Hundreds of Canfield Fair visitors received Mahoning County directories with the names and telephone numbers of county officials on them. Hopefully by now, people have thrown the directories in the garbage with the other junk they collected at the fair.
Not a lot of hard work was put into the directories. Or maybe just the opposite because you would really have to go out of your way to foul something up this badly.
The blame has to go squarely on the shoulders of the county commissioners. I don't know if they had anything to do with the directories or if they are aware of the numerous mistakes. But each directory says in large letters that they are "compliments of Mahoning County Commissioners Dave Ludt, Edward Reese and Vicki A. Sherlock." If my name was on it, I would have at least taken a quick look at it.
Apparently the commissioners don't pay too much attention to probate court. Listed as judge over that court is Leo Morley, who retired from that job more than four years ago.
The names of Prosecutor Paul Gains, Health Commissioner Matthew Stefanak, 911 Director Maggi McGee, Tim Berlekamp, director of recycling division, and Walter Duzzny, director of the county's emergency management agency, are misspelled on the directory. With the Morley error, that's six mistakes out of 21 names -- about 29 percent wrong.
Also, the word "coroner" is not spelled correctly.
If you are looking to get ahold of the auditor's office run by George Tablack (whose name is actually spelled correctly), don't use the number on the directory. The number given on the booklet is that of the clerk of courts.
The directories were printed -- I'm praying not at taxpayers' expense -- on recycled paper with soy ink. Maybe the people putting the directory together got too close to the soy fumes.
But at least the commissioners' names are spelled correctly.
Political opportunities: Kids love the Canfield Fair, but probably not as much as politicians, who come opening day in droves to make sure the TV cameras and the fairgoers get a good look at them.
That's what Ohio Treasurer Joseph T. Deters had in mind when he requested to be the keynote speaker at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber breakfast before the fair. The keynote speaker traditionally cuts the ribbon to the fair following the breakfast, gives a brief speech and enjoys his moment in the Mahoning Valley sun.
Not this time.
The chamber did invite Deters and he did speak at the breakfast attended by two local newspaper reporters. But he was on the sidelines when it came to the ribbon cutting, which was covered by the newspapers and every local TV station.
It seems as though the fair board had someone else in mind to cut the ribbon: Gov. Bob Taft. Taft was not sure he'd be at the fair until a few weeks before the ribbon cutting while Deters had committed in April. Also, the chamber had no idea that the fair board had landed Taft -- thanks in part to the help of the Mahoning Republican Party -- until it was too late to uninvite Deters.
Deters needs the publicity more than Taft. Deters is bucking the Republican Party by running for Ohio attorney general against state Auditor Jim Petro, who has a strong core of support in the Valley. Mahoning GOP Chairman Clarence Smith insists he did not bring Taft in to embarrass Deters. Deters says he knew nothing about the switch.
After speaking at the breakfast, Deters watched as Taft gave the fair kickoff speech and cut the ribbon.
The governor then promoted his OhioReads program by reading a rhyming book about animals to some local kids at the fair. Just the thought of this giant of a man with a booming voice reading a book to small kids is quite amusing. Taft was supposed to read "B is for Buckeye," which solves the age-old question about what B stands for. I already knew A was for apple and J was for jacks. Of course, C is for cookie. That's good enough for me.