Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Back to Blogging

My apologies for not having posted in a while. To be quite honest, I really wasn't sure where to begin, as there was so much to cover following my vacation. (Yes, even commissioners get a vacation.)

So I decided to start by sharing some personal things from my vacation...

My family and I have been vacationing at the same location for about 15 years now. We love the island where we (and several friends) rent a house and a small boat. This year, the weather was the best it's ever been. On our last day, it was so clear and calm that looking down into the water was like looking through a glass at an aquarium.

We read good books (I caught up on some Ursula K. LeGuin and sci fi collections), played Apples to Apples with the kids, sat in the sun, snorkled and fished. I caught a 4-1/2 pound grouper, which was dinner that night, and a 5-foot barracuda. Both those were caught when they ate the fish on my line. As you can see from the photo, that's the tail of a Rock Hind inside the grouper's mouth.

I also caught a Queen Trigger fish, which is really hard because they're very smart fish and very strong, but they have teeny, tiny, little mouths, so they can usually get your bait off the hook and never get caught. Not this year! While they're supposed to be really good to eat, I think they're the prettiest fish I've ever seen and I just couldn't fix him for dinner.

We also saw several turtles, lots of stingrays, including a Spotted Eagle Ray that was about 10 feet wide, and baby sharks. The guys spent the evening on the beach trying to catch the sharks and were able to land two this year.

The place we stay faces eastward, so we awake in the morning to the most amazing sunrises and were usually in bed before 9 p.m. We made two trips to an "underwater park," a protected reef in deep water, and saw the most amazing coral. We took some oatmeal and tuna, worked into a ball, and fed the fish. It was the most amazing thing to see all the YellowTail swarm around the boat and my husband, who couldn't get enough of swimming with the fishes.

All in all, a very good time was had by all, but vacations are never long enough!

Upon my return, I immediately travelled to Washington D.C. for a National Association of Counties (NACo) legislative conference. At the request of the County Commissioner's Association of Ohio, I serve as a representative on NACo's Justice and Public Safety Committee. Most of the time we were working on the problem of Meth...really nasty stuff and a growing concern. Meth use started out west and has been moving eastward. So far, we haven't identified any meth labs in Lucas County, but there have been some in the more rural counties around us. The problem with Meth (besides the whole addiction aspect) is that any "lab" qualifies as a haz-mat site because of the chemicals involved in production. They're very dangerous and often explode.

Since then, we've had lots of coverage on the topic of "discretionary funds." My plan was to post an article entitled, "Community Funding - Lucas County's own version of Pork." However, with all the publicity, I believe that most of the facts are now known - for Toledo and Lucas County.

I will continue to oppose such expenditures - and will probably do a more in-depth post about the excuses I continue to hear for why it's okay to spend YOUR money to buy votes by making donations to charitable organizations.

That's all for now - thanks for stopping by!
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