Shadyside native makes historic find

A SHADYSIDE native has made a major impact in the world of research.

Dr. Jeff Richardson is an associate professor of biological and physical sciences at Columbus State. The former all-Ohio gridder at Shadyside has found the oldest known fossils in Ohio. The 850-million-year-old fossils are only visible by microscope.

Dr. Richardson works in palynology, a branch of geology, which is the study of acid-resistant micro-fossils. His research triggered the discovery several years ago.

“While drilling a borehole several kilometers below Ohio’s surface in 1990, a new rock known as The Middle Run Formation was discovered,” Dr. Richardson noted. “That type of rock was perfect for preserving micro-fossils. After the processing, the Kentucky Geological Service determined they were organic-walled micro-fossils that document Ohio had life about 800 million years ago.”

Dr. Richardson used the microscopic fossils during a presentation last summer in Lexington for the annual meeting of the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists.

After his prep days in Tiger Town, Dr. Richardson went on to play football at Dennison University. He subsequently earned his MS (1998) from The Ohio State University and his PhD from OSU in 2003.

After that, Jeff joined the faculty at Columbus State.

“I chose CSCC instead of four-year institutions because I like to teach and do research, instead of just research like at four-year schools,” Jeff said. “In addition to teaching and research, I also do some micropaleontological consulting for oil companies and mining companies.

“I have been at CSCC for about 10 years,” he continued “In that time I have also done a few visiting professorships at Otterbein, OSU, and Lund University in Sweden.”

He lives in Clintonville with his wife Nicole and son Ben.

Jeff is the son of Mr. & Mrs. George Richardson of Shadyside. Jeff’s sister, Julie Selmon, is a Monroe County judge.


BOB ZILAI is the new president of the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce. The chamber held its first meeting of the year Tuesday at the rec center.

Zilai noted the group was looking at ways to raise more money. One of the ideas being bandied about is holding a craft and vendor show in April at the former Hilltop School.

The chamber will begin planning its annual Academic Awards Banquet with a committee meeting on Jan. 23 at 8:30 a.m. at the chamber office. Anyone wishing to help is invited.

Also Tuesday, Rachel Williams of the Ohio attorney general’s office delivered a brief presentation on the working of her office. She said the attorney general’s office employs 1,200 employees statewide. Williams also told chamber members of a free business seminar the attorney general is offering.

Councilman Rob Duncan updated the chamber of the ongoing demolition projects within the city.

School Superintendent Dirk Fitch said he, like all Ohio school districts, is awaiting word from Gov. John Kasich on funding levels for the coming year. He also said the district is taking part in a school shooting safety program.


CAROLINE ROBINSON is a senior at Upper Arlington High School in suburban Columbus. She is also a national-award winning equestrian rider.

Caroline is the daughter of Syndee and Steve Robinson. Syndee is a 1978 graduate of Shadyside High School and the daughter of Robert and Sandra Bittengle of Shadyside.

Robinson earned a scholarship to compete for the University of Georgia equestrian team. She has been riding for 13 years, yielding much success.

Robinson rode her 6-year-old horse Sugars Lil Wiz, which she calls Bam, to a world championship in the 14-18 youth division at the National Reining Horse Association.

Robinson competed in 38 shows in 2012. She became interested in riding by her older sister Libby, 21, who earned an equestrian scholarship to Kansas State.

Robinson plans on becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon. She chose Georgia over South Carolina, Texas A&M and TCU.


KUDOS TO all the Eastern Ohio road crews for their efforts Tuesday night/Wednesday morning for keeping area roadways in superb shape despite the icy weather which arrived. Crews were out in the afternoon hours Tuesday to be proactive with treating roadways. Early morning travel to work Wednesday was not an issue.

PRIOR TO the NFL season, I picked the Patriots and 49ers to meet in the Super Bowl. Both are now just one step, albeit a big one, away from making that prediction a reality. I look for the Niners to clip the Falcons today and the Patriots to slip past the Ravens.

LANCE ARMSTRONG coming clean after decades of lying about his doping practices does little to change my opinion. If you have to cheat to win, it really isn’t winning. His entire cycling career is nothing but a charade. But possibly more disturbing about his cheating is the number of lives he ruined. Armstrong viciously attacked any person who challenged him about his doping, many times ruining their reputations. Now that he has confessed, he has opened himself to potential lawsuits. Hopefully, justice is served.

THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce met Thursday at the Country Club Retirement Center for its monthly luncheon, featuring a large turnout. The chamber has opted to launch a downtown sidewalk renovation project. The chamber is also planning a membership drive in April at the Sons of Italy. Chamber President Lou Ann Bennett said the village will hold its annual Easter egg hunt on March 23.

I WOULD be remiss if I didn’t extend condolences to the family of Ernie Petho. Ernie is a longtime St. John Central Booster Club officer, helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school’s athletic department. He died this past week in a Columbus hospital after a long battle against leukemia. Ernie is survived by wife Judy, son Eric and daughter Stephanie. Eric and Stephanie were both stellar athletes for SJC and collegiately.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader