BATAVIA, OH (March 18, 2020) – The Board of Commissioners today declared a State of Emergency in Clermont County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The action came in a room reconfigured to achieve social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. Those who had business to conduct with the board waited in a conference room with a video feed and came into the session individually to speak.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary action,” said David Painter, president of the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioners Ed Humphrey and Claire Corcoran concurred.
The emergency declaration, along with a previous resolution delegating disaster functions in event of an absence of a quorum of the Board, spells out succession of leadership and the authority of the County Administrator in an emergency. It exempts from the competitive bidding process purchases related to the emergency that are greater than $50,000 but less than $100,000, so long as no fewer than three informal estimates are obtained.
The County Administrator is authorized to “take those actions that are necessary and appropriate, including the delegation of administrative and departmental functions among responsible staff to assure proper implementation in exercising this authority,” the resolution states. The County Administrator also will “report to the Board of Commissioners on any actions taken pursuant to this resolution.”
In the absence of a quorum of the County Commissioners, authority is designated to the County Administrator. In the absence of the County Administrator, the President of the Board may delegate to the Assistant County Administrator or Budget Director.
The resolution also activates the Clermont County Emergency Operations Center for the duration of the emergency in order to coordinate response efforts.
Pam Haverkos, the county’s Emergency Management Agency director, said the declaration would allow the county to obtain state funds in the future if needed.
In addition to the emergency declaration, the Commissioners suspended Monday meetings (except March 23) into the future as well as suspended public participation.
“Through the leadership of Clermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, we’re collaborating with first responders, hospitals, the business community and others to navigate these challenging times,” Painter said. “Our goal is to protect the health of our employees and those they serve. We seek to slow the spread of this highly contagious disease, while continuing to carry forth the essential operations of government.”
Full statement by Commissioner Painter:
Extraordinary times require extraordinary actions. I commend each and every one of you for the steps you have taken during this challenging time.
It’s inspiring to see people coming together and following the advice of health experts so we don’t overwhelm our health system. People are practicing “social distancing,” as recommended by the experts, so they don’t get infected by this highly contagious disease and pass it on to the elderly and those with chronic health conditions. You’re checking on each other and supporting each other. You’re doing what it takes. You’ve taken steps to protect the public and our employees. I see resilient and innovative people rallying and doing their best at a challenging time.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clermont County government has made a number of changes in delivery of services. Some of the actions include closing waiting rooms, delaying court hearings, providing services online and getting payments via drop boxes and mail.
We are in constant contact with our department heads and elected officials and will provide updates as they become available.
We’re continually updating the list, available at www.clermontcountyohio.gov. The list includes specifics about what waiting rooms are closed and alternative ways of doing business with Clermont County government. You’ll see a number of online opportunities for applying for services and new ways to mail or drop off documents.
These moves were taken in response to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, the Ohio Department of Health and our own Clermont County Public Health.
Through the leadership of Clermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, we’re collaborating with first responders, hospitals, the business community and others to navigate these challenging times.
Our goal is to protect the health of our employees and those they serve. We seek to slow the spread of this highly contagious disease, while continuing to carry forth the essential operations of government.
If history concludes that we have defaulted to a position of increased safety that wasn’t warranted, we can live with that.
One thing we can’t live with is knowing that we didn’t act when we had the chance and that lack of action resulted in you or your family being hurt. This is a difficult for everyone. Please be patient and understand that everyone here at Clermont County has your safety at heart even when some decisions might make life difficult for a short duration.
If you can, limit your social distance from others, protect your children, wash your hands, keep your hands below your face when possible, and help others that need your help.
Together we have weathered storms, droughts, floods, tornadoes, power losses, and we will rise to this challenge and overcome.
We are Clermont County. May God bless you and your families.
BATAVIA, OH (March 13, 2020) – Due to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Ohio, effective Monday all arraignment hearings and jury trials scheduled at Clermont County Municipal Court during the next 30 days will be continued to the future, according to Administrative Judge Jesse B. Kramig, Judge Kevin T. Miles and Judge Jason E. Nagel.
Those involved will be notified by regular mail of their new court hearing. They also may look up their next hearing date at Clermontclerk.org.
All other hearings will be held as scheduled.
“There are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19, in response to which the Governor of the State of Ohio, Michael DeWine, has declared a state of emergency (Executive Order 2020-OID) which, among other restrictions, limits large indoor gatherings,” the judges stated.
“The Governor’s Declaration follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Interim Guidance,” recommending that all employers consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19, including the review of guidance from state and local health officials. Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html (last updated February 26, 2020).”
BATAVIA, OH (March 12, 2020) — The Clermont County Board of County Commissioners and County Administration have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. Clermont County Public Health and the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency have been in regular contact with state experts during this rapidly changing environment. We have kept key partners such as the county business community up to date so they may develop contingency plans.
At Clermont County, we have been doing contingency planning. This includes identifying what employees could “telework” at alternate locations, such as their homes, and providing instruction on how to transfer voice mail to email to help facilitate this work.
We have been providing additional disinfectant and sanitary supplies to County Departments. Safety is our top priority.
We will continue to serve the public and meet our mandated requirements. We appreciate your support during this challenging time.
For the latest information about COVID-19, please see: https://ccphohio.org/covid-19/
“I’m really excited to have Greg on our team,” said Tom Eigel, Clermont County Administrator. “He brings more than 20 years of experience with Sycamore Township, including six as Administrator. Clermont County will benefit from his extensive background in economic development and public administration.”
For seven years, Bickford served as Executive Director of the Sycamore Township Community Improvement Corporation, which worked to promote economic, commercial and civic development.
Bickford’s first priority is to ensure the Economic Development Department, including Building Inspection, continues to provide excellent customer service and creates a vision for the future.
“Economic development and public administration have been my passion for the past 25 years,” Bickford said. “I started out as a wide eyed graduate from the University of Cincinnati with Butler County in the Planning Department and grew to understand and appreciate the importance of public administration.”
Bickford received a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning and Design from the University of Cincinnati. He is involved in several professional associations, including the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
He added: “I believe in a hands on, personal, and proactive approach. Building relationships is very important and will always pay dividends in the long run. I am confident that with my skills, knowledge and past history of success, we can continue to keep moving Clermont County forward.”
BATAVIA, OH — Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will offer an improved free pond clinic to pond owners and managers at 5:30 p.m. April 14 at the Cincinnati Nature Center-Rowe Woods at 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford. Improvements include additional speakers, a new breakout session format and the addition of a pond walk 4-5 p.m., weather permitting.
“Our event is one of the largest in the area and we want to continue to grow this program to best inform our pond managers, “ said Jake Hahn of SWCD.
More than 5,000 ponds in Clermont County are used for many different purposes. Since ponds are not a common natural landscape feature in our area, they need additional maintenance and care to function properly and meet the landowners’ expectations.
“We hope our event can be a place for pond owners to interact with other owners in the area to solve management problems with the guidance of our expert speakers,” Hahn said.
Gus Keibel and Randy Morgan from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will discuss muskrat prevention and control. Concurrent breakout sessions will include Ponds 101 with Hahn, or Pond Health and Aeration with Jones Fish Hatchery, and Pond Weed Control, also with Jones Fish Hatchery, or New Pond Construction with Hahn.
Clermont SWCD aims to help construct and maintain a safe, functional and attractive pond. Clermont County Farm Bureau is sponsoring the event.
There is no cost, but registration is required to gain free admission to the Cincinnati Nature Center. To register for the free clinic or for more information, go to www.clermontswcd.org or contact Clermont SWCD at (513) 732-7075.
BATAVIA, OH (March 10, 2020) — Out of an abundance of caution concerning the coronavirus, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has ordered the relocation of polling locations in retirement living or senior care facilities. Our webpage boe.clermontcountyohio.gov will have the most up-to-date information on what locations have changed.
Currently, the locations being relocated are:
S.E.M. Villa, 201 Mound Street, Milford, Ohio (Milford City D voters)
S.E.M. Terrace, 5371 South Milford Road, Milford, Ohio (Milford City E voters)
Pattison Elementary School, 5330 S. Milford Road, Milford, Ohio
Additionally, we encourage voters to take advantage of Ohio’s ample early voting opportunities. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the March 17 election is noon on March 14. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted, or you can drop it off at the Clermont County Board of Elections on March 17 from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm.
For any additional questions regarding state response to coronavirus, visit VoteOhio.gov/CoronaFacts
Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is offering tree and native shrub seedlings, as well as native perennials, at discount prices. This program offers the opportunity for individuals to develop small areas of reforestation, wildlife enhancement, or additions to home landscaping.
Order deadline is April 9, or while supplies last. Please order early to guarantee availability. Plant pickup will take place April 16-17 at the Clermont County Fairgrounds.
For detailed descriptions and photos, visit clermontplantsale.com
Most of the seedlings offered are from 12 to 24 inches tall. Tree and shrub seedlings will be bare rooted. The district dips the plants in a root preservative to help keep the roots from drying out and wraps them in a plastic bag. Most packets will be in a bag about the size of a grocery bag and can easily be placed in your car for pickup.
New this year: SWCD is offering native hybrid perennials as “plugs” about 2 inches in diameter and a robust 4.5 inches deep.
BATAVIA, OH (Feb. 6, 2020) — Local farmers are invited to attend the Agricultural Resources Winter Workshop, 9 a.m.-noon, Thursday, Feb. 20, at Southern State Community College’s Mt. Orab campus. The workshop is being coordinated by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in Clermont, Brown, Highland and Clinton counties in collaboration with Ohio State University Extension.
“This is a good time of year to give farmers an update new and existing programs and resources available in the region,” said John McManus, district administrator for Clermont SWCD.
A new online resource, entitled the Southwest Ohio Agricultural Conservation Menu (SOACM), will be presented, along with recommendations and resources for improving nutrient management using effective precision agricultural technologies. Information on mental health programs for farmers, and updates on the new H2Ohio Initiative and local water quality monitoring efforts.
“There is a big push at the state level to ensure clean and safe water for all Ohioans, and we’ll discuss which programs are available to help landowners and communities reduce water pollution at the local level,” McManus added.
The Brown County Farm Bureau will provide breakfast. There is no charge to attend. Online registration is available: https://soacm.com/news-events/.
For more information, call Becky McClatchey of Clermont SWCD at (513)-732-7075.
BATAVIA, OH (Feb. 5, 2020) – The Clermont County Board of Elections today announced the successful completion of security upgrades required by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
“The Clermont County Board of Elections and the County Information Systems Department worked diligently to meet the secretary of state’s directive,” said Julia Carney, director, Clermont County Board of Elections. “The implemented security enhancements will serve to defend the security and integrity of Ohio’s elections.”
On June 11, 2019, LaRose issued Directive 2019-08, a comprehensive, multi-faceted security strategy for local boards that provides the redundancy required of a strong election system infrastructure. Counties had until Jan. 31 to complete the secretary’s requirements. The effort has made Ohio the national leader in election security.
The directive included a checklist of 34 separate requirements that must be met in order to be considered compliant. The specifics of the checklist essentially serve as Ohio’s detailed defense plan against adversaries who seek to disrupt our elections. The requirements fall under five separate sectors:
“The voters in Clermont County should be proud of their local board of elections for successfully embracing such a big challenge,” LaRose said. “By elevating their defensive posture, they’ve helped make Ohio a national model for election security.”
In January of 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Election Infrastructure as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. By its very nature, each and every election system is vulnerable to ever changing security environments. By implementing this elevated security posture that is a model for the nation, Ohio will be in the best possible standing to deter any threats to our election system, both foreign and domestic.
What did your job entail? “Well, my title is Education Coordinator. Teachers in any Clermont County school can request programs that I offer on many kinds of environmental education. I will go into their schools and classrooms and teach those programs to the students. They are often hands-on and fun, but also meet many of the Ohio Education Learning Standards for many different grade levels. I also have a contract with the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District to teach about solid waste reduction and recycling in Clermont County schools.”
What did you like most about your job? “Gosh, there are so many to talk about. My job was so fulfilling to me. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life in the past 31 years. I love kids and I love environment education and so I had the best of both worlds. Developing relationships with the students and teachers was the greatest. Teachers tell me I missed my calling and should have been a formal educator, but I loved going to the different schools. These students and teachers became part of my family. I would return to my office and after the students heard my presentations they would contemplate and then their teacher would send me an e-mail with more questions that they had. That’s how I know I was able to reach those students and make education fun. Below is an e-mail I received from a teacher after I returned from a program at their school.
I collected students’ questions from today. They included:
Thank you for a great presentation! The kids loved it very much.”
What were some of the highlights for you? “Again, there were so many. One of my first was receiving the very first National Professional Employee of the Year. I was first nominated for the Area IV Educator of the Year and won that. I was then nominated for the State Educator of the Year and received that award. That put me in the running for the Regional Educator of the Year award and I received that one. I had no idea that they had created a National Professional Employee of the Year Award, but I was nominated for that and was notified that I had won it. I traveled to San Diego, California, to receive that award at a huge NACD Conference. I was then honored by the Clermont County Commissioners and was invited to the Ohio State Senate to be recognized for my award. It was such an honor.
“Another highlight was creating the Augmented Reality Sandbox. I wrote a Duke Energy Foundation Grant to have it built. It was a dream and a nightmare as it was very complicated to get it calibrated. It took me a year and a half but I finally got it finished. The AR Sandbox uses a 3D Kinect camera to scan a 3D shape of the sand surface in real-time, and additionally to detect hand gestures above the surface of the sand to create ‘virtual reality clouds.’ A computer located under the sandbox collects the data from the camera and projects that image through a projector that is located on the AR Sandbox’s arm. That data is then projected on the sand surface in real-time. It can teach young students how to read a topography map in ten minutes because those topography lines move every time they change the shape of the sand.
“The many relationships I developed over the years with students and teachers is truly one of the biggest highlights.”
Why did you enter this type of work? “Well when I started with the Clermont SWCD, I was hired as the secretary for the District. I loved kids and education and went to my Board and asked if we could create an Environmental Education program. We had no such position back then. I started out doing part-time my first year with the District but it soon became overwhelming and I started teaching environmental education full time my second year with the District. Again, as I stated before, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”
How did I end up with the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District? “Well, 31 years ago I was the Corporate Secretary for the President and Vice-President of Keystone General. It was a military contract company located in Sharonville. I was going to be getting married that year and wanted a job closer to home. I applied for the secretary position for the District and on my way home from the interview, I receive a call from the District Administrator, offering me the position. He always joked about getting me for .06 cents more an hour.”
How have things changed over the years? “Wow, I don’t know where to begin because everything has changed. When I first started with the District, not many people even knew what Clermont SWCD was or did. The job environment was so much more ‘laid back.’ You could talk to people when you were out on a site visit and not worry about not being able to get your work finished at the office when you got back. There is so much more work to do now than there was back then. Not just site visits but also so much more paperwork. Times have really changed when it comes to accountability for your job. Also, people who are not in the farming business now know who we are and what we do.”
What plans do you have for retirement? “Well, I don’t have any yet because I didn’t expect to be retiring for another year. It has taken two weeks to sink in. I am the POA for my mom and dad and they are not in the best of health so much of my time will be spent helping them and taking care of their small farm.”
Anything else you would like to add? “Well, this retirement thing is still sinking in. I cried for the first week and a half every time I went to do a presentation in a school. I will miss the students and the teachers so much. As I have said before, I just can’t imagine a more fulfilling and wonderful job to have for the last 31 years.”
Everyone is invited to stop by the 4 H Hall, Clermont County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust St., Owensville, OH 45160, 2-6 p.m., Jan. 31., to say adieu and wish Judy well on her next journey. Notes also may be sent to Judy Krebs, c/o Clermont SWCD, PO Box 549, Owensville, OH 45160-0549.