Saturday, March 28, 2009

Buckeye Water District

Yesterday I got the privilege and was graciously invited to take a tour of the Buckeye Water District's new facilities. It's not an understatement when I say the facilities are quite impressive. Compared to the nearly 80 year old facilities out in Yellow Creek Twp. from which this grew it is something to see.

We started at the new pumping station pictured above that was built on the old tin mill property. That building sits just behind the car wash on Wells Ave. Leaving there we followed the raw water pipe line up Wells Hollow Road out to Township Line Road to where it crosses over Route 45 and up the hill to the new reservoir. We finished up going through the spanking new sparkling water treatment plant.

I got so much information and lots of pictures to pass on that I'm going to break it down in a series of articles in the next few days, week or so. It all depends on the time available for me. So be patient.

They are planning an open house sometime in the future but those plans are incomplete right now. District Manager Al DeAngelis told me right now they have a lot of demand on their time getting prepared to supply Baard with water, both raw and treated.

The second picture above of the eruption out in the middle of the river is the result of air being blown out of the intake out there. They do that occasionally to blow out debris and sentiment in the pipe. They tell me sometimes if there is something stuck to the screen it blows like a geyser once it breaks loose. Yesterday it just looked like the Lock Ness Monster coming out of the water. If you didn't know what was going on and that intake was there it would surely be cause for concern seeing it. At any rate that is where it all begins.

Before closing I would like to thank Mr. DeAngelis, Assistant District/Distribution Mgr. Mark Allison, Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Todd Brown, Board of Director member Jack Call and Marcus for their hospitality and time. I sincerely appreciated it. You guys are great!

To be continued...

ole nib

Business of the Month

The Chamber selected Kwik King on Main Street as the Business of the Month. It is pictured above. Kwik King is a convenience store that offers full deli service and a line of products for just about everything you need. Kwik King is owned by John Riley.

Also pictured above is John Riley being presented the Business of the Month plague by Chamber President Randy Allmon to the right and member Brian Wallace to the left.

You can click on these pictures to get a closer look of these fine looking gentleman.

ole nib

Chamber-of-Commerce March Luncheon 2009

The monthly luncheon was held this past Thursday at Tonda's Place. Chamber President Randy Allmon got things started by announcing that the new brochure previously mentioned is still getting good response with folks buying ad space. There is still time to purchase ad space for any Chamber member. If interested you can contact DigiColor at 1-800-352-1184 for more information.

Allmon went on to welcome new members Tom Wycoff of EL Motor Lodge, Kristie Lasure of Comfort Inn, Brent Haynes of DigiColor, Don Crane of Millwrights Local 1871, Ralph White of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 495 and Tracy Drake of the CC Port Authority. Membership is at an all time high for the Chamber according to Allmon. With these six new members there have been 10 total new members joining in 2009 alone. That's mostly attributed to the enthusiasm created by Baard's Ohio River Clean Fuels plant proposal.

Speaking of which Allmon related that Baard has signed a contract to begin with the land preparation up on the hill. That was exciting news. There hasn't been much heard from Baard since last fall. Both the Mayor & Allmon said they will breaking land in June. Hold on to your boot straps when that begins.

While on the subject of Baard it came out in the papers this week that the Port Authority got $5.7 million in stimulus money to complete the overhead crane & conveyor system downtown. That will compliment what the crane is capable of doing to making it a more full service operation. With the completion of the conveyor system they will be able to move goods from barge to truck or barge to rail cars and such. The crane is available to all customers but is expected to play a big role in the ORCF construction and operations.

Also in this morning's papers there was a press release from Baard announcing they are going to withdraw their loan applications going through the D.O.E. Loan Guarantee Program in favor of seeking private financing. It seems that the tree huggers from the Sierra Club and their buddies at the NRDC have been filing lawsuits challenging Baard's already approved permits and Baard feels that the D.O.E. will slow down the process with their program. Going through the D.O.E. program is like mortgaging a house on the G.I. bill. You still have to get your own financing but once you do your loan is guaranteed by the government in case something unforeseen happens. By Baard eliminating this step is an attempt to keep moving forward in spite of what the nay sayers try to do. Although I don't have any inside information I have a feeling Baard has things pretty much under control to achieve their financing goals or they wouldn't have made this move.

In other Chamber news Allmon also announced that their Board of Directors approved a $100 donation to the Southern Columbiana County United Way. Also there will be a Chamber sponsored Rabies Clinic May 23 to be held in the parking lot of the old Sky Bank. It will be from noon to 2 P.M. We'll have more on that later. Business after Hours will resume May 21 at AirWaves on Main St. Business after Hours is a purely social event giving folks the opportunity to get acquainted with one another.

The guest speaker this month was the Honorable Judge Dave Tobin from the CC Common Pleas Court. Although it doesn't seem possible Tobin said he has exceeded his father's longevity on the bench. His dad, Judge Lewis Tobin, was the juvenile judge for what seemed to me to be forever. I remember as a youngster my dad use to threaten me saying he was going to send me to see the elder Judge Tobin if I didn't behave myself. It always worked for me! Dave has a Wellsville connection. Mrs. Tobin is the former Becky Paisley, WHS Class of '68.

Judge Tobin went on to give an interesting history on the CC court system and its beginnings. The first legal dispute in the county was held near Wellsville by Magistrate William Wells, our town founder. During the hearing someone rushed in and said they found some fresh bear tracks up the hill in the snow. Seems everyone immediately left to go bear hunting and as far as Tobin knows that case is still pending.

The first courthouse was built in 1803 in Lisbon on the site of the present day county court house. It was a two story log cabin and the first prisoner was a horse thief. Due to lack of bars on the holding cell that prisoner escaped during the coarse of the night never to be seen again. The good judge said that case is still pending!

The second county court house was built in 1817 on the NW corner of the New Lisbon town square. That's what Lisbon was called in those days. It was a brick structure that cost the tax payers around $150. The current court house was built in 1871 at a cost of $1.5 million and was expanded in 1934 as a WPA project. WPA projects are similar to the stimulus program back in the Depression years.

Starting in 2001 they began a $3.5 million renovation program for the court house that was nearly completed in 2007. They began computerizing in 1991 and someday hope to have complete case files available to the public on the court's web site. There are still some legal issues to be worked out before that can take place.

Judge Tobin went on to give us some interesting statistics for the last 20 years. In 1987 there was a total of 1,426 cases which included civil, criminal and domestic. In 2007 the amount of cases heard went up to 4,027, greatly increasing the case load for each judge.

Although each case is judged on its own merit the Judge said in 2008 it cost around $25,000 a year to imprison someone convicted versus $1,000 - $5,000 to place them on probation. Of course there are some cases where being imprisoned is mandatory. This was put out just to give us an idea of the costs involved.

Pictured above is Judge Tobin with Chamber Historian Marge Dysert to the left and Chamber member Mary Heaton in the middle. Next luncheon will be April 30 at Dalonzos. You can click on the picture to enlarge.

ole nib

Friday, March 27, 2009

Around the Ville

Yesterday was a busy one. It started out with a Property Committee meeting followed by the monthly Chamber-of-Commerce luncheon. There was no connection between the two other than me. I sorta feel sorry for Jo Ann Bobby G. I don't know what else she had on her schedule yesterday but she was at both of the events. I'm betting she sometimes doesn't have time to spit with all that she covers for the MJ. Glad I just concentrate on things with Wellsville and there are a lot of goings on that I miss.

The Property Committee meeting called by John McMahon mainly concerned the Jim Kenney Center & Marina. It was attended by McMahon, committee member Joe Soldano & Village Administrator Jim Saracco. Don Brown is also on that committee but he is currently on medical leave.

The Jim Kenney Center is presently leased out to the Wellsville FOPA in a 99 year lease that has somewhere in the neighborhood of 66 years remaining. McMahon said he believed the lease is for $1 a year and as long as they maintain the place it is theirs. The FOPA also runs the boat club. McMahon said he was consulting with the Village Solicitor but Andy got called out on an emergency and that meeting was called short.

The new interest in the place is due to the fact that there is likely some grant money available to make improvements and additions to the place. At a Finance Committee meeting earlier this week it was mentioned that the school board is donating some play ground equipment they intend to put at the center. I imagine that is the stuff behind the McDonald building that was sold. To be eligible for the grant money the center & marina has to be under village control. Soldano mentioned there may be grant money available to dredge out the creek bed. A couple of years ago I remember you could walk in the creek up there and only be in waist high water. That's hard on boats.

During the course of the meeting I got the impression that neither councilmen want to step on any toes or cause any hard feelings. That lease has run somewhere near 30 years now and doing these hard economic times hopefully a spirit of cooperation can be worked out between the two parties. It would be a shame to miss those grant opportunities.

Also mentioned yesterday was that the WFD has an opportunity to get a couple of free pick-up trucks from the state's Forestry Service. They will be on loan only and will have to be given back when they are no longer needed. That may be the WVFD.

The graffiti is cleaned up at the 18th St. play ground. Once they get the new hours posted down there they are planning on getting tough enforcing them. Anyone caught in there after hours can be arrested for trespassing.

The cemetery care taker is asking for shingles for the equipment storage shed up there. He also renewed his request for a trailer to hook up to the tractor to carry equipment around.

Soldano said they have to look to see if there is some money that can be transfer to the WFD budget to cover the cost to replace the outdoor siren. He felt that it is an important piece of equipment for both the fire fighters and the public. I agree Joe.

Soldano also relayed a concern from WPD Chief Scarabino about the road condition on a curve just before you get to the cemetery entrance. To avoid the pot holes and ruts many drivers go left of center. It's a place just waiting for an accident to happen, God forbid. I know exactly the spot. I'm guilty of it every time I drive up that way. Right now you can see through the trees if anyone is coming toward you but once the foliage grows out that's not possible. As Joe said that stretch of road needs to be stripped down and completely replaced.

Other news I picked up yesterday was reports of vandalism around town. Some jerks tore down the flag at the Yost Memorial. They cleaned it up and put in a request through Charlie Wilson's office to get it replaced. Have you noticed that the lights are once again out at the flood wall? Some miscreants once again destroyed them. Jim Saracco told me he has been talking to AEP and for the cost of electricity they will install poles and lights for the whole place. Jim said he is going to bring it up the next time the Revitalization Committee meets. I hope they can fit in their budget. That section that was lit up really was attractive before the vandals got to the lights.

Ok. We're caught up. I'll get to the C-of-C luncheon tomorrow. To me there was some exciting news I learned there. Thanks for lunch John.

ole nib

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Catching Up Once Again

Things just continue getting worse on the economic news for us Americans. You hate to read the news or watch it on the boob tube. Every day it seems to be the same doom & gloom with new stories of how the economy is affecting us. In this morning's papers were stories of GM looking at additional lay-offs which will include Lordstown. We have area residents that depend on Lordstown for their livelihood. Then there was the story that the county un-employment rate hit 13.2% in February. That's just 0.4 points off the record rate for CC set back in 1984. From the tone of all you hear and see it doesn't seem that there are any signs that the down turn has hit bottom yet. They say it's a recession but to me it is down right depressing. There were a lot of changes but we survived the 1980s and I just know we'll do it again. I just wonder and worry at what cost. We certainly need some inkling of things starting to turn around. Hopefully soon...

I mentioned that postage stamps are going to cost more starting in May. Now today it came out that the postal authorities are telling Congress they are crashing and will run out of money without help from the legislators. They are looking at lay-offs, reducing hours of operations, cutting back on delivery days and closing some facilities to survive. In the period of October through December, the busiest time for P.O. business, they lost $384 million. Seems no matter what sector you work in nobody is safe from being touched with this downturn.

In news closer to home it was reported in Monday's papers that nearly 73% of the provisional ballots from last November's general election have been counted. Provisional ballots are those set aside because of questions of eligibility. There were over a thousand of them and they counted 837 with 318 being rejected. Out of that 318 there was 148 thrown out because the voters were not registered to cast a ballot. Another 91 were tossed out because the registered voters voted in the wrong place. That is simply amazing to me. I wonder how many of those 409 voters even knew what they were voting for. I think the Election Board and even some candidates do an excellent job of advising us of the need to register and where to vote. That news is repeated several times leading up to an election. I wonder where those 409 people had their heads.

Congratulations to Wellsville's Jeff Haugh for being promoted to Detective in the Sheriffs Dept. Jeff has been with the S.O. for 17 years now. According to what Ray Stone told us last month at the Chamber luncheon this move is a "borrow from Peter to pay Paul" action to help cut down on the back log of cases being investigated. Jeff won't be replaced in the Road Division. Stone is still working with the Commissioners to get funds for additional staffing. At any rate we would like to wish Jeff good luck with his new duties.

While congratulating folks I would like to send them out to WHS students Mikyla Tipton and Michael Johnston for both being named Honorable Mention All-State in basketball. Johnston was also selected to first team all district in Ohio Div. IV recently. Junior Nunzio Lombardozzi got Honorable Mention on that squad too. Tipton is in her freshman year & Johnston is a sophmore. See what I mean about looking forward to some exciting times with Wellsville basketball?

A big thank you goes out to John Diddle, owner of Tri-County Ambulance, for the donation to the WVFD of a squad truck. It's a 2001 Ford that will be used to ferry fire fighters & equipment back and forth to fire scenes. The truck got some body work done, painted and is ready for use. It looks brand new and is a nice addition to the department. The ville is certainly fortunate to have good neighbors such as John. Mr. Diddle will even sell you a Maytag or two if you're in the market.

Speaking of being in the market it came out in the papers this past Saturday that the lot that once was the home to the 9th St. pottery has been declared to be clean & ready for development. That was declared by the Ohio EPA after contaminated soil was found a couple of years ago. All the tainted dirt has been removed and replaced with clean stuff. The site is 1.2 acres big. It is ready for any interested parties.

The WHS Thespians are performing a play called "The Brothers Grimm Out of Order" tomorrow night at the high school. It starts at 7 P.M. and should provide a fun evening of entertainment.

With the coming of spring comes baseball. The ville is gearing up on just about all levels to swing into action. The high school team will open their season March 30. That's next Monday. They have four scrimmages scheduled in preparation.

This Saturday, March 28, and again on Saturday, April 4, there will be registration for T-ball at Hammonds Park at the big pavilion for this years teams. The number of teams will depend on the number of coaches they can get to volunteer their time. This is the second year for T-ball and is open to all kids ages 4 to 9. Membership is not restricted to Wellsville and is open to all area youngsters. It's not only a nice organized activity it's fun for all. For more information you can contact Dexter Thrasher @ 330-532-2082 or Mary Beatty @ 330-532-9036. Registration is 10 - 4 next Saturday & 1- 4 on April 4. They are looking for more sponsors ($250/team) and anyone who would like to make a donation to help the kids. The registration fee is $30. Checks should be made out to the Wellsville Area Youth Baseball and can be sent to Mary at 604 Commerce St. All T-ball games will be played at Hammonds Park. They are looking to open the season May 30. Mary told me Jaden Fodden will be back this year.

Also I've been told that Jane & Mandy Corbin are working on organizing Little League & a girls softball team this year. You can contact them for more information. I've been told all games for these teams will be played between Hammonds Park & Edison Local facilities. Thanks to all you folks for giving your time to organize and run these activities for our area youth. You're part of what makes the ville special.

Also coming up is the Good Friday Breakfast April 10 at the Covenant Presbyterian Church. That's at 401 18th Street here in town. It will start at 7:30. The speaker is Rev. Bill Rutter from the New Life Worship Center. Entertainment will be provided by Erin Bank and the First Baptist Church choir. I've been told that choir can get the building to rocking. Tickets are $10 and you can get more information by calling the church @ 330-532-4670.

In Sunday's newspapers there was an article that Ohio schools will be the first to get money from the stimulus funds. The Wellsville school district is in line to get $271,091 according to that news story. There was no mention of what the B.O.E. intends to use this money for. Bet it won't be for bonus checks!

There were two Village Council Committee meetings this past Monday. The first meeting was for the Claims, Rules & Ordinances Committee which I didn't learn of until after the fact. There's another violation of Ohio's Sunshine Law.

That meeting was mainly for a claim filed by a Highland Ave. resident for sliding on ice into a ditch up there ruining both of her passenger side tires. The resident wants the village to pay for replacing the tires. That ditch has been there forever and I believe ice would be considered an act of nature. The bill will be presented at the next regular council meeting but from what Joe Soldano was quoted as saying it doesn't stand much of a chance to get approved. Also discussed at that meeting was the fees for digging holes in our streets. This goes back to Columbiana Gas requesting the fees be reduced to a more reasonable rate. They will discussed whether the rates will be enforced at the April 7 meeting before moving forward on this.

The second meeting I was aware of. It was announced at the last Council Meeting for the Finance Committee. That meeting was mainly addressing the decreasing amount of cash available in the village general fund. That fund in the past has usually had a balance in the neighborhood of $100,000. As of Monday it was down to $23,000 and Councilman Tony Cataldo asked Fiscal Officer Dale Davis if money was coming in. Davis replied it was but some haven't been posted yet. He also reminded those present that we will soon be getting funds from the real estate taxes.

Cataldo then went on asking several questions that he admitted he just thought of while waiting for the power to be restored. Davis said he will probably be made out to be the bad guy for not having the information readily available but he was not informed of what was to be discussed before the meeting. If he had been given a heads up he could have pulled up the information in preparation for the meeting. That seems only fair. The answer to all Cataldo's questions is available. Davis only needs the time to gather it together.

The remaining money from the much discussed STAG grant has been released by the EPA. Out of the original $1.2 million the EPA claimed was unaccounted for it has been brought down to $12,000. Receits for that $12000 will probably never be found since it goes back so far. However, the village did get a passing mark on two previous audits that were conducted. Congressman Charlie Wilson sent a letter to the EPA saying his office has found no evidence of misfeasance and the EPA "has never made an allegation of misfeasance and/or malfeasance relative to the Village's handling of the grant funds". He then went on to ask that the village be excused for balance and their good name restored. With the release of the funds the Highland Ave. sewage line project should be moving forward.

It doesn't look hopeful for a new outside fire siren in the near future due to our financial conditions. Our best hope is that a grant be found. With the power outage there was some discussion the village may want to consider a back up generator. Since both the Police & the Fire Departments were knocked out along with Village Hall that may not be a bad idea. With that outage they found out that the emergency back-up lights didn't function as they should. The outage was caused by AEP changing a transformer up behind the American Legion. Power was out from the north end of town down to around 15th St.

Saracco announced they are getting ready to have the sewers smoke tested. That will include Russell Hts. since most of those residents are on the village sewer system. They blow smoke into the sewers. If your down spouts are draining into the system they'll see smoke coming out of your gutters. I think they color the smoke something like a pretty pink so they can easily determine offending houses are not on fire. Jim also said they are still working on getting the big fountain on Broadway repaired. The Wellsville School System is donating some play ground equipment they hope to install at the Jim Kenney Center. It is doubtful that the 18th Street play ground will have supervisors this year. Last year the Covenant Church paid for one out of a grant they received and the village paid for a second supervisor. Even at minimum wage the money isn't there this year.

Yesterday the Mayor & Village Administrator took a representative from ODOT on a tour showing him the route the trucks take to & from the terminals downtown. That was in hopes of getting state assistance to build a new roadway from 18th St. to the ramps for Route 7 for the truck traffic. It's a costly project but if accomplished it will by-pass Garfield School and the residents along the route currently being used. Emphasizing the safety factor will hopefully get something moving on this.

That wraps it up for now.

ole nib

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 17 Council Meeting 2009

From the opening rap of the gavel to closing it took 36 minutes to conduct the meeting. All members were present except Don Brown. Don had knee replacement surgery earlier this week. It will be a while until the doctors & therapists let him loose. Hope you have a speedy recovery Don. The only administrators present was Jim Saracco and WFD Chief Smith. Village Solicitor Andy Beech & Fiscal Officer Dale Davis was also in attendance.

Under Public Speaking Main Street resident Glenn Fields addressed council and furnished pictures to illustrate his points. Along with several other concerns he opened his remarks about another Main Street residence with garbage piling up in front of the place. He asked if village employees can pick it up. He also asked about fences around above ground pools. In the State of Ohio a fence is not required for above ground pools as long as they have fold-up ladders. He also asked about fences around properties. There is an ordinance in the ville stating that fences can't go past the front of a house for safety reasons. Those places that have fences past the front of the house were grandfathered in before the ordinance was adopted. Lastly he mentioned signs for businesses that have deteriorated to the point of becoming unsightly and unsafe. It was decided that he would meet with the Mayor and the Village Administrator on Wednesday to address all his concerns.

Under Administration Reports Saracco advised the village is in the process of hiring a company to smoke test our sewers to determine where down spouts are discharging rain water into the system. Discharging rain water into the sewer system is prohibitive and causes an overload at the filtration plant. It is a costly practice the village is trying to eliminate. Saracco advised letters were sent to all residents some time ago. Anyone caught doing this could be fined.

Saracco also gave a detailed report on sewage bill collections being done by Clerk Nancy Murray. For the last six months of 2008 over $57,000 was collected for delinquent bills & $57,709.67 was collected on current bills. For this year January collections were $7,025.50 for current bills and $8,536.56 for 95 delinquent accounts. February saw $7,303 taken in for 251 current bills and another $11,516.48 for 114 delinquents. Councilman Joe Soldano relayed his thanks to Mrs. Murray for her very precise report and also brought up the idea of possibly having the village to once again handle the billing and collections for sewage accounts. We use to do this. Remember Betty Bright and Bud Salter after Betty retired? According to Fiscal Officer Davis we are paying United Water $1,700 a month for this function. It may require the hiring of another clerk and was decided to refer this matter to committee. With all the money taken in on delinquent accounts it seems Nancy is doing a whale of a job.

WFD Chief Smith presented council with a package of bids for a new outdoor siren for the department. The best bid he received is in the range of $9,000. Right now we have a siren on loan from Liverpool Township to use in the interim. It is their back-up we're borrowing. A hearty thanks should go out to Liverpool Twp. for being good neighbors and coming to our aid.

Chief Smitty also advised he has been "in contact with people over in Lisbon" in regards to the tear down program they have been working on. Smitty said he was going to be quite busy with title searches on targeted structures. According to the mayor we are applying for grants for this program from two different sources. Surace advised there is money coming. They just don't know how much just yet. Smitty also announced they are looking at the last Saturday in June to do an erecting of the flood wall exercise. That's not set in stone yet.

Under the Mayor's Report Surace advised that the Magistrate Court took in $7,280 in February in fines. Year-to-date income from the court is $19,552.44 in fines & court costs.

Under Committee Reports Finance Chairman Tony Cataldo made a motion for the mayor to apply for grants for two additional police officers from the COPS program. This is a US Dept. of Justice program under their Cops Hiring Recovery Program. It is a four year deal where the program pays for 100% of the officer's salaries & benefits for three years and the village pays for the fourth year. Hopefully by the fourth year the village will be in better financial shape and will be able to handle the costs for these additions to the WPD. The motion passed without any opposition. Cataldo also announced there will be a meeting for the committee next Monday at 2 P.M.

For Streets Joe Soldano advised they will be meeting with the county inspector to go over what streets will be treated under the chip & seal program for this summer. They have to come in and see if the streets & alley ways on the list are wide enough for their equipment to get through. It was also noted they are waiting for a check for the new lights for the 18th Street playground and that some vulgar graffiti has be found inside the ark at the play ground. Former Mayor Nunzio Lombardozzi has volunteered to paint over the graffiti using paint that is left over from last year's Fix-Up, Clean-Up efforts. Councilman McMahon thanked Nunzi for his time and trouble.

For Water & Sewage a motion was made by Chairman Randy Allmon to authorize village engineering firm G,G&J to complete an application to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources for funds to repair the dam at the old reservoir. The dam has been inspected by ODNR to determine what needs to be done. Buckeye Water District will be turning the reservoir property back over to village control later this year. After that it will only be used by BWD as an emergency back up if the need ever arises. That agreement with the water company is the reason the dam has to be repaired & maintained.

Another motion was made to have G,G&J apply for $1.4 million in stimulus money for filtration plant refurbishing & upgrades and for new man-holes. Nearly $400,000 will be earmarked for the man-hole program and the rest will be used on the filtration plant. Both motions passed without any opposition.

Under Personnel Allmon advised the village will be switching insurance companies for medical coverage for village employees effective April 1. This change will save the village $67,000/year from what we have paying Anthem. Allmon related that some costs for Emergency Room visits and deductibles will be less for employees with the new carrier. Employees will not lose any coverage under the new plan. Soldano thanked insurance agent Greg Arcuri & Cataldo for all the work they did putting this improved package together.

Property Committee Chairman McMahon said that the ordinance to change the hours at the 18th Street Playground is in the works. The new hours will be dawn to dusk for being open and from dusk to dawn for being closed.

Rosie Goss had nothing for Claim, Rules & Ordinances but she did publicly thank Joe Soldano for getting a couple of street lights quickly repaired. Soldano related that AEP does a nice job once he calls them.

Under Legislation Ordinance 09-03 authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Grant Source Professional LLC was tabled. Soldano said he had a few more questions he would like to get answered before voting on this.

Under suspension of rules Ordinance 09-04 was approved to appropriate money for expenses and other expenditures for this year.

Also under suspension of rules Ordinance 09-05 was approved to amend Section 95-03 to change the hours at 18th Street. The need to change the signs down there was also discussed. This ordinance wasn't on the printed agenda. I have a feeling that Andy Beech brought it with him when he came to the meeting unbeknownst to McMahon.

There being no New Business the meeting was adjourned at 6:38 P.M. Next meeting is April 7. This meeting was sparsely attended. Other than three village officials there was only three other people in the cheap seats. One of those was the guy from the new health insurance company.

ole nib

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Upcoming Events

This coming Saturday, March 21, will be the monthly pet food give-away by the angels of the ville's Alley Cat Aid Brigade. Starting this month they are only going to hold the event for one day. They will starting at 11 A.M. and will be there until the food runs out. The location is the same as the last two months at their facility on Commerce across from the old Sterling China plant. Remember this will be one day only for everyone interested. Donations will be accepted but everything is free to all that come. Pictured above are the ladies of the brigade at their January give-away. Thankfully the temperature is suppose to be in the low fifties.

Also we got notification of the up-coming auditions that will be held by the Pottery Players Community Theater. They are looking for up to thirty young people age 10 and above to put on a play called "Mr. Toad's Mad Adventures" which is based on the classic "The Wind in the Willows". The auditions are open to anyone from anywhere. Auditions will be held Monday & Tuesday, March 23 & 24, at their theater at 417 15th St. here in the ville. No experience is necessary. The play will be directed by Mary Beth Morse and is scheduled for performances in May. It should be a good one.

ole nib

Wellsville Historical Society March '09 Meeting

Last night's regular monthly meeting was packed full of historical information and tidbits of Wellsville history. For me it was another learning experience of things as they were in the early years of the ville.

Seems brochures are on the mind of a lot of folks these days. It was announced that the Society is in the process of updating their brochure with directional information, points of interest and such. The new brochures will be distributed to various places where people can pick them up and learn of the museum's existence and is designed to pique interest in paying a visit. They are also in the process of refurbishing the directional signs at both ends of town that guide visitors to the museum.

It was also announced that roof slate they have accumulated in the basement will be donated to a Jefferson County group that is refurbishing a historic one room school house down that way. That will be something to see when it's completed. I had an aunt that was a school teacher for nearly fifty years until she retired in 1971. I recall her telling me she started out teaching in such a place. I think she told me they paid her something like $20/month for teaching a room full of kids from the first to eighth grade. It's amazing to see how our educational system has evolved over the years.

Society President Robert "Brassy" Beresford related to the members about doing some research for a Prof. Green of Miami University in Oxford, OH. Prof. Green's interest is in river boats and Brassy compiled a list of boats for him that were built in Wellsville. Nobody counted how many there were but the list was quite lengthy. Back in the early years before railroads were around here boat building was a booming business in town. Remember the ville started out as a very busy transportation hub transferring goods that were shipped in on the river to horse drawn drays for shipment to places all over the region.

Brassy read an amusing story from an ELO newspaper called The Daily Crisis that was dated Sept. 16, 1889. The story was about a police raid on "Big Liz's" house of ill repute that was located on Coal Street here in the ville. Apparently Big Liz had a thriving business going on and the article went on to naming names of the customers that were apprehended as they tried to flee out the back door. Unfortunately there were officers waiting outside the back door while another group went in the front door. Whoops! The reporter went on to tell us most of the offenders were fined $25 each and there was quite a bit of trouble in their various homes. Wonder whatever happened to Big Liz?

Donations this month included a paper written on Wellsville schools from 1880 to 1980 researched and writtened by the late Joey McCutcheon. Mrs. McCutheon was a long time teacher in the ville. Brassy sent out thanks to Joey's husband, Dr. Wm. McCutheon, for donating the paper and a couple of books. One of the books was entitled The Enchanted Village of Fredrickstown which Brassy said is loaded with historical facts. The history of Wellsville schools is one of the subjects for a program in the forth coming months.

Brassy also sent out thanks to Dick & "Boots" Vaness for their donation of two tin lunch boxes that brought back memories for me. I remember using those things back in the day. I remember the thermos bottles didn't last too long with my not too gentle handling of the lunch boxes. Pictured above is Brassy holding up the two. You can click on the picture to enlarge it. One box is Superman with his associates at The Daily Planet. Superman who was Clark Kent in everyday life is shown with reporter Lois Lane, photographer Jimmy Olsen and their editor. Anybody remember what his name was? I don't. The other box is Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. I've been thinking about this since last night but can only think of about three names for the dwarfs.

Welcomed as a new member was Dr. Herschel Ruben from ELO. Doc is actually a renewed member after being absent for a few years. He's the same fellow that set me up with my first eye glasses more years ago than I want to admit.

Last night's program was a history of Wellsville floods from 1832 up to 1991 presented by Bob Lloyd. Bob did a Power Point presentation with lots of pictures. It's an excellent collection of photos accumulated not only showing the high waters from the various floods but showing also a lot of structures that are long gone. We'll have more on that later. Bob graciously said he would copy the pictures to a disc for me. That way we'll be able to put some of them on here for you all to see.

Next meeting is April 21. Try to join us.

ole nib

Monday, March 16, 2009

Crime Doesn't Pay - Reporting It Could

It was nice seeing the Crime Watch Committee getting some coverage for their meeting last week. Haven't seen much of that since they formed a few years ago. Since writing my last piece we found out they have changed their meeting nights to the second Thursday of the month which I think is a good move on their part. It shows that we do have an active citizen's committee for this and could possibly be a plus factor if the ville officials apply for some grants for WPD in the future. That report last week was the result of the reporter for our area going out her way to get there after another meeting she covered. I've already noticed an increase in the Police Reports sections which I think is important. It shows that our officers are doing more than just running speed checks up on the highway. Overall I think they do a good job with their limited resources. People have to see this. Someday it may come to the point to ask the voters to approve a levy to help support the duties of our police. It is also good incentive to know we got an active law force for folks considering to locate here. I haven't heard any rumors about a new levy. With our economy today it certainly is not the time but it does pay to advertise.

I can't help thinking about St. Clair Township when I read WPD's Chief Scarabino's wish list in that newspaper report. I think they have all the things he mentioned he would like to see in the ville - the cameras, the computers and the officers. They even have tasers out there. Of course they have a better financial base with all the businesses out that way and they don't have an income tax. Like I said it pays to advertise and that includes being seen and heard. It more than likely would be a plus if some of that would be the appearance of the WPD administrator at Council Meetings on a regular basis if for no other reason than to give monthly activity reports.

Susie Haugh has added another page to her web site for our Animal Control office. You can get to it by clicking on the link for Animal Control in the column on the left. As reported in the papers it is loaded with all kinds of information if you ever need it. They even have a picture of our ACO. Nice job Susie.

Kudos to the Wellsville Knights-of-Columbus for sponsoring the poster contest for drug awareness. It's nice to know they are still active in the community. Reading about it was the first I heard and thanks again to Jo Bob they got some really nice coverage in today's MJ. With the contest and the awards and dinner the Knights probably made a lasting impression on those young ones. Thanks should also go out to Mrs. Ferguson for taking the ball and running with it at Garfield.

Reading a press release last Friday from Congressman Wilson about the stimulus money coming to Ohio for weatherization programs got me curious. I went to the web site for Ohio to see if they had any information on what individual communties are getting. That didn't exist but it was amazing to see that as of March 12 there have been 21,242 requests submitted in just Ohio for money from this program. That's a lot.

Postage stamps are going up another two cents on May 11. If you use a lot of them now is the time to load up on forever stamps at today's prices. Saving a couple of pennies don't sound like much but it can add up.

In closing here's something that got a chuckle from yours truly. In an engagement announcement in yesterday's ER for Sara Klavuhn & Charles Diequez it was noted that Mr. Diequez works at American Bride & Steel. If left me wondering if they manufacture steel wedding gowns?!!! ;-)

Tomorrow is council night at six and later the Wellsville Historical Society at 7&half hours as they use to say.

ole nib

Friday, March 13, 2009

Counting the Days

Eight days until Spring begins... It's the time of the year I least like with winter lingering on and the promise of the Spring season in the air. Hate to wish away my life but I can't wait for those eight days to pass. Mother Nature gave us a teaser with a few days last week warm enough to actually open up some windows to get some fresh air in the house. Lord I enjoyed that.

Hasn't been much to write about this week. There was a Crime Watch, a Tree Board & a B.O.E. meeting this week. I didn't make it to any of them and so far, there hasn't been any press coverage on any of them. In all fairness to Jo Ann Bobby she has been kept busy with Salineville and their committee meetings from what I read in the papers. In the middle of fighting a budget short fall this year their fiscal officer left for a better paying job. Officials out that way are scrambling. Of course have you ever noticed that everyone wants to conduct their meetings either on a Monday or Tuesday evening? Why don't some of these committees consider a Wednesday or Thursday, especially if they want a chance of getting some coverage? For example the Crime Watch folks always meet on the same night as the B.O.E. It's just food for thought but if they did change their meeting days they would stand a better chance of getting some free publicity for their programs. They all have good missions but some people don't even know they exist.

They held a court session today on the weapons suppression motion filed by J.C. Amato's defense attorney. This was for the charges filed last fall on having weapons under a disability. We'll have to wait for the newspaper tomorrow to tell us in plain English what went on. There were six entries made in the Docket file for the case. It's all Greek to me that my simple mind can't put meaning to. I did notice under the Events section that a status hearing is still scheduled for May and the trial about a week late for that charge. J.C.'s murder trial is scheduled for August.

Word on the street is that there was a colorful, verbal shoot out at the OK Corral this past Friday...tsk...tsk...tsk.

Writing the piece about the St. Francis Animal Shelter awhile back was an educational experience for me. I learned that there is definitely two schools of thought on the disposition of any strays taken in. I admire both equally with respect for their line of thinking. If push came to shove I don't know which way I would lean if forced to make a decision. I had to reject a lot of comments on that piece and don't want to open old wounds. I just want to wish both sides the best and hope everyone can co-exist in doing what they think is best. Speaking of SFAS... they are having a Chili Cook-off tomorrow night at the SOI starting at 6. It's a fund raiser that's worth supporting.

It was announced last week that the WPD got a $10,894 grant from the Justice Assistance Grant Program. That's a federal program called the Recovery Act 2009. Wonder if this money will help continue the DARE program, perhaps support Marsha's fire bug program or what?

Ville officials would do well to follow the Willis Smith case in ELO to go to school on what must be done to demolished falling down derelict structures in town. The Smith case involves the Smiths Auto Parts building in ELO at 4th & Broadway. It's exactly what will have to be done in the ville if the mayor gets the funding he's hoping for. From talking to various people I think WFD Chief Smith has a good grasp on what has to be accomplished. Others make me wonder. Once everything is done and the building is brought down who owns the land?

Been wanting to do a piece on the present day economy and what effects it has on us but every time I turn around all I run into is more depressing news. Everyday there is something on one aspect or the other of the falling economy in the papers or on the boob tube. You can't open an Internet news page without something gloomy on the subject. I found it interesting that the county un-employment rate - somewhere around 14% - is equal to what it was back in the 1980s when Crucible put some 5,000 people out on the street. For those of us that lived through that it certainly reminds us of the trickle down effect that goes on when such an event occurs. It's happening again with lost jobs and funding drying up for programs we have grown accustomed to. It is very depressing and I hope all who read this well. On the bright side the mayor told me there is a definite need for some belt tightening but there are no lay-offs foreseen right now.

I want to sincerely apologize to the guys & gals on the WHS basketball & wrestling teams this year. I completely missed their season and failed to mention any of them. The thought was there and I was following them in the papers. Even got a file full of newspaper clippings but time just slipped by far too quickly for me. Both basketball teams had rosters made up of mostly younger, untried players. The girls started off slow but were coming on strong toward the end of the season. They finished the season at 9 - 12 with most of those wins coming in the last weeks of their schedule. On the boys side it was suppose to be a rebuilding year but Bug Thompson found some new and exciting talent. They started out the season with two veterans from last year. One got a broken foot early in season and the other just up and quit the team. For a team that was on the rebuild they finished the season with a very respectful 14 - 7 record. Both teams got knocked out in the first round of tournament play but they have nothing to hang their heads over. With some of the news on the Middle School teams I got the distinct impression we have lots of exciting Wellsville basketball to look forward to. To those players that stuck it out all season long through good & bad I'd like to say thanks. Stand tall! You carried on the tradition and once again proved to us that the Tigers are what made what some consider the ville as a "basketball town". We're proud of each & everyone of you. As for myself I'll try to do better next season.

Speaking of basketball the mayor tells me they are still doing vocal web casting of the games on WKMX. I think they are going to do baseball too. I was told it takes about $50 to do one game. It's an exciting new dimension for those that want to follow our teams and can't make it to the games. If you're interested in donating you can contact the mayor or Roger Miller. Those guys are two of the announcers and all of them donate their time for this. The money mostly goes to fees that the league charges them.

Also want to offer kudos to Ryan Crabtree for a stellar season in his weight class in wrestling. Ryan got his name in WHS history books this year as being number two on the all time winners list in that sport. Ryan even got to Columbus for the State Meets this year. Congratulations on all you accomplished Ryan.

Another kid that got a nice write-up in the ER is Collin Kinsey. He's a WHS alumni from back in the early 1990s. He got a job at St. Catherine College near Springfield, KY, setting up and coaching a men & women's cross country/track team. St. Catherine's is a small junior college located in the heart of Kentucky farm country. Prior to adding the college they had a girls Catholic high school at the historic Dominican motherhouse. This is the first year for a track program and a kid from the ville is getting it started. The high school goes back for probably a century now. The Jr. College was added in more recent times. According to the article Kinsey did the same at Georgetown College, another Kentucky school. As they say if you look hard enough you can usually find a ville connection just about anywhere in this country, even in Washington County, Kentucky.

Gee, I didn't think I had anything to write about and here I bent your "ears" for some time now. Only one other thing I want to mention. In the last few days I got two comments for a piece that I wrote two years ago called "Tell Me More Joe" where the Wiz & the Walrus are still snipping at each other. Are you guys messin' with my mind?

Think Spring... Jack Call said he saw his first robin last week. That's a good sign.

ole nib

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Buckeye Boys State 2009

Buckeye Boys State is an annual event usually held in the summer months that is sponsored by the American Legion. As stated in their brochure it "is a 9-day hands on experience in the operation of the Democratic form of government, the organization of political parties, and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Ohio Governments." They form two political parties, nominate candidates, hold an election, and set up various systems of government. That includes a governor, other state level officers and a Boys State General Assembly. They do the same with county, city and school board members. They even have a State Patrol guided by officers & troopers of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Many of the other staff members are former Boy Staters from all walks of life.

Started in 1936 Ohio has the largest Boys State program in the nation with 1,300 young men attending. All these young men are in the summer between their junior & senior year, have to be recommended by their high school principal and pass a qualifying exam to be considered. They come from all four corners of the state. All expenses are paid by the American Legion. Astronaut Neil Armstrong and Pro-Golfer Jack Nicholson are just two of the better known people that attended this event.

This year's Buckeye Boys State will be held at Bowling Green State University from June 13 - 21. Representing American Legion Post 70 is Wellsville High School junior Robert "Bob" Barringer. Bob is an honor student and the son of Sharon Barringer.

All young men attending Boys State will be eligible to be one of two candidates selected to attend the American Legion Boys Nation being held this year in July in Washington, D.C. They also have a chance to be nominated to participate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program. Each year the American Legion Buckeye Boys State Foundation awards six attendees a $1,000 Savings Bond. All in all it's a rewarding educational experience.

Pictured above is Chairman of the Selection Committee for Post 70 Dane Dysert congratulating Mr. Barringer on being this year's selection. I would also like to say congratulations, Bob.

ole nib

March 3 Council Meeting 2008 Plus

After call to order and opening ceremonies roll call was taken with all members present except Rosie Goss. Someone is the good seats said she hurt her leg. Hope you're doing better Rosie. The mayor got back to business after coming off medical leave. He appears to be fit and probably feeling better after his surgery.

While we're on the subject of medical things it was reported that Don Brown will be missing in action for awhile. He's going to have knee replacement surgery next week. He had the other one done last year. Good luck with the surgery Don and we hope you'll be back in action soon.

Under Public Speaking "Angel" Sharon Buswell of the Alley Cat Aid Brigade approached council for funding for their upcoming Trap-Neuter-Release program. She had an informational display of spots where they trapped cats last year. Last year the angels handled 76 cats. Out of that number 58 were neutered, five were put down and 13 were taken to the Cat Ladies Society in Youngstown for adoption. Ms Buswell asked that council consider budgeting $1,500 for this program for the next three years. She said three years is needed to make a noticeable difference in getting an upper hand with the feral cats in the village. In response Tony Cataldo advised that the budget is done on an annual basis and there is $1,000 in this years budget for the program. Sharon went on to advise they have several fun fund raisers planned to help with the cause. Stay tuned with their web site at for more news on that. This is the group that conducts the increasingly popular monthly pet food give away.

The only administrator present to give a report was Jim Saracco. He reported the roof for the salt storage shed pictured above is now in place. The salt you see in there is probably it for the year. Hopefully we won't be needing it but now it won't be washed away with rain. With any luck we'll have it to start out next winter.

In the Mayor's Report Joe Surace thanked John McMahon for filling in for him doing his absence. Surace also advised us that the sign between the Rt. 45 exit ramp and Rt. 7 also pictured above has to be relocated in accordance of ODOT mandates. It is on ODOT land and they consider it to be a safety hazard. Joe said they pleaded our case but the ODOT people wouldn't bend. The sign has to go. That sign has been up there for years. Wonder what got them to get a wild hair after all this time? Randy Allmon said the Chamber-of-Commerce has already gotten folks lined up to relocate it down by the Industrial Park outside the ODOT fence.

I was a little taken aback by the headline on the article in the ER. It said in bold letters "No longer welcomed in Wellsville". To me that is cheap sensationalism that casts a negative light on the ville. That headline was very misgiving on the subject. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The same article appeared in the MJ and they got it right. They said "ODOT decision on sign not welcome in Wellsville". You're still welcome in the ville in spite of ODOT. We're just not excited about having to move the sign.

Under Committee Reports other than announcing a couple of Committee Meetings Chairman Joe Soldano of the Streets, Light & Parking reminded Saracco we had to get moving on this years chip & seal program. There's a deadline to get on the wish list over in Lisbon. That program is handled through the County Engineer's Office for the whole county. As a foot note both Surace & Saracco traveled to Lisbon on Thursday for just that purpose.

Under Legislation a vote was taken under suspension of rules for the village to participate once again with ODOT for salt for next winter. ODOT purchases salt for anyone participating for the whole state. Because of the volume being bought it is probably the best price available. I just hope ODOT doesn't pull another fast one like they did this year when they told many communities that their allotment was less than what was agreed on.

Under New Business Leslie Dean, our new Animal Control Officer, presented a report on her activities for the first month on the job. She handled 30 calls for that time period. Out of that 30, 12 dogs were brought to the village pound, 11 were transferred to the county pound and two were returned to their owners. She related that a big problem she faces is that reports for stray dogs that aren't around when she gets to the scene. She asks if possible if people that call in can confine the animal until she gets there it would help eliminate this problem.

Joe Surace reported that to date there has been $36,413 dollars collected in unpaid back fines. This amount covers 15 months of efforts by the clerk that was hired for this job. That is probably money we would never have seen if Jen Allen hadn't been on the job. Jen still has her work cut out for her. There is still $59,761 outstanding in back fines.

Joe Soldano reported that Wellsville School Board President Tom Brophey is to be honored with an Award of Achievement March 18 in Youngstown by the Ohio School Board Association for his 16 years of service. He is one of 74 recipients out of 3,400 nominated across the state for this honor. At the age of 29 Tom was the youngest member ever to elected to the School Board in the ville. In his spare time Brophey also serves as chairman of the Hammond's Park Committee.

Congratulations Tom...

Before adjoining Council retired to the Caucus room for back-to-back executive sessions to consider bids for health insurance and a "possible discipline" matter. According to newspaper reports they didn't have anything to say when they got back to Chambers. In that report it was noted that Tony Cataldo told the reporter that there is a possible chance for the village to save $8,400 yearly in health, vision & dental insurance. They received seven bids on proposals for insurance. This matter was referred to the Personnel Committee and although not mentioned I imagine they will have to negotiate with the union for whatever changes is being considered.

Here comes the 'Plus" part mentioned in the title. There were two committee meetings held this past Thursday. One was covered by the newspaper and I got to the later one. The first was for Property and had to deal mainly with the grant being filed for the play ground equipment with the Ohio Nature Works. It seems whatever is rewarded to the ville is now all going for the 18th play ground. Don Brown objected saying there are other areas in town that need to be considered but Tony Cataldo said 18th St. was the only one applied for. At the last meeting on this matter one councilman said money also would be going to the 11th Street play ground from this grant. What happened between then & now? Although 18th St. is heavily used I have to agree with Brown. Its was also decided to draw up an ordinance to change the hours at 18th St. to dawn to dusk instead of the current 9 A.M. - 9 P.M. In an unrelated matter Cataldo said he was waiting for a letter from the water district on what needs to be done with the dam at the old reservoir. That's in preparation to returning that property back over to the village.

The second meeting was with the Sewage Committee and was conducted with Randy Allmon flying solo. The purpose of this meeting was to go over contract language with United Water and our village solicitor. United Water is the new company that took over Earth Tech operating our sewage plant. Kevin Chandler, Director of Contract Services for the mid-west region, represented UW along with Greg Stewart, the plant operator in town. Except for one matter all items were resolved. It really boiled down to understanding the wording. The one exception was deemed a legal matter and Andy Beech is going to have a telephone conference with UW Legal Dept. to resolve that. That has to deal with liability insurance and who is responsible for what. The village still owns the plant which includes land and buildings. Right now the contract to operate the plant is on a month-to-month basis until they can get everything ironed out for the new five year contract. That contract will cost the village over $20,000 a month.

That brings you up to date on all the village government news I have. The next council meeting is March 17. It's also St. Patrick Day. Wear your green.

ole nib