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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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Unique form of compassion donated by Exchange Club

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - The number of Knox County children in foster care has tripled in the last year to 85. Sometimes when children have to pick up and move somewhere in the foster system, their belongings are tossed in trash bags. The Exchange Club of Mount Vernon wanted to do something about that, to provide a more dignified container for the children's things.

Friday, the club donated 50 red, rolling 42-inch duffel bags for these children to the Knox County Department of Job and Family Services. The bags will have name badges attached to them.

Scott Boone, Knox County JFS program administrator said, "We can't say enough how grateful we are. You have no idea how long and far this will go in terms of the support that we're able to offer our kids." 

Exchange's immediate past president Thom Colllier said, "It's about creating a meaningful moment during a difficult time."

The Exchange Club exists to make the community a better place to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities, and its national project, the prevention of child abuse.

Exchange red bags

Scott Boone, left, Social Service Program Administrator, Kristin Seveigny, Foster Care and Adoption Social Worker with Knox County Department of Job and Family Services, and Thom Collier, immediate past president Exchange Club at Friday's presentation - KnoxPages.com photo by Marty Trese 

County's neediest getting help in finding employment

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — The number of individuals participating in the county's workforce development program are down, but those who are participating are the “most needy of the needy,” Diana Williams, administrator at Opportunity Knox Employment Center, told the county commissioners on Thursday.

“They are the ones who truly have barriers to getting employment,” agreed Matthew Kurtz, director of Knox County Job & Family Services.

Some individuals have an unexpected setback, resolve the issue and go back to work. “Those who we work with a lot have serious drug or alcohol control issues or mental health issues,” she said. “So many of them fall outside of how we can help.”

She said Opportunity Knox works closely with community organizations such as TouchPointe and KnoxWorks to help individuals achieve the four steps to self-sufficiency: job readiness, search, retention and advancement. Efforts include helping high school students attain enough credits to graduate, help with GED training if they do not graduate and teaching such basic things as learning how to change a flat tire so that they can still get to work.

Williams said the summer employment program will start the end of May; the contractor working with the program is renting space at the Escape Zone. The plan is to put a case manager at the Escape Zone to work with the parents of the children attending Escape Zone activities.

“I don't think there's been a year that I have been this excited with the stuff that's happening in the community,” she said.

Jeff Pickrell, water/wastewater superintendent, told the commissioners that the department was getting back to normal after three waterline breaks earlier in the week. Lining the manholes to seal leaks continues in Pleasant View Acres. Well No. 3 is cleaned; Pickrell is waiting to get a pump and motor. The plan is to clean and rehab the well next year, if possible, rather than dig a new well.

Pickrell said his department has started upgrading the computer system that controls and monitors the well fields. He has a conference call scheduled next with the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss erosion in the Kokosing River near the well field; the EPA will then make a site visit and hopefully the county will receive grant funding to stabilize the erosion.

Dog Warden John Carhart updated the commissioners on March statistics for the Knox County Animal Shelter. The shelter took in 40 dogs, including 27 stray and nine owner surrender; 40 dogs left the shelter, including 15 adoptions, 10 returned to their owner and nine transferred. Six were euthanized, five surrendered by their owners for an aged/ailing and one due to aggression toward humans. As of Wednesday, 27 dogs were in the shelter, including one on medical hold due to neglect. That dog is awaiting a medical foster home while it stabilizes.

Around Ohio: Task Force seizes 20 kg of drugs, cash and arrests 4 alleged high-level drug traffickers

DAYTON – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer on Thursday announced the arrests of four suspected drug traffickers, believed to be associated with the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

The Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force, which is part of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, also seized approximately 20 kilograms of drugs (mostly heroin and fentanyl), 20 pounds of marijuana, and approximately $120,000 in cash.

The drugs are worth a street value of approximately $2 million.

Dagoberto Verdugo-Aguirre, 45, of Dayton; Julio Castillo-Egurrola, 30, of Dayton; Emmanuel Sanchez-Perez, 28, of Harrison Township; and Cabrera Alvarez, 42, of Phoenix, Arizona were arrested and charged with Possession of Drugs, Trafficking of Drugs, and Money Laundering.

Sanchez-Perez is not a U.S. Citizen. He faced a previous deportation, but returned to the United States.

Throughout the investigation, the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force searched several residences, which included: 110 Klee Avenue in Dayton, 115 South Delmar Avenue in Dayton, and 332 Hillway Drive in Harrison Township.

"Task force members have made a significant bust with this investigation,” said Attorney General DeWine. "Most of the drugs seized were heroin and fentanyl – poison that will not make it to our streets to endanger the lives of Ohio families.”

“If you’re thinking about bringing drugs into the Miami Valley, don’t. We’re very good at what we do,” said Sheriff Phil Plummer. “I believe our message is clear, and our unified efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement are working.”

The investigation is ongoing, and more arrests are expected.

In Montgomery County so far this year, there have been approximately 200 opiate overdose deaths.

The Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force, which is part of the Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, is made up of officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Miami Township Police Department, Butler Township Police Department, Montgomery County RANGE Task Force, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office.

Established in 1986, the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) assists local law enforcement agencies in combating organized crime and corrupt activities. The Commission is composed of members of the law enforcement community and is chaired by the Ohio Attorney General. In 2016, authorities working in OOCIC task forces across the state seized more than $33 million worth of drugs and more than $5.65 million in U.S. currency. So far in 2017, in addition to this investigation, OOCIC task forces have seized nearly $9 million worth of drugs and $1.7 million in U.S. currency.

Chatman sentenced to 4 years in prison for heroin trafficking

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - Sabian Chatman, 36, of Columbus was sentenced to 4 years in prison on a heroin trafficking case. Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville said Chatman was caught with a significant amount of heroin and was someone who was bringing drugs to our community from the Columbus area. Chatman could have received eight years but pleaded guity in exchange for half that. 

McConville said, "I'm happy with the mandatory four year sentence, that's a significant amount of time. I'm also happy there's been a forfeiture [$2,420] that's going to law enforcement to help continue the effort against drug crimes."

Chatman heroin dealer

Sabian Chatman - file photo

Chatman was arrested in December during a raid on a drug house at 807 N. Mulberry Street. During the SWAT raid, police found more than 10 grams of heroin packaged for distribution. Prior to the arrest police had conducted two undercover buys of heroin from Chatman at that same address.

This trip to prison will not be the first for Chatman as he has a long criminal record for drug trafficking and escape. He previously served six years behind bars.

McConville says there are multiple drug dealers who come to Mount Vernon from Columbus, Newark and elsewhere to sell. Local dealers then resell the drugs to addicts in the Mount Vernon area.

KCSO arrests Jackson accused of trafficking in methamphetamine

MOUNT VERNON -Following issuance of a statewide warrant for his arrest, Knox County Sheriff's deputies picked up Corey Jackson, 22, at his New Delaware Road home Thursday evening. According to the report, Jackson's father was also at the residence. Corey was indicted this week by the Knox County Grand Jury on two counts of aggravated drug trafficking in methamphetamine.

Corey Jackson drug trafficking

Corey Jackson - Knox County jail photo

Jackson was placed in handcuffs and transported to the Knox County jail.  He is being held on a no bond status.  

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