News Briefs Week of 7/27/20

Staff writer

Comments sought
The National Park Service is preparing an Environmental Assessment for the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial for a project to repair and replace the north and south side concrete seawalls.
Years of wave action, ice loading and geological processes have deteriorated and undermined the two seawalls resulting in the creation of sink holes and other unsafe conditions within the park. Both seawalls are functionally necessary to protect the cultural resources of the park due to the proximity of Lake Erie and the relatively low elevation of the park. To enhance the visitor experience, the NPS also proposes to install interpretive elements along the north seawall.
The NPS encourages public participation throughout the planning process. There will be two opportunities to comment formally on the proposed project—once during the project scoping and again following release of the EA. The NPS is currently in the scoping phase of the proposed project and invites the public to submit written suggestions, comments, and concerns regarding the design.
The NPS will host a public open house to provide the opportunity for members of the public to learn more about the proposed project Wednesday, July 29 from 10-11 a.m. via Microsoft Teams. A presentation will be held at the beginning of the meeting. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions an in-person meeting is not planned at this time.
The call-in number is +1 469-214-8538 (Dallas, toll), Conference ID: 138 221 15#
Public comment to support the project is currently open and will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 21. The public can find the meeting invite, submit comments and find more information about the project at the Park's website at Submit written comments by mail to Superintendent Barbara Rowles, Attn: PEVI Seawall Project EA Scoping, P.O. Box 549, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456.
The Park, located at 93 Delaware Ave., Put-in-Bay, is open daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more info, visit or call 419-285-2184.

Put-in-Bay COVID
outbreak response
The Ottawa County Health Department (OCHD), along with several public health partners, conducted mass testing for COVID-19 on Put-in-Bay July 10 and 11.
The Ohio Department of Health verified that 954 specimens were collected and of those, 66 were positive. The 984 number that was initially released involved a communication issue on how the samples were bundled.
The 66 people who tested positive have been notified and are isolating at this time. The health department is in the process of notifying individuals with negative test results.
The testing focused on employees working on Put-in-Bay, but no one was denied testing.
The final results demonstrated a 7 percent positivity rate of COVID-19 on Put-in-Bay, which is lower than originally anticipated by health officials. Forty-three of the 66 cases were considered Ottawa County residents.
Ottawa County Health Commissioner Jerry Bingham recommended that all county residents and visitors continue measures to protect themselves by social distancing; avoiding groups of 10 people or more; washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching the mouth, nose or eyes; covering coughs and sneezes with an arm; cleaning frequently touched surfaces; avoiding those who are sick and staying home if they are sick.
Bingham also advises all residents and visitors to wear a mask when in public or around people other than those who live within their households.
Call 419-734-6800 or visit for more info.

Farmers Market,
cultural event set
Downtown Fremont will host the Croghan Colonial Bank Farmers Market and Fremont City School, City of Fremont and Great Lakes Community Partnership “All Together Fremont Event” Saturday, Aug. 1 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Front Street.
Admission is free for the event, which will include “Tour of the World” exhibits throughout the market featuring artifacts and cultural items of different countries. Attendees are encouraged to pick up a passport at the Downtown Fremont Inc. tent at the Front and Garrison Street intersection. Spectators will receive a sticker/stamp for the passport at each exhibit. Completed passports may be turned in at the Downtown Fremont Inc. tent to be entered into a drawing to win 100 Downtown Fremont Dollars.
For more info or to register for vendor space at the market, call 419-332-8696 or 567-342-4758 or visit the Downtown Fremont Inc. office at 315 Garrison St., Fremont, Ohio. Details about events are also available at or by following Downtown Fremont Inc. on social media.

Latta addresses delay
in COVID test results
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting information on why there is a delay in distributing COVID-19 test results along with information on their plan to resolve this issue.
According to The COVID Tracking Project, more than 42.5 million tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the United States to date, with more than 700,000 tests reported a day.
“I am reaching out on behalf of my constituents in Northwest and west central Ohio who are facing delays in receiving COVID-19 test results,” Latta wrote. “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that the United States surpassed over 40 million tests performed. I want to applaud you and the Administration for this milestone and for providing every American the ability to be tested for COVID-19. However, even with testing capabilities breaking records daily, we are now facing a delay with test results. This hold up is consequential as those waiting for their results may be unintentionally spreading the virus to others, and they may not be seeking the care they need if they have the virus.”

CARES funds available
The Wood County Commissioners have approved the use of up to $250,000 of federal CARES Act funds for the Wood County Small Business Relief Program. The new program will provide eligible small businesses with up to $5,000 to cover business interruption expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wood County Office of Economic Development will administer the program.
Business owners can obtain application materials from the office website at Applications will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. Aug. 3 through 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 14.
To participate in the program, the business must have less than $1 million in gross annual revenue, have 30 or fewer employees, have experienced a decrease in gross revenue of 25 percent or more due to COVID-19, and have not already received federal assistance.
All expenses must be related to the business interruption caused by COVID-19. Eligible expenses include: mortgage costs, rent or lease costs, expenses for utilities, salaries, wages and compensation paid to employees, materials and supplies related to interruption of the business caused by required closures and personal protective equipment or other COVID-19 related costs such as expenses related to compliance with Responsible Restart Ohio.
Applications received will be drawn randomly for review, rather than on a first-come-first-served basis.
For additional information, contact Andrew S. Kalmar, county administrator, 419 354-9100

New store in Bradner
Dollar General has announced the opening of a new store at 1107 Bowling Green Rd. E, in the Village of Bradner.
The store is expected to employ approximately six to 10 people, depending on the need.

Suspension request
filed with court
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost last week announced the filing of a Request to Commence Suspension Proceedings for four members of the Toledo City Council charged with bribery and extortion.
The request, filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio, states that Larry Sykes, Yvonne Harper, Garrick “Gary” Johnson and Tyrone Riley are charged with felonies stemming from alleged criminal activity that occurred in public office and cannot continue their duties as city council members while facing charges of bribery and extortion.
In response, three of the four city council members voluntarily signed a consent judgment entry, agreeing to the suspension pending the resolution of the felony charges in federal court. Johnson had yet to sign a judgment entry at the time, Yost said.
“A consent agreement is voluntary on the part of the accused,” said Shelly Kennedy, managing attorney of the Ohio Attorney General’s regional office in Toledo. “The parties in this case will present the agreements to the Supreme Court, who in turn, may approve the suspensions.”
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and Council President Matt Cherry requested that Yost initiate proceedings under Ohio Revised Code 3.16 to suspend the accused council members from office.

Council members,
attorney indicted
U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced last week that a federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland, has returned a 13-count indictment charging four sitting Toledo City Council members and one local attorney for their participation in a bribery and extortion scheme that encouraged soliciting and accepting cash, checks, money orders, or other things of value from local business owners in exchange for their votes on council.
-Tyrone Riley, 64, was indicted on one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy and five counts of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right.
Yvonne Harper, 71, was indicted on one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy, two counts of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.
Garrick “Gary” Johnson, 66, was indicted on one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy and two counts of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right.
Larry Sykes, 71, was indicted on one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy and two counts of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right.
Keith Mitchell, 69, an attorney, was indicted on one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy and two counts of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right.
According to the criminal complaint, in early 2018, the FBI began to investigate four council members and one attorney for soliciting monetary payments or other things of value from local business owners in exchange for their votes on council. In addition, Councilwoman Harper was investigated for an extortion attempt on a local business.


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