THE POLITICAL landscape in Eastern Ohio is undergoing rapid change.
When State Sen. Jason Wilson opted to accept Gov. John Kasich's offer to become director of the Governor's Office of Appalachia two weeks ago, it sparked fast-paced maneuvering within the Democratic Party.
The Dems, as has been well chronicled, opted to name State Rep. Lou Gentile of Steubenville to serve out the balance of Wilson's 30th District State Senate seat.
Gentile was a perfect pick and will be tough to beat in the next election. His political stock continues to skyrocket.
Gentile's relocation subsequently created a void in the 95th District House of Representatives.
A flurry of activity will likely play out prior to Wednesday's filing deadline. While several other hopefuls will possibly file for Gentile's seat, one ideal candidate already has announced his intentions to return to the Ohio House.
Jack Cera, a well-know and highly respected name in Eastern Ohio, threw his name into contention Friday. I can't imagine a better option than the former state representative.
He has all the ingredients needed to effectively man the seat.
The former Bellaire High grid standout and Brown University graduate has 14 years of experience in the Ohio House (1983-96) on his resume.
Cera is hoping the Ohio House Democratic Caucus quickly names him to fill Gentile's soon-to-be vacant seat. Cera's appointment makes sense, based on his experience as well as his intentions to seek the seat in the 2012 election.
While out of the political arena for the past 15 years, Cera has remained active in the community, including currently serving as chairman of the Bellaire Park District Board, which has made a positive impact in the All-American Town.
I WOULD be remiss if I did not extended congratulations to John Magistro for being honored as the state's Division I prep football coach of the year. The St. John Central grad and former Bellaire High grid boss did a masterful job of guiding a fledgling Westerville Central program to an 8-2 regular season and a state playoff berth. It is yet another award for Magistro whose career has been defined by success, sportsmanship and class.
THE MARTINS Ferry Lions Club Pancakes & More will be held Saturday, Dec. 10 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, located at 4th & Walnut Street. Cost is $5 for adults while children under 12 eat free. A silent auction, Chinese auction and a Leos Club bake sale will also be featured. The Lions Club has done a tremendous job of staging civic-minded activities in The Purple City, so I encourage everyone to support the pancake event as proceeds will benefit future projects.
LARRY COYER was fired Tuesday as the defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts. The 68-year-old coach has a well-traveled coaching resume. The Huntington, W. Va. native played at Marshall and cut his coaching teeth at Martins Ferry High. He then matriculated to Massillon High before heading to the college ranks at Iowa as an assistant. Coyer went on to coach with some half-dozen NFL teams and also in the USFL.
HERMAN CAIN is a refreshing figure in the GOP presidential sweepstakes. However, he is now being consistently bombarded by nasty accusations. The latest is a 13-year extra-marital affair. I will never understand why someone would enter a high-profile campaign with skeletons in their closet. They are always eventually exposed.
I HAVE problems with LSU having to play Alabama is the BCS championship game. The Tigers already went into Bama and defeated the Crimson Tide in the regular season. So now if Alabama wins the bowl game the Tide will become national champions. I say a Bama revenge win over LSU should yield co-champions.
OUR PRAYERS go out to Roger Deal. The Barnesville village administrator underwent triple bypass heart surgery recently. He is reportedly recovering well in a local hospital.
COLUMBUS BISHOP Hartley all-Ohio tight end Jacob Matuska will miss basketball season after incurring a knee injury in a Hawks' playoff game. Matuska's dad, Jimmy, was a three-sport standout at St. John Central in the mid-1980s. Jacob is being recruited by many Division I college grid powers. As a sophomore, the 6-5, 240-pounder helped lead Hartley to a Division IV state grid title and the state basketball tournament.