First off I want to apologize for not getting something written up sooner on this. I fully intended to do that yesterday but was under the weather and spent the better part of the day napping with my book. It was an interesting meeting with lots of information passed along.
The luncheon was once again at Tonda's Place. Chamber President Randy Allmon opened the meeting. He announced that the Chamber is in the process of getting a promotional brouchure put together. It's a multi-fold out thing sort of similar to a road map. An outfit from New Cumberland called DigiColor is putting it together. Allmon said the response to buy ads has absolutely taken off already exceeding their expectations. According to the handout it is intended to be an informative tool promoting the ville as a great place to do business and to live. For the life of me I can't figure out why they don't engage Wellsville talent for such things instead of going other places. Last year they went out of town to get their web site set up.
Allmon also announced that the Chamber Board of Directors voted to put an ad in the Business Review. That's a business journal that is put out up Youngstown way. The brochure & ad are both geared to attract new business that will be coming when Baard gets started.
The Board also voted to donate $200 to the WVFD to help defray the cost of their fire works display being planned for this years Homecoming coming later this spring.
New members welcomed this month was Janet Dunlap from Howard Hanna Realtors, Dr. Jeff Nolte from KSU-EL and Connie Carmichael from the ville's Alley Cat Aid Brigade. The business of the month was Air Waves. That's the Alltel & Dish Network agent located in half of the old Perpetual Bank building on Main Street.
Connie Carmichael of the ACAB announced that the "angels" are campaigning for an ordinance to ban the chaining up of dogs in the village. It's really deplorable how some dogs are treated being chained up outside in all kinds of weather often times without food or water. Once the novelty wears off of having a pet addition to a family some dogs end up chained up outside being neglected. It doesn't have to be that way. There are alternatives with the various rescue outfits. Being a living being dogs need exercise, nourishment and most all some loving attention. If you would like any additional information on this you can contact any member of the ACAB, our Animal Control officer or the folks with St. Francis Animal Shelter.
Connie also touched on their Trap-Neuter-Release program for wild cats. They are planning on doing another round up later next month. Did you know that in a six to eight year span one pair of cats can produce 420,000 kittens? As unbelievable as that sounds that's a fact.
Mayor Joe Surace introduced Leslie Dean to the members. She is the ACO for the ville. Ms. Dean has over 10 years experience from volunteering time with the CC Dog Pound and other groups that advocate ethical treatment of stray animals. Leslie said she too is planning to put a brochure together that explains what laws she has to work with & the limitations she has to deal with. The brochure will be a free handout available in local businesses.
Member Candy Bangor who is the President of the Revitalization Committee brought up the possibility of converting the old fire station next door to the library into a tourist center. She has visions of fixing the place up with office space for the Chamber and having a meeting room area available to various groups. That building is presently occupied by the Friends of the Old Fire Station. The mayor suggested they get together with them to see what they can work out.
The guest speaker was CC Sheriff Ray Stone pictured above. He recapped some statistics of the Sheriffs Dept. from last year. The Sheriffs Dept. is the police for all areas in the county that do not have their own police department. Locally in this area of the county that would include both Yellow Creek & Madison Townships. There are many other areas that they cover in the 532 square miles that make up Columbiana County. Stone related that it can take 35/40 minutes travel time for a deputy to get from one end of the county to another and that's with red lights and sirens. The biggest problem facing the Sheriff's office is the lack of funds to allow the addition of more deputies. He actually apologized for the short coverage in the county and vouched to "fight tooth & nail" to convince the commissioners to come up with more funding. Right now there are only 21 officers and that includes the sheriff and the Chief Administrator Deputy. Last year they went into the red with their budget and it is not expected to improve this year since they were given the same budget to work with this year.
Asked for his thoughts on the issue of additional disclosure he summarized it as being cost prohibitive with the current level of manpower. Quite simply they don't have enough people to do what is being asked for without blowing the budget out of the water paying overtime to get the job done. From what I'm reading in the papers on this issue that seems to be the common theme of all law enforcement agencies in the county.
Ray Stone has 25 years of law enforcement experience. He was appointed to the office following the resignation of Dave Smith last fall and then was elected to his own term in last November's general election. Paul Blevins said he is the first sheriff in CC that was not previously a sheriff's deputy. He has an uphill battle with funding. I wish him luck. I'm one of those that feels he should have more deputies.