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Nutcrackers come alive TOURISM and LIFESTYLES

FRIDAY, FEB. 16, 2018


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T h e S t e u b e n v i l l e N u t c r a c k e r V i l l a g e a n d A d v e n t M a r k e t w a s a n e x t r e m e l y p o p u l a r t o u r i s t a tt r a c t i o n d u r i n g t h e 2 0 1 7 h o l i d a y s e a so n . J u s t d u r i n g d o w n t o w n S t e u b e n v i l l e ’ s l i g h t - u p n i g h t e v e n t s , t h o u s a n d s o f v i s i to r s w e r e o n h a n d t o v i e w t h e 1 5 0 6 - f o o t n u t c r a c k e rs an d n u m er o us c h al e t s , e n j o y l iv e e n t er t a in m e nt a nd a f i r e w o r k s di s p la y an d t h e c e r em o n ia l l i g h t in g of t h e 3 0 - f o o t C h r is t m a s t r e e b y f o r m e r M a y o r D o m e n i c k M u c c i . T h e H i s t o r i c F o r t S t e u b e n s i te w a s p a c k e d m o s t d a ys d u r i n g t h e n u t c r a c k e r s e a so n , a c c o r d i n g t o o f f i c i a l s .

Events draw thousands to downtown Steubenville By PAUL GIANNAMORE Staff writer STEUBENVILLE — What started as an idea for something different and new has turned into a tourism draw that is bringing thousands of people into the city for the holiday season. The Advent Market and Nutcracker Village at Historic Fort Steuben started out three years ago as a collaboration between the fort and Nelson Fine Art and Gifts of Steubenville to bring excitement to the holidays downtown. It brought 35,000 visitors in its third season. “We kept it low key that first year and didn’t advertise,” said Judy Bratten, executive director of His-

toric Fort Steuben. “We really didn’t know what we were doing,” quipped Jerry Barilla, fort board president and now mayor of Steubenville. “We really started with 18 nutcrackers, and then Mark Nelson had the open house and it ballooned to 35, but we had no idea what this was going to become.” What it has become is a holiday phenomenon, with more than 150 nutcrackers resembling people from Clark Kent and Lois Lane to a Le Mans race car driver and various celebrities, individuals and local football teams. There’s even a singing Dean Martin. Bratten recalled that the first year there were “wires running all over the place,” and the lighting had

overrun the fort site’s electrical capacity. “But we were stunned at the response. After the Christmas parade that year, it was a beautiful afternoon and we had 3,000 people on the streets. And, everyone headed here,” she recalled. There was a crowd walking on the streets during the holidays downtown, something that hadn’t been true in many years, and people commented to Bratten about it, some in tears as they remembered the good old days. “People remembered Saturday afternoons back in the heyday. The streets would be packed like that,” Barilla said. So, a far more organized and professional display has emerged, creating a

holiday wonderland destination for visitors. With help from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, M&M Hardware, the Jefferson County JVS, Cardello Electric, DiGregory’s Greenhouse and others, hoops for lights were made, wiring was improved and a donated 30-foot tree was rewired and LED lights were installed for the trees and displays. Community sponsors signed on. “The chalets from the Nelsons added a big dimension,” Barilla said of the Advent Marketplace. “People are able to buy locally made wares and foods.” A second 30-foot tree was added for the third year and the displays expanded into the adjacent

First Federal Land Office park. A map by the fort park’s fountain has push pins placed by visitors and reveals people came from Florida, California and Canada among other farflung destinations this past season. Barilla said the event has grown from one viewed when people come home to visit relatives at the holidays to a true tourist destination. Tour buses made stops during the past Christmas season, and the Nutcracker Village became the six-ranked holiday tourism attraction in Ohio, according to the state. “That’s really saying something, to have that happen in three years,” Barilla said. See NUTCRACKER Page 3A Á



FRIDAY, FEB. 16, 2018

Summer concerts remain a high point

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Th e Tr i -S ta t e C om mu n i ty Ban d b r ou gh t o u t a l a r ge cr o w d d ur i n g t h e b a nd ’s s umm e r c on ce r t a t H is t o r i c Fo r t S te u be n .


Live music in a nice setting, surrounded by friends and family sounds like a pretty ideal way to enjoy a summer evening. Historic Fort Steuben established a summer concert series at the Berkman Amphitheater in the fort park more than a decade ago that was a spark up and down the valley for communities. “This will be our 12th year,” said Judy Bratten, executive director of Historic Fort Steuben. “It’s become a staple of the community. We try to provide as much variety as possible. It’s a family event. We want the kids and

grandma and grandpa everyone in and between to have a good time.” Bratten said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so it’s pleasing to see many area communities have adopted their own concert series. Toronto holds events at the town Gazebo Commons, Mingo Junction hosts shows at Aracoma Park, and there are series in Wheeling and St. Clairsville. In Weirton, the establishment of a concert series was the impetus for the Weirton Event Center being built. Dan Greathouse, director of the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “I was in Parkersburg and I

saw an exact replica of what I wanted in Weirton. Steubenville was doing its concert series, which I thought was pretty neat. Our board got on board, the city of Weirton and the Hancock County commissioners, and we got the Weirton Event Center to get the series going.” The Weirton series is in its seventh year. Bratten said the various series try to coordinate with one another to avoid duplication. “It’s been great for us to be able to expose this beautiful site to people and to bring people together,” she said. Among the acts to look for this coming summer at Fort Steuben is a Celtic

group from Scotland, scheduled for the end of July. Greathouse said the lineup for the summer in Weirton is being finalized, though he indicated it will include favorites like Jill West, Spinning Jenny, Deja Vu along with some new bands for the series, including Hit Play,

Blended and Elmo’s “When we first startFire. Beatlemania is ed, we never anticiexpected to return. pated it getting to The Weirton Event where it is today. The Center also hosts the original intent was to hold annual Wheeling sporadically Symphony show, with some concerts during funds being raised good weather, maybe now to sponsor the three or four. That concert. The Glenn Miller Band also is See CONCERTS Page 7A Á expected to return. Weirton also plans three car shows at the event center. Jerry Barilla, Historic Fort Steuben board president, said,

Austin Lake – Thereʼs so much to do here From staff reports

In a world that now primarily focuses on technology, in a time where everyone always seems to be in a hurry, there is still one special place where one can take a few moments to simply relax and get back to nature — a place where family is the focus. And it can be found right here in the Ohio Valley. One of America’s toprated RV parks and campgrounds, Austin Lake has always focused on being a family-oriented environment since its opening in 1946. Throughout the years so much progress has been made and so many additions have enhanced the site that third and fourth generations of families are returning to create their own special memories. And with each passing year, it just keeps getting better. Contrary to what many might believe, Austin Lake is not just an amazing place to spend the week or month camping. Throughout the

years, several amenities have been added to the 1,300-acre RV park and 80acre lake that families are coming out to simply spend the day together. Why? Because there’s so much to do. According to President William Cable and his wife, Marsha, one of the most popular activities for guests at Austin Lake has been the addition of large water inflatables, made by the company Wibit. The German inflatables, which can be velcroed together to change their configuration and turn them into a water obstacle course, provide a great deal of interactive exercise, according to Cable. They have been so successful among adults and teenagers, that the Cables add pieces to their collection every year. This year, a trampoline has been incorporated to the Wibit collection. Visitors also can continue to enjoy and utilize a downhill summer snow tube designed in Italy, as well as the Berg Buster

pedal karts from Holland. Additional karts have been purchased to allow adults and children to ride throughout the park at their leisure. These karts can be converted according to height and size so that either an adult or 4-yearold child can drive them. Booster seats also can be attached for riding toddlers. Paddle boards from France and “bumper boats,” which are intertube boats with built-in watergun squirters, are available for renting. Special arm band passes allow visitors to enjoy the use of kayaks of which another has been added this year, as well as paddle boats, the Wibit Action Tower, the obstacle course, the tube slide and the pedal karts for just one price. Age and height limits do apply. Pontoon boats once again are available for rent and can be used for fishing, cruising or tubing. There are three 9.9 horsepower pontoons and two 25 horse-

power pontoons that seat between five and eight people and are equipped to pull a ski tube. This year, four customcreated rope net climbers have been added to the park — two for younger children and two specifically for older children. And if that isn’t enough ... there’s still more to do. Austin Lake also houses nine energy-efficient pine cabins that can be rented, with the newest addition being the Swan House, an 1850 original farmhouse that has been updated and converted into a rental cabin. Aspen log furniture completes the three-bedroom cabin. Three of the cabins are pet friendly and all are airconditioned and well insulated. The cabins house between five to 11 people, with most having cook-top ranges, full-size refrigerators and microwave ovens. Each has a flat-screen television with DVD player and a dining table and chairs. The Train Cabin is pet friendly, and the Great

Blue Cabin is pet and ADA friendly. There are playgrounds and “gaga” ballpits near the cabins for smaller children. And still, there’s so much to do at Austin Lake. Hiking trails have been expanded during the last several years, according to the Cables, who explained that because of the large acreage and popularity of the activity, there are more trails to choose from, including the Bigfoot Trail, Walkabout Trail, Keyhole Trail and Rookery Trail. Visitors can use the trails for mountain biking. Both steep and easier trails in the valley of the park can be accessed for further adventure at Austin Lake. When not hiking, one can enjoy swimming in the lake, complete with a sandy beach and high jumping. Cable noted visitors will see some differences at the beach this year, and upgrades have been made to the concession stand area, which now will be See AUSTIN LAKE Page 5A Á

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FRIDAY, FEB. 16, 2018



Continued from Page 1A

“The nutcrackers are so cleverly done, and we have to credit Therese Nelson for that. Her creativity makes it more unique. Each one is so different,” she said. Barilla believes the nutcrackers came along at a time when the world needed them. “It appeals to children and families, grandparents coming with their grandchildren. They want pictures with almost every nutcracker and everyone has a favorite. It’s great to see families here at 10 o’clock at night with the children wanting to have their pictures taken.

“It’s not a sports event or a history event. It’s a universal appeal, for happiness, for fun and entertainment, for all the things that go along with Christmas,” Barilla said. Bratten said people are tired of politics and other reasons to be upset with one another. “This not controversial. People can come together,” she said. The economic impact rises with the number of visitors, benefiting restaurants and hotels and souvenir stores. And, the nearby Antique Warehouse reported seeing more business, Barilla said.

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T h e v a r i o u s n u t c r a c k e r s a t H i s t o r i c F o r t St e u b e n ’ s N u t c r a c k e r V i l l a g e a n d A d v e n t Ma r k e t — 1 5 0 o f t h e m — d r e w t h o u s a n d s o f v i s i t o r s d u r i n g t h i s p a st h o l i d a y s e a s o n a n d h a v e c r e a t e d a h o l i d a y w o n d e r l a n d d e s t i n a t i o n .


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Austin Lake known as the Spillway Cafe. There also is an area separate from the beach specifically for dog swimming. Group picnics are a lake favorite, according to Cable. Family reunions, class reunions, company picnics, youth organizations and church organizations find the park to be the perfect setting for a fun-filled gettogether. Artwork is also prevalent throughout the campground, as the Prehistoric Era has been brought to Jefferson County by those in the junior welding program at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School under the direction of instructor Todd Parker. Full-sized dinosaurs, a dragon and an alligator were created through the use of plasma arc-cutting equipment and are spaced throughout the area. They have not only been incorporated as art, but as an educational tool as well. And still, there’s so much to do. In addition to hayrides, Euchre, pancake breakfasts and bingo, some of this year’s activities for campers and their children will include an Easter egg hunt at Jack’s Walnut Lodge on May 19; a night hike, June 2; kid’s fishing, June 2; a bunny petting zoo, June 9; a foam beach dance and swim, June 16; goat petting,

TThere’ herre’s a new home h for for primary Wintersville pr rimarry ccare arre in W inttersville




Continued from Page 2A

June 16; a snipehunt family affair, June 23 and July 14; golf cart/bicycle parade, July 4; a paleontology dig for fossils featuring Ohio archeologist John Boilegh, July 14 and Aug. 4; Christmas in July, which features decorating RV/golf carts/bicycles and a light-up Christmas parade and Santa, July 21; a Yellow Crick Kayak Lake Tour, sponsored by Roger Goddard of Yellowcreek Crick Adventure, July 28; a DJ Youth Dance at Spillway Cafe, July 28; a Spooktacular Weekend consisting of decorating for Halloween weekend, a parade, trick-ortreating, Aug. 11; a team spirit bonfire at the camper pavilion, Sept. 2; and a camper Thanksgiving and Chinese auction, Sept. 15. Many more activities are slated for the park and campground and can be found on the website. Austin Lake has received yet another amazing rating this year from officials at the Trailer Life Directory, the official directory of the Good Sam Club, which rates each privately owned campground, tourist attraction and RV service center in the United States. These inspectors provide feedback on three aspects of a campground — the completeness and quality of the facilities; cleanliness and physical characteristics of the camp-

ground; and v i s u a l appearance. Trailer Life officials noted less than 1 percent of parks or campgrounds across America actually receive a rating of 10. In addition, a park must receive a minimum rating of 5/7.5/5 and meet specific minimum requirements within each category in order to qualify for Good Sam Park membership. Austin Lake an received 8.5/10/10 rating. The campground can accommodate any size camper and encourages guests to bring their children and pets. The Cables, who are always mindful of preserving the natural environment, were the recipients of the Herald-Star’s Readers Choice Award for best campground and are members of the Farm Bureau and American Association of Tree Farmers; graduates of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which is sponsored by the ARVC; members of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce; and

active in the Ohio Campground Owners Association. As members of the OCOA, the Cables are able to use the knowledge they have gained through the years to help younger campground owners who are starting out. This allows them to be active at the Ohio and national conventions and attend workshops and keep updated on campground operations. Major upgrades have been done to the lake’s dam this year in order to comply

with federal safety standards, Cable stated, adding the work is almost complete and was done by local contractors Grae-Con from Steubenville and James White Construction of Weirton. The dam was built by Cable’s grandfather in 1946. For information, a listing of additional activities or to make reservations, visit or call (740) 544-5253. Austin Lake RV Park and Cabins is located at 1002 township Road 285A, Toronto.

Moundsville Fire Department ready for event From staff reports

MOUNDSVILLE — Members of the Moundsville Volunteer Fire Department are preparing for their 20th-annual GunBlast event, scheduled to be held March 31 at

Moundsville the Training Center, formerly the West VirPenitentiary, ginia located at 818 Jefferson Ave. According to spokesperson Jeff Henderson, doors will open 11 a.m.

The GunBlast is a major fundraiser for the volunteer fire department, as proceeds go toward maintaining supplies and ensuring all equipment is kept up to date in order to protect the community.

“The amount of support we receive from the public is just amazing,” Henderson said. Tickets for the GunBlast are $35. Each ticket allows the holder the chance to win all of the guns listed

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on the main ticket. This means that should a ticketholder win on one draw, they still are eligible to win on the other draws as their number goes back in the pot to possibly be drawn again. Henderson noted in the past there have been people who have won on multiple drawings on the main ticket. In addition, the event will feature 50/50 drawings. Henderson said last year there were 55 guns for the 50/50 drawings and officials actually ran out for the first time. As a result, the number of guns has been moved up to 70 so there will be a large selection from which to win, he said. “We will also have kayaks again this year because they were a huge success last year,” he continued. In addition, there will be some chainsaws, leaf blowers, pressure washers, tool bundles, an array of different Americana crafts and hand-made items for


the drawings. Food and soda will be provided as well as adult beverages. Henderson said those attending the event may bring their own drinks, but glass containers are not permitted. Those attending the GunBlast will be carded at the door, and police officers will be on staff to oversee the event. “We just want to thank everyone for their continued support over the years,” Henderson said. “Our community means everything to us.” For information on the Moundsville Volunteer Fire Department GunBlast event, visit the department’s Facebook page. Arrangements can be made for those who live outside of the area to obtain tickets. Questions can be answered by contacting Henderson at (304) 281-4945 or the department at (304) 845-0110, which will assist in any way possible.

The 20th-annual GunBlast event, scheduled to be held March 31 at the Moundsville Training Center, formerly the West Virginia Penitentiary, is located at 818 Jefferson Ave.


Belmont tourism efforts enhanced for 2018 6A

From staff reports

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County Tourism Executive Director Barb Ballint, who took on the job last May, said the tourism office experienced changes and accomplishments in 2017 during a report to the Belmont County Board of Commissioners.

“Every year I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be in the position to promote the county,” Ballint said, adding that her office is using the first of the year to plan goals and priorities for promoting Belmont County’s attractions and drawing more visitors to the area. “It is time to up our game. We must work harder with our

partners and determine how we can enhance our efforts to better promote all that the county has to offer.” Ballint commended the many people and organizations involved in providing these attractions. “We do have a lot of people working in the industry. We include not only the lodging facilities, but also the

restaurants and our museums and our attractions, and ... the chairs of our small festivals. It brings people from around the corner, around the state and around the United States, and I look forward to continuing the mission of the tourism office,” she said. “The staff and I just want our visitors to have a memorable experi-


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ence.” Ballint provided highlights of the last quarter and throughout 2017. The tourism board hosted a wagon train in June, a Rubberneck Tour in October and a holiday open house at the Belmont County Sheriff’s ResiMuseum in dence December, as well as quarterly meetings with organizations that manage museums throughout Belmont County. Ballint also met quarterly with chambers of commerce and continued to develop relationships with these partners. “This is something I started (in 2017) with the chamber of commerce, just to be able to open the lines of communications and understand what’s going on in their communities,” she said. “Something I’d like to do in the future is start facilitating quarterly meetings with the lodging facilities so we can completely understand and know why the visitors are coming in. We have a lot of visitors for business, but I do know we also have a lot of visitors that stop by for pleasure also. That will give me a better way to measure my marketing on whether it’s successful or whether we need to make some changes.” In addition, the tourism board awarded 34 Grant Assistance

Program grants totaling $92,500 to area nonprofit organizations and festivals. Ballint pointed out that seven area museums also received grants totaling $17,245. “That’s something that the office is proud to be able to do,” she said. “(In 2017) I also became very active in statewide travel organizations,” she said, adding she has reached out the the Ohio Travel Association. “That will help me stay informed with not only what is going on in the state, but also national tourism-related news and trends.” Ballint also mentioned two major events sponsored by her office, the Ohio Valley Gas and Oil Expo and Jamboree in Hills. Each the received $10,000 from the council. The office also added Cathryn Stanley as a full-time administrative assistant in August. “It’s extremely helpful to have someone in the office at all times for operating hours,” Ballint said. “She is well-rounded and knows a lot of the happenings at the west side of the county.” During the last quarter, the office redesigned the visitor’s guide brochure and a brochure outlining historic landmarks and museums.

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was the intention, but once we started to have consistent weekly concerts, it exploded to where we draw 500 to 1,000 people each Thursday night. Bratten said the concerts met a need no one really saw a decade or so ago. Greathouse said, “I think people were ready for this. Entertainment is such a huge part of people’s life and that it’s free makes it better. You come out on a lovely evening under the stars. You see your neighbors and meet new people. It’s an enjoyable evening. People are proud of their community when they see something like that going on.” “People look forward to these concerts. It’s not only family-friendly music but a gathering place to meet friends and family, outside on a summer day, to enjoy the weather on the banks of the Ohio River, overlooking the hills of West Virginia,”


Continued from Page 2A

Staff photo

P e r f o r m a n c e s f r o m b o t h F o r t S t e u b e n Co n c e r t s e ri e s a n d t h e We i r t o n E v e n t s C e n t e r h a v e e nte r ta i n ed ma n y, a nd th e p l an s wi l l co n tin u e fo r 201 8 a n d b eyo n d. Sh o w n a r e s o m e o f t h o s e p e r f o r m a n c e s f r o m 2 0 1 7 .

Barilla continued. “The set- to be downtown, to be part ting and the atmosphere of the action. “And, it brings together adds to people wanting to be there, to be a part of it, a vast variety of people,

whether they live in the West End or downtown, whether they have gray hair or they’re 10 years old.

You find here a blending of our culture and our heritage and it works,” he said. Barilla said local restaurants are benefiting from the events, with people going out for dinner or bringing something with them. “We find lots of pizza boxes,” Barilla commented. Businesses, individuals or organizations interested in sponsoring the Fort Steuben Summer Concert Series should contact the fort at (740) 283-1787 or visit, where a sponsorship form is available. Greathouse said $25,000 is needed for the Wheeling Symphony show. Letters seeking sponsors have been sent, but he said those interested in helping sponsor the event should contact the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau at (877) 7237114 or e-mail

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Brooke Hills Park offers many attractions

Warren Scott

A c o u p l e e n j o y s a r i d e i n a p a d d l e b o a t a t B r o o k e H i l l s P a r k . I n r e c e n t ye a r s t h e c e n t e r f o u n t a i n w a s a d d e d t hr o ug h a d on a t i on b y th e fa mi l y o f th e l a t e Jo hn G. Che r n en ko , an d p a rk o f fi ci a ls pl a n to c re a te a p ai n tba l l a re n a i n the wo o ds ne a rb y..

By WARREN SCOTT Staff writer

WELLSBURG — 2017 saw the completion of a new swimming pool and addition of disc and foot golf courses at Brooke Hills Park, and park officials are looking forward to still more new attractions in the near future. Joe Mullenbach, president of the Brooke County Park and Recreation Commission, which oversees the park, said the board is getting estimates for a splash pad it hopes to add to the pool next year. Opened last spring, the 3,000-square-foot pool has a shallow, handicap accessible entry point, two slides

and a mushroom-shaped sprinkler. The $1.2 million project was funded by a $100,000 federal Land and Water Conservation grant and a 30-year loan taken by the park board. Janice McFadden, park manager, said since the pool opened, turnout has been good, and JoElle DeVore, park office manager, is working to secure a grant for a splash pad there. Mullenbach said damages to the previous pool had forced it to be closed late in the 2015 summer season. He said with no pool, the park saw a dive in shelter rentals and the board shifted its focus from lodging to a new pool.

But plans for lodging have resumed, and Walters Construction of Wheeling has been hired to build four cabins near the Rhododendron Shelter at a cost of $571,000. Mullenbach said utility lines for the cabins are nearly complete, and the first is expected to be built by May, pending suitable weather. It’s being funded in part by a $55,000 grant from the Charles and Thelma Pugliese Foundation. The first cabin will have two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom, kitchen and porch, with the others to have a similar layout and a fourth to be handicap accessible.

Mullenbach said the board plans to create a new area for recreational vehicles behind the park’s baseball field and closer to several natural gas wells drilled by Chesapeake Energy at the rear of the park to accommodate the many oil and gas workers who have been camping at the park. Not all of the workers have been involved with the gas wells there, but the move will eliminate the need to relocate the workers from the Brooke County Fairgrounds when that event is held in September. McFadden said the move will increase the number of available RV lots from 20 to 50, noting they may be

reserved by anyone. Mullenbach said the park receives about $100,000 per month in royalties from the gas wells, and Southwestern Energy could drill a few more. The company has acquired the leases for gas wells in Brooke County and others in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in 2014. Mullenbach said the park board sets aside about $50,000 from each month’s gas royalties in a future projects fund. In recent years the money has been used to build a new maintenance building to store the park’s golf carts and other equipSee BROOKE HILLS Page 6B Á

Grant will help protect land NOW OPEN!


FRIDAY, FEB. 16, 2018


Walking and biking trail may be part of plans Th e Je f fe rso n C o u nty Soi l a n d Wa te r Co nse r va ti o n Di stri ct w i ll be ap p ly i n g f or mor e th an $2 mi l l io n i n sta te fu n ds to p r o t e c t a h a b i t a t f o r h e l l b e n d e rs i n C r o s s C r e e k . T h e d i st r i c t i s w o r k i n g t o p r e se r v e a b o u t 4 1 2 a c r e s o f l a n d i n J e f f e r s on a n d H ar r is o n c o u n t ie s , w h i c h i n c l ud e s a n o l d br i d g e . T h e b r i d g e w a s or d er e d bu i l t b y P r e s i de n t A br a h am L i nc o ln .

By MARK LAW Staff writer

The Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District will be applying for a $2.4 million Clean Ohio fund to preserve about 412 acres of land in Cress Creek and Wayne townships in Jefferson County, which may include a three-mile walking and biking trail along Cross Creek. The soil and water district is working to obtain ownership of the land from the Ohio Rail Development Commission. Aaron Dodds, soil and water Cross Creek and Yellow Creek watershed coordinator, said the land will be used as a match for the grant. The grant mainly is for the protection of the population of hellbenders, a protected species of salamander, in Cross Creek. Hellbenders, found only in swift-flowing, rocky rivers and streams, are disappearing from large parts of the 16 states

they inhabit, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services officials. Dodds said Jefferson County has the largest population of hellbenders in Ohio, in which hellbenders are considered an endangered species. Dodds said the land is broken into four large parcels of noncontiguous land. The soil and water district in the future may work to acquire other parcels of land to connect the tracts. There are four railroad tunnels on the properties, the longest being 1,550 feet long. The land also includes an historic bridge. Irene Moore, district coordinator, said Abraham Lincoln was on his way to his presidential inauguration and crossed a wooden timber bridge. Part of the bridge was washed out during a flood, and Lincoln had to cross the bridge on foot and almost fell, Moore noted. Lincoln as president issued an

executive order for the bridge to be replaced with a stone bridge, which stands today. Dobbs said the grant will pay for fencing on the property to protect adjacent landowners and keep four-wheel drive vehicles off the property and from crossing the creek. The grant also will pay for fixing the bridge and tunnels and building the trail as well as signs and kayak launches. There will be three trail heads with parking spaces for walkers and bicyclists, he said. Dodds said the land has been isolated since 1949 when the railroad tracks were removed, but with the isolation of the area it’s led to wildlife thriving on land and in the creek. One section of the land extends into Harrison County. Work on the project is expected to be finished by the summer of 2019. Dodds said the soil and water conserva-

tion district wants to use the land as an outdoor classroom for students from the Francsican University of Steubenville and Gateway Eastern Community College. The project will benefit the county with tourism, Dodds said, and county residents will know the land is being preserved as a green space. “That property has some of the most beautiful and historically significant areas in the county, and it would be great to open it up to the public,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Gentile. There are other trails in the area that residents can take advantage of for exercise or enjoying nature. The Panhandle Rail Trail runs 29 miles beginning at the Walkers Mill station in Walker’s Mill, Pa., and ends in an area near Harmon Creek outside Weirton. It passes many towns beginning in Harmon Creek and

including Colliers, Dinsmore, Hanlin, Burgetstown, Joffre, Bulger, Midway, McDonald, Sturgeon, Noblestown, Oakdale, Rennerdale and, finally, Walkers Mill. At the 8.62-mile mark near McDonald, a one-

mile connector links the Panhandle to the larger Montour trail. There is a series of paved trails that go along the Ohio River from Wellsburg to south of Wheeling. See TRAIL Page 4B Á

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FRIDAY, FEB. 16, 2018

Continued from Page 2B

The trail also extends east of Wheeling toward Wheeling Hospital. The 9.7-mile Brooke County Pioneer Trail extends from south of Wellsburg at Buffalo Creek and follows the Ohio River to Ohio County, where it connects to the 13-mile Wheeling Heritage Trail. The 1.1-mile Wellsburg Yankee Trail travels north from the beginning of the Pioneer Trail through streets and along an old rail line. The Brooke County Pioneer Association worked for years to link the area’s trail system — including the Wheeling Heritage, Brooke Pioneer and Yankee trails — with a network of connected trails through and Pennsylvania Maryland that lead to Washington, D.C. Today, the only break in the chain is a stretch from the north end of Wellsburg to the western terminus of the Panhandle Trail in Weirton. The Panhandle Rail Trail runs 29 miles to Walker’s Mill, Pa. The trail is a way to showcase the area’s trail system, but also to encourage more people to adopt a healthy lifestyle,

according to association members. There also are walking trails at Friendship Park outside Smithfield. Three trails extend along the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at the park. The Rehabilitation Trail, sponsored by Plus of Rehab Steubenville, is a short paved trail designed for individuals recovering from surgery, illness or injury. The other two trails begin and end at the MidWay Pavilion, forming loops around the fairgrounds. The inner MidWay Trail extends about a mile along the fairground’s buildings, while the outer Overlook Trail incorporates the MidWay Trail and stretches about 1.5 miles. There is another walking and biking trail in Toronto, thanks to a cooperative venture between the city of Toronto, Stratton, Empire and the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization. pathway The includes a biking and hiking trail winding its way through the city and extending along county Road 7F — the former state Route 7 — into Empire and Stratton, establishing a 15-mile stretch.


T he J ef fe rs o n Co un ty So i l a nd Wa ter Con se r v a ti on D i stric t i s w or k in g t o ob t a in ab o ut 4 1 2 ac r e s o f l an d , a p o r t i o n o f w h ic h i s a lo n g C r o s s C r e e k . T h e d i s tr i c t w i l l b e a p p l y i n g f o r s t a t e f u n d i n g t o p r e s e r v e a h a b i t a t f o r h e l l b e n d e r s i n t h e c r ee k . T h e l an d f ol l ow s a n o l d r a il r oa d l i ne t ha t w a s a b an d on e d n ea r l y 6 0 y e ar s ag o.


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Continued from Page 3B

awards ceremony for her 17-year career with Howard Hanna by being given membership into the highlysought-after President’s Circle. This prestigious title is awarded to dedicated sales associates who have been with Howard Hanna for at least 15 years and have sales exceptional results. Lisa is also a yearly member of the Champions Club, National Sales Excellence and is consistently the top producing agent for Hancock and Brooke counties. Sales associates Cindy Bernardi, Carla Robert Slusarek, Glbert, Tony Viola, Angela Mazur, Melissa Mikula, Sharon Smith and Jessica Ford were awarded Million Dollar Producer Awards for achieving sales levels in listing or selling more than $1 million for 2017. The Rising Star Award went to Melissa Mikula for outstanding achievement in her first year of business. Founded in 1957 by Howard W. Hanna II, today Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is overseen by three generations of the Hanna family. The company is comprised of 270 offices, 9,000 sales associates in eight states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michi-


Sa l e s a s s o c i a t e s f r o m H o w a r d H a n n a M o r t i m e r R e a l t y w h o w e r e r e c o g n i z ed w i t h t h e M i ll i o n D o l la r P r od u c e r A w a r d i n c l u de d , i n f r o n t f r om le ft, Mel i s sa Mi ku la , C in d y Be r na r di , Carl a Sl u sar e k a n d Li sa He n sle y, a n d i n b ac k, Ton y V i ol a , J es si ca F or d , A n ge la Ma z u r a n d Rob e r t Gi l b er t.

gan, Maryland, New York, Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia. “Howard Hanna Realty Mortimer wants you to feel right at home by providing the structure for all of your real estate decisions. We want to provide the best customer service available. As industry specialists, we can help you make the best choices. We take pride in our reputation and we are deeply committed to ensuring your satisfaction,” said Robin Viola, broker/owner. The Hanna advantage begins with the exclusive money back guarantee. If for any reason the buyer of a

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suggest properties that fit your needs. In an effort to connect buyers, sellers and agents in a new way, Howard Hanna has created an app that provides those for open looking homes with a tool to find them. Available iPhone and for Android, the Howard Hanna Open House App provides consumers with the quickest and easiest way to find open homes in their area, displaying nearby properties in real time. Hanna’s Howard sales associates are the best of the best, with a thorough knowledge of the market and the real estate industry as a whole. Our real estate agents pride themselves on providing a personalhome-selling ized experience to meet your needs, complete with weekly listing reports that profile your listing’s performance on our website. The agents personally tour listings in order to have knowledge of the inventory and to assure their clients they are informed of new listings as they come on the market. The real estate market showed some very positive increases in Hancock and Brooke in 2017. counties Closed sales were up

15 percent, the average sale price rose almost 2 percent, and the days a home was on the market decreased by 6.8 percent. These are all indicators of a very active market. An increasing number of younger people between the ages of 21 and 35 are buying homes in the area. This is due to innovative mortgage programs offering low interest rates and little or no money down and many times purchasing is less expensive than renting. “We are very excited to see the younger putting generation down roots in our area. We have good relationships with the local banks and mortgage companies, so we can help the buyers find the best choice for their mortgage. “We take pride in living and working in the Northern Panhandle. We would like to thank all of the many sellers and buyers who have helped to make the last 20 years such a success. We hope to be a large part of the growth that we are seeing in our area. We encourage anyone who is thinking about selling their home to give us a call. We would be happy to guide them through the home selling process.”

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St. Joseph the Worker Grade School Working for Christ and His Kingdom St. Joseph the Worker Grade School is committed to providing a quality education in the Catholic Tradition for all students in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment.

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Brooke Hills and make ment improvements to existing facilities, according to McFadden. She noted there are plans to use some of the money to add golf cart paths gradually to the park’s 18-hole golf course and a small shelter near the miniature golf course. The park also has received donations for other additions, such as the disc and foot golf courses. A donation from Bill and Jamie Bayless, a Brooke graduate now living in Austin, Texas, has allowed the park to create a disc golf course throughout the park. Disc golf uses a disc resembling a Frisbee that is aimed at metal cages mounted on poles. The course has been named for Paul “Bud” Billiard, a park board member, and Bill Bayless’ former coach, and Billiard’s wife, Carol. A paved access road to the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park near the paddle boat pond has been named in honor of William “Buck” and Lucille Bayless. Another of Billiard’s former students, Carl Carenbauer, and his wife, Jacki, donated funds for the foot golf

Our New BreastCare Center together with All About Women Upscale women’s care you won’t find anywhere else in Weirton-Steubenville Route 22/30 Corridor.


Continued from Page 1B

Warren Scott

B r o o k e H i l l s P a r k o f f i c i a l s h o p e to a d d a s p l a s h p a d n e a r t h e n e w s w immi n g p o ol tha t o p e ne d i n Ma y. Th e 3,000 -sq u a r e -fo ot po o l h a s a sh a ll o w, h an d ic ap ac ce ssib l e e ntr y p o i nt , two sl i d es a nd a mush ro o m sh a pe d sp ri nk le r.

course added to the park’s traditional golf course. The sport involves kicking balls soccer style into underground buckets near each of the golf course’s holes. “Bud has been a big help in getting donors for the park,” said Mullenbach. The park also has received a major boost the Army from Reserve’s 336th Engineering Co. and other

companies in the 463rd Battalion. In 2015 Billiard approached the Army Reserve leaders about doing work at the park, and it’s been a major savings to the park, Mullenbach noted. Under the command of Capt. Kevin Starbuck, the troops have completed a number of projects, including removing the old pool; leveling the ground for the new one; installing

cages for the disc golf course; building a new shelter by the park’s playground and creating a cement pad there for a handicap accessible swing; paving the road to the Veterans Memorial Park; renovating an old restroom and shower facility for the campground; and clearing grounds near the ballfield to accommodate the creation of a new one that meets tournament regula-

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tions. Billiard noted the troops have worked many weekends at the park and set up a camp there for 10 days in August when they completed tasks. “We at Brooke Hills Park are extremely thankful and appreciative of their outstanding, conscientious and proud efforts in our park and for the Brooke County community. They are not only our partner, but they are considered family,” he said. The park and community, including several restaurants and churches, have shown appreciation by providing a place for the Reservists to hold their annual family picnic and supplying food for the troops. The Reservists also have begun work on light posts to be installed at the basketball court and paddle

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boat pond. There are plans to convert the court for several sports, including volleyball, tennis, paddle ball and pickle ball, which involves a paddle and a ball similar to a whiffle ball. A video game arcade has been added to the paddle boat house, and plans call for a paintball arena to be established in a wooded area near the pond by spring. Conaway Construction of Wellsburg donated materials and labor to replace the roof. In recent years two new docks for the pond were donated by Muscle American Docks & Fabrication. A lighted fountain at the pond’s center was sponsored in memory of John G. Chernenko by his family, who also provided for a drinking fountain at the Veterans Memorial Park. Chernenko, a World War II veteran and long-time public servant, was greatly involved. Mullenbach said to make the most of the park’s scenic beauty, the board would like to extend a series of trails throughout the park, with “jumping off” points at various areas. McFadden added the Reservists have built about a dozen decks on which tents may be pitched in the park’s primitive campground. She said she’s happy to be a part of the park’s development. “It’s very exciting. We’re growing and definitely have the community’s support. As we grow and expand, we’re able to offer more things to the people and we’re excited about it.”

As we celebrate Black History Month,

“A TASTE of Italy”



FRIDAY, FEB. 16, 2018

we celebrate the historic and ongoing contributions of African Americans in every realm of our nation’s growth and success, from business and politics to art, music, education and beyond. Please join us in saluting the achievements of the black leaders and role models who have made history, and continue to cultivate progress, awareness and a bright future for all.

~Remembering~ Verbal art of the Folk-Rural era, language based on the African tongue and Southern plantation English, the storyteller on market day, and later, the black preacher on Sunday

Jerry L. Boswell Attorney-at-Law



SPAGHETTI HOUSE “Our Family Wants To Serve Your Family”

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XX FEB. 16, 2018 FRIDAY,





XXXDAY, XXXFEB. XX,16, 2017 FRIDAY, 2018

Progress 2018 Edition III  

Welcome to the Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times annual Progress edition. The theme of this year's edition is "Progress 2018: Pride. Purpo...

Progress 2018 Edition III  

Welcome to the Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times annual Progress edition. The theme of this year's edition is "Progress 2018: Pride. Purpo...