IT WAS disappointing to see Rickie Parker step down as a Bellaire village councilman.
I have been hearing rumors to that effect, but was hoping they were just that -- rumors. Parker was a refreshing change on village council.
The West Bellaire resident was a maverick, and I mean that in a positive way. Parker was open-minded to new ideas and was hands on with civic-minded projects. He was a shaker-and-mover.
One of his favorite community projects was the Octoberfest event he helped get off the ground a few years back. It has grown in stature and the festival's proceeds help provide winter coats for Bellaire School District children in need.
Parker's stay on council was all-too short, but he did make a positive impact on the village. He was big on beautifying Bellaire and made major strides in that area.
But we also know that Parker grew frustrated with the political workings in a small town. It wasn't too long ago, we lost another quality young councilman in Dustin Hepburn, who also stepped down.
Bellaire is a town that could use an infusion of young and passionate leadership. That was dealt a blow by Parker's resignation.
Compounding matters is that the All-American Town is losing one of its most respected and effective leaders as Councilman William Marinacci will be relocating to Shadyside in the near future.
Parker was good for Bellaire. Hopefully, his political exit is not a permanent one.
BELMONT COUNTY Sheriff Fred Thompson did a superlative job as featured speaker during the Bellaire Memorial Day program. Thompson attracted a large turnout to the patriotic event.
FORMER ST. JOHN Central state track champion April Rotilio is enjoying a tremendous final year with the Mountaineer thinclads. She has qualified for the NCAA D-1 national championships this week in Iowa. April is also excelling in the realm of academia. April has been named to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She has a degree in exercise physiology and is currently earning a doctorate of physical therapy through the School of Medicine. She is now eligible for academic all-America honors. April earlier this spring won the Big East 400-meter championship and holds the school record in the 400-meter dash for both indoor and outdoor and holds two All-America honors.
MIKE PODLASIAK is a good friend, good coach, good umpire and good school administrator. The Woodsfield native, however, has opted to call it quits to a coaching career which has spanned 34 years, many schools and several sports. His final coaching assignment was a successful one, that being Caldwell High girls' hoop boss. The West Liberty grad enjoyed successful tenures at Union Local, Meadowbrook, Coshocton and Caldwell as boys' hoop coach. He also coached at Muskingum College and Sheridan High. He is currently principal at Caldwell. His wife Lou Ann is the school's guidance counselor and a noted author. Mike is one of the classiest and best that coaching had to offer. He will be missed on the hardwood.
THE OHIO State University President E. Gordon Gee says Gene Smith's job as the Buckeyes' athletic director is safe despite all the Jim Tressel troubles. We don't think Smith will last, Terrelle Pryor will not last and Gee should be concerned about his own job. A total Scarlet & Gray housecleaning may be in order, including revamping an obviously clueless compliance office. Tressel is the poster boy for the Tattoogate fallout, but many at OSU had to have their collective heads buried in the sand.
LIKE A good book or video? If so, get to the Ohio Valley Mall today for the final day of the 8th annual Newspapers in Education Book Fair. You will be presented a lot of good selections at bare bones prices, while helping a great cause.
I TOOK in a portion of the Relay for Life at Bellaire's Nelson Field Friday night. Thankfully, it was showered with great weather after last year's monsoons which forced it to close up early. You will never find an event with more passionate or caring people involved.
The Relay for Life could be called the Relay of Love.
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com