Time remains to properly prepare for Christmas

TODAY is the Third Sunday of Advent and the crimson colored candle on the wreath will be lighted. For those who have done nothing or very little to prepare for the Coming of the Christ Child, there is still time.

We still have a few days to give of our time and resources to make Christmas a blessed and happy one for someone in need.

As of Dec. 8, there were approximately 50 names left on the Giving Tree at the Ohio Valley Mall. So, if you are out that way, please stop and take one of those names and make the holidays joyful for a child.

Once again, I am running the quotes of Bing Crosby and Norman Vincent Peale because they provide food for thought during this special season. Bing Crosby said, “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it white.”

Norman Vincent Peale said, “I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs and living the Christmas spirit, we can bing joy and happiness and peace to this world.”

We can’t permit other people, like the governor of the state of Washington, destroy the beauty of Christmas or dampen the spirit of joy and peace which abounds this holiday season. Bill O’Reilly, a syndicated columnist wrote this about Gov. Christine Gregoire. He said she has insulted Christians all over the world.

“Inside the state Capitol building in Olympia, there is a traditional holiday display featuring a tree and the Nativity scene; perfectly appropriate since the federal and state Christmas holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

“But this year, Gregoire decided to add another item to the display.

“Standing alongside the Baby Jesus is a giant placard designed by atheists that reads: “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

Shame on Gov. Gregoire. O’Reilly says “her behavior is offensive, insulting to all people of faith and totally incomprehensible.”

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WE have had some pretty cold days and nights and some snow which caused our roads to be slick and slippery, and it isn’t even winter. However, it arrives Sunday, Dec. 21, at 7:04 a.m.

The first day of winter is the shortest daylight hour of the year, and then the daylight hours start to increase. Before too much longer, we will notice the difference. Mother Nature’s pendulum keeps on swinging. Remember, no one can stop the clock or the calendar.

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OUR congratulations are extended to Sue Douglass for having been appointed the executive director of the Belmont County Department of Development/Community Improvement Corp. She has been serving as the associate director for the past 10 months.

We have known Sue for several years. We nominated her for the Belmont County Liberty Bell Award and she received it from the Belmont County Bar Association several years ago.

Douglass got her start in teaching at St. Joseph Central School in Wolfhurst and then moved to Union Local Elementary School in Morristown. She was instrumental in securing grant funding for the rehabilitation of the historic 1828 Blaine Bridge. She was on the steering committee for Greater Ohio, a statewide economic growth initiative, and was an officer and member of the Ohio National Road Association. She is the founder and director of the Eastern Ohio Leadership Council, a local group focusing on leadership models and building community connections.

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THE Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District elected two new supervisors at the 63rd Annual Meeting and Banquet held recently. Beginning their terms in January will be David P. Lash, Jr., of Colerain, and Tim Wojchowski, St. Clairsville.

At the banquet, Raven Rocks, Inc., was named the recipient of the Conservation Farm Award.

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AARP Chapter 2994 Belmont County West invites everyone to its Holiday Festivities Dinner and Show on Thursday, Dec. 18 at Belmont Hills Country Club. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and a buffet lunch at 12:10 p.m. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are required.

For information or to make a reservation call (740) 676-4264 or 695-6273.

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A state trooper from Post 7, St. Clairsville, has made the “Hot Sheet,” a monthly newsletter reporting Ohio’s Habitual OVI offenders.

According to the sheet, Sgt. R. Chris Chesar arrested David E. Otto, 42, for his sixth OVI offense. The arrest was made on June 8, 2008.

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CONGRATULATIONS to the Seniors at the St. Clairsville Senior Center. They have conducted a drive to collect new items which will be donated to the Miracle of Life. Daisy Braun, center director, said it is the seniors’ community impact project for the holiday season. The Miracle of Life Helps mothers and babies in need. The items will be delivered to Miracle of Life on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

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THE Belmont County Fair Housing Commission recently submitted its year-end report to the Belmont County Commissioners. All documentation for the year 2008 is compiled in the Fair Housing Log and is on file and available for review. Commissioners approved the report.

Roberta Jenkins, Fair Housing Director, submitted the report which showed there were 172 phone calls, mostly tenant/landlord issues, such as tenants being behind in rent payments, houses/apartments needing repairs, or receiving eviction notices.

Two discrimination complaints were investigated. Documentations were reviewed, investigated and then forwarded to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission for final rulings.

A Fair Housing Analysis of Impediments update was completed for the county and included various issues related to the county as well as goals for possible impediments to fair housing choice. A copy was forwarded to the state for their review and possible recommendations.

Jenkins noted that Fair Housing Month was observed in April. Billboards were posted around the county and Fair Housing promotional advertisements were placed in local newspapers. Fair Housing brochures were also distributed in various places throughout the county.

Fair Housing seminars were held in communities and schools and were conducted from February through August.

Jenkins complimented the board members and said they give of their time and talents to assist both landlords and tenants. “I thank them for their dedication and loyalty for providing a very valuable service to the county.”

Members of the Fair Housing Commission include Steve Solar, Marie Hanlon, Joseph Bencur, Marjorie Williams, Angelina Johnson, Attorney Eric Costine, Hearing Officer, William Weekley and Jenkins.

Commissioners approved the renewal of three year terms for Solar, Hanlon and Costine The terms begin Jan.1, 2009 and will end Dec. 31, 2011.

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HAPPY Birthday wishes are extended to Eugene “Doc” Householder who observes his 80th today.

A celebration will be held today from 1-4 p.m. at the Barnesville Senior Center. The family extends and open invitation for everyone to join in the observance.