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Cost of Poverty Experience

Every day people in our community struggle to meet basic needs and achieve financial stability. In order to have a better understanding of the challenges they face, the United Way and the Ottawa County Housing Collaborative is offering a special opportunity.

Cost of Poverty Experience (C.O.P.E.) is a poverty simulation exercise that allows participants to role play through various scenarios based on real life examples. By making choices and encountering barriers, participants gain a greater awareness of the daily realities for many low to moderate income families in our community.

United Way and the Ottawa County Housing Collaborative are hosting the event at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds on April 9 from 1-3 p.m.

The experience was created to inform and enlighten participants’ understanding of poverty with hopes of inspiring them to take action to help those who need it most. Network with donors, volunteers and community leaders and be part of the discussion on how we can become change agents to impact the community.

To RSPV to the event contact Kristen Gerwin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 419-734-6645. For more information on the event or about the United Way, visit unitedwayottawacounty.org.

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First round awards announced for District Grant Program

Twelve organizations received funding to start recycling programs or to buy products made from recycled materials in the first round of competitive funding offered by the Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca Joint Solid Waste Management District.

The grant program’s main priority is to set up recycling programs for educational institutions, governmental entities or non-profit organizations. Any agency applying must have a recycling program in place in order to apply for funds for products made from recycled material. The applicant must match a minimum of 20% of the total project cost, and products must contain at least 25% recycled material.

Entities receiving funding include: Allen Township Trustees, $4,187 to purchase fencing; Ballville Township Trustees, $9,000 for playground surfacing made from recycled rubber; Bellevue Recreation Department, $2,790 to purchase playground surfacing fiber made from recycled material; Camp Fire Buckeye Council, $1,460 to purchase recycled plastic picnic tables and a sign; Fostoria Fire Department, $5,900 for cribbing made from recycled plastic; Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center, $2,961 to expand their recycling service and to purchase a sign; Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, $2,000 to purchase a recycled plastic sign;

Portage Township Trustees, $1,195 to purchase ceiling material made of recycled content for their community room; St. Boniface Catholic School, $3,386 for recycled plastic benches, picnic tables and waste & recycling receptacles; Seneca County Park District, $1,986 for recycled plastic signs; Townsend Township Trustees, $7,319 to purchase fencing; and Woodmore Schools, $900 to expand their recycling service and to purchase plastic bottle receptacles.

Amy Drummer, Assistant Director of the Solid Waste District, administers the grant program and sees the direct benefits to the community.“These grants provide an opportunity for local organizations to create or expand recycling programs,” said Drummer. “The purchase of recycled products provides the public examples of items that are made from the materials they recycle every day.”

The next funding round deadline for the Competitive Funding Program is June 30th, 2014. The grant application is available online; however, grant applicants are required to attend a meeting prior to submitting an application. The purpose of the meeting is to explain what information is needed to properly fill out the grant application form. The next meeting will be held Thursday, May 29, at 10 a.m at the District’s Main office, 1875 E. State Street, Fremont. Registration for the meeting is required. For more information or to register for the meeting, contact Assistant Director, Amy Drummer toll free at 1-888-850-7224 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

To view grant guidelines and application or for recycling information, view the OSS Solid Waste District’s website at www.recycleoss.org. Get connected with the District on Facebook by searching Ottawa Sandusky Seneca Green Recycling Scene and hitting the like button, or on Twitter by searching OSS Solid Waste @Aim2BGreen.

The Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca Joint Solid Waste Management District was formed in March 1989 under HB 592, which required counties to form single or multi-county solid waste districts.  The District has developed a solid waste plan which ensures disposal capacity for the next 15 years. The District also sponsors waste reduction, recycling, and reuse programs designed to increase recycling to meet state waste reduction goals.

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Gardner announces new Healthy Lake Erie Initiative

State Senator Randy Gardner, who represents Ottawa and Erie counties, announced Tuesday, March 18 that a new Healthy Lake Erie Initiative has been included in the state’s new Capital Appropriations Budget introduced Tuesday in the House of Representatives.

The initiative will provide $10 million over the next two years in funding to support efforts to reduce open lake dumping in Lake Erie and to implement other clean lake strategies.  Administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the fund will be used primarily to find alternative uses for dredge materials versus current and prospective practices which may be considered less environmentally friendly.

ODNR Director Jim Zehringer praised the initiative as another in a series of efforts to make progress on cleaning up Lake Erie, particularly the toxic algae problem.

“Protecting Lake Erie remains a top priority for Governor Kasich’s administration,” said Zehringer. “Thanks to the partnership and collaborative efforts of Senate President Keith Faber and Senator Randy Gardner through the Healthy Lake Erie Initiative, we will continue practices to address nutrient issues in the Lake Erie watershed. We recognize more needs to be done and with the help of the governor’s capital bill, we can work toward our shared goal of improving water quality in the western Lake Erie basin.”

Gardner said the new capital funds will build on other efforts to find answers to Lake Erie environmental challenges.

“I am thankful that Senator Faber and Governor Kasich agree that more needs to be done to attack problems affecting Lake Erie,” Gardner said. “The lake is one of Ohio’s great natural assets with tremendous impact on jobs and quality of life.  We have an obligation to continue the fight.”

While Gardner said most of the efforts to date have focused on the western Lake Erie basin, recent controversies in Cuyahoga County regarding dredging disposal issues indicate attention is needed all along Ohio’s northern coast.

Gardner praised the involvement of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, the Charter Boat Association and the Lake Erie Improvement Association, among many organizations, in addition to ODNR and Ohio EPA officials for providing ideas to help mitigate the need for open lake dumping of dredge materials.  

House and Senate committee hearings are expected in the Ohio House and Senate over the next couple of weeks.

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Local talk show explores life and faith

Everything from politics to prayer will be featured at a new weekly experience called Lifetree Café. 

This “conversation café”, located at Trinity United Methodist Church, 135 Adams Street, Port Clinton, is part of a national network of locations that offer participatory events related to life and faith.

The Lifetree Café experience is a scheduled hour of “stories and conversations to feed the soul,” according to local director Pastor Bruce Batchelor-Glader. The hour typically includes a short original film and guided conversation. A local host directs the hour. “It’s sort of like a live, local talk show, with an inspirational twist,” Batchelor-Glader said.

Topics, which change weekly, focus on popular life issues. Topics may include such things as loneliness, immigration, health, angels, guilt, prayer and life after death. The exclusive documentary-style films feature everyday people with unusual stories, as well as nationally known figures.

National Lifetree Café founder Thom Schultz said, “We engage people of all ages in a national conversation through local Lifetree Cafés as well as a robust online presence.” The organization’s website, LifetreeCafe.com, invites visitors to participate online in the same topical conversations that occur each week at the live venues.

“Lifetree serves as a comfortable place to meet other people who are interested in the same issues.” Schultz said, “The atmosphere resembles a warm, neighborhood coffee shop. The experience gives people practical help and insight on life issues, and provides a hopeful spiritual connection.”

Schultz said, “We’ve found that people today want to participate in the conversation. It’s not enough to simply hear someone lecture on an important topic. People want to share their thoughts, ask questions, and tell their own stories. Lifetree offers a safe place and time to do that.”

Lifetree Café is offered at 6 p.m. every Sunday. The café is located on the second floor of Trinity United Methodist Church. Admission to the 60-minute events is free. Snacks and beverages are available.

Questions about Lifetree Cafe may be directed to Bruce Batchelor-Glader at 330-819-3194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Friends of Magee Marsh fundraising for Boardwalk renovation

The Friends of Magee Marsh is engaged in a fundraising effort to renovate the famous Magee Marsh Boardwalk. The boardwalk is located on the shore of Lake Erie near Oak Harbor. More than 80,000 people visit Magee Marsh, listed as one of the top ten birding hotspots in the country, during spring migration. This location and environs have been dubbed “The Warbler Capital of the World.” The influx of birders to the area means millions of dollars spent at Northwest Ohio businesses.

The boardwalk is 25 years old and falling into disrepair. The Friends of Magee Marsh is conducting a campaign to raise $300,000 to refurbish the boardwalk. The funds will allow them to replace the decking and rails, stabilize the tower, and make other improvements to ensure the boardwalk remains open to the public.

The Friends group has given $25,000 to get the project started. Phase One is underway and will be complete by April 1. All work will stop during peak migration. Phase Two will commence June 1. During the renovation most of the boardwalk will remain accessible.

The Friends of Magee Marsh is asking for your support with this endeavor. Donation envelopes can be found at the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center. Additionally, donations can be made via a PayPal button on their website, www.friendsofmageemarsh.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/friendsofmageemarsh.

Magee Marsh Wildlife Refuge is located on State Route 2, 17 miles west of Port Clinton. GPS coordinates to the boardwalk are 41.63N and 83.19W.

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American Red Cross offers new flood app

The American Red Cross announced its new Flood App to help save lives and reduce losses from floods and flash floods. 

This free app gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a flood. The content is available in English and Spanish, based on the user’s language settings on their mobile device. The app includes location-based, audible NOAA flood and flash flood watches and warnings, even if the app is closed.

“Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States and affect hundreds of people here in the greater Toledo area every year,” said Amanda Aldrich, regional communications specialist for the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. “People can use the Red Cross Flood app to create emergency plans so all household members know what to do if flooding threatens their home. In a flash flooding situation, the audible alerts in the app can truly save lives, even when users are away from a radio or TV.”

Other features of the app include:

•One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to send a message letting family and friends know that they are out of harm’s way;
•Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
•Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm to let others know where you are;
•Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
•Real-time recovery resources for returning home and cleaning up; and
•Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

The new Red Cross Flood App is being released during National Flood Safety Awareness Week, which runs from March 16-22.

“National Flood Safety Awareness Week is the perfect time to download the app and to start preparing,” added Aldrich. “Even though there is still snow on the ground, warmer weather and sunshine is right around the corner. The arrival of spring means rain and the inevitable flooding we see here every year.”

The app is the latest in the series of Red Cross emergency preparedness apps that put lifesaving information right in the hands of people whenever and wherever they need it. The expert advice in Red Cross apps, which also includes apps for First Aid, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and other services, has been used to help save lives during disasters and medical emergencies. Red Cross apps have been downloaded on nearly 4 million mobile devices nationwide.

The Flood App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and helps people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these preparedness apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to www.redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

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New Lake Erie Birding Trail Guidebook collects best birding locations in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and Ohio Sea Grant at Ohio State University have released the “Lake Erie Birding Trail Guidebook”, a 232-page compilation of 88 popular and less well-known birding locations all along Ohio’s Lake Erie coast, from Ashtabula to Toledo. In addition to locations of parks and other birding spots, the book lists commonly sighted species and noteworthy rarities, park amenities and online resources for visitors.

“Lake Erie and its environs are the premier birding destination in Ohio, and in the entire Great Lakes region,” says Jim McCormac of ODNR. “Nearly 400 species have been found along the Ohio shoreline, and migration periods see enormous numbers of songbirds and waterbirds. Many Lake Erie birders are from out-of-state or elsewhere in Ohio, and the Lake Erie Birding Trail helps visitors navigate the best hotspots.”

Birding along the Lake Erie coast contributes $30 million to the local economy every year, and Ohio’s 1.6 million self-identified birders alone spend over three quarters of a billion dollars annually on their pursuits. The Lake Erie Birding Trail Guidebook not only makes it easier for them to spot both common and rare birds when visiting parks and preserves in northern Ohio, but it also gives birders the opportunity to point out their economic contribution to local businesses with a set of “birder calling cards” that link owners to more information.

“Every visitor to Lake Erie will consider this book an incredible resource and a must-have for their libraries,” says Jeff Reutter, director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab. “We were very pleased to partner with ODNR Division of Wildlife, with funding from Wildlife, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and Ohio Sea Grant, to develop this guide.”

The book itself is a companion piece to the ODNR Division of Wildlife and Ohio Sea Grant website, www.lakeerieohiobirding.info, which showcases birding sites across the Ohio Lake Erie coastline to residents and visitors alike.

“Connecting birders to birding and other tourism amenities in local Ohio communities will not only help attract more visitors to Ohio, but will also help us provide exceptional experiences to our guests,” says Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association.

The guide is available online through Ohio Sea Grant for $13 per book and wholesale at $175 per case of 14, plus shipping and handling costs. To order, visit www.ohioseagrant.osu.edu/publications or contact the Ohio Sea Grant office at 614-292-8971 for further information.

More information about birding in northern Ohio and a list of recent sightings is available at lakeerieohiobirding.info.

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Win mom a Mother’s Day to remember

O Isabel’s Organic Boutique & Spa, combined with several downtown Port Clinton businesses, is offering an opportunity to win mom a Mother’s Day to remember. Write to O Isabel’s explaining all the reasons why your mom is so special and why she should win the package. The package has a value of more than $250 and includes an O Isabel’s spa day. There is no entry fee and no cost to enter.

Entries can be submitted to O Isabel’s, 105 Madison Street, Port Clinton, OH 43452 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . All entries must be in by Wednesday, April 30. Entries should include the mother’s name and name and contact information of the submitter. The winner will be contacted by phone on Monday, May 5.

Judging committee and gifts are from Jackie Davis and Pam Crawford of O Isabel’s, Michelle Kodak of the Cakery Bakery, Mary Snyder from Mary’s Blossom Shoppe, Toni Garrett of Erie Cottage Trading Company and Danielle Frericks of McCarthy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. For a complete list of prizes visit O Isabel’s website at oisabelsllc.com. For more information contact Jackie at 419-734-4799.

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Visitors Bureau Director Fletcher meets with state legislators

Ottawa County Visitors Bureau Director Larry Fletcher met with several state lawmakers on March 19 about the importance of Ohio’s tourism industry. This was during the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus’ annual State Legislative Day. 

The event provides an opportunity for participants to meet with their individual elected representatives and talk tourism.  The impact of the tourism industry on Ohio’s economy is shared with lawmakers and it is also a time to discuss issues of local importance.

This year legislators learned that the latest studies showed tourism sales in Ohio generated $2.7 billion dollars in state and local taxes and that tourism is one of the top five Ohio industry employers with a payroll of $10.6 billion dollars.  Participants were also able to assure their legislators that tourism is a wise investment for the state, with TourismOhio returning $15 in state and local taxes for every $1 invested in their annual marketing campaign.

Issues of local importance included ongoing efforts to control harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and the threats posed by Asian carp.  

Over the course of the day Fletcher met with Senator Randy Gardner, Senator Dave Burke, Representative Chris Redfern and Representative Rex Damschroder. Discussions were held with several other legislators and staff during a reception following the formal appointments.

OACVB is statewide organization serving visitors bureaus throughout Ohio, helping them to maximize the economic impact of tourism via effective communication, cooperative marketing, industry education, legislative awareness, issue management, trend identification and professional development. More information is at www.oacvb.org.

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Sean Black College Bowling Academic All-American

This past weekend Port Clinton graduate Sean Black competed for the Davenport University Men's Bowling team at the USBC Sectional Tournament in Allentown, PA, with an opportunity to advance to Nationals in Reno, NV.  

On Friday Black competed in the singles portion with games of 163-137-226-189-213-170 for a total of 1098 for 6 games, finishing 68 out of 156 total bowlers.  As a team the Panthers finished in seventh place out of 19 teams with a baker game average of 189, missing the top four for nationals by 309 pins. The Panthers will finish their season at the end of March at the NAIA Invitational, a tournament they won in 2011. 

Here were some of Black's thoughts for the weekend: "On Friday I was just a little too nervous for the singles portion of the event.  After the second game I just relaxed and bowled my game and I averaged nearly 200 the last four games, which shows me that I can compete on this level when I just go out and play. Saturday and Sunday for the team portion we got off to a fresh start, being in the cut for most of the day Saturday; but a bad set to end the day took us out of the cut and we could never mentally get refocused until it was too late on Sunday. It is definitely a learning experience and we will use this as motivation to get better as a team in preparation for next year's sectionals. With four freshmen in the starting rotation at any time, the future is definitely bright for our team."

Sean was awarded a certificate as a College Bowling Academic All American, which requires a 3.5 grade point average.

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