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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.”

HARRISON COUNTY: Weekly Construction Update

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WEEK OF AUGUST 30, 2021

New Philadelphia, Ohio (August 26, 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: Beginning Monday, August 30, U.S. 22 through Cadiz will be restricted to one lane of traffic in each direction for pavement repairs. This work includes a three-mile section of U.S. 22 from one mile west of U.S. 250 to County Road 51 (Bakers Ridge Road). The completion date is October 31, 2021.

State Route 151 slide repair project: Work is set to begin Monday, August 9, on a 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.

ODH Reminds Families Vaccinations Best Protection Against COVID as Cases Increase

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COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Health is reporting a large increase in COVID-19 cases over the last month across the state, including among students who are heading back to school. Statewide, the reported illness onset date of Monday, Aug. 23, showed 4,133 Ohioans with COVID-19, including 663 school-age Ohioans 5-18. One month prior on Friday, July 23, this data was 903 cases statewide, including 147 cases among Ohioans 5-18 – marking a 358% increase statewide, and a 351% increase among school-age Ohioans.

Similarly, weekly data from earlier in the summer, the week of July 4, 2021, shows 1,987 COVID-19 cases statewide, including 324 Ohioans ages 5-18. The most recent complete week of data, Aug. 15, 2021, shows 20,056 COVID-19 cases statewide, including 3,005 COVID-19 cases among those ages 5-18 – an increase of 909% among all Ohioans, and 827% among school-age Ohioans. As lab reports continue to be received, the data for the week of Aug. 15 could increase.

Today, the Ohio Department of Health is also reporting a statewide case rate of 338.1 per 100,000 residents, with every county in the state higher than 100 per 100,000 residents. Statewide, a total of 5,395 COVID-19 cases have been reported within the last 24 hours, similar to daily numbers that were seen in December and January during the winter surge of cases. The most recent date when a similar number of cases reported occurred on January 28, 2021, we reported an increase of 5,432 cases from the previous day.

“With many districts going back to school last week, the number of illnesses from Monday, Aug. 23 is troubling,” explained Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA. “As students statewide continue to return to their classrooms, this high figure should be yet another indicator to parents and families that the best protection from COVID-19 is for those 12 and older to choose to be vaccinated, and for those who aren’t vaccinated to wear masks.”

The Ohio Department of Health’s goal is to keep K-12 students in school, in-person five days a week. In-person learning is very important for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of our children, and can be conducted safely even in the face of COVID-19, particularly when schools employ layered prevention strategies including masking, social distancing, good ventilation and good hygiene practices, along with vaccination of our teachers and staff. Adopting layered prevention measures in schools now will help ensure students can learn in-person as much as possible this year, and keep children participating in extracurricular activities.

“COVID-19 vaccines are our best protection, and our way out of this pandemic,” Dr. Vanderhoff stated. “If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, talk to your doctor to get the facts. For those ages 12-17 who are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, it takes 5 weeks to be fully vaccinated.”

Robert Blake

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Robert (Bob) E. Blake, 80 (1940-2021), of Cadiz, OH, passed away on Aug. 25, 2021, at his home, surrounded with his loving family by his side following a long battle of cancer. Born Sept. 26, 1940, in Kenwood, Ohio, he was the son of the late Orville (Red) and Mary Virginia Blake.

Bob graduated from Cadiz High School. On Oct. 29, 1977, Bob was united in marriage to Gayle Oszust and has been married for 43 years. He was employed by R&F Coal Company for 32 years until retirement and was known to many by his nickname “Poor Boy.” His life’s passion was hunting, fishing, boating, and spending time with his family.

Bob is survived by his wife Gayle; a son, Mike (Stephanie) of Madison, Ohio; three daughters: Teresa (Don) Rutter, Holly (Nate) Williams, and Jody (Craig) Stromsky, all of Cadiz, Ohio; 15 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren with another on the way; one brother, Ronald Blake of California and one sister, Beverly (Bob) Harmon; father-in-law, Ed Oszust Sr.; sister-in-law Bonnie (Terry) Snider; brother-in-law Bruce Oszust: and his two beloved canine companions, Hunter and Heidi. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Marion Blake; mother-in-law, Delores Oszust; and brother-in-law, Edward Oszust Jr.  

Per his request, no services will be held. The family is being assisted by Clark-Kirkland-Barr Funeral Home in Cadiz, Ohio. Memorial contributions may be made to the Harrison County Cancer Crusaders, c/o Julie McPeak, 226 Charleston Street, Cadiz, Ohio 43907. The memorial guestbook may be signed at www.clark-kirkland-barr.com.

Dorothy Glover

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Dorothy F. Bradac Glover, 70, of Jewett, passed away Aug. 24, 2021, at Gables Care Center in Hopedale, following a battle with cancer, with her family by her side. She was born Oct. 24, 1950, in Martins Ferry, Ohio, a daughter of the late Joseph and Margaret Shaw Bradac.

Dorothy graduated from Hopedale High School. In 1968 she married Robert L. Glover and was blessed with a daughter on Christmas Day. She worked for Judge Victor Rowland, Consolidation Coal Co., Puskarich Mining, and for 25 years, she owned and operated DFG Excavating. Dorothy was the president of the Harrison County Horseman Association, the Harrison County Historical Society, and the Harrison County Farm Bureau. She attended the Bethel United Methodist Church in Jewett, Ohio. She was an excellent businesswoman and thrived in a business most women didn’t work in. She was one of the hardest-working people around and was always willing to help anyone in need.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Danny Bradac, and her stepmothers, Jean and Joan Bradac. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Robert L. Glover; her daughter, Kimberly (Ed) Smith of New Springfield, Ohio; 3 grandchildren: Emily Kate Willamson, Corey Hudson Williamson, and Charles Edward Smith; 4 sisters: Donna Carpenter of Illinois, Margaret Pizzino of Lewisburg, Ohio, Billie Dyer of Germano, Ohio, and Jean Ann McCullough of Florida.

Friends may call Friday, 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until time of funeral service at 11 a.m. at the Clark-Kirkland-Barr Funeral Home, 172 S. Main St., Cadiz, Ohio. Reverend Ray Ellenbaugh will officiate. Burial will follow at Cadiz Union Cemetery.
Online condolences may be made at www.clark-kirkland-barr.com. Memorial contributions may be made to the Harrison County Horsemans Association, c/o Sherri Hart, 46550 Old Hopedale Rd., Cadiz, Ohio 43907.

Only 1 Ohio Valley county saw population growth in 2020 census

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HARRISON COUNTY—The 2020 Census results released last week, and as feared and possibly expected, the population dropped in many counties in the Ohio Valley, including Harrison County. But for overall Ohio, though, the population rose by more than 200,000 (2.3%).

With 36 people per square mile, Harrison County dropped in population by 1,381; an 8.7% decline caused a drop below 15,000 compared to 2010.

“I won’t pretend I’m qualified enough to dispute the census, but there’s no question our numbers are greater considering the transient worker population,” Harrison County commissioner Don Bethel explained. “The fact is that Harrison County is still attracting/retaining our own homegrown qualified youth who remain here or return after leaving to acquire secondary education, which hasn’t been the norm here for decades.” Bethel called it a positive sign for the county’s growth “and viability as a county.” 

Only one surrounding county, Tuscarawas, with 164.4 people per square mile, saw a rise in population: 92,582 in 2010 and 93,263 in 2020 (a 0.7% increase). With 159.9 people per square mile, Jefferson County dropped by 6.4% to 65,249 compared to 69,709 in 2010.

With just 67.7 people per square mile, Carroll County matched Harrison’s drop at 8.7%, losing about 2,100 of their population since 2010. And Belmont County dropped 5.5%, which was about 3,903 people.

Guernsey County had 73.6 people per square mile, and they dropped by 4.1%, a population loss of just under 2,000. Noble County saw a 3.6% drop with only 530 fewer people leaving with 35.5 people per square mile. Monroe County was on par with Harrison and Carroll Counties with a loss of 8.6%, a population loss of around 1,200.

2020 was the first census where people could respond online, and the results showed the U.S. population exploding to more than 331 million people. According to the census data, Ohio ranked quite well with a self-response percentage of 70.7 and ranked 12th in that area nationally.

“In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 331.4 million people living in the United States; more than three-quarters (77.9%) or 258.3 million were adults, 18 years or older — a 10.1% increase from 234.6 million in 2010. The aging of baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, who were ages 57 to 75 in 2021, is partly driving the growth in the adult population,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Interestingly, the U.S.’ northeast and south regions saw contrasting data; the highest percentage of a regional adult population lived in the north at 79.7%, but they also had the lowest rate of under-18s at 20.3%. The south was the opposite: their population was 77.5% adults and 22.5% under 18.

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