The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018

Opinions

We learned a lot in 2017. We learned that it isn’t just the media that is in cahoots with the Democrats, it is also the upper echelons of the intelligence agencies. We learned that a special prosecutor can be appointed without an actual crime being alleged. And we learned that freedom of speech for conservatives has become as verboten on college campuses as agenda-free history instruction.

But most importantly, we learned beyond a doubt that Republicans in Washington no longer aspire to limit government. In 2016, the last year of President Obama, federal spending totaled $3.54 trillion. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and cuts could have been made, but the GOP hid behind a Democratic president.

By Todd Wolfrum

Outlays for 2017 were $3.98 trillion, an increase of $0.44 trillion. It is projected to increase again in 2018 to $4.09 trillion. None of this falls to President Trump, who did what he could to control spending by renegotiating federal contracts and not filling many federal jobs. But that is a drop in the bucket. The budget and spending are the responsibilities of Congress.

Don’t point at the Democrats, either. They never promised fiscal responsibility and no one expects it of them. Their goal has always been to grow government, and they have dropped any pretensions otherwise over the last several years. Although, it was entertaining last year to hear several of them suddenly become deficit hawks when tax cuts were proposed. No, the left is just the left, and the President is just the executive. The larceny against future generations is entirely the crime of congressional Republicans, the ones who promised to get spending under control if only they were given the power to do so.

The GOP brought no serious proposal for cuts in 2017. No memorable public debate. We are now supposed to accept that the downward spiral is unavoidable. Nothing can be changed, not in the face of ever-expanding entitlements. Even as we reach full employment and the problem is finding workers and not jobs, and as the biggest correlation with poverty is obesity, our hands are still tied by the shaming class, we are told.

American exceptionalism has always included the mandate to create a better world for the next generation. Our entitlement culture is creating a bleak future of insurmountable national and student debt. It is no wonder that over half of Millennials identify as socialists. Not liberals, mind you, socialists. Scary, but socialism is the last bastion of hopelessness, after all.

The financial collapse is inevitable at this rate. When it happens, money will lose its value. Those who will be hurt most will be retirees on a fixed income. Loans will be available only at astronomical rates. The impact will be felt at a local government level as well.

In Ohio this past year, the federal government cut sales tax paid to Managed Care Organizations. The cut in Van Wert County, my small county, was $300,000. The impact on Franklin County was $21 million. The federal government helped manage its own books by cutting local government funding across the state, leaving us to find ways to make up the difference. There will be more of this and the breakdown will begin locally.

The Trump tax cuts may or may not increase the deficit. Likely, they will be close to revenue neutral considering the growth induced by the corporate tax cuts. We are taking in record receipts — money coming in is not the problem. Laffer Curve considered, we are probably maxed out on what the federal government can confiscate from its citizens without prematurely inducing the collapse.

Republicans have controlled both chambers of Congress for three years and spending has increased each year. If they lose either of those chambers in 2018, it will not be because of any dissatisfaction with President Trump. It will be because they were elected to do a job that they didn’t even attempt – cutting government. Of course, Democrats would be destined to do much worse. It’s time to change our Republicans.

Editor’s note: Todd Wolfrum is a Van Wert County commissioner and a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. representative from the 5th Congressional District.

POSTED: 01/22/18 at 9:38 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

In 1914, the YMCA in Van Wert was founded for the benefit of young Christian men in the city and began a rich tradition of service to this community. That tradition continues more than 100 years later as the YMCA looks to the future and the needs of new generations of local families.

I am pleased the YMCA of Van Wert County Board of Directors made the decision to accept the debt free gift of Hickory Sticks Golf Club. It is a move for today and for the future, long-term sustainability of the Y in our area.

We thank Mark White and MSCS Real Estate, including Carol and Steve White of Hickory Sticks Golf Club for working with the Y to create a solution that allows the club to remain locally owned and operated. This will keep it affordable and accessible and all decisions will be made with the community in mind.

Our Y volunteers and staff leaders know there are challenges that accompany every decision. We will keep them in focus so we continue to accomplish our mission and remain relevant in addressing the county’s issues regarding youth development, healthy living and supporting our neighbors.

We invite you to become part of the Y. It’s our promise to strengthen the community. We do that through nurturing the potential of youth, improving our health and well-being, and caring for and supporting our neighbors. Core Y swim and gym programs still exist. But, we also assist families and children that may need financial aid to participate in family centered activities, youth sports and summer day camps.

Our mission is to enrich lives. As board members, we see firsthand how the Y is uniquely positioned to have a positive impact on people of all ages, incomes, abilities, and backgrounds. That makes the Y worthy of our support.

This recent decision is about much more than the game of golf: it’s about our commitment to Van Wert today and for generations to come. The Y is an anchor in this community. We want our children and grandchildren to participate in and benefit from the Y’s focus on character development, holistic health and giving back to the community through giving and volunteerism.

This is our Y. I invite you to get involved by joining, volunteering and donating to this worthy, charitable cause. Stop in and see us at 241 West Main Street or visit vwymca.org.

By Eric McCracken, owner of Lee Kinstle GM and a past president of the YMCA of Van Wert County Board of Directors. The opinions are the writer’s.

POSTED: 12/28/17 at 8:47 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Editor’s note: This is the last of three columns on economic development by Ohio Representative Craig Riedel.

With 27 years of experience in business combined with what I have already learned in my time as your state representative, I know just how important it is to have strong employers and capable workers. Not only does the growth of our economy depend upon it, but so does the wellbeing of families across the state. In my previous column in this series, I discussed challenges that still obstruct the development of our workforce, especially in northwestern Ohio.

Craig Riedel

In my first 11 months as a state representative, I have been hard at work on legislation that would eliminate these obstacles and set Ohio up to have a better business sector that benefits communities and workers. The first step towards those goals is to reform Ohio’s prevailing wage law, which is the required wage that must be paid to skilled trades employees working on public improvement construction projects. House Bill 163 would allow local government entities and state universities to opt out of the requirements under the prevailing wage law.

How exactly would this bill work? With this reform, decisions regarding wage on taxpayer funded projects are left to local governments, rather than mandated by the state. By making prevailing wage permissive, the bid process on projects would be more competitive, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars and allowing the free market to play out. Further, House Bill 163 will allow local government entities to more efficiently use limited taxpayer funds to pay for public improvement projects, getting more accomplished with the same amount of money.

I’ve also been working on a bill that encourages the growth of home brewing, an industry that is booming in Ohio with the recent explosion of craft brewing. The legislation would allow a home brewing organization to attend events without a permit, giving them the opportunity to showcase homemade beer, wine, and cider without restrictions. With over 43,000 homebrewers across the country, this bill opens up this market in Ohio, making the state more attractive for this industry and ultimately supporting small businesses.

Both of these bills have a similar goal-make Ohio more business-friendly. With freer markets, less limitations, and local control, our businesses can develop and expand. Ohio can grow to have a diversified business culture, resulting in more jobs and more companies making the decision to invest in our state.

POSTED: 11/11/17 at 10:00 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Editor’s note: This is the second of three columns on economic development by Ohio Representative Craig Riedel.

In my last column, I discussed the importance of workforce and business development in Ohio, especially in the 82nd House District. A lot of progress has been made-both through a key partnership with JobsOhio and business-friendly policies and tax reforms. Despite these steps forward, there are still a number of challenges our state faces in filling jobs and boosting our business environment.

Craig Riedel

Perhaps the most pressing concern is the opioid epidemic that continues to ravage our communities. Not only does it tear apart families and take lives, but it also leaves a workforce scrambling to find employees that can pass a drug test and show up consistently for work. For many in-demand fields like manufacturing, mechanical engineering, and other labor-intensive positions, the opioid crisis threatens workplace safety, which can have devastating effects on business growth.

On top of this issue, many employers struggle to find skilled workers for the jobs that are currently available. With a boon in technological advancements, companies need employees with experience in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, but enough people just aren’t available. In addition to work done at the state level to better connect educational opportunities to the business community, many companies have taken steps to create their own training programs.

Ohio must also compete with other states within the region, particularly the five states which it borders. This has a significant impact on the 82nd House District, as three of its counties directly border Indiana. Certain differences in tax policy or other initiatives from state-to-state can have a major effect on local businesses, as it is just as convenient to make big purchases in Indiana-which does not collect a local sales tax-as it is in Ohio.

In the past several years, the legislature has made many positive changes to combat these obstacles facing our workforce and the growth of our businesses. It is clear that more must be done, and I’ve taken on the challenge to research workforce development and encourage policies that get our communities back to work in fulfilling careers. In my final column of this series, I’ll be discussing the legislation I’ve been working on to strengthen Ohio’s employers and employees.

–State Representative Craig Riedel

POSTED: 11/01/17 at 6:40 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

An issue I have taken up as a top priority during my first term as your state representative is workforce and business development. The key to long-term, stable economic success in Ohio often comes down to one thing-employment. As a conservative, I believe in policies that encourage economic development and support the workforce, both through education and business-friendly reforms.

Craig Riedel

Through this special, three-column series, I’ll be focusing on workforce and business development at the state level, what that means for northwestern Ohio, and my legislative goals on this front.

One of the biggest drivers of business development is JobsOhio, a private non-profit corporation that collaborates with the state to drive job creation and new capital investment. Since 2011, more than 459,000 new private sector jobs have been created-this increase in competitiveness can be credited to the establishment of a business-friendly climate, tax reforms, and JobsOhio’s development platform.

JobsOhio recently turned its focus to several new programs with the goals to bring new companies to Ohio, help our existing businesses expand, and assist companies to meet workforce needs. Its SiteOhio authentication program is increasing the inventory of sites where infrastructure is in place and due diligence is completed, which means these properties are ready for development, saving businesses time and money. Additionally, its Research and Development Grant Program strives to make our state more attractive for manufacturing, production, and high-tech jobs.

Lastly, JobsOhio also created a unique talent acquisition service that offers customized talent development programs related to specific projects that will help new and expanding businesses meet skilled workforce needs to fill positions. JobsOhio partners with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, community colleges, universities, and local workforce resources and works in tandem with the Regional Growth Partnership in northwest Ohio on all of these initiatives.

The 82nd House District and the rest of the region has already experienced much investment due to these programs and policies. From an $8 million investment and 50 new jobs at Cooper Farms in Van Wert County, to multiple expansions in high-tech fields in Defiance County, our area continues to be primed for more development. In my next column of this series, I’ll look at the challenges northwestern Ohio still faces as it strives to grow economically.

–Craig Riedel, state representative, 82nd Ohio House District

POSTED: 10/19/17 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

I first walked through the doors of Vantage Career Center in 1977 as an incoming high school junior, eager to learn new skills and start my career. I didn’t know very much about Vantage, other than it was new to the community and offered programming that appealed to me at that time.

Little did I know what a profound and lasting influence that decision to attend Vantage would have on me. My career, my ambitions, and my quality of life were shaped in positive ways that in looking back, could never have been anticipated. The opportunities afforded me throughout my career, even to this day, can be attributed to that one decision to attend Vantage over 40 years ago.

My story is the story of thousands of high school and adult students in this region that have benefited from the programming and support services offered by Vantage Career Center. Our community has many successful Vantage alumni that have become entrepreneurs, leaders and very successful contributing citizens, providing businesses and industries with the workforce they need to be successful in a competitive economy.

As we reflect back to those early days when Vantage was a new concept, one has to marvel at the foresight, the vision, and the willingness to invest in the future made by our community. Our predecessors understood the importance of technical skills training and the impact it would have on the lives of many citizens. They understood the value of having a skilled workforce in supporting our local business community, and how that translates into sound economic development.

Today, much like the scenario I experienced 40 years ago, students walk into a renovated and modern Vantage Career Center to learn new skills and start their career. The voters in the Vantage district have continued to support the school over the years, allowing us to offer up-to-date, in-demand skills training that gives students the opportunities to start their careers and continue their education if they so choose. The voters have seen the success of Vantage alumni and the effects of having a skilled workforce on the community.

On November 7, Vantage will have a 0.8-mill renewal levy on the ballot. This is no new money, but a continuation of funding you have supported us with for many years.

There has never been a more critical time for a technically skilled workforce. Students having the technical skills business and industry are seeking have tremendous opportunities to make an excellent living and continue their education. Businesses that have access to a skilled workforce stay in our community and thrive.

Having a modern, up-to-date career center like Vantage that is a resource for providing the skilled workforce is critical to make businesses and communities competitive in today’s economic environment. This levy is a renewal and will cost a homeowner $16.73 per year on a $100,000 home, or 4.6 cents per day. This money provides critical dollars for basic daily operation expenses and educational supplies.

If you need further information, please feel free to contact me at 419.238.5411 or 800.686.3944, extension 2102.

–Rick Turner, Vantage superintendent

POSTED: 10/16/17 at 6:50 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

As Treasurer of Ohio, I believe taxpayers have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent. All too often, we, the people, aren’t able to follow our money once we write a check to city hall, the state capital, or Washington, D.C.

I believe that when we make government small in size and scope, we make the individual big. And in giving taxpayers a tool to follow every cent of their hard-earned tax money, OhioCheckbook.com helps to transfer the power from the politicians to the people.

By Josh Mandel

As state treasurer, I created OhioCheckbook.com to empower you to hold politicians’ feet to the fire. And since its launch in 2014, we’ve reached many important milestones:

  • New National Standard:  As a result of OhioCheckbook.com, we brought Ohio’s fiscal transparency ranking from 46th to 1st in the nation.
  • All 88: Each of Ohio’s 88 counties now have local governments who have posted their spending on OhioCheckbook.com.
  • Local Governments and Schools: Nearly 1,200 local governments and school districts have joined the movement for statewide government transparency by partnering with my office to post their spending information online. Here in Van Wert County, the Village of Scott is participating.
  • More Data AvailableOhioCheckbook.com now displays over $598 billion of state spending over the past nine fiscal years, including over 164 million individual checks. This information is online and at the fingers of anyone with an internet connection — everything from $2 for a pack of pencils to $2 million for road expenditures, and everything in between.
  • Public Universities:  We recently celebrated another significant milestone with the addition of the first public institutes of higher education on OhioCheckbook.com. Bowling Green State University, Central State University and the Central Ohio Technical College paved the way for other universities to follow by posting their finances online. This occasion marked the first time in history taxpayers are able to follow their money at the university level.
  • Public Pension Funds:  We made history by expanding OhioCheckbook.com to include Ohio’s five statewide public pension funds, becoming the first state in the country to have all statewide public pension funds’ operating expenditures online.

As Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis once said, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” And I agree. By posting government spending online, citizens are able to play an active role in their government and help root out fraud, waste and abuse.

My hope is that more local governments in Van Wert County will continue to join me in my mission of empowering taxpayers to hold politicians accountable.

Visit OhioCheckbook.com to see if your community and schools are posting their spending. And if they refuse, I encourage you to show up at their city council meetings and school board meetings and ask them what they have to hide?

POSTED: 08/19/17 at 7:21 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Prevailing wage is a state calculated mandated wage that is used on all local government construction jobs that exceed $250,000 in total value.  State universities, cities, counties, townships and other government entities such as libraries, museums and fairgrounds are all required to pay prevailing wage when they are using taxpayer funds.

By State Rep. Craig Riedel

Simply stated, prevailing wage is state government overreach into local government affairs and it works opposite of free market principles. Most often this mandated wage drives up and inflates the overall cost of a project leaving that local government entity less money to work with on other construction projects. By not allowing the labor rates to be part of the competitive bid process on a project, the taxpayer ends up overpaying because the free market is unable to play out.

By Supporters of prevailing wage will want you to believe that it provides higher quality work and safer working conditions. There is no credence to those assertions. I worked 27 years in private business, all in the construction industry. I will attest that the quality of workmanship and safety on construction projects today are of the same caliber whether that project pays prevailing wage or doesn’t.

There may have been a day 40 or 60 years ago when that assertion was true, but it certainly is not the case now. In today’s construction world, the workmanship and safety culture at a non-union construction company is every bit equal to that of a union construction company. There is no validity to that belief any longer.

The beauty and genius of HB 163 is that it allows prevailing wage to be permissive. The local government entity gets to choose for itself on a job-by-job basis whether it wants to use prevailing wage. If Summit County wants to use prevailing wage on a project to pave a stretch of road it can choose to do so, and if, at the same time, Van Wert County decides that it doesn’t want to use prevailing wage to pave a stretch of road and instead uses market rates that likely saves taxpayer dollars, it can do so as well.

HB 163 is a common sense bill with a simple concept: allow prevailing wage to be a permissive decision for local governments, not a mandated one. The end result will allow local governments to make decisions that benefit them and their local residents.

POSTED: 07/20/17 at 6:25 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Live long and prosper! Buckeyes are taking Spock’s famous advice to heart. Over the past three decades, Ohioans’ life expectancies have increased in every county.

By Sue Roy

They can thank healthcare programs like Medicare Part B for these increases in longevity. Part B helps seniors pay for lifesaving medicines, such as chemotherapy, that must be administered by healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, the federal government may soon change the program and restrict Ohio seniors’ access to these drugs.

Doctors pay for Part B drugs up front. The federal government then reimburses doctors the average cost of treatment plus a small add-on fee for administrative costs.

In April, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission — an independent federal panel more commonly known as MedPAC — recommended reducing the add-on fee from 6 percent to 3 percent.

These cuts could put providers, especially those in rural areas, out of business. Sixty-nine percent of rural hospitals already operate at a loss. Experts predict that 25 percent of rural hospitals will close in the next ten years due to financial constraints.

Ohio is no exception. Two rural hospitals have already closed in the state. Additionally, 16 clinics have shut down, while another eight are struggling to stay open.

If reimbursement cuts don’t cause these facilities to shut down, many might still need to turn away Part B beneficiaries to avoid losing money. Patients in rural areas would have to travel further to receive care in big hospitals that can afford to operate despite razor-thin reimbursement margins.

Such travel is more than a mere hassle — patients undergoing Part B treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, often receive infusions once every 15 days. These infusions can take four hours to administer. Sick patients may not have rides or enough money to travel hours from their homes to receive these treatments. As a result, many patients might just opt out of treatment, grow sicker, and increase healthcare costs in the long-run.

MedPAC also recommended combining Medicare billing codes for highly advanced “biologic” drugs and the “biosimilar” medicines that closely, but not perfectly, mimic them.

In practice, setting a single billing code — and therefore, a single reimbursement rate — for different medicines would force most doctors to switch their patients to cheaper biosimilars, since the reimbursement would no longer cover the full cost of biologic drugs.

Patients who transition from biologics to biosimilars can experience adverse reactions. One study published in theAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases examined rheumatoid arthritis patients who stayed on a biologic for two years versus those who transitioned from a biologic to a biosimilar. It found that 46 percent more of the transitioning patients experienced adverse side effects compared to those who did not make the switch.

Doctors shouldn’t be forced to put their offices’ financial wellbeing ahead of their patients’ physical health.

Medicare Part B has helped extend and improve Ohioans’ lives. Slashing reimbursements would reduce access to care by causing clinic and hospital closures. And forcing doctors to switch patients off successful treatment regimens would harm patients’ health. Both moves, in the words of Spock, would be “highly illogical.”

–Sue Roy is the legislative director for Ohio State Grange.

POSTED: 07/06/17 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Finally, it can begin. After a couple years of adjusting the power structure and reorganizing and combining efforts, 2017 purports to be the birth of a new era. Local resident Stacy Adam takes the helm as Director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation (VWAEDC – still trying to get people to pronounce it vwadik, but that hasn’t caught on yet.) Adam is currently organizing the land bank efforts and establishing the office at 145 E. Main St., the VWAEDC’s new home, ahead of the larger tasks that lay ahead.

The VWAEDC Board of Trustees chose Adam after interviewing several candidates from within and from outside the county. The unanimous decision for the hire was based more on Adam’s impressive corporate background and presence at the bargaining table than her economic development experience. As a member of that group, I think I speak for all of us when I say it was a great satisfaction to hire such a highly qualified candidate and a great relief to end the process of weekly meetings, which had gone on for nearly six months.

By County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum

By County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum

The Board, along with the city and county governments, now hope to fade into the background as this private-public hybrid grows into its own thing. I will be participating along with many others who have been involved in the process, but it will be more as a community member than as a county commissioner.

In the interviewing of candidates for the director position, it was clear that everyone in the area already knows what we know — economic development has become a population and workforce challenge in Northwest Ohio and the rest of the rural Midwest. What we didn’t hear in the interviews was any solution to this problem that we hadn’t already come up with ourselves. Actually, I think we are already ahead of neighboring counties in addressing these problems.

Consider the recent expansion at Vantage and introduction of Northwest State as our designated community college. Also, the effort led by Principal (and VWAEDC Board member) Bob Priest at Van Wert High School to institute a career readiness program that offers an alternative to college, keeping many from incurring a $100k debt for a degree that would earn them a job paying no better than what is already available locally through certificate course training. The county schools aren’t far behind and Middle School Physics has shown some promise in its short tenure. There will be a jobs website soon — Van Wert Works. We have taken what we have learned over the past several years and are in the process of creating something new and unique.

This uniqueness is furthered in our director hire. Most economic development directors start in the public sector or in education. The pay is usually not enough to draw someone from the corporate world where talent is better compensated. More often, a successful economic director is lured away. After an accomplished business career, Adam is available to us now only because she loves this community. As director, she brings to Van Wert a different and more substantive viewpoint than those that head most nearby economic development efforts.

All of this momentum is moot without a sense of community, however, and that is what we really hope to be building. Immediate economic success does not necessarily mean long term growth. Even if we landed a Honda or Tesla manufacturing center on the Megasite, that would only be part of the big picture. Flint, Michigan no doubt thought all of its problems were solved seventy years ago with the influx of auto jobs. Now it only makes the news when its water turns to poison.

And it’s no secret that we have an aging population. There are talented young people in every high school graduating class and we’re certainly not going to keep them all, but we need to start keeping more of them. Twenty years from now, it would be better to have twenty companies that employ fifty people each than one company that employs a thousand. Small businesses aren’t planted, though, they come from local innovators.

Young people don’t hold all the potential. I spent years working in factories and in construction before going to law school. Not in management — I was running a press and setting steel. In that time, I met people every bit as smart as the attorneys I deal with now. Most times the difference that kept them from a business career was an aversion to classrooms or corporate politics. There were people with ideas and drive but no good outlet for it. Many of these people had their own business ideas and were perfectly capable of making it happen. If you are one of these, you could be just as significant as the young people we are trying to keep.

There is a place to start. The upcoming Entrepreneurship Fair will take place Saturday, January 21, at Vantage beginning at 8 a.m. There is no commitment, money or expectations involved. Anyone thinking they would like to start a business can hang out for a few hours, drink some free coffee and listen to what it takes from people who have been through it. Just learning what is involved in hiring an employee would have been extremely helpful for me when I opened a law office.

The new business challenge will follow in the weeks after the Fair. Past winners of the challenge have garnered prizes of $2,500 for going through the process and developing a business plan. At worst, a participant will have something at the end that can be taken to a bank for financing.

Your community needs your involvement, whether it is leading an economic development committee or starting a small business. Who knows? Maybe years from now, you can look back and say it all happened in early 2017, year zero for the new Van Wert.

POSTED: 01/07/17 at 8:07 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions

Kay-toons

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 9:00 am. FILED UNDER: Kay-toons

Letters

To the Editor:

If you live in the country or city, you need to be aware of new regulations on Dicamba. Its volatility can travel for miles, affecting non-resistant field crops, landscape plants such as trees, shrubs, garden plants, and flowers.

Each year, landscapes have damage from herbicides sprayed by neighboring farmers, some who do not follow the rules and guidelines, and sometimes even when they follow regulations. These chemicals are potent and can drift for miles and miles. They can be sprayed following regulations but, due to weather conditions, the vapor can rise, drifting during the night to landscapes and fields causing major damage.

In a recent, local article it states that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing its usage of Dicamba resistant cotton and soybean seed so aggressively that they are suing the state of Arkansas after it banned its use in 2017. A state does not ban a chemical unless it has substantial risk.

John Phipps of USA Farm Report has concerns about Dicamba. He stated it may be necessary to set a setback distance to a residence of a quarter-mile — which he just picked at random — with no Dicamba allowed within that radius. In our highly populated rural areas, that’s not enough due to that volatility. OSU’s Dr. Mark Loux has also expressed concerns.

Phipps also stated that farmers faced with damaging nearby crops or landscapes may just have to say “It’s my fault,” then pay for the damages. He said there will be a lot of damage from using this chemical. That, however, doesn’t pay for the years invested in our landscapes!

If you have concerns about Dicamba, or if you have damage, notify the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Division by mail, email or telephone calls.

Jeannine Roediger

rural Van Wert County

via email

POSTED: 02/10/18 at 9:31 pm. FILED UNDER: Letters to the Editor