REPORTERS' NOTEBOOK: Sarah Palin look-alike having fun this election season

A Sandusky woman is proving Tina Fey isn't the only one who can pose as John McCain'srunning mate. Monica Vaccaro, a stylist
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

A Sandusky woman is proving Tina Fey isn't the only one who can pose as John McCain'srunning mate.

Monica Vaccaro, a stylist at Fresh Hair Salon on Perkins Avenue, said she's been getting strange looks from people she passes by ever since McCain made Sarah Palin his VP pick.

So Thursday she decided to have a little fun with her uncanny resemblance to the Alaskan governor. She donned a pink blazer with a large sparkly broach, pinned her hair up Palin-style and visited McCain's campaign rally in Sandusky.

She said the pre-Halloween costume was a hit -- and it was all in fun.

"I've been getting it a lot in the grocery store and everywhere else," she said. "It's amazing how you can tell people's party by how they react to it."

When asked what she thinks about the election, she simply said, "Everyone should make sure to vote."

-- Sarah Weber

Hospital played a role in McCain visit, too

The staff at Firelands Regional Medical Center braced themselves for any possible emergency before, during and after McCain's visit,spokeswoman Marcia Renande said.

"The Life Flight helicopter was here from St. Vincent in Toledo, and they were stationed here on our heli-pad until we received word from assistant fire Chief Paul Ritchey to release," she said. "I believe it was released around 3 p.m. or a little after."

The hospital staff also set aside emergency rooms that would have been used for McCain or otherpersonnel if needed.

They identified a conference room for the Secret Service command post to be stationed and another separate room to host a pressconference if needed.

"Our hospital security staff would be here for crowd control to direct reporters to the designated room," Renande said. "And if we had a cardiac-related illness, he would be evaluated in our (Cardiac) Cath Lab, and if needed, transported by Life Flight or mobile means if the weather was bad."

Renande said the head of the hospital's emergency department remained in contact with city officials from the control command center during the event.

"We would be ready to do whatever they needed us to do," she said.

-- Annie Zelm

City not planning on wealthy residents dying

For several years, Sandusky has benefited from the deaths of wealthy residents.

But according to the city's preliminary budget, city officials aren't expecting such morbid good fortunes in 2009.

According to Ed Widman, the city's finance director, Sandusky hascollected "substantial" revenues from the estate tax during the past few years.However, the city decided not to allot any funds from the tax in its budget.

Widman said the city just can't count on such an unpredictable source of money. "I mean, who knows when, um, when someone will..." he trailed off. "I don't know what to say. I'm trying to be politically correct."

The estate tax is a federal tax assessed on someone's property after that person dies, if that property is transferred to someone via a will.

-- Jason Singer

Nice guys don't always finish last

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was one of the first politicians to publicly endorse Sen. Barack Obama -- but his fondness for the presidential candidate started long before the Democratic National Convention.

During a stop last Monday in Sandusky, Richardson told the tale of the first time he really viewed Obama as a team player.

The two were often seated together during debates, he said, and they frequently talked amongst themselves between questions.

Richardson said the moderators rarely asked him any questions during these early debates -- so when he finally had a question to answer, he figured he'd have plenty of time to kill before the next one.

He sat back down to talk with Obama while the debate continued on. A short time later, he was unexpectedly put on the spot.

"The moderator comes to me and says, 'Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?'" he said, telling his story to the crowd that huddledoutside the Erie County Democrat's office that afternoon. "I wasn'tlistening -- I was talking to Obama."

At that moment, Richardson said Obama looked at him and quietly said, "Katrina. They're asking about Katrina."

From Obama's prompting, Richardson was able to formulate a response. "He didn't throw me under the bus," Richardson said. "That's what I liked about Obama."

Now that the tables have turned, Richardson is pounding the pavement for Obama and drumming up support for him in these final days.

Maybe there's something to be said for being the nice guy.

-- Annie Zelm

Wages have gone up for local construction work

October marked the 30th anniversary of the Oct. 16, 1978, groundbreaking ceremony for construction that transformed a former nursing home at 2900 Columbus Ave. into the County Services Center, athree-story building now used to house Erie County offices.

Gary Lickfelt, legal counsel for the commissioners, brought a copy of the program for the ceremony to the county commissioner meeting Thursday and read portions of it aloud.

Bids for the original building were accepted in 1886, according to the program. For the benefit of union officials sitting in the audience Thursday, Lickfelt noted that the man hired to superintend theconstruction, a "Mr. Mullen," was paid $2.50 a day.

The county commissioners at the October 1978 ceremony were Alvin J. Vaith, James C. Dee and J. Philip Gasteier.

-- Tom Jackson