740-472-0734 < P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield, OH  43793  < monroecountybeacon@sbcglobal.net


Below are links to portions of this week's news articles. For the full story, pick up a  paper at your local newsstand or send $1 with your name/address to P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield, OH  43793.


< Forni Announces Resignation As County Commissioner

commissioner-mark-forni.jpg (167007 bytes)Mark Forni has effectively served Monroe
County for many years as a park board director, Soil &
Water supervisor and as a commissioner for 18 years.
He submitted his resignation March 20 to take a state
position with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. He
is shown with commission clerk Allyson Cox. Photo
by Martha Ackerman

by Martha Ackerman
Staff Writer

Mark Forni has dedicated his life to Monroe County for decades. He has served the county as park
director, Monroe Soil & Water supervisor and for 18 years as a Monroe County commissioner. On Monday, March 19, (Black Monday as one county employee
referred to it) Forni announced that he would be resigning as commissioner to take a position with Robert Boggs, the State of Ohio’s Director of Agriculture.

Forni submitted his resignation to Commissioners Francis “Sonny” Block and John Pyles during the
board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, March 20.
Monroe County’s Democratic Central Committee will have a tough job replacing a man with Forni’s vast knowledge of county government.
A graduate of River High School and The Ohio State University with a degree in agriculture, Forni took the office as Monroe County Commissioner in 1989. His many duties have included serving on the Solid Waste
Board, the state’s Extension Support Committee, Ohio
Clean Council Advisory Board, he’s held offices in the Resource Conservation District and is a past president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.
Forni is a former trustee of Belmont Technical College. He has also assisted the Monroe Central Band, serving as one of the drivers of the band truck,
transporting instruments to and from games and competitions.
”I am thrilled for Mark and for the state of Ohio,” said Pandora Neuhart, county auditor. “Monroe County’s loss is the state of Ohio’s gain. Mark has so much
knowledge from his years of experience that we will
certainly miss his expertise.”

“I’m very happy for Mark,” said Allyson Cox, county commission clerk. “He has been a great boss. He could always answer any questions I had about the county.
The state is very lucky to get him, but he will really be missed by Monroe County.”
As he leaves the office he has held for 18-plus years, Forni hopes to see the E-911 emergency telephone system completed and fully operational. For that to happen, he said it will mean passage of the 50 cents per phone line levy. He would also like to see the FEMA mitigation project involving several homes
located in areas prone to flooding, most of which are in Cameron, keep moving forward.
Thinking back on his tenure as commissioner, Forni feels the forethought and development of the commerce park has been a plus for the county. He attributes the initial thinking to former commissioners Bernard
Smith, Bernard Schumacher and Glenn Dierkes and former
economic developer Mike Lloyd. Forni was in office when the site was chosen and during its development.
”It has a long way to go, but we do have businesses there,” said Forni.
He also feels the renovations done to the courthouse, while keeping the historic value of the structure, and construction of the senior citizens center have been
successful projects during his years in office.

“I have known Mark for a long time,” said Margaret Hansen of the Monroe County Board of Elections. “He hasn’t changed over the years except to become a little older and a little grayer like the rest of us. Mark will be missed very much in our local government. I wish him only good things in his new venture.”
A member of St. John’s United Church of Christ, German Ridge, Forni attends Woodsfield Presbyterian Church with his wife, Luann, and their three children, Amanda, Jacob and Joshua, all students at Monroe
Central High School.

“I appreciate the coverage the newspapers have given.
It’s important to get the news out so the public understands the business of local government,” said Forni. “The people of Monroe County have treated me
very well and I appreciate their support,” he said. “I feel badly about leaving before my term ends, but this opportunity with its challenges and benefits is too
good to turn down.”
Forni will begin his new duties for the Ohio Department of Agriculture on April 2.

<Chamber Commemorates 20th Larry Ullman Honored for Service

chamber-dinner-speaker.jpg (205074 bytes)Humorist Phil Sorentina was guest speaker at the annual Monroe County Chamber dinner.

chamber-dinner-ullman.jpg (64340 bytes)Businessman Larry Ullman was commended for serving 20 years on the chamber board.

Photos by Martha Ackerman

by Arlean Selvy

Approximately 120 Monroe County Chamber of Commerce members and guests gathered for the Chamber’s annual dinner, dm ring which time Larry Ullman was honored for his service. The celebration was held March 15 at Brown Community Center.
Chamber president Dick Sulsberger thanked 20-year board member Larry Ullman and presented a plaque, on behalf of the chamber, for outstanding dedication and leadership.
In addition to serving on the chamber board, Ullman has served as president of Graysville village council, as secretary of the village volunteer fire department, superintendent of the Graysville United Methodist Church and as a board member of the economic development committee. Ullman is owner of D&L Sales,
Government officials recognized during the
celebration included Francis “Sonny” Block and John Pyles, county commissioners; Pandora Neuhart, auditor; and Cara Dingus Brook, district representative from U.S. Sen. George Voinovich’s office.
Brook presented a Certificate of Recognition to
Sulsberger congratulating the chamber on its 20th anniversary.
Introduced also were Misty Casto, assistant executive director/development director for the Buckeye Hills - Hocking Valley Regional Development District; Renee Wilde, county grants writer employed by Buckeye Hills
- Hocking Valley, and Dan Isaly, representing Ormet.
Chamber board member Jo Eddy reminded individuals about the “Know Show” set for March 31 and April 1 at Swiss Hills Career Center. She made note that the event was initiated by Margie Yoss and the late Pam Sloan. Sloan was publisher of Monroe County Beacon at the time.
Guest speaker Phil Sorentino, Humor Consultants Inc., of Powell, Ohio, encouraged businessmen and women to have fun at work and explained why they should have fun at work.
He talked about having more fun at work and more fun with family.
”Want a better life?’ he asked. Read better books.
He said we should be loving, forgiving and grateful.
“Then we’d do what loving, forgiving, grateful people do.”
With regard to attitude, he said it’s attained
between birth and age 13. “When you change the way you look at things, you change the way things look,” he said. He noted however, that attitude is not everything, as many think.
With regard to stress, he suggested we lower our expectations ... but keep our standards high.
Sorentino said leisure time in the past 15 years has diminished 40 percent. From 26.6 hours to 16.6 hours per week. “So work is a huge part of our lives, why not have fun?” he asked. According to the humorist,

“Enjoyment eliminates conflict, boredom, anxiety and fatigue.”
A couple of the ways Sorentina suggests to bring fun to the workplace are to consider problems a game instead of work, use rewards and praise to let people know they are valued, and create events, like Christmas parties, anniversaries, monthly meetings, social get-togethers and birthdays - our personal
Humor is our Seventh Sense, the result of the
information we receive through our other six senses. This creates our sense of perspective, which is one aspect of our uniqueness.

<  ~ Senator Voinovich: Connecting With Communities ~

voinovich-aid.jpg (112998 bytes)

Photo by Martha Ackerman

Cara Dingus Brook, left, district representative for Sen. George Voinovich, was in Monroe County March 15 and 16 to visit with constituents. She took their concerns and ideas directly back to the senator in his
“Connecting With Communities” campaign. Brook attended the 20th annual Chamber of Commerce dinner March 15 which gave her an opportunity to meet many business men and women of the community. On March 16 she met
with Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension, Monroe County; Monroe County commissioners; Auditor Pandora Neuhart, Buckeye Hills representatives; Mike Staggs and Kevin
Robertson of the Switzerland of Ohio school district and other community leaders. She also had an opportunity to tour some of the businesses and Commerce Park with Misty Casto of Buckeye Hills. Here, she was meeting with Tammy Jones of Monroe Soil and
Water. Jones and Brook discussed Farm Bill information
and other matters relating to Soil and Water.
< REX-East Gas Pipeline to Culminate in Monroe County


by Arlean Selvy
An X road and REX pipeline were topics of the March
13 meeting of Monroe County Commissioners, who also
heard money woes as reported by Jeanette Knuchel,
deputy auditor, and Denise Potts, director, Monroe
County Public Transportation.
Three representatives from Rockies Express Pipeline
(REX) talked to commissioners about the 1,663-mile
pipeline system that will transport natural gas from
areas such as Colorado and Wyoming to markets in the
Midwest and Eastern United States.
The REX-East portion of the project, the last of
three legs, will involve a small portion of Monroe
County. It will traverse about 622 miles from Audrain
County, Missouri, to Monroe County. There will be 5.1
miles of the 42-inch pipeline in Monroe. It is to be a
minimum of 36-inches deep and is a six to eight months
The pipeline will be one of the largest natural gas
pipelines ever constructed in North America, according
to their Web site.
Allen Fore, public relations for Rockies Express
Pipeline, the company wants to accommodate land owners
as much as possible. He said they are asking for a
50-ft. permanent easement with an added 75-ft. for
temporary construction. He said the land would be
returned to its pre-existing condition as much as they
Commissioner Mark Forni explained that landowners are
skeptical because they have seen less than
satisfactory results from previous pipeline
construction. Fore explained that the construction
process is more scrutinized now than in the past,
citing state and federal laws.

“I want the most stringent [guidelines] used here,”
said Forni. Noting Monroe is an agricultural area, he
said soil should be put back as it was. He explained,
too, that “crops won’t come back for years.”
With regard to crop damage, Fore said REX has a five-year plan.

“If the ground settles, we’ll come back and
fix it,” he said. “We’re obligated to restore property
to the extent that we can.”
Concerning timber, Fore said they make a two-time
payment. Forni asked how Monroe County might market
its gas in the REX pipeline. To that, Fore indicated
they could not.
Asking, “What can my constituents get out of this?”
Forni commented on the various pipelines and power
lines crossing Monroe County to serve distant areas of
the country.
Fore said the county will benefit from the taxes that
REX-East will pay for the pipeline and compressor
stations. He noted the possibility of employment
opportunities during both the construction and
operation phases of the project.
According to Fore, REX-East hopes to have approval
from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
in February, 2008 and plans to begin construction in
early spring 2008. Targeted in-service date is
December, 2008 for the pipe-line, and they plan to be
completely in-service by June, 2009.
Partnering with Rockies Express for the pipeline
project are Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Sempra
Pipelines & Storage and ConocoPhillips.
Attending the meeting in addition to Fore were Ian
Stewart, manager, government affairs, Sempra Energy,
and Matthew Hammond, senior project manager, Strategic
Advocacy, a marketing and communications group. Don
Forni and his mother Stella Forni, who own a dairy
farm across which the pipeline will travel, were also
at the meeting. They voiced concern about the line’s
location with regard to wells on their property.
In other business, Malaga Township trustees talked to
commissioners about an X road.
An X road is one the state has removed from a
township’s road maintenance list and for which the
state no longer helps pay township trustees to
The X road discussed is located in Malaga Township
and provides ingress to five properties. According to
discussion, Mike Broomhall, ODOT field representative,
struck the road off the maintenance list.
Speaking to commissioners were Merle Sobota, whose
son purchased property and built a home in that area;
Dennis Ward, Jr. and Barney Dillon, township trustees.
Sobota said his son has spent about $1,000 on the
road and it is unusable because there is no base -
just mud. He noted a woman with four children has to
walk half-a-mile from her car with groceries and
carrying her two-year-old.
Sobota said they didn’t know the road would not be
maintained when his son purchased the property.
Also mentioned was the inability for emergency
personnel to travel the road (TR2063).
Commissioners directed trustees to speak with their
legal counsel, Lynn Riethmiller.
It was reported Riethmiller told trustees that when
landowners bring the road up to specifications, the
township could take it over. Forni later commented
that although trustees don’t have to maintain an X
road, that doesn’t mean it’s not their responsibility
because it is still on their road system.
The road was never vacated (officially closed) by
the county.
Commissioner John Pyles asked trustees about building
sites for homes and if the road would be an asset to
the township in the future. Dillon answered “yes" and
Ward agreed that the land offers a good place to
The X road is 44-tenths of a mile long.
In other matters, Denise Potts, Monroe County Public
Transportation, explained the grant process for her
program. She outlined the monies she no longer
receives since the senior program was contracted to
GMN, as well as federal monies she cannot draw on
because of the lack of program funds.
The program at one time received $3,338 from the
county’s general fund, but that money has also dried
Commissioner Pyles, who chaired the meeting in the
absence of Commission President Francis “Sonny”
Block, indicated he would talk to the GMN Board, of
which he is a member. Looking at the figures provided
by Potts, Pyles said it appeared her program needs
about $28,000.
Deputy Auditor Jeanette Knuchel had some good news
and some bad. She reported sales tax for the month of
January at $130,726.52. (Tax figures run two months
behind). Knuchel said the county has to average
$115,000 a month, noting January will help with the
months when collections are under $115,000.
Her bad news was that the Senior Center utilities
fund is running short. “What is paid in rent isn’t
enough to cover the utilities,” she said. Utilities
for February are $1,697.
Monroe County Public Transportation and Monroe County
Works are the only programs that pay rent.

~ American Legion Post 768 Presents Check ~

beallsville-am.jpg (239160 bytes)
Commander Edward Vargo of American Legion Post 768
presents a check for $3,705.10 to Beallsville
principal Ryan Caldwell. The money is used primarily
for scholarships, but is also used for other
extra-curricular activities. Shown from left are
Delmas Moore, Colette McFadden, Ed Vargo, Ryan
Caldwell and Brenda Lloyd. Photo

(read the full obituary in the paper) 

denotes veteran

< Katherine I. “Kathy” Weckbacher, 62, 31899 Long Run Rd., Sycamore Valley, died March 14, 2007, at her
home. She was born Aug. 11, 1944, at Marietta, a
daughter of Ralph Lindamood of Massillon, and the late
Pearl Ayers Lindamood.
<Alpha Elizabeth Bowden Lumbatis, 95, of Woodsfield, formerly of Lewisville, died March 13, 2007, at Marietta Memorial Hospital. She was born Sept. 13, 1911, in Adams-ville, Muskingum County, a daughter of the late Levi Daniel Bowden and Marian E. Kelly
< Albert Woodrow “Woody” Weddle, 87, Woodsfield, died March 16, 2007, at his home. He was born Oct. 3, 1919, in Topnich, Wash., a son of the late William A. Weddle and Dorcas Febus Weddle.
<Randal L. Pittman, 22, of Jerusalem, died March 13,
2007, in Barnesville Hospital, as the result of an ATV
accident. He was born Sept. 23, 1984 in Bellaire, the
son of Scott and Karen Coe Pittman.