REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: No way on bug spray

Gary Bauer is squashing the bug-spray treatments Huron County's Emergency Management Agency office receives. The county pays about &
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Gary Bauer is squashing the bug-spray treatments Huron County's Emergency Management Agency office receives. The county pays about $45 each month to spray the EMA office with pesticide. The office has had problems with a bug infestation and receives monthly applications.

But Bauer, Huron County Commissioners vice president and agriculture expert, had one word to say about spraying so frequently.

"No," he said. "We're spraying for insects monthly? No, no. This is the county agriculture educator talking -- no. ... That's $540 or something -- no."

After the sequence of no's, Bauer finally said yes to cutting that expense from the budget.

-- Cory Frolik

Milan doesn't waste time in its meetings

The Erie County Economic Development Authority's meeting Tuesday to announce its new Strategic Action Plan for growing the local economy started about 25 minutes late.

That's plenty of time to hold an entire council meeting in Milan, said Robert Bickley, the village's longtime mayor, who was sitting in the audience waiting for the meeting to start. Bickley said he set a new record last fall, presiding over a meeting that lasted just seven minutes.

"If you snooze, you lose," he said.

Dennis Murray Jr., president of the Sandusky City Commission, sat one row behind Bickley. Sandusky's meetings last a little longer, Murray said.

"I'm very jealous," Murray said. "Ours go five hours sometimes."

-- Tom Jackson

Wedding quilt brings back memories in Erie County

After speaking with David Milem of South Point, Ohio, I kept my fingers crossed that the 1919 wedding quilt he bought from an antique shop here in Sandusky would wind up back with the family.

Milem called Wednesday to say the family of Esther (Ritzenthaler) Andres (the bride) had contacted him and were having a family reunion Aug. 16. They hoped Milem would bring the quilt so they could share the history of their family with the new generations.

Shortly after Milem's phone call, I received an e-mail adding to the history of Esther's wedding and life thereafter.

Mary Elmer Kromer said the wedding took place very early -- it did, Milem's research turned up a wedding time of 7 a.m. -- and this she knew because her mother, Marcella Weltlin, married Frederick Butts Jr. that same day, Nov. 11, 1919, just after the Andres nuptials.

"Esther let my mom take the 9:30 a.m. time to get married because Esther's wedding wasn't as big as my mom's," Kromer wrote.

The two women remained friends until Kromer's mother passed in 1982. The day before to her friend's death, Esther visited her bedside and gave her a book of poems.

-- Amanda Godfrey

Girl power to the rescue

When I recently took a job as the Ottawa County reporter at the Register, I knew moving away from family and friends in western Pennsylvania would be tough.

But I didn't realize how tough until I discovered my car had a flat tire last week. Normally, my dad or male friends would help get me back on wheels. But as a single girl in a new town, I was left with two choices. Pay for a tow or jack up the car myself.

I decided it was no time to be meek.

I popped the spare out of the trunk and broke a sweat prying the lug nuts off of the flat. I put on the spare and even remembered to tighten the lug nuts in a cross pattern. Thanks Mr. Nowakowski, for making me learn how to change a tire in 10th grade driver's ed.

The mechanics at the repair shop told me I had a valve stem leak, which they fixed for less than $12.

I know most people would say, "So what? You got a flat fixed."

But I'm going to let myself be proud anyway.

-- Sarah Weber

Volunteers never stop volunteering

Since school's out I've been covering quite a bit of general assignments.

Last week, I was fair girl.

I learned quite a bit about the work, time and effort that goes into the weeklong festivity we call the Erie County Fair.

Aside from the usual, I also learned about the behind the scenes action -- mainly the volunteers.

They spend months preparing for the events and promoting them -- but 16-year volunteer Darlene Bilger takes the cake.

Ten years ago Bilger was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and has undergone treatments and surgeries in the years since.

She never missed a day at the fair.

Recently doctors suspected the cancer had come back. Bilger went for extensive blood work and no more than 24 hours later began her volunteer duties -- checking vehicles in at the pit.

As modest as ever, Bilger said keeping to her post is a matter of commitment.

"I volunteered and that's what I'm going to do," she said. "I don't think I'm the hardest working person, nor have I been here the longest, but I made a commitment, and that's why I'm here. That and for my kids."

If that's not dedication, I don't know what is.

-- Amanda Godfrey

Sandusky native won't wear mask in China

If you've watched any of the broadcasts from the Olympics in Beijing, you can't help but notice how smoggy it is in China.

U.S. cyclists found themselves in hot water last week for wearing pollution masks upon their arrival in China. The cyclists apologized after being scolded for their actions by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

So, will Sandusky native Tom Ritzenthaler Jr., who designed and built the track for the Olympic BMX competition, wear a mask?

"I haven't on any of my other visits there," Ritzenthaler said.

Ritzenthaler has made several visits to China in preparation for the Olympics.

"It is pretty bad, but it's not that bad. When we did our test over there last August and they shut the city down for 14 days, it was a world of difference from the day we got there to the day of the event."

-- Mike Fitzpatrick