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Rep. Phillips Likely To Retain Seat After Recount

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The official vote count Monday in Washington County has both Democrat incumbent Debbie Phillips and Republican challenger Yolan Dennis picking up additional votes in the race for the Ohio House seat in the 94th District.   Although Dennis picked up slightly more votes in her home county of Washington County than Phillips did, official counts… Read More

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Holzer Hasn’t Paid Second-half Taxes On Athens Clinic

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Holzer Health System currently has unpaid property tax bills totaling nearly $322,000 on its Athens clinic, according to figures from the Athens County Treasurer’s Office. As The Messenger has previously reported, Holzer has applied for a property tax exemption that is being contested by Federal Hocking Local School District. “Under Ohio law, Holzer does not… Read More

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Frech Brings Misconduct Allegations Against Him To Light

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A pre-disciplinary conference is scheduled for next week concerning allegations that Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services, has committed misconduct. The conference is slated to be held during next Tuesday’s meeting of the county commissioners.   The allegations were made public Wednesday by Frech himself, who said the… Read More

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Athens And County Move Forward With Formation Of Council Of Governments

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Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council, the organization formed by the city of Athens and Athens County to pursue electric aggregation, isn't changing its name but is altering its structure. On Tuesday, the Athens County Commissioners approved the creation of a regional council of governments, also called Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council. On Monday, Athens City Council… Read More

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Athens County Coroner Resigning

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Athens County Coroner Harold C. Thompson has submitted a letter of resignation to the county commissioners. Commission President Lenny Eliason said the commissioners are expected to act on the resignation Tuesday, and to appoint a temporary replacement until the Athens County Democratic Central Committee can name an interim coroner. Thompson is a Democrat. Thompson, who… Read More

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Advisory Group Being Formed For Materials Recovery Facility

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An advisory committee is being formed to assist Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers Inc. with the task of developing plans for a materials recovery facility. On Monday, Athens County Commissioner Chris Chmiel asked the board of the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District to allow Roger Bail, the district’s coordinator, to serve on the advisory group. Chmiel is a… Read More

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Moonville Rail Trail Getting Funding, But More Needed

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Progress is being made toward funding construction of a priority bridge for the Moonville Rail Trail, but more financial assistance is needed. The recreational trail, which extends from Zaleski in Vinton County to Mineral in Athens County, is a former railroad bed. However, when the railroad tracks were removed, multiple bridges also were taken out…. Read More

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Charge Against Former County Commissioner Dismissed

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A domestic violence charge against a former Athens County commissioner was dismissed recently in Athens County Municipal Court. Mark Sullivan, 55, was charged in February with domestic violence against his ex-wife, Tammie Sullivan, accused of shoving her, striking her and pulling her hair. He had pleaded innocent to the charge and requested a jury trial…. Read More

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Judgeship Race Was Close, But Not Campaign Spending

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Post-primary campaign finance reports again showed Pat Lang outspending Todd Grace in the race for Athens County Common Pleas Count judge. As the Messenger previously reported, Lang, who won the Democratic nomination by a four-vote margin, also listed higher spending than Grace in finance reports filed before the election. Friday was the deadline for filing… Read More

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Athens-Based Business Incubation Association Considers Move

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The National Business Incubation Association headquartered in Athens will be establishing a training center, but it apparently won’t be in Athens. Jasper Welch, president and CEO of NBIA, said the organization will maintain a presence in Athens, but said he could not be more specific because details have not been worked out. The association, which… Read More

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Federal Hocking Weighs Options On Holzer Tax Exemption

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Federal Hocking Local School District has 30 days to respond to a ruling that Holzer Clinic of Athens is eligible for tax-exempt status, but the likelihood of overturning that decision appears slim. Gary Gudmundson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Taxation, said it is “almost impossible” to counter Holzer’s argument in favor of the exemption,… Read More

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Texas Roadhouse Draws Nearly 900 Job Applicants

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Nearly 900 people have applied for jobs at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant slated to open in Athens on March 24. The restaurant will have 160 jobs available and has already hired that many people, although managing partner Deedra Semones said Friday that applications are still being accepted. The restaurant, construction of which is nearing completion,… Read More

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Prosecutor: County Commissioners Can Appoint Acting Interim Sheriff If It Becomes Necessary

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The Athens County Commissioners have been given a legal opinion from the county prosecutor that they would have the authority to appoint an acting interim sheriff until the Athens County Democratic Central Committee decides on an appointee. A special commission appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor has been considering whether Sheriff Patrick… Read More

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Commissioners OK plan for funding sheriff’s advocate position

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Funds have been found to retain the domestic violence victims advocate at the Athens County Sheriff’s Office for the remainder of this year while word is awaited on whether grants funds will be available for next year. At Wednesday’s meeting, the county commissioners agreed to a proposal from the sheriff’s office to use unspent matching… Read More

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Investigators Question Scrapping Of Sheriff’s Office Truck

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State investigators have been making inquiries about the scrapping of an Athens County Sheriff’s Office truck. Sheriff Patrick Kelly told The Messenger he spoke about it Thursday with agents of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. Also, it appears that agents have taken copies of paperwork related to the truck from the Athens… Read More