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Saturday, December 1st, 2012

State officials wait for official report

Politicians say science should determine remedy for Grand Lake

By William Kincaid
State Rep Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, and Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, both say that science should continue to guide state decisions on reviving Grand Lake.
While separately discussing next year's General Assembly, both politicians briefly spoke about the lake.
The state in 2011 and this year spent a combined $8.4 million to treat the 4,900-acre center of the lake with alum in an attempt to curtail algae blooms. Last year's treatment was considered successful; results of this summer's treatment are still unknown. Experts already have warned that windy conditions may have negatively impacted this year's treatment.
State officials have said they will not make a decision on whether to pay for a third alum treatment until they receive an official report on this year's treatment.
Asked if they believe alum should be applied for a third time, Buchy said he supports whatever professional water quality folks say, while Faber said it's too early to say.
"Whatever the professionals recommend, that's what I want to do," Buchy said.
Buchy also said a long-term solution for the lake is needed so the same problems plaguing the lake a few years ago aren't an issue 10 years from now.
He praised the efforts of the Lake Restoration Committee and said an annual revenue stream must be found to help that group continue its work.
Buchy said he couldn't provide specifics about such revenue, but said he is in negotiations with people to "put in place a long-term funding mechanism to have ongoing improvements."
Faber said he continues to believe that science should dictate what the state's doing; however, the problem of the lake took hundreds of years to happen, not a few.
"We're going to continue to make Grand Lake St. Marys a priority," Faber said.
Faber this week was unanimously elected the president of the Ohio Senate for next year.
"Keith Faber is an outstanding legislator with well-respected leadership abilities," outgoing Senate President Thomas Niehaus said in a press release. "I am confident with Senator Faber's background in both the private and public sector. He has the experience the Senate needs to navigate these challenging economic times."
Faber will preside over the chamber when the Senate is in session and is charge of enforcing the rules of the Senate and leading the Majority Caucus.
He told the newspaper his colleagues will meet in a series of retreats to determine an agenda for next year. Though Faber said it's too early to talk about specifics of that agenda, he said continuing job creation and economic development will be the top issue.
"As our economic recovery continues, I look forward to working with Gov. Kasich and Speaker Batchelder to maintain a responsible, balanced state budget while continuing our work to make Ohio more business friendly," Faber said in a press release.
Buchy also will ascend in leadership next year.
He was elected the assistant majority whip for the next General Assembly by members of the Ohio House Republican Caucus on Tuesday.
"I am honored to have been elected by my fellow representatives to serve the House in this capacity," Buchy said in a press release. "I am prepared to work for the good of all Ohioans and to uphold the values and traditions of this fine institution."
The role of the whip and assistant whip, according to the press release, is to gauge support for legislation and policy within the House. Buchy previously served as the assistant majority whip during a prior stint in the House in the late 1990s.  
Buchy is focused on agriculture, small business and job creation, the press release says.
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