Nov. 10 is "D-Day" at the Ohio Valley Mall.
That's the day the hierarchy of the Cafaro Co of Youngstown, owner of the mall complex, arrive to officially open the newly renovated, and refurnished shopping center and kickoff two days of festivities to celebrate the completion of the multi-million dollar upgrading project.
Heading the official delegation will be Anthony Cafaro Jr. and his brother, Will Cafaro, both of whom carry the title of company president. They will be in the forefront when a ribbon cutting is staged at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10 in the newly designed main court.
Sharing the spotlight with the company officials will be a well-known television personality, Erik Estrada, who starred for many years in the TV series "CHIPS" that focused on the adventures and daily experiences of the California Highway Patrol. Estrada will be located in the stylish main court for four hours - 11:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Another TV personality, Caroline Sunshine, from the Disney channel's "Shake It Up" show, will greet visitors in the promotional court, located between the Hallmark, Books A Million, PAC and Victoria's Secret stores. She will be there from noon to 3 p.m.
Saturday's festivities will conclude with a fireworks display at 8 p.m.
On Sunday, Kenton Duty, also from the Disney channel show "Shake It Up" will make a personal appearance from noon to 3 p.m.
An another exciting celebration feature primarily for the kids will be the appearance of Marvel comic book characters Spiderman and Captain America on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. Marvel comic characters Ironman and Thor will also be there from 3-5 p.m.
A magic show featuring legendary illusionist Tim Angeloni will be a main attraction for Sunday in the promotional court at 2 p.m.
Marketing director Candi Noble Greathouse said the celebration is geared to please shoppers in other ways. "Throughout the two days there will be special activities for shoppers that will include many sales specials offered by stores and gift cards being given away. It's going to be a real fun weekend."
And she added, "there will be cake available after the ribbon cutting on Saturday."
Belmont County commissioners have come out in total opposition to any possible effort by the Ohio Department of Transportation to have counties take over operation of Transportation Information Centers on interstate highways.
"We feel strongly and adamantly that the tourism council not take on operation of the I-70 TIC," exclaimed commissioner Ginny Favede in response to a published report that ODOT officials were coming to the county to talk with officials of the Belmont County Tourism Council about such a proposal.
She said the tourism council's funds should continue to be used as it has been strictly for Belmont County and not to be used for operating a TIC. "They (ODOT) had offered to privatize the information centers but they didn't get any bids," Favede added.
Commission president Chuck Probst likewise referred to ODOT's privatization attempt and declared "they realized what it cost to run a TIC. Now they want to put it on the counties."
Both contended the proposed move was a continuing effort by the state to saddle counties with financial burdens in their campaign to continue funding cuts to counties.
Belmont County tourism and ODOT officials have set a meeting for Friday to discuss the future of the I-70 TIC.
One St. Clairsille resident has just a single political sign displayed on his lawn and it stands out because homes on both sides of it have as many as a half dozen or more big and small signs posted for numerous candidates.
That one sign is apparently an attempt to either show the resident's disapproval of the candidates for president of the United States or is just a way of toying with the minds of the many motorists who travel the National Road.
The one sign decorating his spacious lawn is for Ross Perot.
More than 300 Belmont County voters took advantage of the three opportunities offered last week to hear from the candidates in the Nov. 6 general election. These "Meet the Candidates" sessions were sponsored by the chambers of commerce in Martins Ferry, Bellaire and St. Clairsville.
The largest turnout came Thursday in St. Clairsvile where close to 200 listened to the candidates pleas for support. The Martins Ferry and Bellaire turnouts totaled in the 55 to 70 range.
As had been expected, finding a parking space behind or near the Belmont County courthouse has become a lot worse because the entire lot was closed on Monday when equipment from Lash Paving Inc. was moved in to begin construction on improving the lot.
First phase on the $160,120 project is constructing an ornamental block wall facing Newell Avenue. Bill Street of Street Engineering & Surveying, said, however, a wall that had been located at the west end of the lot has been removed and will be replaced by fill. The parking lot will not be extended over that area. A curb will be installed on the lot at that point.
Street estimated the lot preparation work should be completed in two weeks, paving the way for the asphalt surface to be installed and striped parking space painted. How soon the lot will be completed "depends on the weather," Street exclaimed.
I did a double, double take and momentarily eased left of center as I drove through Bellaire on Wednesday. Could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the service station sign that read unleaded gasoline -$3.199 a gallon. I start to make a quick turn back but then noticed the long line of drivers waiting to take advantage of the low price.
Just a block away came another shock - a station where gasoline was selling for $3.229 a gallon.
Thoughts of getting into that station were likewise nixed because of the long line of cars waiting to be serviced.
So I ended up back in St. Clairsville where the cheapest price was $3.759. But by Thursday a lower price was being displayed there, too, as stations had dropped the price by at least 10 cents a gallon.
An article on Belmont County's "Drovers' Trail Scenic Byway" that extends for 37 miles from Hendrysburg in the western part of the county to the Ohio River, appeared in the recent issue of "Country Living" magazine published by the Ohio South Central Power Co. It received received immediate attention. "We were flooded with calls about the article and the byway," commented Eugene "Doc" Householder, director of the Belmont County Tourism Council. "A lot of people like to travel those trails." The byway generally follows Ohio 147 with links to the county's two other byways - National Road and Ohio 7.
Al Molnar can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.