Not your ordinary seventh graders

BY THE time you get to this piece, I hope you have read Sports Editor Seth Staskey’s great feature on the Bellaire seventh grade students on the front page of today’s edition.

The story is truly inspirational.

To have a group of young people so passionate and committed to any cause is truly remarkable. In this instance, the cause is one that directly impacts their immediate future — the 1 percent tax on the May primary ballot.

These students really do get it.

They understand what is on the line.

Another election defeat could spell doom for the school district. After two lopsided voting reversals, it could really be three strikes and you are out for the district as we know it.

These Bellaire students realize the gravity of the situation.

The seventh graders are wise and industrious beyond their years. They have delivered countless hours in their mission. Their pinnacle event unfolds Tuesday with “Picnic in the Park.” As the front page feature detailed, the event will take on a carnival-like atmosphere, with a myriad of events.

The theme of the program will be soliciting support for the tax issue’s passage. We just hope the students’ meticulous planning doesn’t have to fend off our never-ceasing rain.

These students, and their parents and teachers who have help shape them so impressively, receive our highest praise.

SPEAKING OF the levy, Tony Scott and several other Bellaire School District administrators are being taken to task in regards to the upcoming tax issue. Scott, the district’s superintendent, as well as Treasurer Tara Boyer, high school principal Steve Romey and middle school principal Derrick McAfee all live outside of the school district and would not be impacted by the tax. Each, however, has pledged to pay the 1 percent tax, even though not required by law.


FORMER ST. JOHN Central track great April Rotilio continues to sparkle in her senior season at West Virginia University. The three-time state champion while at SJC turned in her career best time in the 400-meter in last weekend’s Kent Taylor-Joe Hilton Carolina Invitational at Chapel Hill, N.C. Rotilio, despite battling illness, captured the event with a sizzling 53.73 reading, in stormy weather which included tornado warnings in the area. Rotilio is running today in the Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus.

TODAY MARKS the final day we are publishing election-related letters for the May primary. Now voters must do their homework and make sure they cast their ballot.

THE BELLAIRE All-American Days Festival Committee is having a reverse drawing and kick-off dinner on April 30 from 6-9 p.m. at The Forest Hills Community Center in West Bellaire. Tickets are $2 per ticket and includes food, drinks, and a chance to win the grand prize of $1,000. For info or to purchase tickets, call 740-676-4817.

ONE NATIONAL poll has Donald Trump as the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump is a tremendous businessman, but I don’t view him as presidential material. When the primary dust clears, I expect Sarah Palin to be carrying the GOP torch in the bid for the Oval Office.

LOOK FOR longer grass this summer, as the high price of gasoline will have homeowners mowing their lawns less frequently.

THE MID-AMERICAN Conference may have to change its name if it continues with its far-reaching expansion. The MAC is adding the University of Massachusetts as a football-playing member. UMass will have its first MAC schedule in 2013. Philadelphia-based Temple is already in the conference.

VETERANS HAVE earned a special niche in society. Local vets were featured at the Belmont County commissioners’ meeting Wednesday. It was noteworthy that 6,000 veterans reside in Belmont County, which has only 70,000 residents.

THE MARTINS Ferry Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon Tuesday. Chamber officials said that tickets were in high demand for the Annual Academic Banquet planned for Tuesday, May 3 at WesBanco Arena. Paul Riethmiller noted that the Lions Club will again be planting flowers around the city this spring. The chamber will also be selling popcorn at the Grace Church Festival scheduled for the park on Saturday, May 21.

BELLAIRE NATIVE and former Linsly Military Institute star Jim Keane died last month. Keane played at Iowa and Northwestern before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1945. He enjoyed a stellar seven-year NFL career. He led the NFL in receptions in 1947 with 64, good for 910 yards and 10 TDs. The Bears won the NFL title in Keane’s rookie year. Keane ended his career with the Packers. He was a two-time All-Pro selection. Keane still has numerous relatives in the Bellaire area. He was enshrined into the OVAC Hall of Fame Legends category last August.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader