Monday, June 29, 2009

American Tin Plate & McKinley School

Here's a picture given me by Stevenson's Todd Lynch last week. McKinley School in the bottom center was located where McDonalds is today, at the corner of 1st & Lisbon Street. It was build in 1891.

The American Tin Mill plant was built in 1874 and the portion seen in the picture is where the new BWD Pump Station sits today, along the railroad tracks and Little Yellow Creek. The first tin plate made in the United States was rolled in that mill. The tin mill took up all of that block. The American Legion Post 70 on Wells Avenue was an office building for the mill. At that time it was a two story building.

The picture says "Courtesy of the Wellsville Historical Society" but doesn't note when it was put out. Some of those houses along First Street are still there. With no leaves on the trees and the shadows I'm thinking the picture was originally taken on a winter afternoon. Without the buildings we now know as the Jim Kenney Center I'm guessing it was taken sometime before the 1920s.

The picture given me was kind of faded and was enhanced by Haugh Designs for a better look. Thanks Susie and thanks Todd for the picture itself. You can click on the picture to make it bigger.

ole nib

Notes From Last Week

County Commissioners have voted to schedule the required public hearings to place the renewal of the 1% sales tax on the November ballot. Those hearings are 6:30 P.M., July 22, and 10 A.M., July 29, in the commissioner's meeting room in Lisbon. Commissioners will decide after the hearings whether to make it permanent. The tax is set to end in 2010. If they get it on this year's ballot and it passes there will be not interruption in the collections. The big question is whether it will be passed.

May figures for CC jobless rate is up to 13.3%, up 0.2 points compared to April. State average is 10.8% and the national average is 9.4%.

Motions will be heard today in Common Pleas Court to see if Eric Dillard will be given a retrial based on motions filed by his defense attorneys. Prosecutors filed a motion to deny it and Judge Pike will hear arguments today. Dillard was found guilty of the 2008 murder of Jamie Farley last month. Defense now say they have new evidence that Farley was armed at the time. Based on the new motions the judge changed today's scheduled sentencing hearing to a motions hearing.

Two Wellsville residents were given jail time last week for the theft of metal & wire. As the detective in the old Baretta t.v. show use to say "if you do the crime you have to do the time". If you do the crime you'll eventually get caught

Missed mentioning the Potter's Players latest production that was performed this past week-end. It was reported in the ER and I hope they had a good turn out. The Players will be holding auditions for "Shop Until You Drop - Dead" mystery play at the theater July 6 & 7 at 7 P.M. The play is going to be a dinner theater performance at Dalonzos later in August.

Charles Franklin and friends are attempting to organize a combined reunion for WHS Classes of '81, '82, '83 and '84 for next year's All Class Reunion time. They will be meeting at 7 P.M. July 2 at Dalonzos. You can call 330-532-1689 or 330-708-1122 for more information.

While at the Stevenson Foundry last Thursday I couldn't help but notice some historical items from the 1800s they have on display. There's an old advertisement and a couple of receipts signed by Stevenson himself that date back to those days. They even have a manufacturer's steel plate that was attached to a product made back then. Co-owner Todd Lynch said he's always on the look out for things like that. They have a small pot bellied stove that was found tucked away in a corner of the boiler room that is believed to be from the original days of the plant. Thanks Todd for the Tin Mill picture.

Brassy Beresford is not the only t.v. personality we have in town now. Channel 27's WKBN reporter Jason Vinkler interviewed both Councilman Don Brown & WFD Chief Smith at the floodwall exercise this past Saturday. They were shown on the newscast Saturday evening. Vinkler is the same reporter that interviewed Brassy at the museum a couple of weeks ago.

ole nib

Riverside Reunion

Just three more days to go until the 4th Annual Riverside Reunion gets underway. As shown the members of the Wellsville Elks organizing committee have already got the stage in place for this years reunion. That's just one step. Many hours have already been put in getting everything lined up and organized.

The Reunion is sponsored by the Elks Lodge 1040 and will take place on Riverside between 7th & 9th Street. The street will be blocked off to traffic beginning Wednesday evening so members and vendors can get set up. The Reunion is a three day affair with entertainment, induction of this year's class of Wellsville Legends, videos, food & beverages.

The Riverside Reunion is the brain child of Eric "hootch2" Shephard four years ago as a way to fill the gap between the Five Year Reunions. The first year was more or less just a street party with bands & vendors. In the second year they added the Wellsville Legends honoring village residents that have contributed to Wellsville's history. This portion has grown extremely popular and there are seven new Legends to be added to that honor roll . Following the induction ceremony Thursday evening will be a short video on each of the new Legends. Another popular feature is a video paying tribute to all that have passed on in the past year and for the first time this year they are presenting a video of all the new borns in the ville for the past year. All videos will be shown Thursday evening.

This year's class of Legends include Darlene Porter, Tom & Jean Broderick, Jack Gallagher, Tommy Haugh, Chuck Amato & Frank Daniels. Porter was the long time owner & operator of the Dairy Queen. The Brodericks were in charge of the All Class Dinner held each time of the 5 Year Reunions. They have been doing that since the first one. Tommy Haugh was the owner of Center Pharmacy and Gallagher, Amato & Daniels were long time police officers in town. Amato served as the town's Safety-Service Director for awhile as well as being part of Amato Realty. All seven were active supporters in various things over the years promoting the ville.

The Reunion is open to the public and the schedule of activities is:

Thursday - July 2 - 6:00 to 8:00 - The Generations Band
8:30 - 9:30 - Legends Induction followed by the three videos
9:30 - closing - The Silver Eagle Band

Friday - July 3 - 6:00 - Opening
8:00 - Midnight - The 7% Superstar Band

Saturday - July 4 - 5:00 - 8:00 - Classic Car Cruise of antique cars
8:00 - Midnight - Wellsville's popular Route 45 Band

There will be temporary Elk memberships available. Entry for the Classic Car Cruise is free and dash board plaques will be presented to each owner. There will be food & beverage vendors to satisfy your appetite & wet your whistle. There's a possibility that the WVFD will be on hand serving up their world famous french fries. The Lodge has got their license amended for the event to cover the side yard, the porch, sidewalk and street from 7th to 9th for anyone wishing to partake of an adult beverage while enjoying the entertainment out doors. WHS Class of '84 and possibly the Class of '79 will be holding reunions in the side yard on Saturday evening.

With music, dancing in the street, good eats, honoring the Legends, videos and just getting together with old friends there's something for everyone. Admission is free and the committee guarantees a good time for all three evenings. You won't want to miss it. It's a fun time put together by the brothers & sisters of the Wellsville Elks for all to enjoy. In case of rain everything will be moved indoors but that ain't gonna happen.

Information is available on Check out the Photo Album section for pictures of past events. This year's videos will eventually be added to that collection.

Look forward to seeing y'all...

ole nib

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Floodwall Exercise - Saturday - 6/27/09

Having grown up on Highland Avenue & living most of my life in the ville I've seen the floodwall gate up many times over the years. Yesterday was the first time I ever saw it being put up. I never realized what a labor intensive effort that "exercise" is to accomplish. It is all done manually. You really can't realize the work, the hard labor and shear strength it takes to fully appreciate what these men do when flood waters threaten the ville, until you see it done.

The gate is a jig saw puzzle of a metal frame, wooden beams, blocks, planks, tarps and sand bags. Each piece is hand carried from storage, laid out and put in place by shear will power. Yesterday that was accomplished by members of the Wellsville Volunteer Fire Dept., members of the Village Fire Dept. along with help from our friends and neighbors of the Highlandtown Fire Dept. Not one of those pieces are considered light weight. A retired volunteer estimated just one of those 8X8" wooden beams weigh in the area of 300 - 400 pounds.

Our floodwall is over 70 years old now and still is considered a vital part to preserving millions of dollars of our infrastructure. One can only imagine how much would have been lost and destroyed over the years if it weren't in place. Fire Chief Bill Smith has been working for some time now to get the pumps refurbished or replaced. Yesterday it was discovered that some of the metal plates that hold the gate in place are getting seriously corroded. Those plates are below the street surface and have been there since the floodwall was built. Yesterday they were able to cautiously work around it but it is an unsafe condition. It not only threatens the integrity of the gate itself, it's a serious hazard to the men working around it. Rick Oleniacz from the Army Corp of Engineers had several suggestions to upgrade and improve our floodwall system. Lets hope those suggestions don't fall on deaf ears in Washington.

Pictured above is shots of the different steps taken to erect the floodwall gate. The first picture is what it looks like after all the work is done. While the tarps were unfolded it was decided to hose them off. Some of the fire fighters got hosed down too. With that hot sun I bet that water felt good. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

Yesterday was a training exercise. Hopefully the next time it's erected it'll be another training session. Thanks to Bishop Rutter and the members of New Life Worship Center for breakfast and a special thanks to all the fire fighters that took part yesterday. You folks are special.

ole nib

Memorial Council Thanks Stevenson Foundry

Over the years Todd & Tim Lynch and the employees of Stevenson Foundry have generously donated their time and expertise to lend a hand to Wellsville's Memorial Council. Stevenson Foundry has been around just about as long as the ville itself in the same location since the 1800s on Fulton St between 1st & 2nd. They specialize in castings and fabricating & machining metal products for all sorts of applications.

In the past Don Brown & members of the Veteran's Memorial Council have gone to the fine folks at Stevenson for help. When it was decided there should be a Civil War memorial Stevenson designers and employees drew up plans for the stand & manufactured it. That stand is at the 4th Street Square site. They also assisted in providing stands & holders for memorials to WWI and Viet Nam veterans just to mention a couple of other projects. Those stands will last long after I'm gone.

The next project Stevenson is working on is flag holders for the flags displayed on poles up and down Main. Don Brown said that a lot of flags are being damaged with weather and vandalism. The holders being used are made of plastic or flimsy metal and don't stand up too well to either. The Council decided it was time to do something about it and once again challenged Stevenson for a solution. The new holders will be fabricated out of sturdy metal and will be permanently mounted a little higher on the poles. The flags will be out of reach and will stand up much better to tormenting winds.

As a way to thank the people of Stevenson the Memorial Council presented an American flag & stand to them this past Thursday, June 25. Pictured here for that presentation from the left is council "gopher" Don Brown, Steveson's Denny Wright, owner Tim Lynch, employee Jason Keyes, and council members Debbie Koffel, Bob McGraw and Dale Barnhart.

I would like to add my thanks to the guys at Stevenson. Personally it means a lot to me along with others to honor all the veterans and to be able to proudly display "Old Glory" in town. You guys are part of what makes the ville a great place.

Tip of the hat to you all...

ole nib

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jo Ann Bobby Gilbert

Morning Journal Reporter Jo Ann Bobby Gilbert likes to say she has ink for blood. With 31 years experience, 26 with the Morning Journal, I would say she is a veteran reporter. After telling us she grew up with her father in the trade I would say she has got some of that ink in her DNA too. She related that her dad was probably the worse ambulance chaser known to mankind always looking for a story and she has picked up a lot of those traits.

Jo Bob got her start in the newspaper business working on Beaver Local's Beaver Tales and was editor her senior year in high school according to Paul Blevins. From high school she went straight to work for the Youngstown Vindicator. Five years later she started at the Morning Journal and has been there since. Wellsville is now her beat. This is her second tour for the ville. Previously she covered Wellsville for 10 years before being reassigned elsewhere. She was covering the East Liverpool beat before once again being reassigned down our way just within the last year.

The Morning Journal can trace it roots back to 1852 in Columbiana County. It started out as the "Buckeye State" back then. It has been part of the Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, WV, since 2003. Ogden also owns the East Liverpool Review, the Salem News, and the Steubenville Herald Star just to name a few. Jo Bob's editor is Dorma Stock Tolson, a ville native. She is the daughter of the late Verla & Dorman Stock. Charter Chamber member Marge Dysert said dorma Stock was one of her students when she was teaching in the Wellsville School District.
Jo Ann related that like any other business in today's economy changes have been made in the Ogden family but that the three papers in our county seem to be fairing a little better than others in that corporation because of the changes that have been adopted. All three county papers roll off the same printing press in Lisbon. When Jo Ann was last reassigned to the ville it was a move with individual reporter's articles appearing in all three editions in the county. Before that they had different reporters for each newspaper. Now they are consolidated and we were fortunate getting Jo Ann. Sadly along with consolidating some operations and reporter's coverage there have been some lay-offs but most of those affected have been able to catch jobs elsewhere.

In spite of all the economic turmoil in recent times Jo Ann says she still loves her job and that she and her fellow reporters are still ardent in putting out a quality product for us newspaper customers. There's good news stories and bad news. They report it all. She said cohort Tom Giambroni, another veteran reporter, says there are no bad stories for a reporter but there are some questionable reporters. Each year they renew their pledge to a strict code of ethics for employees providing coverage for the newspaper.

I'm still chuckling about one provision in that code of ethics. I've gotten to know Jo Bob a little bit since she came back covering the ville. We're frequently at the same events for the same reason - getting the news. For her it's a job in addition to being to her passion. She does an excellent job and I've learned a lot from her just watching her work and reading her stories. She covers the ville & Salineville plus all in between. That provision in her code of ethics that got me chuckling is that no reporter can write a news story about themselves. Even though she was the guest speaker at Thursday's luncheon she couldn't write one word mentioning it. She was very gracious about it and for that I thank her. Over the years she has been the recipient of six AP awards in her division. If it hadn't been for Paul Blevins mentioning it we would never have heard about that. She won't even toot her horn off the record. I had to laugh since I am a "wannabe" covering a seasoned reporter. It's a rare opportunity.

Jo Bob it's an honor writing this and I hope you consider me one of your Wellsville friends.

ole nib

Chamber's June Business-of-the-Month 2009

Selected for the Chamber's June Business-of-the Month was Dalonzo's Restaurant located in the old Home Savings building on Main Street. It is owned and operated by Wellsville native Nick Dalonzo.

Nick has been in the restaurant and pizza business for 12 years now on his own. He says he actually first got interested in preparing good Italian recipes in his mother's kitchen when growing up. He got his first experience in the restaurant business working for his father and uncles just down the street from where he grew up on Commerce St.

Nick opened his first place at the old Dairy Queen location at the intersection of Rt. 45 & Wells Ave. He was there seven years until he moved out on the hill into the old Fairview School building. He was there for four years before coming back to the village to his present location a little over a year ago.

Dalonzo's offers a full menu and specializes in Italian cuisine. You can eat in or order out. Just newly added is a couple of outdoor tables shown above for those that would like to take advantage of this sidewalk dining. Nick has also introduced his new "Calabrese" pizza to his available menu. The difference in his Calabrese pizza is that it is cooked on the oven stone and not in a pan. It gives the thinner crust a little bit of a crunchy feel with your favorite toppings. The new pizza is named in honor of part of his family heritage that came from the Calabrese Region in Italy.

Presenting the plaque to Nick is Chamber President Randy Allmon on the left and Chamber member Brian Wallace to the right.

ole nib

Chamber-of-Commerce June Luncheon 6/25/09

The June luncheon got back to the regular schedule this month and was held at Dalonzo's Restaurant on Main St. After being called to order Paul Blevins gave the invocation.

President Randy Allmon presented all in attendance a copy of the new brochure and announced that it is released and ready to go. He gave special thanks to DigiColor of New Cumberland, Baard's Steve Dopuch and Diana Spencer. DigiColor produced the full color fold out brochure. Dopuch contributed with information about Baard's plans for the new Ohio River Clean Fuels plant and Spencer put in untold hours getting all the loose ends tied up.

Called the Wellsville Ohio Visitors Guide & Map it is loaded with information about the village with many attractive pictures. Also included are ads for many area businesses along with information on local schools and churches. Contact information and numbers for all are also listed and in the center of the fold out is a large map of the village noting the locations of various businesses and attractions. The brochure will be available at establishments around town or by calling the Chamber at 330-532-2120. It really promotes the village. It's a beauty.

The next event sponsored by the Chamber is the auction to be held July 11 at the Alumni Center. It starts at 6 P.M. and there is still a limited amount of "Auction Bucks" available at Air Waves, Central Federal or Huntington Bank. You get $7 in "Auction Bucks" for $5 cash. Donations are still be accepted. They can be dropped off at Central Federal or by calling Allmon at 330-843-3475 or Auction Chairwoman Connie Bauer. They will even arrange to have donations picked up. Still looking for big ticket items such as appliances and furniture. The Lions Club will be selling food & beverages.

Allmon noted that the East Liverpool Chamber and their members have been especially generous with donations. He went on to thank the WHS Alumni Assoc. for donating the use of the center, Sells Auction for providing the services of auctioneer Russ Koontz and to the many folks that have already made donations. Proceeds from the auction will mainly go for purchasing material to renovate the gazebo at 4th St. Members of the unions from the Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council are donating all the labor for that project.

Harry Nemenz of Save-A-Lot was announced as the newest member to join the Chamber. Business of the Month honors went to Dalonzo's Resturant and guest speaker was Reporter Jo Ann Bobby Gilbert. We'll have more on these last two subjects in subsequent articles.

Next luncheon is July 30 at Dalonzo's.

ole nib

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wellsville's Carnegie Library Crisis

For two days this week Tom Giambroni had articles in the newspapers about the governor's decision to cut state funding for libraries by an additional 30%. Across the state that cut would amount to $227 million. Strickland stated the cuts were one of many to eliminate a $3.2 billion budget deficit in his proposed budget. In the past 18 months state funding for libraries have already been cut by 20%. Those cuts also affect our library.

Matt Stewart calls it "The death of libraries" and attributed it to "suburban shopping culture". The tone of his article is sounding the death knell of our free libraries. He noted that library usage is down and even EL KSU got rid of their library.

Reading the newspapers & blogs I stopped yesterday at our library to check out what is going on and how it will affect us. Head Librarian Tracee Murphy is out on medical leave but her second in command, Toni Lloyd, was very helpful filling me in and answering my questions.

As previously noted on more than one occasion our library is very active. Over the last few years they have gone out of their way to especially provide activities for children with special events. This summer they have a different activity every Tuesday morning for our village youngsters. The first event was standing room only and last week they had 74 children attend. Those activity events are scheduled each Tuesday through August. There is a reading contest where any child that reads five books is awarded a coupon for a Taco Bell burrito and taco.

Mrs. Lloyd advised me that library usage has gone up quite a bit in the last year averaging 5,500 visitors a month. For our little village that is quite a number. Book usage is up. I know of people that belong to book clubs to just get news of new publications. Then they turn around and call the library for any new books they want to read. It's an economical way to keep up with their favorite authors. It's a service provided free of charge to library members. Membership is also free.

Computer usage at the library has gone out of sight. Many of the users conduct job searches and write resumes. Some use them to apply weekly for their unemployment benefits and some drop in because they can't afford the Internet at home. That's another service that is provided free of charge.

When asked what is going to happen if the governor's cut goes through, Mrs. Lloyd said closing is the very last option that will be considered. First to be considered will be reducing the purchase of new books and movie DVDs. If forced to because of budget restrictions they may look at reducing the hours of operation and possibly reducing staff. Right now contingency plans are all up in the air.

The state budget has to be acted on in Columbus by the end of the month. As of yesterday the ladies told me that the governor has been hit with 14,000 e-mails protesting the library fund cut. You can help by e-mailing Mr. Strickland, State Senator Jason Wilson and State Rep. Linda Bolan. For the governor go to At the bottom of the page there is a "Contact" listed. Hit that and an e-mail form will pop up. Wilson can be e-mailed at and Bolon at

Ask them to please reconsider the cut in funding especially since it has already been cut a whopping 20%. While you're at it ask them if anyone has proposed a 10% wage cut for elected and better paid state officials.

Thanks ladies for your assistance. If you want to keep up on the news about this visit the Ohio Library Council's web page at

ole nib

Sewage Committee Meeting - Wednesday - 6/24/09

The meeting was attended by all three members of the committee yesterday plus Zoning Administrator Rick Williams. Rick was sitting in for Village Administrator Jim Saracco. The meeting was opened by Committee Chairman Randy Allmon and turned over to fellow committee man Tony Cataldo.

Cataldo addressed three issues of concern to the village. Stating it was time to start looking forward and applying for grants for 2010 he advised there is $176,000 of Issue 2 money available for various sewage improvements. If awarded this grant it could be used for improvements for various sewage treatment and drainage projects. Called the Clean Ohio Fund Act, Issue 2 was approved at the polls last November.

Second on the list was applying for some federal stimulus money. Through OMEGA there will be $11.6 million available in funds for anything related to water and sanitation facilities. Hopefully by starting now Wellsville can get a share of this available money when they dole it out next year. OMEGA is the Ohio Mid-Eastern Government Agencies which covers our village. They award grants to government entities in the region for basically infrastructure improvement projects. Village officials applied for funding from OMEGA to finish upgrading the sewage treatment plant this year. Apparently we were passed over.

As is well known the village did not receive one red cent in stimulus money this year along with many other small communities across the state. The bulk of Ohio's share of stimulus funds went to the 3 Cs - Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati. It wasn't for lack of trying. The Mayor applied for over $13 million directly through US Rep. Charlie Wilson's office. Village officials would have been jubilant to have even got a small per centage of that amount.

Another stumbling block in sewage projects is the much written about STAG funds being held up by the US EPA. That's in the area of $600,000 left in that grant that was ear marked for finishing up the sewage treatment plant and the Highland Avenue project. The EPA decision is now being appealed and those wheels are slow to turn. It took the EPA years to ask for documentation for a grant that was awarded back in 1992.

The third item on Cataldo's agenda was the contract with the County Engineer's office for sewage rates for residents in the Russell Hts. area. The village has a 40 year contract with that office to furnish sewage services for that area. That contract is yearly open for renegotiation for those fees. The dead line to renegotiate those rates is October 31.

The last time sewage rates were adjusted was in 2002. It was brought up in 2004 but was tabled and never revisited. Cataldo said they are looking into a flat fee rate increase and mentioned a dollar amount as an example. Right now sewage rates are based on water usage amounts for both village residents and customers that live outside village limits. BWD even has water meters on homes that use well water so their sewage bills can be determined.

Since it has been seven years and the cost of just about everything going up two of the committee members indicated it was time to look at an increase. Member Don Brown requested that any increase be seriously considered since he estimates that most of our residents are senior citizens living on fixed incomes or on government assistance. Brown stated the current minimum rates are a hardship for some.

No decisions were made at yesterday's meeting. We'll have to wait and see what comes about.

ole nib

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Floodwall Exercise

This Saturday morning, June 27, around 10 A.M. the members of the Wellsville Fire Dept. & the Volunteers will be practicing putting up the flood wall gate up on Lisbon Street. The gate is made up of 8X8" timbers, tarps & sand bags. It closes off the street to block rising flood waters. Hopefully it will be the only time you see it go up. Every once in a while the Fire Departments go through the exercise to train new members and refresh the skills of the veteran fire fighters.

It's something to see. The Wellsville flood control system was made possible by a Congressional act after the devastating flood of 1936 that caused millions of dollars in damage. It was completed in 1938. Growing up on Highland Ave. I've seen it used from both sides over the years.

Traffic from Wells to Lisbon Streets will be diverted for a few hours while the exercise is going on. For safety reasons you will not be allowed to pull over on Route 7 to watch the activities. Although the four lane gives you a bird's eye view parking along the berm will be strictly prohibited. It's just too dangerous and not worth the risk. You'll have to join me at ground level.

ole nib

Notes From Last Week

Got out of town last Thursday to attend our grand daughter's pre-school graduation. Now I'm playing catch-up. Times, they do change. When I was that age there was no such thing as pre-school. Kindergarten was optional. Legally a kid didn't have to attend school until they were six years of age, old enough to start first grade. Now a days a six year old is well versed in colors, drawing, know their numbers and most can read on what use to be considered a second grade level. Amazing.

Talk about times changing, for the first time is decades the Riverside Presbyterian Church cancelled their annual Sidewalk Cafe. Weather permitting it was held outdoors in front of the church over looking the scenic river and WV hillside. It was held to catch the lunch time customers and was usually well attended by village business folks and others just looking to get some good home made grub. Sadly it's a Wellsville icon that has probably come to past with today's economy forcing many of the younger parishioners into the work force.

Missed the Finance Committee meeting last Thursday. Committee Chairman Tony Cataldo was reported saying village income is down compared to last year but FO Dale Davis advised that June figures were not yet posted. It is expected that property & income taxes and interest earned from those will be down compared to last year. Cataldo was reported as adding the Fire Dept. exceeded revenue in May but on a percentage basis it "is right where it should be".

The EPA decision on the STAG funds being held in limbo is being appealed by attorneys of our engineering firm. That's the grant that is intended for sewage improvements that the EPA says they need age old documentation for the matching share. Village officials were able to document nearly 90% of the $1.2 million the EPA wanted paid back but the EPA is sticking to their guns. In the meantime the village started paperwork applying for an Appalachian Regional Commission grant for $133,000 for improvements on the sewage treatment plant.

The WPD COPS grant application needed some clarification that has been supplied. That's the federal DOJ program that will pay for extra police officers for three years with the village having to pick up the tab for the fourth year. Village employees are inquiring if there will be any pay raises for 2010 while contract negotiations are still in progress. As Davis was reported saying it's a little early for that question to be answered. They are checking into some Nature Works funding for money to repair the big fountain in the middle of Broadway Park. That's the only one that is not working. Jo Ann Bobby G noted in her Loose Ends remarks last Sunday that the cost for that repair job is $4,400.

The accused Broadway resident & meth lab operator busted a couple of weeks ago has been bound over to the Grand Jury. He remains on $500,000 bond but may be allowed to do house arrest with monitoring while he waits for the Grand Jury decision. According to newspaper reports that is still pending.

The Ministerial Association sponsored Paint the Town committee has got started on their first house this year on Clark Avenue last week. Members of the Nazarene Church undertook this one. This is the home improvement program for painting houses of Wellsville residents that are either unable or can't afford to do it. Pastor Dirk Hall is chairman of the committee this year. If you can donate time, money or both give him a call. It's a good neighbor program that is an all volunteer effort to help some of those in need. The number of houses that get done this year depends on your generosity.

Did you see the AP photo in last Monday's ER where the Sierra Club is protesting in Cleveland the proposed Baard plant? It was probably held there in the hopes of getting more publicity but I'm guessing those folks carrying hand made signs probably don't have much of a life or even know where the ville is located. Staging a protest nearly 200 miles away from here is an admission of being chicken to face some opposition. It's like drawing a line in the sand and then running as fast as you can going backwards. Bring it on down my fine feathered friends. I know a lot of unemployed workers in the area that would love to discuss your points of view.

The WVFD is scheduling a "Nite Golf" event for July 25, at the Beaver Creek Par 3. It starts at 9:30 P.M. The entry fee covers a lighted golf ball and food & drink. The prize purse totals $550. You can register your team at the Fire Station and get more info by calling 330-831-9061. Sounds like fun. Wonder if "Bonehead" is as good playing in the dark?

Another area icon is closing their doors soon. After 82 years Pearl China out on Dresden Ave. will be shut down. Pearl China is/was a pottery retail outlet that got started back in the days when this area was known as the "Pottery Capitol of the World". They offered for sale many unique items from manufacturers over all the region. I had two aunts from Kentucky that visited every summer and Pearl China was a "must stop" location on their travel itinerary each year. When the last one passed on a while back she still had some crockery ware mixing bowls she bought at Pearl.

State Senator Jason Wilson has sent a letter to village officials stating the the ville & officials from East Liverpool have to get together and decide which way they want to go with the Municipal Court issues. Officials in EL want to shut down the court and Wellsville officials want to change from the county court to the one in EL. Think it's time for our councilman who proposed this to get off his duff and try to arrange a joint meeting with all concerned to resolve this issue. Wilson is willing to help however he can but has rightly told each community he needs to know which way to proceed before taking the next step. For transportation and time savings I would prefer if EL officials would rescind their proposal plus I would like to see ville native Melissa Byers-Emmerling keep her job. I'm not fully aware of all the financial facts but I can't help thinking that in the long run moving the court out to Lisbon will prove more costly for EL.

Now - that nearly catches me up.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tree Board Meeting

Last Friday there was an open meeting in Council chambers with former Tree Board members, Dawn Johnson who is the sole remaining member and Council members. The meeting was suggested at the last regular Council meeting and the date & time was set up shortly afterwards by the mayor. Like the mayor I was out of town and unable to attend. The meeting was run by Council Pro-Tem John McMahon.

From what I read in the paper it sounds like nothing was resolved at the meeting. Everything seems to be the same as before. For back ground on this story see the article I wrote earlier in the month called "Wellsville Tree Board Or Not". It was posted on June 11.

Since writing that piece I've learned that there have been a total of 11 people to resign either from the Broadway Park committee or the subsequent Tree Board. The common theme for all those resignations has been the inability to work with and get along with Johnson. There is a documented history of trying to resolve the differences but nothing was ever worked out. From the newspaper account of last Friday's meeting the theme remains the same.

One of the points of contention is a project called the Gateway Project where the village can get a grant of $20,000 from ODOT to dress up one of the ramp areas coming into town off Route 7. At first it was decided to do the 3rd St. exit around the kiln. The ODOT grant would pay for seeding, planting flowers & shrubs and placing benches in that location. Johnson told me herself that because of the milk weed up there the area would have to be all dug up and new top soil would have to be put in plus level it off. That area is filled in with brick & mortar from the old Acme Pottery that once stood there. On top of that is rock that was put there when they were building the expanded Route 7. That's true of all the exits. A lot of rock that was removed from the hillside was used for filler between the road and the ramps with a little dirt on top. The dirt is not too deep.

Now $20,000 is a lot of money by any stretch of the imagination and I'm no expert on the cost of removing and replacing top soil. However, in my line of thinking, to accomplish what needs to be done would require the use of some heavy equipment and trucks to haul everything. That's not a job that a few volunteers can accomplish with a couple of wheel barrows and shovels. It is also a job that the village has neither the man power, equipment or funds to do. That's one of the reasons former members of the Tree Board voted to table the Gateway Project.

How much of that grant would be eaten up just to replace the dirt and level off the area? Does anyone know? Has anyone got even a ball park estimate on a cost? I doubt it. No one has said anything about it as far as I know. No one on the Tree Board or Council has expertise on this matter. One former Tree Board member believes that the Gateway Project would cost the village more than the ODOT grant of $20,000.

Maybe instead of some of our Council members supporting and applauding one individual's efforts to bring that money into the village it would be wise to get an idea of what it is going to cost from people who know. It would be the responsible thing to do. That ODOT grant would have to be used for that one specific purpose. It can not be used elsewhere on something other than that.

Will $20,000 cover it?

ole nib

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wellsville Historical Society - June '09 Meeting

Last night was "celebrity" night at the Wellsville Historical Society's monthly meeting. None other than Minnie Pearl stopped in, gave a big "howdy!" and stayed for a chat with those members in attendance. Bless her heart, she was radiant even with the price tag still hanging from her hat. She is still a real down home lady and regaled us with many tales of life in her neck of the woods. They say laughter is the best medicine and I believe if anybody was feelin' poorly last night they were cured by the time Minnie bid ado.

Pvt. Nick Dauka of the 4th Armored Div. Historical Group was welcomed as a new member. Nick is a senior at Mt. Union and has an intense interest in all things historical. After spending last week-end with us he decided to sign up. Glad to have you on board Nick. Welcome.

Society President Brassy Beresford reviewed last week-end's event with the 4th Armored group. They returned for the second time this year and put on quite a display of the life & times of soldiers that served in that WWII division. The turn out for this year's visit was better than it was the last time with steady crowds checking it out and even some WWII vets reminiscing over what they experienced in those days.

Brassy went on to thank some area residents that loaned their memorabilia to the exhibit. Those folks were Charlene Walsh, Phil Corsello, Tim Ferguson, John Sawyer and Bob Laughley. Charlene's father was an actual member of the 4th Armored Division in Europe and she graciously donated Charles Taylor's keep sakes to the museum. One of those items was a large map of Germany that Taylor had notations made of all the places the 4th went through. One of those notations said "stole chickens". After requisitioning the chickens they took them back to the farm they were staying at and asked the lady farmer to cook them up for the men. She remarked that it had been a really long time since they had some fresh eggs. So, the G.I.s went back and got her some eggs. In her appreciation of getting the eggs the lady gave Taylor a watch which is still in their possession.

Discussion was held on some possible upcoming events. Byron Carter offered to set up his BBQ at one of the events. Byron tells me he uses an old family recipe for his sauce and he works culinary magic with his chicken and ribs. Makes me hungry just thinking about them.

Another event is a sort of Antiques Road Show with a certified appraiser checking out your antiques for a nominal fee. He is donating his time to the museum and who knows? You may have a highly valued item in your possession. We'll pass on additional information once we learn the details.

The next scheduled event is on Sunday, July 12, at 2 P.M. with Wayne Cole presenting a history of street cars and buses. Both of these played a big roll in our history and Mr. Cole is an expert in the history of their development. It's free of admission and open to the public.

In addition to Mrs. Walsh's gift, Mr. Harold Baldwin donated a large picture frame and a sketch of the steamboat East Liverpool. The sketch was drawn by Mr. Baldwin his freshman year in high school. He has also previously donated steam boat models that are displayed in the museum's Boat Room.

Getting back to Minnie...she told us she noticed that Indian Chief Logan was prominently displayed at the museum but there was no evidence of Chief Shortcake. He was also a very well known historical figure who's tribe camped out along the shores of Yellow Crik before Joe Wells ever settled here. You'll have to ask any members that were there last night to tell you the story. Chief Shortcake's story is one for the books.

Minnie was portrayed by Hancock County Historical Society's Janet Kellor. Janet is the mother of seven boys and comes from New Cumberland, WV. She is very entertaining. Sorry about the fuzzy picture. Minnie wouldn't stand still long enough.

ole nib

Vandals Strike Again

No, it's not pictures of the big snow storm of 1950. The white fluffy stuff you see in the pictures are the result of mentally deficit vandals trying to ruin some of the village's show case spots. Sometime yesterday or over night soap was dumped into the fountain nearest 5th St. in Broadway Park. Just after day light this morning it had people stopping in the street. They were hesitant to drive through the stuff not really sure what it was at first. Thankfully there were no accidents with most of those people on their way to work in the early hours.

This was just talked about at last night's Council Meeting. Police spokesmen advised they are doing some extra patrolling of the area but they can't be there all the time. They asked the Broadway residents be extra vigilant and to call in any suspicious activity right away. The number to call is 330-532-1522. A description of the perpetrator/s would be excellent. Even a license number or vehicle description would be good if they're using a car. It would probably only take one bust to put an end to this kind of misdeed.

It's not funny. These pimple brained individuals are trying to ruin it for the rest of us that appreciate the beauty of these antique fountains. They're a nice touch that helps make the ville some place special. The nimrods that did this are selfish, stupid and inconsiderate.

Village Street workers had the mess cleaned up by early afternoon. Wish I could catch just one of the juvenile thinking people who did it.

Just one...

ole nib

Council Meeting - Tuesday - 6/16/09

Mayor Joe Surace called the meeting to order, led us in the Lord's Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Roll call was taken and all Council members were present. Also in attendance was Village Solicitor Andy Beech, Village Administrator Jim Saracco, WFD Chief Smith, Fiscal Officer Dale Davis & Zoning Administrator Rick Williams. Davis doubles as Council Clerk.

For the Public Speaking portion former Councilwoman Diane Dinch thanked the Street Department for cleaning up a pile of debris that was left over from the construction company that did some work in her neighborhood some time ago. Dinch also thanked Council on behalf of herself and the other resigned members of the Tree Board for the privilege of being able to serve the village in that capacity. She said they enjoyed contributing to make improvements in town and it was especially gratifying working with the children on the Arbor Day Project. Dinch was appointed Chairwoman by the Tree Board for this year's Arbor Day events which included all the town's third grade students. Citing a continual conflict with fellow member Dawn Johnson the remaining members of the Tree Board resigned last month en masse.

Councilwoman Rosie Goss thanked the former members stating that she loves what the Tree Board has accomplished and proposed a joint meeting with Council, all the former members and village administrators. The mayor added that he hasn't formally accepted the resignations yet and added he thought such a meeting was an excellent idea. Members are appointed by the mayor with Council's approval. So far the one remaining member, Johnson, has not submitted any new names to the mayor. Johnson was not at last night's meeting.

Several other Council members added their compliments to what for what the Tree Board has done with Don Brown summing it up saying he too hope that the differences can be worked out stating he would hate seeing them give up with all the work they put into the committee. Main Street resident Marge Dysert added she doesn't know all the ins and out of that committee but she loves what has been accomplished with Broadway Park. "It's a real beauty compared to what it looked like beforehand", she added.

Center Street resident Mary Bucher addressed Council on the vicious dog issues that seem to be plaguing the village. In addition to the incident on Highland Avenue her grandson was attacked by a mixed pitbull/bull mastiff dog last week. That dog jumped a fence when he attacked her grandson. The seven year old grandson was walking from his home to visit his grand parents. Mrs. Bucher also admonished village officials for the slow response to that incident stating it could have been much worse. Apparently the ACO officer was not immediately available and there was some miscommunication between her and the WPD.

Mayor Surace said that is being addressed by village officials. He stated that he has issued a proclamation that all village owners of vicious dogs, as described by the Ohio Revised Code, must register those pets with Village Hall along with proof of insurance. As being used here a vicious dog is any pit bull or any pit bull mixed breed. Any violators caught will be cited into Magistrate Court.

Fix-up/Clean-up Committee Chairman Nunzio Lombardozzi reported four deacons and two other members of Wellsville's First Baptist Church got together last Saturday for an unscheduled session. They repaired the Center Street intersection near the church and smoothed it out with cold patch. He commended Rev. Thompson and the First Baptist congregants for volunteering their time and efforts to complete that project.

Lombardozzi advised that last year the committee logged over 1,600 man hours. So far this year those man hours only amount to around 180 hours. The committee meets the first Saturday of every month. For the past two months it's been a committee of one plus himself. Thanks should go out to Jan Wasko. As Nunzi stated maybe other organizations in the village will pick up the lead shown by the members of First Baptist. With just a few hours time a lot could be accomplished to benefit the village.

WFD Chief Smith submitted a Dept. of Homeland Security grant available to fix up and construct additions to the Fire Dept. The grant is one that does not require any matching funds. Smith stated that the application is quite involved adding he would like to use the village grant writers to handle this one. Finance Committee Chairman Tony Cataldo advised he has scheduled a committee meeting Thursday to address this issue.

Village Administrator Jim Saracco announced that this year's chip and seal program is completed. He apologized to residents of Pine and Appian Way for not getting those streets done as planned for. The equipment used by the County Engineers road crew is too wide for those areas. Saracco said they are working on Plan B for that. He also thanked the residents of the streets that got done for their patience and cooperation in not parking on those streets. The county employees had some equipment break downs and it took a little longer than anticipated to complete the job.

Saracco also reported that there have been two incidents of vandals dumping soap in the Broadway fountains. Not knowing if it will damage the pumps it may be necessary to shut them down and that would be a shame. One of our police officers advised that a good way to capture these miscreants is for the Broadway residents to keep a close vigil and immediately report anything suspicious. If caught they will have to answer to their misdeeds in Magistrate Court. The number to call is 330-532-1522. The WPD have increased their patrolling of that area but can't be there at all times.

For the Mayor's Report Surace reported that income from the Magistrate Court for May was $6,787.38 and year-to-date is $41,900.78.

Under Committee Reports for the Street Committee it was reported that the lights at the 18th St. playground are now working. Vandals have already broken out two of them. Representing the VFW, Don Brown submitted a request to block off 4th St. on July 11 from Main to Commerce all day for a poker run. The poker run is being held to raise funds to benefit the Viet Nam Moving Wall. The wall is suppose to be in Thompson Park this fall. With Brown abstaining Council voted to approve the request provided the chiefs of the WPD & WFD gave their okays.

For the property Committee Randy Allmon reported that the Masonry Union has volunteered to do the cement work needed to rehabilitate the 4th St. gazebo. Right now they are trying to locate a source to get some 8X8 timbers for roof supports. They are not replacing the roof and are only looking at replacing some of the rotten timbers that hold it up. The Chamber-of-Commerce is funding the project with an auction to be held July 11 at the Alumni Center. The members of the allied trade unions are donating the labor for the project. Allmon advised they hope to have that project completed by the end of July.

For Claims, Rules & Ordinances Chairwoman Rosie Goss made a motion to deny a claim for a busted tire submitted by a Highland Avenue resident. That claim was from a woman stating that she slid on snow and ice back in early winter and consequently busted a tire. That ditch has been up there forever. Jim Saracco said that because it is a hilly street it is well maintained with salt when it snows. In a Monday Committee meeting it was brought up that the village has never paid such claims and that motion was passed by Council.

For new Legislation, under suspension of rules, Council approved the annual participation in the D.A.R.E. program for the 2009-2010 school year. It's a drug education program conducted by the WPD for our school children. Officer Marsha has mainly been handling those duties the past few years.

Also recommended by the Ordinance Committee was the reduction in the amusement tax for coin operated machines such as pin ball, pool tables and juke boxes. Since 1998 that fee has been a flat rate of $250/year for each establishment that has any of the machines. The Committee recommended that it be cut in half but Ordinance 09-11 was tabled due to some changes that Andy Beech said should be incorporated into the amendments. Fiscal Officer Davis questioned when the ordinance would be in effect and what should be done with the fees that have already been paid. Stating that if it is effective this year there is no stipulation included in the proposed amendment covering how to handle fees already paid. Council agreed that it would be retroactive to the beginning of this year and anyone who has already paid will be given the option to be reimbursed or to credit any over payment to next year's fee payment. Davis apologized for delaying the changes but advised he needed documentation to authorize any thing he does to satisfy the auditors when they come in. Beech said he would adopt the changes into the amendment and have it ready for the next regular Council meeting.

Being no New Business on the agenda the meeting was adjourned at 6:38 P.M. Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7.

ole nib

WPD Has New Weapons

Having undergone training for the past two Saturdays the ville's police officers have all been certified and are now carrying the new "taser" guns that were made possible with some generous donations. The donations were from some of the clubs in town. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head is the VFW & the Eagles. There may have been others that I forgot.

The guns aren't actually "tasers". I think that is a brand name but their effect is the same. They shoot a bolt of electric current that renders the target incapable of aggressive behavior allowing the officer time to put the culprit in restraints. Usually harmless the effect of being hit with that bolt of electricity wears off quickly. It's a form of non-lethal defense when belligerent offenders of the law want to show the officer how tough they can be.

Shown here with one of the new weapons is Patrolman Dan Saracco. Saracco said all the WPD officers are now equipped with the guns.

With a little help from our friends the WPD is being able to move into the 21st century.

ole nib

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Notes From Last Week

Saturday's newspapers reported that while serving a search warrant at a Broadway residence police were led to a methamphetamine lab in Salineville last Friday. This morning in a Tom Giambroni story we learned that the lab was moved from the Wellsville residence to that location in Salineville after the alleged operator got a tip about the search warrant. Methamphetamine is bad news all around from the hazards in its manufacturer to the mind altering effects this illicit drug has on the users. Right now I'd say the bigger problem the Drug Task Force has to address is the leak of information that tipped this guy off. Somewhere in that chain of authority is someone that definitely should not be part of that operation. Someone is "dirty" and is defeating the effectiveness of all the law enforcement personnel trying to clean up our drug problems.

The vicious dog attack on the three year old lass in the Highland Avenue area last week has generated a lot of newspaper print and comments on here too. Even Channel 9 came around for a follow-up story. As one commenter just observed most were more concerned about the treatment the dog got rather than the welfare of the unfortunate child who is undergoing the series of rabies vaccinations. I'm as much an animal lover as the next but I have to wonder where some people's priorities are. If it wasn't for the owner's negligence that child would never have suffered the attack and trauma associated with it. I'm not sorry when I say my sympathy is for that young lady in this case. This incident should never have happened. Hopefully that child will be okay both physically and mentally.

From what I learned yesterday village officials are not letting this go by the wayside. The ACO is getting some much needed equipment and they are even looking into classes to get her certified for a tranquilizer gun.

Even though they ended the month of May with an ending balance of $2.7 million the Wellsville BOE is worried about the cost of pending legislation in Columbus. Seems the state is trying to shift some costs of education from state funds to local school districts in addition to other changes on the drawing boards. It all adds up to additional financial burdens on the districts if it goes through.

In an AP story in the MJ last week it was reported that the State Supreme Court reversed residency requirements for local governments in Ohio. This means that towns can not forced their employees to reside within the town's limits. It's been a while but I sort of recall that was an issue in Wellsville several years ago. I can't remember if it was just being kicked around or if there is an ordinance on the books requiring village employees to live in town. The Claims, Rules & Ordinance Committee should check out to see if we're in compliance.

WFD Chief Bill Smith advised me that the flood wall exercise scheduled for June 27 will start with a couple of hours of classroom work before getting started on the actual putting up of the gate. It's a refresher for the firefighters that have gone through it before and an introduction for the ones that have never had the experience. Smitty said it will probably be around 10 A.M. before they get up to Lisbon Street.

Nice feature on the pie making ladies at the Riverside Presbyterian Church that Jo Bob Gilbert had in last Sunday's MJ. Those ladies started that fund raising project 12 years ago. Through their efforts they have been able to raise a lot of money for various church projects. People come from far & wide to get their pies. You can't find a better pie crust than what Martha Ralston mixes up. I got her recipe but I have trouble duplicating it. Pat Ready tells me they are done for the summer. Those ovens generate a lot of heat. Pat says they plan to be back at it in the fall.

The down turn in the economy has affected a lot people world wide but your heart has to go out to the retirees of Canadian beer maker Molson. As part of their retirement package from that brewer was a free lifetime supply of the brew made from barley & hops. Saying that benefit costs the company around $900,000 a year Molson is turning off the tap. Things are tough all over.

Finally, I would like to offer my condolences to EL resident Tom Greenwood. Tom turned 65 this year and was looking forward to getting a reduction on his real estate taxes that can be had with the Homestead Exemption rule. Seems Tom ran head on into some bureaucratic razzle dazzle from county officials with the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. Seems he called the County Treasurer's office in January and was told he had to call the County Auditor but had to wait until June to apply. Come June he called the right office only to be told he was too late. Now he has to wait until next January to apply for the reduced rate. To top it off the Auditor Office employee he talked to was rude. That ain't right. Whatever happened to common courtesy? As Tom noted they are tax payer's employees. An exception should be made for this one.

ole nib

Monday, June 15, 2009

4th Armored Div. Historical Group

Sponsored by the Wellsville Historical Society at their museum on Riverside the 4th Armored Historical Group rolled into town last Friday for a Saturday & Sunday exhibition. This group is head quartered in Hubbard, Ohio and has members from all over. This group uses authentic tents, uniforms, weapons and equipment used in WWII. It was a living history of the brave men and a demonstration of what they used fighting that war.

On Saturday they put on a shooting demonstration using weapons actually used during WWII. Some of those weapons dated back before the days of the first world war. Although they only used blanks it was an impressive demonstration that probably made some folks in West Virginia think we had were attacking them. They even had a 1917 Browning water cooled machine gun. On that one there's a tank around the barrel that holds 4.5 pints of water to cool it.

Pictured above is a group photo of some of the members that were here this week-end for the re-enactment. Kneeling, from the left is Lt. Tim Rane and 1st Sgt. Gordon Smith. From the left standing is Pvt. Nick Dauka, Cpl. Don Fuller, Society President Brassy Beresford, and Cpl. Bob Marmura. T/Sgt. Winkler had to break camp early and didn't get in that picture.

The group will be in Conneaut, PA, in August to take part in a D-Day invasion re-enactment and in Alliance in late September for An American Military History Show. You can get additional information by e-mailing Cpl. Fuller, the company clerk, at

It was an interesting learning experience for many of us that came around after that war. A lot of the equipment on display was things I've only seen pictures of or weren't even aware of. For others it was a trip down memory lane. There were visitors from young children to some veterans that were actually in that war. One of those gentlemen came with a couple of his children that shared some of his experiences from WWII. It astounded the kids with them remarking that Dad never told us those stories. Wish I could have recorded some of those stories.

You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge. I broke this up into a four part series. Scroll on down for the other three.

ole nib

A Little Help From Our Friends

A special thanks go out to the residents of the ville that helped make the WWII Living History exhibition this past Saturday & Sunday a little more special by loaning some of their memorabilia to be displayed.

One of those generous folks was Phil Corsello pictured above holding a picture of himself when he served our country. Mr. Corsello was stationed a Hickham Air Base in Hawaii when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He loaned the museum many original newspaper articles and pictures from that day. Mr. Corsello said he has been to many reunions and was back at Pearl Harbor at the big reunion a few years ago.

Charles Taylor loaned a certificate verifying that he was a member of the real 4th Armored Division plus other artifacts. That's his certificate pictured above.

John Sawyer from Highlandtown loaned the museum a disc called The 100 Greatest Military Photographs. That disc was dedicated to all the men and women of the military. It has pictures from the Civil War up through Viet Nam with a lot of them from WWII. Mr. Sawyer set it up to run continuously through the week-end's event. One of those pictures was from D-Day shown above.

Thanks to everyone that contributed. If I missed anyone please let us know. It was unintentional.

ole nib

Cell Phone Predecessor

Pictured here is a field phone that was used in WWII and one of the many relics that was on display at this past week-end's demonstration at the Wellsville River Museum by the 4th Armored Historical Group.

The field phone is a predecessor of today's cell phones. It's actually a radio transmitter/receiver. It had a range of several 100 yards and was one of the tools used back in those days for mobile communications. Before the world went digital the only means of mobile communications used radio signals. That's T/SGT Al Winkler doing the demonstration. Al was manning the "comm center".

Quite a difference, eh?

ole nib

Semper Fi

Once a Marine, always a Marine - faithful to God, Country and the Corp. Wellsville Historical Society President Robert "Brassy" Beresford is a WWII veteran having served in Okinawa with the 1st Marine Division in 1944 and 1945.

In times of war a soldier's weapon is like a part of his body. It is always with him or within quick reach. While serving in Okinawa Brassy carried a BAR, a Browning Automatic Rifle. It's a heavy weapon capable of firing off bursts of bullets.

The members of the 4th Armored Historical Group surprised Brassy this past Saturday with a BAR that was loaned to them for this past week-end's exhibition. A flood of emotions over whelmed Brassy saying he never thought he would hold one of those ever again. He even shed a few tears. When he was in the Pacific Theater doing WWII it was the love of his life.

Pictured above is Brassy back in those days and his reunion with that love of his life. The members of the 4th Armored honored Brassy, allowing him to demonstrate the BAR for the audience at the shooting display they put on. Thanks to Pat & Jim Lawrence for the pictures.

Those Marines aren't so tough...

ole nib

Friday, June 12, 2009

The "Break Through Division"

The 4th Armored Division Historical Group will be rolling into the village sometime this afternoon or evening to bivouac on the grounds of the Wellsville Historical Society. This historical WWII group is a living history of the men and the equipment used by actual soldiers doing their duty in Europe. They will have the display set up both Saturday & Sunday this week-end at the museum. On Saturday, 13 June, at 1300 hours, there will be a shooting demonstration of all kinds of weapons used in that war. That's 1 P.M. for you civilian types! The encampment on display will use authentic tentage, weapons, vehicles and equipment used in WWII.

The 4th Armored Div. was activated April 15, 1941, at Pine Camp, NY. After over two years of organizing and training all over the country the division was ordered overseas in November, 1943. They shipped out of Boston Harbor in December, 1943, bound for England.

Their commanding officer was Major General John S. Wood who refused to let the division adopt any kind of nickname. He felt the division's actions and combat record would be name enough.

The 4th landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on July 11, 1944, following the D-day invasion. They were in their first battle action by July 18, only seven days later. Eventually they were pulled back to regroup and await for Operation Cobra to begin. They were part of General George Patton's 3rd Army and Cobra was the many pronged push to break through the remaining German lines.

At 0500 hours on July 28, 1944, they moved out and from that time on the only thing that held them up was gasoline. At times instead of waiting for fuel supplies to reach them they were "requisitioning" gas from captured German vehicles of all kinds. In seven weeks since landing at Normandy the 4th had thrown a 700 mile right hook across the heart of France capturing and pushing back the Germans. Their advance was so rapid that many times other grunts slugging along would inquire "who the hell are you guys?" They only answered back they were "Georgie's boys". Remember the movie Patton?

Eventually the 4th went on to drive through the Siegfried line on to the Rhine and Main Rivers in Germany earning the unofficial nickname "The Break Through Division". Their drive finally took them into Czechoslovakia. The 4th was deactivated April 26, 1946, at Camp Kilmer, NJ, and this is the division the 4th Armored Historical Group is representing right here in the ville this week-end. It's a tribute to not only the 4th but to all men and woman who gallantly took part in that war. It's a living history that you won't want to miss.

The display is open to the public and free of admission. Saturday times are from 10 A.M. - 6 P.M. with the shooting demonstration at 1 P.M. Sunday hours are from 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. The museum is located on Riverside just behind the church at 10th & Main in Wellsville. The museum will also be open during those times and there might be a Power Point presentation with pictures for different wars running on the monitor inside.

See you there...

ole nib

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Viscious Dog Incident

The village just can't seem to get away from sad dog stories. This past Saturday a bizarre story began to unfold in the Highland Avenue area when the police was called about a vicious dog biting a three year old child. The WPD called the Village Animal Control Officer for assistance. When she arrived the dog came at her snarling and growling. She told the neighbors to stay on the porch, got back into her vehicle and waited for the police to arrive. Apparently the dog was still acting very aggressive and after obtaining permission from their superiors the police had no choice other than putting the dog down. This was lawfully done for safety reasons to protect others from any more attacks by this dog.

According to Jo Bob's newspaper accounts the dog was a mixed breed. I wonder if it was part of the Pit bull breed. It was also reported the dog was chained in an enclosure before breaking loose which is required for pit bull breeds. The dog was dragging a length of chain when all this occurred. The owner advised that the dog had all required vaccinations.

After the dog was shot it was transported to the Village Dog Pound. The Mayor said he would arrange for it's disposal. In the meantime the Mayor got called to a family medical emergency. Upon arriving for work Monday morning a village employee found the dog still on the steps to the pound. It was decided to bury the dog in the wooded area up at the cemetery.

The little girl that was attacked didn't require emergency medical care but was taken to her family doctor Monday. The doctor, as required, advised the County Health Board of the dog bite and it was decided that they needed the dog for testing since the owner had no record of the vaccinations. After digging the dog up it was determined too much time had elapsed to conduct testing for rabies. WOHI was reporting yesterday that the little girl was undergoing the series of rabies shots.

If I were to point my finger at anyone to blame for this bizarre story it would have to be the dog's owner. Her confinement arrangements were evidently not strong enough to keep the dog in a secure area. You can't blame ACO Leslie Dean. She bravely tried to do her job even though she is ill equipped. She uses her own vehicle, has a broken restraining device and no cage strong enough to hold an animal that big even if she was able to capture the dog. The village has to cough up the money to give her the tools to do her job. You can't fault the police officers. Although unfortunate they did what they had to do. You can't blame the child. She's only three and was just walking by when attacked. Children that age are not really aware of the need to stay away from strange dogs. Dogs are very territorial and protective of their turf.

Fortunately the child was not seriously injured. Maybe it's time to review the enforcement of the dog laws and step them up a notch. Prevention is the best policy. This story could have been tragic.

Commenters got this story started on the piece about Brassy getting on television. Thanks to the readers that got it started. You folks make my efforts worthwhile. I would have been on it sooner if it wasn't for a clogged sewer...really.

ole nib

Smoking The Sewers

As mentioned last Friday in my "Notes" piece they are currently smoke testing village sewers. It's a project they have been working on to get started for over a year. The main reason for the testing is to locate places that have storm sewers dumping rain water into the sewage system. When that happens the village filtration system gets overloaded and with all the rules & regulations they have to operate with the rain water has to be treated the same as sewage.

It's a costly unnecessary burden that will eventually result in increased rates for our sewage bills if allowed to continue. Years and years ago it was a common practice to run down spouts into the sewage system. Many of the older homes were set up this way. I've found clay pipes in the ground around my home that were originally put in for that purpose. My house is around 130 years old. When it was built there were out houses and cisterns in the back yards of houses up down my street. But that is another story and yes, my down spouts were disconnected from the sewers before we even bought the place. However there are some that are still hooked up. I imagine there are some people that aren't even aware of it but are finding out with smoke pouring out of their basement drains. Remember the Fire Chief reporting calls were up last month?

A company called LSW from across the river is doing the testing along with cleaning out the sewers. They were in my neighborhood yesterday. Guess it's been some time since the sewers were last cleaned. Their smoke bombs emit a white smoke that quickly pin point places that are still hooked up to the sewer lines. It's a harmless white smoke that can be quickly exhausted by opening doors and windows. You can use a fan to help it along. The testing is being down in Russell Heights too since most homes up in that area are the village sewage system.

Village officials wanted to once again get word out that the testing is taking place. Admittedly it's scary seeing smoke pouring out but they ask that you check it out before hitting the panic button. If it's coming from the basement sewers it just means you got some work to do to get in compliance with the laws.

ole nib

Chip & Seal To Begin

According to Village Administrator Jim Saracco members of the County Engineer's road crew will be in the village Friday, June 12, doing this years chip and seal program. That means no parking on the streets to be worked on until they're done.

Signs are suppose to go up Thursday on the affected streets. Folks will have to find other parking places until the work is completed.

This year's schedule includes Pine Alley, Appian Way, Danbury Avenue, Riverside from 11th to 12th Street and 11th Street from Main to Riverside. They're also suppose to do the lot at Village Hall.

Saracco stated he is not sure where the work will begin but does expect it will be all completed Friday.

Wonder whatever happened to Council's plan to pave some of the streets?

ole nib

Wellsville Tree Board Or Not

Up until May 15, 2009, Wellsville had a very active and energetic all volunteer committee dedicated to the beautification of our fair village. It started out as the Broadway Park Committee which transformed the park from a deteriorating eyesore to a thing of beauty. They raised funds to take on the removal of trees that mostly were over 100 years in age. Many of them had hollow trunks that posed a serious hazard every time we got a stiff wind from a passing storm. They raised more funds to replace the trees and sidewalks around the fountains with attractive pavers. Some of those pavers were paid for by donors that were inscribed with names. The transformation of the Broadway Park was very beneficial to the village. It got others enthusiastic to help out such as the Logan family that sponsored the renovations of the fountains. Still others made efforts to improve the appearance of their own properties.

Then in the fall of 2006 the Tree Board was created by Council passing Ordinance 06-34. That ordinance was passed on October 17 of that year. That proclamation stated that a Village Tree Board shall consist of ten members all of which shall be residents of the Village. Out of those ten members one will be the Village Mayor and another will be a Council liaison. Councilwoman Diane Dinch was the first liaison and was quite helpful introducing legislation to enable the village to apply for grants and such to benefit the mission of the Tree Board.

The newly formed Tree Board originally consisted of the same members that made up the Broadway Park Committee. They got organized with a slate of officers, made plans for future projects and drew up by-laws for the Committee. The Tree Board became members of Tree City USA, a national organization aligned with the Arbor Day Foundation. Much of that foundation's good works is coordinated throughout the state by the Ohio Div. of Natural Resources and the state's Division of Forestry. To become a member of the prestigious Tree City USA, the Tree Board had to annually meet certain criteria which they accomplished with their dedication and enthusiasm. As a result they earned the aspired growth award for three years running winning a flag proclaiming for all to see that the ville was declared a member of the Tree City USA communities. To give that accomplishment a little perspective consider the Village of Lisbon. They have been members of Tree City for 28 years and just last year they won their first growth award.

It's not just a smoke screen when I say that most of the members on the board were enthusiastic and energetic. They were accomplishing things for the village that never would have been with our cash strapped budget. Their plans for this year included rehabilitating the Welcome to Wellsville site at 17th & Main. They were pursuing a possible grant to replace the benches on Riverside. They were working with folks that would have provided free tree cutting. They were lining up a site for a nursery to get new trees started which would be used for replacements of trees that had to be removed. They were making plans for a mulching program. They started a required tree inventory that needed to be done this year. That included mapping, identification of the different trees and targeting trees that need to be cut down. They had plans for a meditation area on the hillside overlooking the scenic Ohio River up in Hammond's Park. The Arbor Day folks each year will donate ten trees for a $10 donation. Our board members each volunteered to cover that donation out of their own pockets. Their Arbor Day ceremony this year was made very meaningful to the village 3rd graders by including their participation. Their web site was used as an example by our ODNR representative for other Tree City communities to use. All in all the work of this committee was putting the ville on the map.

One project that the committee voted to table for this year is called the Gateway Project. There was too much on the plate that needed to get done. The biggest one being the tree inventory that not only covered the trees in town but the ones in Springhill Cemetery and Hammonds Park. It had to be done this year to remain part of Tree City USA.

The Gateway Project is a grant program where the Ohio Dept. of Transportation will provide a $20,000 grant to beautify one of the ramp areas coming into town off of Route 7. That would include purchasing shrubs, landscaping and placing park benches. It was decided to use the area around the kiln at 3rd St. Because of the type of weeds found in that area it would be necessary to remove the top soil to eradicate those weeds and replace it with fresh dirt. I believe they are called milk weed and to get rid of it you have to dig up the roots. One ex-board member estimated that it would cost the village more than the $20,000 grant to accomplish this project. Also there is the fact that there is no water source in that area and all the labor would have to be done by either the village or volunteers. To me it just seems like common sense to put this off for the time being. The village certainly can not afford to take on extra debt.

Dawn Johnson who was one of the original members of the Broadway Park Committee and later became the first Chairwoman of the Tree Committee said she has been working on the Gateway Project since May of 2007. She told me that it is a project between ODOT and the village and claimed it has nothing to do with the Tree Committee. However, there are recorded minutes of meetings for Tree Board where this was discussed and Johnson was quoted in the newspaper that the Tree Board will take on the planting duties. At their meeting of 7/14/08 it was decided by a majority vote to table the Gateway Project. It was brought up again at their October meeting. Again by a majority vote it was decided the Tree Board was not ready to take on this project. Still Johnson persisted.

The crushing blow that brought on the resignation of five Tree Board members came on May 6, when Johnson sent an e-mail advising the other members that she was working on arranging a meeting with the Mayor & ODOT representatives to "move forward with the drawings" for the Gateway Project. Prior to that two members had already resigned.

Johnson was also quoted in the newspaper that she "received several 'nasty' replies to that e-mail. From what the former members told me those several replies consisted of two e-mails. The first inquired about the drawings and stated "You need to discuss what you would like to do on this project & get the boards approval Before you talk to the Mayor or ODOT on behalf of the Tree Board". The second e-mail stated "I am sure we tabled this project by a vote of this board. To date it hasn't been brought back from the table". Johnson told me this past Friday that she is only a member of the board. Apparently Johnson went on and set up the meeting without any more notification to the other board members. One member told me he was out of town and received a call on his cell phone that the meeting was in progress.

That was the straw that broke the camel's back. Johnson has been described to me as being antagonizing, tends to alienate others and is petulant if she doesn't get her way. The Tree Board even had a special meeting last September to sit down with her to work out their differences. She was quoted as saying nothing gets done by this board unless she approves it. She went to a Council meeting without the board's knowledge about a tree on Broadway that had been run over. She demanded that the village make the lady that had the accident to pay for a replacement. As I was told she even called one fellow member an idiot when advised that particular tree would probably survive in spite of having some bark scraped off. It wasn't broken. That tree this spring sprouted leaves and looks just as good as the other newly planted ones. From what I was told there have been at least five good members that were willing to pitch in and even get their hands dirty that have resigned stating they can't work with Johnson. The other five remaining members resigned effective May 15. That only leaves Johnson, the Mayor and one Council member.

According to the board's by-laws that does not constitute a quorum. I attended the monthly "meeting" this past Monday that should have been cancelled due to the lack of a quorum. Besides Johnson and I there was only one other lady and the Div. of Forestry representative in attendance. Even if the Mayor and the Council liaison had been present there would still not have been a quorum. Neither Lola Lewis, the DOF rep, nor I are members of Wellsville's Tree Board.

According to the ordinance the Mayor has to appoint members to that committee with Council's approval. That hasn't been done and probably won't be for some time. From what I have observed and been told it will be a problem getting people "with a heart for Wellsville", as Johnson puts it, to replace the former members. The only other option is to amend the ordinance and that would probably die in committee before it even gets to Council.

It's a sad situation for the ville considering what all has been accomplished.

ole nib