REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Boater’s vote counts

Stanley Mathey, 62, is living his retirement dream, roaming the East Coast of the U.S. aboard his boat, the Corsaire.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


Stanley Mathey, 62, is living his retirement dream, roaming the East Coast of the U.S. aboard his boat, the Corsaire.

But he hasn't left his patriotic duties behind. He still was able to cast a ballot back in Erie County.

Mathey, who has been living on his boat since May or June of 2007, applied for an absentee ballot, listing a marina in Huron as his address.

Officials at the Erie County Election Board say it's a situation that doesn't come up every day. But they issued him a provisional ballot, and the election board voted to accept his vote, said Debbie McDowell, the election board's director. The office counted its provisional ballots last week.

Reached by cell phone aboard his boat in Annapolis, Md., Mathey, a Vietnam veteran and retired Rubbermaid employee, said he always wanted to spend his retirement traveling aboard a boat. He said he spends his time reading and meeting people along the East Coast.

"It's about a two-year project, just seeing America," he said.

He said he's pleased his vote was counted.

"If they hadn't, I was going to go to the ACLU," he said.

Mathey said when he resumes living on dry land, he plans to return to Erie County, where his friends live.

Mathey pulled his boat into Annapolis for the winter. He explained his mother passed away a couple of years ago, and he's had to travel to Indiana to deal with her estate.

But it's not a permanent stop.

"I probably will head where it's warm, maybe the Bahamas," he said.

-- Tom Jackson

First black soap opera little remembered now

When the Ohio Commission on African American Males had a Nov. 13 hearing in Sandusky, the agency's staff sent along a biography of the agency's executive director, Samuel Gresham Jr.

Here's our favorite part: Gresham produced "the first Black Soap Opera in television history."

Gresham explained that he produced "Bird of the Iron Feather," a show that ran for two years on a Chicago public TV station, WTTW, beginning in 1969.

Episodes of the show apparently aren't available on DVD. A spokeswoman for WTTW, Julia Maish, said last week she had never heard of the show.

An article on the Web site, dated Feb. 23, 1970, and apparently reprinted from the magazine, describes "Bird of the Iron Feather" as a show with "a disdain for euphemism and a bitter black perspective." The protagonist was a black detective, killed in a riot, whose story was told in flashbacks. The show ran for half an hour, three nights a week, the article says.

-- Tom Jackson

'Can Man' reaches goal of 10,000 cans

Sandusky's "Can Man" reached his goal of collecting 10,000 cans Nov. 4, two months shy of the year anniversary of when he began. Dan Miller, pastor of First Baptist Church, said he averaged 27 walks/jogs a month during which he collected anywhere from 50 to 150 and more a day. When prices per can dropped from 4 to 2 cents each, Miller still diligently worked toward his goal. He was able to collect $500 in can money for the church and donated a $1 per can out of his own pocket to the First Baptist Church ministry and outreach program.

"I want to say thanks to the many people who've donated cans to the church," he said. "It's very touching. I'd like to challenge the city leaders to do the same thing by meeting or matching my donation and giving to other organizations in the community they know are in need."

--Amanda Godfrey

Ontario principal found a 'hole' in voting

Jill Wasiniak, principal of Ontario School, will never forget the Nov. 5 election. Wasiniak was extremely active in the Sandusky Schools levy campaign. She and several volunteers worked after hours to hand out brochures and information on the levies the district had on the November ballot. Just before the conclusion of voting day, Wasiniak decided to put in an extra effort. While putting out "remember to vote" signs, she stepped into a hole and broke her ankle.

--Amanda Godfrey

Good looking cabana boys need not apply

Here at the Register, we believe our classified advertisements deserve careful attention from readers.

That was especially true last week.

A Wednesday ad on Page B6 under "Help Wanted" read, "Wanted: Good looking Cabana Boy to apply sunscreen and fetch cold drinks. Apply in person."

Another ad, headed "Professional," stated, "Seeking dog walker for mean, ugly dog. He bites and tends to pee on legs. Apply with body armor."

Register officials have had to apologize to at least one offended reader who didn't think the ads were funny.

Neither ad listed a telephone number, and both ads were fake, meant to test a new system for allowing readers to place classified advertisements using the newspaper's Web site, explained Lisa Weiss, a classified ad saleswoman at the paper.

"They were never supposed to be seen by anybody but us," she said.

A Register staffer who was supposed to delete the ads forgot, however, and they appeared in print.

The advertising department found out the bogus ads had run when a would-be job applicant phoned.

"We actually had someone call to apply for the dog walker ad," Weiss said.

-- Tom Jackson

Political lightning strikes across Ohio

The superintendent of Berlin-Milan Local Schools wasn't the only one walking a political tightrope in the weeks before Election Day.

When John McCain came to town in October, the campaign asked the Edison High School marching band to play at the rally.

Superintendent David Snook said yes, but amid criticism, he decided the district shouldn't appear to endorse a presidential candidate, and he kept the band home.

At a conference in Columbus after the election, Snook found out the McCain campaign had ignited similar controversies all over Ohio as the candidate crisscrossed the state stumping for votes.

Recounting a conversation with another superintendent, Snook said: "I asked what happened. He said, 'I originally said yes, a firestorm erupted, I had to rescind the decision and say we're not going, and another firestorm erupted.'"

That played out in at least three other districts, Snook said.

"It isn't as though we got struck by lighting," he said. "If we got struck, it was quite commonly struck around the state."

-Susan McMillan