Portman, Brown did respond to Ottawa County's engineer

Tom Jackson
Aug 19, 2014


My article about Ottawa County sanitary engineer Kelly Frey's warnings back in March about algal bloom toxins in Lake Erie got good play in the newspaper and online, but not everybody was pleased.

The article described how Frey had sent a statement about the problem to federal lawmakers from Ohio. Staffers for U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, were unhappy with these sentences`: "Frey said he sent the statement in March to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, hoping to draw attention to the problem. Kaptur's office responded and said it would pass Frey's concerns along, Frey said. He said he didn't recall a response from Brown or Portman."

I was contacted by spokeswomen for both lawmakers, and they both told me their offices had indeed gotten back to Frey.

I phoned Frey to follow up, and after checking his email, he verified that he did hear back, in March, from staffers from both offices. 

I ran a brief earlier from Brown's office, so I'll let Portman's spokeswoman, Christyn Keyes, have the last word.

"In fact, a representative from our office has met with Mr. Frey on several occasions to discuss the progress of Sen. Portman's algae bill as well as how our office could assist on this issue," she said.







Thank you Mr. Jackson for admitting to your error, something that is not too often of an occurrence for this paper. My question for you is why weren't Senators Brown and Portman contacted BEFORE your article went to press, rather than waiting for them to contact you. It would seem to me that this type of investigation should be a normal part of good journalistic research.

Licorice Schtick

I agree that corrections are rarely seen in the SR, but Jackson's article was not in error. That which is reported as fact should be verified, but we're talking about a direct quote. While the quote should be accurate, fact-checking the content is not necessarily demanded. The follow-up "correcting" Frey is appropriate to be fair to Brown and Portman, but it's not an SR correction, per se.

A witch hunt to blame someone for this incident is stupid, anyway. The problem is in Washington. Clean water law is inadequate, as is funding for enforcement thereof.


Frey is just another one of Ottawa County's double-dippers. He was too busy counting his cash from his pension and salary that he didn't bother to check his e-mail.