Gov. John Kasich’s announcement that he will deliver his 2014 State of the State address in Medina has already created a buzz in the community.
Hundreds of home phones and cellphones rang, buzzed, beeped or played music shortly after noon as the news of the governor’s announcement was sent out by Medina school officials.
Officials used the district’s phone alert system — typically reserved for school closing notifications or other calamities — to notify parents of the governor’s plans.
The governor has asked state Senate President Keith Faber and Speaker of the House William Batchelder to convene a joint session of the legislature Feb. 24 at the Medina Performing Arts Center for his speech.
“Medina is one of Ohio’s great communities, and this is a great way to celebrate it,” Rob Nichols, the governor’s spokesman, said in a news release. “Medina is also the hometown of Speaker Batchelder, and as he starts the last year of his term this is a way to recognize his distinguished 46-year career in public service.”
Batchelder could not be reached for comment.
Over the past two years, Kasich has broken with the practice of delivering the governor’s State of the State addresses at the Statehouse in Columbus.
After his first address there in 2011, he has delivered the speech at Wells Academy, a public elementary school in Steubenville, and at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima.
“I’m really excited,” said Nancy Abbott, chair of the Medina County Republican Party and clerk of Medina Municipal Court. “Medina County sometimes is forgotten because we’re between two larger counties, Cuyahoga and Summit. It’s nice to be recognized every once in a while.”
The Medina Performing Arts Center, which seats more than 1,100, is operated by the Medina school district and is connected to the high school.
Interim Superintendent Dave Knight called it an honor to host the event, set for 7 p.m.
“It’s not often you get to throw a special party like this,” Knight said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase what we can offer here in Medina, both as a school system and as a community.”
The school district has faced much difficulty over the past year. Former Superintendent Randy Stepp was suspended and some school board members resigned after a scandal involving Stepp’s contract and alleged misuse of taxpayer money.
Knight said he hopes the governor’s visit “will get us refocused on the good things that go on in the community and our schools.”
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com.