OTTAWA COUNTY REPORTS FIRST COVID-19 DEATH
The Ottawa County Health Department (OCHD), along with public health partners, have reported the first death of an Ottawa County resident due to COVID-19. The person was a 75-year-old female. To respect the family’s privacy, the OCHD will not release any further information.
Through Monday, May 4, the Ottawa County Department of Health has reported 40 cases of COVID-19, with 15 hospitalizations.
OHIO SEA GRANT EXTENDS CANCELLATIONS, CLOSURES
Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory have extended its event cancellations and closures to Monday, July 6, with ongoing guidances for the Ohio State University due to the coronavirus pandemic. The changers will impact the Aquatic Visitors Center and the South Bass Island Lighthouse, as well as the Stone Laboratory and Gibraltar Island tours.
Ohio Sea Grant will be updating any upcoming further changes on its website for those planning trips to South Bass Island after July 6.
OTTAWA COUNTY COURTHOUSE UPDATES RULES FOR VISITORS
The Ottawa County Courthouse has updated its rules for visitors, reported county administrator and clerk Rhonda Slauterback. As of now, visitors to the courthouse through Monday, June 1 will be required to wear their own face covering, and it must appropriately cover both nose and mouth.
The administration offices within Ottawa County will remain open and staff will be working to serve the public by telephone, email, on-line or by scheduled appointment, if necessary.
FREE TAX PREPARATION SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FROM UNITED WAY
Government stimulus checks are now being directly deposited into the bank accounts of millions of individuals across the U.S., with monetary amounts being based on 2018 or 2019 tax filings. MyFreeTaxes.com, powered by United Way and H&R Block, is a free online software available to anyone seeking to file a simple return, and give them the opportunity to update bank routing numbers, addresses and income amounts on a 2019 tax filing.
Ongoing social disruptions, due to the spread of COVID-19, has delayed the “Tax Day” deadline of April 15 to Wednesday, July 15.
A long-standing partnership between United Way of Greater Toledo (UWGT) and LISC Toledo (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) made the “Free Tax Prep” program possible, allowing individuals who earned less than $56,000 a year to file their taxes face-to-face with a certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistant at no cost.
“Contingent on access to the internet and a computer, MyFreeTaxes.com could offer a quick solution for those wanting to file their 2019 taxes. If an individual has already completed their 2018 or 2019 taxes, no action is needed to receive a stimulus check.
TOLEDO’S POPULAR ‘JEEP FEST’ CANCELLED FOR AUG. 7-9
Toledo Jeep Fest organizers cancelled their event as a preventative measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The festival was set to take place Aug. 7-9. Those who registered vehicles for the parade or purchased a vendor space will have their funding rolled over to participation in the 2021 event.
Organizers thanked their partners for the many hours they spent preparing for the event.
“The level of commitment and dedication to Toledo Jeep Fest – an award-winning festival drawing nationwide crowds of Jeep enthusiasts to the city of Toledo, is astonishing,” said organizers, assuring Jeep fans that the Toledo Jeep Fest will be back in 2021 to celebrate the 80th anniversary and the rich history shared by Toledo and Jeep.
BIKE WEEK CANCELS 20th ANNIVERSARY FEST ON MAY 23-31
The 20th anniversary of Ohio Bike Week in Sandusky on May 23-31 has been cancelled by sponsors of the North Coast Thunder Rally.
“We are riding into new times where many of our freedoms have been snatched from us during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said officials. “We respect the seriousness of this virus, and in the best interest of bikers, vendors, sponsors and entertainers we are postponing the May dates.”
“We don’t feel it’s the right time with so much information changing daily to be able to successfully produce a fun and safe rally for all to enjoy.”
Ohio Bike Week officials are working with state and local officials, vendors, sponsors and artists on a rescheduled date in late summer. All Access VP Passes sold will be good for the new date, which officials hope to announce soon. If Ohio Bike Week can’t be held in 2020, vouchers will be refunded at the point of purchase.
WOODVILLE CANCELS 4th OF JULY CELEBRATION
The Woodville 4th of July Celebration Committee has cancelled the 4th of July festivities planned for July 2-4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made with guidance from the Village of Woodville, and the Woodville police and fire departments. To help the committee with expenses already incurred, donate to woodville4th.com.
OTTAWA COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT KEEPS EYE ON LAUNCH RAMPS
Ottawa County Law Enforcement, in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources officers, has been monitoring boat launch ramps in the Port Ciinton, Catawba Island and Marblehead areas, checking for out-of-state visitors. Ohio presently has stopped the sale of non-resident fishing and hunting licenses, and requires non-resident sportsmen coming to Ohio to fishing or hunt to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.
“Officers did find a small number of non-resident fishermen launching their boats or fishing with Ohio friends,” said Sheriff Steve Levorchick. “The non-residents were sent home.”
OHIO BMV SCHEDULED TO REOPEN LATER IN MAY
The opening dates for individual locations have not been finalized, but the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) deputy registrars around the state may begin reopening as early as later this month. When they open, every deputy registrar will offer online the BMV’s Get In Line program.
A partnership between InovateOhio and the Ohio BMV, the pilot program was introduced in 2019. As the BMVs reopen, the Get In Line program will be offered by registrars statewide.
“So far, this system has saved Ohioans nearly 9,000 hours of wait time,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “In order to reduce lines and the time each Ohioan has to physically spend in the BMV, we are working with InnovateOhio to expand the program throughout the state by the end of May.”
Deputy registrars are reactivating the BMVs, and hiring staff, making accommodations to ensure social distancing and safety measures are in place, such as cough/sneeze shields at customer-facing workstations.
COVID-19 SHUTDOWNS PROVIDE TEMPORARY DECLINE IN CARBON EMISSIONS
A report by the International Energy Agency claims there has been a massive decline in fossil fuel consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a corresponding drop of about 8% in the emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming.
“Amid today’s unparalleled health and economic crises, the plunge in demand for nearly all major fields is staggering, especially for coal, oil and gas,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director, in a press release. “Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard of slump in electricity use.”
It is too early to determine long-term impacts, said Biro, but said the energy industry that emerges for the crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before.”
Few scientists expect a short-term decline in greenhouse gasses will have a long-term impact.
“The fact that the biggest global contraction since the Great Depression will not make a dent in future warming should be sobering,” Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the Breakthrough Institute, told USA Today.