Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wellsville Rumor - Fact or Fiction???

We don't usually have anything to do with rumors. Like any small community they fly rampantly in Wellsville. They are usually preceded with “Well, I heard...” or “they said...” It's been said don't believe anything you read and only half of what you see. Any worthwhile reporter will tell you about the enormous amount of time it takes to run down and verify facts that start as rumors.

These are two items we have been holding back on for a few weeks or more. We hope they are baseless but then, sometimes, more information comes out. In both cases nothing has changed and trying to contact responsible parties has either been fruitless or unsuccessful.

The first rumor we tried to run down is about the new Ohio River Bread Co.(ORBC) That is the new company that just a month ago got a zoning change for the old MacDonald School building on 9th St. After going through all the required steps Wellsville Village Council voted to change it from a business zoning to light industrial. On March 1 they passed Ordinance 11-1 granting that change.

Allegedly since then there has been a falling out with the principals of both the bread company and the owners of the MacDonald building. It was rumored that the bread company will not be located in that building or even in Wellsville. LSW Sanitation Services owns the former MacDonald School building.

At the April 5 Council meeting we asked LSW employee Debbie Lemley for comments on that rumor. In answer she asked us if we believe everything thing we hear. When we responded we do not she added that "nothing has changed" since the zoning change was granted. We had previously asked the Mayor if he had any knowledge regarding the rumor but like us he claims to have heard the same as we did. The owner of LSW did not return our call after leaving a voice mail message asking for comment more than a couple of weeks ago. ORBC CEO Candy Bangor did answer her phone but only offered “No comment”.

We sincerely hope Ms. Lemley is correct. The prospects of being the home of a brand new company was exciting news for Wellsville. It was an innovative idea to get something going in the old school building and more exciting was that it will bring employment prospects to town. With a ready made customer pledging his support and business for his grocery stores it sounded like a win-win situation.

The second “rumor” we heard about and was sitting on is that the Ohio River Clean Fuels (ORCF) plant proposed to be built just outside the Village limits is a dead deal. That proposed plant is a $6 billion facility that is to be located in Yellow Creek Township converting coal & biomass into liquid fuel similar to diesel. It will be a Baard Industries company using technology that has been around since the days of WWII. It's never been done in the USA but there are international companies that have been doing that for decades.

Three or four years ago owners Baard Industries went through all the permit processes. They were given the green light to build ORCF on 500 plus acres in Yellow Creek Township. Since then it has been one delay after another blamed on the economy. The CC Port Authority started lining up the land with buying options from several landowners.

Late last year it was announced Baard had struck a deal with Planck Trading LLC located in Boca Raton, Florida, for $2.5 billion in loans. John Baardson, CEO of Baard, announced that site preparation would begin in the spring.

Since then it's back to more delays forcing the Port Authority to seek extensions on the land options once again. Recently it was rumored that a land owner selling his property is claiming Baard defaulted on the last option extensions. Port Authority officials did talk to us and advised that the latest delay was due to Planck holding up the financing until a long term agreement could be reached with Baard Industries. The day after we talked to those officials there was a press release in the local papers saying the same thing. From what we understand there is still no agreement reached. The VP of Development for Baard did not return our call.

We find it hard to believe that there wasn't some sort of agreement reached when the Planck deal was first announced. We're still wondering if we're only getting part of the story. From a little research we did we find that Planck also has holdings in West Virginia coal interests. That part of Planck is headquartered in Beckley, WV.

Is the demise of both commercial ventures fact or fiction? We've been wondering since first hearing the stories if the ground rules originally agreed to for both are being changed? We certainly hope it is just rumor. It's a discouraging rumor. Just keeping the rumor consideration in mind leaves a ray of hope. Both of the proposed companies would have been a real boom for the whole area. Right now we just don't have a good feeling about the whole thing.

We hope we're wrong...

ole nib


Wonderer said...

I have heard the same thing Ole Nib. What a shame indeed. I find it very displeasing to hear the bread Co. CEO says no comment. What the heck is she pulling here. And the same goes for Baard Vice President not returning a call, or taking a call either.

Anonymous said...

It's not as tho old nib is a member of the established media for God's sake. Why WOuLD officials respond to him?

peas&carrots said...

Well, Ole Nib, seems there may be some facts to these rumors. Fact is, Ms. Candy Bangor is one of the most independent, strong willed, go-getters, and outspoken women that I've ever known. She has been quite outspoken about this bread company since the announcement of it coming into the village, and for her to say "No comment" makes one wonder what lies under that answer. The Mayor seems to hold Mr. Logan in high regards and quite friendly with him. He claims he heard the rumor too? As a mayor, wouldn't you want to squash this rumor and find out, especially when council approved a zoning change, particularly for this business? What does Mr. Nementz have to say about it, or even Mr. Lauva? Let's hope our local papers stir the waters a bit and get to the bottom of this so-called rumor.

************* said...

That comment about "not being a member of the established media" makes us think of someone who is a member of the established media that feels threatened by us neophytes of the written word. We wonder if the writer of that comment is one of those that considers themselves "a legend in their own mind"??? Whoever it is we noticed that they are hiding behind the anonymous response with nary enough intestinal fortitude to use even a made-up name.

Our society is increasingly turning into a paperless society especially with the internet, Twitter and other electronic forms of communication. Getting the latest news is only a touch away once your computer is fired up & ready to go. The printed media has been threatened for their very livelihood with the electronic media. Other than our monthly stipend for having an internet hook-up, our cost to get the word out is non-existant. There is no labor costs with increasingly expensive benefit packages, no milage to pay for increasingly record setting gas prices and other than a tad of electricity no expenses for supplies to get our product out. The "established media" have been steadily loosing subscribers for years now, mainly because of the electronic media. For us it's sad. Many established facets of media is rapidly becoming relics that have seen their time. The new kid on the block is pushing them aside with customers saying to themselves "that's money we could use for something else". Why should we buy newspapers or magazines?

In the four years of blogging we find some officials willingly respond to our inquiries rather than taking the chance of something misleading or negative being said about them or their companies. Others hold honesty in high esteem declaring they have nothing to hide and others are just appreciative of the attention garnered by talking to us. There's alot of truth in the old saying you get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. We found our intercourse with officials is a reciprocal exchange of information. Once they realize we're not going to drag them through the mud or slam them with redicule we find most of them very cooperative is supplying us with background information. True there are times when there is bad news or in the case of these two outfits, not quite the whole story behind the subject being told as we suspect here. When requests for comments go unanswered the natural tendency is to suspect the worse.

We have to ask ourselves why wouldn't officials respond to us???


Anonymous said...

Candy doesn't really owe anyone an explanation about the direction in which the Bread Company is moving. The mayor on the other hand might consider saying no comment now and then rather than disrespecting the people so comfortably with his participation in common gossip.

my guess said...

officials often have good reasons not to respond and especially to a private citizen.
They may be still in negotiations. perhaps the papers decided NOT to write a story based on rumor but wait until some factual information is available.
that's what real newspapers do.

Anonymous said...

Nib the post that makes reference to if or not you are a part of the established media wasn't left by a journalist who's livelihood is is dependent on quick access to information. Look closer. There are 3 words that the poster uses frequently when posting.

************* said...

We willingly admit we could very likely be wrong with our suspicians on who authored that remark. It was just our first impression.