Brian Dicken of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor was the special guest at the September 14 meeting of the Montpelier Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber members began the meeting by approving the minutes of the August meeting, and approving the financial report.
Gloria Osburn reported on a successful event that was hosted by the Montpelier Public Library. Children have been reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House on the Prairie” series, and in honor of the series, the library hosted a Country Fair at the log cabins, located at the Williams County Fairground. Participants learned how to churn butter, make homemade bread, hang clothing out on a line, and had fun with even more activities. She said that it was educational and fun for the children.
Gloria also discussed Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and explained that by filling out a form at the library, children living in rural areas can receive a free book each month up to age 5. On the second Saturday of October, the United Way will be sponsoring a bike-a-thon to raise funds for the program and will traveling to area libraries. Residents can donate to the cause, and the funds from the bike-a-thon will provide 60% to the Imagination Library program, and 40% to the library.
Also, they will be holding a Fall Fest at the Montpelier Library on October 27. The Friends of the Library will provide lunch, and crafters will be attending. The library asks the public to come on out and support local artisans.
Dave Tilly of the Lion’s Club/Montpelier Ministerial Association reported that there were a lot of families in the community that are barely scraping by. There have been multiple requests for gas vouchers. The church recently donated school supplies to village children for the new school year. He added that the economy was leading to a rough Christmas for many local families. On a positive note, observed that “The kids have a lot of school spirit!”
The Old Tyme Holiday Gathering is approaching, and volunteers are needed to help plan this event. Their planning commission’s next meeting is scheduled for September 20 and 7:00 p.m. at the Kannel-Superior Insurance office at 301 West Main Street. Anyone who would be interested in helping are welcomed and encouraged to attend this meeting.
The Chamber then heard special guest Brian Dicken speak about the Common Sense Initiative. This is a program that is seeking to eliminate excessive and duplicative rules in Ohio’s regulatory system. It is hoped that by doing this, it will pave the way for more jobs to be created. This initiative is under the direction of the Ohio State Governor’s Office. Mr. Dicken is the northwest Ohio regional director. He said that it is his job to identify barriers to job creation and he is looking to see where problems lie. The program was initiated about a year-and-a half ago, and he has been hearing from affected small businesses so that they may understand the state’s regulations. This can be difficult because the rules are not perceived to be in “plain English” and Dicken helps them to understand and navigate the process. He also does a business impact analysis. He gave an example of his first case concerning a company in Lorain, Ohio that made soup and sauces. He said that some of their food products required an alcohol base, and that they had to comply with government regulations, they had to purchase the ingredient at retail prices. This proved to be costly and inefficient for the company. Dicken was able to work to get the regulations changed, and the company can now purchase the ingredient at wholesale prices. This has benefited the company to the extent that they were able to add on to their facility and they added 17 new jobs.
He also talked about a regulation whereby Ohio students who went out of state for their education had to pay out-of-state prices when returning to Ohio colleges. His department worked to change this rule, and now if a student had attended an Ohio high school, they could come back and pay in-state prices.
He can be contacted at the state website at www.governor.ohio/CSI. He explained that he cannot guarantee a fix for problems, but that they can’t help if they don’t know an issue exists.
The Chamber of Commerce board has four seats up for election this year. They are inviting anyone interested to let them know. Their phone number is 419-485-4416.
Trick-or-Treat is a much anticipated event, and the Chamber is sponsoring the annual costume parade. Children should line up at the fire house, and the parade will begin at 5 p.m. Upon returning to the firehouse, the costume judging contest will be held. Trick-or-treating will begin at 6 p.m. Residents who do not have homes that are easily accessible for trick-or-treaters will be able to go to the Main Street Park (former site of the high school) where they can hand out candy to the children. The staff and residents of Evergreen Manor are opening their doors to trick-or-treaters from 6 – 7 p.m.
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