Lending a holiday helping hand G’Town Christmas Parade enjoyed by spectators Mt. Orab Auto Mall collects over 1,100 canned goods for local families “Celebration of Lights” held at fairgrounds Thirteen indicted by grand jury Lady Warriors hit the hardwood with high expectations Warriors reload after graduating four starters Six seniors hit the hardwood for Rockets Lady Rockets packed with size, talent Lady G-Men to rely heavily on young talent G-Men seek improvement after last year’s three-win season Skilled crew on the return for the Blue Jays Broncos begin quest for SBAAC American Div. crown Lady Broncos working hard toward SBAAC American Div. title after finishing as league runner-up last season Experienced crew of Lady Jays return to the hardwood Stephen C Foster Mary J Fitzgerald Tyler Hesler Herbert Polley Robert Layton Donald H Layton James T Smith Thomas M Calvert Thomas J Wolfer Cropper coaches way to 500th career victory Ohio’s Deer-Gun Season opens with more than 18,000 deer harvested Lady Broncos face talented Wilmington squad in season opener at Western Brown SHAC teams hit the hardwood for annual Boys Basketball Preview Western’s Leto and Jones excel in sophomore season of XC Lady Rockets open season with victory over Hillsboro Gary P Garrison Rev Larry T Allen Georgetown, Eastern MS honored by state Woodruff updates Chamber of Commerce Operation Christmas Child reaching out overseas G’town Christmas Parade Dec. 3 Ronald E Blessing Sharlee R West June A Goecke Rockets earn OVAL honors Ogden Court dedication set for Dec. 10 Jays host Broncos for OHSAA Foundation Game Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season SHAC holds Girls Basketball Preview Foreclosure filed on former Meadowwood Care Facility Ten indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Nature Works Grant funds for new Senior Playground Shop with a Cop looking for donations and support BC Beekeepers Association busy rescuing honey bees Hilda F Steele Ronald L Palmer Bruce E Phillips Elizabeth J Ellison Daniel L Turner Cook inducted into OIAAA Hall of Fame Eastern honors Coach Kiser G-Men, Devils battle it out in OHSAA Foundation Game Jester is OVAL Football Player of the Year Ipad program a success in Georgetown schools Powih sentenced to six years on rape charges Air Evac team to get new headquarters building in Georgetown Four sentenced in Brown County Common Pleas Court Homer C Eldridge Dennis D Johnson SBAAC First Team soccer all-stars take home awards Ohio’s Deer-gun hunting season quickly approaching League champ Lady Broncos recognized at fall sports banquet SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, league champion teams Irene D Thurman County GOP sweeps at ballot box Landfill project to provide electricity Three indicted by County Grand Jury BREAKING ELECTION NEWS Wanda L Nixon Ella A Moon David Rogers Joanna W Carter Ann L Yeary Tony Gacek Rigdon finishes 3rd in Pickerington Div. III Regional Meet, advances to OHSAA XC State Tournament Week 10 football roundup Linkous named SBAAC American Division Soccer Player of the Year SHAC awards boys golf all-stars, winning teams Donald L Bauer Andrew W Brown Early voting still going strong at Election Board Tree ordinance brings more questions at G’Town Council Steele named new mayor in R’ville ABCAP’s Reproductive Center receives $2,000 from Jaymie Jamison Foundation Robert E Bailey Myrtle L Stiltner Etta M Mays Kathleen A Holden Eastern XC teams head to Regional Meet A season to remember Lady Warriors finish runner-up in SHAC Div. I Lady Broncos finish season 10-8-1 Week 9 football roundup G-Men and Colwell head to Div. III Regional XC Meet
web1_SherrodBrownVisitAlNorris1-DanielKarell-.jpg

Senator Brown visits county

GEORGETOWN — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown received plenty of insight into big issues affecting Brown County citizens during a roundtable discussion held on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at the Southern Hills Career Technical Center.

Brown, a Democrat representing the state of Ohio in Washington D.C., invited a number of local civic officials and leaders, with an eclectic group featuring business owners, mayors, education officials, law enforcement, and other officials from county agencies.

“I try to do roundtables like this just to hear about the community and what kinds of things we can do together,” Brown said. “This group of people here is a pretty good mix of what’s happening in the community.”

In attendance were Georgetown Mayor Dale Cahall, Brown County Educational Service Center Superintendent Jim Frazier, Southern Hills CTC Superintendent Kevin Kratzer, Michelle Germann, a teacher in the Western Brown school district, Kibler Lumber Sales Manager Jenny Conrad, Brown County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Zac Corbin, Huff Realty Realtor Bertha Thomas, Brown County Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator Margery Paeltz, Brown County Coroner Dr. Varnau, Georgetown Councilwoman Susan Bean, Georgetown Police Department Chief Rob Freeland, Ohio Veterans Home Administrator Rocco Parro, Mt. Orab Port Authority representative Jim Myers, and Adams Brown Community Action Partnership Director Al Norris.

The roundtable discussion moved at a fast pace during the hour and a half meeting, with Brown asking each guest at the table one or two questions about issues they are dealing with before moving onto the next guest.

The discussion varied, starting with the rampant drug issues in Brown County, then jumping to issues with the Affordable Care Act, as well as touching on issues for jobless citizens in the county, problems with supplying students with nutrition, to issues that the county is forced to deal with due to the closure of Southwest Healthcare Medical Center in 2014.

Kratzer opened up the meeting discussing the career technical programs at Southern Hills. Kratzer noted that the welding field is booming and that he’s hoping there will be a good partnership with the school’s automotive program and the future Mt. Orab automall.

Kratzer also described to Brown that the most common piece of advice he’s received from business owners and industry leaders on how to better prepare students is for students to improve their soft skills.

In a recent survey conducted with more than 500 business owners, Kratzer said that the top 14 recommendations were all along the lines of students being better prepared, arriving to work on time, passing drug tests, dressing appropriately, having a positive attitude, improved writing and interviewing skills, and appropriate cell phone usage while on the clock, among others.

“We’re hearing it from business and industry, loud and clear,” Kratzer said.

Germann described how during her 12 years as a teacher, technology has changed the way she teaches immensely and that class sizes have continued to grow.

Corbin described to Brown the endemic drug abuse problem in the county, and how the county has led the state for the last two years of available data in accidental drug overdoses per 100,000 people.

“I would say at least 80 percent of our cases are in some way directly related to drugs,” Corbin said. “That’s either a direct drug abuse offense or you’ve got a theft or a burglary.”

Corbin also discussed the Brown County Drug Task Force and the arrests and indictments that have come through their work, as well as work that Brown County can do for veterans who are suffering when they return from a tour of duty.

The conversation then moved to Cahall, who told Brown about how the lack of a large healthcare facility and a heroin treatment facility had put a huge strain on both the county and many municipalities.

He also discussed the torrential flooding in Georgetown from July, which damaged part of a sewer holding station that will cost around $75,000 for the village to repair it.

Conrad discussed how the Affordable Care Act was great for their employees, who were able to sign up through the exchange and receive health insurance, many for the first time. But Conrad asked Brown to look into raising part-time working hours to 40 hours per week instead of 30, and also said that Kibler was hesitant about hiring more than 50 full-time employees because they would have to start offering health insurance again, which would be another additional cost to the business.

Thomas talked about how the real estate business was booming, and Parro filled Brown in on the nearly-completed extension to the Ohio Veterans Home in Georgetown.

Norris relayed to Brown how his organization was seeing many more people come in who had little or no experience dealing with unemployment and governmental benefits.

“I’ve been in community action for many years, more than 40, and in the last six to eight years, our clientele has changed,” Norris said. “It used to be that I could pretty well define our clientele as the low-income, poor people in the two counties. But we’ve been getting for the last three or four years a lot of people who have never had to ask for help before in their life.”

Norris discussed a story of an ABCAP client who worked out of high school for 25 years, and on the day of his 25th anniversary at the company, his company decided to lay him off.

The conversation then moved to Frazier, who was asked by Brown about what Brown County is doing to implement new nutritional guidelines. Unfortunately, Frazier explained, students are receiving healthy food at school but many of them are throwing it away, creating a lot of waste.

“Quite a bit of it goes into the trash can, so it’s a tremendous amount of waste,” Frazier said.

That led to a long conversation about students on free-and-reduced fee meal plans, as well as having a summer meal plan for students who are in the program. Kratzer explained that there used to be a program like that in Brown County, but it was logistically a nightmare and they didn’t have enough students signed up.

“We gave it a go but there wasn’t enough money to keep it going, it was a logistical nightmare, and there weren’t enough kids to keep it going,” Frazier said.

The discussion then shifted to Freeland, who described how his department was affected by a 50 percent cut to the local government funds. Cahall estimated it cost the village around $200,000 per year. The cuts forced the village to cut two police officers from the police department, before being able to re-hire one of the officers thanks to an income tax increase.

The conversation then turned to emergency response and medical issues in the county.

Paeltz discussed how the county’s emergency response team has issues tracking materials that are traveling through the county by truck, while Varnau discussed how the only place for her to deliver babies from mothers in Adams, Brown, and Clermont Counties is at Mercy Anderson hospital in Anderson Township.

Varnau also discussed how the two OBGYNs in Brown County are both more than 50-years old, and there is a need for the county to find newer, younger OBGYNs.

Lastly, the roundtable meeting finished with a discussion about the declining tobacco farming industry in Ripley, and transportation infrastructure between Cincinnati and Brown County.

“A lot of issues,” Brown said following the meeting on what he took away from the roundtable discussion. “The issues of what we can do to partner with the veterans home, the whole issue of medical care and the OBGYN (Dr. Judith Varnau) having a long drive to get here from where she delivers babies, some of the complicated emergency management issues with trucks more t
han trains coming through, and just the issues of jobs in counties this rural, the critical mass of providing for people is much more difficult.”

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visited Brown County and spoke with local officials and business representatives to get a feel of issues important to Brown County citizens.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_SherrodBrown-DanielKarell-.jpgU.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visited Brown County and spoke with local officials and business representatives to get a feel of issues important to Brown County citizens. Daniel Karell | Civitas Media

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown listens to ABCAP Director Al Norris speak during a roundtable discussion.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_SherrodBrownVisitAlNorris1-DanielKarell-.jpgU.S. Senator Sherrod Brown listens to ABCAP Director Al Norris speak during a roundtable discussion. Daniel Karell | Civitas Media
Holds roundtable discussion with local leaders, officials, and business representatives.

By Daniel Karell

dkarell@civitasmedia.com

Reach Daniel Karell at 937-378-6161. Follow him on Twitter @GNDKarell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2016 News Democrat