Pickaway Park District Receives Grant For Scioto River Pedestrian Bridge

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The Pickaway County Park District has been awarded a $500,000 State Capital Grant to begin the process of building a pedestrian bridge over the Scioto River.  The bridge will connect the City of Circleville to Canal Park and the Pickaway Trail, with eventual plans to stretch from New Holland into Circleville.

This bridge would be on the existing railroad corridor and on the existing railroad abutments across the river. Having this bridge would allow pedestrians and bikes to cross the river to connect to the City  as well as to approximately 14 miles of existing and proposed trails as well as an additional 14 miles of trail once the connection to New Holland is made on the Pickaway Trail.

The District will be hosting a Public Meeting on Zoom March 2nd between 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm to discuss this project in detail.

For more details, go to the Pickaway County Park District website link provided: CLICK HERE

Goodwill Opens New Adult Day Services Center

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Goodwill of South Central Ohio is opening a new adult day services center on Monday, March 1 to fulfill an immediate need for individuals with disabilities in Pickaway County.

In January, the county’s only open adult day services center, Person Centered Services (PCS), closed suddenly. As a result, Goodwill’s administrative team began putting together a plan to open an Activities and Training Center at 5075 S. Union St. in South Bloomfield, about 6 miles from the former PCS site.

“We already provide various services to individuals with disabilities in Pickaway County, so this was an easy decision to make,” said Goodwill CEO Marvin Jones. “Our center employs three former PCS employees including former director Stephanie Smith who is our center’s supervisor. We’re excited about the experience they will bring to the center. Their presence will also help make the transition smoother for the individuals who attended PCS and decide to attend our center.”

Goodwill closed its South Bloomfield store on Feb. 6 to transform the salesfloor into the day center and purchased buses and vans to provide transportation for individuals attending the center. The donation center in the back of the building remains in operation accepting donations at the south entrance between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. All store employees remain employed and have transitioned to operate the donation center or work in our Circleville store.

This isn’t the first time Goodwill has responded to fill a need for services in Pickaway County. In January, its workforce development team began a paid work experience training program, Project Connect. The program provides participants an opportunity to gain marketable skills by working with a job coach in a Goodwill store for up to six months. Upon completion of the program, participants will then work with a Goodwill employment specialist to identify and secure community employment.

In March 2020, Goodwill also launched its C.A.R.E. program in Pickaway County which provides homemaker/personal care, Ohio Shared Living, and assistive technology services.

“COVID has negatively impacted service options in the area for individuals with disabilities. While we’ve felt some of those effects at Goodwill, we’ve worked collaboratively with our boards of developmental disabilities in the eight counties we serve to find solutions,” said Missions Coordinator Cana Horner. “We have actually expanded the services we offer during the past year, and that’s partly due to the tremendous community support we get from those who donate to and shop at our thrift stores.”

There will be an open house for the new center from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 1 by appointment only. Call Stephanie Smith at 740-248-9907 to schedule an appointment.

Ohio Lt. Governor Tours Hopewell Health Center Clinic In Chillicothe

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The Hopewell Health Center Mount Logan Clinic in Chillicothe was in the state spotlight Friday morning with the visit of Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, as he toured their COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Approximately 300 people were scheduled to be vaccinated Friday with their first doses of Moderna vaccine.

After touring the site on East Main Street, the Lt. Governor, along with State Senator Bob Peterson, State Representative Mark Johnson and Hopewell Health CEO Mark Bridenbaugh answered questions from the news media.

On the issue of businesses and jobs negatively impacted by the pandemic, Husted said the state does not track how many business have been closed, but legislators are working on a relief package to keep existing businesses alive.

“The biggest impact has been on the hospitality  industry. If you are a restaurant, banquet, catering or a venue where you have weddings, celebrations and things like that. Those are the kind of business hit the hardest. We will never know, we don’t keep statistics on those that go out of business and we don’t know these kinds of things. We know no doubt, that many people have lost jobs, particularly small businesses”  

Husted continued by pointing to the Governor DeWine and the state legislature’s efforts in creating aid packages to help struggling businesses and workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted speaks to the media at the Hopewell Health Center Mt. Logan Clinic reception area in Chillicothe. Pictured left to right, State Senator Bob Peterson, Husted, Lisa Poling, Senior Director of Operations for Hopewell and State Representative Mark Johnson.

“The governor and I have announced a $1 billion economic package with the help of these gentlemen (state lawmakers) who are going to be working in the general assembly to help fund the relief for small businesses that have 25 employees or fewer- especially focused on restaurants, bars and the indoor entertainment facilities” 

State Senator Bob Peterson said “So in general, he (Lt. Governor) largely references the state budget and I am very appreciative as is the Lt. Governor that the budget is balanced and doesn’t tap into the rainy day fund and provides some of the growth potential for economic development, helping those people effected most by the pandemic. And even if the pandemic effected you or not, if you are dealing with the opioid crisis or other health issues, we have things in the budget to do with that”

As has been the historical case in times of national crisis, citizens step up to meet the challenge.

Hopewell Health Center CEO Mark Bridenbaugh and the Lt. Governor said they believe the pandemic will spur more people to pursue a career in the health field. Husted says Ohio “has many institutions of higher learning that can train individuals to get on that career path”

Husted also bragged on Hopewell Health Center’s work in serving underserved residents in the Chillicothe area.


Waverly Takes Marietta 61-42 in Litter Media Game of the Week

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Waverly’s Travis Robertson talks about his team winning a Sectional Championship despite having a slow start.

It was a slow start for Waverly, but they overcame a 10-2 deficit to earn a 61-42 DII Sectional Final win over Marietta Thursday.

As cold as Waverly was from the field, Marietta hopped off the bus just as hot, jumping out to to 8-point margin midway through the first period.

The home Tigers closed the gap to 14-12 to close out the first quarter, then got their first lead to start the second on a three by Gage Wheeler and didn’t look back. Waverly carried a 32-19 lead into the intermission.

“Originally we were gonna play full court and stay solid (defensively)” said Waverly’s Travis Robertson. “I felt like we let them (Marietta) off the hook. They wanted to just walk it up and kinda do their thing. We were able to run a jump the ball a bit, get it movin’ and the pace picked up.”  

Zeke Brown had 12 of his 16 points by halftime as he and Will Father combined for 12 of the Tigers’ 20 second quarter points. Wheeler nailed three triples while Trey Robertson was held to just 4 points in the first half. 

Robertson began taking advantage of driving to the basket in the third, hitting five field goals scoring 11 of Waverly’s 17 points in the quarter for a 49-31 advantage. He finished with 19 to lead all scorers.

Wheeler had 9 followed by Futhey’s 8, Mark Stulley with 7 and Hudson Kelly finished the scoring with a basket late. Brown and Robertson were selected as the McDonald’s Players of the Game.

Fourth seeded Waverly will host the fifth seed Sheridan March 4th. Sheridan defeated Fairfield Union 45-34 in Thornville Thursday night.  

Governor Announces Increase For Entertainment Seating Capacity

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine told viewers of his Thursday COVID-19 press conference update that attendance capacities for entertainment events in the state will be allowed to increase.

DeWine said indoor seating capacity will be allowed to expand to 25% of maximum seating capacity and outdoor events will be 30%.

In both cases, fans will still be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing of six feet between “spectator pods” of no more than six people. This applies to concerts and sporting events.

The governor stated that guidelines for fairs, festivals, proms, wedding receptions and parades will be announced soon.

Governor DeWine also said there will be 310,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine next week in Ohio. Certain Walmart and Meijer stores will be added as locations along with a number of independent pharmacies. He says vaccinations of school employees have been completed, with Ross County schools included this week.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Looks For Auxiliary Members

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Lieutenant Tim Karwatske, Chillicothe Post Commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol

The Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary is an all-volunteer force that provides assistance to troopers in the course of their duties. Crash scene and traffic stop assistance, traffic control, disaster relief and special detail support are among the duties of an Auxiliary officer.

“We’re always looking for some help” Lt. Tim Karwatske, Chillicothe Post Commander, told Litter Media Thursday. “They’re not actually troopers or police officers, they don’t have arrest powers, but they can help supplement our forces in other ways.”

Karwatske says auxiliary members who ride with troopers can help with forms and take statements and assist by watching prisoners for a trooper. “They can help us if we’re inventorying vehicles, and gather evidence in certain circumstances. They can come into the post if it’s a real busy day and help answer phones” which is very handy during inclement weather as in recent weeks.

The OSHP Auxiliary was formed in 1942 when many commissioned troopers began entering the armed forces during World War II. At that time, membership was limited to members of the American Legion, which was largely made up of war veterans unlikely to be drafted into service.

After the war, the Auxiliary was a critical component of Ohio’s Civil Defense Plan, with officers assigned to vital crossroads to assist with evacuation and convoy movement.

Karwatske said interested persons should visit www.statepatrol.ohio.gov. “That basically puts them in touch with the Columbus recruitment office and then go from there.”

Today, Auxiliary members contribute thousands of hours in an assortment of functions. Each is required to log a minimum of 120 hours per year to remain active. 

Current requirements to become an Auxiliary are:

  • Must have valid Ohio driver license
  • Age 21-57 (except for retired OSHP officers)
  • Good physical condition
  • High school diploma or GED
  • No felony convictions
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Pre-employment polygraph exam
  • Ability to communicate in a clear manner
  • Availability for training and service

Applicants must pass a medical exam, which must be conducted by a physician at their own expense. Applicants must also pass written and physical tests. Auxiliary members are required to conform to grooming standards and purchase a uniform.

Physical Agility Test

To be conducted at a local Highway Patrol post:

  • Run: 1.5 mile run at the 20th percentile time indicated by the Cooper Institute standards for the applicant’s age and gender.
  • Push-ups: Minimum number of pushups indicated by the 20th percentile of the Cooper Institute standards for the applicant’s age and gender.
  • Sit-ups: Minimum number of sit-ups indicated by the 20th percentile of the Cooper Institute standards for the applicant’s age and gender.

Background Investigation

The following issues in an applicant’s background may result in rejection of an application:

  • Domestic violence conviction
  • Drug-related conviction
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Poor driving record (numerous crashes or moving violations)

To inquire about a possible position in the OSHP Auxiliary, call your nearest Patrol post, email OSPAux@dps.ohio.gov, or apply online.

Ross Community Action HEAP Winter Crisis Program Ends March 31st

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Time is running out to apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as H.E.A.P., which is an end date of March 31st for it’s 2020-21 Winter Crisis Program.

Appointments are still available with assistance for natural gas, electric, fuel oil/propane and firewood. One time assistance is still available for those who have not utilized the program for this winter season.

Households eligible must be at or below 175% of the 2020-21 federal poverty guidelines.

See more details below:

Congressmen Stivers & Wenstrup Meet With Chillicothe VAMC Officials

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CHILLICOTHE, OHIO – On February 22, the Chillicothe VA Medical Center Director, Dr. Kathy Berger, hosted a visit with Congressman Brad Wenstrup and Congressman Steve Stivers.  Discussions centered on current operations and other potential plans for the future of the Chillicothe facility.  Dr. Berger responded to the congressional questions about services offered at the Chillicothe VA, and questions about the new travel voucher program.

Dr. Berger also shared plans for working with VA market partners in southcentral Ohio, which may enhance/expand services.  Some areas that have proposed changes include additional mental health services and rehab services.  Those proposed changes are currently under review.  Veterans and staff can be assured that the Chillicothe VA remains ready to care for Veterans’ needs.

The COVID vaccination program was also discussed and the facility highlighted its current progress with vaccines being offered at the main campus and Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) locations.

As a healthcare delivery system for Veterans, the Chillicothe VA is committed to continually assessing Veterans’ needs in the 17 counties served and meeting those needs in the most appropriate way possible.  

Chillicothe VA is very appreciative of the continued support of Congressional members and stakeholders and is committed to ongoing communication.

Highland Teen Drowns and ODNR Officer Dies After Rescue Attempt On Broken Ice at Rocky Fork Lake

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A Highland County teenager drowned and an officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources died from a medical emergency Tuesday evening after an attempted rescue when two teens broke through the ice at Rocky Fork State Park Lake.

ODNR officials say the incident occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The 16-year-old drowning victim was a female and the ODNR Officer was identified as Jason Lagore. The name of the teenage girl has not been released. Her body was recovered at approximately 11;00 P.M. Tuesday.

A 13-year-old boy rescued himself from the ice and water and was taken to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia. His condition was not known.

During the four-hour rescue, Natural Resource Officer Jason Lagore suffered a medical emergency and was taken to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, where he was pronounced dead.

In honor of the life and service of Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore, Governor DeWine has ordered that the flags of the United States and the State of Ohio be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds in Highland County, and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus. Flags should remain lowered until sunset on the day of Officer Lagore’s funeral.

All other public buildings and grounds throughout the state may fly U.S. and Ohio flags at half-staff at their discretion for the same time period. 

This order will run concurrently with yesterday’s order to lower flags in honor of the more than 500,000 Americans who died due to COVID-19. Flags on public buildings and grounds in Highland County and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes State Office Tower should remain lowered after February 26, 2021, if Officer Lagore’s funeral has not yet taken place.

New State Park To Preserve Oldtown Area Known As Tecumseh Birthplace

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(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz announced today that Ohio will develop a new state park around an important, yet often overlooked historical site in Greene County.

Oldtown, located at what is now the site of the Tecumseh Motel at 1575 U.S. 68 in Xenia, is the site of one of the largest-known Shawnee settlements in Ohio and is often cited by historians as the birthplace of Tecumseh.

Yesterday, the State Controlling Board approved ODNR’s proposal to purchase the motel for $260,000 to transform the half-acre property into Ohio’s 76th state park.

“Preserving this site gives us a unique opportunity to connect today’s generation of Ohioans with the past,” said Governor DeWine. “By protecting this property, we are preserving Tecumseh’s legacy and Ohio’s long, rich history.”

Tecumseh established himself as a Shawnee military and political leader who fought to preserve native land against American westward expansion and the U.S. military.

“By turning this historic land into a new state park, it’s our goal to restore and preserve Oldtown for the public to enjoy,” said ODNR Director Mertz. 

ODNR plans to engage with the three sovereign and federally recognized Shawnee Tribes – the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Shawnee Tribe, and the Absentee Shawnee – to preserve and highlight this important historical site. The state park will include an interpretive center, and several markers memorializing historical events at Oldtown, including the marker pictured above, will be preserved.