YOU HAVE to appreciate the impact the Martins Ferry Lions Club is making in the Purple City.
The fledgling club enjoyed a week of big-time accomplishments followed by the deserved recognition that goes with major feats.
The Welcome Wall was finally christened Friday at the corner of Hanover and Ohio 7. It marked the climax of a lengthy and costly venture, punctuated by great teamwork.
The wall is a gorgeous gateway into the Ferry's downtown business community. The work spanned several months and the Lions expended $6,000 in the club's operating funds to help make the project become reality.
The wall's public unveiling came on the heels of the Lions launching a massive project earlier in the week.
The ambitious club has embarked on a City Park playground/Fodor Field renovation project. The price tag is a whopping $500,000.
That is what I call stepping up for the community.
The Martins Ferry Lions Club has only been in existence a couple of years. The Purple Lions, however, have raised the bar to staggering heights for other civic groups in the Ohio Valley.
LAST WEEKEND'S OVAC Hall of Fame induction ceremony was once again a first-class affair. I had the opportunity to spend some quality minutes with former Linsly School hoop star Ashley Battle. She is now playing in Turkey after seven years of playing in the WNBA. Battle, who helped lead UConn to three national titles, says the pay is much better in Europe. She also said UConn Coach Geno Auriemma is brutal on the court but treats his players like gold off the court.
TERRELLE PRYOR and the Oakland Raiders are the ideal match. Both are renegades.
IT WON'T be long before the Village of Bellaire holds its annual October festival. The fall fest is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24. A planning meeting is set for Tuesday, Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. at the Sons of Italy. Anyone wishing to help is cordially invited to attend. For those unable to attend or have questions, call Arlene Sabatino at 671-9364.
ORMET CORP. is booming and a former Barnesville High hoop legend is a major player in the success. Matt Powell, who starred on the Shamrocks' hardwood for Mark Cook, is Ormet's commercial vice-president. He is in charge of metal sales and purchasing for both the Hannibal and Louisiana plants. Powell was the UPI Division III state player of the year in 1990, finishing his prep career with 2,173 points. He has spent the last eight years in Owensboro, Ky. in plant management. Matt and his wife the former Penny Wells, have relocated to the Barnesville area. They have two children: Sarah, 12, and Luke, 10.
I HAVE received countless e-mails and phone calls the past two weeks in support of George Laase, who was recently fired as Buckeye Local's baseball coach. Other than being contacted by two dissenting Buckeye Local BOE members, George has earned overwhelming backing. If I were one of the three board members voting against George, I would definitely re-think my stance.
ONE OF the most petty things I have seen in a long time is Florida State's tough-guy stance with Monroe Central over logo similarities. Get real, FSU. Even if the logo and any Seminoles' uniforms would be identical, what's the big deal? It isn't costing "Free Shoes University" a penny. Rather, it only showcases the FSU brand.
SIGN OF the Times: Shenandoah High School has been forced to shut down its soccer program due to a lack of interest from potential players.
I?ENCOURAGE all those physically fit and with a big heart to take part in the Awesome Autism 5K scheduled for Sept. 3 in Bellaire. Race Director Dennis Delbert is one of the area's foremost running enthusiasts and has done a masterful job of staging a first-class event. The race also benefits a worthwhile cause. For more information, contact Delbert at (740) 671-1982 or visit www.ovrunnersandwalkers.org/pace.htm.
IT WAS a sad day Friday when I stopped down at Kaikis Store in Martins Ferry, located near the city swimming pool. A sign on the door noted that on Friday, Aug. 26 the store was closing for good. Kaikis was a mom-and-pop store that featured a homey feel. It's presence will be missed in Martins Ferry.
CONGRATULATIONS TO John Magistro. The Bellaire High football coaching legend enjoyed a nice start to the season Friday night as he guided Westerville Central to a 27-16 triumph over Sunbury Big Walnut.
SPEAKING OF Columbus-area prep football, when Central Crossing treks to Buckeye Local Friday night, it will be bringing some Ohio Valley roots with them. Michael Traversa is a sophomore wideout for Central Crossing. His father, Emilio, was a three-sports star at St. John Central before enjoying a sparkling grid career at West Liberty. Michael's mom is the former Kelly Kavage, a Bridgeport High graduate. Emilio was a high school teammate of Buckeye Local Athletic Director Sam Jones. They helped lead the Irish gridders to the OVAC championship via a 7-2-1 mark, the tie being a 19-19 deadlock with Buckeye South.
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org