Setting Things Straight….

I’m letting this blog go back to its WordPress roots  It’s much easier to upload pics to Facebook, than to upload them to Flickr (whom I also pay), and then select each pic and copy the link and then paste it here, and then delete all the other assorted code that comes with each pic.

But there was a story that needed told, something that happened over a decade ago, that I have kept quiet about. The dust had settled over the events that transpired but a year ago I heard a comment from the spouse of one of those involved that Mark ‘had gone crazy’ and taken everything back.

Mark didn’t go crazy. Mark realized he’d been lied to and cheated and stolen from and then kicked to the curb, holding a bag that cost him a lot of time and money and pain and falling out with some close to him. Everyone else was told lies and those lies became ‘facts’ to those that heard them before they spoke with me.

Back when my children were young, and my wife and I wanted to get them into Catholic school, money was tight. Interest rates were falling and we refinanced for a lower rate and to get some money to put the kids in the school we chose. A former family member had a job as a mortgage broker, and to help him and his family, we did our refi through him.

When he saw what an excellent credit rating we had, he invited me to join him and two others in a real estate investment group they had formed. Buying houses at sheriff’s sales, fixing them up, and then renting them out was a big business back in 2000 and everyone was getting in on it. I did my research, looked at what they were doing, and got in on the action.

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Damage done by angry Boobs

While the paperwork was being put together for the LLC we were forming, I would purchase the houses in order to get a better interest rate, and have a better chance at a refi on the property to have money to fix it up. If there were a couple bucks left after the fix-up, we’d all get a few dollars to bank for ourselves, and the rent money would go towards the mortgage and a fund to cover any repairs that popped up.

We made our first purchase of a house in Cleveland, and we spent a few weekends painting, cleaning, installing a drop ceiling in one half of the duplex, and repairing whatever needed fixed. This looked very promising.

7028Morgan4Door kicked in to remove cabinets

As time went on, I purchased six more houses. I trusted my two partners on two and inspected four myself. Money was being used to paint and renovate and the houses were being rented. Or so I was told. One of the houses was going to be rented to a partner.

With all the purchases and refi’s, money was coming in and my two partners, who I’ll refer to as Big Boob Vrabe and Little Boob Reynol (you’ll see why later), were taking a bigger cut of the money because they quit their jobs to do this full-time. The job I had was not one you walked away from, as the benefits and pay were excellent. The Boobs were going to Disney, buying laptops and digital cameras, and living it up. The money I was getting was going in the bank or paying bills.

7028Morgan8Furnace stolen because house was not locked

To cut straight to the chase, a house was bought on 22nd St here in Lorain. It was in great condition, and only needed tile in the kitchen and carpeting in the living room and hallway. We had the money and got it done. Bob and Bob wanted to refi the house anyway to get more money out. I couldn’t see the need for it because the house was ready to rent now, and nothing needed done. Thus began the downfall of this entire partnership.

A little behind the scenes info to put more into perspective. A friend of theirs from said mortgage brokerage, which I’ll refer to as “Columbus Home Mortgage” (to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent), was apparently creatively submitting these applications. I’ll call him ‘Dave Not-ready”. Dave got pissed with me when I apparently asked the ‘wrong questions’ in front of the representative of the loan institution that was financing the last house we purchased. More evidence that something stinky was afoot. (Also, they had this insurance agent putting through the paperwork, listing each of these properties as my primary home, in order to get a lower rate. More BS that I learned later.)

So, due to my unwillingness to refi the property on W. 22nd, I was booted from the group. Words were exchanged, none of them pleasant, but I was expected to disperse funds from the pending refi. I was left holding seven properties with mortgages worth a little over $500,000. My intent was to sell them, because I couldn’t work and do the real estate thing. They gave me the keys, and I visited these houses to see just where I stood.

Yea, I had 6 houses that weren’t worth diddly. Cabinets had been installed in a few of the homes. These two returned and yanked them all out. Money had been paid to them for a dumpster to empty out an attic and garage at a house on Morgan in Cleveland. All the garbage was still there. Because they failed to make a duplicate of one of the keys, they beat in a brand new door at one house so they could remove more cabinets. They spray painted obscenities on the wall and ceiling at another Lorain property, but they did it in Spanish to try not to incriminate themselves. Materials from painting and cleaning were strewn over another house because they were pissed.

Other things came out after the fact. Loose lips sink ships, and all. When visiting the properties and speaking with the neighbors, I learned that these guys would pay a neighbor kid $20 to mow the lawn while they threw a football around until he was done. A lot of their ‘work afternoons’ were spent at a strip club, drinking and throwing bills at the girls. There was even a discussion of hiring some of the strippers to paint the interior of a couple of the houses, and the Boobs would sit in chairs and drink beers and watch.

I made the difficult decision to file bankruptcy and let the banks foreclose on everything. Big Boob expected me to continue to let him live in the one house (which was in Elyria), and to draw up a lease-to-own agreement. After what I was left with, I told him he had 30 days to get out. He left garbage in the house, a mattress, took part of a window so that the house was open to the elements, and broke most of the ceiling lights.

Word got back to them through a mutual acquaintance that I was going to file bankruptcy and stop paying on the houses (banks won’t foreclose until after you’ve stopped making payments) so they told all the tenants to stop paying rent. This later led me to file suit against all of them in small claims court in Cleveland for unpaid rent. This meant months of driving to Cleveland after working all night and sleeping in the court house until court convened in the morning.

Still trying to find a way to deal with their anger over the end of the gravy train, and trying to cover their butts should I try to sue them, they went to Cleveland one night and set fire to the garage on Morgan that had all the garbage in it. The Fire Department came and put out the fire and then just hours later, they returned to the property and set fire to the house. How do I know? Because when I found out this happened weeks later, I went out to see for myself and to talk to the neighbors. Three neighbors all told me they saw two men running away from the property that night that fit the descriptions of my two partners, one short and round, the other tall and thin.

Guess what happens when a property that is being foreclosed upon by a bank, owned by someone who’s planning to file bankruptcy, is found to have burned due to arson? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigates. Yup! Now I get to drive out to Cleveland a few more times to meet with an agent with ALL the paperwork I have concerning housing appraisals, mortgage paperwork, insurance information, and leasing agreements. They found me completely innocent of any wrongdoing and wished me luck should I pursue charges against my former partners.

Meanwhile (yes, there was other stuff still going on), these two hold a pig roast at the Elyria property on money they got from me to try to entice other family members to invest in their venture. Well, there was already a divide between some of the family based on the lies they told and the facts they got from me and my wife. After hearing from us, they all politely declined due to shortness of extra money. (Big smile!)

Not getting any takers on the investment side of it, they decided to try their hands at remodeling and home repair. They talked another family member into taking a loan out against her house and they would replace the gutters and make other repairs. Well, Little Boob ended up putting his foot through the roof and damaging the ceiling in the back room of this house. And when they replaced the gutters, they hung the gutters with an INCH-AND-A-HALF of space between the edge of the house and the back of the gutter!! “It’s supposed to be like that!” they claimed. Imagine the additional BS I’d have had to deal with had they actually WORKED on some of my houses!!

So, on top of taking non-paying renters to court and dealing with mortgage companies telling me I should beg family members for money so my house doesn’t go to foreclosure (LMAO-Dude, I ain’t livin’ in that house!), the Boobs then got the residents to break stuff in the houses and outside the houses so that Cleveland Housing Inspectors would cite the houses and I’d have to repair them. Driving 45 minutes to East Cleveland to fix the interior of a toilet tank, a part that NEVER breaks, is a pain in the backside. But they were being boobs and I just looked forward to the day that all this would be over.

One of the houses had a porch, and nice wooden spindles along the railing. These were kicked out and thrown around the yard. I was contacted by a housing inspector who told me I had 30 days to repair the spindles. I explained that the house was in foreclosure proceedings, I was filing bankruptcy, and I didn’t have any money to fix that. She told me she understood and asked that I keep her informed on the progress of the foreclosures.

Got another notice 40 days later, telling me I needed to replace the spindles and paint the porch on the property. Another call to the inspector, who ‘sounded’ concerned, told me not to worry about it, and to continue to keep her posted. Thanks!

Received a summons to appear in court for inaction concerning the repairs of the porch and the paint. I told Judge Pianka what my situation was and about the conversations I’d had with the inspector. She denied EVER telling me not to worry about it and said she had told me to try to do whatever I could to fix them up. Guess who Pianka believed? Now I had 30 days to make those repairs or end up in jail, plus I would pay about $500 in fines and court costs. At this point, as far as I’m concerned, ‘everybody lies’.

I got a notice in the mail that there was a warrant out for my arrest for failure to appear at a court hearing. Seems the Boobs told a resident that if he made any repairs or painted the house, they would deduct the cost of the materials from his rent. After he made the repairs, they lied to the renter and said I changed my mind and refused the deduction. So the renter called a housing inspector to the house to complain about a railing and a notice to appear in court was issued. However, the Boobs told them to list my mailing address as the one at which the renters were living and I never received the summons. So, someone mailed it to my home. I called the Court, and was told I could come in and pay the fine, but to be careful driving, because if I was pulled over for anything, they’d see the outstanding warrant and I’d be arrested on the spot.

Needless to say, I pretty much held my breath all the way into Cleveland, doing EXACTLY the speed limit. I almost ran up the steps to the court’s office to pay the fine. Once that was done, I almost broke down. I’ve about decided that there is no end to all this BS.

I think I mentioned earlier that there was a refi in the process when the ‘business’ was dissolved. I kept every penny, and disbursed none of it to the two knuckleheads. Now, mind you, I could’ve buried that money, about $9,000, in a hole and filed bankruptcy and dug it up later. However, in my mind, it wasn’t my money and I wasn’t going to be a cheat. So I used it to pay the mortgages on all those properties until it was gone. The last payment was made in November of 2002. My bankruptcy was filed in the spring of ’03 and discharged in June, I believe. It was done. The properties were forfeited back to the mortgage companies, the only house I had to worry about was my own, and the only building I would need to concern myself with was with rebuilding my credit.

What about the Boobs, you ask? Little Boob got divorced. He ended up refinancing his own house to live on that money, and then trying to flip it to someone to get more money out of it and instead, got none of that money back and stuck with an even larger mortgage. At the end, he had sold almost the entire interior of the house on eBay before he lost it.

Big Boob just recently bought a lot in Amherst, apparently with the hopes of building on it. He’s been sponging off his wife’s family for the last 14 years. Big Boob’s wife was heard to say, when she found out that her husband was doing something a little sly and in the ‘grey area’, ‘I don’t care as long as there’s money coming in.’ Interesting.

Me? I still have my home of 22 years, celebrating 21 years at the job that I kept. I keep to myself and prefer to do things alone or with my wife and children. I haven’t gone crazy in the least bit, as you can see.

There is a lot of unpaid court settlements from renters that had judgement rendered in my favor. So, if there are any collections lawyers that would care to take this up, I’m sure there’s a few bucks in all of that for both of us.

Bessemer15“Wonderful” house in Cleveland

7028Morgan9Attic that was never cleaned of the house that was burned

West101gHow the Boobs cleaned up after a job

7028Morgan6Cabinets they damaged because they were angry

City of Lorain Continues to Excel

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a piece on the goings-on around Lorain. Wanted to dedicate myself to photography and stay away from the political aspect of the city. Recent improvements, or lack thereof, caused me to end the drought.

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A little over two weeks ago, I’m coming home from running around to find that the city has started tearing up the sidewalks in my neighborhood. Sweet. They’ve been long overdue, since the neighborhood was built back in the mid-60’s. I see orange barrels down Miami Ave at 39th, 38th and 37th Streets. I see them down 40th Street at Stanford, Kenyon and Cambridge Ave. I pull into my driveway, but the corner at my property and the other three at the intersection haven’t been done yet. No big deal. Probably get it on Monday. Beginning of the week comes, and they start pouring concrete at the dug-up corners, but I don’t even have orange barrels yet. I pass one of the workers and ask if they’re going to get it today, and he tells me he has no idea. Wonderful.

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I call the Streets Dept. and talk to a young lady and explain the situation. She says she’ll notify the person in charge. A week later and still nothing, I’m feeling I’m going to have to press the issue, I message my councilman via Facebook. So guess what?? My corner is going to get done!!! Next. Summer. Greaaaaaaat. Thanks, Lorain. I tried getting this corner done when Foltin was mayor because my neighbor’s daughter was in a wheelchair, and she’d go around the block with them, and the curb was raised up, making it very difficult for her.

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My councilman told me that ” (The) City has an agreement with ADA to install handicapped ramps at all intersections as roads are done.” Sweet. Unfortunately, The corner where it was REALLY needed is going to be one of the last to get done. Congrats, Lorain, you never cease to amaze me.

%$#@in’ Spam!!

We all have to deal with spam and junk mail and robo-calls and all sorts of assorted BS in our lives. Junk mail we can just toss out. Spam we can delete, and the robo-calls just hang up on. The first one doesn’t bug much, the latter irritate because spam keeps coming and the calls you have to get up to answer. The spam this post is about is what I get on my blog, that the filter prevents from being posted for everyone to see.

Most are barely coherent “compliments” like this:

It is difficult to acquire knowledgeable folks on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

and this:

This truly answered my issue, thank you!

REALLY?? My photos answered your issue? Get the heck out.

or this:

Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you
share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work.

“the same subjects you discuss”? No friggin’ way, I’d have you on my bloglist.

But THIS?!

The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as considerably as this 1. I mean, I know it was my option to read, but I basically thought youd have some thing fascinating to say. All I hear is really a bunch of whining about something that you simply could fix if you werent too busy searching for attention.

Now I want to beat someone’s ass. Don’t come on my blog, and give me this kind of bullspit. Don’t. Even.

I got something like this almost exactly a year ago. I emailed the owner of the site that was listed with the comment. Big mistake. He had nothing to do with it. Nothing, as an IP check on the hit showed it originated in Poland, not Los Angeles, where he’s located.

So, if anyone out there can educate my ignorant self, what does the spammer gain by sending out crap like this? I don’t get it.

Anyway, I’ll get some pics up in a day or so. I was going to do that now, but this just pissed me off. Thanks for being patient.

I’m Still Here….

However, my laptop has come down with a horrible case of Black Screen of Death. Apparently, Microsoft denies its existence, and I’ve tried more remedies than a hypochondriac to fix it. None of them work. I’m trying to get all my vital documents and photos off my laptop before I reset it back to its factory settings, but USB drivers don’t work in Safe Mode, which means emailing dozens of Word docs to myself, and uploading hundreds of photos of my St. Nicholas project to my Flickr. I promise I’ll have lots of stuff when I get things back to normal.

Spinnin’ My Wheels

Back in October, I was on my way downtown to the library to pick up some music for my kids, and to stop by Fligner’s for stuff for dinner. I’m on Oberlin Avenue, and I get stopped for the light at Meister. I’m the second car back in the outside lane. While I’m waiting, a bus stops next to me, also waiting for the light to change. Its front end is even with my door. ‘Please don’t let me get stuck behind this bus’, I’m thinking. Light turns green and the first two cars get rolling. I hit the gas and I’m watching the bus in my side mirror. Going through the intersection, I’m ahead of it, but not by much. Traffic’s not moving any faster than the posted limit of 25, partly because the guy in front of me is talking, very animatedly, on his cell phone.

I’m now coming up on the “Merge” sign in front of Sunoco, and I’m looking at the bus in my side mirror, 75% of my truck is ahead of it, with its nose even with my rear wheel well. And she’s inching closer. ‘All you gotta do is tap your breaks, or be the least bit courteous’, I’m thinking, ‘and all is well and good.’ If I stop, the way she’s driving, she’s going to take off my front end. The guy in front of me is still jawing on his cell phone, waving his arms and looking like he’s trying to fly. WTH?

Suddenly, the back end of my truck is lifted up and bounced. I look at my side mirror and that damn driver decided she was going to be a -itch. I pull over on W. 29th St to call the police and inspect the damage. My left rear wheel well is peeled back like a can opener went at it. The officer arrives, takes some pics, passes out paperwork for everyone to fill out, and informs me he’ll be in touch.

Almost a week later, I stop by City Hall to pick up a copy of the accident report, and find I’m cited for a moving violation: failure to use caution when changing lanes. What a crock. I ask for the officer and we talk. He says it was difficult for the prosecutor to come to a decision because the vehicles were moved (I couldn’t sit there and block traffic waiting for a cop, I mean, come on! Oberlin Avenue northbound blocked just north of Meister Road? That’s a disaster waiting to happen.)

So he explains a couple things to me, and I complain about the HUGE LIE the bus driver, Ms. T. Nelson, wrote on her report: “truck came and tried to beat us at the merge and he side swiped us.” He smiles and explains how I can fight the citation.

I wait weeks for the envelope in the mail, and find my court date falls in the middle of a set of night shifts. Great. I come home that morning from work, sleep a little more than 2 hours, and get up and go to court. Pleading ‘not guilty’, I get ANOTHER court date. What the hell? Really? I have to come back? Asking for a date as soon as possible, I leave and try to go back to sleep. What a pain.

Monday, December 10th, I show up at 9am, for a 9:30 bench trial with Judge Mihok. At 10:15, I’m still waiting when an INTERN comes and asks to speak to me outside the courtroom. He offers a $75 fine in lieu of a trial. Excuse me, but are you telling me I don’t have a chance? $75 now, or I run the risk of a $150 fine if the judge finds me guilty and, in a roundabout way, informs me that the judge tends to lean towards buses with kids on them in cases like these. (What a crock of $hit!) So, my choice is to pay $75 OR roll a set of dice where the only outcome is snake eyes, and pay $150. (For two weeks, I’ve been going over in my head what I would say in court, and suddenly find that I’d have a better chance of winning if I talked to the fish in Lake Erie.) Screw it. Christmas is coming, bills to pay, $75 beats $150 for a fine any day of the week.

A few minutes later, a woman comes to take me to the Clerk’s office to pay my fine. $75 plus court costs. Whoa!!! Court costs? What are court costs? (I didn’t get to say Jack Squat in court except ‘not guilty’ and “as soon as possible” and I have to pay COURT COSTS???) She says she doesn’t know and that I can set up a payment plan, if necessary.

To say that I’m steamed right now would be a disservice to clams and oysters everywhere. $125 in court costs. And I didn’t even get a chance to defend myself. What a crock of crap. Asking for a receipt (after I found out there would be an extra $25? $50? per payment if I couldn’t pay in full right now), I look at the listing for “court costs”.

Court costs are $43.50. Miscellaneous costs are $76.50. Here’s the breakdown, and if anyone knows what any of these abbreviations are, please feel free to fill me in.

Local cost – 6.50
Legal Res – 3.00
Comp Fund -10.00
Comp Imp – 5.00
Victim Cr – 9.00
JA – 5.00
SEC -17.75
PRLC -13.75
DEFC – 3.50
IATC – 1.50
IDFC -25.00
.SPE -10.00

So, thanks, City of Lorain and its related court system, for my due process. Get screwed, or get screwed harder. Wow, what a choice!

I’d also like to thank Ms. T. Nelson, driver for First Student Charters, for lying because you were too damn rude, lacking in courtesy, and too irresponsible to admit fault, or to even avoid this whole mess by TAPPING YOUR BRAKES so I could go on my way. And thank whomever you brought with you on the 10th to “vouch for” you, or to ‘bear witness” for you. Don’t know if it was Megan, Claude, Charity, Sarah, Victor, Kenneth, Yesenia, Cory, Mark, Teauna, Marrella or Kevin (all aged 26+), but it’s pretty pathetic (though why should I expect otherwise?) to bring in your friends to lie for you, too. In time, I’ll forgive you for being that kind of person, but it won’t be right now. Not until long after I lay out a few more hundred bucks to fix my truck.

And for the record, I drove a bus for 4 years for the University of Toledo, and for another 3-4 months for Elyria City Schools. I KNOW what it’s like, I’ve seen the way drivers cut in front of buses, and what it takes to stop a bus, how easy it is to be courteous and everything else that’s involved with being behind the wheel of one.

I also know how to drive responsibly, since in my almost 30 years of driving, this is the FIRST ACCIDENT I’VE HAD.

I also know how to tell the truth. My sincerest condolences on your lack of a conscience.

UPDATE: I just received a phone call from my insurance company informing me that some scumbag SOB on the bus has retained an attorney, claiming they were injured. Are you flipping KIDDING ME?! MY truck was LIFTED off the ground by the bus, and someone on the BUS was injured? I hope the judge slaps the snot out of this person. Lorain, you have achieved a whole new low.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Received a follow-up call from my agent. She assured me that this happens all the time, and not to sweat it. She informed me that at the time of the accident, the passengers on the bus, as well as the driver, told the police officer that no one was injured. Hope this person gets -itch-slapped by the court. Someone tell me how much impact my 4200# truck would have made by being sideswiped by a 24,000# bus?  Traveling at 25 mph??

Is It REALLY So Difficult To Just ASK???

I’ve always known there are some less than desirable folks out there. Lack of morals, indifference to other people, et cetera and so on and all that jazz. Some individuals just wouldn’t think twice about taking something without asking or paying for it, just for the mere wanting of it. I’ve written before about not getting credit for something (never did hear again from Tim Alcorn, btw), suggesting that all you have to do is “ask”, but since these I’ve about had enough.

The “ask” post was in regards to a photo of Lorain High that I took:

Someone that I used to trade emails with and that I did some photo favors for is currently associated with Lorain Growth. This individual used the above photo for a LHS alumni event. When I called said person on the carpet about it, I never got another email or even the courtesy of a reply or apology. Way to burn THAT bridge.

I made the mistake a while ago of getting on Facebook. Ok, I’ve connected with some folks that I really enjoy being in touch with again. So, I’m on the Lorain Port Authority page, and I see the avatar/pics of other fans. And this one particular photo looks strangely familiar.

So I clicked on the link and was taken to the person’s page. And she has the above pic as her profile photo. So I wrote her and asked where she got the photo. Nothing. I sent the message again. Still nothing. Fine. I wrote Facebook and explained the situation and they removed the photo, notified her, thanked me, and asked me to let them know should something like this happen again.

Next thing I know, this person posts to her wall that she doesn’t know what happened, that Facebook “took” her picture and said she couldn’t use it anymore. She couldn’t understand because it was a “wallpaper” that “came with her new computer”.

The instance that pushed me over the edge just happened a few weeks ago. Someone on Facebook (told you I made a mistake) posted some pics, and this was one of them:

So there was some discussion about Mary’s, and I came back here to find some details about when it closed. I looked at the pic, and thought “Wow, what a coinky-dink.” And three seconds later thought, “Wait a friggin’…” I start flipping back and forth between the pics and Guess What?? It’s MINE.

So I ask where he got it, because the photo hasn’t had ANY hits in the last month, and the photo disappears. Wait, what photo? Did I share it? Was it in this folder? I finally gave up.

I recognize my pics like parents recognize their kid’s voice on a crowded playground. And I’m pretty generous with giving them out, especially when I’m asked. One person and one person only has access to any and everything I have for photos, and that person is Loraine Ritchey. She’s given me credit always, and sent some really interesting tips and photo ops my way, for which I am eternally grateful.

 All of this has prompted me to start putting a watermark on my photos. Makes it difficult to dispute if my name is already on the product. But the bottom line is, I’m an easy guy to get along with, and very generous when it comes down to it.

All you really have to do is just ask.

Will the Herons Come Back?

(Editor’s Note: A mistake was made concerning the location of the rookery. The rookery is STILL intact, and just a little farther up the river. I will be going there early next week, and will bring photos and more information. Thanks to everyone that was concerned! Apologies about the mistake. See Loraine for for the update. -mjt)

On September 21, of 2009, Lorain City Council discussed the donation of the turning bin parcel, also known as the Heron Rookery, from US Steel Corp. Amounting to 10.16 acres of land, its donation was a goodwill gesture by the company, as it is a prime location for a nature preserve. Previously used for some dumping, and as a slag pit at one time, “it was not considered in need of huge environmental remediation..”, but did require some clean-up. It would require a “very minimal investment on the City’s part” and it would save one of the nicest areas on the Upper Black River.

Mayor Tony Krasienko said it was the City’s intention to leave it in its natural state, and improve it so it continues to flourish as a wild life preserve. It is also considered a future viewing point for a planned leg of a bike trail, in cooperation with the Lorain County Metro Parks. The area is very key as a wild life preserve. It will be a strategic viewing site for wild life and something that we want to include on that trail.

In the “Lower Black River Ecological Restoration Master Plan“, dated December of last year, the Rookery is one of the assets listed in the area. The Lake/Lacustuary Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (LQHEI) is a tool used to rate the habitat quality of portions of shorelines, as well as serve as a “guide to direct restoration efforts towards those activities that are most likely to result in improved habitat values.” The Ohio EPA documented the area as having aquatic life scores in the exceptional range, and the LQHEI gave the rookery a score of over 60, thus rating it as an “area of exceptional habitat.”

Great Blue Herons are an oft photographed bird here in Lorain, and usually breed in trees close to lakes and other wetlands. Groups of them together are known as a rookery, or heronry, and can number between 5-500 nests, with an average of 160 nests per colony.

Earlier this year, a group of 25 students from Lakeview Elementary were treated to a tour up and down the Black River. The kids were fortunate to see a Great Blue Heron fly past the boat they were riding in, and worked together to find more nests high up in the trees.

Mike Kennedy and I took a walk along the Black River Wednesday, and I was stunned at what I saw. Gone were the trees that these large birds called home.

(viewed from the north)

The entire area appeared to have been plowed down, and there were trucks spreading straw on what was probably recently seeded ground. According to a former councilman that voted on this clean up, part of the discussion in Council entailed being careful as to not harm the rookery.

(viewed from the west)

Of the entire area pictured above, the majority of it was populated with trees. Now,

 

the right-most area is all that’s left. And in the trees that are left, we were only able to find

one nest.

A lot of questions have been raised about this, and, unfortunately, only time will get us the answers. Are the majority of the herons gone for good? The males settle usually where there are nests from former years, either building a new one or restoring an old one. Will they build nests on the opposite side of the river? We didn’t see any on the northern or western side where we walked. The herons in this part of the country usually are permanent residents, and do not migrate south when the weather turns cold. Why did the entire shoreline area need leveled? Hopefully, someone will be able to tell us.

Below is video shot on October 1, with Mayor Krasienko discussing the clean up of the Black River shore line.