Reporter's Notebook: Same knife unseals Erie County bids for decades

SANDUSKY REGISTER State law requires the Erie County Commissioners to keep bids for county work seal
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



State law requires the Erie County Commissioners to keep bids for county work sealed until it's time to unseal them.

There's no legal requirement the bids have to be unsealed using the same decades-old Boy Scout knife. That's merely Erie County custom.

During many county commission meetings, sealed manila envelopes bulging with bid documents are set before Assistant Prosecutor Gary Lickfelt.

Lickfelt unseals them publicly by pulling out an old Boy Scout knife his father found along the Cedar Point beach in the early 1960s. Lickfelt, 63, has used the knife to unseal county bids for 29 years.

"I keep everything," Lickfelt said.

The veteran lawyer said he recently ran across his old correspondence with Johns Hopkins University.

Lickfelt underwent a bone marrow transplant in 1975 for anemia and apparently is the first patient to survive the procedure. In 1986, a vital statistics clerk at Johns Hopkins sent a letter asking for help retrieving a death certificate for Gary Lickfelt, who apparently had died between 1980 and 1985. Lickfelt wrote back, explaining that the document was unavailable as he was in fact still alive. He keeps the correspondence as a souvenir.

-- Tom Jackson

Building the Green Machine

Former Sandusky Register reporter Colt Foutz has published his first book, Building the Green Machine. The book is a comprehensive history of the world champion Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps and biography of its founder, Don Warren.

Foutz, a feature writer for the Register, left in 2001 to work for the Naperville Sun in Naperville, Ill. He is now working on his master's degree in creative writing at Columbia College. He lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife (the former Katie Knutson, who was also a Register reporter) and their son.

Drum corps fans can order the book from

Newspapers keep rolling

Since I entered journalism four years ago, I've grown accustomed to seeing people throw newspapers away with no more than a second glance at the front page.

Yet, while driving through Fremont on Thursday, I was not prepared for the sight of "tumbleweeds" rolling across the highway.

These "tumbleweeds" consisted of dozens of newspapers flying across my windshield and causing a nuisance for other drivers.

The sight of dozens of newspapers carelessly left on the ground left me with a sinking feeling.

Though I did not get a close look at the papers, my only hope is that the papers weren't the Register.

-- Jacob Lammers

A myth becomes reality

There are only a few things in life I don't believe in.

I don't believe Windex can cure external boo-boos.

I don't believe in Leprechauns.

And, until this week, I didn't believe pens could explode.

One of my co-workers, whom we will call "Lamb," was the victim of an exploding pen that was placed in his shirt pocket.

A wet spot underneath his pocket made me exclaim, "what happened to your shirt?!"

"My pen exploded," he replied.

I erupted with laughter, believing he was pulling my chain.

But he was telling the truth and the pen, in fact, left the big stain underneath his pocket.

I used to believe exploding pens only happened in movies, and pocket protectors were invented for the stereotypical "nerd" I witnessed on the big screen.

But now I believe pocket protectors are one of the most ingenius inventions ever.

-- Janet Nguyen