Time is running out to apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as H.E.A.P., which is an end date of March 31st for it’s 2020-21 Winter Crisis Program.
Appointments are still available with assistance for natural gas, electric, fuel oil/propane and firewood. One time assistance is still available for those who have not utilized the program for this winter season.
Households eligible must be at or below 175% of the 2020-21 federal poverty guidelines.
A Highland County teenager drowned and an officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources died from a medical emergency Tuesday evening after an attempted rescue when two teens broke through the ice at Rocky Fork State Park Lake.
ODNR officials say the incident occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The 16-year-old drowning victim was a female and the ODNR Officer was identified as Jason Lagore. The name of the teenage girl has not been released. Her body was recovered at approximately 11;00 P.M. Tuesday.
A 13-year-old boy rescued himself from the ice and water and was taken to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia. His condition was not known.
During the four-hour rescue, Natural Resource Officer Jason Lagore suffered a medical emergency and was taken to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, where he was pronounced dead.
In honor of the life and service of Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore, Governor DeWine has ordered that the flags of the United States and the State of Ohio be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds in Highland County, and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus. Flags should remain lowered until sunset on the day of Officer Lagore’s funeral.
All other public buildings and grounds throughout the state may fly U.S. and Ohio flags at half-staff at their discretion for the same time period.
This order will run concurrently with yesterday’s order to lower flags in honor of the more than 500,000 Americans who died due to COVID-19. Flags on public buildings and grounds in Highland County and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes State Office Tower should remain lowered after February 26, 2021, if Officer Lagore’s funeral has not yet taken place.
Many people in southern Ohio went to bed Monday night hearing a weather forecast of between 1-3 inches of snow, but woke up Tuesday morning to much more than they were expecting.
Snowfall amounts ranged from three inches in Pike County to as much as 9.5 inches in parts of Fayette County.
Fayette, Ross, Pickaway, Highland, Hocking and Fairfield counties were under a Winter Storm Warning, which was lifted at 7am Tuesday.
Snowfall totals show:
9.5 inches in Good Hope (Fayette County)
8.5 inches in Highland County
8 inches in Washington Court House (Fayette County)
7.5 inches in Chillicothe (Ross County)
Most area schools were closed Tuesday or on virtual learning.
The National Weather Service says there is a chance of much lower snowfall totals on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday of this week, but temperatures are forecast to drop into the single digits Saturday and Sunday nights.
To prepare for the first major cold snap of the winter, Ross Community Action has opened their emergency shelter at 400 East Seventh Street in Chillicothe.
The shelter will be open beginning at 8:00 P.M. starting February 8th, with the shelter open between 8:00 P.M. and 9:00 A.M. each day, with entry only allowed between 8pm-10pm.
Free transportation to the shelter is being offered to individuals needing shelter from extreme cold temperatures. The forecast shows the Scioto Valley could be in for single digits overnight, later this week.
Transportation will be available to the shelter between February 8th and March 31st, with walk-ins also allowed between 8pm-10pm.
Pick up times for those needing transportation to the shelter will be between 8:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. at the following locations:
Ross County Community Center at 300 East Second Street by 8pm,
Yoctangee Park Lion’s Club Shelter by 8:30pm,
Valero Station at 520 South Paint Street by 8pm,
Behind Centerpoint Church at 144 Consumer Drive by 8pm,
The vacant lot behind Holiday Inn at 1005 East Main Street by 8pm,
Behind Japanese Steakhouse/Odd Lots at North Bridge Street by 8:30pm.
Transportation will also be available back to these locations from the shelter between 7:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. the following days.
The shelter will provide light snacks, access to resources and shower availability. Large carts are not permitted and all items must be secured. Only trained service animals are permitted on bus.
Bitter cold temperatures are expected over the next few days and some jurisdictions may be interested in opening warming centers for the public. A warming center is a temporary facility that is made available during extreme temperature conditions when power outages occur or when normal coping mechanisms in the home are ineffective or unavailable. They are open for a limited number of hours for a limited number of days depending on the incident. Warming Centers ARE NOT overnight shelters or homeless shelters, and are not daycare for children, the elderly, or others who cannot care for themselves. It is assumed that the individuals who use warming centers can return to their homes when the center is closed.
Some tips for opening a warming center:
Prior to opening a warming center, jurisdictions should determine who the center will provide services for (local residents only, neighboring citizens who may be affected, etc.), what services that the public will need, and the jurisdiction’s ability to meet them. Minimal needs include tables and chairs, television, charging station/outlets, and information updates regarding the “incident” or weather. Prolonged exposure to severe conditions may require expanded services.
Determine the hours that your warming center/shelter will be open. Publish those hours and determine what you will do if power is not restored/conditions do not change and your warming center needs to close.
Ensure that your warming center is ADA compliant and able to accept service animals (where applicable).
Make sure you know the occupant capacity of the building you are planning on using. Overfilling the space/building will violate the fire code.
Consider posting code of conduct or rules for occupants of your warming center.
Ensure that lavatory facilities and power are sufficient for temporary occupants. Consider alternative options if the primary warming center becomes full and a secondary location needs to be opened.
Make sure the roadways to the warming center are cleared and the parking lots and walkways are clear for occupants.
Consider providing security for the warming center. If the center is open to all citizens, you want to ensure the safety of all occupants.
Consider checking with your legal/insurance advisors on the liability issues regarding mass sheltering/gathering in your building.
Assign someone to document all center activities. This could help if incidents arise or reimbursements are expected.
Alert EMA when/if you plan to open a warming center. EMA will be maintaining county situational awareness during severe weather and will document its impacts on jurisdictions.
These are just some basic tips for warming center operations. Additional considerations for operating a warming/cooling center can provided by EMA. Any jurisdiction considering operating a warming center is asked to create a more formal plan that can be referenced now, or in the future, for all warming center operations.
If your jurisdiction (or a business/organization within your jurisdiction) opens a warming center please let Ross County EMA know so that they can help prioritize response efforts in power outages. The EMA can be reached at email@example.com or 740-773-1700 during normal business hours and 740-253-0939 after hours.