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Weekly News 1.4.12

Posted By John Dorka, Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Weekly News 1/4/12


  • BWC News. Last week, the Bureau of Workers Compensation Board of Directors approved a number of changes to their alternative ratings programs. The package of changes is called Destination – Excellence and includes several new savings opportunities. This news release from CareWorks Consultants, Inc., the OFA Group Rating Service Provider, outlines the changes to existing programs and the new opportunities. Part of the changes includes an increase in maximum premium discounts to 53%, up from 51% in 2011. The news release further indicates that the package in total can result in a maximum discount of 59% for an employer. . Program changes include 100% EM Cap Program; Small Deductible Program – Deductible Levels of $500-&10,000; One Claim Program; and the Ten-Step Business Plan for Safety. New programs include the Industry Safety Discount; Transitional Work Grant Program & Bonus; Administrative Discounts; Claim-Free Discount; and Program Compatibility. Most of the changes take place July 1, 2012, except for the Claim-Free Discount which becomes effective July 1, 2013. In response to growing problems with prescription drug addictions, BWC is taken action to address problems with injured workers who run the risk of getting caught up in highly addictive prescription drugs. Here is a news release describing the actions that BWC has taken to address the problem. Beginning January 2, 2012, claims involving prescription drugs are sent for clinical review through CareWorks staff. A procedure will be followed by BWC to minimize the risk that injured workers take prescription drugs that aren’t warranted for the injuries.

  • Columbus Dispatch Article on Property Tax Relief for Wetlands. Here is a property tax issue that is worth watching by the forestry community. There have been a couple articles in the Columbus Dispatch recently (here is a link to the most recent) on landowners in Franklin County who are losing their CAUV determinations on property that was enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program. The Franklin County auditor ruled that the property no longer qualified for CAUV since it is non-producing farmland, and the landowner was liable for property taxes, according to advice from the Ohio Department of Taxation. It appears that the issue has the attention of State Representative Anne Gonzales from Westerville and as a result, the legislature may take a closer look at this. It certainly is possible that a review of this tax policy could have farther reaching impacts on forest land as there have already been the same questions asked about CAUV and Forest Tax Law application on forest lands placed under conservation easements. OFA will monitor this issue as it unfolds.

  • WERC Update. Here is a link to the Wood Education and Resource Center December 27 Update. The update contains information on current projects, woody biomass update, upcoming workshops and webinars from January 4 through August 9 on such subjects as wood flooring, vacuum steam treatment of wood pallets and pallet stringers, energy efficiency in the hardwood industry, small sawmill business strategies, new technologies for value added wood products manufacturers, and a leadership conference on promoting locally made US wood products. You can also access archived webinars from the past year.

  • OSU Extension Webinar for Small Businesses on Maps, Apps, and Mobile Marketing. On January 12, 2012, OSU is hosting a webinar at 2 PM for small businesses on how to use and enhance on-line marketing tools to reach new audiences. The webinar will be conducted by Julie Fox, Program Director for Direct Marketing, OSU. There is no fee for the webinar as well as no pre-registration required. Attendees can simply login about 10 minutes ahead of the webinar by simply going to the Adobe Connect Pro meeting room at This is part of the eXtension Entrepreneurship Webinar Series and more programs will be scheduled in the coming year.

  • Farm Bureau Speaker Talks about Associations. Here is a brief article from the Buckeye Farm News on the presentation by Mary Byers at the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in December, 2011. Her presentation discussed the importance of associations remaining relevant in the future by embracing change and doing things that provide value to the membership. She pointed out the most effective associations are the ones that regularly "measure’ themselves. Ms. Byers offers some excellent food for thought for OFA and how we respond to the future. My thanks to Steve Brown from Glatfelter for sharing this article and his thoughts on the issue.

  • State Rulemaking Process to Consider Business Impact More. Starting after the first of 2012, the state of Ohio will begin using a new "business impact analysis” as part of the rule making process. What this means is that before any rule is implemented by the state, it must go through this business analysis to determine how business is impacted. Currently, to be passed, rules must go through 4 criteria that are largely technical, but that will change with this new process. Staff from the newly created Common Sense Initiative Office (CSIO) will offer assistance to state agencies as they conduct business impact analyses. This new process has some people concerned that the added process will greatly slow down the rulemaking process as there are 9,000 rules on the average that are revised or added through the rulemaking process each year. The impact analysis applies only to rules that will have an affect on businesses.

  • Wood as a "Drop-in” Fuel for Vehicles. This is a neat article from the Biofuels Journal I ran across that describes what one person has been able to do using waste wood as a "drop-in” fuel for vehicles. I’m not familiar with the technology he’s using, but it appears to involve the use of down-draft gasifiers and burning wood and other types of biofuel.

  • Busy Week of Meetings. OFA has a number of meetings scheduled this week with PUCO, ODNR Director James Zehringer, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and a field day in southern Ohio with Ohio Rep. Terry Johnson (R-89).

  • Coming Events:
    1. Northwest Ohio Landowner Associations Reorganization Meeting. Several forestry leaders from NW Ohio are interested in trying to re-organize the Northwest and West Central Ohio Woodland Owner Associations. An organizational meeting is planned for January 21, 2012 from 10 AM to noon at the Hancock County Agricultural Service Center in Findlay, Ohio. See details here
    2. OFA Annual Meeting, March 23-24, 2012, Crowne Plaza – Downtown Columbus, Topic: "Shale Formation Drilling – What is the Impact on Ohio Forestry?”

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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