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Safe Island Task Force Reports to Property Owners

On Saturday, August 17th, the Safe Island Task Force addressed nearly 50 members of the Put-in-Bay Property Owners’ Association regarding efforts of the Safe Island Task Force in dealing with the former Christmas in July weekend. While Brad Ohlemacher did not know which of those efforts was most important he did highlight the many and different steps taken by the Safe Island Task Force.

They include The formation of the task force—the addition of off-islanders Mike Bell, former Mayor of Toledo, and Aaron Walker to the team. Neither missed a single meeting!

Mike Bell reached out to bus tour operators to ensure that they and their customers knew what was and was not legal on the island. They reminded operators of the consequences of promoting illegal activities. Improved communications included a text alert system connecting officials and business people, small signs and stickers aimed at pedestrians in line to rent carts, and media training for employees to keep them on message. With better communication, the new traffic patterns could be activated (or deactivated) quickly and easily.

Proactive monitoring of social media, including the Official Put-in-Bay Facebook Page allowed officials to know that the golf carts were not all sold out. The Miller Ferry requirement that tour busses preregister to assist traffic flow permitted security officers to appear in force when necessary. Brad thought his work was now ever, but he thinks we all need to keep the Safe Island Task Force going and to promote the “One Island, One Voice” message to advertisers through the Put-in-Bay Visitors & Convention Bureau Website. The SITF has produced a 60-page report to assist with future evaluations.

Jim Duffy then introduced Safe Island Task Force member Todd Blumensaadt who explained the roles of the Jet Express Ferry. The larger Jet handles 395 riders, the smaller 147. He and Billy Market met with the Public Utilities Commission to assure that cooperation between competitors was not a violation of anti-monopoly regulations.

The Miller and the Jet are public utilities, and Route 357 is a state highway. Todd noted that some merchants initially afraid of driving away business are now on board with the SITF. Jim Duffy then introduced Police Chief Steve Riddle, who stated that there were 13 arrests and one open container violation on the last weekend of July. In 2018 there were 104 tickets written. He attributed the decline to the factors Brad and Todd mentioned. He also said that the Police Department has appointed an Information Officer who, with a colleague, will visit the Sandusky Register in an effort to clear lines of communication.

In the following Question and Answer session, Chief Riddle noted that an extremely busy July weekend might cost the department $25,000. Questioners asked if the promoter of significant events e.g. Kid Rock Bash On The Bay concert, should have to pay for security. The Chief replied that they do within the boundaries of the concert venue and that 200 security officers would work the concert on the inside.

He believed that the 360 officers scheduled to work the Kid Rock concert were sufficient, although the number of sold tickets was approximately 15,000. Kathi Spayde introduced the new and improved PIBPOA website, where the public records of the Village, the Township, The Police Department, The Mayor’s Court, etc., are just a mouse click away. It is a comprehensive site – a one-stop shopping spot for information about the island.

The next meeting of the PIBPOA, one week later than usual on Saturday, September 28th, will focus on the future. Members will elect new board members of the PIBPOA, candidates for public office will be invited to answer questions, and members will be asked about their priorities for 2020

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