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Trust in Autonomous Vehicles Slips

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 22, 2018) – Consumer trust in autonomous vehicle technology has quickly eroded, following recent high-profile incidents involving self-driving cars. Today, 73 percent of American drivers report they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up significantly from 63 percent in late 2017, according to a new report from AAA’s multi-year tracking study.
“Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.”
Key Findings:
Since 2016, AAA has conducted periodic surveys to better understand consumer attitude toward self-driving vehicles. Following a series of high-profile crashes involving these vehicles:
.Three quarters (73 percent) of U.S. drivers would be afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, compared to 63 percent just a few months ago and 78 percent in early 2017.
.Two thirds (63 percent) of U.S. drivers would feel less safe sharing the road with fully self-driving cars, compared to 46 percent just a few months ago and 59 percent in early 2017.
Millennials – the group that has been the quickest to embrace automated vehicle technologies – were the most impacted by recent incidents. The percentage of millennial drivers too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle has jumped from 49 percent to 64 percent, representing the largest increase of any generation surveyed. Women remain more likely than men to be afraid of riding in a fully self-driving vehicle.
“While autonomous vehicles are being tested, there’s always a chance that they will fail or encounter a situation that challenges even the most advanced systems,” said Megan Foster, AAA’s director of Federal Affairs. “To ease fears, there must be safeguards in place to protect vehicle occupants and the motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians with whom they share the road.”


MADD Urging Motorists to Practice Safety on Roads


The Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization is reminding drivers to practice safety while driving this Memorial Day weekend.


MADD is urging all drivers who plan on involving alcohol in their Memorial Day weekend plans to designate a driver. Drunk driving claimed 160 lives last year in the Memorial Day weekend alone.


Drivers are also reminded that Memorial Day is the begging of the “Click It or Ticket It” push by law enforcement. This means that law enforcement will be checking that motorists are wearing seatbelts when operating on the roadways.



Ohio Ballot Board Certifies Marijuana Rights Proposed Amendment


The Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday certified a proposed constitutional amendment concerning marijuana rights and regulations as a single ballot issue.


This amendment had previously been certified by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.


Petitioners will now need to collect 305,591 valid signatures, which is equal to 10 percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2014, to place the issue on the ballot.


As part of the total number of signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, petitioners must collect signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, collect enough signatures equal to five percent of the total vote that was cast for governor.



Grillers Encouraged to Pay Attention to Safety


Grilling season is right around the corner and people everywhere are preparing for family parties and barbecues.


The National Fire Protection Association encourages grillers to pay attention to safety during the spring and summer months when home fires involving grilling incidents occur most often.


From 2011 – 2015, fire departments responded to an average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues each year.

That number included 4,100 structure fires and 5,500 outside or unclassified fires.


These fires caused an average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $133 million in direct property damage per year.


July is the peak month for grilling fires followed by May, June and August.



April Marks Record Month for New Business Filings in Ohio

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced 12,874 new entities filed to do business in Ohio last month, making April 2018 the best month for new business filings in state history. The second-best month on record for new business filings is March 2017, which saw a total of 12,827 entities formed.
Today’s announcement puts Ohio’s current pace for annual new business filings ahead of 2017’s record-breaking year. Ohio has seen 44,273 new businesses file since January, up 1,640 from the same four-month period last year.
In 2017, Ohio finished with 117,429 new businesses registering with the Secretary of State’s office, surpassing the previous record set in 2016 of 105,009. Last year also marked the eighth consecutive year the state has seen a record number of new business filings. In all, Ohio has seen a rise of 46.3 percent in filings from 2010 to 2017.
From the time Ohio Business Central was launched until the end of April 2018, the Secretary of State’s Office has processed 383,644 online filings. Recently, Secretary Husted announced that 80 percent of all new businesses are now started online through Ohio Business Central, which launched in 2013. In August of 2017, Secretary Husted announced that 100 percent of all filings needed to start or maintain a business in Ohio may now be submitted online.
April 2018 marked 30 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 $6.6 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 approved as part of the state’s budget. Husted’s request will save taxpayers nearly $5 million over fiscal years 2018 and 2019. 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 roughly 40 percent fewer staff and payroll costs at the Secretary of State’s Office are at the lowest level in 10 years.
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. 


This National Moving Month, Beware of Local Apartment Scams

Columbus, OH (May 16, 2018) - It is not uncommon to see people around Central Ohio searching for new apartments in the spring and early summer - after all, May is National Moving Month. While looking for a new home, a local woman reported to BBB that she lost $1,550.00 in a rental scam.
“I was looking for a home on rent.com and found a listing for a half double in Columbus, Ohio,” she told BBB. The listing was by someone using the name Michael J. Stalter and provided his contact information.
The poster said he lived in Maine and would have to be paid by MoneyGram or Western Union. He asked for an initial $200.00 deposit, and gave the consumer a copy of his signature on the lease, a copy of his passport and a certificate of ownership of the property.
The lease looked official, breaking down the security deposit, monthly rent and application fee. The consumer went to Walmart and sent $1,550.00 to the poster’s realtor, Scott Pinette, in Sanford, Maine. 
When she went to move in, things seemed off. “Nobody was there,” the consumer recalled. “The “For Rent” sign was gone. The double was cleared out. I looked up the listing on Zillow and called the realtor listed. She told me she was renting it to someone else and that I should call BBB.”
BBB helped the consumer file a report to the police.
If you are in the market for a new place to live, consider these BBB tips to avoid rental scams:
Do your research. Search for the realty company and apartment complex on bbb.org to see if there are any complaints or customer reviews.
Review the lease carefully before signing. Put a mark next to anything that you have questions about. If there’s something you wish to change in your lease agreement, it never hurts to ask. If there is an issue with the apartment that the landlord agrees to fix before you move in, be sure to get it in writing – including a date by which the repair or repairs will be completed.
Be careful on Craigslist or other sites with rental listings. Some ads might ask the potential leaser to wire money in order to secure the rental. Never wire or forward funds to someone you don’t know and never agree to a rental without first inspecting the property in person.
Be aware that scammers will go to rental websites, copy a rental listing (including photos) and repost them to Craigslist at a much lower cost. 
Take additional costs into consideration. Some rental properties might require an application fee upfront. This covers a background check – including your credit score, criminal record and rental history. These fees are usually non refundable, even if you’re not approved. If you are approved, you will likely be asked to pay a security deposit. Make sure you’re clear about the conditions.
BBB warns renters to watch out for situations where:
The deal sounds too good to be true. Scammers will often list a rental for a very low price to lure in victims. Find out how comparable listings are priced, and if the rental comes in suspiciously low, walk away.
The landlord is located elsewhere and prefers to communicate solely through email. If the landlord claims they are unable to show you the apartment because they are traveling - or recently relocated due to work - this is often a sign it’s a scam.
The listing contains misspellings or grammatical errors. In most cases, this means the ad was created by a scammer overseas, one who isn’t familiar with the nuances of the English language.
High-pressure tactics are being used. Though the rental market is tight, there are always places for rent. Don’t be afraid to walk away you if you feel pressured to sign a lease. Ask for a copy of the lease agreement and give yourself enough time to review it in detail, including the fine print.
Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.


Senator Meets with Law Enforcement Personnel


U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio met Tuesday with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association to mark National Police Week.


During the meeting, Brown arranged for the officers to receive a demonstration of the high-tech screening devices that local law enforcement would get under his Providing Officers with Electronic Resources, or POWER, Act.


Brown discussed his bipartisan bill, which would help Ohio law enforcement officers better detect fentanyl, protect themselves from accidental overdoses, and investigate drug crimes.


The bill would give Ohio officers access to the same high-tech screening equipment that Brown secured for federal Customs and Border Protection agents to use to help stop fentanyl at the border.



More Women Paying Child Support and Alimony


Women are now finding that gender equality in divorce court is coming with a cost.  


According to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 54% of the attorneys have cited an increase in the number of mothers paying child support during the past three years, while 45% have also seen a rise in women being responsible for alimony.  


In addition, 78% noted an increase in parents having shared custody of children.  



May 19-25 is National Safe Boating Week


Boating and water safety advocates have teamed up to promote and educate people on the importance of responsible boating and wearing a life jacket while on the water during National Safe Boating Week, held May 19-25, 2018.


National Safe Boating Week is the official kickoff of the annual Safe Boating Campaign, now in its 60th year.


Throughout the week, boaters are encouraged to share photos and tips on social media with #safeboatingweek and #safeboating.


The National Safe Boating Council has also teamed up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service to share boating and water safety public service announcements during National Safe Boating Week.



Large Number of Problem Puppy Mills Continues in Ohio


The year 2018 is the sixth year in a row that the Humane Society of the United States is publishing a list of 100 problem puppy mills and dog sellers.


The past Horrible Hundred reports have garnered widespread awareness about cruel conditions at puppy mills, which are large pet breeding operations that focus on profit over animal welfare.


This year’s report shows that Missouri continues to have the largest number of puppy mills in the report for the sixth year in a row with 23, followed by Ohio with 13. The report shows that of the 13, 6 of the puppy mills are located in the city of Millersburg.



National Tire Safety Week to be Observed Next Week


National Tire Safety Week will be observed from May 21 through may 28.


The week is designed to educate consumers about proper tire care with a focus on unsafe used tires.


Before heading out on summer destinations, make sure your tires are checked for air pressure, tread depth, irregular wear patterns as well as for any visible damage or structural integrity issues.


In addition to keeping you safe, properly maintained tires can also improve gas mileage.



Memorial Day Travel Expected to Hit 13-Year High


COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 14, 2018) – AAA expects near-record Memorial Day travel volume with 41.5 million Americans (1.6 million Ohioans) traveling at least 50 miles from home between Thursday, May 24 and Monday, May 28. This is an increase of 4.8 percent (4.6 percent in Ohio) and marks the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005.

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

Ohio Numbers: 2018 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast:

  • Automobiles: More than 90 percent of Ohio travelers (nearly 1.5 million), will drive to their destinations this Memorial Day, 4.6 percent more than last year. 
  • Planes: Nearly 89,000 Ohioans will fly this Memorial Day, 6.9 percent more than last year.

Worst Times to Hit the Road:

With nearly 2 million additional travelers this year, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be more than three times longer than normal. The busiest travel times will be late afternoon Thursday and Friday (May 24-25), as commuters mix with holiday travel.

“Ranked the most congested country in the world, U.S. drivers are all too familiar with sitting in traffic,” said Graham Cookson, chief economist and head of research, INRIX. “Drivers should expect congestion across a greater number of days than in previous years, with the getaway period starting on Wednesday, May 23.”

To avoid heavy traffic, travelers can avoid peak commute times in major cities. Instead, travel in the late morning or early afternoon, or plan alternative routes.

Get Road-Trip Ready:

With 36.6 million Americans driving this holiday, AAA expects to rescue more than 340,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

Before hitting the road, motorists can get road-trip ready by having their vehicle battery tested, checking tire condition, and ensuring their car is up-to-date on routine maintenance. Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid kit, basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

Travel Costs:

While road trippers will pay higher prices at the gas pump this year, travelers can expect some relief in their wallets when paying for airfare, car rentals and most mid-range hotels, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.

  • Airfares are 7 percent lower than last Memorial Day at an average of $168 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes.
  • At $59, the average daily cost of a car rental this Memorial Day is the lowest rate in the past four years and 11 percent cheaper than last year.
  • AAA Three Diamond hotels are trending 14 percent less expensive than last Memorial Day, with an average rate of $186 per night.
  • AAA Two Diamond hotels are 7 percent more expensive than last Memorial Day, with an average rate of $151 per night.

Holiday Forecast Methodology:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Market. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Market 2018 Memorial Day Holiday Travel Forecast is available at Newsroom.AAA.com.


Summer Travelers Seek Fun in the Sun

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 2, 2018) – Millions of Americans are counting down the days until their summer vacations, with most U.S. travelers planning trips to warm-weather destinations. Orlando has retained its top spot as the most visited domestic travel destination, while Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii, have both grown in popularity compared with last summer.
“This is shaping up to be another banner season for travel as Americans look to get out and enjoy themselves in the summer sun,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “Travelers are making plans now to visit theme parks, sail away on cruise vacations, relax at the beach and explore cities in the U.S. and across the globe.”
Domestic Travel
The top domestic summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips June 1 through August 15, are:
1. Orlando, Florida (1)
2. Honolulu, Hawaii (4)
3. Anchorage, Alaska (2)
4. Seattle, Washington (3)
5. Los Angeles/Anaheim, California (5)
6. Maui, Hawaii (7)
7. Fairbanks, Alaska (6)
8. Las Vegas, Nevada (8)
9. Boston, Massachusetts (13)
10. Salt Lake City, Utah (14)
*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.
Road trips remain the most popular family vacation option for those staying stateside, despite higher gas prices. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning a family trip are expected to hit the roads this year.
International Travel
“Many Americans, including those traveling as a family, will venture overseas for their summer vacations,” continued Sutherland. “More than one-third of families who are planning a trip together this year will visit an international destination.”
Rome has regained its standing as the most popular locale for international summer vacations, while Dublin and Paris both continue to climb in the rankings. Beach destinations in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico can also expect an influx of travelers this summer.
AAA’s top international summer travel destinations include:
1. Rome, Italy (3)
2. Vancouver, British Columbia (1)
3. Dublin, Ireland (4)
4. London, England (2)
5. Paris, France (7)
6. Montego Bay, Jamaica (8)
7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (5)
8. Calgary, Alberta (10)
9. Cancun, Mexico (6)
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands (9)
*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.
Summer Travel Tips
AAA’s travel experts offer their top tips for travelers planning summer vacations, including:
.Plan ahead – Book early for the best deals and availability on hotels, airfare, car rentals and more.
.Work with a travel agent – Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits to help plan the perfect summer vacation. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
.Be flexible – If your schedule permits, avoid traveling during peak times this summer, including Memorial Day weekend and around Independence Day, to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.
.Safety first – If driving, get plenty of rest before setting out on your road trip. Schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.
.Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Pack an emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.
.Pack your patience – Summer is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.
To help travelers plan their summer vacations, AAA’s professional inspectors have assessed nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Every AAA Inspected & Approved hotel and restaurant is acceptable for the type of experience it provides. Ratings, from One to Five Diamonds, help travelers find the level of services, facilities and amenities they’re looking for on their vacation. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments in the AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner.
For more information and to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel. 


Group Endorses POWER Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program Director joined 13 law enforcement organizations in endorsing U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman’s (R-OH) Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act. The bill would provide state and local law enforcement with portable screening equipment to quickly and effectively identify dangerous drugs in the field. Currently, drugs have to be sent off to a lab to be tested – which can take months. Having portable devices in the field would allow officers to identify drugs, like fentanyl, immediately so they can investigate more effectively and know the proper protocols to follow to protect themselves.  
“Based on my experiences here in Ohio, I fully support the Providing Officers with Electronic Resources Act,” wrote Executive Director of the Ohio HIDTA Program, Derek Siegle. Ohio HIDTA currently provides funding to seventeen drug task forces across Ohio, which have seen an alarming increase in fentanyl that has been mixed with heroin.
Siegle also wrote:
“Fentanyl and carfentanil are 50 to 5,000 times more potent as heroin. This toxicity is a very real danger to our law enforcement officers working narcotics and coming into contact with these drugs. I am aware of at least seven instances in Ohio where police officers required medical treatment, to include the use of Narcan, after being exposed to suspected fentanyl.
Several of the Ohio HIDTA task forces have considered purchasing handheld chemical screening devices used to quickly and more safely identify suspected narcotics in the field. However, the cost of the various devices are cost prohibitive for almost all of our task forces and the other non-HIDTA task forces (approximately 40) operating in Ohio. Most of these devices can scan directly through plastic or glass for most samples to minimize contamination, reduce exposure and preserve evidence.
Testing involving fentanyl, fentanyl analogs and carfentanil are also backlogged at many labs in Ohio due to the dramatic increase in the presence of these drugs in lab submissions.  . . . The ability of law enforcement officers to have handheld chemical screening devices to safely test heroin, carfentanil, fentanyl and fentanyl analogs may expedite the time it takes to bring charges against offenders. Some jurisdictions permit the use of such tests in the filing of charges, while others require actual lab analysis.”
The Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act would provide state and local law enforcement organizations with grant funding to secure the same devices Brown and Portman secured for Customs and Border Protection agents in the INTERDICT Act. President Trump signed INTERDICT into law earlier this year.


ODNR Presents Free Training Workshop


Classroom teachers and other members of school communities who are interested in becoming certified National Archery in the Schools Program instructors are invited to attend a free training workshop Wednesday, May 23, in Williams County according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


The Basic Archery Instructor Training will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stryker Local Schools located at 400 South Defiance Street in Stryker, Ohio.


Preregistration is required by May 22 as space is limited. programs and archery teams.


The program is rapidly growing and popular among both students and educators.



Free Cyber Security Training Offered


The Auditor of State is offering free cybersecurity training.


Cyber Thieves are targeting Ohio's local governments and tax dollars with great sophistication. Auditor of State Dave Yost wants to help public employees fortify their governments to shield themselves from digital threats and stop cyber attacks.


In partnership with Ohio sheriffs, the Auditor's office is offering free, 2.5 - hour cyber security trainings across the state.

Participants, who can register at the auditor's website, will learn different types of cyber attacks, why governments are targeted and how to minimize the risk.



May is Declared Ultraviolet Awareness Month

Columbus, OH (May 2, 2018) – Prevent Blindness has declared May as Ultraviolet (UV) Awareness Month to help educate the public on the dangers that UV exposure may have on vision. UV damage may cause immediate effects, such as a corneal sunburn (photokeratitis). Long hours on the water, for example, without proper eye protection can cause this problem. 
UV damage has been linked to the development of macular degeneration, cataract, pterygium (a growth on the white part of the eye) and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, different forms of eye cancer may be associated with life-long exposure to the sun. Melanoma is the most frequent malignant cancer of the eyeball, and a common location for basal cell carcinoma is on the eyelids.
Adults and children are at risk from UV damage. However, the risk of sun-related eye problems is higher for people who:
·spend long hours in the sun
·have certain retina disorders
·had cataract surgery (although some artificial lenses do absorb some UV rays)
·are on certain medicines, such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers that increase the eye's sensitivity to light.
When purchasing sunglasses, Prevent Blindness recommends consumers always read labels carefully and only buy sunglasses that clearly state that they block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. Sunglasses should be worn in conjunction with a brimmed hat. Wrap-around sunglasses are best.
For those participating in outdoor sports activities, Prevent Blindness recommends consulting with an eye care professional on eye protection that both blocks UV as well as protects eyes from injury.
“Consistently wearing effective UV eye protection is a habit that we should have year-round, not just in the warm-weather months. By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and a visor, we can help protect our vision today and for years to come,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate.
For more information on the dangers of UV exposure and how to choose the best UV protection, please visit http://www.preventblindness.org/protect-your-eyes-sun, or contact Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate at (800) 301-2020 or visit www.pbohio.org.


Wild Turkey Hunting Season Opening Week Numbers Released

Ohio hunters checked 10,415 wild turkeys during the first week of the wild turkey hunting season, April 23-29. Hunters can view the 2018 spring turkey season zone map and harvest regulations at wildohio.gov.
• Ohio’s spring wild turkey season is divided into two zones: a south zone, which is open from Monday, April 23 to Sunday, May 20, and a northeast zone, which is open from Monday, April 30 to Sunday, May 27.
• In 2017, hunters in the south zone checked 10,293 wild turkeys during the first week of the season.
• Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey hunting permit. The spring season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second spring turkey permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring turkey season. Turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.
• Hunting hours in the south zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from April 23-May 6 and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset from May 7-20. Hunting hours in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from April 30-May 13 and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset from May 14-27.
• Hunters may use shotguns or archery equipment to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys or electronic calling devices or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree. 
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.
• Wild turkeys were extirpated in Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The wild turkey harvest topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Spring turkey hunting opened statewide, except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, in 2000, and Ohio hunters checked more than 20,000 wild turkeys for the first time that year.
Note: A list of all wild turkeys checked by hunters in the south zone during the first week of the spring turkey hunting season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2018, and the 2017 numbers are in parentheses. An * designates a northeast zone county which did not open until April 30 in 2018.
Adams: 173 (280); Allen: 31 (36); Ashland: 137 (135); Ashtabula*: 0 (0); Athens: 301 (218); Auglaize: 18 (30); Belmont: 363 (275); Brown: 194 (218); Butler: 91 (100); Carroll: 280 (238); Champaign: 54 (45); Clark: 10 (9); Clermont: 165 (219); Clinton: 33 (27); Columbiana: 152 (173); Coshocton: 405 (350); Crawford: 23 (32); Cuyahoga*: 0 (0); Darke: 21 (14); Defiance: 94 (140); Delaware: 52 (45); Erie: 23 (31); Fairfield: 78 (69); Fayette: 6 (9); Franklin: 11 (9); Fulton: 40 (71); Gallia: 216 (271); Geauga*: 0 (0); Greene: 6 (9); Guernsey: 423 (322); Hamilton: 35 (52); Hancock: 14 (24); Hardin: 39 (44); Harrison: 324 (299); Henry: 25 (31); Highland: 175 (220); Hocking: 239 (230); Holmes: 191 (169); Huron: 72 (87); Jackson: 251 (240); Jefferson: 266 (225); Knox: 242 (226); Lake*: 0 (0); Lawrence: 127 (160); Licking: 205 (235); Logan: 58 (69); Lorain: 63 (89); Lucas: 41 (31); Madison: 8 (2); Mahoning: 89 (103); Marion: 10 (22); Medina: 78 (72); Meigs: 379 (311); Mercer: 11 (12); Miami: 7 (6); Monroe: 415 (312); Montgomery: 11 (9); Morgan: 286 (224); Morrow: 69 (96); Muskingum: 389 (321); Noble: 280 (253); Ottawa: 0 (1); Paulding: 39 (52); Perry: 229 (199); Pickaway: 13 (10); Pike: 153 (153); Portage: 128 (143); Preble: 59 (40); Putnam: 26 (32); Richland: 145 (168); Ross: 184 (228); Sandusky: 9 (11); Scioto: 133 (183); Seneca: 70 (90); Shelby: 18 (27); Stark: 144 (171); Summit: 33 (27); Trumbull*: 0 (0); Tuscarawas: 398 (369); Union: 24 (27); Van Wert: 9 (11); Vinton: 237 (216); Warren: 50 (45); Washington: 338 (277); Wayne: 54 (72); Williams: 78 (131); Wood: 12 (11); Wyandot: 33 (50). Total: 10,415 (10,293).


Hit-and-Run Deaths Hit Record High

COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 26, 2018) – More than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute on U.S. roads, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. These crashes resulted in 2,049 deaths in 2016 – the highest number on record and a 60 percent increase from 2009. With the number of hit-and-run crashes on the rise, AAA is calling for drivers to remain alert on the roads, and always remain on the scene if a crash occurs.
AAA Foundation researchers examined common characteristics of hit-and-run crashes and found that during the 10-year study period:
.An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006, and that number is rising.
.Hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.
“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge, and the AAA Foundation would like to work with stakeholders to help curtail this problem.”
The report found most victims (65 percent) of fatal hit-and-run crashes are pedestrians. During the 10-year study period, hit-and-run crashes caused nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths, compared to just 1 percent of all driver fatalities. To decrease the chances of being involved in a crash with a pedestrian or bicyclist, drivers should:
.Be aware: Pedestrians may act unpredictably and walk into the path of traffic at any point.
.Be cautious: Look out for small children, and be alert to areas where pedestrians frequent. These include school zones, playgrounds, bus stops and intersections.
.Be patient: When trying to pass pedestrians or cyclists, give them at least three feet of clearance and keep them in your line of sight.
.Be vigilant: Drivers should always yield to pedestrians, even if they walk into the road from an area other than a crosswalk.
“It is every driver’s legal and moral responsibility to take necessary precautions to avoid hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist or other vehicle,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “While no one likes being involved in a crash, leaving the scene will significantly increase the penalties for drivers – whether they caused the crash or not.”
Fleeing the scene of a crash is illegal in every state. In Ohio, motorists involved in a crash must remain on the scene, notify police and provide appropriate information. Failure to do so may result in up to a six-month license suspension. The state considers hit-and-run crashes that result in property damage a 1st degree misdemeanor and fatal hit-and-run crashes a 3rd degree felony.
Regardless of the state law, drivers involved in a crash should always remain on the scene and:
.Assist the injured: Check for injured people and call 911.
.Be visible: Make sure the scene is visible to approaching drivers. If possible, move vehicles out of the path of traffic and use flares or reflectors. Find a safe place to remain until emergency services arrive.
.Communicate: Call the police and file a report. If the police do not come to the scene, you can file a report by visiting the local police department or your automobile insurance agency.
“By working together, we can bring awareness and identify potential solutions to reduce hit-and-run fatalities,” said Dr. Yang. “We can’t forget that cars can be deadly when they come into contact with pedestrians, cyclists or other cars. It is incumbent on each and every one of us to stay alert, be aware of our surroundings and always stay on the scene if involved in a crash.”


Ohio Secretary of State Releases Absentee Ballot Update


Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that 171,954 absentee ballots were requested by mail and in person for the May 8 Primary Election by the close of business Friday April 20.


Thus far, 63,253 Ohio voters have cast their ballots.


The information is based on an informal survey of Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections.


At this same point during absentee voting in 2014, more than 155,000 absentee ballots had been requested and over 73,000 ballots had already been cast.



Kasich and BWC Propose $1.5 billion Rebate for Ohio Employers

COLUMBUS – Gov. John R. Kasich and the top executive for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) on Tuesday proposed giving Ohio employers $1.5 billion in premium rebates this summer, expanding workers’ comp savings for employers to $8 billion since 2011.
“We’ve had healthy income and returns on our investment portfolio, and it’s only right to share that success with our private and public employers,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison, standing with Kasich at the Land-Grant Brewing Co. in downtown Columbus. “We know that the more money we leave with employers, the more they can invest in their employees and grow their business.”
Added Kasich: “This is another example of how Ohio is using every tool in the box to make our environment for job creation one of the best in the nation, and our workers' compensation system has been a great partner in our efforts. We’re up 500,000 private sector jobs and these additional savings in workers' compensation costs will continue to help our businesses grow and succeed.”
The rebate, BWC’s largest in 20 years, will be proposed to BWC’s Board of Directors Wednesday, April 25, and voted on at the board’s May 24 meeting. If approved, rebate checks would likely be mailed in July and August.
The proposed rebate equals 85 percent of the premiums paid for the policy year that ended June 30, 2017 (calendar year 2016 for public employers). It would follow $1 billion rebates issued in 2013, 2014 and 2017, as well as a $15 million rebate in 2016 for counties, cities and other public employers.
Of the $1.5 billion, an estimated $48 million would go to schools and $111 million would go to local government entities. That’s on top of $402 million in rebates those public taxing districts have received since 2013 ($125 million for schools, $277 million for others).
As with previous rebates, BWC is also exploring a significant investment in health and safety services, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
Adam Benner, president of Land-Grant Brewery, said his company expects a rebate of around $8,500.
“We’re a young company and our business is steadily growing,” said Benner. “This rebate helps us invest in our future.”
Morrison cautioned that despite recent history, strong investment returns and rebates are a goal, not a guarantee. “Our investments are still growing, but we’re seeing the rate of that growth moderate in 2018,” she said. “There are lots of variables that influence the market.”
With this rebate, BWC will have saved employers $8 billion in workers’ compensation costs since 2011 after considering other rebates, credits, greater efficiencies and several rate reductions, including two this year.


Firefighter Cancer Registry Bill Passes Committee


A bipartisan bill to establish a voluntary cancer registry of firefighters, passed the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday.


The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, sponsored by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create and maintain a voluntary registry to collect data on cancer incidence among firefighters.


The data collected by the registry will be used with existing state data to better assess and prevent cancer among firefighters.


The bill is now up for a full vote by the Senate.



National Safe Boating Week to be Observed Soon


The National Safe Boating Council will kick off its 60th annual Safe Boating Campaign promoting safe boating and life jackets with National Safe Boating Week, May 19-25.


For those headed out on the water, what looks like a perfect day for boating can quickly become hazardous.


U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four of every five recreational boating fatalities. And of those, 83 percent were reported as not wearing life jackets.


The council is using the week to urge boaters to learn how to keep them and their family and friends safe on the water.



Ohio University to Hire Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion


ATHENS, OH (April 23, 2018) - Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis has announced that the University is entering the final stages of its search for OHIO's first-ever Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.
“This week, three talented professionals who are excited by the opportunity to help lead Ohio University will travel to Athens to meet members of the University community,” said President Nellis. "This position is a critical part of my leadership team and essential to the success of our strategic pathway related to positioning Ohio University to become a national leader for diversity and inclusion.”
In addition to spending time on the Athens Campus and meeting with students, faculty and staff, each of the finalists will be available to address questions from the public in an open forum setting. The open forums are a vital part of the process to allow candidates and the University community to interact with one another and help determine the appointment of OHIO’s first Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.
The search committee has recommended that the following candidates meet with the campus community:
Who: Dr. Carmen Suarez
When: Wednesday, April 25 from 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Where: Baker University Center 219 (Multicultural Center Multipurpose Room)
More candidate information here
Who: Dr. Kathleen Roberts
When: Thursday, April 26 from 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Where: Baker University Center 219 (Multicultural Center Multipurpose Room)
More candidate information here
Who: Dr. Gigi Secuban
When: Friday, April 27 from 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Where: Baker University Center 219 (Multicultural Center Multipurpose Room)


Former Ohio State Coach Dies

Former Ohio State Football head coach Earle Bruce has died at the age of 87. 


According to WTVN-AM, his daughters released the following statement:


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Coach Earle Bruce, early this morning, Friday, April 20. He was a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a respected coach to many. Our family will miss him dearly, but we take solace in the belief that he is in a better place and reunited with his beloved wife, Jean. We thank you for your prayers and good wishes. His loving daughters: Lynn, Michele, Aimee and Noel.

WBNS-TV Reports that the former coach was diagnosed Alzheimer's disease last year. The coach won 81 and lost 26 in his time in Columbus from 1979 to 1987 following the legacy of Woody Hayes. Bruce was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1980, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. In his final game as a Buckeye, he defeated That Team Up North in the Big House in Ann Arbor.


(Photo: Twitter/@OSUCoachMeyer)


Older Vehicles Twice as Likely to Leave you Stranded


Vehicles 10-years-old and older are twice as likely to be stranded at the roadside and four times more likely to require a tow, according to new research from AAA.


With more than half of cars on the road aged 10 years or older, AAA urges drivers to help prevent breakdowns by getting their car road-trip ready.


There were more than 7.5 million roadside assistance calls last summer, including more than 278,000 in Ohio.


The top three reasons for vehicle breakdowns include battery related issues, engine cooling system failures and tire damage.



Requests for Absentee Ballots Increase in 2018


Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that 116,272 absentee ballots were requested by mail and in-person for the May 8 Primary Election by the close of business Friday April 13.


Thus far, 11,524 Ohio voters have cast their ballots.


At this same point during absentee voting in 2014, 109,415 absentee ballots had been requested and 31,709 ballots had already been cast.



Parents and Students Urged to Make Good Decisions


The Ohio Investigative Unit is encouraging parents and students not to participate in illegal and dangerous behavior such as providing alcohol to minors.


Prom and graduation are memorable times in a teenager's life, and it is important to educate youth while helping them foster good choices.


In addition, the O.I.U. reminded carry-outs and drive thru establishments to be alert for underage individuals attempting to purchase alcohol.


If anyone has any information about any establishment selling alcohol to a person under 21, notify the Ohio Investigative Unit by calling #677.



New Business Filings Increase in Ohio

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced 11,690 new entities filed to do business in Ohio last month, making March 2018 the second-best month for new business filings in state history. The best month on record for new business filings remains March 2017, which saw a total of 12,827 entities formed.
The first quarter of 2018 saw a total of 31,399 new entities register, compared to 33,084 filings received over the same period in 2017.
In 2017, 117,429 new businesses registered with the Secretary of State’s office, surpassing the previous record set in 2016 of 105,009. Last year also marked the eighth consecutive year the state has seen a record number of new business filings. In all, Ohio has seen a rise of 46.3 percent in filings from 2010 to 2017.
From the time Ohio Business Central was launched until the end of March 2018, the Secretary of State’s Office has processed 367,952 online filings. Recently, Secretary Husted announced that 80 percent of all new businesses are now started online through Ohio Business Central, which launched in 2013. In August of 2017, Secretary Husted announced that 100 percent of all filings needed to start or maintain a business in Ohio may now be submitted online.
March 2018 marked 29 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 $6.3 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 approved as part of the state’s budget. Husted’s request will save taxpayers nearly $5 million over fiscal years 2018 and 2019. 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 roughly 40 percent fewer staff and payroll costs at the Secretary of State’s Office are at the lowest level in 10 years.
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. 


Free Fishing Weekend Coming in May


he Free Fishing Day weekend is fast approaching.


On May 5-6, Ohio invites anyone over the age of 16 to take part in the free fishing weekend. The free fishing weekend is open to all Ohio residents with the ability to fish in all of Ohio’s public waters including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. These days are the only ones all year that do not require anyone over the age of 16 to obtain a fishing license.


Along with the free fishing weekend, Ohio State Parks are offering discounted camping to enjoy the weekend of fishing. Campers will be able to receive a 20% discount on May 4-6 by using the promotional code 18ANGLER.



Fishing Season Returns to Buckeye State


As the spring days grow warmer, more and more Ohioans will be venturing out to go fishing.


Ohio offers many opportunities for the public to fish, including 124,000 acres of inland water, 7,000 miles of streams, 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie water, and 481 miles of the Ohio River, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


Numerous resources are available to assist anglers, including lake maps, fishing tips by species, and fishing forecasts based on survey data. For more information, click the “fishing tab” at wild ohio.gov.


In our region, Findlay Reservoir Number 2 offers some of the best inland yellow perch fishing in the Buckeye State. Good numbers of large perch over 10 inches are being caught every year.



Ohians Preparing for Retirement Should Review Insurance Needs


The Ohio Department of Insurance is urging Ohioans preparing for retirement to evaluate their insurance needs and the associated costs as part of National Retirement Planning week through April 13.


According to a release, coverage review should include careful evaluation of health insurance, adjusting home and auto costs, considering adjustments to life insurance levels and planning for potential long-term care.


More insurance information is available at department's website, insurance.ohio.gov.



Deadline to Register to Vote Approaching


Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted reminds voters that the deadline to register to vote in the May 8 Primary Election is less than a week away on April 9.


In May, voters will weigh-in on a statewide ballot issue, a number of state and local races, as well as a total of 477 local issues across 83 counties.


Voters can register at their local county board of election office



Wet Weather Safety for Motorists and Homeowners

COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 3, 2018) – Heavy rain can lead to hydroplaning vehicles and costly flood damage for motorists and homeowners.  AAA urges motorists and homeowners to take caution when dealing with rising waters.
Wet Weather Driving Safety:
Wet weather contributes to 1.2 million traffic crashes each year. Heavy rain reduces visibility and decreases vehicle traction.  Conditions are most dangerous during the first 10 minutes of a heavy downpour as oil and debris first rise up and wash away. The following tips can keep drivers safe in wet conditions:
.Maintain tires: Tires are the main point of contact with the road. Adequate tire pressure and tread depth help the vehicle grip wet roads and prevent hydroplaning. Check tire pressure and tread depth regularly before driving.
.Improve visibility: Keep the windshield and headlights clean, and replace windshield wipers that leave streaks. Experts recommend replacing wipers every six months.
.Recognize a crisis: If rain is so heavy that you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance, it’s time to pull off and wait for the rain to ease up. It’s best to stop at a rest area or exit the freeway and go to a protected area. If that’s not an option, get as far off the road as possible and turn on vehicle hazards.
.Avoid cruise control: Cruise control is designed for dry road conditions and doesn’t know when the pavement is wet. You’re more likely to hydroplane when using cruise control, because you’re not really in complete control of your vehicle. With some cars the wheels actually spin faster when cruise control is engaged and the vehicle hits a slick spot.
.Never drive through high water: A car can lose control in just a few inches of water. Six inches of water will reach the undercarriage of most vehicles and can damage vehicle components or even stall a car’s engine. Just a couple feet of water can carry away most vehicles.  
For more wet weather driving tips visit Exchange.AAA.com.
Insurance & Floods:
Just an inch of water can damage property, and flash floods can bring waves of water many feet high, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 
It’s important to understand which type of insurance is needed to cover various types of flood damage.
.Flood Insurance: Federal law requires flood insurance for federally financed loans for those who live in high-risk flood zones. Lenders may also require flood insurance for moderate risk zones.
.Homeowners Insurance: Flooding can also occur due to clogged drains or pipes, sewer backup or sump pump failure. Flood insurance does not typically cover sewer backup or sump pump failure. In these cases, homeowners insurance can help cover the costs. Often this coverage is added to the policy as an endorsement.
.Comprehensive Auto Insurance: A comprehensive auto insurance policy is needed to cover the costs of a vehicle damaged by flood waters.  
The NFIP can help homeowners determine their flood risk and help them learn about safeguarding their property. For more information, visit floodsmart.gov.


More People Admit to Distracted Driving

COLUMBUS, Ohio (March 29, 2018) – Distracted driving tops drivers’ list of dangers on the road, as a growing number of drivers admit to using mobile phones behind the wheel, despite knowing the risks. To improve safety during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, and all year long, AAA is calling for drivers to keep their eyes and attention on the road and hands on the wheel.
Eighty-eight percent of drivers believe distracted driving is on the rise, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index survey. Nearly 50 percent report regularly seeing drivers emailing or texting while driving.
Drivers are more concerned about distracted driving than other risky behaviors, including aggressive driving, drivers using drugs and drunk driving. Their concerns are well founded, as a look back at past AAA Foundation surveys reveals a disturbing trend regarding mobile phone use while driving:
Nearly all (96.8 percent) drivers say texting or emailing while driving is a serious threat, yet, since 2013, the proportion of drivers who admit to reading a text or email while driving has risen 30.5 percent and the proportion of drivers who admit to sending a text or email while driving has risen 36 percent.
Nearly 88 percent of drivers say talking on a cell phone while driving is a serious threat, but the proportion of drivers who report using a cell phone behind the wheel has risen 46 percent since 2003.
“There is a disconnect between what drivers do and what they believe,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “While most recognize the dangers created by taking your eyes off the road, they engage in distracting behaviors anyway - creating a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ culture on the roadway.”
The Risks of Distracted Driving:
A recent AAA Foundation study shows talking on a cell phone while driving increases crash risk by up to four times, and texting or emailing while driving increases crash risk by up to eight times.
Despite the risks, distracted driving is one of the most underreported traffic safety issues. Federal estimates indicate distraction contributes to 14 percent of all crashes. However, past AAA Foundation research determined distraction was a factor in 58 percent of teen driver crashes – 44 percent more than federal estimates.
“With more than 37,000 deaths on U.S. roads in 2016, we need to continue finding ways to limit driving distractions and improve traffic safety,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The Foundation’s work offers insight on drivers’ attitudes toward traffic safety and their behaviors, so we can better understand the issue and identify potential countermeasures to reduce crashes.”
Preventing Distracted Driving:
Driving is a complex task that requires a driver’s full attention. Drivers who use in-vehicle technologies, like voice-based and touch screen features, can be distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message, according to AAA Foundation research.
To avoid distractions, drivers should:
.Put aside electronic distractions: Never use text messaging, email, video gaming or internet functions – including those built into the vehicle – while driving.
.Prepare to drive: Program the GPS and adjust seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before driving.
.Secure the cabin: Properly secure children and pets, and store loose possessions and other items that could roll around in the car.
.Snack smart: Avoid eating messy foods while driving.
Background Information:
The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,613 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at AAAFoundation.org.


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.



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