Letters to the Editor

Rain didn’t spoil festival

It may have rained for most of the West Jefferson Fourth of July Streetfest but that didn’t dampen the spirit of West Jefferson residents.

At 11 a.m., the parade stepped off in the rain, some with umbrellas, some without. As the parade passed the Arbors Nursing Home, you could see faces pressed against windows. Patients had to stay inside because of the rain, but they still watched, waved and smiled.

At the gazebo across from Village Hall, the crowd was smaller but still some stood in the rain as units from West Jefferson’s American Legion Post 201 and VFW Post 7005 raised the flag and presented a 21-gun salute. Pastor Pat Osterle of West Jefferson United Methodist Church gave the invocation. Mayor Scott Hockenbery gave the remarks. Paula Martin presented the parade awards.

The midway opened and the bands played as the rain continued off and on for the rest of the afternoon. The rain stopped at 4 p.m., just 30 minutes before the fireworks would have been cancelled. Hamburg Fireworks Co. brought in extra help to get the show set up by 10 p.m. By 8 p.m., the midway was crowded and vendors were relieved. At 10 p.m. the fireworks started. Some said the quality of the West Jefferson fireworks was better than Red, White and Boom.

A special thank you to: the Streetfest Committee for their hard work; VFW Post 7005 for underwriting the event’s cost; Dave Metz, Rich Haskins, West Jefferson High School band members and cheerleaders; Sid Anderson for the use of his Gator; Ray Ott for announcing the parade; West Jefferson Community Association for their help and use of the grounds; and Gary Lightfoot for the numerous little things he did to help.

Contributing to the support of this year’s Streetfest were: The Alpha Gradale Sorority, Krazy Glue, Dunlap Hay Insurance, First Merit Bank, Huntington Bank, Jefferson Industries and Lovelace Rentals. Supporters of the event ($250 or more) were: MTB, Marathon Beer Barn, Gannett Fleming Co., Jefferson Industries, VFW Post 7005, and the Village of West Jefferson.

Bob Harper Jr., president
West Jefferson July 4th Streetfest

Thanks for a great ’08 fair

 The 119th Madison County Fair has sailed away and “thank-yous” are in order.

Thank you to all who showed up Saturday night, July 12, to help load out the market animals, especially Steve Lahna.

Thank you to Rose and Kenney Miller, the hardest working couple at the fair.

Thank you to the Senior Fair Board who work countless hours before the fair and twice as many during.

Thank you to the Junior Fair Board; the kids were great getting ready and putting on their shows.

Thank you to all sponsors and contributors, especially Arrow Radiator and Champaign Landmark who sponsored our carcass and rate of gain contests.

Thank you to all exhibitors; your hard work is greatly appreciated.

Thank you to 4-H, FFA and FCCLA advisors and teachers for your guidance of the exhibitors.

Thank you to parents; you know your contributions.

Thank you to sale buyers, especially those who stayed until the end of the sale on Friday, July 11. A listing of buyers will be printed later.

Thank you to those who helped at weigh-in, taking pictures, tatooing on Saturday and scanning on Tuesday.

Thank you to anyone I have missed.

Chuck Hann, vice president, Madison
County Jr. Fair Sales Committee

Senate laws help lives of military personnel

We can never truly repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the brave men and women who have served our state and nation as members of the armed forces. Thousands of Ohio soldiers have willingly put themselves in harm’s way and their lives on hold to defend our ideals at home and abroad. Just as those who make the sacrifice to protect our liberty and freedom, we have an obligation to ensure that the men and women of our military and veterans are not just honored with words, but with actions.

I am pleased to report that prior to breaking for summer recess, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 248—a bill I sponsored that takes small, but helpful steps to improve the quality of life for Ohio veterans, active military personnel and their families.

S.B. 248 will better protect our veterans’ personal information by keeping it confidential and limiting the use of such information like social security numbers, birth dates and personal records. The bill ensures that those who have served in the military are not at a higher risk of becoming victims of identity theft, by limiting the individual information that can be released from their military discharge records which are recorded with the County Recorder’s Office.

This bill also establishes criminal penalties for those who use a deceased military person’s persona for commercial purposes and ensures that active members of the military stationed in Ohio, as well as family members, can receive lower in-state college tuition rates.

My bill also pays statewide tribute by the legislature and the State of Ohio to those brave men and women in Ohio who have paid the ultimate sacrifice by honoring each of them and their families every year with the Distinguished Medal of Honor of Ohio. This bill passed the Ohio Senate and now needs to be seriously considered for passage when the Ohio House returns this fall.

Come August, Ohio’s nearly 960,000 veterans will have a new state agency devoted to serving them, thanks to the Ohio General Assembly’s passage of Senate Bill 289. S.B. 289 created the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs, which will not only provide veterans one central place where they can access information about services to which they are entitled, but will also increase the state’s outreach to them. The director of this new agency will serve as a member of the governor’s cabinet, along with the budget director, the tax commissioner and the heads of other state agencies, thereby elevating veterans’ issues to their appropriate place in state government.

I was also pleased to co-sponsor and help manage in the senate, House Bill 372, which ensures that retirement pay of  members of the military is no longer subject to the Ohio income tax. I also offered an amendment to the state capital/corrections bill earlier this month, which ensured that the surviving spouse of a veteran will continue to receive the same tax exempt benefit.

Not only was this tax break helpful for an estimated 35,000 retired members of military living in Ohio, but I believe it will also serve as a strong economic benefit to the Miami Valley Region. The tax break will help encourage retired military families to stay in Ohio and continue to contribute their time and talents to our communities, both through Ohio’s strong network of veteran service organizations and to important military enterprises that support Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

We should always remember that the very freedom we celebrate with fireworks, picnics and fairs came at a significant price. We owe a great deal of gratitude to Ohio’s veterans, and I am pleased that in a few small ways, this legislature has found a tangible means of saying “thank you.”

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at: Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio 43215, or calling my office at 614-466-3780.  You may also e-mail me at sd10@mailr.sen.state.oh.us.

Senator Steve Austria
Majority Whip
Ohio Senate

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