Date: 6/22/17 12:39 pm
From: robert lane <ohiomagpie...>
Subject: [Ohio-birds] The Conneaut Sandspit Is Back In The News
To all of the dedicated birders that over the years, have been entertained by the shenanigans they have witnessed at "The Conneaut Sandspit", you hopefully will be amused or distressed, by the following. Today, fellow birder and friend Bob Krajeski of Ashtabula County, forwarded me an article from the June 15th Star Beacon newspaper. Bob and I have shared many memorable birds and have witnessed many unusual happenings on "The Sandspit" over the years. As I know, many of you in the birding community have! The following story from the paper is just another chapter in the continuing "Conneaut Sandspit" soap opera.

(Police Step Up Sandbar Patrol) by Mark Todd / CONNEAUT - An assault at the Conneaut Harbor sandbar early Tuesday night has prompted aggressive police enforcement at the popular waterfront venue, officials said. A man, reportedly beaten by a large crowd, was transported by ambulance to UH Conneaut Medical Center, officials said. The incident was the latest in a daily string of calls to the sandbar this week. Colby said. "We have been down there all week long," Conneaut Police Chief Michael Colby said Wednesday. "We're fed up with it and The Port Authority is fed up with it. There are rules down there and we will strictly enforce them. We will have a zero-tolerance policy." Joseph Raisian, Conneaut Port Authority chairman, said a handful of troublemakers will not be allowed to ruin the sandbar experience for the majority who follow the rules. "We have invested time, money and a lot of effort into making the sandbar an enjoyable place," Raisian said. "We're not going to lose control of this beautiful asset. We're not going to let that happen." The matter remains under investigation, but police were called to the sandbar about 7:30PM Tuesday, Colby said. A group of young men on the sandbar took offense to a racial term uttered by an "adolescent," he said. The situation escalated when a 35-year-old Ashtabula man drove away and sand was thrown by spinning tires, Colby said. His vehicle was stopped, and when the driver was confronted by a growing crowd he emerged from the vehicle "to defend himself," Colby said. The man reached for a hammer in the vehicle but was disarmed by the crowd and beaten, Colby said. A video of the incident shows the man was attacked by more than a dozen people, he said. Accounts of the fracas vary, Colby said. The victim told police he was merely trying to leave the scene in a hurry and did not deliberately try to spray the area with sand. Others claim the act was done maliciously. It is unclear whether the man was involved in the initial incident police were called about. The victim will be cited for disorderly conduct and, under the zero-tolerance policy, and will be banned from the sandbar, Colby said. Another individual stands to be cited as well. Police have discussed the situation with the Port Authority and are considering options, including an officer who would patrol the sandbar on a seasonal basis. "The families are slowly being pushed out by people who rum amok," Colby said. "We will not tolerate that type of activity." Raisian said the police department has been proactive. "We've stepped up police patrols," he said. We've asked for the (department's) help. Chief Colby has gone above and beyond, and we appreciate his help." The sandbar, which occupies a large portion of the southwest corner of the harbor, was built over decades by sand and silt that washes over the west harbor breakwater in rough weather. Gates at the entrance to the sandbar access road close promptly at 10PM -- no exceptions, Raisian said. "If you get locked in, you will have to leave your vehicle overnight," he said. The sandbar is private property that is open to the public, Raisian said. Several rules are posted at the entrance, and people who violate those rules will be cited and banned from the property. "A lot of good people enjoy the sandbar," he said.

Probably business as usual for all the birders that know the situation here. No mention of dogs off their leashes, pickups driving thru the water, and tractors wearing the sand out! Oh well!!! And by the way, Bob Krajeski says the water level is still high with minimal shorebird habitat. Hopefully conditions will improve for July and August.

Bob Lane / Mahoning County

P.S. Sorry for the length of the post.


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