An abandoned site can be a significant safety and financial liability to a community. Urbana’s 605 Miami Street was just that.
Vacant since 2008, the once thriving manufacturing site became a community eyesore and was prone to persistent vandalism. But its prime location and existing utilities had too much potential for Urbana. The community sought out partners to revitalize the site, including much-needed financial support from JobsOhio.
A Major Undertaking
The former home of Q3 and Johnson Manufacturing had everything a company would want: space; nearby highways; proximity to major cities; current and future rail service; and existing utilities, including water, sewer, gas, and electric, thus making it an ideal site for revitalization.
Many companies were interested in the site, but costs to clean it up were a deterrent. The property needed an overhaul to eliminate the ongoing threats to public health, safety and the environment for it to be a viable site. The Journey BackCleanup began in 2015, but the magnitude of remediation needed was beyond what Urbana could accomplish on its own. A collaborative including JobsOhio, Honeywell International Inc., the Dayton Development Coalition, True Inspection Services, the Champaign Economic Partnership and the Champaign County Board of Revision was able to take the project to the next step.
Compelled by the potential for economic impact, JobsOhio committed almost $890,000 from the JobsOhio Redevelopment Pilot Program toward demolition, environmental remediation, asbestos abatement, removal and disposal of waste, and site preparation.
After months of hard work, the remediation is almost complete and final permitting is anticipated to reach the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency by May 2019. Once received, the site will be marketed nationally to attract a new tenant. Because of Urbana’s dedication to the site and the community, it successfully led a movement to turn an abandoned area into an economic opportunity.
To date, JobsOhio has committed over $240 million in revitalization, leveraging an additional $11 billion in capital investment and creating more than 15,500 jobs in Ohio. JobsOhio is committed to working with communities across Ohio to revitalize abandoned properties and return them to sources of job creation and economic growth.
(This article appeared on page 22 in the 2018 JobsOhio Annual Report. To view the entire Annual Report, click below.
Pullins to lead Ohio Produce Network
Mike and Cathy Pullins of Champaign Berry Farm in Urbana won the Value Added Product Tasting with their Black Raspberry Jam entry during the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association’s annual Ohio Produce Network on Jan. 16-17 in Dublin. In this contest, growers vote for their favorite jam, salsa, jelly or specialty product. This year the Ohio Produce Network featured 56 educational sessions, a membership meeting, keynote address by Wendy’s Chief Communications Officer Liliana Esposito, a sold-out industry trade show and a few hands-on sessions.
Also at this year’s conference, Cathy was elected president of the Ohio Produce Network, where she will serve with Alex Buck of Fruit Growers Marketing Association in Newcomerstown as vice president.
Cathy’s husband, Mike, served as executive director of the Ohio Produce Network during the 1990s and early 2000s.
The Champaign Berry Farm began as an FFA project for Cathy and Mike’s son, Matt. The farm evolved from 5 acres in 1995 to its current 25 acres. On their farm in Mutual (village just outside of Urbana), the Pullins grow black raspberries, red raspberries, currants and gooseberries.
“I see us as providing a service to the public; every year we have people saying ‘thank you for being here, thank you for doing this,’” said Cathy.
Both Cathy and Mike are retired from other jobs and Cathy said farming keeps them physically fit and busy. “[We farm] to help people have good food to eat,” said Cathy, adding that there are a lot of healthy benefits to raspberries. “Any dark fruit is good for you.”
“And we just love doing it. We’ll probably [farm] until we can’t,” said Cathy.
Cathy worked with children with disabilities for 34 years at the Lawnview Child and Family Center in Urbana (which is now called Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center). Mike worked for the Ohio Farm Bureau for 33 years before he retired and he served as executive director of the Ohio Fruit Growers Society, Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers. However, they farmed in addition to their jobs. They bought their first farm in the late 1970s and Cathy said that they were able to “hang on” when the 1980s Farm Crisis hit because they had other jobs. They lived in eastern Ohio until 1988, when they moved to Champaign County.
In 2013, they planted a test plot of peach trees and have been growing them since. They have a total of 1,000 peach trees on their home farm on South Ludlow Road in Urbana and on the test plot in Mutual.
Three weeks out of the summer, usually mid-June to mid-July (depending on the weather), they open up their farm to the public, bringing in seasonal workers. People are welcome to visit the farm and pick their own berries, or people can put in orders to have berries picked for them. More than 80 percent of Champaign Berry Farm’s raspberries are pick-your-own. According to the Pullins, more than 40 percent of the customers come from the Columbus area, some others coming from as far as Kansas, Colorado, Virginia, New York, and Florida.
Champaign Berry Farm is registered with the Ohio Farm Bureau Buying Local directory and the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Farm Markets directory. Twenty percent of their berries are sold wholesale to farmers who will then sell them at farmers markets, such as the Clark’s Farm Market in Springfield; Miami County Farmers Market in Troy; Champaign County’s Virtual Farmers Market; Logan County Farmer’s Market; and others throughout Ohio. They have jams and sauces that are made with their product, which are available year round.
Mike said that their geographical location is very beneficial to them, an hour’s drive or less from Columbus, Dayton, Marysville, Bellefontaine, Delaware, Piqua, Springfield, London and other surrounding towns and cities. “We have two to three million people within 40 miles,” said Mike.
Overall, the Pullins family owns and farms about 1,400 acres, including the berry farm, peach trees, corn, soybeans and hay. Some land they farm themselves, and some they lease to others. Mike and Cathy have two sons, who are both managers and investors in the family farm business. They also have a daughter, who raises livestock.
Red raspberries are grown throughout the world, said Mike, but black raspberries are only native to the Midwest. Raspberries have to be picked dry because they will mold if wet, and they are difficult to grow.
“[Black and red raspberries] are a very difficult crop to grow because of all of the pests and diseases,” said Mike, adding that there are more than 20 fungal diseases to which raspberries are susceptible. “Raspberries are very closely related to roses; they’re in the same family. And so any gardener who grows roses knows all the insects and diseases that attack raspberries.”
Mike added that within the past 6 years, an invasive species from Asia called Drosophila suzukii, or the spotted wing Drosophila, commonly known as a fruit fly, “has attacked all soft fruits, but particularly is devastating to raspberries and black berries…and it’s very difficult to control.”
“There’s a spray program that Mike follows with fungicide for the fungal diseases and then with insecticides for the SWD (spotted wing Drosophila),” said Cathy, adding that because of these obstacles it’s difficult to be organic. “People ask us all the time if we’re organic. We could not have a crop—however, we do follow recommended practices in spraying and we’re very cognizant of the bees…because we love the bees and the bees love the berries when the red raspberries are in bloom.”
Most raspberries are biennial plants, which means the flowering plant takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle. In the first year, the plants grow leaves, stems and roots and enter a period of dormancy during the colder months.
“The cane (stem) grows one year, overwinters, and then fruits in early summer,” said Mike. “Then that cane dies, not the plant, just that cane dies. And at the same time the cane is growing for the next year. So you have two crops always growing at the same time.” Raspberries require 2,000 hours of cold.
For more information about Champaign Berry Farm visit: www.champaignberryfarm.com.
The Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association is a non-profit organization that works for the betterment of the produce industry in Ohio. For more information about the organization, visit the OPGMA website at www.opgma.org.
Parents and students can attend a 6-7 p.m. Parents Meeting in the elementary cafeteria to learn about work-based learning, career pathways, apprenticeships and job shadowing.
A 6:30-8 p.m. Jobs Fair in the elementary gym will allow students to connect with local employers, interview for jobs and talk to community college reps about opportunities.
Submitted by the West Liberty-Salem school district.
Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a manufacturing process in which pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of factory tools and machinery.
Clark State’s current machines are 3-axis machines. The new 5-axis machine will allow for additional fourth and fifth axis machining capabilities. The part can basically be approached from all directions simultaneously and machined in one operation.
According to JobsOhio, Clark State is the first college or university in the state of Ohio to offer training on a 5-axis CNC machine.
“5-axis CNC is a technical skill that is needed in many manufacturing facilities throughout our region,” said Aimee Belanger-Haas, dean of business and applied technologies for Clark State. “Having this technology at Clark State helps us further our mission for student and community success by providing this training to our manufacturing students, and the ability to offer the advanced manufacturing lab for customized training for current employees."
Having a machine at Clark State means employers can trust that the local community college is providing workers for the future in Clark County, Chilman said.
“It really opens up an opportunity to acquire new employees from our current student body but to also bring in their current employees for retraining or up training to help them advance within their own company,” he said.
The need for manufacturing education continues to expand, Director of Workforce and Business Solutions Lesli Beavers said.
“We are all very aware of the need in Clark County in manufacturing,” she said, “We have a great manufacturing base here in Clark County and this will also to help revitalize our community. We want to be able to attract new employers and fill that need for new employees and employers to grow.”
The corporation said it worked on 266 projects with companies committed to create a record 27,071 jobs, a rise of 19 percent over 2017, and a record $1.3 billion in new payroll, an increase of 23 percent year over year.
The 2018 results also include record capital investment of just over $9.6 billion, JobsOhio said in its 2018 annual report.
Sectors leading to the largest number of jobs included logistics and distribution, advanced manufacturing and health care industries.
Of the 266 projects, 73 percent involved small and middle-market enterprises, JobsOhio said.
2018 figures offered by JobsOhio:
“Our 2018 job creation, payroll and capital investment are the highest that our associates and partners have ever achieved,” JobsOhio Chairman Jim Boland said in a statement. “These strong results illustrate the commitment of JobsOhio and its statewide network to generate economic opportunities for Ohioans.”
The new report also notes perhaps the biggest bad news of the year: General Motors’ decision to end production of the Chevrolet Cruze at its Lordstown plant, impacting about 1,500 workers.
“GM’s decision has generated significant attention at the local, state and national levels,” the report said. “JobsOhio has maintained a strong dialogue with GM’s senior team, including meetings with the company’s CEO, and continues to explore opportunities for retaining jobs for the Lordstown workers.”
The report also notes Crown Equipment’s decision to expand in New Bremen, as well as Axo Gen Inc.’s choice to invest some $5 million in a Vandalia Scholz Industrial Park location as a production site.
“These results reflect our culture of collaboration and client focus that makes Ohio more attractive for companies,” JobsOhio President John Minor also said in a release. “Along with our partners, JobsOhio has a strong foundation to address important business issues, and we are well-positioned for the future.”
In December, Ernst & Young ranked Ohio first for job creation in business investment projects for the second year in a row.
“We were able to work with our manufacturer to get a 13 oz bulk bag made specifically for our deli location at 325 N. Main St. Urbana, Ohio,” Mumford’s announced on Facebook.
The chips will be sold exclusively at the deli’s location. Mumford’s said they are working to bring the chips back into retail stores.
Mumford’s announced in December that their relationship with Shearer’s Snacks, a manufacturer they worked with for 20 years was coming to an end.
Randy Leopard, whose family combined the deli and chip business in 1979, said that Shearer’s decided to “move in another direction so all the small and private labels they were doing, they discontinued at the end of (2018).”
Leopard said that Mumford’s would continue looking for a new manufacturing partner, but it was not clear at the time how long their product would be available.
Shearer’s did not return a call seeking comment.
“Thank you everyone for your patience and working with us through this difficult time. As always, we appreciate your business and support,” Mumford’s said on Facebook.
By Lucas Gonzalez, Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
Graham Middle School has been recognized with a distinguished honor by a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) helps students in all 50 states develop skills for an evolving world through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, according to PLTW’S website.
“We have worked hard to provide intentional pre-pathway learning experiences for our students here at GMS. Not only is Project Lead The Way coursework an opportunity, but it is also an expectation for our students” said Middle School Assistant Principal Nick Guidera.
The nonprofit recognized Graham Middle School as a PLTW Distinguished School for “providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities through PLTW Gateway,” a press release says.
Graham Middle School is one of 148 middle schools across the country to receive this designation.
“We are thrilled at this honor, which represents the hard work and dedication of our students in the classroom, and the staff who help create and maintain a special culture here at Graham”, said superintendent Kirk Koennecke.
The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs, according to the release.
To be eligible for the designation, Graham Middle School had to meet the following criteria for the 2017-18 school year, according to the release:
• Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level;
• Have at least 50 percent of the student body participating;
• Have 25 percent of students advancing to high school participate in two or more units during their middle school tenure.
Principle Chad Lensman said he is proud of Graham’s approach.
“To say that 100 percent of our students are taking PLTW coursework is something special. Very few schools nationwide can make that claim. We value the learning taking place in these programs and this coursework is a big piece of our STEM education here at Graham Middle School.”