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madison<br />

<strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong> www.columbusmessenger.com Vol. XXXIX No. 7<br />

Paid for by Friends of Cory Coburn<br />

Expansion project will triple size of food pantry<br />

By Kristy Zurbrick<br />

<strong>Madison</strong> Editor<br />

The Mount Sterling Community Center’s<br />

food pantry will triple in size this year,<br />

thanks to an anonymous donor. Organizers<br />

expect to break ground on the 30x40 squarefoot<br />

expansion in late March or early April.<br />

“The donor came to us in August last<br />

year. They knew our numbers were growing<br />

and we needed more space,” said Megan<br />

Barker Witteman, the center’s director.<br />

In 2023, the food pantry had 10,207 individual<br />

visits, an increase of 2,200 visits over<br />

2022. The numbers have been climbing for<br />

several years, Witteman said.<br />

The pantry serves income eligible households<br />

in the <strong>Madison</strong>-Plains, Miami Trace,<br />

and Westfall school districts. Pre-packed<br />

food boxes are distributed in a drivethrough<br />

format every Tuesday and the first<br />

Thursday of each month.<br />

To stock the pantry shelves, the center<br />

works with Mid-Ohio Food Bank, which<br />

supplies items at no cost or at a steep discount.<br />

Additionally, Kroger in London donates<br />

fresh meat each week, and individuals<br />

and groups donate non-perishable items<br />

and money to purchase items.<br />

Last year, the pantry took delivery of a<br />

total of 52,990 pounds of miscellaneous pro-<br />

duce and 96,191 pounds of other food items<br />

from Mid-Ohio Food Bank, along with 9,164<br />

pounds of chosen produce for Thanksgiving<br />

and Christmas distributions. The 2023 food<br />

intake also included 10,074 pounds of meat<br />

from Kroger. All of these numbers are up by<br />

thousands over 2022.<br />

The pantry needs more room to store the<br />

food that goes out each week and to stockpile<br />

free items from Mid-Ohio that have<br />

long expiration dates.<br />

“We are just busting at the seams,” Witteman<br />

said.<br />

The expansion will connect directly to<br />

the existing food pantry space. The center<br />

plans to replace its existing walk-in<br />

cooler/freezer with a larger one and will continue<br />

to use its existing free-standing<br />

cooler/freezers.<br />

The pantry will continue to operate during<br />

construction which is expected to take a<br />

few months to complete once ground is broken.<br />

Hours are 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays and 10<br />

a.m.-noon the first Thursday of the month.<br />

Clients are asked to provide proof of residence<br />

at their first visit and identification<br />

at every visit.<br />

Witteman welcomes monetary donations<br />

and donations of food and other necessities.<br />

See PANTRY page 2<br />

<strong>Messenger</strong> photo by Kristy Zurbrick<br />

Megan Barker Witteman, director of the Mount Sterling Community Center, stands inside<br />

the center’s food pantry. Thanks to an anonymous donor, an expansion is planned for<br />

the food pantry this year.<br />

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Night To Shine offers prom-like experience<br />

By Dedra Cordle<br />

Staff Writer<br />

Seated at a table near the dance floor at <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County Vineyard Church in London, Gayla Heckel watched<br />

the action unfold with tears in her eyes and a soft smile<br />

spread across her face.<br />

In her direct line of sight was her younger brother, Mike<br />

Zbleski, her son, Fred, and her daughter-in-law, Fritzi, all<br />

dancing up a storm and having the time of their lives as<br />

part of a jubilant crowd.<br />

“I feel like my heart might burst from happiness right<br />

now,” she said.<br />

Heckel and her family members were among the guests<br />

taking part in Night To Shine on Feb. 9, an event designed<br />

to give an unforgettable prom night experience to individuals<br />

with special needs.<br />

Growing up in Wisconsin in the 1950s, Heckel said there<br />

were no social functions designed for differently abled people<br />

such as her brother, Mike.<br />

“I don’t think society really thought of things like that<br />

back then,” she stated. “I don’t remember any places where<br />

he could go to interact with other people like<br />

him, and I don’t remember any places where<br />

he could go so others could discover how<br />

much of a sweetheart he is.”<br />

She said she believes that lack of connection<br />

made life a little harder on her “baby<br />

brother.”<br />

“He has always been so social, always<br />

wanting to get out there and make friends,”<br />

she added. “But sometimes people were not so<br />

willing to be as nice to him as he was to them.”<br />

What makes Heckel feel optimistic about<br />

the world today, she said, is that it seems as<br />

if cultural attitudes toward individuals with<br />

See SHINE page 2<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Messenger</strong> photo by Dedra Cordle<br />

Janet Messer and Mike Zbleski share a dance at Night To<br />

Shine, held Feb. 9 at <strong>Madison</strong> County Vineyard Church.


PAGE 2 - MADISON MESSENGER - <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

SHINE<br />

Continued from page 1<br />

special needs are evolving for the better.<br />

“There seems to be more acceptance of people like my brother<br />

which is a good thing,” she said.<br />

She also said her family could not have landed in a better spot<br />

when they relocated to <strong>Madison</strong> County.<br />

“They are so supportive of the special needs community here,”<br />

she said. “The local board [for developmental disabilities] is very active,<br />

and they have Special Olympics which allows people like Mike<br />

to get out there and have fun with his crowd.”<br />

Heckel said she would like to see more social gatherings like<br />

Night To Shine.<br />

“It means so much to be here, to see this,” she said, as she<br />

watched her 74-year-old brother dance with new friends while<br />

dressed to the nines. “I hope it will be back next year, too.”<br />

The local residents who organized the prom night experience<br />

said the event was so well received, their intention is to repeat it.<br />

“I think we have to at this point,” quipped Melinda Scott, a member<br />

of London First United Methodist Church, who co-organized the<br />

event with <strong>Madison</strong> County Vineyard Missions and Outreach Pastor<br />

Cindy Taylor. “We might be the most hated people in the county<br />

if we didn’t try to do it again!”<br />

This marked the first time churches in <strong>Madison</strong> County have<br />

hosted Night To Shine, a movement sponsored by the Tim Tebow<br />

Foundation. Founder Tim Tebow, a former collegiate and profes-<br />

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started the event in 2014 as a way to show<br />

children and other individuals with special<br />

needs that they are cherished and loved.<br />

Since then, hundreds of churches around<br />

the world have hosted Night To Shine, honoring<br />

more than 7,000 “kings and queens”<br />

who have attended the events.<br />

Scott said she and Taylor had always<br />

wanted to see Night To Shine come to <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County and decided to take matters into<br />

their own hands.<br />

“Cindy and I had been talking about it<br />

for years, and we finally decided to bite the<br />

bullet,” Scott said.<br />

Planning started to take shape last year in<br />

the hallways of London Elementary School.<br />

Scott, a second-grade teacher at the school,<br />

struck up a conversation about the topic with<br />

Taylor, a substitute teacher for the district.<br />

The discussion revolved around the news<br />

that the Tim Tebow Foundation had just<br />

opened up grant opportunities for religious<br />

organizations to host Night To Shine.<br />

“I had this wild idea that the church<br />

where I am a member—London First United<br />

Methodist Church—should team up with<br />

<strong>Madison</strong> County Vineyard to throw this<br />

prom night experience for our beloved special<br />

needs community,” Scott explained. “I<br />

didn’t know if it would work out, but I<br />

thought it wouldn’t hurt to try.”<br />

With the approval of the two local<br />

churches, Scott and Taylor submitted an application<br />

to the foundation with a request to<br />

host the county’s very first Night To Shine<br />

on Feb. 9, <strong>2024</strong>. Within weeks, they received<br />

an email stating they were the recipients of<br />

a $6,500 grant to host the inclusive event.<br />

“We were beyond thrilled,” said Scott.<br />

“And then came the nerves.”<br />

Although the Tim Tebow Foundation<br />

provides each host church with an official<br />

Night To Shine planning manual and personalized<br />

guidance and support from a Tim<br />

Tebow Foundation staff member, Scott said<br />

she had no idea how stressful it would be to<br />

plan an event like this.<br />

“I think I was more nervous for this prom<br />

than my own,” she joked.<br />

She said she worried that local businesses<br />

would not donate time to provide<br />

hair and makeup services or goods for the<br />

swag bags. She worried that individuals<br />

who were more adept at decorating event<br />

centers and light staging and DJ planning<br />

would vanish off the face of the Earth. She<br />

worried the community would not volunteer<br />

to be chaperones and dates and the cheering<br />

section. She worried the special needs community<br />

would not want to come.<br />

As it turned out, she had no reason to<br />

worry. More than 10 local businesses donated<br />

food, prizes, and hair and makeup<br />

services, and more than 10 local residents<br />

stepped forward to help with decorating,<br />

light staging, and DJ services.<br />

PANTRY<br />

Continued from page 1<br />

High priority items include skillet meals, toilet<br />

paper, laundry detergent, and personal<br />

care supplies, such as shampoo and deodorant.<br />

She also welcomes volunteers to pack<br />

www.madisonmessengernews.com<br />

<strong>Messenger</strong> photos by Dedra Cordle<br />

Ben Allour of London and Olivia Dickey of Lancaster were among<br />

the kings and queens honored at Night To Shine, a prom experience<br />

hosted by <strong>Madison</strong> County Vineyard and London First<br />

United Methodist Church. Allour and Dickey are longtime friends<br />

but have not been able to meet in person for several years. They<br />

both said they were excited to be at the event and experience the<br />

festivities together.<br />

Night To Shine’s honored guests were greeted by cheers from the<br />

“paparazzi” as they entered the gymnasium.<br />

When it came to the three-hour main event on Feb. 9 in the gymnasium<br />

at <strong>Madison</strong> County Vineyard, more than 50 volunteers were<br />

on hand to cheer on the special guests, as well as volunteer as chaperones,<br />

dates, and dance partners. More than 20 individuals ages<br />

14 and older with special needs and different abilities tore up the<br />

dance floor and made new friends in the process.<br />

The kings and queens in attendance said they felt adored and<br />

supported.<br />

“This has been such a wonderful night, a wonderful experience,”<br />

said Kendra Chapman as she took a short break from dancing the<br />

night away with her boyfriend, Brandon North.<br />

food boxes, sort and pack produce deliveries the second and fourth<br />

Tuesdays of the month, and serve clients during pantry hours.<br />

The Mount Sterling Community Center is a non-profit organization<br />

funded solely by donations. It is located at 164 E. Main St. and<br />

offers a wide variety of programs, recreational opportunities, and<br />

space rental. For more information, call (740) 869-2453.


www.madisonmessengernews.com <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong> - MADISON MESSENGER - Page 3<br />

Nest and Bloom opens on Main Street<br />

By Kristy Zurbrick<br />

<strong>Madison</strong> Editor<br />

Nest and Bloom, a locally owned retail<br />

store offering furniture, home decor, gifts,<br />

and live plants, opened at 70 S. Main St.,<br />

London. A soft opening took place on Feb. 6<br />

followed by a grand opening on Feb. 10.<br />

The business is co-owned by London residents<br />

Kyleen and Luis Garcia and Kyleen’s<br />

mother, Christi Frea.<br />

“Kyleen wants to bring nice businesses<br />

and options to London. She’s very interested<br />

in investing in London,” Frea said.<br />

Kyleen also owns the Union Street Salon<br />

next door. The Nest and Bloom location was<br />

formerly home to an H&R Block office.<br />

Furniture offerings at Nest and Bloom are<br />

ever changing and consist primarily of new<br />

items, such as sofas, end tables, kitchen tables,<br />

and desks. New and refurbished home<br />

decor items are available, running from mirrors<br />

and wall hangings to rugs. The store also<br />

is a good place to visit for gifts, from tumblers<br />

and mugs to books and devotionals.<br />

Indoor plants are another part of the<br />

store’s inventory. Frea said customers can<br />

shop for pothos, snake plants, rubber plants,<br />

spider plants, and the like.<br />

The store also has what the owners call<br />

a Bloom Room, a space where they plan to<br />

hold plant-related classes, like how-to’s on<br />

fairy garden assembly. The space will be<br />

available for birthday parties, team-building<br />

activities, and other events, as well.<br />

Hours are: Tuesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.;<br />

Wednesday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Thursday, 10<br />

a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Saturday,<br />

9 a.m.-1 p.m.<br />

NOTICE TO<br />

MOBILE HOME TAXPAYERS<br />

• The last day to pay first-half <strong>2024</strong> Mobile Home<br />

Taxes in <strong>Madison</strong> County is Friday, March 1, <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

• Payments must be made in person at the <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County Treasurer’s Office until 4:00 P.M. Friday,<br />

March 1, <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

• Mailed payments must be postmarked by the Post<br />

Office by midnight Friday, March 1, <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

• By law, first-half taxes paid after March 1st, will<br />

incur 5% penalty for the first ten days and after ten<br />

days; a 10% penalty will incur regardless of<br />

whether the taxpayer has received a bill.<br />

• If you have not received a first-half <strong>2024</strong> Mobile<br />

Home tax bill, call the Treasurer’s Office<br />

immediately at 740-852-1936 or 1-877-454-3309.<br />

Stacey L. McKenzie<br />

<strong>Madison</strong> County Treasurer<br />

MM FEBRUARY 18 & 25, <strong>2024</strong><br />

MM<strong>2024</strong>148<br />

<strong>Messenger</strong> photo by Jeff Pfeil<br />

Nest and Bloom, 70 S. Main St., London, held their grand opening on Feb. 10. Co-owners<br />

Kyleen and Luis Garcia and Christi Frea are joined here by members of their families<br />

and the <strong>Madison</strong> County Chamber of Commerce.<br />

Help with language barrier<br />

By Linda Dillman<br />

Staff Writer<br />

The Jefferson Local School District board<br />

of education is taking steps to help the local<br />

international community, approving testing<br />

assistance for Ukrainian students.<br />

At their Feb. 13 meeting, board members<br />

approved an as-needed contract with Marta<br />

Shishio to serve as a bilingual end-of-course<br />

translator for the high school/middle school<br />

at a rate of $90 per test section.<br />

The four students are taking proficiency<br />

level tests. The state is reimbursing the district<br />

for translation costs.<br />

“This doesn’t happen too often,” reported<br />

Superintendent William Mullett.<br />

In other action, the board accepted the<br />

following donations:<br />

• $850 worth of basketballs and footballs<br />

from Toys for Tots;<br />

• $2,800 from the music boosters for<br />

stand carts and chair carts for the middle<br />

school/high school band;<br />

• $500 from the family of Jake Forrest to<br />

the class of <strong>2024</strong> for senior scholarships;<br />

• $150 in clothing from Lauren Holbert<br />

and family; and<br />

• winter coats valued at $800 to Norwood<br />

Elementary from Ron Mast.<br />

On April 8, the district is closing school<br />

buildings and using a calamity day due to<br />

the total solar eclipse occurring on that day.<br />

Mullett said the closure is in anticipation of<br />

a large volume of traffic in the area.<br />

“All school activities will be cancelled, including<br />

athletic events,” he said. “The district<br />

will provide students with solar eclipse<br />

glasses to take home with them on April 5.”<br />

Norwood Elementary second-graders are<br />

holding a donation drive Feb. 26-March 1 to<br />

benefit the Humane Society of <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County. Students are collecting original<br />

Clorox bleach, puppy pads, towels, treats,<br />

toys, dog/puppy food, and cat/kitten food.<br />

Purina brand is preferred.<br />

A new scholarship at the high school is<br />

helping marching band students pursue<br />

higher education. The Bidwell-Hall scholarship,<br />

named for Frederick and Sharon (Bidwell)<br />

Hall, is for graduating seniors to assist<br />

them with college costs. One $7,500 scholarship<br />

will be awarded on an annual basis and<br />

is non-renewable.


PAGE 4 - MADISON MESSENGER - <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Al-Anon meetings in West Jefferson<br />

Al-Anon meetings are taking place at 12 p.m. on Wednesdays at<br />

West Jefferson United Methodist Church, 36 S. Center St. (Room 4<br />

on the second floor). Parking and the entrance are located on the<br />

side of the church. Al-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends<br />

of alcoholics who share their experiences, strength, and hope.<br />

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Casey Michael Murphy, Sr.<br />

(71) passed away unexpectedly on<br />

Wednesday, <strong>February</strong> 7, <strong>2024</strong>. Casey was<br />

a lifelong resident of <strong>Madison</strong> County<br />

since his birth on <strong>February</strong> 13, 1952. He<br />

was the son of Donald W. and Mary<br />

Catherine (Lanigan) Murphy. He was<br />

preceded in death by his parents. Casey<br />

is survived by the love of his life of 50+<br />

years, Richi (Naeder) Murphy; His children, Casey Jr. and wife Chrissy<br />

Murphy, Donald and his wife Kristina Murphy and Elizabeth Murphy;<br />

his grandson, Carter Michael Murphy; sister-in-law Cheryl Naeder<br />

along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.<br />

Casey was a 1971 graduate of London High School. After graduation,<br />

he began his lifelong career of farming and excavating. He was<br />

proud to be a lifetime member of the F.F.A. and belonged to the local<br />

Farm Bureau. He was also a member at St. Simon and Jude Catholic<br />

Church. Throughout his lifetime he was a devoted dog owner as<br />

well. Two notable companions were Fluffy and Willy. For many he<br />

was a faithful friend who in his later years could be found casually<br />

checking in on them to see if they needed anything, engaging in<br />

conversation, or telling a story or two. One of his favorite pastimes<br />

was spending time with his grandson Carter "C-Man" Murphy, whom<br />

he adored. You may also find him out in the shop, tinkering with his<br />

antique tractors or supervising his 2 sons and special nephew Bruce<br />

Daily Jr. The legacy of love and caring that Casey has left behind will<br />

ring throughout eternity with his family and friends.<br />

Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 pm on THURSDAY, <strong>February</strong> 15,<br />

<strong>2024</strong>, at the RADER-McDONALD-TIDD FUNERAL HOME, 1355 W.<br />

MAIN STREET, WEST JEFFERSON, OH, 43162. Funeral Services will<br />

be held at the Funeral Home on FRIDAY, <strong>February</strong> 16, <strong>2024</strong>, at 11:00<br />

AM, with a 1 hour Visitation prior to service. Casey will be laid to rest<br />

at the Dennison Chapel Cemetery.<br />

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions to be<br />

made to <strong>Madison</strong> Plains FFA or St. Simon and Jude Catholic Church.<br />

www.madisonmessengernews.com<br />

Village administrator resigns<br />

By Kristy Zurbrick<br />

<strong>Madison</strong> Editor<br />

Tom Byrne is resigning as village administrator for<br />

the village of Mount Sterling, effective Feb. 29.<br />

Byrne was hired to fill the seat in August 2022. He<br />

is retiring to spend more time with family, especially<br />

his grandchildren.<br />

“I think we got a lot done here in Mount Sterling,”<br />

he said about his time with the village. “I think we have<br />

a lot of potential. There are a lot of good things going<br />

on. I’ve enjoyed all of it. It’s just time for me to move<br />

on.”<br />

As for filling the administrator’s position, Mayor<br />

Andy Drake said he is taking a few days to evaluate the<br />

role and talk with village staff before making a recommendation<br />

to council on next steps.<br />

“Once council has had time to consider and make<br />

changes to the role, we would then post a position with<br />

their approval,” he said.<br />

About Byrne’s service to the village, Drake commented,<br />

“He leaves on a very high note, with the village<br />

significantly better than when he found it. Tom’s ongoing<br />

contributions will be greatly missed, and we hope<br />

he will stop by once in a while to share some of his famous<br />

Irish cheer.”<br />

Council accepted Byrne’s resignation in a 6-0 vote.<br />

Potholes<br />

Resident Jacob Keever attended the Feb. 12 village<br />

council meeting to express concerns about potholes.<br />

“People want an action plan,” he said, regarding not<br />

just pothole fixes for the short term but also fresh<br />

paving of roads for the long term.<br />

Drake agreed the village needs a plan. He noted that<br />

funding is the challenge when it comes to paving, explaining<br />

that the village only gets so much from the<br />

state for such projects. He said the village borrowed<br />

$400,000 for repaving High Street, the last full paving<br />

project the village tackled.<br />

“We are still repaying that loan. We need to be careful<br />

about borrowing more money,” Drake said.<br />

In the short-term, Drake said the village’s goal is to<br />

patch potholes within 24 hours of discovering them.<br />

Byrne noted that the village’s two streets employees<br />

filled over 400 potholes last year.<br />

Arbor Day/Clean-Up Days/Trees<br />

The village’s tree/beautification committee will hold<br />

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two Arbor Day events. The first is set for April 19 at<br />

Mason Park. Organizers hope to have third-graders<br />

from <strong>Madison</strong>-Plains Local Schools plant a couple of<br />

trees at the event, as has been done in past years.<br />

The second Arbor Day event is set for 10 a.m.-noon<br />

April 20 during which the committee plans to give away<br />

tree saplings to the community at the town gazebo and<br />

on the town hall lawn.<br />

The village will hold its annual spring Community<br />

Clean-Up Days May 3-5. Details will be shared as the<br />

dates get closer.<br />

The tree/beautification committee plans to participate<br />

in the spring Clean-Up Days, helping with tree<br />

trimming projects and planting another six trees at<br />

Mason Park. They also plan to clear out brush and other<br />

natural growth around Mount Sterling’s oldest tree<br />

which stands near the water plant and Mason Park.<br />

The committee’s work over the past year has earned<br />

the village the designation of a Tree City USA. Members<br />

will attend the Tree City USA conference in Worthington<br />

on May 9 to accept the designation.<br />

Committees<br />

Council unanimously approved the appointment of<br />

several community members to village committees:<br />

• Linda Blankenship and Phil Starr to the zoning<br />

committee;<br />

• Alice Hix to the planning committee (council member<br />

Craig Hix abstained on this vote); and<br />

• Jacob Keever and Joann Schobeloch to the<br />

tree/beautification committee.<br />

Council held a first reading on a proposal to expand<br />

the tree/beautification committee from five members to<br />

eight members. Becky Martin, committee chair, said<br />

she has received a lot of interest from community members<br />

who want to serve.<br />

Martin also serves as chair of the nuisance and<br />

abatement committee. She reported that the committee<br />

has openings for two community members. Anyone interested<br />

in filling the seats can contact Courtney<br />

Bricker, village clerk, by sending a message via email<br />

to cbricker@mtsterling.org.<br />

Council member Ross Anderson reported that Mike<br />

Miller is a new member of the Tri-County Joint Fire<br />

District committee. Darrell Champer is the committee’s<br />

new chairperson. Anderson serves as council’s representative<br />

on the committee.<br />

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www.madisonmessengernews.com <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong> - MADISON MESSENGER - Page 5<br />

Road closures approved for Mt. Sterling special events<br />

By Kristy Zurbrick<br />

<strong>Madison</strong> Editor<br />

On Feb. 12, Mount Sterling village council<br />

members unanimously approved temporary<br />

road closures for several Mount<br />

Sterling Chamber of Commerce events<br />

slated for <strong>2024</strong>, along with American Legion<br />

Post 417’s Veterans Day ceremony.<br />

Council member Becky Martin, also a<br />

Chamber member, originally requested the<br />

road closures at the Jan. 22 meeting. Council<br />

deferred a vote on the request at that time,<br />

instead sending the matter to the street committee<br />

which met later that week. At issue<br />

were concerns about traffic control and safety.<br />

Representatives from the Ohio Department<br />

of Transportation (ODOT) and <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County Sheriff’s Office provided input<br />

at the committee meeting. This year, there<br />

will be more traffic pattern signage, better<br />

placement of the signage, and improved<br />

bracing so the signage doesn’t blow over.<br />

During the events, the village will close off<br />

an alleyway that has caused issues with<br />

CRUM<br />

Sharon Lee Crum, 79, of Pataskala, Ohio, died on Feb. 5, <strong>2024</strong>,<br />

in Licking Memorial Hospital, Newark. Born on Feb. 3, 1945, in<br />

Blacklick, she was a daughter of William Daugherty and Nellie<br />

Frances (Crabbe) Daugherty.<br />

Sharon went on to pursue a career in welding, where she worked<br />

for J-I-C for over 20 years. She married the love of her life, Oscar,<br />

on Dec. 14, 1972, and they enjoyed 47 years together until his passing<br />

in 2019. Sharon was an avid bowler in her younger days. She<br />

enjoyed fishing, watching westerns, playing the lottery, and listening<br />

to country music. She was a big Buckeye and Reds fan. Also,<br />

she made the best peanut butter fudge around!<br />

She leaves behind grandson, Daniel (Brandy) Stinson, and four<br />

stepchildren and their family. Sharon was preceded in death by her<br />

parents, husband Oscar Crum, and daughter Cecelia Leann Knott.<br />

Private interment will be completed at the convenience of the<br />

family. Memorials in Sharon’s name may be sent to benefit the<br />

American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.<br />

The family is being served by Eberle-Fisher Funeral Home and<br />

Crematory, London. Condolences may be shared at www.eberlefisherfuneralhome.com.<br />

DARLINGTON<br />

Daniel “Danny” Dean Darlington, 53, of Greenfield, Ohio, died<br />

on Feb. 7, <strong>2024</strong>, in Riverside Methodist Hospital. Born on June 15,<br />

1970, in Columbus, he was a son of John Ivan and Judith Ann<br />

(Brubaker) Darlington.<br />

Danny loved hunting and fishing. He would hunt almost anything<br />

that was in season and traveled far and wide to scout out the<br />

best fishing locations. Some of his favorite finds included Louisiana<br />

and the southern part of the country.<br />

He is survived by: two sons, Dylan (Heather) Darlington and<br />

Nathan (Chelsea) Darlington; grandchildren, Uriah Darlington,<br />

Trazara Darlington, Jasiah Darlington, and Arianna Darlington;<br />

siblings, John Darlington, Kim (Rudy) Deschler, and Darrel<br />

Williams; mother of his children, Connie Darlington; many nieces,<br />

nephews, and cousins.<br />

Danny was preceded in death by: his parents; brothers, Lewis<br />

Williams, Bryan Darlington, and Scott Darlington; and grandson,<br />

Eli Darlington.<br />

Private graveside services will be held at the convenience of the<br />

family. Interment will be completed in Kirkwood Cemetery.<br />

traffic flow in the past. The Sheriff’s Office<br />

will have more deputies on duty to enforce<br />

the traffic flow changes, and ODOT is working<br />

on Google map designations with the<br />

goal of diverting traffic around the village<br />

during special events.<br />

Josh Narwald, a High Street resident, attended<br />

the Feb. 12 council meeting. He said<br />

his children often play on the sidewalk outside<br />

their home. He worries for their safety<br />

when traffic increases during special events.<br />

After hearing the traffic safety measures<br />

planned for this year’s events, Narwald<br />

said, “That doesn’t completely allay my concerns,<br />

but I appreciate the effort.”<br />

Gerald Spradlin, another High Street<br />

resident, said the Chamber does a great job<br />

of providing entertaining events for the community.<br />

However, he said he took exception<br />

to Martin’s comments from the Jan. 22<br />

meeting in which she referred to residents<br />

with safety concerns as “complainers.”<br />

“Just try to envision yourself living there<br />

with the tsunami of traffic and big semi<br />

obituaries<br />

Memorials donations in Danny’s name may be sent to the American<br />

Heart Association at www.heart.org.<br />

The family is being served by Eberle-Fisher Funeral Home and<br />

Crematory, London. Condolences may be shared online at<br />

www.eberlefisherfuneralhome.com.<br />

ANDERS<br />

Hester M. Anders, 95, of London, Ohio, died on Feb. 9, <strong>2024</strong>, at<br />

the <strong>Madison</strong> House, London, surrounded by her loving family.<br />

She was born on July 10, 1928, in Fayette, County, Ohio, the<br />

daughter of Albert and Louie (Estep) Alltop. Hester was a hard<br />

worker all of her life. She and her husband owned the Matador<br />

Restaurant. She retired from Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.<br />

After retirement, Hester worked and volunteered at <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County Senior Center. She loved to go to bingo and auctions. She<br />

loved to cook and probably gave away more<br />

food than she kept. She loved helping and<br />

doing things for others.<br />

Hester is survived by: her daughters,<br />

Mary Anders Smith, Carolyn Farish, and<br />

Sharon (Jack) Kerns; grandchildren, Michelle<br />

Powers, Scott Farish, and Jason (Patty)<br />

Kerns; great-grandchildren, Stephanie<br />

(John) DeFalco, Samuel Kerns, and Daniel<br />

Kerns; great-great-grandchildren, Emma<br />

Hass and Luke Hass; grand-daughter-in-law,<br />

Elizabeth Finchum; and special neighbors,<br />

Pat and Mary Davis and family.<br />

Hester was preceded in death by: her<br />

husband of 59 years, Harold Anders; granddaughter,<br />

Lara K. Finchum; grandson, Gregory<br />

Eric Finchum; sisters, Louise Gordon,<br />

Barbara Butcher, Lucille White, and Alberta<br />

Buchanan; and special family member,<br />

Rod Ryan.<br />

Calling hours were set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m.<br />

Feb. 17 at Lynch Family Funeral Home &<br />

Cremation Services, London, with a funeral<br />

service to follow and an interment service<br />

at Oak Hill Cemetery, London.<br />

Condolences may be shared at<br />

www.lynchfamilyfuneralhome.com.<br />

trucks, parking issues, and all that,” he<br />

said. “People have their own concerns, and<br />

they should be able to express those concerns<br />

without being referred to as ‘complainers.’”<br />

Martin apologized for her choice of<br />

words, saying she uttered them in a heated<br />

moment. She assured Spradlin that she<br />

takes all complaints seriously.<br />

Martin thanked council for approving the<br />

road closures. She also thanked the community<br />

members and business owners who expressed<br />

frustration to her over council’s lack<br />

of a vote on the matter at the previous meeting.<br />

She noted that the Chamber has met<br />

with ODOT and the Sheriff’s Office in previous<br />

years to work out traffic issues.<br />

“No one at any time was flying by the<br />

seat of their pants in the Chamber of Commerce,<br />

I’ll tell you that. We’ve done this for<br />

years,” she said, regarding consultation<br />

with authorities and village representatives<br />

regarding traffic safety.<br />

The Chamber events planned for <strong>2024</strong> include:<br />

Summer Jam, June 13-15; Independence<br />

Day parade, July 4; Downtown Street<br />

Market and Car Show, Sept. 21; and Christmas<br />

in the Village, Dec. 7. The Legion Post’s<br />

Veterans Day ceremony is set for Nov. 11.<br />

madison<br />

<strong>Messenger</strong><br />

Distribution: 8,400 • Published Sundays<br />

Denise Hill ................Advertising Manager<br />

Kristy Zurbrick .................................Editor<br />

Becky Barker....................Office Assistant<br />

78 S. Main St., London, Ohio 43140<br />

(740) 852-0809<br />

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honor two of our most famous Presidents: George<br />

Washington, “The Father of Our Country,” and Abraham<br />

Lincoln, “The Great Emancipator.” Let’s take time on<br />

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PAGE 6 - MADISON MESSENGER - <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

www.madisonmessengernews.com<br />

Taxpayer Bill of Rights covers 10 important points<br />

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is the 10 rights all taxpayers have<br />

any time they interact with the IRS. These rights cover a wide<br />

range of topics and issues, and they explain what taxpayers can expect<br />

if they need to work with the IRS on a tax matter. This includes<br />

when a taxpayer files a return, pays taxes, responds to a letter or<br />

notice, goes through an audit, or appeals an IRS decision.<br />

Taxpayers have a right to:<br />

Be Informed. The right to know what to do to comply with the<br />

tax laws.<br />

Quality Service. The right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional<br />

assistance when working with the IRS.<br />

Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax. The right to pay<br />

and to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.<br />

Challenge the IRS's Position and Be Heard. The right to raise<br />

objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal<br />

IRS actions or proposed actions.<br />

Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum. The right to<br />

a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions.<br />

Finality. The right to know when the IRS has finished an audit.<br />

Privacy. The right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination,<br />

or enforcement action will comply with the law and be no more intrusive<br />

than necessary.<br />

Confidentiality. The right to expect that any information taxpayers<br />

provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the<br />

Retain Representation. The right to retain<br />

an authorized representative of the taxpayer’s<br />

choice to represent them when<br />

working with the IRS. Taxpayers have the<br />

right to seek assistance from a Low Income<br />

Taxpayer Clinic if they cannot afford representation.<br />

A Fair and Just Tax System. The right to<br />

expect the tax system to consider facts and<br />

circumstances that might affect their underlying<br />

liabilities, ability to pay, or ability to<br />

provide information in a timely manner.<br />

only the amount of tax legally due, including interest and penalties, taxpayer or by law.<br />

Follow IRS checklist to make filing taxes easier<br />

The Internal Revenue Service offers the following checklist to<br />

help taxpayers as they prepare to file their 2023 tax returns during<br />

filing season. These easy tips will help make tax preparation<br />

smoother in <strong>2024</strong>. Much of this information is also available on a<br />

special IRS.gov free help page:<br />

1. Gather all necessary tax paperwork and records for accuracy<br />

to avoid missing a deduction or credit. Taxpayers should have all<br />

their important and necessary documents before preparing their return.<br />

This will help file a complete and accurate tax return. Errors<br />

and omissions slow down tax processing, including refund times.<br />

Before beginning, taxpayers should have:<br />

• Social Security numbers for everyone listed on the tax return<br />

• Bank account and routing numbers<br />

• Various tax forms such as W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, and other income<br />

documents or records of digital asset transactions<br />

• Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace statement<br />

• Any IRS letters citing an amount received for a certain tax deduction<br />

or credit.<br />

2. Remember to report all types of income on the tax return.<br />

Taxes By<br />

Jeff<br />

Johnson<br />

54 S. MAIN ST.<br />

LONDON, OH 43140<br />

740-852-6500<br />

Cell: 740-837-0858<br />

This is important to avoid receiving a notice or a bill from the IRS.<br />

Don’t forget to include income from:<br />

• Goods created and sold on online platforms<br />

• Investment income<br />

• Part-time or seasonal work<br />

• Self-employment or other business activities.<br />

online filing services; or hire a tax professional.<br />

4. Don’t wait on hold when calling the<br />

IRS. Use online resources at IRS.gov to get<br />

answers to tax questions, check a refund status,<br />

or pay taxes. There’s no wait time or appointment<br />

• Services provided through mobile apps.<br />

needed. Online tools and<br />

3. Consider which filing option to use; each one has its own<br />

benefits. Taxpayers should decide based on their personal situation<br />

and comfort level with tax preparation: personally file taxes; use<br />

resources are available 24 hours a day. The<br />

IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant tool and Let<br />

Us Help You resources are especially helpful.<br />

Childcare tax credit for business<br />

The Internal Revenue Service announced the launch of a new<br />

page on IRS.gov explaining the Employer-Provided Childcare Tax<br />

Credit, an incentive for businesses to provide child care services to<br />

their employees.<br />

“This business tax credit helps employers provide their employees<br />

with child-care services and facilities,” said IRS Commissioner Danny<br />

Werfel. “We’ve heard that some employers may be overlooking this<br />

important credit, so the IRS has created a new one-stop shop for information<br />

on IRS.gov that provides an easy place to learn more.”<br />

The information is available at IRS.gov/employerchildcare or by<br />

searching “employer child care.”<br />

Reminder!<br />

Tax season<br />

is approaching.<br />

Income Tax Preparation<br />

Martina Miller Walters<br />

740-852-3656<br />

mwalters@columbus.rr.com<br />

Get the best pricing<br />

on your personal or<br />

small business tax returns<br />

Make Your Appointment Today!<br />

This tax credit is designed to help employers<br />

cover some of the qualified child care<br />

facility and resource and referral expenditures<br />

associated with providing child care<br />

services to their employees. A qualified child<br />

care facility is one that meets the requirements<br />

of all applicable laws and regulations<br />

of the state or local government in which it<br />

is located.<br />

The credit is limited to $150,000 per year<br />

to offset 25 percent of qualified child care facility<br />

expenditures and 10 percent of qualified<br />

child care resource and referral expenditures.<br />

Employers should complete Form 8882,<br />

Credit for Employer-Provided Child Care<br />

Facilities and Services, to claim the credit<br />

for qualified child care facility and resource<br />

and referral expenditures. The credit is part<br />

of the general business credit subject to the<br />

carryback and carryforward rule. This<br />

means employers may carryback unused<br />

credit one year and then carryforward 20<br />

years after the year of the credit. Taxpayers<br />

whose only source for the credit is from<br />

pass-through entities can report the credit<br />

directly on Form 3800, General Business<br />

Credit.<br />

The Employer-Provided Childcare Tax<br />

Credit homepage on IRS.gov has more information<br />

about claiming the credit, including<br />

the requirements for qualified child care expenditures<br />

and qualified child care facilities.


www.madisonmessengernews.com <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong> - MADISON MESSENGER - Page 7<br />

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Receive an Oil Change and Multi-Point<br />

Vehicle Inspection on most Diesel Vehicles<br />

for one LOW PRICE. See service advisor for<br />

eligible vehicles and details. Must present<br />

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PAGE 8 - MADISON MESSENGER - <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Archaeology Society<br />

The Darby Creek Chapter of the Archaeological<br />

Society of Ohio will meet on Feb. 21<br />

at the <strong>Madison</strong> County Historical Society<br />

Museum, 260 E. High St., London. Doors<br />

open at 5:30 p.m. The meeting starts at 6<br />

p.m. The group will talk about artifacts of<br />

North America’s Early Native Americans,<br />

as well as metal detecting finds related to<br />

Ohio pioneers. The public is welcome. Attendees<br />

are encouraged to bring artifacts (arrowheads,<br />

stone or bone tools, and/or metal<br />

detecting finds) to show and talk about.<br />

Health District and Advisory<br />

Council Meetings<br />

The <strong>Madison</strong> County London City Health<br />

District Board will hold its next regular<br />

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<strong>Messenger</strong><br />

madison<br />

Established in 1985<br />

MAILED TO YOU<br />

EVERY FRIDAY<br />

52 ISSUES<br />

(12 MONTHS)<br />

ONLY $130.00<br />

Call<br />

614-272-5422<br />

Email:<br />

svacolas@gmail.com<br />

Mail to:<br />

Columbus<br />

<strong>Messenger</strong><br />

4139 W. Broad St.<br />

Columbus, OH 43228<br />

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community calendar<br />

meeting at 5 p.m. March 14 at <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County Public Health, 306 Lafayette St.,<br />

London.<br />

The <strong>Madison</strong> County District Advisory<br />

Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. March 11 at<br />

the <strong>Madison</strong> County Engineer’s Office, 825<br />

U.S. Rte. 42, London.<br />

Open Mic Night<br />

American Legion Post 201, 9701 W.<br />

Broad St., West Jefferson, is hosting an<br />

open mic night at 7 p.m. Feb. 20. For details,<br />

send email to music@thepenry.net.<br />

Somerford Township Trustees<br />

The date for the Somerford Township<br />

trustees’ <strong>February</strong> meeting has moved to<br />

Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. at the township hall.<br />

Alzheimer’s Family Support<br />

The Alzheimer’s Family Support Group<br />

meets at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of each<br />

month at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 380<br />

Keny Blvd., London. For more information,<br />

call Pat Baynes at (937) 269-3605. Everyone<br />

is welcome.<br />

<strong>Madison</strong> County Senior Center<br />

280 W. High St., London, (740) 852-3001.<br />

Feb. 19—Closed for Presidents Day<br />

Feb. 20—9 a.m., quilting class, 10 a.m.,<br />

bowling; 4-7 p.m., billiards, hand and foot<br />

cards, workout room open<br />

Feb. 21—8:30 a.m., indoor walking/exercise<br />

class; 9 a.m., chair volleyball; 12 p.m.,<br />

bridge<br />

Feb. 22—9 a.m., chair volleyball; 9:30<br />

a.m., museum trip departs; 1:30 p.m., Prime<br />

Tour trip presentation<br />

Feb. 23—8:30 a.m., indoor walking/exercise<br />

class; 9 a.m., painting class; 1 p.m., free<br />

movie for members.<br />

London Public Library<br />

20 E. First St., (740) 852-9543.<br />

• Closed. The library will be closed on<br />

Feb. 19 for Presidents Day.<br />

• Blind Date with a Book. Let the library<br />

set you up on a blind date this <strong>February</strong>.<br />

Don't worry about the awkwardness of the<br />

first date; the books are great conversationalists.<br />

Stop by to pick out a book or two and<br />

get a “Rate Your Date” card to go with it.<br />

Each book is wrapped so you don’t know<br />

what you’re getting. The only thing you will<br />

be told is the book’s genre and first line.<br />

Complete the book and fill out the rate card<br />

to be entered into a prize drawing.<br />

• Toddler Time. Tuesdays, 10-10:30 a.m.,<br />

for ages 0-3. Stories, songs, and finger-plays<br />

revolve around a different theme each week.<br />

Some weeks involve musical instruments,<br />

balls, and a parachute.<br />

• Preschool Storytime. Tuesdays, 11-<br />

11:45 a.m., for ages 3-6. Books, songs, and<br />

finger-plays revolve around a different<br />

theme each week. Some weeks involve musical<br />

instruments, balls, and a parachute.<br />

Preschoolers can practice the alphabet with<br />

a letter activity after the regular storytime<br />

is over.<br />

• Cookbook Club. The group will meet<br />

at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 to share Cajun dishes and<br />

recipes. Each month, the club picks a cookbook<br />

or cookbook author, then members<br />

make and share dishes the third Wednesday<br />

of the month<br />

• Kindergarten Club. On Feb. 22 from<br />

6:30 to 7:15 p.m., children ages 3-6 can practice<br />

the alphabet and motor skills to prepare<br />

for kindergarten. Participants will practice<br />

letter sounds and writing letters using multisensory<br />

literacy activities. Children can<br />

master important fine motor skills and gross<br />

motor skills needed to start school. Participants<br />

will work on numbers and counting,<br />

scissors, sorting, patterns, and more.<br />

HBMLibrary<br />

270 Lilly Chapel Rd., West Jefferson,<br />

(614) 879-8448.<br />

• Storytime. Wednesdays and Friday at<br />

10:30 a.m.<br />

• Companions for Kids. Through <strong>February</strong>,<br />

the library is collecting new stuffed animals<br />

for first responders of <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County.<br />

• Closed. The library will be closed Feb.<br />

19 for Presidents Day.<br />

• Friends of the Library. The group will<br />

meet at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21. To learn more<br />

about the group, contact library Director<br />

Chris Siscoe at (614) 879-8448.<br />

• Local Author Talk. The <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County Masters Gardener volunteers are<br />

hosting this event featuring <strong>Madison</strong><br />

County resident Teresa Woodard. At 6 p.m.<br />

Feb. 27, Woodard will talk about her travels<br />

across the United States and will have<br />

copies of her book, “American Roots: Lessons<br />

and Inspiration from the Designers<br />

Reimaging Our Home Gardens,” available<br />

for purchase.<br />

Mount Sterling Library<br />

60 W. Columbus St., (740) 869-2430.<br />

• Little Free Library Pantry. Anyone is<br />

welcome to donate or take books, non-perishable<br />

canned and boxed food items (unexpired<br />

and undamaged), pet food, and<br />

unopened hygiene items. The pantry is located<br />

across from the library and accessible<br />

around the clock, year-round.<br />

• Storytime. 10:30 a.m. Mondays for<br />

ages 2-5 years old.<br />

• Closed. The library will be closed Feb.<br />

19 in observance of Presidents Day.<br />

• Ladies Night Out Movie. The next<br />

night out is Feb. 26. The library will show<br />

“Love Again” (PG-13) on its big screen; the<br />

title will be announced soon. Doors open at<br />

6:30 p.m. Ladies only are invited to RSVP<br />

for this potluck event by calling the library<br />

or texting Melissa at (614) 315-7939. Seating<br />

is limited. The library provides popcorn,<br />

cold drinks, and flavored coffees.<br />

• Around Town Book Club. The group<br />

will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 29 on the library’s<br />

www.madisonmessengernews.com<br />

Meetings for<br />

new farmers<br />

The <strong>Madison</strong> County and Franklin<br />

County Extension offices are hosting<br />

three beginning farmer informational<br />

meetings. The series is designed to introduce<br />

beginning farmers to important<br />

topics and resources.<br />

The series kicks off on Feb. 20 with<br />

the USDA Beginning Farmer Team.<br />

Numerous programs, resources, and financing<br />

are available to beginning<br />

farmers. Participants will connect with<br />

staff managing these programs. The<br />

session is set for 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the<br />

Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension<br />

Building, 2548 Carmack Rd.,<br />

Columbus.<br />

Tim McDermott, OSU Extension educator<br />

in Franklin County, will lead the<br />

March 5 session which will focus on<br />

marketing and alternative sales channels.<br />

This session is set for 5:30-6:30<br />

p.m. at Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library,<br />

270 Lilly Chapel Rd., West Jefferson.<br />

The series will wrap up on March 19<br />

with business plan development and ag<br />

lending. Amanda Douridas, OSU Extension<br />

educator in <strong>Madison</strong> County, will<br />

talk about the basics of a business plan,<br />

and Hallie Hiser of Farm Credit will<br />

talk about what lending through them<br />

might look like for a beginning farmer.<br />

This session is set for 5:30-6:30 p.m. at<br />

the Prairie Township Community Center,<br />

5955 W. Broad St., Galloway.<br />

Participants attending one or all of<br />

these sessions will gain information to<br />

improve their farms and make connections<br />

with resource providers. The sessions<br />

are free to attend. Pre-registration<br />

is advised in case of cancellations. Details<br />

and registration are available at<br />

go.osu.edu/24begfarmerseries.<br />

Questions can be directed to Amanda<br />

Douridas at Douridas.9@osu.edu.<br />

main level. The theme for <strong>February</strong> is<br />

“Blind Date with a Book.” Participants will<br />

choose a wrapped book on display based on<br />

a brief description, read it, then talk at the<br />

meeting about whether they would recommend<br />

it. Refreshments are served and a<br />

game is played. Adult men and women are<br />

welcome.<br />

• Batters, Splatters, & Platters. Registration<br />

is open for this kids’ cooking club for<br />

ages 9-12. Classes will be held at 6 p.m.<br />

March 4, March 18, April 1, April 15, and<br />

April 22. Call the library for details.<br />

• Bright Beats. Registration is open for<br />

Bright Beats classes. Classes are free and<br />

run for 30 minutes. They will be held<br />

Wednesdays March 6-May 9 (no class<br />

March 27 due to spring break) and are open<br />

to children ages 1-4 years old.


PAGE 12 - MADISON MESSENGER - <strong>February</strong> 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

www.madisonmessengernews.com

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