REPORTERS' NOTEBOOK: Dirty lemons

When life gives you lemons, do not make lemonade. And definitely don't put them in your water. It's
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

When life gives you lemons, do not make lemonade.

And definitely don't put them in your water. It's a mistake to think the payoff of spicing up your drink is worth it.

"Lemons are a problem in water ... If you have a lemon, and people have touched it ... as (the waiter) cuts it with the knife, and as it goes through the outside of the rind, it carries it right through the inside. Then, whatever was on the outside" has contaminated the inside, said Huron County health commissioner Tim Hollinger.

He was explaining an easy way to get salmonella.

But of course, salmonella is not the only threat out there. That same practice can contaminate a lemon with all sorts of other horrible bacteria.

The lesson: Think twice before saying yes to that lemon slice.

No lemon is that delicious.

-- Cory Frolik

Monaghan and the machine

The upgrade of the Erie County commissioners' new meeting room appears to have pleased all three commissioners, but commissioner Bill Monaghan seems especially happy.

The upgrade included a new computer and new computer monitors.

Monaghan got used to using good technology during his previous career in business. He's been surprised to find that some county workers still have to use Windows 98 on their computers.

Monaghan has often advised his fellow commissioner, Nancy McKeen, to follow his example and get a Blackberry. Monaghan carries the device everywhere so he can check his home and county government e-mail.

McKeen admits that Monaghan is more up to date than she.

"If it was up to me, we'd still have monks writing in ledgers," she said.

-- Tom Jackson

A trip to laundry-land

The last thing most people want to show you is their dirty laundry, but Kalahari puts theirs on proud display.

More than 300,000 pounds of towels and sheets passed through the resort's basement last month alone, general manager Jim Metzger said. Metzger considers laundry to be such a vital aspect of operations that he even offers public tours of the underground maze, which contains not only state-of-the-art washers and dryers, but highly sophisticated water filtration systems.

The department is one few guests will encounter, but there's a lot to learn for those who do.

They'll see the towel machines folding up to 290 towels in 30 seconds -- enough to fill one industrial-sized blue bin -- and giant sand filters and pipes lined with ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria. They'll also see the staff working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep up with the demand.

Metzger compared the basement to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, with its elusive gadgets and pumps -- except that it's no secret.

"We want everybody to know about what we do down here," he said. "This is what keeps the whole place running smoothly."

-- Annie Zelm

Kangaroo stays home

Kelleys Island part-time resident Tim Dennis is back, trying to register to vote on the island, but this time he probably won't bring a stuffed kangaroo with him.

Dennis, who also lives in Wauseon, about 25 miles west of Toledo, has tried for years to register to vote on Kelleys Island.

His latest application was rejected last week by Erie County's election board, which noted that the signature on the application appeared to be a photocopy. Dennis said he'll resubmit his application.

"At the end of the day, that's the most important place to me," Dennis said, referring to his island home. "That's when I'm home."

While the election board often deals with Kelleys Island registration cases, Dennis' case stands out, said Chris Marinko, chairman of the election board. Dennis brought a stuffed kangaroo to one election board hearing and placed it in front of a board member to suggest the board functioned as a kangaroo court.

"They gave it back to me," Dennis recalled last week, adding that he probably will leave the toy behind if he gets another hearing.

"That's not the spirit of cooperation," he said. "That's the spirit of being really frustrated."

-- Tom Jackson