Erie County's employees have plenty of rules they have to follow. They're now banned from smoking on all county property, for example, unless they're on break in their own cars.
But the new memorandum on "Office Conduct During the Holiday Season," listing 15 mandatory rules, is just good fun.
The memo from Erie County's Department of Human Resources states, "Mistletoe misconduct qualifies as sexual harassment and must be reported as such."
"All fruitcake is to be eaten BEFORE July 25," it orders.
"County cars are not to be used to go over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house," it says.
Margaret Rudolph, who spends much of her time issuing real memos to county employees, said the mock memo was dispatched to all county offices to spread holiday cheer. Her staff wrote the memo's rules, she said.
-- Tom Jackson
Santa Claus is coming to town
Council meetings tend to get a little bit dry.
No offense to council.
So when Tuesday's Port Clinton Council meeting was underway, I was prepared for a run-of-the-mill meeting.
Instead, I was shocked when I heard a booming "Ho. Ho. Ho."
Santa Claus in his red suit and white beard greeted council and started passing out candy canes.
Yet Claus's biggest surprise was for Councilwoman Valerie Culver.
Claus led council and audience members as he sang "Happy Birthday" to Culver.
Strangely enough, council-elect Mike Snider was late for the council meeting and appeared a bit too "jolly."
Mom won't lobby son for state appropriations
Longtime Sandusky Democrat Peggy Murray says if the presumptive Democratic nominee for the Ohio House wins his race in Erie County next year, she may have to curtail her lobbying efforts.
Murray, a member of the James McBride Arboretum board, helped persuade state Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, to sponsor a proposed $450,000 appropriation to provide improvements for the arboretum, including a restroom and a parking lot.
Murray's son, Sandusky attorney Dennis Murray Jr., is the only announced Democratic candidate so far to replace Redfern, who is leaving because of term limits. Republican farmer Ed Enderle of Huron says he's also running.
If Redfern's funding efforts fall short, Murray says she likely won't ask her son for help if he wins the election.
"I'm not going to create any conflicts," she said.
-- Tom Jackson
A hug for the mayor
The Ottawa County Commissioners presented an honor to then-Mayor Tom Brown at his retirement party Dec. 10.
The commissioners had planned to proclaim Dec. 10 "Thomas A. Brown Day."
Before the ceremony began, Commissioner Carl Koebel told the crowd he had a personal gift for the mayor.
"Ever since you've been mayor, I wanted to give you a hug," Koebel said.
Instead of hugging Brown, Koebel hugged Mayor-elect Debbie Hymore-Tester.
Perkins teens study local government
Those teenagers in Perkins Township sure have an avid interest in civics.
Of course, the homework assignment provides another incentive.
Perkins High School's government and economics classes routinely assigns students to show up to local government meetings, so teens are a familiar sight at the township's board of trustees meeting.
Tuesday's meeting drew an especially large crowd of young people. Slender teen girls and large well-nourished males packed the meeting room, taking up most of the available chairs. They showed good manners, too, claiming afterward that they found the trustees' doings fascinating.
Camile Myers, 17, a junior, sat in the second row, near the trustees. She said some parts of the meeting were boring, but she thought a long discussion about whether to buy new police cars for the police force was very interesting.
Mawra Butt, 17, who sat next to Myers, took notes in neat handwriting on her copy of the meeting agenda.
"I liked the meeting. It was interesting," she said.
-- Tom Jackson