Published: Sunday, 11 June 2017 01:01
COLUMBUS – Approximately 70 or so different black bears are reported annually in the Buckeye State according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). While the population of Ohio’s largest mammal may not exactly increase in 2017, sightings of black bears are expected to rise in the summer months.
ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists explain the young adult bears disperse annually, typically as a result of being driven off by their mother as she prepares for the breeding season. Male bears have a larger home range and may travel several hundred miles in search of a mate. Female bears have a smaller home range and seldom venture as far to establish territories.
If a bear is sighted, individuals should contact the Division of Wildlife District Office (614-644-3925) to report the sighting, and then leave the bear alone. Every year, some bear reports in Ohio are associated with nuisance situations. When people remove potential food sources, conflicts with bears often diminish. Moving bird feeders higher, removing uneaten pet food, keeping trash inside until pick up day, and cleaning up after grilling out all help to deter bears from frequenting an area and becoming nuisances.
Read more about what to do if you encounter a black bear in Ohio at wildohio.gov.
Efforts to monitor black bears in Ohio are supported by the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund, which receives donations through the sale of Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps, the state income tax checkoff program, and the purchase of cardinal license plates. More information is available at wildohio.gov.
The black bear is listed as an endangered species in Ohio and protected by state law.
Published: Thursday, 08 June 2017 23:53
By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter
MOUNT VERNON — Cash assistance to families in need declined slightly in 2016 compared to 2015. Matthew Kurtz, director of Knox County Job & Family Services, reported year-end statistics to the county commissioners on Thursday.
The $9.54 million disbursed last year, which includes food assistance and TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families), came in slightly under the $9.77 million in 2015. Food assistance accounts for the largest portion at $8.59 million.
“It was around $12 million in 2009 and 2010, so it's considerably less than it was at one time,” said Kurtz.
The food assistance program averaged 3,000 individuals representing 6,000 families. The average monthly amount issued to each person was $120.86, about $4 a day. Kurtz said that with an average of 4 percent unemployment the last three to four years there is a job for everyone, but food assistance is still needed because median income remains flat and people are not making enough money. He noted this puts a stress on food banks and other organizations as well as J&FS.
The future of one TANF category, 46 individuals waiting for SSI (Supplemental Security Income), is uncertain because that $69,028 is paid by the state. “From what I am seeing in the budget bill, this will go away,” said Kurtz. “Nothing is final until it's signed, but the indications are this will go away.”
Medicaid expenditures totaled a little over $128 million and were also down from over $129 million in 2015. Medicaid cards issued averaged 14,098. Kurtz said that nearly 8,000 individuals are new since Medicaid was expanded four years ago. This category also faces an uncertain future. “Both bills introduced to replace the Affordable Care Act close the window to expansion, but it will be 2020 to 2021 before those people are gone,” said Kurtz.
Because of the uncertainty of what will happen with the Affordable Care Act and the funding associated with it, Kurtz said he has left two staff positions unfilled. He also said that staff members are transitioning from the state's 1980s-era computer system to a modern one.