Remembering The Sacrifices Of Our Soldiers
A Guest Column by State Senator Joe Uecker
May 22, 2015
 
 

Memorial Day is more than just a day for parades and speeches. It is a time for us to remember and honor the brave American men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day in this great nation. We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to pursue our dreams, worship without fear of persecution and choose our leaders in fair and democratic elections. Today we honor those who have served to defend these liberties. 

Like many others, my family is steeped in military tradition. My father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aircraft engine mechanic in the Philippines during World War II. My eldest brother graduated from the US Air Force Academy and flew an F-111 fighter bomber during the Cold War era.

Three of my children also serve as Air Force Officers. Our eldest,Christopher, after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, learned to fly F-16 fighters and currently serves as a Major for the Ohio Air National Guard. Our daughter Julie is also a Major and is a pharmacist overseeing three pharmacies at Eglund Air Force Base in Florida. Our youngest son Tim is an Air Force Lieutenant, piloting the E3 AWACS battlefield command aircraft out of Oklahoma.

The values that my father passed on to me are now evident in my children and are an intrinsic motivator for my decision to serve Ohio as a Senator. The pride that I have in these family members and in their fellow servicemen and women is immeasurable.

Originating from the Civil War era, Memorial Day has gradually evolved into a larger  commemoration of all those who have served through their last breaths and dedicated their lives to the preservation of our nation over the last 150 years.

Our nation recognized that sometimes our gratitude falls short. We created this holiday not because the soldiers’ sacrifices are ever forgotten, but because sometimes we forget to thank them and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Memorialize within yourself the necessity of thanking those who are still able to be with us; active military personnel, veterans, and families for their bravery and steadfast service.

As we celebrate our long weekend with family and friends, let's not forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our freedom and security through their service in the Armed Forces. Enjoy the holiday by attending a parade, helping a veteran or leaving flowers at the gravesite of a departed loved one who honorably served his or her country in the military, but continue to look further than these traditions and reflect on these sacrifices.

 
 
  
 
The Unknown Dangers Of Pure Caffeine
A Guest Column by State Senator Scott Oelslager
May 22, 2015
 
 

Logan Stiner, 18, of LaGrange, Ohio died in May 2014 from a lethal dose of pure caffeine just days before his high school graduation. These pure caffeine products, sold in pure, powdered form, are essentially 100 percent caffeine and classified as unregulated dietary supplements.

Pure caffeine powder can be purchased online in bulk quantities. Following the death of Logan last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the substance, stating that a single teaspoon of pure caffeine powder has roughly the same amount of caffeine as 25 cups of coffee. One-sixteenth of a teaspoon, which is the recommended serving, is equivalent to "six" 12 oz. caffeinated colas.

The legislature is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all Ohioans, which is why I readily co-sponsored Senate Bill 7 last month when it passed the Ohio Senate. This bill, sponsored by my colleague Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) prohibits the sale of pure caffeine products. 

This legislation not only raises awareness for parents and consumers about the unknown dangers of pure caffeine but it also helps to prevent another tragic death from happening.

Senate Bill 7 seeks to ensure that this dangerous substance does not fall into the wrong hands, while maintaining the integrity of licensed food and drink manufacturers. The ban would prohibit the sale of pure caffeine powder in Ohio, and penalize those who purchase the product. Senate Bill 7 passed out of the Ohio Senate and is awaiting action in the House of Representatives.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns about the matters we are discussing at the Statehouse. I can be reached by phone at (614) 466-6026, by e-mail at Oelslager@OhioSenate.gov, or by writing State Senator Scott Oelslager, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215.

 
 
  
 
Commemorating The Lives Of Our Fallen Heroes
A Guest Column by State Senator John Eklund
May 22, 2015
 
 

Every year, on the last Monday in May, our nation honors its fallen heroes by recognizing Memorial Day. Known originally as Decoration Day, Memorial Day was first observed following the Civil War as a day to remember fallen comrades. After World War I, it was celebrated as a day to honor all Americans killed in wartime.

Memorial Day is recognized as a national holiday, following the Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971. We continue to observe this tradition by closing government offices and agencies, and holding parades and memorial ceremonies. In common practice, the U.S. flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then lowered solemnly to half-staff. This custom honors the countless servicemen and women who have given their lives in protection of our great nation. At noon, the flag is once again raised, acknowledging that their sacrifices shall not be in vain, and the fight for liberty and justice for all shall continue.

Moina Michael, in penning a response to “In Flanders Fields”, written by John McCrae in 1915, said:

“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor let,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”


This verse reminds us to reflect on the bravery and sacrifices of our servicemen and women by honoring them each Memorial Day. Whether you spend the day helping veterans, attending a local parade or ceremony, or decorating the grave of a fallen hero, I encourage you to honor the memory of those who died protecting our freedoms.

 
 
  
 
Honoring The Greatest Sacrifice
A Guest Column by Senate President Keith Faber
May 22, 2015
 
 

Last year at this time, I offered a prayer at a joint session of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives honoring Ohioans who lost their lives while serving our country. I prayed that we would have no reason to meet again in 2015that there would be no Ohioan lost in the service of their fellow man.

This week I stood again before my fellow legislators to present the Military Medal of Distinction to the loved ones of six brave military servicemen who died on the battlefield. As we honored them, I recognized that my prayer was unfortunately not answered the way we all wished it would have been. But I solemnly realize God's ways are not always our own, and that it was through these heroic Ohioans, that the prayers of men, women and children in another part of the world were answered.

They were answered by these six and the many other brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who prove themselves worthy of the uniform through their internal fortitude and sense of duty. They do so knowingly stepping into harm's way. They do so to defend our way of life and the freedom we hold so dear. They answer prayers every day. 


The Ohioans we honored this weekfathers, sons, brothers and friendsrepresent many before them. They came to serve with a diverse range of experiences and passions but a shared love of country and desire to rescue the oppressed. They came from different backgrounds, but their actions proved that they belonged to the same sacred fellowship of Ohioans who answered their nation's call to arms. When alarm bells cried out, they answered the call without hesitation. As shots rang out and bombs exploded, they chose to run into chaos rather than retreat into safety. They lived by principles imprinted upon their hearts and minds by the warriors who went before them— loyalty, courage, selflessness and integrity. 

To the family and friends of those individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, may you find peace in knowing that your loved ones will never be forgotten. A grateful state will forever cherish their memory and give thanks for the peace that they fought so tirelessly to preserve. While nothing can ever repay the debt owed to you and your family, we extend to you our most sincere and heartfelt thanks.

To those in uniform, on behalf of the Ohio Senate and a grateful state, thank you for your service and sacrifice. You freely choose to hold yourselves to a different set of standardsthe highest of standards. May God bless you and watch over you in all that you do.

The sacrifices of Army Specialist Joseph Riley, Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Stephen Byus, Army Major Michael Donahue, Army Specialist Justin Helton, Army Staff Sergeant Sonny Zimmerman and Chief Warrant Officer Donald Clark remind us that our freedom is not free. We promise to continue the fight to uphold the honor of these six and the many others before them.


This Memorial Day, I again offer a prayer. I pray once more that we will have no one to award the Military Medal of Distinction next year. I pray for comfort and peace for the grieving families of the lost. Most of all, I pray that Ohio will continue to produce young men and women who value service before self. 

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

The parents, families and friends of Army Specialist Justin R. Helton of Beaver, Ohio and Lieutenant Junior Grade Stephen F. Byus, originally from Wellston, Ohio received Ohio's Military Medals of Distinction today during a joint session of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives. The special session convened for the purpose of honoring Ohio's military men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

"Today we honor Justin and Stephen both who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country," said State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) whose senate district covers both soldier's hometowns in southern Ohio. "To the families and friends of these two brave young men, we extend our deepest sympathy and heartfelt thanks. We share the privilege of preserving their legacies of honor, courage and commitment to our nation."

The Medals of Distinction are presented each year to the loved ones of Ohio's fallen soldiers during a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly. Six families received medals at today's ceremony held in the House chambers. 

Specialist Helton died June 9, 2014 while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Helton was a member of 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 18th Ordnance Company out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina and a 2006 graduate of Eastern High School.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Byus died September 16, 2014 while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Byus was a member of the United States Navy Reserve and was employed by the Defense Logistics Agency where he was volunteering to assist the Afghan Army in improving its logistics capabilities. 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS– State Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) today introduced a bill that would make Ohio residents who are at least 80 years old eligible to receive free, permanent nondriver identification (ID) cards from the state of Ohio.

If enacted, the legislation would allow any Ohio resident to receive a free state ID card that would never expire. Currently, state ID cards are currently valid for four years. A new or renewal ID card costs $8.50 to purchase and $7.50 to replace.

"Many residents from our greatest generation no longer drive, so they rely on their state ID card for health insurance, finances and other government purposes," said Hughes. "For those living in nursing homes or depending on friends and family members for transportation, making a trip to their local Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch to renew their ID card can be a burden."

As state law currently stands, it is illegal to hold an Ohio driver's license and a state ID card at the same time, and an ID card doesn't confer driving privileges. If enacted, the legislation would only affect nondriver ID cards, not driver's licenses.


"There's no good reason that our senior citizens should have to constantly renew their state ID cards," added Hughes. "Eliminating the hassle is the least we can do for the men and women who have contributed so much to our state throughout their lives."
 

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

State Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) today announced state funding for facility improvements at Ohio University-Lancaster and Zane State College.

The colleges received final approval for the renovation projects from the Ohio Controlling Board on Monday. 

“Ohio colleges play a significant role in the future of Ohio’s skilled workforce,” said Balderson. “It is important that students have the opportunity to learn in a healthy, updated environment where they can make the most of their college education.”

Ohio University plans to begin improvements to Herrold Hall which will house its nursing program. 

The program is currently located in two different buildings but this project will allow the university to bring all nursing programming and services into one centralized location.


Zane State College plans to replace outdated, inefficient doors to College Hall. The new doors are expected to reduce energy costs and improve the building's appearance.

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

State Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) announced today that Scotts Miracle-Gro plans to create 60 new jobs at its Marysville facility.

"The grass continues to grow greener in the 26th Senate District," said Burke. "As companies continue to invest in leading technology and high-paying jobs, I applaud Scott’s commitment to the area and look forward to working with their growing company in the future." 

The announcement follows the approval of a $1 million research and development loan during a meeting of the Ohio Controlling Board on Monday.

Financing for the project will involve retrofitting the final section of the 1.4 million square-foot Scotts facility. The retrofitting project will allow the company to continue research and development around the commercialization of slow release nitrogen technology. 

The company currently employs 1,045 workers at its Marysville facility. 

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is the leading manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products. Scotts has been part of the Marysville community since O.M. Scott founded his company in Marysville in 1868.

 
 
  
 
Building A New Foundation For Buckeye Lake
A Guest Column by State Senator Jay Hottinger
May 18, 2015
 
 

According to a popular children’s fable, there was once a young Dutch boy who noticed a small leak in the city’s dike on his way to school. A passerby watched him plug the hole with one finger to keep the seawater from trickling in, and others eventually arrived to seal the leak, saving Holland from catastrophic flooding.  The story illustrates the importance of acting early and swiftly to prevent disaster, for the small trickle might have become a rushing stream over time.

The story of Buckeye Lake is much more complex. There is no childhood hero coming to save the day, no easy solution. There are only tough choices, and we who want to see the Buckeye Lake community emerge stronger and more prosperous must be willing to make them.

To the casual observer, the 177-year-old lake is a picture of beauty and serenity—the water level seems curiously low, but you may not immediately notice the signs that could shatter the idyllic scene at any time. This month, I visited various sites around the lake with Jim Zehringer, Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). When you know what to look for, signs of serious structural problems are everywhere—trees and cracks deeply rooted in the lake's dam, seepage and persistent wet areas, and other signs of deterioration. 

From an extensive report released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in March, we know that 370 homes and structures sit on a dam that is structurally compromised and highly likely to fail. Dam failure would endanger the lives of 3,000 people who live within the flood zone and destroy or damage 2,100 homes, 75 businesses, a police station, a fire station and countless other community resources.

In response to the unacceptable level of threat posed by dam failure, I have joined Governor Kasich and Director Zehringer in supporting a $150 million state plan to replace the dam with a new, modern structure in three to five years. The safest solution to minimize the risk of dam failure is to drain the lake entirely, but for now, we can reduce risk by keeping the water level at winter levels and halting the construction of further structures into the dam. 

There’s no way around it: doing what is necessary to save the lake from long-term disaster puts many business owners and homeowners in a tough spot in the short term. I empathize deeply with the folks who feel that they have been handed a raw deal. I wish there were a less intrusive way to build the new dam structure—but I’ve built a public service career on telling people the truth, even if it’s not what they want to hear. 

The truth is that the next several years will be tough, but Buckeye Lake will soon be the envy of all inland lakes in the state. A safe new dam means cleaner and deeper water, safer boaters, thriving businesses and higher property values. Right now it may be difficult for many people to believe that this vision can become reality, but I will work tirelessly to make sure it does. I will do everything in my power to ensure that reconstruction of the dam is completed as efficiently and quickly as possible. 

If like the little Dutch boy I could solve Buckeye Lake’s problems by plugging a crack in the dam with one finger, I would do it. But reality is decidedly less convenient, and a problem that has developed over decades won’t disappear overnight. What I can do is stand with the residents and business owners of Buckeye Lake every step of the way, confident that together we are building a more stable and prosperous lake.

Watch this video for more information about the work being done on the lake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvsEDpqZoHI


For additional information and updates on the project from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, visit http://engineering.ohiodnr.gov/buckeyelake#status

 
 
  

The Senate will consider the following during today’s session (1:30 p.m.):

  • Compensating Elected Officials Fairly: Sponsored by Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), Senate Joint Resolution 1 proposes to amend the Ohio Constitution in order to establish a Public Office Compensation Commission. If approved by Ohio voters in November, the bipartisan Commission would review and determine the compensation, up or down, of every elected official in Ohio, except those elected under home rule authority.
  • Creating Outdoor Refreshment Areas: Substitute House Bill 47 exempts anyone who buys and carries open beer and liquor containers within an outdoor refreshment area from Ohio's Open Container law. The bill authorizes every municipality or township with a population of 35,000 to 50,000 people to create one outdoor refreshment area of one-half mile by one half-mile, and those with a population above 50,000 may create two areas. Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) sponsored companion legislation in the Senate. 
  • Designating Dana G. "Buck" Rinehart Highway: Sponsored by Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), Senate Bill 60 would designate a portion of Interstate Route 670 as the “Dana G. ‘Buck’ Rinehart Highway.” Buck Rinehart was the Mayor of Columbus from 1984 to 1992, during which he oversaw the construction of I-670.
  • Protecting Ohio’s Children: Sponsored by Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay), Senate Bill 121 adopts Center for Disease Control guidelines for all children to receive immunizations against meningitis. The bill includes provisions allowing parents to opt their child out of the required immunizations for religious and philosophical objections. According to the National Meningitis Association, the potentially fatal disease impacts approximately 1,500 Americans each year.
 
 
  
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Featured Posts

Remembering The Sacrifices Of Our Soldiers

 

We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to pursue our dreams, worship without fear of persecution and choose our leaders in fair and democratic elections. Today we honor those who have served to defend these liberties. 



 
 

The Unknown Dangers Of Pure Caffeine

 

The legislature is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all Ohioans, which is why I readily co-sponsored Senate Bill 7 last month when it passed the Ohio Senate. This bill, sponsored by my colleague Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) prohibits the sale of pure caffeine products. 



 
 

Commemorating The Lives Of Our Fallen Heroes

 

Whether you spend the day helping veterans, attending a local parade or ceremony, or decorating the grave of a fallen hero, I encourage you to honor the memory of those who died protecting our freedoms.



 
 

Honoring The Greatest Sacrifice

 

The Ohioans we honored this weekfathers, sons, brothers and friendsrepresent many before them. They came to serve with a diverse range of experiences and passions but a shared love of country and desire to rescue the oppressed. They came from different backgrounds, but their actions proved that they belonged to the same sacred fellowship of Ohioans who answered their nation's call to arms.