HUDSON, Ohio — An Ohio mayor is once again making national headlines, this time for suggesting that opening up a local park in Hudson, Ohio to ice fishing, called Hudson Springs Park, could somehow ultimately lead to prostitution.
During a city council meeting this week, the council opened a discussion on possibly lifting the ban on ice fishing on the lake at the local park.
Councilmembers thoughtfully mulled various risks and benefits to lifting the ban, which has been in place for several years. On Tuesday, members discussed making available educational materials on the risks of ice fishing, what signage might be needed to indicate the risks of ice fishing on the lake and whether lifting the ban would run afoul of the city’s insurance policies.
As councilmembers made their final points and appeared ready to move on to the next discussion item, Mayor Craig Shubert raised the point that the city’s fire department should be trained and have the capability to conduct ice rescues and that the fire chief should weigh in before any final decision is made.
Then, the discussion got a little fishy.
“Additionally, if you open this up to ice fishing, while on the surface it sounds good, then what happens next year?” Shubert said. “Does someone come back and say, ‘I want an ice shanty on Hudson Springs Park for X amount of time? And if you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem. Prostitution. Now you’ve got the police chief, police department involved."
Hudson Council President Chris Foster then stared at Shubert, an apparent look of shock on his face.
“Just data points to consider,” Shubert said to break the five-second silence that followed.
“Okay,” Foster said as he looked on at the assembly.
“I am not in favor of shanties,” councilmember Chris Banweg said, drawing laughter from some councilmembers and the audience.
Councilmember Nicole Kowalski then re-railed the meeting by returning to the subject of posting ice fishing information on the city’s website.
Where did the mayor get this notion? Here's one possibility: A 1988 article from United Press International acknowledges rumors of prostitution on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota but found there were no actual reports of it occurring, and that it appeared to be an urban legend.
The tweet that drew attention to the mayor's ice shanty comment came from the account of Amanda Weinstein, whose Twitter bio says she is from Hudson and the wife of Rep. Casey Weinstein. The tweet was shared widely, and the story has been reported on by local and national outlets. Shubert has been roasted across social media for his unique ice fishing concerns. It is not the first time he has drawn national attention.
During a Hudson School Board meeting last September, Shubert offered his take on a writing prompt book being used at a college-level writing course at a Hudson high school that contained some prompts of a sexual nature.
“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom," Shubert told the board during the meeting. "I’ve spoken to a judge this evening. She’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice—you either choose to resign from the Board of Education or you will be charged."
An investigation by the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office found the comments made by Shubert went viral locally and nationally. Members of the Board of Education and school administrators received over 150 threatening and profane phone calls and emails.
The county prosecutor announced that the mayor would not be charged for his comments, saying that while there was a “significant lapse of judgment” by Shubert, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove violations of the laws took place.
This story was originally published by Ian Cross of WEWS in Cleveland.