Friday, January 30, 2009

Chamber-of-Commerce January Luncheon

The Chamber's monthly luncheon was held yesterday at Tonda's Place on Main Street. Chamber President Randy Allmon welcomed all that were present and recognized new members Tonda Ross, owner of Tonda's Place, and Mark Bayless representing Carpenters Local 171.

Canter Pharmacy was recognized as the business of the month with Candy Bangor accepting the award for that establishment. Center Pharmacy is one of the ville's largest private employers.

Plans were discussed for an upcoming Auction Fundraiser. It was also announced that the Board of Directors voted to donate $250 to a scholarship for Wellsville High School. It will be awarded at this spring's Class Day.

Robert "Brassy" Berresford was the key note speaker and gave a very interesting presentation on the capture of Civil War General John Hunt Morgan and the activities related to that event in and around the ville. The Wellsville Historical Society has the general's sword which is on display at the museum on Riverside. Pictured above is Brassy and member Paul Blevins holding up a collection of some of the Morgan memorabilia that the society has. That's where I got the picture of the Whitacre House.

Brassy also told us they are looking for new, younger members to carry on the work of the Historical Society. Membership is only $5 per year. Meetings are held the third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 P.M. Give it some consideration. If you're interested in Wellsville history the museum houses a treasure trove of artifacts and information.

ole nib

January 29 Personnel Committee Meeting

A meeting was held yesterday to begin considerations on what to do with the village employees union contract. The current contract will expire at the end of the year. In attendance was Committee Chairman Randy Allmon & member Tony Cataldo along with consultant Joe Lencewicz of J.F. Lencewicz & Associates, LLC.

Lencewicz is the consultant handling the new police department manual and will be the village's representative negotiating with the union. His firm is located in Chagrin Falls.

The AFSCME village employee contract is in the fifth year of a five year agreement. The union sent a letter stating that they wanted to negotiate wages only. However the whole contract and all its provisions are open to negotiations. With the village population being under 5,000 State Employee Relations Board rules and ORC, Wellsville is not classified a public employer. That means the village is not required to have the union. There are only five village employees covered under the contract.

Of chief concern with village officials is insurance rates. As of the first of the year premiums have increased 27%. Insurance costs just for the Fire Department last year was $60,000. Under the current contract union members pay nothing for the premiums and have a $250 yearly deductible.

Lencewicz stated you want to do what is right and fair with village employees but consideration must be given to what can be done with village's economic means. As a result of yesterday's meeting a letter will be sent to the union stating that there is no choice but to negotiate the whole contract. All elements including wages, insurance and other aspects is subject to review. The committee will wait for the union's response before proceeding any farther.

In other village news I learned yesterday the mayor is back home recuperating from his surgery. He has a follow up visit scheduled in a couple of weeks.

Tony Cataldo told me the village road salt supply is around 65 tons with the latest purchase of the additional 50 tons. The village has been contacted by three or four other suppliers if more is needed and they can't get it from Mortan through the state agreement.

Zoning Administrator Rick Williams is the temporary supervisor for village employees with Saracco being on vacation.

The police manual has been six months in the making and it is hoped to be finalized in a couple of months. They are working on the final draft with the input of members of the WPD.

ole nib

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blasted Again

Beginning to think the Old Farmers Almanac hit the nail on the head. This past fall I heard they predicted that the mid-west was going to have lots of nasty, cold weather with lots of snow. According to today's ER, so far we have had over 27" of snow. The latest round of calling in sick weather included snow, freezing rain and more snow. According to the weather forecasters they say the temperatures for the next week will not allow the snow & ice to melt away anytime soon. With the paucity of road salt our highways are starting to look like Conestoga trails with two ruts on the surface. This latest blast with the freezing rain building up ice on power lines a lot of folks lost electricity.

Personally I wish it would all just go away. If I didn't have to work I think I would just hibernate until the spring thaw.

Think spring...

ole nib

Jo Bob

Here's MJ reporter Jo Ann Bobby Gilbert that now covers the ville. At the last council meeting I heard her tell a councilman that she does indeed cover her beat for both our local papers. That was an economic move by the company that owns both the MJ & the ER.

According to last Sunday's paper if you have a story or announcement you can contact Jo Ann at 330-424-9541, Ext. 289. She is pictured here as Bonnie Berresford is making a point at the Chamber-of-Commerce luncheon held today at Tonda's place.

Welcome back to the ville Jo Ann. Glad to have ya...

ole nib

Whitacre House

Finally got a good picture of the Whitacre House thanks to Wellsville Historical Society President "Brassy" Berresford. This is a Grace Burford sketch that appears in Edgar Davidson's book. The picture in the book is too small to reproduce. The museum has the original sketch.

The Whitacre House was located where the old Potters Bank & Trust now sits at 4th & Main. No less than three U.S. Presidents stopped and spoke there, the most notable being Abraham Lincoln while en route from Illinois to Washington for his first inauguration in 1861. Confederate raider General John Hunt Morgan and his men that were captured out near Lisbon was housed there after they were taken into custody in 1863. Some time between 1895 and 1900 it was completely destroyed by fire. It was after that the land was sold to a banking interest.

The Whitacre House was a hotel. It faced the river and the railroad tracks which were both very important to the ville's beginnings.

ole nib

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 23 Special Council Meeting

Yesterday they held a Special Council Meeting to take care of two orders of business. It's called special because it was not a regularly scheduled meeting. It was announced in Friday's MJ. All members were present except for Joe Soldano. Nothing was said but I'm presuming he's still hurting from his unfortunate fall the other night. By a vote of those present Soldano was excused. With the mayor being out of town John McMahon got his first taste of being Pro-tem. He appeared to me to be a little nervous at first but settled in and did well.

The first order of business was the consideration and voting on the mayor's selection for the new Animal Control Officer. By a vote of 4 - 1 Leslie Dean was approved for the job. Don Brown cast the only negative vote stating he still feels the animal control duties should be given to the County Office. Mr. Brown voted the same way and for the same reasons the last time this job was on the agenda.

From this morning's papers it was reported that Ms. Dean was later sworn in and hit the ground running. When she was leaving Village Hall yesterday she saw a small dog running loose. She returned it to its home across the street and advised the owners the dog needed to be confined. Afterward she checked in at the village dog pound and conferred with the St. Francis Animal folks that maintain the place on a volunteer basis. She even pitched in unloading some donated pet food before leaving. From what I understand she already has established a working relationship with the St. Francis folks that will be a big benefit in her job performance. Ms. Dean has a cell phone that was reported as saying she will have with her at all times. If you have any animal control problems you can contact her at 330-383-0225.

The other order of business taken care of yesterday was a request from WFD Chief Bill Smith to re-instate veteran firefighter Greg Stanley as a paid per call volunteer for the WVFD. That was approved by a vote of 5 - 0.

It was announced there will a Personnel Committee meeting next Thursday, January 29, at 11 A.M. pertaining to the new police manual.

The committees for the new year are as follows: Finance - Cataldo, Allmon & McMahon; Personnel - Allmon, Goss & Cataldo; Streets, Lights, Parking - Soldano, Goss & McMahon; Claims, Rules Ordinances - Goss, Soldano & Brown; Sewage - Allmon, Cataldo & Brown; Property, Equipment, Cemetery - McMahon, Brown & Soldano; Liason for Police & Fire Departments - Brown & Allmon; Fire Dependency Board - McMahon & Cataldo and EMS - Soldano, Brown & McMahon. The first person named for each committee is the chairperson for that committee. No chairs were listed for Police & Fire Liason, Fire Dependency & EMS. This list was provided by John McMahon.

Next regularly scheduled meeting is February 3.

ole nib

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Winter Scenes In The Ville & Around

Yesterday & today was the first in about two weeks that the temperature got above freezing and we had some bright sunshine. Wanted to get some pictures before the snow got ugly.

Hope you enjoy them.

ole nib

Tracks In The Snow

From 3rd Street looking west...

ole nib

January 20 Council Meeting

The title should be January 20 "No" Council Meeting. Due to not having a quorum present the meeting was cancelled. Council people Don Brown, Rosie Goss & Joe Soldano all called to say they will not be able to attend. The mayor told us all three slipped on snow & ice and got hurt. According to the newspaper reports only one actually slipped and fell. With getting information third handed it is easy to misunderstand.

These three people are coincidentally the same three that voted in opposition to naming John McMahon Council Pro-tem for the new year. The specter of there being a protest going on was raised by reporter Jo Ann Bobby Gilbert and all three denied anything of the sort when contacted by her. According to her news article Don Brown said he had been venturing out very little the past week or so for fear of slipping and falling. He has knee replacement surgery coming up. Rosie Goss was quoted as saying she missed work and even went t0 the E.R. to have some leg pain checked. She did tell Jo Ann she had not fallen. Only Joe Soldano confirmed that he had slipped and fell on his way to the meeting. He was reported as saying he slipped on concrete steps hitting his head and hurting his back at the same time. We'll have to take them for their word but it's a lot of coincidence. I did see Rosie Goss today and she was noticeably limping. Hope they get better soon.

Going to the meeting wasn't a total waste of time. I did meet and get to converse with Surace's selection for the new Animal Control Officer. Her name is Leslie Dean and while talking to her I got the distinct impression she is an animal lover. She has been a long time volunteer with both the Humane Society and the County Dog Pound. In addition to that she is a part-time Assistant Fiscal Officer with St. Clair Township.

She told us she's been following the situation with the ville's Animal Control in the papers and when she saw the ad she decided to apply for the job. With her volunteer work she's seen some of the worse. She told us it's not about the money and you could see in her face that she has a strong desire to help out anyway she can. She even went so far to get the assurance of the St. Francis folks for their assistance if she gets the job. Bobby Holt was there by her side smiling and nodding. I think she got that assurance and that's the way it should be.

Ms. Dean is a native of Livington, MN, and has been in the Wellsville area for over 10 years. She said she will be using her own personal vehicle and the mayor has promised her the use of three cages. She was quoted as saying she often takes in strays in her own home. Reminds me of my kids. I think she'll do good.

Did you know that all the animals at the St. Francis Animal Shelter are listed on the web site I didn't either until I read it in the paper. Bobbie Holt was quoted as saying some go to private adoptions and the rest to rescues which come from all over. Now that is the kind of news that makes you feel good.

Also, in the good news category, Mayor Joe Surace had surgery today in Pittsburgh. Jim Saracco said he got a call. The surgery went well and the tests were negative. That is good news, especially for Joe, Linda and the Surace family. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

The next council meeting should be February 3 if they can get enough people together.

ole nib

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rest In Peace Johnny

From this morning's papers we learned that Wellsville Legend Johnny Checkler passed away Saturday in Columbus. Johnny for years operated a barber shop on Main Street until this past year when health problems got the best of him. The shop, or salon, as he liked to call it, was a ville landmark. John moved to Columbus this past summer to be closer to his family and died in a hospice home down there. Arrangements are pending at Macleans.

John was truly a legend in the ville & has been missed since closing his shop. Now he has gone on ahead of us. God rest your soul John. I'm sure Loretta was waiting for you with a wagging tail.

ole nib

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Forbidden Broadway

If you missed this week-end's performance of Forbidden Broadway you missed a very entertaining event. The play is a spoof on several Broadway shows and some of the tunes. At times it was extremely funny. You had to listen closely to catch the spoofing to some very recognizable tunes. The play was written by Gerard Alessandrini and is very good for laughing our way through some of these cold, snowy winter days.

This was my first time for community theater and I was very happy I went out to take it in on one of the coldest days of the year. You can very easily see the love and devotion that this group of players put into their efforts to entertain. I'm still chuckling at some of the things I saw and heard from their production. Wait till you see what they do with Carol Channing.

The dinner alone was worth the price of admission. They served "Nick's famous roast beef", with creamy scalloped potatoes, veggies and a California blend salad. Cookies were served as desert at the intermission. It was served buffet style and it was tempting not to make several trips back to the beef. Nick wouldn't give me the recipe but it's a good one.

If you missed it there is still hope for you. They will be doing it again next week-end with dinner and the show at Dalonzos Friday & Saturday and a matinee on Sunday at the theater/church. Dinner starts at 7 Friday & Saturday and the Sunday matinee is at 1. You can call 330-532-5540 for reservations.

Pictured above are the players. From the left is Carolyn Rodesh, Rich Coburn, Lance Angle, Beth Mays, Jessica Winkleman, Danny Hull and Cheryl Pierce. All of them have ties to the local region and do this for the fun of it.

Thanks to all the cast & crew for a very good time. I'm glad you came to town and really think your efforts are a big plus for the ville. I would highly recommend that anyone get there to see this play.

After the PPCT brings the curtain down next Sunday on this production they will begin working on February's performance of the Female Version of the Odd Couple. I'm already looking forward to it.

Break a leg...

ole nib

Martin Luther King Day

Tomorrow, Monday, February 19, is the day set aside to celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and it is on the eve of the historic inauguration taking place in our nation's capitol. As our nation strives to more maturity with racial equality Tuesday's ceremonies is one huge step closer to that goal. Don't you know that the Rev. Dr. King is looking down from the heavens with gigantic smile on his face. His dream lives on.

In celebration of MLK's birthday there will be ceremonies starting at 9:30 A.M. tomorrow at Wellsville's Village Hall. The keynote speaker will be Rev. Roosevelt Thompson from the ville's 1st Baptist Church along with State Rep. Linda Bolon. Weather permitting there will be a march from the church on Center Street to Village Hall prior to the program. There will be refreshments after the program. Everybody is invited to attend.

Happy Birthday Martin...

ole nib

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Global Warming?

For you folks that live in Florida, Arizona, California and other warm places around the country right now I would pay for some of that global warming. The folks in and around the ville know what I'm talking about. Right now it is colder than a well digger's patootie here! Listening to Channel 9 this morning the coldest temperature they reported was in Byesville, OH, at minus 16 degrees. In my back yard it was minus 7 at six this morning. We got some bright sunshine right now but it is only 1 degree at noon time. The forecast for today is for a high of 4 with wind chill factors running from 10 - 24 degrees below zero. Brrrr... Tomorrow is suppose to get up to a blistering 20 for a high. They reported it hasn't been this cold since 1994.

Moving on to other subjects the other night I was doing some late night listening to ESPN and getting perturbed. They were all a twitter about a Univ. of Kentucky basketball player named Jodie Meeks setting a new record scoring 54 points enroute to a 90-72 win over Tennessee. My first thoughts was what about our area native Bevo Francis? I thought he held the NCAA record for most points scored in a college roundball game. Going to Wikipedia I learned both ESPN & I were both right. Meeks' 54 points was a record for the U of K Wildcats. Bevo record still stands at 113 points in one game for the NCAA/NAIA books. According to what I read Bevo's personal game high scoring was actually 116 points for Rio Grande but it was against a Junior College team and was disallowed by the NCAA. Bevo's 113 points was set February 2, 1954, against Hillsdale College of Michigan and that in the days before there was a 3 point line. It happened nearly 55 years ago but even with the three point shots it's a record I seriously doubt will ever be broken.

Speaking of roundball both the WHS girl's and boy's basketball teams got back on the winning track the last I saw. The girls picked up wins over Sebring, Southern Local and Jackson-Milton to improve to 4-6 for the season. They were scheduled to play a game last night but it was either cancelled or someone didn't bother to call in the results to be in this morning's papers. With the extreme cold there were a lot of cancellations for events last night. The boys have picked up wins against Sebring in over-time, Southern and Jackson-Milton at North Jackson. The win agaisnt J-M was without the services of one of the WHS guns. Jeremy Carter picked up an injury in the Southern game and had to spend the night on the bench. It's good to see the girls coming out of their slump and with all the seniors lost from last year's team it is nice to see the boys have some up and coming talent.

There appears to have been some changes in reporters for our two local newspapers. Seems Jo Ann Bobby Gilbert is now covering the ville once again. Looks like Mike McElwain is now covering ELO for both papers and Tom Giambroni is doing the same with things over in Lisbon. The last few days all three of those reporters stories have been appearing in both editions word for word. The only difference I can see is the headline on the stories. I'm not sure what is going on but I'm guessing a reduction in force. With today's economy everyone is looking for ways to cut corners. I don't know what happened to the MJ's Erin Colella & the ER's Jen Matsick. Hopefully they didn't get laid off. At any rate I'm glad to see Jo Ann back covering the ville. When last she did that full time I appreciated her no nonsense, factual reporting. When she was here in the 80s I remember she wasn't everyone's sweetheart at Village Hall. If it is lay offs I'm now wondering why they are running a snob ad in the ER for a reporter?

Things are still moving along with Baard. The Port Authority got the green light on a grant to fund the land options they have on various properties that will be used by Baard. Then there was an article last Tuesday in the ER that they are doing some serious planning to get started this spring for land preparation up there. They are currently conducting what is called a front-end engineering and design project which is done to get ready to bid the actual construction contracts.

Would like to say God bless and rest in peace to an old friend Bud Barnes. Bud passed on this last Monday. My kids use to call him the "bicycle man". Bud use to take old bikes people were throwing out, fix them up and give them to folks & kids that would not otherwise have one. And if you had a bike on your own he would help repair it when break downs occurred. Bud was 92 and could talk your arm off. I learned a lot of Wellsville history from him. To me he would be a good one to consider as a Wellsville Legend in the next class.

Like Congressman Wilson told me the Delta Queen issue isn't dead. It was recently announced that the old lady was nominated as an endangered historic site. It's a move to save this historic stern wheeler and maybe give enough time to get a congressional exemption to once again to be used as cruise ship. Let's hope so.

They got a visiting judge to decide J.C. Amato's motion to throw out the new gun charge. Those were the charges filed against him when they found additional guns, pipe bombs and ingredients for bomb making in a search conducted last fall. The judge appointed is Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese.

Following up on former Congressman Jim Traficant and his release from prison he has decided to pass on an early release to a halfway house. In an article in the Vindicator it was announced he would feel threatened at the Mahoney County halfway house and will stay in the Rochester, MN Federal Medical Center where he is imprisoned. Traficant appealed to be placed at another location and was denied.

Congratulations to the ville's Penny Traina. We all know she is one of our County Commissioners and now she is this year's board president. She got elected to that honor at their annual reorganization meeting recently. Penny just won re-election to Commissioner last November.

Wellsville's Tree Board had their first meeting of the year this past Monday. They are planning all kinds of things to dress up our village. They are going to spruce up the "Welcome to Wellsville" site at 17th & Main with cleaning up the planting area, trimming the bushes & trees, and mulching it. They are going to need some help on the mulching part. The Tree City USA flag is now flying at that location. They are also looking at replacing the benches along Riverside with weather resistant recycled plastic ones. If you would like to sponsor one of the benches contact them. They are also taking sponsors for commemorative trees, paving stones, and flower pots. Not everything is covered with grants. They are checking it all out but it is not a sure thing in these times. Their next meeting is scheduled for February 9 at 6 P.M. Believe that is at Village Hall. Maybe someone can verify that and give us some contact information.

Tonight kicks off the Pottery Players Community Theater's production of Forbidden Broadway with dinner/theater at Dalonzo's Pizza. They will be there tonight and tomorrow with dinner at 7 P.M. Then Sunday they will have a matinee performance at the theater on 15th Street. Call 532-5540 for more info and reservations. Next week-end they will be following the same schedule for Friday, Saturday & Sunday. I'm looking forward to it. It's nice they are teaming up with Dalonzos. See you there.

That's it for this edition. Make sure you bundle up when you venture out in this cold. Heard on the tube that it only takes about 10 minutes for exposed skin to get frost bitten in near zero temperatures. Don't forget to keep your pets protected. The cold affects them too.

ole nib

Life Is Good

They are calling it the "Miracle On the Hudson". That to me is an understatement but I'm at a loss for words to give it a more apt name for such a superb outcome under the circumstances. Yesterday in NYC US Airways Flight 1549 had a double bird strike shortly after take-off. According to news reports the pilot wanted to turn around and return to Laguadia, considered landing at Teterboro in NJ but was rapidly losing power. The plane was an Airbus A-320, a fairly good size plane that carries a lot of weight.

A double bird strike meant that birds were sucked into both engines which quickly shut them down. Once any airplane loses power it begins dropping like a lead balloon. There isn't much time to consider many alternatives to get that aircraft safely back on the ground. The birds are suspected being Canadian geese that are a regular problem up there. One of the experts interviewed on television said one goose hitting an engine is the equivalent of dropping a 1,000# iron ball from a height of 10 feet. It has that much force. Imagine what a half of ton of metal would do to a car roof falling from 10 feet above. It ain't pretty.

Rapidly losing any chance of bringing that plane down safely the Captain decided on a water landing in the Hudson River. With the time he had it was the only choice he had left. Eyewitnesses on the ground said they have never seen anything done more smoothly and with such precision than what that pilot did yesterday. Although they say you can't practice that, even in a simulator, he brought that big bird down on the surface of the water like he'd been practicing that for years.

The captain's name is Chesley Sullenbeger, Sully to his friends. He has 28 years with the airlines and they said over 40 years of flying experience. Earlier in his life he was a fighter pilot. Although he is only 58 years old he has a lot of hours in the cockpit. To 155 people on board that flight that experience proved life saving yesterday. Except for one infant everyone else was able to quickly walk off that airplane. The infant was carried by his parents. Other than a few bruises and a little exposure to the elements every soul on board lives to talk about it. Some even flew out to their destinations later yesterday evening. Amazing.

Sully's mind must have been working at computer speed. His skill and decision making not only saved those 155 people but he averted losing the lives of countless others on the ground had he tried any other way to bring it down. They say any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Make that a good landing times 155 plus.

Yesterdays accident was the first time that I can think of that not one single life was lost. There have been some but not in a commercial jetliner that I can think of. Even crashes that people survived it is extremely rare they got out of it without serious injuries.

Sully, I'm putting you right up there with John Wayne on my hero's list. Maybe someday our paths will cross & I can shake your hand. It would be an honor. There were a lot of guardian angels at work yesterday but under the most stressful conditions you pulled through like a champ.

A simple thank you seems inadequate but thanks just the same. As the Irish would say "May God hold you in the hollow of his hand".

Life is good...

ole nib

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Alley Cat Give Away

With temperatures in the twenties, snow falling and an unheated building the love and concern for creature companions was very much evident with four ladies that are members of the Alley Cat Aid Brigade. Those were the conditions those ladies pictured above subjected themselves to having another pet food give away yesterday and today. I think it was warmer outside than what it was inside the building.

It was another successful event providing folks with pet food. The food is all donated from the Humane Society and other individuals. Their aim is to help those who might have trouble buying it out of their meager funds. Next month's give away is scheduled for February 21 & 22. The hours will be the same - 11 AM to 3 PM.

Connie Carmichael told me they ran out of cat food the first thing this morning and only had nine bags of dog food left by the end of the two day event. Believe me they had quite a bit when they started out yesterday morning. The left overs will be donated to St. Francis Animal Shelter.

Connie also told me they are gearing up to campaign for getting people to realize that keeping dogs chained up outside is inhumane. I remember reading one time that a dog's biggest fear is being left alone. From reading the literature that they gave me it reminded me that dogs and cats are pack animals. From early in their lives they are separated from the litter and adopted by us humans. We in turn become their new pack or family. Any conscientious pet owner can tell you how attached you can get with these furry, four legged critters. There were many times over the years that I thought the dog was the only one glad to see me get home!

This new campaign is tied in with an organization called Dogs Deserve Better. It's a nationwide effort and you can view their web site at

In the meantime if you need any information or care to make a contribution you can call Connie at 330-532-9064 or Fay at 330-532-4331.

Pictured above is the building they are using across Commerce Street from the old Sterling Plant. From the left in the other picture is Connie Carmichael, Ruth Ensinger, Fay Lombardozzie and Sharon Buswell. These are the four ladies I mentioned. They are probably still trying to get the cold out of their toes. The last picture is Midget peaking out from her new master's coat. She was doing her best to stay warm while checking out the action.

Thanks ladies for all your efforts. Stay warm...

ole nib

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Old Man Winter Calls On The Ville

We have had some snow around here this winter but I believe this is the first significant accumulation we have had so far. It started yesterday afternoon and then took the night off only to resume this morning. They were forecasting 6 - 8" of the white stuff for today but it doesn't look like we got that much. Instead of rambling on I'll let the pictures do the talking.

All these pictures were taken around noon today. You can click on any of them to enlarge.

If I was a school kid I would be upset. With a late Friday and Saturday snow there's no school cancellations. Use to look forward to those days way back when!

ole nib

Thursday, January 8, 2009

May 5 Primaries

After the politicking at last Tuesday's Council Meeting I got to wondering if we had anything coming up to vote on this year. So I went to the experts and called the CC Election Board. Those nice people filled me in on all the details.

There is scheduled a Special Election for February 3 but the Village of Wellsville does not have any issues to be decided on that date. In fact there are only two in the whole county. Beaver Local School District has one and the other involves something for Minerva.

Right now the only thing coming up for the ville is two council seats currently being held by Don Brown and Rosie Goss. The other four council seats are good until 2011.

The primary will be May 5. The deadline for filing a petition for the primary is 4 P.M. February 19. Petitions can be picked up at the Election Board offices over in Lisbon. Fifty signatures are required to file a petition. After filing the petition the Election Board has to verify that the signatures are registered voters in the voting district. It's always a good idea to get more signatures on a petition than the minimum required. That's just to cover any unforeseen circumstances. Write-in candidates have until 4 P.M. March 4 to file a Declaration of Intent.

I know it's only the 8th of January and May sounds like a long way off. But it's only five weeks away from the filing deadline to get on the ballot. If you're interested in sitting in the big chairs at the meetings it's not too late to get started. Wonder what the incumbents are planning?

Thanks for the info Kim...

ole nib

January 6 Council Meeting

In the first council meeting of the new year it didn't take long for the line in the sand to be drawn. The first order of business after the opening ceremonies was the election of Council Pro-tem. Joe Soldano was nominated by Don Brown and only garnered three votes in his favor with three in opposition. Refusing to break the tie the mayor opened the floor to any additional nominations and Tony Cataldo nominated John McMahon. McMahon got three yea votes and three nay. At this point the mayor got a rare opportunity to vote and stated it was nothing against Soldano. He stated he thought Joe did a great job as Pro-Tem in '08 but felt if someone else was interested they should get chance to serve in that position. He then gave his vote to McMahon.

Council Pro-Tem is a power position. Not only do they fill in for the mayor in any absence but they also appoint other council members to the various committee chairs along with the other members to the committees. It's a form of lining up your team for the year.

Soldano was noticeably upset about losing Pro-tem. The next order of business was the appointment of Council Committees and McMahon advised he was not prepared for that. After saying that Soldano accused McMahon of having his selections ready last week. He wasn't smiling when he made that accusation. Later on after the meeting Soldano was quoted as saying he was suspicious that the vote was a set up job. He was quoted in the ER as saying "this was not done right, believe me". He was quoted in the MJ as saying "he believed the decision was made to elect McMahon in the position before the 2008 year ended. People setting things up behind your back. It makes you mad." According to what Soldano told reporters the pro-tem position is talked about in the Council Caucus office before the first meeting of the new year but never before the new year begins. I guess Joe was talking about informal discussions among the council members and not in a meeting type forum. I'm sure he wouldn't violate the provisions of the Sunshine Law with closed door meetings about something that is to be decided by a public body in open chambers. Right Joe?

From what was quoted in the newspapers with his comments to the reporters after the meeting it sounds to me that is what Joe is accusing the mayor and three council members of doing. One former mayor told me it has always been policy with council to let anyone who wants to serve in the position to let the new guy do the job. It may be more of an informal understanding rather than it being set in stone. To me it's pure and simple politics. Instead of getting mad, upset and making accusations it would be nice to see our council members working together with any new arrangement. Animosity as was witnessed or reported does not give us hope that everyone will be trying to work together. The line was drawn but it wasn't necessary to kick up the sand.

Anybody seen Joe Scarabino lately? He hasn't attended any of the last three meetings. Fire Chief Bill Smith gave his statistical report for '08 saying that the WFD responded to 185 incidents with an average response time of 3.5 minutes. Out of those 185 call outs 31 was for fire calls. Nine were for false alarms or calls. The rest was for various categories.

Village Administrator Jim Saracco had nothing to report. Being a rainy evening with temperatures close to freezing I'm guessing he was preoccupied with thoughts of calling out the troops with the salt trucks.

Zoning Administrator Rick Williams reported that the ville took in just $2,896 in permits for '08. There's a very good indication of how much the economy has taken a down turn around here. There's not much remodeling or new construction going on around here.

In the Mayor's Report Joe Surace appointed Justine Monte and Jeff MacLean as new members to the Tree Board Committee. Here I thought they were already members. Both of them did a lot of work when they planted the new trees on Broadway.

The Mayor also reported that they will be advertising for a new Animal Control Officer. Newly selected Patty Boley had to resign because of family commitments. I'm sorry it didn't work out for Patty. You got to give her a hand for trying though. Applications for the position will accepted through January 16 at the Mayor's Office.

The mayor also reported that folks from the Census Bureau will be in town January 13 to give tests to anyone that would like to have a job doing the next census in 2010. They will be in town January 13 and will be conducting two testing sessions. The first will be at 10 A.M. and the second will be at 2 P.M. The jobs pay anywhere from $8/hour to $16 depending on the position. I didn't get an exact location but I'm thinking it will be at Village Hall. Will have to get a clarification on that.

Under new legislation it was voted to renew the lease for office space for Congressman Charlie Wilson's district office. The least runs concurrent with Wilson's term of office. The rent remains at $200/month and runs through December 2010. The vote was under suspension of rules and this time there was no opposition.

In New Business Tony Cataldo made a motion to take the Fiscal Officer's salary from three different funds instead of it all being taken out of the General Fund. The purpose of this move was to lessen the burden on the General Fund. With no one voting against it the salary will now be 40% out of the General Fund and 30% out each the Street Fund and the Sewage Fund.

Cataldo also reported that the Village got a letter from the State Auditor's office stating that we are formally out of fiscal emergency. It took a while but it was good news.

Since there were no Committee appointments there was no Committee reports. No mention was made about the tabled Cataldo Construction bill.

The next meeting should be January 20. It'll be interesting to see McMahon's line up and what new antics this will provoke.

Stay tuned...

ole nib

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More Clean Out

Here are some items I thought I would bring to your attention.

That special council meeting I was talking about was to get authorization to advertise for engineer bids for a sewer line project for Highland/Ridge Avenue and a pump at Second Street. It was a matter to follow procedure as required by the EPA.

Did you have a real Christmas Tree this year? If you did you can do the "green" thing and drop it off behind Village Hall by the recycle bins. They will be accepting them until the end of the month. The trees themselves are recycled and ground up to make mulch.

Speaking of trees, the Village Tree Board recently had a meeting to elect people to that board. Congratulations to the Cannons, Sid & Mary Ann, and to Susie Haugh. They are all three good people who volunteer their time and efforts to make the ville a little nicer. There was mention to possibly developing a small meditation area up in Hammonds Park in conjunction with the Park Commission. They are talking about it being on the slopes at the top of the hill over looking the river below. There is some beautiful scenery up there.

Speaking of Susie Haugh, she has once again put together a picture presentation for both the ACAB Christmas for Animals and the toy give away sponsored by the WVFD. I believe the toy thing was with the funds raised by both the WVFD and the police department. Once again Susie has done a fantastic job and both presentations are heart warming. To me it's what Christmas is all about. A big thank you should go out to all concerned for their time and efforts. You can find the animal pictures on and the kids pictures on

Speaking of fund raising and taking care of those less fortunate then ourselves I missed mentioning the folks at our Dairy Queen and their participation in the Lions Club Care & Share Program. Over the past 25 years the DQ has donated over $16,000 to this program. With their help there were 216 food baskets and 256 little ones that were given presents this year. A special thanks to those folks for caring and sharing. Sorry I overlooked you all earlier.

Remember Jim Traficant, our former congressman? He's just about served his time for racketeering and bribery convictions and is due to be released in early September. As incredible as it sounds he could run for congress again.

Eric Dillard's murder trial has been moved to May. They discovered a taped interview made by the WPD that wasn't in the original evidence that was exchanged between the prosecution and defense. Because of that his defense was granted more time to get ready to go to court.

In the additional weapons charges being challenged by J.C. Amato's lawyer it was announced this week that they are asking that a visiting judge be appointed to hear that case.

The minimum wage in Ohio went up to $7.30/hour New Year's Day. That seems like a fortune compared to the $1.25/hour I was making when I first started in the work world. I was working a part-time job while I was still in high school. Of course the price on a loaf of bread has gone up a little since then too. It'll go up again with this latest increase.

Didn't know the house at 533 Riverside was originally a Wells house when it was built in 1830, until I read the article by the MJ's Erin Colella. It was in last Sunday's Lifestyles section. According to Erin the house was built by town founder William Wells for his son Alexander. Think that was before the rail road came to town. Have often admired that red brick house.

Finally I wanted to mention a business in town that I didn't know existed until a few days ago. The company name is Just Dishes Dinnerware and it is owned and operated by Sid & Mary Ann Cannon. It's an Internet business and they specialize in fiesta ware. Mary Ann tells me if there is something special that Homer Laughlin no longer produces if they don't have it in stock they can probably find it. Check out their web site at They have much more to offer than just what I mentioned here. The Cannons are the same couple I mentioned above that are on the Tree Board.

After a long break the WHS Tigers - both boys & girls - get back in action next week. Good luck to both teams.

Hope the New Year is being good to you.

ole nib

Ohio's Sunshine Laws

There seems to be some skepticism among some of the commenters about being notified about meetings of different sorts put on by our village government. According to the Sunshine Laws it's not a courtesy thing. It's a requirement. Here are some parts copied from the Sunshine Laws that pertains to this issue:

"NOTICE. While the meeting must be conducted in an open venue, the public body must first
issue appropriate notice of the meeting. The requirements for proper notice will vary depending
upon the type of meeting a public body is conducting.

Special Meetings. A "special meeting" is any meeting other than a regular meeting.
Moreover, the term "special" implies that the meeting is being held for a specific purpose or
purposes. For special meetings, a public body must establish by rule a reasonable method
that allows the public to determine the time, place, and purpose of a special meeting?

The rule for notification of special meetings must require at least 24 hours advance notification to all media outlets that have requested such notification, and to people who have specifically requested such notice.

Emergency Meetings. An emergency meeting is a special meeting that is convened because
a situation requires immediate official action. For this type of meeting, the public body
must immediately notify all media outlets that have requested such notification, as well as
people who have specifically requested such notice, of the time, place and purpose of the emergency meeting.
The purpose statement must comport with the specificity requirements discussed above.

Who Receives Notice. The open meetings law requires every public body to establish rules
for notification. The rules must provide that two groups of people will receive notification of
meetings: (1) the news media that have requested notification; and (2) any person who has
requested reasonable advance notification of all meetings."

These paragraphs are copied and pasted right out of a copy of the Sunshine Law that can be found on the Ohio Attorney General's web site. You can find them in Chapter 2. It's there in black & white and that is why a request for notification was made at the last regular council meeting. Anybody has the right to make such a request. It's the law and once that request is made if an individual is not notified then the public body is breaking the law. It is something that our village officials should be aware of and adhere to once the request is made.

It goes on to say that it is up to the media whether they print the notification. Seems lately that our two local papers have decided not to extend that courtesy. They use to but there were three committee meetings held in mid-December and an emergency council meeting two days before Christmas that wasn't advertised in either paper. I got a couple of ideas why they didn't but I can't speak for those print professionals.

I was told by one source that notification for the council meeting held December 23 was put out nearly 48 hours prior to the meeting. I did get a courtesy comment on here the morning of the 23rd but did not get any other notification. Maybe it was an oversight by the councilman that called that meeting. The name & number is in the book. They could have left a message or a voice mail if they can't reach me directly. It's a simple thing to do. It's the law. That's all I ask.

ole nib