Just My Opinion – where do we go from here?

Is there any more that can be said about the Trump-incited mob that attacked the U.S. Capital Building yesterday that has not already been voiced by someone? I’m sure there will be, but will it change what happened? Of course not. Will it make any difference? We can only hope and pray. The tragic event that took place on Capital Hill on January 6, 2021 will now take it’s rightful place in the “Where Were You When” category of American history under the “Shameful, Needless and Preventable” sub-group.

So, who do we blame? Better yet, who do we not blame? We all saw it coming and we all let it happen. Donald Trump began constructing this bomb since the beginning of the 2016 Presidential campaign. When, to the surprise of many, including Donald himself, he won the election, he moved his bomb making lab into the White House. From there he began to perfect his weapons of mass distraction and test fired one every time he found himself in political hot waters. Yesterday he launched his most destructive and lethal one to date. And, hopefully, his last.

Finally, after yesterday’s insurrection which failed to achieve Trump’s objective, Donald is agreeing to a “smooth and peaceful” transition of power. If true, it comes two months too late. But nobody will be holding their breath waiting for it to happen. Regardless, Donald and the Trump family will be out of office in less than two weeks. The next question is how do we recover and where do we go from here?

Undoubtedly, it will take many years, a lot of work and a lot more understanding, compromise and forgiveness to heal our nation. We have never been more divided in a four year stretch since the years of 1861 to 1865. Obviously, our differences and disagreements over past four years pale in comparison to what took place 160 years ago so it gives us much hope that we come back from this and return to the great nation and role model to the rest of the world we used to be.

For now, the causes behind the self-inflicted black eye American suffered on Capital Hill yesterday will be analyzed and debated in search of a vaccine that will protect us from repeating a similar attack of our democracy. Many will still argue in support of the violence but their voices will fade and reason will take hold. I still have faith in America.

Welcome to my blog

My name is Bill O’Connell and I live in Swanton, Ohio, a village of approximately 3700 residents located about 15 miles west of Toledo. I retired in 2012 and began helping my family restore and re-open a shuttered bowling center and banquet hall which took just over one year. Several months after it was up and running I began working as a sub-contracted sports journalist/photographer for the Swanton Enterprise and Fulton County Expositor. Just short of two years with those two weekly papers I took a similar position with the Village Reporter, a weekly publication that covered Fulton and Williams County and held that for almost four years. While with the Reporter I covered virtually every type of event from sports to festivals to council and school board meetings to business ribbon cuttings.

Now I am trying something very similar in substance but very different from a technology aspect, a blog and website. My plan is to continue covering local sports, including all seven Fulton County school districts with photography and short articles along with human interest stories from around Fulton County. I will also write editorials on various subjects and will continue a daily cartoon called “About Face” that I now post on my Facebook page. To start, there will be very few postings on my site but my goal is to develop it over the next few months. Also, any photos I publish can be copied for no charge. I will be looking for an easier way to make my photos available. Please let any of your friends and relatives know about my site if you think they may be interested. Thank you.

Swanton Flies by Lake in Boys Basketball – 11/25/22


The Swanton Bulldogs opened the 2022-2023 boys basketball season on their home court by scoring the game’s first 12 points and went on to down the Lake Flyers 57-26 in a non-league contest. Halftime saw the Bulldog lead swell to 20 points and later, in the fourth quarter, reaching 35 points and setting off the running clock until the final whistle.

Topping the score sheet for Swanton was Luc Borojevich with 15 points followed by Cole Mitchey with 12 and Charlie Wood with 10. Rounding out the scoring was Ryan O’Shea, Drew Smigelski and Kenyon Johnson with five points each, Hayden Callicotte had four points and Kayden Davis scored three.

The Bulldogs will next travel to the Big House at Evergreen High School to take on the Vikings on Friday, December 2nd at 7:30 PM.

Pictured Below: Cole Mitchey slams the ball through the hoop, making a statement about his return from a serious elbow injury suffered during the football season.

Click on the link above to access photos from the game. Photos are in the jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded for NO CHARGE courtesy of the fultoncountymedia.com website.

Peebles to Continue as Delta Village Administrator on an Interim Basis

The Delta Village Council voted unanimously to approve Emergency Resolution 22-20, authorizing the Mayor to execute an employment agreement for Interim Village Administrator Services for the Village of Delta.

 Language taken from the body of this Resolution reads, in part:

The Village of Delta has been seeking candidates for the position of Village Administrator to replace the current administrator who announced retirement.  Village Council has been unsuccessful in efforts to fill the position.  Brad Peebles, who currently serves in this capacity, has agreed to serve in an interim capacity for up to two years. The Mayor shall be authorized to execute an employment agreement with Brad Peebles to serve as interim Village Administrator for the Village of Delta.

This Resolution shall take effect as an emergency measure to ensure the continuity of administrative responsibilities are fulfilled January 1, 2023.

In other New Business, Emergency Resolution 22-19, authorizing the Village Administrator to execute an amendment to the agreement for Indigent Defense Services in Fulton County Court proceedings.

Language taken from the body of this Resolution reads, in part:

The laws of the State of Ohio and the United States of America require legal counsel be provided to indigent persons charged with certain offenses where there is potential loss of liberty; and the Fulton County Commissioners are authorized to enter into contractual agreements with municipalities for the costs and reimbursements of court appointed counsel fees.

The Village Council passed Ordinance #11-32 on October 3, 2011 which authorized the Village Administrator to enter into an agreement for Indigent Defense Services in County Court.  The Fulton County Commissioners will again propose an amendment for 2023 to the original 2011 agreement for services to be provided to the Village of Delta.

In Old Business, the Third and Final Reading of Ordinance 22-16, establishing salaries and wages for employees of the Village of Delta, Ohio was approved 6-0.

The Third and Final Reading of Resolution 22-16, authorizing the Village Administrator to advertise for bids and enter into contracts for the Capital Improvement Projects in 2023 was also approved 6-0.

The next Council meeting will take place December 5, 2022 at 5:30 PM in Memorial Hall.

Picture: Village Photo of Brad Peebles

Swanton Girls Cruise Past Emmanuel Christian


Emma Crow scored seven of her game-high 16 points in the first quarter as the Swanton Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a 13-4 lead after one and went on to easily defeat the Emmanuel Christian Lady Warriors 57-13 to open the 2022-2023 basketball season at home. Swanton basically put the game away in the second quarter, outscoring Emmanuel 24-4, getting eight points each from Alaina Pelland and Jessica Finfera, and leading the visitors 37-8 at the half.

Head coach Eric Oakes made liberal substitutions throughout the game, occasionally switching out five players at a time, as the Lady Bulldogs were never threatened. All 12 Swanton players logged time on the court with eight of them contributing to the scoring column.

In addition to Crow’s 16 points, Finfera scored 12 and Pelland had 10. Rounding out the scoring were Allison Fagerman with seven points, Katie Floyd with six, and Sammi Nelson, Peighton Manning and Megan Haselman had two apiece.

Swanton next welcomes the Lake Lady Flyers on Tuesday, November 22nd, at 7:30 PM.

Pictured Below: Emma Crow puts up two of her game-leading 16 points.

Click on the link above to access photos from the game. Photos are in the jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded for NO CHARGE courtesy of the fultoncountymedia.com website.

Swanton DORA Ordinance Approved in Third and Final Reading

On Monday, November 14th, the Swanton Village Council voted unanimously to approve the Third and Final Reading of an ordinance that will create a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in the vicinity of N. Main Street and Zeiter Way in downtown Swanton.  In the State of Ohio, a DORA allows visitors aged 21 and older to consume alcoholic beverages outdoors and in participating businesses within the area’s boundaries, during designated hours, and according to DORA rules. 

This legislation will officially become law 30 days from the final approval.  Village officials have begun to work on DORA documentation required by the State of Ohio and will be posting signage identifying the DORA boundaries and a list of state-regulated DORA rules.  Two drinking establishments currently located within the Swanton DORA, Benfield Wines and Hub’s Bar and Grill, have been given the go-ahead to order DORA-labeled drinking cups.  It is estimated that the DORA will not become active until sometime after the first of the year.

The new legislation is the culmination of a many-months effort by several downtown Swanton business owners to establish a DORA with the hopes of generating more foot traffic in the Main Street area and increasing economic activity downtown and the Swanton community in general.

“The main reason we asked for the DORA was because our liquor license only goes to the edge of our building.  Because we don’t own the sidewalk, we weren’t able to put tables and chairs outside.  We wanted to be able to offer our customers seating outside, which they asked for,” said Julia Benfield, co-owner of Benfield Wines with her husband Rob.

Ms. Benfield spoke of occasionally hosting social events in the DORA to bring more people downtown in addition to the Downtown Market in the summer and the Art Walk.  “We would like to be able to do events with Hubb’s, behind us, such as closing Zeiter and doing block parties with music and things like that,” she said.  “There are a lot of events we could utilize the DORA for to bring more people here to Swanton to then shop in the shops and patronize the businesses.”

When DORA laws were first enacted in Ohio, many smaller communities such as Swanton did not qualify to participate in the economic-incentivized legislation, until March of this year.  “I think we are lucky that the State of Ohio changed the rules to allow villages our size to be able to even think about having a DORA.  I think we are lucky we have this opportunity and hope we take advantage of it,” stated Ms. Benfield.

One of the concerns that was voiced by some residents during the many discussions at Council meetings was how often the DORA would be utilized.  “In my conversation with mayors throughout the State of Ohio, one of the things that they say it (DORA) is really beneficial when you have any kind of outdoor events like an art or music event.  It just makes it a much more congenial and fun activity.  They also say that the DORAs are seldom used or activated, even though they are in place, people don’t go walking around with their drink unless there is some kind of activity going on,” explained Swanton Mayor Neil Toeppe.  “They all say it is very beneficial when there is some kind of an event going on, that it draws more people in.  So, there will be more activity once the DORA gets put in.”

As the boundaries of the DORA are currently set, the overall area is less than half what was originally proposed in the initial legislation.  After the public hearing was held, a compromise was reached between the Village and some of its concerned residents, leading to a down-sized area.

“The size of the DORA we have established is very small right now.  We’re really looking at one corner of Zeiter Way and Main Street,” said Mayor Toeppe.  “Hopefully, we’ll see this small foot print we have for the DORA will generate no problems and then it can be looked into for expanding.”

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) stipulates that all aspects of a municipality’s DORA must be reviewed every five years.  However, the ORC also gives each community the authority to review and modify its DORA at any time.  It was also pointed out that many local communities have not reported any DORA-related concerns and have or are looking to expand their boundaries.

Alexis Taylor Signs with Terra State for Soccer – 11/15/22


Swanton Lady Bulldog soccer standout Alexis “Lexi” Taylor has signed a Letter of Intent (NLT) to continue her education and athletic career at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio.  As a member of the Lady Titans soccer program, Lexi is slated to compete for a mid-fielder position very quickly.

“I’m very excited for her,” said Swanton Girls’ Head Soccer Coach Kendra Eitniear Gustafson.  “It’s just a great experience for her to be moving up to be playing in college.”

Lexi has been a member of the Lady Bulldogs varsity since her freshman year and has experienced a great deal of success in the program, including a Sectional Championship this fall.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to college at first but then they reached out to me and said, ‘Come play soccer,’ so I said, okay.  I played varsity for four years so I wanted to continue that tradition, said Lexi.”  Terra State’s Fremont campus is located approximately a one-hour mostly turnpike drive east of Swanton which will allow family and friends many opportunities to watch her compete.

“I will be going into nursing.  I originally wanted to do teaching but I changed my mind to nursing because I really want to help people,” said Lexi, explaining her chosen course of study.

The Terra State Lady Titans compete in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC).

Click on the link above to access photos from the signing event. Photos are in the jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded for NO CHARGE courtesy of the fultoncountymedia.com website,

Picture Below: Alexis signs her NLT with Head Coach Kendra Gustafson and Asst. Coach Malcom Edge

Village of Delta to Rebid Refuse Collection Services

During the November 7th Delta Village Council meeting, Administrator Brad Peebles recommended to Council members to put out for bid refuse collection for the next contract which will cover years 2023 and 2024.  Mr. Peebles explained that Archbold Refuse Service (ARS) charges the Village $2.25 per garbage tag against the $2.50 per tag the Village charges residents, leaving $0.25 per tag for administrative costs under the 2021-2022 contract.  He also said that the 2019-2020 contract paid ARS $2.50 per tag, a break-even price for Delta.

“I do anticipate, with the cost of fuel and everything else, that we’re going to see an escalation in the per tag price for the next two years,” said Mr. Peebles.  “So, we may have to address that rates once we see those prices.  I would like to have a motion to authorizing for the advertising and solicitation of bids for refuse service.” Council approved the motion 6-0.

Old Business:  The Third and Final Reading of Ordinance 22-15, accepting petitioned property for annexation filed with the Village of Delta and establishing zoning classification for the same was approved.

The Third and Final Reading of Resolution 22-13, authorizing the Village Administrator to execute property lease for the Delta Community Fire Department with York Township was approved.

A First Reading of Tabled Resolution 22-17, authorizing the Mayor to execute an employment agreement with Brad Peebles for services as Economic Development Director for the Village of Delta was tabled again, this time indefinitely.  Council woman Lynn Frank made the motion to table it; Ashley Todd seconded it and the Council approved the motion 6-0.

New Business: Emergency Ordinance 22-18, to make appropriations for the Village of Delta for 2023 was approved.

Emergency Ordinance 22-19, amending the compensation plan structure and Administration Manual addressing wages and certain benefits for the employees of the Village of Delta.

Emergency Ordinance 22-20, to supplement Ordinance 21-13 to make supplemental appropriations for the current expenses of the Village of Delta for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022.

The First Reading of Resolution 22-18, authorizing the Village Administrator to dispose of certain surplus property not needed for any municipal purpose.

The next Council meeting will be held November 21, 2022 at 5:30 PM.

Swanton Lions Club 2022 Giving Tree

It’s that time of year again.  The Swanton Lions Club is conducting their Giving Tree program which will run from now until the 9th of December.  The program involves people purchasing gifts for less fortunate Swanton students who attend Swanton Elementary.  All applications for assistance have been received and lists have been made out and distributed. Individual lists of gifts a child may need or want will be placed in a Christmas Stocking at seven different businesses in Swanton. 

The businesses are the American Legion (Hallet Ave.), CK Sweets (S. Main Street), Club Salon (Dodge Street), DeEtte’s Dream Diner (S. Main Street), First Federal Savings & Loan (N. Main Street), You-nique Bou-tique (N. Main Street) and the Wings Station (Airport Highway).

If anyone would like to help out a child this holiday season, all they need to do is visit one of these locations and pull the list from a stocking and buy some or all of what is on the list.  Most of the listed items are clothing.  Once purchased, they should bring the gifts to the same location no-later-than December 9th where they will be picked up by a member of the Swanton Lions.

If they decide, instead, to make a monetary donation, they will be given an envelope for cash or a check that can then be left at that location.  The Lions Club requests that lists not be taken if you intend to make a monetary donation.

Once all gifts have been purchased and collected, the Swanton Lions will contact all the families and arrange for pick up at the Swanton Sports Center.  On behalf of the Swanton Lions Club, we appreciate your generosity.

Just My Opinion – Military Veterans Never Stop Serving

You may be surprised to know that today, in America, individuals who have served their country as a member of the armed forces, make up only 7.3% of the population.  A far cry from the 18% we counted and counted on in 1980.  And yet, they seem to be everywhere, still serving, in some way, in some local capacity.

Many simply exchange their soldier’s uniform for one in law enforcement or fire and rescue departments, safe-keeping their community from home instead of some far-off location.  Others join post-military social organizations like the American Legion or the V.F.W. (Veterans of Foreign Wars) where they become an integral part of their town or neighborhood running benevolent projects to take care of their less fortunate fellow Americans or helping wherever needed.  You can also find Veterans on the rosters of community service organizations like the Lions Club, the Rotary and on city/town/village councils and school boards.

Veterans man the color guards you see at parades, football games and other events while the American Flag is raised to the top of the pole, reminding all of us what a great country it is we live in and as a subtle reminder of who has had responsibility for maintaining that freedom.

The number of Veterans, however, is shrinking.  In large part, due to the fact we now rely more on technology than people to defend our country.  But also, the conflicts we find ourselves in today are, in comparison to World Wars I and II, thankfully much less engaged.  And we have Veterans to thank for that.

Tomorrow, November 11th, is Veterans Day and there will be celebrations all around the country to honor the men and women who served our United States of America.  It will be a great opportunity to thank them for making the decision to defend and protect us and our way of life.  It will also be a chance to thank the Veterans for still being here for us long after fulfilling their commitment.

Pictured Below:  Lieutenant Colonel Robert Janes, U.S. Army Retired, Swanton American Legion

Robert Shirer Joins Delta Village Council

Last evening at the November 7th Delta Village Council meeting, Robert Shirer was sworn in as a member of the Council by Mayor Frank Wilton.  The Council seat recently became vacant when Councilman Mike Tanner stepped down after relocating outside the Village limits and not being able to meet the residency requirements.

Mr. Shirer submitted a letter of application to the Village officials after the vacancy was advertised which read, in part:

I originally moved to Delta, Ohio in 2016 and worked at one of the local banks, State Bank and Trust.  I moved out of state temporarily in 2017 for work and then moved back full time to the Village in 2019.  I have worked at Northstar Bluescope Steel facility in Delta since returning.

My background is wide and has allowed me to acquire a broad range of skills and experiences.  In my time as a member of Senior management for Xanterra Parks & Resorts Crater Lake, I liaised with government bodies, National Park Service, ensuring compliance with federal and local laws while establishing procedures to ensure the happiness and well being of millions of visitors.

My time as Purchasing Manager gave me experience in negotiating contracts, dealing with vendors and deadlines, as well as inventory management and billing.  In this role and in others previously held I handled audits of both paperwork and inventories.

After his swearing in, Mr. Shirer took his seat at the Council table and participated in all the proceedings of the meeting.

Pictured Below:  Robert Shirer is sworn in by Delta Mayor Frank Wilton

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