The Ohio Senate bill wants August 17 to be Gene Kranz Day

Bipartisan Senate Bill 287, which took its first reading Thursday at the Statehouse, declares August 17 “Eugene ‘Gene’ F. Kranz Day.”

COLUMBUS, Ohio – What do sugar cookies and the famous Toledoan Gene Kranz have in common?

Ohio Senate Bill 287 attempts to clarify the importance of both to the state, among several other independent amendments.

The bipartisan bill, first read in the Statehouse on Thursday, declares August 17 “Eugene ‘Gene’ F. Kranz Day.” August 17th is also his birthday.

A Class of 1951 graduate of Central Catholic High School, Kranz is a household name in Toledo, to say the least. He is one of the most important figures in space and flight history.

On May 22, 2021, Toledo Express Airport was renamed in honor of the NASA icon.

Kranz had several high-profile accomplishments during his three decades at NASA, where he served as flight director on several Apollo missions. In perhaps his crowning achievement, he averted a national tragedy and helped bring the astronauts safely back to Earth aboard the infamous Apollo 13. He was serving as senior flight director for the mission when a spacecraft oxygen tank exploded, turning the mission from exploring new frontiers into a mission of life and death.

He also played key roles in Apollo missions that went very differently. He served as flight director for Apollo 11 and helped Neil Armstrong – another space-bound Ohio native – make a giant leap for mankind on July 20, 1969 when he set foot on the moon.

“Gene Kranz is a living legend and one of the icons of America’s space program,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said in 2021. “Put simply, without Gene Kranz there would be no moon landing on July 20, 1969.

Other changes

SB 287 contains a total of seven amendments to the Ohio Revised Code. One of those changes hopes to make the sugar cookie the most important cookie in Ohio.

“The biscuit with the main ingredients sugar, flour, butter, eggs and vanilla, commonly known as the sugar biscuit, is adopted as the state’s official biscuit”, Sec. 5.803 of the bill reads.

Other changes in the bill include:

  • Designate the first full week of February as Ohio Burn Awareness Week to commemorate burn victims and educate the public about burn prevention measures
  • Designate the last Saturday of September as Ohio Public Lands Day
  • Designate the last full week of June as “Pollinator Week” to promote pollinator health and to recognize the importance of pollinators to ecosystems and the economy.
  • “New version of the law on environmental specialists and environmental specialists in training”

Ohio Senators Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), and Ohio Representatives Elgin Rogers Jr. (Toledo, D) and Michael Sheehy (Oregon, D) are co-sponsors of the bill.