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Commissioners recognize ‘Red Ribbon Week’ with proclamation

Family Recovery Center, Jefferson County Drug Court Program reps on hand

TOGETHER FOR A GOOD CAUSE — The Jefferson County Commissioners approved a proclamation commemorating Red Ribbon Week, which encourages the display of red ribbons at homes and businesses to raise awareness for addiction issues and promotes drug-free lifestyles. On hand to receive the proclamation from Commissioners Tony Morelli, Thomas Graham and Dave Maple were Kevin Schrader, drug court officer, Doug Murray, Family Recovery Center youth coalition leader, Allison Boston and Laura Trifonoff of the drug court program, Ellen Rohde, Catholic Central student and Family Recovery youth coalition member and Ashley Wilson of the Family Recovery Center. -- Andrew Grimm

STEUBENVILLE — Addiction issues are something that has deeply affected the Ohio Valley.

Thursday, with representatives from the Family Recovery Center and the Jefferson County Drug Court Program on hand, the Jefferson County Commissioners passed a proclamation to recognize the country’s largest and longest-running campaign to raise awareness for the issue — Red Ribbon Week.

“It is a big problem,” Commissioner Tony Morelli said. “The overdose deaths in our area are so very, very concerning. I appreciate Family Recovery and any other group that is trying to battle this disease. It is close to me; it is something that I am very passionate about and always receptive of trying to help in any way.”

The campaign dates to the death of a Drug Enforcement Agency officer in 1985.

“We’re very happy to support this,” Commissioner Thomas Graham said. “Drug addiction, they estimate based on research I’ve seen, 10 percent of the workforce across the board, at least, have an addiction of some type. Whatever we can do to help out that cause, we’re happy to do it.”

Among those from the recovery center on hand for the presentation was Ellen Rohde, a Catholic Central student who is a youth coalition leader with the center’s youth program.

“The Red Ribbon Week celebration serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention programs,” Rohde said. “This year, Family Recovery Center has provided a Red Ribbon Week Banner and red ribbon shaped yard signs for each school district in the county to display. We’ve also provided various activities to get the students involved.”

She said there is also a Red Ribbon Week window decorating contest for area businesses.

“By placing the signs throughout the community, students hearing drug prevention messages and seeing the red ribbon window decorations, the community is seeing a consistent message — live drug free,” Rohde said.

Seeing someone young involved was especially encouraging for the commissioners.

“I’m very thankful that the youth are involved,” Graham said. “A lot of times you hear what is going on with the youth in the country. When you see youth like this get involved, it gives everybody great hope in the future of this country.”

“Your (age group) getting involved could have a tremendous effect, I really believe that,” Morelli said. “People who are using some type of chemical or are thinking about it are going to pay attention to your (age) group more than mine.”

Doug Murray, the recovery center’s youth coalition leader, said she is one of many county youths that have gotten involved from all six school districts in the county.

One activity Rohde did on her own with her peers is plan a theme week at her school based around different themes that tie into Red Ribbon Week.

“You did a great job,” Commissioner Dave Maple said to Rohde. “Just remember that (the younger generation) are the next people that need to be sitting up here, so it is a good first step for you to get involved in something like this.”

Red ribbon displays will be seen at businesses and homes across the county during the week, which runs from Saturday through Oct. 30.

“The problem needs supported from every angle it can be supported from,” Maple said.

Along the theme of younger people getting involved, the commissioners also made an appointment to the Jefferson County Regional Airport Authority.

Dustin Van Fossen of Richmond was approved to fill a vacant spot on the board by a 2-1 vote. Van Fossen, a graduate of Edison High School and Eastern Gateway Community College, is vice president of Diamond Specialized Inc. and is a pilot.

He said he grew up around the airpark and planes with his father and has been a pilot for six years.

It was noted that Anthony Mougianis of Apollo Pro Cleaning and Restoration and member of several boards in the county, also applied.

Morelli, while speaking highly of Mougianis, who he noted is a friend, made a motion to appoint Van Fossen because he said it is time to add some youth to the board. Graham also voted to approve.

“I talk about it all the time. I want to get the next generation of leaders involved in our county,” Morelli said. “I consider you one of those.”

Maple voted against Van Fossen’s appointment, telling him that it was nothing against him, rather it was because he wanted to be able to hear from Mougianis.

Graham noted that Mougianis was asked to attend the meeting and was unavailable this week and next.

Also for the airpark, the commissioners signed a contract with Shelly and Sands for a $2.6 million paving project to reconstruct taxiway A.

The project is 100 percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administration through CARES Act dollars.

The commissioners received the clarification they were seeking from a prosecutor’s review of the contract for transportation services between the Department of Job and Family Services and TranSmart USA.

The commissioners approved the contract pending the review from the prosecutor last week. Their concern was that an emergency resolution passed by the board after the bidding process may require it to be re-bid due to “confusing” wording during the meeting the emergency designation was passed.

The prosecutor determined that DJFS followed proper procedure.

The contract with TranSmart has a built in 90-day ramp-up period, during which the emergency designation may need to be used to supplement service without bidding.

Once that 90-day period is up, the emergency designation will end. The contract has a sub-contract clause, so after the 90 days TranSmart will be responsible to sub-contract services if needed.

Back to an item involving the exterior of the courthouse, the commissioners approved the Old Fort Steuben Project to use the courthouse for light and sound shows on select dates during the holiday season.

The shows will be held following the Steubenville’s light-up night fireworks on Nov. 23 and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 26 and 27, Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 and 23.

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