Buckeye Hills-HVRDD is Now Buckeye Hills Regional Council.
Monthly News & Updates:
Sept. 2017

Appalachian Program Grant Supports OhioHealth's Effort to Offer Mobile Mammography to Region

OhioHealth received a $250,000 grant from the Ohio Governor's Office of Appalachia (GOA) to develop its $1.7 million mobile mammography unit for the region. Buckeye Hills serves as the local development district for the Appalachian Regional Commission and GOA.

In Ohio, cancer death rates and late-stage incidence rates are higher than the national average, and women in rural Appalachian Ohio face an increased risk of dying from breast cancer.

According to OhioHealth, the mobile mammography program will be the first Athens County-based program providing accessible, advanced screening in underserved areas in the region. The unit will be based at the Nelsonville Health Center for weekly services and travel to major community events in the region to enhance awareness of screening mammograms.

"The state is a proud partner in this project," said Jason Wilson, Governor's Office of Appalachia director in regards to the agency's investment in the mobile mammography project. "Early detection helps saves lives."

Other project partners included American Electric Power ($650,000), Susan G. Komen Columbus ($250,000), Charles G. O'Bleness Foundation ($100,000), Peoples Bank Foundation ($25,000), Mark and Kathy Seckinger ($25,000), OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital Charity Golf Tournament ($20,000) and OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital (over $600,000 for program operational support).

OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare organization with Methodist roots. Based in Columbus, OhioHealth is currently recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics and has been for five years in a row.
Source: OhioHealth 

Appalachian Regional Commission Releases FY2018 County Data

The number of distressed counties in the 13-state Appalachian region remains at 84, according to ARC's index-based county economic classification data updated for fiscal year 2018. ARC's economic classification system compares each county's averages for three economic indicators-three-year average unemployment rate, per capita market income, and poverty rate-with national averages.

Counties are designated as distressed, at-risk, transitional, competitive, or attainment, based on their ranking in the index. ARC uses these annual data to identify and monitor the economic status of counties in the region.

The Buckeye Hills region includes two distressed counties: Athens and Meigs; two at-risk counties: Monroe and Morgan and four Transitional counties: Hocking, Noble, Perry & Washington. 

  Buckeye Hills RTPO Meeting: Sept. 8

The Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO)
Technical Advisory and Citizens Advisory Committee will meet Sept. 8, 2017, at 10 a.m. at 1400 Pike Street, Marietta, OH. If you have any questions regarding this meeting, please contact Karen Pawloski, Transportation Planning Coordinator at 740-376-7658.  
Transportation Alternatives Program Funding Announced
More than $4 million to communities 
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 10 seven communities in the district will receive a total of more than $4 million from the 2017 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).
Each January ODOT invites local agencies to submit Letters of Interest describing their proposed projects and how they meet the requirements and objectives of the Program. ODOT evaluates each letter and then invites the project sponsors who have a qualifying project to submit a more in-depth, formal application by the middle of May of each year.

"Those applications go through a scoring process and the merits of each project are discussed by a committee to determine which projects will be funded. Applications exceed the available funds each year," said ODOT District 10 Planning Engineer Alan Craig.

Disbursements are as follows:
Morgan County: Muskingum River Multi-Use Path - $500,000
This is a multi-use transportation alternative project located along the Muskingum River in Morgan County (District 10) and more specifically in the Villages of Malta and McConnelsville.
Belpre Township: Right of way acquisition for Athens/Belpre Rail Trail - $237,500
This project will acquire a 1.6 mile long segment of abandoned railroad right-of-way in Washington County, currently owned by CSX Corporation, extending between Collins road (about 0.5 miles east of the county line) and the community of Little Hocking.

City of Athens: NW Athens Bikeway Spur Phase 3 - $311,659
The "NW Athens Bikeway Spur Phase III" project will connect the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway to the northwest area of the City, completing connectivity to an expanding corner of Athens.

Green Township: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Phase 4 - $500,000
Railroad tie replacement and ballast work for this National Register of Historic Places listed railway.
Athens County : Village of Chauncey Bikeway Connector - $1,500,000
The Chauncey Bikeway Connector project connects the existing 21 mile long Hockhocking Adena Bikeway to the Village of Chauncey.

City of Logan: Main Street Sidewalk Improvements - $1,100,000
The project will replace existing deteriorating sidewalks in much of the downtown area and rehabilitate existing streetscape lighting that is not functioning properly. This will lay the necessary groundwork for improving the downtown infrastructure, bringing in tourists to the area and improving the local economy.
Village of Middleport: Leading Creek Watershed Multi-Purpose Trail Phase 2- $336,938.86
The Middleport Multipurpose Trail Phase II will connect our existing 1.6 mile multipurpose trail and extend it through tree shaded residential areas ending at the Marina, a park area which includes a boat launch into Leading Creek with access to the Ohio River for kayaking and canoeing, beautiful wooded and picnic areas and a paved parking lot for boat trailers and vehicles.

Vinton County: Moonville Rail Trail Bridge Phase 3 - $439,000
This project consists of installing 3-4 bridges, using existing abutments and recycled historic structures, if possible, and new materials as needed.
Source: ODOT D10 

PASSPORT Program Supports Independence at Home
PASSPORT consumer, Ralph Griffith, shown center, credits his Interim Home Health Nurse Kira Brooks, LPN (at left) and the Buckeye Hills Home Modification program coordinator, Joe Gage, for helping keep him at home, where he prefers to be.

Nestled in the beauty of the Hocking Hills near Logan, Ralph Griffith is at home where he prefers to be. The Ohio PASSPORT waiver and Home Modification programs, administered locally by Buckeye Hills Regional Council through its Aging & Disability program, are supportive resources that help him stay there.

Growing up on a family farm, Ralph enjoyed working hard, driving tractors and more. Yet, he developed juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at a young age. The disease has impacted his mobility ever since. Years ago, he was forced to leave a job he loved with the Hocking County Engineer's Office and to give up farming. Today, he enjoys being independent in his home with support from PASSPORT.

"Most seniors we encounter prefer to stay in their own homes, in the communities they know and love," said Aging & Disability Program Director Jennifer Westfall. "Before Medicaid waiver programs, older adults who needed long-term care would eventually be in nursing facilities. The PASSPORT program helps Medicaid-eligible seniors, like Ralph, get the services and support needed to stay at home, all the while saving taxpayer dollars."

According to the Ohio Department of Aging, PASSPORT is a two-pronged program. The first part is a pre-admission screening by telephone to determine preliminary Medicaid eligibility and care needs, and to provide information about the variety of available long-term care options. The second part of PASSPORT is home care. Once an individual is determined eligible, a case manager works to develop a package of in-home services delivered by local service providers. The case manager then monitors the care plan for quality and needed changes.
Last year, PASSPORT allowed about 1,280 seniors in Buckeye Hills' eight-county region to remain at home for a fraction of the cost of nursing home placement. PASSPORT is designed to promote independence for individuals at home with long-term care needs such as; personal care, home maker services, home medical equipment, respite services, home delivered meals and minor home modifications, to name a few.
"We were able to coordinate Ralph's new covered handicap accessible deck with slip resistance to the entrance of his home with support from PASSPORT and the Ohio Housing Trust Fund programs," said Buckeye Hills Home Modification program coordinator, Joe Gage. He added that the contractor was Debbie Streight, one of the only female contractors in the region. "She is very knowledgeable with handicapped access abilities and is always straight forward with the consumer in sharing what work will be done."

"This new ramp is 200 percent better than what Ralph had before," said Interim Home Health Nurse, Kira Brooks, LPN.

Ralph explained that he was headed for a nursing home before he learned of programs that could help support him at home.

"I was proud to work and to serve the taxpayers, but when I couldn't work any longer, I was so fortunate to have these ladies who care for me and who know about the help available," added Ralph. "I have a quality of life now because each one has helped me in so many different ways." Ralph receives personal care support and homemaker services such as house cleaning and laundry, as well as assistance with his medications.

"This ramp has been a blessing," said Interim Home Health aide Anna Tipton. "He is not as depressed and gets out more with Lady (his companion dog)." Anna added that she enjoys being a home health aide. "I used to work for a nursing home and it's just not possible to give one-on-one attention and care like we can in the home setting."

The Buckeye Hills Aging & Disability program has certified specialists in information and assistance ready to help caregivers and families connect to services whether it's PASSPORT or other community options. Call 1-800-331-2644, or visit www.buckeyehills.org/aging.

Roger Hendricks, John Lewis, Jeff Sturgill, Charlie Buckalew and Kevin Abrams, employees of Aspire Energy located in Athens, Ohio, made a $100 donation to Sponsor a Senior for the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program.  

Thanks to their generous donation Buckeye Hills Regional Council will be able to provide $50 worth of coupons to two income-eligible senior citizens who are on the waiting list to receive coupons. With the coupons, those seniors will be able to purchase locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey from participating farmers. Shown are Roger Hendricks and Cathy Ash, LSW - Senior Farmers Market program manager.

Special thanks to additional donors including:Athens County Job & Family Services; Washington Co-op; Summit Acres; Settlers Bank; Kay Callihan; Misty Casto; June Holley; Troy Montana and others who wished to be unnamed (as of 8-18-17).  

Regional Programs Benefit Seniors
Sponsor a Senior Effort Continues

Since its launch last month, more than $6,500 has been pledged to support taking seniors off the region's Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program waiting list.

The annual Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program is so popular that inevitably t he demand outpaces the available funding. Year-over-year, the Buckeye Hills region in southeast Ohio maintains waiting lists with hundreds of seniors who never get coupons for fresh market items. The Buckeye Hills Regional Council is the lead agency for the Southeast Ohio Aging & Disability Resource Network and administers the program.
The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides income-eligible senior citizens with special coupons worth $50 to enjoy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey. While the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program is funded by USDA and the Ohio Department of Aging, their funding is LIMITED. Many income-eligible seniors are placed on waiting lists.      
Program coupons may be exchanged for eligible foods from authorized farmers. Only fresh, locally grown fruits, herbs, vegetables and honey are eligible to be purchased with the coupons.

"Since 1974, we have been a trusted source for information and access to a full-range of available services, programs and options to help individuals, regardless of age or disability, remain at home," said Aging & Disability Director Jennifer Westfall. "This year, we decided to create the $ponsor a $enior program and ask the community to help us meet the demand for Senior Farmers' Market Coupons in the form of donations. A donation of $50 will sponsor one of the 500+ seniors in Southeast Ohio on the current waiting list for Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program coupons."
Westfall added that the $ponsor a $enior program will also benefit Project Lifesaver. This technology, in the hands of certified law enforcement partners, helps find people with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer's disease or Autism when they wander from a caregiver.

Clients are outfitted with a transmitter about the size of a watch - worn on the wrist or ankle. Should the client wander, the caregiver notifies 911 and the local Sheriff's Office begins a search immediately using Project Lifesaver equipment. Without the technology, searches can last hours or days. Through community donations, the program is offered free to seniors and $350 will sponsor one enrollee on the Project Lifesaver Program. 
Your donation (of any amount) can help provide services and    
support to seniors in need across 8 counties in Southeast Ohio.
Mail donations to: Buckeye Hills Regional Council 
1400 Pike St. Marietta, OH  45750
 Click here to learn more! 

Go Fund Me transaction and processing fees will be deducted from your donation. Donations are not tax deductible as Buckeye Hills is not a 501(c)3.

Dates to Remember:
Sept. 8 - RTPO Committee Meeting 
Sept. 13 - Natural Resources Assistance Council Informational Session (Round 12 Clean Ohio Funding)
Oct. 6 - Semi-Annual General Policy Council Meeting 

50th Anniversary Plans Underway

In Sept. 1968, Buckeye Hills was established. Shown are the organization's leaders Gerald McComb (left), first Executive Director of Buckeye Hills and Forest Smith, first President. As we prepare for our 50th anniversary in 2018, we'd love to hear your stories, learn more about projects or services in your area or share your photos! Please contact us at 1-800-331-2644 or send emails to: gstewart@buckeyehills.org.
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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