River Graduation Date Unchanged Despite Possible Track Conflict

The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District (SOLSD) board of education let a direct democracy vote resolve a tumultuous situation with the River High School Graduation. The graduation date was called into question after it was discovered to coincide with the Ohio State Track and Field Championships. A scheduling conflict is highly likely for at least one student (Cassidy McCullough was state champion last year as a junior) and possibly others in a strong River track program, creating a difficult situation.

Upon learning of the possible scheduling conflict, the board decided to leave it up to the students. The results of the student vote were revealed during the April 18 SOLSD board meeting. The results were a landslide vote to keep the graduation as scheduled. The representative democracy of the SOLSD board agreed to abide by the decision of the students. Reasons cited for continuing with the graduation date as scheduled despite the conflict were that parents had already made plans and family travel arrangements had already been made.

Also during the SOLSD board meeting, Director of Support Services, Marc Ring, gave an update on the new schools projects. Ring said that the two major projects at River and Skyvue are making good progress.

At River High School, the duct work has been painted and installed in the gym, and about half of the light fixtures have been installed. The area that will become the new administration offices has been demolished and work is beginning to renovate it. Ring said of the project, “The high school building should be about 90% complete by August 1.”

Ring said the gym has been painted in River Elementary. He also said carpet and case work will be underway soon. On a related note, the board voted to have a groundbreaking ceremony at the River schools campus on Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m.

Very visible progress is being made at Skyvue Elementary according to Ring. The structure for the gym is 90% up. Ring said steel is being erected all over the building. Ground floors have been poured and the second floor floors were to be poured this week.

CDBG Changes Could Mean $300,000 For Beallsville Area

Changes in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program could mean big money for another Monroe County community. Last month, the Monroe County Commissioners announced that they had chosen Graysville village/Washington Township as the sole Monroe County community that would compete for the $300,000 CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization grant. During their April 15 meeting, commissioners were told by Mary Jo Westfall of the OSU Extension office that a recent state-level CDBG meeting revealed that changes mean that two communities can now be chosen by each county.

After the revelation, commissioners were told by Westfall that they had only until the end of the day to make a decision due to time constraints. The list was instantly narrowed down to the five areas (outside of Washington Township) who had attended the CDBG public hearings. Considered were Summit Township, Bethel Township, Salem Township/Clarington village, Switzerland Township and Beallsville village. Commissioners then narrowed down the search to Clarington and Beallsville due to what they viewed as large need in those communities.

In the end, commissioner Carl Davis made a motion to designate Beallsville as the county's other applicant for the Neighborhood Revitalization grant. Davis said of choosing Beallsville, “Those involved put in good proposals, but we could only choose one.” After a second to the motion, it passed unanimously.

Projects presented previously by representatives from Beallsville included fixing the storm sewers, street improvement, drainage fixes, paving, installation of bathrooms at the park, sidewalks and  equipment for volunteer fire and emergency services. If awarded the grant, Beallsville will receive a total of $300,000 to complete the multiple projects. It is not guaranteed that Beallsville will be chosen by the state to receive the grant. 

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Commissioners Agree To Help Ohio/Lee Water and Sewer

In a continuance of business from last week's meeting, the Monroe County Commissioners agreed during their April 8 meeting to fund an aerial photography project needed to begin the municipal sewer project in Hannibal, Duffy and Sardis. Members of the Ohio Lee Water and Sewer Board met with commissioners to discuss a partnership to fund the photography. The project was on a tight timeline due to the impending spring bloom as such photography must be completed before the trees have leaves.

Two bids were received for the project. Woolpert's bid came in at $39,825 while Kucera's bid came in at $23,175. Kucera's low bid included $6,200 for photography, $2,350 for ground control and $14,625 for mapping.

With a known figure of $23,175 on the floor, Commissioner Pyles made a motion for the county to fund the aerial photography citing the development of county infrastructure and “possible economic benefits for the entire county.”

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Foster Parents Ron and Julia Wright Retire

Pictured at the retirement reception are, from left: Teresa Johnson, daughter; Julia and Ron Wright, retiring foster parents; Kenneth Wright, son; Tiffany and Christopher Johnson, grandkids.How can one measure his or her life? Do you measure life numerically? Or do you measure life by the impact you have had? Perhaps those who have done exceptional work in this life can measure it both ways.

This March, Ron and Julia Wright retired from foster parenting and were honored with a dinner at the Monroe County Department of Job and Family Services (MCJFS). The couple had been foster parents for children from Monroe, Washington, Belmont and Hocking counties since November of 1977. Over that time, they accepted into their homes the most difficult of teenage children so they could give them a chance to live in a family setting.

Their lives can certainly be measured by impressive numbers. They were foster parents for 36 years. Over that time period, they cared for more than 100 children. They also graduated eight of those children from high school.

Those 100-plus children became family for the Wrights. “We wanted a big family and we couldn’t have one. The doctor said if we wanted to have a big family, we needed to adopt,” Julia said. Julia said it was recommended that they try foster care first, and soon it became a part of their lives.

The couple did eventually adopt two of the children. Teresa Johnson, one of those two children adopted by the Wrights, attended the retirement dinner to honor her parents. 

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Graysville/Washington Township To Compete For $300,000 Grant

Graysville village/ Washington township was chosen again by Monroe County Commissioners to compete for $300,000 in grant funding from the CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization grant program. The funding would allow several proposed projects to be completed in Graysville and Washington Township throughout 2014.

The Monroe County Commissioners reached the decision to choose Graysville/Washington during their March 25 meeting after hearing from several other townships and villages during the March 18 meeting. Graysville/Washington had been chosen by commissioners for the grant application last year, but they were never awarded the grant. Part of the reason Graysville/Washington did not receive the competitive grant last year is due to the state cutting back the number of recipients from 10 to seven. Thus far, all signs indicate that there will be 10 recipients this year.

In the end, although commissioners weighed the decision and considered other areas in the county, they chose Graysville/Washington for the grant because of them missing out last year. Commissioner John Pyles said, “I would be more included to go with Graysville/Washington because of the situation last year. They had a Christmas list of projects they formed, and they did everything that was asked of them. Yet, they didn't receive the grant at no fault of their own.”

Commissioner Carl Davis agreed with Pyles' assessment. He added another reason to choose Graysville/ Washington: “We've got a lot of the ground work done on this, and we have a tight deadline,” he said.  

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Former SHS/MCHS Coach Mark Huffman Part of District 12 Basketball Hall of Fame's 2013 Class

Mark HuffmanArticle Courtesy of Jeff Harrison, District 12 Hall of Fame

A coach who achieved tremendous success at one of the smallest schools in the state; two players who were among the premier scorers in the blossoming years of girls’ basketball and a pair of smooth-as-silk boys’ scorers are this year’s inductees into the District 12 Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2013 features long-time Skyvue and Monroe Central boys’ coach Mark Huffman; Lynn Miley-Werry of Shenandoah and Ann Osborne of St. Clairsville as girls’ players; and Clint Hayes of Fort Frye and Ben Porter of Union Local as the boys’ players.

Those five will be honored during the annual Pepsi/District 12 All-Star Classic on Friday, April 5 at Buckeye Trail High School in Old Washington. Miley-Werry and Osborne will be introduced during the girls’ East-West game which begins at 6 p.m.; Huffman will be recognized between games; and Hayes and Porter will be lauded during the boys’ game which tips off around 8 p.m.

This is the sixth year for the District 12 HOF. Previous inductees from Monroe County include Coach Richard L. “Dick” Potts of River High School in 2008 and boys’ player Mitch Hannahs of Skyvue High School in 2011.

The District 12 Hall of Fame selection committee includes Jeff Harrison, Sports Editor of The Daily Jeffersonian; Todd Rock of Bishop Rosecrans; Ben Kennedy of Tri-Valley; Mark Romick of River; Chris Pack of Barnesville and Keith Arnold of Meadowbrook.

Following is Coach Huffman’s credentials as published by the hall of fame:

Mark Huffman (Skyvue High School, Class of 1971). Huffman began his coaching career in the Franklin Local Schools in 1976, coaching freshman basketball and junior high football.

In 1979, he returned to his alma mater, Skyvue, as head baseball coach and assistant basketball coach, later assuming the head boys’ basketball coaching position for the 1980-81 season. He remained there until 1994 when Skyvue and Woodsfield became the Monroe Central consolidation and he guided that program until his retirement in 2002.

His basketball coaching record at Skyvue was 190-135 and his Monroe Central mark was 89-64 for a combined 279-199 total.

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Changes Coming to 2013 CDBG Program

Those familiar with the CDBG Formula Grant or Neighborhood Revitalization Grant will see several changes  this year. The grant funding is distributed by the federal government but overseen by the state government. It is at the state level where changes in structure have been implemented.

During the March 11, 2013 Monroe County Commissioners’ meeting, Mary Jo Westfall of the OSU Extension office discussed the changes to the grants meant to help low to moderate income (LMI) communities. According to Westfall, the Formula Grant will now be called the Community Development Allocation.

Furthermore, the grant will be guaranteed to be $75,000 or more each year. Up until the 2012 grant, the commissioners chose five or six projects from the county’s LMI areas to benefit from the grant. Under new requirements, only three projects will be funded. If more than $125,000 in allocations are received by the county, then four projects will be funded.

The Neighborhood Revitalization Grant will also see changes. The competitive grant, which Graysville and Washington Township applied for last year in what ended in a failed bid, will become even more competitive as the LMI rate requirement has gone down from 60% to 51%. Since Washington Township’s bid failed last year, the commissioners now have the decision during next week’s public hearing of whether to re-apply with them as the designated community or to choose a new community. 

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History Detectives' Wes Cowan to Speak at Marietta

Wes Cowan Wes Cowan, star of the PBS television series History Detectives and regularly featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, will share his antiquing adventures as the guest of the Marietta College Art Department at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 3, in the Alma McDonough Auditorium.

During his public lecture, Cowan will also offer insights on his experience of taking a humanities education and building a well-established and known business.

Cowan is founder and owner of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. An internationally recognized expert in Historic Americana, Cowan writes a bi-weekly antiques column for the Cincinnati Enquirer, monthly columns for Antique Review, Collectors News and The SE Antiquing Journal, and is a frequently requested speaker at antique events around the country.

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Sheriff's Department Makes Drug Bust Near Sardis

Jeffrey D. MeredithThe Monroe County Sheriff’s Department made a major drug bust on Feb. 12 near Sardis. According to Monroe County Sheriff Charles Black, the bust was a culmination of a month-long investigation into illegal drug trafficking in the area.

Arrested and charged on multiple counts was Jeffrey Meredith, 42, of 47967 Narrows Run Rd., Sardis. Meredith was charged with seven counts including two second degree felony counts and four third degree felony counts.

The charges include three counts (with specification) of trafficking heroin, one count of possession of heroin, one count of endangering children, one count of possessing weapons under disability and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The specification attached to the trafficking counts denotes that the illegal activity took place in the vicinity of minors.

Sheriff Black said of the efforts of the officers involved in the case, “It was a very thorough investigation by the officers that led to obtaining the search warrant and will lead to the eventual conviction of the alleged suspect.” 

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Pipeline Permits Issued in Several Monroe County Tonwships

County Engineer Lonnie Tustin presented the Monroe County Commissioners with several road usage agreements and permits during their regular session meeting on Feb. 11. The agreements and permits paint a picture of oil and gas activity upcoming in the county.

Tustin presented commissioners with a road use and maintenance agreement and a permit with Hall Drilling who currently operates the Wolf Pen well on Sandbar Rd. Commissioners accepted the agreement and issued the permit based on Engineer Tustin's recommendation.

According to the road use agreement, Hall Drilling will use roads in Franklin, Seneca and Summit townships to complete its project. The permit application details that the company will install a 12 inch pipeline between its well site and a site north of Lewisville. To install the pipeline, the company will need to bore across Sandbar Rd. (CR 16), Hartshorn Ridge Rd. (CR 12), and Hanson Ridge Rd. (CR 70).

Also sought during the meeting was a road usage and maintenance agreement and permit for HG Energy related to pipeline work. Commissioners passed separate motions agreeing both to the road usage agreement and to the permit.

The pipeline to be installed by HG Energy will involve Summit, Washington and Wayne townships. It will also be a 12 inch pipeline. HG Energy sought in its permit application to cross several roads. Included in the list were Long Run Rd. (CR 14), Hartshorn Ridge Rd. (CR 12), Wolf Pen (CR 72), Conner Ridge (CR 48), Edwina (CR 17) and Barber Ridge (CR 77). 

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