I LIKE to consider my self an optimist. With that said, I harbor hope that this past week's steel auctions will yield better times for the local industry.
RG Steel needed to go, and it did after one year of local ownership, before diving into bankruptcy. RG Steel only recouped a few crumbs from its original purchase price.
The Martins Ferry and Yorkville plants appear to have solid chances for renaissance.
Ferry's revival rests on a local businessman who I have faith in. W. Quay Mull II, pending court approval, will take ownership of the Ferry facility. With his track record, I believe Mull will make it a profitable venture. These plants are made to make and/or process steel, so Mull's undertaking will obviously be along those lines.
Yorkville, meanwhile, ironically was purchased by a former owner. Esmark is looking to take over the Yorkville reigns. Esmark is operated by the Bouchard family. CEO James Bouchard paints a bright picture for Yorkville, although one that will take time to play out.
Bouchard plans to bring back up to 230 employees in helping produce 40,000 tons of steel a month. The glowing news is tempered by the reality it may take up to 18 months to come to fruition.
The Bouchard family knows what the local plants are all about. It would be senseless for Esmark to purchase the Yorkville plant if it didn't believe it could be a money-maker.
Time will tell whether Mull and Esmark have the expertise to make the two plants viable operations again. But for right now, they are providing a large dose of hope.
THE BELLAIRE Presbyterian Church's drive to raise money for school supplies for needy children has met with mixed success. Many items have been purchased for students in the Bellaire School District, but much more still needs done. All types of school supplies are needed and time is running short as distribution needs to take place prior to the resumption of classes. Those wishing to help the cause or in need of information, may call Leigh Ann at 676-0746 or email BellPresbyMission@aol.com to obtain the supply lists. Items can be dropped off at the church office located at 3599 Guernsey St. between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please make checks payable to the Bellaire Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 322, Bellaire, Ohio 43906. Donations are tax deductible.
THE MORGANTOWN-based TOGS boys' basketball team, featuring two local youths, enjoyed a very successful trip to the national championships in Virginia, which ended Tuesday night. The TOGS placed fifth overall out of the more than 100 teams taking part. The Togs went 7-1 with the lone blemish by one-point in overtime to a New York-based squad. TOGS team members included 6-8 Martins Ferry forward frosh-to-be Emilio Appolloni and 6 ft. Wheeling Central-bound Chase Harler.
I HAVE said on numerous occasions the Martins Ferry Lions are the measuring stick for civic organizations. The Ferry Lions recently held their inaugural community yard sale, making more than $1,200 which will fuel more community projects.
FORMER BEAVER High and University of Cincinnati star lineman Derek Wolfe is quickly making his presence felt with the Denver Broncos. The 6-5, 300-pounder was the 36th overall pick in April's NFL draft and is moving up the Broncos' defensive line depth chart. As a senior for the Bearcats, he recorded 9.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for losses.
THE BELMONT County Energy Coalition will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at noon at the Martins Ferry rec center. The speaker will be Linda Woggon from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
BUCKEYE TRAIL High School has a new principal in waiting. The East Guernsey Board of Education hired William Hartmeyer at last week's meeting. He replaces Marcia Lucas, who is retiring Oct. 31. Hartmeyer's hiring becomes effective Sept. 4.
BEALLSVILLE HELD its football media day Thursday. Sports Editor Seth Staskey and myself trekked to Monroe County for the event. After the grid festivities, affable Blue Devils' Athletic Director Delmas Moore gave us a tour of the new school complex. It is a facility that lives up to its billing as it is bright, clean with spacious classrooms. Especially nice are the band/music and home-ec rooms. The Blue Devil students deserve a state-of-the-art building after being shortchanged for years.
I HAVE been a take-it or leave-it Penn State football fan until now. That has changed after the NCAA dropped the bomb on the program.
The Nittany Lions are clawing for grid survival and I like that "us against the world mentality." Moreover, I really admire Penn State's new head coach Bill O'Brien. He is not whining about the penalties or feeling sorry for himself or his team. Rather, he is working passionately to keep current players and recruit commitments on board.
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org