World Cup Fever, Concerns With Staffing, and Baby Ducks
Editor’s note: Reporters are constantly surveying their surroundings, and in doing so often turn up many tidbits of news that don’t make it into the daily newspaper.
This space serves as a spot to aggregate and publish those items that otherwise would stay locked away forever in the reporters’ notebook.
One Goal In Mind
The recent World Cup fever apparently knew no bounds, even spreading into the halls of city government this past week.
Some members of Wheeling’s comprehensive plan steering committee who arrived early for a Tuesday meeting tried – to no avail – to get the United States vs. Belgium match on the large flatscreen TVs in council chambers at the City-County Building as they waited for others to arrive.
It will never be known if the additional moral support would have spurred the U.S. on to victory, as the team instead fell 2-1 in extra time.
Magical History Tour
Anyone interested in seeing a piece of local history may want to check out the Friends of Wheeling’s tour of the West Liberty Courthouse and Cemetery at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The courthouse was built in the late 1770s by order of the Virginia legislature and was used during the period when West Liberty was the seat of Ohio County. It is believed to be the oldest standing structure in the upper Ohio Valley, and the cemetery, according to the Sons of the American Revolution, is believed to contain more veterans’ gravesites than any other single acre in the country.
There’s a new attraction at Wheeling Park: A mother mallard duck and her eight or so baby ducklings. Visitors to the park are enjoying seeing and taking photos of the feathered family as the birds take dips in Good Lake and waddle around the grounds.
Many people around the City-County building are talking about what looks like some math issues surrounding budget cuts announced Monday by Wheeling City Manager Bob Herron.
The plan calls for 11 city police jobs to be eliminated, 10 of which are positions not currently filled on the department’s approved roster. Some officers have been heard saying the department is paying hundreds of hours of time-and-one-half wages to the guys working extra hours to make up for the vacant slots.
Many are curious if cutting one police job through attrition and continued overtime hours building up is what the budget cutters had in mind.
Pink For A Cause
New Martinsville native Jim Forbes, the spokesman for U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., received an especially bright spot of support last week from two of his co-workers when he returned to the office after time off following the death of his mother, Kaye Forbes, who passed away after a battle with cancer.
Forbes himself wore a pink dress shirt that day in her honor. But he was pleasantly surprised when he saw fellow staffers Cory Toth and Octavian Jordan in the Washington, D.C. office also were donning pink shirts.
“On my first day back, who would have (thought) we’d all be in pink,” Forbes said. “I work with great people, and they’ve been very supportive.”
Benwood Mayor Ed Kuca has collected the photos of nine of the city’s 14 mayors, and soon these will be mounted and hung in Benwood Council Chambers.
Kuca still needs the photos of Joseph Mahood, who served as mayor fro 1889 to 1895 and again from 1906 to 1910; Thomas Shepard, 1895-1904; John Manley, 1904-1905 and 1910- 1912; John Scanlon, 1912-1914; and John Cox, 1922-1926.
Soak Up The Sun
The historic outdoor pool at Oglebay Park has new lounging benches, replacing the old sunning benches that have been a fixture at the pool since it opened in 1938. Director of Operations John Hargleroad said 60 new lounging benches are in place at the Oglebay outdoor pool this season. He said they are manufactured from recycled plastics and are designed for comfort.
He said they are giving the public a chance to buy the old sunning benches at the Pine Room. There is a limit of 10 benches per person. For those interested in making a purchase call 304-243-4041.
Marshall County Commissioner Bob Miller said he is getting positive feedback from the community regarding his stated opposition to the Payment in Lieu of Tax agreement for the proposed $615 million Moundsville Power LLC natural gas power plant.
“I have not been called any names yet, but I welcome criticism. I didn’t get into politics to make friends and scratch people’s backs,” he said last week.
Commissioners Don Mason and Brian Schambach have not committed to vote for or against the PILOT plan, which would see the county gain $31 million in lease payments over 30 years for the planned 549-megawatt facility. Miller believes this is less than the county would gain if the plant paid regular property taxes, but Mason and Schambach emphasized the land in question is very unproductive right now.
“We are going to have plenty more discussion on this. I just wanted people to know where I stand,” Miller added.
Business is Booming
In the hotbed of leasing for Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas in Marshall County, Fort Worth, Texas-based Larkspar Land Group LLC will soon open its office at 403 Jefferson Ave. in Moundsville.
“We are thrilled to be opening an office here in West Virginia and to be able to hire land men who are local to the area,” said Michael Hirsh, crew chief for the project.
According to the company, Larkspar develops oil and natural gas in 18 states. The firm has a working interest in over 350 horizontal Marcellus wells.