Artists of Toledo

Remonstrance filed with Lucas and Fulton counties

my 10th great grandfather, an immigrant ancestor landing in New Amsterdam, supported the Great Remonstrance of 1649 which led to a better life for Americans. I try to do what I can.

Filed with the Clerk of the Board of the Lucas County Commissioners, with a copy sent to the Fulton County Board of County Commissioners on November 3, 2021.

The following 99 pages, consisting of this list, web pages and Facebook posts made between May 26 and November 2, is our legal remonstrance consisting of our comments and protests in opposition to the 10-Mile Creek Watershed ditch petition.

We will not benefit from this petition. It is a hostile government takeover of private property rights, which is not an improvement. The petition has no value to us, it is unbeneficial. We, and our property, would not benefit for the following reasons.

1. We haven’t been shown any proof as to why this petition is necessary. Nothing was shown at the “View,” And pdf’s that I downloaded in June, made by Amanda Kovach of ditch photos shot in May, but strangely dated in August and September, don’t show anything wrong with the rivers and creeks, such as log jams and fallen trees that Mike Pniewski told the Blade was such a problem, as reported after the Swan Creek watershed View on September 16.  See pages 26, 27, 60, 61and 93

2. There is a worldwide pandemic that has been going on for about 20 months, and these two county governments are being cruel to their residents. A 1.7 trillion dollar federal infrastructure grant is coming. The county wants to tax us for ditch cleaning even under these conditions. See pages 60, 70, 83, 90

3. Landowners were not noticed properly. See pages 5, 51, 58, 77, 92

4. The circumstances of the execution of this ditch petition suggest that it is fishy. See pages 5,13-16, 26-33, 49, 62, 67-68, 76, 79, 83, 90, 97, 98, 99

5. No public discussion of this earth-shattering life-changing petition has been allowed, even after I personally tried to initiate it with the county commissioners and other interested parties. See pages 49, 55, 56, 64, 67-68, 69,  96, 76, 77, 98

6. It’s taking a law meant for rural Ohio and using it on a large population of Toledo city, and Sylvania City and the Village of Ottawa Hills. See pages 5, 6-16, 17- 25, 45-46, 53, 59, 71-73, 74, 77, 82, 83, 97

7. Property rights would be taken from us and taxes would be assessed to us but clean-up work of any adjacent river/ditch near to us would be few and far between, considering that ditch projects cost on average $500,000 each for the clean-up and/or restoration of a just a couple of miles, when there are perhaps 200 miles of rivers/ditches and the county plans on collecting only two million dollars each year. See pages 75, 78

8. Our urban rivers (that Lucas County Engineer Mike Pniewski calls ditches) are mostly owned and maintained by the Franciscan Sisters, Metroparks, University of Toledo, the City of Sylvania, Village of Ottawa Hills, and City of Toledo, and we already pay tax that goes to the maintenance and restoration of the river. Grants pay for it, and it’s done with care for the delicate ecology of our rivers and Lake Erie. See pages 5, 17-25, 34-43, 61, 71-3, 74, 93, 96

9. The example given by Engineer Pniewski to the Channel 13 news team on August 19, the day of the Toledo View at Jermain Park, was of a fallen tree or log jam in the backyard of the neighborhood of million-dollar homes off of Corey Road in Sylvania. Since I know exactly whose house they went to, to film the river in their backyard, I asked a neighbor a few homes upstream if they have any flooding or drainage problems from any backup caused by the fallen tree or log jam. The neighbor answered emphatically, NO. That neighbor happens to be the grandson of Norman Nitschke, the famous and wealthy industrialist-inventor of safety glass who donated millions of dollars to the University of Toledo and thus has three engineering buildings named after him, one in which the county engineer teaches a university class. The University of Toledo gave Norman Nitschke a special Memorial on August 17, just two days before Pniewski used Nitschke’s grandson’s downstream 10-mile creek location to show as an example of maintenance that was needed for the river that 117,000 county residents should have to pay for. One wonders, knowing that that Pniewski teaches five university classes in the engineering department, which btw is apparently fine with the Lucas County government, and that the Memorial program was that very week, did Pniewski use that part of the river on purpose, knowing about Nitschke’s land-ownership? Or was he just that thoughtless and dumb that he would use Nitchke’s grandson’s river area, perhaps because there is nowhere else on the metro-area 10-mile creek that isn’t owned by the parks, universities, cities, villages, nuns, or the Boy Scouts of America, who all do a very good job maintaining their portions of the river in the Toledo area?  See pages 17-25, 46-54.

10. That the county engineer, Mike Pniewski, teaches a near-full time schedule at the University of Toledo, who is minding the Lucas County engineering department, and why should the county engineering department be taking on the supervision and maintenance of our 10-mile creek watershed, especially in light of rational thinking that such an undertaking needs the full-time supervision of the county engineering department head, to whom we pay an annual salary of about $150K — second highest only to the county coroner. Not to mention thoughtfulness and a green thumb in regard to our waterways and Lake Erie, as engineers are not the same as scientists, and why should they take ownership of our rivers? Local is better.  See pages 83, 85-89, 92

11. What is the relationship between Lucas County and the University of Toledo, including as to why the county engineer teaches university Freshman-level classes nearly full-time, and also uses Nitschke’s backyard river as an example for a broadcasting on Channel 13 to show why taxpayers in Toledo need to fund a ditch and river cleanup requiring the taking of property rights and unlimited tax assessments, forever?  See pages 83, 85-89, 92

12. That the county engineer has time to take off of his already shortened schedule, since he teaches so many university classes, to speak up at a gerrymandering hearing in the middle of his work day shows us that he is number one a politician looking out for his own political interests, not a county engineer, and he’s not looking after our best interests. We don’t need a watershed boss. We don’t trust him with our delicate ecology. And he has not shown proof of such a need for the county to be a boss of our waterways. See pages 44-54, 80, 81, 83, 88

Thus, for the foregoing reasons and for points made in all of the articles and comments in the following webpages and Facebook posts with pages numbered 5 to 99, the 10-Mile Creek Watershed Ditch Petition does not benefit us; in fact it is detrimental. It’s an outrageous land-rights grab, and doesn’t seem constitutional. We are not sold on the so-called improvements. We think that landowners are responsible for cleaning up their own ditches, and that they have been doing an excellent job of it. We think that river clean-up projects should be small, localized and any radical changes should be overseen by the EPA, because the ecology of our rivers and Lake Erie is delicate. The water clean-up projects funded by grants inspired by Ned Skeldon have been successful and should continue.

See additional pages 5-99:

Remonstrance pages 5 to 99  (pdf 32 mb)

Table of Contents for the pdf:

  • Page 5 postcard
  • 6-16  – 10-mile creek ripoff
  • 17-25 –  Who owns Ten-Mile Creek?
  • 26-33 –  A blank check
  • 34-43 –  Ned Skeldon, Betty Mauk, and their river legacy
  • 44-54 –  A river is not a ditch
  • 55-99 –  Toledo Now Facebook posts June 6 – October 19

One reply on “Remonstrance filed with Lucas and Fulton counties”

As a Fulton county resident I feel we should no be dragged into Lucas county politics. We live near the beginning of the watershed many miles from either Swan Creek or Ten Mile Creek. We have no drainage problems even after heavy rainfalls. In fact we need our water to drain into the ground where it lands as it rains. Most of the landowners around us have wells for their only water supply. Increasing the speed of water drain off will deplete our water table and dry up our wells. Please don’t steal our water! I see this as a way to try to make rural Fulton County residents beg to buy Toledo water. We do no not want any part of this project!!! Please leave us out of Lucas County schemes.

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