Vietnam Vets Welcome Set; Housing Project Is Redesigned

Restoration work on the former sheriff’s residence that is attached to the century-old but abandoned Belmont County jail has come to an end, at least as far as the contractor is concerned. But a lot of work remains to be done before the job can be stamped completed.

A couple of weeks ago the Waller Co. of Washington, Pa., finished its work on the exterior and first floor of the two-story residence. In April of last year the company was awarded a $720,000 contract for that work. But that contract, while it included restoration of the second-floor windows, it did not cover the painting, woodwork and electrical work required to complete the four rooms on the second floor.

That’s when the couny commissioners called upon the county’s maintenance workers, under the direction of Belmont County facilities manager Jack Regis, to take over completion of the second floor. That was started but the work came to quick halt when Regis had to be hospitalized for a heart condition.

Meanwhile, in answer to a report that the county had run out of money to finish the second floor, commission President Ginny Favede, who has been spearheading the restoration project, said county employees were doing the work to reduce the cost of finishing the second floor.

“We took the overall cost of finishing the second floor,” Favede said, “applied for additional funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation, stripped the project of any items that could be eliminated to reduce the cost of the second floor renovation.”

This was accomplished, Favede noted, after Regis looked over the project “to see what work could be done by our employees to control the cost and not because we ran out of money.”

Soon after the county employees started their work, Regis was hospitalized. “I was having some trouble breathing and I thought I was getting a cold or flu or something like that.” But after three days in East Ohio Regional Hospital, Regis said he was transferred to Ohio State University Hospital because “it was discovered I had a mitral heart valve problem.”

While the physician at OSU was repairing the mitral valve, Regis said he also underwent triple bypass surgery because it was determined “I was having an irregular heart beat and they discovered slight blockage.” All that took place the latter part of January and on leaving the hospital Regis was assigned six weeks of rehabilitation.

“I just took it easy, no hard work or lifting. I did a little walking every day.” And last week after his six-week checkup with his physician, Regis made his first visit back to the Belmont County Courthouse since January.

Joking at how his physician and the hospital visit trimmed his physique, Regis eagerly revealed “I’ve been doing a lot more walking, trying to get up to at least a mile a day.”

And he added that he’ll be back at work next week on a limited basis, working half days on three alternate days and full days, possibly, on the other two. “But it’ll be a couple of weeks before I get over to that job (sheriff’s residence). There are a lot of other things I have to catch up on.”

Doing electrical wiring was one phase of work on the restoration project that Regis’ physician gave him permission to do. “That doesn’t involve any heavy labor so he cleared me for that.”

With regard to cost-saving measures undertaken for completion of the second floor, Favede noted also that “we negotiated the cost of our contract with Chambers, Murphy and Burge Restoration Architects, Ltd. to reduce the total prime compensation for construction inspection.”

Just last week the commission approved the payment of $36,450 on the restoration project with the federal share set at $29,160 and the local share at $7,290. An item in the 2013 Belmont County appropriations approved by the commission in January set $55,000 for the sheriff’s residence.

Veterans of the Vietnam War are finally going to get a formal welcome and recognition of their service during a special service being planned by St. Clairsville American Legion Post 159 and Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 5356.

“We’re pleased to say that March 30, 2012 was a very satisfying day for Ohio Vietnam Veterans as the Ohio House cleared the last obstacle in establishing March 30 as Vietnam Veterans Day,” a former commander of Legion Post 227 and Vietnam-era veteran exclaimed.

A welcome home ceremony will be held for the war veterans and the Vietnam era veterans on March 30 at 11 a.m. in front of the Belmont County Courthouse. “We encourage the public to attend the ceremony and give these men and women the welcome home and thanks they deserved and never received,” Farmer said.

A young woman from Belmont County, Lacey Paxton Shanks, who served two terms in the Vietnam War era, will detail the welcome she got when she returned home from the service compared to the ceremony being held on Vietnam Veterans Day.

Resolutions adopted by the Belmont County commissioners, the City of St. Clairsville and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, recognizing the achievements of the Vietnam Veterans, will be read during the ceremony. Both Ohio and the U.S. Congress passed legislation last year designating March 30 as Vietnam Veterans Day. A cookie social will be held at the Legion Post following the ceremony.

Work on a proposed housing project on historic National Road about two miles west of St. Clairsville has ground to a halt.

Jay Goodman of Harvey Goodman Realtor revealed construction on the project located at the Mills Road intersection has been temporarily stopped and the project is being completely redesigned.

A key reason for halting further work, Goodman pointed out, was “the development cost got too great.” As a result of the cost factor, what had been planned as a 14-unit housing project has been altered and according to Goodman “will now be a multi-family facility.”

Another factor that caused the original plans to be changed was the fact that the project hit a solid rock formation that would have greatly escalated the cost of construction. Goodman said the redesigned project will include four buildings, each of them three stories high. There will be 42 apartments in the multi-unit facility.

In addition to the family unit structures, the redesigned project will include construction of nine townhouses, each with its own garage. Goodman said work will resume sometime in early summer.

Earthmoving at the project site was started soon after July 1, when John Goodman, president of Harvey Goodman Realtor, revealed plans for what was to be 14 detached housing units. But after a couple of months the work stopped because of the problems encountered.

It was a pleasant day with the temperature above the freezing mark when a fat robin landed in my yard just a couple feet from the back porch. Those colorful birds are considered the harbingers of spring, but not this time. Instead of warmer spring weather, much colder temperatures invaded the area, thanks to a brisk wind that continued for days.

The unseasonal cold probably sent the robin flying back to warmer climes. It made an appearance on Monday and hasn’t been seen since. And it’s likely the bird will not be around for the start of spring Wednesday because winter is keeping its frigid fingers around the Ohio Valley. First day of spring will feel more like mid-winter.

Bingo enthusiasts will find plenty of action and fun today at St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s Marian Hall in St. Clairsville, where a Longaberger Bingo is being held from 2-5 p.m. to benefit the Tri- County Help Center. All proceeds from the event will go to support services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and mental illness. Information on the valued prizes to be offered can be obtained by calling 1-800-695-1639.

Al Molnar can be reached via email at: or by phone at 740 695-5233.