Troop 315 December Newsletter

from Shawn Benjamin, Scout Master – Another year of scouting is winding down and Holiday’s are here. 

Troop 315 December 2018 – Newsletter
from Shawn Benjamin, Scout Master
Another year of scouting is winding down and Holiday’s are here.  As for myself;  Scouting is the gift that lasts year round.  I started with the troop in 2010 and going into 2019,  It’s now clear that the world of scouting is, very much, a vocation.  Beyond volunteering, it’s a way of life;  The connection you see when a scout joins our troop at 10 1/2 and then goes off to do great things as an adult,  be it college, military, or a great blue-collar career,  I feel gifted to know, I had a part in that.   I see it in their smiles, their enthusiasm, laughter, silliness and most of all, dedication to a group that becomes, more family, than anything else,  We look out for each other,  step up to help with needs and projects.  Not be afraid, rather, proud of the uniform and what it stands for.

Yep, this is a pretty mushy scoutmaster minute, but I feel it important to let everyone know just how dedicated I and all the leaders and scouts who are part of Troop 315 are.  It brings an abundance of smiles during every get-together.  In preparation for 2019, I’m, going to ask my Assistant Scoutmasters to fill some of the spots in our meetings that keep the scouts excited.  I know they are very capable and my wish is for them to keep the upbeat tone we all know and love about our troop.

Santa Visit

Show up at Bob Kelley Chevrolet at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, December 5,  for the annual Santa Claus Visit.  We have 10 Elf costumes so first to show up gets to be an elf.  Our job is crowd control and working with the families as they make their way to see Santa.  Great P.R. event.  
December is the month all scouts need to renew their Boy Scout membership for the upcoming year.  $33.00 is the fee each boy must pay for 2019 program.  These dues go directly to National after we collect.  Final date to pay them is December 30, 2018.  The troop can deduct them from your scout accounts or can be paid by cash or check to the troop.  Very important that you don’t miss the deadline. This will cause a scout to drop from our membership roster and will not allow us to cover him with insurance during any outing or group event.  I will contact parents if I see that their scout does not have enough in their scout account.
If you haven’t picked up your wreaths yet.  See Dawn at the flower shop to complete your order.  I will need a copy of your order form to figure how much each scout makes for his account.  
Meat Sticks
All meat stick orders can be turned in on Sunday, December 2,  I will place orders on the following Monday.  There will be a 2nd order placed as a makeup on December 17.   It takes a week for it to process and arrive.
Video Game Night
Back by popular demand, our annual Scout lock-in.  We will leave scout house at 3:00 pm to go to Ohio Skate in Maumee,  til 6:30 pm then travel back to Bowling Green Pizza Hut for supper, then back to scout house for the video game lock-in.  Cost for all this is $15.00 which I will collect before we leave.  I ask that all scouts be picked up by 8:00 am the following Sunday after they clean the scout house up.
Cub Lock-in
Saturday, January 12, 2019, Our troop annually helps the district run the Cub Lock in,  We will need volunteers to help play games with the cubs into the wee hours of the morning.  More to come on that event
Klondike Camp at Berry
We have been invited to camp at Berry and participate in their winter camp On January 18 – 20th.  We will rent a cabin for the event, Cost is $10.00 plus a grocery list will go out.  
In regards to girls in Scouts B.S.A.
In regards to the introduction of girls into Boy Scouts of America,  Troop 315 will continue to remain an all-male troop.  If interest in a female troop exists in North Baltimore,  Requirements for a charter, 2 deep leadership, committee, and 5 female youth will need to organize.  Troop 315 will be available to help educate and direct anyone willing to organize a female BSA troop.  Troop 315 will continue to be known as a traditional troop due to its status as all male. This program will be available in February for interested North Baltimore residents
Quote from Baden Powell
“If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.”
Shawn Benjamin

Saturday – 6th Annual NBFD Toys for Tots

Monetary donations will also be accepted. The toys and donations are for families in this area only.

North Baltimore Fire Department will be hosting their 6th Annual Toys for Tots drive on Saturday, December 8th, 2017 from 8:00 am to noon, at the fire hall, in Downtown NB.

Bring a new and unwrapped toy for a boy or girl up to 12 years old.

Monetary donations will also be accepted. The toys and donations are for families in this area only.

Drive up donations are accepted at the corner of Main & Broadway.

For more information please contact Chief Ted Francisco at 419-257-2394 or

Let’s see if we can top the haul for area kids…

4 Tips to Prepare Your Pup for Winter

Help keep your dog happy and healthy throughout the holiday season……….

(Family Features) When winter approaches, it brings a number of distractions and factors that tend to keep people from getting outside and staying active. From holiday parties and vacations to bad weather, it’s important to keep health and exercise top of mind throughout the busy season. This is especially important for your furry friends since they depend on their owners to keep them healthy and active.

Help keep your dog happy and healthy throughout the holiday season with these tips, and for more information on healthy habits for your dog, visit

  1. Keep Table Food on the Table – With colder weather comes heavier, heartier food. While you may be tempted to share some of your delicious dinner or toss your pup some party snacks, these rich foods can lead to digestive issues for your dog. If you want to treat your dog, try mixing a bit of wet food into his dry kibble for a savory surprise.

  1. Feed the Right Food – An important step in keeping a pet healthy is to establish and maintain proper nutrition habits, starting with selecting the right type of food. You’ll want to look for a pet food that includes high-quality ingredients, such as IAMS™ dog food, which also offers quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals to help dogs stay healthy and active during the colder months. The brand also offers breed specific dry dog food recipes, customized to meet the unique needs of six of the most popular dog breeds.

  1. Bundle Up – It may be too cold to enjoy an entire afternoon outside, but don’t forget, your dog has a fur coat and needs to stay active and expel energy all year round. Make sure you have the proper winter gear for you and your pup. Depending on your dog’s needs, consider protective gear for winter, such as a coat to keep him warm or booties for his feet to prevent salt on the ground from irritating his paws.
Photos courtesy of Fotolia
  1. Stock Up on Toys – Some days, heading outside into winter weather just doesn’t happen. Whether it’s snowing, sleeting or just too cold, safety should come first. However, your dog will still have energy to release, so keep a variety of toys on-hand to keep him busy and active. Toss around a ball for a short-range game of fetch or play some tug-of-war with one of his favorite toys.


Space Weather News

Naked-eye viewing could be just around the corner.

Space Weather News for Nov. 28, 2018

A HYPERACTIVE COMET APPROACHES EARTH: A small but hyperactive comet named “46P/Wirtanen” is nearing Earth for one of the 10 closest approaches by any comet of the Space Age. Wirtanen’s emerald green atmosphere is now larger than the full Moon, and it is an increasingly easy target for binoculars and small telescopes. Naked-eye viewing could be just around the corner. Visit for the full story.

Remember, is on Facebook!

Above: Comet Wirtanen, photographed on Nov. 26th by Gerald Rhemann of Farm Tivoli, Namibia. More images may be found in’s Realtime Comet Gallery.

PUCO approves Columbia Gas tax changes, alternative rate plan

PUCO approves agreement implementing Columbia Gas of Ohio tax changes, alternative rate plan

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Nov. 28, 2018) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today adopted a settlement agreement that adjusts Columbia Gas of Ohio’s rates to reflect the lower corporate tax rates enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), and resolves the utility’s capital expenditure program case. A total expected tax benefit to Columbia customers is approximately $300 million.

“The Commission is pleased to approve a balanced agreement that credits Columbia’s customers with the effects of the TCJA,” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque. “Rate impacts from important gas system work will be minimized thanks to the Commission’s strong stance on utility tax reform.”

Columbia will credit customers the amount it has over collected, plus interest, since Jan. 1, 2018 under the higher tax rate. The $22.5 million credit will be passed back to all customers over a 12-month period. Residential customers will see a $1.06 monthly credit on their bill.

Columbia will also reduce its base distribution rates by $121 million to reflect the reduction in corporate income tax rates. For residential customers, this results in a $1.06 monthly reduction in base distribution rates. The utility will also file a distribution rate case with the PUCO by July 2021.

Columbia will begin collecting deferred expenses related to its statutorily authorized capital expenditure program (CEP) through the CEP rider, totaling $74 million. The CEP rider will include annual rate caps to mitigate bill impacts related to ongoing capital expenditures. For residential customers, Columbia’s CEP rider will initially be set at $3.51 per month.

An ongoing proceeding regarding its infrastructure replacement program is expected to bring the total tax reductions to over $300 million, resulting in greater monthly savings for Columbia’s customers.


On Dec. 1, 2017, Columbia filed an alternative rate plan to recover its deferred costs related to capital expenditures the utility has made since 2011 and are not yet reflected in rates. The Commission previously authorized Columbia to defer collection of certain expenditures and to implement a CEP.

On Jan. 10, 2018, the Commission ordered an investigation to study the impacts of the TCJA on PUCO-regulated utilities and how best to pass on the benefits to customers, and directed utilities to set aside money in excess of the reduced tax rate to later be returned to customers.

On Sept. 14, 2018, the PUCO staff filed its report of investigation related to Columbia’s application.

On Oct. 25, 2018, a settlement agreement in Columbia’s CEP case, which includes adjustments to Columbia’s rates to reflect the TCJA, was signed by Columbia Gas of Ohio, PUCO staff, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, Ohio Energy Group, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Energy Group, The Kroger Company, Interstate Gas Supply, and Retail Energy Supply Association.

A copy of today’s Commission opinion and order is available on the PUCO’s website at by searching for case 17-2202-GA-ALT.

Birchaven Village Hosting ‘Bazaar Days’

Bazaar Days will feature a variety of items handmade by residents, staff, volunteers and families……

Birchaven Village will host its annual Bazaar Days craft and bake sale Friday, December 14 through Monday, December 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Birchaven’s indoor “Main Street,” located at 15100 Birchaven Lane, Findlay. The event is open to the public.

Bazaar Days will feature a variety of items handmade by residents, staff, volunteers and families. Items for sale include:

  • Homemade hardtack candy, fudge, buckeyes and dipped pretzels
  • Hand-crocheted doilies and other items
  • One-of-a-kind tree ornaments
  • Gifts for teachers
  • Cookie jar mixes and custom candy tins
  • Slippers for the whole family

A comfort food and bake sale will be held Friday, December 14 beginning at 10 a.m. featuring homemade chicken and noodles.

Beyond MedSpa, a division of Blanchard Valley Health System that specializes in cosmetic and aesthetic services, will have a table setup with their information on Saturday, December 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will be offering holiday gift sets and gift cards to purchase as well as an opportunity to win a door prize.

All proceeds benefit the activities’ program at Birchaven Village. For more information, please contact Birchaven Village at 419.424.3000.

Birchaven Village is a division of Blanchard Valley Health System, which provides a total continuum of care to more than 100,000 households in an eight-county area.