Clermont County to launch Operation Green Light in support of local veterans

BATAVIA, OH (Sept. 26, 2022) – In advance of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, Clermont County announced that county buildings would be illuminated green Nov. 7-13 as part of Operation Green Light, a new national collaborative initiative of the National Association of Counties (NACo) to support military veterans, as well as raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by many veterans and the resources that are available at the county, state, and federal level to assist veterans and their families.

The new national collaborative is spearheaded by the National Association of Counties and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers, building upon the successful efforts of the New York State Association of Counties and the NYS County Veteran Service Officers’ Association in 2021.

Our nation’s military members and their families have made immense sacrifices for our safety, security, and freedom throughout the history of the nation. This service to country also often results in significant stress to many of the veterans who served in times of war and conflict.

Clermont County wants to make sure our veterans and their families know that their service mattered, that we are grateful for their sacrifices.

“It is now our turn to make sure they are served by their county government and our community,” County Commissioner David Painter said.

In addition to lighting county buildings, residents and businesses are encouraged to participate by simply changing one light bulb in their house to a green bulb. This can be an exterior light that neighbors and passersby see, or an interior light that sparks a conversation with friends.

“By shining a green light, we let our veterans know that they are seen, appreciated, and supported,” Commissioner Bonnie Batchler said.

While this event is focused around the week of Veterans Day (Nov. 7-13), participants are encouraged to continue shining the light year-round. Residents can share their participation on social media using the hashtag #OperationGreenLight.

Commissioner Claire Corcoran said: “Operation Green Light is a simple way to express our collective appreciation for the public service of our veterans.”

“We encourage everyone to join us in displaying a green light for our veterans and to also reflect on how we, as a nation and at the county level, assist our military service personal back into civilian life upon completion of their service to our country,” NACo President Denise Winfrey said.

Visit clermontcountyveterans.com for more information and links to resources available to veterans.

Work begins on Newtonsville sewer system

Construction has begun on the long-anticipated first sewer system in the former village of Newtonsville. Completion is scheduled for end of summer of 2023.

Crews from Tribute Contracting & Consultants of South Point, Ohio, are busy digging and laying sewer lines along State Route 131. Work by Building Crafts Inc. of Wilder, Ky., also is progressing on a wastewater treatment plant behind Wayne Township offices.

Extensive engineering fieldwork and project design by the Clermont County Water Resources Department began in 2012. A number of public information meetings have been held.

Commissioners on March 9 awarded bids totaling $12.3 million to Building Crafts and Tribute Contracting & Consultants for the collection system and wastewater treatment plant projects in Wayne Township. Building Crafts entered into a $6.3-million contract for the wastewater treatment plant and Tribute, $6 million for the collection system.

Currently, properties have septic systems. In October 2012, residents were notified by Clermont Public Health that a significant number of homes had failing septic systems, and sewage created a health risk. At that time, Public Health recommended a public sewer system to serve the residents in the project area. During the initial mailings and public meeting, individual Sanitary Sewer Petitions were received by Clermont County for property owners in the former village of Newtonsville and the surrounding adjacent area.

A majority of the property owners indicated their support for a full gravity collection system. The treatment plant will handle 57,000 gallons per day, and includes an influent pump station and a backup power generator. The collection system includes over 17,700 feet of 8-inch gravity sewer main, manholes, and a submersible pump station.

Funds for the work will come from assessment of benefitted properties, the County Wastewater System Capital Improvement Fund, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant and loan funds, Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) grant funds and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funds.

The assessment for property owners totals $4.2 million, which will be funded through a USDA loan. Clermont County will contribute $1.5 million in ARPA funds to reduce the assessments and overall loan amount. That will be a 36-percent reduction in the overall assessment.

 

 

 

Tire disposal event, Nov. 18-19

BATAVIA, OH (Sept. 8, 2022) — The Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District is holding a tire disposal event 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 and Saturday, Nov.9, at the Neville Public Boat Ramp, located off of US 52 on Morgan Street in the Village of Neville.

DIRECTIONS: Traffic will enter the site from US 52 via Morgan Street, and exit the site back onto US 52 via Coffee Street.

Up to 10 tires will be accepted from Clermont County households only, meaning any tires from businesses (auto dealers or repair shops, trucking companies, etc.) will not be accepted. This event is a good opportunity for residents to dispose of tires that were accumulated from personal use, illegally dumped on their property, or were on their property when they purchased it.

A disposal fee for each tire will be collected (in cash) from the resident at the time of unloading. Disposal fees are as follows: $1 per car tire, $10 per semi-truck/trailer tire, $20 per tractor tire.

Tires mounted on rims will be accepted, but please keep them separated from the off-rim tires in your vehicle or trailer for ease of sorting at the drop-off site. No additional fees will be imposed for rims. Tractor tires over 4’ in diameter will need to be cut into sections in order to be accepted. Rubber equipment tracks (from skid steers, etc.) cannot be accepted.

Important note: Residents may be responsible for unloading all tires they bring to the drop-off site – it is recommended that you bring someone to help you unload.

This year’s collection event is being fully funded by the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District. Although the Solid Waste District has been able to hold tire collection events at various locations throughout Clermont County for the past several years, there is no guarantee that funding will be available for future events. Most tire retailers and tire installers will accept and properly dispose of scrap tires for a small fee. Residents are encouraged to take advantage of their services in the future when new tires are purchased. Tires can also be disposed of year-round at the Adams County Waste and Recycle Station (95 Trefz Road, West Union, Ohio 45693) for only 12 cents per pound.

If you have any questions regarding this event or other services provided by the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District, visit www.OEQ.net, email dsnyder@ClermontCountyOhio.gov or phone (513) 732-7744.

Clermont County Commissioners attended CCAO Workforce, Families and Children Symposium

NEWARK, OH (Aug. 30, 2022) – Clermont County’s Board of County Commissioners Bonnie Batchler, David Painter and Claire Corcoran and Department of Job and Family Services Director Susan Walther attended the CCAO Workforce, Families and Children Symposium Aug. 25-26 at Cherry Valley Hotel in Licking County. The symposium provided an environment for county commissioners, county officials and leading experts to connect, inform and learn about important issues every county faces.

Aug. 25’s first session, Supporting Ohio’s Workforce: A Conversation about Child Care, included insight from experts including Steve Stivers, Ohio Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, on the trend of individuals leaving the workforce due to lack of access to childcare. The panel highlighted the need to expand eligibility and increase capacity of daytime childcare as well as second and third shift care to accommodate diverse work schedules.

The day also featured a session regarding Ohio’s evolving workforce, with insights from business development and private sector innovators such as JP Nauseef, President and CEO of JobsOhio, and Emily Smith, Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability at Intel. Specifically, the session addressed how Ohio employers look to attract and retain talent in a competitive job market by addressing the evolving needs of Ohio’s workforce.

Additional presentations focused on challenges faced by children service agencies, including the rising cost of child placement. Mary Wachtel, Director of Public Policy for Public Children Services Association of Ohio, detailed the ongoing challenges counties face in locating and funding the placement of children with severe mental and behavioral health needs. These challenges are exacerbated by difficulties in children service personnel retention, brought on by high stress environments and navigating numerous regulatory requirements.

On Aug. 26, Matt Damschroder, Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, provided a state legislative update, informing attendees about how current state policy affects the human services realm. Other discussions on Friday focused on issues regarding children, such as early intervention services and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Safety Champion: Bob Hallgath

Bob Hallgath, operations manager at Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC), keeps safety at the forefront as he goes about his daily work.

For 21 years, Hallgath has made out schedules and assigned buses to make sure all routes are covered. He manages 23 drivers and three dispatchers.

CTC operates six fixed routes five days per week, plus the Dial-a-Ride service.

CTC has only had two drivers requiring medical attention in 20 years due to a road accident. One occurred when a vehicle hit a bus head-on in a crash on State Route 222. The bus driver sustained a back injury and a passenger got a bloody nose.

Hallgath attributes the good safety performance to extensive training, along with a bit of good luck. All but two bus drivers carry Class B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), with air brakes and passenger endorsement. This requires extensive testing of skills such as making turns, approaching railroad crossings, parallel parking and alley docking.

“I try to make sure we keep up with testing,” said Hallgath, noting that drivers recently received refresher instruction on how to operate lifts. With Dial-a-Ride, they frequently assist riders in wheelchairs who need the lifts.

Hallgath also ensures his team reads and signs off on Clermont County Safety Coordinator Gary Caudill’s monthly Safety Toolbox.

“Everybody reads them,” Hallgath said. “They’re informative. I like them.”

During the high of COVID-19, Hallgath kept up-to-date on mask requirements and made sure drivers and riders followed them. He made sure buses were supplied with masks, in the rare instances that riders didn’t bring their own.

“Bob makes safety a priority,” Caudill said. “He was instrumental in researching a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) drug and alcohol training video for the new drivers. During the Covid-19 restrictions Bob was very good about checking with HR and the Safety Department to keep his drivers and the public in compliant with the Federal mask mandates. Bob is definitely a Safety Asset to the Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC).”

Transportation ties run back to late 1970s

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 15, 2022) — Patty McKinley, program manager for the Telecommunications Division in Clermont County Information Systems Department, went to New Richmond High School with Andy Mays, who became director of the Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC) in May.

In fact, her dad Allen McKinley was Mays’ bus driver before becoming director of CTC’s predecessor in 1979.

Mays ended up working in transportation for the school district before becoming the first CTC director employed directly by Clermont County this year. Previous directors worked for FirstGroup, a transit company.

“That’s pretty cool,” said Patty McKinley, who graduated in 1982, a year ahead of Mays. “It was just really fun to catch up and share stories, especially since my dad is gone.”

McKinley began her career at Clermont County just three months after her father retired as director of Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC) and its predecessor, Clermont Authority of Rural Transit (CART).

Her dad served as manager of CTC and CART, 1979-91. Robert Croswell had run CART at its inception, but stepped away shortly thereafter to devote attention to his motor coach business. CART was one of several such systems around Ohio operating with federal and state funds. The system was not under the county at first.

“It was really important for my dad to keep funding going so they could serve clients,” said McKinley, remembering piles of paper on the kitchen table and card table in her home as he toiled on grants and budgets.

Allen McKinley worked from a two-story building behind the “old folk’s home” that formerly sat on the site that houses Municipal Court. Patty fondly recalls answering phones and helping with dispatch.

The operation moved to a former car dealership in Williamsburg when McKinley secured grant funding. This facility included areas for mechanics to work on buses. At the time, Clermont County assumed responsibility for CTC.

Buses were mostly mid-sized, red and beige colored, with a few vans. Some took students to Clermont College, although fixed routes didn’t come until Metro stopped serving the area.

“There was really a family feel,” McKinley said. “The budget was tight and pay not that high, so my dad tried to keep the work environment positive. It was very important for him to have a good atmosphere.”

When Allen McKinley passed away six years ago at age 81, members of his team attended the funeral.

Patty McKinley likes that her father’s former rider is keeping the busses rolling.

“I think Andy’s going to be good for the job, coming from local transportation is going to be a plus,” she said.

 

 

Wiederhold named director of Public Safety Services

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 10, 2022) — The Board of County Commissioners today promoted Jessica Wiederhold to director of the Clermont County Department of Public Safety Services, effective Aug. 13. The board also recognized John Kiskaden, who is retiring after 12 years as director.
 
“For those of us who have known you for many, many years, we are going to miss you,” said Bonnie Batchler, president, Board of County Commissioners.
 
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of the board,” Kiskaden said. “I appreciate everything the board has done, and prior boards, to make this a better place.”
 
Wiederhold began her career with Clermont County in 2012, serving for five years as a dispatcher. She was an administrative assistant in the Clermont County Public Defender’s Office for about two years before returning to Public Safety Services in 2019 as a project manager. She advanced to program administrator and assistant director before the latest promotion.
 
Wiederhold praised the strong team in the county’s 911 Communications Center and Dominick Daulton, program administrator in Public Safety Services.
 
“I want to thank the board and John for everything you have done for me,” she said.
 

Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board awards 11 mini-grants to local organizations

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 10, 2022) — The Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board awarded 11 mini-grants to local organizations for the period of July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023.  The Mental Health and Recovery Board plans, funds, and monitors mental health and addiction services locally. The grants will fund programs that enhance mental health and/or prevent addiction in Clermont County. The grant applications were initially reviewed by a three-member committee. A total of $30,000 was allocated, with maximum funding per project of $4,000.

The organizations selected for a mini-grant are:

Cathy Barney, Artsy Fartsy Saturdays:  To host a book launch event and reunion for past Artsy Fartsy students who have found their voices and creativity, built confidence and self-esteem, and received encouragement throughout the history of the program. The students will each receive a copy of the book, which includes their own stories, words, art, and photographs and will be a tangible reminder they are a vital and valuable part of their community.

Goshen Middle School, ReDo Day/The ID Project:  The ID Project is specially designed to provide 7th and 8th grade students a forum where each can safely discuss and dialogue with others this radical period of mental, emotional, physical and social growth and change. As students traverse this extreme fast-forward internally and externally, graceful peer interactions are often the last to develop. The ID Project helps each student connect with her/his spot in the journey, and how to positively view their peers on their journeys.

Inter Parish Ministry, Food Pantry Summer Picnic:  To provide summer picnics, freshly prepared hot meals, and “pop-up” picnics in various Clermont County communities for clients who are in need and to provide community mental health resource information and empowerment items.  IPM’s Summer Community Picnic Program fosters a sense of well-being among food-insecure families and individuals who use the agency as a food resource.

Milford Boyd E. Smith Elementary School, Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS):  To enhance the current PBIS framework by developing and implementing a checklist system that identifies students who need additional support and guidance with academic, behavioral and emotional needs outside of the typical framework.

Milford Meadowview Elementary, ReSet Room/Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS): To enhance the current PBIS program by incorporating a ReSet Room. The ReSet Room is an intervention strategy that is used as a safe space where students can retreat to de-escalate, problem-solve, and refocus on appropriate behaviors so they can avoid classroom or school removal.  ReSet Rooms are supervised by trained educational assistants and specifically focus on restorative and progressive practices.

Milford Mulberry Elementary School, ReSet Room/Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS): The purpose of the Reset Room is to provide a space for students who are having difficulty in the general classroom setting to step away from that environment and re-regulate by using sensory tools, guided reflection, and restorative practices so that they can repair harm and return to learning in a way that is acceptable to all parties. The space will be supervised and guided by an educational assistant trained in restorative practices who can teach and practice appropriate coping skills.

New Richmond High School, Speak Love Program:  The Speak Love Program explores a three-step process with students to deepen their understanding of diversity and inclusion. New Richmond High School will use the program to improve the mental wellness of its staff and students.  The training will be an opportunity to foster character and leadership skills and allow students to connect with the entire student body.

Safe Harbor of Hope, Short Term Refuge:  The Safe Harbor of Hope will use this grant to set up a short-term refuge for women who battle addiction and mental illness in Clermont County.  The refuge, with the help of area treatment agencies, will provide detox and dual diagnosis treatment and will be staffed by volunteers with medical backgrounds.

West Clermont Clough Pike Elementary, Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS):   Clough Pike Elementary School is implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) programs which support students through an evidence-based Multi-tiered Intervention approach. The grant will be used to fund the relationship-building training and to host parent night.

West Clermont Holly Hill Elementary School, Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS):  To enhance the current PBIS program, which supports students through an evidence-based Multi-tiered Intervention approach, by transitioning into tier 3 of the program and providing training for a staff of 40 teachers and paraprofessionals.  The grant will fund the virtual workshop and refresher training throughout the year for school staff.

West Clermont Willowville Elementary School, Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS):  Willowville Elementary School is implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) programs which support students through an evidence-based Multi-tiered Intervention approach. The grant will be used to fund the strategy training and to host parent night.

UC engineering student benefits from Water Resources internship

BATAVIA, OH — University of Cincinnati environmental engineering major Isaiah Brinson appreciates first-hand experience gained as special projects intern at Clermont County Water Resources. He’s also grateful for the support of department staff during the 3-month internship.

“Unlike previous jobs, I’m able to look at sites such as waste treatment plants,” said Brinson, 22, a graduate of Glen Este High School (now West Clermont High School). “The people here have been very helpful, my supervisor Chris Rowland, co-workers, everyone. The inspector at a job site showed me schematics so I could see it myself. Everyone is very helpful when I have questions. A lot of them went to UC as well.”

Brinson is in the fourth of five years in the UC engineering program. He is minoring in chemistry.

His internship, which started the last week of May, includes a wide variety of duties. He helps with engineering bids, examining items such as pipe length, jack and bore (a trenchless method of sewer construction), fire hydrant installation, connections to services and water meters, etc. This involves reviewing blueprints and doing calculations as he looks for discrepancies.

Brinson also assists with civil 3D designs, redesign standards and specifications. He helped with design of an in-house project. He uses programs such as ArcMap and Excel to carry out his duties.

“These are just the big things,” he said. “I’ve definitely got a lot of engineering experience. That’s why I wanted to come to this department. I’m still learning. It’s definitely been very useful.”

The Water Resources Department has three co-op / internship positions available: One in water treatment, one in wastewater treatment, and the third in the Engineering Division.

“We have had the water/wastewater treatment co-op positions for several years now,” said Lyle Bloom, Water Resources director. “In the past, we have filled these positions with students from Cincinnati State who are enrolled in the Environmental Engineering Technology program. In some instances, the co-ops are subsequently hired as full-time employees as water or wastewater treatment operators who eventually obtain their State of Ohio certification as a licensed operator.”

Earlier this year, Water Resources created an internship position to recruit engineering students who are pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, including students at the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science. Brinson is the first hire for this new position.

Co-op/internship positions allow students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the field in which they are pursuing a degree. Those interested can apply online through the County’s employment portal at: Employment opportunities (munisselfservice.com)

Boy Scout raises more than $9,000 for Safe Buckets for school rooms

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 3, 2022) — Boy Scout Harmon Kahl, a junior at Batavia High School, raised more than $9,000 through hotdog stand sales and donations for his Eagle Scout project – a Safe Bucket filled with supplies for emergencies such as an active shooter or other emergency in a school.

Kahl told the Board of County Commissioners today he will place a bucket in all 138 classrooms in Batavia School District. Each bucket contains a Ziploc bag with bandages, water bottles, Kleenex, a tourniquet, blankets, granola bars and flashlights. (Twelve extra buckets have been made for additional rooms.)

Kahl said he spoke with Chief Kevin Riley at Central Joint Fire-EMS District to determine what would go in the bucket. They decided that basic medical supplies were appropriate.

“The idea behind these is that something is better than nothing,” Kahl said. “…In the end, if you can bandage something up, rather than not, it’s at least going to do something.”

The project cost $7,500. So far, Kahl has raised more than $9,000. Extra funds will help pay to replace items when they expire.
Commissioner Claire Corcoran praised Kahl for his “great idea.”

“Growing up, I had a fear of active shooters and stuff,” Kahl said, in response to a question from Commissioner David Painter. “I looked around and said, ‘What would I do if someone got shot? There would be no option for me.’ So I feel like this will take care of my fear. This will help alleviate children’s fear or maybe their parents’ fear, if something were to happen.”