Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

To all our friends near and far we want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year.

In a few short hours it will be 2009. In some parts of the world it already is in places like Australia and the Orient.

Here's hoping 2009 is good to all of us.

Be safe...

ole nib

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Welcome PPCT To The Ville

This afternoon the Wellsville Chamber of Commerce welcomed the Pottery Players Community Theater (PPCT) as a new business to the ville. The PPCT was formerly located in East Liverpool but have recently taken up residence in the old Nazarene church building on 15th Street. ELO's loss is our gain as this enthusiastic group of thespians brings a touch of culture to the ville.

This is the same group that a while back was given the old Liberty Theater on Main Street. However that building is far from ready for occupancy. They are hoping that eventually they can raise enough money to refurbish the old Liberty and get it ready to move in. They told me they expect that will take some time and in the mean time their home base will be in the historic church building on 15th.

Their next performance will be January 16,17,23 & 24 at Dalonzo's Pizza with dinner at 7 P.M. and the show at 8 P.M. The play they will be performing is called Forbidden Broadway which one web site called Off-Broadway's longest running musical comedy. It "debuted 25 years ago and is constantly updated, pokes good-natured fun at such Broadway hits as Spamalot, Doubt, Jersey Boys and Wicked" according to that site. The PPCT will also be offering matinee performances of this play Sunday afternoons, January 18 & 25, at the church at 2 P.M.

In addition to their performance of Forbidden Broadway they will be holding auditions at the church this coming Sunday and Monday for their next show. The next one is the female version of the Odd Couple and auditions will begin at 6 P.M. Here's your chance to get on stage.

When asked if they would be keeping the name PPCT I was told that eventually they are considering a change with holding some sort of contest with audience participation to come up with a new name.

Anyone wanting any additional information on the upcoming play, auditions, donations or anything pertaining to the PPCT can call 330-532-5540.

Pictured above cutting the ribbon is PPCT member Mary Morse. Standing from the left is C of C members Cheryl Gibson and Vickie McCombs. Next to Vickie is PPCT member Rich Coburn, C of C member Dolly Brophey, PPCT member Cheryle Pierce, and C of C members Connie Bauer & Randy Allmon.

Please join me in welcoming these nice people to the ville.

ole nib

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Unseasonable Warmth In The Ville

Here's a sight that anyone familiar with the ville will recognize. What we're not familiar with is the temperature shown here for this late date in December in this river valley village.

According to today's papers 68 degrees was the high for yesterday. The record high was 70 degrees set in 1904. Although it didn't set a record it did get rid of all the snow and ice that was lingering in spots that don't get much sunshine. Today's breezes are helping dry out those spots.

This brief respite from the winter chills comes especially timely for me with having younger smart alec relatives that like to rub it in with their warmer weather in the temperate climes they live in. Ma Nature helped ease the burden of pain inflicted by his idea of humor and got me back to the belief that life is good in Wellsville. It was in the twenties when we were talking to them on Christmas Day. Thanks Ma.

It's not lasting long but that is to be expected. Today started out for me at 7 A.M. and 61 degrees. Then a cold front blew through and it started dropping. It is now 43 degrees at 3:30 this afternoon. We're suppose to get back to more seasonable temperatures as the week progresses.

Nice weather. My Steelers thumping the Browns. It don't get much better!

ole nib

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the 'ville

Tomorrow is the big day and we would like to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. If you're not of the Christian persuasion we wish you the Season's best. Whichever your beliefs we hope that the spirit of the season fills your heart and the hearts of your love ones.

Me? I'm a big believer of Santa. I think this is the year that he will give me six winning numbers on the lotto! Whataya think? Here's hoping he'll fill your stockings with all you wished for. The picture is from Google Images. Wanted to use a picture of something in the ville but the heavy overcast kept me from getting a decent picture.

Have a nice one and please, be safe...

ole nib

Monday, December 22, 2008

Clean Out Time

There are several things I clip out of the papers that I thought to comment on and my folder was starting to bulge. So here goes...

At the Chamber dinner Congressman Charlie Wilson said that if the auto industry goes under it would affect 100,000 jobs just in the state of Ohio. That must have just been jobs at the different auto industry plants. Not long after that comment was made I read somewhere that with the trickle down effect with suppliers and what not, that number would be closer to 210,000 jobs just in the Buckeye State. That's scary and just today there was an article written about a plant closing down completely near Dayton. After being forced to live through the decline in the steel industry I can certainly emphasize with those folks.

On a related article there was an editorial earlier this month in the MJ that in essence advocated letting some failing businesses to go ahead and fail. In talking about the bail out the author asked "Where's the protection for these responsible taxpayers?" that pay their mortgages and credit card bills on time. My first reaction was that was pretty harsh. Where is the compassion for those losing their homes and jobs? After thinking about it I thought maybe they were on to something. Is the bail out throwing good money after bad? I don't know the answer but I have to agree that the folks in D.C. have to show discipline and leadership in handling the bail out. As we have seen it can't be business as usual. These industries have to made to promise that they will reorganize the way they do things in exchange for their bail out money.

Also at the Chamber dinner CC Commissioner Jim Hoppel told me that our county's 911 system for cell phones is still about a year away. He said there will be three towers located in the county that will use "triangulation" to locate a caller using a cell phone when it does go into operation. Callers using cell phones can now call 911 but right now there is no way of determining the exact location of the caller. Considering the increasing number of people who only have a cell phone I hope they give this priority.

I got a lot of negative comments on my piece about the Chamber dinner some of the Chamber members. Many of them I rejected. As they continued to roll in I got the impression it was coming from the same one or two people, especially the one who kept using "click" for clique. I have never seen the Chamber's mission statement but, personally, I think our Chamber is doing an outstanding job. No, they weren't responsible for getting Baard interested in our area but they have shown they are willing to do everything possible to make the folks from Baard welcome and to be of any kind of assistance they could render. Time and again they have demonstrated they are willing to do this not only for Baard but for any new or potential business that has the ville in mind. I have only one complaint for anything the Chamber has done lately. Other than that I think those folks active in the Chamber should be commended. In my opinion the negativity is only sour grapes by just a few.

Buckeye Water District keeps growing. Did you see the piece in the paper where officials from Rogers approached them about the possibility of getting their water from BWD?

In another editorial in the MJ today they were getting on the "environmental activists" unrealistic out look on "clean coal technology". If the tree huggers had their way they would probably close down every coal powered electric plant in the nation. They simply are flat out against any use of coal in their efforts to promote going green. The activists advocate there is no such thing as clean coal technology in spite of EPA regulations proving otherwise. In a letter written by Gary Alkire of Salem it was said that the EIA has reported a 70% reduction in emissions from using coal in spite of an 300% increase of using coal since 1970. EIA is the U.S. Energy Info Administration. They estimate the use of coal will increase 57% by the year 2030 and part of that increase will be Baard's ORCF plant. Instead of misleading us the activists should be embracing and promoting the clean coal technology along with their promotion of different green alternative energy sources. The use of coal is not going to go away anytime soon but the new technology out there today is making it more environmentally friendly.

J.C. Amato is still a guest of the county awaiting his murder trial in February and the out come of the additional weapons charges. The new weapons charge is being challenged by his attorney and as soon as they find a judge without a conflict of interest to hear it a determination will be made on that. In the meantime the Grand Jury handed down another indictment recently for another felony charge of being in possession of pipe bombs. Guess that wasn't exactly covered in the additional weapons charge.

In checking out Ohio River Life I found an interesting article by Matt Stewart with ville connections. Matt said he reverted back to his reporter days on this piece and he was "playing it straight" in this piece. It's entitled "The Desarros respond" and pertains to the ELO efforts to close Liquor Dicks.

In the past few weeks there has been $13,400 dollars donated by three different organizations in town. Most of it went for the police and fire departments. It started out with the Elks donating to the WPD, WFD & the Alumni Association's scholarship fund. Then as reported in the piece on the last council meeting the VFW and Eagles also made donations. It's acts of kindness like this that shows Santa gets around town and that the ville is indeed some place special. I would like to add my thanks to all concerned for their generosity.

For you roundball fans the WHS Tigers boy's team is now 2-1 on the season and I think the girls are 2-2. Even though the boys are in a rebuilding year from the team we had last year they have already shown some remarkable talent on this years edition. I think they will do alright. One of last year's standouts, Zane Carter, is now playing for Marietta. Even though he's a freshman once again he's already recorded a double-double against Denison earlier this month. That was after coming in off the bench.

In an article in the USA Today they say bright lights help with Seasonal Adjustment Disorder (SAD). This is a disorder where people like me get grumpy with the shorter hours of daylight in the winter. The missus is sure I got SAD. Anyway they say bathing yourself in bright lights is beneficial in warding off the effects and recommend using artificial light if the sun isn't shining brightly. They caution to dim the lights in the last hour or so before retiring for the night to get your body ready for sleep. I don't think I suffer from SAD. It's the cold that gets me achy & grumpy!

It was 4 degrees at my house this morning. Stay warm...

ole nib

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Came Early

Christmas came early in the ville if you are one of the Good Lord's four legged creatures. In a combined effort with Wellsville's Alley Cat Aid Brigade and the CC Humane Society "Christmas for the animals" was held today at the Gazebo.

The event was the brainstorm of ACAB member Connie Carmichael who actually got the idea from an event held in Boston in 1912 for horses. Today's event was the second time for creatures great and small. It was open to anyone and each one was given food for their pets. The first 25 got a St. Francis medal and some got blankets made & donated by Sharon Buswell.

There were gift bags made by employees of Speciality Employment & Retirement Center over in Lisbon. These special bags were hand made by those folks over there.

Even though it was an overcast brisk day with temperatures in the twenties there was a huge turn out. The ladies of the ACAB kept Nunzi busy running back & forth from their new facility getting more food to pass out. That new facility is the old Sterling China Outlet down on Commerce St. The building was donated to them by Dennis Tiche who is the new owner of the Sterling property. It is going to be used as a pet food pantry. The food handed out today was mostly donated by the Humane Society and they have agreed to donate more food to the pantry.

The ladies let me know they are very grateful for the work that Nunzi did in cleaning up the place and getting it ready for them to occupy.

Pictured above is Jeff Watson with Vlad waiting for things to kick off. Vlad is the five month old English Bull. Nunzi was telling all how things were going to proceed and our Mayor was giving the opening welcome. Rosey, the six month old basset with her master Ayla, wasn't too sure of the hug she was getting. Finally there is "Buford & Beagle" greeting one of the CC Deputy Sheriffs. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

Thanks once again to the ACAB for helping to make the ville someplace special.

ole nib

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 16 Council Meeting

Two issues resolved, one left on the table in the last council meeting of 2008... Tuesday night's meeting opened with invocation given by one of two ministers present. I thought it was Rev. Bruce Ballantine but it may have been Rev. Joe Warner. Except for Tony Cataldo all council members were present along with the mayor, the finance officer and the village solicitor. Cataldo called in sick and was excused.

In the Public Speaking portion there were several residents present that got up and favorably endorsed Cemetery Superintendent Mike Lombardozzi and urged council to make it a provision that the care taker live in the house up there. Tom Brophey, a member of the Springhill Cemetery Board, advised council that no one on the committee was notified or advised of that situation. Brophey stated that the board recommended that council make living there a part of the job. Mike's father, former mayor, Nunzio Lombardozzi gave a lengthy discourse with facts, figures, documentation, history of how the village got the house and exhibits. Nunzi also presented a petition with over 300 signatures. He stated they tried to limit it to village residents but when people outside the village got wind of it they asked to be allowed to sign it too. Out of the over 300 signatures 230 of them were people that live within the village limits. It was impressive the amount of work that was put into Nunzi's presentation. It was even more impressive that everyone that spoke on this subject spoke with praise for the job and the extra time put in that Mike does up there. Personally speaking I think it was well deserved.

One resident spoke about the three committee meetings that were held last week. Not one of them were posted in either of the local newspapers but there were articles about them the next day in both editions. In checking the requirements of the Sunshine Law he found out that they only need to notify the media that requested being notified along with any other individuals that requested the same. It is up to the publication's discretion whether they put this in their papers or not. Apparently Joe Soldano wasn't listening too closely since he later re-emphasized what a public body's requirements are under the Sunshine law. That resident requested that it go on record that he be put on the list for those to be notified.

Commander Bill Wolfe presented three checks from the Wellsville VFW plus one other from Cora Corak. The checks were for $300 for the Christmas Toy Drive, $350 for the Police Dept. shot gun fund and $150 for the village's kids fire prevention education fund. The shot gun fund is to raise money to equip the two new cruisers. The check from Cora Corak for $100 was designated to go to the Memorial Council toward buying a new flag for the 4th St. memorial in memory of her late husband Pete Corak.

Bill Cataldo on behalf of the Wellsville Eagles presented a check for the Police Dept. for $6,500 with the stipulation that $1,500 go to the Christmas Toy Drive. He also said he had another check for $14,000 that he will hold on to. I think he said this check was for Hammond Park but he said that he would "send it back to the state" if his bill for the work he did up there was not paid. He did not specify where this check came from and I'm not exactly sure of it's intention. I think I heard him say "for the park".

Of the four Administration Departments only Jim Saracco and Fire Chief Bill Smith were present. There were no reports for any of them.

In the Mayor's Report Joe Surace recommended that Wellsville native and resident Patty Boley be given the job as the new Animal Control Officer and in my humble opinion he couldn't have found a better person for this job. I've known Patty for several years and she has a heart bigger than the State of Ohio. She was a member of the St. Francis animal group and is an excellent fit for the job. To avoid any conflict of interest she will have to relinquish her membership in that group but I know she will work well with them. A motion was made and passed 4 - 1 to hire Patty. Don Brown stated it was nothing against Patty but he felt the village should go with the County Animal Control.

In the Committee Reports Randy Allmon made a motion that a bill for $10,600 be paid to LSW for equipment rented and brought in from California to clean up the Sewage Plant digestors. It was unanimous in favor to pay the bill. It was also unanimous to pay over $16,000 in bills to HzW for the cleaning up the lot that the old 9th Street pottery sat on. HzW specializes in cleaning up environmental hazards. So that lot is now ready for any potential development.

John McMahon reported that his meeting with the St. Francis animal group closed any gaps in what the village requires and their mission in tending to the animals. He stated he was confident of the co-operation between the village and the volunteers and doesn't see any problems. That was one of the issues I mentioned that was resolved. For the good of the village I think it was just about the best possible solution they could find.

McMahon also made a motion that it be made part of the job that the cemetery care taker occupy the house up there. That also passed unanimously and resolved the second issue that I mentioned. I was glad to see that tradition was insured and was particularly happy to see that this historic house will remain in the village hands. There is no doubt that Mike & Opal will take good care of it. They have already shown that and over all I think the cost to the village will be insignificant.

The issue left on the table by a vote of 3-2 was the bill from Cataldo Construction. I feel if the absent council man had been present it would have been a tie vote and the mayor would have been the tie breaker. It's just my gut feeling that the mayor is in favor of paying this bill since there was a verbal contract made. Without the absent council member it may have passed if the owner of the construction company hadn't shot off his mouth. Instead heads were bumping and the hole got a little deeper. From what I could see there are two schools of thought on this issue.

One line of thinking that seem to come out is that there was an agreement made with a village official and that agreement should be honored in spite of the fact that procedure wasn't followed. The other line of thinking is that the work done was shoddy especially with the replacing of the rotting wood that was left there. In this second school of thought there have been feelings expressed that the charges were particularly high compared to competitive prices for what was done. I'm sort of in agreement with both schools of thought but I was hoping this could have been taken care of so we can start off the new year with a clean slate. I hate to see hard feelings festering especially in the spirit of the Christmas season. Now we have to start off the new year with this ugly piece of business still staring us in the face.

Four pieces of new ordinances were passed all by unanimous votes. There was one to establish the salary and benefits of the mayor's clerk. There were two for appropriations for this year and next and the last one was to create the part-time position of the Animal Control Officer. No dollar amounts was noted in the hand out or discussion. In fact there was no discussion on any of these ordinances. It would have been nice to know what amounts they were talking about but it was a speed drill to get this taken care of. I got dizzy or I might have shot off my mouth to question this.

In closing the mayor, on behalf of council, himself and other officials present, wished everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. The first meeting in the new year will be January 6.

ole nib

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Library

This year is the 100th anniversary of the ville's library. Below is the history of the library taken from their web site (

"The Wellsville Carnegie Public Library began when a small group of townspeople established a reading room and lending library in a store front on Main Street. Expenses were met be selling shares, as well as holding rummage sales, suppers and concerts. Some funds were received from donations. The first records for the new library were kept in 1908. By 1910 the library had a collection of 1,535 books.Property on the corner of Main and Ninth Streets, originally belonging to Gen. James Reilly, was given to the city by the State of Ohio to be used for a public library. In 1916 the mayor appointed a board of trustees to manage the library and to apply to the Carnegie Trust Corporation for funds to build a library. The Carnegie Trust Corporation approved the application and awarded a total of $9,427 for the construction of the building. It was dedicated and opened to the public on November 20, 1917.While the services offered by the library continued to grow, the building itself remained unchanged. By the early 1980's it was evident that the building was no longer adequate to meet the changing needs of the community. The board began planning for the renovation and expansion of the library.It was not until 1998 that the plans became a reality. The library received a bequest of $711,000 from the estate of Helen McSweeney Miskall. Construction on the project began July 6, 1998. The new facility was dedicated May 23, 1999. Total cost, including furnishings, was $1,200,000."

In celebration of their first 100 years the staff had a Holiday Open House Thursday evening for the kids with a "make it & take it" crafts activity and a special visit from Santa. The crafts were Christmas decorations that the young ones assembled. Santa listened to the children's wishes for what they want him to bring them on Christmas. Later on he read them a story. They also had refreshments available all evening.

Our little library was brimming full with excited youngsters, parents and grand-parents. From what I saw it was enjoyed by all that were there. The ladies at the library should be commended for their efforts in putting on this event. They also did a nice job on the decorations.

Pictured above is some of the young ones at the front door eagerly looking for Santa's arrival. Then there is Santa finally getting there much to every one's glee. The third picture is Santa sitting on a bench getting ready to talk to the kids. You can see these kids were ready to get down to business crowding up close to the jolly ol' elf to let him know their wishes.

It was a real nice event and just one more reminder that the ville is special. Thanks to the Wellsville Carnegie Public Library.

ole nib

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Morehead Makes An Alford Plea

Yesterday in Common Pleas Court Wellsville native, resident and CC Health Commissioner Robert Morehead pled guilty to one charge of theft in office in a plea deal hammered out between the prosecution and defense. This action is known as an "Alford plea" in which Morehead maintains his innocence but admits there is evidence that could convict him. In this case it was a situation where Morehead was in the middle of what his board considered were allowable practices and what the State Auditors insisted were illegal. Between a rock and a hard place...

Jury selection was scheduled to begin yesterday for the start of the trial on the charges filed against Morehead. Then last Thursday in a telephone conference between the lawyers and the court it was filed that a deal had been worked out. That came out in the newspapers this past week-end. The trial was rescheduled for a plea hearing.

In the deal Morehead agreed to plea guilty to the one charge, continue making restitution for the State Auditor's findings and resign his position at the Health Dept. Morehead officially retired last March but has continued working with temporary contracts granted by the Health Board. In return the prosecution agreed to drop all other charges and not to make any recommendations for sentencing. Morehead's attorney was quoted as saying they will be asking for community control, or probation, at the sentencing. The charge has a possibility of six to twelve months prison time and a fine. However, prison time is not mandatory. It solely up to the judge's discretion. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 13 of next year.

When Morehead has to resign is debatable. Mary Ann Greier reporting for the ER stated he has to resign on or before the sentencing hearing. Tom Giambroni reported in the MJ that "the felony conviction forces Morehead to resign his position", which indicated to me that it was to be immediately. In The Vindicator D.A. Wilkinson reported that "Morehead is to resign before the next health board meeting Dec. 17". We have three different publications with three different opinions on this part. It's really not important but it's something that got my attention.

I'm not making any judgement on this. Morehead's attorney was quoted as saying in the MJ that "this boils down to Bob Morehead being 59 years old, tired and not wanting to put his family and the health department through the ordeal of a trial". I've known Bobby for a lot of years. Our acquaintance goes back to the days he was a councilman in the ville. He's a good man and I consider him a friend. It's just for the grace of God that if I was in his shoes I wouldn't be in the same predicament. If I were to make any judgement it would be against the health board for letting these practices go on. Their auditors and book keepers should have been adept in what is allowable long before Bob took the position. If anything they mislead him. The prosecutor was quoted as saying he got what he wanted. I hope the change he wanted is not just Bob's resignation and the board adopts policies that will prevent this from happening again.

This has been going on for sometime and I can sympathize with Bob wanting to get this behind him. I'm sorry the state singled him out to be the only culprit for this situation and even though the board has backed Bob from the very beginning they still left him out there by his lonesome. With all consideration I have to commend Bobby having the fortitude to make the best of a bad situation.

Good luck Bobby...

ole nib

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Baard's Five Year Plan and Beyond

At the Chamber dinner this past Thursday evening Baard's V.P. of Business Development, Steve Dopuch, was one of the guest speakers in addition to Congressman Wilson. During his speech Mr. Dopuch gave us a "rough" idea of what's ahead with the proposed Ohio River Clean Fuels plant now that they have attained approval on all of the required permits. It turned out to be roughly a five year plan for the engineering, construction, and testing leading up to the actual operation of the plant. A lot of this has been well covered in our local papers this past Friday and Saturday. Before the dinner there was a press conference with Dopuch and CEO & President John Baardson via a conference call from Washington, D.C. at the Port Authority facilities.

Now that the permitting process is completed the next step is engineering the plant "down to the nuts and bolts". Dopuch reported that they have budgeted 200,000 man hours using as many as 100 engineers for this. They will using the services of engineers from such places as Houston, Pittsburgh and right here in Columbiana County. The engineering will not only include the lay out of the plant. They will also be working on the ordering of the necessary equipment and materials needed. Mr. Baardson related that some of the equipment will take about a year for it to arrive.

By early spring of next year they expect to be clearing some scrub and possibly doing some technical engineering on the land. Much of that engineering was accomplished during the permitting process. By May or June they expect the land preparation to begin in earnest bringing in the heavy equipment.

The design for the land that the plant will sit on is a bi-level table top plateau. They are estimating that they will be moving some 20 million cubic feet of dirt and rock which will be kept on site. They have over 600 acres up there and the plant will be using up about 300 acres. The cooling towers and the gasifiers will sit on the higher level with the raw material handling facilities on the lower level. They expect to have the land preparation completed by the end of the 2009 summer. The bi-level design is part of Baard's commitment to make this plant mostly "green".

By 2010 they expect the construction to be fully underway using some 3000 - 4000 trades people not counting the thousands of others that will be working behind the scenes in the designing and other administrative activities required for such a project. Dopuch said they will be employing American labor and they are currently in the process of negotiating agreements with these organizations.

They will be using six gasifiers when the plant if fully constructed. In the initial phase they will be building two gasifiers with the rest to follow two at a time in 12 - 18 month increments. They expect the construction phase for the initial start up to take up to two years. By 2012 they expect the plant to be operational with the first two gasifiers and ready for the testing phase. This final testing phase is expected to take most of the year. By 2013 they expect to be fully operational and ready to market the end product which as we all know is coal-to-liquid diesel fuel. That's where I got my notion of a five year plan - 2008 to 2013.

Mr. Dopuch went on to express that there is a "fair amount of organized resistance" out there and most of these people don't care much about the facts. He emphasized that Baard deals only in facts and following the law. He apologized to us present for the confusion of facts that this resistance likes to use in their arguments. He stated that this plant will be 40 - 45% cleaner than present day petroleum producing plants and that this plant will be capturing up to 80% of the green house gases that could be emitted into the atmosphere during production of C-T-L fuel. This is territory that we covered before but they will be piping CO2 some 30 miles away to the old Canton oil fields. Testing on this aspect has been very successful.

Mr. Dopuch smiled and stated that planning for the ORCF plant started three years ago when the price of oil was in the $40 - $50 range and it is currently selling back in that range. However, it was around $150/barrel just this year. In the futures market oil is expected to be in the $85/barrel area five years from now in 2013 when this plant goes fully operational. Although it is expected the demand for gasoline will be declining there is no foreseen slack in the demand for diesel fuel. The market for C-T-L fuel will be very viable and rational. Fully operational they estimate this plant will only supply 10 - 15 % of the demand for diesel fuel in just a 100 mile radius of this area. There will be a definite demand for this product and this plant will only be the beginning to lessening American dependence on foreign oil. Dopuch stated they are right where they wanted to be three years ago when they set out.

On the money side Dopuch related that there is not much confidence in the financial markets right now. That is expected to start turning around in the first quarter of next year well before they will be at the stage to interest investors and finance the construction and start-up of this plant. If you follow financial markets you know that it historically goes in cycles. We are presently at the bottom of the down part of that cycle but it will improve. They do not expect financing will be a problem in spite of all the doom and gloom you hear today.

By the time the plant is fully operational in 2015 or 2016 they expect to be employing somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 - 450 people not counting the construction crews. That's jobs just for the ORCF plant. There will be uncountable others in the area for businesses to supply the goods and services that this plant, the building crews and employees will bring with them. There will be more jobs created around here then just at the new plant. Buckeye Water alone has committed to supplying 15 - 20 million gallons of water per day for the plant. There seems to indeed be some sunshine on the horizon for the ville and the surrounding area.

I started this piece two days ago but it got too confusing to finish it up. Then yesterday was devoted to the Steelers and football. Sorry 'bout the delay...

ole nib

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chamber-of-Commerce Dinner - 12/4

The Wellsville Chamber-of-Commerce held their annual "Man of the Year" dinner in the WHS gym last night. It turned out to be not only be a Man of the Year but Women of the Year too. The theme of this year's dinner and ceremonies was "Bringing the World to Wellsville" and with Baard's ORCF plant looking more and more promising it seemed like an apt theme.

There was a short Social Hour which was only scheduled for thirty minutes. However the place filled up quickly with many dignitaries, members of the different trade unions, business people and some commoners like me. U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson, Steve Dopuch from Baard, State Senator Jason Wilson, State Representative Linda Bolen, various county and village officials were a some of those in attendance. It was reported that there were 425 tickets sold for the event.

Chamber President Diana Spencer kicked off the event with her welcome to all that were there. Chamber President-elect Randy Allmon then took over the duties a master of ceremonies with introductions of the different officials that were there. Don Crane, President of the Western Reserve Building & Construction Trades Council then addressed the audience. Crane said he is a Wellsville resident and reminded us that now is the time to set up training classes for the different labor trades and for actual jobs at the ORCF plant when it goes fully operational.

Crane was followed by a brief address from Congressman Wilson. Charlie was merciful saying he realized that he was the only thing between him and the beginning of the meal. He related that this year has been a rough time in office with all that is going on nationally, especially with the current economic crisis. Because of that crisis there is over 100,000 jobs just in the auto industry in Ohio that are in jeopardy. He said he was going back to Washington on the first flight out of Pittsburgh this morning to be back for the hearings with the auto executives. He is part of the committee that is holding the hearings. He also told us he opened an office in Wellsville in order to be part of the promising future that he's confident is in store for not only the ville but for the whole area. Wilson said he was proud to be representing Columbiana County and Wellsville.

As part of the Financial Services Committee Wilson said it is time to get protection from Wall Street. He likened the financial industry to "playing football without a referee". There has been little or no oversight on that industry and the credit market. He said it is time to restore confidence in the credit market. Wilson said he is pushing for some sort of equity from the auto industry in return of any bail out money. He is very much in favor of developing alternative energy sources and very much likes Baard's plans. He likes and is proud of Obama's selections and appointments for the new administration. He wrapped things up saying the road to recovery is going to be long and difficult but they are working diligently in Washington to get things turned around. Echoing Bert Dawson's remarks at the last Baard EPA hearing, Congressman Wilson said "Wouldn't it be nice to some day have our children and grandchildren to be able to stay in Wellsville and work here?"

Following dinner the Community Service Award was present posthumously to Pete Amato who, thanks to his bequeath, was responsible in the creation of the Pete Amato Foundation. The reward was accepted by Pete's great-nephew Charles Christopher Amato.

Next up CC Port Authority CEO Tracy Drake introduced V.P. of Business Development for Baard, Steve Dopuch. We'll have more on Dopuch's remarks later in a separate piece.

This year's Man of the Year was awarded to Tracy Drake. Since taking over at the Port Authority Drake has worked furiously in developing the port and is largely responsible in getting the folks at Baard interested in this area. His efforts with Baard aside what he has gotten accomplished at the Port's intermodal facility in the lower end of town is remarkable. The mayor remarked that a few years ago if he had said that someday we will be shipping rocket parts out of Wellsville he would be classified certifiable. If he had said we had an excellent chance to have a major industrial site on Port property just outside of Wellsville he would have probably been committed. Thanks in large part to Mr. Drake's efforts we did ship rocket parts and the ORCF plant is moving along. The benefits for the ville from Mr. Drake's work are immeasurable.

In addition to the "Man" there were two ladies awarded Co-Women of the Year. They are both members of the Chamber and have put in a lot of hours doing everything and anything to promote commercial interests in the village. Those two ladies are Connie Bauer and Diana Spencer.

Pictured above is, from the left, Drake, Diana Spencer, Congressman Wilson, Connie Bauer and Baard's Steve Dopuch.

The evening was capped off with benediction given by Rev. Bruce Ballantine. Food was provided by Casa de Emanuel from ELO and service was provided by members of the WHS Junior Class.

All in all it was an enjoyable and interesting evening. Thanks to the Labor Council for their generous help in making it possible and thanks to the Chamber for having me.

ole nib

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December 2 Council Meeting

Someone told me that the Wellsville Council meetings are usually short & sweet. They weren't lying. Last night's meeting started at 6 o'clock and I was home by 6:35. I even had a few words with an old friend before I left Council Chambers. All six council members, the mayor and the Fiscal Officer were present. Village Administrator Jim Saracco was the only one present from the various departments.

At last night's meeting in the Public Speaking portion former Mayor Nunzio Lombardozzi once again addressed Council on the decision to with hold income taxes from the care taker for use of the house at the cemetery. After a brief lecture on Council's obligation to legislate he stated that he suspected that neither Council nor the Village Solicitor was consulted on this move or the setting of the monthly rental value set by the Fiscal Officer. He said over the years there have only been five cemetery superintendents and until now none of them were taxed for using the house. He also stated that he felt the care taker wasn't given any credit for any of the over 4000 man hours put in by the care taker, family and friends working on fixing and renovating the house. Remember the story about a year ago on them restoring the entry way back to it's original beauty?

The only response was from the mayor stating he knows for a fact this situation will be put into a grievance form. Councilwoman Rosie Goss later advised she is trying to set up a meeting with the care taker at a mutually agreeable date and time. Goss is Chairwoman for the Property, Equipment & Cemetery Committee. So we will have to wait to see how this is resolved. I feel bad this came about. The real culprit behind this is the IRS and, as I see it, the only real solution is in adjusting the amount being determined as fair rental value.

In the Mayor's Report Joe Surace advised that November income from the Magistrate's Court was $8,o64 and year-to-date the income has totaled $53,711.15. Tony Cataldo advised there will be a Finance Committee meeting next week. He didn't have a specific date yet. Hope he brushed up on the Sunshine Law. Wonder if the Sheltergate II bill will be on the adgenda?

For the Streets Committee Joe Soldano said he is trying to set up a meeting with Columbia Gas folks in regards to the exorbitant fees Wellsville charges for opening & closing holes in our streets. Gas company representatives were at the last meeting asking that some consideration be given to possibly make this fee more reasonable and more in-line with what other communities charge in this area. Columbia Gas is in the process of changing over old metal pipes to more durable plastic throughout the state.

Soldano also said he has looked into the parking situation at Curves and that the Village Solicitor has checked out village ordinances too. The physical fitness franchise had previously requested that Council do something to prevent people parking on their side of Mill Alley and blocking customer parking. What they found out is that they only needed Council approval to cut the curb and thus make it a "driveway". That would disallow any parking on the street on that side. A motion was made and approved. The owners of Curves said they and the property owner will bear any expense to make this change. Curves is in the old NAPA building next door to the American Legion. No one knows who painted the curb yellow on the Legion side of the alley. I do know that it's been that way for way over thirty years.

Rosie Goss reported she received a call from a Clark Street resident who was extremely happy about a street light that Joe Soldano arranged to have installed in her neighborhood. Apparently it made a world of difference in that area when night falls. Goss extended her personal thanks and that of a couple of Clark Street residents to Soldano for his efforts.

John McMahon told us he is tyring to schedule a meeting with the St. Francis Animal shelter folks, possibly sometime this week, to discuss the rules and such. So far it has been agreed that they will work with the new animal control officer and, also, will be covered under village liability insurance. The St. Francis folks are still a little apprehensive on the new arrangement after all that has happened with the village since they started their volunteer & humane mission. That mission is a huge plus for the ville and I'm just guessing everything is going to work out to everyone's satisfaction. The mayor chimed in to inform us the deadline for applying for the Animal Control job is January 8. There have already been three applicants interview.

A motion was made to suspend the rules and adopt an ordinance to give the Fiscal Officer a nice raise. It was passed by an unanimous vote. Dale thanked them all.

Under New Business Randy Allmon said he has been talking to some folks about the possibility of getting someone with the experience to be a consultant on the village's behalf to look after our interest with the proposed ORCF facility. This brought about several comments such as working with Tracy Drake at the Port Authority, about looking into something like a JEDD arrangement and other ideas. Andy Beech concurred saying there may be other issues that need looked at and other complex things that have not even been thought of yet. With the cooperation Baard has shown so far I don't think there will be any problems but it's not a bad idea to have all the bases covered. It just makes good business sense. Nothing was decided last night. Right now it's just the opening to get something set up.

Sometime ago it was decided to advertise for hiring a qualified grant writer for the village to apply for some of the funds that are out there. Joe Soldano told us they decided to hold up on that and I'm guessing that was for financial considerations. Soldano said he saw where Salineville got a nice grant for improvements on a youth athletic field and it dawned on him that the ville has nothing like that. By general consensus it was decided to go ahead and place ads for some one. Hopefully they will consider not only placing ads in our local papers but possibly reaching out to some statewide publications too. The grant writer wouldn't be a full time village employee and their fees would be part of any possible grant awarded to Wellsville. To me it seems like a win - win situation. I'm getting the impression that the hows & whys were studied and I'm glad to see they are going to move ahead with this notion.

Next meeting is scheduled for the 16th. Before closing I would like to compliment the ER's reporter Jen Matsick on her comprehensive report of last night's meeting that appeared in this morning's paper. I was impressed. Keep up the good work and you'll be giving Erin some competition.

Now I have to clean out my saved clippings folder once again. Will have to see what I can come up with.

ole nib

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Parade

It was previously published that the Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade was going to be this week-end. Then in the paper this morning I noticed it is going to be Saturday - 12/13. There was no explanation offered about the difference in the dates.

At any rate I asked Chamber President-elect Randy Allmon for verification and both him and John McMahon confirmed that it will be the 13th. Sorry if I caused any confusion but I swear I saw next Saturday mentioned a couple of times. I'll have to go back and check my clippings I saved.

This will give the Chamber a little breathing space between the big dinner on Thursday night and the parade. We'll just have to wait a while longer to see Santa in the ville.

Stay warm...

ole nib