April 17, 2014

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Mini Relay reps hope to continue event at PEVS
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:19 AM

By JOE SHOUSE • Progress Correspondent

PAULDING – It’s no secret how the Mini Relay For Life has generated thousands of dollars in recent years through the relay held at Paulding Exempted Village Schools. The facts speak for themselves. Over the past three years, more than $57,000 was raised by the students and staff in order to fight cancer and to hopefully one day find a cure. Everyone who has been touched by this dreaded disease hopes for a cure and the sooner the better.

However, it seems that although the success of the relay has brought numerous awards to those participants, and has taught students and adults alike many life lessons, the school board, superintendent and administrative staff feel a change is necessary.

The issues are somewhat twofold in considering this alleged rift between school officials and the Mini Relay For Life committee.

First, the process taken to reach this decision, not to have the relay in the same manner as in the past; and second, how to come up with a solution in order to proceed forward with a successful relay.

For some time, the relay committee and its leadership had been in negotiations with superintendent Bill Hanak concerning the future of the relay. Hanak had voiced concerns to relay committee chairperson Karen Saxton and relay representative Jillene McMichael and asked that they address the concerns, which was the purpose for their attendance at the Jan. 14 school board meeting.

McMichael was informed she would be allowed to speak at the board meeting with her allotted time being two minutes, which is the normal time allowed for those making presentations. In order to stay within her limited time, McMichael presented the relay committee’s feelings and concerns in written form.

“During the process of determining the outcome of this event, we ask that you consider what is being taught to our students: the importance of a healthy lifestyle, compassion for others, empathy, teamwork, a sense of community, and knowing that by working together we can make a difference,” McMichael said in her statement.

The full text of McMichael’s presentation can be read here on the Progress website.

“This Mini Relay is student driven and it’s something they, the community, and many school staff and teachers appreciate supporting. We did what we were asked to do. The superintendent asked us to put our proposal together, which we did, but it seems as though we didn’t meet their concerns satisfactory,” said relay committee member Wendy Price.

Following the board meeting, the relay story was the buzz story in the area, even making the news on WANE-TV, Channel 15 out of Fort Wayne. Both Karen Saxton and Hanak were interviewed, each stating their side of the situation.

“I feel the Mini Relay is a great event and is a good cause. The problem is how the event has escalated in taking up so much instructional time in the classroom,” said Hanak. “In fact, we encourage our students to do this, but we have to make changes.”

Hanak went on to express how he has been approached by other nonprofit groups and organizations who would like to have the opportunity to do similar in house projects.

“We certainly can't honor every request that we receive and it’s not fair to allow one group to have their time while shutting out others,” he said.

Hanak reported how there are options to the situation.

“The bottom line is the school administration and leadership will have the final say in how this Relay will be conducted, if it is to be held here on school property. Right now the options would be an after-school event or a weekend Relay. In the format that it is in right now, it will have to change,” said Hanak.

Relay representatives continue to be in negotiations with school board members in order to resolve the situation and come up with a Mini Relay that will meet the needs of both parties.

In the meantime, some students and other supporters hopeful of changing the administration’s decision are planning a peaceful protest Wednesday, Jan. 29, when the school will have a two-hour delay for teacher in-service. The protest is expected to start around 7 a.m. and last until school starts at 10 a.m.


Mini Relay For Life presentation to Paulding school board
Monday, January 20, 2014 8:38 PM

This was the speech given at the Paulding School Board Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.

– Jillene McMichael


Good Evening.

The Relay committee and its community supporters would first like to thank you for allowing us the time to present to you. Tonight … we ask you to reconsider that the decision that was made to no longer allow the Mini Relay at this school. The school administration has voiced concerns in regards to the Mini Relay event. After many meetings and conversations, our Relay representatives met with Mr. Hanak and submitted a proposal addressing these concerns. This proposal was submitted …but Mr. Hanak responded that he did not feel that any of the administration concerns were addressed.

This event, This Mini Relay… is very special to our school. To our community. And most importantly,..to our students. If you would ask any staff member, any board member, or any community member if they have been personally affected by cancer -whether through family, friends, or neighbors- most would say that they had. Well, the students that walk these halls have experienced this as well. Some have even battled cancer themselves. They have lost loved ones, and even been given the role of a caregiver. This… is personal to them.

In a newsletter that was distributed by our school this year, the Mission Statement was shared. In that Mission Statement it is written that the school proposes to “challenge each student to develop his or her academic, social, creative, and physical abilities; to instill an appreciation for learning as a lifelong process; and to increase awareness of and responsibility to the local and world community problems.

Fighting back in the war against cancer IS a local and world community problem,… and our students have definitely been fighting back!

In the past 3 years.. The students and staff of Paulding Exempted Village School have raised $57,272.10 for the American Cancer Society. Also in these past 3 years, our school has won the a regional award out of the 19 counties in northwest Ohio, for the highest earning in a school Mini Relay. Additionally, for the 2012 event, Paulding County was given an award from the East Central Division which spans all of Ohio and Pennsylvania.. This was the Heart of the Relay Award which was given for Youth Engagement. This award was given based on each school in Paulding County hosting their own Mini Relay and it was the ONLY award for Youth Engagement given in the entire division. Paulding , Wayne Trace and Antwerp Local Schools have been a part of a community effort totaling nearly $350,000 ($349,982.46). Our school Mini Relay has been the envy of many other schools in our local area as well as in our Ohio-Pennsylvania division. We have received positive publicity and notoriety throughout the state of Ohio and in our local newspapers.

The students at this school work very hard throughout the year with their studies…. preparing themselves for their end of year state testing. We encourage rewarding them with the opportunity to have their Mini Relay, something that they truly love…and have passion for.

During the process of determining the outcome of this event, we ask that you consider what is being taught to our students: the importance of a healthy lifestyle , compassion for others, empathy, teamwork, a sense of community, and knowing that by working together we can make a difference.

We ask you to focus on these facts. Focus in the positives that it provides to our school, our students, and our community. As you can see, our community supports this Mini relay and is proud of all that we have and can accomplish. Please don’t be the roadblock that stands in these students way in their fight against cancer.

For complete story, click here.

Morales provides new vision to Oakwood area
Monday, January 20, 2014 7:56 PM

By JOE SHOUSE • Progress Correspondent

OAKWOOD – Sometimes it takes a new face, some fresh perspective, a modern day visionary, to spark greater goals and a worthwhile future. For the community of Oakwood, the vision, goals, and exciting future is now in the making and the new face to help bring a better tomorrow is newly selected executive director for the Oakwood Development Company, Damien A. Morales.

Income tax checkoff program helps protect Ohio's natural resources
Monday, January 20, 2014 9:39 AM


COLUMBUS – Ohioans who are passionate about wildlife and the state’s natural areas and preserves have a great opportunity to support those programs through the Wildlife Diversity Fund and the Natural Areas and Preserves Tax Checkoff this year.

“The state income tax checkoff program is an ideal opportunity for all of Ohio’s outdoor enthusiasts to support their natural resources,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) director James Zehringer. “All of the donations are utilized for preservation efforts of natural areas in the state and protecting endangered wildlife species.”

With the checkoff money in 2013, the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves was able to hire seasonal staff to help control more than 35 different invasive species on more than 500 acres in 38 state nature preserves. Additionally, populations of wildlife species such as the Lake Erie watersnake, mountain madtom and osprey, as well as the endangered Rocky Mountain bulrush, all benefitted thanks to the checkoff funding from Ohioans in 2013.

State nature preserves are sanctuaries for rare plants and animals—40 percent of Ohio’s endangered species and nearly 60 percent of Ohio’s threatened species are protected within Ohio’s system of 136 state nature preserves. Managed by the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, these facilities benefit directly from Ohioans generously donating to the Natural Areas Tax Checkoff Program.

The Natural Areas Tax Checkoff Program is an excellent way for Ohioans to support nature conservation. The majority of the funding from boots on the ground conservation action comes from the Natural Areas Fund. Additionally, ODNR partnered with a local conservation organization to protect 95 acres of the original Pickaway Plains region in central Ohio, home to the endangered Rocky Mountain bulrush and other rare species. Donations also support facility improvements, ecological research and educational programming.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife does not receive taxpayer dollars to conserve, restore or manage Ohio’s wildlife and habitat. The tax checkoff program is an important way to help the division benefit endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of interest.

Donations made through the Wildlife Diversity Fund tax checkoff help support critical ecological management activities in Ohio, including efforts to remove non-native and invasive species that pose a serious and ever-growing threat to sensitive habitats. Information programs such as field guides are provided free to the public from wildlife checkoff funds.

Ohio taxpayers who are not receiving a refund this year may still contribute by sending a check to: ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves' Natural Areas Fund or the ODNR Division of Wildlife's Wildlife Diversity Fund, 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229.


Ohio farmers encouraged to apply for 2014 Ag-LINK Program
Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:34 AM

COLUMBUS - Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has announced that the application period for Ohio farmers to participate in the Ohio Treasury's 2014 Agricultural Linked Deposit Program (Ag-LINK) has opened. Farmers may submit online applications for interest rate reductions on agricultural start-up loans through Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM.

"Agriculture is one of Ohio's most important industries," said Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. "Ohio's farmers put the food on tables that Ohio families eat and their work helps make our state economically strong. As they begin to prepare for their upcoming season, Ohio's farmers work to maximize their investments and cover up-front costs for things like feed, seed, fertilizer and fuel that are vital to a successful harvest."

Through Ag-LINK, now in its 29th year of existence, Ohio farmers can apply for an interest rate reduction on new or existing loans or lines of credit up to $150,000. Applications are accepted on an annual basis, this year from January 15 through March 12. Lenders must complete and submit applications online on behalf of their borrowers at www.aglink.ohio.gov. If an eligible farmer's application is accepted, the Ohio Treasurer's office places an investment with the financial institution for one year. In turn, the lender lowers the interest rate on the farmer's loan according to the rate reduction established annually by the Treasurer's office.

Building on last year's modernization of the application process, lenders will complete and submit the program application exclusively online. The Treasurer's office is continually working to make the program easier to navigate in order to better serve both the lenders and the farmers taking part in Ag-LINK.

In order to participate in Ag-LINK, farms must be for-profit and be headquartered, along with more than half of their operations maintained, in Ohio. To qualify, a farmer must apply and be approved for an operating loan or line of credit from a farm credit lender or eligible bank. After approval, the applicant may apply for an interest rate reduction from the Ohio Treasury's Ag-LINK program.

Below is the timeline for the 2014 Ag-LINK program:

• Ag-LINK applications must be received online by the Economic Development Department at the State Treasurer's office no later than 5:00 PM on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.

• Once the application process has been completed, notification of each application's status will be sent to each lender no later than Friday, April 4, 2014.

• The State Treasurer's office is requiring lenders to confirm acceptance or denial of the linked deposit for each application they have submitted by Friday, April 11, 2014. This is only to confirm that the borrowers will participate in Ag-LINK.

• Requests for funding will be accepted from Monday, April 21, 2014 through Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

Detailed information on the program and eligibility requirements can be found by visiting the State Treasurer's website at www.OhioTreasurer.gov/AgLINK or by calling the State Treasurer's Economic Development Department at 1-800-228-1102 (Option #3).


WT names new board president, hires tech coordinator
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:02 AM

By LINDSAY McCOY • DHI Correspondent

HAVILAND – Wayne Trace Local School Board of Education met for its annual organizational meeting Monday, Jan. 13. Lisa McClure was named board president, and regularly monthly meetings were set for the second Monday of each month beginning at 7:30 p.m.

A contract was approved for Jerry Hessel as the new technology coordinator. Hessel is currently the technology coordinator at Paulding Exempted Village Schools and will be starting with the Wayne Trace School district beginning Feb. 10.

“With the hiring of a new technology coordinator, we are now in a position to move forward with the implementation of the Straight A Fund grant monies,” said superintendent Stephen Arnold. “This was the first step for the district.”

Arnold also reported that Wayne Trace has now exceeded the set amount of calamity days required for the 2013-14 school year. Make up days have been set for Feb. 17 on Presidents Day as well as May 29.

“We appreciate all the help we received from community members in helping to clean up water from the broken sprinkler system at the Junior/Senior building,” Arnold said. A crack in the system early last week caused water to flood the building, and the school received large support from members of the community who helped cleanup the mess within the school building.

The board accepted the resignation of Judith Snook as teacher after 26 years with the district.

Harry Bland was approved as a basketball volunteer coach and Travis Tumblin was approved as baseball volunteer coach.