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

 

 

April 23, 2009

<Ormet’s Survival in Jeopardy

        A dispute between Ormet Corporation and alumina supplier Glencore Ltd. is threatening the future of Ormet, which currently employs approximately 1,000 workers.
        Ormet announced April 16 that it has commenced legal action against Glencore because the alumina supplier no longer wants to deliver alumina to the plant or remove the finished aluminum as required under its current tolling agreement.
        In Ormet’s filing with the court, Ormet argues that the failure to prevent Glencore from breaking its contractual obligations to deliver all of the alumina as provided for in the tolling agreement could force Ormet to shut down operations, threatening the jobs of approximately 1,000 active employees and retiree benefits for approximately 3,000 former employees. At the same time, Ormet has made a demand for arbitration against Glencore in accordance with the dispute resolution provisions of the tolling agreement.
        Alumina is the principal component in the manufacture of aluminum. All of Ormet’s aluminum production capacity is currently dedicated to the production of aluminum for Glencore under the tolling agreement. If Glencore does not continue shipping alumina and otherwise performing its obligations under the tolling agreement, Ormet’s operations will be seriously affected. Prior to taking the legal actions, Ormet had sought to resolve the dispute with Glencore amicably.
        “Unfortunately, notwithstanding our long and positive relationship with Glencore and significant efforts on our part to resolve this issue without resorting to legal action, Glencore has decided not to honor its contractual obligations to Ormet,” said Mike Tanchuk, Chief Executive Officer of Ormet. “Glencore’s position is without merit. Having enjoyed the substantial benefit of pricing terms under the tolling agreement for many months, Glencore no longer wishes to fulfill its contractual obligations now that aluminum prices have declined. Rather than honoring its obligations, Glencore is attempting to use its size, market position and significant financial resources relative to Ormet to force upon Ormet unjustified material changes to Glencore’s obligations under the tolling agreement. Glencore’s wrongful use of force majeure is nothing more than a way to try to escape a binding contract that it no longer finds desirable.”
        Tanchuk continued, “We developed an agreement that they provide the alumina and we turn it into aluminum metal. Then they take the metal product away as well. The price of metal was set last year when it was worth much more than it is now. We’ve been trying to work with them but we just could not reach an agreement. The court action was our last resort.”
        Tanchuk said that Ormet currently has enough product on hand to see the plant through the next few months. However, by June Ormet will no longer have enough material to process and that’s when lay-offs could be a possibility.


<
Congressman Wilson Visits

       

Katie Thomas shows Congressman Charlie Wilson a fishing fly she made at Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Willis, left, shows Congressman Charlie Wilson the different rods and reels available for members to borrow. “With the pond and the river right here, there are lots of opportunities to practice what they learn here,” said Wilson.                                 Photo by Martha Ackerman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Sylvia Bowen is shown in her office, shared by fellow volunteer certified naturalists. The two women have nosted a recent bluebird workshop and have a nature walk planned for May 2 at Piatt Park, exploring and identifying herbs, butterflies, birds, insects and reptiles.

by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer
        “There’s an exciting pattern going on in Monroe County,” said U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson during a visit to  Monroe County April 15. 
        During the Congressional recess, Wilson is visiting his home districts and talking to the people about the American Recovery Plan, noted Christopher J. Gagin, District Director and Staff Attorney. Also accompanying Wilson was Kathy Gagin, Field Representative and Grant Coordinator.
        Speaking about Team Monroe, Wilson continued, “Working together gets more done. As Monroe County is going so should the government, working together for a better America.” He added that it is great when all parts of the county are working together to make things better.
        Wilson visited the Incubator Center at Midway. “I was quite impressed with the center. They’re making spices in olive oil and jellies. I’m pleased to see the facility being used this way. It’s a good idea.”
        The Incubator Center is a Team Monroe product which is intended to help entrepreneurs build a business to the point it becomes viable and is able to leave the incubator to become an active part of the business community.
        The tour included AGI, located at the former Conalco plant on State Route 7.  AGI is a specialty steel manufacturing company. Wilson toured the facility and spoke with president and CEO Jeffrey Himmel.
        Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center was the next stop. Broken Timber is the brainchild of Mike Willis, who has worked hard to provide this education opportunity in Monroe County. The facility, operating under the umbrella of the Ohio Riverfront Development Committee, is provided through the generosity of AGI president Jeffrey Himmel.
        While touring Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center, located on the AGI site, Wilson said, “This is fabulous! It’s a wonderful idea. I know that when children get started with good habits like the ones they are learning here, they do not show up later doing bad things. They become good, productive individuals with a passion for other things ... This is a wonderful opportunity and Monroe County should be so proud of this. With the pond and the river right here, there are lots of opportunities to practice what they learn.”
        Willis led the tour of the outdoor education center explaining the different opportunities provided by Broken Timber. Twenty-five young people were participating in a hunter safety course while Wilson was there.
        The facility offers members the opportunity to borrow a rod and reel with over 80 different ones from which  to choose.
        Sylvia Bowen and Hazel Freeman, volunteer certified naturalists, provide information, workshops and nature walks. Twenty-seven people, including nine children, participated in a bluebird workshop recently, noted Bowen. “We call the nature walks ‘wild walks,’” she said. They explore three different environments on these walks which include identifying herbs, butterflies, insects, reptiles and birds.
        The next nature walk is scheduled for May 2 at 10 a.m. at Piatt Park. Everyone is welcome to join the group. For more information on the walks and the outdoor education center, call 740-827-2880.
        Willis told Wilson that he would like to add an indoor rifle range with his son teaching an archery and shooting class. “This would possibly allow kids to get a scholarship in shooting sports,” said Willis.
        “I have surrounded myself with really good people on this venture,” said Mike Willis. His goal is to get children involved. “They will always be able to enjoy the outdoors,” he said. “We want to promote good ethics and sportsmanship.”
        Speaking on the American Recovery Plan, Wilson said, “We are trying to grow our way out of this recession. Monroe County is showing how we can be productive and grow. That’s the kind of situation we’re trying to develop, creating jobs and helping people.
        Visitors to Broken Timber Outdoor Center had the opportunity to speak with Wilson. Among those attending were Monroe County Commissioner Tim Price, his daughters and Monroe County Wildlife Officer Reid VanCleve.

<Nominated for ED Award

        Team Monroe was nominated for Best Innovation in Ohio Economic Development. Seated is Tom Scott, community developer, with Kiven Smithberger, president of Team Monroe.        

        The work of nearly a hundred Monroe County residents that make up Team Monroe was recognized recently with an award nomination. The Team Monroe concept was submitted by Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District to its member organization, the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA). The state association of economic development organizations hosts an annual meeting and awards event in Columbus each March.
        Team Monroe was nominated for Best Innovation in Ohio Economic Development. The Team Monroe concept was a finalist and noted in the OEDA meeting program listed with other nominees including: City of Dublin, Ohio - the winner of the award; Lorain County Growth Partnership; Northeast Ohio Trade & Economic Consortium; Greater Spring-field Chamber of Commerce and Stark Development Board.
        The concept to involve residents from across the county was the brainchild of Economic and Workforce Developer Tom Scott and former Director of Job and Family Services Debbie Haney. The group has become diverse and representative of all four corners of Monroe County.
        “Team Monroe is pleased to have been nominated,” said President Kiven Smithberger. “We will continue the good work as people give their time, talents and funds to help move our county forward.”
        Every Monroe County resident is eligible to be a member of Team Monroe. There are no membership fees. Team Monroe meets the last Monday of each month at 6 p.m., locations vary across the county.
        From an administrative perspective, Team Monroe elected officers including: Kiven Smithberger of Woodsfield,  president; Joel Davis, Sardis, vice-president; Nikki Baker, Lewisville, secretary and Joe Urbanek, Beallsville, treasurer.        Team Monroe trustees include: Dennis Ward, Dave Pyles, Aaron Miller, Don Pollock and Dan Greenlee.              The team is awaiting approval from the IRS of 501(c)(3) status. The application was necessary in applying for potential grant monies for any of the subcommittees.
        For more details about Team Monroe contact Smithberger at 472-7325 or Tom Scott at 740-213-0455.

<Prepares for 4-H Sandwich Sale
Riesbeck’s Fires Up the Grills for 4-H


        Kirt Sloan, Riesbeck’s store manager, and Bruce Zimmer, 4-H Educator, are ready to serve sausage and ribeye sandwiches on Friday, April 24. The event is staffed by Riesbeck’s employees and 4-H Endowment Committee members. The annual event will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Woodsfield Riesbeck’s parking lot.         Photo Submitted



        It’s time to fire up the grills and once again it’s your chance to enjoy a tasty sandwich. Woodsfield Riesbeck’s will have its Spring Sausage and Ribeye Sandwich Sale on Friday, April 24, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Riesbeck’s employees are joining forces with the Monroe County 4-H Endowment Committee to financially support the local 4-H Endowment. The cost of the sandwich which includes chips, soda or water, is the same as last year.
        During 2007, funds began to flow back into the Monroe County 4-H program in the form of interest income since the Monroe County 4-H Endowment exceeded the $25,000 goal set in 2006, to endow the fund with The Ohio State University Development Fund. County 4-H Endowments are permanent funds made possible through individual donations, business and corporate contributions and fundraising events. Over $49,500 has been invested in the Monroe County 4-H Endowment.
        The Monroe County 4-H Committee has used the interest income for three college scholarships, assisting 4-H participants exhibiting at the state fair, community service grants for 4-H clubs, 4-H camperships, learning experiences for 4-H members and personal development scholarships. Currently, the 4-H program touches almost 500 Monroe County youth through community 4-H clubs and 4-H cloverbud clubs.
        Riesbeck’s employees will be staffing the grills and preparing the sandwiches. Other food donations for the event have come from Conn’s Potato Chip Co. of Zanesville, Nickel’s Bakery, Caito Foods and Pepsi. Last spring the sale raised $3,500 for the 4-H Endowment, which brings the running total for the past five years to $13,850. The 4-H Endowment Committee greatly appreciates all the work and dedication of the Woodsfield Riesbeck’s store.

<Water Line Project to Proceed

        Congressman Charlie Wilson (OH-6) recently announced a $250,000 federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to upgrade the Village of Woodsfield’s public water system. The grant will help provide improved service to 1,127 households, 193 commercial businesses and one industry.
        According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Woodsfield does not have a sufficient water supply. To supplement its existing reservoir supply, the village purchased Rubel’s Lake, a 20-acre farm pond located six miles from the nearest water treatment plant. ARC funds will be used to construct a water line to connect the water source to meet water demands during periods of drought. The project will also support the expansion plans of local businesses and the school district.
        “I’m so pleased that Woodsfield residents will see some real change in their water supply,” said Wilson. “Our infrastructure has been neglected for too long. Making sure our communities have enough safe water is extremely important.”
        In addition to ARC funds, an Ohio Community Develop-ment Block Grant of $448,900 and an approximately $198,900 zero-two percent loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority will bring the total project funding to about $897,800.
        “We’ve had water problems for years and years,” said Woodsfield Village Administrator Jeff Woodell. “Many times we’ve had to curtail car washes and laundromats and have asked people to conserve. The village had only 132 days supply of water which is less than half of the EPA mandated 270 days supply. With the purchase of Rubel’s Lake at $498,000, it will give Woodsfield a water supply exceeding 500 days.
        “Last year we were able to acquire the CDBG funds and a commitment for the ARC funding,” said the village administrator. We have been waiting for the ARC funds to be approved and released.
        “It’s been a very dry March and our reservoir is two -to -three feet down, which usually occurs in late June or July,” added Woodell.
        Normally the CDBG funds cannot be used without the ARC funds in hand.
        When the reservoir levels dropped significantly, Woodell called Congressman Wilson’s office to seek help. Through Charlie Wilson’s efforts, noted Woodell, the village has received confirmation that  the project can begin.
        In a letter to Woodsfield Mayor Bill Bolon, dated April 14, “The Office of Housing and Community Partnerships will administer the Federal Appalachian Regional Com-mission (ARC) project for Rubel’s Lake waterline extension. OHCP received approval on April 8 from the Federal ARC Office ... Please consider this authorization to move forward upon completion of the environmental review release from OHCP.”                             “Charlie’s office has been instrumental in getting the permission to allow this water line project to proceed,” said Woodell

<Higher Education Plan to be Unveiled at May 28 Meeting

by Arlean Selvy
Publisher
        Dr. Joseph Bukowski, president, Belmont Technical College, told county commissioners recently that BTC hopes to unveil the plan for Higher Education at a May 28 meeting at the Monroe County Senior Center.
        Dr. Bukowski and Dr. Holly Bennett, dean of workforce and economic development at the college, met with commissioners earlier this month. Bukowski said he wanted to meet the two new commissioners as well as introduce Dr. Bennett to the board. In addition, he presented an update concerning what the college can do and has done for county residents.
        Dr. Bukowski said the plan for Higher Education in Monroe County is near completion. He noted that BTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding, prepared by Team Monroe, last year. In that document, BTC agreed to take the lead in developing Higher Education in Monroe County.
        “As a result of the memorandum, we formed an advisory committee made up of about 20 individuals that we consider to be a pretty good cross-section of the county,” said Bukowski. “We’ve been working with them over the last nine months to put this plan together. I want to report to you that we’re in the final stages of that plan,” added Bukowski.
        He said there would be one more meeting of the group in April and after the plan is tweaked they will make it available to the community. Bukowski said the plan will be posted on a web site and information will be published in the Beacon.
        “On May 28 the BTC Board of Trustees is meeting in the county and we’d love to have the board of commissioners attend the meeting,” said Bukowski.
        “It’s a way of our board working with you to come up with a common vision,” he said.
        Bukowski said the Higher Education Committee would like to unveil the plan at the May 28 meeting and actually present it to both the commis-sioners and to the Board of Trustees. “We’d like to have your comment on it and hopefully approve it that night,” he said. Following approval, BTC would move forward to implement the plan.
        Bukowski made note that the plan is a “very energetic” plan. “It’s going to take a lot of effort to ramp up higher education in a small county like Monroe,” he said.
        One of the things in the plan is  a P-16 initiative, which Bukowski said has met much success. He said it would take a strong community support.
        “I have to commend Team Monroe in all of this,” said Bukowski. “The people who represent Team Monroe have done a masterful job of working with this, and their dedication is contagious. They are so dedicated to this community and they want to see the best for this community,” said Bukowski. “And they’ve pushed us to do our best and to provide resources,” he added.
        According to Bukowski, over 400 Monroe Countians have earned degrees in various fields at BTC. “We feel, to a great degree, that we’ve met the needs of the county,” said Bukowski. “But that being said, you can never rest on what you’ve done in the past; you always have to look forward to the future.” He said that is the reason BTC signed the memorandum of understanding to take the lead for Higher Education in Monroe County.
        BTC has been offering classes in conjunction with Swiss Hills Career Center for about 10 years. Over that time, said Bukowski, “there have been some peaks and valleys” However, he noted that in the past two-year period there has been a building of momentum. For the quarter that started at the end of March, BTC is offering 14 classes at Swiss Hills and there are 72 students attending classes. “We still don’t have the critical mass that makes it viable to offer a lot of the specialized courses,” said Bukowski, noting that 72 students divided into 14 classes gives you an average of only about five students per class. “That’s not what is normally acceptable in a higher education environment,” he said. He noted BTC has run classes like that so that they could give people some hope “ ... In this business, if you don’t sustain the effort, people lose interest.”
        Noting a few changes at the college, Bukowski said he feels one of the changes is going to benefit Monroe County. “Our current Dean of Students, Tim Houston, will be moving into a role primarily devoted to the external campuses starting on July 1,” noting Houston will be spending more time in Monroe County. Bukowski said Houston will bring a wealth of leadership to the program.
        In introducing Dr. Bennett, Bukowski  said he is optimistic about what she’ll be doing in the three counties, Belmont, Harrison and Monroe.
        Dr. Bennett said she is currently doing a lot of fact-finding. “I’ve been charged by Dr. Bukowski to use the resources of Belmont Technical College to help facilitate the various counties that develop their own economic development plans,” she said. Bennett mentioned that over the years communities have relied on state and federal funding. “... communities are now looking inward” Bennett said she will push  very, very hard for this. “If you cannot do this from grass roots you’re not going to be able to sustain yourself.”
        A second item she noticed in Monroe County is that it has a wealth of resources. “Your country is pretty much unspoiled, which is very, very good,” she said.
        Bennett suggested an analysis be done of what Monroe County has and that it should be highly publicized. She said Monroe County has a discouraged population. “I’m kind of talking as an outsider, but I’ve been there so I know discouragement, said Bennett.
 “You’ve got a wealth of human capital, a wealth of unspoiled land, a wealth of agriculture going on. There are a lot of things that you can begin to connect yourselves to.”
        Bennett also emphasized the necessity for the county to connect to its neighbors. She said the county should look at its assets, the assets of neighboring communities and connect. “It can no more be Monroe County building itself up ... you have to start looking around and tapping into other resources.”
        Dr. Bennett has 20 years experience in education and her Ph.D degree is from Ohio State in workforce development. She said she is very committed to the workforce initiative in Monroe County. 
        “I think the Higher Education plan  is going to be very, very good and taken to fruition it’ll be excellent,” said Bennett.

< Obituaries

GENEVIEVE EDGELL
        Genevieve Edgell, 86, 490 West Marietta St., Woodsfield, died April 15, 2009, at Woodsfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Woodsfield. She was born Sept. 3, 1922 near Pine Grove, W.Va., a daughter of the late Walter and Martha Belle Anderson. Online condolences may be expressed at www.wattersfunralhome.com.
KAREN P. DUBOIS
        Karen P. DuBois, 53, 46 West Beechwold Blvd., Columbus, formerly of Woodsfield, died April 17, 2009, at Ohio State University Hospital, Columbus. She was born Feb. 17, 1956 in Detroit, Mich., a daughter of Laurence and Irene DuBois of Woodsfield. Online condolences may be expressed at www.wattersfuneralhome.com.

WILLIS YARNALL
Willis Yarnall, 79, Somerton, died April 14, 2009, at the Woodsfield Nursing & Rehab Center. He was born Aug. 22, 1929 near New Castle (Wayne Twp.), a son of the late Harold and Lillie Perkins Yarnall.
www.campbellplumlymilburnfuneralhome.com.
RUTH V. MALLETT
        Ruth V. Mallett, 93, Pickerington, formerly of Lewisville, died April 13, 2009, at Winchester Place, Canal Winchester. She was born April 15, 1915 in Monroe County, a daughter of the late Wilbur Ray Hartshorn and Anna Francis Smith Hartshorn.      Condolences can be expressed at www.bauerturner.com

<Our Readers Write:

Dear Editor,
        I wonder if it has a chance. In a way I hope not. I will be shocked if this levy passes due to the economics and the incomes of the citizens. I am sure that I am not alone in my opinions, especially from what I see on youtube.
        What has happened all over the state of Ohio is that school districts pass levies to build schools. As soon as they are built, they need to operate them. They then try to pass an operating levy and it is defeated because the people are tired of paying taxes and can’t afford them. I don’t see how long this levy is in effect, five years, 10, 30? This is a good time for building because costs are down and there is a lot of contractors that are very hungry.
        I am amazed and embarrassed that I came from that mess. It is a shame that the maintenance is that pathetic. Some is structural but more than anything it is a lack of management budgeting, planning and executing. My wife and I moved away from that mess and wouldn’t have our kids go through that. That is one of the reasons that we didn’t move back home. The sad part is that Beallsville and River will stay open under this plan. That is three buildings that will need to be maintained, heater/air conditioned, and staffed. Not very efficient. That doesn’t even consider what could be done with the primary schools. OK, if you have three individual schools, you can’t offer anything that would be considered “Special” like advanced math, advanced science, advanced multiple languages or extracurricular activities. What are the demographics of the future generations? How many younger families will there be with limited employment possibilities?

                What would happen if the county would go to the federal government, assuming that lumber prices would come back, and sell the timber from Wayne National Forest to pay for a consolidated school? How about drilling for oil and gas and using that income as well? I would bet that the Federal Government might go for it. If you could get a decent school system started, business might not be so afraid to move back to the valley.
        First, do not open the discussion to a committee because you will get what you have now. If you see a snake, just kill it. Don’t appoint a committee on snakes. H. Ross Perot.
        Second, if you are successful, be intelligent as to how the system is ran. Buildings must be built with the possibility of future expansion in mind. They must be built with efficiency in mind. They must be built with maintainability in mind. Too many schools around the state are built by architects that are instructed to build something “Unique”. With that comes buildings that are difficult to heat and cool, difficult to maintain and are not reasonably expandable. Hopefully that becomes a problem. All of the elementary schools need to be built the same. Minimize the engineering and architect costs and design it once. I can show you many examples.
        I wonder who the largest employer in the county is? My guess is that it is the school system. So ... where does the money ultimately come from? Who is bringing money into the county? The whole system is dependent upon the government. As the saying goes, you can’t tax yourself into prosperity. Compare the incomes of the other school districts and see where their money comes from.
        As I read the brochure, I am amazed. I am a 1978 graduate of Woodsfield High School. There was no cafeteria. Mom fixed a bag lunch for me almost every day. Also there was no air conditioning. Wait until you get that electric bill. If you don’t have air conditioning, it doesn’t cost anything to run it. A lot of students have passed through these schools without A/C. Even in Findlay City Schools only the new freshmen addition has air conditioning.
        As far as a science lab, my daughter went completely through high school biology without cutting on any dead animal. She did it all through the computer simulation. That doesn’t make it better, it does make it less expensive and more efficient. Here in Findlay, and in many parts of the state, teaching is becoming more computerized and done with “Digital Academies”. The day of the conventional school may soon be over. Consider how much has changed in the last few years with the Internet. In addition, bussing is minimized or eliminated altogether, saving energy, time, manpower and other costs. BTW, wireless Internet doesn’t require a massive investment in wiring.
        Don’t misunderstand me, new schools are needed. However, the cost is too high and difficult decisions need to be made.
Forrest Frank (Frostie Jr.)
Findlay

Dear Editor,
        The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District (SOLSD) is a community of less than 20,000 residents organized for the common goal of guaranteeing our succeeding generations an equal or better opportunity for success. In my opinion, the voters of the SOLSD have a crucial choice to make on May 5, 2009.
        I have already voted by absentee ballot for improved public school facilities for our community; but, before I ask the reader to do the same let me introduce myself to those who do not know me. I am a very fortunate person: educated by the public school system of Woodsfield; higher education at Ohio Northern University in NW Ohio; a tour of military duty at Anchorage, Alaska; employment in the State Capitol in Columbus; employment in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.; and for the past thirty-five years I have owned The Sentinel Printing Co. in the SOLSD. In addition, between 1983 and 2001 I was elected for four terms, 14 years as a member of the 19 member State Board of Education of Ohio. In that service, I represented 25 counties with a population of over 1.3 million, over 90 school districts, over 400 public school buildings educating over 200,000 students. I believe I have first hand knowledge of the competition for SOLSD.
        It is from that perspective that I ask you to vote for capital improvement of our community infrastructure.
        This is a win-win opportunity. Any time big government comes knocking at your door offering over $50 million you better open the door, because they won’t knock twice.
        If for wins, for months and months our community will experience the biggest payroll in history. When pay checks are cashed everybody’s economy goes up.
        If for wins, for years and years our community will have a selling tool which will bring new growth and prosperity.
        Most importantly, if for wins, forever the educated of our community will have benefits.
        I welcome your comments. My mail is received at P.O. Box 470, Woodsfield, OH 43793-0470 and my phone number is 740-472-1631.
William E. Moore
Woodsfield

Dear Editor,
        Is anyone else from Monroe County, beside me, incensed over the fact that 88 million of our tax money is going to out-of- “Monroe County residents” to build the new Switzerland of Ohio school buildings?
        The state of Ohio and the local school board members are not.
        They collaborated on the mandate.
        Why are the Switzerland of Ohio School District Board members afraid to tell us just how many of Monroe County homeowners are going to be employed to construct the buildings? Yes, only 35 million will come from the new taxes we must pay, but make no mistake, the other 53 million is being supplied, in part, with taxes we are paying the state and federal government in the form of taxes already paid, and in the future.
        It is official! The contracts have already been awarded to the Parkersburg-Marietta Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Upper Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades Council, along with the mandate that all union craftsmen will be used. I would guess, in effect, bids have already been given and received.
        Wish that the local school board would tell us just how many Monroe County union craftsmen will be used in this construction work.
        Do we not have the right to know the answer to that question?
        Oh, they tell us that it will come from other locations, some even may be from out-of-state, not alone from out-of-county.
        I am voting for the bond issue and the tax levy; however, I am strongly protesting the way our Monroe County taxes are being spent, with the full consent of the Switzerland of Ohio school board members.
Hilbert Ault
Woodsfield

Dear Editor,
        I want to address a few of the comments I have heard recently in opposition to the school bond issue.
        First, many people say that the quality of the facilities makes no difference - the teachers are all that matters. I agree that good teachers are vital to a good education. I don’t think a lot of people realize how hard a teacher’s job is or the kind of conditions they work under. Most of us wouldn’t choose to work in buildings with water damage, cracked foundations, leaky windows, doors that won’t shut properly, with unpredictable heat and usually no air conditioning. Have we considered that maybe we could attract and keep good teachers with modern facilities? If we had a choice between working in buildings like ours or newer buildings in another district, which would we choose?
        Next, I have heard some say that if we don’t pass this bond issue, the state will come up with a better offer or they will step in and foot the whole bill. Can we really be sure that there will be a better offer? If the state were to take over this situation, we will have no say in what facilities we get. We will get whatever option is the cheapest for the state, which I believe would be one consolidated school. As voters, we have never approved that idea in the past, so why would we want to accept that now?
        Another comment I have heard is that the schools aren’t really in such bad shape and maybe we should just renovate. I can only assume that anyone who makes such a statement hasn’t been in any of our schools recently. There comes a time when the cost of maintaining old buildings becomes impractical. I think we’ve all experienced this with a home or a vehicle at some point. When the repairs become too costly and too frequent, it’s time to trade up. For our school buildings, that time is now.
        If you haven’t seen it already, I urge you to watch a video clip put together by some students at Beallsville High School. If you doubt the poor condition of our schools, get on the internet and go to www.youtube.com and type “switzerland of ohio bond issue” in the search box. I think many people will be surprised at what they see.
        Of all the arguments against this bond issue, the most valid, in my opinion, is that it will raise our taxes. No one really wants to pay more taxes. Personally, I feel that the government uses a lot of my tax money to fund things that I don’t even support. For once, I want the chance to see my tax money working right in my own community and benefitting people I know. If we want our communities to grow and prosper, it’s going to take some investment on our part. We can’t get something for nothing.
        Right now we have a chance to get what so many of us have always wanted - to keep our schools in our own communities. We will have local laborers spending money in our stores and restaurants. Let’s breathe some life back into our communities and our county. Please vote for the school bond issue on May 5. We can’t afford to let this opportunity pass us by.
Cheryl Goodrich
Alledonia

Dear Editor,
        I’m not one to write many letters to the Editor, but with the recent letters to the Editor and the tremendously importance of this school levy, I am prompted to write. First of all, I would like to thank all of the members of the Time is Now committee, AFL/CIO and Project Best along with the many other volunteers for their sincere efforts in trying to get this levy passed.
        I have two children in school, a senior at Monroe Central and a fourth grader at Woodsfield Elementary. I am involved in various ways with those schools and coach high school soccer. I have first hand experience and can speak honestly about our schools. I feel that I shouldn't have to address much about the Monroe Central trailer park conditions (leaks, holes in walls where you can see the outside, etc.) Woodsfield Elementary is definitely not state of the art or modern to say the least. Just this past winter the entire student body was evacuated to the old Woodsfield High School because of a natural gas leak from the furnace. I can take anyone who wants to see for themselves the mold in the classrooms, the buckets to collect water leaks in the gymnasiums and cafeteria and I could go on and on. I also realize that all of the other schools in the district have similar problems, but I can’t speak from experience to them. Both of my children have severe
 asthma and allergies; neither of them had any symptoms until they started school. I might also add that both of them have been Principal’s List and Honor Roll students throughout school. We do have great teachers, and students accomplish much despite their facilities.
        I called the Auditor’s Office and my taxes will increase a little over $8 a week, which is a small price to pay for the children of our county. A small price to pay for the immediate economic impact for this county (1000+ jobs, along with the five year trickle down to the local businesses). But most of all the potential economic impact to the county for many years to come, with businesses locating to this area. I once again speak from experience in bringing jobs (businesses) to this county. If it’s not the first question, it’s the second from prospective companies wanting to locate here, “what kind of schools do you have?” The question is for their management personnel they will have to relocate to our area and the quality of education potential employees will have. I know for a fact that a local company who has contemplated expansion feels that they have exhausted the local employee pool with the education to fill the positions. I know for a
 fact that three families (parents 35-45 years old with 2-4 children each) have left this area because of our schools. These people were business and professional, college educated adults that know what it takes to complete in the job market and collegiate atmospheres. I also know of another professional family that is waiting to see if the levy passes before they make the decision to move to better their children’s education. These people were also very active in the communities in which they lived (coaches, politics and civic organizations). We can not continue to lose these types of individuals because of the condition of our schools.
        The passage of this levy could possibly create jobs that your child could acquire if they want to stay in Monroe County to live and work.
        I have not taken the time to ask students how they feel about their schools; I pretty much know from experience, my children and soccer players’ comments over the years. A few weeks ago when my fourth grader saw the vote yes sign in our yard he asked, “Dad, are you voting for the school levy?” I said yes and his response was, “I like my school.” We had a discussion about how a new school would benefit him and he still was content with his current school. A few days later I came home from work and I heard the “What About Now?” song playing back the hall. As I looked in my son’s room I saw my son, daughter and a friend sitting mesmerized watching the video (The Time Is Now) on “youtube”. They were watching so intently that I don’t think they even knew I was standing there. When the video ended my 10 year old son looked up at me and said, “Dad, we’re really getting cheated. I hope this levy passes.” The video shows all of the
 district’s schools deterioration and also new schools from all of the surrounding areas. It’s the first time that he has seen other modern schools and on his own decided he’s getting cheated on his education. At that moment I felt very inferior as an adult and parent (I have failed my children and yours for not providing modern schools for them).
        I realize that the Ormet situation is a real concern for many people, but is also all the more reason to pass this levy. No one in Monroe County would ever want to see that dreadful day if Ormet were to shut down, but the reality is it could. How could we ever attract a business of Ormet’s stature and importance or even one half of it with the current condition of our schools? Voting yes is not only a vote for new schools but also a vote for the viability of Monroe County for years to come; it’s an investment in our youth and ourselves.
        Finally, if you have not seen the tremendous video produced by the Beallsville students showing the conditions of our schools and surrounding schools, I strongly encourage you to do so. Get on the internet and go to www.youtube.com then in the search box type; Switzerland of Ohio, The Time is Now! You may also ask any building principal or The Time is Now members for a copy. After you watch that video and there’s not a lump in your throat or tear in your eye about how we have failed our children, then something is wrong.
        I could go on and on, but time won’t allow me to. I invite anyone who is undecided or wants answers to call me at 472-5552.
        I will end with this: $8 a week is nothing for our youth, our county or our future. This increase is for property owners only; those of you who rent will see no increase at all. And a reminder to all senior citizens (65 and older) you are entitled to a property owner’s discount of up to $260 depending on property value under the Homestead Act. They talk of the greatest generation being the one during WWII,;let’s be the greatest generation in Monroe County and do what’s right for our children and our county. Please vote yes May 5.
Jeff Woodell, Sr.
Woodsfield

Dear Taxpayers of Sardis,
        We are a small town along the Ohio River.
        For the most part everyone works together to keep us a nice little town.
        But we have got a few unhappy people who want everything to go their way.
        Sardis was laid out over 100 years ago and transportation and they got around by other means than we do today. Most of these alleys have been kept up to look nice.
        Mervin and I know we don’t own the ferry landing and street but we keep it mowed so it looks nice at no expense to anyone.
        Our town is run by trustees who say they have no money to maintain this extra property.
        To those who are so unhappy, remember we are all taxpayers and it always can’t go one way. If everyone tries to get along and work together it will make us a happy town.
Mervin and Shirley Trosch
Sardis

<Around the Burnside

If you don’t like the way life looks, change the way you look at life.
        You know you’re getting old when it takes you longer to rest than it takes to get tired.
        The Time is Now! Well, maybe not now but only a few days in the future. May 5 to be exact. As you know, voters in the Switzerland of Ohio School district will decide if new facilities will be constructed for the district.
        My personal feeling is the new facilities are needed for our students. A visit to nearby schools that have built new facilities will prove our need when compared to our facilities.
        The committee has done an excellent job of getting the correct information to the voters in the district. Even at this, misinformation has a way of floating around. The cost of the election, for example: The board cannot use school funds to pay for the election. It has to come from a different source.
        I’d almost bet a nickel to a doughnut hole, a large percentage of voters reading this have already decided how you are going to vote. If you haven’t decided I hope you will continue to study the facts and vote. If you have decided how you plan to vote I assume you’ve studied the plan to decide your vote.
        Some of you might wonder why I am so strongly in favor of new facilities. I have worked with youth, except for about a year and a half, for nearly 50 years. I have been fortunate as I have worked with youth I call the future of our country. I cannot take any specific contribution I’ve made to any of the youth. I can only hope I have influenced and helped them along the way.
        I will say, and I doubt if any one can convince me differently that the youth in our county are the most important thing we have in our county. It is up to us to provide them with the best possible educational opportunity. This cannot be provided unless we keep up with new technology and new teaching aids available such as a smart board.
        Yes, many of our graduates leave the county. This is the case for most of the counties in our area. There just isn’t the opportunity to “stick around.” This is nothing new. I graduated from Old Washington 66 years ago in a class of 32 students. I think only about a half dozen of us ended up in Guernsey County, we were told a few years back, by people who know, it would be unwise to remodel or bring the buildings up to date as it would be costly and more cost effective to build new.
        Yes, we’ve had some outstanding students over the years. This will continue regardless of the election outcome. Who knows how many we will have if we provide a top education? We have to think in the present and future not in the past.
        We have any number of outstanding youth in the county. There are many we never hear about. I have taken groups of students to many activities over the state. I never had to worry they would not be a good example representing Swiss Hills or Skyvue. I can remember when we took Swiss Hills students to a contest. Several of the schools started thinking maybe we can get second place. This is the kind of students we have in our schools. They just need the chance that new facilities will provide.
        If you haven’t had the chance to view the DVD that gives a first hand picture of what is and what could be, you should. To be truthful it really brought to light the need for improved facilities. To me the Master plan will meet the needed facilities.
        Jan. 29, 1985, was the first time “Around the Burnside” showed up in a newspaper. I think I’ve only missed a week or two and somewhere around here I have most of them in notebooks. It started in the Sentinel and when it was no longer published it started in the Beacon. There it has been ever since. I’m not sure how much longer as it’s kind of tough to think of something to write about every week.
        I would not try to guess or even go back and look for how many times I have written about schools. After all, it has been a part of my life for a long time.
        It seems to me the plan provides what each area of the county has wanted. It was developed by folks in each area, based on their suggestions. The state has agreed to pay nearly two thirds of the cost on a one time deal.
        Just remember, “The Time is Now”. We know what we will get, or “What Now?” No one knows.
        Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
        It was really good to see so many in church Easter.
        Bible Readings: (Mon.) Exodus 19:1-8; From Galatians (Tues.) 3:15-18; (Wed.) 3:23-29; (Thurs.) 4:1-7; (Fri.) Matthew 19:23-30; (Sat.) Galatians 5:1-25; (Sun.) Ephesians 1:3-14.