Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Over - Lets Move On

The campaign, the election, the provisional ballots and the automatic recount are all officially completed. It's over. It's done. It's time to put it all behind us. It's time to move on.

Congratulations to Mayor Joe Surace. Your four vote margin win held up after the recount on Wednesday. Your opponent, Dave Lloyd, was quoted as saying they "gave it a heck of a shot" and that 0.4% difference in vote totals makes that an understatement. To say the least it wasn't an overwhelming victory and that in itself should speak volumes. There's a lot of work to be done. As you were reported as saying "now is the time to start moving forward".

I tend to agree that your first term was a learning experience and some of those lessons came right out the books for the school of hard knocks. I hope you learned your lessons well and that there are no hard feelings. Your administration is not out the woods yet. There will be some criticism but hopefully you will take it as corrective criticism and take it under advisement. Take the comments into consideration. There is often merit in what those that oppose have to say.

Our fair village is our home and I for one appreciate what has been done to improve the appearance and hope we can continue with what has been promised for the way things are to be done. Coming out of two fiscal emergencies we have certainly learned that we have to live within our means. That will never change and we will always have to research for a way to our means. We have to be fiscally responsible and we tax payers have a constitutional right to know how that will be accomplished. If you're going to build, say a road, let us know up front how it's being planned to pay for it. If you're going to borrow from Peter to pay Paul let us know. It's our right. As tax payers we're the ones footing the bill. Don't leave us feeling uneasy on how anything is going to get done.

Any politician has to have dreams and visions on how to move our village forward with improving and maintaining what we have. You have shown me you have these qualities. There's a lot of work to be done and we have a lot of good people willing to give their support. There is nothing ahead of us but the future. Show those 493 voters that they made the right decision.

Again congratulations and Good Luck in your next term. Some say Wellsville got what they deserve. Show them they are absolutely correct.

ole nib

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Speaking of Being Gone

Speaking of being gone - remember this little building that sat on the east side of Main Street between the old Fire Station and the laundry mat? It's been knocked down. Wish I had a picture of it in its' glory days.

I'm sure it didn't date back too far as some of our other historic structures but it has been there as far back as my memory goes. Now I'm fuzzy on this. I was never in that building but I think I remember it being a hamburger and coffee shop when I was a kid. Maybe some of you folks can help us out here and share some of your memories of this place. I've been told that the people who own the laundry mat used it to store their supplies in for the last few years.

By the way if you care to share pictures old or new or even story ideas about Wellsville please e-mail me at We'll see what we can work up and get it posted on here. We're always open to ideas.

ole nib

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thoughts Bouncing Off My Window VI

It's been awhile since we did a "Thoughts" post and there are several things I want to get off my mind before they go fuzzy on me. I'll try to keep it brief.

Automatic Recount Scheduled
The County Election Board surprised us. Originally they said the official results wouldn't be released until the 26th but they moved it up and got it out this past Wednesday. Out of the 286 provisional ballots 68 of them were disqualified. From the remaining Surace picked up 12 more votes and Lloyd an additional 15. That narrowed Surace's margin of victory down to four more votes than Lloyd received and lines that race up for an automatic recount. According to the newspapers that will be done next Wednesday. In other words the Mayor's victory is still not official. It won't be until the recount is completed and the results are announced and certified.

Amato Death Probe
The MJ's Tom Giambroni got in touch with Mr. Grimshaw and reported that Grimshaw hopes to have something ready over the next month. According to the article Grimshaw has asked for some additional testing based on the results he has seen so far. Grimshaw was also reported as saying logistics is a problem since he lives 260 miles away. I'm betting that we won't hear anymore news until after the holidays. Since Mr. Grimshaw is retired I'm sure age and road conditions are a definite factor in making a four or five hour drive just to get here.

Baard Industries
It was reported last week that the folks at Baard are working closely with the Ohio EPA in getting their permit applications ready for the new CTL plant. Although it's a lengthy process getting the permits, it will shorten the time span getting it accomplished by cooperating and consulting with the EPA. Eventually there will be public meetings conducted by the EPA for our input and concerns before the permits are issued. Most companies submit an application and then go back and forth until all the issues are worked out with the EPA. Baard's novel approach to the process is commendable and gives me a feeling that they are indeed an environmentally responsible company.

Wellsville Terminals
In an article in the ER Tuesday it was reported that Chip Muse said they are continuing their efforts with controlling the coal dust pollution caused by drag out from their terminal in the ville. He told Jeremy Lydic that they have winterized the truck wash and are considering paving the road from the truck wash to village streets. That certainly sounds more encouraging then their previous musings. Last year it was reported that freezing temperatures prevented them from using the truck wash.

Police Manual
From last week's council meeting we learned that the police manual for the WPD is being updated. According to Fiscal Officer Dale Davis that will take time with making sure it conforms to federal guidelines and labor laws. We speculated earlier that the lawyers will be busy after the investigation report came out. Davis said the village attorneys are working on it and once it's completed it will have to be voted on and approved by council. Many people wanted to see blood after the report came out and it ain't gonna happen unless something involving gross negligence occurs in the meantime. For the time being it is good to see that cooler heads are prevailing and that steps for corrective action are in the works.

Phyllis Memorial Park
C of C rep Dolly Brophey suggested to the mayor and council that the mini park at Rt. 45 & Wells Ave. be named Phyllis Memorial Park in memory of the late Phyllis Thrasher. I like the idea. Hopefully ODOT won't have a problem with it.

Good Satire
Satire is described as "a literary composition in verse or prose in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision or ridicule". Many comedians employ satire in their routines. It is meant to be funny, to get us to laugh and entertain us. It is intended for us to see the lighter side of events and actions of our fellow men. In this day and age of enlightened political correctness good satire is not meant to be malicious with racial overtones. Just ask Don Imus. In my humble opinion to use those themes is not amusing and displays an immense lack of maturity and quite a bit of selfishness.

ole nib

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Before signing off we would like to wish each and everyone of you Happy Thanksgiving. Whether you're having dinner at home, with friends or relatives enjoy it all. Remember that this holiday was to give thanks for our bountiful harvest that gives us food for our tables. Over the years the holiday has evolved into having us be thankful for our good fortunes, our relatives and our friends. There's a lot to be thankful for and that includes you good people.

Be safe and enjoy...

ole nib

McClelland's Complaint Rebuked

From the front page of this morning's ER comes Jeremy Lydic's report that the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) has returned former Wellsville politician John McClelland's complaint alleging that Mayor Joe Surace fraudfully used campaign funds. The OEC reportedly return the complaint to have it corrected and notarized. Apparently Mr. McClelland did not correctly cross reference exactly just what section of the Ohio Revised Code he was using as the basis of his complaint. To save money he didn't bother to consult any legal authority before firing off his letter to the OEC. To save a buck he just goes ahead and tries to destroy a man. Maybe he should have consulted with The Wiz to have his complaint researched before sending it off.

Even more telling of McClelland's thought process is what he was quoted as saying to Mr. Lydic. Verbatim I quote from the ER article: "McClelland said he understands why the OEC sent the complaint back, but said he believes the complaint itself should hold precedence over the process. The (OEC) is there to protect the best interests of the public. McClelland said If someone has a legitimate complaint, the OEC should look at that and not if all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed". Apparently McClelland believes the OEC process should be disregarded just for him.

You're wrong John. In something as serious as this it is very important that all the i's are dotted and the t's crossed. You should have made yourself extremely knowledgeable in what the law says about this matter and at least correctly used the right sections of the ORC. You dropped the ball on that and not having your signature notarized. Were you saving another buck there? If you knew what your were talking about you would have known that little part about verifying who sent the complaint.

You were correct in saying the OEC is there to protect the interest of the public. That's why you got the complaint sent back to you. The OEC has to be fair and impartial and follow the law to the t. They can't follow up on a complaint on supposition. That's exactly what the basis of your complaint is - supposition. You are assuming your facts are accurate and now you are belittling the OEC for following the rules. Maybe a little thought should be employed before you go off on a temper tantrum.

My best advice is to drop the whole thing. Save yourself some money. You seem adept at that.
I seriously doubt if you have any hard proof. It's seems to be your word against the Mayor. Let it rest.

ole nib

Saturday, November 17, 2007

McClelland's Hissy

Front page news in this morning's MJ is the story that former Wellsville councilman and fiscal officer John McClelland has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission about Mayor Joe Surace's discount prescription card. McClelland alleges that Surace used the cards for political communication, made false statements and conducted unfair political practices.

The cards came out in early October and at the time Surace stated they had nothing to do with his re-election campaign. Surace also stated the cards were something he had been trying to get for Wellsville residents for a year. Nowhere on the card or the enclosed letter did it say "Vote for Surace" or anything pertaining to "Surace for Mayor". Nowhere on the card, the letter or the envelope. The card had his likeness, his name and title. It said "Mayor Joe Surace, Wellsville, OH". If you think it was for campaign purposes that's your opinion. Surace said it wasn't.

McClelland also alleges in his complaint that Surace used campaign funds to purchased postage stamps and and pay for copying expenses. Surace said he used the stamps to send out thank-you notes to campaign supporters. Mrs. Surace mistakenly said the stamps were used to send out invitations and thank-you notes. Saying they were for invitations was obviously in error. The fund raiser was held in July. From her comments as quoted by the reporter Mrs. Surace was apparently and rightfully upset. With the recount looming and the police investigation report I think it would be safe to say things are a little tense on Commerce Street.

McClelland is apparently upset that the 2002 state audit report on the fiscal emergency was brought out in the closing moments of the campaign. McClelland was in office back then. Even though a council meeting has nothing to do with the campaign McClelland was at the last one to bring the 2002 report and the discount cards up. He was gaveled down and has now taken his tantrum to the next level. The last council meeting was the day after the election.

Who made John McClelland judge & jury? Is he going to let this juvenile venom continue to tear this village apart for some kind of personal satisfaction? We have enough real problems. We don't need McClelland's personal nonsense.

Get a life John. You've shown us enough. It doesn't always go your way. Quit playing the grammar school yard "I'll get you back" card. If you're not going to be part of the solution - get lost.

ole nib

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Alumni Lip Sync

It's been in both papers but as a sort of public service I thought I would mention it here. Even though I can't imagine living without news papers I know there are some of you out there that do.

This coming Saturday evening there will be another edition of the Alumni Lip Sync at the high school. If you have never been to one you are really missing out on a very entertaining performance. This all volunteer group of dedicated people really do a bang up job. The proceeds after expenses all go back into our community. I think most of it goes into the Alumni scholarship fund for WHS students.

The performers are mostly all WHS alumni and future alumni. Most of the numbers are skits performed with them lip syncing popular songs. Also, there is some that actually sing using their own voices. It is readily apparent that they put in a lot of time on the props, costumes and learning the words of the songs they are using. You won't be disappointed. It's a toss up who has the most fun - the performers or the folks in the audience.

This fall's performance is Saturday, November 17th at the high school. Doors open at 6:15 for those that purchased tickets in advance. Everybody else will be let in at 6:30. Tickets are $6 in advance and $8 at the door. There will be a 50/50 drawn at the intermission and the Lions Club will be running the refreshment stand. You can call Carrie McMahon at 330-843-6338 or Toni Figley at 330-532-1317 to buy the advance tickets.

I highly recommend you get there and enjoy a night of good, clean fun. You won't be disappointed. The price of admission is cheap at twice the price.

Break a leg Alumni... You guys are the greatest.

ole nib

Comments Deleted

In my post titled Where's Grimshaw? I just deleted three comments that named an individual. I'm not a lawyer by any means but I'd rather not have some one's name posted that has not been charged with anything or has not come out and publicly made a statement about themselves or their actions. Simply put I do not want to get in a possible law suit. The individual named is not a public figure and even if they were I would have to seriously consider allowing statements made about them.

The comments were made about an individual that apparently lives most of the time in another community but owns property in the village and maintains that address as his permanent residence. The rumor is that he is registered and voted for Surace. Actually those comments did not have anything related to the subject of the post. In my opinion they were just rumor and I can't validate it.

I really would like to keep this blog open to all anonymous comments without having to approve each and every one before they get posted. My colleague blogger up the river has recently and highly suggested that I filter the comments. The jury is still out on that. I don't want to do it. Please don't force me into it.

Call me what you will. Over the years I've probably been called worse and I can take the negative comments along with others. Since the Wiz is boycotting us I sleep easier at night! I do feel that the comments were sincere and those that made them had no malice intended. I appreciate that and all you good folks that comment.

Generally speaking the deleted comments dealt with the mayor's race and the recount. All we know for sure at this moment is that the Election Board has started the recount. The recount will include the provisional ballots. The Election Board will meet on Monday morning, November 26th, to announce the results. Until then we can only consider stories of disqualified ballots, etc as rumor. In checking the board's web site nothing has been changed on the final, unofficial count. It won't be until the 26th. I was hoping to hear something next week but I guess those folks over in Lisbon don't want to work through Thanksgiving. Can't understand that. Do they realize we are anxiously waiting for the final, official count???

ole nib

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where's Grimshaw?

It's been some time since we heard of any movement in the Tonia Amato murder investigation. The last news we had was September 14th when the MJ reported about the third search of the Amato residence.

In that article Special Prosecutor Lynn Grimshaw was quoted saying taking the case to the grand jury "could come by the end of October". He was also quoted as saying that "progress is being made slowly, but none of us want to be accused...of rushing to judgement".

There is a confessed shooting suspect who admitted on the day that Tonia was killed back in July that he shot her. There have been three different search warrants executed, the last in September. One would think that by now all testing would be done. The end of October has come and gone. We are now in the second full week of November. At this time no one will be accused of rushing anything. Come out, come out where ever you are Mr. Grimshaw. It's time.

In fact it is past time.

ole nib

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some Thoughts On The Election

Well, folks it ain't over yet. The campaigning is over but the decision on the mayor is still hanging out there. Articles in both papers yesterday reported that there are 286 provisional ballots that have to be dealt with by the County Election Board. Most of the provisional ballots are for voters that didn't have identification with them or are living at a different address then what was on the board's records. The board has to go through them and determine if they are valid. This won't be done until the 19th or 20th of this month.

As we know Surace's unofficial victory was only by seven votes which automatically requires a recount by law. When the provisional ballots are added in he could very well lose this election. It's still possible Dave Lloyd could be our mayor. We just have to wait to find out.

I was beginning to think that Surace's practically silent campaigning was ingenious until I read the editorial in yesterday's MJ. In it - it stated that Surace made two appointments with a MJ reporter for an interview prior to the election. Surace didn't show for either of them and didn't call to let the reporter know he couldn't make it. The first time could have been an honest mistake but the second time was down right rude. I don't know if he did this on his own or on advice of one of his political advisers. Whichever it might be it sure didn't look well for him. Maybe the Silver Fox should get an appointment book and check it every day. Choosing not to take part in a forum was his decision but being discourteous to the press was just not right. Now he's got both papers slamming him.

His slim, unofficial victory speaks loud and clear that the voters of the ville are not happy. From what I'm reading accountability and job performance are what most are concerned about. If the victory stands after the recount hopefully we will see some improvement.

ole nib

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Not Quite What We Were Lead To Believe

Wellsville Council and the mayor released the police investigation report last night. Since reading both news paper accounts this morning there is still one dominant thought coming to mind - WOW! This is not good. I read and reread both reports. I've long suspected that Scarabino and Wilson had issues with each other. This goes way back when they were both just officers and over the years I've neither seen nor heard anything to change my opinion. Now we have outsiders from Cleveland come in, look around and pick up on it in just a few weeks... The report is not quite what we were lead to believe, was it? It's not what the Wilson supporters lead us to believe. It is not what Dinch lead us to believe. I think I'm beginning to understand what Ms. Gross meant when she was quoted as saying "reading is fundamental" at the Dinch press conference.

If you don't have print copies the reports are available in the on-line editions of both the Review and the MJ. Although neither Jeremy Lydic or Erin Colella made any mention of it there is clearly an overtone of failure to perform in the chain of command at the WPD from that report. No matter who is mayor, after the provisional ballots are either validated or disqualified, they most certainly have a hand full dealing with the WPD situation. They will most definitely have to research to see what can be done and have a plan of correction in place to work with.
Andy Beech will probably have to go to the books on this one. I'm just wondering if that chain of command is salvageable. What do you think? I got a mix of emotions on this issue. They range from dread, to disappointment & betrayal and to being seriously mad.

This is not good.

ole nib

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Post Election Morning After Thoughts

Well, it's over - almost. We have to await the recount but I don't think it will change anything. I could be wrong but I think the recount on the mayor's race will stand as reported by the Election Board's final count last night.

I don't know about you but speaking for myself I'm glad it's over. It seems that for the last few weeks we were consumed with this election. It got to the point that yesterday I didn't even turn on my computer. Even today I only checked the Election Board's web site and came here to note a few thoughts after reading the papers this morning. Maybe tomorrow I'll go surfing on the net. My folder of clippings is overflowing with articles to be considered for future posts. For now it's time to step back and reflect. There is more to life than politics.

There's been a lot of comments posted and I want to thank each and everyone of you who participated. Just remember you're responsible for your comments. Some were thoughtful. Some were outrageous and some of the banter fell somewhere in between. It has all been interesting and hopefully we can continue.

We got "new blood" on village council. Congratulations to all the winners. It's going to be challenging to keep your campaign promises and even more challenging to find the means to finance a lot of it.

We were happy to see that the floodwall and fire levy passed with such margins. Both are vital to our village and us residents. It's a small price to pay for such services and in the long run our cost of home insurance will offset the cost of the levies compared to the rates we would have to pay if we didn't have them.

Many predicted that the mayor's race would be close. So much for the 2 to 1 for Lloyd in the MJ internet poll. It was interesting to see that the Review did not endorse any candidates or issues and they call themselves a community paper. I can remember the day when the Review was very active in endorsing candidates and issues. Their neutral stand in these times is disappointing. Right or wrong at least the MJ had the moxie to do some endorsements for us to consider. You didn't have to agree with them but you have to respect them for doing it.

Now Mayor Joe Surace will have to step back and consider long and hard about his administration's policies with the close vote tally. The people of the village have spoken loud and clear. His first term has been a learning experience. Now it's time to make doubly sure all the i's are dotted and all the t's are crossed. We feel you got us going in the right direction especially in the past year. For the first time in decades our future is looking up and Joe has been there in its' infancy. Let's continue on in that manner. The people have spoken at the polls and you can bet they will be watching with eagle eyes.

There have been a lot of shots taken at each other in this election. It's over. Now is the time to get together with each other from both sides and pull together for the good of the community. It's time to be mature about our community and move on.

Let the healing begin...

ole nib

Phyllis Thrasher

It was with great sadness I read of the passing of Phyllis Thrasher yesterday. Wellsville lost a very good friend and an extremely active member of the community. In my opinion she was the type of woman that was the best of the best. Not only was she active in community affairs she was a devoted family member. I remember years ago frequently seeing Phyllis at sports events with young ones in tow. I can only assume those young ones were grandchildren. It took a devoted woman to sit through all kinds of weather to root for the Tigers, her kids and all.

Her list of accomplishments are many. Just read her obituary. She was a real dynamo in the Chamber of Commerce up until her health forced her to slow down. As with her family she will be sorely missed there. When you see the Christmas decorations go up and the annual parade just remember that Phyllis was the one mostly responsible for us having them. When you drive into the village from the north or east you can thank Phyllis for that beautiful little park that greats you at the intersection of Rt. 45 and Wells Ave. That park should be named and dedicated to Phyllis.

We will miss you Phyllis. You will be a tough act to follow. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you. Our condolences to all your family. You left us a legacy with the example you set. You were special.

Rest in peace...

ole nib

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wellsville Levies

Ok, everone is getting all heated up and passionate on their choice for mayor. Let's look at another aspect of this election that we will be deciding this coming Tuesday. In addition to electing a mayor and council people we will be looking at four different levies here in the ville.

According to the MJ there will be two county wide issues to be voted on. The biggest one getting most of the attention is the MRDD/Robert Bycroft new levy. If passed it will generate an additional $3.5 million a year. This is in addition to the four existing levies that will generate $6.3 million plus the state and federal tax revenues that add another $3.4 million income. We county residents just approved a replacement levy for them last May. On top of all that it came out in the papers this past week that they have a $6 million balance already on the books.

Now I'm all for supporting and recommending that we support the special needs people. However, in this case I'm inclined to agree with my friend up the river on this issue. Yea operating costs are going up. Just ask anyone trying to pay their heating costs. To me the money in the bank and anticipated revenue look pretty good to maintain and continue the services at MRDD. We recommend voting no for this issue. As Mr. Stewart said, if Bill Devon's predictions turn out to be correct we can address this at a later date.

The second county wide issue we will be looking at is the 1 mill operating levy that will be on the ballot for the County Career Center. It is a new levy that will be used to upgrade equipment and make improvements to the facilities. The last time they asked us for money was 13 years ago in 1994.

The Career Center is part of our educational system that prepares some of our students in various trades. Not every child is cut out or wants to go on to college after high school. The ones that attend CC Career Center get training in fields that are just as important as doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs. They are the ones that will be providing integral services that is needed in every community. The tax bite will be a small price to pay for this much needed part of school system. We recommend voting yes on this levy.

Locally in our village we will be voting on two levies. The first is the 1.4 mill renewal levy for our Fire Dept. Wellsville is fortunate to have a top notch fire department. Many of us have seen them in action and I'm always impressed with their professionalism and well trained personnel. Our fire department consists of a small full time force and the volunteers. These good people work extremely well as one unit when the alarm rings with the common goal to protect us and our structures. I rest easy knowing they are there if needed. Maintaining that service is an important part of Wellsville's infrastructure. We heartily recommend voting yes for the fire levy. This is the kind of levy I like. It will not cost us any additional taxes.

The second local levy that we will be voting on is the 0.5 replacement levy for the the floodwall. This part of our infrastructure was first used in 1942 and several times over the years have save the biggest part of our village from the ravages of rising water. Making it a replacement levy will enable taking advantage of the reevaluated real estate rates but it will still be a very small price to pay for the service it provides. Also it is very important to show we are doing everything possible within our means to maintain the floodwall. Down the road when we apply for state and federal aid to refurbish the floodwall it will be a plus in getting that help. We also heartily recommend voting yes for the floodwall levy.

Come next Tuesday, November 6th, the polls will be open for 13 hours from 6:30 A.M. until 7:30 P.M. Surely if you're eligible and registered you will be able to go vote in that time frame. The Election Board predicted a light turn out. Let's show them we ville people take our right to vote seriously.

ole nib

Friday, November 2, 2007


While others spent time with political commentary and still others plotting their next move we took this bright, sunny afternoon to tour the country side & enjoy what's left of the fall foliage. Coming across the Calcutta-Smithsferry Road I caught sight of this pond with all the ducks. They caught my attention and made me wonder if these feathered fowl actually live there or were just making a lay-over stop on their way south. We don't get out that way too often and couldn't determine which is the story. Being this time of the year I'm inclined to believe the flock stopped by on their way south for the winter season but what do we know. We're village kids. Whichever the case it was interesting to us.

Joe Takes A Swing

Found under my door mat this morning was a hand out from the Friends of Joe Surace entitled "Let's Review the Record". In it is referenced several items related to the Fire Department that were noted by the state auditors in their Performance Audit five years ago.

Joe's friends referenced the audit's comments about over-staffing, over-compensation, deficits, lack of record keeping and lack of safety inspections on equipment while his opponent was the Fire Chief in charge of running the WFD.

The audit was requested by then Mayor Joe LaScola in May 2001. The village was $339,000 in the red at the end of April of that year. Consequently the State Auditor declared Wellsville to be in fiscal emergency and the audit began in February 2002. It's all there if you care to review it - all 172 pages of it. All you have to do is pull up the Ohio State Auditor's web site and search the State Performance Audit dated 8/22/02.

I read through it this morning and found their references to be where they said they were. It's not exciting reading but it's there if you are interested. I'll refrain from any other comments and as Joe's Friends said let "You Decide". ORL's Matt Stewart and commenters there and here are all over it already. Enough said...

ole nib