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Weekly News 11/21/11

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, November 21, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekly News 11.21.11

  •  A Sad Time for OFA Members. This past week has been a sad one for OFA. Several people in and close to the OFA family passed away.

    1. Greg Baker. A note was already sent to the membership on Greg's passing. Greg was CEO of Baker and Sons Equipment Co. from Lewisville, Ohio. He was a familiar mainstay at the Paul Bunyan Show and involved in many OFA activities over the years. Greg was the Chief of the Lewisville VFD and it was during an emergency run very early Sunday morning, November 20 that he suffered a fatal heart attack. Information on arrangements for Greg can be found here.

    2. John Rockenbaugh. Last Friday, November 19, John Rockenbaugh passed away. John was an active member of the Ohio Tree Farm Committee and was an employee of the Union Soil and Water Conservation District. He passed away at his home in Richwood, Ohio following a brief fight with cancer. You can read John's obituary here. Those familiar with John knew that he had special talents in many areas and was especially passionate about conservation education, using his Tree Farm to educate many about the outdoors. On Tuesday, November 22, friends can call at the Ingram Funeral Home in Marysville from 1-3 PM and 5-8 PM with funeral services the next morning at 11 AM. Memorial contributions may be made to the Marion General Hospital Hospice at 278 Barks Rd, West Marion, OH 43302-7367.

    3. Kenny Hodgson. Last Wednesday, November 17, Kenny Hodgson, the husband of Christine Hodgson passed away at the Kindred Care Nursing and Rehab Center in Lebanon, Ohio. Christine, retired Service Forester from the Division of Forestry, was a long-time editor of the Ohio Woodland Journal who recently turned over those duties. You can read Kenny's obituary here. A memorial for Kenny will be held at a later date. Those wishing to make a contribution may do so by donating to the Wilmington Tree Commission, c/o the Clinton County Foundation, PO Box 831, Wilmington, Ohio 45177.

  • ODA Director Jim Zehringer Moves to ODNR. This past week, Governor Kasich announced that Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer will become the new ODNR Director, replacing Dave Mustine who had gone to the new JobsOhio agency. Director Zehringer is bringing a number of his ODA staff with him. It was reported that Interim ODNR Director Scott Zody will become the Chief of the Division of Wildlife and Dave Lane, who had recently been appointed Chief, will become the Assistant Chief. In addition, Andy Ware, formerly Assistant Chief in the Division of Forestry before moving to ODA as the Chief of Communications, will return to ODNR as a Deputy Director and will oversee the Division of Forestry among several other Divisions.

  • ALB News. OFA was copied on a letter from a concerned citizen opposed to plans by APHIS to remove healthy host trees in the eradication project in Clermont County. I thought you might be interested in seeing the letter. I mentioned the issue in last week's report, and that OFA supported the APHIS plan. The APHIS plan was recommended by a Science Panel of experts and is the same one that has been used in at least two other ALB outbreaks (Chicago and New York), both of which have proved effective. It is totally understandable why landowners would be opposed to the plan, with the removal of un-infested trees. It is a difficult plan put in place. But at the same time, it is one that has proved effective. That is rare with invasive species treatment and eradication projects. I believe that one of the key reasons it has proved effective is that the natural travel for ALB is very small, making it a more reasonable target for eradication efforts. At the moment, APHIS is only removing infested trees while it completes its environmental review of removing un-infested host trees.

  • State Controlling Board Chides ODNR About Timber RFP Process. In the daily report from the Gongwer News Service, it was reported that Senator Chris Widener (R-Springfield), a member of the Controlling Board, chided ODNR for its lengthy Timber RFP (Request For Proposals) Process. ODNR was there to ask the Controlling Board for approval to let a $71,500 contract for timber marking services with Landmark Forestry LLC of Horner, WV. Rep. Widener said that he had received criticisms from several Ohio companies that the process was much too complicated, with an 82 page RFP, filled with "mountains of red tape" and "burdensome documents." He said it eliminated a number of Ohio small businesses from submitting proposals, as requests were sent to 54 companies but only 4 responded with quotes. The Controlling Board approved the authorization of funds for the contract. ODNR is proceeding with other Timber RFPs over the next year.

  • United Regional Purchasing Cooperative. I attended the periodic meeting of the United Regional Purchasing Cooperative, an affiliate of the South Central Manufacturing Network (SCMN), which OFA is now part of. Several news items from the meeting:

    1. The Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center is offering it Leadership Academy 2012, a 9-part program for business and industry leaders, starting January 12, 2012 and running monthly throughout the year, except for summer months. Classes are offered at the school near Chillicothe. Classes are 4 hours each and cost $75 and covers a variety of subjects including negotiations, communications, team building, business ethics and etiquette, problem solving and decision making, emotional intelligence, and leadership. There will also be supervisory training offered after the first of the year. You can get more information on their website.

    2. Benefits Unlimited, Inc. (BUI) is a newly created Health Care Cooperative that is currently taking members. BUI spoke at the OFA Annual Meeting two years ago. BUI reps indicated that after the first of the year, the program will be expanding in a big way and they advise that there will be an opportunity to learn more about their program at a March 27, 2012 workshop, which will be held in Chillicothe or Piketon.

  • Christmas tree Checkoff Program Delayed. Last week, I mentioned the current status of work on creating a Hardwood Checkoff in the wood industry. It appears that the nation's Christmas Tree Growers had approved a similar Christmas Tree Checkoff to help fund marketing efforts for US Christmas Tree growers. All commodity Checkoff programs require USDA approval since they involve assessing a fee on members within industry groups. However, the program has been delayed by the Obama Administration following heat from the GOP that the program was a "tax" on Christmas tree growers. You may have already heard about this through some news outlets. You can read an article about the issue here. As the hardwood industry works its way through the current proposal, it seems that public "perception" of this program may have a bearing on its acceptance.

  • American Hardwood Information Center. The Hardwood Manufacturers Association has developed its new American Hardwood Information Center and it companion website The American Hardwoods website is designed especially for construction professionals such as architects, designers, and builders who want information on hardwoods for construction. The site will also serve the average consumer and hardwood enthusiast just looking for information on hardwoods for all kinds of uses. It's another great step in promoting American grown and processed hardwoods as a truly green construction product which should be a product of preference by those interested in promoting both American jobs and conservation.

  • Wayne National Forest Halts Sale of Drilling Rights. The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Wayne National Forest was scheduled to bid drilling rights for natural gas and oil on 3000 acres of the forest on December 7, but recently withdrew the request for further study. The leasing would involve hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), and locals in the area protested the plan, believing that fracking could harm the forest.

  • WRI Global Timber Report. Here is a world wood fiber market report from Wood Resources International, Inc. In short, it says that the fiber prices are up and finished products prices are down as world demand for fiber has softened. In fact hardwood fiber prices reached a 24-year high in the third quarter of 2011 at the same time hardwood pulp prices fell by 26%.

  • Truck Driver Shortage Getting Worse. The trucking industry is reporting that it getting harder to find drivers and the problem continues to worsen. The shortage is being placed on a shrinking pool of drivers, which is hard to believe as unemployment rates remain so chronically high. Some in the trucking industry believe that the higher standards and requirements from the new federal CSA trucking rules are making it more difficult for potential drivers to qualify. At the same time, American truck dealers are reporting increasing truck sales, in fact up almost 50% from sales in the fall of 2010. Part of this is for fleet replacement, part if for an uptick in freight being shipped. The total next effect is that federal truck weight reform makes huge sense as an important federal policy and economic approach.

Ohio Forestry Association is managed by Offinger Management Company, a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), "Charter-Accredited" Association Management Company member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and a member of the Association Management Company Institute (AMC Institute).

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