There is an old adage that states, time stands still for no man, thus we find ourselves at the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. The year that was 2015 saw some good times and some not so good times. We at the Daily Times wanted to look back on some of the top stories of the year.
1) Ground broken for Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway
A ground breaking ceremony was held in Minford on Wednesday for the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway. The ceremony was meant to serve as a visual representation of the beginning of work on the project. The project, the largest in the history of Ohio, is a 16-mile, limited access, four-lane highway that will bypass about 26 miles of U.S. 52 and U.S. 23 in Portsmouth. Once completed, ODOT estimates it will reduce travel time by 16 minutes compared to the alternative routes in the area.
2) SSU Presidency offered to Kurtz
During a meeting of the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees in February, the Shawnee State University (SSU) Presidential Search Committee provided their findings on three presidential candidates and the applicant they thought most fitting for the position. The trustees moved to offer the position to Dr. Rick Kurtz, he accepted.
3) New Boston Mayor Warren dies
The Village of New Boston was silenced in late June after hearing of the passing of longtime Mayor James Warren at age 78. Flags were lowered to half mast in the Village on Saturday in Warren’s honor, who was remembered as a warm-hearted, kind leader who was more than a mayor, but a friend to all.
4) Local company to hire 50-100 people
Veterans Financial Group LLC, located across from Glockner Honda-Toyota on Route 23 in Portsmouth is looking to hire 50 to 100 people, with an emphasis on veterans.
5) Carl Perkins Bridge reopens
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet contracted with Vimas Painting Company to paint the Carl Perkins Bridge for $7 million. The project took seven months to complete.
6) Supreme Court affirms gay marriage, Local community reacts
In June the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. Gay and lesbian couples already could marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage. Local reaction to the decision was mixed.
7) Altivia completes acquisition of Haverhill Chemicals
Altivia Petrochemicals announced in November its acquisition of Haverhill Chemicals in Haverhill, Ohio is complete. Local officials have been working out finer details of the deal with Altivia for a number of months. Altivia will retain 50 jobs with $5 million in payroll. Altivia will invest $3 million in improvements to the facility. Prior to being acquired by Altivia, Haverhill Chemicals was owned by Sunoco. According to released information, plant operations will resume immediately with product shipments anticipated to begin November 16.
8) SOMC discusses projects
Justin Clark, administrative director of plant operations at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), was the keynote speaker at the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Breakfast on Tuesday. Clark delievered an update on current and future projects – more than $20 million dollars in construction projects in Scioto County.
9) Salvation Army receives $6.8 million endowment
Officials with the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps have received a $6.8 million endowment. The endowment will be used to enhance programming and service to the community. The endowment was left to the Salvation Army from the estate of Madeline A. Wertz.
Jeremiah Eisley, lieutenant with the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps, explained, “Wertz, a life-long Portsmouth resident, passed away about two years ago. When Madeline was a little girl, her parents ran into some hard times. Although we do not know the particulars, we do know that Madeline’s parents needed help, and they found this help at the Portsmouth corps of The Salvation Army.”
Shortly after Wertz passed, The Salvation Army was notified that Madeline had left her estate to the Portsmouth Corps.
Eisley explained that the only stipulation that came with the estate was that it had to be used to help people.
“Our work in the local community provides important and life-changing services for those most in need. Through this gift, we will focus on strengthening our resources, which enhance our ability to serve and provide meaningful transformation in the lives of those we serve,” Eisley said.
10) Crabtree signs ethics agreement
Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree has come to an agreement with the Ohio Ethics Commission in which he will no longer be involved in surveying work in Scioto County while he is a commissioner.
Reach Wayne Allen at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT