COLUMBUS, OH, MAY 23, 2024 — During the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will be highly visible on Ohio’s roadways, promoting traffic safety. As motorists travel this weekend, troopers are reminding drivers to utilize their safety belts and to be responsible by designating a sober driver. The effort begins at midnight on Friday, May 24, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 27.

Last year in Ohio, 24 fatal crashes killed 26 people during the Memorial Day weekend. Of those fatalities, 18 crashes and 19 fatalities were OVI-related. In the fatalities where a safety belt was available, 11 of the 13 were unbelted. Seven of the 10 motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet.

“Memorial Day weekend is a time for remembrance and reflection, but it’s also a busy time on our roads,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “This Memorial Day and every day, I encourage drivers to make responsible decisions each and every time they get behind the wheel.”

Also, during last year’s Memorial Day weekend, the Patrol made 399 impaired driving arrests.

“Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer, and we encourage everyone to make responsible choices behind the wheel,” said Colonel Charles A. Jones, Patrol Superintendent. “Whether you’re traveling to visit loved ones or enjoying a local getaway, remember to buckle up, avoid distractions, and never drive under the influence.”

In addition to the Memorial Day reporting period, the Patrol is continuing the 6-State Trooper Project, which focuses on the use of safety belts. This high-visibility effort includes the Indiana State Police, Kentucky State Police, Michigan State Police, Pennsylvania State Police, West Virginia State Police, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The initiative began on May 20 and will continue through May 27.

The Patrol is also taking part in the Click It or Ticket campaign, which runs May 20 through June 2.

You can help contribute to a safer Ohio by calling #677 to report drug activity and dangerous or impaired driving on Ohio roadways.



COLUMBUS, OH, MAY 16, 2024 — The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), National Weather Service Wilmington (NWS Wilmington) Forecast Office, and Lamar Advertising announced the launch of the Ohio Traveler Alert System (OTAS). During severe weather incidents, the OTAS will display real-time alert information on digital billboards to help ensure that motorists are aware of the potential for threatening weather.

The initial phase of this program will include 50 billboards in the metropolitan areas of Dayton and Columbus. The billboards will display important weather information as needed regarding severe weather, such as high winds, snow squalls, heavy ice, and flooding. This system is intended to supplement – not replace – other real-time alert resources such as television and radio broadcasts and real-time weather apps.

“The Ohio Traveler Alert System is a great way to keep Ohioans and visitors safe and aware on the roads,” said Sima Merick, Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director. “This potentially lifesaving project will provide critical weather updates to Ohio travelers.”

Communication and messaging in the form of billboard alerts is key to travelers who may not be familiar with their surrounding area and the weather hazards that they may encounter, as well as all drivers who are not aware of impending severe weather. This may also help to provide needed information to those living within the area of the billboards.

After evaluating the success of the billboards in Dayton and Columbus, the program is expected to expand to other parts of the state.

To learn more about OTAS, visit EMA.Ohio.Gov



WAYNE COUNTY, OH, May. 2, 2024 —  The State of Ohio is taking a bold step towards creating safer communities for its citizens. With a significant investment of $15 million, the Governor’s Office is helping the Wayne County Jail bolster its capacity, security, and operational capabilities, promising far-reaching benefits for public safety, law enforcement, and the communities it serves.

Before the introduction of Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Wayne County Commissioner Ron Amstutz recounted the eight-year journey that finally led to the groundbreaking ceremony. In the face of adversity and a defeated levy, the commissioners finally achieved their goal with a new jail scheduled to be operational in 2026.

“The ones that collaborate are the ones that succeed,” Lt. Governor Husted told a group that gathered for the occasion. “Clearly, that is happening here; collaboration is what we do in administrative government across the state. The citizens benefit from the partnership between state and county governments. We recognize the challenges that local communities face.”

At nearly 50 years old, the current jail desperately needs renovation. Opened in 1977 and with a maximum allowable capacity of 80 inmates, the grant will add 72,000 square feet of space, bringing bed capacity to 200 when the project is complete. This groundbreaking is a testament to Ohio’s commitment to addressing the pressing concerns of jail overcrowding, outdated infrastructure, and inadequate resources in the state’s correctional facilities.

“There are many who contributed to our arrival to this day. We have more than 25 persons on our Community Corrections Planning Board, including judges, law enforcement, community members, social services, and other community leaders,” said Wayne County Commissioner Ron Amstutz. “We set this project as one of our top priority goals several years ago. The commissioners hired Greg Strollo’s Architect firm, and now we have hired local Bogner Construction Company as the general contractor and construction manager for what is underway as we speak.”

Nothing worthwhile comes easy.

Amstutz admitted that financing the project went through twists and turns, and features were redesigned occasionally.

“We thought we needed to raise our sales tax rate, but now we can avoid that because we have substantial state and federal funding. We are very thankful for that,” he said. “Patrick Herron, our administrator, has played a vital role in this from the beginning and continues to provide invaluable leadership.”

Ohio’s need for enhanced jail facilities is undeniable, and the statistics paint a stark picture. The opioid epidemic has led to a surge in overdose deaths, and jail facilities are struggling to provide adequate medical care to inmates with addiction.

No one is more familiar with the condition of the jail than Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson. “When I first started here, I was 20 years old,” he said. “We moved into this building, and at that time, it was state-of-the-art. Seeing this new phase start with another state-of-the-art project is very humbling. The support of the state, city, county, and citizens is overwhelming.”

Those in the criminal justice system recognize that many individuals incarcerated in local jails struggle with mental health issues, substance abuse, and other challenges that hinder their ability to reintegrate into society upon release.

By providing a facility with access to counseling, therapy, and treatment services, we proactively address the root causes of recidivism and promote a safer, more rehabilitative environment within its jails, lending to a safer community.

Dan Starcher is the Public Communications Coordinator for Wayne County.

WCLRC Special Meeting

WCLRC Special Meeting

WCLRC Special Meeting Notice
A special meeting of the Wayne County Land Reutilization Corporation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 11 a.m. on the second floor of the Wayne County Administration Building located at 428 W. Liberty St., Wooster, to discuss the Welcome Home Ohio Grant, and the Taylor Road in Chippewa Township decision.


COLUMBUS, OHIO, 21 Nov. 2023 — Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods each year. As Ohioans and our visitors travel throughout the state, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers will be enforcing safe driving.

Troopers will be highly visible and cracking down on impaired drivers and those failing to wear a safety belt from Wednesday, November 22 at midnight through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 26.

“Driving sober, belted, and focused on the road can help prevent senseless tragedies,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “I urge everyone to drive responsibly and to buckle up.”

Many Thanksgiving celebrations involve alcohol, which increases the possibility of impaired driving. During last year’s Thanksgiving reporting period, which ran from November 23 – 27, there were 18 fatal crashes in which 19 people were killed, including four instances of pedestrians being struck. Of the 14 crashes where pedestrians were not involved, safety belts were available but not used in 11 of the incidents. Within the same reporting period, alcohol and/or drugs were linked to 12 of the fatal crashes.

“We hope everyone has a safe Thanksgiving,” said Colonel Charles A. Jones, Patrol superintendent. “When you designate a sober driver, put your phone down and properly use safety belts, you are helping save lives.”

The Patrol also made 278 arrests for impaired driving and assisted 1,534 motorists.

Motorists are encouraged to call #677 to report impaired drivers, drug activity or stranded motorists.