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


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January 1, 2009

<Countdown to the Crown

“Countdown to the Crown,” a Miss America reality show, will be televised Jan. 2, 9, 15 and 23 on TLC. The Jan. 2 show will begin at 10 p.m.
        Woodsfield’s own Karissa Martin, Miss Ohio 2008, is one of the “stars” of this production. Karissa will be competing in the 2009 Miss America contest which will be held Jan. 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The contest will be televised at 8 p.m. on TLC.


<Team Monroe Produces Results
Residents volunteer time & talents to move County forward

Tom Scott, workforce and economic developer, center, who facilitates the many facets of his Team Monroe is shown with Team Monroe members. Front, from left, are Dennis Ward, trustee; Joel Davis, vice-president; Dan Greenlee, trustee and Dr. Hugh Hyers, chairman of Team Monroe’s incubator committee. In back are Kiven Smithberger, president, Scott, and Joe Urbanek, treasurer. Nikki Baker, not pictured, is secretary.    Photo by Arlean Selvy

by Gwynn Clifford
Public Relations
for Team Monroe
        Nearly a hundred Monroe County residents have attended meetings and served on the Business, Incubator, Education, Infrastructure, Marketing, Tourism and Transportation subcommittees of Team Monroe throughout 2008.
        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 and the villages and ridges in between.
        “Team Monroe is alive and well,” said Team Monroe president Kiven Smithberger, at the December meeting. “We will continue the good work and rely on good people to give their time and talents to move the county forward.”
        In 2008 the group has made great strides in getting organized, hosting awareness meetings and moving the critical work of six subcommittees forward through  hard work, dedication, tenacity and partnerships.
        “Every Monroe County resident is eligible to be a member of Team Monroe,” said Scott. “There are no membership fees - we simply ask that you provide your input, your concerns and/or your time in identifying and addressing the challenges that are facing Monroe County.”
        Team Monroe meets the fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m. with locations varying across the county. The following subcommittee overviews represent a sampling of the great work that has been accomplished throughout 2008.
        Business incubation is a business support process that accelerates the successful development of start-up and small companies by providing entrepreneurs with a variety of resources and services. The Team Monroe committee opened the first location focusing on a commercial kitchen-style incubator. They continue to determine usage, equipment, contract and staffing needs as well as investigate the addition of another facility. Team Monroe’s first business incubator officially opened Aug. 28 located in the former Midway school near Antioch.
        “The goal is to stimulate business in the county,” said Hugh Hyre, chairman of Team Monroe’s incubator committee. “We’re starting with a kitchen because that’s what we all know.” Hyre made note that if it’s possible and worthwhile to citizens, with regard to time and travel, they’d like to open another kitchen incubator in another location.
        There are state requirements for the site, and rules and regulations to be followed by those who use the incubator facility. To date, a bakery license has been obtained as well as a preliminary canning license for items such as jams, jellies and sauces and for packing dried goods. A certified kitchen manager is required for canning and Connie Morris recently underwent four days of intensive training to earn certification. The application fee to use the kitchen is $20. The fee to use the kitchen without using public utilities is $6 per hour. Those using the stove and other equipment will pay $8 per hour.
        The Education Team developed the vision of The Monroe County Regional Higher Education: to provide the opportunity for secondary education to all regional residents. Through partnerships with a variety of educational institutions, Team Monroe will will provide academic and technical higher education coursework, career counseling services and community programming.
        A memorandum of understanding MOU was established between Monroe County commissioners and Belmont Technical College. Presented to commissioners June 24, the MOU spells out what is expected of the county and what BTC will do as a key partner coordinating regional higher education providers. BTC convened a community task force to move forward a higher education plan  for Monroe County hosting the first of several planned meetings with community leaders to solicit input.
        In addition, a grant for $5,000 was written and received from The Laura Jane Musser Fund to support the development of the Monroe County Regional Higher Education. Moving forward the education team will work to initiate a P-16 council (from pre-school through college) partnering education, workforce and economic development systems working to provide Monroe County’s students with the tools they need to compete in today’s ever-changing and increasingly technical marketplace. P-16 is a shared education reform effort designed to create a seamless education and workforce system and produce the talent base needed for the 21st century economy. Monroe’s team will partner with a successful P-16 Council in the Akron area to learn about their best practices.
        The Infrastructure Team has worked to review the county’s public works resources such as water, sewer, broadband, township resources, etc. to determine its strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. The team has worked to gather key maps, resources and will complete a needs assessment.
        The Marketing Team developed a plan approved by the commissioners and Community Improvement Corporation board that includes a variety of key objectives including enhancing the internet-based marketing on key websites, developing new marketing brochures and establishing a contract with local realtors to market the Monroe County Commerce Park and Black Walnut Center.
        In April, the marketing sub-committee played a valuable part in persuading the CIC board to approve a plan with local realtors to market. While efforts to finalize the real estate contract with county commissioners have been ongoing, the team hopes to have this goal accomplished with commissioners’ support in January.
        In addition, the marketing group has secured the opportunity to work with Ohio University’s Dr. Catherine N. Axinn, Professor of Marketing and International Business and the Marketing Department, Director of Educational Operations for the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre and her senior students who will adopt the following Team Monroe projects for winter quarter marketing work: Monroe County Economic Development; the Black Walnut Center and Monroe County Commerce Park; the Monroe County Business Incubator and Monroe County Tourism. Each group will receive business marketing plans - the value of such a project in the commercial sector is estimated to be more than $50,000 provided through Team Monroe to the county at no cost. An Ohio University senior graphic design student will also coordinate new brochures for economic development and the Monroe County business incubator.
        The Tourism Team reviewed immediate needs for resources and updates with the Ohio Department of Travel and Tourism. Team Monroe partnered with the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce for staffing resources to make routine annual updates to the state’s tourism database and provide literature to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Travel Information Centers on behalf of the county. They are also represented at the Monroe Washington Covered Bridge Scenic Byway Work Group. In the near future, the team will deliver the first of 12 Monroe County placemats to regional restaurants to promote Monroe. The placemats feature parks, restaurants, artisans, historical markers, family resources and the quilt barns. Another project underway is the design of Monroe County t-shirts that will be for sale to benefit Team Monroe’s efforts. Sample shirts will be on display at businesses across the county and pre-sale orders will be received.
        “Monroe County has talent and ambition,” said Aaron Miller, owner of E’Delweiss (Beef) Farm near Beallsville and chairman of the tourism subcommittee. “I’ve seen enthusiasm in Team Monroe. You have the ability to do something ... Just get up and get at it.”

        The Transportation Team has reviewed findings from the ODOT study of SR78/37 and its impacts to Monroe County. They are developing plans and pursuing funding options to extend SR800 to the Monroe County Commerce Park and have met with the ODOT District 11 Director. This team has also coordinated discussions with the Ohio Rail Commission, ODOT, Norfolk/Southern Rail and Ormet regarding rail lines along the Ohio River to support Artco Steel and its potential future expansion or facility leasing. In addition, they have been coordinating the Monroe County Airport Authority regarding future progress at the airport.
        Members of Team Monroe have met with the following local, regional, state and federal partners over the past year: U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson, staff from U.S. Senator George Voinovich’s office, Federal Appalachian Regional Commis-sion, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Ohio Congress-woman Jennifer Garrison and Ohio Senator Joy Padgett and Senator-elect Jimmy Stewart, Ohio Department of Transpor-tation, Ohio Rail Commission, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio River Development Committee, Ohio River Trails, Ohio Farm Bureau, Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District, the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance (EODA), Connect Ohio, Ohio Department of Travel and Tourism, Wayne National Forest, Monroe Soil and Water Conservation District, The Ohio State University Extension - Monroe County, Ohio University Voinovich
 School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Monroe/Washington Covered Bridge Scenic Byway Work Group, the Monroe County Airport Authority, Monroe County Fair Board, Monroe County Park Board and the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District.
        From an administrative perspective, Team Monroe elected officers including: president, Kiven Smithberger, Woodsfield; vice-president, Joel Davis, Sardis; secretary, Nikki Baker, Lewisville; treasurer, Joe Urbanek, Beallsville. Team Monroe trustees include Dennis Ward, Dave Pyles, Aaron Miller 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. Volunteers attended a grant writing workshop hosted by the Farm Bureau. The teams also have a variety of pending grant applications. Team Monroe was an active participant with displays at the 2008 Monroe County Fair and Black Walnut Festival.
        Subcommittee meeting details are available at www.monroecountyohio.com. The Jan. 26 Team Monroe meeting will be at 6 p.m. in Sardis at the Dally Library Annex (the former union hall). For more details, contact Smithberger at 740-472-7325 or Tom Scott at 740-472-3201.

<Financial & Foreclosure Help Now Available in Monroe County

With Southeastern Ohio Legal Services providing the $5,000 match Monroe County was able to secure a Positive Balance person  who will help residents with personal financial and foreclosure problems. Shown, from left, are Monroe County Auditor Pandora Neuhart, CHIP coordinator Raymond Bauer and Dennis Harrington of SOLS, all members of the Monroe County Personal Finance and Education Task Force; SOLS attorney Leslie Vincent and Positive Balance advisor Susan Davis.

Photo by M. Ackerman

by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer
        Through matching funds provided by the Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, Monroe County now has its own Americorps Positive Balance advisor in Susan Davis. She is available to help residents with personal finance and foreclosure prevention issues.
        The mission of the Positive Balance program is to expand opportunities for people living in Ohio by promoting decisions and behavior that will improve their personal financial conditions. Through collaboration, Positive Balance seeks to increase financial awareness and reduce financial pressures for individuals.
        In light of the numerous foreclosures which had plummeted the housing market, the formation of a county task forces was requested by Ohio State Treasurer Richard Cordray.              The local task force is made up of county officials, resource persons and local business men and women. Dennis Harrington, of SOLS, is a member of the Monroe County Personal Finance and Education Task Force and secured the $5,000 which was used for the match needed to have an Americorps person locally.
        Davis provides face-to-face contact to residents seeking guidance in financial matters and foreclosure issues. All information is kept confidential.
        “Susan is available to help residents who are behind on their bills deal with their problems. Pride is a big issue and confidentiality is very important,” said Harrington.
        Davis is trained to steer residents in the right direction and help them make the contacts which could provide help with their financial problems.
        Davis can be contacted at the CIC office, Black Walnut Parkway, Woodsfield, or by calling 740-472-2546.
        Southeastern Ohio Legal Services provides free non-criminal legal advice to local residents who are within the 125 percent poverty guidelines or 250 percent in foreclosure matters. For residents 60 and over there are no financial guidelines.
        SOLS Staff Attorney Leslie Vincent is available at the Woodsfield Methodist Church from 2 to 4 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. It is advised to call 1-800-837-2630 in advance.

<Heimann Retires; New Director Named

The Park Board of Monroe County introduced its new director recently. Mark Gallagher of Woodsfield will assume the director’s position  upon the retirement of Jim Heimann, who has held the position for 13 years. Shown, from left are board members Irma Highman and Richard Wilson, Heimann, Gallagher and board  member Mike Lloyd.         
Photo by Martha Ackerman

The Park Board of Monroe County has announced its selection of Mark Gallagher of Plainview Road, Woodsfield, as its new park director. Jim Heimann, who has held the position for the past 13 years, has retired.
        The board anticipates that Gallagher will bring creative thinking and a fresh outlook to the county’s park system.
        Regarding the future direction of the park district, Gallagher noted, “In accordance with the park board’s multi-use philosophy, I would like to continue with ongoing projects such as the potential development of oil and gas leases on certain remote park property and I would also like to follow up on our state forester’s forest management plan for Clarington Park. In the upcoming years, I would like to continue with the nature walk program and possibly modify it to include specially designed areas for the visually impaired and other handicapped citizens. We have an excellent park district, one which I would like to see utilized to its maximum potential. Regarding our future programs, I would like to see cross country hiking, exercise trails, fishing contests, treasure hunts, photography/art contests and more school programs.
        “I’d also like to involve the park district with our local Boy and Girl Scout organizations.
        “It will be a privilege to serve the residents of Monroe County,” concluded Gallagher.
        “It has been a challenging and pleasure-filled career,” said Heimann. “In all honesty, I have most enjoyed the portion of this job that allowed me to work with the county’s youth. I’ve always found it interesting to encounter curious minds, regardless of the age group, when conducting nature walks. However, I have especially enjoyed events like the SWCD’s fifth grade Field Day because that age group is especially attentive and wide-eyed about nature’s revelations.
        “Having been schooled at Hocking Technical College, my keenest interest has always been communicating the solace and endless discoveries that reside in our great outdoors. I have always been fascinated by prehistoric Ohioans, and I have rarely conducted a nature walk without conveying their ability to prosper in an unforgiving natural setting - something that has become lost to most modern-day civilizations.”

< Obituaries

        Floyd Robert “Bob” Fleeman, 85, of Dalzell Rd., Whipple, died Dec. 24, 2008, Harmar Place. He was born June 29, 1923, in Washington County at home on Fleeman Run Road, the son of the late Henry and Lydia Snyder Fleeman. Online condolences may be shared at www.mslfuneralhome.com.


        Louis Irene Berger, 74, of Schupbach Addition, Hannibal, died Dec. 26, 2008 at New Martinsville Health Care Center. She was born Feb. 14, 1934, in Sycamore Valley, the daughter of the late Forrest and Mary Burkhart Martin.  Sympathy expressions at grisellfuneral homes.com

Carrie Rutledge, 89, Ontario, Calif., died Dec. 19, 2008. She was born Nov. 18, 1919, in Monroe County.

        Wilma Mae Ludolph, 81, Woodsfield Nursing and Rehabil-itation Center, formerly of Sardis, died Dec. 25, 2008 at Barnesville Hospital. She was born April 13, 1927 in Hannibal, a daughter of the late Erman and Georgianna Baker Henthorn. She was a homemaker and a member of the Gravel Hill Baptist Church, Fly.     Online condolences may be expressed at www.wattersfuneralhome.com

<Our Readers Write:

Dear Editor,
        A recent letter suggested people on the riverfront have to travel to do their banking, so they probably conveniently pass libraries at Powhatan, New Matamoras and New Martinsville on their way.
        Actually, Clarington and Hannibal each have the Ohio Valley Credit Union and Sardis has the Citizens National Bank. That’s possible because those institutions have branches.
        Even the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles has an online “branch,” so people can renew license plates without making a trip to a central office. Branches in business and government are a sign of putting the customers first. They are signs of progress.
        The same is true about libraries.
Jacquelyn Brown

Dear Editor,
        A previous letter to the editor said there was no support outside of Sardis for the Dally Library. My children use the Dally Library quite often. My son attends Hannibal Elementary and his school raises money to purchase books for Dally. I also know the volunteers and patrons come from several riverfront communities.
        For some children the Dally Library is the only one they are able to attend. The children of Sardis Elementary have the opportunity to walk to the library. If not for this opportunity, some would never step foot in a library. In these economic times both parents work which doesn’t allow extra time or any time to drive to a library.
        Students at River High School use Dally, too. Some even ride the bus to Sardis after school to utilize the services.
        It is upsetting that people in my community are told that we are not welcome to Monroe County library services and should go to another state or county. At New Martinsville Library, I have to pay an annual fee for a library card. They do not have an interlibrary loan system like Dally’s and the Ohio library system.
        Dally is very convenient for many who bank at the Citizens National Bank (Branch of Woodsfield). The library is located behind the bank making it easy for picking up and dropping off books. It is so nice to be able to use the interlibrary loan system.
        The Citizens National Bank is a branch of Woodsfield. The Ohio Valley Community Credit Union offers Woodsfield a branch of that service. What if the credit union would have said Woodsfield citizens need to use only the Hannibal office or drive just a short distance to Clarington to use that one? Branches offer services the citizens of its community and county need to make it a better, more convenient place for all. Branches are good things, especially the extended olive branch.
Valerie Williamson

Dear Editor,
Driving in Monroe and
Adjacent Counties
        Being a transplant to Monroe County for the past 31 years, I have noticed that there is a certain portion of the population that really don’t know how to drive safely or properly. When I lived in Spain and a friend who had borrowed my car was struck by a Spaniard passing a line of traffic stopped behind him while turning left, our abogado (lawyer) insisted upon the importance of him having been on the line while turning left. Otherwise, we would have lost the case.
        It seems that a lot of “Country” drivers drive as if they were turning an oxcart. They pull right to turn left and go left to turn right. This activity will eventually get you killed in a traffic situation.
        Another bad habit that they exhibit is to drive through every pothole on our gravel roads, rather than trying to miss them. This activity has multiple repercussions.
        First, the splashing makes the pothole larger and larger and hitting the pothole can damage your car. Then there are those who don’t seem to be able to anticipate what happens when you accelerate or decelerate on a hill on a gravel road. It creates washboard roads and the harder you accelerate, the worse they get.
        You need to anticipate stopping while going down a hill or you will create washboards. Pickup trucks and vans are the biggest offenders.
        And then there is that constant habit of creating railroad tracks on our gravel roads. In most cases there is room for two cars, meaning that you should try to drive to the right and not follow the tracks left by all the other inexperienced drivers. Doing so will keep the road uniform and not create paths for water accumulation and, by consequence, potholes. Dodging potholes will eventually squeeze them back in and eliminate them, but it only takes one splash to ruin all your efforts.
        And finally, can’t you keep your trash in your car until you get home? Especially glass bottles. Last year as I pulled onto County 12 with my tractor, I heard this hiss hiss sound as I drove home. There, stuck in my tire was a piece of broken beer bottle that someone had pitched into the grass. I believe the fine for littering is $500. I am requesting a litter sign be posted on Rock Camp Road.
        Happy Driving!
Keith Weborg
New Matamoras

<Around the Burnside

If you don’t have a sense of humor, you probably don’t have any sense at all.
        A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you are in deep water.
        Well, what do you know? Eight reindeer and Santa with a Ho-Ho-Ho. Did you hear them or maybe see them? I thought the other night he landed at our house. On closer inspection, the next day I found out it was only the wind which was strong enough to blow over our barbeque grill on our deck.
        Here it is, the last few hours of 2008. What a year. Doesn’t sound too good heading into 2009. The news media does not seem to let us know any of the good things that have happened. Last week’s Beacon’s front page had a number of good things that have been going on in Monroe County.
        When I looked at the picture of the junior high students, who brought in items for gift boxes to be given to the Secret Santa program, I could not help but think. If these students can cooperate and bring in over five times the number of items expected, why can’t the adults in the county cooperate for the total county in addition to their own areas? Maybe the schools could do something together and call it the Switzerland of Ohio Schools. Might be a start; remember the county band?
        Dec. 31, time to party. I remember seeing a picture of an old man with a scythe over his shoulder and a baby wearing a sash with the new year printed on it.
        If you plan to party, please do not party in such a way that your head will be hurting the next day and wondering what happened. Remember: There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 a.m. It could be a right number.
        Our plans for celebrating New Year’s Eve will be the same as the last several years. Sitting in the easy chair, watching and listening to big time singers sing songs that I cannot understand, waiting for the big ball to drop. I normally have to wake up you know who so she can share in the excitement. That’s about it except I might crack a can of Mountain Dew, if I can get Esther to get it for me.
        One of the nicest gifts I got this year was getting to hold and rock our little great-grandson to sleep. Nothing better than a rocking chair and a child to rock. If there is, I don’t know what it would be.
        Needless to say, Dad did not like that “store” bought butter. One morning Mom filled the churn and sent me to the basement to churn. Dad wanted me to do something and found I was turning the churn and didn’t bother me.
        Well, come dinner time, Dad said, “Now that is what I call real butter.” The butter was still in the churn as Mom had not had time to work up the butter and it was still in the churn down in the basement.
        It happened to me. You will remember I wrote how much I enjoyed getting a jar of blackberry jam and how good it was. The other day after the jar was three fourths empty I read the label more closely. I couldn’t believe it; there it was in big black letters “Black Raspberry Jam.” I could not believe it. I had made it taste like blackberries. Don’t get me wrong I do like raspberries and really the taste did change a bit after I read the label. I plan to purchase a jar of blackberry jam, with seeds, when I go to the store the next time.
        I guess when you get to the end of the year you look back and also look forward. There’s nothing you can do or change as you look back; however, you can do something by looking forward.
        As I see it there is much to look forward to in our county during the coming year and maybe future years. Our school system is perhaps one of the biggest things facing us during the coming year. The plan appears to include what all the areas of the county want and it looks as though it is our last chance. Our kids’ future education depends on it. We’ll see what happens.
        As I look back this year a couple of things were special. First was the birth of our fifth great-grandchild and being honored as a retired Sunday School teacher. Almost too much for doing something you enjoy.
        Then I think how fortunate we are compared to what some folks are going through at the present time. Then I can remember when we bought only one Christmas present and for a good many years we waited until the day before Christmas to buy gifts to take advantage of any mark downs. By doing this we sometimes almost got caught still wrapping presents since our kids, like most, have a natural early wake-up call on Christmas morn.
        To all of my faithful readers - I wish you a Happy New Year and the best for 2009. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I write and I do appreciate your comments from time to time.
        One final note for this year. In spite of some of the things we complain about and perhaps some of the problems of Monroe County, we have enjoyed living in Monroe County the last nearly 40 years. See you next year.
        No matter the storm, when you are with God, there is always a rainbow waiting.
        Going to church would be a good habit to start in 2009.
        Bible readings: From Psalms (Mon.) 15; (Tues.) 27:1-6; (Wed.) 23; (Thurs.) 34:4-14; (Fri.) 25:12-21; (Sat.) 33:8-18; (Sun.) Exodus 1:8-21.