Morning briefing – Dec. 1

Staff report

* It will be seven months of pointing toward the finish line for Ron Hendrick.

On Dec. 2, Hendrick begins his role as acting dean and vice president for agricultural administration for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. He is filling in for Bruce McPheron while McPheron serves as interim provost for the university.

“Over the next seven months we’ll be bringing to fruition efforts that have been in the works for the past two years,” Hendrick said. “It’s an exciting time for the college.”

* Jeremy Scherf, forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), has been named the 2016 U.S. North Central Region Outstanding Tree Farm Inspector of the Year. Scherf is one of four regional foresters that will be recognized by the American Tree Farm System at the National Leadership Conference, which will be held in February 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

“Jeremy is well-known by the landowners in his area for his passion in doing his job as a service forester,” said Robert Boyles, ODNR deputy director and state forester. “His willingness to assist tree farmers and other landowners with their forestry needs exemplifies the work our service foresters do every day to help Ohioans care for their valuable woodland resources.”

The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) is sponsored in Ohio by the Ohio Forestry Association and the ODNR Division of Forestry. There are 1,700 Certified Family Forests in Ohio. Tree farmers carry out stewardship on their woodland properties for the benefits of wood, water, wildlife and recreation. There are 49 active inspectors representing ODNR, the timber industry, forestry consultants and other foresters assisting Ohio’s tree farmers by offering long-range stewardship plans, management alternatives, invasive species control recommendations and compliance inspections to meet ATFS standards.

Scherf is one of 19 ODNR service foresters assisting woodland owners throughout the state. His project area includes Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson and Belmont counties in eastern Ohio. He is also inspector training chair for the Ohio Tree Farm program.

* People need nature to survive. That’s one of the messages that Conservation International’s M. Sanjayan will share at The Ohio State University on Feb. 11.

Sanjayan, a global conservation scientist, writer and Emmy-nominated news contributor, will present “Earth and People: Lessons in Living Together” from 7-8:30 p.m. in the 1,550-seat Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom in Ohio State’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., in Columbus. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required at

* Author Maureen Ann Richard Kostalnick gives readers a glimpse at her own life in her novel, The Butternut Tree, which recently became the #1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller in Dysfunctional Relationships and the #2 Kindle Best Seller in Women’s Religious Fiction.

With powerfully moving prose and a distinct ability for recollection, Kostalnick transports readers into the world of her youth as she recounts the story of her upbringing in a troubled family in Avon, Ohio, in the 1940’s.

In 1928, Kostalnick’s mother, Laura, was the victim of a violent and senseless assault. However, in that time, regardless of a woman’s innocence, an assault on her would brand her “tarnished” by all those who knew her—even after she built a life, home, and family for herself.

Because of this assault, Kostalnick’s mother was a great concern for her; as a young child, she often prayed to make her mother well. Maureen, only a child at the time, did not understand the nature of her mother’s incapacitation, nor did she understand why people in her town seemed to pass judgment on Maureen’s family. Growing up without a father, Maureen sought comfort in her childhood friend Billy, her dog, and a “safe place” under the shade of her “butternut tree” down by the creek that wound its way through the family’s homestead.

At a young age—and with adult-like wisdom—it was under the shade and protection of her “butternut tree” that Maureen would make a solemn vow.

Readers will be transported to Avon, the small Ohio town of Maureen’s youth: to its people, the simple way of life and to St. Mary’s church. Most importantly, the reader will be witness to the ways in which Maureen reacts to everyone around her.

Kostalnick’s strength is her ability to weave humor into her prose, giving readers the visceral experience of the time in which she writes. And when Maureen finally gains a sense of vindication as an adult, readers will feel, too, her relief and sense of having truly left the past behind.

Staff report