News Releases

New Center for Skin Cancer and Melanoma Created at Wheeling Hospital

Wheeling Hospital has announced the creation of the new Center for Skin Cancer and Melanoma, headed by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. E. Phillips Polack, who recently joined the hospital’s Physician Practice Division.

While the hospital always has treated skin issues, the new center provides a central location for the team of specialists to focus on the diagnosis and management of malignancies of the skin.

In addition to Polack, the team includes Dr. Rose Hardin, board-certified surgeon who has completed a highly specialized fellowship in melanoma and breast surgery at The Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. Other staff members are board certified dermatologist Dr. Alan Ruben; Angeline Robertson, certified nurse practitioner; Cheryl Boggs, RN, clinical studies coordinator; Jayme Nardo, RN, center coordinator; Raquel Morrell, certified surgical technologist; and Tammy Lucas, receptionist.

“We created the center because is it much more convenient for our patients to find melanoma and skin cancer care in one centralized location. At the center, patients are treated for a wide array of skin lesions, both benign and malignant, specializing in melanoma, basal/squamous cells and other cutaneous malignancies,” said Ron Violi, hospital chief executive officer.

Skin cancer is the most common of all human malignancies, accounting for nearly half of all cancers diagnosed in the world. In the U.S., more than 3.5 million basal and squamous cell carcinomas and over 77,000 melanomas occur each year. Melanoma is the most serious variety of skin cancer because it is consistently deadly if not detected and treated early in its course.

The danger of malignant melanoma is greatly increased in persons who have had a prior melanoma, since a high percentage of melanomas are “second melanomas.” This is closely followed by a family history of melanoma and an unusual type of moles known by their medical name, “dysplastic moles.” Other risk factors for melanoma are the following: redheads and blonds with very fair skin who tan poorly. especially if there is a history of blistering sunburns; all use of tanning beds; heavy sun exposure resulting from outdoor occupations, and certain types of pigmented birthmarks known as “congenital moles.” Surprisingly, even an unusually large number of otherwise benign moles may increase the risk for melanoma.


Attention Ohio Voters

Under Ohio Law, a voter who has requested an absentee ballot must be identified in the poll book and cast a provisional ballot on Election Day if that voter aqppears in person to vote at the voter’s precinct.

If you received an application, or any other absentee ballot application, completed, and submitted it to your board of elections, you will not be eligible to cast a regular ballot at the polls on election day. Instead, you may cast a provisional ballot.

Your provisional ballot may be counted after the 10th day following the election pending a determination by your board of elections that your voted absentee ballot was not returned and counted prior to the closing of the polls.

If you have any questions, please contact your county board of elections at: Monroe County 740-472-0929


WVNCC Among Most Affordable in U.S.

For the third consecutive year, West Virginia Northern Community College has been cited by the federal government as one of the most affordable colleges in America. WVNCC’s net price is the second lowest among the state’s two-year institutions on the 2014 list.

WVNCC once again made the national College Affordability and Transparency Center list compiled by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System used by the U.S. Department of Education. Northern’s ranking was on the list of public, two-year institutions of higher learning with the lowest net prices. The 2014 list was announced in late July. The only other West Virginia two-year college on the lowest list was Bridgemont Community and Technical College in Montgomery.

While maintaining high quality programs, affordability and accessibility are among Northern’s most long-standing goals, according to Dr. Martin J. Olshinsky, president. Olshinsky said the institution’s Board of Governors, along with the college’s administration, are acutely aware of the rising costs of college. “Our financial decision-making process begins and ends with respect for how our students will be impacted. That value has been recognized because we continue to be included in the nation’s most affordable institutions,” Olshinsky said.

On the 2014 list are institutions with the highest tuition and highest net price and those with the lowest tuition and lowest net price. WVNCC ranked as number 66, with a net price of $3,727 on a list of 95 institutions with the lowest net prices. Bridgemont, at $3,617, was ranked at number 57. This compares to the national average of a $7,163 net price.


Clinical Trials Recognized at Wheeling Hospital's Schiffler Cancer Center

Clinical trials at Wheeling Hospital’s Schiffler Cancer recently were recognized as high quality following a NRG Oncology Quality Assurance Audit.

NRG Oncology is the new cancer cooperative that integrates three of the 10 cancer groups supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). One of the groups, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), previously recognized Schiffler for its excellence in providing high quality clinical trials.

As the only nationally sanctioned group for radiation oncology, NRG Oncology conducts reviews at all of its approximately 200 sites to ensure exceptional radiation services in clinical cancer trials. The Schiffler Cancer Center's Oncology program has been an affiliate site for 18 years (first through RTOG) and remains the only site in West Virginia that conducts clinical cancer research through the NCI.


Medicare Counselors Can Help Secure Savings for Many Senior Citizens

Area Agency on Agin 8 counselors Brandi Hesson, CIRS-A (right) and Gerry VanNoy, SWA, CIRS-A (left), are available to help seniors with Medicare questions.The stats (as of April 2014) on Medicare Extra Help stats for the AAA8 region's counties - showing number of eligible Medicare beneficiaries vs. those enrolled in the money-saving, free Medicare program (based on eligibility) are: Monroe, 3,607 eligible, 1,640 enrolled, 45.47% penetration; Noble, 2,386 eligible, 850 enrolled, 35.62% penetration; Washington, 13,587 eligible, 2,786 enrolled, 20.50% penetration. (source:  We appreciate your assistance in helping seniors learn more about this important Medicare program! Across the country, thousands of benefits counselors help people with Medicare find benefits that help them pay for prescriptions, health care, and other necessities.

Since 2009, benefits counselors—supported by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA)—have helped more than half a million vulnerable seniors and adults with disabilities apply for over $1.6 billion in benefits, and learn about preventive services that can help them stay healthy.

In Southeast Ohio, The Area Agency on Aging 8 (AAA8) counselors Brandi Hesson, CIRS-A, and Gerri VanNoy, SWA, CIRS-A, are professional Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists in Aging (CIRS-A).


Low Interest Home Repair Loans Available Through USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently is accepting applications from homeowners in rural areas for 1 percent fixed-rate interest loans for home improvements.

“Loans of up to $20,000 for a maximum of 20 years are available,” said USDA Ohio Rural Development Underwriter Lacy Boney. “Under these terms, a $5,000 loan would have a monthly payment of just $23. Applicants must own and occupy homes in need of repairs, and they also must meet ‘very low income’ criteria.”

“Very low income” measures differ among the 18 counties serviced by USDA’s Marietta Area Office. For instance, the income limit for a four-person household in Belmont County is $27,100; in Washington County it’s $27,900; and in Fairfield and Licking Counties it’s $35,000. In Gallia, Jackson, Meigs, Vinton, Athens, Hocking, Perry, Morgan, Noble, Monroe, Guernsey, Muskingum, Harrison and Jefferson Counties, it’s $27,150. Properties must be located in rural areas. Applicants must have a stable source of income and a satisfactory credit history. To determine property eligibility, go to


SR 724 to Close in Two Places

Beginning on Mon., June 9, SR 724, located in Monroe County 0.15 miles east of the Noble County line, will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to allow for a landslide repair project. Weather permitting, all lanes of traffic will reopen by Wed., July 9.

The Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) official detour is SR 724 to SR 260 to SR 145 and back to SR 724.

Beginning Mon., June 9, SR 724, located 2.31 miles east of the junction of SR 260 in Noble County, will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to allow for a bridge replacement project. Weather permitting, all lanes of traffic will reopen by Sun., August 17.

ODOT’s official detour is SR 724 to SR 260 to SR 145 and back to SR 724.


WNF Closes Haught Run Campground

On June 5th, in the interest of public health and safety, the Wayne National Forest closed the Haught Run Campground in Washington County until further notice. The campground, located approximately 14 miles north of Marietta on SR 26 along the Little Muskingum River, has sustained a great deal of bank erosion.

For more information, contact Gala Goldsmith, Athens District Ranger at (740) 753-0101.


Farm Service Agency Announces Tree Assistance Program

Belmont/Monroe County Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Christy Collins, announced that orchardists and nursery tree growers who experienced losses from natural disasters that occurred on or after Oct. 1, 2011, can sign up for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).   Signup began Tuesday, April 15, 2014. TAP was authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 as a permanent disaster program.

TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying fruit and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.

Eligible tree types include trees, bushes or vines that produce an annual crop for commercial purposes. Nursery trees include ornamental, fruit, nut and Christmas trees that are produced for commercial sale. Trees used for pulp or timber are ineligible.


Home Canning Classes Offered

Interested in learning more about home canning? OSU Extension is offering a series of classes this summer for those already experienced or new to home canning. Get recipes, answers to your home canning questions, and have your pressure canner inspected at each class.

The first class will be June 12 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and will demonstrate how to make jams and jellies. There is a fee   per person which includes a jar to take home. On July 16, an overview of home canning is scheduled from 3:00-4:30 p.m. and is free to participants. The third class will demonstrate how to use a pressure canner on August 6 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. There is a fee to attend.



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