WEIRTON — The members of the Leadership Ohio Valley Class of 2019 have made their mark on the community, and they hope to see it remain for years to come.
Saturday morning, members of the class, along with special guests, gathered behind the Mary H. Weir Public Library to unveil their work on the revitalized outdoor art gallery and garden.
“The 2019 graduating class is here today to make a memory, hopefully make a tradition,” class member Joe Lombardi said.
In recent months, the Leadership Ohio Valley participants have uncovered a sidewalk which led to a house once on the property, purchased new benches and planted flowers around the displays for the outdoor art gallery. A new lamp post also was installed.
As part of the project, the group also commissioned a time capsule which was buried in the gallery Saturday.
The capsule, which has been marked with a plaque and a paving stone in the gallery, contains copies of The Weirton Daily Times, photographs of the class, a letter discussing Leadership Ohio Valley and other items selected by the class. Plans are for it to be uncovered in May 2029.
“It’s an idea for people to see life 10 years past, and see the subtle changes or hopefully the large changes,” Lombardi said.
Others noted the items in the time capsule will showcase the bonds formed by the class through their experiences together.
“Our class has developed a camaraderie like I have never experienced,” Alexis Russell said. “We now have a lifelong connection.”
In addition to planning their activities and learning together, the class also went through several life events, with one member having a baby during the program. Shortly after their graduation in June, the group also experienced loss with the death of classmate Tom Bowman. A moment of silence was held in Bowman’s honor Saturday, and a sign hung near the entrance of the gallery shows the work has been dedicated in his memory.
DeeAnn Pulliam said she was grateful for the experiences, as they created new friendships while also helping her to integrate more in the community.
“We had a really fun class,” she said. “There was probably more laughter than seriousness.”
Members of the 2019 Class of Leadership Ohio Valley, and their sponsors, were Alexis Russell, Follansbee Chamber of Commerce; Anthony Bernardi, Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home; DeeAnn Pulliam, City of Weirton; Deidra Edwards, Hancock County Savings Bank; Joe Lombardi, Lombardi Development Co.; Kaylee Richter, Hancock County Savings Bank; Kerri Freshwater, Weirton Geriatric Center; Missy Mikula, Howard Hanna Mortimer Realty; Stephanie O’Brien, Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce; Staci Breen, Weirton Medical Center Physician Practices; and Tom Bowman, Weirton Heights Rotary and Wellspring Family Services.
Leadership Ohio Valley is organized through the Weirton Chamber, and President Brenda Mull expressed her pride in the class.
“I hope you continue to bond,” she said.
Debbie Puskarich, president of the Follansbee Chamber, said she has known of the Leadership program for many years, and is glad to see it growing into other communities of the region.
“I think it is a great program,” she told the class.
Weirton Mayor Harold Miller also was on hand, thanking the class for their efforts to preserve local history with the time capsule.
“When you open this in 10 years, it’s going to be interesting to see how our community has grown,” he said.
Area businesses and organizations contributing to the project included the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center, Iannetti’s Garden Center, Morelli Brothers Block and Brick Co., Atlantis Technologies LLC, Lombardi Development Co., American Muscle Docks, the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce, Serra Village Retirement Community and Busy Beaver Building Centers Inc.
The plaque showing the location of the time capsule was made possible by an anonymous donor.
The class also offered its thanks to Rik Rekowski and the members of the Mary H. Weir Public Library Board for allowing the project.
WHEELING — Bridge Street Middle School is getting a new entrance, providing a new look to the facility.
New main doors to the school already have been installed on the playground side of the structure — or what was previously known as “the back of the school,” said Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones. A main area for parking is being established close by facing the Bridge Street Plaza, and a sidewalk is being poured to lead visitors to the main entrance.
The work is part of the beginning of $76 million in property improvements throughout Ohio County Schools made possible by a $42.2 million school bond issue passed by voters last year. About $3,126,160 is being directed to Bridge Street Middle School.
At the moment, it appears as if a moat is being constructed in front of the new entrance –but that’s not the case. Jones asked Brian Harto, director of maintenance for Ohio County Schools, why the massive hole in the ground existed, and Harto told him it was so the foundation for the new entrance could be solidified.
Those wanting to enter the school will have to be buzzed in, where they will see stairs leading to the main hallway and a second set of locked doors. This area is called a “man trap,” a security measure meant to keep an intruder from entering the school, Jones said.
To the visitor’s right will be an entrance to the central office, and a window for the school secretary to look out and see who is in the man trap. The secretary will decide whether the visitor will be allowed further into the school.
Throughout the building, classrooms are getting new windows, ceilings, doors, paint and general renovation. Science rooms are seeing upgrades, as our locker rooms and the school’s cafeteria.
The old floor in the cafeteria was determined to contain asbestos, and has now been remediated, according to Jones. Because the old floors previously had not been disturbed, they have not posed a safety threat, he said.
In the basement, a large space is being turned into two learning areas. On one side will be a new place for strings students to learn and practice, while the other side will be a maker space for students.
A new roof also is being placed on the building.
Jones said the former main entrance to the building — on the W.Va. 88 side of the building — will be open in the mornings, and buses will drop students off at that entrance. Once the school day has started, the door will be locked for security purposes.
WEIRTON — A seven-month journey came to an end Sunday as the 11 members of the Leadership Ohio Valley Class of 2019 celebrated their lessons, accomplishments and new friendships.
A graduation luncheon, hosted by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes Leadership Ohio Valley, was held at Williams Golf and Country Club, with class members surrounded by friends, family and coworkers.
“I want to be the first one to say congratulations,” Chamber President Brenda Mull said. “You made it.”
Noting the class has worked diligently throughout the program, displaying creativity and originality, Mull expressed her hope to see them continue taking steps forward into leadership roles.
“We don’t want your experience to come to an end today,” Mull said, encouraging the class to remain active in their communities and continue with the relationships they have built.
Previously known as Leadership Weirton, the program provides a series of monthly sessions, each one planned by members of the class, to provide an introduction to aspects of local communities and encourage involvement.
Sessions focus on areas of government, health and human services, education, history and culture, and business and economic development.
The class also participated in a “simulated society” exercise, a personality quiz known as True Colors and a team-building event at Escapeworks in Weirton. They currently are working to complete a group community project.
Guest speaker Anthony Mougianis, president and CEO of Apollo Pro-Cleaning and Restoration, encouraged the class to look within no matter what role they take on, discussing the importance of respect, love and kindness toward others.
“Love is synonomous with leadership,” he said, explaining many of the great leaders of the world base their philosophies on love.
He told them it is more important to remember why they do things than what they do, to care about each other and to support each other.
“You’re all together in this thing. The key to success is doing it together,” Mougianis said. “We are much stronger as ‘we’ than we are as ‘I.’”
Class coordinator Joyia Lytle also encouraged the class to continue working for others and their communities, noting her own time as a Leadership participant had been life changing.
“Don’t let this be the end of your Leadership adventure,” she said.
Graduates of this year’s Leadership Ohio Valley class, and their sponsors include: Anthony Bernardi, Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home; Tom Bowman, Weirton Heights Rotary; Staci Breen, WMC Physician Practices; Deidra Edwards, Hancock County Savings Bank; Kerri Freshwater, Weirton Geriatric Center; Joe Lombardi, Lombardi Development; Missy Mikula, Howard Hanna; Stephanie O’Brien, Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce; DeeAnn Pulliam, City of Weirton; Kaylee Richter, Hancock County Savings Bank; and Alexis Russell, Follansbee Chamber of Commerce.
CHESTER — Members and officials with the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, along with their guests, gathered Tuesday at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort for the chamber’s 83rd-annual membership meeting and awards banquet, recognizing the accomplishments of area businesses and revealing a few new programs.
“The chamber has marked 83 proud years, with a proud past and a vibrant future,”chamber President Brenda Mull said. “Weirton is moving forward.”
Mull announced 34 new businesses had joined the chamber in the last year, presenting a PowerPoint presentation with 100 photographs of various chamber and community events. She also highlighted some of the regular programs, including Youth Leadership Weirton, Leadership Ohio Valley, the Dr. Barbara A. Matey High School Business Symposium, the Weirton Christmas Parade and Christmas in July Golf Scramble and the Wine and Dine at Williams, which will feature a Memphis theme this year.
“Our goal is to always bring you value for your membership,” Mull said, announcing several new programs launched during the last year.
The chamber has teamed up with First Microloan West Virginia to relaunch a series of educational seminars, which, to date, have focused on areas such as Robert’s Rules of Order, digital marketing and customer service. It will return April 24, working with the Business Development Corp. and the City of Weirton for an economic outlook conference.
New business and restaurant guides were recently released, showcasing several area establishments. This year, the chamber also is working with Pierce Media on a legacy video program, where businesses will have an opportunity to tell their own stories, and then share them online.
“We have so many businesses here with longevity, why not tell about it,” Mull said.
Along with the topic of legacy, Mull recognized 22 businesses with landmark anniversaries Tuesday. Those included Tudor’s Biscuit World, Fairfield Inn and Suites, J. Austin Heating and Cooling, R.E. Saxon Jeweler and Theo Yianni’s with 10 years; Crystal Clear Window and Gutter Cleaning, Lombardi Development Co., Woodland Trails Greenhouse, Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse and Autism Society-WV Northern Panhandle with 20 years; Washington County Council of Economic Development, Aladdin Signs and Guida Law Offices with 30 years; General Rental with 40 years; Selletti Properties, Hancock County Sheltered Workshop and Gas For Less with 60 years; D’Anniballe & Company with 70 years; First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union and Cattrell Companies with 80 years; James White Construction with 90 years and Hancock County Savings Bank with 120 years.
Also presented were four new awards, voted on by the members. Those awards and recipients were: Jonathan Beynon, the Chamber All-Star Award; Be Spa, Salon & Yoga, the Rising Star Award; Gus’s Goodies, the Proven Success Award; and Theo Yianni’s, the Best Hang Out Award.
Those in attendance heard from Joyia Lytle, of Lytle & Associates-Allstate Insurance, on “The Power of Not Saying No.”
Lytle shared some of her personal story, about the difficulties she has faced in life and learning of the importance of learning from your failures, and of not turning down an opportunity when it is presented.
“If you’re waiting for the right time, it may never happen,” Lytle said.
She relayed of how, while she was a chamber member for several years, and was running a successful business, there still were people who didn’t know of her or her business.
“I was invested in me. I was invested in my business. I wasn’t invested in my community,”Lytle said.
She resolved to accept whatever opportunity came to her, joining the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights, taking part in the chamber’s Leadership program and getting involved in the Weirton United Way among other things.
“I was either going to be really busy or I was going to make the most of every opportunity,” she said. “There is a power to saying yes.”
Chamber Board President Barb Barkley also encouraged those gathered to find ways to get involved in the chamber and their community.
“If you give of yourself, you will get something in return,” Barkley said.
Lombardi Development Company is blessed through the hard work of its employees to continue to support the children of Brooke County that are associated with A Child’s Place CASA, LTD. by providing stockings full of goodies and Bruins Helping Bruins with a check for $1,500 to help fill the food program needs.