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Timber Talk 5.5.13

Posted By John Dorka, Monday, May 06, 2013

May 6, 2013 Issue


Ohio Legislative News
The following are some notes about activities in the Ohio Statehouse:

  • Ohio Forest Products Awareness Week, SB 94 - Last week, OFA testified in support of SB 94, Ohio Forest Products Awareness Week, with primary sponsor Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville). There are also a number of bi-partisan co-sponsors. The legislation will create the Awareness Week during the first week of October, prior to the Paul Bunyan Show. This will create an opportunity for OFA and others to push the value of Ohio grown and manufactured wood products. This is a basic bill and should receive little opposition. It was introduced in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and has already been voted out of the Senate by a vote of 33-0. It should go to the House directly and move quickly. Sen. Balderson has been very supportive and is working to get the legislation in place to take advantage of promotion opportunities this fall.
  • Right to Work Legislation - Last week, Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) each introduced separation legislation in the House that if passed would make Ohio a "right to work” state and would give workers the choice on whether they want to join unions and pay union dues. Rep. Roegner’s legislation governs private sector workers, while Rep. Maag’s legislation affects public sector employees. After introduction, Sen. President Keith Faber (R-Celina) advised that this issue is not on his radar, and he believes that the caucus in general is not supportive and predicts it will go nowhere in the legislature.
  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce Proposes Cost Savings Measures - Last week, the Ohio CoC presented a plan for state government changes that it says will save the state $716 million over the next 2 years. The proposal includes:
    • Cap property tax rollbacks at current levels and return to an income cap on the homestead exemption;
    • Designate the Ohio Department of Taxation as the Ohio’s first charter agency, saving the state $100 million. The argument is that charter agencies accept less state funding in exchange for greater spending flexibility;
    • Close at least one correctional facility and re-direct funds to community alternatives for low-risk offenders;
    • Continue public employee pension reform;
    • Align state employee insurance premium shares with the national average.
  • Governor Kasich Announces $1 Billion Workers Comp Rebates. Governor Kasich announced that the Bureau of Workers Compensation plans to provide Ohio Employers with $1 billion of premium rebates and is proposing another $900 of credits under a separate action. The rebate proposal must be submitted to BWC Directors for approval and is expected to be done so at a late May meeting. In separate action, the Governor indicated that BWC intends to convert the payment system to a prospective schedule from its current billing in arrears system. Under this proposal, BWC would issue $900 million in credits to employers to offset transition costs, while lowering premiums another 2% for private employers and 4% for public employers. This second action will take legislative approval to put into place. The Governor advised that BWC investments have done very well this past year, growing at more than an 11% rate, thus allowing the action to take place.


BWC News
Here is an article from CareWorks Consultant, Inc. (CCI), the BWC Group Safety Program administrator for the OFA program on the importance of reporting workers’ compensation claims in a timely fashion. As the article states, studies have shown that timely reporting of claims can "improve recovery times, lessen employee frustration, minimize the chance of litigation and help control claim costs.” The article outlines a 6-step reporting process for your benefit.


OSU Thompson Library Wood Promotion Project
OFA is again working with some partners to secure a grant to complete a promotional project for the wood used in the OSU Thompson Library renovation. OFA had attempted to secure a Tree Farm Educational Grant from the American Forest Foundation last year but was unsuccessful. We are now working with the Ohio Society of American Foresters to secure a grant through the Foresters’ Fund. The project will involve development of several promotional tools including a website and mobile website, display, and brochure all of which will focus on the remarkable display of wood that was used extensively throughout the renovation project. The story of the wood is particularly poignant in that the White oak was sourced from Ohio State Forest lands and almost entirely manufactured by Ohio businesses.


FRA 2013 National Outstanding Logger
The Forest Resource Association (FRA) announced that Comstock Woodlands, from Hampden, ME was selected as the National Outstanding Logger for 2013 at its annual meeting. You can read about the award in this article on the Forest Business Network website. Ohio’s 2012 Outstanding Logger was L.A. Horn Logging and Landclearing from Logan, OH and was selected as the Appalachian Region Outstanding Logger which made the company one of the 4 finalists for the National Outstanding Logger. OFA wishes to extend our congratulations to Comstock Woodlands.


US Forest Service Hosts Wood Heat Treatment Seminar
Here is a news release from the US Forest Service on a seminar for Heat Treatment of Wood on May 21 at the Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) in Princeton, WV. The seminar is sponsored by WERC and the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech University. The seminar will focus on a new treatment of firewood and logs using steam heat and vacuum pressure to reduce pests. NOTE: The news release also mentions a 2-day seminar on biomass and bioenergy that takes place on May 6-7, which will be going on as you receive this report.


Appalachian Hardwood Center May 2 Newsletter
You can read the latest newsletter from the Appalachian Hardwood Center (AHC) at West Virginia University here. It contains articles on biomass, special wood, the 4th quarter Timber Market Report, domestic wood packaging, and some fact sheets.


Kentucky Governor Spares State Tree Nursery
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear decided to spare a state tree nursery in eastern Kentucky (Morgan County) after it had been badly damaged by a tornado last year. Kentucky’s forest industry members and woodland owners lobbied the governor to keep the nursery open. The state received insurance money for the damages and had considered diverting the money to stave off other budget shortfalls. You can read more about the action in this article.


Southern Ohio Forestland Association (SOFA) May Newsletter
Here is the SOFA May Newsletter. There is information on the recent membership meeting, with a presentation from Amy Fitton, naturalist at Great Seal State Park and upcoming events and activities. On May 11, there will be a volunteer workday on John Schmidt’s Tree Farm in Pike County, in preparation for a tour of his farm on May 18. Note on page 5 there is a nice tribute Old People. I can identify with it, maybe because I am now.


Upcoming Events

  • Ohio’s Non-Native Invasives - May 17, 2013; OSU-Mansfield Campus, registration $45/$55; register on-line: http://woodlandstewards.osu.edu (see flyer here)
  • Tree School, May 18, 2013; OSU-Mansfield Campus, registration $45/$55; register on-line: http://woodlandstewards.osu.edu (see flyer here)
  • OFA Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp, June 9-14, 2013; FFA Camp Muskingum, Carroll County.
  • Lumber Grading Short Course, June 10-13, 2013, Yoder Lumber Company, Millersburg, OH (Buckhorn Mill); register on-line
  • OWIN Summer Meeting, July 24-25, 2013, Christopher Conference Center, Chillicothe, OH
  • OFA Lumberman’s Outing Golf and Clay Shoot, September 11, 2013
  • Paul Bunyan Show, October 4-6, 2013, Guernsey County Fairgrounds

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