Timber boosts county coffers

STEUBENVILLE – Funds from the past year’s timber harvest at Fernwood State Forest were presented to the county during Thursday’s Jefferson County commissioners’ meeting.

Frank Corona, Eastern Forests manager for the forestry division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, presented commissioners a check for $15,364 as its portion of funds generated from the harvesting of about 120 acres of timber during the past year at the 3,000-acre state forest in Cross Creek Township.

During Thursday’s meeting, Corona told commissioners the township also would receive $15,458, while the Indian Creek Local School District would be presented with $30,729.

“This is the first timber harvest we’ve had at Fernwood State Forest,” said Corona, adding the harvest continued through the first and second fiscal year for the state agency. “The school district will receive the biggest portion of the funds. It’s part of (ODNR’s) Trees for Textbooks program. (Presenting funds) is the best part of my job.”

Corona also said for several years the agency and Fernwood State Forest have hosted fifth-graders from local school districts touring and learning about nature through visits to the forest

“Since 1989 we’ve had 16,000 pupils go through Fernwood State Forest’s land laboratory,” Corona continued. “We’ve got a lot of good things going on there.”

Corona invited commissioners to attend one of the pupil programs. Commissioners praised the agency for the funds and for hosting the school programs.

“It’s a great (program),” said Commissioner Tom Gentile. “We really appreciate it.”

“It’s always great to see an agency involved in something like this,” said Commissioner Tom Graham.

In other matters:

  • County resident Cindy Humpe asked commissioners for their support for her developing a local chapter of Blue Star Mothers, an advocacy and support group for parents of military personnel.

“I began this support group because there was nothing like it (locally),” Humpe told commissioners, adding her son, Sean Humpe, is enlisted and currently serving in Iraq.

Humpe said the Ohio Valley Blue Star Mothers is a nonprofit chapter of a national organization, and the group’s purpose is to keep national awareness on those currently serving in combat overseas; to educate members and others not to divulge military secrets; to give support to mothers of those serving; to be alert to un-American activities; to foster respect for the military and patriotism; to uphold American principles of freedom; and to defend the country against its enemies.

Humpe invited commissioners and the public to a meet-and-greet event scheduled from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the Mingo Junction Knights of Columbus Hall, Legion Drive, Mingo Junction. She said those interested in attending could call her at 740-535-1577.

Commissioners expressed their support for the venture and wished Humpe well.

“I applaud you for your efforts,” said Gentile. “One person can make a difference most of the time.”

“I congratulate you for taking this on,” said Commissioner Dave Maple. “It’s a fantastic thing.”

“I can’t imagine how (parents) must feel when their (sons and daughters) go to war – it puts things into perspective,” said Graham.

  • Graham announced the county would be taking advantage of a moratorium on the county’s portion of employer health care insurance payments for November. He added the county’s monthly health care payments range from $300,000 to $500,000.