Bellaire enters the oil & gas boom era

THE GAS and oil boom has finally found its way to the All-American Town. If any Eastern Ohio community needs to cash in on drilling money, it is Bellaire.

Bellaire Village Council finalized a lucrative deal at its meeting Thursday night with Gulf Port Energy and the Eastern Ohio Utica Group. Utica negotiates with gas companies on behalf of area landowners to try to get them the best deal.

The agreement was brokered by Ed Sustersic. The local attorney formerly served as Bellaire’s law director.

The village will realize $450,000 over the life of the five-year agreement for yielding drilling rights on village property.

It’s not a $6 million bonanza like the one Barnesville secured, but $450K is a huge chunk of change for ailing Bellaire coffers.

Village council will decide how the money is spent.

If I called the shots, this is how I would dish it out:

1. Pay hike for the police department.

2. Invest $100,000 of it. This ensures a nice rainy day fund.

3. Raze more dilapidated structures.

4. Patch and/or pave streets.

5. Repair downtown sidewalks.

6. Turn some street lights back on.

Waco Gas & Oil created a buzz in the village two years ago when it located on West 23rd Street. The Glenville, W.Va.-based company has scenic headquarters but done little, if anything, to boost Bellaire’s economy.

The Gulfport deal, meanwhile, pumps money, life and hope into Bellaire.


DEER-ARCHERY season ended Feb. 2. It marked the conclusion of all deer hunting seasons. Ohio hunters checked 191,459 white-tailed deer during the 2013-2014 hunting season for all implements.

The Ohio counties that reported the most checked deer for all implements during the 2013-2014 season: Coshocton (6,270), Tuscarawas (5,774), Licking (5,711), Muskingum (5,547), Guernsey (5,307), Ashtabula (4,981), Harrison (4,533), Knox (4,529), Carroll (4,203) and Athens (4,053).

Belmont County, meanwhile, had 3,953 deer tagged, Monroe County had 2,623 and Jefferson County checked in with 3,286.


THE SUPER Bowl was disgusting on the field. The Broncos and Peyton Manning laid big-time eggs. Kudos to the Seahawks, as they were much better than I gave them credit for. Manning was his usual class self in defeat. I did enjoy Bruno Mars perform at halftime. Since the weather played out so mildly, look for more cold-weather cities — such as Washington and Philly — to start lining up to host the Super Bowl.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL recruiting can be a brutal business. For Ohio State assistant Tom Herman it became a nightmare recently. The Buckeyes’ offensive aide was on a recruiting trip down South in late January. As fate would have it, an ice storm enveloped the area in which Herman was cultivating. Consequently, he was stranded on I-285 in Atlanta for 19 hours at a complete standstill. He was some four miles from his destination — the Atlanta Airport — when his vehicle became frozen in time. Herman opted to hoof it to the airport to get on a scheduled Delta Airlines flight to Dallas. He made the trek successfully, thanks in part, by a lift the last 1.5 miles from — ironically — a Delta Airlines employee. Big-time college football can be a glamorous and lucrative profession, but it also has its ugly moments.

BELLAIRE HIGH grad Terry Rataiczak is a successful business owner in Caldwell, operating his own networking business, while also serving as the OVAC’s technology guru. He is now tossing his hat into the political arena, seeking a seat on the Caldwell Exempted Village Board of Education. Terry is the son of OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak.

KUDOS TO the Belmont County Drug Task Force and all of its supporting agencies. The units enjoyed a productive week of busting drug suspects.

GOP LEADERS in the Cincinnati area are making a push to host the Republican National Convention in 2016. That would be great for the Buckeye State but I cannot see that coming to fruition.

I WANT to wish Doug Tush the best of luck on all his future endeavors. Doug announced his intentions to resign as Bridgeport High athletic director. He carried out those duties with superb efficiency and professionalism. He was a pleasure to work with.

OHIO?LAWMAKERS this week will decide the fate of legislation to provide schools more calamity days this academic year. I expect it to pass with little problem.

Kapral may be reached at