Ohio State Men’s Volleyball Wins Third National Championship

OSU mens volleyball

“Buckeyes fans were once again filled with excitement upon hearing that Ohio State has won the national championship,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. And this was not the first win. OSU also won the national championship in 2011 and 2016. All tallied the OSU men’s volleyball team has now won the national championship three times in six years.

Considering that the team began the season as champions and finished as champions, 2017 has been a great season. And Pete Hanson, Ohio State coach, feels his team deserves the credit. To him, his players were great this season to the extent that he cannot point out what they were unable to do on the court.

OSU’s final game was against BYU, a match that was played in front of a huge home crowd of 8,205 rooting fans. And Hanson states that senior setter Christy Blough, junior outside hitter Nicholas Szerszen, and senior opposite hitter Miles Johnson have also been great this year. They helped OSU beat BYU in straight sets; winning the first set 25-19, the second set 25-20, and the third 25-22. This is the second consecutive time Ohio State has registered a similar win over BYU, a clear indication of how well the team has improved since 2011. The game brought out the best of Szerszen who managed 16 kills. Johnson and junior outside hitter Maxime Hervoir also showed their value to the team by managing 9 and 10 kills, respectively.

But Ohio State did not just win their third national championship trophy since 2011; they also managed to register an overall record of 32-2. Pete Hanson has been at Ohio State for the past 32 seasons, and it is this consistency that’s rapidly turning OSU into one of the teams to beat in the national championship. In fact, Ohio State is only the third straight school to win back-to-back titles. Others include UC Irvine which won crowns in 2012 – 2013 and Loyola that became notable for winning crowns consecutively in 2014 – 2015. Pete Hanson is assisted by Kevin Burch who has also helped to shape this season’s men’s volleyball team and turning them into title contenders.

According to Blough, Coach Hanson told players that they need to treat each game they progress as the best game. And it is that spirit which has made Ohio State become ambitious. Winning the third national championship in just six years is no easy feat. It requires total commitment and hard work, which Hanson has managed to bring into the team. As a result, fans should expect a lot more excitement in the upcoming seasons.

Image Credit: KLM volleyball

Why Birders From Around the World Are Flocking to Ohio

Northern Cardinal in Ohio

Every year in the month of May, birders from over 32 countries around the world flock to Ohio. The shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio, in particular, is a birders paradise of sorts and has rapidly gained popularity because the area is a popular migratory path for hundreds of species of birds that fly hundreds of miles from their wintering grounds in the tropics to places where they nest in the forests of the northern U.S. and Canada. Migrating birds stop at the Lake Erie shores to rest and hunt for food before they continue on their long journey home.

According to Stacy Wiseman, the Holiday Inn Express GM in Oregon, the flocking of birders to Ohio is amazing, and one may find it hard to believe that thousands of visitors flock to Ohio to see birds. But why does Ohio have such an incredible number of birders in May? Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of Black Swamp Observatory in Oak Harbor, explains that Lake Erie has a rich habitat that attracts birds of all kinds. They are attracted by the easy availability of food, which most find handy when it comes to regaining energy.

Birds such as warblers, finches, blackbirds, and sparrows really like this place. And it is not uncommon to find them in large numbers along the shores of Lake Erie. Most of them are colorful and melodic, which makes this place a stunning destination for birders. “Wherever there are birds, birders will undoubtedly follow,” says Kaufman. Warblers and other species of birds often create this incredible bird watching scenery from the end of April to mid-May. And this prompted Kaufman and others to start a festival dubbed “The Biggest Week In American Birding”. Since its inception in 2010, the festival has made many people more aware of birds than ever before.

“Guides, lectures, and other programs offered during the festival help birders appreciate bird watching even more,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Most of them will always come back to Ohio every May to be part of the spectacular migration. Kaufman says that every year from the end of April to mid-May, over 90,000 birders visit Northwest Ohio alone to view various species of birds. This is a large number that is great for the tourism industry, considering that birders arrive before summer, giving a nice boost to the local economy. In fact, studies indicate that birders spend nearly $40 million during their stay in Ohio.

Ohio’s habitat is ideal for numerous species of birds (a total of 408 species). There are many popular birding locations including East Harbor State Park, Great Egret Marsh, Magee Marsh Wild Area, Maumee Bay State Park, and Erie Marsh Preserve.

Image Credit: Jen Goellnitz

Its Full Speed Ahead for Ohio, Governor Approves 7.8B Transportation Budget

Highway in Cleveland Ohio

Its full speed ahead for Ohio as Governor John Kasich approves a $7.8 billion transportation budget. “Ohio ranks high among all states for the quality and maintenance of our highway infrastructure and we did it without ever having to raise the gas tax,” said Governor Kasich.

The 2018 – 2019 Transportation Budget Bill was signed into law on March 31, 2017. The bill was established to help the state improve its highways as well as be in a better position for the long-awaited self-driving vehicles and drones. Remember, Ohio is one of the few states selected for the research and testing of self-driving cars. “We’re determined to maintain the competitive edge we have with our highways, while also positioning our state for the industries of tomorrow with self-driving cars and drones,” he added.

Roads are of strategic importance to the economy. From the gas we put in our cars to the groceries on store shelves, all depends on roads. The $7.8 billion transportation budget will not just improve Ohio highways but also will make sure that the introduction of the autonomous vehicles becomes real and successful. And now there is the determination to improve Ohio roads and highways further to remain on the short list of states with the best roads in the country.

Recent reports indicate that the past seven years has seen more than a few states falling behind in repairing and maintaining their highway infrastructure. And Ohio wants to remain in the driver’s seat to push their economy forward, as depicted in its $14 billion investment for over 7,000 projects. The new transportation budget is enormous and will lead to the accomplishment of many necessary infrastructure projects. In fact, the state is planning to start and complete 43 major projects, 356 safety projects, 446 bridge projects, and 615 pavement projects within a span of just two years.

Additionally, the Transportation Research Center (TRC) projects in central Ohio are also included in the transportation budget. Some monies have been allocated to expand capabilities for self-driving research as well as to create smart highways where autonomous vehicles will be safely tested in real-life traffic situations. This will include improvement for highway U.S. 33, sections of Interstate 90 in northern Ohio, and I-270 in Columbus. The drone technology will also benefit from the transportation budget, with funds set aside for its development. Moreover, the funds will facilitate the ongoing plans to fly unmanned aircraft beyond the line of visual sight.

The transportation budget will give Ohio a much-needed competitive edge. It is a comprehensive budget that takes into account all highway infrastructure including smart highways. The 2-year transportation budget will without a doubt take Ohio’s highway infrastructure into the future.

Image Credit: Doug Kerr

Explore 5 Top Museums in Ohio

Cleveland Museum of Art

“When you think of Ohio, there are a lot of things that come to mind, but museums and culture is probably not one of them for some”, noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.  While touring the Buckeye State from the northern shoreline of Lake Erie to the Appalachian Mountains you will find numerous tourist attractions dotting the landscape including some of the best museums in the country that even the kids will love. In keeping up with its nickname, Ohio really is in the Heart of it All. So, pack up your gear and load the family in the car while we take you on a tour of the 5 top museums in Ohio.

1. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Designed by famed architect, I.M. Pei, The Rock Hall is one of the most unique museums in the world showcasing hundreds of legendary performers that have shaped the American music scene. The fascinating exhibits take visitors on a musical journey through the Rock and Roll revolution. And the building’s unique architectural design is a work of art in its own right.

2. The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA)

The Cleveland Museum of Art has been the cultural epicenter of Northeast Ohio since its founding in 1916. It was ranked as the #2 museum in the country in 2016, by Business Insider. The highly acclaimed museum is known for its impressive Asian, Egyptian, American, and European collections from contemporary to medieval art. The original neoclassical building has also been expanded and renovated several times. Every year, the CMA attracts approximately 598,000 visitors.

3. Cincinnati Art Museum

Founded in 1881, the Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the oldest museums in the U.S. Today, the diverse museum has more than 67,000 works in its collection with some artifacts nearly 6,000 years old. Aside from its comprehensive collections, the museum’s old and unique architectural design built in the Romanesque Revival style will surely appeal to any historian.

4. American Sign Museum

Housed in a former factory in Cincinnati, The American Sign Museum is hands down one of the most interesting museums in the world. The museum’s sign collection spans over 100 years. The exhibits in its historic collection include neon signs that recreate a Main Street USA storefront. The 20,000 square foot museum takes visitors on a trip back in time to discover the changing sign styles over the past century.

5. The Dayton Art Institute (DAI)

The Dayton Art Institute or DAI, as it is sometimes referred, was rated one of the top 10 best art museums in the U.S. for kids, by Parents® Magazine. In addition to its rotating exhibits, the museum features an extensive permanent collection of more than 20,000 objects from around the globe dating back 5,000 years. And its Lange Family Experiencenter, an interactive hands-on experience for the entire family is one of its most popular galleries.

Image Credit: Erik Drost

Ohio Aims to Shore up Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Lake Erie

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Project (GLRI) is the largest Federal investment in the basin for the past 20 years. GLRI is a federal program that was enacted to support efforts of restoring and protecting the Great Lakes and its ecosystems. “The GLRI meets its objectives by investing in a variety of restoration projects that clean up toxic pollutions, restore habitat and wetlands, and combat invasive species like Asian carp,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Currently, there are approximately 3 million Ohioans who depend on Lake Erie for their drinking water. Rob Portman, U.S. Senator, mentioned in an op-ed that “hundreds of thousands of Ohioans depend on Lake Erie for jobs.”

In addition, the bordering U.S. states and Canadian provinces formed a compact agreement in 2008, known as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The compact outlines the shared roles and responsibilities of the parties. The compact also required states and provinces to enact legislation to protect the basin.

Therefore, Lake Erie is vital to the state of Ohio and so is the GLRI whose main objective is to restore the Great Lakes basin including Lake Erie. Ohio has released grants as well as taken part in a number of projects and initiatives to help shore up the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In 2016, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown announced a $175,000 grant from GLRI to install bioretention cells at Wildwood Park in Cleveland for preventing untreated storm water runoff from finding its way into Lake Erie.

“ A great deal of progress has been made in recent years to improve the lake’s condition and bold reforms Ohio has championed under the leadership of Governor Kasich have contributed to that progress. Ohio has spent more than $2.5 billion in the Lake Erie watershed since 2011,” mentioned Emmalee Kalmbach, Press Secretary for Governor John Kasich in a statement to Great Lakes Now.

Also, the U.S. government has provided more than $1.7B in Federal funding through the GLRI for 3,455 projects. The EPA alone was responsible for nearly half the funding of nearly 1,000 projects. And with the EPA’s roles, budget and responsibilities being redefined, some of its funding in the future will likely come from some of the other 13 Federal agencies that have been funding the GLRI and the Great Lakes states and provinces, including Ohio, that are signatories to the compact agreement.

Image Credit: Tom Whitten

Off the Beaten Path: 5 Unusual Ohio Tourist Attractions


Cincinnati Subway

“Although all states have something to offer as far as tourism is concerned, the state of Ohio is arguably one of the highest ranked tourist destinations in the country,” noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. From hidden sights to weird attractions and unusual places, Ohio has something for everyone.

One of the most interesting sites in Ohio is the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, which came to fruition between 1000 BCE and 200 BCE. Built by the “mound builders”, this stunning prehistoric effigy mound is 1,330 feet in length and 3 feet in height. A number of earliest records believe that the Great Serpent Mound is a representation of a snake trying to swallow the phases of the moon. However, London West, a local German Baptist minister, proposed in 1909 that the mound represents the woes of the Biblical snake from the Garden of Eden.

Another hidden spot is Helltown, an abandoned village in Summit County, believed to be haunted. According to original folklore, Helltown is teeming with spooked buses, a mutant python, and crybaby bridges, among others. However, many of these myths have been refuted, as reliable sources insist that the “haunted” bus was actually the temporary home of a family waiting to have their permanent home repaired. All in all, Helltown is a great place to explore and let your imagination run wild.

Built by Harry Andrews, an eccentric medieval enthusiast, the Harry Andrews’ Chateau Laroche in Loveland gets its share of tourists every year. Harry used 2,600 sacks of cement and 32,000-quart milk cartons to build the entire castle himself. Although Harry died a couple of weeks after a fire accident, the castle is still run by the youth organization (the “Knights of the Golden Trail”) established by him. Like, Helltown, Harry Andrews’ Chateau Laroche, is worth a visit. Be sure to pack a sleeping bag and spend the night in the castle. You might even spot a ghost while you’re there.

Also, Crystal Cave in Put-In-Bay near Cleveland is the largest geode in the world. It was discovered in 1887 but what’s really unusual about this tourist attraction is the fact that the cave is in a large cavity within a single rock. It features 3-foot long crystals that protrude from the walls. Crystal Cave is estimated to be around 15,000 years old.

The Cincinnati Subway is another off the beaten path that is worth visiting while you are in Ohio, if you can find it. This abandoned project in Ohio came into existence on January 28, 1920, despite the idea originating in 1884. However, the Cincinnati Subway was never completed, as everything came to a halt in 1948. While the old tunnels still exist, the city has blocked the graffiti laden entrances for liability reasons. However, the stunning art-deco Union Terminal should not be missed.

Ohio is filled with numerous unusual tourist attractions making it an attractive destination for both visitors from around the country and international tourists keen on exploring the many sites and attractions. These are fascinating places to visit with a number of them (such as The Great Serpent Mound) boasting a rich and storied history. Whether you are on a vacation, family trip or honeymoon, be sure to experience the thrill of Ohio.

Image Credit: Aaron Bauer

Ohio Wants to Shed Rust Belt Image

Ohio factory redevelopment

With significant advances in education, health care, technology and other industries, Ohio Governor John Kasich recently announced that its time for Ohio to shed its “rust belt” image. “We are no longer the rust belt; we live in the knowledge belt,” he said.

The term “rust belt” was coined back in the late 20th century when Ohio’s economy was mostly reliant on manufacturing. When manufacturing dried up in Ohio, as it did in much of the country, the state sought a more diversified economy. And today, the state is no longer reliant on a single industry. Some of the major industries that have popped up in Ohio include automotive, which is boosted by easy access to rubber, steel, and glass. There’s also a thriving agricultural industry, which contributed $105 billion of Ohio’s total economic output of $898.7 billion in 2010, according to PolitiFact. And then we have the aerospace industry which produces a yearly economic impact of over $8 billion, according to hiVelocity.

Furthermore, Governor Kasich believes that “Knowledge Belt” is more reflective of the current economic reality in the region. Capitalizing on some of the highest ranking educational institutions in the nation that are graduating some of the best and brightest has led to the significant growth in knowledge-based industries that are now the cornerstone of Ohio’s thriving economy. Ohio is an innovative leader in health care, with Cleveland Clinic, as an example. And the state has invested heavily in technology and is on the forefront in a variety of research projects, including with autonomous vehicle research. The list goes on and on.

Also, many of the old abandoned warehouses and factories have been renovated and converted into residential units, office buildings and other uses. The old Joseph & Weiss garment factory in Cleveland will be full of life again when its renovation as a public charter school for gifted children is complete in time for the 2017-18 academic year.
“However, erasing the old image may not be an easy task. Former governor Ted Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown attempted to rebrand the state as “the Silicone Valley on alternative energy” but it didn’t stick,” mentioned Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

The good news is a number of states have been in a similar situation and successfully rebranded. Las Vegas, for example, gave the label “Sin City” a new meaning with the now infamous tag line “what happens here, stays here”. Ohio can also do the same by embracing its manufacturing legacy and building on a new future as the “knowledge belt”.

Image  Credit: ODSA

Best Quaint Towns in Ohio to Spend a Weekend

granville ohio

Ohio is one of the most scenic and historic states. And from the Lake Erie shoreline to the rural countryside of the Appalachian Plateau, the Ohio landscape is dotted with many fun and exciting quaint towns giving visitors a glimpse into a unique cultural past with a sprinkling of modernity.


Put-In-Bay is a beautiful quaint island village on South Bass Island. Despite its tiny population (138), it is a popular tourist destination with thousands of visitors each day. Visitors from around the country visit here to go inside and explore Crystal Cave, the largest geode in the world, the town’s top attraction. Golf carts are the primary mode of transportation here, but renting a bike is also a great way to see the sights. Gorgeous sunset views of Lake Erie are not to be missed.

Yellow Springs

Yellow Springs is a quaint artsy town located in western Ohio’s Greene County. The town’s carefree, laid-back and friendly vibe is reflected in its colorful character. While here visitors can explore eclectic shops, get up close with nature at the Glen Helen Nature Reserve, and let loose at the town’s incredibly popular twice-yearly Yellow Springs Street Fair, where just about anything goes. The nearby John Bryan State Park is also worth a visit.

Tipp City

Located just outside Dayton in Miami County, Tipp City has a lot to see and do, making it one of the best tourist destinations in Ohio. This lively town with beautiful parks and amazing local restaurants was voted “One of the Best Hometowns in Ohio,” by Ohio Magazine. This mid-18th-century town is home to a quaint historical downtown, which is listed in the National Historic Register. Additionally, Tipp City attracts a large number of visitors every year to its popular annual events like the Canal Music Fest and the annual Tipp City Mum Fest.


Granville is a picture-perfect quintessential town established in the 19th century by settlers from Massachusetts and Connecticut. In the middle of Ohio’s rolling hills approximately 30 minutes east of Columbus, the town’s New England charm has made Granville one of the must-see places to visit in Ohio. Visitors are impressed with the town’s unique blend of old historic buildings alongside cafes, boutiques, art galleries and vintage stores as they stroll through the quaint downtown. The historic Buxton Inn has been in operation here since 1812.

“In addition to a thriving economy and outstanding educational opportunities, Ohio is a fun state to explore. And these quaint towns are a wonderful place to spend an enjoyable weekend,” noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

Image Credit: Gone-Walkabout

Ohio is on the Road to Self Driving Truck Technology

Ohio smart mobility corridor

Ohio is quickly emerging as the leader in self driving truck technology.  The state was chosen by Otto, a start-up recently acquired by Uber to test its innovative self driving truck technology. And on November 30, 2016, Otto deployed a self driving truck that successfully navigated a 35-mile stretch of Route 33, a four-lane highway from Dublin to East Liberty, known as the Smart Mobility Corridor.

Whenever new technology is created it goes through a rigorous testing phase to get the “bugs” worked out before it is available in the marketplace. In order to test the safety and reliability of something as innovative as self driving trucks you need good roads with real traffic and a variety of weather conditions.

With its great roads and unique climate and topography traversing both urban and rural settings, Ohio is the best place in the country to test self driving technologies. “You want to test when it rains, you want to test when it snows, you want to test when it’s slippery. You have all of the ideal conditions, so in many respects, we’re ahead of everybody when it comes to the ability to develop and test [autonomous vehicles] in a real way,” said Gov. John Kasich.

But this didn’t happen by accident. The Transportation Research Center, a 4,500-acre independent automobile testing facility, is investing $100M to build out a 500-acre autonomous vehicle testing facility in its East Liberty testing grounds that is expected to become the autonomous vehicle testing hub of the country.

With the initial successful testing by Otto of the first self driving truck on Ohio roads, the state plans to invest $15 million for the installation of additional fiber optic cables and road sensors along the Smart Mobility Corridor.  This will allow emerging autonomous vehicle technologies to be tested in the real-world with live traffic and weather conditions. “Data collected on this corridor will allow automotive innovators to test and refine jobs‑creating technologies that are going to help move people and products more safely and efficiently than ever before,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.

Increased safety and more jobs are some of the reasons for a big push forward towards self driving trucks. Right now the truck driving industry is experiencing a driver shortage of 48,000 jobs which is expected to increase to 175,000 by 2024, according to the American Trucking Association. Also, driver fatigue is a big issue for both the driver and traveling motorists. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that approximately 4,000 people are killed in accidents each year involving large trucks and driver fatigue is cited as the leading cause. Self driving technology can help make the roads safer for everyone.

“Ohio wants to be the self driving technology hub and the state expects to attract innovative companies and additional public-private investment in the emerging autonomous vehicle technology,” noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

Image Credit: ODOT

Ohio Has Most Improved Business Climate in America, says Survey

ohio groundbreaking

America’s CEOs have spoken and Ohio has the most improved business climate, according to a recent survey by Chief Executive Magazine. In its annual ranking of the top 50 states to do business, Ohio moved up ten spots and is now the 12th best state for business in the U.S. Ohio has brought in commonsense regulatory policy, which has greatly helped the state improve its business climate. “The fact that the nation’s CEOs now see Ohio as a top ten state in which to do business is solid recognition of the jobs-friendly business climate we have worked so hard to create here,” said Governor John R. Kasich.

The business-friendly reforms and common-sense fiscal management are paying off for Ohioans. This has allowed the state to develop a strong, balanced budget. And when combined with a reduction of a net $5 billion in taxes has helped bring more jobs to the state. Also, Ohio ranks 12th in the nation for gross domestic product (GDP) growth, according to the latest 2016 quarterly GDP report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

On the jobs front, Ohio has created more than 428,000 new private-sector jobs since 2011, according to JobsOhio. The business friendly environment has allowed many companies to expand their presence in the state. In addition, many companies are making plans to invest in Ohio, with the latest being Fiat Automobiles that has announced plans to invest $1 billion in Ohio and Michigan plants. The investment is expected to create 2,000 jobs in both states, and this is good news for Ohio.

“Not long ago, the state had dismal job creation and retention numbers. The business climate was so challenging that industries and residents started to pack up and leave,” noted Victor Bierman, an Ohio Lawyer and Business Expert. This resulted in an $8 billion budget shortfall, making economic conditions even worse. But, with good governance and great vision, the state has made an incredible resurgence, and is now one of the best places in the country to start or expand a business.

Image Credit: Nestlé