Gov. DeWine Signs House Bill 606
Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 on Monday, September 14, 2020. Watch the videoconference ceremony below.
The Ohio Manufacturing Association (OMA) supported this legislation to provide legal liability protections to businesses and other entities during COVID-19, as long as they have not shown reckless, intentional or willful misconduct. Read OMA's statement.
This new law will become effective December, 13, 2020. Its qualified immunity provisions apply retroactively from March 9 and extend through Sept. 30, 2021.
By: Jenna Lawson, WHIO
View video of the announcement on WHIO's website
There were many points in the last five years that community partners thought ‘Legacy Place’ might never happen.
It took time to capture nearly $13 million in funding sources, including historic tax credits – not to mention delays due to the pandemic. But on Thursday, partners announced the funds were released and they are able to move forward with the project. It’s possible construction could start within the next week.
‘Legacy Place’ transforms the Douglas Inn in downtown Urbana and two former elementary schools (North & South) into affordable senior housing. 51 units will be created for those 55 and older, with six of them being devoted to people with disabilities.
“It’s just a real renaissance for Urbana,” Mayor Bill Bean told News Center 7′s Jenna Lawson.
Duane Miller, with development company Flaherty & Collins and also president of F & C Legacy Place, said the project accomplishes two goals: turning three vacant properties into useful properties and filling the need for affordable senior housing in Urbana.
“I love to jump into the skin of a community that’s looking for help and looking for opportunities to spur on their own development,” he said.
The Douglas has been vacant since 2004 and has long been a large eyesore on the southwest corner of Monument Square. The building has somewhat deteriorated and was the target of multiple arson fires in 2019.
The former owner of the property, John Doss, has done work to stabilize the structure. The elementary schools, despite being about 100 years old, are in solid shape, partners said.
The timeline for the project will move quickly. Developers estimate about six months to complete both elementary schools and a little over a year to finish the Douglas. Partners are hopeful that the project will have a positive domino effect on other aspects of Urbana living including neighboring businesses and housing.
“We may see some of those seniors who may move in here and now their single family homes are available for a new families to move in,” said director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, Marcia Bailey.
Bailey added that this solution also preserves the history of all three buildings for the community to enjoy for decades to come. “Having these buildings standing as they are and being repurposed is a huge win for our community,” she said.
Other partners in the project include the City of Urbana, Urbana City Schools and Resident Supports and Services, Inc., which provides housing for seniors and adults with developmental disabilities.
Legacy Place Project Gets Green Light
The U.S. Census Bureau is working in Champaign County to complete the 2020 Census by September 30, 2020. Field data operations are underway with census takers visiting households throughout Champaign County that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. Prior to their deployment into local communities, census takers underwent COVID-19 training on social distancing and related health and safety protocols. The Census Bureau has provided face masks to every census taker and mandated that all census takers wear one. In addition, census takers carry an ID badge that includes their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
Through the end of September, households can continue to respond online at www.2020census.gov, on paper, by phone by calling (1-844-330-2020), or in person with a census taker.
As of September 8, 2020, the national self-response rate to the 2020 Census is 65.5% and 69.6% for the State of Ohio. Locally, 2020 self-response rates are as follows (with 2010 self-response rates shown in parentheses):
To date, Champaign County has the 28th best self-response rate out of 88 Ohio counties. Regionally, the self-response rate in surrounding counties is as follows:
Furthermore, as of September 8, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 91.2% of Ohio housing units have been enumerated with 21.6% being counted by census takers and the remaining 69.6% of households self-responding. Nationally, over 88% of households have been enumerated to date.
Urbana Hospital received finalist recognition for achieving top overall performance in any four of the five areas measured in Premier’s QUEST 2020 collaborative, including affordability; effective care and coordination; prevention and treatment for leading causes of mortality; person and family experience; and patient safety.
“We are grateful for this external recognition of our daily commitment to deliver the best care experience for our patients and their families,” said Urbana Hospital President Jamie Houseman. “On behalf of everyone at Urbana Hospital, I can say we are proud to be named as a finalist for the QUEST Award and we will continue to work to deliver great patient outcomes and community health programs.”
“QUEST facilities are setting new standards of clinical excellence nationwide,” said Seth Edwards, vice president of Engagement and Delivery for Premier. “Together, they have worked to outperform in healthcare. Premier congratulates Urbana Hospital for its fantastic achievements.”
To keep up with increasing orders, Rittal is recruiting 40 more assemblers, machine operators and welders to join its total Urbana workforce of more than 500, Love says.
In addition, Rittal recently invested more than $3 million in state-of-the-art equipment to form metal for IT enclosures.
News like this, during the pandemic, is very encouraging,” says CEP Director Marcia Bailey. “Champaign County is fortunate to have a diverse mix of businesses and employers like Rittal who are growing, planning for the future and providing new jobs for our community.”
Rittal is investing in current and future workforce needs, Love said. Here are three examples:
· Apprenticeships to develop engineers: Rittal, partnering with ApprenticeOhio and Clark State Community College, has three four-year apprentices – one in industrial engineering and two in maintenance engineering.
David Vanderveen, an assembler at Rittal for six years, is the industrial engineering apprentice. He was looking into returning to school for engineering when Rittal announced the apprenticeship. About Vanderveen, Love says: “He’s one of those hidden gems you have in your organization. He’s growing very quickly and showing great potential in his apprenticeship.”
Love adds, “Increasingly there is a drive for apprenticeships, as we have less people with technical backgrounds in the workplace. It’s a great way to grow our capability.” And it provides the Rittal apprentices the chance to advance their careers while being paid and avoiding debt from education.
Vanderveen is working under the mentorship of Rittal Industrial Manager Steve Butka, while studying online through Clark State. He will begin in-person labs at Clark State this fall.
· Partnership with TAC (The Abilities Connection): TAC, which serves and employs people with developmental or physical disabilities, has placed five associates who support Rittal’s industrial engineering team. They cut gaskets for IT racks and complete other tasks as needed.
Claus Wolf, Rittal’s Sourcing and Procurement Manager, said that the partnership has “helped us as a business when hiring for open positions is challenging. And it’s helped us to connect with the wider community and to provide purposeful work” for TAC associates.
· Partnership with University of Dayton: A team of business undergraduates completed their senior capstone project at Rittal, for which they won the University of Dayton’s 2020 Outstanding Operations Senior Team of the Year Award.
Wolf said he gave the team free rein to investigate ways to reorganize Rittal’s wood-based product supply chain, including pallets. “They found a vendor that saved us more than $100,000. They found a solution that we couldn’t even when we tried several times,” Wolf said. Rittal plans to continue the partnership with an eye on expanding its talent pool.
Champaign County’s largest employer, KTH is one of the largest Tier 1 automotive suppliers in the U.S., employing more than 1,100 associates in a 1.068-million-square-foot complex west of St. Paris. KTH makes underbody structural frame components for cars, with Honda its top customer.
KTH also has been busy on Sundays, hosting open interviews to fill 40 to 50 open production positions. Millice recently shared with the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP): “The availability of candidates to fill these positions is very limited. We have been advertising these positions by radio, social media and news publications.”
KTH is a Champion Level investor in the CEP, which is Champaign County’s economic development agency.
“Good news like this is very encouraging, especially during the pandemic,” says CEP Director Marcia Bailey. “In Champaign County we’re very fortunate to have a diverse mix of businesses and employers like KTH that are growing, looking to the future and providing new jobs for area residents.”
While keeping up with demand, KTH also has been closely following CDC guidelines to protect its workforce, Millice said. This includes:
“At KTH we pride ourselves on our dedicated workforce, which is one of the best in the industry, as we work through labor demand constraints and follow COVID safe practices,” Millice says.
The project also includes the expansion of specialized telecare, telestroke and telecardiology services in hospital.
“This technology enables specialists with Mercy Health Physicians to use virtual monitors at Urbana Hospital to remotely connect with patients and provide consultations. The patients can stay at Urbana Hospital instead of traveling to Springfield Regional Medical Center for specialist care,” said Jamie Houseman, president, Urbana Hospital.
Additionally, the hospital has added a second state-of-the-art ultrasound machine allowing it to expand hours for outpatient services and schedule more tests to accommodate patients.
This latest project is part of an overall $1.3M investment in the campus that has included:
Open Interviews at Rittal on Sep. 12