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Health summit on tap to improve county’s ranking

The goal is simple. Pulling Lawrence County out of the bottom rung when it comes to health. The particulars on how to reach that goal have yet to be determined.

But that is the focus of the upcoming Health and Wellness Summit, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Chamber of Commerce office in South Point.

A recent survey by Health Outcomes of the state’s 88 counties put Lawrence County coming in 88th as far as the health of the region.

That statistic galvanized Dr. David Lucas of Ohio University Southern to create the upcoming summit with the ultimate goal of improving that ranking.

“We want to move up five ranks or possibly more,” Lucas told the county commissioners at their regular Thursday meeting. “We want folks who are interested in wanting to coordinate this effort … doctors and hospitals that have an interest to be participants to step up to the plate.”

The summit begins at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast, then at 9 a.m. an overview of the health crisis will be presented.

The remainder of the summit will be setting up task forces on issues such as obesity, substance abuse, tobacco use and cancer, to determine particular strategies.

“We have a cancer incidence far beyond others,” Lucas said. “This is a wonderful place to live, but an unhealthy place. Sometimes it is just clean environment. It won’t be one on Saturday at the Chamber.”

The summit will end by noon.

During the commissioners’ reports Commissioner Bill Pratt and Commission President Les Boggs discussed the recent decision of the U.S. Postal Service to shut down almost 4,000 post offices across the nation. Among those offices on the list are stations at Scottown, Rock Camp, Willow Wood, Haverhill and Waterloo.

Recently those communities met with postal service representatives who explained the reason for the shutdowns. However, Pratt argued that closing places that cost under $100,000 to operate a year will not offset a reportedly almost $3 billion national deficit.

“There is no way that plan is going to balance the budget,” Pratt said. “We are in favor of reducing bureaucracy, but not on the backs of the rural customers in Lawrence County and throughout the country.”

According to Boggs, only Congress is authorized to close a post office. But by calling them stations, the post service can shut them down. Boggs also said local distributions centers may be moved to a central location in Columbus.

“Once again Columbus gets the good stuff at the expense of the rural counties,” he said.

In other action the commissioners:

• Received a rebate in the amount of $9,094 from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Safety Council;

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report where 47 dogs were destroyed, five were sold and three were redeemed. Currently there are 93 dogs in custody.

• Approved a change order as requested by Bill Dingus of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. over work done at the Chamber of Commerce office.

• The order requests cleaning existing storm sewer pipe for $3,600; install drainage system for $19,600; provide centerline survey at $550; and install pipe for $9,727. The work is funded from Community Block Development Grant money that is routed through the commission.