By: Anna Wozniak
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The Williams County Mayors’ Association met at 7 p.m. on January 17, 2024. Present were Edon Fiscal Officer, and Association Secretary, Heidi Bidwell, Edon Mayor Duane Thiel, Pioneer Mayor Ed Kidston, Edgerton Mayor Bob Day, Holiday City Mayor Pamela Clark, Blakeslee Mayor Eric Jenkins, Montpelier Mayor Steve Yagelski, West Unity Mayor Don Leu, and Stryker Mayor Joey Beck. Absent was Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade.
The minutes from their November 15, 2023 meeting were approved as presented, as were the most current financial statements.
Mayor Clark then shared that the state of Ohio is looking to change the grant application process seen for infrastructure to one cohesive place, with separate representation for each region, instead of each region holding individual application processes. This is still being solidified and has only just been confirmed recently.
The association then heard from Williams County Communications (911) Director Heather Mercer and Deputy Director Apryl McClaine on the new state regulations regarding an update to the way calls and funding are distributed between 911 agencies covering the same areas.
Mercer shared that due to the Williams County 911 department and the Bryan City 911, there is now a need for a committee to be formed regarding emergency operations.
This committee is made up of a very specific number and type of members, and one needed to be an elected official part of a local board and nominated by the board to represent the county. The association chose to nominate Mayor Thiel to represent Williams County on the 911 Communications Committee.
It was also shared that roadway improvement applications are going to be due in March, and this is the same grant funding that has previously covered Kexon Drive in Pioneer and North Industrial Drive in Bryan.
The CEO of the Four County ADAMhs Board, Tonie Long, then greeted the association, sharing the hard work put in by herself and other volunteers with the Four County LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) Team.
This team, currently composed of 22 volunteers for the four-county area, is contacted in cases of suicide to help survivors. They usually reach the families 1-2 hours after being called, day or night, and send 2-3 volunteers at a time, with one always being a survivor.
They also provide outreach services for 12 months following an event and introduce survivors to support groups.
Long shared that her time spent volunteering with LOSS has been one of the “most challenging and enriching” experiences that she has had in her 33 years working in health care.
The LOSS Team is looking for more members, especially to help expand their regional rapid response teams, and luckily a training seminar will be happening in March for those who feel called to join Long on her plight to help protect the four-county community from suicide. Those interested should contact her at (419)267-3355 ext. 1.
Everyone should take the time to educate themselves on the signs of mental illness, as well as some of the hints that someone may be contemplating suicide. Destigmatize treatment and have potentially uncomfortable conversations.
Everyone needs to come together to help support those impacted by suicide, with it being said that one suicide affects more than 135 lives.
It was after thanking Long for her presentation that the Williams County Mayors’ Association voted to adjourn the meeting at 7:20 p.m.