PIBIO – Lake Erie Foundation, Making a Difference
By Peter Huston
Why Lake Erie Foundation Opposes Wind Turbines on Lake Erie
December 1st is Giving Tuesday. I’m hoping after you read this you will want to support the Lake Erie Foundation. Full disclosure, I am on the Lake Erie Foundation Advisory board. You may already know our board president Jim Stouffer, from Catawba Island Club. The Lake Erie Foundation filed an Amicus Brief to support the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) lawsuit heading to Federal District Court this January. BSBO’s intent is to have the court reexamine the sighting process approval for wind turbines in Lake Erie.
Icebreaker Windpower Inc. is planning construction of (6) six 480′ tall wind turbines in Lake Erie, just 8 miles northwest of Cleveland. This is an area greater than entire Put-in-Bay Township waters and islands. The pilot project is to demonstrate feasibility for building an additional 1,400 to 1,600 wind turbines across Lake Erie, and eventually throughout the remaining Great Lakes.
LEEDCO, a non-profit, presented this project to the public as a 6 to 8 wind turbine demonstration project. LEEDCO executives were quoted by multiple news sources stating that their plan is to generate 5,000 megawatts of electricity from wind turbines on Lake Erie by the year 2030. This would require building 1,400 to 1,600 wind turbines.
LEEDCO claims that the Icebreaker wind turbine project would create 500 local jobs.
Yet according to LEEDCO’s own study, only 159 temporary local construction jobs would be created. The same study points out that only 9 permanent onsite labor jobs would be created.
Environmental experts such as the U.S. Fish and Wild Life Service and Nature Conservancy do not recommend building wind turbines in or within, three miles of any of our Great Lakes due to the risks that they pose to millions of migrating birds. The Nature Conservancy warns against wind turbines being built in Great Lakes Open Waters to avoid disturbing sediment from turbine construction that can be lethal to fish eggs and larvae.
The Black Swamp Bird Observatory, which hosts a 10-day birding festival “The Biggest Week” each Spring, draws nearly 90,000 visitors and generates an estimated $40 million in tourism revenue to the Lake Erie region annually. BSBO opposes the Icebreaker Project, which intends to place wind turbines in the Central Basin of Lake Erie, a designated Globally Important Bird Area, placing millions of migrating birds in harm’s way as they migrate across the Lake.
Additionally Ohio’s recreational boating on Lake Erie generates $3.5 billion in revenue. Top Lake Erie boating groups such as the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, Greater Cleveland Boating Association, Michigan Boating Industry Association and the Inter Lake Yachting Association, which collectively represent hundreds of thousands of Lake Erie boaters, have all voiced their opposition to building wind turbines on Lake Erie as well.
Our island’s economy is certain to be affected. Total annual tourism-related spending for the (8) eight Lake Erie-bordering counties in Ohio, is about $15 billion, which supports 127,000 jobs and generates $1.9 billion in total taxes. The Lake Erie Foundation supports efforts to improve the environment and decrease global warming, but we see the negative environmental and economic effects on Lake Erie, along with economic losses to tourism, jobs, waterfront home values and taxes, appear to outweigh the several hundred jobs that this project claims it will create.
#GivingTuesday, a global day of giving, empowers us to transform our community. On Dec. 1st, 2020, you’re invited to join the tradition to help transform our lake communities by giving to Lake Erie Foundation. Established in 2016, Lake Erie Foundation (LEF) is Lake Erie’s advocate for economic sustainability, legal defense, education, outreach and innovative sustainable technology. Support Lake Erie Foundation this year, for business, for pleasure, forever.
www.lakeeriefoundation.org Become a member, make a donation, get involved.
Cares Act Charitable Contribution Tax Deduction – Keep Island Non-profits in Mind
A new law passed this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could have implications for your year end giving. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law this past March, is designed to help individuals, businesses and non-profits facing economic hardships during the pandemic. Here is what you need to know as you plan for year end-you have two more months to make contributions that could aid nonprofits such as the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy and the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Widllife Center.
The CARES Act expands charitable giving incentives and allows taxpayers who take the standard deduction to also deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions to qualified charities this year. For those who itemize their deductions, the new law allows for cash contributions to qualified charities to be deducted up to 100% (up from 60% previously) of our adjusted gross income for the 2020 calendar year Approximately 90% of all individual tax returns now take only the standard deduction. Previously these non-itemized tax deductions were not permitted to take a charitable tax deduction. This is an “above the line” adjustment to income that will reduce your adjusted gross income and thereby reduce your taxable income. Consider a donation to the LEIC or LEINWC to receive these tax benefits!! Unless this is extended this is available for only the next month.!!
Many donors over retirement age like to make a gift from their IRA using their required minimum distributions (RMD).The new law temporarily suspends the requirements for RMD for 2020, meaning you don’t necessarily have to take the distribution this tax year. However, a gift from your IRA may still be the way to go. Here are a few reasons why:
*Your gift is used right away, so you get to see the difference you are making.
*You pay no income taxes on the gift. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions.
*Since the gift doesn’t count as income, it can reduce your annual income level. This may help lower your Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax.
So keep your island charities in mind!!!
Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation Launches New Fundraising Campaign
As work continues toward returning their 1929 Ford Tri-Motor to the skies, the Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation is asking for support through a new fundraising campaign. The aim of the campaign is to help fund the complete restoration of Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT-40, also known as the “Tin Goose,” which flew between Port Clinton and the Lake Erie islands from 1946–1952.
The Foundation’s goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of 2020.
This ambitious restoration project began in 2004 with a dedicated group of volunteers and is funded solely through private donations. Lisa Benjamin, Vice President of the Foundation, stated, “Although steady progress is being made, the restoration effort is a costly endeavor. Funding is needed as each part must be meticulously restored or custom made in order to be used in the certified flying aircraft.”
How can you help with the project? Restoration volunteers are seeking monetary donations and aircraft part sponsorships. Interested parties may also consider purchasing a memorial brick as a part of the “Buy-a-Brick” program. All support is appreciated and goes directly into rebuilding the Ford Tri-Motor.
For those who may want to contribute to the project at a higher level, the unique opportunity to sponsor a seat within the passenger compartment of the aircraft is available. A brass placard will be permanently attached to the sponsored seat commemorating the gift for all future passengers to acknowledge. Additionally, the sponsor at this level will receive 10 tickets each year for rides in the completed aircraft, and receive a key to the aircraft main cabin for personal tours during museum hours. For more information on this opportunity, please contact Foundation President, Jody Brausch at 216-288-8522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the restoration, or to help support the foundation’s efforts, visit their newly redesigned website at www.RestoreTheFord.org .
About the Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation
The Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization founded in 2004 with the goal of raising enough capital to restore, fly, and maintain a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor and publicly showcase the aircraft.
In addition, they are collecting items of historical significance to educate the public on the important role this aircraft played in the lives of island residents and visitors, as well as in the development of commercial passenger aviation.
Visitors can see the project in person at the Liberty Aviation Museum, 3515 E. State Road in Port Clinton Ohio.
The 211 on Mental Health Resources for Islanders
By Peter Huston
So many friendly places ready to help if you need it. That was the takeaway from our “Lunch and Learn” zoom forum on Emotional Health Resources on November 23rd. Thanks to Jessica Singerling from United Way of Ottawa County, and Brenda Cronin from Mental Health and Recovery of Erie and Ottawa County, we had 14 local mental health and recovery services sharing what they do and explaining how islanders can connect with these great services without leaving the island.
Everyone agrees that mental health and recovery services have never been more available virtually (and in person) since the COVID pandemic changed how individuals can access healthcare through telemedicine. Innovative thinking from places like Oak House, a virtual social gathering site for individuals seeking support and friendship during recovery in Port Clinton, was discussed. They now provide regular zoom calls, Facebook live sessions and phone conferences along other virtual events and services. This is one of the positive takeaways we see happening since this COVID crisis changed how to connect with those in need.
Hats off to all these contributors on the call: Margie Warnikie, Put-in-Bay Schools; Jim O’Donnell, Mother of Sorrows; Rev. Mary Staley, St. Paul’s Episcopal; Patrick Rogers, EMS; Erie County Health Department; Light House Sober Living; Road to Hope; Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center; Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center; Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services; Bayshore Counseling Services; Volunteers of America; Catholic Charities; and Oak House. We are amazed and grateful for all these great local resources participation.
Special thanks to Rev. Mary Staley and the St. Paul’s special discretionary fund for helping promote the event through a box holder mailing. If you got our post card perhaps put it on the fridge for a rainy day or share it with a friend. The entire meeting is available to replay. Just email me at email@example.com and we will send you a link. Remember that all these great resources can be found with a simple call to #211. If you need help or a referral right now please call 1-800-826-1306.
The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.
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