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Sobriety?Checkpoint: A case study in teamwork

June 30, 2013
By BUBBA KAPRAL - Times Leader Managing Editor , Times Leader

I AM no night owl. Far from it. When you awake at 4 a.m. each workday, late hours are a no-no.

Last Saturday, however, Martins Ferry Mayor Paul Riethmiller had me out well past 2 a.m. We weren't painting the town purple. Just the opposite, we were in the company of dozens of local law enforcement personnel, taking part in a Sobriety Checkpoint on Ohio 7, at the Aetnaville exit.

The mayor extended me the invitation to be an up-close witness to the night's events. It was the second time I have been extended that invitation. This past October, I went with Ferry's finest on a two-day drug blitz.

Until witnessing a Sobriety Checkpoint up close and personal, you fail to realize how much manpower is involved.

The Ferry Police had some 14-15 of its officers on board, along with several members of the city administration. The State Patrol had another 10-12 of its St. Clairsville Post-based officers on duty as well as auxiliary personnel. Bridgeport Police delivered several more officers while a host of emergency personnel from various departments were on hand just in case.

Not to be overlooked are the many workers from ODOT. They handled the signage and lighting while the Salvation Army served food and refreshments to all those working the checkpoint.

It takes a virtual army to make such an undertaking a success.

The Ferry Police manned the southbound lanes while the State Patrol and Bridgeport officers worked the northbound side.

The night's totals were: 789 vehicles passed through the site with 692 being checked. Of that number, 29 were diverted for additional examination, resulting in three OVI arrests, five driving under suspension arrests, three drivers cited for no operator's license, four citations for other unspecified violations, one arrest on an outstanding warrant and one marijuana bust.

Those in charge noted that such checkpoints usually yield more major arrests.

"I consider these DUI checkpoints as just another important service that our local law enforcement agencies provide to our communities," Mayor Riethmiller said. "They all work extremely well together to remove DUI offenders, drugs and weapons from those who travel on State Route 7 through our local towns.

The men and women who serve the Ohio State Patrol, Bridgeport and Martins Ferry police departments are to be commended for their dedicated service and professionalism in which they execute these checkpoints in order to make our highways safer for our families and residents who travel these roadways."

HOOP EXTRAVAGANZA

THE CANCER Research Classic has gone from a boys' high school basketball tournament to a national happening. Now in its seventh year, the CRC has grown in prestige due to the meticulous and passionate work of Dr. Gregory Merrick, executive director of the Schiffler Cancer Center.

The Jan. 3-4 will feature some of the premier prep teams from coast-to-coast and several of the highest-rated players as well. More than 300 players who have played in the CRC have went to play college basketball with a handful more now in the NBA.

But at a press conference Thursday, Dr. Merrick pounded home the fact that the CRC's primary goal is to promote men's health. He said the CRC sheds a huge spotlight on men's health. He said it would be impossible to buy the promotion provided by the classic.

Also, overlooked often times is the economic impact the CRC has on the Ohio Valley.

Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie also spoke at Thursday's press conference, highlighting that theme. He noted that hotels, businesses and restaurants all benefit from the classic, as does the Friendly City in the realm of public relations, as its name gets out across the nation in a positive fashion.

Dr. Merrick is one of the foremost cancer physicians in the nation. He is equally adept in the realm of high school basketball.

BUBBA'S BITS

NIK WALLENDA's walk across the Grand Canyon on a two-inch wide wire with no safety net has to rate with the greatest athletic achievements of all-time. The entire 22-minute balancing act was riveting. I cannot imagine the anxiety his family felt as they watched from onsite.

THE WORLD gets a lot sweeter July 15. That is when Twinkies return for consumption, much to the delight of Times Leader Sports Editor Seth Staskey.

A FORMER St. John Central athletic standout is waging a courageous battle against cancer. Jim Staley, a 1982 SJC graduate, is suffering from lung cancer. To help him and his family meet mounting medical bills, a fundraiser has been scheduled for July 5&6. A bake sale and rummage sale will be held at the Martins Ferry Recreation Center. A four-day Jamboree In The Hills pass will also be raffled off. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

SINCE THIS past Super Bowl, 28 NFL players have been arrested, punctuated by Aaron Hernandez being jailed on murder charges.

BOWLING -- at least in the Ohio Valley -- appears headed for the gutters. The Riviera Lanes in Bellaire closed many years ago and Elm Grove Lanes shut down a few years ago. Now, King Pin Lanes in Cambridge closed its doors.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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