ODNR Unveils Moonville Rail Trail

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(Zaleski) — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has created a new space for recreation where abandoned mine land (AML) hazards existed in Vinton County.  Tuesday, ODNR Director Mary Mertz unveiled the Moonville Rail Trail at Ingham’s AML Economic Revitalization project.

(Photo Courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources)

“This area has been through a complete transformation and is now ready to welcome people onto its trails,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said.  “People looking to enjoy the outdoors now have a new place to do things like hike, bike, or horseback ride.”
The Moonville Rail Trail is a 16-mile-long tourist destination in Vinton and Athens Counties that takes visitors through the beautiful woodlands of southeast Ohio, including Zaleski State Forest.  This two-phase project improved 4.1 miles of trail and helped open up 12.2 miles of rail-trail from Zaleski to New Marshfield, Ohio.
“We are so grateful for ODNR’s assistance that helped make this trail a reality,” Moonville Rail Trail Association President Brian Blair said.  “This trail not only lets us share the beauty of Zaleski State Forest but will also boost tourism in Vinton County.”
ODNR’s Division of Mineral Resources Management worked with a variety of local and regional partners to design and build seven new bridges and close AML openings.  Partners include:

  • Moonville Rail Trail Association
  • Vinton County Commissioners
  • Vinton County Development Department
  • Athens County Commissioners
  • Raccoon Creek Partnership
  • Zaleski State Forest
  • Lake Hope State Park
  • Uncle Bucks Riding Stable
  • Athens County Planning Office
  • Vinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Cost of this project was $1.65 million.  It was  funded through the AML Economic Revitalization program.  This program was created from federal funds set aside to specifically address AML issues and to generate economic growth in six Appalachian states and 3 Native American tribes that are experiencing job loss and economic decline related to reduced coal production.
ODNR administers both a state and federal AML program. Prior to 1972, Ohio statute did not require restoration of desirable environmental conditions to surface mined areas. In August 2019, ODNR’s AML program received the Abandoned Mind Land Reclamation Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior for its work on the Dessecker Mine Project in Tuscarawas County.
The Division of Mineral Resources Management oversees the safe and environmentally sound development and restoration of mineral and fossil fuel extraction sites. The division also restores abandoned mine land, enforces mining safety laws, and ensures the protection of citizens, land and water resources.

COVID-19 Shares Some Of Same Symptoms As Season Allergies

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

It’s allergy season. COVID-19 and seasonal allergies share some symptoms, but not others.

Use this chart to compare the common symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies so you can tell the difference.

(Image Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control)

If you’re sick, you may need a COVID-19 test to confirm your diagnosis. Contact your physician for more details.

Applications Available For Broadband Expansion Funding

Presented By Classic Brands

(Columbus)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant  program will begin accepting applications online.

Funded as part of Ohio’s 2022-2023 operating budget, the program will provide $250 million in grants to internet service providers for the construction of broadband projects that improve high-speed internet access in unserved and underserved areas of Ohio. Projects will provide service access of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to residents in areas that do not have a provider that can supply service at this speed.

“This program is a key investment in Ohio’s future as we work toward eliminating the digital divide in our state,” said Governor DeWine. “Connecting our rural and underserved areas with reliable internet service will help bring these communities up to speed with the rest of the state and will be a driving force for economic growth.”

The Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant program, which was established in House Bill 2 sponsored by Rep. Rick Carfagna and Rep. Brian Stewart, is a key component of the DeWine-Husted Administration’s comprehensive Broadband Strategy that aims to build a high-tech broadband network throughout the state. Based on currently available information, 300,000 households in Ohio, representing approximately 1 million Ohioans, are estimated to lack access to broadband internet.

“This grant program is designed to help our local private and public sector partners expand high-speed, affordable internet in areas of Ohio that are presently underserved,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “To be a part of the modern economy, education and healthcare systems, you need to have access to reliable internet, and this effort aims to close the digital divide.”

Internet Service Providers can apply online from Sept. 6, 2021, until Nov. 8, 2021, at 5pm. Applications will be reviewed by the Ohio Department of Development and BroadbandOhio, which was created by the DeWine-Husted Administration in March 2020 to be the point of contact for all broadband projects in Ohio. Eligible applications will be sent to the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program Authority for approval and funding.

More information on the new Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant is available on the Broadband.Ohio.Gov.