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October 11, 2010

Ohio State sets up Secrest Arboretum tornado fund
On Sept. 16, a devastating tornado hit Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, ravaging the center’s Secrest Arboretum.

The tornado — rated at EF-2 on a scale of 0-5 with winds of up to 130 mph — leveled about a quarter of the 120-acre arboretum, including a just-opened visitor pavilion, display gardens and more than 1,000 trees. No one in the arboretum or on the main OARDC campus was seriously injured.

“Some of these trees were over 100 years old,” said Bobby Moser, dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “They were planted by Edmund Secrest (the arboretum’s founder) himself. It’s heartbreaking to see this devastation.”

Arboretum Program Director Ken Cochran said cash gifts of any size are welcome. Individuals, foundations and corporations interested in donating to the arboretum can do so online at www.giveto.osu.edu/secrestfund. One hundred percent of all gifts to this fund will go directly to the arboretum’s renewal efforts. The arboretum remains closed to the public at least until Nov. 1.


Small Business Jobs Act includes tax cuts
At the end of September, President Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act, which provides incentives for small business to hire and invest in new equipment.

The bill immediately restarts the SBA’s Recovery Act lending. And the bill includes eight new small business tax cuts – applying to small businesses’ taxes for this year – providing an immediate incentive for businesses to make new investments and expand.

  • A small business that buys new equipment can immediately write off the first $500,000 of its investments.
  • The self employed can deduct 100 percent of the cost of health insurance self-employment taxes.
  • The bill increases for 2010 and 2011 the amount of investments that businesses would be eligible to immediately write off to $500,000, while raising the level of investments at which the write-off phases out to $2 million.
  • The bill extends a Recovery Act provision for 50 percent “bonus depreciation” through 2010.
  • Look for more details at www.whitehouse.gov.


Truck and driver shortage impacting deliveries
Delayed deliveries and shortages of raw materials and finished products are being blamed on not enough trucks and drivers.

Shortages are expected to increase as the economy continues to recover and tougher truck driver rules take effect later this year, according to a story in USA Today. About 70 percent of shippers are facing tight capacity for full truckload service during the second quarter, up from 27 percent in the first quarter, according to research firm Wolfe Trahan.

Delivery demand fell 27 percent during the economic downturn, said Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. This resulted in trucking companies reducing their fleets and workforces. Smaller firms closed and the remaining companies reduced their fleets by an average of 14 percent. As manufacturing and retail have rebounded, Costello said delivery demand has increased 10 percent. Trucking companies that are turning away business are scrambling to find more drivers. Some have even offered bonuses of $10,000 to recruit new drivers. The pool of drivers is expected to become even tighter as new driver screening standards are implemented later this year.


Thousand Cankers found in Tennessee, North Carolina
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), which is a progressive disease that kills a black walnut tree within two to three years after initial infection. The disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia morbida, is transmitted by a small twig beetle. Branches and trunk tissue are killed by repeated infections by the fungus, as the beetles carry the fungus into new bark cambium tissue.

Controls for thousand cankers disease have not yet been identified. Rapid detection and removal of infected trees currently remains the primary means of managing thousand cankers disease. Check with the department for updated quarantines.

Nursery stock, budwood, scionwood, green lumber, and other material living, dead, cut or fallen are regulated in quarantined counties. North Carolina issued an exterior quarantine to prevent the movement of this disease and the walnut twig beetle into its borders.

Currently the entire states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington have been confirmed as areas known to be infected by the pathogen and are included in the exterior quarantine.