Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Ansonia Community Food Pantry

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In these challenging and difficult times of COVID-19 help can be found at the Ansonia Community Food Pantry.  Located in the Ansonia United Methodist Church – 200 West High Street in Ansonia – the Community Food Pantry operates through the cooperative efforts of the Ansonia First Church of God, the St. Henry Cluster in Burkettsville, and Ansonia UMC.  The food pantry is stocked with a variety of products through generous donations and financial support of the churches and the surrounding community.  Hundreds of individuals and families make contributions of money and food for the pantry, as well as such groups as Ansonia Animal 4-H, local Boy Scout and Cub Scout Pack 114, Girl Scout Troop 3077, the Ansonia American Legion 353, Ansonia FFA, the Ansonia Schools, Tribute Funeral Home, the Happy Place and Aktion Club.

The pantry is staffed and run entirely by volunteers from the three churches and provides food as well as some household products to assist residents of Darke County who may be in need.  Food vouchers are also offered to those who qualify.

The Ansonia Community Food Pantry is open from 10:00 – 11:00 am on Mondays and from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Thursdays, however, you will need to have an appointment scheduled to access the pantry.  Please call Ansonia UMC at 937-337-5781 for instructions on how to schedule an appointment.

STAR 88.3 GIVES LOVE

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Left: Amy, a single mom in Covington, and her family get a basket from Naomi Cantrell at STAR 88.3. Middle:  Delores (left), a widow from Maria Stein, and her daughter, who nominated her for a Christmas surprise from STAR 88.3. Right: Mike, a veteran from Union City, and Teri & Ken Sowinski, who nominated him for a Christmas surprise from STAR 88.3.
STAR 88.3, the local Christian radio station, loves to Give Love all year long.  Several times a year, the station accepts nominations for people to bless in a special way.  Christmas is one of those opportunities.  This month, STAR 88.3 surprised people in Covington, Maria Stein, and Union City.

Amy is a single mom in Covington.  She has three kids and she works on the front lines in the COVID fight.  Finances are a concern.  STAR 88.3 surprised her with a basket of gift cards and goodies for her and the kids.  It was a blessing to surprise Amy!

Delores from Maria Stein is a recent widow, since her husband passed away in June.  She has spent her entire life serving others – family, friends, and the community.  Because of COVID, she decided to cancel her family’s Christmas.  STAR 88.3 wanted Delores to know that she is loved and appreciated for all she does!  We met her at Do Good Restaurant and Ministry in Osgood.  She found a room full of people who wanted to surprise her and let her know she is appreciated!  STAR 88.3 gave her a basket and flowers.

Mike is a Marine veteran living in Union City.  He has overcome so much – addiction, the loss of his entire family, and many serious health issues – only to be in a very serious accident in October that put him in a wheelchair.  Mike has many broken bones that are still healing from the accident.  STAR 88.3 wanted him to know God has a plan for his life and he will get through these hard times.  Mike also got a basket from STAR 88.3.

STAR 88.3 is listener supported, so it is the station’s supporters that make events like this possible.  So many local businesses have been a part of this Christmas outreach as well.  STAR 88.3 would like to thank Bolyard Heating & Cooling, Julie Willis from EB Real Estate, Anne’s Avon, Helen’s Flowers, The Journey Home in Winchester, and Do Good Restaurant and Ministry in Osgood for their donations.

“This community’s generosity never ceases to amaze us!” said STAR 88.3 community representative Naomi Cantrell.  “We had a lot of very deserving entries this year, and we do what we can.  The businesses and individuals who donated show once again, even in a year of COVID, that our community is a wonderful place!  It is a blessing to put together these opportunities to Give Love to some very deserving people!”

STAR 88.3 is based in Fort Wayne, IN and can be heard locally on 88.9 in Darke County and the surrounding area.

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A Time of Good Cheer

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By Chris Mortensen, Greenville Middle School, Principal

We have so many blessings to be thankful for each year. This year is one that we have more to be thankful for than we could ever imagine. Sometimes the good things are hidden in the fog of all the other things that are occurring around us and we have to be able to look past this to see how much we really have that is truly a blessing. We often tend to focus on the negative things around us that seem to stand out and dominate all that we do. It is often nice to step back, let the fog lift and point out the positives that surround us.

The Middle School PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) team has faced particular challenges in finding ways to celebrate these accomplishments and successes this past year.

The team meets monthly and this year their challenge stemmed around trying to offer supports for students and staff in the face of the pandemic and the stipulations surrounding contact surfaces, social distancing and contact tracing that has been a guide in all we do for the past 10 months. The team  needed to look at our system to incorporate changes, and in some cases, abandon what we had done in the past. Assemblies would not work and having common rewards that students would be able to pick from seemed problematic due to so many students coming in contact with these items daily. The team needed to find ways to recognize the wave spirit yet, avoid these health risk factors, and several methods were identified.

The team was determined to recognize our students and staff and to aim efforts at building Middle School morale while placing an emphasis on academics. The first steps were how to replace the rewards that students had been able to select from in the past. The team determined that they would begin  providing individually wrapped rewards for students to be recognized weekly based on students upholding aspects of what it means to be a “Wave”. The team used the rewards and placed these in an envelope for students stating why they were being recognized. This was introduced to the students through the morning announcements along with what students needed to do in order to be considered for recognition. These included keeping their lockers cleaned and organized, entering and exiting the building in a safe manner without running or shoving and of course maintaining the proper use of masks and social distancing following the COVID 19 regulations of Mask Up, Back Up, and Wash Up. Students would receive the rewards for their accomplishments and would come up to administration commenting, “Look Mr. Mortensen, I was recognized for keeping my locker clean and organized. This is awesome!” The student held up his envelope and exited the building commenting that he couldn’t wait to let his parents know he was recognized.

The second recognition method involved students at each grade level being recognized by the staff for special accomplishment around the building. These students are selected as our students of the month. They get recognized in the board reports, newsletters and they earn the right to have extended recess and lunch privileges for themselves and three of their friends that they get to choose.

They are provided the extra time and given a seat of honor with their friends in the cafeteria. This one takes a step further and also recognizes the staff member who nominated the winners. These staff members also get a choice of reward including either an extended lunch with the administration arranging coverage of their Wave time on a date of their choosing or they can turn in their reward for lunch on the administration from the restaurant of their choosing...locally of course.

The third recognition for student accomplishment places a focus on academics. We have not finalized this for the building, but is one that we are excited to get into place. We owe this opportunity to the generosity and support of a couple of groups for the Greenville Middle School. The school with the assistance of The Greenville School Foundation Teacher Grant has supplied funds to purchase a 5-8 book vending machine that will allow students to earn rewards in the form of tokens for this machine. Students exemplifying what it means to be a GreenWave will be recognized and earn tokens, which will allow them to use the tokens to obtain a book of their choosing from the vending machine at no cost to the students. The PTA will discuss how they might support this effort as well, by supplying more tokens and books for the vending machine as we move forward.

The most recent recognition goes out for all students to be able to achieve and is connected to student accomplishment in academics. During December, students can earn a PBIS reward simply for doing their job as a GreenWave in completing their homework daily. Students who have no missing assignments during December through the eighteenth of the month will be eligible to earn a holiday treat, which includes entertainment provided through the school’s YouTube account for the last day of school before break. Another similar opportunity is being looked at for the end of the third quarter with students being able to attend a theater production being put on by our very own students in coordination with Mrs. Thompson the Middle School Theater advisor. We are excited to see what they have for us this year.

There are so many great things happening to recognize all of our students and staff and their accomplishments here at the Middle School. It is such a blessing to see the great things that students are doing throughout the building whether upholding the Wave way, showing positive behaviors as exemplified in the Seven Mindsets, or simply being recognized for accomplishments in completing all of their work through the month of December. The Greenville Middle School administration would like to thank those members of the PBIS team for their hard work in putting all of these recognition opportunities together for our students and staff. We would further like to thank the Greenville School’s Foundation for their support of our student’s academic success through the purchase of the 5-8 Book  vending Machine. Finally, a thank you to our PTA for support in our recognition efforts by supplying routine aid in funding, organization, and supporting a positive culture at the 5-8 Middle School. Thank you to all those involved in supporting our students and staff in these recognition efforts each year. 

Empowering Tutoring: An Amazing Project

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Edison State students comment on their volunteer tutoring experience

An Edison State Communications student works with
a Greenville Elementary student this fall. Social Distancing
and other health guidelines are maintained for the safety of all
volunteers, supervisors and students.

DARKE COUNTY - “The After School Program is an amazing group of people who come together to help kids who are behind in their academics.” This was the opinion of one of several Edison State students who participated in the After School Program at Greenville Elementary School. 

Another student said it meant a lot to her to see the progress the kids she worked with each week. “Seeing them remember words we spent extra time on,” she noted, “and seeing them fix their mistakes, hearing them talk about what they learned in class and using it to help them figure things out was amazing to watch.”

Seventeen Edison State Fundamentals of Communication students worked 195 hours with 18 first, second and third grade students at Greenville Elementary School. Participation in the program was not required. It was offered as an alternative to the traditional research project and final exam, and based upon the concept that actual experience in communication learning goals presented a “real world” opportunity that research and textbooks couldn’t match. 

In the college class, students learn that good communication skills require the ability to understand and interact with different personalities from different backgrounds, and with different educational needs. Volunteer tutors, under qualified tutor supervision, quickly learned that not all students learn the same way. Some need help with reading, others with math, some even with both. Approaches often required coming up with different ways to engage them. Regardless of the need, volunteers work to reinforce the efforts of the student’s teachers and support staff.

The communications students liked the idea that they could participate in helping a younger child learn.

“I think that this is a great idea to have young people come and teach students and help them get their homework done,” said one college tutor. “I was in a similar after school program in elementary school, and I think that it would have been more fun and interesting if local college kids were able to come help us,” she added.

While noting the value to their own growth, the students choosing the tutoring program also understood the value to families and the community.

“This program helps a lot of kids out that may be struggling in the classroom or just need some extra help that mom and dad cannot give them,” said one student. “I believe it is a high quality program with good intentions for the students at Greenville Elementary School. It has value to students and parents, also the community, because it shows that the school, and young adults, care about these children and want to see them succeed.

“There are many positive things that this program does,” he continued. “It helps struggling young students and gives college students the opportunity to learn how to deal with certain situations and real world educational needs.”

“I thought that it was great for personal character building, and that I could make a difference in a struggling child's life,” said another student.

“Going into this experience I was optimistic,” said the volunteer, who is a recent high school graduate. “I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like, but I knew I wanted to make a difference. In my opinion, Empowering Darke County Youth is a great program.”

Empowering Darke County Youth currently has After School Programs in three Darke County School Districts. The Edison State students volunteer, under supervision, at Greenville Elementary School. Efforts are underway to include Greenville Middle School students after the Christmas break. Ansonia uses its high school students, under staff supervision, to help students in grades 1 through 6. Arcanum-Butler uses a classroom format conducted by two staff members and a high school volunteer, to help students in grades 5 through 8.

If you would like to know more about Empowering programs, or how you can help, email empoweringyouth101@gmail.com. You can also find Empowering on Facebook, at its website, empowerdarkecounty.com, or by mail: P.O. Box 1113, Greenville, OH 45331.


Garst Museum Announces Dr. Harry Thomas Scholarship Recipients

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The Garst Museum and the Darke County Historical Society are pleased to announce the recipients of the H.G Thomas Medical Scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year. Awarded were four past Versailles High School graduates: Maggie Hedrick, Jadyn Mangen, Rachel (Shellhaas) Jamison, and Jenna Frantz.

The H. G. Thomas Medical Scholarship program, administered by the Darke County Historical Society, was established and funded in 1971 by Lowell Thomas and his sister Pherbia Thomas Thornburg in memory of their father Dr. Harry G. Thomas. The scholarship program was later increased by a bequest from Lowell Thomas’s estate, and the fund's interest also supplements the endowment.

To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must graduate from a Darke County high school and must have been accepted into an accredited medical school. Students may be considered for scholarship awards for each of their first four years of medical school.  Further information is available by contacting Garst Museum.

Rehmerts Donates to Darke County Parks

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Darke County Parks held their first snowman decorating contest in 2017 during the annual Winter Wonderland Luminary walk.  The contest was extremely popular with several organizations and business participating.  The success of that first event in December of 2017 was undoubtedly due to the time and effort of parks maintenance supervisor, Wayne Nichols.  

Wayne spent the day after Thanksgiving, on his personal time hauling logs, stacking and securing them as the foundation for the snowmen.  Without Wayne’s knowledge, patience and equipment, the daunting task never would have been accomplished.    Sadly, on December 3, 2017, the day after the luminary walk and contest, Wayne suddenly passed away. 

To honor Wayne and his hard work, Darke County Parks had chosen to name the contest after him.  In its 4th year, the Wayne Nichols Memorial snowman decorating contest took place on Dec. 4-6 during the 13th annual Winter Wonderland Luminary event at Shawnee Prairie Preserve.  

Thank you to the five organizations and businesses who participated including  Stelvideo Jr. Grange #216,  Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society, Rehmert’s Kawasaki KTM, Denlinger Home Solutions LLC and Annie Oakley Center Foundation.    

People’s choice award winner for 2020 was voted on by Facebook ‘likes’ on the park’s page.  Rehmert’s Kawasaki KTM received the most likes at over 270!  Darke County Parks would like to thank Rehmert’s Kawasaki KTM for donating their prize winnings back to the park district!  

For more information on this or any other Darke County Parks event visit the website at www.darkecountyparks.org or call the Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center at 937-548-0165.

Fort GreeneVille DAR Decorates Trees

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Fort GreeneVille Chapter, Daughters of the America Revolutions decorated Christmas trees at the Shawnee Prairie Nature Center and the Garst Museum.

The Garst Museum tree is located in the military room on the 2nd floor. The military tree was decorated by Diane Brittenham, Linda Riley, and Regent Brenda Arnett.

The Shawnee Prairie Nature Center tree is located at the entrance of the Nature Center and was decorated by Helen Wright, Shirley Hughes, Debbie Nisonger, and Karen Burkett. The decorated Christmas trees at the Shawnee Prairie Nature Center can be viewed online.

Darke County United Way Needs Your Help

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The Darke County United Way relies on the generosity of the Darke County community every year for its annual support campaign.  The majority of United Way funding comes from employee giving at various companies throughout the community.  With shutdowns and layoffs due to COVID-19, employee giving is down for 2020.  

“The needs are greater than ever, yet funding is down nearly $100,000 from last year,” stated Christy Bugher, Executive Director for Darke County United Way.  “More folks need help, but we will have less money to provide that help.”

Traditionally, Darke County United Way raises around $550,000.  This year they are expecting that number to be approximately $450,000.  “We need the community’s help,” shared Bugher.  “$100,000 is the entire budget for several of our agencies.  Cutting this much money from our allocation budget will be detrimental to our nonprofit agencies.  We need to make up as much of the difference as possible.”

In 2019, Darke County United Way financially supported 24 nonprofit programs that served over 21,000 Darke County residents.  Roughly 40% of Darke Countians were touched by a United Way agency.   Funded programs include rental and utility assistance, food banks, youth mentoring and tutoring organizations, cancer programs, hospice programs, mental health programs, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  Many of these programs rely heavily on United Way Funding.  

The United Way is asking the community for help.  Please consider a donation to the United Way.  No gift is too small or too large.  United Way is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.  All donations/gifts are tax deductible.  Additionally, the United Way has a monthly “Pizza for a Purpose” where you can donate to the United Way simply by eating pizza.  Follow their FB page for information on that fundraiser.  Also, they are planning an online auction for 2021.  If you have a business that is interested in donating an item for the auction, please contact Christy Bugher at 937-547-1272 or Christy@darkecountyunitedway.org.  

In conclusion, Bugher stated, “I’ve seen this community pull together in challenging times.  Now is one of those times where we need everyone to be generous with their resources.  If you are able to give financially, please do.  We all need to do our part to make sure Darke County continues to thrive despite our challenges.”

Donations may be mailed to Darke County United Way, PO Box 716, Greenville, OH 45331.  

Darke County United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every Darke County resident.  

VERSAILLES POULTRY DAYS ANNOUNCES 2021 THEME

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The 2021 Poultry Days festival theme is "A Village of Champions, Honoring Those Who Make Us Great!" This theme is inspired by the many everyday “champions” who make up our community… first responders, healthcare workers, laborers and business owners, to name a few. Our area has farmers to feed us, teachers to educate the young, and military to protect our families. What would our village be without utility workers, postal employees, coaches and religious leaders? Look around and see our talented performing artists, musicians, athletes, and FFA members who contribute to our community’s success. Together, we all do our part to make Versailles great and it is time to celebrate our champions! Who would you consider a champion? 

We would like to see participation from a wide variety of champions in the Grand Parade. So, think of your everyday champions and their accomplishments and let’s honor them! As usual, floats of all kinds are welcome to participate in the parade. The Poultry Days Board is counting on you to make the parade fun and exciting with the help of your creativity! The theme artwork is being drafted by Versailles native, Ben Bey, and will be released soon. Preparations for a successful Poultry Days 2021 are well underway!

This year’s Festival Chairman, Brent Pepple, has been on the Poultry Days Board of Directors for 8 years. Brent is employed at Midmark as a Senior Engineering Manager. He is a 2006 graduate of Versailles High School, earning his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from The Ohio State University and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Wright State University. Brent resides in Versailles with his wife Emily (Frey), and sons Tate and Callen. Emily also served on the Poultry Days Committee for three years. The Pepples are excited for a safe and enjoyable festival for all!

The Versailles 70th Annual Poultry Days Festival will be held June 11, 12, and 13, 2021. As one of Ohio’s oldest festivals, this event celebrates the area’s poultry-producing history. The board welcomes everyone to visit Versailles and enjoy the festival. Registration information for Miss Chick and other festival events will be posted as available at
www.versaillespoultrydays.com
.


Civil War Veterans Honored at Greenville Union Cemetery

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Fort GreeneVille Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and Greenville Union Cemetery Supervisor, Tracy Tryon, held graveside dedications for four Civil War Veterans at Greenville Union Cemetery. The four Veterans were Charles Rarick, William Ryan, George Farrar, and John Hughes.

While DAR members were documenting Veterans graves over the summer at the cemetery, it was found that two Civil War Veterans never had grave markers and two other markers needed replaced. DAR member Caroline Petitjean assisted the cemetery by submitting government-issued marker applications to Washington DC and all four Civil War markers were approved.

Charles W. Rarrick served in the Civil War in CO H 100 Indiana Infantry. He was a Private in the Union Army and listing August 28, 1862 and mustard out June 8, 1865. He was born December 9, 1844 and died October 31, 1924 he participated in 30 battles and escaped injured. After the war he became a teacher and later attended medical school. He began his medical practice in 1883 in Greenville. His parents were Phillip and Sarah Rarrick.

William H. Ryan served in the Civil War in CO B 152 Regt Ohio Infantry. He was a Private in the Union Army. Ryan enlisted May 2, 1864 and died May 23, 1864 in a hospital at New Creek, Virginia (now West Virginia) probably of disease. Hewas one of four brothers who served in the war. Two brothers, Frank and Daniel, survived and are also buried at Greenville Union Cemetery. John, the older brother, died April 11, 1864 at a Confederate prison at Danville, Virginia. They were the sons of Rudolph and Ellen Ryan.

George D. Farrar served in the Civil War in CO I 94th Ohio Infantry as a 1st Lieutenant in the Union Army enlisting August 6, 1862 and mustering out June 6, 1863. He was born November 12, 1841 and died October 4, 1919. Farrar fought in the battles of Chaplin Hills in Kentucky and the Battle of Stones River in Middle, Tennessee. After the war he worked as a printer in Texas for several years. Farrar died of tuberculosis from exposure to carbon-based ink. His parents are Josiah and Eliza Farrar.

John G Hughes served in the Civil War in the 1st Ohio Infantry as a Major in the Union Army. He enlisted April 16, 1861 and mustering out August 16, 1861. Hughes was born 1821 in Ireland and died 1875. On April 19, 1861, his regiment moved to Washington DC to defend the city. On July 21, 1861, his regiment covered the Army’s retreat to Washington after the Battle of Bull Run. John and his family moved from Montgomery County to Darke County by 1870. Hughes was a tailor by trade on the 1870 census. John also served in the Mexican war as a 1st Lieutenant 1st Ohio VOL Infantry from May 30, 1846 to November 10, 1846 and as a Captain 2nd Ohio VOL Infantry from August 7, 1847 to July 7, 1848.

Fort GreeneVille Chapter would like to thank all those involved in setting the new grave markers and to Tracy Tryon for all his assistance during this project.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

DARKE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE CONDUCTS SEX OFFENDER VERIFICATION SWEEP

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On January 5, 2021, the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville Police Department, Adult Parole Authority, Darke County Adult Probation, the Villages of Ansonia, Arcanum, Union City and Versailles Police Departments verified addresses of the sex offenders in Darke County.  While verification is an ongoing process throughout the year by deputies on patrol, a mass verification at one time is an efficient way to establish sex offender address verification and focus on those subjects that need appropriate follow-up to ensure the safety of our community. 

There are 93 registered sex offenders in Darke County.  All of those offenders’ addresses were checked and 69 were verified this morning.  One address was not checked because of COVID concerns. The other 24 offenders were checked, but contact was not made with those offenders.  There are a variety of reasons why contact was not made including the subject was at a place of employment, traveling, refusal to answer the door or absconded.

Deputies from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office will follow up and verify the addresses of these remaining offenders.  Any offenders found not to be in compliance with the law will be investigated and charges will be presented to the Darke County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

More information regarding sex offenders can be found on our webpage, darkecountysheriff.org.

Anyone with questions about this project may contact the Darke County Sheriff’s Office at (937) 548-1193 and direct your call to Stacey. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

DCP offers Christmas Tree Recycling

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Christmas is here! It’s time to gather around the tree and unwrap gifts with our friends and loved ones. What do you plan to do with your tree after Christmas has passed? After the holidays, most real trees make their way to the curb to be hauled off to the landfill. You may be thinking, they’re biodegradable so what’s the problem?  When organic waste, like a live tree, breaks down in a landfill, it does so without oxygen. In this process, methane is released. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas with a 100-year global warming potential 25 times that of CO2. In an effort to keep trees out of the landfill, Darke County Park District is offering Christmas tree recycling once again. Collection begins December 26 th through  anuary 16 th . Drop your tree off at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, 4267 St. Rt. 502 W. Greenville, OH. Trees will be shredded to replenish mulch on the park district’s walking paths. 

Some trees are also used to provide enrichment in the form of perching options and shelter in the  enclosures for the birds of prey.

DCP is accepting natural trees only, no greenery or wreaths, and no flocked trees (fake snow). Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, and lights. No plastic bags. For more information call 937-548-0165.

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