REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: He's not just a mayor, he's THE mayor

SANDUSKY REGISTER A reader wrote to us after Milan Mayor Robert C. Bickley's dust-up with Ohio Depar
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



A reader wrote to us after Milan Mayor Robert C. Bickley's dust-up with Ohio Department of Transportation officials about a $100,000 repair bill for a stretch of U.S. 250 that runs through the village.

ODOT officials said the village had to pay for the repairs, but Bickley said he'd attempt to close the road before approving the local expenditure.

The reader is betting Bickley wins this battle. Here's what he wanted ODOT to know about Bickley: "You've learned the village has a mayor with Milan blood in his veins and proud to wear a Stetson on which is a serial number lower than that of the Stetson worn by former Texas governor, John Connally."

The late Gov. Connally was well known for his service in World War II and his Stetson hat, which he was wearing Nov. 22, 1963, when he was a passenger in the limo carrying President John F. Kennedy.

Bickley could not be reached for comment Friday, but he's been known to wear a very prominent hat for decades.

John B. Stetson began making hats in 1865. Today the Stetson Hat factory in Garland, Texas, manufactures hundreds of different styles and maintains the motto: Stetson, it's not just a hat, it's THE hat.

--Matt Westerhold

Getting in the holiday spirit

The Black Friday shopping phenomenon reveals some interesting things about who we are.

We're frugal, we're determined, and we can stand in line for long hours at a time.

This year it was my mission to cover the all the fun and frenzy of the biggest shopping day of the year.

I went to the mall, Target, Best Buy, Old Navy and Dick's Sporting Goods -- all "doorbuster" hot spots.

There was the all-out mayhem you'd expect, but then there were also people who would smile and even say "please" and "excuse me." Those were the people who made the early-morning madness tolerable.

--Jennifer Grathwol

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

-- Staff Report

Democrats say Tom Noe this holiday season

Last week was the one-year anniversary of when Tom Noe entered the federal prison system for money laundering, forgery and stealing from a rare-coin investment, all part of a Bureau of Workers Compensation scandal associated with the administration of the previous governor, Bob Taft.

That may not be news, but the Ohio Democratic Party, apparently viewing Noe as the gift that keeps on giving, issued a news release anyway.

"Today is a sad anniversary for Ohioans," party chairman Chris Redfern of Ottawa County intoned Wednesday, according the release. "Many in Northwest Ohio hoped Tom Noe's guilty verdict would have signaled to Republican candidates like Bob Latta that they should clean up their act and bring people together to solve the critical challenges facing middle class families."

The link to current events? Latta, the GOP nominee for the U.S. House seat previously held by late Rep. Paul Gillmor, once received campaign contributions from Noe.

Redfern did not comment on whether Democrats plan to observe the second-year Noe anniversary in 2008 or mark their calendars for the five-year anniversary in 2012.

-- Tom Jackson

Animal attack becomes human attack

Often times some interesting and often bizarre calls are heard over the police scanner in the newsroom.

This week we heard a call about a baby being bitten in the face by a dog at Pioneer Trail. I later checked up on the incident by reading the police report, which categorized the call as an "animal complaint." To my surprise the incident was not animal, but human.

A woman had asked for a ride from a neighbor, and their two children got into a scuffle. One child bit the other in the face.

As horrible as that report is, I was relieved to know a dog was not involved.

-- Holly Abrams