< P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield, OH  43793  <


Below are links to portions of this week's news articles. For the full story, pick up a  paper at your local newsstand or send $1 with your name/address to P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield, OH  43793.



Nov. 5, 2008

School Levies Approved, Two New Commissioners Named

        Voters have approved renewal levies for the MRDD and Switzerland of Ohio school district.
        A 2.5 mill renewal levy for Switzerland of Ohio Local School District for the  purpose of providing funds for improvements and equipment at a rate not exceeding 2.5 mills passed on a 4,297 to 2,300 vote.                     The 1 mill MRDD renewal levy for Community Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability programs and services passed 4,863 to 1,942.
        County commissioners elected were Carl Davis and Tim Price. Davis ran unopposed for the Jan. 3 seat and garnerd 5,294 votes.
        Vying for the Jan. 2 seat were Paul D. Ferguson (R) and Tim Price (D). Price gained 4,302 votes and Ferguson earned 2,450.
        Chuck Black ran unopposed for county sheriff and was given 5,276 votes of confidence. He replaced Tim Price who ran for county commissioners.
        Other Monroe County candidates:
        Prosecuting Attorney, Lynn Kent Riethmiller 5,127.
        Clerk of Court of Common Pleas, Beth Ann Rose 5,330.
        Recorder: Martha Louise Reid 5,190.
        Treasurer: Judy A. Gramlich 5,193.
        County Engineer: Lonnie E. Tustin 4,750.
        County Coroner: Ronnie H. Williamson, 4,868. 
        In the race for state representative: 93rd District, Jennifer Garrison 5,136, Wayne A. Smith 1,501.
        On the official nonpartisan ballot:
        For State Board of Education, 9th District, Monroe County voters cast 1,297 votes for Michael L. Collins; 773 for Larry A. Good and 3,400 for William E. Moore.
         Countians cast 3,623 votes for the Barak Obama - Joe Biden ticket and 2,973 for the John McCain - Sarah Palin ticket.
        State Issue 1: proposed constitutional amendment to provide for earlier filing deadlines for statewide ballot issues, Countians voted 3,475 for and 2,578 against.
        Issue 2, proposed constitutional amendment to authorize the state to issue bonds to continue the Clean Ohio Program for environmental revitalization and conservation. Monroe Countians votes 3,572 for and 2,780 against.
        Issue 3: amendment to amend the constitution to protect private property rights in ground water, lakes and other water courses. Monroe Countians votes 4,581 for and 1,794 against.
        Referendum: Referendum on legislation making changes to check cashing lending, sometimes known as “payday lending,” fees, interest rates and practices. Countians voted 3,467 for and 3,062 against.
        Issue 6: Proposed constitutional amendment for a casino near Wilmington in Southwest Ohio and distribute to all Ohio counties a tax on the casino. Voters in Monroe voted 1,813 for the casino and 5,021 against.
        Representative to Congress,  6th  District: Dennis Spisak, (Green Party of Ohio)183, Richard Stobbs 1,428, Charlie Wilson 5,105.
        State Senator, 20th District, Timothy Kettler 239 Rick C. Shriver 4,045, Jimmy Stewart 2,178.
        Judge for the Court of Common Pleas, Probate and Juvenile Division: Walter Starr 5,158.
        Mid-East Career and Tech-nology Centers additional 1.4 mill tax for permanent improvements: 19 yes votes, 63 no.
        Adams Township, an additional 3 mill tax in Adams Township for road maintenance and repairs 112 for 181 against.
        Green Township: additional 1 mill tax for three  years for road maintenance. 97 for and 113 against.
        Center Township: a renewal of  2 mills for five years commencing in 2009 1,266 yes, 332 no.             Malaga Township: additional 2 mill tax for road maintenance  for a five-year period, commencing in 2008. 233 yes, 224 no.
        Salem Township: excluding the village of Clarington. Additional 1 mill tax for maintaining and operating Salem Township Cemeteries commencing 2008 with first tax collections in calendar year 2009. The vote was 137 for and 130 against.
For Monroe County's complete election results go to:
the page opens in Microsoft Word.

<Kerns Sentenced to 15 to Life

Jayson Kerns

        “There’s no human explanation for what you did ...” said Judge Julie  Selmon after sentencing Jayson Lee Kerns for the felonious murder of 20-month old Evan Edward Hess.
        Kerns, 21, of Woodsfield, was sentenced Oct. 30 in Monroe County Common Pleas Court for the fatal beating of his then girlfriend’s son.
        Kerns was sentenced to a mandatory indefinite term of 15 years to life. He was given credit for  209 days jail time served in Monroe County.
        During stern comments to Kerns, the judge occasionally shook her finger at him.
        Common Pleas Court Judge Selmon said that based upon court information which she had read numerous times she has no doubt the child was abused prior to the day he was beaten and killed.
        “As long as I have breath in me ... as long as I’m on this bench, and I plan to be here a long time, I will oppose your release,” she told Kerns.
        The judge reminded Kerns that when he is transported to prison, he will be “with the most violent criminals...”

        He was ordered conveyed to the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
        “We’re in recess,” said Judge Selmon. “Take him out of here.”
        Prior to sentencing, ten members of Evan Hess’ family gave victim impact statements and messages from two family members were read by Victim Advocate Lynn Booher.
        Tara Darby, the child’s mother,  sobbed for several minutes as she tried to contain her tears. She said people told her that through God she would be able to forgive, “It’s not going to happen,” she said. “How could you kill a two-year-old boy?” she asked. “You didn’t kill a grown man, you killed a little boy unable to defend himself.”
        Darby said she wants to change the law and make an example of Kerns. She said her family will not rest until they have changed the law. “We’ll make sure you stay in prison,” she told Kerns, who sat motionless next to his attorney.
        Darby told Kerns she could not comprehend his hateful crime. “It takes a horrible, cruel person to do what you did to our Evan.”
        The victim was initially transported by Woodsfield EMS on Jan. 2 to Barnesville Hospital.  He was airlifted from Barnesville to Akron Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced brain dead. He died on Jan. 3.
        “He killed Evan because he couldn’t stand him crying,” wrote Jason Hess, the child’s father. His statement was read by Booher.
        With regard to Kern’s statement in court on Oct. 30, “I went too far,” Jason Hess wrote, “Yes, you went too far, Jayson.”
        “The family was cheated by the plea agreement,” said Richard Hess, the victim’s grandfather. He noted according to the agreement, Kerns was to tell the family what he did to Evan Hess. “All [Kerns] said was that he went too far.”
        “You can’t look us in the eye and that pisses me off,” said Evan’s grandmother, Chris Darby. She spoke emphatically  of the day Evan was taken to the hospital. “You got in the car with us and acted like you cared ... you piece of shit! The only time you felt bad is when you thought you’d get caught!”
        The child’s aunt, Dianne McGill, told Kerns she will never forgive him. Looking directly at him she demanded he look at her. “You can’t look at me,” she shouted. But you looked at me that night and said you couldn’t hurt [Evan].”
        For a brief second, Kerns, a small man, turned his head upward and looked at McGill then hung his head back down.
        Several statements included mention that Kerns was not sorry, that he had not apologized to anyone. However, as he was led in shackles from the courthouse he stopped to speak to a reporter. With tears rolling down his cheeks he said, “I just want to say I’m sorry.”  He said he wanted to apologize “to everyone.”
        Victim impact statements were filled with sorrow, grief and extreme anger.
        Walking from the microphone after giving his statement, a family member hesitated before continuing to his seat and said, “If I could spend one minute with you I’d ...”
        “Isn’t that a threat?” questioned a relative or friend of Kerns.       
        Judge Selmon ordered there be no more talk from the galley or the individuals would be put out of the courtroom.
        The courtroom was heavily guarded by the sheriff, several deputies and members of the village police department. Police Chief Chuck Hamilton’s department filed the charges.

< Zerger to be Inducted in Ohio’s Veterans Hall of Fame
God Bless the Infantryman

        Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has announced the names of 20 veterans to be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2008. Inductees include representatives of armed conflicts from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Shield/ Desert Storm.
        Among those inductees is Woodsfield’s Herman Zerger, who served with the United States Army’s 36th Division. The public is invited to the induction ceremony which will be held Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of the Franklin County Veterans Memorial in Columbus. A public reception will begin at 2 p.m.
        Zerger was a platoon sergeant in Company I, a rifle company in the 141st Infantry Regiment. He fought through Italy and France and was taken prisoner on Feb. 3, 1945 at Herrlisheim, France, the last town in his sector before crossing the Rhine River.
        “Politics and veterans’ organizations are what keep me going,” said the 84-year-old Army veteran.
        Over the years, Zerger has shared some of his memories and observations. Following is one of the articles he has written:
God Bless the Infantryman
        The average age of the infantryman in combat is 19 years, who under normal circumstances would be considered not yet quite a man, but old enough to serve or die for his country.
        In high school, he was likely an average student, probably pursued some sports activities to impress the girls or to satisfy his dad, he drove a 10-year-old jalopy, had a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He never really cared much for work, but then he’s never collected unemployment either.
        He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter than he was at home because he is always moving or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk and at times, all night, too.
        He has trouble writing letters for he can think of nothing to write home about, because if he did mom would worry, so when he does write, he fibs a little.
        He listens to grenades, small arms fire, planes and howitzers. He can recite the nomenclature and use of machine guns or grenade launchers, and is trained to use them all. He can field strip his rifle in 30 seconds or less and reassemble it even quicker. He marches until told to stop then digs foxholes, bunkers and latrines. He can get more rest in a 10-minute break than we at home can with hours of sleep. He obeys orders without hesitation, but is not without spirit or individual dignity.
        He keeps his canteen full of water and his feet dry, if possible. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his weapon. He applies first aid like a professional to his own hurts or his buddy’s.
        He will share his water if you are thirsty, and if you are hungry, his food.
        He will even share his ammunition with you in the midst of a firefight when you run low. He has learned to use his hands as weapons and his weapons as if they were his hands. He has seen piles of dead bodies he probably  helped create. He can save a life or take it because that is his job. He, in his short lifetime has seen more suffering and death than most have or even will.
        He has wept openly for friends that have fallen in combat and is unashamed.
        He will draw a fraction of a civilian’s pay and still can find ironic humor in it.
        He is the same American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years. He asks for nothing in return except understanding for where he has been and what he was asked to do.
        Just as the fathers and grandfathers before him, he was just paying the price for our freedom.
        Remember him always for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood or maybe his life.
        Me being a history nut and a war buff and serving in the infantry is the reason I like to write about the rifleman. After talking to some of my “T-Patchers,” men of the 36th Infantry Division about combat, memories come back and I think better and write at one or two o’clock in the morning and can pass on the real way it was being an eyewitness of the good, the bad and the ugly part of war. The bitterest fighting and the highest casualties go to the infantry.
        When I was a young soldier, I fought for our country out of love and respect for her, just trying to do what I thought was expected of me. Now 60 years later, doing what I always considered my duty.
        I keep in touch with many of my buddies by calling and writing and so many are shut-ins. I belong to almost all of the veteran’s organizations and, in many, a charter member.
        I try to keep informed on all local, state and national affairs especially legislation passed by Congress for the veterans.


< ~ Vietnam Veterans Remember ~

 Sgt. David Ricer is shown with Phyllis George, the reigning Miss America. This photo was taken in 1971 just 12 days before Ricer returned home from Vietnam.      

Memories still haunt these Vietnam veterans. Their emotions surfaced as they recounted some of their harrowing experiences in a land thousands of miles away. Shown, from left, are Roger Elliott, Dave Ricer and Alonzo Wilson.                                                     

Photo by Martha Ackerman    

by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer
        For many years the fighting in Vietnam was known as a “conflict,” but those who served there knew what it really was – a war. It was a war that took 177 Monroe County men to the jungles of Southeast Asia. Nine of them  never returned – six of these men were from Beallsville; one from Lewisville, one from Sardis and one from Woodsfield.
        Memories still haunt the men and women who served in the United States military during the Vietnam era. By the grace of God, they survived, some not knowing how or why.
        I had the privilege of talking with three of those men recently. It was an emotional experience as Roger Elliott, Dave Ricer and Alonzo Wilson relived some of their most harrowing experiences as they served their country decades ago. All three were 19-years-old when they first saw the beaches of the South China Sea.
        Roger was drafted in November, 1965, and by the luck or unluck of the draw, he went into the Marine Corps. It was uncommon that a draftee went into the Marine Corps, but according to Roger, the officials went down the line saying “you, you, you and you are marines.”
        After training, Roger was assigned to the 5th Marine Division. The division boarded three ships, the U.S.S. Thompson which Roger was on, the U.S.S. VanCouver and the U.S.S. Iwo Jima. After about 20 days, 5,000 men hit the South Vietnam coastline near the 17th parallel.
        A heavy artillery gunner, Roger found himself in an area around Da Nang, on Hill 55. On Christmas Day in 1966, he received a leather photo album marking the occasion. It’s  little album which holds some of those pictorial memories. As fate would have it, Roger ran into a hometown boy. Alonzo’s unit was nearby and he went to see a face from home.
        Roger’s artillery unit manned two different types of guns. One had a range of seven miles, the other a 19 mile range. “You got so used to the sound of gunfire, you just stayed in the trenches or in the bunkers,” said Roger. According to this marine, they fired a million rounds in four months!
        In October, 1966, the two-and-a-half ton truck he was riding in was attacked, hit by gunfire and rolled into a rice patty. Roger was pinned under the truck.  He was taken to a field hospital where he was given a bar of soap and was told to take a shower. The government said there was nothing wrong with him and he found himself back on Hill 55! No X-rays, no medical treatment. He was told the other two soldiers who were pinned under the truck with him went stateside. Later he found, to his sorrow and dismay, that they went back in body bags.
“It woke up a monster in my left hip,” said Roger. The injury stayed dormant from 1966 until 2005 when he started having problems. Finally, there was a surgical biopsy which found a 16 pound tumor on his hip.
        That was not the only injury Roger received during those days. He lost 30-50 percent of his hearing when his division was being overrun and the guns had to be turned, putting the 100 pound shells on the opposite side of the guns. The full impact of the blast resounded in their ears as they carried the shells to the loading chamber.
        On August 5, 1967, Roger returned home after spending a year in Vietnam.                                Today, the senior vice at Woodsfield VFW Post 5303 is retired from the Ohio Department of Transportation and enjoys the peace and quiet of good old Monroe County.
        Alonzo Wilson enlisted in the Marine Corps in November 1965. He found himself in-country South Vietnam in November 1966. “I was supposed to be a truck driver but I never did,” he said. He was in the 2nd Battalion Marine Division infantry. They stayed in tents or slept out in the dirt. He was at an outpost south of Da Nang when he had a brief visit with Roger.
        “Things began really heating up,” said Alonzo. His regiment moved north to Con Then fire bases on the demilitarized zone (DMZ). It was the beginning of the Tet Offensive when the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army tried to wipe out ever American serving in Vietnam. They seized the American embassy in Saigon and hit every base.
        On Feb. 4, 1968, a convoy prepared to enter Hue (pronounced Way) City. Alonzo was in a deuce-and-a-half behind the first vehicle entering the city. “The government didn’t know that the enemy had that much control over the city,” said Alonzo, whose emotions rose as he remembered the day.
        According to an internet source, the city of Hue, South Vietnam was the site of one of the fiercest battles of the war. Three understrength U.S. Marine battalions, consisting of fewer than 2,500 men attacked and defeated more than 10,000 entrenched enemy troops, liberating Hue for  South Vietnam. The battle of Hue lasted four weeks and cost 142 American lives.
        On the Canal Bridge Alonzo experienced his regiment’s first contact with the enemy. His convoy ran right into the North Vietnamese. The lead vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). The three men riding in the jeep were killed. Under small arms fire, Alonzo and fellow soldiers dragged their fallen comrades to their vehicle. Raw emotion emerged as the memories came flooding back. Two more RPGs missed their vehicle, but they were still in the kill zone. Three more RPGs were fired. Three of the men riding in Alonzo’s vehicle were killed; two more were severely injured. The repercussion from the last RPG knocked Alonzo backwards. When he looked up, there were three bullet holes where he had been sitting. “I was the only one without a scratch,” said this marine.
        They were in Hue City for two weeks clearing out the enemy. The regiment was handicapped because of a shortage of intelligence. They had gone in with only what was on their backs expecting to be in and back out. They ran out of ammunition and food, but there were reinforcements coming in and finally they got some sea rations. Hue was the country’s cultural center and, according to Alonzo, the  U.S. military was not allowed to use artillery air strikes, only rifles. That didn’t last long. The enemy tried and tried to wipe out the American troops. “It’s not because they didn’t try,” said Alonzo, “they just couldn’t!” Finally, there were enough reinforcements with some coming in every day, that the city was secured. “Half the soldiers fighting in this battle were casualties, with 180 killed in action and many, many more wounded.”
        “I shouldn’t be sitting here,” he said.
        Alonzo’s unit had a week off after Hue City, then they boarded helicopters and were headed to Khe Sanh. He spent his time there in trenches on the north side of the base with 200-800 incoming rounds a day bombarding the area. The platoon was then sent south for two months with about the same fire power invading this area. After a year and 20 months in Vietnam, “My time was up then and I came home,” Alonzo concluded. He worked in the coal mines for a few years and then in 1975, he started his own business, Wilson Lumber. He is commander of Woodsfield VFW Post 5303.
        Dave Ricer was still in high school when the Tet Offensive occurred. But the war continued and in March, 1970, this 19-year-old found himself drafted and sent to the jungles of Southeast Asia. Memories of his year in Vietnam still haunt his dreams; no, not dreams, nightmares.
        Dave has shared his stories of war to many local students in attempt to show them how different the culture is in third world countries. He has the hope that students will appreciate the freedoms for which U.S. soldiers have fought and died. The following is a story that he asked the late Pam Sloan not to publish at the time because it was still too fresh in his mind. Today, he is allowing it to be published. Time may heal old wounds, but the mind never lets you forget …
        It was a hot summer evening in the Republic of South Vietnam in 1971 when a 23-man, U.S. Army recon team headed up a well-worn trail onto a South Vietnamese Army Camp, “Hill 7-6,” to spend the night. Sometime during the night, an estimated force of 1,200 North Vietnamese soldiers and Viet Cong gorillas surrounded and over-ran Hill 7-6. By the time U.S. war planes arrived, only four Americans were left alive. One of those four soldiers was Dave Ricer, Echo Company, 1/52 Infantry, 23rd Infantry Division.
        Dave added a few details of this account saying that he had to go to the bathroom and when he came out of the bunker, he noticed that the machine gun was unmanned. That told him something was not right. He lit a flare and watched as it went up. He still can’t believe that he wasn’t shot standing there. As the rays from the flare came down, he saw hundreds of enemy soldiers surrounding the hill. He ran to the machine gun and began firing as fast as the gun would allow. He kept firing in a semi-circular pattern until thousands of bullets were spent and the gun melted down. The main force was now coming from behind the hill. When Dave ran inside the bunker, the U.S. Army jets blew away the hill! The U.S. military didn’t send help until daylight. When he returned to base camp, Ron Keevert, another Monroe Coun-ty boy who was with an engineering company, was waiting for him “Why do you do this to me?” he asked. He had been sitting up all night long
 waiting to hear word of the team. “I shouldn’t have come back,” Dave said as, to this day, he continues to question why he was spared.
        During those days, Dave and his unit spent four weeks out in the jungle and three days back in base camp. When he was at base camp, he spent most of the time with Ron. “He was like a god-send. He had a bunker with food. The engineers took care of their people. It was something to look forward to in the middle of hell,” said this infantry soldier. “It took a lot of pressure off.”
        One night while in camp, Dave and his comrades heard a noise. “You were always alert to sound.” He had planted booby traps in front of them and he had wired them as a defensive mechanism. They heard the explosion and he was sent to see what it was. “That was my first real taste of reality in a third world country,” said Dave. A boy had been sent by the village chief to fetch a pig which had gotten out. Both were killed in the explosion. When the parents arrived via an American helicopter, they ran right past the boy and started picking up pieces of the pig. Dave was appalled at what he saw. Outraged, he grabbed the pappason and yelled, “That’s your son!” His commanding officer grabbed him and told him to let the man go that in their culture the boy was nothing but a liability, a mouth to be fed. The pig would feed a family for six  months.
        When American soldiers entered a village, some, like Dave, gave the children candy. “They came running for candy, cigarettes or anything they could trade for food,” said Dave. “If the kids did not coming running, we knew there was a problem. It was like an early warning device.”
        Another time, Dave was at the firebase when an incoming rocket failed to detonate. The Vietnamese scour the dump area for anything they can find. To prevent the rocket going off and killing innocent people, Dave was ordered to disarm the rocket. When he went to do it, he saw a wild dog ready to pounce on a young girl. He killed the dog and the girl ran. Dave took care of his mission and returned to camp. Later, the village chief came to the wire with the villagers behind him and wanted the guy who killed the dog. Dave couldn’t believe he was in trouble for killing a wild dog, but he met the chief who handed him a plastic box containing a ring. It turns out, the girl was the chief’s daughter and he wanted to reward the soldier who had saved her. Dave assumed that the ring was worthless, probably made of tin. He threw it in his rock sack and didn’t think anymore about  it. Twenty-five years later his wife had it appraised. To Dave’s surprise, the
 ring was handmade of solid gold!
        Twelve days before Dave left Vietnam, Phyllis George, the reigning Miss America, visited his camp. Since he had only 12 days left, the guys urged him to be the soldier to have his picture taken with her. The photo appeared in national magazines with him listed as unknown soldier. “I knew who I was,” said Dave. After receiving a “dear john” letter from his fiancé and surviving a year in the jungles with the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army trying to  annihilate him, it is one of Dave’s few good memories of that Southeast Asian country.
Unlike Roger and Alonzo, Dave did not receive a handshake when he returned home. It was the 70’s and war protests were very common. The returning soldiers were ridiculed. In 1971 Dave arrived in San Francisco . His buddies told him he’d be treated as a hero because of his military accomplishments. “That was a thought short lived,” said this returning soldier. The soldiers went through the main hangar where hundreds of people were sitting on the floor. They came to their feet as the soldiers came through. An opening cleared and Dave walked through thinking the people were there to greet them. He soon found himself closed in by people and they were yelling “baby killer …  murderer.” He thought immediately they knew about the boy and the pig. He tried to explain that he would never harm a child. It did no good. An elderly lady spit on him. He dropped his duffle bag and rock sack and was ready to defend himself. Dave remembers cops appeared
 from everywhere and he heard one say, ‘Sergeant, you don’t ever have to fight again.’ “That was my first taste of coming home,” he said.
        When Dave arrived in Columbus, his brother Jim picked him up at the airport. He insisted on taking Dave to a sorority party but all Dave wanted to do was to go home. He had been in the United States 12 hours and home was his priority. Jim was persistent and they went to the party. Dave found a lounge where he could be by himself. Soon a dozen or so young women came into the room. They asked him if he attended classes there. His brother came in just then and told them that he was just  returning from Viet-nam. “They scattered like I was a disease,” Dave recounts as he shakes his head. Jim grabbed him and they went home where he was greeted by his loving family.
        Dave works at the Woodsfield Post Office as a rural mail carrier. He like so many who have experienced war, will never forget his year in Vietnam. 

< Sardis Women bring Warmth, Security to Foster Children

by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer
        Linda Reed and Alice Kingry, representing the “My Very Own Blanket” organization has donated 40 warm, cuddly blankets to Monroe County Job and Family Services. The “security blankets” are given to children as they enter foster care. Shown with Reed and Kingry are Stephanie Caldwell, JFS social services supervisor, and Stacey Magruder, JFS social worker.         
Photo by Martha Ackerman       

After hearing Jessica Holland, the founder of  “My Very Own Blanket,” speak last April at Dally Memorial Library, a small group of Sardis area women decided to form their branch of the Ohio organization.
        “My Very Own Blanket” members make child-size blankets for children who are put into foster care. Each blanket has a sewn in label reading “My Very Own Blanket.” It also has lines for the child’s and his/her social worker’s names. 
        These “dragger” blankets travel with the children as they move their the system, hopefully bringing warmth and security in their topsy turvy world.
        According to Alice Kingry and Linda Reed, founding members of the Sardis branch of “My Very Own Blanket,” the story told by Holland ripped at their hearts. When they thought of children leaving their homes at all hours of the day and night with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they knew they wanted to do something ... and they did!
        “She showed us how easy it is to start,” said Kingry, an Ormet Corporation retired registered nurse, who had little sewing experience, but lots of heart.
        “After retiring, I knew I wanted to do something totally different and I landed with Linda (Reed),” Kingry laughed. The two have known each other as members of the Living Water Baptist Church.
        Reed has sewn for about 40 years. She has taken various jobs over the years including babysitting and caring for Kingry’s elderly father. She began quilting a couple of years ago and has brought her talents to the group.
        With the help of a few other ladies, Kingry and Reed decided to try to help the children who move through foster care at Monroe County Job and Family Services. “You give but never see results. We wanted to give to kids right here at home. It’s not a lot of time or effort,” said Reed.
        In the beginning, the group began delving into their own stashes of material, thread, embroidery floss and anything else they could use to make the one-of-a-kind blankets. “It’s amazing how it grew,” said Kingry.
        Reed dropped off several blankets at Job and Family Services and asked if it would be something they could use. Stephanie Caldwell, social services supervisor, and Stacey Magruder, social worker, were very happy to accept the blankets. They thought it was an excellent idea, noting there are about 16 children in foster care now but have about 40 or so at different times.
        So far, the small Sardis group has made and dropped off 40 colorful, cuddly blankets. There are blankets with ducks, farm animals,  lighthouses and even a scavenger hunt one!
        The Dally Library Annex, the former union hall, is their base of operation. They found some sewing machines and had them refurbished. “We go to a lot of yard sales and the Goodwill stores,” said Reed, noting she even asked a lady who was bringing some sheets to Goodwill if she could have them for the blankets. Of course, when the lady found out what they were to be used for, she gladly handed them over. The sheets are used for the backing of the quilts.
        They’ve had donations but are always open to more. They have a hand-out card available around the area and at Dally Memorial Library which lists all the supplies needed. The list includes fabric, fleece, sheets, thread, embroidery floss and always cash donations are welcome.
        And ... they are always looking for more members! You don’t have to know how to sew to join. “Sewers and non-sewers are welcome. We have projects for anybody,” said Kingry. Projects for non-sewers include cutting, knotting and ironing.
        It is a caring community and these ladies do care and do make a difference in each child’s life. Unbeknown to the child, there is a little love sewn in each and every blanket.



<~ $1,000 Donated to Warm the Children ~

        Rex McConnell, state highway technician II, presents a check in the amount of $1,000 to Pandora Neuhart, coordinator of the Warm the Children program. Employees of Monroe County’s state highway garage donated the dollars to warm children of the Switzerland of Ohio school district. Standing by for the presentation are Ohio Civil Service Employees Assciation members, kneeling, Joe Bishop, Gary Betts, Terrill Wickham and Jeff Wade. Standing front row, Kathy Hoskis, Darin Landefeld, Kelly Haslam, Brad Gardner, Mary Amie, Mike Brown, Doug Hartley, Jeff Schenerlein, county manager. Second row: Kevin Howell, Guy Norris, Tony Chappell, Dave Shackle, Dammond Harmon and Josh Williams. This crew was honored recently at the garage for having 2,845 days without a lost time accident. Photo by Arlean Selvy


< Obituaries

        Charles “Jack” Leasure, 76, CR 58, New Matamoras, died Oct. 29, at Ruby Memorial Hospital, Morgantown, W.Va. He was born Nov. 10, 1931 in Monroe County, the son of the late Okey and Marie Merckle Leasure.
Sympathy expressions at grisellfuneralhomes.com.
        Ira Frank Stapp, 87, Claring-ton, formerly of Beallsville, died Oct. 31, 2008, in Wetzel County Hospital, New Martinsville, W.Va. He was born Oct. 22, 1921, in Madisonville, Tenn., a son of the late William Ira and Altie Kirk Stapp. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.harperfh.net.
        Joanne Murdock passed away Nov. 2, 2008.
        She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and foster mother. She was faithful to the Wadsworth Church of Christ where she volunteered her time. She also loved spending time with her family and tending to her flowers.
        Zola M. Christman Slawter died Oct. 18, 2008.
        Memorial service will be held Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. at Bauer-Turner Funeral Home.
        Burial will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, Woodsfield.

<Our Readers Write:

Dear Editor,
        This is a letter in response to accusations anonymously made against Coach Paul McCammon, the 3rd and 4th grade youth football coach.
        We feel that it is important to give a perspective of multiple parents’ points of view. Including: Ed and Mary McLaughlin, Kurt and Renee Hooper, Kevin and Danielle Warner, Travis Siegal, Jennifer Elmore, Greg and Chrissy Haning, Chad and Suzie Deskins, Brad and Dawn Rose, Britta Marston and Lawrence Merckle. We feel that Coach Paul has been a coach that has instilled teamwork, discipline, fairness and enjoyment of the game with our children. He has done this both in practice and in game situations where he had made it a priority to allow all members of the team to get to play in the games.
        He has in all games, demonstrated good sportsmanship and leadership in a manner that all Woodsfield residents should be proud to be associated with.
        When we signed our children up for football, our hopes and expectations were that they would get a coach who would treat all the kids fairly and allow each kid an equal opportunity to show his potential. Coach Paul has been that coach. We feel strongly that he should continue to be coaching for our community.
In support of a great coach,
Everyone listed above

<Around the Burnside

        An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
        If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept criticism you will be honored.
        How can your rain gauge show rain when it hasn’t even rained? My rain gauge indicated it had rained two hundredths of an inch early in the evening. The next morning we took off to Happy Hearts practice. When we got home around noon the rain gauge read four hundredths of an inch, it hadn’t rained. Then I remembered I had some ice on my windshield that morning, so the ice inside my rain catcher melted and caused the teeter totter inside to teeter one time. Thus two hundredths of an inch. How’s that for accuracy?
        Hopefully our two football teams are still on the road to the championship.
        Have you been through the new drive-through at the Citizens Bank? I watched it being constructed and wondered if I wanted to try the new tubes or just wait on the drive-up drawer.
        I decided to try. I drove up, retrieved the carrier and learned you twist the bottom to get it open. I placed my check inside and closed it up. I tried to get the thing to go up by pushing it up as I did the plastic box of old. Didn’t work! I tried a couple of three times and I noticed an arrow with “send” printed on it. I pushed this and zip, my check in the container was gone, almost like a disappearing act. A window came down and soon my money arrived. This window opened, I heard “thank you,” I retrieved my money and drove off thinking that was fun. I’ve been back once since but I think if I have drive through business again I’ll go to the tubes even if the drawer is available.
        Hey, it’s all over, including the shouting. I’m talking about the election. I hope you didn’t lose too much sleep waiting up to see who won.
        I am so glad we will not be getting from TV, radio, newspaper, telephone and mail all the promises made if elected.
        It might be interesting to see how soon the promises are broken or blaming someone else begins because it could not be done.
        I read somewhere a little boy asked his father, “Do any fairy tales start with once upon a time?” Dad replied, “No, son, many of them today start out with, If elected I promise to ---.”
        To me, all the money spent during this election is almost unbelievable. I guess more people are influenced by all the promises, etc. thrown at us. Personally I tend to throw my mind out of gear after hearing the same old thing a dozen times. Oh well, such is life in the fast lane.
        Someone said, “Making 10 sermons is a lot easier than living one.”
        One of the songs the Happy Hearts have included in their Christmas program is “Some-where in My Memory.” Several of you will remember this was in the “Home Alone” movie.
        I guess as you grow older you think back on your memories and perhaps talk or visit a lot about what happened years ago. I guess it’s nothing new as I grew up hearing stories of how it used to be.
        The last few months several good friends have passed away. You stop and think how much influence they have had on your life. You just didn’t have a chance or take the time to tell them.
        For example, I did not realize at the time the influence the “loafers” around the old burnside stove had on my life. I didn’t get to tell them. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
        Along this same line I had a couple of days of excellent TV. I spent most of the time Thursday and Friday afternoon and evening watching the National FFA Convention on the RFD station.
        Talk about memories. I remember going to the convention with some students to Kansas City when teaching at Skyvue. We traveled by public bus. It was nothing like today. Several from Swiss Hills attended the convention when it was held in Louisville. We even had a young lady sing at the National Convention, when Swiss Hills had an active FFA.
        The national media do not bother to let folks know about something as good as the FFA Convention. They want to report every thing that’s wrong.
        The motto of the convention was “Stand up, Step Out.” Believe me they did. I heard four retiring officers’ final speeches. All indicated they had started working on their speeches back in July. Only one thing you can say is, Outstanding! I listened to three motivational speakers, again outstanding. All of this with 30 thousand high school students in attendance.
        I also was a bit surprised. A part of the program is to recognize companies and others who have contributed to the FFA over the years. New Holland has contributed for 60 years. They announced Dennis Hann would accept the plaque on behalf of the company. I yelled at Esther to come and look. We knew Dennis when he was a little boy. His dad and brother operated a dairy farm in Morgan County. I had visited their farm many times when I worked in the extension office in the county. If I remember correctly his mother was a 4-H advisor. They also tried feeding stale bread to their dairy cattle. I guess it worked. Small world.
        With all these memories is there any wonder why I’m disappointed we don’t have an active FFA chapter in the county? We had three at one time.
        If you can’t win, make the person ahead of you break the record.
        There are always plenty of places to sit in church every Sunday. Try one out.
        Bible readings: From Acts (Mon.) 15:1-5; (Tues.) 15:6-11; (Wed.) 15:12-21; Romans (Thurs.) 10:5-9; (Fri.) 10:10-17; Galations (Sat.) 2:1-10; (Sun.) 11-21.