Squeaky wheels

When things get done or undone, politicians usually get the bulk of the credit for leading the charge.
Many times, our elected officials do make the difference. They are, after all, the ones in positions to close a street, cut or increase funding for a project, or push for a new law.
We grant them authority to run our government when we vote. But they don’t always come up with the ideas or have all the answers.
In reality, it’s often “ordinary” people like Darwin Dunton, Emerson Focht, and Tony Grotrian who get the ball rolling or convince officials to support our concerns.
Dunton and Focht are examples of people who felt strong enough about an issue that they felt obliged to speak up. Both attended Tuesday’s Findlay City Council meeting.
Dunton is a pastor at the First United Brethren Church on Rector Avenue, which, like many places along the Blanchard River, have been regularly flooded in recent years.
But Dunton believes the church’s water problems may be more related to the Dalzell Ditch, which runs near it.
Like many others have argued over the years, Dunton says the problem would be minimized if the ditch was given a thorough cleaning, something that hasn’t happened in decades.
Dunton begged for help from the city, which has previously offered to contribute as much as $300,000 toward the project.
While he may have to make the speech again to the Hancock County commissioners, who would have to approve the ditch cleanout, his plea should keep the issue from being pushed to the back burner again.
Meanwhile, Focht expressed opposition to the proposed “riparian buffer” project along a portion of Lye Creek.
It would be on city-owned property, and would be created by planting trees, bushes and grasses to filter creek water to improve its quality. It would be paid for with a grant.
Focht, who had once supported a buffer on one side of the creek, is one of 22 residents who oppose the project altogether.
He told City Council it should scrap the project, use the grant money elsewhere, and leave his neighborhood alone.
While no decision has been made, Focht’s message came across loud and clear.
“Grandpa Tony” Grotrian is also willing to go public for a cause.
Since Aug. 28, 2009, the day his grandson died of an accidental drug overdose, Grotrian has crusaded to heighten awareness of heroin. When Grotrain started showing up at court hearings to encourage tough sentences for dealers, the state was seeing four deaths a day to accidental overdoses. Today, the number is five.
On Feb. 12, Grotrian testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of a 911 Good Samaritan Bill. If it becomes law, it would provide some level of protection, or immunity, to anyone who calls for help to save an overdose victim.
House Bill 363 would seem to have a good chance of passage in light of the attention heroin is now getting. If Ohio joins 14 other states with similar laws, Grotrian would deserve credit for nudging Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, to get it introduced.
That’s how things sometimes get done, with unordinary people like Grotrian, Dunton and Focht.

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