Bellefontaine Examiner

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NEG grant will hire dozens

Almost $1 million in National Emergency Grant funds will help clean up debris left over from this summer’s windstorm and provide job training opportunities for 28 people.

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Trees such as this brambly, broken one along Possum Run Creek north of Auburn Avenue are the targets of Logan County’s latest National Emergency Grant storm cleanup project. (EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)

County officials want to fill half of the positions as fast as possible and are encouraging people to contact the Logan County Job and Family Services’ WorkPlus One-Stop employment offices.

The program will use five full-time temporary employees to train and work with 14 unemployed or underemployed people for six months and another 14 during a second six-month term.

JFS will handle accounting for the grants money and provide initial screening of job applicants to make sure they are eligible for the program. The Logan County Solid Waste Management District will finalize the selection of workers, train them and undertake the task of clearing of leftover debris from the winds that struck June 29 to July 2.

SWD Coordinator Alan Hale said some damaged trees continue to endanger roads, parks and cemeteries throughout the county. Debris also has collected in waterways, impeding drainage in some cases.

“When the obvious debris is out of sight, people may think the work is done,” Mr. Hale said. “However, the small streams and waterways in Bellefontaine have been seriously clogged with debris and they need to be cleared before spring rains arrive. There already has been flooding on the west side of town from some of the showers that came through late in the summer.”

The same storms caused damage in 36 other Ohio counties.

While trees were damaged in the storms, the most notable damage occurred to the Logan County Courthouse tower. It has been removed and work continues on the $717,000 demolition project which is covered by insurance.

County officials expect to have a contract early next year to rebuild it.

Commissioner John Bayliss said Mr. Hale, JFS Director Susan Bailey-Evans and Logan County Emergency Management Agency Director Helen Norris played key roles in landing the funding.

“We’re excited to get the program rolling,” he said Thursday.

Bellefontaine Mayor Adam Brannon agreed, saying, “It’s very important we address the creeks in our city. I know that we as a city do not have the resources to do it ourselves.”

NEG funds flow out of the U.S. Department of Labor to state JFS. In all, Ohio received $21.4 million for the storms.
The local NEG program will operate out of the former Ohio National Guard Armory along south Main Street.

It initially will focus on Bellefontaine to eliminate threats to traffic and pedestrians. At the same time, a crew will cover streams and creeks in the city.

Later, the crew will follow drainage paths to the Great Miami River. Affected property owners will be contacted as work progresses.

Jefferson Township also has debris that needs removal, Mr. Hale reports.

City and county residents who are aware of potential tree hazards should contact the city or appropriate township trustee.

Soon, the NEG program will have a telephone number for direct reporting of waterway blockages and hanging limbs.

People interested in the work need to stop at the WorkPlus One-Stop office at JFS located at 221 E. Columbus Ave. There is an entrance from the east parking lot to the employment office.

Pay will be between $10.50 and $11 an hour. The workweek is four 10-hour days.

Work should start around Nov. 19.

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