Thursday, April 26, 2007

The East Liverpool & Chester Bridge

Matt - When I started this blog I made a pledged to myself that I would not infringe on any subjects you post on ORL. Up until now I've been faithful to that promise. Howsomever I just could not resist this one. You and J. Frye (Is that Jo?) jogged my memory of this post card that I have in my collection of memorabilia. I've waited a month to post this.

For you dear friends that are wondering what the devil I'm going on about is that on March 26th Matt posted a picture by J. Frye on Ohio River Life of "a stone pier" of the long gone Chester Bridge. That's what we Ohioans called this bridge back when it existed. Wonder what the folks from WV called it? That pier is the sole remnant remaining of the only bridge that for many years spanned the Ohio River from here to Steubenville to the the south and I believe Monaca to the north. The pier on the Ohio side of the river was taken out with the construction of the four lane portion of Rt. 39/11 leading up to the Jennings Randolph Bridge. I'm not sure but I think the bridge pictured here was built before the Newell Bridge. Maybe some of you East Liverpool historians can set me straight on this point.

The picture you see here is of a post card dated 7/31/1908 and post marked East Liverpool, Ohio. The post card was written to Miss Louise Culp, Toronto, Ohio. It has a green one cent stamp with Ben Franklin's picture. It was made in Germany for C.E. Wheelock & Co., Peria, Ill. & Leipzig, which must have been a multi-national company way back then. I have no idea who Miss Culp is or was. The note to her says "Now aren't you sorry that you turned your back on me?" It was unsigned. Wonder what that was all about...

Check out the river boat shanties, I think they were called, along the shore line. I have a vague memory of a Bob Popp Christmas story mentioning them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fiscal Responsibility for the Ville

Two articles in yesterday's The Review impressed me that there is some fiscal responsibility being exercised by our village officials. The first one was a report on the Finance Committee meeting this past Monday. The second was about the mayor,his trusty sidekick and a couple of councilmen meeting with an official from Marathon-Ashland Petro.

The Finance Committee moved to recommend to council that the flood wall levy be put on the November ballot for replacement and they're hashing over whether to put the fire levy on as either a renewal or replacement. I'm not sure what the difference is between renewal or replacement. I'm thinking it might have something to do with the length of time it is collected. I hope they're not thinking of an increase. With our history of voting for new or increased levies that might kill the fire levy. I surely wouldn't want to see that happen. Oh, I'm sure the Fire Dept. could use more money. I don't know about you but I'm practically living from pay check to pay check and have to scrape to put money into a savings to pay those once a year bills. I would have to think long and hard about voting yes for spending more.

Whether renewal or replacement I highly recommend that we vote in favor of both come November. It's actually cheap insurance for two safety related items that concerns each and every one of us. For those of us who pay real estate taxes either way won't have any increased effect of our yearly bill. We're already paying it. You can see pictures on ORL what it was like without the flood wall.

The meeting with the official from Marathon-Ashland was about fixing a hole on Main Street and the new proposed road for trucks. Marathon-Ashland is in the same neighborhood as the Wellsville Terminals. The hole in the street was probably made possible with the daily passing of tankers and coal buckets. I'm no engineering expert but I doubt if regular traffic would contribute much to the rapid deterioration of the road surface. We have a lot of streets in the village that see no heavy truck traffic that seem to hold up for years. Next up is a meeting with the Wellsville Terminal folks. It heartens me to see that our officials are taking the initiative to go to the source of the problem for help in the cost of repairs. I sincerely hope they continue to actively pursue this with both companies. I doubt if either company would want to see load weight restrictions enacted. I'm sure both companies want to be responsible good neighbors.

Now I got a questions for our legal experts. At the Finance Committee meeting it was brought up about what can be done about collecting unpaid fines handed out in Magistrate Court. How big is the backlog on these? Is this going to be another item like the unpaid water bills? If the fines aren't paid can't a warrant be issued for their arrest? If they can't pay arrest 'em again and let them work off the fines. I have no problem putting the Clean-up Committee out of business with the recalcitrant payers of debt to our village. Like the t.v. detective use to say if they're "gonna do the crime they have to be willing to do the time". Either pay the fine for their misdeeds or work it off at minimum wage rates.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tell Me More Joe

On the back page of Section B in this morning's Review was a piece by Lucille Huston about Wellsville's Mayor Joe Surace taking the Chamber of Commerce on a "talking tour" of the village. As per usual when the Mayor and his trusty sidekick, Village Administrator Jim Saracco, start talking more questions come to mind. To me the "talking tour" sounded more like a political sound bite but hey, the rah-rah publicity was free. It was all positive.

Now lets move on the the questions that will probably be unanswered for the most part:

1. When they stopped at the light at Rt. 45 & Lisbon Street where were they? There's a stop sign there but the traffic light is long gone.

2. When mentioning the rerouting of the water line for Highland Ave. the good mayor said a new street is to be installed. Are we talking about the old dirt road street that came off Rt. 45 a little bit further up from the current street going up the side of the hill? I think that one was an access road to the the water tower. Where is the street going to be? The last time I was up there it was so congested I turned around and got out of there. With just about every family having two or more cars they do need a way to get off the hill without having to reverse their course. It's a good idea but the money it will cost in this cash strapped village worries me. How do you plan on paying for this?

3. The mayor also has visions of a small park with benches. Again I ask where? Is this going to be another grant application? Whatever happened to the Riverside project?

4. A day care center is another excellent idea. It would be a good use for the 9th Street pottery site. Since the Rev. Thompson is involved is this going to be a religious affiliated day care? If it comes to past who will own and maintain it? Who will be financially responsible for the cost of building it?

5. The Gazebo does need repairs. It would be wonderful if the Joint Vocational School would undertake the labor with their construction students. Who will pay for the materials? Has it been determined exactly what needs to be done and a cost study made for the repairs? Will it be put up for bid? When is this going to get done? We're getting close to the end of the school year. Maybe Mrs. Gates will right the wrong with the Whittacre House Stone memorial in conjunction with this project.

6. So it was ODOT that dumped the contaminated soil at 9th St. With all the shrugging of shoulders a few months ago I never was sure until today. Go get 'em Joe. Hopefully we won't have to waste money going to court to get ODOT to clean up the dirty soil and dispose of it properly. I never could fathom someone sneaking in truck loads of lead laced soil and dumping it there under the cover of darkness.

7. Why do we need a new building for Village Hall? Why, why,why? It may sound like I'm whining but it just doesn't make sense to me economically. Granted a new roof and fixing the brick work will be expensive but to me that would be more cost effective than taking on the cost of a newly constructed building. If the foundation is 100 year old stone walls it would be cheaper to shore them up with new block and support beams. McDonald School would be more expensive to repair and maintain. I'm told the roof on that building is very questionable too.

8. A company by the name of Bench Electric from Alliance finally got all the lights on Broadway working. It looks nice. What did that job cost us? With all the trucks and electricians that worked on them it had to cost a pretty penny. Are the Logans still taking on the cost of getting the fountains going? A few years ago it was told that in honor of their parents the Logans were sponsoring this project. The Logans use to live on Broadway.

9. What's coming in the way of additional murals for the flood wall? Gina Hampson has done a wonderful job with what is up there. Don't keep us in suspense. What new scenes are planned?

10. Finally the mayor said that the OEPA has zero tolerance for the coal dust being tracked out of Wellsville Terminals. I've already written and asked about the costs of a new road for the coal buckets. My question today is who is enforcing the OEPA's zero tolerance? Just yesterday I happened down that way and witnessed a loaded truck leaving there. If that sucker had been hosed down I'll eat my hat. There was no signs of water, wetness or dampness visible on that truck. I even circled around to catch the truck on Clark to double check. The driver stopped at the convenience store on 17th and his truck was dry as a bone. Could fines be issued for being in noncompliance with this policy?

All of this sounds wonderful and I would like to see it happen. A politician has to have dreams and visions for accomplishments but we taxpaying voters would like to know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey use to say. It was reassuring to hear that all departments are staying within their budgets but what's going to become of the funding for the budgets if even half of these items see the light of day? We got to be realistic if we're going to stay the course.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts Bouncing Off the Window

Now that the tax season has come to an end for this year I can give more thought to ideas for you fine folks to mull over. With April 15th falling on a Sunday and yesterday being Emancipation Day we got a couple of extra days for the filing deadline. I'm one of those procrastinators that wait until the last to do mine. Even though I usually get a refund it's still a pain. I do mine on-line with one of the computer programs that grill you on maximizing your deductions. We got ours done this past Saturday and Monday I mailed my token donation to the State of Ohio. Even RITA, Wellsville's out sourced tax agent, allows you to file on-line. That's new this year. I found it easier than trying to decipher their printed form.

What's Emancipation Day you say? I never heard of it until one of the talking heads on t.v. said something about it. After doing a few minutes of research I found out Emancipation Day is a Washington, D.C. holiday signed by Mayor Anthony Williams in 2005 celebrating the freeing of some 3100 slaves when the Compensated Emancipation Act was signed into law on April 16, 1862. D.C. was the first major community to free the slaves before that act became a national law the following January. We, of course, learned of it by the name Emancipation Proclamation. Evidently it is now a national holiday and that is why the IRS gave us an extra day.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday. Twenty-three year old Cho Seung-Hui used two hand guns and shot down 32 fellow students and a couple of profs before turning the gun on himself. Seung-Hui was an immigrant from South Korea. He was eight years old when his family came to our country. He was a senior English major with some evident serious issues. His room mates described him as an antisocial loner saying they really didn't know him that well. He had written a couple of plays, one titled "Richard McBeef", that scared his teacher into limiting her remarks. They were afraid that he might go off the deep end. Our condolences and prayers go out to the families and friends of all the victims. Also, keep in your prayers the victims that are still hospitalized. Two of them are in critical condition.

After they are done hanging the president of VTI, I imagine gun control will come to the forefront at least in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There is no waiting period in VA when one purchases a gun. Show some ID and your plastic money you can make the purchase. Unless you're an obviously deranged individual you got yourself a weapon. The waiting period allows for an investigation of the buyer. Seung-Hui had a pending court appearance in May for a speeding violation . Would this have prevented him from buying a gun? I don't know. However I do think we need more stringent gun control legislation in this country. It won't stop the bootleggers but it would possibly put a dent into the chances of someone unstable to get a weapon so easily. The NRA can go pound salt.

In perusing my news sources WTOV had a story about a 16 year old kid arrested at the Steubenville Wal-Mart after flashing a gun and trying to shop lift something. The kid sounds like a drug dealer. He had a large amount of cash and drugs in his possession. They'll nail that kid to the wall but they should concentrate on how and who got him a gun. Yea, we absolutely need tougher gun control laws.

I was sadden to learn of the death of Wellsville's Bob Grimm. Say what you will about him he was an active member of our community. I'm one of his admirers. He was a devoted family man and his accomplishments in community service speak for them self. Rest in peace Grimmy. We need more people like you.

Saw in the Morning Journal the Viet Nam Moving Wall is coming to Firestone Park in Columbiana April 26th through the 30th. I visited it a couple of times when it was in Thompson Park a few years ago. I've also been to see the real thing in D.C. If you've never seen it you should try to make it up there. The Moving Wall is a smaller realistic version of the permanent one in our nation's capitol. Wellsville's Medal of Honor recipient Melvin Newlin's name is on there. I never knew Mr. Newlin but I did know two fellows from East Liverpool that are listed on there. They were both named Steve and in the same class at ELHS. To me all three visits were a moving experience. We weren't greeted as heroes when we came home from Nam and to see the crowds of people visiting the exhibitions is sort of reaffirming to me that, although an unpopular war, we were doing some good while we were across the pond.

Finally I would like to register a bitch about the $2.7 million dollars in renovations that are being done on the Columbiana County Courthouse. We just got slapped with another sales tax increase because the county couldn't operate with the income they had. I understand that maintenance has to be done on a building. However, I've also learned that we have to live within our means. Even though the expenditure on the courthouse is from grants and long term loans I think it is high time that our county officials ought to realize what living within our means is all about. Multimillion dollar renovations put a sour taste in my mouth. Like they say if it ain't broke don't fix it. When you're scratching to pay the bills you simply don't need to be signing loans to live in the splendor of what it was like 73 years ago. I appreciate history but those folks over in Lisbon got to appreciate the citizens that are footing the bill. What's coming next - a wage increase for our overpaid commissioners?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Imus Got My Goat

When I recommended that you folks read the ORL post on the Imus story I said it was something that I felt strongly about. One of the comments on here asked me to elaborate on why that is. In making comment on Matt's story I said "...there is no place in this day and age for racism".

I really do believe that. It didn't come to me overnight in a flash. It has been in my thoughts over the years as Mother Nature dragged me into maturity. In my younger selfish years I would have been considered a racist. I enjoyed and often repeated racist jokes, especially if it got a few laughs. Then in the early sixties discrimination became a national issue and resulted in the creation of the Equal Rights Amendment. I remember watching newscasts of George Wallace calling out the National Guard to block students from going to school. I remember the stories of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his efforts to right the wrongs in our society. If your were living in that era and didn't become conscious of all the social injustice in our country you were either in strong denial or living in a cave without any contact with the outside world.

Then later on in the sixties I found myself in Viet Nam. You want to talk about cultural shock... Take a boy from Wellsville and plop him down in a poor country like that garden spot of the Orient! However, over there I witnessed a different kind of racism. To me it seemed very much like a caste society. If you were an Eurasian citizen of that country you were an outcast. Racism over there was openly practiced and accepted. It was much more prominent over there than what I knew in the states. That bothered me.

Growing up I went to school with and played with kids of other races. Then my kids did the same. You know what? Other than skin color those kids were no different than me or you. Growing older over the years I been fortunate enough to meet and befriend a racially diverse set of people.

I grew up with racism. My paternal grandmother was a European immigrant and if you were not of her country's heritage she pitied you. My maternal grandfather would get high blood pressure if you said anything good about Abe Lincoln or Republicans. His grandfather lost the family fortune when Lincoln freed the slaves. That grandfather lived in the south. To me all that was foolish.

In this country only the American Indians are true natives as far as we're concerned. Now they are a minority. For the rest of us we are all children of immigrants. Most of us are native born but back through the generations there is a relative that initially came over here "on the boat". This great country of ours is literally a melting pot of different races and creeds. It is what makes the USA a unique country. It is one of the things that make the USA a great country.

Throughout the history of our country there has been many injustices done on what we call minorities. It wasn't right but it was done and for the most part it's history. We can not change that. It's water over the damn. What remains today is racism and it's unfortunately still a big problem. I doubt if I will live long enough to see the end of it but I will certainly not condone it. Like I'm fond of saying it ain't right. It's something that we have to get over and move on to making life better for all of us.

That's why I felt strongly about Mr. Stewart's story on the Imus affair. I don't care who you are if you use any form of racism, for any purpose, you're wrong.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wellsville's Veteran's Memorial

You probably saw the Wayne Maris picture of the new Civil War Veterans memorial in this past Thursday's Review. It is to be mounted on a platform and placed at Wellsville's Veteran Memorial at 4th & Riverside. I recently visited the Memorial to check out the names on the plaque. It only goes back to WWI with names of Wellsville people that lost their lives fighting for our country. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think we had Wellsville residents die in the Civil War too. Wasn't there something in the paper not too long ago about tomb stones being replaced up on the hill? Was that for veterans that served or soldiers that lost their lives? I can't remember.

A big thanks should go out to all those that were involved in getting the Civil War stone past the idea stage into a reality. Bill Yost, Don Brown and Melvin Boggs have donated so much of their time and worked hard over the years to keep our veterans in a place of honor. As a Nam vet I surely appreciate their efforts.

On the rigth is a picture of what the Memorial looks like today.
And here, on the left, is a picture of a post card of what the Memorial looked like way back when. This is another picture that my friend "John Doe Smith" sent me. Again I have no date but I'm guessing it goes back to the early post Civil War days. The men on horse back look like they may have Civil War uniforms on. Notice the cannons. I may be goofy but I seem to recall hearing that they were taken and melted down for the war effort in WWII. The pedestals are still there today. They are used for planters. Basically it is pretty much the same. A lot of the ornate stuff is no longer there but the bases for the decorations around the perimeter are. The base for the flag pole and plaque are pretty much in the same place. Back then they looked like concrete. Today they are made of stone. Did you notice that Riverside was a dirt street just past the Memorial? Check out the shore line along the river banks. They disappeared when they built Montgomery & Stratton Dams. I remember the shore lines being like that back in the 1950s. See the train cars parked in front of the memorial? I wonder if that's where the train parked when Abe Lincoln disembarked and went to the Whittacre House?
If you're able, try to get up there for the Memorial Day Services this year. It's in honor of all our veterans and you can witness history in the making with the dedication of the new Civil War Memorial. Take a picture. It can be passed on to future generations for them to see what it was like "way back then".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Recommended Reading

I just read Matt Stewart's piece on his blog entitled "The price of stupid jokes" and I highly recommend you all read it if you haven't already done so. The subject is about Don Imus's comment about the Rutger's Girls Basketball team. It is something I feel strongly about and there have been some interesting comments already even though it was just posted today.

So give it a looksee and make your comments. You can find it at

To Matt I say you got a good one going. It's interesting to see what's being said. I just got one question that an English professor should be able to answer. Shouldn't you have used more caps in the title? :-)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Different Angle

A week ago Friday I posted two pictures in the story about The Way It Used To Look before Wellsville's flood wall was built.

My friend "John Doe Smith" sent a picture of the same area but with the view looking the other way. This is a picture of another old post card and again we don't have a date on it. You can see it was taken before the flood wall and the roadside park was built. The post card was entitled "Wellsville Ohio Entering Wellsville".

On the left is the old McKinley School. That is where "Mickey Ds" is today. You can see the trolley we talked about leaving the Wells Ave. bridge. The big house on the hillside on the right was taken down when they made Rt. 7 a four way road. Just above the roof line toward the back of that house is where the Indian Head Rock use to be. If you save this picture to Windows Picture & Fax Viewer and enlarge it you can just barely see the face. It's very faint. You have to use some imagination.

Thanks John for sharing this with us.

Drag Out Solution Proposal

In an article on the front page of The Review this morning Mrs. Huston reported that a new one-way street is being proposed as a solution to the coal dust problem with trucks leaving the Wellsville Terminals. The street would be used only for the coal buckets exiting the terminals. There was also discussion about building a retaining wall in the Independence Square area and watering down the street in extremely dry conditions. The mayor said that watering down the street was being discussed too but it was not reported who would perform this task.

In the piece we wrote about Drag Out dumb & dumber commented that a new street be built for the truck traffic. Is there any connection? I don't know.

The proposal is a step in the right direction. However, to eliminate the truck traffic from 17th St. past the Garfield School the new street would have to be wide enough for the vehicles to go both ways. It's also not a bad idea to get the trucks off Clark Ave. With parking on both sides of the street Clark is very narrow for big trucks and normal traffic. For the safety of all concerned the new street is an excellent idea if it ever comes to fruition. A one way street will not get the trucks off 17th or Clark.

Proposing a new street will not eliminate the coal dust problem. It will just redirect it into a different area. The need to hose down the trucks after they are loaded and tarped will still be necessary before they leave the terminal.

Hosing them down and building a new two-way street is what is needed to take care of this. If this is done the coal dust problem will go away for the most part.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

This & That

Things have been kind of quiet in the 'ville lately. However, that doesn't mean I've been sleeping on the job.

In my April Fool piece I made mention of Bob Popp. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Popp he was a long time reporter for the Review and quite a story teller. Although "Poolville" was a product of my imagination I would have to pay tribute to Mr. Popp for inspiring me to write up such an story. I remember being a young and naive reader back when his story about the Babb's Island Resort was first published. He reeled me in hook, line and sinker. When I read the Review on Sunday I found they printed up three of his April Fool stories.

This past Saturday the wife and I attended the Newspaper In Education auction. Although I feel it's the newspaper's way of trying to entice young readers in an attempt to save the print news business I feel it is a worthwhile cause. Any cause to get young people to read and away from the television is worth it in my humble opinion. This year's auction was sponsored by the Morning Journal. I wonder why The Review failed to mention it. Is there a pissing contest going on between the two newspapers? They belong to the same company and I realize they are in competition but I thought it was friendly competition. Spanks to The Review for not showing any support for this years event.

Driving down Broadway today I noticed they are starting to work on Chuck Amato's street lamps. Hopefully they can find the problem and correct it. It would be nice to see them all working. They are attractive. Years ago Chuck Amato was instrumental in locating those lamps and getting them installed. If memory serves me correctly he found them in Columbiana.

Speaking of Broadway I saw the story that Wellsville has been given the designation of "Tree City USA" by the National Arbor Day Foundation. That's nice. It didn't excite me too much. I'm one of the ones that liked Broadway without the trees. With the trees gone it truly made the street look "broad". I vividly remember the first sunny day I pulled up to the stop sign at 5th & Broadway heading downtown and was stunned by how beautiful it appeared. You could see all the way to 9th St. My feelings aside I think kudos should go out to the Dawn Johnston and the committee that got involved in getting this accomplished. It was an all volunteer committee that raised the funds to purchase the trees and pitched in with the labor to get them into the ground. It's nice to see that they got some hard earned recognition.

Spring has arrived and these past few days it's been more like summer with the temperatures. Unfortunately that is going to come to a screeching halt starting tomorrow with an approaching cold front. I hope the night time freezing temperatures don't damage the fruit trees that are budding out. However, the coming of spring brings the bikers and kids outdoors. When you're out and about be extra cautious. Spring is my favorite season of the year with the vibrant colors of new growth and renewal of life in things that were dull and drab over the winter months. Please be careful. We don't want a tragedy to mar the beauty of the season.