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Center Spotlight: Bellaire

December 16, 2009
Times Leader
By MIKE HUGHES, Prime Times
BELLAIRE — The Bellaire Senior Center proved that a large gymnasium isn’t a necessity to to partake in a spirited game of volleyball. For that neither, neither is a volleyball.
The center is housed on the main floor of the Carnes Senior Apartment building on Belmont Street.
On one side of the building, two sets of three throws of chairs face one another, separated by a volleyball net that while considerably smaller than regulation, certainly serves its purpose for the senior center’s members who partake in weekly games.
It’s a popular activity at the center and one with a rich history according to long-time member Joe Cioppi.
‘‘We used to have three teams at this center alone,’’ Cioppi said. ‘‘And we used to host tournaments when all the other senior centers hosted teams.
‘‘We had up to three games going at one time.’’
Cioppi admits that the sands of time, along with some of the former players moving into nursing homes has caused the participation to dwindle.
But as evident by Tuesday’s game, there are still more than enough center members willing to play to get a good game moving.
Cioppi has been coming to the Bellaire center for more than 10 years. He’s also served as a volunteer van driver, which has been a huge help according to center director Karen Titonis.
The senior centers in Belmont County each offer an array of activities for their members. Each center, however, also seems to have that one specific activity that is more popular or readily available at one center compared to the others.
And Bellaire’s niche activity is one that makes frequent use of Cioppi’s willingness to pilot.
‘‘Each center seems to have that one activity and for us, that is travels and trips we make here,’’ Titonis said/
Whether those are excursions to the Ohio Valley Mall or Oglebay, to one of the various festivals both locally and throughout the tri-state area, Titonis said its a big hit.
Another unique aspect is that the Bellaire Senior Center has senior housing on its premises, or rather, the center is located inside the apartment complex.
A lot of the residents at Carnes are women and all it take is a quick trip downstairs for a meal or a chance to socialize and have a good time.
Meals are served daily at 11:30 a.m.with a requested donation of $3 and there is always a freshly-brewed pot of coffee available in the mornings.
Bellaire’s center has the usual staples like its Belmont County counterparts. There is a smaller election of books, arts and crafts are available, as well as card games.
‘‘We have a lot of different members who come down and each one has different interests,’’ Titonis said.
The center is already prepared for the Christmas holiday with a wonderfully-decorated tree in the main room that the members and Titonis helped trim earlier this month.

Article Photos

BELLAIRE?SENIOR?Center members partake in a game of chair volleyball. Pictured, from left, are Buck Wrd, Ora Jean Lushbaugh, Joe Cioppi, Lou Muklewicz, Winnie Swisher and Janice Kennedy.



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