Mike Boehmer

December 9, 2019

Clermont County seeks foster parents

BATAVIA, OH (Dec. 9, 2019) — Trina Farrell has been recruiting foster parents for Clermont County Children’s Protective Services for eight years. The Board of County Commissioners recently contracted with her for continued service. Learn more about Farrell and her important work in this interview.

What are the requirements to become a foster parent?

The basic requirement to become a foster parent is that you should be at least 21 years old; however, this age requirement will change next year to 18. You may own or rent your house or apartment but you must have adequate space available. Aside from that, you may be married, single or divorced and may have other children. And, don’t think you’re too old – we get a lot of interest from senior citizens wanting to be a foster care provider.

What is involved in becoming certified as a foster parent? Training requirements? 

Foster parents must be certified. This requires 36 hours of pre-service training. Classes are offered through Clermont County at no cost. You must also have CPR First Aid training, and a homestudy completed.  You can find all of the pre-service training dates online at clermontforkids.org.

Why do people become foster parents? What are the benefits?

People generally become foster parents to provide a safe, stable, and loving home for children who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse.  While we do offer benefits that will help foster care parents take care of the children in their care, like a daily per diem, and daycare stipends, the true benefits of being a foster parent are more intrinsic, knowing you are providing a safe, nurturing environment for the children of our community.

What’s your background?

I am actually an educator and have been teaching elementary school students in Clermont County for 22 years. As a teacher, I have worked with a number of foster children placed in our schools. I appreciate nothing more than loving foster care parents who not only work hard to provide a loving environment, but also instill the importance of education. I have met so many wonderful foster parents over the years.

What’s your approach toward recruitment? How do you find good foster parents?

Fostering is extremely rewarding but can also be challenging and certainly isn’t for everyone. I think people genuinely want to help but many just don’t quite know where or how to begin. My job is to educate, answer questions, and help people to decide if the choice is right for them.  We offer open house events throughout the year, and attend community events to deliver information to families. Our current foster parents are also a big part of our recruitment approach. They attend open house events to share their experiences with others. This is very important as future foster parents want to know the ups and downs and ins and outs of being a foster parent.

Our trainers and case workers do a fantastic job of preparing people for their role as foster parents and providing guidance and assistance along the way. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful foster care providers in our area.

Anything else you would like to add?

I’ve heard from so many people that they have considered becoming a foster parent but, for whatever reason, they never took that next step to learn more. I encourage anyone who might be interested in becoming a foster parent to give me a call or attend an open house. You can call me directly at 513-732-7765 or visit Clermontforkids.org to get more information. Our latest open house dates are posted on our website.  I look forward to your call!

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November 27, 2019

FACT SHEET – Dissolution of the Village of Amelia

Nov. 26, 2019

Overview — At 10:35 a.m. Nov. 25, the Clermont County Board of Elections certified election results regarding dissolution of the Village of Amelia and the Village of Newtonsville. On Nov. 5, residents had voted to dissolve the villages. Amelia became part of Batavia Township and Pierce Township; Newtownsville, Wayne Township. The Ohio State Auditor is overseeing a transition period that will take months to complete. State law requires officials to divide property within 60 days, but sets no hard deadline for the Ohio Auditor to issue a final report on the dissolution.

The population of Amelia was 4,801 at the 2010 Census; Newtonsville, 392. Due to Amelia’s size and the fact that it existed in two townships, this fact sheet deals with its transition.

Although the villages and townships are key players in the transition, Clermont County entities assisting with the dissolution include the Prosecutor’s Office, Auditor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Engineer’s Office, and departments under the Board of County Commissioners (Public Safety, Water Resources, Building Inspection, Community and Economic Development).

Public Safety – Police and fire coverage is in place. On Nov. 25, 911 coverage was transferred to Clermont County Public Safety, which is already dispatching police and fire. The Sheriff’s Office and Pierce Township have begun law enforcement coverage of Amelia. Police vehicles and firearms have been secured. An audit of the evidence room began immediately on Nov. 25 and will continue.

Roads – Plans are underway for Pierce Township (nine miles) and Batavia Township (four miles) to assume responsibility of roads. The County Engineer’s Office takes responsibility for inspections of new streets in subdivisions and is working with ODOT on speed studies of major thoroughfares. The Clermont County Engineer’s Office will assume responsibility for portions of Chapel Road and Amelia Olive Branch (less than ½ mile total).

Water and Sewer – Water and sanitary sewer service to properties within the incorporated limits of the Village of Amelia should not be impacted.  These properties are already served by the Clermont County Water Resources Department and/or the Tate-Monroe Water Association.

Taxes – Real Estate Tax collections will continue for the village in 2020; based upon the tax lien date of January 1, 2019.

Administration — The mayor of Amelia becomes the administrator during the transition, the legal counsel for Amelia continues, and its fiscal officer stays in place.

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November 21, 2019

Tips to help minimize holiday stress

From Lee Ann Watson, associate director, Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board

BATAVIA, OH — Happy Holidays! Tis’ the Season for parties, activities galore, gatherings with family and friends, gift-giving, and…stress! While the holidays are meant to bring feelings of joy and cheer, it often ends up creating stress for many people. It’s no wonder… the holidays bring a dizzying array of demands—shopping, baking, cleaning, entertaining, etc. on top of our already hectic schedules. While positive stress (or esters) is necessary for our survival and zest for life, too much stress has a negative impact on our mental and physical health. With some practical tips, you can minimize your holiday stress.

  1. Don’t overcommit yourself. Too many activities can result in feeling overwhelmed, which in turn leads to stress. Decide what traditions offer the most positive impact or enjoyment and eliminate those that don’t. Set limits on what you will do this holiday season. You don’t have to say yes to everything. If you are too busy to bake those holiday cookies, buy some at the store!
  2. Eat and drink in moderation. An overabundance of parties can result in many people eating and drinking to excess. Enjoy the merriment, but also maintain control of healthy behaviors. The average person can gain up to 10 pounds during the holiday season. Avoid the guilt and stress of having to diet by eating and drinking in moderation. Have a healthy snack before the party so you aren’t tempted to eat lots of sweets, etc. And most importantly, don’t drink and drive!
  3. Spend in moderation. Finding affordable holiday gifts can be stressful in its self, not to mention braving the mall with the crowds of people. Develop a budget, and stick to it. Holiday debt creates stress that can last months after the holidays are over. Avoid the debt by planning ahead and save money for holiday gifts. Be creative… make your gifts or provide someone with a ‘service’ for a gift (car washing, house cleaning, baking) or do a family gift exchange.
  4. Slow down and make time for yourself. Spend 15 minutes alone…. walk, read a book, take a bubble bath… slowing your mind, and restoring inner piece goes a long way in providing you with balance in order to accomplish all the activities of the season.
  5. Seek professional health if you need it. If despite your best efforts, you find yourself constantly feeling sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep or sleeping too much, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face daily activities, reach out for help and support. There might be more going on than stress. Mental health professionals are available 24/7 at the Clermont County Crisis Hotline 513-528-SAVE.

Hopefully, with these tips, you can slow down and enjoy the holidays!

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November 19, 2019

Timothy Dick named director of Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services

BATAVIA, OH (Nov. 19, 2019) – Timothy Dick, 48, of Union Township has been promoted to director of the Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS). The Clermont County Board of County Commissioners appointed Dick to the position on Nov. 4. He had served as interim director of DJFS for five months.

DJFS is comprised of four divisions, including Public Assistance (Medicaid, Child Care, SNAP Food assistance), Child Support Enforcement, Ohio Means Jobs (training and connecting unemployed and under-employed citizens with local businesses with hiring needs) and Children’s Protective Services.  Collectively, DJFS administers about 100 programs with 50 major Federal and State funding streams.

“Having a stable, well trained staff is essential to effectively administer so many different programs,” Dick said. “Equally as important is having public and private community partners that support and collaborate with our different divisions, so we can understand the needs in the community and share knowledge about available resources for the citizens of Clermont County.”

Dick was with Children’s Protective Services for 12 years, the last 10 years as the deputy director. He went into the Army upon completing high school. After his enlistment, he joined the Ohio National Guard while he went through college. He was in the service for eight years. He graduated from Northern Kentucky University with Bachelor’s Degrees in Justice Studies and Sociology. After graduation, he started working for Clermont County Juvenile Court Judge Stephanie Wyler. He worked for Judge Wyler for 10 years as a probation officer before transferring to Children’s Protective Services.

David Painter, president of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners, said: “Based on his experience as interim director and long history in social services, Tim will do a great job serving Clermont County in this key role. He oversees a department that helps many Clermont County residents through its Child Support Division, Children’s Protective Services, Public Assistance Services and Ohio Means Jobs Clermont operations. We feel fortunate to have such a capable leader in this position.”

“We were very fortunate to have such an experienced and dedicated leader right here in Clermont County for this vital role,” County Commissioner Claire Corcoran said. “The Department of Job and Family Services has a major impact on many individuals and families in our county. The Child Support Division collects about $36 million annually on behalf of 48,000 individuals. Children’s Protective Services investigates more than a thousand cases of child abuse and neglect per year, works with 95 foster families, and seeks adoption for 15 or more kids at a time. Public Assistance Services helps more than 35,000 Medicaid recipients, 13,000 food stamp clients, 400-plus households receiving Ohio Works First cash assistance, and 500-some families getting subsidized child care.”

“I’ve gotten to know Tim Dick during his time with Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services – and have found him very professional, knowledgeable and dedicated to his work,” Commissioner Ed Humphrey said. “The Department of Job and Family Services plays a big role in helping many people throughout the county through its four divisions. We wish Tim the best as he takes on this huge responsibility, one that he’s very capable of handling.”

“Tim has proven himself over the years as a very capable leader,” County Administrator Thomas Eigel said. “He brings a wealth of first-hand experience as well as compassion for the vulnerable population that the Department of Job and Family Services assists every day. He will do a great job in this important position, leading a department that touches the lives of thousands of Clermont County residents.”

November 18, 2019

Adult abuse and neglect referrals continue to exceed previous years

BATAVIA, OH — Referrals for elder abuse, neglect and exploitation in Clermont County have almost doubled since 2016 for a number of reasons:

  • An increase in the population ages 60 and older. (The number of Clermont County residents age 60 and older is expected to increase to 51,138 in 2020, a 120-percent increase since 2000.)
  • Expansion to 32 mandated reporters in 2018, including financial services professionals, notaries, realtors and clergy.
  • Increased overall awareness of abuse, neglect and exploitations, thanks to community outreach efforts.
  • Exploitation of the elderly, due to the opioid crisis.
  • Cultural changes, with fewer caregivers available.

In 2016, Clermont Senior Services handled 257 referrals. The agency expects more than 500 referrals this year.

“National research indicates that only one out of 10 cases of abuse is reported,” said Edna Burns, director of Home Care, Case Management and Adult Protective Services. “Based on the population of Clermont County, the number of cases would be so much higher if all cases of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation was reported.”

Senior Services has served as exclusive contract provider for Adult Protective Services with the Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services since 2000.

Adult Protective takes calls at Senior Services at 513-536-4085, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. After-hours and holiday reports are received by Job and Family Services at 513-732-7173, and Senior Services is notified to start the process of investigation.

The Adult Protective Services team includes three full-time and one-part time investigators. Burns, a Registered Nurse, devotes about half of her time to managing Adult Protective.

“Adult Protective is the only state-mandated service in Ohio for this population,” said Cindy Gramke, executive director of Clermont Senior Services. “Meals, home care, adult day care, transportation… are critical, but not mandated.”

Abuse, neglect and exploitation cases have become more complex. Some victims face a combination of neglect, physical abuse, financial exploitation, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and abandonment.

Gramke said the complexity requires an interdisciplinary response from Senior Services, Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health and Recovery, Sheriff’s Office and township law enforcement, Probate Court, Prosecutor’s Office, Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital Geriatric Behavioral Health, and others. A Mobile Crisis Unit activates regularly and a 30-member team meets monthly to review cases and develop process improvements.

“We’ve got the right mechanisms in place,” Gramke said. “We move far more quickly for all the right reasons. The channels are far more open to really helping an individual.”

The Ohio Database for Adult Protective Services launched in 2017, connecting all counties. This allows for tracking of cases across county borders and collection of helpful stats for planning purposes. From July 1, 2017, through June 30, 1018, a total of 14,597 reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation were received for adults ages 60 and older statewide. A total of 4,490 individuals across the state were identified as in need of services, with 1,239 refusing services. That’s the big difference from Children’s Protective Services. Adults can refuse services.

“The people we are dealing with are not children,” Burns said. “An adult has a right to self-determination and we must respect this, even though we may not agree with their decisions and this may be frustrating to an outsider. We can’t just go in and make them do what’s best for them. APS Investigators must follow regulations, which may limit at the time what Adult Protective Service Investigators may be able to do.”

Additionally, family members are not obligated to care for their aging parents or grandparents or extended family members unless they are currently acting in the role of caregiver.  If a person has been acting in the role of caregiver and then stops this may be neglect.

Adult Protective becomes the advocate of the adult who is referred, not of the person making the referral. Adult Protective can refer to appropriate services, but cannot make the adult accept them. The agency can refer exploitation to law enforcement.

Burns said that 53 percent of Clermont County’s cases in 2018 were for self-neglect, with 25 percent for exploitation, and 19 percent neglect by others.

Exploitation comes in many forms and one of APS has seen recently is scams involving transfer of money. Scams may include the “sweetheart scams” where a person convinces a lonely senior that they are in love and bilks money from the unsuspecting person or the “get rich” scam. This year APS also have received more referrals involving homelessness or possible eviction, often with people running short of rent money.

“A lot of people may think of physical abuse, but self-neglect is prevalent because they don’t want to bother their family, have no family, or do not know how to navigate the system,” Burns said. “A lot of people in their 80’s do not want to bother anybody because they were self-sufficient for so long. We’ll find out about their situation when they fall and EMS goes in. Something happens that makes someone notice, and we get a report.”

Adult Protective investigates and evaluates the problem and comes up with a case plan for assisting the adult’s situation. Adult Protective Services, represented by Burns or one of the Investigators and assistance from the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the county will go to court for a protective order as a last resort. For example, a person with dementia who may be living in unsafe conditions without assistance from family or friends.

In some cases, either a guardian of the estate is appointed for financial decisions and a guardian of person to make decisions not involving money. Due to a need for guardians, a volunteer program has been started for guardians of person. Volunteers require online training and have support from Licensed Social Workers connected with Clermont Senior Services as needed. This program is separate from Adult Protective Services.

Under protective orders through court action, APS Director is sometimes appointed as a decision maker for placement and monitoring care of the person until a permanent guardian of person can be appointed by Probate Court.

“Our goal is to keep the adult in the least-restrictive environment, to keep the person in their home,” Burns said. “We try to keep our eyes on them through services they receive. Clermont Senior Services will host free trainings for community partners during the year. Everyone is pulling together to help this growing population in need of help.”

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November 15, 2019

Probation department expands to handle increase in felony indictments

BATAVIA, OH — To handle a rapidly expanding caseload caused primarily by the drug crisis, the Clermont County Common Pleas Court Adult Probation Department has added both space and staff.

On Oct. 23, the Board of County Commissioners authorized the lease of additional office space at 322 E. Main St. in Batavia. Meantime, the department has hired four employees this year to bring its size to 34. Another may be hired next year.

Clermont County saw a 48-percent increase in felony indictments between 2017 and 2018, largely due to drug law violations and other offenses driven by drug addiction. More than half of the cases on probation supervision are from drug law violations. Factor in thefts and other types of property offenses for those stealing to support a habit, and the percentage goes even higher.

“It takes six to 12 months for indictments to catch up to the Probation Department,” said Director Julie Frey, who starts her 30th year with the department in January. “That’s why we’re so desperate for new people and office space. I don’t think people realize the chain of events and how this impacts every part of the criminal justice system.”

The Department’s Justice Reinvestment & Incentive Grant money helped pay for the additional employees. The Department also receives grant funds to help offset employees’ salaries through the Community Corrections Act. Both of the grants, which operate on 2-year cycles, were renewed in July.

Prison overcrowding and research findings that show probation works better and more cost-effectively than incarceration at rehabilitating low-risk felons have contributed to more people being served by the Probation Department.

“The grants are key to keeping up with demand,” Frey said. “I fear demand will continue to increase, and our staff has been working lots of overtime to keep up.”

Judges set conditions, and Probation ensures they’re met. If not, they bring it to the judges’ attention.

The monthly average of pre-trial defendants under the department’s supervision has increased 33 percent to 139 people, said Deputy Director Mary Brock, who also started her career in probation 29 years ago.

If a person enters a guilty plea or is found guilty, Probation conducts a pre-sentence investigation. Clermont County’s Pre-Sentence Investigation Unit has increased from three to five people, and still is overloaded. In 2018, the Department averaged 68 pre-sentence reports a month. The Department has been investigating and preparing 83 per month this year.

Convicted felons usually report to a probation officer in the Supervision Unit a couple of times a month at first. They may earn less-frequent visits as times goes on.  For the most part, people on probation stay on “community control” for three-to-five years.

In 2019, the department has served 1,372 people each month – up from 1,174 during the same period last year.

Probation uses the Ohio Risk Assessment System, which was developed at the University of Cincinnati and is used statewide.

Supervision Unit employees have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice or a related field. Many have Master’s Degrees. The department’s Community Corrections ACT Grant Program oversees all intensive supervision.  The Intensive Supervision Unit provides intensive supervision for a clientele given a last chance to make it in the community, or go to prison.  It also includes an employment specialist, who has had success at finding people jobs, some with benefits. The program helps ensure that offenders pay child support and avoid prison. Last year, the program helped pull in $365,494 from offenders convicted of criminal non-support.

Some get medication-assisted treatment for opiates. The number of referrals for the treatment continues to grow by 29 per month.

“We have had some good success, especially with the low-risk population,” Frey said. “They’re able to get things together better than most folks.”

November 14, 2019

50-year-old mom credits Clermont County Family Recovery Court with helping her break heroin addiction

BATAVIA, OH — Just two years ago, life appeared bleak for Crystal Brittain, 50.

In July of 2017, her ex-husband (the father of her youngest daughter) died of an overdose.

A month later, she suffered a stroke.

Two months after that, she overdosed — and Children’s Protective Services removed her youngest daughter.

“My daughter tried to revive me,” said Crystal, who was addicted to heroin and alcohol for more than 15 years. “I woke up in an ambulance. A day or two later, the Quick Response Team came to see me at my house. That’s what got me to Clermont County Family Recovery Court.”

And the road to a much better life.

Clermont County’s Quick Response Team includes law enforcement, first responders and treatment professionals. Members work together to connect opioid users and their families to services following an overdose.

Family Recovery Court, a specialized docket under Judge James A. Shriver, emphasizes treatment over punishment. Requirements include attending frequent court hearings, Substance Use Disorder treatment, random and frequent drug screens, meetings with a case manager, calling and checking in regularly, attending AA or similar sober support activities and getting a sponsor or mentor, having income, establishing housing, taking care of criminal matters and getting a driver’s license.

Crystal entered the Family Recovery Court on Feb. 15, 2018, and graduated on Oct. 31, 2019.  She is now in the Exit Phase. This allows a participant to transition out of the program, but still have the support and accountability to maintain a new sober lifestyle. When everyone feels ready, Crystal will be brought in for one final hearing to be successfully discharged from the program.

“It’s an awesome program,” Crystal said. “I especially like the incentives, the certificates for being sober for a certain amount of time, gift cards for passing drug screenings and the like.”

Crystal has two sons and two daughters. The three oldest kids are adults. The youngest, a daughter, turns 18 on Nov. 20. While Crystal fulfilled her Children’s Protective Services case plan, her daughter lived with a foster family in Lima. Her daughter plans to study to become a social worker, with the help of a foundation that’s paying for her schooling.

Angie Livesay, the court’s coordinator, said Crystal overcame numerous obstacles.

For one, she was living in a house without water or access to resources. Family Recovery Court was able to connect Crystal with a landlord — and she moved into her very first apartment in July 2018, a residence that she has maintained since that time.

Crystal had many health issues that weren’t being addressed when she entered the program. Family Recovery Court helped Crystal establish healthcare services and now she makes sure she completes her preventative health screenings every year.

Also, Crystal learned how to budget money through classes at the OSU Extension Office and even continued the classes after fulfilling the requirement.

When she entered Family Recovery Court, Crystal was unable to drive. She would utilize Medicaid transportation, CTC busses and court staff to get to her doctor appointments, treatment appointments and sober support activities.

“If a ride wasn’t available, she would walk,” Livesay said. “She is very committed to making sure she attends every appointment on time. She never missed a court hearing, office visit, or drug screen while in our program. Crystal is now able to drive and even purchased a car on her own.”

Crystal proudly mentions her 150 negative drug screens. She speaks enthusiastically about attending recovery activities, even serving as chairperson at some.

“When Crystal entered our program, she had very little support,” Livesay said. “She quickly engaged herself in the sober support community attending several times a week. She has two ‘home groups’ she attends every week. Crystal had over 50 guests at her graduation and many of them were from her sober support community.”

Crystal has been on the Vivitrol injection for 20 months. She has been sober since Jan. 2, 2018.

“It really helps,” said Crystal, noting that she gets one injection per month of the anti-craving drug.

Crystal also found employment during her time in our program, and remains employed today. She volunteers to answer the Hope Line, guiding people to recovery activities and sharing her experience, strength and hope. She plans to help with community outreach, sharing her story of hope and helping distribute Narcan kits.

“I can’t thank Judge Shriver, Angie Livesay and Diane Flowers of Family Recovery Court enough, along with the people at the Central Clinic Behavioral Health,” she said. “My relationship with my daughter has gotten better. Things have definitely improved in all areas.”

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November 12, 2019

Advisory council seeks recommendations for strengthening foster care, children services

BATAVIA, OH (Nov. 12, 2019) – Take advantage of a new opportunity to give your thoughts about improving Ohio’s foster care and children services system in an upcoming public forum or online. A Southwest Region forum will take place 6-8 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Lebanon Conference and Banquet Center in Lebanon.

To sign up or submit online testimony, visit: https://governor.ohio.gov/fostercareforums

On Nov. 4, Gov. Mike DeWine announced formation of the Children Services Transformation Advisory Council aimed at reviewing Ohio’s foster care system and developing recommendations for improving the experiences of children and families. The advisory council was created to build on the historic investments included in the State Operating Budget providing more opportunities for families and children.

“I encourage everyone to participate,” said Timothy Dick, director of Clermont County Job and Family Services. “This is a chance to make yourself heard about foster care and the child protection system.”

The council includes 17 people ranging from government officials to former foster children and current foster and adoptive families. Leadership from numerous organizations and state agencies are serving as subject matter experts.

Council members are tasked with evaluating and recommending needed foster care reforms, strengthening children services practices and system improvements that prioritize the safety, permanency and well-being of Ohio’s children and families. They will meet monthly and issue their recommendation no later than April.

–End–

November 8, 2019

ODOT approves funding for State Route 32 improvements

BATAVIA, OH – Major work on the State Route 32 corridor will continue through next year, thanks to funding awarded through the highly competitive Transportation Review Advisory Committee (TRAC) process. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced TRAC funding on Wednesday.

Clermont County Engineer Jeremy Evans said the $61.2 million in TRAC funding, combined with $11.5 million in ODOT safety funds and a $10.04 million local contribution, will pay for:

  • A new interchange near Bach-Buxton Road and SR 32
  • A partial interchange at Glen Este-Withamsville Road
  • An additional lane on westbound SR 32

Work on the projects will begin in 2021.

Evans noted that the latest projects are part of a comprehensive effort that includes the already-completed third eastbound lane and intersection improvements at SR 32 and Bells Lane and Old SR 74. Projects now underway include the Clepper Lane Extension to Bach-Buxton Road, Old SR 74 widening, and Schoolhouse Road to Glen Este-Withamsville Road with access improvements at Old SR 74, Tealtown Road and Paul Drive.

Traffic signals will be eliminated on SR 32 – at Glen Este-Withamsville Road, Elick Lane and Old SR 74. They will be replaced with a partial interchange at Glen Este, a new interchange at Bach-Buxton and an improved local road network.

“This award represents more than a decade of planning and intentional investment in a critical corridor for the movement of people, goods and services throughout our entire region,” Evans said. “The county works very closely with ODOT and all of our transportation partners to ensure that the connections people need to travel safely and efficiently to their destinations are in place. We are pleased to continue our partnership with ODOT and look forward to working together to complete the next phase of a coordinated program of improvements that will improve safety and travel in Clermont County.”

TRAC received 27 applications for development or construction of transportation projects totaling nearly $925 million. The board held a series of hearings around the state to learn about each of the applications. Last month, TRAC approved a draft list and opened a public comment period.

The SR 32 Appalachian Corridor stretches from Cincinnati to Bridgeport, W.Va., touching 14 Qualified Opportunity Zones comprised of some 477,000 acres.

“The project will improve traffic flow, increase safety,  and has the potential to move the Cincinnati economy further east to Brown, Adams, Pike, Jackson, Meigs, Athens and  Washington counties,” said David Painter, president of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners.  “The additional funds shorten the construction schedule duration, allow multiple activities to be worked concurrently, and save tax payer money by avoiding escalation costs. Congratulations to all the members of the project team that worked so hard to win this TRAC funding.”

Commissioner Ed Humphrey added: “Leaders from throughout the region came together to educate ODOT about the importance of this project to economic growth. We’re very thankful that ODOT listened. This is a huge win for the region, something that will help our area grow and prosper well into the future.”

Commissioner Claire Corcoran said: “State Route 32 is one of the highest-volume local routes in Ohio – and is a critical east-west connection for the movement of people, goods and services throughout the state. I’m thankful to ODOT and excited about the potential that this funding brings. A huge congratulations to Andy Kuchta of Community and Economic Development and his team for their work on this important effort.”

TRAC was established by the Ohio General Assembly in 1997. It is charged with developing and overseeing a project selection process for major new transportation capacity projects that cost more than $12 million. Since 1998, TRAC has invested nearly $11 billion into Ohio’s infrastructure.

 

October 29, 2019

Veterans Day parade focuses on services for vets

BATAVIA, OH — Emily Dillenberger, Christy Panzarella and Nancy Young from the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission will serve as Grand Marshalls in the annual Veterans Day Parade on Main Street in Batavia at 7 p.m. Nov. 11. Lineup for the parade, which goes from Haskell Lane to Clermont Sun offices, begins at 6 p.m. (Lineup is on Haskell Lane.)

Dillinberger, a receptionist, served as an E-3 (Seaman) in the U.S. Navy, in 2012; Panzarella, veterans’ service officer, was an E-3 (Seaman) 2007-2009; and Young, administrative specialist, was an E-2 (Airman) discharged on disability from the U.S. Air Force in 2000.

Commission Executive Director Frank Morrow will deliver the keynote address. He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, 1989-92.

Veterans Services sees more than 1,000 Clermont County veterans a year to help them with everything from disability claims to filing for health care insurance offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We are seeing more veterans with PTSD for various reasons,” said Rodger Young, Senior Veterans’ Service Officer, and Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret).  “Some of the veterans coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan have as many as eight deployments under their belt. Older veterans who have served in past wars are now retired/retiring and have more time to think about their war experience and fewer distractions to offset those memories.  Most of our claims are for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and hearing loss.”

In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5 percent of deployed and nondeployed veterans screened positive for PTSD, while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20-30 percent. As many as 500,000 U.S. troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.

The Veterans Service Commission is also seeing more veterans getting enrolled in Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare because of the high cost of medical insurance/treatment.

Among the services offered to veterans at the Veterans Service Commission:

  • Emergency financial aid to eligible veterans and families who demonstrate a need. This can include help with food, utility payments and rent/mortgage payments.
  • Claims assistance with filing VA claims and other benefits.
  • Transportation assistance to VA medical facilities, including the VA hospital in Cincinnati.
  • Flags and grave markers, help with documents and getting copies of lost medals.

For more information on the Veterans Service Commission, go to its website at www.clermontcountyveterans.com. Its office, 76 S. Riverside Drive, Batavia, is open 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 513-732-7363 for more information.