The Steubenville Kiwanis Club on May 28 bid farewell to one of its kindness members; heard state budget updates from state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville; and continued plans for its upcoming charity golf scramble.
Maj. Earline May is leaving her almost 12-year post as the commanding officer of the Steubenville Salvation Army and heading west for an 18-month stint at the Salvation Army in Columbus where she'll spearhead the department for human trafficking and work in the finance department. Then she'll retire.
"I am going there because my associate and good friend of 20 years (Lt. Karen Zehler) is very sick," May told her fellow Kiwanians. "I have been her caregiver for two years, and I think it takes a wise person who can come to the place and say I can't do it all, and I could not continue to be able to be a full-time caregiver to her and do the ministry for the Salvation Army like it needed to be done," May said.
Phyllis Riccadonna, left, presents Maj. Earline May, with a bouquet of flowers.
-- Janice Kiaski
With her and Zehler both having family in Columbus, May said she asked the Salvation Army to move her to the Columbus post to finish out her officership, "and they've honored that wish.
"As I go to Columbus, I will be spearheading the department for human trafficking, which has become a big problem throughout the nation, and the Salvation Army has taken on that task over the past two years. I also will be working in the finance department. I am looking forward to the new appointment and looking ahead to the next 18 months as I enter into official retirement," she said, thanking the Kiwanis for all that they do in the community for children, the club's key focus.
There will be a public farewell service in May's honor at 11 a.m. on June 23 at the Salvation Army located at 332 N. Fourth St.
May will begin her new duties in Columbus on June 26, the day her local successors are due to begin theirs. Capt. Steve and Dolly Griffin of Alliance will be officially welcomed at a public service at 11 a.m. June 30 at the Salvation Army post. It will be a second career for both husband and wife, and, who knows, possible new recruits for the Kiwanis.
In his remarks to the club, Gentile wished May well and noted that human trafficking is a "major issue" across the state in which legislation was passed earlier this year to impose stiffer penalties.
Gentile, introduced by May program chair Mike Emmerling, also talked about how it's "crunch time" in the state budget work with the end of this month targeted for bringing the job to fruition.
"We're trying to get things done by June 30," he said, touching on three areas that continue to foster debate.
They are education, local government funding and the proposed Medicaid expansion.
"My quest is to do all I can to restore some funding for local governments and to see we have an education plan that provides quality education for folks not just in wealthy areas but all across the state. Those are the main two issues I have been trying to work on in this budget bill," Gentile said.
How Ohio funds education has long been a sticking point, and the formula proposed "created some serious inequities," according to Gentile. "Ultimately we have to try to solve this issue and put forward a system that is constitutional and that moves us away from over-reliance on property taxes, and I think that as long as we have a system that relies heavily on local property taxes, there will be inequities in communities like ours and all along this river," he said.
Gentile said he is "carrying an amendment right now in the Senate that I am pushing that would put some money back in for those local governments, a modest amount of about 2.52 percent increase which reflects about $361 million across the state of Ohio for local governments."
As for the proposed Medicaid expansion, Gentile said Gov. John Kasich supports that.
"About $13 billion would come to Ohio, and I can understand the argument for resources and the need to slow some of the spending, but my concern is the money won't go back to the federal government but will be spent somewhere else," he said.
He said his greatest concern is that "over time the amount of uncompensated care coming from the federal government is going to retract."
The weekend will bring a Kiwanis fundraiser as the charity four-man golf scramble is set for Sunday at Spring Hills Golf Course in East Springfield with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.
To reserve a spot, golfers can call Charlie or Dan at (740) 543-3270.
The cost is $260 per team or $65 per player. More than $1,000 in cash prizes will be awarded for closest to the pin, longest drive and first- and second-place drawing cash prizes. Door prizes also will be awarded.
Golfers will be served coffee and doughnuts in the morning, and lunch and dinner also will be provided.
Checks can be made payable to the Steubenville Kiwanis Club and mailed to the club at P.O. Box 854, Steubenville, OH 43952.
All proceeds will go to Kiwanis charities and programs, including the Key Clubs of Steubenville, Indian Creek and Catholic Central high schools; the Jefferson Kiwanis Youth Soccer Club; Steubenville High School wrestling tournament; the Salvation Army; Urban Mission Ministries; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson County; Treat the Troops; Miss Ohio Valley Pageant; the Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center; Adopt A School projects; and others.
Bruce Misselwitz is June program chair with today's speaker set to be Josh Hawrot, youth day treatment coordinator for Jefferson County Behavioral Health.
Other upcoming June speakers are:
-- June 11: Erin Loy, supervisor, Help Me Grow program, Jefferson County Health Department.
-- June 18: To be announced.
-- June 25: Robert E. Harris, drug and alcohol therapist, Jefferson County Behavioral Health Department.