DOWN: On June 11, The Findlay Publishing Co., publisher of The Courier, requested, through the Freedom of Information Act, access to all public input gathered by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers regarding the Blanchard River Flood Mitigation Project. It has gotten no response. The newspaper is also awaiting a response from a request it first made on July 17, 2013, for an itemized list of expenditures for the Blanchard River Flood Risk Management Project. The corps responded six months later, on Jan. 10, 2014, with two documents itemizing the expenditures but coding throughout the documents make it impossible to accurately report how the $6 million has been spent on the project. On April 29, 2014, the newspaper requested a list of expenditures, without the use of coding. Today is July 21. We’re still waiting.
UP: Dean Wittwer, the superintendent for Findlay City Schools the past nine years, has taken his curtain call. He presided over his final school board meeting last week, and to no one’s surprise, he continued to lobby for improvements for the district to the very end — encouraging the board to relocate the district’s bus garage (see Thumb below). That project will be overseen by new Superintendent Edward Kurt, who takes over Aug. 1. Wittwer leaves the district with a solid foundation. Under his watch, new Donnell and Glenwood middle schools were built, along with a new building for Millstream Career Cooperative. District finances have also improved dramatically since he arrived. Wittwer is moving on to become superintendent of the Allen County Educational Service Center. Thanks again Dean for your dedication to education.
UP: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio State Bar Foundation have released eight computer accessible videos explaining Ohio’s open records and open meetings laws. The videos cover topics such as defining a public record, how to make a public records request, what government bodies are subject to the open meetings law, and when a body can close its meetings. The videos also explain options open to people having problems getting records or being denied access to meetings. DeWine said that government is most accountable to the people it serves when it operates openly. We agree. The videos can be found at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
UP: When the city floods, the last thing the Findlay City Schools should have to do is worry about its fleet of school buses. They have to now, because the district’s bus garage is located in the flood plain. Fortunately, a plan is underway to relocate the garage to higher ground, perhaps near Cooper Field on the east side of Broad Avenue. The site is near the district’s administrative offices, Millstream Career Center and Findlay High School and, most importantly, high and dry. Whether there or somewhere else, the project should be a priority. The district has too much invested in its buses not to move them higher ground.
UP: It’s nice to have someone watching your back. It’s essential if you’re a firefighter. Findlay has entered into an automatic aid agreement with the Allen Township Volunteer Fire Department to provide assistance for commercial and residential structure fires. The agreement will eliminate the step, present in traditional mutual aid agreements, that requires the city to wait for Allen Township to request help before fighting a fire. The agreement will also enable Allen Township firefighters to respond when a large fire in Findlay requires the entire city department to turn out. The arrangement is a win-win for property owners who get the benefit of more firefighting strength and for firefighters who will have extra support when needed.