Sunday, February 15, 2004

In the Tristate


Bullfrog, toad vie for state amphibian

COLUMBUS - Frog or toad?

School children have proposed the American toad and the bullfrog for the state amphibian, both of which can be found in all 88 Ohio counties, as candidates.

"Hopefully when this is all over we can have a toast to the toad," said state Rep. Jamie Callender, sponsor of the bill supporting Bufo americanus.

The bullfrog, also known as Rana catesbeiana, enjoyed early bipartisan support last fall as state Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Columbus, and state Sen. Theresa Fedor, D-Toledo, introduced companion legislation.

A social studies class in the Columbus suburb of Dublin approached lawmakers with that proposal while studying the legislative process.

Union workers OK contract with Kroger

INDIANAPOLIS - Union workers at 15 Kroger stores, mostly in northern Indiana, have approved a new contract, the company said.

The agreement with Union Food and Commercial Workers Local 700 covers about 300 nonfood workers and was ratified overwhelmingly, Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. said in a statement.

The Indiana stores covered by the agreement are in Elkhart, Goshen, Fort Wayne, LaPorte, Mishawaka, Plymouth, South Bend and Warsaw, along with stores in Defiance, Ohio, and Sturgis, Mich.

Kroger said the new contract, in effect through March 31, 2007, includes ratification bonuses, increased wages and increases of up to 8 percent a year in health-insurance premiums.

The ratification comes as negotiations continue on a new contract for about 4,000 workers at 58 Kroger stores in central Indiana. Workers had voted to strike in November before the union and the company agreed to an indefinite contract extension.

Head of Lake Erie commission resigns

COLUMBUS - The executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission quietly resigned after allegations of inappropriate use of his state computer.

Jeffrey L. Busch, 50, of Toledo, was told resign on Jan. 30 by Christopher Jones, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director and chairman of the panel.

Busch was making $69,264 a year heading the commission, which oversees Lake Erie protection issues and awards research grants.

EPA officials did not elaborate on the nature of the computer use.

Busch told The Columbus Dispatch the allegations did not involve pornography. "I was using it for personal use, Internet use, surfing for just general stuff."




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