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Weekly News 5.7.12

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, May 07, 2012

Weekly News 5/7/12

  • BWC News. Legislation on proposed changes to BWC programs promoted through the Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) effort were put on hold last week after there was push-back from unions and Democrats over the proposals. The most contentious part appears to be the program change that would require injured workers to use a health care provider inside the managed care organization if they have not returned to work within 45 days. Currently, injured workers can choose the health care provider. Those opposed to the changes believe that this was an agreed upon provision by unions when the BWC program was first instituted in exchange for limits on lawsuits. It appears that more time will be taken to review the proposed changes. In other news, BWC staff presented a rate plan to the BWC Board of Directors that will maintain the average base premium rate for employers at current rates. The Board is expected to take action on the plan at the May 25 meeting. In other news, BWC has extended the application deadline until May 25 for two Destination Excellence Programs, including the Transitional Work Bonus Program and the Industry Specific Safety Program. This press release gives more information about the deadline extension and the two programs.
  • Pennsylvania Eco-Terrorism Bulletin for Timber Companies. I received this bulletin from the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association concerning eco-terrorism targeted at timber companies. The bulletin briefly explains the concerns and provides a few recommendations for companies to guard against possible eco-terrorist activities. The Pennsylvania Forest Products Association reported earlier that there was possible eco-terrorist activity against shale drilling activities in the state under the Occupy Well Street banner, and that logging associated with drilling could be targeted. A number of environmental groups have signed a pledge to resist fracking activities, including radical environmental group Earth First! The annual Earth First! Rendezvous has been scheduled this year in Pennsylvania in the Marcellus shale region from July 1-7, 2012. Please note: There are no known current threats targeting the timber industry in Ohio. This is provided for your general information only. Interestingly, this past week, the FBI arrested 5 "anarchists” in the Cleveland area for an alleged plot to blow up the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge which carries a 4-lane highway on Route 82 over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And finally, here is an article from a Montana newspaper that mentions the Al Qaida have considered setting wildfires in the western US as another terrorist threat against America.
  • OSU Extension Logging Survey Proposal. Last week, OFA met with OSU Extension staff to discuss the potential for a grant to fund a survey Ohio logging companies. The survey would identify challenges and barriers logging companies are facing today for maintaining a viable business. The survey would be designed to identify specific challenges and barriers with some level of control within the company. Dr. Eric McConnell, OSU Extension staff and OFA Board member, has developed the grant proposal and asked OFA and Glatfelter to participate on the grant. The OSU South Centers Business Development Network will also be a partner. In addition to the survey, the Business Development Network offers IMAGE (International Market Access Grants for Exporters) grants to Ohio businesses to help offset costs associated with export marketing activities. Here are several documents that explain the program and the kind of costs eligible for the grant. In brief, if you are an Ohio company, you can receive a 50% reimbursement for costs up to $12,000.00 for international marketing activities. Also if you are an Appalachian company, you are eligible for an additional $2,000.00 in reimbursement. There is also reimbursement money available for companies participating in a State of Ohio approved trade mission.
  • Federal Clean Energy Standard (CES) Legislation. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 on May 17. The legislation, if passed, would set a federal standard on the amount of renewable energy utilities would have to use as part of the overall energy portfolio. Here is a report from the US Energy Information Administration on the analysis of the legislation. Short of going through the report, it briefly states that by 2035, the CES would result in a 54% reduction in the amount of coal used for US energy, electric prices would remain relatively stable through 2020, then go up by 20% as new sources of energy are brought on-line, and customers of utilities exempt from CES would pay up to 30% less for electricity versus those customers buying from utilities subject to CES.
  • Green Certified Products Not Always Best Choice. Here is an interesting article that mentions green-certified products, especially in the context of home building, are not always the best choice according to builders and architects. There were concerns that green products do not necessarily perform well, costs can increase and the certification can be unnecessary. Interestingly, there were a couple specific comments referencing wood and forest certification and whether or not the certification added anything to the final product. There were also concerns that certification did not insure quality and durability of the product.
  • Steve Brown Update. Steve is progressing very well and is now walking without assistance. He must wear a back brace for the next several months. His therapy sessions are progressing well. He regularly checks his work email (SBrown@glatfelter.com) if you would like to send him a note. You can also send a note to his home at 331 Cooks Hill Rd, Chillicothe. If you want to visit, please contact him ahead of time to schedule an appointment.
  • OWIN Summer Meeting, July 25-26, Marietta. We are headed back to Marietta for the OWIN summer meeting. Unfortunately we will not be able to tour the Ames-True Temper mill in Dexter City for the OWIN tour as we had hoped due to construction at the mill this summer. However, we have made plans again for the OWIN reception on the Valley Gem Sternwheeler the evening of July 25. On July 26, golf will again take place at Lakeside Golf Course in Beverly and a clay shoot at Hilltop Sporting Clays in Whipple. Festivities will end with awards and steak fry at the golf course. Anyone interested in sponsoring should contact Gayla at 614-497-9580.
  • Lumbermen’s Outing, September 5, Orrville to Benefit the Lumbermen’s Benevolent Fund. Plans are being made for the 2012 Lumbermen’s Outing which will take place a little earlier this year on September 5. Once again, golf will take place at The Pines Golf Course in Orrville and a Clay Shoot at the Lost Bird in Fredericksburg. This year the outing will be conducted as a fund raiser for the Lumbermen’s Benevolent Fund through the Charm Share ‘N Care to benefit two families of members we recently lost: the Dan Raber family (A&M Hardwoods) and the Laverne Raber family (Rayson Logging). Proceeds from the outing will be donated to the fund on behalf of both families. Make sure to get the date on your calendar. Those wishing to sponsor can contact Gayla at OFA 614-497-9580.

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). www.Offinger.com

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