Community Impact Award Winner Named in Pickaway County

Presented By McDonald’s, I’m Lovin It!

The United Way of Pickaway County has named the 2021 Community Impact Award winner.

Sharon Link is this year’s most outstanding community volunteer. She has been honored for her work with the Westfall Cares Foundation and the Pickaway County Emergency Homeless Shelter.

Members of the community voted for the candidate of their choice among seven nominees.

The winner will have five scholarships named in their honor which will be awarded to high school seniors of the Class of 2021 in Pickaway County in May.

Governor DeWine Visits Circleville H.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

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Governor Mike DeWine made a stop at Circleville High School’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic, Saturday morning.

“We will hit a new milestone today. We will pass 4 million Ohioans who received at least one vaccination.”

During his visit, DeWine expressed concern over the recent rise in new case numbers in Ohio as he continued his emphasis on Ohioans getting vaccinated. Virus variants are being blamed for the spike, impacting mostly people age teens through 54.

Nationally, statistics have indicated that older people are seeing a drop in new cases, with many of those people having received vaccinations.

“We can vaccinate our way out of this problem.”

Approximately 200 people were expected to be vaccinated at the Circleville site Saturday, as the governor mentioned plans to start vaccinating high school students age 16 and older, as well as the effort to get vaccination clinics into places of employment, making it easier for employees to get the shots without having to miss work.

What Happens To Your Debts After Your Death?

Presented By Atomic Speedway

Many of us have experienced this already, and others will sometime down the road. Who is responsible for the debts incurred by our loved ones- once they die?

This is a question addressed in an informative article written by Patricia Amend- a lifestyle writer and editor for 30 years. She was a staff writer at Inc. magazine; a reporter at the Fidelity Publishing Group; and a senior editor at Published Image, a financial education company that was acquired by Standard & Poor’s.

She answers the five basis questions of:

1.) Who pays the outstanding bills?

2.) Are there exceptions?

3.) Differences in estate matters- per state of residence

4.) Avoid mistakes

5.) What to do about debt collectors

We have provided a link to this article for your consideration, to try to get answers to these issues before having to deal with this difficult chapter in the life of your family.

Here is our link to the AARP article, written by Patricia Amend. CLICK HERE:

Shawnee State University Board Appointment Among Dozens Made By Governor DeWine

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(COLUMBUS)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has made the following appointments:

  • Catherine L. Evans of Middletown (Butler Co.) has been appointed to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending August 31, 2026.
  • Tyeis L. Baker-Baumann of Greenville (Darke Co.) has been appointed to the Edison State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 17, 2025.
  • Philip E. Dubbs of New Madison (Darke Co.) has been reappointed to the Edison State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 17, 2027.
  • Pamela E. Bobst of Rocky River (Cuyahoga Co.) has been appointed to the Kent State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending May 16, 2021; and for a term beginning May 17, 2021, and ending May 16, 2030.
  • Brenda S. Haas of Ironton (Lawrence Co.) has been appointed to the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending June 30, 2028.
  • Wendy Humphrey Doolittle of Springfield (Clark Co.) has been appointed to the Chemical Dependency Professionals Board for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending December 23, 2022.
  • Alverta Muhammad of Columbus (Franklin Co.) has been appointed to the Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending October 10, 2023.
  • Lisa Dodge Burton of Powell (Delaware Co.) has been reappointed to the State Speech and Hearing Professionals Board for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending March 22, 2024.
  • Ralph Eugene Ross of Mt. Sterling (Madison Co.) has been appointed to the Mt. Sterling Financial Planning and Supervision Commission for a term beginning April 9, 2021 and continuing at the pleasure of the Governor.
  • Tammy J. Bobo of Albany (Athens Co.) has been appointed to the Banking Commission for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 31, 2025.
  • Kathleen L. Fischer of Sylvania (Lucas Co.) has been appointed to the Banking Commission for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 31, 2022.
  • William U. Martin of St. Marys (Auglaize Co.) has been reappointed to the Banking Commission for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 31, 2025.
  • Jasmine Clements of New Albany (Franklin Co.) has been reappointed to the Board of Tax Appeals for a term beginning April 7, 2021, and ending February 28, 2027.
  • Gregory M. Gantt of Oakwood (Montgomery Co.) has been reappointed to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending February 26, 2027.
  • Kristin Beggs of Columbus (Franklin Co) has been appointed to the Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending February 6, 2023.
  • Christine H. Merritt of Columbus (Franklin Co.) has been reappointed to the Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending February 6, 2023.
  • James W. Metz of Eaton (Preble Co.) has been reappointed to serve on the Environmental Education Council for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending October 1, 2022.
  • Erik Yassenoff of Granville (Licking Co.) has been appointed to the Technical Advisory Council on Oil and Gas for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 31, 2022.
  • Brian D. Morley of Louisville (Stark Co.) has been reappointed to the Technical Advisory Council on Oil and Gas for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 31, 2024.
  • Brian Ross of Columbus (Franklin Co.) has been reappointed to the TourismOhio Advisory Board for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending September 27, 2023.
  • Daniel M. Rice of Cuyahoga Falls (Summit Co.) has been reappointed to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board for a term beginning April 9, 2021, and ending January 14, 2024.

Governor Delays Execution Date Of Ross County Murder Convict

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has delayed the scheduled execution of a Chillicothe man sentenced to death in the 1985 murder of 84-year-old Harold White Sr.

The governor granted the execution reprieve for Larry Landrum and two other death row inmates, due to ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), pursuant to DRC protocol, without endangering other Ohioans. 

Landrum was scheduled for execution on December 9, 2021, but that has been moved to October 15, 2024.

Landrum was convicted and sentenced to death in 1986. His 14-year-old accomplice was convicted in Ross County Juvenile Court and sent to the Ohio Youth Commission until he turned 21-years-old.

The other two reprieves by the governor were issued to:

  • Timothy L. Hoffner, who was scheduled to be executed on August 11, 2021.  The new date of execution has been moved to June 18, 2024. 
  • John David Stumpf, who was scheduled to be executed on September 15, 2021.  The new date of execution has been moved to August 13, 2024. 

2021-22 Hunting Regulations OK’d By Ohio Wildlife Council

Presented By Atomic Speedway

(COLUMBUS) – The Ohio Wildlife Council has approved all 2021-22 hunting regulations during its regularly scheduled meeting, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Hunting season dates and limits are proposed by Division of Wildlife biologists.
 
Regulations for the 2021-22 white-tailed deer hunting seasons were included in Wednesday’s vote. As in years past, a hunter may take no more than one antlered deer regardless of where or how it is taken, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. All county bag limits remain identical to last season. The deer hunting season dates for 2021-22 include:

  • Deer archery: Sept. 25, 2021-Feb. 6, 2022.
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 20-21, 2021.
  • Deer gun: Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2021; Dec. 18-19, 2021.
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 8-11, 2022.
  • Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

    Updated this year, antlerless deer may be taken from all public hunting areas from Sept. 25, 2021, to Feb. 6, 2022, provided that a hunter takes only one antlerless deer from these lands per license year. Ohio’s public land deer regulations have resulted in improved hunter satisfaction on public hunting areas. Expanding the antlerless deer dates provides additional opportunities to public land hunters.

    Deer management permits have been expanded to all 88 Ohio counties and may be used from Sept. 25 to Nov. 28, 2021. Hunters can use the deer management permit up to the county bag limit. The permit does not include public hunting areas, except Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, and during controlled hunts. Only antlerless deer may be harvested with a deer management permit. An antlerless deer in Ohio is defined as any deer without antlers, or with antlers less than 3 inches long.

    Deer populations in Ohio have shown increased growth over the last several years. Expanding the use of deer management permits statewide on private lands helps keep populations near targeted numbers while also maintaining a healthy and robust deer population on public lands. This also simplifies where hunters can use the permit and allows for more targeted harvest in counties where necessary.

    A complete list of Ohio’s 2021-22 hunting seasons is available at wildohio.gov.
     
    Canada goose hunting
    The combined number of Canada geese and white-fronted geese that may be harvested daily during the waterfowl hunting season has been increased from three to five across all waterfowl hunting zones. A limit of one brant does not change.

    A change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows for this increase throughout the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Ohio and other Midwest states. During Ohio’s goose hunting season, Canada geese are most harvested, while white-fronted geese and brant are less common. This change is designed to allow additional harvest of abundant, resident Canada geese, and is based on research that shows limited impact to the migratory subspecies. Hunter preference surveys support the increased bag limit.

    A notable update permits active military and veterans to hunt alongside a youth hunter during the special youth, active military, and veterans waterfowl hunting weekend. Previously, a youth hunter was required to hunt with a non-hunting adult, and this change allows eligible participants to hunt together.
     
    2022 wild turkey hunting seasons
    Ohio’s wild turkey hunting seasons for 2022 maintain a 30-day spring turkey season in the south zone and northeast zone, with opening days on Saturdays.

    Public land wild turkey hunters are limited to one bearded wild turkey during the 2022 spring season. This new regulation is in response to several below average reproductive years, and is designed to maintain healthy wild turkey populations on public lands. The statewide limit during the spring remains two bearded birds.

Weekly ODOT Road Construction Report

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The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways in Ross County next week. All outlined work is weather permitting.

NEW* State Route 104 Resurfacing – S.R. 104 will be reduced to one lane daily between Fairgrounds Road and the Pickaway County Line from 7 AM to 5 PM, Mon-Fri starting April 19. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

NEW* State Route 28 Resurfacing – S.R. 28 will be reduced to one lane daily from 7 AM to 5 PM between S.R. 138 and Harper Station Road starting April 15. Traffic will be maintained using flaggers. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

State Route 41 Slide Repair – S.R. 41 has reopened between Tong Hollow Road and Falls Road.

Scioto Trails State Park Culvert Replacement – Scioto Trails Forest Road 5 will be closed for 60 days near the intersection with Stony Creek Road starting March 22. Estimated completion: Spring 2021

Tar Hollow State Park Slide Repair – Park Road 10 will be closed for 30 days in Tar Hollow State Park for a slide repair project starting March 15 at 7 AM. Estimated completion: May 14.

Ross County Guardrail Replacement – Various county roads will be reduced to one lane daily from 7 AM to 5 PM starting March 1. Traffic will be maintained using flaggers. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

U.S. 23 Slide Repair – U.S. 23 northbound will experience intermittent single-lane closures south of S.R. 372. Restrictions will be set up as needed for construction. When in effect, restrictions will occur between 7 AM and 5 PM. Estimated completion: Spring 2021
The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways in Pike County next week. All outlined work is weather permitting.

U.S. 23 Signal Upgrade – U.S. 23 will be reduced to one lane in each direction daily from 7 AM to 5 PM on either side of the intersection with Second Street immediately south of the village of Waverly beginning March 24. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

S.R. 772 Slide Repair – S.R. 772 will be reduced to one, 13-foot lane between S.R. 124 and McKinney Road starting March 15 at 7 AM. Traffic will be maintained using temporary signals. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

Pike Lake State Park Resurfacing – Various park roads in Pike Lake State Park will be reduced to one lane daily from 7 AM – 5 PM starting March 15. Traffic will be maintained using flaggers. Estimated completion: Spring 2021

S.R. 32/Shyville Road Intersection Improvement – Beginning March 15, traffic lanes on S.R. 32 will be shifted in advance of construction of a new RCUT intersection design. Additional traffic impacts will be communicated as the project progresses. Estimated completion: Spring 2021
The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways in Highland County next week. All outlined work is weather permitting.

NEW* S.R. 28/S.R. 138/S.R. 753 Resurfacing – This project will resurface portions of three routes in Highland County starting April 19: S.R. 28 between Leesburg and Greenfield; S.R. 138 between 7th Street and Jefferson Street in the village of Greenfield; S.R. 753 between Snake Road and McKell Avenue. The affected routes will be reduced to one lane daily from 7 AM to 5 PM, Mon-Fri during construction. Traffic will be maintained using flaggers. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

U.S. 62 Resurfacing – U.S. 62 will be reduced to one lane between the village of Hillsboro and Warlamount Road daily from 7 AM to 5 PM starting March 29. Traffic will be maintained using temporary signals. Estimated completion: Summer 2021
The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways in Scioto County next week. All outlined work is weather permitting.

NEW* State Route 73 Culvert Replacement – S.R. 73 will be closed east of Carey’s Run – Pond Creek Road on April 16 at 7 AM. Traffic will be detoured via S.R. 348 and S.R. 104.Estimated completion: April 16 by 7 PM

NEW* State Route 73 Culvert Replacement – S.R. 73 will be closed east of Jacquays Run Road on April 14 at 7 AM. Traffic will be detoured via S.R. 348 and S.R. 104. Estimated completion: April 14 by 7 PM

NEW* State Route 73 Culvert Replacement – S.R. 73 will be closed approximately 0.5 miles east of Arion Road on April 9 at 7 AM. Traffic will be detoured via S.R. 348 and S.R. 104. Estimated completion: April 9 by 7 PM

U.S. 52 Culvert replacements – This project will replace two culverts along U.S. 52 starting April 1. The first culvert is located east of Upper Twin Creek Road. The second culvert is located between Pond Run Road and Ziegler Lane. Construction for both culverts will occur simultaneously. For both locations, traffic on U.S. 52 will be maintained in one lane using temporary signals. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

Riverfront Multi-Use Path – This project will construct a multi-use path between Front Street and Offnere Street beginning April 1. Traffic on affected city streets and school roads will be maintained in one lane using flaggers as needed. Restrictions may occur daily between 7:30 AM and 5 PM. Estimated completion: Fall 2021

U.S. 23/Feurt Hill Road Intersection Improvement – Feurt Hill Road may be reduced to one lane as needed during construction, with traffic maintained using flaggers. Two lanes in each direction will be maintained on U.S. 23 throughout construction. Estimated completion: Fall 2021

State Route 823 routine maintenance – state Route 823 will be reduced to one, 14-foot lane in each direction daily from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for routine maintenance, pavement grinding, and other work as needed from March 30 to April 8. Estimated completion: April 8, by 6:30 p.m.
The following construction and maintenance projects are anticipated to affect highways in Adams County next week. All outlined work is weather permitting.

S.R. 32 Resurfacing – S.R. 32 will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Tranquility Pike and S.R. 73 starting April 5. Estimated completion: Fall 2021

District-wide Reflective Pavement Marker Installation – Currently working in Adams County. Beginning March 22, work will commence on various routes throughout the district from 7 AM to 5 PM daily. Traffic on two lane roadways will be maintained in one lane using flaggers. Traffic on four lane roadways will be maintained in at least one lane in each direction during work hours. Estimated completion: Summer 2021
The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways in Brown County next week. All outlined work is weather permitting.

NEW* U.S. 52 Culvert Replacement – U.S. 52 will be reduced to one lane between Elk River Road and Logan Gap Road starting April 12 at 7 AM. Traffic will be maintained using temporary signals. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

NEW* S.R. 41 Slide Repair – S.R. 41 will be reduced to one lane between Meffords Run Road and Catbird Lane starting at 7 AM on April 19. Traffic will be maintained using temporary signals. Estimated completion: Summer 2021

Village of Aberdeen Sidewalk Upgrades – This project will install new pedestrian facilities in the village of Aberdeen at the intersection of U.S. 52 and Elm Street starting March 29. Traffic on U.S. 52 will be maintained in one lane in each direction throughout construction, with minor traffic impacts possible. Estimated completion: Summer 2021
The following construction and maintenance projects are anticipated to affect highways in Lawrence County next week. All outlined work is weather permitting.

NEW* S.R. 378 Culvert Replacement – S.R. 378 will be closed for five days between Trace Creek – Marion Ridge Road and S.R. 141 starting at 7:30 AM on April 5. Traffic will be detoured via S.R. 141 and S.R. 217. Estimated completion: April 9 by 3 PM

NEW* S.R. 243/S.R. 378 Resurfacing – This project will resurface segments of both S.R. 243 and S.R. 378, as well as replace a culvert on S.R. 378. Traffic on the affected routes will be reduced to one lane daily from 7 AM to 5 PM beginning April 1. Traffic will be maintained using flaggers. Estimated completion: Fall 2021

NEW* U.S. 52 Bridge Repair and Maintenance – This project will perform various maintenance and repair work to several bridges along U.S. 52 starting April 1. Traffic will be maintained in one, 10-foot lane in each direction of U.S. 52 throughout construction. This project will include two, 14-day ramp closures at the U.S. 52/S.R. 93 interchange. During the ramp closures, traffic will be detoured via U.S. 52 and S.R. 141. Estimated completion: Fall 2021

State Route 7 Rockslide Remediation – S.R. 7 southbound between Buffalo Creek Road and Tallow Ridge Road is reduced to one, 12-foot lane. Additional traffic control measures may be necessary as construction progresses. Estimated completion: Spring 2021

The following construction and maintenance projects are anticipated to affect highways in Pickaway County next week.

State Route 316

CONTINUING IMPACTS

State Routes 316 and 752 Resurfacing – SR 316 between Cromley Rd. and SR 752 in the village of Ashville will have daily lane restrictions (7 a.m. – 5 p.m.) starting Thursday, April 1 through Friday, April 9. 


U.S. Route 62

CONTINUING IMPACTS
U.S. Route 62 Bridge Replacement – The U.S. 62 bridge over Deer Creek will close starting Monday, March 15 through September 2021 for bridge replacement. Detour: U.S. 62 to I-71 to SR 56 to U.S. 62 or reverse.

Governor Talks Economy, Unemployment In Health Advisory Update

Presented By Atomic Speedway

(COLUMBUS)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Governor DeWine today outlined the progression of Ohio’s economic recovery.

Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP) outpaced the nation in the final quarter of calendar year 2020. The U.S. GDP is estimated to have grown 4.3 percent in the quarter, and Ohio’s GDP is estimated to have increased 5 percent during the same timeframe.

Ohio’s unemployment rate in February 2021 was 5 percent and the national rate was 6.2 percent.

This month, Ohio’s tax revenues exceeded the monthly estimate by $41 million, or 2.6 percent, and remain 4.3 percent above the estimate for the fiscal year-to-date. This is a dramatic improvement from one year ago.

These positive developments follow several steps taken by Governor DeWine at the onset of the pandemic to ensure that the state budget remained balanced and stable, including a freeze on state government spending, cuts in state staffing costs, and refinanced state bonds.”I made these hard choices early on, tightening our belt because we did not know what the future held,” said Governor DeWine. “A strong post-pandemic economy directly depends on defeating the virus, and as we are working hard to vaccinate Ohioans, we are seeing good signs in our economy as well.” 
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Using federal dollars strategically to shore up Ohio’s unemployment system will also contribute to Ohio’s year of recovery. Governor DeWine recommended to the General Assembly that Ohio use a portion of its federal COVID relief and recovery dollars to pay off the Unemployment Insurance loan owed to the federal government.  

“This loan was caused by the global pandemic, and paying it off now will free Ohio employers from this burden so they can instead focus on getting employees across our state back to work.,” said Governor DeWine “This will help small businesses owners and employees, and I look forward to working with our partners in the General Assembly on legislation to pay off the loan.”

“The Ohio Chamber of Commerce applauds Gov. DeWine’s announcement today recommending a portion of the state’s federal pandemic relief funds be used to pay off the state’s unemployment compensation loan. Eliminating Ohio’s outstanding federal unemployment loan balance and shoring up the state’s trust fund will prevent employers from facing an estimated tax increase in 2022 of over $100 million and could save employers as much as $658 million in tax increases over a three-year period,” said Ohio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew E. Doehrel. “The DeWine administration’s investment will also prevent a repeat of the tax hikes employers were saddled with stemming from the 2008 recession when it took the state 8 years to pay back Ohio’s federal unemployment loan of more than $3.3 billion.”

“During the last unemployment crisis, Ohio borrowed about $3.4 billion to pay unemployment benefits to workers. During that time, Ohio employers were hit with federal interest and penalties that cost them over $3 billion. Due to the COVID pandemic, Ohio is already over $1.4 billion in unemployment compensation debt. To pay that back would be a huge cost to Ohio businesses who are trying desperately to recover and hire people,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.
CASE INCREASES & OHIO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY SYSTEM UPDATE
This week is the second week where the cases over two weeks per 100,000 people have gone up by more than 10. Two weeks ago, Ohio’s cases per 100,000 people were 146.9. Today, case per 100,000 people is at 183.7. 

“We are moving in the wrong direction from our statewide goal of 50 cases per 100,000 people,” said Governor DeWine. “We are not seeing the runaway case growth we saw during the fall yet, so we can still turn this around if more people continue to get vaccinated and we continue to mask and social distance.”

The increases in case rates are reflected in this week’s Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health shows case increases in 53 counties over the past week.

Level changes include:
Franklin County moved to the watch list following sustained increases in cases and in COVID-related healthcare use including emergency department and outpatient visits and hospitalizations for COVID.

Putnam County moved from orange to red.

Carroll, Mercer, and Morgan counties moved from yellow to orange.

Brown and Noble counties dropped from orange to yellow.

According to Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio and the nation are enduring another wave of COVID-19 due to variants of the original virus that are more contagious and more deadly. Variant counts in Ohio jumped from 92 on March 12 to 797 today, a doubling time of about every 9-10 days.
Photo Courtesy of Ohio Department of Health
MULTISYSTEM INFLAMMATORY SYNDROME IN CHILDREN
Although COVID-19 has historically affected older Ohioans, children are not immune to getting sick with coronavirus, and in some rare cases, kids can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Since the start of the pandemic, 166 children have been treated for this syndrome since the start of the pandemic. 

According to Dr. Dustin Fleck, chief of rheumatology at Dayton Children’s Hospital, this syndrome is unique because it is not associated with an active COVID infection. Rather, symptoms usually develop 2-4 weeks after a child has a symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID infection.

The syndrome is characterized by fever and inflammation throughout the body, specifically targeting the heart. The syndrome can also target the gastrointestinal system, liver, lungs, kidneys, and brain. Parents should look for symptoms of abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swelling of hands and feet, and redness of eyes.

Dr. Fleck’s full explanation of multisystem inflammatory syndrome is available on the Ohio Channel’s YouTube page.
CHOOSE OHIO FIRST SCHOLARSHIP
Lt. Governor Jon Husted highlighted a scholarship that boosts Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).The scholarship, part of the Choose Ohio First (COF) program, will support an estimated 3,400 Ohio students who are new to the program, along with an additional 3,000 existing COF scholars.

The scholarship awards a total of $69,826,882 over the next five years.

“The Choose Ohio First scholarship is helping Ohio students get a head start on their future careers, preparing them for in-demand jobs including coding and cybersecurity,” said Lt. Governor Husted, who led efforts to create the program as then-Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.“

This new investment shows how valuable a STEM education – and keeping those students in Ohio – is to the state. I encourage high school students to consider the Choose Ohio First program as they are looking at their future college education.”This new COF scholarship will support students completing programs in the STEM disciplines at 57 colleges and universities across the state, including several schools that are new to the program.
BMV UPDATES
Lt. Governor Husted also announced enhancements to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s (BMV) “Get In Line, Online” system.

The update allows customers to check in at the deputy registrar agency by using a QR code, located on the BMV deputy registrar storefront.

Instead of checking in at the self-service kiosk and waiting inside the agency, customers may now wait in their vehicle and will receive a text message with instructions when it is their turn to return to the agency to complete their transaction.

On March 16, QR codes were rolled out to approximately 10-20 agencies per week.  By May, most agencies will have this “Get in Line, Online” enhancement available to customers.

The BMV is also reminding customers that the COVID-19 automatic extension that was applied to Ohio driver licenses, identification cards, and vehicle registrations is ending soon.

Visit bmv.ohio.gov for more information.  

ODOT To Invest $2 Billion To Improve Infrastructure

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

Photo Courtesy of Ohio Department of Transportation

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is gearing up for another busy construction season. This year, ODOT will invest $1.92 billion into 956 projects to improve transportation across the state.

The 2021 construction program includes improvements to 876 bridges and 4,596 miles of pavement. Ninety-six cents of every dollar invested will go toward making sure existing roads and bridges are in good condition and as safe as possible.

“Ohio’s ability to safely and easily move people and goods is vital as we continue to recover from the global pandemic,” said Governor Mike DeWine.  “As ODOT begins the 2021 construction season, there are many infrastructure projects throughout the state that will improve safety for motorists.   We also need motorists to pay attention and not drive distracted, and to slow down in construction zones.” 

An increase in the state motor fuel tax that went into effect on July 1, 2019, has allowed ODOT to keep maintenance and safety projects on schedule despite a 15.5 percent drop in traffic volume last year.

“Thanks to the foresight of Gov. DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly and internal operational savings identified by our workforce, we have been able to weather this global pandemic. Without those extra funds, we would be nearly a billion dollars in the red,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “While other states have been delaying or cancelling projects, Ohio continues moving forward.”

Safety remains the top priority, with a total of 266 safety projects included in this year’s construction program. Of those, 131 projects are funded through the ODOT Highway Safety Improvement Program, a total investment of $178 million. A portion of these funds will go to local municipalities, townships, and counties to make safety improvements on roads they maintain.

Funding will also help target more than 150 intersections prioritized by Gov. DeWine in early 2019. These projects include simple adjustments like changing signage and striping to more complex solutions like the full reconstruction of an intersection. To date, 36 locations have been completed, 43 are under or will soon begin construction this year, 101 are under design, and 4 are still being studied. These safety improvements will no doubt save lives.

“We engineer our roads to be as safe as possible, but we need motorists to do their part by obeying speed limits, paying attention, buckling up, and driving sober. Please pay attention to the traffic and roads, not your phones,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

With increased construction throughout the state, it’s more important than ever that motorists follow Ohio’s “move over law.” The law requires drivers to move over for any roadside vehicles with flashing lights. If they cannot move over, they must slow down.

“Drivers should always pay attention, but work zones require extra attention. Just like you, these workers want to go home at the end of the day,” Marchbanks said.

There were 4,536 work zone crashes in Ohio last year. Of those, 18 crashes were fatal and 96 resulted in serious injuries. ODOT will continue to work with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for targeting enforcement of traffic laws in work zones.

Last year, ODOT crews were struck 125 times while on the job. ODOT crews have been hit 52 times already in 2021. A total of 162 ODOT workers have been killed while working to improve Ohio’s roadways.

Ohio State Fair To Focus On Agricultural & Education Competitions

Presented By McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!

Today, the Ohio Expositions Commission announced that the 2021 Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public, and will instead focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families, and guests.

When discussing plans for the 2021 Ohio State Fair, members of the Commission expressed concern for public health, as well as the financial impact of hosting a fair that would adhere to current safety protocols and the lasting impacts of the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair.

“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July,” explained General Manager Virgil Strickler. “In addition, the important safety protocols that have been put in place to protect Ohioans, like indoor seating capacities, may lead to attendance that is considerably lower than previous years. The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization. In a typical year, the Ohio State Fair’s budget is designed to break even, with a nominal profit, if any. Hosting a full fair this year would likely lead to significant financial loss.”

Many of the typical things associated with the Ohio State Fair – rides, concerts, entertainers, live music, food vendors, and shopping – are expected to return in 2022. The 2021 Ohio State Fair will be limited to exhibitors and family members for youth and senior livestock competitions, along with educational project judging for non-livestock competitions, such as 4-H.

“I wish we had a crystal ball, but we don’t,” Strickler continued. “As such, the safest decision is to greatly limit the traditional aspects of the Ohio State Fair, sticking to our roots in agriculture. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is the best path to protect the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair, as well as the safety of those involved by limiting the scope significantly.”

Detailed plans for the livestock and educational competitions are forthcoming. At this time, staff anticipates that the livestock shows will begin on July 19 and will conclude on August 8. The deadline for exhibitors to enter livestock competitions will be June 20, 2021. The 2022 Ohio State Fair is slated for July 27 – August 7.