Business Failing At Toxic Grand Lake St. Marys

Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 @ 2:43 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 @ 9:14 AM

People who have spent decades on Grand Lake St. Marys said they don't recognize the place they love.

Buzz Goodwin said, "I've seen the lake in many different conditions but nothing like this."

Algae and the toxins it produces are killing Grand Lake.

Only pockets of the blue-green blooms are visible on the lake now. Just a few weeks ago, it was everywhere.

Linda Severt said, "When you looked at it, it looked like an oil spill. I had never seen anything like that in my whole life."

Large sections of algae covered the lake and beaches usually covered by waves of people were awash in blue-green.

"This is our oil spill," said Severt.

How did it get this way? There are several reasons; shallow lake depth, more development, and mother nature. But mostly, there are too many nutrients from homes, septic systems, and farms running into Grand Lake.

The lake is in the heart of Ohio's farm country. The fertilizer and manure from crops and livestock feeds the algae.

When it bloomed, it fell to the bottom of the lake and released toxins. Those toxins have never been seen before in Grand Lake and they're extremely dangerous to humans and animals ... targeting the brain and liver.

The state does not want people to swin, boat or even get splashed by the toxic water.

"You should be able to look behind me and see boats every which way, and there's nothing. Our tourismis gone," said Severt, of Duckfoot's Bar and Grill.

The lake draws more than seven hundred thousand visitors annually, and the $150 million they spend. This summer, it is not coming in.

Severt said, "This is the time we should be making enough money to put back for the winter months and it's not happening."

Restaurants sit empty except for the local folks. Homes and boats are not selling.

"We're down 700-K just this year in gross sales," said marina owner Buzz Goodwin. His boats are sitting on dry land with no lake to cruise.

Goodwin and others said the state has been cruising too long and not taking care of the lake.

Stanley Grimm said, "All those years, they looked the other way. They got to quit looking the other way. When you look at this stuff you can't deny that."

Buzz Goodwin said, "We have people passing the buck and are afraid to make a decision because they might not get elected next year."

The people who live and work at Grand Lake St. Marys want answers. They want to know why their lake is toxic and what the state is going to do to fix the problem.

News Center 7 reporter Mark Bruce took a sample of the lake in a glass jar to Mike Shelton of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in Columbus. That is the department responsible for Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.

"It's beyond unfortunate. It's really a disaster, " said Shelton. He said the state's priority right now, is keeping people out of the toxic lake.

Shelton said, "You could become significantly ill and have long term health ramifications from long term ingestions."

He said all levels of state government are working to fix grand lake.

In the short term, the state is going to pay for a pilot program to see if a chemical called alum can make the lake safe again. "Essentially, it clumps together nutrients in the lake and makes them unavilable for algae to grow on," said Shelton.

Shelton also said state and federal authorities are focusing on farmers. "To apply best management practices to keep that nutrient coming off form their land into streams that feed the lake, " Shelton said.

Some farmers are already helping out and in fact, the lake was the cleanest it's been in years this spring. State officials said Grand Lake won't be clean again any time soon. Shelton said, "It is going to be challenge to have clear waters in the coming days."

That answer won't work for Buzz Goodwin, who said frustration is turning to desperation as people at Grand Lake St. Marys watch their lives wash away.

Goodwin said, "If anybody wants to get down on government, we have a perfect example right here. It's their lake. It's ours, but they aren't taking care of us."

Ohio estimates a quick fix of Grand Lake will cost around $10 million. Long-term solutions could push $100 million.

Business owners said that is how much they stand to lose this year.

Husted bucks GOP, is against voter photo ID push

Published: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM
Updated: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The official who oversees Ohio's elections says he doesn't agree with a measure proposed by some fellow Republicans to require voters to show photo IDs at the polls.   

Secretary of State John Husted tells The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday that he would not change current policy that allows voters to prove their identities with photo IDs or other documents, such as utility bills or paychecks.   

A bill approved by the Ohio House would require voters to show the photo ID before casting an in-person ballot. It is now being reviewed by the Senate.   

Husted instead proposes changes for voters casting early ballots or provisional ballots. He says those voters should be required to give their full Social Security numbers instead of the currently required last four digits.

Election Board Moves Carefully On Husted Investigation

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:35 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:35 AM

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Montgomery County Board of Elections attorney will review voting residency laws before the board decides if it will move forward on an investigation of Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering.

The four-person board has asked for the legal review after member Dennis Lieberman, a Democrat, said an Oct. 18 Dayton Daily News article raised questions about Husted's residency and voter registration.

"I think we have an obligation to look into it," Lieberman said.

Republican board members Jim Nathanson and Greg Gantt, county party chairman and chairman of the board, both referred to an investigation of Husted as a "witch hunt." Nathanson said he does not think it "serves anyone" to look into Husted's residency this close to the election.

Husted, elected to the House in 2000, said, "if they haven't filed a complaint (then) they must not think there is a problem."

He is running for a Senate seat from the 6th District against Centerville School Board member John Doll, a Democrat.

The deadline to remove names from the ballot has passed, but the board can review the validity of Husted's voter registration.

A legislator must be a legal resident of his district and can be forced to forfeit the seat if he is not.

Ohio law on residency for voting purposes says a person's residence is the "place where the family of a married person resides."

Husted has been dogged by questions about his residency for several years because he stays with his wife and children in Upper Arlington and is rarely seen at his home in Kettering, 148 Sherbrooke Drive.

He is registered to vote in Montgomery County. His wife, Tina, is registered in Upper Arlington. Jon Husted voted absentee every time he cast a ballot since 2005 and voted in person every time prior to that, according to Montgomery County board of elections records.

Since their marriage in 2005, the Husteds have simultaneously owned or co-owned properties that they've called "principal residences" and received 2.5 percent property tax reductions allowed for owner-occupied homes. The law states that a couple can take the tax break on only one house. Neither Husted applied for an exception.

On Friday, Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa said Tina Husted should repay a tax break the Husteds claimed on the Columbus condominium she and Jon co-owned as a "principal residence" at the same time she got a $207.46 tax break on a different home she owned.

Husted said he and his wife have now repaid $27.22 to the auditor, who told him there are no other problems. Testa could not be reached for comment. Husted said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith informed him "everything is fine" in this county.

However, Keith said he's only verified that the tax break was properly taken on the Kettering home since 1995 and that Husted is registered to vote there. He said it is up to Testa to review that information for possible conflicts with Tina's tax breaks. Keith said he will continue his inquiry.

As of last week, the couple was renting a home at 2672 Coventry Road in Upper Arlington. Husted would not directly say if they moved over the weekend to a house Tina owns at 2305 Haverford Road, Upper Arlington.

"We are no longer renting the Coventry and the only Columbus residence or Columbus property that we own, that my wife owns, is the property on Haverford," Husted said.

(Article courtesy of

Husted Residency Still Questioned, To Appear Before Board

Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @ 7:27 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @ 7:27 AM

DAYTON, Ohio -- Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, must appear on Jan. 7 before the Montgomery County Board of Elections, which is investigating whether he lives in his district at the Kettering address where he is registered to vote, the board decided on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

A letter will be sent to Husted outlining what documents the board is requesting he provide to prove his residency, said Steve Harsman, board director. Requests for an investigation came from a Kettering Republican and a liberal nonprofit group after an Oct. 18 Dayton Daily News story raised new questions about Husted's residency.

Husted, who could not be reached for comment, says his home is at 148 Sherbrooke Ave. in Kettering. However, he said he sometimes stays with his wife, Tina, in an Upper Arlington house she owns because the demands of his job as House Speaker frequently keep him in Columbus. Jon and Tina have one son and Jon has a son from his first marriage.

Husted took an apartment in Columbus shortly after becoming 37th District representative in 2001 and bought a Columbus condominium in 2003. He became speaker and married Tina in 2005. They co-owned a Columbus condominium they sold in 2007. Husted's wife is registered to vote at the Upper Arlington home.

Husted rarely had official business scheduled on his calendar after mid-August, when the House was not in session this year, according to a daily calendar provided by his office. It also shows few trips to his district. A travel expense report Husted signed for a 2005 trip to a conference in Las Vegas listed his home address as 911 Manor Lane, Columbus, which was the first condo he owned. A 2005 traffic citation handled in Upper Arlington Mayor's court also lists that as his home address.

In January Husted will take office as a sixth district senator. Ohio law requires that legislators live in their district.

In October the Daily News reported that Jon and Tina Husted had simultaneously claimed homes in Upper Arlington and Kettering as "principal" residences and taken property tax breaks for owner-occupied homes on them. They also claimed the condo they co-owned as a principal residence, while claiming the same tax break on homes in Kettering and Upper Arlington.

Tina was ordered by Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa to repay the tax break for the condominium. Testa said he considers the matter closed. Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said he believes Husted qualifies for the tax break in Kettering, and he said state payroll records list it as Husted's home.

"If the board of elections determines that his voter registration is invalid at that address then I will have to take another look," Keith said.

(Article courtesy of

Snake in bathroom saves woman from bedroom attacker

Published: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 7:06 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 7:06 PM

Snake Saves Woman From Sexual Assault

A Florida woman is crediting a snake in her home with saving her from a sexual assault last week.

Police said the Lee County woman called deputies when she found the reptile in her bathroom, minutes before a man broke into her house, grabbed her and demanded sex, according to media reports

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Malcolm Porter, 28, allegedly sneaked up on the victim, choked her, then demanded she get condoms from another room. Once free, the woman fled from her home where deputies, who responded to the snake call, were waiting outside. 

Porter was arrested and is jailed without bond on charges of battery by strangulation.

The victim told police she knew the man and that he “may have been high" on drugs, local media reported. 

One of the victim's neighbors called the snake encounter "a blessing in disguise."

"The snake played a role in saving her," the neighbor said.