Commissioners mark October

Board recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Commissioners has recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“Domestic violence is a widespread issue and impacts every person in this community,” Commissioner Mark Thomas said during last week’s commission meeting. “When a person is abused, it can leave a long-term damaging effect on the victim, as well as family, friends and the community as a whole. The ramifications of domestic violence are staggering to children who witness and experience violence.”

In 2016, the Tri-County Help Center sheltered 72 adults and 73 children, with a combined 2,127 nights of safety provided to them.

Cathy Campbell, executive director of the help center, said a variety of awareness campaigns have been planned to help educate the community. Michele Helms, legal advocate for the center’s operations in Belmont County, spoke about the various types of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is prevalent in every community and effects all people, regardless of their age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion and nationality,” Helms said, adding that the damage done by domestic violence can be both physical and emotional and can carry over generations. “One child could spend a lifetime trying to forget only a few moments of their childhood.”

She spoke about the importance of education, recognizing the signs of domestic violence and reporting and preventing it, as well as providing support for survivors of domestic violence.

Oct. 19 is Wear Purple Day, when people are asked to wear purple to show support for victims of domestic violence.

Fields of flags will be on display in Belmont, Monroe and Harrison counties, with the flags symbolizing those who have experienced and lost their lives to domestic violence.

At 6 p.m. Oct. 18, a Domestic Violence Awareness Walk will begin at the St. Clairsville help center office at 104 1/2 N. Marietta St. Attorney Natasha Plumly, Southeast Ohio legal aid and president of the board of directors of Tri-County Help Center Inc., will be the guest speaker. The Peacekeeper Award will be presented to Majs. Louis and Norma Patrick of the Salvation Army.

A candlelight vigil will be held 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Harrison County Courthouse in Cadiz.

The commissioners commended the staff of the Tri-County Help Center for the care provided to those in need. Commissioner J.P. Dutton added that the center is respected for its work.

The hotline to call for help dealing with domestic violence is 800-695-1639.

In other matters, the board of commissioners elected to waive its local government funding from the state, expected to be more than $100,000, and pass it on to the cities, villages and townships within the county on a per-capita basis. The county has waived its funding since 2014.

Pultney Township Trustee Frank Shaffer thanked the commissioners on behalf of the townships.

“We appreciate it, and we definitely need it,” Shaffer said.

Guests included Richard Hord of Martins Ferry, who inquired if any firm date has been set for an announcement regarding the possible ethane cracker plant that may be coming to Dilles Bottom near Shadyside. Dutton said no date has been set.

“The important thing is that the project continues to move forward in a positive manner,” Dutton said, adding that would potentially be one of the biggest projects in the area’s history. “We’re doing our part from the local standpoint.”

Commissioners also announced an open house for the newly constructed senior services center will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 17.