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Published: Sunday, 8/22/2004

Lake Local flip-flop a bummer for others

Nine bite-size Lemmon Drops to nibble on while waiting for Devin Vargas to step into the Olympic boxing ring today:

  • The Lake Local school board voted to restore fall sports and other extracurricular activities -- at a cost of more than $700,000 -- on the assumption that voters will approve a five-year, 1.25-percent income tax in November.

    Talk about a bad precedent.

    Before the Aug. 3 special election, the board said that all extracurricular activities would be cut if voters rejected the school district's levy. Voters were given a clear choice, and they nixed the levy.

    It was, as we discovered two weeks later, the mother of all idle threats.

    Because of the flip-flop by the Lake Local board, other school districts in northwest Ohio are going to have an even tougher time convincing voters of the urgency of their levies. Threatening to cut sports programs -- long an effective "scare tactic" used by school boards before an election -- now will face far more skepticism. And cynicism.

    Lake High School's final regular-season football game will be Oct. 29, four days before voters go to the polls. Raise your hand if you believe the emotion that helped resurrect fall sports will still be in the air then.

  • So much for thinking gastrointestinal outbreaks, like the one at Put-in-Bay, happen only on cruise ships.

  • Memo to Sherman Dreiseszun, principal owner of Southwyck Shopping Center: Westgate Village Shopping Center, which was in danger of heading into a downward spiral after losing three longtime tenants, has rebounded with eight new shops and has leases for 40 of its 45 spaces. So what's your excuse? As another holiday shopping season approaches, more than half of Southwyck's 103 store sites are vacant.

  • OK, suburbs, time to stop shuffling your feet and staring at the ground. Toledo will still have a smoking ban after the November election -- it's just a matter of whether it will be "modified" to exempt bars and small restaurants. So there's really no reason to continue avoiding public discussion of a possible smoking ban in your community.

  • Minor PR blunder: Bowling Green State University, which is in the midst of a hiring freeze, adds the wife of its president, Sidney Ribeau, to the payroll.

    Major PR blunder: The job pays $66,000 a year.

  • Jim Jackson, you only get one chance to make a first impression -- that's true in economic development too. I'd venture to say in 15 years, people will remember you more for what you did with the former Toledo Edison steam plant than what you accomplished in your basketball career.

  • Something I wouldn't believe had I not seen it with my own eyes: With the Mud Hens close to wrapping up their third season at Fifth Third Field, the site of the former Brenda's Body Shop remains a high-profile eyesore.

  • Toledo City Council didn't do Toledo Public Schools any favors when it voted to put a measure to renew the 0.75-percent income tax a year early on the November ballot. The TPS levy, always a tough sell with voters, could have done without the extra competition on the ballot.

  • Last week, Alcoa Inc. announced it is closing its Northwood facility, eliminating 140 jobs, and Gerity-Schultz Inc., which opened a Toledo factory 74 years ago, announced it will shut down by Nov. 1. Later, I'm watching two talking heads on CNN discuss Ohio's role in the presidential race -- and it was noted that people in our state are more worried about jobs than the rest of the country.

    Go figure.

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