Record Travel Predicted On Ohio Roads For July 4th Weekend

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

(COLUMBUS) – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Ohio State Highway Patrol and AAA are reminding drivers to be alert and patient if traveling over the Independence Day weekend.

AAA expects overall Independence Day weekend (July 1-5) travel volumes to nearly recover to pre-pandemic levels, and auto travel to surpass the records set in 2019. Of the more than two million Ohioans that plan to travel this Independence Day, 95% of them will drive to their destinations. INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts the heaviest congestion during the late afternoon on Thursday, Friday and Monday. With so many people on the roads, AAA expects to rescue more than 460,000 Americans with roadside assistance during the five day holiday travel period. AAA reminds motorists to make sure their vehicle is road-trip-ready and remember to pack an emergency roadside kit.

ODOT is working on more than 1,000 construction projects across the state this year. Efforts have been made to reduce the size of work zones as much as possible to accommodate the increased holiday traffic. However, it isn’t possible to remove all the orange barrels. ODOT is reminding holiday travelers this year that work zones require extra attention from drivers and work zone speed limits are reduced for the safety of both workers and motorists. Drivers need to slow down and pay attention to navigate through the work area for their own safety, the safety of any workers who might be on the job, and the safety of other drivers.

As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Operation CARE enforcement campaigns, the Patrol’s primary focus will be removing impaired drivers from the roadways and ensuring all drivers are buckled up. Last year in Ohio, 24 fatal crashes killed 25 people during the July Fourth holiday weekend. Of those fatalities, 18 involved impaired driving and ten were not wearing an available safety belt. During the holiday weekend, troopers will be highly visible and urging motorists to drive carefully and follow all traffic laws.

Lake Hope To Host July 4th Bird Education Events

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

Lake Hope State Park In Vinton County, will. be hosting a couple of July 4th events concerning birds.

Red, White, and Bluebirds will be held 9am-10am at the Nature Center. Discover what kinds of birds live around Lake Hope and where they prefer to build their nests. Then help the naturalist check for cavity nesters around the Nature Center.

That will be followed by Hungry Hummingbirds at Lake Hope, between 1pm-3pm. Watch as their naturalist will hand feed Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds.

Archery, 10 am. Meet at the Archery Range to learn the art of the bow. 
Kayak Excursion, 1 pm. Meet at the Marina to learn kayaking basics and then take a guided trip on Acton Lake.  Space is limited.  Sign up begins at the Marina at 10am on Sunday. 

Lake Hope State Park is located at 27331 State Route 278, near McArthur.

Life In Big Darby Creek

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

A guided educational water exploration for all ages will be held on Pickaway County’s only National and State Scenic River, Big Darby Creek.

The event is being conducted by the Pickaway County Park District at 10am, July 3rd.

(Photo: Big & Little Darby courtesy of

Bring boots and clothes that can get a little wet so that you can get a hands on look of what makes this creek so special. A few hip and chest waders will be provided.

The program will be cancelled in the case of inclement weather. All current social distancing requirements will be followed. Please bring a mask.

An adult must accompany all children under 12. Participants should meet at Scioto-Darby Road Access at the intersection of Scioto-Darby Road and Big Darby Creek.

For more information, visit their website at

Division Of Forestry Grants Come To Area Fire Departments

Presented By Classic Brands

(COLUMBUS) – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry has passed along some grants to assist some area fire departments and the communities.

Through the Community Wildfire Risk Reduction (CWRR) Grant program, the Division of Forestry recently approved grant funding for 37 projects totaling $75,718 for fire departments in eastern and southern Ohio.
CWRR Grant projects are focused on supporting hazard mitigation, emergency preparedness, public education, and firefighter training for Ohio fire departments. Items that fire departments will procure through these grants include computers, tablets, GPS units, outdoor signs, training room equipment, and other technology that support emergency preparedness. The Ohio Division of Forestry is a proud partner of Ohio’s fire departments and supports their mission to build safer communities and better prepared first responders.
Some of the grants include:

  • Nelsonville (Hocking County) received $2,531 for a laptop, camera, and LED sign
  • Zaleski (Vinton County) received $2,166 to purchase a sign board and a four-gas detector
  • Lancaster (Fairfield County) received $2,141 to purchase a laptop and accessories
  • New Marshfield (Athens County) received $1,262 to purchase tablets and a laptop
  • Franklin Township (Ross County) received $1,892 to purchase computer and tablets
  • Madison Jefferson Joint Fire District (Jackson County) received $3,000 to purchase LED sign board
  • Huntington Township (Ross County) received $664 to purchase tablet and projector
  • Piketon Seal Township (Pike County) received $1,400 to purchase training supplies
  • Glenford (Perry County) received $2,773 to purchase training room items and drone
  • Johnstown (Licking County) received $2,997 to purchase tablets

    A full list of recipients and projects can be found here.

    Many fire departments in Ohio have very tight budgets and the majority of their limited resources must be focused on absolute essentials and keeping emergency services up and running. ODNR Forestry’s CWRR grant program allows for cost share to help make important ancillary programs like community outreach, risk reduction, and safety campaigns possible. 

    CWRR grant funding is provided to ODNR Forestry from the U.S. Forest Service.

Post 23 Wins Slugfest vs Post 757 For Share of SCOL Baseball Title

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

Portsmouth 23’s Mason Montgomery clubbed a two-run walk off home run in the bottom of the 7th inning to beat Chillicothe Post 757 in American Legion Baseball, Tuesday evening.

The win for Portsmouth earned them no worse than a share of the SCOL American Legion championship, completing their league record at (5-1).

(2-1) Chillicothe Post 757 also has one SCOL loss, but still has three league games remaining due to makeup games. If Post 757 wins all three of those remaining league games, they would share the SCOL title.

Post 757 bangs out 13 hits in the loss.

Leading offensive players for Post 757 included:
Reid Mengerink, 1B, 2B, 2 RBIs
Kaden Riffe, 2 singles, 2B, RBI
Wyatt Thatcher, 3H, RBI
DC Dailey, 2H, RBI
Drew Seymour, 1B, 2B
Jacob Lenox, 1B

Chillicothe Post 757 travels to Piketon High School Wednesday (6/30) to play Waverly Post 142.

OHSAA Releases Maps For 2021 Football Regions

Presented By Atomic Speedway

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the football region assignments for the upcoming 2021 season on Tuesday. The 10-week regular-season begins the week of August 16, with the top 16 schools in each region qualifying for the playoffs that begin October 29-30.

As previously announced, schools’ divisional assignments for the upcoming 2021-22 school year will remain the same as the 2020-21 school year in all sports.

The 2021 football regions are posted at:

In all sports, coaches have an unlimited number of days from June 1 through July 31 to conduct voluntary conditioning, strength training and instructional opportunities. In football, helmets may be worn during summer voluntary sessions. 

Also in the sport of football, there is a mandatory five-day acclimatization period for all student-athletes prior to contact. Two of those days can be completed in July so that shoulder pads can be worn on the first day of practice August 1. 

2021 OHSAA Football Calendar
Sunday, August 1>> First Day of Official Coaching Permitted

August 6-14>> Scrimmage Dates

Monday, August 16>> Regular-Season Begins (First Friday is August 20)

Tuesday, Sept. 14>> First Weekly Computer Points Released (every Tuesday after Week 4)

Saturday, Oct. 23>> Regular-Season Ends

Sunday, Oct. 24>> Final Computer Points and Playoff Qualifiers Announced

Fri./Sat., Oct. 29-30>> Regional Playoffs First Round

Fri./Sat., Nov. 5-6>> Regional Quarterfinals

Fri./Sat., Nov. 12-13>> Regional Semifinals

Fri./Sat., Nov. 19-20>> Regional Finals

Fri./Sat., Nov. 25>> Thanksgiving

Fri./Sat., Nov. 26-27>> State Semifinals

Thurs./Fri./Sat., Dec. 2-4>> State Championships in Canton

Ohio House Bill 168 Signed By Governor To Free Up “American Rescue Plan Act” Funds

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

(COLUMBUS)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill that will invest $2.2 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into Ohio’s future.

“House Bill 168 addresses some of the most fundamental responsibilities that we share as public servants — the health of our children and the economic strength of our state,” said Governor DeWine. “The actions that we took over the past year, including cutting state spending, freezing state hiring, and leaving the Rainy Day Fund untouched allow us to direct these recovery funds into forward-looking investments that position Ohio for a stronger post-COVID future. By paying off the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund loan to the federal government, our businesses won’t experience large increases in their federal unemployment payroll taxes, and instead can focus on investing this money in their businesses and employees.”

The bill, sponsored by State Representative Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) and Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta), does the following: 

  • Invests $84 million in a pediatric behavioral health initiative administered by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Funds will increase Ohio’s capacity for youth behavioral health services and increase access and quality of care across all regions of the state. 
  • Invests $250 million to establish a water and sewer quality program administered by the Ohio Department of Development. The program will provide grants to identify and invest in Ohio’s most critical infrastructure needs.
  • Invests $422 million in more than 2,000 local governments in Ohio that have yet to receive direct funding from the federal government to support recovery from the pandemic. 
  • Repays a loan of approximately $1.5 billion to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund that was needed during the pandemic to pay unemployment benefits. Prompt repayment of this loan will prevent Ohio businesses from experiencing large increases in their federal unemployment payroll taxes. 

“When COVID-19 came to our state, unemployment hit a record high, which in turn drained our unemployment insurance fund,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “Governor DeWine’s signature on this bill removes the heavy burden on businesses to repay that loan so they can spend their hard-earned dollars on other priorities, such as hiring more employees and making updates to their facilities.”

Ahead of the June 30 budget deadline, Dayton Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley is calling on Governor DeWine to use his line-item veto power as Governor and rid Ohio’s budget of several extreme provisions that would negatively impact Ohioans. 

Among the provisions Mayor Whaley is calling on Governor DeWine to veto are:

  1. New restrictions directly aimed at closing two abortion clinics. Both Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio in Mount Auburn and Women’s Med in Kettering would be negatively impacted and likely have to close if these restrictions are signed into law.
  1.  A conscious clause where doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies can refuse services if it conflicts with their personal beliefs. This provision could open women seeking health care and LGBTQ individuals, among others, up to discrimination and refusal of medical services across the state. 
  1. A provision that would give sole ability to Republican leaders to intervene in redistricting cases. This flies in the face of the Ohio Redistricting Commission that voters have approved in recent years.

“Ohioans can be grateful that some of the Republicans’ worst ideas, for school funding and quality preschool, were left out of the final budget. Ohio deserves better than ‘it could be worse,’ though. There remain provisions in this bill that Governor DeWine has a responsibility to eliminate. 

“To sign into law a bill that could deny women and LGBTQ Ohioans access to medical care and to further politicize what is supposed to be a bipartisan redistricting process go against the best interests of our state. That’s why I’m calling on Governor DeWine to line-item veto these disastrous provisions,” said Nan Whaley. “We’ve seen in the past that DeWine has refused, or been unable, to stand up to the extremes in his party – I’m hopeful that, for once, he’ll put Ohioans first rather than party politics.” 

Pike Health District To Provide COVID-19 Vaccinations At Area Rest Stop

Presented By Classic Brands

Over-the-road truckers will be able to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination at a local rest stop in Pike County on July 13th, thanks to the Pike County General Health District.

The vaccine clinic is being conducted in conjunction with the Pike Emergency Management Agency.

“We recognize that it can be a challenge for over-the-road truck drivers to find time or a location while they are home for a few days a week to receive their vaccine,” according to Pike County Health Commissioner Matt Brewster.

The clinic will be held from 6pm-2am at the rest area on U.S. Route 23. Residents and walk-ins are also welcome. Appointments can also be made by calling (740) 947-7721, ext. 2020.

The Pike County General Health District’s Mighty Mini Vaccine Clinics have made COVID-19 vaccines accessible to the county’s most vulnerable residents through partnerships with volunteer fire departments, township trustees, local faith leaders, a homeless shelter, and local small business.

In May, the health department joined forces with the Pike County YMCA while residents participated in the Farmers to Families Food Box program. Rural King joined forces with the health department to vaccinate both employees and customers at a Mighty Mini Vaccine Clinic. Just this past week, a Mighty Mini Vaccine Clinic was held with the Camp Creek Volunteer Fire Department in the most southwestern corner of Pike County to accommodate rural residents.

All Ohioans age 12 and older are currently eligible to be vaccinated.

ODNR Officers Praised For Saving Life Of Wildlife Investigator

Presented Hometown-Motors, Inc.

(COLUMBUS) – Three Ohio Wildlife Officers have been honored by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz for their lifesaving actions after Ohio Wildlife Investigator Kevin Behr was shot while on assignment in December 2020. Officers Jason Keller, Eric Lamb, and Matt Roberts were each presented with the Director’s Award of Valor at a special ceremony on June 28 to recognize their heroic actions.
“Officers Keller, Lamb, and Roberts acted quickly, decisively, and with bravery in the moments that mattered most,” said Director Mertz. “Their actions undoubtedly saved the life of Investigator Kevin Behr, and we owe a special debt of gratitude to these officers for their heroism.”
On Dec. 20, 2020, the officers were working on a law enforcement project in Clinton County after receiving reports of illegal white-tailed deer hunting activities. Investigator Behr was performing surveillance in the area when a suspect shot him. The other three officers quickly assisted Investigator Behr and are credited with saving his life.
“These three men stand as representatives of the training, dedication, and commitment to their peers, the public, and Ohio’s wildlife displayed routinely by the Division of Wildlife staff,” said Kendra Wecker, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife “Their work contributes to great hunting and fishing, and I applaud their dedication to public service and safety.”
Wildlife Officers Roberts, Keller, and Lamb were honored for the following actions taken on Dec. 20, 2020:

(Photo Courtesy of ODNR)


  • Ohio Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts
    Arriving first on the scene, Officer Roberts immediately rendered first aid to Investigator Behr, including applying direct pressure to stop bleeding and using his emergency trauma supplies. Officer Roberts then assisted paramedics with stabilizing Investigator Behr for transport to a waiting ambulance.
  • Ohio Wildlife Officer Jason Keller
    Officer Keller quickly responded to Investigator Behr’s calls for help. Officer Keller rendered first aid to the injured officer using his emergency trauma supplies. Officer Keller then assisted paramedics with stabilizing Investigator Behr for transport, bringing the injured officer out of a brushy area to a waiting ambulance.
  • Ohio Wildlife Officer Supervisor Eric Lamb
    Officer Lamb had recently returned to his residence when he was notified of the emergency, and he responded to Investigator Behr’s call for help. Officer Lamb immediately rendered first aid to Investigator Behr. He then cleared a path through a brushy area and assisted paramedics with stabilizing Investigator Behr for transport, bringing the injured officer out to a waiting ambulance.

    The three men accused in shooting the wildlife investigator, were arrested.