Tough punishment needed in bomb threat cases

I HAVE no patience for individuals who phone in bomb threats. None whatsoever.

Unfortunately, such criminal and childish activity has been running rampant in our local school districts recently.

Union Local, in particular, was a lightning rod for bomb threats. At least three consecutive school days were truncated due to such threats.

On Monday, Martins Ferry and Union Local were each victims of bomb pranks, wreaking havoc with their respective Lady Jet-Lady Rider basketball game, amongst other activities. The game bounced from Morristown to Martins Ferry that night, to being postponed and reset for Tuesday.

Bomb threats detonate fear, anxiety and chaos. Union Local has lost so much class time that students may have to make up classes over the holidays, which would be unfortunate.

The one positive surfacing from the rash of phone absurdity is that the criminals involved have admitted to their misdeeds. Confessions only bring partial resolution to the episodes.

Since the criminals are minors, authorities must determine proper punishment. School officials are still pondering expulsion.

I believe expulsion isn’t the route to go. It is not harsh enough and the young criminals just move on to another school district, posing a possible headache in their new venue. Plus, the district pulling the trigger will lose about $6,000 per expulsion in state monies down the road, should they be underclassmen.

The bomb-threat renegades will certainly not face time behind prison bars, but hopefully there is a method within our legal system to lower the boom on these juvenile delinquents in stiff fashion.


WE HAVE heard may positive comments about last weekend’s Bellaire Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade. The parade featured 48 entries this year and many village stores stayed open that evening. The National Imperial Glass Museum had free admission that night as well as free pizza, hot chocolate, pepperoni rolls and ham salad sandwiches.

The Masonic Lodge was giving away free hot chocolate while the Veterans office had free hot chocolate and cookies.

After the parade, A Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus was held at Belmont Savings Bank, which attracted some 100 kids. Each youth got free coloring books, candy canes, magical reindeer food, pencils, Santa hats, hot chocolate, cookies and candy, plus they got to get their picture taken with Santa.

The winners of trophies and $50 prize in each category for the Bellaire parade were: Best EMT/Firetruck, The Alert Fire Department; Best Marching Unit, Turn It Out Dance Academy and Best Float/Decorated Vehicle; Tri-Son Concrete. The winner of a trophy and $100 prize for the Best Presentation of Theme was VFW Post 626.

SPEAKING of the Bellaire Chamber, the group’s pictorial calendars of the All-American Village are exceptional. I purchased two as Christmas gifts. They cost $10 and are available at the city building, chamber office and Hughes Xerographic.


IT APPEARS that the GOP and Democrats are starting to break through the paralyzing grip of partisanship. President Obama and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner need to become political allies rather than adversaries. They are the two power brokers who could get the nation heading away from the “fiscal cliff.”

JON-ERIK Gilot of Mount Pleasant earned the H.F. Group Preservation Award from the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University. The award is given to a recent graduate who, as a student, demonstrated outstanding scholarship and an interest in the area of library preservation. The award was presented at the 2012 SLIS Alumni and Friends Honors and Awards Program in October. Gilot holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Bethany College and graduated from Kent State University in 2011 with his Master of Library and Information Science. He previously spent one year as a contractor in the Preservation, Research, and Testing Division at the Library of Congress. He is currently director of Archives and Records at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in Wheeling.

THE NEXT Bellaire Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon/meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 20 at noon at Country Club Retirement Campus. 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. Make your reservations by Tuesday, Dec. 18.

IT WAS safe to say I was stunned when I heard Friday that Louis Hot Dog had closed its doors. Louis was a Wheeling-area culinary landmark, although it always took a backseat to Gulla’s in Bellaire.

THE PITTSBURGH Pirates pulled off a coup, signing catcher Russell Martin. The Bucs grabbed him from the Yankees for $17 million over two years. He will be a major upgrade behind the dish for the Buccos.

IT WAS refreshing to see the Union Local wrestling tournament named in honor of longtime Jets’ wrestling coach Rick Link. Rick is a legend in St. John Central wrestling circles, a school which has produced four state champions. Rick did not win a state mat title, but he accomplished something amazing in 1972, finishing state runnerup at 175 pounds in Division I. Yes, Division I, home to Lakewood St. Ed’s. It was his lone blemish that season.

THERE IS not much more for me to add to the remarkable St. Clairsville football season. Times Leader staffers Seth Staskey and Kim North put together a tremendous package Saturday, chronicling the tough title game loss. I just want to say the Red Devil coaches and gridders were truly outstanding and classy every step of the way. Seth was right when he noted that this Red Devil grid season will never be forgotten.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader