Storm aid bill stuffed with pork

FORMER MARTINS Ferry Mayor Phil Wallace submitted an excellent letter-to-the-editor which was published in our Wednesday edition.

The letter smacks of pork-barrel politics. Former West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd — the king of pork — would have loved some of the provisions in the Hurricane Sandy relief legislation sent to the U.S. Congress.

Wallace correctly points out five absurd funding designations in the bill, which is targeted to help victims of a major natural disaster. The former mayor notes the bill calls for: $2 million for roof repair damage at Smithsonian buildings in Washington, DC; $36 million to Amtrak-related expenses; $8 million to buy new cars for federal agencies; $150 million for fisheries in Mississippi and Alaska; and $4 million for repairs at the Kennedy Space Center.

Now let’s get serious here.

Some of those projects are deserving of funding, although $150M is a lot of bucks to donate to fisheries.

Even if the projects are worthy of funding, there is no sense of urgency with any of them. Conversely, there is a major need to expedite quick and massive relief for the Sandy storm victims.

There was no sense to clutter a humanitarian-based bill with projects that needed no immediate attention.


IT TOOK all of two series for me to realize that Notre Dame was in over its head Monday night against Alabama in the BCS championship game. The Crimson Tide had much better players, directed by the best coach in the business in Nick Saban.

It marks Alabama’s third national crown in four years. A remarkable achievement by the Tide, one in which they have a chance of extending next season. Bama is definitely a cut above the rest of the collegiate grid scene.

Despite the lopsided loss, Notre Dame needs not hang its helmets. Brian Kelly has brought the Fighting Irish back into national prominence. The title game beat down does nothing to diminish how far the Domers have come.

Alabama is poised to reign supreme for years.

Kelly, however, went from golden boy to a lightning rod for discontent very quickly. The Irish Nation embraced Kelly for leading ND to a perfect regular season and a spot in the national title game in just his third season. Losing to Alabama Monday night did little to change his stature amongst Domers. But his Irish stock plummeted when he interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles for their head job just hours after the Bama beat down. Then he quickly left the country on vacation. Such action has antagonized ND diehards, and rightly so. Kelly is making enough money and was in line for a nice pay raise. He need not pull power plays, and Kelly may have pushed the envelope too far. He might be wise to land with the Eagles.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL Live, broadcast on ESPN during weekday afternoons, is one of my favorite shows. Former Bellaire High, Ohio State and NFL great Joey?Galloway is thriving as one of the studio hosts. I was fortunate to catch Galloway during Thursday’s show, recalling his decision to go pro a year early.

“I sent my letter to the NFL to see where I would go in the draft. It came back and said I would go in the first round,” he said. “That made my decision easy, so I packed up and headed home to Bellaire, Ohio to tell my parents I was going pro.

“They told me to get back to Columbus and get my degree,” he added. “It worked out well, as I got my degree and was drafted in the first round a year later.”


TED STRICKLAND announced that he will not seek another run for Ohio governor. That decision came as a surprise to me as I thought he would seek to regain the post he lost to John Kasich in 2010. With that being the case, Kasich will most likely have no strong opposition if he opts for re-election in 2014.

FORMER ST. John Central Lady Irish basketball great Michelle Bielanski is doing well in attempting to build a hoop program at Austin College. The Division III institution is based in Sherman, Texas. Bielanski is in her third season as head coach of the Lady Kangaroos. Bielanski took over program in disarray and has steadily infused credibility and competitiveness into it. Austin College is currently 7-8 this season. During her prep days as St. John’s, the 5 ft. 7 guard was a two-time all-Ohioan, finishing her career with 1,436 points, third most in school history, ranking behind legends Stephanie Petho and Kayla Magistro. Bielanski earned a hoop scholarship to Robert Morris.

THE BELLAIRE Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its next luncheon/meeting Thursday at noon at Country Club Retirement Campus, 55801 Conno-Mara Drive, Bellaire. Cost of the luncheon is $7. There is no charge to attend the meeting. All local businesses and their employees are welcome to attend. Reservations are due by Tuesday and can be made by calling the chamber office 740-676-9723 or email bellairechamber@yahoo. com.

I LOVE the fact that Bellaire and Shadyside are renewing their grid rivalry. It will be a competitive series, generating passionate fan interest and a nice paycheck for each school. Hopefully, more Ohio Valley schools follow suit.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader