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State promotes efforts to boost morale

DeWine challenges Ohioans to ‘Reach Out to Five’ to keep spirits up

COLUMBUS — Ohio is working to keep spirits up during the shutdown surrounding the coronavirus.

Following the Easter weekend, Gov. Mike DeWine said that he and his family stayed in touch during the holiday using Zoom video conferencing and that he and first lady Fran DeWine had watched a mass conducted by a friend doing work in Haiti.

“We want to thank all families,” he said. “It was certainly an unusual Easter. It was an unusual weekend. It’s an unusual time, but I think families really tried to get together.”

DeWine kicked off Monday’s news conference on a lighter note, showing photos of Easter eggs customized to current headlines.

The batch, created by Hamilton County third grade teacher Stacy Sandlin and her daughter, featured eggs decorated with Q-tips to resemble the coronavirus, eggs made into hand sanitizer and toilet paper and face mask-clad nurses. At the center of the collection were eggs made to look like DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health.

“Thanks for the creativity and for all you do to teach our students,” DeWine said.

The need to stay connected was something DeWine addressed in the conference, and said Lori Criss, the director of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, is issuing a “Reach Out to Five” challenge.

“During the time when we have to stay home, reaching out is more important than ever,” the governor said. “It reduces feelings of isolation and the personal connection reduces stress.”

DeWine said the goal is for people to take time daily to contact five people they know, via phone, email or social media.

“Reach out them to them use this as occasion to get back in touch,” he said.

The first lady has also been offering suggestions for activities to keep families occupied.

On Friday, she offered families in Ohio a recipe for making sidewalk chalk paint.

At the news conference, she said the recipe could help those who did not want to go to the store under shelter-in-place orders.

The recipe calls for one cup of cornstarch and one cup of cold water, along with food coloring or washable children’s paint.

Cornstarch and water should be mixed and placed into muffin cubs or small plastic containers.

Food coloring or paint should be added in drops until desired colors are achieved.

Paint can be applied to sidewalks with inexpensive one-inch brushes or foam brushes.

The recipe will settle, so it should be stirred occasionally.

Mrs. DeWine, who has written several cookbooks, has offered recipes to the public throughout the stay-at-home period.

Southern Ohio also was the subject of one of the lighter elements of Monday’s news conference.

Each day, DeWine has been wearing a tie themed to a college or university in Ohio.

On Monday, his choice was the University of Rio Grande, located in Gallia County.

“It’s a small, but great school in the southern part of the state of Ohio,” the governor said when pointing out the red tie.