John Bussian, a pretty sharp media attorney, is a Duke graduate and I’m told the proud owner of some mighty nice courtside basketball tickets.
A few years back I hit him up for the tickets of the Duke-North Carolina game, which is like asking someone to fork over their Ohio State-Michigan football tickets. In presenting my case to John, I tried to make the argument that The Lima News really purchased the tickets with all that money we paid John to fight for public records cases.
He didn’t buy it and I’m sure Judges Warren or Reed would agree. So no tickets for me.
But one thing still holds true: Fighting for public records in court can quickly can ring up a bill amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.
This is where we tell Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to stand up and take a bow for putting together the “Mediation for Public Records Disputes” program. It offers the services of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to play the role of a neutral mediator if there’s a conflict between residents or reporters and local governments.
“We want citizens to receive the information they’re after. We want government entities to have a clear and reasonable path toward complying with a request. To speed up the process, and to save taxpayer money and everyone’s time, we launched a voluntary Public Records Mediation Program,” DeWine said. “Our goal is to protect the rights and interests of Ohioans, the media, and local officials as well as work toward resolving disputes before any of the parties engage in costly and time-consuming litigation.”
The mediation sessions are private, confidential and cost-free.
DeWine’s offer to try to forge a truce between the two sides scores a victory for common sense as well as good government. Ohioans without the resources to wage a court battle had no real recourse before. This program can save time and money while helping public agencies get public records out to those who request them.
ROSES AND THORNS: A naked man and thieving woman find their way into the rose garden.
Rose: Two Westminster brothers have been married to two sisters for 70-plus years. Brice Richardson married June Rose on June 9, 1941. The following year Paul Richardson married Jean Rose at the age of 16.
Rose: To Lima Police Department Maj. Chip Protsman, who is among the four final candidates being considered for police chief in the Columbus suburb of Delaware. Ironically, many on the Lima police force oppose Lima being able to consider someone from the outside to become its police chief should a vacancy open.
Rose: To Kelly Prichard, of Allen East Schools. In the wake of numerous tragic auto accidents involving students, she put together a student group that puts on programs about the dangers of texting as well as drinking while driving. She was among a group of people honored by the Fraternal Order of Police and the Lima-Allen Safety Coalition last week.
Rose: The University of Northwestern Ohio continues its expansion program, officially opening its Motorsports Racing complex last week. Later this month it will have the grand opening of its Student Commons and next year plans to open an indoor athletic complex and fitness center. Among the projects the past five years:
• Ohio State Beauty Academy (2012).
• Soccer and softball field complexes (2012).
• New dorms (2012-2010).
• Tennis courts and baseball fields (2010).
• Administration Building (2009).
• UNOH Event Center Grand Opening (2008).
• Barnes & Noble Bookstore and Starbucks Café(2008).
• The Hunter Engineering Building that includes steering and suspension labs and alternate fuels labs (2007).
Thorn: Beware of a woman seeking favors on West Market Street in the 400 to 600 blocks. A 72-year-old man told Lima Police Department officers a woman stopped by his room to borrow a cigarette. He also thinks she ended up “borrowing” $900 in cash, his Social Security card and his driver license, all of which were missing when she left. A 64-year-old man said a woman wanted to borrow one of his shirts to wear to a court appearance. He believes she also left his apartment with his wallet and a $50 money order.
Thorn: To an East Elm Street man who walks around naked outside while feeding his dog. Not a pretty picture, here.
Thorn: A Lima Middle School student made 35 counterfeit $1 bills on his home computer and turned them in to his class fundraising project.
PARTING SHOT: A hammer doesn’t lose its head until it flies off the handle.