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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons


The “Hidden in Plain Sight” Exhibit is now at the Ashland BalloonFest and is brought to Ashland by the collaborative efforts of the Ashland County Juvenile Court, Ashland Police Department, Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Loudonville Police Department, Ashland County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Ashland County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and Appleseed Community Mental Health Center.

Karen DeSanto Kellogg, of the Ashland County Juvenile Court explained, “The Hidden in Plain Sight Exhibit features a gender neutral mock bedroom. The intention is to provide parents, guardians, care-givers, and individuals working with youth the opportunity to see items that are accessible to youth at local stores, and through the internet that may be signs of substance abuse.

By equipping parents and care-givers with this important knowledge, and making supportive resources available, we hope to prepare adults in partnering to reduce risky behaviors by youth.” Judge Kellogg went on to say, “The most successful prevention of youth substance use is evidence based prevention education and regular communication from parents and other key adults that emphasizes nonuse messages and reinforces healthy decision making.

While the mock bedroom is meant to be informative, it does not represent all youth; and just because a youth may have some of the items demonstrated, does not necessarily mean that they are making unhealthy choices.” Judge Kellogg commented, “This mock bedroom is not intended to scare; but again, to educate participants and equip them for next steps.”

This display is for adults only and the youth are not able to tour the exhibit. If you appear to be under the age of 21, you will not be permitted to enter. No recording or photography inside the Exhibit is permitted. Adults may tour the exhibit, while children are supervised by a responsible adult from one of the partner agencies.

The “Hidden in Plain Sight”Exhibit is making its debut at the Ashland Balloon Fest. Guided tours will be available between the hours of 4:00 pm. and 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, weather permitting.

Ashland County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff E. Wayne Risner had this to say, “Judge Kellogg had the vision and took advantage of an opportunity to bring this great teaching tool to our community as a way to inform parents about the many ways drugs, and even drug paraphernalia can be hidden in plain view. Our hope is by touring the trailer and asking questions, it will enable parents to better understand and possibly identify something that could contain, and or hide dangerous or illegal drugs. Myself and my staff are proud to be a part of this effort. We certainly appreciate Judge Kellogg’s leadership on bringing law enforcement, ACCADA, Appleseed, Job and Family Services, and Juvenile Court together on this great project!”

Ashland County Sheriff's Office, Chief Deputy David Blake, commented, “The Ashland County Sheriff's Office is proud to partner with the Ashland County Juvenile Court. Judge Kellogg’s vision to educate parents and families through the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ Trailer is a great educational tool.”

If you haven’t had the chance to tour this exhibit yet, it is well worth your time, and I guarantee you will learn something from the experience.


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