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This page offers blog posts, news articles and events surrounding Athens County economic and community development efforts.

 

COVID-19 in Appalachia: The state of businesses

April 7, 2020 By Tyler Buchanan When the Farrar brothers of Marietta were forced to close their glass repair shops, they stopped working on cars and decided to change gears. Instead of fixing car windshields, co-owners Dennis and Ron Farrar started making face shields. In the week that followed, personal protective equipment was sent out […]

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Quidel gets nod for emergency launch of COVID-19 test

Quidel Corporation, an Athens-based company that creates cellular-based testing assays, announced Thursday that it has received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to market a new, faster version of the COVID-19 test. The test is called the Lyra SARS-CoV-2 Assay and is a real-time RT-PCR test intended for the “qualitative detection of […]

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Commissioners to give one-time funding to ORCA

February 26, 2020 By Heather Willard The Athens County Commissioners have once again discussed funding for the Baileys Trail Project. Commissioners Charlie Adkins and Chris Chmiel voted approval of earmarking $90,000 to go to the Outdoor Recreation Council of Appalachia, of which Commissioner Lenny Eliason is a member. Because of this position, Eliason has removed […]

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County engineer sees issues with potential fiber project

February 15, 2020 By Heather Willard For residents of rural Ohio, internet access can be spotty or non-existent outside of city limits. A project from the Ohio Department of Transportation aims to bring fiber internet through Athens County on non-state routes. However, the project would not provide the area with the upgraded internet, County Engineer […]

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Commissioners tour Baileys trailhead, with long-term funding in doubt

February 20, 2020 By Conor Morris The Athens County Commissioners on Tuesday visited the trailhead in Chauncey for the first part of the Baileys Trail System construction in the Wayne National Forest, even as two of the Commissioners said last week that they’re not going to support the “pay for success” model that has been […]

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Fiber optics coming to Logan

February 13, 2020 By John Stran LOGAN — A project involving fiber optic cables is expected to happen in Logan in a few months. In either April or May, Logan City Mayor Greg Fraunfelter said there will be an installation project for underground fiber optic cables. For the most part, the installation process will involve […]

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Commissioners decide against Baileys funding

February 13, 2020 By Heather Willard Stakeholders who have been anxiously holding their breath in hope that the Athens County Commissioners would provide $1.8 million over the next 20 years for the Baileys Trail Project can release that breath, but not in relief. During the Tuesday morning meeting, Commissioner Charlie Adkins said he is not […]

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West Union Street improvements open house planned

February 10, 2020 By Heather Willard An open house has been scheduled by the city of Athens’ Department of Public Works for a proposed project that would extend Herrold Avenue to West State Street, as well as improve West Union Street. The planned improvements would provide an alternative roadway access to the West State Street […]

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Spectrum Internet® Launches in Rural Athens County, Ohio

  COLUMBUS, Ohio – Feb. 7, 2020 – Charter Communications, Inc. today announced that following the completion of its all-digital network upgrade, it has launched Spectrum Internet and other service offerings for more than 2,400 homes and business in rural Athens County, Ohio, enabling true broadband speeds there for the first time. The announcement was […]

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Rural Action CEO outlines economic development program connected to Baileys Trail

January 8 2020 By Conor Morris Debbie Phillips, CEO of Rural Action, delivered a status update to the Athens County Commissioners Tuesday on a grant-funded economic development project connected to the Baileys Trail System in the Wayne National Forest. Rural Action is the lead partner on a $1.235 million Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant that […]

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OhioHealth personnel shift in wake of higher minimum wage

January 21, 2020 By Heather Willard The world of business is never easy. Unfortunately for some OhioHealth O’Bleness employees, it’s been edging away from the humdrum day-to-day grind toward a uncertain future. However, for others, a pay raise is on the horizon. Several departments of employees are being impacted by the hospital’s new “One patient, […]

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DeWine’s leadership role with key Appalachian group welcome news around Ohio

January 16, 2020 By: Tyler Buchanan Just how important is the Appalachian Regional Commission? There’s an old line that Andy Kuhn believes sums it all up: “A toilet doesn’t flush in rural America or rural Appalachia without ARC funds.” That’s how critical the Commission is to infrastructure advancement, the executive director of the Southeastern Ohio […]

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Athens Marijuana Dispensary Facing License Revocation

January 15, 2020 By: Heather Willard Athens residents hoping for the long-expected medical marijuana dispensary to open on West Union Street may have to wait much longer as the company’s dispensary licenses are now on hold by state regulators. Harvest Grows LLC was notified this month by the Ohio Department of Commerce that plans were […]

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Ohio roads, bridges to see improvements with new gas tax money

January 12, 2020 By: Tyler Buchanan Tim Schumm is already looking forward to spring. County engineers like him also serve as amateur meteorologists. Forget baseball. Spring means it’s paving season, and the Henry County official knows the recent influx of gas tax revenue will help to get an extra 11 miles of road paved this […]

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Baileys update at Commissioner meeting creates more finance questions

January 10, 2020 By: Heather Willard Progress on the Baileys Trail System appears slow once more, following an update Rural Action CEO Debbie Phillips presented to the Athens County Commissioners on Tuesday. Rural Action has been one of the largest partners in the project, and is the leader for the almost $1.3 million Appalachian Regional […]

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New year, New minimum wage

January 7, 2019 By: John Stran Many changes that will happen in 2020 are unknown, but some Ohioan’s can expect a pay increase in the new year. The Ohio minimum wage increased on Wednesday, Jan. 1, from $8.55 per hour to $8.70 for employees who work for a business that brings in more than $319,000 […]

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Commissioners continue to weigh Baileys Trail funding

December 26, 2019 By: Heather Willard Another lengthy discussion involving the Athens County Commissioners has resulted in no vote and no decision on whether the county will financially support the Baileys Trail Project. Last week, the Commissioners went to Chauncey for a site visit on the trail, but high water did not allow for a […]

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Sewer project broadband complications ironed out

December 27, 2019 By: Heather Willard The Athens County Commissioners ran into some stumbling blocks on the Route 50W sanitary sewer project when discussions of sharing the trench with a communications company were stalled due to uncertainty of federal regulations. The project will provide sanitary sewers to the housing subdivisions along Route 50W and to […]

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Underhill named new Chamber president

December 13, 2019 From Staff Reports The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has named Dani Underhill as its new President. She replaces Michelle Oestrike who has been leading the organization for nearly four years. Underhill will start in the position Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 which will provide an overlap with Ms. Oestrike’s […]

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The southeastern Ohio broadband desert persists

December 13, 2019 By: Heather Willard In rural areas around the nation, residents struggle to acquire broadband services in their homes. A new study has found that upwards of 90 percent of Southeastern Ohio homes in low-occupancy areas do not have access to broadband services. The lack of internet has led to these rural areas […]

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O’Bleness grows with new building

December 18, 2019 Ground has been broken for a new 30,000 square foot, two-story office building to be added on the OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital campus. The project budget is over $11 million, and the new building will be located between the hospital, which resides at 55 Hospital Drive, and the OhioHealth Urgent Care building at […]

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Site prep for new EMS station underway

December 17,  2019 By: Heather Willard Athens County Emergency Medical Services has been housed for a while now on West Union Street in a building the county does not own. Officials have called for more space, citing maintenance issues with the building as well as lack of certain facilities. Site prep work is finally underway […]

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Local food pantry to get windfall of donations thanks to Burrow’s Heisman speech

January 16, 2019 By: Conor Burrow In Joe Burrow’s home county, roughly 30 percent of all children in 2017 lived in households that were below the poverty level. More than one in four children are still considered “food insecure,” meaning there’s little certainty about when their next meal will come. In Burrow’s hometown of The […]

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Athens City approves Baileys Trail funding

By Heather Willard, December 11, 2019 Monday night, Athens City Council approved the use of $1.8 million over the course of 20 years to help fund the Baileys Trail System, putting a bow on a long conversation that began decades ago. In the early 1990s, a conversation started about how the U.S. Forest Service and […]

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TechGROWTH Ohio awarded $5.05 million grant

December 4, 2019 by OU COMPASS TechGROWTH Ohio, Ohio University’s Ohio Third Frontier entrepreneurial services provider, has been awarded $5.05 million by the state for venture development services. The grant will be matched by OU and private organizations, allowing TechGROWTH to continue and expand services through 2022. “Innovation is in Ohio’s DNA, it’s who we […]

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