Panel praises recent art project

Seneca County Opportunity Center Superintendent Lew Hurst and Adult Services Director Rod Biggert shared the success of a collaborative effort with artist Patti Mitchell. Developmental Disability board members heard more than 120 individuals participated during the third week of March to enliven the adult services area.

Biggert said clients’ original artwork, both large and small creations, were enlarged and transferred onto other mediums and color added for display in the adult area. Staff enjoyed interacting with clients for the experience, she said.

Board member Joe Moore suggested a storefront location be developed for the sale of the artwork in the future. Biggert said that is a goal they are considering as artwork is changed out annually.

Biggert wants to create new opportunities that other providers may not have. The newly created sensory stimulation area has a hanging garden created by his clients and contains opportunities for TV, music, visual, auditory and olfactory stimulations. The technology center offers computers, music, Xbox and Wii games and iPads. A kitchen is available for cooking experiences.

Hurst presented a PowerPoint review on program data. He said the state downsized developmental centers by 500 clients this past year. Entities are participating in more shared services. He said all center graduates must be offered community employment now before coming into the re-ad program.

Hurst asked the question, “Is it time to have a discussion of our system?” Areas to consider changes include waivers, taxing providers and seeking block grants. He said the Opportunity Center is taking a 10 percent cut in Title 20 funding due to federal sequestration.

Ohio is the largest state with developmental disability services under a county system, according to Hurst.

Administrative staff and board members are to retreat to discuss roles and opportunities for a five-year vision for the facility. The date is to be determined.

The celebrity basketball game at Heidelberg had nearly 1,200 in attendance this year. The flash mob video taken during the game has had 2,000 hits on YouTube. The evening raised $1,100 for the Special Olympics.

In other matters, board


Abolished the habilitation manager position and create the position of vocational manager.

Approved the 2014-15 program calendar.

Approved the 2013 summer activities that are to run three days a week for a four-week period, with costs not to exceed $5,000.

Approved the 2013 summer Help Me Grow program, which is a year-long program providing evaluations and activities, with costs not to exceed $15,550.

Reviewed 13 policies regarding transportation services with three revisions.

Heard approximately 720 attended the Palm Sunday dinner.

The 169 Board is to meet at 5 p.m. May 14 at Fostoria Re-ads.