Tag Archives: Greene County

Kroger associates in Ohio ratify labor contract

Dayton area employees of the The Kroger Co. have ratified a new labor agreement.

The associates are members of United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 75.

The agreement covers more than 4,000 associates who work in 30 stores in Dayton and surrounding areas.

“This agreement provides good, stable jobs for our associates, increases take-home pay, and provides high-quality, affordable health care,” said Geoff Covert, president of Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

Source: Forbes/AP August 13, 2009

Vectren’s $27 Million Natural Gas Rate Increase and Your Opportunity To Not Pay It

All of the jubilation over gas prices declining may soon be over. The bad news is not that gasoline is going to rise again; that is inevitable. The bad news is that your property taxes and natural gas bill may be increasing shortly.

Property taxes are going up because our government reassessed property values upward. If local voters approve the various November tax levies, you will be paying an additional $202 in 2009. Three levies that will increase you property taxes are Xenia Community School bond issue, Greene County Children Services and Community Mental Health operational issues.

According to the Office of the Ohio Consumer’s Council (OCC), Vectren asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for permission to raise its natural gas delivery rates. Vectren wants to raise the $7 customer charge listed on your monthly natural gas bill to $16.75 beginning this November and ending in April 2009. From the low usage period beginning in May and ending in October, Vectren proposes to decrease the rate to $10 per month. Vectren’s ultimate goal is a winter monthly rate of $20.04 and summer rate of $11.96. The customer charge covers the property and facilities, metering, meter reading, billing, and other administrative costs.

At the same time, Vectren proposes to reduce its delivery service rate. This is a charge based on the volume of natural gas delivered to your home. The current rate is $0.1199 per CCF (100 cubic foot) for up to 50 CCF. Above 50 CCF, the rate decreases to $0.1044. Vectren wants to reduce further the rate beginning this November to $0.10937 and to $0.01397 in May 2009. In November 2009, Vectren proposes to reduce the delivery rate further to $0.08754 during the winter months and $0.07534 during the summer season. Vectren probably hopes consumers will think they are balancing the cost of natural gas delivery by further reducing this rate, but you will see later that it is not the case.

Using US Department of Energy data, the average Ohio residents used about 834 CCF in 2007 of natural gas in 2007. Extrapolating this data to Vectren’s 318,000 customers, natural gas customers in the Miami Valley used about 265,076,177 CCF and paid Vectren around $29.7 million in delivery costs. Applying Vectren’s proposed new rates, local customers will pay $29.6 million from November 2008 to October 2009. During the next 12 month period, local customers will pay a measly $21.7 million.

By comparison, Miami Valley customers paid about $26.7 million in customer charges. Applying Vectren’s proposed increases, local customers will pay $51 million during the period from November 2008 through April 2009. Vectren’s ultimately wants Miami Valley customers to pay $61.1 million a year beginning November 2009.

The total first year increase to Miami Valley natural gas users is $24 million and addition $2 plus million the second year, which is a total increase of $26 million.

Vectren’s proposed delivery rate increase does not include the cost of natural gas. It does not include a pipeline replacement cost recovery rider that will be added to every customer’s bill. It does not include the other half-dozen cost and lost revenue recovery riders also billed to all Vectren customers. It is not reflect the increasing profits made from commercial customers. It does not reflect increasing profits from fees charge to other gas companies for delivering their gas to your home.

Vectren’s CEO has about $202 million reasons for increasing your natural gas rates in order to continue growing Vectren’s investor dividends. I image most of the board of director are similarly motivated. And that is not all; they also intend on owning all public pipelines paid for by all member of our communities. As wrong as that is, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) collusion with Vectren’s plans is unconscionable.

That is why all natural gas customers have an opportunity to oppose Vectren’s proposed plans. You can write PUCO at the address listed below:

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Attn: Docketing Division
180 E. Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Celebrate Aviation History at the 5th Annual Greene Trails Cycling Classic July 17-20, 2008

The Greene Trails Cycling Classic is a fun, family-oriented getaway that is easy on your wallet and friendly to the environment and your health! It is a multi-day event centered in Greene County, Ohio, and is designed to showcase the nationally recognized rail-to-trail system that exists there – and beyond, as well as the communities along the trails. All rides begin and end at the GTCC campground located at the Fairgrounds Recreation Center beside the Greene County Fairgrounds. Each day features and utilizes a different section of the trail with route(s) supported for rider convenience and safety. Routes include on-trail, out-and-back trips, as well as extended rides on rural roads for designated days. The broad network of trails provides an exceptional cycling experience for those families and individuals who want to take part in a bicycle or skating tour, but prefer the safety and comfort of staying on the trails. Alternate routes offer a choice for the more adventurous.

This year, participants will have the opportunity to visit some of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s old stomping grounds near Dayton, Ohio, including the Wright Brothers Memorial and Huffman Prairie Flying Field, the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center & Aviation Trail Visitor Center, Inc., the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, and other local sites of interest. Nowhere else in the country will you be able to experience this type of adventure with your friends and family.

For more information, visit the Greene Trails Cycling Classic website.

Steve Austria’s Desperate Political Sliming of Ron Hood

Who said dirty politics is reserved for lawyers and wannabe lawyers on Capitol Hill? Don’t be fooled it’s for those trying to get their too. Like his mentor, Steve Austria is mired in the muck of dirty tactics because he obviously fears Ron Hood may win.

In case you have not heard of Steve Austria or Ron Hood, these two politicians are running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Austria is the current Ohio Senate majority leader. He is a Beavercreek Ohio businessman not a lawyer like his mentor Dave Hobson, who is retiring from his career job on Capitol Hill. Remember those words. Hobson is a career politician who never wrote a law and he is Austria’s mentor.

Ron Hood also is a businessman and the son-in-law of Bill and Pam Dean. The Dean family is one of Xenia’s prominent entrepreneurs in the service sector. Hood served in the Ohio House of Representative from 1995-2000 and 2005-2006. Unlike Austria who is endorsed only by several party organizations, Hood is endorsed by a number of family associations like Family First, Moms for Ohio and Citizens for Community Values, by several gun owners associations, and by the Chamber of Commerce.

What inspired this post was a slick mailer I received yesterday from Austria. The sliming of Ron Hood advertisement says Hood voted with democrats 80% of the time. Austria’s glossy green with yellow letters oversize postcard accuses Hood of being a RINO, which means a Republican in name only. On the front and back, it says Ron Hood is a Democrat. The real interesting thing about Austria’s sliming tactic is found in the small print. That’s right, in small print Austria acknowledges his accusations are based only on 3 bills and not on Hood’s entire record. Out of the hundreds of bills Hood sponsored and the many more he voted on only House Bill 66, House Bill 23, and House Bill 160 are used as proof of Hood being an undercover liberal. I checked the huge budget bill House Bill 66. I found conservatives Dewine and Widener voting with the Democrats on a lot of legislative items too. Does that make them liberals too?

It is obvious Austria is a real political desperado willing to do any thing to win. It also shows what kind of politician he really is.

From only 3 budget bills, Austria accuses Hood of voting against legislation like cutting family income taxes, eliminating unfair business taxes, cutting government spending, creating tougher sex offender laws, giving employers of convicted felons a tax break (House Bill 160), voting for a gutted version of law to regulate strip clubs (House Bill 23). All of that and more from just 3 bills.

If we consider Hood’s entire record, it becomes apparent that he actually worked to cut taxes and government spending. Yes, he opposed Gov. Taft aggressive tax and spend policies, which mean he is guilty of voting with Democrats on those types of bills. He even had the audacity to propose or support bills to eliminate some of the bureaucracy. Austria accuses him of voting against tougher sex offender laws. Yet, Hood sponsored and voted for bills for better victim rights law as well as tougher sex offender laws. In fact, Hood worked to pass laws preventing sex offense, abortions, and anti-family policy from existing in Ohio. That is why liberals voting him out of office in 2006. What Hood did oppose and Austria favored was redundant law forcing church workers to report suspected sex abuse under penalty of law for failing to do so. I still think it was a bad law because recent studies show public school teachers are more often sexually abuse children than Catholic priests. The same studies reveal the school system protects teachers from prosecution for such crimes.

Austria also accuses Hood of supporting House Bill 160 that would gives employers of convicted felons a tax break. It is true Hood did sponsor a bill that would have given incentives to employers to hire ex-cons or “qualified reforming felons.” What is better employers employing ex-cons or ex-cons returning to crime in order to have food, shelter, and other necessities of life? At least by going back to prison, ex-cons get those necessities furnished. It would have been interesting to see how Austria would have voted had the bill passed through committee to a full vote by the General Assembly.

Austria was also attempting to slime Hood over his vote for a gutted version of law to regulate strip clubs (House Bill 23). What Austria failed to mention was that he was the one who gutted House Bill 23, according to Citizens for Community Values. What Austria did was remove bill’s operating hour restriction of 11pm, the 6 foot space between nude or semi-nude employees and patrons, and weakened the authority of townships to regulate sex clubs. Most strip clubs are in municipalities but most of the related crime occurs in townships. Thus, the bill Hood originally sponsored was showpiece for politicians like Austria to say they did something about strip club problem.

Austria’s dirty political tactic against Hood raises the ethics question. Anyone who attempts to deceive the public in such an under-handed but strategic way shows not only desperation but also questionable ethical quality. He is supposed to be pro-life and pro-family. Should we not expect at least honesty from him?

Yet, it was Austria whose ethics have been called into question by Retired Air Force Lt. Col. John Mitchel. His investigation into the BRAC deal led him to bring charges against Austria, his wife, his mentor, and others for using No Bid government contracts to launder money. Citizens should be asking the Governor and Attorney General what is being done about it. (See sources below.)

How ethical is that?

Austria also criticizes Hood for not giving any aid to families of soldiers killed in action. Austria didn’t give his own money to the fallen Col. Paul Kelly’s family he gave money given by others supporting his annual fund raiser. It seems Austria decided to donate the proceeds when he wanted the general public to see what a great guy his is supposed to be. I hope it was truly out of compassion and not for votes.

Austria’s unwarranted sliming tactic reveals Austria’s desperation to win. Like his sugar daddy mentor, he might be good for corporate business, but even that is questionable. Hobson supported the gay Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that violates every First Amendment right of business owners, who by the way are also American citizens. If Austria is like his mentor, we will not have a lawmaker but a wheeler-and-dealer of pork who just happens to vote for conservative bills and sometimes for liberal ones too–like ENDA. I suspect the reason Hobson voted for ENDA was not to eliminate discrimination but because many major corporation support the gay lobby. I doubt Austria is really any different.

Hood created and supported legislation defending strong traditional families, marriage and life. He also supported legislation to help create a business friendly state. Hood appears to be a genuine conservative lawmaker. It is Austria’s conservativism that is in question.

Sources for Lt. Col. John Mitchel Charges:

Lt. Col. John Mitchel , Letter to Ohio’s Legal Officials 09 November 2007.

Jeff, OH-07: Austria (R) Called Co-Conspirator in Corrupt Steering of No-Bid Contracts, Ohio Daily Blog 16 January 2008.

Ret. Lt. Col. John Mitchel, Who will guard the guards?, ReformCongress.com 13 February 2008.

Fallen Heroes: Army Col. Paul M. Kelly, Fallen Heroes Weblog 20 January 2007.

Aaron Keith Harris, Austria donates proceeds from fundraiser to family of fallen soldier, Xenia Daily Gazette 20 July 2007.