Michael D Karos Jr John H Kirk Janet R Meyer Patsy A Clark Dorothy J Schroeder Broncos trample the G-Men, 73-40 Rockets down the Devils, 59-55 Seven new inductees to enter WBHS Sports Hall of Fame Lady Warriors ascend to 13-1 Broncos finish 2nd of 22 teams in Hammer and Anvil Invitational Hedwig Lambert Billie G Walkup Some county offices may be moved G’town Council approves 2017 budget Family doubles in size with adoption Sardinia Mayor looks forward to 2017 2017 Fayetteville Firemen’s Festival set Floyd Newberry Jr Donna F Lang Gene Warren Dwight L Fulton Virginia A O’Neil Anne L Durbin-Thomas Marietta Dunn Charles L Latchford Broncos win ‘Battle of 32’ Lady Broncos claim win over Bethel-Tate Jays top Warriors, fall to Mustangs Lady Warriors claim top spot in SHAC with win over Lynchburg-Clay Broncos buck the Lions, 54-51 James N DeHaas Questions still linger in Stuart explosion New direction for Brittany Stykes case New public safety director now on duty in Brown Co. Fayetteville Mayor anticipates a good year for the village Chamber of Commerce announces awardees Robert Bechdolt Carl E Lindsey Audrey F Maher LeJeune Howser Tammy L Connor Henry C Mayhall Jr Chad Spilker Frank W Kemmeter Jr Wanda J Howard Dorothy Huff Colon C Malott Eastern varsity teams come out on top to capture Brown County Holiday Classic crowns WBHS Army JROTC hosts rifle shooting competition Bronco varsity wrestling team unbeaten at 8-0 Blue Jays finish 1-1 in Ripley Pepsi Classic Mona G Van Vooren Hiram Beardsworth Avery W McCleese Ethel E Long Children learn safety from ‘Officer Phil’ Microchips can help locate lost pets Local GOP plans trip to Washington Three sentenced in common pleas Estel Earhart Roy Stewart Tenacious ‘D’ leads Lady Jays to victory over Blanchester on day one of Ripley Pepsi Classic Fayetteville’s Thompson, Jester earn SWOFCA All-City honors Jays fall to Blanchester on first day of Pepsi Classic Ticket details announced for OHSAA basketball and wrestling state tournaments Jerri K McKenzie Randy D Vaughn Georgetown JR/SR high to have new library Georgetown saw many improvements in 2016 Three sentenced in common pleas court Esther O Brown G-Men go on scoring rampage for 77-41 win over Cardinals Warriors climb to 4-2 with wins over West Union, Lynchburg Rockets top Whiteoak for first win Shirley M Bray Carter Lumber closes in G’town Wenstrup looks forward to 2017 Seven indicted by county grand jury John Ruthven holds pre-Christmas Open House New pet boarding facility now open in Georgetown Denver W Emmons Carl W Liebig Mary L McKinley Blake C Roush Louis A Koewler William D Cornetet Western Brown dedicates Perry Ogden Court Lady Warrior win streak hits 5 Lady Rockets wrap up tough week on the hardwood Barons rally for win over Broncos Georgetown to hire two paid Firefighter/EMT’s Noble receives statewide law enforcement award County helps family in need after house fire Flashing signs banned in G’town historic district ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ at Gaslight Thelma L Ernst Roy L Bruce Ken Leimberger Cathye J Bunthoff Lending a holiday helping hand

Budget invests in key priorities

The state’s two-year operating budget was recently signed into law.

We have created a balanced, sustainable budget that invests in Ohio’s top priorities, while making the tax rate more competitive and putting hard-earned money back in the hands of those who earned it.

Education. Making significant investments in young Ohioans, the budget plan improves the state’s K-12 funding formula, which expands state support for rural school districts, while reducing the number of hours and tests required through state assessments.

The budget also increases funding support for early childhood education opportunities for low-income families and provides new support for preschool special education.

Historic changes through the budget make college more affordable for all Ohioans. The state is freezing tuition at all public institutions, while partnering with colleges and universities to reduce student costs by 5 percent.

Rehabilitation and corrections. As chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Corrections, I listened to testimony from agencies, interested parties and concerned Ohioans about ways to improve the state’s prisons and rehabilitation programs. The subcommittee, based on information received during testimony, made recommendations to the Senate Finance Committee to incorporate into the larger budget bill.

During testimony, Director Gary Mohr of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections explained that Ohio’s recidivism rate is 27 percent, versus 49 percent nationally. This difference equates to nearly 4,300 fewer returning inmates each year and reduced cost for the state.

Director Mohr credits this success to his staff and the new innovative programs. Despite progress, Ohio’s prison population is at 50,200 inmates with a record-high female population due to the state’s opioid and heroin epidemic. Experts predict that this number will increase in the future.

With violent crime rates at a 45-year low, experts recommend new community correction programs which are twice as effective for the rehabilitation of low-risk, non-violent offenders to lower cost and decrease occupancy in state corrections facilities.

Director Tracy Plouck of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services testified before the committee addressing the rampant addiction crisis within the state’s prison system.

Eighty percent of the prison population have a history of substance abuse or addiction. The State of Ohio has the capacity to provide treatment for only 4,500 of the 30,000 inmates in need of drug rehabilitation services beyond the time of incarceration. Studies show an 11-percent drop in recidivism for offenders who received at-home drug treatment services after their release.

Juvenile corrections. Testimony from Department of Youth Services Director Harvey Reed stated he is able to fully operate the three statewide facilities under his supervision at 93 percent funding of last biennium. Requests for reductions in state agency funding are virtually unheard of.

Due to its shifting methods and philosophies, public opinion favors less costly alternatives for low-level juvenile offenders, resulting in lower numbers in the DYS facilities. This reduction is an encouraging sign of improvement for all Ohioans. There are currently 500 youth in facilities and additional 400 on parole, the lowest averages in five years.

Natural resources. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources continues to provide excellent services that protect our environment and responsibly manage Ohio’s abundant natural resources. With only slight funding increases, ODNR continues be a leader in its stewardship of taxpayer funds.

Support for local communities. Restored funding for the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation will help provide rural communities with economic and educational development opportunities. The budget also allocates $4.7 million to support eligible construction projects for county fair grounds through a grant program that will be administered through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

I am proud of this budget, which invests in worthwhile priorities and allows hard-working Ohioans to keep more of their hard-earned money. If I can be of assistance, please contact my office by phone at 614-466-8082 or by email at uecker@ohiosenate.gov.

State Sen. Joe Uecker represents the 14th District in the Ohio Senate, which encompasses all of Adams, Brown, Clermont, and Scioto counties as well as a portion of Lawrence County.

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2016 News Democrat