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Quick takes

July 14, 2013
The Herald-Star

LICENSED: Jessica Bake-Caldwell, formerly of Weirton, recently earned a teacher leader endorsement from Ohio Dominican University.

She earned the endorsement by completing three courses during the 2012-13 school year and is now eligible to gain a lead professional license, which requires applicants to have taught a minimum of nine years, have their master's degree and master teacher status.

A kindergarten teacher with Maysville Local Schools, she is beginning her 17th year in the classroom.

The daughter of Betty Joe Bake of Weirton, she now resides in Zanesville with her husband and three step-children.

HONORED: Melissa Watts, manager of U.S. Bank's Toronto branch, is a 2012 Pinnacle Award winner.

Watts, among a select number of top performing employees nationwide to win the bank's award for outstanding achievement and superior performance, was recognized at a company dinner recently, officials said.

"(She) deserves tremendous congratulations for this achievement as she does an outstanding job to make sure our customers' expectations are not only met, but exceeded," U.S. Bank Regional President Jeff East said, pointing out that it's because of employees like Watts that the bank has received several accolades over the past year, including being recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the world's most admired super regional banks.

Watts, who has an associate degree from Eastern Gateway Community College, is active in community organizations, including the Catholic Women's Club, Toronto Schools Alumni Association and Toronto Chamber of Commerce.

This is the second time she has won the Pinnacle Award.

KUDOS: Diehl Automotive has earned the distinction of being named one of Automotive News' Best Dealerships To Work For.

Automotive News partnered with Best Companies Group to identify dealerships in the U.S. and Canada that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees.

The program measured workplace satisfaction through a confidential survey of employers and employees.

Diehl was chosen because of many things, including, first and foremost, its commitment to, and respect for, their employees, officials said.

In addition, Diehl also offers employees a top-tier benefits package, a PC buying program which lends interest-free money to employees to purchase PC's and tablets that can be paid off with payroll deductions, and bonuses and contests that benefit employees.

Diehl of Robinson, formerly Micks Dodge, opened its doors at 6181 Steubenville Pike, McKees Rocks, Pa., in September 2013.

Since then, numerous updates have been made, including a complete showroom facelift, new and better service diagnostic tools, and a new, open and comfortable no-hassle sales approach, officials said.

VETS: About 55,000 veteran and active-duty military families in Ohio receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit or the low-income component of the Child Tax Credit, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Policy Matters Ohio is releasing the report in Ohio.

"Ohio's troops and veterans have made incredible sacrifices, and we have a duty to make sure they can provide for their families," said Hannah Halbert of Policy Matters Ohio. "Working family tax credits like the EITC and CTC are part of fulfilling that duty."

Nationally, about 1.5 million military families, including about 3 million children under age 18, received one or both of the credits. The credits make a difference to their economic security, keeping 140,000 military families with nearly 300,000 children from falling below the poverty line. The credits also help working families with incomes modestly above the poverty line that still struggle with basic expenses like housing, school clothes, car repairs and groceries.

Only people who are working can claim the credits, which were slightly expanded in recent years so they provide more help to more families. On average the credit amounts to $1,000 per household from the low-income portion of the Child Tax Credit in 2011 and $2,650 from the EITC.

"The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit help working families make ends meet," said Halbert. "Congress must protect our military families by protecting these tax credits in the months ahead."

Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

TRAINING: Buckeye Local South Elementary School teacher Kimberly Amos attended a two-day teacher workshop hosted by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program to learn how to engage and connect students to the energy industry through science education.

The workshop was held June 19-20 at Marietta College in Marietta.

"OOGEEP established the teacher workshops to help teachers promote how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.) play into energy education and eventually into the work force for young students who may consider careers in the oil and gas industry," said Rhonda Reda, executive director of OOGEEP. "Ohio has a long history of drilling and producing oil and gas. Recent technologies have enabled the industry to explore and drill in many geological formations around the state."

In addition to Amos, other teachers from across the state attended the free workshop offered by OOGEEP. The teachers learned all aspects of energy production from formation to exploration, drilling to producing and processing to refining. The teachers also engaged in hands-on experiments and Internet activities.

The final day of the workshop included a tour of PDC Energy's horizontal drilling site, GWB Oil & Gas, producing well location, a behind-the-scenes look at Ken Miller Supply's pipe operations and the Ergon Trucking's crude oil terminal business.

At the end of the workshop, teachers received resource materials, classroom supplies, lesson plans, DVDs, posters and documentation for CEU credits and an optional Ashland graduate credit.

The workshop, accommodations and educational materials were funded by Ohio's natural gas and crude oil producers as part of their public outreach initiatives.

OOGEEP's mission is to facilitate educational, scholarship, safety and training programs; to promote public awareness about the industry; and to demonstrate to the general public the environmental, energy and economic benefits of Ohio's independent natural gas and crude oil producers. OOGEEP is funded by Ohio's natural gas and crude oil producers and does not utilize any taxpayer dollars.

For information on OOGEEP, visit

GRANTS: The Natural Resources Assistance Council for District 14 is accepting applications for Program Year 7 of the Clean Ohio Fund: Green Space Conservation Program.

District 14 includes Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties.

The program helps to fund preservation of open spaces, sensitive ecological areas and stream corridors. Applicants may request grants for up to 75 percent of the estimated costs for projects that address either:

Open space acquisition and related development of those open spaces, including the acquisition of easements. This includes acquisition of land or rights in land for parks, forest, wetlands, natural areas that protect an endangered plant or animal population, other natural areas and connecting corridors for natural areas. Related development projects include projects for the construction or enhancement of facilities that are necessary to make the acquired open space area accessible and useable by the general public.

Protection and enhancement of riparian corridors or watersheds, including the protection of streams, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water. Projects may include reforestation of land or planting of vegetation for filtration, and fee simple acquisition or acquisition of easements for providing access, or for protection and enhancement.

To assist in the application process, a free training session will be conducted from 10 a.m. to noon on July 31 in the meeting room on the lower level of the Tuscarawas County Public Library, 121 Fair Avenue, NW, New Philadelphia. Those planning to attend should RSVP to District 14 liaison Jeannette Wierzbicki by July 26 either by phone or e-mail

The grant application deadline is Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. Materials should be submitted by mail to Jeannette Wierzbicki, P.E., Grants Specialist with Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA), 326 Highland Avenue, P.O. Box 130 Cambridge, OH 43725 or by calling (740) 439-4471, extension 4.

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