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Published: Wednesday, 10/1/2003

Emergency corps formed by county

A council designed to recruit, train, and organize volunteers who can respond to emergencies was created yesterday by the Lucas County commissioners.

The commissioners named 15 people - mostly elected officials and emergency response personnel - to the Citizens Corps Council.

The council has received $12,500 from the federal government to form five 20-member teams of volunteers by the end of the year that would be assigned various duties in case of an emergency.

The citizens corps is being pushed as part of Homeland Security initiatives, according to literature circulated by the federal government.

Harry Barlos, president of the commissioners and a member of the Citizens Corps Council, said the organization offers a “fresh new approach” to getting citizen input. “Essentially, it creates a body to unite citizen volunteers to community efforts with volunteers,” he said. “As this committee grows and expands, ... I believe it will offer a calming effect.”

Commissioner Maggie Thurber said she supported the formation of the council only because it could bring money to the area. She said that by her calculations there were now 11 committees in the area to coordinate emergency responses.

“It just doesn't make sense to me that we have 11 committees that have responsibility for many of the same things and have many of the same members,” she said.

In addition to Mr. Barlos, some of the other members are Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, Lucas County Sheriff James Telb, Lucas County Engineer Keith Early, Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre, and Toledo Fire Chief Mike Bell.

Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said she agreed with Ms. Thurber that there are a lot of committees and thinks they should have some “mechanism” to talk to each other. Nonetheless, she backed the organization of the council.

“My support of the citizen corps is that it's such a grass roots effort,” she said. “I like citizens taking charge of meeting their own needs.”

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