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The Midnight Council Fire still burnsdirected by ultimate Scoutmaster

Somewhere ...way up above the clouds ...under the Great White Oak the Deep Woods ...behind the Great White Throne on High ...burns the Midnight Council Fire.

Three men from our community have recently been ushered in, to take their seats in the circle; Soapy Green, from Troop 70, in West Mansfield, Andy Stoner, from Troop 51, at Rushsylvania, and Curt Collins, from the old troop at Lakeview.

Out of the assembly, one man rises to greet them. He is a short, stout fellow. He is dressed in a faded blue work uniform. The name “Jim” is sewn above his left pocket. In that pocket are: a steel ruler, a soap stone, a couple burnt welding rods, a small screwdriver, and a couple pencils. His bald head is covered with an old Hobart skull cap. Under his wire rimmed glasses a warm smile fills his face. He reaches out a hand of welcome. One of his fingers is missing. It’s Jim Seeley. “Welcome, Fellas, have a seat.”

Next to Jim sits a small wiry man strumming a guitar ...With his head tilted to one side. He looks up through squinted eyes, “Did you do your best?” It’s Otis Cooper.

Out in the center of the circle, in front of the fire, Don Mears and Dale Huber are trying to lead the group in a song. Most of the guys are still laughing at a joke Bill Price just told. On the far side of the circle, near the trunk of the Great White Oak, Turley Lamberson and Les Born are planning the next Camporee. Kenny Nichols doesn’t like the location. Glen Zell says, “come on, give it a chance.”

Four men sit on an old hickory log, under a low hanging branch of the Great White Oak. Steve Skidmore, in a dark green vest, wearing his three cornered hat, is absentmindedly polishing the stock of his Brown Bess. Sam Doak is practicing an arm sling on Charlie Rinehart. Jack Young stands up, walks to the fire, stirs the ashes with a stick, then lifts the burning stick to light Andy’s pipe. “Good to see ya.”

Behind the fire, Rev. Guy Furby in full uniform, with his “Smoky the Bear” hat, sits on an old Coleman ice chest preparing to read the evening Scripture lesson. Don Geist stands over his shoulder with a flashlight, to illuminate the pages of the Book.

Over on the left side, Claude Wesser sits on a 10 gallon milk can. He holds a small boy wrapped in a blanket. Claude comforts the tenderfoot, who has never been away from home before. Every once in a while, the Big Guy comes down off the Great White Throne, and strolls down the path towards the Great Oak, and the Midnight Council Fire. As He enters the circle, He reaches to His back pocket, and pulls out His blue bandana. With it, He squats down to the fire, and picks up the coffee pot. He pours a dose into the stainless steel Sierra cup, that hangs from His belt on a thong. He takes a sip, then reaches over and fills Cedric Braden’s up. He rises to His feet, stretches His back, and stares up at the stars. “It sure is a beautiful night, boys.”

Yes, Father, it sure is,” they all reply.

You see ... God too, is a Scoutmaster.

Ronald Irick
West Liberty

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013

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County loses a pillar

After he retired, Tom Notestine  spent his summers fishing at Lake Erie and his winters enjoying the warmth of Florida. Always, however, his heart was in Logan County, which he claimed is the greatest place in the country to live.

His recent death has created a big void — for his wonderful family and for our city, county and country (Navy during WWII) where during his professional life he was innovative and influential in business and banking and, more importantly, helping hundreds of people in their quests for success.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of success:

To laugh often and love much;

To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children;

To earn the approbation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;

To find the best in others;

To give of one’s self;

To leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;

To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

As I said, Tom Notestine was a success. A successful person in every way. We shall miss him.

Gene Marine

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 December 2013

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Reaching out for campaign help

Donnelly-Jim UnitedWay


It’s not about meeting a goal; It’s about meeting a need; Today we need your help! At this time of year one of the most asked questions that I receive is: How is the United Way campaign going, how close are we to the goal and do I feel comfortable that we will make it? My normal response is: “We’re getting closer and I’m optimistic that we’ll make it.” But today my response is a little different: “As we approach the final weeks of the 2013 UWLC campaign I’m concerned that we may not be able to meet the growing needs of our community.”

While several contributors have provided an increase over last year, for a variety of reasons many of our business and workplace campaigns have come in lower than anticipated. This leaves a void that will be extremely difficult to overcome when we begin the 2014 allocation process. During my two years as the executive director of the UWLC I’ve had a front row seat and was able to experience firsthand just how important the UWLC funded agencies and the programs that they provide are to many residents within our county.

I’m concerned for the 22 non-profit United Way funded agencies that count on our financial support to provide programs that are extremely important to our community. Several are struggling due to the numerous funding cuts from federal, state and local grants. The programs provided by these agencies help people from all walks of life; rich, poor, young, old, educated, uneducated, employed, unemployed. With almost one out of every three residents in our community having a need for the help and support of one of these agencies, it’s possible that someone in your family, a friend or neighbor has been touched and helped by one of the programs that they provide.

A recent USA Today/Bipartisan Policy Center poll reflects that, “Americans by more than 2-1, say the best way to make positive changes in society today is through volunteering and financially supporting non-profit organizations.”

The United Way of Logan County works extremely hard through its 22 funded non-profit agencies to give hope and effective compassion to many local children, adults and families struggling with the cycle of poverty, poor preventative health care and inadequate education among other issues running rampant in our community.

It’s a nostalgic time of year, and many of us can remember a time when we took care of our own, family took care of family and friends helped friends. While times have changed one fact remains: For more than 56 years, the United Way of Logan County has helped to create lasting change in our community by helping children succeed in school, ensuring that basic needs are met and by helping families become self-sufficient, providing local people with opportunities for a better life.

Best of all, 100 percent of funds raised by the United Way of Logan County stays in our community. What better way to invest than to support an organization focusing solely on local needs and local problems?

I’m asking that you join Janet and myself and embrace our best hope for community improvement by supporting the United Way of Logan County and our local nonprofits whose mission it is to take care of the special needs of our families, friends and neighbors who have fallen onto difficult times. While I would like to meet this year’s $700,000 goal before I return to retirement, to me it’s far more important that I’m able to leave my position knowing that I did my best in helping to keep our community healthy by meeting the needs of its residents.

I want to thank everyone who has already made a donation to the 2013 UWLC campaign and pass on my appreciation to each of you for the support that I’ve received during these past two years and I ask that you provide your continued support as Heidi Reser takes over for me. I’m leaving feeling good that I was able to contribute and play a role in our success.

For those who have not yet made a 2013 donation, I’m soliciting your help.

For more information about United Way or to make a tax-deductible gift before the end of the year, call 937-592-2886, mail a check to our office or donate online by visiting

“Together” we are making a difference!

James Donnelly is executive director of the United Way of Logan County through the end of the year.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 December 2013

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Adriel is an asset to the West Liberty community

Channel 7 News recently ran a rather shallow news episode on issues surrounding Adriel a school for troubled children which has been located in West Liberty, Ohio, for the past 113 years.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013

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Ben Logan levy would repay debt

The goal of my AP Government class is to increase the voter turnout by discovering the facts and informing the voters.

My issue is the Benjamin Logan Emergency Levy. When I asked if the money would be used to hire staff or what the money would be used for, Superintendent Lori Lytle said, “The purpose of the levy is not to hire staff; it is to pay back the money that the Benjamin Logan School District owes in credit card debt. Right now, that number is a relatively low number. However, if Ben Logan doesn’t do something to take care of it soon, the number will continue to grow instead of being eliminated. Benjamin Logan needs to pay off this debt in order to remain fiscally responsible. This levy will eventually have to be passed; the number cannot just continue to grow.” When asked if the quality of education would go down should the levy not pass, Mrs. Lytle responded, “Benjamin Logan always strives to keep the quality at all costs. It would be more likely that the amount of class offerings would decrease, the class sizes would increase and the debt would increase.” When I asked if cuts would have to be made in the event that the levy did not pass, Superintendent Lytle replied, “In order to stay fiscally responsible, Benjamin Logan previously cut everything they could cut. So, no further cuts can be made immediately. Our staff is down to the bare bones; therefore, further cuts would decrease the quality of education.”

This tax would be a property tax. The taxes would begin being collected in January and the school district would begin receiving them in March or April. The increased cost to each taxpayer is $70 per $50,000 house value.

Camille Watson
West Liberty

Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013

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Indian Lake levy would make up for lost revenue

As the November elections come around, local schools are again reaching out to citizens to assist with financial aid. Indian Lake is one school that has proposed a levy for this upcoming ballot. I have been researching the current issues on the ballot for my AP Government class.

In 2012, Indian Lake purposed a new levy that would generate 7.35-mills over the next 10 years, however, it failed. Since 2009, Indian Lake has had to reduce, “17 general education teachers, four reading specialist teachers, two intervention specialist teachers, five educational assistants, two custodians, and 64 supplemental contracts, (just to name a few),” says Superintendent O’Donnell. Indian Lake has endured a “loss of state revenue” of $1,158,000 since 2010.” The levy is said to cost $56 a year for properties valued at $100,000. Superintendent O’Donnell says the money collected from the levy is needed for, “all operations of the school system.” When asked about the recent scores on the school’s grade card and the correlation to this levy Mr. O’Donnell replied, “as funding continues to decrease then the board has to decrease expenditures by cutting staff. Then, test scores will suffer.”

Ian Fogle

Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013

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Jeff. Township levy would support library

Hello, I am a student of the AP Government class at Benjamin Logan High School and we are researching local issues, levies and elections. I researched the upcoming Jefferson Township issue of maintaining and operating the Sloan Library. The projected voter turnout is only 11 percent. As students in the AP Government class were challenged with the task of motivating people to vote in the upcoming local election on November 5th, Jefferson Township officials are asking for a levy to fund the maintaining and operating of the library.

In my research I have found that if the levy is passed, there will be an increase of 0.5 millage on property tax for all residents living in Jefferson Township. There are on average 2,028 annual visits to the library as well as 624 visitors on their three Internet computers. The library currently has 7,980 print materials and 136 audio materials. The library is a non-profit organization. The library’s total operating revenue is $114,824 and the total operating expenditures are $55,106.

The library hosts various activities in Jefferson Township. Some of the activities include the toddler and preschool storytime and crafts and Library Club for kids ages 7-13. They also host an annual book sale during the Logan Hills Festival on Memorial Day weekend. The library also from time to time hosts the meetings of the Logan County Mayors Association. I would like to encourage all eligible voters to vote on this issue. You can vote at Tri-Valley Fire Department in Zanesfield. The address is 2568 Sandusky St., Zanesfield, OH 43360.

Brady Alexander Bechtel

Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013

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Support Stokes Township trustees

I have been a Stokes Township Trustee for the past 16 years, but will be retiring at the end of the year. During this span of time there have been many improvements made and several projects completed, of which I’m very proud to have been a part of. Drainage issues have been a large problem for us, but most of these issues have been addressed and solved. Contracting with the sheriff’s department to patrol the township has worked out very well. Installing an emergency siren at the Indian Lake Campgrounds is another safety feature. We have been fiscally responsible with township funds and are financially sound.

Having served with Dennis Wischmeyer for over four years and Robert Lehman for one year, I’m confident that they will continue to make sound decisions. Both of these gentlemen are self-employed and have the time to address problems that many times happen on very short notice. They will be full-time trustees. Both have their CDL license and are able to help with snow removal. Neither of these gentlemen have a personal vendetta as their reason for running. They also have had very good attendance records at our regular monthly meetings.

On November 5th, please support Dennis Wischmeyer and Robert Lehman for Stokes Township Trustee.

Thank you.

Lanny Davis

Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013

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