April 20, 2014

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Should the county emergency management agency office duties be a separate office?
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WT may start transitional kindergarten
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 11:00 AM

Wayne Trace Local Schools is pleased to announce the possibility of two kindergarten age programs for 2014-15.

These options include a possible Young 5’s classroom (transitional kindergarten) and a regular traditional kindergarten. Both will be all day, every day programs that provide students with a kindergarten curriculum based on the Ohio Department of Education content standards.

After each child’s kindergarten screening, a team of academic professionals will meet and gather their findings. A recommendation will then be made to parents regarding a placement for their child.

The Blue Creek Comets of 1954 - Part 4
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 10:37 AM
The Comets captured the Paulding Holiday tournament championship with two wins. In their first game, the Comets handled Edgerton 53-39. In the championship showdown with Paulding it was Blue Creek winning 59-48. Team members were, front row from left – Harold Sinn, Gerald Sinn, Kenneth Zimmerman, Walter Sinn, Dennis Doster, Max Pease; back row – Gerald Williamson, Gene DeLong, Charlie Hart, Roger Roth, William Laukhuf and coach Ned Jay.

1953-54 Comets tip off successful season

Costly mistake gives Comets unexpected loss


Special to the Progress

Part 4 of 7

Part four begins with a game-by-game synopsis covering their first 14 games. The Comets stumbled once on its way to a 13-1 record.


Sherwood at Blue Creek

November 6, 1953. What just happened? The Blue Creek Comets just took the opening game tip-off to make a 2-point lay-up in four seconds. It wasn’t luck, it was a plan. The players themselves designed the play. It happened both at the start and at half-time – in the center-circle. That was 4-points per game, done in four seconds each. It was done in every game (except one). The Comets’ opponents never caught on to it.

How did they do it? Lining up at center circle, each team has four men on the circle, plus the centers jumping, except the Comets. Gerald stepped back six steps from the circle leaving one man open. (That open-man is confused, he can’t believe the idiots left him alone. He looks at his center, then begs for the tip. He’s real cocky about it.)

Everyone in the circle (and the stands) knew who would get the tip - the open guy. Gerald was already nodding to center Ken Z., to Dennis, next to him and to Max, who nodded to Walt. All five Comets were ready, even Ken Z. is going to tip it to the open man. The ref throws up the tip. Gerald takes four running steps flying high in the air, steals the tip with one hand (8 foot high). Before his feet touch the floor he shovels a pass to Max, (clock starts) who instantly flips to Walt on the other corner. Walt throws a long fast pass to Dennis waiting under the basket for a lay-up in four-seconds. All five Comets touched the ball before shooting. Remember the movie “Hoosiers”?

How many Comet games needed four points to win in 1954? How big was the advantage to score in four seconds? Opponents stood in the center circle in utter shock. It worked every game. First and second half tips. The big teams were over optimistic when they saw the small Comets. The four second tip-off, among other surprises, changed that.

Game #1: Blue Creek 85 Sherwood 55 (1-0).

The newspapers stated, “Blue Creek swamps Sherwood with an avalanche. They were never in the contest, trailing 18 to 9 in the first period.” Center Ken Zimmerman and Dennis Doster scored 22 and 21 points respectively. The Comets had nine players in the scoring column. Obviously, the team’s offense is in place – Blue Creek was a 30 point winner.

Game #2: Blue Creek 55 Grover Hill 48 (2-0).

The Hornets gave the Comets a tussle on their home court. However, GH couldn’t stop the long shot shooting of 5’6” guard Max Pease, who led the Comets with seven field goals for 15 points. His defense must have been sharp that night too, the Hornets were held to 48 points.

Game #3: Blue Creek 60 Antwerp 51 (3-0).

Game #4: Blue Creek 53 Hoaglin 38 (4-0).

Game #5: Blue Creek 54 Wren 27 (5-0).

Five games in November, five wins.

Game #6: Blue Creek 81 Oakwood 41 (6-0).

Coach Ned Jay’s Comets romped over Oakwood by 40 points for win number six. Four Comets in double figures – Ken Z 24, Gerald 14, Dennis and Walt 12 each. Comets scored 20 points in each quarter (plus one more in the first quarter).

Game #7: Blue Creek 55 Payne 37 (7-0).

Game #8: Hamler 58 Blue Creek 55 Comets Lose! (7-1).

On a dark winter night the Comets bus and team were driven to faraway Henry County, Ohio, December 23, 1953. There, Blue Creek faced a scrappy Hamler team, which wasn’t having a good year, but couldn’t be overlooked.

Coach Jay made his pre-game comments, then the team started to the gym. “Oh, one more item, Charlie will be starting at forward, replacing Gerald tonight.” The team stopped in their tracks. Jay had just hit them with a lightning bolt. “I’d never seen so many blank and confused faces on my teammates,” Gerald commented. What was Ned thinking? You don’t fix something that’s not broken.

The Comets were an undefeated team ready for Ohio’s top 25. They were on a roll. This game was big for the Comets – in Ohio State rankings. It wasn’t time for Charlie (Hart) yet (he would be Coach Holmes’ first kid to play in the Big 10, in 1957). At this game he was about 6-foot-3 and only weighed 140 pounds. Ned was underrating his opponents that night. What did he lose?


No. 1: What Ned Jay lost was his synchronized defensive team. The Comets’ first five had allowed only 38 points per game average in the past four games. His team was winning games by as much as 30 to 40 points, because of defense. They doubled the score on the Wren team, held them to 27 points. (Wren would be in the Celina District Tournament.)

No. 2: When your team is undefeated, you do what you can to keep it undefeated.

No. 3: Ned lost his tip-off points (the automatic four points per game, in four seconds, at start and half tip-offs). The tips set the Comet’s rhythm. Gerald and Ken Z. started games with the perfect tip-offs. Five players touched the ball in four seconds. How important are four more points to a team at game’s end?

In Hamler, the Comets gave up 58 points, versus a 38-point average in the four prior games, versus 36, 39, 48 and 35 points (40-point average) in the next four games. The other Comets scored in double figures that night; Dennis and Ken 15 each, Max and Walt at 11 points, doing their part. By the time Gerald got into the game the team rhythm was gone, defense was lost and so was his rhythm. He hit 3-of-3 at the foul line, but hit no long shots. He fouled out, first time in the season. Hamler drove through the holes in the Comets defense. In searching the stats, the Comets would have won this game by big points – or at least by use of the four points in four seconds.

Ned Jay started Gerald every game thereafter in the ’54 season. But the undefeated season was gone. Ned still didn’t understand the power behind this Comets team. When defense is stronger than its own strong offense, you win at division, regional and state championship game levels. The Comets embraced both strong points. That night’s game was perhaps Ned’s strongest lesson in coaching.

Game #9: Blue Creek 53 Edgerton 39 (8-1) Paulding Holiday Tournament.

Edgerton, the top team in Williams County, Ohio, brought in a high scorer in game one. His name was Wayne Dennis and he tested Max and Gerald the first time down the floor. Max took him low and tight, Gerald took his four-steps running, flying high to tip Dennis’s shot to the right side. Dennis Doster was already in motion, the tip led him down the floor for the easy two points. Edgerton’s Dennis wailed “Crap” (but that wasn’t the word). He averaged 29 points per game, the Comets shut him down to 19, then went on to beat his state-ranked team by 14 points.

Game #10: Blue Creek 59 Paulding 48 (9-1) Paulding Holiday Tournament.

The fast-moving Comets were also too much for the Paulding Panthers. “Blue Creek showed a good defense to stop their taller opponents,” the news reported. Again, four Comets hit in double–digits; Ken Z 20, Dennis 13, Gerald 11, Walt 10. The Holiday Tourney was won by the 1954 Comets.

Game #11: Blue Creek 65 VanDel 36 (10-1).

Game #12: Blue Creek 53 Antwerp 35 (11-1).

Game #13: Blue Creek 84 Payne 48 (12-1).

Game #14: Blue Creek 64 Oakwood 48 (13-1).

Next week: The rest of the regular season and a state ranking.

© Gerald Sinn 2014

e-mail: jerpro@msn.com



Harsh winter costly to Antwerp budget
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:30 AM


By JOE SHOUSE • Progress Correspondent

ANTWERP – The Antwerp Village Council met in regular session on Monday, Feb. 24. Council members heard the financial burden as a result of the harsh winter while waterline replacement is also in the future planning for the village. Carryall Township trustee Ben Wycoff reported additional details concerning the potential sale of property near the cemetery.

Paulding Village to seek study for turn lanes at busy intersection
Friday, February 21, 2014 5:15 PM

By BILL SHERRY • Progress Correspondent

PAULDING – Efforts to lower energy costs, flood preparations and a look at adding turn lanes to a busy intersection were among the discussion items at Paulding Village Council.

Famous ag broadcaster bringing his wisdom to VW
Friday, February 21, 2014 9:46 AM

BY ED GEBERT • Times Bulletin Editor

VAN WERT — In 61 years of broadcasting, Orion Samuelson has done it all. Well, if not all, he’s done a great deal. The top agricultural broadcaster in the country, Samuelson has had seemingly countless wonderful experiences.

“There’s not one The Moment, there are many of them,” he shared. “I’d say my visit to Cuba, my first visit to China was absolutely fascinating, my visit to Russia. My background ethnically is from Norway so I enjoyed Norway perhaps the most. But I enjoyed England because of their sense of history. Hong Kong, one of the most exciting cities that never, ever stops moving.”

For Samuelson, his travels are for more than just sightseeing.

He stated, “I have had the opportunity to see those cultures and basically meet with farmers in those countries and see what they have to go through to produce and then see what they have to go through to feed their families. You see the struggle they have to feed their families. The don’t have the technology, and they don’t have the quality of land that we have in this country.”

Samuelson, who will turn 80 years old on March 31, will be speaking at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Feb. 23 beginning at 3 p.m.

“They’ve asked me to talk basically about what I’ve written in the book, my autobiography of a year ago, You Can’t Dream Big Enough,” he related. “The title is for young people because you really can’t dream big enough — you just can’t imagine what’s out there waiting. Then I wrote it for people of my generation because some say, ‘Now when I run into my grandkids and they ask me what it was like to grow up on a farm, I just tell them to read your book!’ A lot of people grew up similar to the way I did; no electricity, no running water, no telephone, no newspaper. I tell people, ‘I don’t care what your beginning is, you can do whatever you want to.’”

Agriculture has always had Samuelson’s heart. He grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin before going to broadcast school. He worked at a few small radio stations around that state before going to work for WGN in Chicago in 1960. He was the staffer who read the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to WGN listeners in 1963. He has held the same position with the station for more than half a century, second only to Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully for the longest tenure at one broadcasting job.

He and broadcast partner Max Armstrong reach into homes throughout the country with the National Farm Report, Farming American, and Samuelson Sez. Like a traditional farmer, Samuelson is early to bed and early to rise.

"I’m up at a quarter till 3 in the morning,” Samuelson said. “I do 16 broadcasts on WGN radio starting at 4:50 in downtown Chicago, the Tribune Tower. My last live broadcast is at 3:30 and my last on-air report is at 6:30. Then Thursday is the day we do the weekly television show that Max Armstrong and I do. I’ll probably spend about 40-45 days a year on the speaking circuit. So on a normal day, when I’m doing the office stuff, I get home about 4:00, and in bed by 8:00, and up at three in the morning again.”

Over the past 61 years, Samuelson’s job has changed simply because of the changes in agriculture.

“What has changed?” he asked. “Everything! The way that we do it and the content changed considerably because of the fact that in 1972 we became a global agriculture and realized that 95 percent of the world lives outside our borders, and so we had to go into the export market. That changed the weather that we watch, changed the government action that we watch, and it certainly changed the market action.”

He continued, “The thing that they are going to be concerned about is the demand. Then when you get into cases like 2012, with the drought, then you worry about supply because with the drought we certainly weren’t able to come up with the supply that we needed to take care of the global demand. We took care of our domestic demand, but… yeah, there are a lot more complicated factors today than when I was growing up on the farm and when I was starting out in this business 61 years ago.”

The increase in technology available to individual farmers has made some of the information from Samuelson’s reports readily available without the radio. But the appeal of Samuelson is not just the information he delivers.

“I’ve had a lot of farmers tell me that the Internet has no personality, and they like to get the opinion because they know I talk to a lot of people in all circles of agriculture. So that’s why, lucky for me, they still listen!” he chuckled.

They listen, and Samuelson keeps broadcasting. At the age of 79, he shows no signs of slowing down.

He quipped, “Well I’ll turn 80 years old on the 31st of March, and Paul Harvey, who was a good friend of mine, went until he was 90, so I’ll probably keep going, God willing, for a while. My theory has always been that when I’m no longer having fun, then I’ll quit. I’ve been in the broadcast business 61 years and I’m still having fun. I haven’t worked a day since I got into this business!”

You Can’t Dream Big Enough is Samuelson’s memoir, taking readers through stories of his adventures in radio and in agriculture. He claims he could never have imagined how his life would go from being a poor farm boy to a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame and “the American farmer’s best friend.”

He remembered, “Sitting on a milking stool on a cold January morning milking cows on that Wisconsin dairy farm, and I could never have imagined that I would visit all 50 states, 44 countries, meet seven presidents, go to dinner at the White House, and shake hands with Michail Gorbachev and Fidel Castro. You just can’t dream that.”

Tickets to see Orion Samuelson are still available at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center Box Office.

Ohio public works ballot issue to be State Issue 1
Thursday, February 20, 2014 1:48 PM

COLUMBUS – Secretary of State Jon Husted and members of the Ohio Ballot Board have approved ballot language for the statewide bond issue appearing on the 2014 May Primary ballot. It is the only statewide issue voters will consider in May.

Issue 1: To Fund Public Infrastructure Capital Improvements by Permitting the Issuance of General Obligation Bonds

The constitutional amendment will be put before voters as a result of the General Assembly’s passage of Senate Joint Resolution 6.

The language, as well as the approved explanation and arguments for and against the issue, are available online at the secretary of state’s website.