It’s been ‘full pool’ for weeks
BUCKEYE LAKE – There were no questions whether Buckeye Lake achieved ‘full pool’ status by the traditional breakfast celebration at the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club April 29.
“No worries about being full pool,” said Deer Creek State Park Manager Sonya Lindsey, who filled in for absent Regional Manager Tim Waln at the early morning breakfast. She and Licking County Chamber of Commerce President Cheri Hottinger and Private Industry Council of Licking County President Girard Besanceney, spoke to a strong crowd of local elected officials, business people, and residents.
A particularly soggy spring filled the lake to capacity early this year. In fact, both last week and this week lake water was overflowing at the Seller’s Point spillway. Lindsey said all the water has led to issues with logjams around the lake, but the lake surface has been so choppy that it’s been difficult to attend to them.
Buckeye Lake water quality is a concern. She said the Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow citizen’s group is working hard to keep Buckeye Lake from suffering the same fate as Grand Lake St. Marys near Celina, which last summer was unindated with toxic blue-green algae.
“ It’s been devastating up there,” said Lindsey. “(Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow) has made marvelous studies.” She said Heidelberg University is testing Buckeye Lake water. Lindsey said the water quality from the Buckeye Lake watershed is higher than the lake water itself, which is the opposite case from Grand Lake St. Marys. Its watershed includes major livestock operations which in turn provide significant nutrients for algae. Very little livestock is raised in the Buckeye Lake watershed.
Some wildlife is unkind to water quality. “One goose can dump (the equivalent of) one 50-pound bag of fertilizer per year,” said Lindsay. “We have a lot of geese.” Carp are also a problem because they stir up sediment from the bottom of the lake. “When you catch one, don’t throw it back,” she said. Lindsey asked lake area residents who use lawn services to request phosphorous free products.
On more positive notes, Lindsey said the Ohio Division of Watercraft awarded Buckeye Lake State Park a $15,000 grant for a courtesy dock at the North Shore Boat Ramp, upgrading restrooms there with better tiling, reroofing the picnics shelters and adding new sand at Crystal Beach. Lindsey announced that former District Preserve Manager Greg Seymour from ODNR’s former Division of Natural Areas and Preserves has been absorbed into the Buckeye Lake State Park management staff. He is very familiar with Buckeye Lake since one of his preserves was Cranberry Bog. Seymour has no formal title yet, but it’ll likely be assistant manager.
“ The entire community is responsible for economic development,” said Hottinger. Companies will explore an area and talk to people who live and work there before committing to the location. “You need to make sure you’re all singing from the same page,” she said. Attracting business is a matter of regionalization. “How do you define a region,” Hottinger asked.
The Buckeye Lake area includes three counties and several school districts, municipalities, and townships. “Don’t pick and choose,” she said. “Make sure everyone in each region knows what you do.” It’s important for business to meet local officials and influential people from all regions so they feel comfortable locating locally. “Make sure your voice is heard,” said Hottinger.
For example, she said the Ohio 79 and I-70 region boasts an advanced materials corridor, which should be marketed to similar industries. “We are the largest manufacturing corridor in Central Ohio,” she said. “Manufacturing is expanding in Licking County.” But, it’s not just about attracting new commercial development; it’s also about retention and expansion. “Build relationships with existing businesses to keep them from closing their doors,” said Hottinger. She said it’s more important then ever that businesses know the region has a strong and willing work force because retirements will significantly thin the national workforce in 15 to 20 years.
Besanceney was one of 88 people Hottinger invited on a trip to China recently. “China is taking advantage of us,” he said. “They’re going to pass us in five years. This is serious stuff.”
Besanceney said the US owes China $1 trillion. “They do not trade their currency,” he said. “We’re getting more for our dollar than we should, which is bad news.” Besanceney explained that China maintains its currency below our dollar’s purchasing power because if it’s easier to buy Chinese currencies, then it’s cheaper to buy Chinese exports. Also, doing so forces all Asian economies to devalue their currency to remain competitive.
He said the US needs to stop China from devaluing its currency. “Have the guts to go over and do this,” said Besanceney. “Don’t let them continue to cheapen their money.” If China won’t agree, then he suggested the US impose tariffs on Chinese goods to offset the cheaper prices. “Tell them to do this before we lose our jobs,” said Besanceney, adding that 2006 was the biggest export year for the US and the right moves can return us to that status. “This is all doable,” he said.