April 24, 2014

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Hunters prepare for wild turkey season
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:00 PM

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COLUMBUS — For many hunters, spring in Ohio brings the unmistakable sound of gobbling wild turkeys and Ohio’s annual hunt of this popular game bird. The 2014 Ohio spring hunting season opens Monday with the youth wild turkey season on Saturday and Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Wild turkeys have benefited from good spring weather in 2012 and 2013 and Ohio has experienced two above average hatch years. This should result in many 2-year-old toms (male turkeys) and jakes (1-year-old male turkeys) in the woods. Past Ohio wild turkey hunting seasons have seen increased harvests with greater numbers of 2-year-old toms.

 
Marion Township Trustees support Issue I
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:00 PM

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MARION TOWNSHIP — The Marion Township trustees held their regular scheduled meeting Monday with trustees, Jerry Gilden, Joseph Youngpeter and Howard Violet present.

The purpose of the meeting was to pay bills and conduct ongoing business. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved as read. The trustees then reviewed the bills and gave approval for 18 checks totaling $22,471.01.

 
From the Archives - April 15, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014 8:00 PM

One Year Ago

Located in Allen County, Kendrick Woods State Nature Preserve is the largest park in the Johnny Appleseed Park District. Park Naturalist Mark Mohr said that near the southern end of Kendrick Woods is where two bald eagles are nesting and it is the first time they have inhabited the area.

 
Social Security halts effort to collect old debts
Monday, April 14, 2014 8:00 PM | Updated ( Monday, April 14, 2014 4:23 PM )

BY STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration is suspending a program in which thousands of people were having their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments that happened more than a decade ago.

Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said Monday she has directed an immediate halt to the program while the agency does a review.

Social Security recipients and members of Congress complained that people were being forced to repay overpayments that were sometimes paid to their parents or guardians when they were children.

"While this policy of seizing tax refunds to repay decades-old Social Security overpayments might be allowed under the law, it is entirely unjust," Democratic Sens. Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said in a letter to Colvin.

After Colvin's announcement, Boxer said in a statement: "I am grateful that the Social Security Administration has chosen not to penalize innocent Americans while the agency determines a fair path forward on how to handle past errors."

The Social Security Administration says it has identified about 400,000 people with old debts. They owe a total of $714 million.

So far, the agency says it has collected $55 million.

The program was authorized by a 2008 change in the law that allows Social Security and other federal agencies to use a Treasury program to seize federal payments to recoup debts that are more than 10 years old. Previously, there was a 10-year limit on using the program.

In most cases, the seizures are tax refunds.

Colvin said she was suspending the program "pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department."

"If any Social Security or Supplemental Security Income beneficiary believes they have been incorrectly assessed with an overpayment under this program, I encourage them to request an explanation or seek options to resolve the overpayment," Colvin said.

The Washington Post first reported on the program.

There are several scenarios in which people may have received overpayments as children. For example, when a parent of a minor child dies, the child may be eligible for survivor's benefits, which are typically sent to the surviving parent or guardian.

If there was an overpayment made on behalf of the child, that child could be held liable years later, as an adult.

Also, if a child is disabled, he or she may receive overpayments. Those overpayments would typically be taken out of current payments, once they are discovered.

But if disability payments were discontinued because the child's condition improved, Social Security could try to recoup the overpayments years later.

"We want to assure the public that we do not seek restitution through tax refund offset in cases when the debt in question was established prior to the debtor turning 18 years of age," Social Security spokesman Mark Hinkle said in an email. "Also, we do not use tax refund offset to collect the debt of a person's relative — we only use it to collect the overpaid benefits the person received for himself or herself."

Hinkle said the debt collection could be waived if the person is without fault and repayment would "deprive the person of income needed for ordinary living expenses or would be unfair for another reason."

 
Central Ohio mumps outbreak tops 200 cases
Monday, April 14, 2014 8:00 PM

COLUMBUS (AP) — A mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases, public health officials said Monday.

A total of 212 cases of the contagious viral illness, with 132 of those linked to Ohio State University, have been reported. That includes 96 students and 13 staff members.

Those infected range in age from 9 months to 70 years old, local health agencies said. The cases span from early January to late last week.

Mumps often starts with fever, fatigue and body aches. Those infected are urged to stay home, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash their hands.

Officials have urged residents of the region to make sure they've been inoculated with two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is no longer common in the United States since routine vaccination programs began, though outbreaks do occur. Before the vaccination programs began, about 186,000 cases were reported annually but have since seen a decrease of more than 99 percent, according to the CDC website.

 

 
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