MY RON Asher column of two weeks past spawned several e-mails and one phone call.
The call was an intriguing one. It came from a person I know, but not aware that he shared cell time with Asher.
The caller will remain anonymous for obvious reasons. It was riveting hearing his recollection of his time with Asher.
He said he spent several days with Asher in the Belmont County Jail. Asher eventually escaped from the lockup. But the caller disputed that. He said that he and Asher remarked on how rock-solid and security tight the jail was and how nearly impossible it would be to escape.
Asher's ex-cell roomie said he was later told that someone was paid $10,000 to allow Asher to sneak out the back door.
He said Asher was involved with noted mobster Paul Hankish, adding Asher's upper body was massive and "shield-like." That would come in handy in that line of work, and it did.
Asher told his jailmate that he was shot once in the stomach area. He knew he couldn't go to an emergency room, because a shooting would have to be reported to authorities. instead, Asher and his girlfriend stopped at a drug store, purchased tweezers and removed the shell themselves.
The caller said he and Asher discussed the 1975 Martins Ferry A&P murder on occasion. He did say Asher, as I noted, said that the murder happened when they were driving an abducted A&P employee around and the shotgun accidentally went off. The blast was triggered by the driver's inability to smoothly operate a standard transmission.
The caller did say Asher was offered $500 once to make a hit in Bellaire but turned it down, saying it wasn't worth possibly getting shot for just $500.
MY TRIP to Notre Dame last weekend served up a nail-biting football game for our entourage. The Fighting Irish made things very interesting against Purdue, turning their 10-point fourth-quarter lead into a 17-17 deadlock in the waning moments.
Quarterback Tommy Rees, suspended from ND's opener in Ireland, came on in relief to drive the Domers to a game-winning field goal. Rees replaced Everett Golson, who injured his wrist after a marvelous performance. Despite Rees' heroics, Golson is Brian Kelly's man, and rightly so. He is a big-time talent, being a dual threat while also extending plays with his athleticism.
Notre Dame's defense is solid, especially the front seven. The jury is still out on the secondary. The Irish's biggest weakness is undoubtedly their offensive line. It was offensive against Purdue, yielding too many sacks and unable to create running room.
Last night's game against Michigan State will dictate much about how the balance of the season plays out. A win against the Spartans may propel ND to a 9- or 10-win campaign. A loss at East Lansing may mean 7-5 is more likely.
Regardless, I do believe Kelly is the guy to return Notre Dame to college grid elite.
OUR SPORTS department does a superb job of recognizing prep athletes. Our Athlete of the Week section runs on Thursdays. However, the honor roll section of AOW has been lagging, stocked with just football players. We have received NO nominations from cross country, golf or volleyball coaches. That is an injustice to their respective athletes. Nominations should be given to Seth Staskey or Kim North by Sunday night.
THE NATIONAL Imperial Glass Museum is holding a benefit auction in the Community Room of the Bellaire Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 6-9 p.m. For more information, call the museum at 740-671-3971.
JOHN MAGISTRO will have to wait an extra week to reach the coveted 200-win milestone. The Bellaire High coaching legend and his Westerville Central charges suffered a 34-14 setback to powerful Dublin Scioto Friday night. Central, now 3-1 will take on 1-3 Worthington Kilbourne Friday.
THE MARTINS Ferry City School District MH Classes are using Purple Rider Pride as a theme for their fall fundraising project. The classes are selling Purple Rider yard signs and decals that can be personalized to help raise monies for various field trips and Christmas presents for the class. Any Rider fan that would like to purchase a sign is asked to call Cathie Beck at 740-312-4571. Orders can also be placed at Ayers Elementary by contacting Pam McNeil. Orders and money are due by Sept. 20. Checks can be made payable to Pam McNeil.
BETHANY COLLEGE is again ranked among first-tier national liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report. Bethany is the only West Virginia institution to be included in the first-tier listings.
LAST WEEK I predicted my NFL champions: The Patriots over the 49ers in the Super Bowl. This week my college national title selection: USC downing Oklahoma. Unfortunately, I dislike both teams.
THE?NEXT Bellaire Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon/meeting will be Thursday at noon in the Community Room of the Bellaire Public Library. The cost of the luncheon is $7. There is no charge to attend the meeting.
All local businesses and their employees are welcome to attend. Reservations are due by Tuesday by calling the chamber office 740-676-9723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE BELMONT COUNTY Spelling Bee and the school spelling bees that act as qualifying rounds are coming up. Any parents of home-schooled children who would like their child to enter are encouraged to contact Lisa Stupak at email@example.com or Lynne Mamone at firstname.lastname@example.org. All Belmont County schools are taking part, including parochial and private schools and the bee is also open to home-schooled children. Oct. 15 is the deadline to register.
OHIO STATE quarterback Braxton Miller's Heisman Trophy stock continues to climb following his four-touchdown performance vs. Cal Saturday.
Kapral may be reached at email@example.com