Reporter's Notebook: Thomas Edison didn't like tax hikes either

Erie County Auditor Tom Paul has heard complaints from local landowners after his office raised their taxes, but he hasn't upset any
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


Erie County Auditor Tom Paul has heard complaints from local landowners after his office raised their taxes, but he hasn't upset any international celebrities yet.

In 1927, when one of Paul's predecessors hiked Thomas Edison's property taxes by 30 percent, Edison's response generated a story in the New York Times.

On Feb. 20, 1927, the Times reported Edison had written to Fred W. Bauer, Erie County's auditor, asking why taxes on his Milan birthplace were hiked 30 percent after a reappraisal.

Paul's wife, Dorene Paul, a reference assistant at Sandusky Library, dug up the old clipping and took it home to show her husband. Mrs. Paul was researching an Aug. 11 blog posting for the library's local history blog,

Tom Paul noted regretfully that Bauer was a Democrat, like himself, but defended his predecessor, saying Bauer must have been simply tracking the house's value on the market, as he's required to do. The Times reported Bauer wrote back to Edison with "full details."

"The auditor responded, being the good auditor that he was," Paul said.

-- Tom Jackson

Feeling the press

It was perplexing.

Apropos of nothing, Don Wangler, Monroeville village councilman, poked me in the belly with his finger.

This is just beforeMonroeville's Village Council meeting Tuesday.

I thought for a moment that maybe I was supposed to giggle like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I have been snacking it up. Maybe he was telling me it was time to try the low-fat mustard once in a while.

Then he spoke and his meaning became clear.

"It said 'Press,' so I pressed," Wangler said.

I was wearing my press pass. It says "Press" in big bold letters. I knew instantly I was totally stealing that gag. Consider it stolen, Wangler.

Thank goodness I didn't giggle. The comparison to the Doughboy would have been too obvious.

-- Cory Frolik

Here's to you, gentlemen!

As an education reporter I've had the opportunity to witness and be a part of many wonderful activities in the area.

One I am most impressed with is the Jackson Junior High Gentlemen's Club. Not only do the members demonstrate volunteerism in thecommunity, but they're eager to do more.

I recently wrote a story about the new members in the club, butregretfully I forgot to mention the nine original members who are active charter members at Sandusky High School under the leadership of Larry Fuqua.

So, congratulations to Keith Koehler, Michael Brown, Devin Aaron, Keegan Russell, Vanuel Williams, Terrance Scott, Ford Wagner, Dequarious Pate and Marquette Watson for continuing to be positive role models in your community!

-- Amanda Godfrey

Say hello to my little friend

Growing up in a gun-free household, I've had very little opportunity to acquaint myself with firearms.

I'm certainly not morally against guns. I just don't know much about them.

Which is why I was a little nervous trying out a M249 machine gun when I was at Camp Perry last week. I was at the base to check out the new Marksmanship Center, which was built by the Ohio Army National Guard and the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

On the guard side of the building, military and law enforcementpersonnel train on a high-tech setup using real weapons that have been modified to work with the computer system.

I was allowed to try out the program along with Register photographer Luke Wark. While training is serious business at the center, theservicemen decided to go easy on us and loaded up a program in which hordes of savage turkeys come running at you.

For as heavily as I sprayed the screen, you'd think I would have taken out scores of the foul fowl. Sadly, I managed to bag only two turkeys. I don't think I'll be taking part in any marksmanship competitions anytime soon.

-- Sarah Weber

Survey says: Asking questions good for business

To gather some feedback for a story about shopping plans this holiday season, I headed to the Sandusky Mall and planted myself near Sbarro at the mall's front entrance.

I'm always prepared to face some mixed reactions when cornering people for a mug shot and a sound bite. People are in a hurry, they don't always know what to say, and very few consider themselves photogenic. But I got a surprising response from an unlikely source: The Sbarrogeneral manager.

After about 40 minutes of asking people how they thought the economy might impact their holiday shopping, I was getting ready to head back to the office when the manager called me over to his counter.

Uh oh.

Bracing myself for a speech on soliciting, I explained what I was doing and immediately started apologizing for being too close to his space.

"Oh no, you're not doing anything wrong," the manager told me. "If anything, you're bringing more customers in because they're stopping to look at our pizza every time you ask them a question. I just wanted to say thanks."

He then offered me dinner on the house, which I politely declined. I did gratefully accept some water, though. Hey, if the newspaper business doesn't work out, at least I know I could have a future as a mascot forfast-food restaurants.

-- Annie Zelm