740-472-0734 < P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield,
OH 43793 <
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Woodsfield, OH 43793.
Nov. 26, 2008
concerned residents converged upon school board members following the
board’s Nov. 20 meeting. Board members seated are Ron Winkler and Scott
Dierkes, president. About 200 residents attended the meeting to find out why
Woodsfield High School was closed. The closing has forced activities held at
the school to be shuffled to various areas in the county. From left,
speaking to Dierkes, is Rusty Bondy, Richele Brown, Karen Harper and Nicole
Jorris (in white shirt).
Seek Answers About Woodsfield High School Closing
by Arlean Selvy
Suggestions about what could be done
to allow the former Woodsfield High School to reopen appeared to fall on
deaf ears as board members voted last week to uphold the decision of Supt.
Larry Elliott to close the facility.
The facility was closed following a
Nov. 17 review of district schools by a representative of the state fire
It was after a two-hour meeting with
residents and an executive session that the board voted to authorize the
superintendent to hire an architect to bring the building up to code. The
vote was 5-0.
Elliott told the group of about 200
that the school is not up to fire code and is unsafe. He explained the
liability became that of the school district because “now we know” about the
violations. He noted also that since administration was given the violations
in writing, there is no insurance coverage if someone gets hurt.
Elliott said the school is closed for
the short term, noting the space is needed for various activities until new
facilities are constructed.
He said the No.1 concern is safety of
the children. Noting the facility provides a place for activities, he
indicated alternate sites have been located for activities which were
held at the former high school.
Elliott said the No. 2 priority is
the building. He said it was his intent to ask the board to hire an
architect so that repairs are done right.
Residents were armed with questions
about the closure as well as suggestions on action which might be taken to
reopen it. The reaction of several was anger; most were confused about
what had happened to cause the closure. One resident told officials they had
defeated their own levy, while another told officials they have caused
people to distrust administration.
Sherri Singleton addressed the board
as a representative of Monroe Central wrestling parents. “It is
inconsequential whether the neglect to maintain facilities was a result of
an inability to do so or an unwillingness to do so, the outcome was the same
- children were hurt by the closing of facilities,” she said.
She told officials it’s time for a
multi-purpose building. She also asked for a breakdown of expenses for
fixing WHS and also asked if there is a budget to pay for the repairs.
Singleton also asked, as did others,
if they could volunteer their time to help fix the building.
She asked why the five district
schools which are over capacity were not closed.
That question was asked by several
individuals who noted that Beallsville’s school had 16 violations as opposed
to 12 similar violations at the former Woodsfield High.
Woodsfield resident Karen Harper
indicated that in a telephone conversation the fire marshal told her his
office was asked to review the school but that they did not close it. News
articles, she said, implied that the fire marshal’s office ordered the
“I hope it wasn’t the board,” said
Harper. “Our students have been deprived so many times.” She said closing
the school has caused a hardship and inconvenience. “Why was Woodsfield High
singled out and closed in one day?” she asked.
“We were told it was a unsafe
building,” answered Elliott.
Resident and attorney Jason Yoss told
the board they have to understand the concerns of the people. “Twelve
violations versus 16 or 17 ... it’s confusing and illogical to close
Woodsfield and not Beallsville,” he said. High singled out and closed in one
day?” she asked.
“We were told it was a unsafe
building,” answered Elliott.
Resident and attorney Jason Yoss told
the board they have to understand the concerns of the people. Twelve
violations versus 16 or 17 ... it’s confusing and illogical to close
Woodsfield and not Beallsville.
It was the consensus of those
attending the meeting that their children were in less danger at WHS than
they were in a school bus being transported over a slick county road. As for
being a fire hazard, one parent said the school is no more of a fire hazard
than the Monroe Central trailers. “If you’re talkin’ safety ... those
trailers will go up faster than the school building,” said one audience
In a call to the State Fire Marshal’s
office, the Beacon was informed that Nov. 17 is the first time WHS has been
inspected. According to Shane Cartmill, public information officer, the
office did not know of the facility and had no identification number for it.
He indicated an inspection of Monroe Central was being conducted and he was
asked by Darren Cook, director of support services, to review the former
high school. The review was to be made so the school district could use the
building for events, education and classes. According to Cartmill, once the
review began, numerous fire code violations were found. Based on the
findings and codes the district chose to close the building.
Cartmill said that if the school had
not made the decision to close the facility, the fire marshal’s office would
have monitored the building. If the fire marshall found it was being used,
he would then do “a complete fire and life safety inspection and issue
notices of violations.”
Once an inspection is completed, the
district would have a certain amount of time to become compliant with
According to Cartmill, the inspector,
Jeff Baucher, did not know the building was in use. As he toured the
facility, he felt it was being used and this was confirmed. He then went to
talk to the superintendent.
“Our main purpose is to make sure
people are safe,” said Cartmill.
Violations at WHS included:
• Repair exit lighting and add exit
lights to all stairwells, hallways and places of assembly;
• Remove all hasps from doors to any
occupiable space. Repair or replace door knobs as needed;
• Post occupancy load in gym;
• Have manual fire alarm system
• Test all standing pipe hose;
• Remove tape from electric panels
and install breaker schedule. Place breaker lock on any that feed emergency
lighting or alarm system;
• Curtains at stage must be flame
• Egress lighting for restrooms
• Arched door: remove board that
slides through handles and replace with panic hardware;
• Remove all storage from all
• Storage in hallways, stairwells and
landings to be removed.
Decked Out for the Holiday
The committee is hard at work making the third annual Woodsfield Christmas
Festival bigger and better than in previous years. The new addition in front
of the courthouse brings a family from the past, designed by Deb Bowen, to
town. Shown, from left, seated: Margie Yoss, Father; standing: Ruth Workman,
Mother, Deb Bowen and Little Girl. Absent was Sally Seidler.
Photo by Martha Ackerman
Maybe you’ve noticed the new
residents of Monroe County. They warm the bench in front of the Monroe
County Courthouse awaiting the Christmas festivities which will be held in
Woodsfield Dec. 6.
The Victorian characters were
handmade by Debbie Bowen of Bowen Construction. “Debbie has spent many hours
and days working on these beautiful figures and we really appreciate all her
hard work,” said Ruth Workman, a member of the Woodsfield Christmas Festival
Committee. “Debbie got this idea after seeing the wonderful Victorian people
they have in Cambridge during the holidays.
“Also a big thanks to the Switzerland
of Ohio Ministerial Association (SOMA) for donating clothing to dress the
characters,” added Workman.
There is a full day of events
scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 6 beginning at 8 a.m. with Breakfast with
Santa. Festivities continue throughout the day with vendors in the
courthouse, store specials and refreshments, Santa’s Workshop, live radio
broadcast, pictures with Santa, silent auction, barrel train rides and face
painting, carriage rides, live Nativity, holiday pampering, Christmas
caroling and concert and the parade. See the Dec. 4 Christmas in Monroe ad
for a complete schedule.
Plan Insurance Renewed, Increases at MCCC Discussed
by Arlean Selvy
Renewal of The Health Plan insurance
effective Jan. 1, 2009; EMS expenses; approval of payment for a 501(c)3
application for the CIC and rate increases at the Monroe County Care Center
were all topics of discussion at the Nov. 18 meeting of Monroe County
Commissioners. The county is looking at a 21 percent increase in
premiums for employees who opt to take The Health Plan’s HMO with $500/$1000
deductible and a $15/$30/$50 drug plan.
A 23 percent increase is effective
for employees who are on the Health Plan’s PPO benefit option.
An employee switching from the HMO to
the PPO in January, will see only a three percent increase from 2008
“The E-Squad is costing the taxpayer
$114,000 from the levy, $99,000 for Workers’ Compensation, plus an
additional $50,000, or more, over what they might bring in …” These figures
were noted by County Commissioner Bill Thompson. He concluded it is costing
taxpayers about $265,000 for EMS services. “And then,” he added, “their
insurance gets billed.” According to Thompson, it costs Noble County only
$159,000. He said services are bid out and the company pays its own Workers’
Comp and employees.
Jeanette Harter, who works with the
general fund budget, told commissioners the squads have $4,749.73 available
to additionally appropriate. About $40,000 is expected to be received from
insurances. Harter noted about $85,000 is needed.
With the county face to face with
dire money woes, Harter continues to monitor funds closely. EMS has found
itself in a crunch in large part by the cost of Workers’ Compensation
premiums. Emergency services now faces another year of extremely high
Dean Gramlich, president, Community
Improvement Committee, approached officials about the need for $750 to file
with IRS in order to obtain a 501(c)3 application. Officials approved a
motion to take the $750 from the CIC’s park fund.
Obtaining a 501(c)3 status will bring
the CIC to non-profit status. “I think we’re one of only a few CICs that are
in a situation to be taxed,” said Thompson.
Bob Reed and Ron White, representing
Share LLC, the Columbus firm which manages Monroe County Care Center,
discussed rate increases with officials. They recommended a $6 per day
increase for current residents and a $9 per day increase for new residents
after Jan. 1.
Pyles noted concern about the
increase, indicating new monies should go into the facility as opposed to
salaries. According to Reed, the increase is set in the budget to reach a
break-even point. He said costs have increased more each year than income
and that gap is getting larger. Reed noted, too, that the number of
residents has decreased.
The current daily rate is $121. Reed
said the projected cost for routine service in 2009 is $155 a day. Over the
past 18 years, rates have increased by $53 per day.
No action was taken as officials said
they want to look more closely at the suggested increase.
Reed announced that the Appalachian
Regional Commis-sion has accepted their preliminary application and
requested that a final application be submitted.
Funding from ARC is being sought to
help pay for assisted living quarters at Monroe County Care Center.
Commissioners signed a letter to
State Rep. Jennifer Garrison requesting support of the Wireless 911 fund
bill known as House Bill 550. The bill is currently assigned to the House
Finance and Appropriation Com-mittee.
The Wireless 911 fund, a product of
HB 361 enacted in 2005, has a sunset clause of December 2008.
HB 550 provides for an extension of
the sunset through 2012, applies the 32 cent surcharge to calls, increases
funds for the smallest counties from $25,000 to $90,000 annually and funds
much needed public education.
Monroe County has a fully implemented
wireless 911. The wireless funding is needed to maintain the system, pay for
service calls, and pay AT&T fees associated with wireless 911. Currently
Monroe County is only able to employ one full-time dispatcher. The wireless
funds would help cover the cost of the salary of another dispatcher so that
two dispatchers could be on duty part of the time.
In other matters:
Allyson Cox, commission secretary,
told officials that nobody wants to take over the Veteran’s Committee brick
project which honors veterans. Commission President John Pyles indicated he
will speak to other veterans’ organizations about the project.
Bricks engraved with the names of
veterans form a sidewalk to the prosecuting attorney’s office (formerly the
board of elections office) at the courthouse and plans were to extend the
brick memorials on the south side of the courthouse.
Commissioner Francis ‘Sonny’ Block
read a letter from Safe Auto into the record. According to the letter, a
decision has been made not to pursue an expansion of the claims operation in
Monroe County . According to the letter, written by Vic Johnson, senior
vice-president of claims, projected growth over the next few years is much
less than in past years. Johnson noted also that the company will not move
into any new states at this time. “Therefore the need for adding new
employees has greatly decreased and the need for additional facilities is
Ad Confuses Customers
“It's misleading - it makes it look
like [Suddenlink] is back in business [here in Woodsfield]," said Jeff
Woodell, Woodsfield village administrator.
Woodell had a barrage of telephone
calls last week after residents received an offer, via mail, from Suddenlink
to sign up for television cable. Calls and questions were also answered at
the Beacon office.
"Suddenlink is not coming in to
compete," said Woodell. "It's an error by their marketing department." He
indicated the address labels of
those who received the advertisement were apparently not pulled out of
Suddenlink’s mailing system.
After several months of negotiating
with Suddenlink, Woodell was able to complete a deal enabling the village of
Woodsfield to take ownership of the television cable system in July. The
deal includes a non-compete clause which disallows Suddenlink to set up a
cable system in competition with the village. Woodell noted, too, that it
would cost $5 million to $6 million for another cable system to be installed
"We're finally settled in and things
are rollin' along good," said Woodell, "It's just a fly in the ointment.”
With the advent of cold weather,
Woodell said the Woodsfield Municipal Cable System has now picked up over
120 new customers. The system has also added several channels at no
additional cost to customers.
The Suddenlink advertisement offers
cable at $40 per month for 12 months. What it does not say is that the $40
is for basic channels.
Woodsfield Municipal Cable offers
basic TV cable for under $30
MELVIN L. BROWN
Melvin L. Brown, 60, of Ithaca, New
York, died Oct. 25, 2008 at Cuyuga Medical Center. The son of the late Clyde
and Stella Brown, he was born Feb. 28, 1948 in Woodsfield.
Dale E. Hendershot, 59, of
Barnesville, died Nov. 23, 2008 at Emerald Pointe Nursing and Rehab Center.
He was born Nov. 11, 1949 in Beallsville, a son of Ferne Truax Hendershot of
Beallsville and the late Robert (Bob) Hendershot.
DARLENE R. SHREVES
Darlene R. Knowlton Shreves, 45,
Woodsfield, died Nov. 18, 2008, at Woodsfield Nursing and Rehabilitation
Center. She was born Dec. 2, 1962 in Sistersville, W.Va., a daughter of the
late Everett Knowlton and Mary Schwaben Knowlton. Condolences can be
expressed online at www.bauerturner.com
Out of 88 Ohio counties, Monroe is
one of the only four limited to one publicly funded library. In comparing
Monroe with other counties who have approximately the same population, some
interesting facts can be found. For example, Morgan County has a smaller
population, fewer square miles, and receives less library funding than
Monroe County, yet it operates two public libraries. When one divides the
revenue by the number of libraries they operate, other district libraries in
counties similar to Monroe are providing quality library service in multiple
buildings for less money than Monroe County uses to operate their Woodsfield
At the October meeting of the Monroe
County District Library, these facts were presented to their board along
with a request to begin negotiations with Dally Library as a branch.
In good faith, Dally entered
negotiations and presented a model used by forward-thinking counties in the
state. These county boards provide library services to any community that
will provide a building. In this way, they can service more people
throughout the area. At this first session, we agreed with the Monroe County
Library representatives to meet again on Dec. 1 for our second negotiations.
How can we now believe that they negotiated with us in food faith when at
their November meeting, weeks before our agreed-upon second negotiations
session, their board abruptly refused Dally as a branch?
At that meeting, a citizen opposing
branch status suggested that people along the riverfront can go to West
Virginia libraries. Perhaps this sums up this issue more than any other
statement. As a taxpayer of Ohio and Monroe County who happens to live in
the riverfront area, shouldn't I have equal access to services provided by
the monies designated to Monroe County by the state of Ohio?
The treasurer of Monroe County
District Library stated they receive $640,000. By their staff’s estimation,
Dally could be operated for as little as $47,000, less than eight percent of
funds provided by the state. It’s not as though Dally is asking for a
handout: we (like perhaps other areas of Monroe County) would like more
equal access to library services that could be provided through this money
designated for Monroe County.
According to a statement in the
Intelligencer, the denial was a financial matter. Yet later in the same
board meeting, they voted to give thousands of dollars in bonuses to their
employees. They also said they will have a carryover into the new year of at
least $80,000. In the time that Dally has been in existence, the MCDL has
spent hundreds of thousands of Monroe County’s allocation from the state
renovating their Woodsfield building, purchasing property, and erecting
gazeboes. Is this what the state intended when it disburses this money for
library services? While it is commendable to care for library property,
shouldn’t it be weighed against the needs of the county? If the library
needs of the majority of our county are not being adequately met, then it is
time for citizens and officials to look carefully for ways to rectify this
Sincerely, Karen Romick
You might be a redneck if: You treat our armed forces veterans with
great respect and always have.
You might be a redneck if: You’ve
never burned an American flag, nor intend to.
Pappy used to say, “Every good thing
has to come to an end.” The problem is, if it ends before you want,
it’s a big disappointment.
The River football team, for example.
They were sailing along toward the state finals but it fell a bit
short. A disappointment but the trip will be long remembered. Many
schools would give everything to make the same trip.
I am not acquainted with any of the
members of the River football team. However, a picture in the Times
Leader was an example of what I think of the River team.
The picture was of several players
shortly after they had received the runner-up trophy. You could read
the disappointment on their faces. Yet, they were applauding the
Malvern team as they received the winners trophy. Now, if this isn’t
class I don’t know what is. “Respect the game” at its best.
I’m sure the River football team,
cheerleaders and coaches did an excellent job representing River
High School, Switzerland of Ohio Schools and Monroe County this
Those of us who are not directly
involved with a football team sometimes forget the teachers,
students, booster club, parents and fans who are also a part of the
team. They deserve a pat on the back.
I don’t know what else to say except
I’m proud of the job you accomplished this year.
Where else but in America? Several
days ago I ate lunch at a nearby restaurant. I got to thinking it
was almost like taking a world trip.
I sat there eating with a fork from
Thailand and a spoon from the Philippines. I’m not sure where the
knife was from as it didn’t say. What’s worse than that, I was
wearing a cap made in Vietnam. Where else but in America?
How about these snow flurries? I kind
of like this type of snow. Here today, gone tomorrow. Kind of early.
I remember when I could hardly wait for snow; now I’d like to wait
all winter before it snows.
Now, way back 58 years ago I remember
when we had a real snow, not one of the fly by night kind. I had to
put chains on my car and travel all the way to Logan County a week
after the snow. If I recall correctly we missed 15 days or more of
school that year. This was before we had to make up missed days.
This time of year it’s kind of tough
to think of something to write about. I got to thumbing through some
of the stuff I’ve written some 16 years ago and thought it might be
interesting to share again with all of the things going on today.
When I was growing up I didn’t
realize I was growing up in poverty.
Here is a list of things I didn’t
have. No running water, no inside plumbing, no heat upstairs and one
room downstairs, no bathtub, outside john, a pot under the bed,
nothing but a coal fired cook stove, couldn't shower every day, no
refrigerator, had to wear clothes more than one day, one pair of gym
shoes for three years of basketball, didn’t get to play little
league anything, never touched a basketball till a freshman in high
school, never ate a box lunch at school, had to wear gum boots,
didn’t even have a TV set, no calculators, no boom box, one radio in
the house, had to carry water in the house, carry coal in the house
and ashes out. The list could go on and on and on with things
such as cell phones, computers, IPods, turning urine into water,
etc. You could probably fill pages with the list. I might also add,
we went to church nearly every Sunday.
How did we ever make it? We sold milk
at eight cents a quart, four cents a pint to a few people, raised a
garden, butchered a few hogs and Jersey bulls, kept a few chickens
and ate plenty of beans. I could still enjoy a dish of some kind of
beans every day. Now, we were really under the poverty level and
didn’t know it. I’m not sure there was a poverty level back then,
’cause I think most everyone was in the same boat.
I’m not sure what point I’m trying to
make, but I think there comes a time when people have to do
something for themselves.
I also mentioned getting ready for
R.O.E., Resident Outdoor Education, a program of three days at camp
for sixth graders to study the out of doors. An excellent program
dropped because of funds and no one was willing to work to provide
I ended with: Did you know it takes
two politicians to install a light bulb? One to insert it. One to
screw it up.
I sometimes ended with a riddle; do
you remember this? What do you raise in the garden that you, One:
throw away the outside, two: cook the inside, three: eat the outside
and four: throw away the inside?
I know you knew the answer right
away. It’s sweet corn; think about it.
Why is it people are so funny - they
want the front of the bus, the middle of the road and back of the
church? There’s still plenty of empty back seats; try one this
Bible readings: (Mon.) John 16:25-33;
(Tues.) Thessalonians 2:13-16; (Wed.) Romans 8:18-25; (Thurs.) Acts
14:21-23; (Fri.) I Peter 4:12-19; (Sat.) Psalm 44:17-26; (Sun.) II
Corinthians 11:16-18, 21-30, 12:9,10.