ODNR Hosts Winter Hike Challenge

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

(Columbus) – Ohio is a beautiful place to explore, especially in the winter.  From the rare birds wintering along the Lake Erie shores to the snow-covered bridge at Mohican State Park- you can see it all with the Ohio State Parks 2022 Winter Hike Challenge hosted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

(Photo: Ash Cave at Hocking State Park/ODNR)

“The state of Ohio has unmatched scenery, especially in winter,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said.  “From the frozen falls at Old Man’s Cave to the scenic tales being told on our Storybook Trails, there are majestic winter sights all across our beautiful state. So, bundle up, grab a friend, and join us for a few hikes this winter!”
To complete the challenge, download the DETOUR Ohio Trails App, available at detour.ohiodnr.gov or in the Apple app or Google Play store. If you’ve already downloaded DETOUR, you’re ready. Hit the trails!
Participate in hikes at state parks in three different regions of our state between Jan. 1 and March 1, 2022. We have plenty of options! You can join us for guided hikes, or you can head out on your own.  Just make sure you visit parks in three different regions. We have so many different trails to explore, you can make this challenge your own. You can even explore one of our Storybook Trails if you are hiking as a family! Find all the details on our Winter Hike Challenge webpage.
When you have completed the challenge, let us know by submitting your information here. The first 500 adventurers to complete the challenge will receive a free limited-edition Ohio State Parks Winter Hiker sticker. Ohio State Parks are hosting hikes throughout the season.  You can find a full list of activities across the state here.
Your hiking trip may take you off the beaten path but remember to play it safe and stay on the trail. The winter months can have hikers facing snow, ice, and extreme cold. Some things to remember before hitting the trail:

  • Check the forecast and research your hike before you leave the house
  • Dress in layers, keeping your head, neck, and hands covered
  • Stay hydrated and bring snacks
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return

ODNR has a list of safety tips for anyone who wants to head out to the trails this winter.  You can find those here.

ODNR is also promoting what they call First Day Hike. Spending time outdoors is a great way to reduce stress and reconnect with nature and burn off some holiday calories.

Choose one of the naturalist-led hikes coordinated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) or surround yourself with Ohio’s wintry splendor on New Year’s Day at your favorite Ohio State Park.

Southeast Ohio

Lake Hope State Park, 10:00 a.m. This 3-mile hike, led by the park naturalist, begins at the Hope Furnace with the naturalist. 

Salt Fork State Park, 1:00 p.m. The 2-mile guided hike along the Kennedy Stonehouse Nature Trail is followed by a warm fire and hot chocolate at the historic Kennedy Stonehouse. Meet at the Kennedy Stonehouse Nature Trail parking lot. 

Southwest Ohio

Hueston Woods State Park, 2:00 p.m. Take a hike through the wintry woods. Meet the naturalist at the nature center.  

Shawnee State Park, 1:00 p.m. An easy 1-mile hike is followed by hot chocolate and cookies in front of the state park lodge fireplace. Meet in the lodge lobby. 

Caesar Creek State Park, 1:00 p.m. A 3-mile guided hike to the Swinging Bridge and Horseshoe Falls. Meet at the Nature Center. 

Check the weather before you go hiking. Coats and sturdy shoes are encouraged for cold weather hiking. To learn more about each hike, please visit: https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/home/news-and-events/all-events/

Chillicothe Grad To Direct UC Marching Band In CFB National Semi

Presented By Classic Brands

Chillicothe High School Alumnus Hayley Drewyor-Voorhees will be directing the University of Cincinnati Marching Band at the College Football Playoff National Semifinal vs Alabama, Friday.

Hayley is a 2012 graduate of CHS and the daughter of Randy and Jill Drewyor. Randy is a former Chillicothe City School Board of Education Member and local businessman.

Hayley’s passion for music appears to have come from her mother, Jill Drewyor. Jill was the praise team leader at Walnut Street United Methodist Church and worked with Chillicothe High School Music and Drama Department, along with providing music for Chillicothe Civic Theatre.

According to Hayley’s Facebook site, Hayley studied at UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning and BS Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. She also studied Not for Profit Organizational Leadership at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with a Master’s of Leadership Development. She is also the Founder, President at Make Music Cincinnati.

Hayley Dreyor-Voorhees is leading the band at Friday’s game in the absence of the acting UC Marching Band Director.

Chillicothe Recycling Collection Continues Despite Truck Equipment Failure

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc. & Accurate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

(Chillicothe)- Chillicothe Safety Service Director Jeff Carman says due to an unforeseen equipment failure, a recycling collection truck is out of service for the City of Chillicothe. However, the City will temporarily be using an ORANGE refuse truck to pick up RECYCLING, beginning Thursday, December 30th.

Recycling customers can be assured that their recycling will get recycled and not taken as refuse.

Also, please be reminded that the City Administration Building is closed for the holidays, but will reopen Monday, January 3rd.

If you have any questions concerning the above press release, contact the City Safety Department by calling (740) 773-2700.

Patrol Warns Against Driving Impaired On New Year’s Holiday

Presented By Atomic Speedway & Chillicothe VAMC

(Columbus) – The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging drivers who intend to celebrate the New Year’s holiday to plan ahead and designate a sober driver. The Patrol’s zero-tolerance policy is part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign.

The New Year’s holiday reporting period begins Thursday, December 30 at midnight and ends on Sunday, January 2 at 11:59 p.m.

During the four-day 2020-2021 New Year’s reporting period, there were 14 fatal crashes that killed 14 people. Of those, alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in 10 fatal crashes, while speed played a role in three of the crashes. Of the seven fatalities in which seat belts were available, five were unbelted. There were six pedestrians and one ATV/UTV driver killed during the holiday period.

“We want everyone to have a great start to the new year,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “If you plan on drinking, please don’t get behind the wheel.”

During last year’s reporting period, the Patrol made 309 arrests for OVI. Last year’s reporting period ran from Thursday, December 31 through Sunday, January 3. 

“Tragically, last year’s New Year’s holiday was the deadliest in nine years,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Patrol superintendent. “Safety is a shared responsibility and we need your commitment to help make our roads safe.”

Additional crash information is available on the Ohio Statistics and Analytics for Traffic Safety (OSTATS) crash dashboard at: https://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/ostats.aspx.

The Patrol reminds drivers to plan ahead, designate a sober driver or make other arrangements.

Motorists are encouraged to report impaired drivers and drug activity to the Patrol by calling #677.

Waverly Hosts SOCS Wireless Classic On Thursday

Presented By McDonald’s, “I’m Lovin’ It!” & Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

High School basketball teams from around Ohio will be in Waverly Thursday, December 30th for the SOCS Wireless Classic at the Waverly Downtown Gym.

$5 will get you in to see all five games, which tip-off at noon.

Here is the schedule of games, which sees some changes due to a couple of teams bowing-out due to COVID:

(5-2) Minford vs (4-7) Piketon

2:00 PM
(5-2) Bishop Ready vs (5-2) Logan Elm

4:00 PM
(4-3) Gallia Academy vs (7-2) Unioto

6:00 PM
(3-4) Washington Court House vs (5-3) Jonathan Alder

8:00 PM
(5-2) Waverly vs (8-2) Upper Arlington

Ohio Hits Record High For COVID Hospitalization & One Day New Cases

Presented By Classic Brands

(Above Photo: Courtesy of The Ohio Channel)

(Updates Are Ongoing)
The State of Ohio has hit a record high for hospitalizations and daily new cases for COVID-19, since the pandemic began. The state hit a record-high 20,000 new COVID-19 cases and for total hospitalizations. An additional 592 hospitalizations have been seen over the past 24 hours. The Ohio Hospital Association website shows a total of 5,356 patients as of December 29th, 2021.

Hospitals in northern Ohio, especially the Cleveland area, have been among the hardest hit. Nationally, new cases have climbed to a record of more than 265,000 cases per day.

In response, Governor Mike DeWine has activated an additional 1,250 National Guard Troops to assist with staffing at hospitals inundated with COVID patients. The governor had previously activated 1,050 guardsmen last month to assist with the hospital staffing crunch.

In a press conference update of the COVID-19 case increase now seen in Ohio, DeWine stated it is clear the majority of hospitalized COVID patients are those who have not received COVID-19 vaccinations.

Ohio Health Department and U.S. Centers For Disease Control officials have acknowledged that the newest COVID variant known as “omicron” is being seen in people who have been vaccinated, but pointed out that those vaccinated are largely escaping the most serious symptoms and hospitalizations of the omicron variant.

Several doctors, nurses and hospital administrators on Governor DeWine’s press conference Wednesday urged Ohioans to get their vaccinations and boosters. Recent statistics show Ohio has approximately 55% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, which is well below the national average of over 70%.

DeWine also urged schools to require staff and students to wear masks upon their return to class in January- at least until the current surge passes.

The governor along with Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff says the omicron variant, which started in South Africa, has been much more quick to spread. It is also less deadly than the delta variant. Recent news in South Africa shows the omicron is starting to show fewer new cases, but it could be another month before Ohio sees that trend going downward.

Recently, the CDC has updated recommendations for those who become infected with COVID or come into someone who has tested positive:

People who test positive for COVID-19: Only need to isolate for 5 days if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask if they are around others. Remember, previously it was a 10-day isolation period.

People who are exposed to COVID-19 and are either (1) unvaccinated or (2) more than 6 months from completing their initial round of vaccination and unboostered only need to quarantine for 5 days followed by mask-wearing for 5 days. The CDC indicates that “if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.” 

People who are exposed to COVID-19 and have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine at all but need to wear a mask for 10 days after exposure. 

For all exposures, CDC still says that it is a best practice to test on day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, “quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19” 

Christmas Trees Find a Second Life as Wildlife Habitat

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

(Columbus) – All sorts of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife can find a use for a live-cut Christmas tree once the holidays are over, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Before you toss your tree to the curb this year, remember that it can find life after Christmas as shelter for Ohio fish, birds, small mammals, and more.
Recycled live-cut Christmas trees are used as fish habitat in both public and private waters. Christmas trees are donated to the Division of Wildlife by community recycling and drop-off programs. The trees are bundled together and weighted down so they sink to the bottom, attracting fish and providing cover. Private pond owners may also want to consider this approach of repurposing trees to add habitat to their ponds. Many species are attracted to this newly created habitat, including crappie, bluegill, and other panfish, as well as largemouth bass and saugeye.
Each winter, Christmas trees are placed at select wildlife areas and public lakes around Ohio, which vary year to year. GPS coordinates where trees are placed as fish attractors are recorded for each site and the information is available on the interactive lake map at wildohio.gov. Anglers can target these locations, which are often very productive for several species.
A live-cut Christmas tree can also be recycled as the centerpiece of a wildlife-friendly brush pile. Place the tree in a selected location and stack limbs around it in a square arrangement, layering more brush until a desired height is reached. Cover the top with additional brush to create a unique and valuable shelter for small animals.
Songbirds, including northern cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches travel in and out of brush piles for food, nesting, and to escape predators. Small mammals, such as cottontail rabbits and chipmunks, also use brush piles for shelter and raising young.
Live-cut Christmas trees are also useful as compost, mulch, and more beyond wildlife habitat. Here are some options for your live-cut Christmas tree following the holidays.
Central Ohio

  • City of Columbus residents can set out their tree on the curb and it will be picked up during the regular yard waste collection day.

Southeast Ohio

  • The City of Chillicothe picks up trees for residents through a special collection through January.

Southwest Ohio

  • Caesar Creek State Park. 8570 E. State Route 73, Waynesville. Drop off your undecorated tree at the North Pool Boat Ramp until Jan. 17, 2022.
  • Eastwood MetroPark, 1401 Harshman Road, Dayton. Drop off trees until Jan. 16, 2022.

Another option is to move your tree outside and add edible ornaments or strings of popcorn to feed birds and squirrels during times when food resources can be scarce. Try creating homemade suet or seed cakes, covering pinecones in peanut butter and seeds, or hanging slices of oranges and apples.
Before repurposing or disposing of a live-cut Christmas tree, remember to remove all trimmings including tinsel, garland, lights, and ornaments as these can be harmful to the environment and wildlife. Be sure to have proper permission before discarding your tree on public or private property. Discarding trees without permission could result in a litter violation.

Evidence Based Therapy Available For Veterans At Chillicothe V.A.

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc. & Accurate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

Evidence-based therapies (EBTs) have been shown to improve a variety of mental health conditions and overall well-being. These treatments are tailored to each Veteran’s needs, priorities, values, preferences, and goals for therapy. EBTs often work quickly and effectively, sometimes within a few weeks or months, depending on the nature or severity of your symptoms. Work with your VA provider to choose the treatment options that work best for you. To learn more about EBTs offered at VA and the mental health conditions they are used to treat, explore the information below.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Depression (ACT-D)

ACT-D is a therapy that can help transform and improve the lives of people experiencing depression. ACT-D aims to help you live in a way that’s more closely aligned with your values, improving your relationships with yourself, others, and the world.

Through this therapy, you’ll learn to accept your thoughts and emotions, choose and commit to actions that align with your values, and take action to achieve what matters most to you. ACT-D typically requires 10 to 16 individual sessions, but it can be tailored to your treatment preferences and priorities. This therapy can lead to:

  • A decrease in negative thoughts and feelings.
  • Increased awareness and focus that helps you to fully connect with others and live in the moment.
  • The ability to clarify your values and take action to achieve what means the most to you in life.

If you choose ACT-D, you may be asked to:

  • Commit to attending sessions regularly.
  • Set treatment goals with your provider at the onset of therapy.
  • Speak openly about your depression, the challenges you’re facing, and your values.

To determine whether ACT-D may be right for you, speak with your mental health provider about your symptoms so you can work together to create the most effective treatment plan.

For more information on the various types of mental health therapies available through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, go to this link to the V.A.’s website. CLICK HERE:

HEAP Winter Crisis Program Accepting Applications In Ross County

Presented By Atomic Speedway & Chillicothe VAMC

(Chillicothe)- The colder winter weather will be upon us soon, which has the Ohio Development Services Agency and Ross County Community Action urging income-eligible residents to make arrangements to get into their program for assistance with winter heating bills.

The Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program provides eligible Ohioan’s assistance paying a utility or bulk fuel/electric bill or assistance paying for heating system repairs. The program runs until March 31, 2022.

To apply for the program, clients are required to schedule an appointment with Ross County Community Action. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (740) 702-7222.

Clients need to bring copies of the following documents to their appointment:

  • Copies of their most recent energy bills;
  • A list of all household members and proof of income for the last 30 days or 12 months for each member;
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency for all household members;
  • Proof of disability (if applicable);

Last year more than 1,574 families in Ross County were assisted through the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program.

Winter Crisis: Eligible households can receive up to $175 if they are a client of a regulated utility, or $900 if they are a client of unregulated utilities such as electric cooperatives and municipal utilities. The assistance is applied to their utility bill or applied to heating system repair costs. Ohioans must have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for assistance.>For more information about the features of the Winter Crisis Program, contact Ross County Community Action, Kristi Smith at 740-702-7222. To be connected to your local Energy Assistance provider call (800)282-0880 (hearing impaired clients may dial 711 for assistance), or visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov.

2022 ARA Regional Schedule Finalized

Presented By Classic Brands

(Speedway, Indiana) ~ After a season full of excitement and championship chases, but limited by several events being cancelled, postponed or adjusted, the American Rally Association, presented by DirtFish will return to its full field of nineteen events in 2022.

The 2022 ARA National Championship schedule was released in October, and will feature a nine-race season starting with the annual Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, Mich. The schedule will also include the return of the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally as a National Championship event after being forced into a basic regional role due to local permitting issues.

All nine National events will host a a two-day ARA Super Regional, with points going towards the events respective ARA Regional Championship. On top of those nine rallies, there will be three additional Super Regionals in 2022, including the recently added Bristol Forest Rally on May 13-14 as part of the ARA East Regional Championship. Rally Colorado will return at the end of July (final date TBA) as a two-day West Super Regional and the Show-Me Rally will end the season on November 4-5 as part of newly configured ARA Central Region.

The rest of the 2022 ARA Regional schedule will consist of seven Basic Regionals, or one-day rallies that cover fewer miles than a Super Regional. The season started with the Nemadji Trail Rally in Minnesota on December 4 (Kyle Tilley and Sarah Freeze took home the overall win). The Ojibwe Forests Rally group is pleased to be bringing back the Headwaters Rally on May 7. Summer Sno*Drift will be held on July 16, followed by Missouri Ozark Rally on July 30. Tour de Forest is ready to return on September 10, followed by the Oregon Regional Rally (organized by the Oregon Trail Rally group) at the end of September or beginning of October. Rally Nevada will finish out the season and help crown the Western Regional champion on November 5.

ARA Super Regional and Basic Regional Schedule:

ARA National Championship, presented by DirtFish (each round includes a Super Regional): 

With a full-slate of events, the ARA will be implementing a three-region format starting in 2022: East, Central and West. The new regions will help promote more competition, for both the National and Regional Championships. Regional competitors will be able to compete for multiple championships across regions and will be able to utilize one crossover event to gain points for another regional championship.

The 2022 ARA National Championship, presented by DirtFish kicks off February 18-19 with the annual Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, Mich. Event registration and ARA licensing are expected to open after January 1st.