Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thanks Your Honor

In an article by Casey Barto published in both The Review & the Morning Journal today it's reported that Billy Yost was bound over to the grand jury and that bail has been denied. Judge Mark Frost declared that with Billy's history he "poses a serious physical risk to the community" and declared that no bond conditions will be considered. I couldn't agree more. I'm sure there are many in the ville that think so too.

For helping to keep our streets a bit more risk free I say thank you Mark Frost.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Baard Engery - Bring It On

We have all heard of the news of an outfit based in Vancouver,WA, called Baard Energy that is considering the possibility of putting a coal-to-liquids processing (CTL) plant on the outskirts of Wellsville, OH. If it comes to being it will cost Baard Energy somewhere near $4 billion dollars just to build the place. If it comes to being it will bring hundreds if not thousands of craftsmen to the area to build it. If it comes to being it would make the demand for building materials go through the ceiling that could be supplied by area businesses. If it comes to being it will mean a greatly increased incentive to open local businesses to feed, clothe, provide services and house these craftsmen. It will mean jobs not only for those craftsmen but for some of us that live in the area. That translates into wage taxes, sales taxes and other money making propositions for all concerned. However I'm putting the cart before horse here. Being from the ville I am excited with the potential, if it comes to being.

There have been articles in the local papers explaining what a CTL plant does. In case you missed that it converts coal to a liquid fuel that can replace gasoline. Simply put it is similar to ethanol which uses corn to start with. I suspect Baard Energy likes the Wellsville site for several reasons but mostly for its location. There is the developing Port Authority in the lower end of the village. There is the coal rich areas in not only Ohio but in PA & WV too. Then there is the transportation advantages. Barge transportation is chief among them not to mention our highway and rail availability. As they teach business students the first rule of building a successful company is location, location, location... Baard Energy is a leader in alternative fuel applications. CTL is not new. The Germans used it in WWII. It is new to us.

Along with anything new there will be the nay sayers. Some are already arguing that the amount of fuel produced by such a plant would not come anywhere close to what we Americans use in petroleum based fuels. That may be true but we have to begin somewhere to get out from under our dependency of foreign produced oil. Some say the burning of coal is dirty and noxious. That is true but we don't have ill effects from Stratton or Shippingport with their scrubbers, buffers & filters. They both burn coal to crank the generators. The tree huggers will come out of the wood work with dooms day predictions of the effects such a plant will have on our environment. With all the new enviromental technology, the EPA regulations and watch dog groups I'm venturing to say the effect will be next to nothing. In studies done by the Idaho National Labs & DOE National Energy Technology Labs it has already been proven that CTL fuels are less dangerous than diesel fuel and petroleum derived gasoline. Both studies have shown that the carbon dioxide emissions are at least equal or below what we're burning in our cars, trucks and airplanes today. Some argue that the production of ethanol from corn increases the cost of food. The price of gas jacks up the food prices much more than ethanol.

So, if this plant gets built in the Wellsville area and it proves to be successful it will probably spawn the building of another plant somewhere else in this country. So on and so on... Then some day maybe Uncle Sam can tell the Arabs, the Mexicans and Venezuelans to keep their oil. Maybe some day our children will not have to go to far away countries to fight wars because those countries are rich in oil reserves.

CTL is a progressive new technology as far as we Americans are concerned and as with anything new there will be fears of the unknown. However, in my humble opinion, I think those fears will be baseless. Sure there will be some growing pains but that is to be expected. From the "Book of They" it is quoted that the only thing certain in life is change. Our energy demands are fulfilled at the mercy of foreigners. We need to change that.

A CTL plant will not only be a boom for Wellsville it will be a boom for our entire region - if it comes to being.

Broadway of Yesteryear

While the current renovation of the Broadway lamp posts and fountains are going on I thought some might like to see what Broadway use to look like. There are no dates on these but I'm guessing that my friend "john doe smith" sent me pictures of post cards going back to the early part of the 2oth century. John did note on the post card in color that it was "09". We all know the fountains don't look like that today and Wellsville was pretty much a farm in 1809. My bet is that they were both captured on paper around 1909.
Since John sent them to me I've been trying to figure out their locations. I think the one in black & white is between 5th & 6th Street looking east. You can see a line of telephone poles in the back ground that would probably have been between 5th & 4th where the street narrows. Because of the hillside in the background in the one in color I think it is looking west but I can't figure out where it is exactly.
Apparently somewhere along the line the fountains have been radically changed. There are no statues present today. The trees lining the park all look like new saplings. They are probably the same trees the village had cut down last year. Wellsville was a properous community back then and that probably contributed to the fountains being so elaborate in these pictures. I wonder if the lamps were gas or electric.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Here's a date I'm sure all of you will want to put on your calendar least you forget.

Other than triple sevens you ask what's so special about that date? Well, it's a Saturday and the day of a big fund raiser in the back yard of his trusty side kick for the Honorable Mayor Joe.

According to The Review today it will be held form 1-3 PM in the back yard at 1231 Clover Street. The cost of admission, or donation as they called it, is $10 per head. It don't cost a lot in the ville to be part of the party faithful. What a bargain... Hey if you play 777 on the lottery & it hits you might come out ahead.

I'm just wondering. Will Joe be there to field questions?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

RIP Bill Yost

In both local papers this morning there was the news of the tragic death of James W. Yost, Sr. at the hand of his son, James W, Jr., in the early morning hours yesterday. Although details are sketchy preliminary reports are that Mr. Yost died of injuries from blunt force trauma.

Although I didn't personally know Mr. Yost my heart goes out to him and the rest of the family. Mr. Yost was a Viet Nam veteran and for awhile now has been very active in the Veteran's Memorial Council in the village. His picture was in the paper not too long ago. He personally hung the flags that were put out for Memorial Day in the ville. He lost his wife a few years ago to an illness and another son died in a fatal car accident. Tragedy never seem to leave him alone. He seemed to be a good neighbor. He was always working on his house and the pictures in today's papers show ladders propped up on the side of his house for more work. He owned a historic house on Riverside. That house was a nursing home when I was a kid.

From all reports Junior seems to be the antithesis of his father. From what I read in the papers Junior has been arrested for robbery, aggravated felonious assault, a couple of DUIs, aggravated trespassing and rumored talk of other nefarious deeds. He spent very little time in prison for all his convictions and was apparently on probation at the current time. At 30 years of age it is very obvious that Junior has some serious issues that never were dealt with. Now he went and killed his dad and it wasn't an accident. You can't beat a man to death and call it accidental. At 30 years of age Junior should be matured enough not to even consider beating anyone, much less his dad. If you can't control your temper at that age you need long term counselling. I'd say Junior needs a life time of it. He is a menace to society. Lock him up and throw away the key.

My condolences go out to the Yost family. Sincerely, may you rest in peace Bill.

An interesting footnote to this sad event is the handling of the case by Chief Scarabino. From both reports I have read he has called out all the dogs to investigate this matter and is taking no chances of botching this one.

B&B Follow Up

In my open letter to Mr. Graham "the wiz" commented that in a book entitled City of Wellsville in Black & White there was a picture of this house. That book was published in June, 1903 and "the wiz" woke me up to the fact that I have a copy of it. I had to do some digging to find it and have spent a couple of days reading over it. "The wiz" was right on. This house is indeed older than what the Auditor's records indicate.

The picture above is the house we're talking about. Although nothing was noted in the book I can only imagine that is Mr. & Mrs. J.J. Dowling on the porch. Evidently Mr. Dowling was the owner of a large dry goods store "up town" as we Wellsvillians are fond of saying. In an advertisement in the same book it said "J.J. Dowling's Big Store on the Square". See the ad below.

The book was self published by Irvin Geffs and is chuck full of the early history of Wellsville. There is detailed information on how Billy Wells bought the farm land in 1797. Old Billy named the town after himself. You can bet we'll have more on that later. Now if I can just find Edgar's book...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Proposal for Eric Graham of Columbiana

This is an open letter to the owner of the building on Main Street in Wellsville pictured above. This building sits at 1037 Main next to our Post Office. The last occupants was a nursing home called Mansion Health Care. After that owner built a new place out in Calcutta and moved the patients and beds out there the building was sold. After that the building was reclassified as residential in accordance to our zoning statues. I think the current owner tried to open it again as a home for special needs people but was turned down by the zoning folks. It has set empty for years now.

To: Mr. Eric D. Graham

24 E. Woodland Ave.

Columbiana, OH 44408

Re: 1037 Main St., Wellsville, OH

Dear Sir:

According to Columbiana County Auditor records you are listed as owner of the above referenced house. Their records show you purchased this house in 2003. I don't know if you are the same gentleman that got turned down to get this rezoned to a commercial property for a special needs home or not.

This building would be an excellent location for a Bed & Breakfast. Since it has set empty for so long it would need a lot of renovation but I believe it would be a profitable business in our village. With 13 rooms in all and 10 of them being bedrooms it is ready made for a B&B. The kitchen is already set up for such an operation with an adjoining dining area. The lot between it and the Post Office would make a very nice off-street parking area for customers.

With the proposed coal conversion plant being brought into the Wellsville area you would probably have a 100% occupancy rate for Lord knows how many years. Even if that fails to happen for some reason there is still a definite need here for a B&B. There are people constantly coming to town for various reasons to spend a few days and have to go elsewhere to find overnight accommodations. There is the all class reunions that swell the village population nearly beyond capacity. People come to town for graduations, weddings, funerals and other special occasions or to just visit. I really believe there is a market demand for a B&B in our humble and historic river valley village. There is an available labor force locally who would love to work in town. It would be an extremely attractive return on your investment in this house.

Auditor records say this house was built in 1930. I thought it was older than that but the fact remains that it is a beautiful building with all the potential of being an excellent home to a B&B. I'd be willing to bet that there can be found a lot of ornate and unique wood work still in place there such as the Dawsons found in the Sturgeon House in East Liverpool.

Please give it some consideration. I'm sure our Village Zoning people would approve a zoning change for a B&B. There's probably some grant money available to convert this building. As I said above it would be a return on your investment.


Ole Nib

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dirty Politics In the 'pool

In a headline story on the front of The Review this morning was a story about the East Liverpool Police Dept. releasing a convicted drug traffic funder that they had arrested for other offenses. According to the article he was set free since they didn't have the manpower to transport him to the county jail. The suspect was arrested for fleeing the police and when they found him hiding in some weeds they also found drug scales and suspected crack cocaine near where he was. The suspect is a Youngstown man and has a long rap sheet in Mahoning County.

This is bull! This is dirty politics that is about as low as it can get. To the detriment of the community they stooped lower than whale turds to prove a point. It makes one wonder if there isn't some mental deficiency going on up there. Yes they probably were short of help because of cutbacks and budget restraints. Who isn't?

However, in their short sightedness, they let the man go. They could have called on other area departments to transport the suspect to Lisbon. Every police department in this tri-state area is living with the same problems as ELPD. There have been recent stories about deputies from the Sheriff's Office,officers from other towns, the various townships and even Chester police coming into East Liverpool to lend a hand in other situations. The spirit of inter-departmental cooperation has been encouraging. The statements of going all out to clean up the illicit drug pushers off the streets at any cost has been encouraging. Evidently they speak with forked tongue in East Liverpool.

The article did not say who's decision to release the suspect was. It was obviously someone who seriously lacks good judgement. It was a blatant act that put the welfare of the community at risk to prove a point. It was dirty politics. Chief Mike McVay needs to do some hard thinking and take some action on this one.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Blast From The Past

Here's a copy of a snap shot my friend "john doe smith" sent me a while ago. The caption says "Main Street, Wellsville, Ohio". It was taken from 4th & Main looking west. The first building on the right is home of the Carriage House flower shop today. From the cars it must have been taken in the early 1940s. The second building on the right burnt down a few years ago. I think the last business that was in there was Woody's Jeans & Things. When I was growing up it was Super Foods grocery store.

A Class Act

Did you get out to Wal-Mart on Memorial Day? A friend gave me a heads up on this one. Finding it hard to believe I went out early the Tuesday after to get these pictures.
Seems they were shutting off the water along Dresden and Route 170 to switch some lines over with the new road construction. Every other business that is open over night out there closed down. The folks at "Wally World" decided to go with port-a-potties for the convenience of any overnight customers that needed to use the facilities. They put them right in front between the two entrance doors.
Is this an example of American corporate greed at it's finest or what? I think it is. It seems the dignity of the customers and the employees be damned. There might be a possible loss of making a dollar or two if they closed the doors for one night. At least they could of placed their out-houses in a less conspicuous location - maybe off to the sides in the corners where they marshall the shopping buggies. I wonder what Sam Walton would have thought of out-houses greeting his customers? He was a shrewd business man but from what I read about the man he had tons of consideration for his customers and associates.