Hope Partnership Project Awards Area Groups

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

The Hope Partnership Project (HPP), at its annual corporate member meeting on September 16 2021, recognized several individuals and agencies that help the HPP achieve its goals of decreasing the impact of substance use disorder in our community.

Those honored included Michael Benson of Benson-Susser Law Office for his assistance with legal filings to establish HPP as a not-for-profit corporation in Ohio. Also honored were Judge Michael Ater as government advocate of the year for his vision of and establishing the drug court in the Ross County Common Pleas court. Ater was also instrumental in securing funding for the Hope Partnership Project coordinator in 2015.

BrightView Health, a Cincinnati based substance use disorder treatment provider, was recognized as Medication Assisted Treatment Provider of the Year for their rapid deployment in Chillicothe of services for those patients with substance use disorder. They provide evidence based treatments for substance use disorder in Chillicothe. They collaborate and cooperate with Adena’s Emergency Department to offer same day or next day appointments for those who have been identified with opioid use disorder and are seeking treatment for their disease.

Integrated Services for Behavioral Health (ISBH) was recognized for being a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Advocate of the Year. This award highlighted the vision and community focus ISBH has, an example of which is a social worker embedded in the Chillicothe Police Department who helps coordinate services for citizens that law enforcement encounters that need support. Joanna Denny, a licensed independent social worker, has become part of the team with the police department assisting officers with resources they previously did not have access to.

The Recovery Advocate of the Year is Christina Arredondo, a chemical dependency counselor and peer recovery supporter supervisor. She experienced the loss of her daughter and unborn grandchild to an overdose. She turned that unspeakable pain into action by opening a women’s recovery home, founded the Ross County Outreach and Recovery Center where people can be accepted where they are in their journey, providing basic human needs and connections. She works at the Rulon Center, a men’s residential treatment program in Chillicothe and also helped to found First Capital Prevention on Main, with outreach to LGBTQ youth and any other youth that needs a connection.

Donna Collier-Stepp, also a licensed independent social worker helped to start Adena Maternity Center’s Centering Program for women with substance use disorder. This program provides buprenorphine medication assisted treatment as well as group counseling and other social supports. This program was recognized by Ohio Medicaid as a Best Practice and was used as a model for other programs.

Also recognized was Another Chance Ministries (ACM) of Zion Baptist Church, founded by Rev. Dr. J. Troy Gray in 2011 with a recovery home for men and since then has expanded to multiple recovery homes for men and women and has touched over 400 lives of those who came to ACM with no hope. Now in Ross and Highland Counties, with recovery housing for men and women and an outpatient treatment center in Greenfield, ACM continues to bring about renewal in our community. ACM has also guided over 30 people in recovery to jobs in substance use disorder treatment roles.

The MADE Program and Drug Free Clubs of America were the final agency being recognized. MADE, which stands for My Attitude Determines Everything, has impacted innumerable high schools students by setting the peer expectation of living a substance free life. Data over time has shown this program has a positive impact on preventing substance abuse in young people. MADE hosts The Buck Fifty, a 150 mile relay run through Ross County,  raises money to support the programming including drug testing of students across the region. Dave Huggins, leader of this effort received the award on behalf of the organization.

HPP, a not for profit collaborative made up over 60 community partners and 150 individual members supports public events, shares promising practices, recommends policy changes, and continues to advocate for affected individuals and families by assuring partnerships and resources for SUD prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery in Ross County.

National Veterans Film Festival

Presented By Atomic Speedway

(Columbus) – A coalition of Columbus cultural institutions have joined forces to host a free virtual screening in the “National Veterans Film Festival PresentsSeries,” on September 17–26, 2021.  The 10-day event connects Americans through Veterans’ voices and stories by celebrating the contributions and resiliency of our nation’s Veterans.

The film, “Modern Warrior LIVE” (MWL), is a performance narrated by co-creator Staff Sergeant Jaymes Poling, who spent three years in Afghanistan as an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division.  This autobiographical production details Poling’s time in the military and his subsequent transition back home through spoken word and music.  The film was shot during the pandemic in 2020 and is powered with dynamic performances by Cleveland-born (MWL creator) and internationally acclaimed musician, Dominick Farinacci, along with a renowned cast of artists.  It features an appearance by Vietnam Veteran and celebrated news anchor, Leon Bibb.

The filmed performance seeks to build dialogue between Veteran and civilian communities by educating, entertaining and empowering.  The focus on post-traumatic growth aims to destigmatize Veterans through a deeper understanding of their experiences.  The show explores the psychological weights of war, the challenges of reintegration as a civilian and the potential for positive personal and communal growth.

A taped panel discussion will follow the screening of “Modern Warrior Live,” and VA resources will be provided.

“There is so much more that unites Americans than divides us,” said Lt. General Michael Ferriter, U.S. Army (Retired), President and CEO of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.  “By screening great films made by Veterans or that tell stories about Veterans, this festival can address their human experience and inspire a dialogue about what it means to serve our nation and commit to something larger than yourself.”

The NVFF Screening Series is a partnership of some of Ohio’s leading arts and culture organizations – the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Gateway Film Center and the VA Ohio Health Care System, including Columbus, Chillicothe, and Cleveland Whole Health teams.

“Sitting at the intersection of art, education, technology and politics, film is the art form that has been most influenced by Americans and that has had the greatest impact on our culture,” said Chris Hamel, President of Gateway Film Center.  “It is arguably our most enduring cultural connector.”  Gateway Film Center will be leading the film festival’s submissions and programming processes.  “Columbus is developing a great collection of annual film festivals, and the National Veterans Film Festival is a needed addition.”

“We believe in the power of visual storytelling,” said Heather P. Seymour, Creative Arts Coordinator at the Columbus VA.  “Sharing our narratives allows us to heal, it communalizes the human experience and connects communities.  We are proud to share this opportunity throughout the country through our VA national network.”

Registration for the free film screening and additional information about the National Veterans Film Festival can be found at  www.VeteransFilm.org.

Contractor Defaults On ODOT Road Project In Pike County

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

Work on a project to improve safety at the intersection on S.R. 32 and Shyville Road in Pike County has been suspended until further notice following default of the construction contract by Amaazz Construction Ohio, LLC. Work will resume to complete the project once a new contractor has been selected.

Construction on the $2.5 million project began in the Spring of 2020 and included resurfacing work on S.R. 32 in addition to the construction of the new Restricted Crossing U-Turn (RCUT) intersection design at Shyville Road. The goal of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow along S.R. 32 and reduce crashes at the intersection.

Following ongoing administration issues, Amaazz Construction Ohio, LLC. defaulted on the project contract in late August. The company has defaulted on other projects across the state as well. While construction has halted, ODOT is working with the bonding company to complete the project for the cost that was originally bid, with no additional cost to taxpayers.

“This is an exceedingly rare occurrence, but fortunately we have a process that is being followed to select a new contractor and get the work completed as soon as possible,” said Deputy Director Mike Dombrowski. “We are very disappointed the contractor was not able to deliver this important safety project on schedule, as promised.”

Unfortunately, due to the default coming late in the construction season, it is likely that a new contractor, once selected, will not be able to complete the project until the spring of 2022. This would require most of the existing traffic control restrictions to remain in place through the winter.

“We recognize that this is an inconvenience to those who live and work in this area. We will continue to do everything in our power to minimize these impacts as much as we can,” Dombrowski said.

Traffic on S.R. 32 remains reduced to one lane in each direction immediately east and west of the Shyville Road intersection. The median is closed, and traffic is using the new U-turn lanes to complete all left turn and through movements for Shyville Road traffic.