Sunday, September 28, 2014

Snuffy Says, "Just Say No to Counseling Centers!"

"I tolled you drugs iz the ruination of this nation!"

“Hey, Gramps, ‘gratulate  me,” my  gud fur nuthin’gransun sez to me who  I aint sean in a  munth of mondaze.
“Gratulate you? Wat fur?” I sez.”
“I’m a client,” he sez.
“Yur a wat?” I sez.
“A client,” he sez, like  sumbuddy impotent.
“Wat’s a client?” I sez.
“Sumbuddy who gits sum respeck,” he sez.
“You meen you aint a drug addick enymore?”
        “I’m not sayin that,” he sez, “but I dun turned over a new leef.”
“A knew leef? You  aint started ‘nuther marywanna plantasion haf  you?”  I sez. He surved six munths in the hoosegow fur growin’  weed in one of the hollers hearabouts fore the revenooers  swooped in like a flock of crows and burnt the hole crop and hawled him  away in  hancufs.
“Nuthin’ like that,” he sez. “I’m a residint in a hafway howse at the Counsling Senter.”
“The wat?”
        “The Counsling Senter  hafway howse,” he  sez.
        “Wat’s that?”  I sez.
“Thats wear the  clients live,” he sez.
“The clients?”
“That’s rite,” he sez.
“Acrost the rivur?” I sez.
“That’s rite,” he sez. “They take care of ev’rythin’ crosst the river.  Grub, cloase, medsin . . .”
“Medsin?” I sez spitious cuz I think medsins bin the ruination of this country. 
“Yes medsin,” he sez.
"Yore gramma Daisy Mae wuz fine till sum docktor  bak in the nineteen-sixtees give hur a medcin called Vallyum  fur hur ressless leg sindrome  and she wuz addickted fur the rest of hur life, God rest hur soul.
“The  medsin’s free,”  he sez.
“It aint Vallyum, is it?” I sez.
“No,” he sez.
“Watz it called I sez,” seein’ heez hidin’ sumpin’.
Not lookin’ me in the eye, he sez,  “Suboxycotton.”
“Aint that wat you waz busted fur sellin’ last summer?” I sez.
“No, that waz full strenth Oxycotton,” he sez. “This is wartered down Oxycotton.”
“Wartered down?  Why’re they  givin’ you watered down addicktin’ drugs?” I sez.
“You don’t think anybuddy can quit cold turkey, do you?” he sez.
“Your unkle Zeke qwit moonshine cold turkey plenty  of times,” I sez. “I never seed anywon who cud qwit easier than  Zeke.”
“Sure, Gramps, but drugs iz diffurint.”
“Diffurint!  I donut no wat this kuntrys cummin’ to. Moonshine was gud enuf fur yore father and it waz gud enuff fur my father, and we maid  it our selfs, and yore granma pitched in, stompin' grapes restless leg and all. We didn’t wate for  govinmnet handowts in some hafass howse.”
Hafway, Gramps,” he sez.
“Watever,” I sez.
“Life aint that simple anymore, Gramps.”
“Yore sure rite it aint,” I tells him. “And just wat govinment ajensee iz payin’ for all this?”
“The Department of Health and Human Services,” he says proud as a peecock, as tho he had a skulorship to Shawnee State.”
“Then how cum yore not at the hafway house now?” I sez. “Iz this yore semister brake?” I sez sarkastick.
“Coarse not,” he sez.
“Then why’re you hear?”
“Cuz the FBI raided the hafway house.”
“Wat in tarnasion for?” I sez.
“They ‘cused the owner of  cookin’ the books makin’ funny muney on Medicare and ‘rested him.”
“You meen won govinment ajency supplies the halfass  howse with drugs and muney and anuther govinment ajency raids the hafway howse for breakin’ the law?”
“I gess that’s pritty much it,” he sez.
“I hope you aint hear looking for a handout?”
“No, I aint,” he sez. “I just wanted to show you I ‘mounted to somethin’.”
“’Mounted to a client you meen?” I sez.
“That’s rite,” he sez.
“Then wat you goin’ to do? Go  back to cookin’ meth?”
“No, there’s plenty of  Counsling Senters  and  Ive been ‘cepted in another one.”
“So the Deportment of Hell and Hellish Servises, or whatever itz called,  pays the bills till  the Justiss Deportment or some other govinment ajency raids the hafass howse and 'rests the owner?”
“I gess that’s how it works,” he sez, like a client who duzn’t care who pays the bills as long as it aint him.

“Well, I’m glad you aint no client of mine,” I sez as he gows off and I waves to him and he waves bak and I sez to myself, “Wat’s this country comin’ too anyway?”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Multiple Chance Drug House

"Beware of snake-oil salesmen peddling miracle cures."

In a flyer distributed for the 20th anniversary of the Marsh House, Counseling Center, Inc.'s,  founder Ed Hughes wondered what the late Jim Marsh, after whom the halfway house is named,  would have said about the 20-year-anniversary and celebration. "I think he [Jim Marsh] would find it just perfect," Hughes wrote. Just perfect? The sign in front of the facility advertises "miracles." From what I have learned about Ed Hughes, I would say Counseling Center, Inc., and its Compass Point affiliate, rather than being perfect, are perfectly awful. As Mark Twain might have said, "Beware  of snake-oil salesmen peddling miracle cures." I believe the Counseling Center, Inc./Compass Point  is a curse and is one of the reasons Portsmouth has a reputation, backed up by statistics, of being among the most drug-ridden cities in Ohio. Counseling  Center, Inc., is a business, not a humanitarian operation, and the more addiction there is in Portsmouth the more prosperous Hughes' business becomes. Counseling Center, Inc., has attracted drug addicts from other  Ohio counties and from other states as well for a decade because Hughes knows how to get the government and the tax-payers  to pay for housing and feeding and transporting his "clients," as he calls his drug-addicted customers.

Business is so good that Counseling Center, Inc./Compass Point Housing keeps on expanding  in Portsmouth and beyond, buying residential houses and converting them into half-way houses, which lowers property values in the neighborhood because people don't want to live near these so-called half-way houses where, their critics claim, based on their personal observation, that at least some of the addicts continue to obtain drugs because of lax supervision. This is particularly the case, according to  Shawnee Sentinel reporter Wally Leedom,  at the Counseling Center's facility that claims to have the highest level of security, what he calls the Second Chance Drug House, which occupies the former juvenile detention center in Boneyfiddle, for which Hughes pays no rent to the county, according to Austin Leedom, Wally's father.   I am reprinting a succinct interview with a woman Wally Leedom posted last summer because it suggests that the Counseling Center's Second Chance facility is much less than perfect, in spite of the claim "We believe in miracles,"  and might more accurately be called the Multiple Chance Drug House.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

644 4th Street: The Turning Point?

The misinformed, misleading classified ad that
appeared in the Portsmouth Daily Times, 9/9/2014

It is too early to say for sure, but something happened in the Municipal Building in connection with 644 4th Street  on Tuesday September 16th, that may turn out to be an important date in the history of the reform movement in Portsmouth. The scam sale of the Marting’s building a dozen years ago was the turning point in the struggle against the Johnson-Hatcher poverty-fueled racket that milked the state and federal governments of money that was supposed to alleviate poverty in Portsmouth but actually increased it. What happened on September 16th may be the turning point in the struggle against the new crook on the block, Thurman “Ed” Hughes and his rapidly expanding drug-fueled “counseling” businesses, which are supposed to be reducing Portsmouth’s dependency on illegal drugs but are actually increasing it.

The classified ad above, which I have enlarged,  appeared in the Portsmouth Daily Times (PDT) where it was buried, in very small type, in the back pages where it would not likely be seen by neighbors living near 644 4th Street, in Boneyfiddle, or by anyone else either. But even if they had seen it, would they have known what it meant? In the deceptive language of the ad, the words “counseling” and “dormitory” and “client” are used but there is no mention whatsoever of drugs, addiction, or rehabilitation. Until just a few days before the hearing on the 16th, nobody in the 4th St. neighborhood had seen that ad or known about the hearing scheduled by the City Planning Commission (CPC) in the Municipal Building until somebody put a flyer with a copy of the ad under the door of a 4th St. resident, around September 13th, and within hours most of the neighborhood knew that 644 4th St., along with a house at 1327 Kinney’s Lane, were to be converted into "residences" for "clients" of Ed Hughes' lucrative counseling businesses. For the fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, Hughes' Scioto County Counseling Center reported revenue of over $20,000,000 (that's twenty-million dollars!) to the Internal Revenue Service.

The CPC Lacks the Authority

About twenty-five people showed up for the City Planning Commission hearing at the Municipal Building, more than had been expected, so it was moved from the Engineer’s Office to Council Chambers. The City Manager Derek Allen, who chaired the hearing, surprised everybody  by declaring at the outset  that Item # 1 on the agenda, Compass Point Housing's request to "utilize" the houses on 4th St. and Kinney's Lane for "dormitory style living for up to 10-14 "residents," was out of order because the CPC had no authority to authorize such a utilization and that the item should not have been on the agenda in the first place. The Counseling Center and its Compass affiliate would have to take their request to convert 644 4th St. and 1327 Kinney’s Lane into drug rehabilitation “dormitories” to the City Council. The CPC lacked the authority? The hearing should not have been held? How could that be when the City Planning Commission itself had submitted and paid for the classified ad in the PDT?  Hadn’t the City Manager, who chairs the CPC, read the ad before it appeared in the PDT? And if the City Manager hadn’t read it beforehand, hadn’t the City Solicitor, and shouldn’t he, as the city's chief legal officer, have understood that it was a mistake to bring the issue before the CPC? But the City Solicitor apparently  didn't know.  Was this an example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing? Was this  snafu the result of the City Solicitor’s notorious cluelessness?

The City Manager’s announcement that the hearing was a mistake was not the only surprise. When he got a chance to say something, Craig Gullion, executive director of Compass Point Housing, said his organization was no longer interested in acquiring 1327 Kinney’s Lane, anyway, because it was too small for the 10 to 12 “clients” he had wanted to house there. Isn’t the size of a house the first and most obvious thing one notices, and wouldn’t the County Auditor’s website have provided the exact square footage for the executive director to determine whether 1327 Kinney’s Lane was a house he wanted to utilize? The size may not have been the only problem with the house. Since 1327 Kinney's Lane is owned by Municipal Court Judge Steven Mowery’s family, wouldn’t the sale of it to the Counseling Center/Compass Point Housing have raised the issue of his  possible conflict of interest, and might that not have been a possible additional reason why the Mowery property was not  suitable for a half-way house?

Boneyfiddle Saturated with Counseling Center, Inc.

The question now is whether the Counseling Center/Compass Point Housing is going to request the City Council to allow it to acquire 644 4th Street, which, if I understood correctly, they would need to do since that house is at present a private residence rather than a commercial property. But if they make such a request of the council and if they go ahead with their plans for 644 4th, they may wish they hadn’t because now as a result of those attending the-hearing-that-shouldn't-have-been-held, the 4th St. residents know what the Counseling Center and Ed Hughes are up to and they are strongly opposed to it, having signed a notarized petition to that effect that was handed to the CPC at the hearing. The Boneyfiddle district is now the most saturated Counseling Center neighborhood in Portsmouth. There is for starters the Counseling Center's Stepping Stone house for pregnant girls at the corner of Front and Court Street. Then there is the large Counseling Center facility located in the former Scudder School on the corner of 4th and Court Street, and not far from that is the Second Chance facility, at 521 5th Street, which previously had been a detention center for delinquents. In "Neighbors in Terror at Second Chance Drug House," Wally Leedom interviewed a middle-aged housewife who lives near that facility. She told him that drug deals go down  day and night through the metal fence. We owe to Austin Leedom, the retired but tireless former deputy sheriff and his son Wally deep thanks for being the first to expose the government-financed racket Hughes is running in Portsmouth.

When it comes to the patience of Boneyfiddle residents, 644 4th St. may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, just as the Marting’s building had been for for the whole city a dozen years ago. The 4th St. residents are united now and could lead a campaign against Ed Hughes’ rapidly spreading cancerous Counseling Center businesses. If they do, then we should be thankful that the misleading and mistaken classified ad appeared in the PDT, for out of its misbegottenness may grow a movement that might put Counseling Center, Inc., out of business, like the racketeering SOGP was by the FBI in 2012.
644 4th St.: the house the Counseling Center has designs on

Earlier must-read posts on Ed Hughes and the Counseling Center

"Just Say No to Ed Hughes" (click here)

"From Pill Mills to Counseling Centers" (click here)