Stem cell transplant yields hope

ASHLEE RYAN’S story is one that is filled with much sadness. But happier days may be just around the corner.

Ashlee is a Shadyside High graduate. Her life, however, took a tragic turn in June of 2009 when she was severely injured in a car accident. Doctors have told her she may never walk again. Ashlee remains confident that she will prove the medical profession wrong.

To make that become a reality, she is pinning her hopes on a stem cell transplant to repair her damaged spinal cord. The surgery will take place in Lisbon, Portugal under the direction of noted neuropatholgist Dr. Carlos Lima.

Such an undertaking will be quite costly. To help Ashlee and her family ease their financial hardships, “A Walk with Ashlee” benefit will be held on Saturday, June 2. It will be a night at the races event and will be held at the former Moundsville Penitentiary.

The fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 which includes admission, entertainment, spaghetti dinner and draft beer. To make “A Walk with Ashlee” a major success, help is needed from the community. A Chinese auction will be held and items are needed to raffle off as well as salads. Monetary donations will be accepted.

All of the horse race tickets have been sold, but wagering on the horses will be available that night. Spaghetti dinner tickets are on sale at the Shadyside Carry Out/Party Center, DeFelice Pizza in Shadyside or by calling Bob Dorris Jr. (740-296-3419), Kreations Hair Salon in Shadyside or Robin Stephens in the Bellaire mayor’s office at 676-6539. Tickets are available at the door on June 2.

For more information or make a donation, call 740-296-3419.


IN THIS space last week, we penned that “Belmont County is poised to take off.”

We still believe the boom is near. In that column, I said that I didn’t realize how big a part that rock and limestone quarries played in the county. I detailed three such operations that I viewed up close on a tour with Belmont County Auditor Andy Sutak. They are located in Martins Ferry, Egypt Valley and near Flushing.

I received an e-mail this week concerning Sidwell Materials Inc. Sidwell owns and operates two quarries in Belmont County and two more in Harrison County. Sidwell also owns and operates Tri-Son Concrete in Bellaire.

Sidwell is the largest limestone provider in the Ohio Valley. Since October of 2010, the firm has provided limestone for 127 well pads. Sidwell employs 65 local workers and is continually looking to expand. Sidwell is doing big things.

As I said a week ago, Belmont County is poised to boom.


BEALLSVILLE NATIVE Ryan Caldwell is moving up the academic administrative ladder. The former Blue Devils’ grid great has been selected as the new superintendent for the Rolling Hills School District. Caldwell is currently the superintendent of the Conotton Valley School District. After starring at Muskingum College in football, Caldwell began his career in education in the West Muskingum School District. His six-year tenure there led to a four-year run as Beallsville High principal and subsequently to Conotton Valley. Rolling Hills is home base to Meadowbrook High School.

THE REOPENING of the Shadyside Pool was a heartwarming renaissance story last summer. The community stepped up big time to make it happen by buying season passes in huge quantities in advance. To make sure the pool opens again this season, 130 passes must be sold. As of Thursday, only three passes have been purchased. Having a pool in your hometown is a great luxury, just ask people in Bellaire. We hope and expect the Shadyside faithful to come out soon in full force to support a most worthwhile cause.

MARTINS FERRY Mayor Paul Riethmiller has energized the Purple City. He had a letter to the editor published in Wednesday’s edition. The thrust of the letter was for Ferry residents to shop in the city and support businesses in town. He is right. The businesses in Ferry have been very generous in their support of civic causes. Ferry residents should reciprocate.

THE EDISON School District is in financial dire straits. As a result, Edison officials are now moving forward with a play-to-participate policy. It will be painful to many district families. Students must pay $250 to play on one sports team. Students in the band or choir will also have to pay. Families with three or more children will have a $1,000 cap. The district is already at the state minimum for staffing levels, consequently no more cuts are possible. Unfortunately, the pay-to-play policy will obviously have harmful effects on Wildcat athletics as some athletes will opt not to come out for their respective sport or simply matriculate to another district.

A RECENT letter to the editor listed donors to the Bellaire Easter Egg Hunt with accompanying thanks from the sponsoring committee. The letter inadvertently omitted Trigg Construction from the list of donors.

THE BELLAIRE Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its monthly luncheon meeting on Thursday at noon in the Community Room of the Bellaire Public Library. The cost of the luncheon is $7. There is no charge to attend the meeting. All local businesses and their employees are welcome to attend. The guest speaker will be Tony Scott, superintendent of Bellaire Local Schools. Reservations are due by Tuesday by calling the chamber office at 740-676-9723 or email bellairechamber@yahoo. com.

ST. MARY Catholic Church in Martins Ferry is playing host to a special concert Monday night. West Liberty University’s Concert Choir, under the direction of Alfred deYeager, will be performing at 7 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited. The church is located at 16 N. 4th St.

YOU HAVE to love what West Virginia Northern Community College is doing in downtown Wheeling. The ever-expanding community college has just embarked on a $3.8 million project, targeted to renovate the former Straub car dealership properties into a new Applied Technology Center. In addition, the former Straub Hyundai building will house a Barnes & Noble bookstore and cafe on the first floor. A second story will be added to the building for a student activity center. The bookstore and cafe will be open to the public. WVNCC almost single handedly is providing The Friendly City a scenic facelift.

I WAS glad to see that West Virginia House Delegate Ryan Ferns has changed his mind and will not step down following his drunk driving arrest in April. The 29-year-old-Democrat received strong support in last week’s election, garnering 2,111 votes despite his original plans to resign. Ferns brings a lot to the table as a legislator and we are hoping he seeks re-election later this year.

I?HEARD from several Bellaire Big Reds’ partisans at the junior high track meet Saturday how stupid it is for Bellaire and St.?Clairsville to travel to Cambridge for a sectional baseball game. With the cost of gasoline, Bridgeport would have served as a nice close and neutral venue. The OHSAA, however, worries more about making money than making life easy for schools.

WE EXTEND our warmest Mother’s Day wishes to moms everywhere.

Kapral may be reached at