THERE ARE a lot of dog lovers in Belmont County. That was reinforced after last week's piece in this space calling for a probe of the operations at the Belmont County Animal Shelter.
The column triggered much response, from both factions. Much was positive while some feedback took me to task.
A few of the shelter supporters called me out, saying I was choosing sides with the citizens' group that was complaining about the conditions at the shelter.
That was off-base.
I was choosing sides. I was siding, however, with the dogs at the shelter. I am a dog lover and looking out for their best interest.
The gist of my column was the need for an independent investigation to make that happen. If done correctly, the probe should help remedy the situation.
Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas indicated to me that the animal shelter is "at the top of our list of things to address this year."
Thomas pointed out that, "while the county owns the shelter, we contract services through BCARL."
Now that the shelter issues are in the hands of the county commissioners, they cannot be swept under the rug. I believe they will be handled properly, as the commissioners are now being held accountable in their oversight of BCARL.
By the way, a dog would make an excellent Christmas gift Wednesday.
OHIO VALLEY residents always support a good cause. The latest case in point is the Belmont County Coat Closet, located in the basement of the Bellaire Christian Church.
The coat closet opened for the season in October and has since handed out 1,100 coats to needy residents. That is an amazing total.
The coat closet's efforts have drawn support in many different fashions. Macy's donated 40 coats to the closet while Belmont Savings Bank has donated $5,000 this year alone.
The Kirkwood Lodge donated $200, Boscov's offers a discounted rate and an anonymous donor kicked in $500.
It doesn't stop there.
The Ohio Valley Christian Soldiers made a $2,500 donation and the Bellaire Christian Church provides free space to house the operations. Along the way, several individual made donations in varying amount.
All the above reaffirms what I have said for years: The Ohio Valley is home to the most generous and caring people you will ever find.
IN THIS column last week, I whined about my electric bill. AEP shipped me a $196 statement on Dec. 13. I thought it was bogus. It was.
I called the phone number on the AEP statement Tuesday. I got a live voice immediately. The lady asked me to go outside and read her the numbers on my meter, which I did.
After some quick calculations, she admitted the billing was inaccurate. She said she would send me a new bill, one which will be more than $100 less than the original one.
I urge everyone, especially the elderly, if you have doubts about being billed incorrectly not to hesitate, call and inquire. You have nothing to lose.
KUDOS TO Ohio University Eastern Athletic Director E.J. Schodzinski and his staff for again aiding less fortunate youths at Christmas. Schodzinski hosted his annual Hoops for HoHo event Saturday, Dec. 14. Despite calls for nasty winter weather, a nice-sized turnout attended, bringing new toys for the underprivileged.
THE BELMONT County Board of Elections notes that after Jan. 1, registered voters can begin applying for absentee ballots for the May primary.
I PAID a visit to the Ohio Valley Mall Thursday to wrap up holiday shopping. I must commend all those who have put a brighter and more attractive look to the place.
IT IS not too late to help a needy family or child for Christmas. Making a difference is what life is all about.
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org