Sandusky Bay Barge Party controversy - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Sandusky Bay Barge Party controversy

Posted: Updated:
Thousands are expected to head out to the Sandusky Bay Barge Party on Saturday for music and fun in the sun, but an e-mail sent by a supervisor with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources warning other law enforcement about “armed militia” has the event organizer fighting back.

"We're not in the militia,” says Shaun Bickley. “We don't carry guns. This is a friendly, boater-friendly party."

Bickley, the owner of the Cover Carryout fueling station and Shepherd’s Shoreline Construction, started the Sandusky Bay Barge Party seven years ago on the sandbar between Cedar Point and Marblehead.

In anticipation of Saturday’s event, ODNR’s Sandusky-area supervisor Jeff Nehls sent an e-mail to dozens of law enforcement officers in the area saying an, “ODNR Watercraft Officer was informed by a reliable source (who wishes to remain anonymous) that there may be armed militia individuals providing security for Shaun Bickley. Other information is that the ‘militia’ person(s) own a boat. It is unknown if these individuals will be carrying openly or concealed.”

Bickley says he is calling everyone, including the Coast Guard, claiming this may be because he has butted heads with law enforcement in the past.

"I filed an official complaint against Jeff Nehls,” says Bickley. “Jeff Nehls is a liar."

13abc tried several times to speak with Nehls with no success.  However, in Columbus a DNR spokesperson released a statement saying, "Watercraft was providing information to better ensure the safety of the public and officers in advance of an event that, in the past, has required some intervention from law enforcement."

 "We don't believe he's engaged in any type of activity like that,” says Sandusky Police Chief John Orzech.

Orzech says he has known Bickley for 30 years and doesn’t have any concerns.

"As far as I know, Shaun's trying to put on a nice event for boaters and the people of Ottawa County,” says Chief Orzech.

 "Everybody wants a safe party,” says Bickley. “I want a safe party. Do I think they're going to be out in full force? Yes. I want a sober skipper out there just like the rest of them. But do I think we're going to get hammered tomorrow? Yes, ma’am."

 Several hours after sending the first e-mail, ODNR sent a second one saying, “Shaun Bickley has contacted local law enforcement concerning 'militia' comments. According to Mr. Bickley, he has not hired any security or ‘militia’ personnel for this weekend’s upcoming Barge Party.”


  • LocalMore>>

  • Samaria road nearly finished in Monroe County

    Samaria road nearly finished in Monroe County

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:45 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:45:11 GMT
    Over the state line in Monroe County, 6 months made a world of difference in terms of road conditions.This winter, cars could barely get down streets, like Samaria. But today, it's smooth sailing as the nearly $5 million dollar project nears completion."I think it's great," Nick Koepke, who lives on Samaria said.Not only does he call the street home, it's also where he does business.He says the potholes causes a lot of headaches over the years."It was terrible," he told 13abc. "There were spo...
    Over the state line in Monroe County, 6 months made a world of difference in terms of road conditions.This winter, cars could barely get down streets, like Samaria. But today, it's smooth sailing as the nearly $5 million dollar project nears completion."I think it's great," Nick Koepke, who lives on Samaria said.Not only does he call the street home, it's also where he does business.He says the potholes causes a lot of headaches over the years."It was terrible," he told 13abc. "There were spo...
  • MI Fire Dept warns of "unstable silo"

    MI Fire Dept warns of "unstable silo"

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:29:38 GMT
    An Ida, Michigan street is closed tonight because of what the fire department calls an "unstable silo.
    An Ida, Michigan street is closed tonight because of what the fire department calls an "unstable silo.
  • Low cost Toledo animal clinic serves up creative way to raise money

    Low cost Toledo animal clinic serves up creative way to raise money

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:54:03 GMT
    Humane Ohio is a low cost spay neuter clinic that fixes thousands of dogs and cats every year. You have a chance to have help raise money for the non-profit organization and get a great meal. The annual "spay-ghetti" dinner is later this month. It is Humane Ohio's biggest fundraiser of the year.Organizers hope to bring in about $15,000 at this year's event. Humane Ohio Development and Marketing Director Kristy Kissoff that money helps them keep prices down at the clinic, "This year we are o...
    Humane Ohio is a low cost spay neuter clinic that fixes thousands of dogs and cats every year. You have a chance to have help raise money for the non-profit organization and get a great meal. The annual "spay-ghetti" dinner is later this month. It is Humane Ohio's biggest fundraiser of the year.Organizers hope to bring in about $15,000 at this year's event. Humane Ohio Development and Marketing Director Kristy Kissoff that money helps them keep prices down at the clinic, "This year we are o...
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • TPS delays the start of Head Start

    TPS delays the start of Head Start

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:47:42 GMT
    Today was supposed to be the first day of school for all Toledo Head Start students but hundreds of students had to stay at home.
    Today was supposed to be the first day of school for all Toledo Head Start students but hundreds of students had to stay at home.
  • Cedar Point announces Mantis is out October 19th

    Cedar Point announces Mantis is out October 19th

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:48 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:48:20 GMT
    Cedar Point has announced that the Mantis Roller Coaster is shutting down.
    Cedar Point has announced that the Mantis Roller Coaster is shutting down.
  • Samaria road nearly finished in Monroe County

    Samaria road nearly finished in Monroe County

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:45 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:45:11 GMT
    Over the state line in Monroe County, 6 months made a world of difference in terms of road conditions.This winter, cars could barely get down streets, like Samaria. But today, it's smooth sailing as the nearly $5 million dollar project nears completion."I think it's great," Nick Koepke, who lives on Samaria said.Not only does he call the street home, it's also where he does business.He says the potholes causes a lot of headaches over the years."It was terrible," he told 13abc. "There were spo...
    Over the state line in Monroe County, 6 months made a world of difference in terms of road conditions.This winter, cars could barely get down streets, like Samaria. But today, it's smooth sailing as the nearly $5 million dollar project nears completion."I think it's great," Nick Koepke, who lives on Samaria said.Not only does he call the street home, it's also where he does business.He says the potholes causes a lot of headaches over the years."It was terrible," he told 13abc. "There were spo...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!