Last updated: August 24. 2013 10:13AM - 572 Views

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As many dignitaries do when coming to Lima, Gov. John Kasich stopped for dinner at venerable eatery Kewpee in downtown Lima before heading to the Veterans Memorial Civic Center to give the State of the State address.

The governor even tweeted about the stop before taking the stage, writing, "Enjoyed a quick Kewpee burger before the State of the State in Lima tonight."

Eating well

Several state officials, including the Ohio Board of Regents Interim Chancellor Stephanie Davidson and Ohio Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Sawyers, ate lunch prepared and served by Apollo Career Center culinary arts students.

The program, led by instructor Carrie Hamilton, has been named in the top 100 in the nation by Sullivan Institutes.

Also in town today, Old Barn Out Back, Milano Cafe and Fresh provided catering for other events.

Time to shop

Ohio First Lady Karen Kasich stopped to do some shopping at Nitza’s in Lima.

She later tweeted, “Thanks to Nitza’s I just bought a new outfit! Thanks for such a warm welcome to Lima.”

Kasich’s budget includes beauty-services tax

A group of concerned residents gathered Tuesday afternoon to raise awareness for a part of the governor’s budget they do not agree with, a beauty-services tax.

The Ohio Association of Beauticians and the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus held the event, discussing the tax and how they believe it will hinder the economy and businesses in general.

“A lot of those businesses have been struggling anyway because of the recession we’ve been in, so it worries us,” said Branden Smith, the caucus’s executive director.

The tax would be something hair and beauty salons would be required to pass on to clients, something Smith said he is afraid would drive away business.

State official hails from Apollo

Steve Gratz, director of career technical education with Ohio Department of Education, is an Apollo Career Center graduate. He graduated in 1978 from the agricultural mechanics program.

Gratz spent time back at his old school, including touring the building and handing our awards to students, staffs, graduates and local businesses.

OSU-Lima old home for chancellor

Ohio Board of Regents Interim Chancellor Stephanie Davidson once taught a class at OSU-Lima in the 1980s.

Davidson said she and other staff would drive here from Columbus in the summer. In the winter, they would travel by the OSU plane.

She only half-joked that the snacks on the airplane got much better when E. Gordon Gee became university president.

Award-winning night

Gov. John Kasich presented Governor’s Courage Awards for the second straight year. Rick and Mark Armstrong accepted an award on behalf of their father, astronaut and Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong, who died in 2012. Also adult autism advocate Sondra Williams and the staff of Chardon High School, the site of a fatal shooting a year ago, received awards.

Local touches

Musicians from Lima Symphony Orchestra and Shawnee High School choir Sweet Sixteenths help provide entertainment during the day and evening. Also, an honor guard from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office presented the colors during the State of the State.

The Civic Center had two new permanent exhibits of photography work done by students in the Lima City Schools, The Wilds prints by seventh grade Arts Magnet students and The Echoes prints by students from Lima Senior.

Other visits

A number of cabinet-level officials visited Lima on Tuesday:

•David Goodman, director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, presented an unclaimed funds check to an Allen County resident during a visit to the American Township Fire Department.

•Kimberly Hettel, director of the Governor's Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, and Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, director of Ohio Association of Food Banks, volunteered at the West Ohio Food Bank distribution center.

•Jim Zehringer, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Scott Nally, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, met with members of the Ottawa River Coalition to talk about impaired stream segments.

•Bureau of Workers Compensation Administrator Steve Buehrer met with local companies to discuss their concerns with the program.

•Directors of the Ohio EPA, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and Ohio Department of Natural Resources met with officials from the City of Lima and Lima Energy. The meeting wasn't open to the public or media.

Career tech recognized

February is Career Technical Education Month, so officials reinforced the importance of technical schools at Apollo Career Center Center.

“Career technical education is a quality choice for schools, communities, businesses and industries and will ultimately will protect the well-being of our state as well as the nation at large,” said Michael Sawyers, acting superintendent of public instruction.

Accompanying Sawyers was Stephanie Davidson, Interim Chancellor, discussing the importance of adult education programs.

Several awards were handed out, including automated manufacturing awards for graduate Zach Miron, of American Trim, student Gabe Cozadd and teacher Toby Prinsen; welding awards for graduate Ethan Macke, of Crown Equipment; student Tyler McComb and teacher Steve Conner; construction equipment to graduate Tyler McCollum, of Bobcat of Lima, student Nathan Felver and teacher Wayne Kentner. Officials also recognized an entire culinary arts class and instructor Carrie Hamilton for being named in the top 100 in the nation by Sullivan Institutes.

Fire marshal visits Bath firehouse

Ohio Fire Marshal Larry Flowers visited the Bath Township Fire Department headquarters, meeting with Bath Township Fire Chief Joseph L. Kitchen and his crew.

“We have been getting ready the last few days and making sure everything is spick and span to impress Flowers,” firefighter Jared Jenkins said.

Kitchen was glad to talk to Flowers about fire issues such as education, fire inspection and fire prevention programs. Flowers was very interested in coming up with solutions to help the local community while talking to Kitchen. Flowers spent most of his career in fire services, starting as a volunteer firefighter before he went into the legislature and then ultimately became the state fire marshal.

Reporters Beth Jokinen, Ashlee McDonnell, Zach Rader, Heather Rutz, Sarah Stemen and David Trinko contributed to this story.

Kasich and Kewpee

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