Category Archives: News

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.

2021 BBBS Dance For Kids Sake Is October 16th

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

Waverly Superintendent Ed Dickens and dance partner Staci Shanton during the 2018 Dance For Kids’ Sake event at OU-Chillicothe’s Shoemaker Center. The fundraising event returns to the dance floor October 16th, 2021.

(Chillicothe) — Join Big Brothers/Big Sisters at Ohio University Chillicothe’s Shoemaker Center on October 16th at 7pm for our 2021 Dance For Kids’ Sake Competition.

Every donation made to your favorite Celebrity Dancer will not only help them in their quest to become our 2021 Dance For Kids’ Sake Children’s Champion, but it will also help aid us in BBBS’ mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, research-based, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

This year’s participants are:

Susie Webb & Allie Joseph
Jonathan & Kristen Davis
Brad & Kelly Bigelow
Joshua Tripp
Marshall & Jade Berry
Rhythmic Thunder: Laura Adams, Dr. Valerie Good, Dr. Reggina Yandila, Dr. Catherine “Katie” Neal & Ben Copher.

Donations should be made on the individual dancer page you wish to support. You can find each dancer’s page by clicking their photo below. http://www.bbbssco.org/dance-for-kids-sake.html

Ross Health District Urges Yes Vote On Renewal Levy

Presented By Classic Brands

Ross County Health District Commissioner Garrett Guillozet appeared on a Litter Media Live Special Edition, Thursday, where he talked with interviewer Mike Smith about the health district renewal levy.

“This is a five-year, 1 mill renewal levy. This is the same levy we have had for the last 25 years”, said Guillozet. “It generates about $1.4 million that assists the health district in our operations to carry out our program and services to the community.”

The cost of the levy is about $35 per $100,000 assessed home value, which represents no change in the levy amount currently in place.

Guillozet reminded voters that none of the COVID-19 response expenses have come out of locally generated tax dollars, but instead came from the federal government. 

He added- “Because these dollars came from the federal government, we were able to continue on with our food inspections, WIC and Help Me Grow program for young children.”

Guillozet says when talking about the health district renewal levy, he often gets questions about drug overdose programs, and whether the health district is buying Narcan with local tax payer money, to which he said- “We do not do that. We use grant funding specific to the opioid response program. We have a great partnership with other entities who have worked on grants with us, (that go toward those expenses.)”

Do view our Litter Media Live Special Edition interview with Garrett Guillozet, CLICK HERE:

Meteorology School Now Offered At Ohio University

Presented By Classic Brands

(Athens) – The new Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Meteorology major at Ohio University pairs the coursework and training of a traditional meteorology degree with the most robust and broad journalism curriculum in the nation for students looking to become on-camera meteorologists and science journalists.

Students will take all of the physical science and mathematics courses required for the American Meteorological Society-approved Certified Broadcast Meteorology Program, while also completing an extensive series of journalism, broadcast, and communications courses.

“Hands-on experience is central to this new major,” said Dr. Jana Houser, associate professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences at OHIO.

Students will hone their forecasting skills in the Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis, a student-run weather service that provides several forecasts per day tailored to Southeastern Ohio. They will also gain broadcast experience through daily productions with the award winning WOUB-TV in the Scripps College of Communication.

“OHIO already has a track record of placing students in internships at news stations, and there is a strong history of graduates entering broadcast meteorologist positions immediately after graduation,” Houser said. “You’ll also find OHIO graduates working with the National Weather Service, agriculture and energy industries, insurance agencies, and many other and federal and non-federal agencies. Currently, there is a national need for broadcast meteorologists and for science reporters, who are often also trained as meteorologists.”

Students in the program will take courses in radar meteorology, large-scale and small-scale weather systems, climatology, atmospheric dynamics, radio and television producing, multimedia editing, and much more. They will also get a foundation in geography courses, and the program is offered in the Geography Department in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University.

“The new major is yet another example of successful collaboration among the colleges at Ohio University,” said Dr. Florenz Plassmann, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Combining a sound foundation in the sciences with strong communication skills is a great preparation for field work in front of as well as behind a camera.”

Alpaca Farm Days

Presented By Classic Brands

Bring the family to see some furry friends, September 25th-26th at Alpaca Farm Days in Pickaway County.

(Photo Courtesy of Alpaca Farm Days)

You can also see a live fleece demonstration, enjoy food from a local food truck, and more. The 10am-5pm will be held at the farm of Aaron and Robin Ridenour, located at 10981 US Highway 22 in Williamsport.

The Ridenour’s website says they have over 100 alpacas that live on the farm.

For more information, go to the A&R Alpaca Farm website. CLICK HERE:

State Grant Coming to Vinton County Company

Presented By Rathkamp Financial

(Columbus) — On September 15, 2021, the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) approved a grant in the amount of $200,000 to Austin Powder Company (APC) to undertake repairs and rehabilitation to its on-site rail infrastructure.  The infrastructure is in a condition where a large capital project is necessary to ensure railcars are received safely.  APC is planning on investing approximately $10 million in the facility over the next three years and will hire 15 employees, bringing their total employment to 265.  The project was originally brought to our attention via OhioSE. 

APC is one of the oldest manufacturing enterprises in the State of Ohio and one of the oldest manufacturers of explosives in the world.  Located in Vinton County since the 1930s, the project will assist the company to continue to modernize its operations to meet current market demands.

Matthew Dietrich, Executive Director of the ORDC, said, “given the nature of this business, rail is a critical aspect of its supply chain. As a result of ORDC involvement, Austin Powder will be able to mitigate safety concerns associated with current conditions at the facility and ensure the receipt of its deliveries in a safe and more efficient manner.”

“Austin Powder Company is grateful for ORDC assistance in the rehabilitation of our railroad tracks at our Red Diamond Plant located in Ohio. Without the assistance from ORDC, it would not be possible to repair our rails to like new condition in such a short timeframe. The ORDC grant is a great opportunity for us to keep our facility operating in a safe and efficient manner while growing our business,” said Don Hays, Head Electrician, Austin Powder Company.

Ohio Small Business Grants Promoted By Gov. DeWine

Presented By Atomic Speedway

(Columbus)— On National Small Business Day, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke to members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Ohio Wednesday celebrating the accomplishments of Ohio’s small businesses and reminding business owners of the many programs and initiatives offered by the state to support them.

“Ohio’s economy is tied to the success of our small businesses, so it’s in our best interests to go forward together. What is good for Ohio’s 982,000 small businesses is good for Ohio,” said Governor DeWine.

Ohio’s most recent operating budget includes $2 billion in business and personal income tax cuts and supports Governor DeWine’s Investing in Ohio’s Future Initiative to help small businesses and accelerate economic growth. The operating budget doubled the amount of grant funding available to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic to $310 million. Funding is still available from the following four grant programs:

  • Food and Beverage Establishment Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other food and beverage businesses.
  • Entertainment Venue Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 to theaters, music venues, spectator sports venues, museums, and other entertainment venues.
  • Lodging Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 to hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast operations.
  • New Small Business Grant: This program provides grants of $10,000 to small businesses that were established between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.

For more information and to apply, visit investinginohiosfuture.ohio.gov

To help ensure all communities can be part of Ohio’s economic recovery and expansion, the budget also invests $250 million to develop and expand broadband throughout Ohio. The Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program application is open, and the grants will be provided to internet service providers for the construction of broadband projects that improve high-speed internet access in unserved and underserved areas of Ohio.

To further support Ohio’s small businesses, which account for 99.6% of the businesses in the state and employ 2.2 million people, the Ohio Department of Development and TourismOhio this week launched its new Made in Ohio website, which features nearly 800 companies that sell Ohio-made apparel, snack foods, coffee, décor, furniture, and more.

The listings and include businesses that make or manufacture products in the state of Ohio and have a storefront and/or website where their products are sold. Listings link directly to the company website so customers can purchase the products directly from the company. For more information on how to have a company listed on the site, visit Ohio.org/MadeinOhio.

Made In Ohio - Ohio Find It Here

The Ohio Department of Development also offers services to support small businesses and entrepreneurs including:

By instituting spending freezes and budget cuts during the pandemic, the DeWine administration eliminated $776 million in state spending to balance the budget, putting Ohio in a strong position as we work to emerge from the pandemic. Although Ohio, like many other states, depleted its unemployment compensation fund and needed a $1.5 billion loan from the federal government to pay claims during the pandemic, Ohio strategically repaid the $1.5 billion loan to prevent businesses from incurring large increases in federal unemployment taxes. Without this added tax burden, Ohio business owners can spend those dollars on more critical priorities such as investing in their workforce.

“Workforce development is, without question, the key to our long-term economic expansion,” said Governor DeWine. “We are focused on creating the most skilled workforce in the Midwest, fit to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy.”

A goal of the DeWine Administration is to champion career, technical, and vocational education training to help tens of thousands more Ohioans a year prepare for quality, higher-paying jobs without creating college debt.

Investments to achieve this goal include:

  • TechCred, a program that gives employees the ability to earn industry-recognized, technology-focused credentials to prepare them to work in high-tech jobs.
  • The Industry Sector Partnership grant program, which supports collaborations among businesses, education and training providers, and other community leaders who are invested in improving their region’s workforce.
  • The Export Internship and Diversity & Inclusion Tech Internship  programs provide college students real-world experience at a small to medium-sized business looking to export their products or at a technology-focused company or a company 
    with a technology need.