NWS Confirms Multiple Tornado Touchdowns In The Area Early Saturday

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(Wilmington, Ohio) — Storm surveyors from the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington are confirming that a tornado or tornadoes caused some of the damage seen in Ross and Highland counties, Friday night and early Saturday morning.

NWS said in a public statement on their Twitter site- “It is apparent that a tornado did touchdown west-southwest of South Salem and another within South Salem in Ross County.” NWS surveyors also confirmed twister touchdowns “near Frankfort between Albright Mill Road and Cattail Road” and “2-3 miles west-northwest of Kingston.”

The twister west-southwest of South Salem was classified as EF0, Frankfort was EF0 and another in South Salem between the cemetery and Sunseth Park was the largest at EF2. The Kingston area storm was an EF1 in southern Pickaway County along Wolfe Road.

In Highland County, where the storm system originated, NWS confirms a tornado touched down “6-7 miles west of Hillsboro was EF0 and again 3-5 miles northeast of Hillsboro was EF1.”

Tornado warnings from this storm system were issued for Highland, Ross, Pickaway and Fairfield counties in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 16th.

There has been a report of a minor injury to a child- hit by debris. A two-level home was destroyed near South Salem with serious damage to other homes and multiple reports of trees, power lines and damaged barns were coming in around the region.

Ross County Commissioner James Oody Lowe posted a message on his Facebook page Saturday, urging people not involved with the cleanup operation near South Salem to stay away. “I’m in South Salem as a county commissioner, the village was hit pretty hard by last night storm. Please, everyone that is sightseeing stay away as the cleanup has begun. The roads leading into the village are blocked and for emergency vehicles. No injuries and spirits are high.”

ODOT was working early Saturday to clear State Route 41 near Greenfield of trees and downed power lines.

H2Ohio Grants Made Available To Ohio Communities

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(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson announced today that $3.7 million in H2Ohio grants will go to several local communities to help improve drinking water quality and to repair or replace aging water and wastewater infrastructure.

“Many of these systems have degraded to the point that they’re a threat to public health because improvement projects are often much too expensive for our smaller communities to handle on their own,” said Governor DeWine. “All of these projects are long overdue, and we’re excited to contribute toward improving water service and quality of life in the areas of the state where H2Ohio’s help is needed the most.”

“Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio plan enables Ohio EPA to extend available funding to help communities across the state address their water and wastewater needs,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “We are using H2Ohio funding to make a difference in these communities and in the lives of Ohioans.”

Three project grants are coming to southern Ohio.

H2Ohio Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants

  • Manchester (Adams County), $500,000 
    The water distribution system servicing the village of Manchester suffers from damaged pipes and regular waterline breaks. H2Ohio funding awarded to Manchester will support the near-total replacement of the village’s water distribution system to significantly reduce the health threats associated with waterline breaks and provide a more reliable water source to the village’s approximately 2,120 residents. 
  • Lawrence County, $250,000 
    H2Ohio funding will cover the planning and engineering design for a project that will provide safe drinking water to 50 residents in the Macedonia Hill area of Lawrence County who currently do not have a safe and reliable supply.

H2Ohio Wastewater Infrastructure Grants

  • Bainbridge (Ross County), $500,000 
    The village of Bainbridge is currently unsewered with many residents using inadequate household sewage treatment systems. H2Ohio funding awarded to Bainbridge will support the development of a new sanitary sewer system and wastewater treatment plant to serve citizens in the village’s approximately 500 homes.

More than $15.3 million in H2Ohio grants have been awarded by Ohio EPA since the launch of the initiative in 2019. An announcement regarding additional funding to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water and support communities in repairing or replacing failing household sewage treatment systems is expected later this fall.

H2Ohio is a collaborative water quality effort to provide clean and safe water to Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and Ohio Lake Erie Commission each have a significant role in H2Ohio through the natural infrastructure of wetlands, the reduction of nutrient runoff, and the increase in access to clean drinking water and quality sewer systems. To learn more, visit h2.ohio.gov.

Chillicothe V.A. Employee Honored With Mental Health Advocacy Award

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(Chillicothe) – Tisha Hardin, Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center, is the recipient of the Rita Gillick 2021 Mental Health Advocate of the Year Award. 

(Photo- Tisha Hardin)

The Rita Gillick Mental Health Advocacy Award was established in 1986 in honor and memory of Rita Gillick, an early advocate for those with mental illnesses.  Rita was hospitalized for over 25 years of her life and upon discharge became a founding member of The Gathering Place.  She was known statewide as an advocate for client’s rights and consumer directed services and served on the Athens-Hocking-Vinton Community Mental Health Board for six years.  The award is presented annually to a person who demonstrates the overwhelming willpower of Rita Gillick to never stop in their advocacy efforts for those with mental illnesses. 

Ms. Hardin was nominated and selected by the Athens-Hocking-Vinton Alcohol, Drug, Addiction and Mental Health Services Board for her dedication and commitment to serving individuals experiencing mental illness and justice-involved Veteransthrough the VA’s Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program.

Fall Festival of Leaves Suffers Storm Damage/Power Outage Overnight

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The Fall Festival of Leaves made the following statement regarding storm damage overnight Saturday morning:

At approximately, 1:45am on October 16th, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Bainbridge, OH Area.

The initial response by the Fall Festival Leaves Emergency Response Team indicated some debris and tents have been damaged. At this time, the event area is without power.

At this time, we expect to open as normal, if power is restored, if power is not restored we may experience a delayed opening.

What appears to have been a tornado, did heavy damage to at least a few homes and downed trees in the South Salem area. Numerous reports of downed power lines were also seen near Hallsville and Tarlton.

Thus far, there have been no reports of injuries from these storms that went through Highland, Ross, Pickaway and Fairfield counties.