Employees in two Belmont County courthouse offices - the Clerk of Courts and the Law Library - will find a brighter workplace as a result of a renovation project completed during the past five days.
On Wednesday both offices were closed and their voluminous contents - file cabinets, computers, thousands of books, furniture and other fixtures - were moved into the third floor corridor, vacating the offices in preparation for the start of the huge project.
First, the Karras Painting Co. of Wheeling started the painting of both offices as well as the balconies in each. "We have to be finished and out of here by 5 o'clock Friday," one of the painters noted.
At that designated time the contractor laying down all new carpet in each of the offices was to move in to complete that phase of the renovation. Then the movers took over. Although much of the moving was accomplished by the county maintenance crews, movers reportedly were engaged to accomplish the heavy moving burden.
Some of the hundreds, more likely thousands of the books that were shelved in the Law Library, have been transferred to the Oak View building west of St. Clairsville where records of other county offices are being stored.
Those that were not moved out of the building will be housed in the office that had been occupied by the court clerk. Because it needed more space for its files and records, the Clerk of Courts office starting on Monday will be located in the larger space that had been the home of the Law Library for many years.
Financing of the moves and renovations is apparently being accomplished without the commissioners having to put the renovation and moving project up for contractor bids.
Five large plaques containing photos, facts, figures, and details on historic National Road in Belmont County, have been received by the Belmont County Tourism Council and arrangements are being made to erect the artistically crafted and designed signs along the historic highway.
Belmont County Tourism director Eugene "Doc" Householder personally drove to Columbus on Monday to pick up the signs which were ordered four years ago through the Ohio National Road Association. The ONRA is an organization dedicated to preserve, promote and enhance the historic National Road.
When the ONRA proposed erecting the 3- by 5-foot interpretive signs along National Road, the Belmont County Tourism Council donated $3,000 for a sign in Bridgeport to designate the Gateway to Ohio. "We also donated $600 for the other signs along the National Road that is one of our three scenic byways," Householder explained.
"There are five signs for Belmont County," Householder noted, "one in Bridgpeport, two in Blaine, one in St. Clairsville and one in Morristown. I'm contacting these various towns and organizations to arrange getting the signs erected." Attachments to erect the signs in a level position came with the signs. However, the signs also can be mounted directly to a building or a sturdy upright standard similar to those that support road directional signs.
At the top of each sign in bold letters is "The Historic National Road" and at the bottom of each one is the phrase that has spelled out its importance - "The Road That Helped Build the Nation."
A brief history of National Road is on the Bridgeport sign along with a photo of one of the milestone markers that has the lettering "Cumberland 209 Wheeling 79 Zanesville 5."
One of the two markers to be erected in Blaine will be for the "Blaine S Bridge." It contains photos of the original, as well as the reconstructed S bridge which was built in 1828 and was in use for over a century. Besides showing the bridge, the engraving of the old structure shows a 1920s era gas station situated at the eastern end of the brick span. The plaque has a color photo of the span with three cars headed eastbound and also a photo showing a large segment of the community of Blaine.
The other sign for that small community recognizes the "Blaine Viaduct" which was constructed in 1933 to replace the S Bridge which could no longer support the heavier traffic on National Road. It was given the name "Arches of Memory' in tribute to the World War I veterans.
Featured on that plaque is a photo showing part of the viaduct and the equipment used in constructing the 1,118-foot structure. It was built at a cost of $301,446.44. The realignment of National Road because of the viaduct lengthened the roadway from 6,526 feet to 7,246, reduced the number of curves from 21 to 10 and widened the highway from 16 to 30 feet.
On the plaque for St. Clairsville is a large engraving of Main Street lined with cars that were the style in the 1930s. A brief history of the city is also on it with a photo of Benjamin Lundy, a color photo of the Clarendon Hotel and an engraving of the original courthouse constructed in St. Clairsville in 1815.
Heading westward the final county plaque - "The Brick Road - is in Morristown, showing an actual segment of the brick pavement that at one time extended across the county. There are two photos showing men working to prepare a road segment and another of men putting down the brick surface. A photo of a segment of the road in 1937 in Franklin County is also on the marker.
Working with the various communities and the local ONRA, Householder said he is hopeful of getting the signs erected in the near future.
Last weekend was a very special one. It marked the fulfillment of prayers that started 22 years ago when a new bundle of joy came into my life ... my wife had given birth to a baby girl who immediately earned the loveable nickname "my little angel."
During an impressive ceremony at the University of Akron a week ago Saturday, my "little angel" was presented with a Bachelor of Arts degree to complete her four-year college education. Not only did she graduate, she did it as a cum laude student and also as a presidential scholar.
It climaxed two decades filled with prayers. In 1990 I was well beyond the age when men become new fathers so the prayer approach to her well-being started. First were prayers that I'd see her reach the age when she has to enroll in school for the first time. With that accomplished, the prayers were aimed at seeing her eighth-grade graduation ceremony at St. Mary's School in St. Clairsville.
Successfully completing that first leg of her education, she went on to St. Clairsville High School and my prayerful hopes were to see her successfully complete her high school career. She did that with honors. Then it was on to the University of Akron and of course that prayer has now been answered.
There are a few more prayers for her as there were for all seven of my other children who have developed into fine, upstanding individuals who have become successful in their own right. All have families of their own.
And now, for the first time in 54 years, I have no children enrolled in any school.
Fulfilling a promise to the Belmont County Soil & Water Conservation District, wild animal expert and showman Jack Hanna will make his third visit to the county on Monday to support and encourage conservation efforts in the Captina Creek Watershed in southern Belmont County..
Two dozen organizations and business will have exhibits on display during the rally in behalf of the Captina Creek, rated one of Ohio's cleanest streams for water and habitat. It is the home of 56 species of fish and to rare and endangered species such as the Hellbender.
Liza Butler, SWCD wildlife and forestry specialist, inherited the job of preparing for the rally in March after the watershed coordinator resigned. She has arranged a program that will include two speakers. Considering the attendance at previous rallies, a large crowd expected for the program at 5:15 p.m. at the Ohio University Eastern auditorium.
Hanna's appearance at approximately 6 p.m. will climax the event. Asked what animals Hanna will be bringing, Butler replied, "It's going to be a surprise for all of us."
The JBGreen team will bestow special honors to Lance Mehl, director of the Belmont County C-Cap program, Juvenile Court Judge Mark Costine and members of the C-Cap team for the many years of service with the annual community cleanup programs.
"Because the C-Cap program is integral to the success of these popular collections, we would like to publicly honor Lance, his staff and the juveniles who remain so committed to helping to keep Belmont County beautiful," exclaimed Tammy Shepherd, JB Team program director in Belmont County.
Belmont County commissioners, the JB Team board members and township representatives will be there for the special program at 3 p.m.in the county commissioners meeting room at the courthouse.
Today is the day Moms should get special treatment - maybe breakfast in bed or dinner at a fine restaurant. Or maybe even both. Happy Mothers' Day.
Al Molnar can be reached via email at: email@example.com.