Ohio and its
political subdivisions could be in line for more than $1 billion to help
address the opioid epidemic after the announcement of a $26 billion nationwide
agreement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the three largest distributors
of the drugs announced by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Wednesday. Yost's
office said that in addition to paying the monetary settlement, Johnson &
Johnson along with Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen will have to
make significant changes to help prevent a similar crisis from happening again.
A spokesman for Yost said if the state receives full participation by its
political subdivisions in the settlement, Ohio could receive up to $829 million
from the three distributors and up to $197 million from Johnson & Johnson.
Voices on both sides
of the political spectrum sized up the new biennial budget Friday, with Policy
Matters Ohio praising low-income family supports while ruing another round of
tax cuts and the Buckeye Institute coming to the defense of the latter for
employers seeking to relocate or expand and families working to pay their
bills. In the Cleveland City Club's last scheduled virtual gathering, CEO Dan
Moulthrop moderated a panel discussion including State News Bureau reporter
Andy Chow, Buckeye Institute Research Fellow Greg Lawson and Policy Matters
Executive Director Hannah Halbert, who got the first take on HB110 (Oelslager),
a 2,438-page budget bill with a number of provisions purportedly unrelated to
Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Office of Child Support will
receive $2 million in federal grant funding to expand a program that educates
teenagers about the emotional, financial and legal realities of parenthood, according
to a release from the department. Program activities are designed to reduce
unplanned pregnancies, promote economic mobility, build healthy relationship skills,
teach parenting skills, prevent relationship violence and enhance life skills. More information about the program is available at https://tinyurl.com/3tb8ubfp.
Speaking at Wexner Medical Center Thursday, First Lady Fran DeWine
discussed how hospitals can help parents enroll their newborns in the Ohio
Governor's Imagination Library (OGIL) and receive a free book by mail each
month for children from birth to age 5. Forty percent of eligible Ohio children
are currently enrolled, and DeWine said she believes that could reach 50
percent by the end of 2021.
A recent study out
of Ohio State University (OSU) is the first to calculate how much shaded areas
in cities help lower the temperature and reduce the “urban heat island” effect.
Researchers created a 3D digital model of a section of Columbus and determined
what effect the shade of the buildings and trees in the area had on land
surface temperatures over the course of one hour on one summer day. “We can use
the information from our model to formulate guidelines for community greening
and tree planting efforts, and even where to locate buildings to maximize
shading on other buildings and roadways," said Jean-Michel Guldmann, co-author
of the study and professor emeritus of city and regional planning at OSU.
The Ohio Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission (Ohio MLK Commission) recently
announced that it is now accepting nominations for the awards to be presented
at the January 2022 Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration.
Further details on the event itself will be released in the coming months.
While a reinstatement of the
statewide mask mandate is not being considered as Ohio continues to see more
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, schools should plan for “strong guidance”
from the administration as children prepare to return next month, Gov. Mike
DeWine said Friday. “There's one way out of this, and that is that more people
get vaccinated,” DeWine told reporters following his remarks celebrating Breeze
Airways' inaugural flight from the John Glenn International Airport in
cases again on the rise in Ohio and across the nation, the Ohio Department of
Health's (ODH) Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff held a press conference
Wednesday with two fellow doctors to address vaccine hesitancy and stress the
safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Driven by the spread of the more
contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, Ohio is seeing a steady
infections after a
long period of decline. The two-week average of cases per 100,000 residents has
more than doubled, Vanderhoff said. Daily case totals have risen sharply
recently, reaching 785 on Wednesday. Hospitalizations are also on the rise,
though ICU admissions and deaths remain low.
While Gov. Mike DeWine signed
lawmakers' prohibition on public school and university COVID vaccine mandates,
students, faculty and staff will be returning to classes and campuses several
weeks before the new law takes effect. Under HB244 (Lampton-White), public
schools and higher education institutions cannot require anyone to take a
vaccine not yet fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA);
COVID vaccines now widely in use are being administered under emergency use
authorization. DeWine, who's been an emphatic proponent of the vaccines, said
via a spokesman he hopes
forthcoming full approval from the FDA will render the new law moot. The FDA
granted Friday a request for priority review of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Over the weekend, the Ohio
Department of Health (ODH) issued a news release urging caution at residential
camps following reports of COVID-19 outbreaks linked to two camps in the
western part of the state. ODH has released updated residential camp guidance
to advise campers and camp operators of best prevention practices which can be
found online at https://tinyurl.com/34tebchm. The guidance recommends implementing layered prevention
approaches at camps attended by any campers who are not fully vaccinated
against COVID-19. This involves use of multiple strategies that the department
says have been shown to be effective at controlling spread of the disease,
including masking, social distancing, hand washing and frequent cleaning and sanitation.
Ten security staff
of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) are under
internal investigation or have resigned and could face criminal prosecution for
the death of a newly admitted, 56-year-old obese inmate who was thrown to the
ground at least four times and fell another 12 times before dying from apparent
heart failure. Inmate Michael McDaniel had been at the Correctional Reception
Center (CRC) for roughly two weeks, DRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith said,
when he became involved in a verbal confrontation with two female guards while
locked in his cell on Feb. 6, 2021. Although their accounts of how the argument
started contradict available video and other inmate testimony, department
investigators found after guards had removed him from the cell in handcuffs,
their initial use of force (UOF) in taking McDaniels to the ground was
justified. Democratic member of the Correctional Institution Inspection
Committee (CIIC), including Sens. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) and Sandra
Williams (D-Cleveland), Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) and Vice Chair Sedrick
Denson (D-Cincinnati), are calling for a “full investigation and accounting” of
the death of McDaniel while in the care of DRC.
Ohio could see over
15,000 new jobs, $13 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in tax
revenue in the next 25 years if it takes certain steps to promote Advanced Air
Mobility (AAM), according to a recent study by Crown Consulting and other
partners. The findings were discussed during the recent “Ohio Air Mobility
Symposium” organized by Ohio State University (OSU) students and featuring
panelists that included DriveOhio Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center
Director Fred Judson.
A recent report by
Scioto Analysis found that White male workers in Ohio out-earned other groups
in 2019, citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
On average, White male workers made $58,779; non-White males made $47,214;
White women made $39,588 and non-White women made $35,948, Scioto Analysis
said. The earnings gap between White men and other workers was $560 million in
2019, though it previously fell to $470 million in 2011. From 2011 to 2015, the
gap increased to 21 percent as a result of higher earnings for White male
workers, and it has been between $560 million and $570 million since then.
Friday's meeting of the Ohio
Department of Education (ODE) Task Force on Best Academic Practice Models for
Black Students had members continuing discussions about how to best provide
education to Black students. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said that since
the last meeting of the task force, he heard about best practices in six broad
areas: leadership, staff involvement and development, classroom practices and
academic supports, student supports and empowerment, community and family
supports and data analysis and utilization.
A federal judge
set a hearing for December to consider both an injunction request and merits of
the case in Hamilton County resident Daniel Regenold's lawsuit alleging the State
Board of Education abridged his free speech rights with limits on public
testimony about race-related topics. Earlier this month, Judge James Graham of
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted a motion from
the state to dismiss claims against the State Board of Education itself, but
allowed claims against individual board members, including President Laura
Kohler, to proceed. Regenold filed the lawsuit in April after being denied the
ability to speak in person at the April board meeting under Kohler's policy of
taking testimony on race-related topics in writing only. She instituted that
policy after months' worth of testimony responding to the board's July 2020
resolution on racism and equity, as well as the Ohio Department of Education's
citation of the 1619 Project, a New York Times essay collection, in a
newsletter for social studies teachers.
Department of Education (USDOE) is inviting states to apply to receive the
second and larger installment of money provided in the federal American Rescue
Plan (ARP) Act to assist children experiencing homelessness.The second round of
funding constitutes $600 million of the $800 million provided in the ARP for
the Homeless Children and Youth (HCY) Fund, and USDOE said states and schools
should be able to access the money before the start of the academic year. The
money is meant to be used to identify homeless children and youth, provide
wraparound services to address effects of the pandemic, and provide assistance
to enable the children and youth to attend school and participate fully in
activities, according to the federal agency.
Department of Commerce's (DOC) Division of Financial Institutions announced
Wednesday that four organizations would receive funding for financial literacy
education efforts directed toward children and young adults in 20 rural Ohio counties.
The grant totals $75,930 and will be divided among DoverPhila Federal Credit
Union, Denison University, JuniorAchievement of Mahoning Valley and Junior
Achievement of Northwest Ohio.
financial oversight panel for Niles City Schools this week recommended Auditor
of State Keith Faber release the district from fiscal emergency status. Niles
is the only school district in fiscal emergency.
Donald Trump Tuesday made it clear that only Mike Carey has his endorsement for
the 15th Congressional District, calling him a “great friend,” and
someone the voters “will cherish for the rest of your lives.” In remarks
lasting about five minutes on a teleconference call with Carey, Trump
encouraged supporters to get out and vote for Carey in the special election
primary to replace former U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, now the head of the Ohio
Chamber of Commerce.
U.S. Rep. Anthony
Gonzalez (R-Canton) outraised Republican challenger Max Miller in the second
quarter of the year, even with Miller's appearing with former President Donald
Trump at a rally in Lorain County last month. Trump is backing Miller, a former
aide, against Gonzalez after the second-term congressman voted to impeach
Trump, citing Trump's conduct before and during a riot at the U.S. Capitol
involving Trump supporters in January. In reports filed last week with the
Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Gonzalez reported $591,016 in net
contributions, and spent about $110,279, leaving $1.5 million on hand. Miller
reported $337,340 in net contributions, but spent $310,351, and has $533,153 on
hand. A third Republican, Jonah Schulz, reported $11,565 in net contributions,
$6,206 in spending and $7,539 on hand. Democrat Matthew Diemer reported $2,575
in contributions, $2,277 in spending and $2,497 on hand.
businessman Mike Gibbons has the most cash among all of the candidates seeking
to succeed U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) in next year's Senate race thanks to
loaning his committee $5.9 million, while Republican businessman Bernie Moreno
and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) showed the most prowess in raising cash for
their campaigns. In total, Ohio candidates for the seat raised nearly $11
million combined over the quarter.
The owner of a
Newark funeral home announced Monday that he will be seeking the Republican
nomination for the Ohio Senate's 31st Senate District in 2022, when the current
seat holder, Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), is unable to run for reelection due
to term limits. Chute, who said this will be his first run for public office,
is a licensed funeral director with Vensil & Chute Funeral Homes. He is a
graduate of Newark High School and returned to the area after attending Ohio
University and the
of Mortuary Science.
Senate candidate Bernie Moreno announced this week that Lana Marks, a former
ambassador to South Africa in the Trump administration, is joining his
campaign's steering committee.
Moreno said his
campaign's steering committee was instrumental in helping him to outraise all
competitors in his first fundraising quarter.
For the week ending July 17, the Ohio Department of Job and Family
Services (ODJFS) reported 12,619 initial traditional unemployment claims to the
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The number of initial traditional unemployment
claims increased by 2,666 since last week, when ODJFS reported 9,953 initial
for greater regulatory oversight of electric transmission “gold-plating” have
prompted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Ohio Power Siting
Board (OPSB) to launch separate investigations into how transmission
infrastructure connecting power generators to local utilities is planned and
built on a regional and national level and whether average consumers are being overcharged.
FERC and OPSB both opened new case dockets last week to examine utility
transmission planning and billing, the latter an additional requirement of
133-HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) repeal legislation HB128 (Hoops-Stein).
rules proposed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) would for the
first time allow simultaneous drilling and production of oil and gas within
close proximity, subject to strict precautions against explosions and well
blow-outs. Announced Friday, ODNR's Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management
(DOGRM) rule package seeks to protect surrounding communities and ecosystems
while allowing the industry to extract profits more quickly.
Though he has not
been officially indicted as part of an ongoing federal investigation
surrounding the passage of nuclear bailout bill 133-HB6 (Callender-Wilkin), new
court filings made Thursday allege former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
(PUCO) Chairman Sam Randazzo took $4.3 million from FirstEnergy Corp. to
further the utility's interests before the commission. Randazzo was appointed
chairman of the commission by Gov. Mike DeWine in February 2019, but resigned
more than a year and a half later after federal agents executed a search
warrant on Randazzo's Columbus home. DeWine, facing criticism over that pick in
light of the new court filing, issued a statement later in the day defending
his pick of Randazzo and adding that if the allegations against the former
chairman are true, “his motives were not known by me or my staff.” Just a day
later than the one-year anniversary of the arrest of former House Speaker Larry
Householder on federal corruption charges stemming from the passage of 133-HB6,
federal authorities Thursday announced they were charging FirstEnergy with
conspiracy in the case. They also announced they had reached an agreement with
the utility to defer that prosecution as long as FirstEnergy Corp. continues to
cooperate with their investigation.
The Ohio Air
Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) board recently approved two new projects
with bond financing totaling up to $2.85 million to support 130 West 2nd
Street, LLC in Dayton as it implements energy efficiency upgrades.The financing
is provided through OAQDA's Clean Air Improvement Program (CAIP), which
supports clean air facility improvements statewide through its bond financing
and related tax benefits.
U.S. Sen. Rob
Portman (R-OH) opened his call with reporters Tuesday by discussing ongoing
bipartisan negotiations on infrastructure legislation, saying “if we get it
right, it's going to be great for the country.” He noted that 43 percent of
public roadways nationally are in “poor or mediocre” condition and that over
46,000 bridges are considered “structurally deficient,” adding that Ohio faces
these problems as well.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod
Brown (D-OH) used his weekly tele-press conference to urge passage of federal
legislation that he said would make it easier for workers to organize and
collectively bargain and punish companies that use unfair tactics to
stopworkers from joining a union. Brown said unions have made and continue to
make the hard work of Ohioans pay off, leading to better benefits and better wages.
He said the bill would begin to level the playing field between workers and
corporations after years of polices that
he argued are
corporate centered, from trade to taxation to organizing rules.
Biden traveled to Cincinnati Wednesday evening to hold a town hall broadcast on
CNN, addressing issues ranging from the pandemic to a pending infrastructure
bill in Congress. He expressed hope that a bipartisan deal will come together
on infrastructure, despite Republicans' voting against a procedural vote on the
measure this week. The president noted the importance of fixing bridges and
roads across the country and also highlighted the jobs the endeavor would
The Statehouse has been experiencing high temperatures this week after
a water pipe burst on Sunday and caused damage to the HVAC system, as well as
the elevator in the north light court. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board
(CSRAB) spokesman Mike Rupert said in an email air conditioning repairs are
expected to be done by the end of the week. CSRAB said in a statement earlier
this week the damage to the elevator was “extensive” and is expected to take a
few months to repair.
Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday he's
appointing Natasha R. Kennedy to the Logan County Court of Common Pleas, Family
Court, to replace retired Judge Dan Bratka. Kennedy will need to run for
election in November 2022 to keep the seat. Kennedy, of Bellefontaine, has been
a magistrate for the family court division since August 2019. Previously, she
was a magistrate in the court's general division and an assistant county
The Governor's Office of
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) Advisory Board highlighted
Thursday the upcoming release of its “Compassion Map” app, which will provide a
map of faith- and community-based organizations across the state for use by
government, nonprofit leaders and clients. Board Director Michele Reynolds
explained that the office will soon launch its “get on the map” initiative to encourage
faith and community-based groups to undergo the process to be listed on the
Compassion Map app. Also included on the map will be relevant contact
information for the organizations listed.
Appointments made during the week include the following:
- Kimberly Wallis
of Broadview Heights (Cuyahoga County), Amista Naylor Lipot of Beverly
(Washington County), Andrea E. Hoffman of Marion (Marion County), Kelly Maynard
of Dublin (Franklin County) and Randi Clites of Ravenna (Portage County) to the
Rare Disease Advisory Council for terms beginning July 21, 2021 and ending
April 22, 2023.
- Bradley G. Beach
of North Canton (Stark County) to the Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and
Education Commission for a term beginning July 21, 2021 and ending July 20, 2024.
- Kristi Burre of
Pickerington (Fairfield County) to the Early Childhood Advisory Council for a
term beginning July 20, 2021 and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.
- Ward J. Timken,
Jr. of Canton (Stark County) to the Northeast Ohio Medical University Board of
Trustees for a term beginning Sept. 22, 2021 and ending Sept. 21, 2030.
- William C.
Wappner of Mansfield (Richland County) reappointed to the Board of Embalmers
and Funeral Directors for a term beginning July 26, 2021 and ending June 30,
- John M.
Hoopingarner of Dover (Tuscarawas County) reappointed to the Ohio River Valley
Water Sanitation Commission for a term beginning July 21, 2021 and ending June
- Holly Christmann
of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation
Commission for a term beginning July 21, 2021 and ending June 29, 2026.
- Gordon M. Gough
of Dublin (Franklin County) to the Governor's Executive Workforce Board for a
term beginning July 21, 2021 and continuing at the pleasure of the governor.
- Gregory P.
Sample of Dayton (Montgomery County) to the Broadband Expansion Program
Authority for a term beginning July 21, 2021 and ending July 20, 2025.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
law on clinicians', institutions' and insurers' ability to decline to perform
or pay for health care services contrary to their beliefs and principles drew
the objection from a group representing family doctors. The language in HB110
(Oelslager), added in the Senate, states those entities can decline to perform
or pay for a service that “violates the practitioner's, institution's or
payer's conscience as informed by the moral, ethical or religious beliefs or principles
held by the practitioner, institution or payer.” The Ohio Association of Family
Physicians (OAFP) said in a statement the new law upsets the balance between
providers' rights and patient care.
The Commission on
Infant Mortality heard from software company RiskLD at its Wednesday meeting,
with Founder R.K. Khosla explaining that use of the app in Cleveland's
University Hospitals saw massively reduced “serious safety events” with expecting
mothers and similarly reduced litigation costs. Khosla explained that the
company's app is designed to reduce medical errors in labor and delivery units,
noting such errors are driven by lack of situational awareness and failure to
adhere to best practices.
Now at the
University of Toronto, Dexter Voisin will join Case Western Reserve University
(CWRU) as the next dean of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied
Social Sciences in January. He succeeds former Dean Cleve Gilmore who held the
position for more than 20 years.
A new report from
the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) titled “Out of Reach: the
High Cost of Housing” states that the average price of rent for a two-bedroom
apartment in Ohio outpaces the average wage for renters seeking to spend 30
percent or less of their total income on housing and utilities. According to
the report, the average wage of renters in Ohio is $14.84 per hour, while the
two-bedroom apartment “housing wage” required to rent such an apartment without
spending more than 30 percent of one's income on rent and utilities is $16.64
per hour. Approximately 34 percent of Ohioans are renters, comprising 1.59
One Ohio judge faces a
one-year suspension from the bench without pay for “gross abuse” of contempt
powers, while another is headed for a stayed suspension and sexual harassment
awareness training if the Ohio Supreme Court upholds recent recommendations
from the Board of Professional Conduct. The Hon. Mark Repp, Tiffin-Fostoria
Municipal Court's presiding judge, had led the jurisdiction for most of two
decades in 2020 when he violated multiple Rules of Judicial Conduct and
Professional Conduct in a single day, though evidence suggests it was not the
first time Repp, a former Chicago/Cook County state's attorney, had skirted
Supreme Court rules. In the second case, Judge Theodore Newton Berry of the
Hamilton County Municipal Court is accused of sending Facebook messages and
texts with “offensive and sexually explicit content” to a court reporter who
had just been hired.
The Ohio Restaurant Association
(ORA) announced Lt. Gov. Jon Husted as the recipient of one of two “Outstanding
Public Official of the Year” awards at its recent virtual 2021 Industry Awards
Celebration, which spotlights top leaders and professionals within Ohio's
restaurant, food service and hospitality industry. “This award honors public
officials who fight for the best interest of restaurant community businesses --
their owners, operators and employees. And this past year, Lt. Governor Husted
certainly was a large support to Ohio's restaurant industry,” said John Barker,
ORA president and CEO.
attempt to create a chartered police force with authority over all
municipalities in its boundaries was struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court
years ago as a constitutional and statutory overreach. Its efforts to form an
electric utility to compete with Cleveland Public Power may fare no better. The
Ohio Attorney General's Office says an electric utility operating within a county
-- even a chartered one like Cuyahoga -- appears equally problematic and a
likely violation of Article X, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution.
A Franklin County
Common Pleas judge declined Paramount Advantage's request to freeze
implementation of new Medicaid managed care contracts amid its legal challenge
to the award process.
Judge Julie Lynch
of Franklin County Common Pleas Court also referred the case to Magistrate
Jennifer Hunt. A combined hearing on Paramount's request for a temporary
injunction and trial on the merits is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12.
Ohio has not yet
defined the services and other purposes it plans to spend extra funding in the
federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) set aside for home- and community-based
services (HCBS), but recently filed a plan that spells out how it will engage
stakeholders to determine the best uses for the money.
director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), told Hannah News the submission
recently filed with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) is “a plan to plan,” given that ODM was focused heavily on state budget
deliberations until now.
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) announced that
Ohio will receive a funding boost from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help address mental illness and
addiction in the state. Ohio will receive over $86 million in one-time funding
to supplement Ohio's Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention and
Treatment Block Grant subsidies as a part of a national $2.5 billion COVID-19 relief
package. The Community Mental Health Service Block Grant aims to provide
community mental health services, for which Ohio will receive $25.8 million,
and the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant seeks to establish
and maximize addiction treatment infrastructure, for which Ohio will receive
A new accessible
kayak launch will give people of all abilities a chance to better enjoy the
water, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The new
accessible kayak launch was installed at the park's existing boat ramp on Pine
Lake, near the public beach. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboats can be rented from
the general store at the park.
ODNR dedicated two
new H2Ohio wetlands in Northwest Ohio. The Fruth Wetland Nature Preserve
restoration project in Seneca County and the Redhorse Bend Wetland Restoration
in Sandusky County were completed as part of Gov. Mike DeWine's H2Ohio
initiative to help reduce sediment and nutrients going to the Western Lake Erie
Indian Lake is
experiencing significant aquatic vegetation growth this summer, according to
ODNR, which notes that there are many factors contributing to this growth, “many
of which are natural and good indicators of good water quality.” ODNR's
Division of Parks and Watercraft has deployed two weed harvesters to ensure
that the lake's main channels remainnavigable for boats. Additionally, limited
chemical spraying is being done, “but with extreme caution so
additionalphosphorus and nitrogen are not released into Indian Lake.”
More boaters can
now enjoy time on the water at Buckeye Lake State Park, thanks to 25 new docks
and 50 slips added by ODNR. The new docks, which are 24 ft. long and 7 ft.
wide, replace old docks removed in 2014. They were installed at Fairfield Beach,
near Lakeshore Drive. They are currently rented for the 2021 season and can
accommodate any type of boat, including personal watercraft. The new docks are
rented through a lottery system offered by the park.
Alum Creek State
Park recently moved its park operations to the newly renovated park office at
3615 S. Old State Rd. in Delaware, according to ODNR. The new office is open
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for watercraft registrations,
boat inspections and general park visitor information. The park's new office
location actually served as Alum Creek's park headquarters until 2015.
The ODNR Division
of Wildlife, in partnership with the Stream + Wetlands Foundation and Ultium
Cells LLC, recently announced the construction of a 172-acre habitat
restoration project at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Refuge in Trumbull County. The
project includes more than 130-acres of restored wetlands on a site that was previously
farmed to control woody invasive plants before the project was initiated.
The hundredth anniversary of the birth of Ohio native John Glenn, the
first American to orbit the Earth in space and one of the state's U.S. senators
for more than 20 years, was celebrated throughout the week in Cambridge and
nearby New Concord. In addition, OSU's Glenn College updated its displays reflecting
Glenn's life, legacy and relationship to the college.
The Ohio Public
Employees Retirement System (OPERS) announced that while it still looks to
institute a temporary freeze on cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retiree benefits,
that can't happen next year as planned given that it would have required a
statutory change. Next year's increases will be 3 percent for those who retired
before Jan. 7, 2013; those who retired since then will see COLAs matched to the
increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) but no higher than 3 percent. OPERS
and other state pension funds use a so-called simple COLA, meaning the
adjustments do not compound and are always calculated based ona retiree's
original benefit. Past COLAs already built into retirees' benefit payments
would not be affected by the freeze plan. The system wanted a two-year freeze
starting with the 2022 COLAs to help address unfunded liabilities and shore up
the long-term financial outlook. Paired with that was a plan to have new
retirees' COLAs start two years into retirement instead of one. The system said
the plan would have reduced unfunded liabilities by about $3 billion or 15
review of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) commissioned by the Ohio
Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) says the pension fund overpays financial
firms to the detriment of beneficiaries, is secretive and lacks proper
legislative oversight. The system responded with a report saying its 10-year
performance exceeds that of most peer funds and noted it provided tens of
thousands of pages' worth of material to ORTA's investigator, among other
arguments. ORTA hired Edward Siedle of Benchmark Financial Services Inc. to do
an independent review of STRS. He later sued STRS, represented by former
Attorney General Marc Dann, to demand release of records for the investigation,
alleging STRS and vendor CEM Benchmarking misused a trade secrets exemption to
withhold documents that should be made public.
Former U.S. Rep.
Dennis Kucinich, a current candidate for Cleveland mayor who was also the
city's youngest mayor when he was elected in 1977, released a book in June
discussing the privatization of municipal utilities and his efforts to fight
the privatization of Cleveland's electric utility Muni Light. In The
Division of Light and Power, Kucinich writes about how the city had been
threatened by one of America's largestbanks unless he agreed to sell Muni Light
to the bank's business partner.
Members of the House Democratic
Caucus will meet with Ohioans at town hall meetings across the state this
summer, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) has announced. The “Ohio
Promise: Opportunity Agenda Tour” will feature discussions on issues like jobs,
economic development, the state budget, health care, voting rights and the 2021
redistricting process, according to House Democrats.
had one thing in common at the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services' (OCJS)
Monday panel discussion on future law enforcement recruitment. They were all
women, and they all believed the male-dominated profession had much to gain as
well as much to offer from an increased focus on female peace officers. Housed
within the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS), OCJS's Office of Law
Enforcement Recruitment (LER) led by Director Sarah Shendy hosted the forum,
joined by Ohio State University (OSU) Police Chief Kimberly Spears McNatt, Hocking
College Police Chief Tiffany Tims, Kent State University police Ofc. Diane
Dudziak and former Cleveland police Sgt. Charmin Leon of the Center for
Policing Equity (CPE) in Los Angeles.
The Ohio State
Highway Patrol (OSHP) has begun an initiative with neighboring state law
enforcement agencies to focus on enforcing “move over” laws. The effort began
at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and continues until 11:59 a.m. Saturday, July 24. Participants
include the state police in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West
Virginia. From 2016 to 2020, the release said, OSHP cruisers were involved in
56 “'move over' related” crashes, and the patrol has recorded more than 25,000
citations for that offense.
The Ohio State
Highway Patrol announced the promotion of two of its troopers on Tuesday. Chuck
A. Jones has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and is
transferring from his current assignment as the commander of the patrol's
Office of Training, Recruitment and Diversity to serve in the Office of the
Superintendent. Jones' current assignment will be filled by John C. Altman, who
was promoted to the rank of major. With the promotion, Altman has transferred
from his current assignment as commander of the Findlay District headquarters
to serve as commander in the patrol's Office of Training, Recruitment and
Tax Commissioner Jeff
McClain has put himself in the unusual position of asking the Ohio Supreme
Court to remand complaints filed by an air delivery company for tax periods
dating to 2007 that he had previously urged the state Board of Tax Appeals to
dismiss. The Court granted his request Thursday, finding “tolled” or extended
filing deadlines in COVID-19 omnibus 133-HB197 (Powell-Merrin) apply to
administrative proceedings -- including tax appeals -- as well as civil and criminal
and civil cases.
During his prepared remarks at
Concourse C, where passengers were awaiting a flight to New Orleans, Gov. Mike DeWine
welcomed Breeze Airways to Columbus, noting the company also recently started
serving the Akron-Canton area. “Right before the pandemic began, I talked with
the leadership at JobsOhio and said that we really have to start emphasizing
more flights out of Ohio, more flights into Ohio and more direct flights when
we can get those,” DeWine said. “Breeze coming into Ohio is the first really
great success, and we hope we see many, many more successes.”
The Ohio Turnpike
and Infrastructure Commission received updates on its toll collection system
and customer service center projects during Monday's meeting. Executive
Director Ferzan Ahmed reported that the customer service center implementation
will be completed in two phases. The first phase is to implement the new system
to work with the existing toll collection system, while the second phase will
be to integrate the new customer service center with the new toll collection
Ohio Department of
Transportation (ODOT) Director Jack Marchbanks travelled to Zanesville Tuesday
to kick off the $88 million reconstruction of Interstate 70 through that city. The
project includes the resurfacing of the freeway from U.S. Route 40 to State
Route 93 and affects 16 bridges, including the bridges over the Licking and
Muskingum rivers, ODOT said. It is one of a number of projects the agency has
been highlighting as part of the 2021 road construction season.
Both jobs and the unemployment rate
increased in June, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The unemployment rate increased from 5 percent in May to 5.2 percent in June,
while nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by 31,300, from
5,289,500 to 5,320,800. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in June was
291,000, up from 278,000 in May. The number of unemployed has decreased by
297,000 in the past 12 months from 588,000. The June unemployment rate for Ohio
decreased from 10.3 percent in June 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate for June
was 5.9 percent, up from 5.8 percent in May, and down from 11.1 percent in June
Attorney General Marc Dann announced his firm and Andrew Engel of Advocate
Attorneys had refiled a lawsuit to rescind the state's terminated participation
in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment
Compensation (FPUC) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
programs in Franklin County.
The Bureau of
Workers' Compensation (BWC) and its Ohio On-Site Consultation Program have
joined forces with the OhioAgribusiness Association and the four state area
offices of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to
raise awareness and develop agribusiness industry-specific safety education and
training, according to BWC.
The Ohio Bureau of
Workers' Compensation (BWC) announced recently that it had again extended a
deadline for long-term care facilities to seek reimbursement for investments in
indoor air quality (IAQ) regarding COVID-19. Facilities now have until Friday,
Dec. 31 to apply.The initial deadline had been Dec. 30, 2020, though that was
previously extended to March 31, 2021 after federal legislation passed. The
BWC's COVID-19 IAQ Assistance Program provides health care related businesses
with financial reimbursement to help cover improvement costs due to the
pandemic. Eligible entities include nursing homes, assisted living facilities,
hospices, senior centers and substance use disorder residential treatment providers.
The Bureau of
Workers' Compensation (BWC) has begun accepting applications for its Workplace
Wellness Grant Program (WWGP), which assists employers in creating and
implementing these programs.
BWC said they
consist of a health-risk appraisal, a biometric assessment and programs that
address those risk factors. Employers can receive $300 per participating
employee over a four-year period, up to a maximum amount of $15,000 per policy.
The grants are open to businesses that do not have an existing wellness plan
and which meet other eligibility requirements.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced
Tuesday that the 10th application period for the state's TechCred program will
open Sunday, Aug. 1 at www.TechCred.Ohio.gov
and close on Tuesday, Aug. 31. The first eight rounds have led to approval of
1,310 businesses and 23,723 credentials. The ninth round was held in June, and
its results will be released in the coming weeks.
A new report from
Policy Matters Ohio (PMO) and Essential Ohio found that while 30 percent of
Ohioans work in jobs deemed essential during the pandemic, their median pay is
12.9 percent less than workers holding non-essential positions. PMO also noted
essential workers face “far greater” risk of contracting COVID-19 and bringing
it home to their families as a result of working these jobs.