Friday, March 29, 2019

Anglers get another thousand feet or so of Grand River fishing access in Lake County

Lake Metroparks has picked up an additional 23.5 acres and about one thousand feet of stream-front property that affords additional angling availability along the lower Grand River.

The key is availability rather than access; an important distinction since the land is question does not have the ingredients necessary to offer parking, trails and other amenities.

Instead, the land is situated in Painesville City, immediately up from the High Street/Richmond Street – State Route 535 Bridge, and adjacent to the private Windjammer Court housing development. Much of its is across the Grand River from Lake Metroparks’ popular 15-acre Grand River Landing Park and small boat launch in Fairport Harbor Village.

As such, accessing the site will require an angler to park in a wide right-of-way north of the bridge only and then walk across the structure and down a steep embankment. Parking south of the bridge is a no-go, and very likely will result in one’s vehicle being ticketed.

However, more than few anglers now find the effort worthwhile as the first portion is at stream level and offers easy casting into the Grand River. A high, curved bank is found just upstream from this low-lying flat; though this condition does not prevent anglers from trying anyway – and is often productive for steelhead and other species as long as the angler also has a long-handled net to reach any caught fish.

However, angling was a minor reason for Lake Metroparks to enter into a 20-year management agreement with Painesville City for the property.

It is situated in the Grand River’s flood plain and as such experiences frequent inundation and seasonal ice flows. As such, the property cannot ever be developed and is of little commercial or residential use other than being natural flood plain land deserving of protection.

Paul Palagyi – Lake Metroparks’ Executive Director – said his agency normally does not enter into a management agreement or buys lands that fails to include the potential of offering amenity-equipment public access.

This new chunk of real estate is an exception to the rule, though.

“It gives us the opportunity to protect valuable flood plain land and to provide some measure of public availability,” Palagyi said.”Really, if we were to try and put in trails and such they’d only be washed away again with the next high water event.”

Palagyi said the land came into Painesville City’s hands via the Lake County Land Bank but that the municipality is really not suited to be a steward of such property.

The site’s dimensions will be designated with Lake Metroparks’ typically employed vertical property boundary marker strips. No large signage is intended.

“It will be accessible; only we won’t have any parking,” Palagyi said. “You’ll just have a bit of a walk.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, March 14, 2019

UPDATED Renewals top newly issued Ohio concealed carry permits in 2018

As the number of new concealed carry permit issuance in Ohio begins to ebb the flow is increasing for the volume of renewals.

Last year the state’s 88 county sheriffs issued 69,375 new concealed carry permits – a 10-percent decline from 2017.

However, these sheriffs did renew 98,927 concealed carry permits – an 83-percent increase. This is the first since at least 2014 that renewals have totaled more than the number of new concealed carry permits being issued. Renewals are required every five years.

The statistics come from the Ohio Attorney General’s annual report on the state’s concealed carry permit system, a legislatively mandated stipulation.

David Yost – the state’s new Attorney General – issued the required documentation in late February.

Each county sheriff must report concealed handgun license statistics quarterly to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission within the Ohio Attorney General’s Office,” Yost said in his year-ending report to the Ohio General Assembly.

Ohio county sheriffs began issuing concealed carry licenses in 2004.”

Since 2014 when the county sheriff’s issued 58,066 concealed carry permits, the numbers increases steadily, peaking in 2016 at 117,953 permits. The number then fell in 2017 to 77,281, and tumbled to the 69,375 permits that were issued last year.

Renewals were lagging in the low- to mid-40,000 range but started to swing upward in 2017 at 54,064, and then to the nearly 100,000 in 2018.

As for suspensions, those were 1,738 last year; up slightly from the 1,669 in 2017. Suspensions occur when a concealed carry permit holder has been arrested or charged with certain offenses, if a person is the subject of court-ordered protection order. A resolution may result in reinstatement. The three counties with the greatest number of suspensions were Montgomery (181) and Clermont ans well as Franklin (128 each).

Revocations jumped from 437 in 2017 more than four times in 2018 to 1,879.

The Attorney General says that “sheriffs must permanently revoke the license of any person who no longer meets the eligibility requirements to carry a concealed handgun. A license may be revoked when the holder moves out of state, dies, cancels the license, is convicted of a disqualifying crime, or becomes subject to the law’s restrictions on mental illness or drug or alcohol dependency. Such persons are no longer eligible to possess a concealed carry permit.”

Denials stood at 1,436 in 2018; a slight increase from the 2017 figure of 1,216. Yost said denials were less than one percent of all applications.
The three counties with the most denials were: Lucas (206); Montogmery (113); and Lake (90).

As for the leading counties in terms of new licenses issued in 2018, the Top Five were: Franklin (6,117); Lake (4,404); Montgomery (2,820); Butler (2,390); and Clermont (2,346).

The Top Five counties for renewals in 2018 were: Franklin (4,598); Montgomery (4,349); Lake (4,179); Butler (4,040); and Geauga (2,874).

Even though the state’s total number of new issues of concealed carry permits was more than the number of renewals, Ohio still had 18 counties where more new permits were issued than renewals. Among them were Huron County with 952 new permits and 519 renewals; Logan County with 628 new permits and 217 renewals; Shelby County with 677 new permits and 667 renewals; and Tuscarawas County with 2,242 new permits and 932 renewals (That is not a typo, by the way).

As for the counties with the fewest number of new permits issued in 2018 – in descending order – they were: Paulding (115); Van Wert (114); Putnam (109); Noble (97); and Coshocton (82).

And the counties with the fewest number of issuing renewal concealed carry permits in 2018 – in descending order – were: Henry (205); Coshocton (187); Noble (186); Paulding (174); and Meigs (134).

Also, Ohio permit holders can carry concealed handguns in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, March 9, 2019

ODNR data shows that 2018 was a recording-making wet calender year

With the help of heavy rain that never seemed to cease, 2018 has gone down in the weather record books as the third wettest for Ohio in the 136 years that such data has been kept.

And at a point on the calendar when Lake Erie levels should be declining its water elevation actually began to rise in November and December.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geological Survey reports that for the 2018 calendar year, the state averaged 51.15 inches of precipitation. That figure is 12.11 inches above average for any calendar year.

Ohio is broken down into 10 regional geological – called “climatic” - districts for recording purposes. This geographic configuration saw that the regional averages had a spread of 60.23 inches – or 19.54 inches above average – for the Southeast Region to 39.37 inches - or 4.35 inches above average – for the Northwest Region.

Data furnished by the Geological Survey Division says that eight of these co-called climatic regions ranked in the Top Five wettest calendar years on record, too, including the wettest on record for Southeast Region, and the second wettest on record for the South Central Region.

What water that did not percolate into the ground helping to recharge wells, ran off into stream, creeks, rivers and watershed basins. Thus, figures show that in November and December, Lake Erie water levels actually began to rise following their normal seasonal trend of decline beginning in October.

The recording station showing the greatest amount of precipitation in 2018 was the Ohio River’s Hanibal Locks and Dam in Monroe County, says the Geological Survey Division. Here, 69.70 inches of precipitation was recorded for 2018.

Recording the least amount of precipitation for 2018 was the small farming community of Wauseon in Northwest Ohio’s Fulton County. Here, just 36.80 inches of precipitation fell: A whopping spread of 32.90 inches between extreme Northwest Ohio and extreme Southeast Ohio.

Geological Survey Division recorded as well that both August and September, 2018 contributed mightily to the record book standings. Many of the 10 climatic regions posted Top Ten records for each month.

Meanwhile, February, 2018 saw record or near-record precipitation levels for all of the 10 climatic regions, the Geological Survey Division data shows.

And November, 2018 also saw above-average precipitation in eight of the 10 climatic regions with above average precipitation in the southern two-thirds of the states: Helping to put on a damp cap on one of the wettest calendar years on record for Ohio.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn