News Briefs Week of 11/16/20

Staff Writer

Toledo proceeding with
solar array effort
The Kapszukiewicz administration is pursuing electricity cost reductions for Toledo residents over the long-term, while reducing carbon emissions, through a plan to jointly buy a portion of the city's electricity from a solar array with multiple communities statewide.
Toledo City Council on Nov. 4 approved legislation authorizing Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz to execute a letter of intent with Palmer Energy Company, Inc. to issue a request for proposal to solicit a vendor for the project.
“This is the kind of green energy step all cities should be taking,” Kapszukiewicz said. “This is the first step in a transitional process, and Toledo plans to include our facilities and governmental aggregation participants in the request for proposal process for this utility-scale solar array. Solar energy is more efficient each year and this is a technology we need to fully embrace.”
With council’s approval, the administration plans to sign a letter of intent and combine the city’s electric load with dozens of municipalities and counties – allowing Toledo to secure the lowest possible pricing. Ultimately, Toledo would sign a power purchase agreement that would supply about 25 percent of the city’s anticipated requirements for its facilities and governmental aggregation participants over a 20-year period at a fixed price per kilowatt-hour. The remaining 75 percent would be sourced from the power grid, just as it is currently, and combined with the planned solar array’s production.
Palmer Energy has worked with the City of Toledo for many years on energy purchases and has assembled the public entities to issue the request for proposals. Fifty-nine other communities have already signed the letter of intent. The location of the solar array, which could require about 2,000 acres somewhere in the state of Ohio, has not been determined. There is no upfront investment required for the City of Toledo.

Program helps
homeless vets
Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP) offers a reminder that help is available for veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
In 2019, 37,085 homeless veterans throughout the nation were counted during the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Point-in-Time Count, which tallies unsheltered and sheltered homeless individuals during a one-night count in January.
The number of homeless veterans has been on a steady decline since 2011, in large part due to housing initiatives such as GLCAP’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.
That same year, GLCAP SSVF assisted 323 homeless or at-risk veterans and their families by helping them secure stable housing in the program’s 10-county service region. Along with offering housing assistance, SSVF can also assist with security deposits, utility assistance, budgeting and other needs.
“There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, and we want all veterans who are facing a housing crisis to know that we are here to help them get back on their feet,” GLCAP Support Services Coordinator Susan Wren said.
SSVF is available to assist veterans and families in Erie, Hancock, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood and Wyandot counties.
For more information, visit or call 1-800-775-9767.

United Way calling
for grant applications
After six years, United Way of Greater Toledo (UWGT) is re-opening its community grant application, as the organization seeks to provide funding to local programs working in the areas of education, financial stability, health and housing.
Until Jan. 8, 2021, community-based entities can apply for monetary funding over a three-year period. All information on the application, process and qualifications for grants in Lucas County can be found at
“The human services landscape has certainly changed over the last few years – especially this year, as COVID-19 continues to alter the way in which our sector meets overwhelming needs,” said Jill Bunge, director of community impact at UWGT.
“Our volunteers are very excited to provide long-term financial support to local organizations doing really powerful work,” she said.
Community grant applications for Ottawa and Wood counties will be available on Dec. 1, closing on Jan. 31, 2021. Details on those will be shared at a later time.
“I am continuously amazed by the efforts of our current partners to serve those in need. With their help, over the last six years, we have accomplished and hit some remarkable milestones,” said Wendy Pestrue, president & CEO of UWGT.
From 2015 to 2020, UWGT has invested over $20 million in key community strategies such as student success, basic needs, school readiness and healthy lifestyles. In that same timeframe, more than 400,000 individuals were served by UWGT supported services. This does not include those who have been helped through United Way 2-1-1, a free, 24/7, 365-day health and human service resource.
“Seeking out new partnerships is our way of asking ‘how can we be better?’ We improve by learning about new programs, by analyzing current programs that have worked, or by listening to how programs want to re-tool themselves to meet emerging needs,” said Pestrue.
The number of grantees awarded, and types of programs funded, will be determined by a collection of volunteers, known as the Collaborative Impact Cabinet.

Officers disciplined
A disciplinary hearing was held last week pertaining to the actions of Oregon Police Officers Joel Turner and Logan Nitkiewicz on June 13, 2020. The incident, which occurred in the parking lot of the Kingston Court Apartments in the 3100 block of Navarre Avenue, culminated in both officers firing their service weapons.
The Review Board met on Oct. 28 and determined that the initial shots fired by both officers were justified. However, the subsequent shots fired by both officers as the vehicle was fleeing were determined to be contrary to the police division’s rules and regulations.
Both officers were served with formal disciplinary charges on Oct. 29 and scheduled for a disciplinary hearing on Nov. 5. As a result of the hearing, both officers were each assessed a 30-day suspension without pay, with 15 of the days held in abeyance for one year. Both officers will have to serve a 15-day suspension without pay and will undergo additional training.
Each of the officers pled no contest to the disciplinary charge and accepted the discipline. There will be no appeal.
Turner, 25, was hired on Nov. 26, 2018, and Nitkiewicz, 28, was hired on June 11, 2019. Every officer undergoes a standardized training program. Upon successful completion, they are in a probationary status. Nitkiewicz was in his probationary period when the June 13 incident occurred and, therefore, will have his probationary period extended until May 1, 2021.

Wreath program needs volunteers
Volunteers are needed to place wreaths on grave sites of veterans at Willow Cemetery, 1961 Pickle Rd., Oregon, as part of the Wreaths Across America program.
Doug Sweeney, organizer of the event, said volunteers should be at the cemetery by noon on Dec. 19.
There are 971 veterans buried at the cemetery, he said.
He will be collecting donations for wreaths for this year’s event until Nov. 30 or wreaths may be purchased at, which is a direct link for Willow Cemetery.
Persons uncomfortable with purchasing wreaths online may send a check to Sweeney at 8301 Arquette Rd., Oregon, OH 43616.
Wreaths are $15 a piece. Discounts are offered for larger purchases.
Sweeney can be reached at 419-262-6024.

Board meeting
The Gibsonburg Board of Education will hold a regular meeting on Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic the meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and broadcasted live on YouTube. Information and links to the live stream can be found on the district website:


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