All posts by Mike Smith

ODH Releases New Guidelines For COVID Contact Tracing

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

(Columbus)- The Ohio Department of Health has notified local health departments and K-12 school superintendents about new protocol for COVID-19 Contact Tracing. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, Director, Ohio Department of Health made the announcement January 26th with a letter to each entity.

“As COVID-19 has evolved, public health mitigation strategies have had to adjust periodically to address new challenges. The quick spread of the Omicron variant and its rapid clinical course have made universal contact tracing, case investigation and exposure notification impractical when combined with newly reduced timelines for quarantine and isolation.”

Therefore, effective immediately:
• The Ohio Department of Health recommends that local health departments (LHDs) shiftfrom universal contact tracing, case investigation and exposure notification to a cluster- or outbreak-based model. This strategy prioritizes people in high-risk settings, such as congregate residential settings (e.g., shelters, correctional facilities, and nursing homes) or for certain circumstances such as outbreaks or clusters in specific settings or in relation to initial cases or clusters associated with new variants, as appropriate.

• Schools may discontinue universal contact tracing but are expected to assist LHDs with contact tracing, case investigation and exposure notification related to outbreaks or clusters in schools as determined by the LHD. K-12 schools should continue to follow ODH’s protocol, “Mask to Stay, Test to Play,” and allow asymptomatic students to attend school while wearing a mask if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. The best place for kids is in school, in-person, full-time.

• ODH also will change the school case reporting cadence to weekly. Schools should report positive student and staff cases to their LHDs by close of business on Fridays. LHDs will continue to report on the same weekly cadence. This schedule will begin on Friday, Feb. 4. ODH will continue to evaluate related school reporting requirements.LHDs should continue providing education and messaging to the general public about steps to take after exposure or a positive test. The attached flow chart may be shared with the public to explain how they should proceed after testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

• Please encourage people to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster doses. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are the best prevention tool we have against severe illness and death.

• Reinforce the importance of mask wearing, physical distancing, improving ventilation, hand washing, cough etiquette, testing, and staying home if you are sick.

“This is also a good time to remind the public of mitigation strategies that work against transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.” :246 North High Street 614 I 466-3543 Columbus, Ohio 43215 U.S.A. The State of Ohio is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider of ADA Services.  

Ohio Air National Guard Making Some Noise With Night Flight Training

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

(Swanton)- “Did you hear the boom?” That was a common question being asked on social media by residents throughout the Scioto Valley Wednesday night, after sonic booms were heard as a result of Ohio Air National Guard night flying training that’s taking place this week.

(Photo Courtesy of Ohio Air National Guard 180th Fighter Wing)

The 180th Fighter Wing, based in Swanton, Ohio near Toledo is conducting the night training in the region Monday through Thursday.

“Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but F-16 pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct night operations as part of their overall readiness training,” the spokesperson said.

F-16’s might be heard until about 9pm each day this week.

Scioto Trails State Forest Culverts To Be Replaced

Presented By Accurate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

(Chillicothe) – As part of the Ohio Department of Transportation—District 9’s Planning Department, the district’s Environmental Office is seeking public input for a project to replace multiple culverts on forest roads in Scioto Trails State Forest.

ROS – Scioto Trails State Forest Culverts (PID: 111168) – A total of 114 culverts will be replaced on State Forest Roads 4 and 6 in Scioto Trail State Forest. All replacement culverts will be between 18-48 inches in diameter and will range from 23 feet to 50 feet in length.

Other work around the culverts/headwalls will consist of placing minimal amounts of rock channel protection and incidental pavement or gravel surface repairs.All work will be completed from the existing roadway.

No new right-of-way will be needed for the project.No homes or businesses will be removed by the project.

The roadway will be closed for the duration of the project. The detour will be determined at a later date.The funding for the project is 100% State. The project is currently expected to be awarded 6/6/2022.

Written comments should be submitted by February 26, 2022, or the deadline date that is posted on the web site, to: Greg Manson, ODOT District 9 Environmental Supervisor, 650 Eastern Avenue, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601 E-Mail:

Youth Mental Health & Addiction Care Grants Awarded To Area Counties

Presented By Atomic Speedway

(Columbus)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced that $14.9 million in American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Supplemental Block Grants funds will be used to help strengthen Ohio’s statewide mental health and addiction care services system, specifically in the areas of youth prevention and early intervention services.

“We know that 75% of substance use disorders and mental illness begin before the age of 25, and prevention and early intervention strategies are vital to building resilience and opportunities for long-term health,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “These dollars will make key investments in substance use disorder and mental health prevention programs and treatment services to help Ohioans live their best and healthiest lives.”

“Through close partnerships and collaborations with our community partners, these investments will be targeted in ways that facilitate more responsive, agile, and effective interventions supporting lifelong health and recovery for all Ohioans,” said Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Director Lori Criss.

The funds will be distributed over the next four years and are broken down as follows:

Primary Prevention

  • $5M ($1.25M per year) for community coalitions and youth-led programs to address marijuana and alcohol prevention. These funds will be awarded on a competitive basis with a goal of reaching up to 250,000 individuals over the next four years.
  • $5.4M to support public health campaigns designed to enhance the perception of harm of alcohol and marijuana use.

Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis

  • $2.3M to fund two pilot First Episode Psychosis Coordinated Specialty Care Virtual Teams in year two and six additional teams in years three and four. Using telehealth to expand services, specialists at the Ohio State University Early Psychosis Intervention Center (EPICENTER) will provide medication management, psychotherapy, and family support and education. Individuals with first episode psychosis will access specific coordinated specialty care services through their local community mental health center (i.e., case management, education and vocational support and on-site nursing and medication management). EPICENTER will provide training and ongoing consultation.
  • $1.8M to mitigate losses for uncompensated care at 17 existing First Episode Psychosis/Early Serious Mental Illness teams in the following counties: Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Butler, Clermont, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Gallia, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hardin, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Meigs, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Portage, Ross, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Vinton, Washington, Wood.
  • $307,926 for the purposes of adopting Healthcare, Outcomes, Network, Education (HONE) developed by Yale University to better collect outcomes on Ohio’s First Episode Psychosis clients.

As part of the ARPA block grant funding, OhioMHAS is also this month releasing $2.98 million in COVID mitigation funds to Ohio’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Boards (ADAMH) to be used by boards and community behavioral health providers for COVID testing, PPE purchases, contact tracing, healthy environment maintenance, and other efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19, as well as for behavioral health services for individuals in short-term housing who are at elevated risk of contracting COVID. These are one-time allocations to Ohio’s ADAMH boards for local distribution.

“We know our front-line providers continue to struggle with the effects of the variants of COVID-19, and these funds will help them continue to provide critically needed services safely,” added Criss.

Earth Day 2022 Date Set For Chillicothe

Presented By Classic Brands

Organizers are asking area residents to save the date of April 23, 2022 for Earth Gathering in Chillicothe’s Yoctangee Park.

(Image: Earth Gathering)

The event will run from 11am-6pm.

Earth Gathering is a juried-invitational art festival with an Earth Day theme designed to enlighten, entertain, and inspire the public with Earth-friendly art, music, food, products, and ideas.

Many of the activities are centered around the lawn of the Pump House Center For the Arts, located in Yoctangee Park.

Bloom Carroll To Induct New Members In Athletic Hall of Fame

Presented By Chillicothe VAMC

Image Courtesy of Bloom Carroll Twitter

(Carroll)- The Bloom Carroll Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday January 29th, prior to the varsity boys’ home basketball game against Hamilton Township. (Approximately 6:45pm-7:00pm)

Inductees will be Tami Cox (Ireland), John Baas, Robb Ingram, and Maggie Loeffler.

The Service Award goes to Choc Woods.

ODOT Seeks Public Comments For Jackson County Bridge Replacement

Presented By Scioto Valley Dumpsters, LTD

(Chillicothe) – As part of the Ohio Department of Transportation—District 9’s Planning Department, the district’s Environmental Office is seeking public input for a bridge replacement on C.R. 39 (Mulga Road) in Jackson County.

JAC-CR 39-3.06 (PID: 103780) – It is proposed to replace the structure on C.R. 39 at the 3.06 mile mark in Jackson County, Ohio. The project is located in a rural area of Milton Township. The existing structure is a single span steel truss with timber decking on stone abutments with reinforced concrete cap on spread footings. The structure was built in 1963. The new structure will be a single span composite prestressed box beam with reinforced concrete deck on semi-integral abutments on existing stone abutments.

The project will not require new right-of-way.No homes or businesses will be removed by the project.

The roadway will be closed for the duration of the project.The local detour will be S.R. 32 to C.R. 38 (Hiram West Rd) to S.R. 124 to C.R. 39 (Mulga Rd). The local detour is approximately 6 miles.

The funding for the project is 95% State and 5% Local. The environmental commitment date is 10/1/2022. The project is currently expected to be awarded 1/2/2023.

Written comments should be submitted by February 25, 2022, or the deadline date that is posted on the web site, to: Greg Manson, ODOT District 9 Environmental Supervisor, 650 Eastern Avenue, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601 E-Mail:

Blue Angels To Fly In 2023 Columbus Air Show

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

(Columbus)- As announced on November 30th, the Columbus Air Show will be held June 17-18, 2023 at Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK).

(Photo Courtesy of Columbus Air Show)

In early December, is was also announced that the show has been selected by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels as one of their demonstration sites for 2023.

The Blue Angels last performed in Columbus in 1995 and the last air show held in Columbus was 2007’s Gathering of Mustangs and Legends that attracted more than 150,000 guests to Rickenbacker.

For more in formation, follow this website link. CLICK HERE:

Area Fire Departments Among Those To Receive MARCS Radio Grants

Presented By Classic Brands

(Columbus)— The State of Ohio has announced the recipients of the 2022 MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems) grant, which totals $3.5 million awarded to 212 fire departments in 57 counties throughout Ohio. 

“We are dedicated to helping Ohio’s first responders by equipping them with state-of-the-art wireless digital communications,” Governor DeWine said. “This grant will help our first responders save lives and be more effective in responding to everyday operations and emergency situations across the state.”


The MARCS radio system allows first responders to seamlessly communicate, not only with each other, but with other agencies responding to an incident. MARCS radio system technology is advanced and the costs to acquire and operate can be significant. Priority funding goes to departments applying as part of a regional or county-wide effort, as well as departments that show they are prepared to immediately begin using the MARCS radios upon receiving the award. The MARCS Grant is available annually to fire departments with service areas of 25,000 residents or less and up to $50,000 per department is available through this grant. This funding cycle, the State Fire Marshal received more than $8.5 million in requests for the $3.5 million in total available funding.“

This is a highly-competitive selection process, so our emphasis has been on growing the MARCS program with the goal that one day every department in Ohio is on this communication system,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon. “Having first responders with these state-of-the-art radios improves emergency services for these counties, which increases the level of safety for the communities they protect.”The MARCS system provides statewide, secure, reliable public service wireless communication for first responders.

There are currently over 120,000 voice units and over 1,800 mobile data units on the MARCS system with over 2,800 local, state, and federal agencies statewide.

The complete list of the 212 fire departments in 57 Ohio counties receiving MARCS Grants funding (Including our area) is available on the State Fire Marshal website.

Zane Trace FFA Sausage Breakfast Set for February 4th

Presented By McDonald’s

Pictured Front (left to right): Lily Rose, Ashleigh Hupp, Ellie Doles, Sadie Swepston. Back: Braylee Burkitt, Christian Dill, Jurmiha Jones.

The 44th Annual Zane Trace FFA Sausage and Pancake Breakfast is schedule for February 4th, 2022 from 5am to 9am.

There’s a great deal of preparation that takes place for the breakfast. Litter Media’s Dan Ramey visited with some of the FFA members to discuss the process.

Watch Dan Ramey’s sit-down with the ZT FFA members in our Litter Media YouTube link below:

A minimum $5 donation allows you to dine-in or carryout at the Zane Trace Cafeteria.

The event is used as an educational experience as well as a fundraiser for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.