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Board of health: Toronto awarded Health Aging Grant funds



Board of health: Toronto awarded Health Aging Grant funds

MEETING — The Jefferson County Board of Health Tuesday approved the city of Toronto to receive funding from the Ohio Department of Aging’s Healthy Aging Grant, which the Jefferson County General Health District received in November. — Christopher Dacanay

STEUBENVILLE — Toronto is the latest to receive Ohio Department of Aging Healthy Aging Grant funding, following approval from the Jefferson County Board of Health Tuesday.

Toronto was awarded its full funding request of $19,224.84 for two projects: $4,224.84 to purchase chlorine for its War Memorial Pool and $15,000 to redo its tennis courts into pickleball courts. Funds are being disbursed from the roughly $300,000 Healthy Aging Grant, awarded to the health department in November.

Health Commissioner Andrew Henry said the health department still has more than $10,000 in unallocated funds, which must be fully disbursed by the end of the month. He added the health department has ideas for the remaining funds, including plans based on boosting seniors’ digital literacy, in accordance with grant requirements.

Separately, Henry acknowledged the recent sentencing of Crossridge Landfill owner Joseph Scugoza Jr. to 180 days in jail for contempt of court and noted the health department’s understanding that the sentence will be appealed.

This comes after years of efforts from the state to prosecute Scugoza and his late parents for alleged environmental violations at the defunct Crossridge and its sister company, C&L Disposal Technologies.

“The solution to the property (Crossridge) remains our main objective,” Henry said.

He added that Interstate Waste Services, which operates Apex Landfill in Amsterdam, is still interested in cleaning up Crossridge in exchange for an easement allowing it to expand its Apex operations into a new parcel through wetlands currently controlled by the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District.

“That is still on the table,” Henry said. “However, that transaction is not up to the board of health. I will share more on that when it’s available. However, the sooner the better, as Crossridge is not being maintained in any fashion.”

Additionally, WIC Director Stephanie Chester said she and her staff have been assessing what would be needed for setting up WIC operations at the health department’s Toronto clinic. The local WIC program hopes to be present at the clinic at least once per month for card loads and, later, breast health assessments and certifications. This will likely be done come the new grant year in the fall.

Chester said also that the program is set to attend the Steubenville and Wintersville farmers markets to distribute farmers market coupons, which are expected to arrive during the first week of July. Distributing coupons at the markets themselves will hopefully increase redemption rate and draw more WIC sign ups. Coupons will be distributed to active WIC participants until the end of September or until the coupons run out.

In other business:

The board approved a letter to be sent to Amsterdam residents July 1, mandating their connection to the community’s new sanitary sewer system and giving them a one-year time limit for completion, prior to further action.

The board approved a draft of the health department’s strategic plan, which would cover 2024 to 2027. Henry said the health department will tackle next workforce development and performance improvement plans.

The board approved an addendum to its contract with the Canton City Health Department for HIV grant activities. The addendum extended the grant period to July 31, when the next grant cycle will begin and the Jefferson County health department gets a new agreement.

The board approved a fully grant-funded $6,216.61 purchase order for mosquito education supplies, ordered through Amazon.

The board approved a $597.54 travel request covering Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Rick Stead’s trip to the Pediatric Disaster Response conference in Columbus June 12-13.

Henry said the health department will be working with the state auditor’s department to schedule its 2023 audit.

Henry reported that a construction and demolition debris open dump on County Road 20 has been cleaned within the last month.

Henry said staff have been trained and will begin uploading documents necessary for accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board.

Kylie Smogonovich, nursing director, reported that nursing and environmental staff have attended two First Friday festivals and three different summer reading programs to distribute lead poisoning education and prevention materials. Seventy-two lead cleaning kits were distributed at the health department office and Urban Mission Ministries food pantry. At the month’s end, staff will distribute water filtering pitchers and anti-lead cleaning wipes.

Smogonovich said that correspondence between the health department at the state have resulted in the latter more accurately recognizing positive lyme disease cases reported in the county.

Marc Maragos, environmental health director, reported that 23 calls were made to the Apex Landfill odor complaint hotline in May and 23 were made so far in June.

Maragos reported that he received an update May 31 noting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program tested 225 animal species for rabies, and only one raccoon from Mahoning County turned up positive. Though this is “terrific news,” Maragos said, it’s only a small sample size, and “nothing takes the place of keeping your (pets) … up-to-date on vaccines.”

Henry said he was connected by the Ohio Public Health Association with a physician who serves as the board chair on the Franklin County public health board and is interested in being a speaker for the Jefferson County Board of Health’s retreat meeting.

Upcoming events mentioned include the second-annual Taking Steps to End Elder Abuse 5K at Jim Wood Park Saturday at 9:20 a.m.

Board member Mary Mihalyo was absent.

The board will meet in regular session July 16 at 8:15 a.m.

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