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HARRISON COUNTY: Weekly Construction Update

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WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 6, 2021

New Philadelphia, Ohio (September 2, 2021) – The following construction projects are anticipated to affect highways next week in Harrison County. All outlined work is weather permitting.

U.S. 22 pavement repair project:  This work includes pavement repairs along  a three-mile section of U.S. 22 from one mile west of U.S. 250 to County Road 51 (Bakers Ridge Road). One lane of traffic is maintained in each direction. The completion date is October 31, 2021.

State Route 151 slide repair project: Slide repair project located 1.5 miles north of U.S. 22. During this work, traffic will be maintained via temporary traffic signals. The completion date is October 31, 2021.

Scio Dining Fork Ruritan Club receives thanks from Florida foundation

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SCIO – The Scio Dining Fork Ruritan Club received a letter of thanks and brochure from the Baptist Health Foundation of Coral Gables, Florida thanking the club for it’s donation in May, 2018. 

The foundation operated the Fisherman’s Community Hospital, an all-purpose critical access hospital in Marathon, Florida that was substantially damaged due to Hurricane Irma in 2017.   

In the letter they stated, “We are incredibly moved and inspired by your commitment to give a new home to healthcare in the Middle Keys.”  The club sponsored a benefit that raised $813.00 for the cause that overall raised more than $16 million.  The new hospital opened on June 7th.

Harrison Central Emergency COVID Meeting

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The Harrison Hills City School District released the following statement on Thursday, Sept. 2: “The Harrison Hills City School District Board of Education will be holding an emergency meeting today (Sept. 2, 2021) at 5 p.m. in the auditorium of Harrison Central. The purpose of the meeting is concerning COVID guidelines and procedures. Action may be taken.”

Robert Smith

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Robert Lee Smith (Bob), 81, passed away Sunday, August 8, at his home in Canal Winchester (suburb of Columbus), Ohio, surrounded by his family.  Bob was born April 18, 1940, in Wheeling, West Virginia and grew up in Cadiz, Ohio. He was the only son of the late Clinton Robert Smith and Muriel (McMannis) Smith of Cadiz, Ohio. He is survived by wife Jeri (Geraldine) Smith, daughters Kimberly Kilgore and Bobbi Sue Cornwall, sons Steven (wife Kim), Michael (wife Lisa), Bryan (wife Michele), Joshua (wife Maghen), and Jason, and his only sister Vivian Pickering (husband Tom).    

Bob graduated from Cadiz High School in 1958. He spent much of his adult life in the Cadiz and St. Clairsville areas. He had a career in business, managing and later owning gas station/convenience stores in St. Clairsville and the surrounding area. Later he moved to Destin and then Cocoa Beach, Florida, where he also owned a business. He and Jeri moved back to Ohio in 2010.

Bob was an astute businessman with a strong work ethic who worked hard to provide for his family. He enjoyed the beach, cheering on the Cleveland Indians and Browns, and eating good food. Bob played as hard as he worked and had many friends. He was friendly and outgoing, one who “never met a stranger.”  Everyone who met him was drawn in by his outgoing personality and charm. He could always be counted on to help any of his friends in need.

Bob passed away after a four-month bout with lung cancer. He will be sorely missed by family and friends. A memorial service is planned for next August (2022), where his ashes will be spread in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.

Ruth Jenkins

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Ruth Ann Jenkins, 84, of Cadiz, was called home to be with the Lord on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. She was born on Sept. 5, 1937, a daughter of the late Mildred R. and Raymond R. Springer. To all who knew her, Ruth Ann was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. She was very active in anything that involved her family and was very proud of the fact that she, just like her mother, was always going to a sporting event and never missed a family gathering if she could help it. Ruth Ann was also an active member of Word of Truth Church in Jewett, Ohio, and was a gentle soul that did her best to help anyone in need. She loved spending time at the ball fields, spending time with one of her many family members, volunteering for Gables Care Center, helping at the Cadiz Senior Center, and a multitude of other activities.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Jenkins; a sister, Jean Yervelli; two granddaughters: Kimberly Bishop and Kaytlin Marie Garrett; a grandson, Shawn Jenkins; a great-great-grandson, Thane Garrett; and most recently, her son, Raymond Jenkins and half-brother, Richard Gilver.

She is survived by her children, Ronald (Charlene) Jenkins of Cadiz, Ralph (Christine) Jenkins of Leesville, Robert (Tammy) Jenkins of Cadiz, Donna (John) Bishop of Hopedale, and Rodney (Lisa) Jenkins of Richmond; daughter-in-law, Paula Jenkins, all of Ohio; 22 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; and seven great-great-grandchildren. Also surviving is her brother, Joseph Springer, of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, and many nieces and nephews. Her family was the most important thing to her, along with her faith in God. Ruth loved God with all her heart and had such great faith. She wanted people to know Jesus as their Savior. She was very active at her church, Word of Truth, sending cards, taking people anywhere they needed to go, and helping with anything she could.

Family and friends will be received on Thursday, Sept. 2, at Clark-Kirkland-Barr Funeral Home in Cadiz, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. The service will be held on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at the Word Of Truth Church (88000 Amsterdam Road in Jewett) at 10 a.m., with pastor John Bishop and pastor Larry Hostetler officiating. Burial will take place at Cadiz Union Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Word of Truth Church (88000 Amsterdam Road, Jewett, Ohio 43986). 

Share your thoughts and memories of Ruth with the family at www.clark-kirkland-barr.com. The family asks that you use your discretion during this health crisis by wearing a mask or if you have been subjected to COVID.

Congressman Bill Johnson talks O&G round table

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SCIO – U.S. Representative Bill Johnson-R (District 6), stopped to talk about an oil and gas round table discussion conducted at the Williams plant in Scio Monday afternoon.

Six different companies were represented, according to Mike Chadsey and the conference lasted approximately 45 minutes.

Johnson talked about the importance of the continuing development of oil and gas riches, as Harrison County is positioned as one of the largest producers in America and an important player in energy development.

Read the full story in our Saturday, Sept. 4 print edition.

Mary Besse Alleman

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​​Mary Besse Carter Alleman, 66, of Cadiz, Ohio, died suddenly on August 25, 2021, while on family vacation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Mary Besse was born on November 7, 1954, in East Liverpool, Ohio, to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Carter of Summitville, Ohio. She was a 1973 graduate of Southern Local High School, earned a BA in Education in 1977 from Morehead State University in Kentucky, and got a MA in Educational Administration in 1984 from the University of Dayton.

She enjoyed a 32-year career in education, starting in 1977 in the Mansfield Madison Local Schools. Beginning in 1980 and through her retirement in 2010, Mrs. Alleman taught in the Harrison Hills City Schools as an elementary classroom teacher and grades 7-8 reading teacher. She worked in the Central Elementary, Cadiz Jr. High School, Westgate Elementary, Hopedale Jr. High, and Lakeland High School buildings.

Her passions in life were her family, reading, the pool, the beach, travel, and especially her granddaughter.

Mrs. Alleman was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and JoAnne Carter, and her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Freeman Strabley and Mr. and Mrs. Fay Carter. She is survived by her husband of 42 years, John H. Alleman, Jr. of Cadiz, sons Carter (Hannah) of Lorton, Virginia, and Benner (Alexandria, Virginia), brother Robert Carter (Connie) of Guilford Lake, and sisters Anne (James) and Elle, both of Washington, D.C., and granddaughter Josephine Alleman.

Calling hours will be held on Sunday, Sept. 5, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Clark-Kirkland-Barr Funeral Home in Cadiz. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 6 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Summitville, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Puskarich Public Library, 200 East Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio 43907, for youth reading programs. The online guestbook may be signed at www.clark-kirkland-barr.com.

Scio’s annexation bid called a ‘shakedown’ as public hearing gets dicey

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Harrison News-Herald Photo/JD LONG

CADIZ—A long and arduous public hearing over Scio’s wish to annex land, which targets the Williams fractionation plant, took place Friday inside the Harrison County Common Pleas courtroom. The meeting lasted for more than three hours as attorneys for Scio and the Utica East Williams plant represented their respective clients — but at times, they came with harsh words. 

The hearing was conducted almost like a trial, including opening and closing arguments. While the hearing seemed to go mostly smoothly, it wasn’t long before Utica attorney Joseph Miller went on the offensive, accusing Scio’s council of shaking down the Utica plant in the name of tax dollars.

“Frankly, and I don’t say this lightly, this process is being used to shake down my client,” Miller said, warning the village they could be setting themselves up for liability issues. Miller called the attempt to annex the more than 700 acres of land “illegal” while citing the Ohio Revised Code.

One of the issues Miller raised was that land targeted for the annexation is divided into two parts by Crimm Road, which he said should be separate petitions. Miller also added that the land is too large for annexation; Scio attorney Jim Mattews said this was untrue.

It was also revealed that a $250,000 offer for 10 years was made to the village just days before the hearing, according to Scio village administrator Jason Tubaugh. Council member Andrew Turner, and Scio’s chairperson for land and business, was present and stated there was no offer made at the private meeting.

According to Tubaugh, the $250,000 was intended to be a one-time payment over 10 years, not per year, and came to him later in a text. But Director of Operations Stephen Furbacher stated by phone this week the figures offered by Williams were a per-year payment.

The offer came via text message from Williams Director of State and Local Government Affairs Kino Becton and included an initial sum of $200,000 over 10 years. What was rejected was Tubaugh’s counteroffer of $250,000 “annually for the life of the plant.” 

“[We] would be willing to do 250k over a 10-year period to help support you all but not your counteroffer,” Becton explained, referring to the lifetime payments per year.

The meeting, according to Tubaugh, was initiated by Williams where they asked, “What can they do to make this go away.” The quotes came from Tubaugh. 

More disagreements arose over the relationship between Scio and the plant; Scio council members have stated in the past that there is no relationship but also asserted they have attempted to communicate with Utica’s people.

“I wasn’t privy to those communications if they occurred,” Miller said, referring to claims that Scio had reached out to Utica in the past two years of Williams’s ownership. “But I will tell you that the Williams Company has acted as a very good partner to North Township and remains well and engaged with the village of Scio, and they shouldn’t be rushing headlong down this legal process where they haven’t even met the statutory requirements.”

“The best evidence of that is they never even approached us before embarking on this annexation,” Miller explained. “We showed prior to today’s hearing that we’re willing to sit down with them and talk with them,” then he referred to the “great partnership” with North Township. When told of that remark about Utica’s relationship with the township, Turner laughed, stating Scio provides utilities to the plant, not North Township.

“They don’t have a relationship with the township because the township doesn’t provide them with any services,” Turner explained. He also took offense to the word “shakedown” used by Miller on more than one occasion, and he wasn’t alone. Council member Robert Clark stood before the commissioners and fired back: “I’m offended that they said that’s an extortion.” He also used Miller’s comments against him where Miller stated Utica runs 120 trucks per day, but Clark seized the advantage telling the commissioners, “That’s what’s killing our infrastructure.” 

“They pay no income tax. They pay no taxes to the village of Scio,” Clark said. He also took exception to sheriff Joe Myers speaking out against annexation during Utica’s time and not during the public speaking time. Later, commissioner Don Bethel asked Myers if he was speaking as sheriff or as a citizen. And Meyers replied: “both.” Myers wasn’t the only one; he was joined by Scio fire chief Roger Bethel and county engineer Doug Bachman also speaking against annexation. 

Harrison County Economic Development director Nick Homrighausen spoke in favor of both sides getting together to work out their differences, and commissioner Bethel adamantly agreed. After a short recess, Bethel revisited his statements and said he was not making a decision in support of anyone’s stance but only in support of both sides getting together.

Miller also posited that Scio would not be able to provide utilities for the large amount of acreage in the annexed areas. Other arguments flew, too, including plant employees being hurt by taxes and North Township being left out if annexation succeeds. 

However, Scio’s representing attorney Matthews stated Scio council would not exclude the township from receiving taxes due to annexation. He said Williams’s complaints were all anecdotal, and there’s no shakedown and nothing illegal regarding Scio’s wishes. 

“It came from out of the blue, supported by absolutely nothing,” Matthews said, referring to the shakedown comment. “This is a statutory process that a municipality is permitted to go through as a matter of law.”

The commissioners have 30 days to make a decision, and it must be announced via the passing of a resolution.

27 new COVID cases reported in Harrison Co.

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Image by Nursing Schools Near Me

HARRISON COUNTY—Another week passed, and it was another week of more COVID cases than the last. Harrison County health administrator Garen Rhome reported that 27 new cases have been detected in the county since last week, topping the 26 reported last week. It’s the fourth consecutive week cases have topped the week before it.

Total cases for the county now stand at 1,252, with over 30 active cases. However, no additional delta variant cases have been reported since the singular case two weeks ago. 

Ohio reported over 4,600 new cases, and Governor Mike DeWine (along with health officials) has continually emphasized indoor mask-wearing and vaccinations. 

“The name of the game today is vaccines. This is where we win. This is where we don’t win,” DeWine said at his first COVID-19 briefing in six weeks. “We have two Ohios: We have people who are vaccinated who are very, very safe today. We have people who are unvaccinated who are not safe and are more in peril because of this delta variant,” as quoted in a Cincinnati Enquirer story (Aug. 6, Jackie Borchardt). 

In the same article, it was noted that officials believe that 98% of COVID-infected people are unvaccinated. And according to the CDC, more than 38.1 million people have been infected, with over 629,000 deaths — a 1.6% death ratio. Last year, CDC’s 10-site study said that total cases were “probably” 20 times higher, which cuts the death ratio well below seasonal flu rates of 0.1%, stated by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Other statistics provided by the CDC state that more than 202.5 (61 %) million Americans have received at least one shot of the vaccine, and another 171 (51%) million received both shots. 

Rhome said he continues to see an uptick of infections in teens and people in their 20s.

Western Magnesium bringing first-of-its-kind industry to Harrison Co. — and 200 permanent jobs along with it

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Photo by wbaiv

NEW YORK—Harrison County officials were recently informed of another new business venture that could occupy a spot on Industrial Park Road. Just one week prior, it was revealed that Nottingham Solar would be taking up residence in Athens Township for a solar farm. And along with the 20 part- and full-time jobs Nottingham is proposing, the Western Magnesium Corporation’s move to Harrison County will add 200 more into the mix.

Commissioners received the press release from the magnesium extraction company last week: “Western Magnesium Corporation is pleased to announce, that after a lengthy search and due diligence, we have an agreement with Harrison County, Ohio which will be the site of the first full-scale deployment of our proprietary magnesium extraction technology in the United States.”

The announcement came to the Harrison County Commissioners rather quickly, and the promise of approximately 200 permanent jobs was the real eye-opener.

“We’re excited for this,” commissioner Paul Coffland said Wednesday, speaking on behalf of his fellow commissioners. “We look forward to working closely with the developers to make sure it becomes a reality. And the potential for local jobs is obviously a big win for the county. Two hundred jobs is a lot of jobs.”

Coffland added that the company had been working with JobsOhio, and Western Magnesium is expected to exercise an 18- to 24-month option on property at Industrial Park Road. Coffland continued that they expect a public signing to follow in just a few weeks. 

“The company was obviously looking at places besides Harrison County and besides Ohio. JobsOhio narrowed down some site selections here recently within the last four or five weeks now. [And] our local development has been involved,” Coffland explained. 

The public statement noted the search across multiple states but commended Harrison County, calling it an “ideal space for [Western Magnesium’s] first plant in the U.S.” The statement also referred to the proposed Harrison Power Plant, hoping it would provide its facility. Western Magnesium also noted the proximity to “a dolomite supply and an infrastructure of rail and highway that will carry [Western Magnesium’s] magnesium finished product to industries across the United States.”

And the opportunities of the land value and more future growth were not lost on the commissioners as Coffland stated that, “Every time you put an additional tenant out there, the property becomes a little more valuable and a little more appealing.”

“It’s going to be huge,” commissioner Don Bethel added. “Because the thing about it is you’re talking about bringing rail back.” They all agreed major construction is in the future, which could involve improving other rail lines — and possibly a bridge. But at this time, it’s mostly speculation.

Harrison County Economic Development director Nick Homrighausen stated this proves that the county “can compete on a worldwide scale to attract business. Furthermore, not just in the oil and gas sector of the economy but the manufacturing side as well.”

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