Landowners may have new lease on life

I APPLAUD Frank Fregiato.

The recently appointed Belmont County Common Pleas judge is wasting no time in making his bench presence felt. Judge Fregiato issued a court ruling Friday morning of major ramifications.

It is one that may prove beneficial to countless local residents.

Judge Fregiato ruled that in an Oxford Oil Co. case that all oil and gas leases which are leases in perpetuity void from the beginning. The ruling may mean a new lease on life for countless individuals who brokered subpar oil and gas deals.

Judge Fregiato’s decision does not instantly void such deals. It does, however, make the process much easier to do so.

I have heard numerous instances from individuals who were upset with leases signed years ago, not privy to the benefits their land possessed. Judge Fregiato’s ruling will be the foundation for many area residents to get what they justly deserve.


AS SOMEONE rooting for Ormet Corp. in its recent electric-rate reduction scenario, I was fearing the worst. I had that gut feeling the PUCO would totally reject relief for the Monroe County facility.

Ormet was seeking a rate of $45.89 per megawatt-hour, instead of the going rate of $60 per megawatt hour. The PUCO placed the rate at $50.

Not being privy to Ormet’s financial structure, I was pleased with the PUCO’s decision. It would appear a drop from $60 to $50 would yield significant savings.

Even after the ruling, Ormet’s long-term future remained in doubt. Minnesota-based Wayzata has agreed to purchase the aluminum maker out of bankruptcy. The deal was contingent on lower electricity costs for Ormet.

I was stunned, however, when the company announced Friday that it was closing its last two potlines. I thought Wayzata would make the first move after the PUCO decision.

The potline closings cast an ominous outlook on Ormet’s future.


ANY HOME-SCHOOLED student living in Belmont County in grades four through eight is invited to participate in the Belmont County Spelling Bee program.

Participants must not have passed beyond the eighth grade on or before Feb. 1, 2014, or have reached their 15th birthday on or before Aug. 31, 2013.

If interested, home-schooled students will be entered into the Christian Consortium Spelling Bee Process with a chance to advance.

For additional information on the program, contact Lisa Stupak (ext. 8403) or Lynne Mamone (ext. 8404) at the East Central Ohio Educational Center at 695-9773.

All participants must be registered online with Scripps National Spelling Bee by Monday. No exceptions.


WHILE THE federal government has placed the nation in a partial shutdown, the Belmont County Board of Elections remains open for business. The board is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Extended hours will be announced closer to the November election. Anyone wishing to vote early can do so now at the board’s offices, located at Plaza West in St. Clairsville.

THE APPROVAL rating of the U.S. Congress is now at 10 percent. After the government shutdown, that figure is much too high. President Obama’s rating is at 44 percent. What grates on me is that even when Congress shuts down the government, members still receive their salaries. That should not happen.

I AM a newspaper junkie. Anytime I travel, I pick up newspapers from those venues. I also enjoy reading the USA Today’s sports section. However, the price of that paper just doubled to $2 daily. Such an increase curtailed my reading of that publication.

THE BARNESVILLE satellite office of the Belmont County Veterans Service Commission has re-opened for business. The office, located at 113 W. Main St., Barnesville, is open Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office phone number is 740-619-0326.

THE SPECIAL Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Ohio has received contingency funds from the USDA which will enable them to maintain services through October. WIC participants should continue to keep their WIC appointments and shop as usual. Anyone with questions are encouraged to contact the Bellaire office at (740) 676-2232. Ohio serves approximately 260,000 women, infants and children under the age of 5.

WESTERVILLE CENTRAL moved to 5-1 on the season Friday night as Coach John Magistro’s charges posted a 48-17 pasting of Hilliard Bradley. The Bellaire native will lead his Warhawks against invading Westerville North this week.

Kapral may be reached at