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


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Aug. 21, 2008 Edition

~ 2008 Monroe County Fair Royalty ~
        Chosen to reign over the 2008 Monroe County Fair
were, from left, King Flint Postle, son of Brad and Amy Postle of New Matamoras; Queen Jaymi Smith,
daughter of Tish McMillan and Jay Ward of Beallsville; Princess Grace Stephen, daughter of Drew and Tracey Stephen of Woodsfield; and Prince Aaron West, son of
Jeremy and Penny Jo West of Clarington.             
Photo by Martha Ackerman

< New 24’ Bridge at Rinard Mills

A ribbon cutting was held Aug. 14 for the new Rinard Mills bridge, connecting County Roads 138 and 88,
were, from left: Nate Wutrick of Ohio Bridge Corporation, Monroe County Commissioner John Pyles,
Monroe County Engineer Lonnie Tustin and Loren Camp, construction engineering inspector.

Local residents were on hand Aug. 14 for the opening of the new 24 foot wide, $691,359.45 galvanized steel
truss bridge which replaces the old Rinard Mills bridge that connects County Roads 138 and 88. The
bridge has been closed since June. Shown, from left, are, front: Monroe County Engineer Lonnie Tustin,
local residents Georgia Dye, Chuck Scott, Yvonne Weckbacher, Wilma Whitacre; back: Loren Camp,
construction engineering inspector; Nate Wutrick, of Ohio Bridge Corporation; Monroe County Commissioner John Pyles; local residents Foster Whitacre and Dale Antill. Photos by Martha Ackerman

This photo, provided by Foster and Wilma Whitacre, of the Rinard Mills area, shows the first bridge (center
of photo) constructed in 1887 during the oil boom.
The Rinard Mills store is shown just right of the bridge. As shown in the photo, oil derricks dotted the landscape. The farm in the foreground was known as the Herman Rinard farm. Across the road, corn shocks stand in a field. 


by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer
        It was a great day for Rinard Mills and surrounding
area residents as the Rinard Mills Bridge opened for
traffic Aug. 14. The bridge, located at the junction
of County Roads 138 and 88, has been closed since June
        The new galvanized steel truss bridge replaces the
painted steel truss bridge constructed in 1968. The
old bridge was 16 feet wide, the new one, 24 feet wide
by 124 feet center-to-center bearing.
        According to Monroe County Engineer Lonnie Tustin,
the construction cost for the bridge replacement was
$691,359.45. Federal funding was 100 percent up to
$383,000 in Forest Highway Funds, 80 percent up to
$297,617.92 in County Engineers Association of Ohio -
County Local Bridge Program. Tustin noted the county
received the Forest Highway Funds because Old Camp
Road, County Road 138, was surrounded by Wayne
National Forest. The remainder of the funding will be
picked up by the county engineer’s office.
        The prime contractor on the project was the Ohio
Bridge Corp. of Cambridge with subcontractor Ohio-West
Virginia Excavating Co., Powhatan Point. Loren Camp
was the Monroe County engineering inspector for the
        The bridge closure was quite inconvenient for
residents, but they are well pleased with the new
        “We’re really glad that it’s back in operation,” said
local resident Foster Whitacre. “They did a good job.”

< Cost of New Schools Reduced For Switzerland of Ohio

State Representative Jennifer Garrison with School District Superintendent Larry Elliott

by Arlean Selvy
Want new and renovated schools?
Is 52 percent of the cost too  much?
How about 37 percent?                  

State Representative
Jennifer Garrison has made that possible. She has been working on bringing the cost of new and renovated schools to the Switzerland of Ohio for the past four years.
        In addition to the reduction from 52 to 37 percent,
the district may  now segment the Master Plan. Rather
than doing all schools at once, they may be done over
a period of time.              
Garrison announced the success of her efforts at the Aug. 14 meeting of the board of education, at which time she publicly thanked State Senator Joy Padgett for helping the bill through the Senate.
        “I remember during a visit [to Swiss Hills Career
Center] when four moms grabbed my arm and said, ‘Let
us show you the high school,’”
        Garrison thought she was already in the high school.
However, the moms took her by the arm and led her out
the back (south) door of Swiss Hills and they toured
Monroe Central.
        “I was really sad when I saw where the students had
to go to school,” said Garrison.
        Every two years, the Ohio General Assembly considers
and enacts a Capital Appropriation Bill. This
legislation provides funding for “bricks-and-mortar”
projects throughout the state - including various
community projects.
        Garrison said in the Switzerland of Ohio, there was
no bricks-and-mortar project more important than new
        “That’s why I was thrilled to secure support for an
amendment to HB 562 - this term’s capital bill - that
allows certain school districts to use an alternative
formula to determine the percentage of their local
share for school construction projects,” she said.
“You don’t know how rare this is,” she commented.
        “If you want to grow your community, if you want to
grow your economy, we have to get behind this - we
have to!” exclaimed Garrison.
        “I have done all that is humanly possible to reduce
your local share,” she said, “I’m asking you to be
partners is this and go out and speak to your friends
and neighbors. This is going to have to be a door to
door, concerted effort.”                               

“This is one school district but we have three areas, said Garrison,
noting “this Master Plan will give each area what it
        Citizens have a window of opportunity to finally see
new and renovated schools in the Switzerland of Ohio.
The district must obligate funds to the $86 million
construction plan by June 2009.
        Garrison’s House Bill reduces the current local share
of 52 percent by 15 percent, leaving the state to pay
63 percent of the costs of constructing new schools
and renovating River High.     
        Planning and site selection for new facilities will
kick off Sept. 1.
        The district must still pass a bond levy to secure
state funds, but the levy will be much smaller than it
would without this legislation.
        “I believe the conditions of the buildings in the
district are so deplorable that we can’t afford to
wait for other options,” said Garrison. “With the
support of the school board and the community, I
believe that new schools will be built in Monroe
County in the very near future “
        Voters are being asked to renew a permanent
improvement tax levy in November. The levy should not
be confused with the bond levy for new and renovated
schools noted in this article.
        School officials hope to place the bond levy for new
schools on the May, 2009 ballot.
        “This is an opportunity for our children to have an
improved school experience,” said Larry Elliott,
district superintendent. “And a chance to improve the
viability of our district’s communities by providing
needed infrastructure to our communities. This would
also make our district a place businesses and families
would want to locate.”


<Buckeye Hills Town Forum Reveals County Concerns

        Buckeye Hills - Hocking Valley Regional ‘Development
District hosted a Town Hall Forum recently. In
attendance were Misty Casto, executive director, and
Gwynn Clifford, communications director.


        Representatives of Buckeye Hills held a Town Hall Forum Aug. 12 at Monroe County Senior Center to
determine the needs of Monroe County. The group will hold meetings in each of the eight counties in the
Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District.

        Upon entering the meeting, attendees were asked to
‘vote’ to select three topics they felt were most needed in Monroe County. Selected were health care,
insurance and workforce development and education.
        Under health care, residents voiced concerns about
access to health care, ratio of doctors to patients,
medical costs, quick access to emergency squads and
access to hospitals.
        Bill Moore was concerned about health insurance. He
indicated a universal health insurance is needed, one
that would serve from birth to death.
        Other issues were access to hospitals, ratio of
doctors to patients, medical costs in general, and
quick access to emergency squads and affordability of
        Michelle Hyer, Buckeye Hills development specialist,
said a medical escort program is available to
transport people to medical facilities as far as
Pittsburgh. Gwynn Clifford, moderator, noted the
Veterans Office offers transportation to Veterans
        Programs are available to help care givers through
the senior services. This includes help for
individuals caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
        Topics under education and workforce development
included the lack of schools. Other issues were
transportation, travel time to/from school, school
funding and access to funds for facilities.
        Tim Houston, a representing Belmont Technical
College, attended the meeting to answer questions. BTC
is currently holding 10 classes at Swiss Hills Career
Center and will offer 34 in the fall. Houston reminded
the group that Belmont Tech recently signed a
Memorandum of Understanding with Team Monroe to offer
a variety of programs.
        The county offers bussing of students to both Belmont
Technical College and Ohio University Eastern if
guidelines are met.
        Sam Moore, Swiss Lands Realty, said he hears from
those interested in moving into the area and education
is a concern for new residents as well as new
        Concerns about infrastructure included: inequity of
water quality, impact of coal mining on water, health
and safety issues concerning septic systems, a
connecting road from SR800 to the Commerce Park.
        Dan Greenlee, a member of Team Monroe, explained the
Team Monroe transportation committee is looking at the
 possibility of a connecting road.
        Greenlee mentioned the lack of overnight lodging for
tourism. People visiting  the county for business
purposes or tourism, may have to stay in St.
Clairsville or New Martinsville.
        “Maybe we need to just change our attitudes a little
bit, said Greenlee. “You can’t do much with the
negative things. We need to look at the present and
plan for the future.” said Greenlee.
        Misty Casto, executive director, Buckeye Hills, said
information gathered will be compiled and a report completed.

< County Struggles with Budget

by Arlean Selvy
        With at least one bill in six figures, Monroe County
commissioners were given updates about the budget and
approved the purchase of a patrol car for the
sheriff’s office.
        Jeanette Harter discussed budget issues with
commissioners, noting there is only $380.77 in
unappropriated funds.
        She said the auditor’s office has requested $7,024
for supplies and contract services and the board of
elections will need money for the fall elections. She
also indicated officials can expect detention bills
from juvenile holding facilities. She said there is
very little left in the Juvenile Court’s line item for
detention fees.
        According to Harter over $100,000 is due in September
for workers’ compensation and almost $5,000 in legal
bills has been received. The second half of the
county’s liability insurance (CORSA)  payment of
$87,120 will be due soon.
        “So we’re robbin’ Peter to pay Paul right now,”
commented Commission President John Pyles. Harter
agreed. However, on the bright side, she said income
taxes are up. She noted, “there will be no more real
estate settlement money until October and sales tax
money will only stretch so far.” She indicated the tax
money will just pay the workers’ comp.
        Currently, with the pluses and minuses, according to
Harter, the county is short $16,000. She said getting
through September will be tight, if they even get
through without borrowing.
        In another matter, Neuhart reported $71,000 in
delinquent mobile home taxes. Discussion was held
concerning avenues to collect the revenue.
        Neuhart also mentioned that her office is getting
ready to do reappraisals, and will do some of it
themselves due to the extreme high cost of contracting
the work.
        On a motion by Commissioner Bill Thompson, the
sheriff’s office was authorized to trade its 2003 Ford
Econoline passenger van at Knowlton Ford for a 2005
Ford FreeStar. The difference to be paid is $5,300.
The money will be taken from existing sheriff’s funds.

<Biedenbach Land Surveying Firm Opens New Office

        Greg and Lori Biedenbach of Biedenbach Surveying, LLC
will host an open house Aug. 27, 2 to 6 p.m. at their new offices located at 114 Adams Avenue, Woodsfield.
Through an agreement with Claus Surveying, the two businesses have merged and will enable Biedenbach
Surveying to expand the size and scope of its business. Shown, from left are: Kiven and Melissa
Smithberger and Ruth Workman of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce; Roger Claus and Greg and Lori Biedenbach.     Photo by Martha Ackerman

by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer
        Greg and Lori Biedenbach of Biedenbach Land
Surveying, LLC will host an open house Aug. 27, from 2
to 6 p.m. at their new offices located at 114 Adams
Ave., Woodsfield. The Biedenbachs have moved their
in-home business and merged with Claus Surveying to
expand the size and scope of their business.
        Although Claus Surveying is still accepting projects,
Bieden-bach Surveying LLC entered into an agreement
with Roger and Phyllis Claus of Claus Surveying to
employ a majority of their personnel and complete all
larger projects. According to Roger, their son Russell
Claus will continue his Surveyor in Training
qualifications with Biedenbach Surveying for his
future licensure.
        “Through this agreement, Biedenbach Surveying can
continue its commitment to excellence while increasing
its workload and cut down on project turn-around
time,” said Greg, who was recently licensed in West
Virginia in addition to his Ohio licensure. This
agreement and the West Virginia licensure will allow
Biedenbach Survey-ing to expand its client base into
another state.
        Greg is a 1985 graduate of Skyvue High School and
earned his associate degree in civil engineering at
Belmont Technical College. He is a former employee of
Burgess and Niple of Columbus, Marietta Coal and Claus
Surveying. He became self-employed when he earned his
registered surveyors license in 1997.
        “We are enjoying our retirement,” said Roger Claus.
“We started the business about 25 years ago and it was
hard to start a new business, but it has proven to be
even harder to get out of the business.”
        Retirement was a difficult decision for the Clauses.
His biggest concern was with his employees and
especially his son who is following in his father’s
footsteps as a surveyor. Claus wanted to find the best
situation for them and when this opportunity  with
Biedenbach Surveying came along, “we jumped at it,”
said Claus.
        He and his wife Phyllis will continue to do small
jobs, but said the bigger jobs which require more
people will be referred to Biedenbach Survey-ing.
“With the endless problems that come with surveying,
we are mediators and problem solvers instead of
surveyors,” said Claus, noting they will still be
doing courthouse research for Greg.
        Sounds more like semi-retirement, doesn’t it?
        “The biggest challenge to retirement after working
all those years is to modify our lifestyle to
retirement mode,” said Claus.  “We hope to do more
        Greg and Lori Biedenbach appreciate all the help from
family and friends to get the new offices open for
business. They welcome everyone to the open house Aug.
27 where refreshments will be provided and a door
prize will be awarded.

< Obituaries

        Elwood Charles Hossman, 87, Newport, formerly of New
Matamoras, died Aug. 11, 2008, at his home. He was
born July 22, 1921 in Lewisville, to Jesse Carl and
Oneida Magdelyn Christman Hossman. He was baptized and
raised in St. John’s Evangelistic Church of Summit
Township, Middle Church, Lewisville. Online
condolences may be made at hadleyfuneralhomes.com

        Edward William Hensel, 29, New Matamoras, died Aug.
17, 2008, at Wetzel County Hospital in New
Martinsville. He was born April 1, 1979, in
Sistersville, the son of Ellen Janeda Hensel of New
Matamoras, and the late Elmer Walter Hensel. Online
condolences may be made at hadleyfuneralhomes.com      

        Dale R. Claugus, 60, Grays-ville, died Aug. 17, 2008,
at the Veterans Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa. He was born
in Monroe County Sept. 11, 1947, a son of Marie Norris
Claugus of Woodsfield and the late Forrest Claugus.
Condolences may be expressed at www.bauerturner.com

<Our Readers Write:

Dear Editor,
        This summer the Monroe County District Library was
host to the Free to Read program to encourage reading
between children and adults. The final program
featured a tour of the library and a poetry reading by
a local published author.
        During the tour, we learned that Ohio leads the
nation (ranking first) for the quality of its library
system. One Free to Read! program participant who has
lived in several locations across the United States
said she has never experienced anything as wonderful
as Ohio’s libraries. She is impressed by the extensive
services and by the ability to borrow books from
libraries across the state - right from her home in
Monroe County.
        The library tour guide noted that the Monroe County
location sees 12,000+ items circulated monthly and
boasts 6,,000 patrons.
        If you don’t have a library card, come get one and
“check out” the local options. Whether you want books,
magazines, newspapers, videos or DVDs, to research
your family heritage, take the children to story hour
or to use the computer lab, it is all available at the
        The library strives to meet the information, culture,
education, recreation and general needs of the
community. Sadly, one program participant said they’ve
heard the library called “Monroe County’s best-kept
        The little corner of the Monroe County Courthouse
that once housed the library also recently housed the
Board of Elections. Both entities have moved on to
bigger and better spaces. Celebrate your freedom to
vote by visiting the new Board of Elections Office and
your freedom to read by signing up for a library card
at the wonderful Monroe County District Library.
Gwynn Clifford, volunteer
Lifelong Learners

Dear Editor,
        Back to School insert, Monroe County Beacon, did not
include St. Sylvester School in listing names of
Monroe County schools.
        St. Sylvester School was established in 1872 and
supported by Catholic Parishioners and non-catholic
parents who desire a fulfilling education for their
children’s early years.
        The Monroe County area has existed under four
national and two state flags and was subject of a war
before the Federal government was given title to the
land in 1786.
        Woodsfield, established 1813-1814 has a rich
heritage-Pioneer Cemetery, Cannon by courthouse, St.
Sylvester Church, established 1866, other churches,
the wonderful Honorary Bricks for our beloved
defenders of Freedom and St. Sylvester School.
        Woodsfield is our county seat, center of Monroe
County business and activities. People living in
Woodsfield and those served by Woodsfield businesses
need to preserve this heritage faithfully.
        Removing the Davy Crawford light pole was a great
blow to Woodsfield heritage nd an unintelligent
decision. It was placed there by a generous caring
Monroe County man, to remain a legacy to Woodsfield.
Put it back!
        So many graduates mourn Woodsfield High School.
Bertha Burkhart

<Around the Burnside

Fools think they need to advise, but the wise listen
to others.
        A fool is quick tempered, but a wise person stays
calm when insulted.
        I’d guess many of you have been watching the
Olympics. The opening ceremony was almost
unbelievable. The cost, the time, effort to prepare,
and on top of that keeping it a secret for so long.
Probably China is the only place it could be done.
        Even with all the presentation and such, perhaps the
highlight for me was watching the little boy who
climbed out of the earthquake rubble and then saved a
couple of his friends. He was getting with it and the
7 1/2 foot tall basketball player, worth millions,
taking such good care of him.
        The lighting of the Olympic flame was almost out of
this world. While watching I sort of guessed they
would light it in this way.
        I sometimes wonder when I’m watching if China is not
trying to make us think that it is what it ain’t. Our
you know who keep talking about global warming and
such, and the Chinese had to take half the cars off
the road and shut down many of their factories just to
make the air safe for the athletes to breath.
        Other than listening to how great China is, I really
enjoy watching the Olympics. I was also proud of how
our President represented us. He gets blamed for
everything, much of which he is not to blame. He
proved he was a great fan of our athletes and he
didn’t back down from his feelings of some of the
things he didn’t approve of going on in China and
        I wonder why women’s beach volley ball is such a
popular event to watch? I did find out one thing. I
wouldn’t pay much to watch a tennis match. What about
our swimmers?
        This has been an excellent weekend. The family
reunion of Esther’s side of the family was held again
this year. Another good crowd was on hand and talk,
talk, talk, talk and laughing everywhere. In fact, I
considered turning my hearing aids off the noise got
so great. Then if you haven’t seen someone for a year,
there are a lot of things to catch up on. The noise
stopped or at least quieted down when someone said,
“The food’s ready.”
        When we lined up it seemed like two lines were headed
in. I changed lines and got in a couple of people
early. I really like the chicken at this reunion and I
prefer chicken legs. I wondered if there might be a
shortage of legs and chicken when the first few young
men, who were at the first of the line, came by with
only chicken on their trays, mostly legs. I need not
worry because I got a couple of legs and would have
been able to pick up another one or two if I had
wanted. I only had one tray full and no dessert.
        After eating, several gifts were given out for
farthest traveled, oldest and many others. I didn’t
get any, maybe next year. We then had a couple of
games to work on. One was full of hearts and you were
to determine what kind of heart it was. I flunked this
one. I still say a heart standing by a fire is a warm
heart not heartburn. People kind of tend to cheat on
these games.
        The auction of things donated covers the expenses of
the reunion. Although the gas prices are high, the
auction went well.
        Once again, they were able to engage a very
experienced auctioneer from the eastern part of the
United States to run the auction. He out did himself
this year as he had brother bidding against brother,
cousins, sisters and whomever. He never missed a bid.
        Someone had a beautiful gift bag to be sold sight
unseen. I decided it was time to  buy and soon found I
was bidding against someone I’d eaten dinner with just
two days earlier. I won, paid too much, good cause.
        We were getting things ready to move our visitation
to Esther’s cousins and what was parked in the parking
lot on a trailer than a large modified pulling
tractor. This caused quite a stir among the slickers
who had not seen a tractor such as this up close.
        At our second stop, after eating a ripe tomato or two
out of the garden, a corn hole game was discovered in
the yard and in the shade. Somehow the corn in the
toss bags was food for some type of insect over the
winter. Determined not to have this happen again, the
owner filled bags with pea gravel. This took care of
the bug but the bags were much heavier. When they went
kerplunk on the board the dust would fly. I tossed a
few bags but due to the extra weight I preferred to
sit and visit. However, fun was had by all.
        The Pennyroyal Reunion is coming up this weekend in
the old hometown. At one time this was a big deal. It
has tapered off over the years as the younger folks do
not seem interested in keeping it going. The older
folks keep getting older so it may go by the wayside.
We did, at one time, really enjoy the Pennyroyal
Reunion.  A few of us still do. Life goes on.
        Wow, I thought things were loud at the reunion. I
just attended the Monroe County Ohio State Alumni
meeting. I did turn my hearing aids off for a time. In
this situation you hear everything but understand
nothing. Did I hear a person from that state up north
say what else do you expect from a room full of
Buckeyes? I didn’t have nerve enough to tell anyone I
have relative who live in that state up there.
        A little boy came home crying that the neighbor boy
had hit him Mom asked, “Did you hit him back?” “No,”
he replied, “I hit him first.”
        Don’t forget church Sunday. Snow is not in the
        Bible readings: (Mon.) Psalm 36:59; From Genesis
(Tues.) 7:1-12; (Wed.) 7:13-14; (Thurs.) 8:1-12;
(Fri.) 8:13-22; (Sat.) 9:1-7; (Sun.) 9:8-17.