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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 $1.25 with your name/address to P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield, OH  43793.

 
June 18, 2009

Civil War Unfolds at Fairgrounds

The Union Army, marching to the beat of the drum, escorted the women who laid a wreath in front of the Civil War monument during the 2009 Woodsfield Civil War Encampment held June 12 and 13. The event was organized by Kyle Yoho, local Civil War enthusiast.

Jaren Hupp, Jaren LeMasters & Wesley Shipp

New to this year’s Civil War Encampment was the placing of a wreath in front of the Civil War monument located on Veterans Plaza in front of the Monroe County Courthouse. Franklin Dye, shown left, and Willis Dye are the great-nephews of two of the men listed on the monument. Mick Schumacher, of the Monroe County Historical Society, told the story of Elam and Joshua Dye, who both died of disease while serving in the Union Army.

Photos by Martha Ackerman

 

Kyle Yoho

Serving the Ladies Tea at the 2009 Woodsfield Civil War Encampment were, from front: Zola Carroll, Karen Fragale and Helen Yoho.

Rose Branham of Kentucky gave a demonstration and talk on how women dressed during the 1860s. Here she shows one of the purses and how it was worn.

 

 

Karen Fragal demonstrates the art of quilting.

The broom squire (Curt Cable of Glouster) demonstrated the making of different types of brooms. He became interested in the encampments through his love of old crafts.

A confederate General Lee Mills of Valley Division (Romney, WV) and Lt. David Owens f Kanawha Artillery (St. Marys, WV) are shown in camp. The ladies in charge of the commissary cook over the open fire.

by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer

The 2009 Civil War Encampment was bigger and better than ever before. Kyle Yoho was the brainchild behind the Woodsfield Civil War Encampment. An avid Civil War buff, Yoho, at age 15, organized the first Woodsfield encampment. That was four years ago. The encampment has grown every year since.

Visitors could step back in time to the camps of the Union and Confederate soldiers. The tents were set up, representative of those days of war between the states. There was a blacksmith, broom squire, store, cafe, commissary and more. 

Visitors sat on hay bales as they listened to historian and songster Bob Welch as he presented “Songs of the Civil War.” 

The broom squire, Curt Cable of Glouster, demonstrated the making of straw brooms. His love of old crafts brought him to the re-enactment circuit about five years ago.

Tonya Davis and her daughter, of Warner near Lower Salem, demonstrated spinning wool from the sheep they raise.  A brush arbor was set up for the church services. According to Tim Black of Walker, W. Va., chaplain for the 17th Virginia, during the Civil War in winter, log structures were built for the church services, if the location for the encampments was for any length of time.  He noted that the Confederate chaplains were paid through soldiers’ rations. The Union chaplains, he said, were paid monetarily. Black also demonstrated several guns of the Civil War including a Navy Colt 44, an old single shot flintlock used during the Revolutionary War, which was changed over to a flintlock for use in the Civil War.

Rose Branham, of Kentucky,  gave a demonstration and talk on how women dressed during the 1860s as well as a woman’s role during the Civil War.

Serving sandwiches, fruit and cookies at the Ladies Tea, which was well attended, were served by Helen Yoho,  Karen Fragal and Zola Carroll.  New to this year’s encampment was a ceremony and laying of the wreath in front of the Civil War Memorial, located on Veterans Plaza in front of the Monroe County Court-house. Kyle Yoho welcomed those attending and introduced Pastor Mathew Horn-beck who gave the invocation; Mick Schumacher, of the Monroe County Historical Society, who related a story of a Monroe County family who lost two sons to disease while serving in the Union army; and Woodsfield Mayor Bill Bolon, who commented on Civil War history.

“This monument would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the efforts of local historian Mark Haselberger,” said Yoho. Haselberger, a former resident, researched and provided the information on Monroe Countians who served in the Civil War. 

“This plaque is a testament to the service of Monroe County men in the Civil War. Many of these men gave the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. Like many of those who volunteered to fight for the Union across the country, they left their homes, their families, and the life they had known to fill the ranks of the armies marching off to an unknown end,” said Yoho.

“The regiments with the largest number of men from Monroe County were the 7th West Virginia Infantry, 25th Ohio Infantry, 77th Ohio Infantry and the 116th Ohio Infantry. They served in every major battle and campaign of the war from Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Sherman’s March and many, many more. One  exception was  McClel-lan’s Peninsular Campaign.

Sergeant Richard Bowry, of Company C 1st W. Va. Cavalry;, Sergeant James Henry, of Company B 113th Illinois Infantry; Corporal Freeman C. Thompson of Company F, 116th Ohio Infantry; and Sergeant Adam White, of Company G 11th W. Va. Infantry, were all Monroe County men who each received the Medal of Honor for their service in the Civil War. 

Quoting Haselberger, Yoho read, “The men from Monroe County served in all branches of the military: artillery, cavalry and infantry. They also served on steamboats on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, hauling army supplies, transporting soldiers. They also served on the navy’s gunboats. They served, though some were too young and some were too old. At least 2,800 men served from Monroe County, and one source says 4,000! The youngest soldier to serve is believed to have been William H. Montgomery, corporal and bugler. Born April 22, 1849, Montgomery was 14 years old when he volunteered in Company H, 13th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. He was discharged July 30, 1865. Probably the largest family name to contribute fathers, sons and cousins was the Mellotts of Cameron. The last surviving Civil War veteran from Monroe County is believed to be John Landis, of Company A, 77th Ohio Infantry, who passed away in May 1940.”

The plaque listing the names of Monroe Countians who died while serving the Union army was provided through the efforts of the Veterans Memorial Committee, which is under new leadership and is continuing the brick project. 

“Every name on this plaque has a story behind it,” said Schumacher. “One of these names is Elam Dye. Elam was born Feb. 1, 1941 to mother Ary and father John in Perry Township of Monroe County. Three years later his father died. In all Ary and John had seven sons. Elam was the sixth born, his younger brother was Mahlon and his older brothers were Bazil, Isaac, Benjamin, Joshua and Amos. Of his widowed mother’s seven sons, five went off to war. Amos had died in 1858 and Mahlon was too young or she might have had all her sons going off to war. Bazil joined the Company A of the 116th Ohio in 1862, Isaac joined the 63rd Ohio in 1865, Benjamin enlisted in 1862 into Company A of the 116th Ohio, and Joshua went into Company K of the 62nd Ohio Infantry. Elam joined Company C of the 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry on Aug. 6, 1862 as a private at the age of 21. On March 27, 1863, Elam penned a letter   while his regiment was camped near Carthage, Tenn. to his younger brother Mahlon. The letter reads:

“‘Dear Brother, I now seat myself to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines will find you all enjoying good health. I received a letter from you a few days ago and we were very glad to hear from you all. We have not been attacked here yet - only the pickets - but we are looking to be every day. The rebs are conscripting the men through this part of the country and some of them are leaving the rebel army and coming through inside our picket lines to keep out of the way of the rebel army. I understand that there is another draft a-going off in the northern states. I would like to know how it’s going on there by this time. The 92nd is not in very good health at present. There are some few cases of measles. We have lost two boys out of our company. Thomas Reeves from Antioch and Dave Piatt, Jacob Piatt’s son, took measles and were sick about ten days. (They) died in the hospital at Carthage and they were buried in a nice graveyard at Carthage. They were buried very decently for I saw them buried and helped to dig Piatt’s grave. William Foraker and Harvey Cline had the measles but they are getting along well now. I think they will get along if they have no bad luck.

“‘I got a letter from Joshua a few days ago and he was well then. He was near Hilton Head, South Carolina.

“‘Well, Mahlon, as I have nothing of much importance, I will close by wishing you all good luck. Write soon and tell me whether you got that money or not. Direct to Camp near Carthage, Tenn. Co, C-92nd Reg. V g, Crooks Brigade. Nothing More.

“‘But remaining your, Elam Dye.’”

“A month later Elam died of typhoid April 30 in Carthage and was buried in the Nashville National Cemetery. He was not the only brother who died in the service. His brother Joshua died of disease as well at Morris Island, S.C. Benjamin had been taken prisoner at Bunker Hill, Virginia, but returned to service nearly six months later and then wounded at Piedmont, Virginia in 1864. Of the five brothers that left for war, three would return veterans of a hard-fought war. This was the story for many families in America during the Civil War.”

After the ceremony at the courthouse, Yoho invited spectators to come to the fairgrounds where the afternoon program included Welch, a weapons demonstration by specialists Andrew Rowland and Jessie Kallel,  a battle re-enactment and much more.

The battle re-enactment drew a large crowd of spectators who watched Saturday as the Union army, with re-enforcements, emerged victoriously.

Sunday’s events began with an 1860s church service with events throughout the morning and afternoon. The event was hosted by the 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry Company B.



 

Team Monroe Committee to Coordinate P-16 Council

Dr. Joseph Bukowski, president, Belmont Technical College, talked to Monroe County Commissioners June 8 about initiating a P-16 Council and this week they took action to do just that.

Bukowski met with officials again on June 15, at which time county commissioners adopted a resolution to support the Monroe County Higher Education Plan as developed by BTC. Commissioners also voted to name Team Monroe’s education committee to initiate a P-16 Council.

Bukowski, at the prior meeting, said forming a P-16 Council is the first step in the BTC Higher Education Strategic Plan.

He said once the council is in place, immediate implementation of the plan is possible. 

“This is the perfect time to initiate a P-16 Council,” he said, noting the recent vote and enthusiasm for new schools in the district.

It was agreed that members of the Team Monroe Education Committee with leadership support from county commissioners and BTC will work to implement the P-16 Strategy from the county’s Strategic Higher Education Plan.

A P-16 Council works to integrate the separate systems of education across all learning levels. By improving these connections, P-16 focuses on the needs of the students, ensuring they can advance smoothly from pre-kindergarten to post secondary education. The philosophy behind this approach is simple: success in college and in a career begins in preschool.

Ohio’s disconnected system of education is not currently meeting the challenges required for success in the 21st century. Across the state, the P-16 approach is helping region’s result in higher achieving students with the goal of restoring economic competitiveness to Ohio’s citizens and to the state.

In Ohio, for every 100 ninth graders, 70 graduate high school, 38 enter college and only 17 earn a bachelor’s degree in six years. This is a problem given that an estimated 75 percent of all new jobs in this decade – and the majority of jobs that pay wages sufficient to support a family – will require at least some education beyond high school.

The Council will work to convene local leaders from every level of education, from business, communities and civic interests, as well as parents, to provide vision and leadership. In the P-16 process, all members are equal partners and education stakeholders in the effort. The group will help identify transition points in students’ education where they may experience difficulty or need additional support. One goal of the P-16 Council is to significantly increase the college enrollment rate from Monroe County.

The Council will support the overall goals of the county’s strategic plan to support citizens in accessing higher education, to make the higher education experience as affordable as possible and to help to meet the county’s workforce development needs.

Critical next steps in forming the P-16 Council include developing the Council’s membership (of interested and necessary parties) and hosting an initial meeting before July 31. The group will then focus on basic P-16 training and developing plans for its initial activities.

Monroe County residents interested in serving on the P-16 Council, should contact 213-0455 by July 1. Necessary requirements for the council include a passion for the advancement of Monroe County, willingness to be an “active” participant of the Council including regular attendance with work assignments between meetings.

Jefferson, Monroe, Belmont Counties Form Partnership

Three Ohio counties are joining forces to encourage regional cooperation and economic development.

That was the outcome of a June 5 meeting held in St. Clairsville among  economic development officials from Jefferson, Monroe and Belmont counties along with Kathy Gagin, field representative for U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson.

Gagin was the driving force behind arranging the meeting of the group, which will be known as the JMB Partnership.

“This regional effort was discussed several years ago,” said Gagin. “Congressman Wilson felt the timing was right to revive the concept and push it forward. Collaborative efforts such as the JMB Partnership will strengthen our stand and show community commitment across the board.”

Charter members of the partnership and co-chairman of the effort include: Tom Scott, community developer for Team Monroe; Sue Douglas, executive director of the Belmont County Department of Development; Larry Merry, director, Belmont County Port Authority; and Ed Looman, executive director of Jefferson County’s Progress Alliance.

“Our mission is simple - we want to encourage regional cooperation and economic development in business, industry, tourism and recreation,” said Douglas. “Our goal will be to work together to help create what could be a power economic shot in the arm for the area.”

Scott called the meeting a great start for what could be a fantastic collaborative effort. “From this point forward, we will be working together to move our counties forward,” he said.

The charter members will take their next step when an organizational meeting is held on July 10 at the Incubator Kitchen of the Midway Community Center, located in Antioch.

“Representatives from the three counties will be invited to join us on July 10 and help create the vision of this new partnership,” Looman said. “We will encourage input at that meeting to determine how we move forward. The charter members will be looking to bring like-minded individuals together to start talking and sharing ideas on economic development for the area.”

Merry noted the importance of working together to move the three counties forward.

“This effort will be all about sharing - sharing resources, sharing talent, sharing ideas,” he said. “The end result hopefully will be creating a vision for the future of the three counties and working together to make it happen.”

Gagin emphasized the importance of joint efforts within the district covered by U.S. Rep. Wilson.

“I am definitely encouraged by the results of today’s meeting,” she said. “The congressman obviously is concerned about the economic health of the people in his district. I believe that through this partnership, we will begin to see creative ideas regarding our resources and our region. It is exciting to see people come together and pledge to work together as a region to build the economy and a better future for the residents of the three counties.” 

Beallsville Eyes Offenders 

Beallsville Village Council members looked at age old problems during their June 2 meeting.

Officials stressed that confining pets and cleaning property will be dealt with per village ordinances.

Residents are reminded that all dogs within the village limits are to be confined to the owner’s property. No owner is to allow his/her dog to run at large within the village limits.

Cleaning property was also stressed. Per ordinance, land owners must keep property free of trash and keep the lawn mowed.

According to the ordinance, if owners do not comply, the village will clean up the property and place the charges on the owner’s tax bill. 

On a motion by Councilman Walter Dornon, officials accepted a quote from Dynamic Safety Resources, Woodsfield, for new fire extinguishers.

In other business it was agreed that Ted Billiter of the street department will obtain hot patch from Klug Brothers, to patch numerous pot holes throughout the village.

Council’s next meeting will be held July 6 at 7 p.m. at the city building.

 



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Obituaries

REV. NOAH J. OXLEY, JR.
Rev. Noah John Oxley, Jr., 73, Sheffield Lake, formerly of Woodsfield and Amherst, was called home June 9, 2009, at Cleveland Clinic surrounded by his family. He was born Sept. 24, 1935 in Dillonvale, where he was raised. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree after attending Wash-ington Bible School, Ohio University, Gannon College in Pennsylvania and finally the School of Divinity in Evans-ton, Ill.  He has served the Lord in Coshocton, Chand-lersville, Conneaut, Bristolville, Amherst and Woodsfield, all in Ohio. After his retirement, he made his home in Lorain and Woodsfield residing in Sheffield Lake for the last two years.

Noah served in the United States Marine Corp. during the Korean Conflict. He retired after 33 years in the ministry from Amherst Old Stone United Methodist Church in 1998. After his retirement, he carried out a part-time call at the Clarksfield United Metho-dist Church. His hobbies in-cluded fishing and hunting and watching professional sports, especially baseball and football.

Surviving are his loving wife of 49 years, Betty Fern Oxley, (nee: Hill); three sons Noah John Oxley, III, and Mark Oxley, both of Woods-field, Nathan (Cindy) Oxley of Sheffield Lake; two daughters, Angela Baron of Huron, Teresa Stull of Ludowici, Georgia; 13 grandchildren; sister, Mary-anne Oddo of Akron; and a half-sister, Karen Butler of Rayland.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Noah John, Sr. and Anna Martin Oxley (nee Proger); brother, Benjamin Eugene Oxley; and a half-sister, Eva.

Friends were received June 11 at Hempel Funeral Home, Amherst and visitation continued at Watters Funeral Home, Woodsfield, June 12. Funeral services were held June 13 at Woodsfield First United Methodist Church, with Rev. Robert Mitchell officiating. Burial was in Oaklawn Cemetery, Woodsfield.

Memorial contributions may be made to Amherst Old Stone United Methodist Church, 553 South Main St., Amherst, OH 44001; or the Woodsfield United Methodist Church, 136 North Main St., Woodsfield, OH 43793, or the National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 NW 9th St., Bob Hope Rd., Miami, FL 33136.

JANETTE H. DECKER

Janette Hariett Decker, 95, Beallsville, passed away peacefully on June 4, 2009, at Woodsfield Nursing and Rehab Center. She was born Jan. 24, 1914 near Beallsville, a daughter of the late Henry and Nora Jean McDougal Smith.

She was a member of the Beallsville Church of Christ, the Barnesville Hospital Twig, and the New Castle Home-makers Club. She was owner and operator of the former Decker’s Market in Beallsville for 40 years.

Surviving are a daughter, Cora (Jim) Yocco of Caldwell; two sons, Vernon (Sandra) Decker of Hannibal, Joseph (Vivian) Decker of Beallsville; and four granddaughters, Stacy (Steve) Gallaher and their children, Megan and Jacob of Ashville, Andrea (David) Blake and son, William of Hannibal, Adreanna (Erik) Winland of Cambridge, and Jo-Ellyn Decker of Washington, D.C.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of over 50 years, Mansel Decker; and a sister, May Edgar.

Friends were received June 6 at Harper Funeral Home, Beallsville, where funeral services were held June 7. Burial followed in Beallsville Cemetery.

Online condolences may be offered at www.harperfh.net

Rev. Noah John Oxley, Jr., 73, Sheffield Lake, formerly of Woodsfield and Amherst, was called home June 9, 2009, at Cleveland Clinic surrounded by his family. He was born Sept. 24, 1935 in Dillonvale, where he was raised. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree after attending Washington Bible School, Ohio University, Gannon College in Pennsylvania and finally the School of Divinity in Evans-ton, Ill.  He has served the Lord in Coshocton, Chand-lersville, Conneaut, Bristolville, Amherst and Woodsfield, all in Ohio. After his retirement, he made his home in Lorain and Woodsfield residing in Sheffield Lake for the last two years.

Noah served in the United States Marine Corp. during the Korean Conflict. He retired after 33 years in the ministry from Amherst Old Stone United Methodist Church in 1998. After his retirement, he carried out a part-time call at the Clarksfield United Metho-dist Church. His hobbies in-cluded fishing and hunting and watching professional sports, especially baseball and football.

Surviving are his loving wife of 49 years, Betty Fern Oxley, (nee: Hill); three sons Noah John Oxley, III, and Mark Oxley, both of Woods-field, Nathan (Cindy) Oxley of Sheffield Lake; two daughters, Angela Baron of Huron, Teresa Stull of Ludowici, Georgia; 13 grandchildren; sister, Mary-anne Oddo of Akron; and a half-sister, Karen Butler of Rayland.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Noah John, Sr. and Anna Martin Oxley (nee Proger); brother, Benjamin Eugene Oxley; and a half-sister, Eva.

Friends were received June 11 at Hempel Funeral Home, Amherst and visitation continued at Watters Funeral Home, Woodsfield, June 12. Funeral services were held June 13 at Woodsfield First United Methodist Church, with Rev. Robert Mitchell officiating. Burial was in Oaklawn Cemetery, Woodsfield.

Memorial contributions may be made to Amherst Old Stone United Methodist Church, 553 South Main St., Amherst, OH 44001; or the Woodsfield United Methodist Church, 136 North Main St., Woodsfield, OH 43793, or the National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 NW 9th St., Bob Hope Rd., Miami, FL 33136.

HARRY E. KNOWLTON

Harry E. Knowlton, 84, of Graysville, died June 15, 2009, at the Woodsfield Nursing and Rehab Center. He was born in Monroe County July 16, 1924, a son of the late Lawrence Ray Knowlton and Mary Louise Smith Knowlton.

He retired from Washington Electric and worked as a right-of-way foreman. He was a veteran of World War II, where he received the Purple Heart.

He is survived by two sons: Larry Knowlton and Bill (Bonnie) Knowlton, all of Graysville; two daughters: Linda (Heber) Piatt and Cheryl (Rick) Shook, both of Graysville; two sisters-in-law: Eileen Knowlton and Imogene Piatt, both of Graysville; five grandchildren: Scott (Teresa) Piatt, Kathy (Jeff) Brown, Mike (Ashley) Piatt, Keith (Danetta) Knowlton, Missy Knowlton and her fiance Walter Dean; seven great-grandchildren: Trevor and Macy Brown, Lexi, Kylie and Carter Piatt; Hunter and Emily Knowlton; and Cole Dilts.

He was preceded in death by his wife Maxine Knowlton in May, 2009; and one son, Roger Knowlton.

Friends will be received June 17 from 2-8 p.m. at the Bauer-Turner Funeral Home, Woodsfield, where services will be held June 18 at 1 p.m. with Ministers George Hoskins and Anthony McSwords officiating. Interment in the Low Gap Church Cemetery near Graysville. Military services conducted by the Belmont Veterans Council.

EVELYN MAE ARMANN BROOKS

Evelyn Mae Armann Brooks, 92, of Beallsville, died June 15, 2009, in Barnesville Hospital. She was born Nov. 27, 1916, a daughter of the late Everett Armann and Vida Wheeler Armann.

Surviving are three daughters, Donna (Tom) Hyland, Centreville, Va.; Joyce (David) Simmons, Jackson; and Terri (Audie) Bednarczyk, Powhat-an Point; six grandchildren: Stephen (Jennifer) Hyland, Fairfax, Va.; Timothy (Jan) Hyland, Leesburg, Va.; Lori (Matt) Simmons Stalter, Schererville, Ind.; Merry Beth (Allen) Hyland Hall, Mont-pelier, Va.; Amanda (Mike) Simmons Aring, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Scott Riley, McMechen, W. Va.; and four great-grandchildren: Matthew and Katy Stalter, Schererville, Ind.; Brett Hyland, Leesburg, Va.; and Emma Aring, Los Angeles, Calif.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband George Brooks; three brothers: Oscar Wheeler, Roy Armann and John Armann; four sisters: Lodema Brooks, Margaret Brooks, Lois Loomis and Jean Galavich; and two grandchildren: Guy David Simmons and Melissa Leigh Riley.

Family and friends will be received on Wednesday, June 17, from 2 to 8 p.m. at Toothman Funeral Home, Jacobsburg, where services will be held June 18 at 11 a.m. with Rev. Marian Glass officiating. Burial in Powhatan Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Amity United Methodist Church, Barnesville Hospital Foundation or the charity of the donor’s choice.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Low Gap Cemetery fund, c/o Janet Graham, 36075 Harmon Ridge Rd., Graysville, OH 45734.

Condolences can be expressed online at:www.bauerturner.com 

PEARL E. BECKETT

Pearl E. Beckett, 83, of Sardis, died June 12, 2009 at the New Martinsville Health Care Center, New Martins-ville, W.Va. She was born May 11, 1926, in Sistersville, W.Va., a daughter of the late Dewey and Lissie Billiter Henderson.

She was a member of the Woodsfield Christian Church and a volunteer at Barnesville Hospital for over 30 years. She loved quilting and gardening.

She is survived by one son, Steven Beckett of Sardis.

Preceding her in death in 1988 was her husband Clifford Beckett.

Friends were received at Bauer-Turner Funeral Home June 14 where services were held June 15 with Minister Hubert Alexander officiating. Interment in the West Union Cemetery near Sardis.

Condolences can be expressed on line at: www.bauerturner.com

Around the Burnside

The smallest good deed is greater than the greatest intention.

Offering good advice may be noble and grand, but it’s not the same as a helping hand.

D.J. Duke is the man. As most of us expected, he took first place in the state for the second year in a row. He not only walked away with first place but he broke the state record for the shot put that had stood for 18 years. His name will be listed first in the record book for many years. D.J., you made all of us proud.

Do you realize that if this had been tossed on a football field that shotput would have landed just short of the 23 yard line? That’s what the man says “a fur piece”. What we don’t think of when we read about a record such as this is. How many times had D.J. tossed the shot? I’d venture to say in the thousands of time. You just don’t pick up a shot, whirl around a few times and toss it nearly 70 feet. Years ago I tried tossing the shot a few times. It didn’t take many times for me to learn the shotput wasn’t for me. I had to stick to tossing you know what in the spreader.

I’m not personally acquainted with this young man but I am certain he is an example of the many outstanding young people we have in Monroe County. I know this is true because I’ve been fortunate to have known many of them over the last nearly 40 years.

I also read with interest in last week’s Beacon the carpentry class students winning a skills contest. What makes it more interesting is one of the instructors was a former student of mine when teaching at Skyvue. I’m not trying to take any of the credit. He made it in spite of me.

I couldn’t help but think, wouldn't it have been nice if the story had included a picture of the students? Maybe it will come later.

Then I took on the next page and see a picture of several members of the Frontier High School FFA and it sets me off. Do you realize Monroe County, a rural county, is the only county in the state of Ohio that does not have an FFA organization? My problem is no one seems to give a hoot.

All of you who read Around the Burnside know how I felt regarding the recent bond levy. I wrote my feelings several times. We are now in the building process, which gets much attention. Even the governor is coming down to help celebrate; election is just around the corner.

During the many years I’ve been writing I’ve expressed my thoughts, right or wrong; I don’t expect everyone to agree. I had an interesting reason for starting Around the Burnside years ago and I just kept it up because I enjoyed it. I have been hinting of a concern I’ve had several times so I might as well get it off my chest.

We moved to the county when I accepted a job teaching Vocational Agriculture at Skyvue High School. At the time both Skyvue and Beallsville had a Vocational Agriculture class for all four high school classes. The big thinkers in Columbus changed the name to Agriculture Science several years ago. I ended up with nearly 60 students at Skyvue.

In 1956 the Vocational School, now called a Career Center. I moved and Skyvue and Beallsville became a dual department for freshmen and sophomores and the vocational school became a Farm Management class for seniors the first year and juniors joined the second year.

Enrollment in the Farm Management was rather small that first interesting year. We didn’t even have 220 electrical service in our lab.

One of the first things we did was to organize our Swiss Hills FFA chapter. I think we received our charter in Oct. 1956. Beallsville FFA provided us with the things required at each officers’ station during our meetings. We did take part in several district and state activities the first year.

The next year, juniors could choose the Vocational School. Gary Cook moved in and started teaching the junior class and things started growing with the program.

Over the years, the walls of the classroom started filling up with banners won at state contests, along with trophies and plaques won at district contests that filled cases and shelves built for this purpose. In fact, it got to the place there was no more room to hang banners won in a state contest. Few FFAs can say this. Several national contests were also included in the awards.

FFA camp was a big deal. For many years we took a busload to FFA camp. I have no idea how many times members from our chapter won the rifle, shotgun, or archery contest. Once in a while all three. I don’t think anyone from our county has attended camp in the last five years or so.

When Cook retired, no one was hired to teach the junior class. I guess money was the problem. Since that time the FFA chapter started to slide. I’m not sure but from what I hear, from reliable sources, the total program is sliding right along with it. If true, why isn’t something being done?

I know times have changed and I taught during the golden years of Vocational Education but has the need changed that much? We have students in the county that could benefit from a good program if available. After all, how many jobs are related to agriculture? As you know jobs is not just a three letter word.

I didn’t unload all my thoughts and reasons because it would probably take a half a newspaper page or more. Except for my time spent in the service, I have been closely associated with Agriculture Education and FFA since I was a sophomore in high school. This is pushing nearly 70 years. Why wouldn’t I feel disappointed when I was a part of one of the better FFA chapters in the state while teaching at Swiss Hills?

Remember: Progress involves risk; you can’t steal second and keep your foot on first base.

Going to church Sunday? OK!