Mike Boehmer

September 17, 2020

Clermont County expands availability of small business grants

BATAVIA, OH (Sept. 17, 2020) – Clermont County has broadened the guidelines and extended the deadline for Coronavirus Relief Act (CARES Act) grants for $2,500 (for 1-10 employees) or $5,000 (for 11-50 employees). The funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis to businesses that demonstrate the impact of the pandemic on their operations.

The deadline has been extended until 4:30 p.m. Oct 1.

Changes include that businesses must:

  • have been operational since January of 2020 (instead of 2019).
  • have less than $2 million in gross revenue/receipts (instead of $1 million).
  • Have eligible expenses that have not been paid by another federal assistance program or initiative for lost revenue or expenses from the pandemic, such as Paycheck Protection Initiative, Emergency Disaster Loan, etc. (Previously, had prohibited those who had received any federal assistance for COVID-19 related expenses.)

To apply, visit https://clermontcountyohio.gov/community-development/ for an online application, or for a form to download, print and fax to 513-732-7366, or personally deliver to the Clermont County Department of Community & Economic Development, 3rd Floor, 101 E. Main St., Batavia, OH 45103.

The Board of County Commissioners approved the program at their Aug. 19 meeting and expanded availability on Sept. 16. Clermont County has about $200,000 available to distribute.

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September 10, 2020

Clermont County to observe Patriot Day (9/11) with moment of silence, patriotic medley from clarion

BATAVIA, OH (Sept. 10, 2020) — All Clermont County citizens are encouraged to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 lives lost during the tragic attacks on the United States in 2001. On that day, citizens of America and other countries died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

To honor those lives lost, Sept. 11 has been designated as Patriot Day. This special day allows a time for reflection of the lives lost and to thank the many first responders who lost or risked their lives on that tragic day.

To further commemorate the day a patriotic medley of songs will be played from the County Administration Building clarion between the times of 8:46 a.m. to 10:03 a.m., representing the 1st attack at the North Tower of the World Trade Center to the termination of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

“May we always remember and forever defend those who lost their lives and the families impacted on that tragic day of 9/11,” said David Painter, President, Board of Clermont County Commissioners. “Although their remembrance will be in silence, history will never be silent concerning their sacrifice.”

Ed Humphrey, Vice President, Board of County Commissioners, added: “Let us never forget that tragic day when so many innocent victims lost their lives to this awful act of terrorism – and the way first responders and Americans as a whole pulled together in response.”

“9/11/01 was the day that changed the world forever,” Commissioner Claire Corcoran said. “We should never take our precious freedom for granted. God bless all who lost their lives and God bless America.”

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September 9, 2020

New economic development director sees many positives

BATAVIA, OH — Michael McNamara sees a bright future for Clermont County as he surveys the economic development landscape. McNamara joined the county on Aug. 3 as Director of Community and Economic Development. He had served as Butler County’s Development Administrator for five years. In this interview, learn about McNamara’s thoughts about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Q: How have your first weeks on the job been? What have been your top priorities? Any surprises?

McNamara: My first weeks have been great. Although it has been a whirlwind getting acclimated to a new county, everyone I have met and worked with has been very supportive and helpful. There are a lot of people who work for our County who are passionate about where they work and helping the people who rely on our services.

Q: What do you see as positives for economic development in Clermont County in the future?

McNamara: There are many positives. I have been meeting with chamber leaders, school leaders, local government officials, elected officeholders, department heads, Convention and Visitors Bureau and many others. One common thread is that people are focused and optimistic. Even in a year when COVID has changed the way we operate, people are finding creative ways to adapt.

We have great assets in the South Afton property, the former Ford plant, great educational resources and a government that is ready to do business. We also have great natural features and an incredible, rich history. All of the elements are there for success including great access to transportation, clean water and a strong workforce.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing Clermont County when it comes to economic development?

McNamara: Some of our challenges are common challenges faced by many across the nation. Clermont County has many retail spaces, and the nature of retail has been changing for years. We have reached a point of inflection in which consumers are now comfortable making online purchases for major items, daily needs and even groceries. So much can be done from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, government restrictions, however necessary, have impacted our restaurant and movie business. These destinations are often the catalysts that create foot traffic in retail areas, and foot traffic is the lifeblood of retail. If people do not walk into your store, you won’t sell anything. So we will need to rethink how we utilize our spaces as we look to the future, and we may see shrinkage in brick-and-mortar retail offerings especially as relief funding from COVID comes to an end.

Workforce development is another challenge. This is an ongoing endeavor to make certain that we have a workforce that is not only adequate in size but also in training. We must constantly evaluate what the market needs are and work with education leaders to meet those the market requires.

Q: What attracted you to this position?

McNamara: Having operated two economic development engines in another county, a Port Authority and a Land Bank, and working in economic development for many years, the Clermont position offered an opportunity to allow me to utilize my skills to a new level. I am also excited about the level of creativity that this position allows. I enjoy community and regional collaboration, and I see many opportunities for that as we move forward. One of the most important lessons that I have learned in life is to get out of my comfort zone – to take risks and try new things. I hope that I can challenge everyone in Community and Economic Development to get out of their comfort zones and take risks as well.

Q: What are you looking forward to accomplishing as Economic Development director?

McNamara: One of my top goals is to develop strong relationships with local governments and leaders throughout Clermont County. I want to educate our leaders on how we can work together to advance our common goals. I look forward to building trust and strong relationships.

I also hope to help Clermont County approach the future of economic development in a smart way. This means being strategic and developing a plan for how we want to grow and with whom we want to grow. Clermont County has a lot to offer, and I want to elevate this county and help it achieve its potential while still maintaining a strong sense of community.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

McNamara: I enjoy spending time with my wife, Lisa, and two boys, Augustus (7) and Wallace (6). When we aren’t avoiding COVID, we like to go to the Zoo, Union Terminal, Kings Island, hiking trails, and build Lego creations. When we have a three-day weekend, we like to go to my in-laws cabin in Kentucky to unplug and unwind.  There is a secret cave nearby their cabin with a stone that is a claim marker. It reads “S. Adams 1790”. The patina of the carving is very old and established, and it is in such an out-of-the way place that is difficult to find and get to, that I have every reason to trust its authenticity. It is also placed near a natural landmark (a cave with a nearby stream) that makes it a natural spot for a 17th century claim marker.

August 25, 2020

County, municipalities, townships to get additional $1.6 million in CARES Act funds

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 25, 2020) — Clermont County, its municipalities and townships will receive another $1.6 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds after the State Controlling Board approved the disbursement of $175 million to Ohio counties, municipalities and townships on Aug. 24.

Counties and other local jurisdictions can expect to receive about half of what they received earlier this year from HB 481. Clermont County got $3.2 million, with about half going to the county and the remainder to municipalities and townships and a small business grant program. Governmental entities are using the money for COVID-19 related expenses such as salaries, supplies, equipment and a computer network upgrade.

Statutory limitations prevent the distribution of more than $180 million via the Controlling Board during this state fiscal year for a single purpose, according to the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO). Legislation will be required to distribute the remaining CARES Act funds, which total about $680 million.

CCAO anticipates introducing a bill in September to allocate the remaining CARES Act funds on a per-capita basis.

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August 25, 2020

Candlelight vigil to remember lives of individuals lost to suicide

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 25, 2020) — The Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Ohio Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will host the 19th annual candlelight vigil to remember, honor and cherish the lives of those individuals lost to suicide over the past year. More than 5 million living Americans have lost a close family member or friend to suicide. Anyone whose life has been touched by suicide is welcome to attend and pay tribute to their loved one through a ceremonial lighting of candles. This year the event will be virtual via Zoom.

Date: Thursday, Sept. 10

Where: (register in advance):

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMtdOipqjgvHdXSe5Vao4wCXsE8l0pmhNh2

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Time: 7 p.m.

Contact:  To send names to have a candle lit:

Lee Ann Watson: lwatson@ccmhrb.org

Michael Cotrell:  cotrellm@gmail.com

August 24, 2020

Clermont County offers financial assistance to small businesses

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 24, 2020) – Small businesses in Clermont County can apply for Coronavirus Relief Act (CARES Act) grants of $2,500 (for 1-10 employees) or $5,000 (for 11-50 employees) starting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31. The funds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to businesses active since at least January 2019, who demonstrate the impact of the pandemic on their operations.

To apply, visit https://clermontcountyohio.gov/community-development/ for an online application, or for a form to download, print and fax to 513-732-7366, or personally deliver to the Clermont County Department of Community & Economic Development, 3rd Floor, 101 E. Main St., Batavia, OH 45103. Questions: 513-732-7115.

“Based on interest already expressed, we believe this will be a popular program,” said Michael McNamara, the department’s director.

The Board of County Commissioners approved the program at their Aug. 19 meeting. Clermont County has about $200,000 available to distribute. The Economic Development Department hopes this is a first round of funding with future funding used in additional rounds.

“We hope these funds will help small businesses during these extremely challenging times,” said David Painter, president of the Board of County Commissioners. “Small businesses are vital to our economy, providing much-needed services and employment to many.”

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August 19, 2020

Select two Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors members

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 29, 2020) — If you are a resident or landowner in Clermont County, the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) invites you to participate in the election for its Board of Supervisors.

The board guides the district and its staff in efforts to implement a number of programs that affect Clermont County residents. This includes a variety of agricultural conservation and urban stormwater management programs that help improve the quality of our streams, rivers and lakes. The district also provides assistance to landowners with drainage or erosion problems.

Two people will be elected to the board for three-year terms commencing Jan. 1. Candidates for the election include Dave Anspach, Scott Jennings and Tim Rose. Candidate biographies may be viewed at www.clermontswcd.org.

Absentee voting will start on Aug. 26. County residents and landowners can request absentee ballots by calling (513) 732-7075, completing a request form on the SWCD web site, sending an email to ssteffensen@clermontcountyohio.gov, or by stopping by the district’s walk-up window at the County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville. Ballots must be postmarked by Oct. 9 to be considered valid.

If a resident or landowner prefers to vote in person, Clermont SWCD will hold ‘Drive Thru’ polling Monday- Friday, Sept. 26-Oct. 9, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Voters should enter the County Fairgrounds from Locust Street. Once in the fairgrounds, signs will direct the voter to the polling location, where additional signs will be posted with the district’s phone number to call. Clermont SWCD staff will then bring the ballot to the voter.

There are special requirements for non-resident landowners and corporations. A notarized affidavit must be presented or on file prior to absentee ballot request. For more election and affidavit information, contact Clermont SWCD at (513) 732-7075 ext.2, or email ssteffensen@clermontcountyohio.gov.

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August 18, 2020

Authorities report increase in meth, cocaine and LSD after spring slowdown

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 18, 2020) — Clermont County law enforcement and treatment specialists are noticing an uptick in methamphetamine (or meth) after a slowdown during the spring shutdown of the economy.

The Clermont County Opiate Task Force touched base on drug and alcohol trends in the era of COVID-19 in an Aug. 13 meeting.

Sheriff’s Office Lt. Nick DeRose, commander of the Clermont County Narcotics Task Force, said both volume and prices of meth have increased substantially in July and August. He noted that the county has experienced a rise in cocaine traffic – almost all laced with fentanyl – and LSD in recent weeks.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known colloquially as acid, is a hallucinogenic drug. Effects typically include altered thoughts, feelings, and awareness of one’s surroundings. Many users see or hear things that do not exist. Dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, and increased body temperature are typical.

“COVID slowed things down, but come June there was a major increase – mainly a mixture of meth with fentanyl,” said Lt. Matt Green of the Union Township Police Department. “Some are doing meth and cocaine and not knowing they’ve been laced with fentanyl.”

The department has handled 40 overdoses in the past two months, Green said.

People who use meth experience a roller coaster of emotions, members of the task force reported. Many meth users are fidgety with nervous energy. They often experience psychosis, with symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, talking incoherently, and agitation. The person with the condition usually isn’t aware of his or her behavior.

Dr. Shawn Ryan of BrightView said meth causes the body to produce an amount of brain hormones “off the chart.” He added that it’s difficult to normalize the hormones as part of a treatment plan.

Jamie Lutson of Clermont County Municipal Court Probation said she had noticed a big increase in females addicted to meth. Some say they are using the drug to stay awake so they can work and take care of their children.

Lutson added that alcoholic relapses occurred more frequently as treatment programs “came to a screeching halt.”

Lee Ann Watson, associate director of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board and co-chair of the Opiate Task Force, said the group will use the input to help target efforts to address the situation.

Nan Cahill, from the office of U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), said the senator and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) along with U.S Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX) and David Trone (D-MD) introduced the Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting (FENTANYL) Results Act to increase global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking.

 

July 31, 2020

Child Support Awareness month celebrated with proclamation, coloring contest

BATAVIA, Ohio (July 31, 2020) — The Board of County Commissioners this week acknowledged August as Child Support Awareness Month.

“Parenting and support go hand in hand in ensuring children grow up safe and healthy, and children and families stay out of poverty,” states a proclamation presented by the Commissioners on Wednesday. “Our children are our most precious resource, and by investing in them, we secure a future of hope and opportunity for us all.”

Brenda Gilreath, Assistant Director of Clermont County Child Support Services, noted that more than 12,500 Clermont County families benefitted from more than $35 million dollars in child support monies collected in Fiscal Year 2019.

Gilreath said that in Ohio, more than $1.8 billion is collected annually in child support, making it one of the most crucial elements of a family’s stability. She thanked employers for being such good partners with Child Support Services, along with the courts and Sheriff’s Office.

Once again this year, Clermont County Child Support is participating in a statewide coloring contest for children.

Children are encouraged to create and turn in their hand-drawn artwork to the Child Support office by 4 p.m. on Aug. 31. The artwork can be dropped off or mailed to: Child Support Services, 2400 Clermont Center Drive, Batavia Ohio 45103.

Prizes will be awarded for the top three submissions ($20, $15, $10 gift cards to McDonalds) and those entries will be referred to Child Support’s state office to be considered for a statewide calendar for distribution during an upcoming Child Support Awareness Month.

Click here for the drawing form: https://www.clermontsupportskids.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2020/07/coloring-page-for-child-2020.pdf

Also, click to obtain the Coloring Contest Information form which requires parent/guardian authorization: https://www.clermontsupportskids.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2020/07/coloring-contest-parent-release-form-2020.pdf

This release needs to be a separate document that is attached to the coloring page. Any artwork submitted without the parent/guardian authorization will be excluded from the contest.

Artwork by Alexis Mullis, 6, of Clermont County in on the 2021 cover.

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July 29, 2020

County takes steps to reduce harmful algal blooms

BATAVIA, OH (July 29, 2020) – Clermont County has taken another step in its effort to lessen harmful algal blooms (HABs) at Harsha Lake: Designing a system to capture storm water rich with fertilizer nutrients that feed the blooms.

The Board of County Commissioners on July 18 approved a two-year, $42,400 contract with Sustainable Streams of Louisville to design a passive wetland system in Williamsburg for Harsha Lake sourcewater protection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, HABs are the rapid growth of cyanobacteria that can cause harm to animals, people, and the local ecology. A HAB can look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of water and can be different colors. Particularly large HABs can result in beach closures and prevent recreational use.

“Wetlands have a natural ability to remove nutrients from surface water,” said Hannah Lubbers, Director, Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality. “Our study of a small scale constructed wetland in Jackson Township indicated they can be a cost-effective method of reducing nutrient pollution.”

Installation of wetlands, in combination with other agricultural and urban best management practices (BMPs), is part of the sourcewater and watershed protection programs being implemented by the East Fork Water Quality Cooperative (EFWC).

Partners of the cooperative, including Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District, the County Commissioners, and the USEPA, aggressively pursue grant funding  to improve local water quality and to date have directed over $2.25-million dollars to the watershed, including $215,500 set aside for construction of the wetland in Williamsburg. The EFWC partners also combine agency resources and technical services to advance watershed efforts.

“Harsha Lake is a valuable resource for county residents and we are working hard to preserve that resource,” Lubbers said. “The Williamsburg project will provide invaluable water quality data and information to aid watershed efforts across the region and Ohio.”

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