County Auditor Alerts Residents Of Bogus Assessor Claims

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The Ross County Auditor is alerting home owners about individuals who might be posing as property assessors to gain access to information on your property or to get inside your home.

Ross County Auditor Tom Spetnagel Jr. told Litter Media’s Mike Smith that he has heard of at least one incident in Ross County, but other county auditors have told him they are hearing of similar incidents in their counties as well.

“Our appraisers always wear special jackets that say “Ross County Auditor,” and they are always willing to have you call our office to verify their identity. If someone is on your property claiming to be from the Auditor’s office, feel free to check with us at (740) 702-3080. We know that there have been imposters in our county, and we can only assume they are up to no good. If this happens to you, file a police report and please let us know as well.”

Spetnagel also encouraged people to report these types of incidents to local law enforcement.

Local Committee Seeks Donations For Chillicothe Purple Heart City Monument

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See our Litter Media Live interview below, with Melody Lapczynski.

(Chillicothe) – The City of Chillicothe received the designation of a Purple Heart City during City Council’s meeting on June 28, 2021, with a ceremony from the Patriot Members of Ohio Military Order of the Purple Heart Honor Guard. This designation honors military personnel wounded and/or killed in combat by hostile forces. The honor was first created by General George Washington in 1782, known then as the Badge of Military Merit, and is the United States’ oldest military medal.

Additionally, the local committee that has been the driving force behind this designation, is working towards erecting a monument in honor of the Purple Heart City designation. This monument will be installed in Veteran’s Memorial Park, which was established in 2004 to honor the citizens of the Chillicothe-Ross County area who have served in foreign wars. Veteran’s Memorial Park is located on Park Street and Yoctangee Parkway near downtown Chillicothe’s historic district.

Currently in Ohio, there are approximately fifty Purple Heart Cities in Ohio. There are a total of ninety-seven cities, villages, counties, bridges, interstates, school, and universities designated as Purple Heart entities in the State of Ohio. These honorary visuals serve as a reminder to those passing by that other individuals have paid a high price for their freedom to travel and live in a free society.

The committee is now turning to the community for donations to help with the cost of the monument. Donations should be made payable to the Ross County Veterans Council and mailed to 230 N. Plaza Blvd., Chillicothe, OH 45601 by November 1, 2021. Please note on checks “Purple Heart” to ensure that your donation is processed for the project. Donations can also be made in- person at the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau at the same address.

There will be a commemoration event and reveal of the Purple Heart City monument that will take place on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2021, at Veteran’s Memorial Park. More details will be announced closer to the event date. For more information, you can reach Melody Lapczynski at mfLapczynski@gmail.com or (740) 703-9957.

WCH At Paint Valley In Litter Media GOTW

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The Blue Lions of Washington Court House from the FAC, travel to Paint Valley to face the Bearcats of the SVC in our Litter Media Game of the Week in high school football Friday night.

WCH Coach Chuck Williamson says they got away with some mistakes in Week 1, still getting a victory, but those mistakes caught up with them in a Week 2 loss to a tough Western Brown team, which now make the Blue Lions (1-1).

Paint Valley Coach Cory Dye and two of their assistant coaches are former coaches from WCH, which makes that aspect of this match-up an interesting one.

Coach Chuck Williamson says he’s concerned about the Bearcats athleticism, saying “they have size and the ability to fly around to the ball.”

But, he says the Blue Lions are pretty athletic as well. He says they are an “up-tempo spread team offensively”, adding that they have some “very talented skill guys”, which includes 6’5- 230 pound Tanner Lemaster, who has received D-1 college offers from Michigan State, Indiana, and Tennessee. 

The Blue Lions have great strength in their front 11 on both sides of the ball, running a two-platoon system with very few players ever playing both offense and defense.

From Bearcats Coach Cory Dye, he gave the same props to Washington CH, knowing they will be tough to defend. Paint Valley also enters the game at (1-1), winning in Week 1, but suffered a tough loss to state powerhouse West Jefferson in Week 2.

Due to an injury in Week 1, Paint Valley had Cavan Cooper playing running back last week in their loss to West Jefferson and Coach Dye says they expect him to remain in the running back spot against Washington CH, with Dax Estep at quarterback.

Be watching Litter Media GOTW Live Postgame Show late Friday night on Litter Media Facebook.

Grants Available For African American Communities

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(Nelsonville) — The African American Community Fund (AACF), inpartnership with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO), invites nonprofit and public organizations seeking funding for a project or program serving African American communities throughout Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties to apply for a grant beginning Sept. 7.

AACF and FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia® Fund will award up to $10,000 in grants to projects or programs benefitting African American communities throughout Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties. Projects should increase quality of life, create access to opportunities, or implement a solution to a need. For additional information and applications, go to www.AppalachianOhio.org/AACF. The deadline for applications is Oct. 12.  

“The AACF is a powerful tool that will not only improve the human condition in the Appalachian regions of Ohio but leave a lasting legacy that will benefit generations to come,” Dr. Michele Reynolds said on behalf of AACF.

Together, the AACF and the I’m a Child of Appalachia® Fund are working to meet pressing needs and pursue exciting opportunities for Black-led nonprofits and organizations serving African American communities in Appalachian Ohio. The Funds work across five areas essential to generating and sustaining transformative change, known as the Pillars of Prosperity: Arts & Culture, Community & Economic Development, Education, Environmental Stewardship, and Health & Human Services.

In 2020, the AACF and FAO provided six grants totaling $10,000, including a grant to the Underground Railroad Museum in Belmont County to conduct research and create a virtual map of the Underground Railroad stations in Belmont County. This virtual platform allows the museum to reach patrons who cannot attend in-person tours.

“The Ohio Valley area was very active in the Underground Railroad during the 19th century, having been home to many Quaker settlers who were passionate abolitionists,” said Reynolds. “The Underground Railroad Museum is an example of a worthy organization supported by the AACF to help preserve the rich history of the Underground Railroad in Ohio for future generations.” The AACF and FAO are pleased to offer funding opportunities for African American communities again this year.

The African American Community Fund is a community fund of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. If you are interested in learning more or making a gift to support the African American Community Fund, please visit www.AppalachianOhio.org/AACF or contact FAO at 740.753.1111 or info@ffao.org.

Pickaway Sheriff Deputy Honored By Paint Valley ADAMH

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(Chillicothe) — The Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Services Board recognized Lt. Johnathan R. Strawser of the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Department as our Community Champion on Tuesday August 31, 2021, for his excellent performance and outstanding service, during the Pickaway County Commissioner’s meeting.

Lt. Strawser was nominated by Lt. James A. Brown Jr. for his efforts to assist an individual in crisis on August 6th of this year. Lt. Strawser responded to call for a barricaded person with a gun. He knew this person had prior incidences of paranoia and suffered from mental illness. Strawser relied upon his past experiences with the individual, his knowledge of the community, and his training. The Lieutenant went above and beyond to not only deescalate the crisis but followed up to assist the individual. This exceptional work is why the ADAMH Board feels it is so important to recognize Lt. Strawser.

Executive Director of the Paint Valley ADAMH Board, Penny Dehner, stated “Lt. Johnathan R. Strawser went above and beyond his training and quite frankly not only saved a life, but saved our community turmoil and unnecessary use of force against a person with a mental illness. Simply outstanding work and it needs to be recognized.”

“The extra efforts of Lt. Strawser reduced a potential entry by Franklin County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team that could have led to the individual being harmed.” Stated Lt. James A Brown Jr., Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.

The Pickaway County Commissioners and the Pickaway County Sheriff, Matthew O. Hafey also recognized Lt. Strawser during the meeting.

Mental Health Resources Available For Veterans

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See our interview with Chillicothe V.A. Medical Center’s Dr. Robert Taylor and Public Relations Officer Stacia Ruby, as we talk about available mental health services available to Veterans. CLICK HERE:

(Chillicothe) – The Chillicothe VA Medical Center and its Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) are available to Veterans during the current crisis in Afghanistan.   Veterans may be feeling distressed about experiences during military service, you are not alone and it’s normal to feel this way.  Talking with friends and family, reaching out to battle buddies, connecting with a peer-to-peer network, or signing up for mental health services can help.

In reaction to current events in Afghanistan, Veterans may:

  • Feel frustrated, sad, helpless, grief, or distressed
  • Feel angry or betrayed
  • Experience an increase in mental health symptoms like symptoms of PTSD or depression
  • Sleep poorly, drink more, or use more drugs 
  • Try to avoid all reminders, media, or shy away from social situations
  • Have more military and homecoming memories

Feeling distress is a normal reaction to negative events, especially ones that feel personal.  It can be helpful to let yourself feel those feelings rather than try to avoid them.  Often, these feelings will naturally run their course.  If they continue without easing up or if you feel overwhelmed by them, the suggestions below can be helpful.

Strategies for Managing Ongoing Distress

It can be helpful to focus on the present and to engage in the activities that are most meaningful and valuable to you.  Is there something you can do today that is important to you?  This can be as an individual, a family member, a parent, or a community member.  Something that is meaningful to you in regard to your work or your spirituality?  Such activities won’t change the past or the things you can’t control, but they can help life feel meaningful and reduce distress, despite the things you cannot change.

It can also help to consider your thinking.  Ask yourself if your thoughts are helpful to you right now.  Are there ways you can change your thinking to be more accurate and less distressing?  For example, are you using extreme thinking where you see the situation as all bad or all good?  If so, try and think in less extreme terms.  For example, rather than thinking “my service in Afghanistan was useless” consider instead “I helped keep Afghanistan safe.”

Finally, consider more general coping strategies that you may want to try including:

  • Engage in Positive Activities.  Try to engage in positive, healthy, or meaningful activities, even if they are small, simple actions.  Doing things that are rewarding, meaningful, or enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it, can make you feel better.
  • Stay Connected.  Spend time with people who give you a sense of security, calm, or happiness, or those who best understand what you are going through.
  • Practice Good Self Care.  Look for positive coping strategies that help you manage your emotions.  Listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, journaling, or reading inspirational text are some simple ways to help manage overwhelming or distressing emotions.
  • Stick to Your Routines.  It can be helpful to stick to a schedule for when you sleep, eat, work, and do other day-to-day activities.
  • Limit Media Exposure.  Limit how much news you take in if media coverage is increasing your distress.
  • Use a mobile app.  Consider one of VA’s self-help apps (www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/) that can help you deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety.  You can also track your symptoms over time.
  • PTSD Coach Online (www.ptsd.va.gov/apps/ptsdcoachonline/default.htm).  A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress.  PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.

If you develop your own ways of adapting to ongoing events and situations, you may gain a stronger sense of being able to deal with challenges, a greater sense of meaning or purpose, and an ability to mentor and support others in similar situations.

Available Resources

For more information about Mental Health Services at the Chillicothe VA, call 740-773-1141, ext. 17898.