Ferry elementary school gains state honors

JIM FOGLE takes his job as principal at Anna Marie Ayers Elementary School very seriously, resulting in outstanding results.

The Martins Ferry school has earned numerous recent academic honors from the state. Fogle received a letter this past week with more glowing plaudits of the school’s ongoing academic prowess.

The letter was from Michael Sawyers, acting superintendent of Public Instruction for the Ohio Department of Education.

Sawyers’ letter reads in part:

“Your building is being named a 2012 School of Promise for the first time. Your school is in a prestigious group of 163 schools that achieved this honor on the Local Report Card for the 2011-2012 school year. Strategies by you and your staff to close the mathematics and reading achievement gap for students who represent a range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are working, and we hope you will share them with other Ohio schools.

The Ohio Department of Education plans to spotlight your school as a strong example of what is possible when students, educators, parents and community members come together and believe that all students can succeed. Please extend my gratitude to all those who shared in your school’s success.

In the coming weeks, you will receive an official Schools of Promise banner to display in your school building. Congratulations once again on this achievement, and best wishes for continued success.”

Such a glowing review speaks volumes of the quality leadership and instruction going on at Ayers Elementary. It is an achievement that Ferry school officials and parents should embrace.

“The designation 2012 School of Promise is based on our 2011-12 state report card which is determined through the following achievement assessment results. We were above in value added (showing a year’s worth of growth in student achievement when compared to the state average), 103.5 performance index, met 5 out of 5 state indicators and deemed a school of excellence with distinction,” Fogle said. “I attribute our success to a holistic team approach which includes our school board, superintendent, teachers, parents, and, of course, our students.

“I need to mention our afterschool third and fourth grade OAA preparatory program. Which is three days a week for 6 weeks prior to the assessment,” he continued. “It is both an enrichment and intervention program specifically designed for the Ohio Achievement Assessment.”



THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon recently at Country Club Retirement Center.

Pat Kniesner of the Citizens Action Group announced its plans to revitalize the Bellaire Marina. The group wants to add picnic tables and a walking trail from the marina to 26th Street. Down the road, the group hopes to connect the walking trail to the Great Stone Viaduct.

Speaking of the viaduct, Lillian Siebieda announced The Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society is accepting charter memberships for $50 until April 15. The membership includes discounts on future programs and a watercolor print. The viaduct group is holding its annual celebration on Sept. 28.

Doug Potts announced the Boy Scouts will be restoring Bob Hope’s footprints in the park.

The chamber is sponsoring its annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 23 at 2 p.m. in the park. Donations may be dropped off at the chamber office or the mayor’s office. The chamber made a $100 donation to the egg hunt.


IN THIS column a week ago we reported the Sunset Heights Volunteer Fire Department received an award from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Jim Delman of the Sunset Heights Fire Department contacted me this past week to provide details of the specifics of the grant and the process involved.

Delman said the department applied for the 2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant as a regional grant for the purpose of replacing all of the fire and EMS departments portable radios in Belmont County. The total cost of this project is $960,830 with the federal share 80 percent or $768,664 of the approved amount and the local share of the cost 20 percent or $192,166.

The local share will be provided by the Belmont County Commissioners.

“As every one knows a recent levy was voted upon to help replace the radio system for the fire, EMS and police departments of Belmont County. The fire service took it upon themselves to help out with this problem of an outdated system. In 2010 the Brookside Fire Department applied for a AFG Grant to replace 650 Minitor pagers for all of the fire departments,” Delman said. “The federal share was $234,160.00, county share was $58,540 for a total of $292,700 and was awarded the AFG grant for this purpose. In 2011, the Martins Ferry Fire Department applied to replace 177 mobile radios for the fire service, federal share $497,808, county share $124,452 for a total of $622.260 and was awarded the grant. In 2012 the Sunset Heights Fire Department applied and again was awarded a grant. In all, the total amount for the three grants are federal share $1,500,632.00, county share $375,158 and the total grant packages $1,875,790.

“These three departments gave up a chance to be awarded a grant for their own department by applying for a regional grant, by the fire service stepping up and applying for these grants, we have helped the county in saving $1,500,632,” Delman added. “With this savings the county can now use this extra money to further enhance and update the county wide radio system. Special acknowledgments should be given to Bryan Minder, the acting director of the Belmont County 911 system, for writing and putting together all of the information that was need to receive these three grants.”


BELMONT COUNTY’S annual Lincoln Day Dinner will be held on Monday, April 22 at Undo’s Restaurant (Hampton Inn) just east of St. Clairsville. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and dinner will start at 6:30 p.m.

Guest speaker is newly elected Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy. Tickets are $40 per person or $75 a couple. Tickets may be purchased from one of the GOP Executive Board members or by contacting County Chairman Kent Moore by email or phone. Moore may be contacted at 740-686-2768 or www.belmont

HARRISON HILLS School District is losing a first-rate superintendent in Dr. George Ash. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Ash. He turned a district drowning in debt into one on solid financial ground. We wish him well in his new assignment with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

PITT MAY lose its successful and popular men’s hoop coach after the season. Jamie Dixon may be headed to Los Angeles to fill the USC job. Dixon is a Southern California native.

I WAS glad to see Jim Carnes gain appointment to the state Liquor Control Commission. It is an important post and Jim brings credibility, character and a proven track record of getting things done to the position. He will do super in his new task.

AFTER WATCHING St. Clairsville standout Dan Monteroso drop 45 points on Steubenville Saturday, I reaffirm my belief he can play Division I basketball.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader