Saturday, March 31, 2007
It seems the two mayors are working on a plan to merge the City of East Liverpool and the Village of Wellsville into one city and rename it Poolville. Even if it doesn't bring in new life into the combined communities they figure there will be a vast economic benefits with the merger. After merging they plan to go all out to annex Liverpool Township into the new city. They want to rebuild the swimming pool at Lake Marwin as a city symbol. Also they believe with all the available land in the the newly annexed township they figure they can entice Seven Flags Over America, a big amusement park company, to build up on the hill by Lake Marwin.
Some other details leaking out of the meetings is the fact that with the increased size and population the two mayors figure their chances of getting more state and federal grants would be greatly enhanced. They want to build a new City Hall somewhere centrally located and sell the buildings they are currently using. This way the problems with the aging buildings would all go away. The number of City Council members would be proportionately determined with a revised map drawn up for the different wards. The former Wellsville would once again become a city. They would determine the mayor of the merged communities with a flip of a coin. They also figure the two school systems will be better off as one entity.
According to my tipster the two mayors are working feverishly to hammer out all the details to have a plan in place in time to get it on the November ballot.
Being stunned I will reserve my opinions until later. I have to digest all the pros and cons before I make any comments. I'm only reporting this as a favor but if there is any truth to this remember you heard it here first.
April Fools ! :-) God bless you Bob Popp where ever you are.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Here are a couple of more pictures I took yesterday. Pictured above is the memorial stone for The Whittacre House Site. It use to sit alongside the old Potters Bank & Trust building in Wellsville facing Fourth St. It was moved during the remodeling for the now defunct Slammers night club. This historical marker now sits among an old dog kennel, an old beer cooler and what appears to be the lid of a deep freezer. It is only a few feet from where it use to sit. Being in a haze a lot of the time I didn't know what became of it until someone commented about it on Matt Stewart's Ohio River Life blog awhile back.
I would like to propose a challenge to the Wellsville Historical Society and Mrs. Sharon Gates to rectify this abuse of one our historical land marks. I don't think the expense for what I'm proposing would be too much. Mrs. Gates owns that piece of property now and the Historical Society could spearhead the project. If neither party has the funds to undertake this project they could set up the barrels along Main St. some Saturday morning.
All that is needed is a little concrete to build a base for the stone to sit on, a little donated labor to form it up, pour the concrete and a little help from our friends to move the stone a few feet. Thrasher's got that gigantic tow truck that can probably lift that stone and place it on the new base. I propose they place it alongside the building centrally located under that second window.
It would go nice with the gazebo and be in about the same place it was prior to the remodeling. Since Mrs. Gates has shown she is civic minded I'm sure she wouldn't mind kicking in a little and would be more than happy to have it there. It would be unobtrusive no matter what type of business she would put in there.
So many of our historical sites are long gone. They are relegated to memory and fading photographs and not that many people left that remember or can tell you what the picture is. It's my understanding that the Whittacre House was a hotel/boarding house that one time sat on that same spot. If you read the plague on the stone it is really amazing that such prominent people were in Wellsville at one time.
The plaque reads as follows: "Here James A. Garfield, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson spoke. Gen. Lewis Cass, U.S. Secy of State, was a guest, and Gen. John Morgan, C.S.A., "The Raider" was a prisoner of war." At the bottom I could only make out "Wellsvile Historical" some writing blocked by the cooler and "Southwick Chapter 1950". What was the Southwick Chapter? I can just imagine those notables getting off the train there at Fourth St. and walking up to that hotel. Was there a stop there at one time?
It's not a big thing but it is part of our history. Do you think this could be accomplished? I would be willing to kick in. How about you?
This is a picture I took yesterday of part of Wellsville's flood wall, the Boy with the Boot, and the Wells Avenue bridge. Did you ever wonder what this area looked like before the flood wall? I think the flood wall was built in the 1930s and the Route 7 overpass was built in the early 1970s or late 60s. As far as I'm concerned the flood wall and that bridge has always been there. Both were there before my time. Did ever wonder why part of the street runs right into the wall?
This is a picture of a post card entitled Highland Heights, Wellsville, O. It was printed in Germany and was never sent. There is no date on it but I'm guessing it's somewhere around a 100 years old. At that time there were two bridges. I think the bridge on the left was commonly called the Lisbon St. bridge. You can see the Wells Ave. bridge was very different in those days. Does anyone know if the present Wells Ave. bridge was built at the same time as the flood wall? Check out the trolley crossing it. The boy with the boot is probably the original. A lot of those houses on Highland and Ridge Ave. in the background are still there today. I recognize some of them and the stone wall going up the hill. That hill looks very different today. This picture was before the Roadside Park I wrote about previously was there. I've been told the trolley came from East Liverpool, went down the middle of Broadway on downtown, turned around and made a return trip. The post card was loaned to me by someone who lived in the house over top of the Lisbon St. bridge in the picture. I've also been told that someone speeding down Route 45 tried to turn onto that bridge at a high rate of speed and knocked it into the creek before the flood wall was built. It was never rebuilt. You can still see part of the stone pier along the creek under the Rt. 7 overpass. You can click on either picture to enlarge.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The testing of the submitted samples found that it was nearly two thirds coal dust and that it came from the trucks not being washed down prior to leaving the terminal. A "company official" said it was because of the freezing temperatures in the winter season. Did we hit the nail on the head or what?
Can you imagine what is happening to the kids on the play ground during recess breathing in that stuff? Their respiratory systems just like their young bodies are still in the developemental stage. Wonder why the children have so many coughs and colds? I would venture to say some of it was their bodies trying to fight off the effects of breathing in the dust. The effects of children breathing in the dust is just one part of the story. What about folks that already have breathing problems? Yea, I'm being an alarmist but in my Baffle article I stated this is a serious problem.
Did we hear it from our village officials? Noooo. It came from the result of a concerned citizen who decided to try and do something about it. Thank you whoever your are. We need more people like you to get actively involved.
What can be done about this problem? Well, the simple answer is washing the dust off the trucks after they get their tarps on. What can be done in the winter months so this can be accomplished? I suggest a simple pole building with heat and the rubber strip curtains like a car wash that the trucks could drive through. Yes it will be an added expense but will it be cost effective over possible fines and legal costs defending against law suits?
Like I said this should be a top priority issue. I'm not gloating that I suggested that "drag out" in freezing temperatures could be the problem. Honestly I did not have any inside information. Thanks Lucille for bringing us up to date on this issue.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
The first is the coal dust problem that just won't go away. It seems to be an annual occurrence. If memory serves me correctly the solution last year was to have the trucks hauling the coal hosed down before leaving the terminal? Could it be that when the problem raised it's ugly head this year it was winter with freezing temperatures and the hosing down just wasn't being done? Councilman Joe Soldano & the mayor were both quoted as saying the EPA has been contacted previously. Well, duh, have they been called recently? I don't know about the folks in our administration but to me this is a very serious problem. Coal dust not only makes our homes and property ugly in appearance it is also very unhealthy to breath. Just ask any coal miner that got Black Lung Disease. Yea you're right Mr. Surace. "Our residents don't deserve it". This should be a top priority issue. It needs to be dealt with now and not be put on a back burner hoping it will go away.
The second item that disturbed me is the sidewalk at McGraw's. New Village Administrator Jim Saracco said they will have the sidewalk replaced once the danger of frost has passed. Come on Jimbo. We're talking about pouring cement - not planting tomatoes. Ask Rick Williams. You can pour cement in cool weather. With the coming of spring the chance of a severe frost has greatly lessened. Are we going to have to wait until Memorial Day or later for that eyesore to be corrected? Every time it rains there is more dirt washing away and going into our sewer system.
Finally, the third thing that raised my dander was the brief mention of the condition of our Village Hall. Now we have bricks falling off the front of the building. The solution is to rope off the sidewalk. Brilliant! Is there a danger of the wall collapsing? What's the latest on the needed roof repairs? When the building was built was part of the old Standard Electric building used? Is there ground work being laid for hitting us with the need for a new building? Just what is going on? From figures thrown around previously the roof repair is going to be very costly. What's the current thinking of taking care of this problem? Is anyone concerned about the safety issue?
There's an old saying that says "If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance baffle them with bull". Are we being baffled?
Friday, March 23, 2007
Someone commented last week in the article about flooding up on Wells Avenue saying they remember the Roadside Park being completely under water. This photo of a photo is of that park which was located at the corner of Route 45 and Wells Ave. in Wellsville. The overpass for Rt. 7 runs through it today. This was half of the park. The other half was across Rt. 45 and it had a big picnic shelter with multiple tables.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
I can't verify the validity of these rumors. Can anyone elaborate on these? They may just be small town gossip but then again I wonder. There has been nothing in any of the local media other than the arrest of Kareem James. It's not unusual for our village officials to "play their cards close to the chest" and I think that is a big mistake on their part.
If our village officials think that sweeping the dirt under the rug is making Wellsville a more attractive place they are sadly mistaken. We can't deny that drug activity is getting bigger and bigger in Wellsville. This illicit activity has sadly permeated all sectors of our society. People know this and they want to know what is being done about it. If arrests are made and charges filed it needs to be reported. Otherwise we can only assume that the official attitude is lacking. On the other hand if every pusher, dealer or distributor that gets busted has their story and mug publicized it would show that an effort is being made to clean up our fair village. That would make Wellsville, in my humble opinion, more attractive. I doublt that it will ever be completely cleaned up but I would feel better if we were told they are trying.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Photo is the Little Yellow "Crik" flowing under the Wells Avenue Bridge in Wellsville. It was taken this morning by yours truly. If you look closely you can see the high water line at the base of the right side. According to the National Weather Service flood stage at New Cumberland is 36 feet and the river crested at 27.9 feet at 7AM this morning. River level at New Cumberland is expected to be at 19.9 feet by tomorrow and will be down more by Monday. Gratefully the folks up on Wells Avenue dodged the bullet this go around. Hopefully we won't need the flood wall this year. I have many memories of that flood wall going up over the years. How about you?
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The Employee Free Trade Act has the unions salivating. This act would require companies to recognize and bargain with a union when they get a majority of the workers to sign cards saying they want their representation. It would eliminate the secret ballot voting process.
Today unions have to conduct a card signing drive and if they get a majority to sign cards they can petition the National Labor Relations Board to hold a secret ballot election. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1974 that this was the best way for determining whether or not employees want a union.
I experienced one of these drives a few years ago. There were three different unions trying to get cards signed. For some it can be very intimidating and for many of us we just signed the cards to get the union organizers out of our face. The unions bring out their best/worse professionals for the politicing. They try every way imaginable to convince you that you need them for your job protection, better wages, family security, benefits etc... etc... Then the company held their mandatory meetings with the employees trying to sell their side of the issue. The meetings were while you were on the clock and if nothing else it got you out of work for an hour or so. In the end all I could see is that it brought about more bad blood between our fellow workers and between the managers and employees. We did get a union and in the end they did diddly squat to save our jobs.
Union membership has been on the decline in the past decade or so. That stands to reason. Look at all the people that lost their jobs just to downsizing. Most of those shown the door were card carrying, dues paying union members. If this act is passed and for some change of heart signed by the President it would mean big bucks for the unions. Do you think the unions would bring up the fact that there would not be any voting if they got the majority of a work force to sign their cards? I think they would conveniently forget to mention that fact. Also, I think it wouldn't be too much of a stretch of imagination to see any union trying to get cards signed by intimidating workers to sign. I've even seen the threat of physical violence used to get the signatures. It can get ugly. For what they would bring in with the dues money some unions will try any tactic they can think of to use.
People have the right to chose what they want in their lives. I firmly believe the secret ballot election is best way for them to express their feelings. For that reason I think this act is bad. I urge you to at least contact our people in Washington to let them know it ain't right to give the unions that kind of leverage. Both Rep. Charlie Wilson and Sen. Sharrod Brown have web sites with portals to e-mail them. Just Google their names and it will take you there. Click on where is says "contact us". I hope this bill will never comes out of the joint committee. Just let it die there.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
For a little background TSA is the Transportation Security Administration that was formed after 9/11. It is a federal organization that is in charge of all security in any form of transportation in our nation. The screeners are the folks at the airports that run the metal detectors and x-rays screening airline passengers, their luggage, carry-ons and shoes. Prior to 9/11 this job was done by employees of private security companies that were contracted by the airports and airlines. After 9/11 this job was taken over by the federal government and the screeners became federal employees after applying and being investigated for their jobs. According to one source there are some 45,000 of them across the country.
It is not that I am pro-union. For the most part I feel that unions have out lived their usefulness. When all is said and done the unions have shown in recent years that they cave in to company demands. If a company is going to downsize or even close there is nothing a union can do to stop it. If a company wants to reduce benefits the unions bluster about and cave in to the changes. Then they continue collecting their dues from the employees that survived the changes. Just to illustrate what I'm saying look at the people that worked at Sterling China here in the ville. The only thing the union did for them after Sterling was shut down was to tell their members how to file for unemployment. A little farther back in time look at the folks that worked at Crucible Steel in Midland. A lot of families were drastically changed in both instances. Look at the people in the auto industry. The list is long and sad for the formerly dues paying union members.
Those dues paying members spell out big money for the unions. Just using the screeners as an example say they did join the union ranks and their dues was $10 per pay or $20 a month. That would amount to $10,800,000 a year paid out for that privilege. Any union would well be able to afford their lavish headquarter buildings and big salary union officials.
The Democrats in D.C. are attempting to pay back big labor for helping them gain control of the House and Senate this year. That's politics. The Dems are saying that the screeners deserve the right to collective bargaining and whistle-blowing that is held by most other federal employees. If the union election process stays the same passage of this legislation will give the screeners the right to chose whether or not they want union representation. The Republicans are saying unionization would negate the flexibility of scheduling and compromise security procedures. Haven't they heard of negotiating a contract?
As it is now a union has to have a card signing by enough prospective members to petition for a union election. If a majority of employees sign the cards the union can ask the employer for a card check and the right to represent the employees. However, the employer doesn't have to agree to this and can ask for a secret ballot election for a union to gain the right to be the worker's representatives. In this day and age there is a good chance that a union would lose in their bid.
What galls me about this is that the screeners do not currently have the right to decide for themselves. The TSA in their fascist way have denied them this basic right that should be enjoyed by every American. The TSA was formed by our present day Republican administration and they are proving once again that they considered American citizens feudal members of their fiefdom. Yea, security is extremely important and since 9/11 there have been changes made to what we were accustomed to tolerating. However, in a democracy something as basic as the right to chose whether or not you are represented should not be compromised.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Now that's encouraging!
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Incidentally, the post card was signed by Rebecca Aughenbaugh. Does anybody know who she might have been?
I just love these mysteries.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Councilwoman Diane Dinch cast the lone dissenting vote on the pay increase. This was after the fact that she voted to bring in the legislation. She was quoted as saying maybe 50 cents an hour might be better. Well, Charley Brown it's too late for that. I don't know what your reasoning was last night. Obviously you had second thoughts. Maybe you thought it to be politically advantageous to save the village with $3,120. Where were you when they were voting on the two previous readings? You could have brought up your concerns on those occasions. You could have maybe suggested at looking at something like a graduated pay scale.
Personally I think $9 is a paltry sum to pay our officers for what we ask them to do. We should be thankful that they are willing to do the job for for near poverty wages. Sure you're going to have do some work on the budget to come up with the extra expenditure but it shouldn't be too difficult for six grand. Speaking for myself I'm willing to live with a pot hole or two to be able to afford the increase. I would be more than willing to give up the dusty rock throwing chip & seal program.
So Diane, I say shame on you. I never before considered you being "wishy washy" but that was the distinct impression I got on your vote last night.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
While I'm here I would like to say thanks to those who comment and encourage me on my attempts to produce something worthy of your time. Although I'm a neophyte writer I do have a love of the written word.