Saturday, July 19, 2014

Old is the "new new even as wife knows how to hold hand until the end

Okay so this is how it went down.

Bev and I are on the hunt for a good, reliable, dependable, fuel efficient and comfortable vehicle to get us around town and all. Little Red - my 2005 Hyundai Tucson - has 172,000  hard-earned miles and is showing signs of old age.

However, do not let its interior (shall we say, unique uniqueness surprise you. When you frequently run the hills, streams, gas-line right-of-ways, tractor paths and striking a course around a small Ashtabula County lake to get to the goose-hunting blind you're going to develop some age-related squeaks, groans, rattles and other alien sounds that are more typical of an old man trying to get up from his recliner than a healthy stallion prancing about.

Little Red's rear wiper motor no longer functions, the lever used to adjust the steering wheel's angle is stuck in place, Millie became so excited once that her canine dance-about caused the cup holder cover to break.

Oh, and all the while the rubber engine motor mounts have begun to deteriorate to the point where you get some pretty fair shimmying as the motor vibrates when the engine downshifts.

There's a few other examples of why the Tucson is ready for the Old Folks' home. Passengers frequently express fear, desperately worried that something big and hairy is going to crawl out of the mire and squalor that has grown up from the floor. And not too long ago the granddaughter of a fellow church member who was forced by circumstances to ride in Little Red asked after the short trip when I was going to clean her out.

Kids can say the funniest things though I suspect that either Bev or the girl's grandmother put the poor thing up to asking the question. I, on the other hand, view the Tucson's interior as a major family archeological site; a place to discover treasurers long believed to have disappeared or even become extinct.

Even so, ESS Automotive in Mentor continually remarks that what is ugly on the outside it is what's inside that matters the most. Which is why the car repair firm never hesitates to comment on how well Little Red ticker has been attended to; things like frequent oil changes, replacing tires, getting tune ups as they become due, and always keeping on top of fluid levels so that the machine's engine has never gasped for lack of care.

Still, it is time. For this reason the work has begun in at least supplementing Little Red. The field of potential candidates is narrowing, I've spent many hours scouting local car dealers, visiting their on-line inventories, examining CarFax reports and such.

With that in mind, Bev and I have found a couple of dandy Nissan Rogues as our primary targets. One is a 2013 model with around 26,000 miles, silver in color, standard clothe furnishings, and generally a right comfortable ride.

Oh, and the mileage is better than what the Tucson ever afforded. Bev and I know this because two years ago we rented a virtually identical Rouge to travel to Bev's folks in Florida.

The second Rogue is one year older and with about 12,000 more miles. However - and this is the good part - this particular Rouge has all the whistles and bells for the same price, give or take the contents of a child's piggy bank.

Its cake icing features a sun/moon roof, a very well maintained leather interior, heated seats (the better to soothe the back and help prevent old peoples' complaints about sore behinds), a rear-facing/back-up camera, a working SatNav system, and a stunning high-society shiny coal-black exterior.

On the downside our test drive had the Rogue sounding more like a roaring lion than a tame tabby. A quick inspection indicated the tires were ready for recycling with the possibility of a damaged rear wheel bearing or else out-of-round/improperly balanced tires. The salesman said he'd speak with the dealer's shop manager and see how best to resolve the issue.

Yep, it is a fancy-pants vehicle to be sure but Little Red needs assistance. It no longer ought to be called on for every day outdoorsy use since it has its share of health-related issues - none of which, by the way, are covered by ObamaCare. And the poor thing's Blue and Black Book value say it is worth only around $1,500 to $2,500.

So we determined to keep Little Red as the preferred HuntMobile whereby Berry and Millie can slobber their canine slime to their Labrador retriever hearts and I can use the passenger side floor as a temporary receptacle for emptied Dunkin' Donut coffee cups, discarded copies of The News-Herald and a place to toss peach pits and apple cores. All on a very temporary basis, of course.

This way "Raven" (as we have temporary called it) could be kept clean and on stand-by for whenever a long-distance hunting or fishing trip is needed or simply if I just want to use it to truck my shooting gear to the gun club's ranges.

So where we stand now is that I will keep Little Red until the last gasp of her 87 octane breath, we'll buy Raven and then turn in Bev's means of transportation - her Chevy HHR, nicknamed "Henrietta."

What's that, you say? How did Bev's HHR enter this picture? Darned if I know. After all, Henrietta is newer, has fewer than one-half the road miles of Little Red, and does not demand how cleaning crew members are required to wear hazmat suits.

Somehow Little Red and me have been bamboozled by one smart cookie who really understands it's always best to keep your hand close to the vest until the very end.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"We're Number One!" Yes, Ohio, you are in "Outdoor Life's Deer of the Year" contest

Depending on whether you are a county tourism director in Ohio or a deer hunter hoping to keep your corner a secret, the latest issue of "Outdoor Life" magazine will either make you shout "huzzah!' or send tears rolling down your cheeks.

The magazine's latest installment's front page lead story is its annual "Deer of the Year" profile, highlighting "25 bucks and the tactics used to tag them."

In short, a real hook to excite the state's tourism chieftains and win a smiling nod from the deer-management experts with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

The reason is simple and quickly becomes obvious from both the cover's shot of a mammoth buck and also the spread's opening three pages. Both are devoted to the story of archer Mark Sharp - "a 41-year-old taxidermist from Washington Courthouse, Ohio" who on November 8 of last year arrowed a 21-point buck worth 201 4/8 non-typical inches.

Yet Sharp's deer is not the only Ohio buck taken in 2014 and featured in the "Outdoor Life" piece. Nope, and not by a long TenPoint crossbow long-shot, either.

In fact, of the 25 year profiled in this year's "Outdoor Life Deer of the Year" piece no fewer than six representatives hail from Ohio. That is more than from any other state.

The count shows just two selections came each from Iowa and Illinois. Only Wisconsin seriously nips at Ohio's rear tarsal glands with five displayed representatives.

Besides Sharp and his award-winning buck, the other Ohio "Outdoor Life" magazine honorees are Mark Owen and his 249-inch Pope and Young 22-point buck shot in Wayne County; Chad McKibben's 165-inch Bone & Crocket Club buck taken January 6 during the statewide muzzle-loading season; Mark McDowell of Cincinnati and his 194-inch buck; Shawn Evangelista's 225 5/8 buck taken in Ashtabula County on November 18; and Mark Heitzenrater of Kimbolton, Ohio and his 180-inch buck.

And the magazine likewise says it had received a total of 749 submissions for its 2014 "Deer of the Year" profile. Of this 749 figure, 157 came from Ohio, "the most from any state," the magazine article says.

Now if you are puzzled by a few things regarding "Outdoor Life's" grading, rest assured, there is a method to the magazine editor's madness. While the magazine's print edition offers nothing in the way of what the editors were/are looking for nor why a lower-scoring buck could be profiled more extensively than another, its on-line Internet site does provide guidance.

"Our editors will judge each photo on its quality and tastefulness, the uniqueness of the story behind 
your deer, and the size of your buck and its rack. We're also looking for great stories of first-time successes," the on-line magazine contest guidelines say.

Of course it would be interesting and informative if "Outdoor Life" was more consistent as to which county each of the bucks were taken, by what kind of hunting implement, as well as date of kill.

For further information about the magazine's 2015 "Deer of the Deer" contest project visit its web site at www.OutdoorLife/doy2014.

You'll have to hunt and peck around a little to locate the information, first by noting the second bar from the top of the page where it says "Contests and Sweepstakes."

That key stroke will get you to the "Deer of the Year" page whereupon you'll be directed to the "Enter Here!" page. Here, more information that includes how the contest features something called a " 'Battle of the Bucks' regional face-off," whatever that means.

A list of contest rules is included as well.

As for me, I will be - as I always am - delighted if I can just put some venison in the freezer. A bragging-size rack is icing on the cake.

But best of luck should you arrow or shoot an animal worthy of "Outdoor Life" magazine's interesting big buck photo-and-story contest.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Monday, July 14, 2014

UPDATED: Wildlife Division officers back on duty; driver of fatal high-speed crash charged with two felonies

Even as the Ohio State Highway Patrol continues to investigate the July 6 Clermont County fatal accident involving three Ohio Division of Wildlife officers, the vehicle's driver has been charged with two felony counts of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide.

Charged with the two counts was Paul M. Chisenhall, 36, of Goshen, Ohio, and following his release from Cincinnati's University Hospital on July 9.

It is alleged that Chisenhall attempted to elude Wildlife Division officers after they had attempted to stop a 2005 Saturn L300 sedan near 1,058-acre Stonelick State Park in southwest Ohio's Clermont County.

The three Wildlife Division officers are Jason Keller, who once served as the state wildlife officer assigned to Lake County but now holds the same position in Warren County; Eric Lamb, state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County; and Brian Glodick, a Wildlife Division supervisor.

All three men were placed on paid administrative duty, but returned to full duty - including law enforcement - July 14, said Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Division chief Scott Zody.

The Highway Patrol says the incident began about 7:20 p.m., July 6 – a Sunday. Its official statement says the preliminary and initial investigation reveals that the Saturn “... fled southbound on State Route 727.

“The vehicle crested a hill and the driver lost control. The vehicle traveled off the left side of the road where it struck an embankment and some trees. The vehicle continued across and off the right side of the roadway.”

Besides the driver, Chisenhall, the Saturn's other occupants were Christina M. Singleton, 31, of Newport, KY; Jason C. Wright, 31, of Martinsville, Ohio; and Charles W. McMullen, 34, of Williamsburg, Ohio.

Other known details were that Wright was a rear seat occupant and who was not waring a seat belt while McMullen also was the second rear seat passenger but who was wearing a seat belt restraint at the time of the accident.

Following the accident the three Wildlife Division officers began administering first aid.
However, both men were pronounced dead at the scene with Wright also having been ejected from the vehicle.

For her part, Singleton was the front seat occupant next to Chisenhall and who also was wearing the seat belt/shoulder restraint harness, the Highway Patrol's preliminary investigation report says.
Singleton sustained serious injuries and were life-flighted to University Hospital.

Meanwhile, Chisenhall was transported from the scene by the local township EMS and then life-flighted to University Hospital as well.

As mentioned, following his discharge from University Hospital Chisenhall was taken to the Clermont County Jail where he was then charged with the two F1 felony counts, done so because Chisenhall was driving while under suspension of his driving privileges, said Lt. Wayne Price, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Clermont County Post.

Based on the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission's latest “Quick Reference Guide,” a F1 felony carries a prison term of up to 11 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both, and for each count.

Also, one local news account says Chisenhall was found guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs in 2002 and again in 2005.

As for the Natural Resources' update, an exhaustive internal review of the incident occurred. That review included that Keller “observed a group of individuals consuming what appeared to be alcoholic beverages and acting disorderly,” said Bethany McCorkle, the agency's chief of communications.

Keller then requested assistance as he also observed what he concluded was littering and entering the Saturn “with what appeared to be open containers of alcohol,” the Natural Resources Department said.

Uniformed then made an attempt to stop the Saturn which sped “...away at a high rate of speed.”

When the officers followed the vehicle and crested a hill the state wildlife personnel saw that the Saturn had already crashed, the Natural Resources Department also says.

These officers then administered first aid until the township EMS arrived.

Following departmental policy to ensure that protocols and policies were followed correctly, the three Wildlife Division were placed on paid administrative.

“The three officers that were involved in the incident in Clermont County have been returned to full duty as of this morning (Monday, July 14),” McCorkle said.


Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Expectant blue-green algae bloom threatens Lake Erie drinking water, fishing

Virtually every consumer of Lake Erie will almost certainly complain there's some nasty green stuff in the water this summer, making the resource's so-called “Dead Zone” an even larger grim reaper.

The federal government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that Lake Erie - and thus its dependents – will likely encounter an above-average blue-green algae bloom.
Consequently, says NOAA, this year's algae bloom very well become among “the largest (such blooms) in more than a decade.”

The last time such a large and serious event happened in the lake's Central Basin was only three years ago: 2011, says Kevin Kayle, manager of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources/Division of Wildlife's Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station.

What such a toxic brew would mean if the federal government's scientific computer modeling stays the course is a larger-than-normal dissolved-oxygen depletion with a simultaneous increase in the lake's Dead Zone in Lake Erie, says Kayle.

“Part of what all of this means for us in this end of the lake is being concerned and watchful about the discharges from the Grand and Cuyahoga rivers and what nutrients they put into the lake,” Kayle said. “So if we see a large rain event that produces a heavy discharge of urban and rural oxygen-depleting nutrients, we could see a significant blue-green algae event.”

Such nutrients are the generator upon which the algae run. As the algae organisms die the process consumes the water's oxygen atoms which – in rough and general terms – had bonded themselves to the water molecules.

And without dissolved oxygen the lake's fishes will have to skedaddle, either moving higher up in the water column or else hightailing it to where the water is not so toxic, says Kayle.

“Yellow perch might even move up the water column by up to 20 feet just to find dissolved oxygen” he said.

Which means that anglers will not be able to simply drop their perch rigs unto the lake's floor and expect a hungry fish to snatch the bait. Instead, anglers will need to watch their fish finders and work at the never-easy-task of fishing for suspended perch, says Kayle.

Then too anglers may very will face the daunting task of locating perch, walleye and steelhead trout on a day-by-day basis. That is because a cloud of blue-green algae is never anchored in one location or consistent in size, shape and texture, says Kayle.

“It's a dynamic process, almost like watching a lava lamp” he said.

And though no massive and toxic cloud blue-green algae has yet to materialize, such an event may weeks – or just, days – away, says Kayle.

“It can happen anytime now where we'll get a hot, still period of weather,” Kayle said.
Of course more than just sport fishing is involved, notes scientists as well as advocates for a healthy Lake Erie.

“We clearly have heard that harmful algal blooms will continue to be a regular occurrence that threatens our drinking water and also robs economically important recreational opportunities around Lake, Erie,” says Adam Rissien, the director of Agriculture and Water Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council.

Rissien also says it is “unacceptable that nutrient pollution has been allowed to pollute Lake Erie so significantly that our drinking water is no longer safe without installing costly treatment options or hooking up alternative sources.”

And while nutrients come from a wide source of applicants the chief culprits are farm fields as well as even existing sewage plants. In the case of the former the unchecked, largely unregulated use of fertilizer is the blue-green algae's meal ticket, says Rissien.

Likewise, aged and under-equipped sewage systems are allowing even more nutrients to help the blue-green algae gorge itself on the bountiful energy source, says Rissien.

We simply can no longer afford to get to the point where we need regular updates or even access a cell phone app for Lake Erie's toxic algae forecast,” Rissien said. “As useful as those tools are, what we really need is an action plan to solve this problem once and for all,” Rissien says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net
440-567-5036

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.



Monday, July 7, 2014

UPDATED with OHP and fresh ODNR material Three Ohio wildlife officers involved in fatal high-speed chase



A fatal automobile accident in Clermont County July 6 came following a high-speed chase involving three officers with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife.

Among the three officers involved was Jason Keller, who once served as the state wildlife officer assigned to Lake County but now holds the same position in Warren County.

The other two officers were Eric Lamb, state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County; and Brian Glodick, a Wildlife Division supervisor.

All three men are now on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the accident’s investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Though the matter remains under investigation, what is known is that officers gave chase around 7 p.m., Sunday, pursuing a Saturn L300 sedan near 1,058-acre Stonelick State Park, near Cincinnati.

Officially the Natural Resources Department responded today (July 8) with this short comment sent via e-mail:

"While working at Stonelick State Park on Sunday July 6, 2014, ODNR Wildlife Officer Jason Keller observed a group of individuals consuming what appeared to be alcoholic beverages and acting disorderly.

"After calling for assistance, he also observed them littering and entering a vehicle with what appeared to be open containers of alcohol.

"Uniformed officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but the vehicle accelerated away at a high rate of speed.

"Following the vehicle, the officers crested a hill to find the vehicle had crashed. They administered first aid until EMS arrived on scene."   

 Local news reports say the Saturn was traveling southbound on State Route 727 when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle then veered off the left side of the highway, struck an embankment and trees, and continued across the right side of the roadway.

 In the vehicle were four occupants, including the driver, 36-year-old Paul Chisenhall of Goshen.

The other occupants were Christina Singleton, 31, of Newport; Jason Wright, 31, of Martinsville; and 32-year-old Charles McMullen of Willimsburg.

In the course of the subsequent crash, Wright was ejected from the back seat of the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, local news accounts also report.
McMullen also was pronounced dead at the scene. He too was ejected from the Saturn’s rear seat though he was wearing a seat belt.

Both Singleton and Chisenhall were seriously injured and subsequently life-flighted to University Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.

Local news accounts report that police say both alcohol and excessive speed played a role in the accident.

One news account adds that Chisehall has previously been convicted of operating a motor vehicle “while under the influence of alcohol/drugs in the past.”

“(Chisenhall) was found guilty of driving under the influence in 2002 and 2005. He was also charged with driving under OVI suspension in 2012 but was convicted of a lesser offense,” said a report from the local Fox 19 television station.

Natural Resources Department spokesman Matt Eiselstein said that the incident remains under investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“The ODNR/Division of Wildlife officers will be assisting patrol investigators with this case,” Eiselstein said. “Additional details will be released with the completion of the initial incident report.”

That investigation could take some time, too.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Wayne Price said today (Tuesday, July 8) that the toxicology test report could take up to eight weeks.

Ditto with reconstruction aspect of the investigation, says Price who is the commander of the Patrol's district Post that includes the accident scene.

Thus the Patrol doesn't want to "beat us up on" completing this investigation, said Price.

"We want to do a good, thorough job, and why we didn't put a time-line on it," Price said.

Currently the Patrol has between four and six of its officers working on the investigation. Among the duties performed thus far by Patrol investigators was interviewing both of the accident survivors; Chisehall and Singleton, Price said.

Price said as well that while Ohio State Highway Patrol officers have yet to interview either Keller, Lamb or Glodnick, that process will come about at some point during the investigation.

The Natural Resources Department has an extensive policy and written guidelines for all of  its officers engaged in high-speed pursuits.

Among the exhaustive guideline’s criteria found immediately under the department’s “Primary Considerations” is this notion, all in capital- and bold-type letters: “1. A PURSUIT IS ONLY JUSTIFIED WHEN THE NECESSITY OF THE APPREHENSION OUTWEIGHS THE LEVEL OF DANGER CREATED BY THE PURSUIT.”

The guideline’s second point says also: “An officer shall exercise due regard for the safety of all persons when conducting a vehicle pursuit.”

Further instructions include that training is required in order to engage in high-speed pursuits, that no more than two Natural Resources vehicles do the pursuing, and that “No Officer will engage in a high-speed vehicle pursuit while driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.”

Procedures likewise spell out what are the documenting requirements and post-review details, each of which provide step-by-step protocols.

Among them is the conducting of an internal review of any incident’s details and subsequent officer response as well as adherence to departmental policy and any applicable Ohio law.

Lastly, under the guidelines’ final “Appendix A” is the policy’s position that officers do have the right to engage in a pursuit so not to allow an alleged violator to escape.

“The termination of a pursuit does not prohibit the following of a vehicle at a safe speed, or remaining in an area to re-initiate pursuit if the opportunity and conditions permit.”

This blog may be updated as further information becomes available.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

10 may become the new 9 as the Army looks to swap out its Beretta M9 pistols



It seems that for the U.S. Army 10 may become the new 9.

Or perhaps 40, or possibly 45; anything larger or more powerful than 9, at least.

Word is that the Army and U.S. Air Force are jointly preparing to ditch its 200,000 or so Beretta Model M9 pistol as the service’s chief handgun.

In its place the Army/Air Force are hot on the trail of acquiring not only a different handgun but also a different caliber.

The required parameters include that whatever replaces the M9 and its 9mm configuration must be of a caliber substantially more powerful. Possibilities could include the .357 SIG, the .40 Smith and Wesson, and the 10mm.

Reports are that the Army/Air Force have been sniffing around for the past few years, looking to replace the M9 and its 9mm chambering which some U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan believe is too anemic.

Reliability issues with the M9 are a concern as well; veterans’ saying the pistol is easy to become clogged with desert dust and dirt.

As a way of historical footnote, the M9 and its 9mm chambering were approved in 1985. The first order was for 315,930 pistols with a value of $75 million. And in 2002 the U.S. Air Force ordered an additional nearly 19,000 M9s.

Orders from the U.S. government continued with a whopping purchase in 2009 of up to 450,000 M9s with a value of $220 million. Iraq’s government is to get 20,000 of these pistols, based on information available on Beretta’s website.

Should the higher-ups approve the change and if there is capital available as many as 400,000 pistols may be needed.

The government may make a final decision in time for the 2014-2015 budget.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ohio's first-quarter natural gas/oil production goes up in 2013, down in 2014



There’s gold in them there two Ohio shale layers.

Only that gold is liquid and gaseous in nature and not a metal. Never-the-less they remain just as valuable to the state, the nation, and even the world.

Based on data assembled by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio’s natural gas production nearly doubled from 2012 to 2013.

Of course what goes up must come down, and so it seems true for oil and natural gas production. 

That production has seen a substantial shaving when the first quarters of both 2012 and 2013 and poured side-by-side with the first quarter of 2014.

And the reason for the jump between 2012 and 2013, says the department, is because of the boom in the exploration of the gas via the so-named organic-rich Utica and Marcellus Shale geological formations that underlay much of eastern Ohio.

 U.S. Geological Survey data notes the Utica Shale Formation covers most of eastern Ohio, nearly one-half of Pennsylvania, a goodly bit of New York and for all practical purposes, all of West Virginia.

 Also, a rather wide slice of eastern Ohio sees the Utica layer beneath the Marcellus Shale layer. Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga and Ashtabula counties all are within the Utica Shale oil and natural gas field.

Where these two petroleum-rich formations lie one atop geologists frequently like to call this an “oil sweet spot,"

And Geology.com reports that scientists believe the entire Utica Shale fossil fuel field may contain up to 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 940 million barrels of oil, and 208 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

An attraction for drillers is that the Utica Shale formation rises closer to the surface in Ohio than in other states.

For Ohio, the Natural Resources Department says its 2013 data (collected by state regulators) comes from 352 licensed horizontal shale wells. In raw figures these 352 wells produced 3.6 million barrels of oil and 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

By comparison, this production increased 65 percent from 2012’s first quarter to 2013’s first quarter.

When all of the numbers for 2013 are crunched, the Natural Resources Department anticipates that eight million barrels of oil will be slurped from the bowls of Ohio along with 171 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Compared to 2012, Ohio’s total oil production increased by 62 percent and natural gas production increased by 97 percent. The percentage increase in natural gas production is the largest in Ohio history, and the total production is the fourth highest annual total in state history, the Natural Resources Department says

 However, the Natural Resources Department’s production data for the first quarter of 2014 showed production declines in spite of an increase in the number of permitted wells. For the first quarter of this year, 418 permitted wells reported a decreased production of 1.9 million barrels of oil and 67 billion cubic feet of gas.

Even so, the Natural Resources Department sees the production growth through rose-colored glasses.

The agency says oil and natural gas production “depends heavily on the development of the midstream infrastructure needed to transfer the resources to market.”

“In a little more than 24 months, a new industry developed, including 11 processing facilities and miles of new pipelines. Companies have spent or have committed more than $6 billion on midstream infrastructure,” says a Natural Resources Department press release.

In a hearty and healthy – if not just a tad hyperbole – press release the department’s director James Zehringer says “Ohio’s oil and gas industry is growing and moving our state toward energy independence.”

“At the same time, we have updated our laws and increased our staff to provide Ohioans the proper protections as the industry continues to grow,” Zehringer crowed.


“Companies are investing billions of dollars and creating jobs for Ohioans, proving the value and importance of the Utica shale play,” also says JobsOhio Senior Managing Director David Mustine, who once was the Natural Resources Director..

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@News-Herald.com


Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.