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Bipartisan Encouragement For Congressional Service Nomination

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman encouraged Ohioans interested in 2019 admission to U.S. Military Service Academies to apply to each senator’s office for a congressional nomination.


Each year, Brown and Portman nominate up to 10 students for each service academy: the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.


Interested students who meet the eligibility requirements should send their completed application packet to Brown’s Cleveland office and to Portman’s Columbus office no later than September 21, 2018.


The application process is time-intensive. Applicants should plan well in advance.



BBB Warns Travelers to Plan Ahead

Columbus, OH (March 12, 2018) - Whether you are looking for a good spring break deal, going on an annual holiday trip, or have decided you just need a vacation, BBB warns travellers to plan ahead, avoid scams and travel safely.
Scammers commonly target people looking for great deals online by offering tempting vacation packages at unrealistically low prices. BBB.org is a great resource for finding travel agencies, agents and websites that are reputable and dependable.
Here are some additional tips from BBB to help ensure a worry-free vacation:
Avoid broad online searches. When trying to make reservations or find activities on your trip, avoid entering phrases like ‘best deals’ into whichever search engine you use. Broad search terms can sometimes lead you to websites that look official, but are designed solely to rip people off.
Get trip details in writing. Before making your final payment, get all the details of the trip in writing. This should include the total cost, restrictions, cancellation penalties, and names of the airlines and hotels. Also, review and keep a copy of the airline’s and hotel’s cancellation and refund policies, as well as the cancellation policies of the travel agency or booking site you are using.
Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card gives you additional protection if something should go wrong when booking your trip or while traveling.
Wait to post on social media. We all like to share our vacation adventures with friends and family, but wait until you get back from your trip. Giving too much detail about when you will be away, and your home will be empty, could attract thieves.
Check your home insurance. If your home will be unattended while you are away, make sure you know your responsibilities under your home insurance policy. Some policies do not cover damage if nobody checks on your home for a certain amount of time.
Share a copy of your itinerary with a family member or friend. Include the contact information of someone joining you on your trip.
Take a map. People rely heavily on smartphones and GPS. Have a hard copy backup in case of technical difficulties or if you are going through an area with poor cellphone reception.
Check the weather conditions where you will be traveling and pack appropriate supplies and clothing.
Avoid traveling alone. Use the buddy system and stick with your friends.
Use hotel safes to store extra cash and keep any valuables under lock and key.
To find additional traveling resources, tips and businesses you can trust, visit bbbtravelhelp.com!
For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.


Deadline for Farmers to Purchase Insurance Approaching


The Ohio Department of Insurance is reminding Ohio farmers that the deadline to purchase or modify certain insurance coverage for most spring planted crops is March 15.  


Federally subsidized, multiple-peril crop insurance covers certain weather, pest and revenue related losses. This coverage is dependent on crop establishment and reporting dates determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency that farmers must meet.


The dates vary by crop and county and are listed at www.rma.usda.gov.  


State-regulated policies such as for damage caused by hail and fire are also available. Many of them have crop establishment and reporting requirements as well.


People can contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 or visit www.insurance.ohio.gov to find insurance companies and agents licensed to sell crop insurance.



Findlay Named #1 Micropolitan City in Ohio


From the top metropolitans to the more than 900 smaller cities and villages throughout the state, Ohio offers the full package when it comes to business attraction and growth.


According to Site Selection’s Governor’s Cup 2017 rankings, Ohio earned the No. 2 spot overall for total projects for the fourth consecutive year and was third in projects per capita, making Ohio the only state to place in the top three of both categories.


Cincinnati and Columbus both placed in the top 10 list for Tier 1 Metros (population over 1 million). Akron, Dayton and Toledo earned top 10 rankings as well in the Tier 2 Metros category (population between 200,000 and 1 million).


Smaller markets are also big opportunities for businesses. Ohio micropolitans, defined as cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people, earned 18 spots in the Top 100 Micropolitans.


For the fourth straight year, editors named Findlay the No. 1 overall micropolitan.


Other Ohio cities named to the Top 100 Micropolitans include, in order of rank: Ashtabula, Celina, Sidney, Norwalk, Bellefontaine, Greenville, Marion, Sandusky, Urbana, Wapakoneta, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Van Wert and Wilmington.



Ohio Making Driver Licenses and Identification Cards More Secure

COLUMBUS - In an effort to ensure greater security and identification protection for customers, and to comply with federal regulations, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is introducing a single, central point of production for state driver licenses and identification cards, effective July 2, 2018.
Licenses and identification cards will no longer be produced while you wait at each of the more than 180 Deputy Registrar offices statewide. While customers will still go to a Deputy Registrar for license and card renewals or other transactions, they will receive their driver licenses and identification cards by mail rather than over the counter. Only a temporary proof of transaction will be issued at a Deputy Registrar location.
The extra level of security provided through centralized card production provides greater protection against counterfeiting and complies with all state and federal security standards. Ohio will be joining 41 other states to provide driver licenses and identification cards through the mail.  Centralizing the production of driver licenses and identification cards will reduce driver license fraud and identify theft by:
.Ensuring driver licenses and identification cards are issued to legitimate cardholders only;
.Preventing loss and theft of secure materials from Deputy Registrar agencies; and
.Providing a more secure printing environment, sparing the state the costs associated with security renovations at local Deputy Registrar agencies. 
What will change?
Beginning July 2, 2018, customers will be:
.Receiving their state driver licenses and identification cards by mail in about 10 days after visiting a Deputy Registrar;
.Receiving a temporary card/confirmation of driving privileges until the card arrives in the mail; and
.Having the option to have a driver license or identification card that is acceptable for federal identification purposes. 
.A new option for meeting national travel security requirements. New federal travel restrictions requiring secure identification go into effect October 2020 and Ohio is getting a jump-start on this process beginning July 2, 2018.
Customers interested in using their state-issued credential for access to federal facilities or services, such as airport security screening by the Transportation Safety Administration for boarding commercial airlines, may choose to obtain a credential that meets all federal requirements.
Customers choosing this option when obtaining a new or renewed license or identification card will be required to provide documentation proving their name and date of birth (such as a birth certificate or passport), Social Security number (such as a Social Security card) and two additional documents proving residential address (such as utility bills).
Customers not interested in or not needing to use their state-issued credential for federal identification purposes will have the option of obtaining a standard driver license or identification card without additional document requirements beyond those currently in place. 
What will NOT change?
Deputy Registrars will continue to be part of the driver license and identification card process.  Customers will still initiate driver license and identification card transactions by visiting a Deputy Registrar agency, presenting documents (as needed) and be photographed. Driver licenses and identification cards will continue to be valid for four years and require a new photograph with every renewal. 
Customer costs will remain the same for both the standard and compliant cards. 


Ohio is 7th Cheapest State to Live in America


The state of Ohio is the 7th cheapest state to live in America.


The HomeSnacks survey checked the cost of things like food, child care, medical and housing to determine what a family of various sizes can realistically expect to spend to achieve a decent living. Taxes were also one of the factors that were analyzed.


The cheapest state to live in 2017 was Mississippi. On the other end and not surprisingly, California was the most expensive state to live.



The compete story can be found on the Homesnacks.net website.








Ohio Deer & Turkey Expo Coming in March


The annual Ohio Deer & Turkey Expo returns to Columbus for three days of all things deer and turkey hunting March 16-18 at the Ohio Expo Center.


The state’s premier consumer expo for hunting and outdoor enthusiasts features the latest strategies, trends and techniques in hunting while providing a look at innovative new equipment, accessories, clothing and more.


Tickets purchased at the door will be $15 for adult one-day, $20 for adult two-day, and $5 for youth ages 6 to 15. Children five years of age and under gain admission free of charge.



Schools Around Ohio Closed Due to Threats


Reports of threats resulted in school districts canceling classes for today.


In addition, Columbus Schools say they will have an increased police presence because of threatening posts on social media.


It reflects a national trend since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.


Media reports say Lancaster High School closed after receiving a threatening telephone call on Thursday. Other schools in the district will be open, the Dispatch reports.


Licking Heights Central Middle School will be closed as Pataskala Police investigate a shooting threat made by a seventh-grader, the Dispatch reports. Students and parents reported the threat to the district.


All classes were canceled at Logan-Hocking School District because of a threat.

Posts on social media have resulted in Columbus police planning to beef up its presence Friday at its schools.


The Dayton Daily News reports four students ... one from Springfield, two from Fairborn and another from New Lebanon ... were arrested Thursday after threats were made, and that at least two other districts investigated reports of threats.



Ohio Flags at Half Staff in Honor of Fallen Westerville Police Officers

COLUMBUS – Today Governor John R. Kasich ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds throughout the State of Ohio in honor of the lives and service of Westerville Police Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli effective immediately through their interments.
Kasich’s order reads: “In honor of the lives and service of Westerville Police Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli, I hereby proclaim, by the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Ohio by the Ohio Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flags of the United States of America and the State of Ohio shall be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds throughout the state of Ohio effective immediately through their interments.”
Morelli and Joering was killed in the line of duty Saturday afternoon after responding to a 9-1-1 hang up call.
A suspect, identified as 30 year old Quentin Lamar Smith, was wounded and taken to the hospital after officers returned fire.



Drowsy Driving Crashes Higher Than Federal Estimates

COLUMBUS, Ohio (February 8, 2018) –  The percentage of crashes involving drowsy driving is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk.”
The difficulty in detecting drowsiness following a crash makes drowsy driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.
Study Details:
The AAA Foundation’s Prevalence of Drowsy Driving Crashes: Estimates from a Large-Scale Naturalistic Driving Study, is the most in-depth drowsy driving research ever conducted in the U.S.
In this study, researchers used in-vehicle dash cam videos to examine drivers’ faces in the three minutes leading up to more than 700 crashes. The scientific analysis found 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involve drowsiness – compared to federal estimates, which indicate drowsiness is a factor in just 1- to-2 percent of crashes.
Sleep Deprivation and Driving:
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours daily.
“As many Americans struggle to balance their busy schedules, missing a few hours of sleep each day can often seem harmless,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA. “But, missing just two- to-three hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk.”
Nearly all drivers (96 percent) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and completely unacceptable, according to a recent AAA Foundation survey. However, 29 percent admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.
Preventing Drowsy Driving Crashes:
Knowing the warning signs of drowsiness can help drivers avoid dozing off behind the wheel. The most common symptoms include:  
.Having trouble keeping your eyes open
.Drifting from your lane
.Not remembering the last few miles driven
In addition to knowing the warning signs AAA recommends drivers:
.Travel at times of the day when they are normally awake
.Avoid heavy foods before driving
    Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment. (Visit AAA.com/RoadwiseRX for a free and confidential online tool that generates feedback about how medications and supplements can affect safety behind the wheel.)
.Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
.Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving on road trips
.Don’t underestimate the power of a quick nap. Pulling into a rest stop and taking a quick catnap – at least 20 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes – can help keep you alert.
“Don’t be fooled, the only antidote for drowsiness is sleep,” said William Van Tassel, manager of Driver Training for AAA. “Short term tactics like drinking coffee, singing, rolling down the window will now work. Your body’s need for sleep will eventually override your brain’s attempts to stay awake.” 


BBB Lists Top 10 Inquiries, Complaints and Reviews in 2017

Columbus, OH (February 6, 2018) - More than 1.5 million consumers turned to your BBB for information on Central Ohio businesses in 2017. Over the course of the year, BBB took action with over 7,000 complaints while consumers looked to BBB customer reviews over 400,000 times.
“In the past, consumers would come to BBB for complaints,” said Kip Morse, President and CEO of BBB serving Central Ohio. “In 2017, we saw a large increase in the number of consumers who were looking at customer reviews, which shows us that consumers are not only using BBB to research companies, but to share their experiences as well, creating a dialog between businesses and consumers.”
Currently, 5,300 Accredited Businesses are committed to BBB’s high standards of trust and the resolution of marketplace disputes through conciliation. BBB Accredited Businesses have a positive commitment to stand behind their products and services while ensuring proper resolution of any disputes that may arise.
To help consumers make savvy marketplace decisions, BBB’s local database names the top ten most complained, inquired and reviewed industries of 2017.
The Top Ten Most Inquired About Industries of 2017:
1. Roofing Contractors (60,674)
2. Construction Services (60,660)
3. Collections Agencies (37,660)
4. Used Car Dealers (33,601)
5. Heating & Air Conditioning (36,741)
6. Insurance Companies (33,600)
7. Credit Cards & Plans (31,314)
8. Home Builders (28,941)
9. Plumbers (26,107)
10. Painting Contractors (21,360)
The Top Ten Most Complained About Industries of 2017:
1. Credit Cards and Plan (1,194)
2. Furniture Stores (574)
3. Insurance (346)
4. Clothing (302)
5. New Car Dealers (290)
6. Banks (279)
7. Used Car Dealers (250)
8. Collection Agencies (218)
9. Apartments (170)
10. Windshield Repair (164)
The Top Ten Most Reviewed Industries of 2017:
1. Heating & Air Conditioning (848)
2. Roofing Contractors (473)
3. Plumber (407)
4. Publishers Magazine (361)
5. Credit Cards & Plans (213)
6. Used Car Dealers (207)
7. New Car Dealers (194)
8. Apartments (190)
9. Basement Waterproofing (153)
10. Electricians (148)
Consumers can visit bbb.org to search for businesses, file a complaint or leave a customer review.
For more information on finding businesses you can trust, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.


BWC Sends Inaccurate Tax Forms to Ohio Businesses


Over 40,000 inaccurate tax documents from the Bureau of Worker's Compensation were sent to Ohio businesses.


Television station Channel 13 in Toledo reported that a major glitch out of Columbus is to blame.


The BWC says that 44,000 incorrect 1099's went out to employers who received a rebate on premiums all over the state.


The correct forms went to the IRS, but not to employers.


Companies should not file their taxes until the corrected forms arrive, which is expected to be soon.



AEP Ohio Crew Arrives Safely in Puerto Rico


AEP Ohio sent 14 line workers to Puerto Rico over the weekend to assist with power restoration efforts following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in September.


The team joined four AEP Ohio storm restoration experts who have been on the ground helping since early January.


Crews flew out of Columbus and were joined on the plane by 28 line workers from their sister companies in Indiana and Kentucky. Appalachian Power, Indiana Michigan Power and Kentucky Power. The plane also stopped in Tulsa to pick up 22 additional line workers.


The group of 64 AEP workers safely arrived in Puerto Rico this past Saturday evening.



State Program Helps Keep Ohio Workers Healthy

Officials with Ohio’s insurance fund for injured workers stopped in Hardin County Friday to unveil a free program designed to improve the health of workers who are at greater risk for on-the-job injuries.                                                                   

Sarah Morrison, administrator and CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, said Better You, Better Ohio will offer a variety of resources to help workers track their diet, quit smoking, get in shape and manage chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes.


Employees approved through a registration process will receive a $75 gift card after undergoing a health risk assessment and biometric screening. Participants will then have access to digital coaching, educational materials, wellness tracking tools, a mobile app and other resources.


Morrison said Better You, Better Ohio! will target employees of businesses with 50 or fewer workers in construction, manufacturing, agriculture and other industries that experience higher injury rates on average than others.


The program will be available February 1.



Drivers Appear to be Embracing Self-Driving Vehicles


Drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles, according to a new study from AAA.


The annual survey reveals 63 percent of U.S. drivers are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, down from 78 percent in early 2017.


Although fears of self-driving vehicles appear to be easing, U.S. drivers report high confidence in their own driving abilities.

Despite the fact that more than 90 percent of crashes involve human error, 73 percent of U.S. drivers consider themselves better-than-average drivers.


Men, in particular are confident in their driving skills, with 79 percent considering their driving skills better than average, compared to 68 percent of women.   



OSP Raising Awareness About Human Trafficking


The Ohio State Highway Patrol is collaborating with state police in Indiana, Michigan and Illinois as well as with Truckers Against Trafficking to raise awareness about human trafficking.


The initiative began on Monday and concludes this Saturday.


The weeklong initiative’s goal is to train and educate those who are in a position to see human trafficking taking place, such as commercial motor vehicle drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees. By teaching these individuals the signs of human trafficking, and how to report it, they can provide an additional layer of security on Ohio’s roads.


Troopers will hand out information cards to help identify signs of human trafficking and ask people to report suspected trafficking.



Ohio's Unemployment Rate Drops in December


Ohio's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December 2017, down from 4.8 percent in November.


Ohio’s non agricultural wage and salary employment increased 2,500 over the month.


The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 270,000, down 9,000 from 279,000 in November. The number of unemployed has decreased by 14,000 in the past 12 months from 284,000. The December unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.0 percent in December 2016.


The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 4.1 percent, unchanged from November, and down from 4.7 percent in December 2016.



Governor Signs Legislation Advancing Autonomous Vehicle Technology


Gov. John R. Kasich signed an executive order creating a one-stop shop that will make it easier for researchers to advance connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.  


The new center, DriveOhio, will bring together those responsible for building infrastructure in Ohio with those who are developing new transportation technologies to better coordinate efforts and connect transportation providers with automotive and equipment manufacturers.


Initially, DriveOhio will be housed within the Ohio Department of Transportation.


Last year, Ohio announced the creation of new smart highway projects to complement its transportation research corridors along the Ohio Turnpike and a 35-mile stretch of U.S. 33 in central Ohio.



January is Deadly Month for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


The month of January is considered to be the worst month of the year for carbon monoxide poisoning.


Unintentional carbon monoxide exposure claims on average 439 lives per year in the United States with many more people landing in emergency rooms for treatment, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Risk factors are at their highest this time of year.


Carbon Monoxide is odorless, but is sometimes associated with the smell of natural gas. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pains and confusion. If you experience any of those common symptoms, she says to immediately leave the residence and call 911.


The CDC recommends you install a battery operated C O detector and replace the batteries in the spring or fall during time change, but if you haven't replaced them in a while, now is a great time to do so.



ODA Urges Response to Census


The Ohio Department of Agriculture urges Ohio farmers and producers who have not yet done so to respond to the United States Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture.


Responses are accepted in the mail and online through February 5.


Census data is used to support rural infrastructure; farm service agency loan programs; natural resources conservation services programs and rural development funds.


USDA has improved the online form making responding easier and more convenient than ever. Additionally, federal law requires that all responses are secure and confidential.



Meteor Reported Over Detroit Tuesday


The National Weather Service reported that the bright light and what sounded like thunder in the sky across the Detroit metropolitan area may have been a meteor.


Some residents in Detroit reported hearing what sounded like thunder as a bright light was visible across the metropolitan area Tuesday night.


The Columbus Dispatch reported that the National Weather Service said it may have been a meteor that moved across the area.


The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed later that a meteor blew up over the Detroit area with enough force to register as a 2.0 earthquake.


Some residents reported their homes shaking.


The weather service said that by about 9 p.m. it had received dozens of reports.



Ohio Amish Man Requests Overturn

An Amish Leader from Ohio is filing for an Appeal of his 2012 convictions.


Samuel Mullet Sr. the leader of a break away Amish group out of Eastern Ohio, is asking a Federal Judge to overturn his convictions from 2012. According to Mullet Sr., his attorney made serious mistakes during his trial and multiple appeals. Samuel Mullet Sr. was convicted for directing the hair cutting attacks in which members shaved off other members beards.


Mullet Sr. is currently serving an 11 year sentence.



Ohioans Pay Among Lowest in Nation for Insurance

COLUMBUS — A national study revealed that Ohioans pay among the lowest average premiums in the nation for auto and homeowners insurance, Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment announced.
“The Ohio insurance market is strong and competitive,” Froment said. “In turn consumers are provided the opportunity to choose from many offerings to find the right policy at the right price.” 
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners determined Ohioans paid an average of $819 (9th lowest) for homeowners insurance and $703 (14th lowest) for auto insurance in 2015 (the most recent data available) compared to the respective national averages of $1,173 and $889. The combined average savings for Ohioans is $540 below the national averages.   
Froment advises consumers to compare products from different companies to help save money. She also urges people to regularly evaluate their insurance needs and amounts of coverage. 


Applications Accepted For Ohio Tax Amnesty Program

COLUMBUS, OH – (January 2, 2018) – The Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) is now accepting applications for the 2018 Ohio Tax Amnesty. Ohio Tax Amnesty officially began yesterday on January 1, 2018, and will end on February 15, 2018. This limited-time program is available to eligible taxpayers—individuals and businesses—with unreported or underreported tax debts. Over the course of the next six weeks, taxpayers who fully pay qualifying tax delinquencies will owe no penalties and only half of the interest normally charged. ODT is encouraging eligible taxpayers to take advantage of the Ohio Tax Amnesty and move forward without tax liabilities.
“The Ohio Tax Amnesty is intended to help well-meaning taxpayers to make good on their obligations and it allows the State of Ohio to collect outstanding tax revenues to help keep tax rates low for everyone,” said Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa.
Testa says similar amnesty programs in the past have resulted in millions of dollars of additional tax payments from thousands of participants. That money was funneled back into state and local government services benefitting all Ohio residents. The goal this year is to generate upwards of $20 million in tax revenue for the State of Ohio.
Applications and instructions for the Ohio Tax Amnesty are now available online via http://www.OhioTaxAmnesty.gov/PrepareAndApply. To file, eligible taxpayers must mail their completed applications, tax returns, and full payments to this address by February 15, 2018:
Ohio Department of Taxation
Tax Amnesty
P.O. Box 183050
Columbus, OH 43218-3050
As ODT announced last year, the Ohio Tax Amnesty includes the following taxes: individual income tax; school district income tax; employer withholding tax; employer withholding for school district income tax; pass-through entity tax; sales tax; use tax; commercial activity tax; financial institutions tax; cigarette and other tobacco products taxes; and alcoholic beverage taxes. The Ohio Tax Amnesty will only be available to individuals and businesses with a tax liability that is unknown to ODT, and only for taxes that were due and payable as of May 1, 2017.


Ohio Ag Council to Award Scholarships


The Ohio Agricultural Council is offering up to six $1,500 scholarships to students pursuing their education in agricultural-related areas of study and to help promote agriculture and agri-business as a growing field of career opportunities.


Scholarship recipients are selected based on excellent academic record, outstanding leadership qualities, community involvement, and exceptional essay responses. High school and college students are encouraged to apply.


Applicants or their parent or legal guardian must be a resident of the State of Ohio. The applicants must have declared, or plan to declare, a major in agriculture at any two-year or four-year college or university. The application deadline for the 2018-2019 school year is February 28.


Applications can be downloaded at Ohio Ag Council dot org.



Ohio's Unemployment Rate Drops in November

Ohio's unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in November 2017, down from 5.1 percent in October 2017. Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment decreased 5,600 over the month, from a revised 5,545,400 in October to 5,539,800 in November 2017.
The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in November was 279,000, down 17,000 from 296,000 in October. The number of unemployed has decreased by 6,000 in the past 12 months from 285,000. The November unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.0 percent in November 2016.
The U.S. unemployment rate for November was 4.1 percent, unchanged from October, and down from 4.6 percent in November 2016.
Total Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)
Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment decreased 5,600 over the month, from a revised 5,545,400 in October to 5,539,800 in November 2017, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.
Employment in goods-producing industries, at 918,500, increased 2,300 over the month as gains in manufacturing (+2,700) and mining and logging (+100) outweighed losses in construction (-500). The private service-providing sector, at 3,855,900, lost 5,600 jobs. Employment losses in trade, transportation, and utilities (-5,200), professional and business services (-2,700), educational and health services (-1,900), and information (-100) surpassed gains in financial activities (+3,500) and other services (+800). Leisure and hospitality had no change over the month. Government employment, at 765,400, decreased 2,300 with losses in local (-1,400), state (-600), and federal (-300) government.
From November 2016 to November 2017, nonagricultural wage and salary employment grew 38,600. Employment in goods-producing industries increased 13,600. Manufacturing employment increased 7,800 in nondurable goods (+4,700) and durable goods (+3,100). Construction added 5,700 jobs and mining and logging gained 100 jobs. The private service-providing sector added 34,700 jobs. Employment gains in educational and health services (+14,500), leisure and hospitality (+12,300), financial activities (+9,500), other services (+4,000), and professional and business services (+2,900) exceeded losses in trade, transportation, and utilities (-6,300) and information (-2,200). Government employment decreased 9,700 with losses in state (-7,700), local (-1,900), and federal (-100) government.


OSP Urges Motorists to Drive Safe Over Holidays


The Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding everyone to drive sober this holiday season. Troopers will focus enforcement efforts to remove impaired drivers from our roadways to reduce fatal and injury crashes.


In the first 11 months of 2017, there were 321 OVI-related fatal crashes resulting in the deaths of 341 people. This was a decrease of 52 crashes as compared to the same period last year. Troopers have also made over 25,000 OVI arrests this year, an increase of more than 2,000 arrests from last year.


In 2016, 10 OVI-related fatal crashes resulted in 13 deaths during the Christmas Holiday. Additionally, there were three OVI-related fatal crashes which resulted in four deaths during the New Year’s Holiday.


The Patrol reminds drivers it is never OK to drink and drive. Plan ahead, designate a sober driver or make other arrangements.


Motorists are encouraged to report impaired drivers and drug activity to the Patrol by calling #677.



BBB Warns Seniors About Telemarketer Scam


Telemarketers often target seniors by pretending to be representatives of well-known insurance or healthcare companies.


Recently, the Better Business Bureau has received reports of older consumers getting anonymous phone calls and cards from companies offering back and knee braces.


BBB is alerting elderly and disabled residents and their caregivers to beware of unsolicited phone calls and cards from people looking to bill Medicare and insurance for back braces, neck braces and knee braces.


The BBB said you should never give out personal information over the phone, especially if it is from an unsolicited caller.


You should remind elderly family members that Medicare will never call to ask for sensitive personal financial information.



Ground Broken For First Medical Marijuana Farm


The first Medical Marijuana farm has broken ground in Ohio on Thursday the 14th.


Yellow Springs, Ohio will be the home for Ohio’s first cultivation facility. CEO Charles Bachtell of Chicago based Cresco Labs said, “Yellow Springs was on board with this collaborative process as soon as we started talking. We really hit it off.'' The building will be a 50,000 square foot state of the art greenhouse that will cost roughly $7 million dollars.


Of the 109 applicants to become marijuana operations in Ohio, Cresco Labs became one of the 12 business that were selected by the state earlier this month. The state selected Cresco to run the large 25,000 square feet operations. The greenhouse in Yellow Springs will be 25,000 square feet of growing space and the other 25,000 square feet will be used as office space and packing rooms.


The building will include the latest agricultural and environmental methods.



Record Lake Trout Caught in Lake Erie

A new Ohio record Lake Trout has been certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee.
The new state record Lake Trout, weighing 26.63 pounds, was caught by James J. Beres of Lorain, Ohio in Lake Erie in Lorain County, Ohio.  Beres caught the Lake Trout December 1, 2017, using a JT Custom Crank Bait, by trolling with 20 lb test braided line.  Beres’ Lake Trout is 38 inches long and 25.5 inches in girth.  
His catch replaces the previous state record Lake Trout which was caught in Lake Erie by Tom Harbison on April 20, 2000 weighing 20.40 pounds and measuring 34 inches long.  Ohio’s record fish are determined on the basis of weight only. 
Ohio’s state record fish are certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee with assistance from fisheries biologists with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.  
Fisheries biologist Matt Faust from the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Sandusky Fish Research Station confirmed the identification of Beres’ catch as a Lake Trout. 


AAA Predicts Increase in Travelers Over Holiday Season


COLUMBUS, Ohio (December 14, 2017) – AAA expects a record 107.3 million Americans, including nearly 4.5 million Ohioans, to journey 50 miles or more from home between Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 and Monday Jan. 1, 2018.
The projected travel volume is an increase of 3.1 percent nationally and 3.6 percent in Ohio, and marks the ninth consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth. The growth comes despite the fact that this year’s 10-day year-end holiday travel period is one day shorter than last year.
“Across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving – and we project the same for the year-end holiday period,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing.
Steady economic growth continues to drive this year’s increase in travel, as stronger employment, rising incomes, low prices for goods and services, and increasing household assets are leading to more consumer spending.
Modes of Transportation:
.Automobiles: Higher gas prices than last year won’t keep drivers from traveling over the holidays. Nearly 91 percent of travelers (92 percent of Ohio travelers) will drive to their holiday destination. AAA expects to assist nearly 1 million (901,600) motorists across the country during the 10-day holiday period with dead batteries, flat tires, lockouts and more.  
.Planes: Lower air fares are fueling an increase in holiday air travel, with nearly 6.4 million Americans, including nearly 239,000 Ohioans flying this holiday – a 4.1 percent increase (4.4 percent in Ohio) over last year. Travelers should expect long security lines and plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their scheduled flight.
Holiday Traffic Headaches:
For this year’s holiday travel forecast, AAA partnered with INRIX, a global transportation and analytics company to analyze the best and worst times to travel.  
Based on historical and recent travel trends, drivers can expect the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week – Wednesday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 21 – in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Travel times during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the normal trip.
Travel Tip: Try to avoid traveling through major cities during peak travel times. The best times to leave are typically early morning or after the morning commute. If your schedule permits, traveling on the actual holiday often results in fewer cars on the road.
Holiday Travel Costs:
Holiday airfares are nearly 20 percent cheaper than last year. At $165, the average year-end holiday airfare for a round-trip ticket on the top 40 domestic routes is at a five-year low, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. Competition, capacity, over-expansion and lower oil prices are contributing to the decline.
Travelers can also find savings at AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated hotels. On average, a Three Diamond hotel costs 2 percent less than last year, at $156 per night. AAA Two Diamond hotels cost 5 percent less, at an average of $121 per night.
Car rental rates are up 11 percent from last year, to an average of $74 per day. This sets a new five-year record high rate for the year-end holiday period.



2018 County Fair Schedule Released


Ohioans can start planning visits to all of their favorite fairs across the state.


The Ohio Department of Agriculture on Wednesday released the official dates for the 2018 fair season.


The Marion County Fair is the first fair in our region, and it runs July 2-7, the Logan County Fair is July 8-14. That will be followed by the Union County Fair July 22-28, Auglaize County from July 29-August 4, Allen County August 17-25, Hancock County August 29-September 3. The Hardin County Fair runs from September 4-9. The Wyandot County Fair is scheduled for September 11-17.


The Ohio State Fair in Columbus will run from July 25-August 5.



Ohio National Guard Has Busy 2017


Hurricane relief efforts were at the forefront of Ohio National Guard missions during the second half of the year.


From Hurricane Harvey to Hurricane Maria, more than 400 Ohio National Guard members were deployed between August and November to assist emergency management teams on the ground and in the air.


In addition to the deployments for hurricane relief efforts, more than 1,500 Airmen and Soldiers were deployed during the year in roles such as peacekeeping and humanitarian support across the globe, including Iraq, Kuwait and Africa.


Ohio Guard members also participated in several international training exercises as well.



AAA Study Finds Premium Gasoline is Not Always Worth the Price

COLUMBUS, Ohio (December 12, 2017) – Premium gasoline offers some benefit to select vehicles, but the high cost may outweigh that advantage for many drivers, according to new AAA research. As a result, AAA recommends drivers weigh the potential benefits against the cost of using premium gasoline if their vehicle doesn’t require it.
Nearly 1.5 million 2016 vehicles sold in the United States recommend, but do not require, the use of premium gasoline (91 octane or higher). In the past few years the gap between premium and regular-grade gasoline has risen from 10 percent to 25 percent, or about 50 cents per gallon.
Past AAA research showed no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle designed to operate on regular fuel. For this latest research, AAA partnered with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center to determine what, if any, benefit premium gasoline offers vehicles that recommend, but do not require, the use of premium gasoline.
Key Findings:
Although drivers of these vehicles are unlikely to see any benefit from using premium gasoline during typical highway driving, when using premium fuel under extreme driving scenarios, such as towing, hauling cargo and aggressive acceleration, AAA laboratory tests found:
.Fuel economy for test vehicles averaged a 2.7 percent improvement. Individual vehicle test result averages ranged from a decrease of 1 percent (2016 Audi A3) to an improvement of 7.1 percent (2016 Cadillac Escalade).
.Horsepower for test vehicles averaged an increase of 1.4 percent. Individual vehicle test results averages ranged from a decrease of 0.3 percent (2016 Jeep Renegade) to an improvement of 3.2 percent (2017 Ford Mustang).
These modest fuel economy improvements during extreme driving scenarios do not offset the higher cost of premium gasoline.
“Premium fuel has the potential to boost a vehicle’s fuel economy and performance, but engines have to be calibrated to require that fuel to see the full benefit,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Based on AAA’s testing, vehicles that only recommend premium gasoline can’t take full advantage of higher octane fuel and, as a result, the benefit that comes from upgrading to premium gasoline may not offset its high cost.”
Consumer Advice:
The trend toward recommending or requiring higher-octane fuel continues to rise as manufacturers work toward meeting stringent CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. AAA offers the following advice to consumers:
.Follow the vehicle owner’s manual to determine which type of gasoline to use. Always use premium gasoline on vehicles that require it.
.Drivers of vehicles that recommend, but do not require, premium gasoline should consider their driving habits, and the potential benefits and costs associated with using higher-octane fuel.
.If your engine makes a “pinging” or “knocking” sound when using regular fuel in a vehicle that recommends premium gasoline, a higher-octane fuel may resolve the issue, but it’s a good idea to have the vehicle checked by a reputable repair shop.
.Drivers who choose to use premium fuel should shop around for the best price.
.Drivers looking for a higher quality fuel can select a TOP TIERTM gasoline. Previous AAA research found that gasoline meeting TOP TIERTM standards resulted in fewer engine deposits than non-TOP TIERTM fuel. TOP TIERTM gasoline is available in all octane levels. Learn more at TOPTIERgas.com.
The full report, fact sheet and other information regarding this study can be found on the AAA Newsroom.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.


Children at Higher Risk For Flu Virus


Children are at a higher risk for getting the Flu virus and Flu season is coming early this year.


According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state is above the five year average for reported cases during this time of year. 92 flu associated hospitalization were reported during the week ending at Dec. 2. Putting Ohio at 257 Flu related hospitalization for the year. Last year in Ohio there were 8,661 flu hospitalizations. The number of cases does fluctuate from year to year according to the Ohio Department of Health.


It is recommended that everyone receives a flu shot to avoid getting the flu this season. Children who are under the age of five are at a higher risk of contracting the flu virus. Anyone over the age of six months is able to receive a flu shot to reduce the risk of illness. Flu shots are 40-60 percent effective at preventing the flu virus.



Flags at Half-Staff For Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day


Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.


Ohio Governor John Kasich has ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset in honor of those who lost their lives serving our country.


The Governor said it is a time to remember that tragic December morning and that we owe all men and women of our military a debt of gratitude for their service.



Homelessness Drops in State of Ohio


Homelessness declined in Ohio according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


In Ohio, local communities reported 10,095 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, an overall decrease of 3 percent since last year and a decline of 19.7 percent since 2010.  


Meanwhile, the number persons experiencing long-term chronic homelessness decreased by .8 percent since 2016 and declined by 67.6 percent since 2010. Homelessness among Veterans in Ohio decreased 7.3 percent from 2016 and 43.5 percent since 2010.



Ohio First Responders to Enhance Communications


Ohio is improving first responder communications through an agreement with FirstNet, the public safety network that will enhance communications capabilities between federal, state, county and local first responders.


According to a release from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the initiative complements MARCS, Ohio’s existing emergency communications network, which has enabled first responder communications for the past two decades.  MARCS is a land mobile radio network and FirstNet adds data transfer capability.


With FirstNet, emergency responders will have access to digital information, allowing them to share photos of a missing person, such as a child, or videos of an unfolding event as it happens.  


The information is shared across the first responder network in real time, whether voice, text, video or other forms of data.



ODNR Releases Number of Wild Turkey Harvested During Season


Hunters harvested 1,053 wild turkeys during Ohio’s 2017 fall wild turkey season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


Ohio’s 2017 fall wild turkey hunting season was open in 67 counties from Oct. 14-Nov. 26. This year, 11 counties were open during the fall turkey season for the first time.


4 wild turkeys were taken in Hardin County and 5 were taken in Wyandot County.


Both counties were not open for the 2016 fall season.



Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies Participate in Lights for Lives Campaign


A campaign called "Lights for Lives" was conducted recently by several law enforcement agencies.


The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Findlay District and nearly 30 agencies in Northwest Ohio, including Hardin, Hancock and Allen Counties, participated in the campaign from November 20 through November 22 to kick off the holiday driving season.


During the period, officers stopped any vehicles that committed traffic violations in an effort to save as many lives as possible.


There were 2238 vehicles stopped and 1039 citations were issued, including 102 for safety belt violations and 34 impaired drivers were removed from the roads.



Tree Lighting Ceremony Scheduled at Ohio Statehouse


The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board will celebrate the Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 7, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m in Columbus.


This free family-friendly event is open to the public. The festival marks the beginning of the holiday season on Capitol Square.


The indoor ceremony will take place in the Statehouse Atrium and consist of a short program, welcoming Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by the lighting the Ohio Statehouse and our historically decorated holiday tree.



Ohio University's Marching Band will Perform on the Today Show


Ohio University's marching band will perform live on NBC’s TODAY show Wednesday morning at 8:30 and 10:30.


The appearances take place one day before the Marching 110 participates in the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 23.


NBC’s TODAY, which features OHIO alumnus Matt Lauer as one of its co-hosts, is a daily news program that attracts five million viewers across America each morning.



Victim Asset Recovery Program Launched in Ohio


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced this week that Ohioans who sent money to scammers using Western Union's wire service may now apply for compensation from a fund held by the U.S. Department of Jusitice's victim asset recovery program.


Consumers may be eligible to receive compensation if they sent a fraud-induced wire transfer through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017.


A settlement administrator is sending claim forms to over 500,000 consumers, which will contain instructions on how to file a claim.


Completed claim forms must be submitted online or mailed back to the settlement administrator by February 12, 2018.



Ohio's Unemployment Rate Drops in October

Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in October 2017, down from 5.3 percent in September 2017. Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 4,300 over the month, from a revised 5,546,600 in September to 5,550,900 in October 2017.
The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in October was 296,000, down 9,000 from 305,000 in September. The number of unemployed has increased by 11,000 in the past 12 months from 285,000. The October unemployment rate for Ohio increased from 5.0 percent in October 2016.
The U.S. unemployment rate for October was 4.1 percent, down from 4.2 percent in September, and down from 4.8 percent in October 2016.


AAA Predicts Record Travel Numbers Over Thanksgiving Holiday

AAA predicts the highest Thanksgiving travel numbers since 2005, with  50.9 million Americans, including more than 2.1 million Ohioans, planning to travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 26. 
This is a 3.3 percent increase nationally from last year.
A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes, enabling a confident consumer to spend money on travel. This year’s Thanksgiving travel predictions are 35 percent higher than in 2008, during the recession.


Ohio National Guard Unit Returns From Puerto Rico


An Ohio National Guard unit that has been providing communications support to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico will arrived home last night at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus.


About 40 Soldiers from the 137th Signal Company, based in Newark, Ohio, have been deployed since October 11.


The Signal Company provided mobile satellite, telephone, internet, video conferencing and information technology services for more than 50 missions conducted by deployed military assets in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.



Wheelchair Charging Station Placed on Capital Square


The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board will unveil a wheelchair charging station on Capitol Square today.


A short program to outline the program will be held in the Governor Thomas Worthington Center at 1 this afternoon followed by a dedication in the Map Room of the Ohio Statehouse, where the charger is located. A second charging station will be installed in the south penthouse of Capitol Square in the near future.


The funding for these charging stations came from a pilot program administered by National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and would not have been possible without the partnership of the Ohio Department of Health and the Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition.


The Board sees these charging stations as a way to provide a more inclusive environment for the citizens of Ohio to access their government.



Great American Smokeout Day Encourages Smokers to Kick the Habit


Smokers are encouraged to use today as a first step in quitting smoking.


Today is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout Day, and smokers can take an important step toward a healthier life and reduce their cancer risk by quitting smoking for just one day.


According to the Centers For Disease Control, the U.S. smoking rate has dropped down to 15.1% as of 2015. Despite that lower rate, about 36 million Americans are current smokers and 480,000 die every year from smoking related illnesses.



Winter Safety Awareness Week is November 12-18 in Ohio

Columbus, OH – Will Ohio have another mild winter like the last two, or will Mother Nature deal the Buckeye State a cold, cruel blast of winter weather? The experts are not sure. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, La Nin?a may emerge for the second time as “the biggest wildcard” in how this year’s winter will be. Ohio may be wetter and warmer than normal this season.
Instead of taking chances, Ohioans should take steps now – before winter hits – to be prepared for this upcoming cold season.
In preparation, Gov. John R. Kasich and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) are promoting Winter Safety Awareness Week, November 12-18. During this week, Gov. Kasich encourages homes and businesses to update their safety plans, replenish supplies in their emergency kits, and prepare themselves, their vehicles and property for winter-related incidents.
“Winter Safety Awareness Week is the perfect time to start preparing your homes and vehicles for winter,” said Ohio EMA Executive Director Sima Merick. “Because of the warmer weather we had last winter, parts of Ohio experienced thunderstorms, damaging winds and flooding. And just Sunday, Ohio experienced severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash flooding. So, regardless of the season, it’s best for Ohioans to be prepared for all severe weather.”
OCSWA recommends the following winter preparedness tips:
Prepare your home for winter. Remove and cut away low-hanging and dead tree branches. Strong winds, ice and snow can cause tree limbs to break and could cause damage to your home. Have your gutters cleaned. Snow and ice can build up quickly if clogged with debris.
Practice fire safety and prevention. With winter months and the holiday season, people are indoors more, and cook, decorate and entertain more – which unfortunately, can lead to more home fires. The best protection is to have working smoke detectors in the home. Test your smoke detectors monthly. Conduct fire drills. Change the batteries in you smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year – when you change your clocks, change your batteries. Have auxiliary heaters, furnaces and fireplaces checked or serviced before using. Cooking-related fires are the number one cause of home fires. Never leave cooking food unattended. Keep towels, potholders, paper away from the stove’s heat sources.
Prepare winter emergency supplies kits for the home and vehicle. Check the expiration dates on nonperishable food items, bottled water/beverages and medications. Winter emergency kits should include flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated radio/Weather Radio, first aid kit, cell phone and charger, and enough nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain every household member for several days. Have stored food, bottled water and supplies for your pets, as well.
Check on your neighbors. Comprehensive preparedness requires whole communities to participate in a “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” approach. If severe weather is forecasted or has just occurred, or if your neighborhood has an extended power outage, check on your neighbors and family members – especially those who are older or have functional needs – to ensure that they are okay and that they have the resources to stay safe and warm. Your communication plan might include exchanging phone numbers to call during times of need.
The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness is comprised of 16 local, state and federal agencies and organizations.


Ohio Voters Pass Issue 1, Reject Issue 2


COLUMBUS - Ohioans rejected Issue 2, a proposal proponents said would lower drug prices, in a costly battle funded by drug companies opposing the initiative.


Voters rejected Issue 2 by a margin of 79 percent to 21 percent, according to unofficial results.


Ohio voters approved a measure to list rights for crime victims in the Ohio Constitution – and a way to appeal if those rights are violated.


Issue 1 passed by a margin of 83 percent to 17 percent.



40 Million Kidde Fire Extinguishers Being Recalled



ANNAPOLIS, Md., November 6, 2017 – More than 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers equipped with plastic handles, some on the market for more than 40 years, have been recalled. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.” The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean water is urging recreational boat owners to check their boats for the recalled extinguishers and get a free metal-handled replacement by going to the CPSC recall website.
The recall affects both plastic-handle and push-button Pindicator Kidde fire extinguishers, including 134, ABC- or BC-rated models manufactured between January 1, 1973, and August 15, 2017. The extinguishers are red, white or silver and were sold in the US and Canada through a wide range of retailers from Montgomery Ward to Amazon. The CPSC recall website shows how to easily identify the affected extinguishers.
In the recall, Kidde also acknowledged the free replacement push-button extinguisher being sent to personal watercraft owners is similar in size to the recalled model but may not fit in the same location as the old fire extinguisher. “This may require a slightly different mounting orientation or location,” said BoatUS Foundation Assistant Director of Boating Safety Ted Sensenbrenner.”
CPSC says there have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including one fatality; approximately 16 injuries, including smoke inhalation and minor burns; and approximately 91 reports of property damage.
Kidde may also be contacted toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday. The company offers additional recall information online at kidde.com by selecting “Product Safety Recall.”



Gas Prices Rising Across Ohio


Many stations across Ohio are raising gas prices to nearly $2.70 a gallon, due to tight supplies and increased demand.


According to a release from Ohio AAA, while today’s average price in Ohio sits at $2.48 this will likely increase during the next few days.


Ohio’s gas prices peaked at $2.53 on September 3, after Hurricane Harvey knocked out refining capacity in the Gulf Coast. This current price spike will likely send the Ohio average to the highest levels since June, 2016.


In addition, crude oil prices are on the rise, as inventories are down and demand is up in the U.S. and globally.



OSU Versus Michigan Blood Battle Underway


The community is invited to roll up a sleeve and give blood with the American Red Cross during the 36th annual Blood Battle between The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan now through Nov. 22.


During the Blood Battle, the archrivals will partner with the Red Cross to see which university’s supporters can bring in the most blood donations. Blood Battle has highlighted the first weeks of November leading up to the day the schools face off on the football field every year since 1981.


Ohio State lost the Blood Battle last year by just eight donations. So far Ohio State has won 14 Blood Battles, and Michigan has won 20, with one year resulting in a tie.




Unemployment Falls from Last Month

Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in September 2017, down from 5.4
percent in August 2017. Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment
increased 10,500 over the month, from a revised 5,546,500 in August to 5,557,000
in September 2017.

The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in September was 305,000, down 6,000
from 311,000 in August. The number of unemployed has increased by 21,000 in the
past 12 months from 284,000. The September unemployment rate for Ohio increased
from 5.0 percent in September 2016.

The U.S. unemployment rate for September was 4.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent
in August, and down from 4.9 percent in September 2016.

County, city and metropolitan area unemployment rates for September 2017 will be
posted online at OhioLMI.com on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.


State Has New Tool In Drug Abuse Battle

The State of Ohio is deploying a new tool in its fight against prescription drug abuse.


The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced an upgrade to Ohio’s prescription drug monitoring program that will provide Ohio prescribers and pharmacists with advanced tools to promote patient safety and assist in clinical decision-making.


The new platform, which offers several key features, including scores that calculate a patient’s possible risk of overdose and addiction,  will be made available at no cost to all Ohio healthcare providers.


Implementation of the upgrade is supported by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.



Insurance Rates in Ohio Among Lowest in the Nation


The Ohio Department of Insurance announced Wednesday the average rate changes in 2016 for the top 10 homeowners and private passenger auto insurance groups in Ohio.


Rates increased 1.9 percent for homeowners and 3.1 percent for auto insurance. Even with the increase, Ohioans pay among the lowest average insurance premiums for homeowners and auto insurance.


Ohioans pay an average of $797 for homeowners insurance and $683 for auto insurance compared to the national average. Ohio’s combined average premiums are $518 below the national averages.  


Changes in auto insurance rates can be associated with medical costs, weather-related claims, the number of cars on Ohio roads and repairs costs. Homeowners insurance rates can be impacted by weather-related claims, and building and material costs.



Ohio National Guard Sends Medical Equipment to Puerto Rico


The Ohio National Guard has sent much-needed medical equipment to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane recovery efforts.


The equipment, including generators, emergency medical equipment, ventilators, and X-ray machines, left this week from Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base on board two C-130 Hercules aircraft.


The equipment is part of the Ohio National Guard’s support to Puerto Rico that includes more than 40 Soldiers from the 285th Medical Company based out of Columbus.


The unit will provide trauma health care, preventative medicine consultation, optometry support, mental health consultation and evacuation of patients in Puerto Rico.



Hite Introduces Legislation to Create New License Plate

COLUMBUS - On Thursday, State Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) introduced legislation that will create the “Keep Ohio Beautiful” license plate, which will support the non-profit organization’s mission of empowering Ohio communities to take greater responsibility for improving the local environment through litter prevention, beautification, community greening, waste reduction and recycling.
“All Ohioans have a responsibility to care for our beautiful state,” said Senator Hite. “I am happy to help this inspiring organization carry out their mission to make Ohio a cleaner and safer place for our families.”
Keep Ohio Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is the leading non-profit organization that connects volunteers with environmental projects that produce measurable economic benefits within the state.
Working with a diverse coalition of businesses, government, neighborhoods, individuals and other nonprofit teams, “Keep Ohio Beautiful” serves as Ohio’s umbrella organization for over 35 entities throughout Ohio. Their current programs impact over 1,000 Ohio communities with the help of their large volunteer base.
The guiding principles of education, individual responsibility, public-private partnerships, and volunteer actions are critical to the success of the organization. Additional funding for the group will be a substantial way to promote a cleaner and more attractive Ohio. 


New Light Bulbs at the Statehouse Save Tax-Payers' Dollars

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) has recently completed a lighting upgrade project that will save tax-payer dollars.
As lighting technology has improved and added dimming capabilities that allow for historically appropriate lighting levels inside the Ohio Statehouse, over 900 new LED bulbs have been installed in the House Chamber, Senate Chamber and several Hearing Rooms resulting in significant cost savings.  The Capitol Square Complex (CSC) will see a 90% reduction in energy consumption.
“As stewards of this magnificent building, CSRAB will continue to incorporate efficient technology at the Ohio Statehouse to save tax-payer dollars and to enhance the visitor experience on Capitol Square,” said CSRAB Chair, Senator Bob Peterson.


Hite Announces Money Available For Small Businesses in Ohio


State Senator Cliff Hite announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded $700,000 aimed at supporting efforts to expand Ohio’s small business markets overseas.


Under the SBA's State Trade Expansion Program, 306 Ohio businesses have received funding to offset costs and promote their product lines and services in international markets. With this new grant, more small businesses will be eligible to apply for the assistance through the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Export Assistance Office.


Businesses are eligible for assistance with marketing expenses of up to $12,500, under the program.


The announced program will run through September 29, 2018.



Deadline For Ohio Voter Registration Approaching


Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted reminded voters that the deadline to register to vote in the November 7th General Election is on October 10th.


Across Ohio’s 88 counties, there are 1,517 respective local issues that will appear before voters.


Voters will also be deciding a number of local races and can obtain additional information on these contests by contacting the Hardin County Board of Elections.



High Speed Internet in Rural Areas is Goal of Ohio Senate Bill


A new bill in the Ohio Senate aims to bring High Speed internet to rural areas within Ohio.


WIFN reports that Ohio Senator Cliff Hite and Joe Schiavoni have put forth a bill that would give $50 million per year in a grant program that would spread access for high speed internet across Ohio. The Senators estimate that this could help to spread internet access to more than 14,000 homes and business in Ohio.


A study conducted by the Ohio State University found that more than one million Ohioans live in an area with no access to high speed internet.



Suspect Arrested Following Active Shooter Incident at School in Columbus


A suspect is in custody following a report of an active shooter at a Columbus High School.


The Columbus Dispatch reported that a suspect was arrested and a gun was recovered at Scioto High School in Columbus.


Columbus police say there were no injuries reported.


Officers were called to the school around 8:30 this morning on a call about an active shooter at the school.


Classes started at 7:15 and the building  and much of the area around the area were closed.


The suspect was arrested around 9:15.



AAA Recommends Residents to Consider Getting Flood Insurance


While historic rains, like those that came with Hurricane Harvey, are rare, floods remain the number one disaster in the United States and occur in all 50 states.


Even those that don’t live in a flood plain should plan ahead and be prepared for flooding.


Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage, according to FEMA, but floods can bring waves of water many feet high.


AAA says the right insurance can help save homeowners thousands of dollars in the event of a flood, but it’s important to understand which type of insurance is needed to cover various types of flood damage. They suggest visiting floodsmart.gov for more information.



Browns Cut DB Joe Haden


The Cleveland Browns have terminated the contract of Defensive Back Joe Haden.


Haden joined the Browns as a first-round pick in 2010 and was selected to two Pro Bowls.


On clevelandbrowns.com......“We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field,” said Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown.”


He appeared in 90 games with 81 starts and logged 376 tackles, 101 passes defensed, 19 interceptions, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.


“Joe gave everything he had for the Cleveland Browns and that’s all you can ask for as a coach,” said Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson. “He was a leader on and off the field. I wish him all the best as he continues his career.”


Last season, he started in 13 games and totaled 48 tackles, 11 passes defensed and tied for the team-lead with three interceptions.



State Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly in July


Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in July 2017, up from 5.0 percent in June 2017.


Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 1,600 over the month.


The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in July was 300,000, up 9,000 from 291,000 in June.


The number of unemployed has increased by 19,000 in the past 12 months from 281,000. The July unemployment rate for Ohio increased from 4.9 percent in July 2016.


The U.S. unemployment rate for July was 4.3 percent, down from 4.4 percent in June and down from 4.9 percent in July 2016.


County by county unemployment rates for the state will be released on Tuesday.



New Ohio Business Filings Up in July

COLUMBUS– Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced 8,800 new entities filed to do business in Ohio throughout the month of July, an increase of 1,279 when compared to the same month in 2016.
So far, 71,979 new entities have filed to do business in Ohio this year. Due to the use of Ohio Business Central, the online business filing site founded by Secretary Husted in 2013, this number continues to climb. Already in 2017, three out of every four entities founded were started online. From the time Ohio Business Central was launched until the end of July 2017, the Secretary of State’s Office has processed over 274,196 online filings.
July 2017 marked 21 months since Secretary Husted reduced the cost of starting and maintaining a business in the Buckeye State by 21 percent. This change has saved Ohio businesses over $4.5 million to date.
Secretary Husted’s efforts to cut costs don’t stop there. In fact, his request for a 100 percent cut in the amount of tax dollars needed to run his office was recently approved in the state’s budget. Husted’s request will save taxpayers nearly $5 million in the next two years. Secretary Husted was able to do this because of his wise financial stewardship. During his first term, he reduced spending by $14.5 million, a 16 percent reduction when compared to the previous administration. Secretary Husted is also operating his office with nearly 40 percent fewer staff and payroll costs at the Secretary of State’s Office are at the lowest level in 10 years.
Secretary Husted’s success in improving customer service is also apparent by the fact that more people are choosing Ohio as the place to do business. Earlier this year he announced that 2016 was the seventh consecutive year the state has seen a record number of new entities filing to do business in Ohio  (read more). With strong filing growth in the first quarter of 2017, Ohio is well on its way to another record year. 
Though the most visible role of the Secretary of State is that of chief elections officer, the office is also the first stop for individuals or companies who want to file and start a business in Ohio. While recognizing these numbers can’t provide a complete picture of Ohio’s jobs climate, they are an important indicator of economic activity that Secretary Husted hopes will add to the ongoing discussion of how to improve the state’s overall climate for business. 


Sales Tax Holiday Underway in Ohio


The sales tax holiday started today 12:00 a.m. and ends on Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

During the holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:

Clothing priced at $75 per item or less;

School supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and

School instructional material priced at $20 per item or less.     

Items used in a trade or business are not exempt under the sales tax holiday.


For more details you can visit tax-dot-ohio-dot-com



Nominations For Service Academies Sought


U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown encouraged Ohioans to seek nomination from his office to U.S. service academies for 2018 admission.

Brown’s office will accept completed application packets from now until the deadline of September 22, 2017.


Each year, Brown nominates up to 10 students for each service academy requiring congressional recommendations: the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.


Students interested in applying to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy do not need a congressional recommendation.



Ohio AG Offers Consumer Protection Tips During Sales Tax Holiday

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today offered consumer protection tips ahead of Ohio’s sales tax holiday, which runs this Friday through Sunday.
“As people take advantage of the sales tax holiday and complete their back-to-school shopping, we want them to be prepared,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’ve helped thousands of people resolve consumer complaints, and we know that many disputes are the result of a misunderstanding. We put an emphasis on prevention to help people avoid problems and make the most of their money.”
During the sales tax holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:
.Clothing priced at $75 per item or less;
.School supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and 
.School instructional materials priced at $20 per item or less.      
The Ohio Department of Taxation provides detailed information about the sales tax holiday on its website, including FAQs about what is and what is not exempt from sales tax during the holiday. 
Tips for consumers include:
.Plan ahead. The sales tax holiday runs from Friday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. Determine in advance the purchases you want to make, and review the Department of Taxation’s FAQs to understand what is and what is not exempt from sales and use tax during the sales tax holiday. Also research sellers’ reputations by reading customer reviews and checking for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau.
.Understand return policies before you buy. In Ohio, sellers can choose to set their own return policies, including policies of “no returns,” but they should clearly tell you what their return policy is before you check out or complete the transaction. For example, the return policy shouldn’t be posted only on the back of a receipt.
.Stay safe online. Research websites you plan to use, and make sure a website is secure before you enter any personal information or payment details. In the web address, look for the “s” in “https” and/or a lock symbol to help ensure a website has security features. Also consider paying with a credit card, which generally gives you stronger protections to dispute unauthorized charges.  
.Check the exclusions and limitations of an offer. Exclusions and limitations must be clearly disclosed in advertisements, including online, so review terms and conditions carefully before you go to the store or make a purchase.
.Keep your receipts. Maintaining a complete record of a sale will help you handle problems that may arise after the purchase. Keep receipts, copies of advertisements, photos of products, and other documentation until the transaction and billing process are complete. 
.Monitor your accounts. Regularly check your credit card and bank accounts for unauthorized charges or unexpected activity. If you find problems, immediately notify your credit card provider or bank. The sooner you identify a problem, the sooner you can work to correct it. 
.Protect your personal information. Don’t carry around extra, unneeded credit cards, debit cards, or other sensitive information in your wallet or purse. Also limit giving out your personal information. Check privacy policies to see how sellers will use your information.
.Watch for scams and identity theft. Con artists operate year round. If you receive a message saying you’ve won the lottery, the IRS is coming to arrest you, or a family member is out of the country and in need of money immediately, it’s likely a scam. Also, help watch for signs of potential identity theft by checking your credit report using www.AnnualCreditReport.com.


Ag is Cool! Contest Winners Announced

Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David T. Daniels announced today the winners of the 2017 “Agriculture is Cool!” visual arts contest. Ohio children enrolled in school or home schooled during the 2016-2017 academic year shared their personal interpretation of why Ohio agriculture is “cool” for their chance to win a trip to the Ohio State Fair.


Twelve entries were selected as winners in their respective categories, and in our region, the 6th to 8th grade photography winner was 12 year old Abby Breece of Alvada in Hancock County.

The winners were honored by Lt. Governor Taylor, Ohio Agriculture Director Daniels and Ohio State Fair Manager Virgil Strickler at a ceremony at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.



UPDATE 10:52AM: Ohio State Fair Ride Malfunction Kills One, Injures Seven

Update 10:52am:


WCMH-TV NBC4 reports that the Ohio State Highway Patrol has released the names of the victims in the state fair accident. 18 year old Tyler Jarrett is the identity of the man that was killed in the incedent. 


36 year old Tamika Dunlap (Rynoldsburg), 42 year old Russell Franks (Columbus), 19 year old Keziah Lews (Columbus), 22 year old Jacob Andrews (Pataskala), 18 year old Jennifer Lambert (Columbus), and a 14 year old boy who's name isn't being released at the request of the family, were all injured in that incedent.


Origional Story:


One person is dead and seven injured after an amusement ride accident that occurred Wednesday, at the Ohio State Fair, according to the Columbus Dispatch.


The Amusement ride known as the “Fire Ball” malfunctioned, ejecting eight individuals from the ride.


The ride is described as an “aggressive thrill” swinging riders 40 feet above the ground.


Ohio Governor, John Kasich ordered that all other operating amusement rides within the Ohio State Fair be shut down for further inspection. The Governor released a statement via Twitter.





Smart Toys Raise Cyber Security Concerns


The FBI Internet Crimes Center released a bulletin late last week concerning "Smart Toys" that connect to the internet and can pose cyber security and privacy concerns for consumers.


These toys can potentially collect information about you and your family.


The bulletin notes that in some cases, toys with microphones could record and collect conversations within earshot of the device. Information such as the child’s name, school, likes and dislikes, and activities may be disclosed through normal conversation with the toy or in the surrounding environment.


The bulletin was issued so parents can use caution when purchasing new toys for their children.



Ohio National Guard Celebrates 100th Anniversary

The Ohio National Guard will celebrate its birthday and honor the 100th anniversary of the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.


The event will be held at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon at the Major General Robert S. Beightler Armory located at 2825 West Dublin Granville Road in Columbus.


The Ohio National Guard was organized on July 25, 1788 — nearly 15 years before Ohio gained statehood — in Marietta, Ohio, as the Northwest Territory Militia.


This year the Ohio National Guard turns 229 years old, celebrating more than two centuries of being a trusted team of Soldiers and Airmen serving their communities, state and nation.


Alumni and veterans of the 37th representing several eras including World War II will be in attendance.



Ohio Unemployment Rate Slightly Higher in June


Ohio's unemployment rate was 5 percent in June, up from 4.9 percent in May.


According to a release from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in June was 291,000, up 5,000 from 286,000 in May.


The U.S. unemployment rate for June was 4.4 percent slightly higher than in May.


County unemployment rates will be released on Tuesday.



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