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.

Friday, December 4, 2020

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at DCP

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The nature center at Shawnee Prairie Preserve has been buzzing with holiday excitement over the past few weeks. Several groups visited the last part of November to decorate the trees that are scattered throughout the center. This is a yearly tradition that many groups look forward to. Several organizations decorated trees including the Jingle Belles, Fort Greenville Chapter DAR, DC Birders Club, Skein Gang, Greenville Art Guild, Horse and Rider 4-H Club, Saint Mary’s School, West Central Ohio Gourd Patch, and various volunteers. DCP encourage everyone to visit and enjoy the beautifully decorated trees inside the nature center.

Volunteers have also been at work prepping the gift shop, which has now been reopened to the public. Some new items in the gift shop include DCP camp mugs, bird-friendly shade-grown coffee, reusable shopping bags, and metal straws. There’s still a limited supply of maple syrup available from this past spring. If you’re looking for a unique gift for the nature lover in your life, come check out the jewelry, toys, t-shirts and other nature-themed gifts available. The gift shop is managed by volunteers and Friends of the Darke County Parks and all proceeds go to the Friends of the Parks. Gift Shop hours are Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm.

Don’t forget to register for this weekend and enjoy DCP’s first Winter Wonderland Auto Tour. This year, Winter Wonderland will be a COVID-safe auto tour at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. While the luminary walk through the woods will be missed, this year’s event will be a wonderful alternative for 2020. Instead of only three hours on one evening, the Winter Wonderland will be offered Friday (Dec. 4) through Sunday (Dec. 6) from 6 to 9 p.m. each night.

Each night, staff will be passing out a take-home craft kit to the first 65 children. Wave to Santa and the elves while driving by the Log House and Blacksmith shop. Don’t forget a letter to Santa to drop in the mailbox.

THIS WEEKEND (Dec. 4-6), Shawnee Prairie trails and park will be CLOSED, except for the Winter Wonderland (pre-registration required) event. Please explore and enjoy one of the many other Darke County Parks!

To register for this free event visit or call 937-548-0165.

Fort GreeneVille Donates “Box of Sunshine”

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In the midst of the unknown, students and teachers alike need our community support.  In a typical year, teachers spend, on average, $450 out of their own pockets on supplies for students.  To help reduce school costs that families may be experiencing at this time, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Community Classroom Committee team has created a “Box of Sunshine” project to promote education.

Locally, Fort GreeneVille Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution recently donated a “Box of Sunshine” to the 1st and 2nd graders at St. Marys School in Greenville. The “Box of Sunshine” contained art supplies, Amazon gift card, facial tissues, and hand sanitizer to the students in Kathy Ayette’s classroom.

Pictured: DAR Chapter Community Classroom Chair Sherri Jones, Grady Jones, Kathy Ayette, and Principal Vernon C. Rosenbeck

Volunteers are Essential at Garst

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Finding a singular word that aptly describes what this year has been is a challenge. Part of that difficulty is owed to how the events of 2020 impact us each so differently. There cannot be a universal word that can serve as the sum of our individual experiences. Words like loss, anxiety, tension, anger, fear, disrespect, and division are honest descriptions that the majority of people use in their discussions about this year. There are, however, other words that can be used to describe 2020. The Garst Museum offers these descriptions to consider adding to our vocabulary—gratitude, generosity, community, reinvention, compassion, and perseverance.

This year has forced all of us, the Garst Museum included, to reconsider the degree in which we depend on and interact with our communities. The museum immensely depends on the people of Darke County communities through their volunteerism. The importance of these individuals cannot be downplayed. Our volunteers generously supply their energy and time for a common goal of sharing the history of Darke County with others. This year brings the well-being of our volunteers to the forefront of the Garst Museum’s concerns; keeping our volunteers healthy and safe is a priority. Because of this, the Garst Museum postponed a long list of programs, services, and events that primarily operate with the help from volunteers. Docent-led tours, accessioning, speaker series, the Gathering at Garst, Museum in a Suitcase, and more have been postponed until safer circumstances prevail.

The absence of the Garst Museum’s volunteers is startling. It serves as a reminder of the impact that they have and the energy they provide. Traditionally, our volunteers are honored annually at the Garst Museum’s Volunteer Luncheon. Despite the 2020 luncheon being canceled due to safety precautions, the Garst Museum wishes to thank its volunteers. The museum invites volunteers to pick up a specially created gift that expresses our sincerest gratitude. Gifts will be available through December .

The Garst Museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Masks are required. Please contact us at 937-548-5250 to learn more about our gratifying volunteer opportunities.

Garst Museum Creates Holiday Pop-Up Shop

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The Garst Museum refuses to let the pandemic turn everyone into a grinch this year. Fanciful trees are being fussed over and decorated by Butterflies Junior Garden Club, DAR, VFW, and Wildflowers Garden Club, while embellishments are being sprinkled about. Though our traditional Holiday Open House has been postponed for a year, we continue to encourage folks to visit the Garst Museum for a dose of yuletide inspiration.

The staff at the Garst Museum has recently undertaken the duties of Santa’s elves working industriously to create a stockpile of wonderfully interesting gifts. This year marks the first ever “Historical Holiday Pop-Up Shop” within the Garst Museum and we’re betting it’ll become a beloved holiday tradition. You will find bundled books for the history lover on your list, wool old-fashioned socks stuffed with Garst Museum memberships, curious journals filled with time-lost stories and lessons, and assortments of hardback books detailing the treasured past of Darke County. Our elves have not forgotten about the youngsters. Kiddos will be delighted to have puzzles, wooden toys, plush animals, story books, and coloring projects. Specially selected items within the Museum Store will be discounted. Items within this sale, running through December, include Christmas and holiday themed coloring books, festive soundtracks, Old Time Christmas Angels, and more.

Visit our pop-up Historic Christmas Shop in the Lowell Thomas Meeting Room to find gifts that give friends and family a glimpse into Darke County. You will discover that most gifts have already been smartly wrapped and trimmed with plaid paper—what could be better? Plus, members of the Garst Museum receive an automatic 10% discount off their purchases.  Reinvigorate your sense of a community Christmas and put the Garst Museum on your spots to shop from this year!

The Garst Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Masks are required.

Young Hunters Gain Invaluable Experience During Youth Weekend

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s young hunters checked 5,795 white-tailed deer during the 2020 two-day youth gun season on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21-22, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. All of Ohio’s youth hunting opportunities are available to anyone who is 17 years old or younger during the season dates.

“The Division of Wildlife is pleased to provide the chance for youth hunters to pursue white-tailed deer during their special weekend every November,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Learning to hunt from an experienced mentor is a time-tested and valuable method for teaching the next generation.”

The top 10 counties for deer harvested during the youth season include: Coshocton (239); Holmes (223); Tuscarawas (206); Muskingum (172); Knox (168); Guernsey (148); Harrison (133); Washington (121); Morgan (118); and Ross (118).

The most deer taken during a two-day youth season was in 2007, when 10,059 deer were checked by young hunters. This year, 40,030 youth deer permits have been issued and can be used during any 2020-2021 deer season. This number does not include young hunters hunting on their family’s land that are not required to have a permit. The average deer harvest during the past three youth seasons is 5,909.

Ohio offers many more opportunities for hunters of all ages to pursue deer. The deer-gun season is Monday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 6, as well as Dec. 19-20. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 2, through Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Deer-archery season is open now through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. Find complete details in the 2020-2021 Ohio Hunting Regulations or at More information on previous seasons can be found in the Deer Harvest Summary.

Youth hunters were required to be accompanied by a nonhunting adult during the weekend deer season. Youth hunting seasons are also available for small game, wild turkey, and waterfowl. Anyone interested in learning to hunt or becoming a mentor to a new hunter can visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community Page for information on how to get started, hunting-related workshops, and special hunting opportunities for mentors and new hunters.

The Division of Wildlife can help you take advantage of all Ohio has to offer. Download the HuntFish OH app and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, and local wildlife information. The Your Wild Ohio Hunter Facebook page provides hunting tips and useful information as you get outside this season.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit to find out more.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

Editor’s Note: A county list of all white-tailed deer checked by youth hunters using a shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun, or straight-walled cartridge rifle during the 2020 youth deer-gun hunting season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2020. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest by youth hunters in 2016, 2017, and 2018 during the same time period. A three-year average provides a better overall comparison to this year’s harvest numbers, eliminating year-to-year variation because of weather, misaligned season dates, crop harvest, and other unavoidable factors. Harvest numbers below are raw data and subject to change.

Adams: 75 (110); Allen: 45 (32); Ashland: 88 (124); Ashtabula: 115 (129); Athens: 85 (113); Auglaize: 47 (32); Belmont: 102 (130); Brown: 62 (70); Butler: 38 (28); Carroll: 117 (121); Champaign: 29 (39); Clark: 12 (20); Clermont: 42 (55); Clinton: 32 (30); Columbiana: 116 (97); Coshocton: 239 (258); Crawford: 43 (41); Cuyahoga: 0 (1); Darke: 27 (31); Defiance: 99 (65); Delaware: 18 (25); Erie: 16 (58); Fairfield: 52 (55); Fayette: 15 (13); Franklin: 11 (10); Fulton: 39 (20); Gallia: 99 (89); Geauga: 32 (40); Greene: 23 (22); Guernsey: 148 (156); Hamilton: 7 (10); Hancock: 68 (39); Hardin: 50 (43); Harrison: 133 (123); Henry: 46 (22); Highland: 111 (101); Hocking: 48 (82); Holmes: 223 (191); Huron: 85 (81); Jackson: 84 (99); Jefferson: 73 (74); Knox: 168 (170); Lake: 13 (8); Lawrence: 53 (60); Licking: 102 (141); Logan: 65 (70); Lorain: 54 (53); Lucas: 10 (8); Madison: 19 (20); Mahoning: 29 (41); Marion: 37 (26); Medina: 70 (40); Meigs: 99 (123); Mercer: 37 (28); Miami: 18 (24); Monroe: 98 (87); Montgomery: 13 (11); Morgan: 118 (105); Morrow: 55 (45); Muskingum: 172 (167); Noble: 107 (96); Ottawa: 12 (18); Paulding: 70 (44); Perry: 66 (85); Pickaway: 28 (30); Pike: 49 (70); Portage: 41 (59); Preble: 24 (38); Putnam: 53 (39); Richland: 98 (96); Ross: 118 (135); Sandusky: 28 (21); Scioto: 78 (81); Seneca: 100 (78); Shelby: 37 (39); Stark: 51 (71); Summit: 8 (9); Trumbull: 74 (76); Tuscarawas: 206 (217); Union: 32 (31); Van Wert: 30 (26); Vinton: 57 (81); Warren: 19 (25); Washington: 121 (117); Wayne: 82 (79); Williams: 51 (37); Wood: 50 (34); Wyandot: 81 (68).

2020 Total: 5,795

Previous Three-Year Average Total: (5,909)

Christmas Wreath Placed at Veterans Memorial

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Fort GreeneVille Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and the Ladybug Garden Club held a Christmas wreath dedication at the Darke County Veterans Memorial. The Veterans Memorial is located at the Darke County Courthouse.

The beautiful wreath, adorned with a large patriotic bow, is in honor of all Darke County veterans and active duty military. A dedication prayer was given by Fort GreeneVille Chapter Chaplain Karen Burkett.

Pictured are Ladybug Garden Club members Kim Cromwell and Charlene Thornhill, Darke County Commissioner Matt Aultman, and DAR members Karen Burkett, Linda Riley, Shirley Hughes, Doris Aultman, Regent Brenda Arnett, Sherri Jones, and Debbie Nisonger.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Stockades Successfully Moved

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Both stockades in the Greenville City Park have been successfully moved to higher ground and placed on cement slabs. The next step is to finalize repairs such as replacing the roofs. 

Progress can be followed at

Positive Behavior Intervention Systems - by Jake Fitzgerald Asst. Principal GES

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In 2018, the Ohio Department of Education began a new system for our state called the Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS). Although this is now almost 3 years old, many people are still unaware of what it is. This article is written with the intent of educating our district families about the background of PBIS, the implementation of the system at Greenville and how it is continuing to be used within our district.

According to the State of Ohio Department of Education (ODE), their purpose for trying to institute a PBIS system was to create a “schoolwide systematic approach to embed evidence-based practices and data-driven decision- making to improve school climate and culture to achieve improved academic and social outcomes and increase learning for all students”. This was adopted in November of 2018, by then Gov. Kasich, in House Bill 318. In this bill, schools were required to provide professional developments and/or state trainings to help train teachers. PBIS was required to be implemented by every school in the 2019-2020 school year.

Greenville was able to attack this head on and instituted a PBIS system called PAX. PAX is a universal preventative intervention system focused on student ownership of behavior. Almost all kindergarten – fourth grade teachers were sent to be PAX trained. While getting teachers and students to change their mind set from a punishment system to a positive behavior system is not always easy, Greenville  Elementary has had great student and teacher buy in. This has created a positive student and teacher community focused on doing good things.

As you enter our Elementary today, you will notice the elements of PAX everywhere. You will see teachers focusing on praising students for doing the correct things and many times their verbal praise is coupled with incentives. Some teachers give their own form of prizes called “Granny’s Wacky Prizes”. Another incentive you may see involves popcorn tickets being given to those with positive behavior. Popcorn tickets are then put into their classroom bucket, giving them a chance in a drawing to receive a bag of popcorn from the concession stands on Fridays. However, the prize most loved is being a “Wave Wonder”. Each month, one student from each class is chosen to have a special lunch with Mr. Fitzgerald and Mrs. Copas, and then Mr. Fitzgerald plays a game with those kids after their lunch. One student said, “Being a Wave Wonder was already the best thing of this school year!”. Another student said, “It was so much fun to be able to spend time with Mrs. Copas and Mr. Fitz. I loved playing Zombie tag with him!”. As you can tell, PBIS and PAX are no longer just an intervention system but rather have become the driving force for the positive culture of our school.


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Greenville, OH.  Just in time for your holiday shopping and gift list – The Greenville Business and Professional Women’s Club has the perfect gift!  The club was looking for a way to help our small businesses who have been affected by COVID restrictions and as a club, the Greenville Business and Professional Women needed a new and creative fundraiser to replace some of the fundraising events they have been unable to hold this year including their annual Chicken BBQ Dinner and Breakfast with Santa.  

They have partnered with small businesses to produce a coupon booklet with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund for young women of Darke County.  Use them yourself as you do your holiday shopping or give them as gifts for your hairdresser, teachers. secret Santas, etc.  They also are the perfect stocking stuffer for any shopper in your family!  

The coupon books are $15 each and contain 25 coupons for use at various local businesses including Merle Norman, Hot Head Burritos, The Coffee Pot, JT's Brew & Grill, Swift Gilly, Johnston Chiropractic, The Merchant House,  Readmore’s Hallmark, Dairy King, Happily Ever Co, Wieland Jewelers, Youniques, The Natural Path, Essential Oils, Inside/Out Coaching, The Flower Patch, Sharps Tavern, Chillz Frozen Yogurt, Teal Dog Boutique, Beanz Buttercream Bakery, Sweet Annie's Cabin, McBo's Lanes, Shelly's Antiques & Décor, Kangen Water (Karen Sink) and Double M Diner.  Most of the coupons are good for the entire year! 

The books will be available for purchase at Merle Norman, Sweet Annie’s Cabin, Shelly’s Antiques and Home Décor, and Swift Gilly’s Boutique or you can contact any BPW Club Member. 

The Greenville BPW Club’s mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education, and information.  For questions or more information please contact Deb Niekamp at 419-305-2178 or or see the club’s Facebook page at Greenville BPW Club for more information. 


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Darke County Center for the Arts will present a virtual concert starring Shaun Johnson and his Big Band Experience and featuring a cappella group Tonic Sol-Fa on Thursday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Darke County Center for the Arts will present a virtual concert starring Shaun Johnson and his Big Band Experience and featuring a cappella group Tonic Sol-Fa on Thursday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m. “In order to fulfill DCCA’s mission to present high quality shows in our community, we have been working with artists who are looking for outlets to share their talents; we are thrilled that we can bring singer Shaun Johnson and his cohorts to brighten this holiday season with music and joy,” said DCCA Artistic Director David Warner. Appropriately for this year when travel and get-togethers are restricted, the show’s title is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas;” tickets availability for this live-streamed performance is limited, with only 200 being sold.

Sean Johnson, who recently performed virtually for students in all local public schools as part of DCCA’s Arts In Education program, formed Emmy Award-winning vocal group Tonic Sol-fa while still a college student, and has been touring with his traditional yet inventive Big Band Experience for the past several years. Described by the Minneapolis Star Tribune as “a retro nerd of the Rat Pack vintage” Johnson is also said to “combine the dulcet urbanity of Michael Buble with the campy yowl of the Stray Cats’ Brian Setzer.” Johnson himself says that his band is “probably the world’s smallest big band,” describing the 8-person group as a microcosm of the traditional big band.

DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan states that while the organization’s season is not transpiring as planned, Shaun Johnson’s and his cohorts were originally scheduled to appear as part of DCCA’s 2020-2021”Vision” season of performances at St. Clair Memorial Hall. “While there is no substitute for hearing an orchestra or artist playing and singing live or the social aspect that allows us to gather and mingle as a community within the beloved Hall, virtual performances are certainly better than no performances at all,” she commented.

Both DCCA’s Arts In Education presentation of Shaun Johnson’s Big Band Experience featuring Tonic Sol-Fa and the holiday special are made possible by funding from Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from the Ohio Arts Council and the Crane Group. According to Arts Midwest Executive Director David J. Fraber, “Arts events like this not only provide uplifting experiences for audiences, they also create meaningful jobs for those employed in the arts industry; Arts Midwest is proud to support Darke County Center for the Arts in their upcoming engagement of Shaun Johnson and his Big Band Experience.” DCCA also receives funding from the Ketrow Foundation, Lydia E. Schaurer Memorial Trust Fund, Harry D. and Esther Stephens Memorial, Inc., Coppock-Hole Trust, the John R. and Miriam H. Knick Fund of Darke County Foundation, and Greenville Rotary.

Shaun Johnson and other performers will be live chatting with the audience during the 60-minute show, bringing a personal connection to enjoying the virtual performance from one’s home. To purchase your tickets to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” go to DCCA’s Website; although this is a “pay what you will” event, suggested ticket price is $25 per household. For more information, contact DCCA through their Website or by calling 937-547-0908. 


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Mike Stegall, representing the Darke County Commissioners,
brings mittens to donate to Fish Mitten Tree standing in Montage Cafe. 
Fish volunteer Marilyn Delk and Michelle Sanders from Head Start
will coordinate the distribution of gloves and mittens to students
enrolled in Darke County Head Start programs. 
The Fish Mitten Tree once again needs donated gloves and mittens to decorate its empty branches; these donations will be distributed to the children enrolled in Darke County Head Start programs. In addition to the Mitten Tree located at Montage, 525 South Broadway in Greenville, a Mitten Tree also will stand at Greenville Public Library, 520 Sycamore Street, and in the Brethren Retirement Community, 750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, as well as in Fourman’s Variety Store, 4 West George Street, Arcanum. Due to safety procedures made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, entry to the Library is restricted, but staff will be available from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to accept donations from donors who ring the bell at the Library’s main entrance. Additionally, mittens and gloves taken to the BRC should be left in a box in the foyer; employees will then hang the donations on the Mitten Tree standing outside the Brick Room.

Many churches and organizations also erect trees which collect gloves and mittens from their members; these donations are then passed on to Fish to be given to the little Head Start participants. The Mitten Tree has been an annual holiday project of the local Fish organization for over fifty years.

To best meet the needs of children directly served by Head Start programs, donated gloves and mittens should fit boys and girls under age 5; however, donated items in larger sizes will be shared with Head Start families. So that the mittens and gloves can be distributed prior to Christmas, contributions should be received by December 15. For more information regarding the Mitten Tree, contact Marilyn Delk at 937-548-2482.

Fish is an ecumenical volunteer organization which responds to emergency food needs; the Fish Choice Food Pantry, located at 400 Markwith Avenue, is open on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m., and on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary to visit the Food Pantry; clients are eligible for help once every four weeks. To learn more, call Fish at 548-2000; a Fish volunteer will return your call.

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