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Weekly News 8/20/12

Posted By John Dorka, Tuesday, August 21, 2012
    
Ohio Forestry 
Association
          

Weekly News 8/20/12

          

In this issue:

          

Luke Horn Selected FRA Regional Logger of the Year, 2012

          

BWC Net Assets Grow – BWC Considers Employer Refund or Premium Reduction Options

          

BWC Transitional Work Grants

          

PUCO Decisions on AEP Cases Continue to Draw Criticism and Raise Concern

          

Hardwood Lumber Price Changes in Real Terms

          

Governor’s Taking Action Against Discriminatory Green Building Standards

          

Ohio Tree Farm Committee (OTFC) Meets

          

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Survey

          

Ohio Woodland Stewards Program – Workshops and Events

          

ECOFA September Newsletter

          

Upcoming Events

          
                
  • Luke Horn Selected 2012 FRA Regional Logger of the Year - Ohio Master Logging companies continue to do well being recognized for their outstanding work. This past week, the Forest Resource Association, a national forest products industry trade association, announced that L.A. Horn Logging and Landclearing, owned by Luke Horn from Logan, Ohio will be recognized at the FRA regional meeting in September as the Outstanding Regional Logger of the Year. Earlier this year, the company won the Ohio Logging Company of the Year at the OFA Annual Meeting and was then submitted for regional and national recognition.        
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  • BWC Net Assets Grow – BWC Considers Employer Refund or Premium Reduction Options - BWC reported last week that its net assets at the end of June are $7.6 billion and higher than any time in the last decade. As a result, Director Buehrer and the Board are reviewing options to deal with the fund surplus. Options being considered are a 25% refund of employer premiums this year, a reduction in employer premium rates, or transitioning to a prospective billing cycle as opposed to the current billing in arrears system. Of course, some of the options are considered controversial, particularly the refund option, especially during an election year. Different groups have varying views. At this point, the Director has not committed to take any action but will continue to review all options.            
  • BWC Transitional Work Grants - This document contains information from CareWorks about Transitional Work Grants from BWC. These grants allow employers to secure professional assistance to help companies with early return work policies and procedures and to help get employees back to work as soon as possible. The grants will cover 75% of the cost. The attached also has information on the recently streamlined Physician’s Report of Work Ability (MEDCO-14) and the Request for Temporary Total Compensation (C-84) forms and changes in completion requirements. As always if employers have any questions, they can contact Ron Lucki at CareWorks, 614-760-3510 or ron.lucki@careworks.com.
                      
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  • PUCO Decisions on AEP Cases Continue to Draw Criticism and Raise Concern - Most are aware that AEP has been at the heart of controversy over its electricity pricing plans for some time. Within the last month or so, PUCO has ruled on two electric rate cases, one concerning capacity pricing and the second on its electric security plan. Some are happy with the decisions and some continue to have major concern. Yesterday, the Columbus Dispatch carried an article outlining that AEP competitors are happy with the decisions. However, customers are going to see an increase in their electric bills as a result, for some up to 12% over the next 3 years. At this point, the only way to change the PUCO decision is to appeal it to the Supreme Court. There are indications that some groups may elect to do so.
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  • Hardwood Lumber Price Changes in Real Terms - In the most recent issue of the Hardwood Market Report, there was an article (How Low are Hardwood Lumber Prices in Real Terms?) by Bill Luppold from the USDA Forest Service analyzing the trend in hardwood lumber prices in real terms since 2005. We know that they have been low, but he states that except for yellow poplar, prices for most #1C lumber Appalachian lumber is 3 to 50% lower than they were in the fall of 2005, even though they have come up since the bottom in 2009. Dr. Luppold says that hardwood lumber prices are a somewhat unique commodity in that different species do not necessarily trend with one another, unlike softwood lumber, grain crops, and base and precious metals. By using a composite price index of all reported Appalachian species, Dr. Luppold says that the price peaked in the fall of 2004 and declined the next 57 months before hitting its low in the summer of 2009, with a 38% decline. Further, he says that although the composite price this spring was higher than the summer of 2009, it has been easing down the last couple years and is now at early 1990s levels. Dr. Luppold says the decline is due to reduced domestic demand, which started in 2000, stemming from a number of factors including the home construction decline which by 2011 had declined 75% from the 2005 high. Dr. Luppold says that the short-term outlook for grade lumber consumption and price remains bleak over the next year, because new home construction still remains low. If the US economy starts to grow, then this could change.
                      
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  • Governor’s Taking Action Against Discriminatory Green Building Standards - For the second time, a state governor has issued an executive order requiring that state standards for "Green Building” cannot discriminate against forest certification programs. Not long ago, Maine Governor Paul LaPage issued such an executive order to that end and recently, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal did the same. The executive orders were clearly designed to prevent the use of LEED-only building standards as LEED will offer credits for wood coming from FSC certified woodlands. You can read a copy of the Georgia Executive Order which was effective August 10, 2012, as well as a news release from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative who obviously support such actions. Over the last couple years, the Ohio legislature has introduced legislation to require Ohio-funded capital projects be completed according to Green Building standards. The draft Ohio legislation to this point allows building according to a variety of green standards. The legislation has not developed much traction as there have been concerns about added costs associated with the standards.                 

  • Ohio Tree Farm Committee (OTFC) Meets - The OTFC met at the Dr. Richard Rudy Tree Farm in Hocking County near South Bloomingville last week for the summer quarterly meeting. A large crowd had a good discussion before getting a tour of the property and the house Dr. Rudy is building on the property. Wayne and Benita Lashbrook are preparing for the tour of their 2012 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year (Deseret Tree Farm) in Jackson County. The tour will be held on September 29 and all are invited to what looks to be a great day. It was also reported that OFA and the OTFC are cooperating to secure an American Forest Foundation grant to fund an educational project to highlight the wood used in the renovation of the OSU Thompson Library. Thompson Library officials have indicated a willingness to create an exhibit, brochure and website tools to capture and tell the story behind the Ohio wood used in the project.
        

  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Survey - The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI), a non-profit research center for the forest products industry, has distributed a survey to state associations, industry members, and others who may come across a rattlesnake sighting in the woods. NCASI advises that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing a proposal to list the eastern diamondback on the endangered species list. NCASI is assisting efforts to review the prop http://www.ohioforest.org/events/event_details.asp?id=245376osal and distributing the survey. Here is a letter explaining the survey as well as a survey that can be filled out.        
  • Ohio Woodland Stewards Program – Workshops and Events - The Ohio Woodland Stewards (OWS) Program hosts a variety of workshops and events throughout the year and the state. For a schedule of those workshops, check the OWS Website. Scheduled classes include a session on storm damage and how to deal with damaged timber (Athens and New Concord), Wildlife Conflicts (Medina), and a forum on Why Trees Matter (Wooster).                        
  • ECOFA September Newsletter - Here is the September Newsletter from the East Central Ohio Forestry Association. The newsletter contains information on the recent general meeting with guest speaker Dr. Glenn Needham talking about ticks and Lyme Disease, the Tree Farm tour to the Tom Cushing farm near Scio on September 22, and other upcoming events.      

  • Upcoming Events:
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    1. Logging Contractors to Meet with Chief Bob Boyles, Division of Forestry, August 23, 3:30 PM. Logging Contractors wishing to meet with Chief Boyles to ask him questions about state forest timber sales policies and procedures can do so at the Vinton County Community Center on SR 93 just north of McArthur. It will be an informal meeting with the Chief and DOF reps.
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    3. Register for the Lumberman’s Outing, September 5! The fund-raiser golf outing and clay shoot is just a couple weeks away. You can register on-line at the OFA website. Please consider sponsoring for either or both the golf outing or clay shoot. Proceeds will benefit the Lumberman’s Benevolent Fund through the Charm Share ‘N Care and this year we have very special needs for families of friends we lost.
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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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