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Your vote is their voice

Dear Editor,

The upcoming primary election for Belmont County commissioner on March 19th has a big impact on the direction the county will take for the future.

Remember the names Shaun Moran and Vince Giangangeli. They look to restore accountability and integrity to the office and eliminate the arrogance and indifference we’ve experienced firsthand by incumbent Commissioners Josh Meyer and J.P. Dutton.

For 14 years as volunteers, Jodi and I tried to bring a voice to the animals at the Belmont County Animal Shelter. Then in March of 2023, our freedom to help the animals was taken away by dog warden Lisa Duvall and Commissioners J.P Dutton and Josh Meyer. They refused to disclose reasons for our release and chose instead to listen to false claims by the warden. They refused to investigate the dozens of allegations by people in this community, including over 12 past employees and four fired volunteers concerning the warden. They refused to take any action whatsoever and hold accountable actions by their county employee.

This is not leadership. It’s corruption. There is a county handbook for conduct that they are not interested in enforcing.

Animosity? Absolutely. The way we were all treated at multiple meetings. The way we were lied to. The way we never received responses to calls, texts, or emails.

(Many) of us tried to get our point across that something is seriously wrong when you euthanize animals without utilizing all your resources.

Vince Gianangeli reached out to us. He came to support us and collect information at the evening town hall. Shaun wanted to know how he could help and what was needed. Then they both put together common sense goals and laid the groundwork for the future of management at the shelter. A structured plan of enforcement with specific standard operating procedures and goals to change the animal shelter into something we could all be proud of. This means a great deal to many of us who have fought so hard for all these dogs and cats, especially those who served in the kennels for over a decade.

This upcoming election has a massive impact on the future of the way this county is managed. I know these guys. Vince and Shaun are genuine when they say they want change in Belmont County. They have the moral character that so many politicians are lacking. Vince brings the knowledge of 40 years of public service to the table. People who have known him far longer than I have assured me he is genuine in his convictions and I truly feel this to be the case.

Shaun Moran is a man with the confidence of a leader to take on any challenges and was instrumental in formulating an oversight plan with complete transparency for the animal shelter.

It’s in stark contrast to the current plan of eliminating dedicated unpaid volunteers, thus limiting marketing and socialization opportunities, then letting the shelter fill up and ultimately euthanize for space.

We deserve better, this county deserves more, and now is the time to say we’ve had enough. If you won’t do your job, we will elect someone who will. I’m tired of being ignored and so should you. You can help us vote for change. Cast it for Vince Giangangeli and Shaun Moran in this upcoming primary election.

Early absentee and in-person voting started on February 21 with the actual primary on March 19th. No Democrats are running for election, so simply ask for a Republican ballot. This is important! It is your right, no matter your party affiliation. It has no effect on your voting status for the upcoming general election. Let’s finally elect approachable and dedicated commissioners who will answer your questions and are here to serve you.

Aaron and Jodi Apitzsch

St. Clairsville

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