McFarland: A perfect purple police fit

PHIL WALLACE has done many good things during his mayoral tenure in Martins Ferry.

He will be leaving office in the coming months, but his most recent move will pay positive dividends in the Purple City for many years to come. Wallace put an end to years of controversy within the city’s police department via the appointment of John McFarland as the new police chief.

McFarland is the ideal fit for the much-maligned post. He is a Ferry native, well trained for the task at hand and, most of all, he is a people’s person.

The Ferry police force has been under the gun — no pun intended — ever since then-chief Barry Carpenter became entangled in the Sarah Jessica-Parker surrogate mother case. That was followed by the scandal-induced termination of Carpenter’s successor, Phil Hartman.

Until McFarland grabbed the head reins Friday, the police department was in a state of flux with no chief. McFarland was holding the fort down as sergeant-in-charge.

He did a superb job in that role and I have no doubts he will serve his hometown community just as well now that he is the new chief.

McFarland is an imposing man in stature with an equally big heart. He is caring family man. That quality also carries over to his dealing with the public.

Wallace’s days as mayor are winding down but he has left a lasting mark with McFarland’s promotion. While Carpenter’s legal troubles continue to play out, the Martins Ferry Police Department is primed to move forward with scandal in the rear-view mirror.


THINGS GOT heated Thursday night in Maynard, and rightly so. The village is on the verge of losing its post office. It’s only a matter of time before eventual shutdown comes to fruition. Small-town post offices and schools in Eastern Ohio are both facing the fate, eventual consolidation. It is a pure economic issue.

JACOB MATUSKA is a 6-foot-5 and 240-pound junior tight end/linebacker at Columbus Bishop Hartley. Matuska lettered as a frosh on the Hartley varsity football team and started on the varsity basketball team. As a sophomore, Matuska help lead Hartley to the Division IV state football championship. He was also a major player on the Hawks’ basketball team which made the state tourney this winter. Matuska is now drawing interest of major Division 1 football schools, including The Ohio State University. His dad, Jimmy, and uncle, Paul, were all-Ohio performers for St. John Central in the 1980s.

ON SATURDAY, Brightway Center, a non-denominational Christian youth facility located in Smithfield, will hold the Lifeline 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament at Buckeye Local High School. The tournament will feature boys and girls divisions, high school and junior high divisions and an adult division. High school students should be boys and girls entering grades 9-12 in the upcoming school year and junior high students should be boys and girls entering grades 7 and 8 in the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. Each team will consist of four players per team and there will be a 24 team minimum. There is no entry fee. Walk-ins will be accepted but online registration is urged. The tournament will feature double elimination and trophies will be awarded. Register your team by visiting: and filling out our online registration form. If you have any questions, contact Jennifer Trehar, Director of Advancement, at (347) 601-8000 or email

CONGRATULATIONS TO Zach Shutler. The former all-Ohio defensive end at St. John Central has been named assistant principal at Warwood Middle School. He previously was a teacher at the school before heading to Triadelphia Middle School as assistant principal. Zach is married to former Lady Irish hoop standout Kara Schunn.

STATE REP. Lou Gentile, Ohio 95th District, will be paying a visit to Martins Ferry on Monday, July 11. The personable Democrat will hold a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Martins Ferry Recreation Center on Fourth Street. The public is encouraged to attend the event.

PROFESSIONAL athletes are becoming quite disgusting. First we have an NFL lockout now an NBA lockout. The professional players do not appreciate how lucky they have it, making millions of dollars a season. One contract and they are set for life. They should visit the Ohio Valley and see what real life is all about.

CONGRATULATIONS GO to Marri Kajfez Brackman, D.O. The former St. John Central valedictorian and athletic standout has graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. She starred in basketball, track and cross country at SJC. Read more about Marri on Page B3 in today’s edition.

BY ALL accounts, the Martins Ferry Sky Show was another resounding success, as an overflow turnout was treated to ideal weather and superb entertainment.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader