THE WINTER Olympics are winding down. For me that is no big deal.
I did tune in to watch some hockey and bobsledding this past week. Unfortunately, the U.S. women lost a gold-medal hockey game to Canada, a game in which the Red, White and Blue had but all wrapped up with three minutes to play.
That ice failure will be the one lasting moment I will take for this Russian Olympiad. The U.S., however, is doing quite well in the overall medal count, despite not ascending to the medal stand in either men's or women's figure skating, something very foreign to this country.
It is always heartwarming to see a local angle being part of an Olympics as carried out by Barnesville native Nicole Detling. Rick Thorp details the former Shamrocks' athletic great's endeavors in detail on today's Page A1.
The most positive thing generated from the Olympics is the strong wave of patriotism not always felt in this country.
THE BELMONT County Council of American Legion Auxiliary is again planning its annual trip to the Chillicothe Veterans Hospital. The trip is scheduled for April 17.
As always, donations are needed for the trip. Clothing (no women's or dry-cleaned goods) is needed, including new crew socks, underwear, t-shirts and caps.
Also items such as pens, pencils, envelopes, postage stamps and puzzle books are popular. Toiletries are needed as well as candy and gum. Non-alcohol after shave is also useful. Monetary donations are always helpful.
Deadline to donate is April 8.
Betty Kotson is once again spearheading the mission. It marks her 50th year of doing so.
Items may be dropped off to her at her residence at 4598 Noble St. in Bellaire. She can be reached via phone at 671-3059.
MARTINS FERRY Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon meeting Tuesday at the recreation center.
The group has several upcoming events on tap, starting with the craft/vendor fair planned for April 12 at Hilltop Social Hall. The craft fair is progressing nicely as some 30 tables have already been reserved. Volunteer help will be needed the day of the event and the night before.
The Academic Awards Banquet will celebrate its 30th anniversary when it unfolds at WesBanco Arena. Some 900 dinners were served last year and organizers are hoping to reach 1,000 this spring.
Other events still in the early phases of planning are the Soap Box Derby (June 8), Skyshow 2014 (July 3), Betty Zane Days (Aug. 4-9), and Night at the Races (sometime in November).
Chamber member Greg Heslop was recognized for donating a new computer and speakers.
The chamber has a new e-mail address. It is firstname.lastname@example.org
HILAND GIRLS' basketball coach Dave Schlabach recently reached the 500-win plateau. He reached the lofty milestone in just 23 years on the bench. His Lady Hawks have lost just 82 games while capturing four state Division IV championships. Schlabach has been state coach of the year on three occasions.
EFFORTS ARE underway to raise money to get the Martins Ferry pool open for the summer swimming season. Several fund-raising events are on tap. The first will be a luncheon on Monday, March 17. Eat in and carryout are available with limited delivery from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Cost is $7.?Children age 5 and under eat for free. Soups available are vegetable, ham and bean, chili with or without beans. Sandwiches sloppy Joes, ham salad and chicken salad. Beverages and desert will are included. Soups will also be sold in pints $3, quarts $6. Single bowls are $2 and single sandwiches $2. Beverages are $1. Pre-order blanks can be picked up at the recreation?center. Phone orders the day of sale are available by calling 633-0602. It is great food for a most worthwhile cause.
OUR BEST wishes and prayers for a full and speedy recovery to St. John Central softball and volleyball standout Caitlin Sliva. The talented junior recently underwent a nine-hour surgery to removes a cyst from her head. Caitlin is now recovering at home.
KUDOS TO the Olney Friends School students and all the other volunteers who help to clean up a watery mess at the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing. A recent waterline break at the museum yielded extensive damage. Their selfless efforts proved a big help to Dr. John Mattox.
THE OPENING of Gulla's in St. Clairsville Saturday, Feb. 15 was nothing short of a rousing success. The new downtown eatery, located across the street from the county courthouse, sold 1,200 hot dogs that day.
THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon Thursday at library community room. It was noted that Chamber Secretary Pam Nyles will be stepping down at the end of March. The chamber also agreed to apply for some Belmont County tourism grants. The chamber will meet again March 20.
I TAKE exception to a comment made at Thursday's Union Local Board of Education meeting. Board members were praising the outstanding season the Jets are having under Ben Porter. The board said, "it was disappointed with the media coverage" the team has received. Those members should read the Times Leader. All but one UL game was covered with Times Leader byline stories and photos. Moreover, the Jets were featured in a special OVAC Tournament publication. When UL ascended to number one in the state AP poll, Sports Editor Seth Staskey penned a special feature on that achievement. No one has more respect for Coach Porter than this writer. He is a tremendous coach and class act. The Times Leader is proud of the Jets' success in boys' hoops and our sports department has done a great job giving them their just due.
Kapral may be reached at email@example.com