DeWine to open county bicentennial



SIDNEY — Shelby County Bicentennial Committee Chairman Mike Barhorst has announced that Gov. Mike DeWine will deliver the principal address at the opening ceremonies for Shelby County’s bicentennial.

That event is scheduled for April 1. The ticketed event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Historic Sidney Theatre.

“We are delighted to announce that Gov. Mike DeWine has accepted our invitation to attend our opening celebration,” Barhorst said. “Mike was in Sidney just prior to the November election, and I saw Mike and Fran (Mrs. DeWine) again in Washington during the funeral visitation for Sen. John McCain. Whenever I saw him, I reminded him of our invitation and am most grateful that he has accepted our invitation to attend.

“The original plan was to hold the event under a tent on the courthouse lawn,” Barhorst stated. “I recently attended a groundbreaking that was held under a tent and despite having heaters, it was pretty cold.

“Upon my return to City Hall, I asked City Clerk Kari Egbert to do a bit of research into historic weather extremes on April 1,” Barhorst continued. “She found a year when the temperature was extremely cold and another just six years later when it was extremely hot — and that was before ‘global warming’!

“I spoke with the Shelby County Commissioners, and we decided to move the event indoors. Unfortunately, that will limit the number who can attend, but at least those who do attend will be comfortable,” Barhorst said. Ticket information will be available later this month.

Others who have accepted invitations to speak at the event include Shelby County Commission President Julie Ehemann, Miami County Commission President Gregory A. Simmons, Sen. Matthew Huffman, R-Lima, 12th District, and Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, 84th District.

Dean of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Sidney Deanery the Rev. Steven Shoup will offer the invocation, and Shelby County Ministerial President Pastor Rodney Reynolds will offer the benediction. Barhorst will serve as master of ceremonies.

The Shelby County Bicentennial Choir, comprising student vocalists from Shelby County’s high schools, will provide several musical selections. Those selections will include “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Beautiful Ohio,” “America the Beautiful,” and “God Bless America.” The choir is directed by Sonya Phillips. Phillips is the director of choirs at Fairlawn Local Schools.

Other events include an attempt to set a world record, a Fourth of July celebration that will include a huge fireworks display, the ceremonial planting of a bicentennial tree and a host of other activities. A complete list will be issued shortly.

“We are delighted that Gov. DeWine will be joining us for this historic occasion,” Shelby County Commission President Julie Ehemann said. “Over the past two centuries, Shelby County has developed a well-deserved reputation as having a strong work ethic that is rooted in our agricultural tradition, helping to make us the manufacturing powerhouse we have become today.”

“Having the governor come to help kick off our 200th birthday celebration is both an honor and a privilege,” Commissioner Tony Bornhorst said when he learned DeWine would be attending the opening ceremony. “I very much look forward to hearing his remarks and helping to welcome him to the community on his first official visit as governor.”

Commissioner Bob Guillozet, who is serving as co-chairman of the bicentennial planning committee, agreed. “We are glad to have Gov. DeWine attend our opening celebration. Given his busy schedule, I really appreciate his willingness to join us for this major milestone in our county’s history.”