LET ME start by saying I have not been a fan of all the budget-cutting ideas initiated by Gov. John Kasich.
Senate Bill 5 is absurd, a virtual slap in the face to hundreds of thousands of public workers.
Cutting Local Government Funds by 25 percent this year and 50 percent next year is going to wreak all kinds of havoc in Eastern Ohio. LGF money is the lifeblood of many local communities.
Libraries throughout Ohio came up one of the biggest winners, as they were only cut by 5 percent.
With that as a backdrop, I finally have a state money-saving proposal that I support. The Times Leader ran a story in Friday's edition, detailing plans for The Ohio State University and the state's corrections department to purchase food supplies in bulk.
After being reassured that OSU students wouldn't suffer a downgraded or tasteless menu, the proposal made perfect sense.
The Ohio State University has more than 56,000 students. The state's prison population numbers nearly 49,000. So bulk food purchases for some 105,000 people has to result in major money savings.
Both the university and the prison system serve many similar items. Ohio State and Department of Correction officials maintain the quality of meals will not suffer, but the cost of purchases will drop significantly.
The Department of Corrections is looking to save $2 million should the plan be implemented. OSU officials are unsure how much savings they will realize. They plan to channel that money, however, into the college's "academic mission."
With all the hard-to-swallow money slashing that has transpired as of late in Ohio, I embrace the joint food purchasing as a very appetizing plan.
MAKING A SPLASH
SAMANTHA REESE is heading to the nationals.
Samm, 14, is a freshman at St. Joseph's High School in South Bend.
She is the daughter of Don and Janie (Patrone) Reese. Don was a standout quarterback for the Purple Riders in the 1970s while Janie is the daughter of Bellaire High and WVU hoop legend Lee Patrone.
Samm qualified for the national diving championships. She finished fifth in the 14-15 year-old category in a field of 36 competitors.
She vied against girls from six states (Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri.) The national championships will be staged April 9 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Don's parents still reside in the Floral Valley section of Martins Ferry.
TWO INDIVIDUALS tied to the Wheeling Ironmen are slated for induction into the Minor Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dr. Robert Jones M.D. and Ivan Tonic will be members of the Hall's 31st class. The ceremony is set for Saturday, May 14 at the John Heinz History Center and Sports Museum in Pittsburgh. Jones was a lineman who played collegiately at Nebraska before having a short stay with the Washington Redskins. Toncic, meanwhile, was a quarterback for the Ironmen. The former Pitt signal caller also had careers with Hamilton in the CFL and the Boston Patriots in the AFL. For anyone needing more banquet information, they should call Tom Averell at 412-327-8586.
TORONTO HIGH School is in the market for a new boys' head basketball coach.
I AM sure that Jim Crutchfield is happy with his position as head coach at West Liberty University. But the Hilltoppers' hoop guru should be the target of some D-I schools for the excellence exhibited by his WLU program.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE city officials were obviously not crying wolf when they said the 1-percent tax was a needed commodity. One of St. C.'s best attributes is its scenic beauty. That appearance is taking a hit due to money shortages as the flowery hanging baskets which have put an attractive face on the downtown area are no more. Also street sweeping service has been halted. As I have said repeatedly, it is better to ante up a few more bucks to maintain high standards rather than regress.
WE SEND our condolences to River High brothers Tom and Tim Tisher on the death of their mother, Erma, this past week. Tom is the Pilots' athletic director and Tim is a football assistant.
MARY CAROLYN Nichelson knows how to stage a raffle and auction. Last Saturday's event at St. Mary's School in Martins Ferry was a whopping success, to say the least. We commend principal Nichelson, all her dedicated helpers and school parents as well as the tremendous generosity of all that who took part.
JACOB MATUSKA is enjoying a sensational sophomore sports year at Columbus Bishop Hartley. The 6 ft. 4, 225-pounder helped lead the Hawks to the Division II Final Four Basketball Tournament. He scored 11 points in a 49-44 semifinal loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary. Hartley ended the year 22-2. That hoop success comes on the heels of the Hawks' state football championship. Matuska is a standout tight end-linebacker, already receiving Division I feelers. Jacob's dad, Jimmy, was a three-sports star for St. John Central in the mid-1980s.
I ATTENDED last Saturday's Wolfhurst St. Joseph's 200 Club Party. What should have been a most festive night was bittersweet to say the least. While good food, enjoyable dialogue and money awards were plentiful, those in attendance could not forget that it would also be the school's final 200 club party. St. Joseph's School, a Bridgeport-area institution, is being shut down at the end of the current school year. I still cannot fathom such a senseless decision.
KUDOS GO out to the undermanned but highly efficient Bellaire Police Department. Chief Mike Kovalyk and his force enjoyed a bountiful week of arresting several suspects on various and serious charges. The Bellaire police officers have a very challenging task but they perform their duties exceptionally well.
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com