Friday, December 14, 2012

On Leave of Absence

As the saying goes "we'll be out of the office for awhile".  Our attention is needed elsewhere and we have to take a break from doing some of the things we love to do.  We hope to return soon with camera in hand!

We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.   We really believe 2013 is going to be a great year for the 'ville.  We hope the same holds true for each and every one of you.

ole nib

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Tiger's Big Orange Machine Returns


The Big Orange Machine

Jeff Campbells gives history speech!
Last week we had the privilege of witnessing what one young man’s determination can accomplish.  It’s rare in this day and age to see a high school freshman getting excited about “historical” events and to turn that excitement around with a determined effort to inspire others.  Most people that age don’t care much for history.  It usually involves just putting forth enough effort into remembering stuff to pass a test. 
Wellsville has always been a strong basketball town.  About 40 years ago there was a basketball coach at Wellsville High School that everyone called Bobby.  When he was hired he immediately pushed a program that started with kids in the 5th & 6th grades.  By the time these grade school kids reached the high school level they knew what to expect.  They knew each other, how they played, their strengths and what their coaches expected of them.  Before he hung up his coach’s whistle Bobby’s teams put together an impressive string of victories over the years.  To this day it’s still called the Dawson Dynasty.  Today’s Head Basketball Coach, Bug Thompson, played during the Dawson Dynasty.

Coach Bob Dawson and his teams developed a strong, loyal, faithful and fanatical following. The Wellsville fans would pack the gym to where there was standing room only for each and every home game.  They formed convoys for the away games.  There were the Looney Ladies.  Most of them were mothers and grandmothers of players past and present.  It didn’t matter if their child was still in school or graduated. They were loud, enthusiastic cheerleaders that got together for every game to support their team. They even had special t-shirts. They loved their Tigers.
During the Dawson Dynasty the pre-game introduction to the introduction of the Wellsville players was something like we’ve never seen elsewhere.  Until last Friday it’s been awhile since we’ve seen it.  They would blast the theme song of the popular television series Hawaii 5-0, turn out the lights and put a spot light on the individual players as they came out of the locker room.  A replica of an orange tank would slide down the gym wall and burst a big balloon that had the victim’s name on it.  The orange tank was called the Big Orange Machine.  It was nearly pandemonium in the gym when the balloon went “pop!”.  The victim who had their bubble burst represented the opposing team that was visiting Wellsville that evening.  It was last used in 1981.   That is until a fellow we call Iron Mike came along.

Iron Mike introduces modern
Big Orange Machine

Iron Mike is one half of the Reiner Team.  The other half is his twin brother Mitchell.  They are the sons of very proud parents known as Paula & Bill Reiner.  Iron Mike earned that nickname long before we got acquainted.  When we heard the story behind that we thought it was very fitting.  Brother Mitchell is a “roundballer” on the Wellsville Reserves this year. 
Mike learned of the tradition of the Big Orange Machine from his uncle Steve Poynter.  Poynter was a Wellsville student back when the original machine was the high light of the pre-game activities.  Learning of that historic tradition inspired Mike to rejuvenate it.  He set the wheels in motion going to everyone in a position of authority in the Wellsville School District, from the Superintendent, High School Principal and Athletic Director to just about every coach that has anything to do with the school’s basketball program.  According to Mike they all gave him their enthusiastic endorsements. 

Mike then went to a Beaver Local coach named Campbell.  Jeff is the owner of Campbell Signs and a member of the Wellsville Class of 1981.  He may put some time in coaching the Beavers but his heart still bleeds Orange & Black.  He remains a loyal Tiger friend and supporter.  Campbell said when Mike came to him about designing a new Big Orange Machine he was really excited.  He not only designed a modern version he offered to build it and to help get Mike’s idea off the ground. 
Mike was pumped.  He said he hoped to revive the tradition of all that the Big Orange Machine represents.  It’s his dream to bring back the excitement and promote the enthusiasm for the basketball team.  He put in a lot of work and some sleepless nights getting everything organized.  He really hopes its something the whole student body will take pride in. 

Tiger Nate Scott is spot lighted in pre-game introductions
Last Friday they had a Pep Rally to introduce Mike’s new Big Orange Machine to the student body.  Iron Mike told everyone the story behind it.  For some it was a first they heard of it.  Jeff Campbell told the students the unbelievable excitement he experienced back in the days he came out of the locker room in that pre-game hype.  Jeff said the original Big Orange Machine was a kid’s peddle car and the idea evolved into the tank crushing the balloon.  His uncle built the first machine.  Campbell said some of the visiting teams were so intimidated their coaches wouldn’t let them come out of the locker room until after the Wellsville team was introduced. 
Prior to last Friday’s game against East Liverpool history repeated itself.  The lights went out, the bright spot light highlighted the players as they were introduced and the place went wild.  Incidentally it was SRO and the Tigers whooped the Potters!  We think Iron Mike got an A-plus on that history test.

The WHS Spirit Team is selling commemorative t-shirts for the revival of the Big Orange Machine.  All proceeds go to the Spirit Team.  They’re only $10 and are sold in the lobby before the home games.  The Tigers play next Tuesday night at home against Southern. 
Hope to see you there…

ole nib



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wellsville's Marathon Oil Terminal Getting Prepared

Marathon Terminal Mgr. Don Koch (right)
describes new "river float" to be installed
to Wellsville Mayor Sue Haugh

Construction of pipeline piers is already
underway as seen here

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to an open house tour of the Marathon Oil facilities in Wellsville.  The facility is located at the end of Nevada Street, the place with the big storage tanks between the railroad tracks and the river. 

Today it is a transfer facility for asphalt using two of Wellsville’s available attractions for industrial users – the river and our excellent highway system.  The asphalt is used in paving and material for making shingles.  Terminal Manager Don Koch told us that with the damage brought on by Tropical Storm Sandy they have been extremely busy with their customers that manufacture roofing shingles.  Marathon manufactures the slurry that is part of the shingle composition.  It is brought to Wellsville in bulk using the river, transferred to those tanks and then loaded on truck tanks for shipment to the shingle manufacturers. 

Marathon is now preparing to convert over to the handling of oil from drilling into the vast reserves in Utica Shale.  This region of the country is sitting on a vast reserve of oil found in the shale.  Once production is fully underway it is conservatively estimated that 20,000 barrels of oil a day will be pumped from those depths.  We recently read that the U.S. oil field reserves will make the Mid-East reserves look puny.

Wellsville is ideally situated with readily available river, rail and highway transportation systems available to move massive amounts of freight to or from anywhere in the U.S.  Ohio has been called the crossroads of America and Wellsville is located in the heart of those crossroads.  They say history repeats itself.  Wellsville got its start being a transportation hub moving freight in and out of the “Western Reserve”.  With the Columbiana County Port Authority’s Intermodal Park Wellsville is poised to once again be a very busy transportation hub.  Marathon is preparing to be ready to be a major part of that activity. 

In conjunction with the Port Authority Marathon has been in negotiations with property owners buying up space to expand their operations in Wellsville.  Plans are to build a pipeline from their present facility to land adjoining the Intermodal Park.  Work is already underway at their facility preparing for the construction of that pipeline and the conversion of that facility from asphalt to oil transferring. 

The tour we followed was mainly for the safety forces in town to familiarize them with what to expect in the near future.  Koch told us there will be a new river float constructed that will be a closed facility not allowing any emissions to escape into the atmosphere, using a marine safe unit.  Safety first will be the ruling consideration using all the latest available technology to protect themselves and their Wellsville neighbors.  All construction will meet or exceed EPA standards.  For some time now they have been obtaining the government approved permits for their construction and installation.   Koch noted that a major training program is tentatively scheduled to begin next Spring, in April or May.  That training will include local safety forces.  Two new firefighting trailer units will be brought in – one will be kept at the Marathon terminal and one will be stored at the Wellsville Fire Dept.  Marathon is even going to finance a building addition to the Wellsville station to store the trailer. 

Marathon is getting ready for the exciting times to come in the energy sector and Wellsville will be a big part of those plans.  As Wellsville Mayor Sue Haugh likes to say “it’s coming folks and once it starts, Look Out!”
ole nib

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wellsville Council Jacking Up Sewage Rates

At their last meeting in November all Council members were present with Mayor Susan Haugh presiding. 

During the Public Speaking portion of the agenda Commerce Street resident Ron DuMoulin requested maybe the administration could line someone up to clean up after parades.  DuMoulin especially noted candy & flyers that are often found littering the route following a parade.  DuMoulin also encouraged Wellsville residents to decorate a little bit for the Christmas Season. 

In his report Village Administrator Thom Edgell commended the DuMoulins for voluntarily decorating the Wells Avenue Bridge, the Boy & the Boot and the 17th Street marquee with the holiday decorations.  Edgell noted it was the first time in his memory that he’s seen the marquee decorated.  Edgell also noted the efforts of Councilwoman Goss for her work with the Christmas Decorating Committee.

Edgell reported that he witnessed a demonstration of resuscitators for the Village police cruisers. He will be meeting with members of the Property Committee on that subject and also about some problems at Springhill Cemetery.  He also noted that additional heaters have been installed in the Newlin Memorial Chapel thanks to the Wellsville Memorial Council.  Councilman Brown added that Milligan Hardware owner Art Doak was very helpful with getting the heaters. 

Edgell wrapped up his report stating that participation in the 50/50 sidewalk program has “really dwindled & he is considering throwing in the towel” instead of going forward with it.  That program is where the Village will share the cost half & half with residents that want to get new sidewalks installed.  Edgell said he will be meeting with Councilman Cataldo about the sidewalk program.

United Water’s Sewage Treatment Plant Manager Greg Stewart reported that during the month of October an average of 755,370 gallons per day of waste water was treated.  Stewart noted that Buckeye Water supplied an average of 406,290 gallons per day of potable water to Wellsville residents for the same time period.  With Tropical Storm Sandy there was 4.58” of rain recorded for October. 

For the month of October, Animal Control Officer Heidi Pecorelli reported that she responded to a total of 72 calls.  She made three court appearances relating to various citations and recovered two dogs that had been stolen.  Two dogs were adopted and an additional four were placed with rescue organizations.  In all she had 96 round trips to the pound for October.

In her report Mayor Haugh added her commendation to the DuMoulins saying “you guys rock”.  The Mayor also expressed her appreciation to Ms. Goss for her efforts raising funds to buy and organizing the decorations for Broadway Park and a couple of other areas.  Haugh also thanked the Fire Department members for their help in decorating the park.

Additionally the Mayor reported that she intended the grand opening of Anchor Drilling Fluids which is located in the Intermodal Park.  They are now on-line.  She also attended an open house at Marathon Oil which was primarily for safety forces.  Haugh noted that with Marathon expanding they will be furnishing Wellsville with a firefighting unit that disperses foam.  The unit is on a trailer and has to be kept in a heated building.  Tentative plans are to add onto the Village Fire Station to house the unit.  The unit and the building addition will be at Marathon’s expense according to Haugh.

Finance Committee Chair Diane Dinch reported that the General Fund has $1.089 million and total of all funds is $1.336 million.  Council also approved paying of $51,901 in current bills.  Dinch noted she would like to see Council look into to costs for phone service from different companies. 

Councilman Don Brown got approval to pay Rudzik Excavating $197,004 for Payment Application #1.  Rudzik is doing the installing the first part of the sewage forced main renovation.  This payments comes out of the Ohio Public Works grant.

Brown also noted that there are a lot of outstanding sewage bills.  He advised that letters will be sent out to delinquent customers.  If bills are not paid up water will be shut off and won’t be turned on until customers are caught up.  He added there will be an added $50 fee.

In other business an ordinance authorizing the Fiscal Officer to transfer an additional $50,000 of the Marcellus lease money to Capital Improvement Fund was passed.  The bulk of the money received for the lease of mineral rights is invested.  Out of that amount it was agreed to use $100,000 for much needed improvements in the Village.  This transfer is the second portion of that $100,000.

In spite of what was reported in the print media Council placed an ordinance to raise the sewage rates on first reading only.  Dinch noted that no one on the Finance or Sewage Committees wanted to ask for a rate increase but advised their hands were forced. The Sewage fund is operating in the red.   Dinch noted that other than the $0.25 rate increase per customer per month put into effect a year or so ago sewage rates haven’t been increased for over 10 years.  That quarter increase per month was supposed to cover loan payments.  She added that the Village is not bringing in enough to cover loan payments and utilities for the Sewage Treatment Plant.  Converting to aerobic digesters at the plant meant a huge increase in the amount of electricity used to run the plant.  In the last couple of years Wellsville lost over 200 customers and 54% of the customers they do have use only the monthly minimum or less.  Only 388 sewage customers use over 3,000 gallons per billing period. 

Sewage bills are based on the amount of water used per household.  Customers using 2,000 gallons or less will stay at $20.07 per month.  Anyone using over 2,000 gallons will be accessed an additional $7.50 per 1,000 gallons over 2,000 gallons. That is increased from $6.19 per 1,000.  Dinch added that everyone will be charged a $4 surcharge per month regardless of the amount used.  That alone will bring in over $6,100 additional per month. 

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 4, at 6 PM at Village Hall. 
ole nib