A large crowd filled the River High auditorium Jan. 11 when the
Switzerland of Ohio Local School Board held a special meeting to
inform parents, grandparents, teachers and concerned citizens
about the status of the River High and Sardis/Hannibal schools
project. The presenters of the proposed revisions to the master
plan were met with criticism, skepticism and accusations.
Presenting some of the options to the audience was architect
Photo by Martha Ackerman
Proposed Revisions to the River High and Sardis/Hannibal
Elementary Project’s Master Plan
Comes Under Fire
by Martha Ackerman
Proposed revisions to the master plan for
High School and the
Hannibal schools project were met with skepticism
and accusations by those attending a special meeting of the
Swit-zerland of Ohio Local School Board held at River High School
Jan. 11. The auditorium was filled with concerned parents,
grandparents, teachers, employees and others.
Those present were told that due to a $1,090,585 projected
budget overrun on the combination project, alternatives need to
be considered. Board president Scott Dierkes told the crowd that
the board wants their input on these alternatives.
Board members attending, in addition to Dierkes, included Janet
Schwall, Teresa Gallagher, Ron Winkler and Ed Carleton. Also
present to answer questions and present alternatives were Stacey
Thomas, project administrator, Ohio Schools Facilities
Commission; Kevin Green, senior vice-president of Project and
Construction Services, Inc. (PCS); PCS project manager John
Jefferis and architect Gary Balog; SOLSD administrative
assistant George Richardson and treasurer Janet Hissrich.
Green told the crowd that the project cannot proceed until the
district can show it can come in on budget. He said the district
does not have the funds available to contribute the required
local share of $403,516 to cover the anticipated $1,090,585
overrun. The solution would be to develop an alternative master
plan that reduces the overall cost through a reduction in the
area of the K-8 building and still utilize the existing high
school with an addition.
Another expense that was not initially budgeted were turning
lanes into the River and Woodsfield complexes. The state has
given an estimate of $300,000 for each turning lane. Local share
is 37%, estimated to be approximately $110,000 each or $220,000.
Thomas was met with vocal disagreement when she told the crowd
that she had run the numbers the previous night and it would be
$2,324,424 less to build a new school vs. renovating
High School. It was
evident by the crowd’s loud negative response that this was not
a popular alternative. Thomas also told the crowd that the River
project had received two percent more than the other school
building projects because it was a renovation rather than a new
building. People in the crowd began asking where the extra two
percent was. They were told it is included in the original
combined budget for River and the Sardis/Hannibal projects of
$23,127,501 ($11,521,577 for Hannibal/Sardis; $11,605,924 for
Market conditions were blamed for the estimated overrun based on
the recent bid results at Beallsville and Monroe
Central/Woodsfield projects, which have exceeded both the budget
and the estimates – the current estimates for Hannibal/Sardis
K-8 and River
High School reflect these
anticipated higher costs. This estimate includes increased costs
for asphalt paving, masonry, structural steel, windows, HVAC
piping and controls.
Concern was addressed as to where the money came from for the
previous projects to continue if the bids came in higher than
anticipated. They were told that aesthetics like the type of
brick, fewer windows, etc. were changed to decrease the cost.
According to Dierkes in a phone conversation Jan. 17, there is a
contingency fund for each school project. Some of these funds
were used for the overruns. In addition to each school’s
building and contingency funds, there is another group fund not
earmarked for any particular building that can be used as
needed. Dierkes said six out of the seven school projects have
benefitted from some of that money including the land purchase
at Powhatan. According to Dierkes, there is approximately
$187,000 left in that fund. (this fund balance was reported as
$55,000 at the Jan. 11 meeting but, according to Dierkes, that
for some unknown reason that number was reported incorrectly).
Accusations as to how this group fund is used were voiced.
“We’re the only ones asked to compromise,” noted one person.
Several alternative options for the RHS renovations and Sardis/Hannibal K-12 were presented during the
four-hour meeting. Balog, who showed drawings of the optional
designs, told the crowd there could be changes made to either
option. One option was to attach the Sardis/Hannibal K-8 to the
existing River High. According to Balog, this option would bring
the project close to budget. In this option, some of the spaces
would be shared by the high school and the elementary school.
Some residents expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the
dining facilities might be shared by students, kindergarten
through high school.
There were those in the crowd that objected to the K-12 plan.
With the kindergarten already being housed at River High,
teachers and parents said that the older students took the
younger ones under their wings and they feel the K-12 is not a
problem. “I don’t think a K-12 would be a problem,” said Joanie
Wells, a local resident who works in the multi-handicapped room
“We voted. We are not the only people who count. There was a
specific number of buildings and the renovation,” said Shelly
Hulsey. “Then suddenly we’re presented with this. A credibility
issue has to be addressed. I oppose a K-12 building. I think the
teachers should have input. Our taxes went up hundreds of
dollars. Would you consider another site (Hannibal/Sardis
Kelly Merideth, school bus driver and local business owner,
voiced her opinion, “If you think we live in a perfect world, we
don’t. Pre-schoolers sit beside high school students on my bus.
Do the feasible renovations and have the addition and give the
children what they need. They all get on the same bus. We don’t
have kids shot (this reference was made due to another comment
voiced). Why can’t we make this work?
One resident, who noted he worked with engineers, wanted to
know why core drillings were not done before the estimates were
released. He was told nothing could have been done until the
levy had been passed.
Local resident Jim Miller asked, “How long have you been aware
of this situation?” Dierkes said that it was mentioned during
the Dec. 17 core meeting but the board was not presented with it
until the past week.
“You’ve been given so many special considerations for this
school district to help you build schools,” said Thomas. “You
guys have been given a tremendous opportunity. Act like a school
district instead of three separate communities. Don’t keep your
children from getting what they deserve.”
“Make the decision that is best for your students,” said Jane
Roth Williams, noting she is a product of River and Woodsfield.
During a poll of the board, Schwall, noting she is an RHS
graduate, told the crowd that her oldest granddaughter is
attending school in the trailer park. “Students have been going
to school in two trailers for 16 years. You have a facility
here,” she told the people as her emotions rose. “These
professional people have worked their tails off to get us these
schools. They listened to our struggles … I want your children
to have the best. The main thing is education, not about
sports.” She noted that in the year she has been on the board
only one person has come to ask about curriculum. “That’s sad,”
she said. “Our children are our future. I have seen so much
animosity in this district. We (the board) could have made the
decision. We’re here to hear your concerns. You’ve talked over
people and that’s rude. We’re here for every school. The whole
district is important to us. Please, please pull together. This
is an opportunity of a lifetime. Don’t blow it,” Schwall
“I’ve learned that we have to do what’s best for the kids,” said
Gallagher, a Beallsville High graduate. “It’s not made me
popular. If we were taking money from one school for another,
I’d be the first to object. Beallsville has always been a K-12.
If done correctly, I truly believe a K-12 is not a problem
unless we create that problem. We want to do what you want if it
“The K-12 has worked very well at Beallsville,” said Carleton.
“People in the building make it work.” He noted that he has two
kids who played basketball and when they played River they asked
why they didn’t have a nice gym like River.
“I like to know the pros and cons,” said Winkler. “What happens
at Powhatan and Skyvue? I’ve never built new schools.” He added
that he thought there should be another meeting.
Kathy Williams, who works in the multi-handicapped room, said,
“The older students take them under their wings. Older kids
really protect the younger ones.”
“It’s the first time I’ve heard of these changes,” said Linda
Josefczyk, guidance counselor at RHS. “The core meetings are
held behind closed doors. Why doesn’t the public have a presence
at these meetings?”
She was told the meetings were sized to be productive and there
is no reason the public can’t attend. There are minutes and they
are a matter of public record.
“We must look what we have in front of us and go forward. We
want to know what you want,” said Dierkes.
Another meeting was set for Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.at River
High School, which has
given people a week to think over the options presented at the
Around the Burnside
Memories are a paradise from which you cannot be driven away.
No time is ever wasted that makes two people better friends.
Are you as tired of snow as I am? I’ve decided we’ve had about
all the snow we need this year. Not that this makes any
difference because we will have weather, whether or not. It does
give us something to talk about. You can growl about the weather
and it will do nothing about it or get mad.
I do enjoy it when a reader shares some of their thoughts or
experiences either in person or by letter. Some of the things
shared would be lost if not written down.
As an example, a reader sent a letter a while back relating some
of the things they did for a cold years ago. I did not know of
these cures while growing up as Vicks Salve was what mom used
most of the time.
The reader said her mother used skunk grease. Yes, skunk grease.
Her mother kept a bottle of skunk grease in the cupboard. Her
mother would put some on a heavy piece of flannel and warm it as
hot as she could then pinned it on her night clothes. She wrote
“Believe me the next morning the cold was loosened up.”
I understand her father would furnish the skunk fat and her
mother would render it. Just one more thing kids are missing out
on nowadays. The reader also indicated there was no odor with
the skunk grease.
Another cure the reader shared that Esther could remember but I
couldn’t. the reader shared that her mother would make a
poultice out of onions. She would fry the onions until they were
black and putting that on a cloth hat.
Strange as it may seem to the youth today, I’m sure the cures
mentioned were used and probably effective. I know there were
other methods we’ve used when a cold struck. Come to think about
it though, I can’t remember having too many colds while growing
up. Maybe the cure had something to do with it. I kind of
remember a friend who pretended to have a cough in order to get
some cough drops he liked. He ended up really having a bad cough
Do you read the letters to the editor that most papers print? I
do. I enjoy knowing what others think and it takes a bit of
nerve to send it in. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought I
should write a letter and then backed off.
I’ve felt while writing Around the Burnside to stay away from my
personal opinion most of the time. I will admit though I did
express my opinion many times regarding the FFA program at Swiss
Hills and some things regarding school. So be it.
I read most of the letters the sixth graders wrote even if they
were about the same event. I thought they were excellent and I
understand they all received a 100 percent grade for their work.
Any of you who read last week Ken Darby’s letter to the editor
know one thing for sure. You know exactly his feelings about the
recent bus, knife deal. He also expressed it so others would
know. I liked that.
Now for my two cents. I think Channel 9 has somehow developed a
direct pipeline to Switzerland of Ohio School District. It seems
that every little thing that happens they have it on their news
programs and typical media process and try to make it sound
really bad. Knives on the school bus is the latest. They sent a
reporter down along with the camera crew to take pictures,
interviews and make it sound almost like kids were flashing
knives around on the bus. I heard it on the news three or four
times and I’m almost sure it was a part of their news more than
that. They must have a problem getting any news.
Right or wrong it’s not up to me to decide; however, I do know
for sure that a couple of schools had the same money making
activity and we heard nothing about it.
Right or wrong the thing should have been handled within the
district not spread over this area of the state. After all
school is for learning not finding fault and making a big deal
with every little thing.
Now that I’ve retired for over 20 years I can confess. For 16
years I carried a pocket knife to school every day. I can’t
count the times I used it, even loaned it to a student at times.
I know times have changed. I do know when I rode the bus there
were several knives along for the ride. Most of the boys had a
knife in their pocket.
In grade school and even in high school we would play numbly
peg. The big blade fully open, the small blade half-way. Various
ways were tried to stick them in the ground. I forgot what all
we did do. I even enjoyed whittling.
Advise is what we ask for when we already know the answer.
The church doors are open to all.
“We can’t believe someone would steal a bell,” said Lee Ann
Dunlap, pastor of Hannibal Methodist Church.
The bell was found missing Jan. 2. A parishioneer is offering a
$5,000 reward for the recovery of the 1871 nickel and cast iron
by Martha Ackerman
“We can’t believe someone would steal a bell,” said Lee Ann
Dunlap, pastor of Hannibal United Methodist
Church. But someone did
... The bell, dating back to 1871, was stolen from the front of
the church during the overnight hours of Jan. 2. “You have to be
pretty desperate to steal from a church. You have to be
desperate to steal from anybody,” said the pastor.
The 20-inch in diameter bell, made of nickel and cast iron is
very heavy, leading Dunlap to believe more than one person
committed the crime. When the custodian came to the church, he
noticed the bell was missing. The bell has adorned the Hannibal United Methodist
Church for the last 10
years. It was never rung, but used as decoration.
“A bell that old represents a piece of Methodist history in this
valley and cannot be replaced,” said the pastor. She fears that
it could have been melted down for money.
According to Dunlap, the bell was rescued from a coal bin in the
basement of the church sometime between 1999 and 2001. The
trustees cleaned the bell, which is dated 1871, and decided to
place it in front of the church. If anyone has any history on
this bell, please call the Beacon office at 740-472-0734.
“I hope they realize their mistake,” said Robert R. Spear, a 62
year member of the church. “Maybe the Lord will make them repent
of their sins. It was something we’ve never dreamed of
happening. That someone would stoop so low as to steal from the
“If thieves really needed money, they could have walked in the
door and asked,” said Dunlap. “We would have been happy to
“While they stole history, it can’t take away our joy or
future,” continued the pastor, who filed a report with the
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The incident is still under
A parishioner from the church is offering a $5,000 reward to
anyone who finds the bell and returns it safely.
Set for Jan. 26
Calling all Monroe County Patchwork Jewels Committee members and
Barn Owners. You are invited to a PATCHWORK JEWELS BARN REUNION
on Jan. 26 in the meeting room of the Monroe County District
Library at 1:30 p.m. This reunion is being coordinated by
Suzanne Pollock and Stephanie Rouse.
Discussion will revolve around:
• Assets the Quilt Barns have been to you and the county, (15-20
minutes sharing time reflecting on people who have stopped by
your Patchwork Jewel)
• Current condition of the barns,
• Future Quilt Barn candidates,
• How tourism to each township can be encouraged to
feature artists and businesses,
• New maps to encourage “A drive through the Patchwork Jewels of
Auxiliary ideas for the conversation will include:
1. Making a National Regimental Flag for presentation at the
Civil War Event in June,
2. How to encourage young people to get involved in the artistic
quality of life of MC.
Organizations would like to discuss: Do we want to add to the
Patchwork Jewels? Set criteria – find funding? (4x8 hanging
quilts are applicable for many locations as well as might be
projects of student art classes).
Does MC want to become a part of the “Quilt Barn Corridor”
consisting of Bel-mont, Harrison and
Counties? (Will take
combined publicity effort and contacting tourism groups in other
Founder, Donna Sue Groves is planning a celebration in May 2011
of all Quilt Barn participants nationwide. Do we want to tell
our story? Those interested can take a look at:
I surely enjoy receiving your weekly paper. It usually arrives
on Saturday and I read it cover-to-cover in the afternoon.
My Mother stayed with her grandparents on a farm near
Beallsville many times in the early 1900s. The settlement was
named “Twilight” and no longer exists. Even the church is gone
but the cemetery remains. She had so many fond early childhood
memories of the area and kept in touch with several families
until her passing in 2001 at age 98.
I started my teaching career in the mid 60s nearby in
Barnesville. I’m always especially interested in news from the
Keep up the good work.
Sam Bean, Fairmont, W.Va.
Mary “Sue” Ritchie, 67, Columbus,
formerly of Fly, died Jan. 15, 2011, at Doctor’s Hospital in Columbus. She was born Aug. 24, 1943 in Sistersville,
W.Va., the daughter of the late Paul and
Leona Haddox Tuel.
She was a member of
Church in Fly and loved
crocheting and crafting.
Surviving are her husband of 48 years, Earl “Bud” Ritchie; two
sons, Robert “Doug” (Lisa) Ritchie of Columbus and Michael (Marcee)
Ritchie of Cambridge; two brothers, Richard “Dick” (Phyllis)
Tuel of Fly, Gordon (Judy) Tuel of Marysville; five
grandchildren, Brendan, Caitlin and Andrew Ritchie, Evan and
Marissa Ritchie; a special cousin, Colette Tennant of Oregon;
several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Friends were received Jan. 18 at Grisell Funeral Home New
Martinsville; on Jan. 19, from noon until time of funeral
service at 1 p.m. at Gravel Hill
Church, Fly, with Pastor Calvin
Ferrell officiating. Burial in Gravel Hill (Mehrley) Cemetery,
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer
Society, 870 Michigan Ave., Columbus,
Sympathy expressions at grisellfuneralhomes.com
Carl Richard Ady, 58, Cameron, died Jan. 3, 2011 at
Woodsfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was born June 30, 1952 in
Cameron, a son of the late Charles William and Margaret (Maggie)
Catherine Vaness Ady.
He worked at Barefoot Sole in
for 15 years. After retiring he returned to Cameron and became a
farmer where he lived until his passing.
Surviving are his wife of 30 years, Vickie Diann Hart Ady of
Cameron; two sons, Tom (Jaime) Ady of Creston, Todd (Amber) Ady
of Creston; three daughters, Carla (Larry) Baker of Creston,
Chastity (Chris) Pletcher of Beallsville, Destanie Hart of the
home; two brothers, Roger Ady of Cameron, Jerry (Donna) Ady of
Cameron; four sisters, Lorna (Ron) Ewers of Lewisville, Donna
(John) Broemsen of Jerusalem, Nancy (Kenny) Buohl of Wadsworth,
Hazel Morris of Wadsworth; 10 grandsons; 2 granddaughters; and
14 nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a
grandson, Christen Alexander Ady; and a nephew, Charles Michael
Friends were received Jan. 5 at Bauer-Turner Funeral Home,
Woodsfield, where funeral services were held Jan. 6, with Keith
Jones officiating. Burial was in Cameron Cemetery.
Condolences can be expressed at www.bauerturner.com
JOHN “BUD” MELLOTT
John C. “Bud” Mellott, 92, Beallsville, died Jan. 13,
2011 in Woods-field Nursing and
Center. He was born May
20, 1918 near Beallsville, a son of the late Calvin and Mary
He was a farmer, a former school bus driver and also a retired
employee of Ormet in
Hannibal. He was a U.S. Navy veteran of
WWII, a member of Sunsbury Lodge #362, F & AM and American
Legion Post #768.
Surviving are four children, Marie (Robert) Bucklew of Newport
News, Va., Benny Mellott of Pataskala, Susan Mellott of
Westerville, Paul Mellott of Beallsville;
three granddaughters, Christy (David Crosby) Bucklew, Amber
(Sam) Jaeger, Bamma Mellott; five great-grandchildren, Katie
Bucklew, Aubrey Gore, Cody Crosby, Christian Crosby and August
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his
wife, Jessie Marmie Mellott; two sisters, Marie E. Mellott, Sara
Christman; an infant brother, Paul; two grandsons, Jimmy Mellott
and Jay Bucklew.
Friends were received Jan. 16 at Harper Funeral Home,
Beallsville, where funeral services were held Jan. 17, with Rev.
Richard Wilson and Minister Jeff Rich officiating. Burial
Cemetery with full
military honors by American Legion Post #768. Masonic services
were conducted Jan. 16 at the funeral home.
Online condolences may be offered at www.harperfh.net