IT SEEMS like only yesterday we were putting the wraps on the presidential election. Now, in just a little more than five weeks, voters will again be heading to the polls.
Local voters will be casting ballots in the primary on May 7. And as is usually the case, levies dominate the Eastern Ohio docket.
The Bellaire school levy again tops the list. It is the district's sixth attempt to secure new funding. As always, Superintendent Tony Scott is leading a spirited charge to gain passage.
But the one levy that intrigues me the most is one emanating on the Hilltop.
The Memorial Park District, encompassing St. Clairsville and Richland Township, is seeking an additional 0.25 mill levy for five years for current expenses.
The operating levy has already tasted defeat at the hands of voters. Another rejection, however, brings with it major, painful and quick ramifications.
Levy supporters point out that costs for the operation of Memorial Park and the Allen Pool have increased greatly. They add that revenue from the pool and the shelters do not cover their costs and that the Capital Improvements Levy does not pay for any operational expenses.
While expenses are continually increasing, local government funding has decreased by approximately 75 percent.
Park board officials note that if the levy fails again the park will be shut down, including the pool. It may occur within weeks of the election.
The threats are real. Shutdown looms pending defeat.
Living in Bellaire, I do not have a dog in the fight. It is easy for me to spend park district residents' money.
But Memorial Park and Allen Pool are tremendous recreational venues. Why would anyone want to risk losing them?
We lost our pool in Bellaire several years ago. It was once the beehive of summer activity in the All-American Town. Bellaire youths have suffered every summer since.
An 0.25 mill levy is miniscule when it comes to saving such worthwhile and needed entities in St. Clairsville.
ON WEDNESDAY, April 10 at 6 p.m., the Bellaire Public Library will host Patrick Hartory, author of "Your Ageless Mind, the Complete Guide to a Strong, Young and Healthy Mind."
He is a national speaker who will be discussing his new book, "Your Ageless Mind." It is an ideal tool for keeping your brain healthy.
Hartory will present a free brain fitness program which consists of exercises to help fight Alzheimer 's disease, games to improve your natural ability to remember names and details, super brain foods that help slow mental aging and easy tips on keeping your mind healthy and strong. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing after the program.
This program is free and is open to the public.
A FEW weeks back Times Leader Area Editor Betty Pokas did an entertaining feature on Shenandoah High School qualifying for the national finals in a mascot competition. Unfortunately, the Zeps came up short in their quest for a national championship. That title went to the Centralia (Ill.) Orphans. Runnerup were the Carbon (Price, Utah) Dinos.
BOB NEY'S book signing is scheduled for Thursday, April 4 at the Hampton Inn in St. Clairsville from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The book is carried by Words and Music Book Store in Stratford Springs. The store is sponsoring the book signing. I expect the Bellaire native and former U.S. Congressman will be greeted by a large turnout.
SAY WHAT you will about the World Series or Super Bowl, but the NCAA Basketball Tournament's March Madness is the best sporting event going. The third-round games last weekend were as good as viewing as it gets.
BELLAIRE'S EIGHTH annual Easter Egg Hunt on March 23 attracted some 300 youngsters in ideal weather to Historic Bellaire Park. The hunt was organized by The All-American Days Festival Committee. The committee is deserving of much praise as it does many positive things for village youngsters.
MAJOR LEAGUE Baseball gets under way today. My picks to meet in the World Series are the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Angeles, with the Angels winning it all. Also, I look for the Pittsburgh Pirates to shed their elongated losing streak while also contending for a wild card berth.
KUDOS to U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson. The Marietta-based Republican invited area mayors to Washington this month to discuss issues that impact his district. Such a move makes sense, as it gets everyone in one room at the same time, making sure everyone is on the same page. Also, it is easier for all the mayors to meet with Johnson than for the congressman to make individual visits. We hope it was not just a one-time deal.
THE BELLAIRE Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Dinner/Membership Drive on Friday, April 19, at Bellaire Sons of Italy, 3348 Belmont St. from 6:30-9:30 p.m. This year's event will be a steak fry with baked potato, green bean casserole, salad, dessert and cash bar. All area businesses and their employees are invited to attend.
The cost of the dinner is $15 per person. Each Bellaire Area Chamber of Commerce member will receive two free dinners. Reservations are required and must be received by Thursday, April 11. Contact the chamber office by phone 740-676-9723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WE WISH a happy and blessed Easter to all our readers.
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com