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Resignation topped April area news

December 23, 2012
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The chairwoman of the JB Green Team Board of Trustees resigned from the board on April 2 citing infighting among board members over choosing a new executive director.

The resignation topped news of the area for April.

Ginny Favede submitted her resignation letter following an hour-long emergency meeting attended by six of the 15 board members.

"My commitment as a board member has always been to one thing and that is the belief that we are truly responsible for preserving our earth for future generations that will come after us. I do not understand nor can I explain what has gone wrong within our board. There is much infighting within the board and I truly feel we as a whole have lost our focus on what our duty and mission is," stated Favede.

Favede had called the emergency meeting to discuss hiring a new executive director following Mark McVey's decision to not accept the job he was offered on March 12.

"Mr. McVey notified me on March 22 he had decided to not accept the position. I notified the board by e-mail, and John Abdalla, chairman of the personnel committee, instructed our board secretary to advertise for the position with all resumes and applications due by April 30," explained Favede.

In other news in April:

Mark P. Higgins Jr., 27, was sentenced on April 2 to life in prison without parole by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson after a jury convicted Higgins of two counts of raping an 8-year-old girl in April 2011.

County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Bruzzese said Higgins forcibly pulled the girl's pants down and then used threats to try to conceal the crime. Bruzzese believes there were more acts of sexual abuse than those contained in the indictment.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department was notified by Eastern Ohio Regional Hospital in April 2011 about a child brought there who was suspected of being sexually abused. The investigation led to Higgins, and deputies were heading to his home to arrest him when Higgins fled. Higgins was apprehended by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Mount Pleasant the next day.

Defense attorney Steven Stickles said the victim will not forget what happened but he hopes she can move on with her life.

"I'm asking the court to give Mr. Higgins a chance," Stickles said. "He should be afforded the opportunity to be rehabilitated and prove he can be a member of society. I'm asking merely that he be given a chance to prove that to the parole board, provided he makes it that far."

Bruzzese countered, saying, "(Higgins) has already proven he can't be a productive member of society. Unfortunately, the death sentence is not an option. He is worse than a murderer. The hurt will never go away."

The Steubenville Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously on April 2 in favor of a conditional use approval for the Christ's Community Church to hold services in the former Roosevelt School on Belleview Boulevard and sent a positive recommendation for rezoning the property to the city council.

It was the second time in a year the commission and council has been asked to rezone the property for a church to operate in the former school building.

Council approved the conditional use of the building in April, but property owner Ben Wade later changed his mind and did not proceed with plans to hold church services in the structure.

Steubenville officials reached out to area ministers in early April asking for help in stopping shootings and violence in the community.

City Manager Cathy Davison and Police Chief Bill McCafferty requested the ministers to work with the city, "to unify our community."

"This is about bringing the community together. We want to unify our community. We have issues we need to solve. We need to get our message out to the parishioners of all our churches," added Davison.

The meeting was prompted in part by a drive-by shooting that left Quentin R. Nelson, 24, of Steubenville dead and Leroy Benjamin, 23, of Steubenville injured.

"We're asking for help. It is not just Steubenville with a drug problem. Its the Ohio Valley and the entire United States. Heroin has made a huge comeback. It is a real problem. We have had several murders in recent years and most are drug related," cited McCafferty.

In April community activists and concerned citizens were invited to join others to promote peace and love in the neighborhood with a Walk for Peace and Love, beginning at the Tower of Power Church, 1310 Maryland Ave.

The march, organized by Dawud Abdullah, president of the Brothers and Sisters Intelligensia Crew; the Rev. Everett Mitchell, pastor of the Tower of Power Church; and the Rev. JoElla Williams, pastor of the Bethel A.M.E. Church, was open to all citizens of all races, creeds and religions and was in response to incidents of violence in the neighborhood, according to Abdullah.

The walks continued on a regular basis.

Houston-based Express Energy in April leased the old J&J property in Toronto from Biasi Realty for one year, with the option to extend the lease should they wish.

Eric Tanzberger, vice president of business management for Express Energy, said the property was immediately available, adding it was conveniently located and fit "site requirements in terms of acreage, office and shop space."

Biasi acquired the property in 2011. It had housed the J&J auto dealership prior to its closing in 2008.

Legendary college football coach and Follansbee native Lou Holtz was the keynote speaker during the Franciscan University of Steubenville's 45th-annual Century Dinner on April 4 at the university.

Holtz, born in Follansbee and raised in East Liverpool, is the only coach in NCAA history to lead teams from six different colleges to bowl games. He's also the only coach to guide four different programs to top 20 rankings, and his 1988 Notre Dame team claimed the consensus national championship. His 22 bowl appearances and 12 bowl wins rank him fifth among all college coaches. In 2008, Holtz was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

During his speech, Holtz said it was good to be back home, and the Ohio Valley had a special place in his heart.

Steubenville resident Patti West, niece of city and Canadian Football League football legend Calvin Jones, said shooting of a documentary honoring Jones would go on April 27 at Harding Stadium, "rain, sleet or snow."

A film crew from Infield Fly Productions of Canada arrived to shoot film for a documentary to include Jones' roots in the Ohio Valley, culminating in a simulation of the Big Red football game at 7 p.m. Friday at Harding Stadium.

At the time, West said the recreation at Harding Stadium - named the Calvin Jones Memorial Football Game - was open to the public.

Jones was a 1952 graduate of Steubenville High School and played for Big Red before moving onto Iowa and then the CFL. He also reportedly was a Big Red basketball star as well, leading the team to a state title game. Jones also has been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame at Cincinnati's King's Island.

More remains of a Toronto man killed during the waning days of the Vietnam War returned home in April after being identified by Navy officials.

Toronto native Ronald Manning was a 21-year-old Navy corpsman killed in 1975 during an attempt to rescue the crew of the SS Mayaguez, a merchant ship hijacked by Khmer Rouge naval forces in the Gulf of Thailand.

Manning's fate at the time was unknown, and he officially was listed as missing in action until remains were identified by the Navy in 2000. His remains were returned to the Gem City to a hero's welcome at the time and buried in the Toronto Union Cemetery. Ron Manning was the son of Donna and James Manning Sr. of Toronto.

James "Bo" Manning Jr. said advancements in DNA technology enabled the Navy to positively identify more of Ron Manning's remains. The remains were buried in Toronto Union Cemetery with military honors.

Gov. John R. Kasich urged government leaders throughout Eastern Ohio to build economic diversity even as they grow their economies when he addressed the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance's 22nd-annual meeting in April which this year honored Mingo Junction's Cryogenics Construction Co. and three other companies in EODA's 16-county region as 2012 EODA Manufacturing Excellence Award winners.

Cryogenics President Mark Bordash and Vice President, Matt Bordash were on hand for the awards presentation, along with a delegation of business and government leaders representing Jefferson County.

Kasich told community leaders from the EODA member counties that even as the oil and gas industry ramps up, they need to keep in mind the importance of building economic balance.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was in Chester April 23 to present $200,000 in state funding for the old pottery's demolition, the last piece of the funding puzzle for the roughly $970,000 project, saying he looks forward to the day when the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor property in Chester is generating jobs and revenue for the community.

Tomblin called it a "new day for that piece of property," and said that once cleaned up, "we can have new jobs here, we can continue to make good use of the land."

Hancock County commissioners previously put up a half-million dollars from their economic development fund

Eagle Manufacturing announced it had acquired the old Banner Fiberboard property in Wellsburg, a move President and CEO Joe Eddy said gives them room to grow.

Courthouse records indicate the company paid $1.2 million for the parcel. Strategically located in the heart of Wellsburg, the property has easy access to state Route 2 and features a rail spur, so moving materials and product to and from the plant is easy.

On April 21 members of the Jefferson County Trails and Greenways Task Force and other county officials and residents, including several children, gathered at Friendship Park for the official opening of three trails.

Despite steady rainfall, the children accepted an invitation to decorate their bicycles and take the first run over the Rehabilitation Trail. It and the MidWay and Overlook trails were extended through the park through the support of Rehab Plus of Steubenville, Signs Unlimited of Wintersville and others.

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