Commissioners authorize money for Kerschner to attend conference in Japan

Seneca County commissioners authorized $5,000 from the General Fund to be used for Commissioner Mike Kerschner to attend the 2019 Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference along with the rest of the Tiffin-area contingent at a meeting Friday morning.

Kerschner will join Mayor Aaron Montz, State Rep. Bill Reineke, and Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership CEO David Zak along with public officials from state government, JobsOhio and other Ohio municipalities and counties for the week-long trip beginning Sept. 6.

“I feel it is important for the county to be represented on that trip because of the success of prior trips to the country,” Kerschner said.

“Those trips led to the creation of several Japanese-owned businesses in Tiffin and Seneca County, including American Fine Sinter and Taiho. Those two companies are among the largest employers in our county,” he said.

Kerschner also said that by having many state dignitaries at the conference, the hope is to bring back economic development projects, investment and new jobs to the county and to the state.

“County representation is especially important because some businesses prefer to locate outside of city limits,” he said.

“There will be hundreds of Japanese companies attending the conference and the hope is to sell them on Seneca County.” 

The commissioners also authorized a transfer of $250,000 from the General Fund to the Children Services Fund at the meeting. Representatives from the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services gave a presentation at a commissioners meeting in July and requested the extra funds at that time to combat rising costs.

The commissioners also agreed to purchase a new truck for Weights and Measures personnel.

In grant news, Mircea Handru, executive director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties, asked the commissioners on behalf of the board to continue Seneca County’s participation in the Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison grant program. The commissioners signed off on Handru’s request at the meeting.

Seneca County participated in the program in 2018 and 2019 and are eligible to receive $270,088 through the program in the 2020-21 grant period.

According to a release from the Seneca County Commissioners, the TCAP grant is meant to fund local communities in providing treatment services and holding accountable low-level, non-violent offenders.

“This grant also gives us seed money that we can use to seek other federal grants,” Handru said.

Handru also mentioned that seven participants in the Seneca County PIVOT program graduated from the program last night.

“All seven of the participants are employed full-time currently as well,” he said.

“I think it’s the best program in the state of Ohio,” he added.

Kerschner weighed in on the success of the program. “I don’t want to say the participants couldn’t have made it on their own, but statistically their chances would have been lower,” he said.

The commissioners recognized two students from Columbian High School at the meeting who competed at Science Day in Columbus recently.

Corbin Hite, who is going to be a senior at Columbian this fall, created an experiment wherein he tested how quickly three different over-the-counter pain medications dissolved in the body.

“The name-brand medications dissolved the quickest, so they would be the fastest-acting,” Hite said of his experiment’s results. “Generic pain medications took longer to dissolve, so they were slower to act, but they would have a longer half-life.”

Jorie Fawcett, soon to be a junior at Columbian, was recognized for her project involving alternative drinking straws. She said the rising volume of plastic on the planet got her thinking about different ways of producing straws.

“I tested straws made out of pasta and straws made out of hay. The pasta straws could deliver more water, but they dissolved when running hot water through them,” she said.

“I decided that the straws made from hay would make the better alternative,” she said.

The commissioners also approved:

• A date to accept bids to lease 63.75 acres of farmland in Section 35 of Hopewell Township. The commissioners agreed to accept bids Sept. 19.

• An authorization of yearly assessments upon benefited landowners for proposed maintenance work on several ditches to be performed by Seneca Conservation District.

• A contract service agreement for the restoration of windows at the Seneca County Museum’s Carriage House.

The commissioners are to meet again Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. in their office, 111 Madison St.