features to the community garden located at 323 Beech Street in Port Clinton. Planning and approval for the project started in the fall of 2012. Tristan was responsible for designing, planning, fund raising over $650 in materials and coordinating over 158 hours of labor. He oversaw the construction of two eight foot handicap accessible picnic tables, building of a 16’x16’ patio, two cedar trash cans and holders and a shelf used for storage in the park’s storage shed which was completed in May of 2013.

Tristan then spent the fall writing a required, detailed manuscript of the project to bring before the board for final approval. After local council approval, the manuscript went to the national level for final review. Tristan will be honored at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Sunday, March 23 at St. John Lutheran Church.

This project couldn’t have been accomplished without the support from friends, family, fellow scouts and leaders, the City of Port Clinton, Mayor Leone, Larry Cline, John Folger, Dave Mehl (with special mention to the Order of Eagles #2295) and Jeanne Auxter.

Tristan is a sophomore at Port Clinton High School. He is a member of the Leadership Council, football, swimming and tennis teams, and band all while maintaining honor roll status. Tristan is the son of Kim and Angela Auxter.


Waterworks Park and agriculture run off big topics at Redfern town hall meeting

Redfern speaking at a previous town hall meeting.

On March 17 at 10 a.m. Ohio State Representative Chris Redfern held a bi-monthly town meeting at the Ida Rupp Public Library. Two Port Clinton city council members, a Portage Township trustee, and a school superintendent and treasurer were just a few people in attendance at the open forum meeting.

The first topic for discussion, a widely known hot topic for Port Clinton residents, was Waterworks Park and the development of that area. Redfern said that he and Senator Randy Gardner have had discussions about the project and they agree that something needs to be done to further the future of Port Clinton just as surrounding places such as Huron and Sandusky have done.

“We are here to help you with what you need,” said Redfern. “There are programs out there to help fund these projects. We are here to back you.”

Redfern did heed a warning about the project, though.

“If we apply, we ought not to walk it back,” said Redfern. “We might not get a third of forth chance at this.” He continued, “Personal feelings aside, you went before and got this money and then didn’t use it. If you go back again, you better have your act together.”

Another hot topic and growing concern was discussed; agricultural runoff. Redfern said that next week the house is voting on legislation that would strengthen the Department of Agriculture and farmers’ relationship towards education. Anyone who purchases fertilizer in bulk will have to go through an education program.

“This will not change overnight,” said Redfern. “The Lake Erie watershed is thousands of square miles, it will take time. There are 300 different types of soil in Ohio. Each ditch, every tributary needs to be treated with the upmost importance. Lake Erie doesn’t just begin down the river in Oak Harbor, it starts at the watershed: Upper Sandusky, Canton, etc. Everything north from the watershed flows into the lake.”

The controversial wind turbines along the lake shore were another topic on the table. A resident brought up that the guidelines for citing of wind turbines are voluntary. She wanted to know what action could be taken to make these guidelines universal across the board so this kind of situation can’t happen. 

“The project has been halted,” said Redfern, “because not only the state government but, more importantly, the federal government spoke up saying that the turbines could hurt protected species.”

There was also discussion about the projected Canadian nuclear waste site along the shores of the Great Lakes. The resident who brought up the topic also pointed out that a crack was found in the concrete of the reactor. She said that the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) was not holding a public meeting about the subject and she just wanted to keep the Great Lakes free of nuclear waste.

“I can see no reason why FirstEnergy or anyone wouldn’t want to have a public meeting on the subject,” said Redfern.

The resident reminded those in attendance that the NRC takes calls from citizens suggesting they have a public meeting.

The last subject discussed at the meeting was Common Core in schools. Common Core is the guidelines every school has to follow to ensure students are all reaching the curriculum suggested for their grade level.

The discussion led to the conclusion that maybe the one test standard isn’t the best way to judge a student or a school’s accomplishments.

“We should be able to question authority,” said Redfern. “I am worried about support for teachers… and not financial support.”

Other topics briefly discussed were state taxes, Ohio’s Sunshine Law, widening State Route 2 between Camp Perry and Toledo and the condition of the viaducts under the railroad tracks in town.

Chris Redfern holds town meetings throughout his districts, Erie and Ottawa Counties, so he can listen to constituents’’ ideas, questions and concerns.


Port Clinton City School District kindergarten screening

The Port Clinton City School District will hold kindergarten screening for the 2014-15 school year on April 28, 29, 30 and May 1. Any child who will be five years old by Aug. 1 is eligible to attend kindergarten. More information about the process of kindergarten screening is available on the school district website at Open enrollment is available for students residing in neighboring districts to attend Port Clinton City Schools.

To register for kindergarten screening, call the Board of Education Office at 419-732-2102 (or ICS students call 419-734-3315). Appointments are required.


Cabaret XXXVIII at Danbury

“The Danbury High School Music Department will present Cabaret 38, a musical variety show, on March 20, 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. Reserved tickets will be sold in the high school office March 17-21, 7 a.m through 2:30 p.m. All tickets are still only $5. Tickets will also be sold at the door beginning one hour prior to each performance.”


“All Shook Up” at OHHS

Here, some cast members "chill" at Oak Harbor’s own 50's diner, Kozy Corners. 

The show's all new, but the music is all Elvis. On March 21-23, Oak Harbor High School Thespians will present “All Shook Up”, a musical inspired by the hits of the King, Elvis Presley.  The show features such tunes as "You Ain't Nothin' but a Hound Dog”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “It's Now or Never” and many more.  Dust off your blue suede shoes and join the fun on Friday or Saturday at 7:30 p.m. or Sunday at 2 p.m.  Tickets, $8for adults and $6 for students/seniors are available at the door, from any cast member, or by calling OHHS at 419-898-6216.

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