Awards, speech part of Legislation Day

Awards, an election, an Easter parade and a presentation by state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, were all part of the GFWC/Ohio Federation of Women’s Club’s Southeast District Legislation Day held March 23.

The GFWC Woman’s Club of Wintersville served as the host of the annual event held this time around in local territory at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.

The Southeast District takes in 28 counties, including Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll, Belmont, Monroe, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Knox, Coshocton, Licking, Muskingum, Guernsey, Noble, Washington, Morgan, Perry, Fairfield, Pickaway, Hocking, Athens, Meigs, Vinton, Ross, Pike, Jackson, Gallia, Scioto and Lawrence counties.

Local clubs represented, in addition to the Wintersville Woman’s Club, were the East Springfield Junior Woman’s Club, the Woman’s Club of Steubenville, the Woman’s Club of Mingo Junction, the Woman’s Club of Adena and the Upper Ohio Valley Junior Women’s Club.

The 13-member Circleville Junior Women’s Club was represented by Lisa Hedrick, who also serves as second vice president of the GFWC Ohio. Also in attendance was the Junior Women’s Club of Barnesville.

Marjean Sizemore, Southeast District president and a member and officer with the Wintersville Woman’s Club, called the day’s events to order with Natalie Doty, second vice president of the Wintersville Woman’s Club, leading in opening ceremonies.

Meeting Chairman Bonnie DiDomenico of the Wintersville Woman’s Club offered the welcome; Deidre DeVore, SED junior director and president of the East Springfield club, the response; and Joan Martinez, SED secretary, the roll call.

A registration report by Claudia Dorich followed an Easter parade, and the day also included the election of Joan Martinez, a member of the Wintersville Woman’s Club, and Sharon Cole-Isner as an alternate to serve on the GFWC/OFWC nominating committee.

Robbie Young gave the blessing for the luncheon.

Attendees were reminded of upcoming events, including:

  • OFWC annual convention April 26-28 in Columbus;
  • The GFWC International Convention on June 30 through July 2 in Hollywood, Fla.;
  • GFWC/Ohio State Leadership Day on July 20 in Grove City; and
  • The Gold Star Mother’s Pilgrimage on Sept. 29 at the Memorial Shrine at Loudonville.

It being Legislation Day, Gentile appropriately touched on legislative news in the Buckeye state, including the proposed $63.3 billion state budget bill.

While Gentile said he respects Gov. John Kasich’s plan for Medicaid expansion, other provisions pose concerns, including expanding the state sales tax that would impact many everyday services from haircuts to entertainment tickets. It also includes a “dramatic increase,” he said, in severance taxes related to the extraction of shale oil and natural gas. Regarding the latter, Gentile said he has prepared an amendment in the Senate to have 65 percent of that revenue stay in the communities of Southeast Ohio instead of going in the general fund to provide income tax reduction.

The budget bill is still in the early stages, Gentile emphasized.

The goal to reduce by 20 percent income tax across the board would benefit the average Ohioan only by $30 to $40 and falls short of encouraging economic growth, according to Gentile. He said he is disappointed in the education budget and what it means to school districts he represents, 29 of which got flat-funded and four saw modest increases. The funding formula is flawed, and work toward adequate funding is an ongoing issue, he said.

Gentile said he has introduced legislation that would help veterans ease into the workforce with academic credits acknowledged for their work, skills and specialized training in the military. Clean drinking water in communities where it is lacking also is a concern, cause for legislation to identify areas where it is not readily available.

Regarding the oil and gas industry, Gentile said he has proposed legislation that would require a report on the number of Ohio jobs created by the oil and gas industries with the first report anticipated in April.

Legislation Day wrapped up with the presentation of awards in six community service program areas.

Categories and winners were:

— Signature Project For Domestic Violence Awareness: Upper Ohio Valley Junior Women’s Club, Adena, Belpre and Wintersville.

— Arts: Nelsonville, Circleville, Belpre, Wintersville; Ohio Valley Young Women’s Club, juniorettes.

— Conservation: Upper Ohio Valley Junior women’s Club, Circleville, Belpre, Wintersville.

— Home life: Ohio Valley Junior Women’s Club, Circleville, Proctorville, Wintersville.

— Education: Upper Ohio Valley Junior Women’s Club, GFWC Internet Service Providers, Belpre, Wintersville.

— International Outreach: Collaborative, Circleville, Belpre, Wintersville; and Partnership, Circleville and Proctorville;

— Public Issues: Adena, Belpre and Wintersville.

— Communication and identity: Hyperion Club of Nelsonville, Circleville, Belpre and Wintersville; and preserving heritage, Nelsonville and GFWC Internet Service Providers.

— Membership: Upper Ohio Valley Junior Women’s Club, Circleville, Belpre and Wintersville.

— Leadership: Hyperion Club of Nelsonville, Circleville, Belpre and Winersville.

— Legislation: Hyperion Club of Nelsonville, GFWC Internet Service Providers and Woman’s Club of Mingo Junction.

Sizemore presented fundraiser awards to the Ohio Valley Young Women’s Club and the Wintersville Woman’s Club.