ODOT To Invest $2 Billion To Improve Infrastructure

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

Photo Courtesy of Ohio Department of Transportation

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is gearing up for another busy construction season. This year, ODOT will invest $1.92 billion into 956 projects to improve transportation across the state.

The 2021 construction program includes improvements to 876 bridges and 4,596 miles of pavement. Ninety-six cents of every dollar invested will go toward making sure existing roads and bridges are in good condition and as safe as possible.

“Ohio’s ability to safely and easily move people and goods is vital as we continue to recover from the global pandemic,” said Governor Mike DeWine.  “As ODOT begins the 2021 construction season, there are many infrastructure projects throughout the state that will improve safety for motorists.   We also need motorists to pay attention and not drive distracted, and to slow down in construction zones.” 

An increase in the state motor fuel tax that went into effect on July 1, 2019, has allowed ODOT to keep maintenance and safety projects on schedule despite a 15.5 percent drop in traffic volume last year.

“Thanks to the foresight of Gov. DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly and internal operational savings identified by our workforce, we have been able to weather this global pandemic. Without those extra funds, we would be nearly a billion dollars in the red,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “While other states have been delaying or cancelling projects, Ohio continues moving forward.”

Safety remains the top priority, with a total of 266 safety projects included in this year’s construction program. Of those, 131 projects are funded through the ODOT Highway Safety Improvement Program, a total investment of $178 million. A portion of these funds will go to local municipalities, townships, and counties to make safety improvements on roads they maintain.

Funding will also help target more than 150 intersections prioritized by Gov. DeWine in early 2019. These projects include simple adjustments like changing signage and striping to more complex solutions like the full reconstruction of an intersection. To date, 36 locations have been completed, 43 are under or will soon begin construction this year, 101 are under design, and 4 are still being studied. These safety improvements will no doubt save lives.

“We engineer our roads to be as safe as possible, but we need motorists to do their part by obeying speed limits, paying attention, buckling up, and driving sober. Please pay attention to the traffic and roads, not your phones,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

With increased construction throughout the state, it’s more important than ever that motorists follow Ohio’s “move over law.” The law requires drivers to move over for any roadside vehicles with flashing lights. If they cannot move over, they must slow down.

“Drivers should always pay attention, but work zones require extra attention. Just like you, these workers want to go home at the end of the day,” Marchbanks said.

There were 4,536 work zone crashes in Ohio last year. Of those, 18 crashes were fatal and 96 resulted in serious injuries. ODOT will continue to work with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for targeting enforcement of traffic laws in work zones.

Last year, ODOT crews were struck 125 times while on the job. ODOT crews have been hit 52 times already in 2021. A total of 162 ODOT workers have been killed while working to improve Ohio’s roadways.

Ohio State Fair To Focus On Agricultural & Education Competitions

Presented By McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!

Today, the Ohio Expositions Commission announced that the 2021 Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public, and will instead focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families, and guests.

When discussing plans for the 2021 Ohio State Fair, members of the Commission expressed concern for public health, as well as the financial impact of hosting a fair that would adhere to current safety protocols and the lasting impacts of the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair.

“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July,” explained General Manager Virgil Strickler. “In addition, the important safety protocols that have been put in place to protect Ohioans, like indoor seating capacities, may lead to attendance that is considerably lower than previous years. The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization. In a typical year, the Ohio State Fair’s budget is designed to break even, with a nominal profit, if any. Hosting a full fair this year would likely lead to significant financial loss.”

Many of the typical things associated with the Ohio State Fair – rides, concerts, entertainers, live music, food vendors, and shopping – are expected to return in 2022. The 2021 Ohio State Fair will be limited to exhibitors and family members for youth and senior livestock competitions, along with educational project judging for non-livestock competitions, such as 4-H.

“I wish we had a crystal ball, but we don’t,” Strickler continued. “As such, the safest decision is to greatly limit the traditional aspects of the Ohio State Fair, sticking to our roots in agriculture. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is the best path to protect the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair, as well as the safety of those involved by limiting the scope significantly.”

Detailed plans for the livestock and educational competitions are forthcoming. At this time, staff anticipates that the livestock shows will begin on July 19 and will conclude on August 8. The deadline for exhibitors to enter livestock competitions will be June 20, 2021. The 2022 Ohio State Fair is slated for July 27 – August 7.

United Way Of Ross County Set To Conclude Annual Campaign

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

Ross County, Ohio— On Monday, April 12, from 6 pm – 9 pm, the United Way of Ross County will host a Facebook Live Event to wind down its annual giving campaign.  This year’s campaign, United We All Win, launched in September 2020, with a Telethon, and Silent Auction, hosted at Chillicothe’s historic Majestic Theatre.  The goal of the campaign is to raise $625,000 to support Ross County nonprofits and individuals in our community most in need. 

On April 12, join our President and CEO, Rick Smith, and Campaign Chair, Lori Graves, as they revisit some of the campaign’s highlights, discuss the United Way’s work, and tell you about several fantastic vacation packages and auction items that you can win, just in time for summer vacation!  The items can be viewed starting this weekend on our website WWW.unitedwayross.org.  Vacation packages available for bidding include trips to Cabo San Lucus, Tuscany Villa, Caribbean, Kentucky Bourbon Experience, Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Colorado, Paris, Maui, and More!  While you can view the packages and items now, the auction does not open until April 12.  It will remain open for bidding until midnight, April 22.

If that were not enough, also starting on April 12, you can purchase a Golden Ticket for 20 dollars!  Only 500 tickets will be sold, so your chances to win are great! The winner will have a choice of 4 great all-inclusive trips:  Costa Rica, Gaylord Golf Package, Kentucky Bourbon Excursion, or Tuscany Wine Tour, or you can opt to travel anywhere in the United States!

Tickets can be purchased at the United Way of Ross County, 69 East Water Street, Chillicothe, Ohio, or a United Way Staff Member or a United Way of Ross County Board Member.  The Winner of the Golden Ticket and the Silent Auction will be announced on April 24, during our Pancake Breakfast.   You do not have to be present to win.  The Pancake Breakfast will be held in the parking lot of the United Way of Ross County from 9 am – Noon.   Coordinated by EPIC, Chillicothe’s Young Professional Group, everyone is invited.  Pancake costs $5 per plate or $7 for all you can eat. 

12th Annual Grrreat Yard Sale

Presented By Atomic Speedway

Photo Courtesy of Pike Pet Pals

Pike County’s Dog Pound will be the beneficiary of the 12th Annual Grrrreat Yard Sale planned for Saturday, April 10th.

The yard sale runs from 8am-noon at the Pike County Fairgrounds and is sponsored by Pike Pet Pals, Inc.

There will be a giant yard sale, bake sale, Pike County Dog Tag Sale, Chinese Auction and 50/50 Raffle.

Pickaway County Health Department Seeks Accreditation

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

The Pickaway County Public Health Department is currently in the process of becoming an accredited health department.

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the continuous quality improvement of Tribal, state, local, and territorial public health departments.

PHAB is working to promote and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of all public health departments in the United States through national public health department accreditation. PHAB’s vision is a high-performing governmental public health system that will make the United States a healthier nation.

What does the accreditation process look like?

The accreditation process is a very thorough review of a health department’s processes and documentation. It includes 7 major steps. For information on these steps, CLICK HERE:

Please click here to view the Pickaway County Community Health Assessment

PCPH is seeking community feedback on the Health Assessment in the document above. If you are interested in providing feedback, please take this survey, CLICK HERE:

For more information, contact Maurisa DeLuca at (740) 477-9667

Zane Trace FFA Awarded Among State Top 10

Presented By McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!

The Zane Trace FFA Chapter was recently given a Gold Rating and named one of the top 10 chapters in the state of Ohio through the National Chapter Award Program. The National Chapter Award program recognizes FFA members and their chapters for the activities they plan. and conduct throughout the year.

Chapters submit an application outlining fifteen different activities they conduct that emphasize the areas of growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.

The senior members of the chapter worked throughout the months of February and March to complete the application, which included detailed descriptions of activities such as the elementary Maple syrup lessons, the Sausage Breakfast, ZT courtyard construction, canning for a cause project, RCHS dog adoption day, Pioneer Pantry and more.

The honor of receiving a Gold Rating is reserved for the top 10% of all chapters in Ohio.

Zane Trace has earned a Gold Rating every year since 2015. In addition to this recognition the chapter was selected to compete for the top chapter in the state in the area of Strengthening Agriculture thanks to the Sausage Breakfast and Maple syrup production programs offered to members.

Seniors Briana Fetters and Taylor Brown presented the chapter’s plan, implementation and impact for these activities to a panel of judges via zoom meeting on Thursday, April 1st . The chapter will learn the results of the selection committee during the Ohio FFA Convention on Friday, April 30th .

The Zane Trace FFA would like to thank the entire Zane Trace community for their support of. the program throughout the years. Receiving a Gold Rating would not be possible without strong backing from supporters of our chapter. The Zane Trace FFA is a satellite of Pickaway Ross CTC.

Photo Courtesy of Zane Trace FFA

(Picture: Senior Zane Trace FFA members Briana Fetters and Taylor Brown present their chapter’s program of activities to judges as part of their interview for the top chapter in Strengthening Agriculture competition in the National Chapter Award contest.)

Zane Trace FFA Senior Selected to Perform During Upcoming Ohio FFA Convention Laine Abbott has always loved to play his guitar. Last year he started bringing his instrument to school to play for friends as they enjoyed lunch in the Ag classroom at Zane Trace. Some of them suggested that Laine should submit an audition video for the 2020 Ohio FFA Convention.

They thought he might just have a chance to be selected as one of the talent acts to take the stage during the annual gathering of over 7,000 FFA members at the Ohio Expo Center. Unfortunately, like many other events in the spring of 2020, the Ohio FFA Convention was cancelled and along with it Laine’s opportunity to audition.

Fast forward to February 2021, when Laine learns that the Ohio FFA will be including a limited number of talent acts, four total, for their upcoming hybrid State Convention. Laine quietly prepared his audition video hoping for a second opportunity to showcase his gifts. Dozens members from around the state submitted videos and only four would be chosen. Would Laine be among them?

The answer came in the form of a text message from his FFA advisor showing that not only had he been selected as one of the four talent acts for the Convention, but that he was slated to perform during the final session, when the largest audience would be tuning in. “I was at work when I got the text and I was so excited I actually jumped when I read it” said Abbott. “I’m really honored to have this opportunity.”

Anyone interested in watching Laine perform during the 1:00 pm Convention session on Friday, April 30th can tune in live on ohioffa.org and on Ohio FFA’s social media outlets under the username @ohioffa.

Photo Courtesy of Zane Trace FFA

(Picture: Senior Laine Abbott of the Zane Trace FFA was recently selected to perform during the upcoming Ohio FFA Virtual State Convention.)

Food Insecurity Fundraiser

Presented By Atomic Speedway

The Pickaway County Community Foundation is conducting a Food Insecurity Fundraiser for Pickaway County, now through April 30th.

In 2020, the Foundation started the Food Insecurities Fund to support many local food needs throughout Pickaway County during the pandemic.

PCCF will be raising funds for the Food Insecurity Fund. to continue the Pork/Beef Project which provided close to 10,000 pounds of protein into the county food pantries last year along with continued food needs throughout Pickaway County.