St. Clairsville stages tree party

IT was an upbeat way to spend a splendid Tuesday spring morning.

“IT” was the Tree City USA Program hosted by the City of St. Clairsville. Home base for the affair was new Thoburn United Methodist Church, a gorgeous entity in its own right.

For those not familiar with it, Tree City USA is a big deal. St. C. was hosting the regional event for the initial time. The hilltop community is located in the southern most portion of the 13-county region.

Belmont County is joined by Ashland, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Stark, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties. It is a massive geographically area, which reinforced the magnitude of Tuesday’s event.

Several hundred guests were in attendance with St. C. officials serving as the hosts.

Police Chief Martin Kendzora served as emcee. If he ever retires from his chief’s duty, he can go straight into show business as a comedian.

Mayor Bob Vincenzo and Service Director Dennis Bigler provided much of the substance to the program, as they were able to showcase their scenic city. Recreation Director Kevin Barr helped pull together all the pre-event planning.

After spending a morning amongst the St. C. braintrust, it comes as no surprise why the Hilltop community functions so well. The key is that they have qualified individuals in the respective positions, who work well with each other and have a great sense of pride in their city. The leadership is all on the same page.

Bigler gave a 30-minute presentation on St. Clairsville. He knows the city like the back of his hand. And why not? He has been cast in that job for more than three decades despite his boyish looks.

Vincenzo has been serving as mayor for 20 plus years, and has carried out his duties exceedingly well during that time. He is the ideal ambassador for the city.

Kendzora leads a list of other key personnel who have been in their respective positions for a lengthy tenure, including Barr, who has few peers as a recreation director, and Finance Director Jill Lucidi.

St. Clairsville’s success is a case study in quality leadership supported by selfless teamwork.

That being said, hosting The Tree City USA Program was a nice feather in St. C.’s cap. The event also featured Bill Hahn, who is the City of Akron’s arborist and horticulturist. He presented a slide show, illustrating on how the Rubber City has blossomed in scenic beauty.

Those in attendance were passionate about trees and their respective cities. St. Clairsville officials should not only be proud of their city but for also the program they presented Tuesday.


I RECEIVED a call Friday from Mary Ann Castricone of Bellaire. I got to know Mary Ann very well through mutual work with the Forest Hills Community Association in West Bellaire.

The reason for the call is she wanted to let all those who have helped her husband, Bob, and herself through a medical nightmare how appreciative they are. The couple is back in Bellaire after Bob encountered medical issues way back in June, as a surgery went awry which resulted in a severe heart attack. He spent months in a Columbus hospital and his medical outlook was not promising. Bob has been unable to eat solid food until recently due to surgery-related complications damaged his esophagus. It was a virtual medical train wreck.

But brighter times are beginning to arrive for the Castricones as they are finally back home. Mary Ann expresses her deepest appreciation for all those who assisted with a benefit spaghetti dinner back in March which helped defray some of the major medical expenses the couple encountered.


THE MAY Primary unfolds Tuesday. While much of the local attention has been focused on the Bellaire School District tax issue and the Martins Ferry mayoral contest, another levy has peaked my interest. A Martins Ferry fire levy is in front of Purple City voters, with approval resulting in the purchase of a new fire truck. When it comes to safety matters, such is this, I always believe it is tough to say no.

FORMER ST. John Central head football coach Steve Daley is expected to be named Steubenville Central head grid boss this week. He will replace his brother-in-law Gregg Bahen who resigned Thursday. Daley is the Crusaders’ athletic director, a post he also held at SJC.

DON’T BEAT me up, but I was not one of the people who really got into the royal wedding Friday. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, although I did watch it sporadically.

THE NFL Draft has finally come and gone. The Steelers, Bengals and Browns benefited nicely in the talent grab bag. Now we need the league’s labor strife to come to an end.

I SEND kudos to all those who stepped up and bought passes and/or who donated to making the Shadyside pool opening a reality this summer. The pool is a much-needed recreation outlet for young and old alike. It also provides some employment opportunities for the younger generation.

AT LAST week’s Bellaire Chamber of Commerce meeting, members decided to implement a Business Expo venture at the All-American Days Festival in June. Bellaire businesses will be able to set up shop and distribute information at no cost. Chamber President Lou Ann Bennett is now accepting applications for spaces at the All-American Days Festival. The cost is $100 for food vendors, $50 for arts and crafts vendors while non-profit organizations will be free this year. Bennett may be reached at 740-676-4817.

It was also reported that despite rainy conditions, the annual Easter egg hunt in the village park attracted 125 youths.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader