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Lawrence County Dedicated to Improving Lives of Probationers

Lawrence County Dedicated to Improving Lives of Probationers

Lawrence County was recently recognized by the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) for its outstanding intensive-supervision probation programs.   On average, 40 percent of people on probation will eventually end up in jail in Ohio. In Lawrence County, only 28 percent of probationers (as defined by chapter 2951 of […]

Ultramarathoner Grows Love of Sport in Southeast Ohio

Ultramarathoner Grows Love of Sport in Southeast Ohio

If you blink, you might miss him. You have to be fast to keep up with Michael Owen.   When he is not helping plan races around Ohio, the Pomeroy native is running 100-mile races—more commonly known as ultramarathons. Ultramarathons are any distance greater than a marathon, or 26.2 miles.   “The main thing with ultras […]

A Muskingum County Court Targets Crime By Offering Addicts Redemption

A Muskingum County Court Targets Crime By Offering Addicts Redemption

Jeff Stevens got caught shoplifting to get drug money.
His addiction began when he dropped out of school and began experimenting with drugs and getting into trouble. Stevens started out with marijuana, but then he started taking pills. When taking pills orally no longer satisfied him, Stevens progressed to crushing and snorting them. As his addiction grew, so did his need for stronger highs.
“It’s been a long, long fight,” Stevens says.
A probation officer offered Stevens an opportunity that would lead him to sobriety – Miracles In Recovery And Clean Living Everyday, also referred to as the M.I.R.A.C.L.E. drug court. Stevens began his court-supervised treatment in June 2016.
“We developed the court because we understand that substance use plays a large role in many crimes, which also impacts many lives,” Matthew Gibson, a Muskingum County Court probation officer, says.
Representatives from the Muskingum County Court Probation Department, Genesis Outpatient Services, Allwell Behavioral Health, Muskingum Behavioral Health and Transitions collaborate to make the program work.
Miami-Dade County in Florida formed the nation’s first drug court in 1989. The United States now has more than 3,100 drug courts, according to the Office of Justice Programs.
The Supreme Court of Ohio gave the drug court its final specialized docket certification in January, which means the court can now apply for and receive grant money from the state. Specialized dockets refer to sessions of court that approach cases through therapeutic and treatment-based lenses.
By offering court supervised treatment, the M.I.R.A.C.L.E. court aims to address the underlying causes of crimes and keep offenders from committing them again.
The court recently received a $100,000 grant. That money can cover job training, housing deposits and other needs. Participants who have shown progress may be rewarded with additional help, and it makes a meaningful difference in their lives, Judge Scott Rankin, who serves as the specialized dockets judge, says.
“In the past, there would never be any money to help with a housing cost or to keep a utility on,” Rankin says.
About 60 people have entered the program so far, and four have completed it. Gibson says he expects three more will graduate by May.
But Rankin says people shouldn’t necessarily measure the program’s efficacy based on the graduation rate.
“Even the people who have not made it through the program have made positive changes in their lives,” Rankin says.
Rankin calls the program the most rewarding part of his job. And by enlisting in the program, offenders do not get out of jail free.
Individuals receive treatment tailored to their needs. Counselors evaluate participants to determine those needs and how to meet them. When Stevens entered the program, he received counseling four days a week and had weekly check-ins with the court. Rankin says participants in the program learn the coping skills they need to keep them from re-entering the criminal justice system.
“They’re not choosing the easy way out,” Rankin says.
Participants of the program are subject to a curfew, random drug testing and house checks and individual or group counseling. Any failure to comply results in up to 30 days in jail at Rankin’s discretion.
Probation programs such as the M.I.R.A.C.L.E. court have proven cost-effective.
Despite the treatment costs, the lower rate of recidivism among participants helped drug courts save about $5,000 to $6,000 per offender on average, the National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation found. Participants also had fewer rearrests than comparable offenders, according to the evaluation.
Stevens advises people in the same place he was in to be willing to open up, and that they too have to want sobriety for it to work.
“This program is a real good program I owe my life to it, honestly,” he says.
Preserving Shenandoah’s History

Preserving Shenandoah’s History

Nestled in Noble County is a piece of United States history.   Back in 1925, the USS Shenandoah crashed in Ava. The crash’s history lives on at the Shenandoah Air Disaster Museum.   The museum is in a camper and is packed with artifacts detailing life aboard the airship. Theresa Rayner opened the museum with her […]

Underground Railroad Bed-and-Breakfast

Underground Railroad Bed-and-Breakfast

The John T. Wilson Homestead – a bed-and-breakfast in rural Adams County – offers guests a quiet escape and a glimpse into untold history.  The 186-year old B&B is made up of two buildings built by John T. Wilson himself. There is a two-story brick building where guests can stay […]

Marietta’s Fest of Fitness and Ferment

Marietta’s Fest of Fitness and Ferment

By: Tiffany Goldstein

Marietta will host its  annual weeklong  Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival starting August 9th and ending the 12th. The festival will celebrate the natural assets of the town.  According to the National Geographic Adventure, Marietta was ranked number one in outdoor recreation in the state of Ohio. The city welcomes 2,000 individuals every year to enjoy six trail systems and 200 miles of mountain space where participates have the opportunity to bike, hike and practice water sports.

Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival

River Run in Marietta

 In 1788, pioneers established Marietta and settled northwest of the Ohio River. Since then, Marietta has become a historical river town that lies at the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers. The location of the town allows the festival to offer lake adventures. Visitors and natives can participate in water activities including a five- to 10- mile Vito Lake paddle quest, a chance to kayak at their own pace down the Muskingum River and the opportunity to test their balance by standing up on a paddleboard during beginner lessons.

Marietta Brewing Co.

Share an Ale

While many like getting their feet wet or taking a hike, some prefer to share an ale. Since Marietta Brewing Co. opened, it has been a major asset to the local community. The company is the primary sponsor of the Rivers, Trails, & Ales Festival and hosts several beer-centric events throughout the weekend.

Tony Styer, owner and advisor of the ales committee of Marietta Brewing Co., says that the brewing aspect of the weekend helps the town’s economy and benefits a local nonprofit with its “Community Pints.” Community Pints allow ale enthusiasts to come together and share pitchers of the best beer at the brewery. The brewery encourages visitors to give back by purchasing a community pint. $1 of every pint sold is donated to the River Valley Mountain Bike Association, which is this year’s highlighted nonprofit.

“We get a lot of visitors, but we also do see familiar faces from Marietta,” Styer says. “We love sharing a craft beer with the members of the community.”

The historical downtown brew pub kicks off the festivities each year by tapping kegs of their signature IPA, “Rock-Drop Single Hop.” On August 12th, the company will host a small beer festival where they feature six in-house ales and Ohio beer.

“We try and focus on only selling Ohio craft beer since we try to promote the perks of Ohio,” Styer says.

While the festival is for all ages, the Marietta Brewing Co. hopes to attract 25- to 54-year-old athletic individuals who like to get out and explore.

Festival Park: Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival

Festival Perks

According to Marietta Visitor Experience Director Shannon Folts, the festival gets larger and better each year.

“I personally love seeing families and millennials following us on social media and using our hashtag,” Folts says. “I know they are going to come back each year, because what’s not to love about Marietta?”

The vibrant outdoor community is home to some of the most beautiful trails in Ohio. Festivalgoers can ride up a single-track mountain bike trail that weaves throughout Washington County. The Marietta Adventure Company provides the hiking and mountain biking equipment necessary for visitors to enjoy their time.

“We are a family-friendly festival. We love to promote healthy and outdoor lifestyles,” festival manager Eric Dowler says. “The downtown community that is vibrant is waiting to welcome tourist and natives with open arms.”

Closure of Hocking Correctional Unit

Closure of Hocking Correctional Unit

By: Julia Fair When tate officials announced that the Hocking Correctional Unit in Nelsonville would close at the end of March, budgets were scrutinized.     The state cited high operational costs as the reason for the prison’s closure. As the prison closed at the end of March, the state’s […]

A Heap of Hospitality

A Heap of Hospitality

By: Montana Ramsey   If you’re craving some of the best comfort food in Ohio, look no further. The Olde Dutch Restaurant and its menu will show you why they are so good.  The restaurant opened in 1994 in Logan. Its menu was inspired by the Amish traditions that are rooted in Southeast Ohio. The Amish communities and traditions can still be found […]

Spin It To Win It

Spin It To Win It

By: Andrew Gillis 

 Tucked on the side of a mountain in Fairfield County lies a rugged patch of land that’s not as green as the trees that mask the mountainside.  

 Eagles Nest Disc Golf Course, where a landfill was once located, is one of the premier disc golf locations in southeast Ohio.  

 Lancaster Disc Golf Alliance President Adam Ankrom added a completely new dimension to his life at Eagles Nest; a place where he could compete in tournaments he’d never thought possible. 

“I mean, it’s a passion,” Ankrom says. “You really just have to want to do it. When I’m out here doing this stuff, to me, it doesn’t feel like work. To me, it’s just something that I strive to do. It’s not even a hobby anymore.” 


Eagles Nest Disc Golf

Disc golf, sometimes known as frisbee golf, is a game with rules similar to traditional golf. The object of the sport is to send a plastic disc down a course toward the target area, a stand-up flag with a chain wrapped around it.   

Played in nine, or 18-hole increments at one of over 6,000 courses worldwide, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association, the goal of the game is to score as low as possible. At the end of the game, the player with the fewest throws wins.  

 The sport is currently played in 40 countries, and there are an estimated 44,000 members in the Professional Disc Golf Association. The Lancaster Disc Golf Alliance has about 100 members. 

“We’ve went from having 25 people show up to 125 people showing up every year,” Ankrom says. “There are national tournaments that get thousands of competitors. I traveled to Kentucky and Kansas. It’s incredible how fast it’s grown.” 

 Established in 2016, Eagles Nest is a course with 23 holes instead of the typical 18. It’s considered to be one of the more difficult courses in the area, because of its terrain: hilly, and sometimes wooded. 

 Players use different types of discs such as drivers, putters and mid-range. The discs have different dimensions, as they’re constructed to have specific benefits. Based on size and weight, some discs can cut through the air with more success than others. 

“I would say it’s [similar players throwing form], it’s like a baseball swing,” Ankrom says. “Everybody’s going to swing the bat the way you swing a baseball bat, but everybody has their own specific stance, their own specific quirks that they have in their swings.” 

 But like each variation of throw, each player has their own story of how they got into disc golf. 

Vice Chairman of the Board, Nick Hood, didn’t begin playing disc golf until a few years ago. Even when he went out, he thought the game wasn’t interesting enough. Just a few hours after his first game, he was at Dick’s Sporting Goods buying discs for his next game.  

 “There’s 100 courses or more just in central Ohio that you can play at for free,” Hood says. “That particular aspect is really enticing to people.” 

 Tournaments are commonplace in disc golf, with different events happening all throughout the United States. The largest event takes place in Austin, Texas each year.  

The Lancaster players have traveled to Kentucky and Kansas, and will continue to travel to tournaments in the future.  

 But at Eagles Nest, there only continues to be growth for disc golf. 

Eagles Nest Disc Golf

 Today the organization continue to promote disc golf to different members of the community, recruiting people of all ages to come out and play the sport that has now impacted Ankrom for more than a decade. 

Just over 10 years ago, Ankrom had no idea what disc golf was — In fact, he thought the targets were feeders for horses. 

 For Ankrom, the hope remains that in the near future there will be up to five disc golf courses between Lancaster and Athens. But for now, Ankrom will remain in his role as president.  

 “Having other people playing around you is the best thing you can do,” he says. “Get out and play at your local courses and, you know, get with people who’ve been doing that for a while, and that’s the easiest way to learn.” 

Both Hood and Ankrom have said that there’s nothing they’ve seen like Eagle’s Nest. The terrain, the views and the course itself are all unique, and it’s what they all appreciate about it. 

“Really what Eagle’s Nest means to me is that I’m proud,” Hood says. “I’m really proud of what we’ve done as a club there.” 

Lawrence Dedicated to Improving Lives of Probationers

Lawrence Dedicated to Improving Lives of Probationers

By: Jessica Johnston  Lynn Stewart has been a probation officer in Lawrence County for almost 19 years, and she says her work takes her beyond the conventional 9 a.m.–5 p.m. day.   “It’s a hard job to put down. You worry about them [people on probation] still when […]