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Commissioners hear from Columbian Science Fair standout, learn about energy efficiency opportunity

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From left: Commissioners Mike Kerschner, Shayne Thomas, and Anthony Paradiso

The Seneca County Board of Commissioners heard from the first Tiffin Columbian student to ever qualify for the International Science Fair during their meeting Thursday morning.

Corbin Hite, who also visited the commissioners in 2019 to discuss his exceptional project from last school year, was declared a finalist for the International Science and Engineering fair at the Marion Area Science and Engineering Fair.

Each year, about 1,800 projects across more than 80 countries are selected to compete. Hite is the first Columbian student to receive this honor. Unfortunately, the fair originally planned to be held in Anaheim, California for a week in May, has been canceled.


Hite said he still received a medal and other recognition for qualifying for the fair.

Hite also received the District 12th-Grade Award and the District Chemistry Award this year. His project analyzed the effectiveness of over-the-counter pain medications.

He said he was even able to use equipment in the University of Toledo’s lab to analyze the chemical makeup of certain pills. Hite said he researched Advil and its generic version to find differences.

Hite is to attend the University of Notre Dame in the fall. He plans to major in a science-related field.

“Go Irish,” Commissioner Tony Paradiso said after hearing about Hite’s plans.


The commissioners asked Hite to keep in contact with the board as he continues his education.

In other business, Joe Sokol, of ABM Industries, gave a presentation on an energy efficiency program his company is offering to the county.

Sokol said the City of Fremont used a similar program to not only improve the efficiency of its equipment but also to save money in the long-term. Sokol argues that the improvements pay for themselves over time. ABM has already completed a preliminary analysis of county buildings, and according to Sokol, the county could potentially earn money on making upgrades over 10-15 years.

Sokol said that the company offers a guarantee, so if money is not saved by the political subdivision, ABM will pay the difference.


No decision was reached, but the commissioners plan to continue the discussion with ABM reps next week.

Also during the meeting, the commissioners approved a resolution that should lead to federal CARES Act funds being made available to the county.

The act was signed into law by the president on March 27. After this, the Ohio General Assembly approved Senate Bill 310 which establishes a process through for distributing funds CARES Act funds, which are to be used by local governments to pay for COVID-19-related costs.

A requirement of SB 310 is for local governments to approve a resolution, like the commissioners did today, affirming that CARES Act money will be used only to cover costs related to the health crisis.

The board also agreed unanimously to send a letter to Congressman Jim Jordan requesting that the next round of federal funding have more flexibility in how it can be used. Many local governments across the nation are advocating that this funding should also help to replace revenues lost due to COVID-19.

In new business, the board approved:


  • A $14,321 supplemental appropriation to the Juvenile Program and Services Fund for equipment.
  • A $57,906.91 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for a contracted service.
  • A $5,000 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for equipment. This money is to be used to purchase digital thermometer scanners for use at the Seneca County Justice Center.
  • A $586,481 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for land acquisition. This grant- funded purchase is concerning a project at the Seneca County Airport.
  • An agreement with Smith Paving and Excavating for the Village of Bloomville Sidewalk Replacement Project to be paid with Community Development Block Grant funds.
  • The disposal of unneeded, obsolete or unfit county-owned property: a 2003 Dodge Durango, a 2007 Dodge Caravan, a 2010 Ford Crown Vic and a 2011 Ford Crown Vic on behalf of the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office. The vehicles were sold for $1,200.
  • A contract with Kelley A. Gorry of Rich and Gillis Law Group for legal services on behalf of Seneca County Board of Revisions.

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