Stuck between a rock and a hard place

SOMETIMES YOU just get left holding the bag through no fault of your own.

The Belmont County Board of Elections found itself in that unenviable position this past week. The board received word Monday that Liberty Automotive in Martins Ferry would no longer serve as a polling site.

Liberty was the lone Ferry balloting venue in the last election and only one of three handicapped- and parking-accessible sites in the Purple City.

The other two — South School and the Martins Ferry school campus — rejected overtures from the election board to serve as a polling site. Finding suitable and legal voting locations is no easy task. I was given a manual of requirements and restrictions for polling booths. It is voluminous.

Many people think a large building is all you need. Others think the Ferry fire departments are suitable. Such is not the case.

So, the Belmont County Board of Elections was left holding the bag. But it is not the bad guy here, if there is a bad guy.

The board had less than one week to house the Ferry voters. It came down to either Hilltop Social Hall in Colerain or the James Carnes Center in St. Clairsville.

Board members made the obvious call, going with Colerain. Their hands were tied. If they had chosen the Carnes Center, I can only imagine the outrage that would be emanating out of the Purple City.

I attended the board’s emergency meeting Thursday, where members decided which direction to go with Ferry residents. They unanimously picked Colerain, which was the correct move.

They know complaints will be forthcoming. But if the board had its druthers, it would have Ferry voters casting ballots within city limits. The board doesn’t have such an option.

We are fortunate in Belmont County to have an election board and director in Bill Shubat who take their work so seriously. They were backed into a corner and were forced to make an agonizing decision. The board did extensive homework before opting for Colerain.

While some — and possibly many Martins Ferry voters — may be unhappy with trekking to Colerain to vote, they need to realize the board of elections is not at fault.

We suggest dropping any animosity and instead pick up an absentee ballot.


A CHICKEN/Steak fry fundraiser is being held on Friday, Oct. 18 for former Times Leader staffer Paula Ginther.

Ginther suffered a severe infection caused by an abscess which entered her bloodstream. She subsequently incurred a stroke on May 18. The Shadyside resident was Lifeflighted to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she was in coma for five weeks.

Ginther is now rehabbing at Peterson Hospital in Wheeling. Her extended medical stay has cost her job at Russell Nesbitt as well as her medical coverage. She has no current income.

The fundraiser will be held at the Italian Club in Elm Grove from 5-11:30 p.m. BYOB while mixes will be available. Music will be provided by TrackOne DJ Service. Cost is $35 per couple or $20 for a single. For information or for tickets, call Brenda Minzler at 304-233-1981 or Jo Ann Welsh at 304-233-8324.


THE BELMONT County District Library is celebrating Adopt a Shelter Dog Month during the month of October at the main library in Martins Ferry by accepting donations to be given to the Belmont County Animal Shelter.

Donations needed include dry puppy food, canned food, mops, brooms, leashes & collars, paper towels, cat/dog treats, raw hides, bleach, dish and laundry detergent.

Donations of money will also be accepted at the library to give to the shelter. The library offers many books on choosing a new and appropriate pet for your family as well as information on properly keeping a pet and books on all kind of pets. If you want to read about animals, the library is the place to come and select a book or two.

Check the Belmont County District Library’s web page at Call the library at 633-0314 for additional information.


THINGS ARE heating up with the November election. Candidate and levy signs can be seen nearly everywhere. Election letters-to-the-editor are becoming numerous. Sunday, Oct. 27 is the final day we will publish election-related letters. They need to be in my possession by Oct. 25.

SPEAKING OF politics, the partial government continues to drag on and members of Congress continue to be paid. When cashing those checks they need to remember what their job is: to do what is best for their constituents. Shutting down government does not fall into that category. Partisan politics stagnates this country.

I SAID before the season started that Northwestern would be Ohio State’s stiffest grid test this fall. The Wildcats did give the Buckeyes all they could handle. I say now Ohio State will go unbeaten again for Urban.

THE OHIO Valley Athletic Conference is looking for pictures to display in the OVAC Sports Museum located in WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. In particular, museum officials are seeking photos of venues that still exist or no longer exist: football stadiums, basketball courts, baseball/softball fields, tracks, fieldhouses, high schools. While we are trying to preserve pictures of the actual venue, crowd photos or game photos showing the facility can also be submitted. Pictures will be enlarged to a 20×24 photo and displayed. The original photo will be returned to the owner. Photos can be mailed to the OVAC Office, 64962 Breezy Point Lane, Bellaire, OH 43906. For more information, contact

BELLAIRE NATIVE and St. John?Central grad John Magistro has his Westerville Central Warhawks sitting at 6-1 after a 56-7 beatdown of rival Westerville North Friday. Magistro will takes his charges to Westerville South this week.

JIM KNELLINGER, a longtime faithful Martins Ferry Purple Rider fan, was given a rousing round of applause in honor of his 90th birthday prior to Friday night’s kickoff between Ferry and Buckeye Local. Martins Ferry is in its 106th year of football, so Knellinger was around for all but 16 of those seasons.

When the crumbling brick wall at Walnut Grove Cemetery was removed during a major rehabilitation project by the Martins Ferry Rotary Club, Knellinger designed the wrought iron fence to replace the wall. He was a member of the Martins Ferry Rotary for 40 years until it was disbanded.

Kapral may be reached at