When Tom Ferrell attended his first county commissioner meeting in several weeks and revealed details of his painful back surgery, commissioner Bill Monaghan joked, "I always knew you had a screw loose."
Actually, Ferrell had several screws loose at Monday's meeting.
Asked how he's feeling, Ferrell pulled out several large metal screws that had been removed from his body. He explained the material that helped hold one screw to his spine had worn loose. That prompted doctors to remove the screws and put in new ones.
Just looking at the screws was a painful experience. Ferrell said he does not know if his spine augmentation will set off metal detectors at security checkpoints.
-- Tom Jackson
Die-hard OSU fan no sore loser
Port Clinton councilman Mike Snider has been known to make a friendly wager now and then in favor of his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes.
Usually he and fellow councilman John Folger, who graduated from Purdue, enjoy a light-hearted rivalry when the Buckeyes take on the Boilermakers.
But Snider might be rethinking his gambling habits after he had to swallow his pride and pledge allegiance to the Texas Longhorns at a public meeting on Tuesday.
"They dominated the Ohio State Buckeyes. Go Longhorns," said the Ohio State alumnus, flashing a Texas sign with both hands.
I'm sure it stung Snider to utter praise for the team that heart-breakingly beat the Buckeyes at the Fiesta Bowl.
But at least you can't call one of the team's most die-hard fans a sore loser.
"Kids, this is why you should never place bets," Snider said with a chuckle.
-- Sarah Weber
Auditor forgot to bill car dealer
Land just north of Sandusky Mall became a lot more valuable after Kasper Auto Group built a Toyota and Scion dealership.
But the Erie County auditor's office forgot to bill the dealership for property taxes covering the value of the buildings. The dealership owes back taxes of $17,577.13, auditor Tom Paul said.
Paul said the appraisal company hired by his office made the mistake. The dealership won't be billed for penalties or interest because it was the auditor's mistake, and a payment plan will be made available.
Such mistakes happen occasionally when dealing with the county's 46,000 parcels, Paul said.
"We've taken steps to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said.
-- Tom Jackson
Boatnerds, as Great Lakes freighter fans like to call themselves, are not to be trifled with. Marry them up with the Internet and, well ...
Taking their name from boatnerd.com, the Port Huron, Mich.-based Web site that serves as a clearinghouse for any and all information and photos about the "lake boats," they (OK, we -- I'm sort of a part-time, associate boatnerd and have a few photos on the Web site) are an information network any news organization would be proud to have.
When the freighter Arthur M. Anderson got hung up last Sunday morning in the Sandusky Bay ice, Luke Wark had the photo of the day, and up it went on our Web site as soon as he could get it into the computer system. When I saw the rest of his shots, I knew what the front page feature photo was going to be, and I went out on the Web for some information about the Anderson -- famous in Great Lakes lore as the ship that trailed the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald when a gale claimed that boat in November 1975 -- and came across the boat's entry on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that's written and edited by readers.
The entry already contained a note about the Anderson being stuck in the ice that morning.
And when I riffed on the photo to draw an editorial cartoon about Sandusky's reluctance to embrace progress, I was duly chastised online by someone identified only as "Boat Nerd," who wanted me to show more respect to a boat of the Anderson's stature and to "save the satire for another source."
-- Don Lee