News Column

Rain, rain go away!

June 24, 2014

By Aaron Krause, Norwalk Reflector, Ohio

June 24--The following is a list of upcoming free concerts at the Norwalk reservoir park:

Wednesday: Forward Motion July 2: Jambone July 9: Scott StiertJuly 16: Jimmy BilgenJuly 23: Matt Kean & Them Guys July 30: Womack Family BandAug. 6: Sandtown Aug. 13: No concert (Fair) Aug. 20: Dan Robertson Aug. 27: Grand finale concert

Old Man Winter made no friends in the Firelands area this past frigid season of snow and cold.

One can't help wonder if the middle of the week this summer will earn the put-down "The Wench Wet Wednesday" if the free concerts at Veterans Memorial Lake Park keep getting rained out.

If these wet Wednesdays keep popping up, locals might view them as an eager servant to a conspiring, Firelands-hating Mother Nature.

"We have put this event together as a relaxing evening for music lovers," said Jamie Castle, whose business, Castle Music, organizes the concert series each year. "Our crowd includes seniors brought out by Gaymont Nursing (Center), families with young children and everyone in between. Weather is always a concern. Now rain, that is a major concern as it could put a musician's life in jeopardy."

So far this summer, all three concerts have been rained out at the reservoir. The location for the first concert was switched to the Dirtsandwich Music Company, "but that was a last-minute thing," Castle said.

"We did not want to cancel the show because we had our bass player up from Nashville for the show," Castle said. "It was cold and rainy outside. Dirtsandwich worked out well."

The new business on West Main Street, which hosts local and national acts, holds 48 people and Castle said the concert wasn't packed.

"We typically get 250 to 350 out to the reservoir with good weather," Castle said.

In addition to music, audience members can buy popcorn and other snacks. Blankets and picnic chairs dot the landscape, Frisbee discs and balls float through the air and dogs bark as people sit back with their fourlegged companions to enjoy the concerts.

Bill Dotson, administrator of Gaymont Nursing Center and Castle keep an eye on the forecast. They "text the day of the event," Castle said. Gaymont is one of the series' sponsors.

"We're just watching the weather from Monday on," Dotson said, adding the interruptions have been "very frustrating." He added, though, that this year there are 12 concerts, instead of the previous 10.

"We try to make a call between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on the day of the event," Castle said. "We do this so that we can give the musicians advance notice. They are often driving from a ways away."

Last Wednesday, it appeared the concert would take place as scheduled in the park.

"All systems were 'go' up until 6 p.m., when the storm hit," Castle said. "There was a 50 percent chance of storms and we were nailed right at concert time. Very upsetting."

"I physically become ill when we have to call off a show," Castle added. "I feel like we are letting the fans down as well as the musicians. There's nothing we can do, but we still feel terrible when it happens."

The weather hasn't been ideal during previous summers.

"We have had 'interesting' weather in the last few years, but nothing like this season," Castle said. "We have never had our first three shows affected by weather. Last summer, there were extreme heat issues. In that situation, the crowd is our main concern as they are in the sun and the bands are under the pavilion."

Is there a Plan B if Wednesdays continue their wet pattern?

"At this point, there is no back-up plan in place for weather related cancellations," Castle said. "We have used Dirtsandwich Music once during a rain out. It is a beautiful venue. I have had people suggest using one of the school gymnasiums as well. The problem is logistics. There is no place available with space we have available out at the Norwalk Reservoir. The parking is premium. There is just no other place in Norwalk that allows you to park, walk a few hundred feet, set up a chair and relax. All of this without having to navigate stairs or deal with crowded bleachers. This is the reason we are back for a seventh season in this location. It is perfect for what we do. Our goal is to offer great music, great atmosphere and a great time. That all starts with great weather. Lets hope it happens soon."

Forward Motion is scheduled to perform at 6 p.m. this Wednesday at the Reservoir.

While rain is likely again this Wednesday, the showers are forecasted to end by midday. The highs are expected to be in the mid 70s and lows in the 60s. The chance of rain drops to 10 percent for the evening.

PORT CLINTON -- The Sandusky post of the state Highway Patrol handled a three-vehicle injury crash early Monday in Carroll Township in Ottawa County.

The crash happened about 4:35 a.m. on Ohio 2 and involved a passenger car and two commercial vehicles.

Bonnie S. Collum, 50, of Bellevue, was driving a 2007 Buick Century and wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash. Carroll Township EMS transported her to Magruder Hospital with minor injuries. A hospital spokeswoman said the facility isn't allowed to provide patient information.

Before the accident, Collum was westbound on Ohio 2 while Darrell M. Slough, 53, of Flushing, Mich., and Steven G. Gottschalk, 49, of Dansville, Mich., were eastbound. Troopers said Collum went left of center and hit the right side of the 2013 Volvo tractor-trailer driven by Slough.

Gottschalk was traveling behind Slough and swerved to the right to avoid the collision. Gottschalk then went off the right side of the road and hit the ditch, troopers said. There was no contact between the 2013 Volvo semi driven by Gottschalk and the other two vehicles.

All three vehicles were towed from the scene.

Gottschalk and Slough were wearing their seat belts and weren't injured.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office and Carroll Township police and fire departments assisted troopers at the crash site.

Alcohol isn't believed to be a factor in the crash. No citations have been issued in the ongoing investigation.


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Source: Norwalk Reflector (OH)

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