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Dropping gas prices fueling activity

June 24, 2012
By BUBBA KAPRAL - Managing Editor , Times Leader

GAS PRICES make the world go round.

While that may be a stretch, dropping prices have pumped life into Ohio Valley motorists.

You need to look no further than Aetnaville to witness daily price drops. As of this writing (Saturday), regular octane at two stations could be purchased for $3.09 a gallon. That's a far cry from just weeks ago.

In Bellaire, the lowest price I came upon was $3.17 a gallon as of Saturday morning. In recent months, there has been a vast disparity between gas prices in the All-American Town and those in the Bridgeport/Ferry area. The current 4-cent differential is as close as the prices have been in a long time.

The lines at the Aetnaville stations have been overflowing to say the least. Drivers looking to fill up are backed up into the streets, causing congestion for motorists looking to get on Ohio 7.

But such traffic woes are a small price to pay. Drivers can deal with such an issue when it translates into major savings at the pump.

With three gas stations located within yards of each other in Aetnaville, prices will likely continue to drop in the foreseeable future.

The pump picture is even brighter if national forecasts play out accurately. Experts are saying gas prices with fall below $3 a gallon for regular by October.

We can only hope!

PURPLE

CHAMBER

THE MARTINS Ferry Chamber held its monthly luncheon meeting Tuesday at the rec center.

Several committee reports were presented. The one with the most urgency was for the Sky Show program planned for Tuesday, July 3 at the school campus. Monetary donations and volunteer help are both needed in large doses to make sure the quality fireworks event again proves a major success.

Councilman Chris Cleary reported the recent Picnic in the Park event was well received. He noted the old photographs on display were a huge hit and asked that if anyone has more old photos please submit them for next year's event. Cleary also noted the fountain in the park is working but in need of major structural repairs.

It was also reported the Soap Box Derby held June 10 on Hanover Street again played out well. The chamber's Soap Box Committee will hold a final wrapup meeting July 9 at 5:30 p.m.

EL STARBUCKS

EAST LIVERPOOL was once the pottery center of the world. The Columbiana community once housed four dozen pottery factories. That number has since been reduced to two. It nearly became one when the American Mug and Stein Co. was teetering on the edge of closure last fall.

A life preserver came in the person of Ulrich Honighausen, owner of a California tableware company. His firm supplies several retailers with ceramics and glassware from producers all over the world.

The partnership has breathed new life into American Mug in a big way. The East Liverpool pottery hit the jackpot when Starbucks began selling its mugs earlier this month in its U.S. stores. The production has saved four American Mug jobs and created eight new ones. Its partnership with Starbucks will likely keep American Mug perking in rejuvenated fashion.

BUBBA'S BITS

OUR?CONGRATULATIONS go out to Tom?Poe. The Belmont Savings & Loan president was recently named Bellaire High Alumni?Association's Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.?We have come to know?Tom as a most generous and civic-minded man, supporting many worthwhile local causes while also championing the efforts of youth.?He is most deserving of such a lofty honor.

IF I ever need to promote an event, Chelsea Edwards will get the call to lead the charge. The Martins Ferry High grad is passionate and relentless in her crusade to make the Belmont County Relay for Life a success.

LAST WEEKEND'S US Open was staged in San Francisco. I vote that the USGA hold it every year on the West Coast, as it leads to watching golf in prime time. Sunday's final round didn't come to a close until 10:30 p.m., which made for much better television viewing options.

I HAVE covered countless press conferences during my tenure at the Times Leader. This past Tuesday had to be one of the most enjoyable. It was staged in the Martins Ferry City Building, with the featured guest being a canine. Echo is the new police dog on the force. Echo's master is Police Officer Chad Kuhn, who matriculated from Alliance. The 2-year-old Belgian Malinios has already made his presence felt at last weekend's sobriety checkpoint on Ohio 7 near Bob Evans, as four felony arrests were made and two more felony warrants served. Echo will not only be an addition to the Ferry police force but will aid the entire Ohio Valley when the need arises and time permits.

I FIND it amazing that Major League pitching legend Roger Clemens could be acquitted of perjury charges. The charges spawned from Clemens testifying before Congress, denying he ever used steroids. But in his recently concluded trial, Clemens' personal trainer testified the pitching great knowingly took steroids.

ARE YOU in the market for some used football bleachers? Both Weir High and Oak Glen are ushering in new stadiums this fall. That being the case, the Hancock County Board of Education has opted to put the bleachers at Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton and Veterans Memorial Stadium in Newell up for sale. The new stadiums came as a result of Hancock County voters passing a bond levy.

ONE OF the best pieces of news this past week was the GOP taking a shot at the US Environmental Protection Agency for being too "heavy handed." The Republicans say the EPA is working against the best interests of American citizens. The Ohio Valley is proof positive of that theory. The EPA is out of control, working hard to decimate the coal industry. Along those lines, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin continues to be one of my favorite legislators as he again broke from Democratic ranks to vote against an EPA-favorable rule. He is definitely no partisan Joe.

LEBRON JAMES finally got the monkey -- if not gorilla -- off his back by winning an NBA championship. He will forever remain a goon, albeit a very talented one, for the way he exited Cleveland.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com

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