Mental Health and Recovery Board seeks new members

BATAVIA, OH — Clermont County residents who have an interest in assisting with the direction of local addiction and mental health services in the county are invited to contact the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board (CCMHRB) about a volunteer position on its Board of Directors.

There are currently five vacancies on CCMHRB’s Board of Directors.

The Board of County Commissioners is responsible for appointing eight members of the board. Five of those positions are filled. Three positions are available.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS) is responsible for appointing six board members, with three of those positions filled and one in process. Two positions are available. Priorities for these OMHAS appointments are for a person who has received services for mental health issues or alcohol and/or drug use, a family member of someone who has had a mental health or addiction issue, or someone who is working or has worked in the mental health and addiction field, or who has been involved in advocating for mental health and/or alcohol/drug services.

The selected individuals will be part of a 14-member board representing a variety of interests, including professionals from the mental health and alcohol/drug fields, family members, individuals in recovery, and community representatives.

The board meets monthly on the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. Members also are involved periodically in meetings for one of two committees – Finance and Program. Terms for board members are four years, and a member can serve two terms.

CCMHRB is the local board of alcohol, drug addiction, and mental health services. It is the county agency responsible for planning, monitoring, evaluating and funding all mental health and addiction services in the county provided through public dollars.

Both the County and OMHAS have application forms that potential Board members must complete, and board staff will provide those to you if interested.

If you are interested in serving on the board, please send a letter of interest and a resume to CCMHRB at 2337 Clermont Center Drive, Batavia, OH 45103 or by email to cknoblauch@ccmhrb.org. For more information, call the CCMHRB office at 513-732-5400.

William “JB” Johnson retires after 39 years in Water Resources

–Submitted by Kevin Saunders of Water Resources and Hannah Lubbers, director of the Clermont County Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) and the Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District

Staff recently celebrated the retirement of a valuable employee of the Clermont County Water Resources Department after 39 years of service. William Johnson was hired by Clermont County Sewer Laboratory where, back in the 80’s, there was an abundance of William Johnsons employed with the county.

Since a William and Bill were already employed by the Laboratory, he selected JB as his moniker and the beginning of a legend began!

JB was educated at Miami University and obtained a BS in Chemistry and BA in English. This dichotomy in education led to a very unique individual who can, in his own words, “speak to the symbolism in Paradise Lost or describe how a polymerization reaction proceeds due to metal catalysts.”

JB started working in the Laboratory as a technician and rose to the role of Laboratory Manager. He will be retiring with the title of Chemist, but he is the true heart of the Wastewater Lab and we will be losing a technical expert, teacher, and historian.

The one thing JB excelled at was teaching everyone to be a critical thinker and installed a desire to never stop learning. During his tenure, the Laboratory was approved as one of the only Ohio EPA-certified labs in the state and currently services 15 different treatment facilities running analytical chemistry on 14 different tests.

In addition to his practical work accomplishments, JB always brought humor and wit to the workplace. He is a great conversationalist and a fascinating person.

JB has practiced scuba diving, sailboarding, and more recently can often be found practicing his Tai Chi on the banks of the Little Miami River. He’s always prepared to chime into to any conversation with an obscure, but related fact. For example, when discussing best management practices, JB educated us about how in the 1950’s they parachuted beavers into the Idaho backcountry as a conservation effort.

He’s skilled at making mundane work tasks entertaining by bringing levity and interesting pieces of information to the task at hand.  JB’s knowledge, dedication, and sense of humor will be sincerely missed at the wastewater laboratory.

Child Support Awareness Month: County collects millions for families each year

BATAVIA, OH — Ohio’s Child Support Program provides services to more than 1 million children in our state. Clermont County Child Support administers about 12,000 cases and collects $36 million dollars in child support each year.

County Child Support agencies work diligently to ensure that these children receive financial support for a better future. Child Support Month is a national initiative that helps inform families about the services child support agencies can provide in our communities.

“It is such an honor to serve the families of our county and to help protect children from the impact divorce and other types of separation can cause,” said Theresa Ellison, Deputy Director for the Clermont County CSEA.

The Child Support program encourages responsible parenting, family self-sufficiency, and child well-being.  Agencies provide services to locate parents, establish parentage, establish child support and medical support orders, collect and distribute child support, modify orders when circumstances have changed, and enforce orders that are not being paid.

County Child Support agencies provide services to families of all types, from divorcing parents to unmarried parents, to caretaker relatives, to children in the foster care program, and others, regardless of family income.

“This year, we are also focusing our efforts on spreading awareness about the importance of establishing paternity,” Ellison said. “Paternity is a legal determination between a natural father and a child, and it is so important because it can provide both financial and emotional support. Parents can reach out to their local CSEA for more information on this service.”

 

Maaytah named Community Development Professional of the Year

BATAVIA, OH – Clermont County’s new Community Development Administrator Desmond Maaytah will be named Community Development Professional of the Year by the Ohio Conference of Community Development on July 29, 2021.

Maaytah recently joined the Clermont County development team after administering the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG ) program in Butler County for the last eight years.  He had been with Butler County since 2002 where he started as a Community Development Specialist.

“The community development position in Clermont County is so important to our communities, and we did not take our search lightly,” said Claire Corcoran, President, Clermont County Board of County Commissioners. “Desmond hit the ground running in Clermont County, and his award demonstrates that we have much to gain from him.”

Community leaders praised Maaytah for his excellence in researching community issues and helping find solutions to them. They noted how he helped secure grants that led to successful programs and praised his compassion and drive to serve the community, as well as his strong interpersonal skills.

“Desmond Maaytah is a positive role model for leadership in the county for the homeless population and for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking,” said Wendy Waters-Connell, Executive Director/CEO, YWCA Hamilton. “He is a role model of work ethic and determination to make his community stronger by connecting agencies and resources to leverage impact.”

According to its website, the OCCD confers the competitive and coveted Professional of the Year award to a community development professional in recognition of their work on a project or program that has had a major impact on their community.  Nominations are received from throughout the state.

Mindy Muller, president/CEO, Community Development Professionals, said: “Desmond has an innate ability to assess a situation and respond responsibly. He stewards the resources of the county with such care and caution while always looking for the best, most responsive and most impactful use of funds. “

Muller added: “Desmond is a humble individual who doesn’t seek the spotlight or recognition, but his leadership and role in bringing together the community partners, especially during a year of crisis, deserves recognition and celebration.”

“Desmond’s success validates the Clermont County Commissioners’ decision to bring him into our team,” said Michael McNamara, Director of Clermont County’s Department of Community and Economic Development.  “Our Commissioners want team members who care and who can get results, and Desmond Maaytah checks both of those boxes.”

Among Maaytah’s duties in Clermont County is overseeing the administration of the county’s CDBG program which distributes about $1 million of federal funds each year to projects in our low-to-moderate income areas. The Community Development Division is in the Department of Community and Economic Development. As the division evolves, it will begin seeking new grant opportunities to leverage on behalf of our communities.

The Community Development Professional of the Year award will be conferred during the OCCD annual meeting this week.

 

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Ohio Justice Bus: Delivering justice across Ohio

The Ohio Justice Bus is a mobile legal aid office and technology hotspot that allows legal aid and pro bono attorneys to travel to and provide legal services to rural Ohioans at no cost to clients.

  • Promotes and grows attorney volunteerism
  • Provides a traveling venue for legal rights education
  • Provides technology to address unmet legal needs for Ohioans living in rural or underserved areas

The Ohio Justice Bus, ran by Jack Maib, visited the Clermont County Domestic Relations Court on July 14. The mobile legal aid office is free to the Court, as well as the Clermont County community.  Maib has run and operated the bus by setting up clinics and meeting various clients throughout Ohio since about August of 2019 as his first job out of law school. Maib is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a graduate of Case Western Reserve School of Law. He has a strong interest in public and health law which has helped spark interest in providing legal services to clients in the rural areas of Ohio. Maib is one of the many attorneys that volunteer to provide legal aid at no cost to clients. The main goal of the Ohio Justice Bus is to provide legal services to rural and underserved clients throughout Ohio.

The mobile legal aid office, headquartered in Columbus, is funded by Ohio Access to Justice Foundation, other grantees, and sponsored by AEP. Around 2017 there was a summit held on how to increase access and interaction with attorneys across Ohio. The mobile office idea stems from a school bus of attorneys that traveled around California a few years ago. In 2019, the Justice Bus in Ohio was created and has helped over 900 clients in the first few years, averaging about six clients per visit. Clients are welcome to visit at any location of the Justice Bus clinics; the Justice Bus also partners with other organizations to help branch out and reach more clients in rural areas. Additionally, there are volunteer opportunities for students still enrolled in law school. Law students are encouraged to join the Justice Bus to explore the world of legal aid and help network with many attorneys and organizations across the state.

Kay Heile of the Clermont County Domestic Relations Staff discovered the bus while having a law clinic meeting with Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati. During their meeting, Jessica A. Ramos, managing attorney of the Volunteer Lawyer Project, mentioned the mobile legal aid office as a resource used to offer access to justice. Heile stated, “It offers low-income litigants a chance to receive legal advice without having to retain an attorney.” She additionally stated, “The Supreme Court has challenged local courts to find more ways for low-income access to attorneys – this is a great opportunity for all involved.”

While visiting Clermont County, Maib was present on the bus to provide legal services, including another joining him in person and other attorneys joining by Zoom. Zoom has been beneficial to the bus services as it allows more attorneys to volunteer and help remotely without the commute. The bus is designed to meet with up to two clients inside with a divider in between to keep client confidentiality. It is usually stationed in a library or court parking lot, making it easy for members of the community to visit a central, familiar location. The bus is equipped with laptops and printers which allows attorneys to print out any necessary forms a client may need.

The Justice Bus will be returning to Clermont County Domestic Relations Court on Aug. 11, and Sept. 8, 9 a.m.-noon. Additionally, the Domestic Relations Court holds a monthly law clinic at the Public Library Administrative Building that also offers legal aid at no cost to clients. The next law clinic will be held Aug. 7, and Sept. 4, 9 a.m.-noon.

 

Municipal Court now accepting credit cards for over-the-counter payments

BATAVIA, OH — Tim Rudd, Clerk of the Clermont County Municipal Court, announced today that his office is now accepting credit cards for over-the-counter payments of fines and costs on traffic and criminal cases.

Working in collaboration with the credit card processing company MSB,  Rudd is the first Clerk of Court to accept credit card payments in the Clermont County court system. MSB does charge the customer a convenience fee for the use of their credit card processing system. MSB provided the processing equipment at no charge and the convenience fee to the customer is the only cost.

Rudd said he was both excited and pleased to offer credit card services for the citizen’s convenience at no cost to the county. Rudd also stated that MSB and equivant, his case management vendor, are working on an online credit card payment solution that should be coming soon.

New guide offers instructions for starting a business in Clermont County

BATAVIA, OH – Clermont County is proud to announce a new resource for Clermont County residents who have the next big idea or want to be an entrepreneur.  The Clermont County Starting a Business Guide provides concise, step-by-step instructions on starting a business in the county.

The county’s Department of Community and Economic Development saw a need as inquiries about starting a business have increased in recent months as the region returns to normal in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From market research and drafting a business plan, to marketing and maintaining your business, this guide provides the roadmap to opening a business in the county, while also providing all the resources needed to get your business up and running.

“We’re committed to creating an environment that helps businesses grow and thrive in Clermont County,” said Claire Corcoran, President, Board of County Commissioners. “This guide provides an excellent tool to help our Clermont County residents be successful with their ideas and dreams.”

Clermont County Starting a Business walks hopeful entrepreneurs through the first basic steps of starting a business including business funding, site selection, business structure, licensing, taxes, zoning, talent, registering the business and other considerations.

“Governments don’t create jobs; businesses do,” Commission David Painter added.  “Governments can provide training, planning, infrastructure and support that allows individuals to opportunity to a new business. We’re excited to offer this tool to those looking to fulfill their dream of starting a new business in our county.”

Clermont County Starting a Business was designed to be helpful to entrepreneurs of any age.  The layout and language is easy to read, and the topics and information have been tapered so that younger entrepreneurs would not be discouraged and others with busy lifestyles can get through the material quickly.  Although not comprehensive, the guide provides resources where entrepreneurs can obtain more detailed information at each step.

“This guide helps simplify the complexities of starting a small business,” Commissioner Bonnie Batchler said. “We are happy to help those interesting in starting a business here. This guide is just one of many ways that our economic development team supports business-minded people in our county.”

The county’s Department of Community and Economic Development produced the 16-page booklet. Print copies are available at 101 East Main St., 3rd Floor, Batavia, OH 45103. The guide also is available online at https://clermontcountyohio.biz/small-business-startup/

Volunteers collect 150 bags of litter

–From Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District

The 2021 annual litter clean-up event was held throughout the month of June, with a combination of in-person clean-ups at six various sites across Clermont County and the East Fork Little Miami River watershed, along with Do-It-Yourself options for volunteers who prefer to focus on areas closer to home.

About 165 volunteers participated and collected a combined 150 bags of trash. The Summer Litter Cleanup event is coordinated each year by the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District and the Valley View Foundation and partially supported with a grant from Ohio EPA, Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention.

We truly appreciate the support from our event sponsor, the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors (SOAR). Thank you also to our partnering agencies and organizations, including the Clermont Office of Environmental Quality, Clermont County Park District, Clermont Office of Public Information, Ohio Department of Natural Resources—Divisions of Parks and Watercraft, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Friends of Stonelick State Park.

For the second year in a row Ellie Arkus, an 11th grade student at New Richmond High School, was the winner of the student design contest which is sponsored by SOAR to promote litter awareness and prevention in K-12th grade schools. Ellie’s design was selected from over 120 entries.

For more information, contact the Clermont Soil andWater Conservation District at 513.732.7075.

See photos here

County names new Board of Elections Director

BATAVIA, OH — Claire Corcoran, President of the Board of County Commissioners, today announced the selection of Stephanie Hemmer-Haight by the Clermont County Board of Elections as their new director effective today. She will replace Director Julia Carney, who has accepted a position as Assistant Clermont County Prosecutor.

After considering several impressive candidates, the selection committee recommended Hemmer-Haight to the full board in today’s meeting; the board unanimously approved her as the new director.

“We wish Stephanie Hemmer-Haight the best in this very important role,” Corcoran said. “We feel fortunate to have such an experienced and well-rounded selection for this position.”

Director Hemmer-Haight received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Wilmington College and her Master’s Degree as an Intervention Specialist from Antioch University. She has been a county election official for nine years, and has organized and led training for many of the county’s poll workers. She resides in Milford with her husband Michael Haight and their dog Pistol.

Currently secretary of the Milford Fire Department Board, she also serves the community through her involvement with veteran’s organizations, American Legion Fish Fries, and the Republican Executive Committee. Director Hemmer-Haight’s election experience, success in private business management, community leadership, and history of collaboration with BOE, county, community and party personnel will ensure a smooth transition as she assumes the director role.

The Clermont County Board of Elections is located at 76 S. Riverside, Batavia, Ohio 45103.

Maaytah joins Clermont County as Community Development Administrator

BATAVIA, OH — Desmond Maaytah is Clermont County’s new Community Development Administrator.  Among Maaytah’s duties is to oversee the administration of the county’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program which distributes about $1 million of federal funds each year to projects in our low-to-moderate income areas.  The Community Development Division is in the Department of Community and Economic Development.  As the division evolves, it will begin seeking new grant opportunities to leverage on behalf of our communities.

Maaytah comes to Clermont County from Butler County where he administered the CDBG program there for the last eight years.  He had been with Butler County since 2002 where he started as a Community Development Specialist.  Prior to that, he was Project Manager and New Construction Superintendent for the Otis Elevator Company.

Maaytah has a Bachelor of Science in Building Construction from Auburn University in Alabama.