Buckeye Hills-HVRDD is Now Buckeye Hills Regional Council.
Monthly News & Updates:
Dec. 2017
Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews with Buckeye Hills Executive Director Misty Casto and Appalachian Regional Commission Executive Director Scott Hamilton to celebrate the regional ARC POWER project.

Buckeye Hills Hosts Launch of Appalachian Ohio Innovation Gateway Network
Features Marietta Partner: Building Bridges to Careers

Buckeye Hills was awarded $1.2 million by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support start-up of the gateways. The Innovation Gateway Network focuses on increasing employment and prosperity through alternative learning and career pathways. It will serve residents in eight Ohio counties (Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry & Washington) and Wood County in West Virginia.

Buckeye Hills hosted the kick-off for the Appalachian Ohio Innovation Gateway Network in November. The project is an ARC POWER grant recipient that featured Marietta project partner Building Bridges to Careers and its "big secret" unveiling - a new Epicenter facility!

Executive Director Tasha Werry, Ed.D, shared that by January, they will relocate from the Armory to an expanded space at the Tenney Building on Lancaster Street. The Building Bridges to Careers Epicenter is a comprehensive entrepreneurial education center. Plans are in the works to expand the Epicenter to include a makerspace with learning labs.   
The Innovation Gateway Network will consist of three multi-use facilities, one each in Somerset, Nelsonville and Marietta, Ohio. Each facility will host an innovative program of learning, makerspace activities and development of entrepreneurs. The project ties together the efforts of three Appalachian communities, magnifying the impact of their work in addressing common challenges.
A variety of anchor regional partners are supporting the Gateway's success including the Ohio University LIGHTS program that is leveraging innovation gateways and hubs toward sustainability in a much broader portion of the Appalachian region.

Workforce Development Funding Announced
Deadline: Dec. 13 at 4 p.m.

Buckeye Hills Announces Grants  
Pre-Application Process    
Projects Being Accepted for Workforce Development Funding Consideration
Buckeye Hills Regional Council is committed to assisting stakeholders across the region with identifying and securing resources that strengthen our communities. Buckeye Hills is now accepting pre-applications for the newly established Regional Job Training Program.  
This program is focused on providing opportunities for parties in the Buckeye Hills region to complete workforce development and job training activities utilizing Ohio Casino Licensing Fee funds allocated to the Ohio Development Services Agency.    
For consideration of new Workforce Development funding, applicants should complete a Project Profile. The Profile is now available at
All applications are due to Buckeye Hills by December 13, 2017,
at 4 p.m.
The simple, self-explanatory project profile form collects basic information about Workforce Development projects, including contact information, project description, type and readiness, regional impact, project partners and total project costs. Projects must serve residents in one or more of the region's eight counties: Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington.
  • Matching funds are not required for this program, but applicants who can contribute resources toward the completion of the proposed activity will be considered more competitively.
  • Requests greater than $250,000 may require additional information and review.
  • Applicants are encouraged to leverage existing workforce programs in conjunction with resources requested from Buckeye Hills.
  • Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate meaningful outcomes in the following areas: businesses served, communities served, students served, workers/trainees served, businesses improved, communities improved, students improved, workers/trainees improved, costs reduced, jobs created, and jobs retained.
Items listed above as 'served' are those involved with or benefiting from the project, items listed as 'improved' indicates those receiving a measurable impact as a result of the project.

Applicants complete the online pre-application form and submit it to Buckeye Hills. Based on the project information provided, staff will determine the appropriate projects for full application. For this particular Workforce Development project program, matching funds are not required but are strongly encouraged.
All Project profiles are due to Buckeye Hills no later than 4 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2017.
For answers on questions regarding the project profile process call Melissa Zoller at (740) 376-1027.

O'Neill Center Gets a New Roof

In the heart of downtown Marietta, Ohio, residents gather at the O'Neill multi-purpose center. They come for meals, activities, classes, arts and entertainment and more. Caregivers rely on the center to care for loved ones through its adult day program. It's one of over 10,000 centers that serve more than one million older adults every day across America.
With support from a $24,200 grant from the Governor's Office of Appalachia, the O'Neill Center replaced its aging roof that's been there almost 40 years since the facility's construction.
"Senior centers like O'Neill are community gateways that provide helpful resources to older adults that can help them stay healthy and independent. But they also serve the entire community with information on aging, support for caregivers, and developments of innovative approaches to issues on aging," said Jennifer Westfall, Buckeye Hills' Aging & Disability Division Director. "We are so pleased O'Neill secured support to enhance the facility. This is another great investment in improving Appalachia's health and its future."
Ohio's population of 65+ residents is growing dramatically, especially in Washington County. Westfall added that O'Neill has been a leader developing new programs and opportunities for a new, dynamic generation of older adults. The mission of the nationally accredited multi-purpose center is to help seniors be HIP: Healthy, Independent and Productive.
"Thanks to this award the O'Neill Center will be able to continue providing senior services for generations to come in our community," said Hillary Foster, Development Coordinator for the O'Neill Center. Learn more about O'Neill.
Photo courtesy of O'Neill Center
Meigs Tourism Location Benefits from New Road Project

Nestled in the Appalachian landscape near Pomeroy in Meigs County, Ohio, featuring serene hillsides, country trails, and crisp air, you'll find the Fur Peace Ranch.
Built in 1989, Jorma and Vanessa Kaukonen looked at a piece of land in Meigs and conceived what Jorma calls "a ranch that grows guitar players." They say that it's a place where both budding and seasoned musicians could immerse themselves for several days with brilliant instructors, and emerge with renewed inspiration and tangible progress in their music.
In addition to live concerts, they offer workshops with on-site cabins, concert hall, the Beatrice Love commercial kitchen and modern Pho Peace dining room with an executive chef, a gift shop, as well as a "Live from the Fur Peace Ranch" radio show broadcast weekly, and more.
But until recently, getting the Ranch was only possible via a private country road in Bedford Township that was not paved. With support from the Meigs County Commissioners and Meigs Economic Development Director Perry Varnadoe, Buckeye Hills Regional Council was pleased to support the St. Clair road improvement project in Meigs County. The Fur Peace Ranch is a Meigs County Tourism asset and ease of access is critical. The project received just over $47,000 from the Ohio Development Services Agency through the Ohio Governor's Office of Appalachia. The thousands of annual guests from literally all over the nation will now more easily access Fur Peace Ranch.

Photo courtesy of Fur Peace Ranch
Provide Your Input on Broadband Accessibility & Adoption

The internet continues to link itself to nearly every aspect of our daily lives: business, news, entertainment, communication, shopping, and education, just to name a few.* 
Access to reliable internet has become a necessity for individuals and business!  
Many still lack access to fast, reliable broadband services! The un-served populations live in less populated rural regions of the state like areas in the Buckeye Hills region. In fact, only 61% of the population living in rural areas has access to fixed broadband services, compared to 96% in urban areas, putting many rural areas at risk for lacking what is increasingly a necessity.* Research shows that bridging the divide and extending access to under-served areas will likely require a focused state effort.  
Toward a greater advocacy effort on behalf of areas in the region still behind in access to high speed technology (FCC minimum broadband speeds of 25Mbps download/3Mbps upload) , Buckeye Hills Regional Council has been asked to gather input from the region on Internet and Broadband access, use and limitations.
* Connecting the Dots of Ohio's Broadband Policy - Apr. 2017  

Rural and Small Town Public Transit Ridership Increased Nearly 8% Since 2007

Seniors, Veterans and people with disabilities have the highest public transit use, per APTA Study

While America's rural population declined by more than half a million people, small town and rural public transit ridership has increased nearly eight percent (7.8 percent) from 2007 to 2015, according to a new study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).  

The study authors of Public Transit's Impact on Rural and Small Towns  show that public transit's affordability and the demographic makeup of these areas combine to make public transit desirable for rural and small town populations.  Seniors, veterans and people with disabilities have the highest public transit use in these areas.
2018 Transportation Meeting Dates:

Public Meeting Notice: Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) Technical Advisory and Citizens Committee Meetings
The Buckeye Hills Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) Technical Advisory and Citizens Advisory Committees have set the 2018 meeting schedule:
  • Friday, January 19
  • Friday, April 20
  • Friday, Aug. 17
All meetings will be from 10a.m. - noon at Buckeye Hills' office located at 1400 Pike Street in Marietta. If you have any questions regarding RTPO meetings, please contact Karen Pawloski, Transportation Planning Coordinator at 740-376-7658.

Athens JFS Receives Partner Award

Congratulations to Athens County Job & Family Services (JFS) office on receiving a Partnership Award for their efforts with the Buckeye Hills $ponsor a $enior program. The effort takes seniors off of the waiting list for Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program coupons to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Partnership Award was presented at the annual meeting of the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Shown receiving the award is Scott Zielinski, Executive Director.

New Buckeye Hills Medicare $avings Brochure Now Available
Buckeye Hills is pleased to work in partnership through a grant from The Ohio Department of Aging and other agencies across Ohio to promote Medicare $avings to eligible seniors. The program shares information on how individuals can $ave on drug costs, premiums, co-pays and more. Medicare $avings programs are a service of Medicare yet many eligible individuals don't know about them!
If seniors meet certain income and resource limits, they may qualify for Extra Help from Medicare to pay the costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage. In 2017, costs are no more than $3.30 for each generic/$8.25 for each brand-name covered drug.
Seniors may pay only a portion of their Medicare drug plan premiums and deductibles based on their income level. In 2017, you may qualify if you have up to $18,090 in yearly income ($24,360 for a married couple) and up to $13,820 in resources ($27,600 for a married couple).
Buckeye Hills Information & Assistance staff can help seniors enroll over the phone! With just one call to 1-800-331-2644, with No travel!  
Help Available to Eligible Seniors for Cost of Home Heating

Ohio's Home Energy & Assistance Program can help with winter costs! Call 1-800-331-2644 today! Learn More in this Video! https://video214.com/play/SEyPo4RtS0d174aVqJu0Pw/s/dark
Dates to Note:

  • Dec. 1: Executive Committee Meeting & Luncheon
  • Dec. 6: District 18 Ohio Public Works Executive Committee Meeting
  • Dec. 8: Regional Advisory Council Christmas Luncheon
  • Dec. 25: Christmas (Offices Closed)
  • Jan. 1: New Year's Day (Offices Closed) 
As we celebrate the holidays, we look forward to a new year in 2018 and the kick-off of our 50th Anniversary Celebration! Thank you for being a partner with us serving the Buckeye Hills region!


Buckeye Hills Regional Council
 740-374-9436 or 740-373-6400 | 1400 Pike St. - Marietta, OH  45750  www.buckeyehills.org

Misty Casto: Executive Director
Rick Hindman, Asst. Executive Director
Bret Allphin - Development Director
Jennifer Westfall - Aging & Disability Program Director

Buckeye Hills Regional Council is organized as a voluntary organization of local government political subdivisions to foster cooperative efforts in regional planning, and implementing of regional plans and programs.
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