Two numbers appear at the top of Page 1 today. The top number is 87, signifying the number of days that Husky and United Steelworkers union Local 624 have been unable to settle a strike.
The second is the number 67, signifying the number of days that have gone by since a motorist drove her car into a Rally in the Square concert in Lima, injuring 27 people. The woman has yet to be charged by police, who are waiting patiently — perhaps, too patiently — for a toxicologist report to be completed by the Lucas County Coroner’s Office.
Those numbers will be updated and periodically published at the top of the front page. We don’t have any grand allusion that this will somehow expedite things. It’s simply being done as a reminder about the length of time both of these situations have gone on without a resolution.
At Husky, the length of this strike has surpassed the refinery’s 11-week strike in 1980. Sadly, no end appears in sight and the two sides appear further apart than when the strike began.
In regards to the Rally in the Square crash, police officials appear no further along in finishing their investigation than they were hours after the incident took place.
How both situations got to the current status is hard to understand.
When union workers first set up pickets on May 25 at Husky, the general feeling around town and inside the refinery was this would be a short strike. After all, it wasn’t about money, union president Mike Edelbrock told us. Instead, the strike concerned “safety and quality-of-life issues,” the latter centering on the usage of vacation time and trading shifts.
It didn’t take long for hopes of a short strike to deteriorate. At one point the union thought its safety issues were close to being resolved, only to see them now at the center of negotiations. And lately, the company has been hinting about contracting out some of the jobs once done by the union.
As for the Rally in the Square crash, it is inconceivable it happened more than two months ago and there is no word yet on whether Lima Police Department officials plan to file charges. If it hadn’t been for the work of a Lima News reporter — who tracked down the woman and interviewed her — the public still would have little information about what may have caused her to drive into the crowd.
Lima Police Department officials told us the toxicology report is likely being delayed by a heavy caseload at the Toledo lab. We would hope police officials are making the argument that after two months, an investigation into a wreck that injured 27 people would receive some type of priority.
We also cannot help but compare the limited amount of information shared by the Lima Police Department to this day on the Rally in the Square crash, with how Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey shared information following a deputy’s involvement with the death of a police dog.
Within days after the incident, Grey told the good, the bad and the ugly of what he knew. The deputy spoke before a news conference. The results of the department’s investigation was made public.
Sure, many people — including us — disagree with the decision not to seek animal cruelty charges against the deputy. The public wasn’t, however, left with a void of information.
It’s what we like to call “transparency.”
ROSES AND THORNS: A few this week.
Rose: To Jim Offenbaker, who announced he will be retiring as Lima Senior athletic director at the end of this school year. No one is a bigger cheerleader for Spartan sports teams, and during his 14 years as athletic director, he guided Lima Senior through a significant expansion of its athletic facilities during tough economic times.
Rose: Bob Evans Farms has purchased Kettle Creations as part of its “Best to Invest” campaign in Ohio. It is exploring an expansion in the future for more capacity.
Rose: To Chuck Ciampaglio, an associate professor at the Wright State campus in Celina, who was part of a segment on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.
Thorn: To Gregory Orick, 40, of Lima, who police said left his vehicle and fled into a nearby woods after causing a crash when he drove his vehicle the wrong way on Interstate 75 near Bowling Green.
Thorn: Live and learn not to leave items in a car overnight. An 18-year-old woman told police someone broke into her car while it was parked in the 2300 block of North Cole Street and stole her purse, wallet, birth certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license, credit cards, backpack, schoolbooks and GPS system.
Thorn: A fire that destroyed a concession stand at Smiley Park in Van Wert was ruled an arson. It caused more than $147,000 in damages to the building and its contents.
PARTING SHOT: Big talk doesn’t compensate for small accomplishments.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. To suggest a rose or thorn, contact him at email@example.com or The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.