The Harrison County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) announced that they have been working on behalf of Harrison County citizens, and in cooperation with the Village of Cadiz Administration to bring EmberClear Corporation of Houston, Texas, to Harrison County to construct a 1000 MW natural gas-fired electric power generation facility. The facility will be built on approximately 60 acres in the Harrison County Industrial Park. The CIC and EmberClear say they are committed to working closely together on all matters relating to the obtaining of federal, state and local regulatory permits along with local infrastructure and other matters necessary for the construction and operation of the plant.
According to a press release put out by the CIC, the abundant natural gas production facilities in close proximity to the project site make this facility uniquely positioned to produce low-cost power. There are several natural gas pipelines operated by Dominion East, Spectra, Energy Transfer and Columbia within a few miles of the project site. In addition, several fractionation and gas distillation facilities within Harrison County have plans to expand production. The Harrison project is entertaining multiple proposals to source natural gas from the producers in the area.
Nick Homrighausen, CIC Executive Director of Community & Economic Development said, “We have been working with EmberClear to move this project forward. We were in competition with other counties for this project and through the collaborative efforts of my office and the county commissioners we were able to land this viable project in Harrison County.”
Homrighausen also said that this proves Harrison County’s ability to compete for large investments and win. He went on to stress that there is a long road ahead for the completion of this project and with the teamwork of the commissioner’s office, CIC and the Village of Cadiz, but he believes that this project will be seen through to completion and bring high paying jobs and long term investment to the county.
EmberClear CEO Raj Suri said “The proposed generating facility will provide enough electricity to power 1 million homes and bring capital investment of over $900 million to Harrison County.”
“I think it’ll be good for the area, the school systems, and good for jobs. It’s a huge windfall for the county,” said Cadiz Mayor, Ken Zitko.
CIC President Dale Arbaugh said “The plant will bring 500 construction jobs for three years and about 30 skilled permanent jobs to Harrison County. In addition, the plant will utilize local natural gas and support significant job growth in the region.”
The News-Herald reached out to MarkWest for comment. David Fitch, SVP Northeast Region, MarkWest Energy Partners, said, “MarkWest continues to actively support regional projects that help create in-basin outlets for our producer customers, and we look forward to working with all parties in the coming months to help bring further development to this exciting growth opportunity.”
*Updated to include comments from MarkWest officials.
Read Full Story »
Journeys To Hell And Back (pt-3)
By JD LONG
READ PART 1 HERE
This is the third and final installment of a three-part investigation into the drug epidemic intoxicating the Ohio Valley, where this final part delves into the education system.
HARRISON COUNTY – A story that began with the ambition of searching the education system for the current status of their drug education levels could easily have been turned into how a puzzling lack of communication flowing from school districts could be dangerously misinterpreted.
Out of nearly one dozen school districts around Ohio and several in West Virginia, only three calls were returned. Call it a lack of interest or a subject that still can’t be faced, there’s no way of knowing but one fact is for certain: Not nearly enough is being done where drug education is concerned if one confronts the ones who actually tackle the problems and hear their stories.
It’s there, but it’s buried in health books disguised like an ingredient in a cookbook for healthy living. The subject of drugs and what they do to the body; addiction and what it does to a human life is treated as part of something else-not to stand alone as the drug itself does, which dominates the news where it’s also disguised as robberies, petty crimes and seemingly nonsensical behavior where the roots are hidden, sometimes not so subtly.
In Ohio, the state sets standards that each board of education must use as guidelines for their schools, as most if not all states follow. Superintendent of Harrison Hills School District in Cadiz, Dana Snider spoke thoughtfully on the drug education issue, touching on the D.A.R.E. program and the various speakers the area schools host throughout a school year. Then there is the Safe Schools Healthy Students’ grant that pays for preventionists who are trained counselors where they visit schools and educate students on the types of good choices they need to look at in life.
“Health class is where drug education comes in, which is mixed in with other life choices (not just drug education.),” Snider said. “It’s a part of a bigger picture in lifestyle,” such as taking care of the body, food groups and smoking dangers.
But is it enough? Snider wonders too.
“I wonder if anybody is doing anything to curb drug use?” She asked apparently thinking beyond the norm of acceptance. “We’re doing superficial things,” she admits adding that they give the kids the knowledge and they take it where they eventually have to make their own choices in life.
Snider said she would like the subject of drugs touched on “intermittently” and asked honestly whether there is enough material for a textbook that deals solely with drug education on at least a weekly basis, when asked.
Snider admits that the “one-shot” deal doesn’t work and that more exposure to the dangers of drugs and abuse are needed.
An educator in a central New Jersey school district basically repeated the same system found in Snider’s district regarding health class and a textbook where drugs are touched on only partially sprinkled in with speakers, such as the ones from D.A.R.E. for example.
And Ohio and the Valley are not alone. He described the drug problem in Monmouth and Ocean Counties as “rampant.” Heroin is big and cheap he said. “It’s not good around here.” He also agreed that not enough is being done in school systems in general. Drug education, he said, is emphasized in freshman, junior and senior years (sophomores are given driver’s ed), which is included in their health curriculum. Professional development with speakers, forum talks, which include police officers, detectives and members of the prosecutor’s office all pitch in to talk to youngsters.
“In our curriculum itself we go to professional developments…we have speakers come in or else we’ll go to a professional development where we’ll listen to a forum talking about the drug situation,” he said. “We try to tell them all about the bad and negative stuff about drugs which we’re kind of preaching almost every day in our health classroom.”
He also knows of no textbooks in any of the area schools that deal only with drug education. He said just a couple chapters in their Glencoe health textbooks touch on drug education.
“It’s more vague than it should be. [It] kind of touches on what type of drug it is, the definition of it…” the educator said, who like many wished not to be quoted by name. “But as a teacher most of us that teach health we kind of take it to the next step and we talk about the cons of taking or smoking marijuana, taking cocaine or heroin and we kind of go through all that.” He said they also show videos to supplement what is in the health books.
“We’re trying to get the point across but from a curriculum standpoint it’s in there but our books I wouldn’t say are dealing with it the way it should be,” he said and added that he also feels there may be enough for a drug education text book but it would have to be approved by the New Jersey Department of Education.
“I think that’s what is holding it up.
“It’s going to have to happen because the drug epidemic is totally out of control now,” he continued the local newspaper is armed with articles concerning drug busts or an overdose case. He said he brings those articles into the classroom for discussion.
Another educator in a Chicago suburb school district spoke of the same curriculum concerning the extent of drug education: Health class. He said only about one-quarter of the year is drug education dealt with in his middle school.
A spokesperson for the Columbus City School District, though, painted a rosier picture for their drug education calling it “substantial.” They also begin with health education classes that he said start early on in the elementary system where they deal with the “practical rules for taking medicines.”
As students their high school drug education becomes more specific with a whole unit within a semester on preventing drug abuse, according to the spokesperson.
“What are some of those resistant skills to help them have that firm voice what they think they need to know to help others to even say “no” to abusing drugs,” he explained.
“While we are not seeing that (drugs) directly in our schools, we know that many of our students they may be impacted by somebody that’s in their neighborhood, maybe a relative…” he said referring to opioid abuse. His statement is backed up by Lt. Larry Yates of the Columbus Division of Police narcotics unit regarding a lack of any open drug problem in the schools there.
The most promising attack on the drug issue may have started in the little known district of Talawanda, Ohio. There, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Amy Macechko has worked tirelessly for the past 10 years. In her 13th year, Director of Communications, Holli Morrish proudly notes not only the health and wellness programs but their outreach programs that stretch far into the community.
A coalition that is based at Miami University works closely with their program where Morrish called it, “Amy’s baby” where it has morphed into other wellness programs, and where Macechko explained that all grade levels address drug education.
“We address drug prevention across all grade levels but in a very developmentally appropriate way,” she said adding that a “district adapted health curriculum” also addresses the drug issue.
“We know that the research that is behind those (40 Developmental Assets) is that the more assets or the skills valued traits and relationships that young people have and support, the more likely they are to stay away from the risk-taking behavior…” Macechko explained while referring to either abusing or even just experimenting with drugs. She said they look, with the help of the coalition, to work to build assets in young people.
“I would say that is the foundation of what we are trying to do,” Macechko said.
Morrish spoke of a frightening practice many adults may not have heard of. It’s called “bowling.”
“…If your kid says, ‘hey, I’m going bowling,’ you may want to ask a few more questions.” What Morrish was talking about is not rolling a ball down a hard wood floor but a group of kids attending a party where they toss a variety of pills into a bowl “and when it’s your turn you take something out of the bowl” without knowing what it is.
Macechko called it “Russian Roulette” where Morrish emphasized how important it is for parents to know what their children know to better sharpen their radar. Regarding the textbook issue, Morrish took a different approach where she felt it was the wrong way to go.
“I don’t think a textbook is really the way to approach that,” she said bluntly. “I don’t think that engages young people this day and age.” Morrish noted the age of technology where she feels textbooks, at least on this subject are an “outdated teaching tool in some regards.”
She believes that their way, of multiple strategies is the way to approach the subject noting how different each person is and how they approach things.
“I think that having all of these multiple programs, multiple strategies,” Morrish said, “I feel like there’s something, there’s a nugget, there’s a message that is going to get to every kid in this school because we’re not doing it just one way.”
Read Full Story »
Adena Heritage Days Ladies are hosting a spaghetti dinner on Sunday, Sept.18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Adena Community Center. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for kids which includes spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert. Drinks are available for $1 extra.
Read Full Story »
CADIZ – Coming Saturday, Sept. 17th and 18th the Second Annual Sally Buffalo Days will be held in and around the Wallace Lodge at Sally Buffalo Park.
The Cadiz Lions Club, Sally Buffalo Park Board (SBPB), the Harrison County Historical Society (HCHS), the Harrison County Regional Chamber of Commerce (HCRCC), the Cadiz Volunteer Fire Department and the Cadiz Business Association (CBA) are pleased to present this festive affair.
The schedule for Saturday (17th) is as follows: 8 a.m.-11 a.m., pancake/sausage breakfast (Cadiz Lion’s Club AUCE) at Wallace Lodge; 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Business Expo & Craft Show (HCRCC), Wallace Lodge and outside; 11:30 a.m., soup beans & cornbread (SBPB), Old School House; Noon, 5th Annual Lion’s Club Car Show registration, behind Wallace Lodge (3 p.m. winners show); Noon-2 p.m., Valley Boys Band, main stage; 1 p.m., BBQ chicken dinner (SBPB), behind Wallace Lodge; 1 p.m., registration for corn hole tournament (Harrison Central Cheerleaders (behind Wallace Lodge); 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Kurt James Fun & Games, behind Wallace Lodge; 2:30-4:30 p.m., Hoard & Jones Band, main stage; 3 p.m., demo of 2016 fire truck (CVFD), lake; 4 p.m., kids pet parade (SBPB), front of Wallace Lodge; 4:30 p.m., golf cart parade (SBPB), front of Wallace Lodge; 5 p.m., kids tug-of-war, hoola hoop and balloon toss (CBA cash prize), behind Wallace Lodge; 5 p.m.-7 p.m., lost memories, main stage.
For Sunday (18th): 8 a.m.-11 a.m., pancake/sausage breakfast (Cadiz Lion’s Club AUCE) at Wallace Lodge; 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Business Expo & Craft Show (HCRCC), Wallace Lodge and outside; Noon-4 p.m., variety of choir singers & entertainment, main stage, 11:30 a.m., BBQ chicken dinner (SBPB) and kids 100 yard dash (Harrison Central grils/boys track team, front of Wallace Lodge; 1 p.m., 5k run-walk, front of Wallace Lodge; 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Kurt James Fun & Games, behind Wallace Lodge.
Read Full Story »
By JD LONG
This is the second part of a three-part story on the epidemic of drug use in the Ohio Valley, which deals with police and treatment perspectives.
Read Part One HERE
HARRISON COUNTY – It could arguably be called the biggest serial killer that has ever lived. But the killer never seems to get caught. This one has endless means to reproduce with the help of willing and sometimes, zealous human hands with many provided to us legally-drugs that is. But what seems to now be coming into focus as the common denominator for disaster are pain pills.
From 2012 to 2015 fentanyl-related drug overdoses (unintentional) went from 75 to an astounding 1,155 with only 30 of those deaths having a prescription for fentanyl, according to the website: Healthy.ohio.gov. It continues by stating that men were nearly two and a half times to die from fentanyl-related overdoses than women with an age group of 25-34 years of age for all.
Not to be outdone, the grim reaper, or heroin accounted for nearly 47 percent of all overdose deaths last year. The rise in overdose deaths from this drug jumped by 228 from 2014 to 2015.
And even though prescription opioid deaths have declined in recent years, heroin deaths have risen dramatically in that same time frame and remains over 45 percent.
Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine spoke earlier in the year at a series of talks titled: “Taking back our communities” hosted by the Cleveland Clinic, where a host of officials joined in discussing the appalling rate of drug use in Ohio by touring several communities.
“This is a tragedy like no other tragedy we’ve had, certainly at least during my lifetime in regard to drugs,” DeWine said. Forging ahead he stated bluntly: ““The face of heroin is the face of Ohio.” His comments were triggered by watching a video of Marin Elizabeth Riggs’ story and how the Columbus girl died after getting mixed up with the wrong people-and a dose of her own demons. Hers was a heart-wrenching story of the “perfect” teen next door, an athlete, gorgeous and now dead from a 2012 heroin overdose. But hers was no less different than the Cadiz story of Dori LaCross’s daughter Bayli.
While acknowledging the overwhelming statistics and that the problem wasn’t going away any time soon, Cleveland Clinic Chief Legal Officer, David Rowan talked about over prescribing prescription drugs by doctors, “and yes, even Cleveland Clinic physicians,” he surprisingly said in self-appraisal. Rowan did say, though, that efforts were “taking hold” in trying to curtail over prescribing.
“We’re not going to solve it in Washington, we’re not going to solve it in Columbus. We’re going to solve it in every community, one community at a time,” DeWine preached. But in the meantime, those individual communities like Harrison County and beyond are chasing what seems like a never-ending battle against directionless teens and adults with an apparent lack of focus or purpose in life.
Vince Caraffi, Cuyahoga County Board of Health Supervisor spoke in simple terms and talked of a “moving target” with emphasis on prescription medication and now they’re dealing with heroin. But one statement, so simple on its surface made a profound impact.
“This country has a problem with addiction.” Though familiar, that simple phrase seemed to ring with a little more clarity, maybe because it came from a public official. But is it sinking in to the rest of the country?
Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas Gilson added that the individual and society as a whole need to accept that we have the problem. The statistics he repeated were staggering with 40 deaths in 2006 to 190-200 in a 10-year period from overdosing. “It’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen in my career,” he said. “The pervasiveness of the problem and the scope of the problem are like nothing we’ve ever seen before.” And the haunting message may be that we as a society have accepted drug use as a way of life where it has woven itself into the very fabric of our society.
Josh Butcher and his friend are recoverers from alcohol and drugs. They started the Ohio Addiction Recovery Center located in Columbus four years ago. Butcher explained that what mainly determines the type of substances people are using is their age bracket. He described it simply as people 46 and over are for alcohol and cocaine and the 45 and under crowd are pain pills and heroin users.
“We were different from the guys who did pain pills and the heroin,” he said. “Eventually you get to a point to where you’re almost willing to try anything.” Then there is the elephant in the room: Alcohol. He said it’s so pervasive that many who drink daily don’t feel they have a problem till they get a second or third DUI “then they start smoking crack cocaine and the wheels fall off.”
Butcher described first using pain pills where the euphoria put him over the top saying it was much greater than “a regular drug.” And as many before him have said when describing the cost of pain pills, “heroin becomes the logical decision because you can get two times as high for half the money.”
This also rings true with many who serve on drug enforcement units such as, Sgt. Tony Mele of Mayfield Heights’s drug enforcement unit located just east of Cleveland; Morgan Knight who serves in Harrison County and Sgt. Todd Kanavel with the Muskingum County Drug Unit. They all agree that the many problems are beginning with pain pills.
Mele is with a unit called SPAN (Suburban Police Anti-Crime Network) and agreed that opiate pain medication is turning many into heroin users.
“What we’re seeing up here, the trend over the past…six or seven years that we saw an influx of both prescription drugs and heroin,” he said adding that prescription drugs were the “catalyst” for heroin.
The cheapness of heroin? Mele said the supply is there. “Apparently it’s more accessible than maybe thought to be,” he said. “…Demand is at an all time high.” Mele said that heroin was a big deal just 10 years ago but added that it’s now being found “on the road” like marijuana had been. Mele said that although many users are of “other races too” the majority are Caucasian.
“They’re family people,” he explained, “they’re family people who have jobs, they have an education and they got a legitimate prescription from a doctor for a legitimate ailment…”
Butcher said they work mainly with people 30 and younger explaining the association with youth, drugs and alcohol.
“Because typically, you’ve morphed your perception of reality,” which he explained was that to have fun one has to be under the influence of some type of drug or alcohol.
He compares the various types of therapy with what they do and stresses the importance of who your therapists are. “It’s about who you have that leads your group and who your therapists are.”
Butcher may have certain advantages with his patients in that he and his partner are both under 31 and have experience with drugs and alcohol where their patients can relate to them. He also feels the traditional ways of therapy are not as effective.
“Outside of that…our program is very active,” he said. Monday, Wednesday and Friday they train with a personal trainer at the gym and Tuesday’s, they’re taken to a camp for rock climbing and “team building exercises” in order to “get their brain engaged but to also force them to work together.” Other days they work with horses on a farm to learn commands.
“So, we do a lot of outside of the box activities at our facility that 99 percent of the facilities in our state do not do. That right there is the biggest difference maker because you’re engaging these young minds in activities that they can find happiness in.” He said that nearly all who come into their facility have never even ridden a horse and now they’re confronted with something fun and new.
He doesn’t call his recovery center any kind of cornerstone or cutting edge in recovery but that with all the treatment programs he and his partner were involved in the institutional-style programs were not working for them.
“You lock us in a facility where we’re there for 30 days, you feed us crappy food, we sit around in this hospital environment, of course all we want to do is get the heck out of there as soon as we can and go back to something fun…”
He models his program around a fast paced style, keeping them active and doing fun things. The ambition is to get them out of their comfort zone and as Nick Reppart preached “you have to change your places, people and thing(s).”
Butcher admits his program is not a “silver bullet” for addicted people and it won’t work for everyone but he said that the ones who come to and stay through his program, “it works.”
Read Full Story »