You’ve Heard of “Summer Slide” but What About “COVID Slide”?

Due to COVID 19 nearly 1.7 million Ohio school children are experiencing some form of distance learning at least until next school year.

According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, learning can become even more difficult for disadvantaged children. The Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union said they supported Governor DeWine’s decision to close school building for the rest of the academic year but pointed out there will be challenges. “We’ll need time to assess the needs of all students — including students with special developmental needs; students with health challenges; and students whose circumstances deprive them of access to technology, adequate nutrition, or other essential supports — and work together to support them in the best way possible,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said.

Ohio Statehouse News asked Representative Don Jones, (R-Freeport) Chairman of the Primary and Secondary Education Committee about education challenges due to COVID 19, “Learning has not been ideal for a lot of kids due to lack of internet connectivity and time being away from school. The House will be getting back to work next week and these are the conversation that we are going to have.”

During a traditional school year educators and parents worry about summer slide. A blog posted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital states, “On average, kids lose a month or more of learning during the summer. The effect is cumulative, and worse for low-income families. By the time ninth grade rolls around, kids from low-income families can be two years behind and this can impact whether they earn a high school diploma or go to college.”

With students being removed from their traditional education environment in mid-March what will be the impact of COVID 19 slide?

An article in Education Week titled, Academically Speaking, the ‘COVID Slide’ Could Be a Lot Worse Than You Think  provides insight.

A Study from Northwest Evaluation Association found:

Research on summer learning loss has found students can lose somewhere from two weeks to two months of academic growth over the summer. But NWEA’s projections suggest learning loss related to these closures would be anything but typical: If students return to school campuses in the fall without continuity of instruction during the closures, they could have retained only about 70 percent of their reading progress, compared to a normal year.

And math looks worse: Depending on the grade, students were projected to lose anywhere from half to all of their academic growth from the last year, compared to normal student growth.

“I think for some kids, this is going to be really traumatic. So, when we start to think about homelessness and food insecurity and all these other traumas, the variation in that slope is going to be, I think, potentially a more dramatic downfall.” said Tarasawa, the executive vice president for research at NWEA. “This isn’t meant to be doomsday; it’s meant to get people to think about the reality of what teachers are going to be facing at restart” of instruction.”

No doubt Ohio’s education system will need to address significant learning challenges when school restarts in the fall.

Representative Jones applauds the excellent work of educators. “Our schools have stepped up and done what was needed to ensure students continued to have access to healthy meals and education services. Most districts and schools have plans in place.” Jones concludes, “Programming will be important next year and a lot of it will depend on the direction the legislature receives from the Governor and his staff with regards to social distancing or distance learning. The legislature will work to ensure programming is available for all students.”

Tenants in Ohio Have Options but are Still Required to Pay Rent

Ohioans who lease their homes or apartments have some options when it comes to paying rent during the COVID shutdown but, in the end, the rent will still be due.

DeWine signed an order on April 1 that asks commercial lenders to delay collecting rents from businesses for at least 90 days. This, however, does nothing for residential tenants who may be struggling to stay current.

Ohio courts have been asked that landlords and property managers delay eviction and foreclosure proceedings to help the jobless during the pandemic.

Section 4024 of the CARES Act provides a temporary eviction moratorium as well as a moratorium on fees and penalties related to nonpayment of rent for those living in federally-subsidized housing. This also goes for those living in a property where a landlord holds a federally backed mortgage. This was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

The CARES Act states that renters cannot be served with an eviction notice until July 25, 2020 and that the notice must provide 30 days to leave the property.

According to the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, tenants are still legally obligated to pay their rent right now under their lease agreements just like they always would be. However, late fees and penalties cannot be charged during this time and that landlords are not allowed to turn off utilities, change locks, or throw out possessions because someone is behind on rent.

About  32 percent of total households in Ohio are rentals, according to 2017 statistics. In the last five weeks, 964,556 Ohioans have been placed out of work as a result of the state lockdown.

According to a Central Ohio property manager, some tenants were under the impression that rents could go unpaid during the state lockdown. Mark Hanes, who manages about 500 units, said once renters became aware that rents would still need paid, most have been able to stay current.

“Some of the people were confused in the beginning of all this and they thought they wouldn’t need to pay rent at all, that the government would be paying for them,” said the property manager. Hanes said that special payment arrangements are often made for those who fall behind.

Legal Aid Society of Columbus has COVID-19 legal updates and community resources that can be accessed here.

Courtney Valine, who manages a complex in East Ohio consisting of about 90 units, said only a couple renters have fallen behind since the economy shut down and those were brought current when stimulus checks were received.

Valine said that the complex has always worked with renters who fall behind, and even more so now that many people are not bringing in a paycheck.

In terms of helping to pay rent, the CARES Act provides the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with an additional $17.4 billion in funding including monies for rent assistance, housing vouchers, public housing, and housing for the elderly.

Our apologies to Rep. Jay Edwards for an error in a previous article that mistakenly paraphrased the representative as saying that a state moratorium prevents landlords from evicting due to late payments.

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus should have been credited with stating that landlords are not allowed to turn off utilities, change locks, or throw out possessions because someone is behind on rent, not Rep. Edwards.

Bengals Chaplain Recovering from COVID-19

 

He is a vital part of the Cincinnati Bengals, although some people might not know his name.
LaMorris Crawford gives encouragement and inspiration to the team in the background and likes it that way. He spends time on his knees for them instead of in the huddle.

LaMorris Crawford and Del Duduit, author

I know that he holds Bible studies with Andy Dalton and his wife and has baptized several on the team. When I spoke with players Alex Erickson and C.J. Uzomah this past season in the clubhouse, they both told me that LaMorris is important to them and the Bengals organization. They depend on his leadership and guidance.
But recently, the team chaplain, and a friend of mine, just recovered from a bout with COVID-19.
For a short while, LaMorris, who is 40, thought he was dying.
He stumbled into the bathroom at home and knew something was wrong. He had a high fever, fell to the floor, and was not able to move for about 45 seconds.
When he was able to stand up, he said the room was sideways.
“I didn’t realize I was standing on one foot,” he told me. “Everything was on a slant. The room moved.”
Megan, his wife of 14 years, led him to bed and helped him change his clothes. His shirt was soaked with sweat.
She did not waste time and drove him to the hospital where tests were run.
“That feeling hit me again in the waiting room,” he said. “I can’t put it into words how horrible I felt. In my heart, I knew I was dying.”
Eleven days passed before he received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19.
LaMorris is healthy and on the go during the off-season. He preaches and travels all over the nation. He is in and out of airplanes and airports. My wife and I just recently attended a marriage seminar that he and Megan conducted at a church in our area.
He said he took precautions by washing his hands often and using sanitizer, but the virus still got to him.
“When a crisis hits, your natural thought process is that it will never happen to me, not that it could not,” he said. “But I was shocked that it did.”
A lot of things went through his mind during his recovery. He was in bed most of the time, and he had visions of his family having to go on without him.
He thought of Megan not having a husband and his children not having a dad.
“I never met my father, and don’t know who he is to this day,” he said. “And I could not imagine my kids without their father. I always had visions of spoiling my grandchildren, and in my mind, I was never going to walk my daughters down the aisle or watch my sons turn into young men. I know all my kids will impact the world one day, and I want to be around to see it. So those thoughts of me not seeing that really hit me heavy.”
For two weeks, he quarantined himself, and Megan took care of him. She later developed symptoms of fatigue, loss of taste, and a headache (associated with COVID-19,) but she is feeling good now. Two of his children had low fevers and the other two had stomach aches.
“I think it ran through our whole family,” he said. “I’m blessed to have a faithful wife who stood by me, and I know God saw us through this.”
LaMorris is almost 90 percent recovered and expects he will be back to his normal self in a couple of weeks. As a man of God, he never takes life for granted, but he now has an even better perspective on how fragile life can be.
“All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose,” he said. “We know God is present in everything we go through. I love my family dearly and love them more now if that’s possible.”
The NFL season is still scheduled to begin on time, and LaMorris is expected to be there cheering on his Bengals. He will be their spiritual leader and will pray for them daily. But, for a short time, he didn’t think he would live to see another kickoff.
The team chaplain for the Bengals, and my friend who wrote the foreword for my book, Bengal Believer: 40 Who Dey Votions for the Cincinnati Fanatic, was ready to die and meet the Lord. But God spared him.
Who Dey!


Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

Reps. Stephens and Scherer Offer Relief for Ohio Farmers

COVID 19 and the shuttering of Ohio’s businesses is having a significant financial impact on the agricultural industry. This coupled with the fact that Ohio farmers were hit hard in 2019 by higher than average rainfall that forced many farmers to forgo the planting season, and a trade war with China and the states $125 billion agriculture industry is in crisis.

State Representatives Jason Stephens (R- Getaway) and Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) have introduced House Bill 485 which alleviates bureaucratic red tape for farmers by removing a requirement that owners of farmland enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program file a renewal application each year in order to remain in the program.

While this doesn’t undo the economic hardship facing farmers it does take away the threat of qualified farmers losing their property due to government paperwork procedures.

According to joint testimony provided by both Representatives Stephens and Scherer the CAUV program is designed to permit agricultural land values to be set below true market values, at its current use value. The formula for CAUV values incorporates agricultural factors (soil types, yields, prices, and non-land costs for corn, soybeans, and wheat) to calculate the capitalized net returns to farming land based on the previous 5 to 10 years. This program allows commercial agricultural farmland to be valued based on its value in agriculture, rather than the full market value, which can result in significant savings for farmers.

A renewal application must be filed every year before the first Monday in March to continue in the CAUV program.

Along with the application process, county auditors are also required, each year, to inspect the farmland on CAUV, to ensure continuing compliance with commercial farming.

H.B. 485 repeals the requirement for property owners enrolled in the CAUV program to file a renewal application each year in order to remain in the program. A property owner is required to notify the county auditor if the owner’s land no longer qualifies for the CAUV program. Additionally, some property owners will be required to submit documentation, in lieu of a renewal application, to demonstrate continued qualification for the CAUV program.

These landowner will still be required to report information demonstrating continued qualification for the CAUV program if they meet one of two criteria.

1. The owner of a plot of land of less than ten acres must document the yearly income earned from that land. Small plots of land qualify for CAUV only if the land generates at least $2,500 in annual income or is enrolled in a federal conservation program. Currently, the renewal application requires such information to be provided for such plots.
2. The owner of CAUV land that becomes enrolled in a federal conservation program after initially qualifying for the CAUV program must provide to the county auditor a copy of the agreement between the owner and the federal agency. Land enrolled in a federal conservation program continues to qualify for CAUV even if it is no longer actively used for farming. Currently, that documentation must be provided with the first renewal application after enrollment in the federal program.

Should H.B. 485 become law the new CAUV program application procedures apply to tax years beginning on or after the bill’s effective date.

For working farms over 10 acres both Stephens and Scherer state that requiring these farmers to complete the renewal application every year and requiring the county auditor’s office to check the farm land each year results in unnecessary redundancy and difficulties for working farmers across Ohio. Under H.B. 485, the county auditor’s office will still be required to check the farmland annually, as in current law, but these farmers will no longer be tasked with the renewal of the CAUV application.

State Representative Jason Stephens serves residents of the 93rd House District, which includes Jackson and Gallia counties, as well as portions of Lawrence and Vinton counties. Stephens is the former Lawrence County Auditor and has first-hand experience addressing the challenges of CAUV. “CAUV was put in place in the 1970’s before auditors had access to aerial photography and other forms of technology to assess land valuations. The goal of this legislation is to simplify the process. CAUV is cumbersome for the farmers and is an unfunded mandate for local governments.” Stephens continues, “If you look at homestead and owner occupancy it is left to the auditor to administer and not written specifically into law as is CAUV. The goal is to give each county auditor flexibility to ensure each farmer is receiving CAUV while eliminating unnecessary paperwork.”

Under current law, failure to file the renewal application results in detrimental effects to the farmers. Not only does failing to file the application result in converting the CAUV land to a non-agricultural use which can cause significant financial loss, but land that no longer qualifies for CAUV is also assessed a recoupment charge upon removal from the program. According to current law, if the farmer does not return the application, for whatever reason, then they lose the CAUV credit for their property and their taxes most likely will go up. For many farmers this would result in losing their property.

The legislation was introduced in January and is being considered by the House Ways and Means Committee.

“I am very aware of how difficult farming is especially for small family farms. We can provide regulatory relief for farmers that makes sense and that maintains the goal of CAUV. It may be a small change but for the people it impacts hopefully it is one less burden.” Stephens concluded.

Children Face Global Poverty; U.S. Protestors Want State Bans Lifted, Return to Work

The downturn of the global economy could kill hundreds of thousands of children, the U.N. warned on Thursday. Millions more could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the crisis.

Photo Credit: Cleveland19.com

Children have been largely spared from the most severe symptoms of the coronavirus but the resulting economic impact and hardships may not be so kind.

The poorest and most vulnerable members of society are being hardest hit by the pandemic response, said a recent report released by the United Nations.

“I appeal to families everywhere, and leaders at all levels: protect our children,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Leaders must do everything in their power to cushion the impact of the pandemic.”

An estimated 42 million to 66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the coronavirus crisis this year, adding to the estimated 386 million children already in extreme poverty in 2019, according to the U.N.

With the global recession gaining momentum, there could be hundreds of thousands additional child deaths in 2020, Guterres said.

“With children out of school, their communities in lockdown and a global recession biting deeper, family stress levels are rising. Children are both victims and witnesses of domestic violence and abuse.”

The report also points to an increase in extreme poverty this year of 84 million to 132 million people. Approximately half of those 132 million people are children.

“Let us protect our children and safeguard their well-being” said Guterres.

Growing number of Americans say it’s time to lift restrictions and return to work

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump and a growing number of Americans say it is time to relax restrictions on the economy and lift stay-at-home orders.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” the President tweeted.

Some 6.6 million Americans reportedly filed for unemployment insurance last week. This was double the previous record, which was set only the week prior. Analysts are predicting that GDP could shrink by double-digit percentages this quarter.

With businesses shut down and more than a billion people told to stay home to avoid spreading the virus, the International Monetary Fund has predicted the world would this year suffer its steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

“Keeping businesses’ doors completely closed will have huge costs,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a professor of operations research and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College said in a Politico interview. “Given this possibility, we need to figure out how to work sustainably in this new reality.

Caulkins said keeping Americans safe doesn’t require shuttering all jobs.

“It does, however, require re-thinking how people do them. There’s a large swathe of jobs, somewhere between essential and optional, that could be reengineered to allow many to get back to work soon and safely.”

Multiple states have seen protests as stay-a-home orders and restrictions continue. Many protesters are angry about the economic ramifications the restrictions are causing.

Governors of about 20 U.S. states have indicated they may be ready to start the process of reopening their economies by President Donald Trump’s May 1 target date. Others have said that they intend to continue imposed lockdowns.

Protestors gathered outside the Minnesota governor’s mansion on Friday to defy stay-at-home measures instituted by Governor Tim Walz. The demonstration was organized by anti-lockdown group Liberate Minnesota.

The day before, demonstrators in Virginia gathered outside the state capitol building in Richmond to protest Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order. And, earlier in the week, thousands of Michigan residents blocked traffic in Lansing, the state capital.

In a series  tweets on Friday, Trump said: “Liberate Minnesota!” “Liberate Michigan!” “Liberate Virginia!” and said the 2nd Amendment was under siege.

A growing number of Ohio legislators are calling on Gov. Mike DeWine to lift restrictions and allow Ohioans back to work.

DeWine stated last week that he will begin implementing a plan beginning May 1 to slowly reopen the state in stages, but did not elaborate.

“Is it the government’s job to extend my life or is it the government’s job to protect my liberties and freedoms?” Rep. Nino Vitale said in letter to the governor, calling on him to allow surgical centers to reopen and medical personnel to return to work.

Churches suing state governments for banning worship gatherings

Churches and their leaders in states across the country are suing governors for COVID-19-inspired orders that they say are infringing on their right to worship freely.

In Kentucky, Maryville Baptist Church and its pastor sued Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in federal court for the “unconstitutional application of the gathering orders,” claiming he “targeted” churchgoers who gathered on Easter Sunday for the only in-person service in the state.

A few of those churchgoers filed their own lawsuit earlier in the week, after receiving notices in the mail that they need to self-quarantine for 14 days. They were identified by their license plates in the church parking lot.

In the new lawsuit, the church and pastor, Jack Roberts, expressed outrage that church gatherings were not categorized as essential services in the state, while institutions like “liquor stores” were.

In Texas, a number of pastors, churches and conservative activists are suing Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) for similarly constraining their religious liberty.

“The Texas Constitution guarantees our God-given unalienable rights to worship, to peaceably assemble, and to move about freely without unconstitutional restrictions on one’s egress and ingress,” the lawsuit, noted by a Houston Chronicle reporter, said.

“None of these rights is contingent upon our health status or subject to the limitations Governor Abbott is attempting to impose on those rights.”

Legislative Profile: Cindy Abrams

State Representative Cindy Abrams is serving her first term in the Ohio House. She represents the 29th Ohio House District, which includes portions of western Hamilton County.
Abrams previously served as a Police Officer for the City of Cincinnati and as City Councilwoman for the City of Harrison before being appointed to the 29th district seat.
Abrams received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana University and is a graduate of the Public Leadership Academy of The Ohio State University.
She served on the boards of the Hamilton County Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency, Hamilton County Municipal League, and SHELeads. Active in the Hamilton County Republican Party, Abrams serves on the Hamilton County Judicial Screening committee. Additionally, she established the Harrison Junior City Council Program.
Abrams resides in Harrison, Ohio with her husband and their two sons. They are active members of St. John the Baptist parish in Cincinnati.

Why did you become involved in government? I first became involved in government at the local level when I saw decisions being made that negatively affected our first responders and citizens safety. I knew the importance of getting a “boots on the ground” perspective when considering policy changes in order to get a holistic view of how the entire community will be affected. With my law enforcement background, I wanted to be a voice for my community by serving on Harrison City Council. Now, with years of both public and private sector work experience, I bring a new perspective to the Ohio House.

What are your legislative policy priorities or goals for the upcoming session?
As a former police officer, keeping people safe at all times will always be a priority of mine and is reflected in the legislation I sponsor and support. I’ve introduced
House Bill 429: Expanding the Safe at Home Program to help protect victims of domestic violence, rape, menacing by stalking or human trafficking and HB 431: Creating a Sexual Exploitation Database, this will be a public database of individuals who have been convicted of solicitation or promoting prostitution.
I am also focused on economic development and keeping jobs in our region. I was appointed to serve on the House Commerce & Labor Committee, which allows me to consider legislation that does just that.

What surprises/unexpected challenges did you encounter when you started?
It has been a smooth transition since being appointed in October. I have learned largely, in a short amount of time, about a wide variety of topics that impacts all 11 million Ohioans.

How do you stay in touch with your district?
I work hard to continue to be accessible to my constituents. I hold office hours in varying locations around my District. I also visit each City, Township and Village meeting in my District to connect with local elected officials. I attend various club/organization meetings and events in the Greater Cincinnati area. I post regularly on my Facebook page, State Representative Cindy Abrams. It’s very important to me to be accessible and communicate with my constituents.

What is the most interesting/unusual request from a constituent?
I found it odd when people email my office asking me to vote on legislation being considered by Congress in Washington, D.C. Since I serve in the Ohio House of Representatives, I only vote on legislation that comes to the House Floor in Columbus Ohio.

What are some of the attractions or hotspots in your district?
District 29 has MANY attractions and hotspots! We have options for enjoying the great outdoors in one of many Great Parks of Hamilton County locations. My favorite Great Parks location is Miami Whitewater Forest.
Want a great cup of coffee or tea? Try the Coffee Peddlar in Harrison, Sayler Park Coffee in Sayler Park or BLOC Coffee in Price Hill. How about a delicious dessert? Harrison Home Bakery in Harrison or St Lawrence Bakery in Price Hill. Some of my favorite restaurants are Incline Public House, Primavista, Veracruz Mexican Grill – all in Price Hill. I also love the Sweet Heart Cafe in Colerain Township, Market Street Grille, Valle Escondido, ElMariachi’s and Chander’s Burger Bistro in Harrison. Kreimer’s Bier Haus in Cleves offers a great menu and outdoor entertainment when the weather is nice. Wild Mike’s is always a family favorite! We enjoy the riverfront view at Cabana on the River (seasonal hours). Date night with an adult beverage? 1860 Taproom and Bottleshop or Heist & Co. in Harrison, or 13 Below Brewery in Cincinnati.

Ohio is so diverse, what are the primary challenges you’re facing?
Ohio is so diverse that what might be a priority for one area might not be in another area of the state. That is why communication is so important! We must always stay in touch with our constituents, listen to what is important to them and make decisions based on what is best for your District.

Restrictions Will be Lifted Beginning May 1; Bob Ney Weighs-in on Reopening

Former U.S. Congressman Bob Ney shares his thoughts on plans to reopen Ohio

Now that there’s talk of reopening the state by Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohioans may be wondering how the process of reviving the economy and lifting restrictions will take place.

DeWine said Thursday that this is “the end of the beginning stage of the COVID 19 pandemic,” and that a phased-in reopening of the state economy and gradual lifting of restrictions will begin on May 1.

He said the plan will be fact-driven over a long period of time.

The governor said he received a verbal report from his board of economic advisors on how to best approach restarting the economy. The group consists of economic advisors from all sectors of Ohio, according to DeWine.

DeWine will be working closely with the governors of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky in order to reopen the region’s economy in a coordinated way, he said.

The state has been on lockdown since March 24. Only essential services have been allowed to remain open.

Former U.S. Congressman Bob Ney said he would anticipate that medical facilities would receive top priority and open first.

“These facilities should definitely start to return to normal, with precautions,” said Ney, who represented Ohio’s 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Otherwise, a lot of medical conditions are going to develop, and I think you could find plenty of examples of those.”

Ney said he looks for state leaders to initiate a slow but progressive reopening of the state. “You can’t just throw a switch and open everything back up immediately, but it can be opened in stages over a shorter amount of time.”

Ney said that, going forward, the state needs to combine practicality with medical science, while stressing the importance of distancing.

“At some point in time, if this goes on too long, a lot of repercussions are going to occur with people’s mental health, drugs and alcohol, economic stress, or so I would think,” said Ney.

Some are concerned that outpatient clinics and surgical centers have already been closed too long and that it has taken a medical toll on Ohioans. State Rep. Nino Vitale recently sent a letter to DeWine calling for these facilities be opened immediately.

Vitale said the state needs to be gravely concerned about health and welfare issues that are not C19 related, such as heart and lung problems, and numerous other medical issues that have gone untreated due to the lockdown. He said surgeries that were once considered elective have escalated and thousands of Ohioans are suffering.

Ney praised DeWine for decisions made during the COVID crisis but said that it’s time to begin the process of reopening the state.
“I think the governor did some things that he had to do,” said Ney. “I think he did a really good job. Now there has to be a process of trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy.”
Ney said it’s likely that the executive branch will make most of the decisions regarding reopening. He said he would expect that the legislators would be asked to weigh-in as well.

Ney said that he recently drove through the parking lot of the Cardiopulmonary Rehab Facility near Licking Memorial Hospital in Newark where he received cardiac therapy after suffering a heart attack a year ago and was surprised to find it nearly empty.

“It was empty in the middle of the day,” said Ney. “My question would be, are they doing cardiac rehab? That’s not a selective thing. I mean, that lot used to be full every single day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

A staff member who answered the phone at the facility said it is closed to outpatients due to the coronavirus.

“The (Licking Memorial) hospital is empty in comparison to what it used to be, so I think that the big preparation for that hospital to be filled with coronavirus is not going to happen,” said the former congressman.

If the Coronavirus Has Your Hair in Crisis… Here’s What NOT to Do

If you’re thinking about cutting your own hair during home confinement, be warned. There’s a good chance you will end up with a dreaded #CoronaCut.

Hair salons are considered nonessential in the eyes of the state. Most have been closed for at least three weeks. By now, vanity could be getting the best of you as you contemplate a DIY doo.

But hair pros say don’t do it! Patience, in this case, truly is a virtue. Wait for salons to reopen.

Matthew Rodinsky, a hairdresser at Cirque de Cheveux, in Wheeling, WV, advises folks to “embrace” their isolation hair. He compared cutting your own locks with the kitchen scissors to fixing a toothache with a drill from the garage.

“Cutting your own hair is only going to make it worse for your hairdresser to fix and it will cost extra money,” said Rodinsky. “You’re still not going to be happy because it’s not going to be an instant fix.”

This advice may come too late for those who have already taken matters into their own hands. The good news is, there’s still time for your DIY hair cut to grow out (at least a little) while home-isolation is still in effect. Or you could voluntarily extend home quarantine if vanity deems it necessary.

 

Some people seem to defy all odds and end up with nice hair despite it all.

Greg Reinhard gave himself a top-notch clipping and looks very pleased with his handiwork. Not bad for an amateur!

Not everyone is as good with the clippers as Reinhard though …

 

 

Craig Brown said his wife “laughed maniacally” after giving his locks a going over with the electric clippers.

Apparently, the basic crew cut isn’t as basic as she thought. Brown’s hair had more of a bi-level look when his wife was finished.

Brown was a good sport about it.

 

 

It’s hard to know for sure what Jasmine Ervin’s two-year-old daughter had in mind for a doo when she began cutting away with safety scissors.

The aspiring cosmetician was stopped mid way when mom intervened. The little one was left with a partial mullet, much to mom’s dismay.

This is something that Valerie Geibel-Wells could normally fix. Geibel-Wells owns three Ohio locations of Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids. She said her clients are begging her to reopen and she expects to be very busy when that happens.

In the mean time, she discourages DIY hair cuts and urges her clients to be patient.

Instead of waiting around for his barber to return to work, JT Todd took action recently and buzzed his own hair.

When Todd realized he didn’t own hair clippers, he borrowed his dog’s.

He may have gone a little shorter than he wanted. Thankfully, Todd doesn’t plan to take up professional dog grooming anytime soon.

 

Laura Laser has some advice for women whose spouses are  pressuring them to cut their hair.

“Do NOT cut your husband’s hair. No matter how much he begs you. Nothing good can happen. Especially if you make him look like Moe from the Three Stooges. I’m sorry honey.” #coronaHaircut

A brand new, bolder hair color may feel like just what you need to ride out the COVID crisis. But take it from Glenda Lynn Gambill, normally a blonde bombshell, hair color from a box can be tricky. You don’t always end up with the color displayed on the package.

Gambill was none too happy when the auburn dye turned her mane candy apple red. Weeks later, she’s still trying to tone it down.

Ohio Statehouse News guest writer Del Duduit oiled up his clippers and ended up with a decent buzz cut. It’s unknown if this was due to luck or skill, and Duduit claims the view from the back is as snazzy as the front. We will take his word for it.

If you’re counting on the Flowbee to save your hairstyle during the Corona shut down, it will cost you  a pretty penny. Apparently they’re selling like there’s no tomorrow and the price has skyrocketed.

The Flowbee used to cost $45 to $50, but is now listed at $134.99 on Amazon and $149.95 on eBay.

 

 

Last, but not least, if you really flub up a #coronacut, you may as well have some fun with it. This little guy was a good sport and allowed his mom to age him forward half a century. What a cutie pie.

Lawmaker Calls on DeWine to Reopen Surgery Centers; Thousands of Ohioans in Medical Crisis

An Ohio representative is calling on the governor to reopen surgical centers and allow medical personnel to return to work so that Ohioans can get the health care they desperately need.

In an immediate call to action directed at Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Health Director Amy Acton, State Representative Nino Vitale said, “We cannot be so focused on one pandemic that we create three to five other health care pandemics.

“We should also be gravely concerned about the health and welfare of people who have heart problems, lung problems, colon issues, prostate or bladder surgeries, and other conditions that are not C19 related,” said Vitale.

Numerous pleas for help from constituents prompted the legislator’s email correspondence to DeWine and Acton, which was sent on April 10 but has not yet received a reply.

“There are many people waiting for surgeries that were once considered elective but have escalated into more serious issues, even critical issues,” said Vitale. “Most of these are done in outpatient surgical centers that have been shuttered.”

Vitale (R-Urbana) is serving his third term in the Ohio House and represents the 85th House District.

Read Vitale’s letter to DeWine and Acton here.

The state has been on a stay-at-home order since March 24. Medical professionals have not been told when they will be permitted to go back to work.

Vitale and some other lawmakers are starting to pressure DeWine to reopen parts of healthcare and the economy.

“We need to address the thousands of people that are really going off the deep end because of pain, cancer and other medical threats they need treatment for,” Vitale said.

Vitale said he has been contacted by general practitioners, orthopedic surgeons, a urologist and physical therapists asking when the order will be lifted, as there are patients that are being denied surgery, medical procedures, physical therapy and other medical care.

The mental health of some Ohioans is also becoming an issue, said the representative.

“When someone’s mental health starts to fail that has a presence on their immune system and this has been a really challenging time for a lot of people,” said Vitale.

Vitale said his constituents have turned to him, their government representative, for help.

“To some degree, we are pretty helpless because the governor and department of health have decided that they are going to do these things without any input from anyone else,” said Vitale. “I think that’s a dangerous place to put people in when we live in a representative republic where we expect people to represent us.”

In addition to putting the health of Ohioan’s at risk, Vitale said that the state risks losing its physicians.

“I also have doctors telling me that they have lost 85 percent of their practices and are either days or a week or so away from closing their doors permanently,” Vitale stated in the letter.

Vitale said that making health care unavailable to Ohioans is dangerous and unnecessary.

“What the doctors and nurses have told me is, ‘We are trained in disease mitigation. That’s what we do.’ To cite the spread of the coronavirus as a reason for not allowing them to work is not what we need.”

Vitale said he has been told by medical professionals there is plenty of room in hospitals.

“The hospital beds are empty. We have plenty of capacity. Word is that they are laying people off. They are laying off nurses and staff.”

Vitale said additionally there are people who had surgery before the stay-at-home order but have been unable to receive the aftercare that they need, like physical therapy.

Baldridge Sees Need to Expand Broadband Access

State Representative Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester)

By Del Duduit

Ohio State Representative Brian Baldridge has a unique perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down most of the nation, including his state.

Baldridge, a Republican from Adams County, is not only a legislator in his first term, but he is also a firefighter and paramedic. He was a four-term county commissioner and was in office during the national economic downturn in 2008. His experience, he believes, will guide him to help his constituents get through this current situation.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was one of the first in the nation to shut down his state and is being credited with getting ahead of the virus that has spread all over the world.

But as a result, many people have had to close their businesses, and the numbers of people filing for unemployment have skyrocketed.

“This is certainly new territory,” he said on Good Friday. “But we did see how the economic recession in ‘08 affected our communities. For some, it was devastating. When we get past this, we know how to work with local governments to help them and better assist our citizens.”

Baldridge represents the 90th District, which includes all of Adams and Scioto and a portion of Lawrence County. He was appointed by the Ohio Speaker of the House to serve on the Economic Recovery Task Force and will examine ways to help Buckeyes get back on their feet as soon as possible.

“We will discuss the economy with business owners and leaders and find a new direction to help bring everyone together and help each other,” he said. “This is our opportunity to move forward to help local communities and businesses lift themselves out of this financial problem.”

From a first responder standpoint, Baldridge said he is more aware than ever about making sure he takes precautions to protect himself and his family and friends.

“This is a very serious time in our nation, state and community,” he added. “This pandemic has changed me and how I do business. I am more safety cautious, and I make sure that I don’t wear the same clothes I had on at the fire department at home. When I make my transition toward home, I disinfect and make sure I don’t bring anything potentially dangerous to anyone.”

Schools in the area remain closed, and students are either learning online or from their parents. One area Baldridge said he will focus on as soon as possible is to put an emphasis to make broadband available to all Ohioans.

“A lot of my district is rural, and there are some people who don’t have access to broadband,” he said. “A big portion of my district has people who are off the grid and cannot work at the same speed because of this, and it’s not a good situation. We don’t want anyone to fall behind because they don’t have broadband, especially students and people who are encouraged to work from home.”

School districts are doing all they can to ensure students have what they need to complete assigned work, he added, but they are limited if there is no broadband access.

“Many districts are providing hard copies to students, and that’s great because they are doing their best,” he said. “But every student needs broadband access, and we are going to look at this issue right away.”

He added the current situation is a trying time in Ohio and the nation, but it’s also a good opportunity to connect with people who are close to each other.

“We are going to get through this,” he said. “And we will be wiser and stronger. But I am a firm believer in my faith, and this is a time to rely on friends and family and grow closer and stronger. That’s one big thing I see coming out of all this.”

Del Duduit is a guest writer for Ohio Statehouse News

Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.