Morning reading – Nov. 17

Staff report

* Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted Monday announced 7,838 new entities filed to do business in Ohio during October 2015. During same month in the previous year, October 2014, 8,300 entities filed.

So far in 2015, 83,215 new businesses have been formed in Ohio, maintaining course for 2015 to be another record-breaking year for the state. At the same point in 2014, 79,968 new businesses were filed with the Secretary of State.

A recent reduction in the business filing fee makes Ohio the least costly state in the region to start and maintain a business. The cut was made possible by Secretary Husted’s responsible fiscal stewardship over the office, which reduced operating expenses by more than $14 million over the past four years representing a 16 percent cut from the previous administration.

That same stewardship earned Secretary Husted the distinction of being the only statewide officeholder to request a reduction in state funding in the most recent biennial budget proposal enacted by the General Assembly.

* U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) released the following statement calling on the Administration to immediately halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees into the United States:

“As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I have been raising my deep concerns about taking Syrian refugees because of our government’s inability to properly check their backgrounds to know who they are and why they are coming. When I raised this issue in a hearing last month and questioned Administration witnesses about whether the influx of refugees would subject Americans to risk, the answers I got were deeply troubling.

“To that end, I call on the Administration to immediately halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees into the United States until there has been a thorough review of DHS and State Department vetting procedures to ensure that no terrorists or individuals with links to Islamist extremist groups make it into the United States, as they have in France.”

* U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for restored funding to a critical federal program which helps cities and homeowners eliminate deadly lead-based paint. During a news conference in Cleveland Monday, Brown was joined by a northeast Ohio mother whose family lived in a home with such high levels of lead dust that her 3-year-old son was hospitalized and doctors would not allow him to return to the family’s home.

“A family’s home shouldn’t be a health hazard,” Brown said. “Paint chips shed from moulding and windowsills in older homes turn to dust that is easily ingested or absorbed into toddlers’ lungs. Even small amounts of lead can impact a child’s development, resulting in lowered IQ and behavioral problems for years to come. This is unacceptable and that’s why we need to restore funding to critical federal programs to help cities, landlords, and homeowners eliminate this deadly paint that is making our children sick.”

According to reports from the Plain Dealer, more than 187,000 homes in Cuyahoga County are at risk of having elevated lead poisoning levels due to their year of construction and the likely presence of lead-based paint. Of that total, only 4,300 homes since 1993 have utilized federal funds to reduce lead hazards in homes after a child has received a positive lead test.

* The Portman for Senate campaign today announced the launch of the Sportsmen for Portman. The group will help advise Senator Portman on issues impacting the sportsmen’s community and help spread the word about Portman’s strong support of Ohio hunters, anglers, and trappers. In addition to the 16 members of the coalition’s leadership council, over 50 Ohio sportsmen and Second Amendment advocates have signed on to help with the group.

“As a lifelong hunter and fisherman, I’m honored to have the support of so many leading sportsmen from across Ohio,” said Rob Portman. “Despite the dysfunction in Washington, I’m proud of the results we have achieved to protect Ohio’s natural resources and to stand up for Ohio sportsmen.”

* Despite the heavy rains that hit the region early during the growing season this year, soybeans in the majority of test plots planted by researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University still managed to beat expectations.

In fact, in four of the six test sites for the 2015 Ohio Soybean Performance Test, soybeans averaged over 70 bushels per acre, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the college’s outreach arm.

“Although this year was very unusual in the amount of rainfall that fell in June, our yields were very high – much higher than expected,” she said. “We averaged over 70 bushels per acre on some sites, with two sites averaging over 60 bushels per acre.

* An environmental project at the Rieck Center for Habitat Studies, The University of Findlay’s 55-acre nature preserve located south of Findlay at 17311Township Road 166, is completed, and is expected to produce valuable results about floodwater filtration and collection.

Funded with a $93,316 grant, received in 2014 from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the work created a space for the natural filtering and treatment of water runoff from nearby agricultural fields. A 7-acre floodplain wetland complex was restored and enhanced; a gently-sloped ditch was created to direct runoff into an existing, constructed wetland; and less than one acre near a pond was redeveloped into an emergent wetland habitat. Reconstruction and improvement also included plantings of native wetland vegetation.

Vegetation and land use planning work was conducted for free by the Hancock Soil and Water Conservation District. Phil Martin with the Blanchard River Watershed Partnership served as a subject matter expert.

Staff report