Saturday, April 29, 2006

New Links Added

As you can see, I've added some links to my site - finally. They're in alphabetical order at this time, but I may, in the future, begin to group them by category.

When I first started blogging, I received some good advice from History Mike, whom I "met" through Toledo Talk. ( He encouraged me to do a blog, but also cautioned me about links, saying that links were great ways to generate traffic, but you need to be careful about where you link to. Some bloggers, he warned, were not as careful (in terms of language, facts vs. opinions, etc...) about their posts as others.

So, for the last several months, I've been visiting many sites and looking for the ones I like AND the ones I think those of you who read my site will find interesting.

Obviously, History Mike's Musings is one of them. His approach to his blog is thoughtful, he's a very good writer and he covers a variety of topics. He's also got several other sites that represent his interests in history and journalism.

The next site is Glass City Jungle ( Lisa Renee, who publishes this look at the 'jungle' of Toledo and Lucas County politics, was also the blogger selected to do the live blogging during the 5-way county commissioner debate. Lisa has stated her liberal perspective, but does an excellent job of trying to present both sides of an issue. Her writing is clear, concise, reflective and I enjoy reading her posts, even when I may disagree with her opinion.

I've not met Mike nor Lisa in person, but I can't help but think this would be a better place if there were more people like them here.

I've also included a link to Hooda_Thunkit's site (, primarily because I love the name. Actually, Hooda posts to numerous blogs and always has a perspective I appreciate. His blog is more of a reflection on every-day issues and annoyances. As his intro says, "I can ask rhetorical questions, rant, vent, and ask and answer my own questions. The best part is that my family no longer asks me who I am talking to..." I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

There are some traditional links found on most Toledo area blogs: Toledo Bloggers (a listing of blog sites), Toledo Talk, Toledo Free Press, and (which I read for access to some of my favorite columnists). I've also included a link to the new Fallen Timbers Republican Club message board. I believe this is the first Republican Club that's put out such a message board - and this one includes polls (so if you have an opinion on the new license plate fee increase, go vote).

If you've not seen, you should. This is a fun site that researches urban legends and reports the facts. Our most recent use of this was to debunk the myth of a penny dissolving in a glass of Coke in 24 hours (not true).

So those are my links. I must be honest and say that I read other blogs on a regular basis, but haven't yet decided whether or not to provide a link.

The "newest" one I'm familiar with is Progressive Toledo. It's primarily a liberal perspective and is currently more of an "I love Ben Konop" site than anything else. I don't know what it will evolve into, but since they've publicly stated that conservative opinions are not wanted, I probably will not link to them. Two others I read are Toledo Speaks Out and Politics in Mudville, so if you're interested, you can check them out, too.

So those are the links - for now. Thanks, again, History Mike for the good advice!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Even commissioners make mistakes

Okay - I really screwed up (when was the last time you heard an elected official say that?)...but being human, that's what happens.

The County Commissioners passed a resolution to set public hearing dates so we can get feedback on a proposal by County Engineer Keith Earley to increase the fees on license plate registrations in the 11 Townships and 5 Villages.

I mistakenly thought that this was PERMISSIVE authority we would be voting upon and that the townships and villages would also have to approve this increase before it could take effect - and I said so in several places, including an news interview on WSPD.

Engineer Earley informed me this morning of my error and so now I'm correcting it.

The County Commissioners can pass a resolution WITHOUT FURTHER VOTE OF OTHER JURISDICTIONS to increase the license plates fees. The additional $5 fee would be collected in the 11 townships (Harding, Jerusalem, Monclova, Providence, Richfield, Spencer, Springfield, Swanton, Sylvania, Washington and Waterville) and in the 5 villages (Berkey, Harbor View, Holland, Ottawa Hills, and Waterville).

So if you live in these areas and you have an opinion about this increase in your license plates fees, come to the public meetings and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, May 16th at 7 p.m.
Hosted by Swanton and Harding Townships
Valleywood Golf Club
13502 Airport Highway
Swanton, OH

Tuesday, May 23rd at 9:30 a.m.
Commissioners Chambers
1 Government Center
Toledo, OH

Monday, April 24, 2006

Who would have guessed?

Gongwers is a daily news service covering state house activity in Columbus. Recently, they reported:

"A $3.4 million cash transfusion for the Division of Emergency Medical Services cleared the Controlling Board without objection Monday, a Band-Aid approach to a fiscal problem created because more drivers are using their seat belts.

The Controlling Board approved a request from the Department of Public Safety to transfer $2.9 million from an emergency medical service grants program and $442,553 from an elementary school seat belt program into the Division of Emergency Medical Services. The division trains and certifies the state's emergency first responders, and is the administrative arm of the state board responsible for disaster response planning and trauma system management.

Kathryn Ludowese, department chief fiscal officer, said fines imposed against violators of the seat belt law are the sole source of revenue for the EMS Division. Since safety restraint usage has reached an all-time high, there is less money available to fund division operations.

Seat belt revenue amounted to just over $2 million in fiscal year 2003. For fiscal year 2005, the amount generated fell to $1.1 million. The General Assembly was made aware of the funding problem during work on the current state budget, and the measure authorized the Controlling Board to approve a transfer of cash between funds.

Ms. Ludowese said the transfer would not affect grants to local EMS units. Without the transfer, the division would have to reduce its 27-member staff, causing, the department said, an "unacceptable decline in service." Sen. Finance Chairman John Carey (R-Wellston) asked about progress toward identifying an alternative funding source in the next budget cycle. Ms. Ludowese could offer no information about a specific proposal. "I certainly understand your curiosity about that," she said.


While the work of this department is very important, it just goes to show that when the funding from this "crime" runs out, a new law will have to be passed to make some other activity illegal, thus producing a new source of revenue for government.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Good News from UT & Owens

In my last post, I wrote about a report ("Brain Drain or Weak Attraction? Migration of Ohio's Young College-Educated Population" December 2003) which had several interesting policy recommendations, one of which was:

Keep more Ohio high school graduates in the state for college and ensure that they graduate. Ohio high school graduates who go to college in Ohio are far more likely to be “stayers” than those who leave the state for college.

Then along comes the Regional Growth Partnership's newsletter, The Regional Express, with these two articles:

New UT Engineering Program Grooms Future Entrepreneurs

Designed to provide a unique learning experience for students and to support regional economic development, the University of Toledo recently launched the Engineering Freshman Entrepreneurship Program.

Under the program, students are introduced to entrepreneurship during their freshman year, acquire the necessary business and communication skills that complement their engineering studies, and have opportunities to cultivate community contacts.

“This is not a major, a minor or a center,” said Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering. “It’s about making a transition to a culture of entrepreneurism.”

Dr. Naganathan believes that if students are provided experience early in their college years and get connected in the community, they are more likely to start a new business upon graduation right here in Northwest Ohio. He said the program will also present students with an additional tool that may differentiate them from others during subsequent job interviews.

The program was made possible through a donation from Dr. Tom and Betsy Brady, who founded and operate Plastic Technologies, Inc. Tom was recognized by Ernst & Young as Entrepreneur of the Year in 1989 and 2005.

Owens Community College

When Master Chemical donated $250,000 in state-of-the-art machining and grinding equipment to Owens Community College, the purpose was to support the education and training of students in manufacturing technology programs.

But now, these aspiring students have taken the next step by operating the equipment to run critical performance tests for Master Chemical, providing the company with essential data to increase productivity and efficiency. Owens students who receive this high-tech training will be able to apply their skills as future CNC operators, programmers, machinists and certified quality technicians in any manufacturing industry

These news items show that at least someone in Northwest Ohio is paying attention to facts and not fads when it comes to creating an environment that leads to the creation of jobs. Congrats UT College of Engineering and Owns Community College!!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Truth About Brain Drain

I lot has been said about "brain drain," the loss of young graduates from our area and our state. The most commonly offered solution to this phenomenon is to create entertain districts or artistic districts under the belief that we need cultural and entertainment activities to give younger people things to do.

But these ideas - even the current definition of brain drain - are not rooted in fact.

As part of some research I was doing on another topic, I came across a November 2004 Board of Regents publication called "The Issue." This one was "Is Ohio Experiencing 'Brain Drain'?" And here are the main points and conclusions:

The Governor's Commission on Higher Education and the Economy (CHEE) commissioned a report about the issue to determine the extent of the problem and to discuss how to address it. The actual report is "Brain Drain or Weak Attraction? Migration of Ohio's Young College-Educated Population" December 2003 by Dixie Sommers, Center for Human Resource Research, The Ohio State University, College of Social and Behavioral Science.

Between 1995 and 2000, 10% of the US population 20 and over moved to another state.

Education increases mobility - in the same time period, 28% of the 20-29 year olds with at least a bachelor's degree relocated to another state.

States with larger population centers near state lines often experience higher rates of migration - this is important to Ohio where 29% of the population lives in counties bordering another state.

The 2000 Census showed that Ohio suffered a net loss in the migration of college graduates in and out of the state. "However, one should not jump to conclusions that an exceedingly high number of Ohio's graduates are leaving the state." (emphasis added)

The good news for Ohio is that in the last decade, Ohio's young college graduates were no more likely to leave the state than college graduates generally across the nation.

Out-migration rates:

US - 28.4%
Ohio - 26.8%
Kentucky - 27.1%
Michigan - 27.2%
Pennsylvania - 31.5%
Indiana - 36%

Ohio graduates are not leaving the state in disproportionately high numbers, and are actually slightly less likely to migrate out of the state than are graduates from neighboring states.

The bad news is that too few graduates are coming INTO Ohio from other states and abroad to replace those who leave. The reason for the net loss of college graduates in Ohio is Ohio's failure to attract graduates. In 2000, Ohio ranked 49th in the percent of its population who were in-migrants.

The report did identify the reasons for the low numbers of in-migrants:

* lack of new job growth - from 1995-2000, nonfarm payroll jobs in Ohio increased by 5.6 percent, less than half of the 12.4 percent increase for the US. This rate of growth was actually slower than all but two other states in the country. It is no coincidence that young college graduates who leave Ohio most often move to states with higher rates of job growth where they earn an average of 11.6% more than those who remain in-state.

* Ohio's economy is not producing enough jobs that require a college degree. In 2000, only 19% of Ohio's jobs required a bachelor's degree or higher - lower than the national average of 20.7% and neighboring states such as Michigan (20%) and Pennsylvania (21.6%).

* not enough "arrivers" - students who come into the state for college. On average, 43% of out-of-state students stay in the state where they went to college. Only 23% of "leavers," high school graduates who go out of state to college, return to their home state after graduation. If fewer students are coming into Ohio to attend college, statistics show that fewer will remain here upon graduating.

To reverse the trend of negative net migration of college graduates, Ohio must continue to strive to increase access to its institutions of higher education, and to once again become an net importer of college students. High school graduates who attend college in Ohio are more likely to be "stayers" than those who attend school out of state.

Also, Ohio must increase the percentage of its population in postsecondary education. Ohio lags behind the nation in educational attainment - ranking 41st in the nation for the percent of population with at least a bachelor's degree.

Finally, Ohio must place an emphasis on attracting and creating jobs that require a college education. These types of jobs will provide higher salaries, encourage more Ohioans to stay in the state and will encourage graduates from out of state to locate here.

That is the summary of the report and I've asked for the entire report to be sent to me. But the most glaring point of all this research is that nowhere did anyone identify arts, culture and entertainment as the key to ending brain drain.

Maybe we should actually heed the research instead of catering to fads.
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