* Water quality, property taxes, energy and illegal drug use topped the action items identified by delegates at the 97th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). Nearly 350 delegates representing all Ohio counties established the organization’s policies during the convention Dec. 2-4 in Columbus.

The Farm Bureau leaders renewed their support for collaborative efforts among farmers, municipalities, businesses and other stakeholders to find solutions to Ohio’s water challenges. The delegates supported the concept of a voter-approved bond measure to fund water improvement initiatives.

The organization continued to stress the importance of ensuring that the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program provide an accurate valuation of farmland based on the land’s agricultural use only. Members also adopted new policy to support reform of the Ohio Forest Tax Law to better support woodland owners.

* Ashland University has received a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant of $472,174 that will allow the University to establish a Brethren Academy on campus.

AU is one of 82 schools that have received grant funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of its High School Youth Theology Institutes Initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

“The purpose of the Brethren Academy project is to deepen the faith of young people by helping them think theologically, while developing the next generation of Brethren leaders from among high school students with denominational ties,” said AU’s University Chaplain Jason Barnhart.

“From the perspectives of the University and our partners – Ashland Theological Seminary and the Brethren Church National Office – the Brethren Academy project holds the promise of revitalizing the denomination while strengthening ties between the Church and the University and Seminary that grew from it,” Barnhart said.

* Before the holiday fun can begin, many students need to make it through the dreaded final exam period. According to experts at Baylor College of Medicine, putting the books and notes to the side for proper sleep and nutrition can be just as important as studying.

Studies have shown that sleep affects memory and learning and that a lack of sleep has a negative impact on things associated with learning, such as school performance in children. For teens and adolescents who persistently study late into the night and pull all-nighters to cram for an exam, it may be better to put the books down and hit the sack for a few hours to cement the knowledge into their brain, according to Dr. Philip Alapat, assistant professor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine and program director of the Baylor College of Medicine Sleep Medicine Fellowship.


Staff report