Ferry honors achievers

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Martins Ferry eighth-grader Jackson Romshak, left, and seventh-grader Jude Kutuy are two winners of the Belmont County Scholastic Challenge tournament in March. They were recognized during a school board meeting Thursday. Trent Lewis, Hunter Lude and Colby Shriver, all eighth-graders and fellow winners, were not present.

MARTINS FERRY — The Martins Ferry Board of Education honored champions of the Belmont County Scholastic Challenge tournament last week.

Board members Scott Ballint, Brian McFarland, Nick Stankovich, Dorothy Powell, Bill Suto and Superintendent Jim Fogle were in attendance. The participating students won honors at the March 14 event at Belmont College.

“I’m so proud of them,” Barbie McKeegan, coach and gifted teacher, said. “All Belmont County schools participate, seventh and eighth grade, and they were the champions of the tournament. They were undefeated the whole day.”

McKeegan said the contenders demonstrated a mastery of math, science, language arts, social studies and current events. She added that the students also demonstrated teamwork as well.

“I was very impressed with the way that they worked together and performed,” she said.

“We prepare the whole year,” Jackson Romshak, eighth-grader and one of the winners, said, adding that the event posed a challenge.

Seventh-grader Jude Kutuy said it is crucial to “keep your head cool” during such an event. He also noted the importance of teamwork.

In other matters, the board approved a six-month contract with Andy Sutak, former Belmont County auditor, to monitor oil and gas activity in the district. His pay will be negotiated. He will start his duties at the beginning of May. His initial steps will be obtaining reports from the county.

“It’s self-monitored,” Treasurer Karen Blake said. “He’s going to keep an eye on things and work with my office and keep track of the wells that are actually producing and what they’re producing.”

Blake said the district was unsure of the number producing and the amount.

“I know we’ve got a couple producing. We’re getting small royalties,” she said.

“Somebody needs to bird dog this,” Suto said.

The board also passed a resolution in opposition to Ohio House Bill 512, which would place more educational authority under the governor’s office. Other school districts in Ohio have passed similar motions in opposition.

“They want to take (authority) from the board of education and put it under the governor,” Blake said, adding that the bill is still in the Ohio House of Representatives and has not gone through the Senate.

Fogle added the district will accept bids for a total renovation of the softball and baseball fields until noon April 20.

Finally, the board approved a bid of $39,500 from Italiano Construction to install a new roof on the stadium fieldhouse. The roof is about 21 years old. A timetable for work will be set.