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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio


Reaction to House vote to repeal/replace Obamacare mixed

MOUNT VERNON - While Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs joined a majority of representatives in support of the House of Representatives bill to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act negative reaction from others is plentiful.

Gibbs told KnoxPages.com back in January that he favored the repeal with a plan that is, "Patient driven with marketplace principles competition and lower cost and better service."

In Columbus, Republican Governor John Kasich on Thursday tweeted, "While there have been some modest changes to this bill, it still remains woefully short on the resources necessary to maintain health care for our nation's most valuable citizens. It's essential we help people dealing with mental illness, addiction and chronic illness have the coverage they need to get and stay healthy. As the bill now heads to the Senate I am hopeful they will find the right way forward, and I am committed to working with like-minded governors and senators on a more practical, sustainable solution.

In Washington, D.C Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown warned that the Republican healthcare plan passed in the House could rip care away from up to 900,000 Ohioans, including more than 200,000 Ohioans receiving treatment for opioid addiction. The plan also weakens protections for those living with pre-existing conditions, and does nothing to lower costs or improve care for Ohioans.

 Brown said, “I agree with Governor Kasich: we cannot allow Washington politicians with taxpayer-funded health insurance to rip coverage away from Ohioans who are battling cancer, getting regular checkups for the first time or finally getting treatment for their opioid addiction,” said Brown. “This bill threatens the healthcare coverage of nearly 1 million Ohioans, including 200,000 currently battling addiction, and allows companies to jack up prices on people with preexisting conditions like asthma and diabetes. This bill is heartless, it is bad for Ohio, and it will leave real Ohioans struggling to afford care. Instead of taking care away, we should be working to reduce the price of prescription drugs and improve care for everyone.”

Local resident Joan Slonczewski of Gibbs Watch, a political action group, told KnoxPages.com "Mr. Gibbs will have to pay for deserting his constituents on pre-existing conditions, prenatal care, and Medicaid--which includes therapy for opioid addiction.Nevertheless, Mr. Gibbs went undecided till very late--because he faces an amazing challenger in 2018, presumptive candidate Ken Harbaugh. As a Navy veteran (Democrat) Ken says that a commander who'd lost as many men as Gibbs's district lost to opioids would be courtmartialed. Ken supports health care for all and he will be fighting with us for 2018."

Gibbs Watch members hold weekly demonstrations on the Public Square on Saturdays where they hold signs, sing and speak out about political issues. 


Congressman Gibbs votes to repeal/replace Obamacare

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Knox County's representative in Congress, Republican Bob Gibbs, Thursday voted for the American Health Care Act. The vote was 117 for and 113 against.

Following the vote, Gibbs released this statement saying, "It is clear that Obamacare is collapsing, with news just this week of insurers exiting several state's individual exchanges. There are a lot of concerns about if and how the AHCA will affect Americans with pre-existing conditions."

Bob Gibbs

7th District Congressman Bob Gibbs represents Knox County in the U.S. House of Representatives

Gibbs posted a short video to accompany the statement on his Facebook page.  The video says the MacArthur amendment specifically prevents insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions more for health coverage. Insurance ccompanies are still prohbited from denying coverage to those with pre-existing coditions.

The Associated Press reports the bill would eliminate tax penalties from Obama's law which has clamped down on people who don't buy coverage and it erases tax increases in the Affordable Care Act on higher-earning people and the health industry. It cuts the Medicaid program for low-income people and lets states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. It transforms Obama's subsidies for millions buying insurance - largely based on people's incomes and premium costs - into tax credits that rise with consumers' ages.

It would retain Obama's requirement that family policies cover grown children until age 26.

But states could get federal waivers freeing insurers from other Obama coverage requirements. With waivers, insurers could charge people with pre-existing illnesses far higher rates than healthy customers, boost prices for older consumers to whatever they wish and ignore the mandate that they cover specified services like pregnancy care.

The bill would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, considered a triumph by many anti-abortion Republicans.

The Health Care Act now will head to the U.S. Senate for consideration.


Knox Village Square sold

By Dylan McCament, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON - Knox Village Square on Coshocton Avenue is in for some changes, according to the company that recently purchased the 206,972-square-foot commercial center located across from Wal-Mart.

Regency Properties, a real estate company located in Evansville, Indiana, purchased the center for 4 million dollars on April 21, according to local tax records.

The center includes local JC Penney and Peebles stores. Currently, the Payless Shoe Store there is going out of business and Knox County's only KMart closed there earlier this year. 

“Mount Vernon’s vibrant economy makes it an ideal community for acquisition,” said Jeff Howell, the company's vice president of acquisitions and business management. “Regency is excited to begin renovation and leverage our expertise working in county seat communities to bring new, nationally-recognized retailers to shoppers in Mount Vernon.”

Regency Properties plans to renovate the center’s façade, with exterior upgrades expected to be completed by end of the year.


Voters approve renewal levy for Mount Vernon Schools

MOUNT VERNON - Voters approved a renewal levy for Mount Vernon City Schools on Tuesday. The money will be used for day-to-day expenses like electric bills, fuel for busses, classroom supplies and slaries for staff.

Levies were also approved for fire and EMS services in the Central Ohio Joint Fire District, the Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District and in Morris Township.

The Northridge and North Fork districts serve part of Knox and Licking Counties. Knox County voters defeated the North Fork 1% income tax and the Northridge income tax/bond issue. Licking County results were still being tabulated late Tuesday. 

Below is the summary report from the Knox County Board of Elections which shows there was a turnout of 8.9 percent of the registered voters in Knox County, one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent memory.

May 2 results

JobsOhio grant to help establish Siemens Global Customer Operations Center in Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON – Area Development Foundation, Inc., President Jeffry Harris last week announced the community’s success in landing a significant grant from JobsOhio to help revitalize an under-used building on Siemens’ campus in Mount Vernon, transforming the facility into one of the company’s global Customer Operations Centers. 

The Siemens team in Mount Vernon, led by Stephen Rhoades, Head of Quality + EHS Distributed Generation, and Deborah Boal, Director of Finance, worked with the Foundation to apply to JobsOhio for an Ohio Revitalization Fund grant totaling $700,000. The grant funds will help cover the costs to renovate the current Engineering Center on Siemens’ campus into a Customer Operations Center serving the North American and Latin American markets with top-quality engineering, project management, design and sales support services.

“During the past year, Siemens has worked diligently to identity new uses for our Mount Vernon location. The creation of a new Customer Operations Center represents a significant part of that effort, and this grant helped Mount Vernon successfully compete in a global marketplace for this exciting new local endeavor,” said Rhoades.

Following last year’s announcement, in the context of a challenging global energy market, that Siemens in Mount Vernon will be maintained as a product and market knowledge center for aero-derivative gas turbine packages, the group worked in 2016 to strategically refocus the Siemens campus during its period of transition. One such opportunity presented itself in the Customer Operations Center, which is a Siemens best-practice model, whereby remote markets and customers are supported by highly trained engineers, project management, sales and support staff from a centralized location.

Siemens has been awarded $700,000 in grant funds by JobsOhio to renovate and improve 37,000 square feet in the existing Engineering Center, formerly the En-tronic Controls building. Improvements include relocating existing utilities, installing windows to allow for natural light, installing new restrooms and meeting facilities, and creating new modern office space.

Related to this project is the planned exit of the pre-fabricated office building at the corner of North Sandusky and Chestnut Streets. Siemens will relocate its existing office personnel from that leased, temporary building into the newly renovated Customer Operations Center, which will be ready for use by year-end 2017.

Boal noted this grant helps offset the substantial costs to Siemens to continue housing its engineers and sales support staff in Mount Vernon. “Our existing budget was not adequate to make all the necessary renovations for our Customer Operations Center. The JobsOhio grant was supportive to the Siemens’ decision to move forward in Mount Vernon, because the award keeps our project on budget.”

Regarding this grant award, Harris, stated, “Our strategic response to the announced shut-down of Siemens’ test, assembly and packaging operations in Mount Vernon has been the single largest economic priority in Knox County during the past year. The presence of Siemens in Mount Vernon, and the jobs associated with it, are of the utmost importance. I am thrilled with the opportunity represented by the Siemens Customer Operations Center landing in Knox County. And the involvement of JobsOhio in the project signals our community’s full buy-in to economic opportunities at the regional and state levels.”

The JobsOhio Revitalization Fund requires that participating projects commit to retain and/or create jobs that pay wages higher than average local wage rates. Grants are available under the program when remediation and building renovation costs exceed anticipated gains in land and building values.
JobsOhio is a private non-profit corporation designed to drive job creation and economic development efforts in Ohio. Formed by Governor John Kasich in 2011, the organization’s operations are primarily funded by taxes levied on the sale of spirituous liquors in Ohio.

Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. With approximately 351,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $88.1 billion in fiscal 2016. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $23.7 billion, including $5.4 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The Area Development Foundation, Inc. was created in the mid-1950s and serves as the central clearinghouse within Knox County, Ohio, of economic development expertise and activities. From negotiating public-private partnership deals to serving as the ombudsman for industrial end users, the Foundation seeks to retain and grow commercial and industrial economic opportunities within Knox County.

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