June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Columbus is coming to Medina

Loren Genson and David Knox | The Gazette

When Gov. John Kasich gives his State of the State address Monday evening at the Medina Performing Arts Center, the entire Ohio General Assembly will be in the audience.

But Kasich will bring a lot more than the state’s senators and House members: Officials from more than a dozen state departments and agencies also will be in Medina County for a crowded scheduled of events.

And city officials and area business leaders are working to take advantage of every minute of their visits.

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said he’s prepared for hundreds of elected officials and state leaders to visit Medina on Monday for activities planned ahead of Kasich’s State of the State address at 7 p.m.

Hanwell said the city is working with the Ohio Highway Patrol to ensure safety in and around the downtown. He said state lawmakers and cabinet members will be in town visiting with local businesses and touring the city and county.

The Westfield Group is sponsoring a luncheon in Westfield Center.

Ahead of the speech, Lager and Vine Gastropub and Wine Bar and Main Street Cafe in Medina will host private receptions for lawmakers and cabinet members.

Hanwell said the city will use shuttle buses for events in and around the downtown area.

“We thought that would be easier because so many people are from out of town, and we have a lot of one-way streets, it sometimes hard to find parking,” Hanwell said. “This way we can get them around town efficiently and back to the PAC for the governor’s speech.”

Local businesses have stepped up to pay the cost of the shuttle buses so dignitaries will not have to pay for the transportation, Hanwell said.

Many of the luncheons and tours of businesses will not be open to the public. The State of the State address itself also is a difficult event for the general public to get tickets to — only 50 tickets were available through a lottery system.

“I hope the public understands we’re not trying to do things behind closed doors, we’re just trying to handle the security of the dignitaries.”

Nearly every member of Ohio’s House of Representatives and Senate is expected to attend the address, along with cabinet members and other state leaders

Because that leaves little room for local residents to get involved, Hanwell worked with the school to open a viewing party in the school gymnasium for residents.

“I thought it was important to do something so our residents will have a venue to watch the address,” Hanwell said. “The speech will be broadcast live in the gymnasium on two large screens.”

Hanwell asked the public to be patient when traveling around Medina on Monday and asked members of the public attending the watch party at the gymnasium to park at Sydney Fenn Elementary, the Kindergarten Center or Claggett Middle School because the high school parking lots will be reserved for the state of the state address parking only.

Kasich’s visit to Medina also is drawing protests from environmental activists, unions and women’s groups opposed to his policies.

All three demonstration are set for 5 p.m. Monday outside Medina High School.

• Members of Concerned Citizens of Medina County and Frack Free Ohio will be demonstrating against Kasich’s policies on hydraulic fracturing and a proposed gas line running through Medina County.

• We Are Ohio — a coalition of unions, including the Ohio Education Association — is holding a rally protesting cuts in state funding for school.

• A coalition of women’s groups, We Won’t Go Back and We Won’t Forget, will rally against restrictions on abortion enacted by the Republican majority in the Legislature and budget changes that could affect Planned Parent.

Monday events associated with the Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State address:
• At 8:30 p.m., Medina County Works, 3721 Pearl Road, Medina Township, will host the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey and state Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township.
• The Governor’s Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives will volunteer at 9:30 a.m. at Feeding Medina County, 901 Lafayette Road, Medina.
• Adjutant General Deborah Ashenhurst will visit a Veteran’s Resource Fair 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the National Guard Armory, 920 Lafayette Road, Medina.
• Members of the Ohio Tourism Department will visit a number of sites in Medina. At 10 a.m. they will visit Main Street Development, at 1:15 p.m. they will visit Castle Noel Museum and at 2 p.m. they will tour Spitzer Bed and Breakfast.
• Members of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will tour I.D. Images, in Brunswick, at 10 a.m. to learn about improvements the company has made to reduce its environmental footprint.
• The Ohio Board of Regents will conduct a workforce development roundtable 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Medina County Career Center, 1101 W. Liberty St., Medina.
• The Westfield Group will host a welcome luncheon for state legislators at the Blair Center on the Westfield Center campus at 11:45 a.m.
• State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers will tour a number of fire departments in Medina County — 10:30 a.m., Medina Fire Department, 300 W. Reagan Pkwy.; 1 p.m., Wadsworth Fire Department, 153 N. Lyman St.; 3 p.m., Brunswick Division of Fire, 4383 Center Road; 4:30 p.m., Valley City Fire Department, 6700 Center Road, Liverpool Township; 7 p.m. — Chatham Fire and Rescue, 6429 Kohli Drive, Chatham Township.
• Members of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities will tour two local businesses that create jobs for those with disabilities. The groups will visit Sandridge Corp. and Buehler’s market in the afternoon.
• Members of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Medicaid Services will give an overview of Ohio’s newly integrated eligibility system at 1:30 p.m. at Medina County Job and Family Services, 232 Northland Drive, Medina.
• At 2 p.m. legislators will have the chance to tour Inflatable Images in Brunswick and McJak Candy in Medina. Cabinet members will visit Owens Corning in Medina and Soprema in Wadsworth.
• The Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources will conduct a demonstration on plugging orphan wells around the state at 2:30 p.m. at the Medina County Park District’s Letha House Park West meeting room, 5800 Richman Road, Chatham Township.
• From 3 to 4 p.m. members of the Ohio commerce and development services departments will visit with businesses in Medina during a guided tour with Matt Wiederhold, executive director of Main Street Medina.
• Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor will host a small business advisory council at 3:45 p.m. at Root Candles at 623 W. Liberty St., Medina.
• From 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. members of the cabinet and legislators will attend private receptions at Main Street Cafe and Lager and Vine Gastropub and Wine Bar, ahead of the State of the State address. The two restaurants will be closed to the public during that time.
• Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell has invited the public to view the governor’s address televised at the high school gymnasium. The watch party starts at 5:30 p.m. Entrance is through door B3 at the northwest corner of the high school. Attendees must park off the high school campus at the Old Kindergarten Center, Sidney Fenn Elementary School or Claggett Middle School.
• The State of the State address is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Medina Performing Arts Center, located on the Medina High School campus.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.
Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.

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The Gazette is Medina County's daily local news source, serving the community since 1832. Contact The Gazette's news department at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.