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Lawrence road closed for culvert replacement

ATHALIA, Ohio — Lawrence County 42 (Athalia Road) will be closed in the 600 block through Wednesday, Nov. 20, for a culvert replacement project, according to the office of Lawrence County Engineer Patrick Leighty.

Radio host says he won’t run to unseat Mitch McConnell

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky radio host returned to the airwaves after a hiatus to announce he won’t enter the race to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020.

Matt Jones left his popular sports talk show last week when the Kentucky Republican Party complained he was using it to promote his potential candidacy.

On Friday he was back to say he is “not going to be a candidate for office.” Jones says he has spent two years contemplating a foray into politics. He has been a critic of McConnell and is writing a book about the powerful six-term senator.

Jones went off the air after the GOP filed an election complaint that said his radio syndication company was contributing to his campaign by letting him promote himself on the air.

Sheriff: Student hospitalized after ‘vaping overdose’

OWENSBORO, Ky. — Authorities in Kentucky say a student was hospitalized because of a possible vaping overdose.

News outlets report a Daviess County High School resource officer told deputies that a female student was being taken to the hospital from a “vaping overdose.”

A news release from the county sheriff’s office says the student was treated and released from Owensboro Health Region Hospital.

The release says the vaping substance the student was “consuming” is being sent to a Kentucky State Police lab for analysis.

The investigation is ongoing. The release says six additional students and possibly others may face various drug charges.

County Public Information Officer Lora Wimsatt says the district is prohibited from sharing information about any medical or disciplinary issues regarding a student.

Stepping Stones introduces new agriculture program for tiny home village

WAYNE — About two years ago, Stepping Stones Inc. had the idea for a first-of-its kind tiny home village in the 1200 block of Buffalo Creek Road in Wayne County for youth transitioning out of the West Virginia foster care system where they can live and work by using the Youth Transition Project (YTP).

The YTP is a public-private partnership focused on youth ages 16-23 transitioning from foster care or experiencing homelessness.

The centerpiece of the project is a tiny home village with comprehensive life skills, employment training, education and well-being support provided by the broader community.

The goal is that disconnected West Virginia youth are supported to reach their full potential as they transition into adulthood.

On Friday, the organization hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce a first-of-its-kind commercial greenhouse and tower garden farm to be operated by foster care youth.

“Stepping Stones has partnered with UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia to develop agriculture programs for our tiny home village that includes a 1,200-square-foot greenhouse and hydroponic tower garden,” said Susan Fry, executive director of Stepping Stones.

Fry said funding for the hydroponic tower garden farm and greenhouse was made possible by an $80,000 donation from UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia.

“This is the largest donation we have ever received,” she said.

The tower garden farm and greenhouse is designed to provide fresh vegetables year-round.

“Stepping Stone youth will grow food not only for themselves as residents of the village, but they will also start a social enterprise where they sell some of the produce and learn how to run a business,” Fry said.

Fry added that students will donate excess fresh vegetables to the area’s homeless and recovery community.

“They are not only going to learn how to grow healthy foods, but also how to cook healthy and eat healthy,” she said. “Then they will share what they learned with their family and others in the community for the benefit of others.”

Youth in the tiny house village will also have the opportunity of pursuing a certification in agriculture in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Diversion and Transition, Fry added.

“They will get a two-year certification and can go on to community college or a university,” she said.

Stephen Ritz, founder of the Green Bronx Machine, developed the curriculum for indoor gardening that will be used at the new greenhouse and hydroponic tower garden.

“We are an organization that grows children, and our children grow vegetables, and our vegetables grow schools, and our schools grow communities, and our communities become resilient,” Ritz said. “We do it one student at a time, one classroom at a time, one greenhouse at a time and one community at a time.”

Ritz says the program was built on the belief that healthy students drive healthy schools, which in turn drives healthy communities.

“I have developed a fully integrated core curriculum that teaches students how to grow, eat and love vegetables, while also learning about math, science and English in a fresh and engaging way,” he said. “Students who have participated in this program have experienced health improvements that lower the risk of childhood obesity, diabetes and heart disease, while also increasing their performance in school.”

Ritz said he started the program in 2011 with a school in the South Bronx in New York.

“From the South Bronx to the middle of the mountains in the heart of West Virginia is exciting,” he said. “These young people are not only growing food, but growing hope and opportunity 365 days a year thanks to the amazing folks at UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia.”

Tadd Haynes, president of UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, said the company was happy to support the project.

“We helped collaborate and bring some folks together, as well as provide funding for this wonderful community project,” Haynes said. “This will be a fresh start for these students, and we think it will give the opportunity to gain some skills they can take with them for the rest of their lives. It’s great to see a company like ours giving back to the community and really helping build up some young people who have had some rough times in their lives.”

Ritz also thanked Marshall University so that students who go through the program can be connected with academic opportunities.

“We are taking a holistic approach that can transform communities and the way we look at recovery,” he said. “Today, we are touching (the lives of) 50,000 students daily across 20 states and five nations. In the next 18 months, we will be touching (the lives of) 500,000 students. This is a movement that is growing something greater by restoring health and opportunities for these students, and even more importantly it’s giving passion, purpose and hope to young people that need it.”

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

State agency says Ohio suicide deaths rose 45% since 2007

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The number of suicides in Ohio increased 45% from 2007 to 2018 amid a growing national public health crisis, according to a report released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Health.

Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton said suicide has also increased by more than 50% in young people between the ages of 10 and 24 over the same time period. It’s the leading cause of death for Ohio residents ages 10 to 14 and the second leading cause of death for residents 15 to 34, she said.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine responded to the report by saying his RecoveryOhio initiative seeks to address the mental illness and issues that lead to suicide.

“If you know someone is struggling, you may be able to help save someone’s life by recognizing the warning signs and steps to take,” DeWine said.

There are five suicide deaths each day in Ohio and over 1,800 such deaths last year, the report said.

Other findings in the report include:

n The number of suicides for those age 10 to 24 increased 56% while the rate increased 64% from 2007 to 2018.

n The rate for people 65 and older increased nearly 48% between 2007 and 2018.

n White, non-Hispanic males had the highest suicide rate.

n The suicide rate among black non-Hispanic males increased 54% from 2014 to 2018.

The Department of Health says some of the warning signs for people at risk of committing suicide include:

n Major mood changes with someone appearing unhappy, depressed and withdrawn from family and friends.

n Poor grades in school.

n High-risk behaviors, including the use of alcohol and other substances.

n Expressions of hopelessness.

n Self-harm, including cutting or burning.

n A personal or family history of depression.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services offers suicide prevention information and resources at https://mha.ohio.gov/.

Brenda Lucas: Community news for Saturday, Nov. 16

Community News

BAKE SALE: St. George Greek Orthodox Church hosts a holiday bake sale featuring 10 varieties of pastries at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, in the church basement. Pre-orders are not accepted.

MEET: Westmoreland Neighborhood Association meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at Westmoreland Woman’s Club. Capt. Ray Cornwell of Huntington Police Department presents the Westmoreland crime report. Mike Short provides update on memorial bricks and future plans for area around “Welcome to Westmoreland” sign at Camden and Auburn roads. Call 304-429-2428.

BABY: Jeremiah and Carla Cruz of New Baptist Church are parents of a new baby boy. Jonah Raymond Cruz, brother to Laynce Cruz, was born Sept. 11. May this bundle of boy add joy and love to the families.

LIGHTS: Winter Wonderland of Lights opens at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at Central Park Bandstand, Ashland. Featuring more than 500,000 lights, the event continues through Jan. 5, 2020. Train rides, visits and pictures with Santa and more are available. A parade begins at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 in downtown Ashland.

RECOGNIZED: Jon Hoover, a personal injury attorney from Barboursville, was recently recognized as one of “10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys for Client Satisfaction” by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys. This is a great honor for an attorney.

WORSHIP: The downtown Huntington community joins together for a Thanksgiving worship service at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at First United Methodist Church. The service is led by leaders of various congregations.

HERO: Cabell County Sheriff’s Deputy Jared Cremeans is a hero. He is recovering from three gunshot wounds recently suffered in the line of duty in the Ona area. Thanks for your service and all you do to try to keep safety in the county. Prayers and thoughts are with Deputy Cremeans and his family.

BAND: Jesse Stevens conducts the Marshall University Symphonic Band during “The Places You’ll Go” presentation at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at Smith Recital Hall. Featured works include Robert Sheldon, Samuel R. Hazo, Frank Tichell and Rossano Galante. Admission is free.

8: Kamryn Brooke Dunfee-Clark, great-granddaughter of Carolyn Byrd Williamson, turns 8 Monday, Nov. 18. May Kamryn enjoy a special fun-filled day with gifts of love, happiness and fulfilled dreams, with many more celebrations to follow.

GATHERING: The 16th annual remembrance gathering begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Henson and Kitchen Mortuary. Dr. David Lemming is the speaker. Light refreshments are served.

EVENT: Glass Club of Huntington hosts an interactive presentation from Blenko Glass designers Emma Walters and Andrew Shaffer, designers of 2019 West Virginia Day piece “Voices,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Huntington Museum of Art. Refreshments and Q&A session follow. Admission is free.

BLUEGRASS: A concert featuring Jesse Brock and Streamliner with Greg Blake begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Cabell County 4-H Camp Conference Center, Barboursville. Tickets are $15; $12 seniors; and $5 ages 12 and younger. Concessions are available. Call 304-743-5749.

LATE BIRTHDAYS: Terry Triplett Jr., Nov. 3; Stephanie Fetty, Nov. 4; Maridel Witten, Nov. 5; Brian Berry, Ashley Rottgen, Nov. 7; Larry Dickens, Nov. 8; Carl Chapman, Ron Nisbet, Robert Ratcliff, Nov. 10.

BELATED ANNIVERSARIES: Bob and Ruth Blankenship, Nov. 1; Larry and Beth Embrey, Butch and Debbie McCoy, Nov. 3; Bobby and Meredith Greene, Nov. 5; Jim and Linda Vealey, Nov. 6; Russ and Zenaida Prichard, Nov. 7.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS: Jennifer Harrison, Sharon Wimmer, Jeremy Adkins, Darrell Vanhorn, Kassie Dudding, Kimberly Blatt, Charles Brown, Carlos Monge, Dennis Cole Jr., Linda Losey, Libby Bird, Michael Brown, Sharon Jones, Debbie Milton, Patsy Neumeyer, Gary Robson, Julie Merritt, Peter Groff is over the 75 mark by 1 (76).

TODAY’S ANNIVERSARIES: Bristel and Justin Minsker, Keith and Pamela Smith.

SUNDAY’S BIRTHDAYS: Jacob Gray is a tween at 12, Teresa Maybin, Maddox Dean, Ken McGlothlin, Mary Cochran, Marc Rutherford, Bobbie Coyer, Paul Clevenger, Joe Bronosky, Victoria Peyton, Ashtyn Bradley, the Rev. Jamie Grump, Landon Campbell, Mary Scott, Mary Fugate, Vic Mays, Tatyanna Jones, Cincy Ballengee, Vickie Delp, Joan Gross.

SUNDAY’S ANNIVERSARIES: Rick and Linda Harris, Sam and Mary McClure celebrate No. 40.

CHUCKLE: One year Mark was in and out of the hospital. Each time, his tireless neighbors stepped in — mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway, taking his wife to the hospital, picking up prescriptions. After he recovered, his wife said, “I’d like to thank the neighbors for all they did. What would be something they’d appreciate?” Mark suggested, “Tell them we’re moving.”

Jake the Snake imparts wisdom to HHS students

HUNTINGTON — Just as he left an impact on the world of professional wrestling, WWE Hall of Famer Jake “The Snake” Roberts hoped to make an impact on the teenagers of Huntington.

Before spending Friday evening as Recovery Point West Virginia’s Embrace Hope keynote speaker, Roberts spent the day speaking to students at Huntington High School about the dangers of substance abuse.

Roberts was successful in his wrestling career, but his struggles with substance use disorder hindered him from doing more. In 2007, WWE started a program to pay for drug rehabilitation for former performers and Roberts was placed in a 14-week voluntary rehab program. However, Roberts was eventually abusing alcohol and drugs again. But with the help of friend and former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, Roberts entered long-term recovery in 2012. His journey was chronicled in the documentary, “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake.”

The eighth annual Embrace Hope dinner is the largest fundraiser for Recovery Point. The evening consisted of dinner, awards, and speaking engagements from current program participants and alumni of the program.