Local Legislators Get Bills Signed By Governor

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(COLUMBUS)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed several bills into law this week that had legislative sponsorship from our area lawmakers.

Among them are:

H.B. 222, introduced by Representative Shane Wilkin (Hillsboro) and Representative Terrence Upchurch (Cleveland), specifies that a nonprofit formed or acquired by a county hospital or joint township district hospital is a separate entity from the hospital.

S.B. 80, introduced by Senator Theresa Gavarone (Bowling Green) and Senator Jerry C. Cirino (Kirtland), requires political party affiliation to be listed on general election ballots in judicial elections increasing transparency. Representative D.J. Swearingen (Huron) and Representative Brian Stewart (Ashville) introduced companion legislation in the Ohio House.

S.B. 40, introduced by Senator Tim Schaffer (Lancaster), revises the way cigarettes’ wholesale minimum sale price is calculated by referring to the manufacturer’s gross invoice cost as the basis of a wholesaler’s cost.

Huffer Steps Down As Chillicothe Boys Basketball Coach

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Chillicothe boys basketball coach Eric Huffer has confirmed he is resigning as the Cavaliers head coach. The confirmation came in a communication with Litter Media’s Dan Ramey on Thursday.

Huffer spent 8 seasons as the Cavaliers varsity coach and gained his 100th career win, while at CHS. He led the Cavs to 3 Frontier Athletic Conference titles and four sectional tournament championships, one in Division 2 and three in Division 1.

In his 8 seasons, Huffer coached several talented players that have gone on to notable college basketball opportunities.

Among Huffer’s stand out Cavaliers are Tommy Bolte who was one of the nation’s leading scorers while at Concord University and plays professionally in Europe, Brandon Noel plays for D-1 Wright State University, Branden & Jayvon Maughmer are playing at Cedarville University and Tre Beard is a member of Shawnee State’s NAIA National Championship team in 2021.

Eric Huffer in a postgame interview. Dan Ramey/Litter Media

Civil War Statue Returns To Yoctangee Park Entrance

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The statue at the head of Chillicothe’s Yoctangee Park, which was damaged by a traffic crash in December 2019, has been repaired and returned to its pedestal.

The Capital City Crane workers prepare to place the statue Wednesday afternoon. Photo courtesy Ivy’s Home & Garden on Facebook

Although Richard Enderlin’s name appears on the pedestal, the soldier on the monument is actually not an image of Congressional Medal of Honoree Richard Enderlin, but represents the men who served with him.

The statue in winter 2018 a year before being toppled in a car crash. Dan Ramey/Litter Media

It’s return on June 30th comes just in time to commemorate to that July 1st date that marks 158 years since Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Richard Enderlin “voluntarily took a rifle and served as a soldier in the ranks during the first and second days of the battle (Gettysburg). Voluntarily and at his own imminent peril went into the enemy’s lines at night and, under a sharp fire, rescued a wounded comrade.”

Clint Boggs of the Chillicothe Parks and Recreation said- “We’re glad to have Mr. Enderlin back home at the head of Yoctangee Park. The Parks Dept. would like to thank the City Engineering Dept., Safety Service Dept. for their assistance and Edgewater StoneWorks for their efforts in repairing and returning Sergeant Enderlin.”

The statue in place Wednesday afternoon. Photo courtesy Ivy’s Home & Garden on Facebook

Ohio University Ranks High With Programs For Military Vets

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(ATHENS) – Ohio University has been ranked 50th in the nation on Military Times’ 2021 Best for Vets: Colleges list of schools for veterans and current military service members nationally. 

According to the Military Times website, the list is the largest list of schools for veterans and current military service members in the country. The list helps veterans to make important academic decisions. Military Times is an independent news source with news and information about issues affecting service members and their families. 

“Ohio University is dedicated to ensuring those who serve our nation are able to get a high-quality education, and this recognition of our efforts is much appreciated,” Ohio University President Hugh Sherman said. “Our military members have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy, and supporting them during and after their service is the least we can do to recognize their commitment.”

Ohio University has several thousand military-affiliated students currently enrolled. The Veterans and Military Student Services Center helps with filing educational benefits requests, exploring academic interests, finding opportunities on campus and finding post education employment. Veteran students and service members at OHIO receive benefits such as scholarships to specific programs, priority class registration, military transfer credit and experience evaluation, waiver of two-year residency requirements, authorized absences for drill attendance and counseling/psychological services. There is also a Veteran Transition Seminar designed specifically to meet veteran student needs and build a support network for future continued success.

“At OHIO we try to provide any assistance we can to our military-affiliated students,” said Terry St. Peter, Director, Veterans & Military Student Services Center, LTC (Ret) US Army. “Our mission is to assist veterans and military students in determining their academic interests, exploring their opportunities at OHIO and ultimately identifying employment after they graduate, and we work hard to accomplish that goal with each student.”

OHIO has a long history of serving military-affiliated students. Several programs across campus are also recognized nationally and by the state, including best colleges for veterans, best college in the state for journalism for veterans, best medical admin program for veterans, best digital communication programs for veterans and best online graduate engineering program for veterans. Additionally, the online MBA was ranked the second best for veterans in Ohio (57th nationally). OHIO was also recently named one of the nation’s most military-friendly schools for the 10th year in a row.

Local Leaders Appointed By Governor To State Boards

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(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has made the recent appointments to regional and state advisory boards.

The following appointments include two people from our area:

  • Dennis Milstead of Washington Court House (Fayette County) has been appointed the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees for a term beginning June 30, 2021, and ending May 11, 2026.
  • Anna Villarreal of Chillicothe (Ross County) has been appointed to the Chiropractic Loan Repayment Advisory Board for a term beginning June 30, 2021, and ending February 20, 2023.

Independence Fireworks Safety

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(COLUMBUS) — State and local fire officials are encouraging Ohioans to put safety first this Fourth of July and be mindful of current laws prohibiting unlicensed fireworks displays. 

The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of State Fire Marshal and the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association have again come together to help Ohioans protect what matters most to them this Fourth of July – their loved ones and their property.

“Discharging consumer-grade fireworks is still illegal in Ohio and, until that changes, we encourage people to only attend licensed shows in their communities,” said Ken Klouda, chief of the State Fire Marshal’s Fire Prevention Bureau. “Everyone deserves to celebrate the July 4th holiday, but we want people to do it safely and legally.”

Under Ohio’s current fireworks laws, popular devices such as Roman candles, bottle rockets and firecrackers can be legally purchased in Ohio but must be transported out of state within 48 hours. Only licensed exhibitors are permitted to discharge these devices in the state.

Most first-time violations of Ohio’s fireworks laws are first-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Violations include failing to transport fireworks out of state within the 48-hour time period and discharging those fireworks.

“The reality of it is we just want to make sure you’re safe,” said Chief Mark Kidd, 2nd vice president of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association. “Your local police and firefighters are going to treat you with respect, but they’re also going to make sure you’re not doing something outside the law within the state of Ohio.”

The State Fire Marshal’s office, as well as many local fire departments, have already seen a rise in complaints regarding unlicensed fireworks displays – putting families in danger and tying up the resources of law enforcement.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2020 Fireworks Annual Report, roughly 10,300 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms between June 21-July 21, 2020.

Trick and novelty fireworks – those that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake – are the only types of fireworks that can be legally discharged by consumers.

But while those sparklers may seem like harmless toys, they’re not without their risks.

“If the ground is dry and there are combustibles around, those sparklers can start another fire that might be a lot more than what you bargained for,” said Kidd. “Also, those things are hot – they burn between 1,100-1,200 degrees, ballpark. Imagine what that feels like to a 3-year-old who doesn’t know any better and grabs ahold of that live sparkler.”

Ohioans are encouraged to follow these important safety tips when using trick or novelty fireworks such as sparklers:

  • Only handle and discharge trick and novelty devices under adult supervision.
  • Educate yourself on the hazards of each type of device being used.
  • Read and follow the label directions on the packaging of a trick and novelty device.
  • Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from your body, as well as others.
  • Sparklers should only be used by someone 12 years of age or older.
  • Sparkler wires should immediately be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury, because they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout.
  • Consider substituting sparklers for a safer alternative, such as glow sticks.

More information on Ohio’s fireworks laws, including the process for becoming a licensed fireworks exhibitor, can be found on the Department of Commerce’s website.

Boaters Educated About Invasive Species Risk For Lake Erie

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(COLUMBUS) – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant Program are taking a leadership role in educating boaters and the public about the serious risks of spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS) during the third annual Great Lakes AIS Landing Blitz, which is running through July 4th.

“A record number of Ohioans are discovering the joys of boating and on-the-water recreation this summer,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “ODNR is excited to join both state and national partners to educate our boaters about practices they can follow which will help us fight the spread of aquatic invasive species in Lake Erie and other Ohio waterways.”

Ohio’s boaters are encouraged to properly inspect and clean boats, boots, and other outdoor equipment when traveling from one location to the next. This prevents the spread of invasive species, which is recognized as one of the most significant threats to the ecological and economic health of the Great Lakes and Ohio.

“Ohio Sea Grant has long been involved in the regional “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” campaign as well as research on aquatic invasive species,” says Director Chris Winslow of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory. “We look forward to bringing together some of the state’s top experts to share their knowledge and insight on this important Lake Erie topic which impacts our wildlife, tourism, and economy.”

During July, as part of this year’s Landing Blitz, ODNR, working in partnership with Ohio Sea Grant, will host a series of webinars related to increasing invasive species awareness and preventative measures. Webinars will begin on Wednesday, July 7 at 10 a.m. EST and will be offered every Wednesday at 10 a.m. through Aug. 4.

Specific topics for these free webinars will range from practicing “clean, drain, dry” after removing a boat, as well as an overview of invasive aquatic species and the proper disposal of unwanted bait. Each webinar will feature experts and offer an opportunity for viewers to ask questions.  

To learn more about the webinars, visit the Ohio State Parks Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ohiostateparks/events. Visit https://www.youtube.com/TheOhioDNR to watch the recordings.

The annual Great Lakes AIS Landing Blitz is coordinated annually among state and provincial agencies with the support of the Great Lakes Commission and partner organizations. For more information on participating locations, volunteer opportunities or to request educational materials, visit www.glc.org/blitz.

The Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu