PRIMARY ELECTIONS aren't always glamorous but for some school districts and communities they are still of vital importance.
Levies dominate Tuesday's Belmont County ballot, as a contested race is nowhere to be found. Much can also can be said for Harrison County, where only one contested race (prosecuting attorney) is before voters.
Back for the eighth straight election is a request by the Bellaire School District for a new funding source. The seven straight ballot-box defeats have come in various forms. This time around it is for 5.91 mills.
Bellaire schools have come along way in their effort to get out of the state loan fund. More than $3 million in debt has been whittled down to where the district is knocking on the door of black ink.
The levy funding is not needed to pay off the debt but rather to bring back programs that fell victim to the deficit-slashing knife.
THE EASTERN OHIO Regional Transit Authority is seeking approval of a 2.5-mill levy. I am a big bus supporter as the transit service is key to many in their travels to work or shopping. The millage is a small price to pay to keep the buses rolling.
I AM anxious to see if Pease Township voters want to turn their street lights back on. The Pease levy is for 2 mills and the money would be used to turn the street lights back on, raze dilapidated buildings and repair roads. I don't have a dog in the fight, but if a similar levy was on the Bellaire ballot, it would get my vote.
THE UNION Local School District asks voters for passage of an 0.5 income tax. The money would be used for permanent improvements.
THE BETHESDA Fire Department has a 3.5-mill replacement levy on the ballot. It is to update the valuation of the current 3.5 mill levy. The money would be used for the upkeep of vehicles, general maintenance and all other aspects of the fire department's operations. Replacement levies usually draw strong backing. You cannot go wrong supporting volunteer fire departments, as they are always need funding.
THE ONE statewide ballot item of note is State Issue 1. If passed, it would OK the issuance of bonds to fund infrastructure capital improvements. It costs taxpayers nothing. It should gain slam-dunk approval.
ARIN KRESS is a prep hoop legend from St. John Central. The two-time all-Ohioan for the Lady Irish still holds the state record for career assists (911).
She earned a scholarship to D-I Winthrop University in South Carolina where she was a starter from day one. She also played soccer for the Lady Eagles.
Kress, SJC's 2002 valedictorian, is also making a difference in the classroom. She has been teaching in the Grove City School System in Columbus for several years.
Kress has been named the Teacher of the Month from Park Street Intermediate School in Southwestern City Schools. She has incorporated Skype into her classroom and has had many calls with students from around the world. She even has done "Mystery Skype" were students have to ask the other class questions to find out where they are from.
Kress will also be visiting one of the classrooms they have Skyped with in Australia this summer.
OPRAH WINFREY is interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers from embattled owner Donald Sterling. She, undoubtedly, has the bucks to do it. If she is successful with the NBA purchase, hopefully she doesn't name Dr. Phil as general manager and Dr. Oz as head coach.
I WAS never inside the Toronto High baseball complex until Friday night when I ventured up for the OVAC 3- and 4-A baseball title tilts. It is without a doubt one of the finest prep diamond facilities in the OVAC.
VOLUNTEERS ARE needed for a clean-up project planned by the Warren Township Lions Club for May 17. Plans are to do clean-up work on the ramps between Ohio 7 and the villages of Yorkville, Tiltonsville and Rayland and along the state route. It was noted that all volunteers are welcome, and those willing to help with the project are to meet at the back shelter of Warren Township Park. The shelter is near the Borkoski Funeral Home. The volunteers are to bring gloves and advised to wear appropriate clothing, such as long pants, for the work. Bags for the clean-up effort will be supplied. This marks the second year that the Lions Club has spearheaded the clean-up with the help of volunteers.
ONE OF my favorite pro sporting events unfolds Thursday with the annual NFL draft. I will be shocked if the Browns don't pick Johnny Manziel with the fourth overall selection. The Texas A&M quarterback will put some pizzazz into the franchise. Unfortunately, I am not sold on him being a franchise QB. The Steelers need to bolster their offensive line while the Bengals must fill a defensive line void. My Giants need a great deal, offensive line being the most pressing need.
BEHEADING A tiger statue. How sick are some people? The tiger standing guard outside Shadyside's Fleming Field was an impressive figure. The vandal(s) who stole the head are total goons. What can you do with that tiger head? Once you show someone, you are busted. Shadyside authorities will eventually apprehend those involved. They deserve the harshest punishment possible. We hope the head remains intact and can be reattached when located.
KUDOS TO the Hess Corp. for its $10,000 donation to the Belmont County Salvation Army. It's an organization that can make use of such a generous gift.
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org