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OREGON, OH – Sandy Bihn of Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association Talks About Nutrients, Bay Shore Power Plant & Beach Safety: Part 1 | Video | Podcast

July 12, 2010

See here if video will not load: http://www.vimeo.com/13264818

Last week, Sandy Bihn, a founder of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association, sat down with The Erie Wire to discuss the goals of her organization as well as some of the most pressing issues facing Lake Erie today. Listen to this week’s podcast and watch as she goes into detail about what the future holds for our Great Lake if appropriate action is not taken to protect this valuable resource.


Listen to Part 2


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Sandy Bihn | Part 1 | Podcast

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Sandy Bihn of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association. photo: Joshua B. Pribanic

WLEWA is a nonprofit organization part of the Waterkeeper Alliance and serves the waters and fish of Lake Erie, beginning in the east at Sandusky Bay and extending west to the Ohio line of the Maumee River. This includes counties in Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario; the rivers Raisin, Maumee, Sandusky, Touissaint, Portage, Ottawa, and Huron; and all creeks, ditches, drain pipes and runoff to the waters of Western Lake Erie, with the exception of the Detroit River.

WLEWA’s mission is to preserve, protect, and improve the watershed, waters, and fish of Western Lake Erie, the Great Lakes’ warmest, shallowest, most biologically productive area, and to increase public awareness through collaboration, education and advocacy. They hold regular programs and presentations demonstrating how to be a good environmental steward with our regions resources.

Sandy Bihn pulling apart algae from the Lake Erie shoreline. photo: Joshua B. Pribanic

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Industry Funds EPA’s Recent Safety Study for Pesticides in Drinking Water: Peer Review vs. Lobbyists

July 12, 2010

Agency Says Company’s Evidence ‘Scientifically More Robust’ than Independent Research

By Danielle Ivory
Huffington Post Investigative Fund

Companies with a financial interest in a weed-killer sometimes found in drinking water paid for thousands of studies federal regulators are using to assess the herbicide’s health risks,records of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show. Many of these industry-funded studies, which largely support atrazine’s safety, have never been published or subjected to an independent scientific peer review.

Meanwhile, some independent studies documenting potentially harmful effects on animals and humans are not included in the body of research the EPA deems relevant to its safety review, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund has found. These studies include many that have been published in respected scientific journals.

Even so, the EPA says that it would be “very difficult for someone to put a thumb on the scale” to slant the outcome.

Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. An estimated 76 million pounds of the chemical are sprayed on corn and other fields in the U.S. each year, sometimes ending up in rivers, streams, and drinking water supplies. It has been the focus of intense scientific debate over its potential to cause cancer, birth defects, and hormonal and reproductive problems. As the Huffington Post Investigative Fund reported in a series of articles last fall, the EPA failed to warn the public that the weed-killer had been found at levels above federal safety limits in drinking water in at least four states. Some water utilities are suing Syngenta to have it pay their costs of filtering the chemical.

Now the EPA is re-evaluating the health risks of atrazine, which was banned in the European Union in 2004 due to a lack of evidence to support its safe use. That ban includes Switzerland, where atrazine’s manufacturer, Syngenta, is headquartered. The EPA expects to announce results of its re-examination of the herbicide in September 2010. It could take action ranging from restrictions on its use on crops to an outright ban. Or it could permit continued use without additional restrictions.

The company, one of the world’s largest agribusinesses, says the chemical has been used safely for decades and restrictions could prove devastating to farmers who are heavily dependent on the inexpensive herbicide. Atrazine poses “no harm” to the general population or to drinking water supplies, said company spokesman Steven Goldsmith.

EPA records obtained by The Huffington Post Investigative Fund show that at least half of the 6,611 studies the agency is reviewing to help make its decision were conducted by scientists and organizations with a financial stake in atrazine, including Syngenta or its affiliated companies and research contractors.

More than 80 percent of studies on which the EPA are relying have never been published. This means that they have not undergone rigorous “peer review” by independent scientists, a customary method to ensure studies are credible and scientifically sound before they can be published in major journals.

At the same time several prominent studies by independent academic scientists in well-respected scientific journals – showing negative reproductive effects of atrazine in animals and humans – are absent from the EPA’s list.

That finding may raise concerns about how the agency is doing its work. Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees environmental regulators, told the Investigative Fund, “it’s critically important that EPA use all of the information at its disposal.”

Agency scientists may review studies not on the list, but EPA senior policy analyst William Jordan said that the 6,611 studies are those considered “relevant to the assessment of atrazine.”

‘Not Just Atrazine’

EPA spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara said the list was not exhaustive and that some studies may not be on the list because they were not given an eight-digit “master record identification number,” which the agency uses to keep track of studies. There is “no uniform practice” for assigning numbers to studies submitted by people other than those working for herbicide, fungicide or pesticide manufacturers, she added.

EPA officials said that with a limited budget the agency must rely heavily on research sponsored by parties with a stake in the outcome. The agency’s “test guidelines” governing how experiments are conducted – the types and number of lab animals to be used, for instance. These provide sufficient safeguards against skewed results, officials said.

“Companies have a very strong incentive to follow the guidelines,” said EPA senior analyst Jordan. “We hope and think that we have written the guidelines with enough detail that it would be very difficult for someone to put a thumb on the scale, as it were, to slant the outcome, [or] to make something look safer than it is.”

Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist specializing in health issues at the Natural Resources Defense Council, argues that relying on a company to test the safety of its own product – an “inherent conflict” of interest – is part of a larger pattern at the EPA. “It’s not just happening with atrazine,” she said.

Hundreds of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals are regulated by the EPA, whose decisions can have significant implications for public health and on the abilities of an array of multinational companies to earn billions of dollars in the U.S.

By law, industry influence often is built into the regulatory process of the federal government. At the Food and Drug Administration, for instance, clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies are used to determine whether pills and devices work and are safe. Makers of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides also must pay for studies on their products. If they meet agency rules for conducting the testing, the EPA must accept them.


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HURON, OH – McCormick School Huron Playhouse | The Importance of Being Earnest | Oscar Wilde | Podcast

July 12, 2010

The Importance of Being Earnest at the Huron Playhouse. photo: Jenna Martin

The Huron Playhouse kicked off its 62nd season with Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, which was presented though special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. out of New York City, New York.  This classic combined with the resources of Ohio’s longest running community summer theatre made for a complete performance. Costumes and set design featured the great embellishments of the play’s setting with wonderful expression from each of the cast members. (Click on any image to view a slideshow of the performance.)

Set in late Victorian England in 1895, the play’s humour derives in part from characters maintaining fictitious identities to escape unwelcome social obligations. With witty dialogue, it satires some of the foibles and hypocrisy of late Victorian society. It has proved to be Wilde’s most enduringly popular play. Click here for a complete plot synopsis.

The Importance of Being Earnest at the Huron Playhouse. photo: Jenna Martin

The Importance of Being Earnest at the Huron Playhouse. photo: Jenna Martin

The scene where Gwendolyn Fairfax, played by Bethany Edlund, and Cecily Cardew, played by Miriam Henkel-Moellmann, are bantering about which of them is engaged to Earnest Worthing was especially fun to watch. Each of these two characters were believable as well-mannered women society about to lose their manners over this cheeky misunderstanding.  Their expressive interactions made for a perfect transition in this hilarious storyline.

Listen to this week’s edition of On The Wire as Joshua Pribanic interview’s Jennifer Lefsyk, who plays Miss Prism, backstage before the performance.

Consider donating to the Huron Playhouse! Unsure if it will be have to close its doors after this season due to funding cuts at Bowling Green State Universtiy, the playhouse is looking to fill the

The Importance of Being Earnest at the Huron Playhouse. photo: Jenna Martin

gaps in order to keep up annually with $300,000 in operational costs. Contact Dr. Jann Glann at jglann@bgsu.edu and visit The Huron Playhouse Online.


(Note: this recording may take a minute to load: please be patient. Also, some recordings do not play well on built-in computer speakers; and would require headphones or a strong set of speakers attached to your computer.)

Huron Playhouse | Podcast

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SANDUSKY, OH – Sandusky Bay Farmers’ Market & Kids Art Fest | 07-09-10 | Slideshow

July 12, 2010

Umbrella protects produce at the Sandusky Bay Farmers' Market. photo: Matt Monachino

Community members and tourists gathered Friday afternoon – 07/09/10 – at the Sandusky Bay Famers’ Market to experience this seasons fourth available harvest in the Jackson Street Parking Lot. The many faces and available goods were captured by The Erie Wire’s photographer, Jenna Martin, to be viewed in a Picassa Slideshow. Take a look at a colorful side of Sandusky culture, and the warm embrace of fresh local goods.(click on any image to view slideshow)

Plums after the rain at the Friday afternoon Farmers' Market in Sandusky, OH. photo: Matt Monachino

The market is beginning to take on a variety of local vegetables and fruits as we approach the peak of the harvest season. This week we saw the first peach crop from Bergmans Orchards, Atomic Red/Yellow/Purple carrots, sweet corn, all colors of peppers and the second weeks worth of squash and zucchini. New farms spread throughout the Firelands Watersheds (Sandusky, Huron and Vermilion) have joined the Friday market to bring Sanduskians the best of all Ohio produce. Be sure to show your support for local farms by visiting the Friday market from 3-6pm in the Jackson Street Parking Lot.

During the month of July, the Friday market will feature musical acts from Cory Berlekamp of Troubled Mountain Trio, Toledo, and traveling musicians out of Colorado. On July 30, nationally touring musicians Coco & Lafe will be performing a free show to create awareness about local food and farmers markets. They are playing at 100 farmers’ markets across the U.S. this summer, with Sandusky Bay Farmers’ Market on their list of planned performances! Stop down to hang out and enjoy the sound at the Friday market.

Cory Berlekamp of Troubled Mountain Trio performs at the Sandusky Bay Farmers' Market on Friday afternoon. photo: Jenna Martin


Also this was the fourth week for Kids Art Fest, where kids were loaded with paint and brushes to create their own rendition of a “Mondrian” painting. The Sandusky Bay Farmers’ Market website reads:

Paiting Mondrian for the Kids Art Fest at the Sandusky Bay Farmers' Market on Friday afternoons. photo: Jenna Martin

Every Friday from June 18th to August 6th the Farmers’ Market will host a Kids Art Fest where children of all ages can come and learn how to throw paint like Picasso. Athena Pribanic, a fine arts student at the Columbus College of Art and Design, will be instructing the event week to week. Painting instructions are provided from 3-6pm (kids can arrive at anytime to participate).

Each week kids will learn how to paint like the great artists of the past and present. They’ll be provided with non-toxic paints, a painter’s apron, practice paper,

brushes, and a final prepared canvas where everyone will paint together in the style of that week. See the dates below to attend a session:

  • June 25 – Painting Cubism. “Cubes or Squares?”
  • July 2 – Painting Surrealism. “Paint your dreams.”
  • July 9 Paint like Mondrian. “Red, Blue and Yellow take over.”
  • July 16Painting Impressionism. “Mixing color with light.”
  • July 23Painting Art Nouvea. “Swirls, swirls and more swirls.”
  • July 30Printmaking with puzzles. “Make your mark.”
  • August 6 – Kids Art Show.

At the end of the eight weeks, the Farmers’ Market will showcase all the kids paintings (August 6th). Afterward, the paintings will be rotated in local businesses to be sold as a fundraiser for the program and for the promotion of arts and cultural events in Erie County, OH. Bids will be taken on each painting until September 30th.

Athena Pribanic teaching Mondrian at the Sandusky Bay Farmers' Market. photo: Jenna Martin

Painting Mondrian for the Kids Art Fest during the Sandusky Bay Farmers' Market on Friday afternoons. photo: Jenna Martin

Painting classes during the Kids Art Fest at the Sandusky Bay Farmers' Market. photo: Jenna Martin

SANDUSKY, OH – Mad River Music Features Copus Hill | Podcast

July 12, 2010

Bret Schee dancing to Copus Hill at Water Street Bar and Grille. photo: Jenna Martin

Copus Hill of Mansfield, Ohio, performed bluegrass last Saturday at Water Street Bar & Grille in downtown Sandusky. While the band usually plays gigs at festivals and private events, the quartet is scheduled to perform again at Water Street on Saturday, August 28. Please enjoy the music!


(Note: this recording may take a minute to load: please be patient. Also, some recordings do not play well on built-in computer speakers; and would require headphones or a strong set of speakers attached to your computer.)

Copus Hill | Podcast

Subscribe to our free Podcast “On The Wire” to receive weekly audio trimmings of recordings in Erie County, OH.


Copus Hill at Water Street Bar and Grille. photo: Jenna Martin

SANDUSKY, OH – Fourth of July Fireworks | Video

July 12, 2010

In recognition of our nation’s holiday, The Erie Wire found some enthusiastic Americans celebrating their independence with the tradition of lighting fireworks after Cedar Point finished their regularly scheduled display this past Fourth of July.

SANDUSKY, OH – Sandusky Bay Farmers’ Market & Kids Art Fest | 06-25-10 | Slideshow

June 30, 2010

Nora Burns carrying home chard from Old Milan Canal Farm. photo: Jenna Martin

Community members and tourists gathered Friday afternoon – 06/25/10 – at the Sandusky Bay Famers’ Market to experience this seasons fourth available harvest in the Jackson Street Parking Lot. The many faces and available goods were captured by The Erie Wire’s photographer, Jenna Martin, to be viewed in a Picassa Slideshow. Take a look at a colorful side of Sandusky culture, and the warm embrace of fresh local goods.(click on any image to view slideshow)

Coming soon during the month of July to the Friday market will be musical acts from Toledo, and traveling musicians out of Colorado. Stop down to hang out and enjoy the sound at the Friday market.

Also this was the second week for Kids Art Fest, where kids were loaded with paint and brushes to create their own rendition of a “Cubism” painting. The Sandusky Bay Farmers’ Market website reads:

Practice canvas. photo: Jenna Martin

Every Friday from June 18th to August 6th the Farmers’ Market will host a Kids Art Fest where children of all ages can come and learn how to throw paint like Picasso. Athena Pribanic, a fine arts student at the Columbus College of Art and Design, will be instructing the event week to week. Painting instructions are provided from 3-6pm (kids can arrive at anytime to participate).

Each week kids will learn how to paint like the great artists of the past and present. They’ll be provided with non-toxic paints, a painter’s apron, practice paper,

brushes, and a final prepared canvas where everyone will paint together in the style of that week. See the dates below to attend a session:

  • June 18 – Paint like Jackson Pollack. “Throwing paint is art.”
  • Painting Cubism at the Sandusky Bay Farmers Market. photo: Jenna Martin


  • June 25
    – Painting Cubism. “Cubes or Squares?”
  • July 2 – Painting Surrealism. “Paint your dreams.”
  • July 9 Paint like Mondrian. “Red, Blue and Yellow take over.”
  • July 16Painting Impressionism. “Mixing color with light.”
  • July 23Painting Art Nouvea. “Swirls, swirls and more swirls.”
  • July 30Printmaking with puzzles. “Make your mark.”
  • August 6 – Kids Art Show.

At the end of the eight weeks, the Farmers’ Market will showcase all the kids paintings (August 6th). Afterward, the paintings will be rotated in local businesses to be sold as a fundraiser for the program and for the promotion of arts and cultural events in Erie County, OH. Bids will be taken on each painting until October 31st.

Painting Cubism during the Kids Art Fest at the Sandusky Bay Farmers Market. photo: Jenna Martin

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