THE RECENT candidate filings for May's Primary Election yielded very little excitement.
Belmont County's status as a Democratic-dominated county was emphatically reinforced as no Republican filed a petition to seek office.
Contested races are few and centered in Martins Ferry. May's headline race will be the Martins Ferry mayoral contest between incumbent Phil Wallace and current Councilman Paul Riethmiller.
The Purple City has another contested race as incumbent Auditor Rita Randall is being challenged by Jack Regis Sr., who previously served as Ferry's mayor.
In Bridgeport, John Callarik has opted to seek another term as the village mayor. He faces no Democratic challengers.
The balance of the Belmont County ballot is spiced by money-generating issues. Bellaire and Shadyside schools are both calling upon voters for support. Bellaire's comes in the form of a 1-percent income tax while Shadyside is seeking a 4.5-mill permanent improvement levy.
The fate of the Bellaire tax issue will go a long way in determining the future of the district.
A 1-mill levy is being placed in front of Martins Ferry voters for the purchase of a new fire truck while the Barton-Crescent Fire District #5 has a replacement levy on the ballot.
While the Belmont County ballot is lackluster, it does feature more interest than the ones in Monroe and Harrison counties, as no partisan races are on tap in either county.
The final ballots are not cast in stone.
Write-in candidates have until Feb. 22 to file for the May primary while Independent hopefuls have until May 2 to toss their hats into the political ring.
THE STEELERS played nothing like a championship team in the Super Bowl. Too many turnovers combined with some costly and untimely penalties sealed the Black & Gold's fate. Green Bay is a stellar team but the Steelers have no one but themselves to blame for their loss. Pittsburgh just needs to shore up the offensive line and it will be in the hunt again next season.
IT WAS refreshing to see a class act like Aaron Rodgers have a huge game in Green Bay's Super Bowl win, as it laid to rest the hovering specter of Brett Favre as a Packer legend. Now Favre will be remembered more for being a great quarterback who tarnished his image by being a waffler, one with sexual controversies haunting him.
THE RECENT announcement of the establishment of Drug Free Clubs of America in the Ohio Valley is a movement that needs embraced by schools, parents and students, alike. DFCA is an ideal way to take a proactive approach to stemming drug use among our local youths. Rewarding positive behavior is the way to go as it will help deter peer pressure from taking its toll on good kids. Wheeling Hospital and the OVAC should be praised for championing the cause of a most worthwhile endeavor.
I AM a big fan of the Town Hall meetings being held throughout 16 Belmont County townships this year. But maybe they should start in March to avoid the wintry weather which kept the attendance down at Monday's session in Flushing.
OHIO?STATE'S loss at?Wisconsin Saturday should come as no surprise. No team from a major conference is going to go unbeaten. The Buckeyes may lose again a week from today at?Purdue.
KEVIN BARR is a good as you get when it comes to being a recreation director. Barr has brought in millions of dollars in grant funding to St. Clairsville over the years. The amphitheater project is the latest feather in his cap. St. C. was awarded a $70,000 grant for the project and Barr is thinking big once it comes to fruition. ''For our long-range plans we'd like to have a Bluesfest, a Spring Fest and an October Fest,'' Barr said at Monday's council meeting. ''Also we'd like to have events like rib cookoffs, chili cookoffs and hopefully, that's not quite that long off." Barr also eyes outdoor basketball courts, an AVA regulation sand volleyball court and a dedicated deck-hockey rink for the former fairgrounds venue. Barr and St. C. are a marriage steeped in success.
SPEAKING OF marriage, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen would make an ideal Hollywood couple. Both are off the charts when it comes to wacko behavior while also running a foul of the law.
I?LIKE the project John?Poilek's physics class at?Bellaire High is conducting. It was highlighted in Saturday's edition by?sports editor Seth?Staskey. Poilek's 10 students are challenged to create a package to safely protect one single Pringles' potato chip as it travels via the United States Postal Service. The students were given two weeks to design, form and test their boxes before they were shipped. The main goal of the assignment, according to Poilek was, "to apply the laws and concepts of physical tasks. This project gives the students a chance to be truly creative with the problem solving process." I am anxious to to see the results, especially from the container which was shipped to Japan.
ANYONE WHO missed Wheeling Hospital's OVAC?Girls' Basketball?Championships Saturday at?Ohio?University?Eastern is losing out on taking in a first-class event, showcasing some superb players. Shadyside's unbeaten?Lady?Tigers were by far the most impressive team in dismantling Fort?Frye.
HAPPY?Valentine's Day to all our readers on Monday.
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org