Local News Roundup

Development & Infrastructure

  • The Baileys Trail System got $3 million from ODNR for a new 5,000 square foot “visitor hub” in Chauncey (ODNR).
  • OU’s Ridges Advisory Committee and Athens City Council heard the new plans for the Ridges, which involve creating a new governmental entity called a “New Community Authority” to manage future development (The New Political).
  • Buckeye Hills Regional Council is currently accepting public comment about its Long-Range Transportation Plan for Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, and Perry counties and parts of Washington County (Buckeye Hills Regional Council). BHRC is also hiring for a director to start up its new planning division.
  • The $500 million Appalachian Community Grant Program — which received its first round of proposals in recent weeks (Athens Messenger) — could spur “transformative change” in the region (WOUB).
  • The Athens County Land Bank is replacing the roof on an historic building along High Street in Glouster after receiving a grant for 75% of the cost from the USDA (Athens County Land Bank).


  • Athens city government is shifting more of its vehicles to EVs and adding more charging stations around the city (WOUB), and moving ahead with a project to power the city wastewater plant with solar energy (Athens Messenger). On Tuesday, the city hosted a conversation with SOPEC and ReImagine Appalachia about the solar project.

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  • OU researchers received $1 million in federal funding for studies on developing practitioner training and implementation of safety net hospital programs to address the opioid epidemic (OU), and a separate project received $400,000 in state funding to develop a “Medicaid quality improvement” research hub for southeast Ohio (Healthcare Innovation).


  • OU’s Athena Cinema received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council to increase access to the theater’s offerings (OU).
  • An exhibit at OU’s Kennedy Museum of Art celebrated “homesteading women” of rural America (The Post).

K-12 Education

  • Athens middle schoolers, OU’s Tantrum Theater and the local history podcast Invisible Ground teamed up to produce student-hosted podcast episodes about the Black history of Athens, in conjunction with Tantrum’s production of Hotel Berry. (WOUB)
  • “If it’s good enough for Disney, it’s good enough for us.” Tri-County Career Center’s student journalism program — which Independent editor-in-chief Corinne Colbert is an adviser to — renamed itself “New Media+.” (The 360
  • Twin sister principals — Tri-County’s Amanda Wiseman and Nelsonville-York Elementary’s Rebecca Steenrod — get profiled by a Tri-County student journalist (Athens News).
  • Alexander Local Schools students helped create holiday decorations for Albany Village Hall (Athens Messenger).


  • Labor unions delivered nearly 800 petitions to OU President Hugh Sherman advocating for the reversal of staffing and wage cuts (WOUB). OU also announced the hire of the USC Race and Equity Center to conduct a review of the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion programs (OU).


  • Without explanation, solicitation charges against former Athens City High School teacher and coach Wayne Horsley were dismissed, weeks after he resigned due to his arrest for allegedly soliciting a sex worker. He will be in Hocking County Municipal Court on Wednesday to request the case be sealed. (Athens Messenger)
  • The fact of Robert and Deborah Bellars’ incarceration over the abuse of their daughter, formerly named Serah, continues to interfere with their participation in a federal civil lawsuit Serah has filed against her parents, their former church and Athens County government (Logan Daily News).

Public Safety

  • “We’d have to have ladders and training and that kind of stuff to be able to start to do that.” Athens city code inspectors didn’t inspect the roof of a rental property before the ceiling collapsed this past summer — because, Code Enforcement Director David Riggs says, city inspectors aren’t trained and don’t have ladders “and that kind of stuff.” Meanwhile, roof inspections are part of the city’s annual property inspection checklist. The property’s owner, Joe Krause — who also happens to serve on the city’s Board of Zoning Appealsfrequently gets cited for code violations. He faces no consequences. (WOUB)
  • Nelsonville Police Chief Scott Fitch, first hired in June 2020, abruptly stepped down to accept an appointment as the new Meigs County Sheriff (Athens Messenger). His interim replacement, KJ Tracy, revealed under questioning from Nelsonville City Council that a vehicle pursuit policy the city paid $3,000 for in 2020 is still being written — all the while high-speed chases are frequently occurring in the city (Athens Messenger).

State & Region

  • Ohio History Connection will be able to use eminent domain to reclaim a golf course on the grounds of the Octagon Earthworks site, part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled (Newark Advocate). The history of Ohio’s Native earthworks was also profiled by the BBC.
  • Jobs in Ohio’s oil and gas producing counties — all in Appalachia — have continued to lag, with unemployment rates that exceed the state average (Energy News Network). Meanwhile, State Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) is promoting a bill that would increase incentives for oil and gas pipelines (WTAP), opposed by the Ohio River Valley Institute (Ohio Capital Journal).
  • The campaign to limit voter-initiated ballot initiatives by Secretary of State Frank LaRose and some Republican legislators is a solution in search of a problem (OCJ). Over 140 groups have opposed the push (OCJ). Separately, statehouse Republicans are pushing proposals to limit voter access by requiring photo ID and reducing the amount of ballot dropboxes (OCJ).
  • The City of Akron’s refusal to release the names of officers involved in the killing of Jayland Walker has prompted the Akron Beacon Journal to bring the public records fight to the Ohio Supreme Court (Akron Beacon Journal).
  • A new interactive documentary produced by 100 Days in Appalachia recounts the history of The Wilds, the wildlife reserve built on 10,000 acres of reclaimed strip-mining land in Appalachian Ohio (10,000 Acres).

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