Unioto English Teacher Named Ross County Outstanding Educator

Presented By Scioto Valley Dumpsters, LTD

(Chillicothe) – Ashley McBee Smith, Unioto Local Schools English Language Arts and Reading teacher, has been recognized as an Outstanding Educator in Ross County by the Chillicothe-Ross Community Foundation. 

For sixteen years Ashley has been involved in bringing academic excellence to the children of our community, the last six years teaching sixth-grade Unioto. She is an advocate for her students, working tirelessly outside the classroom to influence the Unioto Community by serving on multiple committees and peer advisory teams. She transfers the passionate positive energy and love for teaching that she has received to the rest of the learning community.

She has a degree in elementary education from Ohio University. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys hiking with her husband and three teenagers, being a soccer mom, a dance mom, returning to Ohio University, cooking, and reading a good book. 

“Through the generosity of the Foundation’s donors, The Ross County Outstanding Educator Award provides a grant to one of Ross County’s school districts for classroom supplies and/or continuing education,” Scott Graham, the Foundation’s Executive Director, said.

Pictured L-R: Unioto Schools Superintendent Matt Thornsberry, Ashley McBee-Smith, Community Foundation Executive Director Scott Graham, and Middle School Principal P.J. Fitch

2022 Scioto River Cleanup Results

Presented By McDonald’s

(Chillicothe) – Dozens of people participated in the 24th Annual Scioto River Cleanup on April 23rd. Judi White of Ross County Litter Control and Recycling provided the following stats:

71 Volunteers: 43 Adults and 28 minors, including 4 adult kayakers in a catfish fishing tournament.

7 Groups Represented in addition to several families:

  • Ultimate Survivors 4H Club
  • We Feed ‘Em Well 4H Club
  • First Capital Pride Coalition
  • All-4-One 4H Club
  • Jr. Livestock Growers 4H Club
  • Good Shepherd Anglican Church
  • First Presbyterian Church


  • 46 bags of trash
  • 2 Tires
  • 10 Carpet pieces
  • 1 American flag
  • 1 Shopping cart
  • Tent stakes
  • 1 Bed frame
  • 1 Grill
  • Various pieces of wood, metal, plastic, bedding, cardboard

Approximately 1.02 tons of litter retrieved from the Scioto River banks along the city park annex.  

Judi White thanked all the volunteers and sponsors for their participation.

Lynchburg Clay Wins Region 5 Envirothon

Presented By Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

(Laurelville) – A team from Lynchburg-Clay High School won the local Envirothon event for the central and southern Ohio area on Tuesday. Envirothon is an outdoor academic competition that was held at Tar Hollow State Park this year.

Courtesy of Ross Soil & Water Conservation District

The Lynchburg-Clay “Gold” team was one of three teams entered from the school. Lynchburg-Clay Gold had the high score to finish first. The Bexley Lions team placed second. A team from the Delaware Area Career Center finished third. The McClain FFA team from Greenfield placed fourth. Those top four teams are eligible to advance to a state competition in June. There were a total of 36 teams made up of 180 students from nine counties who competed on Tuesday.

The Lynchburg-Clay Gold team was led by senior team captain, Bridget Wilkin and included Addyson Downing, Samuel Hamilton, Sydney Hamilton, and Matthew Gossett. The team’s advisor is Lara Hamilton.

The area Envirothon was co-sponsored by the Pike Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ross Soil and Water Conservation District, and Tar Hollow State Park. The event organizers recruited local natural resources professionals to conduct the hands-on testing:

• Aquatic Ecology – Tar Hollow Naturalist Amy Fitton
• Forestry – ODNR Forester Brad Wireman
• Soils and Land Use – OSU Extension Educator Ross Meeker
• Wildlife – Ross County Game Warden Bob Nelson
• Current Environmental Issues – “Waste to Resources”
Daphne Mosley, Assistant Director, Pike County Office of Community and Economic Development

Envirothon events are going on all over the state. For more information about this area’s Envirothon, CLICK HERE:

$60 Million in Brownfield Remediation Grants Awarded in Ohio 

Presented By Classic Brands

(Columbus) – Two southern Ohio projects are among 78 in the state to receive some of the $60 million in funding to help local communities clean up dozens of contaminated properties to make way for future economic development.  

As part of the new Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program, the Ohio Department of Development is providing funding for 78 projects, including approximately $54.8 million for 37 clean-up projects and $5.5 million for 41 assessment projects. These projects will impact communities in 35 counties across the state.  “These hazardous, decaying sites – some of which have been vacant for decades – are barriers to economic growth and community revitalization, but now, we’re going to help breathe new life into these areas,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “The projects we’re funding today will not only revive these sites for new development, but they’ll also improve quality of life and open the door for exciting new opportunities for the citizens of our state.” 

Among the 78 projects receiving funding are:

  • Piketon Village (Pike County): $1.1 million for the removal of an underground fuel storage tank, asbestos abatement, and soil remediation at the site of the former Piketon High School. The original 1975 gymnasium is expected to be renovated into an event center, and there are plans for a new building to be constructed for commercial and office use.  
  • Portsmouth City Health Department (Scioto County): $151,500 for asbestos abatement at the former Martings Department Store in downtown Portsmouth. Constructed in 1909, the location has been vacant since early 2000. After abatement, the site is expected to be rehabilitated and opened as developable space.  
  • Ross County will receive $1 million.

The Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program was created with support from the Ohio General Assembly in the current operating budget. Today’s awards are the first group of funds from Round 1, with another group to be announced in the near future. 

Funding for the program is first come, first served with a $1 million set-aside for each county. The Ohio Department of Development is accepting Round 2 applications until April 30 from counties that have not yet exhausted their $1 million set-aside. A full breakdown of counties with remaining funds is available on the Ohio Department of Development’s website. All remaining funds not exhausted in the first two rounds will be made available statewide in Round 3, which will begin on July 1, 2022.

For more information on the Brownfield Remediation Program, visit Development.Ohio.Gov/Brownfield