Happy new year, Pat Shenigo! Enjoy your new dungeon.
Shenigo takes over as a new county commissioner in 2009. He'll get an office in the County Services Center, and also the least desirable office in the county's downtown office building.
Monaghan says Tom Ferrell, the commissioner with the longest tenure, is has the only office with a window in the downtown building.
Monaghan is moving into the downtown office being vacated by outgoing commissioner Nancy McKeen, which at least has a view through Ferrell's window.
Shenigo, meanwhile, moves into Monaghan's old downtown office, which Monaghan describes as a closet. It has no view.
When Shenigo saw Monaghan's office, he exclaimed, "Man, it looks like you have a little dungeon."
That's the office Shenigo is moving into.
Seniority is a sacred principle in politics, and Monaghan is no longer the new guy.
"That's what happens to the rookie," Monaghan said. "When you're the rookie, you get the dungeon."
-- TOM JACKSON
Koebel's sense of humor on display
In one of his last appearances before retiring from office, Ottawa County Commissioner Carl Koebel hobbled into a recent budget hearing with a crutch and a duck mask.
"The lame duck is ready to do the budget," Koebel joked.
This type of gag is classic Carl.
When Sheriff Bob Bratton hit a deer with his car this fall, the commissioner put a mounted deer head on his chair for the monthly sheriff's meeting.
And it isn't uncommon to see Carl tossing around a flashing bouncy ball or playing with number of colorful odds and ends he keeps at his commissioner's seat.
In fact, Carl seems to be one of the primary reasons the Ottawa County Commissioners avoid the button-down mode of operation characteristic of many governing bodies. Steve Arndt and Jim Sass are easy-going and congenial. But Carl is the jokester.
I'm sure everyone who spends Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Carl -- including myself -- will miss him.
Commissioner-elect Mark Stahl has some big shoes to fill when he takes his seat on the dais.
Big, colorful shoes.
-- SARAH WEBER
Bloomingville gets high-speed Internet
The small, unincorporated community of Bloomingville has a small sign along Ohio 4 -- and that's about the only recognition it gets. It barely qualifies as a map dot -- but AT&T Ohio wants to put it on the map to connectivity.
AT&T Ohio recently announced its commitment to providing expanded availability of high-speed Internet to Bloomingville's residents.
It's unclear how many people this affects, since Bloomingville has not been included in past U.S. Census counts. But the expanded broadband technology to Bloomingville is part of AT&T Ohio's investment to upgrade wire centers, particularly in rural areas. Senate Bill 117 reformed Ohio's video franchising system and encouraged competition and new investment for Ohio, a Dec. 22 news release stated. As a result of these reform efforts, AT&T committed to invest about $500 million in Ohio for fiber network upgrades.
"To compete and grow in today's marketplace, businesses need the high speed Internet access that broadband provides," AT&T Ohio president Tom Pelto said. "At home and in school, advanced technologies such as AT&T's broadband offerings can add real value to how we live and learn."
Hopefully, it also gives those Bloomingville folks something other than the golf course to write (or e-mail) home about.
-- ANNIE ZELM