Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Chuck Tilbury who is the Clermont County Deputy Auditor.

He spoke to us today about the state of our county. Clermont is a mid-size county compared to all the other Ohio counties. We are very diverse and not considered an urban county but rather agricultural. There are 13 municipalities, 2 cities (Milford & Loveland), 14 townships (Union & Miami are the largest). Over 94,000 parcels, valued at over $4.4 billion, are maintained by the auditor's office which includes how they are drawn, valued and transferred. Our county has just under 1500 employers and a government which includes executive, legislative, judicial, public safety and human services branches. There are also departments which deal with community development, transportation, economic development, water & sewage.

On average, Clermont County receives $155-165 million per year; and in 2010, $155 million went out. 90% of the county revenue comes from 3 sources: taxes ($66 million - real estate & sales taxes), inter-governmental ($42 million - commonly in the form of grants & local government funds given by the state) and charge for services ($47 million). There is also a small amount of money which comes from investments earnings which varies throughout the year.

Looking at the total budget, Legislative spends 11%, Judicial spends 7%, Public works spends 6%, Public Safety spends 17%, Human services spends 20%, Community Development spends 1%, Water & Sewer spends 20%. Personal services (people costs) are around $67 million which is 41% of the budget. The county government general fund represents about $50 million. Of this general fund, the commissioners spend $15.8 million and the auditor spends $1.4 million.

Next week we will hear from Harry Snider of Great Oaks!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Dan Rolfus of Potter Hill Homes.

Dan spoke to us about energy and stated, “If we cared less about energy we would win”. In other words, our nation would “win” if we were willing to consume less energy. He then shared with us about how our nation uses 100 Quadrillian (12 zeros) units of energy per year. According to Dan, the U.S. also imports 30 Quadrillian units of energy which is more than all but 2 nations in the world use. America uses about 25% of the energy used in the entire world.

Dan proposed some questions: What if we could produce 10% of our energy needs by alternative energy? What if we could produce 10% more by a safe form of nuclear energy? What if we could preserve 10% of what we use? What if we could drill for 5% more of our energy needs? 
After all these questions, Dan shared with us how his daughter runs a company called “Potter Hill Homes” which typically builds homes at least 30% more efficient than the code. They put geothermal systems in these homes which are basically heat pumps having 3 wells which are 150 feet deep where they draw cooler air in the summer and warmer air in the winter. They measure every home with a HERS rating which is typically “130” for homes in our area (code is “100”). Geothermal takes the rating down to around “50”. They then added solar which drew the rating down to “34”. In the end, they basically drive the energy use down to what is called “net zero”. Of course these houses cost slightly more to build but with the energy savings, a typical family would still save much money.

Dan stated, “We don't realize the trillions of dollars we are spending on energy consumption today”. He believes we need to have the courage to deal with our energy consumption issues in America.

Next week we will hear from Chuck Tillberry.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Jack Kreautler, CEO - Meridian Bioscience, Inc.

Meridian is a publicly traded company founded in 1977 and was originally operated out of the basement of a house. They are a fully integrated life science company that develops, manufactures, markets and distributes a broad range of innovative diagnostic testes, purified reagents and biopharmaceutical enabling technologies. This $165 million company has zero debt and is very fiscally responsible. They are an international company which is based here in Cincinnati.

Meridian invented the first 10 minute strep throat test and help detect other diseases such as hospital acquired infection, peptic ulcer disease and toxic producing ecoli. Jack explained to us that 80% of “routine” testing use “clean samples” and is highly automated whereas Meridian operates in the lower volume, high value area using manual and semi-automated testing. This focus helps testing become more accurate and ends up saving money by avoiding such issues as misdiagnosis. Most often Meridian uses what they call “dirty samples” and look for “test and treat” opportunities which lead to better patient care, lower health care costs and treatable infections. The company focuses on acute care hospitals, reference laboratories and outpatient clinics while not targeting doctor offices or the over-the-counter market.

Meridian is committed to supporting science education through evens such as the Science Olympiad's Cincinnati Regional Tournament for middle and high school students, and by providing scholarships for the Biotechnology path in Greater Cincinnati College Tech Prep Consortium. Meridian also sponsors and participates in several community programs such as the Newtown 5k, Inter Parish Ministries (food/clothing drives), and the Wish Tree Program in Cincinnati. It collects used cell phones for soldiers serving overseas and proudly participates in the United Way Campaign. 

Next week we will hear fromDan Rolfus - Potter Hill Homes

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rotary for High School Students at Batavia

Ben McDonough who is the President of our Batavia High School Interact Club visited us on May 10 to give us an update. Interact is the high school version of Rotary. Their club began with six members and is now up to 30 members. They have done or plan to do several projects including helping Kids Against Hunger, an Easter Bunny photo opportunity, helping with the Rotary Egg Hunt, a pop can top drive, a plastic bag drive for the animal shelters, a crayon drive to help kids at the homeless shelter, helping with kindergarten open house, and serving at the alumni dinner. Much more is planned for next year. Batavia Interact is very grateful for the support our Rotary club has given them. They feel it would have been impossible to do everything they do without our help. Rotary is very proud of this outstanding group of high school students and hopes this is only the beginning of them making a difference in our community.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Dr. JeffreyBauer of UC Clermont College. He has a special connection to Rotary in that he used to serve at a hotel where a Rotary club met and he sat in on many meetings.

We learned about the new Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies which begins this Fall 2011. It is for those who already have an Associate's Degree in a technical field and includes 2 years of technical education and 2 years of applied studies and general education. The curriculum emphasizes application, offering advanced leadership, communication, technology, and business administration skills for studies who seek to further their careers. They worked much with local for-profit and non-profit businesses to ensure this would be a valuable degree. This will work great for evening and part-time students but classes will be offered in the day, evening, weekends, online, time-compressed and hybrid formats (partially face-to-face and partially online). The program will be competitively priced.

How can Rotary help?
-Helps us get the word out
-Refer students/employees
-Provide tuition reimbursement plans to employees
-Provided internship/co-op service learning opportunities
-Serve on the BTAS Advisory Committee (program will change based on community needs)
-Tell us what you think of the curriculum and what skills you think our graduate will need to be successful
-Sponsor scholarships or provide in-kind gifts
-Teach a class

For more information contact Monica Vesprani at 558-6197
Next week we will hear from Jack Kreautler, CEO - Meridian Bioscience, Inc

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Mark Josaitis of Western Southern Life who will discuss Identity Theft

Mark began with some interesting facts about identity theft which is basically when someone steals something which has your personal information on it. Often they will rent an apartment or get a PO Box and redirect your mail and then have all sorts of things sent in your name. It generally takes 14 months for people to discover their identity has been stolen and the average amount stolen is $18,000. 4 Rotarians in our meeting this morning raised their hand testifying they have had their identity stolen.

Mark shared several tips on protecting your identity. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to shred everything. Thieves tend to root through trash and steal mail from your mailbox. Anything with your name, address, account number, etc. should be shredded (including ads which might have your name, address or some account number). People need very little information to steal your identity. Another idea is to close unused accounts (especially store accounts which tend to be easy to abuse). It is always a good idea to check your credit report annually from a service such as http://www.freecreditreport.com/. You should never give out personal information over the phone and be especially careful never to say the word “yes” when someone calls you asking for money or selling a product since that recorded call could be edited. Guard your social security number closely because it will allow thieves to gain employment and try not to give it out if at all possible. Use only your first initial and last name on your checks. Online bill pay is probably one of the safest ways to pay your bills. Your computer passwords should always be at least 6 characters and include 1 letter, 1 number and one special character (try to mix up the order). It is also wise to keep your credit cards from being taken too far from you at a restaurant.

There are several ways to discover your identity may have been stolen. One way is if you begin getting bills for accounts you've never opened. Another way is if you don't get a bill you were expecting to get. Changes on bills you have not authorized can be another indicator.

What do you do if your identity is stolen? Call the police. Stop payments and notify financial institutions. Get your credit report. Get a new drivers license. Do not get a new social security number.

Next week we will hear from Jeffrey Bauer of UC Clermont College and our Interact group from Batavia High School