Hello, Hamilton County

  E-News for Hamilton County Citizens and Employees

February 26, 2001 

  Quote of the Week:  Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"               - Abraham Lincoln

Commissioners Decide to wait to place Levies on the Ballot

At their February 21 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners voted not to place either the Children's Services or the Health and Hospitalization Levies on the May ballot.  This decision follows a shortened review process for the proposed levies.  The request for placing the Health and Hospitalization Levy on the May ballot had been received in mid-January.  Following additional review, the Board of County Commissioners will consider placement of both levies on the November ballot. 
Project THAW Update
Through February 22 nearly 8,000 families and individuals in Hamilton County have applied for assistance through Project THAW. Project THAW is a state-funded program providing one-time payments of up to $250 to help with heating bills for people with income up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The program is in effect until March 31, 2001. Of the 7,925 applications received to date, approximately 5,907 have been processed and paid for a total of $1.255 million in assistance to Hamilton County residents.
Contrary to some media reports, funds for the Project THAW program are still available.  This program is “first come-first served.”  All eligible Hamilton County residents are welcome to apply, but there is no guarantee all eligible residents  will get help due to the limited funding. Citizens who apply and get payment will actually see a credit on their Cinergy-CG&E bill.  

Thanks to our many community partners, a convenient approach is being used to make applications widely available in the community and allows people to mail in completed applications.  Three options are available for application:   


Pick up the one-page application at all ten Cinergy offices, all 42 branches of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Community Action Agency sites, and the Hamilton County Department of Human Services starting Monday.  Instructions for completing and mailing the application are on the back.  There’s one address if your primary heating supplier is Cinergy-CG&E--another address if you use another provider for heating oil, propane, or wood.



Access the application at http://www.hamilton-co.org/dhs or through a special Project THAW "button" on the Hamilton County Homepage.  Print out, complete, and mail the application as directed in the instructions.  (Due to proof of income required to apply, on-line application is not available.) 



Older people or those with disabilities who cannot pick up an application should call 751-2624.  A representative of CAA will deliver an application to them.


Important points about “Project Thaw”: 

                        (1)       You must have an unpaid heating bill.  Project Thaw will not reimburse payments already made.

                        (2)       Your income must be below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level--about $16,700 per year for a single adult and about $34,100 per year for a family of four.  It is important that applicants remember to provide proof of income with their applications.

                        (3)       This is a one-time payment of half the cost of your unpaid heating bill, up to a maximum of $250.


Spring is almost here and so is Allergy Season
As spring is fast approaching, so is allergy season. With more than 35 million allergy sufferers in the United States, it’s no wonder that the thought of spring can cause many people to cringe, knowing allergy season is soon upon us. An allergy is an abnormal reaction to a very small amount of a specific substance, very often mold or pollen. People react differently to allergens, but some of the common symptoms are runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. If you’ve been suffering through these symptoms for more than 7 days, you’re probably suffering from allergies.

Tree and grass pollens are the most common southwest Ohio allergens and can be almost impossible to escape. Oak, cedar, mulberry, maple, elm, popular, box elder, and grasses are the most prevalent sources of pollen in southwest Ohio from late March through mid-July. After this time, ragweed, the most allergenic plant of North America, blooms from August through October. Mold spores are also in full swing all summer and can even be found indoors year-round. All of these airborne allergens can send you into sinus misery.

There is help for allergy sufferers. The Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services has recently updated the Living with Allergies brochure, which is available free to the public. The brochure explains more about allergies, their causes, and how to help ease the discomfort of them. For a free copy, call 946-7747. To keep track of the daily pollen and mold counts, call the Pollen and Mold Hotline at 946-7753. You can also view the Living with Allergies brochure and other publications from the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services on our web-site at http://www.hcdoes.org.

Submitted by Crystal Wentz, Public Affairs Intern


Waterfest promises Watery Fun for Everyone
Cincinnati’s 7th annual Waterfest will take place on Tuesday, April 3, 2001 at the Cincinnati Convention Center from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There are over 2,200 fifth and sixth grade students from 94 classes, and 33 different schools eager to participate in this year’s watery fun. Waterfest teaches students about water conservation and the dangers of water pollution by getting kids involved in hands-on education activities, games, and lots of fun information.

Waterfest started in the summer of 1994 when creators Kathy Lordo of the Hamilton County General Health District and Holly Utrata-Halcomb of the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District began searching for an exciting method to educate children about water and it’s uses as a natural resource. The following year, the first Waterfest took place in Cincinnati and it was the first event of its kind in Ohio. Since then, Waterfest has been a splashing success every year. This year’s event will be the largest in the history of Waterfest.

Water Wizard’s Quest, hosted by Patrick T. Karney, Director of the Metropolitan Sewer District, and Cory Chadwick, Director of the Department of Environmental Services will be returning as one of the featured events at Waterfest. This jeopardy-style contest puts students’ water knowledge to the test during the closing assembly of Waterfest. Throughout the day, there will be games, information sessions, and hands-on activities to teach the students about conserving water, the importance of water as a natural resource, and how water pollution affects everyone.

Dr. T in "A Drink of Water" will premier for the viewing enjoyment of students. The show is fast paced and loaded with comedy as well as facts about water, pollution and conservation. The host, Dr. T, juggles, walks on globes, twirls colorful streamers and vanishes below the surface of the earth to take a closer look at the water we drink.

The coordinators for this year’s Waterfest include: Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Park Board, Fluor Fernald, Inc., Greater Cincinnati Water Works, Hamilton County Environmental Services, Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District, Metropolitan Sewer District, Ohio Energy Project, and ORSANCO.

New co-sponsors include: Chemed Foundation, BBS Corporation, CDS Associates, Inc., Greenacres, Cincinnati Bulk Terminals, Burgess & Niple, Engineers and Architects, The Beach Waterpark, Cinergy Environmental Services, H. C. Nutting Company, Izaak Walton League of America, Cincinnati Chapter, Midland Enterprises, Procter and Gamble, Ohio Environmental Education Fund, and Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.

Waterfest will take place on April 3rd at the Cincinnati Convention Center from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. For more information, contact Sue Magness at 946-7736.

Submitted by Crystal Wentz, Public Affairs Intern


MSD Director part of forming National Water Leadership Institute
Public Water and Wastewater Utilities are looking for a way to address the need for Future Leadership.  Leadership is setting the vision and determining the direction of the Industry whereas Management is day-to-day agency operations.  “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.” (Peter Drucker, Mgt. Expert)  The Utilities’ answer:  A National Water Leadership Institute.  

The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business in Chapel Hill North Carolina won a national competition to house the National Water Leadership Institute.  This institute is designed to go beyond management training and begin producing the next generation of leaders for the water and wastewater industry worldwide.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) named four utility executives to aid in development of the Leadership Institute.  Patrick Karney, MSD Director, was one of four CEO’s (out of a national membership of 41,000) chosen to participate in September’s CEO Workshop.  The group of CEO’s audited Kenan-Flagler’s proposed curriculum and provided input for improving both subject matter and presentation methods.  The WEF Delegation were joined in North Carolina by CEOs from three other organizations: Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA), a wastewater organization like WEF, and two drinking water organizations, American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA). “MSD of Greater Cincinnati can share my pride in having been one of those selected to participate in the September CEO’s Workshop.” said MSD Director Pat Karney.

UNC will be hosting the first Leadership Class this Spring.  The initial session will run twelve consecutive days at the Chapel Hill campus.  This will be followed up by review of additional assignments to be completed following the participants’ return to their respective utilities, and annual retreats for the next three years.  Through this process Kenan-Flagler’s Water Leadership Institute will produce the most highly qualified leaders of the future.  MSD will have two members of its management team in the inaugural class.  Susan Moisio, P.E. and Ed Kesterman, P.E., Sewers Chief Engineer will participate in the first class leading the way for us, and others.  It is quite an achievement to have more than one participant from a single agency in the first National Water Institute Leadership class.

The CEO forum has shaped the Water Leadership Institute and its influence on future leaders in the field of water and wastewater utilities.  The participation of Pat Karney in the CEO Workshop and the involvement Susan Moisio and Ed Kesterman in the UNC Leadership Class provides hard evidence that MSD is becoming a National Leader. 

Submitted by Maria Turner


New Benefits Manager Appointed
County Personnel Director Gary Berger announced last week the appointment of Cheryl Keller as Hamilton County's new Benefits Manager.  Cheryl started with the County on Feb. 15.  Ms. Keller comes to us from the Mercy Healthcare System where she was the Senior Benefit Analyst at their corporate headquarters. She also has 12 years of public sector experience at the University of Cincinnati, where she was the Assistant Director of Benefits. She holds a Masters degree in Labor and Employee Relations from U.C.  The Benefits Manager position was vacated when Gary Berger was promoted to the County Personnel Director Position. Welcome Cheryl!


Have a Great Week!


Hello, Hamilton County is published twice each month.  It is placed on both the County's internal and external Web pages.  It is design to enlighten and inform both citizens and employees of Hamilton County.  If you have questions or suggestions for future editions, contact Sharon Booker (946-4428) or Eric Stuckey (946-4432) in the County Administrator's Office or e-mail to eric.stuckey@hamilton-co.org.