St. Clairsville council:?A powder keg

ST. CLAIRSVILLE MAYOR Bob Vincenzo is a hilltop institution. Unfortunately, if any of four council members don’t wise up soon, Vincenzo will be the former mayor.

Monday’s city council meeting turned into an inferno of disagreement.

The city again is need of a finance director. That is because those four council members opted to fire longtime finance director Jill Lucidi earlier this year.

I said at that time it was a stupid move. Lucidi is a quality and proven commodity. Her termination looks ever more senseless these days, following the rapid resignation of Brian Johnson as her successor.

All this finance director drama is petty and unnecessary. If council opts not to bring back Lucidi it is rolling the dice that they can find a quality individual to oversee their money matters, and in quick fashion.

All the controversy swirling around the post may also spur Vincenzo to resign from his mayoral post. That would only add fuel to St. C.’s dysfunctional hostility.

Johnson is proof positive the finance director’s duties are challenging. He came well-equipped for the task.

Lucidi is the obvious and prudent choice to fill the post. She did so for 17 years. I would be hard-pressed to believe Lucidi did her job with great expertise for 16 years and suddenly became a liability to the city, as four council members felt she needed to go.

Council has opted to call a special meeting Monday, likely to deal with the issue again.

Belmont County Auditor Andy Sutak is slated to speak. Andy is well-versed in the financial world and well-respected. His presence at the meeting has to be a positive and calming influence.

Monday night is the time for cooler St. C. heads to prevail and cordially put the drama to rest.


THE MARTINS Ferry Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon Tuesday at the recreation center and the elongated session featured a host of speakers and guests.

Among those making presentations was former state Sen. Jason Wilson, now working out of Gov. John Kasich’s Office of Appalachia. Wilson expounded on the boundless benefits that shale oil drilling will bring to the Ohio Valley.

Matt Steele, president of the Ohio Valley Oil and Gas Association, talked about the association’s goals which include the education, networking, and business development in the oil and gas industry.

Councilman Chris Cleary presented the city report, noting the water meter project should be completed in June. He also said the monument in the park will undergo a facelift and tree trimming is under way in town. Cleary also noted that development director Kathy Gagin has submitted 17 grant requests. Cleary also noted the Crime Watch program is operating effectively.

Chamber officials also welcomed several new businesses.

The chamber meets again on Tuesday, April 17.


ST. MARY’S knows how to stage a fundraiser. The Martins Ferry-based school held its annual auction and raffle on St. Patrick’s Day. To say it was a success would be shortchanging it. Principal Mary Carolyn Nichelson reports that the event raised $25,867.48. That is not a typo, but rather a remarkable effort by a very committed group of individuals. Nichelson would like to thank the support of school staff, families, local businesses and every on else who had a hand in helping a first-class school stage a first-class fundraiser.

GARY CUNNINGHAM announced his plans to step down as Shadyside High’s athletic director during Tuesday’s board of education meeting. The former Tigers’ head baseball coach handled his athletic director duties professionally and was a pleasure to work with. We wish him the best in all his future endeavors.

WITH THE Denver Broncos winning the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, it also signaled the end of Tim Tebow’s magical carpet ride in the Mile High City as he now heads to New York. Tebow is slated to run the Jets’ Wildcat package but could become a starter in the Big Apple as Mark Sanchez is far from a proven commodity.

THE BELMONT COUNTY Veterans Service Commission is scheduled to have its next regular board meeting at the new Barnesville satellite office on April 6 at 9 a.m. The meeting is open to the public. The satellite office will be located at 113 W. Main St., Barnesville. A grand opening of the office is being planned to take place in May.

COUNTRY MUSIC lovers take note. The Muskingum County Fair will showcase one of country’s rising stars in Kellie Pickler. She will perform at the 166th fair on Aug. 17 at 8:30 p.m.

WHEELING CENTRAL’s cafeteria personnel are holding a card party to raise money to purchase a food steamer. The card party will be held Sunday, April 15 from 2-6 p.m. in the Great Hall. Doors will open at 1 p.m. Cost is $6 and will include lunch. Door prizes, raffles and a 50-50 drawing will also be featured. Tickets made be purchased in advance or at the door. To make reservations or for more information, call Jeanie or Ronna at school at 1-304-233-1660 ext 311. After school hours call 1-304-277-0207.

SPEAKING OF Wheeling Central, I took in my first prep lacrosse game Saturday as the Maroon Knights hosted Pickerington at Wheeling Island Stadium. The sport is an entertaining one but will have a tough time blossoming in the Ohio Valley due to a lack of manpower as schools are shrinking in enrollment.

THE STATE Basketball Tournament did not play out as Kim Clifford would have liked. The St. Clairsville High hoops boss, however, did as excellent coaching job as the OVAC has seen all year in any sport. He did so minus any senior leadership.

Kapral may be reached at