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 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 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, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.


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,, 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 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


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 For more information contact Jackie at 419-734-4799.


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


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.


Pop-Up Playground fundraiser to feature Pop-Up Talent of local celebrities

Tickets are on sale now for “Pop-Up Talent,” a fun-filled night showcasing local celebrity talent to support the United Way’s Pop-Up Adventure Playground Program. The event, featuring local politicos and others showing off their unique talents, will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Elks Lodge, 231 Buckeye Boulevard, in Port Clinton. 

“Pop-Up Talent” will include dinner, a silent auction, a cash bar and music by the Naked Bacon Band. The event is sponsored by the 2013-2014 Leadership Ottawa County class. Notable local celebrities participating include Ottawa County Commissioner Jim Sass, Victorian Inn owner Ann Duez, Beacon owner John Schaffner and more. 

“Some of the talent may be surprising,” said LOC member Diane Ball. “It’s going to be a fun evening, raising money for a great cause.” 

Tickets for “Pop-Up Talent” are $40 each, $70 per couple, and can be purchased at Mary’s Blossom Shoppe in Port Clinton, the Danbury Zoning Department in Marblehead, the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the Crafty Needle in Elmore. 

“Pop-Up Talent” will raise funds so the Pop-Up Adventure Playground Program can travel to kids countywide. The program encourages child-directed play that builds innovative and creative problem-solving skills. Kids use a variety of supplies such as fabric, paint, cardboard boxes, chalk, ribbons, feathers and other art supplies to create whatever they want and play however they want. The goal is to fire up their imaginations. 

“If we want our kids to be successful, we need to help them be innovative and creative,” said Chris Galvin, Area Director of United Way in Ottawa County. “Lots of children learn to problem-solve while playing-- building a fort, tearing it down and building it again.” 

The local Pop-Up Adventure Playground program was inspired by a New York Times editorial, “Crumbling American Dreams,” that Port Clinton native Robert Putnam wrote in August. The article examines the growing gap between rich and poor children and the shrinking middle class, and uses changes in Port Clinton as an example. After the editorial appeared, Galvin wrote an open letter to the community asking for suggestions to help enrich local children. The Pop-Up Adventure Playground program is a result. 

Members of the 2013-14 LOC class are Diane Ball, OSS Solid Waste District; Kathy Berger, Terra State Community College; Laurie Cleaver, Ottawa County Transportation Agency; Kathy Dale, Danbury Township; Steve Hall, First Energy; Steve Lange, Ottawa County Sanitary; Dawn Segaard, Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities; Vern Shepherd, Lakeside United Methodist Church; Amy Simkus, Stein Hospice; Becky Simpson, Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District; Kristen Trammel, Otterbein North Shore; Andrew Wells, Kroger.

Leadership Ottawa County is a nine month leadership development program that brings professionals together to learn about and explore the diversity of Ottawa County and increase personal leadership skills through experiential training. For more information on Leadership Ottawa County, visit


Last chance to get your trees from OSWCD

The ever popular Tree Seedling Sale of Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District (OSWCD) is coming to an end on April 4. Order forms are still available for the Seedling Tree and Shrub Sale by calling 419-898-1595 or visiting the website at

Evergreen varieties in packets of 10 for this year include Colorado Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Bald Cypress and American Arborvitae. OSWCD will again offer the fast growing Green Rocket Cedar that will be sold individually. These Cedars will grow up to 3’ per year, are deer resistant, have a strong root system and no major insect problems. They make a great windbreak or privacy screen. 

OSWCD offers other fast-growing varieties, including Autumn Blaze Maple, Cleveland Flowering Pear and Tulip Poplar. Other trees available are Red Oak, Canada Red Choke Cherry and Princeton American Elm. Butterfly Bushes are also available for purchase, as are Native Grass packets. New this year, OSWCD offers Wildlife Tree Plot Packs which include 10 Native Oak Trees.

The deadline for ordering is April 4. Customers will be notified when the seedlings will be ready for pick-up in mid-April. To view the different varieties or print out an order form, visit


Benefit for Kyler Hammer

There will be a benefit chicken barbecue for Kyler Hammer on March 30 at the Eagles Nest Hall, 210 Jefferson St. in Oak Harbor. The event, sponsored by Batdorff Real Estate, will begin at 11 a.m. and will continue until the dinners are sold out. Tickets are $9 for the meal that includes chicken, baked potato, cole slaw and dessert. Carry-out only.

Kyler is the son of Nick and Megan (Brandt) Hammer, grandson of Dean Hammer, Laura (Behnken) Hammer and John and Karen Brandt and great-grandson of Bernie and Gene Hammer and the late Clarence and Joan Behnken. He was born on June 3, 2013, with a genetic disorder requiring extensive therapy that is not covered by insurance.

Advance purchase is recommended for the dinner. Tickets can be purchased or donations can be made at Batdorff Real Estate, Inc., 149 Church St., Oak Harbor; or call Batdorff at 419-898-9503, Bernie Hammer at 419-307-4060 or any other Batdorff real estate agent. Checks can be made out to Kyler Hammer Benefit.


March is Developmental Disabilities (DD) month

"Ability @ Work" is the theme for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2014.  The Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities and other related organizations celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness month in March, and invite you to consider the true meaning of this year’s theme, “Ability @ Work.” Statewide organizations devoted to serving individuals with developmental disabilities are planning special events in March to raise public awareness of the many abilities people have, regardless of disability. 

“Ability @ Work” encourages people to understand that everyone has goals and dreams and desires to live a full life. "This is a time when our organization focuses on encouraging the public to better understand the people we serve," said Melinda Slusser, Superintendent. “During ‘Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, we encourage people to learn more about the 340+ people in this community who have developmental disabilities and to recognize that all of us have goals and dreams and when we see ability at work, we all succeed.” 

To kick off Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, the Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Port Clinton Knights of Columbus #1750 hosted a Pancake & Sausage Breakfast on March 16. The event featured displays of services offered by Ottawa County Board of DD, a pledge to end the word, art pieces by people with disabilities, and a kid’s coloring table. Guests enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, applesauce, peaches, and donuts. The Board would like to thank both community members and the local businesses that donated to the event (Port Clinton Knights of Columbus #1750, Bassett’s Market, TJ’s Catawba Café, and Robinson-Walker Funeral Home and Crematory).   

As you are out in the county, you may notice additional displays in support of DD Awareness such as:

•Billboards throughout the county
•Church bulletin inserts 
•Displays in local libraries
•Posters in county business windows

During the second part of March, everyone in the community is encouraged to reach out to someone who has a developmental disability.

To learn more about the services offered by Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities, contact the office at 419.898.0400, or follow them on Facebook.


Downtown revitalization presented to council

Downtown plan for Madison Street.

On Wednesday, March 26, Poggemeyer Design Group presented their renderings for the revitalization of downtown Port Clinton. Poggemeyer has met with council two times prior and spoke with citizens at those meetings to get their ideas of what they would like to see in the downtown area. With these latest renderings that have been presented, Poggemeyer has taken design, organization, promotion, and economic structuring into consideration. This particular meeting was focused on design.

Even though the meeting focused on design, Lauren Falcone and Greg Telecky, representatives from Poggemeyer, gave a brief finding of the market study of the area done by Boulevard Strategy out of Columbus. The market study found that manufacturing, medical, service, and food were the growing areas of industry in the area; the highest being food service. Poggemeyer also found that the office market is shrinking, but the medical industry of the area is growing.

“People are coming to the community,” said Falcone, “we just need to get them to stay here.”

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