Candidate’s Sign Burned

WHEELING – Politicians seeking public office hope their message will “catch fire” and resonate with the public, but a campaign sign belonging to Ohio County Board of Education candidate Tim Birch has been set ablaze four times in the past two weeks.

Motorists traveling along Rock Point Road likely have seen the sign, which is singed at the bottom but still standing and mostly intact.

Birch hasn’t found it necessary to contact police about the sign, though he is perplexed as to why the suspected arson is happening.

“The others around it haven’t been touched,” he said. “I don’t understand it. It’s not like it’s by itself, but it’s always the one being vandalized – nobody else’s.”

The sign sits with others in an area along the road atop some high grass.

Birch said the first time the sign was discovered on fire, accelerant had been sprayed on the grass and weeds under the sign and ignited, but it did little damage to the sign.

“I guess they just ran out of fuel,” he said.

A similar attempt a few days later “softened up” the sign.

On the third effort, someone sprayed the accelerant directly onto the sign.

“The fire puddled around base and frame, and burned up the whole bottom of the sign,” he said.

A fourth attempt did more damage, and the bottom of the sign “has pretty much melted away,” Birch said.

Ohio County voters will elect three members to the school board on May 13. Other candidates in the race include Sam Andy, Christine Carder, Alex Coogan, David Delk, James Jorden and Shane Mallett.