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Expo a Big Hit, Another Planned; Levin Furniture Stays Put

April 29, 2012
Al Molnar , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Even before the Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo was being hailed as a most successful and highly rated production by planners, participants and the public, steps were being taken for a somewhat similar event in June that will be planned primarily for job seekers.

"With the incredible growth potential that the oil and gas industry has in Belmont County and throughout the Ohio Valley region, we want to ensure that local job seekers have the choice to learn more about the industry and the job opportunities that come with it," explained Belmont County commissioner Ginny Favede as she rejoiced over the compliments heaped on her for spearheading the inaugural Expo last week..

To give full support to the industry that has virtually taken over the county and the entire area, Favede revealed the "Ohio Valley Oil & Gas Career Expo" is already in the planning stage "to increase and stimulate local hiring within the oil and gas sector. The industry is constantly looking for hard-working individuals with a wide variety of positions."

Specialized positions she mentioned include drivers, heavy equipment operators, welders, engineers, surveyors, maintenance workers, sales representatives, safety coordinators and other. She said the Expo will offer the oil and gas companies "a chance to collect resumes and funnel their recruitment efforts into a single-day event."

She urged job seekers as well as companies seeking to fill various positions to participate in the career expo scheduled to be held the latter part of June in the Carnes Center. A web site has been established to provide information on the event. It is

Employees and management personnel at one business in the Ohio Valley Mall are now said to be more relaxed and breathing a lot easier during their workday and it has nothing to do with the fact that work has been started on the multi-million dollar renovation of the retail center.

Casey McCrerey, manager of Levin's Furniture and Mattress outlet, said a stressful situation was created for several weeks when there were reports circulating that a new anchor store - Boscov's - might be moving into the mall and in all likelihood taking over the retail space currently occupied by Levin's. The furniture store is in the anchor site formerly occupied by JCPenney.

"There was always a lot of uncertainty connected with our business because of the reports that Boscov's would be moving into this location," McCrerey explained. He claimed it created a stressful situation not only for management but also for the employees who were wondering how long they would be in their jobs.

Although there was never an official announcement of Boscov coming to the mall, the persistent rumors had customers inquiring frequently when the furniture store would be closing or moving. McCrerey said he had no success in getting word from local mall officials about what was going on. "They kept telling me they knew nothing about such a move," McCrerey noted. "They were hearing the same reports that we were."

But finally came a breakthrough. Rather elatedly, McCrerey exclaimed the Boscov matter has now been resolved. "We found out the store is not coming to the mall after all," McCrerey declared.

That word came from the furniture outlet's own officials. "Our home office in Pittsburgh notified us that Boscov had pulled out of the deal to locate in the mall," McCrerey said.

Officials with the Cafaro Co., owners of the Ohio Valley Mall, as well as the local mall officials remained tight-lipped about any possibility that the Boscov firm would be locating in the mall. But the reports and rumors continued, possibly because there was a web site on the Internet that proclaimed the possibility of Boscov's move to the mall.

A check of that web site revealed the spot that had featured the move by Boscov has been removed and in its place is a layout complete with numerous photos of the major renovation being undertaken at the Ohio Valley Mall.

Levin's opened for business in the mall in December 2009 under a three-month lease that was later renewed for six months. When that lease expired, the store kept operating on a three-day a week schedule without indication of how long a lease it had.

When asked about the current lease, McCrerey replied, "I really don't know how long a lease we have. It may be open ended but I don't know." But he added, "The company is happy at the way we have been received here. Even if they find another retailer for this site, we'll stay here somewhere."

When shoppers come to the mall on Monday, they will for the first time be able to see some of the work being done on the renovation project. After the close of business today, workmen for the general contractor, B&B Contractors & Developers of the Youngstown area, will begin demolition of the water fountains in the main corridor which have not been in use for several years. All of the work will be done at night until the project is completed in about seven months.

County, municipal, township and certain non-profit organization officials in Belmont County are being urged to attend a special course that will teach them how to handle emergency situations and make quick damage assessments that will speed reimbursement.

What to look for when assessing damage from things like floods, storms or other emergencies will be the focus of a "cost documentation and damage assessment course" to be offered on May 9 at the Belmont County Emergency Management Agency Operations Center and conducted by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

"This is primarily a course for Belmont County but we have opened it up to anyone statewide if they want to attend," explained Dave Ivan, director of the Belmont County EMA which is hosting the workshop. It will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon.

Ivan points out that getting a money figure on what it would cost to repair flood damage, for instance, is important because disaster and emergency assistance from the Ohio EMA and FEMA is based on accurate assessment of damages. He stressed requests for emergency assistance must be substantiated and documented by facts, figures and accurate data.

Those who plan to attend the course should register by Tuesday by contacting the Belmont County EMA at 695-5984 or on the Internet at http :// aspx.

Extreme cold weather is more commonly the reason various functions or events are canceled. But in this year of strange weather patterns it is the unseasonably warm weather that hit this area earlier this year that has forced cancellation of a popular annual event.

Tom and Myra Thornton each year host a festival at their farm near Jacobsburg, relayed the bad news to their friends. "Sorry to report there will be no asparagus festival on May 19, because there will be no asparagus," read their email. They had asparagus this year but it grew too early because of the weather. Myra Thornton explained the asparagus "will finish producing the last of April because of the early warm days we had in March."

When a fire destroyed a big section of its downtown area, the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department was formed and since then it has been an active unit watching over the city. This year it is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Numerous activities are being planned throughout the year to celebrate the occasion and the first event will be next Sunday when a golf scramble is held at the Bec-Wood Golf Course in Rayland. It is a four-man scramble with a pro start format and $240 per team. A roasted chicken dinner at the course will follow.

Then on May 19, according to Chief 1 Jack Regis Jr., there will be a steak fry at the Ladder Station on South Fourth Street from 5-11 p.m. to raise funds for the anniversary banquet to be held in September. Plans for the banquet and other anniversary activities are still being formulated. Regis may be contacted at 740 -296-0116 for tickets and other information.

Al Molnar can be reached via email at:

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