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April 2, 2009 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
What a difference one announcement can make. FirstEnergry made one that has changed the mindset of an entire region. What many had feared was the end of the R.E. Burger plant as we know it, is anything but. In fact, the future has never looked brighter for the Shadyside-based power plant. The company's decision to convert from coal-fired power to green (biomass) fuel rescued not only the plant but the countless futures of many people and many entities. Moreover, hundreds of additional jobs may be coming down the pike to handle the biomass fuel crush. The Shadyside School District is one of the biggest winners as it will not lose some $800,000 in annual tax money. It also removes the imminent threat of a consolidation with Bellaire schools. The village of Shadyside, meanwhile, averts a nuclear financial meltdown while Mead Township and Belmont County will also maintain tax proceeds. Good news like this has been foreign to the Ohio Valley for much too long. I tip my cap to FirstEnergy officials for breathing life into a ailing valley.
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