It was a great story idea: Talk to local business managers about the productivity lost because of the NCAA's March Madness.
The Chicago-based consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates $1.7 billion worth of productivity is lost each year because of March Madness.
The firm's staggering estimate was based on polls that show about 37.5 million workers do March Madness office pools and about 1.5 million of them watch the games online from their desks.
If the 37.5 million fans just waste 10 minutes per day focusing on the tournament instead of doing their jobs, employers lose $108 million in unproductive work each day of the college games.
My story idea was to find out if these claims panned out in this area, or if local companies had an unusually high number of employees call in sick during the month of March.
Evidently they do not.
All the employers I talked to couldn't even identify one employee who cares about the NCAA tournament.
One manager said he wasn't sure that any of his employees' teams had been in the tournament in the last decade.
"The billions aren't being lost here," said another manager at an automotive plant.
What's in a name?
When an abandoned pot-bellied piglet first came to the Humane Society of Erie County two months ago, the little piggy didn't have a name.
At first they were going to name her Porkchop, shelter director Amy Porter said.
On second thought, however, they decided a name like Porkchop might not send right message.
Petunia suited the little piglet much better.
Police chief to pig's rescue
Perkins Township police Chief Tim McClung and his two sons -- Jonathan and James -- are responsible for finding a safe haven for Petunia, the cute 4-month-old pot-bellied pig profiled recently in the Register.
McClung said he was at his farm in Oxford Township recently when one of his sons spotted an unusual animal on a nearby road. McClung said he zeroed in on the beast with a pair of binoculars and discovered it was a pot-bellied pig.
McClung and his two boys were able to run down the pig and hold it until the Erie County Sheriff's office went out to his property to take charge of the animal. McClung keeps show cattle on his farm and said he wanted nothing to do with the animal.
Didn't touch a feather on 'em
Last week's report that a shotgun blast was fired to harvest buds from the state's grand champion chestnut tree at Sheldon Marsh ruffled a few feathers at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
A nearby tree has an eagle's nest, so the story drew an online comment at our Web site wondering how the eagles fared when the shotgun went off. The comment alarmed ODNR officials, who don't want to be accused of firing shotguns at America's national symbol, the bald eagle.
The buds were collected late last year, before the eagles returned, so no eagles (or any other animals) were harmed, said Heidi Hetzel-Evans, a spokeswoman for the ODNR.
-- Tom Jackson
The best boss in the world ... sir
Ottawa County Sheriff's Deputy Joseph "Tony" Sedlak spent his last day on the job today.
During an Ottawa County Commissioner's meeting last week, Sedlak said he served under seven sheriffs, including current Sheriff Bob Bratton, during his 40-year career.
When Commissioner Jim Sass asked Sedlak if Bratton was the best among the seven, Sedlak simply smiled.
"Yes, he is the best," said Sedlak, who was sitting next to Bratton.
Commissioners on the move
The Erie County commissioners' usual meeting place is closed for remodeling, so commissioners have been meeting at a variety of places.
In fact, they've never stuck to one location. In all, commissioners have met in at least nine different places in the past 30 years, calculates assistant prosecutor Gary Lickfelt, legal counsel for the group.
The commissioners normally meet in chambers on the third floor of the County Services Center, 2900 Columbus Ave.
But while the chambers have been remodeled during the past few weeks they've met at other locations, including the third floor of the county's office building in downtown Sandusky and the small conference room at the County Services Center. Last week they met in the OSU Extension conference room at the County Services Center.
Commissioners also have met at the Erie County Courthouse, at the old children's home on Sycamore Line, at the Job and Family Services building, at Perkins High School and at Sandusky High School.
-- Tom Jackson
Speedy in Sandusky
Only 15 minutes into the most recent meeting, Sandusky City commissioners were halfway through their nine-item agenda.
"This is going to be a record, Mr. Icsman," commission vice president Craig Stahl said in disbelief to Law Director Don Icsman.