2023 was a busy year for local news. The closeness of our community ensures that there is always a community event or happening to report on and the values of our community ensure that there isn’t too much ‘bad’ news to run. During the history of this publication, we have always strived to report the news, not our opinion.
Each week, we decide what the stories of the week are going to be. All operating decisions are locally made, by people who grew up and have been a part of this community for many years, often their entire lives.
May 2024 be a successful and productive year for all of our readers. We will have the news covered for you!
Baldridge joins Governor’s cabinet
The year started with former Wayne Township Trustee and former Commissioner; Brian Baldridge being tapped to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Baldridge resigned his seat in the Ohio House and took over as Director in January. Baldridge is only one of a few to ever serve in the Governor’s cabinet from this county, most recently Doug White served as Director of Commerce nearly 20 years ago.
Wright retires from Children Services agency
The start of the new year began a new era at Adams County Children Services. Jill Wright who had served the agency for nearly three decades, announced her retirement in January. In Wright, local children had a strong advocate and experienced leadership. After a month’s long search, a longtime and respected staff member of the agency, Sonja Meyer was selected to fill the shoes of Wright.
Travel and Visitors Bureau celebrates a quarter century
In late winter, the Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau announced that the agency was celebrating 25 years of service to Adams County. According to the Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau, it was on February 23, 1998 that County Commissioners Jim McClanahan, Robert Hall, and Paul Rothwell approved a resolution establishing a bed tax in Adams County that would fund the bureau. Since the inception of the agency, tourism revenue has exploded locally, leading to Adams County bringing in millions of dollars of economic impact to the local economy.
Two local residents hit big on Ohio lotto
In March, this newspaper reported that someone in Manchester purchased a winning Powerball ticket at Harover’s East End Carryout. The winning 5/5 ticket was worth $2 million and was sold for the March 13th Powerball drawing. The Informer later confirmed that it was a local resident of Manchester who won the money. The winner requested anonymity from Ohio Lotto officials.
In addition to the millions won in Manchester, the Ohio Lottery announced on Friday that a West Union resident had won $100,000 on a scratch-off ticket. Lottery officials say that Theresa Shelton of West Union received a happy surprise after winning a $100,000 top prize in the Ohio Lottery’s $5 scratch-off, Bingo Times 25. She purchased her winning ticket at Wal-Mart Supercenter #1368, located at 11217 State Route 41 in West Union.
Bailey Animal Hospital closes
A staple of the community closed in April. Dr. Rick and Alice Bailey ceased operation of Bailey Animal Hospital on April 27, 2023. Dr. Rick Bailey had served the community for nearly 43 years. The state of Ohio granted him his license on June 30, 1980.
Seas departs as school superintendent
In May, the Adams County/Ohio Valley School District announced that Richard Seas was preparing to step down from his position. The Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, a little-known bureaucracy for school districts had been tasked by the district to assist with the selection of the news superintendent. The district announced in May that Dawn Wallace had been selected to replace Seas, who decided to retire. Seas first came to Adams County in 2015 after leaving the Coldwater Exempted Village School District. Seas had served as Superintendent in that district for over a decade before coming to Adams County/Ohio Valley School District.
Commissioners hire new Economic Development Director
Many in the business and civic community praised the hiring of former Commissioner Paul Worley to lead the county’s economic development efforts. Worley replaced Holly Johnson, who had resigned in May. Worley began his duties on May 22nd.
Prior to his election as commissioner in 2012, Worley was an officer in the active duty US Army, earning the rank of Captain. He served three tours of duty in support of the Global War on Terrorism – two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. “This is a great opportunity for the future of economic development in Adams County,” said Commissioner Moore at the time of the hiring. “Mr. Worley’s past experience as a county commissioner and his MBA from Xavier combined with his love of Adams County, he will make a great addition to the county.”
Kelley retires as Prosecutor; Haslam steps in
In July, longtime Prosecutor David Kelley announced his retirement. Prior to being elected Adams County Prosecuting Attorney, Kelley worked as legal counsel to a pilots union and as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Pike County. He served as a Special Prosecutor in nine Ohio counties. Throughout his career, he has prosecuted dozens of jury trials and supervised hundreds of criminal investigations. In 2020, after serving in the U.S. Army as both an enlisted soldier and officer for 35 years, Kelley retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In Haslam, Adams County residents received a steady hand in the office – as Haslam is no stranger to it. He has been working in the office this year and previously was elected in 2008 as Prosecutor. Haslam started at the Adams County Prosecutor’s office as an intern in January 2004, then became an assistant prosecutor by November of that year. In November 2008, he won the election for county prosecutor. Since then, he has served as an Assistant Ohio Attorney General and Executive Director of the State Medical Board as well as private practice.
Jail evacuated after suspected fentanyl exposure
The Adams County Jail was evacuated on a hot July evening because of fentanyl exposure. According to authorities, 10 people were taken to the hospital for suspected exposure.
According to the department, two female inmates were treated and taken to the hospital along with three corrections officers, one probation officer, one court bailiff and three EMT’s were also exposed. At least two of the exposed public servants had to be treated with the lifesaving drug Narcan.
As inmates were evacuated from the facility, Adams County authorities contacted an environmental crew to remediate the contamination floor by floor at the jail facility. The inmates were housed under heavy security at the West Union Fire Department building on Logans Lane, just a few blocks from the jail. The source of the suspected fentanyl came from a female inmate, who provided the drug to separate cells.
Peebles man pleads guilty to animal cruelty
During the summer, it was reported that a Peebles man tossed a nine-year-old chihuahua in a Peebles dumpster to die. In September, Nicholas G. Stewart appeared in the Adams County Court and pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. Stewart had previously plead not guilty. As reported in this newspaper back in June, the dog was found by the Nesbitt family who were taking out their trash when they discovered the animal.
According to court records, Stewart was given 180 days in jail (suspended), one year of probation with conditions and fined $150.00. In addition, the defendant must not refuse any requests from law enforcement regarding chemical testing and Stewart was ordered to pay restitution to the Office of the Adams County Dog Warden in the amount of $990.00. Court costs were also assessed to the defendant in the amount of $167.00. Lastly, the dog was released from the custody of the Dog Warden to Vaughn and Kathy Hoop who will tag, license, and take ownership of the dog.
Sunset Bowl returns
The Sunset Bowl returned to much fanfare in the fall. Located in the heart of the Panhandle, the building went through an extensive remodel with many new upgrades that are sure to make your experience more pleasurable.
In October, the Sunset Bowl ownership and employees gathered with the Adams County Chamber of Commerce to officially re-open the establishment.
The Precinct Cafe opens
Just a few weeks ago, the much-anticipated Precinct Cafe opened on the Courthouse Square in West Union. An impressive menu awaits you and there’s sure to be something on it that you’ll fall in love with. The cafe features an over-ice menu and hot drink menu, all with special brews in multiple flavors. In addition, the cafe offers a breakfast and lunch menu that includes muffins, bagels, soups, salads, muffins, cookies and so much more.
If readers are familiar with the history and many stories of the building, they will appreciate certain drinks that are being named to represent the 130 years of history. For example, the “Tyrone” is named after the building ghost and is a white chocolate mocha, while the “Jailer” will be a caramel macchiato.