The 99th House District is one of the most unique regions in the entire state of Ohio. From the lakefront to the farmbelt, there are challenges that must be met—and met together regardless of party affiliation, geographic residence or any other artificial barriers.

Two such challenges are readily apparent with respect to momentous property tax increases for the agricultural community — commonly known as CAUV rates — and the near epidemic presence of Lyme disease, which has the potential to impact all residents.

As your state representative, I believe it is my responsibility to help tackle both issues due to the pressing nature of each.

Recently, the first meeting of the local CAUV task force was held at the Ohio State University Extension office in Jefferson. Over 20 people attended, representing every form of agriculture found in our community. From organic growers to dairy, grain, fish and even woodlot entrepreneurs, we began to address the causes and potential remedies for the significant increases in property tax rates for those who depend on agriculture for their livelihood. For a complete summary of the first meeting contact the OSU Extension at (440) 576-9008.

Our next meeting will be held on Oct. 6 at 9 a.m. in the meeting room of the OSU Extension office at 39 Wall Street, Jefferson, Ohio 44047. All interested parties are urged to attend as we move forward.

Secondly, as many of you may already know, Ashtabula County has led the state of Ohio in terms of reported Lyme disease cases in animals. The high number of infected animals seems to indicate that people in our area are also at greater risk for infection, especially those individuals who regularly interact with wildlife. Part of the problem is the fact that oftentimes Lyme is not detected, let alone diagnosed and, as such, is not reported.

The Centers for Disease Control maintains that Lyme is the sixth fastest growing health concern in the United States. But even their efforts to inform the public and to shape policy have come up short due to the lack of effective and accurate reporting procedures.

Therefore, with the assistance of Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri, I will be hosting a Lyme Disease Symposium on Thursday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Lakes Outdoor Supply at 8560 Bainbridge Rd., Bainbridge, OH 44023. This event is free and open to the public. I urge outdoorsmen, farmers, and those who enjoy outside activities to attend. I would also like to extend a special invitation to those who are living with Lyme disease.

Three experts in their fields will be present to share information. Dr. Glen Needham (Ph.D.) will begin the evening with a “Tick Talk.” He will be followed by Dr. Charles Curie (D.V.M.) who will examine the animal side of Lyme disease. Finally, Dr. Phillip DeMio (M.D.) will bring us up-to-date with the human side of this disease.

We face many challenges in our great District, but as we move forward, I remain convinced that together we are prepared to meet these issues with the same can-do attitude that our ancestors possessed when they carved out this corner of Ohio. “We” and “together” are crucial for success. So join me at either or both events and feel free to contact my office with your valued insights. I remain ever committed to helping move “us” toward a better tomorrow.

Legislative Update: CAUV Task Force & Addressing Lyme Disease