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Published: Sunday, June 10, 2018 @ 4:01 PM
Warren County hopes to join Montgomery, Preble and Darke counties as beneficiaries of new federal grants designed to help fight the opioid epidemic.
Warren County is applying for a $800,000 federal grant to study first responder relationships and processes when children are involved in drug-overdose calls.
The commissioners agreed to make the application after a debate about whether the county should take federal dollars and whether it wanted to alter the system dealing with these cases.
Commissioner Dave Young pointed out the federal government’s “trillions in debt” and recalled when the county government turned down federal funding previously.
“I’ll let Warren County go broke before taking any of Obama’s filthy money,” Commissioner Mike Kilburn said in 2009 as the county rejected federal stimulus funds available for road projects.
Last Tuesday, Commissioner Shannon Jones said the idea would be to develop a new protocol for more quickly providing services to children “falling through the cracks” during emergency responses to drug overdoses.
Jones, a former state lawmaker, said lessons learned could be be used around the country. Efficiencies reducing costs and improving service should be the result, she said.
“This is something you will look back on and be very proud of,” she said to Young.
The grant would come through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in partnership with the Office for Victims of Crime.
The grants are designed to cause the planning and implementation of comprehensive programs in response to the “growing opioid epidemic,” according to application materials.
After the debate, Jones and Young agreed to go forward with the application in order to make the June 7 deadline.
Last year, the the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board for Montgomery County (Dayton) was awarded $500,000 in first responders grant funding through the federal program established by the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA).
So far, the grant that is expected to provide a total of $2 million over four years has paid for supplies of the drugs used to treat victims of opioid overdoses in Montgomery, Preble and Darke counties and helped establish emergency response teams in Preble and Darke counties, according to Jodi Long, director of treatment and supportive services for ADAMHS.
“Project Save of Miami Valley has provided the financial resources for the public health departments in Preble and Darke counties to establish Naloxone repositories. Additionally the grant has sustained the existing Naloxone repositories for law enforcement and EMS in Montgomery County,” Long said. “Outreach services have also been established in Preble and Darke counties using the grant.”
Federal grants to combat opioid epidemic
“Signed into law on July 22, 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) is the first major federal substance abuse treatment and recovery legislation in 40 years and the most comprehensive legislative effort to address the opioid epidemic,” according to the grant application materials.
Last year, a little less tan $3.5 million was awarded to Ohio agencies, according to a news release issued by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in September.
Other grants awarded in Ohio last year:
• $500,000 in first responders grant funding for the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County.
• $493,080 in first responders grant funding for the Metrohealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
• $2 million for the Ohio State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in Columbus.
“The legislation ensures that federal resources are focused on evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that have proven effective in local communities so that it can make a difference in people’s lives,” according to the news release.
“CARA establishes a comprehensive, coordinated, and balanced strategy through enhanced grant programs that encompass prevention and education efforts, effective responses to those affected by substance abuse and services for treatment and recovery from addiction.”
Warren County grant would study responses in cases involving children
Warren County would work with the Urban Institute and hire someone to oversee the two-year program if awarded the grant, Jones said during Tuesday’s meeting on the grant application.
Susan Walther, director of the county’s children services, said she welcomed the grant.
“There’s this vicious cycle we get into,” Walther said during the discussion of whether to apply for the grant in the absence of Commissioner Tom Grossmann. “The kids just keep coming.”
Young expressed hesitancy about accepting federal dollars and the potential cost implications.
“We’re already spending millions,” he said.
The county’s children services budget has grown in recent years to $8.3 million, in part due to the effects of the opioid epidemic on Warren County families, according to officials.
At one point, Jones suggested the county should bypass the application if its leaders were unwilling to consider changing the way it was providing children services.
“Inherent in that needs to be a willingness to do something differently,” she said.
Young relented, noting the expectation of growing efficiencies through the research, to be conducted in 2019 and 2020.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:52 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:46 PM
MIAMISBURG — Restrictions on small cell phone towers have been approved by Miamisburg City Council.
Limits on locations on heights for the towers are among the guidelines approved in the 5-0 vote.
The restrictions go into effect immediately, city officials said.
Legislation regulating the 5G mobile technology facilities is an issue several area communities – Centerville, Kettering and Springboro, among them – are addressing as Ohio law allowing municipalities limited authority over their placement takes effect Aug. 1.
Miamisburg is “creating design and siting standards” for “small cell facilities and wireless support structures,” according to the legislation. The 20-plus page document covers issues ranging from applicability, procedures, standards, locations and right of way issues.
“Unfortunately, there will likely still be small cell facilities installed in areas that are not preferable from an aesthetic perspective,” according to a memo from Miamisburg Planner Ryan Homsi. “This ordinance is meant to prevent this from happening with the tools provided to municipalities by (state law) while still allowing this new technology to be added to the community.”
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 12:26 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 12:26 PM
— Police officers across the nation may soon have access to advanced screening equipment that can identify drugs even through some packaging.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined police in downtown Dayton on Sunday to talk about new legislation that could help put advanced drug screening devices in the hands of local officers, protecting them from exposure to dangerous substances.
“It can save lives,” Brown said.
The Providing Officers With Electronic Resources (POWER) act, is cosponsored by Brown and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. If passed, the bill would give police departments access to grant funding to purchase the screening devices, which can cost upward of $10,000.
Brown said the legislation was similar to the INTERDICT act, which was signed into law earlier this year. That legislation made more drug screening devices available to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Brown said law enforcement officials reached out to him after INTERDICT was passed to see about getting access to such equipment, which Brown said quickly displays results and could help address a backlog of untested drugs in labs.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said that overdose deaths were down so far in 2018, as was the police usage of Narcan, a drug that can counteract overdoses. As of June 28, 128 overdose deaths were recorded by Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County so far this year. In 2017, the total for the whole year was 566.
Biehl said that while the trends may be down, it doesn’t mean the crisis is over. Exposure to dangerous drugs such as fentanyl is still a risk to police officers, he said, and the screening devices could help police officers.
“Difficult work is yet ahead of us,” Biehl said.
Fentanyl in particular can be dangerous to handle, and causes more deaths. According to police data, 84 percent of the people who died of overdose in Dayton in 2017 used drugs containing fentanyl or carfentanil, both powerful opioids.
Just coming in physical contact with drugs that contain fentanyl can cause on overdose: in 2017, an East Liverpool Ohio police officer suffered an overdose after he came into contact with the substance during a traffic stop.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine previously warned officers against handling or even field testing fentanyl.
Officials have previously misidentified drugs, even after field testing them. In June, DeWine and a local sheriff announced they had seized what they thought was $3.4 million worth of fentanyl.
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 12:26 PM
Updated: Friday, July 13, 2018 @ 1:47 PM
— The Republican candidate for Montgomery County commissioner is now leading a referendum effort, that if successful, would place the repeal of a recent county sales tax increase on the same ballot with his name in November.
But Doug Barry’s opponent, Democrat Carolyn Rice, questions why her challenger didn’t register complaints earlier against the sales tax increase — also unopposed by major business groups — when debated in the public sphere before approved last month.
Barry says the additional 0.25 percent sales tax was pushed through without citizen support.
“The county commissioners passed this without getting a vote of the people at a time we are in a good recovery period and there’s a lot of positive things coming out of Dayton and Montgomery County,” Barry said. “We don’t want to see that stopped by an increase in sales tax.”
The original organizers handed over the petition drive to Barry, owner of BarryStaff in Dayton, who faces Rice for an open county commission seat. Rice is currently Montgomery County treasurer.
County Commissioner Dan Foley is not running for re-election and is running for an Ohio House seat.
To put the referendum on the ballot, Barry and volunteer petition circulators have until July 26 to get 14,583 signatures.
“It’s all-hands-on-deck for the next 14 days to get the signatures,” said Barry, also a Miami Twp. trustee.
Rice said Barry and others have every right to put the issue on the ballot, but said overturning the sales tax increase, set to kick in Oct. 1, would harm the county in multiple ways and lead to cuts to multiple programs including those supporting the arts, the criminal justice system and economic development funds including Economic Development/Government Equity grants that assist businesses to expand and bring jobs to the region.
The repeal effort was first led by two former Montgomery County Republican Party chairs, Greg Gantt and Rob Scott, who prepared the necessary paperwork and filed it Tuesday with the county elections board and auditor.
Rice said those working to overturn the sales tax increase remained mute during months of budget discussions, at a public informational meeting and two required public hearings.
“There was a process over a year and it was publicized and I did not see any of these individuals at those meetings,” she said. “And I know a lot of people showed up.”
Barry, who announced his candidacy in January and won a May primary, did attend the second public hearing on June 26 — before commissioners approved the tax increase — but did not provide public comment. Nine others spoke; just one opposed the tax hike.
“As any leader in any situation, the first thing you have to do is assess,” Barry said. “I didn’t see at that point in time it was right for me to get up and talk because I was still assessing what the situation was.”
Barry had “a great opportunity to voice his concerns before a vote was taken,” Rice said.
The additional sales tax — projected to bring in $19.1 million annually — will squeeze Montgomery County businesses and drive consumers outside county lines to shop, Barry said.
“A lot of local businesses … it’s going to hurt them competitively because a lot of these programs they have running right now have been quoted at a certain price,” Barry said. “Now this is going to cost them more to do this because of the sales tax they are going to have to pay.”
Rice said representatives from the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dayton Development Coalition, the region’s major business and industry advocates, were included in a five-year strategic budget planning process that produced the plan.
“The business groups were involved, they supported it,” Rice said.
During the final public hearing, top leaders of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance and the Dayton Art Institute voiced support for the tax increase as well as from the business community including Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition and a member of the county’s Five-Year Financial Advisory Committee.
Hoagland said the loss of county economic development funding — a near certain outcome without the tax increase — would put the brakes on efforts to help companies expand.
“Now is the time to not step back, but to double-down. We are really on the cusp of something great in the Dayton region,” Hoagland said. “We have to have resources available to allow them to help make decisions to stay and grow in Montgomery County.”
Gantt, an attorney from Oakwood, said large business organizations such as the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dayton Development Coalition sometimes lose touch with concerns of the region’s smaller businesses.
As this year’s election takes shape, our reporters will bring you the news you need on local tax issues and how they will impact you.
Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 @ 4:19 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 7:38 AM
MIAMI TWP. — UPDATE @ 9:25 p.m.:
Miami Twp. trustees voted 2-1 Tuesday night to deny changes to move forward a plan for 81 homes near the Dayton Mall.
Largely citing traffic concerns, trustees Doug Barry and Donald Culp rejected a motion to approve a change that would have permitted the Rivendell project to go forward.
The vote — not supported by trustee board President John Morris — came after a two-hour public hearing on the proposal by Zengel Construction and Ryan Homes.
It was the trustees’ third rejection of the housing plan by Zengel and Ryan.
“I think nothing significantly has changed” from previous proposals in addressing traffic concerns, Barry said.
Zengel was seeking a major modification to a preliminary plan adopted in 2007 to about 31 acres just east of Ohio 741 and north of the mall.
A revised plan to build more than 80 homes near the Dayton Mall will be considered by Miami Twp. trustees tonight.
A change that would allow the construction of about 80 homes on 31.7 acres north of mall and just east of Ohio 741 — a plan in May recommended for approval by the township zoning commission — has been requested by Zengel Construction.
Specifically, Zengel is seeking a major modification to the preliminary development plan approved in 2007 for the project, known as Rivendell.
Two previous proposals involving Ryan Homes as the developer have been rejected by Miami Twp. trustees.
The homes would average 1,600 square feet and the development would include more than 6 acres of open space, township records show.
Prior efforts for similar applications were denied by the township in 2017 – one in the spring and another in the fall. The effort denied last September by township trustees had earlier won unanimous support of the zoning commission.
Trustees voted the plan down after residents of the Vienna Park subdivision built by Zengel said they feared the negative effects the development would have on traffic, worsening road conditions and drainage, among other issues.