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tony logan

Ohio Habitat for Humanity Home Framed and Rising with Help from 'Team RD'

In commemoration of USDA’s annual Homeownership Month, some industrious Ohio Rural Development team members and I recently spent a sunny day at a Habitat for Humanity building site, helping Marysville resident Michelle Amrine and her two children frame out a place to call their own.

Financed through USDA Rural Development’s Direct Home Loan program, the home is being constructed through Habitat for Humanity of Union County. Although earlier projects in the state included funds for the rehabilitation of already-existing construction, the Amrine house marks the first “from-the-ground-up” collaboration between Ohio Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity.

From West Virginia to Ohio, Food Fuels the Local Economy

West Virginia and Appalachian Ohio have a lot in common beyond their shared state border.  With a strong agricultural heritage, these vast rural areas are known for their forest and timber industries, and they are integrating food systems into local economic development.

Earlier this month, I joined Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Co-Chair Earl Gohl and Ohio’s State Rural Development Director Tony Logan to take a look at local food in the Buckeye state. My colleague, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Joani Walsh, recently made a similar trip to West Virginia. Organized by ARC, the visits were an opportunity to discuss how local food is diversifying the economy, developing a more competitive workforce and generating opportunities within regions like Appalachia. “Through our work on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, we know that there are lots of ways  that local foods are providing economic opportunities in rural communities,” said Walsh. “These  visits with ARC gave us a clearer picture of how that is happening in Appalachia.”

USDA Community Connect Project Brings the World to a Rural Ohio Village

It’s long been said, “You can’t go home again.” It looks like someone forgot to tell Levi Morris!

Morris, 24, is a law school student at the University of Pennsylvania in big-city Philadelphia. But he was raised in the tiny Southeast Ohio village of Stafford; nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in rural Monroe County. He says he loves Philadelphia and may even choose an urban lifestyle once he graduates, but right now, his heart is in Ohio.

It’s A Sticky Situation – In The Best Possible Way!

USDA Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales and Ohio Rural Development Director Tony Logan recently paid a visit to Troy, Ohio’s 3 Sigma Corporation to see how the company is utilizing its $2.25 million USDA Business & Industry loan guarantee. Among other things, the funds are helping finance the purchase, transportation and installation of a 78-inch wide aqueous (water-based emulsion) coater, financed through First Financial Bank of Dayton.

In business since 1980, 3 Sigma specializes in custom pressure-sensitive products and specialty coatings. But this technology goes well beyond diaper fasteners and sticky tape! Have you ever noticed those clever little holographic tags inside ball caps and on other wearable items? That’s a 3 Sigma-engineered counterfeit-detection system. The peel-off coupon that doesn’t shred your Sunday morning paper? 3 Sigma. That authentic backstage pass to your favorite rock star’s show? Chances are 3 Sigma may have had a hand in its creation.

USDA in Ohio Hosts Flex-Fuel Event to Encourage Applications for Renewable Energy Projects

Last month, USDA Rural Development in Ohio hosted another event in the “Flexible Fuels Roadshow” aimed at broadening awareness of Secretary Vilsack’s objective of deploying 10,000 flexible fuel pumps into the nation’s motor fuel delivery system by 2015. As part of USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), eligible applicants can now apply for funding for flex-fuel pumps, in addition to other energy producing and saving projects.  For the first time, gas station and convenience store operators across the country can qualify for a package of REAP funding to support the purchase and installation of flex-fuel pumps and related infrastructure.

According to Rural Business-Cooperative Administrator Judith Canales, grants are available to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that offer Americans more renewable energy options. She wanted to make certain that everyone is aware of the variety of assistance USDA Rural Development provides to help businesses create jobs and become more energy efficient. This assistance builds on the Obama Administration’s commitment to win the future by ensuring the nation develops innovative ways to meet our future energy needs.

Deputy Secretary Outlines USDA BioPreferred Program During an Ohio Visit

USDA employees and members of the public in Columbus, Ohio had the chance to hear Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan speak recently at the Columbus Federal Building as part of her one-day tour of the Buckeye state.

Merrigan’s first stop in the morning was at the Hoover plant in Glenwillow where she announced the USDA BioPreferred certifications bestowed on eleven new bio-based product initiatives. The products, which range from hand soaps to engine oils, are composed of agricultural ingredients and are certified to meet the standards for biobased content set by USDA.

Ohio USDA Rural Development Hosts Wind for Schools Meeting

USDA Rural Development State Director Tony Logan joined officials from the Ohio Department of Education, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Green Energy Ohio (GEO), on Feb. 10, 2011, to co-host a Wind for Schools informational briefing at Rural Development’s state office in Columbus. The briefing’s primary goal was to increase statewide awareness of the educational benefits of small scale wind projects at Ohio’s K- 12 schools.

Briefing attendees included classroom educators, representatives from business, agriculture, power companies, green energy advocates and Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. Participants discussed the US Department of Energy’s (USDOE) pilot Wind for Schools program and reviewed opportunities for state, federal and school district collaboration to deploy similar wind projects in Ohio.

USDA Rural Development Finances a Southwest Ohio Health Clinic Expansion With Recovery Act Support

Helping to bring quality health care to Ohio’s rural residents requires more than a passing interest; it demands a commitment that enables an organization to navigate the challenges that come with such a vision. Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan joined the leadership of Health Partners of Western Ohio (HPWO) at a recent ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open their larger, newly renovated health clinic.

Local Woodwork Spices Up Athens, Ohio Self-help Housing Project

Submitted by Mark Gideon, USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Specialist

USDA Rural Development State Director Tony Logan, more than 40 volunteers from local community organizations, and USDA Rural Development staff came together last month for a self-help housing volunteer work day to benefit three Southeastern Ohio families. The families will soon be moving into new homes they help build under the supervision of Three Rivers Housing Corporation of Athens, Ohio.  The project, located in The Plains, Ohio, was financed through the USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program in a partnership with the Ohio Housing Finance Authority.

Ohio Self-Help Housing Forum Provides Opportunity for Participants to Share Their Views

By Michael Jones, USDA Public Affairs Director, Ohio

Tammye Trevino, USDA Rural Development Administrator for Housing and Community Facilities, visited Columbus, Ohio recently to participate in the sixth of 10 scheduled Self-Help Housing Forums being held around the country. Joining her on the panel were Ohio’s First Lady Frances Strickland and Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan.