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Op-ed: Whitehall mayor responds to recent negative press

614now Staff

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As the City of Whitehall, Ohio begins a new year and reflects on the successes of 2018, we were disappointed to see a 614 Now headline reading, “Whitehall takes top spot in ‘10 Most Dangerous Cities in Ohio’” based on a November 3, 2018 blog post on RoadSnacks.com.

We strongly disagree with some of the methodology that the study relied on in making their opinion on the level of danger in our community. The safety and well-being of our neighbors and business partners always will be our number one priority and, thanks to a number of initiatives we’ve undertaken, our community is experiencing great momentum.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard

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Our Safer Whitehall initiative, which includes the establishment of a specialized narcotics unit, the hiring of additional and the enhanced training of police officers, adding four new K-9 officers and our proactive Mobile Community Watch has all led to additional arrests being made, thus we are seeing lower crime rates. In fact, since the beginning of 2017, violent crime has decreased by 48%, robberies have decreased by 47% and theft arrests have declined by 22%. These are statistics from the Whitehall police department.

This positive and significant upswing in statistics can also be attributed to our aggressive approach to rid the community of criminal activity through increased economic development and innovative training for businesses and residents on how to prevent and decrease crime.

Great things are happening here. Heartland Bank and The Wasserstrom Company have moved their headquarters to Whitehall. The Whitehall Community Park is undergoing a multi-million dollar update with a new Community Park Y. And, the $50 million Norton Crossing project is underway at the gateway to our city – the intersection of Broad and Hamilton.

We are extremely proud of our community. We invite everyone to visit our city and see the progress we are making each and every day. 

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A brief guide to the $1,200 Coronavirus stimulus check

Mitch Hooper

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As Ohio enters into a new month of social distance and only essential businesses operating, some financial relief from the Coronavirus Stimulus Package could be arriving as early as next week.

To better understand the ins-and-outs of this stimulus package, we've pooled together this helpful guide from national publications. Read below to see who qualifies for what in the package, how much to expect, when to expect it, and what steps you need to take to make sure you receive your money.

Do I qualify for payment?

Per the Los Angeles Times, there are many variables to who qualifies for payments. The amount of your payment will depend on your income reported in 2018. Individuals who earn less than $75,000 a year can expect a $1,200 check while individuals earning $99,000 or more would receive no check. Individuals who fall in between these two totals will have their payment prorated based on their income.

That math breaks down to $50 less for every $1,000 earned over $75,000. So a person earning $80,000 would get a check of $950; a person earning $90,000 would get a check of $450; and a person earning $98,000 would get a check of $50.

— Matt Stieb, How and When Can Americans Access the $1,200 Coronavirus Stimulus Checks? for New York Magazine

Additionally, married folks who earn a combined total of less than $150,000 can expect a $2,400 check with an additional $500 per child younger than 17-years-old. If a parent were to file under "head of household," they would be eligible for the $1,200 check plus the additional $500 per child younger than 17 if they earn less than $112,500 per year. This head of household check is prorated up to individual folks who earn more than $136,500. However, married folks who earn a combined total of more than $198,000 would not be eligible for a stimulus check.

To see what your payment might look like, use this handy calculator created by researcher Jasmine Mah and mathematician Maciej Kowalski, as reported by Business Insider.

Other people who do not qualify for the check include adult dependents, college students, elderly or disabled folks, and children age 17 and 18, reports The Wall Street Journal.

How do I receive this?

The first step, according to New York Magazine, is having a social security number. If you have this, you don't need to apply. The only thing you need to ensure is that the IRS has your bank account on file in order to send you the payment through direct deposit. If you filed your taxes and elected to use direct deposit, this should already be set up. It's important to note that if your payments are sent through mail, it could take up to five months.

Additionally, if you are receiving veteran benefits or Supplemental Security income, you might need to file to receive your payment, per The Wall Street Journal.

Will I have to pay this back?

To put it bluntly, no. Per Business Insider, the stimulus check will be tax free to Americans.

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COVID-19 puts Columbus Arts Festival on hold until next year

Mitch Hooper

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Citing the COVID-19 outbreak, the Greater Columbus Arts council board has voted to cancel the 2020 Columbus Arts Festival, formerly scheduled for June 12-14.

"As much as we desperately want to go on as planned, we recognize that we must put the health and safety of our patrons, artists, performers, vendors and sponsors first," said Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of GCAC, in a press release. "As we’ve watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold, with all the uncertainty it holds for the near future, we could not in good conscience hold a festival that would bring artists and visitors from 38 states and four countries, and more than 500,000 people within close proximity to each other on the downtown riverfront."

In past press conferences, Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, has said that we could see the impacts of COVID-19 lasting into May with a gradual drop-off. Currently, Columbus has seen many events in May be canceled including Taco Fest and Six One Pour, both citing public health taking priority over the festivals.

This announcement comes as one of the first events in June to officially cancel due to the Coronavirus. Though it won't be taking place this year, Katzenmeyer remains hopeful for the future of Arts Fest.

"I will miss this energy. I will miss these people. I will miss being a part of this experience, and yes, I will miss fresh lemonade shake ups. But we made this decision to ensure that we all remain healthy and able to enjoy all these wonderful experiences at next year’s Arts Festival. And that is where I have my heart set."

In Central Ohio, June also plays host to the Memorial Tournament, the Pride Parade and Festival, and the Creekside Jazz and Blue Fest. 614Now will have more updates about upcoming events as they become available.

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Aunt Flow pivots manufacturing to help with the COVID-19 outbreak

Mitch Hooper

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Of the many things COVID-19 has exposed a need for, one of the largest topics of conversation has been face masks. From nurses in hospitals to grocery store clerks, these are becoming equally important as they are difficult to find. However, Claire Coder, founder and CEO of Aunt Flow, is pitching in her manufacturing resources to assist in the crisis.

In a Facebook post on March 26, Aunt Flow announced that it has been working around the clock to produce FDA-approved face masks for those in need.

"We are here for YOU. People helping people. PERIOD," the post stated.

https://www.facebook.com/goauntflow/posts/2641440882845957?__xts__[0]=68.ARBUMS95oPw2ZCc9mPy8pgjRK0I51qu-SBsit1FXkGvUkkR2p82F4yiscUHdZ2-ZG-rPDXhpsr75Lb6dfWhaC8TlLSko_Ny5MMYnY_z37TwaEm2CZoHkPA-YHSo3E2e9HpiyGPpzd7kocPW-tx676xDTWWcAtmQC1Vcc6Io_-JPyWSGnpqCYNfpc-5kG6VbjwpXRdnJ6TSAE0sN277g8-DvBZOs0n4WtEKb_sADA6aOA6Gw1FLlzhVXhsoBHtGpbcEFBrK8Xk7IRd_nxbFgBBI_4ZH5avE1kzTtv2ATlJcAdZHgInmjkcz5sG4deeIJeUN2NZP-jaIL_6doeThzbtO4iJtHf&__tn__=-R
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