Thousands rally in Ohio for solution to pension crisis
By JULIE CARR SMYTH
Thursday, July 12
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The house. Food on the table. Survival.
Those are some of the ways workers and retirees who demonstrated in Ohio’s capital Thursday described the pension payments they are fighting to protect.
“It’s everything, mostly, because you worked all of them years,” said Duane Ross, 61, of Cadiz, who spent 30 years in the mines.
Ross was among thousands of unionized coal miners, iron workers, teamsters, bakers, tobacco workers, millers and others who descended on the Ohio Statehouse to rally ahead of a congressional field hearing in Columbus. They brandished signs saying “Save Our Pensions” and wore T-shirts that reminded politicians, “We Are Everywhere.”
At issue are the financial effects on retirees, workers, small businesses and taxpayers of the potential failure of pension plans guaranteed by the federal government.
“We’re not asking for a handout from the government. We’re asking for a loan,” said retiree Al Hall, 78, who rode in overnight by bus from Illinois. “They bailed out all of the other companies. They should bail us out, too.”
Ohio’s two U.S. senators — Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman — will chair Friday’s hearing of the House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Pensions. Brown championed creation of the committee and calls the fifth public meeting in Ohio perhaps its most important to date.
“What Washington doesn’t always understand is that these folks sat at the negotiating table; they gave up wages over the last several decades today so that they’d have retirement security in the future,” Brown said in a weekly call with reporters Wednesday.
Some 60,000 workers in Ohio and 1.3 million nationally are facing deep pension benefit cuts unless shortfalls are addressed in multi-employer pension plans guaranteed by the federal government. Current workers also would lose benefits toward which they’ve been contributing.
The Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund faces unfunded liability of $17.2 billion, the largest among the funds. Other threatened pension plans face a combined $19.2 billion shortfall. More than 300 such plans across the country are at risk of insolvency.
The pensions committee has been tasked with coming up with a solution by November that Congress could vote on before the end of the year. Brown is up for re-election Nov. 6. He faces Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth.
Brown said that if a solution isn’t found, affected retirees will face pension benefit cuts of up to 70 percent, and that many Ohio small businesses will be badly damaged, or even go bankrupt, because of being unable to meet their pension liability.
“After all of that devastation, all of those lives upended, taxpayers will still be on the hook for tens of billions of dollars to prop up the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation,” he said.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of backing the corporation’s debts, should it fail, at $101 billion over 20 years.
Brown said legislation he has proposed has been vetted by actuarial experts and could work to resolve the looming problem. Dubbed the Butch Lewis Act, it would create a loan program for retirees. But Brown said he remains open to bipartisan compromise.
Congressional Republicans have not yet come to agreement on supporting the bill, but the crisis is a growing concern to both parties, as well as to the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.
Newsletter of Ohio Central Bible College, Iberia, Morrow County, Ohio.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”
Welcome Dr. Fry and Dr. Staats
The Ohio Central Bible College Board of Trustees, during their May business meeting, approved Dr. C. George Fry and Dr. Gary Staats to be future OCBC seminar instructors. Both have distinguished backgrounds in Christian higher education. We welcome their knowledge and enthusiasm.
Patriot Day Benefit Concert to be Held on September 7
The annual Patriot Day Benefit Concert for Ohio Central Bible College will be Friday, September 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Iberia Presbyterian Church. The event will be held at the church through the courtesy of the congregation.
Singing to the Glory of God will be the Spangler Sisters and The Country Travelers from Cardington. Free will donations will benefit the Christian academic programs of OCBC and refreshments will be served. Seating will begin at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend this worthwhile event as we celebrate patriotism, the Bill of Rights and religious freedom in America.
Fall Semester Registration to be Held on September 8
Adults with a high school diploma or GED are welcome to enroll in Fall Semester classes. Offered will be “Old Testament Survey” (Moore) and “The Psalms” (Crabtree).
Registration will be held on Saturday, September 8 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Iberia Presbyterian Church. The first day of class will be Saturday, September 15. Phone (419) 946-5576 to preregister.
Reverend John Watson to Teach the Fall Seminar
We are greatly pleased that Professor Emeritus and Academic Dean Emeritus Rev. John Watson of Columbus will be returning to teach the Fall Seminar on Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
His topic will be “The Life and Work of Christian Author C.S. Lewis.” Rev. Watson is a recognized authority on Lewis.
Phone (419) 946-5576 to preregister.
(This institution is not certified by the department of higher education or the state of Ohio. It does not racially discriminat e. Newsletter by Rev. Mark W. Phillips).
Newspaper aims to help ex-inmates succeed after jail
Monday, July 9
CINCINNATI (AP) — A newspaper available in jails in Ohio and Kentucky is intended to help inmates build successful lives after their release.
Tracy Brumfield started publishing the Re-Entry Into Society Empowered or RISE paper in 2017 with a grant from People’s Liberty and the Haile Foundation, WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reports. The publication includes stories that Brumfield believes are inspirational and space for recently released offenders to share their experiences in hopes of helping others.
Without help, former inmates can revert back to bad practices, Brumfield said. Many former inmates leave prison without a job or a place to stay.
Brumfield also recently started volunteering one day a week to meet with ex-inmates immediately after their release. She provides them with care packages filled with items such as grocery store gift cards, bus passes and notes to help with the transition.
“Before they hit that door, we remind them why they don’t want to come back, and we offer them hope that somebody cares,” Brumfield said.
RISE is currently available in jails in areas including Hamilton County in southwestern Ohio and Kenton County in northern Kentucky.
Brumfield says she eventually hopes to expand the newspaper’s circulation to other jails. She also wants to expand her volunteer program from one day a week to several days a week.
“Individuals will kind of, you know, go straight back to what they know, so we’re hoping this is a little bit of a disruption,” Brumfield said.
Information from: WCPO-TV, http://www.wcpo.com
Rotary Club of Delaware Ohio
Thank you Delaware! With your participation in the Taste of Downtown Delaware we were able to present $12,000 to the Delaware County Hunger Alliance!
Westerville Public Library
Public · Hosted by Whiz Bang Science Show
Saturday, November 17 at 2 PM – 3 PM
126 S. State Street, Westerville, OH 43081
Rule Changes Proposed to Ohio Wildlife Council
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
July 12, 2018
COLUMBUS, OH – Changes to the 2019-2020 fishing season were among the regulations proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 11, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Several other changes presented to the council were voted on which had previously been presented to the council earlier this year. These changes were approved and become effective later this month.
Black Bass Fishing
Several changes were proposed for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass) in the Lake Erie sport fishing district. Currently, the season for black bass in the Lake Erie sport fishing district is closed from May 1 through the last Saturday in June. It was proposed to remove this closure to provide a year-round open season for black bass, providing anglers with more opportunities. Additional proposed rules would establish a daily bag limit of one black bass with an 18-inch minimum size limit from May 1 through the fourth Saturday in June to continue to protect the fishery. Outside of this period, the existing black bass regulations of a five-fish daily limit with a 14-inch minimum size limit would still apply.
Changes were proposed to crappie size and bag limits at certain waters. It was proposed that the 30-fish daily bag limit and the 9-inch minimum size limit for crappie be removed at the following lakes and reservoirs: Acton, Cledening, Hargus, Highlandtown, Knox, Madison, Nimisila, Rush Creek and Springfield lakes; C.J. Brown, Clear Fork, Griggs and West Branch reservoirs. Removal of these regulations is expected to improve the crappie fisheries at these locations as well as provide anglers more opportunities to harvest fish from these areas.
Additional proposed rule changes include allowing camping at K.H. Butler Wildlife Area in Gallia County; increasing the annual fee for watercraft docking permits at ODNR Division of Wildlife owned docks; and changes to ginseng harvest requirements.
A complete list of proposed rules changes can be found at wildohio.gov.
River Otter Trapping Approved Changes
New counties were approved to open for river otter trapping, as the species is now prevalent in many areas. All counties formerly in Zone “A” have been moved to Zone “B.” In addition, several counties were moved from Zone “C” to Zone “B.” These counties are: Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Perry, Scioto and Vinton. All three river otter trapping zones season bag limits have not changed. Total river otter trapping season bag limits are zero otters for Zone A, one otter for Zone B and three otters for Zone C.
Additional approved rule changes include increasing quail hunting opportunities at Tri-Valley and Crown City wildlife areas and allowing the use of range finders and other devices that utilize non-visible light when hunting with a longbow or crossbow.
A statewide public hearing on the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. For those unable to attend the hearing, comments will also be accepted online at wildohio.gov. The online form will be available in August.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
Kasich signed the misnamed “Clean Lake 2020” legislation
Toledo – The following statement is from Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie (ACLE) Coordinator, Mike Ferner, in response to Governor Kasich signing an executive order earlier this afternoon to set up “distressed watersheds” in several sub watersheds of the Maumee River in NW Ohio that will rely on Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs), as well as signing the Gardner-Arndt “Clean Lake 2020” bill allocating another $36,000,000 for so-called “conservation practices.”
Governor Kasich and several of his department heads put on a bit of political theater this afternoon in the Ohio Statehouse in an effort to appear like they were exercising bold leadership to help Lake Erie. Unfortunately, the governor’s actions were costly, unnecessary and highly unlikely to result in any improvement in what causes Lake Erie to go toxic every summer. Sadly, participants at the Statehouse announcement included representatives of the Ohio Environmental Council and the Lake Erie Foundation, apparently standing in for the Ohio Farm Bureau.
I) “Distressed Watersheds” Do Not Work
Kasich signed the order because, as he admitted, he could not get the proposal through the legislature. The point, however, is that neither his order nor legislation are needed. What is needed and what the governor refuses to do, is to direct the Ohio EPA to simply follow the impaired watershed provisions of the Clean Water Act, as is being done successfully for Chesapeake Bay.
The governor and his directors pointed to Grand Lake St. Mary’s as a success story after a distressed watershed was declared there in 2010. ODNR Director, James Zehringer, stated there has been “significant reduction since 2011” in nutrient levels following establishment of Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs).
However, the report he referred to states that only 25% of the Grand Lake St. Mary’s watershed was monitored and that, “Overall, reductions following the distressed designation for all parameters ranged from 5 to 35% during medium and high flow periods (with exception of SRP Soluble Reactive Phosphorus).
Soluble Reactive Phosphorus is precisely the agent that is responsible for the growth of toxic algae blooms.
Additional proof that the distressed watershed approach has not worked for Grand Lake St. Mary’s is found in this Celina newspaper account of a $500,000 project headed by the Ohio DNR to try and make one acre of the 13,500-acre lake swimmable.
Finally, the governor’s order leaves out portions of NW Ohio that would be covered in any pollution inventory under the Clean Water Act’s provisions for impaired watersheds.
II) Nutrient Management Plans Do Not Work
Pam Taylor, Research Coordinator for Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan, responded to Kasich’s actions today by saying, “This is a sad day for Lake Erie. Today’s actions are not going to help, they are simply more of the same that hasn’t worked. NMPs have been available for years and have been used in Michigan for years. The biggest problem with them is that farmers don’t follow them and there is no enforceability. It’s far better to do comprehensive water testing to see what’s going into the streams.”
Comprehensive water sampling, or a pollution inventory, is exactly what the Clean Water Act requires, followed by Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) established to limit what can be released from all sources.
TMDLs are legally enforceable. Timetables and deadlines established by the Clean Water Act are legally enforceable. Distressed watershed schemes are voluntary and we know that doesn’t work.
III) The Politics of Today’s event
Kasich’s statements today proved that he is doing all in his power to deflect attention away from the Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that annually dump hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated feces, urine and antibiotic-resistant bacteria on fields draining into Lake Erie. The governor referred repeatedly to the “fertilizer industry” and avoided using the word “manure” until asked by a reporter. At that point the live video feed went black and Kasich’s response was unintelligible.
His administration, the Farm Bureau and the two environmental groups standing in for the Farm Bureau today are intent on not challenging the powerful interests who continue to benefit from the status quo by externalizing their costs, in this case by using Lake Erie as their free toilet for animal waste.
Attorney General DeWine Announces Initiative to Help Child Victims of Crime
July 12, 2018
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a new initiative to help child victims of crime. Funded by grants from the federal Victims of Crime Act, Attorney General DeWine is setting aside at least $25 million to fund children’s programs.
“It is critical that crime victims have access to comprehensive care and services, and that includes services for our youngest, most vulnerable victims,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We want to help ensure that kids who experience trauma receive the care they need.”
Attorney General DeWine called on organizations across the state to submit innovative ideas for programs in areas such as:
• Providing comprehensive services to child victims of physical or sexual abuse. • Addressing mental health issues in children who have experienced trauma.
• Providing trauma-informed care training to interested Ohio schools.
• Helping children whose families are struggling with substance abuse.
• Researching the impact of child abuse, neglect, and other adverse childhood experiences.
• Locating safe, trauma-informed living environments for children.
Organizations should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to learn more about VOCA grants or to submit a proposal.
The federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), signed into law in 1984, established an account known as the Crime Victims Fund, which is financed by federal settlements, fines, and penalties. States apply each year for the federal grant and then award VOCA funds to eligible public and nonprofit organizations.
In Ohio, the Attorney General is responsible for administering the state’s VOCA grants. The state was awarded $117 million for fiscal year 2018-2019, an increase of more than $30 million from the previous year. The initiative Attorney General DeWine announced today will ensure funding for programs serving child victims in Ohio.
Jury Finds Man Guilty of Death Threats Against Multiple Members of Law Enforcement
July 12, 2018
(BUCYRUS, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that a jury has found a Bucyrus man guilty of 19 charges related to death threats against several members of law enforcement in Crawford County.
Following a trial this week, a Crawford County jury found Matthew Kunzer, 34, guilty of 10 felony counts of intimidation, five felony counts of retaliation, three misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing, and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
Kunzer was found guilty of threatening the lives of three Bucyrus police officers who arrested him following a disturbance at an area business in June 2017. He was also found guilty of plotting to kill a Crawford County municipal court judge and assistant prosecutor in July 2017 and threatening the life of a probation officer during that same month.
“We take all threats against law enforcement seriously, and we believe this defendant had full intent to act on these threats,” said Attorney General DeWine. “We will vigorously prosecute anyone who puts the lives of law enforcement and judges at risk.”
The case was investigated by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by attorneys with Attorney General DeWine’s Special Prosecutions Section.
A sentencing date has not yet been set.