Stewart Announces Bid For Congress

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On the same day that Ohio 15th District Congressman Steve Stivers announced he was resigning to become President/CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, a new member of the Ohio House of Representatives has declared his candidacy for that slot.

Newly elected 78th District Ohio House member Brian Stewart has declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for that congressional seat.

Stewart took office as the Ohio House 78th District Representative in January following two terms as Pickaway County Commissioner.

In a press release, Stewart said; “Congressman Stivers is a good friend, and he has been a fantastic leader for our communities. I thank him for his service in Congress and I wish him well in this new chapter of his life. His leadership has made our beloved state and nation stronger and better equipped to meet challenges that are on the horizon.

Those challenges- whether from the extreme left, or an adversarial nation- must be dealt with aggressively and with conviction. Although I was not looking to run for Congress, in just the past few hours alone I have received strong encouragement from family, constituents, and community leaders to consider this next challenge. As an infantry veteran of the Iraq War, I have never shied from a challenge, and I am pleased to announce that I am running for Congress to represent Ohio’s 15th district.

As a small business owner, and now, as a member of the Ohio General Assembly, I have spent my entire adult life serving my country and my community. I look forward to being a conservative champion for Ohio in Washington D.C.”

Ross Sheriff Says County Jail’s Future Needs Addressed

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The Litter Media cameras were recently allowed to take a behind the scene look at the current renovation of the Ross County Jail. The tour shows the challenges the county is facing to make some improvements, which the sheriff says will not solve the biggest problems the sheriff is having to maintain an adequate occupancy facility to house inmates.

The current law complex in downtown Chillicothe was constructed in the late 1980’s, but according to Sheriff George Lavender, the current jail needs to be replaced. The existing facility is intended to have a maximum inmate occupancy of 101 people, but has held as many as 224, according to Lavender. 

“We have outgrown this facility and need to study the possibility of constructing a new facility”, according to Sheriff Lavender.  

Sheriff Lavender says prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, a local committee was formed to start looking at other options for another facility, since they have outgrown the current jail. 

Among the reasons for the occupancy problems at the Ross County Jail is when the state stopped sending many of the Felony 4 and Felony 5 offenders to state prisons and required counties to house them. 

Sheriff Major William White says this led to overcrowding and security issues. White says longer serving inmates are often more violent offenders who are also more destructive- tearing up cells and trying to find ways to escape or create ways to gain access to illegal contraband that could be smuggled into the jail.

The Ross County Jail is currently undergoing a renovation of $4 million to $5 million, which the sheriff says is a temporary security improvement at best, and doesn’t do enough to increase occupancy needs.

Ohio counties are scrambling to get a piece of the $50 million fund from Senate Bill 310, which provides limited grants for further renovation of jails- on top of what’s already being done in Ross County. The deadline to apply for the funds is June, but it’s feared that many of the larger counties will be among the first on the list to receive these dollars.

Damage caused to a jail cell at the Ross County Law Enforcement Center. Photo courtesy Ross County Sheriff’s Office

Stivers Leaving Congress For Chamber Of Commerce Post

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Ohio’s 15th District Congressman Steve Stivers will be leaving his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 16th, to become the next President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Stivers was believed to be one of the leading conservative Republican contenders to run for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who has announced he will not seek re-election.

In a statement on Twitter, Stivers said about his time in congress; “The best part of this job has been making a positive difference in the lives of constituents.”  

He concluded with; “I’m grateful to the people of #OH15 for putting their trust in me to represent them in the halls of Congress; it has been one of the biggest honors of my life.”

Among Republicans reportedly still considering a run for Senate are former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Republican Party leader Jane Timken, Cleveland car dealer Bernie Moreno and businessman Mike Gibbons.

On the Democrat Party side, former Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton has already stated she will not seek a run for the U.S. Senate seat, despite efforts by party officials to get her to seek their nomination.

Wildflower Walk

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The Ross County Park District is conducting a Wildflower Walk at The Buzzards Roost on Saturday, April 24th.

District Ranger Joe Bost, starting at 10am, as he searches the trails for colorful signs of spring.

This is a family-friendly hike, and as always, leashed pets are welcome. The hike will leave from the parking lot.

For more information, contact the Ross County Park District at (740) 773-8794 or send inquiries to myrandavance@rosscountyohio.gov